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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Secret Voice

This year, like every year, ABC will air The Ten Commandments around Easter and Passover. Originally released in 1956, the movie remains a perennial favorite, dominating the ratings whenever it shows. Even though the dialogue is campy, the special effects old school, and the elder Moses’ long white beard totally fake, the film holds up. It is an inspirational classic, replete with meaning and loved through generations.

I purchased The Ten Commandments DVD and listened to the commentary by film historian Katherine Orrison, who was privy to many behind-the-scenes secrets about the making of movie. The sage came to its second most famous scene, where Moses encounters God at the burning bush atop Mt. Sinai. When Moses asks God why He has not rescued the Hebrew people from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, God tells Moses that He will execute the deliverance through Moses himself. Moses asks God what is His name, and He answers, “I am that I am.”

At that point in the commentary, Ms. Orrison explained that for many years the identity of the actor who played the voice of God was kept a secret by director Cecil B. DeMille. Finally the legendary filmmaker revealed that the voice was none other than that of actor Charlton Heston, who played Moses. Heston’s voice was technologically manipulated so it sounded deeper and more resonant, but Heston it was.

This admission packs a huge metaphysical wallop. While it appeared that Moses was addressing an entity outside of himself, he was really talking to his own higher self. The mortal man met the divine being, and they were one. We pray to God until we pray from God.

In the classic Hindu epic Ramayana, Hanuman, depicted as half-monkey, half man, is the dedicated servant of Ram, the incarnation of God. At a poignant moment Hanuman says to Ram, “When I forget who I am, I serve you. When I remember who I am, I am you.” Sometimes we are monkeys and sometimes we are God. Ultimately we are only God.

The other significant revelation of the Mt. Sinai dialogue, straight out of the biblical book of Exodus, is that God reveals that Moses himself will lead the slaves to freedom. Their liberation will not be executed by a cosmic hand coming down from the heavens, scooping them up, and placing them in the Promised Land. The drama was played out on the human stage. Many biblical scholars say that Moses was unconfident to accept the mission because he had a speech impediment. When He asked God how he could he possibly confront Pharaoh to plead for his people’s liberation, God told him, “I will tell you what to say.” So Moses didn’t have to do it all himself.  He just had to show up and be willing, and God would take care of the details.

So it is for You and Me
You don’t have to know how. You just have to know what. When you are clear on the what, the universe will take care of the how. In A Course in Miracles, a passage known as “the healer’s prayer” reveals a formula for how to pray before entering into any situation in which you feel unsure of yourself. “I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He who sent me will direct me. . .” (A Course in Miracles Text, p. 27). We are all Moses leading the world from the slavery of fear to the Promised Land of inner peace.

You may not be assigned to move an oppressed nation from one country to another, but you have many opportunities each day to see yourself and others as capable and deserving to live in a domain far broader than the one to which you are accustomed. We all feel trapped in one way or another. There is a better, richer, freer way to live. One way or another, we will find it. Not through magical intervention, but through waking up to our true selves and innate power.

I also find it fascinating that the true identity of the speaker of God’s voice in the movie was kept secret for many years. This also bears significant symbolic value. Your true identity has also been kept secret for many years. You have been told that you are a limited human being, confined to the boundaries of your body and a very small world prescribed by fear. The truth that you are so much more than your body and you have the right to freedom far beyond what the world shows you, has gone unpublicized. The word “sacred” literally means “secret.” Your sacred identity has been kept a secret.

Yet, like the truth about The Ten Commandments, the day comes when the director reveals the way it actually was and is. The voice of God is your own. When you talk to God, you are talking to your true self. Your desire to know and be God is God discovering Itself through you. Mt. Sinai is a metaphor for the journey to the inner mountaintop where you meet the God within.

This classic movie is shown every spring when what appeared to be dead comes alive again. Behold your own story played out on the movie screen and the world around you. The freedom of greater life calls to you now and you will claim it.

Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the newly-released Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. Join Alan in person for Living Miracles, a celebration retreat May 29-June 2 in Loveland, Colorado. For more information about this program, Alan’s other books, free daily inspirational quotes, and his weekly radio show, visit alancohen.com, email info@alancohen.com, or phone (800) 568-3079 or (808) 572-0001.


My mother was an alcoholic. Until the day she died, no, even long after, the words spinning in my head were wonderings about what a can of Coors offered her that I could not.
There are certain experiences and certain words in life that humble you. They bring you suddenly alive, albeit with regret, shock, pain or a melancholy musing often about why you haven’t been in your own life. There are also words that bring you alive with joy and happiness.
My clients over the years have softened my child-like judgment about my mother, and brought me the gift of greater understanding, compassion and forgiveness. My mother never really had a chance. My mother had no words of encouragement or comfort. She had no words of guidance or compassion. My mother was my greatest teacher. She taught me what it looks like when you do not love yourself. I love her for that.

Words connect us or separate us
They heal us or hurt us. They empower us or victimize us. Deepak Chopra says we have 60,000 thoughts a day, most of which come tumbling out of our mouths and almost all of which are the same old things we have thought and said repeatedly for the majority of our lives. We pay so little attention to our words. Yet, they are profound.
My father used words, “You stupid ignoramus son-of-a-bitch.” My mother used no words. What floated in the space between us was cold and isolated sadness. My admissions professor in college used words I’d never heard, “I cannot believe what you have done in your life without support.” My kids use words that took my breath away, “Thanks for holding this family together Mom.” All of them have made me queasy…either because they hurt so badly or because they were unfamiliar and challenged my willingness to trust.
Words are crafted around conference tables, in the hopes quelling objections: the theater of war, friendly fire, constructive criticism etc. Make no mistake! These are enormously powerful words. You’ve been persuaded, manipulated, cajoled, coerced and controlled because the words were crafted in such a way that the risks no longer mattered. And, written words are even more powerful when they are accepted, uncritically, as being true. There is so much to say about words in every context and form, whether written, spoken or published in books or the Internet, words allow us to connect, communicate and enlighten each other. They are filled with potential - the potential to heal or the potential to harm. Love, laugher, gratitude, joy, courage, heroism are all inspired by words. A life well lived is nearly impossible without words. We take very seriously the opportunity to share words with you that hopefully teach, enlighten and encourage. I invite spirit to sit on my shoulder as I type, hoping to reach out from the page and touch you in some way.
As we age, we look at words with a bit more suspect. We begin to question whether we can really lose 20 pounds in a month, or whether he or she really can be in love in a week, or whether the government really does have our best interest at heart. With aging comes the answers to the words that formed questions such as “Have I done what I came here to do, or, what can I learn from this challenge.
In moments of silence, you begin to question the purpose of your life for there is no true depth or value in life without meaningful connection to those you love. Connection is difficult without words that are genuine and heartfelt and followed by behavior that is reverent and respectful.
I remember things my father said to me that brought me to my knees when I was twelve. I remember things that my teacher said to me in fourth grade that brought me up, standing tall again. Words have so great a force in them that we should all remember to make sure they are well chosen. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  Rudyard Kipling Words can make people love you a little less or a little more.
Who knew a consistent inquiry with words about how one could help, along with a soft touch and gentle hug could mean so much? Give that today.

Stigma has ‘a long way to go’

Former First Lady reflects 40-plus years of  fighting stigma 

Some months ago, Lori Ashcraft, Ph.D., an editorial board member and longtime contributor of the popular “Tools for Transformation” column, suggested that Behavioral Healthcare ought to interview Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter and one of the world’s most prominent mental health advocates. The exclusive interview that follows, along with other stories about the 28th Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health in Atlanta last November, are proof of what a good idea and a little determination can accomplish.

In 1966, the idea of advocating for people with mental illnesses was even less popular than it is today, cloaked in shame, stigma, and discrimination. Mrs. Carter took it on anyway and for the past four decades has addressed issues related to consequences of mental illness that cry out for reinvention and transformation. She seems to come from a place that overrides fear and shame and goes right to compassion. And it’s the compassion that has fueled her commitment to a segment of our population that had been dismissed as having nothing meaningful to contribute to our society and needing nothing more than ‘to be taken care of.’
Rosalynn Carter has been one of the longest and strongest voices for transforming the views held about mental illness and the systems that supposedly treat it. She was an early supporter of the recovery movement and believes that it has set the foundation for a new set of beliefs regarding the potential of those who have been diagnosed. She is a strong supporter of the peer movement, saying that, ‘next to recovery, it is the best thing that has happened yet.’
In chairing her 28th Mental Health Symposium, Mrs. Carter now focuses her passion on community inclusion, an evolution of the needs expressed by her fellow Georgians so many years ago. She wants people who are on their recovery journey to have access to community resources so they will be able to contribute in a meaningful way to their communities. The timing could not be better: the Symposium’s participants and findings will be harnessed to develop policy recommendations to support this end.
There is a sense of urgency in her voice as she describes her hopes for the future.

