2013 TheVoice of Recovery Media Award
Volume 6 Winter 2013
Love Never Fails Pastor Phil and Dr. Richie
Seniors in Sobriety
Jazzminâ€™s Journey Tinker, Tailor, Sponser, Savior?
ILLUMINATING THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
Table of Contents 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Book Review 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not in My Backyard 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jazzmin’s Journey 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Power of Prayer 11 . . . . . . . The Experience, Strength and Hope Awards 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . She’s a Beast 14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Overtaken 2 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Insidious Secrets 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Volunteering 22 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Where East Meets West 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Spirituality Found 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Over the Edge 30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Point of Power 32 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Fountain of Youth 34 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No One Could Save me 38 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .CrossTalk 40. . . . . . . . . . . .Cover Story - Love Never Fails 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Never a Dull Moment 48 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Serenity in the Storm 52 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Love, Patience and Tolerance 54 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .One Day at a Time 56 . . . . . . . . . Don’t Ruin Your Professional reputation 58 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Neurofeedback 60 . . . . . . . . . . . .The 7th Tradition - It Goes Both Ways 62 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tinker, Tailor, Savior, Sponsor 68 . . . . . . . . . . . .Prescott’s 10th Annual Recovery Day 72 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Changing Attitudes 74 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anchorage Dino Days 2
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P.O. Box 11176 Prescott, AZ 86304 CEO/Publisher
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Janet A. Hopkins
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Peggi Bird Barbara Schuderer Kim Welsh 928.533.7032 Bevan Gottlieb 928.533.2411 Stefani Welsh
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www.inrecoverymagazine.com 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 views herein do not necessarily represent the policies of In Recovery Magazine and should not be construed as endorsements. 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. In Recovery Magazine was established in February 2012 and is a nonpartisan publication that is published quarterly by founder, Kim Welsh. Entire contents copyright 2012 by In Recovery Magazine.
I have, not by choice, embarked on yet another first in my recovery. On November 1, 2013, I lost my father. I am saddened that he didn’t live to see this issue on seniors. I know he would have enjoyed it very much. The loss of someone so close is immeasurable compared to anything else I’ve experienced in my recovery. My feelings and emotions have run the gamut; and yet, because of the years I have in recovery, I have been able to function and to get things done. I dedicate this issue of In Recovery Magazine to Ronald K. Welsh, my father, my hero. I also want to thank all of the people who have reached out to me in this time of sadness offering help in so many ways. Because I belong to such an incredible fellowship, I have not felt alone. I am humbled and proud at the same time to say I have hundreds of friends today. I belong to the coolest club on earth! I love you, Daddy. Rest in peace.
Kim Welsh CEO/Publisher, In Recovery Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter from the Editor I was shocked to learn that the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) projects that, “By 2020, the number of adults aged 50 or older needing substance abuse treatment is expected to double from 2.8 million (2002 to 2006 annual average) to 5.7 million.” Despite the dearth of insurance coverage for addiction treatment, SAMHSA calculated that admissions by seniors to rehab facilities increased by nearly 50 percent between 2004 and 2009. Our Winter 2013 issue shares the insights of several “seniors in sobriety”. As those of us in the Twelve Step rooms know, mentoring (called sponsorship in the meetings) has a vital place in our growth as individuals. Sharing our experience and hard-found wisdom provides us, at its most basic level, with a lifeline to the vitality of mutual support. In turn, as we reach a hand out to others, we show those we help that there is someone who cares about them, someone who has negotiated recovery’s twists and turns. They are not alone in dealing with the “daily ups and downs” of sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous’ responsibility statement says it best, I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible. Nurturing relationships, exemplified in the Twelve Step model by its encouragement of service work, bring us all greater gifts. They help us understand the “necessary suffering” of life, so well described in Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward. They teach us there is a better life to be had simply by reaching a helping hand out to others. An old hymn by Dr Henry Burton says it all. “Have you had a kindness shown? – Pass it on: ‘Twas not given for thee alone – Pass it on. Let it travel down the years. Let it wipe another’s tears... Pass it on.”
Editor, In Recovery Magazine
By Lena H.
n this comprehensive and courageous book, the author shows himself to be the drug addict’s friend — and by offering up his own behavior addiction for comparison, the drug addict’s equal. It is from this bold parallel that Dr. Gabor Mate relates, with compassion and honesty, the poignant stories of severe substance addicts — the hungry ghosts, in Buddhist-realm terminology — whom he treats medically at Downtown Eastside Vancouver’s Portland Hotel. And it is the addicts’ stories and the clear logic of the latest science and statistics that Mate shares which convince the reader that society’s attitudes toward, and treatment of, addiction must change. Mate writes that addiction is not hereditary, transferred through genes, as we may have learned; instead, it is a consequence of environmental stress that neurologically affects the fetus and young child. To illustrate, Mate links his own background as a holocaust survivor (his parents’ escape with him to Canada, his depressed mother’s withholding nurture when he was a baby) to his addiction to buying classical music CDs, a drive to right the neurological imbalance caused by his early stress. He provides other convincing proof for his premise. Mate claims because addiction is caused by early stressors, society must pay more attention to prenatal and early childhood care. Other conclusions follow: 1) society’s habit of imprison4
ing addicts is counter-productive; adult addicts must be given treatment, not punishment; 2) the War on Drugs, ineffective and a waste of money, should be abolished and replaced with a better plan; and 3) we should practice harm reduction, providing addictive drugs to addicts clinically in supervised doses. Mate gives stunning information and statistics to convince us of these points. In later chapters the author gives us hope. “Addiction arises out of dislocation,” he writes. “At the core of all addictions is a spiritual void.” Adopting a spiritual practice can help a person find himself, can fill the void. Mate shares inspirational quotes of famous philosophers, as well as of his addict patients. He has tried a Twelve Step program; he endorses them. And note the power of some parting words: “Healing occurs in a sacred place located within us all.” This 480-page tome, exhaustive in delineating and substantiating its causes, remains a remarkably lyrical, engaging read. Besides several pages of appendices and a complete index, it contains full-page, evocative, black-and-white photos of the addict-patients whose stories Mate shares. We end up believing this author when he says, “[It is a] privilege to learn and work with addicts.” We sense his passion for his subjects — societal and human — and I, for one, am convinced that he is correct on all counts.
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Not in my Backyard By Bob Morse On March 13, 2013, a beloved social worker and mother of four, checked into a sober living home (SLH) after her third stint in residential treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, further complicated by a long history of depression and anxiety. She had never before followed her primary treatment with extended outpatient care and was excited about the opportunity to follow through with what she had learned in primary treatment. Less than thirty days later, she was discharged from the program after relapsing on pain medications...and ended up being shipped to a local motel by taxi with no money, no car and no phone. The SLH provided no follow up, no family contact prior to discharge and no referral options. Jane was found two days later – dead of an overdose.
ragically, this composite scenario is far from unique. According to a 2007 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report, an estimated “...one in seven [clients] drop out of treatment or have their treatment terminated by the facility within the first 30 days.” If these individuals are being discharged or are dropping out of a program providing inadequate or no discharge planning and referral, the results could run the gamut from negative community im-
pact to criminal behavior or, in extreme cases, death. SLHs are sometimes confused with treatment programs. A halfway or sober living house is a recovery home which provides addicts and/or alcoholics with a group secure and sober environment where they may continue to recover after receiving some type of primary treatment. These homes are not typically licensed or funded by state or local governments, and residents usually pay their own way, working or doing community service. Most SLHs are independently owned and operated. Resident rules vary from house to house. While some homes may include outpatient treatment services as an adjunct to an alcohol and drug free environment, others may only offer peer support and encourage Twelve Step group attendance. There are numerous studies showing that halfway houses improve treatment outcomes, but the quality of care varies from home to home. As Bob Morse, CEO for Chapter 5 recovery home and board member of the Northern Arizona Housing Association (NAHA) in Prescott, AZ, noted, “There is no question that there are some [SLH] operators who choose to fly under
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the radar screen, operating without respect to applicable regulations and industry standards.” Morse continued, “We know who the substandard operators are and work closely with the city and the Arizona health and insurance departments to either bring their services up to industry standards or close them down.” Problems include flashy websites offering services which are non-existent, clients being billed for services they never receive and services offered by non-licensed counselors with no credentials, training or supervision. Some SHLs employ inexperienced staff members who are often newly sober themselves. Others employ graduates of their SLH without any gap between the graduate’s stay in the SLH and employment. Employees may be encouraged to falsify supervision records, signing off on supervision the employee never received. With inexperienced staff members may come inadequate exit planning, little or no treatment planning, HIPPA privacy violations and violations of individual rights. On February 4, 2013, the New York Times printed an article entitled Effective Addiction Treatment written by Jane Brody. She noted, “According to recent examinations of treatment programs, most are rooted in outdated methods rather than newer approaches shown in scientific studies to be more effective in helping people achieve and maintain addictionfree lives. People typically do more research when shopping for a new car than when seeking treatment for addiction.” It is not surprising that the even less regulated SLHs are encountering legal and community difficulties, as well as public and industry scrutiny. The proliferation of SLHs in Prescott, AZ, which was been called one of the top ten recovery cities in the nation, prompted a “not in my neighborhood” mentality among some of Prescott’s citizenry. The Prescott City Planning Department has identified between 110 and 120 locations in the city where there is some kind of group home activity. Neighborhood concerns include illegal parking, loitering, improper client discharges, secondary smoke, fears of lower property values and negative impacts on children living near the homes. Group homes are protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act, but may be further defined and/or restricted by local and state governments. Newly enacted Prescott zoning laws define a group home as one in which six or fewer unrelated persons live and function as the equivalent of a traditional family. SLHs with more than six residents are considered to be large community residences and are subject to different zoning and regulatory requirements. In 2008, local recovery industry providers formed a nonprofit agency, Northern Arizona Housing Association (NAHA), to address the issues and concerns of both the residential care providers and the public. NAHA’s mission is to promote communication and collaboration among residential care providers and create a forum for public information and education about treatment and recovery. There are currently 18 members representing more than 250 local residential beds. NAHA is the Northern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Recovery Housing Association (AzRHA) which in turn is affiliated with the National Association of Recovery Residences (NARR). These organizations promote and enforce standards affecting the environmental living conditions and operating procedures of their members. Annual inspections of all mem-
ber facilities are conducted. NAHA is working with the city of Prescott to address complaints including public nuisance, loitering, illegal parking and abusive language, as well as client discharges which result in problems for police, fire, hospital and other social services. Among the first documents produced by NAHA was a model discharge procedure, which gives the client three options upon leaving an agency. While working with the Prescott City Council, the city’s community and legal departments, local police and fire departments, and the Arizona State Office of Behavioral Health Licensing, NAHA encourages member and non-member SLHs to be good neighbors, responsible business owners and follow the NAHA guidelines. Additionally, NAHA has initiated service projects with Rotary Club, MATFORCE and Big Brothers Big Sisters, set up a speakers bureau, establish a school liaison and other community outreach projects. NAHA is working diligently to demystify the recovery process and improve the reputation and quality of the recovery housing industry. Erin Bachman, President of NAHA and owner of Canyon Crossing Recovery homes for women explained, “The combined resources of our group are substantial and available to the community. Service is a big part of recovery. NAHA members will continue to nurture and grow our relationship with the community.” Recent national statistics report that over 23 million teenagers and adults are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. For many drug and alcohol abusers, extended care facilities such as SLHs are a necessary part of ensuring long-term recovery. In the New York Times article entitled Effective Addiction Treatment, Jane Brody quoted from an interview with Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NiAAA). “You don’t treat a chronic illness for four weeks and then send the patient to a support group. People with a chronic form of addiction need multimodal treatment that is individualized and offered continuously or intermittently for as long as they need it.” According to Jennifer Palmer of NewsOK (March 13, 2012), “Drug abuse is estimated to cost US employers $276 billion a year...76 percent of people with a drug or alcohol problem are employed.” A recent National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that dating back to 2004, the combined cost of illicit drug use, alcoholism and tobacco addiction, including expenditures for health care, enforcement of drug laws, crimes committed by addicts and abusers, lost productivity and jail and prison facilities for drug offenders, is approximately $559 billion annually. Addiction is an American dilemma without an easy fix. Treatment works. Not for everyone, not in every case, but it does save lives, families, children, employees, money...the list goes on. Addiction is in your back yard, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not. Take a second look at having recovery in your backyard. Talk with sober living home residents and employees in your neighborhood. Bring problems to the table, but also participate in bringing solutions to the table. Treatment works.
Every Day Miracle By Jazzmin Wesley Brown
n October 22, 2012, my whole life flipped upside down. I went from a standing position to a sitting position. I’m Jazzmin, a recovering alcoholic/addict. That day was a normal Monday. That is, until my mom came home from work. She walked into our home and into a nightmare. I was lifeless on the couch, sitting Indian style with my chin to my chest, cell phone in hand. There was a pile of heroin, some car keys, a box of Marlboro Reds, a lighter and a melting Polar Pop on the coffee table. I had no heartbeat, was blue and not breathing. She immediately put me on my back and started performing CPR. As she called 911, she was screaming, “Jazzmin!” After minutes, which seemed like hours to my mom, paramedics rushed in with a stretcher and a bunch of questions, but my mom had no answers. The paramedics continued to work on me in the ambulance, with no results. When they finally arrived at St. Francis Hospital, I was still without a heartbeat. The doctors in the emergency room hooked me up to gizmos and gadgets. After a recorded 33 minutes, finally one of the machines went ‘thu-thump-thu-thump’. It was a miracle. I had a heartbeat again. My mom was waiting in the death room. Hours after I was admitted, the doctors finally came out to tell her I was on a ventilator and I would likely make a full recovery. She could go home and get some rest. The doctors let her come to my room for a few minutes before she left. At home, with that little bit of reassurance, she could sleep. “RING-RING, RING-RING.” At 2:30 AM my mom received a call, “Jazzmin is being rushed down to get an MRI.” Mom had no idea what was going on, but she hurried to the hospital. The doctors told her I was no longer responding to 8
stimuli. “Okay, what exactly does that mean?” she frantically asked. “Her spine has swollen; it is called a spinal stroke. She is paralyzed from the shoulders down.” My mom was in disbelief; what a nightmare. When she was finally able to see me again my arms were strapped down; I had a tracheostomy tube down my throat and tubes and wires connected me to IVs and beeping machines. This was a sight a mother shouldn’t have to see. Fortunately, my story didn’t end there. At first look, doctors said I was going to be on the ventilator for the rest of my life – I proved them wrong. Later the doctors said I would never be rid of the tracheostomy tube or oxygen – I proved them wrong again. It was a long and difficult process, but my hard work paid off. When you have a tracheostomy tube in your throat, you can’t talk. You have no voice because the tube holding open your airway prevents your vocal cords from working. But my voice returned. I believe God preserved my voice so I could share my story with still-suffering addicts as well as people struggling spiritually. Though there was a potentially catastrophic injury to my spinal cord, I was able to have the use of my biceps and partial use of my triceps. I have movement in my right wrist which allows me to pick up food, especially foods like chips, cheeseburgers and fries. However, I didn’t retain the use of my fingers or use of any muscles below my chest. The doctors now say I’m never going to walk again – again, I’ll prove them wrong. I have proven them wrong up ‘til now so why not now, right? If I want it badly enough, I’ll find a way to do it. Not only am I going to walk again, but I’m going to make a difference in this world. Mark my words; I want people to know there can be a bright side to life, despite appearances.
In Recovery Magazine
I am officially off all narcotics. I go to physical therapy two times a week. Three times a week I stand in my leg braces with three people supporting me. I am working hard to walk again. I want to go to Project Walk which is the world leader in spinal cord injury recovery. This project provides an improved quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries through activity-based recovery, education, research and development. Daily activities are a struggle. I am not able to do my hair, my makeup, dress myself, use the bathroom, shower alone, open a bottle of water or a bag of chips – these have been huge losses for me. I felt I was missing out on life and was abandoned by my friends. Then I realized my drugging and drinking friends weren’t really friends at all. I realized that God had a bigger plan for me. He has put new, positive people in my life today. At times I feel as though I am being babysat; I am never left alone. I can’t prepare my own meals, brush my teeth or cook anything. If I didn’t have an aide, ordinary self-care tasks would be impossible. Due to my short-term memory loss, I have difficulty keeping track of important things such as my meds, and when I need catheterizing. I have trouble remembering when to go to doctors’ appointments or to attend speaking engagements. So yes, I need my crutches: my family, my aides and my doctors. I need my iPad to keep track of time, to write, to keep up with Jazzmin’s Journey and, of course, to play Candy Crush. Sharing my story keeps me going. Hopefully, I may spark or renew someone’s faith in God. I regularly attend Celebrate Recovery meetings. At each meeting someone shares their testimony. Then we break off into a smaller women’s group where we discuss and relate to each other. My body may be broken, but I’ve blossomed. I’ve made attitude adjustments and amends, and I’m spiritually aware – it’s incredible. I love speaking engagements. Last year I shared my story at several Indiana high schools. I plan to speak at more this year. I have spoken at the Department of Mental Health Association for the State of Indiana, at local jails, at juvenile hall and at area fundraisers. I recently was invited to Washington, DC, to speak in front of 2,000 people! I am so excited about this and I pray all goes well. I also volunteer at a homeless/addiction shelter. I love showing people miracles do happen today and people can find light Winter 2013
in a dark situation. I need the positive feedback I get from people. The negative feedback goes in the dumpster. My audience means everything to me. Getting ready for a speech is often stressful, but I dress for the occasion. Once I wore a referee dress and told my audience they were my players, and I’m their coach; “So pay attention because we have to win this game.” When I speak I want my audience to relate to me. I tell them to raise their right hand high in the air and wiggle their fingers, then I try to do it. “Now count your blessings,” I say. I love – love – love the people who follow my Facebook page, Jazzmin’s Journey: Directed by God. I call them my ‘sports bras’ because they support me. “Make like a sports bra and support your girl!” On my Facebook page I share my feelings, experiences, pictures and videos. People message me often to say thank you for sharing or to ask me questions; I’m open to any questions. Some tell me their stories or ask for advice. It’s a community page which inspires me and keeps me going. In the past I would have said I’d rather go to prison than to give up my lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Today I am in a different kind of prison. I don’t know how long my sentence will be, but I am sure it isn’t life without parole. Sometimes I feel like saying, “I’m done with this,” “I want to throw away my dream,” “I am in pain and a doctor could prescribe what I need.” But I don’t follow through on those thoughts because God has something better for me! I want to inspire people around the world. This is my journey, a gracious gift from God. R
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The Power of Prayer By Jessie Libfeld
y two-year-old niece had her black dress packed for my funeral. As I lay in a coma on a ventilator, my pregnant sister and her family were to be the last to come to the hospital to say goodbye. After their goodbyes, my doctors would pull the plug on my life support system. The day before their plane was to arrive, my fingers wiggled. Three out of four doctors had said I would likely be brain-dead. I was not. For months leading up to this scene, I was depressed and suicidal. My world had closed in on me. My negative self-talk had taken over – “I am a burden...I am not good enough...I am stupid.” I had become a shell of the person I once had been. I had been in my early thirties and still living at home with my dad and my stepmom. My stepmom was a drunk and did not recognize she had a problem. She was a daily drinker and was abusive when she drank. Many times I was thrown into the middle of fights between her and my father. This caused me to feel like a little kid. I started to believe their problems were my fault. I felt worthless. While in a manic state, earlier that year, I had quit a good job without a plan. I bought a car and a puppy. When the mania subsided, I fell into a paralyzing depression. I walked in circles; I hit myself; I wouldn’t leave the house; I was delusional. Although I’m an educated and smart woman, without a shadow of a doubt, I believed I was mentally retarded. I felt utterly hopeless. At the urging of my counselor and my dad, I was voluntarily hospitalized on a mental ward...twice in a row. But, this didn’t help. When I got out of the hospital, I was bound and determined to die. I easily found my dad’s pills. I took as many pills as I could and hoped to fall into a beautiful blissful sleep, never to awake again. When I finally opened my eyes in the hospital intensive care unit, I felt relieved to be alive. That alone was a miracle. As the days progressed, I learned that my family had gotten into my Facebook account and contacted all of my friends. Prayer vigils were arranged across the country for me. It was no coincidence that I survived. While I was in rehabilitation care I received nearly fifty cards from people who cared, telling me they had been praying for me. The weight of shame lifted from my shoulders as I discovered that people still loved me in spite of my illness, in spite of my suicide attempt. Never again will I doubt the power of prayer. Jesse Libfeld has a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She works as a peer support specialist with people with mental illnesses. She went to a recovery center in Prescott, AZ, for treatment of her own mental illness. For fun she writes a blog about her recovery, jessielibfeld.wordpress.com.
Presents The Experience,Strength and Hope Award By Janet A. Hopkins In February 2013, John Taylor, co-Founder of Duran Duran, was presented the 4th annual Experience, Strength and Hope Award from Writers In Treatment by his friend, Robert Downey, Jr. This year’s award goes to Carrie White for her memoir, Upper Cut, Highlights of My Hollywood Life. Ms. White shares the poignant and moving story of a girl with an indomitable spirit and a huge drive to succeed despite being dealt a bad hand early in life. From her early days at Hollywood High School, through her star-studded career as the “First Lady of Hairdressing”, Ms. White relates an epic tale of glamour, chaos and addiction. She kept it all going with a steady diet of alcohol, diet pills, cocaine and heroin. Twenty-nine years ago, having lost nearly all that was important to her and after six grueling hospital stays and an enormous amount of help from others, her mind finally cleared enough to begin her long climb up from addiction. Today her recovery shines and so, again, does her career. “The subtext of my book is the silence about addiction for these many years until recently...the cover-up, the making of addiction into a moral issue instead of treating it as the illness it is. I want to see it treated as an illness so others, like my mother, won’t be identified as dying from pneumonia, when they actually died of alcoholism. So lives can be saved. So the conversation about addiction will not be ignored. So recovery will be celebrated, not stigmatized.” Most days Ms. White can be found at her salon, Carrie White Hair, in Beverly Hills, CA. Ms. White will be honored on Thursday, February 13, 2014, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA. Ed Begley, Jr. will emcee the ceremony. Writers In Treatment co-founder, Leonard Buschel, promises an exciting lineup for the enjoyment of the gala’s attendees. Writers In Treatment produces and presents various events dedicated to improving the quality of recovery and reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism and addiction. The organization supports the belief that it is important for people in Winter 2013
recovery, and those on the cusp of recovery, to have entertaining and culturally stimulating events that inspire enthusiasm for clean and sober living. This charity event is a celebration of the benefits of clean and sober living and the importance of humor in the recovery process. All proceeds benefit Writers In Treatment’s Jewelle Sturm Memorial Scholarship Fund. To sponsor or for tickets go to writersintreatment.org.
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She’s a Beast! By Haley White “There’s a girl on my team this year; she’s a beast. She is literally the biggest post player I’ve ever had.” My father is in the middle of one of his parables again. Besides being an award-winning high school girls’ basketball coach, my dad is also a seventh-grade English teacher. Whenever he gives my sister and me advice – solicited or otherwise – his counsel always comes buried like a pearl inside a seemingly unrelated story. Even when we were children, he could never answer our little girl requests with a simple no. He would usually say something like, “No one ever said life was fair.” He would then affect the voice and mannerisms of an ancient Taoist monk, “Your request reminds me of long-time Chinese saying…too bad, so sad.” At the moment Dad and I are at a restaurant discussing my finances – or rather, my lack thereof. After being laid off from a great job last summer, I have spent the past twelve months barely scraping by. Truthfully, I have spent most of my adult life living hand-to-mouth. In my twenties this was largely due to the fact that I was an undisciplined, self-indulgent little twit. I spent the majority of my meager paychecks on booze and various 2:00 AM food runs. At this point in my life, however – early thirties and over three years of sobriety under my belt – I can’t help but feel I am one failure away from a suicide note on my dresser or a long stay in the loony bin. To feel like a disappointment when you know you are not living up to your full potential is one thing; to feel as if your life is unraveling in your hands while you are doing everything within your power to stop it, is a different creature entirely. Some days are harder than others. Dad has driven an hour north from his house to loan me some cash. My car recently died, and I don’t have money to fix it. I also don’t have money to pay my rent or get a bra that fits correctly either, but who’s keeping track? In the moment I am very thankful for my father’s generosity. I am also nearly equally embarrassed and frustrated to be in a position where 12
I have to rely upon him. A small part of me is even angry. Why does he enable me, his catastrophe of an heir? My younger sister practically came out of the womb as a responsible adult. If anyone deserves the $500 Dad is now forking over into my negligent hands, it’s her. Not me. Certainly, not me. I fumble with my coffee cup as my Yogi father goes on with his metaphor. I am only half-listening at this point. Why is he always talking about basketball? Yet one more thing I was never any good at. “This girl is gigantic,” he continues. “She can make any shot on the court as long as there is no one around. The thing is, anyone can walk up to her and take the ball out of her hands. She practically gives it to them.” He pauses for effect. “She hasn’t yet learned that she deserves that ball. As much as anyone else on the court, she has a right to that ball.” Dad’s voice gets quieter. He looks down at his half-eaten burger before proceeding. “After all this time, you still don’t think you deserve the ball, Haley.” My eyes well with tears. I try to blink them back, unsuccessfully. My father has – yet again, with his simple, subtle wisdom – cut to the root of my problem. The words sting heavily; they shouldn’t ring so true. After all this time, I still don’t think I deserve the ball. I stopped drinking on June 6, 2010. Since then, I have taken meditation classes, journaling workshops, read a library of self-help books and talked to numerous therapists. I’ve taken nearly every step available to work towards forgiving my former self for all the bad choices, humiliating activities and shameful behaviors I took part in as a drunk. I have accomplished much of this, generally by detaching pre-sobriety Haley as a separate entity from my current self. She did and said things that I would never do; she was the failure, and I am the success. In spite of my valiant efforts, my problem is that she (presobriety Haley) is never far away. Every time someone complains about the slut who is sleeping with the married man or tells a story about the obnoxious girl flashing her boobs at a party, she is there in the back of my mind reminding me: Don’t get too self-righteous, Haley, that’s you they’re talking about. What I’ve realized since letting my father’s words sink in, is that in order to truly forgive myself and feel as though I deserve any success or security, I have to love that dirty, whorish drunk girl I once was as much as I claim to love the shiny new and improved version of me. If we’re being totally honest, she is really the one who needed my love all along. I guess I should start by no longer referring to myself during those years as that dirty, whorish drunk girl. The girl I was then had many, many flaws; but she was just as kind-hearted, funny and intelligent as I am today. Back then I was also extraordinarily resourceful and scrappy. That resilience has certainly helped me over this past year, and I’m sure it will continue to kick in any time I find myself in a less-than-ideal situation in the future. I deserve the ball. I always have. If no one is going to pass it to me, it’s high time I go out and take it myself. Haley White has written for a variety of publications, businesses and non-profits. She is also a produced playwright and screenwriter. She celebrated her three year sobriety anniversary on June 10, 2013, and still takes the time every day to thank herself for sticking with it. Feel free to drop her a line at email@example.com.
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OVERTAKEN 2 By Jodie Barber My first article, Overtaken, was published by In Recovery Magazine in December 2012, almost two years after the loss of my son, Jarrod, on January 8, 2010. He was only nineteen. Today, he would have been twenty-three years old. I often wonder what his life would be like today. Would Jarrod have transferred from Saddleback College to another school? Would he have a job? Would he have a girlfriend? What would he look like now? One thing’s for sure; Jarrod would still be the protective, loving brother that he was when he left his then fifteen-year-old younger brother, Blake, behind.
sage through an edited version of Overtaken. The short documentary film, also called Overtaken, which I co-produced with Christine Brant, has been shown across the nation. It has been shown in DUI classes, in addiction rehabs, in sober living facilities, as well as in schools. It has even reached the courtrooms where some judges order those in the California Prop 36 substance abuse and crime prevention program, to go home, watch Overtaken on YouTube, and bring back at least a full page report on the film. I would like to see Overtaken shown in every middle school,
I’m very proud of Blake’s accomplishments since the horrific loss of his best friend and brother. Blake graduated from high school in June 2013 and started school at Saddleback College, walking the same steps to his business class as Jarrod did. Blake has held the same job as a tennis instructor over the last three summers. He was born happy; and although he misses his brother every day, Blake knows that Jarrod is free from the pain he carried. Blake knows how to have fun – without drugs! He wants others to follow in his footsteps and spreads his mes-
high school and college in the US. The middle school level is extremely important. Children frequently begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol then, and peer pressure is strong. It’s important to reach those kids before they start down the path of drug and alcohol abuse! In the original Overtaken there were several young adults telling their heartbreaking stories of addiction. They talked about where drug issues led them. They also talked about their overdoses and how many friends they had lost. What they
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didn’t mention was the fact that they were all clean and sober now. I decided we needed to bring hope and inspiration to those who struggle with addiction and to those who are afraid to call for help. My new production, Overtaken 2: Where Are They Now, is going to put a smile on your face. You will see these now clean and sober young adults describe what they do to maintain their sobriety and what makes them happy today. Addiction specialists explain the brain chemistry of addiction and tell people where to go for help with their substance abuse problems. Kaard Bombe, the film videographer and editor feels this documenta-
sist they be home for family dinners and converse with them at the dinner table. Drug test them and tell them that testing is their way out when the peer pressure hits. Let your children know beforehand what the consequences will be if the test is positive and follow through with those consequences. You can make a difference in the lives of your children and in the lives of other children. I am an advocate for a very important reason. My son’s death, as well as the other beautiful young lives taken too soon, may have been prevented. If I knew then what I know now, Jarrod might still be here today.
Jodie apears live on the Dr. Drew show
ry is just as important as the first one. It shares the message that as long as you are breathing, there is hope! No matter what age, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is too late for my son, but it is not too late for you and yours. The recently passed California Senate Bill 809 may help curb the misuse of prescription drugs as well as the over-prescribing of them by physicians. The state’s prescription drug monitoring database will be updated to include the drug history of the patients and more accurately track individuals who are ‘doctor shopping’. If you’re wondering what you can do to help your community, the first thing I would suggest is to not feel the shame so many parents feel when their son or daughter has chosen the path of abuse and addiction. It was their choice to smoke that first joint, take that first pill or drink that first beer. If we all keep quiet, nothing will be accomplished to protect our kids. They need our help. The only way to help is to take action. Speak out, tell the world that your child is an addict and needs help! Organize a town hall meeting with parents and officials. Plaster posters of the faces of kids who have gone too soon, as I did in small-business windows. Most importantly, educate yourselves and communicate with your children. InWinter 2013
Jodi Barber lives in Laguna Niguel, CA. She lost her 19-year-old son, Jarrod, to an accidental prescription drug overdose on January 8, 2010. Since his death and the deaths of four of his close friends who also died from prescription drug overdoses, Barber has been an advocate for tougher treatment and prevention laws, as well as co-producer of two short documentaries, Overtaken and Overtaken 2: Where Are They Now. Overtaken is on YouTube and DVD copies are available. You can place your order on her website, onechoicecandestroy.com.
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M i n d
By Sheryl Cruse
hen I was eighteen years old, I learned about the power of a secret. My mother was on the phone with my grandmother. Suddenly, something changed in the conversation. “Mother, Mother! It’s okay...No, it’s alright...Please calm down...” I thought something horrible like a family death had occurred. Mom was on the phone for another ten minutes trying to soothe my distraught grandmother. When she hung up, I asked what was wrong. There had been no death. However, a shameful family secret had been revealed. During the phone call, my grandmother told my mother of our Native American lineage. Apparently, this secret had been handed down and hushed up for generations. Grandma believed it was some kind of blight on the family. As Mom disclosed the truth to me, I felt the pain, the rejection and the judgment which flowed from one generation to the next. Years later, I have connected this secret with the addiction pattern which has affected my family for generations. According to my grandmother, my great-great grandmother was a Native American orphan, discovered and adopted by a white family during one of the Dakota wars of the late 1800s. There was no written documentation, and this orphan had no birth certificate. According to family lore, this two or three year-old girl, my great-great grandmother, was discovered alone in a field. Apparently she was old enough to love and miss her real parents. Were they killed? Was she rescued or was she even stolen by this white couple? It is impossible to know what actually happened. 16
Because of the stigma attached to being an ‘Indian’, she was forbidden to talk about her Native American background. Her new foster parents named her Alice. She was supposed to blend in and be ‘white’. For years, Alice sobbed herself to sleep. Her new parents tried to soothe this distraught child by giving her penny candy. As she grieved, they pushed pieces of candy underneath her pillow. They wanted her to feel better and stop crying. Here we go with unhealthy coping strategies, an unhealthy relationship to food and oh, yeah, an unhealthy relationship to truth and life issues on top of it all! It was quite a stretch to connect this part of my family history with an eating disorder and addictive behavior. However, looking at the subsequent generations within my family, I was able to see how this affected their lives, whether or not they knew or understood the impact of ‘the secret’. My great grandmother, Alice’s daughter, had her own struggles with food and weight. Ada was a sweet, loving woman who was morbidly obese. In photographs taken of her from the 1920s and 1930s, it was apparent she was no more than five feet tall and weighed close to three hundred pounds. Because of her weight, she could not find clothes to fit her and therefore made all of her own clothing. She was also an animal hoarder; she collected many Blue Persian cats. My mom’s memories of Ada include the distinctive and overwhelming smell of ammonia in her house. Could it be that Ada’s food addiction and hoarding issues were coping strategies to cover up her shameful family secret? I cannot say for certain, but her behavior indicates unhappi-
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ness and unaddressed personal issues, doesn’t it? Ada’s life was cut short by complications from heart disease brought on by her morbid obesity; another generation affected by ‘the secret’. After years of shame, my Grandmother Harriet finally disclosed the infamous secret to my mother. Before that phone call my grandmother had lived a life of nervousness. She probably had what is more commonly known today as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She was always moving, always trying to please. Grandma focused her obsessive tendencies on moving furniture; she was notorious for doing so on a daily basis. A family joke often revolved around Grandma’s latest room arrangement. Unbeknownst to my grandfather, the furniture moving was executed in the pre-dawn hours. That is, until he woke up and walked to the kitchen, slamming a shin or two into a newly placed couch. In addition to her room rearranging habit, she was an obsessive cook. Like many grandmothers, Harriet believed food was a great way to show love. She constantly made sugar cookies and donuts. No one ever left her house without at least three helpings of something she had baked or fried. Why was my grandmother so nervous? Was it because of the shame she attached to ‘the secret’? Was she trying to make up for it? Her nervousness never left her. It seemed as if she was trying to outrun something. Perhaps she was. Whatever the case may be, I never saw her be a relaxed and peaceful woman. Was another generation affected by ‘the secret’? And then there’s my mother. In spite of not learning about ‘the secret’ until she was in her fifties, she had been affected by the family problems with food, weight and body image. She was always on a diet. Growing up, I frequently heard her say, “When I get down to my ‘right weight’...” Eventually, Mom and
I became food and diet buddies. This contributed to the development of my own dysfunctional eating issues. Mom had relied on food as comfort to her own detriment. Unfortunately, my mother’s health choices brought physical consequences. Her reliance on food for comfort resulted in a constant struggle with her weight. She eventually developed Type II Diabetes. Though mostly confined to a wheelchair, she still does not take care of her health. She speaks of getting to her ‘right weight’ while cheating on her diabetic diet and hoarding food. She is by nature non-confrontational, hates conflict and will go out of her way to avoid discussing any uncomfortable topics. Secrecy is still the name of her game. Secrecy shows up not only in her present day behaviors, but also in her attitudes toward past abuse and addiction within our family. Like so many families, the response in my mother’s generation to abuse and addiction has been to deny, ignore and enable; they don’t call it a family disease for nothing. At the height of my family members’ addictions and disorders, they battled with addiction to diet pills, had stints in detox facilities and had electroshock therapy treatments. Sadly, in addition, cancer, diabetes and heart disease have also touched the lives of many of my family members. Another generation affected by ‘the secret’? And then there’s me. I discuss my issues in my book, Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder. Since childhood, I have struggled with food, weight and body image issues. I have run the gamut from being an overweight child and adolescent, to an anorexic, bulimic and binge-eating young adult, but now an adult in recovery. I have learned that Continued on next page . . .
TAYLOR COUNSELING SERVICES A comprehensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program consisting of three phases. The treatment program is tailored to the individual client and includes level of care, length of treatment and treatment plan/goals. An initial assessment determines the client’s individual needs, and a treatment plan is developed from this assessment. Taylor Counseling has been in practice in Prescott, AZ, since 2003. We accept court-ordered, self-referrals and, in most cases, major insurances.
Contact us at 928-445-0744 1660 Willow Creek Rd., Suite A, Prescott, AZ 86305 Winter 2013
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Continued from previous page . . .
recovery is not an event; it is a daily, constant commitment. I do not consider myself cured. But through both my recovery work and my Christian faith, I have experienced freedom. A large part of that freedom is tied to being free from secrets and shame. The Bible passage, John 8:32, states it best: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” One of the many often-used recovery slogans is, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” True. I have often thought that over the generations my family could have led happier and healthier lives had they not been tormented, confined or shamed by our supposedly terrible family secret. Could they have avoided their own struggles with disorders and addictions by not attaching such a stigma to having Native American blood? In my Christian faith there’s a concept known as generational curses. The term emerged from ‘the law of generations’ which God revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. This law is interestingly present in nearly every religious system in the world, though is without scientific explanation. In layman’s terms, it is a family pattern, cycle or template, which starts in one generation and repeats in subsequent generations. Some examples of this in my family are addiction and various types of abuse. Whatever one chooses to call this generational reoccurrence, one thing remains painfully clear to me: shameful secrecy does nothing to improve a person’s reality. For better or for worse, the hidden truth will make itself known. If generations of a family or even just our own individual lives are spent hiding, fearing and avoiding truth, there is a high probability that many of us will become sick because of those dreadful secrets. The fear of exposing them is usually worse than the actual reality. Disorders and disease seem to be the manifestation of this unhealthy mindset. My family’s secret never needed to be a secret. What was deemed disgraceful by one generation is regarded as honorable by another. For example, I am very proud of my Native American ancestry. It is the power of the shame we affix to a particular secret, whatever it may be, which makes it toxic. From my great-great grandmother’s generation through my own generation, my family had a need to hide our ‘shameful’ past. It did not need to be that way. Let the truth set you free. Eating disorders and other addictive problems hide, lie and deny the truth. Shameful secrets result in much pain and suffering. This approach does not promote healing and health. Take the power out of whatever is haunting you; dare to acknowledge the truth. Whatever your insidious secret is, dare to face it. Stop lying and hiding. Deal with your secret and dare to move on! The truth will set you free!!!
You are only as sick as your secrets . . .
Copyright © 2013 by Sheryle Cruse
After running the gamut of eating disorders, author and speaker Sheryle Cruse found healing with the help of therapy, the Christian community and – most importantly – God’s patient love. Her recovery experience is chronicled in her book, Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder. Now living in St. Paul, MN, Cruse writes, speaks and ministers to other sufferers about the spiritual aspects and the underlying causes and issues of eating disorders. freewebs.com/daughterarise.
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Volunteering By Greta Stromberg By Terri Roza
ayne, one of our peer volunteers, inspires hope in many of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic’s (WYGC) Senior Peer Program participants. The Senior Peer Program is a prevention program staffed by volunteers. The purpose is simply to assist those aged 55 and beyond in maintaining their emotional well-being. This program has served the Prescott, AZ, area since 1995. Coming from an alcoholic family where both his brother and father died of alcoholism, Wayne’s personal ‘drunkalog’ began in college and progressed until he was charged with two DUIs in his early 40s. The law became involved in his life; the judge offered him jail or a recovery program. Choosing sobriety saved his life. Wayne is 79 years young and maintains his sobriety by giving back to the recovery community, to his peers and to his greater community. This man’s story really began after he had been sober for three years. Wayne decided to go back to school. He obtained a Masters degree in Psychology then completed an internship in a Hawaiian hospital. There he met his wife. Together they have maintained their collective sobriety for over 32 years. Mental illness played a role in Wayne’s alcohol abuse. While still drinking, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When faced with bouts of mania, he would self-medicate with alcohol. Alcohol is definitely not recommended when surrounded by the darkness of depression. Fortunately, after a psychotic break, Wayne was able to get on appropriate medications which stopped his mood swings and allowed him to move forward and maintain his sobriety. 20
Medication and working in the social services field helped Wayne. He worked in private industry for 20 years counseling employees, in recovery programs for 12 years and in a small private counseling practice. When Wayne retired, a recovery friend recommended he volunteer with the Senior Peer Program of WYGC. Wayne found a home and has been with the program for the past nine years facilitating a weekly men’s group and visiting other men who are unable to attend due to mobility or mental health issues. Wayne explained, “The men’s group encourages participants to know themselves, to understand they are not unique and to learn how to support one another.” Wayne continued, “I use silence and allow issues to bubble up. Tears of sadness can be shared because of the trust and
Hope is to look forward to with anticipation of achieving some goal with confidence.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
safety created by the participants.” Wayne worried out loud about his guys’ general health and that of their spouses. “How would they get along if their significant others were to pass from this earth?” Volunteering and sharing talents and heart are beneficial to the group members, as well as to the person volunteering. Wayne believes his service is an outgrowth of his own recovery. He finds it rewarding to be accepted by the group members; he feels as connected to them as they are to him. Volunteering provides many benefits: living longer than
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the same-aged non-volunteers, improved physical and mental health, less depression and faster healing due to an increased production of the antibody, IgA, which elevates the immune system response. Emotionally, a volunteer tends to have increased self-esteem, feels appreciated, and generally experiences personal satisfaction, meaning and joy. One study found that two hours of volunteering per week or 100 hours per year was all it took to reach the maximum benefits mentioned above. The WYGC Senior Peer Program, with its free services and prevention strategies, leads the way nationally. Many other communities around the country are struggling to find ways in which seniors and their communities can support one another. The West Yavapai program has four components: initial assessment and plan, support groups, in-home visits from a senior peer volunteer and community referrals. Seniors are referred from many sources, including home health programs, Adult Protective Services, family members, neighbors or selfreferrals. Educational presentations about issues affecting seniors are available. A recent University of Michigan study noted, “The most powerful predictor of life satisfaction after retirement was the extent of a person’s social network, not health or wealth.” Volunteering is one of the easiest ways to continue to expand your social connectedness. You become a part of a service community by giving of yourself and your time to others. The Senior Peer program volunteers are valued as much and, in some ways, more than the program’s paid staff. Program administrators recognize that peer volunteers give a gift of the heart
which is deeply appreciated by the program’s clients. Consider including some volunteering into your schedule. It is one of the most rewarding ways to use some of your retirement time and help others in your community.
Terri Roza is the coordinator of the WYGC Senior Peer Prevention Program. Roza relocated from Phoenix, AZ where she supervised a City of Phoenix senior center. Roza believes that for older adults to survive in a meaningful way, communities need to recognize seniors’ gifts of wisdom as well as the challenges associated with ageing. Roza has a reputation for creating innovative outreach programs and bringing awareness of elder issues to the community. Contact at: 928.445.5211, ext. 2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where East Meets West It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures in life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
- Joseph Campbell
By Dr. Evan Miller
erhaps the most difficult practice for those in recovery, especially early recovery, is spirituality. Whereas many fully embrace the importance of exercise, healthy nutrition, sleep, going to meetings, reconnecting with friends and family, therapy and new routines, the practice of spirituality may often remain a thorn in the sober man or woman’s side. God, Higher Power and Universal Spirit may be old ghosts haunting newly sober individuals, leaving them with a sour taste in their mouths, especially if a traumatic past was fused with condemnatory religious undertones. Though Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) goes to painstaking lengths to encourage the adoption of a God of one’s understanding, a gap, or more likely a large chasm, may exist between a belief in something greater than oneself and one’s conscious connection with it. Nonetheless, many alcoholics and addicts readily admit there must be something more to life, something that goes beyond the human, something that gives one’s life significance relative to the cosmos. Within that enormous canyon between this affirmation of belief and the practice of spirituality, clinical professionals in the field of addiction treatment must imagine and create bridges for the individual’s spiritual exploration and connection. One such approach that has been met with enthusiasm is what might be called East-meets-West. This approach embraces a more holistic idea of spirituality, encompassing the 22
mind, body and spirit, and departs from the traditional JudeoChristian practices prevalent in many self-help groups. West refers to the scientific approach of evidence-based practices employed in treatment centers throughout the US: motivational interviewing, individual and group therapy, neurofeedback and other modalities. In contrast, the East points the individual toward ancient eastern traditional practices including yoga, meditation, acupuncture and Tai chi. Each of these eastern practices elucidates the spiritual vessel. Yoga, for example, increases physical flexibility and strength, allowing greater blood circulation while decreasing depression. Meditation breathing exercises increase connection with prana or vital energy. Acupuncture, which originated in China in 6000 BC, is a Taoist medical practice known to decrease depression and alleviate anxiety. Through small needles placed just under the skin no more than the depth of tissue paper, acupuncture helps restore imbalances in qi or life energy. Tai chi, developed in the 12th century in China, is a martial art practice derived from the movements of certain animals thought to have unusual strength: the tiger, leopard, snake and crane. The movements practiced restore the body to balance in both yin and yang or the “...two complementary principles of Chinese philosophy: Yin is negative, dark, and feminine; Yang positive, bright, and masculine” (Free Online Dictionary). These eastern practices of yoga, Tai chi, meditation and
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The Landing in Newport Beach, CA, combines the clinical mastery of evidence-based addiction treatment with a most desirable beachfront setting, bringing together an active and supportive recovery experience for men. Blending eastern tradition with western science, this clinical program draws upon intensive individual and group therapy, men’s issues, brainhealthy programming, acupuncture, massage, yoga, Tai chi and nutritional counseling. The Landing treats the unique needs of each man as he moves forward with a balanced, healthy and productive life.
Steve East, Dr. Evan Miller, Dave Cook, Colin Cobb, Nathan Stump
acupuncture provide holistic alternatives to the monotheistic spiritual practices which may cause difficulty for recovering addicts and alcoholics. With emphasis on balance in mind, body and soul, the eastern traditions use the body as a vessel which takes one to a spiritual experience. Through the body one enters the depths of spiritual connection. The Big Book of AA emphasizes that the body of the alcoholic is a spiritual plain. “The body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind…we are sure that our bodies are sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out the physical factor is incomplete” (Big Book, pg. xxvi). The East-meets-West approach to addiction treatment gives the body a central role. The body is the one realm which the alcoholic and addict can sense immediately and intimately, without reaching for religious texts. This approach may provide an effective alternative to more traditional spiritual conventions for those who struggle with the idea of a God or Universal Spirit. Dr. Evan Miller is the program director for The Landing at Sober Living by the Sea, an eight bed men’s primary substance abuse treatment program, utilizing a psychodynamic perspective, taking into account the complex underlying issues in each client’s pathology. Miller has an extensive background in psychological assessment, evidence-based treatment initiatives and applied athletic performance enhancement. Miller’s research areas include personality disorders, archetypal theory, chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders, and depth-oriented sport psychology.
E v e r y
D a y
M i r a c l e s
By Robert M. In 1992, with nine years of sobriety, I went to live and work in India. Although westernization was in progress, the common greeting even in business was still prayerful hands with the verbal Namaste instead of shaking hands. The literal interpretation of this is “The God in me sees and greets the God in you.” For me, the words from page 55 in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book, “…deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God,” took on a new meaning. As I walked around my office and the hotel, I began to look at people in a different way, each person having their own little God chip inside of them. The reality of our universal connectedness began to take hold. By looking people directly in the eye during a conversation, I felt this connection even more strongly. In practicing this principle the aura or presence of their Higher Power could be felt by me, even if not seen. At the time, there was only one weekly AA meeting in New Delhi, a city of more than ten million people. It was Saturday night at the Free Church, a rundown Anglican church in the bowels of Old Delhi. Under ceiling fans, we sat in a circle with the secretary in the center. Much of the sharing was in Hindi, but some was in English. Around 9 PM when the meeting was over, most of us went to dinner accompanied by wives and children who had been at the Al-Anon and Alateen meetings on the same grounds. By definition, a Hindu woman cannot be an alcoholic and, therefore, was sentenced to Al-Anon! 24
Looking back on these years, today I experience profound gratitude for the immense spiritual growth which was taking place. In India 10,000 miles away from the US, people were experiencing recovery based upon the Twelve Steps. The light in my head went on as I thought about Ebby Thatcher in Bill Wilson’s kitchen saying, “Bill, why don’t you choose your own conception of God?” People in India have been meditating on their relationship with a Higher Power and the meaning of life for more than 7,000 years. Why not give this a shot? Lest we get too serious, there was some hilarity in all of this. One of my Indian friends asked if he could complete his fifth step with me. I asked him why he didn’t do it with his sponsor. His response was that one of his issues was lusting after his sponsor’s wife! Sometimes I think about the sense of peace and the relief that came to me in my first AA meeting in 1983. When we went around the circle and identified ourselves, I said for the first time, “My name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic.” Today I still like the idea of taking the first part of the first step at every meeting. Like most of us, my spiritual journey began as I went through the orderly process of removing those things which were blocking me from having a relationship with my Higher Power. In those early years, I had the opportunity to go to meetings in Laguna Beach with Chuck Chamberlin, author of the book, A New Pair of Glasses. Chuck had a profound impact on so many of us, and I have always been grateful for his
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Bob and Karen Morse
12â€“Step Recovery Homes
How R ecov eRy woR k S service to AA. By the grace of a loving God and the fellowship of the AA Program, I am celebrating 30 years of recovery from addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. My spiritual malady has been replaced with a dedicated journey where there have been abundant daily opportunities to love and serve. In 2003, with my beloved wife Karenâ€™s help and blessing, we founded Chapter 5 as a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation with the mission of providing affordable recovery. After ten short years, we have a staff of 15 dedicated professionals, four facilities and 66 beds for men and women. Together we are making a difference in the lives of those we are privileged to serve. We seek to connect with each guest to help reveal and release that power which is greater than any one of us. We are grateful to God to be called to this high purpose, and each day becomes an opportunity to grow in service.
IoP and Structured Sober Living Most Insurances Accepted Admissions and Information: 888-541-0690 www.chapter5Recovery.com An Arizona non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation
Over the Edge The W Hollywood Hotel, California
By Janet A. Hopkins
n Recovery Magazine (IRM) joined the National Youth Recovery Foundation on Saturday, October 19, 2013, for one of several national Over the Edge rappels. Over 76 brave individuals raised money to support young people in
recovery by rappelling down the outside of the W Hollywood Hotel. The W, as the hotel is known, is located at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, under the shadow of the iconic Hollywood sign. Celebrity rappellers included Michelle Hurd, Garret Dillahunt, Anna David, Mark Eisenhart, Octavius J. Johnson, Jamie Grey Hyder, Mikey Roe and others. Over $61,700 has been raised by Over the Edge events around the country. Funds raised support activities which celebrate recovery, create opportunities for young people in recovery to network for careers in their chosen field, scholarships for their education or for some new idea which fills a gap in local youth recovery communities. IRM sponsored Prescott canyoneer, Kelly Dwyer, in her rappel for the Foundation. She raised $2200 for the cause. IRMâ€™s young photographer, Cheyenne Carrell, also made the leap â€“ her first rappel! With his camera, IRM photographer, Ryan Shea McCall caught all the action.
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Sober Living Home Our
To provide recovering women a structured caring, compassionate home environment, to carry out the primary purpose of making their personal journey in sobriety more than a possibility! It can be done “One day at a Time.”
Our philosophy and mission is to create and implement a safe, nurturing, positive, spiritual environment and structure for all women ages 18 and older recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction.
What We Offer Amenities included are:
Rodney Eastman (#215), Angie Duke (#213) and Patrick Cronen (#269). Rodney is a Canadian actor, starring in several films including in the role of Joey Crusel in two of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. He is also a musician in a band called King Straggler. Angie Duke is bestknown for her roles in 6 Years, 4 Months & 23 Days (2013), Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012), Extracted (2012) and The Badger Game (2014). Their pal, Patrick Cronen, played roles in The Badger Game (2014), Good Knight (2012), The Love Triangle (Short Film) (2012) and Broken English (2007), as well as roles in a couple of daytime dramas.
• Quiet living in an affluent suburban neighborhood • Clean & sober on-site managers experienced in recovery • All meals included • Bi-weekly outings • Clean, comfortable bedrooms, beautifully furnished, with plenty of room for storage and pillow top mattresses • Beautifully appointed common areas • Attractive and well-maintained interiors and exteriors • Fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities • Internet and DVD players • The security and serenity offered in a drug and alcohol free home • Transportation to shopping, meetings, outings, and appointments • A supportive, friendly staff • Recovery and life skills mentoring • An atmosphere that affords privacy, anonymity and discretion for the residents • Our Upscale Sober Living Home provides a safe environment for women committed to long term sobriety
“Uphold my steps in Your paths, O Lord, that my footsteps may not slip.” Psalm 17:5
Ryan Jaffe (#216), the National Youth Recovery Foundation West Coast Chairman of the Board celebrates recovery and an exciting rappel with friends.
(More photos on next page)
“Taste Of Peace” sober living provides women who have completed a residential treatment program a sober home environment as a prelude to transition back into society as clean and sober women. Our common goal is to help you achieve and maintain long term sobriety in a positive, productive, spiritual home while practicing the principles of the 12 steps through a 12 step program. If you’re looking to leave behind people, places, and things and/or take time off from work to focus on your recovery, our sober living home is the place to do just that.
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Friends Chelsea Schmit (#222) and Hilary Belk (#270) represented the University of North Carolina Collegiate Recovery Community which, “...provides a nurturing and affirming environment in which students recovering from addictive disorders can successfully pursue academic, personal and professional goals.” For more information or to get involved: http://studenthealth.uncc. edu/content/wellness.
From toddler to teen, Karly Moreno has loved singing and playing the guitar. Now, at age 18, and writing her own songs, Karly is passionate about sharing her music and being an inspiration to others. She performed several songs for an appreciative audience. “When my manager, Alex Hodges II, came to me with an opportunity to support a charity close to his heart, I jumped at the chance to help out. It was my pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful cause. Thank you, National Youth Recovery Foundation for having me!” KarlyMoreno.com
Baltimore native and actor, Octavius J. Johnson told IRM, “I was there not only to live on the edge a little, but also to support and encourage those who are recovering from addiction and to help raise money to continue saving addicts’ lives.” octaviusjjohnson.com
Michelle Hurd and husband, Garret Dillahunt. Both actors have had extensive theater and film careers. Since 2010, Michelle has played Colleen Manus in The Glades, and Garret has played the role of Burt Chance on the Fox sitcom Raising Hope.
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TERRENCE DARYL SHULMAN JD,LMSW,ACSW,CAADC,CPC Founder/Director Future writer for In Recovery Magazine!
The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding PO Box 250008 Franklin, Michigan 48025 Phone/Fax: 248-358-8508 www.theshulmancenter.com
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The Point of Power By Kate Ellis
What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it is supposed to be.
eople are masters at complicating life, especially when expectations do not meet a desired reality. Expectations are encapsulated in human belief systems, as well as in personal projections. Often individuals become disappointed when their expectations are not met. They lose faith in others, feeling betrayed or lied to. Reliance on others, even to keep their word, is a slippery slope. The depth of one’s anger when promises go unfulfilled may give insight into how much one actually trusts oneself. When you do not follow through on promises, how intense is your own anger or disappointment? Not long ago I discovered Lao Tzu: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” People often think they are escaping the present. But they are actually just retreating into the mind game I call time travel. Individuals are time traveling when they are focused in the past or future. The subconscious does not know the difference between imagination and memory-based thought processes. When we focus upon anything not in the now, we are disassociating. In effect we are removing ourselves from the seat of power which resides only in the present. If I ask you to show me ten minutes ago in the now, you cannot, unless you have a snapshot or video. But that photo or video is still from the past, not in the here and now. If I ask you to show me ten minutes from now, you cannot. The future is created from the collective focus you had in your past, coupled with what you are focused on in the present. Between the past and the future is the ever-spacious present where we have power and the ability to choose to make our present a pleasure or a misery. Our thoughts, like raindrops collecting, become the nutrients for the seeds of our focus to germinate. Thus the garden of our life-experience grows. A negative focus either results in: a deluge; a drowning; becoming overwhelmed; lack of dreams, desires and goals; or in finding ourselves in a barren and boring place. Make a decision to allow yourself to focus each thought positively. In essence this decision allows you to nurture your desires. Even though you may not think of it in this way, this is a truth – it is your truth. You can be the master of your mind. Wield this power of focus wisely.
- Author Unknown
Kate Ellis is a Certified Clinical Counseling Hypnotherapist in practice for over 24 years and specializing in anxiety disorders. She currently holds the position of Vice President of the Arizona Society of Professional Hypnosis. Kate has been an instructor at Scottsdale Community College and is a former faculty member at Morraine Valley Community College and St. Xaviers University in Illinois. She has taught a variety of courses including Behavior Modification, Anxiety/Panic Attack and Phobias, OCD and Depressive Disorders, Insomnia, Stress and Pain Management, and Procrastination. Kate has a private practice, The Healing Quest, in Scottsdale, AZ. She may be contacted at 480.695.1936 or at thehealingquest.com.
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This Words that Empower is a seek-and-find word puzzle by Kate Ellis. Her puzzles are carefully crafted to enhance potent attributes within you, to affirm, validate and gently assist shifting a self-limiting perception. Words are strategically placed within the grid to challenge the super-conscious, conscious and subconscious mind. Each puzzle utilizes NLP, a form of ‘anchoring’ information into the subconscious and waking mediation, which focuses the mind into a relaxed state thereby allowing you to absorb more information and affirmations that focus upon the positive. The series is a meditation of language, concepts, and word combinations intended to challenge your perceptions and perspective. Ellis’s puzzles are available in a convenient carrysize book and interactive CD. empowerpuzzles.com Winter 2013
In Recovery Magazine
The Fountain of Youth
By Kay Luckett
he conversation comparing the difference between growing up and aging is an enlightening one at best, and a frightening one at worst – all depending on your point of view. Some say they never want to grow up. Andy Rooney said, “It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone!” One thing for sure is that those of us in recovery have survived our addictions and insanities, and in so doing have gained experience and wisdom. Along with this accumulation of experience and wisdom comes issues which belong mostly to recovering senior citizens: physical challenges, memory or lack of, losses, grief and regrets over the past. We come to learn we are powerless over them. Our stories about our past become our experience, strength and hope. We discover how privileged we are to be able to share these with others for the benefit of their recovery. Ah, but no matter how good it gets, there is from time to time the realization that our physical life as we know it will come to an end. Is this a morbid topic? It may be for some; however, both birth and death are a part of the lifecycle. When we embrace the fact that we really are going to die someday, we can live our lives to the fullest, one day at a time. What would we do if we knew we had, say, six weeks to live? Many of us would want to be present in the moment and to savor every minute of it, good or bad. Now could be the time to start making and living your ‘bucket list’. Indeed, now is the time. Spiritually, now is where Spirit finds us: not in the past, not in the future, but here in the now where our feet are planted. Is there a proverbial ‘fountain of youth’? How and where do 32
we find it? The fountain of youth resides within us all. To access it we must align with our soul, with our joy and with the experience of an everlasting life. God-consciousness appears to be the key to a happy life. With it come wisdom, humor, love and the ability to be of service to others. Oh, and yeah, we are given full permission to be childlike. “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old; you grow old when you stop laughing,” explained George Bernard Shaw. Seniors in sobriety may utilize what they have found in their inner and outer journeys. The outer journey surely belongs to our experiences, and the inner journey brings us to our fountain of life. What we get as seniors is the honor of being loving examples to others in recovery, to our families and to our communities. Our service opportunities come in many flavors: sponsoring, mentoring, tutoring and teaching, or just being a friend and a companion. All of these gifts flow out of the fountain of youth, and all of these reflect the eternal life of the soul. To keep the good life, we must give it away! Someone asked their guru where the soul goes when the body dies. The guru asked, “Why does it need to go anywhere?” Here is where we are now and here is where we are having a busy and active life, being part of the miracles in recovery. It is no time to worry about our senior issues. Life is peachy-keen and, ah, hmm...I had a recipe for you, but am having a senior moment and forgot it! Oh, wait, here it is...LOL! In the spirit of the joy of living and its peachy-keenness, I offer you my recipe for a Winter Peach and Bleu Cheese Salad. Cheers! Here’s to a long life of happiness in recovery and many more tasty meals.
In Recovery Magazine
Winter Peach Salad with Bleu Cheese and Asian Nuts This is a fun winter or holiday salad and can be simply served with muffins or homemade bread, or it can accompany any dinner such as baked pork loin or roasted chicken. 4 Tbs cider vinegar 4 Tbs peach syrup from can (see below) Olive oil – to taste Salt and pepper Package of herb greens or arugula (large) ½ cup currents or chopped raisins ½ cup Tamari pecans or almonds (from a natural foods store or see recipe below) ½ cup bleu cheese crumbles 1 15 oz can of peach halves in heavy syrup For dressing, mix vinegar with peach syrup then whisk in olive oil to taste. Add salt and pepper, taste, adjust. Combine salad greens with nuts and currents. Toss lightly with dressing. Portion salad on four large or six small plates. Place one halved peach (cut side up) next to salad or cut and fan on top. Top all with bleu cheese crumbles.
Tamari Nuts: 2 Tbs Tamari sauce (add 1 Tbs and taste, then add more if desired) 4 Tbs molasses Cayenne to taste Salt 1 cup any kind of nuts Blend together the Tamari and molasses, season to taste. Add nuts and toss until well coated. Put paper towel on a plate and drain nuts very briefly. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread nuts in a single layer. Roast for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check often because nuts can go from brown to burnt in a few minutes. Cool and chop. (Extra nuts may be frozen or kept for delicious munchies.)
In Recovery Magazine
No One Could Save Me By Amy Baumgardner
ecovery is a gift. I always say that living sober is the best amends. It certainly has given me the chance to right my wrongs and live authentically. We all have our crosses to bear – alcohol has definitely been mine – but these days I have a choice. I could live in a place of guilt, shame and remorse every time I’m reminded of that day four years ago when I drove drunk. That day I blacked out behind the wheel, hit a tree and critically injured my five-year-old daughter. Or I can keep moving forward, stand in my truth and know that the past doesn’t define me or dictate my future. I was driving drunk with my five and seven-year-old children in the back seat of my car. I was depressed and self-medicating. I chose to disregard my children, my husband, my job and any of the responsibilities which came with being an adult. I was only interested in deflecting my problems, not in dealing with them. I believe no one could have saved me from that accident. It was inevitable. For far too long I had manipulated the truth about myself in order to justify my own selfish compulsion to drink. My decision to stop drinking changed all of that. Recovery allowed me to accept the veracity of my accident and why it happened. It allowed me to tell the truth, and the truth is, I am an alcoholic. My marriage, my health, my body image, my self-esteem and ultimately my children were all infected with the dis-ease I had ignored and pushed into the darkest corners of my soul. Unwillingly and sometimes unknowingly, I came to realize that I was the master of my discontent. I depended on alcohol, my best friend and confidant, until one day it turned on me, betrayed me. I tried to hide my cravings, but eventually there was no point. I was desperate to control the depression and anxiety which filled my days, and I was truly willing to try any34
thing. So, I stopped hiding and finally humbly admitted defeat. That’s the day I started my journey into recovery, and I haven’t looked back. Living with an addiction is chaos. It is torture to the soul. Being able to break free from the shackles of addiction is invigorating. Okay, maybe not at first, but trust me, recovery is a wonderful gift we addicts get to experience and pass on. It is a call to action to do what is right! Being honest enough with myself and knowing there was something about me which had to change was an enormous revelation. Acceptance of this was a huge step; but once I took that first step, admitting that I was powerless over alcohol, my perception of my drinking problem shifted. I was no longer a captive. I was a survivor capable of change and deserving of a second chance. It hasn’t been easy. I have had all of the emotions of anyone new in recovery, including I’m sober…now what? I didn’t know what I was doing or how I was going to stay sober, but I was willing to give it a try. That was the key for me. I was finally willing to at least try. I had literally nothing left to lose. Eventually five days turned into thirty, thirty days turned into a year, and one year turned into four. This is not to say I haven’t had my moments of weakness, because I have; I’m human. But with each passing hour, day, week, month and year, I have become more confident in my ability to stay sober. I use the support system of a Twelve Step program. I am now able to recognize moments of weakness as fleeting thoughts. Most importantly, I remind myself that living sober doesn’t have to be boring! It’s what I make of it. This is recovery! I stand boldly and bravely in my truth and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that as long as I follow this path, I have nothing to fear...nothing!
In Recovery Magazine
Amy Baumgardner is a freelance writer, mother and wife. She was born in Philadelphia and holds a Master’s degree in Educational School Counseling. Baumgardner had the opportunity to share her story on an episode of Oprah’s Life Class with Iyanla Vanzant on July 29, 2012, and is now an Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Ambassador. Baumgardner attributes her happiness to her faith and her devoted husband. She has been sober for four years. She may be reached at: (website) mattandamyb.com, (Twitter) AbaumAmy and (Facebook) Matt & Amy.
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From all of us at
m Fro Kim
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From uth R
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m a Fro She
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Delaney and friend, ready to ride
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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.
Mollé: My name is Joe. I’ve been watching your column, and I’ve yet to read about being old in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I am over 60 and still young (I think) in attitude and outlook; but when I go to meetings, sometimes I feel like a dinosaur. The things I struggle with as an older man in recovery are different than the 20-somethings who complain about how hard life is and, “Why, oh why, did I waste [a whole] ten years drinking.” Worse yet I am only three years sober. I see it in their eyes – they see my gray hair and that I’m put together pretty well; they think I’m an old-timer. To both our disappointments the hoped for pearl of AA wisdom falls to the floor when, too often, it turns out that I’m sober less time than they are sober. Do I really have to hang out in Over-The-Hill meetings to feel like I fit in? Old and Cranky in FL Dear Cranky, Wow! I’m glad getting clean and sober does not rely upon age. There is room for everyone in AA; we just have to find our place. When I am not comfortable with who I am, I am not comfortable anywhere: people are too young or too old, laugh too much or not enough, too skinny or too fat, too rich or too poor. Feeling okay starts with me feeling okay in my own skin and having a grateful heart. If you listen closely to them, you might hear where you are the same as these younger people: drank the same booze, in bars or at home, at people or at situations, when it rained or when it didn’t. Are you envious of their youth and the likelihood of them having a long and happy life ahead of them, while you only have limited years left? What if you did go to a meeting where there were older people so you didn’t stand out? I’ll bet you’d find a sponsor there, or at least a friend. You might also try going to a newcomer’s meeting. There you will find people of all ages seeking recovery; maybe even an older person wondering if they are too old to get sober. Pearls of wisdom fall from everyone’s mouth if you listen without judgment. 38
Ms Mollé: I don’t write so good, sorry. I live in a sober house with six girls. My sponsor says I have to leave. I have no place to go. People get high all the time and sneak guys in at night. I’ve been told to not tell anyone, or she will beat the s**t out of me. There are other women there who do drugs, but they don’t know I know. If I tell on them I might have to leave. I have no money, and I don’t have a job. I don’t know what is right. I’m afraid. Between a Rock and a Hard Place Dear Between, You are amazing! You are in a place which threatens your recovery at every turn, and you are reaching out for help. Good for you. Your desire for recovery is stronger than the insanity of your living conditions. That is a great place to start. You do not have to do this alone. If your sponsor does not know of a safe place, then every meeting you hit should be a woman’s meeting. Guys will want to help, but that might present some different trouble! Either way, at every single meeting you attend, raise your hand when they ask for non-AA announcements. Tell them your story and what you need in one sentence. They don’t want to hear the drama, just the facts. You are a woman who wants to stay sober more than anything; there are drugs, sex and craziness where you live; and if anyone knows of a safe place where you can stay, you are willing to clean and cook until you get a job. Next, take action. Call every sober living facility, every shelter, every sober woman you know and ask for help or someone you can talk to. Stay away from the long sad storytelling and stick to business – the business of staying sober, finding a safe place to live and a job - in that order. You don’t have time for anything else. Let me know how it goes. I know you can do this. The viewpoints shared or any implied actions suggested by Mollé are the opinion 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 counselor or physician. email@example.com
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Love Never Fails By Pastor Phil Aguilar and Dr. Richie Cole
astor Phil Aguilar and Dr. Richie Cole of Broadway Treatment Center (BTC) in Orange County, CA, have known each other socially for over 20 years, first meeting in Venice Beach, CA, in the early 1990s. Dr. Richie had been working out at Muscle Beach in Venice since 1985, and Pastor Phil, who had acquired the moniker of “Chief ”, was living in Venice during a period where he was “mad at God”. There was a mutual respect and an immediate attraction as kindred spirits. Dr. Richie was working on his first master’s degree in psychology. Pastor Phil was in his mid-forties, but was dealing with some personal difficulties at what should have been the prime of his life. It was the beginning of a long and meaningful association between the two men. Here is their story as told by them. Dr. Richie began, “I had a feeling this was to be a significant relationship, but couldn’t foresee a future that would intricately intertwine us in a professional venture that had us literally saving lives together. We would see each other socially at motorcycle events and in the streets. We always greeted each other with a smile, handshake and big hug. Some years later, a mutual associate called to tell me a friend of his was starting a rehab. Having been out of work for a year, I was available and asked what his friend’s name was. He said, ‘Pastor Phil Aguilar.’ “I called Chief; and we talked for a few hours, met up in person and talked for a few more hours; then he hired me as the Clinical Director/Head of Psychological Services at the BTC. His other partners were a bit wary due to my associa40
tions and appearance, but Chief convinced them that I was a good guy and the man for the job. We’ve been rockin’ and rollin’ for about a year and a half now. “Chief got saved in the joint in 1979 and has been helping people ever since.” “Yes,” Pastor Phil interjected. “It was January 7, 1977, and I was sitting in a state prison cell. I heard a correctional officer shout out, ‘Chapel call! If any of you fellows want religion, walk on down the hall.’ I took the first step of what would become the best day of my life. I was a 28-year-old dope fiend, facing ten years, weighing in at about 125 lbs. I hated everyone, and especially I hated myself. I hurt everyone I said I loved.” “[Chief] comes from a biblical perspective, and I come from a psychological perspective,” Dr. Richie continued. “They go hand-in-hand. Sometimes we make different clinical decisions, but he’s the program director and had the courage to start a business. It’s not ‘til you’re the one doin’ it that the responsibility of all the decisions rests on your heart and conscience. When people start talkin’ about how it should be done, I tell ‘em that when they start a program, they can do it their way. Until then, leave your bags at the curb, metaphorically, and trust the process. Together we have well over 50 years of doin’ treatment, so we are pretty experienced. We work really well together.” Pastor Phil added, “Teaming up with my friend Dr. Richie has been the richest enhancement of our program. We are an unstoppable team!”
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I believe that this type of work needs to be a calling of a sort. To love and care for people on a daily basis needs a strong committed individual, with plenty of help from above. – Pastor Phil Aguilar
Dr. Richie went on, “We have been called ‘controversial but effective’. BTC is not a conveyor-belt, one-size-fits-all program. Each individual is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. We have an eclectic approach incorporating faith-based, relapse prevention, therapeutic community, behavioral modification, Twelve Step, harm-reduction and cognitive behavioral therapy.” “Three years ago we incorporated animal therapy into our program,” Pastor Phil added. “I developed a show called Addicts and Animals for the TV station Animal Planet. Letting our clients bring dogs or cats has contributed to the bonding process for all. Studies show the endorphins get going stronger as the love between humans and animals occurs.” “Our population,” Dr. Richie explained, “tends to be young adult heroin addicts from upper-middle class families, tweekers and a few middle-aged, thoroughbred alcoholics. For many, we are the last house on the block. Many programs kick people out for transgressions and relapses. We realize relapse is often part of the recovery process and addicts are like little kids in many respects. We can’t expect perfection in the early stages of treatment. We don’t condone problematic behavior, but we are realistic. “We strongly recommend people don’t get romantically involved during treatment or in the first year of recovery, but nobody listens to that. Relationships are a great distraction to recovery efforts, particularly in the beginning. When we put down our drug of choice, our addiction tends to manifest itWinter 2013
self in other areas – relationships and sexuality are the most common. [At BTC] we usually won’t throw people out for their first mistake. We don’t tolerate threats of violence, veiled threats of violence or actual violence. Pretty much everything else can be dealt with. “Clients subconsciously self-sabotage,” he continued, “expecting to be disregarded, reinforcing the belief that they are not wanted. We love our clients as they learn to love themselves, and we don’t give up on anybody. External consequences often have less of an impact on behavioral change than the regret, guilt and the realization which comes with relapse and other behavioral mistakes. Being reprimanded often keeps the oppositional addict from looking within. Left with holding the bag for their own actions and continued love and acceptance from treatment providers, a mirror is put up in front of the clients, and they are more apt to look at self and take responsibility. That’s our experience anyway. “Chief talks about the perfect will of God and the permissive will of God, as he himself has. We know we have to pick and choose our battles with clients and let some stuff slide. We are looking at the big picture and the long run. Our biggest goal is keeping people alive and getting them off dope. Everything else follows.” Referring to Dr. Ritchie, Pastor Phil said, “We come from two different worlds, yet have found the same truths. We run a complete designer program for every new client, knowing
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that each of us is one of a kind. We are working on a book entitled One Thousand Ways to Get High where we share the many ways we have found to get high [on recovery]. There is no one magic bullet that kills addiction, but we can help people identify their countless options. The Bible says, ‘Iron sharpens iron, so does a brother sharpen the countenance of another.’ We come to work to love and watch our clients be healed from the destruction of drugs.”
“Yes,” Dr. Richie pointed out, “everybody has the capacity for positive change. Even the most hope-to-die dope fiend can get clean and live a fulfilling life. The most important factor from my perspective is the willingness and desire to change. Whether someone is in a high-end Malibu-type program with acupuncture, massages and horses, or in a skid row, crack-alley, low-budget work-program – the most important factor is that the individual is tired of being enslaved and wants freedom. ‘There are a thousand ways to get high [on recovery],’ Pastor Phil always says. “I was raised an atheist by my father, so when I was getting my ass beat by addiction and suffering, a huge barrier to recovery was my lack of belief in God. I’m still an infant in my spiritual evolution. I just try to open my heart and get my head out of the way. What I like about Chief is that he doesn’t shove Christ down people’s throats, but teaches that you must develop a belief in a Higher Power of some sort. I concur, having learned the hard way that recovery without God, or even life without God, isn’t gonna work right.” Both men shared their recovery work is not just a job. Pastor Phil confided, “I was just looking for some peace of mind; I had no idea where [recovery] would take me. I am amazed to look back and see that what I thought was evil for me, was actually God making a masterpiece out of my life. My work is my life! I love having a purpose. I have a passion to be part of saving lives. I enjoy turning people on to something which will get them high on the natural joys of life, seeing families reunited and watching people start giving back. I am motivated most of all by how much I have been forgiven. I have much love for others who are down the dead-end street of drugs as I was many years ago. If I can do it, I believe others can, too. “I believe that this type of work needs to be a calling of a sort,” Pastor Phil avowed. “To love and care for people on a daily basis requires a committed individual who has plenty of help from above. It requires not letting the almighty dollar be your guide. Money is a big problem for many in this field. The majority of people jump into this work because they like to help others; those who stay on and do it with all the bumps on the road are people who truly have a calling. I commend those who have been in this field for a long time. It’s not easy.” “I didn’t get into psychology to help people,” Dr. Richie admitted. “I was just interested in the human mind. Helping people was just the icing on the cake. Working in recovery is a lifesaver. If I was a rock star, I don’t know if I’d be doing this well. Work, working out, my motorcycle club, my kids, God, etc. (not necessarily in that order) plus a million other obligations and activities keep me movin’ forward. “My best friend, Matt Ansara (Barbara Eden’s son), who I grew up with and who was like a brother to me, OD’d and died June 25, 2001. Though I hadn’t used heroin or the needle for many years, my first thought, though fleeting, was to slam dope. My second thought was a commitment to myself and to God that I would never put another needle in my arm again, partly knowing that if I did, I would die. Because I felt like s**t that I couldn’t save my brother Matt, I wanted to get back to workin’ with addicts. I became the house therapist at Walden House, just south of downtown Los Angeles, working with parolees just outta prison. I was the first licensed professional on staff. It was a great experience and paved the way for me to become the clinical director at BTC years later.” 42
In Recovery Magazine
In closing, Pastor Phil expressed his biggest challenge over the years has been watching how addiction affects the whole family. “Mothers’ hearts being broken, siblings dealing with hatred and the whole pain of loving people and not always seeing love be victorious in the end, are reminders to me that addiction treatment needs to be about the whole person. “A holistic approach tackles all aspects of a person’s addiction. We at BTC acknowledge the importance of clients being physically healthy, emotionally and spiritually strong, as well as growing intellectually while in our care. If they’re successful, we’re successful. My most treasured benefit from working in the treatment field has been seeing multitudes of men and women become soldiers for good, fighting the good fight and becoming drug-free and happy.”
Pastor Phil Aguilar is an experienced counselor and minister who has spent the last 30 years helping more than 100,000 people face and overcome their addictions. A recovering addict himself, Phil has been clean and sober for 35 years. He is a father of five and grandfather of 19 and a mentor to thousands of people from all corners of the country. His wisdom, expertise and spiritual guidance combine into a fruitful recipe for healing. Phil’s tough-love philosophy and method serve as the cornerstone of Broadway Treatment Center. He is the author of his autobiography, Forgive me, Father, for I have Sinned. broadwaytreatmentcenter.com
Dr. Richie Cole, PhD, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and author with a PhD in Clinical Psychology. A relapse prevention expert with 25 years of experience working with addicts and criminal offenders, he was educated at USC, Cal State LA and the California School of Professional Psychology LA. His academic knowledge juxtaposed with his street credibility makes him the ideal therapist for populations traditionally misunderstood.
In Recovery Magazine
In Recovery Magazine Wins 2013 The Voice of Recovery Media Award
Writers In Treatment (WIT) honored In Recovery Magazine with their 2013 The Voice of Recovery Media Award on Friday, October 18, 2013, in Santa Monica, CA. Leonard Buschel, WIT co-founder, was on hand for the presentation. Carrie White, author of a memoir, Upper Cut, Highlights of My Hollywood Life, presented the award to the magazineâ€™s publisher, Kim Welsh, and editor, Janet A. Hopkins, at the opening night gala for the 5th annual REEL Recovery Film Festival held in Los Angeles, CA. The award recognizes excellence in print and digital publishing. In Recovery Magazine has been in print since August of 2012, providing a quarterly publication celebrating the lives and accomplishments of individuals in recovery from drug and alcohol and other types of addiction. 44
In Recovery Magazine
In Recovery Magazine
Never a Dull Moment By Anonymous in AZ
hile I was still drinking, I contemplated life without alcohol; it was frightening. I thought life would be incredibly dull and boring without a drink in hand. At the age of 30 I surrendered the alcohol to God. My childlike faith in a loving and personal God made this possible. I admitted to God and to my fellow man that I could not handle alcohol. I received help from both God and my fellow man. I have been continuously sober ever since. My fears of a boring life were completely unfounded. Life in sobriety has been anything but boring. After a couple of months in sobriety I gained full-time employment teaching. I taught school for thirty years. I had the privilege of interacting with thousands of young people. We learned a lot from each other. To be able to do this was a gift from God. Being a participating member of a family is another priceless gift from God. I met my wife a couple of years after getting sober. We raised three children together. Now we have three grandchildren as well. Working and being a contributing member of a family is in no way remarkable for the average man. It is only when you consider the old me, who never could have been present for this enjoyable life, that you can appreciate the miracle of normalcy my life now represents. 46
So what do I do for fun now after retiring five years ago and what have I done over the years? Our nine-week-old kitten just jumped onto my lap. She reminded me to mention that my wife and I are blessed with the companionship of two cats, one dog and one horse. I love hiking with my dog. I have hiked all over the state of Arizona â€“ from deserts to mountains, from fields to streams and waterfalls. From time to time I do this with hiking groups and leave the dog at home. My wife and I once went on a six mile ride together. She took her horse; I took my bike. The horse and the bike were surprisingly compatible. We have also ridden horseback together. For a couple of years we both did carriage driving with our horse. My wife has ridden in various parades. I have also ridden bicycles with my children. My wife and I even ice-skated with them. This was especially nice because the summer heat in Tempe made ice-skating a great way to have fun and escape the heat at the same time. Several years ago my wife and I enjoyed cross country skiing together. We have shared a variety of fun vacations including foreign travel, but mostly we have vacationed in the US. Not long ago we headed to the beach in southern California. One day we were joined by my son, his girlfriend and our grandson. The five of us visited and had a great time walking on the beach together. We enjoyed the beautiful breeze blowing in off the Pacific and the cool, wet sand under our feet. One early morning my brother and I did a miles-long bike ride on the beach. On other occasions we enjoy visiting with the rest of our kids and grandkids. I have participated in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups over the years and served in various capacities. While visiting California I was able to ride my bike to an Alano club about four blocks from Pacific Beach to attend meetings. For about twenty years I have attended these summertime meetings. Even job-related committee work offered a chance to make a difference. About ten years ago I was on a committee which recommended to the school administration that
In Recovery Magazine
we start recycling cardboard. With strong support from the head of our maintenance department, the school administration approved the program. Now every month about a ton of cardboard boxes is recycled. Ten years later that adds up to 120 tons of boxes which would have gone into landfills, but have instead been recycled. My wife and I are both active in our church. We volunteer in a variety of activities. Sometimes I fill in as facilitator for the Financial Peace University classes which teach Christian principles of money management. This is a subject that is sorely needed in our society. We read The Upper Room pamphlet daily meditation together every morning and the recommended Bible verse. This pamphlet is mentioned more than once in the book Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers published by AA World Services. I have very much enjoyed participating in classes for seniors at our local community college. I find those who participate to be vibrant, active, involved citizens with a variety of professional backgrounds. When I was asked to contribute an article on seniors having fun in sobriety for In Recovery Magazine, I was happy to do it...even though I have yet to attend a meeting labeled Seniors in Sobriety. When I decided to live a sober life those many years ago, I wondered whether I could have fun and happiness again. I am happy to report that living a sober life has brought me more fun, happiness and serenity than I would have ever dreamed possible.
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In the courtyard 115 E. Goodwin St. Ste., C Prescott, AZ 47
Serenity in the Storm I
By Jane Derry
have often said and taught others, what other people think about me is not my business. It seemed that God answered, “Really, Jane? Okay, let’s see if you really mean that.” After having my husband John’s and my business, personal lives, characters and reputations strewn across the internet and other media in a vicious, slanderous attack which continues to this day, God has given us an opportunity to grow and trust even more in the spiritual principles of recovery. Our addiction treatment business in British Columbia (BC), Canada, first became targeted by a former employee whom we discovered had been financially dishonest with us. When confronted, this person informed us that she would do everything possible destroy us, including using the power of anonymous online sites. With little warning, as the accusations were placed on many websites, we were completely overpowered by a swell, and then a tsunami, of slanderous statements and attacks. John and I have since learned that thousands of small business reputations have been destroyed by such sites as RipOff Report (ROR). The strength and appeal of such complaint sites are the authors’ complete anonymity. We were advised by legal professionals, other authorities and internet marketing consultants not to respond to such sites. Many 48
times the costly rebuttals are not printed by ROR; if rebuttals are printed, they may create more fodder for stalkers and cyber bullies to continue their slanderous attacks. We contacted some of the people whose names were attached to the negative comments. With the exception of one,
In Recovery Magazine
the people were astounded and angry that their names had been used in such a way without their knowledge. Only our disgruntled previous staff member could have known the names of our former clients. In any recovery treatment facility there are people who, for whatever reason, are neither ready to get honest with themselves, nor face the truths of their broken lives. When a couple of these people were contacted by our disgruntled former employee, they happily joined with her to target and slander us. This small group of people attacked us at every side and complaints were lodged against us at every turn. The charges were so serious the Canadian Ministry of Health was called in to investigate. We
were found to be in complete compliance with our mandate. Then municipal officials were called to investigate. Due to a change in municipal boundaries, it was decided that our original business license, which had been renewed in good faith for seven consecutive years, was no longer in full compliance. The attack campaign included dozens of repeated emails and phone calls to the mayor and all of the city council members, in addition to door-to-door visits to our neighbors. Even as I write this, it is unfathomable that anyone could have the capacity to stalk and bully in this systematic, devastating way. We watched in disbelief as many prospective guests contacted us to make arrangements for treatment, and then, after reading the online slander, would inform us that they had changed their minds. I donâ€™t blame these people for deciding to go elsewhere. In the end it was clear the attackers had been successful in their mission. In spite of eight successful years of facilitating Winter 2013
many clients in finding a way out of the death sentence of addiction, we needed to close our business. We surrendered. We were done. After a year and a half of trying to make sense of all that had happened and in the middle of the worst real estate crisis in decades, my husband and I decided we needed to let go and move on. We concluded the best option was to cut our losses on the real estate and start over. We had dedicated our lives to our own recoveries and to helping other addicted people heal. We had helped many people see the infinite possibilities in their lives, and we now needed to take that same leap of faith. We sold or gave away everything that would not fit in our 36-foot sailboat, made the heart-wrenching decision to leave our beloved dog behind with a new, loving family, said goodbye to our network of loved ones and supporters, trucked the boat to San Diego, and began to sail south. John and I took two months to sail to Panama. This sailing trip was one of our greatest adventures and a gift from God. We had been through such tremendous emotional, mental and spiritual storms in BC and were then blessed to experience the same storms manifested by the life and death conditions at sea. The trip was healing and affirmed Godâ€™s love and protection of us, even if the conditions meant death. Coming to a place of acceptance, whether life or death, we were looked after in Godâ€™s love. It was a revelation of epic proportions. And so we came to Panama and began again, using all the tools we had learned in recovery to keep moving forward and do the next right thing. We found a gorgeous 1950s Panamanian vacation home in the mountain highlands of Boquete with an incredibly beautiful hectare of property which was landscaped with citrus fruit trees and stunning bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers. We signed a three year lease with the owners, a well-respected Panamanian family who had lived in Boquete for four generations. They fully support us and are thrilled that
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By Ann Balowski
their property is being used to help individuals and families heal from the devastating disease of addiction. Because costs are low in Panama, we are able to offer our Serenity Vista program for a fraction of North American treatment costs. God presented us with an amazing team of professionals. In addition, Boquete offers an active recovery community that embraces and supports us. We take advantage of an incredible array of recreational opportunities such as rock climbing, zip lining, horseback riding and world-class hiking and birding. On Tuesdays we spend the afternoon at the beautiful Haven Spa with yoga and massage included. Now that our sailboat, Decision, is repaired after a lightning strike in Costa Rica while en route to Panama, she is an integral part of our fun. Our guests are over the moon as they experience sailing in one of the most beautiful and sought-after sailing areas in the world. As we prepared for our new life here and for our new program, we unfortunately realized our attackers chose to follow us to Panama as well. This is the nature of the disease. Since the beginning of this attack, we have chosen to respond with spiritual principles. We have ceased fighting anything or anyone. We continue to hold these people in our prayers and ask God to grant them the peace of mind they are so obviously missing. We continue to follow our own bliss and continue to give back what was so freely given to us. We do not let the relentless cyber-slander campaign define us. We have a plethora of character references and recommendations from people who have signed their real names and put their own reputations on the line to tell the truth of their experience with us. We have dozens of support letters written to the BC municipality during the review period, all signed with full names and contact information by either former guests or 50
In Recovery Magazine
other people who were involved in one way or another with our rehab business back in BC. We have found serenity in the midst of difficulty and have learned to practice our recovery principles in all of our affairs, including the tempest of a storm. Love and tolerance is our code. In recovery we learn to look at things in a new light. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. If you are facing what seems to be insurmountable challenges and adversities, try on this new definition of surrender. It just might change your life. It changed ours.
Jane and John Derry sailed down the Pacific coast from their home in Canada to Panama to establish Serenity Vista Drug Rehab Panama. John is a licensed clinical pharmacist in Canada, has a graduate degree in addictions from the Hazelden Foundation in MN and is a skilled master counselor and addiction professional leader. Janeâ€™s diverse background includes animal health technology, working with at risk troubled and/or addicted youth and an academic qualification in religious studies. Together they operate Serenity Vista, attracting clients from around the world. Visit them at: serenityvista.com. To contact: email@example.com.
In Recovery Magazine
Love, Patience and Tolerance By Anonymous
“Two companies in Prescott, AZ, The Solution House owned by Mark and Laurie Temple and The Bridges Network operated by Roy Thomas, CEO, have helped me in my darkest hours,” shared client, AR. “They never gave up on me. That is why I am so passionate about their programs. I live at The Solution House and receive outpatient therapy at The Bridges Network. “I am one of those chronic relapsers, shamed by my peers and discarded as hopeless by previous treatment centers. I was even black-listed from some programs. In contrast, nobody at The Bridges or Solution House kicked me when I was down. Everyone was supportive and wanted to help me stop digging my self-destructive hole that kept getting deeper. I responded to the positive approach, completed my assignments and have been sober ever since. Many clients at both The Solution House and The Bridges Network are people who were kicked out of their previous treatment centers or sober living homes. I have watched almost all of them excel in their recoveries. Mark, Laurie, Roy and the employees of both companies care so much about their clients; we are one big, happy family.” The two programs have joined their visions so that men and women, while living in family-style sober living homes, have an opportunity to work their way through The Bridges Network’s well-structured recovery phase system. Clients earn privileges such as having a personal phone, later curfews, having a car, and getting a job with employers sympathetic to the need to have time off for Twelve Step meetings, individual therapy and process groups. The five phases are designed to move clients from initial sobriety through reentry into a sober life. The program meets housing and transportation needs, utilizes employment, educational and vocational training, and teaches financial management skills. Therapeutic treatment begins with intensive group meetings twice a day, five times a week and eventually, in the final phase, moving to online groups a few times a week. Laurie Temple of The Solution House says, “Our purpose is to help each individual with 52
their most challenging behavioral changes as they learn how to live and choose a sober life. We teach another way of living long enough to instill the desire to stay.” The Bridges Network offers therapy services to The Solution House and other sober living houses. Under the program direction of Bonnie Den Dooven, MC, The Bridges has developed a new approach to treatment for the recovery community. Based on a solid Twelve Step foundation, it is a cutting-edge, modern program anchored in current empirical evidence of what works in addiction recovery. A highly educated and professional staff provides deep therapy, grief therapy and trauma work, utilizing neurofeedback, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, Positive Psychology and the expressive arts and movement therapies. Their code is one of love, patience, and tolerance. Clients are treated with dignity and respect and are taught to treat one another the same. The program does not utilize confrontation or severe punishment with sanctions, but rather searches out client strengths, maximizes potential and uses mistakes as learning experiences. Roy Thomas, the CEO of The Bridges Network, provides leadership based on his personal philosophy that each individual deserves a second, a third or a fourth chance. He believes that nobody should be shunned from a community because their disease recurs. He points out that you wouldn’t kick someone out of a hospital because their cancer or diabetes had reoccurred. Client A.R. concluded, “I am personally grateful because the staff acknowledged the seriousness of my disease and didn’t abandon me to fight my illness alone. Instead, they held out a hand and offered me a lifeline until I could begin to understand my responsibility and walk powerfully into my own recovery. Without The Bridges Network, I would either be dead or in jail; or if I were lucky, I’d be running wild in the streets, homeless, in active addiction and separated from the love and encouragement of my family.”
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In Recovery Magazine
One Day at a Time By John Nemanich
am sitting here wondering if I am one of the people described in this edition of In Recovery Magazine. Chronologically, I guess I am, but recovery-wise I have never felt like an OldTimer. Sometimes others will say to me, “Look how much time you have.” My ego replies, “Yep, you sure are something special, John.” The problem with this statement is that I am nothing but a clanging cymbal if I respond to statements like that with anything but humility. If I claim beginner status in my head every time I think or speak in response to observations about my recovery, then I am able to deflate my ego and remain aware that without others I would still be an active drunk. This allows me the grace to remain humble. I have nothing but this moment. “One day at a time” is my answer, especially when searching for answers outside of myself and living life in the real world. If my physical age is a consideration, I am an old-timer in years and experience. My chronological age implies I should know how to, “...live life on life’s terms,” at least well enough to have a wonderful life today. What does this mean to me and to the society in which I live? It means I know how to be reliable and to show up on time for things like work, doctor appointments, promises to friends and my Twelve Step meetings. I am a productive member of society. It means volunteering for community work and other non-recovery activities, such as my grandkids’ Boy Scout award dinners, for their bowling leagues and tournaments or for family parties. I show up for basketball games, for the Knights of Columbus, at the Moose Lodge and even for a great grandson’s birth. Family stuff comes to you in recovery, but you don’t need to be an old-timer in recovery to get that. You just need to work a program, “One day at a time.” Responsibility is a gift to ourselves which we earn with our consistent reliability. It means I accept and respond to my commitments in a positive manner by showing up and being on time. Did I respond to my commitment in a positive manner? Did I respond at all? Did I call to say I would be late getting there, or that it was impossible to get there at all? No lying or manipulating, just the truth. “I will be 54
late because I got pulled over for speeding.” “I won’t be there because I got stopped for speeding, and there was a warrant I didn’t know about.” In the beginning of our recovery, it is often difficult to tell the truth, but the benefits are unbelievable. No more having to remember what I told each person. Our self-worth, pride and, most of all, our accountability depends on telling the truth. Accountability is being answerable for my actions. Did I decide to drive drunk, putting myself and others in jeopardy? Did I take responsibility for my actions today? Do I acknowledge my part in the disagreements I have with my wife, my kids, my boss, my friends or even the store clerk? Am I willing to take the situation to my sponsor when I find it hard or impossible to discern my part? Today I am. As we gain long-term sobriety, these qualities usually become engrained. We work on these traits for such a long time they become automatic reactions to life situations rather than thought-out responses. And what else shows up as I age in both my Twelve Step program and in my physical age? Am I growing older with dignity and grace? This is my goal in recovery, and the reason I work the Twelve Steps. I want to become the man my Higher Power intended me to be when He created me. Daily I humbly ask Him to help me become that man. This is my ultimate desire today. I contemplate what my actions might be when this or that happens in my life. How many times do I talk of my physical issues without seeking sympathy for my situation? What about my old and new body aches and pains? Have I made them the topic of conversation or just acknowledged them enough to take good care of myself? Today I want to be fun and enjoyable to be around. I want to be of value to others and not a burden. At bedtime, as I reflect on my day, I almost always find amends to make and negative behavior to change. Does that make me bad, dumb, stupid or ignorant? No, it actually means I am working daily on myself and repairing the damage as I go. I am working my program the way my sponsor and I have deemed necessary for my success in recovery and in day-to-day life. This plan of recovery worked well for me when I was younger in age and recovery; and I am sure as I become more seasoned, it will continue to work if I work it. In Recovery Magazine Winter 2013
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Don’t Ruin Your Professional Reputation
By Tanya DeSloover
e all worry about what other people think of us; but when you’re suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the opinions of other people should be your last concern. Millions of Americans avoid addiction treatment because they are afraid of losing their jobs or facing criticism at work. In many cases, these fears are unfounded. If you take a chance, employers and co-workers may often surprise you by being more supportive than you ever dreamed. Many employers would rather help a valued employee get into rehab than hire and train a replacement. They may understand that sobriety requires a heroic effort. Because of the stigma attached to seeking treatment for addiction, most addicts go to great lengths to keep their addiction a secret. The stress of holding a career together while keeping one’s use of drugs and/or alcohol a secret may be paralyzing. An addict or alcoholic who continues to use drugs will most likely become permanently unemployed. In addition to losing careers, addicts who avoid treatment may put their relationships and their lives in jeopardy. 56
Many people who enter an addiction treatment program are able to keep their jobs while some find a different job even better suited to their talents and interests. Others may discover during rehab that the stress of the job or the workplace environment actually fueled their addiction and seek employment in another field. Without the damaging influence of drugs and/ or alcohol, no matter what option they choose, they will often have time to repair and enhance their professional reputation. Choosing the right substance abuse treatment program is essential. Although career concerns aren’t the foremost consideration when contemplating drug rehab, following are some steps you may consider to protect your professional reputation. Privacy and Confidentiality
One way to protect your privacy is to attend a drug rehab facility outside your home community. Employees may tell their employers that they are attending a month-long personal retreat – an explanation which is both true and protective of their privacy.
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While privacy and confidentiality are the law at all drug treatment centers, some programs specialize in creating an exclusive environment conducive to a discreet recovery. Unlike many large addiction treatment programs which accommodate dozens of people, smaller programs may create a more intimate and private setting – which is ideal for executives and professionals. The Company of Like-Minded People
High-functioning addicts may be in denial and think, “How can I be a drug addict? I haven’t lost my job; I’m not homeless.” It is very helpful to find a recovery environment which fits your image of yourself. Treatment with like-minded people or people with a similar socio-economic status may help you realize that other affluent and successful people also struggle with addiction. In these surroundings you may be more likely to acknowledge that you have a problem. Treatment in a safe, healing and gender-specific environment may allow you to share vulnerable information about self-esteem issues, past traumas and other concerns without worrying about how these personal revelations may be interpreted by the opposite sex. An Opportunity to Reinvent Oneself
Addicts generally are intelligent and full of potential, but haven’t found healthy ways to manage their stress. Many may have co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficient disorders or social phobias. These may contribute to feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Individuals may have chosen to play it safe in their profession, choosing one that is comfortable rather than challenging. They may not be living up to their full potential. Twelve Step programs challenge recovering addicts to take contrary action; feel the fear, but act with courage. Choosing a treatment program which teaches ways to improve self-esteem while you work on underlying personal issues may assist you in acting with courage. Treatment can be an opportunity to completely reinvent one’s self. Some may uncover new passions and begin to live life more fully. After completing rehab, many addicts find new options open to them. Some go back to school, begin new career paths and find new hobbies and interests. Family Involvement
Addiction is a family disease, and recovery is a family process. Family member learn behaviors in response to a loved one’s addiction, and family members may need to recover in order to restore healthy functioning to the family system. Family involvement and support is critical to the success of every recovering person. Most programs have a family component in which families are encouraged to participate. Families are taught about the disease of addiction, how to support their addicted family member, as well as how to take care of themselves. Families need to feel empowered to deal with the addict in their lives. Ongoing Support While Transitioning Back to the Community
Outpatient programs and sober living houses offer structure, therapy and support while recovering addicts transition
into regular life. Clients usually work or attend school during the day and attend Twelve Step meetings and therapy sessions in the evenings. Choosing a program which includes frequent attendance at Twelve Step meetings may make attending meetings after treatment more comfortable. A Final Note
To facilitate a smooth transition back into the community, a comprehensive aftercare plan is necessary. That plan should include attendance at Twelve Step meetings, outpatient treatment and/or therapy. Most programs encourage attending at least 90 Twelve Step meetings in 90 days. Once at home, focus on doing what you learned to do in treatment. Use the tools you have been taught to ensure a smooth transition from treatment to ‘real life’. Drug rehab is only a short sojourn in the larger scheme of life, but it is an experience that may bring hope and a world of new possibilities. Even if rehab means taking a short break from a career, new doors may open which may make the sacrifice worthwhile. Tanya Desloover, MA, CADC-II, is the program manager and Marriage and Family Therapist at The Rose, a renowned women-only addiction treatment center in Newport Beach, CA. She also has a private practice in Costa Mesa, CA.
By Sue Shipman
eurofeedback (NFB) is a scientifically-validated, natural and medication-free approach to assess imbalances in brain function (brainwave activity). Also known as EEG biofeedback, neurotherapy or brain training, NFB provides immediate information to the central nervous system (CNS), the control center for the entire body, which regulates the functioning of the body. Imbalances in brain function significantly impact the ability of the CNS to operate properly. NFB subconsciously teaches the brain to balance and regulate brainwave activity, thus allowing optimal functioning of the CNS. Small electrodes are placed on the scalp to gather information about the electrical impulses produced by the brain and transmits this information to a computer. This process is similar to an EKG, which measures the electrical impulses of the heart. In less than a quarter of a second, the computer software provides feedback to the brain using auditory signals or a combination of auditory signals and visual feedback. The brain receives and interprets this feedback and responds by either decreasing or increasing specific brainwave activity. When people try to shave or apply make-up without a mirror, they don’t know what they look like or what their results are. The brain has no natural mirror, so NFB provides an external mirror for the brain. NFB has been around for over 50 years, and many clinical applications have been identified. The earliest published reports came from Dr. Barry Sterman in the 1950s when he discovered that NFB significantly reduced or eliminated epileptic seizures (A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins, 2000). The literature published about NFB focuses on numerous brain disorders in which the treatment is most successful, including: • Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: NFB has been helpful in preventing relapse for those recovering from chemical dependency. Research began in the late 1980s and continues today. • Anxiety: Anxiety is often the result of a brain which is working too fast and needs to be calmed. This particularly applies to types of anxiety that are medical or genetic in origin. • Elizabeth Hartney, PhD, a psychologist with extensive experience in the field of addictions and concurrent disorders, explains that, “... brainwave patterns typically seen in people with addictions, as well as the children of alcoholics (even those who do not drink), [show] too many fast brainwaves and too few slow brainwaves. This creates a lot of mental chatter for the person and can cause them to have a hard time quieting their mind. Drinking or drug use can be a way of slowing down the brainwaves and self-calming, which is why so many people with addictions also have problems with anxiety” (Neurofeedback and Neurotherapy as Treatments for Addiction, 2009). • Depression: Depression often involves problems in the frontal lobes of the brain. This part of the brain 58
responds well to brain training. The use of NFB may result in a reduction in the need for treatment with medication. • ADD and ADHD: ADD and ADHD are often seen as the result of too much slow brain activity, particularly in the frontal lobes. Teaching the brain, especially the frontal lobes, to have a “stronger”, more normal rate of activity will typically enhance focus and concentration. Too many slow brain waves make it difficult for the individual to focus and hold mental attention. Many cope with this by using stimulant drugs – prescribed by a doctor, over-the counter (including coffee) or illicit drugs – to speed up brain waves and help focus thoughts. Neurotherapy may bring brain waves into a more functional range, helping the individual to no longer need drugs to feel calm and focused. Because it is a drug-free treatment option, Neurotherapy is a good choice for people dual-diagnosed with addictions, as well as ADHD/ADD. The effects of NFB are usually permanent. People who have been dependent on drugs for years may become drug-free. Neurofeedback and Your Addiction Neurotherapy may be effectively used in conjunction with other therapies such as counseling, motivational interviewing, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), art therapy and lifestyle coaching. Because addiction is comprised of many factors – genetics, various chemical and hormonal imbalances, stress, social influences and so on – that both cause the addiction and keep it going, it is important to enable the individual to find new ways of coping without resorting to addictive behaviors or lifestyles. Neurotherapy helps the individual function better mentally, without feeling the need to use alcohol or other drugs to feel normal. What does this mean for the addict or alcoholic considering the use of NFB? Even prior to using drugs or alcohol, the addict’s brain is often in chaos. Drugs and alcohol are toxic to the brain and create even more chaos, especially as their effects wear off. The use of drugs and alcohol becomes brain-driven behavior rather than simply a behavioral issue (The Craving Brain, Ruden, 2000). For most addicts, willpower is not effective in changing brain-driven addictive behavior. Willpower requires an overwhelming amount of effort and focus, and doesn’t leave much energy for the other aspects of an individual’s recovery life. NFB does not fix the pathways, or neural connections, in the brain; it does allow the brain to create new pathways. As the new pathways are created, reinforced and become dominate, the old ones become weaker and eventually fade away. The new pathways allow the brain to function at its most normal and healthy level. In some cases, it performs at a healthier level than ever before. Think of this example: You have been walking along a path through a meadow for years. There is no longer grass on the path, and the grooves in the dirt become deeper every time it
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rains. You may even have to walk on either side of the grooves because they are so deep and rugged, but it may not occur to you to deviate from that path because it is the path you have always taken. As you begin brain training, your brain begins to have a new perspective on that path, automatically and naturally. The next time you venture out to walk the path, you objectively observe the grooves and the meadow and decide to take a new, more direct and easier path to your destination. As the old path falls into disuse, the grooves fill in and the grass grows over the ruts. In time, the old path is no longer visible. Brain training allows the brain to naturally and calmly find a new perspective on old habits. Self-awareness increases as the brain becomes calmer and more balanced with its new neural activity. It allows objective observation of behavior – not analysis or passing judgment – just simple observation. As has been said by many people in many ways, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and “Until you become aware of your unconscious behavior, you cannot change it.” NFB or neurotherapy is not a magic pill, but it can assist the recovery process. It is most powerful when combined with awareness coaching. This technique helps the individual set two to three specific goals for their brain training. For example, a typical goal in early recovery is to sleep better. What exactly does sleep better mean? Let’s say the individual defines it as falling asleep quickly, staying asleep and awaking feeling rested, three easily observable specifics. The client is asked to score the current quality of each objective using a scale of one to ten, a score of one meaning no problem and a score of ten meaning a major problem. A measurable scale has now been established to rate the changes over the course of the brain training. This requires the individual to observe specific, simple behaviors. As the simple behaviors are observed, the mind begins to cultivate awareness and the ability to observe behaviors in all aspects of the person’s life. As the course of NFB continues, the coach will monitor the progress towards the initial goals. New goals will unfold as the brain continues to heal. Neurotherapy bypasses the conscious mind and directly accesses parts of the brain responsible for generating real time patterns of activity. The mind cannot interfere with or stop the natural process of the brain resetting its brainwave activity. The largest impact will be felt at the beginning of the process as the brain automatically addresses the biggest imbalances first. Typically, these imbalances are directly responsible for an individual’s major challenges. An analogy would be that when a pebble is thrown into a lake, the biggest ripples occur where the pebble enters the water. As the ripples continue outward, they disappear. For many who give NFB a try, they find that improved overall brain functioning provides widespread positive results. It is interesting to note that NFB continues to have positive benefits long after the initial treatment is complete. If you think NFB may be a helpful option for you, contact a qualified practitioner in your area. While it remains unregulated in many states, you may look for providers certified by a group such as the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. Sue Shipman has been providing neurofeedback in Phoenix, AZ, since 2006. She combines the science of neurofeedback with the art of awareness coaching to help clients achieve positive life changes. She specializes in working with individuals diagnosed with anxiety and addictions.
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Is it safe? Yes. While the positive results are strong and lasting, the BAUD accomplishes this through simple sounds that you listen to. Your session should only last about 15 minutes. The BAUD has been used in clinical settings for much longer with no negative side effects.The BAUD is registered with and approved by the FDA . The BAUD is not intended to take the place of medical care or medication. Consult your doctor or health care professional .
Better Balance Better Life Better World For more information call Sue Shipman 480-633-7292 OptimumBalancing.com
In Recovery Magazine
7th Tradition... Magazine
it goes Both Ways
Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. 7th Tradition, Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book
remendous resentments can be generated by not knowing how to say no. I know; I’ve been there. These days the 7th Tradition helps me maintain my serenity by telling me when to contribute and, more importantly, when to stop. I became very frustrated in my early recovery. In addition to my work, I had volunteered for some sizable jobs in four different organizations, including being the statewide chair for my Twelve Step recovery program. I remember a TV commercial in which a corporate-type answered the phone, exclaiming “LA on Monday? Sure, I can do that!” The phone rings again, and he says, “Atlanta on Tuesday? Sure, I can do that!” Again the phone rings, “Chicago on Wednesday? Sure, I can do that!” After a few more calls and more cities, bewildered he puts the phone down and wonders, “How am I gonna do that?” I felt like the guy in that commercial. And was I ever building serious resentments! My own business was struggling, and I had committed to attending someone else’s meeting almost every day of the month. Because I hadn’t learned how to say no, there was no time to work on pulling myself out of my personal financial downward spiral. Looking back, I now realize I was compensating for having been such a juvenile delinquent and attempting to earn respectability by saying yes to every request that came my way. I was doing far more than my fair share. This became the source of my resentments. Being a good workaholic, I had become compulsive about the solid citizen bit. Just recognizing when I was doing enough allowed me to shed a lot of guilt, slow down, say no and enjoy life much more. Part of the 7th Tradition says we should each do our fair
share, but we shouldn’t try to carry the whole group – or world – ourselves, lest we become resentful. This is true in all our affairs, both in and out of the recovery rooms. But we can’t just do nothing, either. We also must do our part to support our recovery group or risk being a taker and creating more baggage for ourselves. An obvious approach to contribute is to put a dollar or two in the basket. If money is tight, give something else you have – time or talent. Become a trusted servant, pick up cigarette butts or make coffee. Everyone can contribute in some way. The town in which I live has over 100 recovery homes that bus newcomers to meetings in groups, often overfilling the rooms. It disappoints me to see the 7th Tradition basket go down a whole row with absolutely no contributions. I know some homes do not allow newcomers to carry money, and I can understand the reasoning behind that. But the groups need to pay rent, buy chips, coffee and literature, as well as have help setting up, taking down and cleaning up. To have the recovery homes rely on meetings for their recovery programs, but have rules that keep members from contributing, is disturbing. Sober living homes need to find a method to bridge this contribution gap because they are, perhaps unintentionally, showing newcomers that it is okay to be takers instead of givers, hindering the recovery of their clients in the process. In my opinion, the homes need to lead by example, showing newcomers how to support the fellowships with time, talent or by tossing something into the basket. The 7th Tradition works in both directions: and like other parts of the Twelve Step program, it works if you work it.
r e th
e g o T
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - Reinhold Niebuhr
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602-277-5256 Will Hepburn is a private investment manager specializing in active investment strategies. He is president of Hepburn Capital Management, LLC, a past-president of the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM.org) and is on the advisory board of In Recovery Magazine. Hepburn can be reached by emailing Will@HepburnCapital.com, by calling 928.778.4000, by mail to 2069 Willow Creek Road in Prescott, AZ 86301 or by visiting his website at HepburnCapital.com.
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Tinker, Tailor, Sponsor, Savior?
By Ted Dunn
was recently at a meeting of men who are involved in the addiction treatment industry. One gentleman brought up the fact that he sponsors a lot of men in a Twelve Step program. He said something to the effect that, “One of my sponsees is a veteran under the care of a psychiatrist who has [my sponsee] on so many different meds I can’t help him. I think psychiatrists over-medicate [their patients], so they aren’t capable of working the steps properly.” His comment spurred some debate. Some agreed, while others believed the doctors should be given the benefit of the doubt. This discussion triggered a memory of a conversation I had with another man. He told me he had sponsored almost a hundred men. He taught his people they had an allergy to alcohol. They had to do 90 meetings in 90 days, and then start on step work. I smiled, nodded and asked him, “Does that work? I mean do most people stay sober?” He answered, “Most guys don’t want to get sober. When I make them do the meetings, it shows me that they really want to [stay sober]. It really upsets me when they give up. I know if they would just follow my instructions, their lives would be better.” My diplomatic response was, “I think that’s great when it works. If they’re not staying sober, you might want to consider adjusting your approach. Have you ever considered reevaluating your expectations?” In my mind I was slapping him upside the head and saying, Alcohol allergies are very rare; alcohol intolerance is less so. If that’s what you’re suffering from, then I am sure you had a lot of stuffy noses and flushed skin. You know it may not have been the alcohol itself; it could have been a grain, a preservative or other chemical. In which case, you could try potato vodka or rum. Hell, you could still be getting trashed nightly. All those missed opportunities! “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [fill-in-the-blank] and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” 62
I have been asked to sponsor many people in the past. The following is an example of how those exchanges generally go. “I was wondering whether I could talk to you.” “Yeah, sure, what’s on your mind?” “I want to ask you if you would sponsor me.” “What? Me? How low is your self-esteem?” Sorry, my bad. Actually that is what I said to my ex-wife the first time she asked me to come back to her place. What I really say is something along the lines of, “I don’t know. I don’t really sponsor people. I don’t really care for that word; it implies a responsibility for you. I would be very happy to help you with the steps. When would you be available so we can get started?” This is different from how I handled things with the first couple of poor souls I sponsored. With them I wanted to know everything that was happening in their lives. I wanted them to call me daily. I wanted them to go to a couple of meetings a day. Whenever possible I wanted them to attend meetings with me. In other words, I didn’t care about them; I just wanted to show off just how clean and sober I was. Meet so-and-so, my pet sponsee. When they inevitably relapsed I was inconsolable. How could they do that to me? Didn’t they know that I had everything they wanted? Hell, I am the shining example of what sobriety has to offer. If they had just done as I told them, their lives would have been fine. No, instead I had failed them. They couldn’t stay clean despite my best efforts. Obviously, my best wasn’t good enough. Yes, after all I did for these guys they decided to continue partying. I am obviously not cut out to fix people. A few weeks later, I was having lunch with a friend of mine, a social worker. I told her how miserable I was at having failed to remake people in my image. “Ted, you know you are a really intelligent guy, very charismatic.” I could feel my head swelling a little bit. I was thanking myself for having the foresight not to wear hats, realizing
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I would now have to replace them all. She continued, “People listen to what you say; they take it to heart.” This is just what I needed, somebody recognizing how special I am. “I would think somebody as smart as you would figure out that sometimes you should just shut the &#%! up.” As the last sentence sunk in, I began to deflate. Unlike a popped balloon flying around the room in its death throes, I was more like a tire with a nail thrust into it – a slow leak. “You don’t get to take responsibility for these people’s lives. If a person decides they want their life to be a certain way and then if they don’t do the things to make it that way, it’s not your fault. You don’t get to make this about you. If one of these guys succeeded in becoming completely realized, entirely the person he had chosen to be, would you be taking credit for his successes? Also, martyrdom is very unbecoming on you; it shows all your wrinkles.” “Ah, very funny! I was kind of hoping, like Peter Hammill*, that the stigmata wouldn’t show in this light. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m throwing a pity party, but I sponsor these guys; in spite of what you say, I’m responsible for them.” “Really? Were you a sperm donor? I don’t pretend to be an expert on treating addiction, and I am not very knowledgeable about the Twelve Steps, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything [in those steps]about saving other people from themselves, whether they want it or not.” I’m not sure when I decided this was a contest, but I figured, Great, I’ve got the upper hand here, I do know about the Twelve Steps. I told her, “Well, I do know the Twelve Steps and the twelfth step is all about carrying the message and helping our fellow dysfunctional friends. It’s all about looking after each other.” “Bulls**t,” she said with a slight smirk which was actually pretty attractive on her; it causes a cute little dimple in her right cheek. I’ve seen it before, and I know what I’m in for. Damn, somehow I seemed to be back on the defensive. “Tell me exactly what the twelfth step [of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book] says.” “Well it says…” While I try to remember the friggin’ words, I began looking around, hoping for a distraction. There was a girl bussing a nearby table. I muttered a prayer to myself that she would drop her tray, so I could scamper out in the confusion. Then it came to me. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” I continued, “That means sponsoring people. Sponsorship means assuming responsibility for another person.” “Oh, I always thought it meant putting your logo on someone’s car. Seriously, I don’t hear anything in that step which says be responsible for another person. You had a sponsor, right?” “Yeah, I did. He was okay.” “What did he do?” “He had me go to meetings and told me to call him every day. He had me read the Big Book.” “That worked, didn’t it?” “I don’t know. When I called, it usually just went to voicemail. When he did answer, he never really had much to say. Hell, I didn’t even do my fifth step with him. I did it with my therapist.” “That’s the one where you talk about your transgressions?” Winter 2013
“Yeah, kind of.” “So, he never did anything to help you?” “Well, that’s not entirely true. When I had trouble getting started with the first step, he did point out that it doesn’t mean I am powerless or that I can’t manage my life; just that I am powerless and unmanageable when I combine me with alcohol. Truth is, I probably never would have gotten started if he hadn’t helped me understand that.” “So he wasn’t entirely useless. Why can’t you do something like that with your guys?” “I just thought I could do better. You know, make a real difference in their lives. Really be there for them and provide them with a better way.” “Sure, Rooster Cogburn reins in his teeth, guns blazing and comes to save the day.” “Screw you. Want more coffee?” “Yes, that would be nice. Can I offer you some advice?” “You’re finished beating me up? This is the part where you restore my confidence and send me back off into the world.” I got a half-irritated, half-amused look from her, “Yeah sure, if that’s what makes you comfortable. You’re a very intuitive and empathetic person. Maybe you should go to school and learn how to counsel people. Become a [substance abuse professional].” “I don’t think so. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit my whole life to drunks and junkies.” “Then just help with what you know. Help people understand the process. If you don’t want to sponsor people, don’t sponsor people; just be there when they have questions. Explain something to me. How can a person who doesn’t believe in a God participate in a group that is steeped in Christianity?” “Ahhh…that’s not true. God and I have a mutual non-aggression pact. We try to stay out of each other’s way. When people start going down the religious path, I don’t mind. It gives some people comfort. Me, I just sort of shut down, smile and nod a lot.” “Oh, the thing you do when I start telling stories about my dog.” I smile and nod, “Exactly.” Full disclosure time; this conversation wasn’t verbatim. Actually, I threw in a couple of lines from another conversation we had around the same time. A little poetic license, so shoot me. I decided that I wouldn’t sponsor people anymore. I would, however, make myself available to those who thought I could help them make a little sense of the steps and sobriety. I don’t and won’t give instructions. I don’t tell people they have to go to meetings. I do encourage them to go. I think interacting with clean and sober people who are living full and rewarding lives can be a good influence. What I do is encourage people to work the steps. I try to get them to open their minds to honesty. I explain to them that my idea of working the steps is not a program, but a way for them to understand themselves. I let them know that the way it has worked for me is that I have had a chance to be honest with myself. Using the steps, I have learned to look at myself and *Peter Hammill, an English singer-songwriter and a founding member of the rock band Van der Graaf Generator. Dunn’s allusion is to a line in Hammill’s Lost and Found lyrics, “...La Rossa extends her hands - in the morning light the stigmata don’t show.” (Continued on next page)
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(Continued from previous page)
my behaviors without shame and guilt. I find the people who drift towards me are the more Godless people. That’s okay. I understand them. I just let them know that it’s okay to ignore the religious overtones of the Twelve Steps. I remind them that the Big Book was written in another time with a whole different set of social standards. When it was written, African Americans in the south were still riding at the back of the bus. I try to simplify it as much as possible. There was a guy who once described the Big Book as a poorly written sales manual for a cult. I found it difficult to disagree. I told him to just think of it as a recipe written by his great-grandmother. You know; hard to follow, with some ingredients for which you can find healthier substitutes, but it still makes a great cake. When I help people with the steps, I don’t really focus on the addiction aspect. A person who comes to me seeking help in applying the steps has already figured out they have a problem. I really like people to look at their behavior and how it has affected their situation. I encourage people to work on the fourth step. I encourage them to be as honest as they can with themselves. There is nothing they have done in the past which can do any real harm to them now. Yes, it can cause some unpleasant feelings and possible embarrassment, but the real damage of those incidents has already been done. This comes from my own experience and my own fear of facing my past. I realize that nothing could hurt me more than to not be truthful with myself. I let them know it doesn’t actually matter if they lie to me or to anyone else, just don’t lie to themselves. I try to get them to use the steps as a guide to understanding their actions, the reasons they have done the things they have done, but more importantly, what they are doing now. I do not sponsor people. I help people. I think of my help as the guy reading instructions to someone who is performing surgery on himself. I wouldn’t recommend it. I don’t. If there is any way they can, I encourage people to get help from a professional. If someone is under the care of a professional and wants to work the steps, I think that is great. Working the steps while in therapy may help a person understand what their therapist is trying to do with them. In some cases, it may give a person insight to open up a dialogue with the therapist. I am not a professional. I cannot presume to know more than someone with real training. I am not omnipotent and I do not presume to run another person’s life. I am not a sponsor. I am not responsible for what someone else chooses to learn and apply. Painfully and after damage done, I have realized I am not a savior. Reprinted with permission of SereneSceneMagazine.com
Ted Dunn is the editor and art director of Serene Scene online magazine. He is a graphic designer for Comatoseted in Long Beach, CA. He is also a recovering alcoholic and addict, and a formerly homeless person. He has great taste in shoes. Ted can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Letter to the Editor Recovery High School
n addition to the letter from Janie Munoz (her name was misspelled twice) in the June 2013 edition of In Recovery Magazine (page 19), Ms. Munoz approached me via email earlier in the year. She knew that I was the committee chairperson for the Intervention Workgroup of MATFORCE, the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition (matforce.org). She requested I approach my committee to see if there was interest in exploring the launch of a recovery high school in Yavapai County, AZ. The committee was interested, and the process has begun. In addition to school visits, talking to a few school principals, attending the Association of Recovery Schools conference in June and studying the book, Starting a Recovery School by Andrew J. Finch, Ph.D., I now have a meeting scheduled in early November with the Yavapai County Superintendent of Schools and other key people to discuss this possibility. Additional information will be provided as the process unfolds. John Schuderer, MA, LPC, LISAC Prescott, AZ
Our apologies to Janie Munoz for the misspellings of her name. Thank you for bringing this important topic to the attention of our readers. We plan to include an article on Recovery High Schools in our Summer 2014 issue. I would be most interested in hearing from other readers about their experiences with starting, running or attending recovery high schools. – Editor
If you are thinking about writing a letter on any topic or issue covered by In Recovery Magazine, we encourage you to give in to the temptation. We love getting mail. Please include your full name and phone number or address. Send an email with the subject of “Correspondence” to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Correspondence, In Recovery Magazine, PO Box 11176, Prescott, AZ 86304. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for publication.
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Through working a strong 12 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.
If you are willing to be honest, open-minded and want to change your life, we can help. Contact Bill Orick - Program Director
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Last Chance Scooter-vention “Last Chance Intervention is a non-profit organization based in Prescott, AZ on a mission to reach out to as many souls stuck in the depths of addiction as we can. We currently travel the southwest seeking addicts in the most sordid spots of random cities, looking for one addict at a time, offering them a solution to the problem that lies within.” - Clint Richards We are excited to announce that LCI’s Founder; Clint Richards, Co-Founder; Adam Bartholomew and Board Member; Curt Fackrell will “Scoot For Sobriety” from Prescott, AZ and reaching Los Angeles, CA on December 22, 2013 in an effort to bring awareness to our mission and to raise seed money to continue our efforts. For more information on the three events being held in Prescott, Peoria and Los Angeles contact Clint Richards at 928.899.6766. This event will kick off in Prescott and end with the arrival party in LA. www.lastchanceintervention.org or contact email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928.899.6766 66
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(623)236-6320 (928)899-6766 Winter 2013
this n i s r o s n o p s r u o Jump on and join t to save a life! or media crazed ef f
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Prescottâ€™s 10th annual recovery day
The crowd gathers to release balloons in honor of the 19 fallen firefighters.
By John Schruderer The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) annually designates September as National Recovery Month. Celebrations are held across the country to remind us all that prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover from mental and substance use disorders. Prescott, AZ, held its annual Prescott Recovery Day celebration on the Yavapai County courthouse square on Saturday, September 14, 2013.
Young people practiced for months to entertain the crowd with a surprise flash mob. 68
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The keynote speaker this year was Warren Boyd, featured on the cover of the fall 2013 issue of In Recovery Magazine. Warren is an ultimate addiction interventionist and an executive co-producer of the A&E television series, The Cleaner, which was based on his intervention work. He shared inspiring and encouraging words and engaged the audience by asking questions and having brief conversations. Warren reminded his listeners that recovery is more likely successful when those attempting recovery can help others. No matter how new to recovery, people can help themselves by helping others.
Warren sharing his experience, strngth and hope.
Warren Boyd lends an ear to a concerned father.
This 10th anniversary celebration was bigger in every way, including motivational and educational speakers, music, dancing, kidsâ€™ activities and door prize giveaways. Some of the more than 50 exhibitors came from as far away as Phoenix and provided information about recovery-related resources. Participants also had opportunities to reconnect with friends or to network. Hamburgers and hot dogs were served to between 400 and 500 attendees. Area youth in recovery surprised the crowd with a flash mob.
In Recovery Magazine
John Morris gets the crowd involved.
The Prescott Recovery Day is planned and executed entirely by volunteers. Community members and organizations made generous donations of cash and goods, making this 10th year gala the best ever. Recovery is well-observed in Yavapai County every September. Prescott’s sister communities of Cottonwood and Verde Valley held an outdoor celebration the following weekend. Every day in recovery is a day to be grateful. It is wonderful to experience and to support the recovery of mind, body and spirit in Prescott’s Girls from Chapter 5 offer face painting for the kids. beautiful outdoor setting. Check out the event Facebook page, facebook.com/RecoveryDayEvent, to see photos and videos of some of the day’s activities including a video of the surprise flash mob. For further information, contact email@example.com.
Girls from Chapter 5 offer face painting for the kids.
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Triple Point Recovery
Last Chance Intervention
Chapter 5 donated balloons. Blueprints Recovery gives out free hugs.
Becca Fields, Chairman of Recovery Day Committee
In Recovery Magazine
By Bobbe McGinley
woman recently wrote to me, “Dear Ms. McGinley, I have been reading your articles and have never had the courage to write, but believe I may now be getting into trouble. I don’t consider myself a real gambler because I only go to casinos about two or three times a month. I had a winning streak at the slot machines and was actually saving my winnings, but lately I leave with an empty wallet. “The last time I played I used my ATM card to get more cash, thinking I could double or triple what I had taken from my savings. It didn’t work out as planned, and now I am having trouble meeting my bill payments. “I am a single mom and work over forty hours a week; and when I go to the casinos with my friends, it is for a good time. I feel like I am fighting an urge to go back and get my money!” This was a typical communication from someone worried about the extent of their gambling. You will notice there is evidence of problematic behavior. I believe that when someone wonders if they have a problem, they definitely have a problem. When most people think about problem gambling, they think of negative financial ramifications. They are right; however, some people who gamble compulsively do not believe they are experiencing major financial problems until other aspects of their lives also spin out of control. For example, when family members are being hurt by the gambler’s behavior, the gambling is out of control. In this case, the woman’s children may fall into that category. Her children’s pain may come because she is emotionally unavailable when she is either at or 72
planning her next trip to the casino. If she does not get help, she may find herself completely devoted to gambling to the exclusion of her family and her life values. She may become dishonest and manipulative with family and friends, thus losing self-respect and self-esteem. Gamblers in this position typically develop a false ego; they become grandiose and work hard at reducing the self-worth of those around them, as well as developing many negative thought patterns. If gambling is causing more pain and less pleasure, win or lose, if your behavior is out of control and you know it, perhaps what was once a pleasure is leading you to disillusionment and devastation. Fortunately, if you are willing to take a good look at yourself and your the patterns of your gambling history, there is help available. I highly recommend the fellowship of Gamblers Anonymous. This Twelve Step program is a supportive and understanding fellowship of individuals just like you. In these meetings you will find that you are no longer alone or isolated. You will be exposed to a hope that you had forgot-
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YOU CAN DO IT. GETTING YOUR LIFE BACK STARTS HERE!
Carla Vista works! Carla Vista Sober Living provides a safe and sober environment free from drug and alcohol addictions based on the 12 steps of recovery. We provide comfortable housing that anyone would call home where genuine life-long friendships are created. The key to success is in a structured program with support from people that understand. You can do it. Your life is waiting.
ten existed. This hope and the strength in the meetings may be the catalyst for you. You will be introduced to the Twelve Steps of recovery. These steps assist problem gamblers in examining themselves and their behaviors, their thinking and their values. The steps encourage problem gamblers to let go of their denial, recognize their gambling-related problems and admit that they, by themselves, are unable to remain abstinent from gambling. Most problem gamblers eventually reach a point where they are able to see how their behavior has led them to a life of turbulence, chaos and pain. If you recognize this, you have an excellent opportunity to create some major life changes. My hope is that you continue to reach out and embrace assistance to recover from a behavior which, if not arrested, is remarkably detrimental.
ACTUA L COMMEN TS F R OM CARLA VISTA R ESIDEN TS “For the first time in my life, I feel like I have the chance to be the person I was meant to be. I feel like I have a chance to be happy and live a promising life.” “There was no way I was going to move into sober living even though I never tried it. Yet, I did and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
CARLAVI STA.COM FACEBOOK.COM/CARLAVI STA 480.612.0296 | 888.591.4555
Bobbe McGinley, MA, MBA, LISAC, NCGC II, has worked with problem gamblers and their families for over 16 years. She developed and licensed an out-patient gambling addiction treatment program. McGinley has published several articles on the topic of providing assessment and treatment to problem gamblers and their families. She has had a lifelong association with the Armed Forces, providing training, and treatment to active duty men and women with gambling and chemical dependency problems. She is an adjunct faculty member of Ottawa University in AZ. actcounseling.com or gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines
In Recovery Magazine
By Dennis Gruba
stay clean, or you die,” I said to Roger. “Dennis, you can put me down. It’s simple; all you have to do is go to meetings, get a sponsor and work the steps. You’ll never use again.” I slid Roger back down the wall from the ceiling and unfurled my fist out of his shirt. “It’s simple, Dennis, I didn’t say it was easy,” Roger quipped. “You may not be big and bad enough to handle it.” Who does this little twerp think he is talking too? Him and his high and mighty seven year clean bad little self, I thought to myself. I began to blow up, to blast him with some of my usual expletive barrage when suddenly I heard what he had just said. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps and never use again. It was early November 1981 in the hallway of the old YMCA in Anchorage, AK. The meeting had just ended. When he stood up and walked out of the smoke-filled room my eyes tracked his every step. They had told me in treatment that every meeting I went to was my meeting. Everyone in the room was there to help me. Stick with the old-timers; they will teach you everything you need to know to stay clean. Roger was going to be my sponsor, for my recovery, and he was there for me. He was my prey and was not going to get away. The first month of meetings found me dutifully sitting next to Roger, the first suggestion given to me that was instantly ingrained into my program for a lifetime. The newcomer girls came in wearing the puffy full-length down jackets, filing into the overly hot radiator-heated room, revealing sequined bras and tap pants, reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. Prefaced with a sharp elbow jab to my ribs, Roger hissed softly under his breath, “Dennis, listen to the person speaking with your eyes closed. You’re visually raping the girls and making them feel uncomfortable.” June 2013 miraculously found me back in the large community room of that same Anchorage YMCA building which was rented from the transitional housing owners for two precious hours. We were recreating the Rush Group meeting part deux, gong show format. Three decades had passed since I first attended this meeting. I, the chairperson for the evening, looked at the crowd of nearly 100 people 74
staring back at me. Many in the first rows were familiar faces from this time travel of a recovery event named 907 Dinosaurs are Never Alone. I marveled to myself, How can this be? The previous April I did a Google search using Alaska and Twelve Step program. A few short months later, a sixand- a-half hour flight from Georgia and here I am. I silently named those I recognize, There’s Roger, Mafia Mike, Diane B, Debbie and Boyd, Powerless Dave, Jim P, Harry the cabbie, Donna, Toni S. So many emotions and so much love were beaming from every face, dozens of whom I don’t know by name. Two faces were not beaming. Stephanie, the newcomer girl I had just begged not to leave, was sitting by herself and refusing to meet my glances. Instead she chose to pierce the floor with her mournful eyes. And Kami, the daughter of the matriarch of this Alaskan fellowship, who confessed just minutes before that her mother is dying, and she has not been able to stay clean while watching her mother slowly, painfully fade away a day at a time. Right then and there, I knew two things I had heard in 1981 were still true today. The newcomer is the most important person in any meeting, and keep coming back it works. A little over an hour later, a nearly electric atmosphere of recovery was maintained as everyone, from decades to only days clean, shared the allotted three minutes before a gong lovingly tolled them into silence. The next meeting, sponsored by another local group, was hailed as a “speaker jam”. What I heard was a love story. The atmosphere in that room was more reverent than electric. The storied love, born of a kaleidoscope of moments, was shared from each founding member’s heart. It birthed a fellowship, more accurately a “belonging to fellowship”, which flourished and matured in the Alaskan womb and into a unique family of personas.
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Mafia Mike, the godfather of this Alaskan fellowship, talked candidly of his early longings to find fellow addicts willing to gather together for a common purpose of staying clean. He openly spoke of how he thwarted the advances of his old enemy, addiction, which was hidden in the gatherings of his new-found recovering pot-smoking, alcoholic fellowship friends. He could not find Narcotics Anonymous (NA) anywhere and was attending AA meetings as his method of staying clean. He would gather around with the AA’s after the meeting, some of whom were behind the club house smoking pot and talking about being sober. Back then it was not uncommon to go to AA meetings and find members that were okay with the pot-smoking and taking a few too many pills and still claiming a sobriety date. Mike spoke plainly of meeting Roger, my sponsor. Both of them recognized the unspoken language which addicts speak with the eyes, each compelling the other to do something different, to never give up on each other. Roger had never heard of NA so they started their own NA meeting downtown. The rest is history. Together they recognized the pain in other’s eyes, inviting them along to find relief in the simple surroundings of the downtown meeting. Mike shared how his new vision bloomed before his eyes and into his life. My former sponsor Roger, the next speaker, started off stumbling for something to say. He had suggested this reunion of the 907 Dinosaurs, if in fact anyone would refer to it as a reunion. By now it was reminiscent of the purest form of the old “love fest”, though this one was spiritual not sexual. The room was overflowing, and everyone could feel the love created by the gathering. Roger settled down to share the love he had felt in the early days – the acceptance, the inviting faces, the names. He shared how rough everyone was to each other, highlighting the fact it was the best they could do. It was tough love and tough times. He opened the door to his heart by telling of relapse, hinting at the severe disasters brought on by addiction which had colored his life into gray nothingness. He beautifully illustrated the attraction and unconditional acceptance and love given to him by a lifetime filled with addicts. The very addicts he had reached out to in the past had now reached back to him. He spoke of how the unconditional love of the fellowship called him back into the rooms over and over again, encouraging him to finally earn his two year medallion. The next speaker, Candi, was frail with age and discomforted by the pain medications she was taking due to broken bones from a recent fall. She was assisted to the front of the room by her loving daughter, Kami. Kami later pulled me aside, tearfully telling me she had stayed clean for years on the shirttails of her mom’s recovery, her heritage and the founders’ legacy. But she had relapsed as her mom, her hero,
crumbled with age and disability. That night Kami grieved the loss of her addicted self (Step One) as she realized her mother was going to be buried one day, but that this matriarch would live on in the hearts of many as she had for three generations. Candi found her voice; the fog quickly cleared from her memory. As she became more and more bold and candid, it was almost as if she had dipped her big toe in the fountain of youth. Candi spoke honestly of a hormone-driven early recovery – the trysts-and-tangled, drama-filled relationships caused by her celebration of being clean and alive. While preserving her poise and dignity, she alluded to the huge heartache and downfall caused by working a “physical” program of recovery. She stressed that despite the trauma and damage she suffered, a loving Higher Power had somehow used pain to glue everyone even tighter to each other. She made no bones about the fact that some of her companions in recovery had been lost, but those who persevered had come through stronger, wiser, more resilient and capable of keeping the fellowship alive. Perhaps it is the long-standing Eskimo native tradition of oral history or the sense of community which long winters create that causes Alaskans to stop in subzero temperatures for the stranger with a flat tire and wait until all is well before continuing down the road. Mike, Roger and Candi had separately come together sharing three stories of three types of love. The universal love of fellowship, the brotherly love of unconditional acceptance and the physical love common to all gatherings of humans since time began. This historic meeting of our beloved Alaskan fellowship, in which we shared our oral history, some 150 of us including kids and family members, came to its end in our traditional but raucous clean-time countdown. Everyone realized that our time together, like the summer solstice, was drawing to a close. The countdown in the room that night testified to all of the love which had been in each of our meetings over the decades...a total 1,405 years, 7 months, 22 days clean. R
Dennis G. is a 53-year-old aircraft mechanic/supervisor and has been clean and sober since September 28, 1981. He is the father of three sons ages 29, 27 and 17 years old and has been married twice, nearly 25 years this time. His first wife committed suicide in 1987. Dennis currently enjoys geocaching with his youngest son, kite flying and painting. He has ventured into writing as a result of returning to school pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aviation Science after a 30 year-long ‘summer break.’
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In Recovery Magazine
In Recovery Magazine is a quarterly publication for alcoholics, addicts, their families and professionals working in the field. A colorful a...