A great day

When the sun is shining, and things are going your way, and you don’t drink or use, that’s a good day.
When it’s storming and awful outside, and everything turns to crap, and you don’t pick up, that’s a GREAT day.
I hope you all have a really good day. But if not, make it a GREAT one. 😉

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Posted from my cabin in the mountains.

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What is “recovery”, anyway??

I’m involved in a research study about addiction recovery, and I thought this probably needed to be shared. I trust you’re having a sunny(ish) and pleasant(ish) day.

Definition of Recovery

Although millions of individuals and family members who are “in recovery” know what “recovery” means to them and how important it is in their lives, up until relatively recently there was no formal, accepted definition of recovery. For the general public and for those who research, evaluate, and develop policies about alcoholism and drug addiction, recovery is a concept that can sometimes seem unclear. Even worse, to the general public, the term “recovery” is seen as “someone who is trying to stop using alcohol or other drugs.” Clearly, it’s time for a change.

Essentially, recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction 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.

Recently (November 2014), the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute posted its definition of recovery. According to the Group, “Recovery is a goal of alcohol treatment, and recovery-oriented systems of care are being developed to support that goal. Alcoholics who no longer drink, and are trying to pursue an improved way of living/being, say that they are ‘in recovery.’

Prior to this latest update, there were two major efforts to develop a definition for recovery. Here is a quick overview of the findings and suggested definitions:

In 2007, according to the Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel, What Is Recovery?:

“Recovery from substance dependence is a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.”

In 2005, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offered the following Working Definition of Recovery:

“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 articulated twelve “Guiding Principles of Recovery”:

  • There are many pathways to recovery.
  • Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  • Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  • Recovery is holistic.
  • Recovery has cultural dimensions.
  • Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  • Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  • Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
  • Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
  • Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
  • Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.

In May 2011, a SAMHSA blog posting released Recovery Defined: A Unified Working Definition and Set of Principles that reflects SAMHSA’s move into a “behavioral health definition” of recovery that is inclusive of both addiction to alcohol and drugs as well as mental health recovery.

SAMHSA Working Definition of Recovery:

“Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals work to improve their own health and wellness and to live a meaningful life in a community of their choice while striving to achieve their full potential.”

SAMHSA Principles of Recovery

  • Person-driven;
  • Occurs via many pathways;
  • Is holistic;
  • Is supported by peers;
  • Is supported through relationships;
  • Is culturally-based and influenced;
  • Is supported by addressing trauma;
  • Involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility;
  • Is based on respect; and
  • Emerges from hope.

Four Major Domains That Support Recovery–SAMHSA’s Recovery Support Initiative:

  1. Health: Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way;
  2. Home: A stable and safe place to live that supports recovery;
  3. Purpose: Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  4. Community: Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

For more information visit the NCADD website at: www.ncadd.org.

About Groundwell Farm

 

 

This is written by one of my closest friends and I admire her so much. She’s creative, hysterically funny, and awfully wise. Please go check out the bloggery goodness and leave her a comment. (Click the link below, please!) Thanks!

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Belonging

I don’t have any idea how this is for non-alcoholic/addicts, but for me, I’ve pretty much spent my entire life trying to find a place where I “fit”.
Sure, there have been miscellaneous moments here & there, where I felt like I belonged (or maybe it was just less apparent that I DIDN’T, I don’t know), but by and large, I’ve overwhelmingly felt like The Ugly Duckling…
So, this evening I went to a meeting with some others in recovery, and the topic was (as far as I could tell) “Belonging”.
There was a person there for their first meeting, and the discussion was a really good one, especially considering how confusing and awkward things are in early sobriety. The unanimous consensus was that we’d all been quite aware of “not fitting in”, until becoming active in our own recovery. The steps, in my experience, helped me to find the commonality of all of the addicts I’ve gotten to know. When I’m in a meeting, I know I’m home. It’s been that way since the first, even when my first meeting was across the ocean and a lot was in a language I don’t speak. (As I write that, it occurs to me that even in meetings here, for english-speaking folks, the language of recovery is a foreign one. But the Spirit of recovery transcends words.)
I took special notice when someone said they’d had 20+ years sober, up until just a few months ago. (Gulp.) There, but for the grace of God, go I.

As I drove home I thought about how something as simple as listening to a family of strangers as they shared their hearts could give me such hope.

I’m where I belong, now: with my man, and my boy, and my furbabies. Everything else is, well, ultimately, temporary, I guess.
Happy Friday, everyone.

Feelings ain’t facts.

“Good things happen to drunks who don’t drink”

…is what they told me. I wasn’t so sure I believed them, but to be honest, they hadn’t lied to me, yet.
I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that statement has been proven to be true throughout my life.
I haven’t always gotten what I wanted, but I have always had what I needed. I was taught that, obviously, I didn’t NEED as much as I’d thought.

Here are some things that I had no control over that did, indeed, work out for the best:
1. I gave birth to my son within 20 miles of the best children’s hospital in the region, which made it possible to get him there and save his life, and subsequently, continue to keep him under the care of a team of exceptionally knowledgeable Pediatric Cardiologists.
Had I been in charge, I would have given birth in a foreign country with a much greater likelihood of his dying in infancy. But God…
2. I became (unexpectedly) pregnant, which was a huge factor in my decision to pursue sobriety. My own best thinking would have kept me living a very reckless and self-destructive life, but once I knew there was a baby in the mix, I was able to focus on LIFE, rather than the slow death of an addict,
3. I got involved in unhealthy relationships (reckless and impulsive, remember), thinking that I deserved the abuse and chaos. Without them, I realize, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have been in the right places, at the right times, for some pivotal events that changed my life, down the road.
4. I took a chance and said “hi” to a guy on a christian “dating” site (www.christiandatingforfree.com), and even though I was pretty sure he was WAY out of my league, he responded positively, and about a year later, we were married. The part that is all God, in my view, is the difficult lessons I had to learn in the experiences leading up to that(this)relationship. Through them (kissing frogs, I call it), I became the kind of woman who my spouse needed me to be. Instead of the insecure, impulsive, needy (“assertive” is what Cosmo calls it – yeah, it’s not really that), immature person I’d been for so long, I had somehow figured out how to practice (“…these principles in all my affairs”? You betcha!) some self-restraint, a bit of patience, and been given some kind of self-respect in working a Recovery program. I behaved like a woman who knew she had great worth, as opposed to how I’d behaved before I made seeking God a priority…and before He’d lined everything up just right… (it bears mentioning that I behaved like that woman, not that I actually believed it. I was “acting as if”.)

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My Prince

God took care of seeing to it that this guy became smitten with this damaged woman-child, accepted her children as part of the deal, and patiently continues to feed her fragile heart and spirit. ❤
I NEVER coulda worked that one out. And I can say that, for sure, because one upon a time, I did manipulate my way into a marital situation. Not proud of it. Just sayin.

So, that’s all for now, but I’m hoping to add more stuff to this list in the next couple of posts.
When good things happen, even now, my knee-jerk reaction is to be afraid, so this list is a concentrated effort to dispell that silly notion. You know, “fear of failure/fear of success”. But today, I have a fat list of things that happened to turn out good, just like He said they would.
How about you? Don’t be shy! What are some times in your life that you could not have been responsible for, working out?

From my castle in the *beautiful* mountains.