BH: What was it that got you involved in the cause of mental health?

Mrs. Carter: I became interested while campaigning with my husband, when he ran for governor in 1966. He got into that race late, after our leading Democratic candidate had a heart attack, leaving Lester Maddox, a very popular segregationist, as the only candidate. When no one else would take him on—this being the midst of the civil rights days—Jimmy decided that he would run. I had never campaigned before, and it was already eight to 10 weeks before the election, so Jimmy (then a Georgia state senator) went one way and I went the other. Every day, somebody would ask me, ‘What will you do for my mentally ill loved one at Central State Hospital?’  There had just been a big exposé about the hospital in the news—it was happening all over the country. The Community Mental Health Act had been passed [in 1963], but the state was moving people out of the hospital before the any services were there for them. I became very concerned about the issue, and even though Jimmy lost that time, I kept learning more about it.
When Jimmy became Governor in 1972, he appointed a commission to improve services to mentally and emotionally handicapped people.  That’s where my real education began . . .

BH: Where are we today, and where do we need to go in terms of mental health treatment in the United States?   

Mrs Carter: We have a long way to go.  But there are movements in the mental health field that are very important right now.  One involves community services. Another is community inclusion. Another is how treatment is moving toward recovery.  And, there’s the idea of integrating services, mental health and primary care, getting rid of the separation between physical and mental health care.  All of those are good. 
But, the stigma and discrimination against mental health issues has always been so bad. Stigma curtails funding for services, it hurts programs in the community, and stands in the way of getting policymakers—the people who can make a difference—interested in the issue.

The Addictive Cycle of Gambling

Saying gambling is addictive but not a medical disease begs for definitions of “addiction” and “disease.”
The essential element of addiction to gambling is that people become completely absorbed in the activity, which they then pursue in a compulsive manner, leading to extremely negative life outcomes. These individuals often describe a loss of control, such that, they claim they are incapable of avoiding gambling or of stopping after having started. All of these elements of addiction are behavioral, experiential, and phenomenological.
The disease model looks to an inescapable biological source for addictions, such that some neurochemical adaptation accounts for the observed compulsive behavior. In addition, a disease model would indicate, these neurochemical adjustments lead to measurable tolerance and withdrawal. Because the biological systems underlying the addiction are thought to be irreversible, the disease model includes the idea of progressive worsening of the addiction, with the requirement that some kind of treatment is necessary in order to cease addiction.

An Experiential Model
Obviously, an experiential model of addiction is much easier to observe. All it requires is that people sacrifice their lives to gambling and they assert or believe they cannot resist the urge to do so.
Evidence for this model is provided nightly at Gamblers Anonymous meetings, where compulsive gamblers sincerely attest how they have sacrificed everything to their addiction and have absolutely no control over their habit.
On the other hand, all of the elements of the medical (disease) model of addiction can be questioned, and in many cases have been explicitly disproved. Where addiction theorists and gambling researchers make their mistake, is that while finding compulsive gambling to fall short of attaining the status of medical disease, they discount its genuine addictiveness. In doing so, they often have assumed that alcohol and drug addiction fulfill criteria for an addictive disease that in the past, gambling has failed to meet.
Now clients coming into treatment fit the addictive disease concept of gambling behavior. Some people have extremely destructive experiences and develop chronic gambling habits and problems. The individual loses more than they intended, feels remorse, tries to recoup the losses by continuing to play, only to lose more  — good money follows bad. In direct parallel to the principal varieties of alcoholism, the person may fail to control any individual gambling experience in a gambling binge, or else may gamble steadily and heavily over a long period, forming a chronic dependence.
While the risk of gambling or prospect of winning can be exhilarating, the aftermath of losses, as well as being emotionally deflating, becomes increasingly problematic from a legal, career, and family standpoint. At the same time, future gambling relieves the anxiety, depression, boredom, and guilt that set in following gambling experiences and losses.
This addictive cycle is described repeatedly in the gambling literature. One critical element of the pathological gambling experience is money — the problem cycle begins with “negative feelings associated with gambling losses,” in addition to the “person’s positive experience of the gambling activity itself, shortage of money and the need to keep their gambling a secret.”
Addictive gambling resembles compulsive shopping, where people spend irrationally and accumulate debts and problems resulting from efforts to hide and/or cover up debts. The individual who is lost in this cycle is one who relies on magical solutions — as do drug and alcohol abusers to produce desired outcomes without following systematic or functional plans to achieve his or her goals.
Treatment and Gamblers Anonymous meetings are available if you or someone you know may have a problem.

