Writing a Love Letter to Yourself

Writing a Love Letter to Yourself

When you are going through the process of recovering from addiction, one of the first things that you will learn is the importance of self-love. If you can’t find it within your heart to love and forgive yourself, you cannot realistically expect others to do the same. Continue reading

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Drugs Alcohol Sex and Religion

Drugs Alcohol Sex and Religion

Many people who are learning about recovery are concerned about how religion factors into many existing programs and approaches. This is especially true in regard to Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the largest and most well-known recovery program. The Alcoholics Anonymous was founded as a Christian-centered program, but it is also a space that is inclusive of people of all faiths, or from no faith at all. To truly reap the full value of a recovery program, it is important to understand the role that religion does and does not play. Continue reading

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Working With Others (many ways) in Recovery

handsome teen volunteer cleaning streets with friends

The process of recovery is a different journey for everyone, although there are areas of commonality that many people share. One of those common truths is that working with others throughout the recovery process and beyond is a powerful way to reach out and connect with people who are on their own unique journeys. Service to others fosters a different sense of self, new bonds with others and a connection to something greater than our own individual identities. The following thoughts can help people in recovery begin or deepen a path toward serviceContinue reading

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Drinking Too Much…How Much Is Too Much?

Drinking Too Much...How Much Is Too Much?

There is a fine line between drinking while having a good time and drinking to the point of excess. When you reach the point of excess, you lose control over your drinking, allowing the alcohol to control you. So how do you know when you have reached this point and need to get help? Here are some of the warning signs that you may have an addiction to alcohol:  Continue reading

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4th Step Inventory-Spring Cleaning Your Life!

CaptureAs the weather warms and the world begins to turn green once again, many people feel the urge to tackle spring cleaning. Spring is a time of renewal, which is why we turn our thoughts to sprucing up our living environment and making improvements in our personal lives. For those who are struggling with addiction and recovery, spring can be a powerful motivator for change, and one that should be embraced. The following steps can help those who are ready to make an earnest attempt at moving through Step 4 of a 12-step program.

What is Step 4?

Step 4 compels us to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” This is a comprehensive survey of your life, of all the choices that have led you to where you are today, and all of the elements, both good and bad, that are at play in your life. It is not an easy part of the 12-step process, and it is an area where many people struggle. That said, in order to begin making things right and choosing a better path, it is absolutely necessary to understand where you have come from.

What are the Benefits of Step 4?

Many people view step 4 only in a negative light and think of it as something to dread. In reality, however, this can be an incredibly healing process. In searching out the truth about our lives, we not only uncover negative choices and traits; we also discover those areas where we are strong and capable. That information can be critical in making the changes needed to begin a new path. Many people also feel a huge sense of relief once the process is complete, as though they have unburdened themselves of a great deal of negativity. http://www.my12stepstore.com/Alcoholics-Anonymous-Twelve-Step-Pamphlet-Collection-1-12-Workbook-Book.html

What is the Best Way to Complete Step 4?

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to go about this process, but there is plenty of guidance to be found from those who have already completed their own personal inventories. Seek out a trusted advisor to guide you through this step, and listen to others who are willing to speak about their own experiences. You may find tips on how to organize your personal inventory, how to remain positive as you move through the process, or hear how step 4 acts as a springboard for the next stages of recovery. http://www.my12stepstore.com/Alcoholics-Anonymous-Fourth-Step-Guide-Journey-Into-Growth-Book.html

At my12stepstore.com, we are proud to offer products that support and celebrate recovery. We invite you to visit our site when you need support materials, books, chips, medallions, or other products, or to simply read more about the 4th step recovery process.  http://www.my12stepstore.com/product2561.html

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Are You Addicted to an Addict?

Loving an addict hurts. You spend your days (and nights) struggling to find ways to help them. In the process, you are shoved deeper and deeper into the depths of their addiction. Just because you don’t pick up their habit doesn’t mean that you are not fighting the same addiction they are – just on a different drug of choice.

The trouble with loving an addict is that the world revolves around them. You turn every moment into an opportunity to “make things better” or at least keep life on an even keel. This can result in you being left by the wayside,  feeling alone, unwanted and unloved.

Acknowledging Your Own Addictive Behavior

If you find yourself needing the addict in your life, you may have to face an important fact: you might be just as addicted to this person as they are to their drug of choice. Life with an addict is a whirlwind of drama. When they love, they love completely (and that is exhilarating) and when they crash they come down hard. Working to pull them back up may be exhausting, but it also sends a flood of feelings through your body. The chaos your addict creates in your life is like your next “hit.” You grow so accustomed to it that you need it.

