Addiction Recovery Blog

Part II– Footprints In Recovery

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I knew the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” ~ Albert Einstein

Footprints In Recovery
The Imperatives for Residents

1) Be Responsible:
You are, or are becoming, physically free of mind-altering chemicals and chemical dependency. The first imperative in recovery is Abstinence. You don’t drink or use again, no matter what! One is too many and a thousand will never be enough. You and your family have invested in this program to save your life. Now the responsibility lies squarely with you.
Having judged what you to be true about addiction, based on your experience and reflection on your experience, you now face the question, “What am I going to do about it?” Be responsible with what you do with what you have judged to be true. What commitments will you make, what risks will you take to act responsibly?

What Are Your Strengths?
What Changes Do You Want to Make?
What Changes Do You Need To Make?
What Steps Will You Take Toward Your Future Plan?

2) Be Attentive:
Be attentive to your experiences, your senses, feelings, intuition and imagination. Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (H.A.L.T)? The HALT acronym is familiar to people in 12 step programs. It is a shorthand reminder of vulnerability to relapse when you are too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

When you were using, you probably neglected your nutritional needs. In recovery, you need to relearn the importance of eating regularly. Being hungry can cause changes in the body chemistry that actually causes anxiety and irritability. Eating regularly increases emotional stability. Are You Restless, Irritable, or Discontent? Why?
This one emotion is probably the most common cause of relapse to drug and alcohol use. You must learn to deal with anger in a healthy way and with regard for consequences. It is NOT healthy to hold anger in or pretend it doesn’t exist. Talking about anger producing situations and how to handle them is an important part of recovery. When Was The Last Time You Were Angry?
What Were You Afraid Of?
Recovery can be a lonely process. Maybe you lost relationships due to your addictive behaviors. Some of those relationships may be regained, some will not. You will probably need to give up your friends who are still using/drinking now that you’re in recovery. Feelings of loneliness can be painful and make you more vulnerable to relapse. Looking Ahead, How Will You Cope With Loneliness?
Sleep disorders are often a part of early recovery. You must give up chemical aids that you have been using to sleep. Being tired is often a trigger for relapse. Feeling exhausted, and having low energy can leave you very vulnerable and unable to function in a healthy way.

3) Be Intelligent:
The experiences of your life have meaning. But, you are not the experience. Don’t identify Yourself as the trauma, drama, or pain that you feel. It is imperative to understand how the pain of shame and guilt, and irrational thinking perpetuate the cycle of addiction. Addicts/alcoholics often share these common irrational beliefs:
1. Beliefs about the need to be loved and approved by everyone.
2. Beliefs about the need to be almost perfect or completely competent in all things.
3. Beliefs about human nature, evil, and deserving punishment.
4. Beliefs that it is awful and unbearable when things go wrong.
5. Beliefs that external events cause misery.
6. Beliefs that it is easier to avoid things than to confront them and deal with them.
7. Beliefs that the past determines the present.
8. Beliefs that pain should not occur, and life should always be good.
9. Beliefs about being helpless to control events, or the need to always control events.
10. Beliefs about the presence of a perfect love or perfect relationships.
There are only two kinds of thinking; rational and irrational. Learn to identify perceptions, to reframe irrational thinking, to refocus and to return to normal activities. You must clear away negative thoughts.

Use these questions as a Criteria for Rational Thinking:

1. Is it based on objective reality?
2. Does it get you what you want?
3. Does it help you feel the way you want to feel?
4. Does it get you into significant trouble?
5. Does it endanger your life? (or the lives of others)?

Mental or
Reaching out to an addictive agent
Temporary Pain Relief
Negative consequences of using
Pain of guilt and shame…

4) Be Reasonable:

You quite naturally engage in the process of seeking meaning. But being aware of it and pulling it apart into discernible parts helps you to be intentional about how you understand your life and your recovery. Below are the “Five R’s” for addiction intervention, for coping, and a model for problem for problem-solving. Different people access the tools differently. What is important is learning them in the first place, understanding them, and knowing these tools are the cornerstone of recovery.
1. Recognition: is the ability to become aware of what is going on with you – internally and externally – name it, and respond to it. It is the ability to attend to and be aware of thoughts, feelings, questions, sensations, etc. that are either causing the situation or preventing you from addressing it.
2. Re-framing: is about changing and/or correcting errors in thinking once recognition of problematic thinking or misconceptions has occurred. Re-framing allows for long-term resolution of perception, mistaken beliefs, unrealistic expectations, and defensive thinking patterns.
3. Redirection: is a physical and immediate intervention, altering the current physical behavior in order to change the current signals being processed in the brain – it is a way of sort of re-starting the machinery of the brain as it is performing a certain behavior or set of behaviors. For example, sitting down if you were standing when the situation became a crisis, standing instead of pacing, or something as simple as taking three deep breaths or getting rid of the chair you always sat in when you were using or drinking – the point is a physical change.
4. Reaching Out: is about asking for help and involving others in the management of your addiction in whatever ways are necessary – both in an immediate crisis and in the long run over the course of your life. Interaction with, and feedback from others for information and clarity is imperative.
5. Refocus: is about returning to normalized activities; renewed attention to tasks at hand; and the ability to learn from events and return to what was being done.


5) Be Transformed: The elements of effective intervention address all aspects of behavior and personality – personality is defined as patterned ways of thinking, perceiving and behaving. Thus, intervention addresses the processes of:
Thinking and Perceiving
Behaving and Emoting

The Twelve-Step Principles

Author : Lynn Spears