Fighting addiction: Developing a program that meets your needs

Jim Christopher Health Guide
  • When I finally attained recovery from a lengthy booze addiction on April 24, 1978, previous feeble attempts to quit drinking along with "I don't want to think about that (my addiction to alcohol) right now, maybe tomorrow" were my long-term helplessness mainstays. I didn't address my addiction to cigarettes until 1993.

     

    My initial foray into 12-step groups netted instructions following a specific recipe that had worked--I was told--for countless souls who preceded me and that those who questioned were, in reality, in search of relapse.

     

    I, however, concluded fairly early on that self-empowerment and personal freedom weren't naughty and--as a general rule of thumb--I came to be wary of one-true-way advocates.

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    Options and alternatives in recovery from any addiction, I've found, are not only healthy, but necessary. We're individuals. We're each unique. Bumper sticker admonitions are only part of the mix-and-match process in our lives.

     

    Although legions have been helped by plan AA, countless others have reclaimed their lives, and halted their addictions--research has shown--via other pathways. In my own book, Escape from Nicotine Country: How to Stop Smoking Painlessly, I advocate--backed by cited research--a taper-off replacement method, and I also clearly congratulate anyone achieving freedom from nicotine addiction by any means. Charlotte Sophia Kasl's breakthrough book, Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12-Steps champions diversity in addiction recovery and I heartily recommend it.

     

    As founder of SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety/Save Our Selves), an international 23 year old nonprofit organization addressing all addictions recovery through free, anonymous self-empowerment support groups, I'll be hosting, in cooperation with SHARE! (Self Help and Recovery Exchange), the first annual "Festival of Recovery," all day, April 26, Center for Inquiry, Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Boulevard.

     

    This special event is free to all and will feature live presentations emanating from the Center's famed Steve Allen Theater. The entire facility will house addiction recovery and mental health recovery exhibits, workshops, seminars, authors' book signings, music, guest celebrity appearances and more.

     

    A component of the festival will be my 9th annual "Funeral for the Unknown Smoker." The Funeral for the Unknown Smoker is an open casket ceremony where former smokers share inspirational stories of triumph over cigarettes and nicotine addiction.

     

    I hope you'll attend by using this event as an excuse to visit Hollywood and participate in my free smoking cessation seminar. Attendees-- especially those of you visiting from other cities, states, countries--are welcome to join our optional free group (pay your own admission) adventures including Universal Studios, Disneyland, Homes of the Stars Tour, Griffith Observatory, Grauman's Chinese Theater and Hollywood Blvd. Star Walk, Venice Beach Walk, and more.

     

    If you can't make it, please send me a "hello" email with "Festival of Recovery" in the subject field and we'll read it to the audience onstage at the Steve Allen Theater.

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    I bet you'll agree there's a lot going on in life besides smoking, boozing, and drugging. This is your blog and I hope to hear from you. I look forward to being with you again next week.

Published On: March 04, 2008