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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction
Hello Recovery Friends, Recovery Seekers, And Welcome New Visitors,
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I was cleaning up my Author Facebook page when I came across this “Quote” and it got me thinking about my current published book and my recovery from Addicted Compulsive gambling, and a bit too much alcohol. It took me back to when my book first released on my 50th birthday! I felt so proud that I actually accomplished one of the biggest goals I’d had for myself. I owe it to the “Grace & Power” of God, and my own 7 years of hard work in recovery for my book  to even be a “Dream to Reality” event in my life.
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Well, also I Thank my awesome publisher too, Steve Laible, of TKG… http://KodelEmpire.com And yes, he is as funny as he looks! But seriously, he is a fantastic publisher, and a “Children’s Book Author” Too! Check out my Pal http://StevieTenderHeart.com If it wasn’t for him nagging me to want to publish my manuscript my friend put together for me, I wouldn’t be a published author today. I was so scared of what people might THINK of me because of all the terrible things I’d done as an addict.
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Author - Steve Laible
Author – Steve Laible ~ Great Guy!
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I know I blog a lot about life being difficult to move on from, especially from our addictions when we first enter recovery. I know this because I to had a hard time grasping the fact that I had become an addicted to gambling and alcohol. It’s hard when we are at our worst in our addictions to even LOOK at ourselves in the mirror, and god knows that happened a lot for me. From the woman and wife I was, having a successful banking career, working hard to have a home and beautiful family life, to this black, ugly, darkness of addiction that took such a hold on me I thought I’d never make it out alive! And I almost didn’t, Twice.  When I was in the depths of the ugliness of addicted gambling, I used to think in my head about all the “negative” shit my mom and dad used to say about me, and it seemed I made that a “Reality” all by myself…

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As if I bought into all the years they said I didn’t love my family, never wanted to be around them or stay home, that I lied, or wasn’t an honest person. I really made that come true with my addiction! Even when you start recovery you have so many doubts about yourself. It takes time and a lot of hard work to learn WHO you really are. You have to retrain your brain, your diseased thinking and thoughts. I also had a hard time about 2 years into my recovery about “Feeling Stuck. I don’t know if you know what I mean? When I went to Gamblers Anonymous meetings, I’d hear others speak about feeling “Stuck” in their recovery. Not sure which way to go, or what to do next to continue to grow in our process to recover.

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For myself? That’s when I had to start on Step 9. I was stuck on this step for a while. Making “Amends,” wow that was a hard job, and I’m still doing it today! Step 9 is making “Direct Amends” to such people wherever possible, as long as it doesn’t injure anyone in the process. Now that sounds easy enough, but with gambling addiction, it often means you owe money too, to someone you hurt, or never paid back. Well, most all the people I did owe, I had paid back. That is when though I learned about “Pawn Shops” and started selling stuff to get money to gamble. Also for me it was more of how I let down others. Like employers, if I stopped to gamble before work, and got on a winning streak, well, I’d call in sick and say I couldn’t make it in. Sadly, these people hired me to do a job and BE THERE to do it. So then that plays into your “Reputation & Character” of who you are. When I gambled? I was a Flake!! I even did it to my friends, and lost many good, long time friends because I couldn’t be counted on anymore. Now this may not sound like a big “DEAL” to many, but for me? That used to be WHO I WAS. People knew they could always count on “Catherine” when things needed getting done.
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Posted by on in Alcoholism

istock_000005940786xsmallyogaRecently we were asked by a user on Instagram, "How do we know when it's our higher power giving us an intuitive thought?" I believe this question is a reference to page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous where it states, "Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision." What a wonderful question. I have had sponsees ask me this same question many times, and I am honestly not sure I can provide a definitive answer to this one. All I can offer my personal experience with it, and what I share with my sponsees.

In order to answer this question for myself, there are two things I must do. First, I must first look at what my Higher Power is, or at least what characteristics it has. I do have a bit of an unconventional Higher Power (the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha), but I think this holds true regardless of what yours is. I know that my Higher Power is compassionate, loving, and forgiving. If I receive a thought that has any aspect that is not compassionate, loving, and forgiving, I know it is not from my Higher Power. For example, if the intuitive thought I receive in meditation is to lie to somebody, I know that this is not compassionate or loving and must be my own habit energies, not my Higher Power's will.

Although this may seem overly simplistic, I find it to be a fairly strong course of action. Inevitably, thoughts arise that I am not sure if they are from my Higher Power. Sometimes, I simply cannot tell the source of a thought. In this case, I let the thought go. I don't act upon it. If I do need to take action or make a difficult decision, I remind myself that I don't have to do it alone. Page 60 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions reads, "The second difficulty is this: what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is."

For this reason, I think the second thing I must do when receiving an intuitive thought is bring it to a spiritual mentor or sponsor. When I bring the thought to a mentor, I often gain a lot just from saying it out loud. If I am humble enough to truly listen, I often learn a great deal from somebody else's perspective. Because they don't have the exact same mind as me, they may see the though slightly differently. In this way, I am able to see the thought more clearly.

In the end, my heart is my greatest tool. When I perform a good deed, I feel it in my heart. When I hurt somebody, I also feel it in my heart. The more I meditate, the more I find myself connecting with my heart. However, my practice is not perfect, and I am still subject to deception by my own mind. This is why I do these two things when I am confused about an intuitive thought.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Willingness is one of the keys to my sobriety.  In early recovery as much as today, I must maintain an open mind and a willingness to learn something new.  Whether it is accepting a Higher Power into my life, letting character defects go, getting a sponsor, or listening to the experience of others, willingness is an essential quality of my spiritual growth.

Willingness in Early Recovery

When I was newly sober, willingness was one of the qualities that saved my life.  Although I did not immediately want quality sobriety at first, I was willing to go to treatment.  I did not see it as willingness at the time, but I had enough of an openness to consider an alternative to the way I was living.  Unfortunately, the only reason I had this amount of willingness was because of where I was emotionally; I had become emotionally exhausted, confused, and completely afraid of life.

Attending twelve-step meetings, I had the slightest amount of willingness, and was able to listen to speakers and fellows share their experiences.  With the little amount of willingness I did have, I heard enough to help me grow.  I did not have the most open mind, nor the most willingness in the room, but I was reminded that I only needed a little to begin.

I heard repeatedly to get a sponsor, even if it was a temporary sponsor.  I heard I needed to work the steps, help others, get commitments, and go to a meeting every day.  All the cliche pieces of advice for newcomers, I took in.  I had enough willingness to get a sponsor on my fourth day of sobriety.  He told me he would be my sponsor one day at a time until I found a new one, and that I should call him the next day so we could start working together.  With over 30 years of sobriety, I had enough willingness to believe in what this man was telling me.  He is still my sponsor today, and we have grown extremely close over the past several years.

Being a newcomer, willingness is not an easy quality to come in contact with always.  My ego was in the way, telling me that I could do it differently.  Spending my whole life "knowing everything, always," it was a dramatic shift to have it brought to my attention that I needed help.  However, my sponsor asked me in my first 30 days one simple question, "Are you willing to just entertain the idea that maybe there is a different way for you to interact with life?"  My answer was that I was, and this was and still is a great reminder to remain open-minded and willing.

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