The New Generation of Recovery, By Cathie Hartnett, Executive Director of the National Youth Recovery Foundation

Social change comes when we reach a critical mass of people who are affected negatively by a public policy, social stigma, a disease, or discrimination that demands a reaction.

In the 70’s, most people in treatment centers were middle aged and drug addicts were separated from alcoholics. And in the 80’s, we were still in denial about dual diagnosis. In the last two decades a generation of professionals have come into the field of treatment having found recovery in their 20’s, or they have come from other professional fields. More research, science and treatment modalities, earlier diagnosis, and treatment centers have contributed to a growing population of younger addicts getting to recovery than ever before.
In the last 10 years there has been a growing body of research and discussion about the life that comes with recovery. Today 35 million people are living lives of recovery in the U.S. If you add two people who are affected by each of these — we are a force to be reckoned with.

Young People in Recovery
Young People in Recovery (YPR) come to this broader community of recovery with a new perspective and series of experiences that we can marvel at, be challenged by and learn from. Because of access to treatment, a number of fellowships that support long term recovery coupled with the human kindness and commitment of those in long term recovery, we now have a generation of young people who will fall in love, get married, parent children, advance their careers and finish high school and college while they are in long term recovery. They work their recovery program, engage in life and look for ways to be of service.
And... they also speak openly about their disease asking questions like:
Where is the “ribbon” campaign for treatment of addiction?

Why do other disease groups lobby their elected officials for more research and treatment, and we don’t?

Why do the wealthy go to treatment and the less fortunate to jail?

Why did Bill W testify to Congress in 1949 about the disease of addiction if he really meant anonymity included never speaking out as person in recovery?

Why do people in long term recovery continue to be punished by laws and policies that deny them access to education, numerous career fields after paying fines and doing time, sometimes denying them the right to vote?

A New Movement
If we reflect on the civil rights movement, women’s or gay rights movement, there is a moment when a new generation is unwilling to accept the stigma and barriers others have tolerated, learned to live with or simply didn’t know how to fight.
As the numbers of young people in long term recovery increase there is a growing voice asking tough questions of the elders in the recovery community, the county boards who block licenses for sober housing, state capitols and state agencies that reduce funding of programs that help people get well, or visit Washington to ask:

“Why does it seem to get treatment for the disease of addiction you either have to be extraordinarily committed to working the system, fighting for funding or come from a family with extraordinary resources to get help?”

Is there any other disease that requires such efforts to get well? Imagine a person with diabetes being told they need a certain amount of insulin to stabilize their body, yet there is only enough funding to provide a portion of what they need.

The Birth of an Idea
In the fall of 2012, a group of young people between the ages of 20 and 30 gathered. Most had multiple years of long-term recovery. They came from across the country, found recovery through multiple paths, had different political and cultural perspectives, careers and levels of education. They also had strong opinions, passion and commitment to step up, ask questions, listen and challenge the status quo in the recovery community they love and are part of.
With deep sense of service they organized the first National Council of Young People in Recovery whose mission is to educate, advocate and collaborate for anything and everything that will support long-term recovery for their generation.
They expressed gratitude for the access they had to treatment and the programs they participate in. They committed to stepping up and out in their communities to organize their peers and build a social change movement in recovery that will work towards further breaking the stigma of addiction and mental illness, focus on building programs to support young people as they build their new lives in recovery, post treatment, aftercare and sober living.
They committed to advocating for more recovery high schools, collegiate recovery programs, and engaging members of the recovery community who are their elders to be mentors, as they build their careers and become citizens in their towns and cities as people in recovery.
Many social change movements started in a living room, community center or coffee shop. A few voices grow until family, friends and those directly affected by stigma stand up with, and demand those in need have access to not only the critical care phase of there illness but the long term care and support that can create a full and productive life. Now our elected officials are hearing stories of lives in recovery, rather than life in addiction.
The National Youth Recovery Foundation (NYRF) was founded to support a public charter recovery high school in Minnesota.
For the last three years the board of directors listened to
parents who identified the gaps in services as their children came into recovery
professionals who identified the lack of support available to young people once they left the system
and adults in the recovery community who got into recovery when they were in their teens and early twenties.

