13th Stepping Protection

setting foot on the ceiling 3, photo by Thiago Tavares, Maringa, Brazil, semcriatividade.com/tchago, sex addiction
setting foot on the ceiling 3, photo by Thiago Tavares, Maringa, Brazil, semcriatividade.com/tchago, sex addiction

A discussion has evolved from my post on the practice of 13th Stepping – having sex with a person who is more vulnerable than yourself. There have been comments denigrating the 12 Step program, partly blaming 13th stepping. Having worked for over 20 years in the recovery field I can only say that if someone criticises the 12 Step program and fellowship then they are ignorant about how beneficial and lifesaving it is for those who suffer from addiction. There are other programs such as cognitive behavioural therapies which may work for those who commit fully to them but nevertheless larger numbers have benefited from the 12 Step program. Now I will deal with this particular request:

If anyone has any ideas about how to curb 13th stepping at meetings, i would love to hear it. I feel so protective of the other young women at meetings, and I want to do whatever is within my power to encourage self respect, dignity, and focus on recovery. It took a lot of pain for me to see how abusive I was with 13th stepping people, and how abused I let myself be. I would like to do what i can to help these girls make better choices than I have. Thank you, Lauren K

Single people in early recovery are discouraged from entering into relationships because the idea of successful recovery is when you first develop a healthy relationship with self. That’s a life skill which needs honing before success can be achieved in a relationship with another person. However, in the fellowship as in any other part of life such as church groups, cultural associations or sporting clubs etc, lust and love tempt us into relationships which are perhaps too soon, therefore temporary and unsuccessful. Finding partners in the fellowship can be an end result that is fulfilling because it is within a mutual program and the communication is understood. However, there are in the fellowship a minority of people who are not ethical just as there are a larger number of people with integrity and who are good role models for recovery. The strategy for those who may be inclined to be 13th Stepped is to remember that in recovery I am not responsible for the disease but I am responsible for my recovery and therefore report any love interest to your sponsor and be guided. Look on it as being for a short time and when you are strong in your recovery you can choose the right partner more wisely. If you are like Lauren K and notice 13th Stepping in meetings, (1) one way of dealing with your fears is to share, when your turn comes, what you see and feel about the 13th Stepping going on, without mentioning names. (2) Another way is to ask that the topic at your meeting be “how to stop 13th Stepping” and this will mean that when people share on the topic the message will perhaps hit home to those who are the perpetrators. (3) Another way is to ask for a guest speaker who will speak on the subject at the beginning of the meeting. (4) If all else fails, or as well as, you can call for a group conscience meeting especially to ask for that problem to be dealt with, or attend the next group conscience meeting and put the subject on the agenda for discussion. (5) It will be more effective if you set up a group (2-3 members) who will act on this issue. Maybe you will find out another way of doing it but at least you have some suggestions to begin with.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Setting limits with children

53523_hotel.jpgAn important part of childrearing is setting limits, especially when children are very young. The hard part is making sure that setting limits is done through education – letting the child know why we are saying “no” to something, not just refusing. Another vital part of this education process is that we keep our voices factual rather than critical or shaming, otherwise the lesson is lost and the child just feels oppressed. It is hard for us to remember this when children are young, because usually the pace of living is stressful for everybody and being relaxed and calm seems impossible. Also we are in denial at that time about our behaviour and how uptight we are. Children feel the full brunt of harsh, unexplained limit-setting and it affects their self esteem badly. This can result in serious rebellious behaviour in childhood and all the way through to adult relationships.

at four years of age she is the cutest
and she is very aware of ‘living the good life’
as I babysat my granddaughter in the hotel suite
she declared that she wanted stuff from the mini bar
I had to be very careful how I refused her
tonight we were going to eat
in the restaurant downstairs which
my nine year old grandson had been
given the honour to escort us to
I began with “no, darling”
the disappointment in her eyes showed
that there was anger bubbling deep inside
so I sat down near her and pointed out that
using the mini bar costs too much
her eyes mellowed and this showed that
the information made sense, so she seemed at peace
after the delicious meal downstairs
we enjoyed watching the movie Happy Feet, in the suite

