3 Things To Remind Yourself When Dealing With AA Haters

aa haters

To me, this has always been very simple. AA is not for everyone.

It’s shocking to many people in recovery to think that some just might not want what we have. For 12 steppers, our transformation is so enlightening that often times we want to wrap everybody we encounter in our new cloak of serenity.  I believe this usually comes from a place love. We just want other people to feel as good as we do but many times it misses the mark.

There is no one way to get sober. There is no one way to gain control of your out of control life. If what you are doing works, even if that means finding […]

Is Buying Alcohol for Your Teenage Children Bad Parenting?

parents buying alcohol for kids

If you are parents of children who have entered the tumult of adolescence, you know it is an exciting time and one of incredible challenges. As your teenage son and daughter tries to navigate the difficult waters of young adulthood, it is important to give them support, encouragement and provide them with an environment in which rules, consequences are clearly understood.

Despite all that parents do to help guide their teenagers through this period of life, there are many times that the right and loving thing to do isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Teen Alcohol Use: What is a Parent To Do?

For many parents, the subject of drug and alcohol […]

Hit A Recovery Rut? Turn Away From Relapse Road And Find Your Second Wind

Hitting a rut in recovery

What happens when your program seems stale or hits a plateau and you find yourself sidelined in a recovery rut? Bored to tears with program slogans or tired of seeing the same faces, sharing the same stories?  I know I’ve hit this speed bump when I hear circus music playing in my head as I pull into the parking lot of my home group.  I’m blessed to live in an area where there are numerous meetings; day and night – spanning several fellowships.  So why complain about sobriety being mundane? Normally when I feel this way I sit next to the most appreciative, corny, happy-go-lucky soul I can find and pray I […]

The Spiritual Disconnect of Alcohol

It’s been almost 13 months since my last drink. Rachel…..Sober? Half of those who know me will say….ohhhh good for her, makes sense……the other half may say why? I was never the dependent alcoholic who was desperate for the next drink to function; I was a binge drinker who responded poorly to the effects of alcohol in my brain. I’ve been told by a psychiatrist that I’m allergic to alcohol, that my brain simply doesn’t process it like the average persons. Therefore, I have issues surrounding drinking. Issues like thinking about the next drink before the first one’s finished, issues like binge drinking and blacking out, I seemed to have no control over where and when this would happen, so the wise thing to do […]

Debunking Damaging Myths About Drug Addiction


We have heard it a million times, and then some:

If you are an addict, you are an addict for life

Some people have the addiction gene

You have to hit rock bottom before you need help

Addicts can quit anytime they want to, they just need to quit using drugs

Sayings such as these are classic examples of the damaging myths about drug addiction that have been the mainstay of conversation for years. Despite changes in how drug addiction is perceived and treated worldwide, the subject of addiction is still plagued by half-truths and misinformation.

These myths surrounding drug addiction not only keep the ongoing stigma surrounding this disease going strong, it can […]

Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One

meIt was nearly 8,640 minutes ago that I got that phone call. A short 144 hours ago in which our life drastically changed. The past 6 days blew by quicker than I can even explain. I am having a hard time putting into words about the amount of feelings that has spewed out of every family member around me over this time. I can only begin to imagine what the next few days will bring. The so-called personal “cocktail” of our own complications was served up well; mixed with 1 part anger, 2 parts confusion, and 3 parts sadness.

We all downed our very own remedy; a drink that was more than bittersweet. For some, it made […]

Virginia Police – “We’ve Been A Dismal Failure.” Wish To End The “War On Drugs.”

war on drugs a dismal failureWe have been outspoken about our stance on the failure of the”War on Drugs.”

Granted, not everyone agrees with our standpoint, but we advocate debate and conversation for the sole purpose of finding common ground to solve this complex issue.

Recently, the Richmond Times has published a piece discussing their law enforcement and their extremely low success rates in using the “War on Drugs” approach to solve their rampant drug problem.

Rich Clark Jr is the current Calax Police Chief, and has been in law enforcement for 40 years. His extensive experience with law enforcement gives him first hand knowledge on what works and what doesn’t work. In this case, he has some […]

How Parents Can Explain Addiction to Their Kids


It goes without saying; being a parent is serious business.

As a parent, you are constantly juggling the needs of your family, your work and yourself and trying to find a sense of balance amidst the madness. As the common saying goes, the struggle is real and while walking this tightrope can bring about many anxious moments and a few grey hairs, you wouldn’t change it for the world.

What happens if you become addicted to drugs and alcohol? Addiction throws the family into disarray, and children often bear the brunt of the disease. On top of everything else you need to worry about, now you are struggling with the stigma of being an addict […]

Rocking in Recovery: 5 Tips To Staying Sober At Concerts

staying sober at concerts

Whether you go to an intimate nightclub or are surrounded by 70,000 of your closest friends, the energy and excitement of a concert is hard to match. No matter the style of music or setting, the electric atmosphere of concerts often are the high points of people’s social calendars. For those who are in recovery from substance abuse, however, these highly communal events can often provide the perfect storm of temptations and triggers that can lead to relapse.

Your recovery is first and foremost, but being able to enjoy your favorite music live and in person and other social events is equally important. Chances are pretty good that you are asking yourself the […]

Clay Shepard – Brutally Honest Obituary Of Son’s Death Goes Viral

clay shepeard obituary

I have been to a good number of funerals due to overdose. My uncle died of an overdose. Two years ago my father (who is a paramedic) responded to an overdose in Lower Merion, which is a suburb of outside Philadelphia. He had no idea that he was calling the death of a friend who had gone home to Lower Merion to visit his family. All of the sudden, my friend was gone.

Writing obituaries to these deaths is hard. We want to remember the good times, and not let the pain and torment of an unnecessary death blind us from all the beauty these people once brought to the world.

I, as I […]

Changing the Conversation About Drug Abuse


Alcoholic, junkie, druggie, dirty, addict

When people talk about addicts and drug addiction, these terms are almost always the first thing that springs to mind in conversation and debate. It is no surprise these terms are visceral and evoke powerful and symbolic associations. Addiction is a low-down and nasty place, so it is fitting that the labels attached to it carry so much weight.

These terms–while commonplace and “accepted”–is the biggest roadblock in trying to reduce and eliminate the stigma associated with drug and alcohol addiction. It doesn’t matter what advances have been made in how addiction is viewed and treated if the general public still marginalizes those who are affected by addiction.

In […]

Suboxone Withdrawal: What You Need to Know

SUBOXONE-WITHDRAWAL Image courtesy ofwww.webmd.com

Of all that you go through in your battle with drug addiction, the withdrawal process is arguably the one thing that addicts fear the most. No matter what the drug or how long you have been abusing your drug of choice, the physical and psychological pain that you can feel coming off drugs can be a nightmare.

Opiates such as heroin and morphine have some of the most withdrawal symptoms on the planet, and in the drug treatment process great care needs to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the addict. Fortunately, medications such as Suboxone can help minimize the effects of withdrawal and get the addict on […]

My Recovery Started In Handcuffs – The Story Of Tracey Helton


The last day I used drugs, I was living in a pay by the day hotel in the seediest part of San Francisco. My life had been filmed for a documentary called “Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End of the Street.” As the documentary drew to a close, I knew I would die soon. Homeless, alone, and afraid I had decided that when I got arrested, I would finally make a sincere attempt to get off drugs. I had tried many times before- at home detox, switching from one thing to another, even moving states to get away from my problems. When I opened the door to the police, I was able to exhale. The time […]

4 Steps To Building The Perfect Recovery Meal

building the perfect recovery meal

Nutrition science can get quite complex and the intention to provide simple suggestions to improve diet and health can quickly pass through the realm of practical and enter the abyss of abstract theories predicated on convoluted methodologies using controversial and, often, unproven methods.

I’m guilty of it as are many other health and wellness professionals I know and respect. Getting caught up in the abstract, “next level” concepts is a natural consequence when working in an industry for which you carry a tremendous amount of passion.

With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to take a step back from the theoretical, which can be challenging to apply in our […]

Learning To Listen And Landing Feet First

learning to listen

This wasn’t musical chairs – this was my life – all tunes had stopped playing and I was a woman without a seat.

I’m not addicted to vitamins and I don’t wake up singing or dancing in the morning. I love my teenage daughter and all four legged creatures. My old mantra was animals are safe and people are weak. And I struggled. Each day. Why? – because I am an addict. But more days than not, when I review my week I am grateful I’m sober and free from the 4 square-inch, insane cerebral loft I dwelt in while using. So what transformed the tune that was rambling through my gray matter? See […]

Why America’s Biggest Killer Is In The Medicine Cabinet

drugs in the medicine cabinet

Today, the United States is losing nearly 45 people every day due to a drug overdose! That’s 16,000 people every year. It has even been reported that in the last decade our country has lost 125,000 people from opioid overdoses alone. That’s more than twice the number of American deaths in the Vietnam War. Today, we live in a country that is prescribing death.

The medical and dental communities have indeed been one of the main contributors that have worsened this epidemic. With that being said, they also can be a point of change to help turn this public health issue around in the right direction.

But why has prescription pain killers […]

7 Great Reasons To Get Into Recovery

the 7 best reasons to be in recovery

I was probably going to die, but that honestly didn’t bother me too much.

When I first entered rehab, I was more afraid of spending the rest of my life being bored than I was afraid of dying. I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore, my health was really deteriorating, but I was terrified of losing the one thing that made me feel alive.

I see now that it was cyclical. The drugs were really just a coping mechanism that pushed me back and forth between bliss and torment. It is a stressful way to live your life. Little did I know kind of amazing experiences sobriety was going […]

Alternatives to AA–Is There a Program That Is Right for You?


No matter where you are in your recovery, you have no doubt heard about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step based sober support groups. For well over seven decades, AA and other 12-step based groups have been the benchmark for addiction recovery in the United States.

Peer recovery groups such as AA have helped millions of addicts finding lifelong recovery and the 12-Step philosophy is a staple of countless drug treatment programs and rehab facilities. However, many who are seeking freedom from their addiction will not attend AA meetings.

Why Do People Turn Away From AA?

There are several reasons why AA may not be the best fit. For some, they may not […]

The Importance Of Learning To Forgive


Being a family member or a friend of an addict who is struggling is hell. Under the powerful sway of drugs and alcohol, an addicted loved one can do and say things that tear through your soul like a dagger. Drug addiction steals the spirit of the addict and will attempt to drag you down along with your loved one.

They lie to you, they cheat you, they play you off of others and lay to waste your sense of trust, love and dignity. When the addict enters treatment and has to face the music, or if the addict meets other consequences you can feel utterly exhausted mentally and spiritually.

If you are in this […]

Sugar: Sobriety Friend or Foe?

sugar addiction in sobriety

“He thought all alcoholics should constantly have chocolate available for its quick energy value at times of fatigue. He added that occasionally in the night a vague craving arose which would be satisfied by candy.”

And the nail in the coffin…

“Many of us have noticed a tendency to eat sweets and have found this practice beneficial.”

-The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 133-134 of The Family Afterwards

This guidance, although certainly well intentioned, implies that sugar should be our best friend in recovery. Unfortunately, this advice may be creating more obstacles for you to overcome while you develop and maintain an honest recovery program.

At this point you may be tempted […]