Winter 2015 in recovery magazine

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Volume 14 Winter 2015


Elizabeth Edwards It Was But Yesterday By Betty DellaCorte

A Cold Winter’s Night By Kristen Cannavino

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June 2 - 5, 2016

July 10 - 13, 2016

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Earn up to of continuing education and choose from more than challenging workshops.

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Join us for the 7th annual West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders (WCSAD). WCSAD is a rapidly growing national addiction conference held in collaboration with the Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Family Addiction Professionals, this premier addiction conference is dedicated to continuing education and networking. In 2015, WCSAD hosted a RECORD 1,014 attendees from 45 states and 7 countries.

Join us for the 4th annual Clinical Overview of the Recovery Experience (C.O.R.E.). Each year, C.O.R.E. hosts hundreds of addiction professionals from various states who want to advance their understanding of the principles behind abstinencebased recovery practices. The conference is structured as a forum to increase the collective understanding of recovery processes. The goal is to improve outcomes by better integrating abstinencebased practices and Twelve-Step principles into therapeutic initiatives.

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In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Table of Contents

Cover Story

12 | House of Mirrors by Elizabeth Edwards My journey has been rich with ups and downs. I have been present for it all. I don’t have to be perfect to stay sober and find happiness.

Features 16 | It Was but Yesterday by Betty DellaCorte

This is my story, this is my song . . . by Rusty Golden I was on the road as a professional musician by the age of twelve. Unfortunately, being around and performing with grown-ups put me in the path of “grown-up things.”

18 |

The Toll It Takes by Barbara Bice Because of my own journey through addiction and recovery, I have the great opportunity of sharing my own hope and encouragement with others.

With the help of my Higher Power, I took back my life. For the next 27 years, I shared this recovery process with others by transforming my home into the first known shelter in this country for victims of domestic violence.

A Cold Winter’s Night by Kristen Cannavino Picture it – an old rustic church in Portland, Oregon. There’s just enough snow to whiten the surrounding streets. The air smells like Christmas, and my mind is crisp and clear.

Theme: Holiday Tips 24 | Party Sober by Rachel Black

Worried about learning to socialize all over again now that you don’t drink alcohol? You are not alone.

26 |

The Gifts of Surrender by Judith Orloff Surrender is a positive, healthy state. Throughout the holiday season, surrender opens me to live in the flow of life as I trust what is and accept serendipity and surprises.

28 | Sane and Sober Holidays by Regina Walker

Too many people wake up on January 1st with unwanted added pounds, bad memories of poor choices made during the holiday season, as well as unwanted debt.

Articles 38 | Before You Speak by D.J. Victory-Franceschelli 40 | Sacred Disease, Sacred Solution by Jeffrey Bryan Grubert 44 | Unique by Design by Regina Cates 46 | Not Normal by Dr. George Baxter-Holder 56 | Not Without Some Fear by Gabriella Reyes

20 |

22 |

30 |

Sleigh Bells Ring by Andy Sullivan The festive season looms large on the horizon. Just because I decided to stop drinking, the rest of the world hasn’t changed; the difference is how I view and handle the situations and my feelings about them.

34 | Slip out the back, Jack . . . by Mary Goodrich

My son, Justin Matthew Wolfe, should have turned 24 years old in June of this year. However, on December 19, 2012, Justin’s life ended as a result of a heroin overdose.

Recovering Artist 50 |

Alcoholics Everywhere by Cynthia Wicks Cynthia Wicks is a sober poet and playwright living in the Hawaiian Islands. Aloha!

60 | Roommates in Recovery by Patty Baret 61 | Clean by Wes Hurt 62 | I Quit Driving the Bus by Patti Crowley 64 | UNITE to Face Addiction by David Cooke

Call for Stories

We fill up fast! While writing, art and photography submissions must be received by the following deadlines, we must assign your work to a specific issue at least one month before the deadline.

Spring Issue (published March 1st) Summer Issue (published June 1st) Fall Issue (published September 1st) Winter Issue (published December 1st) Summer 2016 – Athletes in Recovery

Are you an athlete in recovery? Tell us how you found recovery and what you do to stay healthy, happy and clean. Have you had a sports or exercise addiction from which you have recovered? Did you become addicted because of a sports injury? Are you a professional who treats addicted athletes? Share your story or information in a 900- to 1,200-word narrative. Deadline: February 1, 2016

Fall 2016 – Collegiate Programs and Youth in Recovery

Are you involved in a collegiate or high school recovery program as a student or professional? Have you had personal experience with a treatment program tailored for either college students or teens? Are you involved in a Twelve Step youth program? Send us your 900- to 1,200-word narrative. Deadline: May 1, 2016

Deadline: November 1st Deadline: February 1st Deadline: May 1st Deadline: August 1st

Winter 2016 – Holiday Tips, Winter Weddings and Winter Recovery Getaways

Are you planning a winter 2015 wedding? We’d love to follow and feature a sober wedding celebration. Have you planned a successful wedding without alcohol? Know of winter recovery-oriented or recovery-friendly vacations? Do you have techniques for dealing with the winter blues? Send us your 900- to 1,200-word narrative. Deadline: August 1, 2016

Spring 2017 – Seniors Seeking Sobriety and Recovery Humor

Where are the treatment programs tailored for people over 60? Are you involved in a seniors’ Twelve Step group? Can you address the unique issues of addicted seniors? Are you a professional working with seniors in recovery? Send us your humorous stories or comics about recovery. Articles or stories should be 900 to 1,200 words. Deadline: November 1, 2016

Submission guidelines at Email queries to

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine







5” Glue Tab Reference

29 |

Meditation by Michael Lyding Do you see a spark in their eye when you walk into the room? Are they glad to see you, at least sometimes? Is their concept of love evolving from tolerating to enjoying you? 5” 127mm

32 | The BookStand

Recovery is the subject of countless books. Here are some titles worth a look.

36 | Book Review Mindfulness and the 12 Steps by Lena H.

By comparing each Step to a Buddhist principle or set of principles, the author salts the traditional Twelve Step program with a seasoning of Buddhism’s ancient wisdom.


Score Line

Glue Tab Reference


42 |

BodyTalk by Victoria Abel If we are consuming foods and beverages that we don’t digest well, the body responds with inflammation – sometimes chronic and systemic.

48 | Kay’s Kitchen by Kay Luckett


Receiving assistance and kindness was a lesson I learned when I moved to my little cabin almost two years ago. I was at the receiving end of a dynamic demonstration of love.

51 | Travelin’ Sober Man by Bob Kocher

Over the years, I have known many people who have balked at traveling because they were afraid they might relapse if they left the comfort of their home group nest.

52 |

Chaos and Clutter Free by Danielle Worth Organizing formula for success: a new year + new organizing habits = a new you.

58 | Recovery Tech by Ashley Loeb

In addition to sober living and outpatient treatment, the tech world provides the addiction medicine field with another wonderful tool called Soberlink.

59 |

Rest for Your Soul by Rev. Michael Japenga Practicing a spirituality of perfection is not attractive. It is demanding of others and one’s self. It must succeed on its own terms. It must never fail. This is not the stuff of a Merry Christmas!


66 |

CrossTalk by Mollé CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several endings.


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In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

From the Publisher Kim Welsh

P.O. Box 11176, Prescott, AZ 86304 CEO/Publisher

Kim Welsh

Editor in Chief

Janet A. Hopkins

Operations Manager Senior Copyeditor Copyeditors Subscriptions Advertising Sales Layout/Design Graphic Artist/Ad Design Cover Photo Kay’s Kitchen CrossTalk Book Review Meditation Rest for Your Soul Travelin’ Sober Man BodyTalk Recovery Tech Chaos and Clutter Free

Valerie Lambert Rebecca (Becca) Fields Barbara Schuderer Mary Locke John Schuderer Jacque Miller Kim Welsh Patricia Mastrobuoni Christopher Vigil Kay Luckett Stephanie Moles Lena H.


ow! What a year it’s been. And to think there was a time when I thought life in recovery would be boring. The ups and downs of the publishing industry are not for the faint of heart. I’m not saying I’m tough, although I guess I am tough enough to have made it through our third year in print – but not without help. Thank God for recovery showing me it’s okay to ask for help, or we wouldn’t be a publication today. When you believe in something as strongly as I believe in this magazine, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. We made it to the “big time” this year! IRM made it to all 650 Barnes & Noble newsstands and Hastings stores around the country. We fired up our own digital subscription app through iTunes and pocketmags. We’ve received subscriptions from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, which I’d say makes us an international publication. And why not? Addiction is worldwide, and so is recovery. Our goal is to reach as many readers as possible, all around the globe. We are celebrating recovery again November 13th and 14th with our 2nd Annual Gratitude Gala and Expo. A special thanks to Master of Ceremonies, Rick Baney, for giving me a chance to step away from the limelight and enjoy the weekend’s activities. Mark Lundholm is sure to give another epic stand-up performance and keep us all in stitches. Flip It Gymnastics will delight the guests with whimsy and mischief. Taryn Gates will bring the house down with her singing. Jeremy Miller is scheduled to share his experience, strength and hope with the Expo crowd; and Dr. George Baxter-Holder, my friend and author of Drugs, Food, Sex and God, is sure to inspire folks with excerpts from his book. A special shout out to all of our award recipients, workshop presenters and sponsors who will make this year’s event the absolute best. If you can’t make our 2015 Caribbean sober cruise, keep an eye on our website, as we may plan another cruise in 2017. Bon voyage, 2015. Thanks for the memories.

Kim Welsh

Michael Lyding Michael Japenga

From the Editor

Bob Kocher

Janet A. Hopkins

Victoria Abel


Ashley Loeb Danielle Wurth

In Recovery Magazine reserves the right to editorial control of all articles, stories and Letters to the Editor. In Recovery Magazine assumes no responsibility for errors within its publication. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of In Recovery Magazine and should not be construed as endorsements. Furthermore, In Recovery Magazine will not be responsible for any claims, losses or damages (whether direct or indirect) arising out of or relating to the use of or reliance on the contents of this magazine. No part of this magazine or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted without the prior written consent of the author and/or publisher, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials. Materials contained in this magazine are subject to copyright and other proprietary rights. The publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

know many of our readers participated in September Recovery Month events all over the country. In Recovery Magazine staff was in attendance at the Prescott, Arizona, event. Our own Senior Copyeditor, Becca Fields, was the chairwoman. Many of our writers and advertisers turned out, including Peer to Peer columnist, Bill W., who came all the way from Pueblo, Colorado. Local treatment providers chatted with community officials and the public as they strolled by the various booths. Next year, find out what’s happening in your neck of the woods and get involved. Not only is it fun, but it’s a great opportunity to share recovery with your community. I say this every year, and I’ll say it again . . . it’s Christmas already?! In a few days, the staff and friends of In Recovery Magazine will be heading to the Caribbean for our first annual sober cruise. I’ll be picking up an anniversary medallion at sea. The years have flown by in a glorious melee of service, inspiring work and the love of family and friends. Who could ask for more? I hope you enjoy our gifts to you this issue – moving stories and simple ways to walk through the holidays with dignity and grace. As Norman Barber, my aftercare therapist, earth angel and, later, my dear friend – a well-known recovery figure in the Washington DC area – said to me those many years ago, “Janet, you just gotta give it up. It’s all or nothin’.” He was right, and I’m glad I did. I made it through that Christmas and many since, clean and sober. I hope you do, too.

© In Recovery Magazine 2012. All Rights Reserved. The magazine is a nonpartisan publication published quarterly by founder and publisher, Kim Welsh. In Recovery Magazine is distributed by Disticor.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


Letters to the Editor

Barnes & Noble

Pick up your copy today at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Hastings or an independant bookstore or newsstand near you. UR Linked

In May 2015, I attended the Association of Recovery in Higher Education Conference in Reno, Nevada. I gave a presentation on social media using my app, UR Linked to Resources for Families of People with Substance Use Disorder. I hope this app will bring more awareness to organizations such as yours. I have been following In Recovery Magazine for over two years. Your magazine is a great representation of a publication celebrating people in recovery, so I used it as an example in our presentation. We received very good feedback from the audience. I hope you had some new likes and subscriptions after my presentation. I’m hoping to help unite everyone’s efforts!


I just received the Fall issue of In Recovery Magazine today. Yay! It looks great, and what fun to see some of my writing in print. I am so appreciative of the opportunity you gave me. It’s awesome to collaborate with all the wonderful people I have met along my journey. Dalene S. Boise, Idaho

From the Web

I absolutely love writer, H. Thomas Gillis! He has an amazing gift of words. I can’t wait to read more and more and more. E. G. Walker Connecticut

Nancy Carter Daniels Oak Ridge, Tennessee

I found it! I bought my first issue of In Recovery Magazine at Barnes & Noble in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cassandra G. Charlottesville, Virginia

A special thanks to all of our sponsors for this year’s 2nd Annual Gratitude Gala and Expo. With your support, we can reach the stars!

Editor’s Note: H. Thomas Gillis won an honorable mention in our 2015 Families in Recovery editorial award category. Read his stirring story, Uncle Johnny’s Christmas, in the Winter 2014 issue of In Recovery Magazine.

We welcome your comments.

Send them to us at In Recovery Magazine, 1555 W. Iron Springs Road, Suite 11, Prescott, Arizona 86305 or email Tweet us at @InRecovery_Mag. Submissions may be edited.

Check out our new digital app!

In Recovery Magazine for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and other mobile devices is here! Enjoy the stories you love in a convenient and readable way. The app is available for download from the App Store. Other mobile devices including Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8, Facebook and Blackberry Playbook may download the In Recovery App at


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Winter 2015




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In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

House of Mirrors By Elizabeth Edwards


he day was October 13, 1986. I woke up to what I thought might be the worst day of my life. As it turned out, it ended up being one of the best days of my life. I had what people in recovery call a “moment of clarity” – that moment when denial is cracked wide open, and you can’t lie to yourself anymore. Everything changed. Around midday that Sunday, I came to and was confronted with questions I couldn’t answer: “Where is your car?” “Do you remember what you did last night?” and the one that really got my attention, “Where is your son?” Apparently, I’d left my three-year-old son at a babysitter’s house that prior Thursday with every intention, and a promise, to pick him up in a few hours. Three days later, I could barely piece together where I had been, what I had been doing and with whom. I had gaps in my memory and was confused. The people in my life were quietly disgusted. Some actually had the nerve to tell me what they thought of my behavior. More than one person told me they thought alcohol was my problem. They would say, “You are such a nice girl except when you drink. Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much.” I shut out my critics by justifying my reasons for drinking and blaming others for their lack of understanding. I truly felt like a victim of life – like I was stuck climbing up a down escalator. Life was happening to me, and I couldn’t stop it. I vacillated between feelings of self-righteous anger, blaming others, glorified self-pity and wallowing in suicidal fantasies. I was out of control, beat up and exhausted. That Sunday afternoon, I thought, Maybe they are right. Maybe I do have a problem with alcohol. For some reason, I was able to let it sink in. Until then, I had not even considered alcohol a problem – it had been the solution to all my problems. It made me feel good; it took the edge off and made me feel comfortable in my own skin. The thought of giving it up had been out of the question. Plus, it wasn’t like I drank every day, so there was no way I was an alcoholic . . . right? I thought alcoholics were bums living under bridges, drinking

Winter 2015

from bottles in paper sacks. Or people like my dad’s father, who caused death and destruction after he passed out drunk on the couch with a cigarette and burned down the family home. Or like my mom’s father, a charismatic, well-liked, hardworking ironworker on some of San Francisco’s famous bridges, who brutalized his wife and children for years, then bought a fishing boat and drank himself to death on it. Nope, that wasn’t me. I was a 25-year-old, single mother and fulltime student at Chico State working on a degree in communications. I had a promising future. I had long suspected there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want it to be alcoholism; I knew if I was an alcoholic, I would have to quit. I’d known people who went to “those” meetings; they always wound up quitting. I had even been to “those” meetings. I would say, “Hi, I’m Liz; and I’m a visitor.” I would think to myself, This is great for “these” people. However, this particular Sunday, the idea that maybe my drinking was the reason I was having so many problems stuck in my head. I couldn’t shake it. Could this be what was wrong with me? I decided I would quit temporarily. I was resistant to the idea of “quitting, quitting” and had no intention of going back to “those” meetings. I had quit for periods of time before – nine months one time, after an especially humiliating string of poor choices that I had blamed on other people. This time, my delusion of being able to quit easily was dashed as I “white-knuckled” my way alone through detox, severe anxiety attacks and agoraphobia. I was barely functioning, but I was sober. Unfortunately, I felt worse, not better. By the grace of God, I ended up in a Twelve Step meeting at 30 days sober and finally felt some hope. I listened to the people sharing their stories; but this time, I related to them. I knew I was in the right place. It took time for me to fully concede to my innermost self that I was bodily and mentally different when it came to alcohol. The longer I stayed, the more I understood and accepted this truth. The more meetings I attended, the better I felt. I couldn’t deny

In Recovery Magazine


that I belonged. I learned that drinking was a symptom of my problem, not the cause. I worked the Steps they promised would heal my life. Because I didn’t want to go back to drinking, I was willing to do the work. I began to understand the progression of my alcoholism. After I learned that addiction can run in families, I looked at the patterns of drinking in my family and my life, and started to forgive myself. I realized I was a sick person trying to get well, not a bad person trying to become good. I looked at my history. When I was 16 years old and a sophomore in high school, I was the lead singer in a jazz choir that competed in international jazz festivals, a state honor student in music and the lead in the high school musical. I was celebrated as a songwriter by my fellow students and admired in my community. I had an outstanding music teacher who recognized and encouraged my musical talent and was working to secure a college scholarship for me. I was a cheerleader, maintained a B average and had many friends. But by the time I turned eighteen, I was a high school dropout. I had run away from home with some of my “party friends” who understood me. I was intoxicated on a regular basis. I stayed away from my family for about a year, during which time I suffered suicidal depressions and bouts of total hopelessness. Alcohol had taken me down that road, but I just couldn’t see it. I thought I was a bad person who drank because people “made” me feel that way. I was the middle child in a big church-going family of nine kids. Drinking alcohol was strictly forbidden and no small sin. In fact, my parents and their religion viewed drinking as a moral failing. I was strongly discouraged from drinking by my parents and our church. The only references to alcoholism I had were my two grandfathers, who had created tremendous shame and pain in my parents’ lives. The idea that alcoholism is a disease that kills or a disorder that can be treated was never entertained in my family. My parents, both untreated adult children of alcoholics, had found some serenity in a religion and way of life that promoted a type of perfectionism that worked for them, but not for me. I could not live up to their standards. This damaged my self-worth, alienated me from my family as a black sheep and promoted the shame and guilt that fueled my addiction. Looking for direction, I soon went from daily intoxication to binge drinking, counterbalanced by weeks of good behavior. I returned to school for my high school diploma and then completed an associate of arts degree at a community college. I married, had a baby and divorced.

while intoxicated. I decided to give up music; it never occurred to me to give up drinking. However, after seven years sober, I was overflowing with songs, although I still didn’t trust myself to pursue a career in music. I played it safe and became a songwriter. I joined a songwriting organization and started hanging around other songwriters. We’d pitch our songs to publishers from Los Angeles and Nashville in hopes of getting a cut picked up by a well-known artist. I grew frustrated as I continued to receive the same feedback, “Good song, great voice. Why are you pitching these songs to other singers? You should be singing and recording them yourself.” One day, a friend of mine called and told me she was working with a young comedian doing a Twelve-Step comedy show. She asked if I had a song about recovery and, if I did, could she play the demo for him. Of course, I said, “Yes!” The comedian liked it and asked if I would open his show at a local performing arts center. That was in 1994. The song was Power to Change and the comedian was Mark Lundholm. I am forever grateful to him for creating the opening that gave me permission to be true to myself. After that first show, people asked me where they could buy my CD. I didn’t have a CD; however, by compiling numerous demos, I produced my first CD that year. Opportunities continued to come my way because of my willingness to grow past my fears and because I was practicing principle-based living as my foundation for a healthy and happy life. Over the years, I’ve written and recorded many songs; however, it’s been my songs about recovery that resonate the most with my fans and with me. I am blessed with a beautiful, musical journey that has mirrored my personal recovery. My new record, House of Mirrors, is by far my best work. The small miracles that led to this project and the impact it has had so far, confirm my faith. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. What a great feeling! Recovery for me has been an inside job – a process of owning all of me and honoring the journey that brought me home to myself. I had no idea how good life could be, that decades later I would have the beautiful, amazing life I live today. My journey has been rich with ups and downs. It has demanded I grow in my sobriety and face addiction on many levels. I have been present for it all. I don’t have to be perfect to stay sober and find happiness; I just have to practice.

