Tag Archives: recovery advice

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

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Q & A about the Recovery Process with with a Real-Life Recoveree

28 Mar

As someone in recovery from alcoholism and Borderline Personality Disorder, I often get questions about the recovery process. To recover, I mostly did Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), which I now use to help others out of addiction and mental health problems. I then went on to use other tools and practices to work on my recovery further.

I must stress that everyone is an individual, but here are some questions I have been asked, along with my honest answers. I hope you find them helpful.

1.  When did you realise that you had to stop drinking for good, rather than doing controlled drinking?

When I faced the fact that, in reality, I was rarely able to control my drinking. I almost always had more than I planned, and whenever I managed to limit myself to just a few drinks I felt so horribly deprived and grief-stricken at not being “allowed” any more, that it was better not to have any, frankly! Trying to control my drinking became far more painful than just not drinking at all.

2.  How did you know when treatment was working for you?

I had a breakthrough moment when I was doing DBT. I spoke about it in the first chapters of my book, The Happy Addict. I realised that I was either going to let go of the past and get on with making my life magnificent, or I was going to be condemned to suffering forever. I realised that whatever had happened in the past, and however much I was suffering, I had to be the one who pulled myself out.

I realised that my own thinking, beliefs and behaviours were sabotaging me more than anyone or anything from the past or the present ever could. I had to decide that I would win in the end, and commit to doing that, no matter what. For me, for my family, for my cat. But mostly for me. Because there was no other choice.

All I was doing by fighting reality was losing. If I drank, I was just making myself incapable of solving problems. If I acted out, I was just making myself feel worse about myself. The only thing to do was thoroughly and utterly commit to doing the right thing by me, no matter how I felt. It was only by doing the right things that I even started to like myself.

Our behaviour is what gets us results, including changing how we feel about ourselves. One of my biggest realisations is that I don’t have to act on how I feel. I can choose to do the right things to move forward, no matter how I feel. I never regret doing the right thing, and I always feel better about myself when I choose to act wisely.

3.  Was it a long time before you stopped having more bad than good days?

It was about three months of constantly and stubbornly applying the DBT I was learning until the worst of the days passed. Three months of constantly looking at the positives, constantly fighting down my urges to self-sabotage, constantly doing the right thing. Those three months were the most difficult, and then after that, it got easier to do the right thing – I was seeing how much better I felt for it, and how I could go upwards in life now, rather than downwards. It became like a positive dynamo.

4.  Sometimes Addiction and Mental Health services don’t understand. Did you have this and how can this be resolved?

I had people who didn’t care. I had people who didn’t understand. I had to face waiting lists that would take years. Again, those are things I couldn’t control, so I decided that I would largely do it without them. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or believes – you can still choose to get better. And you can focus on the people who do understand and are willing to help. They are there if you look for them.

5.  After you stopped drinking, did you switch to anything else, or was drinking the last coping mechanism?

If I have problems now, I either solve them, or if I can’t solve them, I let the feelings go. I don’t need to “cope”. My two options are: solve it or let it go.

6.  How long after stopping drinking did you stop counting days sober, and realise that however hard the work was, it was worth it?

I stopped counting at just under a year. I always knew it was worth it – because the alternative was staying in the misery I was in before. No matter how hard it was, it had to be better than that.

7. Do you believe anyone can recover like you did?

Yes. With all my heart.

If you’d like your questions about recovery answered, drop me a line here.

by Beth Burgess

 

Have You Entered The Addiction Zone?

24 Mar

I was delighted to be interviewed recently by author and coach Tom Evans. We talked about what it means to enter the addiction zone – and more importantly, how to get out of it!

Popular Addiction Recovery Book Now on Kindle!

21 Mar

It’s the moment I have been asked about over and over again since “The Happy Addict” was published last summer. “When, oh, when can I buy your brill book on Kindle?!” Well fret no more recovery fans, “The Happy Addict: How to Be Happy in Recovery from Alcoholism or Drug Addiction” has newly been released on Kindle, and is available from all the Amazon sites worldwide, and on Smashwords. If you haven’t read my latest book on rebuilding your life after addiction, why not? It’s got great reviews, and can help you to develop healthier, happier ways of thinking so you can avoid relapse and have a wonderful life after addiction.

It’s essential reading for people who want to have a full and complete recovery from addiction. “The Happy Addict” can teach you better ways of dealing with problems and coping with life, rather than using substances. It will also inspire you to look at sobriety in a new and empowering way, and to become a happier person. What’s not to like?!

Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Addiction Treatment Magazine has to say about the book: “Dive right into chapter one to find yourself turning the pages almost as fast as your eyes can devour the contents. It’s that good…This is a fine book by a really happy addict in recovery. Burgess has a wealth of good suggestions, common-sense and practical exercises and should be an inspiration to many who are now or will be in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction (or both).”

You can buy The Happy Addict on Amazon UK, at Amazon.com, and on Smashwords now. Even better, if you already bought the paperback version through Amazon, you should be offered a special discount on the Kindle version, too. Hurray and Hoorah!

Yes, that is Russell Brand with my book. And no, you can’t get him on Kindle (as far as I’m aware)…
– See more at: http://www.bethburgess.co.uk/index.php/news-archive/top-addiction-recovery-book-comes-to-kindle-#sthash.dbRV7Oxp.dpuf

Video

When Should You Tell People You’re An Addict (If Ever)?

28 Feb

Addiction Stigma – Should You Tell People You're An Addict? – YouTube.