90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

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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!

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Silly season

Pills, photo by Klaus Post, Aalborg, Denmark, prescribed pillsThis is the time of the silly season when there has been, for some, lot’s of drinking, drugging, eating, smoking, gambling and other excesses. At first it has to do with fun but memories come rushing back hooking in nostalgia and in some cases abuse in childhood or earlier relationships, so these excesses are then used as feelgoods. One of the most hidden addictions is pain-relieving pills. Whilst the intended relief is to ease physical pain the medication used can momentarily ease the emotional pain of life. Having the spirits lifted in that manner can lead to people using pain-relievers to make themselves feel better when they feel low or tired.

her injuries, sustained in a couple of serious accidents
caused immense pain now and then
but as a professional, experienced in addictions, she was
loathe to use pain-relievers unless absolutely necessary
and only for a short time under doctor’s supervision
recently she disclosed to me that she needed to
take some and she was afraid that it could be addictive
even though she avoided that before
I suggested that because she was aware of this
and her past experience
then perhaps that would not be a problem
next time I saw her we talked about the pain-relievers
and she mentioned that the last time she took any
was for the physical pain, then she got the urge to
take some to make her feel happier and when
she realised that was for the wrong reason
she didn’t take any more
it gave her great strength to be able to do just that
which also made her happy to be free of the need
this is possible for those who haven’t been addicted
but those who have been, and have managed to abstain,
then it’s too risky to even
contemplate strong pain-relievers

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Anger can heal

Feel my pain, photo by Nara Vieira da Silva Osga, Manaus, Brazil, painful emotionsWe run away from pain, that’s a normal human reaction to overwhelming feelings. Anger is one of the emotions that we don’t want to feel and so we often suppress it to the point that we think we don’t have it. Emotions that are buried will only explode like a volcano when we least expect them and often over insignificant events. Anger can heal if it’s reframed and used as positive energy – a popular strategy used in sports training. When feelings are ignored they cause us ill health and or lead to our need to self medicate with substances or processes which can eventually end in unmanageability and addiction.

at a rehab hospital the group worked on
how they dealt with their feelings
the facilitator kept probing Joe
who always appeared calm yet he
suffered from an addiction
finally Joe raised his voice demanding
what was expected of him?
the facilitator responded “that!”
meaning that Joe needed to be more
in touch with his feelings and express himself,
a basic tool for assertiveness training and recovery

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Seeing the light

Candles in Soft Light, photo by Debbie Miller, Munro, United States, self awarenessHaving experiences that are naturally blissful has been a favoured topic for me lately. Another such bliss is when we get an Ahaa at seeing the light about something. Good communication is one of life’s main assets. Getting it right when we wish to communicate our needs and wants means that our relationships are healthier, our work is more successful, and we have a more enjoyable life. Don’t settle for something that is not clear for fear of annoying another should you probe for more information. The reward of understanding something is priceless. Otherwise you suffer the stress brought on by confusion and misunderstanding.

she was crying her heart out when
I asked what was wrong and
she refused to explain
I paused, giving her time to cry a little more
as I waited she noticed that I was not
going to try and stop her and
she began explaining her predicament
of how her bills were greater than
the money coming in
I suggested that when she was
able to talk we might be able to
look at what options there were
then she became more settled and peaceful
so we considered what she could do
she made a list of those she could contact
and make a payment arrangement with
also what expenses she could do without
like a serious plan to give up smoking
things looked promising as can happen
when seeing the light occurs
that makes all the difference
at the worst of times

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Addiction and relationships

Together photo by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia, unmanageablity, dysfunctionalityWhen people first come into recovery from an addiction they are encouraged to focus on themselves and if in detox avoid contact with family or getting into new relationships. Once they develop the relationship with self and are comfortable living without their drug (or process) of choice they are in a better position to develop healthy relationships. Addiction and relationships cause major dysfunctionality. An ‘addictive process’ can represent one or more addictions to gambling, eating/undereating, working, being busy, spending, sex, love, relationships, avoidance of intimacy, and isolation (hermits) and no doubt more. ‘Drug’ means alcohol, narcotics, nicotine, tobacco, pot, prescribed pills, recreational pills such as ecstasy, ice and so on.

she had been to hell and back addicted to prescription medication
he had dabbled with pot and was a heavy drinker
he experienced blackouts too but thought it was OK
both smoked cigarettes cause it seemed cool
as their life spiralled downhill they realised it was unmanageable
unpaid bills, no work, no money, avoiding debt collectors, and
worst of all accidents with their cars, injuries, plus illness
jealousy and fights topped it all off – pure codependence
that’s unmanageability!
so they cleaned up their act with the help of a professional
who knew about this kind of craziness
that’s what addiction and relationships are about
major dysfunctionality and unmanageablity
then in recovery they planned their future
being happy and free of the demons that had plagued them
serenity and peace of mind at last brought about
emotional and financial security

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