September/October 2011 - 12 Step Gazette

September/October 2011 - 12 Step Gazette

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 2Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 3Relapse - Don't even think about it!It's easier to STAY clean and sober, then it is to GET clean and sober!If anybody has ever relapsed they know that this is maybe the best way todescribe the whole experience. There are thousands of scenarios of relapsesbut some common threads run through them all. Often times we are “notplugged in to the program” and we forget the overwhelming power of obsessionthat takes over once we open “Pandora's Box”. Or another commonpre-relapse situation is the “temper tantrum”. We are so emotionallytwisted we seem to not even care what's going to happen – picking up thefirst one is like a desperate, loud scream. But in most cases, it is a slow, complicatedprocess of backstepping, unplugging and complacency.Before going on, let's talk about the difference between a “slip” and a relapse.As we do differentiate between the two, let's throw in the question,“How much recovery or sobriety do you have to have before it is even considereda relapse? First of all, what is a “slip”? It used to be an AA expressionused simply to describe the fact that a member drank. These days it seemsto apply to all 12 step programs and it implies that it lasted a very short time.As opposed to a 'relapse' which insinuates a much longer period of being“off the wagon”. Many members have disputed the fact that you can evencall something a relapse if the person hasn't been in the recovery process toolong. It probably depends on the person and the level of commitment theyhad before they decided to pick up. No matter how we define all these things,one fact rings true; drinking and drugging is never to be taken lightly – especiallynot the way WE do it! One thing we are taught from day one – wehave a disease that leads to jails, institutions and death. The only way toprevent those ends? To NOT pick up that first drink or drug.Many words have been spoken about the concept of “triggers” - people,places or things that seem to get us in a “craving” mode. It's best if we avoidthem but the truth is we're not going to be able to do that entirely – so weneed to keep our “program” together and our “surrender” tight! If we don’tand are faced with a desire to take the first drink or drug, we may underestimatehow hard it will be to stop - even after just one. If we have been complacentin our recovery it’s surprising how quickly we forget. Also, there isthe fact that this disease of ours seems to have a will and a power of its own.It likes to get us any way it can. If we are clean and sober for a while, it’salmost unbelievable how many ways it will use to try to knock us off “oursquare”. We've seen experienced members who are abstinent and going tomeetings all of a sudden have to take a new medication and that devilishvoice will whisper in our ear; “hey, did you really need that?” Even if it'snot a mood altering substance, our disease loves to get us to question ourselves.When we fall short in the areas of honesty, manipulation, or any of ahundred other behaviors this disease, which lives in our minds, will try toget us to “beat ourselves”. Once it starts to do that we have to be very carefuland take a step back; we need to ask ourselves, “What I've been doing maybehasn't been the most spiritual (or whatever), but am I going to let it continueto get worse without at least telling my sponsor?” Often, we will find thatwe had been heading down a secret alleyway of feelings, thoughts and behaviorsthat may not have been an actual relapse yet – we had not picked upthat drink or drug - but we were heading in a slow downward spiral thatmight eventually lead to that. We need to share our little secrets with somebody...orthis disease, being VERY powerful, will get us to think, “We'reblowing it. That wasn't the “recovering thing to do!” Another problem withacting out on defects is, if we're starting to do some 'slimy' things, we maynot feel like we can talk or pray to our higher power because we are “betraying”that relationship. Once we do open up to a sponsor or do start “talking”to our higher power, we will find out that it's OK to be human. Thateverybody else in the program is making plenty of mistakes, too. That wedon't have to be perfect – but we better be very careful not to use that to justifythat first beer or pill (or whatever you're staying abstinent from). Look– when it all comes down to sobriety and recovery versus taking that firstdrink or drug the old timers were dead right – we just can't do it! No matterwhat. Our members die every day who have not heeded that very clear warning.We can do all kinds of fancy step work – we can help thousands of othersand be a really great person. We may go through all kinds of horriblecircumstances - maybe lose the love of our lives. We can yell at God, curseat meetings and act like complete maniacs. We can cry and moan. We canthrow chairs. None of that matters. Nothing matters – except one thing...wecannot drink or drug. It's simple...regardless of what we feel, what we thinkor how crazy we get, we can’t even THINK about taking that first one.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 4Two Tools Are BeTTer ThAn one!Acceptance Is The KeyThere is a very famous quote from the Big Book of Alcoholic Anonymousthat has given hope and a solution to many people in sobriety and throughoutthe vast world of recovery programs who were having problems in theirlives. It is famously referred to as “Acceptance is the Key” and appears onpage 449 (of the 3rd Edition). It goes like this;“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed,it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation, some factof my life, unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept thatperson, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed tobe at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world bymistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unlessI accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentratenot so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on whatneeds to be changed in me and my attitudes.”Let's say that we're going through a really bad time in our recovery. Weread this carefully and realize we have to accept things we cannot change(the serenity prayer). But we still are feeling pretty depressed about it. Howabout adding another tool? Make a Gratitude List – start listing things onpaper that ARE going right. Combining acceptance with gratitude.Making A Gratitude ListBeing the kind of people who almost naturally focus on the negative, despiteknowing that there are some things that are going well, we need tohave a conscious effort and actually sit down and write a list of those thingsthat we are grateful for. It is suggested that we start with stuff we often takefor our eyesight or hearing. Or the fact that we can walk, talkand even breathe. If these sound a little trite or corny, here's another suggestion.Don't just write the item down but actually try to imagine what lifewould be like if you were blind. Close your eyes and feel the lack of vision.Then open them and see if you're not just a little more grateful. Now thatyou get the idea, start adding all kinds of things to this list.We might still be very upset about something we are having trouble accepting,but if we continue on and use this other tool, it might lesson thepain and add some relief. Two tools are better than one! After all, just likeone step alone isn't usually enough to cope with any complicated or overwhelmingthing we may be going through, the same applies for the tools inthe program. If we can combine a couple of steps together and “throw thatknockout punch” at one of our problems, then we can do the same with thespiritual principles. In coping with life, we need to use everything we learnin the program. A principle here, a step there and we’re well on our way.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 5Practice daily meditation. There is no substitute for consistent, daily meditationin aiding our facility to remain present. The best thing about meditationis it also allows us time to actually listen to ourselves. Most of thetime, we’re constantly talking to ourselves and we never take the time tolisten. During the practice of silent awareness, we have the opportunity tolisten to our thoughts and feelings, and in doing so, we’ll be better equippedto remain mindful when we feel pulled into unconscious patterns. The mostimportant thing to do is start small. Practice meditating for 5 or 10 minuteseach day before you go to sleep or after you wake up. Don’t be hard onyourself if you feel your mind isn’t quieting fast enough, or if you thinkyou’re not good at meditating. If you remain diligent, your mind will eventuallyget tired of listening to itself babble incessantly. We will eventuallylearn how to really relax.What is something you can do to attempt a meditation experience rightnow? Here is a good meditation for beginners called mindfulness.Key points in mindfulness meditation are:A quiet environment. Choose a secluded place in your home, office,garden, place of worship, or in the great outdoors where you can relax withoutdistractions or interruptions.A comfortable position. Get comfortable, but avoid lying down as thismay lead to you falling asleep. Sit up with your spine straight, either in achair or on the floor. You can also try a cross-legged or lotus position.A point of focus. This point can be internal – a feeling or imaginaryscene – or something external - a flame or meaningful word or phrase thatyou repeat throughout your session. You may meditate with eyes open orclosed. Also choose to focus on an object in your surroundings to enhanceyour concentration, or alternately, you can close your eyes.An observant, noncritical attitude. Don’t worry about distractingthoughts that go through your mind or about how well you’re doing. Ifthoughts intrude during your relaxation session, don’t fight them. Instead,gently turn your attention back to your point of focus.Find Your Way - Motivation by Ralph MarstonDon't complain that something is blocking your path. Find a way over it,under it, around or through it. Just because the work is difficult doesn't meanit's impossible. Find a way, and you'll absolutely make it happen. You can'texpect to be told exactly what steps will get you where you want to go. Findjoy and sweet fulfillment in the fact that it's up to you to find your own way.Don't waste your time crafting elaborate excuses or seeking the pity of others.Invest your precious time in finding a way forward. You might think itwould be nice if someone else were to cater to your every need and whim.Yet what your spirit truly desires is to find its own way, and deep inside youknow that. You were born to find your own unique way through life's richnessof possibilities. Your treasures await, so get going right now.Woven Together - Motivation by Ralph MarstonA strong, thick rope is not made of one solid strand of material. It is composedof dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of small threads, all woventogether in the same direction. It is so easy to break a small thread that youmight consider it to be insignificant. Yet if there were no small threads, therewould be nothing with which to construct the strong, thick rope. In the sameway, every great achievement is made from dozens, or hundreds, or perhapstens of thousands of smaller efforts, all woven together in the same direction.Though each effort may seem so trivial as to not be worth the effort, itis actually an essential component of the overall achievement. In this verymoment is your opportunity to make a small effort. Make use of the opportunity,and the next one, and the next. When you do, you soon will havewoven together something of great value, something strong and useful. Youwill have something big and impressive to show for all those small, focusedefforts. No effort is too small to matter. In every moment, and in every situation,you can move surely and steadily ahead.Copyright 2010 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. www.dailymotivator.comEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 6Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 7Those Who Judge, Don’t Matter......Those Who Matter, Don’t JudgeWhat a great relief it is to know that there are some people around whodon't judge us. Most of us come into 12 step programs with having donesuch outrageous, anti-social and irresponsible behaviors that we assumeeverybody's “checking us out.” When we do start to get involved in theprogram, we see that we're all birds of a feather. That we have all beencriticized and ostracized. So, now we're here. Among friends. We assume,“They understand how crazy I can be. They won't judge me, right? Butfor the grace of God go they, it says on a plaque on the wall.” Right?Wrong! They might give us a lot of leeway when we're new around herebut once we're kind of settled into sobriety – into the recovery process –it seems we sometimes hear little birdies saying things about us. Stuff like,“I can't believe he/she is doing that...boy are they messed up”. So manyof us are often trying to justify our own shortcomings and defects thatlooking at other people's issues is a way of avoiding the one thing we maynot feel ready for – change!It's human nature to point the finger at other people. We do it all thetime. It's almost an unconscious thing. Many people go through theirwhole lives without ever taking a look at themselves. The problem withus doing that is we have a fatal disease that demands we take a personalinventory – we have to get to the exact nature of our self defeating behaviors,actions and thoughts. If not, we will continue on to the bitter endsand if we came this far, we have decided that's not what we want.We can't control other people and we can't stop them from talkingabout us. The one thing we can control is the way we react to all this junk.The first thing we need to do is to remember that there are many fantasticmembers who don't judge – who have some principles in their lives. Thenext thing we might want to think about is why does it matter so muchwhat certain people say. That's a tough one. We are very sensitive peopleby nature – and now that we're really trying hard to do the best we can, wefeel like it's not fair that we're being falsely accused of stuff (or judged tooharshly). It's probably not fair. Plus, injustice is one of the hardest thingsto accept in life. But we can console ourselves with the fact that these gossipersshouldn't matter to us – the members we should be concerned with(and what they think) are the people whom we respect and admire – thepeople we love. It's tough for us sometimes to do this – after all, we love tofocus on the negative. Twenty people in a room – nineteen give us a compliment– we HAVE to know everything that is going through the head ofthe 20th person. To make matters worse, we'll give the one person's feedbackmore weight then the other nineteen people's comments put together.We ARE crazy.So there are many people who judge. What kind of people are they andare they good for our sanity, our recovery or our happiness? If we lookhonestly at this, even if we’re curious about why they are taking our inventory,we might see that these people can be like poison for us. If we starthanging out with them or feel what they do is somehow justified, then werun the risk of taking the focus off of ourselves too. {There used to be agreat joke about people who take other people’s inventories all the time;We would say, “Next time you take my inventory could you write it alldown and give it to me so I won’t have to do my 4th step?”} Let's try tostart focusing on the people who SHOULD matter to us the most – the peoplewho want the best for us. There are no perfect people in the rooms sowe have to be very careful about putting anybody on a pedestal. But we canalways find at least a couple members in any meeting who are well intentioned,humble and the kind of people whom we respect.Do you feel emotionally “stuck” and unable to move forward?It’s time to Break throughBreakthrough at Caron is an innovative 5 1 / 2 day program for individualsfacing personal struggles with dysfunctional relationship patterns orimpacted by a loved one’s addiction and/or mental illness.Breakthrough’s group process offers an opportunity to get“unstuck” and “break through” to improved self-esteem and healthierconnections with others.Groundbreakingworkshop featuredon National TV!800.268.6259 www.BreakthroughAtCaron.orgEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 8Conari Press PMeans R Recoveryr yAVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS AND EBOOKS ARE SOLDCodependencee and thePower of Detachment Karen CaseyISBN 978-1-57324-362-92-9 $15.95“In thismust-read b book, KarenCaseyoutlines the ongoing processof detachment, which ultimatelymeans dealing withourcontrolissues and fear.” —Melanie Beattie,author of Codependent dent No MorePeace a Day At a Time Karen CaseyISBN 978-1-57324-267-77-7 7 $14.95In this new collection Casey offers fermeditations for the next step in re--covery: developingserenity in orderto live a happier,more peaceful life.HealingYourHungry Heart Joanna Poppink, MFTISBN 978-1-57324-470-1 -57324-470-1 $16.95For women over 35 struggling withemotional eating, this book offers ferhope, understanding, and real solutions.The Intervention Book Kathy L.ISBN 978-1-57324-495-4 -57324-495-4 $16.95For anyone ne who has a friend or lovedone struggling with anaddiction, ion,thisbook offers festep-by-step advice andhope for a life in recovery.r ery.Moms to MomsBarbara JoyISBN 978-1-57324-483-1 $16.95This is a book that offers ferhelp andhope to busy,stressed-out moms ms inrecovery ery — from other moms whohave been there.Still Standing Bucky SinisterISBN 978-1-57324-476-3 $14.95The rough part of recovery andsobriety is living it. Sinister takeson the“What Now?” question withhumor and honesty,providinghope and inspiration in his ownunique way..Conari Presswww.redwheelweiser.comweiser.com800.423.7087orders@rwwbooks.comoks.comEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 9Mark Sigmund’s12 Steps of RelapseCADC, CCDPFor many recovering addicts, the toughest part about recovery is quietingthe mind. Like an out of control train, obsessions, projections, and thoughtsof future catastrophes can plague our minds. These negative thoughts canmake our recovery extremely uncomfortable. Alcoholics Anonymous haslong taught that an excellent way to restore sanity to our thoughts isthrough meditation. AA even dedicated the 11th step to meditation! Studieshave also shown that meditation can help reverse heart disease, reducepain, calm anxiety, and enhance the body's immune system. Many peoplethink meditation is complicated, or doesn't work for them. However, it canbe simple! A good way to start meditating is to find a quiet, peaceful place,like next to a lake, or in the woods. You should concentrate on your breath,and breathe deeply, in your nose, down to your stomach, and out of yourmouth. Your stomach should rise and fall. Next, listen to the sounds, feelthe breeze, smell the fresh air. Try to stay completely in the momentthrough your senses. They will come alive. If your mind starts to chatter,let those disruptive thoughts just flow by like a river, and come back toyour calming breath. You should practice for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Somerecovering addicts find a special meditation spot to go everyday to practice.Remember, you get better the more you meditate! The serenity youwill gain from meditation will enrich your recovery, and your life!Mark Sigmund is a counselor at Rehab After Work.