Entries tagged with “AA”.

addictionOne of the ways that addiction is described by Alcoholics Anonymous is with the phrase cunning, baffling and powerful.To those living with it, this expression certainly rings true. Someone who is clean and sober may seem to be doing well on their journey, but then they have a slip or even a full-blown relapse.

This type of behavior is very confusing to an addicted persons family members and friends: they likely think that once their loved one goes for treatment, that the problem will be fixed.Unfortunately, addiction doesnt work that way. Its a chronic illness that has all of the qualities listed above, along with infinite patience.

Addiction Treatment Teaches Coping Skills
At the root of many addictions is a desire to avoid emotional pain. If someone is looking for a way to numb themselves or to avoid dealing with something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can drink, take a pill, snort or smoke something that will help them do that. They dont have to learn how to deal with things going on in their life.

Its not realistic to think that someone who has developed that pattern of living can simply stop using their drug of choice without having something to replace it. For this reason, addiction treatment programs teach coping strategies to their clients that they can use in their chemical-free lifestyle.

Addiction is Cunning
Keep in mind that the addiction is not cured; it is still lying in the background. An addict has to learn that they cant drink again, ever: they cant pick up a drink when they are feeling down or stressed. They learn strategies to avoid these types of situations while in treatment.

Its more challenging to get used to the idea that they cant drink as part of a celebration. If someone has been sober for a time, they might get a little cocky and start thinking that they can have one drink and will be all right. This is the cunning part of their addiction talking to them. It lies in wait, trying to trip them up.

Addiction is Baffling
Unless an addict continues to be diligent about working their program, they will likely relapse. The first part of a 12-step program is to admit that one is powerless over the addiction. The minute someone thinks that they have their addiction beatand that they dont need to keep going to meetings and doing things to stay on track, they are opening the door to letting it take control of their life.

Addiction is Powerful
This disease has the power to change the way a person thinks and how they perceive the world around them. People who are in the throes of an addictive lifestyle will do whatever they need to in order to feed their addiction. The need to use becomes so powerful it takes precedent over anything else.

Addiction is Patient
Someone who is an addict is in recovery, but they are not recovered. The addiction will patiently wait for a chance to step back into their life, if given a chance. The best way to prevent this from occurring is to be constantly vigilant about ones recovery on a day-to-day basis.

In some instances, taking things in smaller chunks of time makes more sense. It may mean looking at life one hour at a time if that is what is needed to stay sober. The 12-step programs offer support and fellowship for people who are experiencing challenges in their journey to stay sober. Many of their members will likely understand exactly what the phrase cunning, baffling powerfulmeans from personal experience, too.

To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 877-727-4465. 

A friend recently spent a few days in the hospital for knee surgery.  The doctor’s advice at the time of discharge was simple and encouraging: “Rest, take it easy for a few weeks and before you know it life will be back to normal.”  If only healing from addiction to alcohol & drugs could follow a similar path.

Medical science has confirmed that addiction is a disease.  Changes have occurred within the brain preventing the addict from controlling the impulses and emotions that drive them to use, even though the consequences are obvious and often disastrous.  Addiction to alcohol & drugs is manifested in bad behavior and healing is desperately needed.

Addiction to alcohol & drugs requires big changes

The great difference between a physical disease and a brain disease (such as addiction) is that time is not the critical requirement for healing.  Addicts and alcoholics do not get better simply by resting and waiting.  Time helps, but it is not the foundation of recovery.

Healing from addiction to alcohol & drugs requires change.  The life of the addict or alcoholic must change to remove the patterns, behaviors and habits that have reinforced addiction.  They must be replaced by new and better choices.  The well-worn saying of Alcoholic Anonymous is filled with truth:

Nothing changes if nothing changes”

Old patterns of thinking must be replaced by new thoughts and ideas.  Resentments, anger and low self-esteem must change to forgiveness, acceptance and positive thoughts.  Stress and boredom must give way to self-care, hobbies, and new ways of living that foster greater well-being.  The people who are still using, the places where drugs and alcohol are prevalent, the activities that encourage thoughts of drugs and alcohol, must all be left behind.

In many ways, healing from addiction to alcohol & drugs is harder than healing from a physical injury or a difficult surgery.  It requires a willingness to recognize that life must be different.  It demands the courage to make changes that will establish a life where it is much easier not to drink or use.  This is not a simple task because most of us resist change rather than embracing it.  But recovery from addiction demands no less.  There is no other path to freedom from the destructive power contained within drugs and alcohol other than change.

One of the principle causes of relapse is thinking that you don’t need help, or that you can manage recovery on your own. We hear lots of people say:

I understand how to manage my recovery. I don’t need a counselor or a sponsor.”

Do not assume you're strong enough to recover from addiction on your own

Relapse begins the moment a person in recovery thinks they can outsmart their addiction. Remember, alcoholics and addicts are handicapped by an addicted brain which has developed the neurological wiring to respond to a disease that is very cleaver.

The people who do best in recovery are those who realize their weaknesses. They are willing to ask for help and accept it. They practice surrendering their will in order to rely on the strength offered to them through programs like AA, NA, or Celebrate Recovery – programs that recognize a need for a spiritual solution to addiction by having the humility to depend on a “power greater than ourselves.”


By Michael Campbell