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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Even when I was in the absolute worst stage of unabashed drinking and irregular, unhealthy eating habits, very little if anything could have pushed me to seek recovery any sooner than I did.

Those who love me worked tirelessly in the effort to convince me I needed help.  Each gesture or suggestion was met with resistance, denial and deflection.  Those caring and compassionate individuals had all but prepared themselves to receive the dreaded phone call I’d finally succumbed to the disease of addiction.

The more people tried to persuade me of my destruction, the more my distance from them widened.  I wasn’t ready to stop.  I liked being able to decide for myself when, where and how much I engaged in what I believed was pure merriment.  I’d perfected my silent rationalization to slip into the haze of too much alcohol with little food. When I was in the state of nothingness, life’s emotional ups and downs didn’t matter anymore. I cherished my ability firmly and sternly control what I put my mental energy into and what was erased. As long as I kept my booze supply up and my weight down, all was well in the world.  And oh boy, did I love the “high” I felt when the deception, manipulation and lies all fell into place.

Until they didn’t.

When I finally found myself sitting across the desk of an intake counselor at a substance abuse treatment center I still was clinging to the belief I could one day drink again and eat as I saw fit.  I vividly remember the woman asking me how much alcohol I drank each day and my response of “oh, not that much” was quickly deflected when she held up my liver count report. I just wasn’t ready to stop believing I could run the show and direct the participants.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

I have spent the last month unable to tear myself away from streaming a popular TV series that I didn’t watch while it was on the air weekly. There are 142 episodes and I am almost finished with the lot! Some days I have watched as many as 5 episodes. I am annoyed with my behavior and what a waste of time it is. Yesterday I tried to stop and couldn't.

Then it dawned on me that I am using compulsive TV watching to escape because I am going through withdrawal from my reading addiction! I have run out of books that interest me; most of the book stores in town have closed down; and the library is closed tomorrow. I guess that I will distract myself with a few more hours of TV and hope for the best while my Kindle is charging.

I am ashamed to admit that I am a book junkie. I mean the "hard stuff," the paper books, not the audio books. I love to lose myself in a good story or fascinating biography. The feel of turning the pages and the weight of the book is so satisfying. There is nothing like the sense of expectation I feel when I start a 500-page book!

I have been an avid reader since childhood. I remember how happy I used to feel going home from the local library with my arms filled with books. When I gave birth to my son I knew that I was going to have a c-section, so I went to the library ahead of time and made sure I put some books in my suitcase to take to the hospital since I was told that I would be there for up to one week. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get out for a while once we were home, therefore I needed a stockpile.

When I have nothing to read I experience withdrawal. I tend to feel antsy, anxious and sometimes get grumpy when away from my “fix.” My worst withdrawal experience came many years ago, before Kindles were invented, when my husband and I were invited to visit one of his friends who had moved to a nearby city. Chuck picked us up at the airport and drove us to his new home on top of a hill.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

In recovery, we go through the steps with our sponsor.  However, the steps also must be worked in our daily lives.  As the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests, we must practice these principles in all our affairs.

Powerlessness

In everyday life, powerlessness is constantly affecting us.  Specifically, we must always remember our powerlessness over our addiction. Keeping close the memory of what happens when we indulge helps drive us every day to work the steps.  Remembering what our addiction looks like is a great motivator.

After working the steps and gaining insight, we discover that we are powerless over much more than our addiction.  Essentially, we are powerless over everyone and everything except ourselves.  We must stop trying to control outside events.

Dr. Paul O. said, "When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment... When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God's handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God."

We must stop trying to control and fix things.  Although in the First Step we are not yet examining a power greater than ourselves, the point still stands: we must recognize our own powerlessness over the world around us, and focus within.  In our daily lives, we must turn our concentration inward, and cease trying to control the external.  This is a simple, yet difficult task; recognizing our powerlessness and letting things go is very counterintuitive.

Unmanageability

Unmanageability affects our daily lives as well.  With the powerlessness over other people comes the unmanageability.  Other people, external events, and anything else outside of ourselves is certainly unmanageable.  When we don't recognize our powerlessness over these things, unmanageability grows even stronger.  Trying to exert power over external phenomena creates distress and anxiety.  Recognizing our powerlessness, we must see that everything is unmanageable to us.

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