Powerful Messages and A Look Inside Sobriety Through A Former NFL Professional.

Hello, and Welcome Recovery Friends and all Visitors,

It is not often people have the honor of becoming friends with a celebrity, or even a retired former NFL professional. No, that usually doesn’t happen to us “regular folk,”  LOL…LOL. But that is some of the beauty of recovery. We meet many people who are not shy about sharing their story and testimony of sobriety. That is what this post is all about! After all, we are all just “humans first and humans in progress” looking for a better way of life from addiction.

So, I have been blessed and honored to meet a wonderful new friend in recovery, but also a brother in “Christ” as well, and he and his wife help MANY reaching to recover from any addiction. I am talking about former NFL Denver Bronco, Vance Johnson and his wife Michelle. Beautiful people with big hearts who make a mission to help others. I came across some POWERFUL videos that Vance has done, and he also works for “Futures of Palm Beach.”

In them, he shares what it took for him to recover, as he did a few unconventional ways to get there. In this first video, he is using Behavioral Health – “Futures of Palm Beach” and their unique brand of psychotherapy and utilizes role-playing exercises, designed to give addiction recovery patients the opportunity to reexamine key episodes of their past through another person’s perspective. VERY powerful stuff!

So please take some time and listen. It is an amazing story and I need to say again, I am happy and blessed to call Vance and Michelle Johnson friends….

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“Vance’s Full Story”



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“Making Amends”

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Recovery Starts Here!

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“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” My Guest Is Vegas Judy. “What If You Live In Las Vegas?”


WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A RECOVERING GAMBLER LIVING IN LAS VEGAS.
by JUDY G.

MEET, VEGAS JUDY!

 

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This is about two aspects of me – my evolution as a compulsive and then recovering gambler – and my growing fascination and compulsion to be in Las Vegas. Intertwined?Yes. But also distinct and separate. What I mean by that is: If gambling didn’t exist in Las Vegas, would I still want to live here? Yes.

However, since gambling does exist here, would I want to live anywhere else? No.

Now, back to the beginnings:

My childhood years certainly didn’t include this yearning to be in Las Vegas. But I guess I always had yearnings – and in those days, it was to live in the Golden State – California. I  spent the first 8 years of my life exclusively in California – mainly Lodi and Woodland. But when I was 9, my father “re-upped” and went back into the Air Force, and shortly after that, he was sent to Korea.

In Fifth Grade, I went to four different schools, including one in Texas and one in Virginia. This was the beginning of my Air Force brat experiences, and at the same time, I began thinking that “everything would be perfect” if I could just be with my friends in California. So I always had that propensity to think the “grass was greener” somewhere else.

I started living in a sort of “escape fantasy land” whenever real life got too rough. Since most of our relatives lived in California, no matter where we were stationed in the U.S., we usually made a road trip back to the Golden State at least once – usually during the summer. Quite often, these trips would take us through Las Vegas, where often we’d stop and spend the night. During those early years, I never thought about gambling, of course. It was strictly an adult playland then.

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I was mostly aware of the celebrities who might be lounging around the pools or perhaps wandering in the casinos. I remember once being in a casino with my parents and hearing “Paging Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Harry Belafonte.” This was heady stuff for a movie-star-struck young girl. If my parents went to see a show at night, my sister and I didn’t mind. We’d stay at our motel, go swimming in the pool that was usually opened all night, and have fun on our own. I do remember seeing the “fantasyland” aspects of the Strip, such as it was, back in those days; such as the camels in front of the Sahara, the Sultan in front of the Dunes. But that’s all Las Vegas was to me then – a convenient stop on our way to my “mecca”, California.

As far as gambling, I had literally no experience or feeling about it one way or the other. Ironically, we were stationed in Wiesbaden Germany when I was 17, and my first “job” was giving out change for the small bank of slot machines in the Officer’s Club (the General Von Steuben). This was a pretty boring job. Hardly anyone spent much time in that little space.

I do, however, remember one woman who was pretty much a “regular,”  She started out feeding quarters into one particular machine and would stand there for hours, having drinks and hitting several jackpots, but by the end of the evening, there she was, slightly weaving, by now barefoot (there were no stools for the gamblers then, and those high heels got too tricky to stand in after awhile and after a few drinks) and her winnings had long gone back into the machine. I remember thinking how stupid and boring the whole thing was. (Little did I know that I was to become that woman one day).

My next exposure to gambling was back in Las Vegas. My first husband and I had (not surprisingly) gone to Vegas for our honeymoon.  In those days, there were no video poker machines, and I didn’t know how to play any “table games of chance”, so I just put a few quarters in the single reel slot machine and I might get lucky and win the “jackpot” – $25.

My second husband and I also went to Las Vegas on our honeymoon. He has the dubious honor of being the one who taught me how to play 21.  After winning a small jackpot on a machine, he suggested taking my winnings and playing blackjack. Of course, we had our Beginners’ Luck there, and that became my new favorite game, and a reason to escape to Vegas whenever I could talk him into it…

By the end of our marriage, we were two full-blown alcoholics, but he was happy to do his drinking every night in front of the TV set.  I, on the other hand, wanted the action and excitement and fantasy of Las Vegas!

 

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One night I got into an argument with him and ended up taking off in my car.  I was picked up by the police somewhere near Ontario, California, heading to L.A., yet I told the police I was driving to Vegas.  The fact that I had my housedress on and was drunk might have alerted the police to the veracity of my statement, and I spent that night in jail.  Toward the end of my second marriage, I had met my third husband-to-be, who was temporarily my “escape companion”.  Why not? He had no job, no ties.  Why wouldn’t he hook up with this crazy alcoholic who had a car, and all she asked of him was to drive her to Vegas.

