Tag Archives: 12 Steps

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.

Taking Addiction Recovery to New Heights

addiction

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is a crucial facet of addiction recovery. In order to turn your life around you must exercise commitment and fortitude; sticking to a program is trying at times, and the slightest of obstacles can place your recovery in jeopardy. It is vital to remember—at any stage in a person’s quest for self-care—that the use of mind-altering substances is but a symptom of a more significant issue: an inability to take life as it comes, essentially. Take away the chemicals, and there still exist multiple aspects of one’s life that lead a person to begin looking for an antidote to the issue of Self.

More than half of people living with use disorders have a dual diagnosis, which means they are contending with conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. When psychological comorbidity is a factor, individuals seeking recovery will find achieving their goals next to impossible unless the co-occurring illness is addressed along with the addiction. The good news is that people who seek treatment for alcohol and substance use have an opportunity to deal with every aspect of their mental health. At the time of discharge, clients are better equipped to manage their depression for instance, through utilizing tools to help cope with their symptoms.

People who do the work in treatment will find that they no longer need to rely on their old methods for coping with life. With continued professional therapy, participation in a program of recovery (i.e., 12 Steps or SMART Recovery®), and an influential group of peers to support you along the way, long-term recovery is made possible. Of course, people can have all the things mentioned above and still run into problems, particularly in the first months after treatment.

Helping Recovery Along

Those who take measures to go above and beyond, whenever possible, position themselves not only to make progress but to make it last. If you have completed an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, then you have an excellent foundation for building a new life. In treatment, you learned that you will always be a work in progress; and, what you do moving forward and every decision that you make must be in service to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The days of selfish and self-centeredness and self-harm and self-defeating behaviors have to be behind you, if the seed of recovery is to grow.

In the early days, weeks, and months of working a program, one must face difficult feelings that arise head on without chemical assistance. In treatment, many safeguards keep dangerous types of thinking in check. Being surrounded by people working toward similar goals and a team of addiction professionals—many of whom are themselves in recovery—act as safeguards to acting on cravings and triggers. After treatment, one must be quick to replicate the layers of support provided while in rehab.

In whichever modality (program) you subscribe to, go to a meeting and put yourself out there as soon as you can after rehab. Introduce yourself to people before and after the meeting. Ask those who you meet if you can get to know them better over coffee, for example. Get phone numbers, use them, and develop relationships with like-minded people. Those same individuals may one day talk you out of a relapse, which is nothing short of saving your life.

Service Gets You Out of Your “Self”

Going to meetings is crucial and fostering relationships is critical, but being of service to others can take your program to a higher plane. Addicts and alcoholics are prone to get lost in their head. If people in recovery stay busy in productive ways, they are less likely to harp on the past or spend too much time dreaming of a future yet to arrive. Being present is a pillar of addiction recovery! With that in mind, helping others is an exceptional method for staying in the here-and-now.

People who work a program glean quickly that service is invaluable to recovery. Meetings offer service opportunities, of course, but you can be of help to your peers in other ways, too. Merely talking to someone at a meeting who has less time than you, could be a move that keeps that person from acting on thoughts of using. Assisting someone with their “service commitment” is another way to affect change in your peers' lives. Providing unsolicited assistance is a useful way to comport yourself at meetings. What’s more, it feels wonderful to know that you have made other people’s day just a little bit brighter; a realization that makes you worry less about things in life that are out of your control.

You aid the greater community if time permits it, by looking for local volunteer opportunities. Houses of worship and community centers are ideal places to find ways you can help others. In the process of volunteering, you will have less time to worry about things that cannot change. Along the way, please remember to trust in what you were taught in treatment — trust in the process.

Addiction Treatment and Lasting Recovery

PACE Recovery Center, located in Huntington Beach, CA, is the ideal place to begin the life-saving journey of addiction recovery. We offer gender-specific treatment to men struggling with use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions who would like to overcome the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol and lead a meaningful and productive life.

