Monday, July 22, 2024

Recovery: Bringing us life's Riches

As I reflect on my recent trip to the Mexican Riviera, I'm reminded of the incredible journey I've been on for the past 33 years, marked by one significant choice: sobriety. Since January 13, 1991, I've embraced a life free from alcohol and drugs.  And the rewards have been abundant.

One of the most profound benefits of being clean for over three decades is the clarity and presence I bring to each moment. In the past, vacations were often clouded by excessive drinking, leading to missed experiences and regrettable decisions. Now, every trip, like my recent visit to the Mexican Riviera, is a vibrant tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors that I savor fully.

Sobriety has not only enriched my travel experiences but has transformed my entire life. It has given me the gift of authentic relationships, as I no longer hide behind a veil of intoxication. Instead, I connect deeply with others, forging bonds based on genuine understanding and empathy.

Health has also been a cornerstone of my sober journey. Thirty-three years of sobriety mean I wake up each morning with vitality and energy, ready to embrace the day ahead. My physical and mental well-being are priorities, allowing me to pursue passions such as travel, learning, and exploring new cultures without limitations.

Moreover, sobriety has empowered me to achieve personal and professional goals that once seemed unattainable. Clarity of mind and steadfast determination have propelled me forward, leading to career successes and a sense of fulfillment that substances could never provide.

As I look forward to many more years of sobriety, I'm grateful for the freedom it has afforded me—the freedom to live authentically, to experience life's richness to the fullest, and to inspire others by example. Each day is a testament to the power of choice and the infinite possibilities that await when we embrace sobriety and all it has to offer.

Click here to email John

Friday, July 12, 2024

 John is on vacation for 10 days.  Back on the 22nd,

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Kindness to Newcomers

 Entering a 12-step meeting for the first time can be a daunting experience. Whether you're struggling with addiction or supporting someone who is, these gatherings serve as sanctuaries where individuals find solace, support, and a pathway to recovery. However, the atmosphere and reception newcomers receive can significantly influence their willingness to return and engage in their recovery journey. That's where kindness plays a crucial role.

Imagine walking into a room filled with strangers, each battling their own demons. The courage it takes to step through that door deserves acknowledgment and warmth. Kindness in this context isn't just a nicety; it's a lifeline. Here’s why:

First impressions matter. For someone battling addiction, the decision to seek help marks a pivotal moment. A warm smile, a friendly greeting, or a simple offer of a seat can ease the tension and make them feel welcome. This initial kindness sets the tone for their experience and can determine whether they decide to continue attending meetings.

Building trust and safety. Addiction often breeds feelings of shame and isolation. Kindness from peers can counteract these emotions, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance. When newcomers feel safe, they're more likely to open up, share their struggles, and seek the guidance they need to heal.

Setting an example for recovery. 12-step programs emphasize honesty, humility, and compassion—values that are exemplified through acts of kindness. By demonstrating these principles in action, members not only support newcomers but also reinforce the core tenets of recovery for everyone in the room.

Encouraging participation. Active participation is key to the effectiveness of 12-step meetings. Kindness encourages newcomers to speak up, ask questions, and seek guidance from sponsors and fellow members. This engagement is vital for their progress and the overall success of the group.

Ultimately, kindness at 12-step meetings isn't just about being polite; it's about embodying the spirit of empathy and solidarity that defines recovery communities. By extending a hand of kindness to newcomers, we create environments where healing can thrive, where people feel valued, and where the journey to recovery becomes a shared endeavor rather than a solitary struggle. So, the next time you see someone new at a meeting, remember: your kindness could be the beacon of hope that keeps them coming back, one meeting at a time.

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Thursday, July 4, 2024

Gratitude for our freedom

In the tapestry of life, few threads are as precious and significant as freedom. As we celebrate our independence, it’s a poignant moment to reflect on the profound privilege of living in a society where freedom is not just a dream but a reality we cherish daily.

Freedom isn’t merely the absence of constraints; it’s the presence of opportunity and the ability to make choices that define our paths. It’s the liberty to speak our minds, pursue our ambitions, and embrace diverse beliefs without fear of repression. This liberty fuels creativity, innovation, and progress, shaping vibrant communities where individuals thrive.

Moreover, freedom is intertwined with the sacrifices of countless individuals who have fought bravely, often at great personal cost, to secure and uphold our liberties. From historic struggles for national sovereignty to ongoing battles for civil rights, each chapter in our collective narrative underscores the value of freedom and the resilience required to preserve it.

Yet, amid the fireworks and festivities of Independence Day, it’s easy to overlook the everyday freedoms we enjoy: the ability to gather with loved ones, pursue education and career goals, practice our faith, and engage in activities that enrich our lives. These freedoms form the bedrock of our identity and the essence of what it means to live in a society that values human dignity and individual rights.

Being grateful for our freedom isn’t merely a nod to history; it’s an ongoing commitment to safeguarding and expanding these liberties for future generations. It’s a call to nurture empathy, understanding, and unity in the face of challenges, ensuring that the tapestry of freedom remains vibrant and inclusive for all.

As we commemorate this day, let’s take a moment to express gratitude for the precious gift of freedom—cherishing it not just today, but every day—as we strive to build a world where liberty and justice truly flourish for all.

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Sunday, June 30, 2024

Happy 50 Years Ralph

In the hall of the community center, amidst the gentle hum of anticipation and the aroma of coffee, there was an air of reverence on the evening of June 24th. It wasn't just another meeting for those gathered; it was a milestone celebration, a testament to the power of perseverance and the hope found in recovery. At the heart of this gathering was Ralph, a man whose journey through addiction and recovery spanned five decades.