When we’d first arrive, I would hit the tables and eventually pass out– sometimes in the casino (where I had to be carried to the room) – and sometimes waited til I was in the room. Inevitably, the next day I’d be suffering a mighty hangover and severe pangs of regret and guilt, and we’d morosely head back to the disapproving situation at home. Sometime in 1986, I had stopped drinking (after it quit working for me, and I had become suicidal).

Everyone predicted that I would want to leave my “companion” who was 14 years younger than I, a drug addict and unemployed. But I insisted that we were “in love” and it didn’t matter if he continued to use and I had stopped; love would conquer all. We probably WOULD have split up, if it hadn’t been that I got pregnant (surprise!) at age 45, so now we had to stay together, and do the right thing.

So, here I was, a new mother (again), supporting my baby and my (by then) husband.  My only escape was the periodic trips to Vegas.  I wasn’t drinking anymore, so that was good, but that hadn’t stopped my desire to go to Vegas; in fact, it was stronger than ever. You see, I didn’t realize it, but my quitting drinking was possible because I simply substituted the one addiction for another – gambling.  A couple of years later, I decided “enough with these 12 trips a year to Vegas; let’s move there.”  Again, my husband had no reason to deny the request.  I was able to retire from my county job, after 22 years of service and have a small retirement stipend, and made sure I had a new job waiting for me in Las Vegas before we moved here.

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Sometime after we moved here, my husband brought home one of those hand held video poker machines.  I had never played poker before – only once, during a neighborhood friendly game, in which I had surprisingly won, with beginners’ luck, not having any idea what I was doing.  But with this hand-held amazing little thing, I learned to hone my skills quite sharply. Each time I went to a casino, it seemed that there were new and varied video poker games double bonus, triple bonus, bonus deluxe, etc., etc. In the last couple of years they added the three reels at a time, and now they even have 50 or 100 games you can play at a time. It’s mind-boggling!!

Now I had found the perfect answer to my female gambler’s dream. I didn’t have to sit and make chit chat with the other players at the 21 table. It could be just me and my machine –my lover–for hours at a time. No one to disturb us. The cocktail waitress would come around and occasionally I’d have a grapefruit juice (liquor was out, of course). This is a little personal, but I have to say that but sometimes I’d actually feel a mini-orgasm when I hit a jackpot. Meanwhile, at home, my libido was practically non-existent.

Sometimes the other players’ cigarette smoke would bother me, but usually, I could even ignore that – especially if I had a “hot” machine. I also loved it if they were playing the “right” music –usually some sultry and sensual, Marvin Gaye songs (“Let’s Get it On”), etc., or hits from further back –at a time when I was young and innocent.  The atmosphere in the casino appealed to me too –dark, soft neon lights flashing here and there, beckoning “come, play me”. No sense of time, no windows.  The tinkling of ice cubes in glasses, people laughing in the background. It was party time!

There has been a lot said and written about the commonalities of men and women gamblers and their differences.  For many men, it’s about being the “big shot”, showing off, taking a chance and winning big in some cases.  For many women, it’s more about escape and isolation. There’s one aspect, however, where this invisible dividing line blurs.  When I say I didn’t want to be a “big shot”, why then was it so important to me to use my “player’s card” at various casinos, and earn points so I could have the so-called “freebies” – like free room nights, free meals, free shows?  But more often than not, there’s no such thing as a “freebie.”

I remember about a year ago when I lost my whole paycheck at a locals casino.  A couple of days later I had no money, so my son and I went to the same casino and used some of my “points” to get a pizza in their Italian deli.  As we left, my son shouted out: “Thanks for the f____ing $1,000 pizza!” (Out of the mouths of slightly jaded babes!).

A funny thing about my style of playing is I didn’t want anyone to know if I hit a jackpot.  I wanted to just keep on playing – no congratulations or anything like that.  I was dead serious about this thing, and I didn’t want anything to interfere with my play.

Many times I sat there for 7 or 8 hours straight, without even taking a bathroom break. When I did, it was nearly impossible to make it without having an accident. So far I’ve concentrated on what I liked about being in the casinos.  What didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like losing, and “chasing” my losses – or winning and yet not being able to quit until I’d put it all back. I didn’t like trying to get money out of a bank ATM machine, and being told “Unable to complete transaction”.

I didn’t like looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and seeing this strange, wild-eyed, with mussed up hair, confused and scared looking. Can you believe that even looking like this, some men actually “hit on me”?  I guess it was a matter of recognizing what they thought was “easy prey.” But I never resorted to that.  That was one of those “not yets.”  Not saying that it couldn’t have happened – just that it didn’t.

Worst of all, I hated coming home to anger and sadness, disappointment –my husband and my child looking forlorn and lost. What happened, Mommy?  Where was the pizza you said you’d bring home? Even when I had won, they usually weren’t that happy –unless I gave my husband some money so he could do what he wanted (gamble – or buy drugs), and get my son a new Play Station game or something like that, or say, “It’s OK, you don’t need to go to school today.”  He learned manipulation from the best teachers – me and his father.

