Can My Life Ever Really Get Back On Track?

getting back on track

Alcoholism and addiction affect our lives in so many ways. Some of those effects are similar. All of us who are alcoholics or addicts know the struggle with the mental obsession, the physical allergy, and the disease’s spiritual malady. It is these characteristic symptoms that bind all of us together in our common solution. This is part of what makes the 12-Steps work for all of us. Of course, there are also differences in the details of how alcoholism and addiction affect our lives. While we all have the same disease, our lives are certainly not the same. For some of us, our disease ruined relationships. For others, it prevented us from even starting relationships. For some, we lost our jobs or careers. Others of us never really got started. Broken homes, broken families, homelessness, couch-surfing — the variations of the fallout from our active disease are infinite because life…

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What Does ‘’Dependence on a Higher Power” Actually Look Like?

dependence on a higher power

Whether we are an alcoholic or addict, both, or neither, we’ve likely had some experience with the various styles of spirituality that people engage in. Whatever we believe or practice — or don’t believe and don’t practice — we are likely aware of many of the ways that people engage with the spiritual side of life. There are no right or wrong answers for our purposes here today. What we each believe is personal and private and wholly up to the individual. However, if you are an alcoholic or addict like us, you’ve obviously encountered the spiritual language in the 12-Steps of recovery and hopefully read what the literature of recovery has to say on the topic. If not, grab the book Alcoholics Anonymous and read the chapter titled “We Agnostics.” And now, let’s dive in. To Each Their Own Recovery does not demand any specifics or place any limits on…

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How Do I Know If I Really Need Help?

needing help

Alcoholism and addiction are a disease unlike any other. They affect so much more than just the body, but the mind and spirit as well. Characterized by a three-fold nature, alcoholism and addiction are often deeply misunderstood, even by those who have the disease. Much can be done to understand alcoholism and addiction by reading the book Alcoholics Anonymous. For the most part, it is up to the sufferer to diagnose themselves with the disease. This requires both soul-searching and self-honesty. Only you really know if you have a problem. If you are having difficulty with substance abuse, alcohol dependency, or addiction, do your best to look within and be honest with yourself and those around you. If you think you may have a problem with alcoholism, addiction, or other substances or addictive behaviors, it is up to you to find a 12-Step program fellowship in your area that deals…

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Learning How to Accept Help

help

People need people — there’s no getting around it. We’d all like to fancy ourselves as independent and self-sufficient, and we all are to varying degrees. But nobody can do it all by themselves. At some point in our lives, we will all need a little help. Sometimes we will need a lot of help, like when we first enter recovery. For those of us who are alcoholics or addicts, we can begin to see pretty clearly here how much help can, well, help.  Life is pretty empty without other people, and it often becomes impossible to live without the occasional bit of help from these people. We need each other, whether we like it or not. Sometimes we allow our history in alcoholism or addiction to make us feel unworthy of help. We may not like asking for help, we may wish we didn’t ever need a helping hand,…

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Aren’t Healthy Coping Mechanisms Enough?

meditation

“Healthy coping mechanisms” has become a common catchphrase in popular psychology today. It’s a catch-all term for self-care, emotional balance, rational reaction, and general mental and emotional well-being. Any number of healthy, clear-headed, and constructive tools and practices that allow us to process, deal with, and navigate life events are considered healthy coping mechanisms. They are essentially great things to have close at hand in our daily bag of life skills.  Things like breathing exercises, therapy, and meditation can all be healthy coping mechanisms. Make no mistake — these things are absolutely wonderful. Participation and practice with healthy coping mechanisms are highly encouraged. Just because it is an often-used psychology term does not make it something to be dismissed. Any segment of society that wants people to be healthy and live well will encourage some fashion of coping with the turmoil and chaos that inevitably occur in life. Say Goodbye…

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Coping With Chaos

mental health

Whether you are an alcoholic, addict, or neither, turbulent times are inevitable in our lives. This is not something we should live in fear of. Still, it is an eventuality that we can prepare for — particularly those of us who are in recovery and may also have mental and emotional health issues to consider. It would serve us all well to take the necessary precautions to limit the damage done by chaotic times. By just a few small actions and a couple of simple reminders, we can help safeguard our recovery and emotional and mental health through life’s storms. Don’t Give in To Fear Life has a natural rhythm, just like the ocean’s tides. Often the waves are calm and the sea is low, but eventually, the waves will rock and the tide will rise. But it will also lower and calm again soon enough. Don’t take chaotic times…

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Why Do I Keep Slipping?

relapse

For many alcoholics and addicts, finding recovery is a desperately needed relief. Yet even for those of us who are desperate, sticking with recovery isn’t always a linear journey. Like everything in life, there will be ups and downs, good times, and rough times. Some days will be easier than others. These are the natural rhythms of life, not just recovery.  For some alcoholics and addicts, making it in long-term recovery can be difficult. The reasons for this are many, and they are deeply personal. For some of us, relapse is a part of our story. Whether we slip once or a dozen times, relapse is common. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. Relapse happens, but it isn’t necessary. The good news here is that no matter how many times you have slipped, as long as you are alive you have the chance to get hold of lasting,…

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Maintaining Friendships in Recovery

friends

Entering recovery can be an exciting time, as we finally find help for our deadly disease and begin to feel hope again. It can also be a time of overwhelming change. So much of our previous lives that were lived in the disease will begin to fall away, and we will likely want to distance ourselves from much of our past life to secure a safe and thriving life in recovery. This can be a challenging process to navigate through, as we so often rely on friends to help us through times like these. But some of the friendships we had before might not be the healthiest thing for us — yet we likely don’t know many people in recovery as closely as we do our old buddies and close companions. This can make the transition into recovery a little scary or even lonely. There are several things we can…

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What Is the Most Important Part of My Recovery?

12 steps

For alcoholics and addicts in recovery, whether they are brand new or already familiar with the 12-Step program and lifestyle, this is a fairly common question. After all, recovery is a new way of life and considerable experience. There are many facets and moving parts, and each one holds much to teach us. The longer we live the 12-Steps, the more we find to learn and explore. There is so much that becomes open to us as we journey in recovery. The possibilities are practically limitless, just like our future in recovery. But with so many wonderful and rewarding practices, what is the most essential part of our healing? Is There Just One Important Thing? Everyone seems to have a different answer when asked about the most important part of recovery — partly because we excel at or gravitate toward different things as individuals. Some will dive deep into meditation,…

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Scheduling Recovery

recovery

It doesn’t take much for life to get busy, even for those of us who are new in recovery. It can happen so quickly that we forget the fear and terror of our previous lives in alcoholism and addiction. Initially, we were so relieved and so grateful for sobriety and recovery. Being returned to life and mostly free from our disease, we often forget the things that got us here and begin letting our lives get busy. We have jobs, friends, family obligations, exercise, errands to run, meals to cook, and naps to take. It’s okay if we miss a couple of meetings here and there, right? Maybe, but most likely not. Think of how unknowingly we lost ourselves to our disease over time. It likely happened little by little, one thing at a time. We just had a drink in the morning on weekends, but soon we were drinking…

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