Brain Recovery Following Alcohol Use Disorders – William L White

Since the early promulgation of addiction as a brain disease, I have warned that such a model could increase rather than decrease addiction-related stigma if not also accompanied by a parallel understanding of the neurobiology of addiction recovery (See HERE and HERE). To that end, I joined several colleagues in calling for a recovery research agenda that includes a focus on the degree to which brain functioning is restored during the recovery process (See HERE and HERE). In the intervening years, significant research has illuminated such healing processes and their implications for recovery management. The most significant of this work has been done on alcohol use disorders. The extent to which these findings are applicable to other substance use disorders remains unclear. Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are associated with significant cognitive impairment, though not all individuals with an AUD experience such impairment and the degree of impairment can vary widely depending on AUD severity and duration, number of… Continue reading

How Life Gets Better When You’re Sober – By Rob Tropp

If you are in early recovery, you may be struggling to find your way as a sober person. You may be wondering what your life will be like without drugs and alcohol. You may feel some apprehension and awkwardness. While early recovery is not without its share of obstacles, you will begin to realize how much better your life will be clean and sober. So how is your life better sober? You Look Better An obvious benefit of sobriety is that you look better. Once the toxins leave your body, your body will return to normal. The blemishes you may have will clear up, and the dark circles under your eyes will become minimized. You will start to look and feel younger, and you will become happier and gain more confidence in yourself. Better Relationships Drug addiction is marked by manipulation and lies, and many of your relationships with those… Continue reading

Yogic Tools for Recovery: A Guide to Working the 12 Steps – A Review by Erika Duffy

Many of our human brains excel at separating, dissecting, labeling, categorizing and organizing concepts in an attempt to make them more understandable, yet terribly complicated. This author has, in her genius, taken incredibly complex, timeless wisdom and historically successful methodologies for healing and made them simple(not easy), comprehensible and accessible. Over the years I have wrestled, like many people, to regulate my personal fluctuations between my attachments to pleasure and my aversion to pain settling on a “healthier addiction” to collecting books or knowledge. In constant pursuit to quell my endless thirst for the most up to date, accurate resources for my own personal growth and to assist my offerings to students and residents I work with countless books lining multiple shelves, desks, tables and even the floor alongside my bed. For the past twelve years I have been a facilitator of yoga and meditation in schools, camps, studios and… Continue reading

Did I Just Write a Song?: Expressive Arts and My Recovery Journey – Dr. Jamie Marich

During my first attempt at recovery, I learned to play the guitar. At the time, I worked for a Catholic Parish and aid organization in post-war Bosnia-Hercegovina. There was a kind Irish priest (and former rock n’ roller) also in residence who knew that I liked to sing. However, the only instrument I played, the violin, didn’t lend itself well to accompaniment. So he very patiently taught me the art of making chords and strumming. I found that when I was bored in those early days of figuring out what to do with myself, practicing the chords and the necessary movements to move between them more fluidly kept me busy. Then one day, the chord progression I was working on provided me a back drop to create a tune. Led by that tune, I started singing the angst of my heart and calling out to my Higher Power, desperate for… Continue reading

One Foot In Front Of The Other; One Breath At A Time – Kyczy Hawk

So simple. So hard. Not a lot to do and so easy to forget. The adrenaline intoxication wipes out the plan to keep it simple, maintain my boundaries, avoid that behavior, stop acting that way. I become wrapped up in the sensations of overwhelm and forget to pause. Really, I mean to use the pause, use the breath take a moment, consult my friend, my sponsor, my higher power, but I am already rushing down the path of self destruction. This mini-path of self destruction, or self forgetting, may not be a full relapse but unchecked it could lead to relapse. This tsunami of emotion may not wipe out weeks of devoted practice of living a sober life, but it can feel like a big detour. How to stop this train of false elation- these feelings that exalt those actions and attributes I am trying so hard to unlearn, retrain,… Continue reading