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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 Drug Addiction

When I entered recovery in 1999, I had my story as to why I was unable to live up to my potential in life. Even though I grew up with two parents who never hit me, provided every material comfort and gave me direction and love, I focused on the one traumatic event that happened to me during my high school years and ran with it.

Already insecure due overdependence on my parents and the prospect of leaving home and going to college, my father's reaction to my blooming first love expereience shattered me. Instead of welcoming in the terrific object of my obsession, my father objected to our constant togetherness and punished me with a wall of silence. He withheld his love from me when I did not behave the way he preferred and this convinced me I was totally worthless. 

I used this story to fuel my addictive behavior until the age of 31.  Truth is, my insecurity, sensitivity and obsessive-compulsive behavior began long before my father made this choice.  I was a wild fire ready to burn.Increase  As far back as I could remember, I felt less beautiful/worthy than my peers.  As far back as I could remember, I was obsessed with the cute boy at school, achievement or my looks.  This situation with my father simply gave me a good reason to feel less worthy.

If it wasn't for the situation with my dad, I would be married with kids by now (I would say to myself in my head at age 25 when I preferred to stay out drinking and doing ecstasy instead of maturing like other women.)  Finally, when I was close to my rock bottom, I dated a handsome doctor whom I respected who said to me, "Get over it"  when I told him why it was so hard for me to trust men. I was mortified.

"Get over it?  What does he mean get over it?" I asked myself. "How do I get over it? If I knew, I would have done that by now."

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