Addiction Recovery: Peer-to-Peer Model

addiction recovery

Peer-to-peer support is the model of 12 Step recovery. And it works. So well, in fact, that practically every method of addiction recovery has been designed around that model. Since the 1930’s, Americans have been coming together to share their experience, strength and hope. Today, 12 Step programs are being utilized around the world saving lives in some of the most unlikely of places.

While peer-to-peer support is highly effective at helping people turn their lives around, it is not foolproof. Those who do not follow the suggestions of their peers, or put in the necessary work, are unlikely to succeed. If you have been a member Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for even a short time, you understand. One old saying couldn’t be further from the truth: “It only works, if you work it.” Those who are willing to share their struggle and be receptive to feedback, and actually heed it, have a great shot at long term recovery.

So, why does it work so well? For one thing, addicts and alcoholics are not the most receptive to being told what to do. Even with time under one’s recovery belt, it can still be a real challenge (at times) to follow direction. However, those who attend AA and NA meetings are not exactly in need of advice. In many cases, they know the right answer to a given problem. No, what recovery members look for is shared experience. As opposed to giving advice, the recovery community shares with one another what worked for them similar situations. It is a method that does not make one feel admonished or patronized. On the other hand, you feel as though you are a part of something greater than yourself. A part of a fellowship that has a vested interest in your success.

Peer-to-Peer Addiction Recovery

Today, there is hardly a town that does not have some form of 12 Step addiction recovery at one’s disposal. From large Alano Clubs in cities to the basements of small places of worship in rural America, 12 Step meetings can be accessed. For the majority of Americans, getting to a meeting is not a difficult matter. Although, and to be fair, there are some Americans who must drive long distances to access recovery support groups. There are others, still, that are leery about going to a meeting in their hometown. The fear of social stigma is still quite strong.

People who are new to recovery often have a hard time believing that their anonymity will be honored in such environs. Trusting that what they say in the “rooms” will stay in the room. Which makes sense, people who are newly clean and sober are not the most trusting. Until finding recovery their life has never given them cause to trust. The world of active addiction is one of manipulation and deceit. If you are new to recovery, please understand that recovery is the antithesis of addiction. What was true to the realm of addiction is the exact opposite in recovery. Ours is a fellowship of trust and respect.

The members of addiction recovery programs have no hidden agendas. No interest in disseminating personal information about another member. What we do have is an expressed desire in paying it forward. Helping others stay clean and sober, which in turn helps us keep the recovery we have acquired. Recovery can’t be kept if one is unwilling to give it away—freely. Those willing to do the work — exercising compassion and respect for their fellow members — succeed.

Digital Addiction Recovery

addiction recovery

Despite what has been said about being honest, some may still struggle to walk into a room full of strangers. Especially with the aim of baring one’s soul and asking for guidance. There are, in fact, places in the world whose society discriminates against addicts and alcoholics heavily. Even if there were a brick and mortar place to sit with people and talk, many will hesitate. Which is one of the essential reasons Dan Blackman and Tyler Faux created a peer-to-peer support app called Huddle. A place where people with mental health disorders like addiction, depression and anxiety can connect, Business Insider reports. Huddle users can join online peer support groups anonymously.

If you live in New York, you can go to 10, 20 meetings a day if you wanted, because we have such density and such a low social taboo around talking about your feelings," said Faux. "But in a lot of other places, and certainly in the rest of the world, that's not the case."

The idea to create the video peer-to-peer support app is personal to co-founder Dan Blackman. His father died from untreated alcohol use disorder in northwestern Pennsylvania, according to the article. Blackman says that there were not many options for people living with addiction or mental illness. Some people, like his father, fear seeking help because of blowback from the community. A fear that cost Blackman’s father his life. Huddle gives users control over how anonymous they want to be. Users can pixelate their face and have auto-generated username, if they like.

Recovery Reaches Further

It’s worth noting that not everyone using Huddle is anonymous, or new to the program. There are people in recovery with varying lengths of Time in the program. Some do not hide their faces. Which means that this could be a tool for, or an extension of one’s regular homegroup and weekly meetings. Perhaps when you are traveling or in rural areas. It is worth checking out, at the very least.