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Natural high

light FX:9 # 1,photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia,  fireworksIt is possible to get a natural high without risking our health with using substances or processes which can be life threatening. Some people can reach a natural high easier because of their genetic make-up. Nevertheless, there are many testimonials about how once people came into recovery from addictions they not only became free from symptoms of mental illnesses but also came to experience natural highs.

before I gave up chainsmoking through NicA
my fear was that I would become boring
fortunately I reached a stage where
smoking was losing its joy for me
so after a few weeks in recovery
and as a non smoker I experienced
what felt like the first natural high in my life
and I was smoke free, how unbelievable?!
but how empowering and what serenity?
and this is now a common event, without smoking

light FX:9 # 1,photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia, fireworks

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Being happy

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Béthune,  France,  happiness isHumans will go to any lengths to be happy. We feel we deserve happiness and rightfully so. Some people have the ability to feel happy easily from the simplest experiences. While other people are not so fortunate and they need a substance or process to help them feel that ‘high’. However, using something to feel ‘high’ becomes the beginning of the end, because happiness which is stimulated that way is never enough. The more you do it the more you want. Although abstinence from addiction may appear boring it brings serenity and eventually serenity becomes happiness and even bliss. This type of happiness is enough of a ‘high’ and doesn’t leave you wanting more and more.

I was a chain smoker in a time when it was
considered sophisticated to smoke
as we became more informed about
the dangers of this addiction it was
painful to consider living without the thrill
of lighting up and the rush of that first puff
however, it started to leave my mouth
with a foul taste and I new it was time
I thought it would be so boring and then
I quit with the help of Nicotine Anonymous
it’s been 18 years now since I took my last puff
and I have felt happiness and bliss that I thought
would never be possible without a cigarette
the high comes from within if you’re patient and
if you follow your passion to becoming fulfilled

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Béthune, France, happiness is

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Resentments

That look, photo by Betty Miller, Colorado, United States, http://fireyes.deviantart.com, inner turmoilEvery day we have mixed feelings about different matters. Resentments are strong feelings which we can bury deep within, contaminating our wellbeing. What’s worse is being in denial about doing just that. Resentments are so cunning that we can ignore their existence until it’s too late and we have surprising explosive behaviours. That’s why it’s far better to be in touch with our feelings and own them as being naturally ours, and in doing so they settle down. Then we need to observe their origin and what can be done to resolve this turmoil. The expression ‘befriend our demons’ means finding those feelings which we have suppressed, that have subsequently turned into problematic behaviour, and processing them.

she had long ago ‘befriended her demons’
as a result of intense therapy and
personal and professional development
she took pride in being a guide for others
on similar journeys of enlightenment
but she didn’t notice resentments building up
deep within, in her inner world
on the outside she was busy and happy
but something was not as it should be
she’d gained weight and had an insatiable appetite
it took 3 OA meetings a week to get real
about her buried unwanted feelings of
resentment, self pity, boredom, loneliness
which she was busy avoiding with activities
and for which she had paid the price
fortunately it didn’t take long for her
to tweak her choices back into healthy living

That look, photo by Betty Miller, http://fireyes.deviantart.com

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Exercise for healing and fitness

A Walk in the Park 1, photo by Curtis Fletcher, Thornton, United States, easy  fitnessMany people love going to gyms and/or exercising like jogging, swimming, horse riding, dancing and bicycle riding. Others participate in sports such as tennis, bowling, football, squash, and more. Some of us who find exercise too daunting can manage walking, slow dance, aqua-aerobics, yoga, and mowing the lawn to name a few. Any exercise is vital for gaining and maintaining fitness. Furthermore, exercise is especially beneficial for healing such basic illnesses as depression and diabetes.

she sufffered from severe depression but
although she new the benefits of anti-depressants
she was loathe to take them but she did know
that exercising was therapeutic for many illnesses
she attended the gym and yoga regularly
which she told me kept her hopeful of
a speedy recovery as it had helped in the past
another wise choice was that she drank water and
ate healthy food which she mostly prepared herself
a good balance of protein and vegies
were the major ingredients and
I loved to eat them with her

