Our Top 10 Tips for Parents (or Loved Ones) of Someone Battling Addiction

10 Tips Image 13Embrace Early Screening & Early Intervention

As a parent or family member, you may recognize early signals of addiction in your loved one. It’s never too early to discuss the dangers of addiction with them or to have them pre-screened for early detection. This may help identify risk factors that will help prevent further and future damage to both to their health and livelihood. An early screening and intervention will help clarify if their use and profile is suitable for treatment. Treatment is a significant financial and physical commitment so you want to be sure they really meet the clinical standards for treatment. Much can be done in the early stages of addiction with the help of therapy, intensive and outpatient care. Visit a local outpatient treatment center to have them evaluated if they’re willing.

Don’t Worry About Timing

You may never know exactly when the right time is to help your loved one get help. Studies show that even if the addict hasn’t “hit rock bottom”, they may still reach long-term recovery if their addiction treatment enables them to understand a new, safe and successful way of living. And as we all know, so many families have experienced that waiting too long to intervene can cause them their loved one’s life.10 Tips Image 2

The Importance of a Professional Intervention

In the grips of addiction, it is often difficult for the addict to accept they have a problem and agree to long-term treatment, let alone see the damage they are doing to themselves and their family. Staging and intervention may be the best opportunity to allow them to understand the depth of their problem and agree to get help. Unfortunately, the least effective members of an intervention tend to be close family. So choosing a professional interventionist, or escorting a loved one to an outpatient center for an evaluation is often the best opportunity to see them into a treatment setting. Help from an outside interventionist, someone who understands their pain and their journey, who also has an objective viewpoint, is the best voice of reason for an addict. The interventionist will also help you stage the intervention, develop a strategy and lead the conversation for the most successful opportunity at getting your loved one the treatment they need.

10 Tips Image 4Recognize That Self-Detoxing Can Be Deadly

If your loved one has decided to begin the process of quitting their drug of choice, even if they’re not ready for treatment, it’s critical that they detox in a medically supervised detoxification center. Most people don’t realize that detoxing can lead to death. For those who abuse alcohol and drugs like opioids (painkillers) or benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety medication), a tolerance has been built that causes the body severe, adverse reactions when withheld from the system.  Alcohol is notoriously linked to life-threatening withdrawal reactions, such as seizures, which may cause fatal head trauma, heart attack, stroke, lethal dehydration, or asphyxiation. A medically supervised detox will help your loved one detox in comfort and with dignity, and helps prevent the propensity for relapse during this critical phase. Withdrawal symptoms may begin hours or days after the last use, and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the type of drug and level of use. During this withdrawal phase, they are at the highest risk of relapse AND life-threatening symptoms that require 24/7 monitoring.

10 Tips Image 6Invest In Recovery, Not Relapse

The cost of treatment can seem steep, but when compared with long-term use, the cost of treatment is just a fraction of the price of continued drug use. However, choosing an “inexpensive” institution, or cutting down the time a loved one stays at a facility due to the cost, may lead to an early relapse. Staying 90+ days in a treatment facility will offer them the greatest opportunity to reach long-term recovery. Enlist them in an aftercare program following treatment, like a transitional living facility or three-quarter home. This is an excellent way to help them reach the long-term goal, while being supported and encouraged by a close-knit community of other recovering individuals. It will be an investment, but is far less costly than continued relapse or ongoing drug and alcohol use.

Start with 30-Days

You may not be able to convince your loved one to stay in treatment for 3 or more months, but you will likely be able to convince them to commit to 30-days. Most facilities find that the desire to continue treatment will manifest within those first 30-days, and you want your loved one to be able to continue with their treatment plan where they’re at if they do choose to stay, so make sure the facility can accommodate up to 90 days of treatment.

Addiction treatmentChoose A Specialization

Choose a treatment facility that offers specialize programming that caters to your loved ones needs, such as their drug of choice, a co-occurring disorder like PTSD, an eating disorder, social anxiety or a mental disorder, to name a few. This will help them beat their addiction along with the other psychological ailments that have contributed to their substance abuse. Since most people who suffer from addiction also suffer from another co-occurring disorder, choosing treatment at a facility that specializes in their particular ailment(s) will springboard their growth versus being left untreated.

Embrace A Geographical Change

Map of USA with state borders, 3d render

It is important to understand what can and what cannot be achieved with a geographical change for your loved one who is suffering with addiction. May people benefit greatly from a geographic change if they commit to receiving long-term, monitored care at a reputable treatment facility that’s located in a thriving recovery community. There are several located throughout the country, like Florida, Texas and Southern California.  They may also benefit greatly from being separated from family members and friends that have become “triggers” for their use. However, if your loved makes a geographic change simply to leave the environment which has “made them use” without seeking help, it is highly unlikely that their addiction will cease, and they will find themselves in the same addictive pattern wherever they move to. Geographic changes are encouraged when it comes to receiving treatment and/or working a fully committed program of recovery.

Honor New Boundaries

While therapy will be helpful to rebuild the family as a result of your loved one’s addiction, depending on their progress, it may not occur during treatment. If your loved one welcomes family sessions during their stay, take advantage of the clinical services offered at their institution. If this is an important factor, make sure the treatment center offers family programming and therapy. But don’t be discouraged if your loved one opts out. The first few months, and sometimes the first few years is often a time for them to fully understand their journey, and they will likely grow to a point in their recovery where they will be able to initiate therapeutic healing for all.

AddictionEliminate Enabling

Many loved ones feel responsible for helping the addict, especially as it relates to emotional and financial support. It can be impossible to cut them off as a supportive role. While this all comes from a place of love and concern, it’s critical to understand that as long as you are in some way enabling them to continue “running the show”, they are unlikely to feel the pressure to change in the long-term. Shutting off any access to support of their habits will force them to change their ways. The addict must recognize the breadth of their choices and arrive at a place where they have no choice but to initiate positive, responsible changes. As a loved one, you are a critical piece in enabling this change to happen. Also, don’t mistake your generosity for help. Enabling them to continue using is hurting them and may even lead to death. Follow this rule before, during and after treatment to offer the greatest opportunity for your loved one’s long-term success.

Addiction treatment

Someone Else’s Addiction Is Not Your Fault

It’s natural to feel hurt or even responsible for a loved one’s addiction, but it’s important to recognize these are naturally occurring emotions that stem from love. In most cases, for those who have “done all the right things,” they’re addiction has nothing to do with how you have treated them. Holding onto fear and anger for too long can make rebuilding family trust difficult. Support groups like Al-Anon help family and friends accept these feelings while learning how to support an addicted loved one — and themselves — during and following the rehabilitation process. Visit http://www.al-anon.org/ to find a local gathering near you.

Design Your Future with Vocational Rehabilitation

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation Infuses “Design Thinking” Into Their Vocational Rehabilitation Program To Help Clients Discover Their Passion, Purpose and Professional Potential.

The Hope Center has a staff dedicated to helping clients successfully maneuver back into the real world while maintaining a balanced life of recovery; by assisting each client in building a foundation and future through the delivery of a comprehensive Vocational Rehabilitation curriculum.

SuitVocational Rehabilitation is the practice of offering patients a guided curriculum to uncover what their unique interests, skill sets and experience levels are in order to design a path toward personal and professional success, while balancing a life in recovery. Vocational Rehabilitation also focuses on offering healing therapies to counter threatening, fearful or traumatic past events that may have contributed to addictive behavior, stemming from one’s past educational or employment history.

Inspired by the “Design Thinking” movement, the staff at The Hope Center for Rehabilitation took notes from thought leaders, like Stanford Universities Bill Burnett. Burnett developed the “Designing Your Life” course at the ivy-league university for his graduating seniors, and within a few years, the course had become so popular it is now being used throughout the country to help anyone reach their full, desired potential.

While originally developed for emerging workforce students, the process of finding your “flow”: identifying those moments, actions, and behaviors that elicit pure joy, positive challenges and heightened energy, help people from all walks of life discover their true vocation, or calling. The staff at The Hope Center took these principles and infused them into their vocational curriculum to help clients format their personal and professional journey in life while uncovering their true passion and purpose.

Vocational Rehabilitation“With the incorporation of ‘Design Thinking’ into our Vocational Program, we are helping our clients not only pursue a successful life in recovery, we help them tap into deep-seeded aspirations that they might never have gotten the opportunity to uncover,” says Vocational Program Director Ed Sergison. “Using these concepts to design their future, in addition to offering therapeutic healing, emotional building and soul searching techniques, our clients are leaving our program with a renewed sense of self and purpose, with a path to achieve their potential.”

After an initial meeting to pinpoint each client’s background, education and employment history, the vocational counselors assist them with developing a plan to incorporate education and/or career goals into their transition from a residential environment to an independent atmosphere.

For those looking to begin a new career, the counselors work with each client on an individual basis to assist them with the creation of a proper résumé. A selection of potential referrals are determined, followed by an overview of interview questions and techniques. The counselors pinpoint unique skill sets and interests of the client, and finally reinforce the importance of presentation, including choice of vocabulary, appearance, attitude and preparedness.

Vocational RehabilitationFor those who wish to pursue a furthered education, like acquiring a GED, associate or bachelors degree, or technical certification, the counselors create a specifically tailored roadmap for the client that offers a realistic timeline and financial plan to achieve their educational goals. The client is presented with Federal financial aid forms, scholarship opportunities and grant applications as part of the process, completed together with the counselor to ensure accuracy and thoroughness.

For clients who already have a seasoned work history, The Hope Center for Rehabilitation has a strong local network of professionals who can help clients receive job placement so they can begin working while developing into their long-term recovery process. It is recommended that a client stay 6-9 months under the care of a rehabilitation facility, or in a transitional-living sober environment for the best chance at achieving long-term recovery. With the help of local job placement services, we can, even temporarily, help our clients build a strong foundation for when they are ready to return home full-time.

The goal of this program is to empower clients to pursue a thoughtful, comprehensive growth plan for sustained employment, offering not just financial but emotional stability as well. This can be a daunting, insurmountable goal on one’s own following treatment, so the relationship between client and counselor weeks and months after treatment is critical as it offers the support needed to sustain the effort. They meet in person or via electronic communication to reflect on progress and discuss challenges that arise so the client can stay motivated and encouraged until they have achieved long-term success on their own.

For more information on Vocational Rehabilitation at The Hope Center, contact Program Director Ed Sergison at 631-793-9415 or via email ad Ed@hopecenterrehab.org.

Tinder for Sober Singles?

Sobriety is totally trending right now. With the recent devastating influx of heroin abuse and addiction among youth throughout the United States, the amount of young people in recovery has all but skyrocketed in recent years. More and more people are opting to trade in the drink and the drug for an opportunity to not only reclaim their lives, but to gain a personal and spiritual insight that many men and women strive to obtain for years when battling addiction.

Sober communities are popping up around the country in states like Florida, California and Texas.
Sober communities are popping up around the country in states like Florida, California and Texas.

Without question, young adults in recovery can relate to one another on a unique and experienced level. Attending meetings and fellow-shipping afterwards is a fundamental part of the lives of modern day youth across the country who are living in recovery. “Recovery communities” have popped up in major cities across the nation as of late, including South Florida, Texas, Southern California and Virginia, making it easier for young men and women to relocate and begin living their recovered lives among individuals who have undergone the same struggles and can assist one another in staying on track.

But what happens when you, like all people, want to find a compatible mate? Dating sober can be quite a different experience than before. And it can be difficult to “date” within the rooms. For those who are single (yes, that’s most of us) we still want to “hook up” and “go out” – and court in the traditional ways. But unlike college or in the bar scene, the ratio of men to women tends to be somewhat uneven within the rooms of various 12-step fellowships. In addition, 12-step meetings can be a risky place to pick up potential partners.

In fact, regardless of whether you’re sober or not, scoping out the scene at a meeting or at a bar are equally as unlikely to produce a genuine match for a long-term, healthy relationship. Which explains why dating apps and online dating sites have been so abundant and successful in recent years. The best dating sites help to link people together who are ultimately compatible based on personality and lifestyle. And we’re stoked that there is a free dating site for single people in sobriety now.

Sober Singles
The Sober app will do for the recovery community what Tinder has done for “regular” singles.

