From Existing to LIVING, One Step At A Time

Resources for Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous:

From AA: Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

My Take: This is a 12-step program where you work through the steps in order and methodically. You are assigned or are to find sponsor, or someone to help keep you accountable, as you work the program. It is often suggested that, when you are new to sobriety, you do “90 in 90”, meaning that you attend 90 meetings in your first 90 days. Yes, this means you are attending every single day. One major advantage to this approach and program as a whole is that it brings a lot of structure to what likely has been a very unstructured and chaotic life. One disadvantage is that it places what feels like a permanent label on the person as an “alcoholic”. As someone who never identified with this label, it never resonated with me. I preferred to rediscover the person I had lost as a result of living my years and to find my own, more productive and encouraging label(s). You never graduate this program but continue to work the steps over and over again until death do you part. Otherwise, you risk relapse (according to people I have talked to who have been through AA).

Celebrate Recovery:

From me: Based on the 12-steps of AA but adding the 8 principles based on the Beatitudes of Jesus in the book of Mark in the Bible. The “higher power” referred to in AA is recognized as Jesus Christ in CR. Like in CR, a sponsor is expected although, as in my experience, I was to find one on my own. I actually found this to be an important step in the investment of myself in my own sobriety, my own life, my own future. Any groups I encountered were segregated (men and women in different groups). With this program, once you reach the end of the 12 steps, you actually graduate and receive a completion chip. You are encouraged to revisit the steps as often as necessary, especially steps 10-12.

Life Ring (Secular Recovery):

From Life Ring: Steps, and Higher Powers and Sponsors – those work for some people very well. Our approach is different. We think YOU are the best person to design YOUR OWN program – you know what’s needed in your life and what has to be abandoned. You know what triggers cravings and what provides healthy and strengthening pleasure. You know the path you want to be on and you are the only person who can figure out how best to get there. LifeRing provides safe and supportive contact with others that enables that process to succeed.

From me: I love this approach to recovery because it starts with YOU. It encourages you to dive into who YOU are as a person and doesn’t label you as one thing or another. The program itself encourages fluidity, meaning that as you grow and change, so can your recovery program. It invites soul searching and finding your true self. There is a workbook that many use as a guide but it is not required. For this reason, it is largely up to the individual to design and implement his or her own recovery prgram, and this lack of structure can be frustrating to some.

Smart Recovery:

From SR: Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART) is a global community of mutual-support groups. At meetings, participants help one another resolve problems with any addiction (to drugs or alcohol or to activities such as gambling or over-eating). Participants find and develop the power within themselves to change and lead fulfilling and balanced lives guided by our science-based and sensible 4-Point Program®.

From me: I truly appreciate this approach partially because it is based on science but also because it has some structure and continuity. It is touted as mental health and education program. It is focused on changing human behavior in the present and doesn’t dredge up the past like 12-step programs tend to.

How to Support a Loved One

Grab my downloadable PDF on how to support a loved one through the process of recovery.


My recovery journey started in 2015 when I hit rock bottom. I wanted to end my life but after confiding my mess to my cousin, I took her advice and went to therapy. I stopped abusing alcohol in January 2016 and shortly after that, I entered a 12-step program. The structure it provided was amazing but after I graduated, I felt lost. I fell into a place of hiding out, playing small, and avoiding life for far too long. The tug-of-war between staying small and living out loud was painful. Working with a coach helped me get out of my own way and to see the hidden potential inside myself. It is my mission to help others who are stuck in the space between who they were and who they KNOW they are capable of being. It’s my mission to help YOU!


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