Category Archives: Your Recovering Future

Getting Started on Your Immediate Recovery

Start Your Journey into Your Recovering Future

Take appropriate action. Plan, build support for, or start a treatment program! You will benefit from reading my complete book – Thriving Beyond Addiction – but reading it without taking action only gives you facts, not results. Recovery is an emotional experience. You’ll need to open up and recognize your feelings, and allow them to guide you. Once you understand what you need to do, take action as soon as possible.


Finding Support

Every recovering addict needs help and encouragement. Even if you decide to use only my book as the basis for your recovery (not recommended), you’ll want an active core support group. Consider friends and family as part of you support group, ideally who are in recovery and can relate, but only accept help from those who’ll give you quality support and good direction, who’ll be there for you in the hard times. Trust those you have chosen to work with, unless you discover you shouldn’t.

Eliminating Cravings and Neutralizing Triggers

Addictions occur because of excessive behavior, like the abuse of substances, that overstimulates the neuropathways in the brain, causing cravings that can be difficult to suppress. Cravings do not go away overnight. All addicts in recovery have cravings, which can cause a range of issues, from occasional discomfort to an addict’s return to using. Though cravings can develop on their own, they are also caused by triggers, environmental cues that initiate the rapid fire of neuropathways, such as when a smoker sees a cigarette. To be successful in recovery, it is mandatory to minimize or eliminate these triggers.

There are effective techniques for neutralizing triggers. Cravings can also be reduced or eliminated with options such as: awareness of your desire for recovery (called Your Heart Trigger); distractions like fun and humor, nutritional supplements (Vitamin D, Omega 3, and L-glutamine), and a high-quality diet. Always check with your M.D.

Reduce Cravings

Stress is a major cause of triggering. Reducing stress will neutralize triggers or at least lower the likelihood of being triggered and succumbing to relapse.

Other methods to deter cravings include acupuncture, meditation, progressive relaxation, and sleep.

Medical Exam

Medical Exam

A physical examination by a medical doctor is highly recommended, especially when abstaining from drug and food addictions. Be honest with your MD about your situation and issues. For instance, sex addicts need to get tested for STDs. Ask about vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and nutritional supplements. Medication for relief of physical withdrawal symptoms may be necessary. If possible, work with a physician who specializes in addiction medicine (or at least one who understands addictions) and who will consult with an addiction nutrition specialist. Ask for a referral through the association, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).



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View Your Recovering Future Twice Daily

In early recovery, it’s generally best to follow a program that has worked for others. There’s no one approach that’s best for everyone. Today, you should have several options available to choose from. In early recovery, select a program that is easy and simple for you to follow. Your first program doesn’t need to be complicated or intense.

A thriving life demands an adaptable, flexible, and expandable style. The order of the following task areas is only a suggestion; however, all seven are important.

 Your Approach:   Learning and Using Effective Resources – How you enter and think about recovery highly affects your outcome.

Find: Support, guidance, modeling.

Develop: Recovery and spiritual practices.

Your Recovery Skills:  Foundation – Follow a path that has proven its value. Set up your recovery plan for primary and secondary addictions, create a relapse prevention plan, learn tools and strategies, and use reminders to remember to practice and to employ these tools and strategies often.

Your Awareness Opportunity – Use each opportunity to learn about yourself, recovery and relapse issues, tools and strategies, and faith; take responsibility, make clearer and better choices. Without awareness you have no chance to succeed.

Managing Your Life:  Responsibility – Managing change: Take care of yourself by developing your mental, emotional, nutritional, physical, social, and spiritual health, as well as your recovery and relationships. Find a recovery guide (someone who has already done this) to help you.

Your Personal Work:  Resolving and Managing Issues – Problem solving model: Examine addictions, family history, problem solving and conflict resolution styles; deal with emotions, physical and relationship issues, relapse triggers and symptoms, and Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS).

Your Personal Growth Expanding, Engaging, and Living Fully – Observe, assess, and evolve; pursue social, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth; engage in the purposeful life that you want.

Accept and Embrace Mental-Emotional Shifts

Your Mental Shifts:  Expanding Perception and Focus – Major mental and emotional (paradigm) shifts will happen when you gain significant knowledge and perspective about yourself. Your attitudes, beliefs, emotions, identity, self-esteem, recovery, and spirituality will all be affected and change.


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Your Recovering Future

Your Recovering FutureTM – These highlight boxes assist you in creating a vision of your recovery in the future, to see how your life will change and to begin to feel the benefits of being in recovery.  Your Recovering Future is a powerful, positive image of your ideal recovery. Make this imagined recovering future so desirable that you’re compelled, in the present, to do whatever it takes to create it and keep it.   The YRF image that you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell needs to be realistic and obtainable.

A recovery program with a structure has to be at the heart of YRF. You’ll use that structure to help set yourself up for success. You’ll be molding and managing your recovery daily and reviewing it weekly, monthly, and yearly. The YRF model has three important aspects:

Structure is your friend!


Set yourself up for success with a structure    that makes it easier to stay on your recovery path than it is to get off of it. If, on both sides of your recovery road, there are recovery reminders, supportive people, and a solid program, you’ll be aware when you’re sliding off – just like how you would know if you were running over speed bumps, hitting orange construction cones, or going up a steep embankment. Your structure makes it easier for you to go straight down your recovery track.


Visualize the completion of your next positive recovering event or milestone, such as celebrating your next recovery chip, completing a step or a page n a recovery workbook, or attending a family event. Like a motion picture playing in your mind’s eye, imagine your future with all five senses – take a few minutes to do this every morning and at night. Make your vision as detailed an image as you can – or start with a simple snapshot that you can build on.

Acknowledge the total truth of what’s  happening today in relationship to Your Recovering Future. For example:

  • “I’m having a bad day. I want to use, but I have three days of clean time that I don’t want to throw away. My goal is to get 30 days clean. I’m not going to use because I want to feel proud of myself in My Recovering Future.”
  • “I’m excited, confused, and scared about starting my new recovering life, even though I hope it will be wonderful.”

Keep all negative beliefs and attitudes out of your speech and thoughts. It’s difficult to do this when, chances are, negative thoughts and emotions triggered you to engage in your addiction. Once you start thinking or saying, “I can’t do it,” or “It’s too hard,” or “F___ it – it’s not worth it,” RUN to the nearest phone and call someone in your recovery support group.


Setting yourself up for success is about taking action now. For example, if you need to do something next week that you know will trigger your addiction, right now, while you are thinking of it, arrange to be accompanied by a recovering friend(s) who can support and remind you to stay on task.

Remember to live your recovery one step at a time – but don’t lose the vision of your future. That way, your unconscious will adopt these new visions and assist you with creating Your Recovering Future.

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Recovering IntelligenceTM – These highlight boxes focus on intelligent recovery options for building and maintaining your recovery.

Recovering Intelligence boxes remind you how to think, feel, and behave in order to create and maintain successful recovery. RI boxes help you to review what has worked and what hasn’t worked in your life; and to then build on what worked by adding knowledge, tools, strategies, and positive experiences to it.

  • To develop a high level of RI, you must do the following:
  • Accept and embrace self-awareness.
  • Develop the ability to observe yourself and your situation accurately.
  • Understand how to set up, work, and live an effective personal recovery program.
  • Learn the Seven Intelligences of Recovery. Develop and use them until they become part of who you are. (See list below.)
  • Understand how your past behavior, roles, strategies, situations, and decisions helped form the values, attitudes, and beliefs you have today.
  • Develop a basic understanding of who you are – your issues, your addict and sober personality, and the strengths that worked well for you in the past.
  • Understand self-development and actively engage in your personal growth.
  • Learn how to achieve your tasks, goals, and dreams and build Your Recovering FutureTM.


The Seven Intelligences of Recovery

These intelligences can overlap. They are:

  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to know your feelings and how to effectively deal with them.
  • Growth and Healing Intelligence: The ability to evaluate, learn, and grow; and to apologize, forgive, and heal from life injuries.
  • Intimacy Intelligence: The ability to open up, to trust, and to bond with important people in your life.
  • Resiliency Intelligence: The ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks and live a full life.
  • Social Intelligence: The ability or desire to know someone’s feelings and how to relate to them.
  • Spiritual Intelligence: The willingness and ability to open up to your Higher Power.
  • Success Intelligence: The ability to clarify what you need and want, then find and use the best resources to achieve your goals and dreams.

As Recovering Intelligence becomes your personal reminder of the kind of life and recovery you want, you’ll use it to build the vehicle that will carry you into your quality recovering lifestyle. Your Recovering Intelligence will give you the ability to create Your Recovering Future.


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