The telephone helps us share on a one-to-one basis and avoid
isolation. The telephone is a tool with which we learn to reach out, ask
for help, and extend help to others. The telephone also provides
an immediate outlet for those hard-to-handle feelings and cravings of
early recovery. The telephone is our meeting between meetings. By making
contact with others, we begin to break out of the isolation that is so
often characteristic of our illnesses.
One very popular recovery tool is to acquire or make a phone list. A
phone list is a set of emergency phone numbers of supportive others who
can be relied on for help in one way or another. Some DRA and other 12
Step groups maintain a list of members with some recovery experience who
are willing to take calls from newer members who may be having trouble
with cravings or other minor recovery related problems. Often members
will offer other members their number before or after meetings just for
It pays to have at least several different numbers to call. It's very
possible that at the precise moment help is needed, several of the
people on your list won't be available. They may be at work, sleeping,
very busy, or otherwise away from their phones.
We also learn that it's ok to call our professional resources in
times of need. If we are having problems with our medications or an
increase in symptoms, calling our psychiatrist's office to let them know
about the situation is part of learning to take responsibility for our
own recovery. Our doctors and therapists may be busy people but they are
concerned about our well-being and appreciate our dual recovery. They
may approve an adjustment in meds over the phone, offer an expedited
appointment, or a different coping technique to try.
The telephone has proved to be a lifeline for countless recovering
addicts and alcoholics. One recovering person talking to another has
proved time and time again to be powerful enough to keep them from
taking that first drink or drug. The thing is, we have to learn to make
those calls before using the drugs or taking the drink. Many of us need
to practice using this tool. We may have an intense fear of rejection or
feel unworthy. We may have certain anxieties to overcome. It's ok to ask
a person who gives you their phone number if you can practice using it.
At first, few of us are comfortable reaching out for
support. Keep in mind though, that using the telephone for
support is a longstanding and deeply engrained tradition throughout all
Twelve Step communities and fellowships. Besides meetings, the telephone
is our main tool for networking with other recovering people.
The Internet is also becoming a valuable recovery tool. Not only for
general recovery information like this web site, but for personal
support with the various instant messaging and Internet chat programs
that have become popular. Online recovery groups, chat rooms,
and e-mail discussion lists are plentiful on the Internet,
however, they are not meant to substitute or replace real live face to
face support meetings.
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