September is Recovery Month and for many recovering addicts, new Web-based support groups will help them have a greater chance of maintaining abstinence. The recent study conducted by Hazelden announced a new Web access program that is tailored to fit the needs and provide clinical information, as well as support, to patients over an 18-month period after their release from drug rehab.
An article in Market Watch tells how patients have access to addiction coaches to aid in their recovery and that those who fully engaged in the Web-based program throughout the year after their addiction treatment were much more successful in abstaining from alcohol and drugs than those who did not complete the program.
The preliminary findings of this study show that support programs like these on the Web can make a big difference for those in early recovery. Addiction is a chronic disease and just like those with diabetes or heart disease, addiction must be managed, monitored and continually treated throughout a person’s lifetime.
There is still much to learn about addiction treatment and recovery but this study demonstrates the need for more disease management tools and also more creative services. Hazelden conducted this study through their research arm.
20 Aug 2011
“It’s the moment you think you can’t that you realize you can.” – Celine Dion, Canadian recording artist and entrepreneur (born 1968)
We’ve all had the thought that we simply can’t go on, that our troubles or circumstance – of our own making due to our addiction – are just too much for us to bear. We may look for the easy way out, but at the very least, we come face-to-face with the reality of our own actions. We tell ourselves we can’t do what’s expected of us, what we’re told is the way out of the darkness and into recovery.
That’s precisely the time when we realize – if we’re open to it – that we can, indeed, do exactly that. We can make it through whatever has happened or is happening now. What is at stake is our very life, our way of being, and our humanity. We can stare at the abyss and step back from it. In fact, we already have, since we’ve come through the serpentine labyrinth of addiction and made it out on the other side. Okay, it may be a tremulous and halting recovery to this point, but at least we’ve come this far. That’s really an achievement and one that we need to acknowledge. This is important because it gives us the strength and helps foster the determination to go on, to tackle the next obstacle or embrace the next opportunity that comes our way.
And we all face challenges and opportunities each and every day. Sometimes we don’t recognize them for what they are. We lump certain situations into the category of a roadblock when in reality, they’re really opportunities in disguise. We’ve heard the expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The same could be said here. When we encounter a problem or a difficulty of major or minor proportions, we can choose to look at it one of two ways. First, we can tell ourselves that it’s too much for us to handle and give up on it altogether. Second, and the more constructive way to deal with it, is that we can look closely at the situation, learn what we can from it, and figure out a way that we can deal with it and move on. In other words, we turn a bad situation into something that works for us. We learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward in recovery.
The key to being able to do this is a belief that we can. For some of us, this belief in our capabilities and self-worth is sorely lacking. We may have endured an abusive childhood or been down on our luck for many months or years or our entire life. It will be tough to summon this belief that we have what it takes, and that’s where counseling or therapy can be very beneficial to us. We can overcome the nightmare of the past, but we can’t do it alone. Professional help may provide the means and the way forward. We will need to give therapy time to work, particularly if we’ve had a long history of trauma, abuse and addiction. But we can do it. Yes, we can.
Start today by working on something small on our list of things to do for our recovery. As we accomplish the first task, whatever it may be, add this to our success list of achievements. This will begin to boost our self-confidence, to reinforce that we can do what we set out to do for ourselves in recovery. Yes, we can, and yes, we will.
18 Aug 2011
“No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.” – Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, engineer, teacher, humanitarian, and holder of 140 patents, better known as “Boss Ket” (1876-1958)
When we think of a storm, images of roiling black clouds, thunder, rain, and miserable conditions come to mind. It’s not a stretch to extend this mind’s-eye view of a storm to our experience in recovery, especially early recovery. That’s because when we first begin our recovery journey, we’re likely not at our best. First of all, we’ve just gotten clean and sober for perhaps the first time in a long time, or perhaps another time in a series of relapse events. At any rate, we’re feeling a little rocky – okay, maybe a lot worse than just rocky – and not at all sure we’re prepared for what’s ahead, or even if we have it in us to deal with the challenges.
Indeed, our bodies and minds are screaming for it, is to drink or do drugs again. Maybe our drug of choice was a combination of alcohol and drugs and gambling, or compulsive sex, overwork, overspending, even overeating. Whatever it was, we each faced a tremendous number and variety of hurdles just to arrive at this point in our path toward sobriety. It was a long haul, and, quite frankly, more than likely very exhausting.
Now, just when we think we should be able to coast, or ease off a bit, we’re learning that the hard work is only beginning. Looking at what we’ve chosen for ourselves, sobriety, is starting to maybe look like an impossible task. Are we really going to find the courage or determination to be able to make it through whatever storm is on the horizon?
Perhaps the best bit of advice anyone can give the newcomer to recovery is to keep on moving forward. Looking backward isn’t productive, since there’s so much in our rearview mirror that we’ve now left behind. There’ll be plenty of time to deal with our recollection and inventory of our past behavior that caused harm to others and to work on making our amends. For now, however, we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and get down to the business of healing in recovery.
We’re on this ship of recovery, even though the storm clouds may be gathering or a downpour has just occurred. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to stick it out, hold true to our desire to remain clean and sober. We’ll go to the 12-step groups and be present in the rooms. We’ll get a sponsor, learn all we can about how to live a healthier lifestyle, work the steps and get more in tune with our inner self, the one who’s chosen this path of recovery.
We can weather the storm. We’ve got it within us. All we have to do is believe in our ability to do so. No, it isn’t going to be easy all the time. There will be days when it certainly seems as if we’re lugging a tank uphill by our teeth. We’ll be tempted to give up, give in, and numb out. When those kinds of thoughts nag at us, it’s important to keep in mind that the end-goal, recovery, is a journey. It isn’t a destination. We’re in this for the long haul, whatever storms may erupt along the way.