How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others — Navigate My Recovery – Guest Article Pick!

Just recently, I have found myself in the trap of not believing that I am good enough to be around certain people. If I let it fester too long, my self-esteem begins to erode and I can end up feeling depressed. I recently read an article that I found incredibly helpful and wanted to also […]

via Navigate My Recovery…

Scott’s website is my “Recovery Pick” this weekend for all to visit.

Especially this post about how many of us compare ourselves to others maintaining recovery. “If You Want We Have?” You got to do the recovery work and “inside job” to accomplish this. Never judge or compare to others as you may lose a little of your power to others. I thank Richard for letting me share some of his post from his awesome Recovery Site!

~Advocate & Author, Catherine Lyon

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My name is Scott Kixmiller. I am a person in long-term recovery from Substance Use Disorder. I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. To achieve these statuses, I worked in the areas of substance abuse and mental health treatment for thousands of hours over the course of several years. and I passed state level exams. This was all after achieving my Master of Social Work degree at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Please remember that even though I am licensed and the states of North Carolina and Virginia, the information contained on this site is for your use and not meant to be the replacement of a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or licensed mental health professional.  It is also not meant to be a replacement for reliable clergy.  Your use of the information and participation in this site releases me from any and all liabilities.

 

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Sharing The Message of HOPE and Help From The National Council on Problem Gambling – Be Mindful This Superbowl Weekend…

Now that another SuperBowl Weekend is now upon us, my good friend Keith Whyte, who is Executive Director at The National Council on Problem Gambling and their team care about those who will be “Sports Betting” this weekend. It is one of the major weekends that gambling is very prevalent, and sorry guys, especially among MEN.


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And just like my buddies from the NFL, Randy Grimes who played for Tampa Bay and Vance Johnson who played for the Denver Broncos who both are at the Superbowl this year advocating and attending SoberBowl, yes, those of us in recovery CAN have a great time “Bet Free, Clean, and Sober!

They are sharing their stories and message of HOPE to all who come by. And the same can be done for gambling addiction. So? How much money will be GAMBLED AWAY this SuperBowl? Well, I came across this article courtesy of The Business Insider  and they said;

Gamblers expected to bet a whopping $4.8 billion on the Super Bowl and only about 3% will happen in Nevada…

 

Brent MusbergerErik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch/IPX

“The American Gaming Association estimates that approximately $4.76 billion will be bet on the Super Bowl this year.

  • Of all that money, just 3% of it is expected to be wagered legally in Nevada, with the rest of the bets being made through offshore books and local bookies.
  • Still, Las Vegas bookmakers are doing just fine — 2017 was their most profitable year on record and the Super Bowl is looking like it will easily pass last year’s record.”

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This is why I am sharing my new email newsletter from my friends of the National Council on Problem Gambling. If end up getting in over your head sports betting this Superbowl weekend? Make sure you visit them. There is HOPE & HELP available for Problem and Addicted Gambling. You may also visit my Recovery Resources page while you are here. I have many resources for help listed, suggested books to read and more. Here now is the message from NCPG…

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Super Bowl Weekend & Gambling: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Help & Hope are available
Super Bowl weekend can be a difficult time. Sometimes fans may feel desperate after a losing game or season if they have gambled more than they could afford.

The Super Bowl can be especially hard for people who suffer from a gambling addiction. Research shows that people with gambling disorder, like substance use disorder, may have a genetic predisposition that drives their need to bet more and more money to achieve the same excitement or “high.” These urges run deep and symptoms include:

  • Inability to set and stick to a limit of time and money spent gambling;
  • Viewing wagering as an investment; and/or
  • Betting to escape feelings of anxiety, stress or depression
Each of these is a potential warning sign of a gambling problem or challenge to recovery.

NCPG urges people who are at risk or experiencing problem gambling to contact the National Problem Gambling Helpline.
A simple two-question self-test can help indicate whether someone has a gambling problem.
1. Have you ever felt the need to bet more and more money?
2. Have you ever had to lie to people important to you about how much you gambled?
If the answer is “yes” to either question, it is likely there may be a gambling problem.
 
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) is a toll-free, confidential, single point of access for problem gambling help via phone, text, and chat.

Visit www.ncpgambling.org for extensive referral resources and materials, including an anonymous self-test, an online directory of certified gambling counselors and a list of treatment centers with gambling-specific programs.

