In early recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, individuals experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Minor symptoms include anxiety, sleep disturbances, nausea, muscle weakness and fatigue. More serious symptoms include increased heart rate/palpitations, increased blood pressure, vomiting/diarrhea, and seizures. Managing these symptoms successfully is dependent on restorative health measures, such as proper nutrition, adequate water/fluid intake, and rest.

Relationships in Recovery: Why Is Dating Discouraged in Early Recovery?relationships in recovery

The advice to not date or become involved with someone intimately during early recovery is a frequent point of resistance.  People involved in 12-step programs often rely on the “one-year rule” for guidance.  In other words, it is recommended that someone not date during their first year of recovery.  Because there is a lot of resistance to this guideline and the results from dating can be detrimental to one’s sobriety, let’s look at some of the important reasons WHY dating during the first year of recovery is not advised.

1.  Me Time

The focus of early recovery should be laying a strong foundation for long-term sobriety and this involves searching deep within ourselves.  Personal reflection and self-analysis is an important step to knowing ourselves and learning to accept and love ourselves.  Our work to understand ourselves can be undermined or become convoluted if our efforts are distracted by a budding romance.

New romances are not only distracting they can quickly become all-consuming.  They may initially feel great, but it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves slipping into old patterns, habits and behaviors.  It also becomes very difficult to sort out what are my issues to work on and what are someone else’s.

You can truly only love someone to the extent that you love yourself.  Recovery is essentially about finding and loving yourself and this cannot be achieved through dating another person.  Romantic relationships can be appealing because they can temporarily numb pain we may feel from facing our personal hardships, behaviors and past.  Cultivating love, respect, and care for yourself is the key to establishing healthy and lasting relationships down the road.  People sometimes are lulled into thinking they are healthier because they are in a new relationship, but there is no short cut to becoming healthy.  It involves time with yourself.

2.  It’s an Attachment Problem

Early recovery can be the most uncomfortable time period of our lives because our attachment for coping with the world (our drug) has been stripped away. In addition, we often need to strip out many other areas from our using past: old using friends, unhealthy places to live, unhealthy past activities and just about every other aspect of our former using-lives.  This is a lot of change. Many feel a need to attach to another person for comfort, instead of working on self-regulation and healthy ways coping with this change.

Often the attachment to a new person can feel incredibly strong and lasting. But because it does not have a strong foundation, it is a really false sense of comfort that does not last.  Drugs can be viewed as a maladaptive attachment attempting to fill a void of unmet needs.  Jumping into a dating relationship will only perpetuate the cycle of unmet needs.  This is because the recovering individual doesn’t have the time and space to see what their unmet needs are or how to approach them appropriately.

In early recovery, it is important to recognize the relationship we had with our addiction.  Addiction was almost certainly the main focus of our lives.  There were times we may have felt joy, relief, comfort and understood.  And of course there were times we felt abused, helpless and a victim to our addiction.  We form a strong attachment to our addiction.  When the drug is removed, it is comparable to a romantic break-up and therefore it needs to be grieved as such.  We put a lot of time, money, energy and emotion into our addiction and it is important to grieve the loss of all these things. Sitting with this emotional withdrawal or void is uncomfortable, so people will sometimes jump into a romantic relationship as a way to fill the void.  Similarly, people will replace drugs with sex as a way to achieve a quick fix.  The same patterns and behaviors that were used to get and use drugs are often used to get romance or sex.  When this happens, one addiction has been traded for another.  We can only break free when we understand what is underneath our addictive behaviors.

3.  People, Places and Things

Early in recovery our new way of thinking and coping with the world is new and immature and therefore we are often inclined to rely on old behaviors and old ways of thinking. This is especially apparent when we notice the type of partners we choose to date in early recovery.  At this point, our lives are more defined by the addiction world than the recovery world.  It is no coincidence that people in early recovery tend to be attracted to people still using or equally new to recovery.  Also, because our relationship with our addiction was one-sided in favor of the addiction, we often see people getting involved in relationships that are just as one-sided. These relationships are often filled with drama and chaos.  It is common for those new-to-recovery to become over-involved and hyper-focused on the new relationship.

When healthy coping skills are under-developed, we run the increased risk of relapse.  If the relationship doesn’t work out and the couple breaks up, the main coping skill people choose tends to be the substance of their addiction.

