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Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Other Addictions

Many years ago when Overeaters Anonymous was in its infancy in Los Angeles, members of AA who had years of sobriety were invited to speak at OA meetings. They brought experience, strength and hope to a group struggling to get on its feet. Among the AA helpers was a wonderful woman named Dottie who was an inspiring speaker. Dottie was welcomed at the burgeoning OA meetings and became a friend and supporter of those wanting to be free of compulsive eating.

As the years went by and OA grew, other anonymous meetings sprang up for drug addicts and later spenders and sex addicts. Then word went around that Dottie was starting another new meeting that was different from all the rest. It was a meeting open to any and all people suffering from addictive or compulsive behaviors. No type of addiction was considered more serious than another. It was a meeting where all attendees were practicing the 12 steps.

Soon after this meeting got underway I moved away from Los Angeles so I never found out what happened to that group, but I never forgot it. We desperately need a new support system today that is like Dottie’s since we have become a society riddled with addictions and compulsions of all sorts. People switch from one to another but are never free of the cravings to feel good at all costs.

I recall Betty, the very first client I treated after I was licensed as an MFT. Betty was an overeating, drug-addicted alcoholic. She wanted me to help her stop her compulsive overeating. Then she met her husband, who was a drug dealer, and she dropped out of therapy. She eventually returned, having divorced her husband. She was not using drugs and was trying to stay off booze, but food was a constant battle.

I worked with Betty for quite a while as she tried to kick all three of her compulsions. She never managed to get rid of all three at the same time.  Finally she relocated to another city. I remember one of her letters in which she said that she went to an alcoholism counselor who told her, “I don’t care what you do, just DON”T DRINK!” She wrote that she stopped drinking and immediately gained 35 pounds!


Posted by on in Other Addictions

What do I value?

Where am I unfulfilled?

What are my regrets and can I take action on any of them now?

How do I connect with my inner answers?

If money was no object, how would I spend my time?


Posted by on in Other Addictions

My sponsor's husband died from esophogeal cancer.  During his treatment, she told me "Cancer is like alcoholism.  In fact, I call it cancerism.  IncreaseAt it's root, is resentment."

I believe it.  I can see my mom's cancer as untreated anger that converted into bitterness.  It has destroyed her insides and is like that rapacious creditor they mention in the Big Book that eats the person from the inside out.  Unfortunately for her, there is not a 12 step program called Cancer Anonymous or Anger Anonymous.  Lucky for us alcoholics, we learn about resentment and how to treat the number one killer.

My mom doesn't know she is not a victim of her circumstances today like she was as a child.  Her wounded, inner child has never been healed.  In fact, she probably doesn't even know she has a wounded inner child.  The poor, frightened child in her is buried so deep under her walls of pain, my mom can't hear her screaming.  But, boy does this cancer let her know something is terribly wrong on the inside.

I would be the perfect candidate for cancer if it wasn't for the 12 step program, my awareness of my resentments and my honest seeking to get better a day at a time.  After a lifetime of witnessing and brewing in my parents' resentment, I have trouble being happy in my romantic relationships. I need to release that pain in order to fully own my own happiness.

The 12 step program has enabled me to see and surrender many thoughts and habits that don't serve me or others. Yet, I am still surrendering my anger over the way they treat eachother. My wall protects me from being vulnerable.  I am allowed to say no to them.  I am allowed to be less than perfect.  I am allowed to have needs.  I am allowed to let other people be responsible for themselves. I am allowed to be immune to their personal problems.


Posted by on in Other Addictions

I created for many reasons. One reason was to have an outlet to express myself in writing, which I enjoy and need.  Writing helps me purge my emotions, become aware of my thoughts and feelingsIncrease and, ultimately, guides me to what needs doing.

Right now, I am feeling a full range of emotions due to my powerlessness over my mother's chemotherapy gone wrong, ongoing ordeal.  I have felt angry, sad, irritable, grateful, hopeless, hopeful, desparate, guilty, and relieved.  Today, I feel a combination of tired, sad, strong, healthy, powerless and scared.  I am grateful recovery has put me in touch with this range of emotions.  When I was active in my addiction, all I felt was frightened, angry, depressed and bewildered.

My mom is having trouble breathing due to  her lung cancer, chemotherapy, medications, emotional trauma and COPD.  I don't know of many situations worse than that, excluding the loss of the life of a child or something of that nature.  I know what it is like to not be able to catch your breath.  When I used to use cocaine, I sometimes had full fledged anxiety attacks where my heart would pound and my breathing was rapid and I thought I might die.  When I see my mom breathe hard like that, it takes me back to those moments and I feel tremendous pain for her.

This morning, my mom said she felt depressed and wanted to be alone today to sort through her options and thoughts.  When I spoke to my dad, he couldn't handle her wanting to be alone.  It brought up tremendous waves of pain and fear in him.  Feeling safe with me as he should, he let his grief out and I caught it.  My dad's inability to cope combined with my mom's coming to terms with her situation left me in some agony myself.

Quite naturally, I felt inspired to call my sponsor.  She said exactly what I needed to hear.  She reminded me that on my birthday (which is today), it would help my parents if I enjoyed my birthday.  She reminded me that anytime I start projecting into the future, I need to stop myself and get back in the day.  She reminded me that no one ever benefitted from worrying and she suggested I take care of myself so I could care for them.


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.



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