The Homelessness and Addiction, What Do You See?

You, Me, Homelessness and Addiction.  Is There A Common Thread?

Often the homeless population is viewed as being comprised of alcoholics and addicts. While this assumption is often true, in fact about thirty-eight percent of homeless people were dependent on alcohol and twenty-six percent abused other drugs[1], other stigma’s that are often attached to addiction sometimes allow for a skewed view of those experiencing homelessness. For example, when alcoholism and addiction is viewed as a moral choice, all subsequent consequences are viewed as that persons’ fault.  This allows the public to view homelessness and addiction as the person’s own fault. However, this view is somewhat simplistic as conditions leading into poverty are often complex and leaving poverty can be a huge challenge.

homelessness and addiction

Listen to this formally homeless mans amazing speech

Homeless Addicts Didn’t Choose This Life

The substance abuse, rather than the person, is often the cause of people becoming homeless addicts. Alcoholism and addiction can often be a cause for someone to lose their job. For someone who is living pay-check to pay-check the loss of a job quickly leads to the loss of their housing as well. A 2008 survey by the United States Conference of Mayors asked twenty-five cities for their top three causes of homelessness. Substance abuse was the single largest cause of homelessness for single adults (reported by sixty-eight percent of cities). It was also mentioned by twelve percent of cities as one of the top three causes of homelessness in families. Approximately two-thirds of homeless people report that drugs and/or alcohol were a major reason for their becoming homeless[2].

Read the compelling story about a homeless man getting a home

Homelessness and Drug Use or Drug Use and Homelessness

However, in many situations, substance abuse is a result of homelessness rather than its cause. People who are homeless addicts often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their situations[3]. Alcohol and other substances are used for a temporary relief from their problems. As with all relief provided by an abuse of a substance the abuse usually worsens the problem and in this situation makes it more difficult to achieve stable employment and thus gain stable housing. Furthermore, self-fulfilling prophecies might occur where a young person growing up in poverty but who is not homeless might turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their undignified living situation. In turn, using drugs and alcohol might limit their chances to overcome poverty and they might become homeless addicts themselves.

Mental Illnesses Contribute Greatly

Additionally, for many stuck in the downward spiral of homelessness and addiction, substance abuse co-occurs with other mental illnesses. People with an untreated mental illness often turn to street drugs as a form of self-medication. Mental illnesses are an additional obstacle to recovery especially when left untreated and can lead to a perpetual cycle from the streets into jail and psychiatric institutions. It can also be especially hard for homeless people to recover from addiction as their motivation to stop using substances may be inadequate. For many homeless people, survival such as finding food and shelter is seen as a priority to drug abuse treatment or counseling[4]. Lastly, many of those living the life of homelessness and addiction have become estranged from their families and friends and have no social support network, an essential for recovery.

The Cause and Effect

As substance abuse is both a cause and a result of homelessness both issues need to be addressed simultaneously. In order for a homeless person to recover from addiction it is important to not just take them from the streets and put them back out there once their drug abuse treatment has been completed. In fact, stable housing during and after drug abuse treatment decreases the risk of relapse[5]. Additionally, when providing a housing community for those who are homeless, it is essential that one of the services provided be a substance abuse service or achieving goals such as steady employment and housing might be impossible.

Click here if your looking for an addiction treatment center for women

[1] National Coalition for the Homeless. ‘Substance Abuse and Homelessness’. July 2009. Web.

[2] National Coalition for the Homeless. ‘Substance Abuse and Homelessness’. July 2009. Web.

[3] National Coalition for the Homeless. ‘Substance Abuse and Homelessness’. July 2009. Web.

[4] National Coalition for the Homeless. ‘Substance Abuse and Homelessness’. July 2009. Web.

[5] National Coalition for the Homeless. ‘Substance Abuse and Homelessness’. July 2009. Web.

