13th Step Consequences

Addicted 4, photo by Nicole Dee, Landing, OntarioI have written about the dangers of getting sexually involved with someone who is early in recovery from addiction and/or any other vulnerable state. This is commonly known in the 12 Step fellowship as 13th Step consequences and needs to be treated as a serious warning, even though the term causes nervous laughter.? Steve’s comment is an example of such a traumatic outcome and here is my response:

Steve, I was sorry to read that you have had such a traumatic experience and that you are now disabled with a muscle disease too. Not all AA members are as thoughtless as the one who hurt you and your partner. There are many AA members who are careful not to get involved in that way and who make good supportive friends for each other and for new members. Perhaps you could both try another meeting if you want the benefit of the program. Then again no one says you must use AA. There is a group known as SMART Recovery and it does not encourage friendships? between its members, as there is no buddy system. It is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and does not use a God perspective.

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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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Male identity suffers

Men friendship 2, photo by Piotr Bizior, Budapest, Dolnoslaskie, Poland, good mates As a feminist, I am glad that the women’s movement has advanced the status of women, even though there’s much more to be done. Nevertheless, I have noticed that the male identity suffers through this process of achieving equality. Many men have become over cautious at being light hearted with women because they fear allegations of sexual harassment. Yet many women miss the harmless flirtations that took place between men and women. In becoming politically correct, rightfully so, perhaps we have thrown out the ‘baby with the bathwater’. In time, these men will feel safe to use respectful flirtation with women.

my communication is coloured by flirtations
a funloving aspect of my personality
which lifts my spirits often
the type of flirting I am referring to is one that
maintains a respectful position in relation to whoever
I am communicating with regardless of gender
I have noticed though that more men have become
quite reserved in their mannerisms and
I suspect that this is due to
an attempt to be respectful towards women
however, I believe the male identity suffers
in that process and they become tense
perhaps we need to role model
respectful flirtations more often
so that we don’t become overly serious
in our efforts to ‘do the right thing’

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E.B. (Epidermolysis Bullosa)

DebRA Queensland logo, Butterfly DayIn Australia you can help by reaching the support people for E.B (Epidermolysis Bullosa) at DebRA Queensland. As a result of my post about Butterfly Day and E.B. there was a comment by Gena which I believe will help the E.B. campaign, so I’m including her comment in full here. Hopefully this will inspire people to become active in Gena’s work too. Children especially suffer such pain and life threatening illnesses because of Epidermolysis Bullosa so please consider pledging your help.

Comment by Gena:

Hello! I receive “google alerts” for anything about EB, and your blog arrived in my alert today. I just wanted to write and say “THANK YOU!” for spreading awareness about EB! My Mom suffered from Recessive Dystrophic EB, Hallopeau-Siemens subtype. She was a marvelous woman, and a warm and caring mother to me and my two siblings. She is one of the few with her severe subtype to have children, and we are all EB-free. She lived to the age of 65, and serves as an inspiration to others with EB because of her long life and courage in the face of this disease. She endured many infections from chronic wounds, had many surgeries to improve her mittened hands, developed squamous cell carcinoma which resulted in amputation of an arm and a leg, and yet she loved life and was in all ways a child of God. I wrote an article after her death for the DebRA organization, which you can view here: www.thedenslaws.com/personalstories.html

In the U.S., I am working with volunteers to pass a Bill for National EB Awareness Week, Bill H.RES.335. The companion Senate Bill, S.RES.180, has already passed. If one of your readers knows folks in the U.S., they can write, fax, email or phone the House Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and Majority Whip, and ask them to bring this Bill to a vote under the 109th Congress, before they finish in December. They can ask the same of their own Congressperson, and they can get all contact information at www.house.gov or www.congress.gov.

I also work with DebRA International, helping people in countries to find resources. Currently, I’m working with a family of four siblings in their 20’s in Iraq who have no bandages or wound care treatment, to go to Israel to be diagnosed and receive instruction on bandaging, and a couple in Pakistan with a 2-year-old son – all have a more severe subtype of EB. There is just not enough help for these people, and spreading awareness as you have done is a great gift to our community!

Thanks for the opportunity to leave a comment! Gratefully, Gena Gruschovnik

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Butterfly Day

Butterfly, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, short lifeToday I heard on the car radio that it is Butterfly Day for kids suffering from E.B. It was the first time I had heard of this disease and so I looked at their website here and in the United States [be prepared for disturbing pictures]. I was appalled at what small children go through with Epidermolysis Bullosa as their skin blisters horrendously and causes them infections and tremendous pain.This is a rare genetic disorder and affects all nationalities.

The wounds vary in severity and although they resemble burns, they don’t heal as burns do. The child with E.B. cannot ride a bike, skate, or participate in sports because normal play causes chronic sores which are sometimes covering 75 percent of the body and can be life threatening. These children are confined to a diet of only liquids or soft food to cope with blistering and scarring which occur in the mouth and esophagus.

