With a plethora of recent violent political unrest in the United States, many have joked that the spirit of 2020–a year of everything unexpected and wildly unprecedented–is very much alive in 2021. While you may be powerless over external circumstances, you are very much in control of how you choose to go about navigating your internal circumstances and recovery. Whether you love resolutions or stray far from the word and those who insist on announcing theirs to everyone, it’s not a bad idea to check in on where you were last year (emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, recovery-wise) and how you would like to proceed in 2021.
Challenges in 2021
In your drinking and drugging days, how many times would you resolve to not use, use less, or only use in certain socially acceptable situations? […]
“Sobriety is a queer issue. In a world full of hardships, distractions, and escapes, to be clear, to be awake, and to be focused, makes one queer…Sobriety as radical queer practice has the potential to be truly socially and politically transformative,” writes Dr. Jen Manion in her brilliant op-ed “The Queer Politics of Sobriety.” To some, sobriety is simple: you abstain from alcohol and drugs and proceed as normal, no longer shackled to the substances and accoutrements that seemed like friends. To others, sobriety is far more complicated and expansive, defined by more than simply choosing not to do something. Likewise, one’s gender identity and sexuality can be just as complicated, nuanced, and (what feels like) a moving target at times (if a target at all). Perhaps […]
In honor of the opening of K.C.’s House, Avenues’ new all-gender transitional living house, this month’s article is about inclusivity in recovery spaces. The make-up of individuals in recovery from alcohol and drugs is growing increasingly diverse. Many are from marginalized communities who face additional barriers when it comes to getting and staying sober. As such, the landscape of diversity and inclusion work in recovery should shapeshift to address, reflect, and actively include these individuals.
Inclusion does not entail dismissing or minimizing another’s experience. It is the practice or policy of providing equal access to resources and opportunities for individuals from marginalized groups, such as people with physical or mental disabilities or those who identity as being part of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), TGNCNB (Transgender, Gender […]
As you might expect, in the wake of COVID-19 sober livings have diligently adapted their services to support their community, which can range from in-house clients, after-care clients, and alumni to staff. If you’re completely new to sober livings, feel free to peruse past articles that explore what to expect at a sober living, as well as other options for transitional living if sober livings don’t feel like the right fit for you. While everyone is urged to take precautions in maintaining physical distance amongst themselves at a sober living, I also encourage residents to think about the ways in which this pandemic is offering the opportunity to engage with other kinds of space, namely one’s internal space or bandwidth. Much has been said about how […]
The recent Netflix series Feel Good explores the protagonist Mae’s journey of recovery from substance use disorder as she navigates a new romantic relationship. In one scene at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, one of the supporting characters tells Mae that substances and behaviors are often used for pain relief but why is it that the pain is there in the first place? This moment stuck with me as I thought about shame as a primary reason for why I am prone to addictiveness.
As discussed in last month’s article, much is at stake when shame is not addressed in recovery. Once internalized, it functions the way an addictive chemical might. It can fester to the point where it derails one’s progress no matter how much time they […]
Reading John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame That Binds You (originally published in 1988), feels at once like a hug and a punch. Shame is at the core of addiction and “addictiveness.” It can be deeply entrenched in the psyche in ways that may not be obvious to you and explains why one chooses to turn to addictive substances and compulsive behaviors in the first place. Though I’m grateful to have found it now, it’s a book I could have used in early recovery to demystify the indescribable discomfort I felt when I put alcohol and drugs down. The discomfort makes so much sense in hindsight.
Bradshaw outlines the effect of shame, one of which is its destructive co-occurrence with addiction (they both fuel each other in a vicious cycle). An oft-misunderstood […]
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