Recovering from Recovery Blog Introduction.

Welcome to my blog about recovering from Alcoholism and Addiction which generally contains posts about non 12 step recovery. I was a member of AA for a while, but decided it did not have all the answers for me and decided to explore alternatives to it. I discovered many other people who had moved on from AA after making use of the support there, who were leading successful lives away from the standard recovery world and who were not living a life that centred around 12 step meetings.

Glass on table

I mention books that I have read, and link to sites that offer support or solutions, as I realise that not everyone is looking for a spiritual solution based on prayer, and some people are actually turned off recovery when they come into contact with the 12 step world. I would have certainly taken a different route in my own recovery if I had known about solutions such as the Sinclair Method, in the years where I was still struggling with my drinking.

I am in my ninth year of completely alcohol free living and enjoying life to the full. I decided to stop drinking shortly before I joined AA and am happy that I chose to stop. After about 18 months of AA and continuous sobriety I moved away from the steps and made use of CBT type methods and professional counselling to sort out issues in my life that I felt would not be improved by the 12 Steps. I then left formal recovery groups but keep in touch with my own sober network online and in person.

I also write a monthly piece for a new site called addiction.com which explores all areas of addiction and recovery. I concentrate on non 12 step recovery for them.

I have also started doing podcasts about alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism and I hope to explore many different ideas on how people can beat their problems. I made a new site for the Podcasts called www.Alcoholism-Recovery-Radio.com You can subscribe to it on Sound-cloud or iTunes . I will attempt to offer a balanced view on the different subjects, even solutions ad support groups that are not ones that I use.
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  1. I am starting to try and give up alcohol and deal with my anxiety and depression. Also I need to build some bridges with my wife so would really appreciate some help as this all seems overwealming at the moment.

    I hope you can help
    mderek

  2. Thanks for leaving a coment. There are many ways to recover and it is inportant to find something that fits with your values and that will motivate you. Everyone has heard of AA which is a spiritual solution, which was not really suitable for me although I did find the fellowship in meetings helpful, but there are many others. Here are some alternatives http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/category/non-12-step-recovery/

    I would recomend getting some profesional help with dealing with depression. I had it as well and it came back after I had stopped drinking and I needed some further help. This is quite common and my depression has gone now. If you find the CBT ideas useful then Smart recovery is a good idea http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/category/smart-recovery/ or perhaps the Sincliar Method may be of use http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/category/sinclair-method/

    I would also read as much as possible on the subject and there are some good books here http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/book-reviews-recovery/

  3. Not sure where to put this Mike but there is a big push certainly in the North and Midlands (UK), not sure about London have a look though, it’s called intuitive Recovery, here’s the link http://www.intuitivethinkingskills.co.uk/intuitive-recovery – wondered if you’d heard of it?
    Comes across as science based, rational with a BIG shift in languge away from all the rehab words – it can be a bit confrontational… let me know if you’re interested and I’ll write a post about what it entails, it’s the most progressive thing I’ve seen in this world of late 😀

    N xx

  4. It’s the last day of the four day workshop tomorrow (Thursday) I have to leave my workbook for marking but I’ll be able to take it away tomorrow to remind me of the main bits.
    Very heavy emphasis on language & how that has held people back – they debate words such as trigger, relapse & all the useless phrases & slogans.
    Also a well explained trip through the amygdala & neo cortex with a few tools mixed in on how to override animal brain – very immersive, intense & challenging to the point of confrontational but in a good way.
    I can do a write up for you I think a lot of the ex AAs would be interested & pleased to see some common sense & science being plied – they’re also big on encouraging people out of recovery – quit – get the mid brain under control – recover and move on.
    I’ll put something together when I get my book
    Nx

    • This sounds really interesting. I found some of the ideas that came from rational recovery to be really helpful once I understood them. They did not make sense until I had been through AA and I was looking for something else, and I know a could of other people who have had similar experiences.
      I read a book around the time I was leaving AA called “overcoming your alcohol and recovery habits” by James Desena which was really helpful for me at that stage. I must put it on the site!

  5. Mike and all,
    Anyone interested in giving out some personal info could submit to Radiolab. They are requesting input on people who’ve used medications for addiction, whether they worked or feel short.

    Here’s the link to the show, their voice mail number is listed at the end of the segment and you can leave detailed info on whether drug treatment helped or hindered your addiction

    http://www.wnyc.org/story/the-brian-lehrer-show-2015-10-15/

  6. I wonder if they are still looking for input? I love Radiolab! I went to treatment for addiction (not as cut-and-dry as alcohol only, I’m afraid), and I took two very different approaches – the first time abstinence-only, working AA, no medication, and the second abstinent from drugs, and never using alcohol as a drug, instead consuming it in moderation, using a cognitive-based management, and with the aid of medication. It’s the latter that’s making me feel like a new man, and brought back hope I thought I’d lost over a decade past. I’ll look it up tomorrow if I don’t catch anything about it on this week’s episode.

    • Aidan, your post is intriguing.

      I drank for 6 years, non compulsively, until I became addicted to painkillers later at age 27. I cannot imagine moderately using drugs, but I still wonder about minimal use of alcohol, or even getting drunk a couple times a year if I wanted, like before I used drugs. It was always an event, not a lifestyle of alcohol… it made me feel social and loosened up. I liked it for a change.

      Of course now that I am clean and sober for 7 years, part of me just thinks it’s a bit crazy to mess with something I have become used to. I don’t feel the need anymore to medicate that particular way…

      I’ll probably stay as is…but thanks for the post

      • I prefer complete abstinance as that is the easiest way for me as I went too far. I find living a healthy lifstyle really motivates me to saty away from drink and drugs, much more than any support group these days. For me, enough was enough!

        • Complete abstinance was what worked for me too Mike, but it was most effective (6 years and counting) when someone gave me what I thought was pretty strange advice but it really worked with my ‘personality’. We’re all hearing more and more about addictive personalities and that people who have succumb to addiction may have innate susceptibility to addiction of one kind/substance or another. I feel I’m certainly in that bracket, if it wasn’t one thing it was another, always has been and no doubt always will be, but it’s a case of picking your battles at he end of the day, and choosing them wisely.

          The advice I was given by my long term family doctor was to find a ‘healthy addiction’, it doesn’t sound right does it? What he meant was find something be it a new hobby, routine, skillset, etc that you could really get behind and focus your addictive personality side/traits towards. My body at this time was, to put it lightly, in a bit of a mess. Liver function was down and I was leaking enzymes into my blood stream at an alarming rate so I decided my new addiction was to be the best, healthiest version of me that I could possibly dream of being.

          I’d already tried learning a musical instrument but my tiny hand span (I hadn’t noticed until this point) was no good for guitar or piano and a drum set, as much as I wanted one, wasn’t practical given where I was staying. Eventually I took his advice quite literally and started commiting my time and effort into researching and excercising, planning everything I consumed meticulously and sticking to a strict regime of my own design. Then I started getting really geeky with supplements and researching their specific benefits to further ‘enhance’ myself.

          My girlfriend joked I was becoming the 6 Million Dollar Man and said that my kitchen cupboard was more of a pharmacy than a food store but hey, I could feel myself getting better, fitter and stronger day by day. By no means am I a ripped ‘gym junkie’ guzzling protein shakes and oiling up for competitions but I am partial to a good bit of cardio and obtaining supplements that I feel are repairing the damage I had previously bestowed upon myself through my selfish actions. In terms of liver reparation (you obviously have to stop drinking if you want these to be effective) I’d strongly advise people seek out foods or supplements rich in Manganese and Iron. My liver function results improved dramtically after I’d started to implement these into my diet. An essential step when coming off the booze. No more ‘Simpsons tinge’ for me and feeling stronger everyday. I’d also like to commend the guys at OV for adding a Liver Health section to their website and giving me solid advice when I needed it. A great step on the road to my physical and mental (healthy body, healthy mind!) recovery – Recovering from recovery sums up my journey completely. Great blog Michael and thanks for letting me vent! Best, G.

          • Thanks Gavin for such great comments. I do think we have to find something that interests us and motivates us to stay sober. I certainly use keeping fit, but am not sure I would call it an addiction! It has certainly helped me change my self image and if you can do that and become somebody who is interested in living a healthy lifestyle rather than a recovering ex drunk then I think it can really help you live a normal but enjoyable life, without all the “drama” of recovery groups.
            Best wishes for the future.

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