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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello and Happy Valentines Day Recovery Friends,


Sometimes our higher power brings others in our lives at "just that right moment" when we start to think why we do what we do in recovery for others. I know I have felt this way before myself many times. Just when all the writing, blogging, freelance articles, and having my soul lay open bare for all to read, you wonder if anyone is listening. If there are people being helped with my God given purpose in life to help others recover from the financial ravages and devastation of addicted gambling addiction. Adnan's story is very sensational, but the truth is what he say's about how he felt. About being driven by a disease that is so cunning, that the disease will invade and corrupt even your thoughts and feelings that drive action. NO, no excuses here, nor any denial or blame.

Just insight as to how any addition can drive you to a point of hopelessness and poor choices. Adnan has taken his ownership and accountability for what he has done within his gambling addiction. He currently is serving a 17 year prison sentence. And has wrote and was just published this past Fall. So it's why I'm sharing a blog post I just did on my own recovery blog. His story needs to be shared and heard everywhere, as it serves as a "wake up call" to the constant expansion of Casinos and States Lotteries.

Here's Adnan Alisic Story:

A true story straight out of the News Headlines about an Addicted Gambler ~ Lets put faces behind Gambling Addiction the Disease. . .
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“Not only is a group of men charged in the theft of $2 million cash from an armored truck at an East Valley casino, but they could also be accused of stealing from some Hollywood scripts. A FBI search warrant affidavit and federal indictment records provide new details of the July 21 attempted robbery of Casino Arizona at Talking Stick that some movie buffs might find familiar.”

Attempted Casino Arizona robbery like a Hollywood movie” ~ said the Associated Press ~

ASSOCIATED PRESS – The attempted robbery of $2 million from a casino on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix sounds more like a Hollywood movie than a real-life incident, according to newly released court documents.

Officials are charging Ismar K, Adnan Alisic, Bakil, and Daniel M{ not wanting to use the others charged – full names}, with conspiracy, interference with commerce by threats, violence and robbery, and use of a firearm in a crime of violence in the July 21 attempted robbery of Casino Arizona at Talking Stick, according to their indictment and a FBI search warrant affidavit outlined.

Adnan Alisic made fake manhole covers so they would be lighter and easier to lift, and then switched them with two others the day before the robbery. The men placed ladders and ropes in the manholes and parked an all-terrain vehicle in the sewer system so they could race the money from one manhole to the other. Holes were cut in the floorboards of two vans for access to the manhole covers, a trick Steve McQueen pulled in 1972’s “The Getaway.”
The men’s gear included blue coveralls, gas masks, pepper spray, bear attack deterrent, smoke grenades, cell phones, two-way radios, a 9-millimeter handgun and a plastic pellet gun.

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

I recently called a friend to talk with her about a choice I needed to make. I've learned through the program of recovery how valuable perspective beyond my own helps assure I’ll do the next right thing.

However there are times, like this one, when I already know what I want to do yet I go through the motions anyway.

Bad idea.

Sure enough things didn't pan out the way I had wanted. When I ran into my friend, I had to fess up about the result. This is pretty much how that conversation went:

FRIEND:  So how did everything work out?

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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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Posted by on in Alcoholism

 

It is likely there are a few things you’d like to accomplish in your sobriety. The reality is that the machinery that helps your goals manifest is the same no matter the subject, time-line, or importance.

I would like to posit that in order to reach your goals there are specific ways of thinking about them that can help. I would like to outline a few ideas and then show you to a system of goal-setting that I have found to be very helpful.

Motivation – I would like to introduce the notion that people aren’t lazy, rather, they have impotent goals. Is your goal in your life juicy enough to get you out of bed? Are you focused on what you need to do to? Were your goals created for yourself or to simply please someone else? With proper motivation, the pride and excitement provides fuel to work towards the completion of the goal. Very early in my career I wanted to be Nationally certified as an Addictions Counselor. I wanted the certification, but I wanted to pass the test before the requirements increased to sit for the exam. Eventually my focus changed from completing the exam to passing the test as a tangible recognition that I knew my stuff. When my motivation was correct the goal was easy to complete.

Passion – I like to make ‘passion’ a separate category from motivation. The way I think about it, motivation helps me follow-through on whatever goal I have set for myself. Passion is different from motivation in that when I think of what I want to do, passion is the “juice” that supports me to feel connected to a goal, energized by the possibilities, and alive that this goal will have a positive impact on the people in my life. I have been a clinician since 1984. I believe the reason I continue to do this work is my passion for affecting change. About 12 years into my career I took a break from clinical work to drive a limo for six months. While I met a lot of neat people (some celebrities as well) I was not connected to my job and did not feel engaged by my time behind the wheel. I was not affecting change and I was certainly not passionate about this job. I received a lot of compliments about my customer service skills which didn’t surprise me as I know how to relate to people. Truth be told, the third day away from clinical work, I was dying on the vine. Passion is nothing if you’re not engaged by what you do. I met a lot of drivers who loved their job, and they were really good at it. They had passion and they felt like they were contributing. I did not.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

"Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not."

Alcoholics Anonymous, page 34, More About Alcoholism

Of the many internal rearrangements I experienced as a result of the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the most profound was in how I understood the disease.  This shift was a direct result of being able to align the experience and pain of my repeated relapses with the explanation of the disease in the first 63 pages of the Alcoholics Anonymous text book (with the help of a terrific teacher).  Ideas and concepts I had held for decades about the nature of alcoholism were rendered embarassingly inaccurate.  Many of the AA sayings  I had chanted effortlessly for years (just don't pick up the first drink!) suddenly felt like codependent sloganeering.

Had you asked me several years ago what the difference was between a drinking problem and alcoholism, I would have likely responded "not much."  Try to explain it to me?  I'd have politely nodded but dismissed you as someone with way too much time on their hands.  I simply was not there-- I had double digit sobriety, a good life and the assurance that by keeping my memory green about where alcohol had taken me, I'd never drink again.  I've since learned that alcoholism is cunning and baffling; it can also masquerade as sobriety.  In retrospect, I was unaware that the very proclamations I valued as manifestations of my sobriety were really untreated alcoholism.  And it was biding its time, trying to find another way in.

But back to the point of the post-- what's the difference?  I see it this way:  the person with a drinking problem should stop, and usually can.  The person with alcoholism must stop and cannot.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

"Yet we can't well content ourselves with the view that all these recovery failures were entirely the fault of the newcomers themselves. Perhaps a great many didn't receive the kind and amount of sponsorship they so sorely needed. We didn't communicate when we might have done so. So we AA's failed them. Perhaps more often than we think, we still make no contact at depth with those suffering the dilemma of no faith."

Bill Wilson, AA Grapevine, April 1961 "The Dilemma of No Faith"

Cross posted at Thump.Increase

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

IncreaseI stole this Nikos Kazantzakis quote from the Facebook page of a Thump fan, Robi Carlson, because I love language that challenges conceptions of spiritual power.

"The Great Spirit does not toil within the bounds of human time, place, or casualty. The Great Spirit is superior to these human questionings. It teems with many rich and wandering drives which to our shallow minds seem contradictory; but in the essence of divinity they fraternize and struggle together, faithful comrades-in-arms. The primordial Spirit branches out, overflows, struggles, fails, succeeds, trains itself. It is the Rose of the Winds."

In order to be willing to believe in a power greater than myself, I needed to set aside all of my ideas and concepts about "God."  I wiped the slate clean, even of the word "God." My conception of a higher power could not be tethered to human expression, not because I was special or intelligent, but because all language and expression carried some baggage, and I needed to be free of that.  It was the only thing that would work.  I needed to experience a power greater than myself, not define it.

Cross-posted at Thump.

 

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Posted by on in none

Cross addiction or multiple addictions is a fact of life inherent within the recovering community. Many of us come to the rooms of a 12-step program or treatment facility intending to tackle our alcohol and drug problem, or perhaps our eating disorder. However, many of us realize we have other addictions to manage. Putting off the need to tackle the remaining addiction(s) has brought many of us back to our primary addiction.

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Posted by on in Co-dependency

We heal by remembering, literally bringing back
into the wholeness of our being
that which we have lost by hiding it
from ourselves.
Joan Borysenko

When my mother first started reading my initial manuscript for Gifts From The Child Within, she looked up at me and asked, "What do you mean in the Introduction by my being a co-dependent?" My mother, being an intelligent and well-read person, caught me by surprise with her genuine lack of knowledge about the meaning of codependence. I found myself somewhat embarrassed about the necessity to explain to my mother, what for most of my life, I saw her doing with hers.

I realized I had few words to describe to her just what being codependent meant. I tried using phases such as, "too dependent on her husband," "not caring enough about herself," and "restricting her own life because of her husband's demands." These broken sentences came easily but still did not touch on the real feelings I associated with the term codependent. Finally, I looked at her and said softly, "Mom, it just means that you cared so much for Daddy that somewhere along the way you lost yourself." She understood and accepting this definition, lowered her head to continue reading.

The surge of interest in the recovery field has led us to this nebulous issue of "codependence." Some leading experts claim we all have a codependent-self, a side of us which withdraws, avoids, and denies our true Self. Others maintain codependence is a disease or illness which requires psychological methodologies and sometimes medical intervention! To assume an illness one must demonstrate a physiological, psychological, or emotional dysfunction; therefore, to label one who nurtures and cares deeply for others codependent under this rationale would commit 99% of our female population to pathology! Only when one is nurturing others to the exclusion of themselves can the ill effects of codependency be labeled unhealthy.

One of the latest definitions of what constitutes a codependent personality comes from a group of professionals who spent several hours of deliberation to confirm:  "Co-dependency is a pattern of painful dependency on compulsive behaviors and on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, self-worth and identity. Recovery is possible." This is a good working definition; however, we must remember, codependency is an individual game played by two. We must not forget it takes two to form a codependent relationship.

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