“Out of the Woods” is about long-term recovery of all kinds. The book addresses people recovering from alcoholism, drug addiction, food and eating addictions—(including the near cousin: exercise addiction), and the behavioral addictions like gambling and sex. The principles that I discuss are those of Twelve-step programs like AA, Alanon, NA, DA, OA etc.
That is one of the eye-opening discoveries of my own long recovery that I share in this book: the longer we are in recovery from our addiction the more we are like someone in long recovery from any addiction.
In fact, as our recovery progresses—and recovery is progressive just as the disease of addiction is progressive—the more we may need to know about other fellowships, because, of course, just as we lay down one problem we can easily be drawn to something else as salve for the feelings that always arise.
There are many experts who believe that addiction is about not wanting to feel certain difficult feelings and if you hear enough recovery stories you’ll see why. But it’s also true that there are plenty of folks who had the rare healthy upbringing, no abuse, no terrible “issues” except for a down right, absolute addiction to booze or pills or food. For most of us the addiction is in us, rather than in the substance—that is why recovery can be all-encompassing.
I know this so well, and I write about this in “Out of the Woods”: Even all these years later when I get troubled I start to get busy. I make my to-do list extra long, I sign up and I volunteer and I pile it on. And then I remember my friend Bridget’s amazing advice from early recovery: “Feelings can’t hit a moving target.”
When I get quiet, stop all the extras, and allow myself to be in the stillness the feelings will arise, and the wise solution is right behind.
More on this in “Out of the Woods—A Woman’s Guide to Long-term Recovery.”