Rev. Martin Jackson Sr., MA, M.Ed., LADC

impossible written on a sticky with the letters im removed

“The altitude of your attitude is based upon the fullness of your gratitude.”

Martin Jackson

Whenever an individual, family member, friend or loved one is struggling with, or on a journey with someone recovering from an addiction disorder, life can seem overwhelming, draped with a sense of situational hopelessness. When attempting to capture a clean/sober way of life, a multitude of heartbreaks, setbacks and disappointments can be experienced due to what practitioners who ascribe to the “disease model,” identify as a part of the illness, known as “relapse.”

With this being a new year and our calendar turning over a new leaf, those in the recovery process of getting clean and sober can do the same—turn over a new leaf of sobriety. As the famous entertainer Patti Labelle reveals in the lyrics of her song, “New Attitude,” she begins the song by illustrating feelings of, “Running hot”, and then “Running cold.” How many times when one is making attempts of getting clean and sober they witness those opposing extremes? Whether it is due to the process of withdrawal or the rollercoaster ride of emotions, family members, who are not even using, began to feel the ride. Ms. Labelle also spoke of those extreme feelings in the very same verse as that of running hot and cold, singing, “I was running into overload, that was extreme.”

In an effort to succeed in acquiring a new attitude for a clean and sober new year, a look at this song’s next stanza can be of great assistance. It says, “Somehow that wires uncrossed, The table were turned, Never knew I had such a lesson to learn” Yes, this new year must begin with an attitude that is committed to uncrossing those wires in one’s brain that’s steeped in self-doubt and disbelief. The recovery text of Narcotics Anonymous simply puts it this way, “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Enhancing one’s faith and believing that no matter what past experiences there have been, with a new day, and the New Year, we can and will turn our darkest hour into our brightest. Acquiring this attitude will afford us the opportunity to illuminate, that somewhat insane practice of, “repeating the same things and expecting different results.” With the acquisition of this type of faithful attitude, Matthew 21:21-22 says, “And Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Once the actions of uncrossing those disbelieving wires within the brain that says nothing is going to change, when enhancing our attitude of faith; then turning our will and our lives over to a positive, loving and caring Power, when realizing that the Power is of our own choosing- we can then learn the ultimate lesson in attaining, “A New Attitude for a Clean and Sober New Year.” That lesson can be achieved by sincerely embracing the lyrics written by the late great Michael Jackson, which are as follows:

I’m gonna make a change – For once in my life – It’s gonna feel real good – Gonna make a difference – Gonna make it right – As I, turn up the collar on – My favorite winter coat – This wind is blowing my mind – I see the kids in the streets – With not enough to eat – Who am I to be blind? – Pretending not to see their needs – A summer disregard, a broken bottle top – And a one man soul – They follow each other on the wind ya’know – ‘Cause they got nowhere to go – That’s why I want you to know – I’m starting with the man in the mirror – I’m asking him to change his ways – And no message could have been any clearer – If you want to make the world a better place – Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.
This lesson of genuinely taking a new and improved look at self, as again suggested within the recovery text of Narcotics Anonymous, by way of, “…
[making] a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves;”

along with securing a newfound faith that this new and improved self can and will change for the better will ensure the recovering individual, family member, friend or loved one of having a greater ability to attain, maintain and sustain, “A New Attitude for a Clean and Sober New Year.”

Rev. Martin Jackson Sr. is the owner and founder of The Institute of Health & Healing Sciences, LLC, a private therapeutic counseling practice, providing individual, family and group counseling, for those experiencing issues with Mental Health, Addictive Disorders and Wellness Recovery. Rev. Jackson has been a practitioner in the field of substance abuse since 1988.

In the year of 2014, Martin became an Ordained Minister within the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Denomination and is a member of the Ministerial Staff at Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Hartford, CT.