Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Bit of Help Please

Hello readers,

Tonight I’m going to make a plea for some assistance. As many of you know, I got into a masters program at the University of Rochester on a non-matriculating basis. I am going back to school in drug and alcohol counseling, as I work towards a career change that I hope will allow me to help many other people who suffer from the same disease I do.

I am now applying for matriculating status, a necessity if I am to continue on my path. As a result, I have to turn in an application next Thursday for full acceptance into this program from the University of Rochester. As a result, I must write a 2-4 page personal statement, addressing my goals, future plans, experiences, etc. This is where you come in.

It is recommended that I find as many people as possible to review this essay before submitting it, and as such I’m hoping that my friends here on MySpace will help review the personal statement. It should be completed sometime tonight or tomorrow, and at that time I would like to send it to anyone who wouldn’t mind reviewing it and sending back some comments.

Don’t feel obligated at all. I know that everyone here leads busy lives, and that most don’t have a whole lot of spare time. But if you have a few minutes and could help review my personal statement, please let me know here, and I’ll send it your direction as soon as it’s completed.

Thank you in advance for all your help, and I look forward to whatever viewpoints and suggestions you can provide.

All the best,



Posted by Scottage at 1:53 AM / | |  

The Value of Peer Support Networks in Recovery

In one of my classes, my main project is to create a mock research proposal studying one area of interest to me. I have decided to study the affects of peer support on recovery from addiction.

My theory is simple: I believe that people in recovery programs, such as alcoholics anonymous, have a much better chance of staying sober if they develop peer support groups that meet outside of the meeting. If people inside of the rooms can develop groups of friends from inside the rooms, and if these groups spend time together outside of meetings, all members will have a better chance of remaining sober.

This has certainly been true to some extent in my program. When I first came into the program, there were a group of us that would go out to dinner 4 or 5 nights a week. We would talk about life, about our challenges, and about what we had heard in the meeting that night. Occasionally we would do other activities, like going to hear live music or heading to the renaissance fair. And I always felt I could call these people in a pinch.

At about 4 months, my best friend in the program moved away, and the three women from the group decided to focus on spending time with other women. As my support network collapsed, it was only a couple weeks before I relapsed. This is not to say that it was anyone’s fault that I relapsed, but I think that the support network certainly helped me stay sober.

After my relapse, I developed a new support group which included people with varying lengths of sobriety. Now the old-timers were able to help people younger in the program, like myself. We helped each other, going to meals, reading together, hitting a wide variety of meetings, and always available to one another.

Another group of people I know came into the program at the same time, all of them in their late 20s or 30s. They go to meals, have small parties, celebrate anniversaries, and are there for each other all the time. Each 1 year anniversary has met with the whole group getting together to celebrate and support each other, and they are in constant communication.

In my first group, the 3 women just passed their one year anniversary. My best friend, who moved to Memphis, found his own group down there, and passed two years recently. Only I relapsed. In the new group that formed, all 6 of us have stayed sober since then. Despite some troubled times, we all have each other to lean on, and have remained sober. And in the other group mentioned, 11 people have passed the one year mark over the past 6 months, and none have relapsed.

Considering the statistics we hear in the room constantly, 1 in 35 people remaining sober in the program, it seems more than apparent that people with strong peer support networks are able to maintain their sobriety better than people who only spend time with other people in recovery while in the rooms.

Anyway, these are my observations, and I hope one day to show the importance of peer support networks, and to help people realize the importance of these networks in their programs. What do you think? How have these networks helped your program? I’m looking forward to your thoughts.


Posted by Scottage at 1:52 AM / | |  

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

While I Wasn’t Looking, Happiness Snuck Up On Me

It’s been nearly a week now that I’ve been down in the dumps, with a million things, some minor, some major, weighing on my mind. I had almost thought I had forgotten how to smile. But when I stopped pressing, stopped looking for the answer to my troubles, the answer appeared on its own.

The feeling wasn’t completely unprompted. I’ve been praying more, and not for my angst to be removed, but for understanding of God’s will and the strength to do it. I wrote a blog post and spoke at a meeting, fighting pride to experience the relief of owning up to my feelings. I met with my sponsor today, which is always a positive experience, examining the issues in depth. I even chaired a meeting, hopefully helping another person.

But perhaps the biggest thing I did was focus my attention away, ceasing to look at the problems in my life and simply accepting them as exactly the way God meant it to be this week. I taught, I read for class, read my big book, catalogued songs in my music library for my radio station, made speaker disks for my home group, reached out to other members of the fellowship. It was a busy day, but a productive day as well.

And as I sat down for a chat meeting with the other owners of my radio station, an amazing thing happened: I laughed! Not the forced laugh that you do to make someone feel like you’re alright, but the belly laugh that comes naturally and unbidden. One owner, who was on the phone with me, was startled, and said it was about time she heard that. I couldn’t agree more.

I guess that’s the trick; the less I focus on the issues that plague me, the more I accept life on life’s terms, the happier I am. The big book says that “acceptance is the answer to all my problems today”, and I feel myself being more accepting all the time. But perhaps the lesson I needed from this past week was a further lesson in acceptance, a lesson which I received loud and clear.

I’m heading to bed now, and I couldn’t be happier!


Posted by Scottage at 2:37 AM / | |