Monday, August 18, 2014

Berni Fried Discusses the Concept of ‘Birthdays’ in the Recovery Community

Berni Fried
Many people believe alcoholism or drug addiction is a permanent character flaw, says therapist Berni Fried. In recovery herself, Fried has learned a number of powerful lessons about how to transform her way of thinking and make room for a new way of seeing the world. Many addicts are fear based and driven by pain and self loathing. In the 12 step meetings, there is tremendous support and reassurance. The ability to feel like you are “not alone” helps to reduce the sense of shame and disconnection. When addicts celebrate 365 days of continuous sobriety it is marked by taking a “cake”. This is a birthday which is recognized by the group as a significant milestone not just for the recovering person but also for the group as a whole.

Berni Fried has 26 years of sobriety and even for her seeing other addicts gaining milestones and “taking cakes” helps to provide her with a sense of reassurance and connection with her peers. Hearing other recovering people share their stories about trials and tribulations in both using and sober helps to restore hope and faith that if “she can do it, I can do it!”. Celebrating various lengths of sobriety instills a sense of accomplishment and pride that staying sober is possible! For many recovering people they’re “sober birthday” is more important than their natural birthday because this was the day that they were able to let go of the dependency on drugs and alcohol and be free from the trap of Addiction and Alcoholism. The joy of celebrating recovery and marking sobriety with both “chips and cakes” helps to remind the recovering person that they are on the right track and they have accomplished a huge feat.

The friend of Berni Fried was discussing the fact that recovering addicts often celebrate a “clean and sober date.” This marks the beginning of a different life. A day at a time, a 24 hour period at a time, the recovering person is free from the enslavement of drugs and alcohol in their life.

One of the greatest gifts of 12 Step meetings is the opportunity to meet some truly remarkable people, shares Berni Fried. When she is feeling low, these gatherings provide the opportunity to feel safe and connected. When Berni Fried made the decision to stop taking drugs over 2 decades ago, the 12 Step process proved to be a cornerstone in her sobriety. Now, in her growth to healing and wholeness, she feels a profound sense of gratitude for a life without alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviors.