Recovery Road

By Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

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Welcome to Recovery Road, a podcast from Hazelden Publishing. Here you'll find the best thoughts, excerpts, and reflections from our most popular resources. These words, feelings, and insights from world-renowned authors have helped millions of people conquer substance use disorder so they can live their best lives. What's in these podcasts represents the best of the best—and we present them here for inspiration on your journey. Now more than ever, we need to find the calm in the chaos, stay focused on self-care, and remain on our path to long-term recovery. Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together. So join us each day here on Recovery Road.

Episode Date
What Agoraphobia Can Teach Us About the Usefulness of Fear

In this time of distancing and isolation during the pandemic, we can learn from how people handle panic, anxiety, and agoraphobia. This excerpt from Embracing the Fear: Learning to Manage Anxiety and Panic Attacks by Judith Bemis and Amr Barrada can teach us how fear can be useful to us in our recovery.

Sep 17, 2020
Standing Still in the Moment: Train Your Brain to Think First

In times of crisis and uncertainty, even healthy people and relationships will experience conflict. With insights from neuroscience as well as her own recovery, Cynthia Moreno Tuohy's book, Rein In Your Brain: From Impulsivity to thoughtful Living in Recovery, opens the door to a whole new way to think about thinking—especially when the emotional stakes are high.

Sep 14, 2020
Between Chaos and Discipline: A Path to Serenity

While right and wrong can sometimes be clearly defined, much of the time we wrestle with competing perspectives and pressures in order to do the next right thing. In Finding Your Moral Compass: Transformative Principles to Guide You in Recovery and Life, Craig Nakken offers tools for discovering options and making choices. In this excerpt, we explore the tension between chaos and discipline—a timely topic during the coronavirus pandemic, when chaos seems all too present.

Sep 10, 2020
Trust Your Story, it's Bigger than the Present Moment

In times of stress and uncertainty, it's common to worry about relapse, either for yourself or someone you love. Extra anxiety, fueled by global, local, or even personal experience with the coronavirus pandemic, may lead people to cope in all kinds of unhealthy ways. In this excerpt from Destination Joy: Moving Beyond Fear, Loss, and Trauma in Recovery, Earnie Larsen reminds us that avoiding relapse depends on our willingness to "face what is chasing us."

Sep 07, 2020
Fake It Until You Make It: Acting "As If" in a Pandemic

As we kick off National Recovery Month during a pandemic, it's a good time to look at one of our most popular titles for advice about how to manage ourselves as we manage our recovery. Here's an excerpt from Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects by Bill P., Todd W., and Sara S. to help us act "as if" we can keep walking through our recovery by looking up to see the big picture and having faith that we can—and will—get to where we're going.

Sep 03, 2020
Finding Calm in a Crisis: Recharge, Relax, and Remember

It's impossible to have a problem-free life—the global effects of coronavirus have underscored this reality. Written originally for young people Earl Hipp's book, Feed Your Head: Some Excellent Stuff on Being Yourself, offers specific ways to access calm and stay in touch, even when the storms are raging.

Aug 31, 2020
Trust in a Time of Crisis: Living Without Knowing Outcomes

In his book, A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps, Dr. Patrick Carnes teaches that recovery's process of healing and growth will be sustained not by control but by trust. In this excerpt, Dr. Carnes invites us to reflect on a time in our life when we survived—and even thrived—through a leap of faith.

Aug 27, 2020
Relapse Red Flags: A Cyber Junkie Recovers in the Real World

In this time of coronavirus, many of us are spending hours each day looking at screens. In Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap, Kevin Roberts describes the need to carefully navigate this landscape while staying rooted in the realities of supportive relationships and healthy boundaries.

Aug 24, 2020
Making Art for a Natural High

When it feels like we're trapped and all we want to do is escape, how do we do that without turning to our addictions? Look to Jodie Gould's High: Six Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and Escape for how to use art to find pleasure.

Aug 20, 2020
You're Not Alone: The Importance of Finding a Sponsor

The pandemic has brought with it new ways for the recovery community to connect, but what stays the same is the value of a sponsor, a mentor, a guide. In Undrunk: A Skeptic's Guide to AA, learn about how to find a sponsor in your own recovery.

