First Thing In Gambling Recovery? Have Another Manage Your MONEY …Guest Shares by Gambling Counsellor Sam.

First Thing In Gambling Recovery? Have Another Manage Your MONEY …Guest Shares by Gambling Counsellor Sam.

“Yes, I enjoy much fun with a ‘Dash of HUMOR’ these days while maintaining and managing my recovery journey, hence, the  featured post Photo of me holding a coffee can of money while speaking at Big Jim’s Ride Around America this past April 2019 at the Arizona State Capitol with many  of my recovery friends sharing Awareness and Hope from all Addictions” …

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But Why IS My Above Photo So Important?

WELL, There was a time I was NOT TRUSTED WITH MONEY AT ALL while deep within my gambling addiction. And gaining trust back is very important as it was a big part of my recovery work those years ago when first entering treatment and starting my journey. As starting treatment and counseling, the first thing I had to do is give up all control managing our money, bill paying, the bank accounts, and all the ATM, Debit, and Creditcards. All of that went to my husband to handle in 2002.

And, NO, I did not LIKE IT. Especially when my early career and still at that time I had worked in the banking field and then a debt collection company for three years right before my first suicide attempt and entered treatment then November of 2002. I hurt like hell to not have any control or money … PERIOD.

But I had to do it or I am sure I would still be active with problem and addicted gambling today. It’s the first thing that should be done and care of and taken away from the gambler entering treatment. It is also one main way for the spouse or partner of an addicted gambler to SAFEGUARD themselves and the finances.

That is why I wanted to share a few posts by my dear friend ‘Counsellor Sam’ as he does a lot of counseling with gamblers and their family about this topic and many others. He has a few articles on his site that you may find informative and helpful around being picked to handle a recovering gambler’s money and finances.

We had met through our blogs and social media and I can tell you he is very knowledgable in many areas of gambling recovery.  So without any more delays, here are a couple of shares from Gambling Counsellor Sam about being asked to help handle “The Money”…

BOTH OUR BLOGS ARE THE BEST FOR Education and Recovery from Problem Gambling…   ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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YOU’VE BEEN ASKED TO MANAGE SOMEONE’S MONEY: NOW WHAT?
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If a friend has reached out to ask you to help them manage their money, you may be confused about why and don’t quite know what to do. Asking a trusted friend or family member for help to handle money is a common strategy that many people use to stop or reduce their gambling.

It’s important for you to know that helping someone manage their finances can provide wonderful support and peace of mind for them if they are affected by problem gambling, but it can also add an extra dimension of difficulty to your relationship.
What do you need to consider before saying “yes, I will help you manage your money”?

  • First: If the person has any debts, consider whether a financial counselor be consulted.
  • Next: Discuss how long you each expect you will have to manage the money. How will you both know that you are no longer needed and that your friend or relative is able to manage alone? Be as specific as possible about what signs and indicators will make it clear that it is time for them to manage their finances on their own.
  • Make sure you talk about what their specific goals are in relation to gambling. Are they planning to slow their gambling or stop altogether?
  • Make sure you have a talk about what they hope to achieve. Agree on what will happen if they are not taking the steps you have agreed upon to achieve these goals.
  • Write down any agreements you make so the plan is completely clear to you both.
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    And Lastly:
  • Have times scheduled for regular reviews of the plan so that you can discuss how it is working for both you and the recovering person …

Helping someone manage their money can contribute greatly to breaking the cycle of gambling.

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I DON’T WANT TO MANAGE THEIR MONEY ANYMORE. HOW DO I TELL THEM?
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Many people find it useful to have someone temporarily manage their money while they are trying to change their gambling habits. When it works, this is a fantastic strategy, but there can be times when this approach harms more than it helps.

Whether you’re helping out a partner, friend or relative, controlling access to their money might be stressful for you and cause strain in your relationship — especially if they continue to gamble or repeatedly break the agreement you have with them.

It might come to the point where you can no longer help them manage their money.

So be prepared for the possibility that they will react negatively. You can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome by planning your conversation with them.

Here are some tips:
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  • Time it wisely: Are they a morning or evening person? Where do your best conversations with them happen? Consider past conversations you’ve had with them at different times and situations and think about how well they have gone. It’s best to raise the topic at a time when they are calm and not in the heat of an ongoing argument.
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  • Define your limits clearly:  Let the person know exactly why you are no longer able to help manage their money. Be specific and explain why you feel it would be best if they sought help with their money from someone else. Refer to the agreement you made with them when you first agreed to help them. Call Gambling Help, who can refer them to a Financial Counsellor.
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  • Remind them you are still there for them: It can also be helpful to let them know what types of continuing support you are able to provide. Let them know you still care and want to be there for them in other ways.……

Deciding to stop managing your friend or loved one’s money can be a difficult decision and stir up uncomfortable emotions. If you want to have a conversation about whether this is the right decision for you and your friend or loved one.

NEED more support to approach this conversation? It’s Free, Confidential, and Professional counselors are available 24/7 on 1-800-858-858 … 

SAM WHO?
LEARN ALL About Counsellor Sam by a visit to his helpful blog “About Counsellor Sam” and begin your recovery from problem gambling today!

~Advocate Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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I Enjoy Sharing Blog Friends Informative Posts. Meet “Oh My George”… ‘No Judgement’… Share Kindness.

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Before I share some of my friend who is in the UK,  and George Boyle’s blog post here about “judging others,” we all know in the addiction/recovery arena and in the literary arena we see people being unkind or judging others’ recovery choices, advocacy or when we have published our books readers or reviewers can be unkind. It may be in a comment on our blog or, again, in leaving a book review. We need to share and speak out when others have No Understanding or Empathy for others Mental and Emotional Challenges …

My mom raised me to be “KIND” wth my “WORDS” as always said: “If you can’t say something “kind” or “corrective”? Then Don’t Say Anything at ALL.”

I think everyone should go back to this motherly advice. Doesn’t it take less energy to be positive or kind than it does to be hurtful or negative? I think so.

So my hope is everyone who reads this post will absorb some of the lessons and feelings in this post. Again, “Kindness is Golden”…OH, And? “Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover Alone.”

~Catherine Lyon

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#NoJudgment … Mental Health Awareness … By George T. Boyle.

What do I mean by this?

I realize that within my blogs and possibly my book there are typos, there are grammar errors, etc.

And yet does this put you off from reading the content and understanding its meanings?

In some instances, it is enough of a reason for some people to not even open the book when its cover displays this.

Have you ever thought that maybe it may be the reason an author has done this to grab your attention to it, or maybe that the author or writer is so overwhelmed by other things that they will love someone to come and give support to the amazing content and work they are trying to achieve and the message I am putting out there to the world within my words in conscious thought flow.

We as humans often react in fear and give excuses in the words with people to actually engage with them in positive ways.

We create words and content which can push people away in the words we use, then we only react to the words we use, and then we only get the outcome we create from the words and thoughts we use to each other.

I love my amazing friend for prompting me to write this because all I hear in words at times are excuses for interaction which follows a reaction of no interaction then an action of no interaction or communication.

And I become frustrated at this and asked them what they are doing to themselves or to what sort of outcome they are looking for from life when they are only creating blocks in thought which are then being communicated in words, creating that action and reaction from the person creating the disempowering thought-forms.

I was having a bad day, as I was awaiting a tooth pulled out and it’s been creating enough distraction in thoughts as well as weird anxiety or energy that day,  so I reached out to my friend. This friend didn’t focus on the words I was expressing or wasn’t compassionate in response to say “hey, how can I make your day better?”

The communication went to crap because my friend wasn’t focusing on how to create a positive open communication with me and they then made a decision to close communication because they reacted with the excuse of judgment and words which were creating more stress and anxiety within me which created a conversation flow off of nothing and a ZERO outcome.

Why did this happen?

Because that person didn’t react towards the other person with compassion any empathy, and love, only with a thought flow and reaction and in words of blaming the other person for reaching out to them, and used words to close down the conversation and making ME the blame for having a bad mental health day.

So what can we do to ensure when someone says: “they’re having a bad day we can react in a way toward them with words that are focused on helping them get through that.

Rather than judging them for them contacting you, for someone trying to reach out to them because they were having a bad day, they weren’t coping well with there mental health that day and then making the conversation about you and how the person who had reached out for support was wrong for doing so at that moment. Just looking to ease the anxiety of the other person and open conversation to create love in the form of communication.

“The more we release the fear and judgment around our lives we end mental health because we react to each other with unconditional love and compassion.”

We don’t read a book by its cover alone …

We read of the content within it.

Yet if you are only looking for an excuse to judge a book my book by its cover? Then you are not really taking the time to read it, nor making the effort or focus to find out what is within it. Your only making an excuse in your own thoughts because that book created a negative thought about it as to open it up or delve inside and lose your fear in loving the book.

How can we reframe the way we think and react towards other people?

THE ANSWER Can be Found by going over to Visit George’s Blog and finishing reading how this Story Ends Right Here:   By George T. Boyle.

For many of us who have mental health challenges, we look to other avenues and platforms to share our experiences and day to day challenges with our mental health.  Some ways I and George accomplish this are through our books our writings and blog posts. Advocacy and sharing one’s story and experiences does help shatter stigma, and it lets others know who suffer that they are not alone. 

The Time is Now to Hold Big Pharma Accountable! Do Not Let Purdue Pharma Get Away With MURDER …File Today!

The Time is Now to Hold Big Pharma Accountable! Do Not Let Purdue Pharma Get Away With MURDER …File Today!

A very important message from Ryan Hampton as I and many advocates support all he has accomplished against PURDUE the maker of Opioid drugs causing overdoses and those becoming ADDICTED…

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Dear Friends,

It has been a long time coming but there is now a legal team of experts fighting for victims and people impacted by the opioid crisis and Purdue Pharma.

