Author: Derek Free

I never gave gratitude much thought before I was sober. The word gets thrown around a lot when we talk about recovery. My basic understanding of what gratitude means to me and how it relates to my own sobriety has changed over the years. But why is it that we say ‘gratitude is an action word’?

Have you ever wondered why alcohol was never considered a “gateway drug”? Why it remains legal despite the fact that it has proven to be a source of death-directly and indirectly-year after year? Alcohol is a monster, to be sure, but why is it that we are so accepting of it in modern culture even in the face of the danger it causes?

Four years into methadone maintenance, I still didn’t think it was a bad thing. I still had no concept of addiction or that I myself may be an addict. In time, I realized I needed it the same way I needed heroin and that it had me in its grips.

Anyone familiar with heroin and other opiates knows just how dangerous they are. Heroin and prescription opiate abuse has become prolific over the last decade and the numbers are only increasing. Those who use opiates try to get as close to the line between life and death as possible, and are usually willing to go to any lengths to achieve that goal. But now law enforcement is finding local heroin cut with the synthetic opiate fentanyl, a drug too potent to even touch.

With the rise of prescription painkiller overdoses and deaths in the last 20 years, it’s hard to differentiate just what types of drugs have the potential for abuse. At the top of the laundry list of potentials lie benzodiazepines. But what is it about this category of drugs that makes them so dangerous, and are they truly that beneficial?

Most people, addicted or not, have a complicated relationship with money. Not just money, but the way that money relates to their self-worth and how they use it to define themselves. What we often forget is that money is only as important as we tell ourselves it is. This concept becomes exponentially more important in sobriety, as financial insecurity can often compromise our recovery if we aren’t careful.

Wilderness therapy has been a very common choice when it comes to having adolescents and young adults attend residential treatment for drug addiction, co-occurring disorders or behavioral therapy. But what is it about wilderness therapy that is so effective?

I felt the need to talk about humility and the process of step 10, as it has been a consistent theme in my life over the past few months. Everyone’s experience of the steps is different, but I have found a profound importance and need of the principles of this step lately and wanted to share them with you.

For me, reaching my rock bottom was critical. My friend told me about putting her son in New Life House and I thought she was nuts. I simply could not understand why on earth she would put her son in a program that lasted for such a long time. We were putting our son in a program for six months and he could still attend college because college was very important. Boy, were we wrong!

Alcohol advertising is everywhere. If you get in your car, it’s on a billboard. If you walk into a store, it’s on the walls in neon lettering. Open a newspaper, and there it is on the second page. Access your social media, and you’ll see one every few seconds.