Final Thoughts

The underlying concern for dating in early recovery is that it provides a distraction from the real task at hand, which is working on ourselves.  This may be confusing because a strong recovery program involves sober connections and community.  However, it is easy to mistake vulnerability and intimacy of  the sober community for romance and sex.  If you are contemplating dating in early recovery ask yourself if you are at the place you want to be and if the role was reversed would I be someone I would want to date right now.  If the answer is no, don’t take it as shaming or discouraging news, take it as a reminder that you are learning and growing into the person you want to become.  It won’t be long before you ARE the person you would want to date.


Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).


From a young age we are praised for our achievements.  However, somewhere along the line we start to believe that in order feel good or be loved we must be perfect.   Perfectionism can easily sabotage someone in recovery from addiction.  So to give yourself and your recovery a boost -- work toward eliminating perfectionism.

Brené Brown is a leading researcher in the field of shame resilience and vulnerability.  Her work looks at perfectionism as a form of shame.  It is a self-destructive belief system because perfection is impossible to achieve.  Perfectionism creates an endless cycle of blame and shame where we never feel we are good enough.  These feelings of blame and shame are well known to those in recovery from addiction.

Do You Know If Perfectionism Is Dictating Your Life? Here are four signs to look for:

1.     To A Fault, You’re A People Pleaser: From our school days to our work days, individuals are praised for their work in quantifiable ways.  We receive grades from teachers, bonuses at work, and various accolades along the way.  We start to believe what we achieve is who we are and what makes us a deserving person.  People pleasers do not strive from the healthy standpoint of ‘how can I improve,” rather they operate from “what will others think?”.

2.     You Procrastinate Or Do Not Even Attempt Things At All: Perfectionists often utilize black-or-white thinking:  you succeed or you fail.  There is no gray area allowed for “good enough”.  Perfectionism holds people back from trying new things out of a fear of failure.  It also leads to procrastinating as a way to avoid possible disappointing outcomes.  Of course, we all know that procrastinating often leads to the disappointing outcomes we fear.  For a time, we try to console ourselves with the fact that we didn't have enough time and that is the reason for the outcome.  But deep down, we know this isn't true and so we feel shame and blame ourselves.

3.     Perfectionists Are Critical Of Others And Have A Hard Time Opening Up: Judgment is a common thing people project onto others.  We have a tendency to place perceived shortcomings onto others that we actually fear are within ourselves.  We reject in others what we can’t accept in ourselves.  Perfectionism is a defense against rejection.  It makes it very difficult for people to open up to others out of fear of not being good enough.  Perfectionists are afraid to show their vulnerabilities, and this inhibits them from truly connecting with others.  Perfectionists see their vulnerabilities as serious defects, instead of what makes them uniquely human.

 4.     You Personalize And Become Defensive With Feedback: Perfectionists hear helpful feedback as criticism. They hear anything other than high praise as a reflection of their perceived failings.  They become defensive over possibly exposing their weak points.  Instead of realizing and believing that we’re all human and we all have challenges, the perfectionist tirelessly tries to avoid that reality.

Eliminating Perfectionism

For the most part we all fall on a continuum of perfectionism, we all feel the effects and try to defend against the shame.  Brown comments, "When perfectionism becomes compulsive, chronic and debilitating it looks and feels like an addiction.  More times than not, below the surface of chemical dependency is a shame-ridden belief system.  Perfectionism is one of those belief systems.  Feeling relief from perfectionism is a journey from “what will people think” to “I am enough”."

The tools Brown suggests to make that journey is choosing to practice authenticity by owning our stories and having self-compassion.  Our lives are imperfect yet we yearn for un-achievable standards.  We are susceptible to navigating our lives mistaking being loved as being perfect.  Choose to affirm yourself and your loved ones that they are “good enough”, don’t let perfectionism dictate your life.

Providing a safe space to let down the armor and be vulnerable is a step towards addiction recovery.  New Hope Recovery Center is proud to provide groups facilitated by Sarah Buino, who is trained in The Daring Way™, Brené Brown’s shame resilience curriculum.  For more information please visit our website New Hope Recovery Center , call us at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or email us at

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

From all the research that has been done in the field of addiction over the past 30-40 years, we know several factors are involved in the development and continuance of addictive behavior.   Within the disease model of addiction, we understand the development of an addiction stems from the genes we have inherited.  Once these particular genes are activated, the disease progresses, from the point of onset to chronic and often fatal stages, unless it is treated.

