Author: Justin Mckibben
Studying Compassionate Goals
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology actually states that compassionate goals we set are about
“- striving to help others and avoiding selfish behavior” for example, “making a positive difference in someone else’s life.”
Researchers here measured how participating in self-image goals and compassionate goals had an impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety, along with their conflict with others.
This study concluded that its results suggest there is a very real relevance of self-image and compassionate goals for the interpersonal maintenance of issues like depression and anxiety.
Principally, the results held some pros and cons for people with anxiety. The downfall is that trying to boost self-image by avoiding vulnerability backfires, leaving people more depressed and anxious. This can create a difficult cycle to escape from emotionally.
The good news is that by focusing on helping others, we make everyone involved, including ourselves, feel better. This is because showing compassion through action doesn’t just relieve our anxiety or depression in the moment, but it helps us build our relationships, which can reduce anxiety and depression as they grow stronger and healthier. It is a win-win. In recovery from drugs or alcohol, we should take all the wins we can get.
4 Ways to Help Others that Help Us
If you want to utilize acts of kindness to help you grow in your recovery, there are plenty of ways to do it. Here are just 4 examples of things you can do to help others that will help you.
Making constructive comments to others
”Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.”
That statement is no exaggeration. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the spoken word is truly the undisputed champion.
In recovery use your words to help others. Make constructive comments that serve to build others up, while pointing out their strengths and celebrating their successes. This helps us develop a habit of focusing on the good in one another and ultimately in our communities and our lives. It can also build up our relationships to give us strong support.
Having compassion for others’ mistakes
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”
For a lot of people, it is already hard enough to accept their mistakes. Most of us are our worst critics. No one likes people pointing out their shortcomings. We all make mistakes. Try to be compassionate about it when others slip up.
Why is it important to show companion when someone else makes a mistake? Because not only does giving someone an empathetic response make them feel better, it also reinforces our relationship with them. It shows those around you that you are understanding and humble enough to support someone through their mistake without shaming them or holding it over their head.
In recovery, this means a lot because it is important to remember that we are also a work in progress. We have our own faults, and if we want to build a new life we have to move on from the old. Compassion can even help others show you the same support when it’s your turn to mess up.
Don’t be self-centered
“A selfish man is a thief”
In most recovery fellowships there is an emphasis on avoiding the self-centered behavior. Being self-centered is never really beneficial in the long-term, even if it helps you with some level of instant gratification. In addiction recovery, being so self-involved can be counter-productive to healthy growth.
Surely it is ok to take care of yourself and honor yourself. But being self-centered makes it less about self-care and more about self-seeking and being inconsiderate.
In fact, high levels of depression and anxiety tend to make us turn inward and focus on ourselves even more. The worse we feel the more isolated we become. Being considerate of others and finding a way to help them can actually relieve anxiety and depression by turning that energy outward.
In recovery, we should think of others as we improve ourselves. When we realize we must make choices and take action to benefit people other than ourselves, our compassion gives us perspective.
Avoiding harming others
“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”
Last but certainly not least, we can easily help ourselves and others by not causing harm. If you can’t make someone’s life better, at least don’t make it worse. You don’t have to necessarily go out of your way and do random acts of kindness, but at least don’t do random harm to others.
And this kind of compassion is pretty much just common courtesy. It can be active on a small scale and still impact you in recovery. You can throw your trash in a garbage can so someone else doesn’t have to sweep it up later. You could put away your shopping cart at the grocery store, or even use that crazy ‘turn-signal’ thing everyone keeps talking about when you’re driving.
While these seem like silly examples, for some people it goes a long way to just be considerate with the little things. It helps build character slowly but surely, while also giving us a sense of our impact on other people. If we can learn to so how our small kindnesses add up, maybe we will be more aware of the power in our bigger decisions.
Compassion in Addiction Recovery
It might not always be easy, but the important choices often aren’t easy. In addiction recovery, we should try to work on ourselves as often as we can, especially for the benefit of others. If our actions can make a positive effect and help someone else, while helping us stay clean and sober, we are on the right track.
But how do we start on that path?
If you want to begin a new journey that will help you build the life you deserve, while helping those you love most, there is help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
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Author: Justin Mckibben
For a little over a year now I’ve been writing for a publication in the field of recovery from substance abuse, and I’ve been given the awesome opportunity to touch on subjects that have educated, motivated and even reformed me in the respect of addiction, mental health and recovery.
I’ve gotten to write about different treatment tactics and how they impact the lives of those who experience them.
I’ve read heartbreaking stories.
I’ve shared shocking statistics.
I have been blessed enough to interview amazing individuals about their own journeys through addiction into sobriety. Having been sober for some time now, I have been able to look back and see what writing for recovery has meant to me and what it has done for my own sobriety, and it is safe to say the journey has changed me.
I just felt like maybe now was a good time to share some thoughts on those changes, and use it as a chance to show how in more ways than one we get to keep what we have by giving it away.
In writing for recovery I better learned how to really see the stigma of addiction and mental health disorders, even in my own life and how I contribute to it. Research has pried open my eyes to a new perspective, exposing those presumptions and how each effected my opinions on both people and policies, and I have learned how to let go of a lot of it through simply trying to understand it.
We are not all the same, although we all have a lot in common. Not everyone will have experienced what I have, and I may not even come close to experiencing what others may have gone through. None of us addicts, regardless of our upbringing, our drug of choice or our rock-bottom were better than anyone else. We didn’t have to look the same or even act the same to qualify as peers.
I saw how we addicts hurt ourselves and each other, and I finally saw that now was my chance to change my own expectations, perceptions and contributions.
Reading, writing and debating over an endless list of topics and controversies has actually forced me to understand a few things about my opinions- such as:
- They are not always right
- They should be educated
- They are subject to change (especially when uneducated or wrong)
When I first wrote an article on harm reduction, I was an adversary of it. I didn’t see how giving an addict access to things like needles and other resources was helping, because to me abstinence was the only way, and anything else was enabling… but today I feel that was close-minded.
By reading more and having open communication the conversation showed me a new appreciation for the inspiring work done by harm reduction programs, and I support those efforts today because these may not be permanent solutions, but these programs save lives and can help revitalize communities.
Sure, clean needles won’t keep an addict clean, but it may keep them alive long enough to get there. But that’s just my opinion.
Before I got involved in writing for recovery I never really followed the politics and drug policies. A big part of me felt as if the government had no real clue what was really going on out there, and I believed no politicians would ever truly care enough to protect the rights and the futures of addicts.
The truth is there are active advocates and organizations all across the globe (essentially everywhere) committed to helping treat, educate and protect the population suffering with alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health disorders.
Of course in active addiction politics were the farthest thing from important in my eyes.
As with politics, writing for recovery has helped me to make honest attempts at getting educated. In reading about the elements of mental health and addiction, about new discoveries in science and technology helping us trudge forward in our understanding of it all, I am constantly reminded that our progressive disease is one we may sometimes think we understand, but other times we realize there is so much we don’t even know we don’t know.
In turn I’ve developed a passion for learning again and for sharing the lessons. I always get excited about these conversations raising more awareness. Every time I see a new movement prompting new action I am filled with a sense of hope. Hope of all we can accomplish if we face the disease of addiction with a willingness to change and grow.
This plays into the idea that many more people support recovering addicts than you would think, which is truly amazing and comforting. I guess what really amazes me is how little I used to care, and how important it has become to me for people to be informed and encouraged to get help.
Letting go of stigma, raising awareness and accepting opinions in relationships can make it much easier to be compassionate and supportive. Writing about these changes made me feel compelled to live that way, and our readers have taught me a lot too, so I’m grateful when someone clicks or comments.
Learning to be accepting and speak openly about personal issues or tough and traumatic topics has made my relationships more honest and humble, while research and writing has taught me to focus on being less judgmental and strive to be insightful in all discussions. I don’t always hit the mark, but you guys have taught me to aim higher every time.
- Helping Others
When I stepped into the role of a writer, I never would have imagined these articles could reach as many readers as they do. Over the past year+ I have met strangers, who recognized the posts and content, and I have had letters and phone calls from people in Ohio where I grew up telling me about what they read and what it meant to them. That experience alone has overwhelmed my heart.