Unless you break the cycle of your own dependence, you are going to discover that your own life is spiraling out of control.

Breaking Your Addict Addiction

So what can you do to break the bond you have so tightly woven? It isn’t always necessary to leave these types of relationships. But, it is vital that you understand its dynamics and work to create healthier ones. Here are a few things to try:

  • Face Reality. It is easy to live in the fantasy world you have created where all is well. But, failing to face the reality of your loved one’s drug addiction (and your need for this toxic relationship) will only make matters worse. Accept what you are dealing with so that you can get the help that is needed and help you both return to sober living.
  • Love your addict in a healthier way. Stop enabling their addiction and accepting the worst of their behavior. Set limits and work towards a stronger relationship without addiction.
  • Look at the part you play in the relationship. Take a good look at yourself and the reason why you accept the negative aspects of this relationship. Until you understand your own motives, you won’t be able to make the necessary changes.
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t let things stay as they are just because you fear the unknown. Get out of your comfort zone and get the help your loved one needs – for both of you.

Getting Help

Facing an addiction is never easy. Whether you are addicted to drug, alcohol or even an addict, reaching out for help is essential to long-term recovery. Find ways to battle your addiction – and help the addict in your life – by checking out the resources at www.my12stepstore.com

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Staying Sober Through Life Tragedies

16998964_1522604917780032_4266179528392391046_nWhen you are in recovery from addiction, even the best of intentions can be derailed in the aftermath of a tragedy. This can include things like the death of a loved one, losing your job or even large-scale tragedies like natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Even if a tragedy does not affect you directly, it can still leave you feeling powerless and alone.

While it may be tempting to resort back to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, it is important to recognize that these are only temporary solutions and will not help you process and deal with the tragedy or erase its effects. Try these healthier coping strategies instead to help you stay on track with your recovery:

Allow Yourself to Feel the Pain

Drugs and alcohol will drown out the pain so that you don’t have to think about it. The problem is that all of that pain will resurface once you are sober again. Take the time to allow yourself to experience the pain fully so that your mind can process it and you can begin to move on with your life. Even if it means taking a day off from work, it is important to give yourself time to grieve properly.

Find Healthier Alternatives to Distract Yourself

Staying sober is often the most difficult when you have nothing else to do. Instead of giving in to the calls of addiction, do your best to keep yourself busy with healthier, more productive activities, like cleaning your house, exercising, reading a book or even sleeping.

Lean on Your Support Group

Having a solid group of friends or others in recovery can go a long way towards helping you to stay sober in the face of tragedy. Having someone to talk to about the pain you are suffering can help to make it hurt just a little less. Your friends can also provide the support you need to stay away from your vices.

Follow a 12-Step Program

Whether or not you actively use a 12-step program as part of your recovery from addiction, the teachings can be incredibly helpful in your time of need. Here at My 12 Step Store, we offer everything you need to help you stay on track, from the AA Big Book to posters and plaques with reassuring quotes.

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5 Meaningful Ways to Be of Service

Sober living often involves attending meetings and possibly sponsoring others who are also in recovery. For many people in recovery, participating in various activities, such as helping out at meetings is a great way to “stay busy” and focus on recovery. One of the things learned through attending 12 step meetings is that helping others is an important step in maintaining your sobriety. Although there are a number of opportunities to help others who are in recovery, there are also a number of volunteer projects you can do outside of meetings that will not only help to strengthen your recovery but will provide you with the meaningful pleasure that is found from helping others. Here a few ways you can volunteer and provide service to the community.

Spend the Day With Seniors

Spending the day with the elderly is not only a rewarding experience for you, but it is a great way to gain perspective from the views of others. There is a host of ways to provide service to the elderly. For example, you can go to an elderly residential center and spend time doing crafts, reading or simply engaging in conversation. Even stopping in to have a snack and watch a television show with an elderly person is a rewarding experience for both people involved.

Donate Your Time to a Shelter

Whether it is serving a meal at a homeless shelter or playing a game with the children at a women and children’s center, your service will not only be greatly appreciated, but you will also find this type of volunteering to be extremely rewarding. To volunteer at a shelter, make sure to call the shelter first to inquire about the volunteering process, some shelters, such as a shelter for women and children of abuse, may require a background check, which may take a few days for approval. Homeless shelters are a great way to provide service in ways other than serving meals, for example, you can have a charity drive to collect clothing, blankets and personal items that can be dropped off at a local shelter.

Volunteer for the Environmental

If you want to volunteer your time, but prefer to do something for the environment, consider donating your time to cleaning up a park or get involved in planting trees in local neighborhood areas. If you enjoy working with your hands, a meaningful way to provide your service to families in need is through an organization such as Habitat for Humanity.

These are only a few ways you can provide service to the community while in recovery. Sober living doesn’t necessarily mean you only have to provide services to those who are also in recovery. Simply step outside of the box, get creative and volunteer doing something you wouldn’t typically do. Learning new things is a part of sober living and what better way to learn than through helping others.

Visit My 12 Step Store for great ideas on sober living gifts, snacks and fun items.

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Principles Before Personalities in Recovery

Recovery and the road to sober living is fraught with distractions and obstacles, and sometimes it’s easy to use another person’s personality, living situation, or other concern for your own struggles with staying on track. However, working with a support group like those provided by 12 Step programs means being able to look beyond just your own recovery and caring for the problems of others. Putting your focus on the principles of your addiction treatment group, instead of just reacting to personality clashes, can help you and others get more out of your time together.

The Principle of Principles

The last part of the 12 Principles of Alcoholics Anonymous specific states that it’s essential to focus on recovery above all else, with a mention of how staying anonymous helps you achieve that focus.  Focusing too much on the personality involved in a story about addiction, and not staying true to the principles, is a violation of the nature of the trusting bond built between members of a fellowship.

Understanding Personality Interactions

Of course, it’s still important to examine the personalities involved in a group to maximize positive interactions. Each person must do the hard work of examining their own personalities for behaviors that are not encouraging or supportive, but it’s important to stay focused on oneself rather than to start picking apart your fellow group members. Returning your mind to the principles themselves when someone’s behavior is making you uncomfortable will help you decide if it’s just a clash of values or something that needs to be reported to an organizer.

Following the 12th Tradition means putting your recovery ahead of your desire to be recognized for your other accomplishments or skills. You may be a business owner or a famous musician, but everyone is equal when you’re in the group and discussing your challenges and triumphs over addiction. Approaching this kind of group interaction with humility and a desire to genuinely try to empathize with others is a great way to stay away from temptations. For more help, visit us at My 12 Step Store for everything you need.

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Ways to Say I Love You

Ways to Say I Love You

“I Love You.”  Why are those three little words so hard to get out? If you are finding it difficult to mutter that phrase, maybe it is time to show that special person how you feel. Here are some simple ways to say I love you without really saying anything at all.

Leave a Note

When words are hard to speak, try writing down your thoughts. Notes are a simple way to say what you are feeling.

Put Your Someone Special First

When you are in a relationship, the time for selfishness is over. One of the best ways to let someone know you care is to put them first. Maybe you are in the mood to go out on the town, but your significant other is tired. Run a bath, cook dinner and rent a movie. Showing you care about his/her wants and feelings can go a long way to building a better relationship.

Be Free to Be Me

Relationships are not always easy.  That is why it is so important to be yourself. When you allow the people in your life to be themselves, you send a clear message that you accept them just the way they are. This is especially important when dealing with those new at sober living.

Play Together

Life can be stressful, especially when sober living is new to you (or your partner). What better way to show how much you care than simply having some fun. Loosen up. Get silly and enjoy each other’s company.

Do Something for the One You Love

Performing acts of service is a wonderful way to say I love you. Whether it is cleaning out the garage, filling your partner’s gas tank, scraping their windshield on a snowy morning, bringing home his/her favorite snack or taking a breath before nagging or grumbling, these are simple, yet effective ways to express your love.

Get Physical

Everyone needs touch. Offering a hug, laying on a sultry kiss, or even giving your partner a massage, are all physical ways to say I love you. Holding hands, cuddling and smooching are also good ways to express your feelings.

Give Your Partner Meaningful Gifts

Why does one person want a diamond necklace for a gift while another is thrilled with getting a new piece of furniture or great new book? It all depends on what someone considers meaningful and from the heart. It really is the thought that counts when surprising your partner with a gift. Even something small and inexpensive can be an invitation to romance if there is real meaning behind it. Knowing what a loved one needs or wants is a commitment to knowing about your partner. Valentine’s day or any day when looking for a thoughtful gift for someone overcoming addiction, check out www.my12stepstore.com for all kinds of gifts that anyone in recovery will love.

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