My name is Bill B, and I have been in recovery for 22 years, I have worked in the field of addiction for 18 of those years. This is my attempt to share some of the discoveries about addiction that I have learned in my journey. I present them with the hope that they will foster a deeper understanding of addiction and to dispel some of the myths about addiction, in the hope of removing some of the stigma that is held against those who suffer from addiction.
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Hello again, it is nice to be back with you. In keeping with our new approach to recovery issues, we are going to examine some of the factors that are shown to be contributing to the cause and continuation of addiction. We will also give our personal view on the application of the principles and...
Hello again, it is nice to be back with you. In keeping with our new approach to recovery issues, we are going to examine some of the factors that are shown to be contributing to the cause and continuation of addiction. We will also give our personal view on the application of the principles and Steps that are shown to allow us to deal with these issues.
Studies have produced data that demonstrated the correlation between trauma and addiction; a large percentage of addicts have suffered early childhood trauma as physical, emotional or sexual abuse. This is sometimes relevant to their socioeconomic situation, a large portion of addicts have experienced childhood poverty. Even in families that do not have the strain of poverty, emotional trauma such as emotional unavailability is possible as both parents are forced to devote their majority of time to earning. The point is I could fill these pages with examples of the trauma experienced on a daily basis by all who are part of our society. So what makes addicts?
There is a general consensus that addiction may be a biological predisposition that is triggered by an environmental event, the event being the use of alcohol or drugs for the first time. Why is it then if we all suffer trauma that some turn to drugs and alcohol for relief while others do not? The answer according to recent studies is that those that do not fall victim to addiction have the support of solid family, community support, and most importantly, the willingness to reach out to those supports for help. I know from personal experience the isolation I felt growing up; I felt unable to talk to those in my family and community about how I really felt for fear of rejection and belittlement. The standard answer from my father figure was “Grow up and learn to be a man”. Feeling that I was stupid because I thought there were things that I was supposed to know and did not was a normal state of being for me. Always thinking of myself as less than or different, an outsider looking in and never belonging, created a hole inside me.
When I began to consume alcohol, and later drugs, that hole was filled and I felt that I was now who I was meant to be; a confident and competent person whom people liked and respected. This was only happening in my own mind; those around me seen the selfish, self-centred person I truly was. My only focus was finding more alcohol and drugs in order to keep up the lie I was telling myself, that I was OK. In order to deal with the feelings of inadequacy and to fill the hole inside, I became a full blown addict, an IV junkie by the age of 17. This is how I dealt with my emotions for many years and it is only because I came in contact with others that have experienced the same trauma and found a way to deal with it, that I am alive today.
The point is that we are not alone in our addiction or the trauma that contributed to our disease. We have all suffered the pain of growing up and that in itself is a painful process; those with strong family and community support may have avoided becoming addicted. We who have become addicted need a strong community of support to overcome it. For me this community needs to be constructed on the 12 Steps of recovery. They provide the framework for my ability to abstain from the use of drugs and alcohol. It is by being around and in contact with others in recovery that I find the strength to live and also the opportunity to share my strength with others. The Steps guide me through a process that allows me to let go of my shame, guilt and remorse and live in a manner that provides me with the chance to focus on and build the positive gifts within me: compassion, empathy and humility. The very things I was belittled for expressing when I was young. I have found that most of my resentments came from wanting a better past, something that was impossible. I now understand that desiring a better NOW as in living in the present, will bring me a better future, one day at a time. I have a friend who likes to say “I’m not where I should be, I’m not where I could be, and thank GOD I’m not where I used to be.”
These 12 Steps of recovery were given to us through 2 men who were going to die from alcoholism and it has since been discovered that they will work for ANY form of addiction. It is the general consensus that they are given to us as a spiritual answer to a physical, mental and emotional disease. They prove to be able to free us from the past and if followed, provide us with the possibility of a much improved future. There is no one Step that will relieve you of the pain caused by the trauma of the past; however, taken in order and done to the best of your ability they will allow exactly that to happen. Here is part of the promises given to those who apply the 12 Steps to their lives “You will know a new freedom and a new happiness, you will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it, you will comprehend the word serenity and you will know peace.” I will make you a deal and you may hold me accountable for it. Try this way of life for 90 days, making every effort to follow as close as possible to the 12 Steps. If your live does not improve and you are not satisfied with the results, I will gladly return to you your misery.
