What is Step 12 in AA?

When we showed up at our first AA meeting, the idea of ever reaching step 12 in AA may have seemed like a far-off fantasy. For some, it may have seemed impossible. But here you are, ready to embark on your final step. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message …

What is Step 11 in AA?

Back in step 10, we turned our focus from our past to our present. Now, as we begin to understand and work step 11 of AA, we’ll start to think about the future, particularly in regards to our spiritual path. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge …

What is Step 10 in AA?

By this point in your recovery journey, you’ve done a lot of hard work in clearing out negativity from the past. You’ve admitted your life became unmanageable, turned control over to your higher power, understood and asked God to remove your defects of character, and made amends with those you’ve harmed. In step 10 of AA, we’ll turn our focus …

What is Step 9 in AA?

Congratulations: you’ve finished step eight and by now, you should have a list of names of people that you want to make amends to. Logically, step nine in AA is to move forward and actually make these amends. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do would injure them or others. Like many of the previous …

What is Step 8 in AA?

Reaching step eight means that you’ve spent a great deal of time working on yourself, reflecting inwardly on your character flaws, admitting them out loud, and finally turned control over to your higher power to remove them. In step eight of AA, we begin to turn our focus outward. In steps eight and nine, we’ll begin making amends to all …

What is Step 7 in AA?

Steps four through six in AA have been working up to this point. In step four and five we explored and came to terms with our shortcomings. In step six, we mentally prepared for having our higher power remove our character defects. Now, we’ve reached step seven in AA, where it’s time to actually ask God to remove these defects. …

What is Step 6 in AA?

Step six in AA is incredibly freeing. In the last two steps, you made a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself and admitted the exact nature of your wrongs to yourself, your higher power, and another person. Now that we’re so familiar with these faults, it’s time to let them go while we work step six. Were entirely ready …

What is Step 5 in AA?

The infamously scary step number four is finally behind you. Step five in AA is next, and it builds on the exercise we completed in the last step. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous build on each other and are designed to keep you …

What is Step 4 in AA?

By this point, you’ve already admitted and accepted that your life as an addict has become unmanageable, began a relationship with a higher power, and committed to turning over all your control to this power. In Alcoholics Anonymous, next is step four, the infamously scary step: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Self-reflection should be a constant …

What is Step 3 in AA?

In step two of AA, you were exploring your relationship with God or another higher power and beginning to wrap your mind around the idea of surrendering control to this power. In step three of AA, you’re making the conscious decision to actually do this. Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God …

What is Step 2 in AA?

If you’re at all familiar with the 12 steps of AA, you probably know that they’re a very spiritual program. Step two in AA is where participants begin to create a relationship with a higher power, a relationship that they’ll explore more deeply as they move on to other steps. Step one is all about learning to admit and accept …

What is Step 1 in AA?

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. It can be scary and challenging to take the first step and admit that you have a problem with addiction. However, the only way you can start down that path toward sobriety is by taking the first step forward. What Does Step 1 in AA Mean? …

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

Even those who have never had first- or second-hand experience with addiction are likely somewhat familiar with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is one of the most well-known programs for addiction recovery and for good reason: it’s also one of the most effective programs. According to AA, up to 75% of its members stay abstinent from alcohol after …

What is White Knuckling & How to Overcome It

AA’s Big Book states that “We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem had been removed. It does not exist for us.” Recovering from a substance addiction is more than simply stopping the use …

Loving an Addict to Death

When dealing with a loved one who is suffering from addiction, the line between supporting them through a hard time and enabling them to continue can easily be blurred, and ultimately we don’t want to be loving an addict to death. We’ve spoken about this difference on the blog before, but we know that showing tough love to your addict …

What is Collegiate Recovery?

Binge drinking, late-night partying, and experimenting with drugs are seen as a normal part of the American college experience. But it’s not all harmless fun. College students in the United States are at a high risk of developing addiction or abusing substances. Approximately 80% of U.S. college students have abused alcohol, while the number of students who have abused drugs …

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How Long Does it Take to Recover from Addiction?

If you have a close friend or family member suffering from addiction, you might be wondering how long recovery takes. It’s certainly an understandable question – addiction is hard to cope with, both for the addict themselves and for their loved ones. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not as clear-cut as you’re probably hoping. Each person’s recovery process …

5 Signs of Xanax Abuse

Xanax, the brand name of the drug alprazolam, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine usually prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders. Tolerance to Xanax can develop quickly, so addictions can develop even when it’s taken as prescribed. When taken, Xanax produces a “chill out” effect on the brain and body. Users who take Xanax will become more relaxed, quiet, and …

5 Signs of Meth Use

Meth, short for methamphetamine, takes an extreme toll on the body, both physically and mentally, making it one of the most addictive and dangerous substances out there. In both the short- and long-term, meth can produce negative side effects, and always carries the risk of overdose. If you’re worried that one of your loved ones may be using meth, be …

What is Al-Anon?

