My name is Pete Soderman, and I live in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, with my wife, Gethyn. Ajijic is a village of approximately 15,000 people, located on the Northern shore of Lake Chapala, roughly 45 minutes by car south of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city. We are retired here, as are many other Americans, Canadians, and Europeans, enjoying a near-perfect climate, low cost of living, and the friendliness of the Mexican people.
I had a 26-year drinking career that began on my eighteenth birthday, and ended in August of 1990. The last two years were the worst, and as a result of a series of events, I found myself at an AA meeting after a friend told me it was a place where I could learn to drink normally. It isn’t, of course, but I found that I couldn’t agree with its principles, nor follow most of its suggestions, except for one, I didn’t drink. Why was I successful when an overwhelming percentage of those who stumble into AA fail to stay sober for any length of time?
My search for the answer to that question is what this book is all about. I had to find my own way, and in doing that, I discovered that most addicts recover completely on their own, or with minimal help, and that their methods for doing so were readily accessible if one was willing to research the available scientific literature. I spent several years doing just that, and arrived at the conclusion that the established addiction treatment industry was using methods that the research community knew, and had known for years, were ineffective, and in fact counterproductive.
The bottom line, I found, was that the key to recovery for most people wasn’t spiritual at all, it was cognitive! A recovering addict needed a good deal of motivation, a way to overcome urges, the skills to deal with life’s normal problems without a drug, and the ability to change their focus from short-term gratification to the achievement of long-term goals. Once these became a part of one’s life, falling back into addictive habits became virtually impossible, as long as the recovered individual maintained their attitude and outlook.
I helped start a SMART Recovery® meeting in Wilmington, NC, because after the principles of that program were explained to me, it was obvious that SMART included almost all of the methodologies that my research had determined were among the most effective for the largest group of addicts. Many of those methodologies had been a part of my life for many years.
When I moved to Mexico, I began working on this book, and started a local SMART meeting here as well. As I mention often in the book, no single program will work for everyone, and there are probably almost as many paths to recovery as there are addicts who have successfully recovered. This book is about choices. I had few choices when it was time for me to get sober; I had to discover them for myself. Powerless No Longer is about offering you the choices that I didn’t have. Tools you can pick and choose from to find what works for you.
I wish you the best on your personal journey.