Ralph's story is one of resilience, courage, and the unwavering support of a community that understands the depths of struggle and the heights of triumph. As he sat in his wheelchair before the assembly, a warm smile gracing his face, it was evident that his presence resonated deeply with everyone present – from newcomers nervously clutching their coffee cups to old-timers who had walked similar paths.

Fifty years ago, Ralph found himself at a crossroads. Alcoholism had taken its toll, affecting his marriage and job. It was then that he took his first tentative steps into the world of recovery, guided by the principles of the 12-step program. The journey was not easy; there were setbacks, moments of doubt, and times when the weight of the past threatened to pull him back.

Yet, through it all, Ralph persisted. He attended meetings faithfully, sought guidance from sponsors and mentors, and embraced the healing power of sharing his story with others. Over the years, he became not only a pillar of strength for his fellow members but also a living testament to the possibility of transformation.

The meeting on June 24th was a reflection of Ralph's impact on the lives around him. Friends and acquaintances gathered to honor his dedication, resilience, and the profound effect he had on countless individuals who had found solace in his words and actions. It was a celebration of not just survival, but of thriving against.

As Ralph sat before the microphone, the room hushed in anticipation. His voice, steady and filled with emotion, recounted moments of despair transformed into hope, of loneliness replaced by camaraderie, and of fear giving way to courage. Each word carried weight, resonating with the experiences of those who listened intently.

For Ralph, the milestone of 50 years in recovery was not just a personal achievement but a testament to the transformative power of community and the resilience of the human spirit. His journey serves as a beacon of hope for anyone battling their own demons, showing that with dedication, support, and a willingness to change, a brighter tomorrow is always within reach.

As the meeting drew to a close, applause filled the room, mingling with heartfelt embraces and words of gratitude. Ralph, surrounded by those whose lives he had touched, sat humbly among them, embodying the spirit of recovery in its truest form – one day at a time, one step at a time.

In the days that followed, Ralph's story will continue to inspire and uplift. His journey serves as a reminder that recovery is not just about overcoming addiction but about reclaiming one's life and reshaping it with newfound purpose and meaning. Through his example, Ralph has left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all who have had the privilege of knowing him and what he stands for.

As we reflect on Ralph's 50 years of recovery, we are reminded of the power of perseverance, the importance of community, and the endless possibilities that await those who dare to embark on the path to healing. His story is a testament to the strength that resides within each of us and a testament to the hope that springs eternal, even in the darkest of times.

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Thursday, June 27, 2024

The power of Gratitude

Gratitude is a cornerstone of the recovery process in 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These programs, rooted in mutual aid and self-improvement principles, emphasize gratitude as a vital tool for transforming lives and maintaining sobriety.

In the context of 12-step programs, gratitude is cultivated through several key practices and philosophies. One of the foundational steps is acknowledging a higher power and recognizing that surrendering control can lead to personal growth and recovery. This acknowledgment often breeds a deep sense of gratitude for the support and guidance received, both from a higher power and the community of fellow members.

The practice of gratitude is also embedded in the daily routines and rituals encouraged by 12-step programs. Members are often advised to keep gratitude journals, wherein they regularly note things they are thankful for. This exercise helps shift focus from negative thoughts and past regrets to positive aspects of life, fostering a mindset of appreciation and hope.

Another significant way gratitude is learned in 12-step programs is by making amends. Step 9, which involves making direct amends to people we harmed, can be a profound experience of humility and appreciation. By facing past mistakes and seeking forgiveness, members often develop a greater appreciation for relationships and the value of making things right.

Additionally, the act of sponsorship in 12-step programs further instills gratitude. Sponsorship involves more experienced members guiding newcomers through the steps. This reciprocal relationship not only supports the recovery of the sponsee but also reinforces the sponsor’s own sobriety. Sponsors often express deep gratitude for the opportunity to help others, as it reminds them of their progress and the communal nature of recovery.

Meetings themselves are environments where gratitude is frequently expressed and encouraged. Members share their experiences, strength, and hope, often highlighting the things they are grateful for. This communal sharing reinforces a collective sense of appreciation and mutual support, fostering a culture where gratitude is not just practiced, but celebrated.

In essence, gratitude in 12-step programs is not a passive feeling but an active, deliberate practice. It transforms how individuals view their past, interact in the present, and envision their future. By embracing gratitude, members of 12-step programs find strength, build resilience, and sustain their commitment to a sober and fulfilling life.

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Monday, June 24, 2024

On the path of Recovery

Over thirty-three years. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since I first walked into a 12-step meeting. I was a different person back then, lost in a haze of addiction and despair. Today, I’m a testament to the power of recovery and the transformative magic of the 12-step program.

In the beginning, I was skeptical. The idea of surrendering to a higher power felt foreign and uncomfortable. But as I listened to others share their stories, I saw reflections of my own struggles and triumphs. I realized I wasn’t alone. For the first time in a long time, I felt a glimmer of hope.

The 12 steps taught me to take responsibility for my actions, to make amends where possible, and to continuously strive for personal growth. The process wasn’t easy. Admitting my flaws, facing the wreckage of my past, and seeking forgiveness required immense courage. But with each step, I felt lighter, freer.

One of the most profound changes came from the fellowship itself. I built relationships based on trust and mutual support. These connections became my lifeline, providing strength and encouragement when I needed it most. I learned the value of service—helping others navigate their own recovery journeys. In doing so, I found purpose and fulfillment.

