Sharing My Recovery Wisdom, Hope, Experiences, and Lessons Learned While I Keep Moving Forward Maintaining Recovery. “Pass It On!”

Sharing My Recovery Wisdom, Hope, Experiences, and Lessons Learned While I Keep Moving Forward Maintaining Recovery. “Pass It On!”

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When we feel like we can not move past speed bumps in our recovery journey, how do we move forward? When do I get some loner time abstinence and then relapse? What if I’m not strong enough to NOT cave into cravings, urges, and triggers? What can I do not to RELAPSE?

All these are excellent questions and concerns we all have or face while maintaining our recovery path. Some can be quick fixes, and some may mean you have more work to do possible within your journey. See, recovery is not only a life long process, and it does come to us in phases. What do I mean by this? We all have the option to choose how we begin to gain our lives back from any addiction.

In doing so, we have choices to pick from a 12-Step Program, or faith-based program, or both together. Possibly a treatment center program along with attending church or a treatment program that comes with therapy or counseling, but, however you feel is right and comfortable for you. Next is doing the “work” that is asked of you while you begin to learn the tools and the skills that may save your life. Next is being diligent in using all the tools you learn. Not complicated. But, still, many can struggle.

Since I advocate much through social media, I see many times disagreements going on by others wanting to force how they recover and has worked for them onto others looking for help or support within recovery from addictions. Or even the never-ending battles I see play out about a 12-Step Program all by itself will work to get clean, sober, or gamble free… That is not the case, nor fair.

I feel, and this is my OWN OPINION, as long as you have the desire to stop any addiction that is making your life unmanageable? Then it should be you alone or your family and yourself to choose what works and is comfortable for you.

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Once you begin, begin to come to terms with knowing there is a lot of recovery work to do in the first few years. Learning and gaining the skills and tools needed to interrupt the “cycle” of addiction is essential and half the battle!

Being educated and informed about some of the roots and underlying issues that had you turn to addiction. Old pain or hurt from other issues like abuse, trauma, etc., all can have us looking for ways to cope and escape those feelings that are still unprocessed — then learning to overcome hurdles or those feelings of being “stuck” not knowing how to move forward maintaining your recovery.

I’ll end with a share of a post that I did on my Recovery Facebook page the other day. It was answering a group member’s concerns about her gambling addiction and having a relapse. It was how I felt after reading questions and felt I wanted to share a little of my own experience in early recovery.

Keep it Honest and Real recovery friends!
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My FB Reply:
“I enjoy belonging to many Groups here on FB and especially my #recoverygroups … I wish there were MORE #GamblingRecoveryGroups …

Because when I read that others are having a “Rough Go” or Struggles, and I read sharings of others, it Hits me HARD …

Here is what I suggested to a new friend who is recovering from OUR #Addiction…
ONE that “Requires No #Substances but is just as DEADLY and Still, such a Silent and Underground #Addiction”… *Cat*

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ANSWER To Her:
“When I read this …It took me back to my own early attempts in recovery, the days of chronic relapses. I sure relate to all you shared and half the battle?? Is that YOU are sharing, reaching out, and being honest and transparent as this #DISEASE most times don’t let you. So Kudo’s to you for DOING SO.

It is NOT YOU -Thinking, it is the disease, the habits of our diseased thinking that are telling you that you DON’T have a problem and you have your gambling controlled.

It is part of the nasty “CYCLE” of this cunning addiction. I worked with a Gambling Specialist after I came out of my 2nd treatment program. IT MADE a world of difference for me and stayed maintaining my addicted gambling recovery from that point on!

The longer you abstain and not gamble? The triggers and cravings DO go away, BUT?

This DISEASE is “Always Lying in WAIT.” (Per the late Robin Williams) …

That is why we learn and use all the tools and skills we learn and use them daily. For me, journaling and writing my Steps and Inner work as a Journal sure will help. Re-working the steps in writing form enables you to “Look Back” and see where you need help in areas and your strong points to continue a “Beautiful Life while Maintaining #Recovery.

That Is IMPORTANT …AS We don’t LIVE IN Recovery, and we maintain recovery while we LIVE LIFE!

