What is a Social Alcoholic?

What is a Social Alcoholic?

 

Traditionally, the belief widely held around the concept of alcoholism is: someone is either addicted or they’re not; there’s no in-between. However, more and more counselors and other such professionals are finding that a large number of people who come to them for help are kind of alcoholic, or social alcoholic. These folks seek help for some other problem or issue that has developed in their life: anger issues, aggression, loss of job, declining health – without a thought about their drinking patterns. After some digging, the professional finds that these presenting problems are in fact a result of the person’s use of alcohol.

The Alcoholic

Alcoholism, officially called alcohol dependence, is where the alcoholic must drink pretty much on a continuous basis in order to maintain a level of alcohol in their body. If they stop then all the alcohol gets metabolized and the alcoholic goes into withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome causes the alcoholic to experience severe and even life-threatening symptoms.

Alcoholism as a Spectrum

The medical and therapeutic community is finding it to be more accurate and helpful to view alcoholism as a spectrum disorder rather than a black-and-white condition. There are many people who can be diagnosed with some sort of drinking problem but who do not meet the strict criteria required to be diagnosed as alcoholic. This is where the social alcoholic label applies.

The Social Alcoholic

The social alcoholic, also called “almost alcoholic,” applies to a large number of people. People who are social alcoholics are not typical alcoholics; instead, they are people whose drinking habits can range from barely qualifying as almost alcoholics to those whose drinking borders actual alcohol abuse.

The almost alcoholic will have started out in normal drinking patterns but has then moved into the social alcoholic zone of the spectrum. Here are some signs of an almost alcoholic:

 

  • drinks to relieve stress
  • may drink alone
  • looks forward to drinking
  • drinking may be related to health problems
  • drinks to relieve boredom and/or loneliness
  • sometimes takes risks like driving after drinking
  • drinks to get a “buzz”
  • work performance is declining
  • isn’t comfortable in social settings without drinking
  • finds that drinking helps to overcome shyness

 

 Examples of the Social Alcoholic

#1

Someone who is under the normal pressures of life: balancing family, work, relationships, finances and starts experiencing difficulty sleeping and chronic fatigue goes to the doctor for a prescription for a sleeping pill or antidepressant. Upon further examination, the doctor finds out that the patient drinks 3 glasses of wine nightly to unwind. At first, this helped the patient sleep better but is now no longer working. At some point, this patient had crossed over the line that separates normal social drinking from almost alcoholic drinking.

Combined with the somewhat excessive drinking each evening, the patient reports having sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression and outbursts of anger. These are historically the same problems that true alcoholics often report. However, the patient does not have enough of the symptoms to meet the accepted criteria for any of the alcohol-related diagnoses, such as alcoholism. It wasn’t that one drink was never enough, or that the patient had to drink enough to maintain a certain level of alcohol to avoid withdrawals, but the patient is nonetheless experiencing alcohol related problems.

#2

The “typical” college student who binge drinks with friends on the weekends can also possibly be a social alcoholic. This drinking pattern of binge drinking may seem normal to the student because a lot of other students are doing it too: at weekend parties, drinking games, tailgating, and so on. But when the drinking starts affecting school performance, mood, and leads to repercussions such as academic or social probation if say, one night things get out of hand and the student gets in a physical fight with someone else. The student may be told to go to anger management classes. Again, the problem on the surface is aggression but the underlying problem is a pattern of drinking that has come to be known as social alcoholism.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/

http://www.helpguide.org/

http://www.theatlantic.com/

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Success Rate of Sober Living

Success Rate of Sober Living

The success rate of sober living is unknown but it is most definitely better than the success rate of someone who doesn’t attend any kind of sober living after treatment. Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug free place to live can be a serious and almost insurmountable obstacle for addicts and alcoholics. Destructive living arrangements can totally derail recovery for even the most highly motivated addicts and alcoholics.

Sober living is an alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Sober living is not licensed for funded by state or local governments and the residents themselves pay for the cost. The philosophy of recovery in a sober living house emphasizes 12-step group attendance and peer support.

So what are the success rates of sober living?

Research in one California study measured treatment outcomes over an eighteen month period from a sample of patients who were provided sober living as part of their outpatient treatment. Participants were male, with an average age of around 40 years old. A fourth of them were criminal justice referrals. A third of them was either homeless or lived in a shelter. Residents were dependent on cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines. Participants were interviewed at intake and at 6, 12, and 18 months.

The study found that sober living clients experienced significant improvements when it came to stay sober and even days worked. Involvement in 12-step groups was the strongest predictor of reductions in alcohol and drug use. The outcomes did not vary by demographics such as age, race, and education. The study concluded that sober living should be considered as a part of outpatient treatment for clients who have access to limited financial resources or reside in destructive living environments. The reason being, success of the individuals who were in sober living and staying sober.

The success rates of sober living are much higher in comparison to someone who doesn’t attend sober living. And it seems like the success rates of sober living go up even more if the clients of sober living also attend a 12-step group. The longer amount of time spent at a sober living residence the better too. Someone who stays at a sober living home and attends a 12-step group for a long period of time usually has a much higher chance of success than someone who just goes back to the original living environment and does not attend a 12 step group.

I know this is especially true for myself and most of the people I know who have multiple years sober. Sober living really can get addicts and alcoholics who have been unstable for so long the ability to start off on a stable and sturdy foundation instead of going back into the same unsteadiness once again. The success rates of sober living aren’t exact but they are good. The risks of going back into an old environment or giving yourself a better chance at staying sober with a sober living environment seems like an easy choice to make.

 

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

How to Start a Halfway House

How to Start a Halfway House

 

What is a Halfway House?

Halfway Houses are transitional living places for those in recovery from drugs or alcohol. They are also called sober houses. Some people go to halfway houses from a treatment center, prison, or a homeless situation, while others go there to be in a sober and clean environment to begin the recovery process. Some residents are in halfway houses due to court orders.

Aspects of a Halfway House

Many halfway houses are run by people who themselves were at one time a halfway house resident. The houses accommodate either men or women. Most halfway houses require residents to pass breathalyzer and drug screening tests. Some houses have curfews.

Make sure the house is located so that your residents can easily get to AA and NA meetings. In recovery, we are self-supporting. Be certain that you are clear on what is expected from you and what you expect from your residents. Assign cleaning chores, including making their beds and keeping their rooms tidy.

Choose a house near public transportation for those of your residents who do not have their own transportation.

Why You Should Start a Halfway House

You should only open a halfway house if you are passionate about the cause. And, if you are passionate, it can be done with little or no money. There are various grants and loans available to get a house started. Learn from experience and check with someone who already has a house to see how to open one.

How to Start a Halfway House

Step 1: Acquire the licenses and permits needed to operate a halfway house in the community you select.

Step 2: Purchase or lease a property. Your financial circumstances may dictate this choice, but county, city, township and other lawmaking agencies frequently require property ownership before they are willing to sanction a halfway house in a residential neighborhood. Once you find one or more likely properties, have your top choices inspected by a certified building inspector to avoid “buyer’s remorse.”

Step 3: Renovate the property. Unless the home you buy was operated as a halfway house in the past, you’ll likely have to modify it to accommodate zoning laws that sanction the number of people you can house there, or any personal limits you’ve placed on resident capacity. Purchase insurance to cover the house and its contents, and add liability coverage to protect your personal assets from lawsuits. A regular homeowner’s policy isn’t adequate for a group home.

Step 4: Hire staff and create policies, rules and regulations. Having staff in place before the first resident arrives is a huge advantage, because experienced halfway house employees can help you write an operations manual and set rules, regulations and policies that will guide both clients and staff. Make sure you run background checks on everyone, from counselors to housekeeping employees.

Step 5: Set up the accounting aspects of your halfway house so it operates smoothly well into the future. Accurate records are important if you want your sponsors to continue making financial contributions, and it goes without saying that finding additional sponsors will be an ongoing activity.

Step 6: Implement programming. Residents released from rehab programs require an inordinate amount of structure in their lives so they can learn to become responsible members of both the halfway house and the outside world. Establish tight schedules that include mandated housekeeping chores, group counseling sessions, one-on-one therapy time, recreational activities, job searching and life skill building time. Plan social events, meetings and include alone time.

