Rehab is a necessary reality.

Rehab is a necessary reality.

Here is a letter we recently posted to social media regarding the kerfuffle surrounding our move into a new community in Eldersburg MD. There was a lot of misunderstanding about who we are and what rehab is and the move spawned some initial backlash due to rumours and misinformation. The following correspondence was met with an overwhelmingly positive response… There’s an old saying that “A lie will make it halfway around the world before the truth even gets its boots on.” The sad thing is that social media makes this reality worse than it’s ever been. Misinformation is more pervasive than ever, and those who spread it, however intentioned, have the ultimate resource with social media. I’m seeing some kerfuffle by a handful of people over Right Turn-IMPACT’s move to Eldersburg. It’s a rehab — a recovery center that provides treatment for people in recovery from substance abuse, and the overwhelming majority of our clients come here as a result of DUI. I’m the Communications Director here. It’s not really news that those facing alcoholism and addiction — people in rehab — are stigmatized as “losers” and a scourge to society. They are beat down mercilessly. They are judged and disparaged. It’s really difficult to see how they are treated and it makes their recovery all the more difficult. Yet, 2/3s (two-thirds) of all American families are touched by alcoholism/addiction in some form or another. It’s very likely that even your family has been adversely affected. Maybe even you personally have. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. I’m grateful that there are rehabs in our broken world that...

Got it all together?

I love words. Until they reveal the truth about me. I remember hearing that very first step. “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” I didn’t like the word powerless and I hated that word unmanageable. These are usually fine words — as long as they describe the guy on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. But when I got alone to meditate on that first and most vital step, I took special note of that word unmanageable. It burned into my retina and carved its way down deep into my soul. See because it’s kind of difficult to keep holding on to the idea that you have it all together when you find yourself in rehab. I was that guy who always loved having my crap together. I had a picture-frame family and a meaningful career. My dreams always eventually came to life. If I had an idea I could make it happen if I wanted it bad enough. But now I had a new appreciation for those wielders of cardboard signs. As I broke that dreadful word down, I realized what “unmanageable” had come to mean for me. Un… Man… Age… Able. Addiction reduced me to a man who was un, able to act his age. Alcohol took me from a grown-ass man who made grown-man money to a guy eligible for handouts. A person doesn’t usually wake up one morning and say, “Yay I think I’ll become an alcoholic today.” It’s a slow, subtle and imperceptible sequence that occurs in stages. And you don’t have to have...

Can you believe you actually said that?

Early recovery is a scary time. We get past the physical nature of cravings in relatively short order. But then we realize that psychological triggers linger. The entire experience becomes a pure mind game. But it’s a game that people win all the time and you can too. You know the drill: Steer clear of old associations — people, places, and things; go to meetings, work those steps, stay completely honest, hang with your higher power, serve, help others. But at some point, recovery becomes less about what you can’t and shouldn’t do and more about what you can and should do. It’s kind of comical sometimes to hear other people say what we once said. Like when they express their fears of not being able to watch football or eat crabs ever again. LOL. People in recovery watch football — and remember all the plays — and they love crabs just fine. And the funny thing is that all these things — and all the other things in the world — are far better when we have clarity of mind. Everything’s better: food, sex, mornings, nature, fitness, work, play, relationships, finances, sex, coffee, conversations, laughter, sex, pursuits, confidence, trust, respect, skills, hobbies, and even sex. Everything’s better when you aren’t punching addiction’s time clock and acquiescing to all its dictates. So here’s the best part. There comes a time when recovery starts being more about all things you can do and less about the things you can’t do. In a word, we’re talking about purpose. Purpose is that thing we seemed to lose in addiction. Most of us...

Don’t lose it all, all over again

People with a history of addiction are acquainted with loss. We’ve lost jobs, health, money, relationships, respect, trust, dignity, etc. Some have lost some and some have lost all. We had our reasons. Tons of reasons. But looking more closely in that mirror, we realized that these reasons were all excuses that we uttered so much we actually came to believe them. The truth is we were stuck in our addiction and we didn’t know what to do. Until we surrendered. We waved that white flag on that bold day and began the process of recovery. Recovery gave us a lot of things back. And then some. We got our edge back. We could think again. We rediscovered our confidence. Recovery gave us the ability to “intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.” And some of us have realized dreams we never thought possible. Not only did we get lost things back, recovery gave us gifts beyond our wildest dreams. But here’s where things can get scary. It’s easy to forget some of the most basic and rudimentary aspects of our recovery. The careful attention we once paid to our precious recovery gets lost to the pursuit of all these new things we’re going after. The things that once fueled our recovery like meetings, vital relationships, steps, etc., get relegated to the back. Maybe you’ve heard it said, “You will lose anything you put before your recovery.” Why is that? Because recovery takes attention and work. It requires vigilance. The disease may sleep but it never dies. And it may very well wake up at...

Harnessing the power of your naysayers

We hear the word haters thrown around a lot these days. It’s a strong word that can refer to anyone from a mild antagonist to a sworn enemy. We all know people that have made life unpleasant. We’ve all had naysayers. Especially in early recovery. Whatever you decide to call such people, I’d like to suggest that we learn to value their place in our lives. Here’s why. They may not know it, but sometimes the naysayers can be a more profound power for our success in recovery than the “yaysayers” in our lives. Sure, we all prefer to be around people who encourage us and we should spend most — if not all — our time with positive people. But while it’s great to hear, “You can do it!,” sometimes it’s more powerful to hear people tell you that you can’t. If I’m honest, I’d have to admit that some of my best achievements have been more attributable to naysayers than yaysayers. Maybe they didn’t intend for it to be this way, but the naysayers have had an immeasurably positive effect on my life. Maybe they weren’t sincerely seeking to help me, but nonetheless their contributions have been incalculable. They’ve raised me to a level I never thought I could achieve — had it not been for their wonderfully negative influence in my life. So a big thank you is in order. In some part, I owe my recovery to you. This isn’t some twisted way to say nanny nanny nanny. Oh alright, maybe I am getting a teeny bit of pleasure writing this. But this is more...