Monday, December 2, 2013

Addiction:From Near Death to Recovery.

Addiction:From Near Death to Recovery.

Hi everyone. Its been a while since I posted anything on this blog. It's good to be back after a very long hiatus. Life sends it's trials and tribulations and all we can do is to go with the flow.
I've been suffering from burn out after my last job which was very intense, so I've been keeping a low profile for a while. Still Counselling & Coaching, but switched mainly to divorce recovery and kept my addictions clients to a minimum.

Addiction:From Near Death to Recovery.

I wanted to repost and update a previous blog from long ago. This young woman is so inspiring and gives anyone who is still in the hell hole of addiction hope!
Airy has continued to stay clean and sober and celebrated her fourth anniversary just a little while ago. Clean and sober from ALL mind altering substances, she's even stopped smoking regular cigarettes! Yeah well done Airy!

This young woman has reclaimed her life. She now knows who she is and has the confidence to move forward, does service to help other addicts and alcoholics to reclaim their lives.

We hope that these videos encourage others, who are suffering a living death, to get the help that they need. You are not alone and you can't recover on your own. Those who think that they can....... usually die!!

From Near death to Recovery Part i

From Near Death To Recovery Part ii

From Near Death to Recovery Part iii

I Gotta Feelin' - That A Sober Life Is A Good Life Part iv

Posted with permission from the author of these videos: Thank you Airy.

This post is in memory of a young friend who died from an overdose just three weeks ago. Naor RIP.

Related sources:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Parents Recource Center

In my last post I talked about where Addictive Thinking Starts.

It starts in early childhood!

If only I would have had some of these resources as a young Mother.
All I knew was that I didn't want my kids to be brought up the way I was. Don't get me wrong I had a good home, a decent education but the rules, regulations and limits that were put on me were in my opinion just..... well plain 'old fashioned' What I've come to learn is, everything was presented to me in the wrong way. (I don't blame my parents, they did their parenting as best they could) I did things or didn't do things "just because my parents said so" or 'unmentionable' things were just not allowed to be spoken about in the house. Thank goodness my kids don't have addictions and have grown to be successful adults in the path that they have chosen, but if I'd known about some of these parenting skills, way back when, life would have been made easier for all of us.
Today especially there is a greater need to communicate with, and protect our children from the dangers of the world. Drugs, alcohol and sex are some of the more important issues to be discussed.

The following web sites are packed with great tips and information. Starting with your preschoolers. It's never too early to start, to help to build self-confidence, a good self-esteem, knowledge and the right tools to carry them into their adult life. 

Inside The Parent Toolkit you’ll find practical tips and advice for raising drug-free kids from parenting and health experts as well as real parents and other caring adults.

What to say
to your child at every age
“Like any relationship, your relationship with your child has to change over time. It has to become more developmentally appropriate.”

Understanding Teen
“We need to help our kids be discerning about what constitutes a good friend. Friends are loyal; friends want what’s best for you. Friends like that you have interests that maybe they don’t even share! They think that’s cool about you.”
Don’t Be A Patsy
Her heart is in the right place. A new, humorous campaign from the Partnership
Pat down – Patsy looks for “telltale hints” of drug use by patting down her daughter.
It’s wonderful that Patsy is so passionate about trying to recognize the telltale hints of drug use, but needless to say she doesn’t have the smoothest approach.
How to Monitor
Your Child
“Monitoring means talking to your child about not only the bigger issues about using and not using, but where they’re going to be, who they’re going to be with, and what the rules and expectations are.”
Should You
 “If they’ve got something to hide, you need to know about it. You’re talking about their health and well-being here.”  
What If Your Child
Is Using 
"If you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol, you actually have a very serious problem on your hands."
Recommended Resources
Don’t talk at your teens about their risks of drugs – talk with them! On this page, you’ll find our recommendations for some of the best drug-related books, movies, and more. Try watching, reading and then discussing these topics with your teenager. They provide the material for honest, intelligent and thought-provoking dialogue between you and your child.

Link to my closed page on Google+ for support and updates in the community!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How Does Addictive Thinking Develop?

Chemical dependency is a complex disease that may result from a complex mix of physical, psychological, and social factors.
A good convincing theory was presented in an article by Dr. David Sedlak who describes addictive thinking as a person's inability to, make consistently healthy decisions in his or her own behalf.
He points out that this is not a moral failure of a person's willpower, but rather a disease of the will and an inability to use the will. (AA members use the expression, self will run riot.) Dr Sedlak stresses that this unique thinking disorder does not affect other kinds of reasoning. Therefore a person who develops a thinking disorder may be intelligent, intuitive, persuasive, and capable of valid philosophical and scientific reasoning.
The peculiarity of addictive thinking, he says, is the inability to reason with oneself. This symptom can apply to several emotional and behavioral problems, but is invariably found in addiction, alcoholism, compulsive gambling, sexual addiction, eating disorders, nicotine addiction and codependency.

How does this inability to reason with oneself develop? According to Dr Sedlak, the ability to reason with oneself requires certain factors.
  • First a person must have adequate facts about reality.
  • Second, a person must have certain values and principles as grounds for making certain choices. These can be from the home or culturally bound. For instance a young man growing up in a family or cultural values that say that a man proves his masculinity by being able to hold his drink may be expected to drink excessively. Failure to live up to that expectation can generate deep disappointment.
  • Thirdly, the person must develop a healthy and undistorted self concept.
This distorted self concept may be a result of abusive parents, teachers or any other primary caretaker.To children the world is overwhelming, so if their primary caretakers and significant adults in their life are irrational, unjust, and arbitrary, the anxiety is intolerable. Therefore, children must maintain, at whatever cost, a conviction that the world is fair, just and rational.
Of course as adults we know this isn't true, but children cannot see it this way. They have to feel that the world must be "fair, just and rational" therefore their perception is faulty. They think, I must not be able to judge things correctly. I am stupid. Of course most of this thinking is in the subconcious.
Even when children are unfairly punished, they may be unable to believe, My parents are crazy, they punish me for no good reason. This would be too terrifying concept to tolerate. To preserve the notion that their parents are rational and predictable, their only option is to conclude, I somehow must have been bad to have been punished this way.

In short if children feel inadequate because of demanding adults or are not allowed  to flex their own muscles, they will begin to feel inadequate. Some parents are so codependent they allow their kids to grow up in a fairy land world. Not providing them with the tools to deal with reality, even with small things like doing their homework for them, then such children have no chance of developing, self confidence. A child who says "I can't" and is allowed to get away with it, actually has the feeling of inadequacy confirmed.

As children grow up, these misconceptions may continue to color thinking and behavior. They may continue to feel that they are bad people and undeserving of good things. Or they may consider their judgment to be grossly defective, which allows others to sway them easily.
A person can feel bad or worthless, even though this totally contradicts reality. Feeling insecure and inadequate makes a person more vulnerable to escapism, so often accomplished via mood altering drugs. It's a painful life for such a person and he/she dosn't feel like he/she belongs anywhere.
Alcohol and other drugs or any other form of addiction, anesthetizes the pain and allows the addict to feel as if he is living in a normal world.
Many thinking distortions are not necessarily related to chemical use. Fear of rejection, anxiety, isolation and despair often result in low self esteem. Many of the quirks of addictive thinking, are psychological defenses against these painful feelings, and these symptoms are due to the persistence of the distorted self image that began in childhood.

*David Sedlak, MD. "Childhood: Setting the stage for Addiction in Childhood and Adolescence" in Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Guide to prevention and Treatment, ed. Richard Israowitz and Mark Singer (New York: Haworth Press, 1983)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Confusing Cause and Effect.

If we were a fly on the wall at any AA meeting we would definitely think that we were sometimes at a comedy show, listening to AA newcomers, talk about their day. The other AA members are laughing, because they relate to the absurd thinking of the newcomer and remember the time when they would say the same absurd things. I read somewhere of an 'old timer' who suggested that alcoholic thinking is every bit as destructive as alcoholic drinking. To prove his point the man read the questions from a self test for alcoholism, substituting the words thinking instead of the word drinking. I kept his list on my computer so here it is!

    Are You an Addictive Thinker?
  1. Do you lose time from work due to thinking?
  2. Is thinking making your home life unhappy?
  3. Have you ever felt remorse after thinking?
  4. Have you got into financial difficulties as a result of thinking?
  5. Does your thinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
  6. Has your ambition decreased since thinking?
  7. Does thinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  8. Has your efficiency decreased since thinking?
  9. Is thinking jeopardizing your job or business?
  10. Do you think to escape worries or troubles?
The point is that even with the absence of chemicals, distorted, addictive, obsessive thinking, wreaks havoc and makes the alcoholic crazy. I have been told by alcoholics that they can have a whole bunch of people in their head, all talking at the same time, 'the committee' they call it. So is it any wonder they take that next drink, and feel justified in doing so, because that's their only way of shutting everyone up! All Alcoholics believe that their logic  is valid. They not only resist rational arguments to the contrary, but also they can't understand why others don't see the 'obvious.'