“Sober”, a dating app for those in recovery for drug and alcohol dependency, allows individuals to meet and communicate based on location – but this singles app, unlike its older brother ‘Tinder’, is not merely for hook-ups and uncomfortable blind dates. Sober incorporates various elements of social media, allowing users to ‘friend’ others in their area and list whether or not they are available to sponsor others who are actively looking for a nearby individual to take them through the steps. The founder and CEO of this newly launched dating community, 22-year-old Antoine Nauleau, is sober himself – thus he is creating and perfecting his application based on personal experience and the trials and tribulations of similarly –circumstanced friends, who are looking for other sober singles like themselves.

“It’s a great place to go to connect with like-minded people from around the country,” said Kelly Fitzgerald, a 29-year old Sober user from Florida. “I’m glad someone has taken advantage of the mobile dating app scene and put a sober twist on it. It feels good to be able to chat with other sober people in other settings besides meetings.”

While Sober was initially launched in San Francisco, there are plans to expand this dating app nationwide, making it widely available like Tinder is currently. The app is free for users, but is currently only accessible on the iPhone. Android users are able to sign up on a waiting list, and will be notified as soon as the app becomes available to them.

Sober on singles!

Download the ppp for iPhone here:  http://sober.ly/app/ or get on the waiting list for your Android here: http://sober.ly/waiting-list/

Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

Last year, we shared a blog on our favorite recovery songs – whether the message of the song helps you get through the hard times, or reminds you of where you never want to be again – they all “strike a chord” and therapeutically support our recovery goals. Music has that way of hitting deeply to the inner feelers we keep so protected. Continue reading Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

With upwards of 15,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the U.S., it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you or a loved one. One of the best ways to choose the right treatment program is to consider the facilities certifications. A seal of approval from the Joint Commission (JCAHO) is considered the highest award available Continue reading The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

This is my #drugofchoice

As addicts, drugs and alcohol take over our actions, as well as our thoughts. The “great obsession” of using liquefies any desire to pursue interests that we either used to love or might find enriching to our lives. Refreshed and renewed, many of us feel the overwhelming need to replenish our desires with healthy actions. And this is where the concept of a new #drugofchoice is formulated. Continue reading This is my #drugofchoice

The Hope Center Partners With The Gloucester Initiative

GLOUCESTER — Chief Leonard Campanello and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken are pleased to announce that The Hope Center For Rehabilitation in Florida is joining the Gloucester Police Department’s ANGEL Initiative.

As of Tuesday morning, 137 people have been placed into treatment programs by The Gloucester Initiative since June 1, when the program began. 

The Gloucester ANGEL program allows people who suffer from addiction to turn over their remaining drug supply and paraphernalia to the Gloucester Police Department without the threat of arrest. Those in need of help are put into treatment programs as opposed to jail cells. The policy went into effect last month in an effort to address a growing opioid epidemic and to reduce the number of overdoses in Massachusetts. Click here to view the official police policy document.

“It’s an honor to be joining The Gloucester Initiative to help make a positive difference in people’s lives,” said James Durkin, CEO of The Hope Center For Rehabilitation. “We are committed to guiding our guests along their path to recovery, and in turn, allowing them to make a complete 360-degree turn into a new, healthy lifestyle.”

Chief Campanello and businessman John Rosenthal have launched The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) — a new nonprofit organization created in response to Gloucester’s revolutionary drug addiction program and the immediate positive feedback from local, state and national organizations.

Both Chief Campanello and Mayor Romeo Theken are pleased to be expanding The Gloucester Initiative’s dedicated team of partner treatment centers by adding The Hope Center to the program.

About The Hope Center For Rehabilitation

Based on Boynton Beach, Fla., The Hope Center For Rehabilitation, provides a full range of services both leading up to, during and following treatment. This includes professional interventions, medically assisted detox, inpatient rehabilitation (30-90 days), intensive outpatient rehabilitation and outpatient services.

The Hope Center also offers group activities, including kayaking, zip lining, beach trips, movie nights, paddle boarding, gym membership, snorkeling and wakeboarding. Transitional housing units are provided for both men and women, known as Magnolia Place. Each gender-specific home offers state-of-the-art amenities for clients looking to continue living in a safe, 12-step supported environment with like-minded individuals for up to nine months after treatment. Staff offers part-time supervision to help guests transition as they embark on their post-treatment plan.

