Excerpts from the book
Why I have shared the stories in the book with my readers
My intention in sharing the stories in this book is to give you hope and to acknowledge your struggle as real. In putting the ideas of this book into action, you will be able to work through the shame you feel, and connect to faith and confidence in yourself. You will learn that you are not alone. By committing to true sobriety, you open your heart to love, empathy, and compassion for yourself and for those around you and, ultimately, you will see that you can triumph over your addiction.
An enormous and significant part of your mental health is being able to self-regulate. What does this mean? It means tolerating uncomfortable feelings, learning how not to react or be impulsive, taking time to think and process information before making a choice, learning to communicate effectively and discharge anger via healthy channels, learning new and healthier ways to cope, and, ultimately, finding more appreciation and joy in life.
Take a step backwards and redirect your focus
. . . An important distinction between the dry addict and someone who has stopped using was taught to me long ago by one of my clinical supervisors. Naomi Sarna, a remarkable human being and therapist said, “You can have any feeling you want, but you cannot act on every feeling you have.”
Addiction is premised on impulse (which pushes you to act on a feeling) and sobriety is premised on conscious, rational thought (which gives you the ability to step back, process information, and delay, modify, or redirect your focus to a healthy source of positive gratification). For example, instead of walking into a bar, you could walk a woodsy trail or take a bike ride around a lake.
The function of failure
Failure is part of growth. It is what we learn from failure that makes failure a worthwhile experience. The old saying “History repeats itself” is true only if we fail to learn from our mistakes. Failure is meant to be our teacher.
On the road to recovery
You did not develop your disease in a week or a month, so expecting an instant and enduring cure is unrealistic. There are times when a self-contained inpatient rehab is necessary to jump-start your sobriety by taking you away from the triggers in your daily environment that would ordinarily lead you to get high.
You will need a very strong outpatient relapse-prevention program. That could include a qualifed psychotherapist, a 12-step program, a sponsor, a psychiatrist, and a change of persons, places, and things that were part of your addictive lifestyle. You are looking at a profound personal makeover, which is going to take time, even if you are involved in a court case, where the judge, attorneys, and case workers will expect a quick and complete cure. What is realistic for the authorities to expect you to demonstrate is a consistent progression of positive change.
“Living well offers infinite possibilities.
It really begins within you, rather than outside of you."