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Jan Edward Williams, MS, JD, LCADC
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From Jan Williams, MS, JD, LCADC, site owner:

Online Addictions Services

Through this site, I offer free addictions information as well as professional services based on my 35 years of experience as a licensed addictions counselor and 37 years of personal recovery. My DUI alcohol evaluation, counseling, recovery coaching, and educational services are presented through email, telephone, and Skype sessions. Payment for services is done through PayPal and is secure, and encrypted. Please contact me at 443-610-3569 with any questions or concerns about my services. As you can see by reading my blog posts, I favor a spiritually based approach to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, but recognize there are many paths to recovery and will support any rationally based approach to seeking abstinence. Out of respect for the Traditions of the 12 Step Programs, I strive to avoid any specific personal references to my membership in 12 Step Programs.

Addictions Recovery Blog

I offer through the blog portion of the site an opportunity for discussion, by me and the public, of addiction, addiction treatment, recovery, support services, 12 Step Programs, and any other material relevant to addictions and recovery. Newcomers to recovery, old timers, addictions professionals, significant others of a person with a drug or alcohol problem, are all welcome. Registration is required to cut down on spam and other unsavory intrusions.

The rules for blog participation are simple:

  • You must register and login in order to activate the comment functionality
  • Be respectful in your comments
  • Do not use profanity.

Are There Any Conditions on Your Recovery?

Are There Any Conditions on Your Recovery? Would It Ever Be OK For You To Drink or Drug? I am not talking here about necessary and needed medications prescribed by a physician and used as prescribed. I think it important for every individual in recovery from addictive disease to think deeply about, and to honestly answer, this question: If a particular eventuality should come to pass, would it trigger me to pick up a drink or a drug? Some such eventualities that I have encountered in working with recovering individuals include: going to jail. losing my job, my spouse, or partner, death of a loved one, or, being told of a fatal medical condition.

In my view, it matters little why an individual begins the recovery journey; many enter treatment and recovery for the job, significant other, for legal reasons, because of coercion from parents, etc. Being in recovery/treatment allows the individual the opportunity to break through denial and realize that abstinence and recovery are personally needed goals. At some point in recovery, the individual must be on the recovery path for reasons internal to him/her, rather than for external reasons of the type mentioned here. An external condition is likely to be resolved or removed at some point, thereby removing the reason and motivation for abstinence and recovery, resulting in relapse.

Once an individual has internalized abstinence and recovery as vital regardless of the external reasons initially bringing him/her to recovery, and has settled into a relatively stable abstinence based life, the realities of living will continue to happen as they do to all people. The ability to meet the sometimes harsh realities, such as loss of loved ones or devastating medical conditions, without resorting to use of alcohol or other drugs, will depend upon the strength of the individual's recovery program, including experience applying the tools of recovery, a strong relationship with a sponsor (mentor), and the recovery Fellowship, to name a few factors. Perhaps most important for long term recovery in the face of critical life events is a well developed relationship with a source of spiritual strength (God, Higher Power). The goal of the 12 Step Programs is to help the recovering individual to develop such a relationship.

As always, comments are invited. 
Jan Edward Williams,, 03/19/2015.

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Reminder: Love the Newcomer to Addiction Recovery

One often hears in 12 Step meetings that the people in the rooms where AA or NA members meet "... loved me until I learned to love myself." It is important to remember how broken and fragile newcomers to recovery are; how guarded and self-loathing they are. A kind word of welcome can mean so much to the newcomer, even though he/she may not be able to verbalize its value. A simple, "Keep coming back; hope to see you again", or offering a telephone number, can be a gift of hope to the frightened individual new to the rooms of recovery.

I was reminded of the importance of welcoming and supporting the newcomer by the following quote that I read today in one of the daily meditation books that I peruse:

"Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything... (George Herbert, English poet, 1593-1633)."

These simple words written by a 17th century poet, who lived to be less than 40 years of age, gave me goose bumps (or "piloerection", a more technical and sexier term) when I read them. So, let us remember to offer support to the newcomer to recovery.

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams,, 02/25/2015.

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Powerlessness: A Powerful Recovery Tool

The basic purpose of the 12 Step recovery program found in AA and NA is to help the addicted individual to connect with a spiritual source of strength and, thereby, find a way out of addiction. Powerlessness over alcohol, or other drugs, is the basic concept underlying recovery from addiction using the 12 Step recovery model.

As stated in the AA Basic Text ("Big Book"):

"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that's exactly what this book [AA Big Book] is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself...(Alcoholics Anonymous,  page 45)."

A few years ago I came across some language in the New Testament that opened additional doors of understanding for me about acceptance and powerlessness, two related concepts that seem to be key to a serene recovery. My version of the biblical passage I am referring to is this: "In weakness power reaches perfection...for when I am powerless it is then that I am strong..." (12 Corinthians 8-10).

In the 12 Step Programs, the foundational Step is, of course, Step One: "We admitted we were powerless" over alcohol, or drugs, or whatever the behavior may be. As long as the addicted individual hangs onto even a vestige of belief that he/she can control, has power over, alcohol or other drug use, he/she is not open to the need for help, including spiritual help. Very simply, after years of struggle and pain trying to control ones alcohol or drug use, the fortunate individual will find that self-centered pride and self-sufficiency give way, allowing the individual to come to believe, that is, internalize in his/her heart that he/she cannot control (Has no power over) use of alcohol or other drugs, setting the stage for being open to help, at first from others recovering from addiction, and then to seeking a source of spiritual strength.

The power of powerlessness lies in the fact that recognition of a lack of power means that the addict or alcoholic is now open to asking for help. The serenity prayer says it all. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (others and many events in life), the courage to change the things I can (me and how I react to others and events in life), and the wisdom to know the difference. Surrender to win is the 12 Step shorthand version of this post. There is infinite power in powerlessness. Recognition of powerlessness enables one to seek power from a source of spiritual strength.

As always, comments are invited. Jan Williams,,  02/24/2015.

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Recovery Tool: Live One Day at a Time

A good recovery tool for maintaining sanity, emotional balance, and, of course, abstinence from use of alcohol or other drugs, can be found in the concept of living one day at a time. Here is a well-known reflection from 12 Step Literature that can help one to focus on living one day at a time:

"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry;
Two days which should be kept free of fear and apprehension;
One of these days is YESTERDAY, With its mistakes and cares,
Its faults and blunders, Its aches and pains.

YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY.
We cannot undo a single act we performed.
We cannot erase a single word we said.
YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW;
With its possible adversities, its burdens, its larger promise.
TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control.
TOMORROW, the sun will rise,
Either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds;
But it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW
For it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day - TODAY.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternity's
- YESTERDAY and TOMORROW -That we break down.

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad.
It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY
And the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but ONE day at a time. --24 Hours a Day."

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams,, 01/31/2015.

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Life's Problems Are Opportunities for Spiritual Growth

In my early recovery from alcohol and other sedative addiction I struggled with the spiritual aspects of recovery in the 12 Step Programs. In fact, I relapsed a number of times because of a lack of willingness to be open to seeking a power greater than myself. Finally, I was given what I call the gift of willingness to pray daily to a spiritual source of strength that, at the time, I did not believe in, abstain from drug or alcohol use, attend 12 Step meetings and work the 12 Steps. Over time, doing the simple things I mentioned resulted in a deep awareness that I was going to be OK regardless of the realities of life around me.

For over 37 years, this spiritual strength has sustained me during the good and the bad events of life. In the past several years, I have had some serious medical problems. These experiences were frightening and stressful, but resulted in much prayer by me, my family, and friends in recovery. My point in all of this is that, though frightened and stressed, the spiritual strength that I had found in those early days of recovery, continue to sustain me through even serious life problems. Indeed, my relationship to my source of spiritual strength, God, has as a result of these events become stronger, and I am still here living life one day at a time. So, I conclude, as I have many times in my recovery, that painful, traumatic experiences can become opportunities for spiritual growth. As always, comments are invited. Jan Williams, 01/22/2015,

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