Month: April 2021

The Purpose (For Others, Not Ourselves)

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For alcoholics and addicts in their disease, “purpose” is replaced by the driving power of alcoholism and addiction. We don’t need much purpose, nor could we find any beyond what our disease dictates we must do. But purpose may not ever be a thing we think about very much, whether we struggle with addiction or not. Then there are some who long and search for meaning and purpose in their lives. Yet many simply search for the sake of searching, never settling on an answer to the question of purpose. When we alcoholics and addicts finally, gratefully, arrive in the rooms of recovery, we may be a little surprised when we learn that the 12-Step program of recovery gives clear purpose to our lives. Perhaps we never gave the purpose question much thought, or we thought it was unanswerable. When we finally hear our primary purpose, a mix of emotions…

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Outside Issues: Dealing With Stress

Alcoholics and addicts are more accustomed to craziness, chaos, and turmoil than most people. But that doesn’t mean we like things that way when we really think about it. Chaos needs order, and craziness needs calmness. We need some kind of balance. We often lie to ourselves that we miss the insanity, the pressure, the drama, and the stress. But do we really? Stress is a real-life modern monster. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re from, stress affects the human population like never before. We’re the most stressed-out people who have ever lived, whether we’re alcoholics or addicts or not. Today, stress is among the leading causes of death in the Western world, not to mention the major cause of dozens of serious conditions — everything from joint pain to weight gain to mental health issues has been linked to stress that’s gone too far….

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The Value of Our Communities

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Almost every human alive is part of a community. We can define community in multiple ways. The most common meaning is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Community can also mean “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” These two definitions often appear together. Whether it’s our roommates or immediate family, we have our own small community, but it scales up from there — all the way up. We have our work community, our city, our state, our country, and finally, our planet. Community stretches from the smallest to the largest scales in our lives. Whether or not we like to think we’re a lone wolf, pretty much everyone is part of a community. No man is an island, no matter how much we may think differently. Even if you never…

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How Can I Know What the Right Advice Is?

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Inside the rooms of recovery — and certainly out of them — people like to give advice. Ever since man learned to speak, we were likely offering each other advice on how to live and conduct our affairs. Hopefully, most of the time, advice is well-intentioned and kind-spirited. Sometimes it’s terrible advice but rarely is it malicious. People like to talk, and people like to think they know what’s best for everyone. What often results is a cacophony of noise and suggestions. Some advice conflicts with others, some sounds bad but feels good, some sounds great but feels wrong, and some of it we simply don’t understand. There’s too much going on to make much sense of anything sometimes. This situation is very common for the alcoholic or addict who is a newcomer to recovery. This new person hears so much advice and opinion about recovery and life in general…

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Letting Go of Old Behaviors

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It seems obvious to state that our lives in recovery are different from our lives in the disease. But this idea isn’t as simple as it might appear. Indeed, many alcoholics and addicts resist finding recovery because they don’t want things to be too different. That might sound odd but think about it. We’ve all done it to one degree or another. We resist some sponsor direction or the pleading of our conscience or even cling to a character defect that still provides us some twisted benefit. We try to avoid change here and there. People like routines because they are comforting. But familiar and comfortable doesn’t always mean good. Think of the alcoholic or addict who desperately wants to get sober, finds the program of recovery, but doesn’t want it to take over his life and change everything. He just wants to stop abusing substances — he doesn’t want to…

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The 4th-Step Blues: Separating Myth From Reality

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Any alcoholic or addict who has been to a few meetings or spent any time in the rooms of recovery has likely heard about the 4th-Step. The problem is, we’ve likely heard a lot about it. Not necessarily everything we hear is accurate or even the truth. Much of it gets said in meetings, is overheard during fellowshipping, or misunderstood in passing. It’s one of the most talked-about of the 12-Steps, but sometimes the messages can get mixed, and this step gets placed in a bad light. It’s not uncommon for newcomers to dread, neglect, or avoid the 4th-Step altogether, just based on things they’ve heard about it. This is a real problem. Alcoholics and addicts like us need the 12-Steps to find recovery and live our best lives. Having hearsay and misinformation potentially keep people from joining us on the road of happy destiny just won’t do. So let’s get…

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