Saturday, May 25, 2024

Memorial Day

This week we celebrate those who gave their lives in service to our country. We honor them with parades and other ceremonies. And it's only fitting. There's no greater sacrifice than for one to lay down their life protecting our country.

Like many, I used to get Memorial Day and Veteran's Day confused, not clear about the difference. Memorial Day honors those who died while in service. Veteran's Day honors all those who served, living or dead.

At TLC and all over our country we deal with many whose lives were changed forever by their service. Many of those with us today suffer from loss of limbs, PTSD, homelessness. And for many of them alcohol or drugs are the only answer for their painful memories. Others simply escape by taking their own lives.

This week we should take a moment to reflect on the monumental sacrifice our veterans have made - both the dead and the living.

If it weren't for them we wouldn't have the freedoms we enjoy today to pursue our lives as we choose.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Liberating Path to a Fulfilling Life

Living a clean and sober life is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It's a choice that opens the door to countless benefits, transforming not only our physical health but also our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. In a world often clouded by the allure of substances, embracing sobriety can lead to a life filled with clarity, purpose, and fulfillment.

One of the most profound benefits of living clean and sober is the restoration of mental clarity and focus. Free from the haze of intoxication, individuals find themselves better able to concentrate, make sound decisions, and pursue their goals with unwavering determination. With a clear mind, opportunities once obscured by substance abuse become attainable, paving the way for personal and professional growth.

Moreover, sobriety fosters authentic connections and enriches relationships. By prioritizing sobriety, individuals cultivate genuine bonds built on trust, respect, and mutual support. They no longer rely on substances as a crutch for social interaction but instead engage fully in meaningful connections, fostering deeper intimacy and understanding in their interpersonal relationships.

Embracing sobriety also nurtures emotional resilience and stability. Rather than seeking solace in temporary highs, individuals learn to confront and manage their emotions head-on, developing healthy coping mechanisms to navigate life's challenges. Through therapy, support groups, and self-reflection, they gain valuable insights into their emotional triggers and patterns, empowering them to lead more balanced and fulfilling lives.

Furthermore, sobriety opens the door to a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Freed from the grip of addiction, individuals rediscover their interests, talents, and aspirations, reigniting their zest for life. They embark on a journey of self-discovery, exploring new hobbies, pursuing long-neglected dreams, and embracing opportunities for personal enrichment and growth.

On a physical level, living clean and sober leads to improved health and vitality. Without the harmful effects of drugs or alcohol, individuals experience enhanced energy levels, better sleep quality, and a strengthened immune system. They reclaim control over their bodies, adopting healthier habits and lifestyles that promote longevity and well-being.

In essence, the benefits of living a clean and sober life extend far beyond the absence of substances. It's a transformative journey that empowers individuals to reclaim their lives, unlock their full potential, and embrace a future filled with hope and possibility. By choosing sobriety, we embark on a path of self-discovery, healing, and renewal—a path that ultimately leads to a life of meaning, joy, and fulfillment. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Becoming Responsible

As a recovering addict, I know all too well the challenges that come with staying clean. It's a constant battle—a daily choice to resist old habits and make healthier decisions.  But there's one key factor that has made all the difference for me: taking responsibility for my behavior.

For years, I blamed everyone and everything else for my addiction. I was trapped in a cycle of denial and excuses, never once stopping to consider the impact of my actions on myself and those around me. It wasn't until I hit rock bottom that I realized the only way out was to own up to my behavior and take control of my life.

Learning to take responsibility for my behavior was a game-changer. Instead of playing the victim card, I began to acknowledge the role I played in my own downfall. I accepted that my addiction was a result of my choices and actions, and that only I had the power to change course. It was empowering yet daunting, but I knew it was the only way forward.

With this newfound sense of responsibility came a shift in perspective. I started to see my addiction not as a curse but as a challenge—an opportunity to grow and become a better version of myself. I sought out therapy, support groups, and counseling to help me navigate this new path. And slowly but surely, I began to see progress.

Taking responsibility for my behavior meant holding myself accountable for my actions. I made amends to those I'd hurt, I learned to set boundaries and say no to temptation, And most importantly, I prioritized my physical and mental well-being. It wasn't easy, and there were setbacks along the way, but each hurdle only reinforced my commitment to staying clean.

Today, I can proudly say that I have over 33 years in recovery, and I owe it all to the simple yet profound act of taking responsibility for my behavior. It's a lesson that has not only kept me sober but has also transformed me into a stronger, more resilient individual. 

If you're a recovering addict struggling to stay clean, remember this: it all starts with owning up to your past and shaping your future.

Click here to email John 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Power of Gratitude

 I was at a twelve-step meeting the other day where the topic was gratitude.

Now gratitude is brought up frequently at 12 step meetings, and anywhere recovering people gather. After all, gratitude is the fuel that drives recovery and when we lose it our recovery might go along with it.

But at this meeting, one person who shared had a different perspective on gratitude.

