‘Invisible Pain’ by Jonathan Keys

PdxJonThe issues raised by Jonathan Keys in his recent Mad in America article need highlighting and addressing.

‘In my practice as a therapist I often work with people who have been seriously hurt by the practice of psychiatry, either directly or indirectly through family members.

Many of them started taking psychiatric drugs for moderate depression, or for some anxiety, or for panic attacks. But as time went on, their doses went up. More meds were added. By the time they realized the drugs were making things worse, they were already stuck on a large cocktail of psychiatric drugs.

The side effects worsened and became intransigent. Increasing depression, lethargy, loss of libido, confusion, mental fog, weight gain, lowered immunity and poorer sleep became the norm.

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My Favourite Blogs – ‘Loneliness: a call to generosity’ by Pat Deegan

100_0690Here is a wonderful blog from US recovery advocate Pat Deegan:

‘Like many people, I experienced periods of intense loneliness during my recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I learned that my loneliness was a call for me to be more generous and to give of myself. Here’s what I mean:

Loneliness and being alone are two different things. In my early recovery, being alone was an important self-care strategy for me.

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Mark Gilman: Positive social networks and recovering from addiction

‘No one can do it for you and you can’t do it alone’, get on the boat, any boat, and talk about the technique / route later and don’t do it on your own!’

Early In June, I blogged about what Bill White refers to as a recovery carrier. ‘Recovery carriers are people, usually in recovery, who make recovery infectious to those around them by their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion for and service to people still suffering from alcohol and other drug problems.’

Well, many people in the UK will know Mark Gilman as a recovery carrier par excellence. Mark has been advocating for recovery for  number of years now and has almost certainly visited more recovery communities and initiatives than anyone in the UK. He is one of the funniest people you will ever hear talk about recovery. Mark also shows that you don’t need to be in recovery to be a great advocate.

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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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‘A Personal Story’ by Wee Willie Winkie

2007_0116walpole0097‘I’m 33 years old. I started taking drugs from ten years old and, apart from a three and a half year stint in the army, took them continuously right up to the age of 30. This included 11 years as a heroin addict.

During this time, I felt totally isolated and alone in the world, and completely worthless. After a few years I was desperate. I’d overdosed a couple of times and, at this point in my life, I’d have welcomed death with open arms. It never came, so I decided to help it along a bit.

Luckily, it didn’t work but at the time I just didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I decided that this was my life and to try make the best of it I could. I ended up living in the woods for a year. I could never see myself living in shop doorways.

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‘Hope and Full Recovery From Addiction’ by Kendra Sebelius

IMG_1870Hope is a key element of recovery. You need hope at the beginning of your recovery journey and at various other stages along the way, particularly when you are struggling and/or facing obstacles. Other recovering people provide hope by showing that recovery is possible via a multitude of different pathways.   

Here’s a blog from Kendra Sebelius I spotted the other day on the HealthyPlaces website. It focuses on hope and provides some hints to facilitate your recovery.

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Impact of substance use problems on the family

This research aimed to look at how a loved one’s substance use problems can impact on the health and well-being of parents and siblings (1,400 words).

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‘Five things NOT to do in early recovery’ by Peapod

“Ah, the curse of the addict: isolation. So easy to do, yet so destructive. It’s connectivity to others that help many of us to move forward in recovery.  Connecting to others allows us to deal with stress better, we lead happier lives and we both help and are helped.”

“Ah, the curse of the addict: isolation. So easy to do, yet so destructive. It’s connectivity to others that help many of us to move forward in recovery. Connecting to others allows us to deal with stress better, we lead happier lives and we both help and are helped.”

Some choices and behaviours are more likely than others to trip us up. I’ve gathered five red recovery flags together to highlight potential pitfalls for the unwary. But who am I to be prescriptive? Everyone needs to make up his or her own mind about what to do or what not to do.

I’ve known people who’ve avoided most of the things on my list and still come a cropper and I’ve known folk break all the “rules” and not wobble too much. So take what you like and leave the rest…

1) Avoid romantic relationships early on. The ‘love’ can act like a drug in itself and the relationship can become the focus of life meaning that healthy activities, and in particular recovery-oriented activities, may suffer. The rock that wrecks the ship tends to be when the relationship goes wrong. Develop a relationship with yourself first and avoid choppy waters.

2) Don’t hang out with old friends. Using or drinking buddies not in recovery tend to continue to use or drink. That’s kind of self-evident, really. In addition, there’s often something very uncomfortable for them in having a friend in recovery. There’s a tendency not to like that.

I’ve lost count of the number of times folk I’ve known have relapsed due to a visit to a friend or allowing a friend to drop by with a small gift. Give yourself a break and stay clear of folk who are still dealing with the problem.

3) Don’t hang out in old haunts or at events that you associate with drinking or using. There’s an old recovery saying: “If you sit in the barber’s chair long enough, you’ll get a haircut”. Pubs, clubs, concerts, weddings, funerals, stag nights and parties can be runaway relapse trains for those reaching for recovery.

Find new places to go to. In several large cities and towns there are recovery-oriented activities and events to enjoy and there are more on the way as the recovery movement gains steam.

4) Avoid the ‘first’ drink or drug. An old AA favourite pearl of wisdom, this was based solely on experience in the early days, but it’s backed up by the neuroscience and by other evidence.

The quiet whisper that says: “It’s okay now, my system is cleared out, I’ll be okay with a glass of wine or a line of coke or heroin” is compelling, but we’re back in treacherous waters if we listen. For those of us who had serious dependence issues, going back to ‘safe’ use is not normally an option.

5) Don’t isolate. Ah, the curse of the addict: isolation. So easy to do, yet so destructive. It’s connectivity to others that help many of us to move forward in recovery. I was talking with a lovely friend in recovery earlier this evening and we laughed at how I use that word to death, but I make no apologies.

Connecting to others allows us to deal with stress better, we lead happier lives and we both help and are helped. In one study, just adding one sober person to your social network reduced relapse rates by 27%.

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Michael’s Recovery Story: ‘The power of empathy and compassion’

Michael followed both his parents into a life of dependent drinking, but he is now 35 years in recovery and working as a drug and alcohol counsellor.

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Loneliness: a call to generosity

100_0690Here is a wonderful blog from US recovery advocate Pat Deegan:

‘Like many people, I experienced periods of intense loneliness during my recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I learned that my loneliness was a call for me to be more generous and to give of myself. Here’s what I mean:

Loneliness and being alone are two different things. In my early recovery, being alone was an important self-care strategy for me.

Read More ➔