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Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Welcome Recovery Friends!

It is no secret that I am “being of recovery service” as media manager to a couple who is fighting this Addictions Crisis in America with all that they have! Literally. We have been friends, Big Jim and Marisol Downs for almost three 1/2 years.  I met Jim while he was accomplishing his first event of “Walking Across America 4 Addiction Awareness.” He had just finished his own 16-month treatment and recovery program while living in a faith-based rescue mission. He had finally had enough of drugging and drinking after 34 years of it! He was at the bottom after an anger rage he couldn’t remember after it happened.

He decided it was time for him to get help, for him and GOD to have a long conversation about his life and what was it he was missing? It was FAITH. He walked to be able to hear and get closer to GOD. He was redeemed from addictions, but without GOD in his life? He surely knew he would relapse and that to JIM was not going to happen. So he went for a walk from Panama City FL. to Canada! When Jim finished the “walk,” he founded and began “Big Jim’s Walk Inc.”

Now, with a new mission from God and years maintaining recovery, Big Jim is now “Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness and with powerful recovery support and treatment team behind him. He has already in just 2 and half months saved 41 lives from addictions who reached out to him while biking around America!

And? Well, I think I will let you read the rest of the “Ride” story courtesy of “The Eagle” newspaper located outside Houston, Texas as that is WHERE Big Jim has made it to and will be speaking on the State Capitol Steps in Austin, Texas today!! I would like to invite all who are my supporters of this blog go Donate and support Big Jim Downs as he riding for MY Addiction I am recovering from as MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Jim and Marisol are doing this ride on the kindness of people who know this addiction crisis in America is reaching everyone’s communities and claiming too many precious LIVES.

So I invite you to contribute and I THANK YOU in advance and donate here on Big Jim’s Fundraiser on the Official Website of Big Jim’s Walk Foundation. 

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PEDALING FOR HOPE

Addiction-recovery advocate makes unexpected Bryan-College Station, Texas stop…

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“Now five years clean, 50-year-old Jim Downs is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.”

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Jim Downs battled the long road of drug and alcohol addiction for more than 30 years before finding rescue in a faith-based recovery program.


Now five years clean, the 50-year-old Florida
man is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.

On the way to Austin on Thursday, Downs’ bright yellow-green Performer JC26X recumbent trike blew a tire just outside Bryan-College Station. His wife, Marisol, who was driving the couple’s car, met up with her husband in Bryan so he could strap the trike to the vehicle roof and take it for repairs.

Marisol often has to stay back in Florida to work while Jim makes his long journey, but she tries hard to follow her partner in the car when she can, hoping to help him if he runs into trouble. Sometimes she’s able to travel ahead of him and let recovery centers and news outlets in the local area know Jim will be pedaling into town.

The couple runs the charity organization known as Big Jim’s Walk and is in the paperwork process of having the group designated formally as a 501(c) nonprofit, Marisol said. The program started just two years ago when the couple decided to embark on a charity walk together from Florida to the Canadian border, talking to drug and alcohol addicts they met on the way and connecting them to recovery programs.

Now the organization is staffed by several people who have access to a catalog of addiction recovery programs throughout the country. When they meet an addict on a trip, they connect the addict to a long-term recovery program that will care for that person free of charge.

So far, they have helped 42 people since 2017 and have spoken with both small-town politicians and high-ranking state elected officials about funding for sober living and addiction programs.

Jim said that while he took a quick stop in Bryan to deal with the broken trike, he wanted to share his story with the people of the area via media outlets, hoping his testimony could help anyone in the Brazos Valley battling some kind of addiction and needing hope.

Jim was raised in California by what he described as a stable middle-class family and had never witnessed drug or alcohol abuse. But, he says, family issues led him to turn to drugs at school to deal with emotional problems. Having first tried illicit substances at 12, he eventually spiraled out of control and was an addict for 34 years.

He attempted suicide five times, was fired from jobs, was homeless at times and was repeatedly arrested, he said. He said he eventually let down his children and takes responsibility for leading one of his kids into methamphetamine addiction.

