Tag Archives: 12-step

Addiction Recovery Prayers: Acceptance, Courage, and Serenity

addiction recovery prayers

Sobriety is a paradigm shift, to be sure; and, dedicating one’s self to a new mode of living is not without challenge. With steadfast dedication and a daily commitment to practicing the principles of addiction recovery, long-term healing is possible.

A good many people, who find themselves requiring assistance, struggle with some aspects of 12 Step recovery. There is a pervasive misconception among some newcomers that they must welcome God into their life. While it’s true that spirituality is key to 12 Step addiction recovery, a person’s understanding of God is entirely subjective.

It is not uncommon for people to be turned off by programs like Alcoholics Anonymous because of the God part. Such individuals convince themselves that when program subscribers finish combing through The Big Book, they move on to Bible or Koran verses. Since many men and women have less than pleasant childhood memories of religion, they will not abide by the prospect of religious recurrence.

It’s true, some members of AA et al. return to a place of worship after getting sober; their God being of the Biblical or Koran variety. However, people in recovery are a diverse group; they pray and meditate on myriad different powers-greater-than-themselves. In recovery, one can arrive at the same ends by any one of several spiritual roads. The program only asks a person to relinquish the delusion that he or she can control all things life. No person is omnipotent.

Addiction, mental illness, or not—no human is perfect! We all make mistakes, and each of us is better off when we accept that we don’t have all the answers. People on the more unfortunate end of addiction must realize that their best thinking brought only greater despair. They need to grasp that standing up (and staying up) requires outside assistance, human and otherwise.

12 Step Prayers

It isn’t challenging to understand why many newcomers think 12 Step recovery is affiliated with religion. Members of the program will often recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of meetings. People in recovery will also grasp hands and say the Serenity Prayer; an invocation attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer's phrasing brings to mind the pulpit in more ways than one. However, if a person is willing to look beyond the religious connotations, then they discover powerful tools to help them stay on course.

The debate over how much God is too much is one that has been going on since AA’s founding. Some meeting houses have done away with the Lord’s Prayer lest they dissuade newcomers. The Serenity Prayer, on the other hand, remains a fixture at practically every meeting and at treatment centers utilizing the 12 Step model.

The Serenity Prayer is longer than most people know. The full orison contains God, capitalized as He or Him, and His Will. Finishing with a resounding AMEN! 12 Step members rely on an abridged version of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference…

Even though the word God is the prayer’s opening, the word is interchangeable. Members can insert any “higher power” they like when reciting. The religious undertones are not the critical elements of the Serenity Prayer. It all boils down to several timeless truths that any person in recovery can benefit from remembering on their quest toward serenity.

Finding Serenity in Addiction Recovery

The definition of serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Who doesn’t desire mental, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium? Working a program is a pathway to the realm of both internal and external peace. Still, each person is a work in progress; men and women still face obstacles when the drugs and alcohol are out of the picture.

Trials and tribulations are a certainty; what one does in the face of such circumstances, however, is not. The question is, will one’s frustrations be an excuse to return to self-defeating behaviors, or will these instances be harnessed as an opportunity to grow?

Individuals who are new to addiction recovery and struggle with God-talk must do their best to focus their attention on different watchwords. Instead of fixating on what form higher powers take, look to the words acceptance, courage, change, wisdom, and serenity.

Persons still risk trying to change things they have no control over, especially other people, even in addiction recovery. Working a program gives men and women the tools to accept the reality that they can only change him or herself. Other people may change by the example we set, but no one can force them to make alterations. Moreover, when a person focuses on their mode of being alone, it is an exercise in “letting go.”

Surrender isn't defeat; it is trusting that a power greater than ourselves will guard us against veering off the path.

One of the most useful verses in the Serenity Prayer is rarely uttered at meetings. Readers may find it interesting to learn that the full Serenity Prayer includes:

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Addiction Recovery is a Process

It can take time to conceptualize the role that spirituality plays in 12 Step recovery. Perspective comes when a person accepts that their way didn’t work, that there is a more natural method of living, and trusts that there are more powerful forces at work. If one is open, honest, willing, and maintains a positive attitude their life is bound to transform, and they will find serenity.

At PACE Recovery Center, our clients benefit from having access to a dynamic 12-step recovery community. We specialize in treating men who struggle with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific, extended care mental health and addiction rehab.

Recovery Sayings Motivate and Inspire

recovery sayings

Men and women who are new to recovery discover the value of repetition and routine. Addiction recovery is a 24/7, 365 days per year enterprise in making progress. To that end, it’s helpful for newcomers to follow the prescribed recommendations of those with more time. Individuals who follow patterns and understand the value of a daily commitment position themselves for long-term recovery. Moreover, heeding recovery sayings can help people stay on course in early sobriety.

Sponsors and other members of one’s support group will drive certain points home to people with less time. One method of impressing principles on the newcomer is by repeating statements over and over. Acronyms like HALT and KISS roll off tongues frequently ("Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired" and "Keep It Simple Stupid"). They are meant to remind the newcomers of what to do and what to avoid when outside the recovery room safety net.

When hearing 12 Step truisms, many in early recovery think the utterings are cliché. It is true that after more than 80 years of 12 Step recovery, many statements are overused. However, slogans like ‘progress not perfection’ are no less valuable today. People living with addiction are often perfectionists. Recovery teaches that no one is perfect, but you can strive to be the best version of yourself. Making progress is the path to achieving that goal.

Look for the similarities, not the differences will always carry water in treating a disease that tells people they are unique. Individuals may tire of hearing them, but there may come a time when they save one’s life.

12 Step Recovery Sayings Aplenty

People who attend 12 Step meetings to aid in their recovery are no strangers to slogans and sayings. Even those new to working a program are already familiar with a handful of maxims, and for a good reason. Simple statements, like "one day at a time," for instance, are easy to remember and can be especially helpful at any stage in the recovery process.

At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings et al. across the country and abroad, the meeting houses’ walls are plastered with useful sayings. While generally short and concise, and considered easy to understand, 12 Step slogans are nuanced. There is a lot more than meets the eye to most recovery sayings; and, they are subject to various interpretations.

People in recovery repeat slogans day-in-and-day-out in an almost automatic manner. However, few people take the time to explore their meaning or offer a further explanation to those who are newer. It is not uncommon for newcomers to misunderstand what is at the heart of expressions like keep it simple. As such, some people are at risk of discounting the value of recovery expressions, chalking them up to being annoying platitudes.

It is essential to keep in mind that 12 Step recovery is a simple program for complicated people. Generally speaking: things are what they seem. Those who try to dissect this decades-old formula for healing can jeopardize their recovery. Breaking down every aspect of the program can muddy the water and make it difficult to find clarity. This wheel does not require reinvention. Poking holes in the Program for the sake of poking holes isn't beneficial. There is however nothing wrong with asking questions to glean a better understanding.

Below, we will discuss some of the more common 12 Step slogans. Being equipped with a better understanding of recovery sayings can be of significant benefit to newcomers.

Slogans for Long-term Recovery

There is no shortage of catchy recovery sayings, and each one of them speaks to people differently. Men and women who are unsure about what something means should never hesitate to ask for clarity. Those with more recovery time are always happy to provide insight. The success of the oldtimer depends on their willingness to help the newcomer.

Let’s take a moment to discuss some of the more common watchwords and slogans. HALT is fairly straightforward. Avoid hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; such states of being are a cause of stress. Of course, mental pressure is often a factor in causing self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors.

If it is not broken, don’t try to offer a fix! The 12 Step method works, for anyone willing to work it. Paradox and inconsistencies are out there if someone is looking. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a person’s job to amend the program. It’s alright to notice contradictory things, but it is paramount to avoid letting observations color your view of the program.

Intellect is not a bad thing, yet it can cause complications. Addiction is a mental illness and a spiritual sickness. Treatment addresses the medical side of the problem; Twelve Step recovery tends to the spiritual facet of the condition.

Keep It Simple Stupid reminds us that our best thinking can exacerbate our problems. Intelligence is going to offset a spiritual deficit. The goal is not to let one’s powers of deduction block them from receiving the gifts of recovery. Simplicity is a good thing!

12 Step recovery calls for abstinence and much more; long-term progress demands significant lifestyle alterations. It also calls for looking at life and the people in it differently.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

In early recovery, there is much a person can find to be unhappy about. The gifts of healing do not come instantly. Embracing a positive attitude, as often as possible, is necessary to realize progress and one’s dreams. The saying nothing changes if nothing changes reminds us that recovery requires more of people than not drinking or drugging. Avoiding old friends and unsafe environments is excellent, but so is changing how we think.

Positive actions and maintaining a positive attitude, changes everything. Negative thinking prevents people from taking positive steps each day. Progress depends on positivity as much as it depends on making lifestyle changes.

At PACE Recovery Center, we place much stock in the power of positive thinking. We have seen how significantly a positive attitude changes everything for those new in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific treatment programs for men living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you or a loved one learn how to live a positive life in recovery.

Resentment: The Crux of Addiction Recovery

resentment

Nobody walks into the rooms of recovery with an un-checkered past. Everyone, even those not working a program of addiction recovery, has done things to others that they regret; and conversely been affected by other people's actions to the point of anger and resentment. How one is affected by the efforts of others can dramatically shape your future, impacting how one interacts with others. Sometimes anger can lead to lessons learned and moving forward, a vow to never put oneself in a position to be treated in that way again. Other times, feelings about perceived treatment can linger in toxic ways, forcing one to close oneself off from others or lashing out in irrational ways for extended periods of time.

There isn’t just one way to process anger and resentment, but some ways are healthier than others—to be sure. Whether you are new to addiction recovery, or have been in the rooms for decades, it is absolutely vital that you keep those feelings in check. When compared to said “normal” people, there is a big difference between what happens to people in recovery who hold on to resentments. Even a strong program can be eroded from underneath by the corrosive effects of anger and resentment, failing to keep such feelings in check can have disastrous consequences. There is a good reason for 12-Step meeting houses hanging banners that say, ‘Resentment is the "number one" offender’ from chapter 5 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ever reminding members that holding on to such things is a slippery slope to relapse.

Letting Go of Resentment

Most addicts and alcoholics have a Ph.D. in holding on to stuff. It is so easy to convince oneself that our problems are not of our own. That somebody else made the bed and now you have to sleep in it. One tries to stuff the perceived wrongdoing deep down into the cavities of one’s mind, but inevitably the feelings will bubble to the surface to be re-lived again. Someone in active addiction will dull such feelings, or attempt to, with drugs or alcohol—and thus perpetuating the cycle of the disease. It is for such reasons that much emphasis in early recovery is placed on addressing one’s anger towards those of one’s past. The Fourth Step is dedicated to first establishing just what we are upset about, so that we can then do something about freeing yourself from it down the road.

In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases, it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our relationships (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So, we were sore. We were ‘burned up.’

Therein lies the crux of anger, and addressing it in recovery. What was my role? Certainly, there are times when people hurt us without cause, and one has a legitimate right to be bothered. But if you fail to let it go, the feeling only hurts you. It’s is often said that resentment is like drinking poison, hoping someone else dies. But they don’t, the alcoholic and addict is the one that pays the price.

Recovery Is A Process

With a clear mind, looking back on where you believed you were wronged almost always reveals that you had a part in the pain felt. Where you once believed that somebody did you wrong, it was actually you that owes an amends. But that comes a little later on in working the steps, to be made at a time that is decided when working with a sponsor.

There will be times that you will struggle to see the value in establishing what you are resentful about and why, especially early on in recovery. Most newcomers avoid the Fourth Step like the plague, and typically not for the reason one would think. It is usually the re-feeling (resent comes from the French word sentir which means to feel) of pain that makes people eschew this most important step, it is that deep down and if one is honest with themselves they come to realize that they are not usually the actual victim in the narrative of reality at the end of the day. But if one fails to act on such realizations, and chooses to ignore it, relapse is usually inevitable.

It may take some time for you to see the value of letting go of anger, but if you are willing to follow direction and take certain steps as people have for almost a century, recovery is possible and with it limitless possibilities. Below is part of a quote relevant to this topic, from the end of a movie, The Upside of Anger:

Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That's what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It's real, though - the fury, even when it isn't. It can change you... turn you... mold you and shape you into something you're not. The only upside to anger, then... is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they're not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm.

Anonymity, Depression and Instagram

anonymity

When it comes to addiction recovery, one of the more appealing aspects of the 12-Step program is the focus by members on anonymity: the condition of (of a person) not being identified by name. Those who turn to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) for support and guidance, are encouraged to introduce themselves by their first name only. If there are more than one person with the same first name, sometimes the first letter of one’s last name will be attached to the end (i.e. John T. or Amanda S.) to avoid confusion when referring to people.

Some of you may be wondering, ‘what’s with all the secrecy?’ A question that can be answered in multiple ways, all of which are good reasons for not disclosing one’s full identity. But, perhaps, the most important reason for avoiding self-disclosure among members is the newcomer. People who suffer from any form for mental illness, whether it be addiction or depression, have long been given pejorative labels and looked down upon by society. While we have come a long way in the United States regarding ending the stigma of mental health disorders, there are still those who would use another's issues as ammunition.

Those who make the brave decision to seek help for alcoholism and/or drug abuse, need to be and feel like they are they are in an environment that will not cast judgement. That the things that they share will not be used against them at a later day by another. Even if you have zero-experience with substance abuse, you could probably imagine that a big part of the healing and the recovery process rests on honestly sharing aspects of one’s past that are extremely difficult to talk about (e.g. where they have been, what they have seen and the unsavory things they did while out there in active addiction). When it comes to the latter, there is hardly an addict or alcoholic who has not broken one or multiple laws.