It is the true desire of Linda and I that someone, somewhere will benefit from the effort we make here. I know for a fact that it benefits us. Please feel free to comment or make suggestions for future postings. Until we meet again from both Linda and I, if no one has told you today they care about you, let us be the first.
Live, Laugh and Love
Bill and Linda
Original article: Trauma and Recovery.
Hello everyone, it is nice to be back with you again. Linda and I took a break to re-examine the blog as we were at a standstill in the development of new material to present. We have decided to rename the blog to LET’S TALK RECOVERY and open it up to a broader audience. We...
Hello everyone, it is nice to be back with you again. Linda and I took a break to re-examine the blog as we were at a standstill in the development of new material to present. We have decided to rename the blog to LET’S TALK RECOVERY and open it up to a broader audience. We will be relating to the process of recovery through the 12 Steps that have helped so many recover and focus on the process that led to this success. Also, in order to keep things more interesting we will share some of the historical circumstances that were present that have helped shape and develop the 12 Steps. As the Steps were developed to address alcoholism, it will be necessary to relate to them from that perspective in the historical account. But please keep an open mind, as time has shown that the Steps will work for any form of addiction including process addictions such as gambling and emotional addiction in the form of co-dependence and sex addiction. Any form of behaviour that is harmful can be placed into remission through the practice of this simple program and the resulting spiritual and psychic change it brings.
We have developed a Vision Statement for the blog in order to clarify our direction.
Being two people who have experienced the miracle brought about by the practice of this program, the stewards of Let’s Talk Recovery are committed to carrying the message of hope to all. Let’s Talk Recovery recognizes that there are men and women of all ages and stations in life, who have realised that the substance or behaviour we are addicted to, is not as important as the process that will lead to our recovery. While we respect the numerous 12 Step groups that focus on a single aspect of addiction, we prefer to deal with the disease in its many forms. We believe if a recovering person focuses on the similarities of those suffering from the disease, the barriers to receiving the knowledge and support to manage their addiction into a remissive state will disappear. There is no real difference between the junkie shooting up and the anorexic teenager purging due to an obsession about body image. Both behaviors indicate the inability to accept the reality of life on a daily basis and can be fatal if not addressed.
We sincerely believe that to have one person die because of an inability to connect to a community that is understanding and supportive, is one too many. We believe wholly in the 12 Steps of recovery and are immensely grateful to those whose hard won knowledge led to their development. We do however recognise that change is inevitable, as the world is no longer the way it was at the time the Steps were developed. We feel we must adapt to the change or risk losing those who cannot relate to the message of recovery. It is for that reason, and with fullest respect, that we leave it up to each individual, which form they will practice their 12 Step program and as with all forms of program, your concept of a Higher Power is yours alone.
We will adopt the 12 Steps as they appear in the various 12 Step programs and as others did, make minor adjustments to reflect our position on recovery. They are as follows:
- Admitted we were powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power, as we understand it.
- Made a searching and complete inventory of our defects of character and our shortcomings, focusing solely on our own actions and behaviours.
- Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked for our shortcomings to be removed.
- Made a list of those whom we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends wherever possible except when to do so would cause injury.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power as we understand it, seeking only the knowledge of its will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry the message to those still suffering from addiction, to those in recovery and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
A strong recovery community is the best defence against a return to the destructive behaviours of our addiction; it is with this in mind that we strongly urge those new to recovery to find someone who will walk with them from this point forward. To borrow from another 12 Step program “Together we can do what we cannot do alone” (NA Basic Text). We have found that fully committing to the program of recovery, as it is laid out in various literature, the miracle of a new and prosperous life, as experienced by many long term recovering people, will be yours. We strongly suggest you become active in the recovery community in whatever form suits you. Seeing the life and hope return to the eyes of an addicted person is a joy you should not miss. Lastly we acknowledge that the 12 Step program approach to recovery may not suit everyone and encourage everyone seeking recovery not to stop searching until they find a solution that works for them.