Are you a young man in need of addiction recovery? Do you feel that more than the going to meetings is needed, initially? PACE Recovery Center can help you stem the tide of active addiction and introduce you to recovery. We can show you how living a life in recovery is possible with the help of a fellowship. Please contact us today.

Recovery: A Great Liberation Movement

recovery

America has had a tumultuous relationship with alcohol since before we declared independence from Great Britain. In many ways, alcohol helped shape the nation we would become. After all, it was the whiskey drinking frontiersman that helped us achieve, at great moral costs, our manifest destiny. Over the centuries, the substance, and how it affected people, tested our humanity forcing us to take a hard look in the mirror.

The general public's perception of the alcoholic has taken many forms over the course of our history. From the godless and morally weak individual to the person suffering from a debilitating mental illness whom we see today. As with any mental health disorder, society's response to it over the decades has been anything but humane until the last few decades. But the story of alcoholism in America is as much about sobriety as it is about self-destruction. What’s more, every now and again we should pause. Take a moment, and consider the centuries’ long road to get where we are today regarding the disease of addiction in America.

We still have a long way to go, but addiction recovery in America is something to marvel over. The fact that we have recovery programs today rooted in compassion rather than punishment came at great pains. The history of which, is absolutely fascinating. It is worth remembering that Americans have been trying to recover from alcoholism since the 1700’s. We might consider this a nearly impossible task given the stigma that has long been attached to anyone who could not control their drinking. Given the terrible treatments imposed upon such people, right on into the twentieth century. And yet, in the wake of World War I, two people stumbled upon a method to achieve the goal of sobriety. Spawning a movement that would reshape public opinion about addiction.

Recovery in America, A Great Liberation Movement

You are in a 12-Step meeting today, looking around at people working towards the common goal of recovery, it can be hard to fully grasp how this all came to be. If you have spent some time reading the Big Book you know a little bit about the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. You learned what worked for people and what didn't. It is a program that works, and everyone working the program should be grateful for the thousands of people who helped make it what it is today. But there is more to the story of recovery in America than meets the eye. A subject matter that one author decided to tackle.

Drunks: An American History, by Christopher M. Finan, was published last week by Beacon Press, VICE News reports. Beginning in the 17th century, the book tells the story of the many movements over the years to encourage sobriety in America. Believe it or not, Finan found the first evidence of prohibition in America dating back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633. From Native Americans battling the grips of whiskey introduced by settlers right on through Betty Ford’s new treatment center in the 1980’s.

The author himself comes from a long line of alcoholics, according to the article. Finan points out that the modern view of addiction is the byproduct of centuries of advocates and alcoholics putting up the good fight. The book talks about the doctors who had an important role in showing that alcoholism was not a moral failing, but a disease from which it was possible to recover. Finan calls sobriety one of the "great liberation movements."

Drunks: A History of People Trying to Get Free

Naturally, it would be impossible to cover all that is included in the book in this short article. But we would be remiss if we didn’t include a few tidbits from an interview Finan gave to VICE writer Rachel Riederer. One of the more interesting points of the book includes a quote from Abraham Lincoln that the news organization asked about.

I love the Abraham Lincoln quotation that you include about the "heads and hearts of habitual drunkards." It's a warm description—very different from the way that many others talk about drunks.

"It is a constant theme, to push back against the image of them as the town drunks, the degenerates, and to make the point that alcoholism affects all classes of society and it afflicts the best and brightest. It's often a reaction to how terrible the stigma was against alcoholics: the idea that alcoholics deserved to suffer because they were bad people, they were criminals, they were weaklings, they were sinners. The tremendous humanitarianism of Lincoln is well-known, but I hadn't known until I started working on this book that it extended to drunks."

The final interview question touched on treating addiction in America today.

I'm curious about what you think about the current culture around drinking and sobriety.

"I think that a lot of the progress we've made is permanent. As long as people are staying sober and can remember what it was like for them, whether in AA or some other sobriety group, this is one of the defining experiences of their lives and they aren't about to let anybody deny or diminish the truth of what they've experienced. [But] alcoholism is still a tremendous problem, and the amount of treatment is completely inadequate…"

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Anyone who has been touched by the disease of addiction, or has a loved one struggling with it may want to pick up a copy of the book. It is a history that led to the effective methods of treatment that are utilized today across the country. Methods that are still being enhanced and improved upon. If you or family members are in need of help for an alcohol use disorder, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. Our highly trained staff employs scientific, evidence-based techniques to help break the cycle of addiction. In conjunction with the 12-Steps, clients have the best chance of achieving continued, long-term sobriety from alcohol. Going on to live fulfilling and productive lives.

DUI: A Risky Road to Addiction Recovery

DUIThousands of people get behind the wheel intoxicated every day in the United States. Those who make such choices are literally playing a game of Russian roulette, with “bullets” that can either severely change the course of one’s life or end it all together. Unfortunately, despite the warnings and campaigns which aim to prevent the behavior, many Americans will simply ignore them and drive under the influence (DUI). Those who have gotten a DUI, OUI or DWI—acronyms for driving while inebriated in various states—in the last decade can attest to the fact that the experience is anything but delightful. While courts in each state vary on how they deal with the offense, more times than not offenders can expect to be hit with huge fines and some length of jail time. Most Americans who find themselves talking to a police officer whilst intoxicated do not consider the aforementioned ramifications of their actions before they put their lives and the lives of others in their hands.

DUI: Buzzed. Busted. Broke

People who choose to drive a car under the influence come from every age group and all walks of life; however, the practice is significantly more common among teenagers and young adults. Adolescents and college aged adults are far more likely to consume alcohol in a dangerous way, such “binge drinking.” A risky behavior typically characterized by having 5 alcoholic beverages for males and 4 drinks for females, over the course of a two-hour period. People who choose to binge drink become intoxicated much quicker and are far more likely to throw caution to the wind. It is no secret that drunk people tend to think that they are both untouchable and invincible, which are potentially deadly errors in their thinking. And to be fair, even those who are only a little buzzed can have feelings of indomitability. The reality is that even those who are just buzzed are at risk of a DUI or worse, a fatal car wreck. There is an ad campaign which aims to reach young adults who may think it is OK to get behind the wheel with a slight buzz. Hopefully, those who see the video will think twice next time they are considering driving after drinking alcohol. Please take a moment to watch the public service announcement—Buzzed. Busted. Broke: If you are having trouble viewing the PSA, please click here.

A Risky Road to Recovery

Being charged and sentenced for driving under the influence is by all accounts a terrible event, and hopefully nobody is physically injured in the process. On the other hand, there is, at times, a silver lining to such an experience. People who get DUIs are typically ordered by the court to attend 12-Step meetings and/or an outpatient addiction treatment center. Those who follow the mandate may learn that their drinking has gotten out of hand and has negatively impacted their life beyond just getting a DUI. If you are one of those people, you may see that your life has become unmanageable due to your unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and you may decide to give recovery a try. Out of the ashes of such a costly, life changing event, you may find the principles of recovery appealing. That is not to imply that every person who gets a DUI has an alcohol use disorder, but many do have a problem. For such people, a failure to change one’s ways and seek help, typically results in repeating the mistakes of your past. In fact, those who get one DUI are exponentially more likely to get another; there is no way of telling if the next time you will walk away so easily. If you are a young adult male who has gotten a DUI recently, and feel that it is time to take a hard look at your relationship with alcohol, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can provide you with a setting where you can look hard at your issues, which have led you to alcohol use and self-defeating behaviors.

12-Step Recovery Roots—Eighty-One Years

12-StepsIt is a common saying that alcoholics drink alone—but they get sober together. If you have ever attended a 12-Step meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there is a good chance you have heard someone say something to that effect. Whether attending 12-Step meetings to help abstain from alcohol, other mind altering substances or for any one of a hundred unhealthy behaviors, it is by and large agreed upon that the 12-Step modality of recovery has proven to be the most effective method of recovery for the greatest number of people. Millions of people across the planet have been able to break the cycle of addiction, live a healthy productive life and help others do the same by using the principles laid out in 12-Step programs. It is fair to say, that many of those same people owe their lives to such programs of recovery. The acknowledgement of which is the catalyst which compels addicts and alcoholics in recovery to help the newcomer find the miracles of recovery through sponsorship and a deep rooted community.