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Isolation

Black 5, photo by Ana Labate, Santos Brazil, alone timeIt’s so easy to justify isolation as being time alone. When you prefer to be alone rather than being a part of the community and feel intolerant about everything and everyone then it’s a warning sign that all is not well. To ignore that is to toy with serious consequences. Many people would rather suffer than do whatever it takes to heal. Sometimes all it takes is writing about how we feel until the core anger or fear is released. Other times it may take joining a group to share similar interests or hobbies. Another solution is seeing a doctor or therapist to sound out your innermost thoughts. Perhaps there may be a need for a change in diet, exercise, or taking supplements (vitamins). It could be you need medication or anti-depressants under doctor’s supervision. Or all of the above. Whatever it is, don’t let the dysfunction or ill health ruin your life and that of others. Deal with it and turn your life around to be more joyful and fulfilling.

she’s in her eighties and totally alone
full of complaints about her family
whom she feels has abandoned her
over the years she’s had interesting friends
for short periods of time because
she constantly ‘leaves bodies in her wake’
her dysfunctional behaviour shows as
meanness and blame levelled at all ages
any suggestion for therapy or medication
incurred her wrath
then one day as a result of some
medication for vertigo for 2 weeks
she seemed so sane and serene
then she stopped taking the meds and
life was misery again, for her and others
yet she could not see the difference!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Chocolate highs

Hearts, photo by Stephen Gibson, Sydney Australia,  chocolate thrillsMost of us have heard about surveys that showed when we eat chocolate we get the same high as being in love. That is why we love chocolate. Eating chocolate releases endorphins which make us feel contented and happy. That’s quite harmless as long as we don’t do it to excess (addiction) and as long as we stay aware of our true feelings which will only become troublesome if we do not acknowledge them.

at the age of 11 my father married again
I was happy to have a stepmother and step siblings
family was important in my worldview and since
my mother left us taking my brother with her
I missed having my brother close but I didn’t miss
my mother’s screaming and abusive behaviours
my stepmother was a nurse’s aide and she
taught me how to keep a spotless house and
cook and wash and iron all the family’s clothes
she said I would always appreciate this in life
I don’t think she would be happy to hear that
thanks to that hard work when I married I
used to hire people to do my ironing and vacuuming
anyway, the best thing I remember about her is
that on Sunday mornings we used to all get into
bed together just long enough to eat some chocolate
she taught us how to suck the chocolate to make it last
and to really enjoy the taste – delaying gratification
now and then that’s how I still eat chocolate but
I can do that because I’m not addicted to chocolate

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thought becomes reality

picture market, photo by Ronald Schuster, Dresden, Germany, think positiveWe can talk ourselves into negativity or out of it, because thought becomes reality. Sports events are preceded by pep talks for the contestants and this an expected practice with professionals whose primary role is to boost the motivation of the team members. The same applies in life for everyone, children, adults men, women, young and old. We all need a pep talk sometimes and better still is our belief in the power of positive thinking.

I was learning to paint landscapes in oils
my friend and teacher used to finish off each one
just a little black stroke here and there
made the piece look more professional and saleable
I promised the next one to a charity function
and as I began my work my teacher had to go
leaving me high and dry
at first I saw my work go from bad to worse in minutes
as the function was on the next day I was desperate
then I realised that thought becomes reality so
I began saying “I can do it, I can do it, I can do it”
as I continued on with my painting
again before my very eyes my work transformed
and by the time I finished I had produced
an Australian bush landscape that I was
not only surprised with but also
extremely proud of because of
my thought processes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Loves me, loves me not

Daisy, photo by Allison Choppick, Toronto, Canada, true loveSo many people rely on their partner to constantly reassure them that they are loved. Having your significant other express their love for you is great, but to depend on that can only take its toll on you and your partner. It’s much like living in the fantasy of plucking a daisy and counting the petals with the chant “loves me, loves me not” to find out if you’re loved or not. It is far better to love yourself first and believe that others love you, than the other way around.

if you have ever plucked a daisy in your youth
saying “loves me, loves me not”
you will remember the disappointment
when after mutilating the poor daisy
you reach “loves me not” and your
heart plunges in the depths of despair
or if the outcome was “loves me”
and the feeling was that
you didn’t believe it
then that didn’t feel good either
maybe you experienced
feeling insatiable and wanting
to pluck another poor daisy again!
really it’s about
not feeling lovable to begin with
and therefore many of us have given
into the curiosity of plucking
the poor daisy!

Daisy, photo by Allison Choppick, Toronto, Canada, true love

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail