• 2nd hand
    2nd Hand Addiction 2nd Hand Addiction

    2nd Hand Addiction

2nd Hand Addiction

The dangers of secondhand smoke have become well known and many in the community are pushing to protect children. But cigarette smokers, however, are not the only ones that compromise the health of their family with addictive behavior. Misusers of alcohol, drugs and those engaged in process addictions (sex, gambling, shopping) create emotional dysfunction that intrudes into the lives of those within the addict’s sphere of influence and challenge their well-being. While the addict may not be exposing others to a physical drug as the smoker does with nicotine, the intrusion remains real. It doesn’t stop with just family but […]

  • fat lady3
    Recovery, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over Recovery, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

    Recovery, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Recovery, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Yogi Berra taught us all that it ain’t over til the fat lady sings!  The process of recovery has a similar final act. To the general public, the term “recovery” is seen as “someone who is trying to stop using alcohol or other drugs.” (NCADD)   It then follows that the process of recovery is accomplished when we stop using.  Achieving the thing we call sobriety. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently undertook to quantify what the process of recovery might look like.  Their work yielded this definition:  “Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals […]

  • movie set
    Living on a Movie Set Living on a Movie Set

    Living on a Movie Set

Living on a Movie Set

Being an addict is like living life on a movie set.  It looks real, feels real, but is only a shell, a facade that is far from the parameters of reality.  The condemning problem is that the addict doesn’t recognize it. In our minds the “set” is nothing but real.  We act out our fantasy life within the view of all around us maintaining a blind eye to reality.  We are convinced they will stay “on script” no matter how outrageous our behavior becomes.  That is impossible, they don’t have the script, only we do, they are living in the […]

  • walking
    She walked through it… She walked through it…

    She walked through it…

She walked through it…

I visited with a friend the other day and she surprised me.  She had a very traumatic childhood and had struggled to manage her emotional life as an adult.  Rage was her number one tool of empowerment.  The rage gave her a sense of power but left her without friends or partners, she chased them all away. As we talked she recounted a story to me that in the past would have ended in rage that she handled in a very healthy way.  I marveled at her new skills and couldn’t help asking how she had accomplished it.  She said, […]

  • cemetary
    Sometimes it takes all we have, even our lives. Sometimes it takes all we have, even our lives.

    Sometimes it takes all we have, even our lives.

Sometimes it takes all we have, even our lives.

This letter to the editor from the Austin Chonicle tells an all too familiar story. Our addictions require an accounting, a settling up. They come at a cost, sometimes we don’t have enough to lose and our life is also required. It is one of the great tragedies of our times, and also, one of the realities. On Sunday, my friend of 24 years, Debbie, died in St. David’s South Austin Medical Center from a cocaine-related heart attack. She was 53 years old. Thirty-eight years of heroin, cocaine, and pills had taken their toll. She always thought it was OK […]

  • Worry(LowRes)
    Acceptance is Still the Answer Acceptance is Still the Answer

    Acceptance is Still the Answer

Acceptance is Still the Answer

Acceptance is the answer, still. I was reminded yet again this week, of the importance of bringing acceptance into our lives. Without it, recovery escapes us. As a client rehearsed to me his struggles with his relationship to his wife, it became very clear to me that his struggle was not with his wife, but with his own acceptance of  her and her personality. (In other words it was not about her, but about his stuff.) In AA’s Big Book Chapter, “Acceptance was the Answer,” the writer states, “when I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, […]

  • Insp-2
    Will you become less if you lose your anger? Will you become less if you lose your anger?

    Will you become less if you lose your anger?

Will you become less if you lose your anger?

Millie questioned her husbands sobriety and efforts at recovery.  It seemed to her that he was slipping back into some old habits.  He wasn’t being as diligent, skipping meetings and treatment sessions.  He was wandering bit on the internet to things that seemed inappropriate for a recovering sex addict. Bill immediately became defensive.  He flushed with anger and felt himself “puff up”.  He spouted some pretty ridiculous reasons why he was looking for pictures of Kate Middleton recently taken while she was sun bathing.  “I wanted to know what lense the photographer used,” was his best defense.  Only an addict […]

By ||Attitudes of recovery, Benchmarks of Recovery, Recovery Skills, Rules for Recovery, Spouses & Family|Comments Off on Will you become less if you lose your anger?
  • Spiralstair
    There is another way… There is another way…

    There is another way…

There is another way…

I often meet people at their worst moments.  Years of struggle and frustration, pain and self-destructiveness drive them to knock on my door.  Not necessarily because they think that I have the answers, but because they know they do not. Life has not worked out according to their plan.  But then not many plan to develop an addiction.  What is the song from Les Miserable say, “I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I am living.”  And it isn’t just addiction that can derail us.  Things like low self esteem, anxiety, depression, shame and […]

  • 278660295663229758_mWgGijb3_c-1
    Make yourself available for recovery… Make yourself available for recovery…

    Make yourself available for recovery…

Make yourself available for recovery…

One of the requirements for recovery or the healing from an addiction, is that we make ourselves available for it. On the physical level, we have to be present for meetings, counseling, reading, all of the activities that help gain understanding and build skills.  AA’ers often take on the 90 meetings in 90 days commitment, putting themselves physically in the way of recovery, placing themselves in a place where recovery is known to occur.  They are then available for recovery. The concept makes sense, but many addicts find reasons to resist.  They avoid meetings because it will be embarrassing to […]

  • Broken watch2
    Disarming the Triggers Disarming the Triggers

    Disarming the Triggers

Disarming the Triggers

In the history of the recovery world, when the term “trigger” (an event or situation that causes acting out,) was brought into the lexicon, recovery helpers quickly adopted the concept. Everyone was talking about triggers and what to do about them. It got to the point that a recovery conversation didn’t go very far without triggers being brought up.  Many thought they now understood addiction because they understood triggers. Some addicts even learned to use them as an excuse for addictive behavior, “While I didn’t intend to act out, when I saw that picture it just triggered me.” I don’t […]