New Hampshire Recovery Hub Blog

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Learning About Addiction: A Task of Stage One of Recovery – Stabilization

How do we HELP individuals achieve the task of Learning about Addiction that is identified in Stage One of Recovery? What is Addiction?

By Arthur H. Woodard

This HUBLOG offers an opportunity to identify how one might support an individual address the Stage One – Stabilization task of learning about addiction. This HUBLOG provides ways of thinking about recovery that have been HELP-full in my own recovery and HELPing other's recovery efforts over time and in my role as a HELPer and Recovery Coach.

In a previous HUBLOG I offered Craig Nakken's definition of addiction as truly resonating with my own experience. Nakken defines addiction as a love and trust relationship with an object or an event that changes an individual's mood.

​My relationship with alcohol was one through which I loved how alcohol effected me in ways that satisfied my outer reach for inner security and helped me to not care and to disconnect from the pain of my living. The problem in my living with alcohol was that my dysfunctional relationship with alcohol was one in which I truly trusted alcohol to provide me with support, care and love that I was not willing or able to engage in through human relationships.​

​In my own recovery process and in providing recoverees with direction and support in learning about addiction, I find it HELP-full to embrace a Stress-Coping-Outcome model. This model suggests a focus on Life Stressors as being responded to by Coping techniques or strategies that are either maladaptive and ineffective or adaptive and effective. The Outcome of the maladaptive and ineffective coping strategies and techniques create and produce Illness and Addiction. The Outcome of adaptive and effective coping strategies and techniques create and produce Wellness and Recovery. This model provides a way of exploring and better understanding how responses or reactions to stressors have consequences that dramatically impact our living.

Dr. Bill Tollefson is a Life Coach whose programs and methods help survivors with PTSD recovery. A quote from Dr. Tollefson states "Addiction enters when self love is traded for self limiting and judgmental thoughts."

An acronym I created in 1982 and presented in an independent study thesis for my Master of Social Work School requirement also embraced the theme of addiction and love. The acronym, in my paper entitled SOULcial Work Practice – Casework with Spirits, Human and Distilled captured my thinking in learning about addiction as a person in recovery for 7 years in 1982 was:

SOUL is Strengths Operating Unleashed by Love.

Early in recovery I struggled with feeling lovable and acceptable as a human be-ing. I was feeling like a failure and living with a tremendous sense of guilt and shame. I was challenged and stressed by efforts of others to help and support me. I was experiencing what Angeles Arrien cited as Addiction – The Shadow Side of Love.

Over time Recovery has evolved and progressed through my ability and willingness to turn my life over to care and love. When I get most honest about this process it has truly been a process through which people in my life love me well.

Breaking Free From Emotional Relapse
Overcoming Adversity in Recovery


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Sunday, 05 February 2023