I’ve managed to hit two milestones here while living in Las Vegas – of over a year “bet free”, but I never got much further than that. Looking back, I think it was because I thought I didn’t deserve any kind of success.  I was worthless. For the most part, I hadn’t really applied the 12 steps to my life –I just went on with it, usually as the martyr, until the pressure got so great and life looked so hopeless, that I had to go out and release my escape valve. All the pain and remorse of the past temporarily disappeared, in my pursuit of the fantasyland escape – the immediate fix, not thinking about the long-term effects.

The worst thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that the gambling is so accessible – you don’t even have to think twice about it – just hop in your car and go. Even the 7-11 around the corner has a few machines (although I liked to stick to the casino atmosphere as I mentioned above).  The best thing about living in Las Vegas and being a compulsive gambler is that there is ALL kinds of help – if you want it.

There are 24 hour GA (Gamblers Anonymous) meetings and people who know exactly what you’re going through.  I choose right now to stay in Las Vegas because I happen to love so many things about life here.  I especially am drawn to its history (yes, Las Vegas does have a history!) and I write about it at every opportunity.  I was excited in 2005 when this city celebrated its 100th anniversary.  It was Fantastic!

Is it stupid for me to remain here? Maybe so. Maybe not. One of my arguments is that gambling is available in just about any state now, and certainly in Europe. But the facts are, it isn’t as attractive to me anywhere else –not even “Reno or Laughlin” –certainly not “Atlantic City.” Something about being here in this jewel in the middle of the desert has me totally mesmerized and hypnotized. I look at the new games the casinos are offering – anything from ‘Betty Boop’ to ‘Austin Powers’ to the ‘Addams Family,’  and now ‘Popeye’ – and I wonder where it’s all leading.

It’s definitely luring kids, and I understand teenagers are being swept up by gambling – as much as drugs or alcohol. What’s the answer?

Blow up the casinos?

Make a new kind of prohibition? Probably not.

People will always seek their pleasures –in one form or another. They will be errant children. And some can get their pleasures in “safe” measures –not gambling more than they can afford, not becoming suicidal.

I don’t have anything really against gambling or drinking per say – I just know I can’t do it. Can I stay here in Las Vegas and fight my demons? Only time will tell, but I’m willing to give it another try.

(Judy wrote this in 2003 – “More has happened since then, but I’ll save that for another time.”)

Please visit and Purchase her Book Here on Las Vegas: The Fabulous First Century (NV) (Making of America) …. Author, Judy Dixon Gabaldon ~ aka: VEGAS JUDY

 

Special Featured Guest Article by Author, Dr. Jane Galloway~The 12-Steps Work!

Special Featured Guest Article by Author, Dr. Jane Galloway~The 12-Steps Work!

A Door That is Open to All-The 12-Steps As Spiritual Path.

by Dr. Jane S. GallowayAuthor of “The Gateways- the Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality- Dynamic Practices That Work”  

“Your Bottom – It’s Not the End, It’s the Beginning”  ~Rev. Dr. Jane Galloway

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It seems that almost everyone who has a deep spiritual conversion through the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, at one time or another says, “I wish everyone could have the spiritual experience of this universal spiritual path!”

More than a few have tried to translate their excitement into books or articles too.   I don’t know how many who aren’t already on the 12-Step journey ever read these things, but I never have, and I have been on that path for a long time.

My interest is in how people thrive, not in the study of illness.
Working for years with young children, I studied the ground- breaking work of Jean Piaget on the four cognitive stages of child development, so it makes sense that I understand the work of 12-Step recovery through a developmental lens.  The Steps do, after all, provide a template for growing up, albeit as adults.

It is true that many who find themselves in treatment for addiction have missed some crucial stages of foundational growth along the lifespan, often accompanied by trauma. The Steps begin with an admission of powerlessness over whatever source we have chosen as artificial fuel. Step 2 introduces a Higher Power to the conversation.

It is also true that the working of these Steps is designed to connect us to a lifelong, integrated connection to both a solid foundation and “god as we understand god.”… The 12th Step actually presumes that an awakening is the sole result of this process, and begins with “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps…”
And they work. The Steps…they work. And that makes them pragmatic, practical and qualifies them as a path that deserves some deeper inquiry.

 
Over the years of my own recovery, I doodled brightly colored grids comparing the 12-Steps, the 7 Chakras, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, The Kabbalah Sephirot (Tree of Life), Chinese Meridians and the basic teachings of the Jesus Path from the Nagg Hammadi Scrolls book of Thomas. Something was at work there and knew I would get around to figuring it out one day, but in the meantime, I doodled ladders.

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Believe it or not, as a former agnostic who was really, really mad at God, after I got sober I actually left a rather successful acting career to formally pursue both the study of religions, and ordination as a minister, and to look at AA, William James, and American Pragmatism as “The Growth of a 20th Century Pluralistic Spiritual Movement”.

At the same time, I studied and worked in the Human Services, The humanistic psychologies of Maslow and Carl Rogers, and found some links between both of the above areas in the Human Potential Movement and Positive Psychology movements in Post WW ll America. But it wasn’t until a member of a spiritual community I led in New York City cornered me and said that while I was great at teaching a lot of things, they wanted to know what worked for me.

And my instant answer, after many moons of study, practice, attending seminary and 12-Step meetings, chanting circles, having my aura drawn and doodling ladders, was immediate. “Oh, that’s easy. It’s the 12-Steps, and all of this other holistic psycho-spiritual stuff I have done along with them.” And then she said, “Write that.” So I did.

