Shannon Egan 'On Finding Inner Peace Podcast' with Chris Shea

In this episode Chris Shea interviews Shannon Egan, author and international advocate, talking about her latest book "No Tourists Allowed". In this podcast Shannon shares with us her addiction and recovery story, encouraging us to find our own recovery path. This episode is not only for those who suffer from addiction or who are in recovery, as her story is about transforming her life to finding freedom and inner peace. Her book can be found on Amazon. -Chris #wellness #personalgrowth #mindfulness #meditation #author#interview #podcast #empowerment #lifecoaching #takingcareofyourself #addiction #recovery

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Science Verifies Addiction Is Not Caused By A Moral Failing

For many years the general population believed that addiction was the consequence of bad people, making bad choices, which resulted in bad things occurring in their life. It was thought that addiction was at least on some level a conscious decision on the part of the addicted individual and their inability to stop using was because they were weak willed and morally defunct.  For so long society has wanted to believe that drug addicts were criminals and not victims.  Now science is beginning to shine a light and show that this misdirected belief is not true.  Thank God it only took 60 years for the general public to finally catch up to what the AMA declared to be a disease.  The stigma unfortunately remains regardless of whether or not it is categorized as a disease.

The idea that addiction was a disease and a compulsion was not generally accepted, even though alcoholism, the counterpart to addiction, was classified as such by the American Medical Association in 1956. Most people were still leery of this idea, some even believing that it was wholly untrue and an excuse for addicts, and while their misgivings were understandable, it gave rise to political agendas that greatly damaged the addict and alcoholic over the years.

Such acts as declaring a War on Drugs, or telling addicted people to ‘Just Say No’ resulted in a culture that could not and did not want to understand addiction. It cut off any real dialogue that we could have about addiction in this country and in doing so, it furthered the misconception that only people who were immoral suffered from addiction. It created the notion in many people’s minds that to do heroin or other drugs, you must really be a bad person, and so we turned the addict into a social pariah and locked them away in droves.

Then something happened, well actually a few somethings happened, that caused public perception to change just a bit. One was a greater scientific understanding of the way that addiction affects the mind, and the other was a legal drug, Oxycontin, which caused many ‘normal’ people to become addicted and gave rise to an epidemic of addiction, not seen since crack first made it way onto the streets in the early 80s.

Before going into the new scientific backing for how addiction is not caused by a moral failing, we should take a look at how Oxycontin changed the perception of addiction in this country. To be frank, for quite some time the medical and scientific communities have understood that addiction is not the result of a conscious choice, but as is often in life, the truth is only as strong as people’s opinion of it and so as more and more people fell into the trappings of substance abuse, people began to realize just how powerful addiction can be.

When Oxycontin was first released, it was lauded as being a miracle drug for those suffering from chronic pain. The company behind the drug, Purdue Pharma, said that it wasn’t as addictive as other semi-synthetic opioids and because of this doctors began to prescribe it liberally. By the early 2000s there were millions of prescriptions for the drug floating around and it is around this time that people started to realize how addictive it truly was. People who may have never been introduced to such powerful narcotics found themselves caught in its grips and many, desperate to stave off the horrific withdrawal symptoms, turned to more illicit means to feed their addiction.

From this jumping off the point the opioid epidemic was created and by the time that legislators became wise to what was going on, an entire generation was already off on the path to addiction. The thing about this addiction epidemic is that it affected everyone. It wasn’t just occurring in impoverished areas, away from the media spotlight, but it was happening in suburban America, among the middle class, and because of this many more people learned firsthand what addiction was like.

As people were becoming more acquainted with what addiction was really like and how powerful of a disease it was, scientists were also doing research on the subject, looking into how it affects the brain and body of the addicted individual. In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, after a 4-year study involving more than 80 experts in the field, concluded that addiction was in fact a brain disorder and should not be classified as a behavioral issue. They found that “the disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them.” It is this inability to understand the actions of an addict that has caused a great deal of confusion on the part of non-addicted people in the past and having ASAM come out with these findings helped to solidify the idea that addiction is not a choice or moral failing.

The scientific findings on addiction don’t stop there though and there have been a number of brain scans done of people who suffer from addiction that show that their minds are actually altered by the disease of addiction. Parts of the brain that affect rational choice or the pursuit of pleasure are incredibly different in the mind of an addicted individual and while some people believe that this is just the result of learned behavior, when looked at in the context of all of the other evidence available, it is clear that after a certain point using substances is no longer a choice. It is a compulsion that must be acted on and is being driven on by the mind itself.

The finding continue though and this year The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a report the found 3 key components shared by most people with alcoholism and addiction. The report found that people who suffered from addiction had a problem with their executive function of their brain, that their incentive salience was different from non-addicted individuals, and that they were more likely to experience negative emotionality. All three of these components point to the fact that addicts are not simply just making immoral choice in their pursuit of addiction, but rather are being compelled to do so by their addiction.

Even though the scientific evidence is substantial there will still be people who cannot understand that addiction is not a moral failing. This can be seen in what is currently going on in the Philippines, where millions of addicts are in danger of being executed or persecuted. Yet, hopefully as we grow in our understanding of addiction and more evidence is presented, people will begin to shed their arcane and misguided belief systems, and learn to show addicts the same compassion they would any other sick person.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram





Holidays Trigger Anxiety and Depression in Those Who Suffer from Substance Use Disorder

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For some people the holiday season offers a much-needed reprieve from the stressors of day-to-day life. They see the time spent with family and loved ones from Thanksgiving to New Year as a great way to end the year and they start looking forward to it once the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to change. They can’t wait for all of the good food they are going to eat and the exchanging of presents, and they get into the holiday spirit by decorating their house or planning trips home to visit the family. To people like this the holidays are a happy time, filled with happy memories, but not everyone experiences the holiday season this way.

There are those of us out there who have a much different experience of the holidays. When we see the leaves changing and the temperature dropping and we start to feel anxious and depressed. We begin to brace ourselves for the excess of emotion that we know is coming often trying to stem it with the use of positive self-talk which is somewhat effective. We start to think about the let down of holidays gone by, family troubles that always seemed to surface during the holidays, loved ones we have lost, or past traumas that occurred during that ‘happiest time of the year.’ Or if none of these things apply we just don’t particularly like the holidays for whatever reason and so we settle into the oncoming winter, wishing we could just hibernate until spring.

I know that this has mostly been my experience with the holidays and before I entered into recovery, it was even worse. I would always worry about whether or not I was going to be able to drink the way that I wanted to, because with family around I had to monitor and control my use. They all knew for the most part that I had a problem so in between the knowing looks and questions of, ‘how are you doing?’ I would have to try to sneak in more drinks to make it through the parties. But I had to try to find the sweet spot, the place where I was just drunk enough to feel okay, but not too drunk to make a fool of myself and let’s be honest, I wasn’t ever really great at doing that. I would always overshoot the mark and just have one to many, which usually resulted in me doing something foolish that I regretted later on. So as you can see I never really liked the holidays that much and once I got sober this didn’t really change.

