When I wake up in the morning, which happens around 6 o’clock a.m. these days, I am rarely thankful that I am not sick or hung over. It is not something that crosses my mind, it is just the way things are. All too often, I take for granted that I have so much to be proud of and to work to keep. My journey has not always been an easy one. I am in recovery, which means that I have had a period when substances ruled my life. I do not intend to go into details about it, but [...]
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The support of family and friends often plays a large role in addiction recovery. Everyone in the family will need to go through their own recovery process, and nobody should do it alone. Below are some ways that the family, spouses and friends can help a loved one in their recovery: Stay Involved & Supportive Our students are trying to figure out that balance between recovery life, old and new relationships, academics and work life. Having the support and understanding from close friends and family can really benefit their success in sobriety. Staying involved and supportive does not mean knowing [...]
The faculty or state of being able to see. The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom. This is the definition of vision. What does the process of getting sober mean to you? Personally, I did not get sober to strictly maintain the ability to keep mind altering substances out of my body. I got sober to utilize the tool of abstinence and catapult my life into a reality that I previously could not see. In essence, I was blinded by drugs and alcohol only to have the veil lifted from my eyes revealing a [...]
Among the many consequences of active addiction, one of the greatest tolls is the loss of relationships. Many who enter recovery have become severed from those they are closest to. The nature of the disease of addiction and the destruction that ensues makes it impossible for us to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. Throughout the journey of recovery, repairing such relationships and creating new ones represents a cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling program. My own journey with recovery began with a departure from a university I had been attending for several years. After much consultation, I agreed [...]
I attended several treatment facilities from the age of 16 to 22. Each time I admitted into another program I truly was desperate for help. The pain and suffering I experienced when dependent on drugs and alcohol left me out of options. A few weeks into treatment, I had gotten the substances out of my system and was beginning to feel much better. This allowed me to believe that I had overcome the pain and suffering that I had spent my entire addiction diligently trying to escape. This created a delusion within me: that I would never let myself endure [...]
One of the foundations upon which Alpha 180 was built is the idea that if we create space for inspired students in recovery then those students will show up. We have found this to be the case. Through our journey at Alpha, as well as through my own as a clinician and a person in recovery, we have seen that the most important thing we can do for our clients is to create the space for them to heal and recover. I believe that every human has a natural inclination to move towards his or her fullest potential. We are [...]
I came into recovery with preconceived ideas about religion and spirituality; ideas that I kept close to heart, and identified with. Growing up, I felt surrounded by people who insisted on impressing their religious and philosophical views on me, and it made me unreceptive to spirituality. During my addiction, I cultivated a protective shell that repelled ideas that were not strictly in line with my using activities and ideas, and spirituality was buried far underneath the misery that I was experiencing. I could scarcely even imagine myself feeling supported by a connection with a power greater than myself. Even in [...]
Is change possible? Of course! Is sustained change possible? That’s a different story. With relapse rates hovering around 60-70%, the outlook for sustained change is bleak (McClellan et. al., 2000). A more astute question might be: are we as treatment providers facilitating sustained change or focusing on clients’ compliance with set rules? It’s relatively easy to change while in treatment. A little motivation coupled with consequences for negative behavior often yields considerable change in the first 30-90 days of recovery. This type of change is called First-Order Change. First-Order Change is defined as “incremental change that is largely dependent on [...]
In my addiction, I was forced to betray my values on a daily basis as an act of survival. I never felt comfortable as the kid who was getting arrested, tearing his family apart, and stealing from friends. Those were some of my actions, but that is not who I felt I was in my heart. The truth was that I wanted love, acceptance, and to be okay with who I was. I was trying my best to get these fundamental needs met the best way I knew at that time. Living in this contradiction may have been the most [...]
Alpha 180 was always about realizing a vision. We believe that through sobriety, community, and purpose, young adults in recovery are capable of achieving anything. We are not about containing the damage of active addiction; instead increasing the upside of inspired recovery. But one short year ago the vision was just that: a vision. Surrounded by our current community of inspired Alpha 180 pioneers, I forget about opening our doors for the Fall semester wondering if the world would buy in to this lofty idea. Faith, fastidiousness, and fortitude were called on as we ploddingly enrolled a small, but [...]