For myself, the road to recovery was a lot like going through a haunted house. It could be a haunted house, haunted mansion, or even a haunted forest, whatever you want. The point is that there’s a beginning and an end, with a whole lot of scary shit in between. Think about how you might enter a haunted house. Sometimes we go in with bravery and sometimes we go in absolutely terrified. There’s no right or wrong way to enter, only suggestions on how to handle it. Those suggestions are usually from people that have never been inside, but at least they come with very high and optimistic intentions. Hold on to that optimism because it’s that, not the advice, that will help you get through it. Now imagine that you were told that you’d have to stay in that haunted house for the rest of your life. No thanks. Unfortunately, that’s how we view recovery from drugs and alcohol at this time in history, but like everything else, that must change with the times. It needs to be updated to much higher standards, so we don’t fall behind again. If you want to tell me that the current process is the best we have, then why is there so much failure in it, and why is everyone so reluctant to make it better? With the advancement in our understanding of the human brain and body, why do we stick to something so old and arduous? We took what should’ve only been used a tool to help someone along and made the entire process. This happened nearly a century ago. It has become outdated and continues to be a less and less effective ideology. People are stuck in this terrifying place for extreme amounts of time. Maybe keeping people sick is where the money’s at, but that will be a different article. Back to the haunted house. The haunted house is a metaphor for that scary place in your head that comes along with trying to quit drinking for good. Recovery might not seem scary at first but try getting through an alcohol or drug craving without the tools to do so and see how freaked out you become. You might want to hit the emergency exit and relapse, but then you have to start over from the beginning and it only gets more difficult each time you do. From October 2016 until October 2017, I was stuck in the haunted house where I wasn’t drinking but I wasn’t healthy either. I was optimistic and had a positive attitude, but life was kicking my ass. With each step I was took, it felt like I was leading myself deeper into what might be the scariest part. Failure. I was buried at work, often spending over 100 hours per week there including commute time. When I got home, I would eat a whole package of cookies while I studied right before bed. I thought I was comforting myself, but I was only making my mind and body weaker with the processed sugar and carbs sitting in my gut while I slept. Not good. The thing that I was hanging onto was the all the knowledge I was attaining and all the information I was learning. I studied the mind and body, because those were the two thing that were broken. I knew that soon, if I kept trying to learn how to make myself a better person, even with very little action taken in the beginning, that it would eventually click. I was watching a demonstration on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) that went into a process that amazed me. They were talking about words that trigger people and how to take those words and make them have zero effect on how you react to them. It’s about observing how you feel when trigger words come up, realizing what’s going on in your head, and changing the meaning that word has to you. Simple, right? The haunted houses days were numbered. Instead of being afraid of what would pop up next, I had the confidence to walk through the house and come out a better person. Not once did I think about using the emergency exit. I started losing weight and slowly started exercising. I shoved that stressful job up whoever’s ass gave it to me and started learning how to balance work, home, and life better. I was using the kindergarten mentality with everything I was learning which made things that much easier to grasp and by the time February and March rolled around, I knew that I would never look back. I lost over 50 lbs., and I had learned to deal with anxiety by meditating, exercising, and being self-aware. It wasn’t only the NLP trigger word exercise that excited me, it was the fact that it could be done without a prescription that got me going. I realized that I’m the one that programmed the negative meanings to words and made them triggers for myself. Finally, I was at the exit of the haunted house. I had recovered from alcoholism. A lot of people will tell you that you can’t recover from alcoholism or addiction, but we’ve been doing it wrong for so long that I understand the pessimism. I have always recovered from the flu, but why would people tell me that I can’t recover from addiction? Alcoholism will always be a part of your past but unlike the flu, it will only come back if you let it. So, once you have recovered, it’s up to you to stop giving it so much validity. Walk through life doing the things that make your mind and body feel good. You probably deserve it. This will help keep alcoholism away because you’re not focused on alcohol. Don’t slave away for someone else’s purpose like I was doing with that shitty job. You will always be with the person you see in the mirror and that’s the most important person in your life. If the person you see in the mirror is healthy, then that person will be better able to help the people around them, solidifying relationships and rebuilding trust. The haunted house is temporary, just like recovery will be when we start looking at it with a 2018 attitude instead of a 1935 attitude. The tools are all around you, but you may have to recognize that your head might be in your ass trying to catch the flu, in order to be able to see them. That’s 100% what I did to get out of the recovery process. Do you think that you’ll still have a problem with calling yourself recovered when you get there? I really hope not. Thanks for reading. Have a Powerful Day!