Daily Reflections

December 8 |  Service

General-Self-help

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. . . . Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 89
It is through service that the greatest rewards are to be found. But to be in a position of offering true, useful and effective service to others, I must first work on myself. This means that I have to abandon myself to God, admitting my faults and clearing away the wreckage of my past. Work on myself has taught me how to find the necessary peace and serenity to successfully merge inspiration and experience. I have learned how to be, in the truest sense, an open channel of sobriety.

 

December 7  |  True Ambition

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True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 124-25
During my drinking years, my one and only concern was to have my fellow man think highly of me. My ambition in everything I did was to have the power to be at the top. My inner self kept telling me something else but I couldn’t accept it. I didn’t even allow myself to realize that I wore a mask continually. Finally, when the mask came off and I cried out to the only God I could conceive, the Fellowship of A.A., my group and the Twelve Steps were there. I learned how to change resentments into acceptance, fear into hope and anger into love. I have learned also, through loving without undue expectations, through sharing my concerns and caring for my fellow man, that each day can be joyous and fruitful. I begin and end my day with thanks to God, who has so generously shed His grace on me.

December 6  |  When the Chips are Down

Casino chips on gaming tableWhen we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 116
It has been my experience that, when all human resources appear to have failed, there is always One who will never desert me. Moreover, He is always there to share my joy, to steer me down the right path, and to confide in when no one else will do. While my well-being and happiness can be added to, or diminished, by human efforts, only God can provide the loving nourishment upon which I depend for my daily spiritual health.

December 5  |  In All Our Affairs

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. . . we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 106

I find that carrying the message of recovery to other alcoholics is easy because it helps me to stay sober and it provides me with a sense of well-being about my own recovery. The hard part is practicing these principles in all my affairs. It is important that I share the benefits I receive from A.A., especially at home. Doesn’t my family deserve the same patience, tolerance and understanding I so readily give to the alcoholic? When reviewing my day I try to ask, “Did I have a chance to be a friend today and miss it?” “Did I have a chance to rise above a nasty situation and avoid it?” “Did I have a chance to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and refuse to?”

Just as I ask God for help with my alcoholism each day, I ask for help in extending my recovery to include all situations and all people!

December 4  |  Into Action

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A.A. is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action. We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 13

I desperately wanted to live, but if I was to succeed, I had to become active in our God-given program. I joined what became my group, where I opened the hall, made coffee, and cleaned up. I had been sober about three months when an oldtimer told me I was doing Twelfth-Step work. What a satisfying realization that was! I felt I was really accomplishing something. God had given me a second chance, A.A. had shown me the way, and these gifts were not only free — they were also priceless! Now the joy of seeing newcomers grow reminds me of where I have come from, where I am now, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. I need to attend meetings because they recharge my batteries so that I have light when it’s needed. I’m still a beginner in service work, but already I am receiving more than I’m giving. I can’t keep it unless I give it away. I am responsible when another reaches out for help. I want to be there — sober.

From the book Daily Reflections


December 3  |  In All Our Affairs

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. . . we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 106

I find that carrying the message of recovery to other alcoholics is easy because it helps me to stay sober and it provides me with a sense of well-being about my own recovery. The hard part is practicing these principles in all my affairs. It is important that I share the benefits I receive from A.A., especially at home. Doesn’t my family deserve the same patience, tolerance and understanding I so readily give to the alcoholic? When reviewing my day I try to ask, “Did I have a chance to be a friend today and miss it?” “Did I have a chance to rise above a nasty situation and avoid it?” “Did I have a chance to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and refuse to?”

Just as I ask God for help with my alcoholism each day, I ask for help in extending my recovery to include all situations and all people!


December 2  |  Serenity

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Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, . . .

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 106
As I continued to go to meetings and work the Steps, something began to happen to me. I felt confused because I wasn’t sure what it was that I was feeling, and then I realized I was experiencing serenity. It was a good feeling, but where had it come from? Then I realized it had come “. . . as the result of these steps.” The program may not always be easy to practice, but I had to acknowledge that my serenity had come to me after working the Steps. As I work the Steps in everything I do, practicing these principles in all my affairs, now I find that I am awake to God, to others, and to myself. The spiritual awakening I have enjoyed as the result of working the Steps is the awareness that I am no longer alone.

 

December 1  |  “Suggested” Steps

Crooked-Stick-suggestion-box.jpgOur Twelfth Step also says that as a result of practicing all the Steps, we have each found something called a spiritual awakening. . . . A.A.’s manner of making ready to receive this gift lies in the practice of the Twelve Steps in our program.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp. 106-07
I remember my sponsor’s answer when I told him that the Steps were “suggested.” He replied that they are “suggested” in the same way that, if you were to jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is “suggested” that you pull the ripcord to save your life. He pointed out that it was “suggested” I practice the Twelve Steps, if I wanted to save my life. So I try to remember daily that I have a whole program of recovery based on all Twelve of the “suggested” Steps.
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Why Consider Alcohol & Drug Treatment Around the Holidays?

Article Originally Posted November 20, 2015 by

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Many of us like to think of the holidays as a time of family and togetherness, but when a family member is abusing alcohol or drugs, the holidays can become a time of struggle and stress.