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 10Carry the Message, Not the Mess!Excerpted from an anonymous Facebook postFull of shame and blame, folks walk into the rooms of recovery as a portin the storm. A reprieve from the tornado that has become our lives. Wereach out to others to find solace. Carry the message not the mess? Hmm.Interesting concept. Is it not true that we can only do the best that we cando when carrying the message? After all, we are not perfect people.I’ve heard that kindness kills. I’ve also seen “vein bustin’ screeching” atnewcomers that are struggling with the revolving relapse door. Heard unbelievablewords of shame spouted at folks who are still so deep in theirdisease that they don’t even know how sick their sick is. As a former trainedchemical dependency counselor and having sponsored a gaggle of girls inmy time, I know how effective a tool confrontation can be. HOWEVER …you sorta have to know what works. When someone is used to beingscreamed at how effective are harsh words? Sometimes no words fits better.Sometimes, a lot of times, people have to find their own way. We can’tMAKE anyone better. Ever. All we can do is share our experience, strengthand hope and speak from our heart.Sometimes fellow members don’t like the things we say when we reachout. If we’re to carry the “message not the mess” then why do folks get sooffended? They get angry at the way we do our 12th step. But offended?Really? Whispering about “not working a program” and blah blah blah. Igravitate towards the “it’s not about me” club. Cause’ really it’s not. It’sabout the still suffering newcomer. We can only do the best that we can do.If that’s the case, then my expectations about recovery should focus solelyon my own show. What am I doing to be helpful?We come to the rooms of recovery to get well and in order to do that wehave to “give it away to keep it”. It’s the simple act of giving that does thetrick. Doesn’t say a darn thing about expecting results from the giving. Gettingclear on this idea saves an awful lot of heartache. So yes. Carry themessage. Be the hand outstretched. Most of all, let's keep our own expectations,judgments and opinions out of it . Let's just carry the message andsave our “mess” for work with our sponsors!Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 11Recovery (Sobriety) Is Not A Spectator Sport!How many times have we thought to ourselves that tomorrow will bebetter, that we’ll tackle this or that situation then, but we’re not quite readynow? Maybe we excuse our inability to do the hard work of recovery todaybecause we’re giving ourselves an out, a plausible deniability – we think.But this sitting things out and waiting on the sidelines for something to happenis more likely to backfire than it is to do us any good.After all, nothing good was ever accomplished by allowing the momentto slip by. In fact, just the opposite is true. We often miss a golden opportunityby thinking it will still be there tomorrow. Not that doing good work inrecovery won’t be just as good tomorrow as today, but putting off whatwe know we need to do doesn’t help with our commitment or our resolveto remain abstinent.In reality, everything we do in recovery is important. It’s the disciplinethat we put into our daily routine and the resolve we hold fast that will enableus to look at the work of recovery in a different light. Instead of tortureand taking away from our freedom to do as we please, we need to push ourselvesto see our life in recovery as one of opportunity and progress. It maybe a “program voice” that gets us off the couch or out from behind the deskto do what we need to do for our recovery, but it definitely works.As they say in the rooms, we learn by doing. Action is what recovery isall about, not talking about it or allowing the thought of what we mightdo to briefly entertain us. We need to act, and we need to do it today.The sticking point that many of us have with respect to doing the workof recovery right now is that we’re secretly afraid that it won’t work or thatit will be too difficult or we’re too lazy. Complacency and fear are hugeobstacles – but they can be overcome. How? For one thing, we need to talkover our fears and what we feel is holding us back from our recovery workwith our sponsor. It certainly won’t be anything our sponsor hasn’t heardbefore. Likely he or she has personal experience with the same types offears and lack of motivation. In any event, who better to help guide usthrough the labyrinth of uncertainty and doubt then our sponsor?Of course, there may be specific reasons for why we’re not actively outdoing the work of recovery right now. We may be bedridden or sick, for example.But that doesn’t preclude us from speaking on the phone with oursponsor, from reading recovery literature, or from making and revising ourlist of recovery plans and goals. There’s always something we can do.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 12how To raiSe Your handif You’re reallY ShYMany of us go to meetings when we’re new - we see peopleraise their hands - and when they get called on they just starttalking. As newcomers we look at this and many of us are feelingall kinds of things; first of all, “I would love to be able to dothat…I have so much I need to get out about what’s going on insideof me.” Sadly for many of us, we think “I’ll never be able to do that”.But that is what this article is all about…THAT YOU CAN DO IT!One thing we always forget is that when we see people do things thatlook really hard that probably they didn’t start off doing things that well.It was a process that started perhaps with very small steps. Here are someeasy directions that are guaranteed not to give you a heart attack or a nervousbreakdown and will have you sharing like an old pro in no time.1) Try to sit in an area where you will most likely be seen easily by thechairperson – you don’t want to muster up all this courage, get your handup the whole meeting and then not even get seen, let alone called on. Sittingbehind a bunch of people and barely lifting your hand halfway is a halfhearted attempt and has been done before - it’s just a cop out.2) Practice the first sentence – you’re not going to say that much at thebeginning, anyway. And here’s what you’re going to say; “I am an (alcoholic,addict, etc.) and my name is (first name).”3) Practice the second sentence – This is a good next sentence; “I’m reallynervous so I may not say too much but I know I need to get used to sharingand talking about what’s going on with me.”4) At the beginning, quit when you’re ahead – if that’s all you feel comfortablewith, say, “Well that’s all I have”.5) If you want to start taking a little more of a risk, you can say, “I havex amount of days clean (or sober) and I need a sponsor.” . This skill of“sharing” can become your most important lifeline so give it a shot. It'sworth every bit of nervousness you might feel and the results are amazing.The elevenTh STep BookSTore CeleBraTeS 20 YearSIf you love your 12 Step program – If you love recovery – If you love toget recovery “trinkets”...then you have to get to the Eleventh Step BookStore. [Special discounts & drawings October 13th-15th]Did you ever wonder where people in recovery get all those cool programthings like bumper stickers and window decals with NA and AA symbols?How about coins and medallions with fellowship related sayings on them.Maybe you have seen somebody wearing their medallion as a necklace andwondered where do they get those medallion holders or AA and NA earrings?How about all kinds of stuff with recovery slogans including coffeemugs, etc..? When you go give yourself plenty of time. It’s a great placeto look around and they have lots of stuff that make great presents.They also have recovery literature that you’ve never seen before. Theyhave the manuscript of the original precursor to the Big Book that was justreleased in the last year that you can look through and ‘gush’ all over. Howabout a selection of literature from many other 12 Step Programs or the bestselling spiritual books out right now? And if you want some of the mostclever little knick knacks of recovery you'll ever see, here is just a partiallist of things we found there.1) How about a tin of some nice candy called “ResentMints” - true.2) How about a book entitled, “Cures for Alcoholism” and you open up thebook and all the pages ARE BLANK! (that was a fantastic little $5.00 bargain).3) They have those hats that say, “Protected By Smith and Wilson”(instead of Smith and Wesson). There's just an endless amount of cool stuff.Necklaces, bracelets with spiritual principle words...Faith, Courage, Acceptance,etc. Stickers that have great sayings on them. If you can followdirections you can get there easily from Philly and you'll be glad you did -a word of warning: if you're friends know you're going they'll probably wantyou to get them recovery anniversary cards, coins, and all kinds of stuff -so make a list and have fun. See their AD on page 4 for more info.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 13Do You Feel like You NeeD A Fix? Fix The NeeD!If you're tired, get some sleep. If you can't get motivated, ask other peoplehow do they do it. If you're feeling sick, see a doctor. If you're lonely, reachout to some people – or adopt a pet. All these things probably seem likevery basic pieces of advice for people who are not alcoholics or addicts.But if you ARE one of us, they may seem surprisingly like small pieces ofpure genius. Why? Because for many years, the same sentences had a differentsolution. Check these out;If you’re tired, find some speed. If you can't get motivated, start lookingfor an easier job. If you're sick, buy some extra booze and stay in bed fora couple of days...sweat it out! If you're lonely, go to that crazy bar downtown– you always can pick somebody up there. Sound familiar? Well, justbecause we're clean and sober now it doesn't mean that our heads aren'tgoing to be inclined to look for those same kinds of solutions. How manyof us are totally into coffee, Red Bull and cigarettes to get us and keep usgoing during any given day. How many of us have gone to a meeting or alocal coffee shop in hopes of seeing a particular 'available' member who wewere dying to ask out to dinner or a movie – not because we were so interestedin that person but because we were “so darn lonely”? The answer tothis question is probably all of us have resorted to old solutions in one wayor another – maybe not the drinking or drugging old solutions – butold behaviors, nonetheless. This article is not meant to put down or judgecertain ways we deal with feelings. The purpose of this article is to take alook at a really cool slogan. The featured slogan for this issue; “If youneed a fix, fix the need”. When we find ourselves thinking of how a drink,a drug, some gambling, sex, shopping spree or other form of “acting out”might feel good, what we need to do is , STOP, LOOK and LISTEN. Whatare we feeling, why are we feeling that and what's a healthy way of addressingit. This is a good opportunity to call our sponsors and talk about somethingother than sports or the weather. We asked them to sponsor us – letthem do their job (LOL). If we can learn to start recognizing our “needs”,and more importantly our wants disguised as needs, then we can really startto figure out how to live life as other people do. By seeking solutions to our'problems' that are sensible and healthy. [Email us your favorite slogan topossibly be featured in an upcoming issue at]Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 14The Miracle of The 12 STeP ProceSSFrom Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney"Besides the invaluable gift of sobriety that AA has given to millions ofalcoholics, it also started a revolution in spiritual consciousness.”The dramatic success and expansion of AA facilitated the spread of a radicalrevolutionary idea which has traditionally, in Western Civilization, beenconsidered heresy. This was not a new idea but rather a reintroduction andclarification of an old idea, coupled with a formula for practical applicationof the concept into day-to-day human life experience.This revolutionary idea was that an unconditionally loving Higher Powerexists with whom the individual being can personally communicate. AHigher Power that is so powerful that it has no need to judge the humans itcreated because this universal force is powerful enough to ensure that everythingunfolds perfectly from a cosmic perspective.This reintroduction of the revolutionary concept of an accessible lovingGod has been clarified to specifically include the concept that the individualbeing can define this universal force according to his/her own understanding,and can develop a personal, intimate relationship with thisHigher Power. In other words, no one is needed as an intermediary betweenyou and your creator. No outside agency has the right to impose upon youits definition of God... The Twelve Step program of AA provides a practicalprogram for accessing spiritual power in dealing with day-to-day humanlife. A formula for integrating the spiritual into the physical. Even thoughsome of the steps, as originally written, contained demanding and overlyreligious wording, the twelve step process and the ancient spiritual principlesunderlining it are invaluable tools in helping the individual being startdown, and stay on, a path aligned with truth.Trying To Be PerfecT?Excerpt From An Anonymous Blog“Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart andambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion…What is reallyhard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning thework of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen, from her book, Being Perfect.How many times have those of us in recovery tried to be perfect?We try our hardest to be the perfect spouse, child, friend, co-worker – eventhe perfect citizen. We attempt to live by the rules we’ve set for ourselvesin our recovery plan, to map out each and every day so there’s no time tosit by idly and have our thoughts turn to cravings. We try, in fact, so hard tobe perfect that we run ourselves ragged in the process.The truth is that we, as human beings, are but imperfect creatures tryingour best day in and day out. The fact that we are in recovery is not an excuse– it doesn’t make us any more or less susceptible to wanting to be perfectthan any other person. In fact, however, we often measure our achievementsagainst an impossibly unrealistic goal. No one is perfect.But we can start, as Anna Quindlen observes, “beginning the work of becoming”ourselves. Instead of trying valiantly to be perfect, concentrate onachieving satisfaction from the efforts we exert each day. Allow a smile tospread across our face. Take each day as it comes and do the best we canwith it. Today’s accomplishments pave the way for tomorrow’s opportunities.That, in itself, is a measure of perfection.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 15“Getting Sober” says: OK I said some posts might seem controversial –here goes. I often hear people say the obsession was lifted by God. I amcompletely and utterly comfortable with people saying this is what occurredfor them. However, that explanation, for me, seemed a little too pat. Firsta little background: at the age of 6 or 7 I was already questioning my motheron death – Where do we go? What happens to our bodies in the grave? Youcan imagine how uncomfortable it made her. So does questioning the absolutesmany people in recovery hold so dear.I do not in any way question the validity of that answer for many successfullyrecovering people. I just know there are people who are not comfortablewith that explanation, and I think it’s only fair to share other ideason this. I have a pretty solid belief system surrounding this topic. I thinkit has more to do with the first step than the second or third. I am one ofthose people who has never questioned my need to not drink. I never hadcravings. I’m in my 23rd year of sobriety, and I can be around alcohol withoutthe LEAST desire to drink it.Why is that the case when so many people either white-knuckle it orstruggle during periods of their sobriety with cravings or temptation? Wasthe obsession just lifted?In a way, yes. But I believe this has to do with an utter and complete acceptanceof the first step. I fully embraced the belief that I was powerlessover alcohol and that when I used it my life was completely unmanageable.I had not one inkling of doubt in my mind that this was the case. The allureof drinking was negated by the firm embracing of that fundamental belief:drinking alcohol was to me the same as drinking poison.I am perfectly comfortable with other “normal” people drinking becauseI know that for many it’s not poisonous.I’m also allergic to avocados. I get sick as a dog if I get even the slightestlittle bit of it. I don’t test it. Why bother? I already know how I react. Whatam I going to do? Eat avocado to see if I’m still allergic?I’m not bringing this up to deny anyone else’s reality. I’m bringing it upto help those who struggle with the second and third steps – to assure themthat you can stay sober even while struggling with these steps. You don’thave to become a religious zealot to stay sober.It’s not in my nature to embrace dogma. My nature is to question dogma.I am not alone. I would not want to see people get drunk just because theystruggle with dogmatic principles, but instead, I want them to understandthat the key to sobriety is the full acceptance that you just can’t control alcohol’s[and drugs] effect on you. No way. No how.People start drinking and relapse for many reasons, but I truly believethat under all the reasons (my life is too miserable, I can’t do it, etc.) is afundamental flaw in thinking: you still believe on some level you can manageand control it. It’s that belief that has to be destroyed