We met with hundreds of young people and asked them to paint a picture of what they needed as they moved from treatment and aftercare, to a life of recovery. These are their words:

“I have my recovery program, now I need help with the gaps that addiction created to improve my life outside of my meetings.”

“I need a safe community in high school, fun and peers to hang out with after school. I need mentors to talk to me about where I could go with my education, interests, hobbies and skills I want to pursue as a young person figuring out my life.”

“I want to advocate for services that were denied my friends because they didn’t have the money or family support to get help.”

“I want to talk about recovery not addiction— find others who share my interests in music, politics, art, and sports.”

“I come from a family riddled with addiction but after treatment, unlike adults, I didn’t get to live in sober living, I had to go home to a house of addicts and going to a meeting everyday wasn’t enough for a person my age to put together a life.”

“Many of us were getting high rather than being active in extra curricular activities like sports, student government and social causes. In recovery we are interested in these kinds of activities but we missed out on the skills you gain and need help catching up and getting involved.”

“We are grateful to the people who helped us but we want a voice as young people in recovery.”

“We feel differently about our role as people in recovery. We talk about recovery, we are aware of the stigma but we want to acknowledge and show the world that addiction and mental health are part of who we are — we are also young, fun loving, passionate, and interested in succeeding in our education, careers and lives. We have the amazing opportunity to be transparent in our social and professional lives about who we are.”

“We are willing to challenge the system that spends far more on incarceration of people with addiction than treatment. Public policy in some places denies student loans to young people in recovery for up to ten years after they have paid their fines and done their time. Many are denied access to jobs in the financial, security, and healthcare systems, and public education accommodations to support our recovery which is available to all other students with any disease or disability. How can we live up to the integrity and service that recovery has brought to our lives?”

A National Organization
With these statements, the NYRF decided to build a citizen based national organization of family and friends of young people in recovery to raise funds and partner with Young People in Recovery (YPR) to focus exclusively on the recovery phase of the disease of addiction by educating communities around the country to build the network of support systems that support the recovery process from access to diagnosis, and treatment through high school, college, technical school and early career development.
Research proves with four years of services from treatment to recovery the chances of relapse are reduced to less than 20 percent. Recovery support services are less expensive, more mainstreamed into the broader community, thus breaking stigma, building better citizens than the cost of detention, incarceration, repeated in patient treatment and time out of school.
NYRF engages parents, family, friends and elders in the recovery community to support Young People in Recovery. NYRF serves as a sounding board, a funding source, a mentor and champion of these young leaders. Sometimes we fret about them, worry they are going to make a mistake, go too far or challenge the establishment and become controversial. Isn’t this what being young leaders is about?
Gallop Polls show although the majority of Americans believe addiction is a disease, they don’t really believe in recovery. The new generation is going to change that perception and all we need to do is give them the space, help clear the path for more of them to sustain long term recovery.
Observing this generation of new leaders in recovery using all the skills they have gained from their personal journeys is a gift to our nation. In a world of cultural and political wrangling and name calling, blaming and demonizing the recovery community has birthed a new generation of young voices that are humble, authentic, service oriented and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
At the YPR meeting last fall in a room of diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives they listened to each other, focused on the common mission, took individual responsibility and collective responsibility to build a social change movement. They elected a Chair who runs a youth program in a conservative Christian church and hired an Executive Director who is a progressive public policy advocate and openly gay. They saw nothing unique or unusual in this decision. Since the first of the year these two leaders have grown the leadership group from 13 to 25 with representation from 15 states. There are 8 chapters up and running and three in formation.
Many have participated in programs that have built their knowledge base, leadership skills and networks with peers around the country through state and federal programs. Faces and Voices of Recovery have provided media training and public policy advice to help build their capacity. Parents and members of the recovery community have contributed financially, and with in kind services to support this work.
YPRs are part of what they call a “market segment” that drinks coffee, soft drinks, water, joins health clubs, social clubs, participates in leisure activities, travels, enrolls in educational institutions, buys cars, rents and own houses…..in other words, a great big consumer group that happens to be in recovery. Kudos to the consumer brand products promoting their commitment to fight all types of cancer, today YPRs are asking their recovery be celebrated in the market place as well.
Many young people in recovery believe that paying a few more cents for beer, wine and liquor could create a pool of funding so large anyone who needed recovery services could access them. They ask why this kind of legislation has not been passed when there are at least 100,000 million people in this country who have been directly affected by the disease of addiction.
They are using the fearlessness and passion of youth to challenge our assumptions about what is possible. They are putting themselves on the line and taking a stand to break the stigma of addiction and mental health.
The National Youth Recovery Foundation has challenged our assumptions, fears; desire to play it safe and jumping over the edge with this extraordinary generation of leaders in recovery.