According to Rachel Obafemi, Program Director of Adult Services at Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers in Lake Villa, stress levels tend to run high during the holidays and substance abuse becomes more prevalent. This serves to amplify negative behaviors.

“Many families who are dealing with a loved one suffering from an alcohol or drug dependency have learned to dread the holiday season,” Rachel said.

If this sounds familiar, the greatest gift an individual can receive is help understanding their options for participating in an alcohol or drug treatment program over the holidays.

 
5 Key Benefits
of Drug & Alcohol Treatment Around the Holidays

holidays.jpg1 Temptation.The holiday atmosphere is conducive to over-indulging. This makes it more important than ever to seek the support and structure needed to remain sober.

2 Statistics.There is a higher incidence of drunk driving arrests as well as fatal accidents and overdoses during the holiday season. Being in treatment offers in a safe environment.

3 Communication. Being sober facilitates healthy exchanges with family members who may have been hurt or part of a destructive cycle in the past.

4 Practical. During this time of year, many people have already met their insurance deductibles and some find it easier to take time off of work or school.

5 Reset. This may be the first of many holidays where a person has remained sober, giving them the chance to begin a new tradition of sobriety.

While it may seem harsh on the surface, a closer look reveals there are many benefits of participating in a substance abuse treatment program during the holidays.

With their loved one in treatment, families are able to find peace around the holidays.“Many families find it comforting to know their loved one is in a good place. They view their loved one’s treatment experience as as a new start and look forward to celebrating the holidays together where everyone is safe, sober and happy,” Rachel said.

For more information, visit RecoverGateway.org

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Top 5 Higher Powers

 

Top 5 Higher Powers

Originally Posted on January 18, 2013 by Doug Rudolph

From the purest religious faith to new-age atheism, when it comes to the 12 Steps, the concept of a Higher Power has served it all. For some people, “faith” comes easy. But for many others, finding a Higher Power can be a painstaking and difficult process – which can feel defeating at times. The simple truth is that what we actually believe isn’t important. What matters is awakening that inner part of the “human spirit” that connects us to other people, to the world, and to a sense of purpose, meaning, hope, and strength to move forward on our sober journey. Exactly what we think we’re connecting to, or how we go about it, is not as important as how we use that connection, how we live our lives, and how we relate to things outside of ourselves. In other words, a Higher Power can help us realize that what we do matters – both to ourselves, to the people we care about, and to the world.  Below is our list, in no particular order, of the top five Higher Powers used by people in 12 Step recovery. Our goal was to capture the basic essence of each Higher Power to illustrate how and why people find them effective, and to give people who may be struggling something to work with.

1. Music

Music has long been said to be the language of love. But to many, it’s much, much more. In a way, music resonates everything we are, we were, and hope to be – it’s the “spirit of life” in sound. Countless addicts (and people in general) have been “saved” by simply relating to the words in a song. For many, music is the only thing that really gets through. Whether they’re playing it or simply listening, music has the unique power to speak to people even when they shut out the world. It’s not only a means of expression, rather it’s their salvation. A soothing sound can cleanse people’s deepest emotions, or help them cope through a painful experience. A song can give people hope, or help them find meaning to something they don’t understand. Music can be a comforting voice, lyrics which see people through a difficult time by just being able to relate to the struggle. It can be a sort of melodic counselor or therapist helping people find insight and strength to persevere. In other words, music so often describes what we need but can’t put into words. By doing so, it has a peculiar way of evoking in us a greater comprehension of life. As a Higher Power, for many, music is the sound of spirituality – which not only enhances the human experience, but serves as a connection to the very rhythm of our existence.

2. Nature

In all of Nature’s beauty yet unforgiving wrath, what an awe-inspiring force it is. From watching the sun set to laying on a moon lit beach, connecting with Mother Nature can liberate the soul. For many people, Nature is God; it’s the Grand Architect; the all-powerful creator and provider of life. Some people favor empirical study and discovery as a way of relating to Nature, while others will choose a more mystical path, preferring direct experience through action, art, meditation, and other methods. For Nature’s followers, the circle of life is an essential cornerstone of a beautiful, transformative process, which is not to be taken for granted. Just as a tree grows, or a flower blooms, to them, human life is meant to flourish – to evolve, thrive, and be explored and experienced to the fullest in all its forms. In other words, Nature is hope. As a Higher Power, the transcendental mind of Mother Nature serves as the ultimate source of guidance and inspiration – and Nature’s will commands the betterment of the earth and all the life that lives here. To them, Nature is love – and the very soil of our existence, which lays fertile ground for salvation, when awakened to its spirit.

3. The Universe

The Cosmos, it both captures the imagination and the very nature of our existence. For many, the universe symbolizes not only all we are, but all that we could become. As a Higher Power, aligning oneself with the rhythm and fabric of the universe is the very essence of spirituality. For many, energy equals action in which choices have consequences. Many people believe that simply doing “the next right thing” can set in motion a quantum chain of events in which the universe “rewards” positive choices. Some people look for messages, while others see it as a sort of karma. But they all believe they’re a source of energy on an infinite journey. Faith is not only a quest for understanding, it’s an insatiable drive “To Know.” Yet it’s not always about finding an answer – the mystery is salvation. The universe is a force beyond our comprehension, which captivates and intrigues. For many, simply imagining the possibilities can free the mind from the shackles of obsession, and give strength from the unknown. As a Higher Power, our tiny existence amid an infinite space is the ultimate source of humility. Yet knowing the entire space-time continuum has led to this very moment – and to you, as many believe, can invigorate and inspire a personal sense of limitless potential.

4. Humanity

People have a unique way of bringing out the best in each other, even when we appear to be at our worst. Humanity is an interconnected network of human life in all its forms – and for many, nurturing its “spirit” is the path toward salvation. Many people believe that life is a force which by its very nature commands it be nurtured and lived. From raising families, building societies, our sense of culture and community, to simply hanging out with friends, people thrive by interacting with one another and the world in which we live. And many people find strength in focusing on the positive attributes of others. To them, human virtue is the essence of our existence, and connecting to others and the world is the ultimate source of spiritual support. Faith in humanity is compassion, and understanding that even when we’re alone, we’re in this together. For many, through practicing kindness, generosity, humility, and honesty, humanity points them toward right action — which is not to say they never mess up.  Faith in humanity is about knowing their limitations, while striving for growth. It’s about embracing their faults, but learning from their mistakes. For many, faith in humanity is about helping to ease others’ suffering without always having the answer – it’s just showing up for the call. In other words, faith in humanity is about tapping into the best of which we are capable — because hidden behind every hardship, there’s  hope.  And there’s power in our ability to relate to each other, as many believe, because there’s a little bit of each of us in us all.

5. The Faceless, Nameless God

Last but certainly not least, not everyone needs to define their Higher Power. For many, “knowing” is not an issue – the important thing is knowing they’re not alone. Their Higher Power is an unseen and indescribable force that is the very sustenance of life. It’s the soul of spirituality, which connects everyone and everything – and that’s all they need to know. When they struggle, it’s a shoulder to lean on, which gives them strength – their Higher Power is unconditional support, which demands nothing in return. When they feel on top of the world, it keeps them in check – their Higher Power is the baseline between extremes; it’s balance. Whether it’s Nature, humanity, music, the universe, a little of each, or something else entirely, to many, belief in a Higher Power is about getting out of themselves, and knowing that it’s okay to need help. It’s just a matter of letting go of that control, especially when they start to fall. Faith gives them personal resolve to get back up on their feet. They may not know exactly what their Higher Power is, but it’s clearly defined in their lives. Through their actions and words, and the way they interact with the world, their lives are a testament to its Truth. In other words, by defying explanation, their Higher Power has a strange way of giving meaning to all their questions – yet the answer is not what they seek. It’s faith in knowing that when they’re lost, their Higher Power is the direction, which points them toward salvation.

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Source: Top 5 Higher Powers | InRecovery

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Choosing a Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program

alcoholic-relapse-300x200There are many options when choosing how to go about your recovery from drugs or alcohol.  Short-term programs lasting 28-30 days usually assist patients through the detox period and provide on-location counseling to help the patient understand more about their addiction.

These facilities will usually address aftercare plans for the patient upon completing their program, looking through the various options aimed to increase their chances of remaining sober.  Cost for short-term treatment is affordable and most facilities take insurance.

60 and 90 day programs offer an extension of these services along with seeing to the patient understanding the importance of having a support group and getting involved in one.  Having a strong support system is crucial to sobriety as it essentially acts as a community to bounce thoughts around to your peers sharing the same struggles.

These mid-range facilities can address symptoms and behaviors that a 30 day program wouldn’t have the proper time or resources to.  Naturally, the success rates of mid-range programs tends to show a slight increase from 28-30 day programs.

Depending on many factors such as severity of addiction, lengths of stay in an in-patient facility range.  The most successful programs by a large margin come from long-term treatment.  Time plays a crucial role in recovery – as the more time an individual works on him or herself, the greater their odds of staying sober becomes.

It sometimes takes a couple of months sober for an addict to begin to acknowledge the identity they had forged for themselves in their using is wrong.  Upon confronting the reality of their situation is when the real changes start to appear.

Drug and alcohol rehab statistics show that the percentage of people who will relapse after a period recovery ranges from 50% to 90%.

Drug and alcohol rehab statistics show that the percentage of people who will relapse after a period recovery ranges from 50% to 90%.

Relapse after a drug or alcohol detox/recovery program ranges anywhere from 50%-90%.  This overwhelming statistic is commonly used by addicts wishing to discount available help and continue in their using.  The statistics have also shown the more time one spends in treatment, the greater their odds of retaining sobriety becomes.

L&B Recovery Systems, a Kentucky based addiction recovery center, released a study in 2006 demonstrating that residents who completed their long-term addiction aftercare program remained sober multiple years afterwards. A 16% relapse rate was found among patients who graduated their long-term recovery program.

This demonstrates the difference between short-term and long-term treatment.

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12112429_958675460842028_9140195323514201725_nMy name is Kyle and I’m and alcoholic. If only I knew how important that statement would become in my life ten years ago, I could have saved myself from so much destruction and pain.

Since the age of 16 I have used drugs and alcohol regularly – at first to temporarily escape the frustrations and insecurities of adolescence, but eventually I found myself having to use just to get out of bed in the morning. From the second I woke up my whole existence became centered around getting loaded, every thought, every action, every word had the ulterior motive of getting myself as far away from sober as possible. I had been entirely consumed by addiction at the age of 20. Completely oblivious to the agony in and around me, I continued to reach new lows the following years, crossing lines I never imagined I would.

Meanwhile, I had been grievously wounding my family who had done nothing but love and support me unconditionally since birth. Really good people. It started with little lies and manipulations but soon enough however, I was raiding medicine cabinets only to google a medication’s potential of giving me a buzz. The results usually showed that my loved ones were dealing with some serious health issues, but instead of being concerned for their wellbeing, my take away was, “well this won’t do anything for me… Now which way was the label facing again?”

I would regularly find myself thumbing through my mom’s wallet, deciding how much money I could take without her noticing. While recovering from a surgery, she would rely on me to go the store to get us groceries which I would gladly do because that meant that she would give me her debit card which I could use at the ATM on the way back. While sleeping, she would shriek in pain do to the surgery, but even that wasn’t enough for me to not steal her pain medication any chance I could. The other members of my family received equally terrible and dishonest behavior from me.

I always thought myself one of the good guys, someone who would positively impact the lives of those around him. When I reached my 20’s that expectation to live a life of purpose began to deteriorate. I was a drug addict and didn’t care about anything or anyone outside of myself. I betrayed every single moral instilled in me growing up for the pitiful life I had made for myself. Suicidal and depressed, losing job after job, selling my life to pawn shops, stealing, lying, cheating, scamming, you name it I wasn’t above anything when it came to getting a fix. I had become something truly heinous and grotesque, feral. For the first time I hit rock bottom and it hurt. That’s when it happened.
On October 20th 2014 I found out about a program located in Los Angeles, the Liberty House of L&B Recovery Systems. Unaware of what would become of it and nowhere to turn, I packed what was left of my life and headed to the city of angels. The program quickly taught me about integrity and willingness to do the right thing. I would soon uncover many truths about my addiction and how it merely was a side effect of the real problem, me. The program moved to Kentucky in February and I happily followed knowing how truly unique and special this place was.

Today, I wake up excited for the day ahead. I work a great job to pay my own way in sobriety. I have an amazing support group and am surrounded by friends I wouldn’t change for the world. My relationship with my family continues to get better. When my head hits the pillow at night I feel good about myself, knowing that I tried my absolute best to do the right thing that day, knowing I don’t have to spend one more day feeling like I used to. Thanks to L&B Recovery, Liberty House and the Liberty Ranch I have my life back and a future to look forward to – for this I will be forever grateful.

If you or a loved one is in the grips of addiction please know that there is help and authentic happiness is in reach.

Visit L&B Recovery on faceboook!


10689711_1487515618171629_9087291799141473470_nMy name is Reid I am 28 years old and I am an alcoholic. I am originally from Northern California, and a little over three years ago my life was in shambles. By the time I turned 25 years old I had managed to rack up 3 DUIs, waste thousands of dollars on two different colleges, ruin countless relationships and friendships, create wreckage everywhere I went, take advantage of and destroy my parents trust, and still have the audacity to think that I didn’t have even a little problem with drugs and alcohol. After my 3rd DUI my parents had finally had enough and sent me to a 30 day treatment center. While I was there they began speaking with the managers at Liberty House in Los Angeles.

The week before I was supposed to be released from treatment my parents came to Family Day and told me that I couldn’t come home, that when I got out I could either go to LA and continue to get help at Liberty House or I could try and figure it out on my own. Well obviously I didn’t like that very much and I told my parents that I would like them to leave and how dare they make a decision about my life without me and not leave me a choice and on and on. Before she left my Mom gave me the number to one of the managers and told me she hoped I would make the call.

I called, and on November 12, 2012 I entered Liberty House. The house was nothing like I had expected and I learned things about myself that I never knew. I learned integrity and how to live life on life’s terms and how to be held accountable and take responsibility. Things I had never done before in my life.

At 90 days sober and with less than two months in the house I deployed to Afghanistan. On the way over we stopped in Turkey and for the first time in my entire life I told the people I was with that I didn’t drink. I don’t know why this time I said that or what gave me that ounce of integrity the only explanation I have is my Higher Power looking out for me and the tools I had picked up in those short two months at Liberty House had stuck.

While in Afghanistan I continued to stay in contact with the house through email and with my sponsor via Skype. After my deployment I came back to the house and continued my recovery. I was in the house a total of 11 months and graduated on December 21st, 2013.

I am forever grateful for my parents for closing the door and for giving me the opportunity to do something different for once in my life. As of October 14, 2015 I am 3 years sober and have the honor and privilege of working for Liberty House and giving back to the residents what was given to me. I have a relationship with my parents today, I am an older brother to my sister, and I have real relationships with people and I don’t take the people in my life for granted. I believe wholeheartedly that everything happens for a reason and that I was given the opportunity to come into the house at exactly the right time.

Visit Liberty House on facebook!


12144695_1109555555729773_5738121210961946495_nMy name is Jessica and I’m an alcoholic. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky 21 years ago. I started using drugs when I was only 12 years old. At first I thought it was fun smoking pot and running the streets with my older friends. I would sneak out all of the time and if I was lucky I would return home unnoticed but most nights returning home consisted of a cop car and a knock on my mom’s door at 4:00 am.

My parents started getting worried and sent me to rehab for six weeks. I took it as a joke. I didn’t want sobriety but I completed the program with ease not knowing the next 7 years of my life would entail more pain, more agony, and of course more rehabs.

As I got older the world of drugs and alcohol excited me. I tried anything and everything still thinking it was all fun and games until I found myself at 20 years old addicted. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep my entire focus was on how I could get more. More, more and more those thoughts consumed me.

There was no waking up and going to sleep anymore, it was coming to and nodding out. I didn’t care about anything or anyone. Morals, integrity, honesty, and values those words were foreign in every way possible. Everything I said I would never do was now unfolding before my eyes.

I was depressed and withdrawn. People were scary, life was scary I just wanted people to leave me alone so they couldn’t see how bad it really was. I would look in the mirror and not even recognize myself. My eyes were black and my face was hollow and picked out. I was constantly sick. I lost every job I had and anything worth value was sitting on the shelf at the local pawn shop. The fun was over. I couldn’t do it anymore.

On December 7th, 2014 I entered the Liberty Ranch for Women and for the first time in my life I had hope for a better future. The Ranch molded me in to a person I never thought I could be.

Today I have a chance. I have an amazing support group of friends and family. I have the tools and knowledge of the 12 steps of AA and how to apply them in to my life. The Ranch pushed me to my limits and showed me I was capable of so much more. I will forever be grateful for the place that saved my life. Today I have faith in myself and I have friends, family, and God to help me through it. Today I am truly free.

This picture is of me and my mom. Because of The Liberty Ranch she got her daughter back.

Visit the Liberty Ranch for Women on facebook!


 

sdfghjk.jpgMy name is Ryan and I’m an alcoholic.  If I had heard that statement 10 years ago my mind would have conjured up an image of a gutter drunk inhabiting an alley on skid row with a paper bag crinkled tightly around some cheap liquor bottle.  But my own story is far removed from that.  I grew up in Los Angeles CA with two parents who provided every opportunity for me to succeed.  I attended a private college prep school where I excelled both in academics and in sports.

On the outside everything looked normal, but inside I was terrified of life, of disappointing my parents, my friends and myself.  Fear ruled every aspect of my life and affected every decision I made.  So when drugs and alcohol came into the picture at 13 years of age, I readily jumped at the chance for some relief and the temporary escape these substances provided.

I first went to rehab for 30 days at 16 years old for the first time because school and sports were replaced by alcohol and drugs.  My parents didn’t know what else to do.  I faked my way through it still in denial about having any kind of addiction problem.  Of course my problem became worse and the goals I set for myself of a career in finance disintegrated.  My life was in complete shambles and I didn’t care because I had the comfort of inebriation.

Countless rehabs later I was finally sick of the life I was living surrounding drugs.  I was tired of the stagnation, the pain my grandfather was in when he gave me the last of his pain pills because he didn’t want to see me suffer, the abysmal feeling of disconnect from every member of the human race that permeated my every interaction.  I knew I needed help.  Real help, not just a 30 day touch up that seems to be so common in the addiction community currently.

I knew about L&B Recovery having attended the Los Angeles house at 19 years old.  It was the only place I had been that ever helped me string together any sobriety time.  I had managed to achieve 13 months free from addiction, but stopped doing what I was taught and endured 5 more years of pain.

I called the Liberty Ranch in Kentucky and was on a plane that night, ready and willing to turn my life around.  And that is exactly what the Ranch has helped me do. I’ve learned how to deal with the insecurities that have plagued me for so long, what it truly means to be honest, that immediate gratification is hollow and it’s more rewarding to make decisions for the long haul.

I’ve learned to get in touch with who I really am beneath my personality attributes, how to be a human being who can live in harmony with other human beings and really care about them, not just what I can take from them.  Thanks to the Ranch I can experience for the first time what Liberty actually means: Freedom from Bondage.

Visit L&B Recovery on faceboook!

 


 

0My name is Andrea and I’m an alcoholic. I am twenty five years old and I grew up in Mason, Ohio. My childhood was great. My family loved me and I did well in school. At the age of fourteen I started rebelling out against my parents by skipping school, sneaking out, and going to parties on the weekends to hang out with the older kids. I thought that was what every person my age did.

I was really curious as to what different kinds of drugs were out there and how they would make me feel. I had no idea what addiction or alcoholism was. I headed face first into my addiction starting with hard drugs. I remember learning about drugs and the effects of alcoholism in school. However, I had my own perception of what a heroin and crack addict was and at that time I thought that could never be me.

Throughout high school I was able to stay under the radar; it was after school where I got myself into trouble. One of my parent’s worst fears was getting a call from the police. Through my addiction I turned their fear into reality.

I was strung out, beaten down, and depressed. I saw my life going nowhere fast. I continued getting high because that was all I had known. After my third overdose, in and out of jail, and losing everything including my sanity, I reached out again for help. I had tried to get sober numerous times before and failed.

On October 24, 2014 I walked through the doors at the Liberty Ranch. The Ranch taught me a new way of life. I learned how to care about myself, as well as others, how to work an AA 12 step
program in to my daily life and how to integrate spiritual principles on a regular basis. Today I finally feel that I can live a successful life clean and sober. I am truly blessed to say that I got the opportunity to save my life at the Liberty Ranch.

Visit the Liberty Ranch for Women on Facebook! 


 

oiufghj.jpgMy name is Chris M and I am an alcoholic.  My sobriety date is August 31, 2013, I am a few weeks shy of having, for the first time in my addiction, one year (at time written) clean and sober.  This seems unreal to me, and unthinkable to me before coming to the Ranch.  I owe the last eleven months sober to the Ranch, staff & peers, for helping guide & teach me to get me to where I am today.  I wrote a blog about four months ago expressing my gratitude for the life I have today, and now I can only express that and even more gratitude for where I am today. I have a full time job, which I started as a temp when I first entered the house, and now ten months later, I am a full time employee, with full benefits (which I’ve never had before) and vacation hours I’ve earned, and most importantly an honest paycheck to be able to pay my bills and support myself with.  Lately I’ve been able to help others in ways I never could have before getting clean.  Going out of my way to help someone and not “EXPECT” something in return.  I have the ability to be of service and to set a good example for others, that they too, one day will be able to achieve and maintain long term sobriety.  It’s been possible for me to do so with the 12 steps of AA (me being on step 10 now) and making surrenders & follow direction, that I am able to do those things today.  So before you convince yourself that this way of life is too hard & too much work, think again, don’t sell yourself short with that outlook on it, because if I can do it, anyone can do it.  All that you have to do is have an ounce of willingness, and the rest will work out in ways you may never see or be able to explain.

Visit L&B Recovery on faceboook!

Sober Living Kentucky

My name is Kyle and I’m and alcoholic. If only I knew how important that statement would become in my life ten years ago, I could have saved myself from so much destruction and pain. This is a short story about how things were, what happened and what it’s like now. Arriving at the Liberty Ranch Recovery Center sober living home was the first step taken towards the free life I have today. If you or a loved one is in need of help, know that it is out there. Sobriety is worth fighting for…

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moralmazeAre you or a loved one about to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program?  If so there are several important things to know about this giant step towards a life in sobriety. When entering a treatment facility one should plan on staying at least 30 days, as even when the detox process is completed, the core issue of addiction still must be addressed.  It’s common for addiction program lengths to range anywhere from 30 -90 days up to 12 months.  It is also crucial to understand that the addict is not morally defective nor a bad person, what they’re suffering from stems directly from a neurological issue that they have absolutely zero control over.  The science of addiction explains that the addict’s brain has chemically changed so dramatically that after the initial decision to have one drink or drag, neurologically the decision to use is no longer up to them.

Sylvia-Masek-Leaving-the-Nest-Ready-to-Hang-Canvas-Art-P12517357Being Prepared For Treatment

Anyone going to treatment should know they will be getting help for a while and should come to the facility with some of their belongings.  Below are some ideas of what one should and shouldn’t bring with them when entering a program.

What to Bring…
  • Photo Identification
  • Insurance Card(s)
  • Prescription Card(s)
  • Cloths (3-4 sets for each season, don’t forget socks!)
  • Hat or Beanie Cap
  • Toothbrush/  Alcohol-free Mouthwash & Toothpaste (Unopened)
  • Alcohol-Free/Unopened Hygiene Products ( Body wash, Soap, Deodorant, Shampoo, etc)
  • Electric Razor
  • Hair Straightener
  • Curling Iron
  • Some “On Track” Literature
  • Extra Shoes/ Slippers/ Sandals
  • Pajamas or Sleepwear
  • Bathingsuit
  • iPod or MP3 Player (Without Internet or Video Ability)
  • Headphones
And What Not to Bring…
  • Sexual Material or Pornography
  • Energy Drinks / Formulas / Pills / Powders
  • Scissors or Knives
  • Cell Phone or Tablet Device
  • Computer or Laptop
  • Handheld Devices (GameBoys, Pocket Games, Etc.)
  • Anything Promoting Violence, Drug Use or Sexually Explicit Material
  • Unaccounted Prescription Medication(s)
  • Over-the-Counter Medication(s)
  • Anything Containing Alcohol (Mouthwash, Face-wipes, Toothpaste, Cologne, Perfume, Hairspray, Etc.)
  • Anything Potentially Huffable (Nail Polish, Hair Dye, Nail Polish Remover)
  • Expensive Items (Jewelry,Watches,Etc.)

Residential Treatment and Living Sober

Are you or a loved one about to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program or a sober living? If so there are several important things to know about this giant step towards a life in sobriety. When entering a treatment facility one should plan on staying at least 30 days, as even when the detox process is completed, the core issue of addiction still must be addressed. It’s common for addiction program lengths to range anywhere from 30 -90 days up to 12 months.

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Opiate Receptors and Living Addicted

A Closer Look at Addiction

CDC WONDER Data for Website_02-04-15.pptxOpiate addiction has become a global epidemic.  It is estimated that up to 36 million people worldwide are abusing opiates, close to 2.1 million of these people live in the United States.  Accidental overdoses on prescription painkillers have increased at a staggering rate in the United States, more than quadrupling since 1999;  in the last 20 years, overdose related deaths have too nearly quadrupled, killing 22,767 in 2013.  In addition to these alarming numbers, substantial evidence just in the past few years has shown that dependence on prescription painkillers has a direct correlation with the abuse of illegal drugs such as heroin.

Today it is estimated that there are currently over 460,000 people in the United States alone who are now using heroin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, from 2001-2013 the number of deaths from heroin have increased 5-fold.  Hundreds of thousands of families have been devastated by this toxic wave of destruction by addiction.  What eventually concludes in rehabilitation clinics, treatment centers or morgues, initially begins in the brain.  Let’s take a look at the science involved in addiction and how addicts are becoming neurologically dependent on opiates.

BackgroundDrugs such as OxyContin and Percocet are usually prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.  They work by attaching to opioid receptors on nerve cells distributed widely in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body.  Opioid receptors are a group of inhibitory G protein-coupled receptors with opioids as ligands.  When these drugs attach to opiate receptors, they reduce the brain’s perception of pain and can produce a sense of well-being and pleasure because these drugs affect brain regions involved with reward. Opiate abusers often seek to intensify this experience by taking the drug in ways alternate than those prescribed (i.e. taking more then needed, taking them with other drugs or alcohol, crushing them and ingesting through the nasal tract and ultimately, injecting them intravenously). Along with addiction, some of the more common side-effects of this movement are drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and constipation.

Riding Shotgun

As seen in the video above, with the continued misuse of pain medication the brain’s reward system demands for more opiate and dopamine receptors to spawn. With these new receptors opening across the brain, more opiates and dopamine are sought after.  This process, or Positive Feedback Loop, quickly turns into addiction, as one’s brain needs the multiplying number of sites to be supplied with dopamine and opiates.  When the brain is cut off from this supply, it goes into a state of panic, causing the brain to feel the opposite of euphoric and pain free.  This is what is called withdrawal, which the addict is likely to counter with more opiates, causing the cycle to repeat once again while increasing their tolerance; thus causing the brain to create even more opiate receptors.

Hank Green of the popular Youtube Chanel SciShow takes an in depth look at addiction and the brain chemistry involved.

See how heroin is effecting the rest of your body with this Interactive Chart

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OxyContin Addiction

Oxycontin 2 SH jpg_The state of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against the Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin for misleading doctors about the potential for drug abuse with their medication. Accused of, “misleading doctors by withholding information about the potential dangers of the drug and its relative ease to abuse.”

Purdue, who has created the fastest growing abused drug in North America has already paid $643.5 Million in fines for the Justice Department’s off-label marketing claims.
Purdue has declined the accusations against them claiming they have tried to combat abuse of their product by making an “abuse-resistant” version of the pill. However, a recent study published in the European Journal showed it (OxyContin) was found to release even higher levels of dopamine than other opioids making it the most addictive drug on the market.

Purdue Pharma is not the first pharmaceutical company to be sued for off-label marketing. In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of drugs such as Avandia, Wellbutrin and Paxil landed themselves in court with $3 billion in fines for off-label promotion and in the following year Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion in fines for the same thing.
snip_20151027145640Pharmaceutical companies will continue to lie about their products to ensure that doctors continue to prescribe them. Meanwhile, Forbes has listed the Sackler family as the 16th wealthiest in the United States having an astonishing net worth of $14 billion. How were they able to achieve such a fortune? By creating the most popular and abused opioid of the 21st century – OxyContin.

People are dying. Of those who still have their lives, many are finding themselves in the grips of addiction. Since its inception, OxyContin abuse has commonly lead to heroin addiction. . It’s easier to find as well as significantly cheaper than Purdue Pharma’s child. Heroin, one of the few substances able to release a comparable amount of dopamine in the brain, has become a popular alternative for those who no longer have access to OxyContin and have become chemically dependent.

250 arrests were made by state police for either position or trafficking of heroin in 2008. Just five years later that number climbed to 1,300. In 2003 police seized 63 grams of heroin compared to 544 grams a decade later. Emergency rooms received 252 overdoses related to heroin in 2011 and more than doubled that just two years later. The evidence is clear, the heroin problem isn’t going to fix itself and this trend will continue to climb until something is done.Slide2_1426203340871_14948979_ver1.0_640_480

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Opiate and Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

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Bheroinecause of the alarming spike of heroin overdoses in Kentucky since 2011 in counties like Pike, Harlan, Knox, Fayette and Perry County, Suboxone treatment centers have been popping up all over the state.  Unfortunately the “Miracle Drug” is now sold on the streets, just like its sister drugs OxyContin and Heroin.


Jeffrey Gibson, a volunteer at the Hope Center in Lexington says, “..It was just a great substitute for heroin, It was like doing the same thing, really.”.  Because of the escalating threat to the Public Health, organizations like Larry Luttrell’s  L&B have been stepping in to help get people’s lives back on the right path for the long run.  Over 25 years ago L&B Recovery conceived a revolutionary approach to treatment: Helping people stay sober.  Programs such as The Liberty Ranch and Liberty House provide the continued support needed for addicts and alcoholics. The transition from a 30/60/90 day treatment center back into the home is often times the most difficult and crucial for addicts/alcoholics. In fact, it is during this transition that most relapses occur.

5972264-3x2-940x627Our stance on the debate of Suboxone and its benefits to heroin addicts in a recent Huffington Post article is simple: Our goal is to only be helpful to those addicts seeking recovery from their addiction. L&B wishes to fill the gap between the completion of a 30 day treatment center or detox and the addict returning home. We provide a safe, 12-step oriented environment in which recovering addicts can receive the support they need on both a short-term and long-term basis.

L&B provides the emotional support necessary for addicts to safely taper off of Suboxone in an outpatient setting, while encouraging and supporting residents in developing a 12-step program of recovery. Professionals we utilize in the Lexington area provide the type of care needed throughout the taper process. This type of care, in conjunction with the Liberty program, affords the addict the safe and supportive environment needed to develop a strong program of recovery and obtain the necessary tools to achieve long-term sobriety.

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My husband is a Master’s level Clinical Social Worker and I worked outpatient for over 20 years with adults with addiction and mental illness. We had skepticism when we first heard about the Liberty Ranch because there are no “professional” staff, only a peer mentoring staff. We cannot express how revolutionary we believe this program to be. Because peer’s who have gone thru the program are the staff, there is not any manipulation, dishonesty, or disrespect. The staff have gone thru it or heard it all themselves! We have recommended the Liberty Ranch to anyone we encounter.

-Kathy Bussa Watts, The Mother of a Graduate of The Liberty Ranch

Costs of chemical dependency treatment have placed it out of reach for the less affluent, or those who do not have good insurance.  Most residential treatment facilities and hospital based programs do not accept insurance.

Some insurance companies are now denying coverage for opiate detox claiming that it isn’t a “medical necessity”, and those that do provide coverage have limited it to four or five days, and are only providing a similar amount of time in residential treatment before placing the person in an outpatient setting.  Some aren’t even doing that.  The patients are going straight to IOP after detox because the insurance companies won’t authorize treatment.  The insurance companies are gradually scaling back just like they did in the early 90’s before they stopped paying the exorbitant fees, that hospital based programs were charging, and that had a high rate of recidivism.

When those programs closed it cleared the path for residential treatment centers to flourish, and they did.  Nowadays these facilities aren’t accepting insurance, and the out of pocket expense is prohibitive for the less affluent, placing treatment out of reach for most families.  Most have a high rate of recidivism as well.  We receive calls all the time from families and individuals who spent 30 to 60 days at one of these facilities only to relapse after discharging.  At that point some families have spent their life’s savings and still need to get their loved one the help they need.

For over 25 years we have employed the same methods as residential treatment centers and hospital based programs, but in a long term care setting.  Our results were, and still are, remarkable.  The premier hospital based programs in the early 90’s that believed 30 days was enough used to tell us that we were keeping our residents too long.  We took a look at this and saw that our people who remained in our facility for long term were staying sober and getting years of sobriety.  Their patients, who only stayed in their program for 30 days, had a high rate of recidivism.  Over the years those same hospital based programs gradually shifted away from short term care, and are now trying to do what we have been doing for over 25 years.  This type of long term care is critical to long term sobriety as proven by DePaul University in a study they conducted several years ago, but unfortunately, it is simply not possible in residential treatment centers and hospital based programs due to high cost.

Our facilities, located in South Central KY enjoy a remarkable success rate in those individuals who stayed the longer term of 12 months and up.  This is a real number and is based on our graduate program.*

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Over the past two or three years we have condensed our program into a short-term (30, 60, and 90) program and have enjoyed remarkable results.  Our extensive structure is intertwined with the 12-steps and its principles.  While intensive, it is also flexible and able to bend according to the needs of each client over the course of time they are in the facility.  Our program is highly effective and geared towards fostering the changes clients need to make in order to attain long-term sobriety.  Our graduates are sober, working, responsible members of society who sponsor residents and still engage in house activities after leaving the facility.  Additionally, we work with Dr. Romana Zverva, an Addiction Psychiatrist, Board Certified in General and Addiction Psychiatry as well as ASAM-Certified in Addiction Medicine.   In her office located in West L.A., Dr. Zverva counsels our residents and prescribes medications.  She is one of the best psychiatrists we have ever worked with.

Upon discharge, if possible, those residents who could only participate in the 30, 60 or 90 day programs are placed in sober living homes in their hometowns where they return to work and engage in activities with their family while they are building their sober support group.  Our long term care is still available and is what our statistics are based on, and that is what we recommend to all of our residents.  The fees are negotiable to assist in that endeavor.

As an affordable alternative to residential treatment, a highly effective structure, and by still providing outside access to professional services for residents, we will remain one of the most effective facilities in the country combatting alcoholism and drug addiction.

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Call Today (606) 787-2023

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