The Gateways- the Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality /Dynamic Practices That Work (Sacred Stories Publishing Sept. 2016) includes all of those brightly colored ladders, plus a lot more. In describing my work as “a development model,” I have consistently met with a sort of puzzled silence from both recovering people and spiritual folks. So I finally began to get at the core of the thing.

The following, describing developmental psychology (from the website of the American Psychological Association) says what the 12-Steps do, minus the spirituality: “Developmental psychologists study human growth and development over the lifespan, including physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual, personality and emotional growth. “ apa.org  American Psychological Association Science in Action.

In “The Gateways”, I prioritize the spiritual, go into the basic essence of each Step, then create a technicolor system of practices and possibilities for exploring a lifelong path of deepening, growth, and expansion along spiritual lines using the 12-Steps.  Along with that is some history and a couple of personal stories to show how this has all worked in my life, a juicy Resources section, a Bento-Box of Mind/Body/Spirit tools and a suggested 12-week program for leading a spiritual growth group using the method.

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The actual book is gorgeous, and the psycho-spiritual, holistic, hands-on work in it creates a resource for all of those people who may or may not be on a 12-Step path per say, or may not be addicted to anything, but desire to go back and build a strong spiritual foundation for a life that works.

And the book is so pretty you could eat it. Truly. But don’t. Use it! And enjoy.

It is my hope that the resource I have created in this work is a practical companion for the beautiful channeled wisdom of the AA founders when they described the spiritual path of the 12-Steps in Chapter 4 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, We Agnostics:

“To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive, never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open we believe, to all.”

 

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Please visit my website at Jane Galloway.com
Let’s Connect on Social Media:

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Awareness Month Feature Article by “The Fix” Explores The Topic: ‘AA Is not an Evidence-Based Treatment’

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AUTHORS NOTE:

“I am in no way demeaning or saying that The 12-Step Program and model is not a form of treatment, nor that it doesn’t help people recover from drugs, gambling, or alcoholism.  But more and more articles like the one I am sharing today and hearing many people talk about needing and wanting MORE than 12-steps to reach long-term recovery and have a well-balanced path from ADDICTION.”

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So please don’t leave me nasty comments as to such. What I am exploring is a more in-depth look into having “Wellness in Recovery.” Many are now searching for ways to obtain treatment AND learn the much-needed skills and tools to begin the “inner work” needed to a well-balanced recovery without relapse or slips in the process.

Let’s face it, if we teach new addicts coming into treatment BOTH, we just may cut relapse percentages in half or more and would mean MORE NEW addicts would be getting the help they need as well.

There are many ways to go about it this.

One new exciting way I have been using and venture I am involved with is for those working in the “treatment side and facilities” and those looking for recovery “AT HOME Recovery.”  Learn more about “Wellness in Recovery” and “Oak Valley Productions Educational DVD Series.” It is a fresh approach to having a well-balanced journey, learn to begin and process the underlying issues that may have you turned to addiction, and learn to release and let it GO!

It will help guide you on how to begin your “inner work” as you learn the educational side of recovery from addiction! See all the details of this non-12 step recovery series and have  “Recover in Wellness” of mind, body, soul and Spirit!

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FEATURED ARTICLE: AA, GA, NA, Is not Evidence-Based Treatment by, Laurel Sindewald 03/16/17

“Researchers have not been able to methodologically eliminate self-selection bias or utilize adequate controls in their studies of 12-step groups and Twelve-Step Facilitation.”

When I read Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, I was surprised to see Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) included as an evidence-based behavioral treatment for addiction. I had just done a literature review on the efficacy of 12-step-based interventions and found the evidence insufficient to support the prescription of 12-step groups as treatment. TSF is a standardized form of therapy where professional counselors try to engage their patients in participating actively in 12-step groups, in part by emphasizing 12-step philosophy during therapy sessions.

Twelve-step philosophy stipulates that addiction is a spiritual disease born of defects of character and that 12-step groups are the only cure, involving faith in a higher power, prayer, confession, and admission of powerlessness. In contrast, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a disease of the brain – a medical condition requiring medical treatment. A spiritual disease concept is not the same as a medical disease concept. Twelve-Step Facilitation treats addiction as a spiritual and biopsychosocial disease, retaining the spiritual emphasis of 12-step philosophy.

TSF was classified as a professional behavioral treatment in the Surgeon General’s Report. How can a professional, medical treatment be based on a definition of addiction as a spiritual disease? Baffled, I knew I would not be able to understand if I got stuck in bias against Twelve-Step Facilitation. I had studied the research on 12-step groups, but had only dipped my toe into the research on TSF. The Surgeon General’s Report cites hundreds of studies, and over a dozen in support of TSF. So, I did what all good scientists must do: I set aside my bias, knowing that if I want the truth, and I must assume first that I am wrong and dig deeper.

I conducted a preliminary literature review to investigate the effectiveness of TSF as a treatment, and then examined each of the sources the Surgeon General’s Report cited in support of TSF. I looked at the methodology, results, and conclusions for each. In this article, I define “evidence-based” to mean any treatment supported by numerous scientific experiments with rigorous methods that include control groups, randomization of patients to treatments, and bias-free samples. I use “12-step approaches” to refer to all 12-step-based rehab programs, TSF, and 12-step mutual help groups.

The key to understanding research on TSF is to know why the treatment was created in the first place. Researchers had documented a correlation between 12-step group attendance and abstinence, but correlation is not causation and research had been limited in several ways:

  • Studies evaluating the effectiveness of 12-step groups could not eliminate self-selection bias, which happens when group members are not randomly selected and participants opt in or select themselves, creating biased samples. The people participating in the studies had chosen to participate, and researchers could not determine whether successes observed were due to 12-step participation or qualities in the self-selected participants, such as greater motivation to enter recovery, more resources, or greater receptivity to messages of God, faith and/or acceptance. The people who chose not to participate, or who dropped out of the study, were not always accounted for. Researchers could not determine whether the correlation they observed was due to the treatment or to the characteristics of the people participating.
  • Twelve-step groups have no standardized methods or conditions. Leaders of the groups are often laypeople in recovery from addiction themselves. The quality of social support in the group depends on the people who are participating. The literature is interpreted by the members, who create their own cultures around the interpretation. Twelve-step cultures also pass around other information and advice, which may or may not permeate every group. Each sponsor is a different layperson in recovery from addiction, with different character traits. Researchers could not control for all of these variables all of the time.
  • Researchers struggled to maintain rigorous control groups throughout studies. At a minimum, to determine whether 12-step groups have an effect, researchers needed a no-treatment control group for each study. Ethically and logistically, they could not prevent people in the control groups from receiving treatment or from attending 12-step groups.

 

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Twelve-Step Facilitation was developed by researchers working on Project MATCH, a well-known and extensive study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Project MATCH compared TSF to Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), seeking to establish what patient characteristics corresponded with the best results for each treatment. The study found there “was little difference in outcomes by type of treatment” based on the primary outcome measures of percent days abstinent and drinks per drinking day.

By standardizing methodology for TSF, Project MATCH made some headway on strengthening the quality of evidence, but they did not find a way around self-selection bias and they did not have a control group. Many patients, however, did drop out of the assigned treatments early on in the study. Two researchers later examined the outcomes of the zero-treatment dropout group, and found that “two-thirds to three-fourths of the improvement in the full treatment group was duplicated in the zero-treatment group.”

This means that the people in Project MATCH’s treatment groups did not have significantly better abstinence outcomes than the people who dropped out of the study. Importantly, we do not know whether the dropout group sought treatment on their own, and it seems probable that they did. Based on their analysis, none of the interventions in Project MATCH seem to be effective, but without an actual control group, the results are equivocal regardless.

Some researchers have sought to re-analyze other parts of the Project MATCH data, but their findings, while supportive of TSF, are subject to the same methodological limitations of the parent study. Many other studies cited by the Surgeon General’s Report seem to support TSF as effective for improving abstinence outcomes and/or for relatively increasing 12-step participation compared to treatment as usual (TAU), but none of these studies had control groups. The Surgeon General’s Report cited one source in support of TSF that was actually an article reviewing information about 12-step programs to educate social workers, not an experimental study. The Report also cited a study in support of TSF that examined two active referral interventions, 12-step peer intervention (PI) and doctor intervention (DI), compared to no intervention (NI). The study found that while the active referral interventions significantly increased participation in 12-step groups compared to no intervention, “abstinence rates did not differ significantly across intervention groups (44% [PI], 41% [DI] and 36% [NI]).”

This study was the only one cited in the Surgeon General’s Report in support of TSF that approximates a control group, and it does not actually support the efficacy of TSF in increasing abstinence outcomes. The NI pseudo-control group still received a list of 12-step group meeting times and locations, but was not encouraged to attend. The PI group attended meetings twice as much as the NI group, and yet the researchers found no significant difference in abstinence outcomes. The DI group, essentially TSF, was less effective than the PI group at increasing attendance, and again, did not significantly improve abstinence.

My own literature review turned up articles the Surgeon General’s Report did not reference, both in support of TSF and not supporting TSF, but none of the studies I found had control groups either. Results of my literature review, including my assessment of the Surgeon General’s report sources, were therefore as ambivalent as the 2006 Cochrane Review, a systematic meta-study of all 12-step-based programs that found “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or TSF approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems.

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In medical science, if a treatment is ineffective or faces prohibitive methodological challenges, the treatment is either revised or abandoned. Twelve-step philosophy prohibits either approach. Twelve-step literature is comparable to the Bible for Christians or the Qur’an for Muslims; if the literature is removed, the identity of the group goes with it. The same basic text has been used for AA since the publication of its “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1939. Twelve-step literature also explicitly states that “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.” Twelve-step philosophy, by taking this position, is asserting that its methods can never be wrong. If the 12 Steps do not work for people, 12-step philosophy explicitly states it is their fault, and that the fault is inborn and irreversible. The 12 Steps and attendant literature, however, are not modified.

Research does support the concept that changing “people, places, and things” and finding a network of people with a culture of abstinence can improve chances of recovery. However, mutual help groups other than 12-step groups do exist that may provide the social support needed by people in recovery. People who are not religious may be able to make 12-step groups work for them as social support if they have no other choices, but other options will most often be available.

A study in 2001 by Humphreys and Moos found that TSF may reduce health care costs for people in recovery by emphasizing reliance on free 12-step groups, as opposed to cognitive behavioral therapy. Yet their conclusions that the study indicates people should be diverted from CBT to TSF because it is ultimately cheaper amounts to advocating malpractice. TSF itself is not free and is not decisively supported by evidence; twelve-step groups, while free, are not evidence-based treatment, and other available mutual help groups are equally free options for social support. Even if TSF were demonstrably effective at promoting abstinence for some people, 12-step philosophy is heavily spiritual (specifically Christian-based) so it would be unethical to recommend TSF simply because it might save money.

After exhaustive research, I assert with confidence that 12-step approaches are not evidence-based treatments. They may be strong recovery support for people to choose in addition to a medical treatment plan, but 12-step approaches—including TSF—are not established as evidence-based for treating addiction.

Due to the methodological limitations identified in this article, I question continuing to spend thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and invaluable expertise on researching a spiritually-based treatment for addiction that cannot be proven to be effective for most people most of the time compared to “spontaneous,” or natural, remission rates. It is time to relegate 12-step approaches to the realm of recovery support services (RSS, as defined in the Surgeon General’s Report), and allocate our research resources to promising treatments that can be studied rigorously and without such crippling methodological limitations.

** Laurel Sindewald is a writer and researcher for Handshake Media, IncorporatedAnne Giles contributed to this report. ** 

 

“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” Special Guest Author: Alek M. Revitalizing Your Marriage After Addiction.

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Revitalizing your marriage or relationship is an important and sometimes scary process. When recovering from gambling addiction, the other partner feels that the gambling was the only thing the other person cared about, like if it had been a “love affair.” That is why this topic and article by Alek M. is so important in any recovery from any type of addiction….

Addiction can be one of the most trying experiences that an individual will face in their life, and recovery is a road that certainly isn’t easy. However, it is through the most challenging times in life that we are able to grow, as people, and emerge as a stronger version of yourself. This is what recovery is all about, as becoming a new and better you is a key part of lasting recovery that is sustainable.

However, during the course of addiction and recovery, the person undergoing these events is not the only person who will be tested. If an addict is married or in a long-term romantic relationship, then their partner is certainly going to go through a trying time, as well. However, having been through this journey together makes it all the more important to take crucial steps after recovery. Here are some tips on revitalizing your marriage after addiction…

Avoid starting new relationships in recovery


First of all, it’s important to note that is highly advisable to not start any new romantic relationships right after recovery, or in recovery, for that matter. A romantic relationship has the potential to distract you from what you should be focusing on in recovery, especially in the crucial early month, as staying sober is key. Relationships also have the potential to cause stress, which can be triggering for someone who just got through recovery. As a matter of fact, many aspects of an early relationship can have an unpredictable effect on someone who is probably still getting cravings. For this reason, it’s best just to avoid all of this, for the time being.
Here’s a good article if you’d like to read more about this situation.

Be honest, no matter what

When you are fresh out of recovery, your relationship needs to continue with a theme of honesty, or it simply won’t work. No matter what, it’s important for both you and your partner to be honest with each other about everything, especially what you are thinking about the situation. Make sure you both tell each other how you are feeling, every single day, and truly be honest about those feelings. If you are having cravings, or even if you suffer a relapse, these are among the most important times to be honest, as they can make the difference in your path to recovery.

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Clearly, communicate your needs

Remember that your partner will have their own specific needs during this time, and be considerate of those needs. However, it’s also important to be clear about what you need during this time of recovery, as your support system is a vital element to a lasting recovery. This means that each person in the relationship needs to have a clear line of communication with the other, so that they can say how they are truly feeling, without judgment.

Take this time to learn how to be better versions of yourself

At this time, remember that you are in a period of rebuilding who you are, and that you and your partner will be in a period of rebuilding your own relationship. While this will definitely be difficult, at times, it should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourselves and strengthen the bond between you two. Besides, if you can both support each other through the difficult time of recovery, then you will find that you have a stronger relationship on the other side.

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Find projects around the home to work on together

After getting out of recovery, you and your partner need to find new ways to bond so that you can make sure that you both still know each other, even after this life-changing experience. While getting out and going on adventures, like hiking, can be a great way to do this, it is also very important to try to find ways to enjoy being home with each other.


One particular way to do this is to find projects around your home that you can work on together. Look for something you both would love to see in your home.
Should you get new marble countertops? Should you build a treehouse? Just find something that you can both work together to improve your lives. Building new memories together, especially memories with tangible evidence all around you starts to replace negative experiences that you’ve both been through before.

Having a project is also a great tool to aid in recovery since it gives you a positive focus!

New Author and Recovery Visionary Book Spotlight. Meet Dr. Jane Galloway, and her book ~”The Gateways: The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality.”

New Author and Recovery Visionary Book Spotlight. Meet Dr. Jane Galloway, and her book ~”The Gateways: The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality.”

“The Gateways are… A Gateway, a bridge, an opening into living the Spiritual Life that the Steps promise!  What you get from this are Tools, Inspiration, and time to release the Shame and move into the FREEDOM.”   ~Dr. Jane Galloway, Author

When I first heard of Author, Jane Galloway, and her new book, I read the passage above within the book’s description and I immediately thought about how broken, dark and empty I was when I first came into recovery. It was like stepping out of the darkness and into the light of spiritual freedom. Now, half way through reading Jane’s book, that is what you learn and so much more in this book. Here is more about her book…

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About The Book:


Is there more to recovery than just staying sober and clean? Dr. Jane Galloway offers an emphatic “yes” to this question in her groundbreaking 12 Step companion guide, The Gateways: The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality. Galloway presents the 12 Steps squarely in the context of 21st-century spirituality with breadth, skill, and sensitivity that helps readers of any faith (or of none) experience a profound spiritual awakening.

Too many recovery programs fixate on the sickness of addiction and, as a result, trap people in a pathology-centered mindset. Jane Galloway’s strength-based approach suggests “Rather than obsessing on what is ‘wrong’ with a person, learning what is ‘right’ with them may hold the key to understanding.” Incorporating ancient developmental systems like Chinese meridians and the Kabbalah Tree of Life, as well as more recent psychological systems like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Erik Erikson’s Eight Ages of Man, Gateways presents 12-Step Spirituality as a Wisdom Path. Galloway’s 12 corresponding Gateway Essences unlock the power of the Steps through spiritual practices and rituals that make up a customized, holistic Mind, Body, Spirit tool kit.

As a 30+ year member of Alcoholics Anonymous, ordained pastor and Doctor of Ministry and accomplished stage and screen actor, community organizer, the Rev. Dr. Jane Galloway brings a woman’s voice to the chorus of men who have previously spoken on 12-Step spirituality. Her work is inspired by and devoted to AA’s founding spiritual vision as it appears in “The Big Book “To us, the realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.”

The Gateways opens wider vistas to the deeper wisdom within us all. Her book published September 2016 by Sacred Stories Publishing, is a beautiful companion guide for a lifetime of mind, body and spirit strength-based healing while using the “reflections on the principles of 12-step spirituality.” Her book is available on Amazon.comBarnes & Noble, and Sacredstoriespublishing.com in both E-book and Paperback.

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About The Author:

Jane is a multifaceted, dynamic woman who has over 30+ years of experience with working, living, teaching and practicing the 12-Steps. A Claremont School of Theology Doctor of Ministry, Jane has extensive experience serving as a minister, community leader, keynote speaker, and strong advocate of the Arts. In addition to her accomplished career as a stage and screen actor, Jane has emerged as a thought leader of the 12-Step spiritual revolution, with the publishing of “The Gateways.” Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of all she does for so many who are looking to recover in wellness, not illness, in heart, soul, mind, body and spirit.

Working and living on both coasts, Jane is the Founder of T.R.I.B.E a model dedicated to building community and raising consciousness through ‘radical expression of Art,’ Psychology, Spirituality, Education, Community, Urban Design, Social Justice and Critical Thinking. She is a compassionate, yet dynamic voice for equality and reconciliation in her community and beyond, with a passion for creating bridges between cultures.

Jane is also a painter, designer, and gardener and loves the Southern California climate for growing lavender, flowering cactus, fruit trees and more. A lot of her inspiration comes from working in nature and seeing how things grow in the right soil….a wonderful metaphor for life. Her heart and passions include empowering women, advocating for recovery from childhood trauma, and getting “The Arts” to children.
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Now let us meet Dr. Jane Galloway ~ Founder and Leader of a Spiritual Community in Los Angeles, and T.R.I.B.E.

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What is TRIBE?

It Is: Transformation/Realization/Inspiration/Belonging/Expression.
From California to the urban center and launched in New York City, it has expanded as an umbrella for social practice art beyond one city.

Jane is a visionary leader dedicated to building community and raising consciousness through radical expressions of Art, Psychology, Spirituality, Education, Community, Urban Design, Social Justice and Critical Thinking. She is a compassionate, yet dynamic voice for equality and reconciliation in her community and beyond. Her passion is creating bridges between cultures, and also connecting people to their own deepest calling.

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“All of the years on my path have come together in this new and unique endeavor of integrating art, the spiritual path, emotional health, creativity, and purpose. We are birthing this T.R.I.B.E. in Harlem, where deeply culture- transforming ventures have found fertile ground for more than a century. We are not gentrifiers, but rather grateful appreciators of the presence of the wisdom of the ancestors, who are present here.”

Jane states she has come to believe that artists are uniquely positioned to speak the world into a new reality. “We are all capable of being Artists by Intention, whatever our profession, creating the conditions for people to TRANSFORM- First themselves and then the world.”

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Gatherings can include performance, visual art, and film combined with depth teachings from wisdom texts, psychology, art theory, and literature. These elements, along with meditation and dynamic conversation with the participating artists, combine to create the conditions for dramatic and ongoing awakening and renewed purpose.

Jane is a life-long artist; painter, writer, singer, designer, actor, director, producer. During a thirty year award winning career as an actor, she starred on and off Broadway, in regional and European theater, film and television, founded an Arts Education Nonprofit, h’ARTworks, in Southern CA, has also worked as a Drama Therapist, and college professor. She has also received professional awards and civic commendations for her work as a minister, community leader, and arts activist.

In the darkest days of the AIDS Epidemic, Jane followed a calling to pursue Higher Education and Ministry, to try to be a part of the solution in a more direct way. She was awarded both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Ministry from Claremont School of Theology in CA and became an ordained Minister through the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She studied under the brilliant New Thought philosopher Eric Butterworth in NYC for ten years.

In her ministry, Dr. Galloway utilizes depth teachings from world religions, indigenous wisdom, and New Thought teachings, combined with art and cross-cultural conversation to inspire a universal realization of Oneness.

You can connect with Author, Dr. Jame Galloway on social media and visit her website today:

Jane’s Website
T.R.I.B.E.
On Facebook
Twitter
GoodReads Author

 



Meet Author, Poet, Doctor, Recovery Coach, and My Friend, Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.

“It is not often when you meet someone very special that you have so much in common with through the internet and through social media. And you are “blessed” the day they walked into your life. Well, that is how I feel about my dear friend Kevin Coughlin”….

 

No, we have not met face to face, yes, we live hundreds of miles apart that a phone call can fix and bring us together, and yes, we really are “kindred souls,” and he is my “brother from another mother.” LOL…LOL.