to truly lift theobsession with drinking.My Obsession Was Removed By God. Some people don't agree with thateven though AA literature says that no human power could have relievedour obsession? That only God could and would if he were sought? But itwas written in the third step that God , as we understand Him, so that leavesplenty of wiggle room. It's good we are allowed to run our program eitherway. The meetings are still bringing in all religions, atheists and agnosticsand keeping them clean and sober. But it can't be done on will power alone.This may work for awhile but the time comes, if you're working the 12 stepsand traditions as they're intended to be worked, that God will come intoyour life. It's the only thing that truly removes the obsession to drink or use.For an addict/alcoholic to no longer crave alcohol or their drug of choice isa miracle! That's what the program calls a "spiritual awakening".Anyone can stop drinking for one hour or one day but a spiritual awakeningis needed to stay stopped. Over the decades, it's become a proven factthat members don't stay clean and sober (or they "white-knuckle it" - cleanand sober but miserable) until they have a spiritual awakening and turn itall over to God. I can tell you from experience, I've never met an "old timer"(someone with a considerable amount of sobriety under his belt) whoseHigher Power wasn't of a spiritual nature. For some, this happens instantaneouslyand for others the confusion and struggle drags on for months, evenyears. Sadly, there are some who never see God as their Higher Power andquit going to meetings. They usually relapse and return to a life of drinkingand using drugs which can only lead to three outcomes: insanity, jail, ordeath. An addict/alcoholic can not continue drinking or using without facingthese three inevitable endings. [Editors note: Please remember that theseare blogs by individuals and do not reflect the opinions of the Gazette]Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 16Comedian Richard Lewis Headlines Livengrin Celebration of45 Years of Cutting-edge Treatment for Addictions on Sept. 22ndAlso; Dr. A. Thomas McLellan will receive prestigious awardAn entertaining and informative gala eventwill acknowledge forty-five years of qualitytreatment for the challenging healthcare problemof alcoholism and drug addiction. TheLivengrin Foundation Anniversary Celebrationtakes place on Thursday, September 22, at theelegant Crystal Tea Room at the Wanamaker’sBuilding, Juniper and Market Streets inPhiladelphia, PA. Guests can arrive anytime fordinner, 5:30-7PM; the show runs 7-9PM. Comedian,author & actor Richard Lewis – whodiscusses his own recovery from dependency in his books and stage act –will offer the hilarious and poignant keynote talk, Misery Loves Company.Dr. A. Thomas McLellan of the University of Pennsylvania, and formerdeputy director of the National Office for Drug Control Policy in the Obamaadministration, will receive the distinguishedS.F. Hansell Award for Excellence in AddictionTreatment. Livengrin Foundation of Bensalem,PA is now in its fifth decade of treating a diseasethat affects one in four households in Pennsylvaniaand costs the country $400 billion ayear. Proceeds from the event are dedicated topatient programs and charitable care at Livengrin,where more than 100,000 people from allwalks of life have begun their path to recoveryfrom alcohol and drugs. The Celebration includesa variety of fine dining selections, entertainment and displays and asilent auction. Information and advance registration can be obtained onlineat or by calling 215-638-5200, ext. 310.You can’t change yesterdaybut you can ruin todayby worrying about tomorrow.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 17Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 18Meaningful Words in asaM definition of addictionA straightforward, 14-word sentence opens the American Society of AddictionMedicine’s (ASAM’s) newly adopted definition of addiction, leavinglittle doubt over ASAM’s position on what the field is treating:“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memoryand related circuitry.”There will be plenty of opportunities taken to parse this statement andthe others that make up a long-form definition that took a group of morethan 80 addiction experts four years to create. Two items stand out in theopening sentence. Addiction is primary—this will inspire professionals whofear their interests being subsumed by those of individuals who attributeaddiction exclusively to emotional/psychiatric causes. Addiction is a diseaseof the brain—this will motivate the ongoing work to erase stigma in placeswhere services are delivered and policies are crafted.“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem ora criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in allthese other areas,” Michael Miller, MD, the ASAM past president whooversaw development of the definition, said in a statement. (Miller in recentweeks was named the physician recipient of Addiction Professional’s 2011Outstanding Clinicians Awards.) Here are a few other eye-catching statementsin ASAM’s definition, released to the public in the form of a publicpolicy statement:“Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individualwill develop addiction. Environmental factors interact with the person’sbiology and affect the extent to which genetic factors exert theirinfluence.” “In some cases of addiction, medication management can improvetreatment outcomes. In most cases of addiction, the integration ofpsychosocial rehabilitation and ongoing care with evidence-based pharmacologicaltherapy provides the best results.”The statement closes with more compelling nuggets: “Recovery from addictionis best achieved through a combination of self-management, mutualsupport, and professional care provided by trained and certified professionals.(Posted by Gary Enos, Editor of Addiction Professional.)Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 19Featuring recovery comedian Mark LundholmIn 1988 Mark Lundholm was a resident in ahalfway house who started poking fun at the insanityhis life had become. This process continuedand gained momentum, and in a short timean incredibly talented and energetic entertaineremerged, in a successful standup comedy careerthrough 49 states and 5 foreign countries. Thiscomic’s “drank there, used that” style of humoris more than a comedy show, beyond a typicalnightclub act, the performance given by MarkLundholm is a thought provoking journeythrough a man’s decline and his subsequent ascension.Mark details his battles with addiction in a clever manner that issometimes shocking, often heartwarming, and unceasingly honest.Lundholm's definition of addiction as "energy without grace" is a prettygood one. Lundholm is able to communicate this idea with his frenetic depictionof addiction. By sharing the seven voices in his head (fear, chaos,gluttony, f ' it, serenity, sadism and his childlike voice), Lundholm is ableto illustrate the insanity that addicts live with, and how they are experiencinga reality all of their own. He also takes responsibility for the pain that hecaused to others, both loved ones and strangers.Funnyman Mark Lundholm is a professional mistake maker. His resumeincludes positions such as convicted felon, street addict, closet wino, formermental patient, catholic altar boy, divorced father of two and roofer. Markknows about pain and gain. From the Improv Comedy Clubs, to the WhiteHouse, to the Betty Ford Center, to San Quentin State Prison. Mark Lundholmhas been invited to address audiences of "the best and the rest" as heputs it. Many of his performances have been filmed and shown in rehabs.He has written comedy material for TV pilots and nationally known celebrities.He is working on an autobiography entitled "From Cocaine to Rogaine...Lifeis a Dope Deal." He has three one-man shows under his beltand is currently developing a theater show entitled '"How Is That Funny?"Mark's stand-up set is a brutally beautiful blend of childlike simplicity, cuttingedge Carlin-like wit, and deep, dark moments of intense humanity andhonest emotion. This man is seriously funny! Mark Lundholm, in his ownwords, "My job is to entertain and perhaps enlighten the masses withcomedic, relevant material and to perform (when invited) for groups of damagedor diseased families, professionals and treatment providers. I LOVEthat work! I do it more than three hundred times a year. But it comes witha price: The experience of watching addicted, alcoholic, misinformed familiesnever get the help they need because this disease is costly."For more on his comedy, his DVD's and to book him for an event, go tohis website’ve Heard Of The Betty Ford Clinic? Look Who’s Checked In To The Betty Rubble Center!Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 20Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 21Gazette Guy’s“WORD UP!”People are always saying, “Say what you mean and mean what you say!”NO PUN INTENDED, but what does that mean? Already I’m not sayingwhat I mean…that pun WAS intended! Okay, let’s start over. Those of us in12 step programs are really not much different than the rest of the populationwhen it comes to lousy communication skills. So why are we bringing thesubject up in a recovery magazine? Because we could save a lot of aggravationin our lives and introduce more honesty by learning to be directand clear when we’re talking to people. Sometimes we might not have theverbal skills or vocabulary to be right on target but there are other cues wecan use to drive home our point.Let’s be really clear right now about what I’m trying to say. Communicationis everything. If we can learn to take a second and say what we wantother people to hear or understand, they will know what we are looking forin our "interaction" and vice-versa. Here is one example. How about ifsomebody asks you if you could do a certain favor and they phrase it likethis; “hey, would you mind helping me move a few heavy things into mygarage?” One thing I’ve learned in trying to be true to myself is to listen tothe way people put things. In this example, the way I feel about movingheavy things into garages (not too thrilled), it’s easy for me to pick up onthe askers’ words, “would you mind”. My reply; “I would definitely notwant to but for you I would do it – especially if you can’t find anybody elseto help you. Let’s take a simple honest answer like that and see what’s sospecial about it. First of all, it’s exactly how I feel. There can be no misunderstanding.I hate heavy lifting but I wouldn’t say no to a friend in need.Let's take another example. I'm at a meeting and somebody says, "Hey –How are you doing?" For argument's sake, pretend I was really having arough time lately. I should say, "I'm having a rough time lately"...right?But if I don't feel like getting into a whole big thing I might just say, "Good"."How are you?" That's such a horrible reply on so many levels. We need tostart letting people know that when they ask us how we're doing, we're goingto tell them. Plus, we will get a lot more out of our lives (both in helpingothers and helping ourselves) if we learn to answer a question truthfully. Ifwe don't feel like getting into a whole big thing, we can just say, "Not thatgreat but I don't feel like getting into the whole thing." Period.The classic example is if someone asks to borrow money and you reallywould rather not lend them any. We are so used to saying some lie like, Ididn't bring much with me or I made a decision to stop lending money. Whatwe CAN say is, "Oh man...I hate lending money out. Then I have to rememberto ask you for it and if you forget about it, I'll have a giant resentmentand be mad as hell.” By that time they'll probably just say forget it. Don'tfeel guilty by the way. The truth is you never did say, "No." By the way,what’s so wrong with saying, “No” nicely?We spend so much time and energy and experience a lot of extra confusionwhen we could avoid it all by just taking a second to think what we’rereally trying to say and say THAT. Not some variation that we come upwith trying to be polite, fancy or because we're too lazy to say the longersentences that would ultimately save us a lot of breath in the long run.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 22Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 23“Goombah Logic”A Column By John P.Getting HonestOne of the first suggestions in this recovery process is "You Need to GetHonest". In some of the lifestyles and neighborhoods we came from, ourreactions to that statement would be, "You're crazy"! In growing up whereI grew up, those who got honest had consequences (arrested, divorce, etc).I remember as a kid finding a baseball glove in the middle of the neighborhoodpark (9th and Federal - across from Pat's/Geno's steaks - yea that park)where we used to play ball. Now my glove was old and ripped so I wentwith the “finders keepers” rule. Days later back at the park some of the parkstaff heard I found a glove (somebody ratted me out) and they approachedme saying that it didn't belong to me. Plus, if no one claims it they're gonnakeep it for those who don't even have a glove to play (probably my firstguilt trip). So after more lies and arguing I gave them the glove. Well fromthat point on I've gotten mixed messages. Some said I was stupid for givingit back, others would say "now don't you feel good" and my reply was either“I guess” or no, I could have used a better glove (never even thinking ofthe kid who lost it). When coming into this fellowship we just don't "GetHonest" we have to "Learn How To". Learning to be honest is an "ongoingprocess" and to become progressively more honest, we work the steps.In the beginning of the recovery process the honesty is focused on us,and who we are. We usually have two identities. The person we think weare which keeps us surviving for various reasons (regardless of results) andthen you hear in the meeting about that moment of clarity, when you finallylooked in the mirror and saw who you really were. We learn this from otherpeople sharing and speaking honestly about themselves. The first couple ofweeks in the fellowship the stuff I heard at meetings – I was like... Wow!Negativity is my disease askingme to come out and play.Are you crazy, and you're telling everybody? Where did you grow up! Exposingand “outing” yourself like that? As I worked the steps and stayedclean, I progressively got more honest and understood when people said,"That felt good" (to finally get honest). All this is just the beginning - it'songoing and it’s a learning process. As we get this cleansing and healingfrom the ability to be honest we sometimes expect our world to be honesttoo. In dealing with our families and people in recovery we need to be inclose contact with our sponsor on exactly how to be honest without causingharm to ourselves and others.So much of our program requires that we look back at the old messagesand feelings as we move forward with the steps. There may be truths thathave to be heard or told but never at someone else's expense. When wetake an honest look at ourselves and at our lives, we will see that what wethought was honest at one point in our recovery may not be the same levelof honesty we are able to achieve further on down the road. Who will yousee in the mirror the next time you look?Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 24NA EventsEvery Saturday - 9pm to 1:30am Dance at The First UnitarianChurch (22nd and Chestnut). Ages 18+, Donation $5. All proceedssupport GPRCNA XXVISeptember 23rd - 24th - Greater Newark Area FashionShow/Dance - Alanon Club 384 7th Avenue Newark, NJ - ContactRhoda C 973.757.7636 for more informationOctober 8th - York Area Speaker Jam/Oldies Dance - LibertyFire Hall 160 East 8th Avenue York, PAOctober 29th - 7pm-11pm - Phila. Area Unity Halloween Ball- Somerton United Methodist Church; 13073 Bustleton Avenue(at Trevose Rd) Philadelphia, PA 19116 - Food, Fun, Fellowship,Costume prizes. - Costume is optionalEvery 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month – G.R.A.S.P (GriefRecovery After A Substance Passing) Support Group- Heldat PRO-ACTs Southern Bucks Recovery Community Centerstarts at 6:30PM. Contact PRO-ACT 215-788-3738 for info.Every Sunday & Monday – Cocaine Anonymous - The CAmeetings that were held at Expresso Yourself are now held atThe Stepping Stones Clubhouse (4945 Friendship St). Sunday’sat 12:00pm - 1:30pm. Monday’s at 7:30pm - 9:00pm.Every Wednesday @ 8pm - 9pm - Tune to 900 on the AM dialfor Recovery Radio Personality Rick Ford’s show.Every Monday @ 12PM - Takin’ it 2 Another Level Show -Recovery Radio show @ www.stop-recoveryradio.comEvery Tuesday @ 7:30PM – Livengrin Assoc. of Alumni,Family & Friends - General gathering of both Livengrin alumsand all others welcome. Includes speakers, sharing, and opportunitiesto assist soon-to-be or recent Livengrin alumni.Now Open! Conquering Grounds Cafe - One Saturday Nightper month there will be live music, hot and cold beverages andpastries free of charge. From 7pm to 10pm (Doors open at6:30) - Location: Christian Life Center, In The Edge Building,3100 Galloway Road Bensalem, PA 19020. - Contact Person:Bob Sofronski / Director - 215-833-2512 - www.clprm.orgSaturday September 24th - PRO-ACT Recovery Walks!2011 Penns Landing, Philadelphia - For more information, seetheir ad on Page 28 or visit www.recoverywalks.orgAA EventsThe Bottles and Badges Group for current and former sworn LawEnforcement Officers meets every Wednesday @ 7:00PM at theFOP Headquarters 1336 Spring Garden Street.October 8th - SEPIA's ANNUAL DINNER DANCE will be heldat the Commodore Barry Hall, Emlen Street in Philadelphia(19119). The Theme is "Twelve Steps Later". Price: $40.00. Coffeeis at 5:30pm; Buffet Dinner is at 6:30pm and the A.A. Meetingis at 8:00pm. The Dance will begin immediately after the meeting.Contact Stormy @ 215-370-8610 for more info.City Of Angels, Hamilton, NJ - Founded in January 2009, offerssupport after recognizing the needs of the addicted and their families.Visit their site at for upcoming events.New Beginnings Transitional Shelter for the Homeless is locatedat 6117 Cedar Ave. in Phila., PA 19143 - 610-905-6016Every Friday @ 7pm- 9pm - Christian Life Center - 3100 GallowayRoad Bensalem, Room 101 - Christian Recovery MeetingEvery Thursday - 7-8:30PM - Free Lecture on ShameGladness House, Philadelphia - Dolores Proto 215.331.1814Every Wednesday @ 7:30 PM - Bristol-Bensalem Nar-AnonMeeting - St. Thomas Aquinas Church 601 Bristol Pike (Rte13.) Croydon, PA 19021 - Enter meeting from rear of churchnear main parking area.Starting Point, Inc. - 856-854-3155 - Westmont, NJFree Wednesday Lectures at 5:30 and 7:00PMRELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY SERIESSept 21st: How to Have a Healthy Relationship With othersSept 28th: Guest