"The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though are motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like the actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great......What usually happens? The show doesnt come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world iff he only manages well?...Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?" Big Book page 60-61

It has taken twelve years of recovery for me to connect with the truth of this paragraph. This is why the program of AA emphasizes the importance of self-honesty. Until we can face, admit and change the way we approach life (self-centeredness), the peace of brotherly love will evade us. I was first introduced to the joy of true brotherhood in AA when I learned to help another addict without expecting anything in return.

I remained self-seeking in my home and work and wondered why I remained unfulfilled in those areas. Today, I am ready to face my fears and surrender my need to control people and outcomes. I have hit the proverbial bottom in the arena of manipulation of people. Getting people to act or do as I please may feel good for the moment, but it is far from fulfilling. Truth is fulfilling, be it good or bad.

When I witness self-pitying behavior in others, I recognize how my behavior can turn people, places and thing sour. If I am truly grateful for the life

 I have been given in AA, I will recognize that all people have hardship and the best way for any of us to get through our tough times is by reaching out a genuine hand of love to our neighbor. Ask how you can help. Even when I have no idea how I will make a situation better, when I sincerely pray and ask for guideance, Love always leads the way.

Posted by tbranston on Tuesday, 01 May 2012 in Alcoholism0 Comments

You know the drill: you have spent countless hours in meetings, on the phone with your sponsor asking endless questions about your desire to use. You have worked the steps and you’ve even consulted specialists. In a moment of desperation you found help by attending treatment. You’re able to rack up six to twelve months, but eventually you find yourself in the throes of your addiction. None of this seems to work. You find yourself questioning your commitment and ability to stay sober. Maybe your sponsor was right when he said you lack willingness.

Not so fast….

What you are likely experiencing is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome or PAWS.

PAWS consist of a set of impairments that occur immediately and at times simultaneously after the withdrawal from alcohol or other substances. These impairments affect three distinct areas of functioning and last six to eighteen months from the last use of alcohol or drugs as your brain tries to regain homeostasis.


How To Convince An Addict To Get Help

Posted by Stan Popovich on Sunday, 29 April 2012 in Alcoholism0 Comments

Many people who struggle with alcohol or drugs have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need to get better. Many family members who see their loved ones struggle have a very difficult time in getting their loved ones assistance. Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person struggling with alcohol or drugs to get the help they need to get better.

1. Family Intervention
The most popular way to get someone the help they need is to do a family intervention. This is when family members and an interventionist get together with the addict to tell them how they love them and wish that they get help to get better. Each family member takes a turn and tells the person how special they are and that they need to get help. The person who is struggling listens and hopefully they become convinced to get the help they need.

2. Talk To The Person On What Will Happen If They Do Not Get Help
Another way to convince the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs is to get someone who is an expert on addiction and have them do a one on one talk with this person. This expert on addiction should explain to the addict what will happen if they do not get the help they need to get better. Basically, the expert should warn the person of the dire consequences of what will happen if they do not change their ways. The expert should be vivid as possible and hold nothing back. The goal is to convince the person to get help or they will suffer and eventually their life will slowly come to an end.
3. Use The Services of A Professional Or A Former Addict
Try to find a professional or even a former addict who has “Been There” to talk to the person. This is similar to Step Two, however instead of warning the person, these professionals can use their skills to talk and try to reason with the person. These experts are usually trained and can use a proactive approach into trying to convince the addict to get help. The goal is to try to reason and talk with the person so they can get professional help.

4. Find Out The Reasons Why The Person Won’t Get Help
Many people overlook this suggestion. Ask the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs to list 3 reasons why they will not get help. At first, they will say all kinds of things, but continue to engage the person and get the 3 main reasons why they refuse to get help. It might take a couple of tries but listen to what they say. Once you get the answers, WRITE them down on a piece of paper. Note: Fear and Frustration are huge factors for the person not getting help.

5. Determine The Solutions To Those Barriers
Once you get those 3 reasons, get a professional or an expert to find the solutions to those issues. For example, the person says that they will not get help because they tried a few times and they failed and that they will fail again. Ask a few addiction professionals to find a solution to this issue that will help the addict overcome this barrier. One good answer to this example is the following: “Yes, you tried to get better and failed however this time we will do things differently. We will keep a daily diary of everything you do and you or someone else will document what you do each day. If you stumble or fail you will write down your feelings at the time and why you failed. When you recover from a bad episode you can READ your diary and find out what went wrong. Once you know what went wrong you will know why you failed and will find a way to prevent this from happening again.”
Use your list from step three and list every positive thing that will counter those barriers. When you are finished, present this to the person who is struggling and explain what you came up with. This will help reduce the person’s fears and anxieties and may convince them to get help. Developing a plan to counter their reasons of not getting help will go a long way.

