Addiction Recovery

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    Jun 22, 2014 1:53 PM GMT
    When most people hear the term "addiction recovery" they think of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). In fact, many people in AA and NA don't even realize there are other programs available. I was one of those for a while, till I realized AA was just making me want to drink more. So I did some research cause I really wanted to stop...without being sentenced to a lifetime of meetings.

    I found that the success rate of AA is around 5%. This info is from SEVERAL sources over the course of several years. Of course, with over two million members worldwide, even 5% is a lot of people. But what about the other 95%? Many of them are hurting, repeatedly relapsing, and wondering WTF is wrong with them.

    Well, there's good news: Other free programs are available. Here are two programs I used for my own addictions, with 100% success (cravings are easily manageable).

    http://www.smartrecovery.org/
    (my fav, and I'm starting a local group here later this year)

    https://rational.org/index.php?id=1
    (excellent DIY program - no groups involved)

    If you have experience (and success) with others, please list them here.
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    Jun 22, 2014 4:24 PM GMT
    One that I've heard a lot about is Secular Sobriety (also known as "Secular Organizations for Sobriety" or "SOS"). Where as in AA programs, there's a lot of 'higher power' lingo thrown around, SOS strives to keep the focus on the root of the issue: addiction, and how to overcome it through self-empowering means.


    Know what you mean about AA though and its ineffectiveness--12-Step programs in general, actually. I have a family member who has been going through a 12-Step program, and attending regular meetings for a drug addiction--several hours out of every week attending the meetings, and though he isn't doing the drugs anymore, he's happy substituting it with smoking. So now there's regular money being spent on cigarettes, gas, and time, all because the focus is on getting him off the drugs--but not getting rid of the principle of addiction.
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    Jun 22, 2014 6:38 PM GMT
    Hey Paul thanks so much.

    I have people I am close to who really need help, but who in no way have personality types that would work with AA. So it's great to know there are alternatives.

    Question: What is the best way to approach a person who needs help and to encourage them to engage in a recovery program?
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    Jun 23, 2014 12:38 AM GMT
    Nivek saidHey Paul thanks so much.

    I have people I am close to who really need help, but who in no way have personality types that would work with AA. So it's great to know there are alternatives.

    Question: What is the best way to approach a person who needs help and to encourage them to engage in a recovery program?



    Very hard question answer.

    There are actually multiple best ways (and in effect, also worst ways) because different people respond to different tactics.

    1. Simple cajoling by way of an open dialogue, having a sit-down with the person and explaining to them rationally (if they are a a rational person) why they need to seek help.

    2. Getting others who are close to the person involved, staging an intervention.

    3. (This is the only tactic that worked for me and my addict) Getting physical with the person once they do something dumb related to their addiction. Throwing them through a wall if need be, yelling at them and telling them to get the fuck out and go to recovery. (HEY IT WORKS! And yes, I do condone violence as a wake-up call ;-) )


    Recovery.org has some great resources, including a # to call to find local facilities.
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    Jun 23, 2014 1:26 AM GMT
    Nivek saidHey Paul thanks so much.

    I have people I am close to who really need help, but who in no way have personality types that would work with AA. So it's great to know there are alternatives.

    Question: What is the best way to approach a person who needs help and to encourage them to engage in a recovery program?
    Looks like Izzy gave some valuable into, so here's my story.

    I started hanging out with a new coworker early last year, and eventually learned he goes to AA. After hanging out with him a while, I decided to check out a meeting to see what it's all about (I'd never been). It was kinda fun, and the people were awesome. However, the stories were horrible. Lost jobs, estranged families, horrific crimes, etc. I started going every few weeks or so. Eventually I heard a few stories similar to mine...fully functional life but progressive drinking habits. After hearing a few more stories like that, I started seeing my own progression and decided it was time to put down the bottle and find other ways to enjoy life.
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    Jun 23, 2014 2:03 AM GMT
    There is no "one" right path out of addiction. 12 step programs do have value and anybody (not even those living with addiction) can learn something useful. What works for one may not work for another.

