Christian Drug Alcohol Recovery
Christian Drug Alcohol Recovery
Sobriety From Alcohol & Drugs Is Possible…
I don’t have a problem….I drink in moderation, purely to relax after work, unwind when looking after the kids, or to recover from my relationship woes.
Most will admit it only briefly, in the silence of their own space. For the briefest of moments, you know that something has to change. Before the addiction clouds things over again.
If you’ve been round in the circle of addiction enough times….if the consequences in your life have caused enough pain already….if you’ve past breaking point… you may be ready for help.
This is a bit of a “which comes first?” topic, but let’s explore it, as different approaches will work best for different folks.
Some recovering alcoholics take a hands-on, action first approach. They get a sponsor even before it’s recommended, they attend 2 meetings a day for the first six months, they preach and reach out, about the 12 steps.
It’s almost like they have a new addiction 🙂
But it raises an interesting question of how much of the recovery work can you realistically achieve through external action, before you look inward?
How much of the belief and mindset shifts can be changed, without doing therapy?
And how much of the external action can come naturally, once the appropriate internal shifts have occurred?
For me, I think the distinction comes down to patterns of your behavior, and your level of awareness of them.
Yes, taking action is what AA and mutual aid advocates. And I endorse that.
Going out and putting yourself in an uncomfortable trigger situation, ensuring you have the right back up support, can lead to progress, and can provide motivation for future progress (more action). Action begets action, and this can be very productive, very quickly, for those lucky enough to have appropriate support.
Once you make the connection, cognitively, between going out, going through an old trigger situation, and reacting differently, this can fast track those new neural pathways of behavior getting laid down.
It can also begin to immunize you from anxiety, over time, when you repeatedly experience imperfect results in the world around you, and there are no disastrous consequences. There is no penalty for failure, contrary to what your anxiety has been telling you.
But, it’s also very stressful sometimes.
Throwing yourself in, at what feels like the deep end, can cause additional stress over and above your existing coping skills, and for some, push them into a potential relapse situation.
Taking action works because we’re attempting to force into existence, certain *conclusions*, emotionally.
We’re trying to take action in the outside world, to speed up our arrival at a meaning, about an event, in order to change our beliefs. We’re helping along the internal, unconscious process of “A means B”.
Pushing practical actions so as to bring about the desired conclusions *can* help.
But it also takes time, and can itself be traumatizing, if it goes wrong.
Trying to be overly-sociable (needy?) at your next AA meeting, in an attempt to break that isolation pattern once and for all, comes from a place of good intention, but may not go the way you intended.
All I’m saying is, don’t push yourself too hard, too quickly.
Alcoholism Is From Within
If you’re of a particularly sensitive nature, or it was real extreme trauma that led you to alcohol, you’ll likely prefer to do the inside work first, with a view to making the actions on the outside progress more naturally, and smoothly.
Indeed many of us don’t have even the slightest awareness, that it’s the internal trauma that has been driving the addiction all this time – we just assume that we’re messed up, and worthless – and as a chemical depressant, the alcohol seems to back that up that.
The question becomes, what about my behavior is maintaining my addiction, and what might be the underlying beliefs and conclusions that lead to this?
This is all about identifying the recurring patterns that came up during your addiction. Sometimes this is tricky if you’ve not had the one-to-one therapy work or private drug alcohol addiction treatment.
But the key is to see the patterns of behavior in repeating situations, and identify what it allows you to do, or what the hidden benefit is.
e.g. The way to ____ is to drink alcohol (fill in the blank).
This will usually surface a belief about yourself.
To get to the root, ask yourself how you know that belief is true? What events led to this belief? Working on those events, can change the conclusion you reached, the belief about yourself, and ultimately the behavior.
As you can imagine this is difficult to do alone, which is why they always recommend to work with a therapist.
But when you make gains here, you can see real-world changes that seem to just naturally happen, with little effort, as all the work has already been done on the inside.
Yours in recovery,
With all the recovery avenues to go down nowadays, there is none so controversial as the 12 steps process .v. others.
As you may imagine we advocate a Christian based recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.
Indeed, it was Bill himself who started us down this road, and without him, many of us would not be in recovery today.
Nevertheless, all this really means is that we include our spiritual approach in the way we go about recovery. We’re open enough to admit that it may make no difference in the world, to the end result, as to which way you go about things, in addiction recovery.
Regardless of your own views, like all good divisive topics, there is an ongoing debate as to the usefulness of one approach to recovery .v. another.
And we don’t really believe there is one “better” than another, as this is such a subjective process, and what suits me, may not suit you, and so forth.
For me, I believe the the 12 step approach is pragmatic, in as far as it doesn’t claim to be a belief set, mindset, or anything but a series of actions and habits, that appear to work, in the most part, for those who practice them.
Does it work for everyone, all the time? No. No process does.
Is it likely to help you move beyond certain boundaries you’ve established in addiction? For the most part, yes.
As above, we know 12 steps is not for everyone. Alternatives are available.
SMART – the SMART approach has it’s roots in a more practical, less spiritual approach, and works well in tandem with mental health approaches like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and I’ve certainly heard of individuals making huge life changes through insights gained via SMART.
SMART has an outstanding reputation and if you’re not spiritually inclined, this may be a very real help to your recovery journey. Meetings for SMART are plentiful nowadays, and you’ll be in the company of some very articulate and intelligent peers.
There are of course various sub groups within the recovery community practising their own brand of mutual aid also, such as groups specific to female/male issues in recovery. Of course these can be hugely beneficial for those affected with previous trauma at the hands of the opposite gender, to prevent being re-triggered and help make progress on sensitive issues without the negative associations from those experiences.
The fact that so many have joined together to create and maintain all of these groups and approaches is a testament in itself, to our ability to adapt, create, and recover together.
So no matter what your approach, beliefs, or personal vision, I welcome you to our site, and look forward to sharing our recovery journey with you 🙂
It saddens me when I come across those who have exhausted themselves in
attempts at recovery, and, for one reason or another, been “unsuccessful” so far.
I put this in quotes because of course, the journey is exactly that, a journey, with no defined starting point, or end destination.
To conclude, in any moment, that “I have failed”, “recovery has failed” or “this doesn’t work” is to believe that there is a defined end goal that must be achieved, or to have such an exacting vision of perfect recovery, that it cannot ever exist.
When I was in treatment, the therapist did a very useful exercise.
Much of it, is centered around the awareness, that, when it comes to
alcohol, we are helpless. The circumstances of our lives, had combined
with the associations, the learned observation we made as children, and
current events, to mean that – *we didn’t stand a chance* against alcohol.
No matter how much I tried to resist, the truth was undeniable – there I was, in treatment, in a therapeutic group. I had physically arrived there. The circumstances of my life had physically forced me to be there, in that place, at that time.
Whatever conscious efforts I was making to that point, clearly weren’t working.
In whatever way I felt I had enough insight, I was intelligent enough, I
was “better than” alcohol, to overcome it, clearly wasn’t true, as there I was, sitting in treatment.
In fact, the combined wisdom, intelligence, life experience, and grit, of 20 other people, sitting around me, clearly wasn’t enough, to overcome alcohol. Because they were there too.
I began to realise how powerful alcohol had become in my life. I realised how much I needed this help. From *any* source that would provide it. Regardless of my personal viewpoint, it was recovery, or death.
I don’t say this for shock value or to scare, but to illustrate how deluded alcohol can make one become, and how much power
it truly did have over me.
As they say, the only way for me to become, what I thought was “powerful over alcohol” i.e. to have control over it again – was to become power*less*.
To give up my conscious efforts to control it, as they were clearly ineffectual.
To embrace the idea that the control I thought I was exerting over alcohol, was illusory.
And to realise that control over alcohol does not come by consciously
exerting it – it comes through acceptance, and understanding of the
At that point, there is no seeking alcohol to cope, and therefore, there is no need to control.
I realised none of this at the time, of course.
I was overwhelmed, in over my head, and with disastrous consequences in my life and relationships.
But the lesson has stayed with me, and kept me….well, less complacent than I would be without it.
Recovery works…but we must accept upfront that there is a certain amount of
failure built into any “success”, however you define it.
There is a certain amount of time and effort, usually required, before personal
breakthroughs are made. There is a certain amount of ongoing curiosity
about self, about life patterns, and a genuine desire to break these,
before realisations are obtained.
Any apparent current lack of progress on your recovery journey could mean that there is an element of the pattern of addiction in your life, that you have not
It could mean you’ve not truly embraced the idea of powerlessness yet.
It could mean you’ve not understood all your triggers yet.
But I believe that if you apply enough perseverance, and grit, to these
elements (the right things!), then your vision of recovery success, will
come to meet you, at the right time.
Keep going, you’re doing great 🙂
Yours in recovery,
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