Inside the Mind of a Sobering Addict

Inside the Mind of a Sobering Addict

Understanding the Complex World of Addiction

From the dawn of time, humans have been defined by an unyielding yearning for the unknown. From charting unexplored territories and taming natural forces to pursuing arcane knowledge, we have been marked by a relentless pursuit of understanding the world around us. This drive to explore, a core part of our nature, can usher us into dark corners of life, from which escape may seem impossible.

The human mind hosts an abundance of emotions and desires that drive our actions. In the case of addiction, this complexity becomes even more profound. The view inside the mind of a sobering addict reveals a confusion of thoughts and feelings that weave a tangle of struggle, resilience, and transformation.

Driven by the allure of the new and the extraordinary, we dabble in life’s darker realms. The innocent curiosity that once illuminated our path changes into a concern that casts long and disturbing shadows.

Recovery from substance abuse is a long road

Photo 131880181 © Photoking |

Exploring Early Triggers and Vulnerabilities

At the heart of addiction lies the web of triggers and vulnerabilities that ensnare individuals on their path to substance abuse. Childhood traumas, emotional pain, and unresolved conflicts act as the breeding ground for addiction, setting the stage for a perilous journey ahead. The person doesn’t like his current situation and is looking for relief.

The Role of Genetics and Environment

Environment and upbringing converge to sculpt the course of addiction. Genetic biases can increase vulnerability to addictive behaviors, while environmental factors such as peer influence and family dynamics fuel the inclination toward substance use.

Our society is saturated with various forms of escapism, amongst which substance abuse is a distressing reality. Often cloaked under the guise of fun and party culture, it stems from a seemingly harmless desire to fit in. What may begin as occasional experimentation can quickly snowball into a full-fledged dependency. Gradually, the allure of substances gains a stronghold on the individual, propelling them further into the depths of addiction.

How Substance Use Alters Brain Chemistry

The intoxicating allure of drugs and alcohol beckons the struggling addict with the promise of a temporary escape from reality. The allure lies not only in the euphoria they offer but also in the illusion of relief from life’s burdens.

At the core of addiction lies the profound impact on brain chemistry. Drugs and alcohol hijack the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine, and creating an artificial sense of pleasure that compels the addict to seek more.

The Temporary Relief and Pleasure

For a brief moment, substances provide respite from pain and anxiety, offering a tantalizing glimpse of tranquility. However, this respite proves to be transient, leading to a never-ending quest for the next high. Deceitfully, the seeds of addiction take root in the naive belief of “just one time”. This fallacy, woven by the siren song of false courage and fleeting camaraderie, often heralds the commencement of a perilous journey down the spiral of addiction.

The Gradual Slide into Dependency

Addiction is not an abrupt event but rather a gradual slide into dependency. As the individual indulges in repeated substance use, the brain adapts, and dependence takes root, making it increasingly challenging to break free.
The grip of addiction tightens its hold on both the body and mind. Physical dependence leads to withdrawal symptoms, while psychological dependence manifests as an intense craving for the substance.
The descent into addiction is not a sudden plunge, but rather a gradual slide. The exhilaration of the first few hits serves as an intoxicating lure, drawing us deeper into the addictive vortex. We find ourselves chasing this ephemeral euphoria, blinded by its dazzling appeal.

Chasing the High: Escalating Tolerance

Over time, the body builds tolerance, and the same dosage of substances no longer elicits the desired effect. This chase for the initial high drives the addict to consume higher quantities, exacerbating the cycle of addiction.
As the grip of addiction tightens, denial becomes our loyal companion. We wave away the warning signs, dismissing them as overblown or irrelevant. This denial fuels the cycle, enabling us to shrug off the consequences of our actions, even as they gather like storm clouds on the horizon.

Cravings and Triggers: The Never-Ending Loop

Cravings, like relentless waves crashing on the shore, haunt the addict, triggering the desire for substances. The presence of stress, emotions, or environmental cues reignites the cycle, perpetuating the addiction. Enough is never enough. The initial voluntary sips from the cup of substances transform into an insatiable thirst. This unending craving creates an oppressive cycle, trapping us in its relentless clutches.

The Impact on Relationships and Social Life

The gravitational pull of addiction often pushes away loved ones, straining relationships and leaving a trail of broken bonds. Social isolation becomes a common consequence, as the addict becomes entangled in a solitary battle.
The most formidable chains are not those which bind the body but those which shackle the mind. Addiction insidiously constructs a psychological prison, reducing us to mere puppets, dancing on the strings of compulsive urges.
Our lives gradually descend into chaos. Lifestyle changes become evident, and red flags appear – neglected responsibilities, erratic behaviors, and the prioritization of substance use over other aspects of life.
Substance abuse does not merely chip away at our physical and mental health; it wreaks comprehensive destruction. Its impacts are profound and far-reaching, manifesting in deteriorated health, diminished cognitive capacities, and a host of social complications.

The Mask of Denial

Denial serves as a protective shield for the addict, blinding them to the gravity of their situation. Rationalizations and justifications become their coping mechanism, shielding them from the harsh reality of their addiction.
The addict becomes a master at concealing their struggles, both from themselves and those around them. A façade of normalcy camouflages the internal turmoil, making it difficult for others to recognize the depth of their battle.
Breaking through the walls of denial is a crucial milestone in the journey to recovery. Accepting the truth about one’s addiction is the first step towards embracing vulnerability and seeking help.

Families in the Crossfire: The Unseen Victims of Substance Abuse

The ripples of addiction extend beyond the individual, engulfing their families as well. Loved ones often find themselves in the crossfire, grappling with feelings of confusion, anger, and despair. They are the unseen victims of substance abuse, ensnared in a struggle they did not choose.
Beyond the personal sphere, addiction exacts a heavy societal toll. It depletes societal resources, exacerbates socioeconomic disparities, and fuels criminal activity. Its impact is far-reaching and profound, casting a dark pall over our communities.

Financial and Legal Consequences

The pursuit of substances is an expensive affair, draining the addict’s finances and pushing them towards destructive behaviors. Legal repercussions often follow, leading to a downward spiral of consequences.

Rock Bottom and Beyond

In the shadows of addiction lies a breaking point where the consequences become too grave to ignore. Rock bottom becomes a turning point, prompting the addict to confront their reality and acknowledge the need for change.

Igniting Hope: The Possibility of a Life Free from Addiction

In the bleak landscape of addiction, moments of clarity occasionally break through the fog. These illuminating moments offer a stark realization of the depth of the problem, serving as a catalyst for change.
These stark revelations also ignite a glimmer of hope, painting the tantalizing possibility of a life free from the chains of addiction. This hope, no matter how faint, often serves as the turning point, the crucial first step towards recovery.

Embracing Vulnerability and Acceptance

Confronting vulnerability and accepting the reality of addiction is a transformative process. It marks the beginning of a journey toward self-awareness and self-compassion.

The Turning Point: Seeking Help

Seeking help is a courageous act, signaling a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness of addiction. Embracing vulnerability and acknowledging the need for support paves the way toward healing.

Recenter is Prepared to Provide Long Term Help

Having provided help for over 70 years, Recenter has seen many, many substance abusers and provided the long-term help they need. Peers, counselors, and processes work together to lay out and execute long-term support. Substance abusers can stay on site for up to two years, giving individuals the confidence that they won’t be graduated out before they have the chance to put into practice what they learned. While many re-establish relations with their family within six months and move out, many stay longer than a year.

Steven Brinkman


Recenter Takes the Long View

Recenter Takes the Long View

1. Why recovering substance abusers need long term support

Substance abuse (alcoholism and drug addiction) is a significant illness that affect millions of people globally. Many people struggling with them may feel like they are alone and helpless. Knowing that long-term support is part of a recovery program makes participants more confident. Extended support can provide the necessary assistance, guidance, and encouragement to overcome substance abuse. Recenter has specific programs that provide long term assistance (see the website section on What We Do.)

Recovery from substance abuse is a long road

Photo 131880181 © Photoking |

2. What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse is a chronic condition that affects a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It can lead to various health problems, including liver damage, cognitive impairment, and social isolation. Different chemicals damage the body in different ways. Some can cause the onset of cancer. If injected frequently, drugs can cause vein collapse and significantly increase the risk of HIV and hepatitis. The cycle of substance abuse can make it challenging for individuals to quit using without support, leading to a prolonged struggle.

Recenter assigns a new resident to a building called “The Dorm” which has a communal living environment with some newcomers and some old timers in large rooms. The old timers and the house leader keep an eye on those new to the program. These are not people involved with the management of Recenter.  They are peers of those newly arrived and their conversations are confidential.

3. The Importance of Support in Recovery

Support is essential for recovery, as it provides an opportunity for an individual to tell the truth about their life – a freedom they may not have experienced for a long time. Long-term support can help people feel accountable and encouraged to stay on track.

4. The Challenges of Early Recovery

Early recovery is one of the most challenging phases of overcoming substance abuse. Quitting drinking and using drugs can be physically painful and emotionally draining, leading to intense withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, and cravings. However, with the right support, it is possible to overcome these challenges and continue on the path to recovery.

The first few days and weeks of recovery are often the most difficult, as individuals try to adjust to life without alcohol or drugs. This can be a time of great uncertainty and discomfort as well as relief, as individuals learn how to cope with stress and anxiety in new and healthy ways.

Long-term support can be particularly helpful during this phase of recovery. For example, attending support groups such as 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery can provide individuals with a sense of community and belonging, as well as access to others who have gone through similar experiences.  Recenter residents volunteer to be sponsors and are particularly helpful and attentive to the newcomers during this time.  Additional therapy and counseling can help individuals work through their underlying issues and develop coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers.

It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey.  Sobriety must be practiced and lived.  Setbacks are a natural part of the process. With the right support, 60% of substance abusers can overcome the challenges of early recovery and continue on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life.

5. The Benefits of Long-Term Support

Long-term support can provide a multitude of benefits for those struggling with substance abuse. Ongoing therapy and counseling can help individuals address the root causes of addiction and learn coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Just knowing that Recenter’s program includes long-term support can also help individuals achieve long-term sobriety.

6. Types of Long-Term Support

Various types of long-term support are available to help individuals overcome substance abuse. Support groups like 12-Step Meetings provide peer support and guidance are held 42 times per week on the Recenter campus so all residents can attend at a convenient time.

Therapy with a Psychologist is recommended as it provides personalized support. Soon after a new residents arrives Recenter staff members, working with the resident, will develop a Life Map that makes sure all recovery counseling, medical service and prescriptions, employment, and education needs can be met for those that are ready to work their program. Plans for reuniting with family will follow. Continued sponsor involvement can help individuals stay on track and avoid relapse.

a. Recovery Counseling – We have Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Interns (LCDCI’s) on staff who provide our clients with recovery counseling services like a recovery plan, a relapse prevention plan and a plan to pursue during and post-recovery life goals.

b. Medical needs – Recenter will provide the resident a Homeless Letter certifying that they are enrolled and eligible for care and medication. Private and county-funded medical facilities are within walking distance or via Metro which runs in front of Recenter. Medical doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists are available as well prescriptions. Services and prescriptions are free or available at a drastically reduced rate.

c. Employment – If possible, Recenter encourages all residents to be employed, volunteering or looking for a job. Some jobs are available on campus. We also have a list of outside employment agencies who have paid work for our residents on a temporary, seasonal or permanent basis.

d. Education – Residents are urged to get their High School Equivalency if they did not complete High School. There is a HCC campus within walking distance for that as well as college level courses. The LCDCI’s are available to advise residents through their education planning.

Staying engaged in useful work as well as long-term support is crucial to maintaining sobriety. Individuals should strive to stay motivated, set goals, and continue their participation in all these endeavors.

7. The Importance of a Supportive Environment

Family and friends can play a significant role in supporting an individual’s recovery. Building a supportive environment can provide the necessary encouragement and accountability needed to maintain sobriety. Conversely, a non-supportive environment can make it challenging for individuals to overcome addiction.

8. Overcoming Common Obstacles in Long-Term Support

Negative self-talk, resistance to change, and setbacks are common obstacles individuals may face in recovery. Strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and developing positive self-talk can help individuals overcome these obstacles and maintain sobriety.

9. Celebrating Success in Recovery

Recognizing milestones and celebrating success in recovery is essential to staying committed and motivated. Individuals should acknowledge and celebrate their progress to maintain their focus and dedication to overcoming substance abuse.

10. Conclusion

Long-term support is crucial for individuals struggling with substance abuse to overcome addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. The various types of support available, including peer support groups, therapy, and living a sober lifestyle can provide individuals with the necessary resources to stay on track. By building a supportive environment and staying engaged in long-term support, individuals can overcome common obstacles and celebrate their success in recovery.


Steven Brinkman

Mayfest Celebrated at Recenter

Mayfest Celebrated at Recenter

end of the motorcycle ride


May 6th was a warm and beautiful spring day.  Everyone enjoyed being outside and joining in the fellowship.  Thirty five riders took part in the motorcycle ride on Saturday morning.

More than two hundred fifty residents and friends relaxed and enjoyed Recenter’s Mayfest.




A tasty barbecue lunch featured pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad, and sausage links. Our favorite disk jockeys kept the music coming.

A Time to Celebrate

We at Recenter look at Mayfest as a time to celebrate our progress on the way to overcoming addiction. We scheduled three AA meetings during our celebration. Those who wanted to attend a meeting found it convenient to attend one of these.  Hosting forty AA meetings a week is a part of the long term care we offer.

Old-timers gathered to remember the camaraderie they built as they worked to beat our disease. Current Recenter residents recognize that it is not something that you can achieve overnight. Attaining sobriety is a long-term endeavor, one that is made much easier with long-term support. Mayfest allows us to express our thankfulness for receiving that support.

Long-term care and support is a key feature that differentiates Recenter from other recovery organizations. Those fighting the disease can stay as long as two years while working on becoming addiction free. We help residents find jobs and our fees are low enough to make living here affordable.

So with this celebration over, we begin looking forward to another bigger and better Mayfest next year.

We thank our sponsors who helped contribute to another successful Mayfest.

Mayfest at Recenter

Mayfest at Recenter

Mayfest is a special time of the year when people celebrate spring and the coming of summer.  From carnivals to music festivals, there are countless opportunities to get out and enjoy the warm weather with friends and family. Mayfest will be a fantastic day for food, entertainment, raffles, and AA speaker meetings.  Come join us for a day of fellowship and fun for the whole family.  It’s Recenter’s spring thing to do.

WHEN:  May 6, 2023 – 11:00 to 4:00

WHERE:  Recenter, 3809 Main Street, Houston 77002

WHAT:  Games, food, a chance to celebrate recovery

All proceeds will support The Family Afterward Program, created to help many families affected by Substance Use Disorders.

Recenter Activities

Three AA speakers will host meetings at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00.
Games are planned for the kids.
Our DJ will be playing your music and line dancing is likely to break out.
Raffles will be scheduled throughout the day, be sure to sign up.

Special Morning Activity: A motorcycle ride from Mancuso Harley-Davidson’s Location (12710 Crossroads Parks Drive, Houston) to Recenter, escorted by The Houston Police Department.

Motorcycle rides with a police escort are a unique and thrilling experience. It involves riding in a convoy of motorcycles, escorted by police officers. During the ride, riders will get to experience the thrill of riding in close formation with the police officers providing protection and guidance throughout the journey. It’s an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air and scenery while also feeling safe and secure knowing that you have the protection of law enforcement personnel nearby.

Motorcycle ride registration will occur on the day of the ride. (You can register early by using the QR code on the flyer below and save some money.) Free breakfast for ride participants will be served starting at 9:00 and the ride will leave promptly at 10:30. Participants must be 18 years or older and sign a waiver.


Mayfest is a day when we welcome residents, neighbors, and anyone with an interest in advocating for recovery.  Come visit us and see what we are all about.

We have games and entertainment for the kids and what’s a picnic without food?  We will be serving barbecue.

We want to thank our sponsors listed below and invite anyone interested in recovery from Substance Use Disorders to make a donation.  Just click DONATE NOW on the button in the top right above.

Blanket Drive Results

Blanket Drive Results

We concluded our blanket drive with Mancuso’s Harley Davidson on December 22nd, just two days before the freezing weather hit the Houston area.  We received forty-eight blankets that we put to use immediately.  Some of our residents live in older buildings and they were especially happy to have some new blankets to sleep under.

Blankets for Recenter residents

New Blankets Arriving Just in Time

There’s nothing better on a cold winter’s night than a warm blanket to keep you warm.  Thanks to Mancuso’s for helping with this project.

donated blankets