Secrecy and Addiction – By Patty Powers

      If you attend 12-Step meetings you’re bound to hear a bunch of corny sayings like “Denial is not a river in Egypt.” You’ll either laugh or roll your eyes dismissively. Where you’re at with your recovery has a lot to do with how information gets filtered through the addict-mind, what your ears pick up. For example, if you’re at your first meetings because of coercion, either by family members or the court system, the inner response to pretty much everything said is, “This is bullshit”. Not everything bounces off a closed mind though. Usually something seeps in that might create a desire to check out another meeting one day. The truth has a way of finding a crack in the armor. Besides, it’s hard to dismiss a roomful of people who are no longer imprisoned by the isolation of active addiction and alcoholism. As a recovery coach, I’ve attended… 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

    Room for Rent; Part II – By Marc McMahon

    Back in September, I shared with you all about some roommate issues I was having and the changes I made to remedy the situation. Here we are seven months later and guess what? New roommate issues. First, let me ask you this; have you ever had roommates? Ah, then you know at times it can be an arduous task, not for the faint of heart that is for sure. It is one thing to have allowed an almost stranger to sleep under the very roof that you do, but given time their problems tend to start to become your problem’s and vice-versa. Even for two people who have their lives together, all their ducks in a row, I have seen this sort of thing happen. Now imagine two guys in early recovery trying to live together under the same roof in perfect harmony. Can almost see the writing on the… Continue reading

    Anticipating and Dealing with Slips and Relapse – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S  

      Unfortunately, slips and relapses are relatively common in early recovery. The good news is that they are not the end of the world. Rather, these temporary setbacks are learning opportunities and chances to reaffirm and hopefully strengthen one’s commitment to recovery, sobriety, and living a better life. The simple truth is the majority of recovering addicts experience at least a few bumps in the road before establishing long-term sobriety. And that is perfectly OK. No addict ever recovers perfectly. Sometimes addicts slip in their recovery, other times they relapse. Slips are brief, mostly unintended returns to addiction. Sometimes an unexpected stressor or a poorly constructed support network will lead to a slip. A slip can be managed and contained by immediate and honest disclosure. After a slip, recovering addicts must tell others—therapists, 12-step sponsors, accountability partners, and supportive friends in recovery—about the event if they hope to get back… Continue reading

    The Fire – By Ryan Sirois

    Four years ago I swallowed my last pain pill. Christmas night. After days of trying to look past the glowing orange pharmaceutical bottle on the kitchen counter. At Chris’s parent’s home in Pennsylvania. My mind a mess. Months of heavy anti-psychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication. A pill to focus. One to calm. Another to balance. To block addictive tendencies. To make me happy. And one more to sleep at night. Six months out of rehab, diagnosed by a psychiatrist as anxious, depressed, obsessive-compulsive, ADD. A new pharmaceutical regime to replace the old. I became a washboard of blank stares and quilted thought. Words dangled from the corner of my mouth. It was my second Christmas with Chris’s family. We were in the cordial stage of getting to know each other. That awkward period where every sentence is dissected to make sure you don’t come across like an idiot. Not wanting to let… Continue reading