Fight The Power! I Won’t Take Suggestions in Early Sobriety

Battling All The Suggestions in Early Sobriety

One of the hardest things that young women trying to get sober experience is following the suggestions that are given to them in early sobriety. A lot of women think that they don’t need to follow the suggestions that are given to them by their sponsors and therapists while in alcohol addiction treatment. Sadly, the great majority of these women learn later that they were greatly misinformed.

Early Sobriety

Disagreeing with Suggestions Given In Early Sobriety

Sometimes, in early sobriety, when a suggestion is given to you that you don’t agree with whether you decide to follow it shows a lot about where you are in your recovery. In a way, it can be seen as a metaphor for whether or not you will be able to stay sober. Yes, you might call your sponsor and yes, you might be working your steps but what does it say about you and your recovery when you still are doing everything your way?

The kinds of jobs you should avoid in early recovery

I’ll Lie, Cheat, and Steal When I Want To

While we were out there using drugs and alcohol we did everything our way. We got high when we wanted to get high, we stole money when we needed money and we hurt people when we felt they had hurt us. Early recovery is about letting go of your ego. When you believe that your way is the best way to do something and you don’t take a suggestion into consideration when someone warns you that your way might not be the best decision, your ego is getting in the way. It takes a lot to admit that you might not know what is best for you. However, when you are in early sobriety and someone who has a lot more experience than you, like your alcohol addiction therapist, is telling you something, listen. They are almost always right.

Read about the importance of accountability in early recovery

An Indication in Early Sobriety of What’s To Come

I’m going to give an example. A girl who has six months of sobriety is living in a halfway house. The general suggestion that surrounds halfway houses is to make a six month commitment to staying there. At her 3 month mark of living there she decides to move out. The therapist at her women’s addiction treatment center tells her it is not a good idea, but she does it anyway. What does this mean? A healthy person would be able to see that maybe staying there another three months is not going to hurt them. In fact, it will most likely be a positive experience for her sobriety. In early sobriety is important not to take risks. When you learn to protect your sobriety you also are learning how to stay sober. People who take risks early on in sobriety usually don’t end up staying sober.

Suggestions Suck

Yes, sometimes it sucks, but what is the big deal? The way you shape your program in the first year usually determines what your whole program is going to look like. Why pick up white chip after white chip? Once you work a strong program you can take all the risks you want. The crazy thing is, usually when you get to this point taking risks doesn’t seem so appealing anyway. Usually you are happy with where you are and what you have accomplished.

Faith Facts Friday with Fiona

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Big Book Broken Down – Part One

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who help each other to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. It was founded in June of 1935, just celebrated its seventy-ninth anniversary, and boasts over two million members.

AA’s central text is the Big Book. With a sponsor and a Big Book, AA members work the twelve steps, and “recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (title page).

What exactly is the Big Book? How does reading a book help someone achieve and maintain sobriety? The aim of these articles are to answer exactly those questions.

Big Book

Forwards

The Big Book is now in its fourth edition. In each edition there’s been a short forward outlining what changes have been included.

Of particular note is the forward to the second edition, published in 1955. A short section states, “Of alcoholics who came to AA and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with AA showed improvement” (XX).

Here we see true statistics, none of that 1% stuff, but true hope for the suffering alcoholic. Remember though, these stats are for alcoholics who work steps!

The Doctor’s Opinion

This chapter outlines the disease model of alcoholism, as presented by doctor William Silkworth. In 1939, when the first edition of the Big Book was published, Silkworth was a leading authority on addiction medicine.

In The Doctor’s Opinion, Silkworth proposes that alcoholism is a three-part disease: physical, mental, and spiritual.

There’s the physical allergy to alcohol. This means that once an alcoholic begins drinking, they cannot stop. Their bodies process alcohol differently. In order to abstain from drinking, they have to be physically stopped (think getting arrested or going to detox).

