Addict Denial – Addiction in the Family

Denial addiction

From the book:  ADDICTION: Am I Powerless?

Addict Denial

Denial is the biggest road block for anyone trying to self-diagnose the presence of an addictive issue.  When it comes to the topic of denial it’s quite possible that most of us would not be nearly as cognizant of the word if people struggling with the issue of addiction hadn’t helped make the term so clear to us all.

Addicted persons are well known for their seemingly purposeful refusal to see the error of their ways and admit to a problem that seems obvious to everyone around them.  There is a saying in the recovery communities; “Denial is not a river in Egypt.”  The statement pokes fun at the depths of denial possessed by the addicted, to the point that they don’t even hear or recognize the word.

Most everyone in modern society has heard the term “12-Step Program.”   The proof that denial is the linchpin in overcoming any type of addiction is evidenced by the first step of all the 12-step programs, from AA to OA (Alcoholics Anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous.)  “We admitted we were POWERLESS over alcohol (drugs) – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The first step in the recovery programs requires that one admit to or acknowledge a problem; it is the primary condition for any hope of change or recovery.  This admission is personal and not clinical.  The first step is only an admission of “POWERLESSNESS” not of alcoholism or addiction.  This necessary acknowledgement of any level of a problem is the crux to any possible or potential change, whether you choose to attend a 12-Step Program or not.  Without a personal revelation about the severity of the problem the hopes for change are short lived at best.  We’ll come back to this issue later: We are only in the learning and assessing phase for now.

Let’s take a closer look at the dynamics surrounding a person who becomes so confused and distracted by their need or desire to use that they can no longer see what seems apparent to everyone around them.  Sometimes this is a person who refuses to acknowledge their own problem so adamantly that their significant others begin to take this refusal to see what appears obvious, as a personal affront, a personal “—- you!”  What this really suggests is that the family experiences the denial of the addicted as having someone purposefully and knowingly lie straight to their face.  Most addicted people don’t possess enough clarity of the situation to really make their family suffer purposefully.

A drug treatment saying goes; “The addict is always the last one to know.”  This saying suggests that it has already become blatantly obvious to everyone else around the addict.  Remember, denial is a defense mechanism, a serious psychological machination resulting from addiction and powerlessness.

As a treatment provider, one way we know that an addiction is in full bloom is when the families tell us they have stopped calling the addicted person; that they have stopped taking their calls.  Maybe their bosses have let them go or reassigned them, maybe their lovers have moved on and the legal system has to do for them what they “won’t” do for themselves.

By this stage the “Defense Mechanisms” used to protect the use of the chemical are so entrenched in the addicted person’s mind that the addict is still convinced that they’re just having a run of bad luck.  If you are dealing with this phenomena or a sense of “bad luck” then you might want to consider exactly what could be fueling this run of the secret and mystical concept of “luck.”  Perhaps the chemical is the talisman or jinx drawing these negative experiences to you.

(In the next chapter I explain exactly how this occurs)

On a more serious note, let’s examine this issue further by taking a more general look at human self-deception.   Before we do I want you to first suspend the addiction issue and focus on how the human mind (in general) can become self-deceived.

From the book

ADDICTION: Am I Powerless

Emmanuel S. John

Learn more 

The problem with self-esteem is that we often make the mistake of thinking we have some extra to spare. – Addiction

self-esteen to spare addiction

There are many ways that our self-esteem is diminished but almost every one of them has to do with us either not being valued and respected by others or by not valuing and adhering to the values we set for ourselves.

First; if you accept unacceptable behavior and treatment by others then your self-esteem and self-worth will be diminished.  PERIOD!!  Putting up with not being treated appropriately and without being respected in the way we think we should costs us every time!  We give a bit of our self-respect away with each transgression that we allow to occur once we realize it and do nothing.

Allowing disrespect to occur without addressing it, resolving it and preventing it is one of the ways I suggest that we think we have more self-esteem to spare than we do.  We tell ourselves things like; she didn’t mean it, he’s got a good heart, they just don’t know any better…  STOP!!!  Just because “they didn’t mean it” or just because “they don’t know any better,” does not mean that you aren’t paying a price for “their not knowing any better” and “their not meaning it.” Because of the negative impact addiction has on self-worth people with addiction in the family can’t afford that cost; most barely have enough self-worth to survive.

While some confident people are able to let go of some occasional mistreatment from strangers without paying a price, no one can tolerate mistreatment (or even just what they believe to be mistreatment) for very long without feeling less valuable.  PERIOD!

Self-respect is an inside job but making sure the outside world respects us is also our problem.  We do this by setting boundaries that are clear about what we will accept and what we will not accept.  When we fail to set these boundaries and enforce them we sell out our self-worth.   If you already have a problem in this area then you can’t sell what’s not in the inventory or is already sold out!

The next biggest problem in relation to over estimating how much self-esteem we have left in the tank has to do with how we act.  While we may think we can justify our behavior we actually can’t; at least not to our self-conscious or true self.  When we act in ways that we know are wrong we spend a little self-worth capital each and every time. PERIOD!

A simple example; I walk down a street full of liter. (This author hates liter.  In fact I have a saying I wrote that has never been posted; “Only Trash Liters.”  If you understand that saying then this will make total sense.) I mistakenly let a sales receipt slip from my pocket onto the ground where it lands in a pile of trash. I see it happen and decide it’s no big deal and walk on.  Just then I decided that I can take that shot to my self-esteem; It’s a shot because it is an act that goes against my own self-concept as a person who doesn’t liter. (I like that about me.)  The problem here is not that the street will look bad or that I contributed to a negative situation or phenomena.  The problem is that I have just sold out my own value of not littering, simply because I didn’t feel like bending over.  How many times can I do this (act against my own value) before it adds up and I pay a cost?  Even if I try to convince myself that I no longer care about liter then I sub-consciously know that I have LOWERED my standard.  Lowered my value!  Get it?  The bonus here; when I stop, bend over and pick it up, I gain self-respect every time! PERIOD!

People with large amounts of shame and guilt (addicts and their families) cannot afford to give away self-esteem and self-worth that they don’t have to give away.  What this means is that we cannot accept unacceptable behavior from ourselves or anyone else if we want to become more whole.  We need to set boundaries for both ourselves and others and then see to it that those limits are respected.  If we are violating them we need to change and correct the behavior in order to foster a positive self-concept.  If someone else is violating them then we need to either see to it that they cease doing so or get away from them as soon as possible, if not immediately.  That is how boundaries work; setting them without enforcing them is ludicrous!   PERIOD!

We should not accept unacceptable behavior from anyone, not even from ourselves.   We must adhere to the standards that we believe in.  If I don’t like people who lie and I lie, I pay a price in self-respect.  If I allow you to lie to me and I don’t address it I pay a price in self-worth because I am allowing you to mistreat me.  If I know I should change a behavior but I don’t I pay with my self-esteem because I know I can do better.  PERIOD!

If I want to build self-respect I need to act like I think I should.  If I want to build self-worth I need to do things that I think are good (service work).  If want to keep those gains and establish self-esteem then I need to maintain the acceptable or esteeming behaviors for an extended period of time.

A word specifically for the addicted: If you think you should be clean and sober then no drug in the world is going to keep that self-worth, self-respect, and self esteem tank full.  Only by staying clean and sober (adhering to the behavior you think necessary) over an extended period of time can you create self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect.  You could help all the homeless people in the world but if you continue to do things that are unacceptable to you, you will be unacceptable to yourself.  If you allow others to treat you in unacceptable ways then you will eventually lose respect for yourself too!  PERIOD!!!

Emmanuel S. John

addictioninthefamily.com

TRUST, CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY – Addiction in the Family

credibility Addiction

TRUST, CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY

Credibility is perhaps the number one character trait damaged by addictive use.  Lose enough of it and people lose trust in you.  Trust is about credibility; it’s about words matching deeds.  Here’s another word for you: Integrity!  Trust and credibility are perhaps the hardest things to recover in a personal relationship; integrity is impossible to have without credibility and trust.  Ultimately, Trust, Credibility and Integrity start with and are built on Honesty! THEY ARE ALL SPIRIUTAL PRINCIPLES.  Ever have someone say you were “Full of sh_t!”  What they are saying is you have no credibility with them!

Let’s look at some real world examples.  Ever have a spouse or sexual partner cheat on you?  How easy was that to get over?  Have you ever cheated on them?  How hard was that to get back?  How about a boss?  Ever lose their trust?  That usually gets you fired; over and done with!  If you own a business then that customer is gone!  How about your own parent’s trust when you were a child; even as an adult?  How about the most costly of all; losing your child’s trust or faith in you or your words?

Before I go further on this topic I have a challenge for you for the New Year!  See how far into the year you can go without hurting your credibility.  Words Matching Deeds.  How in a minute….

Here is nice definition of trust I came across recently (Check your dictionary too).

“Trust is a person’s willingness to accept (and/or increase) their vulnerability by relying on implicit or explicit information.” (implicit means implied and explicit means stated)

Attention should be drawn to the fact that people’s expectations and our failure to meet their expectation can damage trust.  Before you go off on some tangent about expectations and resentments, yeah, they can actually resent us for failing to meet “THEIR” expectations.  We must manage the expectations of others if this is to be avoided.  This is done through a trick called COMMUNICATION!!!   Life cannot exist without expectations; don’t think so?  Do you expect your electric to be on?  The gas station to be open?  The school to be open and for the kids bus to come?  You can only trust these things because they are consistent.

Credibility is time oriented consistency.  It is the quality of being believed in over time, that what a person says they will do, they will do.  It’s about trust-worthy-ness, rely-ability, depend-ability, and integrity.  It is the quality of being convincing or believable.

Integrity is an above average level of credibility.  It is the absolute certainty that a person or institution can be depended on without fail.  Having integrity is not easy and it has never been given without first achieving trust and credibility. When someone comments on another by saying that s/he has a lot of integrity they are paying one of highest compliments possible about someone’s character.  Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.  It takes years to get but it can be lost in a second!

Recovery is about getting all of the above back!

Obviously people who struggle with addictive issues, people with low self-esteem and poor self-worth often struggle with vulnerability issues.  They struggle to extend themselves, to take emotional risks.  For these people to recover they need strong examples; credible people who they can trust.  This need to trust is just one reason why 12 Step meetings are very strict about having the doors open and open on time.

How do we fix credibility and trust?

First things first!  Don’t lose it (or any more of it) and you won’t have to work forever to get it back!

We keep our credibility by keeping our word.  If you say you’re going to do something then do it!  Hey mom I’m going out; I’ll be back at 6:00. BE BACK at 6:00!   Yeah boss, it will be done by the end of the day.  HAVE IT DONE!   I love only you; THEN LOVE ONLY THEM.  If you pick your child up from school every day, or from your ex’s every other weekend then eventually there will be an expectation implied.  That’s normal and even healthy.

If we can’t keep our words then we shouldn’t speak them.  When we tell someone something then they are going to use that information to manage their own lives, to make their plans and to feel secure in how things are going to go.  It allows them to get excited about good things and to prepare themselves for bad things.  We can even make someone else’s life unmanageable if we fail enough times to…

“Do what we say.”

Now many people will argue in their own heads that being on time or taking care of something like bringing home milk are not big deals.  They may not be big deals but then why lose our credibility over little things.  Milk and 15 minutes might not mean much but if we want the people we care about to believe in us then THEY’RE HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When we commit to something we are making that person dependent on us for that thing and it’s not easy for anyone to depend on people these days.

If you are in recovery, have you ever tried to win back your teenage child’s trust; to win back their belief in you, in your credibility?  How many times have they been let down due to your addictive use?  “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU QUIT!!!!  Those recovery programs are bullshit!” Yep!  Our behavior even effects how much credibility people give recovery programs like AA and NA. This is really troublesome if they themselves might need the program one day.

These are not easy topics but they have everything to do with recovery.

Regaining trust and credibility takes time.  A person may even be able to trust that we are going to do what we say without giving us the label of credible.  “OK I’ll meet you there at 6.”  In this instance they are believing/trusting us to be there but they can still doubt us.  Credibility is when they have no doubt!

Final word on this.  If we don’t have credibility in our own words I promise you that no one else will: Maybe initially but not eventually.  Have a lot of weak short term relationships where you can’t figure out what went wrong?  Inventory the credibility and continuity in those relationships.  Was everyone on the same page?

Finally, becoming trust-worthy and credible is one of easiest ways to  gain self-respect.  Just knowing that your are repairing these relational problems with the people who matter means everything. Yesterday’s progress means about as much as yesterday’s meeting. What matters is today.

It is actually very simple (not easy) to gain back trust; Say what you do and do what you say! One day at a time!  One relation at a time.  If you can’t keep your word then contact them and let them know ahead of time that there is a problem.  That will at least give them a chance to believe what you say.  Eventually you will have to work on your consistency in your following through on what you say but that’s another issue!

Remember

See how far into the year you can go without hurting your credibility.  Words Matching Deeds.

Emmanuel S. John

addictioninthefamily.com

Addiction

Enabling & Detachment – Addiction in the Family

3-c's detach addiction

The following excerpt is from my book; ADDICTION: Why They Use (A hand book for anyone who loves an alcoholic or addict.   pg 137-139)

(Buy it by clicking this link)

ENABLING

Where Do We Draw The Line?

Why do you think it is that the loved ones of an alcoholic or drug addict try to rationalize with a person who is suffering from a mental illness?  Wait, did you get that?  Rational and mental illness; aren’t these two things mutually exclusive?  Isn’t that why we call it a mental illness in the first place, because it’s not logical: Because it doesn’t make rational sense?

If it’s a person’s behavior that we don’t like then it is most likely a behavioral problem and not necessarily a logical or rational problem at all.  As mentioned earlier the addict has become conditioned through a long process of chemical reward.  Their discomfort is treated with the reward of the cessation of that discomfort via the administration of the drug.

This behavioral verses rational argument blurs an already fine line when it comes to addiction.  The only way to get a person to change a behavior is to make the behavior not worth doing, by adding a sanction or penalty.  This part of the brain (the limbic system) in truly the animal part of the human brain, thus there is a need to address this part of the human brain much like we would train the brain of any other animal.

As discussed in the chapter about self-deception and denial, the addict has an uncanny ability to avoid the memory of and/or retention of any information, which is contrary to their desired belief.  Any information, which might threaten the justification of their use or using behaviors, is systematically eliminated from their consciousness.  If a loved one is a source of stress about the issue and is continuously pushing or pursuing the issue they will eventually eliminate that loved one from their daily life.  This is the reason why they appear to choose using and using friends over the people who really love them.  I’ll say this is again: This is the reason; “the how” they are able to choose using over the people who love them.

Take this author’s word when I say; “Your contribution and worth to them is eerily irrelevant until long after they have lost you.”  Threats against cutting them off are only perceived as you choosing your wants over their needs.  To them you are simply making things harder than they should be or need to be. They must actually “BE” cut off; threats are useless against their deep-seated denial.

The reason I say it takes the actual loss of a loved one is mostly because they will not perceive or believe the loss initially.  Their using of the chemical will alleviate the very feeling of loss.  Even after you have separated yourself from them they will find reasons that you are to blame for the relationship’s struggle.  Quitting use of the substance is rarely an option to the addict until well after great loss has occurred and then only when the user has recognized the loss.  You can’t spare them anything but the consequences of their use and that is enabling in its strictest sense.  The addict will not stop using until the cost of using is greater than the benefits of using.

If you have an addict in your life you have obviously considered the term “Enabling” before you opened this book: But do you have a working definition?  I think the definition I use will help you to clear things up and maybe even speed up the recovery of your addict.

The definition I use is as follows; Enabling is any action by any one, that insulates or protects the substance user from the actual or potential consequences of their use.  This definition should be simple enough to understand but I urge you to take a second look at it and consider your actions in regards to your addict.  Unfortunately for the significant others of the addict and alcoholic the word “Love” often becomes over simplified and trivialized.   They may even use the word love as a method of instilling guilt in you, to get you to do what they want/need you to do.

I want to acknowledge here that I understand that stopping enabling behaviors is hard but I promise you it is the quickest and safest route to creating CHANGE in their behavior.  At a minimum, it is a way of starting your own healing process because you can’t gamble your peace of mind or make it contingent on the choices of an addict.   You will come up short every time.

Popular enabling behaviors include but ARE NOT LIMITED TO: Giving them a roof over their head when they have failed to maintain their own roof due to using and poor choices.  Lending them money for any reason. (Duh!)  If they’re hungry then feed them, never give them money.  But before you feed them let them know that they will have to talk about their choices during the meal, not after.  If they don’t agree then they are just making another bad choice.  When they are hungrier an hour later they will be learning more about their poor choices and become even more willing to have the uncomfortable discussion, mostly because the discomfort of their hunger is a stronger survival need.

Don’t pay for lawyers!  Jail is a consequence and not having money to pay for their own legal needs are sometimes a consequence of using as well.  Being afraid is a consequence of use.  Let them be afraid. 

The only thing I suggest you might provide for them is LOW COST TREATMENT opportunities.  Sending them to a “nice” place is often and can actually be counter productive.  Addiction isn’t nice.  If you are an addict and need treatment and can go to a nice place, then go.  If you can’t afford a “nice” place then act accordingly.  The only adjustment to this rule is if there are other more complicated issues to address like childhood sexual abuse, trauma or major grief issues, which can be correlated to the onset of their addictive use.   It’s been my experience that “nice” treatment centers are usually the first treatment centers and rarely the last.  But it is a process; sometimes this de-evolution in treatment quality can serve as a benchmark system for them to see their decline and to mark the progression of their illness.  Again, this process would only suggest that the “nice” treatment center is only the “first” treatment center.  Don’t waste YOUR money!

As mentioned before the issue of addiction is extremely complicated.  Rarely are the choices without controversy.  This is often the case when the care of the children of the addict is in question and required.  The issue will arise regarding the safety of and the care of their children.  The answer to this dilemma is more straightforward then you might expect.  By taking care of the children you are not aiding the addict per say, you are aiding innocent victims of a disease state.  This is not enabling.  The children deserve the best we can afford for them or they too will be visited by many of the addict’s troublesome emotional states and behaviors.

(Is this information is helpful please red the whole book; it’s WHY I wrote it!)

Click here

Emmanuel S. John

Which You is Actually You? Will the Real You Please Stand Up! – Addiction in the Family

Me altered toxic mind addiction

If you feel that you don’t know who you are any longer then you have altered your consciousness with your level of chemical use. Losing site of who we actually are is one of the scariest things about being powerless or addicted.  This happens because the chemical is more powerful then the self; it has essentially taken over.  If you lost you, you can find you; but not with a toxic brain!  A short period of clean time will prove the point.

It’s possible the chemical use has replaced “Me” with “Me Altered”

(The following if from the book “ADDICTION: Am I Powerless,” Page 174, available on this site)

“What this administering of a mood altering chemical means is that a person who seeks to knowingly change their mood is not 100% satisfied with their current state of mind as they are seeking to better it, improve it or heighten it.  At a minimum they are willing to have it changed.  Even using a caffeinated beverage meets these criteria of having a desire to change ones’ current mood or state.  Can you think of anyone who would consume a cup of coffee without knowing that the caffeine would have an effect?  It’s the same with cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

With this “change your mood” motivation in mind let’s narrow our focus to further examine how the desire to alter one’s mood might become an addiction issue.  If it is the case that the now addicted person began their use in order to alter their state of mind and that they were not content with how they felt then the path is much clearer; at some level they were self-medicating their mood.  Perhaps they were going through a tough time as an adolescent when their use began or perhaps it escalated during a difficult divorce in their adulthood when they chose to drown their sorrows.

What seems to happen is that after a while of using a mood altering chemical a type of emotional fog resulting from that substance use takes over in the individual consciousness and the lines between “me” and “me altered” becomes blurred.  If used for a long enough time the altered mood becomes so familiar to the user that they get fooled into thinking that the way they are under the influence of the chemical is their natural condition; “me altered” becomes “me” (and me un-altered becomes an uncomfortable state).

Over the past 3 decades I have met with more substance abusers and substance dependents then I can count.  When they are asked; “Why do you use?” Nearly all, (99.9%) struggle to provide a coherent response to which they themselves are satisfied.  Nearly all have failed to articulate a substantial rationale for a behavior that by this time has cost them; jobs, relationships, freedom, money, self-respect and even their health.  The few who can answer to their own satisfaction say; “Because I don’t care anymore.”