The Problem Gambling Helpline offers hope and help without judgment or shame. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call now.

Super Bowl weekend and Gambling. Keep Your On The Ball!

“Shining a light on “Sports Betting” through Superbowl Weekend!” 

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

“State Of The Union – Addictions – United In Facing Addiction”…

I know many of you follow me through my social media on Facebook and Both My Twitter  Accounts  and know I am NOT a fan of our current President…

So here is how I feel and what’s on my mind as my friends of “Facing Addiction” has come a long way with “the fight” shining the light on The Addiction Epidemic in America since day one of the rally in D.C.

 

 

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I can also tell you I was not impressed with his ” State of The Union” address as it was again more of the same. More talk and still NO Action when it comes funding for addicts who have no or minimal insurance for treatment options from ALL addictions including the Opioid Epidemic. Yes, my addiction I am in maintaining recovery 11-yrs is gambling and alcohol.

Yet, gambling addiction still has a very long way t go for treatment options as well.  And “Facing Addiction Org” sure seems to agree with me. I felt it kind of shameful they used the story of “Baby Hope” as an example when our president and both parties know that his words really don’t count for much these days.

Only “actions” can begin to save the lives of addicts of the addicts we are losing each and every day. So I am sharing the latest email I received and please JOIN ME along with Facing Addiction In America as together we can make OUR PRESIDENT hear all the collective voices that we need “Answers and More Treatment Options and Funding NOW!”

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Facing Addiction and The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) are proud to announce the merger of our organizations – creating a national leader in turning the tide on the addiction epidemic. The merged organization will be called:

 

Facing Addiction with NCADD

 

Dear Catherine Townsend-Lyon,

Last night, in his State of the Union address, the President highlighted the story of  “Baby Hope.” A child who was born into the addiction crisis in New Mexico. Hope is not alone – over 45 million Americans and their families are directly impacted. When the costs of addiction – social and human – are combined, it’s hard to argue that everyone in this country is not affected by this public health epidemic.

While we appreciate the President’s words about this issue, it is time for our leaders to take action. More than three months ago, the President declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in this country. Last week, that declaration was renewed for another 90 days. Still, absolutely no action of note has been taken. What does it mean if we have an emergency and we do nothing about?

Enough is enough. It is clear that, for real action to take place, we as the grassroots leaders around the country need to stand up and speak out. Today, we are asking you to take one, simple step: please write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, focusing on the addiction crisis in America and the need to take action. Click here for help writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.

We must continue pushing forward – we cannot be silent. Let’s saturate our local news outlets with our voices. Let’s come together and reach the 58% of Americans who don’t yet view addiction as a national emergency.

Again, please take a few moments of your time and write a letter to the editor today.

Thanks for all you do – together we can continue Facing Addiction together.

Warm regards,
Michael King
Director of Outreach & Engagement

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I will close by saying how honored I am to be a supporter and a loud voice along with all my friends of “Facing Addiction.” They were kind of enough to reach out to me and ask me to share my story last year on their website and I have been sharing everything they do to help addicts and their families from day one…/

 

Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Gambling Addiction: Is It A “Choice” or A “Disease”? My Thoughts…

“I surely didn’t wake up one day and decide to devastate my life and my husbands’ life by CHOOSING to become an addicted gambler.” ~Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 
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Is Gambling Addiction a Disease or by Choice?

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As a recovering gambling addict, this has been a BIG question in my life, and in the life of many recovering, but I’ve struggled with the answer. On the one hand, I’ve had people tell me I make a “choice” every day and to say it’s a disease minimizes people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or cancer (WHAT? Really?).

 

On the other hand, I know that when I gambled, I lost the ability to stop and kept gambling and gambling on the slots…

That is how gambling addiction is described and knowing we have crossed the line into uncontrolled gambling. The National Council on Problem Gambling says;

Gambling addiction—is an impulse-control disorder. If you’re a compulsive gambler, you can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when it has negative consequences for you or your loved ones. And I know first hand that this is true as it happened to me. No, I didn’t come from a background or a family who were gamblers. I was normal when it came to gambling.


