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hello my fellow fallible humans my name is Tanya McIntyre and this is the Red

Roof recovery show, a program to soften the path of recovery from substance and

behavioral addictions – and it’s not just

for addictions… it’s for life!

I appreciate you spending the next few minutes here as I’m joined in conversation with my life partner, my best friend… I call him Sir Lancelot. My knight in shining armor has been with me for over 30 years and much of that was lived experience through my drug and alcohol addictions.

Lance brings perspective of a family member living with someone not just through their addictions but also living with someone in recovery because my physical sobriety was just one step then my emotional sobriety is an ongoing journey.

Lance shares his lived experience and empathy with family members whose loved

ones are struggling with addictions, and shares strategies and techniques for effective communication tools that can often motivate your loved one to seek recovery sooner than later.

We offer thoughtful conversation about a variety of recovery topics. You’ll hear about science-based approaches to build a life beyond addiction – a life that you won’t need to escape from.

There are literally hundreds of tools that you can use to manage recovery in life. The key – one of my favorite acronyms – K.E.Y. – Keep Educating Yourself until you find something that clicks for you. This is about you and your recovery.

I’m sharing with you what has worked for me in my recovery and I hope it inspires and motivates you or someone you love.

On this episode of The Red Roof recovery show we’re talking about Great Expectations, setting yourself up for success in recovery.

I think through my experience of watching you go through your phases, and other people during our work, there’s an expectation when you make the decision to go into a

facility to aid your recovery – that once you’ve done your in our case one week or your 30 days, 45 days, 60 days or 90 days, 120 days,that you’re going to come out at the end of it cured.

I think we both feel that there’s no such thing as a cure for addictive behaviors.

When my rehab experience happened in 2009 the only model of recovery available then

was the 12-step recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I often say AA saved my life and

something called SMART self-management and recovery training gave me my life


When I was in AA 12-step meetings of AA and NA for 8 years I kept relapsing every year

but that was not the fault of the program. I think that was the fault of my expectations thinking that my going into a 30-day rehab, I was going to come out and not have to do anything to maintain my sobriety.  I thought I would be cured. I was kind of expecting that I would one day be able to have a glass of wine with dinner or have that snifter of

brandy after a nice meal. You know those romantic recollections.

I think for sure there was definitely an expectation of a cure that I wouldn’t really have to do a lot to maintain my abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

So, this is coming from someone who is just an observer and doesn’t really understand

what people go through when trying to get out of their addictive behaviors. There seems to be an expectation that – once they’ve made the decision that they need help and they reach out and set everything in place, they go in thinking there’s going to be this

epiphany. It’s a bit like you’re going to go and take your driving lessons and you’re

going to pass your test at the end of it and then you’re going to go out and you’re going to be a perfect driver. You can do anything you like and as we know with driving once you pass your test that’s when you start to learn to drive and it takes work and lots of practice!

It seems to me that a lot of people don’t expect that when they emerge from the facility

that there’s work to do afterwards.

Yes I agree there is an expectation

around that for sure I do see an

evolution since my first rehab

experience though. The industry

seems to have finally developed

that idea that it’s going to take more

than just a residential stay

for you to be on the right path to kind

of set that infrastructure that you need –

that foundation that you need.

I always use the

analogy of treating your mind like a


That you’re creating this

path of recovery that you want to keep


free of bumps as possible so creating

this smooth walk of recovery – a smooth

path of recovery – and you do that by

sowing good seeds and doing regular

weeding.  Your garden is the mind that you

are retraining to serve you in healthier

ways. We do that by sowing good seeds

by hanging around with good people,

staying in good places, doing good

things – people places and things – that we

have to keep those elements positive and

aligned with our recovery goals. The weeding

is to avoid the people places and things that

are going to take you away from where you want to be.

Making your recovery path a smoother walk makes it easier to stay on course!

I’m sorry

that I tend to go down these rabbit

holes and not finish my thought so

um yes when I left my 30-day rehab

experience there was no aftercare

program. You were basically told to go to

30 meetings in 30 days when you get out

and that was supposed to be the

be-all-end-all deal.

I love the peer support of

12-step meetings. If you can find good

meetings they are absolutely uh I think

an integral part of recovery.

For me, the relapsing happened when I

got to step 4 and that’s quite

common because step four in 12-step

programs is that you have to do a

fearless and searching moral inventory.

And who wants to do that???!!!

run away run away

That was my stickling point for

many many years – trying to get through

the fourth and fifth steps of 12-step

programs. I kept relapsing because I

didn’t want to face it.

So when I was introduced to SMART

self-management and recovery training in

2018, cognitive therapies resonated

with me.

That’s why I’m so passionate

about sharing what’s worked for me.

When I kept relapsing in

12-step programs after eight years, I was also

going to a lot of funerals and I knew

it was just going to be a matter of time

before I didn’t return from one of my

relapses.  I went in search of a

solution, something secular that I could bring to

my community. The pickins were slim

when I was looking in 2018. A couple of

things that came on the radar for me were SMART

which was in Mentor Ohio which is

part of the reason why I chose smart.  The

other one was LifeRing and I’m now involved with

LifeRing as a meeting convener. It was founded

in the early 2000s in Florida and it made its

way to British Columbia and Alberta. It

seems to be very popular in the west

coast of Canada and in parts of the

United States now but where we are in

Ontario it’s taking a little longer to

get here so I am now a

meeting convener

with lifering as well.

I believe that cognitive therapies can

work, but they don’t work for everybody.

They worked for me because it forced me to do

the work that I was avoiding in 12-step

programs. It forced me to ask the

questions what do you want, what are you

doing about it, and how do you feel about

what you’re doing about it?

I never took time to

really ask those questions.

You made a decision in

2009 to go into rehab thinking that you’d come out

and that everything would be fine and relaxed

and then went on the cycle of relapse

and finally found what was working for


I’ve managed to sustain my

abstinence from drugs and alcohol for

over four years now and that’s thanks to

immersing myself in the work.

I think it’s important to

stay engaged in the work of

your recovery.


physical part of my recovery was just

the first step. Stopping the drugs and

alcohol was just step one and then I had

to work on my emotional sobriety and

that’s ongoing.

As you know, you’ve now been with me

abstinent from drugs and alcohol for

over four years and you know the

challenges that you have living with me!

My observations are with people

who have made the decision to seek help

and have the expectation that once they’ve

finished their time in the facility that

they’re good.

People say

when I finish your program will I be

cured? That’s a tough one because it

depends on what cure means for you.

I feel cured because this has

been a long journey that started in

  1. I’ve got lots of evidence about

what doesn’t work for me because I had

a lot of relapses.

Now that I’ve enjoyed over four

years of continual sobriety I’m

confident that yes I’m

recovered. I’ve experienced a cure for me.

That’s not to say that I can get complacent

with the work that I’m doing. I stay very

engaged in my aftercare, my relapse

prevention work. It’s a

business for me now too so it’s a little

easier for me to stay engaged in it.

For people expecting that they can come

out of a rehab facility and not do

anything except not drink, drug, whatever

your addiction is, without staying

engaged in something, is setting yourself up for



doesn’t take long. It takes a persistent

willingness to exert consistent efforts

to help yourself.  For me it’s

like 10-15 minutes a day of doing

something specific for my self-care,

something specifically related to my

recovery that keeps my path a lot

smoother to walk.

Everyone’s different.  There are

a lot of people who may think that

when they are cured at some point in the

future they’ll be able to

drink or do whatever moderately – oh, the

dream of moderation – yes, there are a lot

of programs that promise moderation.

I’ve never heard of anyone being successful in

a program of moderation.

I would love to hear from somebody if

you have!

That is one of the expectations – that once you’ve done your

course or your program that you’re going to

come out and everything’s gonna be fine

and you don’t have to do anything else.

Sometime in the future after

you’ve been abstinent for x amount of time you might think that

you’ll be able to become a social drinker.

I’ve never seen it work. What does work

are the elements that you can take into your

recovery journey.

You decide that you’re

going to change and

stay abstinent from your addiction.

Then you make a plan, very important .

And then you act.

Decide, Plan, and Act.

Make sure the actions you

are taking are taking you toward where you say

you want to be.

The plan is setting the


So you decide that you’re going to

make the change, you plan for it, you set

the goal, and then you act .

Make sure all of your actions stay aligned with the path that

you’re on and again that treating your

mind like a garden – sowing good seeds and

doing regular weeding. That seems to

be the hard work for me is just to keep

treating my mind like a garden

and talking to myself like I talk to my

good friends.

Thank you sweetheart. I love your

perspective from being a family

member living through my addictions and

now living with me through my recovery.

I appreciate you, thank you, I love you and

I appreciate you.

Thank YOU for listening and

watching wherever you are in the world.

Thank you so much, and if you get

something from our conversations please

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share with your friends. It means the

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May the force be

with you, and – remember –

you are the force!