The first thing I learned about my buddy and #1 recovery supporter is that he truly cares for and about those who suffer from addictions. He also cares and has trained hundreds who also care and recovery coach addicts into recovery. Kevin has his hands into so many projects it mind boggling and he keeps publishing more books and poetry within all of it! The man must never SLEEP! (Below are two new Ebooks on Amazon!)

 

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Well, I happen to know he does suffer some with sleep apnea, so he seems to have more hours to spare than your average person. LOL. I’m in the “know” as we have become such close friends. The list of all HE IS and all HE DOES is crazy, but he does it out love and for others to have a beautiful life in recovery. Here now is just a tip of the iceberg of what Dr. Rev Kev is all ABOUT….. The short version, so please visit his helpful website at Rev Kevs Recovery World to learn more!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Reverend Dr., Provincial Superintendent Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D., most call me Rev. Kev. All that I have been, all that I am, and all that I ever will be is because of God’s grace. I am well trained. I am an International Certified Master Addictions Coach, I specialize in Drug & Alcohol abuse addiction recovery & family recovery coach, gambling addiction, Life coaching, Christian Coaching, Case Management, Prevention & Relapse Prevention, LAMA, Ethics, Spirituality, Sexual Addiction, Anger Management, Domestic Violence Advocacy, Interventionist & Life Recovery Coach, Licensed & Ordained Minister.

I am a Founder, and former Board Member & Spiritual Director of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a residential addiction recovery program. Over the past 19+ years, we have been blessed to help thousands of individuals and families to change their lives! I am often utilized as a consultant on addiction and recovery and considered an expert in the field. I have given thousands of workshops and lectures, training seminars, and retreats.

I have been an instructor at The Addictions Academy. I am The President and CEO of Phase II Christian Coaching, LLC. I am a member in good standing in the AACC, ICCA, NAADAC, IAMMF, ECPG, NCPG, and AACT. I am an internationally published poet and a best-selling author, I am 9 time National Bench Press Champion and 2 time World Champion.

I have been blessed to be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling, Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling, and Doctorates Degrees Ph.D., DCC, DDVCA, DLC, DD, and am Board Certified by DIT Seminary IN Christian counseling. I am an Associate Professor at Dayspring Christian University and a Board Member. I have been approved by the Board for a year of study to be consecrated a Bishop at the Florida Conference next year. I have a great deal of experience in volunteer recruitment, philanthropic, nonprofit, program development.

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Today, I love to write and to teach!

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You can see most of his published works by visiting his  Rev Kevs Library and again, above are the two latest books he has published along with this new one and all of them in e-books will soon be available in paperback! Here is more of what Rev. Kev is into with helping MANY in and reaching out to recover from addictions including gambling addiction and as a Recovery Coach!

 

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Here is what Readers and Book Reviewers are saying about many of his published works over on Amazon .com….

 

Some Amazon Reader Reviews:

5-STARS-Poetry:  “Meant for the recovery community, this book of poetry is really about all of life – tragedy, joy, comfort, chaos, disenfranchisement, the ennui of modern times, and love. Almost all readers will find something that will resonate with them within these pages. I was “gifted” this book, my first introduction to Rev. Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

I am so glad to find out about his work. This book is authentic; at times it is even raw and entirely sympathetic to the human condition. His brief inclusions of the canine condition gladdened my heart! I look forward to my next encounter with Rev. Kev’s work.”

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5-STARS-Relaspe Prevention book: “This is a great book for those needing to become familiar with addiction/recovery. It takes you step by step through different treatment programs and sets expectations when entering a drug rehab program. You’ll become familiar with the terms associated with the various types of addictions and how to manage/prevent relapses. It discusses triggers and how to deal with them.
If you have teens, this will give you and idea of how to recognize if they are using drugs. This alone makes it worth reading.”

 

100% ALL 5-Stars-Addictions What Parents Need To Know book:  “This book really brought insight to the dynamic between parents, grandparents and their children about the world of addiction and drugs. At times, for those who have never undergone such a thing, seem like a vast, imaginary world away…however, it is real and it is happening now. To so many of us and our loved ones. Mr. Coughlin draws upon his own experiences with addiction and the effects it had on him and his loved ones. It was an incredibly informative book, guide and I believe a lifesaver to those who are currently experiencing this with their loved ones and want to help. It helps the reader understand the causes, signs, and consequences that addiction has and explains in detail the different. Excellent, informative read!

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A “bird” to me he may be writing a Memoir as well, let’s hope this is a real rumor as I will be first in line to buy that! He has had a colorful life including addiction and recovery. He writes and freelances for many recovery publications like “Keys to Recovery Newspaper”, “In Recovery Magazine and The Sober World.”  He has written many coaching and training manuals for recovery coaching, training and much more!

Kevin has been on many radio and podcast shows and has an “upcoming events” page over on his website so you can catch the event he will be featured as this recovery guy is all over the place:  Recovery Events, Interventions and More …


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So make sure you connect with Dr. Rev. Kevin T Coughlin, Ph D., all over Social Media as well. Don’t be shy as Kevin is the most humbled nicest guy you will MEET. (No, he did NOT PAY me to write that! LOL) Please take some time to visit his website and see all his books. AND? Some of his New E-Book Release’s are promo priced right now. We know reading can enhance our own recovery. And Yes, Kevin is certified to coach for Gambling Addiction too!

Facebook  –  Twitter  –  And Facebook Again  –  And LinkedIn!

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Presented to by Author/Columnist, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Recovery Starts Here!