The focus of this blog will remain as before: to build a strong community of recovery and encourage open sharing of personal experience, strength and hope. We encourage all who visit to post their stories or knowledge about the recovery process. Respect for others point of view is paramount as each of us has their own reality. Please remember that one of the cornerstones of recovery is to “place principles before personalities”. Our stories are the most powerful tool we carry; they join us to others when shared and they can be used to benefit others when we share what has worked for us.
We ask that you take the time to make suggestions as to the information we present on the blog. Remember, this is YOUR blog not ours. We are simply here to create the space in which our Higher Power can create the miracle of recovery.
We will be adding new posts every two weeks but will monitor the blog often and respond to any and all requests as soon as we can. If there is specific subject you wish more information about, we will research, find what you request and add links to it on the blog. For us this is a new beginning in our labour of love. Love is action and it is through what we do that people know we love them, not by what we say. We look forward to again being actively in community with those who wish to have a Happy, Joyous and Free life. So from both Linda and I, if no one has told you they care about you today, let us be the first.
Bill & Linda
Original article: Let’s Talk Recovery.
Welcome back to our humble blog! We hope you had a great holiday season. We are now half way through January, much of our North American winter is behind us. Over the last month, both my husband Bill and I were very ill with a cold, maybe the flu, and for myself, bronchitis. Being this...
Welcome back to our humble blog! We hope you had a great holiday season. We are now half way through January, much of our North American winter is behind us. Over the last month, both my husband Bill and I were very ill with a cold, maybe the flu, and for myself, bronchitis. Being this sick and really needing a meeting, but too ill to go out in some of the worst weather we had seen this winter; I wanted to share some ways I have utilized to maintain my recovery.
For me, I have long been an enthusiastic attendee of online meetings; both NA and AA. The meetings I attend take place in secure chat-rooms. They are 1 to 1 ½ hours and there is no video involved, so we do not see each other. Some meetings use different software, like Skype, where you can choose to allow video or not. Some fellowship members simply show an avatar, or cartoon picture instead of showing themselves. This practice ensures anonymity of attendees in these meetings.
But what if you do not have access to a computer? There are telephone meetings. At an appointed time, members would dial in to a specified dumber and be able to hear the chairperson conduct the meeting similarly to a face-to-face meeting. Just image being in a meeting and closing your eyes. The chairperson is responsible to each member, arranging who should be sharing, and of course having the readings at the beginning and end of the meeting.
During these meetings, the one element that cannot be completed as it would during a face-to-face meeting is collecting the 7th tradition. These meetings depend on donations, from those that can donate to their maintenance. This is rarely discussed in meetings that depend on technology to happen, but the reality is, these type of meetings, like all meetings, take money to run. I would encourage anyone that can contribute to these organizations, to please send a little from time-to-time. Many of these meetings are attended by people that face many barriers to attending face-to-face meetings. Some of these barriers are physical, some are emotional and some are geographic. Just imagine yourself living “off grid”, travelling through a country that does not speak your language, or being confined to a hospital bed. These meetings are a vital lifeline for many and need your support, taking part and funding, to continue the work of being there for the addict that reaches out.
Now that we have mentioned language, this is another advantage of online or telephone meetings: language. Searching out an online meeting in another part of the world can not only result in finding a meeting at a time of day that suits your schedule, but in a language in which you prefer to communicate. We certainly are talking about truly global recovery!
For the purposes of this posting I have been talking about online and telephone meetings, and I have not been discussing written recovery material, of which there are too many websites, written pages, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and books to mention. One of which is our own blog site: http://www.AskAnAlcoholic.com. We proudly offer almost 2 years of video and written information, experience, hope and strength for anyone to access. We are about recovery, in any form, from any compulsion, by any means that works.
There is only 1 other facet to Recovery at Home I would like to point out: your Sponsor. Support at home, like any other location on earth, begins with your Sponsor. If you don’t reach out when you are struggling, how can a Sponsor support you? Pick up the 10 tonne telephone! It really isn’t that heavy……
With this in mind, I will wrap up this weeks posting. My wish for you is to continue to stay close to your Higher Power, your Creator or any other support that allows you to obtain and remain in recovery.