 Getting them to a point where they are satisfied with their answer has frequently required a fair amount of facilitation to help them articulate and arrive at a cohesive understanding of their own using behavior.  Sometimes the full awareness of their motivation can take months and even years to uncover.  While answers like, “because I like it,” are often suggested these fail to explain the gain or motive for the costly behavior.  (I can like fishing without doing it every day; I can even go months without doing it at all.)  Their lack of a cohesive understanding of their behavior suggests to me that outside of their emotional conditioning/addiction/habit, no existing cognitive/conscious reason is actually present.  If there was a cognitive reason they would be able to speak to it quite readily:  Unless they don’t want to admit they are self-medicating; none do.

At this point they are emotionally addicted and powerless.  Their confusion most likely occurs because the original reason or motive to use has become long lost in the development of an addiction.

(Learn more)

Emmanuel S. John

Addiction: Am I Powerless

(Click here to find the book in your preferred format)

Give Christ the gift of Forgiveness, to your loved ones!!!!!!!!!!!!! For Christmas!!!! – Addiction in the Family

forgive forget addiction

Whether you see Christ as a Man, a Spirit or a God you cannot deny the gifts he He gave the world.

To me the biggest one of all is forgiveness.

I asked myself during meditation yesterday; What would Christ want for a present and it became quite clear very quickly. He would want us to forgive others in the same spirit that we ask for it! So here are some forgiveness tools to help!

In the Spirit of the day!!!

Remember, forgiveness is an act of Love!

Easy forgive addiction

forgive affirm addiction

Forgiveness addiction

Forgiveness is at its route two gifts. One gift we give to the undeserving other and the second gift we give to our wounded self. The gift of forgiveness is like a boomerang which once launched returns to us with freedom from the bondage of another’s action. It returns with the freedom to be unaffected by unjust behaviors. It allows us to return to the path we had previously chosen for our selves.

 Merry Merry!!!
addictioninthefamily.com

Addiction

BETTER IS BETTER!! – Addiction in the Family

Beter yourself! Addiction

 

BETTER IS BETTER

If you are trying to better yourself there is no such thing as failure.  Achievement is not about the end result but instead about the willingness to continue the journey when things don’t go the way we planned.  Winners do what they have to do! They get up, dust themselves off and try again.

If the overall goal is not achieved in the moment or episode of initial effort then one is laying the tracks to further the journey.  Each step we take towards the goal is evidence of our resolve.  Each time we try to get a little better, we do indeed, get a little better, we get a little closer to our goal.

The measure of success varies with each goal but healthy objectives make this task of marking progress more helpful.   (This might be why there are numbers on the 12-Steps; benchmarks towards the goal of a spiritual awakening.)  Each time we come up short we learn from our mistakes and adjust our course.  Each time we try we become a little more prepared for the process and task at hand.  Just like an athlete we must put in the reps!

One could easily argue that we are never finished anything.  This author believes that you can either PROGRESS or REGRESS, you can’t just “gress.”  As Long as you MOVING in the right direction then that is all that really matters.  Once the goal of our efforts are attained or reached we then have an entirely new perspective, a new set of goals falls into perspective.  We are then able to see the next set of goals which build on the previous accomplishments.  Every effort is a track laid.

Much like driving towards a mountain range the first hills and mountains we see appear huge and we can see nothing beyond them.  They seem to be the largest things around.  It is not until we crest the first peak that we then see the larger mountains only visible from our new perspective.  That is life and that is how recovery happens.  One must continue on with the new goals envisioned or regress into old behaviors.  If you just sit on the right track you will eventually be hit by the train carrying your old behaviors.

There is an old exercise for the newcomer in recovery circles that goes like this; Write down how you want your life to be after a year of staying clean and sober.  Write down how you want to feel, what you want to be doing, what kind of friendships you want to have and how you want to relate to the Universe or God.  Also write down what you think is important now and what you think will be important then.

After this is done the newcomer is often told that they have sold the process short.  They are asked to save the list and read it on their first recovery anniversary in order to prove how much they have underestimated the program and the 12 Step process.  From their new perspective of 1 year they are able to see further down the road in front of them as well as see the road behind them more clearly.

Recovery promises a life beyond your wildest dreams: Not a life of your wildest dreams but instead a life BEYOND your wildest dreams and perceptions.  Just like the mountain range example you will be able to see things, embrace perspectives and experience realities you never imagined or dreamed.

Promise!

Emmanuel S. John

(Like what your read?  You’ll love the book “Addiction: Am I Powerless”)

Must be a 12 Step Monkey – Addiction in the Family

 

monkey Addiction

From the “IT’S GOOD TO HAVE FRIENDS FILE”

Ever have someone pull you out of the gutter when no one else would?

Monkey Revives Electrocuted Friend at Train Station, India | Saves Dying Friend´s Life,

I have to say it bothers me that he looks towards the humans for help and gets none! HELLO! I think the monkeys in a 12 Step program though!

Happy Holidays to all my fellow hairless monkeys out there who look after one another! Maybe we can learn something!

Addiction

www.whytheyuse.com

F.E.A.R. and STRESS – Addiction in the Family

fear relapse Addiction

The following is from the book “ADDICTION: Am I Powerless (Self Assessing, a user’s guide to the truth). I cover an entire chapter on fear and stress in the book.

“There is no true escape from stress; it is a part of the human condition and it will always occur.  It is a part of a being a living creature.  In cases of “addictive use” the addicted person reaches a point where s/he can no longer find a better alternative to resolve their stress beyond the use of a substance; when left to their own devices they hit the default button and use their favorite chemical.  It usually makes all the stress noise quiet down.

One of the reasons why a chemical has become the default solution is because the substance dependent person (dependent on the chemical for relief) has stopped using their intellect to resolve their real life problems.  The “easier softer way” that they have found to relieve their stress has led them to believe (conditioned them) that the only thing working to resolve their discomfort the majority of the time, is the chemical of choice.

By this stage in the illness the user has developed an attachment to the chemical escape and because of that the level of powerlessness has increased.  At this point the user has often eliminated many other mood altering chemicals as possible solutions: S/he has settled on what will now be their “drug of choice.”  (If you have a drug of choice then “I have a drug of choice” goes on the “powerlessness” list.)

Emmanuel S. John

From the book ADDICTION: Am I Powerless (Self Assessing, a user’s guide to the truth) on sale now at addictioninthefamily.com and www.whytheyuse.com

Perfectionism is unhealthy! – Addiction in the Family

perfectionism addiction

Perfectionism is unhealthy.

Although it is often proudly proclaimed as a badge of diligence, perfectionism is not an achievable standard; it is a set up for failure.

The disease of perfectionism begins to affect the individual at the moment one professes to be something that is not attainable.  Labeling oneself a perfectionist is merely a refusal to accept and admit to the actual imperfection of the world around; the inability to embrace one’s imperfect human nature.

Claiming to be a perfectionist is a way to inform the people in one’s life that they are unreasonable when it comes to performance; both in themselves and others.  A declaration that you will have to be very mindful of your behavior and that you will have to excuse theirs; that poor performance will not be well tolerated.

Perfectionism is an attempted response to treat the actual lack of control one has over their environment.

Perfectionism is a predisposition to frustration, intolerance, resentment and disappointment.  Most perfectionists are quite frustrated.  It is a failure to see oneself and others as whole and complete no matter the outcome of a task or event.  Such a label denies one the option of exploring humility, truth and reality.  Perfectionists cannot embrace their short comings and the proclamation identifies an individual who is going to be rigid, demanding and controlling.  In fact, perfectionism can actually be a form of low self esteem, poor self concept and the fear of failure or of being judged negatively.  It may be caused by growing up with an overly demanding parent (a perfectionist parent, an addicted parent or a parent with self-esteem and performance issues).

A perfectionist is usually a hyper-competitive person even though they won’t usually know it or admit to it.  A person who is often cornered into being dishonest with themselves and others, least their imperfection be found out.

What to do?

First and foremost stop calling yourself a perfectionist.  Find words that actually describe your real feelings about moments in time; about how you feel right now, today, not about your whole life.  Stop judging yourself.  When we label ourselves as being “a certain way” we confine ourselves to meeting that standard and we often find it impossible to be anything but or accept anything less.  You are enough just because you try.  Life is not a contest nor should you feel like life is a test to be scored.  If you are Obsessive Compulsive then get help.  OCD is an unhealthy way of coping with stress.  Stop judging others and you will find that eventually you stop judging yourself by unrealistic standards.  If you remove the perfectionist label from you vocabulary you will learn more of the truth about yourself as you identify what is really going on.

Remember!

God doesn’t make junk.

Acceptance is the answer to all life’s problems.

Perfectionism is a type of all or nothing thinking; seek the gray area.

Emmanuel S. John

(PS,  I was going to leave a couple typos on purpose just to weed out the struggling perfectionists.  If you did find one relax, I’m OK with coming up short (shortcomings) and not being perfect.

You should be too!

Addiction

INTERVIEW WITH GOD – Addiction in the Family

signfromgod addiction

INTERVIEW WITH GOD

 I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview Me?””If you have the time,” I said. God smiled and said: “My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; what questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?”

God answered:

“That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.  That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future.  That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for while and then I asked……

 “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?” God replied with a smile: “To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved.” To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis! To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that money can buy everything but happiness. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them…and likes them anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

Unknown

addictioninthefamily.com

Addiction

IF THE BODY IS THE TEMPLE TO THE MIND AND SPIRIT. – Addiction in the Family

Body mind spirit addiction

Want REAL Recovery? Well there’s no cardio in the steps!

Many recovering people treat their mental
Lots of them treat their spiritual
But the majority of people in 12-Step programs fail to treat their physical.
If you’re trying to be well then you need to tend to all three.

Failing to prepare your body for stress is a major stumbling block for people in recovery from an addictive issue.  Thinking that you don’t have to do all the other things that people do to be healthy and happy is delusional.  Isn’t it alcoholic or addict thinking to believe that the rules that everyone has to live by don’t apply?  If you want to feel normal then you have to act and behave as “Earthlings” do.  Thinking things like: “I quit drinking and using and that’s enough for now” is lazy!  “I get a pass because I used and now I quit” makes no sense.”  “God feels sorry for me and knows I’m struggling so he’s gonna take care of that for me for now, while I’m getting clean” is pure ego!  “Surely I will now be allowed to smoke all I want, eat all I want and neglect my health in other ways all I want because, I mean,,,, come on,,,, I quit using!  Is mental!   “Where’s my pat on the back for taking care of myself, some?”  “Isn’t stopping use enough?”  NOPE! (Is the world supposed to thank you or reward you for doing what you need to do to take of yourself, like everybody else?)

I admit it; there is bit of snarkiness in the above insights but if drinking and using is only a symptom of the problem then when do we actually start treating the problem.   Stopping the use does not make things ALL BETTER!  If fact if you are a compulsive and impulsive person then you will most certainly abuse other things that make you feel good too!  If you just substitute one behavior for another then you’re not getting better, you’re not treating the problem, you’re just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  Recovery is about growing up and all grown-ups have to take of their physical body.  OR THEY DIE!!!

Chemical use hurts the mental, hurts the spiritual and hurts the physical.   Most people in “recovery” are only addressing 2 sides of the health and wellness triangle.  People in “recovery” work towards treating their moral and mental but often neglect and sometimes even increase negative behaviors that damage the bodies.  Pots of coffee, ice cream after meetings, overindulging in sweets, late night snacks and abusing caffeine are not healthy for adults.  A good sponsor won’t let you get away with not exercising if they know anything about dealing with stress and stress’s relationship to relapse.  Ever heard of HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY and TIRED?  That’s half physical body stuff!

People stop hurting their bodies, minds, and souls by quitting the chemical use but too often they neglect recovering their health.  Stopping the damage is not correcting or repairing the damage.  Just stopping hurting people does not do your 4th step!  Recovery is about being proactive in all the areas that have been affected.

Quitting use is not enough.  If you don’t take care of your body, if you do things to it against a Universal or Higher Power’s will then you eventually pay a price.  Being overly self-indulgent is a form of self-centeredness and even self-absorption.  Letting the body become overweight to the point where it endangers the individual or at least their self-worth and self concept is not getting better; it’s being lazy and gluttonous.

All alcoholics and addicts struggle with issues of vanity but older people in recovery rarely take the steps necessary to improve their health in a proactive manner.  The work you need to do to take care of yourself increases substantially with age.  Letting your health become “unmanageable” is not what recovery is about.  Health problems in later life are a major trigger for use and suicide and it can lead to outright death!

Real recovery means looking after your Mind, Body and Soul!  Just like the 3 legacies of Unity, Service and Recovery, effort must be made to avoid overindulging in unhealthy eating practices.  A diet is not just about losing weight it’s about being healthy.  Learn to fuel your body not feed your emptiness.  If the body is the temple to the mind and spirit then your temple may need some repairs.  Exercise is not about vanity and no one really likes it; what they like is the result.  Put 90 and 90 to work for your health; try 90 days of walking or eating better and see how you feel.

Sure you can argue that it’s not in the literature but that’s probably that mental thing getting in the way of the unpopular and hard to hear or unwanted truth.   What is in the literature is the more will be reveled.  If you are living by 1930’s health knowledge then that just might be your problem.  Scientific research with people in recovery programs has proven that healthy people in recovery are better able to deal and resolve stress and thereby reduce the level of unhealthy practices like using, overeating, smoking and returning to use: Not taking care of yourself leads to relapse because your body can’t sufficiently resolve stress when it is unhealthy; stress builds up and eventually becomes overwhelming.

There is an old recovery saying that says: Never let 2 days go back to back without a meeting.  It’s how you treat your spirit and mind; well, how about the body.  (Especially you old timers or those who want to be oldtimers one day) Three hours a week is a great start.  Start slow, pay attention to your diet and walk at least every other day for month and then at the end of month see how you feel.  Not using only about just not making things worse.   You need to get better!  Not using alone will not make you WELL or WHOLE!  Walking is also a great time for meditation and contemplation.  Even better, at the end of the walk or exercise sit quietly for a few minutes of meditation; this is the time when the body is most prepared for that connection to things of a Higher Nature!

You can’t think your way into right living, you have to live your way into right thinking!

Just do it!

Emmanuel S. John

Addictioninthefamily.com

Addiction

Resentment (The Real Truth About It) – Addiction in the Family

look past anger addiction

 

From my book “Addiction: Am I Powerless”

Resentment (The Truth)

This is by no means the first time we have addressed the issue of resentment in this book.  Its impact cannot be given too much attention and should never be underestimated when it comes to its morbid role for the powerless.

When the word Resentment is broken down we get; “Re” to do again/repeat, and “Sentīre” to feel; thus “to feel again.”  Re-feeling old hurts creates unnecessary emotional pain for the holder of the resentment by intensifying a negative experience and re-administering the hurt which has now been magnified by the very review itself.  This results in a more painful victim centered memory of an event.  The more we rethink and re-feel the experience the more of a victim we become.

There are many tools/slogans for describing the role resentment plays in the heart of the addicted.  Here are just a few:

  • Having a resentment is like letting someone else live rent free in your head. Usually a person you don’t like
  • Having a resentment is like stabbing yourself and waiting for someone else to bleed.
  • Holding a resentment makes someone more important than they are
  • Resentments eat away at their container
  • Expectations are premeditated resentments
  • Having a resentment is like swallowing poison, you are the only one that gets sick
  • Having a resentment is the voluntary choice to relive an injustice or hurt, over and over again
  • Resentments KILL!
  • The list goes on and on….

In order to have a resentment we have to place ourselves in the role of the victim, real or imagined.  We must believe that someone else has done something to us.  What we usually don’t consider is if we have somehow motivated their behavior by an act of our own.  It helps us to keep the victimization going if we can determine that they drew first blood. (Think about that last comment; doesn’t it sound a little immature? “He started it!”)

Regardless of the how or why a resentment is formed it is said that having a resentment is the dubious luxury of the non-addicted.  The meaning here is that for the people who struggle with an addictive issue resentments can be catastrophic.  It doesn’t matter if the chemical is food or crack, the emotional upset leads to justified self-medicating of the negative emotions with the behavior one has become conditioned to use when they experience stress or emotional discomfort.  In my clinical experience resentments are the primary offender; the primary motivator when it comes to the justification of a relapse.

Ask yourself this question: “Has someone else’s behavior ever made me want to go get high or drunk?”  If so there may be a resentment just under the surface.  It is accepted throughout the treatment community that resentment is a well known trigger for a return to use.  It’s relation to relapse is not really about the person place or thing we resent.  It is about stress!  It’s about what happens to powerless people when they fell victimized.  The feelings come from an inability to cope with the stress of the interaction accompanied by the inability to deal with stress in healthy way.  The other person’s negative behavior eventually becomes a “justifiable” excuse to use.

Be honest with yourself.  Your finding the truth about this problem is all that matters here, today.  There is a reason why you decided to go ahead and read this book.  Your initial concerns are probably valid: Learn to trust your intuition again.

Another group of people, often just as tortured by resentment are the loved ones of the alcoholic and addict.  In my book “Addiction: Why They Use (A handbook for anyone loves and alcoholic or addict,) I focused on the negative emotions connected to someone else’s behavior and choices.  (Remember resentments are formed based on a judgment about someone else’s behavior.)  The loved ones of the powerless are perhaps even more powerless as they never have the choice to stop using.  They have to wait and wait and wait.  They then begin to resent the addict as they realize the amount of emotional torture that they experience as they worry about the user.  As long as the person that they perceive as being addicted continues to use their resent festers; brewing as they begin to feel more and more victimized by the choices of someone else.  You may find that some of your resentments about them are based on their resentments about you.

In Al-Anon they have a tool; “detach with love.”  This is not easy.  When loved ones try to detach and move away from the powerless individual that individual often retaliates buy causing them more emotional pain via the addicts abandonment, guilt-ing and by purposefully distancing himself or herself as a way to make them pay.  One way the addicted do this is by withholding contact; making the loved one worry on purpose.  Ever get mad at them because they wouldn’t help (enable?) Because they would not bail you out of a dilemma?  Did you make them pay?  (Retaliating against those who love you is a sign of powerlessness provided you would not have done so if you were in your right mind.  If you have ever made someone pay for caring too much then perhaps; “I’ve retaliated emotionally” might go on the list or “I made them suffer/pay for caring too much.”)

Emmanuel S. John

Feel free to comment or ask questions

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE! But only because they’re sick and toxic! – Addiction in the Family

addiction

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE!

But only because they’re sick and toxic!

Does intent matter?  Why do we feel hurt by others?

There are times when people intentionally and knowingly hurt one another.  There are times when we intentionally and knowingly hurt others.  Sometimes they want a person to hurt and sometimes we want to hurt them back; make them feel our pain.  That is “retaliation” and it is a very common motivation for causing others to suffer.  Sometimes; “We step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate, seemingly without provocation”(Wilson, 1939).   Other times we want to hurt back as an attempt to attain some form of justice for our suffering; to penalize the perpetrator/s!  It is important to know that seeking justice has more to do with previous injustices then current acts; someone got away with it before and it’s not going to happen again!  The truth is we may have a pattern of connecting to the “wrong people,” which then, sort of makes it our issue too.

People may steal from us, lie to us, lie about us and even try to set us up to hurt ourselves.  They are very sick/toxic people and when we intentionally hurt others so are we.  Every human being on the planet over age 5 has felt emotional pain related to the actions of another.  Notice I did not say “due” to the actions  of another.  What we feel and how feel it actually has more to do with us then with them.  Recently I was personally connected to a very sick person who apparently had more faces and personalities then Mount Rushmore; some of them ugly and mean but one amazingly friendly.  I made friends with the friendly face.  When hurt by the other ones (faces/personalities) I depersonalized some of the pain because I know that person would be doing those same acts to anyone in my place, anyone and everyone they are connected to.  It wasn’t really personal; it was toxic sickness and perhaps mental illness playing itself out.  My hurt diminished more after being informed that this is a pattern for that person, for several decades now.  How I process the personalization of those acts has everything to do with me and my past.  Letting go does not let them off the hook because its not our job to fix them.  We must remember that some people are just toxic and those people hurt everyone around them; even their own children.  “If they do it with you, they’ll do it to you.”