Spirituality became a cornerstone of my recovery. I discovered a sense of peace and clarity through prayer and meditation, learning to trust in a power greater than myself. This spiritual awakening brought me a deep sense of serenity, guiding me through life’s challenges with grace and resilience.

Today, my life is filled with gratitude. I’m grateful for the 12-step program, for the friends who’ve walked this path with me, and for the chance to live a life of meaning and joy. Thirty-three years in recovery have taught me that change is possible, that healing is real, and that every day is a gift.

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Friday, June 21, 2024

Triggers

Relapse is a significant concern in the journey of recovery within the 12-step programs. While the program provides a robust framework for maintaining sobriety, understanding the triggers for relapse is crucial for long-term success. Several common triggers can undermine an individual's progress, leading to a return to substance use.

Emotional Triggers

Emotional states such as stress, anger, loneliness, and depression are potent triggers for relapse. Recovery often brings a heightened sensitivity to emotions, making it challenging to cope without turning to substances. Learning to manage these emotions through therapy, meditation, and support groups is essential in preventing relapse.

Social Triggers

Interpersonal relationships play a critical role in recovery. Negative social influences, such as spending time with people who still use substances or frequenting old haunts, can lead to relapse. The 12-step program emphasizes the importance of building a new social network that supports sobriety. Engaging in sober activities and forming connections with fellow program members can provide the necessary support.

Environmental Triggers

Physical environments associated with past substance use can evoke powerful memories and cravings. Returning to places where one used substances, like bars or certain neighborhoods, can trigger a relapse. A key strategy in the 12-step program is to avoid these high-risk environments and create new, healthy spaces that promote sobriety.

Mental Health Triggers

Untreated mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD can significantly increase the risk of relapse. The 12-step program encourages individuals to seek professional help for these conditions. Combining the 12-step principles with appropriate mental health treatment can create a comprehensive approach to maintaining sobriety.

Complacency

Complacency is a subtle but dangerous trigger. As time passes, individuals may feel overconfident in their ability to remain sober and start to neglect their recovery practices. The 12-step program emphasizes continuous personal inventory and regular meeting attendance to counteract complacency. Staying engaged with the program and remaining vigilant in one’s recovery efforts are critical to long-term success.

Understanding and developing strategies to address these triggers is fundamental to the 12-step program. By recognizing the signs of potential relapse and taking proactive steps, individuals can maintain their sobriety and continue their journey of recovery with confidence and resilience.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Painful but Positive

Entering a 12-step program was a turning point in my life that I never saw coming. Admitting I was powerless over my addiction and that my life had become unmanageable was a tough pill to swallow, but it was the first step toward recovery. What I didn't realize then was just how much I would learn along the way.

The first lesson came with surrendering. I had to let go of my ego and accept that I couldn't do this alone. The support from others who had walked the same path was invaluable. Hearing their stories made me feel less alone and gave me hope that recovery was possible.

Humility followed closely. I had to face my mistakes and shortcomings without running away or hiding behind excuses. Taking responsibility for my actions was liberating, albeit uncomfortable at times. It taught me the importance of honesty, not just with others but with myself.

Self-awareness blossomed as I worked through the steps. I began to recognize patterns of behavior that led me down the path of addiction. Understanding my triggers allowed me to develop healthier coping mechanisms. I learned to pause and reflect instead of reacting impulsively.

Forgiveness was another vital lesson. Not just forgiving others who had hurt me, but forgiving myself for the harm I had caused. Carrying resentment and guilt only fueled my addiction, so letting go was essential for my own peace of mind.

Patience became my ally. Recovery is a journey, not a sprint. I had to learn to take things one day at a time and be gentle with myself when setbacks occurred. Progress, no matter how small, was still progress.

Gratitude transformed my perspective. Instead of focusing on what I didn't have, I began to appreciate the little things in life. Waking up sober, spending time with loved ones, even simple moments of joy became precious gifts.

Lastly, spirituality played a significant role in my recovery. It wasn't about religion but about finding a deeper meaning and purpose in life. Connecting with something greater than myself gave me strength and comfort during difficult times.

In hindsight, these lessons were more than just tools for overcoming addiction—they were keys to living a fulfilling life. Today, I continue to apply them as I navigate new challenges and strive for personal growth. The 12-step program gave me a roadmap, but it was up to me to walk the path.

Click here to email John 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

A Sober Father

In today's world, where children are constantly influenced by various external factors, the father as a positive role model has never been more crucial. A sober father, in particular, sets an exceptional example for his child, demonstrating the values of responsibility, strength, and resilience.

Firstly, sobriety in a father showcases the importance of self-control and healthy living. Children observe and imitate the behaviors of their parents. A father who abstains from alcohol and drugs is silently teaching his child the significance of making healthy lifestyle choices. This example is powerful, as it instills the understanding that one does not need substances to cope with stress or enjoy life.

Moreover, a sober father provides a stable and secure environment for his child. Consistency is key in parenting, and sobriety ensures that the father is physically and emotionally present. This stability is vital for the child’s emotional development, fostering a sense of safety and trust. Children who grow up in such environments are more likely to develop healthy relationships and a positive self-image.

A sober father also exemplifies the value of perseverance. Overcoming addiction or making the conscious choice to remain sober can be a challenging journey. When a child see their father tackle these challenges with determination and courage, it teaches them the importance of facing obstacles head-on and not giving up. This lesson in resilience is one of the most valuable gifts a father can give to his child.