Eighty-One Years of Recovery

No matter which “anonymous” program[s] you find yourself affiliated with, the modality of recovery can be traced back 81 years this month. In 1935, two hopeless alcoholics converged in Akron, Ohio. At which time Bill Wilson explained to Dr. Bob Smith how he had found a way to refrain from drinking, which led the two men to develop a program of sobriety through the support of other alcoholics. The meeting between Bill W. and Dr. Bob would be the spark setting off a chain reaction that was perhaps the first miracle of recovery. It was determined that only by giving the gift of sobriety away, could one keep their own recovery—becoming the “golden rule” of addiction recovery. Over the years, what started as a meeting of two alcoholics driven to abstain from alcohol, morphed into three—exponentially increasing its size with relative speed. Chapters were formed across the country and today AA meetings can be found in all fifty states. What’s more, you can find one alcoholic helping another through the principles of AA in approximately 170 countries worldwide, according to AA’s General Service Office.

12-Step Gateway

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to acknowledge everyone who has come before and is working a program of recovery through the 12-Steps. Our mission is to provide our clients with a safe and supportive environment to help them overcome the challenges of addiction. We'll introduce you to the principles of 12-Step programs, by way of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), et. al. It is an introduction which will help you maintain your sobriety, upon completion of your stay with us.

Be Aware Of The Power Of Touch

The Power of Touch
The Power of Touch
When a friend of mine was a waitress in a local restaurant she said she could always tell when she was serving people who had just come from a Twelve Step meeting; "They are the ones that are always hugging each other!" she exclaimed. Those of us who have developed a high comfort level with physical contact, such as an arm around the shoulder or a hug, sometimes forget that we are part of a larger society that provides very complex and contradictory messages about touch. Physical contact between two people can have a powerful effect, positive or negative. There are several dynamics that play a role in a person's view of touch which are worth examining.

The Role Of Culture

The United States is generally considered to be a non-touch culture by most researchers. One study documented a very low rate of physical contact between pairs of Americans in a coffee shop setting, as compared to pairs from three other countries. The researchers observed of pairs of people as they engaged in routine conversations within the setting of a coffee shop. During a one-hour period of time, the average number of touch exchanges between the subjects ranged from 180 in San Juan (Puerto Rico) to 110 in Paris (France) to 2 in Gainesville, FL. (United States). Only the English engaged in less touch than the Americans (0 touches). From these results we can safety assume that many Americans will be uncomfortable with touch coming from a non-family member.

The Role Of Gender

It is common knowledge that males and females differ in their views of touch. The process of learning gender roles starts at a very young age. Studies of parents of infants found that touch was offered to female children with greater frequency than to male children of the same age. Mothers more frequently touched their sons than did fathers. Fathers more frequently touched their daughters than they did their sons. As children get older this trend continues. When 3-to-5-year-old children are dropped off at day care centers fewer expressions of physical affection such as hugging, cuddling, holding, or kissing take place between parents and boys than between girls and their parents. In addition to receiving less touch than girls, as boys grow into men they are socialized to become easily aroused sexually by physical contact and, therefore, they have a diminished capacity than women to view comforting touch as a goal in itself rather than the beginning of a sexual encounter. This view of any form of touch being sexual combined with a fear of being labeled homosexual leads to a high likelihood of males responding negatively to being touched by another man.

The Role Of Physical And Sexual Abuse

A history of physical and/or sexual abuse is commonly found in those who attend mutual-help groups. Both males and females who have experienced childhood abuse often have negative reactions to touch, particularly if it occurs without warning, such as someone coming from behind them. Those persons who have only experienced touch as violence or as sexual may be suspicious of any form of touch, regardless of the other person's good intentions.

