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Reinvigorating Your Spiritual Foundation in Recovery

When I was early in sobriety, I once heard a man share at a meeting that he “would give up his 30 years for anyone’s 3 months.” At the time I can’t say I really understood what he meant because I so envied his achievement. But today, that message was loud, clear and on point.

He was referring to the “Pink Cloud” stage that many people reach in sobriety. Its’ a multifaceted state of mind when the drugs and alcohol have left you for long enough that you can feel again and are beginning to really connect with other sober supports. At this phase, the Big Book starts to really make sense and more than likely your relationship with yourself and your loved ones is improving after years, or maybe even decades of neglect.

It’s similar to the felling you get when you’re first in love or have reached a lifelong goal. You have a sense of peace, accomplishment, security and blind faith in this beginning phase of real recovery. But like love, the feelings fade over time and moments of enlightenment become less frequent. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself pulling away from regular meetings you used to attend, or are calling your sponsor less or maybe you’re just feeling more disconnected from your program.

I can tell you almost everyone at some point “loses the magic”, if you ever achieved it at all. If you’re left looking back longingly on the days when your spiritual connection was thriving, here are some ways to reignite the passion for your program.

1. Go To A Meet You’ve Never Been To Before
Typically our regular meetings, like all routines, start to feel redundant. But with thousands of meeting going on every day throughout the country, there is always a new group to introduce yourself to and to be inspired by. One of my favorite things to do when I’m in a new city is to make it to at least 1 meeting while I’m there. Each new meeting is an opportunity to network and hear an inspirational message. It’s also a great way to expand on your support network. And today, finding a meeting close by has never been easier. Download the Meeting Finder app onto your phone to locate a meeting anywhere in the world based on your location. Intergroup will also provide you with the latest meeting information. Visit http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources for information to contact your local intergroup office.

2. Raise Your Hand To Be A Sponsor
The whole sponsor relationship thing is a little daunting, for both sponsors and sponsees. Overcoming your fear to ask someone to sponsor you takes motivation and courage. To raise your hand and offer your help to someone newly sober also takes guts. But the reward is profound. Do you remember what it felt like in early sobriety to have someone answer your daily phone call, meet with you to go over your steps and give you support and advice when you just didn’t know what to do? The spiritual reward of helping someone else early in sobriety will open so many doors back into your own journey early on, and allow you to freely share the gift you’ve been given. It’s our fellowships way of paying it forward. Sponsoring other men or women will help you grow further in your program, helping elevate you to a new “Pink Cloud” of your own.

3. Read Through Your 4th Step Again
You spent weeks or months writing a 4th step. This list of character defects, resentments and people you may have harmed is like your very own golden diary. In your 5th step you were able to release all of these fears that were holding you back from transcending to the next level of acceptance and change. Over time, we’re taught to quell these defects by practicing steps 10 and 11 on a daily basis. But if you’ve noticed that some of your defects begin popping up now and then, don’t be frustrated. We’re naturally apt to revert back to our instinctual nature. Take an evening to read through your 4th step. Remember, these moments or traits were part of a larger pattern. Take the lessons you discovered in your 5th step and try and make those adjustments on a daily basis. This will undoubtedly help bring you back to a more enlightened stage as you live vicariously through your step-work, connecting the feelings you had then with the growth you have now.

4. Go To A National Convention
When you attend a national convention of any sort, whether it’s work or hobby related, you’re making an investment in your understanding and growth in that area. When you attend a 12-step fellowship gathering, you’re making an investment also in your spiritual bank account. Thousands of people join together for a few days of saturated learning where guests have the unique experience of hearing inspirational stories, attending specifically designed workshops in addition to enjoying fun networking events. It is almost guaranteed you will leave reinvigorated. There are a number of conferences held around the country, and around the world every year. Start by checking out the events calendar at www.aagrapevine.org (the International Journal of AA). If you’re young and in recovery, The International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (ICYPAA) is an excellent event for you, bringing young AA members together from around the country. The conference will be holding it’s 57th gathering this September in Miami. Visit www.icypaa.org for more details. For more events, Young People in Recovery has chapters throughout the country (who meet weekly) and host regional conferences. Find out about your local chapter and upcoming events at www.youngpeopleinrecovery.org.

5. Commit to a 90 in 90
When I first got sober (for good) I made a commitment to attend 90 meetings in 90 days because that’s what I was told helped countless people get started on their journey in sobriety. What happened was I made a powerful foundation for my own program. When you make a commitment to attend a meeting a day, you get to experience a variety of different meeting formats in different areas, each of which are made up of different people. The gift in this commitment is that you just have to show up, and the miracle is given to you. On any occasion, you are present to hear an enriching story, or connection with a new member. Over time, you create accountability with people and build on your sober support network. If you’ve been in recovery for a while, it’s an excellent way to get back to your foundational roots especially because at each meeting, there is a new message or be heard or a re triggering of one you’ve long since forgotten about.

You certainly aren’t going to adopt each of these suggestions in 1 day but it’s a great roadmap to begin working on in the year ahead. So break out your 4th step, plan to hit a meeting you’ve never been to before, check out some upcoming conventions and get ready to jump back on that pink cloud!



Achieving Sobriety: Why Long Term Treatment Centers Work

There is no formula to decipher what path or method will get a person to reach long term sobriety, but most experts agree that the best advice is to commit to a long term treatment plan. This means a minimum of 6 months at a treatment center which offers different levels of treatment, including a detox inpatient and extended care program. While the commitment may seem difficult, or even impossible, the truth remains that with a little faith and the right facility the best chance to understand and embrace a life of recovery starts with a long-term stay at an accredited and multi-faceted rehab center. Here are some of the main reasons why treatment really works.

1. Long Term Detox
Depending on one’s drug of choice, it can take between 1 and 6 months to detox from the long time “hangover” associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Your body needs time to rid itself of the toxins it has built up over time. Simply abstaining on your own, without the accountability of being in a rehab setting or having the support of experts, is nearly impossible. Will power alone is not enough to stop an afflicted person from choosing to pick up their drug of choice again, but in a supervised atmosphere, the first few months of recovery are dramatically easier to overcome.

2. Repetition of Sober Living
When under the care of a rehab facility, clients are guided daily with repetitive teachings on how to remain sober. Therapists and technicians cultivate an atmosphere where afflicted clients can begin rebuilding daily life without the use of drugs and alcohol, as well as help clients develop skills of accountability toward themselves and family members. In addition, clients are taken to 12-step meetings where they can network with other sober contacts as well as understand what life after treatment looks like.

3. Illumination
Understanding the blessing of sobriety and all that it brings takes time. Often clients reach a “pink cloud” of happiness when they have initially overcome the first phases of detoxification from their addiction. This usually happens within the first 30 days. In the short term this is positive, but there are successes and failures in sobriety and true illumination happens months after this point. Eventually, a “miracle”occurs when a person makes a significant shift in their journey toward recovery and from then on have the motivation and clarity to continue in their journey. Overcoming the “obsession” of using and embracing a journey through the 12 steps outlined in most recovery programs is the goal of any long-term treatment plan.

4. Distance
Spending a significant amount of time away from the people, places and things that “trigger” addicts to use again is a very important factor that makes long-term treatment programs successful. Even the most motivated individuals find it difficult to resist the urge to use again when confronted with their old situations and lifestyle. By remaining away from those places, either geographically or just physically, a client has the opportunity to focus on the solution rather than face their old problems. Over time, most addicts find themselves able to show up to the situations which used to cause them to use, helping them remain sober when life begins again outside of treatment.

5. Making Friends & Networking
Seldom are people able to make significant connections in 30 days or less. When an individual embarks on multi-month journey toward recovery, they are able to form significant relationships with their peers, therapists and community of people in recovery. This not only makes them more accountable for their actions but also strengthens their sober support group. Having a sober network is forever a key element of long term recovery, even when an individual has achieved multiple years of abstinence. It is considered one of the golden “tools” for continued growth in sobriety.

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation is located in Boynton Beach, Florida and specializes in drug and alcohol addiction. Treatment plans range from 1-9 months. If you know someone who is in need of inpatient treatment, or want to know more about the programs we offer, call one of our team members at 1.866.233.1869.



January 14, 2015 Marissa ObrienRecovery0

Completing an extended-stay drug treatment program is a huge accomplishment – one that very few individuals battling severe substance dependency are actually able to complete. However, while graduating from an inpatient program is undoubtedly reason for a serious pat on the back, it is by no means the end of one’s journey into recovery. In order to maintain sobriety for years to come, it is crucial that a newly sober individual implement a comprehensive and highly personalized aftercare plan. In most cases, each client will sit down with their addiction counselor before graduating from their treatment center and formulate an inclusive list of future recovery goals and attainable objectives. Listed below are several components crucial to sustained momentum in sobriety and essential elements that will lead you closer towards maintained sobriety and farther from potential relapse.

How To Succeed After Drug Rehab

  • Create a solid circle of sober supports.

Surround yourself with healthy and happy individuals who are content in their sobriety and who are emotionally available at pretty much the drop of a hat. You will undoubtedly need to talk through situations at one point or another, seeing as you will be faced with new circumstances you have never before handled without the assistance of drugs and alcohol. Surround yourself with positive people from who you feel comfortable asking for help.

  • Join a fellowship.

Joining a 12-step fellowship is completely essential to maintaining sobriety if you are new to the sober lifestyle. Not only will you instantaneously have 20 friends to call if you find yourself in a sticky situation, you will have the opportunity to learn from the experience, strength, and hope of those who are just like you.

  • Work a “safe” job.

Even if you have ample experience bartending, it might be best to steer clear of that scene until you are entirely comfortable in your sobriety. Work a job that will humble you, one that will not trigger you, and one that you enjoy.

  • Learn to love yourself.

Spend time learning to love yourself! Discover your personal interests, passions, what makes you tick. It is important to remember that you will not be able to properly love anyone else until you learn to adore your own mind, body, and soul.

  • Continue with therapy.

Just because inpatient treatment is over, it does not mean your therapeutic process has come to an end. In fact, you are most likely just beginning to scratch the surface. If you cannot continue with your therapist from treatment, find a new one and meet for weekly sessions.

  • Work on rebuilding family relationships.

If the timing is right and you feel comfortable doing so, it may be wise to slowly begin mending familial relationships. Family will play a big role in your overall recovery, and family therapy (if it is not already) should be incorporated into your aftercare plan at some point down the line.

  • Remember that abstinence is key.

No matter what, don’t pick up.

The rates of relapse are unfortunately high amongst those who graduate from drug rehab without a carefully planned aftercare program. If you have recently completed a treatment program and are looking into aftercare options, feel free to contact one of our licensed representatives to find out what steps to take to ensure your sobriety remains intact and you continue to flourish in the journey of recovery.



January 5, 2015 Marissa ObrienRecovery0

It is not uncommon for drug addicts and alcoholics in the early stages of substance dependency to completely convince themselves that despite their frequent use they can stop using whenever they please. While this may be true initially, all addicts will eventually reach a point in their use when they lose all control over how much and how often they use. This is an absolute and conclusive symptom of addiction – despite negative consequences, the addict will continue using, lacking all control. Once the addiction reaches this point it will be exceedingly difficult to kick a drug or alcohol habit without professional intervention and extended therapeutic treatment. Research has proven that long-term drug use undeniably leads to serious changes in brain function that persist for a significant amount of time after an individual ceases use entirely. The behavioral changes caused by these brain functions will require professional medical treatment in order to be remedied thoroughly and permanently. If you have personally tried to quit on several occasions, finding each time that you pick back up (possibly convincing yourself that you are ‘not ready’ to quit), it may be time to seriously consider entering an inpatient drug rehab.

Can I Do It On My Own?

In some instances, it may be possible to quit on your own. If you have just begun using consistently and want to stop permanently before losing control entirely, simply attending local 12-step meetings and dedicating yourself to working through the steps with a sponsor may be enough. It is important to remember that everyone is different, and while daily attendance at 12-step meetings may work for some, intensive inpatient may be a requirement for others. The most significant factor is how far progressed the disease is at the time treatment is being considered. If you simply cannot go more than several hours without using no matter what, a physical separation from your environment is most likely essential. Drug rehab acts as a barrier from the outside world, eliminating all external triggers, sources, and distractions. Even if you are able to stop using for days, weeks, or months at a time, drug rehab allows the opportunity to uncover and treat underlying causes of addiction and ensure long-term abstinence and a meaningful and fulfilled drug-free life. Thus even if you believe you can do it on your own, the likelihood of relapse is astronomical, and the reality is that true addiction can never be overcome alone.



December 10, 2014 wolf_q5c4wqomRecovery0

If you are beginning a journey into recovery, there is no question you will begin hearing a lot of buzz regarding the importance of 12-step programs. What you may not know is that Alcoholics Anonymous is far from the only 12-step fellowship that will become available to you. Meetings and 12-step programs have proven so successful for alcoholics that many other groups have taken on the philosophy, and programs are now available to drug addicts, sex addicts, compulsive gamblers, overeaters, and more. When deciding which 12-step program is right for you, there are several variables you will want to look at. And remember, you are free to join as many fellowships as you see fit – the main goal is to make sure you fully recover and finally live a fulfilled and meaningful life.

There Are Many Fellowships Available

In this day and age, there are somewhere around 40 12-step programs available to addicts and trauma survivors of all kinds. The most popular fellowships nationwide are without question AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Typically, alcoholics and those who struggled primarily with alcohol will join an AA group, while those who mainly battled an addiction to drugs of any kind will lean towards NA. Both programs run similarly, while the main literature studied in AA, the Big Book, varies from the NA literature. Other popular fellowships are CA (Cocaine Anonymous), CoDA (Codependents Anonymous), GA (Gamblers Anonymous), OA (Overeaters Anonymous), and SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous). Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous will choose to attend weekly meetings of an additional 12-step fellowship based on the fact that the vast majority of alcoholics are dual-diagnosed with other psychological conditions.

Which Fellowship is Right For You?

While it is very important that you eventually settle down in one main fellowship and obtain a homegroup (a 12-step meeting that you attend at the same time on a weekly basis), you will also find a lot of flexibility while you are trying to decipher which program best suits your unique and personal needs. They say, “If the shoe fits, wear it!” Where recovery is concerned, do not be afraid to try on as many shoes as you see fit! A 12-step fellowship will undoubtedly prove to be a crucial part of your sustained sobriety, and will most likely save your life.


The Hope Center

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation offers a full range of services both leading up to, during and following treatment, including professional interventions, a luxury, medically assisted detox program, inpatient rehabilitation (30-90 days), intensive out-patient rehabilitation and out-patient services. Each of our clients become a part of our alumni program at the completion of their treatment to help foster a continued community of recovery.

Copyright by The Hope Center 2016. All rights reserved.