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 Other Addictions

I had an epiphany today.  I've been suffering for years in my marriage because of the emphasis I have placed on sex over all other aspects.  My marital sex life hasn't lived up to my high expectations and has changed dramatically since I gave birth to my son six years ago. 

I know that addiction is often seen as the disease of mis-perception. Instead of seeing the good in situations or even seeing things as they actually are, addicts like me tend to have a distorted vision of reality based on our excessive self-centered needs.

What I realized today is that my marriage, like any other area of my life,  is either an extreme success or an extreme failure based on how I measure success.  If Earth shattering sex on a regular basis is the core measurement of success in my marriage, I join the ranks of many other adults whose sex life suffers for a variety of reasons.  If, however, I measure success in my marriage based on being with a personIncrease who is selfless, thoughtful, hardworking, honest, talented, nurturing, creative, light hearted, spiritual, loving and communicative (to name a few of his assets), my marriage rests in the upper echelon of excellence.

It's up to me to choose where I put my attention.  What I can't change myself, I surrender in a third step to my HP and affirm my certainty that any problem I face can be fixed with spiritual aide.  If all of my addictions could be arrested a day at a time, anything I face has a solution.

Best,

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

My mother was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Increase A few months back, I wrote how I was worried about her health. I knew she suffered from COPD and extra weight and I sensed there was more going on then my eyes could see.  My intuitive has developed as a result of working the 12 steps over thirteen years and sometimes, it causes me pain to be so aware.

My sponsor once said, "You will never experience great joy until you learn to experience great pain."  I didn't understand what she meant at the time, but today I do.  To connect with the energy of any moment, be it a celebration or shock, you need to stay in that moment.  You need to learn how to let go of the past and the future.  This is certainly no easy task.

The 12 steps enables me to do this, a day at a time.  When I forget to do this, my friends and sponsor remind me.  Other times, my fatigue, sadness or agitation remind me that I am off track.  Today, all of my emotions help signal me whether I am on the beam or off the beam.  And, I've learned that even in the worst of moments when I hear dreaded news like my mom is ill, I can feel good because I am certain the 12 steps will enable me to be the best daughter possible.

The 12 steps have taught me that the world does not revolve around me.  When my mom is sick, she is the one who is sick and I am the one who needs to help her. It's not a time to try and get personal attention. It is the time to suit up and show up. 

I offer to take her to the doctors' appointments without her ever needing to ask me.  I send her positive, uplifting messages to help her create a vision of tomorrow, instead of being negative.  I call her and tell her I love her and let all of my feeling for her be known.  I buy her a juicer and make her juices and use my Power to create more peace and wellbeing.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

I like that Valentine's Day Increaseis in the same month as Eating Disorder Awareness. Love is the remedy for any addiction. I suffered from bulimia for over a decade and understand the shame, pain and hopelessness that are hallmarks of an eating disorder.

When I began binging and purging in my mid teens, I had no idea my behavior was just a symptom of my attempt to gain control over my life.  The daughter of loving and intelligent parents, yet an overbearing and opinionated mother and a judgemental and distant father, bulimia offered a chance to do exactly as I pleased without the consequence of judgement or withdrawl of love.

In fact, my nice shape got me the attention of my father who applauded my ability to control my physique and allowed me to do as pleased after having to comply with my mother's expectations of me.  It worked for a long time until I started to notice how my eating disorder became the center of my life and all my interests, dreams and hobbies fell to the wayside.

It's hard to plan for a binge, shop for the food, eat the food in secret, purge in secret, make up stories to your roommates or parents, lie about your weight loss, feel comfortable in your body with a sore throat and stomach, feel good about yourself when you believe  you are a fraud, etc.

I thought my parents'rejection of me and what I needed in life was the cause on my ongoing addiction.  I never knew that, at some point, I internalized their rejection of my ideas, needs and dreams and began judging myself constantly.  It was my own self-rejection that continued to give life to my eating disorder and not my parents.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

The statistics regarding the number of "known" individuals who suffer from some type of addiction-albeit drugs, food, sex, technology, alcohol, co-dependency-are startling.  Millions of people suffer and very few of them seek or sustain lasting recovery.

I created Addictionland with a heartfelt wish Increasethat any person suffering in silence would find the website and have free access to information, support and a platform to voice their struggles/questions.  Having personally recovered from multiple forms of addiction, I know how the stigma of addiction kept me from seeking outside help. After thirteen years of sobriety, I have a pretty good understanding of the critical elements for daily, lasting recovery and many of the questions people new to recovery ask.

Intentionally, I have sought out help from recovery professionals of all types to offer insight into key questions surrounding recovery like how to overcome cravings, why does the brain of an addict operate differently than the brain of a non-addict, whether it is possible to have long term sobriety from bulimia, what is the difference between love and sex, key elements for building a great foundation in sobriety- just to name a few.

If there is any topic or question we have yet to address, please reach out to us and we will be happy to find someone best suited to address your concern.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a slow, rewarding and ongoing recovery process free from any and all addictions that rob you of the amazing life you are meant to enjoy.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

When I get still long enough, I hear the message intended for me.  In response to a recent prayer to feel more centered and fulfilled in my life, I was guided to take a hot yoga class. Increase I tried hot yoga years ago when I wasn't getting proper nutrition and wasn't able to continue with the classes.

Thirteen years later and free from all of my addictions, I felt comfortable I was healthy enough to try again. I came to the class with the intention of expanding, stretching and opening myself on a physical, mental and spiritual level.  I wanted to let go of my restrictive, contracted way of thinking and acting and tap into a greater, Higher Resource that could center me and transport me to the next phase of my life.

After only three sessions, I felt the power of yoga. Yoga softened my stance, opened my blocked channels and allowed spirit to flow through me to create a deep sense of peace, purpose and enthusiasm.  I know I will always have imbalances and that is okay.  Yoga teaches me to surrender my uncertainty to the moment, rely on my breath to find my strength, and trust I will come to know all I am capable of doing and feeling.

Namaste,

Increase

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

 
This book is the book which inspired me to start a recommended reading tab on Addictionland.com.  Personally, I find books highly instrumental in helping me identify my own issues, thoughts and feelings and like to underline key thoughts.  When topics or passages resonate with me on a deep level, I interpret this to mean the message has significance for me and I should contemplate its applicability in my life.
 
Once I started this book, I could not put it down.  It was an answer to a prayer.  I have been going through a difficult time the past few years and have been questioning whether I am on track in my life and why I still feel unhappy and unfulfilled much of the time.  I have more to be grateful for than most men could dream of and, still, I found my heart aching for more.
 
This book answered the question of why I have been feeling the ache. In the beginning of recovery, I spent many hours of the day exploring my own life and psyche, sharing personal stories with others, attending recovery meetings, reading spiritual books, meditating, exercising and the like.  I felt on top of the world and didn't understand I was experiencing real moments and that is why I felt so ecstatic. 

As I progressed in my recovery and became fully engaged in a high powered sales job and had a child, I found myself rushing through each activity in hopes of getting it all done.  Though I always made time to sponsor other women and attend 12 step meetings, I spent less time going to meetings, less quality time with my husband and friends, less time working out, less time going to yoga and doing meditation and less time simply enjoying the natural beauty in my day. I made achievement more important than process and failed to see or enjoy the beauty of the journey. I missed my real moments.


Real Moments helped me to see that I can turn things around immediately just by staying in the present moment and giving it my full attention.  It confirmed what I already knew, but failed to live- That Love is felt when Love is given or expressed. And, it reminded me how confrontational real moments can be.  In the author's words, "When you stop doing too much and take time to have real moments by paying attention, you will, undoubtedly, come face to face with emotions, revelations, or realities you weren't aware of."  When we let go of distractions, whether they be addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, work or even worrying, we face ourselves and have a chance to know real peace and fulfillment.
 
I give this book at A+++++.

Hits: 1555

Posted by on in Alcoholism

Before entering 12 step recovery, I never heard of primary purpose and had no clue what it should be.  My sponsor informed me, "You don't need to guess anymore.  Your purpose each day, from here on out, is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety."

"Is that it? I wondered. What about my dreams to be an nationally recognized author and guest on Oprah?  Seems a bit boring for a purpose.

I didn't grasp what she was saying but I followed her direction regardless and, in time, I began to realize the significance of my purpose.  In good times and in bad, my primary purpose gave me something good to focus on rather than focusing on negativity or my self.

"Stay on the beam," my sponsor would add. "Stick to the basics and you will never have to go back to the basics.  Basics are sponsorship, meetings, self-review, prayer, meditation, exercise, rest and helping others."

As time passes, I keep my primary purpose at the forefront being constantly reminded that those who make other self serving agendas more important often lose their sobriety.  I still have dreams and aspirations that include more than staying sober and helping others, but at a minimum, this purpose alone fulfills me.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

1. Be honest.  Admit you have a bad habit that is causing problems in your life.

2. Seek information on the internet. Search the keyword 12 step on your computer and see all the great, free resources that pop up.

3. Read a self-help book on the topic causing you pain.  Underline parts that you relate to and look to see how that person has overcome their obstacle.

4. Exercise.  Walk around the block.  Dance.  Run a marathon.  The heightened amount of feel good chemicals in your brain will do you good.

5. Do community service.  There are plenty of people in circumstances far worse than your own.  Seek them out and see how you can help them.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

In order to bring in any good, whether it be to a closet, relationship, situation or life, the destructive and chaotic should be identified and surrendered.  Being an all or nothing type of girl, I usually have a hard time with this process because I want to get rid of everything at once and fix things overnight. I have learned the hard way that the slow and steady tortoise wins the race.

In 12 step recovery, we are conditioned to regulary take inventory of our lives looking for the good we want to maintain and the broken we need to correct.  In the beginning we do this as a lifelong inventory (4th step) since it has been years since we have taken stock.  After time, we do this on paper once a day and/or mentally to keep our inner world orderly.  When the inner world is orderly, the outer world is orderly.

When I being a new year  Increase, I like to do a quick review of my most pronounced assets and defects so I can surrender it all once more and ask for guidance, clarity and strength to make a greater, positive impact on the world around me.

This year, on my list of defects, I still see some isolation, making "safe" choices, complaining or playing the victim in my personal relationship, lack of discipline with important activities that promote my mental well being like meditation and exercise and texting on the Iphone while driving, comparing myself to others and not going to enough meetings/meeting with my sponsor, working with sponsees out of the Big Book.

On my list of assets, I pursued my interest in going back to school and asked many professionals for their feedback on my becoming a therapist or life coach, went to an open house at Lynn University to step out of comfort zone, stopped trying to people  please so many people, went back to therapy to help my marriage and myself as hormones zap me, admitted I am bored and need to become an advocate for myself and my needs, started reading spiritual books again, did some really fun things like see Lenny Kravitz in concert and toured Paris/London, won a top award in my company and am raising a happy, kind son.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

It was New Year's Eve 2000.  Instead of attending one of the biggest bashs of the Milennium high and out of my mind, I attended a small gathering of meditators in Coral Gables chanting in Hindi.  I was plucked out of my life of misery, suffering and drug dependency into a life of freedom, higher awareness and conscious contact with the world around me.  The doorway to that quantum leap was one heartfelt prayer.

I remember the night I wrote a letter to G-d asking to be saved.  I spoke from the heart and admitted my whole life was a charade.  I said I was sick and tired of living a lie and I desparately needed people who could help me recover from my multiple addictions. I asked for people who would not judge me. I cried myself to sleep and expected little in return.  To my suprise, within three months of the letter, my whole world turned upside down and for the better. I was led to 12 step recovery and a life free of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food addiction and pills.

For anyone out there who is wondering what the new year holds in store for them, let me be the first one to tell you that miracles are possible for any addict who is honest about his/her problem and who is ready to stop riding a runaway train. It is hard to imagine all of the possibilites a life of recovery offers when addiction only leads to hellish groundhog days. 

One great way to start today and the New Year different is to open your mind to the possibility that a miraculous power does exist and can work for you.  It happened to me and it can happen to anyone who really wants help.  I had no idea who or what would save me.  I just admitted I couldn't do it on my own and I was willing to do whatever it took to save my life. I wish the same for any addict suffering in silence.

Wishing you a slow, fulfilling recovery,

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