Wishing you love and light.
Original article: Recovery at Home.
Hello again all you fine warriors of recovery. I call you warriors because that’s what recovery is: a battle for survival. On a daily basis we face the world knowing full well that one bad decision on whether to use or not can lead us back into the hell we struggled so hard to escape....
Hello again all you fine warriors of recovery. I call you warriors because that’s what recovery is: a battle for survival. On a daily basis we face the world knowing full well that one bad decision on whether to use or not can lead us back into the hell we struggled so hard to escape. Our saving grace is that we now have a Higher Power to turn to in our weakest moments that will give us the strength to carry on and to thrive in a world that sometimes seems to have no place for us.
This along with a community of others, who like us, have rejoined a society that seems to not fully understand us as we do each other. We can support those who are just now deciding they deserve a better life. I reflect on the numbers of families that have lost a son or daughter, mother or father, an Aunt or Uncle, friend or neighbour this past year and think there but for the Grace of my Higher Power go I and my family. Our strength will come from our community; a community made up of addicts and alcoholics, and their families, along with those who are not addicted but understand the seriousness of the disease.
When we look to the future it must be with hope, for hope is what will get us through. We must follow our dream for a more united stand against the disease of addiction while leaving all expectations aside. For when we have expectations we leave ourselves open to disappointment and resentment; these are the destroyers of hope. All we can do is trust in our Higher Power and move forward. We can rejoice in the successes and accept the disappointments as learning opportunities. In this way we will move steadily forward to the day when addiction will be preventable. A world where we can address the cause and not be stuck dealing with the painful and destructive disease of addiction. This is my personal vision and goal. I know it will never happen in my lifetime.
My hope is to do what I can to inspire those who come after me to continue the battle to find the formula that will once and for all counter the destruction of this killer disease. My one question would be: “At what point will enough families, from all walks of life be affected by this disease that the willingness to do whatever is needed will become the common will of society?” I pray that point will come soon and that until then we can continue to come together for support and healing, ever growing the recovery community in strength and numbers.
So on this New Year’s Day as we look forward to 2017, it is my heartfelt prayer that we all walk hand in hand with each other and our Higher Power, moving boldly and with great hope into the future together.
May Creator shine powerfully and lovingly on each and every one of you. Bless you all.
Original article: Looking Forward.
Hello again all you wonderful people in recovery. I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. We wish you to know that we will be keeping a close watch on the web and Facebook pages over the next couple of weeks and if anyone out there need to talk or...
Hello again all you wonderful people in recovery. I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. We wish you to know that we will be keeping a close watch on the web and Facebook pages over the next couple of weeks and if anyone out there need to talk or share how their feeling just reach out and we will answer. Holidays are not easy for a lot of us so just know there are two people here that care a great deal that everyone stays safe, clean and sober.
Today we are discussing tolerance and boundaries; boundaries first. If you are like me when I was drinking and using I had no concept of what a boundary was, personal or otherwise. I would do my best to get whatever I wanted regardless of the personal boundaries of others. As far as societal boundaries go I crossed them every chance I got; I thought this made me a rebel, in fact it simply made me a criminal. When I got into recovery I had to learn what a boundary was and how to respect the boundaries of others and how to enforce my own. This took some time and many mistakes. Fortunately, I had a good sponsor and I surrounded myself with those who were healthy in recovery; they held me accountable so I could learn.
This is where tolerance comes in, they understood me as a newcomer and were willing to tolerate my mistakes until I had made enough to learn and change. I now owe the same consideration to those who are new in recovery; to show them tolerance and hold them accountable when they cross boundaries so they can learn. Recovery is a pay it forward way of life, the debt you amassed to your sponsor and those who tolerated you in your early recovery, is payed back to those you help as they come into recovery and they in turn pay it forward again. If we keep doing this, we cannot help but prosper as a community; love and tolerance is our creed.
We must always remember that our personal recovery is directly related to how we carry the message of recovery to others. After the holidays we generally see an increase in newcomers to the 12 Step recovery rooms; this is a wonderful opportunity to practice boundary setting for yourself and tolerance for the newcomer. Do this and watch yourself and the newcomer benefit from your effort; you owe it to yourself to experience this. So until we meet again it is my heartfelt prayer that we walk together hand in hand with each other and our Higher Powers.
