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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

When you are battling an addiction, your ability to be self-aware is greatly impaired. As you move into recovery, you will discover that awareness is the most important resource that you can have! Your openness for building your awareness skills is the key to making better choices and building new positive (changing old) habits. Think of this as a chance to:

·      –Notice what you are feeling and thinking

·      –Recover valuable parts of who you were before your addiction took over

·      –Develop a better understanding of your inner self

·      –Create clearer awareness of what you really want

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Life is different after #addiction   in so many ways. The line between those who drink and get high and those who don’t can appear like a dividing wall in some situations. Here are just a few things that only sober people can understand – and "  #Norms" never will. 

1. People often act like it’s a shocking thing that you don’t drink. Pretty frequently, maybe half the time, people respond to your assertion that you don’t drink with genuine #shock and awe. Maybe they really mean that they couldn’t possibly do it or maybe they can’t understand why anyone would want to. Either way, it happens.

2. People tend to spend a lot more money on drinks than they realize. Alcohol costs money, and under the influence people tend to spend more than they would otherwise on other things as well. Sober people can sit back and watch the bill pile up and quickly.

3.  #Dating is that much harder when your date drinks heavily. As if getting to know someone or going on a blind date weren’t hard enough – when that person wants to get a beer before dinner or chugs through half a bottle of wine over appetizers, it can be disconcerting. On the other hand, it’s never been easier to immediately identify an incompatible match when this happens. 

4. People just assume you’ll be the #designated driver. Just because you don’t plan on drinking, it doesn’t mean that you want to chauffeur a bunch of drunk people around town – but most of the time, that’s the assumption. 

5. There are no non-alcoholic alternatives at toasts. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make you feel awkward when everyone else lifts a glass of champagne at the wedding and you have to either lift a glass of water, only pretend to take a drink after, or lift nothing at all.

6. Sometimes it’s easier to lie. Rather than deal with questions or awkwardness, sometimes it’s just easier to say that you don’t feel like drinking than it is to explain that you’re sober.

7. People will push alcohol on you. Your choice not to drink  is one that you have to make every day and is sometimes harder than others. It’s not helpful or funny or cute when people attempt to coerce you into having “just one.”

8. Sometimes you lose friends because you’re sober and it's tough. Some people don’t want to be around someone who doesn’t drink or get high even if that person has been a longtime friend and is making a far larger concession to continue hanging out with them. It can hurt, and that kind of rejection can make you stronger, or it can tear down your ability to stay #sober   Either way, it’s no small thing.

What are some things that you now understand in #sobriety that you might not have when you were drinking or using drugs? Leave a comment below. 

For further reading on getting and staying sober, please read here: http://www.futuresofpalmbeach.com/relapse-prevention-programs/ 

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

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Todays recovery message is to “Just Get Your Wiggle Butt” in gear and don’t be afraid to dig in and do the work needed to start, stay, and have a CATTASTIC RECOVERY LIFE!!
Many know I am a cat lover, and sadly when we had to relocate from beautiful So. Oregon to hot, dusty Arizona, I had to leave my 2 kids, ( Kitty Cats) Buttons & Callie behind with a good friend of ours until will get back to Oregon. My hubby works for a large grocery store chain and is starting meat-cutters school for them soon. The closest training school was here in Arizona, or the ones back East, and I wasn’t going there! No Way!…LOL.

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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 Alcoholism

If I’m to be honest answering this question, there will be no quick way through it. I could say I became a sober coach because I was tired of going to bed at 6am and sick of having to shout over loud music to be heard  - but that’s only part of it.

When I got clean in 1988, I placed all bets on my writing. This meant that instead of taking a job that would have career advancement, I stuck with freelance work, doing anything that could finance large chunks of uninterrupted writing time. I came up during the late 70s and 80s among a scene of underground artists, musicians, and filmmakers, many of whom went on to mainstream success. After I got clean, I became the go-to girl for anyone from my previous life wanting to get off drugs. This lead to my first coaching jobs inside the entertainment industry. The calls were so random that I never considered it a real employment source. In between coaching gigs, I continued to take on whatever work paid the bills. Coaching and sober companion work felt like the right fit but I never gave it much thought as a career. At the time it was controversial and renegade.


As the years passed, I continued to write and perform. Although my work was being published and optioned, I still hadn’t made it through the “big doors". It killed me to watch my friends’ lives successfully moving forward while mine seemed, at least outwardly, frozen in time. What was i doing wrong?  My moment of clarity came at fifteen years clean. It occurred to me that I had never stopped directing my romantic and financial affairs and those two areas were not changing. I needed to let go (as they say in 12 step programs) but I didn’t know how. I definitely couldn’t think my way into a new life. I suppose I needed a spiritual experience but being an atheist this was difficult to imagine.

Right as my screenplay was gaining momentum and I was being flown back and forth across the country, the writers’ strike happened. Out of money, I went back to working in bars. The loud music and crazy hours were killing me. Like my final days with drugs, I was absolutely miserable and hopeless. At seventeen years clean, I was back at square one. Then the most amazing thing happened - I ran out of ideas on how to run my life. I was having tea with an old friend from the music industry when I asked him “You know me really well – what do you think I should do for a living?” It didn’t take a minute before he said, “You’d be perfect as a sober companion.”  I had no idea that sober coaching had come into its own as a profession. The renegade rock and roll days had paved the way and now treatment facilities, therapists, and psychiatrists were seeing positive results from setting up clients with sober companions. My friend suggested I contact a couple LA friends to see if anyone had leads.

The stars aligned and within 24 hours I had my first client outside of the entertainment industry. What was interesting to me was how everything I’d ever learnt in my life came into play - not just my personal experience in recovery but the information I’d amassed on nutrition, exercise, meditation, dealing with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Every aspect of my life had prepared me to do this work.

The real test came on day three when my client’s prominent psychotherapist called for an update. Until then I had been working intuitively and unlike managers, agents, and the people I was used to dealing with, the person on the other end of the phone was skilled in mental health work. If I was a fraud she was going to call me out. Nervous, I took a deep breath and told her honestly what I saw and what I was working on with the client. The phone went silent and my stomach flipped. “I have been working with ___ for three years and you nailed every single item on my list”. His words confirmed that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

For me, falling into coaching was a spiritual experience. When I finally “let go” sober coaching came into my life. I loved it and had great results with clients. From that point on, doors kept opening. One day I got a call from the producers of Intervention about a new mini-series they were casting. Over night, this semi-secret career of mine became very public.

The television series shifted the direction of my life yet again. I received many heartbreaking emails from addict viewers who were without financial resources for treatment. I decided to set up a website and share freely what I do with clients. Currently I’m in the process of writing several books on recovery. What started as a part-time job to finance my writing has become the subject of my writing. No one could be more surprised by this than me.


To read what I do with clients as a sober coach, visit http://pattypowersnyc.com/sobercoac/

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

IncreaseAnother concept often discussed in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous is triggers-- people, places and situations that create an environment where relapse is more likely.  At face value, being aware of situations or people that can make you more prone to drinking or using drugs is certainly valuable, particularly in early recovery when we're more vulnerable to the physical urges and mental obsessions that are part of the disease.

But the concept of triggers comes not from Alcoholics Anonymous but from the rehab industry, where the philosophy of recovery is more about fighting the urge to drink than it is removing the urge to drink.  While it's certainly well-intended, the idea that the chronic alcoholic can fight pitched-battles against urges for the balance of their lives, and win, runs completely counter to the idea of powerlessness as presented by the program of AA. Yet the fellowship of AA, by and large, embraces the idea of triggers and perpetuates the myth that we can stay sober by controlling our environment and interaction with others, that we are forever "recovering" and vulnerable, and not "recovered" and safe.  We seem to have forgotten what our textbook says on page 84 and 85:

"...we have ceased fighting anything or anyone--even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thoughts or efforts on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality--safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been remove, it doe's not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."

Further, the idea that my disease is catalyzed by situations is fundamentally flawed.  I drank always, when the sun came up, when it went down, when life was good and life was bad.  When I begin to analyze conditions that led to drinking, I fall into the very trap that my alcoholism loves-- thinking that I can somehow control it. That is conditional powerlessness.  It was only through a very thorough understanding of my first step that I was able to realize the futility of these efforts.

The idea of triggers, like "One Day At A Time" and so many other alleged AA slogans and concepts, dilutes the fundamental message of the AA program-- that we can recover for good and forever.   If I believe my disease is occasion-based, I'll likely have occasional recovery.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

A neighbor of the apartment complex that we live in knocked on our door late last night to tell me that my husband was in the parking lot with the car running, the lights on and the radio blasting, and dead asleep (drunk) at the wheel for very long time.  How embarrassing and even worse … how the hell did he manage to drive home without killing himself or anybody else.  I apologized to my neighbor, grabbed the spare set of car keys, and went out back to the parking lot ... and there he was. If this were an indoor garage he could’ve have killed himself from the exhaust fumes.  I opened the door, turned off the radio and shut off the car. I removed the bottle of beer from between his legs that’s half spilled out on his favorite pair of dress pants. What a mess.  I tried to wake him up and get him out of the car, but he was out of it and he didn't even know who I was. He started swinging in the air, to protect himself I guess.  I dodged what could have been a sock in the jaw and continued to try to get him to wake up and get out of the car.  It’s no use.  It’s late and I had to get up early in the morning for work, so I left him there, with no keys of course. About two hours later he is yelling and banging on the door and he is fuming mad.  I thought he was going to kill me and of course there is no reasoning with him while he is like this.

Somehow, I got him to sit down, saying that I would be right back in a minute.  I know that if he stays still long enough he will fall asleep ... most of the time. Well, it worked last night, thankfully.

I know I am crazy for putting up with this sort of behavior.  When he is sober he is a wonderful man.  There are so many good things about him.

 

 

Tagged in: alcoholic drunk sober
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