Having a friend or family member who suffers from addiction or alcoholism is hard. It can be a roller coaster of emotions, and you may find it harder to cope some days. Addiction and alcoholism are family illnesses, because they don’t just affect the addict – they affect the whole family. In reality, loving an alcoholic or addict can be …

5 Signs of Alcohol Abuse

In a society where drinking alcohol is common and binge drinking is considered normal, it may be difficult to tell whether or not your loved one is exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse. Below are a few warning signs to help you figure out whether you should be concerned about your loved one’s behavior. They Binge Drink Frequent binge drinking is …

3 Ways to Maintain A Sense of Community Virtually

Recovering from addiction during a worldwide lockdown presents a unique set of challenges to overcome. Many recovery programs (including us!) speak about the importance of being involved in a community. However, it can be hard to feel a connection with other people when you’re not able to physically see them in person! You may want to think about being proactive …

Managing Loneliness to Prevent Relapse While Social Distancing

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the world. People are staying inside more than ever, avoiding contact with those outside their immediate household. These precautions are necessary for stopping the spread of a virus, but may have a negative impact on mental health – particularly for those who are recovering from addiction and require regular interaction with the recovery community. …

Continuing Your Recovery During COVID-19

For most people over the last few weeks, everyday life has completely changed thanks to COVID-19. To slow the spread of this deadly virus, people are practicing social distancing: limiting contact with other people. Many companies have their employees working from home while others have completely shut their doors for the next few months. Large gatherings are discouraged and many …

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), initially known as coronavirus, is an infectious respiratory disease in the same family as the SARS virus, of which there was an outbreak nearly twenty years ago. Common symptoms include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. The virus typically spreads via respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing. It can be spread by being in contact …

What is a Recovery Coach?

If you’re currently suffering or in recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may be looking for different types of professionals who can help support you through your journey to sobriety. You may have come across licensed therapists or treatment centers that can help you overcome your addiction. If you prefer a less clinical source of support, you …

Drug Abuse Rates in Europe vs. the USA

Over the past month, we’ve been taking a look at how the United States compares to other countries in terms of drug laws, and how we compare to Europe specifically in terms of alcohol abuse. When looking at the alcohol abuse rates, we saw that European countries with looser laws around alcohol tended to have fewer incidences of binge drinking …

Compliance vs. Surrender

If you were to read through the twelve steps, you might find that the wording, at least for the first few steps, has a distinct feeling of “surrendering” to it, particularly surrendering to a higher power. There are two ways we can approach recovery: by simply complying with what is being asked of us, or surrendering our power. Surrendering, as …

3 of the Worst Foods to Eat While in Recovery

Over the last few months, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of diet – not just for your overall health, but also particular foods that contain specific vitamins and minerals that can support your brain and body through your recovery. We’ve told you that it’s important to nourish your body with lots of fresh produce, clean proteins, healthy fats, …

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Is Addiction A Family Disease?

You may have heard that addiction is genetic, and someone descended from a former alcoholic or addict needs to be careful around drugs and alcohol so that they don’t become addicted themselves. This is true in many cases. One study concluded that children of addicts are around eight times more likely to develop an addiction than those who have no …

Rates of Alcohol Abuse in America vs. Europe

Here in the United States, we have an interesting relationship with alcohol. As you might remember from history class back in school, the prohibition era outlawed alcohol consumption and sale entirely from 1920 until 1933, and the current legal drinking age is 21. Most of our friends across the Atlantic Ocean over in Europe have a much more relaxed attitude …

Drug Laws & Abuse Around the World

In the 1970s, President Nixon declared a war on drugs aimed at stopping the illegal drug trade in the United States. Many people consider this campaign to have been largely ineffective as new people continue to develop addictions and dependencies on drugs each day. Other countries, however, have different and much more lenient laws around drugs. Let’s take a look …

Pros & Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

The legal status of marijuana is a hot topic – nearly everyone seems to have an opinion. The drug does have some medical uses and in many places around the world, patients use it to manage their chronic pain. Different cultures believe it has spiritual properties and use it during traditional ceremonies. But what about legalization for recreational use? State …

5 Wellness Tips for Recovering Addicts

Completing a treatment program is only the first step in achieving lifelong recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Once your treatment is over, there’s still work to be done – it’s likely that your entire lifestyle will have to change. When you were in the thick of your addiction, you were probably neglecting your own health in favor …

What Are “Legal Highs”?

