Recover Reality!

Finally! Recover From Recoveries!

Are you suffering from the painful consequences of substance misuse?

Is problem anger disrupting your relationships?

Has reality become distorted?

Don't give up hope. You are not alone.

I believe I can help you attain a stable, progressive recovery.

Contact me today.

Together, we will recover your reality!

"I''m Sober.....Today."

“Isn’t that your little daughter’s hand you’re holding?”

“Yes!”

“And you’re sober today? How about tomorrow?”

“Well, nobody can-”

“Yes, you can! You’re the captain of this ship! You steer the boat! Not your “disease”!

Do you value your daughter enough to protect her? Of course you do!

So stay clear of the rocks!

The boat goes where you direct it!

Don’t run with the rudderless!

Set you GPS* and go with confidence!

*Goofball Prevention Screen - Ed@recoverreality.com

"How Does Addiction Start?"

Ummm…great question. Is it a matter of brain chemistry? Maybe it’s negative environmental factors - poverty, lack of education, single parent home, lack of mobility, etc.

Certainly powerful detriments to establishing and maintaining a pro-social lifestyle.

Many years ago, naturalist Henry Thoreau wrote an essay condemning the indifference of the Federal and Massachusetts State governments to the existence of the institution of slavery in our country.

Thoreau describes the moral descent which precipitated the established and sustained practice of the enslavement of men, women and children this way:

“After the first blush of sin, comes its indifference and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made…” - Thoreau (1847)

Slavery was forcibly imposed man upon man.

Today, it is self-imposed.

Yes, Henry Thoreau was a naturalist.

He knew the nature of the natural man.

-ed@recoverreality.com

Recovery Road? Take This Exit!

Met a person the other day on Recovery Road. He’s been traveling on it for twenty years!

You know, in perpetual recovery. Focused on sobriety. Sustained by meetings - his disease in remission.

He told me his story.

Different but the same. Started young - weed. Just chill’n with friends. Had a sweet spot.

In time, others showed up. Perc 30’s. Social seduction.

Too much coin. Felt the sickness.

Crossroads.

Enter the dragon.

Suffered much, caused more. Bottomed out. Two year struggle. Finally, got clean.

Today, he’s sober. By his account, just for today. A sincere man. Deserves better.

Asked him if he’d like to take a ride. Wanted to show him something.

Leveled off at 1,900 feet. Just high enough. I asked him to look down and see the road he is traveling on. Asked him what shape it is.

Barely heard him,” A circle.”

That’s right - Recovery Road is circular. A never-ending road traveled by people with a never-ending condition. “Once an addict, always an addict”, right?

Landed and showed him the exit from Recovery Road: “Highway of Life”.

The Highway of Life. It’s underlayment is sobriety but it’s paved with meaningful work, satisfying relationships, opportunities to create and contribute to family, friends and community.

Recovery Road is a way of life.

The Highway of Life is the way to live. - Ed

Aftercare - For Who? You?

The term “aftercare” depicts a continuum of treatment for the addict/alcoholic who has completed a structured intervention/treatment program.

Typically, an aftercare plan is formulated in conference with the patient/client.

What if there was a program which taught that the identity of addict/alcoholic was disposable?

Irrelevant to the client? That the client should not define their identity by their most regrettable behavior?

What if a client was prepared by their treatment program to care for themselves when they transitioned because they were capable to do so?

Then they would be free to provide care for their loved ones ever after.

Now, that’s aftercare!

‘Just say’in.

  • Ed

A Tract For Our Times

“If we don’t cannibalize ourselves, someone else will.” - Steve Jobs

Someone has.

The addiction treatment field has been cannibalized, that is, medicalized.

Self-help networks and professional treatment stakeholders have collaborated to suppress the truth regarding efficacious intervention modalities. Their default definition of addiction is usually accompanied by a declaration of what addiction is definitely not- a moral failing.

Nothing must compromise the expanding pool of misinformed, disenfranchised people who serve as units of perpetual income, drinking from the magical waters of Suboxone, dispensed with the blessing of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

The result? A massive subculture of perpetually recovering minions, existing in victimology by virtue of their altered brain chemistry and an indelible substance use disorder. The best version of themselves now diminished to that of a sustained recovering addict/alcoholic, condemned to managing the beast within.

But how to nurture and contain this subculture? How do you give them a semblance of freedom without truly releasing them to live life on life’s terms?

Answer: Politicize them!

Simply provide them with cause, a rallying point and exploit their propensity to “give back”. This fosters what every person desperately needs- a social identity and a sense of inclusion.

Mission accomplished! They’ve been indoctrinated into the grand Recovery Movement! The cost? Just their allegiance to their legislative agenda.