I decided I needed a four-year degree, so I moved to Chico, California, to attend college. Cocaine and diet pills enhanced my ability to control my weight and achieve. Achieving made me feel good about myself; but after awhile I needed to take the edge off, so I would binge on alcohol. This worked until that fateful day in October. If it weren’t for unfortunate blackouts and bouts of suicidal obsessions, I would probably still be bingeing and doing drugs. I am so grateful to have found a better way to live.

Elizabeth Edwards is a singer-songwriter especially appreciated by those in recovery because of the powerful recovery message in her songs. She is celebrating 29 years of continuous sobriety. With the support of Duffy’s Napa Valley and the Gene Duffy Foundation, she plays an active role in the recovery movement. You can learn more about her music and advocacy work at

During my drinking years, I’d embarrassed myself by singing 14

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Recovery Begins Here.


It was but Yesterday By Betty DellaCorte

Four generations: back row Cori, Robin, front row Betty and Emma


hanging What I Can is the narrative of my lifelong passion for equality and self-worth. Dynamics in my family, culminated in the severest trauma a woman can experience: life-threatening abuse and victimization. But in 1970, with my daughters, eleven-year-old Lisa and fourteen-year-old Robin, who unwittingly partnered with me, I took back my life. For the next 27 years, I shared this recovery process with others by transforming my home into the first known shelter in this country for victims of domestic violence.

I, along with a small group of those who believed as I did, created The Faith House Agencies in Glendale, Arizona, in 1972. The Faith House Agencies were shelters and nonresident offices where individuals involved in domestic abuse – offenders, spouses and troubled youth – could go for help and support. We expanded to Prescott, Arizona, in 1980. Because I was unable to be in two places at once, I enlisted my daughter Robin, then 24 and living in Prescott, to be at the helm of this shelter. Three years later, Robin married a homebuilder, Harold, and had a beautiful baby girl, Cori. Robin took Cori to work with her almost every day. Three years later a beautiful baby boy, Joey, was added to their wonderful family. In the year 2000, the agency was awarded over 1.6 million dollars to build a 28,000 square foot, 64-bed facility in Glendale. The facility was built on five acres of land owned by Faith House. However, despite the national accolades and awards I received for my achievements in the abuse recovery field, I found myself a pawn in a political battle for control of the Faith House Agencies. I learned another valuable lesson – even after recovery, people are not 16

immune to victimization, sometimes at the hands of those who have been the most trusted. My journey, as well as for those who journeyed with me for 25 years, was over. But before it ended, Robin, then 44, predicted what was ahead for the Prescott Faith House. She asked to separate and become autonomous from the mother agency in Glendale. She had confidence that the people in Prescott would help Faith House stay alive. Robin changed the name of the Prescott shelter to Stepping Stones Agencies; and I, quite reluctantly, retired.

The Circle of Life For over ten years, my other daughter, Lisa, had effectively managed the Faith House outpatient facility in Glendale. During the political upheaval, she resigned with a heavy heart, moved to Prescott and built a home a short distance from Robin and her family. For the past nine years, Lisa has been a survivor of Stage 3 breast cancer. She and her husband, Scott, now successfully work in real estate. In her free time, Lisa also fulfills a lifelong dream by playing the guitar and singing in different venues throughout the Prescott area. My family encouraged me to return to my career as an interior designer. I did this for a few years in the Phoenix area, but I missed my children and grandchildren. So in 2004, I transferred to a design center in Prescott and moved to a senior community called Pine Lakes. Several years later, I received a call from my granddaughter, Cori, who now works as the lead advocate for Stepping Stones’ shelter residents, as well as in outreach to the community. She asked me if I would be willing to work at the

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

shelter for “Just a few hours a week, Grandma, as an advocate for the women in the shelter, leading Twelve Step meetings and educational groups, and possibly some one-on-ones.” Wow! With that phone call from my granddaughter, the precious little baby my daughter Robin had brought to the shelter almost every day, my life came full circle. At first, I was uncertain about Cori’s proposal. I felt I really didn’t have anything to offer anyone anymore. Being a CEO and an administrator for 25 years had kept me from working directly with the shelter women. Cori assured me it would all come back to me once I began working with the women. She said I could never forget the Twelve Step program. It had been my life, and I was grateful for having those tools during the trauma of losing Faith House.


In those early days when I first invited the tired and frightened women to my home, all I had wanted to do was share my story and hopefully pass on to them the faith that helped me find something better for my daughters and me.

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As Faith House grew, I lost that personal connection with the women. Today I believe I am doing exactly what God had in mind for me all along. As I enter the last part of my life, I understand that God isn’t through with me yet. Each day He shows me there are things left for me to do. That excites me because it means that for whatever time I have left on this earth, my life will be a new and wondrous adventure.

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I see with gratitude that the generational cycle of violence in my own family ended with my children. My granddaughter Cori, now 32, and her partner, Abraham, have a wonderful two-year-old, Emma. And yes, following tradition, Cori brought Emma to work, as Robin did with Cori 32 years before. I watch with pride the choices my grandson Joey, now 29, is making as he works toward his PhD in research accounting at the University of Illinois. At 82, I feel I am once again doing something valuable with my life. With this new burst of energy, I have an increased desire to be productive for my remaining years. Most of all, as I share with the ladies who are welcomed into Stepping Stones, I am reminded of just why and how shelters, with the philosophy of Stepping Stones Agencies, began some 43 years ago. Please visit the Stepping Stones website for more information on the program and how to get involved in advocacy for those individuals caught in the cycle of domestic violence.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 4th Edition 12 Steps Quick Reference

Step 1: .................... Pages 59-60 Step 2: .................... Pages 59-60 Step 3: .................... Pages 60-64 Step 4: .................... Pages 63-71 Step 5: .................... Pages 72-75 Step 6: ............................Page 76 Step 7: ............................Page 76 Step 8: .................... Pages 76-84 Step 9: .................... Pages 76-84 Step 10: .................. Pages 84-85 Step 11: .................. Pages 85-88 Step 12: ................ Pages 89-103


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A Cold Winter’s Night

By Kristen Cannavino


icture it – an old rustic church in Portland, Oregon, in December 2012. There’s just enough snow to whiten the surrounding streets. The air smells like Christmas; and my mind is crisp and clear, though this had not always been the case. Ninety days earlier, I walked out of a hospital after being treated for acute alcohol poisoning, and into the room of my first Twelve Step meeting. I was physically, mentally and spiritually broken, ready to surrender and face my most debilitating fear: living without alcohol. I let go and fully accepted that if I wanted to live, I needed recovery in my life. On this day, I find myself heading to one of my favorite Twelve Step meetings to pick up a 90-day coin for which I’ve worked so desperately. I fly into the church parking lot with a cup of steaming hot coffee; but to my surprise, the lot is cold, dark and completely empty. As I park next to the stairs leading up to the front door, all I see are the church lights shining across the snowy parking lot. To my disappointment, there isn’t a soul in sight. I run up the stairs and pull on the door, but it’s locked. I slowly walk back down the stairs and sit in my car. As time drifts by and 8:00 pm approaches, four other cars pull into the parking lot; but the church doors are still locked. We all sit in our cars for what seems to be the longest five minutes of my entire life. Then slowly, each of us begins to get out of our vehicles, five complete strangers; the silence is incredibly uncomfortable.

share their experience, strength and hope. Minutes pass as we talk about what the holidays used to be like and what they are like now. As the snow begins to blow sideways, we all jump into a Volkswagen bus and keep our conversation going. No coffee pots, meeting formats, chairs – just five strangers and the common bond of alcoholism. For the next three hours, we laugh, cry and share the message of hope in that old beat-up Volkswagen bus. We talk about turning anger, resentment and suffering into honesty, open-mindedness and willingness, and about how we are grateful to be sober. As we get ready to leave for the night, I mention that this was better than any 90-day celebration meeting I could ever have imagined. A woman reaches deep down into her bag and pulls out a 90-day coin. She says, “My sponsor gave this to me over ten years ago when I had my 90 days sober, and now I want you to have it.” My heart floods with gratitude and emotion that a complete stranger would give me something that had become so special to her. It was then that I truly began to understand the power of recovery – the unity within the fellowship – as we grow one day at a time together. We join hands, bundle up in a circle and say the Serenity Prayer. The snow is floating down around us; the lights are shining across the snow-covered parking lot as five people, once strangers, walk away from each other as new friends. I still have that 90-day coin, and I’ll never forget that night.

As the snow falls lightly into my hair, I stand there with my coffee. Two men anxiously walk around the parking lot, kicking rocks through the snow. A woman looks through the frosted glass window at the top of the stairs. Finally, someone shouts, “There is a meeting here tonight, no?” At that point, we slowly drift toward each other. We pull together and try to decide if we want to drive in the snow to another meeting or call it a night. Then, as naturally as you could possibly imagine, people begin to 18

In Recovery Magazine

Kristen Cannavino found acceptance surrounding her alcoholism in September 2012 and has been in recovery ever since. She believes that creating a strong sense of community is extremely powerful and positive. The “we” in recovery encourages a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself. Having that awareness embedded in one’s life is a gift. She just keeps coming back, one day at a time.

Winter 2015

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Oasis Behavioral Health Hospital serves the inpatient crisis and stabilization treatment needs of children and adolescents 11-17 and adults 18 and over who are experiencing psychiatric or substance abuse problems. We provide a safe, stable, and secure environment for the promotion of

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Oasis Behavioral Health Residential programs are Level 1 RTC/ BHIF providing services for adolescents ages 11 -17 experiencing emotional/behavioral and substance abuse difficulties. OBH provides a nurturing environment for adolescents to address psychiatric, chemical, trauma, and family issues while working with our highly qualified staff to achieve academic goals and prepare for a successful life in the community.


Oasis Behavioral Health Outpatient Services address a variety of psychiatric and substance needs including Intensive Outpatient Programs that address mental health, substance, trauma, and other co-occurring disorders.


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OBH is dedicated to the development of our clinical programs and practices. We pride ourselves on staff education programs and using current, evidence based practices. All of our programs are based on a person centered approach that includes harm reduction and self-directed recovery practices. Some of our evidence based interventions include Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), Living in Balance (LIB), Trauma Informed Care, Trauma Specific Care, and 12 Steps.

Oasis Behavioral Health uses recreation therapy to support the clinical services in our programs. Art expression, yoga, music, team sports, and aquatic recreation are among some of the activities used to promote healing, social and cognitive functioning, build confidence, develop coping skills, and integrate leisure skills into treatment.


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In Recovery Magazine

• Residential Treatment • Suicide Prevention


Country music’s enduring stereotype of wasted days and wasted nights gets washed clean in these 13 potent, poignant songs that reflect Golden’s profound turnaround after his own recovery from addiction and co-dependence. Outstanding production, Golden’s world-weathered honesty and his thoughtful selection of material combine to make this a masterful, moving and sometimes even grooving self-portrait of a life now turned toward light instead of darkness. – Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

This is my story, this is my song . . .

By Rusty Golden


y name is Rusty Golden, and I am a singer/songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1965, my father, William Lee Golden, moved our family from Brewton, Alabama, to Nashville in pursuit of his dream of becoming a professional singer. As a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, he has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, is a member of the legendary Grand Ole Opry and has sold over 42 million records worldwide. I was raised in and around the music industry. I took to music at a young age and was on the road as a professional musician by the age of twelve. Unfortunately, being around and performing with grown-ups put me in the path of “grown-up things.” By the time I was 18 years old, I was smoking pot nearly every day, had already tried cocaine and prescription narcotics, amphetamines and barbiturates; and I loved them. I also remember loving the taste of my grandfather’s cough medicine. As an adult, I was told about the time my grandfather found me nodding out on a couch after drinking some of it. I was only seven years old and didn’t know or understand what codeine was; but within ten years, I was searching it out.

In 1969 when I was ten years old, I was totally captivated by the whole psychedelic hippie lifestyle – the fashion, the Day-Glo colors, the music, heck . . . all of it. By the time I was twelve, I realized most of my favorite musicians took drugs. I started getting curious about this, but didn’t act on it until I reached the age of 16. 20

My first drug experience was with pot. I felt as though I had found the missing key to my happiness. I had that same feeling when I tried my first Quaalude (a popular sedative in those days) and Desoxyn (a prescription methamphetamine). I learned that Elvis, who was a friend of my father’s, also took these pills and carried a Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) around with him. I then bought my own PDR and began searching for Schedule II or III drugs (controlled substances which require a written prescription) since those were Elvis’ favorites. As a good ol’ southern boy I just wanted to be like Elvis. By the age of 18, I knew that the Schedule II drugs were the “better” (meaning more addictive) drugs. I was introduced to a person who was in partnership with the owner of an independent pharmacy and had a thriving drug-dealing business with mostly major entertainers and musicians as clients. One day, my drug supplier told me that they were out of my beloved Quaaludes; instead, they offered some multicolored capsules called Tuinal. This was my first barbiturate and almost my last drug ever; within 48 hours, I was in the hospital having my stomach pumped after an overdose. I was 20 years old, and Elvis had been dead two years. This slowed me down for sure, but it didn’t stop me. I would spend another 30 years chasing the high. I was able to function as a major label recording artist, touring musician and hit songwriter with multiple number one songs and awards; but I was never far away from the drugs.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

After 36 years of doing things my way – abusing drugs – I ended up in Oklahoma at a faith-based rehab called Rob’s Ranch. Two of my family members and a family friend had already gone through the 90-day minimum program. I ended up not only completing 120 days as a client, but an additional year as an employee. My counselors suggested I stay out of Nashville for a while, since it contained the people, places and things that contributed to my drug lifestyle. They hired me to conduct the morning and evening roll calls and bed checks, hand out meds in the medication room and drive clients to medical, dental and legal appointments. I also supervised the clients’ urinalyses (UA) when they would come back after weekends off the property. Talk about a change of scene! I went from playing music in arenas and signing autographs to asking an 18-year-old meth addict to sign his name for me on a UA form. But guess what . . . I came to enjoy the normalcy of being around people I would never have hung with in my life back home. I still am in contact with some of these folks. I was fortunate to use my musical talents at Rob’s Ranch now and then. I would play recovery-themed songs to the clients. I also played for the families in the Transitions family program or on weekend visits and was privileged to see what the power of words and music could do for those folks. During 2014, I created an all-recovery-themed album I titled Sober. I am back in Nashville now, but I continue going to meetings and performing at treatment centers. In September, I performed at the 2015 Recovery Fest here in Nashville. My life is so much better. I don’t wake up having to take a handful of pills just to feel normal. I still have a long way to go in other aspects of my life, but I’m okay with the oneday-at-a-time concept. I’m thankful I’m still here and have a true testimony that can help and inspire people. Thanks for reading. Now, start listening!

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Rusty Golden’s new album, Sober, is available on iTunes and other digital download outlets. There is a video sampler on the RustyGoldenTV channel on YouTube that contains audio clips from the album. If you want to know more about his life as a recording artist and award-winning songwriter, read his bio at

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s my husband and I were leaving church one Sunday, we drove by a well-dressed couple walking down the sidewalk to their car. As we drove by, I tried not to stare, but something about them caught my eye. After we passed them, I turned to my husband and said, “I believe that man is an alcoholic.” He quickly looked in the rearview mirror and asked, “How in the world can you tell?” I said, “Because I looked at his wife.” I saw it in her face; I saw it in her eyes. I’ve seen that same look many times on the faces of family, friends and strangers. I’ve had that look myself – a look of desperation and hopelessness. Months later, I met that women for the first time and learned my assumption had been correct. I know the high cost of loving someone with the disease of addiction. I am the granddaughter of an alcoholic, the daughter of an alcoholic, the wife of a recovering addict and the mother of a recovering addict. Just writing that sentence causes me to want to run as fast as I can to the nearest Al-Anon meeting! Addiction runs deep and wide in my family. I have heard it said, “Addiction is a family sport, and everyone gets to play.” Sad, but true. Addiction takes an enormous financial, emotional and spiritual toll on families. As a young child, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of my father yelling at my mother. He was one of the kindest and most generous men I’ve ever known; but when he drank, the alcohol changed him. He became angry and argumentative.


As a child, the first emotion I remember feeling was fear. I knew our family was different, but we never talked about it. There was an elephant in our living room; and we tiptoed around it, pretending it wasn’t there. My father’s addiction felt like a dirty family secret I dared not share with anyone. Today, counselors and therapists call this denial. It was a very high toll for a child to pay. I was blindsided by my husband’s cocaine addiction. We were just shy of our 21st wedding anniversary when drugs took over our lives. Prior to that, he had been a great father, husband and provider. Never in a million years would I have suspected he was capable of using drugs. When I married him and vowed, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health,” I was thinking something more along the lines of a cold or the occasional stomach bug, but drug addiction? No way! His addiction was relentless; it changed him, changed us and changed our family in ways I never thought possible. By the time all was said and done, we had lost everything – our home, automobiles, direction in life, our serenity – and we were penniless. We went from having it all to having nothing. It was a very high toll for a wife to pay. The day I learned of our son’s prescription medication addiction, I was devastated. I had felt great fear before, but never a fear like this. It was a raw, gut-wrenching fear that turned my stomach, broke my heart, robbed me of my peace, kept me from thinking clearly, kept me from breathing deeply and kept me awake at night. It was all-consuming. It was a very high toll for a mother to pay.

Family members of addicts become very good at hiding. We learn to withdraw and isolate to avoid talking about our situations. We have secrets; we hide our emotions, hide behind fake smiles and hide our wallets. Yet when asked how we are doing, we’re always “fine” (Failure to Identify Numerous Emotions). Yes, addiction takes an enormous and painful toll on families, loved ones and friends. However, before you start thinking this is a story of gloom and doom, I want to assure you that mine is a story of hope.

I have learned . . . I have a great inner strength that I never knew I had.

By the time I made it to my first Al-Anon meeting, I was totally exhausted. I had no idea what to expect from the meeting; but when I walked into the room, I felt safe. Although I had never met a single soul there, I knew them – and I knew they knew me.

“If nothing changes . . . nothing changes.” Whatever I am willing to tolerate will continue.

We sat in a large circle. As we went around the room, person after person shared their experience, strength and hope. Even if no one had opened their mouths that night, if we merely sat in a circle and stared at each other, I still would have felt at peace. There was something calming, reassuring and even something spiritual about being with a group of people who understood my fear and knew my desperation. Not misery loves company, but hope begets hope.

I do not have to go to every argument I am invited to; I can say what I mean without saying it in a mean way.

Today, I continue in my program of recovery. Though I have not “arrived,” I am so much further along the road of my journey. We all go through storms in our lives. Someone once said, “You are never the same person coming out of the storm as you were going into the storm.” So true. The storms have molded me, redirected me and, for certain, changed me. I share with you the lessons (see sidebar) I have learned along this journey . . . things I never would have learned any other way than by loving someone in addiction. Yes, these lessons came with a heavy toll, yet they are absolutely priceless to me. In 1982, my father died a sober, godly man. This past May, my husband celebrated 21 years of sobriety. My son also has a strong program of recovery and good sobriety time. Yes, miracles do happen. Because of my own journey through addiction and recovery, I have the great opportunity to share my own hope and encouragement with others. Today, I think to myself, How blessed am I to have been called into this way of life. As Garth Brooks sings, “I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance.” Today no matter what you may be facing, I pray you never give up and never, ever lose hope.

Barbara Bice is a retired paralegal, a self-taught artist and a testimonial speaker in Alabama. She and Ed have been married 44 years. In 2004, they opened The Shed, a recovery home for men seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Barbara is the author of Just Right: The Road from Addiction to Redemption available at, Apple I-Books, The Nook and Amazon. She was a speaker on recovery issues for classes in the 2013 and 2015 Pepperdine Lectureships in Malibu, California.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine

Though enabling feels like love, it is actually harmful and not helpful.

“Letting go and letting God” is a big step of faith. Though it was not always easy for me to do, it restored my sanity on more than one occasion. Turning my life and my will over to the care of God is something I have to do daily. When I do that, my day goes much better. Daily prayer and meditation helps me focus on the solution and not the problem. God never intended for me to shoulder the weight of the consequences of someone else’s wrong behavior. It is not within my power to fix or change another person. I breathe so much easier just writing that. I do not have to prove another person’s lie. They know it, I know it and God knows it . . . and that’s enough. Not to give up five minutes before the miracle . . . and miracles do still happen. Serenity is a matter of choice and not chance. The light at the end of the tunnel is actually hope, not a train. The Twelve Steps of recovery truly work. They are an awesome design for living. The Twelve Step Promises do come true. Is that extravagant? I think not. Forgiveness sets two people free – the one you forgive and you. My God is almighty, loving, compassionate and full of grace. He is a God who rescues, restores and redeems. He is a God of hope.


Party Sober By Rachel Black


orried about learning to socialize all over again now that you don’t drink alcohol? You are not alone. Alcohol can be central to many social occasions on our winter calendars. In the past, we often engineered our social schedules to facilitate our drinking.

yourself at the bar ordering your lime and soda. Practice saying it aloud; so when the time comes, there is no question in your mind, no pause while you consider the options. If you have already decided, the correct answer will come out easily when asked, “What are you having?”

Assuming it will be some time before you are able to waltz into a bar, loudly declaring, “No, I don’t drink anymore, don’t you know? Yes, it’s fab, never felt better.” All said while not caring what reaction you receive. With this in mind, we must consider the two options available for supporting an alcohol-free social life.

Once you’re at the get-together, enjoy yourself! If food is involved, eat whatever you want, including dessert. Don’t worry about cost; by not drinking you will be saving far more than the price of a steak followed by a warm chocolate brownie with ice cream.

First, you can restrict yourself to the four walls of your house. Home is safe, out of harm’s way, away from booze and drinking mates, but more importantly, away from their prying questions. Unfortunately, resigning yourself to a boring life with no fun is not going to help you remain sober. While you can choose this technique in the early days of sobriety, sooner or later you will want to be out in the real world. In order to go out and socialize, you must learn how to avoid the temptation to drink, and how to avoid making decisions in the heat of the moment (for example, at a bar). Most difficult of all, you must learn to actually enjoy yourself – which at first seems impossible. How can you possibly enjoy being sober when others are drinking and getting drunk? Your first solution is to choose carefully which get-togethers you will attend. Perhaps decline the heavy nights with boozy mates where the object of the evening is to get drunk, but agree to or suggest something different – something not focused on booze. Go to the cinema. Go to the bowling alley. Go to the shopping mall or go for ice cream. Go anywhere you know you will not be tempted to drink. If this is not possible and if you are tempted everywhere, then be sure to drive yourself and regretfully declare you cannot drink. Whatever you choose, you must plan in advance. Visualize 24

Choose a soft drink you enjoy or have several you enjoy. No harm in mixing your drinks now. There are only so many diet colas you can drink before feeling you will explode. Focus on the event. In the past, you may have felt guilty going directly to the table of drinks and not enjoying the event. Now, take time to enjoy the occasion for what it is. Whether it’s a wedding, a special birthday or a holiday party, be grateful to your hosts for inviting you to share their special occasion. Be grateful you are fully present and no longer a liability. Free from alcohol, you will be able to talk with people and, more importantly, listen to what they say. Your mind is no longer obsessed with when and from where your next drink will come. At family gatherings, you can enjoy being free from worry about what your relatives may be thinking about you, about drinking too much and about the consequences of your drinking behavior. You will no longer be anxious about getting the amount of alcohol you need, all the while trying not to look like an alcoholic. You may find you genuinely enjoy conversations, and you will certainly remember them afterwards. At parties, the pressure is off. Spend time on your appearance and look your best. Rest assured that you do look good: your skin looks better, and you may have lost weight, both of which will boost your confidence. Gone are the worries of stumbling in heels, slurring your speech, falling down on the dance floor, vomiting in the toilet, losing your

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

wallet or house keys, or doing anything you would regret with anyone you would regret doing it with. You will feel safe and in control of yourself. Relax; what’s the worst that can happen? It’s worth remembering that everyone intent on getting drunk will neither care nor notice that you are not similarly inebriated. You may feel awkward and conspicuous; but believe me, you are not. If one of the reasons you drank was shyness, it can be difficult to talk with people now that you’re sober. A good opener might be to ask other guests how they know the host or whether they had far to travel. With families, I start with, “I can’t remember when I last saw you.” Following that comment, people always love to talk about themselves or their children – so ask away. If you are struggling with the effort of conversation, repeating yourself and trying to be heard above the music, then take some time out. If you take a stroll outside for ten or fifteen minutes, no one will notice your absence (sorry). Make a phone call or send some texts. I’ve even heard of someone who read a book or magazine in the Ladies.


With time, you will become more relaxed and confident at socializing sober. After two years of sobriety, I still arrive late and leave early. I miss the pre-event drinks, but arrive in time for the main event. I stay to see and to speak with those I choose; when I’ve had enough, I leave – usually alone in my car. It’s really quite simple. I have found, too, that what I consider to be a “good night out” has changed. Rather than avoiding the booze-focused nights, I now genuinely have no desire to go. In fact, I’m glad I’m no longer drawn to these events. I now realize what they were really all about, and it had nothing to do with socializing. So go on, try it – even just once. What have you got to lose? Read more on Rachel Black’s blog, Sober is the New Black, at Her book, How to Party Sober, as well as others, are available through her blog.

Decision Point Center has created a modern, assessment-driven treatment program for young men and women 18-34. Our goal is to deeply understand what is at the root of your misuse as well as what is holding you back from the life you should be living. In doing so, we help you achieve so much more than a reconceived relationship with substances. We redirect you to a happy, productive, fully-realized life. Find out why it’s different at Decision Point. Call 877-772-3648 or visit us online at

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Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


The Gifts of Surrender

By Judith Orloff, MD


am blessed to have 27 years of sobriety. One day at a time, I am learning to trust and surrender to God’s will on a deeper level. This is especially important during the holiday season’s pressure to be happy, be with family and be around people who are drinking. During the holidays, I work diligently to surrender my loneliness and the sense that I don’t belong; it’s often a time when my loneliness increases. After my parents died, my aunt shockingly declared, “You are an orphan now.” It’s a painful thought about which I still obsess and which adds to my feeling of being alone. My surrender during this time of year requires me to trust I am a child of God and to know I am cared for and loved in all circumstances. It is vital for me to reach out to my sober friends and community to receive all the comfort and love that emanates from these earth angels. To stay sane and centered during the holidays, surrender is critical, but can be difficult. As a physician, I’m trained to take control, solve problems and deal with life and death emergencies. My training never included surrendering to a Higher Power. As a woman in recovery, I am challenged to relinquish control – even though I’ve done the footwork to just let things happen. Part of me feels that if I don’t do something myself, it won’t 26

be done well or it simply won’t happen. It is difficult for me to depend on others and to reach out for help. But during the holidays, I force myself to do so; this effort helps me to not isolate. As long as I have social gatherings and regular meetings planned, I am mostly okay. If I don’t plan ahead, I often sink into depression and fear. The holidays also help me solidify my relationship with my Higher Power and surrender more deeply to unconditional love. I grapple with the spiritual question, “How can some force other than I – even God – do a better job of taking care of me than I can?” I realize this is my ego speaking, not my intuition. Deep down, I know a Higher Power exists who aligns with my highest needs in the most perfect way – if I just surrender. Surrender is a positive, healthy state. Being a surrendered person doesn’t mean being passive, beaten down or so hopeless that she gives up. Quite the contrary. Throughout the holiday season, surrender opens me to live in the flow of life as I trust what is and accept surprises and serendipity. I wrote my book, The Power of Surrender, to help me live a more surrendered life and to share how others can apply this concept to their lives. Adopting the habits of surrendered people helps me improve my relationships, feel more love and gratitude in my life,

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

and let go of codependent and toxic relationships that particularly challenge my serenity during this time of year. In my medical practice, I’ve identified specific habits of surrender that have dramatically enhanced my patients’ well-being and have allowed them to excel in many aspects of their lives. Here are several of those habits that can be helpful to you, too:

Embrace powerlessness. Recognize you can’t control everything.

The holidays can be stressful. Control freaks add tension and stress to any situation and are unpleasant to be around. Surrendered people understand that situations can’t always be changed. Don’t try to force open a door that has been shut. Instead, pay attention to your own behavior, look at the situation at hand and find new, different and creative ways to get beyond the obstacles. Remember, if you are powerless to change a situation, you only have the power to change your own attitude.

Surrender the energy vampires.

Remember to breathe deeply during times of stress.

During the holidays, I strive to take one day at a time. I keep the focus off my fearful feelings of not belonging and how I’ll never get everything done. Surrendering to the moment allows me to stay present with myself and with my spiritual connection. I can enjoy my life and be grateful for all the love surrounding me. If I don’t tell myself negative stories about the holidays, I can focus on what’s positive in my life. I embrace gratitude, being of service and sobriety. These gifts are ever-present during the holidays – if we surrender. Judith Orloff, MD is author of the national bestseller, The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being, upon which this article is based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist and an intuitive healer who synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting-edge knowledge of intuition, energy and spirituality. More information about Judith’s books and workshops may be found at

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Energy vampires are people who suck energy – the narcissists, the criticizers, the blamers, the victims. They can be extremely toxic during the holidays. Use your intuition to sense who gives you positive energy and who saps it. During this festive season, eliminate contact with energy vampires whenever possible; or at least set clear boundaries with them to protect your serenity.

I’m In Recovery and I Don’t Care Who Knows it.

When work piles up or when energy vampires leave us feeling depleted, there are two choices. We can get frantic, hyperventilate, shut down or become reactive; but these responses can increase our stress. Surrendered people pause, take a deep breath and observe. Sustaining silence and circumspection are two behaviors that lead to better, healthier outcomes.

Break the Stigma!

Pray to have fear lifted.

During the holidays, challenging feelings tend to come up. Keep praying to have fear, stress or loneliness lifted. Stay tuned to your Higher Power. Turn fear over to a power greater than yourself and allow the grace of serenity into your life.

Together We Can do this

Many styles to choose from

Meditate daily.

It’s vital to spend time with your Higher Power through meditation. Stay connected to yourself and to Spirit rather than being swept up in the stressors of the season. In The Power of Surrender, I recommend a three-minute meditation practice several times daily to open your heart and keep you in a place of love. Simply close your eyes and focus on whatever you love. Let that image fill and replenish you. Surrender to the good feelings, then you can return to the bustling world renewed and serene.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


Sane and Sober Holidays By Regina Walker


shown to increase happiness, strengthen the immune system and help us be more successful. It is important to stay in regular contact with those who understand the challenges you may be going through, particularly remaining clean and sober.

o, the season to be happy, jolly and worry-free is upon us. Though most of us are aware that the holidays carry plenty of stress, we still believe we are doing something wrong if the time between October and January is not filled with love, family, laughter and abundance. Truthfully, too many people wake up on January 1st with unwanted added pounds, bad memories of poor choices made during the holiday season, as well as unwanted debt. Our expectations of the holidays are often unrealistic; and unless we alter our expectations appropriately, disappointments follow. For those early in recovery, the holidays can be particularly trying. Family issues may become even more acute, and temptations to party are everywhere. How does one get through the holidays sober and somewhat sane? It may not be easy, but the tools are available. January will never look and feel so good as through the eyes of one who has gone through the holidays clean and sober. 1. Maintain your healthy routines. The holidays are often filled with spontaneous activities that can throw us off balance, especially in early recovery. Whatever routines you have established that support your peace of mind and stability should remain a priority. Meditate in the morning. Attend support group meetings. Calming rituals like baths, evening tea and listening to music should not be abandoned during this stressful time. 2. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with a number of problems including increased depression, weight gain, forgetfulness and poor judgment. So regardless of all the invitations you may or may not receive, make sure you get your zzzzz’s. 3. Stay close to your support team(s). Friendships are essential to our physical and emotional health. Maintaining contact with supportive friends has been 28

4. Eat a healthy diet. Studies on alcoholics have shown that alcohol consumption has a significant impact on blood sugar levels. Our bodies convert alcohol to sugar. Drinking excessively causes extreme spikes and dips in our blood sugar levels. Eating a well-balanced diet – rich in fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates – can help maintain a consistent blood sugar level which can decrease alcohol cravings. 5. Exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon, but physical activity is good for the body and the mind. Walking, biking and swimming are all low-impact activities that can release our “feel good” natural chemicals like serotonin. These chemicals are considered by some to be neurotransmitters and by others, hormones; but whatever they are, we know they help our moods! Even listening to your favorite music and dancing in your living room can be extremely helpful for your body and your mood. 6. Remember, it is okay to say no. Perhaps you have been invited to parties where your drug of choice has also been invited. It is alright to say no. When active in our addictions, we were most often out of control and allowed external forces to make our decisions for us. In recovery, that is no longer the case. If going to a particular family event or party is going to pose a serious trigger for you, the healthiest choice to make is to avoid it.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

7. Have a plan. Not making a plan is making a plan, and it is most often a plan we will regret. Whether you feel the need to see family or attend a work event, have a plan and an exit strategy prepared. If you feel you must attend a work holiday party, either bring a sober friend or plan to arrive late and leave early. Have phone numbers of supportive friends available and call them. Many a lifesaving phone call has been made from bathrooms.


8. Have some fun! Hopefully, you have created a network of other people who are on the same road as you. Whether you attend Twelve Step groups or are involved in a Buddhist sangha, a church or yoga studio, find a place where you can celebrate yourself, your friends, the holidays and your recovery in an environment that feels safe and supportive and does not include temptation.

By Michael Lyding

Permission from God God has forgiven me, but [forgiveness] doesn’t justify my actions. – Annie B.

9. Volunteer. There is nothing better than helping those who are struggling more than you are to put your own issues in perspective. The holiday season offers many opportunities to volunteer – from soup kitchens to playing Santa for hospitalized children. Not only will you feel the satisfaction of helping others, but you will get out of your own head for awhile, which is always a good thing in early recovery.


ometimes it seems impossible to forgive ourselves. Although some think forgiveness means the behavior or action wasn’t all that bad, we know some of our acts were horrendous. That’s why we consider those acts unforgiveable. God is better at forgiving than we are. Isn’t my unwillingness to forgive myself just another attempt to run the show? Another attempt at playing God?

10. Be grateful. It is easy to forget that you have much for which to be grateful. Writing a gratitude list daily can be centering and helpful. Self-pity is a perilous trap during early sobriety and remaining grateful can save you from that snare. Also, a gratitude list kept over the longterm will reinforce your sobriety, as you will see it grow the longer you remain clean and sober.

There are two extremes at play here. The first is the idea that if I am forgiven, then the act could not have been that bad. Therefore, I can forget it even happened. The second extreme is that the act was so horrendous, it is unforgiveable. This is what bothered Annie B. Both of these thought processes are erroneous.

The holidays are a tricky time of year for everyone, most of all, those new to recovery. But handled correctly, you can wake up on January 1st feeling stronger, healthier and happier than you have in a long time.

Regina Walker, LCSW, BCD, CASAC, is a psychotherapist, writer and photographer who lives in New York City. Her first book, Through My Eyes, is available through Amazon. She may be reached at

Winter 2015

Annie’s quote shows her coming to a correct awareness. What was done was dreadful. It is forgivable, but terrible, nevertheless. We are capable of repeating the wrongdoings of our past. Our ability to repeat our sins is not an impediment to being forgiven, including forgiving ourselves. With forgiveness, we have permission from God and from ourselves to move on. If we don’t glamorize our past, it can become useful to others. Who am I to say I can’t be forgiven? Mike Lyding was born in 1945 in Phoenix, Arizona. Since becoming sober in December 1993, he has been drawn to prayer and meditation. At age 58 while meditating, he discovered he had a desire to write. So far, the result has been two daily meditation books primarily for the recovering communities, Grateful Not Smug (2006) and Gratitude a Verb (2009).

In Recovery Magazine


Sleigh Bells Ring . . . By Andrew Sullivan


o me, Christmas has meant different things at different ages. Through age 14, the holidays were always the best and happiest times of the year. I loved Christmas so much that the feelings of excitement would start around August and build momentum as December 25th approached. After Boxing Day, December 26th, crashing disappointment would engulf me because I would have to wait another year for Christmas to arrive again. I loved Christmas, and not only because of the pressies (presents), but because everyone seemed so much happier and more content during the Christmas season. There seemed to be real warmth and love in the air, no doubt often aided by a few glasses of eggnog. When I started to drink, things began to change. During my late teens and early 20s, Christmas became party time. My friends and I would organize and attend several holiday gatherings. We would get as wasted as we possibly could under the rather flimsy banner of “the Christmas season.” Adulthood arrived soon enough, and the holiday excitement was lost. Even having my own kids didn’t create that old feeling of yesteryear. However, in my addiction-riddled thinking, Christmas did still serve one purpose. The world seems to go to ex30

tremes during Advent, and it is those extremes that camouflaged my own incredible excesses. Well, for a while, anyway. Even nondrinkers tipple sherry over Christmas, and responsible drinkers sometimes turn into heavy drinkers as they are carried away by the wave of feel-good emotions this time of the year. When responsible drinkers drink too much, they often do the things that I did the whole year round. The only difference was that I was able to hold my excesses far better than they could. Ironically, instead of talking about my drinking behavior, those heavy-Christmas-season responsible drinkers would be gossiped about in Christmas post mortems. Finally, my excesses far outweighed anything a drunken responsible drinker could ever dream of achieving in the bad behavior stakes. My bottle and I – my loud, vulgar, aggressive and unpredictable behavior – completely ruined Christmas for anyone who happened to be around me. It finally got to the point that even family stopped inviting me to gatherings. This meant spending a few Christmas days alone. At the time, that was okay. It gave me a wonderful excuse to bathe and wallow in my warm and familiar self-pity. Consequently, the more selfpity I created, the more I needed to drink.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Today I am in recovery; and, once again, the festive season looms large on the horizon. Just because I decided to stop drinking, the rest of the world hasn’t changed; and alcohol among my family and friends will still flow. The difference is how I view and handle the situations and my feelings about them. I have sought helpful advice from a close friend and clinical director at Twin Rivers Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa, who has had many sober Christmases and has helped hundreds of others get their lives back on track. I hope these tips will help you, too. •

Practice “Urge Surfing.” One of the potential threats to your sobriety over the Christmas period may be cravings. Addiction creates links within your brain between certain stimuli (relapse triggers) and the desire to drink or use drugs. “Urge surfing” is a technique devised by Alan Marlatt that involves observing your cravings until they pass – a type of mindfulness practice. Unless you obsess about it or try to resist it, a craving will typically last at most 30 minutes. You can develop your ability to urge surf by practicing this technique on other behaviors. For example, you can just observe an itch without scratching it or delay the urge to smoke a cigarette.

Andrew Sullivan is a recovering addict and freelance writer dedicated to raising global awareness about the disease of addiction. A divorced father of two, Andrew is an Englishman based in South Africa. He writes for numerous recovery-based media platforms around the world, including his own blog. Visit his blog at

to Addiction, There’s no Discrimination

 Breathe. This will slow down your thoughts and move your body out of the fight or flight response.  Expand. Now that your thoughts have slowed down and your body has become more relaxed, you can better see the bigger picture.  Respond. Now you can respond in a calm and rational way.

Winter 2015

It could be that just one of the above suggestions may help you or that all five are required. Either way, I hope you have a very warm, healthy, fulfilled and sober Christmas this year. The sleigh bells are ringing!

When it comes

 Observe. What is happening in your body and mind? Are you tense, agitated or angry?

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings! It can be tough to deal with addiction disorders without support, and it becomes an even greater challenge at certain times of the year, such as Christmas. If you don’t normally go to Twelve Step meetings, you might want to try a couple over the holiday season. If you do go to meetings, you might want to add a few extra meetings so you can benefit from some additional support. I think it was Clancy who said, “I probably only need three meetings a week; but, as I don’t know which three, I go to five.”

The SOBER Technique Another common reason for an impulsive relapse over the holiday period is stress, such as a family argument. The SOBER technique is a tool used as part of the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention program.  Stop. Don’t act on impulse.

HALT Awareness During the holidays there can be plenty of relapse triggers in your environment. It is unlikely you can eliminate them all, but you can be prepared for the most common ones using the easily remembered acronym, HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. The Magic of Service If you belong to a fellowship group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, you will have plenty of opportunities for service. This type of work strengthens your sobriety and helps you focus on other people rather than on your own concerns.

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In Recovery Magazine 31

The Bookstand


Recovery is the subject of countless books, films and apps. Below are some titles worth a look. If you would like us to include your books, films or apps in this column, contact me. — Editor,

Shadows and Veins (Jeanine Bassett, iUniverse, 2012). Loosely based on the author’s life, this work of fiction takes the reader into the abyss of addiction as the protagonist moves further away from the light of day, her own sanity and the people she loves, ending up in the underworld of basement methamphetamine production.

Arthritis Reversed (Mark Wiley, Tambuli Media, 2014). This groundbreaking 30-day program for lasting relief from arthritis and joint pain is all-natural and do-it-yourself, yet steeped in science.

Welcome to My World: A week in the life of a substance abuse counselor (Mary Crocker Cook, Robertson Publishing, 2014). This is a hilarious, fictional story written from a counselor’s perspective to answer the question, “What really happens in rehab?” A staff veteran of multiple substance abuse programs, she takes the reader through a rapidly unfolding week of challenge-filled treatment.

Lead With Your Heart (Regina Cates, Hierophant, 2014). Marianne Williamson says, “This book is like a note from a close friend, reporting on her spiritual journey from lovelessness to love. By walking you through her experiences, she casts light on your own. And not just her life, but your life, too, begins to change.”

Just Right: The Road from Addiction to Redemption (Barbara Bice, Xulon Press, 2013). This is the author’s firsthand account of her husband’s descent into cocaine addiction, his struggle to overcome drug addiction and her battle to save him and their marriage. You will laugh; you will cry; and you will learn. It is a story of faith, but most of all, of hope. By the end of the book, you, too, will say, “It is ‘Just Right.’”

Drugs, Food, Sex and God (George Baxter-Holder, Influence Publishing, 2015). Living on the street, Dr. George ran a prostitution and drug dealing business that helped support his addiction to sex and drugs. His life spiraled out of control, leading him to a prison cell. Dr. George guides the reader through his personal story and how he used the power of intention to change his life.

Internal Elixir Cultivation: The Nature of Daoist Meditation (Robert James Coons, Tambuli Media, 2015). This is a clear and concise introduction to the methods of Daoist meditation to quiet the mind and invigorate the body.

Changing What I Can (Betty DellaCorte,, 2010). The author has written a compelling account of how she surfaced from the depths of despair as a victim of spousal abuse to pioneering the first shelter for abused women in the country. She hopes others will be inspired to change the things they can.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

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Overtaken 1 (Jodi Barber and Christine Brant, Ashley Media, 2010). Unintentional fatal drug overdoses have reached epidemic proportions across the US. This short documentary features the battles of addiction as told by those whose young lives were overtaken by drugs. This film delivers information on the type of drugs infiltrating America and how our youth can best avoid them.

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Overtaken 2: Where Are They Now (Jodi Barber, Kb Films (Kaard Bombe), 2013). This film features many of the young adults who appeared in Overtaken 1, all of whom have stayed clean and sober. They emphasize a message of hope for those still struggling with drugs and addiction. Specialists from addiction and recovery fields share resources that are available for those seeking help and address the medical and scientific reasons behind addiction and recovery. Live42Day: Because I Matter Apps (Live42Day, 2015). This app was developed as a solution to the battles individuals in addiction recovery face in their quest to remain sober. It provides a way for them to check in and share their feelings with loved ones and other support networks. Supporters can respond directly to them with kudos and encouragement.

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In Recovery Magazine


Slip Out the Back, Jack . . . escape plans for sober people

By Mary E. Goodrich


tanding in front of the bathroom mirror, I could hear the party laughter on the other side of the door. It was December, and the string of holiday parties had begun weeks earlier. This particular event was an upscale gathering on Chicago’s North Side. Since I had agreed to be the holiday date for a co-worker, I was feeling lonely and disconnected from the partiers. Dumping my date (someone I’d have to face on Monday morning) and grabbing a $100 cab ride home wasn’t my best option, but I hadn’t ruled it out. Sober for nearly a year, I thought I was prepared for the sometimes awkward encounters of a non-drinker in a party crowd. But at that moment, I was feeling unusually vulnerable. For several weeks, I had navigated parties at work, gift exchanges with friends, traditions with family and mayhem at the mall. But this party – feeling so alone – was stressing my weary and weakened reserves. It was time to exit, and the coffee shop on the corner was a good option. The execution of a well-planned exit strategy is a survival tactic that can mean the difference between sobriety and relapse. When planned in advance and written down or stored in a Smartphone, exit strategies can give you peace and security, ensure a timely ride home, provide a mapped route to the nearest coffee shop or a quiet spot for a scheduled check-in. As you prepare for this holiday season, consider formulating some of these respites and escape routes to preserve your sanity and sobriety.

Plan a call. Planning scheduled check-ins with a sponsor or sober friend is an excellent opportunity for accountability. I schedule calls in advance based on who’s attending the party. My tolerance for people is lower when there is a room full of strangers. If I am unfamiliar with the party guests, the frequency of my calls may increase.

Return to the car. The car is a safe place with amenities. When attending parties or family events, I often leave a sweater and a healthy snack in the back seat, so I have a reason to leave the event for a few minutes. In highstress situations, I wear my car key like a ring on my finger. At a moment’s notice, I can return to the car to recharge my phone, listen to music or an audio book about recovery, eat a healthy snack or run an errand. When I’m a passenger in someone else’s car, asking for his or her keys to recharge my phone easily provides 20 minutes of alone time.

Take a walk. After eating too much party food, walking helps food digestion and is a great way to fight the energy crash. On several occasions, I have asked permission to walk the family dog and have never been refused. The dog loves the walk, and I get an emotional rush from spending some time with a new best friend. While people make great walking companions, I find four-legged friends more accepting and relaxing.

Take 20 to Assess and Escape As an introvert, I need opportunities to recharge when surrounded by people. Getting away for 20 minutes is often enough to refuel my emotional strength, so I can better assess my situational needs and avoid the 50-yard dash to the cab stand. I don’t always need a break at a party, but planning several breaks during a long evening keeps me from feeling tired and overwhelmed. 34

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Find a quiet place and plug in earbuds. Earbuds are a great signal to others that I need a break. Whether I’m listening to music, meditating or listening to the sound effects of my favorite smartphone game, earbuds provide a great escape and allow me to sit quietly and uninterrupted.

gives me time to reflect and assess any complex emotions that may have arisen from a close encounter with an ex or a former party buddy.

Whether attending a Thanksgiving feast with family or a simple party with friends, it’s important to remember that we owe no explanations or excuses for the strategies that keep us healthy. When sanity and sobriety are at stake, we are not obligated to the conventions of polite society. If leaving a party without saying good-bye is what stands between you and a relapse, choose rude over ruined every time.

Borrow a child and play a board game. Children often need breaks from the chaos of a crowded room, too. A couple of my favorite kid-friendly activities are reading a book or playing a board game. The conversation is a great break from adult pressures, and I’m often surprised at how a good game of Chutes and Ladders® or Candyland® can comfort and restore me. As an excuse to play in the backyard with a youngster, I often bring toys, such as balls, kites or balsawood airplanes.

Mary E. Goodrich is a writer, wife and mother of four adult children. With a deep family history of alcoholism, she brings decades of experience to her recovery-focused articles. Visit her at MaryEGoodrich. com where she blogs about family, marriage, work, purpose and wellness.

Exit to Safe Places Remembering that December party from years ago, I now know I was not prepared with the types of breaks and wellness checks I needed to stay mentally strong. If I had planned my breaks to regain energy, a run to the corner coffee shop may not have been necessary. Today, my party plans always include an early departure. This strategy removes the need to make decisions in uncomfortable or tempting moments. When doing the next right thing is leaving, a pre-planned exit strategy is the best way to remain safe, sane and sober. •

Check on a friend. Before I entered recovery, I never thought twice about scheduling more than one event in a single evening. Now, especially during the holiday season, I schedule visits with sober friends or homebound church members in order to leave the party at a specific time. Scheduling a visit with someone in need allows me to feel good about leaving early. I can mention what I’ll be doing after the party and ask my host or hostess if they’d like to share leftovers or dessert with my friend. Instead of dashing from the party feeling guilty for leaving, my farewell becomes a sendoff to help a friend in need.

Care for a dog. Offering to watch others’ pets during the holiday season is not only a great reason to leave a party or cut short an uncomfortable family visit, it’s also a wonderful way to help family and friends. According to the American Psychological Association, pets can “serve as important sources of social and emotional support.”

Plan a meeting. Whether I plan an individual follow-up with a sober friend or want to find the nearest meeting, I include in my calendar the time and place of the sober check-in. Using a meeting as an end cap to a party also

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


Book Review

Mindfulness and the 12 Steps By Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart

By Lena H.


ntil I read this book, I thought I was following the Steps just fine, thank you. But Mindfulness and the 12 Steps has gently revolutionized my practice.

During my first year in the program, I worked the Twelve Steps in depth with a sponsor. I took them to heart and rely, at least sometimes, on one or more of them in my daily life, especially when I’m in the dumps. Fortunate to be on a fairly even keel lately, I’ve gone more deeply into Steps Ten and Eleven. I began to take a daily inventory in my head – sort of – and I’ve learned to pray and meditate in my own hit-and-miss way.

In this book, Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart lays out a new way of understanding and practicing the Program. In comparing each Step to a Buddhist principle or set of principles, the author salts the traditional Twelve Step program with a seasoning of Buddhism’s ancient wisdom. Then to end each chapter, she blends aspects of the two spiritual systems into clear and helpful ideas for “mindfulness practice.” For example, the author proposes that Step Two, “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” equates with the Buddha’s Awakened Being; we come to or wake up in this Step. The mindfulness practice for Step Two is a five- to ten-minute “breathing and noting meditation” during which we are asked to notice our breathing. She suggests options for counting breaths, 36

noting when our mind wanders and then bringing our thoughts back to the breath. My favorite of Jacobs-Stewart’s coalescing of principles is for Step Ten. To “continue to take personal inventory” as the Step encourages, every evening she employs the practice of Naikan, which in Japanese means “looking inside.” Reflecting on the previous 24 hours, she asks herself three questions: What have I received? What have I given? and What difficulties have I caused? Her response lists include the ordinary and the unique. For example, among things given one day, the author writes, “I listened to Jim talk about his relationship with his son and offered my thoughts,” and “I fed the cats.” She notes that “[Naikan] has been a powerful, mind-transforming practice.” Through it, she “began to grow a deep appreciation for [her] life, a spontaneous gratitude.” With my own fledgling practice of Naikan, I have an inkling of these benefits. “In Step Eleven,” the author writes, “we find that making conscious contact with Great Reality deep down within us provides a quiet peace, quenching, at last, our restless yearnings.” Ahh, a statement soothing in itself, would that it were always so. To make that conscious contact and thus “water the seeds of our Buddha nature,” she suggests we find our own best way of meditating. She offers simple instructions for several meditation techniques, including

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

object meditation, movement meditation and reciting a phrase. Finally, Step Twelve, a spiritual awakening and carrying of the message, is about the rising of bodichitta energy or, in Buddhist terms, the “mind of love.” This requires two practices: aspiration and application – desiring to help others and actually doing the work of giving. This book is not simply a deft fusion of Step work with Buddhist meditation. By interlacing these spiritual concepts with her own captivating story, Jacobs-Stewart demonstrates the fused program’s worth in her own life. Born into “generations of Irish alcoholics,” she became a drug addict herself, “popping white crosses and other street junk to keep going” – until she collapsed. She drove her gold Camaro with its bad tires to her first AA meeting and “owe[s] the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon” her life. She eventually studied meditation in India, Nepal and the US, and became a licensed therapist. At the time of this book’s writing, she has for several years attended Monday night meetings at Mind Roads Meditation Center, which she founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Center is one chapter in a nationwide community of Twelve Step and Mindfulness meetings.

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With her clear and honest telling, Jacobs-Stewart reveals herself as an expert, but also as her readers’ equal. Her struggle for recovery is not atypical; she comes through as one of us. By developing and practicing her own adapted, blended program and sharing it with others, she has more fully opened herself to life’s joys and sorrows; and she gives readers hope for the same. This book is an inspiration. §

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S Before You Speak N

ot sure where to start . . . all I know is I’m about to pour my guts out. I’ll get right to the point. I am an alcoholic. On July 20, 2015, I celebrated nine years of sobriety. I can’t begin to express how grateful and blessed I am for this gift. My active alcoholism almost stripped me of my family, my dignity, my job and my life. I abused alcohol to hide, to cope, to laugh, to feel better about myself and try to understand the life I had. I was once embarrassed and ashamed to admit my alcoholism. Because of the stigma that surrounds being an alcoholic, it was difficult to embrace.

By D.J. Victory-Franceschelli

My hope is that before you speak, you will think. Have you ever joked around and called one of your friends gay or retarded? I have. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I was younger and less aware of what these words meant. What in the holy hell was I thinking? I wasn’t. It’s embarrassing to admit I used these words as insults, as if being gay or retarded meant there was something wrong with someone. Stereotyping at its best right there, ladies and gentlemen. Open mouth, insert foot.

Some people say alcoholics and addicts are weak, lazy and have no self-control. People are entitled to their opinions; but unless one is personally affected by addiction, most cannot fully comprehend its death grip. Numbers don’t lie. Take a look at the gut-wrenching statistics offered by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World website.

For me, it was a neighbor’s comment about a handyman’s license plate on his car that was parked in front of my house. You know, those bright orange and yellow Ohio license plates issued to DUI offenders, sometimes referred to as “party plates”. My neighbor asked, “Who’s the drunk working at your house?” not realizing that I, too, was once one of those drunks.

The entire premise of this essay came to me after several encounters and conversations with people about drunks, depression and addiction in general. As an alcoholic, I have been stereotyped; I’ve listened to ignorant and insensitive remarks about drunks. My goal is not to convince you to think like me, or to change your perceptions about alcoholism or addiction.

Or a client who said to me, “Oh, you have a drunk working for you. He has party plates on his Jeep.” The same handyman was doing work at my salon. It wasn’t just the words these people said, it was the malice and disgust behind the words that stung. Judgments had been made and assumptions had somehow been confirmed: DUI plates = alcoholic = loser. It


In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

r o v i v r Su didn’t matter to either of these people that the handyman was now sober or that he was a talented and hard worker. Human beings are far from perfect. Goodhearted, well-intentioned people sometimes say hurtful, offensive and ignorant things. I’m no exception.

Social situations often involve alcohol; let’s face it, it’s not a party unless the liquor is flowing, right? As soon as people notice that I am not partaking in the cocktail action, the interrogation begins. “Don’t you want a drink?” “Can’t I get you a drink?” “Why aren’t you drinking?” I have grown accustomed to the relentless hounding and puzzled faces. It’s incomprehensible to some people that I’m actually having a ball-bouncing, hand-clapping, snorting-as-I-laugh blast without alcohol. It’s even more unbelievable that I am not drinking as a result of my alcoholism.

I do not fit the profile. People have made it quite clear that I don’t “resemble” an alcoholic. They would never have guessed I am an alcoholic because I am too put-together, too stylish, too pretty, too successful. They evidently operate under the presumption that alcoholics and addicts have a “look.” Thus, they use this belief to justify treating others with less regard, less care, less respect and less humanity.

I conducted my own random survey by showing people images of business men and women, homeless people, scientists and construction workers. I asked questions such as, “Who is most likely to be an alcoholic?” “Who is most likely to own a business?” and “Who is most likely to be a compulsive gambler?” Over 50 percent of the people I surveyed chose the homeless person as most likely to be the alcoholic or addict – true to our pervasive cultural portrayal of a typical alcoholic/ addict.

Let’s look at the truth. Alcoholism can look like the gentleman teaching the fourth grade and the lady pushing the stroller down West 6th Street. Addiction can look like your favorite bank teller and the sweet woman ringing up your groceries at Kroger’s. The disease of addiction does not discriminate. It’s him; it’s her. It’s you; it’s me. It’s us.

If you are reading this and you are an alcoholic/addict who is facing or have faced the struggles that go along with this disease, please know there is hope. If you are just learning about this disease, remember this old saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” It’s true.

I was on my way to Chicago for a show with a group of ladies who were doing a little pre-flight celebrating. One of the women looked at me incredibly perplexed and said, “Where’s your drink?” I smiled and said, “Oh, I’m good.” She responds with, “What, you don’t drink?” I kind of laughed and said “No.” I thought my answer was sufficient; but alas, it wasn’t. “Why not?” I looked directly at her and nonchalantly said, “I’m an alcoholic.”

D.J. Victory-Franceschelli is a wife and mother who is lucky enough to do hair and makeup for a living. She also loves to write. If not for her sobriety, none of this would be possible. Visit her blog at

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In Recovery Magazine sion, anxiety,



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Sacred Disease, Sacred Solution By Jeffrey Bryan Grubert BJ Gallagher writes in her blog for The Huffington Post: Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, a self-confessed “hopeless nicotine addict” who struggled with bouts of depression, and author of The Road Less Traveled, offered the best analysis of addiction I’ve ever heard during a lecture he gave in 1991, Addiction: The Sacred Disease. Dr. Peck’s thesis: At birth, humans become separated from Source, from God. We are all aware of our separation, but some of us are more sensitive to it than others. We sensitive souls feel emptiness, a longing, what many of us refer to as “a hole in my soul.” We sense that something is missing, but don’t know what it is. We long for relief from the aching void inside . . . but we’re confused about what will ease our existential dis-ease. At some point in our lives (often quite young), we stumble across something that eases our discomfort and makes us feel better. For some it’s alcohol; for others it’s drugs; for still others it’s gambling, sex, compulsive spending, Internet porn, or some other substance (or activity) that hits the spot. Ahh, we sigh, I’ve found what’s been missing. This is the answer to my problems. I feel so much better! We have discovered our new best friend – our drug of choice. In his psychiatry practice, Dr. Peck treated a number of alcoholics and addicts. Peck said that compulsive/addictive people, as a group, are more sensitive, more intelligent and more creative than the general population. Peck observed that it is precisely our sensitive/intelligent/ creative nature that makes us more susceptible to alcohol, drugs and other addictions. Addicts feel everything so intensely – as if our nerves are on the outside of our skin, rather than the inside. Addicts are restless, irritable and discontent. Many of us feel almost like aliens – disconnected from family, friends and community. We sense we are “different” in some way from everyone else – we don’t feel like we fit into the normal world. 40

And so we are different! Are there two trees in the forest exactly alike, are two eagles perfect replicas of one another, are two snowflakes identical? Why should addicts have to show up in this world in a particular way? Addicts want something more. They are misdirected seekers, wanderers, magicians, lovers, peacemakers, healers, artisans, edge walkers, gurus in the making, agents for change and visionaries. They are humans with a soul disease – souls in crisis. The worst thing for such gifted souls is to be asked to join “the club,” or to conform to a sick society or to someone else’s vision of what’s right or wrong. In recovery, addicts need time to explore their uniqueness in a loving, supportive environment that allows them to determine for themselves what’s best for them. They need to explore their wild nature with reckless abandon in a safe environment so they can learn about their individual landscapes and inner terrain. They need soul guides who can help them love their need for escape as much as their need for creative expression and adventure. The addict’s journey can be compared to the biblical story of Jonah and the whale. When an addict refuses to do the will of the Creator and is hungry to explore his own power, he takes his journey into the belly of the whale (jails, institutions and death). Like Jonah, he is spit out onto the lonely sands of his miserable choices until he is finally ready to hear the call of mystery and become the change he wants in the world. Through insanity and failure, he is brought to a place of surrender and is willing to take direction. There he can begin exploring the inner life he has avoided during his addicted years. This is where the addict meets the great invitation to find his place in the world, to accept his true nature and embrace all aspects of the Creator’s image for him. A recovering addict needs soul guides who understand the addict’s sensitivity, creativity and longing to be reconnected to the Creator.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Imagine finding a loving, unconditional support at the end of the rainbow or on Jonah’s beach – loving support that encourages the addict to be devoted to personal growth, spiritual development, finding one’s soul purpose and discovering one’s unique creative gift in the world. This loving support teaches the great healing powers one can find in the wilderness, in nature. Imagine finding that support while being held in the arms of a very old pear tree that has been providing fruit year in and year out for a hundred years. Imagine feeling the grief of the earth in your body as you lie on the ground, allowing your breath to take you deeper into your own wounds caused by years of neglect. Only the earth has the ability to heal like this. The addict’s journey today is similar to the great ancient journeys of spiritual masters, mystics and saints throughout the ages – those who rejected the will of the Creator and found wisdom by making the wrong turns and wrong choices. Imagine that. The bliss is actually in the stumble. Recovering addicts may benefit from this ancient wisdom, mentorship and lifelong community support. They need to reconnect with their inner being by experiencing the deep connections offered by Mother Nature. For the most part, our culture has lost this early wisdom. However, wounded healers all over the world are rising up to help people rediscover the safe, secure, loving understanding of our earth-home, to rediscover Earth as home base, where everything lives in the perfect harmony of chaos. It is in this wisdom that programs such as Earthbase Recovery in Prescott, Arizona, were born to be a sacred solution for those wanting to live a fully-recovered life of wholeness and soul discovery.

A Journey of Mind, Body & Spirit Transforming Early Sobriety into Life Long Recovery p 90 Day Extended Care p Relapse Prevention p 12-Step Based p Co-Occurring Disorders p Trauma/PTSD p CBT/DBT/MI p Evidence Based Therapeutic Interventions p Physical Fitness and Outdoor Activities



In 2014, Jeffrey Bryan Grubert founded Earthbase, an Arizona non-profit designed to access one’s own internal resources in a nature-based, supportive environment. He has a double degree in radio, television communications and public relations from Purdue University. He has spent most of his life committed to practicing and teaching the art of living a sober life. Jeffrey is happily married and is father of three beautiful daughters.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


BodyTalk:Inflamation By Victoria Abel


eople in the nutrition field have been waiting patiently for scientific evidence regarding anxiety and depression that has finally been published –one of the primary causes of anxiety and depression is inflammation. Inflammation in small amounts, such as the type that results from a bee sting, can be helpful for healing the body. However, in large amounts – a bee sting if you are allergic – inflammation can be dangerous. If we are consuming foods and beverages that we don’t digest well (e.g. foods to which we are allergic or intolerant), the body responds with inflammation – sometimes chronic and systemic. We may feel tired, bloated or gassy and often have skin problems or aches in the joints. In addition, this type of inflammation blocks the body’s ability to access the mood-elevating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It can also obstruct gamma-aminobutyric acid, commonly known as GABA, a chief inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps manage anxiety. The result of these high levels of inflammation can be the cause of depression and anxiety. So how can we decrease generalized inflammation? First, let’s take a look at what we eat. One of the foods known to cause the greatest amount of inflammation and one of the US Standard American Dietary daily recommendations is processed wheat. Many people find that removing wheat from their diet causes a rapid weight loss in the first few weeks – most of which is due to the reduction of inflammation. But inflammation doesn’t end with wheat. For many people, casein is another major inflammatory agent. Casein is a protein commonly found in milk and milk products. According to WebMD, “A casein allergy occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly thinks the protein is harmful and inappropriately produces allergic antibodies for protection.” In addition, dairy products typically contain whey, which is also associated with milk allergies. Corn, corn syrup and corn oil may also inflame the intestinal tract, as can some processed meats and farmed fish. Peanuts and peanut butter, along with onions and garlic may also contribute to inflammation. You may not need to completely remove these foods from your diet. However, if you are fighting inflammation and some of your symptoms include Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or chronic heartburn, eliminate one of these foods from your diet for a week and see if you notice a difference. Removing offending foods can begin to reduce systemic and chronic inflammation.

identified anti-inflammatory substances. The list includes: Turmeric – You can take cucurmin supplements or use turmeric as a spice in curry or in a smoothie. Greens – Whether you like your greens sautéed, raw in salads or smoothies, eat them up. If you like kale, make kale chips or a salad. Juice the stems as they hold a lot of fluid. For variety, use different greens – chard, beets, bok choy or spinach. Try to eat two to three servings daily. Olive Oil – Olives and olive oils are the foundation of the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet. Be sure to use a high quality, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Avocados – Even the best food on the planet (okay, my favorite food) can be good for you. The monounsaturated fats in avocados promote absorption of key nutrients. Mix a batch of guacamole with turmeric and put it on your salad or serve on a sweet potato. Or just eat a plain avocado with the other anti-inflammatory foods listed in this article. Aim for one half an avocado per day. Orange Vegetables – Orange peppers, carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are great sources of anti-inflammatory caretenoids, which are organic pigments found in plants. Eat a large, unpeeled carrot per day and snack on some orange peppers with olive oil hummus. Tart Cherries – Tart cherries are reportedly rich in phenolic compounds called anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory properties. These cherries can be consumed as juice or in concentrate. Try a drink using sparkling water, tart cherry juice and lime over ice. Wild Salmon, Sardines and Other Fatty Fish – The fat in these fish, along with other key nutrients, are natural anti-inflammatories and are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid farmed fish (though some farmed shrimp is acceptable) because the amount of Omega-6 can be very high and can actually cause increased inflammation.

You may also add organic foods and supplements that contain 42

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Nuts, Seeds, Wild Blueberries, Apple Cider Vinegar and Whole Grains – In addition to a variety of nuts, seeds, wild berries and apple cider vinegar, whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and millet can calm inflammation. Just be sure they are whole, unprocessed grains. This means the grain contains all its edible parts, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Good nutrition doesn’t have to be about deprivation. As you simplify your diet with whole organic foods and healthy alternatives, you will find yourself feeling better, having more energy and a more positive outlook on life.

“Healing relationships with food.” Develop and present nutritional programs and educational lectures at treatment centers. One on one nutritional consultation, meal planning, weight management, and assessment for disordered eating. Nutrition and supplementation to ease detox, stabilize mood and reduce cravings. Consider including these inflammation-fighting foods in your daily diet. Buy organic whenever possible.

Instruction on budgeting, shopping and cooking.

Breakfast – Steel-cut oats with coconut oil, berries, cherries and walnuts Lunch – A large kale salad with an olive oil-based dressing, olives, avocados, a hardboiled egg, orange peppers and a cup of pumpkin soup Snack – Hummus made with turmeric, tahini, garlic and olive oil, with raw carrots and cucumbers on the side Dinner – Roasted wild salmon, a sweet potato with coconut oil and sautéed broccoli in olive oil Dessert – Pomegranate seeds mixed with coconut milk and stevia (a sugar substitute that comes from a plant) frozen in a Popsicle mold, then dipped in dark chocolate

Victoria Abel, MA, MNT, is the founder and owner of Center for Addiction Nutrition. She has worked in the addiction counseling field for 20 years as a family, primary and trauma therapist. She is also a nutrition and eating disorders therapist who works with people healing from addiction, mood disorders, cancer and other chronic illnesses. She lectures nationally on addiction nutrition and teaches at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona.

Winter 2015


“Victoria helped me to manage the daily struggles of meal planning and grocery shopping - the mundane tasks we all must do. I am grateful for those things but am mostly grateful for the caring way in which she operates. I have lived in so much shame for as long as I can remember regarding anything to do with food. Victoria let me cry and was always genuinely interested in what was going on with me. We would talk about the things that seemed to have nothing to do with food but in fact were leading me to binge, purge, or starve myself. Victoria has been an incredible light in my life - she was always so accepting of me - no matter if I had a good or bad food week.” See the last February, 2014 issue of the New York Times and the Summer, 2014 issue of In Recovery Magazine for more informaton on CAN Nutrition and Recovery.

Victoria Abel MA, MNT, CAN

In Recovery Magazine


Unique by Design By Regina Cates


knew I was gay from age four or five. I can’t tell you how I knew; it is not uncommon for people to know at an early age that they are gay. As you can imagine, it was a secret I kept as long as possible. I dared not tell anyone. I knew exactly what would happen. At church and school, it became very clear just how much my “kind” was hated. At 18, I finally told my parents; and yes, my worst nightmare came true. I was sent to a physician who sexually molested me. Afterward, because I was depressed, I was locked in a psychiatric hospital. Of course I was despondent! I’d been violated. The two people who were supposed to love me had told me I would go to hell. They said I had broken their hearts and I should go live at the YWCA. You see, my parents were taught to despise gay people. Ironically, this teaching came at the same time that they were receiving contradictory messages such as “thou shall not judge,” “love your neighbor as yourself ” and “treat other people as you want to be treated.” In addition to facing their worst nightmare, they feared being shunned by their religious, social and business communities. Their solution? I needed to change. Later, my parents sent me to a psychiatrist in another town. I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces as the doctor told them he would not and could not change me. I was born this way. What he did do was help me learn to accept myself in a world that did not accept me. Today, my parents are two of my best friends and biggest fans. Because they bravely began questioning their beliefs over 35 years ago, my parents no longer fear being shunned or hated. After they met this challenge, they found their love for me was stronger than their fear – acceptance was more loving than judgment. They discovered what they knew to be true about me was more important than what other people thought of me. It turns out my parents had always loved me, but they had not


known how to accept me while also following their religious beliefs. Obviously, they found peace with this conundrum, because the only thing I now receive from them is complete and unconditional love. Emerging on the other side of this painful journey, I learned my Divine Power manifests as love. Love does not judge others – not by sexual orientation, skin color, body type, past history or any of the countless ways we differ. Yes, I was born different. Aren’t we all? Some of us have green eyes, some brown. Some are light-skinned, some dark. We have red hair, brown hair, straight hair, curly hair. Human beings are a beautiful weave of colors and cultures – different branches of the same family tree. We are unique by design. Our deepest happiness and fulfillment in life comes from being the unique people we were born to be. It is not easy to do what you know is right and best for you. Doing so can mean going against what everyone else believes is right. However, I guarantee that staying true to yourself is worth whatever sacrifices may be necessary. The only way to find true happiness, peace and self-respect is by being your authentic self; and this often means being supportive of yourself when no one else will. I am sure you can relate in one way or another to the hell of growing up different. Everyone has secrets we don’t share for fear of being ridiculed. Others will always be able to find reasons to pick on, judge or bully those who are different. Being picked on for having red hair or being heavy always felt about the same to me as being despised for being gay. When we’re ridiculed, judged or bullied, we often turn the ridicule and lack of acceptance inward. I know I did. Living with oppression and judgment caused me to hate myself. Being gay was not a choice I made just to go against God or others. All of

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

this made me very angry, and I took those feeling out on myself. My self-hatred was so bad that at times I thought my life was too painful to continue living. Some of the abusive ways in which I ran from the pain included alcohol, prescription drugs, food, cigarettes, horrible relationships and attempts to shop my way to happiness. I considered killing myself. Luckily, a deep-seated and obstinate determination not to let the opinions of others win kept me from giving up. I just could not let the abhorrence and mistreatment I endured at the hands of others get the best of me. I had a powerful and life-saving realization, abusing myself would never get back at the people who hurt me in the first place. I made the choice to remain true to myself, which meant going against those who could not accept me, including the God in whom I had been taught to believe. It was not easy; but I could not cave in and attempt to be the straight, God-fearing person I was being told I had to become. I left home and did not return for many years. This choice gave me the time and distance I needed to become strong on my own. Depending on myself for support freed me from needing anyone else’s validation. Loving myself taught me to choose friends and partners who supported the best in me, rather than choosing people who condemned me for being born different from them. Giving myself space allowed me to forgive myself for the selfabuse and then to forgive others for abusing me.

not judge or attempt to control others. Love does not condemn or attempt to change others to fit some standard. God is neither hateful nor judgmental and does not want us to suffer. Love encourages differences. Today, I know what is right for me. I encourage you to pursue happiness and self-acceptance as I did. From my own experience and after working with countless people over the years, I know that if you go against what your heart says to you, you will never be happy. If you go against yourself to please other people just to prevent the boat from rocking, you will not please yourself. This may mean losing some people in your life. Love yourself by remaining true to you – by treating yourself with forgiveness, patience and support. Make peace with yourself and be your own best friend. Work each day to have a kind and accepting internal dialogue. Love yourself by doing the hard and often solitary work of being true to yourself. When you stay true to yourself, the right people will love you for exactly who you are. Only you know what is best for you.

Today, some still hate me for being gay. I no longer care what the haters think of me. They are not qualified to judge. Love does

Regina Cates, author, personal empowerment coach and positivity junkie, inspires people every day to live lives of limitless possibilities. Through her Los Angeles-based company, Romancing Your Soul, she guides people to lead with their hearts. Her bestselling book, Lead with Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion and Purpose, is touching the hearts of a worldwide audience. Visit her website at, follow her on Facebook at Romancingyoursoul or listen to her Romancing Your Soul podcast on iTunes.

Vertical aeroponic growing systems are perfect for rooftops, patios, balconies, terraces or porches. You will be able to generate up to 30 percent more produce compared to traditional soil gardening in the same amount of time. Perfect for home or apartment dwellers. Ideal for Sober Living Homes and treatment centers to be able to offer fresh fruits, veggies and herbs on a daily basis while creating a therapeutic element to being able to grow and eat what your clients have grown themselves.

Contact Jacque Miller

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine



By Dr. George Baxter-Holder


y life is not a normal life. Actually, I’m not really sure what normal looks like. I’m also fairly certain that anyone reading the story of my life would not consider it normal, either. I love my life, though. There is an exceptional quality to my life today that can only be described as grace – grace through gratitude, grace through connection, grace through redemption and through ongoing recovery. As a young gay man, I grew up with what I thought was a deep dark secret. When I was a child, I had feelings and emotions that frightened me; and I spent my early childhood trying to escape these feelings. At first, I used fantasy and imagination. As I grew older, I found substances that worked better to mask, blank and numb my feelings. I will never forget my first sip of wine; it made me feel normal. Growing up with a deep, dark secret was akin to growing up with a mutant alien under my skin. At some point, that alien would experience life beyond the shroud of secrecy. Drugs and alcohol made this alien’s birth possible. In retrospect, I realize that the alien was the true me; what I was showing the world was merely a façade. I felt I was being born again, but without religious dogma – instead, with a baptism by the fire of degradation and debauchery. I didn’t care what drugs I used. My drug of choice was anything you had. I didn’t want to feel guilt, remorse, shame or regret for living my new life out loud. Because methamphetamines helped hide my shame and made me feel sexy, it became my drug of choice. Meth is a shameless drug until you come down . . . consequently, I never came down. I supported my habit by selling drugs and my body. I thought I was living the best of both worlds, until it all collapsed. I was arrested and sent to prison. When I finally came down off all the drugs I had been taking and realized where I was, I felt that someone had made a very grave mistake. I was not supposed to be in prison – Carol Baxter’s baby boy was not supposed to be in prison. Only bad people went to prison. It took awhile for everything to sink in; but when it did, I began to realize I had made some bad choices. People do go to prison for bad choices. I was suffering the consequences of my bad choices. When I was released from prison, everything was supposed to be different; and it was. I had gained over 40 pounds of solid carb-fueled fat. My pants didn’t fit; I had to pee in a cup once a week to prove I was staying clean; and I had to attend an intensive outpatient treatment. I was employed, but I didn’t really understand what my job was. In addition, while in prison I had become estranged from my boyfriend. Unfortunately, one aspect of my life didn’t change – my use of meth.


In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Injected meth clears the body somewhat quickly. In my case, this usually happened within two or three days. I could use on Friday and presumably pass a pee test on Monday – the operative word was “presumably.” Until one day, I didn’t.

felony record would stand in my way. Convicted felons aren’t given prescription pads. This was a nagging reminder of the consequences of my drug use. By this time, I had developed a faith in a Higher Power and trusted that I would be protected. Before long, I was able to have my felony conviction vacated, and soon I was felony-free. That issue no longer blocked me from becoming a nurse practitioner with full authority to prescribe controlled substances. This responsibility was not lost on me; I knew staying clean would now be vital to my life and career. Can you imagine if I used again? Even as I write this article, I shudder at the thought.

So many memorable things have happened over the past 15-plus years, but nothing more important than what happened on one extended weekend on the East Coast in May of 2012. During that Dr. George, his husband Travis and their two dogs, Minnie Pearl and The Dollie Mama weekend, I had not one, but two, life-changing events that define who I am today. One can point to so many things that can save a life, but I never thought peeing in a cup would save mine. My After becoming a nurse practitioner, I continued my corrections officer gave me a choice: go back to prison or education at Duke University for my Doctor of Nursing get serious about recovery. That same day, I went to my Practice. Never in my wildest dreams could I have believed first Twelve Step meeting, and that night I found my first that someone who had been so shackled by the chains of sponsor. Suddenly, everything was different. addiction could go from being a drug dealer to a doctor – but that is exactly what I did. On May 13, 2012, I walked As the foggy mess in my head began to clear, I realized across the stage at Duke University. I went from being Mr. several things: I wasn’t happy in my job, in my relationGeorge Baxter to being Dr. George Baxter, a doctor in ship or with the direction that my life had taken. I wantlong-term recovery. ed something different, but I did not know where to start. I began to dream about becoming a teacher and an author. Still reeling from all of the excitement of graduation, my I thought somehow I might help other people, though fiancé, Travis Holder, and I flew to New York City. We I had no inkling of what the future would bring. registered at the marriage bureau in downtown Manhattan at approximately 2:30 pm on the afternoon of May 14th. Through a series of events, I realized I finally had a chance Exactly 24 hours later, in front of some of our closest to change the direction of my life. I left my boyfriend and friends, I changed my name again – I became Dr. George moved in with some friends. The company for which Baxter-Holder, a married gay doctor in long-term recovery. th I worked began to fail after the September 11 attacks, and eventually I was laid off. Through a wonderful series of un- I found my lost dreams as I learned how to live my life out related conversations, I ended up going to nursing school. loud. Thanks to recovery, I no longer have to hide a secret life. My story is one of hope for other addicted people and Finally, my life was changing for the better. those who suffer from self-limiting beliefs. Today, I live an As I worked in a local emergency room, I fell head over intentional life. I don’t allow myself the luxury of being heels in love with nursing. The fast pace was exciting mired in my struggles; but instead, my struggles have been and fulfilling for an adrenaline speed freak like me, and transformed into life celebrations. I succeeded and thrived. I was open about my recovery and was able to help other addicts just like me who found Dr. George Baxter-Holder, known as “Dr. George,” is a person in long-term themselves in that emergency room. recovery from addiction. He received his Doctor of Nursing Practice from Duke As time went by, I realized I wanted to continue my education and become a nurse practitioner. I wondered if my Winter 2015

University. Dr. George is a nurse practitioner in facial aesthetics. He is a published author, speaker, coach, teacher and actor. He is a sought-after expert in recovery, health, wellness and beauty. Visit his website at

In Recovery Magazine


Kay’s Kitchen: By Kay Luckett


The Season of


he winter holidays fill some of us with excitement and anticipation, while others are filled with anxiety and dread. In some way or another, this season affects most people around the world. For me, the holidays were always somewhat of a blur, probably because I just wanted to forget them. I was a single mother and owner of a busy catering company in Los Angeles, and that spells f-r-a-n-t-i-c. Being consumed with myself and filled with financial insecurity, I made unrealistic and selfish demands on those around me as I engaged in both single motherhood and the catering business. Christmas was the big happening of the year and, for me, it was about procuring and partying. The party was simply what I produced for my clients, and each of these creations had to be perfect. Every vendor was required (by me) to put my company’s business at the top of their lists. These vendors provided essential services for each party, including music, decor, valet parking, liquor and ice; and each service was to be delivered at a specific time. As I oversaw the duties of each of my staff and counted the seconds to the arrival of my vendors, my anxious eyes would be on the clock. The most important point during a catered event is after dessert is served. This is when a caterer knows if they have “pulled it off.” For me, it meant I could finally have a drink. That drink and the ones that followed allowed me to finally mellow out and relax or, perhaps, black out. I cashed in over the holidays as I catered party after party, back-to-back, at a pace that would have driven an emotionally healthy person insane. Add liquor and selfish preservation to the mix, and you can imagine what I dished up for my clients and crew. The best Christmas always requires the gift of self, for Christmas is a condition of the heart. – Anonymous

I didn’t know it at the time, it would be the last Thanksgiving we would celebrate with my mom. The following summer, she passed away in my arms. That Thanksgiving was a festive evening. However, halfway through my Pimm’s Cup, something came over me. I put my drink down; and somewhere deep inside my soul, I knew my drinking days were over. Today, my holiday season is a season of love. Recovery enlightened me to the true meaning of the holiday spirit. I am grateful to those who taught me to practice the love and service of this season throughout the year. I now believe what Toni Sorenson says, “The spirit of Christmas is found when we lift the loads of others.” So many friends in recovery lighten my load, so I in turn learned how to lighten the load of others. What a blessing! I have found the truest joy of all is giving the gift of being present and available for others. Anything I receive from this gift is contingent upon what I give. This action of unselfishness has helped me grow into someone I never was before – someone I always wanted to be. Sobriety has made me grateful for what I have been given, but also for what has been taken away – my selfishness So this year, instead of serving up a plateful of “self,” let’s, together, celebrate a clean and sober holiday season of love with a feast. And, let’s kick it off by enjoying the recipes I offer to you today. Here is my recipe for Picadillo that can be served as a meal or, for even more fun, can be served at a holiday party with corn chips. My recipe for Sweet Mustard is a great holiday condiment, and can also be given as a lovely hostess gift. Have a safe and sober holiday. Bon appétit!

I thought I was supposed to show good holiday spirit, which to me meant giving lots of gifts, but less of me. Each stocking had to be filled to the brim, and everyone received a gift – including the mailman and the cat. After many drunken holiday turkey dinners, I eventually realized I could cook no more. My son and I had our 1997 Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and friends at the Five Crowns Restaurant in Newport Beach, California. Though 48

In Recovery Magazine

Kay Luckett has been in recovery since 1997. She is the former owner of Memorable Occasions in Los Angeles where she produced and catered events for over 20 years. Her column includes her personal experiences in recovery accompanied by a recipe from her previous life. Ms. Luckett is studying to become certified as a life coach. She facilitates educational groups for local treatment centers. She may be reached for coaching appointments at 928.499.5027 or by email at

Winter 2015

Picadillo (say pick-a-dee-oh)

Blueprints Recovery

2 lbs ground beef 1-2 Tbs olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 yellow or green bell pepper, chopped 8 cloves garlic, minced 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce 1 (29 oz) can whole tomatoes, with liquid 2 Tbs white vinegar 1 (3-5 oz) jar green olives stuffed with pimento, drained and cut in half ¼ cup capers, drained ¼-½ cup raisins 2 bay leaves 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves salt and pepper optional: about ¼ tsp hot sauce

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In a large stockpot, heat about 1-2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, garlic and green or yellow pepper until soft. Remove from pot and set aside. Add more oil to the pot, as needed. Brown the ground beef, separating it with a fork. Return the onion, garlic and pepper mixture to the pot and add all remaining ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat for one hour. Stir occasionally, so it doesn’t stick. Adjust seasoning. Serve with rice as a meal or with corn chips for a party dip.

Sweet Mustard 1 (2 oz) container of Coleman’s Dry Mustard 1 cup sugar 3 eggs ⅔ cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar In the top of a glass* double boiler, combine mustard and sugar. Beat with whisk to remove any lumps. Beat in the eggs and the vinegar. Place over boiling water and beat constantly for 5-7 minutes, until mixture has thickened and appears slightly foamy. Pour immediately into another container to stop the cooking. Makes two cups of mustard. Keeps about a month if refrigerated. Use as a condiment or put in small canning jars for holiday gifts. I usually double this recipe for gifts. Most delicious with a holiday ham or turkey. * A heat-proof glass bowl over a pot of boiling water works just fine.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


Alcoholics Everywhere By Cynthia Wicks

My house is crowded wall-to-wall with alcoholics! I open the refrigerator, and there is a six-pack of them on the top shelf. I open the drawers; and there they are, all folded up. I turn on the faucet, and they stream out in multitudes! My bed is stuffed with them, my pillows bulging, as they fill my sleep with dreams. I open my closet; they hang from the hangers. I wear them again and again! They swing from the rafters. The shutters open and close to them; they peek through the windows and come down the chimney with gifts. Their thoughts light up my Christmas tree, and I listen to the blinking with glee! My piano rings with their eloquence. And when I switch on the television, there are more. I pick up the telephone and their voices ring out; the radio sings their sounds. After I awake, upon my knees, they fill my prayers. They are as underfoot as the clouds; the sky sparkles with billions of them. As I close my eyes at night, they all go out one at a time so I can go to sleep. But when I awake, they are all there again; and I hear them exclaim as I cry out in fright, “God’s will to all and to all a good night!”

Cynthia Wicks is a poet and playwright living in the Hawaiian Islands. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Kindergarten for Grown Ups by pinuppoet and The Smoke of Surrender. Cynthia is a Certified Peer Specialist at a human services agency. She has been sober since November 14, 2005, and is the richest woman in the world. Aloha!


In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Travelin’ Sober Man: Breaking the Travel = Relapse Myth

By Bob Kocher


ver the years, I have known many people who have balked at traveling because they were afraid they might relapse if they left the comfort of their home group nest. This can be a legitimate concern; yet realistically, no more so than going to an amphitheater for a concert (lots of contraband there), a grocery store where liquor and wine are showcased, or a ball game where beer vendors are barking enticing calls to drink, drink, drink! So, what is a person to do? We are not a “glum lot,” and there’s a big world worth exploring with many clean and sober people to meet. There are many reasons why travel can be even safer in some ways than staying home. “What?” you say. Consider this: In early recovery, I needed to visit my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or so I thought at the time. My experiences growing up left me feeling uncomfortable at the mere thought of visiting family during the holidays. When I took my dilemma to my sponsor, he said I had to face my fears. (How dare he?) He asked how I might go about the visit in a healthy way. After giving it some thought, it occurred to me that I could find Twelve Step meetings near my family home and go when I needed to – whether it was one, two or ten times during the visit. Being proactive in my recovery, I realized I needed to be responsible for my sobriety. This made it more likely that I would choose to go to these meetings. With this attitude, the results were positive.

Twelve Step intergroups have meeting listings that are accessible online. You can also find Twelve Step conventions throughout Asia, Europe and the Baltics. This makes the combination of a program conference and vacation a healthy and fun proposition. Based on my experience, I have found the safest way to travel, at least at first, is with a clean-sober-abstinent (pick one or more) group on an organized vacation from a reputable company such as mine, Travel Sober. There are other reputable companies that also arrange quality trips, including Sober Vacations International and Sober Celebrations. I mention these companies because they have brought recovering people together while on vacations and have reputations for providing a safe environment, great speakers and wonderful fellowship. They have taken thousands of people on many different types of trips. Sober travel companies have the professional experience to handle whatever situations may arise, so participants can relax and enjoy what they are doing and why they are doing it. In these sober group venues, you will meet new friends who often become lifelong travel buddies. If you have any questions about any aspect of travel, give Travel Sober a call. We are here to help. Moreover, remember to: have fun, travel safe and Travel Sober.

This principle worked for me as I ventured out to vacation destinations on my own, prior to opening my travel business. The direction I received from my sponsor became the cornerstone for successfully leading travel individuals and groups to worldwide destinations. Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine

Bob Kocher has spent over 22 years in the travel industry as an agency owner, group planner and guide. He is the owner of Travel Sober and has led more than 125 groups worldwide – South America, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Russia, Greece and Alaska. For information about all aspects of sober travel, you may contact Bob by email at, visit his website at or call him at 805.927.6910.


Chaos and Clutter Free: organizing formula for success:

a new year + new organizing habits = a new you Danielle Wurth of Wurth Organizing, LLC


etting healthy and getting organized are the top two most common New Year resolutions. Those in successful recovery quickly discover that these resolutions translate into three very important recovery tenets: healthy in mind, healthy in body and healthy in home. Whether you reside in a rental, a condo or a recovery center, your home space should be the sanctuary of your bustling life. I hope you will implement the following core organizing habits to support each pillar in your life. Embrace them one at a time or challenge yourself to master them all before the next issue of In Recovery Magazine hits the stands in the spring.

{Organizing Solutions} . . . for a Healthy Mind Reduce noise and distraction. We don’t realize how media, chatter and sounds overload our minds until we experience a pure, organic silence. This silence allows you to finish a thought or conversation without interruption. Some time ago, I elected to go “where no man has gone before” in this tech-savvy world; I turned off all notifications on my smartphone. No longer was I tempted to read a text or email when driving, but rather waited until I was ready to read, review and respond to messages when my undistracted mind could focus. I became present to the people and experiences in the moment, rather than present to my smartphone. Being present is a healthy addiction worth embracing.

options, the stronger and happier your recovery will become. To reduce your chances of relapsing, plug into your toolbox of options the next time stressful triggers occur. My top three healthy hobby habits are: organizing (of course), internet content writing and paper crafting. At times, this organizing mama needs a timeout. Remember the infamous Tasmanian devil character in the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon who would become angry, then spiral out of control in the desert? I call my female version of this stressful state “Tasmania.” Like a Tasmanian devil in the Arizona desert where I live, my emotions can easily spiral out of control if my workload becomes too intense. When this emotional storm rolls in, I retreat to my craft studio. I immerse myself in crafting cards for my friends and clients – it’s a relaxing meditation for me. The craft work literally erases all those damaging emotions that spiraled inside of me. My studio is organized, so I can crank out a card in no time flat. Whether I craft cards in my studio or the corner coffee shop, these breaks are a positive solution to keep my Tasmania away.

Identify music that soothes your soul. Do you even know what kind of music soothes your soul? Well, maybe it’s time to begin a search. From classical to jazz to Indian wind pipe or hard rock, check out local thrift stores or used bookstores that carry a wide variety of genres. Find music that really sounds and feels great to you – music that puts a smile on your face. We can all use more smiles during every stage of recovery.

Identify at least three hobbies that refresh your spirit. Is there a hobby or sport you would like to try, but never have? Or some activity or pastime from your childhood that once brought you positive memories and joy? •

• 52

Dabble, then define at least three healthy hobby options. These creative activities will provide you with tremendous flexibility at any stage of your recovery, no matter where you reside. The fuller your toolbox of healthy hobby In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Document important thoughts and reminders. Ever lie in bed at night and realize you forgot to return a call or make a follow-up appointment? •

• •

Always keep one notebook or organizer and pen on your nightstand. You will feel more confident and less anxious when you are able to record thoughts or reminders as you remember them. Your sleep will be more restful without obsessing over your to-do list. You may have an epiphany after a treatment session that you want to remember and share with your counselor or recovery group. Write it down. Consider taking your notebook or organizer to outings, exercise or meditation. Don’t laugh; I take mine with me to yoga class. When my mind becomes incredibly clear, creative ideas and solutions begin to surface. Once those thoughts are written in my organizer, I can focus on the class.

Clear the clutter and knickknacks off your nightstand. {Organizing Solutions} . . . for a Healthy Body I have a longstanding organizing theory – the state of your nightstand corresponds to the state of your mind. Don’t believe me? Walk over to your nightstand and snap a picture. How does it look? Does the surface appear fresh and clean? Are there empty water bottles, coffee mugs or an ashtray filled with cigarette butts? Candy wrappers or leftover food? Hair clips, tech parts, kids’ toys or random do-dads? How many books you have intended to read (but haven’t) are piled on or around it? This is a space that can encourage sweet dreams and a good night’s sleep, and greets you when you rise in the morning. Is it a clutter-free friend or foe? •

Corral your daily go-to items such as reading glasses, meds or beverage of the day on a cookie sheet or decorative tray. This approach will keep them organized and makes for simple weekly housecleaning. Give your unread books another life by donating them to the local library or consign them for trade credit at a local used bookstore. If you are concerned you won’t recall a book title or author, store a “future books to read” list on your bookshelf or in your phone. Unless you are an avid reader, it’s best to not play “the book storage game.” That’s what your neighborhood library or recovery center is for.

Winter 2015

Your addiction has likely trashed your body. However, your body is incredibly resilient and thrives on healthy food and balanced nutrition. It’s time to fuel up with sustaining proteins and calories rather than hyping up with fatty foods and sugary drinks day in and day out. This is one area where being intentional and organized is essential! When you return from the grocery store, prep your entire week’s worth of go-to snacks in plastic baggies or containers. Store snacks in a clear plastic storage box in the fridge or by the door to grab as you leave each day. Tape a note to your door to remind yourself to grab your daily snacks. This can save you precious time and money at vending machines or fast food shops. There are endless layers to peel away to achieve a healthy body. The following organizing tips will make this process more enjoyable.

Bring five healthy snacks with you each day, such as: • • • • •

In Recovery Magazine

Baby carrots and hummus dip. A snack bar with high protein and low sugar ratio. Apple slices and almond butter for dipping. A ready-to-go nutritional protein drink. A sports bottle prepped with nutritional protein powder. Add water and ice when ready to drink. 53

{Organizing Solutions} . . . for a Healthy Home A well-organized home equals a healthy home. You immediately feel the difference emotionally and physically when a room is filled with fresh air and open space. Endless piles of paperwork, laundry and dishes are no longer lurking in every corner. Master the following organizing principles to reclaim those corners:

Make your bed every day.

Identify and define at least five healthy workout options. Healthy workout options will offer your body the variety it craves. Moods change daily, so having a cache of options is key to avoiding boredom and burnout. Ridding your body of harmful cortisol hormones created by stress is imperative to achieving a healthy body and healthy living. • • •

Join a gym. Then select a class that interests you and commit to attend regularly. Purchase some workout DVDs at your local thrift store or download free gut-busting videos online. Download a free nutritional app to track your progress, such as or From tracking calorie intake to achieving weight loss goals, there are some fantastic options to choose from to help keep you committed.

This is a basic task that takes under one minute to achieve, yet yields double bonus points. The bed doesn’t have to be Pottery-Barn perfect, just sheets brought up, comforter laid across and pillows taken off the floor. Often your bed takes up the largest square footage in your bedroom; so by making your bed, you have turned your room from undone to done in no time flat. In return, you kick-start your day with self-control, action and accomplishment.

Trash your trash and recycle your recyclables. In the last issue of In Recovery Magazine, I talked about promptly disposing of empty drink cups and food wrappers. Discarding these items is quick and easy, and it forces you to practice the art of decision-making. Quick decision-making is a top core concept to master sooner than later. Is your kitchen trash bin too small? Check out your local home store for substantial solid bins for both trash and recyclables. Label cabinet doors or trashcan lids using masking tape and a sharpie, so you are never asked which bin is which. This makes communication easier for everyone in your household or halfway house.

Reduce counter clutter.

Ditch the soda and make water your beverage of Nothing is more aggravating than spilling your coffee all over belongings that are sitting on a kitchen counter. This choice. We all know the importance of drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water a day. I know, you hate to be told this yet again. In addition to every cup of coffee you drink, you need a counterbalance of two cups of water. Ouch! Short of attaching your mouth to your kitchen faucet, you need solutions and need them fast. •

If water is a bit blah to your taste buds, add a squeeze of citrus.

Add a splash of your favorite sports drink to your water, instead of drinking several sports drinks each day.


Still enjoy bubbling soda to fill you up? Try a low-calorie flavored seltzer. There are a gazillion reasonably priced flavors on the market now. A two-dollar liter of flavored seltzer is a healthier solution than traditional soda pop, which is chemically-derived junk for your body.

situation can be avoided if you decide which items are granted access to the counter (which I have designated as prime real estate). Pick items that can’t be stored in a drawer; only items you need on the counter are allowed on the counter. So, your knife butcher block may have access, but not all the spices you have placed beside it. Framed pictures can be hung on a wall; sticky notes and pens can be stored in a drawer using a drawer divider. Do you have multiples of certain items, things you won’t use in your lifetime? Select a useable amount to keep and donate the rest.

Designate a tote in your home as the “bin of bins.” This is one of my most favorite clutter-busting tips of all time. This solution requires so little brainpower that you will say to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that years ago?” No worries, I’m here to help you! Grab a large cardboard box or solid plastic bin, preferably with a lid. Place it in an easily-accessible area, such as a

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

spare closet or a low shelf in the garage. Now, have a scavenger hunt around your home; gather all the random plastic trays, dividers, checkbook boxes, make-up pouches, leftover food containers that don’t have lids; then place them in your bin of bins. Before you head out to shop for an item that you actually already have available, you can now shop in your personal container store, your bin of bins. When the lid starts popping off your bin of bins, pare down accordingly. Reconsider what you are storing; only keep what you can use. This is a task you can accomplish with ease and confidence, and then brag to your friends about the organizing success you are having.

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Implement these new organizing habits for a healthier new you and a happier new year. Your mind, body and home will be greatly appreciative. Danielle Wurth is a professional organizer, speaker and owner of Wurth Organizing, LLC, a professional organizing company in Scottsdale, Arizona, that transforms families with hands-on organizing sessions and events. Wurth is a new exclusive Arizona Brand Partner of The Container Store and has been a contributor to Real Simple Magazine, Fox 10 News, Channel 3 Good Morning Arizona, 1360 KPXQ Faith Talk Radio and The Arizona Republic. You may contact her at, by phone at 602.579.5274 or by email at

Our services include: • Men’s residential treatment • Sober living • Outpatient addiction treatment (IOP) • Transitional Living • Nutrition management • Gym onsite • Freedom to practice your faith • Regular group and outdoor activities

For more information: (928) 515-0044 • Admissions: (928) 515-0066

Simplify your life! Create budget-friendly organizational systems by: maximizing any space within your business, home or garage. transitioning with success vs. stress in your recovery process utilizing your own psyche for better long-term organizational results.

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simplifying papers and possessions to bring joy, not sorrow. Accessing our hands-on organizing, Skype sessions or interactive speaking events.


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Medical Detoxification 24/7 Assessment Screening Helpful and Caring Staff

Dr. Mark Collins, our Medical Director, is a triple Board Certified Psychiatrist 5940 E. Copper Hill Dr., Prescott Valley, AZ 86314 Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


Not Without Some Fear By Gabriella Reyes


find myself arrested for prostitution a second time, but I have three kids under 18 years old, all of whom I’m raising by myself. I don’t want them to wind up in foster care, so I ask for alternative sentencing.

For most of the people in this country, 2008 has been a rough year. All of my kids are in school. I have no job and an upside-down mortgage. So, I decide to try my hand at hooking out of the local casinos – and get busted. Twice! So here I am. Not without some fear, mind you. I couldn’t stop picturing a room full of streetwalkers. The hotline isn’t at all what I thought it would be. Because they don’t list the phone as Sex Workers Anonymous (SWA), I ask if I have the right number and am told yes. If any pimps check my call log, it will appear that I’m just calling a friend. I’m frightened of what the other SWA members are like, so the hotline operator suggests I listen to some of their interviews on the website. It helps. I tell her my situation, but I’m curious. I ask, “What would you do if I said I have a pimp?” She explains that sometimes they have to arrange an escape before they can even get people to the point where they can attend weekly meetings. Wow. I really am lucky that I’m not in that situation. But I just don’t see how a Twelve Step meeting would solve any of my problems. Fortunately, I live in a big city that supports a weekly meeting. For smaller cities and for those who are housebound, SWA offers phone meetings. There’s also a mail program for those who are incarcerated or hospitalized, and even an audio version of their Recovery Guide for those whose vision or reading skills aren’t so hot.

Sex Workers Anonymous (SWA) is for anyone – male, female or transgender – who has a desire to leave any part of the sex industry (stripping, porn, prostitution, etc.), whether trafficked or not. SWA was the first hotline and program for adults looking for assistance in leaving the sex industry. It brought attention to the modern day movement which recognizes sex trafficking as a serious problem. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. For more information about SWA, visit


When I walk into the meeting, I have to admit I’m surprised. To be honest, it could have passed for a PTA meeting. “Welcome to Sex Workers Anonymous. In order to protect your anonymity, we ask that you not mention your last name, your past, where you work or where you live.” I lean over and ask the woman next to me, “Why don’t they want me to speak about my past?” She replies, “That’s to protect you from anything you say that could possibly be used against you.” The first person to share is Jaime. She is the typical streetwalking junkie. She says she called the hotline after “being sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She started attending SWA and decided to work on becoming a licensed counselor. Once she had a few years clean and received her license, she thought she didn’t need SWA any longer. Her post-traumatic stress had her trying medical marijuana. That just stimulated her appetite right up to 400 pounds. Jaime says she came back to SWA because she knew that many members experienced this same situation. They could quit sex work; but their relationships with money, sex, food or other people were still dysfunctional. Sandy pipes in, “Yeah, when I first started attending, it was a lot like that for me, too. By the time I grew up, the only sex I really knew was drunken trysts in cars. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous to get sober, but the tricks just wouldn’t leave me alone. That’s one thing when In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

you’re a teenager, but when you’re hitting 30 years old, it’s just sad.” She pauses and then continues, “Yeah, funny thing about when you start getting sober and actually begin finding out who you really are – not who everyone else is saying you are. And you’re not what you’re doing in order to survive.” I’m now officially lost. I came here thinking this was about finding a job. The secretary, Rosie, sees this, leans over and whispers, “We all go to coffee after.” At the restaurant, Rosie asks, “Ah, so you’re one who thinks we’re like Alcoholics Anonymous. So let me ask you something. Do you think prostitutes suffer from a disease? I mean, are you realizing that you turned tricks and you couldn’t stop yourself?” “Well, of course not. I made the choice to do what I did,” I explain. “Okay, well what about those who didn’t make a choice? What about those who had a pimp forcing them to get on that stage or in front of that camera or else? What about people like Sandy who had to turn tricks in order to eat or to put a roof over her head because she was too young to get a regular job? Those people have a completely different motivation and relationship with the sex industry. Different from your experience and even from mine, because frankly, I loved the sex industry.” Rosie leans back smiling, almost as if she’s talking about an old lover. I have to admit, that shocked me. Turns out, she had been arrested and sentenced to three years of probation. Not wanting to wind up violating probation, she’s forced not to go back to the sex industry. “After suddenly being thrust into a life I didn’t want, SWA literally taught me how to walk, talk, dress and cope.” “Why don’t you go back now?” I asked. “I now have a daughter who is sick. I’m a convicted felon and can’t work at a legal brothel. If I go back, I could get arrested again. If I get arrested again, who is going to take care of my sick daughter? I come to meetings so I don’t relapse,” Rosie explains. “Relapse?” I ask. Karen pops up, “Oh, let me field that one.” She tells me that, unlike the others, she thinks she is classically addicted to the sex industry. Having been arrested 57 times, she couldn’t seem to put any clean time together before coming to SWA. “It wasn’t about drugs or a pimp – but the excitement and the adventure. I just couldn’t give it up. Society, the law, my family, everyone was telling me that I had to; but I just couldn’t give up the high,” she explains. “Death is why I left the sex industry,” says Amy, a 60-year-old Jewish woman. She opened a massage parlor so she could have regular hours while her three kids were in school. As a teen, her daughter got into drugs because Mom was always Winter 2015

at work at night. It was a good enough lifestyle for her mom, so why not her? Meaning her daughter could go work the streets on her own – or mom could put her to work in her parlor where she could keep an eye on her. Thinking it was the best way to keep her wild kid out of trouble, Amy started taking calls with her so she could protect her – at least that was her thinking. However, her daughter died of an overdose one night. That was it. She realized she had to quit and change her life. Amy explains, “Alcoholism and addiction talk about ‘powerlessness,’ meaning they are using alcohol and drugs against their will. We are not against the sex industry. If you want to be doing what you’re doing, fine. More power to you. But there are those of us who are not there by choice.” “I wanted to quit,” Amy continued, “but it’s like Rosie said – it’s like quitting an abusive relationship. I needed some extra help to learn how to stay out of it. It’s too easy to focus on the money and forget about things like that case in Texas where a man beheaded a prostitute when she refused to give him a refund.” “So what’s the first step?” I ask. “You tell us,” Amy responds. “The sex industry is just a job. But we each keep finding ourselves back there – in some form or another, for one reason or another – against our will. You say you ‘made a choice’ to do it, but you wouldn’t have done it unless you lost your job, so you didn’t really want to. You need to find out why that is for you.” “Why can’t I just go and get another job and have that be the end of it?” I ask. “Was it the end of it before?” Karen asks. As if reading my mind, Rosie adds, “Look, I’m not going to tell you where this road is going to take you. For an alcoholic, attending Alcoholics Anonymous is about staying sober. But each person’s sobriety looks different. The Twelve Steps universally uncover self-destructive behaviors and powerlessness in our own lives. The choices you made brought you here, and yes, caused you to endanger the very things you say you want to protect.” Wow, she’s right, I thought. Silly me, I assumed attending SWA would be all about the sex industry. It really does boil down to me no matter what program I’m in, doesn’t it? Copyright Gabriella Reyes 2015 All Rights Reserved

Gabriella Reyes (a pen name to protect her career) is a freelance writer. She is the founder of SWA, as well as the present-day sex-trafficking movement, launched in 1987. SWA is dedicated to anyone, male, female or transgender, who has a desire to leave and recover from any part of the sex industry no matter how they found themselves there. Gabriella lives and works in real estate in Nevada showing others how they can also find their way out of the addictive sex industry.

In Recovery Magazine


Recovery Tech: Soberlink

By Ashley Loeb


fter a loved one completes an alcohol treatment program, how to support them in the sometimes arduous transition back into normal life is one of the greatest difficulties for families and friends. Upon returning home from the shelter of a treatment program, the alcoholic is often blindsided by the onslaught of triggers built into their daily lives. For this reason, sober living homes and outpatient treatment are recommended by most professionals as stepping stones back into society.

You can find a copy at your local Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or Hastings. We are also sold in independent newsstands and bookstores across the nation. For a complete list of locations, check our website today. IN R ECOV IN R E RY ECO VE MAG RY M AZIN AGA E ZINE

Today, in addition to sober living and outpatient treatment, the tech world provides the addiction medicine field with another wonderful tool called Soberlink. This handheld sobriety monitoring and accountability device is being used all over the country to help newly recovered alcoholics transition into healthy lives. It already has a proven track record in criminal justice and addiction treatment, and has a presence in all 50 states, Canada and Europe.

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Volume 13 Fall 2015

This cloud-based system is completely automated with user-friendly features including text alerts and reminders that prompt the client to take breath tests at specific times. Essentially, the system can monitor someone’s sobriety at any given time, tremendously adding accountability to the normal supervision of outpatient and sober living homes. It provides automated overview reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis for the professionals reviewing a client’s compliance with program guidelines. While testing alone is not considered to be an adequate aftercare plan, most professionals consider it an integral part of any comprehensive plan. Soberlink, in conjunction with outpatient services and support groups, is an effective option for individuals needing or wanting an increased level of accountability. For more information, check out Ashley Loeb grew up in Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom. She is a cofounder of a tech startup called Lionrock Recovery, a Joint Commission accredited online substance abuse treatment center. In recovery herself, Loeb is passionate about sharing her experience, strength and hope with others. She enjoys what she describes as “a life beyond her wildest dreams.” Loeb lives in Southern California with her husband and two large dogs.


FA F A LL LL 2 0 1 5 2015

Soberlink is a technology-based company that developed the world’s first smartphone breathalyzer designed specifically for alcohol monitoring. When using the Soberlink system, a picture of the user is taken to confirm their identity, which is then uplinked in real-time onto the secure Soberlink Monitoring Web Portal. The recovering person can blow into the device at anytime from anywhere, and those monitoring the results receive the live updates.


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In Recovery Magazine is seeking national advertising sales representatives. Would you like to be part of one of the fastest growing publications in the recovery industry? In Recovery Magazine is just that publication. We are on a quest for experienced advertising salespeople to secure contracts with the resources that are so important to our readers – our advertisers. We are looking for friendly, outgoing and high-energy people who can help us grow. Only serious applicants need apply. This is a commission-based opportunity with unlimited income capability. Go to our website and find out what we’re all about – Help us help others as we celebrate recovery around the world. Send resumes to Jacque Miller at

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Rest for Your Soul: Merry Teleios Christmas! By Mike Japenga

“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” – Step Ten of Alcoholics Anonymous

Wow! Christmastime is here again. For me, part of the Christmas message is accepting the gift of imperfection from the One Who Is Perfect in every sense of this English word, “perfect.” I’m not sure about you, but much of my life has been spent fruitlessly ignoring the Christmas gift of God. Instead, I pursued (on my own with no help from anyone, thank you very much) becoming the impossible – a mistake-free person. Or a person who could at least appear that way. My religious upbringing taught me to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) The word “perfect” is a horrible word. I have learned that this attribute has nothing to do with the ancient Greek word “teleios,” which is often translated as “perfect.” Practicing a spirituality of perfection is not attractive. It is demanding of others and one’s self. It must judge; it must be deceptive; it must compare. It must hide for fear of being found out. It must succeed on its own terms; it must never fail. It requires a lack of authenticity spiritually, emotionally and mentally. This is not the stuff of a Merry Christmas! Many addicts and alcoholics know the pain of living the impossible pretend life of perfection – the need to look complete and whole on the outside while suffering deep pain and gnawing fear on the inside. For a time, alcohol and drugs are a wonderful solution. Unfortunately, as many of us know, it is a solution that leads to disaster. For some of us, the disastrous pattern was broken only by desperation and stark raving fear. Desperation that leads some of us to pray the most important prayer there is, “Please help me.” It is a place of vulnerability and utter helplessness – as vulnerable and helpless as a newborn baby lying in a manger. After a good deal of honest housecleaning, I finally arrived at Step Ten of Alcoholics Anonymous. I began to accept my condition as a perfectly imperfect human being. As I enlarged my spiritual life via the practice of a Twelve Step program, I realized I never had to be perfect after all. Especially given the fact that I never was anyway.

religious sense. It is better translated as “authentic,” “complete” or “mature.” These English words are more spiritually accurate. They define traits that are possible to obtain. Today I can be authentic. I can now be complete in trusting God for who I am. I can be mature in God’s definition of that word. None of these behaviors require me to be mistake-free or perfect in integrity. People of integrity are, simply and powerfully, folks who see quickly when they have lost their integrity. They then do what is necessary to regain their integrity. I can do that. I am a fan of Brennan Manning, a recovering alcoholic priest who died a few years ago. He wrote this in his book, Ragamuffin Gospel: When I get honest, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, “A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.” (p. 24) Brothers and sisters, I wish you a perfectly imperfect Merry Christmas. I pray that we all have lives and recoveries filled with failure and success, laughter and tears. But, I mostly wish us all the peace, grace and blessed fellowship of working with others who also seek spiritual progress and have grown too wise to be fooled by the fallacy of spiritual perfection. Keep coming back. I will, too.

Step Ten and the spiritual practice of recovery assume I will learn the art of spiritual progress, and not be fooled by vaporous and vain attempts at “perfection” and mistake-free living. Practicing the “Perfection Model” avoids living life on life’s terms, and paradoxically provided me with nothing more than a great depth of spiritual depravity. Some time ago, I learned that this word, teleios, which has been translated as “perfect” in some sacred writings, has little to do with the idea of being mistake-free or holy in a Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine

Rev. Mike Japenga, BA, MDiv, LSAT, is a recovering alcoholic. He was a senior counselor with Valley Hope in Chandler and Tempe, Arizona, for nine years before starting Rest for Your Soul. His organization helps people better understand the disease of addiction through clinical trainings, educational events and spiritual counseling. Mike has been an ordained Presbyterian minister for almost 20 years and a licensed addiction counselor for 14 years. For further information, go to



Roommates in Sobriety M y name is Patty Baret, and I have been in recovery for 30 years. I am one of the founders of Roommates in Sobriety. I was born in Nice, France, and have lived in Morocco as well as throughout the US.

By the time I got sober in Los Angeles at age 21, my parents had cut me off. I was relatively new to California. After several recent moves both in the US and abroad, I had very little money. I definitely could not afford an apartment on my own. However, I didn’t want to end up with some stranger from the classifieds. I wanted a roommate my age who was sober and cool. I wanted to live my life drug-free. If I shared an apartment with someone who was getting high, I knew I would be tempted to use. I knew it would be difficult to find someone who met my specifications. My bilingual background and international experience with various cultures, in addition to my ability to adapt to communities in different parts of the world, enabled me to relate well to others. Throughout my recovery, I had reached out to many struggling individuals and had helped hundreds of alcoholics and drug addicts in recovery. I led recovery-based women’s groups and self-empowerment meetings; I addressed such issues as anxiety, eating disorders and addictions. But I wanted to do more. Enter Lauren Arborio, certified substance abuse counselor with UCLA training and over ten years experience in the addiction field. Lauren recalls, “When I got sober, I was 24 years old, living in New York and working as a stylist. I knew I had been out of control and living on the edge, and it was time for me to get sober. I didn’t want to get high anymore, but I didn’t want my lifestyle to change. I always ended up renting from people who were partying hard. I would move out just as quickly as I had moved in. Despite managing to stay sober, I endured horrible roommate experiences.” Today, with over 16 years of recovery, Lauren is passionate about helping others who are battling addiction and mental disorders. She has worked and trained in LA with leading specialists in addiction psychiatry and pain management, and provides case management, family management and assistance to many patients and families in crisis. 60

According to Lauren:

Patty and I both got sober very young. We knew how difficult it was to find roommates like us: people who didn’t want to come home to insanity, who “got it” and had similar interests. Being active in the community as well as working in recovery, we were constantly being asked by sober living owners, treatment centers, clinicians, men and women in AA and the parents of clients if we knew of anyone looking for a sober roommate or who had a sober room to rent. We asked ourselves, “What if there was a website for sober people looking for sober roommates? A place where two or three fun, creative people, perhaps students or artists, could connect and have it all – a creative connection as well as a safe, drug-free home?”

When Lauren and I told our families and friends we were thinking about starting a roommate site, they thought it was a great idea. Thus the Roommates in Sobriety website was born, where recovering people all over the US could find like-minded roommates. Roommates in Sobriety is ideal for anyone leaving sober living, even if they are staying in the area where they received treatment. Most are asking, “Now what? Where do I go from here? I need to find a roommate!” Regardless of whether someone is looking to find an apartment with a new sober friend, has an apartment to rent or needs a room to rent, Roommates in Sobriety is a free resource where these needs can be posted. We are already seeing people post their successes on Facebook; we hope to continue this grassroots-style growth. It is our desire to be a resource for the community, for professionals and their clients, and also for the eclectic recovery community all over the US and eventually all over the world. Please share our links. You may find us via the web at, on Facebook at Roommates in Sobriety or on our twitter #soberroommates. Our company, Connections in Recovery, providing addiction, mental health counseling and supportive services, may be reached at 888.657.1050 or on the web at

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015


CLEAN By Wes Hurt


y story isn’t all that different from that of most addicts and alcoholics. I began drinking and smoking pot in my teens – sound familiar?

I chose life. Today, I am grateful to God for His grace and for the courage to give life another go in the face of hopelessness. This isn’t fluff; God is the only reason I’m alive.

Shortly after high school, I began experimenting with hard drugs. Daily drinking was already the norm, but my drug use was gaining momentum. For the next decade, I used almost anything put in front of me. Let’s be honest; most people experiment in their younger years – but the difference between non-addicted people and me was that I didn’t stop using as a result of significant negative consequences.

I attend Twelve Step meetings and stay connected with people in recovery on a daily basis. Although I have worked the Steps, I need to do so again. I suspect new growth happens every time that you do. I stay close to and nurture relationships with family and true friends; I work hard and stay busy. I am grateful for the small things. Since my personality is always to want and to have more, this is sometimes difficult to do.

I’m an addict and alcoholic. Nope, not a victim – just an addict and alcoholic. During my late 20s and into my early 30s, I somehow managed to start and build a successful cupcake business – drunk and high every day. My business profits were used to support my addiction, not to pursue my dreams. What started as popping a couple “innocent” pills led me to dependence upon roughly 35 Vicodin daily. When Vicodin wasn’t enough, I added smoking crack to the mix. My family never left me. At this time in my life, I was fortunate enough to somehow still have a loving wife and family, a couple of furbies (two kitties), a home and a thriving business. Despite all this, my addiction still took precedence over everything. I chose to live in isolation, using drugs and sleeping on a concrete floor in a warehouse. I didn’t care how bad it got. I was numb. I was completely disconnected from reality. Over the last 15 years, I had been in a psych ward and six rehabs. I had been told countless times that my addiction would eventually take my life. One night as I lay on that concrete warehouse floor staring up at the ceiling, for the first time I truly believed it. I finally hit my bottom. I was done. The time had come to make a decision – get busy living or get busy dying. Winter 2015

In sobriety, I not only have my life back, but also have found my purpose. Within 30 days of becoming sober, a dream was born in me. I wanted to pursue my passion of entrepreneurial ventures and, at the same time, help others in recovery. From this dream, Clean Cause was created. We currently sell premium purified bottled water and sparkling mineral water, but will soon be launching an organic, Clean™ energy drink. I created Clean Cause to make a difference; 50 percent of our profits support recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We’re very enthusiastic about the potential of our Clean™ beverage line and the Clean brand, but we’re more excited about the future role Clean Cause can play in helping those in need of recovery experience the joys of living free. I’ve been sober just over one year now, and life has never been more amazing. I am blessed to be alive and don’t regret the past. It’s said that it is always darkest before the dawn. Although this statement can be considered a cliché; nonetheless, it can be true. I have not been cured and never will be, but my life is looking up now that I am sober. My hope is that God will enable me to spend the rest of my life doing what I can to help others. Wes Hurt, founder of Clean Cause, may be reached by email at wes@cleancause. com or on the web at

In Recovery Magazine


I Quit Driving the Bus By Patti Crowley

“This is God speaking. I will be handling all of your problems today.”


used to wish I would wake up one morning and see a note like that. Today, I don’t need the note because I believe those words with every fiber of my being. As recently as a month ago, I was unable to say that. At that time, I was still struggling with the concept of putting my will completely in God’s hands. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted it, but I was not convinced of it. I played the victim role . . . a role I’d played my entire life. When things went wrong, I couldn’t understand why God was letting me down. Now what I see is this. Things may have been bad; but instead of believing that God had let me down, I now see that God helped me through those hard times. I am convinced of this. When times are bad, many of us tend to place the blame outside of ourselves. We cannot understand why bad things keep happening to us. I had over three years of sobriety when I remember looking up to the heavens and asking out loud, “When do the Promises start coming true, damnit?” The Promises were always within my reach, but I neglected to reach out and grasp them. I did everything in my power to work against the principles of the program. Sure, I convinced myself and many other people that I was working so hard. But the truth was, I was living in my ego and wallowing in self-pity – a deadly combination, I might add. 62

How did I get to where I am today? I began to wake up every morning and go to bed every night thanking God for all the blessings in my life. Even if I had to struggle to come up with things for which to be thankful, I did it. Before I knew it, I began to see God’s blessings, past and present, throughout my life. I began seeing Him as a loving being who did not inflict pain on me, but instead, guided me through those hard times, helping me survive any difficulties in my life. This was a huge turning point for me in my life and in my sobriety. I now know that if I turn my will over to God each and every day, He will not let me down. My faith has been restored, and my trust is strong. I am no longer trying to drive the bus. I am joyfully trudging the road of happy destiny.

In Recovery Magazine

Patti Crowley is a 48-year-old mother of two wonderful young adults. A year ago, she moved from Chicago to Scottsdale, Arizona, seeking not a geographical cure, but a great new start in a beautiful part of the country. She diligently works a strong program, attends regular meetings and writes a recovery blog.

Winter 2015

OUR INDIVIDUALIZED PURPOSE Learning the importance of responsibility while in our program, we teach young men how to resolve their most problematic challenges in a positive way through those times, communication and healthy relationships. We teach our clients a different way of being, a healthy way out of conflict and turmoil through making new alternative decisions. We specialize in: • Entitlement Deactivation • Affluenza Dissolution • Humility Practice • Goal Accomplishment • Self-Reliance • 5 Year Goal Planning • Recovery Support • Leadership Guidance • Social Justice Immersion • Independent Living Skills

• Practical Life Skills • Financial Competence • Problem Solving • Vocational Training • Work Ethics • Coping Skills • Spiritual Expansion • Self Esteem • Peer Relationships • Urban Wilderness Therapy

After working several years in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, I couldn’t help but realize that the majority of our clients were suffering with severe entitlement issues. These issues were often times more harmful than the addiction itself. I feel that leaving this issue unresolved will result in chronic drug addiction or an insufficient quality of life. Clint Richards

1965 Commerce Center Circle, Suite C, Prescott, AZ 86301

928-237-9378 •

UNITE to Face Addiction

By Dave Cooke


hen sharing the story of an epic, life-changing experience, media hyperbole can present a challenge. However, for the tens of thousands who attended the Unite to Face Addiction Rally in Washington DC on Sunday, October 4, 2015, the words being used to describe the emotional power of this event were “amazing”, “incredible” and “inspiring.” I felt a spirit of hope and change as I stood in the crowd on the National Mall at the foot of the Washington Monument, sensing that finally the voices of lives lost and impacted by addiction were being heard. The anthem that kicked off the rally set the tone for the rest of the evening, “This is the day when the truth will shine.”

People came from around the country. They came alone; they came in groups. Some were there to honor loved ones lost to addiction. Others were there to share their passion for change. Still others, proud of their recovery from addiction, wanted to share their message of hope with those still struggling. Individuals who had connected with one another through online social media groups met for the first time. Everywhere I turned there was a joyous, hopeful spirit as the voices of addiction and recovery were heard by the nation. One of the many celebrities who spoke to the crowd was 64

actress Alison Janney of the hit TV show, Mom. She reminded us that “many people look at recovery as something dark and serious.” Through her show she hoped to impart that “recovery has its fun and humorous moments, too.” When speaking with her backstage, I was moved by her story of personal pain around the loss of her brother to his addiction. She views her show as an opportunity to “honor her brother’s life in a way that gives hope and encouragement to those working on their [own] recovery.” During Janney’s appearance on stage and in the press room, most memorable was the emotional manner in which she spoke about her brother, the show and her experiences working with an authentic, respectful script. Through the entire interview, she leaned on best friend and former West Wing colleague, Melissa Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Justice for Vets. They both became tearful as she admitted she couldn’t do what she is doing without Fitzgerald’s continuous support. Janney’s remarks reinforced what every person exposed to addiction knows: addiction doesn’t discriminate; everyone is affected. The musical line-up was loaded with big names. The show kicked off with heavyweight Joe Walsh, and closed out five hours later with Steven Tyler; sprinkled in between were top-shelf musicians including Sheryl Crow, Jason

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Isbell, John Butler and the Fray. Multiple speakers were sandwiched between musical sets. Presenters varied from political leaders to actors to parents, each with words of hope, commitment and change. Those in long-term recovery shared their experience, strength and hope; others simply shared a personal passion for addressing the issue of addiction. Throughout the night, the stage reverberated with great music and great messages. The real stars of this event were those in attendance. Parents and loved ones carried placards featuring pictures of their loved ones lost to or fighting addiction. Others, many in long-term recovery, offered hope and encouragement – all while reminding the nation that with effective treatment, recovery is possible.

heard. As we stood together at the end of the night on the National Mall, we were reminded to use this moment as inspiration to continue to let our voices for reform reverberate across the nation. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith summed up the evening with a call to action, reminding us that “the light at the end of the tunnel is you!” The crowd felt the power of that moment, and all were even more committed to see that change becomes realized.

A wide variety of organizations committed to education, treatment, advocacy and support to families and those with addictions joined the crowd in support of the recovery message. Everybody brought their stories, their passions and their commitment. The common theme was to end the stigma our society places on addiction and to bring about a positive change in society’s approach to addiction. The crowd was encouraged to personalize the faces of those battling an addiction or celebrating long-term recovery. Rather than a blanket labeling of them as addicts, the call went out to refer to these individuals as having a disease of addiction or as being a person in long-term recovery. Eliminating labels can help remove the stigma and humanize the issue and the cause. Although societal change may be a long road, I couldn’t help but sense that the movement is gaining momentum – the voices of those fighting for change are finally being Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine

Dave Cooke is the CEO and Executive Director of 100Pedals, Inc. His is also the father of a son with a heroin addiction. Dave delivers keynote speeches and conducts workshops about living an inspired and empowered life despite the chaos of addiction in the family. For more information, you may contact Dave at


Cross Talk CrossTalk is based on the premise that recovery life is polytely: frequently, complex problem-solving situations characterized by the presence of not one, but several endings. This writing represents decades of recovery and its application to life and how to get over it, into it or through it with spunk, levity and a good dose of reality. What? You want more than happy, joyous and free? Get over it. Just sayin’. – Mollé

Ms. Mollé, Not sure what you know about this, but dating in recovery is a nightmare. I feel like I can’t trust people to be honest about who they are and their intentions. Isn’t that our primary goal, to be honest with others and ourselves? They say one thing, but it does not match up with their behavior. I finally find this partner who I really like and who likes me. We asked and confirmed with each other that we had been tested for STDs and were in good sexual health. My potential partner has Hep C, but said that it is not sexually transmitted and not to worry. Now, weeks later, I find out that it can be transmitted sexually. I am infuriated. I am absolutely beside myself. Is this common for people in AA to lie like this? Really? I thought I could trust people in AA! – Man in Missouri Dear Mr. Mad Man, First, no man or woman represents AA. Yes, AA is comprised of men and women, but don’t blame AA for their human failings. What? People lack pertinent information or lie? What made you think anyone is fully aware about anything, especially something as complex as health issues? Maybe you just heard what you wanted to hear? When we choose to have sex with another person, it comes with all the failings humans can have, whether in or out of AA. Both men and women can have a difficult time being honest with themselves, let alone with their partners. Now we expect them to know everything about sexually-transmitted diseases? Good luck with that one. This is not the venue to talk about STDs, so let’s focus on the personal responsibility for our own health and well66

ness, especially when it involves another person. In AA, the principle behind Step One is honesty. There are multiple facets to honesty – emotional, financial, sexual and others. Now let’s separate this from a person’s ability to be honest about things they know nothing about. For me, my personal responsibility requires me to be specific about things that are important to me. If someone I am about to be intimate with tells me they have a disease, I cannot leave it up to them to be the expert or assume they know about its sexual transmission. If I do, I am putting my health in jeopardy and the responsibility for my health in the hands of another person. A sponsee of mine, a single woman in recovery, told me she always asks questions of her future partner before having sex. One potential partner admitted to having an STD that my sponsee knew nothing about. The partner said not to worry; it’s “only transmitted under certain conditions.” But my sponsee took things a step further. Prior to intercourse, she saw a doctor she trusted and received more information, so she could make an informed decision. She did not like what she heard and chose not to have sex with the potential partner. She was disappointed, as was her partner; but at least they both made decisions based on accurate information. How does this relate to recovery? We are always responsible to make our own informed decisions. At the end of the day, people are just people; and they often don’t know what they don’t know. We shouldn’t blame other people, even when we want to. However, we can learn how to take the best care of ourselves.

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Do not get your information on STDs from groups or blogs or WebMD. If you need to know more, consult a reputable medical research site such as the Mayo Clinic or the National Institute of Health – especially with regard to Hep C. Your health could depend on it! To Thine Own Self Be True. Mollé, I just accepted an exciting life-dream invitation to move to Thailand to provide clinical health yoga. The clinical certification required for this job requires intense study. I’ve worked my butt off over my five years of recovery for this kind of opportunity, so why am I so afraid? My boyfriend is going to work for this company, too; and we’re happy about this. I’ve traveled abroad many times, so the travel aspect is not new to me. What’s wrong with me? – Freakin’ Out in CA Dear Freakin’, Congratulations! You’ve stayed sober, chosen a field of study, committed to the education, and now your dreams are coming true. Wow, an education and a boyfriend you obviously trust, or he would not be going with you, right? You also have the power of sobriety to help stabilize your exploration and enhance the experience. Don’t be fooled. You are not invincible, and this perfect job is not without potential problems. Stay close to the program – yes, they have AA meetings in Thailand – and keep your Higher Power first in your life. Become active in service work immediately. The fellowship there will help you settle in and feel right at home. You might even be able to share your recovery and be of service to someone else. Keep in mind the basics: a foundation in sobriety is foremost, followed by a strong relationship with your Higher Power, reinforced with the ability to return to the US unexpectedly if needed and, last but not least, a support system. Online AA works well, and online video sponsorship is a modern tool for those in recovery who relocate or travel. The word of the day here is achievement. It is time to reap the rewards of your hard work.

A Transitional Program For Women Walking With Integrity And Grace. Canyon Crossing Recovery absolutely insists on teaching women how to walk with Integrity and Grace. Our program is structured to promote peer accountability, living life on life’s terms, and showing women there is a life out there without drugs and alcohol. Here at Canyon Crossing we absolutely believe they are worth it!

Our Program Canyon Crossing Recovery Outpatient Treatment Program offers PHP, IOP, Outpatient and Aftercare through our state licensed, Joint Commission Accredited facility. We emphasize biopsychosocial disease and recovery model with utilization of Rational Emotive Behavioral therapeutic techniques and skills. Secondary treatment modalities include DBT, CBT delivered through an eclectic processes. Trauma, PTSD, and Grief therapy Outdoors Adventures such as hiking, camping, and ropes course. Horsemanship program with certified life coach. Family Workshops and Counseling Eating Disorder Therapeutic Support and Nutritional Education Random Weekly Drug Screening Case Management and Medication Monitoring Transitional living in a safe and secured setting.

The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé are the opinions and ideas of the author only and do not represent those of In Recovery Magazine. The implied action is offered openly and is never intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. You may send your dilemmas to Mollé at crosstalk@


1.800.651.7254 Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


50 Years of Changed Lives Advertorial


een Challenge of Arizona has reached our 50th Anniversary! This milestone is an exciting time in our history.

Looking back over the years, we have seen the hand of God on this ministry as we proclaimed liberty to those who came to us bound by drugs and alcohol. Over these years, God has changed thousands of lives from addicts to amazing drug-free Christians, filled with hope and given a bright future. At Teen Challenge, we don’t moralize about the drug epidemic in America; we do something about it by showing up every day to make a difference in lives lost in addiction. Through evangelism and Christian faith-based discipleship, we see miracles take place both in the lives of those whom society had given up on and in family members, as well. Make no mistake, the most important aspect of our recovery program is the positive results we have seen over the years in our Teen Challenge students’ lives. We operate five facilities around the state: Tucson Men’s Induction Center, Springboard Home for Youth in Crisis, Greater Phoenix Men’s Induction Center, Home of Hope for women and women with children (newborn to six), and the Christian Life Ranch Men’s Training Center. If you or a loved one needs help, please call 1.800.346.7859 or visit The testimonies below tell the wonderful stories of how Teen Challenge saved two of those lost to an addiction and in need of healing. Jason Bowers’ story: When I was twelve, after some hard experiences that I didn’t know how to cope with, I began smoking pot. I fell in love with a monster. Gradually, as with all sin, it progressed until I had no control. I was using cocaine, LSD and any other drugs I could get that would keep me far from reality. My life was a mess, and I was completely miserable. I had no hope, no future; and I could not be trusted. One day my mom and aunt told me about a program called Teen Challenge. I was only too glad to go. I wanted to be rid of the life I was leading; so in October of 1989, I went. The first month or so was extremely difficult. All I thought about was leaving. One day I was working in the kitchen with a very big chip on my shoulder. I was working with a 6’6” tattooed biker named Preston who was also a student. He asked me to do something; and I exploded, cussing him out. He began walking toward me, and I thought “Oh man, I’ve had it!” He backed me into a corner, wrapped his arms around me and said “Son, let it go.” I immediately broke; and as the tears streamed down my cheeks, this unlikely vessel ministered the love of Christ to me. Things soon got easier, and I began to learn Scripture and how to pray. I formed relationships with others that would prove to be instrumental even years later. Life has had some fierce ups and downs, but God has pulled me through. Krysta’s Story: I came to the Home of Hope after struggling with a heroin addiction for ten years. I couldn’t see the other side – I don’t know that I believed there was one. I fought the program for several months. I was always ready to walk out. I almost left a few times; but in the end, I always surrendered to the feeling and desire not to leave God. I allowed Him control over my life and my path. In time, I learned the truth about who I am, who He says I am . . . I have been so blessed for sticking it out. My family has been restored. My life has stability; I am working, trusted and responsible; and my life gets better every day. His plans are far better than mine could have ever been. My desire to use drugs and seek out a lifestyle of chaos is gone, and I only have God to thank for delivering me and the Home of Hope for putting me on the path – for guiding me toward a real relationship with God. I am now managing a business in Alaska, and I get to be a mom to my two wonderful sons. I get to participate in all the fun stuff I never had time for before. We are active, have hobbies and enjoy spending time together as a family; and we love and praise God every day! I am often asked what the future of the Teen Challenge of Arizona ministry will be, to which I like to respond, “The best is yet to come!” (Jeremiah 29:11) “To God be the glory, great things He hath done” for 50 years at Teen Challenge of Arizona! Rev. Snow Peabody Executive State Director 68

In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

Have You Seen This Man?

Here at Triple Point, peers help peers understand the three points of life;

The Past, The Present, and The Future.

Through working a strong Twelve Step program we work together to understand the conflicts of our past and present situation. Then we begin to plan for our future, one day at a time.

Two Locations Specializing in:


Structured and Transitional Sober Living

This is Will Hepburn, a nationally known investment expert who lives and works in Prescott, AZ. If you want a proactive investment manager who is known for dodging significant market declines, see this man. See Will’s website for his free newsletter. Grateful since April 19, 1983.


COTTONWOOD Structured Sober Living

For information contact:

BILL ORICK at 928-899-2699

2069 Willow Creek Road, Suite A, Prescott, AZ 86301

If you are willing to be honest, open minded and want to change your life, we can help.

Winter 2015

In Recovery Magazine


With God, all things are possible. A structured, faith-based, 12-step program for men Affordably priced between $475 and $600/Mo. Free cable Laundry facility Case management In house groups No deposit Free phone service 34 beds available 928.925.3455 Structure and support Great central location



In Recovery Magazine

Winter 2015

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Winter 2015





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In Recovery Magazine






Magazine for Long-Term Healthy Lifestyles of Recovery

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Most programs focus on substance abuse and treat mental illness as a secondary issue. We believe that without properly addressing mental illness through appropriate medication and therapy, any attempts to recover from addiction are ineffective. Viewpoint Dual Recovery Center is the premier extended treatment program in Prescott, Arizona dedicated to the recovery of individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders (Dual Diagnosis).

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