Thursday, 22 September 2016
I would like, if I may, to prattle on a bit about recovery. Or maybe Recovery? I recently went through a detox to end my many years of alcohol use and abuse, now, nearly 100 days dry it’s time to share a thought or two.
What is recovery? This is taken from the NCADD website.
Individuals who are “in recovery” know what it means to them and how important it is in their lives. They need no formal definition.
But for the general public and those who research, evaluate, and develop policies about addiction, recovery is a concept that can sometimes seem unclear.
Essentially, recovery is a complex and dynamic process encompassing all the positive benefits to physical, mental and social health that can happen when people with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or their family members, get the help they need.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) offers this definition:
“Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.”
Expanding on this definition, SAMHSA articulates twelve “Guiding Principles of Recovery”:
1. There are many pathways to recovery.
2. Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
3. Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
4. Recovery is holistic.
5. Recovery has cultural dimensions.
6. Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
7. Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
8. Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
9. Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
10.Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
11.Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
12. Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.
This definition makes sense whether your addiction is to a substance or action.
I thought about my recovery for a long long time before taking the plunge, how could I tell my friends and family? How would it affect my day to day life? Should I just let my inner circle of close allies know of my decision? After all, hardly anyone knew the demons I had been wrestling with for so long, why the hell should I involve them in my recovery? These and many other questions plagued me and held up my decision for quite a while.
Then I had a thought. If I was to achieve what I was setting out to achieve hiding behind a veil of lies would be counterproductive and, let’s face it, I would need all the help I could get. I decided to “go public”. Share my thoughts, trials and tribulations wherever possible. Luckily, it would seem, I made the right decision.
Recovery from any addiction be it substance or action is something to be shouted about. Don`t do it on your own, be proud of all you are achieving and let others know how you feel. Shout it from the rooftops, share it with your friends, like it, retweet it, photocopy it, fax it, add it to your LinkedIn network just stand up and be PROUD of what you are doing! Let others see just how AMAZING you are feeling, how you have so much more time to do stuff and feel so much better when doing it. Let them know you`ve been born again, your life has restarted and the real you is back with a vengeance.
We need a Recovery Revolution.
Recovery should be embraced as the amazing thing it is, not carry the stigma it can at the moment. Unsure about dealing with your addiction? Look around at all the happy gurning idiots who are ahead of you in the process, listen to them shout about it, look at how you could feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I`m not saying the process is easy for all and should be entered into lightly, but if Recovery were to be accepted as the amazing life changing process it can be then surely the decision to enter into it would be a whole lot easier?
This post was written for "The Recovery Revolution" a brilliant site addressing the issues faced by people in recovery. Please take a look.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Remember a while ago I mentioned how I was training to be a facilitator for the SMART groups that I attend? Well I only went and passed the course. I am now a SMART facilitator. I will hopefully soon be co-facilitating the group I attend with John from Turning Point. This is great on a couple of levels, it means I keep getting the support from the group that I need and also get the chance to share my experiences to help others on the road to being substance free.
If you are not aware of the SMART recovery programme here is a rough outline of the ethos, lifted straight from the SMART website:
We help people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.Our approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods.We run a network of self help meetings and also partner with care professionals. OUR APPROACH
• Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.
• Provides meetings that are educational, supportive and focussed on open discussions.
• Supports the use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments where appropriate
• Can be used to tackle any form of addictive behaviour, including drugs and alcohol, gambling
• Evolves as scientific knowledge in addiction recovery evolves.
It’s a different approach to the traditional 12 step programmes, and one I have found to be incredibly helpful. You can read a bit more about it here www.smartrecovery.org.uk
Hopefully I can drive the group forwards and increase the numbers. Harborough may be a hard place to do this as it still has a very small town feel to it. People in need of a little help are still afraid to attend a meeting like ours for fear of others finding out about their “problems.” I must admit that initially I myself was very concerned about how people would react when I mentioned the fact that I had/have a problem and was considering detox as a way to deal with it, but found I got nothing but support, understanding and a genuine interest. The first step to dealing with addiction is to admit the addiction exists, if you feel comfortable to share this then the road is one much easier to travel.
In other news, Sarah and I did our first 5km Parkrun around the local park. Parkrun is an amazing thing. Staffed entirely by volunteers they are popping up in parks all around the world. Anything from 30 to 300 or more people getting together in a park to have a run. With the emphasis on “run” it’s not a race but a great way to get out, get fit and have a laugh. My sister came up from Norfolk to join us, missing her own parkrun`s birthday party. We waddled round at our own pace to the sound of applause and encouragement from runners and marshals alike. What a great feeling to finish. I never thought I`d see the day that 3 Pollards would cross the finish line of a 5km run together, still alive and in such great spirits.
With the combination of exercise, good diet, new job and alcohol free lifestyle I feel better physically and mentally than I have for years. I`m under no illusions that the war with Al is over but I`m constantly winning battles and campaigns, he is on the retreat and I fully intend to keep him going in that direction.