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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 Alcoholism

keepingsecretsWhen I was newly sober, I was told that we are as sick as our secrets. I incorrectly dismissed this as another cliché, like “one day at a time” or “keep it simple” (both of which turned out to also be true). As I look back on my drug addiction and early sobriety, I can see pretty clearly how my honesty is proportional to my happiness.

Before getting sober, my entire life was a secret. There were superficial things such as the clandestine drug use or the stealing. There were also deeper secrets such as my immense fear, insecurity, and shame. Together, my secrets drove me, creating a person that I didn’t even want to be around myself. I lied to myself more frequently than I even had lied to others, I pushed down every unpleasant thought and emotion, and I had absolutely no genuine feeling of who I was.

Getting sober, I was given the opportunity to come clean; both to myself and to others. Part of the recovery process was to write down these things that I had done wrong, things that I had assumed I would take to the grave out of shame. With some help, I was able to be just partly open about my life. As I shared what I had done with a trusted loved one, I found that he had done many of the same things in his addiction as well. As this reassured me, I began speaking with more people about my faults and mistakes, only to find that my community of sober people knew from their own personal experience exactly how I felt after keeping so many secrets.

As I grew more comfortable, I became able to truly address the secrets I had kept. The deeper secrets came out, and I even gained knowledge of some secrets I had kept from myself. As I opened up, I began to experience a new level of joy and happiness.

Today, I keep a close eye on the secrets I am keeping. I try to be open with the right people. I have found that as I am trying to let my secrets free, I also do not create as many secrets. Not only do I practice honesty, I also practice behavior that I would not be ashamed of.

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