Thursday, August 31, 2017

Long Term Sobriety

I was recently thinking about the difference between my sobriety today versus when I first walked through the doors of A.A. twelve years ago. What has enabled me to remain sober when so many others have not? Of the few hundred members that were around in my early sobriety, only six, to my knowledge,  have stayed sober, alive and are still involved in the fellowship.

I realize that number is shockingly low, so let me make some caveats. Some of those members may be sober today, but they did not stay involved with the fellowship. This is an important part of A.A.'s mission. Members of A.A. who stay sober have a responsibility to pass on that message to others. As for the rest, the ones who relapsed and/or died due to their alcoholism/addiction, they also attempted to tread other paths than the one set out in A.A., but these attempts failed.

I would not go so far as to say A.A. is the one and only way to stay sober, but I will say it is the best and simplest way to remain on a path of recovery. Members who have attempted to "make it on their own," usually get distracted by: relationships especially with another addict or alcoholic; work; and addiction-switching, such as gambling, sex, exercise, and food. In observing others and meditating on my own character defects, I learned that the things which we alcoholics feel we are denying ourselves will be given back to us in time... when we can handle them. Full recovery from the negative impacts of alcoholism will take some time. With the program at Wilmington Recovery, I hope to present newly-sober members with the tools to achieve long-term sobriety, if they would have it.

These are the key points about long-term sobriety that I'd like to make over my next entries: acceptance, desire, willingness, change, drive, balance, other-centeredness.

We'll start with acceptance. When I finally and fully accepted that I had a problem, I could then move toward the solution. However, acceptance for me was not the entire answer because I have what is known as a three-fold disease; physical, mental and spiritual. What acceptance did was enable me to choose one of two paths: I could go on to the bitter end living like I had been with my new found understanding; or I could accept spiritual help. Picking the second option (and it is an option, a choice) is why I believe I'm still around to share on this forum. To me, acceptance that I have a devastating weakness to mind-altering substances deals with the mental component. This is where I can choose to exert my will power to follow the suggestions set forth in A.A. and make them a way of life.

Monday, June 12, 2017


This blog will be dedicated to the subject of enabling.

Enabling can be hard to spot by those who are doing it. In my line of work I see it all the time. Recently, I tried to point out to the parent of an 18 year old, that their undying belief in their sons honesty was a huge liability and handicap to his success in sobriety. As a parent myself, I understand the need to believe that my children are telling me the truth wholesale, but if I do not take into account that my child or family member is an addict or alcoholic, then I'm the one with the problem. 

Addicts and alcoholics are very smart when it comes to manipulation. This parent described to me what their child told them, namely that he shouldn't be living in a half-way house. He played on a parent's worst fears, saying bad things about his housemates, complaining about unfair rules and that the house was in a bad area of town. None of this was true, of course, but the addict achieved his desired outcome. He got his own apartment and a car, and he'd only been out of treatment for a month. It may seem obvious to anyone reading this story that this was not the best outcome, but keep in mind that the desire to fix material things for the people we care about can be overwhelming when we feel powerless to fix the real problem: their addiction. 

My problem when using was that I wanted life to change to meet my conditions. I didn't understand that I had to change to meet conditions as they were. My parents where lucky. They wised up in enough time to stop from killing me through enabling. They stopped bailing me out of jail even though I protested that it wasn't my fault, whatever it was that got me in there. They let me spend some real time being present to the consequences of my behavior. "But you don't understand" became my mantra when they stopped "helping" me. As if being misunderstood was the root of my addiction and the reason for the conditions of life as I was living it. I believe a wise parent would say, "I don't need to understand because it is your problem and you are going to deal with it."

The real problem with enabling is that it trains the sick member of the family to depend on you for too much security and unhealthy dependence. The sick person will not be equipped to handle life and all that it throws at them because they have depended too much on someone else for things they should be doing themselves.

I do my best to coach receptive family members as to how to approach the various situations that newly sober individuals face. At Wilmington Recovery, the priority is to teach and promote healthy life skills to each member through weekly activities such as short term budgeting, healthy approaches to relationships, realistic goal setting for future desires and doing for yourself what you can. For the parents and loved ones of addicts and alcoholics at any stage of recovery or addiction, Al-anon is the best resource for coping with and learning how to truly help.

Best of luck,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Opioid Addiction

Hello. My name is Kelly Vaughn, sober 11 yrs at the time of this writing.  I own and operate Wilmington Recovery, LLC, an addiction treatment program located in Wilmington, NC.

The goal of this blog is to help anyone who comes across the Wilmington Recovery website with my personal advice on different aspects of addiction recovery. It will also serve as a resource for members of Wilmington Recovery. As the organization grows, I have less personal time to spend with individual members. Hopefully, the advice provided here will help anyone, members and non-members alike, face the daunting task of sobriety. 

Our first topic is opioid addiction, as it's a prevalent problem in the Cape Fear region. I've had many years experience in the face of opioid addiction. I have found very little to be effective in the battle against opiate use. I've seen many addicts try the maintenance plans (Suboxone & Subutex) only to set themselves up for failure later. In my experience, maintenance plans are not a recipe for success with those who really want to stay clean/sober long term.

However, there is one treatment thus far that I've seen have great results. This drug is called "Vivitrol" (shot) or "Naltrexone" (pill). If you struggle with opiate abuse (or have a loved one that does), this may be the bridge to recovery that you've been searching for. The injection can last up to 30 days, thereby making null the effects of an opiate. A pill may be administered during the last few days of half-life of the injection to prevent the addict from having a window of opportunity. At this point, the illicit drug has lost it's physical hold over the individual. This is where recovery must come into play. To read more about Vivitrol, go here:

Most addicts will look for ways to fill the void left in the wake of using opioids. They substitute other drugs, other highs, in an effort to find something else to change their mood. Once the drug has been eliminated from their body, the main problem will center in the mind. Anyone who has come out of with-drawl will know what a high level of anxiety reality can cause an addict. Healthy coping mechanisms, such as attending AA meetings, exercise, meditating, speaking to a sponsor, or journaling/blogging (heh heh) must be employed, otherwise it's back to square one in short-order.

I haven't been paid to endorse one method over the other. This is just a personal observation. However one chooses to get sober, the issue of staying sober remains the same. If an addict stays away from drugs  for any period of time they start to act much like normal people. Having the desire to stay sober must be paramount as it will take quite a bit of will power and effort. Feel free to call me and make a start on your road to permanent recovery.


Kelly 9104097564