Bless You All & Shalom
Original article: Tolerance and Boundaries.
Welcome again to our humble blog. We are hoping to create a safe space for all those that deal with addiction on a daily basis; in recovery or not. Bill and I have been creating videos and text blog posting for a year and a half now and this is our second Christmas posting about...
Welcome again to our humble blog. We are hoping to create a safe space for all those that deal with addiction on a daily basis; in recovery or not. Bill and I have been creating videos and text blog posting for a year and a half now and this is our second Christmas posting about some of the challenges of the season for a recovering addict. Not only are there the obvious challenges of celebrating the season without relapse, conflict with family and friends or managing our finances in a responsible manner, but there are gender specific challenges as well.
The North American society has delivered a strong, gender specific message for many years that women should be the members of the family that are expected to go above and beyond when it comes to preparation for the holiday season. Home decoration, baking, cooking, shopping for gifts, arranging celebrations and mailing of holiday greetings. Are you kidding??? For many years I tried as hard as I could to make this all happen. Only to become frustrated, exhausted and angry when it didn’t all work perfectly. I beat myself up mentally and physically; I relapsed year after year during the holiday season, just to take the edge off the stress of not getting it all done to my own high standards. Than the arguments started.
None of these activities were shared with the other members of the family. They all fell to me. I wanted the perfect home. A whirlwind of baked goods that could only be accomplished by a team of bakers that did nothing else but bake all day. Getting cards and letters sent out early enough in December to actually be enjoyed by the families that were receiving them. Shopping for the perfect gifts, wrapping them just right and making sure those that needed to be mailed were purchased early, gift wrapped then wrapped for mailing. No one wants to receive a Christmas gift after December 25th, or so I convinced myself. Making sure I was ready for anyone that “just dropped by” and planning at least one holiday gathering at our home. This amazing feat of holiday preparation and cooking the meal on Christmas Day. By Boxing Day, I needed a week’s vacation, 4 days sleep and talk therapy.
Why did I do all of this? I worked full-time and believed that this was what was expected of a wife and mother. What was I thinking? Popular media convinced me this was what being a wife and mother was all about during the Christmas season. This was many years ago and I no longer put myself through the wringer of trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Some people can pull this off, but I certainly could not without tearing my hair out and definitely not enjoying any of the Holiday Season. For many years I hated Christmas. All it meant to me was extra work and arguments.
Popular media is still trying hard to make us believe that all of these expectations are still alive and well. But let me make one thing very clear; these expectations are simply marketing! We do not have to buy in to all of these mega-marketed high-powered must-haves of the Holiday Season to have a great time! Bringing family and friends together to enjoy a little time together; forget our deadlines, work pressures, financial stresses and the world-at-large. Make time stop and share a cookie, flavoured coffee or take a walk together with friends. Think about making memories instead of impressions. Who are we trying to impress and why do we need to impress anyone?
My Christmas season now is about gratitude; gratitude for the blessings my High Power gives me every day of the year, not just at Christmas. Gratitude that I have lived another year. Gratitude for the daily challenges that I am able to meet and the people that I am able to support with my words and actions. As a woman in recovery, I have had to make some hard decisions about my values and beliefs. I will not longer decorate my home because I want the admiration of others. I will no longer cook and bake because of some external expectation. I no longer send Christmas cards to every person, company or service provider that I deal with all year long. My husband and I make most, if not all, of the gifts we give. I enjoy Christmas for it’s simplicity. A simplicity that we have co-created over the years. Holidays can be as costly, complex and exhausting as you allow them to be. Just like recovery, you can have any kind of holiday you wish, but it is up to you to make these decisions.
Thank you for dropping by to see what we are talking about this week and I hope you feel welcome to make any comment you wish. We also welcome suggestions for topics for postings in the weeks to come; especially about Christmas and recovery.
Wishing you and yours the Happiest Holiday Season and Much Love and Light in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Here is our posting in video format: Enjoy!
Original article: Holiday Stress from a Feminine Perspective.
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