Tag Archives: alcoholism

An Invitation: Alternative Roads to Recovery Telesummit

Mosaic

 

Hey, everyone. How’s it going? I hope you’re all well, but however you are, I’m glad you’re here. Honestly, and not because I’m about to tout something (‘cuz…I am), but because if you’re here, then it means you’re a seeker, someone open, someone dedicated to finding what works for you, and not afraid to use it!

Perhaps LifeRing’s it, perhaps it’s not quite it but just one piece of your recovery program, perhaps it’s still a puzzle you’re trying to put together – and that’s not a bad thing.

There’s been lots of talk lately about “multiple pathways to recovery”, and it’s been music to my ears. This wasn’t necessarily the case when I got started on my own journey – in fact, it took some real digging through the labyrinthine interwebs just to find LifeRing. At the time it seemed if it was that difficult, then it must be a dubious source of sobriety support. I waded in cautiously, but even then something about it just…felt…right. So I dove in headfirst, and I’ve never looked back.

Now I consider all the other folks who found LifeRing and other means of support such as (just to name a few) S.O.S., SMART Recovery, or Rational Recovery way earlier than I did as sources of not just personal inspiration but a testament to something else, something far more important: They were, and are, pioneers in addiction recovery. Living, breathing examples that what they’ve done, walking whatever path they’ve chosen, works for them. The fact that their lives – and the lives of their families, friends, co-workers, and society in general – were and are improved for the better is reason enough alone to prove those paths legit, and that that’s all that really matters.

Somewhere along the line other folks,  both in and out of the greater recovery community, took notice and have come to the conclusion that this is OK to do. In fact, the concept has gotten so much attention and gained such unprecedented importance it’s now a movement, peopled by those deeply committed to saving as many lives as possible, who are open to the reality that people need all the help they can get, in any way that works for them.

One such person is a guy by the name of William White, a professional researcher with a Masters in Addiction Studies who’s worked in the addiction treatment and research fields since 1969 and was one of the first to get on board with the multiple pathways concept. (He’s also the author of a book some of you may have heard of – or even read – called “Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction and Recovery in America”.)

He also writes about all kinds of different things recovery-related on his blog, The William White Papers. In a recent post of his I found that he’s taken the concept even further, one that many of us have been living in our own recoveries for years now as well, and that’s of a recovery mosaic. A bright, colorful mishmash that’s not a “pathway” so much as as of little dabs of this and nice dollops of that, all melded together to create one beautiful, harmonious whole. It doesn’t necessarily mean just meetings or other mutual support aids anymore, either – it includes mindfulness practices, yoga, Buddhist teachings, hot wax therapies

OK, not the hot wax, but anyhoo, you get the idea. And so…if you’re looking for ways to create, or expand, your own mosaic/pathway, I’m most happy to let you know that LifeRing will be participating in a 5-day telesummit coming up on August 15 – 19th. Hosted by Recovery Life Management’s Beverly Sartain, it’s called “Alternative Roads to Recovery”, and along with us several other recovery groups/resources will participate, such as:

SMART
Online Recovery Communities
HAMS (Harm-reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support)
Intuition in Recovery
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Medication-assisted Treatment
Mentorship in Recovery
Mindfulness Based Recovery
Says Beverly (from the ARR website):
Alternative Roads To Recovery encourages men and women to find a recovery practice that works for them. Very often, that recovery practice is made up of many different systems and support. I’ll share my own journey with alternatives that had me celebrating 10 years of recovery this year with no relapses, EVER!

Sounds kinda nice, doesn’t it? If you want to check it out, please have a gander at this link here: Alternative Roads to Recovery.

And if you attend, I’d love to hear how it went (and even if you don’t, I love hearing from you anyway)!

🙂 Bobbi C.

 

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New LifeRing Meeting In Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Grand Rapids

We’re pleased to announce a new LifeRing meeting will begin next Wednesday, August 3rd, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The meeting will be convened by Douglas Hulst, Director of Community Relationships at Recovery Allies, an organization committed to promoting “…long-term recovery from substance use disorders through Coaching, Educating and Training…resulting in healthier individuals, families, and communities.” They’re also strong proponents of multiple recovery pathways, and we’re thrilled to be aligned with them!