Getting Sober At Any Age

Getting Sober at any Age

…and finding happiness & success too

If you’re someone who has discovered that they are either too young to get sober, or perhaps too old, I can assure you age is not a factor, but merely an excuse. Don’t allow your disease to talk you out of this. I’ve heard countless people praise young members within the recovery community for having found sobriety in their youth. You can feel their deep desire to have had the courage to do the same. What I notice is their longing to have the years they wasted back, and to be able to reverse all of the damage they have done in that time.

Let’s not assume that “late” even merely refers to age. I’ve known many alcoholics and addicts who by all accounts seemed far past the point of saving. They had habits that should have long ago killed them, despite their youth. Yet, I’ve witnessed some of the most severe cases return to sanity. You can find plenty of these inspiring stories in our Big Book, which gives any suffering addict hope that it really never is too late to recover.

Granted, getting sober at a young age will strip you of some of the wilder times you may have waiting ahead. And often, that is a deterring factor. Or perhaps you’re worried life won’t be enjoyable any longer without the drugs and alcohol. But if you’ve reached a point, like the majority of us, where your use is inhibiting you from the joys in life, your ambitions, is ruining your relationships and preventing you from most if not all of your goals, then you will find that sobriety will not hinder your life, it is actually the only thing that may save it.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have climbed down the ladder to rock bottom at a young age however. An older member of our fellowship, a gentleman at the age of 75, shared one day that he had recently celebrated an anniversary. Assuming he had many years, the group members were surprised to hear him say he was celebrating 1 year sober. The man stated that the last year had been the happiest of his life. He had reconnected with his children, his grandchildren and had found a completely new level of happiness he had never imagined for himself. This story, and many others like it, are the tales of inspiration that keep many members spiritually connected to the promises of our program. It also reminds us that we are never too old to experience self-discovery, true happiness and to learn.

If you’re still not convinced of the irrelevance of age, here are a few other success stories reached at an unlikely time:

  • At age 7, Mozart wrote his 1st symphony
  • At just 17, Joan of Arc led an army in defense of France
  • At 21, Fred DeLuca co-founded Subway Restaurants with just $1,000 in the bank
  • At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh picked up a paint brush for the very first time
  • Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was 40
  • At age 45, George Foreman recaptured the heavyweight championship with a 10th round knockout, becoming the oldest person ever to win the heavyweight championship
  • Ray Kroc founded MacDonald’s at age 57
  • At 86 Ruth Rothfarb ran the Boston Marathon in just over 5 hours

 

No matter what your age is, embracing recovery is like hitting a “restart” button on your life. It is a spiritual rebirth. Our fellowship gives us a perfectly designed plan of action to remain teachable, to practice honesty and to clean away the wreckage of our past.

It also allows us to build a future of our dreams. If you’re young, our program enables you to journey through life with integrity and gives you the optimal environment to succeed and to look back with gratitude. If you’ve spent many years in your disease and have reached a mature age where the future doesn’t seem as bright, don’t be deceived. By this point, having had real-life experience, you’ve been given the opportunity to discover what your needs, desires and tastes are in addition to understanding what it feels like to fail.

I recently heard another member share that he had experienced great wealth and success, but was failing in the game of life. When he got sober, he humbled himself by taking a low-level job and working his way up again, much like he did for his personal life by working the 12-steps. By the time he got sober, he knew what his tastes and interests were. He knew what it felt like to fail, which made it easy to do things differently this time. He also experienced re-growth, having built his life back up from the foundation. Without having had a lifetime of experience, he would not have so successfully trail blazed his sobriety and shared his story to other alcoholics.

Remember, it’s never too late to change your life if you are still alive. Each of us has a desire to win the lottery in life. So often we hear stories of amazing success, joy and happiness. Often, especially as a suffering addict, those dreams seem completely unrealistic. But in reality, recovery – at any age – is practically guaranteed if you follow this simple plan of recovery outlined in the 12-steps. Diane Ackerman once said “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well”. While you may not achieve great fame or release a Nobel Peace Prize winning novel, you will give yourself the opportunity to live a life that you never thought imaginable – a sober one.

 

The Reverse 4th Step

Discover Your Character Traits, Goals & Purpose

Our 12-step fellowship provides a roadmap to uncover the reasons for our addiction. In our 4th step, we list with complete abandon an inventory of our resentments, fears and defects of character, connecting the dots between our pattern of behavior and our addiction. This self-cleanse allows us to bear witness to all of our deepest ailments and then enables us to let them go and work on our defects in the future. It takes courage to dig into our disease and let that become a part of our growth. Recovering addicts are given strength through their vulnerability when they admit their personal faults and actively work on them.

This process relieves us of the things that are holding us back from discovering our true passions. Now, with a renewed sense of self and clarity, there is no better time to discover your true potential. In reading through a number of books on life, awareness and happiness, I realized that many of them encouraged positive personal identification, which included things like skills, natural born talents, character traits and passions. I found myself surprised that I there was no worksheet on taking a positive inventory to identify personal qualities, outlining how one could offer their gifts to the world and pursue their passions in life.

This notion struck a nerve because I believe many of us identify, both prior to and after getting sober, with a fear of the future. In truth, how exactly can we have energy and optimism for the future if we have not identified a path to walk toward it?

You may ask yourself: What is my calling? What are my dreams? How can I ever achieve them? How do I deal with life now? We’ve won the lottery by finding recovery. In many ways we have been “reborn”. We’ve also been granted time and mental space to work on what we most desire. Think about how much better your sobriety will be if you put energy into your dreams and goals? Now that is a great way to create a positive foundation in recovery.

You owe it to yourself to discover your passion and purpose. You can start today with an exercise I’ll call a “Reverse 4th Step”. List the personal attributes you value which strengthen your character and what you can offer the world. Start by making lists of these qualities by following this simple guide:

  1. List the talents you are born with (your natural abilities, aptitudes)
  2. List skills that you have developed or mastered (sports, technologies, art, singing)
  3. List your education & experiences that have made you uniquely specialized (training, travel, etc.)
  4. List your character traits of the spirit (courageous, empathetic, optimistic, grace under pressure)
  5. List your top, most memorable accomplishments (winning a race, best-in-class)
  6. List your values (family, honesty, freedom)

Next, discover your passion and purpose. Most people don’t know what their passion and purpose is because they have never tried to figure it out. You can begin reaching your dreams by first writing them down. According to Dave Kohn, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, people who regularly write down their goals earn 9x as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t. Make this list positive, specific and measurable. You would be amazed at how attainable your dreams are if you take the time to identify your ambitions.

By connecting your natural abilities and character traits with the things you are passionate about, you can pursue goals in your life that align with your real purpose. For example, if you are a naturally gifted skier and have a high level of patience, perhaps becoming a ski instructor would be a well suited job for you. Maybe you are extremely good under pressure and love high-energy. You might want to consider a profession in an emergency room or trauma center. If travel is a passion of yours and you’re an excellent writer, decide to embark on a travel blog and share your experiences with the world.

If you follow your passion money and success will naturally follow, not the other way around. The same goes for your journey in sobriety. While identifying our character defects helps us work on being better people in the future, focusing on our character traits can help us pursue the dreams of our innermost soul. Think of your life ahead as an empty canvas: visualize life’s coming attractions by identifying your unique traits and by setting goals because possibilities, adventure, accomplishment, contribution and happiness are waiting.

5 Ways to Get Back On Your Pink Cloud

Reinvigorating Your Spiritual Foundation in Recovery

When I was early in sobriety, I once heard a man share at a meeting that he “would give up his 30 years for anyone’s 3 months.” At the time I can’t say I really understood what he meant because I so envied his achievement. But today, that message was loud, clear and on point.

He was referring to the “Pink Cloud” stage that many people reach in sobriety. Its’ a multifaceted state of mind when the drugs and alcohol have left you for long enough that you can feel again and are beginning to really connect with other sober supports. At this phase, the Big Book starts to really make sense and more than likely your relationship with yourself and your loved ones is improving after years, or maybe even decades of neglect.

It’s similar to the felling you get when you’re first in love or have reached a lifelong goal. You have a sense of peace, accomplishment, security and blind faith in this beginning phase of real recovery. But like love, the feelings fade over time and moments of enlightenment become less frequent. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself pulling away from regular meetings you used to attend, or are calling your sponsor less or maybe you’re just feeling more disconnected from your program.

