Category Archives: Recovery

Addiction Recovery Means Using the Steps Plus Going Deep Into Our Trauma

17570823380_51e9e1f35a_zOne of my favorite codependency authors is Anne Wilson Schaef. Some of my favorite quotes of hers are:

There are so many ways to heal. Arrogance may have a place in technology, but not in healing. I need to get out of my own way if I am to heal.

We must move in our recovery from one addiction to another for two major reasons: first, we have not recognized and treated the underlying addictive process, and second, we have not accurately isolated and focused upon the specific addictions.

1. From LA Times: “Everyday Addicts“:

“My experience is that everybody in this audience is an addict of some kind or another,” declares Anne Wilson Schaef, unabashedly categorizing about 500 women ministers as users and abusers: Workaholics. Shopaholics. Caffeine addicts. Alcoholics. Co-dependents. Prescription pill poppers. Perhaps all of the above.

The women are not offended. Instead, they nod in agreement and cheer her on with frequent applause.

A “recovering psychotherapist,” author of the bestselling 1987 book “When Society Becomes an Addict,” and organizational consultant who works with Fortune 500 corporations and branches of the U.S. government, Schaef is at it again, illuminating the monumental level of addiction she sees in society today.

And it’s not a pretty sight when she gets to work “starting to scrub the teeth of a dragon”–ministerial molars included, as she did at the recent national conference of female Lutheran ministers at Anaheim’s Inn at the Park Hotel. Just listen to her rag these women, many of whom are dressed in clerical collars:

“Unless you’re in recovery (from your addictions), you’re part of the problem,” she warns, having made it clear that she considers “process” addictions such as workaholism just as soul-snatching and life-threatening as chemical addictions such as alcoholism or drug abuse.”

2. I believe the same as she states here about recovery: (thefix.com:10/17/2014):

“The best tool we have for that is the 12-step program, but it doesn’t do it all. We have to do the deep work, which is trying, but a very exciting thing about being a human. Our bodies and our brains and minds store everything that has happened in our lives, and it’s absolutely marvelous because it means it’s there to work with when we are ready. It usually comes out in the form of feelings, memories and emotions. We’ve all had the experience of watching a movie and you suddenly start to cry and you don’t even know what it’s about. Or you’re suddenly angry with someone who doesn’t deserve that level of anger and you know that there’s something else that is behind that. I see that as a door into deep process work. There’s none of us who doesn’t have trauma from childhood and growing up in our families and in this society; some worse than others, but even if you were the school golden girl, you have some trauma. Our beings are so constituted that we have the opportunity to work through those traumas and heal from them and learn from them, not matter what they are.”

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Increasing Self-Esteem is the Foundation for Emotional Recovery

3765077472_55d913c1c2_z“My feelings are that a person is born with innate characteristics, such as a sense of self-worth. As the person grows, environmental factors such as society, family, teachers, or peers can help the person’s self worth either grow and develop fruitfully or be weakened.”

“Self esteem, like so many other characteristics, can be learned or unlearned. Yes, we are born with our personalities, but through time, growth and experience, these can be altered through learning, attitude, motivation and inspiration when external forces work on internal forces.”

“In the event of a person being born with a chemical imbalance, which predisposes him/her to anxiety or depression, we must make a shift in thinking. A person with an anxiety disorder or depression may have to work a bit harder to find happiness and a sense of self-worth, but these certainly are treatable conditions and the person can still live a wonderful life of high quality.” K.C. Kelley

Addictions are the bandage covering the wound of not feeling worthy. I just discovered in 2010, that my primary addiction was to my family of origin—the family I grew up in. I have a picture of myself at age 5 which is about when I started thinking that I was terribly unfit to be in this family. There was always fighting, drama and violence. We had our loving times, too. I believe that my parents did the best they could. When describing those years, I love what ACA says about The Problem: “This is a description, not an indictment.”

But until I began healing my painful self beliefs, my self-confidence was very fragile. As I allowed those beliefs to change and become my new foundation, I became a person unafraid of what harm anyone could do to me. After i learned to love all of me, I was able to accept the rejection of others. I saw that they were just like me–they were only rejecting themselves. All hatred is really self-hatred.

I love group therapy because I believe all mental health to be transitory. So someone in a group is well at any given time. It is like a football we pass around. Sometimes we are “it” and sometimes we’re in a crazy zone.

In the self-discovery model of group healing, everyone in the group is a student. The sharing of power in relationships defines the health of the relationship. No hierarchy is needed when people enter groups to help each other. The leadership of the group can be shared by all on a rotation basis.

The group members in the self-discovery group must agree to follow guidelines that the group chooses. The main goal of the group should be short-term with the idea of splitting up to form new groups. Some people may choose to recycle–repeat the same group–before branching out to their own group. After 2-3 times recycling, the other group members may help with the formation of new group to a group member who needs more support.

I have created a blog about creating peer groups. How to Start and Grow a Recovery Peer Group Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope.

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