There’s the mental obsession. This is when the thought to get drunk crowds out all else in the alcoholic’s mind. Basically, getting drunk ceases to be a thought and becomes an all-consuming fixation. This lasts until the alcoholic takes a drink, at which point the physical allergy kicks in.

There’s the spiritual malady. This is compromised of all the things that make the alcoholic drink in the first place. Things like low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. This spiritual malady leaves the alcoholic “restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks” (xxviii-xxix).

Bill’s Story

This chapter is a brief biography of Bill Wilson. Bill, along with Dr. Bob Smith, founded AA in 1935. Bill was a New York stockbroker who had been trying to get sober for years. Although Bill found material and marital success, he struggled privately with alcoholism for most of his adult life.

Bill outlines the progression of his drinking career. He started drinking for fun, to bring out creativity, to loosen his shirttails. He progressed to drinking for necessity. Finally, he drank for oblivion. Bill mixed gin with sedatives and was in-and-out of a dozen treatment centers.

Finally, an old friend introduced Bill to the Oxford Groups. These were the predecessors to AA. Bill met Dr. Bob on a business trip and the rest, as they say, is history.

While reading this chapter, we see how each of the twelve steps are introduced and incorporated into Bill’s life. Just as we saw his descent into alcoholism, we now see his climb out.

Bill’s Story ends with the quote, “Each day my friend’s simple talk in our kitchen multiplies itself in a widening circle of peace on earth and good will to men” (16).

Dealing with Disappointment in Sobriety

Written By: Fiona Stockard

The Trick to Dealing with Disappointment in Sobriety

Disappointment in Sobriety Requires Acceptance

One of the first lessons I learned in my alcohol addiction treatment center was acceptance. Acceptance about the decisions I had made in my life to get me there and acceptance of the situation I found myself in. It wasn’t easy. However, what I have found is that acceptance is usually the first step towards making a change. Once I was able to accept I was an alcoholic and addict I was able to make the right decisions into getting better. In early sobriety, these decisions are simple but hard to implement. These would be: not picking up a drink or a drug, speaking up in group therapy, attending 12-step fellowship meetings, dealing with disappointment rationally,  and getting a sponsor.

Dealing with Disappointment

Doing the right thing

As we continue to do the right thing and things start getting better we come to expect this for ourselves. By this I mean, we expect things to work in our favor.  It is easy to forget the bad feelings and manageability that came along with drinking and using. Nevertheless, things don’t always go our way. Sometimes even when we are doing the right thing life happens. I don’t know about you, but I used to use any excuse to drink and use drugs that I could find, especially when i was dealing with disappointment. I was not very good at handling disappointment and used it as the perfect excuse to get as messed up as possible.

Wondering how to deal with disappointment in relationships? This is a must read!

How to cope with disappointment better

There are a couple tools I learned in my women’s alcohol treatment center that I still use today to deal with disappointments. The first is “move a muscle, change a thought”. Sometimes, the worst thing you can do is to sit around and mope. Take a shower or go for a run. Sometimes changing the activity can help you forget about the disappointment, even if it is just for a little while. The second tool is to talk about it. Use your sober supports, friends, therapist and sponsor. A lot of times talking about something can take the power out of it. Once you take the power out of something you can accept that maybe it was supposed to happen that way. Have faith that there might be something better for you on the horizon I one of my best tools in dealing with disappointment.

Struggling with anxiety? Here are some helpful tips to deal with it.

The last thing I learned in my alcohol addiction treatment center was how to change your perspective. Happiness and serenity has a lot to do with how you view your life. Write a gratitude list! Appreciate what you have instead of focusing on what you have lost. When I was using my mind was closed off to these types of suggestions, I thought drugs and alcohol were a way better way to deal with my issues. After I ended up in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse I realized that they weren’t. They were only a temporary solution to my problems and disappointments.  When all else fails, appreciate that you are a person in the world and do something for someone else. A lot of times helping others can take us away from the disappointment. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter! You will realize quickly how lucky you are.

