Making Your Amends: Why “I’m Sorry” Isn’t Enough -Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

Sometimes recovering addicts feel unworthy of respect and love. This feeling can be especially strong with spouses, children, and other family members. Many addicts think they don’t deserve to have loved ones in their life at all after everything they’ve put them through. As a recovering addict, it is perfectly normal and understandable to feel this type of shame (“I am inherently bad, defective, and unworthy of love”) and guilt (“I did something awful that I deeply regret”). In fact, shame is likely the underlying driver of your addiction, and guilt is the result of your addiction-related misbehavior. Although you’ve made mistakes, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person and you are unworthy of love. If you need evidence, consider the fact that you’re working so hard to change and to become a better individual. That, in and of itself, makes you a worthy person. Still, you may be… Continue reading

Finding Recovery in Recovery – By Jeanne Foot

We live in times where the pace is frenetic with constant stimulation through technology and endless demands which creates a negative impact on our brain and coping mechanisms. Our options as to how we spend our time are numerous. Our brains are overstimulated, and we have become a society that is addicted to the constant distractions and chaos. We have also become accustomed to having what we want and when a situation doesn’t go as planned, we have very little tolerance to accept reality. We may feel we either need to manipulate and control the situation to get the outcome we so desperately want, or alter our reality so we do not have to deal with it. There is a desperation present. We feel we need more control of our lives as we witness the volatility of our world today, with little idea as to how we can have influence… Continue reading

Are You Worried About Step 9? – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

    Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. From step four onward, the twelve steps are primarily concerned with interpersonal relations—how you interact in and with the wider world. In a nutshell, you are asked to: Look back on your life and see where you have caused problems for yourself and others. Do what you can to repair the damage you have done. Live differently in the future. Steps eight and nine are the middle portion of this procedure—doing what you can to repair the damage you have done. After working step eight, you should have a list of people you have harmed, and you should have a plan for and be willing to make amends to them all. If so, you are ready to work step nine. Step nine should not be undertaken without first consulting your… Continue reading

Why Is It So Hard to Stay Sober? – Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is characterized by: “an inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavior control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.” The “inability to consistently abstain” is a concept that sometimes confuses loved ones and family members of addicts. They wonder, “How can we ever expect the addict to establish and maintain sobriety if ‘addiction’ means that’s something he can’t do?” This confusion is understandable. What ASAM really means is that on their own addicts lack the ability to consistently abstain from addictive behaviors. They struggle to establish and maintain sobriety without help. Most addicts would stop their compulsive behaviors on their own if they could, but they can’t. An addict’s inability to establish and maintain sobriety manifests in many ways. For instance, he might make promises to himself and others (loved… Continue reading

Denial of Recovery – By William L. White

  The social stigma attached to addiction and addiction recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Two people in recovery recently emailed me sharing quite different dilemmas—each flowing from stigma-induced caricatures of addiction and recovery. In the first instance, people had no difficulty believing the individual’s addiction story because of his numerous, and quite public, drug-related falls from grace. Yet these same people withheld belief in his recovery status years into his stable recovery. Rumors periodically spread that he was using again—rumors that seemed impossible for him to source or stop. Normal sicknesses triggered suspicions of drug use. Any time anything went temporarily missing at a family gathering or at his workplace, suspicion immediately turned to him. Job promotions were withheld on the grounds that he might not be able to handle the stress of added responsibilities. People, as if walking on eggshells, perceived him as fragile… Continue reading