Tools For Recovery From Addiction

Regardless of the addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, relationships, etc., a 12-step program is the fundamental tool of many recovery programs.

The basic 12 steps that groups’ members actively stress are as follows, varying in some degree per addiction recovery program.

Note that no particular religion or spiritual affiliation is required. All are welcome and invited.

12-Step Program

1. We admit we are powerless over our addiction – that our lives have become unmanageable

2. We believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it

11. We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

Basically members recite the steps at their meetings. And there may be a presentation or group discussion based upon one particular step that day, with the rest of the event focused on individual needs or issues that are brought up by members, so that each member gets to address his or her top or immediate concerns, seek help and help others to get through, “One day at a time.”

OTHER RECOVERY TOOLS

Here are more tools to aid with healing from addictions, listed in no particular order.

Internal Motivators– Many decide to kick their addictions based upon interior motives like love, a sense of achievement, competition, responsibility and a number of other reasons.

A love for a child can make some stop the denial process dead in its tracks, allowing recovery to step in.

Watching a close friend or relative who is farther along the addictive path of destruction can also be an eye-opener, resulting in some addicts adopting the “I can do it” attitude to kick the habit.

Some simply want their own self-respect back and respect from others. While other addicts prefer better health and a sharper mental state, and decide to overcome their addictions and recover.

Regardless of the reasons, internal motivators can be welcome stepping-stones in the path of recovery.

External Motivators – Other motivators along the way are external, like money, work, housing, etc. For example, an addict is generally well aware of the money needed for the continued purchasing of the addictive substances.

Someone not used to living in less desirable conditions because income is lacking, may not need much of a jolt of reality other than the first eviction notice, to spur him or her to quit spending hard-earned money on drugs, gambling, porn or cigarettes, etc.

And some who may really value their jobs and are striving to maintain good work standards and ethics, may see reality when they are passed over for a promotion or annual raise because of tardiness, sloppiness, mishandling of money, etc., and may seek help to get their work act together promptly.

 

To help with internal and motivators, addicts and their support people can turn to recovery tools like books, videos, movies, healing music, speakers and events focused on addiction and recovery. A good place to begin is at your own local library or favorite bookstore.

Online you can search Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble (BN.com) or even your favorite search engine.

Type in terms like “addiction recovery” and / or add the addictive substance or behavior (“gambling recovery” “overcoming cigarette addiction”).

Recovery Books

Some popular recovery books are:

Addiction & Recovery for Dummies, by Brian F. Shaw, Paul Ritvo, Jane Irvine, M. David Lewis; For Dummies; (December 13, 2004).

7 Tools to Beat Addiction, by Stanton PHD Peele; Three Rivers Press; (July 27, 2004).

The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior, by Craig Nakken; Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services; 2nd edition (September 1, 1996).

The Addiction Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Quitting Alcohol and Drugs (New Harbinger Workbooks), by Patrick Fanning, John T. O’Neill, John O’Neill; New Harbinger Publications; (June 1, 1996).

Bridges to Recovery : Addiction, Family Therapy, and Multicultural Treatment, by Jo-ann Krestan; Free Press; (March 15, 2000).

For online chat rooms and message boards where recovering addicts seek fellowship, simply type “recovery message board” or “recovery chat room” in your favorite search engine. Include specific addictions like gambling and cocaine for more focused groups.

Intervention

Another popular recovery tool is called an intervention. An intervention generally refers to a planned gathering of people who know the addict and want to offer support and intervene to stop the addiction.

Friends, family, co-workers, church members or in short close contacts meet and gently confront the person with the addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex or other behavior or substance addiction.

It is believed that by close contacts sharing their personal feelings and thoughts for the addict’s well being, the addict will feel safer and confront denial issues, opening up a pathway for recovery and healing.

By actually being with so many caring people, the addict may also become motivated to seek help and change, and realize that he or she hasn’t faked everyone out with lies about the addiction.

Many want to seek help so that they are not alone in their struggle any longer, preferring recovery and health instead.

The intervention team becomes part of their support network. Each member shares his or her own experiences with the addict and the problems arising from the addiction.

And in turn, each shares their love, support and encouragement for recovery as well as any healing resources or tools they may have.

For example, maybe one member who faced similar addiction issues found help from a local 12-step program and therapist, and brought the meeting information (location and times) plus the therapist’s phone number alone to share.

Trained people are also available to help groups with interventions.

Some go through a 3-stage intervention program.

 

Stage I – This focuses on telephone coaching over the phone. A trained professional helps you build a foundation with hope and figure out whom to ask to join in an intervention plan.

They also help strategize – gather the intervention team together, educate about goals and overall plan, and help with getting the addict to the intervention meeting the first time.

Stage II – This stage generally begins if no treatment has yet kicked into place after Stage I. Generally, the main person in charge of gathering the intervention team together meets with the professionally trained counselor get together for strategy planning about a half-dozen times.

Note that the addict is not present at these. Goals are to educate, support and develop a plan of action that includes healing treatment with the one seeking help for the addict first.

Stage III – At this point, other intervention team members are brought in and counseled. And the addict is invited to the meetings where intervention members share their new boundaries and coping skills with the addict (if he or she comes along).

The intervention members’ love and support are demonstrated more than once, and by now the addict has had multiple opportunities to enter recovery and treatment but has not yet taken the plunge to seek help.

 

Results with this 3-stage program are long-term help for not only the addict, but the support people as well.

The addict is generally removed or placed outside the dysfunctional family environment. And both family and addict learn healthier behaviors, communication and coping skills. For more information about interventions, contact:

Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery
Outpatient Center
5409 N. Knoxville Ave.
Peoria, IL 61614
1-800-522-3784

Check with your libraries and bookstores for helpful intervention books. Here are a couple of popular ones:

– Crisis Intervention Strategies (with InfoTrac) (Counseling Series)
by Richard K. James, Burl E. Gilliland Richard K. James, Burl E. Gilliland; Wadsworth Publishing; 4 edition (August 10, 2000).

– A Guide to Crisis Intervention, by Kristi Kanel; Wadsworth Publishing; 2 edition (February 21, 2002).

And check out what resources National Intervention Referral has available in your area by contacting them at (800) 399- 3612 (24 hours / 7 days), or by visiting them at and filling out their online form www.nationalinterventionreferral.org .