This morning, I filed a claim with the legal team against Purdue Pharma–which declared bankruptcy on Sunday night. I encourage each and every one of you to do the same. Any money recovered under my personal claim against Purdue, I am dedicating 100% to support solutions in prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services in my community.

To file a claim against Purdue in the bankruptcy, visit opioidrights.com.
Time is of the essence.

Why it’s important that every single person impacted by the harm of Purdue’s products files a claim

In 1996, Purdue received an FDA approval for OxyContin, an extended-release form of oxycodone that the company claimed was safer than others and had a low risk of addiction. OxyContin, however, had a high risk of addiction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of 700,000 Americans who died from drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 died after overdosing on prescription and illicit opioid drugs. During the one year period from Jan. 2, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017, 64,070 people died from opioid overdoses.

In addition to OxyContin, Purdue manufactured MS Contin, Dilaudid/Dilaudid HP, Butrans, Hysingla ER, and Targiniq ER, all of which are also at the epicenter of the crisis.

Purdue and Big Pharma are alleged to have helped to drive the opioid epidemic by engaging in aggressive and potentially misleading marketing campaigns.

Purdue purportedly mounted an especially aggressive marketing campaign for OxyContin, holding dozens of national pain conferences that were attended by more than 5,000 pharmacists, doctors, and nurses to spur them to prescribe OxyContin for non-cancer pain.

The marketing efforts seem to have worked. The number of prescriptions for OxyContin to treat non-cancer pain grew from 670,000 in 1997 to 6.2 million in 2002. By 2020, the U.S. market for opioid medications is expected to reach $18.4 billion.

On September 15, 2019, Purdue filed for bankruptcy.

In the near future, the legal team anticipates that a federal bankruptcy court handling the matter will set a deadline within which claims can be filed by victims and those alleging injury or death from Purdue products. Claims not filed within the applicable bar date may be lost forever.

What does filing a claim mean?


Filing a claim means you will be represented as a victim of Purdue’s actions during the bankruptcy proceedings and will have legal representation in the process.

About the legal team fighting for victims of the opioid crisis

Andrews & Thornton, ASK LLP, Fennemore Craig PC, and Goodnow McKay PLLC, have significant experience with tort, mass tort, and wrongful death matters. In addition, Anne Andrews, the managing partner of Andrews & Thornton, has considerable experience navigating bankruptcies involving complicated pharmaceutical claims.

She served on official committees in TwinLab and N.V.E., both dietary supplement companies responsible for causing serious injuries to consumers, and as the Chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in New England Compounding Pharmacy, a company responsible for distributing compounded steroid injections that caused fungal meningitis.

She also participated in bankruptcy proceedings on behalf of tort creditors in Chemtura (which sold a chemical in flavored popcorn causing severe lung injury), Metabolife and MuscleTech (also dietary supplement companies causing users severe injuries like a heart attack or stroke), and Dow Corning (which marketed faulty breast implants).

Most recently she has served on the Tort Claimants’ Committee in PG&E, a bankruptcy involving tens of thousands of people losing their homes or lives due to PG&E’s electrical equipment. Significantly, she currently serves as the Chair of Creditor’s Committee for the bankruptcy of Insys, the first opioid seller to declare bankruptcy.

Please file your claim TODAY. The process is simple.
Go to: opioidrights.com.


Thank you for all you do. ~Ryan Hampton

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Please file your claim TODAY. I have and urge you -all my Recovery Advocates and Recovery Friends to do the same! ~Advocate Catherine Lyon


Let The Legal Team Fight for Victims…

The opioid epidemic has ravaged the country, leading to countless deaths and injuries. With news breaking about Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin and other deadly opioids, filing for bankruptcy, our group of law firms has come together to represent individuals who have been injured and the families of those who have lost their lives because of opioids. For cases, we accept there are no out-of-pocket costs, and we only get paid if we recover money for you.*

Call now or visit HERE: YOUR RIGHTS! AND fill out the form for a free case evaluation.

Purdue Needs To Be Held Accountable For The Opioid Epidemic!

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Please also visit Ryan’s New Website too! Recovery Advocate Project

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WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

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With So Many “Spiritual Options and Paths”
Why Zen?
by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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Social media, Internet, bookstores and large numbers of coaches, trainers and teachers offer countless recipes for the “right” path to happiness and different formulas for “reaching” the Kingdom of God. In this seemingly endless universe of “spiritual options”, the question sometimes posed by seekers, or people aiming to lead happier and more fulfilling lives, is; “Why Zen?”

Let it be mentioned right up front that Zen does not claim exclusivity, nor does it thrive on missionizing people to “convert” them, making fun of or criticizing other practices. In fact, throughout the ages,  Zen Masters have respected and revered great teachers and enlightened ones who pursued other spiritual practices.

Zen is not an institution one “belongs” to. It has evolved to become inclusive, and as such has room for those preferring to worship or practice the rituals they choose.

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This text will not overly focus on emphasizing all the ways in which Zen is “different” from other spiritual paths, as this goes way beyond the length of a short blog. Suffice it to say that there is hardly a spiritual path which is comparable to Zen. In itself, Zen is only a concept or word and cannot be easily described.

It goes beyond conventions, ceremonies, and confessions, even if Buddhists may claim it as its own because it goes back to Buddha. Zen transcends fundamentalist beliefs, scriptures, specific steps and rituals, and focuses on the spiritual dimension underlying all Existence.

The Underlying Basis of Zen

Zen sees no duality, no selfhood apart from that which is unspeakable, indescribable, and boundless in us, the One Self, God, One Mind. The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. You already are and embody what you seek, have always been and will always be this way. Divine awareness or God-consciousness is the ever-presence that will never leave us. God-awareness is Self-awareness. Nothing can take away from your inherent nature of Oneness, the Buddha Nature in all of us.

This is what Zen says in a nutshell. However, let me say that Zen is also down to earth and practical. It gives us one of the most natural and simple approaches that exist to accompany us along the boundless and pathless path as these ultimate truths are revealed.

It enables us, with grace – and not because of what we “do” – to unfold our own inner teacher, master, and guru. There is nothing to “grasp” or understand. The Kingdom of God within us, though not describable in words, can be directly “experienced” – and can lead to what is referred to as salvation, enlightenment or clarity.

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Self-reliance

The age-old Zen parable, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him”, admonishes us not to depend on anything or anyone outside of our-Selves. As such, Zen is definitely empowering and makes us Self-reliant and self-less instead of self-important.

But do not make the mistake of thinking that Zen is a “customized” spirituality adapted to the individual ego and reflecting our modern-day desire to “go our own way”.  This is because you are not the doer. Instead, grace leads us. Progress can be made when the “seeker” gives up the fallacy of being a separate individual, that his or her actions are the basis for enlightenment.

We may search, diligently practice spiritual techniques such as meditation and be guided by others, but the decisive moment is when we can put all pre-defined commandments, tools, seeking and procedures behind us and stand in truth – as if struck like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.

Enlightened Beingness

There are many examples of individuals who “stand in the light” or are in “enlightened Beingness” or awareness – representing their awakening to a seemingly new state of Beingness which is inconceivable yet has always existed. In realizing what you have are, there is nothing to do except to be humble and thankful, abide and BE in the Oneness, Suchness, Isness, which naturally encompasses truth and wisdom and all that you need.  I AM – that in itself is sufficient – because it IS.

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However, as long as people are imprisoned in their egos, they will suffer, create suffering for themselves and others and also destroy our planet, and have to continue living with this suffering.

Zen has the potential to enable us to penetrate to the Last Things, and possibly – when the right time has come and one enjoys the grace of something higher which is intangible and incomprehensible – to awaken us out of a kind of slumber to our natural state of bliss that we are and have always been. This is not an empty promise. Nothing is promised or held out as a possible which is not experienceable.

The “Challenge” of Zen

In essence, Zen may seem challenging and daunting, because it throws you back upon yourself, calls upon you to let go of your thinking and past, asks you to unlearn what you were brought up to believe in, says you ultimately do not need any teacher or texts, steps and goals, and that there is nothing to achieve.

I am aware that this is not easy for many people to swallow. There may be a long list of reasons you have to reject what has been written here, and the dualistically-minded among you may consider all this to be humbug.

However, you are free to take the pathless path of Zen and consider it on its merits.

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Truly hope my Special Recovery Guest, Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi’s wisdom and words have been of help to all my recovery friends and visitors as it has been to my recovery!

You may learn more within his amazing book on sale on AMAZON and titled Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness” Now 99.cents on Amazon as a Kindle and Paperback on Sale!

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You are invited to visit Master Genro and Co-Author Clifford Stevens on their Official Website of “Find The Seeker – Meet Master Genro.”

 

“Find Your Own Path To Recovery” ~ By Mike of ‘OWN SOBRIETY’ Who Is My Special Recovery Guest …

“Find Your Own Path To Recovery” ~ By Mike of ‘OWN SOBRIETY’ Who Is My Special Recovery Guest …

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As I was deep within my gambling addiction 12+years ago, toward the end and 9 months before I entered treatment, I began to abuse alcohol as obviously my gambling addiction wasn’t “doing it” for me any longer. Not only did that make me more Stupid with Money and gambling but it made me spin more and more out of control and toward my first and not the last suicide attempt.

It is why I have educated myself about many addictions and not just advocate gambling addiction recovery. We know it is not about the “preferred addiction” that is the problem when we become addicts of any kind, it’s about how to interrupt the “cycle” and the poor habits and behaviors of any addiction, including gambling and alcohol.

