A Take On Recovery

Self-ImprovementPsychology

  • Author Steven Desrosier
  • Published March 25, 2024
  • Word count 6,391

A Take on Recovery

A personal view on recovery, 12-step programs, atheism and life afterward

I am not a counselor or therapist. I hold no clinical certifications, and I don’t provide direct treatment services to others. I am a single father, employee, pet owner, and family member to others. I am also a student; however, this is not a paper for school. It is me simply sharing a bit of my story and opinions about recovery.

I am a person who has struggled with multiple addictions multiple times throughout my life. Smoking cigarettes in elementary school, sneaking alcohol in middle school, and then moving to marijuana and LSD in high school. By some accounts, this is normal inquisitive behavior for maturing individuals learning about themselves and the world around them. The most common and desired outcome of this exploration is that the individual had the experience and either wasn’t moved or impressed enough to want to explore further. Then there are people like me who felt their lives drastically change as a result of intoxication. We felt an increase in mood levels, became more creative and outgoing, became more sociable, and felt more personable. Most of us simply enjoyed the euphoria we experienced and welcomed that short deviation from real-world worries and responsibilities.

I was always warned about the dangers of drugs, and we children were endlessly coached on how to “just say no”. We heard that you become addicted after trying (name your substance) once, and it was very probable that a complete stranger would eventually approach you and offer free drugs. We were taught to shun those who used drugs or abused alcohol by actively ignoring them, denying them love, and withholding compassion. Some of our parents told us that we’d be disowned if we ever did drugs, thereby removing the promise of unconditional love from our own families.

Despite all the mostly flawed education, constant warnings, and fearmongering, I had, even as a young kid, an innate desire to do drugs. I didn’t know what kind of drugs, but I knew that the promise of feeling different sounded very appealing. I also sensed that I’d inevitably see the inside of a jail cell at some point in my life. Oddly enough, these things did not scare me. I always ran a little askew of social norms and was never accepted into the crowd of popular or successful schoolmates. I wore black, dyed my hair, rode a skateboard, and listened to depressing or aggressive music. I didn’t play sports and couldn’t relate to that crowd. My least favorite classes were when a coach was the teacher. It angered me that popularity and preferential treatment was given to those who were good at throwing a ball. I still harbor those feelings today!

I dropped out of high school in my junior year. I’d still wake up every morning and drive to school. I’d usually attend first period band but would leave afterwards. The rest of the day would be spent with other misfits at a local Denny’s buying coffee with our lunch or allowance money. We’d also visit parks or trails where we’d sit and talk about life and how depressed we all were. I eventually stopped going all together once I moved out at 17 years old. I would stay with friends or a girlfriend until I eventually got my own place. It was at this time that I discovered my first real addiction in the form of methamphetamine. My first use was with a long-time friend who had recently tried it for the first time and this occasion was not how the night was originally planned out. We had no luck in finding LSD and it was mentioned that we could get meth. I asked a lot of questions, like, what does it do, how do you feel, do you lose your sense of reality, and most importantly, will other people know. I was easily satisfied by the answers and agreed to try it out. If I were to be honest with you and myself, I would have still done it even if I had concerns. That night was life changing. I felt very focused, personable, outgoing, and adventurous. I was ready and willing to do anything. I felt no negative consequences other than being tired at the end. In my mind, I knew I would do it again and if I was lucky, keep doing it with no end in sight. Around that same time, my best friend has also first tried meth but separately from me. When I told him I had tried it, he mentioned that he did as well. From that point forward, we embraced the lifestyle, and, suddenly, everything became to be about getting high. We lived pretty innocent lives outside of the using, buying, and occasional selling of drugs. We did a lot of art, made a lot of lists, worked on cars, etc. We both had our own homes and vehicles, enough money to buy food and cigarettes, and a seemingly endless supply of drugs. With the perspective I had back then, I could never have imagined what a disaster these decisions would cause. I could have never anticipated the pain, suffering, madness, and loss that I would feel throughout my life due to substance use.

Since these writings aren’t meant to detail every use, I am not going into much further details, especially specific moments or activities. I felt that disclosing my introduction into addictive substances other than nicotine would give the reader a glimpse into the mindset I had about drugs and just how easy it was for me to open that door. I will only share a few more things about my past and addictions to give the reader a clear idea of my history without divulging all the messy details.

I got clean from my first round of methamphetamine use at the age of 21. By that time, I had graduated to IV use, alienated my friends and family, and became homeless for the first time. I married less than a year later and remained clean throughout the entirety of the marriage. 13 years later, I was experiencing some significant trauma, and my solution was to seek out my old drug of choice and relapsed shortly afterwards. I learned that stimulants weren’t usually deadly and did little to curb negative emotions, so I tried heroin in the hopes that I would eventually do a fatal dose and end the nightmare. Ongoing and increasing use led to my eventual homelessness and criminal record. After three use of heavy use, daily criminal activity and countless encounters with law enforcement, I sought detox and inpatient treatment in September of 2015. I have maintained my heroin clean date since being discharged; however, I have used methamphetamine once since then. In my early 40’s, I started drinking alcohol. Mostly out of boredom but also trying to foolishly convince myself that as an adult, I could handle it. Afterall, I had beat an addiction that was severe enough that I willingly put myself into homelessness just to maintain it. I drank for several years without a problem. I would only drink at night after kiddo was in bed. I would always walk to my bed (to be distinguished from passing out on the couch), I would sleep well, and never have a hangover. The Covid era upped the game because I suddenly had no responsibility to report to a job as we were all laid off. Plenty of money was coming in from increased unemployment benefits and everyone had nothing but time on their hands. Gradually, my self-imposed rules of only drinking at night were steadily broken, and I discovered day drinking. Alcohol was an easy addiction because it only required money and a nearby store to get more. I never had to wait for a dealer to show up or shoplift some tradable item to use as currency. I quickly reached the point where I was experiencing tremors, severe anxiety and blacking out. I would often fall and injure myself and wake up having no recollection of how I got hurt. It eventually became so critical that I went to inpatient treatment twice within a two-month period. I suffered through the detoxification process, participated in all the groups and graduated on time. Despite my participation and completion of the treatment process, I didn’t feel quite done. Another year and several multi-day stays in hospitals later; I can finally say that I have quit drinking. In four short years, I drank enough for it to nearly become fatal several times, and had I not checked into the hospital those two times, there was a good chance of me experiencing a stroke or having a seizure. I also caused damage to my liver and developed some heart problems. I can say, at least in my experience, that alcohol is unequivocally the worst and hardest substance to quit. It was a beast on my back that was socially acceptable and easy to obtain.

TREATMENT

In my life, I have been through four different inpatient facilities and two outpatient programs, successful completing all of them. I did all my assignments, participated in the groups and got my ceremonial graduation coin. I followed the discharge suggestions by attending 12-step meetings and becoming involved with that community. I was pretty well known in those circles and would attend multiple meetings a day. I chaired a lot of meetings and even started a few new ones. I worked the steps and could recite all the opening readings of both NA and AA by heart. I was still homeless and unemployed when I finished treatment, and those rooms were a good way to occupy myself. Through those rooms and at that very first meeting, I was able to find a place to sleep that was safe before I eventually landed in sober housing.

I’ve been a long-time atheist, so certain parts of 12-step programs did not sit right with me. Most groups said either the Serenity Prayer or the Lord’s Prayer; each of which seemed like begging God to come take control of their lives. For the sake of unity, I would join in the prayers but I felt fraudulent for doing so. Any questions or concerns I had about these being religious programs were met with answers ranging from ignorant to absolutely preposterous. What I consider ignorant is claiming that they are spiritual, not religious, programs. However, God is centered through the texts of the Big Book of AA and the NA book. God permeates the steps, requiring you to first come to believe in him (step two), decide to give up your own will in trade for his (step 3), admit to him and another equally as flawed human the exact nature of your wrongs (step 5), ask that God remove your shortcomings and finally seek to solidify your connection with God through prayer (step 11). I like to be open-minded, and I’m sure I have some bias against the belief in God, but from the very beginning of the steps, the involvement of God is demanded, and you must force yourself to “come to believe,” as in step two.

The preposterous responses to my questions about the use of God were laughable but are frequently used everywhere you can find a meeting. The great Doorknob and Lightbulb Debacle. The idea that is commonly put out there throughout multiple generations of recovering addicts and alcoholics is that if you cannot bring yourself to believe in God, then it’s perfectly appropriate to make a doorknob or a light bulb your higher power. This suggestion is put forth in all earnestness by so many people. I find it amazing that it could ever be suggested that a person with a potentially fatal set of behaviors put their trust in some inanimate object.

Some will use the program itself as a higher power which is more rational than the door knob. Others chose the connectedness of the universe, which actually makes more sense to me other than the universe does not care about you, your wrongdoings, or your belief in it. It’s simply just there and a lot bigger than us. The universe does not find us important at all and won’t lift a cosmic finger to remove your addiction.

These concerns and circular arguments, such as in the chapter We Agnostics in the Big Book, built up over time, and I gradually began to develop some skepticism about the entire program. Around this time, about a year into my recovery, I began working in an outpatient treatment program in a non-clinical role. However, I would eventually have direct contact and provide support services to patients. I also began working with the courts, specifically, Drug Court which requires their participants to engage in treatment services.

Three years into recovery, I had mostly stopped going to meetings and had become an outspoken advocate of alternative methods of recovery. I’d share in meetings about how I viewed things, how I learned that the 12-steps is not the only way and that the god component was a huge barrier to me. Amazingly enough, I’ve been approached multiple times after a meeting by someone carrying the same concerns, and they felt relief that what they were feeling was finally said out loud.

Also, during this time, I was learning more about treatment modalities as well as court-mandated treatment. I began to notice how much treatment and the courts rely on 12-step programs. Courts will order someone to attend mandatory support meetings and bring back proof of attendance; putting a surprisingly large amount of faith in these meetings being effective and that the person actually went and didn’t have their slip signed by a friend. Treatment centers are the worst offenders of the appropriation of the 12 steps. They often employ newly credentialed counselors (not therapists) to work for very low pay who essentially drill the first three steps into your brain for 28 days. The walls are adorned with the 12 steps and 12 traditions. Meetings are brought in several nights a week, and a surplus of literature is available to the patients. The alternative to these meetings, should you be an atheist like me, is to attend a different group, Celebrate Recovery, which is a faith-based organization. Little options were left for a person like me.

The more I learned, the more I started to feel like 12-step-based treatment is lazy and largely ineffective. With a long-term success rate, meaning a patient maintains sobriety for one year, it’s difficult for me to understand why this model is considered the gold standard. At best, it’s the high jacking of an idea founded over 80 years ago and tweaked to conform to regulations set by most health departments. There is a lack of meaningful one-on-one contact with a counselor, especially in state-run facilities that are poorly funded, overstaffed, and crowded. Additionally, a typical substance abuse counselor has around two years of formal education before getting licensed and is not qualified to be a therapist or deal with complex mental health issues that commonly accompany addiction. Usually, a one-on-one consists of asking pre-populated questions based on ASAM criteria and then checking the corresponding boxes in an electronic system. I found this to be largely true in non-state-funded facilities as well. The supply (counselors) is usually significantly less than the demand (patients), and very little is done to address the whole person. I’m not implying that these counselors are uncaring or unqualified; they are usually very passionate about helping others but can only work with the tools they’ve been given.

My last two trips to inpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder were different for me. I went to the same organization twice but at different locations. I was glad to be there because I needed a break from life and myself. I wanted to be in a place where I couldn’t act on my own compulsions without a lot of effort, meaning it would require me to discharge AMA, argue with a staff member on why I need to stay, carry all belongings by hand, then find some way to contact a ride. In this particular place, their policy was to keep your phone, wallet, and personal belongings other than clothes for three days. That seemed like a lot of trouble for something I didn’t particularly enjoy anymore. Throughout each stay, it was the drilling of the 12 steps into your mind. Your aftercare plan should include meetings, meetings and a few more just to be sure. Groups were drowning in 12-step quotes and absolutes about the freedom that they promise. No alternatives were offered unless you were a tribal member or at least someone who wanted to explore that process. It was heavily encouraged that you find a meeting within an hour of being discharged and find a sponsor. This seemed to be a critical point because it was a daily reminder during group sessions. I frequently challenged the notion that we adhere to AA or NA programs and sometimes had the quiet support of other patients. I was not trying to be rebellious or cause division in the group. I was there to learn and heal and to hopefully find direction. By this time, I had already worked in the treatment world for over six years and was quite familiar with the standard model of care and what actions were suggested once treatment was complete. Had I felt like these were effective and viable options for me, I could have forgone the whole process outside of detox and found myself a meeting.

When it was my turn to share with the group what I planned to do after I graduated, I firmly stated that I wasn’t sure, but I wasn’t going to attend meetings or another 12-step-based IOP. This answer was usually met with a disappointed look from the group facilitator and a measure of disbelief from those who had already been indoctrinated into AA or NA. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do. I knew what didn’t work for me or 70 percent of those who attended treatment. The idea of mental health and trauma being the basic foundation of my desire to feel different for so many years became glaringly obvious to me. I reflected on the actions and behaviors I exhibited during active use and knew I wouldn’t have done such things while in my right mind. I also thought about how ok I was with those behaviors because I was meeting my internal need to feel different despite the repercussions. Not to mention an entire host of other mental health issues, such as ADHD, high-functioning autism, bipolar disorder, and PTSD being contributing factors. These issues, which suddenly appeared to be the main drivers of my compulsive behaviors, also coupled with a deep family history of substance use, needed to be addressed. Those needs were not being tended to, nor could they be in that facility. The treatment of mental health typically requires additional licensing and highly educated staff that demand higher pay than a strictly substance-use counselor would. I had found my answer. I was going to find a psychiatrist who is also a prescriber to help work through my disorders and get medications as needed. I would also find a therapist who specializes in addiction and trauma and have regular sessions in addition to the psychiatrist. My support was my two best friends, who have been with me for so many years and have a vested interest in seeing me get better. This response received a slightly better response, but there was still a feeling of apprehension on the part of others.

Admittedly, I did not immediately put my plan into action. I continued to drink steadily with a few breaks of sobriety that were usually followed up with a bought of binging. I’d convince myself that since I handled the first few days of drinking without an issue that I could go on. Maybe the past was just a fluke. I also convinced myself it was more economical to buy the larger bottle of alcohol so I wouldn’t have to go to the store every day. I still went to the store every day. My very last bad drunk landed me in a hospital ER for three days. I was heavily sedated and medicated to prevent any seizures, heart attacks, anxiety, or blood clots. A lot of fortified IV fluids were pumped into me due to dehydration and to counteract the alcohol poisoning. The worst part of that experience was that I had called 911 on myself because I knew I overdid it, and I couldn’t effectively be a parent and was at high risk of having a serious medical issue. My son was transported with me to the hospital, and I was keenly aware that CPS would likely be involved. After all, a special needs child cannot remain in a small ER room for several days while the father is almost incapable of forming a complete sentence. My worst nightmare came true, and I had to watch him be led out of the ER by a CPS worker but I knew I had to get better for him and for myself. The bright spot in that situation is that since I called 911 on myself, I still maintained a level of accountability to realize that I was in danger and needed help. My son was returned to me the day after I was discharged with no follow-up requirements from the State.

I would love to say that my last drink was the day I went to the hospital was true. However, a mere three days in an ER doesn’t remove the compulsion to drink. I had a plan, though. I started myself on a medication that gradually reduces the desire to drink and deadens any pleasurable response if one decides to drink. I started the medication the day I got home and began tapering myself down for exactly a week. At the end of the week, I had no desire to consume alcohol and have remained sober since. So, sitting sober and working with a DCYF social worker in a voluntary capacity, I was strongly encouraged to attend an outpatient treatment program. Being so ingrained in the industry in my area, I knew everyone, and they knew me. I did not want to risk my professional reputation by participating in a program that I work with at my job. I found a place that could assess me quickly and offered virtual groups at a set time during the week. I would only need to show up in person when it was my turn to UA. I started to attend groups and learned that, as I suspected, it was heavily steeped in the 12-step mentality. It worsened when I started to attend groups, which consisted of everyone checking in with their name and sobriety date before having to watch an hour-long YouTube video about recovery. There was no discussion, no processing and little to learn. I essentially started to zone out, turning off my camera and would vaguely listen to the video while I surfed the internet or played with my phone. These groups had no therapeutic value as I could have watched any of these videos on my own time. It was a lazy model and ineffectual. I will give some praise to that organization because they realized that groups were poorly conducted, and a new person was brought in who didn’t just show videos. The poorly run groups did encourage me to seek something that is called AIOP – Alternative Intensive Outpatient Program.

I did my due diligence, conducted a lot of research and read client reviews of multiple different programs. I needed a program that was flexible, virtual, and in-network with my insurance. I was also about to start school, and I would rather dedicate my time to being successful than watch pointless videos. I eventually found a treatment program that met my criteria. They had different groups throughout the week and at varying times. I could even attend a virtual group on my lunch break. I also meet with a recovery coach regularly and provide two breath samples a day – all of which are tracked on an app. This program has worked extremely well for me and provides the accountability that my social worker was looking for. I firmly believe that life should be lived while practicing recovery and devoting every waking moment to affirming the label of being an alcoholic or addict does not create a proper balance.

My next task was to find a therapist, as I already had a psychiatrist who dealt with my prescriptions. I used multiple resources to find a therapist who worked in addiction, trauma, and PTSD. The therapist I ended up going to has been wonderful to work with and is able to identify with me as a person based on his own past experiences. I have learned a lot about myself and why I have a tendency to exhibit certain behaviors. I’ve identified why I have so many self-imposed barriers that are designed to keep people at arm’s length and keep me isolated. In the end, I have put my time and effort into a specialized program that works for me and addresses my mental health and addiction issues while not wasting time in a program that I have serious concerns about.

I will never say that one program or modality will work for all people. Some crave the social interaction and fellowship they receive from attending meetings. They like and thrive on the group’s mentality, which is largely their outlet for obtaining friendships, participating in recreational activities, and occupying their time. Others have found great success in aversion therapy programs, such as the one that was located in Seattle. This process does not involve any spiritual demands, does not consider addiction a moral failing, and focuses on training the brain to feel and respond differently to a patient’s substance of choice. This model is fascinating to me. Even though the process can be physically challenging, the results are overwhelmingly positive, with a long-term success rate far above the current gold-standard method. Through the process, the brain is brought back close to its normal functioning state as it learns to react negatively to even the thought of consuming a substance. Essentially, you might feel physically sick if you were to consider taking a drink because of how the treatment is administered. This model also has its flaws. While extremely effective at reducing the desire to discontinue use, the underlying problem of mental health is not addressed and as I have previously described, mental health can be the root of the overall problem.

The treatment plan I developed for myself addresses my mental health and my addiction. My medication has freed me from any desire to drink but without additional services, I would still sit with every problem and issue that manifested my desire to feel different. My time is valuable and the time I have allotted to recovery-based activities is set by me and is spent effectively. I have no anxiety about being around large crowds, I don’t feel pressured to speak, I don’t have to participate in prayers, and I have never questioned the involvement of God or a higher power. I essentially took the power back to myself. I wasn’t willing to turn my will and life over to another person, a group, or a higher power. I was perfectly capable of making the decision and taking the steps that put me into active addiction, and I was just as capable of taking the actions needed to get and keep myself out. Humans are strong and resilient. Asking a human to give up their will and life is absurd to me. It’s just as absurd as having to disclose all your secrets, failures, bad acts and flaws to another person just because they’ve had similar experiences and earned a few years of being clean. It’s no secret that the rooms are a hotbed of gossip, and I can promise you, based on my own experience, that what you think you’ve shared in confidence means more to you than your sponsor. You might have just divulged some very personal information to a person who sees it as good fodder for the rumor mill. My final issue with the rooms is that people with a few years of clean time suddenly think they are medical experts and try to dictate exactly what recovery should look like. I’ve seen so many newcomers become discouraged because they had started a Suboxone regimen to get off opiates, only to be told that they are not truly clean because they still rely on a substance. A person who worked hard to reach a point where they maybe got a job, reunited the family and is now a contributing member of society is shot down because he has some physician-prescribed medication to help deal with physical side effects. This ignorant thinking is poisonous as the “old timers” think their recovery is superior because they went cold turkey or ended up in prison before getting clean. Medication-assisted therapy wasn’t even an option years ago, and it’s like voodoo to the hardline NA’ers.

LIFE IN RECOVERY

During my days of heavy participation in the program, I had no problem introducing myself to anyone as an addict. It was almost second nature! A few job interviews could have been railroaded had I not remembered to exclude the addict addition to my name. A wise person whom I respect entirely asked me why I keep calling myself an addict. The only answer I had was that its because that’s how we introduce ourselves in the rooms and is a constant reminder of what we are and always will be. This simple question opened an entirely new internal discussion in my mind about how I wanted to be perceived by others and myself. Yes, I’m well aware that I am an addict, and I act like one when I’m using, but what else am I? I’m also a father, a son, an employee, and a helper. Why don’t I introduce myself as these things when they are vastly different but equally important. Why would I want someone’s first impression of me to be an addict and not something else? This is especially true with someone who’s never had an addiction and might possibly hold on to the stereotype that addicts are less-than, lower-class losers who prey on society. If you do manage to make it past initial introductions, you’ll likely spend the remainder of the relationship proving that you aren’t using and your life is on track. Most likely, you won’t realize you’re doing this, but any time you call out sick, cancel plans, or somehow deviate from the norm, their first thought is going to question your sobriety. Once you attach that label to yourself, there’s no going back.

I slowly started to introduce myself in meetings as “a person in recovery” or something similar. I was trying to train my brain to think differently. Around the time I stopped using anything other than my name during an introduction, I left the program for good. I continued to think about labels and I realized that I never met a person who survived cancer introduce themselves as a cancer patient. Learning that information took some time, conversation, and trust, and it is ultimately up to that person whether or not they want to disclose that information. I feel it should be the same way about a person who’s in recovery. Such private and personal information should be kept that way until a measure of trust is established. Instead, people cover their vehicles with NA or AA stickers and cliché slogans or wear merchandise that essentially advertises their involvement in an anonymous program. My addictions were intensely painful and personal, and so is my recovery. I’ve lost so much throughout the years; a lot of people died, and I experienced more pain than should be allowed. I gave up pieces of myself, crossed every line I had set for myself, and caused long-lasting damage to my body and mind. All these things are deeply personal, and so is my recovery. I don’t want praise or recognition for not using a substance today. I mostly crave and enjoy being known as a normal person who takes care of his children, goes to work to support his family, and does mundane things like setting budgets for grocery store shopping. No one gets praised for being normal. Internally, I will always be reminded that I have an issue with addiction, and I need to be careful in certain situations to keep myself safe. I adjust my route when grocery shopping so I can avoid the liquor aisle and rarely communicate with someone in active addiction unless I’m trying to help them get into treatment. By no measure do I ever expect an “atta boy” just for being clean, nor will I advertise that I suffered through multiple addictions, but now I’m better. We are built to be part of the crowd and integrate into society, and as shocking as it might be, most of society doesn’t care about our recovery journey. I still advocate the dropping of the addict label and find a more positively affirming title that compliments you.