12 Steps to Recovery: Not a Cookie Cutter Solution

Written By: Katie Schipper

The Steps to Recovery Are Not the Same for All

Opinions on Taking 12 Steps to Recovery

Outside opinions on the inner workings of the 12 step to recovery range from mild curiosity to total disinterest to insistence that it is a cult. At it’s very core, AA and other 12 step recovery programs operate on the basis that if your wish is to remain anonymous then you have a safe haven in which to do so. It is on that foundation that you are able to build a recovery program for yourself – you do this through sponsorship and the guidance of those that have come before you, but in no way is AA a one-size-fits-all program. Anyone who sees it that way and represents it as such is operating from personal opinion. It’s hard for someone not in a recovery program to recognize the value of a support group and perhaps even more difficult to understand the concept of anonymity – hell, understanding those things is hard even for people in recovery. 12-step recovery is open to anyone with a desire to quit drinking and getting high and a slew of other addictions that are addressed by various programs. And the truth: the actual journey is going to look different for every single member.

steps to recovery

Learn about the first step of a 12 step program

The 12 steps of recovery is a process

The recovery process is exactly that: a process. It isn’t a 30 day stay at an addiction treatment for women wherein a lifetime of issues are resolved and you magically stay sober without doing anything other than drying out for a month. Recovery as a concept goes way beyond the scope of the 12 steps of recovery. It includes recovering from physical injuries, depression, emotional trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, the list is endless. Recovering from a break-up, from an ended friendship, from the death of someone you love. Recovering from these things doesn’t happen overnight. True, some are easier to get through than others but all real pain demands attention. Why would a drug addict or an alcoholic be any sort of exception from that concept? We don’t ask that someone get over it when they suffer an emotional loss (or at least we shouldn’t) – why would anyone expect that a lifestyle that is based on lies, fear, manipulation, denial, desperation, self-serving self-centeredness, and so on, would heal without some intense and ongoing work? In a 12 step recovery program (and there are other options for those that believe AA is a cult on a recruitment mission. Do your research; know your options) the initial work of going through step-work with a sponsor is based on an ordered set of suggestions that, simply put, clarify the strength and nature of what we face (addiction/alcoholism), advise that we face a lifetime of patterns and choices that for most of us reveal we have been running our lives based on fear, selfishness, or a combination of both, again suggest that we try and right some of the wrongs we did, and then, as the means by which we show gratitude and keep this recovery alive we offer to take a newly sober woman through the same process.

Learn about 12 step etiquette and the do’s and dont’s at meetings

No Requirement for “Membership”

None of these are requirements for membership. And even within the confines of the program there are always variants and adjustments and factors that make the experience unique for every individual. It is after getting through all 12 steps to recovery that it becomes abundantly clear that recovery is exactly what you make it. You get to decide what it means to live differently, if living differently is what you want. Suggestions are made in the rooms of AA and by sponsors and old timers and anyone with a mouth really, but the reality is is that you decide what rings true for you and speaks to your soul.

There is no right or wrong way

There isn’t a right or a wrong way to start getting honest about who you really are, the good and the bad. And at the end of the day as time goes on the spiritual principles that you truly value will begin to develop and you decide if you nurture them. You choose how you pray, how you meditate, how you help another person – you choose if you do those things at all. Recognizing that we are all unique people who happen to share a common bond is meant to empower rather than subjugate and it’s up to you to own that power however you see fit.

A Proportional Response to The Center For Motivation and Change

Written By: Fiona Stockard

A member of AA reacts to The NY Times article about The Center For Motivation and Change

 Responding to “A Different Path To Fighting Addiction.”

On July 3rd, 2014 Gabrielle Glaser wrote an article for The New York Times entitled, “A Different Path To Fighting Addiction.” In this article, Ms. Glaser profiled The Center for Motivation and Change (CMC) located in New York City. The CMC rejects the AA model of substance abuse recovery, instead using a “practical, hands on approach to solving emotional and behavioral problems.” It does not ask its patients to swear off chemicals forever.