Once you lose the “control” over any addiction, you are too far gone as an ADDICT.  More importantly, when you are ready to enter and maintain long-term recovery and reclaim your life back, as Mike shares in this guest article and to “Find Your Own Path To Recovery!”

Make sure you visit Mike and check out his website for more personal and informative articles and posts and his amazing “SOBER FRIENDS CLUB.”

~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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When you first enter into recovery from substance abuse or addictive behavior, everyone will tell you how you should do it.  In the beginning, you should listen to them.  Do anything other than what you were doing in active addiction.  But, as time rolls on, you need to find your own path in recovery.  Through self-evaluation, research, and trial, you can find a path that is suitable for you.

Early in your recovery, I believe that it is important to listen to the advice of others who have been in your shoes or who are professionals in the field.  I started my most recent, and hopefully last journey to recovery in a medical detox facility.  I ended up being in there for eight days and it was during that time that I promised myself that I would do anything and everything that I could do to make this time work.  That meant listening to everything that I was told to do and taking advantage of every resource provided to me.

I literally made recovery my full-time job.  I wasn’t working at the time, I was too sick, and I wasn’t tied down in a relationship.  I had a place to stay at my parent’s house and took full advantage of the opportunity to just get better.  I’m a pretty energetic and self-motivated person so I put that strength to work for me in fully immersing myself in my recovery.  I knew a couple of things from my past attempts at recovery – that I could put together a few months of recovery and that I couldn’t do it by myself.  What that meant to me at the time was that I needed to go to AA meetings, which I didn’t like but was willing to do.  Through self-evaluation, research of my own, and trial, I eventually found what is now my own personal path.

The key here is that I did what I was told while doing my own evaluation and research at the same time.  The treatment center that I detoxed at offered me an intensive outpatient program (IOP) and recommended that I see a therapist along with going to AA or Celebrate Recovery meetings.  So, I took advantage of the IOP program and made an appointment with a therapist.  I completed the seven-week, 21 session IOP in conjunction with going to AA meetings and therapy.

During this time, I took it upon myself to begin researching addiction and the different treatment options available.  I searched the internet and connected with online support groups.  I found the book This Naked Mind by Annie Grace and read it in its entirety.  I discovered a support group that I had never heard of before called SMART Recovery which used self-empowering tools based in REBT and CBT therapies.  This jived with what I called “the intellectual approach” to recovery that is outlined in This Naked Mind and complemented what I was learning from my therapist.  I soon realized that there wasn’t a single path to recovery and that I could do what worked best for me as long as I was willing to put in the work and was honest with myself.

Self-evaluation is the hard part of this process. 
In early recovery, most of us aren’t equipped to be completely honest with ourselves and to look at ourselves objectively.  It took time in counseling to start trusting myself and having the confidence to say, “This isn’t going to work for me long-term.”  I knew that being required to go to AA meetings on a regular basis to stay sober wasn’t going to work for me.  The biggest motivator for my recovery was to address my anxiety and tremors that had become so severe that I could barely accomplish basic tasks like cooking or going out in public.  I am very introverted and the thought of having to go too rigid meetings was a big obstacle for me.

When I attended AA meetings at the beginning of my recovery, I would go with others I had met in detox and IOP and was mostly quiet.  The ability to do SMART Recovery meetings online and the less rigid structure and feel of the meetings were a game-changer for me.  When I read This Naked Mind, it spoke to me on every level.  I knew there was something to this self-empowering approach to recovery that I could get behind and eventually, with the help of my therapist, had the courage to stand up and say I’m going to do my recovery differently.  I know how I am and what is going to work best for me.  It took a little time to get there and figure it all out, but by staying true to myself I gave myself a chance at a happy, healthy, long-term recovery.

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Maybe AA is the path for you. 

Maybe you just want to add a little variety to your recovery.  Whatever the case, find where you stand and what you know you will actually do.  If you have a problem with a part of recovery, tell someone.  If you know what you are doing isn’t going to work, find a different way.  Just because it isn’t the popular method doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you.  Take it upon yourself to discover yourself.  Hit the internet and start finding out what other paths are available and what others are doing.

” Read books.  Ask questions.  Make connections.  Be curious.” 

Get excited about the opportunity to find yourself and improve yourself that recovery provides.  If it is boring or counter-intuitive to you, it probably won’t work long-term.  Get your legs under yourself a bit and then have the courage to do what is best for you.  You will find that there are tons of ways to practice recovery.  There are a lot of programs and paths out there.  Google things, ask questions in online groups, go to the bookstore.  Gain knowledge and find your own beliefs.  It’s 2019, we have minds of our own and a plethora of ways to find information and do research.  Take advantage of it.