Through this medical model, we learn that addiction is a biopsychosocial disease, with many factors contributing to the development of an addiction including our biology or genetics (bio); our thoughts, feelings and emotions (psycho); and our personal histories: the way we were raised, the environmental and cultural cues and messages we are exposed to (social).

Traditional learning theory (specifically operant conditioning) states that we tend to repeat behaviors that are pleasurable, thereby setting up a pattern of action, reward, repeated action.  Our brains are hard-wired to be able to learn this way, as it is critical for our survival.  For example, when we eat, dopamine is released in the brain, sending the message to repeat the behavior.  The concept of making associations is key to learning theory as are the concepts of reinforcement and punishment.   Getting a pleasurable response to a behavior (i.e. feeling satisfied after eating a tasty meal) increases the chance that we will seek opportunities to repeat the behavior.  On the contrary, being punished after doing a behavior (i.e. getting burned from touching a hot stove) drastically reduces the likelihood we will repeat the behavior.

When looked at against the backdrop of addictive behavior, it is easy to understand how one can get caught up in the cycle of repeating certain behaviors.  Although in time, addictive behaviors come with negative consequences (punishments), they are initially paired with the experience of pleasure.  In the case of certain drugs and routes of administration (for example shooting heroin), the behavior is paired with extreme pleasure.  In learning theory, the stronger the experience of pleasure, the stronger the association will be and therefore, the more likely one will want to repeat the behavior.

Classical conditioning, another subset of learning theory, can explain why formerly neutral stimuli become paired with the anticipation of pleasure as they become cues for the target behavior.  Environmental cueing and classical conditioning are theories that account specifically for relapse.  For example, a previously neutral or even negative stimulus such as a needle can in and of itself set off the phenomenon known as craving in an individual who is addicted to heroin or crystal methamphetamine.  In this case, one may experience intense psychological cravings without even coming into contact with the actual drug, only with the stimuli that have become paired associations with the drug.  These intense cravings can easily lead to relapse, if not addressed and dealt with properly.

Further, social learning theory, first explained by Albert Bandura in 1961, also explains addiction in terms of the biopsychosocial model.  Social learning theory posits that we can learn and make associations in a social context, simply by observing and imitating the behaviors of others.  The behavior(s) being observed are most likely to be repeated if reward is part of the observation.  For example, a person watching his/her peers drink, laugh and have fun will pair that association and increase the likelihood that he/she will attempt the behavior as well.  This is known as vicarious reinforcement.

With a pattern of addiction, social learning is often responsible for the initiation of drug/alcohol related behavior.  Once the addictive process has taken over, social factors fade out and become largely irrelevant to the maintenance of the addiction.  As the addiction progresses, opportunities to learn from healthy individuals engaged in healthy or adaptive ways of coping with stress become scarce, as healthy people begin to disengage from the addict and as the addict associates almost exclusively with other addicts or users.

Learning theory, including operant and classical conditioning and social learning can be applied to recovery as well.  In recovery, we re-learn the associations made in the brain during our addiction.  We pair craving and/or stress with picking up the phone and reaching out to our sober network.  We learn to avoid things, people or situations that will lead us back to using.  We make daily associations such as waking up in the morning and praying or meditating.  And finally, we learn socially acceptable behavior from our sober mentors, family and friends.

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center located in Chicago, IL. We provide Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, and Aftercare. We also have a LGBTQI specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” We offer personalized, holistic treatment by examining the whole person: mind, body and spirit.  Our small intimate setting caters to your specific needs and we provide place of support, nurture and safety leading to hope and healing. If you are interested in a confidential assessment, or you know someone who is, call 888-707-4673 to talk to a staff member.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Addiction Recovery: Step 4 - Moral Inventory

For many with drug, alcohol, sex or other additions, working through the 12 steps have been not only a life saver, but a life-enhancer.  They find their lives are much better than they would have been without working the steps.  The fourth step of addiction recovery seems to have a reputation amongst 12 step groups. For one, it is the first step where you put pen to paper and do some work.  People are also hesitant because of the work itself. This step of addiction recovery, more so than others, causes people to pull back the reins and balk.

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”

Many take a look at this step and wonder, “What is a fearless moral inventory?” Simply put, this step makes individuals take a look at their lives and pinpoint when they were selfish, self seeking, harmful or untruthful. It provides a safe place for people in addiction recovery to look back and see the mistakes they have made, but more importantly allows them to learn from the mistakes and move on. The importance of doing this step with a sponsor cannot be stressed enough for this reason.

