Addiction Recovery…Don’t Do It Alone

We, as humans, are social animals.

From birth we learn from our family; as children, friends take on a bigger role until when in our teens, the collective wisdom of our peers exerts a primal influence. As adults we tend to think it all past us, but in reality our peer environment still influences our actions and perceptions, and the people we choose to associate with tend to have a profound impact on our lives.

And this is why although recovery alone is possible, recovery in a group is far more possible, and for the best likelihood of success recovery should harness the power of the group.

As using addicts or alcoholics, we tend to associate socially with others who share our life-focus for intoxication; it’s a natural byproduct of the disease! We take our social cues from our group of peers, and in a big way what we perceive to be acceptable standards of behaviors are derived from what others around us are also doing.

If I drink 12 beers a day but my friend drinks 24 beers a day, well, I’m a moderate drinker!

Getting into rehab offers a lot. It offers a period of enforced sobriety, which can transform a life on its own. It offers the wisdom and guidance of addictions professionals, and it offers classes in relapse avoidance and life skills that impart the tools we’ll need to succeed. But more, much more than this, it also offers us the inspiration of others also in recovery.

We learn through the process of group recovery that although we are unique as individuals, our problems with drugs and alcohol share an incredible similarity. We also see that if others, who have it just as bad as we do, can recover – then there is no reason why we can’t too. There is a real sense of inspiration that comes from working together towards a common goal with others who share the same troubles; and it can work a real magic on even the most reluctant and hard-headed of addicts.

Rehab is supposed to be a place of transformation, and there is true power in this collective effort of recovery. You might be able to do it alone, but it’s easier and far more likely done in a group setting.

Find a place of healing where you can find your inspiration. Find a group of fellow alcoholics or addicts who understand you as you understand them, and start your journey towards recovery together. It helps.

Advertisements

We, as humans, are social animals.

From birth we learn from our family; as children, friends take on a bigger role until when in our teens, the collective wisdom of our peers exerts a primal influence. As adults we tend to think it all past us, but in reality our peer environment still influences our actions and perceptions, and the people we choose to associate with tend to have a profound impact on our lives.

And this is why although recovery alone is possible, recovery in a group is far more possible, and for the best likelihood of success recovery should harness the power of the group.

As using addicts or alcoholics, we tend to associate socially with others who share our life-focus for intoxication; it’s a natural byproduct of the disease! We take our social cues from our group of peers, and in a big way what we perceive to be acceptable standards of behaviors are derived from what others around us are also doing.

If I drink 12 beers a day but my friend drinks 24 beers a day, well, I’m a moderate drinker!

Getting into rehab offers a lot. It offers a period of enforced sobriety, which can transform a life on its own. It offers the wisdom and guidance of addictions professionals, and it offers classes in relapse avoidance and life skills that impart the tools we’ll need to succeed. But more, much more than this, it also offers us the inspiration of others also in recovery.

We learn through the process of group recovery that although we are unique as individuals, our problems with drugs and alcohol share an incredible similarity. We also see that if others, who have it just as bad as we do, can recover – then there is no reason why we can’t too. There is a real sense of inspiration that comes from working together towards a common goal with others who share the same troubles; and it can work a real magic on even the most reluctant and hard-headed of addicts.

Rehab is supposed to be a place of transformation, and there is true power in this collective effort of recovery. You might be able to do it alone, but it’s easier and far more likely done in a group setting.

Find a place of healing where you can find your inspiration. Find a group of fellow alcoholics or addicts who understand you as you understand them, and start your journey towards recovery together. It helps.

The Christian 12 Steps

The founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous wanted to reduce any barriers to entry into their lifesaving spiritual program; and so although devout Christians, these men decided to organize their recovery group as a spiritual but secular recovery organization. Which considering the religious climate of the time, was a remarkably inclusive and modern act of forethought; and has allowed millions of non Christians to benefit from an organization of hope, guidance and sobriety.

