Researchers estimate that that 90% of those who recover from addictive behavior experience at least one relapse along the way. We can increase the odds in our favor through awareness of the warning signs, along with the process of examining the underlying beliefs. In 1982, two researchers, Terence T. Gorski, and Marlene Miller, identified a set of warning signs that typically lead to relapse. Further research has validated these changes in attitudes and behaviors, and proven they are accurate predictors. As you read this list, realize these changes occur gradually. Recognizing them early in the cycle will allow you to see beneath the behaviors, and modify the beliefs that drive them.
Most of us go on with our destructive habits for years until something awakens us, and unfortunately it’s impossible to predict what it will take to make a individual aware of their condition. Early in my own recovery, I accompanied some AA friends who were going to tell their stories to a group of men who were confined in a minimum-security facility for alcohol-related automobile offenses in Connecticut. These inmates had repeated arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and there were some who were there for what was then called “involuntary vehicular homicide while under the influence.”Continue reading
This is the first post I’ve made here in a while, but that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening with this effort. I have re-structured the contents of Powerless No Longer to reflect a more accurate model of how we actually recover, and the new Table of Contents can be found on the tab above. I’ve written a lot of new material, and edited much of the older stuff. I will be introducing the new material slowly, and replacing some of the older stuff with the current versions. Please check-out the new contents, and let me know what you think. The excerpt below is from the revised Chapter One.
Why we deny
We addicts are no different from anyone else; we’ve just learned to see the world from a distorted perspective. In a very real sense, we have learned to be addicts. Although genetics do play a role, we weren’t born with our addictions, nor did we acquire them due to some moral flaw or shortcoming. Addiction is a complex bio/psycho/social disorder with many different causes. There are degrees of addiction; it’s not an on-or-off condition. Many of the chemical changes the process of addiction makes to the brain are irreversible, and it can become so severe that the only help available to the addict are programs that feature harm reduction, such as methadone or needle exchange.
The good news is that the overwhelming majority of us overcome our addictions on our own without treatment centers, formal programs, pills, or patches. Most of us are capable of learning new skills to cope with the stresses in life that helped drive many of us to dependency in the first place.Continue reading
In this post, we will be talking about the first stage of the model of change, the Precontemplative, those who have not, as yet, made the connection between the substance they are abusing and the problems in their lives. Unfortunately, there is no clear program, procedure, or method guaranteed to help such people make the connection, other than trying not to stand between them and the consequences of their own behavior.
Most of us go on with our destructive habits for years until someone or something wakes us up, and unfortunately it’s impossible to predict what it will take to make a individual aware of his or her particular condition. Fairly early in my own recovery, I went along with some AA friends who were invited to tell their stories to a group of men who were confined in a minimum-security facility for alcohol-related offenses in Connecticut. These inmates were in Camp Hartell for a variety of offenses, mostly related to repeated arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), and there were even a few who were in there for what was then called “involuntary vehicular homicide while under the influence,” meaning they were responsible for the death of at least one innocent human being because they chose to continue to drink.
I talked with some of these fellows, and to a man they just couldn’t wait to get back out and “have a beer.” Here they were, locked-up, separated from friends and family, in deep legal trouble, and they couldn’t make the connection between the obvious problems in their lives and the alcohol they were drinking! I’ve worked with many substance abusers in various prison facilities, and in their minds, the problem wasn’t the substance at all, it was always something “else,” something totally out of their control that was responsible for their current situation.Continue reading