Tag Archives: Alcoholics Anonymous

Recovery Repetitions and Helpful Mantras

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Addiction recovery, among many other things, is about repetition. Long-term sobriety depends on a person’s ability to adopt a new mode of living. Discarding old behaviors and negative mindsets while creating different traditions that don’t involve the use of alcohol or drugs is critical.

Following and sticking to a healthy path takes an enormous effort in early recovery. Keeping temptations and cravings at bay is just one of several obstacles the newly sober face. At times, it can seem like there’s something around every corner lying in wait to derail one’s progress. Which is why developing structured patterns of living that mitigate the risk of making wrong turns is invaluable.

When people finally accept that they have a disease that needs tending each day, they do whatever it takes to nurture their recovery. The first year is about following a blueprint for success that was drafted by countless men and women. The hard mistakes made by generations before gave us a formula for making continued progress. Those who trust the process and stick to the program find no ceiling to what’s achievable.

Over time, one’s new approach won’t seem novel at all. Adhering to and prioritizing the needs of one’s program becomes natural. Men and women will no longer wonder if they will make a meeting or call their sponsor each day. Reaching out a hand to the newcomer will be second nature and being of service wherever and whenever becomes standard operating procedure.

Promoting a Positive Mindset in Recovery

Again, the road to long-term recovery is repetitious. Engaging in the same or similar daily activities, so they become a reflex is vital, but arriving at that point isn’t without difficulty.

At times, calling one’s sponsor will seem like a quotidian struggle. In the first year of recovery, it is common to get burnt out from attending meetings, day in and day out. Sharing in meetings will feel like an impossible task some days. Hearing other people share, ever listening for the similarities and not the differences, can be exhausting.

While it’s not unhealthy to feel frustrated with the program’s redundancies, rebelling against such feelings is paramount. Frustration will foment spiritual unrest and negative thoughts if left unchecked. Interestingly, one of the most repetitive aspects of the program is also a tool for combating annoyance. For example, recovery sayings, maxims, and mantras, such as Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS).

In meetings of the 12 Step variety like Alcoholics Anonymous, acronyms and repeated quotations abound. Some can be found in the Big Book or other 12 Step-related texts, while others arose organically in the group and were then passed along from one member to the next. Have an attitude of gratitude, turn I wish into I will, and progress, not perfection are prime examples.

The newly sober will hear the above sayings innumerable times just in the first year alone, borderline ad nauseum. Platitudes and maxims might seem annoying at first, but when repeated to one’s self in times of difficulty, they can pull a person out of a funk.

Utilizing the Mantras of Recovery

If you become disinterested in being of service, even though you know it’s beneficial, then try focusing on being more self-aware. Combat your disquiet with subtle reminders like:

  • The healthy person finds happiness in helping others.
  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
  • If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.

You have probably heard the above lines before and have incorporated at least one into your quiver of recovery sayings. If not, write them down and memorize them; they are helpful to have in your back pocket when feeling unmotivated.

Perhaps you have found yourself bothered by another member of the group and no longer wish to see him or her? While you do not have to like or relate to everyone, your distaste for someone hurts you the most.

Address the problem by talking to your sponsor, rather than deciding to no longer attend a meeting; they may be a member of your homegroup, after all. Discussions will lead you to discover the problem’s root; in these scenarios, people usually find that the issue is internal, not external. Your sponsor may drop another helpful saying on you, albeit with a touch of levity perhaps. He or she may say, “If you like everyone in AA, you’re not going to enough meetings!”

Bothers with the program are typically menial. However, not facing perturbations can disrupt progress. If you put minuscule problems before your sobriety, it will not last. People who no longer put their recovery first are bound to slip, which brings us to our last helpful acronym. SLIP: Sobriety Losing Its Priority!

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

At PACE (Positive Attitudes Change Everything) Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to adhere to a program of recovery. Our safe and supportive environment is the ideal setting to restructure and gear your life toward achieving long-term sobriety. Please contact us today to learn more about our gender-specific addiction treatment center.

Mental Illness and Alcoholism Plagued Buzz Aldrin

mental illness

On July 20th, 1969, the United States became the first country to put human beings on the moon. In the 50 years since the unprecedented feat, America is still the only nation to achieve what was once thought to be the stuff of science fiction. A half a century later we have mapped more of the moon – an object 238,900 miles away – than we have the human brain. We know more about lunar composition than mental illness; perhaps the human mind, not space, is humanity's final frontier to explore.