Once I got sober the holidays became, in a sense, a reminder of the damage that I caused during my addiction. The first year that I was sober I spent the holidays in treatment, and I was away from my children, which made it particularly hard on me. Being in treatment depressed me for a number of reasons, but the main one was that I felt like I had let my kids down. I felt like I should be there for them and the fact that I wasn’t caused me a great deal of pain.

The following year I actually got to spend the holidays with them, but being back home and sober created its own set of challenges. I had to interact with my ex-husband, which was never easy for me, and being around my family and friends brought up a lot of emotions in me that I thought I had already dealt with. This is something that I have heard a number of people express to me, that when they go home for the holidays sober, they experience a strange sort of melancholy feeling. On the one hand they are happy to not have to be drunk or high, but the other hand they feel sort of like an outsider in their own homes. There are people drinking all around them and even if they have no desire to drink, it can still be a strange experience. Their family members many times do not know how to interact with their newly sober self and because of this, it causes awkwardness and puts unwanted attention on the person. It is almost as if everyone’s eyes are still on the person, watching them and waiting to see what they do.

While we haven’t made it to the end of this holiday season yet, I have already experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but with that said I also feel like I have had a bit of a breakthrough in how I can better handle my anxiety and depression during these times in the future.

I wasn’t able to have my children this Thanksgiving, because they spent it with their father, and when I found this out I started to have a bit of a pity party for myself. Whereas in the past I would let this consume me, this year I stopped myself and made plans instead to enjoy my time alone by cooking a good meal and watching a bunch of TV. However, coming to this conclusion didn’t sit well with me and so my next thought was, why don’t you try to help someone else. I thought rather than making the holidays all about me, why don’t I make it about someone else? So I volunteered at a local soup kitchen and served food for a couple of hours.

Taking the focus off of my emotions and my thoughts greatly improved my Thanksgiving experience and it made me realize that in the past, while my depression and anxiety were very really, I never allowed myself the opportunity to get out of myself. I never gave myself a chance to feel better and because of this I never did.

Going forward I plan to try to make the holidays about others. If I start to feel down or I start to feel overwhelmed, I am going to try to turn my thoughts towards someone else. This method has worked so incredible for my recovery, so why can’t it work for my holidays as well?

If you find that you get depressed and anxious during the holidays then maybe give helping someone else a try. Even if it doesn’t completely remove your depression, it will at least for a brief period of time allow you to forget it.  


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

Why Failure is Not a Negative Experience but Rather a Positive One

I’ve heard this story a number of times before and I cannot say for certain whether it is true or not, but it has been said that Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb before he was successful. This means that 1,000 times in a row he attempted and failed, but with each failure he got back on the horse and tried again.  This a significant portion of achieving serenity in sobriety it involves learning to be ok with the failures of life or as they say “progress not perfection”. 

Edison continued to try, even though it wasn’t clear that what he was attempting to do was possible, and he continued even when failure met him every step of the way. Yet Edison never viewed these failures as a negative thing, but rather he took them in stride and put a positive spin on them when he apparently said, he “successfully discovered 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.”

If we take the leap from Edison and the act of inventing to something more personal and relatable to the everyday, then we can see that in our lives, and in our own failures, we discover ways in which not to do something, which may allow us to learn how to successfully do it. For instance let’s say we face break up after break up, we could look at these failures as there is something wrong with us and our ability to have a relationship, or we could just say we discovered a number of ways to not have successful relationships.

Failures are as equally important as successes in life, because through our failures we learn what we don’t want, what we don’t need, and what doesn’t work. It is through our failures that we learn what we are truly made of and they make success all of the more enjoyable.

If you look at my own life, it is littered with failures. I attempted to get sober and overcome my eating disorder when I was 17 and I failed. I then spent the next 10 years of my life attempting to get sober and fix my life through a number of different means. I tried getting married. I tried having kids. I tried switching substances. I tried just about anything you could possibly think of and it all failed, but with each failure I was eliminating possibilities and through this process of elimination I eventually arrived at my own truth, I am an alcoholic and I needed real help for this problem.

I would venture to say that without my failures I wouldn’t have arrived at the point I am today. If I hadn’t attempt to fix my life through every means possible and failed doing so, I don’t think that I would have been able to have the success I’ve had over the past 2 1/2 years. I would probably be living in some purgatory of existence, getting numb and still thinking that everything was okay, but through my failure, the true nature of the problem was made clear and because of this a solution presented itself.

There is another saying that I love and it is ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and that is so true of life. If we aren’t willing to risk failure and in the process possibly failing a few times, then we aren’t willing to risk success. Being successful doesn’t mean that everything comes easy and on the first try, but rather it means that we stuck through the hard times, experienced the pain of defeat and continued on anyways. It means we tried, failed, tried again and then maybe succeeded.

I have also found that I have learned more through my failures then I have through my successes. Success doesn’t really cause me to reflect on my life in the same manner that failure does. When I am successful at something I jump for joy and feel good about life, but when I fail I am forced to look inside and see what lead to the failing and in turn try to change whatever it is. I think that at a societal level we have been taught from a young age that failure is not a positive experience and although it is not necessarily pleasant it is vital to success.

The reality is that no one likes to fail and so many times we will do anything that we possibly can in order to not fail. This may mean that we avoid risking something, or we avoid putting ourselves out there, and I have found this to be especially true among people in recovery.

This is not to put anyone down because it is totally understandable, people who have finally gotten sober do not want to put themselves in a position where they could possibly drink or use drugs again, so they go through life with trepidation, but because of this they are also extremely scared of failure. I know this is the case for me and I don’t handle risk or failure very well because I am scared what it will mean long term for my sobriety, but with that said some of the greatest growth in my life has come from taking risks and running the risk of falling flat on my face.

Last year I moved back to my home state after having been away for 18 months. I had heard all of the warnings about what moving home could mean for my sobriety and I took them all into consideration, but yet I still decided to go back so that I could be with my kids and share my new life with them.

Since being home I have experienced a number of failures, from just feeling like a failure to reacting in ways that I didn’t want to towards my ex-husband, but through all of this I learned what didn’t work and therefore learned what could possibly work the next time. With each failure I put my big girl pants on and got back to it and while it hasn’t been easy by a long shot, I feel like I have grown by leaps and bounds over this past year.

It’s funny because we put such a negative connotation on failure, but it is an integral part of life. No person escapes unscathed and no person wins every time. Understanding that we must fail to win and truly accepting this has changed my outlook on life and I am happy to report today that I am not as scared of failing as I was in the past.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

How Addiction Ruins Careers

 

By Matt Gonzale

Addiction affects many aspects of a person’s life. The disease can fracture relationships, leading to isolation or depression. It can result in poor academic performance and disinterest in social activities.

Substance use disorders also can ruin careers. These disorders can reduce one’s motivation, creating problems at work that could lead to unemployment. Long bouts of unemployment can bring on financial strain, stress and heavier drug abuse.

How Addiction Affects Jobs

Alcoholism and drug dependence can change a person’s ability to do his or her job efficiently. The worker may have issues with concentration, attention or absenteeism. Addiction could lead to a loss of productivity, low morale, injury, theft or even fatality.

Additional work-related problems people with addiction face include:

  • Tardiness
  •  Sleeping on the job
  • Poor decision making
  • Communication issues with co-workers
  •  Substance abuse on the job

One study found workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences than workers without drinking problems, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Reports of workplace fatalities show that at least 11 percent of victims had been drinking, per the NCADD. One-fifth of workers and managers report that a co-worker’s drinking jeopardized their own productivity and safety.

Drinking behaviors that affect work performance include drinking before work, during work and heavy drinking after work, which can result in hangovers during work the following day.

Alcohol addiction could lead to job loss and trouble finding work. People who are unemployed have trouble paying bills, which could give way to poverty or even homelessness. Alcoholism can affect any company, but it is particularly common in the food service, construction, mining and drilling, excavation, and installation, maintenance and repair industries.

Unemployment Leads to Substance Abuse

Addiction can have financial implications for a business, but consequences for the individual can be devastating.

Tina Simmonds talked to the Daily Mail Online about her battle with alcoholism. She began drinking to combat depression. She would drink every day. Tina said she was heartbroken when her 7-year-old daughter saw her sick from binge drinking and offered to take care of her.

“I tried to wait until the evening to start drinking, but sometimes it would be before lunch,” she told the Daily Mail Online.

Eventually, Tina lost her job to alcohol abuse. She would come into work hungover, covered in bruises after falling down while intoxicated. While unemployed, she spent most of her time drinking at home. Her ex-husband received custody of her child.

Tina enrolled in residential treatment and has not touched alcohol since. She sees her daughter four days a week and says their relationship is blossoming.

A report published on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis's website found that long bouts of unemployment can lead to drug or alcohol abuse. Unemployed individuals face financial hardships that lead to stress-induced drug use. The report also said that drug abuse can reduce a person’s employment prospects.

Furthermore, workers who reported having three or more jobs in the past five years are about twice as likely to have had past substance abuse problems than those who have had two or fewer jobs, according to the NCADD.

Help is available for those grappling with addiction. Rehab centers across the United States offer a continuum of care catered to each individual’s needs. People who have successfully completed treatment have gone on to live healthy lives while maintaining successful careers.

Author Bio: Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. He boasts several years of experience writing for a daily publication, multiple weekly journals, a quarterly magazine and various online platforms. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a Journalism concentration, from East Carolina University.

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4 Recovery Support Services Critical to Combatting America’s Youth Addiction Crisis

According to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence ‘there is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people’.  A recent study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University further validates this point by revealing that ‘90 percent of Americans who are addicted to tobacco, alcohol or other substances started smoking, drinking or using drugs before they were 18 year'.

The study also found that one-quarter of Americans who began using any addictive substance before age 18 are addicted, compared with one in 25 Americans who started using an addictive substance when they were 21 or older. Additionally, nearly half of American high school students now smoke, drink or use other drugs.

Since using alcohol and drugs before the brain has fully developed dramatically increases the risk for future addiction, it is critical that family members, friends, and allies come together to support and educate about the new types of recovery support services available to our young people in order to combat America's growing addiction crisis before it is too late.  

GAPS IN EDUCATION, GAPS IN RESOURCES

Despite the startling statistics listed above, only 11% of young adults ages 18-25 with illicit drug dependence received treatment in 2015.  This low number showcases two critical points:  1) there is a significant lack of recovery resources available to our upcoming generations throughout the nation and a lack of awarenss of the various types of supports available in each community, and 2) young people are tragically unaware of the dangers surrounding their substance use until they reach a later age and are forced to seek support because they've hit rock bottom.   

Initially, a young person may dabble with substances for a variety of reasons, such as peer pressure, lack of parental support or a positive role model, or substances are being misused within the home. However, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, whether or not they will develop alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by their genetics. If one has a history of alcoholism or addiction within the family, they will be four times more likely to develop an addiction to substances. As a result, young people will often find themselves addicted without fully comprehending what this even means, and before they know it they are headed down a troubling path that can lead to alcohol poisoning. drug overdose, an accident while under the influence, a police arrest which can jeopardize their reputation and freedom, and/or long-term health issues.

INNOVATIVE RECOVERY SUPPORT SOLUTIONS:

Throughout the nation, public funding for substance use disorder  prevention, treatment, and recovery support services does not match current or projected needs for any of these services that are funded by public dollars. Fortunately, there are a handful of innovative and evidence-based recovery support solutions available to  help our young people to successfully transition from active addiction to sustained recovery and overall wellness. However, these supports are limited, which is why exactly we need to more education and awareness about their programs and the impact they can have so we can expand these services into other areas.  These supports include:

  1. Alternative peer groups: An Alternative Peer Group (APG) is a community-based, family-centered, professionally staffed, positive, peer support program that offers prosocial activities, counseling, and case-management for people who struggle with substance use or self-destructive behaviors. APGs provide recovery services outside of school or work hours that include counseling, family support, case management, psychosocial education, community recovery support, and sober social functions for weekdays and weekends.
  2. Recovery high schools:   Recovery high schools are secondary schools designed specifically for students in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency. Much like traditional high schools, recovery high schools often include administrative staff, teachers, and counselors that each play a critical role in supporting their students. Additionally, recovery schools support students in working a strong program of recovery from substance use disorders or co-occurring issues and offer support for families learning to how to live with, and provide support for, their teens entering into the recovery lifestyle. Recovery high schools may employ substance abuse counselors or mental health professionals that play a critical role in supporting recovering youth. Recovery high schools educate all available and eligible students who are in recovery from substance use disorders or co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and award secondary school diplomas that meet state requirements.
  3. Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) and Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCs): CRPs and CRCs provide the education, resources, and community connection needed to help change the trajectory of recovering student’s lives. A collegiate recovery program is a supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces collegiate recovery community members decision to disengage from addictive behavior. It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.
  4. Young People in Recovery Chapters: Young People in Recovery (YPR) is a national grassroots advocacy organization focused on creating recovery-ready communities throughout the nation for young people in, or seeking, recovery. YPR aims to improve access to treatment, educational resources, employment opportunities, and secure, quality housing on the local, state, and national levels. By creating a national network of young people in recovery, we empower young people to get involved in their communities by providing them with the tools and support to take charge of their futures.  The YPR national leadership team creates and cultivates local community-led chapters through grassroots organizing and training. Chapters support young people in or seeking recovery by empowering them to obtain stable employment, secure suitable housing, and explore continuing education. Chapters also advocate on the local and state levels for better accessibility of these services and other effective recovery resources.