I can tell you almost everyone at some point “loses the magic”, if you ever achieved it at all. If you’re left looking back longingly on the days when your spiritual connection was thriving, here are some ways to reignite the passion for your program.

1. Go To A Meet You’ve Never Been To Before
Typically our regular meetings, like all routines, start to feel redundant. But with thousands of meeting going on every day throughout the country, there is always a new group to introduce yourself to and to be inspired by. One of my favorite things to do when I’m in a new city is to make it to at least 1 meeting while I’m there. Each new meeting is an opportunity to network and hear an inspirational message. It’s also a great way to expand on your support network. And today, finding a meeting close by has never been easier. Download the Meeting Finder app onto your phone to locate a meeting anywhere in the world based on your location. Intergroup will also provide you with the latest meeting information. Visit http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources for information to contact your local intergroup office.

2. Raise Your Hand To Be A Sponsor
The whole sponsor relationship thing is a little daunting, for both sponsors and sponsees. Overcoming your fear to ask someone to sponsor you takes motivation and courage. To raise your hand and offer your help to someone newly sober also takes guts. But the reward is profound. Do you remember what it felt like in early sobriety to have someone answer your daily phone call, meet with you to go over your steps and give you support and advice when you just didn’t know what to do? The spiritual reward of helping someone else early in sobriety will open so many doors back into your own journey early on, and allow you to freely share the gift you’ve been given. It’s our fellowships way of paying it forward. Sponsoring other men or women will help you grow further in your program, helping elevate you to a new “Pink Cloud” of your own.

3. Read Through Your 4th Step Again
You spent weeks or months writing a 4th step. This list of character defects, resentments and people you may have harmed is like your very own golden diary. In your 5th step you were able to release all of these fears that were holding you back from transcending to the next level of acceptance and change. Over time, we’re taught to quell these defects by practicing steps 10 and 11 on a daily basis. But if you’ve noticed that some of your defects begin popping up now and then, don’t be frustrated. We’re naturally apt to revert back to our instinctual nature. Take an evening to read through your 4th step. Remember, these moments or traits were part of a larger pattern. Take the lessons you discovered in your 5th step and try and make those adjustments on a daily basis. This will undoubtedly help bring you back to a more enlightened stage as you live vicariously through your step-work, connecting the feelings you had then with the growth you have now.

4. Go To A National Convention
When you attend a national convention of any sort, whether it’s work or hobby related, you’re making an investment in your understanding and growth in that area. When you attend a 12-step fellowship gathering, you’re making an investment also in your spiritual bank account. Thousands of people join together for a few days of saturated learning where guests have the unique experience of hearing inspirational stories, attending specifically designed workshops in addition to enjoying fun networking events. It is almost guaranteed you will leave reinvigorated. There are a number of conferences held around the country, and around the world every year. Start by checking out the events calendar at www.aagrapevine.org (the International Journal of AA). If you’re young and in recovery, The International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (ICYPAA) is an excellent event for you, bringing young AA members together from around the country. The conference will be holding it’s 57th gathering this September in Miami. Visit www.icypaa.org for more details. For more events, Young People in Recovery has chapters throughout the country (who meet weekly) and host regional conferences. Find out about your local chapter and upcoming events at www.youngpeopleinrecovery.org.

5. Commit to a 90 in 90
When I first got sober (for good) I made a commitment to attend 90 meetings in 90 days because that’s what I was told helped countless people get started on their journey in sobriety. What happened was I made a powerful foundation for my own program. When you make a commitment to attend a meeting a day, you get to experience a variety of different meeting formats in different areas, each of which are made up of different people. The gift in this commitment is that you just have to show up, and the miracle is given to you. On any occasion, you are present to hear an enriching story, or connection with a new member. Over time, you create accountability with people and build on your sober support network. If you’ve been in recovery for a while, it’s an excellent way to get back to your foundational roots especially because at each meeting, there is a new message or be heard or a re triggering of one you’ve long since forgotten about.

You certainly aren’t going to adopt each of these suggestions in 1 day but it’s a great roadmap to begin working on in the year ahead. So break out your 4th step, plan to hit a meeting you’ve never been to before, check out some upcoming conventions and get ready to jump back on that pink cloud!