Many procrastinate doing the 4th step due to feelings of shame and guilt or out of fear of stirring up old hurts.  But doing the fourth step allows us to see our defects of character and helps us realize why we did these things and how the behaviors are tied in to our addiction. In theory, moving away from our “alcoholic behaviors” will help prevent us from drinking alcohol or using drugs again in the future. The fourth step looks at your resentments, fears and harms in depth, and specifically considers what your part in them is. The real power behind this step is taking time to look at these behaviors all at once in a safe environment. Most addicts in recovery know about these behaviors, but the fourth step helps you look at them in a new light.  It’s a way to leave them behind and move on to new behaviors that promote our sobriety and help us live a better life.

Until we really review and acknowledge our past behaviors, we cannot move past them. Keeping them hidden or unobserved only allows these past behaviors to continue to reemerge in our lives.  By examining them and understanding them, we can learn to move beyond the behaviors and the patterns that led to them.

After doing a thorough fourth step, or fearless moral inventory, we are ready to move on in our step work, which helps facilitate removing these behaviors from ourselves, and ultimately making amends for these behaviors. The fourth step is the first of many “actions steps”, steps which require rigorous action to gain sobriety as opposed to decision.  Though difficult at times, the fourth step is in many ways the foundation for the rest of the steps that follow.  Step 5 of addiction recovery is next!

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility.  New Hope With Pride  provides specific programming for our LGBT community members. If you would like guidance or help in handling your own addiction or that of a loved one, please contact us at 773.883.3916.

New Hope Recovery Center supports addiction recovery by offering a number of open meetings at our facility for those looking to participate in a 12 step program.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

For many in addiction recovery, the third step can cause a tornado of thoughts and emotions. Not only is it the first step that mentions the word “god," but it is also asking you to turn over control, something alcoholics and addicts are not accustomed to.

The important aspect of this step is that “god” is your higher power, which does not need to be “The God” in the traditional sense of the word. Still, for many, getting past this word can be difficult, but after a thorough second step, most overcome the wording of this step in addiction recovery and continue on with their step work. For those who struggle with this word, we suggest imaging a power, force or essence that is greater than yourself or imagining something that is bigger than yourself.  It can also help to reflect on your upbringing and what hurts or issues you experienced based on how you perceive the word “god."

“made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him”

It’s common for most people to enter into a 12 step program trying to control every aspect of their lives. This is the step where people move away from that mode of thinking. Trying to control everything around us leads us down a road of disappointment, which can eventually lead to relapse. Turning our will and our lives over to the care of a higher power doesn't need to be as frightening as it may sound.  Simply breaking the phrase down and simplifying it is sometimes all people need to do in order to grasp this step. An example: not trying to control other people or situations where we don’t play a direct role in the outcome. This step is not intended to be used as a reason not to put effort in to anything and leave it up to your higher power, it’s meant to teach us that we don’t control everything in our lives. The term “turning it over” is commonly spoken in 12 step meetings; this simply means that some things must be left to our higher power in order for us to be content.

The second half of this step brings in the question “what is god’s will for me." The answer to this changes from person to person depending on their higher power. What does your higher power want you to achieve in your sobriety? How does it want you to help other people? What is your higher power’s plan for you in life? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when trying to decipher god’s will for you. Sitting down with your sponsor and going over these questions and meditating on them is usually a good starting place for this half of the step.

The third step in addiction recovery is a launching point in your sobriety and step work, it prepares you for the work that comes in the action steps that follow. In addition to future step work, a thorough third step prepares you for anything that is thrown your way in sobriety, good or bad. Life is unpredictable, stressful and sometimes painful.  Having a strong basis in your third step means you will be grounded and better prepared to handle life as it happens.   Step 4 in Addiction Recovery is next.

New Hope Recovery Center is a substance abuse treatment center for alcohol and other drugs. Based in Chicago, we serve those who are willing to get help, but need more than meetings to help them navigate this new world of recovery. If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or other drugs, contact us for a confidential assessment. You may email us at or call us at 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”

After someone in addiction recovery completes the first step, they immediately move on to the second. They know what the problem is, now is the time to do some work on it. The second step helps cement the idea that sobriety cannot be achieved on one’s own, an outside force is needed. More importantly, it implies that all recovering men and women are united in this step. The second step doesn’t state who, what or how this power can help us, it just states that we must come to believe that this is what is needed to stay sober. This step usually invokes a great deal of emotion and causes one to ask many questions.

