Addictionland Blog with Cate Stevens

A Cutting Edge Addiction Recovery Blog about one woman's journey to recovery from multiple, life threatening addictions to reclaim her happiness and life.

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Cate

Cate

Cate Stevens. Founder of Addictionland.com, has over fifteen years of recovery from food, drug, alcohol, cigarette and unhealthy relationship addiction. Cate’s approach to recovery is based on the 12 steps, as well the practice of spiritual principles, exercise, good nutrition, and meditation. Cate’s personal, ongoing recovery process has benefited tremendously from the free sponsorship of other women.

Cate has successfully coached hundreds of women to develop specific, daily action plans to support their personal and professional goals. Cate majored in journalism and communications and is the author of "Addictionland: Key Lessons from My Rollercoaster Ride to Freedom from Food, Drug, Alcohol, Cigarette and Unhealthy Relationship Addiction", a series of powerful vignettes.

As a motivational speaker, educator and coach, Cate is highly effective and inspirational. Cate leverages her experience from premier sales, management and leadership training programs to teach her clients how to be sober, productive and fulfilled.

Posted by on in Food Addiction

Bestselling author of "My Name is Caroline", the first major autobiography on bulimia, shares about the overwhelming despair that prompted her to abuse herself bodily and mentally.  As a recovered bulimic myself, I relate to Caroline's rejection of self despite her upstanding, affluent family and her enjoyment of many of life's finest pleasures.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

In grade school, I suffered from a feeling of inadequacy. I thought I should feel more girly or more popular or more confident.  Instead, I walked around wishing I was as smart as my brother, as skinny as my best friend or as beautiful as Brooke Shields. I suffered the constant belief I would feel complete when I achieved "X".

As the years passed, my idea of "X' changed.  I focused on the next boyfriend or the next job or my pant size to fulfill me. I got many of the things I wanted and still, I felt empty.  As friends married, I wondered what was wrong with me.  As cousins had children, I stewed in envy. In silent desperation I cried, "Where's my man? Where's my baby? Where's my great life?"

I made no connection between esteemable acts and my self-esteem. If I wanted to achieve success in life, I had to be willing to work for  it. If I want to be thin or educated or well off, I needed to apply effort and be honest with myself. IncreaseBecause I cut corners (like binging and purging instead of eating right and exercising), I never felt whole.

Today, I know anything is possible when I am tenacious and I apply the right action.

Best,

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

I grew up near South Beach. I pinched my body fat when no one was looking at me. I envied the girls who ate without fear. I envied the girls who wore a size 0. My insatiable appetite embarrassed me.  Every day, I battled with food, my body, my wardrobe and the mirror.  No matter how good I looked, I only saw my fat. 

I tried several tactics to control my eating. I avoided food, implemented portion control, followed fad diets and eliminated sugar. I over exercised, threw up, abstained from eating and used prescription drugs. When those methods failed, I invented the Cocaine Diet.

The diet was a combination of abstainance from food, cigarettes, cocaine and male attention. My body transformed and I looked like Lindsey Lohan.  People as distorted as me were jealous of my skinny appearance and fake boobs.  Inside, I still felt disgusting. I might fool others, but I could never escape my inner truth.

When the pain was great enough, I admitted I was powerless and a door to freedom appeared. It would be years before I realized a woman's essence, not her weight, is what matters.

Best,

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Why is it that only 2 million of the estimated 40 million people with substance abuse problems ask for help? It is possible that the stigma of addiction prevents them from being honest? For me, the answer is yes.

For years I suffered in silence with multiple forms of addiction.  I worried what my family would think.  I worried what my friends would say.  I worried I would lose my job and my ability to attract a life mate.

A girl voted most likely to succeed and homecoming queen shouldn't puke in toilets.  A girl from a good family shouldn't snort cocaine or sleep with a stranger.  It took a near death experience to convince me to place my welfare ahead of my image.  What will it take for you?

Increase

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

I did not appreciate the relationship between secretive/traumatizing events and my addictions until I got sober. In this vignette from my soon to be released memoir, you will read about a decision I made to keep a traumatizing event to myself.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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.

When she picked up a pill after her husband died, I couldn't believe it.  This was the one human being in the world who demonstrated the principles of recovery to me in a consistent manner.  If she could pick up, no one was safe!  I looked for another woman to replace her and couldnt find someone with her type of sobriety.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

USA Today published an article by Betty Klink entitled "Number of Older Adults Treated for Substance Abuse Doubles." In the article, an expert in substance abuse mentions the possible link between the higher statistics of those seeking treatment and the decreased stigma attached to getting professional help. Although I got sober when I was 31 and this report refers to adults 50 or older, I believe public misconception about addiction is major hurdle to recovery.

I chose to be in disguise for this website for many reasons, including the stigma of addiction. I am a working professional with a family and a four year old son who worries how unwanted public exposure might adversely affect my relationships at work and in the community. While I am proud of my efforts in recovery to stay sober and help others, I am also aware of public perception of addicts/alcoholics. It's unreasonable to expect people without addiction to understand the disease when stories about people driving drunk and killing entire familys streak the headlines.

On the other hand, shows like A&E's Intervention, educate the public on the disease of addiction and encourage individuals such as those measured in the study to pursue treatment. When I was in the height of my addiction, the internet did not exist. To get an education on my illness, I had to walk into a Barnes and Noble and purchase a book with the word addiction in its title. The stigma of addiction prevented me from doing so and thankfully today, it doesn't have to be that way.

Best,

Increase

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I went to see a therapist for my eating disorder when I was in my early twenties. I thought the woman was off her rocker when she suggested I attend a meeting for alcoholic women in recovery. I wondered if she was listening to a word I said. I couldn't understand why she wanted to take me to meetings about alcohol when my issue was binging and purging. Or, so I thought...

Ten years later, I arrived at death's door from an overdose of alcohol and cocaine. Still, I thought it cocaine was cocaine that caused my near death experience. Only at the end of my using days did I keep alcohol in the house or drink alone. I never carried alcohol in my purse like a "real" alcoholics. I never got arrested for DUI. I never passed out in public.

It was only when a man with long term sobriety said to me, "Well, if you are not dependent on alcohol, then you will have no problem leaving the drink alone", that I realized my dependency. Immediately, I began to worry how I would get married, date or socialize without a drink in hand. My reservation about alcohol would be completely wiped out once I did a personal inventory of all the negative things which happened to me once I put alcohol into my system. Do regular people black out, drive under the influence or slur their words?

Best,

Increase

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

"Alcoholics/addicts don't get angry-they are angry," a friend said. All too often, the alcoholic/addict criticizes and blames those around him for his/her dissatisfaction in life. The alcoholic believes that he or she would be happy if he or she was divorced from certain people or situations. I have never met an alcoholic in his cups so to speak, who can acknowledge his part in the problems he faces. Instead, fingers are pointed at other people, nothing changes and everyone around the alcoholic (including the alcoholic) suffers.

While it is true that other people misbehave and harm us, I do not subscribe to the belief that I am faultless when I am harmed by other people's actions. Because of recovery, I realize that I always have a part in any situation I suffer. How I react to to other people's actions is completely up to me and that is my part.

Sometimes my oversensitivity prevents me from seeing things in a proper light. Sometimes my anger over having to be the bigger person and rise above other people's limitations annoys me. Eventually, however, I remember that hurting people hurt people and I make the adjustments I can. I don't always possess the tolerance and compassion I would like to possess in an instant, but I do eventually develop those qualities once I accept that my happiness is not contingent on other people's actions-it is contingent on my own proper perspective and my ability to live my truth no matter the consequences.

 

Best,

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Tagged in: addiction
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Posted by on in Other Addictions

Nowadays, it is difficult to find a person who is not affected by addiction in some way. I know what it is like to suffer at the hands of someone else's dependency and I also know what it is like to be the source of harm.

As the addict, I am clear on the damage I inflicted on others during my years of abuse. Like a Tasmanian devil, I spurred constant tornadoes in the lives of others and caused physical, mental, emotional and spiritual harm. I lied, cheated, stole, deprived, withdrew, destroyed, damaged, denied, demolished and corrupted. I overindulged in food, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pills, sleep and sex. I disengaged from life as much as any person could and I wondered why I felt empty, damaged and ugly.

When given the option of therapy, I lied to the therapist. When given the option of treatment, I refused to get help due to my pride. When given multiple opportunities and chances to succeed, I turned to easy fixes and wondered why I felt little connection to my family, my friends, my life and myself. It took years to clean up the wreckage of my addictions, but I remain forever grateful that I have been given the time to make my proper amends.

Best,

Increase

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