Are You Ready for Step Eleven? – By Robert Weiss

      Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Step eleven, like step ten, is not a step that is worked once and then forgotten. Instead, it is part of an ongoing (usually daily) ritual of recovery. That said, recovering addicts often find “prayer” and “meditation” to be somewhat baffling concepts. And some, especially those who began the recovery process as agnostics or atheists, may still be struggling with the idea of having a higher power at all. For these reasons (and many others), step eleven can be a difficult one to work. If you find yourself struggling with this step, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. Even the most devoutly spiritual and/or religious members of twelve-step recovery groups sometimes lose their… Continue reading

    MECHANISMS OF CHANGE IN ADDICTION RECOVERY – By William L. White

    High degrees of variability in the pathways and styles of addiction recovery obscure shared mechanisms of change across such healing processes. The alcohol and drug problems arena is filled with professional claims and counterclaims, excessive marketing hype, and riveting personal testimonies of how such problems can be best resolved. The central stakeholders in these debates commonly assert that their particular ideas and methods constitute THE TRUTH, and wrap these claims in the mantle of science or personal/clinical experience. The resulting noise can leave listeners understandably bewildered about the nature of such problems and their ultimate solution. People recover with and without the ever-expanding menu of professional treatment; with and without medication support; with and without involvement in the growing networks of religious, spiritual, and secular recovery mutual aid groups; and with and without involvement in new recovery support institutions (from recovery homes and collegiate recovery communities to recovery cafes and… Continue reading

    Addiction from a Friends Point of View

      I didn’t realize it at first, but I’m sure it was there. After countless days of coming home to them passed out on the couch, after so many bright mornings lost to drunken tirades, after so many little moments turn into major splinters, you slowly see what has been creeping in that dark space for what it is: the feeling of powerlessness. I felt it when I called her thirty times after midnight. Her last text expressed a desire for relief through suicide. I felt it every time I spoke with them and the person I loved was lost from their face, their voice, their movements. I saw it in my friend when their father demanded respect but dealt disrespect — lying to their family, lying to family friends, lying to himself. Every lie he told was just one more brick in the wall, a wall being built around… Continue reading

    Working on Ourselves and Our Relationships in the New Year – By Jackie Stein

      As we begin 2018, many of us seek to engage in new and healthy behaviors.  We plan to eat better and sleep better.  We plan to give up cigarettes or video games.  We also say we want to repair our relationships with our family members who are suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs). We know how to eat better and sleep better – we give up foods that are unhealthy and we drink lots of water.  We stop drinking caffeine in the evening and turn off our electronics at least an hour before bedtime.  We have tools for giving up cigarettes, unhealthy eating and video games, including medications and 12 step programs. Similarly, there are tools to aid and support us as we try to develop a healthy program for living with our loved ones.  That program involves tools and programs to both help our loved ones and repair… Continue reading

    Addiction Blows Your Circuits – Kyczy Hawk

    Active addiction blew my mind. It blew out my nervous system in much the same way as it disconnected me from others, my spirit, and my core. This is a true fact. Whether you have been addicted to a substance or a behavior addiction hijacks your nervous system and can bring real harm to how you process information and feelings. It did for me. Without getting too geeky on the biology and neurology of addiction just know that addictive behavior (gambling, using tobacco, dependent relationships) all trigger the same brain sequence that healthy pleasure does. We enjoy food, rest, contact with others, play and creative activities. This is proper and, in fact, critical to maintaining the species! The trouble comes when we focus on one or another of these sensations and it grows out of proportion to the balance that is healthy for us. We may learn to use a… Continue reading