There is almost always another chance.

Starting Again - illustration

Except in a few, high-risk occupations, failure is never final.

Anyone who thinks that the path to recovery is a smooth one is kidding themselves and the more we delude ourselves that recovery from addiction is easy or just a matter of will-power, the sooner we will be disappointed and disillusioned.

While lack of success or progress can be depressing, the realisation that there is always another chance is empowering.

Life is a game of snakes and ladders. Most people in most ventures climb to new levels and then slip back. But it’s always possible to start again and, usually, to progress further and faster than the first time around.

The only real failure is the acceptance of failure.

As well as realising that we CAN pick ourselves up and start over, it’s important to see how much we can do to reduce the risks.

Trying to live an orderly life is usually helpful. Routine keeps us going and alerts us to when we are straying from healthy and positive patterns and putting ourselves at risk.

The greatest aid to continuing recovery is the support of family and friends and supporters and mentors. We all know how important it is to be able to pick up the phone and say to a friend “I’m feeling down; I think I’m at risk; I need some support.”

Everyone fails from time to time. We make mistakes, we fall short of our goals, we slip back. But it’s never too late to say “here and now is a new beginning with every possibility of success”.

When you are in sustained recovery and rediscovering happiness and security you will never think “it wasn’t worth trying again.”

If you are ready to begin or resume recovery from addiction please telephone Addictions UK on 0300 330 30 40 or contact us now on line.

Necessary reconciliation or reopening old wounds?

Persons We Have Harmed - illustration

There is a focus today on ensuring that criminals do not escape justice for offences committed long ago. The United Kingdom has no general statute of limitations. It may be right that those who have broken the law should never feel they have got away with it.

But in many cases, a prosecution for an historic offence takes victims and witnesses back to a time they have dealt with and “moved on from” and “raking it all up again” is difficult and painful. Some would argue that this process is essential to “closure”, others that old wounds should be left undisturbed unless they are still open and unhealed.

Step Eight
Made a list of all persons we have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine
Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Sometimes the harm we have done to people falls into the category of historic crime. It’s hardly unknown for a drug addict to steal to support the habit or for alcohol consumption to lead to a criminal assault.

So, in considering whether and how to make amends, we have to consider and face the possible legal consequences of that honesty should, for example, the victim now report what happened.

We should not feel able to take an objective view of our own actions nor to decide alone on the right steps to take. We need advice from a sponsor or mentor. And for the sake of both parties, there needs to be a discussion first about “duty of disclosure”; it would be a crime, for example, for a counsellor not to report a fraud supporting the trafficking of drugs.

It’s easy to see how all these legal issues are important when we consider how to own up to our mistakes and what we should do to make amends. But there are personal issues too. What we have done to partners or family or friends or others may not have been a crime but may have hurt them deeply. Whether and how to say sorry and make amends can be an enormously difficult decision.

It can be hard to bear the burden of unredeemed guilt but it can be the better course of action.

There is no easy, catch-all answer to the dilemmas. Each case, each person has to be considered separately and carefully and always with expert advice and support.

Addictions UK can offer you that help. Contact us now on line or telephone 0300 330 30 40.

This week’s video

Craving can strike an addict at any time of the day or night. Sometimes all it takes to avoid disaster is a phone call to someone who cares.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by Christians with a strong faith in God. The Twelve Steps to recovery which they defined assumed that a similar spirituality would underpin the progress of others.

Very quickly they realised that was not the case and that people’s lives are grounded in all sorts of spiritual visions. They found ways to reinterpret their programme in terms which recognised alternative understandings of the divine but, maybe because they were unable to detach themselves from their own perspective, the founders’ attempts to make good sense to the atheist were never satisfactory.

If we are powerless over our addiction, we have to find a power outside ourselves to empower our recovery.

Those who do believe in God do not need a new perspective of him to support their recovery. They are familiar with the means of seeking and receiving his support through prayer, study (including meditation) and spiritual counselling.

There are others who cannot accept traditional definitions of God but who still believe that “a force” or definable “forces” control the destiny of the universe and individuals within it. If that understanding is to be a secure foundation for recovery, they need to take time to confirm a very clear understanding of what it is they believe, how they relate to this “Higher Power” and exactly how it will support them.

Don’t imagine that those who say they do not believe in God are just confused or pretending or too scared to face him. There are people who, with intelligence and sincerity, reject any possibility of “someone or something” in charge of all life. But the atheist is no more able to conquer addiction without real and significant support. It may be found in the love of family and friends or in the rediscovery of a goal that once drove us to succeed and can again bring a new sense of purpose. We may be empowered when someone helps us see that society, nature, the world will be better if we are free to do more.

Whatever our belief system we need to be very careful, especially when we are talking with others, that we are not thinking “why can’t this person see that his spirituality is just a diminished and confused version of my own?”

There really is Someone or something that can actively empower each person’s recovery. But we do need to take time, now and then, to reassess what it is and to be sure we can trust it to be the foundation of a new structure for our lives.

Please contact Addictions UK now on line or telephone 0300 330 30 40 if you need help with recovery from any addiction and especially if you are seeking home-based treatment.

Addiction is an incurable but manageable disease

The Addiction Disease - illustration

The Twelve Steps – Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol [or any other addiction] – that our lives had become unmanageable”.

People argue about describing addiction as a disease. The disagreement is, for the most part, about how much is cause and how much is effect: Is the brain of some people hard-wired from birth for being taken over by a substance or behaviour or does repeated use of a substance or behaviour result in permanent physiological changes to the brain?

Setting aside this cause-or-effect debate, there is little argument about the result. People who have become addicts cannot just choose to switch off their addiction. They are, in important, essential and involuntary ways, “different”. They are powerless over their addiction and cannot manage their lives generally and specifically cannot just choose to become ex-addicts.

If I have a broken leg it really doesn’t matter whether it results from genetic fragility, a chronic degeneration or falling down the stairs – I have a broken leg and I can’t make it better by any amount of will-power.

And so the first of the Twelve Steps, the one without which the way to recovery cannot be opened, is the acceptance of powerlessness and the need for help.

It takes courage, immense courage sometimes, to accept being out of control. But the seed of that courage, the spur to progress, is the realisation that there IS a way forward to a long, happy and successful future.

Once someone has become an addict it’s a permanent state, there is no cure. But addiction is manageable (with help) and there is no limit to the possibilities and fulfillment which the recovering addict can achieve.

Please contact Addictions UK now if you need help with recovery from any addiction and especially if you are seeking home-based treatment.

This week’s video

To minimise the risk of relapse your recovery must be an ongoing process. If you can spare approximately one hour per day we’ll show you how.