Here’s the meeting information:

WhenWednesdays at 6:15 PM

Where: 1345 Monroe Avenue NW, Suite 248 Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Convenor: Douglas Hulst

Contact Information: Phone: 773-330-8379, E-mail: douglas@recoveryallies.us

We wish Douglas and all new meeting members our very best!

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New LifeRing Meeting in Brighton, Michigan!

Brighton Michigan

 

We’re very pleased to announce a new LifeRing meeting in Brighton, Michigan will begin next Thursday evening, June 23rd, at 6:30. New convenor George J., from the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, has done all of the legwork to get this meeting started, and is excited to get it off the ground.

Check out the meeting information below:

When: Thursdays at 6:30 PM

Where: Duncan Chiropractic Group, 8636 Hilton Road, Suite 300, Brighton, MI 48114

Convenor: George J.

Contact Information: georgejackson44@gmail.com

Congratulations to George and all new meeting members – we wish you all the best!

 

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Pssst! Tweet Tweet? We’re On Twitter!

Twitterbird

 

‘Tis true – LifeRing has had a Twitter account for quite a while but it’s not gotten off the ground until now, thanks to longtime LifeRinger Annie S. from Ireland stepping up to take it as high as it can go!

Here’s a few words from Annie about her time in LifeRing, and her hopes and goals for what our Twitter account can become:

“Greetings from SW Ireland.  I’m Annie S., and I’m trying to repay an enormous debt of gratitude to LifeRing by doing a little outreach for us all from the cockpit of the @LifeRing Twitter account.  I first came across LifeRing while serving a sentence on an AA recovery programme that was making me wretched.  After a desperate search on Google, I fired off an email thinking this LifeRing group has got to be too good to be true.  But within hours I had a hand of friendship back across the ocean and into my mailbox from Craig Whalley. Amazingly, he was able to tell me from California where I could find a LifeRing workbook in the facility I was in in Dublin. I have never looked back.  Despite a few wobbles in the intervening years, I have spent almost all my time in sobriety and am now approaching 2 years unbroken sobriety. 

Craig however is no use to us at all on Twitter and must be the owner of the most neglected account there that I have ever seen.  Which leads me to the thing I would really like to say to anyone who reads this paragraph: If you are on Twitter, please follow the @LifeRing account.  If you are not on Twitter think about registering now.  Then tell all your friends to follow @LifeRing and send any recovery related tweets to it that you can.  I will re-tweet them to our followers.  You can retweet the @LifeRing tweets and ‘heart’ them.  I know, that might seem puerile but in fact it’s not.  Twitter, despite all the negative press it gets, is one of the most powerful communications platforms on earth and has helped many deserving causes to achieve things they could never have otherwise.  But you already knew that.

If we work it properly, together we can – directly and indirectly – reach literally millions of stranded, desperate people who might benefit as much as we all have from @LifeRing – if only they knew about it. The ‘opposition’ have gazillions of followers there, natch.  If we all put our shoulders to the Twitter wheel it’s not by any means overreaching for @LifeRing to aim for 100k followers within two years. Right now we have, er, 265.  So there is a wee bit of work to be done.  Help me out here, yes?”

Annie’s already breathed vital new life into it – so by all means, Follow us. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

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Guest Blog: Musings – What If Addiction Was Actually Treated Like a Health Problem?

Snap Out of It

Dear Blog Friends,

Craig W. has kindly given me permission to re-post the following musings he shared with LSRSafe, one of LifeRing’s  e-mail support groups which he wonderfully moderates, that so clearly describe what it might – what it should – look like if the medical community were to treat addiction as they would any other health problem.

Thank you, Craig!

🙂 Bobbi

Imagine, if you will, a time in the not-too-distant future …

You’ve decided to face the fact that you’ve developed a drinking/using problem. Your urges have become cravings and your ability to resist those cravings has steadily lessened. Your use is beginning to affect nearly every aspect of your life. You know it’s a problem that has to be dealt with. So you go to your doctor and discuss it with her.