As was mentioned earlier, honesty is vital to the recovery process. If a newcomer does not feel like he or she can share their life candidly without repercussions, it is unlikely that they will share at all. Or stick around long enough to experience the miracles of recovery. In a world where social stigma can destroy lives, confidentiality is of the utmost importance. While individuals are free to share their story and full name with whomever they please, they are expressly prohibited from sharing that of others. To ensure that people do not disclose information about others, the safeguard of not using one's full name is staunchly encouraged. Under the model of 12-Step recovery, there are in fact 12 steps that need to be worked, but there are also 12 traditions that members are asked to respect, the twelfth tradition reads as follows:

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

Anonymity In The Information Age

When the founders of the 12-Step modality wrestled with anonymity, it was at a time when the average person did not have the ability to reach millions of people. Your typical American could not share their story or the stories of others by way of press, radio, and films. Those that did were strongly encouraged to exercise extreme caution, lest they break another person's anonymity.

In the 21st Century, the outlets for expressing oneself in seemingly cathartic ways has reached new heights, i.e. blogs, Facebook and Instagram. There is hardly a young person in America who does not have a social media account. What’s more, most young people in recovery spend a good amount of time on the internet.

Our laptops and smartphones allow us to reach total strangers, who cannot easily figure out who is the one doing the sharing. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Sharing one’s struggles on social media platforms can result in one receiving support for their issues, but given that we are talking about the internet, a hotbed for vitriolic unmasking—such platforms can tempt people to disclose things that they wouldn’t likely disclose with others in person. Thus, inadvertently revealing the identity of others.

If you rely on social media sites for therapeutic reasons, sharing your struggles with the hope of feedback, be sure to keep what is said be about you. You are responsible for your own anonymity, be sure that what you share will not have the unintended effect of coming back to hurt you later. For more information on sharing with others while remaining anonymous, please click here.

Support from Social Media

A significant number of young men and women battling with mental illness have turned to Instagram for support. Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows its users to maintain a greater level of secrecy. This has a twofold effect: 1) People can share what they are going through anonymously (e.g. a relapse or a depressive episode) and get feedback that might help. 2) Masked user activity allows people to negatively comment on what people share, what is known as “trolling,” a behavior that has led suffering people to suffer more.

The general public often hears of horror stories involving trolls, mental illness and suicide. We hear less about people with specific disorders finding support and help by way of social media. A new study sought to shed light on the power of anonymous social media posting, and the feedback users received. The researchers found that the majority of responses on Instagram to posts about mental illness using the hashtag “#depression,” were actually positive and supportive, Vocativ reports. The findings will be presented at the Association For Computing Machinery conference.

There’s this kind of double-edged sword about being anonymous and not having to use your real name,” said Nazanin Andalibi, one of the study’s lead doctoral researchers. “The popular narrative around anonymity has been that people will troll each other and everything will just be really abusive…but opportunities for anonymity are really central to disclosing things that are sensitive for some people and to give and provide support. It just so happens that in this particular platform people are finding each other and being supportive of each other.”

The researchers point out that further study is needed to see what users do with the positive feedback they received. Does it lead to positive change?

Depression: Let’s Talk

Last Friday, was World Health Day. The focus of discussion was depression, a mental health disorder affecting more than 300 million people around the world. The World Health Organization(WHO) launched a yearlong campaign. “Depression: Let’s Talk” aims to empower people to talk about their condition with people they trust, so they can get the help they require. With respect to the aforementioned study, not only do people with depression get positive feedback, but Instagram allows posts that appear to be cries for help to be flagged. When that happens the users, who may be at risk will be sent messages that include resources for help with mental illness. Talking about despair, can lead to hope treatment and recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we work with young adult men, targeting the underlying issues that contribute to addictive behaviors and behavioral health diagnoses. The PACE Recovery Center team provides multidisciplinary treatment for co-occurring disorders, including depression. Contact us for more information, “Let’s Talk!”.

Giving Back in Recovery and Community

giving back

The principles and virtues of addiction recovery are what the program is built upon. Honesty, willingness and service, for example, are essential to recovery; without these the goal of long term sobriety could not be achieved. Adhering to the principles, like those mentioned above, are not only good for recovery, it is a good way for anyone to live. But for those with a history of addiction, a disease that is often typified by extreme selfishness, practicing the principles of recovery in all of one’s affairs can be difficult at first. For many recovering addicts and alcoholics, being honest with others is 180 degrees different than how one has been historically.

Overtime, adopting the principles of recovery and practicing these in all of one’s affairs becomes easier, and eventually acting counter to that way of living becomes more and more difficult. An individual comes to the program wanting to find a new lease on life. You surrender and commit yourself to the vital task of being not only honest with yourself, but with your peers. You commit to working a program as if life depended on it (and it does), not only working the steps, but living them. In time, if direction has been followed to the best of one’s ability per working the steps, you will accumulate a length of sobriety. Then what? The simple answer is that you make a commitment to pay it forward.