Someone who has dyslexia, may want to read the word 'cat' but what he may see is TAC or CTA. But they are certain that they have read the word accurately. Their problem has to do with their perception of how the letters are organized. This does NOT indicate low intelligence; dyslexia can occur in highly intelligent people.
Something similar happens with the alcoholic, who in the main are also highly intelligent people. A woman may drink and take pills because she feels her home life is just too intolerable. She is telling what she perceives to be the truth. Her husband has withdrawn from her, her kids are ashamed of her and treat her with disrespect. She believes that this emotional torture is causing her to drink.
Have you seen the old cartoon of the man complaining to a woman in the bar? saying;
"My wife doesn't understand me"
Woman: "Why doesn't she understand you?"
Man: "She doesn't understand why I drink."
Woman: "Why do you drink?"
Man: "Cos my wife doesn't understand me"

No matter what the reason, attitude of the family or friends, pressure on the job, anxiety attacks, headache or nagging, aching feet, a financial crisis, or any other problem- whatever the alcoholic says is his reason for drinking, the formula is always the same. The short and long of it is that the alcohol usually is the cause of the problems, but the alcoholic believes that the problems cause the drinking.
Therefore to summarize, the woman whose husband has withdrawn from her, although unpleasant, cannot communicate properly with his wife, because of her drunkenness. The kids are angry and ashamed of their Mother, because they can't bring their friends around to the house for fear of unpredictable antics. They have lost respect for her!
Regardless of whether or not an alcoholic is drinking, until the problem of his 'thinking perception' is addressed, the alcoholics perception of reality, will always be distorted.

Please note 'Addict' can be substituted where I have written 'Alcoholic'

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Addictive Thinking: Concept of Time.

For an alcoholic or addict to say "I can stop whenever I want" becomes the most frustrating sentence that family and friends will hear! Anyone close to an alcoholic/addict will have seen countless times how the addict will "stop" and make innumerable resolutions. Abstinence may be for hours, days and sometimes weeks. But ordinarily the active practice of addiction resumes. This may go on for years and for many, until death!

I hear and see family and friends totally bewildered by the alcoholic/addict. I hear them say "How can a person insist that he can stop at any time when it's obviously not true?" Even therapists may ask themselves, How can an intelligent person be so oblivious to reality? How can a highly intelligent, intellectual man or woman with positions of great responsibility, who can analyse and retain scientific data, not add two plus two in regard to their drinking or drugging?

The answer lies in the addictive thinkers concept of time. For everyone, time is variable. Under certain circumstances, a few minutes can seem like an eternity, while under other circumstances, weeks and months appear to have lasted only moments. So it's quite obvious that when an addict stops for just a few days he believes that he has stopped. The alcoholic or addict may wonder why others can't see that he has stopped. The answer is obvious to his family because the next day the alcoholic is drunk again.

When an active alcoholic stops drinking, his day is sometimes measured in minutes or even seconds to get him through the day. The suffering that he has to go through is tremendous on the mind and the body. Is it any wonder that after a couple of days or so when the alcoholic picks up a drink again, it's quite common for him to say "but it's ages since I had a drink" this makes perfect sense to him, after all he has felt like he has suffered for an eternity. Once again he will say to himself, "I'll just have one to calm me down" and there he goes again, all lit up!!
Alcoholics/addicts have very low tolerance and patience levels and addictive substances bring about instant relief. Today many of us are guilty of impatience, new and wonderful technology has created an 'instant pudding generation.' Even if an addict was offered the cheapest drugs, that would give him the best high he'd ever experienced, but would have to wait a day to get the high he would tell you to "get lost" or words to that effect, "what good is that rubbish to me?"
Imagine if a non-addicted person was in hospital in extreme physical and emotional pain after an operation and he was offered painkillers that only kicked in after a day?  I bet you would ask for another Doctor?
I know many addicts who pray for tolerance and patience, and usually they will say "But please G-d I want it now"!

Anyone who participates in risky behaviours such as a sex addict, smoker, drinker or heroin addict, are taking serious chances with their health, but again the consequences are in the "future" and that is not in their conception of time.

