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Defeating the Mental Trap

Posted by Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty
Allison Fogarty is an interventionist, Registered Addiction Specialist intern an
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on Wednesday, 19 March 2014
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

I'm sure that many of you can relate to coincidences like when you learn about a new word, you find that you hear it more, but when in reality it's just something new that has come into your awareness, it was really there all along.  This is of course something that happens to me often, but has certainly been my experience since I have been writing this blog, as it is now always in my awareness to look for opportunities for what to discuss next and they just keep popping into my life!

Working in the addiction field, and the job I have in particular, keeps me very focused but also very isolated.  Working in addiction also creates a sort of bubble, being that my clients are all trying to get out of their active addiction, my co-workers are all in recovery, and the doctors are addictionologists.  I had been in California for four or five years and didn’t realize that I was protecting myself in a way, by not branching out of my comfort zone.  So it wasn’t until about two years ago, that I started to go out to new places and interact with new people that have never struggled with an addiction.  (People that experience temporary stress instead of chronic anxiety are still a wonder to me!)

The benefit, however, of the bubble realization was that all of that prep work that I had been doing (working with a sponsor, doing the steps, going to multiple types of therapy to figure out the core issues as to why I was using inhalants, then working on those core issues) was in preparation for returning to the real world and all its challenges and this time having a more positive impact, on myself and on those around me, and it was time to use them!  The tools I have learned (especially emotional regulation, coping skills, and trigger identification) and the resources I have developed have been crucial in my relapse prevention, because life sure does throw me some curveballs and when I did come out of hiding, I found that some of my wreckage from my past was still there waiting for me.  I am definitely grateful that I was given the opportunity to have a second chance, to get to be the same person, but a better version.  By doing the footwork, it allows me to look at the same situations but have different reactions and therefore different outcomes than I would have in the past.

I feel that in order to be effective in communicating with people who are also struggling and/or looking for solutions or education, I need to write about things that truly affect me emotionally, because if what I'm writing doesn't induce some sort of feelings for me, how could it in someone else?  So full disclosure in the hopes that someone can relate and hopefully allowing me to be of service.

The reason that the ability to have different reactions that produce different and better outcomes is on my mind is due to some events that occurred in my week.  I felt discouraged this week for two reasons, and I feel like they have happened while I have volunteered to write this blog for a reason.  I am a person that falls victim to a certain type of mental trap, where your brain immediately jumps into negative thinking or disaster mode when you hear certain things that are not ideal.  In the treatment facilities I work with, we refer to it as addict brain.

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Tags: 10th tradition, 12 step, 12 step recovery, AA, abstinence, accurate self-appraisal, action program, action steps, addict, addiction, addiction help, addiction memoir, addiction recovery, Addiction Specialist, addictive behavior, addicts, affected, affirmations, Alcoholics Anonymous, answers, anxiety, anxiety and recovery, ask for help, Asking for help, attitude of gratitude, awareness, balance, being a loving mirror, being a loving person, being of service, Big Book, Caring for those who still suffer, co-addiction, co-occurring disorder, compassion, courage, dealing with a using loved one, depression, discomfort, drug abuse, drug addiction, emotional management, emotional maturity, emotional regulation, emotional sobriety, emotions, faith, family recovery, fear, first step, goal setting, goals, gratitude, gratitude journey, Guest Blogger, guilt, healing, HELPING OTHERS, higher self, inadequacy, inner satisfaction, intervention, inventory, letting go, Life Challenges, life on life's terms, literature, memoir, mental health, mindfulness, mindfulness and recovery, Motivation, My Story, openness, positive energy, program of recovery, recovery, recovery talk, relapse prevention, Resilience, right action, right intention, self care, Self Love, self-compassion, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-help, self-honesty, serenity, shame, sobriety, sponsor, stepwork, struggle, substance abuse, suffering, suffering addicts, Support, surrender, tenth tradition, thinking, thinking errors, Trying to save a Life, turn it over, twelve step recovery, twelve steps, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, twelve steps of aa, twelve traditions, twelve traditions of aa, why i used drugs
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The Light of Recovery is Greater than Fear

Posted by Joelle
Joelle
Joelle has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 23 January 2011
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

This posting contains adult language

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Lost, then Found

Posted by Joelle
Joelle
Joelle has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 23 September 2010
in Drug Addiction 0 Comments

I’ve spent years in the rooms and in therapy “working” through my life experiences. I’ve done several 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th steps, adding character defects to my 7th step list with each new 5th step, and on a daily basis asked for each individual defect to be removed. The 8th step list that grew out of my 4th and 5th steps is a living document and I have made all of the direct amends that were humanly possible, and taken other suggested actions regarding amends that could not be made directly. I lived steps 10 through 12. And I achieved many goals; became a productive member of society, a loving daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I did well for myself on the material plane.

But in all of the years doing the steps and working the program – living the program – I did not allow myself to sit with feelings related to the aftermath of traumatic events.  I became aware of them, then spoke of them, cried a little about them, and then moved on.  After all, what good would it do to REALLY cry – to sob until I couldn’t breathe?  I didn’t allow myself to just BE – to truly process; to chew the food of my emotions until finely ground and easily digestible.  I bit off chunks of my life, chewed hard and fast, swallowed, and moved on.  I didn’t even wash them down with water because I was too busy achieving my goals, too busy making up for lost time.

Then I picked up again.

I am in a place now where the universe is forcing me to sit with myself and just BE.  My initial reaction was that I had failed.  And then I was paralyzed, moving neither forward or backward, living in a kind of twilight zone; not dead but certainly not alive.  I hoped I would die but I didn’t.  I wanted to, though I would not take an affirmative action to make it so.  My heart kept beating and my brain sent signals to keep the rest of my body functioning.  I existed in the most basic way.  I ate, I slept, and I woke up each day to do it over.  I silently choked on the past, didn’t care about the present, and saw no hope of a future that would be any different.

The universe eventually brought me to my knees and I had a moment of clarity.  In a flash I remembered the epiphany I had 20 years ago in a NY subway station -- I knew that I didn't have to go where my addictions were taking me.  I remembered I could go to a meeting.  Thank G-d for sober reference, and for not allowing me to completely throw my life away.

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SPONSORSHIP

Posted by Cate
Cate
Cate Stevens. Founder of Addictionland.com, has over fifteen years of recovery f
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on Wednesday, 15 September 2010
in Drug Addiction 3 Comments

In early recovery, it was suggested "don't drink/use, stay out of relationships, go to meetings, change people, places and things and get a sponsor."  While the suggestion to abstain from alcohol and drugs was the most important suggestion, the suggestion to get a sponsor was second in importance.  Without a person to guide me through the steps or demonstrate sobriety to me, I would be lost.

At first, I picked a sponsor who was as well as me (which means not well at all!!)  It took a while until I realized it wasn't okay to smoke pot "once in a while" with twelve years of so-called sobriety.  Next, a professional, Jewish woman like myself approached me to offer me guidance after announcing I was sponsorless.

I went through the steps with her and slowly pushed her away when a sexier sponsor caught my eye.  He (yes, I did say he!) was Italian, suave, brilliant and emotionally unavailable.  He was exactly what I needed because I had no self worth and chasing him gave me a sense of purpose!

Thankfully, the wisdom he emparted was solid and chasing him from meeting to meeting enabled me to get quite an education on recovery.  He went to 4-5 meetings a day and so did I!  Eventually, he broke up with me and I had to find a power I could rely on.  I found a woman with 25 years to take me through the steps again and she taught me how to use the steps to strengthen my connection with my higher self, which I call G-d.

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