The Center For Motivation and Change

As an active member of AA, it was not the idea of “a new way” that brought on my frustration, indeed I love and welcome new ways to get sober. It was the misguided and unethical treatment of the facts that caused my eyes to roll. The article seemed more interested in bashing AA and it’s members, than in presenting the CMC’s treatment philosophy.

The Message from The Center For Motivation and Change

The article opens by stating that AA and Al-Anon “Either force them [the patients] into rehab or detach until they hit rock bottom.” It goes on to say, “Science tells us those formulas don’t work very well.” AA and Al-Anon don’t say that. In fact, AA and Al-Anon have no official position on how to achieve long-term sobriety. Some AA and Al-Anon members hold the view that hitting bottom and entering a treatment center work. The reason they hold this view is because, well, it works.

It worked for me. I’m the only person who can make the decision to get sober. The choice is mine and mine only. By letting the consequences of my addiction hit me square in the jaw, my parents gave me everything I needed to make the choice to get sober. Again, let me say, this was my path to AA and not what AA encouraged me to do. Once I was open to the idea of recovery, the twelve steps helped me find not only a way to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety, but a spiritual path to find my true self.

For the record, what AA actually says is,

THE TWELVE STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to

sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature

of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make

amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do

so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly

admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with

God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us

and the power to carry that out.

12. 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.

Service Material from the AA General Service Office

That’s what AA says and what AA is about. It doesn’t say parents should “issue edicts, demanding an immediate end to all substance use,” or that AA is “an all-or-nothing commitment for life.”  What I found is that once I begin to practice the twelve steps, I didn’t want to live my life any other way. AA, and what it actually says, helped me become a better person. It helped with problems far surpassing my alcoholism. AA has given me a “practical approach to solving emotional and behavioral problems.” It’s worth noting that this “practical approach” is what The Center for Motivation and Change claims to do. Why, I ask, reinvent the wheel?

Perhaps, because as The Center For Motivation and Change states, “Science tells us those formulas [the twelve steps] don’t work very well.” Let’s examine what exactly science tells us.

In 1956, the American Medical Association voted to define alcoholism as a medical disease. The Center For Motivation and Change states that alcoholism is not a disease. It looks like they disagree with science on one major point. They also site numerous studies that say AA does not work. They’re correct, based on the studies they chose to reference, it doesn’t work. In fact, based on most studies, it appears that AA doesn’t work. Here lies the great issue of AA facts and figures, it’s an anonymous programs.

That Facts about The Center For Motivation and Changes Facts

AA members who work each step and practice AA’s principals in their affairs are taught humility and anonymity, thus encouraging them to stay quiet about their successes. AA members who attend a few meetings, don’t work the steps, and subsequently drink, are more likely to speak out. They’re more likely to blame AA for not working, than to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

AA is a program of action. Our literature states, “Faith without works is dead.” The recovering individual is simply a person living among you and working with you. Only when asked for assistance, will our anonymity be broken.  That is why study after study paint AA as a failure.

The only fact that’s proof of AA’s effectiveness is the only fact anyone needs to know. In 2006, there were a reported 106,202 AA groups worldwide, with a membership totaling 1,867,212 recovering individuals.

That statistic didn’t make it into the CMC’s article. My question for The Center For Motivation and Change is, scientifically, is it possible that 1,867,212 people are wrong, and the 25 of you are right?

Doesn’t seem possible.

