Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recovery 101

Worldwide addiction recovery involves GOAL teams responding to global requests to plant and help establish recovery support groups in countries where the rate of alcohol and other drug abuse substantially affects the overall health of its citizens. By sending volunteer teams of addiction professionals and recovering persons for the purpose of training and or counseling people who are affected by the disease of addiction and the people who work with them— such as clergy, teachers and health care providers— GOAL seeks to establish 5-10 Global Centers.

“He is on the road to recovery,” a neuro surgeon might say after a brain operation. When GOAL speaks of recovery from an addiction we mean recovery from the impact of a brain-altering drug such as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, or marijuana on the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual life of a human being. First the affected person’s brain needs to be free of the offending drug. This isn’t done surgically but by a process of abstinence and maintained through regular attendance at recovery support groups. The psych or soul of the person recovers by moving from isolation and blaming others to accepting responsibility for offending behavior while under the influence of the addictive substance. The social life of the affected person recovers by making amends and rebuilding relationships with family members, co-workers and friends.

Recovery support groups not only provide mutual support for abstinence but also a social environment to rebuild relationships. Recovery involves working a 12-step process of admitting one has an addiction disease or is affected by a someone else’s out of control addiction disease, surrendering to a higher power, taking a moral inventory and making amends to those harmed and helping others. The 12-steps form the basis of what is called a spiritual recovery process and evolved in the 1930s from a Christian renewal movement called the Oxford Groups. (See Tree of Renewed Life, by Terry Webb, Ph.D. Crossroad Pub, 1992; “The Religious and Theological Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous”, Rev. Linda Mercadante, Ph.D. The Praeger International Collection on Addictions, I, 95), “The Spirituality of Recovery and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous”, Rev. Robert D. Hughes, III, Ph.D. The Praeger International Collection on Addictions, III, 53). GOAL and its partner organizations have found that the same 12-step recovery process is just as effective for those living with AIDS or those suffering from domestic violence.

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