SpeakerOctober 5th: Relationships and SexualitySTEP SERIESOctober 12th: Spirituality; Core Foundation for StepsOctober 19th: Foundation Steps 1 to 3October 26th: Working Steps 4 to 9November 2nd: Gratitude and Service Steps 10 to 12For a full list of free Starting Point meetingsvisit their website at www.startingpoint.orgEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 25How To Be Clean, SoBer & Broke!With the way things are today, and the economy as bad as it is, there aregoing to be a lot of broke newcomers coming out of detoxes and rehabs andinto 12 Step Programs. Granted, must of us were in horrible financial shapewhen we first came around too. But now those numbers are going to be a lotworse. Not only newcomers but many experienced members are also findingthemselves in unusually bad shape when it comes to money.So, we ask the question here; “How do we stay clean, sober and broke?”Many experienced members will tell us all kinds of great sobriety “fables” or“analogies” to try and make us feel better. “Look” they'll say, “You're stillmuch better off this way then you were when you were all messed up andbroke.” Hmmmm, if I was on the receiving end of that I might answer, “Wellat least I didn't feel as much of the pain and frustration of financial horror becauseI was staying (or at least trying to stay) pretty darn numb.”So what is exactly a good way to deal with this 'predicament'. Well, first ofall, we have a place we can come to every day (2 or 3 times a day if we're notworking), where we can get a lot of free friendship, laughter, advice and also,a break from “the pity pot”. Chances are, if we talk about our situation wewill find at least a couple of people who are even doing worse than us and acouple more people who are doing about the same. Misery does love company.And, really, we don't have to be miserable. Most of us are pretty good at“foxhole humor” - how many times did weend up in the roundhouse (local overnight jailin Philly) and passed the time talking crazywith our fellow miscreants. Or another goodexample; how many of us went through themost disgusting, multi-symptom, sleeplessstays in detoxes and got through it on sheercamaraderie (especially if you were in one ofthose “no-comfort meds” places). How didwe stand 7 to 14 days of that torture? Weleaned on each other. We laughed with eachother. We cried with each other. We gaveeach other cigarettes or told exaggerated storiesof past glories and spoke of better, cleanand sober days to come.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 26Finding new wAys To CeLebrATeWho doesn’t love a good celebration? Just because we’re in recovery itdoesn’t exclude us from being able to enjoy a celebration with our familyand friends. It does, however, mean that we need to find new ways to celebrate– and still remain abstinent.For some of us, this is a tremendous obstacle. For one thing, we may feelthat it’s simply out of the realm of possibility for us, due to our past escapadesand extreme risk-taking while under the influence of alcohol and/ordrugs. Maybe we’re afraid that we won’t be able to keep from losing ourresolve and will slip right back into our addictive ways.Maybe we need to seriously think about what’s important in our lives andfind healthier ways to celebrate those important relationships and events.This isn’t impossible, but it will likely require some thoughtful planningand a bit of practice. We could definitely bring this up with our sponsor andtalk over proposed plans with our loved ones – before we put ourselves intoa position where we’re between a rock and a hard place. Make celebratingin abstinence a topic of discussion with others in our 12-step groups.Everyone who’s in recovery has experienced this dilemma, and many ofthem could have valuable suggestions for how we can handle it in the mosteffective ways possible. Surely some of their recommendations — based onpersonal experience – will give us ideas on how we can develop new waysof celebrating that don’t involve either alcohol or drugs.We also need time to feel comfortable with our coping skills and to perfectour techniques. Translate that to mean the ability to say "No" graciously,but firmly. But, being able to remain abstinent at functions wherealcohol/drugs are available isn’t the only important thing. We need to comeup with more creative ways to celebrate; perhaps, entertainment centers,comedy clubs or a night of fine dining. If we talk to other people inthe fellowship we will see that there are ways to reward ourselves for a jobwell done or an event worthy of a celebration that we haven’t thought of.Just because we’re clean & sober doesn’t mean we have to stop “partying.”A Letter From TheCamden CountyCorrectional FacilityIn the beginning I thought it was cool to use drugs. I smoked weed withmy friends a lot. But when my parents passed away, I used drugs to copewith life. I thought it was the only way to survive. I hurt countless peoplein the process, I didn’t even care if they would be mad or not. I began tolose hope. not only in myself, but in the Lord. Where was my God when Ineeded him the most? But I knew I needed to help myself first.My life became unmanageable and I suffered like many from the diseaseof addiction. I didn’t want to be an addict, nor did I want to be a convict. Ifound myself being powerless over my addiction. I had tried to quit for along time, but I couldn’t do it. I found myself committing crimes I wouldnever have done if I were sober. Narcotics have placed me in maximumsecurity jail and even almost took my life. It’s hard to find freedom andgain recovery at the same time. As I grow older I can see that I have a longrecord of jail time. From the start, I dedicated my life to drugs and crimeonly to find out years later it was a dead end. I felt immune from the law,I was different, special and even though I’m educated I was unable to masteraddiction. I found myself living for it. It made time go by fast and it wasa temporary escape from reality. Finally, I went back to jail and enrolledinto the Second Chance Program where I have found people that care aboutme and want to see me gain recovery. -Submitted by Kid CharlesYour worth shouldnever depend onanother persons’opinion.Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 27“Benefits of a 12 Step Lifestyle”Word SearchAll Puzzle Answers on Page 32Rebus Puzzles [Try To Figure Out The Word/Phrase]humblebecomingcharactercontentdreamsfreedomhelpfullaughtermeetingspositivepromisessanitysharingsurrenderamendsblessedclosuredignityfellowshipfriendshiphumanlovemiraclepridequalityserenityspiritualtrustassetscaringcompletedirectionforgivenguidancekindnessmaturitypatienceprocessreliableservicesponsorworthwhileEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 28Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 29Horoscopes For Sept & Oct 2011Aries (March 21 - April 19) - SEPTEMBER - Work keeps you on yourtoes this month, dear Aries, but your personal life doesn't take a backseat.While there can be complications with work (delays and perhaps redoingof tasks) that have you feeling like you're not making much progress forall the effort put forth, by mid-month, things are running much moresmoothly. OCTOBER - Relationships make headlines for you this month,dear Aries. Strong energy for relating is with you now, although some complicationsare likely as well. You may be rethinking your needs or those ofa partner and dealing with debts from the past. Take your time and don'tpush matters.Taurus (April 20 - May 20) - SEPTEMBER - Personal relationships are abig focus this month, dear Taurus. While romantic matters can be complicated,misunderstandings and hesitancy lift by mid-month. Your affectionatenature is well-defined in September. The desire to bring harmony topartnerships and to enjoy leisure time with a lover is strong. OCTOBER- Physical health improves this month and work matters become busier,dear Taurus. Relationships are tricky, however. Problems that have beenbrewing with a partner have their way of demanding your attention. Whileyou should certainly discuss things through, major decision making is bestput on hold.Gemini (May 21 - June 20) - SEPTEMBER - Interesting surprises occurin September, dear Gemini, in the areas of partnerships, career, and reputationor social standing. These can serve to push you out of a no-win ordead-end position. Some of you will be experiencing exciting changes inclose relationships. OCTOBER - Complications on the work front arevery possible this month, dear Gemini. Projects may stall or could be inneed of review. Try your best to work independently and to set your ownpace on the job because team work can be challenging now.Cancer (June 21 - July 22) - SEPTEMBER - Dear Cancer, you are pouringa lot of energy into friendships, networking, learning, and pleasure.The urge for adventure and new experiences that introduce you to new cultures,beliefs, or feelings is very strong mid-month. OCTOBER - The7th brings new energy for home improvements, dear Cancer, but it's notthe best month for major changes. Focus on fixing problems rather thanredesigning. Career and family projects bear fruit around the 22nd. You'llalso attract at least two admirers, especially in the first week of the month.Leo (July 23 - August 22) - SEPTEMBER - Getting your finances in orderis in focus this month, dear Leo. Financial matters become more definedand clear by the 14th, as do practical concerns and