About Recovery Dee
Fresh Thinking About Addiction Recovery
I would like to introduce and welcome you to my website RecoveryDee.com. I’d like to be a voice for sensible perspectives on and approaches to addiction.
What Recovery Dee offers:
Encouraging words of support through my Blog, Encouraging Recovery, here at RecoveryDee.com
Local (and online) Recovery Coaching, based in Cincinnati, Ohio
And additionally, to:
Steer people to Stanton Peele's Life Process Program for a structured approach to addiction recovery by the most visionary, far-sighted thinker in addiction recovery -- ever
Suggest SMART Recovery for an alternative to AA meetings and their materials based on psychologist Albert Ellis's teachings.
I am, in principle, a supporter of all efforts to provide addiction support and recovery. I am an advocate for non-12-step, non-religious, non-AA-related alternatives; they can be hard to find, and many who might find them life-saving don’t yet know they exist.
What can Recovery Dee do for you?
I see the Recovery Dee site as a starting place -- the beginning of some thinking and conversation, for people who may have questions or be worried about their drinking or use of other addictive drugs or about behaviors that aren't serving them well. And it's for people who could use some encouragement n their efforts to figure it out and start to make changes, and I hope it can serve as well for those who know they have an issue and want to find a way to work on it , hoping there may be options beyond full-blown addiction treatment and a lifetime of daily AA meetings.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Concept
The most helpful thing I ever found was the idea in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that it is our thinking that creates our reactions to things, including our emotions, which means that those reactions and emotions are largely in our own control.
That's important in addiction, because it means we don't HAVE to drink or use or overeat or gamble or punch someone in response to ANY particular situation. We may be used to reacting that way, but we can practice and work to change those to more deliberate choices for action.
Taking a Look at our Beliefs
I also learned that I have a lot of beliefs about the way things "should be" that don't match up to reality in the present. Some may have been useful or made sense when I was younger or a child, but they don't anymore.
For instance, I used to think that the best goal for a little girl was to be a princess. When that didn't seem achievable, I went with the general "find a husband and get married," vision.
Life has changed. Much of my early vision came from my mother's ideals from the '50s. There is some good stuff in there, too. There are values that I can reach for and keep as central for myself. But many assumptions and possibilities and thinking have changed. Just one example is that "grow up and get married" as a full and fulfilling fantasy suitable for little girls and when my parents divorced it was shocking and shameful and unusual in our little college community (can you imagine?!).
Sometimes we just carry old beliefs forward without really questioning them. Learning to question old beliefs that are not true or helpful or that don't make sense logically and then modify them beliefs, so I can choose new, better responses to the things that happen in life. This kind of approach, from cognitive behavioral therapy, has become a sturdy framework for life in general. It was definitely bigger than "stopping drinking," or even addiction, for me.
I want to promote sensible, clear thinking that is rooted in my layman’s understanding of psychology rather than religion. I believe that psychology can be compatible with, yet separate from spiritual belief and religious faith. Since I want to focus on what I feel reasonably equipped to discuss, that limits us to my own experience and sphere of knowledge and what I’ve found helpful to myself and others in self-work, coaching, conversing with tons of people, training others, and facilitating groups.
Compassionate, realistic and practical support seem in short supply, so I want to encourage those.
I strongly believe that recovery from addiction is possible, and that we ALL have the power to "recover" that if we are willing to work at it, not to give up if we fall short, and to be patient with ourselves, our efforts, and with others.
Why should you listen to me?
Well you shouldn't! Not without making sure I am making good sense to you. Although I’d sought help a few times before, both with drinking and from a mental health perspective a few times, I finally found the philosophy of Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, REBT at SMART Recovery online, and I began to change my life.
It was the application of that psychology and thinking in relation to addiction, that allowed me to believe that I could change my life. I found people who were actively applying this thinking and practicing it in a concerted way in meetings, in writing, and in self-work. And my thinking started to change.
At the time, my circumstances were such that I felt I HAD to make a change. There was urgency. My concept of what I wanted my life to look like was in terrible jeopardy. The consequences were big and grim.
It’s been 15 years since then, and I now have over 10 years of continuous sobriety from alcohol and “hard drugs.” I am not a purist in some ways -- I drink coffee. I took painkillers after I had surgery. I only recently gave up cigarettes (3 years). I cook with wine occasionally (I don’t drink the leftovers, though, and I don’t take cough medicines with alcohol!). :)
I think we make our own rules about the details, because that’s what we do, as human beings.
So I pay attention to what draws me a little too much, and I try to pull back if I see any activities starting to intrude into my thoughts or life. I seem to flirt with food issues in a small way, fairly regularly. I can get lazy about exercise ...
I mention these little details, not because I have a perfect balance worked out or even one I would specifically recommend to someone else but, because life is full of the unexpected. I don't want to be judged on my details. If we are pointed in the overall right direction that's good. If something is starting to get in the way of our relationships or goals, well that seems like something to look at. No judgment. No comparisons. No rigid rules. Awareness and self-honesty as best we can, I think.
The two that were big for me, the ones that jeopardized me, my family, my relationships, my life? Those are gone, and I am beyond grateful every single day!!!
My own experience, strength and hope
Surprisingly, I still have a lot of thoughts to share about all of it. I've written over 23,000 posts at SMART Recovery over the years, and I write every day to my clients at the Life Process Program (LPP), and so I thought I would try to collect some of my thoughts in my own space and see if that might be helpful to people.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to share some practical (hard-won), solid thinking and provide some clarity about ways to approach addiction and a practical, layman’s psychology-based approach that, unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t been exposed to or seen applied in this area. I don’t have one magic answer for any of it. I think there are many, many options, and that we can build recovery no matter what our circumstances are, with or without help. I think there are some commonalities and lots of similar threads that different people relate to, and It’s nice to have a little help sometimes. :)