The Role Of Addiction

Children who are born physically addicted to alcohol or other drugs commonly exhibit a decreased desire or an actual aversion for touch. Malfunctions in the addicted infant's nervous system frequently cause excessive sleeping or to crying. Many of these children shun physical contact, are non-responsive to being held, and experience difficulties in bonding with their caregivers. Such children can be extremely frustrating for even the most competent and well-intentioned adult, and it is common for caregivers to feel rejected, irritated, or incompetent when such children fail to respond to efforts to soothe or nurture them. Furthermore, if the adult caregiver is also an addict herself, chances are that she is a person who has diminished self-esteem, a low tolerance for stress, and difficulty forming intimate relationships, all of which increase the risk factor that a child in her care may be physically abused leading to even further problems related to touch as an adult.

Guidelines To Consider When Offering Touch To Others

Although even with the best intentions any touch may be misinterpreted, there are several factors to keep in mind when offering touch so that it will likely be viewed by others as both comforting and non-sexual.

Asking First

If at all in doubt, ask the person if a hug or other physical contact would be welcome. Do not merely assume because you would find a hug comforting that everyone shares your comfort with touch.

Having Already Formed A Relationship With The Person

The offer of a hug is more likely to be seen as a helpful gesture if you have already shown compassion for the suffering of another in ways other than the use of touch, for example, saying supportive things or taking time to listen to the person's problems. A hug or other form of physical contact is usually more meaningful from a trusted person than from a stranger. In other words, a hug ought to be the expression of a relationship that already exists rather than an attempt to form a relationship.

An Ability To Keep One's Ego At Bay

An ability to keep one's ego uninvolved in the process, which includes giving up any pre-determined agenda in order to be fully available for the needs of the other person is mandatory if the touch is to be for their benefit. In other words, if you take it personally whether another persons wants a hug or not the touch is more for your benefit than the other person's. This is particularly important for members of Al-anon to remember. New members often have a difficult time allowing others to experience the pain that is a part of the recovery process. They have a difficult time standing by and being present while another person expresses pain. They want to make it all better immediately. The hug is sometimes more about their own discomfort of seeing someone in pain than for the benefit of the other person.

Being Thoughtful About Touch

For a hug to be meaningful it has to be given in a thoughtful manner. The hug that is given out of habit rather than out of a sincere desire to be supportive has no effect at best, or is taken as an insult by the recipient.

Touching Both And Men And Women In A Similar Fashion

A heterosexual person who only offers hugs to persons of the other sex ought not to be surprised to learn that people are suspicious that these hugs are more about sexuality than about support.

A Final Reminder

One of the things meetings can offer is a safe place to experience comforting non-sexual touch. However, one must always keep in mind that other members may have very different views of the meaning of touch and approach any touch with caution. Anything powerful enough to heal also has the power to harm, and touch is no exception. ________________________________________ Dr. Mic Hunter is the author of: The Ethical Use Of Touch In Psychotherapy (with Jim Struve) Back To The Source: The Spiritual Principles Of Jesus, Conscious Contact: The 12 Steps As Prayer Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse In America’s Military, Abused Boys: The Neglects Victims of Sexual Abuse His solo practice is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

Learn How To "Wabi Sabi Your Relationships"

