Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We Need More Alternatives To 12 Step Programs

I think the 12 Steps are GREAT because it helps so many people I just think we should have alternatives so we can help everyone. I know the 12 Step work for a lot of people but I believe that no one should go with out help because their not comfortable with the 12 steps, therefore I wanted to explain some of the other alternatives. I know for some there's too much God or a Higher Power (no matter what that higher power might be) in the 12 step program. Some people in these programs might try to change your mind by explaining that a higher power can be anything and that its not religious. Honestly that's probably true for the people in those programs but we are all different and if we aren't comfortable with the use of a higher power or how the steps use the idea of a higher power. then we should have options. We all have the right to recover and get better even if its not with the 12 steps. I would love to have more people in those programs give me options when asked and told that the 12 steps aren't for me because of the way its uses a higher power, then trying to convince me that their program is the only way or that a higher power can be anything bigger then myself. I was surprised with the amount of people who just tried to change my mind instead of helping me with more options. What I personally wasn't comfortable with in the 12 steps was the idea that our recovery is up to God and not ourselves. I felt like it was saying the only way we can't start recovering was through God and surrendering ourselves to him. For example, just at a quick glance the 12 step Literature states:

  • We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God 
  • We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. 
I know this works for many people but the minority that want something different shouldn't have to conform because other people in the program tell them its the best way or the only way. I can just imagine what some people are  thinking: "Please stop trying to convince me and give me the help I seek." Sadly I've gotten more negativity and lack of acceptance of other peoples opinions from people in the 12 Steps then anyone else. My advice would be stop giving the program a bad name because sadly a few bad apples will give some people the impression that everyone in 12 steps programs are like that. Of course I know that not everyone in the program are like that but our society has a tendency to stereotype so be careful when representing something other then yourself. You wouldn't want someone to turn away from the 12 steps because of the way you acted or something you said.

The reason I'm giving alternatives is because I, like others out there believe in depending on myself and my inner strength to get clean not a God or higher power. In my case, depending on a Higher Power or a God would make me feel powerless and honestly I've already felt powerless enough in my addiction. I take full responsibility for my actions and my addiction therefore it was up to me to change my life. I got sober on my own, left a 6 year relationship because he was still using (which broke my heart), moved out of my home town on my own and started college to become a counselor. That was all me and that's extremely empowering. I believe Empowering Oneself and building Self Confidence was and still is the best way for me to get better. Taking credit for the great changes in my life and for my recovery has built that self confidence that I needed to stay drug free. As an addicts we often blame other people or situations for our circumstances and surrendering to God, for me wouldn't of helped that issue. I am the maker of my own life and I am fully responsible for it. 

For others out there like me I dug up 3 great alternatives to the 12 step programs. Feel free to go check them out and let me know what you think. I'm going to research these all further and give you an update soon on their methods and my thoughts on them. I really wish alternatives were more readily available everywhere around the world. I know a lot of people would appreciate it in my area but at lease for now alternatives can be found online.

Smart Recovery:

Rational Recovery:

The Life Ring:


Friday, April 26, 2013

10 Steps to Market Your Blog

Since starting my blog in December 2012 I've done everything I could think of to get my story and blog out there by watching countless marketing and how to get traffic YouTube videos.Now  I thought its time I share what I've learned along the way to help any fellow blogger get their story out there. Just keep doing the 10 Steps and you'll get more people to your blog. Some of these take time but are really worth it.

1. Check out the most popular blogs like yours to see what your reader are into and get inspired.
2. Write meaningful comments on those blogs with a link to your blog.
3.Respond to all comments on your blog. Interact with your audience. 
4. Submit Articles or Guest Post on other Blogs. 
5. Submit your blog to all search engines. Google, Bing etc. 
6. Submit your Blog to as many blog directories as you can. 
7. Use as many Social Media Networks that you have time to keep updated. 
8. Find your audience on the social media sites. 
9. Share meaningful pictures, quotes, and status. 
10. Use tags anywhere you can so people can find your content.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Drug Recovery, Alcohol Consumption & All its Controversies

Who are they to say I'm not clean because I have a a couple drinks every couple months?

Now that's a sentence that fires up a very controversial topic and in order to write this post I wanted to dig deeper into the belief that having a drink on occasion is relapsing, even if the person was never addicted to alcohol. Most believe this specially if their NA, which is great if it will helps them not relapse back to their drug of choice. Only they know their boundaries, their capacities and their breaking point. Although I believe it isn't right to put that belief on to others and tell them they aren't clean if they have a drink on occasion, and again that's if they were never addicted to alcohol. In my opinion, being clean is not using illegal drugs and the substances that caused the addiction and messed up the persons life. So the argument shouldn't be about being clean but about the risks of drinking alcohol. 

An interesting question that came up was is the person recovered or in recovery. Now I'm thinking can someone be "recovered" or are we always in a state of recovery, some might argue on that point also. NA believes you are never truly out of recovery and that might be true for some people but I believe that  people can be "recovered". By recovered I mean no cravings or triggers what so ever and a good amount of clean time. This also changes depending how long the life of addiction lasted. If their not completely recovered, then alcohol is really not a good because it alters their state of mind and lowers their inhibition which can lead to bad decision making, like using again specially if they still have cravings or triggers. Even if someone is "recovered" I do NOT suggest they try drinking because the person could get addicted to alcohol but some recovering addicts are drinking normally and they shouldn't be judged or told their not clean because they drank. If their not addicted to alcohol then its not an addiction. Alcohol is legal and the majority of the population consumes it with out being told their doing drugs. 

Another example would be when someone who's never had a problem with prescription pain killers is prescribed some by their doctor. If they are taken like prescribed would that person still be considered clean ? According to NA they wouldn't. 

Here's a Quote from The Body:

People in recovery from addiction are often scared to take pain medication for fear that it will "reactivate" their urges to get high and lead to relapse. Some go so far as to refuse opiate pain killers after major surgery. Some members of 12 Step programs even advise others to forgo medication that their doctors have recommended.

This attitude can be severely destructive. Pain slows the healing process, and untreated pain is more likely to lead to relapse urges than properly treated pain. Even if your drug of choice was heroin or prescription opiates, you should not refuse appropriate, doctor-prescribed medication.

 I'm not saying their wrong all I'm saying is there is definitely more than one way to do things and there's more than one opinion out there so respect other people’s opinion. Plain and Simple. I respect your opinion even if I don't agree with it, people should lend me the same courtesy. I know I'm clean and I'm living a pretty great life compared to where I was and it just keeps getting better. For me being able to drink normally was about knowing myself and knowing my limits. So what I have a drink at supper with my grandma on Christmas or I go dancing with the girls on my birthday. I'm 24 and enjoying life the right way this time, I shouldn't be restricted because of my pass, I should be giving confidence that I'm strong enough and smart enough to make my own decisions. I quit drugs and changed my life own my own after all. I think I deserve some credit. My family supports my decision and really that's all that matter at this point. I just want recovering drug addicts to know that they don't need to feel bad or feel like they lost their clean time if they had a drink on occasion. To each their own, every recovery is different and what matters is that we are leading happy productive lives.

Before I went out for the first time to have a drink and dance with the girls I had already overcome all my triggers and they no longer had a hold on me. I had been around not just alcohol but my drug of choice many times with out wanting to use which I believe was critical because if I seriously didn't want it anymore lower inhibitions wouldn't change that.  I don't recommend drinking whatsoever or trying to push your limits to find out if you can, but if you do already drink on occasion people shouldn't take your clean time away from you. I couldn't believe the harsh and down right rude comments I got when inquiring about this topic. I even got a comment stating that I wasn't in recovery because I didn't do the NA steps and attend the meetings. This made me feel like NA was some kind of religion with the philosophy that if its not our way then its wrong. NA isn't for everyone and shouldn't be pushed on to others or make them feel less proud of themselves just because they did it another way. People who do this give NA a bad name, so shame on you. Sadly Ill probably get those kinds of comments again for posting this but I should be allowed to write my opinion on my own blog. 

PS: Keep negative comments to yourself. Thank you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finding Your Confidence in Recovery

With the theme of my last post Insecurities-self-esteem-issues I decided to follow up with a post on how I stay confident despite any self-doubt and insecurities I have. I'm constantly trying to change my way of thinking and how I see myself, so I may find my inner worth and a greater confidence in myself. To stop hiding and become all I can be. To take risks and reap the benefits of taking those risks. Hell, we all have those moments of self-doubt, what's important is that we don't let it hold us back. It would be a shame if we were to miss out on any great experience life has to offer for fear of judgment or self-doubt.

Living life to the fullest is something most recovering addicts have come to really appreciate and strive for, especially knowing how fast life can pass us by and how much already has during our addiction. We also have this new found confidence in ourselves despite our doubts because we learned that there's no boundaries we can not achieve when we put our minds to it. Overcoming addiction, one of life's greatest battles has shown us just how much we can achieve, and we best never forget it. When self-doubt sets in I try to keep in mind just how much I've already overcome and achieved, so I may remind myself of the strength I possess.

Something as easy as starting your day with a smile can change your whole day. I've already put the word SMILE on my mirror to remind myself every morning to try to smile even if I don't feel like it. I've also thought about putting sticky notes stating positive reinforcements around my place. I learned an interesting fact about how smiling releases these happy hormones in one of my psychology class.This kind of gives credence to the statement FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, which just amuses me to no end.

Even if you're not happy smiling may help you feel better and when you feel better well everything seems to just get better. You can get a clearer, more positive and open mindset. Which helps me open and talk to people more or even just simply ask questions in class. Another great way I boost my mood and confidence is to listen to uplifting music. We all have different taste and for me something like the song I'M BRINGING SEXY BACK is a great confidence boost and also a lot of fun.

I find music can do that for me and the words find a way to touch my soul in all aspect of my life, it being a broken heart, a confidence boost or that extra push when I'm working out. The music moves me. What matters here, is not the how you get there, but simply being there. So whether it's music or a sticky note doesn't matter, what matters is that you have found a way to tap into your greatness and have removed all self-doubt. And in doing so you may give courage to those around you to do so as well.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Recovering Addicts Insecurities & Self Esteem Issues

Insecurities and Self Esteem Issues can lead to addiction, getting sober doesn't make those insecurities go away, we just learn to deal with it in a different way.

Now what am I suppose to do about these issues ? I just want to be as confident as I use to be. I want that same will power I had to get sober to get my confidence back. I have quite a few insecurities that affect my daily life, I imagine its to be expected with everything that's happened in my life but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I notice these insecurities more now that I've been sober for a while and to bring it even more to my attention was the essay I had to do for my psychopathology class. 

In this essay I had to find the diagnosis that best fit me, explain in detail what symptoms I had, what symptoms were absent and how they manifested in my daily life. I believe these insecurities might be one of the reasons I don't open myself up as much as I use too, since being high use to numb them it was easier to talk to people. But now their back in full force which really works against me on the whole making friends issue. It was easier when I was young and high. When I use to think less about what others are thinking. Lately the idea of what others might be thinking or their judgments and criticism has started to consume me.

I'm insecure about not being socially competent, I often think about if I'm saying the right thing, or if I'm boring and what do I have to offer. I'm also insecure about my looks which I've always had an issue with although more now then ever but also as a younger child before my teenage years. In my teenage years it was better since I was thin and I was finally starting to look womanly. 
Nowadays its always on my mind that I've gain 40-50 pounds in the last 3-4 years, I'm not comfortable in my clothes and I just don't feel beautiful anymore from the neck down and even that's seems to be pushing it since my face doesn't look as thin as it use too. I'm really insecure about how I look and I've tried so many different things but progress is so slow and not eating what I want seems like torture. 

My insecurities have effected my self esteem in many ways and has made me more sensitive to judgement and criticism. Sadly, its made me lash out very easily at any kind of judgement or criticism because mostly I'm just hurt. I'm definitely getting better at dealing with it because I try to take the time to think about it rationally but I have to say that sometimes my feelings still get the best of me.

Having insecurities and lashing out when criticized has effected my relationship and my decision to stay in that relationship all to often. Specially being  in a relationship with someone who speaks their mind without filtering the hurtful stuff and their mind sure has a lot of hurtful stuff. There's also the judgments of other people, it either being online or in real life is still hurtful and I'm trying to learn to have thicker skin and not reacting so easily.

I know being insecure is really not attractive which gives me one more thing to make me feel bad about myself. So what I'll end up doing is putting a brave face on to face the world and the people in my life. Fake it till you Make it. But I'm definitely working on feeling better about myself and I want to let other people know that their not alone in their insecurities. And I have to say its always worst in our own minds. I'll get moments were I realize I'm not as damaged as I make myself believe. I have friends I just choose not to go see them as often because, well yes I'm still a little insecure but mostly I'm unsure because I'm no longer use to being around them.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Heroes In Recovery Published My Story

Feel Free To Go Check it Out

You can also submit your story to them, they publish a story a day, so they might publish yours. Sharing our stories help more people then you know. Im also looking for people to guest post their recovery story on my blog. Feel free to contact me @ chelsie.brouillette@gmail.com if you want to share your story or have any questions. If your a regular reader you will notice that the story that was published in Heros in Recovery was My Addiction Story Summarized that I posted a while ago. I'm so happy I finally got published, hopefully this is the beginning of my career as an author. Its a good day today. Dreams of being an author fill my mind.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Guest Post: Fighting Alcoholism (Ryan's Story)

It was a balmy February afternoon, despite the sun peering between the clouds on the day that Ryan and I had agreed to meet. Up until that particular Saturday this man remained an internet mystery to me. Who answers a craigslist ad about writers looking for recovering addicts?

