Recovery Step 4

This is a terrific time to get to work on ourselves! For anyone working a 12 step program, or anyone who wants to use this method for emotional and spiritual growth, the hard work continues with step four. Some say that this is the step that separates those who really want to recover and change from those who just say they do. A saying that goes around recovery groups is, “One, two, three, drink,” a commentary on what often happens to people who are beginning recovery from addiction but are not willing to do the difficult work of step four. Experience shows that if he just does steps one, two, and three, without continuing through the rest of the steps, the alcoholic usually drinks again. Continue reading

Why? or Why Not?

The illusion is that if we just know why, we can effect change. Not so. “Why” is the refrain of the two year old and of the teenager. Never ending and always prompting another question, not a solution, “why” becomes a mental gyration. “Why” is the booby prize! We can speculate, understand the psychodynamics, believe we know the pathway we have followed to our present state of being, perhaps our present state of self destruction, and still continue down said pathway! Continue reading

Recovery Step 3

“We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This is step three of Narcotics Anonymous, adapted, with permission, from Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are approximately 125 twelve-step groups in this country, most of them world-wide, all adapted from A.A., the original and “gold standard.” Hmmm, maybe twelve-step groups work. In reviewing Recovery, Step Two we learn that for recovery to be successful and ongoing, we need a Higher Power. Addicts who find themselves in trouble, the drugs not working any more, their lives not working so well, have gotten there by trying to do life “on my own.” Continue reading

Recovery Step 2

Dear Dr. Dawn,
I am one month into my commitment to not use drugs. I feel like I’ve been hanging on for 28 of the 30 days…only the first two days were tolerable; the rest have sucked! I read your article where Vicki wrote about Step One and I think I’ve got that. I know I am powerless over my addiction; and talk about unmanageable…boy, my life is a f—in’ mess! I’d thought about stopping the drugs, and tried to stop for years. I could always stop; I just couldn’t stop starting up again. Now, thanks to other addicts who aren’t using – those in the support meetings I go to – I have stayed clean for a month! This is a first for me, after years of knowing I needed to stop. Now I am having trouble with Step Two. I just don’t believe anything out there can help me. I feel like I have to do it myself, but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. Help!
John E.

Dear John,

Congrats on 30 days! Step Two, “We Came to Believe that a Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us to Sanity,” is a tough one. Continue reading

Why Can’t You Just Control Your Drinking?

We interrupt this series on Healthy Relationships to bring you a bulletin. This just in: heavy alcohol use can interfere with relationships!

“I don’t want to stop drinking. I want to drink moderately, like two or three beers a night. If I do that I can get my wife/girlfriend/husband/boss off my back. I think if I just stick to beer, maybe wine when we go out to eat, I’ll be okay. It’s the hard stuff that’s a problem.” “Or maybe I could drink beer during the week, and the other stuff, just one or two…maybe three drinks, on weekends.” Continue reading