Recovery Month is a national observance held every September. Started in 1989, Recovery Month educates Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
You can turn up the heat emotionally. You can turn up the heat physically. But what do you do when your emotional and physical temp are turned up, and you can’t access the reset gauge?
At a conference on recovery not long ago in Chicago, I listened to the speaker talk about making amends. The crux of her point was that the amend had to be equal to or greater than the offense. For example, you can’t falsely print on the front page of a newspaper that someone is a cheat and a liar and then print the retraction on page 17. No, if you’re going to set the scales of restorative justice evenly, the retraction has to go on page one.
The Loot, The Lift and The Lover
During my four decades of recovery, I’ve worked with hundreds of young men who are enthusiastic and excited about recovery. For them, everything is new and life has taken on a different meaning. They are going to meetings regularly; they are working with their sponsors and the wreckage from their past is slowly getting repaired. But alas, they seem to hit three common roadblocks which sends them spiraling back down the path whence they came. I refer to these three roadblocks as: The Loot, The Lift and The Lover.
We have the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions on which volumes of material have been written. Yet, a common theme running through the steps and traditions is this idea of principles. But what are these principles and from where do they come?
“By 1937, some of us realized that AA needed a standard literature. There would have to be a book ... Well, we did quarrel violently over the preparation and distribution of that book. In fact, it took five years for the clamor to die down. Should any AAs dream that the old-timers who put the book together went about in serene meditation and white robes, then they had best forget it.” - AA Co-Founder, Bill W., November 1951, “Services Make AA Tick”, The Language of the Heart.
Tis the season to be jolly”, as the age-old song reminds us. In that vein, here are some stories to lift your spirits - Happy Holidays!
Q: How do you define recovery?
A: I consider myself a person in long-term recovery. To me, that means that I haven't had a drink or drug in over 42 years.
An excerpt from The Cathedral Crusader published February 28, 1979.
Author’s Note: This article was published nine-months after I got clean and sober. My high school newspaper asked me to write a story about going through treatment. I was glad to do so. The published story set off alarm bells with the school administrators and it led to changes in school policy toward drug and alcohol use.