A CASE STUDY: HOUSTON, TEXAS

For over forty years, Houston, Texas has been serving youth, young adults, and families through the use of a continuum of care model, which includes supporting youth in recovery through Alternative Peer Groups. The power of youth recovery groups to make sobriety more fun than using grew within the community as APGs expanded and flourished. With five APGs offering satellite locations throughout the Houston and surrounding areas by 2002, the stage was set to sustain two recovery high schools that opened their doors in 2003. Students who attend these two recovery high schools are required to maintain enrollment in a local APG. This requirement has proven to be the key to sustaining an integrated recovery system for Houston’s recovering youth. Students’ recovery, as well as their families’, is supported during the day at school and reinforced in the evenings and weekends in their APGs.

The evidence in Houston shows that these types of wrap around services create a more comprehensive and balanced environment for adolescents. Communities, who have shifted from an acute care system to this more holistic approach, are seeing very positive outcomes thanks to the support that young people are receiving at each stage of their early development.

INTRODUCING: NATIONAL YOUTH RECOVERY ALLIANCE (NYRA)

In response to the rising tide of requests for youth specific recovery resources throughout the nation, the National Youth Recovery Alliance (NYRA) was created by linking youth recovery organizations together through an online platform. NYRA is an interconnected network of resources that anyone can and should be able to access easily through the web. The landing page links community leaders, young people, families, and professionals directly to each of the national organizations that specialize in a specific niche of the continuum of services model. 

IGNITING A YOUTH RECOVERY REVOLUTION

The National Youth Recovery Alliance (NYRA) was inspired by GENERTAION FOUND, a documentary film that focuses on a unique approach to adolescent and young adult substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support services. Throughout the nation, local communities have hosted screenings of this important film as a way of educating about the youth addiction crisis in their hometown, connecting with key providers and allies, and advocating for the expansion of youth recovery support services throughout their state.

Regarding the film, Bill White, the author of Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, stated, "The film Generation Found masterfully portrays the story of a youth-focused recovery revolution that could profoundly reshape the future of addiction, addiction treatment, and addiction recovery in the United States. This landmark film will serve as a dynamic catalyst for community education and mobilization. Organizing recovery support systems within high schools and collegiate communities is one of the most important developments within America's response to alcohol and other drug problems among adolescents and young adults. Generation Found beautifully conveys how such systems of support are transforming one American community. I commend this film to everyone concerned about the future of young people in America."

The film aims to ignite a youth recovery revolution throughout the nation by showing an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” It is not only a deeply personal story, but one with real-world utility for communities struggling with addiction worldwide.

To learn more about Generation Found and how you can support the youth recovery revolution visit: GenerationFoundFilm.com


Additional Resources:

Your Story Can Save Someone So Share It Freely by Guest Blogger Rose Lockinger

I was once told that most of life’s problems could be traced back to not having a large enough sample size. While this may seem like an over simplification for how complicated life can be, the more that I think about, the more I tend to agree.

What the person who told me this meant is that majority of the things that we believe to be wrong with us are in fact “normal”, or at the very least have been experienced by others before. This means that if we could have a large enough sample of people who were honest, we would see that we were not so alone in our quirks and that most of the things that we harshly judge ourselves for are in fact just a byproduct of being human.  You see we feel alone when we act out on behaviours we think we should be above like resentments that we continue to carry in sobriety, or struggling with being honest, or people pleasing. 

This means that if we shared openly with each other, in a way that we currently don’t do in this society, a lot of the ills of humanity would probably go away, as we would start to see that most people on this planet think, or have thought, similar things. We would begin to see that regardless of race, religion, gender, etc., deep down we are all the same. We have similar fears, and similar wants and desires, and if we understood this, life would look very differently on the macro level. But let me get off of my soap box for a minute and return back to earth to say, share openly with people because you never know when it could possibly save someone from their own destruction.

When I first got to Alcoholics Anonymous I experienced just that. I finally found that there were people who acted like me, thought like me, and suffered from the same things that I suffered from. People shared openly and honestly about things that I never even realized I had thought about. They were thoughts in my subconscious that rattled around my head for years and sitting in the rooms of AA, I heard them spoken aloud for the first time and I felt a relief that I had never felt before.

Finally finding people who truly understood how I felt was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life. I no longer felt alone, or weird, and I knew for the first time, in perhaps ever, that I was going to be okay.

Since I experienced the power that relating to other’s stories has, I am acutely aware of just how important it is for me to do the same thing. I must share openly about the things I have experienced because I never know how and when my story can be of use to another person.

One of my friends in AA told me a story that I thought was really telling in regards to sharing opening about who he was. He was working at a hotel in Downtown Miami and while he didn’t expose the fact that he used to do heroin because there was no need to really do this, he did talk to his co-workers about how he no longer drank. He told them that he used to, but that it turned him into a terrible person, so he stopped.

About 3 months into working at the hotel one of the managers called him into the office one day and shut the door. My friend thought he was in trouble, but instead his manager asked him, how he stopped drinking. My friend told her and then the manager said that she thought she had a drinking problem. He in turn brought her to a meeting and she has now been sober for over 4 years.

Now I understand that people are touchy about sharing their story in public and they evoke the anonymity part of our program in order to do this, and that is their prerogative, but let’s say that my friend hadn’t been open about the fact that he no longer drank, would his manager have gotten sober? I can’t say for certain either way, but it is clear that my friend being honest definitely helped another alcoholic.

The same can be said inside the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is not always the newcomer who is hurting the most, and sometimes people with a good deal of time are dying on the inside, but too prideful to tell anyone. They sometimes believe that because they have some time they shouldn’t feel the way they do, but if you are at a meeting and share honestly about struggles you are having, you may help save someone without even knowing you are doing it.

There is a power that comes with relating to others, that really can’t be created any other way. Knowing that you are not alone in your struggles can give you the strength to push through what may seem like insurmountable problems, but this can only be achieved if we share openly and honestly with one another.

It can sometimes be difficult to be truly honest, but understanding that you choosing to share your story or not, could be the difference between helping someone or letting them drown, makes this decision easier. So I say share your story freely. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, how you feel, or what you’ve done in the past, because in the end we all have similar stories and letting others know that they are not alone is one of the most important things you can do in life.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Why the "Whys" No Longer Matter For Me In Sobriety by Rose Lockinger

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Why was always one of my favorite questions. That three-letter word encompassed so much and it allowed me to sit and ponder all of life’s mysteries to unhealthy degrees and avoid doing anything to improve my life.

If something went wrong in my life, rather than hunker down and attempt to change or accept the situation, I would sit around and ask why is this happening to me or why do people have to act this way? In doing so I was able to feed my growing self-pity and shift blame and responsibility away from myself to others. This allowed me to never really have to take a look at myself because I was a victim of “why” and so I stayed sick in my addiction and my thoughts.  It also allowed me to not accept for many years that I did indeed have a problem with addiction.

Needless to say this was not a very successful game plan for life and most of the time I walked around baffled by other people and the world. The thing that is interesting as well is that each time that I asked why, it would lead me to other questions and I would never actually arrive at an answer. There would just be questions upon questions until eventually everything boiled down to meaningless nothing and with my mind a blur with questions I would reach for the bottle or a pill.

This changed however once I got sober. I was introduced to the idea that I didn’t have to question every little thing in life. I didn’t need to know why something was the way it was. I just need to either it accept it or attempt to change it, as the Serenity Prayer says

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

This sort of thinking was radical for me but to be honest it was a much-needed reprieve for my constantly overworked mind. Learning that life was far too complicated for me to be able to comprehend and understanding that it was not my job to decipher all of life’s mysteries brought me a measure of peace that I never had before in my life.

Growing up I was raised in a pretty religious household, but yet the things that I was taught about God didn’t really sit well with me. Due to the difference in personal beliefs and a series of events that jaded me towards religion, I would constantly question whether God was real and if he was, why he would let my life be such a mess. I would look to the universe and attempt to figure everything out and in failing to do so my mind would become fractured in a way, as I couldn’t seem to comprehend the vastness of existence.

It sounds funny writing those words now and I see how asinine of an endeavor it truly was, but at the time question why we were here, and really needing an answer was of paramount importance. It was a sort of subconscious obsession of mine that needed to be fulfilled and the further that I got into my addiction the more I pondered the whys of life.

When I first got sober and told my sponsor about this, she could relate and understood what I was talking about, but she also informed me that I didn’t need to figure everything out in order to live a happy and full life. She told me that all I had to do was have faith that I was not the master and commander of the universe and everything else would take care of itself.

Being still a little skeptical I decided to give it a try and you know what, my life changed dramatically. I gave up questioning God and what he was doing and started to have faith that life was unfolding in the manner it was supposed to. I began to realize that there were too many moving parts in the world for me to be able to comprehend them all and so I stopped asking why and started just living.

I also stopped asking why I was an alcoholic and an addict. This was a huge shift for me. I came to see that there was a solution in the 12 Steps and because of this it didn’t matter why I suffered from the disease of addiction, because I had a solution out of it.

For many years the question, why I was the way I was, plagued me, but finally surrendering to the idea that this may be beyond my ability to know allowed me to focus on moving towards a solution to my problem, rather than getting wrapped up in all of the alternative versions that could have be possible.

So like the title of the post says, the whys no longer matter to me in my sobriety. I am no longer really concerned with why people act the way they do, or why sometimes terrible things happen in my life. I just try to focus on the fact that I have the ability to handle whatever comes down the pike and that there is a reason for everything. Many times this reason will not be apparent to me and that is okay as well. All I have to do is try to accept my situation and move forward.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Taking Out The Trash: Toxic Relationships in Sobriety by Rose Lockinger

One of the more difficult things to face in sobriety is getting rid of toxic relationships in your life. Many of us come into recovery with these lingering relationships and throughout the course of our Steps and early sobriety we have to learn how to shed ourselves of them. But getting toxic people of your life is not always as simple as it seems. It isn’t always a matter of just saying, “Hey, I no longer want to be with you, or I can no longer have you in my life” and if you are like me, a chronic people pleaser, cutting people out is always difficult. Part of this putting yourself and your recovery recovery first this allows you to start to rid yourself of relationships that no longer serve you.

There are a ton of emotions involved in this and I usually feel very guilty about having to remove people from my life. Many times in the past I found that I would keep these people in my life in order to avoid the confrontation, but by doing this I only caused myself pain. So one thing that I have worked on since I have gotten sober is how to do this in a manner that works for me.

The first toxic relationship that I had to remove from my life was with my ex-husband. This one was particularly tricky, because I have children with him, but I knew that I had to end the marriage. Getting out of this relationship was the precursor to me getting sober and by leaving him I was able to get the space necessary in order to finally get sober.

This wasn’t really an easy decision, though. I had spent years with him.  I had two children with him, and so deciding to leave was a very tough decision, but I knew that it was something that I had to do for myself and so I did it.

Since that time there have been other relationships in my life that I have had to cut out and I’d like to tell you that each one got easier, but they haven’t really. In early sobriety, I made a lot of friends with people that I was in treatment with. Of those people not many have remained sober and in the beginning as they began to trail out of the program I had to cut some of them off. Once a person relapses it is fairly easy to cut them out of your life, especially if you haven’t known them for that long, because they won’t really want to be around a person who is sober, but cutting people off who stop working a program but haven’t relapsed yet was a little more problematic.

I found that being around some of these people just made me feel bad. I would at certain times feel weird for being excited about sobriety and so I knew that I had to cut them out of my life otherwise I might follow them down the wrong path. Often times with people like this I just started to distance myself from them and that did the trick. I would maybe get a little bit of backlash and the standard question of, “Where have you been?” but for the most part they just stopped calling and in time they disappeared like many other people from early sobriety.

I can’t say whether or not this was the best way to handle these situations, making myself scarce so that I didn’t have to deal with a conversation with them, but it worked and I am still sober today.

There is another form of toxic relationship in sobriety that can occur after some time of being sober. You may develop a very close relationship with someone but after a period of time, you may find that that person is taking more out of the relationship then they are giving and they are draining you of your energy. I personally haven’t experienced this, but a friend of mine told me a story about how he dealt with such a situation.

He told me that his best friend in recovery was an emotional vampire. It seemed that every week there was some new calamity that he was facing and he’d always involve my friend some how. He said that for the most part his friend wasn’t even really involved in AA and he’d call him and just lay all of his problems on him. This went on for a couple of years and my friend told me how he went back and forth with whether or not he wanted this guy in his life anymore. On the one hand he was a good friend, but on the other hand, it was just too much.

It finally reached a point where he knew that his friend was going to relapse and he didn’t want to be involved anymore and so he decided to just have a frank conversation with him. This didn’t go over particularly well and his friend was angry at him, but it was the right thing to do and within the next few months his friend relapsed.

I only offer these scenarios to show that you are not alone in having to deal with getting rid of toxic relationships in your life. I am not an expert on any of these things, nor do I pretend to know exactly what you need to do in your own particular instance, but if you have reached a point where you believe you need to cut a relationship out of your life, then it is probably better to do so sooner than later. From my own personal experience, I find that it is better, once these relationships are done, to leave them in the past, especially if they are romantic in nature. Going back and forth in a toxic relationship is the definition of hell on earth, each time thinking it is going to be different but getting the same results and in the end, more pain is caused with each iteration.

So if you have relationships that need to go, talk to a friend, sponsor, or therapist, chart a course of action and pull the plug. It isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. 


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

Shannon Egan on The Anonymity Podcast

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Shannon Egan is the author of “No Tourists Allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War Torn Sudan”. She worked for the UN as a journalist and struggled through it all as an alcoholic. She returned to the US and things got worse. We talked about her recovery from alcoholism and a lot about the current state of recovery and where the future of recovery is going. I had an absolute blasty blast.

Hope and Love, Ty

Listen to the full podcast here: Shannon Egan on The Anonymity Podcast

What I Do When I Feel Overwhelmed in Recovery by Rose Lockinger

Lately, I have been very overwhelmed by the circumstances of my life. My emotions often get the best of me and some days I just feel lost. It can all be too much sometimes, having to navigate my recovery, work full time, be a mother, and deal with the strained relationship I have with my ex-husband, but through it all, I know that I do not have drink, or use. I have learned that regardless of being overwhelmed in sobriety I never have to resort to old behaviours as I have many tools to use today even if it's just holding on for the day and going to bed early.

This wasn’t always the case though and a little over two years ago I had to drink over just about everything that happened in my life. When I had a good day I would reward myself with a drink and when I felt overwhelmed, which was quite often, I would turn to my only solution, the bottle, for comfort. At the time it was what I had to do to survive because I didn’t know there was another option. I would become overwhelmed by the littlest of things and then I would feel absolutely paralyzed. The only thing that I could do to escape this was to drink, and so drink I did.

Suffice to say that this way of dealing with life did not work for very long and eventually when my only solution stop working, I had to find others means to deal with life. Luckily, sobriety offered me these means, but employing them is not always easy.

Looking back now the first couple years of my sobriety seemed like a cakewalk. Yes I had responsibilities and yes I had my challenges, but compared to what I have been dealing with recently, these things were not so bad. I guess I just wasn’t aware that I could struggle so badly while having a relationship with God and being sober. It is not as if I hadn’t heard in the rooms that life would show up, but I guess I sort of just didn’t really know what this meant.

I am finding out that sobriety does not necessarily mean that I am going to feel good all of the time. It does not mean that I won’t get completely overwhelmed and get the urge to pack everything up and move to the woods in order to run away my life. What sobriety does mean is that I won’t have to act out on any of these things. That I will have the courage and strength to deal with my problems head on, even if some days I don’t want to.

So being without my initial solution of drinking in order to deal with being overwhelmed, what sort of things do I do today when my chest gets tight and I feel a wave of anxiety washing over me, telling me that I am not going to be able to make it?

The first thing that I do is pray. I take a moment and step back from whatever is going on and I ask God for help. This doesn’t always alleviate my feelings of being overwhelmed, but it is often the first step that I have to take in order to continue to walk through my struggles.

After this, I usually call someone. The act of talking to a friend or sponsor when life seems too much is one of the most powerful things that I can do in order to help my feeling of being overwhelmed. It reminds me that I am not alone in this and that I can overcome anything with the support of my family and friends.

Supplementing my conversations with friends I also sometimes journal. The act of writing out my thoughts often times allows me to slow my thinking down to a reasonable speed. Once this has occurred I many times do not feel as overwhelmed because I can look at my problems piecemeal and begin to work towards dealing with them.

If my anxiety and emotions are still running high after this, I usually try to turn my attention towards someone else. This is something that I never did during my active alcoholism. When I would get stuck in my emotions I would stay there and there was no room to take anyone else into account. What I have found since getting sober, is that often the way through hard times in life is getting out of my head by helping someone else. Logically this one never really made sense to me. I would always question, how does helping someone else, help my problems, but in practice, this tool has proved invaluable.

Then there are times when I become so overwhelmed with my life that none of these things seem to help. In the past when this occurred I would have to drink because I just couldn’t handle it, but not today. Today I am able to deal with my emotions, even when they make me want to crawl up in the fetal position and cry. When this happens I know that the best I can do is try to make it through the day, try not to hurt anyone, make it to a meeting, and try to get out of myself.

This is not always easy and sometimes I feel like I am walking up a dark stairway with no idea where it leads, trusting that there is a step in front of me every time I make a move. I find that I am walking more so these days by faith and not sight because my sight is fairly limited. I can only see as a far as my current predicaments and even though I do not know how I will make it out of these feelings of being overwhelmed or a lot of the confusion that I am currently experiencing, I have faith that God will make that possible.

That to me is what it means to be sober. Taking one step at a time, even when you don’t want to. Facing life’s challenges without the need for a drink and trusting that all things will come to pass.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 












Why Expectations Will Always Let You Down

Do you remember being a little kid on Christmas? I do. The night before I would always have trouble sleeping because of the anticipation of the next day and the thought of all of the toys that Santa would bring me. The whole night would consist of my mind leaping from fantastic image to fantastic image and most years I would be out of bed before my parents were even up. I would run into their room and force them awake because I couldn’t wait to go downstairs and open up my presents. 

But I also remember something else. After all the presents were opened, the last scrap of wrapping paper being torn from its boxes, I would feel let down even if I got everything that I wanted. I found that my expectations of what Christmas would be and how I would feel, never matched up to reality and so after the hustle and bustle of opening presents was over; I would sort of feel depressed. This foreshadowed my inability to let go not only of expectations but also in letting go of resentments.

Now as a little kid I am not sure how aware I was of all of this, I just knew that I felt a certain way after the presents were opened, but upon reflection, as an adult, I realized that I still do these same things today and with the same result. I still set expectations on people and events and very rarely are my expectations met. When they are not met I am always let down and if the expectation is too large it can even feel heartbreaking. I recently experienced this in a way different than I ever had before and it had to do with my children.

I spent the first 18 months of my sobriety in South Florida, away from my family. This I believe was necessary in order for me to finally get sober, but the whole time that I was in Florida, my goal was to move back home to be with my children. During my time away my ex-husband and I finalized our divorce and we hashed out the visitation agreement as well.

When I finally moved back home I had the expectation that I would have something like joint custody with my ex-husband, but this is not the way that it worked out. After about six months of being home I still only had a visitation schedule with my kids.  This was not what I had hoped for or expected to happen. 

I really struggled with this and still am to a certain degree, because I had certain expectations for how my moving back home would go. I thought that since I had been sober for a while now, I had a good job, and was responsible, I even had my own house, I thought that everything would go swimmingly, but this has not been the case.

It’s funny how no matter how many disappointments I have faced as a direct result of unrealistic expectations I still continue to use them in my life.  Though there has finally been a shift as I now have an awareness that I did not have before.

These are the lessons that I am currently learning, though, that when you set expectations for yourself or others, you will almost always be let down, or as John Steinbeck said, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

The reality is that I cannot control other people or what they do and my expectations are usually the result of me thinking that I can control outcomes. You would think that this point in my life I would have learned that this is not the case, but this is a lesson that just doesn’t seem to want to stick.

I believe that it is okay to want things in life, in fact, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t, but the difference between wanting and expecting is often the difference between satisfaction and hurt. If I want something to go a certain way and it doesn’t, I may be a little upset but probably won’t take it that hard, but when I expect something to go a certain way and it doesn’t, I usually get pretty upset. 

This goes for setting an expectation for myself as well. Going back to the example of moving home, I had expectations of how I would handle the move. I have found that I usually overestimate my ability to handle change and expect myself to handle situations better than I do. Then when I fail to meet these high and unrealistic expectations I get mad at myself, which does nothing but just make me feel worse.

This has been the case with moving back home. I have not handled the move as well as I thought I would and at times it has really affected me. I am not around my original support group, I don’t have access to the same meetings I got sober in, and I have had to create a whole new recovery community for myself. This has been pretty difficult and at times it has felt completely overwhelming. It has tested my faith in ways I didn’t know was possibly, but I think the worst part is how harshly I have judged myself for not meeting my own expectations. The thing is I have a really hard time giving myself a break I always think I could have done better I don’t want to accept what I do.

Expectations very rarely play out the way we think they will and because of this we often set up ourselves up for failure when we have them. I am trying to learn to not have expectations on myself or others, but just try to show up, do the best I can, and have faith that all things will work out. This is harder some days than others, but I’ll continue to trudge this road and hopefully in time expect less and accept more.

***

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

 

I Don’t Want To Do A 12 Step Program: What Are My Options?

Both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will be the first to tell you that they do not have a monopoly on recovery. They merely offer one solution for getting sober that has proven pretty effective for many people. That being said there are people who do not want to participate in a 12 Step program or have found that the 12 Steps just don’t seem to work for them. There arealternatives to 12-step programs that work. Many times these people can feel at a loss because they may have been lead to believe that if they can’t get sober in AA or NA then there is no hope for them. This, however, is not the case and there are a number of other options for getting sober if you do not want to be involved in a 12 Step Program.

Options For Getting Sober Without The Steps

 In the early 20th century renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung expressed the fact that in order for someone to overcome their addiction or alcoholism, something needed to occur that would result in a complete shift in thinking. Jung went on to say how often times therapy alone was not sufficient for this shift to take place, but something else, something along the lines of a spiritual experience, needed to take place in order for the shift to occur. For those who are opposed to the idea of spirituality in any sense of the word, try to keep an open mind and think of it as a change of the psyche, which is what all of these alternatives to AA or NA propose in one form or another.

Traditional Therapy

Often times traditional therapy is not enough to get someone sober because the element of relating is not there, but there are some cases where therapy has gotten people sober. If you are opposed to the idea of going to 12 Step meetings then check out therapy and see if this method of treatment will work in allowing you to overcome your addiction.

 Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery was started in the early 90s as a Christian support group for people suffering from alcoholism and addiction. Rather than using 12 Steps, it has 8 principles which it follows, that adhere to the beatitudes. Even though the program is somewhat based on the 12 Steps, it is in no way associated with AA or NA and its usage of the bible may make it useful for someone who is Christian. There are currently over 10,000 churches that offer Celebrate Recovery so finding a meeting near you should not be too difficult.

 SMART Recovery

Smart Recovery uses the ideas of cognitive behavioral therapy in order to allow its members to re-associate certain environmental and emotional influences that may have caused their alcoholism or addiction. By doing this the program allows its members to create healthier patterns of actions and thoughts, which break the cycle of addictive behaviors. The program employs the latest scientific and psychiatric research and although it is based on abstinence only, the program is not opposed to having members who are not sure if they want to quit completely. The goal is to empower its members and this is done by following a 4-point program consisting of:

  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced life

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety was started in the 1980s by a former AA member who felt uncomfortable with AA’s insistence on turning the will over to a higher power. He felt that by taking personal responsibility for his drinking and removing this notion from the idea of God, it would be more beneficial to his sobriety and life. There is no real structure of this program besides the idea of taking responsible for your actions and a few other suggestions as well.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety for formed in the 1970s by a socialist named Jean Kirkpatrick, who felt that what women needed in order to get sober was different from what men needed. Her approach differs from AA in that she views alcoholism as something that develops out of emotional problems, rather than alcoholism being the underlying cause behind other issues.

 LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is an offshoot of Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Some members of SOS disagreed with the structure of the program and so they decided to start their own program. LifeRing Secular Recovery has three principles, which are centered on the ideas of sobriety, secularism, and self-help. In many ways, they are similar to SOS and they have grown quite a bit over the past 10 years.

 Religion

Finding sobriety through your chosen faith is a way that many people who do not go to AA or NA finally get sober. In fact, besides AA or NA, this is probably the most popular method of getting sober. The support that can be found in the church, synagogue, or mosque, coupled with a spiritual influence can be exactly what is needed in order to overcome addiction or alcoholism.

If you are at a point with your drinking or using where you feel that you need to make a change but do not want to go to a 12 Step Program, then seek out information on one of the alternatives above. Just because you do not want to go to AA or NA does not mean that you do not have the option to get sober. There are many people who felt exactly like you do and they were able to find their own niche in recovery. Hopefully this information was helpful to you and I hope that in the end you find exactly what it is that you are looking for. 

 ***

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

 

 

Meet Recovery Rockstar, Shannon Egan

HI, MY NAME IS SHANNON, AND I AM AN ADDICT & an ALCOHOLIC. 

Actually, this is how I prefer to share my recovery story: 

Hi, my name is Shannon, and I was an alcoholic and addict for nearly fifteen years of my life. Today, I have five years in long-term recovery, and I'm not just sober, but I'm happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally.

I've been able to transform my life from an experience of shame and darkness to one filled with light, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I've come a long way considering that in 2011 I woke up in a jail cell (for the fourth time in my life) with a horrific hangover, still slightly intoxicated, and refusing to believe that I had an addiction problem. 

But for me, the process of eliminating shame from my life wasn't easy.  Even after two years in recovery, only a handful of close family members really knew the extent of my addiction, that it was once so debilitating I couldn't go a few minutes without a drink in my system or I'd be in extreme mental, physical, and emotional pain. 

Very few people knew that when I got drunk and high for the first time at age of seventeen, I was immediately hooked. They didn't know that by the age of 21, I was a hardcore alcoholic and opiate addict with one DUI under my belt. They didn't know I'd done jail time or been court-ordered to 60 days of house arrest and three years of probation, or that I was a felon and couldn't operate a vehicle without an interlock. 

I was ashamed and embarrassed. I feared isolation, rejection, and judgement by my peers and community members. 

In 2012, after two years in recovery, I realized that even though I was sober and had come very far in my recovery process, I was stuck emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. One night before bed I realized why: I was hiding a huge part of my life journey, and through this one seemingly small act I was, in a sense, isolating, rejecting, and judging myself.

That night I decided to take a risk and spill my guts in a 500-word status update on Facebook. In my update I shared my addiction story, including many of the things I was most ashamed of. My ugly past was finally out there for everyone to like or dislike and even comment on. It was terrifying, but at the same time I felt so incredibly free.  The next day I woke up to find that the post had been shared around the world, and in less than eight hours, it had garnered over 400 likes, 140 comments, and spurred a ton of messages in my inbox from people I knew and didn't know. Their feedback pretty much all said the same thing:

Thank you for sharing your story. You've given me hope that recovery is possible.

I couldn't believe it. Many of the people I thought would judge me were accepting and supportive. They had family members and friends struggling with addiction too, and some were trying to find recovery themselves.

This experience helped me to recognize something truly life changing: all human beings suffer.

I might suffer from addiction, you might suffer from depression or poverty or racism or a crippling disease, and although our suffering might look different, it’s really the same, and it’s through our suffering that we can connect and find common ground.  

This is why I've chosen to share my addiction and recovery journey in two books: No Tourists Allowed (about my travel adventures and addiction struggles in Sudan) and the sequel, Sex, Drugs and Recovery (about being on top of the world with a book deal and working for the UN in N.Y.C, losing it all, and finally finding recovery, self-love, and acceptance).

Sharing one’s story publicly takes courage and vulnerability.

Sharing these books with you involves asking you to embrace me as I am: a human being who’s done some really shady things and has some really embarrassing flaws. Today I know that this doesn't make me any less worthy of love, compassion, and support, and I hope that by sharing my flaws, I will inspire you to accept and share your own. I hope to inspire you to be brave and vulnerable, and in turn to set yourself free.

Your story has the power to transform lives and infuse hope in those still struggling. We need you to stand up and speak out about your experiences so that we can drive the movement forward and create a positive conversation around addiction and recovery throughout the world.

For anyone out there who is struggling today, please know you are not alone, and no matter how bleak your life may look, today recovery is possible. I'm living proof. If I can do it, so can you.

It’s much easier to find recovery when you have a peer to talk to—somebody who has been there and who can listen without judgement. So if you need support, email me at ShannonMaeEgan@gmail.com. I'll help you connect with a recovery community in your area. 

Oh, and thanks for listening,

Shan 

Relationships In Recovery by Rose Lockinger

Relationships In Recovery

When you hear someone mention relationships in recovery, your first thought may be romantic relationships. For many people, these relationships are the most important, aside from relationships with their children. But there are many types of relationships in recovery. Relationships with your sober friends, for example, and relationships with sponsors and sponsees. Two more very important relationships include your relationship with your higher power, and your relationship with yourself.

For many men and women, especially in early recovery, romantic relationships are a huge focus, and often a source of stress and unhealthy behavior patterns. In fact, romantic relationships are frequently a catalyst for relapse.

For some people, negative relationships may be even more detrimental than their drug or alcohol use was. These unhealthy relationships push out all other relationships, including those with friends and family, even children. These relationships are often abusive, either physically, emotionally or both.

Getting clean and sober is always a good thing, and generally has an immediate, positive impact on your life (even if it doesn’t always feel that way).  However, there is almost always more work to be done, and relationships are often at the top of the list. A key part of being in recovery is learning how to have healthy relationships with all the people you interact with on a daily basis.  From work, to home, to children, to friendships part of getting better is learning how to interact in a healthy way with others.

Romantic Relationships In Recovery

What does a healthy romantic relationship look like? People will have varying answers to this of course, depending on their temperaments, core beliefs and values, priorities and preferences, but generally, people agree that a healthy romantic relationship is a consensual, mutual relationship built on trust, respect and honesty. Each person is an individual, and is able to be themselves. Each person feels honored and respected and safe.

A healthy romantic relationship needn’t be serious. It can be as simple as casual dating, or it could be a major commitment, like marriage, or anywhere in between. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is that people trust each other, support each other’s recovery, and allow the other person to grow and pursue their dreams.

Supporting Your Partner’s Recovery

While not all people in recovery end up in relationships with a fellow recovering addict, it is common. The good news is that one addict is often best able to understand another, which is part of the reason these relationships are so common. We “get” each other. However, each person has to work their own program. While it’s important to support each other in recovery, we can’t dictate how someone does that. What we can do is allow the other person the freedom and support to pursue their recovery to the best of their ability, and never to interfere with it. For example, some couples prefer to attend separate meetings with friends, that way they are better able to focus and continue building their support system. Married couples with children should always make sure the other person has the opportunity to take a break from the kids and do recovery-related activities such as going to meetings and working with a sponsor. It’s not unusual for new parents to have difficulty getting to meetings or meeting with their support group, while the other party is free to do these things. When one half of the relationship isn’t getting enough support for their recovery, they are at risk for isolation and relapse. It has to be a priority for both sides.

What If Your Partner Isn’t In Recovery?

One of the worst mistakes a person in recovery can make is entering into a relationship with an actively using addict. It can be hard enough some days to stay on the right path, but if someone is using right under your nose, you are really playing with fire. It’s best to avoid these situations.

With that said, people in recovery also end up in relationships with people who aren’t addicts, and so don’t need to work a program of recovery. Also known as “normies” these are people who may or may not drink or use recreationally. These relationships can sometimes run into problems if the “normal” person doesn’t understand the need to continue working on recovery, or doesn’t respect his or her partner by using or drinking around them. This situation requires a lot of communication, education and support.

The Importance Of Other Relationships

Romantic relationships are nice and all, but they shouldn’t mean all other relationships go on the back burner. Friendships must also be nurtured, as well as your relationship with yourself and your higher power. When you let go of other relationships and focus solely on your partner, you are setting both of you up for a fall. First off, it puts way too much pressure on the other person. If you are looking to your partner to satisfy all your needs, not just for romantic love, but also for friendship, guidance, support, etc. they are bound to fall short. Be sure you continue to go to your friends, sponsor, etc. for those things. Also, don’t isolate yourself from others. If things fall apart in your love life, you want to feel like you can pick up the phone.

Healthy relationships in recovery are some of the best relationships you’ll run across, because you have two people who are consistently working to improve themselves, and have a wealth of tools and skills that many “normies” don’t have, as well as a supportive community backing them both.

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

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