Finally, try different things.  Go to a SMART Recovery meeting or a Refuge Recovery meeting.  Try therapists and see if you click with one.  If your treatment center offers programs, try them.  Keep trying new things to find what works for you and what doesn’t.  Eliminate excuses.  Keep a hold on the things that do work and let go of the rest.  It is your recovery and your life, you are entitled to think for yourself and be a bit selfish.  I promote mostly non-12-step approaches, but I did try them.  I have attended AA, NA, and 90 meetings in 90 days.  I have read a lot of the Big Book.  I have lived in a halfway house.  I have had a sponsor.  Those things weren’t comfortable for me so I kept on searching and trying other things.

The trial part of this process was the fun part for me.  I get excited about finding myself and improving myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always feel motivated to act but I do force myself to try.  If you take nothing else away from my message, just take the excitement of the journey.  Do you want a better life?  Do you want to achieve your goals and dreams?  Recovery enables you to accomplish all of that.  Find what gets you excited and pursue that relentlessly.  It all starts with getting yourself healthy and living a better life conducive to your goals.

Recovery is a vital part of achieving what you want to do.  If you can’t get excited about recovery on its own, then view it as a part of the larger goal you want to achieve.  Without recovery from your substance abuse or addictive behavior, do you have a shot at achieving that dream?  Incorporate your recovery into your excitement for achieving something bigger.
Have you found your own path to recovery?  What has worked for you and what hasn’t in your recovery?  What methods do you use?  Comment below or send me a message via social media to let me know how you are owning sobriety.  And as always, please like, comment, and share if you find this post useful or relevant to you.  I always appreciate your support Cat!

Love Y’all,
~Mike

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About OWN Sobriety and MIKE

OWN Sobriety is a blog and resource site, launched in August 2018, that is dedicated to a modern and holistic approach to recovery from addiction.  OWN Sobriety promotes understanding and exploration of ALL recovery programs.  It’s about finding the tools that work for each individual and making your recovery your own.

“Hi, I’m Mike.  A 35-year-old guy from someplace in a weirdly shaped state (it’s Indiana).  I used to drink lots of alcohol and pop benzos to deal with life.  Then, it became a problem.  So, I did it for a few more years just to be sure it was, in fact, a problem.   Now, I don’t.  This site is my platform for sharing my story, my journey, my thoughts and whatever other little quirks that spill out along the way.”

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OWN Sobriety

 

A Living Master Shares About The Road From Addiction Into Recovery. Special Featured Post By Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi …

A Living Master Shares About The Road From Addiction Into Recovery. Special Featured Post By Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi …

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I am honored to share a special recovery post written especially for my recovery blog, my recovery friends and visitors to enjoy. Some true wisdom shared from a very special mentor. It is not everyday one meets and has the honor of being friends with a Real Living Master of our generation and time.

I also have the pleasure of helping him promote and market his amazing book as well titled; “Find The Seeker! The Pathless Path to Fulfillment and Happiness.” Truly a must-read and has enhanced my own recovery path! And with their E-book on sale on Amazon for .99 cents? You have nothing to lose and spiritual freedom from addiction to gain.

It is co-authored by another dear friend and Genro’s pupil Clifford Stevens. They both reside in Austria and together have produced a very powerful and authentic practical guide that all who maintain recovery can surely learn a true path to authentic living, serenity, and feel at peace in “self.”

I hope you gain some wisdom by reading this special post. I highly recommend you visit and read Clifford Stevens blog posts of his “Weekly Wisdom.” It is uplifting and inspiring.

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Addiction and Zen
By Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi is one of the few living Zen Masters and co-author of the recent highly-acclaimed spiritual self-help book “Find the Seeker!” He shares interesting and unique wisdom when those are looking for their way out of addictions and into a peace-filled life of serenity and happiness once again. Learning to reconnect and find our true “self” is just part of the recovery work needed to find the authentic person before addiction made life unbearable …

Why do people get addicted (for example to drugs)? What can a spiritual teaching such as Zen – which some people wrongly consider to be unworldly and distant – do to reduce consumption or even get people off their addiction?

The orientation of people to lead strong ego-centered lives is certainly one reason for addiction. So many of the political, economic and religious activities going on end up inflating people’s egos until they are blown up out of proportion.

This is aggravated by tendencies such as nationalistic and egocentric tendencies in many countries such as “America First” (to name just one example), the mania to do and achieve and the idea that “everything is possible” if only we apply ourselves and the stress to compress as many friends, experiences, successes, achievements into our lives as we can. And of course, we are constantly confronted with examples of supposedly high-performance, “successful” and “happy” individuals.

Thanks to these and many other trends, and also to the misconceptions forced upon us by our own egos, many people see themselves as small, inadequate, insignificant, weak, poor and needing support.

The moment a person attaches too much importance to his own “self,” he degrades what he really is. Without spiritual support, without engaging in a spiritual search and the insights gained from meditation, it is difficult to clearly see and understand that any “chemical” support (e.g. from alcohol, drugs, smoking etc.) actually ends up perpetuating, propping up and enhancing a person’s own ego and is thus a dead end or will lead to one.

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Image result for free images of booze drugs….