  • Ed

Recovery Road Needs Repaving!

A highway wears out from the top, but it falls apart from the bottom.  This is another way of saying that the road base determines the service-life of a road.  The base supports everything above it, including traffic.

What is the base or "underlayment" of our current addiction recovery policies and treatment? Why, a medical modal, of course! It is usually stated in a declarative sentence such as: "Addiction is a primary, neuro-bio-psycho-social disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. "     

Well? How's it working?  Yeah, I know...a "medical" problem needs a medical address -triage, treatment, MAT (Methadone/Suboxone) and entry into the culture of life-long recovery!  

“Well, at least people won't die with a needle in their arm!” 

True, but they won't truly live without one either.

Addiction: medical condition or behavioral decision?

What does your sense of reality tell you?

Yeah, me too.  - Ed

  


 

In Remission by Permission

The term remission is often used in medical and clinical research to describe the lessening of the effects of addiction.  Are you presently in remission?

Did you have anything to do with  it?  Did you suffer enough and realize the suffering you caused others?  Did you convict yourself?  Did you humble yourself and sincerely seek forgiveness?

Are you now sober and committed to living as you were meant to live it? 

Have you recovered your reality? 

If so, you have rejected the notion that you're in remission from the disease of addiction.  Rather, you have given yourself permission based on a heartfelt submission of your selfish ambitions.

Remission (self-excusing victim) or permission (self-accusing victor)?

Your move. - Ed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sobriety - The End Game?

Remember when you thought you were a chess player?

You knew the board, how to get over, how to maneuver or "play" people.  

Come to find out, you were nothing but a chess piece.

You played yourself and you lost.  You were enmeshed in addiction.

You felt the heat.  You moved toward the light.  Sobriety!

 Wonderful!  Now, what? Perpetual "recovery"?

From the culture of addiction to the culture of recovery, with all its own rituals?

Instead, weave your recovery into the fabric of everyday life - with everyday people.

Afterall, sobriety is a synonym for normality.  - Ed

   

 

Be a "Rebel with a Cause"!

What you don't need is another set of directions.

What you do need is a fresh set of insights!

Acquaint yourself with these authors and their websites:

Marc Lewis, Stanton Peele and Carl Hart!

Soon, you'll be evolving from K.I.S.S. -"Keep it simple stupid!"

to

K.I.S.S. - "Keep increasing self-sufficiency!" - Ed

K.I.S.S. YOUR WAY TO LIFE -LONG SOBRIETY!

If you've had any experience in recovery circles, then you're probably familiar with the acronym K.I.S.S. - "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"  Good advice......for awhile. 

This concept is certainly useful as you may be overwhelmed with all that is front of you as you rebuild your life.  "K.I.S.S." reminds you that without sobriety, you're building your life on sinking sand.

As you successfully build and travel on "Recovery Road",  you will naturally increase your ability to handle daily stressors and gain self-confidence.  

You will get things done!  You will make and spend your money honestly! 

In time, "KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!" will become woefully inadequate to be of any use to you.  Your "Recovery Road" has evolved from a single lane, one-way street to a 4-lane super highway of life!

Let's move from, "Keep It Simple Stupid!" to "Keep Increasing Self-Sufficiency!"

Self-sufficiency!  Staying on a pathway of continued personal growth, establishing positive relationships, making significant contributions to your community and being a blessing to your family.   

"K.I.S.S." -  ("Keep Increasing your Self-Sufficiency!"), is an acronym for life!  

Don't Stop Drug Use to Stop Drug Use!

That's right. That's not the way to the life-long sobriety you're hoping for.

It seems as if it should be.  If substance misuse is hurting my life then I should stop it!  People try that everyday. Everyday, people fail.  What's up with that?

The problem may be that you're too close to the immediate problem- you're drug use. Let me explain.  By being "too close" I mean that you're suffering from the consequences of your drug use here and now!  It makes sense to want relief from the pain "here and now".

That's the problem.  By focusing on "no drug use" as the immediate  goal, it oftentimes becomes the only goal. 

That's why for so many people their relief will prove temporary.  The immediate goal of sobriety should be recovering one's reality.  That is, to live the life you were meant to live!  

Strive to connect with positive, productive people!  Get things done that need to be done! Learn to mange your money wisely!  You will soon develop self-confidence and have hope of a better future! 

You will value your life!  You will instinctively protect it! You will be satisfied.

This is why you should attend meetings which feature advice,  insight and recommendations as to how to establish a life you will love to live .    

Get the ultimate pain relief - recover your reality!        - Ed    


 

"To Recover Or To Re-calibrate? That is the Question!"