I had visions of the face-picking, glassy-eyed junkies who frequent my bus in and out of the city. They beg people for change, nobody looks at them, I don’t look at them, and now, suddenly I’m interviewing one. Or so I thought.

As I sat in the rear balcony sipping my tea latte and furiously making adjustments to my notes--lest I offend this Ryan character-- I became engrossed with the idea that my first face-to-face interview might end the way most Law & Order episodes begin.

I was at the peak of my poorly-written crime drama when I heard a loud voice shout “Ahhhh!” to which my response was jumping ten feet in the air.

“I’m sorry,” said this young punk, “Did I scare you?” I must have had a look of terror on my face because he apologized once more. “I’m Ryan.” He stuck out his hand for me to shake. He was so young and fresh faced I was shocked. This young man is an alcoholic?   He seemed so normal. The causal attire, the worn, comfortable hoodie said it all: “average guy.” I saw myself in Ryan: young, hopeful, idealistic. Despite his somewhat questionable entrance, I took a liking to him almost instinctually.

I sipped my latte once more and motioned for him to sit. He ran his hand across his hair and tugged on his ponytail and we exchanged nervous smiles as I fired up the camera.

“My first actual drink I was about five years old,” he began “My mom-- she had me when she was 16-- so she was still into her partying phase, she had just turned twenty-one, ... I’m pretty sure it was Rainer and I threw it up or spit it out.”

His next drink came in high school, and Ryan is not alone in that trend. Although national statistics are at an all time low, surveys from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that 63.5% of 12th graders reported drinking in the past year. 1 Similarly, binge drinking is down, but report still show numbers in the double digits--14.7% among 10th graders and 21.6% among 12th graders. 

Curious about Ryan’s road to alcohol abuse, I probed further into his family history. “It definitely affects you if you see it while you are growing up,”  he said, citing  members of his own family who've  have battled drug and alcohol addiction. “I think somewhere between 16 and 19 I realized I was going to have a problem... because of genetics and having an addictive personality. I've constantly heard it: ‘alcohol is extremely bad for you’...”

Nonetheless, Ryan fell into the throes of alcohol, caring less and less about college and more about drinking. For him, alcohol was a way of taking the edge off at parties. “Meeting new friends, one of the quickest ways you think to bond with them is to party or to drink,” he noted, a statement that sent me reeling back to my high school and college days. The painful small talk of classes and professors until the elixir of liquor raised our spirits and allowed us to speak for what seemed like the first time.
“That’s when you loosen up and want to tell them more things about yourself,” he added.

“Why is that? Why do we drink in order to bond?” I asked, to which he only shrugged. One of life’s great mysteries.

“To be honest, I think when I realized there is a cut off point was probably earlier this month,”  he confessed, avoiding the judgmental eye of the camera. He continued on about the bad diet trends that come with hangovers, the lazy attitude, the wasted days in bed. I could hear the disgust in his voice as he spoke: disgust for the lifestyle, perhaps disgust for himself for letting it suck him in. It was hard for me to imagine this fun and energetic guy curled in the fetal position on his couch, watching reruns of  90’s sitcoms with a trashcan at arm’s length on a Sunday afternoon. But he has been there. More importantly, he is tired of it.

As Ryan puts it: “In order to help others better, you have to help yourself.  The most important person in your life is yourself, so you always gotta focus on you.”

Four weeks after my interview with Ryan, I was still floored. Shouldn't this guy be wallowing in sorrows? Child to a teen mother, first drink at five, dead and destitute relatives left and right: this is a recipe for, well, a Law & Order episode, but all of his positive energy  had me thinking the opposite. I could feel a sense of calm in him: he was ready for sobriety. I decided to set up a follow up interview just to check in, and if for no other reason, to talk to this great guy. The progress he had to report was, to say the least, inspirational.

“Sobriety has been awesome... [at parties] I’m happy just drinking water.” He smiled with pride. His time spent drinking and nursing hangovers is now spent doing martial arts and freelance writing. He even hopes to get back into school  within the year, but despite his advances, things still get tough for him.

“Every time I get stressed out, I realize the best thing I can do is, uh...” He hesitates shyly, his mouth twisting in slight embarrassment, or perhaps fondness. “The first person I always talk to is my grandmother. She pretty much is my mother. I always text her, like, every second I get stressed out. It is a good thing she is retired,” he laughs. 

Life is looking good for Ryan these days. His perseverance and youthful take on life have made him a success. He is proof that there are many faces of dependency, and each one is capable of attaining sobriety and happiness. As of today, he is 47 days sober and counting.

For more information on drug and alcohol awareness, visit AllTreatment.com.

This article can be found at
Jekeva is managing editor at AllTreatment.com. Contact Jekeva at jekeva at alltreatment dot com.