Hurt happens but misery is optional.  Intent does matter: At least it can matter to us!  Realizing the intent level can have everything to do with how much we suffer.  Not so much that the pain was intended for us but that we perceive the act to be purposefully directed towards causing our suffering.  Misery loves company and miserable people want you to join them.  We can’t really be hurt if a thief steals from us or a liar lies to us; that’s what they do!  Did we really think they would treat us different?  Why?

We don’t experience emotional pain related to another’s action unless we personalize that action.  We aren’t hurt by someone’s behavior unless there is a sense that they intentionally considered us and the outcome when they performed the act.  Sometimes they’re just not smart enough to know what they’re doing.  In these cases we should hurt less.  We might kick ourselves for befriending them but we shouldn’t because trying to be someone’s friend is a good thing!  One thing I have learned (even as a therapist) is that you can’t fix/change people unless they believe they need to be fixed/changed; even then all you can actually do is help them change while being very patient.  If we join them on their journey then we have to be aware that they may actually infect us with their sickness.  Caring about an addict through their recovery is not easy.  Their defects aren’t actually in the bottle or drug, but are in fact being suppressed by the chemical use.  It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster; believe it or not, stopping using is the easy part.  Some people are however, constitutionally incapable of change; all you can do with them is manage the result of their behaviors and try not to be in the fallout zone.

Perhaps an example might help: If I tell your friend you said something you didn’t then I have committed an intentional act.  “Joe said you were getting fat!” I am wise enough to know that you wouldn’t be “OK” with it.  That’s intentional.  Let’s change that around now and look at an unintentional hurt related to the same topic.  Let’s say I am talking with a friend of yours and let it slip that you called them overweight; as in “so and so thought that you were putting on some weight and thought I should tell you about my new diet, that you might be interested.   The intent here is very different but both are likely to cause emotional pain.  One is me being inconsiderate or mean and the other is probably me just being a little stupid, inconsiderate and insensitive; even selfish and self-centered.  In the second example I wasn’t planning on hurting any feelings and in the first I didn’t really care enough to think twice or refrain.

Ultimately the best advice in the case of intentionally hurtful and toxic people is to put as much distance between you and them as you can. That, and pray that they may one day be able to see the error of their ways and stop hurting others.  Detach from those people as cleanly as possible and try not to be reactive.  Act, don’t react!  Try to be patient with the unintentional hurt-ers but keep yourself safe!  Some of these people are our greatest teachers.  They expose the deficits within us and show us how we can be stronger.  If we “cop” a resentment then we need to process that too.  Remember, a resentment is the re-feeling of an old hurt.  The first time it happened they did it.  Every time we replay it we are choosing to feel the pain associated with the act.  They only did it once.  (More on forgiveness and resentment in future posts.)

Emmanuel S. John

addictioninthefamily.com

www.whytheyuse.com

Addiction

Boundaries or Walls? Living a life on trial? – Addiction in the Family

Walls boundaries addiction

ALL OR NOTHING,,,MUCH????  Boundaries or Walls?

Do you experience a lot of all or nothing feelings and thoughts?  Does the word RIGID strike a nerve?  Ever feel lonelier then you think you should? Ever love an addict?

John Bradshaw said: “A person without boundaries is like a house without locks on the doors, anybody can just walk in.”  That is a great insight but I want us take it a step further as we build on what Bradshaw taught us.  What he is suggesting with his insight is that without doors and locks every aspect of our personhood is subject to access and judgment at any time.  It’s becomes like living a life on trial.  Every opinion about us is taken to heart’ even the ones that shouldn’t be. Every act or critique has a potential worth changing impact.

Over time relating to an alcoholic or addict lover or family member tears down our once healthy boundaries or in cases of family addiction prevents those healthy limits from ever being established.  People who grow up in addicted homes learn the only way to keep themselves safe is to build solid walls without doors.  These walls close off the most intimate parts of the self; these walls shut out everyone.  This walling off results in the loneliest feelings of lonely.   

Walls are permanent impermeable boundaries that keep aspects of the self completely closed up and closed off.  No one is safe so no one is allowed to enter.  Once these walls are built the individual begins to live in an all nothing approach to life, love and intimacy.  In order to let someone in (intimacy) they either have to tear down the wall and allow that person into areas they shouldn’t or just stay closed off and even feel lonely in a “relationship.”  Once people build walls they rarely set healthy boundaries beyond those walls; if the walls come down there is nothing in place, no limits.  All or nothing!

 

When the addict or ACOA decides to let someone in the walls are taken down completely.  Once the walls are torn down the significant others are then allowed access to the very “self structure” whenever they want.  Due to the lack of boundaries or limits we are essentially giving the person freedom to judge or condemn our very core: A tragic event for the shame based individual.  Because there is no boundary in place when the walls come down there is no limit to the impact of the “trusted” person’s critique.  Even if the walls come back up then the “toxic infection” has already spread.  When the walls return the toxic critique is locked inside and carried forward to the next relationship when the walls have to come down once again.  When the next person is thus allowed in too far they either experience the toxic infection of self or contribute to it.  Even if the new person does no harm the individual self uses past negative critiques to judge new behaviors, often in an unrealistic way and to an inhuman standard of perfection.  All or nothing!       

 So what do we do about it?   My first recommendation is to get away from toxic people.  Stop giving them access to your core.  Detach with love! People who do not allow us to make mistakes without feeling like a mistake are toxic.  Surround yourself with people who do have healthy boundaries and people who hold you accountable when you violate theirs.  This teaches you where boundaries should be.  “Don’t judge others least ye be judged by your own standard.”

Next, learn about healthy interactions from books on codependency and intimacy.  Try therapy. Find a standard to live by that places all people in a place of equal core value.   The old saying; “God doesn’t make junk” is a great example.  Try to learn your own true value to others.  Look at what you can give and don’t compare that to the outside appearance of others.  Your positive acts give you value.  Your negative acts reinforce all the negative messages.  If you continue to do negative things then you will only reinforce your shame. Take a break from “relationships,” at least the forever kind!  

Shame stifles spontaneity; be human.  Humility is the act of accepting our shortcomings and the knowing that we will make mistakes and that mistakes don’t make us less valuable as long as we learn and grow from them.  Go slow in relationships; waiting to have sex is a great way of taking the time necessary to put healthy boundaries and standards in place.  It allows people to create the limits of their interactions; it defines the relationship.  This is how we create boundaries; one at a time, one day at a time, one relationship at a time.  Don’t assume others have boundaries or that they know where they should be. No one can set your boundaries for you, no matter how smart they are.   