When a newcomer enters Alcoholics Anonymous or sees a seasoned Counsellor who really understands addiction, the slogan "One Day At A Time" is a very powerful concept for the alcoholic/addict. It's a measurable amount of time and as long as the alcoholic/addict doesn't take the next drink or drug and receives the correct treatment, he will recover.
Yes an alcoholic/addict can stop at any time. The difficulty is how does he stay stopped?

Parts of this post have been taken from the book: Addictive Thinking. By Abraham Twersky PhD

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Understanding Addictive Thinking.

Many times the spouse of the addict or other family members need help too. "Why?" you may ask! The important thing to remember here is that living with an alcoholic or addict can be so dysfunctional that the family members become victims of their own addiction.
How many times does the family member try to control the addicts drinking? Throwing away bottles, avoiding confrontation, "otherwise it will make him drink!" avoiding going to parties or friends, because you know what the inevitable will be, hiding the car keys, ringing the addicts boss with a 'good' excuse why your spouse or family member hasn't come to work. All of these actions appear to be quite reasonable, I know. This is addictive thinking on the part of the spouse. But none of these actions are helping your loved one!
A wife may say that "my husband is the one with the problem not me."
But look closely to what is happening, in these scenarios, let's say it's the wife, she is 'enabling' the addict and prolonging the problem by trying to 'control' the addict and the situation until the wife is tearing her hair out! despair sets in and feeling of powerlessness over the addict descends and the obsessions begin!
You've become addicted!! To your addict. The alcoholic is like your bottle just as the alcoholic is addicted to His bottle.
What do I mean by 'prolonging your loved ones problem.? Those words may hurt because in a loving relationship a spouse/family member feels that they need to protect the alcoholic/addict. In other words preventing the addict from reaching his bottom.
I know that to NOT stop your alcoholic/addict from driving or by NOT calling the boss with excuses is very worrying, for obvious reasons. This is why the addicts family need help as well.
Al-Anon (a support group for family and friends of the alcoholic or addict) and/or counseling can bring a change to the family group in general.
The family's first priority is to know and accept a few golden rules:

  1. Take care of yourself. Especially if your loved one becomes violent.
  2. Accept that you don't cause the alcoholic to drink.
  3. Accept that you can't control the alcoholic.
  4. Accept that you can't cure the alcoholic.
   Take a look at the previous blog dated the 8th April 2010. (Tips for communicating with an addicted loved one) Your attitude in communicating with your spouse/family member is very important. This seems like a paradox but the difficulty is putting what you know NOT to do into action.
This is where you will need the help in keeping within those boundaries that you will learn. To have support for yourself is just as important as the alcoholic/addict getting support for himself, once he's come to the conclusion that HE is powerless over alcohol.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Understanding Addictive Thinking.

"No I only drink socially" the man said. Who by the way was a skilled cardiologist who drank heavily for years. As time and drinking went on, he began to experience morning after effects. Although he got to the hospital daily, he felt very sick until quite late in the mornings. Still he knew that he was "only a social drinker." He believed something was wrong with the way his stomach absorbed alcohol - too much alcohol was remaining in his stomach overnight.
The doctor remembered a procedure that he had learned in med school with a friend who was studying the digestive system. He was given measured amount of food, and forty five minutes later a tube was passed through the nose to the stomach. His stomach contents were emptied and submitted to a laboratory for analysis.
"I had become very adept at passing a tube down my nose into my stomach" the doctor recalled, "and "it occurred to me last night that this technique could be the answer to my early morning misery." Before going to bed at night the doctor would pass a tube into his
stomach and empty it's contents. As he expected, he woke up the next morning feeling much better. He continued this practice every night for six weeks. The only reason he stopped  was because the tube was irritating his throat and almost closed off. He was 'afraid' that he would need a tracheotomy to be able to breathe.
"But not even once" the doctor said "not once in those six weeks did it occur to me that a social drinker doesn't pump his stomach every night!"
This instance is a good example of the denial and insanity in an alcoholics mind. He will find any reason for his ill health, loss of his job and consequently his depleted bank account. Eventually his family might leave him or tell him to leave but the alcoholic will always be able to validate his own insane thinking as to why "this has happened to me"
In the field of addiction we say that the meaning of 'insanity' is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Because "next time for sure it will be different"
Some excerpts taken from Addictive Thinking: By Abraham Twersky M.D