Helping others is the point. It was always the point, but what some people don’t get to see either is how much this helps me.
Sometimes I’m just here expressing myself, writing about what I think is interesting or important, usually while sharing as much news, general information and innovation as I can to help people who need it.
But I write because these testimonies of truth, my truth and your truth, can be part of a catalyst that can save a life.
I get to write for recovery, and when it helps someone it magnifies the extent that it helps me. Writing gives me hope, and reading feedback and follow-through gives me more. It’s how we can call others to action, keep the conversation of recovery going in our own way, and how we try to get more people asking questions and seeking solutions for the problems which seem too vast or intense for someone alone to answer indefinitely.
So thank you for letting me write, and for reading and sharing. For an addict who has grappled to find their way more times than once, it is amazing to be reminded why it works, and who it helps.
My recovery has been a gift, and it has been a gift to have a job writing about it and reading about the struggles and the success stories of others. I can only hope that as I keep doing this, more people will see the options available that can change their own lives. My recovery began with Palm Partners, and there are so many people here who want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
As an active member of a 12 Step fellowship, I was given the suggestion upon completing the other steps to sponsor a newcomer who struggles with alcohol and drugs. Actually my sponsor made a deal with me before we even got started on the steps that if he were to help me in my journey, it was only so I could help another person who still suffered by carrying the message of recovery. I had heard about the great things that could come from sponsorship, but I was in no way prepared for the amazing experience that I have thus far gotten from it.
Being a sponsor has changed a lot of my perspective on what the program of recovery that I have chosen to work means to me, and has opened my eyes to new levels of understanding and appreciation, and has taught me even more about myself than I thought possible. Here are just 11 things I learned from being a sponsor.
1. Have a new level of accountability
Being a hypocrite is damaging because it does not just hurt you, but it can hurt the person you are trying to help. If I make a suggestion, I should follow it myself. If I say I’m going to do something, I need to do it.
2. I still don’t know everything… and NEVER will
Whenever I want to think I know everything and I can answer any question, my sponsees ask me something I have no idea how to answer, and I have to call my sponsor. Sometimes he does not even know. Then I find myself reading through something with my sponsee to find an answer we can both learn from.
3. I can only share experience
Because I don’t know everything, I can only share my experience with my sponsees. I don’t make rules and regulations for them, I only give suggestions based on what I know, and what I think could help them. I’m definitely not there to instruct them on outside issues and advise them on every aspect of their life, but I can choose offer experience.
4. Can give new meaning to literature
At times I will read through the same pages in 12 Step literature repeatedly, and sometimes I will read those pages with a new sponsee and discuss the information, and in that reading I notice more about what I read and how my sobriety has grown, and appreciate something that is said in the literature.
5. I can’t MAKE them want sobriety
Learning that some people who ask me to sponsor them will not do the work is not always easy. It could be simply because they don’t want to, they don’t believe in it, or they even just stop calling all together. I cannot make anyone want to get clean and sober. It is wrong of me to take credit for when they’re successful in 12 Steps, and the same goes for when they are not.
6. You can’t do more than they do for their sobriety
Again this goes back to not being able to control everything and make them want it, but even further into it is the fact that if they say they are going to do the work and they keep calling and showing up it is great, but I cannot put everything into trying to help them if they refuse to do their part of the work.
7. Helps me set healthier boundaries
Having sponsees has also taught me that I have to be able to set healthy boundaries with the people I work with. As important as it is to be willing to help others where I can, and be as selfless as possible when doing so, I have to be able to resist from enabling others or co-signing destructive behavior.
8. Keeps it REALLY real
Sponsoring newcomers can keep the reality of alcoholism and addiction alive and in the forefront of your mind. Working closely with people who are fresh off the street or out of treatment can remind you of where you come from and how real the disease of addiction is and how bad it can get drinking and using drugs.
9. It is NOT up to me
When working with sponsees and they do not start changing right away, or they are having trouble understanding the work or feeling the way I have felt, I cannot get insecure about it. My sponsees sobriety is NOT up to me. The success or struggles they experience depends on their work and spiritual progress.
10. They help me more than I expected
Being a sponsor has changed my sobriety! Not just by giving me the opportunity to re-read literature and discuss new ways to relate, but they remind me of where I came from, how real addiction and alcoholism gets. Sponsees also teach me more about how amazing the changes people experience are. Being a sponsor has shown me how to see spiritual growth in other people, and sponsees have shown me new ways to look at familiar concepts through our discussions.
When I start to get complacent or if I start slipping on my program, my sponsees remind me of how important it is that I keep growing. Being a sponsor has shown me time and time again how incredible the transformation is, and how that spark of clarity and spirituality can light up the path to an awesome life that it takes only 12 Steps to travel.
My sponsor taught me a lot, and my sponsees teach me more every day. I only hope that I can continue to do service, and be of some use to my fellow alcoholics and addicts in any capacity. Sobriety is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I hope all who seek it will get to experience it, but you have to put your hope into action. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Sobriety, that freedom from drugs and alcohol through the practice of learning, applying, and sharing new principles based on emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual growth provides the addict or alcoholic with gifts often beyond measure. Many of these gifts are common goals of the addict, and they remain hopeful to achieve them upon maintaining sobriety, but there are many gifts that are not so intended or expected. Some of us could not even begin to guess at the extent of the blessings we would receive by committing to a life of sobriety and actively working and contributing to a program of recovery.
However our lives have changed, and however our recovery has impacted the lives of others, gratitude is key. Once we are able to be truly grateful, we will notice even more than these 9 really random and unexpected perks of sobriety. After all, some of us could barely expect we would be able to give up drugs and drinking, so really ANYTHING is an amazing achievement.
- Sleeping better and having energy
Many people have said they never realized how bad their sleeping habits were, or how much energy they were throwing away drinking or using drugs until after an extended period of sobriety, when their body readjusted to life and a better diet and suddenly they find themselves sleeping deeper, feeling more rested and refreshed when they wake up. Some of us never looked forward to waking up at all, especially with a hang-over. Waking up early and excited for the day seems crazy!
- New found creativity
Many addicts and alcoholics actually assumed that we are more creative or inspired when we are under the influence. I know personally I would always want to get intoxicated if I thought I was going to be writing, doing any art, or just enjoying some of my favorite music. A part of me expected to lose my creative edge when I got sober, so it was a really random and unexpected perk for me to wake up in sobriety with more perspective and passion for my creative outlets. The gift of sobriety itself is truly a work of art.
- Noticed improvement in appearance
I mean seriously, who doesn’t look good as a drug addict or alcoholic? I know I thought I did. Well, when you’re this handsome it’s hard not to be ridiculously good looking, but I never suspected how much better looking I could be! A lot of people say that it was a shock to see how simple things like skin complexion and dental hygiene improve so drastically. Even our physicians will sometimes notice the change before we do. Who knew sober could look THIS good?!
- Higher education
For some drug addicts and alcoholics, going back to school was never even appealing, let alone possible. The last thing some addicts ever wanted to do was sign up to go to school, a lot of us quit school early because our drugs or drinking was more important to us. So when we make the decision to work a program of recovery and give up our old life-style, it may still not be our goal. But somehow some of us find ourselves hungry for knowledge again. A random perk of sobriety for a lot of addicts or alcoholics is finding themselves in college, or any form of higher education, while working toward a career that before never seemed possible.
- Less disputes in life
Addicts and alcoholics have a talent for finding trouble and starting fights. We get a little too faded and we want to be tough, or we just cause the kind of trouble that gets people upset with us more than usual. Some of us still have a habit of messing with people, and sobriety definitely doesn’t mean we all forget what it’s like to throw down, but a lot of times we are surprised to see that if we are actually working a program based on our principles, and applying things like love and acceptance to our relationships, we are involved in way less drama, for the most part.
- Traveling more
Vacation time seemed like an abstract concept for a lot of us before recovery. Some addicts and alcoholics got used to traveling before they every got clean and sober, but just never enjoyed it or went places they really wanted to go. A large number of people who have found sobriety in an active program of action say that they have gone places they never thought they would, even if that meant they just went a few states over, or across the globe for a visit. I know the only traveling I did in addiction was to a bar or a dealer.
- Better with money
A lot of addicts give up drinking or using drugs because they need to manage their money better, and they end up getting a lot of other unexpected gifts through that. For some people who never had a serious concern with money, or even those who did and never knew where it all went, it can be a really random reality to one day realize that in sobriety we are paying our own way more than ever, and have a little extra cash to splurge. I never suspected I would be able to pay the kind or rent I pay now, and still eat and have a life, and one day I realized I live comfortably with more bills in sobriety, opposed to being miserable on a cheaper budget in addiction.
- Ability to help others
Help was something many of us never considered we would find for ourselves. I know personally I arrived at treatment and attended meetings under the pretense that my life would never get better and no one could help me, but I was quickly shown otherwise and that expectation was quickly cut short. So imagine my absolute shock and awe when I was told that one of the most important parts of my sobriety would be to carry that message of hope and strength to others and help those in need. The look on my face, I bet was priceless. One of the most random gifts I got was the ability to help others, and see others around me overcome that mind-state of helplessness.
- Confidence in serenity
In active addiction a lot of us are plagued with anxiety, depression, and insecurities. Our past and our actions while using drugs or drinking has made us build a wall separating us from others, and we do our best to separate ourselves from our feelings. Now serenity and happiness may seem like one thing people would expect from sobriety, but personally I never could have predicted the life I got from my recovery from drugs and alcohol. There is a definite difference to me between being able to tolerate life, and being truly happy, to have fallen in love with being alive, and to genuinely be at peace. This is a confidence in serenity I only learned through spirituality.
I never thought I would ever be truly happy. I was chronically depressed, suicidal, and riddled with anxiety and panic attacks. Getting sober not only removed the obsession, but the anxiety and depression that came with it. A life in sobriety is a life of gifts beyond measure or limitation. Gifts that many times we overlook simply because they are so unexpected or under-rated, but the change in perspective makes it possible to appreciate even the small things.
The perks of sobriety can be endless, so many being indescribable or too many can be under-rated. Sobriety heals more than just the body, but also the mind, the spirit, the relationships, the future. So many abstract and unexpected blessings come from a healthy hunger for sobriety and growth combined with action and appreciation. One of the greatest gifts is a new perception, because through that, more will always be revealed. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
When you are using drugs and alcohol and can’t stop, it can be scary and hard to get out of the grips of the powerful disease of addiction. I’ve seen people die from this disease many times and never get a chance towards recovery. If you are looking for help from your addiction, drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ could save your life.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: Detox
First and foremost, you have to get the drugs and alcohol out of your body physically before you can actually do any type of treatment. At drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ, they will make sure you go through the proper detoxification prior to starting your therapy. You will get a drug test, then they will figure out which approach to take to wean you off of the substances you were abusing. You will be monitored and watched closely to make sure you are safe and not in too much pain. They will keep you until you are medically cleared to leave the detox facility.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: Treatment
Once you have been medically cleared and no longer have the substances in your body, you can go to the next phase of the process which is treatment. Drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ will first meet with you and ask you some questions to find out more about you and your history. You will be assigned a therapist for your case, given a treatment plan and have a place of residency at the treatment center. In treatment, they frequently take you to 12-step meetings, show you the life skills to live your life like a functioning member of society and show you how to have fun again. Rehab is about learning how to be sober but also learning that your life has just started!
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: IOP, Halfway & Meetings
The second phase in drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ is to go into the IOP program. IOP stands for intensive outpatient; this is where you no longer live on property but still have therapy sessions at the treatment center. It is usually a good idea to also live in a halfway house during this time. A halfway house will hold you accountable for your actions and behavior and require you do normal everyday things such as: pay rent, have a job, pass drug tests, clean up after yourself, make your bed, go to meetings, get a sponsor and work a program of recovery.
Drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ is the perfect place to get you started on the early part of your recovery journey and headed down the right path. Once you’ve left rehab, it’s your decision whether or not to continue in your sobriety and the best way to do that is to get involved in the recovery community. Going to meetings changed my life and I know that I wouldn’t have stayed sober if I didn’t. Being involved in the fellowship, working a program and helping others is what keeps me sober every day! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.