Posted by Stan Popovich 


Alcohol and substance abuse or any other addictions will not take away your problems and fears. In the short run, they might make you feel better, but in the long run these addictions will only make things worse.
So what do you do to make your problems and fears go away? Well, since you can’t runaway from them, then the best solution is to tackle your fears head on no matter how strong they may be. The key is to be smart in how you try to manage these fears. Here are some ways in how to manage your persistent fears and anxieties.

The first step is to learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. Focus on the present and stop trying to predict what may happen next week. Next week will take care of itself.

Remember that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. For instance, let’s say at your place of work that you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember: we may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.


Back from Rehab and They are Not Glad to See You: What a shock. Not.


After being away from home for 28 days and undergoing the rigors of daily therapy, meetings, new friendships replete with deep conversations and, depending upon the location, perhaps having to decide what recreational options to choose for the day and whether yoga or acupuncture* would be better to rid yourself from the daily grind of working on yourself and getting better … and now home, the alcoholic often expects to be greeted with open arms,but instead gets anger, resentment, the cold shoulder and lots and lots of very pointed questions such as: “I was looking through the bank statements and am curious what the hell you spent 1,043.14 last month while you were supposed to be working overtime.” Or, “I was going through your computer history.”

The alcoholic replies,“But…”

And then the kicker, “there is a futon for you in the basement.”

Defensively, comes your reply comes, “… listen, don’t blame everything on me.”

“Oh, I see, now you are going to blame me. I thought you were working on yourself. Well you need to go do some more work, but not away, here, where the bills, kids and bill collectors all reside. I didn’t get to go away like you did.”


Long-term sobriety requires personal engagement in your recovery. Real engagement goes beyond just attending meetings or calling your sponsor. Engaged recovery requires that you constantly learn new, concrete skills which support long-term sobriety. When I think of concrete skills that support recovery, several things come to mind:

Resilience - This generally refers to a person’s ability to cope with adversity, or the ability to bounce back from problems and setbacks. Research has shown resiliency to be a dynamic process. Resilient individuals adapt to changing and unexpected events even under the duress of adversity. You can develop your own resilience by establishing good problem-solving skills, or by seeking help and building social support. Fostering a belief that there are things you can do to manage your feelings and cope, and finding positive meaning in trauma, are other strategies for building your resilience.

Delayed gratification – Usually, people who can abstain from alcohol or drugs, or people who have managed to stay out of prison, have found ways to delay their gratification. People use chemicals to change the way they feel, so if you learn skills to act on your emotions in healthy ways, including offseting a need for immediate gratification, you can manage to fulfill your needs through avenues other than chemical use.

Volunteer work - My experience has shown me that volunteer work is a great way to feel better about yourself, develop a community of peers who share similar interests, and be of service to others. If you want to raise your self-esteem, do things you’d be proud to tell other people.



Posted by Cate 

"When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?" pg 53 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

As a person with an alcoholic mind-a person who wants what she wants when she wants it, without much care for God's will in her moments of obsession-it is great to be reminded that something greater than myself saved me from a wretched, alcoholic life and it wasn't self will.

It's been over 12 years since I have relied on alcohol to get me through a crisis, but I still contend with an alcholic mind. I am still in the habit of trying to manipulate life and the people in it to fit a configuration certain to satisfy me and I rarely succeed. The literature of AA reminds me that every problem is spiritual in nature and every solution is spiritual in nature. If I want to see a change in the outer world, I have to experience an internal shift in my perspective.

I have so many things I want to do and pursue as a result of living the AA principles. I want to expose my young son to all that life has to offer. I want to take care of my spiritual health. I want explore new career opportunities. I want to experience greater passion and fun in my marriage.


Harm Reduction Vs. Not Drinking

Posted by coachchuck 

Harm reduction is a way of helping the alcoholic manage their drinking. For instance, if an alcoholic is prone to drinking and driving, maybe he should move close to a bus route or a subway line so that driving isn’t necessary. Not drinking is, well, not drinking. Harm reduction has its very strong proponents.

As for me, when working with someone, I’m always thinking not just about the harm I want to help them reduce, but about completely replacing harm with life. No change that. Life: with a capital L. This is much like the OCD client’s I have that are consumed with reducing risk in their life so they stop going out … it’s a wonder they even get out to see me. The idea is to be free of the addiction.

When I think of the client who stops drinking at 26, gets a productive job, becomes supportive and loving spouse and father. The ripple effects of all the people that this person touches in a positive way are literally infinite. There is no comparison to that and if he had learned how to manage his drinking, and shrunk his life into a small flat near the bus line, working the system for what meager funds he could pull together to drink alone in his apartment until he died. One is a giver of life and the other is a parasite on society and a downer even unto himself.

Are there times when I’ve engaged in harm reduction? Yes. Productively, I can see harm reduction as beneficial if it is seen as the pre-contemplative phase of recovery. In other words, it is something that is useful once they have become a nuisance to themselves and society but before they are ready to throw in the towel. In those cases I will help with harm reduction. Having said that, it is something that I do with trepidation, because addiction is very unpredictable. Just because an alcoholic moves near the subway line so that he won’t drive drunk, is not guarantee that the once drunk, he/she won’t rebel against the who system and drive anyway. Or like one young man I worked with who fell alone in his apartment, bashing his head on the corning of his stereo and bleeding to death. Ultimately, the concept of managing addiction or alcoholism is very arrogant. Sadly, sometimes, as a professional, it is the only tool I have. While I will use the tool if that is the only place the client will meet me, it is, in essence, a lousy tool.

Sobriety is such a blessing with so many rewards - rewards that are measured in reunited families, careers that never would have been, in spiritual enlightenment that is bigger than any of us – when I am backed into the corner of harm reduction, I feel so impoverished, a little like Dr Kevorkian.



Posted by Cate 


Before I entered recovery, I did believe will-power combined with intelligence was the solution to all of my problems. If I wanted to get something accomplished, I set my mind to it and exerted all of my energy until it was accomplished. The confusing part of this is that sometimes this equation actually works. Or so we think so. We get what it is we think we want until we eventually realize it is does not fill the hole inside. Such is the paradox of recovery.

Before I entered recovery, I did believe will-power combined with intelligence was the solution to all of my problems. If I wanted to get something accomplished, I set my mind to it and exerted all of my energy until it was accomplished. The confusing part of this is that sometimes this equation actually works. Or so we think so. We get what it is we think we want until we eventually realize it is does not fill the hole inside. Such is the paradox of recovery.

Once I discovered that no amount of personal will or intelligence could stop me from drinking, snorting, puking, or smoking (and believe me, I did everything in my power to stop on my own), I surrendered to a Higher Power (via 12-step recovery) and started working the 12 step program of action. It was through the program of action that I connected with real Power and found release from each of my addictions. It is through that same Power that I continue to experience release, one day at a time.

While it is a gift to have personal will and intelligence, these things are not meant to be used selfishly. To turn our will and our lives over to the care of the God of our understanding means we align ourself with good or positive action. Instead of acting selfishly, we help our fellow man. Instead of being angry, we forgive. Instead of being self-will run riot, we wait patiently for the answers to come. Instead of being arrogant, we are humble.



When first exposed to the principle of anonymity, one tends to presume that their membership in a 12 step fellowship or their sobriety itself should be couched in secrecy.
This important principle can be very misunderstood. Its correct application can help protect fellowships against the inflated ego of its members and keep down unwanted controversy's.

It does not however govern ones right to tell others about their personal recovery or sobriety.
Today because of stigma and discrimination, alcoholism and addiction treatment are tragical underfunded and the urgency a society should have about the negative consequences the afflicted or affected can suffer is almost completely ignored.
If you put the suffering of cancer and heart disease together, they don't make up the numbers that addictive illness touches.
I have heard senators state that money for addiction treatment is not needed because "they are doing it to themselves".
Addictive illness is a very unorthodox illness. It presents in very uncharacteristic ways. There is so much misunderstanding. Its misunderstood by people who suffer from it. Its misunderstood by family members of sufferers. Its misunderstood by people who treat you for it.
This is really the number one healthy threat in North America today. We need more understanding, more access to treatment, more social conscience and legally protected non-discrimination policy's for those in recovery.
We need everyone who can make a difference to stand up and say - recovery is possible, I am an example, instead of becoming part of an underground and silent subgroup. This can be done without violating anonymity principles in ones 12 step fellowship by omitting details of your membership in it in press, radio, TV and Film. Too many people die each year because of misunderstanding of the problem and a lack of recovery examples.