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July 30, 2010

Ramblings Along The Recovery Road

Recovery is a multi-faceted existence and Recovery is Everywhere.  When one of us recovers from addiction, everyone benefits. We are restored to sanity and usefulness, 3791901145_84d0b2a1ba our productivity improves and the lives of our family members, friends and neighbors are made better.  I choose to say today that I am a person in long term recovery: not just an alcoholic or an addict because I qualify for a number of the 12 Step fellowships.  I meet the criteria  for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Al- Anon and Nicotine Anonymous to name a few.  I mention this because I see the “12 Step Culture”, (and trust me it meets all the definitions of  the word  culture)….I see our 12 Step Culture today like a group of tribes or religions that co-exist on the same plain but don’t often interact or communicate very well or at ALL.  And like tribes and religions we at times have not been tolerant or compassionate of the brothers and sisters in other fellowships. 

This has to stop and I believe it can stop when we understand that what we all share is the common bond and experience of Recovery….Recovery which contains the common elements of  a personal journey  or odyssey, the development of meaning,  discovering a sense of self, learning to have supportive healthy relationships, developing  coping skills that allow us to handle situations that used to baffle us, and most of all the development or rediscovery of HOPE.

But Barriers and Challenges persist:

Shame and stigma continue to undermine our progress.  It comes from society at large which continues to tenaciously cling to the notion that our struggles with addiction and recovery are a personal weakness.  Sometimes we perpetuate it ourselves in our own fellowships through the interpretation, or in my view, the "Misinterpretation" of Anonymity.

Skepticism and Intolerance toward those who come to recovery initially through Treatment Centers or other recovery models is another problem today within our fellowships as if their recovery is somehow tainted as opposed to those who find their way into 12 Step Recovery on their own.  Today a rapidly growing number of folks find their way into our fellowships through a variety of treatment models which are therapeutically, spiritually and/or religiously based….. their process is no less valid, their Recovery just as a real and we must embrace them as the brothers and sisters they are.

A frequent example of this is when someone fresh out of a treatment program mentions the common treatment recommendation of doing 90 meetings in 90 day which unfortunately too often elicits the reminder from a 12 Step Fundamentalist that 90 and 90 is not mentioned in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which of course is true but so what?    Sponsorship or tokens for periods of sobriety are also not mentioned in the first 164 pages of the BB and yet they are no less pivotal tools of our recovery.

I believe that Recovery’s time has come and that we who are in recovery are poised to make  more of a difference than ever before if we will only join our voices together and stand up and be proud that we are in recovery.  Sure you can keep your particular 12 Step program anonymous but if we don’t raise our voices together then  the voices of shame, stigma and intolerance, who continue to see our efforts at recovery as the result of a moral failing, will drown us out.

This we cannot endure. 

Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, talked about the broad highway and the happy road to destiny that we find in recovery.  Too often we travel that highway and road in our own comfortable 12 Step Fellowship buses….we need to get off those buses, walk down that highway together hand in hand and celebrate our common experiences of the journey down Recovery Road . 

July 30, 2010 at 09:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 24, 2010

Some of my Ramblings about Recovery from Addiction

I should add the caveat right at the beginning, that this is not and in no way should ever  be construed as an AA approved ramblings, although AA approval over anything materials or Eminem_recovery otherwise seems to be in direct conflict their their own tradition that states AA has NO opinion on outside issues....so let's just agree that my opinions are indeed outside!!!   I mention this because for me Recovery is so much more than continuous sobriety.  I believe that while sobriety is one part of the path.... Recovery is the way. Recovery is a commitment to a new life of making my way in this world…a way that is spiritual instead of religious, a way that is compassionate instead of intolerant, a way of being of service to mankind without expecting anything in return and a way of humility instead of self-seeking.

I consider myself a person in "long term recovery"...a recovery that began in August of 2003 when I entered Fairbanks Treatment Center in Indianapolis.  In the past seven year I have had two relapses and now have just two years continuous sobriety.  But I feel that my "recovery  began" almost seven years ago, and that I committed to this new recovery lifestyle the day I walked out of that treatment center and began my new life. 

 I frankly have never been a fan of the “start over tokens” in AA, NA or CA who want a "relapser" to take when they "come back in."  Not a fan because each of the times I relapsed I didn’t start over from scratch…I began again with all the recovery and 12 step knowledge i had gained before still knocking around in my head.   It's been my observation that it just takes some of us longer to fully grasp or put this recovery thing together.  In fact,  the bottom line is that I learned more about my powerless and my un manageability from my relapses than anything else I learned when I first entered the rooms of AA or NA.  I learned more from them because I had had a taste of what “RECOVERY” was like after going out and how great it was to be back in!!!

A recent article in Psychology Today indicated that 80% of people recovering from addiction relapse at least once.  And while I certainly am an admirer of those who have got it on the first try and never relapsed… I will never be able to know what that is like because it is not within my frame of reference or experience.

I can tell you that my Recovery is no less a miracle than any other person’s recovery!!!!

(Stay Tuned)

 

July 24, 2010 at 08:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2010

Recovery, Acceptance and Forgiveness

Forgiveness

This I believe about Recovery....

The keys to Recovery from addiction are acceptance and forgiveness…

And that ultimately...acceptance and forgiveness are the release of all hope for a better past.


July 18, 2010 at 09:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack