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Posted by on in Alcoholism

I went to a 12/12 men's meeting on Step 4 more than a few times. Got a Sponsor who in hindsight? Had nothing to offer. Wasn't aware of the Steps in the Big Book and relying on the seven deadly sins of the 12/12 offered me a Hazeldon 4th Step guide. I think I left it at the meeting that night.. Meanwhile, lots of discussion from others, lots of character defects floating around. Assets and liabilities, like never putting gas in the car to loving kittens.  Common drunk, but shaves everyday and goes to meetings now. It meant nothing to me, I was much too sick for this. It was as if I was trying to sugar coat being a complete failure at life by painting my endless stream of haunting alcoholic horror shows a soft periwinkle blue for my viewing pleasure.. No matter how hard I tried and prayed to be relieved of my demons, surrender myself to God, these alcoholic B movies that ran constantly in my head would not stop. No, I wasn't making much headway sanding away at the surface rust with others in my 12/12 talk therapy, I needed to dig out the rot, my own rot. Either that or just go ahead and hang myself, get it over with.

 

 I was even more distanced from the AA 12/12 norm now. It wasn't like I didn't still want what these people had at the 12/12 Step meeting it's more like it just didn't apply to me. I didn't understand, I could talk along with everyone sure. But that was it really, I didn't change at all and actually couldn't remember what was said anyway. I was extremely self will run riot and could not be left alone and expect to participate. I lacked the power to change. I was terminally unique. It's like AA was in addition to my own thinking. No matter what happened I always came first, my thinking remained first..The outsider looking in. I just wasn't willing to let go of myself and become a part of anything I couldn't control.. I couldn't muster the willingness unless there was something for me.. On the surface I could be a real song and dance man but deep down, where the change was needed?  I wasn't willing to take the risk. These people would go all week and come back with new interest. New stories of how their lives were getting better, stories of gratitude and living sober while I was just as crazy if not more so than I was last week. It was clear I couldn't tell them what was really going on in my head and it was becoming too difficult to keep controlling it, editing myself for the public appearances. Their smiling faces eager to move on to the Step 5 reading while I was still the same as before, lost in my head, I knew I just could not keep up. They knew it and I knew it.

 

It wasn't them, they weren't the problem. It was me. I got that much. I could look forward to the 12/12 meeting all week and get there wondering what Step we're on as if a heavy fog of self-centeredness followed me to my seat.. I was just, detached. So self centered I could hardly see past my nose. A obsessive feeling of I think you think.  I could feel every muscle move as I got my coffee and found my seat. Yes it's a people problem, a bad people problem, a fear problem. That's about as far as I got. I'm screwed and don't know what to do.  Maybe it was PTSD, maybe ADD, ADHD, too much LSD? Wet brain? Depression? Anxiety, my frequent Panic At tack ack ack acks? I also thought I was simply born retarded and nobody wanted to tell me. Like someday they'd have a party and lift their masks up and yell SURPRISE!! You're retarded!! It was obvious, I needed more than what the 12/12 Step meeting offered. My own thinking, what was left of it? could not be trusted. My brain was like a TV left on 24 hours a day without an antenna. on and off frequency, blurps of this and that but all in all? nothing but static. So, back to Big Book, why? Because it was my only option left. That or drink again and I knew if I drank again I wouldn't last long. It was over for me.. In this respect my Big Book Sponsor, Spiritual advisor if you will, my 4th Step, was do or die.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Ok, so I'm into the Big Book now. I've made my 3rd Step decision and am ready to write my 4th. It's just that I am bothered or nagged by the criticism I get wind of around Big Book. The bad rapping of the 12/12 Book. it's just essays, no directions, basically putting those who faithfully attend their 12/12 groups down. The old 12/12 is screwed up and not the original AA way that is in the Big Book! The 12/12 people criticizing the Big Book crowd as being unjust and overbearing! I just don't like the whole 12/12 Big Book Step controversy going on everywhere. I think, this controversy thing, this jockeying for AA position, this can't be new right? This whole debacle probably began as soon as the 12/12 hit the streets like when, back in the 50's? Probably earlier with the different alcoholic treatments before the 12/12 was written. Belladonna, Religion, Lock up. Loonie Bin, Heavy narcotics.. Everyone looking to be validated by others faults is the easiest way to a quick self esteem boost I guess.. So it's got to be here somewhere. Gossip and criticism. The Big Book isn't going to have any direct information on this Big Book 12/12 thing, how could it?  But the 12/12? That's where I'll look. And lucky me, I didn't have to look too far. 

 

12/12 Forward  Page 16. 3rd paragraph. Ok I'm on to something here. AA principles borrowed mainly from Religion and medicine, I knew that. Then added their own experience with the needs of the Fellowship itself. ok.. Page 17, they put this experience down in a Book called Alcoholics Anonymous where the 12 Steps were codified for the first time and from it the Fellowship took it's name.. OK, the Big Book 12 Steps are real, good.. This 12/12 Step Book is meant to broaden and deepen my relationship with the earlier Big Book 12 Step work. What did that say? The 12/12 Step Book is meant to broaden and deepen my relationship with the earlier work.  Wow, that's a mouthful of answers. Page 17, I'll remember that... Al right, this is all good stuff but not really what I'm looking for. I want to know what the deal is between Big Book Steps and 12/12 Steps. Even the meetings are drastically different.

 

JACKPOT ! 12/12 Page 23. The Big Book with the Steps written in masterly detail was published for low bottom cases ONLY.  Many less desperate tried AA but could not make the admission of hopelessness so success in the Big Book 12 Steps was just that, generally unsuccessful except for the low bottom alcoholics...What to do? Still on page 23,  Many who come to AA haven't experienced the Hell those who identify with the original Big Book Step work seem to easily grasp. These people may have supportive home lives still, responsibilities they meet everyday, jobs, a bit of security. They may be young and not completely beaten themselves senseless yet, they may still have some fragmented hope. Sure their life is threatened but they have not completely lost their power of choice as many of the low bottom alcoholics have. That's not to difficult to understand. So Bill W. raised the lower bottom to where it would hit them with the 12/12 Book. Makes sense to me. Basically the 12/12 is for those who still have a brain in their heads. They can read, share, and apply what they learn to their lives. But me? I'm a Big Book burnout. I am beyond human aid. I am hopeless, that's the reason for the Spiritual willingness and fearless moral inventory. The constant thought of how I may serve my God and meet the needs of others, my primary purpose I agreed to in Step 3. So when people say I'm being too hard on myself with all this intense Big Book stuff that I'm here to be happy joyous and free? I just smile knowing the joke is If I could be happy joyous and free, I would, believe me I would....I know I can't fix myself, I've proved this over and over a hundred different ways.. I can't go to sobriety school, I'm far too gone for that too..I have nothing to believe in and can't believe in myself. I'm a big fat nothing with cheese.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Well? I'd like to say I am balanced in my AA at this point especially enjoying the camaraderie of the Fellowship with a discussion meeting, an open speaker meeting, 12/12, Big Book Step, Big Book discussion, each day of the week some well rounded AA. It was the thing to do right? Bang out meetings, don't pick up one drink for one day, participate..Get there early to help set up, maybe greet at the door or help make coffee, welcome anyone who shows up. I was a member of AA because I said I was and was actually working on myself a bit . Addressing my hygiene with a long over due dentist visit for instance. I had never done that before, I always relied on somebody else to make the call and set up the appointment, usually a responsible girlfriend / foster mother.  It wasn't too bad, too hard, I did it all the while feeling myself the adult. Probably mentioning to  anyone who would listen in a subtle way that oh by the way, I have a dentist appointment this week, probably cost a lot of money but I got it covered.. Boasting my new sober life with a adult dose of Hey! Look at me! Look what I can do!...I may as well have been a 5 year old twirling and hopping for attention but at this point? Who knew, certainly not me.

 

No, I was finding my place, Taking some time off from my usual daily self imposed crisis and following the emotional security trail, the bread crumbs of my Sponsor. In my daily racing mind I was connected or grounded to him, my Sponsor, my Spiritual advisor. This was new to me, I never trusted anyone, the best I could do was arrange them in my mind so I somehow fit. I would manipulate my acceptance, even if they liked me I would still have to control my relationship. Anyway, he was Big Book 12 Steps so I was Big Book 12 Steps. All the other stuff began to fall away. Sure I would still attend my discussion group but there was nolonger anything to discuss. Yes I would go to my open speaker meeting but saw myself there looking for, more like obsessed with getting a date. The 12/12 men's group where I felt like I was one of the guys, like I was equal to those who had been around a while? I wasn't comfortable there anymore. It was like I was phony, I would read and share and maybe have a laugh but then when I left the meeting I was crazy again. Sometimes right away. The 12/12 Step meeting would wear off quick for me. Plus I imagined the oldtimers that had been my friends there seemed to look at me different knowing I had a Big Book 12 Step sponsor, like I was betraying them, weird. I just wanted AA but with them it seemed like there wasn't any middle ground. The Big Book 12 Step people were know it all bastards and the 12/12 crowd was the real happy joyous and free AA. The 12/12 group did have more general conversation I could jump into without any real qualification plus somebody's wife made cookies every week. It was definitely much more comfortable like, yeah, this is how I want to live!

 

But the Big Book had a hook in it and I was on it flopping around. Maybe my Sponsor was fishing around AA meetings and caught me, I didn't care really. Something told me I needed to work on myself, my Sponsor had pegged me too many times with my life history through his own experience. He'd talk about himself as if he was describing me, I wasn't alone with him and the strange thing was I would just listen and not try to arrange what he said. It was ok to hear about me, it was ok that someone else knew..I began to lean heavily on Big Book. I needed to know where he got this information about me, stuff I myself didn't even know. I felt something down deep just like when I read Bills story. This Bill W, my Sponsor too, they had something that I felt was key to my survival and if it was ever going to materialize it would be through them. Was this a cult? I didn't know what a cult was so I didn't care. I just couldn't figure this stuff out on my own and the Big Book did say self knowledge won't fix me. I needed willingness. I was just kind of funneled into Step 3. After reading and discussing the three pertinent ideas in the Big Book with my Sponsor I knew I was on to something. It was ok that my 12/12 guys were happy joyous and free without me. I was on to something else, what? I'm not sure but definitely something else. My Sponsor said lets see what the Book says the "something else" is? Maybe it's true. The answers are really in the Big Book.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Many teens will experiment with some sort of drug at least once in their life.  Many teens will do these drugs once or twice and then stop.  However, those who are not able to control their urges are led down the rough, bumpy path of teen drug addiction.  Cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and many more are all classified as drugs.  Marijuana or more commonly known, weed, is the most abused drug to this day. 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Drug Addiction

 

There are many ways to tell if your teen is having an issue with teen drug addiction.   Their behavior may be different and they will have physical symptoms as well.  Specifically for teens struggling with marijuana, here are some symptoms to look for: 

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Tagged in: drugs
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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Members,


What does fear mean to you?
Do you live with any type of fear?
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How can one word have so many different meanings? Even though FEAR happens to most people if we let it, fear comes in many different forms. Some fear we can control, but there is much about fear that we have no control over. Lets start with just the definition of FEAR:


fear
fi(ə)r/
noun
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
    “drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder”
anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness.
informalthe creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach)
“he felt fear at entering the house”
anxiety, neurosis;






What stands out the most about the word fear is the words, scared, frightened, apprehensive.
See, I have many different types of fear I live and struggle with daily! Some comes from recovery, some come from my mental illness disorders, and even though I have 7yrs from the bet,  from gambling addiction, I still have a couple amends fears I still need to work through.
The biggest at the moment is the one with my own father.
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That’s a whole other blog post. I have guilt about this one amends as I’m now only 4 hours away from where my dad lives, as opposed to when I was still living in So. Oregon, which is an 11 1/2 hour drive. I have to get past the fear of my father turning me away if I was to go down and visit, and try to make an amends with him since it has been 9 years since he has spoken to me, and for a reason I have no clue of. So I guess in the back of my mind I feel that I wasn’t the one who stopped communicating with him, so why should I have to make the amends?

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But as we all know in recovery, we need to be the better person regardless, and I need to at least try. I know that. But knowing and doing are very two different things. The other huge fear I have in the amends department is the one to my Best Friend! I’ll call her Deb. What prompted this whole “Fear Thing” was, yesterday I found out my best friend Deb’s dad passed away on May 8th, last month. My heart fell into my stomach. Deb and her family moved next door to us in So. Calif. when we were 13 years old, her and I. We had done everything together. Sleep overs, school, dating, and more! We were like sisters. This month we actually would have been friends for 37 years! But because of my addiction, we became estranged. She went into AA, and I was still gambling my Ass Off! I didn’t try, or reach out for recovery from addicted gambling and alcohol abuse until a year and half later.
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But within that year and a half I had done some pretty bad things to her, again, another whole future blog post. But with her going to AA, I thought, “well she would understand some day how stupid I was within my addiction, and that I never meant to hurt her.” We had been friends to long for that. I also thought, “well, she is in AA so she will understand the whole forgive and amends thing right”?  WRONG! She also has the choice to not forgive and not be friends, which is what happened. SO,….. that’s another amends I need to get done. But that stupid, freaking, FEAR keeps holding me back!
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Or am I using it as an excuse because of fear of rejection, of being hurt myself? Then I have the fears that come along with my daily challenges of mental illness on top of the recovery fear challenges, and it all sometimes gets a bit overwhelming for me some days. So I’m currently working on my fears, dissociation, depression, and agoraphobia with panic with my mental health psychiatrist and councilor on life skills to help me through all this. I also was asked by them to journal at the end of each day the “thoughts” I tell myself of why I don’t follow through on the things I want to do outside my home, but my fear from the agoraphobia holds me hostage! I felt like telling my councilor, I don’t have a discussion going on in my head all day, or talk to myself! But he says I’m doing it in my conscience somewhere. What Ever….
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Here is what ‘Agoraphobia fear’ definition:

Breaking down the term agoraphobia gives us its literal definition.
A phobia is an intensely irrational fear. This meaning suggests that agoraphobia is an intense and abnormal fear of open or public places. But, this definition falls short in explaining the true meaning of this condition.
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For the agoraphobic, the fear is not necessarily associated with open spaces. The central feature of agoraphobia is intense fear (panic response) of being in certain situations in which escape is difficult or potentially embarrassing, or where help is not readily available. This may include many places that would not meet the definition of open spaces, including many confined spaces. Such situations may include leaving home alone, being home alone, traveling by car, train or bus, being in an elevator, being in a crowd, being in a large store or mall, being on a bridge or standing in a line.
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The fear associated with agoraphobia results in behavioral changes in order to avoid feared situations. An individual with agoraphobia may survey settings for escape routes and avoid situations where an exit is not easily available. This leads to avoidant behavior that may include only driving on certain roads, always sitting near the door in meeting or school settings, avoiding crowded places, or avoiding any place where it may be difficult to get to an exit. In extreme cases, the fear may become so consuming that the individual will not leave the house alone or becomes homebound altogether.
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Now there is more, but I don’t want to bore you death!…LOL. But the key word we see over and over is FEAR. So, am I doomed to never be a part of life, part of the living, enjoying all the outdoors has to offer me? At this point, I don’t know. I take each day as it comes. I do however, feel the trauma I endured as a child plays a big part in this big nasty mix of things. It definitely made it difficult for me to feel close to my father when I was younger, and into my teens. But I have had worked hard to get through all that, as it was/is part of my recovery work and therapy, what happened to me was not my father’s fault when I was a little girl. And it was not my fault either.
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I also think I had a set back from the quick and traumatic move that happened this pass Sept 2013, from having to make the choice for my hubby’s job to move from SO. Oregon to Glendale, AZ. I really don’t care for the desert, it’s why I moved from So. Calif. to SO. Oregon when I was only 25 years old. I wanted away from the heat, smog, and long drive for work. Our lives began there, my husband and I, and lived there for 26 years. I miss if very much. And don’t get me started about the whole move and drive for 2 days to get here. AWFUL!!
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I’ll close with an Inspirational Quote….
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Recovery has given me a life now with no regrets…. just a few things to do.
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Happiness & Blessings All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

For a very long time only straight line solutions existed for me. When I’d worn out a pair of shoes I got new ones. When I the guy I was dating started showing signs he wasn't good for me I’d break up with him while seeking another. When the car ran out of gas I’d stop to refuel.

In other words, acknowledge the problem, solve immediately, and move on.

Surely this same systematic route would be the way I’d overcome alcoholism and an eating disorder. My “problem-solution-move on” theory of navigating life would be the plan. However what I found was, yes I had a problem, yes there was (and still is) a solution and yes I would move on. The only difference was no one would guarantee me that path would be a straight line.

Thankfully I stepped forward on the trail anyway. Fast forward many 24 hours of one-day-at-a-time later and I'm here to report we learn our best lessons in the curves.

The road to Heart tree

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Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello And Welcome Recovery Seekers, And Visitors,

I remember when I first entered recovery. I was sitting in my first ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ meeting and was listening to others experiences, and the trusted servants that had long-term recovery away from the ‘Bet’ were very inspiring. They spoke about finally getting some, “Peace, Serenity, and some Contentment” in their lives, and in their recovery. So I began to wonder? What is it going to take for ME to reach those 3 ultimate goals?

Well, those of you who know me know I tell it straight when it comes to my recovery, no sugar or cherries on top because it won’t help me or you. Part of the answer to reach contentment in recovery is? “You have to the work”….  It’s just that simple.

b2ap3_thumbnail_philippians.jpg

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Many people believe that if someone has an alcohol or other substance problem, there is really nothing that anyone else can do until the person with the problem is “ready” to make a change. Luckily, research and our clinical experience tells us otherwise. Relationships have a powerful affect on people when it comes to motivation. And this is true when it comes to making changes around the misuse of substances. One of the biggest reasons people cite for entering treatment is the influence and importance of their friends and family. It turns out that family members can be helpful by really educating themselves and trying to understand the problem in a constructive way. They can also model healthy behaviors themselves and use reinforcement strategies that support healthy change through their interactions, influence, and leverage.

 

So what can you do to increase a loved one’s motivation for change in the realm of substance use? Here are five concrete things you can do now to help:

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

I tried hot yoga a few years before I came into recovery.  It does not surprise me, looking back, that I couldn't handle the heat.  My body was very unhealthy due to my multiple addictions and my breath (which is yoga) was being poisoned with cigarettes.

About ten years into recovery, I relaised that my practice of jogging was taking its toll on my body and I wasn't enjoying it as I once had.  I longed for a suitable replacement.  During that time, my Aunt sent me some angel cards and told me to use them when I had questions about my life path.  I asked the angels for messages from time to time and on each occasion cards relating to mediation and yoga appeared.

I finally decided to reignite my meditation and mantra practice, and signed up for a month of unlimited hot yoga classes.  After a few Sundays, I was hooked.  Yoga eliminated stress from my body, offered me greater immunity, strengthened my bones and lefft me feeling fantastic. After five months of practicing regularly on Sundays, I got the terrible news my mother had lung cancer.

To this day, I feel that yoga and meditation were critical in my ability to endure the pain and turmoil that followed the diagnosis.  Thankfully, I still had my circle of recovery friends, the twelve steps and my family to turn to during this time.  Still, it was the Yoga that offered me the deeper messages I needed to hear to persevere.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Over five weeks ago I was approached by one of my patients on the unit who let me know that he hated his life. He talked about the various experiences he had and he was concerned that a short stay in rehab wouldn’t offer him the opportunity to find any kind of comfort or relief. I suggested that rather than thinking about changing everything we could begin to think about small changes and that I would help him to begin to institute those changes. He was quite skeptical and as I expected he began to argue that my approach wouldn’t work – he engaged in what my grandmother called ‘arguing your limitations’. I certainly understand as I was aware that he was scared and when you’re scared your world feels really small. It makes sense to me that he was resistant: fear is all he knows and I am asking him to trust me (he doesn’t know me that well), and that I wanted him to try a different approach – while he is scared and his way doesn’t provide the kind of comfort he wants, he knows his way rather well and to some degree he feels safe. I was asking him to give up his way and try a different approach.

When I am working with family members or a patient I don’t see them as cynical, resistant, or pessimistic, I see their “stuff” as fear. Seeing their responses as fear helps me to relate, it humanizes them versus attaching a pathology to their responses, and allows me to tailor my approach to their response. When my patient was upset and I saw his ‘stuff’ as fear I could work with that and not personalize his unkind responses towards me. As I began to think about him I had a few ideas he could begin to implement:

1) I suggested that he follow-through with an appointment with one of our psych med providers on staff. It was apparent that while he had a history of addiction, his psychiatric history was impinging on his ability to navigate the day-to-day functions of the rehab schedule. I was able to arrange a time where he could meet with a psychiatrist who specialized in addiction and a history of co-morbid disorders including anxiety and depression. Three days after he began taking medication he started to feel better, he started to sleep 6-7 hours a night, and his thought process was better in that he no longer had intrusive thoughts and he didn’t feel distress. It’s not that I am a magician, rather, I know that medications can serve a purpose and the team was able to support him to find a combination of medications that worked for him.

2) He didn’t have a place to live after discharge as he burned his bridges with his family and after discharge without housing he would be homeless. I spent time considering the options for him and realized that clean and sober housing in addition to a case-manager to follow him would be the best bet over independent living. I talked with his mother and step mom and they were willing to support him financially for a period of time.

3) He had limited vocational skills that could offer him a way to support himself. In the state where I live addiction is considered a disability. There are various agencies that were able to take into consideration his health history, his mental health diagnosis, as well as his history of addiction. While he has yet to follow-through, he has the ability to pick from seven different careers that will offer him a living wage. Supporting someone with the best addiction treatment available is useless if a client doesn’t have a place to live or the ability to support himself. The programs I located would give him an opportunity to work while offering him the ability to develop pro-social activities.

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