One can't help but marvel at the genius and steadfast determination that resulted in the successful voyage of Apollo 11. Countless people worked together to find a way to safely transport Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins from the Earth to the moon and back. The significance of the voyage is unmatched and proof that the sky was not the limit for humankind.

The success of Apollo 11 made the three-person crew instant icons around the globe. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first and second to walk on the moon respectively, became household names. While safely returning home from the lunar walk was likely Aldrin's crowning achievement, it was perhaps not his most arduous journey.

Buzz Aldrin severely struggled with depression and addiction; mental illness ran in his family. Even though he was an active player in the most magnificent odyssey, he reported feeling largely unfulfilled back home on Earth. His depression, like many others, led him to seek the comfort of alcohol, Biography reports. The drinking and untreated depressive symptoms contributed to both professional and personal losses.

Magnificent Desolation: Hopelessness and Despair

Buzz Aldrin's mother, Marion, battled with depression up until her suicide in May 1968—a little more than a year before Apollo 11. Marion Aldrin's father had also battled mental illness and committed suicide. Buzz believed he inherited depression from his family.

In the early 1970s, Buzz did something relatively unheard of when he opened up about his mental health in an LA Times article. Around the same time, Aldrin began serving on the board of directors of the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH). He would eventually go on to become the national chairman of NAMH. At the time, he was traveling around the country, speaking about his experience with depression. However, Aldrin was also drinking heavily and had trouble fulfilling his obligations.

In August 1975, Buzz did a 28-day stay in an addiction treatment center and got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous, Biography reports. Unfortunately, the retired astronaut had a challenging time staying sober despite the support he received in AA.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking in his girlfriend's door while intoxicated. Having reached rock bottom, Buzz gave up alcohol for good in October 1978.

Buzz Aldrin's journey to free himself of feelings of hopelessness and despair was rocky, but with the support of the fellowship, he was able to overcome. In the years that followed, he helped others who had issues with alcohol find what he had found in recovery. He published two autobiographies, Return to Earth (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009), he shares at length about his clinical depression and alcohol use disorder in both memoirs.

Seeking Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction

Resilience is what humans have and resilience is what humans need to take advantage of—their ability to explore and to understand and then to react positively and with motivation, not as a defeatist, to the constant flow of challenges," Aldrin tells Biography. "Negativity doesn’t get anybody anywhere. It takes reacting to all of life in a positive way to make the most out of what you’ve experienced and to make a better life and a better world."

The Apollo 11 astronaut’s story is unique in several ways, but not his road to addiction and recovery. More than half of people who meet the criteria for alcohol or substance use disorder also contend with another mental illness, such as depression.

When the symptoms of mental health disorders are not addressed, individuals are at higher risk of turning toward drugs and alcohol for relief. Self-medicating mental illness is a path to dependence and addiction. Fortunately, treatment methods have come a long way since the 1970s. Scientists and medical professionals have a much firmer grasp of the mechanisms of mental diseases.

Evidence-based therapeutic treatment approaches help people get to the root of their issues and take steps to lead fulfilling lives in recovery. If you are an adult male who is experiencing problems with drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center gives clients the tools to fulfill their dreams.

Recovery Communities Help People Succeed

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On the road to long-term recovery, finding a community is essential. Most men and women who’ve had struggles with drug and alcohol and tried to get sober without assistance encounter problems. The modes of being that people utilized in active addiction – selfishness, self-centeredness, and isolation – are not the same that a person relies on for lasting recovery.

Individuals looking to make drastic changes for the better must embrace an entirely new mode of living. A paradigm shift in thinking about one’s self and others is required to make personal improvements stick. The old ways of living life will not suffice in the realm of addiction recovery.

Healing from alcohol and substance use disorder is a lengthy process. Time is a necessary ingredient; learning how to maintain a positive attitude in the face of stress doesn’t happen overnight.

Finding the courage to trust others isn’t easy; addiction makes it hard for people to look at others’ motives without suspicion. However, trust one must, if a man or woman is to make progress. The longer a person works a program, the less work it is to believe that peers have your best interest at heart when they make suggestions.

With each passing day, relative newcomers feel less and less alone. A sense of togetherness wells up inside individuals, providing them with the strength to keep moving forward.

