You Don’t Recover By Sitting Around Listening To Sad Love Songs

I see so many people in early recovery who want to sit on the pity pot and believe that they can somehow still recover from addiction or alcoholism.  This is not the case and no one who is feeling sorry for themselves is going to make it in recovery.  The problem with self pity is that it gives you a gigantic excuse to go get drunk or high.

The best way to combat self pity is to create a zero tolerance policy with yourself.  This is a mental game that you have to engage in and if you do it right then it will set you free.  The idea is to simply make a strong pact with yourself that you are not going to allow yourself to sit around and sing sad love songs no matter what.  The second you realize that you have slipped into “self pity mode” you instantly shut it down.

Quite simply, you do not allow yourself to go there.  Period.

This is tough at first because you will initially feel like you are depriving yourself of something.  This is not true however and if you persist with it then you will realize that you are not missing out on anything when you put a stop to self pity in your life.

Shut it down.  No more sad love songs.  Period.

Help for Addiction

Addiction help comes in 2 forms: elimination and creation.

Most people think that beating an addiction is an act of elimination. It’s not. Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction is about creating something.

When we strip away the drugs and the alcohol from the life of the addict, there is a huge void left over. This void is more than just spiritual. In traditional recovery, 12 step programs attempt to diagnose addiction as a spiritual malady and then fix the problem with a spiritual solution.

This helps, but it is not ideal. The reason is because addiction is not just a spiritual problem. Instead, addiction affects the whole entire person – physically, mentally, emotionally, and so on.

It therefore follows that any solution needs to be holistic in nature. Addiction affects us physically – so why would we ignore the physical component? Of course we should address the physical side of addiction, looking into things such as medications to help with cravings and also exercise as a means to sobriety.

Likewise, addiction affects us emotionally, so why should we not address our emotional health and balance in our lives? This only makes sense to treat the whole person in recovery, not just the spiritual side of things.

Many people like to simplify things in order to wrap their minds around the solution but overcoming addiction is more complicated than that. The solution is more than just spiritual; it is holistic, and therefore you must grow in many different areas of your life in order to succeed in recovery.

This is the whole point of the matter and if you really want some help for addiction then you need to take a creative approach to recovery.

Recovery is not spiritual. It is holistic. This includes spiritual growth and transcends it with a comprehensive holistic approach. Get more addiction tips here.

Helping Alcoholics

Helping alcoholics isn’t easy.

The main reason for this is that most alcoholics are slowly self-destructing.  They know this is happening but they are powerless to stop it.  They are trapped in a cycle.

If you’re the friend or a loved one of an alcoholic, then you’ve probably tried all sorts of different things to get them to quit drinking.  Here’s a quick summary of what doesn’t work:

1) Pleading with them to stop

2) Threatening them in any way

3) Trying to manipulate them into quitting

4) Shaming them

5) Screaming at them or getting angry with them

And so on.  None of these things work at all to help the alcoholic or get them closer to quitting drinking.

So how can we help them?

It boils down to a few strategies on your part.  Most of it is indirect stuff, but it is still important in the long run.  Here are some of the key components:

1) Stop enabling them.

2) Set healthy limits and boundaries.

3) Ignore their drinking episodes in order to force them to look at themselves.

4) Allow them to decide to quit for themselves instead of trying to force the decision.

Want to know more?  Here is the full scoop on how you can help an alcoholic.

Life Coaching and How it Can Help You in Recovery

Life coaching is a controversial topic when it comes to recovery.  Some people argue that a life coach is not a true professional, and is essentially acting like a “paid sponsor.”

These criticisms are unfounded based on what a life coach actually does for you.

The purpose of the life coach is not to give professional advice or even necessarily therapeutic counseling.  Instead, the life coach is there to unlock your creative potential from within and challenge you to rise to your full potential.

A life coach is not someone who walks you through detox.  In fact, the life coach isn’t really all that helpful for stage one recovery at all (when you are first getting clean and sober).  Instead, the life coach can really be beneficial to you when you are entering stage 2 recovery (when you are living holistic principles in long term recovery).

In essence, the life coach is most useful in helping you to make the transition into long term sobriety.  Their role is to push you to pursue personal growth on a number of different levels and to make genuine growth and progress in your recovery.

Life coaching is different from sponsorship in that sponsorship is basically restricted to spiritual growth, whereas life coaching takes a much broader approach in pushing for growth in a variety of areas.  In this way life coaching can be a very powerful tool for recovery.

A sponsor gets you sober, but a life coach keeps you sober.

Go here if you are interested in a free session with a reputable recovery life coach.  Keith is an excellent life coach and he specializes in addiction and recovery.

New Book – Recovering Me, Discovering Joy

I just found a unique author with a good recovery book that seems to mirror a lot of my ideas about recovery.  Vivian talks about recovery from a real-world, practical standpoint and also incorporates overcoming depression and anxiety into her recovery efforts, something that I think a lot of addicts and alcoholics struggle with.

Vivian also focuses on practicing gratitude as part of a positive attitude in recovery.  This is very much in line with my personal philosophy of recovery as well.  I think eventually the question becomes for anyone in recovery: “OK, now how am I going to live a sober life?”

Eventually we move beyond that first stage of recovery where we are shocked just to be off the drugs and the booze.  We have to branch out and start growing in new directions and find a new life in recovery.  I think this is where my philosophy probably overlaps with Vivian’s.  We both push for a holistic and spiritual approach to long term recovery.

Vivian also has a free report that you can download instantly that has some good information about recovery and how to help struggling alcoholics as well.  You can check that out along with her recovery book right here.

Strategies for Recovering Drug Addicts

Here is a good post here about recovering drug addicts and how they can use a small number of core strategies in order to guide them in their recovery.

These are long term strategies that make as much sense to use in early recovery as they do in long term sobriety.

The first idea is to focus on personal growth.  This includes a wide range of categories, such as our fitness, our emotional health, and our spirituality.

But the focus on personal growth differs from most recovery programs because it is a holistic approach, taking the whole person into account, including the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects.

Obviously, just this area alone (personal growth) can have a tremendous amount of detail for finding new ways to grow and develop.

The second area is in building a network of support.  Presumably, this would be comprised mostly of recovering addicts and alcoholics.  I’m convinced that there are some people out there who stay sober through this technique alone.  But combining a support network with the other two strategies is much more empowering.

The third strategy listed is to simply care for yourself.  The suggestion is to ask yourself, with each decision, “Is this really the healthiest choice for me?”  This is a simple but empowering strategy for recovering addicts who often times have a history of self-sabotage and destructive behaviors, many of which continue in a variety of ways even in recovery.

Take a look at these 3 strategies for recovering drug addicts and see if you can’t apply them to your life.

Helping Drug Addicts Overcome Addiction

Drug addicts overcome addiction through a process.

It starts back when they are still using drugs heavily, and their life is out of control.  The first hint of breaking through their denial starts tickling their brain.  Sometimes this takes decades of heavy abuse before someone reaches this point.

Eventually a moment of surrender is reached.  The addict throws in the towel and decides to give life another chance.  Now it is my belief that if this moment of surrender is real, that will basically be the end of their drinking and drugging.  In other words, the reason that people relapse with this disease is because they were not ready to quit drinking and drugging in the first place.

That’s why they call it “hitting bottom.”  It is a moment of finality; a complete and total surrender.  The addict is completely beaten.

Until they get to this point, you could never possibly list enough reasons to quit drinking, nor could you convince them that there is a wonderful life outside of drug addiction.  They simply won’t hear you, nor will they believe you.  That’s because they are trapped in denial….stuck on the hamster wheel, so to speak.  They can’t picture their life without drugs and alcohol.  Nor do they want to.  It’s just too scary.

How we can help people break through denial

Since I got clean and sober, I have been constantly seeking better information about how to help a drug addict.  I happen to work in a treatment center with a detox unit, and so I have definitely had a lot of practice at trying to help them, as I have helped to treat literally thousands of drug addicts over the past 4 years.  And let me tell you: it’s not easy.

One of the best ways to help an addict, believe it or not, is to <em>not</em> help them.  Or to be more specific, not enable them.  This means not helping them to get more drugs or alcohol or helping them avoid the natural consequences of their using.  In other words, you might have to let them fall on their face a bit in order to really “help” them.

Remember what the key is to overcoming addiction: that magical moment of surrender.  Without it, the addict is merely playing games…they might stay clean for a short while, but unless they have experienced utter devastation and truly surrendered with their whole being, they are not going to stay clean and sober.  So get out of their way and let them find their bottom, hard as that might be.  You might just be saving their life.

Also, be sure to check out this new recovering blogger on the scene, the recovery princess.  She is detailing her journey through sobriety; looks like good stuff. 

Overcoming Addiction with Your Spiritual Self

How does spirituality affect our recovery?

Spirituality is the overall principle that can tie all of our recovery efforts together.  It is our attitude-shaper.

If we can connect with a higher power each day in a meaningful way, then our recovery will benefit because of it.  We can do this in a couple of general ways.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to “old ideas” that you might have about what constitutes “spirituality.”  Instead, find your own path by trying the following:

1) Pray. If you don’t believe in prayer, you can always just focus on thoughts of gratitude for a while.

2) Meditate. Find your sanctuary and enjoy some peace and quiet time.  Sit in the stillness with your eyes closed and watch your mind.  Observe.  Don’t judge your thoughts and let them come as they will.

3) Connect with others by trying to help them and empower them.  In other words, don’t enable people, but genuinely help them to help themselves.  Bonus points if the person happens to be in recovery and you are helping them overcome addiction.

4) Be mindful throughout your day.  Watch your mind and your own reactions.  Be observant about how you are reacting to things.  Strive for peace and serenity.

5) Let go of dogma that rules your concept of spirituality and find your own spiritual self.  Notice what works and what brings peace into your life. Recovery is about finding a practical spirituality that works for you.

Stop Drinking and Create a New Life For Yourself

How can you stop drinking and create a new life for yourself?

To the alcoholic who is trapped in a cycle of addiction, this question can seem baffling, even preposterous.  But there is hope for a better life and overcoming alcohol addiction if an alcoholic is willing to follow a few simple steps:

(Note that there are a million ways to get sober, this is just one suggested path.  But it’s one that worked for me):

1) Go to a treatment center for detox – This is especially important if you are alcoholic, as alcohol withdrawal can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.  Yes, it can kill you not to drink in some cases, so best to get yourself under professional care if you are going to be going through detox.

There are other benefits to detoxing in a drug rehab as well….for example, you will usually have access to a residential treatment program as well, and a proper detox facility can potentially assist you with medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and sometimes even with drug cravings as well.

2) Stay for residential treatment as well – this is what used to be a 28 day program, nowadays it usually only lasts about 2 weeks or so.  Still highly recommended for the sheer value of giving you a moment’s peace from drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as to give you a chance to learn about recovery and some coping skills for when you get out.

3) Follow their recommendation for aftercare
– If the treatment center recommends long term treatment, then go to long term treatment.  Pretty much everyone who goes against these types of recommendations usually regrets it.

4) Focus on staying clean and building a recovery network in early recovery - This is early recovery.  Stay clean and network with other recovering addicts and alcoholics.  For most people this will mean heavy AA or NA meetings and/or sponsorship.  This is the foundation of your life in recovery.  The trip to rehab was just a small blip on the map; now you have to live the rest of your life.

5) Transition to a purposeful and creative life - Start branching out and doing new things, as well as revisiting old dreams.  For example, my sponsor in early recovery pushed me to go back to college in my second year of sobriety, and I’m so glad he did.  This is about living life, not just hitting meetings.  Diversify and explore.

6) Embrace the creative life in recovery – Once you see the power of the creative life in recovery, you should embrace it as your long term solution.  Find creative ways to help others….bonus points if they happen to be recovering addicts and alcoholics, although this is not necessary.  Seek spiritual growth, but also tend to other areas of your life, such as nutrition, mental health, physical fitness, and so on.  This is about empowering yourself to succeed in multiple areas of your life, not just limiting yourself to “spirituality” or “recovery.”

7) Approach long term sobriety holistically - Now you have completely transitioned out of “early recovery” and you are creating a new and exciting life with passion and purpose.  Seek health and balance in all areas of your life with a holistic approach.

Go here for more info on how to stop drinking.

My Personal Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery

Here is an overview of some of the beliefs that I have sorted out in my first 7 years of recovery from addiction and alcoholism:

1) Addiction is complicated. It is a complete mess, and turns your life into a complete mess.  We don’t become addicted overnight.  Addiction is complicated.  Therefore, recovery is necessarily complicated as well.

2) You need a replacement strategy. I was passionate about using drugs and alcohol, so I need to find passion in my life in recovery to replace that with.  Anything less will cause me to relapse.  Why be bored with life, when you could potentially return to the ups and downs of active addiction?  We need to find passion in recovery.

3) Those who find long term success in recovery actively create a new life for themselves.  This is more than just working steps and abstaining from chemicals and growing spiritually.  It is purposeful living with growth and momentum.

4) The treatment industry is broken, and needs something to supercharge it.  Everything we know about treating addiction is wrong.  There is nothing wrong with the 12 step model, but the way we implement it is clearly failing for the vast majority.  Young people in particular need something new and fresh in recovery.  We can do better.

Just my 2 cents of course.  Anyone have any thoughts on these ideas?  Let us know in the comments!