Furthermore, a sober father often engages more actively in his child’s life. Whether it’s helping with homework, attending school events, or simply spending quality time together, the absence of substance abuse allows for deeper and more meaningful interactions. These moments of engagement contribute significantly to the child’s overall development and happiness.

In conclusion, a sober father plays an essential role in shaping a child's future. By embodying the principles of healthy living, stability, perseverance, and active engagement, he sets a powerful example for his child to follow. The ripple effects of these lessons extend far beyond childhood, helping to cultivate responsible, resilient, and well-rounded adults.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Miracle of Recovery

 Recovery is often described as a miracle, a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound resilience embedded in our very being. Whether it’s recovering from a physical injury, a mental health struggle, or overcoming addiction, the journey of recovery is one of the most powerful narratives of hope and renewal.

At the heart of recovery lies resilience. The ability to bounce back from adversity, to rebuild and reinvent oneself, is nothing short of miraculous. It’s in the quiet moments of struggle, where one decides to take one more step forward despite the overwhelming urge to give up, that the miracle unfolds. This resilience is not innate but cultivated through experience, support, and a relentless belief in the possibility of a better tomorrow.

Mental health recovery is particularly poignant. For those battling depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses, each day can feel like an insurmountable challenge. The journey involves therapy, medication, support groups, and most importantly, self-compassion. The miracle here is in the small victories: getting out of bed, seeking help, or finding moments of peace amidst the chaos. These incremental steps accumulate, leading to a gradual but profound transformation.

Physical recovery, too, showcases the incredible capacity of the human body to heal. From athletes returning to their sport after a severe injury to ordinary individuals regaining mobility after surgery, the process is often long and arduous. Physical therapists, doctors, and the individuals themselves work tirelessly, often celebrating minor improvements that signify major milestones in the long run. The body’s ability to regenerate and adapt is truly miraculous, reflecting an intricate interplay of biological processes and sheer willpower.

Recovery from addiction is another realm where miracles are witnessed daily. The journey often begins in the depths of despair but progresses towards a life reclaimed. Support networks, rehab programs, and personal determination play crucial roles. The transformation from dependence to independence, from self-destruction to self-love, is profound.

Ultimately, the miracle of recovery is a universal story of hope. It reminds us that no matter how deep the wounds, healing is possible. It teaches us that setbacks are not the end but a part of the journey. And most importantly, it highlights the power of the human spirit, capable of overcoming the greatest of odds to find peace and renewal. The miracle of recovery, then, is not just in the end result but in the journey itself – a journey marked by courage, resilience, and unwavering hope.    

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Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Sobering Truth: How an Alcoholic Parent Can Harm a Child

Growing up with a parent who struggles with alcoholism can cast a shadow over a child's life, leaving scars that are often invisible but deeply. While addiction is a complex issue with multifaceted impacts, its effects on children can be particularly profound. Here, we delve into the sobering reality of how an alcoholic parent can serve as a detrimental role model for their child.

First and foremost, children look to their parents for guidance and behavioral cues. When a parent is consumed by alcoholism, their behavior becomes erratic, unpredictable, and often destructive. This instability can leave a child feeling confused, anxious, and insecure, unsure of what to expect from one day to the next. Witnessing a parent struggle with addiction can normalize unhealthy coping mechanisms and dysfunctional patterns of behavior, laying the groundwork for similar struggles in the child's own life.

Moreover, alcoholism can erode the foundation of trust between parent and child. Promises are broken, lies are told, and responsibilities are neglected as the addiction takes precedence over everything else. Children may feel abandoned, neglected, or betrayed by a parent who prioritizes alcohol over their well-being. This betrayal of trust can have long-term consequences, affecting the child's ability to form healthy relationships and navigate the world with confidence.

The emotional toll of living with an alcoholic parent cannot be overstated. Children may experience a range of complex emotions, from guilt and shame to anger and resentment. They may blame themselves for their parent's addiction or feel powerless to help them overcome it. The constant tension and turmoil within the household can disrupt normal childhood development, leading to issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Furthermore, growing up in an environment where alcohol abuse is normalized can increase the likelihood of the child developing their own substance abuse problems later in life. Studies have shown that children of alcoholics are at a significantly higher risk of developing addiction themselves, perpetuating a cycle of dysfunction from one generation to the next.

In conclusion, the impact of having an alcoholic parent extends far beyond the confines of the home. It shapes the way children view themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. Breaking free from the cycle of addiction requires not only individual healing but also a collective effort to support and empower families affected by alcoholism. By raising awareness of the far-reaching consequences of addiction, we can work towards creating a brighter, healthier future for all children.

Click here to email John

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Word Power

 Words have such awesome power. They can heal. Or they can destroy. And sometimes those doing the destruction don't realize the harm their words are doing.

I've been in group and individual counseling sessions for some 30 years at TLC.

And I hear often from clients abused as children. Not with fists. Not with belts. Or kicks. Or slaps. But with words. Simple words. Ugly words.

Things like "You'll never be worth a shit." "Your brother is smarter than you." "Are you retarded or something?"

The phrases take a lot of forms. But when children hear them enough they become tangled in their subconscious. And they lie there like hidden computer code, sending messages that block success and happiness.

Some parents have issues themselves with alcohol and drugs. Or they have psychological issues. They are poorly equipped to direct the lives of others. But they do long term damage to children - often contributing to their substance abuse.

What to do? It takes a lot of counseling and inner work for us to remove these old messages.

Once we discover these old messages we can remove them with self-awareness and inner work. But it takes diligence and a strong desire to live life by our own definitions - not the definitions of others.

In the meantime we give others words of love and kindness.  That's the kind of legacy that can change lives.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Amends: The Core of Healing

In the world of recovery, making amends is like stitching up wounds. It’s about fixing what we’ve broken, healing relationships, and finding peace. In 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), this step is crucial.

First, let’s understand making amends. It’s not just saying sorry. It’s about taking responsibility for our actions and doing what we can to right our wrongs. This might mean apologizing to someone we’ve hurt, fixing something we’ve broken, or simply showing that we’ve changed through our actions.

One reason why making amends is important is because it helps repair relationships. Addiction tears families apart and damages friendships. By making amends, we can start to rebuild trust and show that we’re serious about change. It’s like rebuilding a bridge that was burnt down – it takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Another reason is that making amends helps us let go of guilt and shame. Addiction often leaves us feeling unworthy of love or forgiveness. But by facing our mistakes and making amends, we can start to forgive ourselves and move forward. It’s like lifting a heavy weight off our shoulders – we feel lighter and freer.

Making amends is also important for our own personal growth. It teaches us humility, compassion, and accountability. It’s about owning up to our mistakes and learning from them. And as we make amends, we become better people – more honest, more empathetic, and more connected to those around us.

Finally, making amends is a way of giving back. It’s about contributing something positive to the world after all the harm we’ve caused. Whether it’s volunteering, helping others in recovery, or simply being there for a friend in need, making amends allows us to make a difference in the lives of others.

So, if you’re on the path to recovery, remember the importance of making amends. It’s not always easy, but it’s a crucial step towards healing. By facing our mistakes and making things right, we can pave the way for a brighter future.

Click here to email John

Friday, May 31, 2024

85 Years

Today, as I celebrate my 85th birthday, I am struck by a profound realization: this milestone wouldn't have been possible had I not embarked on the journey to sobriety back in 1991. As I reflect on the blessings and joys that have graced my life over the past three decades, I am filled with gratitude for the decision that altered the course of my existence.

Had I not chosen sobriety, I would have missed out on the countless precious moments that have enriched my life. From witnessing my children grow into remarkable individuals to welcoming grandchildren into the world, each experience has been a testament to the beauty of sobriety. It's not just about the milestones, but the everyday joys that I might have overlooked in the haze of addiction—the simple pleasure of a warm cup of coffee in the morning, the serenity of a quiet evening spent reading by the fireplace.

Sobriety has gifted me with a newfound appreciation for life's intricacies—the delicate dance of sunlight filtering through leaves, the gentle rhythm of waves crashing against the shore. These are the moments that I cherish, the moments that I might have missed had I not chosen to embrace sobriety.

But perhaps the greatest blessing of all is the opportunity to be present—to truly engage with the world and the people around me. Sobriety has allowed me to forge deeper connections with loved ones, to mend broken relationships, and to cultivate a sense of peace within myself.

As I blow out the candles on my 85th birthday cake, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the life that I have been given, for the second chance that sobriety has afforded me. And as I look ahead to the years to come, I do so with a heart full of hope and a soul brimming with gratitude for the blessings that continue to unfold each day.

click here to email John

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Dangerous Dance: Anger and Relapse for Alcoholics and Addicts

In the journey of recovery from addiction, there are numerous pitfalls that can threaten one's progress. Among these, anger stands out as a particularly treacherous adversary, capable of derailing even the most determined. For alcoholics and addicts, anger not only jeopardizes their emotional well-being but also places them at a heightened risk of relapse.

At its core, anger is often a response to perceived threats or injustices. Whether it's frustration over past mistakes, resentment towards others, or internal turmoil, anger can easily become a destructive force if left unchecked. For those in recovery, who are already grappling with the challenges of overcoming addiction, anger can amplify feelings of vulnerability and trigger a cascade of negative emotions.

One of the most significant dangers of anger in the context of addiction recovery is its potential to erode coping mechanisms. Many in recovery rely on healthy strategies such as therapy, support groups, and mindfulness practices to navigate the complexities of sobriety. However, when anger takes hold, rational thinking often takes a back seat, leaving us vulnerable to impulsive behavior and poor decision-making. In this state, the temptation to seek solace in alcohol or drugs as a means of escape can become overwhelming.

Moreover, anger can fuel a sense of entitlement or justification for relapse. Rationalizations such as "I deserve this drink after what I've been through" or "Nobody understands my struggles anyway" can easily take root, leading us down a perilous path towards substance use. In the grip of anger, the rational mind is clouded, and the consequences of relapse seem distant and inconsequential.

Additionally, anger can strain relationships and support networks, further isolating individuals in recovery. The breakdown of communication and trust with loved ones can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and despair, creating fertile ground for relapse triggers to take hold. Without a strong support system to lean on during moments of distress, many turn to alcohol or drugs in a misguided attempt to cope with emotional turmoil.

In conclusion, the relationship between anger and relapse for alcoholics and addicts is complex and multifaceted. Recognizing the role that anger plays in undermining recovery efforts is crucial for safeguarding against relapse. By cultivating self-awareness, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and seeking support when needed, one can navigate the turbulent waters of anger and emerge stronger on their journey towards lasting sobriety.

Click here to email John

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

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Raising Addicts

Spoiling children has become more prevalent in today's society. With parents often giving in to their child's every demand in order to avoid conflict. Or out of a desire to provide them with everything they desire. While it may seem harmless in the moment, the long-term consequences of spoiling children can be detrimental - with one of the most alarming being the potential for addiction. We see examples of this all the time when new clients enter our program.

When children are constantly showered with gifts, treats, and privileges without having to work for them or face any consequences for their actions, they can develop a sense of entitlement and a skewed view of the world. This can set them up for a lifetime of struggles as they try to cope with the challenges and disappointments that come with adulthood.

One of the most common forms of addiction that can result from spoiled children is substance abuse. When children are accustomed to receiving instant gratification and have never learned to cope with difficult emotions or setbacks, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape reality and numb their feelings. Additionally, spoiled children may struggle with low self-esteem and seek validation from external sources Which makes them more susceptible to peer pressure and experimentation with drugs.

Spoiling children can also lead to addiction through the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms. If children have never been taught to cope with stress in a healthy way, they may turn to addictive behaviors such as smoking pot, drinking alcohol, or or using other drugs as a way to self-soothe and distract themselves from their problems.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to spoil our children it is important to consider the long-term consequences of our actions. By setting boundaries, teaching resilience, and promoting healthy coping mechanisms, we can help our children develop into resilient and well-adjusted adults who are better equipped to navigate the challenges of life without turning to addiction.

Click here to email John

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

An AA Success Story

In the often tumultuous journey of addiction recovery, success stories are beacons of hope, illuminating the path for others to follow.

Meet Sarah (name changed for privacy), a newcomer to the realm of 12-step recovery, whose story epitomizes the power of resilience and determination. Sarah's journey began with a recognition of her need for change, a pivotal moment of surrender to her addiction's grip.

With trepidation mingled with hope, she stepped into her first 12-step meeting, greeted by warmth and understanding from fellow attendees who had walked similar paths. Here, she found a community that embraced her without judgment, offering unwavering support on her path to sobriety. Each step of Sarah's recovery was marked by both triumphs and challenges.

There were moments of clarity and revelation, where she unearthed the underlying causes of her addiction and learned to confront them with courage and honesty. And there were moments of doubt and temptation, where the pull of her old habits threatened to derail her progress.

Yet, through it all, Sarah persevered. Armed with the tools imparted by the 12-step program—self-reflection, accountability, and the strength derived from collective wisdom—she navigated the highs and lows of her recovery journey with grace and determination. She celebrated milestones, no matter how small, and leaned on her support network during moments of weakness.

Today, Sarah stands tall as a testament to the transformative power of 12-step recovery. Her success is not merely measured in days of sobriety but in the profound changes that have unfolded within her: the mending of broken relationships, the rediscovery of self-worth, and the newfound sense of purpose that guides her every step.In Sarah's story, we find hope renewed—a reminder that no matter how daunting the road ahead may seem, recovery is always within reach for those who dare to take the first step.

Click here to email John

Sunday, April 28, 2024

My Gratitude

You know, gratitude's like that warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone hands you a freshly baked cookie outta nowhere. It's like, dang, someone thought about me, and that's pretty cool.

I mean, think about it, there's a whole lot of things in life we could whine and complain about. Like, my coffee's too cold, my Wi-Fi's acting up again, or why's the line at the grocery store always so long? But then, smack dab in the middle of all that fuss, there's gratitude, just chillin' there like a breath of fresh air.

It's not about ignoring the bad stuff or pretending everything's perfect. Nah, it's about takin' a sec to appreciate the good stuff, big or small. Like when your friend shoots you a text just to say hi, or when the sun decides to peek out from behind the clouds on a rainy day.

Gratitude's kinda like a muscle, you know? The more you flex it, the stronger it gets. And when you start noticing all the little things to be thankful for, it's like you're puttin' on gratitude goggles. Suddenly, the world looks a whole lot brighter, and you realize, hey, maybe things ain't so bad after all.

So, next time someone holds the door for you or throws you a smile, give 'em a nod of appreciation. And when you're tucking' into bed at night, take a sec to think about three things that made your day awesome. Trust me, gratitude's like the secret sauce of happiness, and it's right there for the taking.

Click here to email John

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Acceptance: the Guiding Light

In our journey of addiction recovery, acceptance emerges as a guiding light, illuminating the path towards healing and redemption. Within the framework of the 12-step program, acceptance is not merely a passive acknowledgment of one's circumstances; it is an active embrace of reality, a surrender to the truths that pave the way to liberation from the chains of addiction.

At its core, addiction thrives in denial, weaving a tapestry of self-delusion that blinds us to the gravity of our condition. However, the first step towards recovery necessitates the courageous act of acceptance—acknowledging our powerlessness over alcohol or drugs and the unmanageability of life.

This pivotal moment marks the genesis of transformation, laying the foundation for profound change. In the crucible of acceptance, we addicts and alcoholics shed the armor of denial, confronting the wreckage of our past and the chaos of our present with unwavering honesty. It is an act of radical self-love, embracing our flaws and vulnerabilities without judgment or condemnation. Through acceptance, we unearth the buried pain and trauma that fuel our addictive behaviors, illuminating the path to healing and reconciliation.

Furthermore, acceptance fosters humility—an essential virtue in the journey of recovery. By relinquishing the illusion of control, we open ourselves to the wisdom and guidance of a higher power, embarking on a spiritual odyssey towards wholeness and serenity. This surrender is not an admission of defeat but a declaration of faith—a profound affirmation of the transformative power of grace and redemption.

Moreover, acceptance cultivates resilience, empowering us to navigate the ebb and flow of cravings, triggers, and setbacks with equanimity and grace. Rather than resisting or suppressing our emotions, we learn to embrace them with compassionate awareness, finding solace in the realization that discomfort is but a temporary bump on the road to recovery.

In conclusion, acceptance serves as a cornerstone of 12-step recovery, illuminating the path from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom. It is a sacred journey of self-discovery and redemption—a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of grace. As we addicts and alcoholics embrace acceptance, we embark on a pilgrimage of healing, reclaiming our lives with courage, humility, and grace.

Click here to email John

Monday, April 22, 2024

Responsibility

I was at a 12-step meeting last Sunday where the topic was responsibility.  And it was the perfect subject.

Because before I entered the program I had no sense of responsibility for my addiction to alcohol and drugs.  It was so easy for me to blame everything and everyone outside of myself.  I was always feeling sorry for poor me.  

If people just understood what I'd been through as a child and a teenager they'd understand why I drank and drugged myself into oblivion on a daily basis.  My mission in life was to stay completely out of my mind and I successfully did that for around 40 years.

I first began to slowly change my thinking when people stopped having anything to do with me.  My family. My friends. Everyone, No one - including myself - understood why my life was on such a downward spiral.

But the one thing that finally changed me was the pain I was living with.  I couldn't get drunk or high enough for it to go away. During my addiction I lost everything over and over.  Marriages. Businesses. Cars. Jobs. My health. The list went on and on. And every time something bad happened it was another reason for me to pick up a drug or a bottle.

But things changed the day I accepted responsibility for what I was doing to myself.  I spent a few hours one day in 1991 and asked myself did I want to live or die.  I chose to live and went to a detox.  After that I went to a halfway house where I spent a year working on myself.

And I look back today at the moment I decided to change, and realize that was when I accepted responsibility. Today I live a blessed life and it all happened when I made that decision 33 years ago and became responsible for my behavior.

Click here to email John

Friday, April 19, 2024

Why get Sober?

 In the 32 years  of TLC's existence literally thousands of clients have passed through our doors.  When they first arrive most of them are enthusiastic about changing ;their lives.  

And while some are brought to us by parole or probation officers - or family members - most of them come of their own volition. They're tired of battling their disease.  Tired of waking up sick and needing a drink or a fix. Tired of being shunned by their loved ones. So they come to us for help because we let them in, even if they're broke and without resources, and we provide food. housing and even medical assistance in many cases. Yet even with all of this support, about half of them leave within a week without paying us a dime.  So that tells us they just aren't ready, they still think they can successfully use their drug of choice.

It's sad to see them leave without taking a chance on a better life. They throw away an opportunity to restore their relationships, their health, their dignity, and self-respect.  And I wonder for a moment why they don't use logic and common sense and take advantage of the opportunity they've been given.

But then I stop and think of my own battles with drugs and alcohol and I had no logic or common sense about any of it.  I was the complete hedonist.  And I only changed when life became too painful.

So all I can do is stay sober and hope that they reach level of pain that drives them to the doors of recovery - either at our program or some other.  We only can know the blessings of recovery by being totally immersed in it.

Click here to email John

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Acceptance?

 "And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today..."  Big Book

Probably the word acceptance is one that we hear most often in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Although one might argue that gratitude's right up there with it.

Whatever the case, acceptance has an important place in the lives of those of us in recovery and especially for me.

Because until I accept what's going on in my life, whatever challenges I'm facing, there's not really a path to a solution.  But bingo, as soon as I accept whatever it is that I'm facing then I can set about resolving it.

My DNA tells me to fight and resist everything until I get my way.  But that old thinking pattern is what used to get me into a lot of trouble.  It took me many years and lots of internal battles before I realized that most of the things I used to think were important weren't such big deals after all.

And as soon as I changed my thinking, my life became much easier and less stressful.  In fact, these days, it's pretty easy for me to analyze whatever I'm facing and decide whether it's worth fighting about in short order.  Once I cross the bridge into acceptance, then potential solutions begin presenting themselves.  Sometimes the answers come to me while I'm sleeping or just daydreaming and not even looking for a solution.

For me, there's almost something magical about acceptance because it's the quickest shortcut to serenity.

Click here to email John

Saturday, April 13, 2024

A reason for Gratitude

 Being grateful that I live in a secure and safe country is on my gratitude list today.

At times like these, when our country is on the brink of another war in the Middle East, I am grateful that I live in a country that is secure and has the power to defend itself.

No matter the political persuasion one follows, at times like this I believe we should rally behind our political leaders and give our military our support. This is no time for us to get involved in partisan bickering.

Governing a country of any size is an overwhelming responsibility. Since this thing with Iran and Israel started I've talked with many who say that we should do this or that and get it over with. Like we should leave let Israel fend for itself. Or we should bomb Iran. But people who talk like this don't understand the immense damage that can be done in a war, of the lives that can be destroyed on both sides when people are going at each other with weapons.

I am by no means a liberal. I believe that everybody should earn their own way and be responsible for themselves. I believe we have a right to bear arms. I believe we have a right to earn as much money as we have the ability to earn. To practice the religion of our choice. I believe we should help the sick. The elderly. The mentally ill. But I don't believe the government should get into our lives and tell us how to live or spend our money or what to believe.

So when I think of what I'm grateful for one of the things that's in the top 10 for me is the fact that I'm an American.

And even though our country is not perfect, I believe that it compares favorably with most of the more advanced countries in the world. And for that I have gratitude.

Click here to email John

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What we Do

 A while back I received an email from a client who was here 15 years ago, maybe longer.

I was surprised to hear from him and happy to find that he was doing well.

He wrote to tell me that he had retired from his job with the State of Arizona, probably the one that he went to when he left TLC many years ago.

Actually I was sorry to see him go. He was one of those guys who maintained himself. Kind of like someone who worked for a large corporation. Always well-dressed, neat and clean. Serious about his recovery,

In any event, he wrote to say how he was was grateful for the time he spent with TLC. He said the experience changed his life. He'd been sober for many years. Had a nice home in Scottsdale, good relationships, and was thoroughly enjoying a sober life.

While his email gave us a lot of credit for his recovery, reality is that he did all the work himself. We get letters all the time from people who give us credit for their recovery. But the reality is that all TLC provides is a framework for people to work on sobriety, healthy living habits, and a different outlook on life. If they are motivated we 100% guarantee them that they will stay sober for life. While that may seem to be a brash statement, those who stay sober and follow our guidelines always succeed because we give good them continual good information about recovery.

In any event, it's nice when you return home and hear that the good you did 15 years ago is still bearing fruit today. His message shows that the program works if we're willing to put in the effort.

Click here to email John

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Promise Four

"We will know peace" Promise Four from the big book.

Before we escaped the bonds of alcohol and other substances how many of us truly knew what peace meant?

When we were out there drinking and doing our thing peace was the last thing we expected to encounter. Most of us awoke in the morning and confronted the problem of dealing with our addiction. And that challenge was way on the other end of the spectrum from peace. Until we could get enough of our favorite substance in our system, life was a series of challenges. Going through hell to get the right chemical balance so we could make it through the rest of our day. In fact our lives were so chaotic, that if something like peace did show up we would wonder what was wrong. Was the world coming to an end?

As you will note, Promise Four says "we will know peace." It did not promise that we will have peace. It simply states that we will "know" peace.

I believe that this promise means something more in the nature that we will know peace from time to time. And after years of recovery peace will become more of a way of life as time progresses.

I know that as time goes on, and as I arrive at my 26th year of sobriety in January, peace is with me more often than not. And I believe that the further we go along in sobriety the more often we will experience peace or live in a state of peace. We finally realize that the best place in life we can be is in a state of acceptance. Which in my opinion, is where we find peace.

We come to realize that there are not too many big deals in life. And that if we calmly accept whatever challenges we face we will enter a state of peace.

Click here to email John

Thursday, April 4, 2024

In ICU

This evening a long-time TLC resident is in a local hospital fighting for his life.  He's connected to a respirator and being fed through tubes.  Reports from a family member are that if he does survive the massive stroke he suffered yesterday morning he'll likely be bedridden for life.  He can't talk.  One side of his body is  paralyzed and he's totally dependent upon the medical staff.

I'm leaving his name out of this blog to protect his anonymity.  But those of us who've known him for  the past 17 years he's been with us are praying that he's not in pain and that he has a full recovery - though the medical staff is not very optimistic about his prospects for recovery.

He's one of many TLC clients who've made TLC their home.  When he came here he found a sanctuary where he could stay sober and practice his recovery with like-minded people.  He's worked around addicts for 17 years and has the support of those of us who want a life of sobriety.

He's been an example for those of us who want to stay sober

Click here to email John

Monday, April 1, 2024

Share the Light

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”  Buddha


The above quote reminds us to carry the message to others - to share the joy of recovery with newcomers who need our help.

Most of you with time in recovery do exactly this. But many in early recovery may think that because they have only a week or two they have nothing to offer. But that’s a fallacy.

If one has only a week, that’s seven times as long as someone just walking in the door, confused and lost. Our duty is share our light with them. Tell them it can be done.

Often newcomers see members who have the wisdom of thousands of days of sobriety and are intimidated by such success. They can’t relate.

In my own case I had just entered detox and heard a speaker who had ten years. Somehow I couldn’t connect. But later a rough character – with only six months – served as an example I could follow.

Never think you have nothing to offer. Your days, weeks, or months of experience will resonate with a newcomer who needs someone to lead them on the path.

Light their candle

Friday, March 29, 2024

R.I.P.

Alcohol finally killed him in his late 40s.  For ten years this friend of my family had drank alcoholically.  And hundreds of times friends and family warned him that his addiction would take his life if he didn't cease the habit.  And he had good evidence that addiction kills; his sister had died of her addiction a few years ago.

This man's story isn't unique.  All of us who are sober today were warned more than once about our self-destructive lifestyles.  But, until things got really bad many of us hesitated to take the leap into recovery.

I was arrested and jailed many times for drug-related crimes but, didn't seek recovery during almost 40 years of addiction and pain.  One day I listened to other people and decided to change my life.  I knew that nothing would be different unless I walked the path of recovery.

A sad thing about this man's untimely death is that he leaves behind a circle of family and friends who loved him - including two young children.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Perfect World

How do we deal with life in an imperfect world?  When our clients don't pay their bills on time?  When the staff  gets stressed because they know we're in a dire situation?  I'm not sure of the correct answer but I do know that I've sat in a lot of 12-step meetings and counseling sessions that taught me to live life one day at a time.

Do I like the idea that we need to live one day at a time?  Not really.  And that's because I'm a self-centered addict who wants everything how and when he wants it.  But in 33 years of sobriety I've learned that things don't always go the way I want them to go.  But I've also learned that I'm powerless over most things outside myself - so I trust the universe to provide a solution to whatever dilemma I find myself in.  And you know if I just have patience and faith in the process life works out for the best.

And that's what I'm doing today.  Trusting in my higher power and living one day at a time is my solution.

Click here to email John