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Lifestyle: Addiction Treatment and Recovery Tools
Regardless of the addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, relationships, etc., a 12-step program is the
fundamental tool of many recovery programs. The basic 12 steps that groups’ members actively stress are as
follows, varying in some degree per addiction recovery program. Note that no particular religion or spiritual
affiliation is required. All are welcome and invited.
- We admit we are powerless over our addiction - that our lives have become unmanageable
- We believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
- We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
- We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
- We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
- We continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it
- We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God,
praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to other addicts,
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Members recite the steps at their meetings. And there may be a presentation or group discussion
based upon one particular step that day, with the rest of the event focused on individual needs or issues that
are brought up by members, so that each member gets to address his or her top or immediate concerns, seek help
and help others to get through, “One day at a time.”
Other Recovery Tools
Here are more tools to aid with healing from addictions, listed in no particular order.
Internal Motivators– Many decide to kick their addictions based upon interior motives like love, a sense of
achievement, competition, responsibility and a number of other reasons. A love for a child can make some stop
the denial process dead in its tracks, allowing recovery to step in. Watching a close friend or relative who
is farther along the addictive path of destruction can also be an eye-opener, resulting in some addicts
adopting the “I can do it” attitude to kick the habit. Some simply want their own self-respect back and respect
from others. While other addicts prefer better health and a sharper mental state, and decide to overcome their
addictions and recover. Regardless of the reasons, internal motivators can be welcome stepping-stones in the
path of recovery.
External Motivators - Other motivators along the way are external, like money, work, housing, etc. For example,
an addict is generally well aware of the money needed for the continued purchasing of the addictive substances.
Someone not used to living in less desirable conditions because income is lacking, may not need much of a
jolt of reality other than the first eviction notice, to spur him or her to quit spending hard-earned money
on drugs, gambling, porn or cigarettes, etc. And some who may really value their jobs and are striving to
maintain good work standards and ethics, may see reality when they are passed over for a promotion or annual
raise because of tardiness, sloppiness, mishandling of money, etc., and may seek help to get their work act
To help with internal and motivators, addicts and their support people can turn to recovery tools like books,
videos, movies, healing music, speakers and events focused on addiction and recovery. A good place to begin
is at your own local library or favorite bookstore. Online you can search Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble (BN.com)
or even your favorite search engine. Type in terms like “addiction recovery” and / or add the addictive substance
or behavior (“gambling recovery” “overcoming cigarette addiction”).
Some popular recovery books are:
Addiction & Recovery for Dummies, by Brian F. Shaw, Paul Ritvo, Jane Irvine, M. David Lewis; For Dummies;
(December 13, 2004).
7 Tools to Beat Addiction, by Stanton PHD Peele; Three Rivers Press; (July 27, 2004).
The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior, by Craig Nakken;
Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services; 2nd edition (September 1, 1996).
The Addiction Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Quitting Alcohol and Drugs (New Harbinger Workbooks),
by Patrick Fanning, John T. O'Neill, John O'Neill; New Harbinger Publications; (June 1, 1996).
Bridges to Recovery : Addiction, Family Therapy, and Multicultural Treatment, by Jo-ann Krestan; Free Press;
(March 15, 2000).
For online chat rooms and message boards where recovering addicts seek fellowship, simply type
“recovery message board” or “recovery chat room” in your favorite search engine. Include specific addictions
like gambling and cocaine for more focused groups.
NEXT: Addictions: Intervention and Detoxification
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