 

The doctor has you fill out a questionnaire asking about quantities, frequencies, sleep, diet, etc. She gives you a prescription for blood tests and maybe a liver-function test. She hands you some informational pamphlets and schedules you for a follow-up as soon as the test results are available. At no point does she treat you as anything but a person with a distressing but manageable medical problem. It’s very much the same as a consultation with a primary care physician about, say, depression. Perhaps she suggests a supplement — vitamins, say — but otherwise you’re on your own until the follow-up.

 
You leave that appointment relieved to have spilled your secret but perhaps disappointed that no treatment was offered. Still, you know you’ve started down a path that might offer hope.
 
The follow-up appointment comes a week or two later. Your tests show nothing drastically wrong physically — maybe some early warning signs from the liver test and a couple of blood readings slightly outside the normal range. But nothing major. She asks if you’re still drinking/using and when you say, sheepishly, “Yes”, she gives you a referral to an addiction specialist. As you leave, she tries to reassure you that your decision to come in was the right one and that the condition is highly treatable. “You’re going to be fine,” she says. You have trouble believing that, but you do feel a bit of hope.
 
Two weeks later, you visit the specialist. Again there’s a questionnaire to complete, this one more detailed, covering any family history, asking about certain medical conditions that may seem unrelated and going into considerable detail about your emotional situation and your current life difficulties. You go through the usual pre-appointment routine and then the specialist comes in. You have a fleeting regret that you ever started this process.
 
But the doctor has a very good bedside manner and quickly puts you at ease. You notice immediately that there is no judgment and no condescension in his voice. He runs through some of the information from the questionnaire, mentions that he has looked at your earlier test results and says, “This is what I suggest we do …”
 

He mentions a drug useful for controlling cravings, and another one to reduce anxiety; he hands you a book to read, and he suggests participation in a support group and offers some pamphlets about various such groups, including both face-to-face and online meetings. “Many people,” he says, “benefit greatly from support groups. It’s up to you which group best meets your needs. You don’t have to use any group at all, although if you have difficulty quitting on your own, I’ll be reminding you that they can be a big help.”

He goes on to say, “I want you to meet with one of our counselors once a week for at least a month and then less often if you’re doing well. And you’ll see me regularly as well. You do need to understand that your condition is very likely permanent and that you will need to abstain completely from any recreational use of drugs or alcohol. If you were diagnosed with diabetes, you would have to give up, for the most part, making high-carbohydrate diet choices; with Celiac Disease, you’d have to give up any food or products that contain gluten; if you had a serious allergy to something, you’d have to avoid it permanently.

You do have what is in effect an allergy and you have to abstain from recreational use of mind-altering substances permanently. This may be socially inconvenient, but you’ll find that, as time passes, you’ll adapt without undue difficulty. Quitting your use will be hard at first, but will get easier soon. I’ll help you and, if you need more help, you’ll get it from a support group. We have other prescribed drugs that may help, as well.”

 

The doctor writes a prescription and hands it to you, adding”Millions of people share your condition; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. These drugs will help, but they can’t solve the problem by themselves. We can give a diabetic a drug to help them, but if they don’t change their habits it won’t work. Change is hard, but not at all impossible. Get the prescription filled today and take the first pill tomorrow. And then don’t drink or use! Take the anti-anxiety medication mid-day. The book will give you some ideas for how to change what has become a habit. Here is the phone number of a help-line — don’t hesitate to use it. I’ll see you in a week.”

Why isn’t something like this the practice in dealing with addiction? Isn’t the above procedure what happens with other chronic diseases that spring up during our lives? Take Type 2 Diabetes, for example, which can be caused or made much worse by, among other things, behavioral choices made by the sufferer. You go to the doctor and you’re offered a treatment protocol which will require serious behavior modifications on your part, and then you manage it together.

With addiction, the common protocol now is to be shoved into treatment programs, in-patient or intensive out-patient, that cost a fortune and/or cause enormous upheaval to work and family life in return for very poor results. Or they are pushed towards support groups which refuse to allow efficacy studies that might demonstrate their success rate or that simply don’t work for them.

Treating addiction in a medically sound way — why is that even a question???!!!

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