Category Archives: Addiction

Compassion for Ourselves and Others can Grow From the Pain of Our Childhoods

4244896858_85b07caa7d_z“Often, our misunderstandings about love are born in disruptive family relationships, where someone was either one-up or one-down to an extreme. There is an appropriate and necessary difference in the balance of power between parents and young children, but in the best situations, there should be no power struggles by the time those children have become adults – just deep connection, trust, and respect between people who sincerely care about each other.

In disruptive families, children are taught to remain one-up or one-down into adulthood. And this produces immature adults who either seek to dominate others (one-up) or who allow themselves to be dominated (one-down) in their relationships – one powerful and one needy, one enabling and one addicted, one decisive and one confused. In relationships with these people, manipulation abounds. Especially when they start to feel out of control.”     ― Tim Clinton

The Red Book of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) lists three ways we learn to dissassociate from painful feelings. We learn to use: (1) rationalizing, (2) using substances. and (3) creating negative excitement such as phobias, obsessions, etc. These force the body to produce physical armor–adrenaline, endorphins, melatonin–to stay imprisoned in a narrow but familar range of behavior.

So because I grew up in a home controlled by alcoholism, I learned emotionally how to create my own little cage that I lived in for over 60 years. I’m lucky. I learned how to come out of the cage and really be free. I meet others along my journey who have learned this complete release of the ties that bound us up inside ourselves. And they write about their journey in a way I can completely identify.

From laurieworks: “Just Keep Following (The Heartlines on Your Hands)“:

“I have struggled with anxiety for years. It came to the forefront when I stopped drinking, but it was there beforehand. I just had no awareness of it. When I stopped drinking, I got to see my anxiety front and center. I’ve had the chance to observe it the past almost 3 years. And as I do I realize it’s plagued me since I was a small child. I grew up in an atmosphere where I was only allowed to do things if they followed “the family rules” which were inconsistent and hard to determine. As a result I developed a ridiculously sensitive conscience and what I think is the origin of my anxiety.”

“Doing things in a self-empowered, heart-centered way is extremely foreign to me. Beginning last year in May/June, I started switching to this mode of life. It’s the reason I stopped going to 12 step recovery, stopped my love addiction recovery, started my yoga teacher training. I selected this teacher training mainly due to the empowerment aspect of it. I’m not seeking another person to tell me what to do. I’m seeking an empowered life.”

“It’s not easy. Because it requires finding the “still point in the turning world” (as e.e. cummings says) and rising out of the dark of that silence to quietly pursue what my heart prompts of me.”

“I have a different view of the heart, also. There’s millions of life coaches on the internet right now preaching following your desires, finding work you love, that kind of thing. While this has its merit, I think it can get a little skewed. Because in many ways I think you first have to reveal the heart. Which is another reason I took up Yoga. Yoga is all about learning to reveal the heart that lies beneath.”

“So yes, follow your bliss. But first – clear the mirror so you know what your bliss IS. That’s the message for me. Follow the bliss, from the True Self and the true heart center. Easy? Not necessarily.”

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Addiction Recovery Blogs Help Recovering People Connect With Each Other

2501714503_d74b8b3e70_zOne of the things that helps me most in recovery is reading how other recovering bloggers work their program. We each work the 12 steps but our journey is an individual one. I am so grateful that in 1976 when I went to a home for recovering females that I was forced to work as a group each day on step work. We also had individual therapy, group therapy, AA meetings in the home, AA meetings outside the home, and did all the physical work of making the home work. I like to include excerpts from 3 different bloggers to widen the opportunities for others to find new blogs and ideas to keep the recovery journey alive.

1.  From Sharon W, one of my favorite bloggers, writing on her blog, codependentlife.com, “Fighting the Attitude Disease“:

“To me, my recovery journey is all about the transformation in me, in my thoughts, and how I live my life. Over the years I have learned and relearned many things about myself. Without a doubt one of the most difficult things for me do is to retrain negative thoughts or feelings into something good. Their has been many situations that I have analyzed, prayed about and believed that I had overcome, and then out of the blue, something will happen, and stinking thinking will broad side me when I least expected it too.”

“I use to beat myself up when that happened. As far as I am concerned living it the first time was more than enough, and I did not want the hurts of my past sabotaging my life anymore. I have come to realize that when I am ambushed like that that it is a conditioned reflex of what I call temporary insanity. The reason I call it temporary insanity is because it is temporary. I can usually work myself out of it in a short time whereas in the past it consumed and obsessed my whole life.”

“This happens to me when I am most vulnerable; when I am physically exhausted, when I am under a lot of stress and I have not had an opportunity to recharge my physical and emotional batteries. My husband’s disease is alcoholism. My disease is stinking thinking, (attitudism), distorted thinking, (beliefism & perceptionism). But most people called it codependency.”

2.  From Art Mowle, another favorite, writing on his blog, Drinking for a Lifetime, “Simple Things“:

“Last night, after a beautiful lunch with family and loved ones for my sobriety “birthday”, I couldn’t help but wonder how had I made it for 8 years? What had I done to stay sober for this amount of time? Was it just luck? Had I just had enough? What was the secret, so I can share it with everyone tomorrow?”

“The most important thing that I have done is, giving my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. When I do that regularly I seem to feel better, in the same way it does for others. Letting God run the show is much easier than doing it myself.”

“After that, it’s simple. My sobriety is actually dependent on me doing simple things over, and over, and over again. Sometimes this might mean every day, or it might mean on a regular basis, or it could even be that over the years I have had to consistently fall back on the same set of crutches when the going gets tough.”

“Why?”

“I think it is because I am human. Part of the human condition is that I am what I think about and what I do on a regular basis. When I am musing over my life, I often discover that I am usually doing much better than I like to give myself credit for. If I think like that often enough, I can have that realization that I am fine be a larger part of my day. When I read the 11th step prayer I have taped to the back of my Big Book, I am less inclined to be a self centered jackass, as I make my way in the world during any given day.”

3.  From Erin, a new blogger for me, writing at her blog, littlesacredspace, “Practicing Gratefulness”:

“A practice of gratefulness affirms that our worth is not based on our own failures or successes but upon God’s gracious and everlasting love for us.  Being grateful in the “nothingness” teaches us that despite the in betweenness of life, God’s love is constant.  Instead of doing, being, and having it all on our own and for us, we rejoice in our own need for God, the beauty of relying on others, and the wisdom of finding joy in the everyday.”

“So often I am astonished to stop and realize the things I working so hard and aiming for (a job, a house, stability and security) will not actually make me all that happier in the long run.  The danger of this kind of thinking is that by focusing on future happiness and success, the gift of the present passes us by.  Instead, at this moment, praise God, I really have all I need–a God who loves me, faults and all, and people around me who feel the same and who I am blessed to love.  Isn’t that what life is really about?”

“As you can see, gratefulness, for me at least, requires great practice.  It’s a mental practice that requires turning from the things the world preaches to the things that God teaches.  It’s a practice where God quietly reorients my will to God’s service and God willing, I obey.”

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