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Grant Us the Serenity — The Gifts of Long-Term Recovery: Interview with Dennis Berry | Episode

For many of us, we have experiences in our life that mark “before” and “after.” For people in long-term recovery, one of those moments is the date they decided to take significant action in fighting their addiction. Most recite this date with pride and mark it as a milestone as the months, then years, then decades pass.

As a psychologist I can’t say that I gave 12-step programs much more than a passing thought. The support groups and programs were often seen in many circles I traveled as somehow “less than” or “alternative” to mainstream psychotherapy. I knew about AA and Al-Anon, but I had no idea about how many other groups existed and how many people had benefitted from them.

Now that I’ve had some firsthand experience, I can say that I deeply appreciate the approach and understand why they have helped millions of people.

First, they offer a community. A fellowship of peers who have walked the path. Instantly new people are welcomed as the most important group needing support. There are many rules to protect the psychological safety of this community, because helping people feel less alone is a major part of what heals us. Second, they offer guidance for people to consider spiritual growth — no matter what your religious views are (or aren’t as agnostics and atheists are welcomed too). “Spiritual growth” in this context is about connecting with something bigger than yourself and finding a higher calling. There is an emphasis on serving others, reflecting deeply on how to find forgiveness from your past and find grace and growth in making amends. Finally, there is a clear pathway toward healing. The action steps and accountability of the work keep people taking steps forward — one day at a time.

In this interview, I speak with Dennis Berry, a man 18 years sober. He defines serenity as “not drinking today.” In our conversation he shares his story of he transitioned from his addiction to being on a life mission to help others “shorten their learning curve” to recovery. We talk about the brain science behind addiction and the “H.O.W.” approach to achieving a healthy vibrant life. For more information go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/93

community, coping, coping skills, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, empowerment, hope, life skills, mental health, mental illness, Mental Wellness, new beginnings, recovery, resilience, self-care, Self-compassion, Self-empowerment, suicide, suicide awareness, suicide prevention

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