I am very pleased to announce that I have been asked to write some pieces for addiction.com which is a great new site which deals with all aspects of addiction and recovery. There will be a mixture of people contributing to the blog, some will be medical professionals, while others will be like me, people who have experienced addiction and recovery. I believe the site will have about thirty writers to start with. My first page is here http://www.addiction.com/expert-blogs/why-i-dont-go-to-aa/ and is a short look at my background and why I moved on from AA. I will use the name Michael D there rather than Lovinglife52 which I am a bit bored of, and causes confusion as there is a rather wild lady out on the internet using that name as well!
I will be concentrating on non 12 step recovery and will aim to highlight different solutions that people can use. I aim to write pieces that will be of some interest to a wide range of people in recovery rather than just those who use alternative methods to the 12 steps. I will attempt to cover solutions such as the Sinclair Method which I feel could really take off, if people understand how to use it and are able to shift from the abstinence only stance, which is still most common. I am very keen on Smart Recovery as well, as it uses many of the CBT techniques that I found so helpful in my recovery. I also aim to look at Harm Reduction, which I feel is really important. I have seen too many people have problems attempting to follow an abstinence only solution (despite that being my own solution), and realise that many people need help but are not ready to completely stop. I have seen the problems caused by binge drinking and overdose and heard about people having horrific accidents or worse as a result. Harm reduction can really help these people, especially those who are struggling. I certainly believe Harm Reduction can be used along side other solutions, and I should also point out that Harm Reduction methods may include total abstinence solutions.
I like the way the site is attempting to provide something for everyone involved in addiction. This can hopefully bring people together more, which is something that really needs to happen, if treatment providers and support groups are really going to be effective at helping a wide range of people. Many have fixed ideas on how everybody should do recovery, especially in the 12 step world, and I feel this needs to change, to reflect the world today. I have used a variety of solutions myself, and have to say that there are good ideas in all of them, but there is probably not one perfect path to follow that can be effective for everyone. I think developing an open mind is important, and at least being prepared to look at something else if things are not working out. It is important to have some form of plan for when things are not going to well and also not get too complacent when things are working out. A site like Addiction.com that also has information on many areas as well as for family members can really help with this
Recovery has changed a lot since I have been actively involved which is the best part of a decade. When I stopped drinking, AA was pretty much all I had heard about and I could not find much in the way of alternatives (although I did not do much research!). Things have changed now and many groups are getting larger and being helped by discussion on the internet. Addicts are being critical of old-fashioned solutions and saying that they did not help them. New groups are forming on social media and there are online based support groups such as Soberistas, which is a British group for women (and some men including me), which has chat and blog facilities where people can support each-other as well as providing information on health issues from professionals.
There are a lot of books out there now and these are easy to get hold of thanks to online sellers. This was a real problem for me in the early days, as I only had AA type literature in my first year until I discovered some alternatives, mainly by American writers online. Reading a wide range of material has really helped.
Hopefully the site will prove to be popular and I feel that they are certainly going about things in a professional manner. I do work with an editor the whole time and will be presenting ideas to her before I write them, which is rather different to this site where I just write stuff when I have some downtime at work or am travelling. The site is aimed at the American market and backed by a group of rehabs that offer a wide range of solutions. I am English, but my writing will be changed to American spelling etc so that it sits well with the other writers. I have spent a lot of time in America so I am used to this.
I will still carry on with the recoveringfromrecovery.com blog. It has been good for me, as researching for it, has made me aware of alternative solutions to the ones I use and kept me up to date. It also puts me in touch with other people in recovery who have moved on from the traditional 12 step model, and used more modern solutions. It has kept me engaged with the recovery process which I was beginning to drift away from. I don’t like the pack mentality of certain sites, especially those that call themselves Anti AA, and I tend to keep away from most of those people. I can see from my email that many people feel the same and are fed up with a lot of the negativity towards other members of the recovery community. I feel it certainly justifiable to say why I use certain methods instead of the 12 step as this may help others, but I am not interesting in attacking other people’s support groups. I think we should just be getting the information out there when and where we can, and let people look at the pros and cons of various solutions and make an informed choice for themselves. Hopefully my site is making a contribution to this and I am sure addiction.com will. It great to see a new site that is well designed, with good graphics and being properly run. People are put off by the amateurish nature of some sites and will not bother to read them.
I’m hoping to do about one piece a month for addiction.com as have quite a lot of work commitments. I may well go over some of the things that I covered early on with recoveringfromrecovery.com as I can see which pages are being read a lot on a daily basis from my Google Analytics and WordPress stats and a lot of the early posts are the most popular. Many people seem to wanting information about moving on from AA and finding other support groups that are not spiritual or religious.This is a difficult thing to do if you have made AA a priority in your life. There is also a lot of interest in the Sinclair Method and I will be writing about the work of Dr Sinclair who recently passed away. I feel his work is so important and could well be the future of recovery for many, who are clearly not being motivated by some of the more traditional solutions. I hope he will one day end up as famous as Bill Wilson is now. I may also get a chance to talk to Monica Richardson about her film “the 13th Step”and the other projects she is involved in in about a weeks time in London. I find her interesting as she has been around the recovery world for a long time and has changed her views quite a bit over the last few years after seeing people have some bad experiences in the 12 environment and finding out more about new methods. I certainly admire her dedication to promoting more modern solutions for people who wish to try them and especially for her work in improving safety for women, which is something that needs to be addressed urgently, especially in America. If you have any ideas for some good pieces then get in touch and let me know.Google+