The addict tries to transform himself from the hero which he or she is not into a kind of “avatar” by chemical means like the Druids used to do with their concoction to instill the courage to fight and the idea of invincibility in their soldiers. Miraculix (from the Asterix series) is a good and funny example of this – but addiction to drugs or alcohol or whatever is not funny at all.

Hardly anyone at all can improve his or her situation on the basis of the addiction. On the contrary, the high costs which are sometimes involved may lead people to commit criminal deeds, or they end up in prison or in rehabilitation. The addicts may see their lives in this relative world as being obstructed and their paths as being obscured. Addiction is a burdensome illness which robs people of energy and may make it harder for people to find their way on a path leading them to be clean.

Spiritually oriented people – or those who are desperate enough or are tired of suffering – can turn to spirituality as a path, a guide, a tough way out which they must ultimately go through. However, it is clear that unfortunately, there are some addicts who do not manage to kick the habit in this life and lead a normal life – which is also an incredible burden on their relatives.

A spiritual path such as Zen – or others – will throw people back onto themselves and onto the bottom-line “cause” of their addiction. And in meditation, you will be fully confronted with yourself and your “self.” And in the search for your “self”, you will not find it. There is nothing to be found here, and the “results” of the meditation – which nobody, no Master or teacher, can adequately put into words – could prevent someone from continuing to fall prey to the addiction or be victimized by it or to become addicted in the first place.

The deep-seated realizations gained through meditation can help you – with a lightness of being – to kick the habit of addiction and begin a new life. Your “old” life is present, seemingly overwhelming due to all the adversity and hindrances, but the “new” one can mean redemption, salvation, as the Christians say, or “enlightenment” as the Buddhists say, and other spiritual paths have their own terms for this.

There is no way around meditation – unless you have the sudden insight – which does not happen often – in which everything suddenly becomes clear thanks to grace, and you are set right thanks to the goodness of the Universe. For this reason, we teach people in Zen to practice the natural and simple method of counting your breath in meditation – which you can learn and do without the need for any addiction.

Namaste
~Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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ABOUT ZEN MASTER GENRO:

Gert Beirer, who was born in Austria in 1945, studied Zen, meditation, Kung-Fu, Qi Gong and acupuncture in Asia. He was given the name Genro (“Origin of Joy”) Xuan Lou, Laoshi (Laoshi = “Spiritual Master”) by Zen Master Tetsuo Kiichi Nagaya Roshi. Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi was named Zen (Chan) Master by the Abbot and Grand Master Kun Kong at the Lingyin Temple (Shakyamuni Buddhism) in Hangzhou, with whom he studied 11 years, by Abbot and Zen Master Shi Chan Ming in Wuhan, Province Hubei, China, and was also named Shifu or “Spiritual Teacher” in 2009 by Shi Xue Feng, Abbot of the Ding Shan Temple in Germany.

After returning to Europe, Genro spent decades as a therapist and business consultant and has been heading the Qi Gong Master School in Austria for many years, practicing in accordance with the Wuhan-Yangsheng style. Genro Laoshi has lectured at universities, appeared on TV, held seminars on a variety of spiritual and self-help topics, taught Qi Gong courses and published articles and books on meditation, Zen, motivation and communication, storytelling, body-reading, sexual Kung-Fu, autohypnosis, and many more topics.

Visit his Q&A on his Official Website and Page.


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Guest Article Share by Amy Dresner ~ Writer for The Fix. Getting Through Life Events ~ Taking Care of a Parent and Staying Sober Through It.

Guest Article Share by Amy Dresner ~ Writer for The Fix. Getting Through Life Events ~ Taking Care of a Parent and Staying Sober Through It.

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How to Stay Sober Through a Parent’s Illness – By Amy Dresner 08/05/19


I won’t lie, the urge to fix from the outside is constant. The helplessness is overwhelming, the grief indescribable.

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I think it was about a year a half ago when my mother became wheelchair-bound and was diagnosed with dementia. The two trips to visit her in Santa Fe were so stressful that my bestie, also a recovering addict, started vaping for the first time and she still hasn’t stopped. We had five days to clear out her apartment, find her a board and care, break her lease, put her stuff in storage, forward her mail, and much more. I cried most of that trip but it all got handled.

My life is different now. My mother can’t hear well and she’s confused. She can’t walk or use the computer anymore. People bathe her. She calls me multiple times a day about the same thing. On top of that, I was suddenly given the “power of attorney and appointed Social Security payee.” I was in charge of all her bills, speaking to her nurse, speaking to her chaplain, and speaking to her social worker.

Role Reversal

If there’s one thing addicts don’t seek out, it’s responsibility. As an only child, I alone had to handle all of it. Sure I was sober but mature? Hardly.

I recently had to sign a form to approve the use of Narcan should my mother overdose on her Oxycontin. When the nursing staff assistant tried to explain opiates and Narcan to me, I stopped her.

“I’m …um…well-versed in Narcan. I’m an ex-junkie.”

