‘Why I drank’ by Veronica Valli

Unknown-4Here is some powerful writing from Veronica Valli, recently posted on her blog and taken from her book Why you drink and How to stop: journey to freedom.

‘I tried to drink like ‘other people’ because they looked ‘normal’ to me. Other people drank and they were fine; I could tell. I would judge them by how they looked on the outside and I wanted to be like that.

Something inside me was different and it wasn’t fine. Which is why I had to lie to myself – a big fat lie that ate me up and that I had to keep telling myself, because it kept a lid on the horror. I had to lie about what I was doing to myself. I had to lie about how I really felt. I had to lie about who I was. I had to lie because I was terrified of the horror inside me being exposed.

This may only make sense to someone who has had a problem with drink or any other mood or mind-altering substance. Or it may make sense to you if you have lived a life of desperate compromise and unfulfilled promise.

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Classic Blog – ‘Losing a Self: Lying to Yourself’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_41a-shrpktl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx342_sy445_cr00342445_sh20_ou02_I’ve made reference to Stephanie Brown’s brilliant book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation in past blogs. I’ve recommended this book to several women in early recovery and they have really like it.

Here, Stephanie describes how one’s self (or identity) changes in a negative manner during the process of addiction. She focuses on lying to oneself.

‘… addiction develops over time, and it involves changes in the way you behave but also changes in the way you think: the way you think about drinking, the way you think about yourself, and the way you think about life.

You start to build your sense of self on a a false belief, the belief that you can control your drinking or other addictive behavior. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Since you really don’t have control, you’re going to have to lie to yourself in order to believe you are not addicted.

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‘Consumerism: Dissatisfaction guarenteed’ By Phil Hanlon

I continue the excellent series of videos by Professor Phil Hanlon centred around ‘What’s next for the health of society’ from his Afternow website.

‘In this video Phil Hanlon explores in more depth what ‘modernity’ is and why it has created current levels of ‘dis-ease’ in the modern world.

Modernity has brought many benefits (including technological improvements, material comfort, modern medicine and health care etc), but the downside includes the ‘dis-eases’ rehearsed in the earlier videos. 

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‘Warning Signs of an Alcohol or Drug Relapse’ by Matt Kay

images-2‘Relapse is so common in the alcohol and drug recovery process that it is estimated that more than 90 percent of those trying to remain abstinent have at least one relapse before they achieve lasting sobriety.

But a relapse, sometimes called a “slip,” doesn’t begin when you pick up a drink or a drug.

It is a slow process that begins long before you actually use.The steps to a relapse are actually changes in attitudes, feelings and behaviours that gradually lead to the final step, picking up a drink or a drug.

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‘Figuring out self-acceptance’ by Matt Kay

rsz_unknownBy popular request, another Wired In To Recovery blog by Matt Kay.

‘Self-acceptance means accepting our whole self; the talents and strengths along with the bad habits and pain. When we deny, repress or hide any aspect of ourselves it is likened to rejecting ourselves.

The very things we want most in life include being accepted, loved and acknowledged, yet we often don’t give these gifts to ourselves. We are all here to grow, learn and enjoy life, and no one is perfect. Making mistakes, experiencing pain and embarrassing ourselves are all a part of the package.

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‘Losing a Self: Lying to Yourself’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_41a-shrpktl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx342_sy445_cr00342445_sh20_ou02_I’ve made reference to Stephanie Brown’s brilliant book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation in past blogs. I’ve recommended this book to several women in early recovery and they have really like it.

Here, Stephanie describes how one’s self (or identity) changes in a negative manner during the process of addiction. She focuses on lying to oneself.

‘… addiction develops over time, and it involves changes in the way you behave but also changes in the way you think: the way you think about drinking, the way you think about yourself, and the way you think about life.

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Kathy’s Recovery Minute

“I’d like to stress that one day does not go by that I don’t think about the life I took. I don’t forget that a child grew up without her father and that a mother’s heart was broken because of my choices, including again my own mother.”

“I live a life now full of blessings and I tell my Story as often as I can, so if I can at least save one life, make one change to somebody when they hear my  words, it will make at least some part of this tragedy and pain have some type of meaning for the positive. Thank you.” Kathy of CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery)

Surviving What?: Experience Surviving Racism

Most of Marion’s study participants talked about having to survive racism, with some experiencing racism every day.

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‘What Amy Winehouse’s Birthday Means to Me’ by Beth Burgess

london recovery coach.jpgBeth is really getting prolific at the Huffington Post. I’ll keep pushing her blogs out as I like her writing. So here we go again.

‘I was 27 when I decided to stop drinking; the same age at which Amy Winehouse sadly died while in the throes of her own battle with the booze. Although I didn’t find immediate recovery after my initial decision to quit, I was already sober when Amy’s death was announced in July 2011.

Even though the rest of the world seemed to be expecting the news, I recall feeling shocked to hear of the British singer’s death. It’s part of the mental block among alcoholics, where you downplay the consequences of drinking. I never thought the worst would happen to me. I never thought it would happen to her. She probably never thought it would either. It’s classic denial.

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Adam’s Moment of Clarity

Adams Story 2What’s it like when you reach that point when you say, “Enough is enough, I have to change.” And you do change! The moment of clarity that triggers the journey to recovery. Here’s what my close friend Adam had to say in his Recovery Story.

‘Eventually, I ended up living in a caravan in Palm Beach, near Rockingham. I had sold my car for $50, which bought me two dope sticks. I got around on an old pushbike from the dump, but ended up selling that. I was just drinking and smoking dope to get blottoed, and often would wake up to find myself covered in vomit. The caravan, like me, was a mess. Eventually the dope ran out, then the money.

I contacted the Salvation Army in Rockingham and they said they could temporarily house me in a house in Mandurah. As far as I remember, I walked to Mandurah, carrying two black garbage bags containing my few possessions, $10 and a cask of wine.

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Veronica Valli’s Review of Kristen Johnston’s Book

Veronica Valli photo2-225x300has recently reviewed the book by Kristen Johnston, which I have to confess I have not read yet. Kristen is not only a top actress, but has been doing lots of excellent advocacy work for Recovery and the Recovery Movement in the US. Her book looks well worth a read:

‘A while ago someone pressed a copy of ‘Guts’ into my hands, with the admonishment that I ‘had to read this immediately.’ So I promptly put it on my shelf and forgot about it. Having recently had a baby, the only books I was interested in were, ‘How the f**k do I get this kid to sleep’ variety.

But after meeting the author on Twitter (where else) I decided to pick it up.

You’ll know Kristen Johnston from her hit shows ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’ and ‘The Exes’. British readers will remember her as ‘Ivana Humpalot’ in the Austin Powers movies and for a hysterical cameo in ‘Sex and the City’.

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Making Excuses for Alcoholism

imagesHere is an interesting article on denial written by Emily Battaglia for the Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery Magazine. Thanks to my friend Michael Scott for finding this article.

‘Addiction is often accompanied by denial. Denial makes it possible for the addict to continue his habits in the face of serious negative consequences.

Individuals struggling with alcoholism tend to employ a certain set of excuses when it comes to facing their destructive behavior.The reason that many alcoholics exhibit similar behavior in this area may simply be due to the fact that these individuals share certain personality traits and psychological vulnerabilities which drew them to alcohol in the first place.

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Anna’s Recovery Story: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’

Through his heroin addiction and recovery, Anna’s brother has taught her so much about life, including the most valuable lesson she could ever learn – you can get through anything.

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