If You Want to Keep It, Give It Back

Giving back to the program which was given to you gratis, is a major component of recovery. Even if you have only attended a few meetings, there is a good chance you have heard it said that you can’t keep it unless you give it away. You may have scratched your head upon hearing that, saying to yourself, ‘I can’t keep it, unless I am willing to give it back.’ A paradox, right? Well, not exactly. As you work through the steps with a sponsor, you will come to realize that this person who you barely know is helping you save your own life. Something you were unable to do on your own. On the surface, it will appear that said person is in no way being compensated for teaching you how to work the program, and live life one day at a time.

At some point along the way you will come to understand that this relative stranger helping you, was once helped in the same way by another person. And is still likely being helped by a sponsor of their own. In effect, helping another find the gifts of recovery, in turn, helps them keep what you have earned from recovery. Such work does not only apply to sponsorship, it could be as simple or as menial as cleaning up after a meeting (even the bathroom) or making coffee for the group. Humility goes a long way, when it comes to long-term sobriety. Walking up to a newcomer and welcoming them to the group is a way of paying it forward.

The Recovery Community and Beyond

Practicing the principles of recovery in all our affairs doesn’t just apply to how we conduct ourselves in the rooms of recovery and among our peers working a program. Sure, after acquiring some time in the program your role with the support community is of the utmost importance. But you, or rather all of us, are members of a greater community—society. The good work you do in the program can also be channeled into the greater community. What’s more, as your time in sobriety accumulates and you begin to feel sturdier in recovery, you may find yourself desiring to become a productive member of society. Feeling inclined to do things like volunteer your services to good cause.

There is no shortage of ways you can be of service to the greater community. You may discover that you own life experience, even the bad parts, could be of great help to at-risk youth. Organizations and campaigns dedicated to mitigating the risk of certain young people walking down a similar path—that of addiction.

PACE Recovery Center Encourages Community Service

Throughout the year, PACE Recovery Center encourages the men in our treatment program to become involved with community events. This can include volunteering at charitable events, particularly working with the homeless during the holidays.

This year PACE Recovery Center has committed to supporting the Tucson Conquistadores Classic - An Official PGA TOUR Champions event. The event is sponsored by the Tucson Conquistadores, a civic, not-for-profit fundraising organization established in 1962. Over the decades, the Conquistadores have contributed more than $32 million to youth athletic programs throughout Southern Arizona.

The Tucson Conquistadores Classic begins March 15 and continues through March 19, 2017. It takes place at Omni Tucson National Golf Resort. And should you happen to be Tucson, AZ, this week, you may want to get involved.

It Is All About Giving Back…

Giving back is at the heart of the Tucson Conquistadores and Champions Tour. Net proceeds from this tournament go directly to youth charities in Southern Arizona including The First Tee of Tucson, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, Pima County Special Olympics and the Southern Arizona Community Sports Center at Curtis Park.

Here’s to a successful tournament and paying it forward.

Reading For Addiction Recovery

addiction recoveryAs 2016 comes to a close, with Christmas and Hanukkah on our doorstep and New Year’s following close behind, it could be easy to end on a grim note. With overdose death rates holding strong, the result of increased use of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl, overdose deaths now take more lives annually than traffic accidents. Lawmakers continue to draft legislation for combating opioid addiction, but there are still many fears about how the various programs like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and 21st Century Cures Act will work and be funded to ensure addiction recovery is accessible.

Millions of Americans still struggle accessing addiction treatment and mental health services in several regions across the United States. So, at this point, the best thing everyone can do is hope that 2017 will be a better year regarding addiction recovery across the country. We should not find ourselves becoming discouraged, but rather remain optimistic about the addiction-focused legislation passed this year.

Rather than talk about the dark side of addiction this holiday week, we feel it is important that we discuss the millions of people across the globe who are dedicated to “living one day at a time.” It is often said that recovery is the most difficult thing people with an alcohol or substance use disorder will ever do. Which speaks to the paradox of addiction. Turning one's back on substances that are in fact trying to kill you, would seem like a logical, even easy choice—at least to someone who has never walked down the dark road of addiction. Those who are actively working a program know this reality all too well, which is why they must make a daily commitment to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol and invest their energy in living a spiritual life. It is extremely challenging to stay the course year in and year out, but with the help of recovery programs and those working them—we can, and do recover from the pernicious disease of addiction.

Reading for Recovery

Those who found sobriety in the rooms of 12-step recovery, whether that be in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, are all too familiar with the “Big Book.” They also know that without its guidance, long term recovery would be even more difficult to achieve. Inside the tomes of recovery, you will hear your own story of addiction (or a variation of it), and you will learn what is required of you to achieve continued recovery. The basic texts of AA and NA are essentially “how to” guides to working a program, helping people all over the planet work the “steps” and help others do the same. It probably comes as little surprise that TIME Magazine included AA’s basic text on their list of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923 (the first year of the magazine's publication).

The basic texts of addiction recovery are invaluable assets to society, considering that one’s mental illness has a negative impact on the entire community. It is fair to say that the world would be a little bit darker, if it were not for such books being written. We would be remiss if we did not point out that there are other books that can help people in recovery on their journey to be their best self. If you have been in the program for some time now, it is likely that you have read some recovery related literature. And maybe the writings of others helped you on your path. If so, then you may be interested to learn about, “Out Of The Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery." Written by authors Neil Steinberg ("Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life) and Sara Bader (the creator of Quotenik), the book could prove to be a useful resource on the road of addiction recovery. “Out of the Wreck I Rise” is:

Structured to follow the arduous steps to sobriety, the book marshals the wisdom of centuries and explores essential topics, including the importance of time, navigating family and friends, Alcoholics Anonymous, relapse, and what Raymond Carver calls ‘gravy,’ the reward that is recovery. Each chapter begins with advice and commentary followed by a wealth of quotes to inspire and heal.”

Staying Proactive During the Holiday Break

Those of you in the program who will be traveling over the holidays may want to consider the recovery companion. You could have a lot of down time at airports or train stations, a perfect opportunity to invest in your program. There is much to be learned about addiction from authors who have struggled with the disease themselves even if, like Hemingway, the battle was lost.

At PACE Recovery Center, we hope that everyone has wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah, one that does not involve picking up a drink or a drug. Please remember, if you find yourself in times of trouble, help is always just a phone call away.

Alcoholics Anonymous: Atheists/Agnostics In Recovery

alcoholics anonymousIn the field of addiction medicine, it is widely agreed upon that there is not just one way to recover from the insidious and pernicious disease of addiction. That being said, when most people think of addiction recovery, they will typically envision a group of people sitting in a circle, working together to refrain from using drugs and alcohol by practicing the principles of the 12-Steps which were first laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). While there are scores of 12-Step recovery programs to address anything from alcohol use disorder to sex addiction, which may do things in different ways, they all share the common thread of the 12-Steps. It is often said that everyone is welcome at a 12-Step meeting, as long as they have a desire to get better. Yet, many people have recoiled from such programs due to a word that they struggle with, i.e. GOD. Programs of recovery that incorporate the 12-Step model, are spiritual programs, which members are cautioned to not confuse with religious. Organizations like AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), pride themselves with not being associated with any religious sect. While many of their members may choose Jesus or GOD in the biblical sense of the words with regard to assigning a higher power, every member is free to choose their own unique higher power. Even people who are on the fence about the existence of God, or do not believe in God at all, are welcome to join the 12-Step community.

A Spiritual Program

It is fair to say that countless addicts and alcoholics have stayed clear of 12-Step recovery because of the pervasive nature of the word God in the Big Book. And sadly, it is not only an unfortunate choice, it can be a deadly one. 12-Step programs of recovery are in fact spiritual rather than religious, and one should not let the wording (albeit somewhat antiquated) keep them from finding recovery. In fact, there are countless people who are atheist or agnostic who are or will be attending a meeting of AA or NA. They have learned how to work a spiritual program without compromising their beliefs. There are people at meetings from all walks of life, who have varying systems of belief. It is possible to be spiritual without being religious, one need only acknowledge that there is something that is greater than himself. Through which, one can learn how to be accountable to others, and most importantly—their own self. A requirement of getting, and staying, sober is not understanding others’ higher power; it is about understanding and having a relationship with their own higher power. If you are struggling with drugs and/or alcohol, and are considering joining AA or NA—do not be discouraged. Before you write off the program because of certain words, please keep in mind that many atheist and agnostics have managed to work a program of recovery for well over 20+ years through practicing the principles of 12-Steps in all their affairs.

"God," is a God of Your Understanding

Alcoholics Anonymous officially recognized atheist and agnostic membership in the October edition of Grapevine, the International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous. The publication began in 1944, just five years after the founding of AA. In 72 years of publishing, Grapevine has never devoted an issue to atheist and agnostic members—until now. Grapevine’s Editor's Letter writes:
This month, our special section features stories by atheist and agnostic AA members, some who have many years of sobriety. One member quotes our co-founder Bill W., in a 1946 Grapevine, ‘… an alcoholic is a member if he says so … we can’t force our beliefs or practices upon him.’ In editing these stories, we honored the request of some authors to not capitalize the word God, which is our usual style. Bill W. intended Grapevine to be a mirror of the Fellowship. We hope these stories will shed some light on the joys and challenges of our atheist and agnostic members.”

Recovery

If you are a young adult male who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact PACE Recovery Center, our team specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. We can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and adopt healthy behaviors to ensure long-term recovery.

Young People In Addiction Recovery

addiction recoveryThere is no question about it, the picture of addiction recovery in America is rapidly changing. Historically, when the general public thought about those who are seeking or found recovery, pictures of people who had hit rock bottom would come to mind. They would conjure up images of bottom of the barrel drunks living on skid row, or addicts doing anything in their power to acquire their next fix. However, the true picture of an addict or alcoholic can be hard to define as science shows us that addiction can touch people from every corner of life and social-economic status has little bearing. What’s more, one’s age, race or gender isn’t indicative of who meets the criteria of addiction. In the past, the rooms of 12-Step recovery meetings were epitomized by older adults, sharing their stories while the aroma of stale coffee and cigarettes permeated the air. While the majority of people working a program of recovery are indeed beyond the years of young adulthood, addiction recovery is a young person’s program as well. It is not uncommon for one’s abuse of drugs or alcohol to morph into a serious problem in adolescence. Many teenagers and young adults seek help at treatment facilities every day. If you are in recovery yourself, it is somewhat likely that you have met someone who began the journey when they were around the age of 15—managing to acquire over a decade and counting of long term recovery time.

Young Adults In Recovery

All across the United States and in other countries as well, recovery meetings for young people are held every day. A collective effort is afoot, where young people (like their elder peers) practice the principles of recovery in all their affairs—helping each other stay clean and sober—one day at a time. It’s strongly encouraged that younger people create relationships with one another, as it is likely that you will have much more in common with people in the same age group. While there is a lot that young people in recovery can learn from “old timers,” and you would be wise to listen to what they have to share, in the timeless goal of searching for the similarities rather than the differences, connecting with young adults working a program is paramount. If you are a young adult whose life has become unmanageable due to drugs and alcohol, you may want to consider a treatment center that is designed for your demographic. On top of learning and acquiring the tools necessary for achieving continuous long term sobriety, you will create bonds with other young people who have walked a similar path as you. Such bonds can last decades. You will also be introduced to young people's meetings, events and conventions that are geared towards creating networks with other young people in recovery.

Young People In Recovery

If you find yourself reading this article and you happen to be a young person working a program, we encourage you to keep reading. It is no secret that the gift of recovery can only be held onto if it is given away freely. Paying it forward. If you have worked the 12-Steps and are sponsoring others, then you know that to be a reality. Only by helping others can we continue to help ourselves. Or perhaps you are reading this and are thinking that you need to step up your service to others. If so, you may want to look into “Young People In Recovery” (YPR), as it may help you stay on the path of abstinence and spiritual betterment. The mission of YPR is as follows:
Our national leadership team creates and cultivates local community-led chapters through grassroots organizing and training. Chapters support young people in or seeking recovery by empowering them to obtain stable employment, secure suitable housing, and continue and complete their educations. Chapters also advocate on the local and state levels for better accessibility of these services and other effective recovery resources.”
If you would like to locate a chapter or start one in your local area, please click here. Please take a moment to watch a short video below: If you are having trouble watch the video, please click here.

Addiction Recovery Requires Assistance

addictionThose of you who have ever spent time in 12-Step meeting, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are probably aware that a number of people found their way to addiction recovery via the legal system. Over the last several decades people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or possessing an illegal narcotic are commonly required to attend 12-Step meetings.

From Incarceration to Recovery

While many of the people who are mandated to go to recovery meetings are only doing so to fulfill an obligation, a significant number of people hear something said that resonates and they decide to give recovery a shot. Another group of people with substance abuse disorder find their way on the road of recovery while they are behind bars—serving time for a felony drug conviction. Despite the fact that the recidivism rates for felony drug offenders is nothing short of staggering, there are some who are tired of living in the insidious cycle of addiction and manage to work a program of recovery while incarcerated. It becomes a new way of life which they plan to embrace and continue to work at after their release. Unfortunately, the odds of success outside prison walls are low, partially due to the fact that the options for felony drug offenders are limited. If you are working a program of recovery, it is likely that you are no stranger to the feeling of hopelessness—and you are probably aware that such feelings can lead to relapse. In fact, in many states across the country, those who are released from a penal institution after serving time for a felony drug offense, find that there they are not eligible to state assistance programs. Such benefits do not apply to people with the aforementioned past, yet those same people often require such services more than anyone when you consider the fact that it can be hard for a felon to find work. Without work, being able to afford sustenance is difficult to say the least.

A Second Chance

In recent years, lawmakers have begun to sing a different tune regarding addiction in light of the American opioid epidemic. It seems like that with each day that passes, Americans become more accepting of the idea that addiction is mental health disorder rather than a moral failing. The paradigm shift in thinking has led to changes in mandatory minimum sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenders; therefore, giving addicts the option of treatment over jail time. Moving away from draconian drug sentencing laws has lead the current White House administration to commute 562 sentences since 2008. The vast majority of those incarcerated were serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, some of which were serving life. But what about those who have already served their time and the felony on their record makes it next to impossible to survive in an above the board manner. Recognizing that drug felons need help upon release if the chance of recidivism is to be mitigated, a number of states have begun let up on restrictions that prohibit such people from receiving state assistance, such as food stamps, PBS NewsHour reports. Thus another move in the fight to change archaic laws that only serve to disenfranchise those whose only crime was that of addiction.
One of the best ways that someone can move on after they’ve been released from prison is their ability to eat and take care of themselves,” said Marissa McCall Dodson of the Southern Center for Human Rights.
In 1996, a federal ban went into effect that prohibited those convicted of felony drug crimes from receiving food stamps and cash assistance, according to the article. You may find it interesting to learn that the ban did not apply to all felons, just drug felons. Fortunately, states have the option of loosening up on such restrictions. And now, there are only seven states that still enforce the full ban on drug felons receiving food stamps. Those states include
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Is An Option

PACE Recovery’s men only rehab and intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment is ideal for men that require additional support with their addiction and/or behavioral health issues. The curriculum is flexible to allow clients to continue their everyday activities, such as work, school, volunteer or family commitments. We understand the importance of helping our clients learn to manage both recovery and life’s obligations.

Relapse: Rejoining the Circle of Recovery

relapseThe holiday weekend is now several days past and hopefully those of you who are working a program of addiction recovery were able to get through Independence Day without incident. We at PACE Recovery understand all too well just how difficult it can be to navigate the waters of recovery during any major holiday. Abstaining from drugs or alcohol during any given day of the week can be a real challenge, during the holidays the obstacles are exponentially greater. Those who have managed to acquire significant recovery time know that there are certain measures to be taken to aid one in making it through the holidays without a drink or drug. Staying close to your support network, going to 12-Step meetings and keeping your cell phone charged are a few of the ingredients for a safe and sober day of celebration. Naturally, avoiding risky people, places and things that could jeopardize your sobriety and clean time is always advised—especially for those who are in early recovery. While we fully grasp the difficulty of maintaining your recovery over the holidays, we also regretfully know that many people did in fact relapse over the Fourth of July weekend.

Honest Relapse

Experiencing a relapse is an upsetting event, one that brings about a number of painful feelings. Shame and guilt typically go hand-in-hand with a relapse. One cannot help but feel as though they have not only let themselves down—but also their friends, family and recovery peers. While as natural as those feelings may be, shame and guilt can be a slippery slope manifesting into trying to maintain a lie. Every person who found recovery in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is aware of what it felt like to identify as a newcomer in front of a number of people who have more time in recovery than you. You meet people who have several years of clean and/or sober time, and wonder if you will ever be able to accomplish such a feat. After 29 days of identifying as a newcomer, it is likely that you said to yourself—never again. It is quite common for people who relapse to not tell their recovery peers about a relapse, but still continue to go to meetings as if nothing had happened. Failing to humble yourself and be honest about what happened will eventually begin to weigh on you, a burden that usually leads to more drinking and/or drugging. The sooner you are honest with yourself and those within your recovery circle, the better off you will be. Please do not let a relapse lead to full on active use on account of your pride. Remember the stakes of addiction are ever so high—the difference between life or death.

Rejoining the Circle of Recovery

If you did in fact relapse and have not yet called your sponsor, please do so immediately. If you don’t have a sponsor, get yourself to a meeting and raise your hand when asked if there are any newcomers in the room. Walk up to get a newcomer chip and a hug, so you can reboot your recovery. Such a humbling experience can be the catalyst for a new journey, one where you learn from your past so that you can have a future free from drugs and alcohol; all while in the company of meaningful friends and peers who share the same goal. Relapse may be a part of your story, but not as mark of shame but rather a reminder of how fleeting your recovery will be if you let down your guard. Eternal vigilance is required to protect against your addiction that is waiting for you to become vulnerable. You are not alone, recovery is an individual goal, that can only be accomplished collectively. Your relapse, while unfortunate, can serve to strengthen your volition.

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