Gabrielle Glasser’s article is posted here

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/nyregion/a-different-path-to-fighting-addiction.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=NY_ADP_20140707&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=2

How You Can Be Living Life on Life’s Terms

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Living Life on Life’s Terms Isn’t Always Easy

I Was An Addict Before I Started Using Drugs

My mother claims that even when I was younger I needed outside stimulation.  Simply living life in the world I was living in just wasn’t doing it for me. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV at home, but when I went to my friend’s houses I remember my best friend complaining to me that I wasn’t fun to be around because all I would do was watch TV. She used to say things to me while I was watching and I was so entranced that I didn’t hear her. To me, this is an early example of my difficulties with living life on life’s term and my alcoholic tendencies as drugs had a similar effect on me as TV. The world suddenly wasn’t so boring. I wasn’t interested in living life for what it was and found ways to escape, first as a young girl with TV and later as a teenager with drugs and alcohol.
life on life's terms

Read about how you can be living your dreams

An Escape from Life on Life’s Terms

Drugs took me away from the world I was living in. At the beginning they made life more exciting. With them came a variety of new experiences and new people. Many of the drugs I tried made the world change. I thought they were providing me with a new perspective. What I was unaware of was how they were also shortening my perspective. The group of people I hung out with became smaller and more selfish. We stopped talking about the world and instead spoke about the made up experiences in our minds that we found while under the influence. Drugs became our sole topic of conversation.  It was this kind of thinking that landed me in a treatment center for women.

Understanding the Concept of Life on Life’s Terms

Another aspect of this kind of thinking that lead me into drug abuse treatment was always thinking there was something more or better than living life at the moment. I didn’t understand the concept of life on life’s terms and I had distorted beliefs about what I deserved and what my life should look like. It was almost as if I was always waiting for something to happen.  The problem with this is that life was happening and I was just letting it pass by. By not accepting it for what it was I was choosing to ignore it. By making the decision that life was boring as it was and only drugs could enhance it I was missing out on the actual opportunities that life provides.

Read this amazing story about one women’s journey to sobriety

Living Life in Recovery

Humans are hardwired to endure. We have responses in our bodies like that of producing adrenaline when we are in a dangerous situation that have helped us for thousands of years to avoid dying or getting hurt. Today, these kinds of instincts are not put to use as often as they used to. Sometimes, alcoholics and addicts create situations to stimulate these senses. We create challenges and chaos in a world where we may not need to. When we stop creating fake realities to stimulate our senses or fake problems to make our lives more interesting the world can unfurl for what it is. I am constantly amazed by what I can do when I let life be now that I’m living life in recovery.

How To Be “Living in the Moment”

Written By: Katie Schipper

Enjoying the Gifts of Today by Living in the Moment

Nothing is More Important than Living in the Moment We Are In

The intensity with which we naturally tend towards thoughts of the future is so great that more often than not, on any given day, we are not living in the moment and instead we are completely missing out on the only thing that really exists, the exact moment that we are in. So much is lost by focusing only on the future and on outcomes: it causes (and in turn is caused by) anxiety, fear, and worry. Thoughts about the future are valuable, yes, but must never come at the expense of the present moment. Learning to be mindful of what is right in front of us is one of the gifts of being in an addiction recovery program. It’s not always easy to be mindful, but conceptually it is very simple and there are endless reasons why it’s worth exploring.

Read about Jim Carrey’s Speech on Living in Today

living in the moment

Living for Today Requires Practicing Mindfulness

The absolute and unavoidable reality for every person is that someday they will take their final breath and that for the majority of us we have no say in or knowledge of when that day will come. So the truth is that you can plan your future it; you can plan it out for a day, or a week, or you can know what you want to be doing years from now. You can do all that planning to what might seem a normal degree or even obsessively but in the end you might never see the day when all your planning comes to fruition. So the real why of practicing mindfulness and living in today is that you have no way of knowing which day will be your last. If all of your days are spent worrying about days to come, what room have you left for joy in your life? What room is left for actually living? That doesn’t mean you have to float on with no direction or become a monk or live outside of society (you can if you want to) but it does involve a very radical change in thinking – we are programmed to plan, think, worry about the future. It seems to be written in our DNA. But thoughts of the future don’t have to control us. Mindfulness takes on another meaning for the addict and alcoholic in that we must always remember that our sobriety begins when we arise in the morning and is contingent upon our acts that day – it doesn’t matter what we say we’ll do in the future and the days that have passed do not guarantee that we will stay sober for the day that we’re in. For the alcoholic and addict we have this exact moment to choose not to pick up a drink or to get high.  We learn that living in the moment and applying the knowledge we have gained in recovery to help us stay sober and enjoy the gifts of today.