  • What is a power greater than ourselves?
  • How can it help me stay sober?
  • Was I insane?

The basis of this step is that YOU can’t keep YOU sober, something else is needed. The line heard around globe is, “your thinking got you here, try something else”. If you ask 10 different recovering individuals what a higher power is, you will probably get 10 different answers, the important thing is that it’s not them. Once someone understands that they cannot keep themselves sober, they can begin to accept that maybe something else can. At this time, many people either know what this power can be or start to think of ideas of what it can be. It is completely left up to the individual, there are no guidelines or rules, it just can’t be you.

Restore us to sanity? Are alcoholics and addicts insane? No, but the thinking that goes into it might be. By definition, insanity is “doing the same thing over again expecting different results.” This can hold true to almost all alcoholics and addicts who step into a 12 step meeting. Many people who enter a 12 step program didn’t get to that point over night. It took years, and in some cases even decades to progress to that phase of needing help. Trying to stop on their own countless times and trying to control their drinking, always ending in the same result.

The second step in addiction recovery is about becoming willing to make a change and do something different, and the start of many different changes to come.  Now that you are willing, begin Step 3 of Addiction Recovery.

For more information about the 12 Steps or for a list of meetings in the Chicago area go to:

If you are concerned you wont be able to do this alone and think treatment will help you get started in recovery, please call or email New Hope Recovery Center and schedule an assessment that is completely confidential. For more addiction help please call us at 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The holiday season is stressful time for everyone. In this audio interview from Big Oldies 93.7 Dial-a-Doc, Charles Brookover MS, LCPC, CADC speaks about how to best handle holiday gatherings and properly set your expectations for holiday celebrations. Charlie Brookover works at FHN Family Counseling Center - Jo Daviess County at 300 Summit Street Galena, IL 61036.

FHN Website:

FHN Contact Number: 815-777-2836 (Galena Location)


The stages of change are a conceptualization that change is not a singular event; rather it is a series of steps someone progresses through.  The idea can be applied to any number of behaviors but it is especially helpful to view it through the lens of addiction.  Change is difficult.  People get comfortable with where they are at and it is much easier to stay immersed in that life, even if it is a destructive and detrimental one.  Learning more about how change comes about can be a helpful push in raising self-awareness and normalizing the recovery process.


In this first stage the person affected by addiction does not see their problem and therefore does not have any consideration for changing.  Loved ones, coworkers, and health professionals may perceive the need for change but the person with the addiction feels safe with the status quo so they are resistant to recognizing the problem. They will most likely justify their behavior because they don’t see their actions as problematic.  The most viable option for others during this stage is to try to raise awareness about the risks of the problem.  The hope is that by expressing doubts and increasing education on the topic it will assist the person in becoming more self-aware about their addiction and consider changing.


If the person starts to consider change they have moved from precontemplation to contemplation.  The individual might start to notice that they have a problem but by in large they are still ambivalent about actual change.  They may be experiencing anxiety and avoidance about the idea of changing.  A common tool to address the ambivalence surrounding change in this stage is to write out or discuss the pros and cons about changing.  This may be enough to tip the scales for the individual if they believe the benefits outweigh the costs. Some people spend their entire lives in the contemplation stage because they do not see the costs as costly enough.  At the very minimum it will allow for a discussion about where the individual sees barriers to change.

Image Credit Found Below.


This stage is evident once the individual makes a conscious decision to do something to change.  This stage is crucial and often overlooked because people jump right into action without realizing the energy and commitment it will require to change.  An effective preparation stage involves reaching out for help and researching worthwhile options of assistance.  It is essential to address the individual’s anxiety about change because during this stage the idea of changing becomes more concrete and it can be overwhelming.


When the individual is ready to put their plan into place and pursue it they are actively working towards change.  This overt effort comes down to willpower and determination by the individual.  If the individual truly does not want to change they will revert back to an earlier stage, often contemplation.  Change is uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing but if the individual can receive proper support while addressing their addiction real change may start to come about.  It is important to recognize even the smallest of changes because seeing progress can be motivation for continued improvement.