It was an older gentleman and he said we not only should be grateful for the good things in our life but that we should be grateful for everything in our life. Because he added, if we're only grateful when life's good then we're going to have a lot of time where we won't have any gratitude.

After all, he said, he never experienced much growth when things were wonderful. It was only when he had challenges – whether financial, physical health, relationships or whatever – and met the obstacles and moved on that he experienced growth. And once he went through some of these tough times he realized he had more ability and strength than he knew he had. And therefore he kept growing and was able to take on bigger and bigger challenges.

As I reflected upon what he was saying, I recall many articles that I've read where people talked about overcoming the challenges in their lives. They usually say that once they got on the other side of whatever they were facing they were bigger and better human beings because they survived the experience.

I left the meeting realizing that gratitude is something that I should apply to whatever I'm facing because the experience is an opportunity for growth.

Click here to email John

Monday, May 13, 2024

Navigating the Complex Terrain of Relapse

In the journey of recovery, relapse often stands as a formidable obstacle. For those engaged in 12-step programs, relapse can evoke a whirlwind of emotions, ranging from guilt and shame to frustration and despair. However, understanding relapse as an integral part of the recovery process can offer valuable insights and pave the way for renewed commitment and growth.

One of the fundamental principles of 12-step programs is the recognition that addiction is a chronic condition, characterized by periods of remission and relapse. This acknowledgment shifts the focus from viewing relapse as a failure to recognizing it as a potential learning opportunity. It invites individuals to explore the underlying triggers and patterns that contribute to relapse, fostering self-awareness and personal growth.

Moreover, relapse serves as a stark reminder of the insidious nature of addiction. It underscores the importance of ongoing support and vigilance in maintaining sobriety. In 12-step programs, members lean on each other for support, drawing strength from shared experiences and collective wisdom. Through open and honest communication, individuals can find solace in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.

At the same time, navigating relapse requires a delicate balance of compassion and accountability. While it is essential to offer empathy and understanding to those who have experienced a setback, it is equally crucial to encourage accountability and a commitment to recovery. This involves identifying triggers, developing coping strategies, and recommitting to the principles of the program.

In the face of relapse, it is essential to remember that recovery is a nonlinear journey. Setbacks are not indicative of failure but rather opportunities for growth and resilience. By embracing the principles of 12-step programs and leaning on the support of fellow members, individuals can navigate the complexities of relapse with courage and determination.

Ultimately, relapse in 12-step programs is not the end of the road but rather a detour on the path to recovery. It is a reminder that healing is a lifelong process, marked by both triumphs and challenges. With perseverance, self-reflection, and a supportive community, individuals can emerge stronger and more resilient on their journey toward sobriety.

Click here to email John

Friday, May 10, 2024

Changing our Life

Recovering from drugs and alcohol can change our life in big ways. First, our health gets better. No more damaging our body with harmful substances. We feel stronger, more energetic, and happier.

Then, our relationships improve. No more hurting loved ones or pushing them away. We can rebuild trust and connect more deeply with friends and family.

We start to see things more clearly. No more foggy brain or feeling out of control. Our mind becomes sharper, and we can make better decisions.

.Money becomes less of a worry. No more spending all our cash on drugs or alcohol. We can save up for things we really want or need, like a vacation or new car. Our emotions stabilize. No more rollercoaster of highs and lows. We can handle stress and tough times without turning to substances to cope.

We find new hobbies and interests. No more wasting time on getting high or drunk. We discover activities that bring joy and fulfillment, like hiking, painting, or playing music. Our self-esteem grows. No more feeling ashamed or worthless. We start to believe in ourself again and see our worth beyond addiction

Overall, recovery brings freedom. No more being controlled by drugs or alcohol. We can live life on our own terms, with purpose, joy, and a sense of peace.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Embracing the Now

Life rushes by, pulling us into its whirlwind. Yet, within this chaos lies a hidden gem: the present moment. Here and now, amidst life's tumult, lies a treasure trove of joy and opportunity waiting to be savored. Every moment is a gift, fleeting and precious.

In a world of constant change, it's vital to pause and appreciate the richness of the present. Whether it's a hug from a loved one. The song of birds at dawn, Or a meal shared with friends, magic resides in each passing moment.

Yet, too often, we dwell on the past or worry about the future, letting the present slip away. Lost in thoughts of what was or what might be, we forget that the only moment we truly own is now.

Cherishing the present isn't about ignoring the past or the future—it's about fully immersing ourselves in the here and now. It's about relishing life's simple pleasures, being thankful for the blessings around us, and embracing each moment with open arms.

When we treasure the present, we become more mindful and aware. We notice the beauty and wonder in the world, finding peace in the present instead of chasing distant dreams. Moreover, embracing the now empowers us to live with purpose. Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, we're free to enjoy life as it unfolds - one moment at a time.

Let's not waste our time chasing illusions like drugs or alcohol, but instead, let's cherish this moment—to revel in its beauty, celebrate its joys, and embrace its endless possibilities. For in the end, it's not the destination that matters, but the journey—and the moments we choose to treasure along the way.

Click here to email John