After enduring a psychotic blackout just over four years ago, he decided to reach out to Panama City Rescue Mission in Florida, a faith-based recovery program.

“I went in with a chip on my shoulder about recovery and an attitude of ‘I’m only doing this once,’ especially since I’d had heard people say they did it four or five times,” he said. “… Getting a relationship with God and working the 12-step addiction program through that relationship, I was digging deep and dealing with the root cause of all of it — a sense of abandonment.”

Recovery was not a simple process. Jim explained that recovery takes work and dedication, and lots of support from friends and family members who are not addicts. Jim said he would like to see more opportunities for those battling addiction to enter a recovery program that looks at the long-term healing process beyond the initial days of detoxification.

His mission as a sober man riding his bike cross-country is to connect the people he meets with the services that will help them in the same way he was helped. If those services aren’t available to a person in their immediate area, Jim stressed his organization will pay for that person to be bused to a town where they can receive treatment.

“The objective is to let everyone out there know that I get it,” he said. “I’ve been homeless, eaten out of garbage cans, done dope most of my life. I encourage people through my testimony and let them know they don’t have to live that way and there is hope. Then I offer them free recovery.”

The couple planned to drive on Thursday night to Austin, where Jim could have his trike wheel repaired. Next stop after speaking in Austin: Phoenix, where he plans to keep passing on the message of hope.

To reach out to Jim and Marisol Downs and learn more about their charity, visit bigjimswalk.com.

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Special Article Share 4 Having a Happy Recovery Valentine’s Day By “Know The Odds” …Great Resource Site!

HAPPY VALENTINES FRIENDS! CAT

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CONTINUING RECOVERY ON VALENTINE’S DAY

Valentine’s Day is here! So how about using this holiday to bring the family together while continuing to recover from the effects of problem gambling.  In this article, you’ll find some ways to bring fresh ideas and rebuild relationships shared with a loved one in recovery from problem gambling.

Problem Gambling And Family

The effects of problem gambling can span to affect every significant relationship in the life of the gambler.  The people closest to the one struggling with problem gambling are affected the most.  The people closest tend to be parents, spouses, and children.  Although people struggling with problem gambling usually have the best intentions while gambling, the damage can feel overwhelming.

Relationships can be repaired.  Recovery is possible.  Therefore, change is possible, and, with the right help, the partnership can come out stronger on the other side.

Focusing On Family

Holidays and anniversaries are important to keep the family’s connection strong.  These special days give reason to stop the regularities of routine and the hustle and bustle of life.  They offer devoted time to stop and connect with those who are important.  Valentine’s Day is one of those days.

Many people laugh at holidays like Valentine’s Day, but, as silly as it may be, it is a day to devote time to loved ones.  What can be more important than that?

For families recovering from the consequences of a loved one’s struggle with problem gambling, Valentine’s Day can be seen as a great day to focus on the love of family.  Therefore, it’s a day to remember why rebuilding relationships are so important, and a way to regain strength to continue on the family’s path to recovery from problem gambling.

Family Focused Fun

Many people try to go and buy things to bring joy to loved ones.  Flowers, stuffed animals, and colorful cards are great ways to put a smile on a person’s face, but there are other ways. Here are a few ways to spend time focusing on family.

Board game night can be a great way to bring some fun to the family.  Choosing games that are relaxing, but fun for the whole family can be an exciting way to reconnect with everyone.  Some games can include Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Sorry or Scategories. All these are examples of fun games to play together with the family.  Make sure to choose games that won’t act as triggers for the loved one in recovery for problem gambling and focus on having fun together.

Family outing together can be a great way to have fun.  There are many family outings that don’t need to cost much or any money.  Simple ideas like going for a hike or bike ride together, visiting a local museum or library together, or participating in a night of bowling are all ways to enjoy low-cost or free activities together.  Not only are family outings are great ways to step out of the home, but also great ways to create new memories together.

Volunteering is a great way to get the family together.
There are so many ways to give back to the community or volunteer.  You could help a neighbor with their yard, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or spend time at a senior center.  Whatever you choose, giving back will bring up the spirits of the family.  Volunteering together is a great way to rebuild the family while improving the well-being of the community.