Remember: It is unlawful to discriminate in housing. The Supreme Court has ruled that recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are a protected class under the handicapped provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988. If you seek a house in a good neighborhood, you’ll find it.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.sba.gov

http://halfwayhouse.com

http://smallbusiness.chron.com

http://soberhouse.net

 

 

 

 

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Government Aid for People Living in Halfway Housing

Government Aid for People Living in Halfway Housing

Halfway houses are also called recovery houses. They allow recovering addicts to begin reintegrating with society while receiving support and monitoring. Recovering addicts who live in halfway houses are at a reduced risk of relapse compared to recovering addicts who go directly from a treatment program back into society. The average stay at a halfway house ranges from one to six months, and behavioral health insurance typically covers all or a portion of the cost of the stay. People living in halfway housing generally must be able to support themselves, pay their rent, and purchase their own food. They are usually required to work or must be actively seeking work. All residents must attend a minimum number of 12-step meetings each week, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous. Rent ranges from $250 to $1,450 per month, with the average ranging from about $450 to $750 per month. No security deposit is required, no first and last months’ rent are required, and no credit checks are performed. Utilities are included in the cost of rent and most homes allow residents to pay their rent on a weekly basis.

There is not a lot of government aid for people living in halfway housing. Residents of halfway houses are technically considered to be homeless and as such are eligible for much of the same programs as homeless populations.

Government Aid for People Living in Halfway Housing: Rental Assistance

Depending on the state and even the community within which people living in halfway housing reside, there are programs for rental assistance and other supportive services to homeless substance abusers and individuals with disabilities. These services are provided to their family members as well.

Government Aid for People Living in Halfway Housing: Food Assistance

People living in halfway housing are eligible for food stamp programs. Nowadays called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), it is a federal nutrition program that helps you stretch your food budget and buy healthy food. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers’ markets and co-op food programs.

 

Government Aid for People Living in Halfway Housing: Health Insurance

For some people living in halfway houses, there is access to the federal health insurance program, Medicaid. Many people are getting back on their own two feet and so they are likely income eligible for Medicaid.

 

Although there is not much in the way of government aid for people living in halfway housing, the programs that are available make a big difference in the lives of recovering alcoholics and addicts because they lessen the financial burden of putting their lives back together. With help to pay for groceries and free healthcare, the alcoholic/addict is more likely to be able to afford their rent at the halfway house. Many of those in recovery have never even had to support themselves and so it is a learning experience in how to be a productive member of society. The halfway house supports alcoholics and addicts in their recovery program by establishing structure and providing a safe living environment. It is up to the people living in halfway housing to learn how to provide for themselves financially. And the government programs listed above can help them to do so.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Sober House Accommodations

Sober House Accommodations

Sober House Accommodations

Sober house accommodations vary widely depending on what kind of sober house you live in. In most sober houses, you will share a room with one or more roommate, though some places do have single rooms. You will share the common areas-like living room, kitchens, and porches with the rest of your house or apartment mates. This type of communal living is common in sober house accommodations because it gives you:

1. A close knit support group.

2. People around you to keep you honest and accountable.

3. The ability to cooperate with others.

4. An opportunity to learn to set boundaries.

Sober House Accommodations: Gender

For obvious reasons, sober house accommodations are generally same-sex only. Men are housed with men and women are housed with women. Some sober houses do not even allow members of the opposite sex to come on property. This is for your safety and the safety of the other women in the house.

Sober House Accommodations: Transportation

At some places, sober house accommodations will include transportation services. There will be a van, bus, or car to take you to certain places like meetings, outpatient groups, or work. Not all places offer these services, so if you will not have a car, make sure to ask about it.

Sober House Accommodations: Bedding and Cleaning Supplies

Some sober houses provide you with bedding when you arrive, as well as towels and washcloths. Other sober houses expect you to bring it on your own. Many sober houses will also provide you with basics like toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Make sure you know what is provided for you and what you are expected to provide.

Sober House Accommodations: Family

Some sober house accommodations will also provide accommodations for visiting family members. Sometimes, when a sober house facility is an apartment complex, for example, one of the apartments will be reserved for visitors. The family must follow the rules of the sober house i.e. no drugs or alcohol on the premises, but sober house accommodations for families can be very convenient if your sober house is out-of-state.

Sober House Accommodations: Cleanliness

In most sober houses, the residents are responsible for keeping the residence and grounds clean and neat. Sober house accommodations may include a cleaning service on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but you are still responsible for day-to-day upkeep. The sober house will generally provide outside service for repairs, lawn mowing, and pest control.

Sober House Accommodations: Cable TV and Internet

Most sober house accommodations include cable TV and internet service, including Wi-Fi. These services are factored into the cost of your rent along with utilities such as electric, trash and water. Many sober houses also provide and in-house computer and telephone that is available for the residents to use. If you will not have a cellphone or computer, make sure you check to see what your sober house provides for you. Some sober houses may restrict your internet usage to approved sites.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

10 Things You Need To Give Up for a Successful Recovery

10 Things You Need To Give Up for a Successful Recovery

10 Things You Need To Give Up for a Successful Recovery

The things we want to hold the tightest to are usually the things we have to give up if we want change. There are hundreds of quotes about how if you want something to change you have to do something differently. Doing something differently could mean trying to find new things to add more to your life but it could also mean giving up some things in your life in order to allow new things in. Giving up certain things is particularly true when it comes to having a successful recovery. So what are some of the things you need to give up for a successful recovery? Here are ten of them.

  1. Drugs and alcohol -This is a fairly obvious thing you have to give up for a successful recovery. I mean part of the whole idea of recovery is to stay sober and clean from drugs and alcohol. So if you want recovery first and foremost you must give up the drugs and alcohol.
  2. Denial -It is a nice thought that we aren’t as bad off as people think we are but it is denial. We are in denial about so many things while using and drinking and also into our recovery. In order to have a successful recovery you have to allow yourself to hear the truth, see the truth, and accept it. The truth will literally set you free in this case.
  3. Fear -Fear is one of the biggest road blocks for someone who is trying to change. All the “what ifs” can sometimes stop us in our tracks and keep us from being able to be successful in recovery. Letting go of fear and taking that leap of faith is paramount for a successful recovery.
  4. Beliefs -Whatever you thought you knew and believed to be true, now is the time to let go of it. In order to have a successful recovery you have to be open to new ideas all the time and in order to do that you have to give up the old ones and open your mind.
  5. Friends -Unfortunately when we are using and drinking we make a lot of friends who drink and use drugs like we do. It can be really hard but giving up those people who might make it hard for us to stay sober is very important for a successful recovery.
  6. Control -One of the biggest points of any recovery program is giving up control. In order to have a successful recovery, the want and need to control people, place and things has to be given up.
  7. Blame -Giving up blame is one of the biggest things you have to give up in order to have a successful recovery. You have to take responsibility for your life. Constantly blaming other people will never allow you to change.
  8. Perfection -No one is perfect and life is not perfect. There are going to be mistakes and they are not reasons to find yourself consumed with self-pity. Needing to be perfect allows you to have an excuse to be upset when mistakes happen. The need to be perfect has to be given up to have a successful recovery.
  9. Past – The past does nothing for you because it doesn’t exist anywhere anymore except in your mind. Giving up the past can lead to a successful recovery because it doesn’t define you anymore.
  10. Excuses -Excuses are useless to you and everyone else. Instead of looking for an excuse look for a way to take action and change your life. This is one of the hardest things to give up for a successful recovery but one of the best to. When you stop making excuses you can start making a change and that’s what recovery is all about. Change.

Source:

http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/06/04/10-things-you-must-give-up-to-be-successful/

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab?

Should I go back to rehab?

If I relapse should I go back to rehab?

Working in addiction treatment, this is a question that I hear all the time. Many people who go back to using drugs and alcohol after treatment don’t think they should go back to rehab if they relapse. They’ll say things like “I’ve been to rehab before and it didn’t work” or “I already know everything they have to tell me.” The thing is, rehab is a lot more than therapy and learning about recovery. Even if you feel like you have learned everything you need to know about the disease of addiction and yourself, there are still reasons you should go back to rehab if you relapse.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Environmental

One of the most important things about rehab is that it gives you a safe place to be during those early days of recovery. The first thirty days are often the hardest, and many addicts and alcoholics relapse during this time, especially if they are in the same environment where they were using. If you want different results, you need to do something differently, and changing your environment is one of the first changes you should make. Just because you know how to get sober, it doesn’t mean you actually can or will do it. This is why it is important for you to go back to rehab if you relapse.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Support

One of the most important reasons you should go back to rehab if you relapse is because of the support system it provides. The real thing that keeps people clean and sober is not knowledge of recovery, it is their relationships with other people; their support system. There is a reason that 12 step groups have meetings and you are supposed to get a sponsor-we need other people to recover. What most people need in early recovery is support from people who understand what they are going through, not tips on “how to avoid triggers.” They need to see people who were once where they are and who have had success in recovery. They need to build relationships with people who can show them how they can attain lasting recovery.

If I relapse should I go back to rehab? Knowledge

Ok, you may think that you know everything about recovery, but you don’t. Recovery is not about memorizing the 12 steps or reading every page of recovery literature. If you went back to drugs and alcohol, then there were obviously some fundamental things you did not learn in rehab. For example:

  • You did not surrender.
  • You did not take suggestions from people who were trying to help you.
  • You weren’t completely honest.
  • You were not open minded enough to learn everything you needed to know.

Most people who relapse, if they’re being honest with themselves, know that they did not grasp one or more of these fundamental concepts. Going back to rehab if you relapse is the safest and smartest option and it gives you the best chance for recovery in the future.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Sober Living in Florida

Sober Living in Florida

There are literally hundreds of different places for sober living in Florida. Florida is home to one of the biggest recovering communities in the world. You can find any and all kinds of sober living actually just in the South East part of the state right near the beach. The sober living in Florida can range from merely a place to live that includes drug testing to a strict long-term residential living space.

Sober living in Florida is some of the greatest sober living to experience for anyone trying to get sober. Most sober living in Florida requires that individuals attend some form of detox as well as inpatient or outpatient treatment. The reason for this is because it is good for the individual to have a little bit of clean time before pretty much living on their own in a sober living residence. Sober living in Florida is not the same thing as treatment because it is a transitional living facility. What this means is that sober living in Florida is a great way for an addict or alcoholic who has gotten out of treatment to begin gaining some independence while also having the safety net of the sober living facility. The sober living in FL provides each individual with drug tests, a comfortable place to stay and other rules such as curfews. These rules and accommodations all vary depending on what sober living facility in Florida it is. Some are nicer than others, some only allow females, some are very strict, and some are very lenient, some allow only men, and some are co-ed. It all depends on the individual sober living house.

Sober living in Florida is available as part of the recovery journey which in a lot of cases is an integral one for anyone who is trying to get sober and stay sober. Sober living in Florida allows addicts and alcoholics to get connected in the community, get a job, socialize, and have some freedom while also undergoing random drug tests and keeping their accountability. The length of stay at sober living in Florida is all unique to the individual. Some sober living places in Florida require commitments that can range from 30 days to 6 months. Some individuals stay even longer than six months at sober living places though.

Sober living in Florida is more often than not run by a manager who is also in recovery and requires its tenets to attend some kind of 12 step meeting during the week. Most of the sober living in Florida actually requires that a certain number of meetings be attended per week and that all individuals who live there have a sponsor and are working 12 steps. The reason most sober living places in Florida require this is because they know what the 12 step fellowship and working steps can do to help someone stay sober. Sober living in Florida can be an awesome experience. Most of the sober living is right near the beach in warm southern Florida where anyone who is trying to recover would love to be.

If you need help with an addiction problem please give us a call at 800-507-7389.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

The History of Alcoholics Anonymous

The History of Alcoholics Anonymous

The History of Alcoholics Anonymous – The Washingtonians

The history of Alcoholics Anonymous goes back a long ways. In fact it goes all the way back to the 1800’s with the Washingtonians. The Washingtonians were the first group that tried to find a solution to the drinking problem. The Washingtonians didn’t try to just help alcoholics though and this may have been their downfall. The Washingtonians began with a group of men. This group of men couldn’t stop drinking. One day this group of men decided to go hear a clergyman from the church speak. After hearing the clergyman speak of spiritual principles, the group of men went back to the bar and began discussing what the clergyman had spoken of. The whole night passed in the bar and the men eventually realized that during their discussion of spiritual principles they hadn’t drank, not even once. This group of men took this idea and began trying to help everything and everyone. The importance of spiritual principles sprung from that meeting and become a core part of the movement. The problem was that the Washingtonians didn’t have a specific purpose and ended up growing too large too fast and slowly faded out.