I was an every now and then with the girls’ gambler. Maybe go to Reno, NV or the Indian casino about 42 miles North of my home with the girls. But then, something changed. Did I make the choice to become an addicted gambler? NO. It began around the time my brother-in-law passed away. After? All my past hurt and pain from abuse as a little girl came rushing back and I had NO idea why or how to process all this. See, my brother-in-law Mike was the only person I ever told about my past and the sex abuse I went through.
And since I was raised not knowing it was OK to see or talk to a professional about what I was feeling and going through. So when Mike died, I literally felt that weight and baggage of my past sit right back on my shoulders. This was in 1992 and I had just turned 30. Yes, life events can trigger many negative things when you least expect it. And not knowing, I began to use gambling as a way to “escape and cope” with what I was going through and all the haunting feelings and emotions I was going through. It was like being traumatized all over again. More things came into play as well and as we know, gambling addiction is a slow progressive disease.

I surely didn’t wake up one day and say; “let me become an addicted gambler and devastate my life!” I did NOT do it by choice. When I came became an addict, it was the disease that took over. We all come from addiction in various ways and paths, it is how we decide to tackle the beast when we realize gambling has made our lives unmanageable and has taken over destroying any and everything good in within it.

The disease is riddled with many bad habits and behaviors, too many to count. It is the diseased thinking that the addict makes these bad choices. It is the negative side of the sickness. No, no excuses, they are fact. A highly suggested article written to the “cognitive choices made” can be read here “Pathological Choice” as it explains the brains “choice” functions when in the minds of addicted or pathological gambling addicts.

 

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It is one of the reasons I came up with the title of my memoir; “Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.” My gambling addiction made me become a “Liar and a Cheat” within my own gambling addiction. The article shares psychological models of gambling, which have additionally highlighted the central role of cognitive distortions during gambling. The most classic distortion is the gambler’s fallacy, which is a bias in the processing of random sequences. Winning or losing can also keep an addicted gambler in the addiction, so they are either thinking when they win, they will win every time and when they are losing, they will keep gambling to “Chase” what money they lost.

That was huge for me and when I crossed the invisible line into uncontrolled addict gambling. Other factors from my own experience? Bordum, to much time on my hand when my husband was working out of town often, looking for excitement, and escaping my problems, including my past abusive past childhood. These are just some of the roots of my addiction.  Did I choose to lie, steal, pawn, hide money, sell valuables and more? NO. I had worked very hard to get to where I was along with my husband to lose it all because of a disease, a sickness. And I see it as 3 different classes of those who gamble.

I base my argument on the element of control. For this classification, the term “gamblers-by-choice” is used to represent the group of people who have a greater level of control over when, where and how they gamble. They also seem to have control over how much they gamble. Such people find it a lot easier to walk away compared to gamblers-by-addiction. Gamblers-by-addiction are people who have lost their way and will. Their self-power and self will to walk away has been eroded over time and they are now being controlled by the gambling, as opposed to the former group. These are the Problem-Gamblers and can go either way, addicted or stay a normal gambler and catch knowing it IS becoming a problem in their life.

A great place to learn more and if YOU ARE having problems with gambling, visit my friends of “The National Council on Problem Gambling ”  They have Help, Hope, and have saved many from this devastating disease…

What are your feelings and thoughts about this topic? Is Gambling Addiction a “Choice” or a Real Disease? Let me know!

Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

 

Now On Sale At Amazon Kindle!

Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) by [Townsend-Lyon, Catherine]

 

“Let’s Give The 12-Steps It’s Do” My Guest Article Pick of The Weekend From “The Fix”…By Adam S.

“Let’s Give The 12-Steps It’s Do” My Guest Article Pick of The Weekend From “The Fix”…By Adam S.

There seems to be a new kind of revolution going on around “The 12-Step” model of gaining sobriety these days. I have been seeing more and more people move “away” from the 12-steps as a choice for their main source of becoming and maintaining sobriety. Why is this happening? What I have read on the web have been reasons like some not comfortable that our courts are mandating criminals who have drug and alcohol problems so the courts are demanding they attend AA, Na, GA, etc. Women have spoken out about men trolling them as some of them are court-mandated as sex abusers and pedophiles. Good point. There is even an award-winning film out about it by Monica Richardson titled; “The 13th Step”…

Now many know I am not a huge fan of the 12-step model as the main choice to recover even as we now have many 12-step programs to help with alcohol, drugs, porn, eating, and even gambling addictions. This of course was and IS from my own experience and knew JUST A/The 12-step program was NOT going to be my only source of recovering from my addictions.