Pray to Jesus

But although the terms God or Jesus are replaced with higher power, the philosophies and Faith based teachings are all very Christian in nature, and AA does mandate a belief in a higher power to follow the 12 steps to recovery. Because the roots and philosophies are so closely linked to Christianity and a belief in God, the use of AA in Christian rehab programs is not much of a stretch; and when used in a Christian facility, instead of praying to a higher power, prayer is directed as a group towards a Christian God and to Jesus Christ. Because a Christian recovery group prays to the same God, recovering drug and alcohol addicts can unite in prayer together, enjoy stories of faith and spiritual recovery through God’s will, and use bible readings and scripture study for discussion and meditation within the programming and meetings of a Christian 12 steps group.

To truly follow the 12 steps, you need to accept God into your heart, you need to pray to God to make you a better person by removing some of your weaknesses and shortcomings; and you need to look and pray to God for spiritual guidance, enabling you to live a better and meaningful life of sobriety. AA can’t work without an acceptance of powerlessness, and since prayer remains essential to recovery, it makes sense for Christian men and women to unite together in groups where that prayer is unified and directed at a shared God and with a shared Faith.

Christian 12 steps meetings are meaningful to the faithful

Christian 12 steps recovery groups take what’s effective about the AA program and make it more meaningful by teaching the lessons of the Christian Faith and adding the true lessons of the Bible into the recovery matrix. I remain active in the AA support group I started in all those years ago, but I also enjoy an occasional meeting with fellow Christian addicts in recovery within my Church community.

There is something elemental and profound about joining together and seeking spiritual guidance towards betterment with others who share a similar belief and conviction, and although I’m grateful for the fellowship of my original AA group, I do appreciate joining with fellow Christians for group prayers to Jesus Christ in our communal battle for sobriety. You can find Christian 12 steps groups through most churches and Christian community groups, and Christian rehabs generally use the 12 Christian steps as a part of their recovery programming.

The 12 steps of AA don’t work for everyone, but they do work for many, and AA has saved many millions of lives since its inception. For Christians, combining what’s great about AA with a true expression of your Faith makes it more powerful, more relevant, and I believe better able to offer success and sobriety. I encourage all Christians in recovery to join a Christian 12 steps meeting, and enjoy Christian fellowship and shared recovery through Jesus Christ.

The founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous wanted to reduce any barriers to entry into their lifesaving spiritual program; and so although devout Christians, these men decided to organize their recovery group as a spiritual but secular recovery organization. Which considering the religious climate of the time, was a remarkably inclusive and modern act of forethought; and has allowed millions of non Christians to benefit from an organization of hope, guidance and sobriety.

Pray to Jesus

But although the terms God or Jesus are replaced with higher power, the philosophies and Faith based teachings are all very Christian in nature, and AA does mandate a belief in a higher power to follow the 12 steps to recovery. Because the roots and philosophies are so closely linked to Christianity and a belief in God, the use of AA in Christian rehab programs is not much of a stretch; and when used in a Christian facility, instead of praying to a higher power, prayer is directed as a group towards a Christian God and to Jesus Christ. Because a Christian recovery group prays to the same God, recovering drug and alcohol addicts can unite in prayer together, enjoy stories of faith and spiritual recovery through God’s will, and use bible readings and scripture study for discussion and meditation within the programming and meetings of a Christian 12 steps group.

To truly follow the 12 steps, you need to accept God into your heart, you need to pray to God to make you a better person by removing some of your weaknesses and shortcomings; and you need to look and pray to God for spiritual guidance, enabling you to live a better and meaningful life of sobriety. AA can’t work without an acceptance of powerlessness, and since prayer remains essential to recovery, it makes sense for Christian men and women to unite together in groups where that prayer is unified and directed at a shared God and with a shared Faith.

Christian 12 steps meetings are meaningful to the faithful

Christian 12 steps recovery groups take what’s effective about the AA program and make it more meaningful by teaching the lessons of the Christian Faith and adding the true lessons of the Bible into the recovery matrix. I remain active in the AA support group I started in all those years ago, but I also enjoy an occasional meeting with fellow Christian addicts in recovery within my Church community.

There is something elemental and profound about joining together and seeking spiritual guidance towards betterment with others who share a similar belief and conviction, and although I’m grateful for the fellowship of my original AA group, I do appreciate joining with fellow Christians for group prayers to Jesus Christ in our communal battle for sobriety. You can find Christian 12 steps groups through most churches and Christian community groups, and Christian rehabs generally use the 12 Christian steps as a part of their recovery programming.

