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Recovery Hack - Write About the Future

When working the steps in 12-Step programs, we do a lot of writing. The first step requires us to write about our sordid past (and often current) behaviors in order to drive home the concept of powerlessness. Step 4 requires a written inventory of our past and current resentments and character defects so we can surrender them to God. In step 8, we make a list of all of the people we have harmed—and that can require a lot of writing—to prepare to make amends to them.

These are very valuable exercises with great outcomes, but it occurred to me that not much writing is done about the future. What are my desired outcomes and what kind of a person do I want to be? I know where I have been, where I am now, but where am I going? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to become?

I am particularly concerned about this because I am aware of the stalled progress I sometimes see in my 12-Step program. There are people with decades of recovery that still seem to be stuck and give the...

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Identity - Part 2

In Identity - Part 1, I talked about the importance of “I am” statements and how they relate to personal identity and behavior. I have given a lot of thought to my own identity and what is really true about me.

For me as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, it has to start with my identity in Christ and how God sees me. If you aren’t born again spiritually, this approach may not make sense to you, and I suggest that you read the posts on salvation.

Most of these are personalizations of scriptural statements that I have written in my journal. Because of the power of “I am” statements, I have tried to phrase them that way. The idea isn’t necessarily for you to take my statements as your own, but just to give you an example of what I see as my true identity. However, these things are as true for any believer as they are for me.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in...

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Identity - Part 1

NOTE: While this is not an official 12-step site and is not endorsed by any 12-step program, I am going to give a disclaimer about this post. This is the first post where I am going to openly question some 12-step dogma. This is not to question the way 12-step programs operate in this particular area, nor am I suggesting that you try to change things in your own group. I am only relating an important part of my own journey. The views expressed here are my own.

“Hi, I am Rick and I am a sexaholic.”

This is the way I have introduced myself in a lot of 12-step meetings since 2016 (I still attend two meetings a week). “I am” is a statement of identity. It tells me who I am, or at least how I see myself. 

“I am” statements are significant in the Bible. The Lord Jesus Christ used them throughout the gospel of John to establish who He was (and is). Here are just three:

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me...

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Kindness Has Companions

There are certain words in the Bible that travel together. Glory and grace are such a pair and can often be seen in close proximity to each other. Paul uses the grace, mercy, and peace triplets in introducing his letters. Mercy and truth sometimes meet together and righteousness and peace have been seen kissing each other (see Psalm 85:10).

I like to call words like this “companions” to each other. Noticing these patterns can help amplify the meaning and significance of each individual word. They can give a sense of balance to each characteristic that the word describes.

I have a good friend that is kind. She describes herself as kind and I can definitely see that about her. I am thankful for the kindness she has shown to me. Because her kindness is such a beautiful characteristic, I have been thinking a lot about how to have more of it my life.

Here is a definition of kindness from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition...

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Measuring Progress

12 steps healing progress Mar 03, 2021

Dan Sullivan, a renowned business coach, teaches a concept he calls the gap and the gain. The gap is the distance between where we are and where we want to be. No matter how successful we are, there is always going to be a gap between where we are and where we want to be, especially if we compare ourselves with others. This can lead to discouragement and a never-ending chase for something more. It is a future-focus that can rob us of seeing the important things in our lives right now. On the other hand, the gain is measuring and celebrating the progress we have made (and are making) along the way.

This is especially pertinent for those of us in recovery. If we measure the gap between where we are and where we want to be, we can easily become disheartened and get a “what’s the use” attitude. Recovery can be slow and painful, especially when we are dealing with the consequences of our behavior and the fallout of disclosure. We can feel like we are at the foothills,...

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Stop Hiding

Isolation. Hiding. Secrets. “In our own heads.” These are familiar concepts to us. There is a sense of comfort in them because we feel the illusion of safety and protection. 

But alone. And separate. There is loneliness and desperation in isolation and hiding. We long for connection to God and others because that is how we were designed. Many of us are around families, friends, co-workers, and church members, but still hiding. Hiding in plain sight.

That is the beauty of the 12-step meeting: you start to come out of hiding just by being there; you don’t have to say anything. The other attendees know something about you that your loved ones may not know yet. That can be the first step in breaking the chains of addiction.

Attendance is only the start. As difficult as it may be, there will be a time when you will need to speak. Healthy relationships require communication and this is something you will have to learn. A meeting is a good place because when you...

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Am I Sick With a Disease?

healing Feb 02, 2021

Almost every time I hear the “D” word in a 12-step meeting, I cringe a little bit. Someone will mention the word disease, usually preceded by the words “our” or “my.” I guess I am never quite sure what they mean by “disease”—is it some condition that they have, or even inherited, that somehow lessens their responsibility for their actions? I am not comfortable even thinking about my addiction being a disease that I somehow caught and am not responsible for.

However, I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that my addictive behavior caused me to be very sick. It is probably because of my liberal use of the word “healing,” particularly in these posts. Strangely, it has taken a while for it to sink in, mainly because I want to be clear that I am accountable for my actions. But our Lord Jesus Christ did say that they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick, referring to sinners needing repentance....

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Expectation, Disappointment, and Acceptance

god healing progress Jan 15, 2021

It is said that expectation is the root of all disappointment and that is usually a true statement. The trouble is that life is full of expectations and most of them are very reasonable. I am at the bus stop and my app says that the bus will be here at 6:21 am. It is 6:20 so I expect it to be here very soon. I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at 8:00 am and expect to be in the chair shortly after.

If the bus doesn’t come or I have to wait a long time at the dentist’s office, I can be disappointed. I had an appointment—I expected something to occur at a precise time and it didn’t so I am dis-appointed. It’s funny how words make sense when you break them down.

Where expectations get tricky is when they are not about a fixed, agreed upon appointments, but in more nuanced things like relationships. I expect something from someone else and when things work out differently, I can be disappointed or even devastated.

Disappointment, then, is a useful...

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Don't Talk to Me Like That

healing progress sobriety Dec 28, 2020

You are no good. You are a loser. You will never get this right. You messed up again. Why don’t you just give up? You don’t deserve your wife. She despises you and thinks you are a loser too.

If those words were directed to me from the outside, I would be pretty upset. I would even consider those “fighting words.” But there was a time not long ago when I let statements like that enter in and  dominate my thoughts. Worse than that, they were phrased in the first person: “I am no good...I am a loser...I will never get this right…” etc.

I let them slide through because I assumed that they were true. This is the ultimate form of self-deception—I was telling myself lies about myself.

This kind of thinking and self talk has to stop if solid sobriety and recovery is to occur in your life. Recovery is not possible when toxic thoughts are allowed to run wild in your mind. Why? Because your behavior is usually consistent with who you think...

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Friction and Inertia

healing progress temptation Dec 21, 2020

I felt a strong craving. A lust craving. One that I wanted to fulfill with a woman. Any woman.

It was a Sunday evening as I was sitting in church. During the preaching. If that shocks you, this website may not be the place for you.

My Bible was flopped open on my lap and the preaching was lively and relevant. But I didn’t care. My mind was somewhere else, being pulled by my craving. I had been sober for a long time so I was a bit disoriented, but the sensation also felt familiar, like an old friend. Like the bad kid from the neighborhood that you liked getting in trouble with.

I discreetly hit the home button on my phone and scanned the apps. I had gotten rid of all of the dangerous apps that I had previously used in finding sex partners. Friction. Something to slow me down. Slightly frustrated, I got onto the NFL app to check the football scores. My team was losing a game they shouldn’t be losing. Bummer.

I launched a classified website that has some dark corners and...

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