WHY? Because my gambling addiction and alcohol abuse were so bad that I needed an actual reprieve as I was in a crisis from a failed suicide attempt and needed to be away from access to gain this. See, many don’t understand that decades ago when ‎Bill W. and Dr. Bob · ‎Lois W. wrote the Big Book, it was not intended to “treat” alcohol addiction. It was a way for Bill W. explain and sell the Traditions to the fellowship. Bill knew no one would buy a book about Traditions, so he included the essays on the steps. And to work on how to best approach alcoholics and began trying to help men recover from alcoholism.

For me, I learned early it would be a more of support, fellowship, and unity. Not for “treatment.” So, here is an article I read that gives The 12-Step Model it’s “do.”

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12-Step Privilege: Unpacking the Recovery Knapsack. Does Privilege Happen Of Treatment Options?

 

“The 12-step community enjoys massive privilege in our systems of treatment and recovery support and has gone unchallenged for the better part of a century.”

We have all heard it said that “the disease does not discriminate.” People of all ages, races, genders, and cultures are affected by substance use disorder. However, some people have a much easier time navigating our systems and finding the resources and support they need to sustain long-term recovery. Usually, these advantages can be attributed to privilege. People with financial or healthcare privilege have easier access to higher quality treatment. Those of us with white privilege are less likely to be incarcerated. People with gender privilege don’t have to worry about residential accommodations getting in the way of treatment.

Many of us in the recovery community have committed ourselves to combating privilege and trying to make treatment and recovery more accessible to everyone. Most of us have given lip service to the idea that there are many pathways in recovery. However, one of the biggest systems of privilege is right under our noses every day. The 12-step community enjoys massive privilege in our systems of treatment and recovery support and has gone unchallenged for the better part of a century. Many of the recovery community’s social justice champions live every day of their recovery without recognizing their own privilege.

As you read the list below, think of the advantages of belonging to a 12-step fellowship. Would you have the same advantages had you chosen another pathway to recovery? Do you feel that you deserve them more than other people because 12-step recovery is superior? If you are a member of a 12-step group and you question, justify or deny this privilege, perhaps this will help.

Peggy McIntosh’s seminal workUnpacking the Invisible Knapsack, has helped a generation of white people understand and begin to address their privilege. I have altered a few of McIntosh’s elements of privilege for the 12-step community and provided examples for some.

    1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people in 12-step programs most of the time.
      Anywhere you look for people in recovery, you will find 12-step members. This is because they are churned out by the thousands by rehabs that favor 12-step facilitation. (see below)
    2. When I look for a recovery meeting in my community, I can be sure to find a 12-step meeting.
      There are 12-step meetings every day, from early in the morning to late at night. Other programs are not as widely available to their participants. As a result, people who prefer other methods often have to attend 12-step meetings.
    3. If I talk to a non-recovering person about my 12-step program, they will have heard of it and have some idea of how it works.
      People on the outside of the recovery community are familiar with the 12-step process, especially the part about making amends. This makes people think that everyone in recovery owes something back to society or family members or friends, whether they do or not.
    4. When I tell people I’m in recovery, they assume correctly that I’m in a 12-step program.
      Most people, when they think of recovery, think of people sitting in a circle of chairs in a church basement, listening to someone tell their “story.” People in 12-step recovery will usually ask a “test” question to see if you are in a fellowship (“Are you a friend of Bill?” “What’s your home group?”); if you don’t answer correctly, you may get a funny look or condescending reaction.
    5. I can assume that people in positions of authority who are in recovery are in 12-step programs.
      Have you ever met a cop, a judge, or other person in authority who was in recovery? There’s an excellent chance that they were 12-step members.
    6. I can talk to other recovering/recovered people and they will not doubt the quality or stability of my recovery based on the way I achieved it.
      The reverse of this–expressing doubt about someone’s recovery based on the fact they achieved it in a different way than you– is a form of gaslighting, and it happens to people who don’t subscribe to 12-step programs. The dominant paradigm is that people in recovery have to have a “program” in order to have a good recovery.
    7. If I want to be of service to others in recovery, I have many opportunities to do so through 12-step programs.
      It’s one of the most admirable aspects of the 12-step community; however, opportunities to volunteer outside of the 12-step fellowship are few and far between. This is also a double-edged sword and source of stigma, as people in recovery are expected to be “in service” to atone for their perceived shameful behavior.
    8. If I ask to participate in any community discussion about substance use issues, I can be assured of a seat at the table.
      Bereft of any professional qualifications, a person who holds themselves out as active in the local 12-step community is automatically considered an expert on substance use disorder and recovery.
    9. I can be pretty sure of getting a job in the treatment field with other people who are in 12-step recovery.
      Dog whistles happen in job interviews too; a person from a 12-step fellowship is undoubtedly well-connected to others in recovery who staff the local treatment center. In addition, 12-step members rarely have to go against their own personal beliefs in the workplace, since 12-step philosophy dominates the treatment system.
    10. 12-step groups are commonly given free or heavily discounted rates on rentals of space and other materials in order to function.
      Most churches and other community spaces rent space to 12-step groups at unheard-of rates that another organization would be hard-pressed to obtain.
    11. I can shop for recovery literature, materials, accessories, or paraphernalia and be sure that 12-step programs will be represented.
      Have you ever shopped at a store that sells recovery paraphernalia? Try to find a recovery t-shirt, keychain or medallion that doesn’t have 12-step slogans or imagery on it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
    12. I can view movies and TV shows about recovery and be sure that 12-step programs will be represented.
      12-step fellowships and their members are featured in nearly every book, film, or other media production depicting people with substance use disorder. This adds to the common public perception that everyone in recovery is in a 12-step fellowship (see #3 and #4). Dog whistles to 12-step members are also ubiquitous. The TV show My Name is Earl was one huge dog whistle.
    13. When nationally recognized figures in the recovery community speak publicly, I can be sure that they will use 12-step recovery language with which I can identify.
      If you attend any kind of rally or public event dealing with recovery, even if speakers are careful about their own anonymity, 12-step language, slogans and concepts will undoubtedly be part of the presentation.
    14. When I learn about the history of the recovery movement, I am told that people from 12-step programs made it what it is.
      Most of the early pioneers of recovery were 12-step members. These people are to be admired and respected; however, this does bestow privilege on their descendants in recovery.
    15. 12-step recovery contains concepts and language from a privileged spiritual pathway.
      The basic texts of 12-step programs are replete with language from the most dominant, privileged spiritual pathway in the country. Therefore, people who were already spiritually and culturally privileged have that privilege reinforced when they enter a 12-step program. Those from other faiths, or from no faith, are forced to adjust their thinking to the language used; this is the most frequent reason people give for seeking alternatives to 12-step programs.
    16. If I present myself for substance use treatment, I can be sure that the treatment facility I attend will embrace and endorse 12-step recovery.
      People from 12-step programs who come to treatment are familiar with the content of the clinical programming at most rehabs. Those who come to treatment from other pathways are likely to be told that they were “doing it wrong.”
    17. If I should need recovery housing, I can easily find a place that accepts 12-step membership as valid for the requirements of the residence.
      The vast majority of recovery houses require daily 12-step meetings, as well as sponsorship and attendance at in-house meetings. Those from other groups are either not admitted to the house or forced to adapt.
    18. I can travel to another country and be sure of finding a 12-step meeting.
      It’s a strength, no doubt; there are 12-step meetings in nearly every civilized country.
    19. I can openly criticize other methods of recovery and others will support me.
      Spend a little time on social media, and you will see this in action. Medication-assisted recovery and other “alternative” pathways are regularly disparaged, and there is nearly unlimited support from fellow 12-step members.

    20. I can dismiss criticisms of 12-step programs and others will support me.
      Sure, 12-step recovery gets criticized also; but again, there are thousands of people who will rush to its defense.

Just as in other privileged communities, there are members of the 12-step community who will call this idea divisive and make impassioned calls for unity to avoid the discomfort of acknowledging their privilege. This is a normal defensive reaction; however, it is important to move past it and get to the real work.

