I am interested in starting a Chemical Recovery group in my sector.
A Chemical Recovery (CR) group has rules that provide structure and accountability for the recovering addict. Addicts are accustomed to living according to their whims, seeking instant gratification, without much in the way of moral or ethical boundaries. The rules help the addict understand that they are not a victim but are in charge of their recovery. In addition, they provide a way for the addict and the group to measure how serious the addict is in "working the program" A Chemical Recovery group must have the following rules:
- Raise your hand to speak.
The CR group needs to have a sense of order and discipline. This can't be achieved by people speaking and commenting whenever they feel like it. If someone has something to say in the group they should raise their hand and wait until called upon to speak.
- Be on time. Doors close promptly at (Group Start Time).
This has been a rule in CR since its inception. When we used we made sure that nothing got in the way of our using. If our dealer told us that he would be at a certain place with our "stuff", chances are we would be there 30 minutes early waiting for him. It is unacceptale to put less effort into our recovery than we did with our using.
- Respect the Group Confidentiality. What is said in group, stays in group.
A person coming into group must feel safe to be able to speak freely about their using, their consequences and their feelings without these things becoming public knowledge. Anyone breaching this confidentiality has committed a serious offence against the group.
- You may leave the room during group, however, if you do, you may not re-enter.
When a group starts, it is a time to focus on our recovery as well as helping those in the room that need it. There is nothing so distracting as people walking in and out of the room as this is going on. Each person should be organized enough to get or do whatever they need prior to the group starting.
- Smoking is not permitted in or around these premises.
Many recovery programs do not consider cigarette smoking as an addiction that needs to be dealt with as a part of recovery and as such many allow smoking outside the meeting area. Due to CR being an open group we want to make clear that we do not consider acceptable and certainly not around the meeting premises.
- No profanity, violence, weapons or threats will be tolerated in this group.
Again, this is pefectly acceptable in many recovery groups but is not acceptable in CR ans as such needs to be clearly stated.
- You may not bring drugs, alcohol or drug paraphernalia into this group.
In the past this would have seemed like an unnecessary rule, however today, given the fact that CR is now an open group, it is necessary to make this rule absolutely understood.
- Street names or slang for drugs or alcohol, may not be used in this group.Only clinical names are allowed.
Use of slang to describe drugs, alcohol or events around using is simply "romancing" the drug again. It is a dangerous practice as it seperates the user from the seriousness of their use.
- Three instances of rule violation will deem you unsuitable for this group.
This is a tangible method by which the addict can see whether he is working his program seriously. If a person attending the group is regularly flaunting the rules then the group has the ability to ask the person to leave based on their lack of adherence to the rules. The strikes apply to anyone in the room. There is however one exception to the strike rule. Common sense dictates that anyone excercising violent behavior in group will be asked to leave immediately to protect those in group for their recovery.
- The Journal
Since most addicts don't stop using until they've hit bottom, meaning that their life on drugs finally becomes too unbearable for them and they're ready to ask for help, CR recommends that each recovering addict attending the group write a journal that describes what their life was like while on drugs. The journal can then be used to "bring their bottom up". It helps the addict see how the negative consequences in his life are as a direct result of their using. It also serves to keep their "pain" right out in front, where they need it.
Once written, the journal will be read in a breakout group of 2 or 3 others and feedback will be given on it. You can't write an effective recovery journal without God. It is advisable that a person pray and fast before attempting to write one.
What's in a journal?
What you used, what happened and how did you feel, at the time, not in retrospect.
It should begin when you first picked up and end when you last picked up.
It should have all of the worst experiences that happened when you were using.
It should contain pain, brokenness and surrender to the fact that you are powerless over drugs.
It should be handwritten as computers tempt us to cut and paste on rewrites.
It should be written in one sitting, so several hours should be blocked off to work on it without distractions.
Once completed, it should be closed and not opened again until it's read in the breakout group.
What's not in a journal?
Why you used: The truth is that as addicts, we would use anything as a reason to use. We used because we wanted to. If we focus on the why's, we might be deceived into thinking that if those why's were eliminated from our lives we could go back to using.
Blameshifting: Similar to "why", as addicts we're tempted to blame our problems on others.
Narrative or "fluff": The journal is written by you for you. There's no need to describe the setting or anything else. As addicts, we don't like to feel the consequences of our using. Adding extra verbage to the journal will dull the impact.
Slang or street terms for drugs, unnecessary sexual references or other forms of glorification: Slang can bring a glamorous tone to drug use, as can unnecessary sexual reference. These things are boasting and show that you're still romancing the drugs.
Electronic documents: Although it might seem like a great idea to use your computer to type up the journal, the truth is that it makes it very tempting to edit the journal. Editing the journal is another way of blunting the impact of the pain of your drug use and should be avoided.