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Maintaining Recovery in early recovery

Identify And Mend Signs Of Trouble Down The Recovery Road

When you are driving or are on a road trip and you don’t fix the small leaks, rattles, and squeaks when they pop up, you’re going to find yourself broken down somewhere down the road. Remember that a tiny drip becomes a drop. A drop becomes a tiny puddle, and before you know it you’ll be spewing oil everywhere and wonder what the hell happened.
Catch the small problems in your recovery when they’re small. Don’t put things off. So, what can you do to keep up a healthy addiction recovery program? How to stay on track?

REMEMBER: Diagnose, Repair, Maintain.

All this is really pretty simple.

Sustaining Your Recovery: What TO DO

Within this article you will find a 10 point recovery checklist which will be your guide to keep your recovery running strong and out of the repair shop.

Would you leave for a cross country road trip without checking your fluids, tire pressure, and lights?

I didn’t think so.

Most guys put more time and energy into maintaining their vehicles than they do maintaining their lives. Don’t do this.
Do this instead…

9 Guidelines For Addiction Recovery Maintenance

1. Make sure you are being honest with yourself and others at all times. No exceptions.

If you are not willing to be honest with yourself, there is no way you’re going to be honest with anyone else. Lying to yourself and pretending that you’re okay when you are not will put you back in the repair shop quickly and you won’t see the breakdown coming until it’s too late.

Be honest, even if it upsets others. It is not your responsibility to determine how they will react to your honesty. It’s much easier to tell the truth the first time, man up and face your consequences than it is to back track wondering what you said to who and why you said it. Quit fooling yourself and JUST BE HONEST.

2. Regularly attend support groups to keep yourself fueled.

Thinking that you could drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg on one tank of petrol is a pipe dream. Unless you’ve got a 200 gallon gas tank, it ain’t gonna happen. You know those places that sell gas? They’re everywhere. They need to be everywhere, or no one would be going anywhere.

Cars, trucks, and motorcycles need fuel to run. They need to be filled up often to keep running, and so do you. Meetings and support groups are your fuel. Fail to stop for fuel often and you’re going to stall out and be stranded.

3. Fix problems while they are small.

Don’t be the guy that neglects an oil drip, cracked radiator hose, or bald tire. Remember that an oil drip ain’t going to fix itself. It will only get worse. Don’t think that duct taping your radiator hose is going to fix it. It won’t, and it will burst eventually. Replace the thing. A bald tire can be deadly if not changed immediately. Pull the wheel off and change the tire.

If you are encountering small problems in your recovery, remember the sequence: diagnose, repair, maintain. Legal problems? Man up and face em’. Relationship, money, health, or employment issues? FACE THEM. Fix what you can with what you have. Surrender the things you can’t fix to the Master Mechanic.

4. Wash, wax, inspect, and repeat.

Most guys will spend a load of money on their car, truck, or motorcycle. They will only buy premium fuel, synthetic oils, and brand name tires. That’s all fine and dandy, but these same guys won’t spend more than a few bucks on buying healthy food, a gym membership, or going to the doctor. Take care of your body. You’ve busted your butt to get sober, so why would you skimp on the vehicle that’s going to take you through life?

Take care of your health. Honor what God has given you. Get some exercise. Stop eating garbage. Quit smoking already. Get plenty of sleep. Learn to rest and relax. Would you put used oil and fouled out spark plugs in your prized possession? I didn’t think you would, so stop treating your body like it will run forever. It won’t. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

5. Stay on your own lane.

There is a passing lane, a driving lane, and a slow lane. If you are really trying your best to live a life based in recovery, you have no business being in the fast lane. None. The fast lane is for passing, not driving. There are always those jackasses that are constantly hurrying to get somewhere that will drive in the fast lane.


It’s okay to pass, but remember that recovery is a long-term deal. It is the most epic adventure you will ever embark on, so get used to going slow and pacing yourself. You’re not going to get to anywhere worth going by rushing. You are not Dale Earnhardt, Mario Andretti or Evil Knievel. Slow the hell down and enjoy the ride. Remember: God’s time, not yours. You will get there, but not by rushing.