Image result for copy free images quotes promoting equity in recovery communities pathways to recover

The whole point of understanding and acknowledging one’s privilege is not to feel guilty or defensive; but rather, to promote equity in the recovery community so that more people can find recovery through diverse pathways. Defensive reactions take many forms; here are a few to avoid:

      1. “If you want more alternatives to 12-step recovery, why don’t you start your own fellowship?”
        Starting meetings is a good thing, but other pathways in recovery cannot be expected to match the strength and advantage of the 12-step fellowship overnight.
      2. “Why do you have to attack 12-step recovery in order to promote equity?”
        Pointing out privilege is not putting anyone down or attacking 12-step recovery. It is simply asking for those with power to help those without. It is often said that “Equality feels like oppression to the privileged.”
      3. “The recovery community needs to come together. Talking about privilege is divisive.”
        The whole point is that we are already divided along lines of privilege. One of the characteristics of privilege is that it’s nearly invisible to those who benefit from it. Only the privileged can afford to put unity ahead of equity.

So, now that you have recognized your privilege, how can you take responsibility for it? Again, I have compiled some commonly accepted ideas from a number of sources and modified them slightly to fit the context.

      1. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about other recovery methods and groups, and don’t automatically expect people from those pathways to do the work of educating you.
      2. Really get to know people from other recovery pathways. Know them as people, not just avatars for their recovery method.
      3. Listen to people and advocates from multiple other recovery pathways when they speak. Listen without responding.
      4. Empathize with people from oppressed pathways. This does not mean sympathize. Empathy means being with a person and understanding and sharing their feelings and concerns.
      5. Amplify. After listening and feeling, use your privilege and access to amplify voices of those in oppressed recovery groups.

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      6. Challenge others in your privileged group who perpetuate stigma and stereotypes about other methods of finding recovery. Let them know that this is not OK.
      7. Work to offset, counteract, and neutralize your privilege and the systemic inequity. Use your privilege to open doors, forge new paths, and lift up members of the oppressed recovery pathways.

We in the recovery community are some of the most passionate advocates there are. In our relatively short history, we have removed many obstacles to treatment and recovery.

It is important that we do not become the obstacle… Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author, and LOUD Advocate 🙂

 

 

 

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems, like Tom Cruise, even exist. HA!

I’m here to say they do and about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and more.

That is 1 in every 5 people suffer in just the United States alone. So, sorry Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, YOUR WRONG. Here is an article that helps us have insights on how paralyzing “FEAR” can make us feel TRAPPED…By 

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How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not…

“The fear response is triggered when facing danger.”

The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.

External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways. 

  • Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.

  • Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.

  • Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.

  • Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger are often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.

  • Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.

  • Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.

  • Fear prevents you from living in the here and now. Worrying what might happen and anticipating dangers and calamities in the future removes your attention from the present, the only place where you can function to the best of your ability. Dwelling on past events instead of focusing on the present also clouds your perception to the realities and opportunities of the now.

  • Survival emotions such as anger (fight); worry, panic and anxiety (flight); depression and hopelessness (freeze) limit your emotional expression and narrow your emotional range. Negative feelings drag you down and deplete vital life force while positive emotions such as trust in yourself, courage and hope strengthen and nurture you.

  • Fear cuts you off from the flow of life and universal benevolence you could tap into.

  • Destabilized by fear you lose your firm grounding in your own power. This diminishes your ability to recognize potential agendas by external sources of fear. As a consequence, you become an easier target for manipulation and abuse.

Fear is the result of a physical mechanism involving the adrenals and various other body systems. In cases of real and acute danger, this is useful as it alerts you to the need for action.

However, the same kind of responses are also triggered by imagined danger. With the lines between real and imagined danger often blurred in modern life, fear in all its forms can become chronic. Like with ‘Agoraphobia’ or other panic type disorders.

“Tricking you into believing that you are weak and without inner resources or that a catastrophe is imminent, fear and its allies are some of the most damaging emotions to allow into your life. You have a choice what you do with your fear: stay in its thrall or make the decision not to be pulled into it and question it is associated — and usually automatic — thoughts.”

 
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There are many different ways to defuse fears. All of them involve feeling it without trying to suppress the feeling or run away from it. Like other emotions, fear follows a bell curve where it rises, peaks and eventually subsides if you stay with it as a witness rather than disappearing into it. When you have weathered the emotional storm and feel calmer, take a good look at your thoughts and the reality of the situation.

Examine your triggers and the beliefs associated with them. What is their origin, do they reflect the truth? What is your fear about? How you see yourself, how other people might think of you, what you are told about the world? What keeps you in a state of fear?

Depending on your situation, devise your own path to freedom. You may decide on “gradual exposure”, i.e. approaching a feared situation not at once but in several small increments over a number of days or weeks.

You could also draw a “fear ladder” with your “little” fears at the bottom rungs and the “big” ones on top. Begin addressing the less difficult ones and gradually work your way up. It will show you that you do not have to give in to fear and let it define your life and how you see yourself.

Enlist help and support if you need it, but ultimately no one can do this work for you. Remember, you are much stronger and more resilient than fear will allow you to know.

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About Christiana Star

Christiana is a counseling psychologist and writer with a strong focus on self-help, personal growth, and empowerment. Combining professional experience with a spiritual outlook on life, her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway. When she is not writing, Christiana can be found in nature: tending her fruit and vegetable garden with various degrees of success or exploring Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches with her very quirky little dog.

Download the free ebook “10 Keys for Moving Forward when Life Has Changed”, receive the monthly newsletter or access her weekly blog at www.christianastar.com.


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This part of her article HIT ME, “Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.”

That is me! I feel safe in my places within my “Comfort Zone.” It truly is debilitating and then I get depressed as it feels like looking out a window as LIFE is passing by WITHOUT ME In It…

So, what role does fear play in your life? What have you found useful in overcoming fears? If you are struggling, what is your difficulty?  Please share your feelings and comments with me.  Maybe together we can help one another…


Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

So, A New Year and A New You In 2018? How Was Your Holiday Season In Recovery? Mine Was AMAZING!

So, A New Year and A New You In 2018? How Was Your Holiday Season In Recovery? Mine Was AMAZING!

HAPPY NEW YEAR Recovery Friends and Visitors! 

 

 

 

So, how was your “Holiday Season?” Let me gush and ramble a little about how mine was… As many of us who maintain recovery, sometimes we lose touch with family and relationships due to many reasons. Not all family members understand the healing and change one goes through when we enter recovery and reclaim our lives back from gambling addiction. And, again, the reasons are countless.

What I do know is, there are some family members who do understand and may reconnect as I got to experience this first hand this holiday season! Sad as it seems, I have several members of my side of the family I have not spoken to in years’ like my own father, younger and older sister. I have come to terms with that and moved on many years ago. But my three nephews from my older sister reached out and called me on Christmas Day evening. There is something about the “Christmas Holiday” that touches all of us when it comes to our family.

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My other 2 Nephews Matt & Mike!


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“My older sister Rose my nephew’s mom & Christina”

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And especially at holiday time. This Christmas I got calls from my nephews to wish us a Merry Christmas and to catch up. My middle nephew Mark has 4 children and we talked for 2 hours. He and I have stayed in touch through the years, but with him having a family and me busy with my work and advocacy, time gets past us.  So Mark and I talked for 2 hours and have talked again several times. He even sent me photos! I had not seen my great niece and nephew, his twin babies, since right after they were born and when we moved from Oregon to here in Glendale, AZ…3 1/2-years ago.

And HERE THEY ARE with Daddy (Mark), Mark Jr. and Bella!

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They are beautiful, right? They just turned 4. We are making plans to hopefully go see them in So. California this Spring and can not wait. We are now only 4 hours from Cali, closer than when we lived in Oregon. God works in funny ways, doesn’t he? Mark had shared and we talked of when HIS Dad was still alive, and when he and his two brothers were little, how Mike and my own dad used to go up on the roof of the house when the boys went to sleep on Christmas Eve and walk around up there as I and everyone would tell them it was Santa and the hoofs of the reindeer! LOL. The boys got so excited, so Mark did it this year, but then he rented a Santa suit and surprised his kids.

He said he was a big hit! Oh, those old Christmas memories when Mark, Michael, and Matthew were little kids. It seems that is what the holiday season does. We look back at happier times and when our family used to be stuck together like glue, and before the world around us got in the mix, growing into adults and all that life brings into it. Sad that we are all tore apart. That is a long story for another blog post. Those who have read my book know that story…

So many people tell me how can I have a “faith” in someone I can see? How do you know there really is a supreme creator or higher power known as “God?” Where are these miracles believers talk about?

Well, I know and believe in God and his son Jesus Christ. And GOD performs “Miracles” like my ‘Holiday Miracle’ this year every single day…YOU just have to believe and look around you!

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Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Happy New Year!