Helpful Resources

Finally, wherever you and your family are on the path to recovery from problem gambling, support is always available.  Please reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center by visiting New York Problem Gambling-Help or The National Council on Problem Gambling… 

If You Gamble The Super Bowl? Think Twice Before You Do. Gamble Responsibly!

If You Gamble The Super Bowl? Think Twice Before You Do. Gamble Responsibly!

PlayUSA analysts say that $325 million of legal wagers will be laid on this weekend’s Super Bowl in the United States.

 

SUPER BOWL 2019 BETTING ESTIMATE: MORE THAN $300 MILLION IN LEGAL US WAGERS …AS

Eight states now have legal sports betting. Most remains in state casinos, but online wagering is growing fast. 

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NEVADA REMAINS THE BIGGEST GAMBLING STATE FOR SUPER BOWL BETTING

“Over a million Americans are expected to place legal wagers”

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One of the Biggest Past Week and TODAY many who #BET or have a #WAGER on Todays #SuperBowlGame???

THIS Could BE THE DAY You cross that line from being a #ProblemGambler to an #AddictedOne …

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Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ #Advocate and #RecoveringGamblingAddict

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This #Addiction “Touches” All Walks of #LIFE …

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“The Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas, on Super Bowl Sunday in 2016. A staggering amount of money is tossed around on Super Bowl bets each year. Nearly 23 million Americans will bet on Super Bowl 2019, for a total estimated at $6 billion in Super Bowl bets according to the American Gaming Association.”

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Our Friends in The UK Are Having Problems To With Gambling And?… The Stats Are Alarming

Alarming UK Gambling Statistics, Sports Betting Data & Research 2018 – December 11th, 2018 

 

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A Holiday Message and Special Guest Article By My Dear Friend Always In ACTION and Solutions! …Ryan Hampton!

A Holiday Message and Special Guest Article By My Dear Friend Always In ACTION and Solutions! …Ryan Hampton!


No Introduction Needed and Straight to THE POINT! By, Ryan Hampton, Advocate.
(Courtesy of Action Network and my Ryan Hampton Newsletter)

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America’s crisis isn’t opioids—it’s ignorance – by Ryan Hampton


“I grew up in Florida, within miles of the epicenter of what we now call a national opioid crisis.”

I got hooked on prescription painkillers in Florida, buying green and blue tablets from the pill mills that spread through Miami. I learned to shoot heroin in Florida. I ate at the homeless shelters there, begged for change at the gas stations, and tried one treatment center after another. I experienced the opioid crisis up close and personal: I lived it.

After leaving Florida in 2013 and finding sustained recovery four years ago in California, I’m still experiencing the effects of the epidemic. Now, I see it from the other side. I work in policy, pushing for recovery-related reform at the national level. I work hand-in-hand with grassroots groups across the nation to ensure that our voices are heard. This year, I’ve learned that if recovery is not represented at the decision-making table, it quickly falls by the wayside.

I’m able to be such a vocal activist in part because I’m white. I’m the guy in the Warby Parker glasses, the hoodie, and the backpack, trying to force change everywhere I go. I see few advocates of color at the table and at higher levels of leadership — especially when funding is in play. I do my best, but I can’t speak for a community I’m not part of. I can call out systematic problems that exclude people who are in need.

The fact is, in our focus on fixing America’s “opioid problem,” we’ve fallen into the same old ignorant patterns. White, suburban, middle-class opioid users are receiving an overwhelming amount of media attention. People who look like me are in the limelight: the addiction crisis is hot right now, but only certain aspects of it actually make it to the mainstream.

We’ve ignored communities of color, alternate pathways to recovery, harm reduction, and substances other than opioids. As a result, meth is on the rise, as well as benzos such as Xanax. Well-intentioned advocacy from both policy leaders and grassroots groups have actually created more victims because it fails to include all people with substance use disorder.

The divide between policy and the day-to-day struggle of people in active addiction is widening. Who cares what legal protections we have if they don’t actually save lives? What’s the point of creating progressive health care systems if those systems aren’t accessible to everyone who needs them?

