Before our founder Holly Whitaker started Tempest in 2014 (then known as Hip Sobriety), there were essentially two options available to people who wanted to address their drinking: 12-step programs or rehab. While these treatments have helped lots of people, there are some elements folks find prohibitive being identified as an “alcoholic” or “addict,” and the requirement to hit “rock bottom.” These criteria can leave people wanting to do something about their drinking, but delaying treatment because “it isn’t bad enough.” I know from personal experience that this is an awful place to be, and it can last for years. 

At Tempest, we believe things should be different. We believe that the recovery process begins the moment we become willing to question our relationship with alcohol. And that you should have access to support regardless of what you score on an “Am I an Alcoholic” quiz

A New Approach to Recovery

Modern Recovery is a movement we started to bring a clearer and more compassionate understanding of what it takes to heal from alcohol addiction. It’s a holistic approach to healing that addresses the root causes of alcohol use and addiction, and it’s open to anyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol. We want everyone to be able to get help when they need it, regardless of what their drinking looks like. Alcohol use disorder is a spectrum, and treatment should be built to include those with less severe forms of addiction. 

We think the individual, not the program, knows what’s best. Breaking long-held habits is a profoundly personal process, so why wouldn’t you be the expert in your own healing? That’s why Modern Recovery starts with you, and builds a program around your unique needs, preferences, and identities.  

The Six Pillars of Modern Recovery

Our goal with this movement is to expand the definition of recovery to include more experiences and identities, more holistic and trauma-informed approaches to care, and a sense of personal agency for each individual in recovery. We created these six pillars encompass our mission:

1. Modern Recovery puts you at the center. 

We start with the individual and build a program around their unique needs, preferences, and identities. We believe individuals are the experts in their own recovery.

2. Modern Recovery is personalized and contextual.

We draw on evidence-based, existing traditional, and emerging models of care. We encourage folks to draw from a constellation of treatments to create a uniquely suited model of recovery. 

3. Modern Recovery treats the whole person.

We need a holistic, integrated approach to recovery that addresses the root causes of our alcohol use. Drinking affected every part of our lives, so should the healing. We seek to include all dimensions of an individual, including psychology, spirituality, biology, environment, identity, and more.

4. Modern Recovery is made for everyone.

We make real connections, real friendships, and we work together in a place free from judgment and shame. We’re continuously adjusting to include and center non-dominant identities in order to encourage a sense of belonging and ownership for everyone.

5. Modern Recovery is label optional.

We need to be seen as individuals, not a diagnosis. Any reason is a good reason to start exploring our relationship with alcohol — no qualification necessary. We encourage people to use whatever labels or identities empower them or solidify their path.

6. Modern Recovery is for anyone who wants it.

We believe addiction lives on a spectrum, and models of care should be built to include those with less severe forms of addiction. Recovery is for everyone and “hitting bottom” is never a requirement. 

Retelling the Recovery Journey

At Tempest, we’ve come to define the path to recovery as six different stages. Ether is the first stage, when drinking is a normal coping mechanism. The inkling stage is when we begin to suspect that our relationship with alcohol may not be good for us. Awareness is the stage we see our drinking in a new light, and then the reckoning stage is a pivotal point in our journey when we realize we need to make a change. This is followed by rebuilding, where we begin the healing process and learn new ways to cope, and then finally the outpouring stage, where we are living alcohol-free, and we’re proud of it.

We’ve gathered different voices and experiences to create an entire recovery journey, written and recorded by our very own members. We’ve captured the small moments of clarity that occur before we stop drinking, as well as the big changes that happen in sobriety. 

We hope that those who read and listen to these stories will take a moment to reflect on the role alcohol plays in their own life. And, most of all, we’d like to get the message out that Modern Recovery is open to everyone. The only label you need is your name.

Visit the official Modern Recovery site to learn more about the movement, read and listen to member stories, and get involved.