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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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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Tagged in: 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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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

March 16th marks the beginning of the week for National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week!

I work in assisting the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, a contact I made after my episode of Intervention, when I joined Director Harvey Weiss to speak on a panel with others affected by inhalant abuse in Washington DC.  Many of the people that I have spoken with were once inhalant addicts themselves or friends and family (especially parents) of inhalant users who devistatingly passed away while using inhalants. This is an organization that works on reducing, preventing, and making the public aware of inhalant abuse, a goal that we both have in common.

In their most recent newsletter, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as "the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.”  This definition also infers two primary inhalant abuse slang terms:  “Sniffing” and “Huffing.” In a sense the Process of“huffing” defines the slang terms for the Activity i.e. bagging (huffing from a bag); Glading (misusing air freshener); etc."

NIPC also regularly provides the public with updates and facts imperitive to spread the awareness and prevention of inhalant abuse.  Here is an update of some of the most recent facts:

1.  Any time an inhalant is used, it could be a fatal episode.  This could be the first time you ever use inhalants, or the 100th.  NIPC notes that there is research showing that "of those people who died from huffing, about one-third died at first time use."

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

You’ve noticed that your young adult has started to skip out on family functions, stop participating in after school activities, and hands out with people you don’t know a thing about.

Late nights and bloodshot eyes become their norm, and you can’t help but worry that your child may be using drugs. You read about the signs of drug use, like how personal habits lean toward secrecy, how behavioral issues arise, how attention to physical appearance lacks, or how cash problems lead to stealing from family or selling personal possessions.

Even though you see some of the signs, it is still hard to tell if your teen or young adult has a drug addiction. Perhaps it is time to look for outside support as you attempt to answer this question. Maybe some thorough reflection on the risk factors that contribute to drug addiction will help you identify whether or not your teen or young adult has a drug addiction.

Partner up

While it’s understandable that you don’t want the world to know that your young adult may be addicted to drugs, it is a good idea to put trust in the team who knows your child best. You may want to schedule a conference with the teachers, coaches, or school counselors who know your son or daughter well. Get their input about any usual behavior or patterns. Find out about any habits that point toward drug abuse, like skipping class or a steadily slipping in academic performance. If there are family members whom you trust, confide in them about your concerns. Ask them to be honest with you, and share anything they have witnessed pointing toward drug abuse.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Did you ever consider if your job made you prone to drug and alcohol abuse? With 77% of illegal drug users working full or part-time jobs, you have to wonder what kind of effect it has on their work habits. Many drug users admit that high stress, low job satisfaction, long or irregular hours and isolation at work contributed to their substance abuse problem.

In fact, 3.1% of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once.

This motion graphic will highlight which work places are causing people to stumble into substance abuse a little harder or more often than some others. It will also look at the different areas of drugs that are being used and how much money is spent on them.

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Spiritual River is a resource for addiction help and alcoholism treatment. Operated by former addict Patrick Meninga, Spiritual River has helped thousands recover from their addiction problem. Visit our website www.spiritualriver.com for more useful information, or call our 24/7 treatment helpline 888-724-3186. 100% confidential.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

Binge eaters hate themselves because they can’t stop overeating. They promise themselves that they will stop tomorrow and be good, punish themselves for pigging out or panic because they can’t close their zipper. The one thing that bingers don’t do is to pay heed to the binge. Bingers tell themselves that binges are bad and the overeater is bad for being so weak.

If you are find yourself going out of control with a substance or behavior, I want you to consider that compulsive behaviors are a sign of a life out of balance. Instead of going into denial or trying to avoid binging again, let’s look at a binge as a message from your inner self trying to tell you that something is wrong in your life, and you are unwilling to face the pain or do something about its origin.

Stuffing yourself with food is like taking an aspirin when you have a broken leg. It may dull the agony a tiny bit, but it will not heal the problem. Often when an overeater curbs her gluttony she may often switch to another behavior that brings temporary pleasure such as overspending, gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc.

A young woman who had been hospitalized in her teens for treatment for her severe bulimia told me that she was grateful for that experience since she received help in understanding herself better and learned tools for problem solving, as she became an adult. A binge is an invitation to examine your life and create skills for dealing with the inevitabilities of life.

There are 5 steps to each binge.

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Posted by on in Food Addiction

Over the last several years, nearly every new diet on the scene has addressed cravings by suggesting “cheat meals.”   Usually the hack formula goes something like this:

All the other diets you have tried have been wrong because they didn’t pay attention to the problem with food X.  Food X and those like it are a major problem.  You need to stop eating them.  Here is a plan to do that and some recipes to show you that eating without food X is possible and even enjoyable. This is not a diet; it’s a way of life. Here are a bunch of people who have successfully lost weight on this plan.  Oh and by the way, because the cravings will be intense, you should give yourself a break and cheat every once in a while.    Of course, one major problem with these diets is that they don’t adequately address the more important issue:  craving.  In fact, research shows that dieting actually increases cravings.

However, another even more important reason these diets fail is that they never really address what is really core to the weight gain, dieting, weight loss cycle:  shame.  Shame drives the cravings bus.  Shame is why you gain the weight back every time.  Shame is what tricks you into thinking you “deserve” that piece of chocolate cake.  Shame tells you that deserve to cheat every once in a while.  For most people on the roller-coaster of dieting and weight gain, the diet they are really on is the shame diet.  And they are bingeing and purging shame in a vicious cycle that no diet will ever adequately address.

Rather than a cheat meal, want to know what you really deserve?  (Hint: it’s not some deep awareness about the toxic effects of wheat or gluten).  It’s self-love, acceptance, peace, a sense of purpose, and connectedness. Shame destroys all of these basic human needs by tricking you into thinking that you deserve something that actually hurts you.  Just think about it: does it really make sense that either cheating or dieting could be a solution for shame?

Leaving aside the issue of dieting…could it ever make sense that a new way of eating could solve the shame problem?  And if you’re doing the cheating, who exactly is being cheated?

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Each one of us works our own individual program.  In twelve-step programs we are given many suggestions, but there is only one requirement: the desire to stop drinking.  Attending meetings or speaking with our fellows, we see how differently each of us works our program.  It is a beautiful thing that we are encouraged to work the program how it works for us, and there are always people more experienced than us who have different experiences to offer.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says on page 29, "Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God."

Our Own Higher Power

In my personal experience, the ability to choose your own Higher Power is one of the greatest examples of people working their own programs.  I have met people of all faiths and traditions in the rooms: Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Atheist, and simply spiritual.  Regardless of your spiritual/religious beliefs, there is a place for you in twelve-step programs.

Although Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by Christians and on many Christian principles, it was created with an expressed intention to work for people of all belief systems.  I practice Buddhism myself.  My sense of a "Higher Power" or "God" is very different than a lot of my fellows.  I choose to utilize the Dharma as my Higher Power.  Rather than a supernatural or ethereal force or figure, I use the path of Buddhism as my Higher Power.  It works well for me, for I am able to turn my will and my life over to it.  I am able to pray and meditate, be grateful for my Higher Power, and not fully understand my Higher Power.

Whatever your beliefs are, the principles are the same: trust in God, pray, meditate, turn your will and life over.  I have met many atheists in my time sober, and have found the principles also apply there.  In Buddhism, there is the teaching that we all have seeds within us; we have seeds of doubt, anger, love, fear, acceptance, etc.  When we take action, we are watering these seeds within us.  Being of service waters the seed of compassion, love, etc.  Punching somebody waters the seed of anger, hatred, etc.  Speaking with atheists, I have heard a very similar account of things.  Even though they do not believe in a greater deity, they do believe they have a better person within them.  I see atheists in my home group be of service, share eloquently, relate to others, and be wonderful members of our fellowship.

As discussed in a recent post, it is important to keep religion out of twelve-step meetings.  I have heard speakers that truly move me that I find out have completely different beliefs than I do.  I have heard other Buddhists share that I do not especially relate to.  Religion (or lack of) is not important in twelve step meetings.  We are all sitting there for the same reason, and sharing our differences only separates us.  If somebody is Christian, Hindu, atheist, or whatever, it is their program, not ours.  It is my honest opinion that it is absolutely none of my business unless they are directly hurting me or the integrity of the program.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says on page forty-five about the program, "Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem."

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

 

 

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