Recovery Returns To You All That Addiction Took Away

Transcend Recovery Community likes to ask its community members, “What do you want to do with your life?” We believe that anyone who is on the path of recovery has the potential to reach their dreams. Although addiction can steal happiness, honesty, and wholeness, recovery can bring it all back.

Here is a list of what recovery can do for you:

Community – When you’re struggling with addiction, you tend to become more and more isolated. Dishonesty, lying, and hiding tends to put a distance between you and your friends and family. Addiction will also create distance within yourself by consistently denying the fact that there is a problem. While you’re lying to your friends and family, you’re also likely lying to yourself. Yet, in recovery, those separations from yourself and others begin to disappear. You’re given the opportunity to heal your relationships, experience the benefits of community, and feel good about yourself.

Honesty – When you’re in recovery, you might be participating in support groups, therapy, and 12-step meetings. These are all opportunities to be honest with yourself and others. You finally have the chance to say what you’ve already wanted to say but perhaps couldn’t. The supportive experiences that you tend to have in recovery are meant to encourage honesty because it can lead to healing and growth.

Connection – One of the reasons people tend to use alcohol and drugs is because they desperately want connection. Perhaps they want a deeper connection with friends or family but never experienced it. And depression, which can be experienced as a lack of connection with yourself, can also drive someone to use substances. Yet, in recovery there are many opportunities to connect. And it is through connection that people feel seen, heard, and understood. It’s through interpersonal connection that healing takes place.

Support – Another reason behind substance use is feeling alone, lonely, or isolated. And feeling like you need to make it through life alone can be so scary that men and women turn to substances to feel stronger. Or they may want to escape the burden of loneliness through substances. Either way, recovery means support. Even if you have lost the relationships with your family, recovery brings the support of a sober community, professional help, and the assistance of new friends.

Joy – As you continue on your path of sobriety and as you’re having more and more connections with friends and professional staff – as well as with yourself – you might actually experience a moment of joy. You might start out with a small feeling of happiness, contentment, or the experience that life feels a bit easier. Perhaps these moments of the beginning of bringing joy back into your life.

When you’re on the path of recovery, you can start reaching for your dreams. As one Transcend graduate put it:

“After Transcend, I took a job in Boston and did very well there for almost three years. I bought a house, bought a car, and had a very solid, stable job. I design lasers and wrote a textbook for grad students in nonlinear optics. I moved to Denver to join a laser startup company in October 2015 as the CTO. I’m living downtown and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle, and my workaholism tendencies remain successfully at bay.”

You can read more Transcend testimonials here. To make your dreams a reality, let recovery give back to you what addiction took away.

 

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The Power of a Recovery Community, Because the Opposite of Addiction Is Connection

If you’re new to a sober living home or new to a 12-step meeting, you might feel like you don’t fit in. You might feel odd or like you don’t belong. If you’re used to spending time with friends and people you’re familiar with and suddenly you’re spending large amounts of time with strangers, you might even feel intimidated and nervous. You might feel self-conscious about the things you say and what you do, wondering if your new community of people are going to accept you for who you are.

It’s common for addicts to have a low sense of self-esteem. And those patterns of low self-worth can persist into recovery. However, there are ways to feel better, feel a connection with your new community, and even feel supported by them. It’s so easy to feel uncomfortable going into a new environment, especially if the others have already formed a group of their own. Yet, although it feels odd, there are important tips to remember so that you don’t feel like the odd man out but rather the one everyone welcomes with open arms.

Check in with your own feelings and thoughts. When you’re about to go into a new support group or 12-step meeting, and especially if you’re feeling nervous, notice that some of what you’re feeling is a pattern. You probably always feel this way around new people. You might have patterns of feeling uncomfortable until you get to know someone. It’s important to know that these are simply patterns in your mind so that they don’t bring you down or interfere with making new friendships.

Get to know people before making up your mind about them. When you are feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, it’s easy to be judgmental of others as a form of self-protection. For instance, if you have an interaction with someone and the other person feels cold to you, you might think to yourself, “Well, he’s a jerk.” It’s easy to blow someone off and make up your mind about them without really knowing them. You don’t know if he was having a bad day, upset by something that was said in the meeting or just doesn’t know how to socialize very well. When you’re new to a group, give people a few chances before blowing them off.

Treat those you meet with kindness. It might sound obvious but kindness can go a long way. If you’re used to bantering, making fun of, or even arguing with friends, then kindness might feel odd to you. But as you can imagine, most people respond well to kindness, especially at the beginning of a friendship.

Volunteer your time. Whether you’re living at a sober living home or attending regular 12-step meetings, when you volunteer you show that you care. You send the message that sobriety is important to you. But not only that, you also send the message that you want to help others out too. You want to be there for your peers. Others in the group often appreciate and even admire the volunteers for putting in the extra time and effort.

These are tips for feeling more comfortable in your new sober community.

 

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Your Sober Tribe Affects Your Vibe

If you’re in recovery then you’re probably meeting new people every day. Every time you go to a 12-step meeting or attend a support group, you might run into someone you’ve never seen before but someone who shares the goals of sobriety and recovery from addiction. And if you reside at a sober living home, then you might have opportunities to interact with and form relationships all your housemates.

But not everyone you meet in sobriety will be your kind of person. Just because they are in recovery, like you, doesn’t mean that you’ll love everything about them. For that reason, it’s important to find your tribe, your network of people that you resonate with. It’s necessary to find the type of crowd that speaks your language and with whom you have more than just sobriety in common.

For instance, you might be an artist. Perhaps you want to connect with other artists and uncover how being creative can support and perhaps jeopardize your sobriety. For so many artists, getting into a creative spirit meant having a drink or getting high. On the other hand, creativity might be healing and spiritually nourishing in recovery. Having a circle of artists around you who are also focused on recovery can be supportive.

Or perhaps you’re lesbian or gay. Over the years, many resources have been created for the sober LGBTQ community. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1969, The AT Center began after 6 gay men met for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and decided to call themselves “Alcoholics Together”. Membership quickly grew through the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, throughout Southern California and even in cities far away such as Boston and New York, the acronym “AT” became synonymous with gay AA. Today, the gay Los Angeles sober living community now knows The AT Center as a significant place for refuge.

Another growing community within sober living groups is one that is focused on wellness. Many recovering addicts place emphasis on yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other holistic practices in their recovery. In fact, some would say that their recovery wouldn’t be what it is without these practices.

And along the same lines, many men and women in recovery rely heavily on their spirituality. They may find their support for sobriety through their church by attending church-related 12-step meetings or bible studies for recovering addicts. They may resonate highly with the emphasis on spirituality in each of the 12-steps.

Community is an essential component to recovery for many men and women. It’s the primary reason behind the recommendation to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days for new recovering addicts. Men and women find support in the personal stories that reflect obstacles and challenges faced by many in the group. And those stories are strengthened and may have more meaning when there’s a shared worldview or common interests.

If you’re new to recovery, don’t just look to spend time with those who are sober, but find your own unique tribe within the sober living community.

 

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How to Get the Support You Need in Recovery from Addiction

Having a solid support system in addiction recovery is extremely important. And there is a wide range of support in recovery, many of which are free of charge. Despite this, there are many recovering addicts who simply do not get the help they need. There may be many reasons for this, including financial obstacles, stigma from friends or family, self-judgment, or fear. But the support is out there. And it’s available when anyone is ready and willing.

Certainly, recovery is not an easy journey, but those who have done it are thrilled and grateful they did. Recovery might be compared to climbing a mountain. Along the way there may be challenges, dangers, and setbacks, but once you reach the top, you feel fulfilled and joyful and experience a sense of accomplishment. For most people, the journey of sobriety is well worth the challenges.

But you will have to overcome the inner obstacles that stand in your way. For instance, here are steps for overcoming fear, stigma, and self-judgment:

Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Sometimes, you might not even know what it is exactly that’s keeping you from getting the help you need. Whether you’re in recovery or not, you might simply be resisting change but not sure why. If you take a few minutes out of your day and tune into your feelings, you might be able to identify what’s going on inside. You may be able to pinpoint whether it’s fear or judgment or stigma.

Take action despite your feelings. Nelson Mandela once said: The brave man is not he who feels afraid, but he who conquers that fear. However, you probably won’t be able to take action before identifying what you’re feeling first. If you can identify what’s holding you back then you can make a conscious decision to call for help, attend the 12-step meeting, or talk to your sponsor.

Join a sober community. Even if the only thing you did was become part of a community of others who were working toward health and sobriety, that alone will be a significant step. You might meet others who are also afraid or also concerned about losing their old life. Your feelings and fears will be validated, but your hopes and dreams will also be validated. In other words, you’ll see that there are others who are afraid but who are working toward their sobriety goals nonetheless. A sober community will inspire hope, courage, and emotional well-being.

Talk to someone. Another step to take, especially if you’re feeling afraid about doing anything else, is to talk to someone you trust. And this doesn’t even have to be a therapist or drug counselor. Simply talking to a friend, relative, or your spouse can help get your feelings out. And as a result you might feel more clear-minded.

As mentioned above, the help is out there. There are all sorts of online communities, 12-step meetings, and support groups that anyone can attend, and most of them are free. Yet, sometimes when it comes to changing your life, you may need to overcome those inner obstacles to get the help you need. The above suggestions are tips to help you do that.

 

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When the Whole Community Shares a Vision, Everyone Wins

One of the greatest qualities of communities is that they have something in common. They share a goal, a vision, or an endeavor. A group of people who come together are not necessarily a community. What makes them a community is when they have something in common, something they commune with, which unites them. An online dictionary defines community as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common”.  For instance, in New York City, there are many ethnic  communities, such as Little Italy or Little Brazil. What makes these parts of the city unique is that they inhabit a group of people who share the same culture. The people in these communities immediately have a bond because of their ethnic background.

The same is true in recovery. There can be an immediate bond because of the shared goal of sobriety. There is an immediate understanding of one another. Everyone is struggling with or has struggled with the endeavor of getting sober and staying sober. Everyone is making an effort toward changing their lives. Because of the shared vision of living a healthy and sober life, simply being in the community helps to strengthen one’s own personal vision.

Another benefit of having a shared vision is that everyone has someone to rely on. Individuals in the group eventually find their unique roles, working toward supporting the benefit of the whole. For instance, within a sober community there might be:

Leaders: These are those who might say hello to newcomers, volunteer to set up 12-step meetings, become sponsors, and take responsibility for the health of the group.

Sponsors: These are those individuals who know the difficulty of the process and who might volunteer to support others through the 12-step process, or another type of recovery model.

Spokespeople: These are the individuals who know the importance of sharing their own story both to heal themselves and to help the healing of others. They might visit recovery centers, speak at 12-step meetings, or facilitate support groups.

Gatherers: These are people who may not necessarily play a role in a recovery community but gain so much out of it that they often invite others. They see the benefits of community that they feel inspired to share those benefits with others.

Attendees: Newcomers may not play any role at all. But they may simply be a part of a community and that alone is significant. It is significant for their own recovery but also for the recovery of others. Simply being a part of a recovery community supports the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.

Regardless of the role you play in your recovery community, you matter. The community exists because of the people involved and the vision you share. And simply by being a part of the community, you gain from it. You gain the support, courage, and hope that sober communities offer to each of its members.

 

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Forming New Friendships Within Your Sober Community

It used to be that when you were at a party, it was drinking and drug use that brought people together. By sharing in the experience of having a beer or playing a drinking game, you perhaps felt connected to others. Perhaps you felt a sense of belonging.

However, when you’re in recovery, the way to connect with others changes. You’re no longer bonding through substances; instead, you can connect through sobriety. And the place to begin to make friends in this way is in your sober community. Perhaps you are attending a 12-step group, living at a sober living home, or participating in a support group. Whenever you have the opportunity to spark a new conversation, do so. Whenever you feel the slightest connection with someone also working on sobriety, perhaps find the courage to ask them to lunch.

One of the most important parts of recovery is having the support around you to face those challenging moments. And if you’re early in your recovery, there’s a good chance that you have more friends who are still using substances versus friends who are sober. So, now’s the time to make friends and establish new connections.

And the fact that you have sobriety in common may make finding new friends easier. There’s a mutual respect, a kindness that you both show one another, because of similarities in the journey you share. You might be able to more easily trust that he or she is going to be there for you if you call for help. And together you may even be able to laugh with each other over the silly moments on your journey through recovery. When you have a friend in your life, everything seems easier.

Here are a few ways to approach those you may want to be friends with in your sober community:

Volunteer at your 12-step group – When you volunteer, you’re often asked to arrive early and/or leave a little later than everyone else. Before and after meetings are a great time to begin a conversation with someone. And often these conversations happen naturally when setting up for a meeting or taking things down. Volunteering immediately puts you in touch with others who care about sobriety too.

 Be brave and ask someone out for coffee or tea – If you didn’t want to volunteer, but you want to make friends, you may simply need to muster up the courage to approach people. Perhaps you’ve seen someone at meetings, or perhaps you’ve even had one or two conversations with them. Lots of other people feel just as uncomfortable about reaching out and making new friends as you do. If you have the courage you can be the one to break the ice. The worst that person can do is say no and at least you’ve tried. And on the other hand, if he or she says yes, then perhaps you’ve got a new friendship in your life.

Make it a point to introduce yourself. If you don’t have the courage to ask someone out for lunch, you can at least introduce yourself. Sometimes, friendships form simply when people see you enough. When you’re introducing yourself whether it’s at support groups or 12-step meetings, your face will become more and more familiar and people will be more willing to open up to you.

These are suggestions for forming new sober relationships. When you have recovery in common, you may immediately have something that no two other people share. Plus, recovery is hard to do alone. Having friends in your life eases the journey of recovery.

 

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Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two)

Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two) | Transcend Recovery Community

In the first article of this series, Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part One), there was a lot of discussion regarding destruction and how addiction is in fact a self-abusive cycle. This article will focus on how to transform that destruction into creation, beginning anew, and making life-affirming choices instead of self-abusive ones. Continue reading “Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part Two)”

Sober Help, Balancing the Pull Between Life & Death

Sober Help, Balancing the Pull Between Life & Death | Transcend Recovery Community

Being addicted to alcohol or drugs is a rather intense experience. It’s as though the forces of life and death are pulling on you, and the addiction claims your soul. The addiction is the venue for experiencing the transcendent, the soulful, the wild, and expansive. Yet, at the same time, the addiction brings you into the depths of hell, utter destruction, and self-annihilation. It might sound dramatic. But if it weren’t extreme and intense, you wouldn’t have gathered all your inner strength and courage to get sober. Finding sober help and beginning the road to recovering also means bearing with the forces of life and death. Continue reading “Sober Help, Balancing the Pull Between Life & Death”