How does Brass Tacks Recovery help individuals and families who are feeling hopeless?
Angela: We communicate to the family: we believe in you, we believe in your loved one, and we believe in the power of change. We would not be here as a company if we didn’t hope that what we do can help individuals and their families. Our entire company philosophy is rooted in hope. We cultivate that hope every time a parent cries, every time they express frustration because they have repeatedly invested in treatment centers, yet their child has still not gotten sober.
Hope is wonderful. Hope is believing that something greater than what’s occurring can happen. However, hope alone is not enough. There are steps that need to be taken. There are conversations that need to be had. There is work that needs to be done. After all, “nothing changes if nothing changes.”
You can’t just hope that your child is going to change tomorrow and then turn around and give him or her another hundred dollars. You can’t hope that your child is going to become responsible when you don’t hold them accountable. You can’t hope for a change and then take an action against it.
Do you think individuals struggling with addiction can find hope without a support system like 12 step recovery?
Aaron: I don’t believe an individual can get sober without a support system. For me, I know that when I don’t lean on my support system, I’m not quite as happy, and sobriety is about finding happiness. No happy man or woman is an island. If you want to be an island, you can be an island, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ll miss out on a lot in life.
Really, a support system is like fuel. When I walk into a 12-step meeting, and people are genuinely happy to see me, that fuels my self-esteem. It’s an interesting phenomenon when you walk into a meeting and stay long enough to make genuine connections, which form the foundation for a real, lasting recovery.
How does a belief in a higher power relate to the principle of hope?
Angela: Hope is simply believing in something greater than oneself. Hope is recognizing that there may be an idea that is better than the idea in my own mind. The 12-step program, which is one of the most effective solutions to addiction, is primarily based on the premise that an individual seeks a relationship with some kind of power greater than themselves, called a “higher power.” That power doesn’t necessarily need to be a deity; it can be as simple as a group of individuals who are struggling with the same issues.
For example, the 12-step program is not an inherently religious program; however, it is often mistaken as one. I know Atheists and Agnostics who are members of 12-step programs. In fact, one of my favorite chapters in The Big Book shares the piece of wisdom that a higher power can be looked at like electricity. One doesn’t need to understand how electricity works, but simply that it does work. The same is true of a higher power. You don’t need to find a higher power in order to achieve your goal of sobriety, you just need to seek one. I’ve found that the journey of seeking a higher power is an individual and worthwhile experience for every person.