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Posted by on in Food Addiction

3. Why are so many women over 40 developing eating disorders?

I suspect that with the "fifty is the new thirty" mantra, there are pressures to try to be fit, beautiful, successful and happy in ways that have not been seen before.  I also know how difficult it was for me to get better back in the 1980s because there were few role models and very few treatment centers, so I suspect that some people just went in and out of their disorders without ever stringing together long-term health.   Recovering from an eating disorder and staying better is especially hard, too, because food is a necessary part of being alive, and temptations and triggers are everywhere, regardless of where you go.  So I think that there are a huge number of women who have been dealing with some version of disordered eating for decades, and that there could be others who are feeling disoriented by upheavals in their lives – divorce, unemployment, empty nest, poor health, changing hormones – and focusing on their body distracts them from coping with other problems.  I also don't think that there is a widespread belief that long-term recovery exists, so there might not be enough hope for people to persist through the setbacks they encounter.

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Buddhist Dharma WheelSomebody mentioned on our Instagram that they have a problem with the word "god." Their question read, "I notice I have some resistance with the word "God." I have a Christian/Catholic background and have come to a more open spirituality in the last few years. I typically use Universe and God interchangeably, but prefer Universe or other words. Do you have some suggestions, insight or wisdom on how to release any charges with this?"

I, too, have struggled with the word "god." I grew up with a Jewish family and ended up at a Catholic high school. When I was a young teen, my dad gave me a few Buddhist books, and my interest began in Buddhism. In college in Portland, Oregon, I used copious amounts of hallucinogens, and experienced quite a few "spiritual experiences" where I felt the presence of something greater. In short, my spiritual/religious beliefs have been all over the map.

When I got sober, I accepted the program as my "higher power." I then began to see my higher power as more of a spirit of the universe, an energy, or simply love. I didn't have a clear view of what it was, but I felt it, and knew it wasn't a man in the sky for me. As my Buddhist practice began to develop, I moved quite a bit more to the atheistic side. Now, I don't necessarily consider myself an atheist. I simply believe that everything we believe to be a higher power actually has a scientific explanation. We once thought stars, the ocean, and the wind were gods. Now, we understand them scientifically. Similarly, I think that our thoughts may affect the external world (like thinking positively or with affirmations), but there is a scientific explanation to this that we will someday understand. Many consider this atheistic, and maybe it is.

I do have a higher power, which for me is the Three Jewels of Buddhism. I use the Buddha-seed within me, the Dharma (Buddhist way), and the Sangha (community) as my higher power. To read more about it, read the Three Jewels and Step Three piece I wrote. This is a rather unconventional understanding of a higher power, especially since part of it is actually internal. This is a little background of why the word "god" is difficult for me to use.

For me to deal with the use of the word "god" or even the phrase "higher power," I had to consider what it was. First, the word "god" is used across traditions and cultures to refer to the higher truth. Merriam-Webster provides this as one of the definitions of the word god: a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people. In my opinion, many things fit this besides a physical Judeo-Christian god. Looking at gods across different traditions, they are always represented as the greatest truth, knowledge, and power. For me, the Buddhist teachings (dharma) fit this. Similarly, one's view of a universal energy may also fit this. The word "god" is most often used to refer to the Judeo-Christian idea of it, and we often get caught in this thinking. However, the word can mean many other things. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word God comes from an old PIE word meaning "to call" or "to invoke." When we consider what the word means, we see that its limited use in the Judeo-Christian sense does not appropriately encompass the meaning of the word.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

19976_258044793945_4340661_nA user recently asked us on Instagram about being a first time sponsor, and how to deal with the fear of not doing it right. As with most of the questions we receive, there doesn't seem to be a clear, objective answer. However, we can offer our experience.

Being a first time sponsor was quite scary for me. I had about 4 months of sobriety, and absolutely did not feel ready. I had gone through the steps with my sponsor and was told to begin sponsoring others. Even though I did not feel like I had much to offer, I found myself taking a young man through the steps. There are four things that were important to me in my early days of sponsorship.

First, I took my first few sponsees through the steps almost exactly how I was taken through. At that point, I had gone through the steps only once fully. I had a single, clear-cut way of going through the Big Book and working the steps. My sponsor, who has over 30 years of sobriety, has a very routine way of taking people through the steps. With my first few sponsees, I emulated what my sponsor did for me.

Second, I often say that my first sponsee was really being sponsored by me and my sponsor, as I went to my sponsor with everything my sponsee brought to me. It is natural that we don't have all the answers. That is what our sponsors are there for. It is important to utilize the fellowship and community, and ask questions when appropriate. Although there is no hierarchy in twelve-step programs, people who have been sober longer than us do have more experience that we do. The fellowship of recovering addicts is one of our greatest tools, and it is there for our using!

Another thing we must do when sponsoring is set boundaries. This, in my opinion, is extremely important. Especially when I was newly sponsoring. Although a sponsor's main purpose is to take someone through the Twelve Steps, people often call on their sponsor with all kinds of requests and problems. I like to try to follow the instructions of Alcoholics Anonymous's pamphlet, Questions and Answers on Sponsorship that read, "A sponsor does everything possible, with the limits of personal experience and knowledge, to help the newcomer get sober and stay sober through the A.A. program." I offer whatever help I possibly may, but am careful to never enable. It is not my job to do certain things for my sponsee, and I must set firm boundaries and stick to them. Setting this boundaries may not make my sponsee happy, but sometimes the most loving thing we can do is not the most pleasant. In my personal opinion, Al-Anon is probably the best way to learn to set boundaries with sponsees.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

191_9147353945_4308_nRecently, an Instagram user asked us, "Will traveling and putting myself in nature make myself more spiritual? Or do you just need to be wherever you're comfortable?" It is my pleasure to answer this question, as I have personally thought about this many times. For many of us, we look for spiritual insight and growth by going on retreat, traveling to holy places, or even taking a simple walk in nature or on the beach.

I have sought spirituality in this way many times. I frequently enjoy time in nature, attend several silent meditation retreats a week, travel to the Arizona desert every year for a retreat, and even walk to the beach to meditate sometimes. I also practice my spiritual program in my own apartment and daily life, and this is the key for me.

One of my Buddhist teachers reminds me that the bell ringing at the end is the most important part of the meditation. It is the point in which we bring our practice from the formal sitting meditation into our daily life. The bell is the bridge where our practice becomes part of our life wherever we are. Although a sitting meditation practice is wonderful and can lead to great insight, it is just as great to practice mindfulness in daily life.

Similarly, traveling or being in nature may absolutely be of great benefit. For me, I find great power in nature, whether in solitude or with others. I have traveled to Buddhist temples and monasteries as well. In traveling and putting myself into nature, my mind is quieted, and I often connect better with my heart. Insight comes more easily. I feel more genuine and connected with the world around me. Many of the deepest and most profound insights I have had have been while traveling or in nature.

However insightful it may be to travel and be in nature, it is useless if we do not carry it back into our own lives. Although I often have a tendency to write a lot and keep a journal, I find it helpful to just see what sticks naturally. Jack Kornfield reminds his students at the beginning of every dharma talk to just pay attention and see what sticks. Right Effort is not trying too hard to bring these practices back to our daily life. Right effort is simply putting effort forth and practicing openly and with awareness. One of my teachers, Noah Levine, reminds us that although the mind may not always remember, the heart is learning.

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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

Wilting FlowerWhen I was very new in sobriety, I put forth almost no effort. I went to meetings, and that was about it. As I began to work the steps and grow fond of sobriety, I gave it my all. I had 4 service commitments a week, attended at least 10 meetings a week, was active with Hospitals and Institutions, and took my sobriety extremely seriously. I gave it my all, as I wanted so badly to remain sober.

As time went on, the effort in sobriety I have put forth has fluctuated. When I find myself in an unpleasant place, I often work extremely hard. When everything is going well, I slack. This cycle of effort reflects my ups and downs. I don't always put 100% in, and I don't always feel 100%. Things work like this in my life, and I am okay with it.

I think it is important to note that I don't need to give it absolutely 100% in order to stay sober, grow, and progress. When I look at my effort in sobriety, I see that I have always given some of myself to my program. No matter how little of a program I was working, I always went to meetings, was of service, and meditated. I never put no effort in.

When I was new and putting forth a great amount of effort in sobriety, I would not necessarily have benefited from knowing this information. But now, I am grateful that I know that I don't have to stress about how perfect of a program I am working. To me, that is the point... I don't have to work a perfect program. It is okay that I don't give it my all every single moment. It is okay that I don't work my program without error. I do put forth effort in my sobriety consistently, and I never give up.

With the ups and downs, I am able to find peace in the reality that I may choose to work my program to fit my needs. I know that at the very least, my needs are that I stay sober, help others, and continue going to meetings. I have learned about myself enough through the Twelve Steps and my meditation practice that I know when I need to put more effort forth. Similarly, I am beginning to recognize when I am expecting too much of myself.

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Tagged in: effort in sobriety
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Posted by on in Other Addictions

2. How does positive psychology differ from regular psychology in terms of addiction recovery?

I think Positive Psychology offers a different approach from traditional therapy that focuses more on what you are doing "right" and how to amplify that instead of focusing on what is wrong and what you are trying to avoid.  When you focus on your strengths, particularly in the beginning of recovery, it can feel empowering and give you a much-needed boost of confidence.

Knowing and using your top 5 strengths in new and creative ways (I use the VIA Strengths test at www.authentichappiness.com) has been found to make people both happier and more successful.  Positive psychology also brings in concepts of getting into flow by challenging yourself with hard goals, and then using your strengths to make progress on those goals.

There is research showing that all success with goals is preceded by being in a flourishing emotional state, so I'd also suggest that everyone in recovery learn about the research on "positive interventions" - the behavior/mental shifts you can deliberately perform to put yourself into a flourishing state.  It's important to also understand how to set the "right" goals that will enhance success, not focus on superficial or extrinsic outcomes.

There are also concepts around savoring that can be taught, as well as mindfulness meditation, that enhance self-regulation and reduce impulsivity.  I'm also a big believer in teaching people how to become more resilient, much like is being taught to the US Army right now by Positive Psychology researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.  You need resilience and grit to survive the setbacks and challenges that inevitably occur when you are pursuing recovery, and although you may stumble upon these concepts in random ways, I believe they offer so much hope and practical guidance that Positive Psychology should be integrated at the start of anyone's recovery.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

 

This motion graphic is brought to you by Clarity Way Rehab
This video is a feature on the newly popular chemical drug, bath salts. It walks you through the side effects and body process associated with taking the drug. Bath Salt Zombies is something to share with anyone you know that might be considering taking the dangerous drug.

 

 

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Addictionland Recovery Friends & Visitors,


So my time here as *The Guest Expert Blogger* for "Gambling Addiction" is coming to a close. So I wanted to take this time to say to all of you who came by my blog here this past Month, a very BIG THANK YOU, for your emails, and your wonderful recovery support! I hope I was able to share info, and educate all who came and took the time to read what I had to say about "Compulsive Addicted Gambling" the disease. Many still just don't see it that way, and is why there is such *STIGMA* around those in recovery from this CUNNING illness & addiction.


Always know you can stop by my own "Recovery Blog" at: http://CatherineLyonAddictedToDimes.wordpress.com and check out my *Recovery Resources Page* as well as my Book/Writer Blog at: http://www.simplesite.com/CatherineLyonAddictedToDimes
where I show case *FANTASTIC* recovery books, reads, authors, and writers. Along with Featured Stories, Book Reviews, and Guest Authors & Blogggers and websites. I will continue to come here to Addictionland and blog as well. I have learned SO MUCH while being this months Guest Blogger.


For those who are in recovery from addicted gambling, or maybe having a rough time in recovery, there are some "Excellent" websites for help, treatment, and Support. Here are just a few of my favorites I visit OFTEN....


Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org
Safe Harbor Compulsive Gambling Hub http://www.sfcghub.com
Author, Marilyn Lancelot "FOR" Female Gamblers  http://www.femalegamblers.info *Marilyn has 2 fantastic books out here)
http://www.GrippedbyGambling.com and the last website I LUV...
Journal of Gambling issues http://www.camh.net/egambling
FREE TREATMENT Options http://www.myaddiction.com
Every Wen Night on Twitter is #ADDICTIONCHAT @LUV_Recovery 
6pm Pacific time   9pm Eastern Time That's were I am :-)


Always know, you are NOT ALONE anymore. YOU CAN Recover from any addiction, you just have to take that 1st step,"When we admit to ourselves we have a Problem" then reach out for help, someone will be there for YOU.....

MY *SPECIAL THANK YOU TO "Cate Stevens" for allowing me this wonderful platform to share with all of you, my TRUE & SINCERE message of "HOPE" to others. To be able to give you all an Inside Look of the dangers of becoming addicted to something that was intended for *FUN & Entertainment*....but SADLY for some of us, IT IS NOT.

So CATE, from my *HEART* to YOURS, I Appreciated the invite to be a guest here, and call on me ANYTIME if I can be of *Recovery Service* to you and the Fantastic members here on "Addictionland"....May God Bless You All!

Warm Regards,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon :-)


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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Addictionland Friends & New Visitors,

Here is what the last 4 days have been like for me. There wer BIG UPs and Some Downs, and I'm tired, so I'm sharing my Todays Blog Post Via my Recovery Blog.

The *TWINS* have Arrived & More!


Posted on October 26, 2013 by Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon
OH HAPPY DAY Recovery Friends & New Visitors!,


I’M A NEW GREAT AUNTIE TO THESE TWO BEAUTIFUL TWINS!

Twins! Finally. Just in time. I had to leave.


PLEASE MEET THE NEW TWINS!!
One Boy…”Mark Fredrick Lake”  & One Girl…”Bella Lake

”They got here EARLY, as they were to be born on Oct 30th by C-Section, but they came Sat. morning! My wonderful nephew Mark Lake and his wife Rosalia are the proud parents of a new baby girl & boy ”TWINS”…

I can not WAIT to go visit and spend “Thanksgiving” with my nephew Mark Lake and his family, and get my hands on those “Bundles of Joys”!!  My HEART is going to “BURST” with all the Happiness inside ME right NOW!

Now a little bit of *Ramblings*….

I just thought I would “MIX IT UP” and just ramble about a few “Thoughts & Things” rolling around in my Heart & Head!….LOL…

To start, many of you know about our *Sticky* living situation since having to relocate from So. Oregon to Arizona, and HAPPY to inform everyone my hubby & I are Apartment/ Small house hunting! We have put in a few applications in on some places that are NOW Available, so just waiting to here back.

The night before was another ABUSIVE, World War 3 going on,  and we JUST STAYED IN OUR little DUNGEON. Don’t move in with family unless YOU know what your fully walking into as we were NOT told what goes on around here before we left Oregon.

I JUST DON’T GET why families keep “Dirty Little Secrets” about family abusive behaviors??  Yes, I know, I know, just get over it, but it’s damn hard to when there is *CRAZY* going on around you 24/7. The last two incidents have been over a lawn chair, and the youngest sister had a “Mental Breakdown” in the driveway, after over hearing a conversation with me, my hubby and his older sister that is helping us financially to get into a place.

AND YES, there IS NO WHERE to have a private conversation in this HOUSE!! The younger sister got so mad and worked up, they took her to ER and they admitted her into the hospital. Mental hold. ALL this over a Lawn chair and a conversation that SHE WAS NOT A PART OF, & had nothing to do with HER...

I, as a Writer & Blogger, I have had NO DESIRE since we walked in this house to “WRITE” and to finish my 2 book projects, so THIS needs to CHANGE FAST! But on a serious note, some things have escalated to the point that we need to be out of this environment. It is hard to have to see your family like this. It also compounds itself, because we have not spent much time around either side of our families for long periods of time. That’s what makes it more *SAD* to know when our parents pass away, you just don’t know how the GROWN Children are going to behave, or interact when our parents are gone. IN OUR CASE, Poorly.
I don’t get any  ”JOY” out of talking about are families, but BLOGGING is the ONLY release that has kept me SANE, I have to vent and get my feelings out.In the past when I was still compulsively gambling , I’d have used “ALL this CRAZINESS” to my “Selfish Benefit” and as an excuse to run and escape from it all by a few hours of gambling!!

Blogging is a HELL of a lot CHEAPER!

After 6+yrs in recovery, I think I’m entitled to some *Freedom of Speech* about how I feel, and how all this has affected me. Many times LIFE is never what we expect. The whole move thing was hard on me with the Bipolar 2, anxiety, depression and Agoraphobia, but then to get here and walk into an even worse and stressful family dynamic is even worse than the move.

It’s like the longest *Trial* the lord has put upon us.BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?…..I’m not going to FAULTER…..NOW WAY!!
The man upstairs can keep adding it on, and I WON’T CRACK!  WHY?…..Because the lord taught us that no matter how bad things get, know matter “HOW ROUGH THE SEA’S ARE”, there is always a “BLESSING” AT THE END.  So I Pray, I bide my time, and bite my tongue, as the lord will see us through all this.

It’s also what recovery has given me as well. The tools & skills I have learned, and the *FANTASTIC SUPPORT FRIENDS* I have, DO play a major role in my life and recovery. And they include ALL OF YOU here who follow and visit my blog.
Many know I don’t like ADVICE SUGAR COATED, especially when it’s matters of LIFE & RECOVERY. You know any advice given by all of you is always well taken and appreciated. Giving it to me Straight. I hold no GRUDGE, because sometimes the TRUTH can STING, and that’s OK.

SORRY, I told you all I had a lot of *RAMBLINGS* to get out and off my chest!! So I’ll close with saying a “BIG THANK YOU” from my HEART to ALL of yours, for always being here for me with a Shoulder to Lean on, and an Ear to LISTEN to all my LIFE & RECOVERY RAMBLINS!!

GOD BLESS ALL & Have a Great Week Everyone,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

"Addicted To Dimes" (Confessions of a liar and a Cheat)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485/

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