‘Is Depression Who I Am or What I Have?’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video, author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about separating your feelings about being depressed from your sense of self worth.

I Am Not Anonymous: Kristina, ‘Change is Freedom’

KristinaText-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)‘Recovery goes far beyond its definition or interpretation. It’s about embarking on a process; a journey of fulfillments, enriching lives without the use of mind or mood altering substances.

Before ever being introduced to this process I was left with my own devices. After years of struggle and degradation, and the lives I’ve hurt as well as my own brought me to my knees. Everyone and everything seemed to have vanished within a blink of an eye, as if I woke up from a bad dream laying in the fetal position.  My body was  aching in pain and I couldn’t recall much of anything.

Crying out in desperation I felt helpless and my vulnerability was eating me alive. I hadn’t bathed, ate or slept in days. I was nothing but a mere existence of skin and bone who had lost her soul.

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‘Emotional Unmanageability’ by Veronica Valli

A nice short blog from Veronica Valli to reflect upon at the start of the week.

ID-10084481-300x198‘Unmangagbility and alcoholism are talked about a lot in recovery circles. When unmanageability was explained to me, it was described an outside occurrence; unpaid bills, DUI’s, divorce, car crashes, damaged furniture, broken bones etc.

That wasn’t something I related to, my life was a little chaotic but by no means unmanageable. My inner life was another story, that was then I realized in relation to alcoholism it is emotional unmanageability that causes the real problems.

To some degree, the alcoholic may be able to create some sense of order in their outside world. They may be able to work and pay their mortgage, for instance. This is how some alcoholics can convince themselves they don’t have a problem; because they have a job and a car they believe things can’t be that bad.

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Today, I am Alive

The drugs made me feel ‘normal’. They drowned out the feelings and the negative, self-destructive thoughts.  They were my medication to the real problem. The problem was ME.

Samantha_Paulus_Text-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)Please check out this beautiful story on I Am Not Anonymous.

‘Where to begin…My life today is a beautiful thing.  It has reached measures and consistency that I could have never imagined.

I am currently 261 days into my journey and I am finally feeling awake and alive.  Today, I am conscious of myself, of the happiness of others and I have a love for life that I never thought possible.

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‘4 Tips for Super Sobriety’ by Beth Burgess

beths-storyHere are some real words of wisdom from Beth Burgess

‘In the early days of recovery, hanging onto your sobriety is pretty much the main priority in your life. But  in order to be sober and happy, you have to make an effort to grow as a person. Here are 4 elements that you can work on to ensure you have super-sobriety. Doing the following things will help you grow stronger and happier in your recovery.

Learn To Let Go
Addiction is an disease of stuckness. We get stuck in the cycle of using drink or drugs, and we also get stuck with our moods, grievances and resentments.

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‘High on Hope’: Peter’s Story

Please watch this excellent filmed Recovery Story. Thank you so much for this share, Peter.

‘A frank and honest account of a life dominated by addiction and crime that ends on a ‘HIGH’ – Peter’s story is testament to the paradigm shifts that can happen when people have, ‘just had enough’, ask for help and receive a sufficient amount of it.

Peter has turned his previous experiences into a positive as he now creates a positive ripple-effect in his community by helping others.

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‘Combating Negative Self Talk: “The Poison Parrot Story”‘ by Matt Kay

Unknown‘Defusing involves distancing, disconnecting or seeing thoughts and feelings for what they are (streams of words, passing sensations), not what they say they are (dangers or facts). The short metaphoric story is something that I use with my clients to help to overcome our “inner voice”. Once again, try it. What’s the worst that can happen?  

Imagine you’re given a parrot. This parrot is just a parrot – it doesn’t have any knowledge, wisdom or insight. “It’s bird-brained after all,” you think.

It recites things “parrot-fashion” without any understanding or comprehension. Like I said, “It’s a parrot.”

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‘Coping in Early Recovery: The Toddler Stage’ by Stephanie Brown

images-1In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what Stephanie describes as the Baby Stage of early recovery. Here, I look at what Stephanie says of ‘The Toddler Stage’.

‘As a baby moves into the toddler stage, she begins to acquire a new kind of learning. She begins to pick up language, which builds the foundation for understanding and forming ideas.

Similarly, the woman born newly into abstinence begins what is called cognitive learning. She listens to others telling the stories of what they did in the past and what they do now.

She begins to hear a new language, the language of recovery, and, like a toddler, begins to form her new self and her new identity around the acceptance of her addiction. She comes to know the words, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am an addict” and build her new, strong sense of self on this foundation…

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‘How Do I Cope in Early Recovery?’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_dscf0052_2In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what women can expect in early recovery, in particular in relation to their feelings. Stephanie goes on to look at the question, ‘How Do I Cope?’

‘If you are like many other women in early abstinence, you feel inadequate, maybe even dumb. How did you get yourself into this predicament? And what do you do now? How do you stay away from your drug of choice and every other drug too? How do you focus on yourself one day at a time?…

How do you tell your family that you need to stop drinking and that you need meetings when they don’t think anything is wrong? Or when they’re so angry they don’t want to stick around while you get well. Most of all, how do you survive each moment and each day when the pain is so great and you are so scared?’

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Expectations in Early Recovery

rsz_prop-img-full-f3y0fv91-1i4rrdkllxwjkOne of the problems in early recovery is the person not knowing what to expect. And then not being able to deal with the ‘unexpected’ when it happens. Here’s some reflections from Stephanie Brown in her book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation.

‘Sharp feelings
New recovery is painful on several levels. Firstly, new recovering women must deal with the normal feelings that most women have but which they have buried under addiction.

Second, they have to face the ambivalence they feel as they bring their own recovery needs  into balance with meeting the needs of others.

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‘An intro to SMART Recovery’ by Curtis Boudreau

Mark Gilman spotted this little gem. For those of you who don’t know,  SMART Recovery is based on a 4-point programme that helps a person: build and maintain motivation; cope with urges; manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours; and live a balanced life.

SMART teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance. It provides meetings that are educational, supportive and include open discussions. 

This instructional film is well worth a watch. 

Making Early Sobriety Fun

DSCF1300Mike Scott found this interesting article on the Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery magazine website. Here’s just a taster about ‘Fun Without Drugs’:

‘The most challenging thing about having fun without drugs or alcohol is learning how to get outside of yourself. The feelings associated with early sobriety are often dark and heavy, and it can be difficult to fight through these feelings and lighten up enough to enjoy yourself. In fact, some recovering alcoholics and addicts are so certain they can’t get over their dark feelings that they don’t even try.

But this is the wrong approach. Even if it is difficult to have fun during the early stages, one must trust the recovery program enough to know that it will eventually lead to better feelings. It’s a chicken-egg situation: It’s hard to have fun until you’ve made progress in your recovery, and your recovery will be slow if you don’t learn how to get out and enjoy life on its own terms.

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‘Self empowering addiction treatment’ by Tom Horvath

Tom describes two aspects of the 4-point SMART Recovery programme: (1) dealing with cravings, and (2) managing thoughts, feeling and behaviours.

SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Participants learn tools for addiction recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups.