Recovery and Religion: Conflict and Solutions

Many people with addiction struggle with the idea of organized religion. 

And, many organized religions struggle with outdated ideas of addiction.

What can the recovery community and church communities do to knock down some of these walls? Is it even necessary?

What better place to begin to explore such a volatile topic than a faith-based college campus like Baylor University? 

Baylor is a conservative, Baptist institution founded in 1845 in Waco, Texas. While the university is founded on Baptist traditions, the student body is diverse. 

Baylor’s Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) faces these challenges daily.

Imagine you are a student at a university like Baylor. Consider these three addiction recovery dilemmas:

  1. Let’s say you’ve been raised in a religious atmosphere where addiction is still viewed as a moral failing. You think you have a drinking problem, but you attend a conservative university with a religious foundation similar to your faith. You assume the addiction recovery center on campus also sees addiction as a moral failing. Will you walk through the doors and ask for help?
  2. You’ve experienced religious abuse. You want nothing to do with organized religion, despite your parents’ heavy pressure. Yet, you need help for an addiction to opioids. Do you walk through the doors of the collegiate recovery center at a faith-based university and ask for help?
  3. You’ve had no religious upbringing. In your eyes, talking to someone like a minister about your drinking is foreign and uncomfortable. Do you walk through the doors? 

Like all collegiate recovery professionals, Baylor faces Herculean tasks: Educate a campus full of young people about addiction (These same young people, mind you, were raised with long-held American stereotypes about acceptable drinking in college); ask this campus of adolescents to take an honest look in the mirror when it comes to their own drug and alcohol use; create a safe and encouraging atmosphere for those needing help.

Now, let’s make the whole subject even trickier by adding religion to the conversation.

Instead of buckling under the pressure, Baylor is establishing a model for other faith-based organizations attempting to bridge the gap between addiction recovery and religion. 

Lilly Ettinger, BARC’s assistant director of wellness recovery and Stanton Corley, BARC’s recovery support coordinator, offered their professional insights around collegiate recovery and the topic of religion. 

Pathways to Recovery

The BARC treads religious waters cautiously by offering students multiple pathways to recovery, including faith-based and secular approaches. Each individual meeting with a student at the BARC ends with a few questions regarding the student’s religious beliefs. If a student discloses a difficult relationship with faith, secular paths to recovery are explored. 

The questions have a general tone like, “Are you spiritual or religious?”

If students have a history of spiritual abuse, empathy is key. “We don’t defend anything that may have happened to them,” says Ettinger, “instead, we’re there to empathize and agree with their past experiences.”

This isn’t to say Baylor isn’t first and foremost a faith-based institution but, according to Ettinger, the BARC allows each individual seeking help to set the religious tone.

“It is complex and complicated tackling religion and addiction recovery, in many ways,” says Corley. “It may be more complicated at a Christian university navigating multiple pathways to recovery,” he continues. “Many times, we have to be more vocal about our non-religious approaches, rather than our religious approaches,” he adds.

Both Corley and Ettinger are seminary trained with theological educations, and both are in recovery. They see their seminary training as an asset, drawing on an ability to build a level of trust with anyone from any background. 

“We’re trained to empathetically and actively listen,” says Corley. He credits this training, in part, to building trust quickly when a student walks through the BARC’s doors. “We focus on empathetically entering whatever space they are in, with them,” he explains. “This kind of trust allows us to ask hard questions and, sometimes, self-disclosing our own recovery stories. That’s the nature of having a story,” he continues, “we can share our experience, strength, and hope, then say, ‘Hey, this works for me. It may not work for you, but that’s okay, because we have a bunch of alternatives.’”

Corley acknowledges some students on campus may have preconceived ideas about addiction. Some students may associate an issue with drugs and alcohol as a moral weakness. “In the right context, I will self-disclose and tell someone my story; how it wasn’t because I was a moral failure,” says Corley. “It was because I had a substance use disorder that led me to go to treatment.”

Baylor draws on programs like SMART, Recovery Ally, 12-step programs, and more for training and wellness.

Stay on the Same Page

Baylor enrolls more than 3,000 students with each freshman class. At each of the roughly 10 freshman orientations each fall, a representative from BARC speaks to parents and new students. No new freshman walks away without an understanding of all the counseling and recovery programs available on campus.

In addition, Baylor recovery professionals pay close attention to the language used on campus, drawing mainly on the DSM-V for structure around language and information. The careful language selection is meant to convey a uniformly objective, medical approach to recovery.

“Substance use disorders are a common ailment among young adults,” Ettinger explains, “and students who have them shouldn’t be treated any differently than students with any other potential struggle.” 

Words like “abuse” are discouraged. “No one wants to help an abuser,” she continues. If a student expresses doubts or uncertainty about recovery, students are shown the DSM for clarity around a diagnosis.

Because Baylor leads many addiction recovery research programs, the BARC benefits from cross-promotion and cross-information. BARC programs are privy to relevant research and research faculty are offered relevant recovery training.

“We’re invited often to speak at faculty trainings,” says Ettinger. “The fair amount of research done across campus is helpful to us,” she continues, “and some research brings a lot of money to the university.” Because Baylor makes research promotion such a priority, the BARC frequently gets acclaim without even knowing it.

“My background is church work,” Ettinger explains. “I’m happy to be a part of such a great campus, with great faculty, great research and a great staff. I like to think we have one voice,” she continues. “Addiction research informs our BARC practices and beliefs about recovery, meaning we stay connected with how to best help students.”

Changing Outdated Ideas on Both Sides 

How can collegiate recovery programs at faith-based schools like Baylor lead the way in terms of erasing old stigmas and misinformation around addiction recovery and religion? 

“We talk about intention vs. impact a lot,” says Ettinger. “There are a lot of really well-intentioned people who want to help people find recovery and wellness.” These same folks, according to Ettinger, may believe recovery is as simple as saying a prayer and showing up at church. “Showing people how recovery looks different for different people is part of what we do,” she adds. 

Both Ettinger and Corley agree training programs followed by informed discussions for faculty and staff go a long way when it comes to dismantling old stigmas.

More than training, however, Corley sees courage on both sides as critical when it comes to knocking down the barriers between the church community and the recovery community.

“I find myself telling people how I didn’t use near as many drugs as some of my college classmates,” Corley says. “However, they were able to put it all down, graduate in four years, and have families and careers, but I ended up in treatment twice.” Corley says the response he gets from most folks still surprises him. “More times than not, they’re shocked,” he says. “It doesn’t make sense to them, because whoever uses more drugs is going to have a bigger issue, right?” 

Corley believes the courage to share experience, strength, and hope will pave the way for change.

“It’s going to take humility and courage on both ends,” he says. “Religious organizations need humility to admit wrong-doing and ignorance, plus great courage to commit to do something about it.” 

Corley doesn’t stop there, he sees a part for the recovery community as well. “People like Lilly and I are churchgoers, and we need to have the courage to stand up and have these same conversations with our church leaders,” he continues. “Because my faith is so important to me, I want to see humility and courage on both sides. I want the recovery community to have the courage to see the importance of religious organizations and institutions and try to understand the hope and good they provide for some people.”

As for BARC, Ettinger is proud of their place on the Baylor campus. “I’ve been around since the beginning of the program,” she explains. “I was a Baylor graduate student who helped start one of the first women in recovery meetings on campus in 2015,” she adds.

After graduation, Ettinger was hired with the opening of the BARC program in 2017.

For more information on the BARC program, visit: https://www.baylor.edu/BARC/

By: Heather Berry
Title: Recovery and Religion: Conflict and Solutions
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/recovery-and-religion-conflict-and-solutions
Published Date: Wed, 06 May 2020 06:16:28 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

5 Addiction Medications You Should Know About

Decades ago, addiction was treated in meeting rooms with little more than guidance between friends. While 12-step programs and group supports are still important, addiction treatment has come a long way in the past few decades. Today, there is an understanding that people with substance use disorder need professional medical help to address their disease. Oftentimes, that involves using medication to help treat substance use disorder.

Recognizing the value of medication for addiction

As the opioid crisis ravaged the country over the past 20 years, American doctors recognized that people with opioid addiction needed another tool on their side. The intense physical cravings that accompany opioid use disorder make it difficult for people to stay in recovery, no matter how motivated or dedicated they are.

Because of this, the addiction and recovery communities became more accepting of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). People on MAT still do therapy and often attend group meetings — the cornerstone of recovery. However, they also use medications to help them manage their cravings.

Today, MAT is the standard of treatment for opioid use disorder. Many addiction recovery experts hope that there will soon be medications to help treat people addicted to other types of drugs, like methamphetamine.

5 Common Addiction Treatment Medications

Many of the medications used to treat addiction center on opioid use disorder. However, there are some other applications for using medication to treat addiction, especially for treating alcohol use disorder. Here are some of the most common medications used for MAT:

  • Methadone: Methadone is one of the most common medications for treating opioid addiction. It is an opioid given in low doses to stop cravings and withdrawals. However, most people on methadone treatment will need to visit their clinic daily to receive their their dose. It’s very effective: 80% of people with opioid addiction who try methadone treatment will still be in the treatment program in six months.
  • Buprenorphine (or Suboxone): Buprenorphine is also an opioid medication, but it is considered safer than methadone. Because of that, people using buprenorphine to treat their addiction can get a regular prescription, and they only need to visit their doctor every two to four weeks, sometimes even less frequently. Many people prefer that to daily visits to the methadone clinic. 
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. Some people prefer it because unlike methadone and buprenorphine, it is not an opioid and cannot be abused. Naltrexone is available as a daily pill, or as an injection that is given once a month (Vivitrol). Naltrexone can also be used to treat people with alcohol use disorder.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): Disulfiram is used to deter people from using alcohol. It is prescribed after someone has detoxed from alcohol use disorder. The medication is a daily pill that blocks the breakdown of alcohol in the body. If someone drinks while taking disulfiram they become sick and could experience vomiting, sweating or headaches.
  • Acamprosate: Acamprosate is a drug that that can help control cravings for alcohol. To start this medication, you need to be sober for about five days. Then, acamprosate is taken as a pill three times a day.

Controlling underlying conditions

Using medications to treat addiction can increase your chances for maintaining sobriety. So can getting on medication to treat any underlying mental health conditions that you may have. If you have a well-controlled mental illness, you will be less tempted to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

It’s important to work with a treatment provider who is experienced in treating co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. These professionals can help you get on the medications that will be most effective at treating your substance use disorder.

While medications are very effective at treating opioid or alcohol use disorder, they’re not the only treatment you should explore. MAT is most effective when people use medications alongside therapy and behavioral interventions. 

Learn more about Oceanside Malibu at oceansidemalibu.com. Reach Oceanside Malibu by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook.

By: The Fix staff
Title: 5 Addiction Medications You Should Know About
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/5-addiction-medications-you-should-know-about
Published Date: Tue, 05 May 2020 06:04:03 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

6 Ways to Stay Sane and Not Despair During a Pandemic

These days, it seems like the bad news is coming from all angles. Hospitals are overwhelmed, small businesses are closed, and the economy is tanking. And yet, somehow, we have to find a way to keep from falling into despair.

The good news for people in recovery is that you’re experienced at overcoming challenges. You’ve been desperate and overwhelmed, and made the choice to do the hard work needed to survive and thrive. All of that is applicable to how you respond to the current upheaval in the world.

“As a person in long-term recovery and a practicing recovery coach, the one phrase that comes to mind throughout all of the craziness is, ‘this is what I prepared for,’” says Michael Ahearn, a recovery coach at Mountainside Treatment Center. “This is what the work we do is all about. All the therapy sessions, meetings, self-care — this is the biggest stage for all of that in a way.”

Even with all that preparation, dealing with this crisis can be difficult. Not only is the news scary, but the unprecedented nature of the response has everyone on edge. Plus, no one knows what the coming weeks or months will bring.

And yet, we have to try. Here are six tips to keep your head up during the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent response.

1. Draw on your recovery principals

It might sound cheesy, but before you roll your eyes, consider this: most people in recovery have done tons of personal work. All of that can strengthen the way you respond during this crisis.

Richard A. Singer has been in recovery for 15 years. He had a relapse last year, but even then was able to focus on the lessons he had learned in recovery to come “back stronger than ever.”

“The slogan one day at a time, combined with mindfulness practices, help me get through any and all challenges in life,” Singer says. “Staying in the moment and being present allows me to deal with things that confront me one step at a time which simplifies my life in this crisis and in the struggles of regular everyday life.”

If you need a bit of extra help, it’s available from mindfulness apps. Ten Percent Happier has a free Coronavirus Sanity Guide and other mindfulness companies are waiving fees

2. Stay busy

Letting your mind spin too much can feed into anxiety and maybe even thoughts of relapse. That’s why it’s important to stay busy, even when you’re at home. Mike J., who has been sober for nearly two and a half years, has been self-isolating for nearly a week. Even while he’s at home, he’s making sure to stay as busy as possible.

“Keeping your mind busy is key,” he says. “If you don’t let yourself think about drinking you stand a lot better chance to succeed.”

In addition to focusing on new tasks like a shift to working from home and trying a home exercise regimen, now is the perfect time to tackle projects around the house. Mike, for example, has been painting his guest room.

3. Look for new inspiration

Ahearn, the recovery coach, challenges himself to find new inspiration during challenging times. That means spending time with books, movies, and art that he finds awe-inspiring.

Although many cultural institutions are free right now, it’s easier than ever to find inspiration from home. Broadway shows are available for streaming; thousands of museums, aquariums, and zoos are offering free virtual tours; and musicians from The Indigo Girls to The Dropkick Murpys are streaming “COVID concerts.” Many libraries have also increased access to audiobooks and other media.

4. Be of service

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​If you follow the 12 steps, being of service is a central tenet of your recovery. Even for those who aren’t friends of Bill W., the feel-good endorphins that come from helping others can be just the boost you need during these trying times.

So, pick up the phone. Check in on a friend or sponsee. Ask your neighbors if they need anything before you brave the stores. Smile and wave (from a distance) when you’re walking around. These little interactions are more important than ever at a time when most socializing has come to a screeching halt.

“It can be something as simple as calling a friend or fellow in recovery to ask how they are doing. Don’t talk about yourself, talk about them. This shifts your thoughts, focus and entire attitude,” says Ryn Gargulinski, a recovery coach.

5. Use technology mindfully

Technology and social media are allowing people to socialize even when we’re stuck at home. That’s great —digital meetings, hangouts, and even telemedicine sessions will help people stay healthy during this time.

However, it’s important to be mindful about your social media use. Being on social media too much can increase anxiety during the best of times, and there’s no doubt that the effects are amplified during the outbreak. Don’t be afraid to unplug entirely or consciously limit your use. If you’re looking for a mindless activity online, try a museum tour instead of scrolling through panicked posts.

6. Check in with yourself daily

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Jay Shifman, a recovery coach, recommends that people take a few minutes each day to monitor their feelings and emotions. Even if you’re not experiencing cravings, you might notice changes to your sleeping and eating patterns, or to your temperament.

“Changes in these are often red flags or warning signs for these weeds growing and pushing up through the dirt,” Shifman says.

Shifman recommends opening a note on your phone and typing the words “I feel…” Then, complete the sentence again and again until you have no further thoughts.

“Think of this as clearing away some of the dirt and seeing what’s growing. Sometimes you discover a few weeds you need to deal with,” he says. Then, if necessary, reach out to someone who can help you deal with whatever issues you’ve uncovered.

By: Kelly Burch
Title: 6 Ways to Stay Sane and Not Despair During a Pandemic
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/6-ways-stay-sane-and-not-despair-during-pandemic
Published Date: Mon, 04 May 2020 08:30:31 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Evolution and Alcoholics Anonymous

I was an AA member for decades. While I no longer consider myself a member, I can still distinctly recall being comforted by sitting betwixt all my AA brethren, yet simultaneously squirming uncomfortably in my seat when pretty much everybody seemed to agree with the speaker as he shared about how all the good stuff comes from god, while all the bad stuff comes from us, from human nature, from the human will. This is misanthropic, entirely false, yet still an integral component in the conservative, anti-progress, anti-knowledge, and anti-science mind set of Christianity, as well as the branch or sect that is Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ultimately, this inability to recognize that all kinds of good stuff is quite natural and quite human cannot be reconciled with AA and the original sin, anti-nature doctrine which sits at AA’s roots. Homo sapiens is itself the source of all the good stuff which we credit ‘God’ with: the psychic change we recovering alcoholics and addicts undergo, the personality transformations, the will to grow, to become a better person, the joy we get from teamwork and helping others, the enjoyment and enthusiastic embrace of sobriety itself, and of the more fulfilling life which it allows us to experience. 100% all-natural stuff. No higher power required. All human.

To me it is far more plausible that this is all the result of the species Homo sapiens evolving a brain which thrives on both working with, and helping, others. Team-work and altruism were evolutionarily advantageous to those individuals who engaged in them. We evolved to be a eusocial, team-working organism. Like ants, but with thoughts and emotions.

The individual human did not survive long going it alone, all by themselves, on the African savannah of 100,000, 1 million, 2 million years ago. Those who enjoyed working with others were more ‘fit’ than those who did not. Over the course of several millions of years, as we became Homo habilis, Homo erectus, then Homo sapiens, we survived and reproduced successfully, increasing our propensity to enjoy teamwork and helping others throughout subsequent generations. That’s how evolution works.

Those of us who got pleasure from working together and helping others were more likely to survive and reproduce successfully than those who were more inclined to go it alone. Being a part of a larger whole can have numerous benefits, and some species evolve to emphasize this aspect. Think termites versus tigers, for example. This is so especially when there are definite respects in which, when we Homo sapiens combine ourselves, we are indeed, quite literally, scientifically, greater than the sum of our parts.

Think Hegelian dialectic, that whole Thesis + anti-thesis = synthesis thing we learned in Intro to Philosophy, or maybe in History 101? Or think about that aphorism: two minds are better than one. Maybe even exponentially so. This is because of the nature of human intelligence. Now, this might get a tad academic, but only for a brief paragraph or two. Hang in. It’s worth it.

Human intelligence is different from that of the other animals because it is both accretive and mutualistic, significantly more so than even our closest relations on the evolutionary pathway. That is, our knowledge accumulates, piling one layer upon the last, and qualitatively transforming with each new addition. Plus, our knowledge can be shared between humans. In peacetime or in war, between family, friend or foe, we exchange knowledge, and with each inter-change, again, our knowledge can be qualitatively transformed.

It is this unique combination which allows human beings to have a kind of intelligence which is transformational. These characteristics are why we have culture, why we have the capacity to create things which are new or original, and why we have the capacity to progress, to change ourselves when we recognize a need to do so. We can be transformed qualitatively through the progressive accumulation and sharing of knowledge.

Or, we can not. Homo sapiens also has the capacity to stick our head in the sand, dig in our heels, turn a blind eye, or whatever metaphor you choose to describe the more conservative, reticent, entrenched mind-set which Homo sapiens is also capable of. Both are ‘natural’ to human beings. The question is, which one do we wish to nurture, embrace, and encourage.

AA’s Big Book has not changed a single word of its primary text since its antediluvian author/s put pen to paper nearly a century ago. For those AA members who fear for AA’s longevity, this simple historical fact should be recognized as pinpointing the one single factor which, above all else, threatens to render Alcoholics Anonymous moot, to make it fade from relevance, make it a thing of the past. 

I know, I know: this is why I never get published. Too academic, too scholarly, too intellectual. But there are two conclusions which are vitally important. If you’ve stayed with me thus far, kudos. Here’s the big reward, the pay-off…

1. Christianity, and by extension AA, is deeply rooted in misanthropy, the belief in ‘original sin’ and the need for assistance from a ‘higher power’ of some super-natural or ineffable kind. We humans are supposedly so fucked up that we are merely the source of all our own problems, and never the source of any of the solutions. The best we can do is surrender, give up, let go of our will. We are all bad. Only something other than us can solve our problems. I refuse to buy such a negative, anti-nature, anti-human message.

Contrary to this traditional mode of thought, nature and human beings are not all bad and evil. So far as all worldly evidence suggests, in fact, nature, and specifically human nature, is the true source of much that we hold quite dear, including justice, morality, altruism, compassion, kindness, teamwork and love.

Human beings have an essential need to progress in light of facts, of truth, and of science, to change and transform as we acquire more and different knowledge. This is definitive of the animal Homo sapiens, both on the individual, micro level, and on the group, macro level as well. Now, not all that is natural is necessarily good, right? We are also naturally inclined to all sorts of negative things as well, I readily admit. The question is, which do we choose to embrace, to encourage, to nurture?

As with Christianity’s Bible and Islam’s Quran, the Big Book remains the accepted instruction manual, old and outdated though it may be. Such conservative forces could be standing in the way of essential progress.

Acknowledging the cumulative and shared nature of human intelligence means recognizing the importance of change, progress, science, and perpetually learning anew. This is about the fundamental importance of trying to better understand how it really works, what are the true factors which make for successful recovery, the true operative principles.

Look, even if you’ve got yours, not everyone else does. We are only reaching a small percentage of those in need. By whatever metric you choose to acknowledge, AA and its various offshoots help only a small percentage of the worlds millions, perhaps billions, of suffering alcoholics and addicts. What is AA doing about the need for progress in improving our evidence-based understanding of the fundamental principles of recovery, so that we can bottle them up, so to speak, and get them to those still in need?

Christianity and AA are inherently conservative forces, opposed to science and human progress at a fundamental level. The first 164 pages strongly intimate we’ve already figured it all out. But we know that’s not true. We could start to figure it out, for real. But the old answers genuinely hinder any efforts to do so. They point us in the wrong direction, impede our progress by presenting the problem and solution inaccurately, by reinforcing the belief that the problem is “spiritual,” the belief that the solution to the problem is already in hand.

2. Our evolved penchant for teamwork may be the true power behind the throne, the primary force at work in Alcoholics Anonymous: the psychological/emotional uplift which we feel within us, which evolved to reward us for teamwork, working with others, inter-connection, and helping those in need.

Your gut sense that what does most of the heavy lifting in AA is essentially community, immersing one’s self in supportive team-human: I think that’s spot on, as they say across the pond. Teamwork and community is what it’s all about, and what keeps AA viable despite all of the detritus and baggage, because we evolved to be the tribal, community-oriented, team-working animals which we are today.

By: Adam Neiblum
Title: Evolution and Alcoholics Anonymous
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/evolution-and-alcoholics-anonymous
Published Date: Fri, 01 May 2020 06:52:55 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

How Recovery Prepared Us for Coronavirus

Fear, confusion, anger, grief. What a crazy month this has been! Moods are rightfully heavy right now, due to the unprecedented COVID19 crisis. With the whole world seemingly in panic mode, and everyone struggling to cope with the forever life-altering implications of this virus and the current shutdowns, I cling to one silver lining: Recovery has definitely prepared me for this shit.

The crisis is both global and personal. And although it’s definitely the first global crisis of its kind in my lifetime, it’s far from my first huge personal crisis. This ain’t my first rodeo: That one was getting sober. The gravity of the life change I had to make felt heavy and undoable. But so did continuing to live in addiction. Day by day, I got through it. And day by day, I began to accept the permanence of the change, and eventually find all the benefits in it. Basically, I was far from thrilled about my switch to sobriety in the beginning. But gradually, as I continued to work a program of sobriety and take the next right steps, my mindset changed. I learned to love and appreciate my new sober life. Right now, I am far from an attitude of acceptance towards the current medical crisis. However, I know that I can get there, because I have learned to accept and then appreciate hard changes in the past.

I also learned the value of service and community in recovery. Right now we need our support communities more than ever, and I am so grateful for the abundance of online meetings and gatherings popping up every day. I’m lucky that because I am sober I have real friends I can turn to when times are tough. We are staying connected however possible! I also know, thanks to recovery, that my ability to be of service is vital to my mental health. Regularly reaching out to others and asking them how I can help them keeps me out of my own demoralizing pity party.

I asked a few of my friends in recovery how they felt their journeys of sobriety have helped them cope this week. Here’s what they said:

“I used to deal with every semi-stressful situation the same way. I would buy a bunch of whatever booze I was into at the time, and numb myself until I had made the situation drastically worse. I did this for years, never feeling my feelings, never dealing with the bad stuff, just drowning it away.

Transitioning from alcoholic life to a clean life was a drastic change. I changed my job, my friends, moved, started exercising regularly… this list goes on. Whatever happens how, I know that I will be ok. I know that changing my life into a life of recovery was the biggest change that will ever happen in my life. I know that ‘this too shall pass’ and it always does.

The community I have in recovery is a group of people that has my back. When I was drinking I thought I had friends, but they weren’t there when the times got tough, only when there was a party. These sober people around me are the ones holding shit together. They are the ones that are holding me up through this crisis.

Self-isolation is something I had to do in the early days of getting sober. Everything outside of my safe zone was triggering and far too many paths existed that would take me to destroying myself. Quarantining for COVID-19 reminds me of those days. Recovery taught me to deal with the bad shit without tearing myself apart. I now have dozens of ways to entertain myself from home that also cultivate positivity instead of self-destruction or fear.

Experts have recommended drastically cutting down alcohol intake as one of the best things you can do for your immune system. So basically, without recovery I would be in terrible health and have no positive coping mechanisms or people to support me through this.” – Zachary Minnich

“Recovery has given me the gift of acceptance. Acceptance has taught me to not freak out about what I cannot control—empty shelves, shuttered businesses, and canceled plans. I may not like it but I can accept it—and even find the gift in it.” – Roses

“My recovery journey has everything to do with how I have been able to stay semi-calm through this current crisis. The principles I have learned in 12-step programs such as ‘One day at a time, this too shall pass’ and keeping an ‘attitude of gratitude,’ have been monumental for me when fear starts to creep in. My yoga practice has taught me to slow down, be patient, and trust that everything is going to be okay. Also, that things don’t always go as planned and I do my best to stay open and optimistic and hope for the best possible outcomes. These practices help me find peace and serenity amidst the chaos and I am grateful that I have been on this spiritual path to prepare me for the uncertainty that we are all experiencing.” -Emily Killeen

“Self-care means more than a trip to the nail salon. It means listening to your body’s needs, both emotionally and physically. Eat, sleep, exercise. Whatever it takes to get through the day. Some days this might mean taking the dog for three walks, on others it may be binge watching Schitt’s Creek until noon. 

Listen to your emotions, they are telling you something. We must allow ourselves to grieve losses and disappointments.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather strength. 

Learning to lean in to fear is a superpower.

The phrases ‘one day at a time,’ ‘keep it simple,’ and ‘this too shall pass’ are words we live by. 

Fostering connections, especially in times of change and uncertainty, is the single most important thing we can do for ourselves and our communities.” -Margaret Ward

“My life was hell in addiction! Getting through that and getting sober has given me hope that things will always be okay as long as I put faith in my higher power.” -Alessandra Hurt

“My sobriety (a collection of tools including yoga, breath work, meditation and AA) has taught me to slow down, to think things through before I act on them and to be considerate of others around me. In this time that a lot of people are in crisis, I can be of service by putting others first and not drop into my selfish ways that could lead to relapse. I choose to be of service.” – Ryan Griffis

By: Carrie Hoffman
Title: How Recovery Prepared Us for Coronavirus
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/how-recovery-prepared-us-coronavirus
Published Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2020 07:26:08 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

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