Don’t let the name fool you – legal highs are not necessarily legal. Legal highs are another name for designer drugs or research chemicals and refer to synthetic drugs created to mimic the effects of a naturally-derived drug. These substances are usually created in underground laboratories and involve mixing different ingredients together, each of which tends to be legal on …

4 Commonly Abused Research Chemicals

There is a difference between research chemicals used in scientific research and research chemicals used to get high. The latter are developed in a lab and are meant to mimic the effects of other commonly misused drugs like opioids, cocaine, and marijuana. These substances tend to be cheap to make and to purchase, and produce more intense highs. Research chemicals …

Fentanyl in Street Drugs

Fentanyl is one of the strongest synthetic opioid painkillers on the market today, and it’s become the number one culprit in opioid-related overdoses. From 2013 to 2016, fatal overdoses involving fentanyl doubled each year. This is a terrifyingly quick rise and it doesn’t appear that those numbers will begin going down anytime soon. One of the most alarming facts about …

5 Uncommon Drugs That Can Be Abused

It makes sense that drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are well-known around the country: they are some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. But, of course, these three aren’t the only drugs of abuse. There are hundreds of thousands of substances that can create a high when ingested. Let’s take a look at a handful …

What Is the Most Commonly Abused Drug in the United States

Drug and alcohol addictions are both quite common in the USA. 19.7 million Americans are believed to be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. However, the problem doesn’t end there. Many people abuse drugs without developing an addiction to them. Drug abuse is defined as any use of drugs for nonmedical purposes, or outside of their intended use, and an article …

What Are Designer Drugs?

When the use of fentanyl began to rise in the 1980s, the term “designer drug” was coined to refer to it and other drugs like it. Designer drugs refer to drugs that are manufactured in a laboratory (usually illegally) by manipulating or mimicking the properties of a drug that originates from a plant.  Some designer drugs were originally discovered by …

Why Marijuana is Dangerous for a Drug Addict

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States and the rest of the world. It’s used medicinally in many cases and can help treat symptoms of chronic illnesses like HIV, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and seizure disorders. Other cultures around the world use it because they believe it has spiritual properties. When used recreationally, marijuana has …

What is PCP?

In the 1950s, PCP was developed with the intent to act as a surgical anaesthetic for humans, and eventually also used as a veterinary anaesthetic for animals. However, the drug was soon discontinued after the negative effects on patients’ minds were discovered. However, many of the reasons PCP was discontinued from medical use became reasons people began taking it recreationally. …

Fentanyl’s Overdose Potential

Over 130 people die each day in the United States from overdosing on opioids. Many opioid-related deaths involve more than one drug, but fentanyl has become the number one opioid killer. Each year between 2013 and 2016 alone, fentanyl-related drug overdoses rose by over 100%. What is Fentanyl? Fentanyl is the strongest synthetic opioid pain reliever available for medical treatment …

How Sleep Heals the Brain

Any article you may come across about living a healthy lifestyle points out how important it is to get enough sleep. During sleep, the body has the chance to rest and recover so it can continue functioning properly day after day. Often, people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t have healthy sleep habits. Many drugs give the user …

Why Reliance on A Higher Power is More Helpful than Willpower for Beating Addiction

Many people who have completed a 12-step addiction recovery program go on to sing its praises once they’ve recovered. One of the key differentiators between 12-step programs and other recovery programs (and arguably one of the reasons it’s so effective for so many people) is its incorporation of spirituality. Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. 12-step programs …

4 Dangers of Intravenous Drug Use

Intravenous drugs, or drugs that are taken by injecting the substance directly into the body, are some of the most dangerous drugs out there. Yet for many types of drugs, like heroin, one of the most common and preferred ways of taking them is via injection. Addicts who use intravenous drugs usually do so because of the powerful and fast-acting …

What is Kratom?

There are hundreds of thousands of drugs out in the world.  Some are very prevalent in culture, and others not so much. Some are made with chemicals in labs, and some are sourced naturally from different types of plants. Kratom is a lesser-known, “natural” drug, which has recently been on the rise thanks to some health benefits many believe it …

Signs of Opiate Use

In 2014, nearly 2 million people abused or were dependent on opioids, and it’s become a nationwide crisis.  You’ve probably heard the words opiate and opioid being thrown around in light of this epidemic. While these terms sound and look similar, there is a subtle yet significant distinction between the two. Both terms refer to substances that activate the center …

What Constitutes Abusing Drugs?