    Also, any 12 step programs CAN be secular. A "higher power" is simply anything, anyone, any group "outside of yourself" to whom a person can turn to for experience, strength, and hope. It's the ability to put ego aside and ask for help.
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    Jun 23, 2014 2:04 AM GMT
    GAMRican saidThere is no "one" right path out of addiction. 12 step programs do have value and anybody (not even those living with addiction) can learn something useful. What works for one may not work for another.

    Also, any 12 step programs CAN be secular. A "higher power" is simply anything, anyone, any group "outside of yourself" to whom a person can turn to for experience, strength, and hope. It's the ability to put ego aside and ask for help.
    Yep. There's a secular AA group just a few miles from here.
  • riverrunner

    Posts: 48

    Jun 23, 2014 3:34 AM GMT
    Paul, Thanks for the note. I have been a member of AA for over 24 years and it does state that this is not the only way. I will check out your websites.

    A comment was made about substituting smoking for drinking and what I have learned is that is what we do. I am interested with what the other programs say about this. We have to develop good habits.

    As far as the God part I have developed my own and he evolves with me. He has the best sense of humor ever. I was raised Chatholic and it worked for a while but not now. I have a bad taste in my mouth for organized religion. "Do as we tell you and what we pick and choose from the bible." So I keep my Higher Power or God simple.

    These are some my rules that I live by -
    1. It's none of my business what people think about me. And if they are so "F ing" worried I hope it keeps them up all night. icon_smile.gif I believe they have a program for that.

    2. I get to make 100 mistakes every day! I gave up trying to be perfect. I settle for above average.

    3. I get to forgive myself and others. I do have a hard time with the religious right. icon_smile.gif

    All I know is that it has worked for me. Why me and not the other 95 percent. Don't have a clue. It just has, I ask my HP for help and work the suggested steps.

    How does your other programs define 100 percent success rate?

    Thanks!
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    Jun 23, 2014 5:04 AM GMT
    Thanks Paul. I have someone I have to get started now. Those links don't seem to have anything going in the northwest. "self-help" isn't going to help this guy.
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    Jun 23, 2014 11:09 AM GMT
    This is my field of expertise, and everything depends on a persons wiliness to make the right lifestyle changes, no change, no success .
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Jun 23, 2014 4:44 PM GMT
    I'm always suspicious of statistics--how they are generated, etc. I think overall the "success rate" for addicts (alcohol or other) is very low in all modes of treatment, but it's really hard to measure just what that means. For example, I saw one study that measured "success" just by abstinence over a two year period--so if someone was clean for a year and a half, relapsed for a night then stayed clean for the remainder of their life, they would still be chalked up as a "failure" for the purposes of that study. If abstinence is just measured on the basis of one drug (say alcohol) then someone who is abstinent from alcohol but develops a dependence on Xanax at the same time is potentially counted as a "success".

    Also, I have yet to see a study that considers quality of life measures aside from abstinence--that just seems dumb since the argument in favor of using abstinence as a measure is inherently making assumptions about quality of life as an absolute value. If someone gets clean and their life does not get better, then it's hard to see why they have any incentive to stay clean.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jun 23, 2014 9:35 PM GMT
    riverrunner saidPaul, Thanks for the note. I have been a member of AA for over 24 years and it does state that this is not the only way. I will check out your websites.

    A comment was made about substituting smoking for drinking and what I have learned is that is what we do. I am interested with what the other programs say about this. We have to develop good habits.

    As far as the God part I have developed my own and he evolves with me. He has the best sense of humor ever. I was raised Chatholic and it worked for a while but not now. I have a bad taste in my mouth for organized religion. "Do as we tell you and what we pick and choose from the bible." So I keep my Higher Power or God simple.