A NEW ADDICTION

12-step programs will instill the notion that a person needs meetings forever or is at risk of relapse. You can be convinced through fear and peer pressure that meetings are your salvation. People will religiously attend a meeting daily, believing they absolutely need them. Families have suffered through the meeting addiction because mom or dad will prioritize meetings over the needs of the family. I often hear statements like “I need meetings to recharge my batteries” or describe needing a meeting as they would when they needed a drink or drug. Others will consciously neglect making any sort of plan to improve their station in life just so they can make meetings. I can’t even count how many people will stay on Section 8 housing, collect food stamps, and work a dead-end job to avoid new responsibilities that could affect their involvement in the program. Certainly, there are those who can’t work for a valid reason, who are on a fixed income or can’t attend school, but there are those who are capable of moving out of the position of relying on public assistance and into being self-sufficient. I believe it’s a disservice to newcomers for someone who has years clean to not have done anything with their lives. Recovery should certainly mean real self-improvement via transitioning to being a productive member of society instead of just being clean and having the ability to quote the Big Book. If you want to be the person who has what others would want, it involves an entire life transformation, not just being an aspiring 12-step guru.

The adoption of recovery into everyday living is prevalent in society. Sober softball, bowling leagues, clean and sober camping, local, national, and even world conventions occur throughout the year. Some folks refuse to leave the safety of the 12-step circle. They buy their car from someone in recovery, their hair stylist and roofer are both members of the program, and their babysitter is also a former addict. The thought of broadening their circle seems scary and unsafe, and that unseen safety net makes them feel safe.

I still maintain that the anonymous programs can and do serve a purpose to a large audience. Meetings provide a place to be for the newcomer who’s still figuring out what a life without substances can look like. It’s a placeholder for those who don’t work and need a safe environment that distracts them from the inevitable invasive thoughts that encourage us to get loaded. However, it’s a poor environment for learning the science of the brain or for exposure to alternative ways of sustainable recovery. Attendance and involvement should taper down over time as life begins to expand and flourish. Newcomers need to tend to their recovery while thinking of creating a new and productive life. Eventually, the tables should be reversed. A person with established recovery should tend to their new life while keeping recovery in mind.

This article might make the reader think that I hate or discourage 12-step programs when, in fact, I do not. They have certainly served a purpose in my life, and I’ve met a lot of good people in the rooms. There are issues, such as the overpowering involvement of God or a higher power, which are fundamentally problematic for me, but that’s what is known as a “me problem”. I oppose the integration of any private program, such as NA or AA into treatment and court programs as research and metrics continuously evolve to show how ineffective these programs are as a whole….remember less than 30 percent of patients successfully achieve a year of continuous sobriety post-treatment. I support people advocating for themselves and research methods that might serve them more effectively and produce more favorable outcomes. I endorse the idea that we shed the label of “Addict” and look upon ourselves in a more favorable manner and not make recovery the cornerstone of our personality.

This is a great time to seek alternatives and to speak up when something wears against your soul so aggressively that it impedes the recovery process. We should stay true to ourselves and continue to affirm that how we feel is important to us and not concern ourselves with the opinions of others. It’s a perfect time to reach out and claim a life and recovery process that uniquely fits you.

Steven Desrosier

I am a father, an employee who works in public health, a student and a causal writer who happens to be in recovery from addiction. I am passionate about helping others, especially those who feel alienated by standard treatment models and community support groups. I am an advocate for harm reduction and a proponent of self-advocacy because we know what works best for us.

I can be found and messaged on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-desrosier-7971846/

Article source: https://articlebiz.com
This article has been viewed 218 times.

Rate article

Article comments

There are no posted comments.

Related articles