6. Realize that you can’t fix everything. Some things will break and stay broken for a while, and that’s fine.

While it’s a really good idea to fix problems while they’re still small, some things are not for you to fix. You may not have the knowledge, the right tools, or be ready to tackle repairing certain parts of your life. Don’t stress. You need to learn how to change your own oil before you can even begin learning how to overhaul an engine, so don’t take on problems that are not yours to fix in the first place.

If you’re trying to rebuild your relationships, finances, health, or employment, remember that you need to learnmaintaining recovery how to manage what’s in front of you before you are given more to manage and repair. Why don’t they just let a kid drive when they turn 16? They can’t handle it. It would be a complete shit-show.

A kid learns to drive very slowly and deliberately in driver’s education with the instructor at the helm, ready to react if junior makes a dumb move. You are still learning to drive. Chill out and enjoy the process.

7. Follow the instructions at all times.

There are auto repair manuals for a reason. Don’t think you can do things your own way and be successful. You can’t. When it comes to maintaining your recovery, you’ve got to do what the pros do (people that have been in recovery longer than you): Listen, learn, apply, and repeat.

The “instructions” to living a healthy and balanced life in recovery can be found at various support meetings and in various books that are read in these support meetings. If you think you’re slick and can cut corners, go ahead…but you must be willing to deal with whatever consequences come your way for doing a half-hearted job.


8. Expect breakdowns and detours.

I don’t care how well you’ve maintained your vehicle…THINGS STILL BREAK. Things do not always work out how they are supposed to. Plans change. Potholes are everywhere. Roads are closed, tires go flat, and rocks get spit up by 18-wheelers and chip your paint. It’s not your job to control and micro-manage every step of your journey, nor is it your job to predict everything that might go wrong.

That’s impossible.

Only one mechanic is capable of such things, and that’s the Master Mechanic. If things go wrong – and they will go wrong – adapt, reset, repair, and get back on the road. If that road is closed, ask for directions.

9. Keep a maintenance checklist. Do this daily.

You need to do this. You’ve got to keep track of what’s running well in your life, what’s starting to run a little rich or lean, hot or cold, what’s leaking and what’s not, and keep track of those things. You will not know what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed or maintained if you skip this step. Just do it.

Daily recovery maintenance checklist:

  • Was I 100% honest today?
  • Did I do my best to live in the solution, or have I been living in the problem?
  • Did I make good use of my time today? Why or why not?
  • Was I grateful for what I already have?
  • Did I whine or complain about things I do not have? What is this doing for me?
  • Am I playing well with others?
  • Have I been getting regular exercise?
  • What kind of fuel have I been putting into my body?
  • Have I been working to improve myself today?
  • Am I keeping my surroundings neat and tidy?
  • Am I regularly checking my motives?
  • Am I getting enough rest?
  • Am I reading something difficult every day, just for practice?
  • Have I been financially responsible today?

-sourced from addictionblog

Conflict Styles and Consequences

Relationships in Recovery

Here’s the dilemma; chemically problematic men and women don’t do well in ‘relationships’.

An extremely high percentage of people who try to get clean and sober but then repeatedly find themselves relapsing, relapse because of relationship breakdowns and the subsequently overwhelming feelings of hurt, loss, and failure. For too many people, conflict in a relationships spells the end of the relationship.

That’s one of the reasons why many counsellors advise, ‘don’t get involved in romantic relationships in early recovery’.

And whilst that makes sense the fact is, some of the key character failings within many addiction orientated people and a major contributing factor of most relationship failure is the lack of boundaries and the inability to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no.

So telling them to avoid romantic relationships is like telling the alcoholic not to drink anymore, it’s a good idea and everyone can see the sense in it, but it is inevitably the build up to further disappointment.  Cherrywood House assumes and accepts that many of our struggling families and relapsing addicts, without even realizing it, would rather have a bad relationship than no relationship.

So, reaching out to those guys, I want to ask, ‘did you ever consider that you may not know how to handle conflict in a healthy way’? I want to talk to you about how to identify what you turn into when the going gets tough.


Avoiders – Have one intention, ‘staying out of conflict’. Avoiders are unassertive people-pleasers and therefore the ‘other side’ to feel as if they are right and/or that they can get anything they want from you.

The Turtles silently say; “I am not interested enough to invest in this conflict”. Long term avoidance increases inner frustrations and fosters a belief that ‘I am weak’ which then develops internal (passive) hostility

Accommodators – With the intentions of preserving relationships at all costs, they will sweep issues under the carpet and do anything not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

They are Teddy Bears that silently say: “We must get along and not let ‘things’ come between us”. Putting the other person’s feelings or wants above their own out of fear of being abandoned, but still develop resentment towards those they bend over backward for, as resentment towards themselves and self-pity.

Long term accommodators produce a false front of cooperation, cheerfulness, and love for other people. Accommodators always increase in self-dislike and frustrations about having to hold every one of their relationships together

Compromisers – always have the intention to award the other side just a little bit of winning in order to manipulate them into a majority loss.

Foxes silently say: “We must all submit our personal desires and serve the common good, as long as I benefit the most”.

Long term compromising create strained relationships with very little commitment to anything and recurring relational conflicts.

CompetitorsThey are intent on winning in a conflict situation. The shark has the following philosophy, ‘there are only two options, winning and losing, and winning is best’.

Sharks say: “I know what’s best for everyone concerned all the time so don’t get in my way”, effectively taking control, even if it’s for the worst. Their controlling and angry nature is upsetting to many, and they often fail to admit when they are wrong in order to keep winning an argument, no matter the cost.

Long term competing styles produce ingrained hostility and half-hearted implementation of solutions and a decreased goal achievement.

Collaborators – Whether you are right or wrong, you can choose to take 85% of the responsibility for getting all parties fully involved in defining the conflict and in carrying out mutually agreeable steps for resolving the conflict.

Owl’s say “Everyone’s goal is important, let’s work together, let’s create a win-win situation” This conflict style is the most effective and results in stable conflict resolutions, and helps keep relationships stable and healthy.

All in inclusive collaboration produces trust, strong relationships, mutual enthusiasm and workable implementations of solutions.

If you see yourself in these conflict styles, try adopting a Collaborator conflict resolution style to help maintain the stability of your relationships and enforce your own dedication to staying clean and sober. With the support of strong, healthy relationships where conflicts don’t result in breakdowns and destruction, you can continue on your journey of recovery with more confidence.

Just remember never to give up or breakdown in conflict situations. Even the best relationships have conflict, they are just resolved effectively by all parties involved.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Cherrywood House or Cherrywood House on Facebook for questions or discussions within the realm of conflicts and any other addiction or recovery issues.

Just How Bad Are Energy Drinks for Recovering People?

For those recovering from alcohol and drug addictions, the urge to find a fix seems to be never-ending. To replace their drug of choice, the recovering addict will find other means to soothe their minds and souls. A replacement “high” that has become common among recovering people is the use of energy drinks. Energy drinks’ combination of caffeine, vitamins, and herbs can provide the kick they need, and, it’s legal and can be found at any corner store. Energy drinks can be a healthier alternative to drugs and alcohol, but what most don’t known is that the very things that make energy drinks so popular can also lead to active addiction.

Cocaine Use: The Side Effects

The Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine has very serious effects, but not just on the person using the drug, the damages inevitably reach all the people close to user such as family, friends and employers. Three key aspects of cocaine consequences are:

  1. How the drug-use damages relationships with loved ones
  2. How the drug use eats its way into the economic security of family and business
  3. The inevitability of a dependency and the need for treatment.

These are just three side effects of cocaine use, but the devastation always stretches further and deeper that those listed.

10 ways to stay sober during the holidays

Who said The Holidays were all fun and games? We’re guessing it wasn’t someone in recovery struggling to remain free from their drugs of addiction.

Family, food, presents, work, community events, and in some cases, travel can all add up to a huge amount of stress for anyone. Factor in an ongoing issue with drugs and alcohol and a history of turning to substances in order to manage stressful situations, and the holidays may feel like nothing more than an obstacle course with triggers for relapse at every turn. So, how can you get through The Holidays in addiction recovery with grace and strength? We offer you some tips here. Then, we invite your feedback or comments in the section below.

