Category Archives: Recovery

Accepting Our Core Issues in Addiction Recovery

Dealing with alcoholism and depression means needing a different path than only doing the Twelve Steps for recovery. I don’t believe that my core issues can be solved by the Twelve Steps of any self-help group.

Having grownup in a home controlled by alcoholism, I was able to see my addiction very early into the disease. Thanksgiving, 1976, I told my family that I thought I was an alcoholic. I fully expected everyone to disagree with me because I had not had any outward signs. But, my mother said that she had been afraid of that. So I was stuck with the admission and being the “perfect daughter”, I never drank again and went to AA.

My third month into recovery, I had a radical conversion as described by William James in his The Varieties of Religious Experience. It was instant and I call it ‘”the moment that changed my life.” So I have been trying since 1977 to hear what God’s will is for my life. Many days I have followed my will and called it His. But there has been progress, too.

Our core issues in recovery for those of us who lived in a family of “don’t ask–don’t tell” include the following:

1. From Want to Know.Info: “Transform Fear Through Core Issue Work”:

“Most of us have one or more core issues or challenges which surface repeatedly over the course of our lives. These issues are usually rooted in deep unexpressed fears. Depending on your perspective, core issues either cause all sorts of problems, or present many opportunities for transformation. When you choose to look at core issues as an opportunity, you are much more likely to transform your fears into learning tools which lead to a better life. Below are the most common core issues, their related fears, and suggestions for dealing with them.”

“Examples of Common Core Issues and Associated Fears”

  • Abandonment – Nobody cares about me. I’m all alone. I don’t matter.
  • Arrogance – I’m better than all of you. I’m too much. I’m right and you’re wrong.
  • Damaged – Something is wrong with me. I’m a failure. I’m damaged.
  • Inferiority – I’m not good enough. I’m stupid. I’m worthless. I’m boring. I’m hopeless.
  • Rejection – I’m a burden. I’m unwanted. Nobody wants to spend time with me.
  • Shame – I’m bad. I’m evil. I’m a mistake. I’m a monster. I’m disgusting. I’m possessed.

“Our core issues often originate from childhood family scenarios. They can be a result of negative messages that were repeated many times to us by our parents or other significant people in our lives. Or one of these beliefs may have been driven deep into us during one or more traumatic experiences. Was one of the above statements drilled into you in your early years?”

2.  In a post on The L.I.S.T ACA Group, a reprint from ACA WSO Webster, lists the “Effects of Abuse and How to Get Past them”, the following suggestions for overcoming abuse are given:

1. Share your story – you don’t need to deal with pain alone
2. Believe your story – you have a tendency to discount
3. Establish perpetrator responsibility – recognize it isn’t about you
4. Address the addictions used to numb the pain
5. Realize you can deal with the pain without mood altering substances
6. Learn to recognize, then accept, and then communicate feelings
7. Learn to nurture yourself
8. Build self-esteem and positive body image (affirmations)
9. Deal with family of origin – break the code of secrecy – by writing and talking with other people
10. Learn to be playful
11. Learn that now you do have a chance to live, you do have choices – YOU NEED NOT BE A VICTIM
12. Take back your power – act responsibly, set boundaries that feel comfortable, control sexual
behavior – you can control who enters your life
13. Remind yourself of your strengths
14. Learn you can say “No”
15. Learn to give and receive criticism
16. Stop abusing others

Some links about core issues:

3.  PDF of Core Issues to be Addressed for People in Recovery from the Friends of Vermont.

4.  Good article by Bill Urell about the three stages of recovery reminds us that the late stage of recovery is dealing with the underlying issues.

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Body, Mind, and Soul All Need Healing–Tips for the Body

My eight basic recovery tips for my physical health are:

1. Have a plan for your healing your body and work your plan.

2. Decide your heaviest eating time period. Be sure to have healthy foods on hand for those craving periods.

3. Don’t ever go on a diet. Diets are deprivation. Life is to be lived and enjoyed. Instead develop your own food program. Your food program should include the things you love to eat. Choose to eat from a small plate. Eat half as much as you used to eat.I use a 1/2 cup measure.

4. Remove food temptations from your home. If you are eating right, you will never be uncomfortable after eating.

5. Plan daily times for exercise. You may need to schedule several shorter periods rather than one long one. The new recommendation is for 60 minutes per day. I belong to a gym because it gives me motivation when I see all the other people there. I was not a natural lover of exercise. I am now because I have an exercise plan and I follow it.
But mainly I exercise because it makes me feel better.

6. Divide your exercise among strength, balance, aerobics(cardiovascular), and flexibility.Rotate among these types of exercises throughout your exercise week. The main reason that people don’t complete exercise programs is because they are bored–plan your exercise to be fun. Also learn to monitor your heart rate. Since I am 64 (in 2004), I checked with my doctor first before I joined the gym. I believe anyone at any age should see what their doctor recommends for them. Learn to measure your target heart-rate zone. This zone is the number of beats your heart beats per minute. Learn to measure your heart rate recommended for your age.

7. Develop a list of 20-30 healthy things that you like to eat that are 100-200 calories each. Be sure to include several of these daily and always have them on hand.

8.Break away from people who aren’t supportive of your choice to be healthy. Criticism is not support. You need to be around people that love and support you. From time to time, you may have someone around
you who is draining your energy. They “yes, but” you about everything. I say about these people that I can’t emotionally afford them. How can I help anyone if I allow one person to drain me? Our energy is like a battery–drain the battery, no energy.

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