The Role of Recovery Communities in Cultural Healing – Bill White

  Ironically, it is at the margins of society that one discovers the moral center. –Van Jones In a bleeding world, where are the sources of communal healing? When our connecting fabric is shredding under the assault of hateful rhetoric, where do we find common ground—settings where people speak with each other and not at and over each other? How can we escape the spell of political pimps of all persuasions creating and exploiting divisions for personal aggrandizement and ideological gain? These are questions being asked by people of conscience from diverse political, economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. As Van Jones suggests, the sources that could help us get re-centered could come from unexpected quarters. Is it possible that people in addiction recovery and diverse communities of recovery could serve as a force for cultural and cross-cultural healing? A reasonable response might well be, “What could people whose past lives have been ravaged… Continue reading

Pie, Coffee and a Little Higher Power – Mark Masserant

DJ’s was the sober oasis disguised as a coffee shop that NutJob Bob introduced me to early in my recovery. It was Holy Ground. He and a motley group of brain-damaged followers would stroll in after their daily spiritual make-over, lifted from the meeting and ready for more coffee, cigarettes and fellowship, along with a little unhealthy food.  Some of us wanted a lot of it. I liked the pie. Some of the local wise guys said I got sober on pie, but that was inaccurate. I added it to my program, but I could have stayed sober without it. My first sober Christmas preceded my one-year token by a few months. It wasn’t a jolly season for me. I felt divorced and lonely, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. But at that phase of my development, I wasn’t very good relationship material. Even I knew that.… Continue reading

Staying Sober When Your Friend’s Aren’t – Isabella Paola

When I was in college my friends and I liked to party, which I always thought was normal until it wasn’t. Two weeks before my graduation I entered a drug treatment center. I think I was lucky to be able to get professional help. I also think I was lucky because I got to take a little vacation away from my friends, stress at school, and family issues I created. I learned a lot in the four weeks I spent there, one of the things I remember the most was “people, places and things,” and “rescue risks recovery.” If I’m being honest, I didn’t think either of these things applied or mattered to me, most of my friends weren’t going to be asking me to get high with them on the weekends, that was always me. Plus, a decent amount of my friends didn’t do drugs and were what I… Continue reading

Dr. Rob’s Tips for Holiday Sobriety (and Sanity) Robert Weiss PhD, MSW, CSAT

For recovering addicts, holiday stress, anxiety, and depression can be dangerous. All of these feelings are well-known addiction triggers, so, for us, relapse lurks around every holiday corner. At the very least, we must be aware of the unrealistic social pressure to have a joyous, loving, intimately connected holiday. We need to recognize that life is not a Norman Rockwell painting. We’re not going to cook the perfect meals, put up the best decorations, and buy the perfect gifts, and our loved ones are not going to manage any of that either. But still, we are likely to feel as if we must, and they must, and anything less than that is failure. So yeah, there’s a lot of stress, anxiety, and depression during the holiday season. In the midst of all this craziness, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important in our lives: our sobriety. Without sobriety,… Continue reading

Eight Daily Practices for Recovery – by Christine Beck

I believe that alcoholism is a family disease.  My father was an alcoholic, one of those unfortunates who never found recovery and died destitute and homeless at the age of 50.  I swore I’d never become an alcoholic, but at the age of 50 myself, my two glasses of wine had become 4 or 5 and I wanted to “cut back.” I tried. I couldn’t.  I also swore I’d never marry an alcoholic, but I did.  When I found the Laundry List of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA), I learned adult children marry alcoholics or become alcoholic.  That’s what we do.  Not “bad or wrong;” it just “comes with the package.” So today I need three twelve-step programs to keep me sober and sane. At the risk of being over-simplistic, I can summarize the three programs this way.  AA taught me that alcohol was not my “problem.” It was my… Continue reading