The 12 steps of AA don’t work for everyone, but they do work for many, and AA has saved many millions of lives since its inception. For Christians, combining what’s great about AA with a true expression of your Faith makes it more powerful, more relevant, and I believe better able to offer success and sobriety. I encourage all Christians in recovery to join a Christian 12 steps meeting, and enjoy Christian fellowship and shared recovery through Jesus Christ.

Remembering How To Pray Through Alcoholics Anonymous

Working the 12 steps has helped me to achieve sobriety, and it has also bettered my relationship with God.

Faith and prayer during recovery can be powerful things. My story of recovery is a Christian tale of hitting rock bottom only to see the light. I was born and raised a Christian, but once I started using and abusing in my teens and through young adulthood, my relationship with my Faith all but disappeared within the haze of intoxication.

Other than during a few "stoner" talks about the meaning of life, I really didn’t think about God – just as I really didn’t think about much other than getting high or getting drunk. One of the most surprising aspects of my recovery away from addiction and abuse was a re awakening of my Faith, and the development of a very personal belief and reliance on God as I understand Him.

I still don’t go to church nearly as often as I should, but Faith has become important in my life, and it influences all that I do…and it was in AA after really hitting rock bottom that I discovered that God remained a part of me, and that I could use His strength to get better.

Remembering how to pray with AA

In AA we begin each meeting with a serenity prayer, and we pray to improve our relationships with God, to have God remove our shortcomings and we pray to understand God’s will and guidance for our lives. As AA is a secular but spiritual organization, you don’t have to pray to a Christian God, only to any higher power as you understand it; but for me it’s always Jesus that I pray to, and who I thank each night for keeping me sober and happy within my family and my community.

The thing about God’s lessons is that they don’t tend to fade as other lessons of recovery do. In rehab we all learn about cognitive triggers to abuse, and how to maintain our thinking to stay clear from temptation, and I have found these to be useful and have incorporated them into my recovery lifestyle. Unfortunately, these take a continual effort and sometimes feel like the lessons of long ago algebra class…something I once understood, but have no use for now!

I don’t question the value of these programs, but for me, once re awakened, my Faith and a belief in God’s power to guide me has always felt more personal and applicable to the battles of daily recovery and relapse avoidance. I pray every night for God’s continuing guidance, and I use the Bible for strength and support in difficult moments. I don’t look to the Lord because I have to…but because I crave His guidance and I recognize His power to keep me sober and happy.

Christian Rehab

I went through a secular rehab, and I can’t complain because when combined with AA and continuing group aftercare therapy – it worked (it took two runs at it though!); but now that I recognize the intrinsic value of spiritual guidance, and now that I use the Lord’s power to keep me sober every day of my life…I wonder if a Christian rehab might have been a better fit for me, and if it might have worked completely the first time.

Christian rehab offers us spiritual lessons, guidance and prayer, all to better understand how God can help us in all areas of our lives, and how we can work to live better lives for God and also live better lives for ourselves. The lessons of Christian rehab aren’t easily forgotten, and a reminder of the teachings are ever present within the family bible, and remain with you every time you pray to Jesus with an honest and open heart.

Addiction is a disease of the body, of the mind, and also of the spirit, and I can’t help but wonder if the spiritual healing (most overlooked in conventional rehab) isn’t the most important of the three. No one who knows me well would describe me as evangelical, and my Faith is mostly a very personal and private thing…but since a belief in God and using His strength as my strength has helped me so much, I feel that I have a duty to share my story, and suggest that using Faith and prayer for recovery maybe the most powerful source of healing of all.

Working the 12 steps has helped me to achieve sobriety, and it has also bettered my relationship with God.

Faith and prayer during recovery can be powerful things. My story of recovery is a Christian tale of hitting rock bottom only to see the light. I was born and raised a Christian, but once I started using and abusing in my teens and through young adulthood, my relationship with my Faith all but disappeared within the haze of intoxication.

Other than during a few "stoner" talks about the meaning of life, I really didn’t think about God – just as I really didn’t think about much other than getting high or getting drunk. One of the most surprising aspects of my recovery away from addiction and abuse was a re awakening of my Faith, and the development of a very personal belief and reliance on God as I understand Him.

I still don’t go to church nearly as often as I should, but Faith has become important in my life, and it influences all that I do…and it was in AA after really hitting rock bottom that I discovered that God remained a part of me, and that I could use His strength to get better.

Remembering how to pray with AA

In AA we begin each meeting with a serenity prayer, and we pray to improve our relationships with God, to have God remove our shortcomings and we pray to understand God’s will and guidance for our lives. As AA is a secular but spiritual organization, you don’t have to pray to a Christian God, only to any higher power as you understand it; but for me it’s always Jesus that I pray to, and who I thank each night for keeping me sober and happy within my family and my community.

The thing about God’s lessons is that they don’t tend to fade as other lessons of recovery do. In rehab we all learn about cognitive triggers to abuse, and how to maintain our thinking to stay clear from temptation, and I have found these to be useful and have incorporated them into my recovery lifestyle. Unfortunately, these take a continual effort and sometimes feel like the lessons of long ago algebra class…something I once understood, but have no use for now!

I don’t question the value of these programs, but for me, once re awakened, my Faith and a belief in God’s power to guide me has always felt more personal and applicable to the battles of daily recovery and relapse avoidance. I pray every night for God’s continuing guidance, and I use the Bible for strength and support in difficult moments. I don’t look to the Lord because I have to…but because I crave His guidance and I recognize His power to keep me sober and happy.

Christian Rehab

I went through a secular rehab, and I can’t complain because when combined with AA and continuing group aftercare therapy – it worked (it took two runs at it though!); but now that I recognize the intrinsic value of spiritual guidance, and now that I use the Lord’s power to keep me sober every day of my life…I wonder if a Christian rehab might have been a better fit for me, and if it might have worked completely the first time.

Christian rehab offers us spiritual lessons, guidance and prayer, all to better understand how God can help us in all areas of our lives, and how we can work to live better lives for God and also live better lives for ourselves. The lessons of Christian rehab aren’t easily forgotten, and a reminder of the teachings are ever present within the family bible, and remain with you every time you pray to Jesus with an honest and open heart.

Addiction is a disease of the body, of the mind, and also of the spirit, and I can’t help but wonder if the spiritual healing (most overlooked in conventional rehab) isn’t the most important of the three. No one who knows me well would describe me as evangelical, and my Faith is mostly a very personal and private thing…but since a belief in God and using His strength as my strength has helped me so much, I feel that I have a duty to share my story, and suggest that using Faith and prayer for recovery maybe the most powerful source of healing of all.

Why everyone in recovery needs to make amends for past misdeeds

I believe that making amends, an important part of recovery through the 12 steps process, should be incorporated into any philosophy of recovery and addiction treatment.

Whether or not you subscribe to a belief in the value of AA or other 12 steps programs, few can deny the healing power of making full restitution, and that making amends reduces the guilt and shame that if left unresolved, can too often lead us back to abuse. AA worked and works for me, and I subscribe to their particular theory of recovery, but I understand that the program is not right for everyone, and no one approach can ever hope to meet the needs of diverse people in society. Yet I cannot help but think that if only one aspect of AA recovery should be imported to other programs, it should be the belief that by making amends, we heal others and as well reduce the future temptations to abuse.

During a period of abuse, there is a cognitive shift that occurs that allows us to act badly, without even being fully aware of the harms we are committing. We may also act badly knowing full well the implications of our actions, but are so driven towards abuse that our actions are almost beyond our control. Whatever the initial cause or motivations to our behaviors, our behaviors do create consequences, and during periods of sobriety and lucidity we can sometimes see how our behaviors affect others, and the shame and pain of these realizations is always best dealt with through escape into further intoxication.

Clean the Slate

Even after we get help and get sober, the memory of past transgressions remains, and with sobriety and increasing clarity, these memories are compounded. With sobriety comes a full awareness of the pain of our creation, and with awareness comes accompanying feelings of shame and regret. We can never take back our actions, and although making amends is sometimes insufficient to the pain we have caused, it is all we can reasonably do; and if amends are made honestly and with an open heart, much of the shame of our past misbehaviors can be minimized, if not erased entirely.

If we do not strive to make complete amends to all, our feelings of shame and regret can never truly end. Any time we see or even think about a person we have harmed, there is the accompanying negative emotional response, and with enough internalized negative emotions, the temptations towards abuse and escape increase.

Making amends to those that we have harmed is not only the right thing to do; it is also a great way to maximize the likelihood of long term sobriety.

It’s never easy to account for your actions, and the process of restitution is difficult and sometimes painful; but once complete, we can move forward, closing the book on our past misdeeds, and looking forward to a life of better conduct, service to others and sobriety. Pay back what you owe, apologize to those you have harmed, and right any wrong that you can; you’ll feel better, and you’ll have a better chance at a future of sober happiness.

I believe that making amends, an important part of recovery through the 12 steps process, should be incorporated into any philosophy of recovery and addiction treatment.

Whether or not you subscribe to a belief in the value of AA or other 12 steps programs, few can deny the healing power of making full restitution, and that making amends reduces the guilt and shame that if left unresolved, can too often lead us back to abuse. AA worked and works for me, and I subscribe to their particular theory of recovery, but I understand that the program is not right for everyone, and no one approach can ever hope to meet the needs of diverse people in society. Yet I cannot help but think that if only one aspect of AA recovery should be imported to other programs, it should be the belief that by making amends, we heal others and as well reduce the future temptations to abuse.

During a period of abuse, there is a cognitive shift that occurs that allows us to act badly, without even being fully aware of the harms we are committing. We may also act badly knowing full well the implications of our actions, but are so driven towards abuse that our actions are almost beyond our control. Whatever the initial cause or motivations to our behaviors, our behaviors do create consequences, and during periods of sobriety and lucidity we can sometimes see how our behaviors affect others, and the shame and pain of these realizations is always best dealt with through escape into further intoxication.

Clean the Slate

Even after we get help and get sober, the memory of past transgressions remains, and with sobriety and increasing clarity, these memories are compounded. With sobriety comes a full awareness of the pain of our creation, and with awareness comes accompanying feelings of shame and regret. We can never take back our actions, and although making amends is sometimes insufficient to the pain we have caused, it is all we can reasonably do; and if amends are made honestly and with an open heart, much of the shame of our past misbehaviors can be minimized, if not erased entirely.

If we do not strive to make complete amends to all, our feelings of shame and regret can never truly end. Any time we see or even think about a person we have harmed, there is the accompanying negative emotional response, and with enough internalized negative emotions, the temptations towards abuse and escape increase.

Making amends to those that we have harmed is not only the right thing to do; it is also a great way to maximize the likelihood of long term sobriety.

It’s never easy to account for your actions, and the process of restitution is difficult and sometimes painful; but once complete, we can move forward, closing the book on our past misdeeds, and looking forward to a life of better conduct, service to others and sobriety. Pay back what you owe, apologize to those you have harmed, and right any wrong that you can; you’ll feel better, and you’ll have a better chance at a future of sober happiness.

NA versus AA

I did not have as much of a problem with Alcohol as I did with Drugs. I go to AA (alcoholics anonymous) though; I do not go to NA (narcotics anonymous) really. AA seems to have much better sobriety. One of the reasons it is better is because it is considered the root of the twelve step programs. I have not met one person in AA who never abused a pill. Many newcomers, particularly male, choose to go to NA first, because they are considered addicts and not alcoholics. There is also a large group of young people in NA. In NA you can openly talk about drugs while in AA it is a little less accepted. I know many people who hardly drank ever but they choose to combat their addiction by going to AA. If you were a heroin addict all your life and then one day the only drug left in the world is Alcohol, you’re going to be an alcoholic very fast. It is the same void that your trying to fill, it is the same thing, just a different substance that you’re abusing. I want results so I around myself with the best possible chances of getting them. I have nothing against NA and I would go to an NA meeting at anytime, I just prefer AA, even though I was mostly into substance abuse.

I did not have as much of a problem with Alcohol as I did with Drugs. I go to AA (alcoholics anonymous) though; I do not go to NA (narcotics anonymous) really. AA seems to have much better sobriety. One of the reasons it is better is because it is considered the root of the twelve step programs. I have not met one person in AA who never abused a pill. Many newcomers, particularly male, choose to go to NA first, because they are considered addicts and not alcoholics. There is also a large group of young people in NA. In NA you can openly talk about drugs while in AA it is a little less accepted. I know many people who hardly drank ever but they choose to combat their addiction by going to AA. If you were a heroin addict all your life and then one day the only drug left in the world is Alcohol, you’re going to be an alcoholic very fast. It is the same void that your trying to fill, it is the same thing, just a different substance that you’re abusing. I want results so I around myself with the best possible chances of getting them. I have nothing against NA and I would go to an NA meeting at anytime, I just prefer AA, even though I was mostly into substance abuse.

Dealing with Step 8/9 and making amends

truth is that it is impossible to stay sober and move forward without doing these steps thoroughly and honestly. The guilt alone keeps you stuck in the "old way of thinking" and it is impossible to be honest with yourself when you’re in that zone. You make a list of the people you had harmed. You make the amend and you pay people back what you can. The "program" is based around it. If I want what the others have then I have to do what they do. This is what they do. It is as simple as that. The tough part was explaining to people why I am doing it. I just told them the truth, and I got the respect I never thought I would get. Some people actually decline the money and ended up making amends to me!

truth is that it is impossible to stay sober and move forward without doing these steps thoroughly and honestly. The guilt alone keeps you stuck in the "old way of thinking" and it is impossible to be honest with yourself when you’re in that zone. You make a list of the people you had harmed. You make the amend and you pay people back what you can. The "program" is based around it. If I want what the others have then I have to do what they do. This is what they do. It is as simple as that. The tough part was explaining to people why I am doing it. I just told them the truth, and I got the respect I never thought I would get. Some people actually decline the money and ended up making amends to me!

Other fellowships for those in AA/NA as well

When I took all the drugs and alcohol away I was left with something hard to deal with, ME. I had two choices. Do it my way or do it the way that it was suggested from people in recovery. They made it real simple.

Turn everything over to a higher power and go to as many meetings as possible and don’t drunk/use. Perhaps I just wanted to see what I could do with my own thinking. I was done with substance abuse. In very little time I ended up in a relationship with another sick mind. That got me know where. That got me back on my knees.

Sure enough, I found something else that would take me away from me – the Casino. That was the same thing as Cocaine. Well one day it stopped working. Then I decided that working full time, 17 hours a day, would fix me. Still, the pain, the confusion, the life problems persisted. After two years of trying it my way, I admitted defeat. I put my life into the hands of my trusted friends in the program, and my higher power. Life has been great ever since. My daily goal is to keep my life out of my hands, and rolling in the right direction.

My story seems to be a common one. I do not know many people who have just stepped into the program and are convinced enough to not have to go try it on their own. When I tell my story people do not seem all that surprised. At the very least, the newcomer can see that this is common, and they will know what the outcome will be ahead of time. Perhaps this will help shorten the timeframe of "self will run wild!"

When I took all the drugs and alcohol away I was left with something hard to deal with, ME. I had two choices. Do it my way or do it the way that it was suggested from people in recovery. They made it real simple.

Turn everything over to a higher power and go to as many meetings as possible and don’t drunk/use. Perhaps I just wanted to see what I could do with my own thinking. I was done with substance abuse. In very little time I ended up in a relationship with another sick mind. That got me know where. That got me back on my knees.

Sure enough, I found something else that would take me away from me – the Casino. That was the same thing as Cocaine. Well one day it stopped working. Then I decided that working full time, 17 hours a day, would fix me. Still, the pain, the confusion, the life problems persisted. After two years of trying it my way, I admitted defeat. I put my life into the hands of my trusted friends in the program, and my higher power. Life has been great ever since. My daily goal is to keep my life out of my hands, and rolling in the right direction.

My story seems to be a common one. I do not know many people who have just stepped into the program and are convinced enough to not have to go try it on their own. When I tell my story people do not seem all that surprised. At the very least, the newcomer can see that this is common, and they will know what the outcome will be ahead of time. Perhaps this will help shorten the timeframe of "self will run wild!"