Emmanuel S. John

(I cover the affects of living in a toxic relationship in more detail in the book “Addiction: Why They Use”)

Repression and Suppression lead to Depression and Relapse. Addiction in the Family

Repression and suppression addiction

The truth will set you free; but first it may have to piss you off or make you a little sad!

Repression is not a healthy solution to a behavioral problem or a disease.  Denying a problem exists does not solve the problem it is merely an attempt to bury the issue in the subconscious.  It will resurface, often at unproductive times; often triggered by old unhealthy stressors and triggers.  This occurs most often when we are trying to survive; like when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (H.A.L.T.).

One must be detoxed for the acceptance process to truly take hold; first things first.  Repression and suppression are signs of a lack of acceptance, be it to a loss of something desired or the inability to participate in or acquire something believed necessary for happiness.  Thoughts of “using successfully,” fall into both of these categories.

Repression and suppression are often the seeds of self-pity, sadness and grief; often resulting in attempts to rationalize a return to those behaviors.  In order to overcome this lack of acceptance we need to re-order our perspectives.  We may have to go through a time of grief and sadness as we let go of our will and the unproductive behavior.

People who believe in a Higher Power can easily achieve this shift in perspective by applying and incorporating the philosophical construct of God’s Will; turning it over.  For the non-believing it can be a little more complicated but ideas like karma, fate and predestination may also be helpful.  Outside of those beliefs, a recovery sponsor, a member of the clergy or a therapist may be very helpful in attaining a new perspective that can facilitate this needed intellectual shift in consciousness and spirit.

In recovery circles many people try to repress their desire to use; to suppress their cravings, to deny them.  This inevitably results in relapse.  Until a person fully embraces and understands their powerlessness over the chemical they cannot move forward into full sustained recovery.

(I wrote “Addiction: Am I Powerless” and developed the clinical outline for “Powerlessness Syndrome” to aid people in this FULL understanding and acceptance of their powerlessness and their problem.  It works regardless of program membership or status but also makes for one of the most clinically thorough 1st Steps ever developed.)

The truth will set you free; but first it may piss you off!  That is the acceptance process at work.  We must learn to embrace the reality of the situation and LET GO of our little designs!  We must or we repeat those old designs; often without knowing it! Reading books on the subject or listening to others share their reality often helps us to develop new ones!

Emmanuel S. John

addictioninthefamily.com

IF YOU NEED SOME HELP…. GET IT!!! – Addiction in the Family

Elevator addiction

If you haven’t really given religion or recovery a chance then you cannot possibly comprehend the effects and affects of such a source of enlightenment; one that most of the people on the planet find vital.

Albert Einstein reportedly said; “You can’t use the same mind to solve a problem that arrived at the problem; had you had the capacity within yourself to solve it you would have.”  No one saves the solution till later or decides to try out failure first.

What Einstein suggests here is that there comes a time when we need a new set of eyes on the problem.  When we need outside help!  Einstein did not create the question of Relativity, he actually solved another physicists dilemma.  He was the new set of eyes.  By extension Stephen Hawking has resolved some of Einstein’s dilemmas regarding time and black-holes.

What this means for us is that if great minds need help then we (regular folks) sometimes have to ask for help to solve our problems too; be it from a preacher, a therapist, another person in recovery or just a wise friend with experience.

Self-concept/Self-esteem (often referred to as ego) is the thing that gets in our way when it comes to asking for help; that and humility.

Here is a view you might not have investigated. Like scientists when we ask for help we stand on the shoulders of the people who have already traveled the same road.  Here is an example: If it takes one person 10 years to learn a life lesson after a traumatic event and we learn their lesson from them in a shorter length of time, then we have essentially stood on their shoulders!  We can try it ourselves and wait 10 years too but why?  This is the benefit of religion and recovery: Learning from the experience of others who have already invested the time and sweat equity.

If you want a really clear view of what I am suggesting picture this: If we literally stand on another’s shoulders we can see further, our perspective is increased and enhanced! I suggest that it works that way spiritually as well.

For people in a recovery program each member stands on the shoulders of his or her sponsor, who stood on the shoulders of their sponsor, who stood on the shoulders of theirs, eventually ending with the programs founders or in the case of religion, on God’s.

It’s nice to have shoulders to lean on!

Emmanuel S. John

addictioninthefamily.com

www.whytheyuse.com

Addiction

80 Years Ago Today In Recovery History – Addiction in the Family

December 11, addiction

Bill (William Griffith) Wilson is the Author of the book

“Alcoholics Anonymous”

download (8)

While his personal journey of recovery started on this date it wasn’t until June 10th the date of his co-founder Dr. Robert Smith’s sustained recovery date that the AA program was considered founded.   The hospital was run and organized by Doctor Silkworth, the author of the Doctor’s Opinion in the AA Big Book.

NY Dr Silkworth 1

Dr. Silkworth

 Addiction

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YOU CAN’T MAKE SENSE OF MENTAL! – Addiction in the Family

Sense of mental addiction

YOU CAN’T MAKE SENSE OF MENTAL

Dealing with “insane” behaviors in a using significant family member or friend can be exhausting and emotionally painful.   It is perhaps one of the most difficult emotional experiences we can face in modern society.

Since addicts and alcoholics find the solution to their problems to be an external one (example; the drink comes from the outside in, their fix.)  They become conditioned to believe that both their happiness and unhappiness are externally generated.  The cycle of their addiction moves them away from the reality that the true nature of their problem rests on an internal emotional and spiritual solution.  “Hence happiness is an inside job.”

Because the solution to their problem is believed to be an external one, they also have a tendency to look to the outside for the causes of their problems. This defense mechanism is called “Externalization.”  The toxic alcoholic or addict cannot bare to look inward thanks to their denial about their problem.  When they seek a fix for their emotional discomfort they look outward, i.e. to their environment.  If you are the first thing they see or the most present factor in their world you become both the cause and cure for their discomfort. (Because they certainly won’t be blaming the chemical; their best friend and true love.)

My first recommendation: Try to depersonalize their statements because they would most certainly respond the same way to any person in that primary or significant position.  It’s not you it’s them.  Anyone in your place would be targeted in the exact same way.

I promise you this: You will never be able to respond or perform in a manner sufficient to address their discomfort.  Their solution is not external; the problem lies within!

My second recommendation: Try to observe their behaviors as if you were watching a TV show. (It might even help to hold up your two hands in a box shape like a director, but a director you are not.)   Watch the show as if you had no chance to change or adjust the script (because you can’t).  The film is already in theatres.  Just let the movie play out and keep yourself out of the cast of characters! Keep yourself safe.  Remember: You can’t rationalize with irrational people, with the mentally ill.  You Can’t Make Sense of Mental!

My last recommendation is that you begin producing your own movie.  Begin to write out how you want your life to be then begin holding auditions for that film.  Some people are obviously not a good choice for certain roles.  Find a leading star that can play the part you have created or at least one that bring something to the production.

PS: This works for all kinds of crazy.

Emmanuel S. John

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