The History of Alcoholics Anonymous – The Oxford Group

After the Washingtonians, came the Oxford Group. The Oxford Group was a Protestant religious group meant to help alcoholics. The only issued with the Oxford Group was they were very strictly religious. The Oxford group practices included the 5 C’s and the Four Absolutes. The 5 C’s included:

  • Confidence
  • Confession
  • Conviction
  • Conversion
  • Continuance

The Four Absolutes- which are spiritual principles were:

  • Absolute-Honesty
  • Absolute-Purity
  • Absolute-Unselfishness
  • Absolute-Love

The Oxford Group believed that drinking was a sin but that sinners could be changed through confession, accessing God directly, realizing that miracles are possible and that through changing they must change others. Bill Wilson in his founding of AA used a lot of what the Oxford Group taught for the basis of AA with some very profound differences.

 

The History of Alcoholics Anonymous – Bill Meets Bob

Bill Wilson got sober through the Oxford Group and went on to meet Dr. Bob who didn’t remain sober at first but eventually did. After Bill and Bob both found their footing in sobriety they both officially made Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935.

The two men sought to make a program that could help even the most hopeless alcoholics. Bill and Bob believed that alcoholics were in a state of insanity (not sin) which the Oxford Group implied. They believed a spiritual conversion was necessary for sobriety and sanity. Surrendering to a higher power and working with other alcoholics was imperative to staying sober and could show drinking alcoholics that it was possible to enjoy life without drinking. The process for a spiritual conversion included surrender which involved a confession of powerlessness, and a prayer that said the man believed in a higher power that could restore him to sanity. The idea of individuals being able to choose a “higher power” of their own was Bill W.’s idea and is a huge part of AA. The idea of helping other alcoholics came from Bill W’s work in Akron. What happened in Akron was that Bill W. learned that an alcoholic must have another alcoholic to work with in order to remain sober. The second concept from his work in Akron was that if the alcoholic postponed drinking for one day, one hour or even one minute he could remain sober.

Following these events and eventually the complete clarification of the 12 steps the Big Book was published in 1939. Its main objective is to help the alcoholic find a power greater than himself that will solve his problem; the “problem” being an inability to stay sober on his or her own.

Today there are hundreds of thousands of big books being printed and millions and millions of meetings and AA members all over the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

 

 

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.

Are Alcoholics Selfish?

 

Are Alcoholics Selfish?

Are Alcoholics Selfish?

Are Alcoholics Selfish?

While it is true that every alcoholic is different, there are certain character traits that many alcoholics share. One of these is selfishness. When I was drinking and using drugs, I was exceedingly selfish and self-centered. I was the only person I thought about. I didn’t care who I had to hurt to get what I wanted. Nothing was going to stand in the way of me and the next drink or drug. I only called my family to ask for money or to complain about my life. I never asked them about their lives or problems. I didn’t do anything for anyone unless there was something in it for me.

So yes, I think it is clear that most alcoholics are selfish. That is obvious when the alcoholic is drinking. But this selfishness does not go away when the alcoholic quits drinking.

Are Alcoholics Selfish? Is AA a Selfish Program?

I hate when people say that Alcoholics Anonymous is a selfish program. I understand what they are saying. They are saying that in order to recover, an alcoholic must focus on themselves and their program. When I hear this, though, it rubs me the wrong way because Alcoholics Anonymous is not a selfish program. In fact, it is the exact opposite of a selfish program. AA is about reaching out to others, practicing spiritual principles, and looking at what you can bring to every relationship rather than what you can take.

As part of my program in AA, I am constantly checking my behavior for selfishness. Selfishness is my default setting. If I am not vigilant, it will creep back into my life. It is what I am used to. It is how I have lived my life for a very long time. It doesn’t come naturally to me to think of others first or to look at a situation in terms of how I can help.

Alcoholics are selfish, but there is good news. By practicing spiritual principles and checking my behavior, it begins to be more natural for me not to be selfish. The more I take a minute and think about my intentions before I act, the easier it gets to do it the next time. The more I do for others, the more naturally it becomes for me to do things for others. I make a point, these days, of calling my family to see how they are, and I do not talk about myself. I do things I do not feel like doing in order to help someone else. Each time I do this, it gets easier and becomes more natural.

Alcoholics ARE selfish, but an alcoholic in recovery can’t afford to live a life based in selfishness and self-centeredness. If we continue to act the same way we did while drinking, we will eventually drink. And for us, to drink is to die. This is a deadly disease. We do not have the luxury of being able to give in to the negative aspects of our personalities. Learning a new way to live is the only thing we can do.

If you need help with your addiction please call us at 800-507-7389.