Lenny-KB
Lenny Segal, Founder PACE Recovery Center
Conference season comes to a close... As with any industry, the addiction and recovery community has a conference season that allows treatment professionals the opportunity to meet their peers, learn about the new developments in addiction treatment and ongoing research projects. This past October PACE Recovery Center was pleased to be a Silver Sponsor for CeDAR's  Gender Matters, Men Matter Conference. Lenny Segal, Executive Director and Founder of PACE, attended Gender Matters in Broomfield, Colorado, and had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know guest speaker Mic Hunter, Psy.D. We are pleased that Dr. Hunter wanted to share some of his articles with us and we, in turn on occasion as you see below, will publish Dr. Hunter's articles on our blog for our readers to enjoy. Wabi Sabi Your Relationships
It isn’t often that a concept that has the power to alter relationships has a name that is fun to say. Wabi sabi (wobby sobby) is a Japanese term that is difficult to say without smiling that describes a profound way of viewing relationships with oneself, other people, and life in general. Richard Powell the author of Wabi Sabi Simple defined it as, “Accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality.” An heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation is prized not despite the signs of use it shows, but because of those marks. Nobody ever claimed Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, or Lead Belly are great singers in the conventional sense of the word, but they are excellent singers from a wabi sabi viewpoint. To be wabi sabi in a relationship with another is more than tolerating that person’s imperfections, it is to find the good in those so-called defects. It is to find acceptance not despite the imperfections, but because of them. The Twelve Step program is an excellent example of wabi sabi in action. The new comer is accepted because of his or her powerlessness and unmanageability, those problems are the very ticket into the program. When someone introduces herself at an A.A. meeting with, “I’m Mary, and I’m an alcoholic,” and everyone responds, “Hi Mary,” that is wabi sabi. The 12 step Al-anon program is another example of wabi sabi. Members are taught to accept the fact that their loved ones have an illness, not to take the behavior associated with that affliction personally, and to respond with love. To be wabi sabi in a relationship with an alcoholic is to give up on trying to “fix” that person, which opens up more time and energy to be together with less conflict. Perhaps the most challenging relationship in which to practice wabi sabi is with oneself. Again the 12 Step program provides guidance. Step one suggests accepting one’s powerlessness and unmanageability, Step five encourages acceptance of one’s wrongs, and Step ten implies acceptance that one will continue to commit wrongs. These “defects of character,” and “shortcomings” are what made us who we are today. They are the psychological, emotional, and spiritual equivalent of the winkles, scars, and laugh-lines on our bodies. We will never be perfect humans, but we can be perfectly human. As Leonard Cohen croaked in his wabi sabi song Anthem, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light get in.”
________________________________________________________________________ About Mic Hunter, Psy.D. Dr. Mic Hunter has held Minnesota licenses as a Psychologist, and Marriage and Family Therapist, and as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He has been sought out by the print and broadcast media for interviews over 150 times including Oprah, CNN, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has spoken to mental health professionals and the general public over 300 times in America, Mexico, Mongolia, and England. He has presented at the meetings of the American Association Of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, and the American Psychological Association. He has been invited to give nine keynote addresses. He has served as a reviewer for The Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, The Journal of Men's Studies, The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Violence Against Women. He is a recipient of the Fay Honey Knopp Memorial Award, given by the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization, "For recognition of his contributions to the field of male sexual victimization treatment and knowledge." In 2007 the Board of Directors of Male Survivor announced the creation of The Mic Hunter Award For Research Advances. Dr. Hunter, for whom the on-going award was named, became the first recipient. It was given to him for his, “ceaseless pursuit of knowledge about male sexual abuse in all its occurrences, of the eloquent dissemination of new knowledge in this area, and of the stimulation for further study and concern about revealing, treating and preventing male sexual abuse.” Mic Hunter, Psy.D. is the author of Conscious Contact: The 12 Steps As Prayer, and Back To The Source: The Spiritual Principles Of Jesus.

PACE Clinical Staff Continues To Improve Skills

PACE Recovery Center logoPACE Recovery Center believes it is vitally important that our therapists continue to develop their skills in order to meet the unique needs of our clients. Recently the entire clinical staff at PACE participated in a day long training seminar which focused on integrating Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF) for treating individuals who suffer with substance use disorders.

DBT and TSF are both evidence-based modalities that have been proven to be effective in substance abuse treatment with a wide variety of populations. DBT was initially developed for clients who have dual-diagnosis issues and has been found to be effective in working with clients who suffer from personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and eating disorders. DBT has also been found to be very effective in working with clients who suffer from substance use disorders. This approach is integrated with twelve step philosophy in order to help clients learn how to stay focused and aware of the present moment, to use coping skills during distressing times, to increase interpersonal effectiveness, to regulate emotions, and to live an engaging life in recovery.

We are excited to integrate these practices into our men's addiction treatment program which focuses on helping our clients to establish and maintain long-term sobriety.

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