It Happens Today Recovery Friends! So Please Tune Into ~Facing Addiction in America. . .

17 Nov

Recovery Starts Here! A Gambling Free and Sober Blog~Sharing Hope In Recovery One Day At A Time.

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A load of Professors and me…

16 Sep

It sounds like the beginning of an excruciatingly bad joke, but no, little old me managed to get published in an Oxford University Press book about addiction that’s out today. I should note t…

Source: A load of Professors and me…

A load of Professors and me…

16 Sep

It sounds like the beginning of an excruciatingly bad joke, but no, little old me managed to get published in an Oxford University Press book about addiction that’s out today.

I should note that all the other writers are hugely-respected bigwigs. But hopefully no-one will notice me popping in there for a chapter or two.

It excites me so much that students and scholars could soon be reading my work.

I may not have the ‘right’ degree, but I do know of what I speak, having studied addiction for years, been through it myself, and having a lot of practical experience (and success) with clients.

So if you see me grinning from ear to ear today, it’s not that I’ve thought up a terrible  profesaddictionchoicesor joke  (although I may have); it’s because I know if I can if I can do this, you can too.

Addiction and Choice: rethinking the Relationship is available today in the UK and next month in the US (sorry my  US cousins – you can always preorder.)

ISBN: 9780198727224

UK publishing date: 17th September 2016

Publisher: Oxford University Press

So What Does a Recovering Addict Look Like Anyway?

20 Jun

A good friend of mine asked me to do  Q&A for a new London-based magazine that is aimed that the recovery community and kind of begs the question, well “How normal are we now?” after a bit of recovery time. It’s called Normal for that very reason, I think.

When we lived lives of addiction, we did so many abnormal things that we just passed over as “one of those things”, because the addiction ruled us. In early sobriety, it is terribly easy to feel wrong and out of place, to be up and down with your emotions and to still practice many addictions, whether to food or love or Thierry Henry (sorry, just me that one).

But after several years clean and having trodden our own path of recovery, we feel a bit less like we stand out as the guy or gal ordering a diet cola at the bar. We are not necessarily as reactive or up-and-down as in those early days. We’re not as hung up over the addiction and are able to, never be complacent, but weave back into a fun and fulfilling life.

And what we find is that none of us are quite normal. My friend, Ali, who sub-edits the magazine certainly isn’t. She’s a Rawk Chick at heart, lives on a barge on the Thames and is an ardent fan of West Ham. Abnormal. Definitely.

But I’m not normal either. I’d describe myself as a Buddhist with a cracked sense of humour, a cat who I have named “Carwash”, and an indescribable urge to help people. What the freak is normal about that??humour, a cat who I have named “Carwash”, and an indescribable urge to help people. What the freak is normal about that?

Anyway, for all you US recovery peeps, I send you my love. You can read the full interview below. Thanks to Ali, and all the normalish people who decided a mag for recovery peeps was just what we needed. (And I happen to agree) .normalish people who decided a mag for recovery peeps was just what we needed. (And I happen to agree) .

ZOOOOOOMMMM INNNNN!!!!!

Q and A with Normal

Oh, and if you’re in any way as inspired by DiversityInCare‘s wonderful, life-changing work as I am, please think about donating. we’ll take pounds, pennies, dollars, cents and gifts in kind. Thanks and you’re amazing 🙂

Who Are Your Recovery Heroes?

15 Dec

Recovery heroes are people who are vital for various reasons: hope that one day we may also be addiction-free and happy is the greatest reason of all. But there are other reasons why recovery heroes are so important.

Although we have to find our individual path to recovery, there is no need to totally reinvent the wheel. We can follow in the footsteps of people who have been there before, we can learn from their mistakes, see how they have faced challenges and still remained sober and happy. We can use them in times of trouble. We can ask ourselves “What would my recovery hero do or say about this situation?”

There are many people in recovery from addiction who I look up to, admire and respect, but here are some of the 5 people who deserve to be named as recovery heroes for me personally, and why I love them so much:

Noah Levine

Me and Noah Levine

Me and Noah Levine

There is no-one I respect so much as someone who completely turns their life around – it’s a big task to go from angry trouble-making criminal to sober serene author, speaker and someone trying to reach out to young people who need help.

Noah Levine’s talks, podcasts, books and videos made me see that spirituality in recovery is not something to be sneered at or afraid of – it’s a way of making your recovery, and your whole life, much better. He’s a really accessible guide for people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as ‘the spiritual sort’.

 

Wynford Ellis Owen

Wynford's book

Wynford’s book

Wynford was an alcoholic who had the same severity of problem as I did. Once sober, he wrote a book which validated so much for me about the problems I was experiencing. He really was a keystone in me reaching out for help, just by reading his book.

In person, he’s a wonderfully warm soul who holds positions at several recovery projects and steering groups. I feel I could ask him anything, literally anything, and he would reply with honesty, compassion and wisdom. In fact, I have often asked him several things about addiction and recovery – he never fails me.

 

Kuladitya

Many of my recovery heroes are not particularly famous. Kuladitya was an alcohol counsellor I had many years ago, who used a person-centred approach (a la Carl Rogers) and understood addiction in a way that most counsellors I saw at the time didn’t.

He worked with me as an individual, not just as an addict (thanks for the lend of the Bukowski book). He was the first person in recovery I met who I emulated. I wanted his peace, his individuality, his recovery.

 

Kristen Johnston

KJ rocking recovery

KJ rocking recovery

I have never met Kristen, though we’ve had a few Twitter chats. I love how open she is about her recovery and  how she shows the world that recovery doesn’t have to be dull and boring. You’re allowed to keep your cheeky sense of humour when you’re sober and you’re allowed to be who you are.

In fact, recovery gives you the ability to be who you really are without wearing a mask of intoxication. Kudos to Kristen, who shows how much recovery rocks, and is willing to devote a lot of her time to helping others who are struggling with addiction. Kristen’s got guts. And some.

 

Greg Williams

I have to give a shout-out to the director of The Anonymous People. I’ve never met him in person, but he has pushed the agenda of recovery forward massively. His film with Bill White, who also deserves special mention, made people realise that addiction is not a shameful thing – it’s a disorder. Recovery is possible and we should be loud and proud about it.

Thanks, Greg, for contributing a really important work to the world of recovery. And he deserves even more praise for rocking the recovery world at a relatively young age.

Who are your recovery heroes? And why?

What Are The Best Addiction Recovery Books?

20 Aug

Although 1:1 work and support are the ideal ways to beat addiction, books on addiction recovery have their place, too. If you are confused about where to start with recovery, need some identification, or just need a few helpful reminders about how to make your recovery even stronger, addiction books can fulfil that need.

One of my books,The Recovery Formula: An Addict’s Guide to getting Clean and Sober Forever has just been awarded five stars out of five by Reader’s Favorite, so other people obviously agree that books on addiction recovery can be very valuable.

I know that on my own journey, one particular book sparked so much hope, identification, and some real practical lessons on how to start recovering, that I really credit it for motivating me to make the decision to reach out for help when I was really struggling to stay sober on my own. That book was No Room to Live: A Journey from Addiction to Recovery by My favourite addiction recovery bookWynford Ellis Owen, which I know hardly anyone has heard of.

But that book personally inspired me so much that I actually typed out an email to thank the author for writing it when I was in the middle of alcohol withdrawal (Yes, my keyboard was covered in sweat and and the email had many typos!). And when I had recovered and decided to write my first book, The Recovery Formula, I sent my book to him to see what he thought. Luckily, he loved it, and even gave me a review for the back cover.

This shows just how powerful connecting with others’ experiences and wisdom can be in recovery, and the place of books in enabling us to give and gain hope, motivation, and sometimes even help save someone’s life.

I also love that there are books which are really specific to certain addictions. For example, if you suffer from a gambling addiction, Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) could offer you a lot of identification and motivation, while In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction is a great read for those with less ‘classic addictions’ who find themselves identifying with addicts nonetheless.

What are your top books on addiction recovery, and why?

Having the Worst Day EVER? Read this.

21 Jul
by Chanie Gorkin.

by Chanie Gorkin.

This is a pretty powerful poem about the way we look at things. I haven’t been around on my blog much lately. You can find out why here. In that post, you’ll also learn my 5 golden rules for getting through really tough times.