What should be the goal of your self-help meetings? What should be the goal of the intervention programming you are attending?

Should it be to promote your ongoing "recovery" from the "disease" of addiction  or should it be to facilitate the re-calibration of your "moral compass"?  

If you believe you're truly powerless over your addiction and the best label your can ever aspire to is, "recovering addict/alcoholic", then seek continual support for your disease.

If, however, you know that your substance misuse was a series of conscience, poor choices and that only conscience, positive choices can "re-calibrate" your life's trajectory, then seek meetings and counseling which will encourage you to do so.      - Ed         

 

Have You Been "Fooled" 0r do you "Rule"?

It Fools!  "I'm addicted to (drug of choice)!" 

It Rules!  "I'm addicted to the experience my drug gives me!"

It Fools!  "Stay clean by staying away from drugs/alcohol!"

It Rules!  "Stay clean by creating and living a satisfying life!" 

It Fools!  "First, I've got to work on myself!"

It Rules!  "Think of their recovery from you rather than your recovery from drug/drink!"

It Fools!  "Get a sponsor!"  

It Rules!  "Get a life coach!" (Life coaches address other life issues besides physical sobriety)

It Fools!  "Recovery" (suggests a return to a previous state - stagnation )

It Rules!  "Reimaged"  (Restored self-respect; familial functioning and active citizenship.                  

Reimaging rekindles the imagination, sparks creativity and promotes a zest for living! )

It Fools! "I need a new set of directions for my life!"

It Rules! "I need a new set of insights for my life!" 

Don't be fooled! Rule! - Ed 

 

 

Media Madness And the Puffing of Addiction

"Heroin is killing our town!" "The heroin epidemic is of unprecedented proportions!"

Really? I thought bad choices  are killing our town and there are people making bad choices in an unprecedented number.

If you believe that drug addiction is just like a cancer as it's purported to be by many,  then here's  a suggestion:

Instead of attending your usual self-help meeting, attend a local support group for cancer patients.  Simply attend and tell your story of your life and death struggle with addiction.   Then, liken your struggle with theirs.

Listen and contribute.  Engage others in a conversation.

You just might get a new perspective.  

“Heroin is killing our town!”

“Nah….it’s you in your mirror.”

If you are truly interested in a well-documented, compassionate treatment of whether addiction is a disease and the efficacy of our drug laws, may I recommend two books: The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis and High Price by Dr. Carl Hart .     - Ed

 

Depth Beats Breadth

Regular attendance at a support group is usually portrayed as essential to maintaining one's sobriety. You may be encouraged to look for a meeting which has a lot to people, a variety of speakers, off road parking and great coffee.  Sounds like a plan! 

Contrast this with a meeting which is less attractive - few speakers, sparsely attended, on road parking and generic coffee.

Which would you rather attend?  All depends on your purpose.  If it's "all about you", by all means, go the big group!

If you've learned that "it's about others", you'll commit yourself to the needy, the unconnected people who could use your maturity and leadership.

You will then have to opportunity to teach them the truth about support groups.

You will teach them that their group attendance is valuable because it's the first phase of establishing  positive relationships. Relationships which can only be  developed outside the meetings.

That's right. Outside the meetings - for breakfast, with the kids a the park, beaching it, etc.

You know.

Only outside the meetings, through the normal activities of life, will you take your acquaintances to another level.

Depth of relationships will beat breadth of relationships every time!

Pretty soon, they'll be a new meeting in town. - Ed


 

"Tomorrrow, Today!"

 

Maintaining sobriety is thought to be living one "day-at-a-time:" while minimizing stressors and avoiding "triggers" which may "drive" one to relapse.

Right destination, wrong route! The sayings, "Just for Today" and "A Day-At-A-Time",  have proven inadequate for the journey of recovery.

May I offer a thought which I think will encourage you and be more in line with living in reality?  "Tomorrow, Today!".

Make attainable, realistic  goals. As many as you like!

These are your "tomorrows"!   What are they? To be there for the birth of your child? To reconnect with family members?  To finally own a home of your own?  Whatever they are, they're yours - personal and authentic.

Question: For you to reach these goals of tomorrow,  what quality of sobriety to you have to keep today?

Thought so!  "Tomorrow, Today!"

Think and act  with your wonderful and satisfying "tomorrows" in mind and today's sobriety will remain solid!   -Ed


 

YOU HAVE A CHOICE!

Either go to meetings and hypnotically listen to "drive-by" speakers telling "war stories"

or

dynamically participate in meetings that are full of A.I.R.! 

