Category Archives: Blogs
In 1994, I began to gather all my writings about recovery. My sobriety date is Nov. 24, 1976. I named my company “Changemaker”. I mainly did group lectures while I worked in marketing for treatment centers. I didn’t begin to write about everything until 2004. So much of my work will use the name “Changemaker” because I believe we each to be the changemaker in our own recovery. At a later date, I began writing about “High Energy Life”. So you will see both names throughout my writing.
Changemaker is committed to the basic belief that each person has the opportunity for self-discovery and the potential for self-healing. As individuals, we sometimes choose paths that may be harmful to us. To get off that path and onto a new road takes exploration and experimentation.
The Changemaker Test offers education for self-discovery as we believe that the change within a person involves the courage to see (insight) and the courage to act (action). The test will teach anyone 10 or more labels about themselves. Therefore, by using the labels to change themselves, the changemaker is the person who decides to learn and make the change happen. The test, answers , and explanations for the test is free at another blog of mine, Learning Your Labels.
With the use of this test and all the answer explanations, anyone interested in helping others to learn about themselves can start a recovery peer group. Guidelines for monitoring groups, contents for structured groups, quotations for motivation, statistics about the group, suggested times for group, group size, help in helping others to professional guidance, etc. are included at How to Start and Grow a Recovery Peer Group Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope.
Groups are the recognized best method for people to gain information and acceptance from others. One of the main underpinings of AA is that all members are peers. Anyone has the opportunity to share and to be heard.
In peer groups, the group leader leads only by getting the group together. Then the leadership is shared by all the group members. By caring for others, the group members can learn as well as teach self-discovery. The group leader/leaders may choose to charge or ask for donations to pay for the meeting room and materials. To lead education groups the only requirement for the business is to have an occupational license to run a business. Peer recovery groups are not therapy groups so no other license is required.
Healing begins when, in spite of all the negative self-talk going on inside a person, that person feels someone caring and loving them for no apparent reason. This unconditional love comes in spite of attempts to search for a motive.
The Changemaker basic beliefs are:
(1) Anyone can get on the wrong road in human growth,
(2) Getting on the right road takes patience and exploration,
(3) Small groups are invaluable support in human growth,
(4) Healing comes from accepting spiritual guidance and direction,
(5) Everyone involved in helping others to grow needs his/her individual path of growth and is free to share it with others,
(6) Letting go and letting God means stepping out into an emotional void,
(7) As well as an individual growth program, each healer needs compassion and understanding.
(8) No healer can help guide beyond his/her individual path of growth.
(9) There is neither hierarchy in spiritual growth nor any ladder to climb or rank to achieve. We are each pilgrims with our own life issues.
(10) Life issues are with us throughout our earthly existence. That is why they are called life lessons. However, they do get slightly less painful if we do the work necessary.
I have been reading and collecting my favorite blogs for over 10 years. I have added many of them to my Addiction Recovery A-Z List. Several of my favorite bloggers deserve extra credit because they write well, write often, and write from the heart. I am one of those bloggers so I know what I am reading.
About confiding about family trauma:
I took my mother-in-law for her doctor’s appointment today. In the car, she began to tell me about the tests being done on her husband, who is still in hospital. I have written here before that he has cirrhosis of the liver. The doctors are doing a liver biopsy and some other tests as well.
I asked her if she thought alcohol was a factor in his liver disease. And she opened up to talk to me as she has never done before. She told me that my father-in-law would go on binges for days. She said that she has been called every name in the book by him, been yelled at and belittled. She also told me that her own father drank. And she said that he did not want her to marry another man who drank.
All of this came as a huge “Ah-Ha” for me. I could understand her anger over the years, her need for a perfect house, her changeable moods. It all made sense to me when I knew that she was a kindred soul–an adult child of an alcoholic who married an alcoholic.
I have been around my mother-in-law for all of my married life. Yet, I never had this kind of conversation with her. She kept her distress from her sister and from close friends. And she kept it for all these years from me. Now, I see her through different eyes. I feel a level of compassion for her that I have for newcomers who arrive in pain.
She has persevered through a marriage of over 50 years, carrying around a secret that so many of us, who are affected by alcoholism, do. She told me that the reason she stayed in the marriage was because of her daughter, my wife. And that decision no doubt had its ramifications for C. Probably, what she isn’t aware of, is that she stayed for other reasons as well–hoping to change the alcoholic, fear of abandonment, economic fears, pride, and a host of other emotions that keep us bound in an emotional prison.
I shared with her about my father. I didn’t mention my wife as I won’t break her anonymity, even to her own mother. I told her that I don’t know whether my dad was an alcoholic but that I also had a lot of unresolved emotions carried over from childhood. And I told her that I have learned to detach from the belligerence of others by physically removing myself. She said that she tunes out her husband’s yelling as best she can.
How I wish that she could have gotten into Al-Anon. The conversation we had made us both feel better. As she put it, “We now know something about each other that we didn’t before.” How very true. More will be revealed.
Each of us has our own share of truth, waiting to reveal itself to us. Each of us has our own share of the light, waiting for us to stand in it, to claim it as ours. ~ Melody Beattie
Today, I was asked a question by a therapist-friend of mine, who knows I am a survivor of trauma, but does not know that I am DID. I was explaining that sometimes I get “stuck” in the healing process, like I plateau and I’m moving forward but I don’t feel like I’m making progress. I explained to her that I get stuck usually in fear, and the emotion overcomes me. I am unable to process memories with my therapist at that point. They just swirl around in my head.
She asked, “Do you have to talk about the memories to move past them?”
I answered with a very strong YES! Although, as one of “The Regulars” I don’t have clear memories of the abuse, someone else does. And they really feel like it is important to talk about it to “move on” (or whatever you call healing). My therapist-friend felt that in her professional experience, it wasn’t always necessary to process the trauma, but more important to learn and implement coping skills.
I agree that healthy coping skills are important. Grounding. Containment. Hobbies. Distraction. Relaxation. But without processing the trauma, I know I will never move on. I need to talk about it with my therapist. In detail, including feeling the feelings no matter how overwhelming they are. Once and for all. I don’t know if that’s just different for me, or if it is different because I’m DID, or if it’s different because I’m dealing with Complex Trauma. Or all three?
The experience of trauma is different for different people. Some people bounce back very quickly from rape, for example, while others experience symptoms for years afterward. Losing a puppy may be a short-lived heartache for some, but others experience it as a life-changing event. Here are some events that may cause trauma: military combat, sexual assault, mugging, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, torture, prison, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes, severe accidents, or being told you have a life threatening illness.
Trauma is not limited to events that you experience directly however. A person can be traumatized by witnessing something horrible such as a car accident or finding a dead body. Trauma can also occur when there is no violence as well, such as being verbally assaulted or locked in a closet. If there is a strong emotional reaction to an event, trauma may result- particularly if there is no intervention immediately following the event.
The common symptoms that most trauma sufferers go through are: re-experiencing the event through nightmares or flashbacks, avoiding thinking or talking about what happened, feeling emotionally numb, feeling helpless about the future, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, relationship issues- especially with those who are close, irritability, anger, guilt, shame, self-destructive thoughts or behaviors, trouble sleeping, being easily startled, feeling afraid for no apparent reason, and hearing or seeing things that aren’t there. Symptoms generally appear shortly after the event, but it’s not unusual for them to be delayed months or even years. Symptoms may come and go. If symptoms persist for a month or more, you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), so it’s time to get help.