work matters. Projectsthat have been delayed now begin to move forward. OCTOBER - Themonth ahead is a busy one, dear Leo, with much emphasis on communications,learning, and family interactions. Making a fresh start with aneighbor or sibling is possible this month. Tensions are possible aroundthe home, however, especially if you are coming across as too bossy inyour attempts to take charge.Virgo (August 23 - September 22) - SEPTEMBER - You are brimmingwith creative ideas this month, dear Virgo. Being honest and communicativeboosts your reputation and appeal in September. The New Moon onthe 8th begins a month-long cycle in which you are noticed, personallypowerful, and more confident. OCTOBER - You are especially concernedwith your finances this month, dear Virgo. It's an excellent periodfor reviewing expenses and making budgets. While you could feel a pinch,this only prompts you to take charge of your practical affairs. News of ahigher-paying job or pay increase is quite possible in October .Libra (September 23 - October 22) - SEPTEMBER - Personal magnetismcontinues to run high in September, dear Libra. Until the 8th, Venus continuesto journey through your sign, boosting your appeal, charm, and tact.Until the 14th, Mars continues to add energy, initiative, intensity, and driveto your nature. OCTOBER - You are coming out of your shell this month,clearer than ever about wanting to make personal changes. You have thegift of gab in October, and your improved communications skills will serveyou well. However, from the 7th forward, others are not always pickingup the right signals.Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) - SEPTEMBER - A personally popularmonth is in store for you, dear Scorpio. You are easily making connections,and your attitude is upbeat. Until the 14th, you continue to taketime when it comes to setting goals and going after what you want, however.You are getting in touch with what it is you desire. OCTOBER -While you are keeping others at a distance emotionally this month, dearScorpio, you are charged up and ready to pursue your goals. Work is demanding,and you could be facing many deadlines. Stay on top of things.There is no easy road right now.Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21) - SEPTEMBER - Career mattersare strong this month, dear Sagittarius. Whether you are seeking it ornot, you are in the spotlight. Show the most competent and responsibleside of your nature now for maximum success. A partner or partnershipbecomes clearer mid-month, as do financial matters. OCTOBER - Teamwork, group activities, and networking are big themes for you this month,dear Sagittarius. Matters from the past, particularly regarding love and relationships,are cropping up now for review.Capricorn (December 22 - January 19) - SEPTEMBER - A feeling ofpersonal power and stronger, clearer ambitions are with you this month.You are bolder and your vision is more lucid, especially from the 13th forward.There can be new insights and developments in learning areas, studies,in your neighborhood or with siblings, or in activities surroundingcommunication. You may receive good news. OCTOBER - It's best tosort out your feelings before coming to any concrete decisions or conclusions.The 22nd brings strong emotions to the surface and new informationabout a friend. The 28th brings renewed stamina and energy.Aquarius (January 20 - February 18) - SEPTEMBER - Go to the realizationof your dreams. You are in a power struggle cycle that will last untilMay 2012! Ups and downs abound when you go around with those whoact too self-righteous! Remain on course! September brings intensity offeeling and a stronger desire to investigate life, dear Aquarius. OCTOBER- Increased visibility and accountability are likely in October, dear Aquarius.What you do and say has more impact than usual, so be on your bestbehavior. Some of you are travelling or taking on more physical activities.Pisces (February 19 - March 20) - SEPTEMBER - A partnership is instrong focus this month, dear Pisces. Surprises in close relationships arelikely from the 17th-22nd. Career matters are electric this month--expectthe unexpected! Changes are in the works, and positive ones. Inspirationcan come along suddenly, or seemingly so, from something you read, aconversation, a co-worker, or perhaps even a dream this month. OCTO-BER - Your energy levels run high this month, dear Pisces, and it's thekind of energy that is easily channeled into productive activity rather thanexperienced as stress. Others are attracted to your vitality and enthusiasm.Money might be earned through publishing or promotional activities now,and support is available when you need it most. .Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 30Recovery House Listings Pages 30 & 31To Advertise Your Recovery HouseCall Bruce at 215-317-8774 oremail inquiries to 12stepgazette@comcast.netEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 31Recovery House Listings Pages 30 & 31Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 32About The Processby Bradley K.DRUGS vs. ADDICTIONI was barely a junior in high school when I first started making meetings.It was my first time around the program and I had something toprove. I was out to show everyone that I wasn't only younger than theywere, but smarter too. I had a lot to learn. One night after a meeting anexperienced member approached me and asked me to recite the first step.In my head I thought it'd be easy. Without batting an eye I said confidently,"We admitted that we were powerless over drugs, that our liveshad become unmanageable." I looked at him with a smug grin on myface. He pulled out his basic text, flipped through a few pages andpointed. To my abashment it read, "We admitted that we were powerlessover our ADDICTION, that our lives had become unmanageable." I hadsaid DRUGS earlier. Like a punch of humility to the stomach- that's whenI learned there was a difference between DRUGS and ADDICTION.As addicts, our sanity depends on the application of the First Step. Formost of us it's easy to admit the unmageablity of our using. It isn't veryhard to see that we are powerless. Once we start we can't stop, and whenwe use we lose everything. But like I learned so humbly that day, thefirst step doesn't say powerless over DRUGS- it says powerless over AD-DICTION. Although it is true that we came around to stop using- ouraddiction goes well beyond our use of drugs. Addiction's true nature revealsitself in our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. The drugs are just asymptom of the underlying problem. It's not about what we used, butwhy we used it. We are the problem. If we are not the problem there isno solution. When we surrender to a person, place, thing or situation,admit our powerlessness and accept it for exactly what it is, we can gainserenity. When a war is over there is peace. When we admit the unmanageabilityin our lives- it is beyond accepting the havoc we created whileusing. Our lives are our thoughts and feelings- our inner being. Once weaccept the unmanageability and accept our insanity- only then are weready to be restored to sanity by a power greater than ourselves.Answers to rebus puzzles from Page 27 - left to right.1. Piece (p’s) of Pumpkin Pie - 2. In between jobs - 3. One(1)in a million - 4. Two na (tuna) fish - 5. Point blank range -6. History repeats itself - 7. Repeat after me - 8. Space invaders - 9. Made in China - 10. Excuse me (x Q’s me) -11. Go 4 it - 12. Foreign (4 in) language - 13. Plat in um- 14. Tripod - 15. Millionaire - 16. Quit Following Me.Puzzle Answers From Page 27Hilarious podcasts from the world of recovery on the West Coast. Not to be missed!Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 33CLASSIFIEDSCreate your heading and choose your words. Good for two whole months at a great price. $20 complete.Email or call Bruce @ 215-317-8774 for more information.QUOTES & ART AS STEP-WORK?See: 12 Step: Art, History,Music, Poetry, Prayers, Tattoos & Cartoons(Remember the hyphens between the words in thisURL). Available on line for $12. Or $17 at BordersBooks and Amazon.Therapy ServicesIs anxiety or depression putting your recovery at risk? SerenitySolutions will support you in your recovery and help you findpeace and balance. Call Alisa Kamis at 215-285-1084 or visitwww.serenitysolutionstherapy.comSupport Writers In TreatmentREEL RECOVERY FILM FEST 2011October 14-16 2011Contact: info@writersintreatment.orgW.I.T Helps writers get into treatment.Choices BookstoreEstablished in 1989, carries books and gifts in theareas of wellness, self-help, spirituality and recovery.www.choices-nyc.com220 E. 78th St, New York, NY - 866-245-4818Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 34Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 35Email: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

Issue # 31 September/October 2011 Page 36Healing Mind, Body and Spirit…CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY • DETOX & RESIDENTIAL TREATMENTOutpatient & Aftercare Programs • Relapse Prevention • Trauma ResolutionHolistic Treatment • Acupuncture • EMDR Treatment • Hypnotherapy • Spa Service • GymSOBER LIVING HOUSES – Beautiful Locations, Just Blocks From The OceanDedicated & Committed To Helping Those Who Are Ready To Make A Change.877-711-HOPE (4673) |www.PalmPartners.comEmail: Phone: 215-317-8774 Website:

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