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Furthermore, the media misrepresents small steps forward as the “finish line” while sensationalizing opioid use in specific regions. Instead of becoming more inclusive, our definition of recovery is narrowing. That squeezes out the most vulnerable members of our communities, while those with more privilege—who fit the mold of the “model addict”—get sympathy and support on their journeys to wellness. That means that, on the same day, a headline about the opioid crisis in Appalachia shares a page with a story about Senate leadership unanimously backing the new opioid bills. It doesn’t make sense.

These stories are linked. They are one and the same. The average addict looks nothing like the rural poor of West Virginia—the drug epidemic affects one in three American homes. Yet, just as the media chose to sensationalize the crack epidemic as a “black problem,” addiction is once again becoming “someone else’s problem.” When we see addiction represented as something that happens to other people, we don’t deal with the problem that’s in our own backyards, living rooms, and classrooms.

Yet, there are examples of people working hard to address the crisis without shame, stigma, or discrimination. Dayton, Ohio recently made headlines for cutting its overdose rate in half by focusing on giving help freely, to anyone who needed it. The city removed barriers to treatment by investing in public health, supporting harm reduction measures like fentanyl test kits and clean syringes, and offering diverse options for recovery support.

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Miami, Florida, Cityscape, Water

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Miami-Dade County in Florida – –

The place where I hit the bottom of my addiction—is making incredible strides too, by making naloxone available literally everywhere and putting it in the hands of people who already use opioids. The county is also the home of the state’s first and only syringe exchange program. These two places are reversing the opioid epidemic by treating it like a public health crisis—and not shutting out people in need because they “don’t fit” the way we see addiction in the media or in budgeting meetings. Instead of assuming that a rising tide of recovery will lift all boats, they decided to build a boat that has a seat for everyone.

This year, the drug crisis worsened, even as we made incredible strides forward in leadership, policy, and breaking the stigma of addiction. Clearly, what we’re doing isn’t working broadly, for people of diverse backgrounds and needs. We can’t leave them behind and then pat ourselves on the back. We need to look at movements like AIDS activism and focus on helping people survive. Not just white people, not just straight people, not just wealthy people, not just employed people, not just housed people. All people.

I’m as guilty as the next person of losing sight of that goal. I, too, spent a lot of this year focused on opioids, and how they affected only the people I know. In 2019, I want to do better. We have a larger problem than opioids: we have a problem with our perception of addiction, our education about the illness and our response to this crisis. That includes the community of pain patients who are being pushed out of the discussion on opioids and penalized by stricter prescribing guidelines. In fact, we can find common ground between recovery advocates and pain patients, instead of leaving anyone on the sidelines.

This is not a problem that can be solved by separating and specializing it to death. We have the data, the tools, and the evidence that are proven to work. We need to use them and make them accessible by actually meeting people where they are.

In 2019, I’m committing to making harm reduction and saving all lives my focus. You can’t help someone if they’re dead. All the well-crafted legislation in the world won’t bring back the fathers, mothers, and children who we’ve lost to drug-related causes. What we can do is bring help to those in need. We can give them their dignity. We can see them from the other side of the crisis, and meet them wherever they are.

“The issue isn’t opioids: it’s ignorance. What are we actually trying to fix? Are we solving the problem, or simply eliminating the people we don’t think deserve help?” … I’ve looked at this epidemic from both sides. I know where I stand.

I hope others will stand with me and lend their voices to a movement that includes everyone and offers real, meaningful solutions. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple measures like making naloxone widely available, offering 24/7 access to safe injection sites with fentanyl test kits and clean syringes, and connecting people with help the minute they need it ensures that they can get through 2019 alive. Together. In one piece, recovered.

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Ryan Hampton is a person in recovery from heroin addiction and author of “American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis—and How to End It,” published by St. Martin’s Press.

He’s a nationally recognized activist and founder of the nonprofit advocacy organization The Voices Project.

 

 

What You Do If Reaching Out For Recovery At Holiday Time. The Perfect Time To Gain Your Precious Life Back and Steps To Take …

What You Do If Reaching Out For Recovery At Holiday Time. The Perfect Time To Gain Your Precious Life Back and Steps To Take …

What Are the First Steps to Getting Help with Addiction~by Alek Sabin

When a person is struggling from any addiction, especially gambling addiction, it can be hard for them to recognize how far gone they are. Feeling hopeless from the financial pressures as well. Even if they see that they need help, understanding how to get help and the first steps towards getting it can be complicated. There are so many addiction recovery options, each with their own pros and cons.

Adding to the confusion is stress over the cost of treatment and the logistics of leaving your life behind in order to get better. I know it seems overwhelming, but once you take that first step, things will begin to fall into place. Here are some ideas of what that first step might look like, and where you can start your recovery process.

See Your Doctor


The first step on the road to recovery can be as simple seeing your family physician. And let’s not forget, Addiction is a disease, and you don’t need to be ashamed to tell your doctor that you have a problem and to ask for help. Your doctor will be able to provide you with recommendations to an addictions facility or to other addiction recovery programs.

 

Once the doctor gives you some referrals, the next step is to call around to the different programs and see which one you feel best about, and then get started on getting better. Just like you would go to your doctor for a referral to an oncologist if you had cancer or a diabetic who has diabetes, there are medical professionals that specialize in addiction recovery that your doctor will be able to put you in touch with.

 

Meet With a Rehab Center


Most addiction recovery programs will provide a free assessment to anyone who needs one. You can meet with a team of experienced addiction recovery experts who can help you to determine what the best plan for healing would be for you.

Whether a residential stay would be appropriate for you, or an outpatient program, having an assessment will give you an idea about where you’re headed. These professionals can also help to get you enrolled in a 12-step program or other programs and support groups which are completely free, and put you in touch with other resources.

Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (1)

Detoxification Programs

If an addict is physically dependent on an illicit substance or nonsubstance like gambling addiction it is incredibly dangerous to stop using it all at once, especially on your own. There are many misconceptions about gambling addiction and a “withdraw” process, as addicted gamblers DO have and go through a “detox” period just like any other addict.

This is one harmful way that many addictions like drugs operate, by, ironically, making it unhealthy for you to stop using them. This is where detoxification programs come in. A detox program provides a safe, medically supervised space for an individual to get treatment as a substance and brain chemicals change or begin with substances, leave their body.

 

12-Step Groups


Most treatment centers and facilities will start you along in a 12-step program during your initial treatment, and you should continue this work with a group of your choice once your treatment program is completed. These 12-step meetings like AA, NA, and GA are a great place to gain perspective from people who understand what you’re going through so you will see your not alone. You can make new friends, gain support, and expand your support system as you continue to overcome your addiction.

Other resources that can help you to find work or a safe place to live can also be found in a 12-step group, so getting involved can really save your life. For recovering gamblers, ask your GA, (Gamblers Anonymous) trustees to schedule a “Financial Pressure Relief ” meeting with you and your spouse and go over the packet to begin your financial inventory and on the road to the accountability of the financial damages and pressure, you may be feeling.

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Trustworthy Friends and Family


Recovery resources are essential, but social support and love are important parts of your life as well, so you shouldn’t neglect them. Weed out friends or family members who would hamper your recovery and learn to rely on those who are supportive of your process. Include those who love you in your recovery, and let them help you to reach your milestones.

Making new friends can be hard, but it will be one of the most rewarding parts of recovery if you can connect with safe, sober, uplifting people to share your journey with. Don’t allow the isolation of addiction to continue to have a hold on you. Branch out to others for support and enjoy the opportunities it gives you to serve and to give back.

 

Helping a Loved One Get Started


Sometimes the first step to recovery doesn’t come from the addict themselves, it comes through the help of those who love them. If you can see that your loved one is struggling with addiction, but they are resistant to getting help, it’s probably time to stage an intervention. Prepare yourself and other attendees well ahead of time, and have some recovery options ready to get started on right away. 
Check out Catherine’s Resource Page while your here.

There are also other support groups like “Celebrate Recovery” … Find one in your area with the Celebrate Recovery Locator.  You’ll be well on your way to a Brand New Life within Recovery!