    These are some my rules that I live by -
    1. It's none of my business what people think about me. And if they are so "F ing" worried I hope it keeps them up all night. icon_smile.gif I believe they have a program for that.

    2. I get to make 100 mistakes every day! I gave up trying to be perfect. I settle for above average.

    3. I get to forgive myself and others. I do have a hard time with the religious right. icon_smile.gif

    All I know is that it has worked for me. Why me and not the other 95 percent. Don't have a clue. It just has, I ask my HP for help and work the suggested steps.

    How does your other programs define 100 percent success rate?

    Thanks!


    +1.

    Thanks, Paul. I know you asked me if I might say something here, but the more I read, the more I agree with this post. This is not my field, at all, but there seems to be so much advice, from so many directions, that it can become quite daunting.

    I have always thought the "simplest" way to approach much of this is that... well, actions have consequences; that isn't to judge the actions, or even the consequences, but there are actions to our consequences whether we are addicted, or not; whether we are sober, or not; whether we believe in a "higher power", or don't; and so on.

    As someone intimated, do people in recovery (who might have been assholes while addicted) becomes saints once in recovery; do people who were never addicted to anything always act with the purest reason and compassion for others, etc.

    I really am clueless about all this, and am just asking questions, but it does seem a VERY individual thing along the lines of "Only you two know how to "fix" what is "wrong" with your marriage...." and "Only you would know how to "fix" what is "wrong" with you.."? Any formulaic approach would seem to be just that.

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    Jun 23, 2014 11:32 PM GMT
    Paul, great post. Thanks for elevating the status of this forum.
  • C_Dezi

    Posts: 134

    Jun 24, 2014 1:47 AM GMT
    till I realized AA was just making me want to drink more. So I did some research cause I really wanted to stop...without being sentenced to a lifetime of meetings.

    YES, it must have been AA that forced your hand in uncontrollable habits, definitely the right direction to turn with the blame stick. god, it must be nice to not have to take any responsibility for your own life. wouldn't we all be so lucky...

    as for the wall-thru-thrower: congratulations, you are officially the worst thing to happen to addicts since the invention of the intravenous needle. if you think you even make the list of reasons someone would get clean, or that you're scary enough to help anyone make that decision, you're just as crazy as the junkie that thinks switching from ice to smack will get them clean.

    the only reason any addict on this planet get and stays clean is the desire and commitment to change themselves and then decides to find a new way of life. there are many paths to finding recovery, but the doorway necessary to walk thru is the same. that doorway is the willingness to leave everything known behind. to a non-addict 5% may seem like a small number. i sincerely hope you never experience the things many addicts do that make even that small percentage seem like the biggest victory in the world. i've been around addicts and recovery for all of my life, both 12 step and other, and nobody with any ounce of education would ever claim their way is the only way.

    unfortunately, society places junkies at the bottom of the barrel. it's easier for people that can't admit how fucked up they are, and who blame everyone else (like AA for instance) for all of their problems. it's too bad most people on this planet will not experience the highly reasonable message of recovery, and instead will live out their small-minded lives blaming everyone and everything for the fucked up shit they do and refuse to take any responsibility for.

    it's a sad sad world when some of the most intelligent people around are just people trying to keep a needle out of their arm for just one day.
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    Jun 24, 2014 1:57 AM GMT
    riverrunner said...

    All I know is that it has worked for me. Why me and not the other 95 percent. Don't have a clue. It just has, I ask my HP for help and work the suggested steps.

    ...


    At the core, THIS.

    All I know from what I have observed about a 12-step program is that it works if a person works it. These programs have literally saved some lives. Maybe not every life, but at least some. I applaud those who have come to live their lives in serenity despite whatever their addiction may have entailed.