Aug 17, 2020
Detaching: Taming Our Reactions for Our Own Health

These are times when it's easy to react negatively to those around us, whether it's in anger, fear, embarrassment, or some other emotion that was pulled to the surface by the people we're with. Melody Beattie in Codependent No More helps us learn how to detach, so we can react in a more healthy way.

Aug 13, 2020
Fences: Boundaries Keep Us Safe from Ourselves

As we are staying home during the pandemic, we can use the time to explore the concept of our boundaries and how we take care of ourselves while in recovery. In Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, Anne Katherine explains why boundaries are important and leads us through a couple exploratory exercises.

Aug 10, 2020
The Gift of Listening: Helping Others in the Time of Pandemic

Living in a time of pandemic-related isolation and uncertainty invites us to care for ourselves and others in new ways. In his book, Three Simple Rules: Uncomplicating Life in Recovery, author Michael Graubart makes the case that truly enjoyable, fruitful, spiritual, meaningful, and sober lives come from living by three simple rules: Trust God. Clean house. Help others.

Aug 06, 2020
Believing that Life Should be Easy

What is the role of acceptance during the coronavirus pandemic? Where is serenity when we need it most? In this excerpt from his book, 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery, Dr. Allen Berger gently but firmly roots us in the reality that life is hard and always will be.

Aug 03, 2020
Food, Sleep, and Exercise: Anti-Anxiety Basics for Troubled Times

In this era of coronavirus, it's helpful to revisit three essentials in the anti-anxiety toolbox. In Almost Anxious: Is My (or My Loved One's) Worry or Distress a Problem?, Dr. Luana Marques reminds us how good sleep, healthy food, and regular exercise will help us maintain mental health, even in uncertain times.

Jul 30, 2020
Four Ways to Resist and Recover from Addictive Emotions

In some of us, the neurochemicals associated with negative emotions trip the reward centers of our brains and we become addicted to unhappiness. In his book, A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps, Dr. Patrick Carnes offers four strategies for rewiring our emotional pathways and reclaiming the functions of a healthy brain.

Jul 27, 2020
How Recovery Prepares Us to Reframe Pain and Suffering

Beverly Conyers, Find Your Light: Practicing Mindfulness to Recover from Anything, puts suffering into perspective and reaches into philosophical and religious teachings to be able to reframe it for us. It's not a glib "suffering makes you a better person!" type dismissal, but it's more of a reminder that we, as people in recovery, have learned the most important lessons because of our suffering.

Jul 23, 2020
Anger in a Time of Crisis: Recognize and Avoid the Volcano

Feelings are what make us human. Written originally for young people, Earl Hipp's book, Feed Your Head: Some Excellent Stuff on Being Yourself, is a timely reminder, in these anxiety-producing days of coronavirus pandemic, about healthy expression of anger.

Jul 20, 2020
Practicing Gratitude: Appreciation as an Antidote to Anxiety

Having tried all kinds of unhelpful responses to feelings that seem overwhelming, those of us in recovery have practices to help us navigate negativity, and we're usually looking for more. Kevin Roberts recommends the depression-defying gift of gratitude in his book, Cyber Junkie: Escaping the Gaming and Internet Trap.

Jul 16, 2020
Healing the Wounds of Shame: Human, not Perfect

Authors Ronald and Patricia Potter-Efron describe shame as, "A painful belief in one's basic defectiveness as a human being." In their book Letting Go of Shame: Understanding How Shame Affects Your Life, the Potter-Efrons help us consider our shame as a messenger or teacher, with a role to play in our lives.

Jul 13, 2020
Sorry, Self: Being Gentle with Ourselves during a Pandemic

In this time of uncertainty, let's turn our attention to one of the only things we can control: our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, by working through two exercises from the new guided journal by Barbara Theodosiou, Living Without Shame: A Support Book for Mothers with Addicted Children. Although this support book is designed for mothers, these exercises can be helpful for anyone who feels a little (or a lot) overwhelmed right now.

Jul 09, 2020
Stupid Thing 8: Confusing Self-Concern with Selfishness

Maintaining a healthy recovery during a worldwide pandemic can be hard work. In addition to keeping connected to our support systems and staying away from opportunities to use, we also need to continue the work of self-evaluation. In this excerpt from his book, 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery, Dr. Allen Berger shows how confusing self-concern for selfishness prevents us from acting on our own behalf. Learning to honor and care for ourselves is a hallmark of recovery.

Jul 06, 2020
Sleep and Massage for Escape During the Pandemic

There are fewer options than usual for finding a natural high while we're both in recovery and in the pandemic. Luckily, Jodie Gould's High: Six Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and Escape tells us we can restore ourselves with sleep and massage.

Jul 02, 2020
Meditating with Flo: Finding Avenues for Anxiety in Recovery

If you've ever asked for advice in calming your anxiety, someone has probably suggested that you meditate. In her book The Recovering Body: Physical and Spiritual Fitness for Living Clean and Sober, author Jennifer Matesa introduces us to somebody who greatly improved her own meditation practice: a dog named Flo.

Jun 29, 2020
Surrender: How Step 3 Helps During a Pandemic

For those of us who walk in the worlds of both mental illness and addiction, it's important to think about what Step Three's release of control means to us, especially with the coronavirus pandemic in our midst. In her book Sane, Marya Hornbacher talks about the illusion of self-control and the concept of surrender.

Jun 25, 2020
In a Time of Crisis, Stop Trying to Be "Good" at Meditation

Too much stress puts us at risk of relapse and can harm our health, but how can we avoid stress at a time like this? In her book A Kinder Voice: Releasing Your Inner Critics with Mindfulness Slogans, Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart offers this paradox: meditation will work much better for us when we stop trying so hard.

Jun 22, 2020
Sober Mom During the Pandemic: Recovery and Exhaustion

Many of us are running ourselves ragged these days, as parents or caregivers. But, as author Rosemary O'Connor explains in A Sober Mom's Guide to Recovery, it's not only beneficial to show yourself some compassion, it's necessary.

Jun 18, 2020
Recovery and the Pandemic: Emotional Boundary Basics

We're all facing some new and challenging interpersonal situations these days. In her book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, Anne Katherine show us how each challenge is an opportunity to assert who we are, and what we truly need to live happy, healthy lives.

Jun 15, 2020
Not a Democracy: Parenting Teens During the Pandemic

During the coronavirus outbreak, having to stay confined is not easy, especially if you've got a son or daughter who's working through a substance use disorder. In his book Recovering My Kid, Dr. Joseph Lee helps you create a safe home where you set the boundaries.

Jun 11, 2020
Cleaning House During a Crisis: Silence Your Negativity Committee

For those of us trying to maintain our recovery, this global health emergency is a stressful time. In Three Simple Rules: Uncomplicating Life in Recovery, author Michael Graubart gives advice on silencing the negativity flying around in our heads.

Jun 08, 2020
Crisis and Creativity for People in Recovery

Today, those of us in creative areas of work may be struggling to answer whether our work is "essential," which can cause creative blocks reminiscent of those we experienced while active in our addictions. In her book The Recovering Body, Jennifer Matesa emphasizes the vital importance of creative work, and reassures us that our moments of blockage and self-doubt will pass.

Jun 04, 2020
Good Grief During the Pandemic: Loss without Losing Everything

Many of us are grieving right now: Losing jobs, old ways of life, the ability to see loved ones. Even losses due to coronavirus or relapse. In Without Shame, author Barbara Theodosiou describes losing her son to the disease of addiction in 2015, and how self-care, forgiveness, and service can be present, even in grief.

Jun 01, 2020
Grandparenting During the Pandemic: Signs You Need Some Help

Many grandparents find themselves parenting their grandchildren, due to their own children struggling with substance use disorders, incarceration, or challenges, like COVID-19 or other illnesses. The Grandfamily Guidebook by Andrew Adesman, MD and Christine Ademec, is a helpful resource for grandparents during these times.

May 28, 2020
Returning to Step One: Harnessing Our Periods of Descent

Realities like physical distancing can stir up feelings of isolation, and even darkness in our recovery. As Marya Hornbacher explains in Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power, we can return to Step One to find meaning and value in even our lowest moments.

May 25, 2020
Parents of Kids in Recovery: Checking In with Your Emotions

Parenting a child with a substance use disorder is hard, but it's especially difficult due to the pandemic. Dr. Joseph Lee, in his book Recovering My Kid, coaches us through handling our feelings and taking out our emotional trash.

May 21, 2020
Life and Trauma: Ask for, and Accept, Help

We all need some help. Every one of us is dealing with situations we didn’t anticipate. Stress and uncertainty are real these days, in old and new forms. We need to remember all of the sources of help available to us, as well as the ways we can be of service to others. In this excerpt from Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One's PTSD, Cynthia Orange teaches us how to ask for help, how to best offer help, and how to make our crisis-filled days a little bit more predictable.

May 05, 2020
Readiness to Change: Step 6 for Those with Mental Illness

For those of us who balance both mental illness and substance use disorders, it's hard to find our footing during a global pandemic. Marya Hornbacher, in her book Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps writes about the Sixth Step: the willingness to have God [or our Higher Power] remove our defects of character. This means being totally open to a new way of life and a new kind of self. In these unsettled times, her honesty about confronting and releasing fear and anger can help.

May 05, 2020
You Can't Always Be Disney Dad, Particularly When Distancing

Many parents are supporting their children around the clock these days, while also trying to work. We're managing our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a time of stress; accounting for our children's emotions as well can seem impossible. Whether you've got kids at home or not, there's help. In his book Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, Michael Graubart reminds us that, even though we will be imperfect and make amends as needed, we will be there for the ones we love.

May 05, 2020
Working Step 10: Paying Attention to Our Emotions

Whether we've been working the Twelve Steps for a while, or are new to them, we're experiencing a time like no other during this global pandemic. We're finding new ways to maintain our recovery, so we don't destroy all that we've worked so hard to build. We don't have to do it alone. The Big Book provides us with specific directions for working Step Ten, as well as some clear promises and warnings. Fred H. offers wisdom about emotions and Step 10 in his book Drop the Rock—The Ripple Effect.

May 05, 2020
Finding the Light: Choosing Mindfulness Instead of Checking Out

Many of us are used to numbing our feelings and checking out, by way of substance use or other process addictions. Feeling our emotions can be new and scary. As we face daily news about a global pandemic, escaping from painful emotions like fear and anger is an enticing option. How do we withstand it? Mindfulness practice helps ground us in the present moment. In Find Your Light: Practicing Mindfulness to Recover from Anything, Beverly Conyers describes the life-saving benefits of mindfulness.

May 05, 2020
Welcome to the Club: Grief and Recovery During a Pandemic

This is a time of change for all of us. Maybe you are experiencing the change from in-person support meetings to virtual connections, job loss, or even the death or illness of a loved one. Some changes are bigger than others, but all major changes require us to grieve what was lost. In her book The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting Through All Kinds of Change, renowned author Melody Beattie explores the comfort and compassion that comes from knowing that others have walked the roads we're on.

May 05, 2020
Active Listening: Caring for Others While Caring for Ourselves

During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are providing care for others, both professionally as well as personally—all while maintaining our own health. Much of the art of caregiving is about paying close attention to a wide range of cues. The skill of active listening can help. We can't offer a hug right now, but we can offer an ear...and a heart. Your recovery will be better for it. We offer some tips from Take Good Care: Finding Your Joy in Compassionate Caregiving by Cynthia Orange.

May 05, 2020
Identifying Emotions: When Life Turns a Grandparent into a Parent

For people with substance use disorders, the current global health crisis can make conditions worse. Substance use might be heavier, and seeking help can seem even more difficult. If adults with children are struggling, grandparents may be called upon to care for their grandchildren. It might be for a little while, the duration of the pandemic, or longer. The Grandfamily Guidebook: Wisdom and Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, by Andrew Adesman and Christine Ademec, can help.

May 05, 2020
Shame Resilience 101

For many, shame can be paralyzing, and moments of extreme stress or crisis can bring shame rushing to the surface. We need to remember that it's unrealistic to expect ourselves to be perfect, even in the best circumstance. In this time of collective crisis, revisit the basics of shame: what it is, why it hurts, and what to do about it. For help, we turn to shame expert Brené Brown, and her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

May 05, 2020
Five Mindful Ways to Tame Your Anxiety in Stressful Times

For many experiencing this global crisis in countless local and personal ways, it can start to seem like everything is spinning out of control. Anxiety and uncertainty about the future have created a sense of deep unease. The practice of mindfulness can help change our perspective and provide much-needed peace of mind. Beverly Conyers, author of Find Your Light: Practicing Mindfulness to Recover from Anything, offers five mindful ways to tame your anxiety and nurture your overall well-being.

Apr 29, 2020