Tuesday, March 19, 2013


My brother Steve 8 months sober
Christine here, my brother Steve's Addiction Recovery Miracle continues week by week. This is chapter 3, a day in the life of an addict in Recovery House.

My day begins at 6:30 a.m.  Everyone must get up. No sleeping in. We all have chores to do. There are no official cooks here at the recovery house, or cleaning staff, so we all work together to run the house on a daily basis. We make our bed, clean our rooms and keep them neat and tidy. All part of teaching us to be respectful, and responsible adults. Something none of us has been living for a long time.

All tasks are monitored and failure or incompetence will be dealt with. If you won’t follow simple rules, then you are not ready for recovery.

Our group got lucky. One of the guys is a professional cook in the navy, so the food is pretty good.

Good food is one of the keystones to recover. Before, as we lived in addiction, eating and looking after ourself became less and less important. We started to fade away. As for myself, before I came to Recovery House, I had entered the hospital at 180 lbs, considerably under weight for my age and height of 6’2”.

Eating good is all part of the three-pronged plan of recover. Heal the mind, body, and spirit.

After we get up, get ready, do our chores, eat breakfast, it’s time to start the day. The first thing the new guy must do, is write about his last ninety days, leaving nothing out—acts, deeds, thoughts, emotions and finally results.

When completed, you must share this with two other guys and they will share their last ninety days with you. It’s a great way to connect with the other men and to see that you are no different. We all suffered, but we all are looking for change.

Next you write a letter to yourself, describing who you are, what happened, why you are here, what you hope to gain from this experience, and where you see yourself in a year. This letter is handed in to the staff and will be returned to you if you reach one year of sobriety. The staff makes a point of showing you the stacks of unclaimed letters in an effort to demonstrate the realities of the disease.

Not many will recover. Many will relapse, and many will die.

So with those tasks completed, I’m ready to start my recovery program.

At 8:00 a.m. we watch a video about addiction, usually about half an hour, then we have an hour to get to work on our step work, do our journaling, or go for a walk which is encouraged again to repair our bodies.

The program is abstinence based on the AA twelve steps of recovery. Lots of work, so you have to approach it openly, honestly, complete with an open mind. If you do not, you’re just wasting your time, only hurting and cheating yourself. 

At nine-thirty, the first half of group starts. Twenty guys in a room with a group leader discussing addiction, what it is, how it’s affected us, our lives, and what we can do to live with it in a far better manner than we were.

There is no cure, only a daily reprieve. Addiction is only part of our problem. It masks our deeper issues. One can take alcohol or drugs out of our lives, yet still be miserable, discontent and unhappy. We will address all this in order to change ourselves.

Ten-thirty, we get a half hour break then at 11 we start the second half of group.

Group is a powerful thing. Twenty different men, but all the same, big, tough, burly men reduced to tears. But there is a great sense of trust and security here. We face our demons together. You grow close with love and support, and receive a great feeling of belonging.

Twelve noon is lunch. More great food!!!Then the afternoon is ours to use for step work, chores, interaction, going for walk or to the gym. Each step assigned is given about 4 or 5 days to complete, then it is reviewed with a counsellor.

It doesn’t take long to figure out who is serious or not. Your work will tell the story. Those who don’t take it seriously are quickly found out and weeded out. The pack mentality will not tolerate weakness in commitment as it jeopardizes all our sobriety. 

Be here to recover and change . . . or get out.

Five p.m. dinner time. Doesn’t take long to start putting on weight and feeling healthy. After dinner, half of us go to a local AA meeting or NA meeting while the other half does their step work. Tomorrow evening we will switch.

It may seem like our day is largely devoted to step work and it is. That’s what’s going to fix us. That’s why we’re here, but interaction participation and duties to the house, and to the other guys is also encouraged.

It’s a ‘we’ program, not an ‘I’ program. We need the strength of the group. Together we can. I can’t do it alone. We have all tired that, and it doesn’t work.

So, our day winds down. We hang out, joke, laugh. It feels so good to really laugh again. Most of us haven’t laughed in years. It feels comfortable and safe here.  We must be in our rooms and quiet by midnight. Time to get some sleep and start all over again tomorrow.

One day down. Fifty-nine to go.  

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