  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 662

    Jun 26, 2014 6:01 AM GMT
    I am involved in a 12 step program I find very supportive, but it is an unusual group which has been around since the 1980's. There are some new people and some long-time members There is some higher power talk, but there is a great deal of diversity on that account in that some have traditional religious backgrounds, some are former religious, some are atheist religion professors, some have Native American spiritual ideas, some are Buddhist, some are Jewish. Some gay, mostly straight and in between. The hallmark of this group is that it is highly affirming. When new members come in, their initiation comes through telling their story. When the member is finished telling his story, each group member identifies with the newcomer, points out the strength they heard and high regard in which they hold them. I almost always leave feeling better about myself and my humanity than when I came in.
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    Jun 27, 2014 8:15 AM GMT
    rdberg1957 saidI am involved in a 12 step program I find very supportive, but it is an unusual group which has been around since the 1980's. There are some new people and some long-time members There is some higher power talk, but there is a great deal of diversity on that account in that some have traditional religious backgrounds, some are former religious, some are atheist religion professors, some have Native American spiritual ideas, some are Buddhist, some are Jewish. Some gay, mostly straight and in between. The hallmark of this group is that it is highly affirming. When new members come in, their initiation comes through telling their story. When the member is finished telling his story, each group member identifies with the newcomer, points out the strength they heard and high regard in which they hold them. I almost always leave feeling better about myself and my humanity than when I came in.
    That sounds very much like my home group. They're the only reason I continue to attend meetings, and they're very supportive of the fact that I work another program instead of the 12 steps. A few have even started working the other programs as well, along with the 12 steps, because they didn't realize other programs existed till I told them.
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    Jun 30, 2014 11:33 PM GMT
    Bump...
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jun 30, 2014 11:47 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidBump...


    I don't understand?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 30, 2014 11:57 PM GMT
    It is hard for me to understand addiction and if you have alcohol addiction how you can't do occasional drinking? I went out for 6 months with an AA guy and never understood the addiction thing other than he almost died a few times. I would like to know what causes addictions to begin with. I don't think that is ever explained. I would like to know if someone can explain. I personally can't drink much because alcohol gets me ill quickly.
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    Jul 01, 2014 12:41 AM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    paulflexes saidBump...


    I don't understand?
    Just got tired of seeing the survey thing while scrolling through the forum lists. icon_lol.gif
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 01, 2014 12:44 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    WrestlerBoy said
    paulflexes saidBump...


    I don't understand?
    Just got tired of seeing the survey thing while scrolling through the forum lists. icon_lol.gif


    It's a national holiday down here, and I have two martinis before dinner, ok. But I STILL don't understand, seriously!!! icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 01, 2014 12:47 AM GMT
    bradomo saidIt is hard for me to understand addiction and if you have alcohol addiction how you can't do occasional drinking? I went out for 6 months with an AA guy and never understood the addiction thing other than he almost died a few times. I would like to know what causes addictions to begin with. I don't think that is ever explained. I would like to know if someone can explain. I personally can't drink much because alcohol gets me ill quickly.
    For some people, they can go back to moderate drinking. But for most, it's impossible.

    Nobody knows what causes addictions yet. It's assumed to be either genetic, acquired (through repeated use), or both. However, nobody will know if they're an addict unless they try something that's addictive.

    For me, I can do moderate drinking with no problem now that I've dried out, but choose to remain abstinent because it's pointless to drink alcohol when there are so many other better tasting drinks out there. And I never actually enjoyed the feeling of being drunk. It just became a bad habit for a couple years, a habit that's hard to break.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 01, 2014 12:49 AM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    paulflexes said
    WrestlerBoy said
    paulflexes saidBump...


    I don't understand?
    Just got tired of seeing the survey thing while scrolling through the forum lists. icon_lol.gif


    It's a national holiday down here, and I have two martinis before dinner, ok. But I STILL don't understand, seriously!!! icon_sad.gif
    If they're dark chocolate martinis, save one for me. Those things are fuckin awesome! icon_cool.gif
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 01, 2014 1:03 AM GMT
    K