"Hypnotic" listening is active passivity!  The story touches the emotions but they don't equip you  with any actionable skills for your life outside the church basement!  

"Dynamic" listening involves the whole person.

Speakers and audience impart  Advice, Insights and Recommendations (A.I.R.) for each other's benefit! 

"What's in your basement?" - Ed


 

"It's Not My Fault!

Damn doctors! Everybody knows that for many heroin and opioid abusers, addiction started with opioid prescriptions from doctors.   Everybody, that is, except the actual opioid abusers!

It is true that prescription opioid abuse it a great problem in itself and may lead to heroin use. It is also true that some doctors overprescribe opioids.  However, the majority of opioid abusers do not have a prescription for opioids!  It's not their prescription! It's their fault!

It's quite convenient  to attribute the current opioid crises to "MD's Gone Wild'.  It's even been termed, "opioid epidemic".   

I certainly agree with this terminology if we mean, "Affecting many individuals throughout an area at the same time." or " A rapid spread, growth,  or development".

I certainly do not agree if we term the opioid epidemic as, "A rapidly spreading outbreak of a contagious disease".  To do so alleviates the substance abuser of all responsibility, portraying them as victims and releasing them from total responsibility to confront their actions and enact pro-social changes.

O.K. then, how did this opioid crises develop? Answer: In the usual way. It's just that now, with the Fentanyl- laced heroin, people are using real "bullets".

In the vast majority of cases of opioid/heroin abuse I've dealt with over the past 25 years,  an individual begins their devolution with alcohol and/or marijuana.  They alter their state,  i.e. change their experience of reality for a variety of reasons.

At isn't long before they are socially seduced to experiment with other substances. Enter the pills, usually Perc  30's.  Note: Their first taste of opioids is not their  overprescribed medication; nor is it the sharing of someone else's legal prescription.

Now, the user is faced with a dilemma. Pills cost real money. Either one steals to maintain one's habit or deal opioids for a discount- anything to avoid dope sickness.

Another option is always on the table - heroin. Cheap and by all accounts, more satisfying.

"Enter the Dragon!" Today's Fentanyl- laced heroin is much more potent and, in many instances, not heroin at all but pure Fentanyl. Real bullets!

The overwhelming number of opioid abusers develop their habit the usual way -  social seduction .

There is no opiate "epidemic" - just you in your mirroir.  -Ed

                                                                                                                                           

 


 

"90 Meetings in 90 days"

In order to support and encourage those in early recovery, it is often suggested that they attend "90 meetings in 90 days".

Though well-meaning, this counsel may contribute to more life stressors than it alleviates!

The demands of a life in early recovery and beyond transcend the walls of an A.A./N.A. meeting.

You have much to "recover" and you must expand your understanding of what it means to attend "90 in 90".

Since recovery encompasses all aspects of one's life, consider the following "meetings" as those that would fit the mantra of attending "90 meetings in 90 days":

A meeting with my child's teacher

A meeting with a credit counselor

A meeting with a therapist for my problem anger

A meeting with the RMV

A meeting with the DOR

A meeting with by book discussion club

 A meeting to acquire a library card

A meeting to join a running club

A meeting to enroll in a cooking class

A self-help meeting of substance, etc.

A medical appointment

A dental appointment 

What do you think?

Advance from keeping "clean & sober" to "Recover Reality" !

Now get busy listing meetings for the next 90 days!          

                                                                                             - Ed

 

 

 

A Letter to My "Disease?"

In many treatment programs, invested counselors utilize an assignment which is usually given to those recovering individuals who have attained a measure of stability.

The assignment is really a request that the client write a letter to their "disease" i.e. their addictionThey're asked to reflect on how their substance use has ravaged their lives and by putting pen to paper, verbalize life lessons learned.

Through the years, I've read a number of such letters and have been deeply moved by the sincerity, pain and resolve couched in such writings.  Nevertheless, many of these people lapse. Others relapse. Still others, overdose and die.

What can we do? As treatment providers, it is incumbent upon us to provide our clients with what we know to be true.  We know that words shape ideas.  If those ideas are strong enough in our minds, they shape our thinking and subsequently, our actions.

To write "A Letter to My Disease" is an effort to communicate to an entity, a power outside of me.  It subconsciously supports the notion that my addiction is my assemblage of decaying body parts and dark thoughts which came to life and turned on me!

Please!

The exercise is a wonderful one. Just re-title it to reflect the truth of reality:

"A Letter to Myself"

I lost my reality by repeatedly making poor choices. 

I can recover my reality by repeatedly making good choices.

Try saying it this way: "Once an addict, once an addict"  . . . because I say so!

                                                                                                                     - Ed