The ongoing goal of this stage is to sustain the positive change in the individual’s life long term.  Change is fluid and therefore it is important for the individual to have an awareness of their triggers and subsequent coping mechanisms in order to address new challenges as they arise.  Acquiring new skills to avoid relapse is ongoing however relapse does still occur.  Relapse can be discouraging but it is not the end of the road.  No matter how spiraling the relapse may be a person can re-enter the cycle at any stage of change.  The knowledge and insight gained about the addiction is not erased in a relapse and therefore all is not lost.  Recovery is life-long and the path is not straight and narrow, there are detours.  It is helpful to continuously be mindful of one’s needs in order to not become complacent.  Working an active recovery program by staying connected with a sober network are good tools for achieving long term sobriety.

No matter which of the five stages you or a loved one are currently in, New Hope Recovery Center can be a resource and an agent for change.  Please call for more information 1-888-707-4673.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Image Credited to: Adult Meducation. American Society on Aging and American Society of Consultant Pharmacists Foundation; adapted from DiClemente and Prochaska, 1998. Photo. <>

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Addiction: Shame, Guilt & Dodgeball

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 1)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 2)

Restoring Trust Damaged by Addiction (Part 3)

The 12 steps are the framework and foundation of every 12 step program. Originally started by Alcoholics Anonymous, these steps have helped millions recover from all types of addiction. Adapted to fit just about any type of addiction recovery program, the basic premise still remains the same today; come to accept your condition, come to the realization you can’t overcome your addiction on your own and began to clean up the damage your addiction caused. The first step is widely considered to be the most important part of the steps.

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.”

Acceptance and honestly are the key components to this step. Two words always seem to stand out when new comers see this written on the walls of meetings, “powerless” and “unmanageable”. You will hear people say, “I have a great job, I’ve never been arrested. This isn’t me!” while others will immediately relate. Remember that those two words can have a lot of different interpretations. The important thing to remember is that regardless of how one interprets this it usually boils down to one simple truth, alcohol (or drugs) have negatively impacted your life in such a way, you need help. It means you have accepted the outcome of your addiction and are ready to change; this is the honesty the first step is hinting at.

Powerless: Alcohol controlled you more than you controlled alcohol

  • Do you drink or use more often than intended?
  • Do you drink or use in larger quantities than you intend?
  • Have alcohol or drugs become a focal point of your life?

Unmanageable: You could no longer try to fix this problem on your own

  • Have you tried to stop drinking or using drugs with no success?
  • Are aspects of your life damaged from your alcohol or drug use?

If someone is walking into a 12 step meeting, it is usually safe to assume they have made it to this point, or are close to accepting it. Once someone accepts this, a burden is lifted from their shoulders. They realize they no longer have to fight, and there is an answer. By honestly taking this step, it opens new doors which hold keys to long lasting sobriety and happiness within that sobriety. You will hear in the rooms of 12 step meetings that relapses occur when you don’t fully accept the first step, you will hear people say “I wasn’t honest with myself”. People hold on to the idea that they will one day be able to drink or use like someone who doesn’t suffer from alcoholism or addiction, they have the notion they are just in a rut and need to learn to control things. More than not, these people are back at the first step, ready to be honest. With honesty and willingness, the first step can be taken.

Everyone in addiction recovery moves at their own pace with the 12 steps, and some people are ready to be honest sooner than others, but the fact remains, if you can be honest with yourself there is nothing stopping you from improving your life and achieving sobriety. The most severe and chronic of alcoholics and addicts have stayed sober all because of this first step. The steps are in order for a reason, and without the first step, no other steps can follow.

For more information about the 12 Steps or for a list of meetings in the Chicago area go to:  Step 2 is the next step in addiction recovery.

If you are concerned you wont be able to do this alone and think treatment will help you get started in recovery, please call New Hope Recovery Center and schedule an assessment that is completely confidential. 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center was featured on the OWN Network.

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Iyanla: Fix My Secret Addiction

About the episode: Life coach Iyanla Vanzant travels to  Chicago to help Shannon, a 28-year-old crystal meth addict who is in denial  about the full extent and destructive power of his addiction. Shannon's drug  abuse has led to three overdoses as well as high-risk sex, and it threatens his  life unless he can accept the gravity of the situation and get help. Iyanla also  works with Shannon's mother, father and sister, who are concerned about him but,  in many ways, have enabled his downward spiral by supporting him financially  while he was hitting rock bottom. Before Shannon can get back on track, Iyanla  must get him to come clean to himself and his family about the full extent of  his addiction. Only after this happens can the mistrust and lies stop and the  healing begin. Iyanla shows Shannon a path to a brighter future, but ultimately  it us up to him whether he can overcome his addiction.
Read more: