I started using the name Dee when I first sought help online for drinking issues, as a slightly anonymized way to identify myself, and I’ve become fond of it. I’ve essentially blogged at SMART Recovery online for years and years (way over 20,000 posts worth!!). I loved talking to the people there and developed a little bit of a voice. Recently, I have been doing some coaching with Dr. Stanton Peele in his Life Process Program
I believe in both of these programs, and I think they are eminently complementary to each other. Please allow me to introduce you to either or both along the way here! I’ve also been developing a small local practice here in Cincinnati, Ohio, so It seems like a good time to collect up some of my thoughts and put them in one place in case they might be able to help others.
SMART’s underlying philosophy absolutely helped me recover my life, no doubt about it, and its basis in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Albert Ellis’s REBT) has become a core of my own life framework.
As I’ve expanded my understanding of addiction, I’ve found Dr. Peele’s broader, more inclusive perspectives help hold everything together for me.
Goals for Recovery
For me, it’s about feeling good in my life and my own skin. If things like substances, habits, behaviors in my life are enhancing it, great. If they are harming it, then I want to get rid of them!
As a personal matter, I tend towards abstinence from my drug(s) of choice, but that’s for me. If addictive issues exist on a continuum, I suspect that those with more serious issues probably find it less realistic or worthwhile to try to moderate, but who am I to tell people what they can and can’t do or should or shouldn’t try.
I spent a long, long, long time trying to prove that moderation was realistic for me (while wildly redefining moderation). Ultimately, those attempts were unsuccessful, sometimes right away, other times after fairly long stretches of reasonable use.
I had to ask myself whether I was willing to elevate my ability to drink to that high a level in my life -- above my children, my family, working, taking care of anyone, even myself. Drinking became my everything. Now, with some remove, I confess that I have some knee-jerk reactions with regard to drinking and other substances or activities that provide, to me, only artificial fun, and I’m not entirely consistent in that either.
I am so happy to say that I don’t miss it. I am happy. I love life. I feel young and empowered and filled with energy.
Working Through …
Working through things in writing, talking to myself and to others about where I’ve tripped myself up mentally and emotionally (seemingly endlessly, at times!), thinking logically, questioning things, all helped me immeasurably. It wasn’t quick, although there were lots of insights that came BAM, just like that. Overall, it’s been a long decade.
I have somehow come through, and I very much believe that anyone can do the same. Life is not pretty or perfect, but it is joyful and full and beautiful.
I had a moment the other day where multiple people cancelled on me all throughout the day, and it was the oddest sensation to be the solid, dependable one of a bunch of highly professional people.
I really passionately would like to give people hope and help and tools and kindness and encouragement.
I sure never wanted to be that person who could stand up as an extreme example of a turnaround story, but here we are. And as they say, if I can do it, anyone can!