Humility is a trait that few alcoholics have familiarity with. We are usually either feeling humiliation or superiority, two-sides of the egocentric self. Humility, or being right-sized, was an experience that felt foreign to me when I first began to experience it. My black and white thinking only allowed me to be below everyone or above everyone. To stand and admit to others and myself that I was simply human with varied traits felt scary. But after completing a thorough fourth and fifth step, I recognized the futility of living with my defects and thinking. It was only after becoming rightsized that I was able to humbly approach my higher power and ask for my selfish and harmful shortcomings to be removed. Of course, this also requires me giving permission to my higher power to remove them entirely which is another scary step. What will life look like without being able to tell white lies? Or not being able to slack off at work? Or no longer gossiping or silently judging? If my higher power completely removes certain defects, how will I get what I want? This is when you circle back to the thorough work you’ve done in steps 1-5. My thinking, attitudes, values and behaviors have gotten me this far. Sometimes they benefited me but often they hurt me and others. If my higher power can remove my obsession and compulsion to use drugs and alcohol, am I willing to believe that it can remove other harmful patterns from my life? Step 7 is the answer to those questions of willingness and uncertainty. I am willing and humbly ask to be transformed into whoever my higher power would have me be. This doesn’t mean that I become someone else, lose my identity, don’t get to make decisions for myself or anything like that. It simply means that my higher power can step in and mold me into the kind of person to be of maximum service to the people around me, whatever that looks like. Character defects are ultimately based in self-centered fear, and while harmful, are not something to shame yourself over. In my experience, completing a seventh step means becoming free to be more of my true self and authentically connect with others while trusting that outcome will be ok.

We are big proponents of healthy nutrition at Camelback Recovery. After years of active addiction, most people haven’t properly fueled themselves with the necessary building blocks for functional minds and bodies. Our amazing house managers do all the grocery shopping for the houses to make sure the food in our homes is healthy and balanced. Here are some examples of what’s on our menu from week to week:

Baked Salmon with Lemon Caper Butter

Barbeque Baked Ribs

Chicken Parmesan with Broccoli

We cook dinner 5 nights a week to help build the community in the home. Clients are also encouraged to help cook or volunteer to cook for the house, if they would like. Breaking bread together is the oldest way of building relationships after all!

There’s the old saying “getting sober is the easy part, staying sober is work”. I couldn’t agree more. I was speaking to someone today about the “outside” issues that can arise once alcoholics get sober. Being in the business of sober living, we see individuals in early recovery start to feel feelings, reconnect with family and deal with life again. For most of us, this is not an easy or graceful process. The 12 steps make it possible for us to tackle life’s challenges. Often, part of those challenges require seeking outside help from doctors, psychiatrists or other programs. There is no shame in admitting that the 12 steps haven’t “fixed” all of your issues. My relationship with God means that I am now capable of seeking out other resources and utilizing them with an honest, open mind to further my own growth. Sobriety is the foundation and requirement for any outside help to have a real effect. Camelback Recovery clients are encouraged to continue any treatment or psychiatric help they are engaged in, alongside their 12 step work. In fact, many of our clients have long-term sobriety from drugs and alcohol but come into our home while they complete an intensive to work on family dynamics, relationship issues or other addictions that have surfaced. Recovery is a journey, let God guide you on that journey and you will be amazed at what you find.