Learn how to be grateful for today

How to Practice Living in the Moment and Enjoying the Gifts of Today

As mentioned early, living for today and mindfulness is a very simple concept. Simple and easy are not the same thing. It is simple enough for a child but the actual practice takes time, maybe even a lifetime to really learn. A very good place to start in any mindfulness practice is to focus on each inhale and exhale. From there, notice the things around you. What sounds do you hear? What is under your feet or in your hands? What can you see directly in your vision? What do you smell? Try to notice these basic senses without thinking about your to do list, what’s for dinner, an argument you had … try to notice what’s right in front of you for 60 seconds. Mindfulness is a practice that with time turns helps you enjoy the gifts of today – knowing that all we have is now sets us free to live fully in the only thing that is real.

Find a women’s alcohol treatment center that will help you learn how to live in today

A Letter To Josh Gordon

By: Tim Myers

Dear Josh Gordon

I get it. I understand. I’ve got your back. There’s not a lot of that being said to you right now in the media. There’s not a lot of anything except projection, advice and doomsday scenario banter. Oh, and all the should of, could of, would of’s. “He should of done this”, “I wish the NFL would of done that”, “The Browns could of done this”.

Dear Josh Gordon

I get it Josh Gordon, I understand and I’ve got your back. You’ve got a problem Josh, and I don’t mean to judge but based on the staggering facts alone, I’m pretty confident I’m right. Multiple substance abuse violations in college, drug arrests and citations involving marijuana, codeine cough syrup and alcohol in just the last 18 months. You are the premier star NFL wide receiver, yet your substance abuse stats fill the back of your trading card more thoroughly than your career numbers. You have a life and a career everyone would die for yet you are dying to give it all away.

I get it, because I did the same thing and so did my best friend and my uncle and my grandpa and my aunt and millions of people all over the world. We gave up everything so we could have one thing, Drugs. Then one day we decide to give up one thing to have… Everything.

Josh I have the greatest family in the history of the world ever, I have a college degree, a car and a great job but 3.5 years ago I decided that snorting cocaine, smoking pot, drinking ‘til I blacked out, driving drunk, and having guns pointed at my head were the most important things in my life.

They were. People like you and I Josh have a mental illness, a disease. It makes us do crazy things. It makes us feel so incredibly alone and scared that we keep using because no one will ever make us feel and loved and appreciated as drugs do.

That was my life, until one day a man named Chris told me, “Tim I don’t even know you, but I love you because you are just like me.” He got me, he understood me and he had my back. He told me that I was still alive so I could get sober and help other people stay sober. He showed me how to stay sober and he unlocked the enthusiasm, excitement, potential, love, compassion and determination that drugs and alcohol had been help captive for 10 years.

Josh, I live in Delray Beach Florida, a city known to have more residents recovering from drugs and alcohol than any other city in the US. Everyday I see people as lost and hopeless and I once was and with in a few months I see them again, alive, laughing, joking, happy and free! Yet sometimes I get the tacky, insensitive, sad and all too frequent facebook notification saying, “RIP Jane Doe, this disease claims another Angel”

Don’t become one of those angels Josh, don’t become another celebrity that shines a light on the death of addiction, become a warrior of recovery! Become the man you were always meant to be.

