Tag Archive: healing

  1. The Healing Power of Reading

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    Reading is a powerful tool as books hold the capacity to develop literacy but also think differently about the world in which a person resides. Reading can truly change lives and have healing powers that are helpful for individuals in addiction recovery.


    Words were invented to help make sense of the world and communicate needs, wants and desires to others. When people read, it is possible to be transported and transformed. Words on the page come alive with meaning and become ingrained in the memory. Spiritual experiences happen when reading as passages can inspire people to make life changing decisions or radically alter the course of one’s life. Reading is now being evaluated as a treatment method for various mental health conditions and in addiction treatment settings.


    The process of bibliotherapy is that of combining reading with cognitive therapy. This means using selected books to guide a person in the area he or she seeks help in. It is like having a dialogue with a book, using concepts as food for thought and trying to slowly apply it in life. What is read in books stays with people for a long time. In that time, neuroscience shows the brains are rewired each day visualizing and thinking through how the words make a person feel. Memory recall can release chemicals such as dopamine, the pleasure transmitter which plays a role in addiction.

    Shelf Help vs Self Help

    There is a distinction that has to be made between bibliotherapy and self help. Whole bookcases in bookstores are filled with self-help guides. Fiction takes people out of places and the self but

    An individual may be inclined to identify with characters and experiences while committing to the journey of a character in books which mirror the commitment made to the self on the journey of recovery.

    Getting Started

    Reading for recovery is nothing new. Twelve step programs have used The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous since first publication. The Big Book is full of personal experiences, letters and stories. Since release, the Big Book engaged millions of people worldwide in pages which offer insight to alcoholism and a solution for recovery. Faith based recovery programs use biblical texts or religious texts and help guide people with spiritual experiences through the healing power of words. Whichever form of reading is used, it is bound to be a great experience for the reader and build on insights gained through therapy and in community with others on the same journey.


    Sustain Recovery helps adolescents who are recovering from addiction. Minimum stays are 90 days but many may be with the program six months or longer. Call us to find out if our programs are a good fit for your adolescent.

  2. Letting Go of Anger and Releasing the Past

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    Letting Go of Anger and Releasing the PastPutting aside the struggles, anger, shame, and guilt associated with trauma, abandonment, abuse and neglect is difficult for anybody who has experienced such travesties. Nonetheless, letting go of negative emotions, like anger, is a critical part of healing. In order to move forward and live a fulfilling, spiritually centered life, we have to come to terms with our painful pasts. This is no more true than for an adolescent in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

    Letting go is a perplexing process. Emotions cannot be seen or touched- they are intangible. How is it then, that we hold onto, and have to let go of, something we can’t even see? We have to first find these emotions. Though they won’t materialize, they will manifest. Once we work with counselors and therapists to identify them, we can bring them to life and release them. The fourth step of AA’s 12 steps especially helps in this process by taking stock of all harms done to us.

    The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that resentments are fatal to an alcoholic trying to recover. In the infamous list of 12 step promises it is shown that by doing “the work” of recovery, “we will not regret the past nor choose to shut the door on it.” Overcoming the difficulties of what has happened to us, by our own means or by the hands of others, is necessary. Challenging, overwhelming, and painful- but necessary. More importantly, it is possible. All too often, young adults in recovery leave out pieces of their story. Unwilling to face them head on, the pain lingers, anger grows, resentment festers. Until these experiences are processed honestly, there will be an ongoing compulsion to drink and use drugs to escape the pain, guilt, and shame.

    True recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism involves much more than just putting an end to drinking and drug use. An adolescent recovering from addiction needs to adopt a whole new outlook and way of living. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps young adult recovering addicts and alcoholics to regain their lives through long-term sobriety. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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