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LCSW, CCS
Clinical Social Worker/Therapist

Willingness is the key.

As cold as it may seem, we found that it didn’t matter that we knew about it, wanted it, and needed it. Only when we were willing to put down the drink/drug and be accountable for ourselves did our lives change.

Change is a process, not an event.

Everybody wants a finish line and the closest thing we have to that is death. Being a “work in progress” is largely a matter of accepting that we can get better every day – not all better. We don’t wake up one day feeling as though we’ve arrived. If we did it would scare the hell out of us. Complacency is scary. Stay in the efforts department and let your higher power control the results.

Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.)

AA promises that “this is a simple program for complicated people.” Our ability to rationalize and justify makes life appear very complicated. In truth, using the K.I.S.S. system we can see a clear course of action; separating what we can do from what we can’t. When in doubt, the Serenity Prayer works very well for this.

Keep your recovery first to make it last.

It may seem selfish, but recovery from addiction must remain our highest priority. Without it, we lose everything. The initial amount of time and energy seems cumbersome until the rewards are experienced. This is how many of us made the transition from I have to go to a meeting to I get to go to a meeting. Recovery is an investment in self that pays incredible dividends.

Have a good day, unless of course you have made other plans.

Even with significant sober/clean time, we catch ourselves writing “scripts” (deciding how people, places and things will play out and predicting that they will disappoint). We have the opportunity to start our day over at any point.

We are only as sick as our secrets.

There are compelling reasons why we continued to drink and use. There were things we sought not to think about, feel, and remember. The great thing about being sober is that we feel more and the lousy thing about being sober is that we feel more. Holding on to secrets means holding on to shame – an addict’s second worst enemy. Shame leaves us alone and pushing away the very people who would help us most. Steps 4 and 5 in AA offer solutions for secrets and many of us find outside help (counseling, church, other supports) to be invaluable in coming to terms with our secrets.

I can't, He can, I think I'll let Him. (Steps 1,2,3)

Every 12 steps program is a guide to spiritual growth. If we work the steps we find a progression of opportunities to let go and move toward acceptance of ourselves and of life on life’s terms. It starts with surrendering our addiction, then our will, and then our defects of character. As daunting as this may seem, it provides us with a life, “second to none.”

Don't quit before the miracle happens.

It may sound like hyperbole but it’s hard to remain skeptical if you hang around the halls long enough. It’s not about religion. It’s about talking with people who according to every medical journal should be dead a hundred times over. It’s about watching someone go from the back alleys to the penthouse. It’s about seeing that people do change and do recover and that we can too.

There but for the grace of God go I.

This is a statement of recognition, not pity. This is acknowledgement that I am susceptible to the fates that befall my brothers and sisters when they continue to use or return to using. They are no less nor more than I. My empathy is with them and while I recognize that I am powerless to prevent their suffering, I am also mindful that I must remain vigilant and continue to grow and heal in recovery.

Recovery delivers everything drugs promised.

My friends in NA describe the seduction of drugs and the empty promises made. After temporary relief and a wonderful feeling, the seductress becomes a cruel master and takes everything away. If we separate being clean from being in recovery, then we can say that being clean and sober keeps life from getting worse, and being in recovery helps us gain a life.

About the author Jim LaPierre:
My story is I'm forever a work in progress and I love connecting with REAL people who are doing great things. I'm blessed to be making a living doing something I love. I'm a proud dad and the luckiest husband ever. I'm an aspiring author - check out my recovery blog at: recoveryrocks.bangordailynews.com Thanks! Jim
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Page last updated Sep 18, 2014

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