Millions of people realize the gifts of recovery by working with others to achieve similar goals. Having a support network to rely on is the most vigorous defense against relapse. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol for a day or two is possible without help, but doing it for months or years requires outside help.

Community is Everything in Recovery

Many of those new to recovery, either in treatment or 12 Step meetings, are reticent about opening up. Finding a voice, and the courage to use it, can seem impossible to some. However, those unable to express their feelings initially learn to do so so by watching others do the same.

Hearing others share their daily struggles – such as the desire to use again – is empowering. It’s an acknowledgment that the disease is always trying to re-exert itself, and that talking about it diminishes its power. Sitting amongst like-minded individuals who all share similar challenges, collectively saying to their disease ‘not today,’ is a remarkable experience.

Recovering alcoholics and addicts draw strength from their community. Such people find solutions to everyday trials and tribulations by talking about them with a sponsor or trusted confidant. When a young man works the Steps with another man, their eyes become open to a world of possibilities.

Real friends are made through working a program of recovery. The very people who serve as a person’s guide toward a better life often become their most essential companions.

The connections made between men and women in “the rooms” are selfless, genuine, and enriching. Friendships made in sobriety feel meaningful because they are bound by honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.

The recovery community gives people the freedom to be themselves, to no longer mask who they really are and feel accepted. Drugs and alcohol erode men and women’s authenticity; recovery builds it back up. Again, it is a process that requires more than abstinence alone. The Steps are a formula for more than sobriety; they are a recipe for being a whole person.

12 Step Recovery 84th Anniversary

In 2019, countless people around the globe owe some part of their ability to heal from addiction to a 12 Step recovery program. For those who embrace the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, you probably know that Founders Day Weekend was just celebrated across the country.

It has been 84 years since Bill Wilson had a conversation with another alcoholic, Bob Smith, about a solution. Each year, recovering alcoholics and addicts acknowledge the importance of that meeting and the program that followed.

What started as two alcoholics working together to never drink again no matter what is now a community of millions of people. Bill W. and Dr. Bob’s fortuitous friendship led to an untold number of connections of a similar nature.

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we help adult men get to the root of their behavioral and mental health issues. Men work together and form lasting bonds with each other; in doing so, they learn the importance of community.

We offer several programs to address the unique needs of each client adequately. Please contact us today to learn more about our services and to begin creating a plan for finding long-term recovery.

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.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery in America: #AlcoholAwarenessMonth

alcohol use disorder

Eighty years ago this month 5,000 copies of “The Big Book” — titled Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) — were printed, according to Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Within its bindings is a program outline for people recovering from alcoholism—known today as alcohol use disorder.

While initial sales were severely lacking, as of today the Fellowship’s manuscript has sold more than 30 million copies. Each year, approximately one million copies of the basic text are distributed around the globe, in 67 languages.

From humble beginnings to a significant beacon of hope for countless people, such is the story of 12 Step recovery. Mutual help groups, aided by The Big Book, show those struggling in the darkness of addiction how living life on life’s terms is possible.

There are other programs of addiction recovery in existence today that have helped many men and women, aside from AA. However, the 12 step method is by far the most utilized regarding alcohol and substance use disorder. Drug and alcohol use is but a symptom of an underlying mental illness. Such that working a program of recovery has proven to be helpful for anyone regardless of how their disease manifests.

Despite most discussions about use disorders focusing on drugs today, it is vital to include alcohol in the national conversation about addiction. April is Alcohol Awareness Month 2019!

Facing Addiction with the National Council on Alcoholism or NCADD organizes the annual observance. Now is an excellent opportunity to talk about alcohol use disorder (AUD), its causes, and addiction recovery. The more open we talk about alcohol, the more lives saved. Right now, millions of Americans require help for an AUD, and fortunately, assistance is within reach.

Confronting Alcohol Use Disorder In America

An estimated 16 million people in the United States have an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). And untold millions more are on a trajectory toward having problems with the substance down the road.

There are many myths and inaccuracies swirling around alcohol use. When people do not have the facts, they are at risk. Alcohol Awareness Month is partly about helping people develop a better understanding.

It is of utmost importance that we equip young people with some of the facts, so they can make informed decisions about using alcohol. Even though the vast majority of people will never develop AUD, alcohol use can still affect men and women’s health negatively.

The BMJ reported that the number of Americans, ages 25- to 34-, who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016. Moreover, hazardous alcohol use affects men far more often than women. However, recent studies show that women are slowly closing the gap.

Drinking alcohol cut the lives of some 3 million people short in 2016. Young men who engage in heavy alcohol use is an especially pervasive problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 7.7 percent of global deaths involve men and alcohol use.

Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

While alcohol is ubiquitous in today’s world, there is no safe amount of alcohol! That is the conclusion of a recent study about drinking around the world. In spite of the available research, Facing Addiction with NCADD points out that the pressure to drink is everywhere. The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before turning 18.

People who start drinking by 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence. The organization notes that young people who engage in hazardous alcohol use, like binge drinking, face higher risks of addiction. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.

One in every 12 American adults, or 17.6 million people, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. While such statistics are hardly uplifting, it’s worth to remember the living examples of recovery. NCADD estimates that almost 20 million individuals and family members are in long-term recovery.

Alcohol Awareness Month is about educating young people and spreading the message that alcohol use disorder recovery is possible. Evidence-based treatments exist that can help people get on the road toward long-term recovery. This year’s theme is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

All month there are events to help educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder. Since many people do not fully grasp yet that they have an unhealthy relationship with drinking, Alcohol-Free Weekend is April 5-7, 2019. The upcoming event is an excellent opportunity for people to gauge alcohol’s role in their lives. Those who struggle to abstain are encouraged to reach out for help.

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow with PACE Recovery Center

If you are one of the millions of men who struggle with alcohol use, then please know that you are not alone. Alcohol use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, and it is possible to find long-term recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer evidence-based addiction and behavioral health treatment for men. Our male clients significantly benefit from being in a gender-specific environment. With decades of professional experience, PACE empowers men of all ages to fulfill their dreams.

Please contact us today to learn more about our multidimensional approach to bringing about lasting recovery.

Addiction Recovery Asks Us to Give Back

Addiction recovery involves taking care of yourself and then turning your attention toward helping others find the courage to do the same. It is a simple formula that can produce remarkable results. Seeking assistance, breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors, and working a program is a second chance. No one takes the journey alone; together we have an opportunity to strive for a productive future.

In the realm of Alcoholics Anonymous, there exist a list of 12 Promises. Number three reads as follows, ’We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.’ Instead, people in recovery learn from it; our past experiences serve as a reminder of where we hope never to be again. Men and women can share their story with heads held high to inspire courage in the newcomer.

Individuals who traverse addiction treatment and dedicate themselves to a program of recovery have enormous potential. Early on, people learn that if they stay the course they will have few limitations. College degrees, dream jobs, and starting families are some prime examples. No matter which path one chooses, there is a constant: long-term recovery depends on finding some avenue of giving back. Whether it be in the Rooms, or volunteering to share at a treatment center, each person’s story is the embodiment of hope.

Upon completing treatment, persons often decide to take steps to work in the field of addiction recovery. Their experience proves invaluable in serving as behavioral technicians, counselors, or doctors. However, there are other lines of work – outside of rehab centers – that people get into to “pay it forward.”

A Different Kind of Barber Shop

Naturally, not everyone desires to work in a substance use disorder treatment center. It is possible to help people struggling with addiction beyond rehab. Some individuals, who provide services that every person needs, are using their unique forums to help others overcome the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol.

Two young people in recovery who have a passion for cutting men’s hair also believe in the power of community. Luke Noreen and Rocco Danieli own and operate Over The Top Barbershop in Wakefield, Massachusetts, NBC 10 reports. On the surface, Over The Top appears to be similar to other urban barbershops. Although, closer observation reveals that more than hair is being cut in Noreen and Danieli’s business. These men are shearing the stigma of addiction plaguing people in their area, and helping others break free.

Mr. Noreen and Danieli are in addiction recovery. They do not shy from taking the risk of hiring people with similar stories. While most barbers display family photos on their mirrors, these two men feature pictures of young overdose death victims, according to the article. They both understand the dangers of substance use and relapse. At Over The Top, the overdose reversal drug Naloxone is on hand in case of an emergency.

Unfortunately, one of the barber chairs in the shop is currently unmanned. In the seat, there is a picture of a former employee named Dean who recently died of an overdose. Noreen and Danieli supported Dean in his recovery, and now they are helping Dean’s father overcome grief.

With the epidemic it is crazy out here I got I don’t know how many. This is happening all around us," said Danieli.

Giving Back In Addiction Recovery

Mr. Danieli is sober from alcohol now for three years, and he keeps his “Big Book” on hand at the shop. He’s played witness to the devastating effects of drug addiction on more than just people in the community. His brother is also in recovery, the article reports. Sadly, his two sisters are victims of fatal overdoses.

Being a barber is about taking care of the people.” – Anthony Hamilton

Co-founder, Luke Noreen, has a similar story to tell; although, his path involved drug use. He starting using as a teenager and almost didn't make it out; but, today he has a vision thanks to working a program. He has a future and helps others realize similar prospects.

We are always looking out for one another. We know everyone by their first name. We know their families. We know what their cousin is going through. We are making phone calls trying to get their friends their family member into a detox into a rehab," said Noreen.

Down the road, the two young men hope to do even more for their community. They envision a place to host meetings; where people can talk about the epidemic, without stigma.

"I was given a second chance, and I am not going to waste it. I want to help others," Danieli said.

Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, our clinical staff can help you or a loved one take steps to lead a life that is happy, joyous and free. We specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Please reach out to us today to learn more about our programs.

Recovery: A Great Liberation Movement

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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.

Addiction Recovery After Relapse

relapse

July 4th has come and gone, once again. For many of you working a program of addiction recovery, it is probably a relief. Especially for those of you who kept your recovery intact over the long holiday weekend. On the other hand, there are a number of recovery community members who relapsed at some point between Friday and yesterday. It happens every year. In many ways, our Independence Day is inextricably linked to pervasive heavy alcohol consumption. The temptation is especially great around this time of year.

If you relapsed this weekend, you are probably laden with feelings of guilt and shame. It is, in many ways, a natural response to picking up a drink or drug after acquiring some sober and clean time. Anyone who acquires some length of time in the program knows that it resulted from hard work and dedication. After a relapse, it can be easy to feel like it was all for naught. However, that is not necessarily the case, assuming one doesn’t go from a relapse to full-blown active addiction.

You are right to feel upset after relapsing. That is, to feel like you let yourself and others down due to a decision that was hardly worth it. Any one of our readers whose recovery story includes a relapse, knows that taking that first drink or drug is never accompanied by relief. It is hard to enjoy a belly full of beer with a head full of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They will also agree that while it was humbling to have to identify as a newcomer again, it was worth it. The alternative to getting back up onto the recovery horse after a fall is never beneficial. But, and sadly, a large percentage of people who relapse, continue down the perilous path driven by shame and guilt.

Committing Yourself to Addiction Recovery, Again

It may seem like your relapse came out of nowhere. Just an unexpected event that jeopardized your program. Please keep in mind, nobody working a program just accidentally trips and falls into a pool of alcohol. A relapse usually begins long before taking that first drink or drug. Happening gradually and incrementally. Taking the form of isolating behavior, not calling your sponsor as much or going to fewer meetings. Then, often when it is least expected, one finds themselves in a position of vulnerability.

One begins to think that they have their disease under control; that their addiction recovery is strong, even while going to events typified by alcohol use, or hanging out with people who are using. For a time, resistance may be possible, but more times than not a relapse is fast approaching. One only need a holiday, which is already fairly stressful, to be pushed over the edge.

While the road to relapse may zig and zig in different ways, from one person to the next, the road back to recovery should be fairly consistent in nature. If you relapsed and have not called your sponsor, please do so immediately. And do so knowing that your sponsor will not judge or look down on you. Addiction recovery is rooted in compassion, not shaming or guilting people about a decision that comes naturally. Make no mistake, drinking and drugging is the alcoholic and addict’s natural state. News of relapse, while unfortunate, is not cause for making a person smaller than they already feel.

So call your sponsor and get to a meeting. Identify as a newcomer and grab a chip. Doing so will let your “homegroup” know that you are recommitting yourself to the program. You may be inclined to think that your peers will look at your differently. Conversely, what is likelier is that they will reach out to offer their support and commend you for taking the courageous step of re-identifying as a newcomer.

Listen to what they have to say, following direction in early recovery is crucial for not repeating the same errors again. Be open and honest with your sponsor about what is going on with you, so you two can determine what kind of adjustments should be made to avoid another relapse. Remember, you are not the first person working a program of addiction recovery to relapse. What’s more, it is not uncommon for people to go on from relapse to acquire significant time in the program—decades even. There isn’t any reason why your return to the program from a relapse can’t have a fruitful outcome.

Addiction Treatment Might Be Needed

In some cases, a weekend relapse may morph into continued use for weeks and even months. Just going back into the recovery rooms in such cases may not be enough. Detox and residential treatment might be needed to ensure positive results. If you are a young adult male who feels like you need extra support, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help you address what led to your relapse and to better ensure that it does not happen again.

Alcoholics Anonymous Sues for The Big Book

alcoholics anonymous

It is probably fair to say that the when Dr. Bob and Bill W met for the first time, they did not have even the faintest of idea as to the impact their mission would have on history. Two newly sober drunks just trying to live a life free from alcohol, who realized that the only way to keep what they had was to give it away. To help others experience the gift through fellowship, community and all that is possible free from the fog of inebriation.

From small beginnings, and a serious learning curve, a small group of people would go on to lay the framework for what would become a lifesaving gift for not just alcoholics, but society. Their fellowship was free from monetary incentives or prestige, designed to function in relative obscurity for decades before an invitation into the light by the ever-changing culture. The program was breaking down the stigma that has accompanied addiction for time immemorial, forcing the world to see that alcoholics and addicts were not morally bankrupt individuals, unable to control their selfish wants and desires. But, rather, millions of people who were sick, needed treatment and compassion. Not jail cells, sanatoriums or being castaway as social pariahs.

Over the last 82 years, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has undergone several changes in how meetings are conducted, but one thing has remained relatively unchanged—the 12 steps and the book that explains how to work them. Wording has changed, but the traditions and principles have held true. The program could work for anything that makes one’s life unmanageable. As testament to the power of the program, you can remove the word alcohol and replace it with anything that you are powerless over. And if you work the program honestly, recovery is possible.

The Big Book

If you have ever attended a meeting of AA, then you probably noticed a number of texts sitting up on the front table. Books approved by the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS), deemed to be beneficial in the effort to stay sober—no matter what. The most important book happens to be the biggest, hence the working manuscripts moniker the “Big Book.” It includes within the writing instructions for working the program with the help of others, followed by several personal stories that recovering alcoholics can relate to.

One the major focal points of the program is the idea that while we all have different stories, inside each one can be found similarities. Powerlessness, unmanageability, surrender, acceptance and resolve. All of which can be found inside the stories in The Big Book. Like many other books that have served as spiritual compasses for humanity, the basic text of AA has helped people climb out of the abysmal depths of despair into the light of the spirit. Giving energy to those who have and are making the journey to help others out of the lonely cave of addiction.

The first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (called The Big Book because of how thick the pages were) was published in 1939, written mainly by Bill Wilson. Much like the other spiritual texts of antiquity, The Big Book has outsold most writings to ever grace a printing press. To date, the basic text has sold over 30 million copies, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, and has served as footprint for numerous organizations whose aim is to help people recover from debilitating spiritual crises. The Library of Congress deemed the book one of 88 "Books that Shaped America." Some twenty-years after the creation of AA the American Medical Association (AMA) declared alcoholism a medical illness, so it was fitting when the thirty-millionth copy of The Big Book was presented to the AMA.

But, What Happened to The Original Manuscript?

Any Big Book, no matter the edition has the power to save lives, but who could not help but wonder where the original manuscript landed after 78 years. It turns out that very question is the subject of a lawsuit filed on Monday by AAWS. The organization is suing the auction house, Roberts and QuestRoyal Fine Art, a New York gallery, who have plans to auction the manuscript on June 8th, Reuters reports. The manuscript was intended to be gifted to AAWS but was purchased in 2007 for $992,000 at Sotheby's just three months before by one Ken Roberts. And according to the plaintiff, Roberts does not have the right to consign the manuscript because it had been gifted to AA in 1979.

The manuscript is an original, historical document of unique importance to AAWS, and undeniably is a critical piece of its history," and the defendants "are wrongfully detaining the manuscript for their own pecuniary gain," the complaint said.

For more information on the case: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. v Roberts et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652676/2017.

Celebration of Founder’s Day

This court case may go on for quite a while; however, it is important to remember that Alcoholics Anonymous Founders’ Day 2017 will be celebrated in Akron, Ohio, on June 9, 10, and 11th. You may want to consider joining in the anniversary festivities.

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.

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