When it comes to drug or alcohol use, we hear a few common terms thrown around, like use, abuse, and addiction or dependency. For those unfamiliar with these terms, it may be hard to understand whether or not they’re interchangeable, or what the difference is between each. Maybe you or a loved one has been using drugs, and you’re looking …

How Does Sober Living Help Maintain Sobriety?

If you’ve been looking into or have recently completed a treatment program for drug or alcohol addiction, you’ve likely come across sober living programs. Maybe you’ve wondered whether sober living is actually helpful. Sober living homes provide residents with a stepping stone from inpatient treatment to “normal” life. In the 18 months following completion of treatment, statistics show the rates …

Is Isolating an Indicator of Drug Abuse?

You’ve done your research and you know the signs. You notice your loved one is isolating himself or herself much more than usual, and you suspect it’s because they’re abusing drugs. Isolating is a common indicator of drug abuse, so if your loved one is exhibiting other physical or behavioral symptoms, you may be right to be concerned. However, your …

Why is Being Involved in the Community So Important for an Addict’s Recovery?

By nature, humans are social creatures. Because of this, we crave connection with other humans. While it’s absolutely possible to achieve success individually, we’re often able to achieve better and faster results when we’re working with a group. If you think about it that way, it makes complete sense that so many addiction recovery programs, most famously 12-step programs, incorporate …

3 Common Triggers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

In the USA, drug use and abuse is on the rise across all demographics. In 2014, it was reported that heroin users had tripled since 2003, and the number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids had quadrupled since 1999. Alcohol abuse rates are also climbing. Between 2002 and 2013, high-risk drinking (more than three drinks per day for women, or …

Is LSD Addictive?

LSD, also known by its street name, acid, is a hallucinogen that is most commonly sold as small squares of paper, but also as liquid or pellets. It’s tasteless and odorless. The abbreviation LSD comes from Lysergsaure-Diathylamid, the German version of its chemical name. LSD was discovered by accident in the late 1930s by a man named Albert Hofmann. How …

Why You Can’t Force Someone to Get Treatment for an Addiction (& What to Do Instead)

Watching someone you love lose themselves to an addiction is never easy. You might find yourself beginning to act out of fear or desperation, trying to manipulate or control your loved one, or trying to force them into treatment. Unfortunately, these fear-based behaviors don’t help anyone, and will likely only make the situation worse. You can’t force someone into treatment …

What is the Importance of a Sponsor in Recovery?

Even if you’ve never battled an addiction yourself, you’ve likely heard the word “sponsor” in connection with addiction recovery. A sponsor is a mentor or a guide who has gone through the journey to recovery themselves and is able to mentor or guide another person, known as a sponsee, who is working toward recovery themselves. Sponsors are used in 12-step …

5 Signs Your Loved One is Abusing Drugs

You’ve noticed something about your loved one has been a bit off lately. Maybe it took you a while to realize it. Maybe you didn’t want to realize it, but there’s little doubt in your mind at this point. You think your loved one is abusing drugs. It’s a devastating thought, but how can you be a hundred percent sure? …

How Do I Bounce Back from A Relapse?

Experiencing a relapse after completing treatment for addiction can be disheartening at best. It’s easy to allow negative, self-destructive thoughts into your head, and feel discouraged from trying again. It’s important to remember that a relapse is not a failure. Relapsing can be part of the recovery process for many people, and that it’s still very possible to achieve lifelong …

Why do Relapses Occur?

A quick internet search for relapse statistics brings up numbers that look a bit discouraging. Relapses are absolutely a setback in recovery from addiction, but they aren’t a failure, and it’s possible to bounce back from a relapse to achieve lifelong recovery. Your best shot at preventing yourself or your loved one from relapsing is to learn why relapses occur, …

How to Set Boundaries When Your Loved One is Suffering from Addiction

Watching a loved one suffer from an addiction can be incredibly painful.  You want your loved one to be healthy, happy, and to know that they’re loved. Addiction can create a toxic environment in your relationship, making it difficult to communicate these feelings effectively, and causing unbearable emotional or even physical harm.  Knowing how to set the right boundaries will …

3 Advantages of Residential Treatment Centers

A staggering 21 million Americans have some sort of substance addiction, according to Addiction Center, yet only around 10% of those people receive treatment. If you’re one of those 21 million and you’re here because you’re considering your treatment options, you’re on the right track. Treatment can make the difference between life and death. By this point, though, you’ve probably …