Their fingers and toes can fuse due to scarring, leaving deformities affecting their ability to function. Their lives can involve being constantly admitted to hospitals for wound treatment, blood transfusions, biopsies and surgeries. They often have sight problems because their eyes blister. Chronic anemia is another symptom and this reduces energy and retards growth. Life beyond 30 years is not expected.

I found that in Australia there are attempts to raise money and support services for children who suffer with E.B. and for their families. So I hope that I can raise awareness about this devastating illness through my website to help their fundraising and make their plight easier.

I am sure that you too will find it as heartbreaking as I did when you visit the E.B. websites.

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Addiction and anorexia

Mannequins, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, beauty mythMuch has been written about the effect that thin models and movie celebrities have on young women. In an effort to look like these role models young women develop eating disorders. Addiction and anorexia are the same condition. When a person suffers from anorexia it is on the same eating disorder continuum as compulsive overeating. Just as life threatening as other addictions anorexia results in a distorted perception. The afflicted person does not see themselves as being thin and continues to do without food in order to lose more weight.

she was such a loveable person and
so thoughtful too, not to mention how
talented she was in writing
poetry straight from the heart
however, she battled addiction and anorexia
she managed to become free of the heroin
but not of the need to avoid eating
no matter what she tried it worked only
for a short time and then she was back
to her old ways which eventually led her
to her heroin addiction and death from starvation
some more fortunate are rescued from this fate

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Nothing is as it appears

Jaguar, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, feline fancyThe jaguar is popular and as people admire its beauty they forget how dangerous it can be. Nothing is as it appears. Within seconds it’s capable of ripping its prey apart, as many animals can do. To a certain degree the same can be said of the human animal. Usually humans try to present a persona which is attractive, lovable, and successful so that they can get what they want. Some though are dangerous because they can easily become violent, either emotionally or physically or both. Prevention is best – we need to go gently into a new relationship until we are sure of the other person’s temperament. We also need to be prepared to get out of the relationship fast if it proves inappropriate and not wait until it’s so dangerous that we can get hurt.

they came to see me and by the end of the session
it became apparent that he was not willing to change
even though he had violent tendencies
and she was not ready to leave him
when they came back to see me I made it clear
that I could not see them together any more
because it was as though I was holding her hand
while he continued to be violent with her
I recommended that she contact the Helpline
for this type of dangerous behaviour and
stressed that her life depended on
her taking urgent action, my words annoyed him
she came back months later and wanted
to undergo therapy on her own as
she had legally removed him from her life
she had a pattern of attracting similar types
and she wanted to stop, so we began the work
today she lives the life she’s always wanted

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Feelings of Deprivation

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapyParents and teachers have the important role of setting limits for children. However, some people forget to be loving and are too strict in this role. This causes feelings of deprivation in children which influence them negatively all their lives. Deprivation is one of the basic symptoms of addiction. Addicted people try to feed the feelings of deprivation by rewarding themselves to excess. This leads to lack of self discipline and they are compelled to keep rewarding themselves to their own detriment. The solution is to find a method that resolves the deprivation experienced and creates feelings of love. This varies with the individual but it can be done successfully with or without therapy. Self help groups are a loving fellowship and play an important healing role in this process.

whenever I promised myself to eat healthy and avoid
what’s unhealthy for my diabetes and weight gain
all the good intentions kept failing!
overcome by the strongest feelings of deprivation
my resolve weakened which led to
eating something not on my food plan but
I remembered how I mastered my nicotine addiction with
18yrs of abstinence, freedom from chain smoking now
but that feeling of rewarding myself no matter how
short lived was connected to the amount of strictness
I experienced as a child and I was in touch with that so
when I gave in it was like rewarding the crying child inside
then I found a food plan for Carbohydrate Addicts and
my feelings of deprivation and cravings were resolved
what’s more I feel loved and normal while losing weight
my diabetes blood sugar count is lowering steadily

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapy

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Soulmates or love addiction?

Forelove @ Backlight, photo by Ertl Balázs, Soroksar, Hungary, true loveThere is a fine line between having a loving relationship and love addiction. A loving relationship involves soulmates having a fulfilling life based on like-minded friendship. Love addiction is a relationship that brings extreme highs and lows with unmanageablity as the distinctive characteristic which gets progressively worse. Soulmates or love addiction, which will it be for you?

he had experienced great unhappiness
and yet mad passionate love with her
he was finally free of that madness
and it hadn’t been easy to achieve!
in therapy he tried to understand
why he felt disinterested with his new love
and yet he knew he loved her deeply
it took a while for him to realise
that he needed to adjust to the reality of love
in other words: soulmates or love addiction?
he finally understood the difference
and since then his life has been
what he’s always hoped for and yet
thought he’d never have
together with serenity at last
as well as three adorable young children to love

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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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