What Lies Ahead
2013 is our launch year and how appropriate for us to organize events around the country called Over the Edge. No ballroom dinners with long speeches for this movement. No celebrity spokespersons. No stories of addiction only celebrations of the amazing journey of recovery.
Over the Edge events will take place in Los Angeles and Boca Raton Florida and hopefully two other cities this year. Members of the recovery community their family and friends will celebrate recovery by rappelling from the roof of the Hollywood W Hotel and the Boca Raton Marriott. Yes you heard it right and you too can take the leap or if not you can sponsor a young person, your boss, your friend or family member to “Go Over the Edge.”

Ready or not Recovery Community – HERE WE GO

To learn more about the National Youth Recovery Foundation and Young People in Recovery visit: nationalyouthrecovery.org and  youngpeopleinrecovery.org.

Cathie Hartnett is the Executive Director of the National Youth Recovery Foundation, which is building a citizen based organization supporting programs and public policy for young people in long term recovery from addiction.  Hartnett is a principle at Portfolio Innovators, a newly formed investment fund investing in successful entrepreneurial companies that need help growing to the next level. Hartnett also manages the Kevin J. Mossier Foundation.
 Cathie hosted a radio show for Hubbard Broadcasting for 10 years which kept her up on Hollywood gossip, and currently provides political commentary for ABC affiliate for KSTP television in the Twin Cities.
She spent 17 years in Washington, DC working in electoral politics working for the Leadership of the House of Representatives and was the Delegate Coordinator for President Carter’s National Conference on Women.
 Hartnett was recognized by MS Magazine  as one of the 80 Women to Watch in the 80”, U of M Alumni Magazine – “40 graduates under 40”, Minnesota Lawyers “100 Smartest People in Minnesota”, and recognized as a Distinguished CLA Graduate of University of Minnesota.

Enjoy the Process

In the first few weeks of recovery I wondered how quickly I would ‘get it’. 

Like most fellowship halls and meeting places, the 12 steps were posted on the wall and little framed signs served as crown molding just below the ceiling. They read, Live and Let Live, Let Go, Let God, A Day at a Time, I Am ResponsibleIn all honesty, these snippets of wisdom didn’t make much sense to me for years.

As a newcomer, I thought if I kept reading the steps on the wall that meant I had taken them. When I finally mustered enough courage to ask a woman to be my sponsor, I had no idea what I was in for. One of my first questions to her was, “How long does it take to get this AA thing?”  I can see her smiling, saying, “You can leave whenever you want, but let me ask you something, how many years did you drink and use drugs?” “About 24”, I answered. “If you’re willing to uncover, discover and recover, I’m here for you. So, relax; we’re not doing this on a timeline.”

And so my journey began. 

Twenty three years later, I am still uncovering and discovering when I am open to listening, I gain awareness. 

And the little signs on the wall have taken on new meaning. The 12 steps are tools I can use whenever I feel the need. My phone is filled with numbers of people I can rely on anytime —  day or night. The fellowship, and my friends in recovery have helped me through my most difficult days.

Every time I open the Big Book and read it, it’s as though I never read it before. There is always something new, and where I get my A-Ha moments.

I always feel better leaving a 12 step meeting than before I went in, as something spiritual happens in that hour.  Surrounded by others on the same journey there is no need to rush to the finish line.

Thank you to all who continue to help me on my path.