How to overcome an addiction

The truth about addictions is that they come in many forms, shapes and sizes. For some, it is alcohol, drugs, sex, work, or relationships. For others, it is a combination of them all. Our addictions in life are similar in that they all take us to a point of excess. In many ways, this excess can derail us and keep us from focusing on the best our life has to offer.

So, how can you turn the ship around? How can you bring change – real change – to your life? We explore here. Then, we invite your questions or comments about overcoming addiction at the end.

Addiction: The Social Disease

Addiction as a social disease

Stanton and Archie Brodsky wrote this piece in 1976 for the Addiction Research Foundation publication (now defunct), Addictions, which was subsequently reprinted by the recovery publishing house, Hazelden! Building on their approach in Love and Addiction, Stanton and Archie analyze how addiction, rather than being an aberration, grows from the well-springs of modern existence. Their views are in many ways prophetic of developments in the quarter century since. Consider that Freda Martin, an adviser to the Invest in Kids Foundation, said about a parenting survey in Canada in March of this year, “Never in the history of civilization have we had so much scientific information about how a child’s brain develops. And never have our young people been so isolated from their families, so bereft of practical experience and practical wisdom.”

Addictions (Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario), Winter 1976, pp. 2-21; reprinted as Hazelden pamphlet, Center City, MN, 1977 © Stanton Peele & Archie Brodsky, all rights reserved

Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky

Relationship Conflict Management for Early Recovery

It appears to be internationally accepted counsel for new-comers into recovery out of an addiction, not to get involved in emotional and romantic relationships for a period of up to two years. The reasoning behind this suggested discipline lies in the hope that as you come into recovery you will start to change as a person, so in two years’ time, if you have joined a programme of change, you will not be the same person that you are today. It is also fair to say that, until you are at peace with the person you have become because of the addiction, and then made some necessary changes, the person you hope to be may remain a figment of your ambitions. There is also the toxic danger of wanting a relationship in order to get good feelings from an external source (using). Therefore, in simple terms, it could be relationally detrimental to invest yourself into the life of another person, especially if that other person is also in an early recovery programme.

A Look at Cross Addiction

Waking from a fitful sleep, Sandra couldn’t believe her eyes – or her head, for that matter. She had a pounding headache and felt nauseated, but that wasn’t the worst of it. As her blurred vision began to clear, she slowly started to realize where she was. The setting was familiar, but it wasn’t her bedroom. It was the country detox centre.

Feelings of anger, depression, and self-disgust flooded her. Not again, she thought. I swore to my husband and kids six months ago that I’d never drink again. How could this have happened?

Why do people relapse? Why do people like Sandra who seem so sincere in their commitment to recovery go back to drinking and using? While the reasons people relapse are not always clear, one reason frequently stands out: they didn’t understand cross-addiction.

This article’s purpose is to help the reader understand cross-addiction in order to attain balance in recovery and avoid a possible relapse.

Dealing with Addiction for Families


Three years ago, when Rachel* got her freshman dorm assignment in the mail, the New Jersey teen excitedly logged on to Facebook to look up her new college roommate, Eleanor*. “She definitely seemed like that perfect, blonde, athletic, popular girl,” says Rachel, now 20.

But just a few weeks into their first semester, Eleanor, who had been recruited for the school’s soccer team, quit the sport when practice sessions interfered with her ability to party. Still, Rachel says she didn’t think Eleanor had a serious problem until the start of their sophomore year. “She’d go out a lot and get way more drunk than anyone else,” Rachel recalls. It also became difficult to be her roommate. “If we all went out, I’d go back to my room and go to sleep, and then she’d come in hours later with a guy — or just drunk and angry.” Rachel and her friends tried to talk to Eleanor several times about her drinking, but they couldn’t get through to her. Rachel says they didn’t know what to do.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million people ages 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 — and that counts only those who sought professional help. Far more struggle with addiction issues in private. “Addiction is so common that, unfortunately, you could say it’s normal,” says psychologist and substance abuse specialist Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D. “More kids are dealing with it in their lives than not.” And while chemical dependency takes an obvious toll on those struggling with it, it also affects everyone around them. Indeed, when you’re close to someone — be it a friend, significant other, or family member — who’s regularly drunk or high, it can be difficult to know how to deal.