I was in rehab when Josh Hamilton entered the home run derby at Yankee Stadium. His long history of crack cocaine use had been exposed and talked about in the media for years. In rehab that night they let us watch the homerun derby. Ball after ball after ball went soaring over the fence as Josh set the single round record for home runs in a home run derby at the most historic ball park ever built. I cried, a lot of the other men in my unit cried. It gave us hope, it gave us someone to look up to. Not for what he was doing on the field but for what he did off the field.

You can be that guy Josh, hell, you already have the same first name so you’re halfway there! You can change other people’s lives Josh, but first you have to change your own. I wanna see you in the playoffs, I wanna see you catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl, I wanna wear your jersey and get your autograph, but not because of what you accomplish on the field. I want to be your biggest fan for what you achieve off of it. I love you Josh Gordon, because you are just like me.

I get it. I understand. I’ve got your back.

Love,
All of Us

Giving Back and Getting Back

Written By: Katie Schipper

Giving Back is Whats It’s All About

You Get What You Give

There’s a saying in recovery that gets repeated so often it sometimes loses its power: you’ll get from your sobriety exactly what you put into it. This initially sounds like another annoying cliché that may or may not have at one point had meaning, but it’s much more than that. The reality is that recovery can be viewed as a parallel for the rest of your life: what you put in, you’ll get back (and usually, you get back a little more than expected.)

giving

Giving Back and Learning to Try

The early stages of recovery are usually very uncertain territory; even if you’ve tried to get sober before or gone for periods of time without drinking or getting high, the time that it sticks is usually (although not always) a particularly desperate time. Desperation seems to be one of the best gifts an addict or an alcoholic can receive, but with desperation can come fear and total uncertainty about what to do next. That is why a  drug rehab for women, an IOP therapy, a counselors, etc. suggest that the newly sober woman doesn’t wait to start focusing on her recovery. There is a window within that desperation that has been opened by pain – once that pain begins to subside the window starts to close – at some point, if work on recovery hasn’t begun, the initial pain and desperation will have subsided enough that reasons for staying sober magically disappear into thin air and drinking and getting high once again seem totally reasonable. If, however, one starts making some changes while the window is still open, there are immediate benefits. It is in this space that newly sober women can discover the value of trying – for so many of us we feel like we’ve been trying desperately for months, years, lifetimes to effect a change and nothing has happened. Most potential opportunities come up as dead ends in active addiction. Even for those women who managed to maintain a home or hold onto a job or relationship, there is usually a pervasive feeling of emptiness and self-doubt. Those feelings make the idea of trying for anything sound overwhelming – on a very personal and individual level, you have to be fed up with yourself to a point that change and effort seem the better option. One of the beautiful truths of recovery is that from that place of desperation can come a wellspring of hope. The only way to get there, however, is to learn to try in spite of past experiences that taught that trying was fruitless. This is the “giving” portion of getting back what you give – you have to try. You have to show up in spite of changing moods and circumstances. You have to put forth an effort regardless of how you feel in order to find out that there is value in doing so.
Read more about becoming grateful through giving! It’s so easy!

Getting Back What You Give

The flipside of giving back and trying and working and consistently showing up is what you get in return. And the reality of giving it all is that it has very little to do with what exactly you do rather than how you do it. The idea isn’t to reach a certain step or a certain life goal or a certain benchmark by a certain time – the idea is to move through recovery with your eyes ever on willingness, on honesty, on faith and on the other ideals of spiritual growth. With those concepts as a focus, the universe, God, your higher power, who or however you conceive of a loving consciousness, will give back to you endlessly. While there are, of course, material gifts for hard work (if you get a job and save money, you can move into an apartment and buy a car, etc.), the real reward comes in the form of what so many of us sought in a bottle, a pill, powder and so on: peace. Peace of mind, of body, of soul – what you find when you give ourselves to recovery is that within you there is a treasure that you can access at any time and that has always been and will always be there. That is what makes the work, the seeking, and the effort so worthwhile.

Read About the Blessing You Get in Sobriety From Giving