I heard her mutter an “Oh” followed by an uncomfortable silence.

I’ve never had children for a sundry of reasons: my genes, my fertility, my financial situation, my shitty relationships. Suddenly I had a child and it was my mother. The role reversal was sudden and jarring and I recall rocking and crying and whimpering, “I don’t want this.” But it was all mine, like it or not.

My relationship with my mother was always difficult. I was resentful for her physical absence during my childhood and her emotional absence always. But suddenly all that resentment melted away. Resentment is a luxury, I realized, and as her caretaker, there was no room for it anymore.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (2)

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Almost 50, with Zero Life Skills

Having spent 30 years of my life mentally ill and struggling with addiction, having to “adult” suddenly felt premature and impossible. It was like coming out of a time warp. I was almost 50 but I had zero life skills: No idea how to pay taxes or when to rotate your tires or how to hold down a “real” job, let alone handle all my mother’s shit. Sure I had other life skills: making a crack bong out of a Mountain Dew bottle or how to hit a rolling vein or manipulating people into taking care of me. But these weren’t so helpful now.

I was a grown woman but I still felt and honestly acted like a child most of the time. I still needed my mom but now she wasn’t available. I’d never felt like she “heard” me and now she really couldn’t hear me. I never felt she “understood” me and now she really couldn’t grasp what I was saying. I hate to use the “t” word but yeah it was triggering.

We had grown closer during this sobriety but now, suddenly, she wasn’t somebody I could bring things to. She became somebody who brought things to me and they were all “emergency” needs: Afrin, salted nuts, Nars concealer. My mother had always been particular, snobby, and demanding. That didn’t change. I quickly accepted all of these things and began to lean much more heavily on my father.

Gutted

Then, about a week ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer. I was gutted. He and I are impossibly close; he is my mentor, my hero, my best friend.

“You can’t go. You’re my person,” I wept pathetically into the phone. Everything good about me comes from him: my humor, my intelligence, my writing ability. And now he’s ill. Really ill. My first reaction and I’m not proud of this at 6.5 years sober, was to kill myself or get loaded. My brain screamed, “GET OUT.”

We all have those things: if “this” happens, I’ll get loaded. My dad’s death was always that: my hold out, my exemption. When I told him that a few years ago he said, “Too fucking bad, Ames. It’s in my will if you get loaded, you get nothing.” Fuck.

It’s all so selfish. Fuck his cancer, I’m hurting and I need to attend to that. Suddenly I was making it about me. I try not to cry on every phone call but am rarely successful. I feel weak and small.

I started to spiral, lumping all the bad on top of each other as we do: I’m single, I’m broke, I’m getting old. My parents are dying. But if I know one thing, it’s that a relapse would kill both of them faster than the diseases they were battling. It just isn’t an option.

Still, every day I have the urge to escape my body, numb the pain, check out. Not because I don’t have a strong program or I’m not connected to my higher power or any of that bullshit, but because I’m an addict and we don’t like feelings and we get high to avoid them. Six and a half years of sobriety doesn’t negate a lifetime of drugs and suicide attempts as my top and most successful coping mechanisms.

But if I’ve finally learned anything, it’s that it doesn’t matter what I feel like doing, it matters what I do. I can’t control my feelings or thoughts but I can control my actions.

When I’m Not Crying, I’m Angry

When I’m not crying, I’m angry. I’m so fucking angry. Fuck you, God. God never gives you more than you can handle?! Well, this feels like more than I can handle. And fuck me. Fuck me for having been a complete wreck for most of my adult life.

And then in between the tears and the rage, there’s numbness, where I feel nothing because it’s all just too much. I catch myself just staring into space, zoning out on the multitude of Pyrex dishes at Target. Not lost in thought, lost in nothingness.

I don’t think anything prepares you for the death of your parents. I don’t care how old you are or spiritually fit (insert eye roll). Sure, they’re in their 80’s; it’s bound to happen, it’s part of life, blah, blah, blah.

But you still never think it will happen. And when it does, you are suddenly faced with an aloneness that is inconceivable, an unending void that will never be filled.

I look back now at me mourning a break-up for over two years. What a fucking joke. You can get a new boyfriend. You can’t get a new mother or father.

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I've been through a lot of tough times, more than my fair share and these words are very true.

How I’m Staying Clean

I won’t lie, the urge to fix from the outside is constant. The helplessness is overwhelming, the grief indescribable. So how am I staying clean? Well, I started vaping again (judge away, fuckers). I’m talking to my sponsor every single day, I’m talking to my friends, I’m working with my sponsees.

I’m crying. I’m trying to be kind to myself. I’m trying to be of service to my parents and process my grief elsewhere. I’m calling friends and asking for support. Sure I don’t always answer the phone, but don’t take it personally. Sometimes I’m just too shut down to talk. I sleep and nap …a lot. Depression or escape? Does it really matter? It beats the alternatives.

When I asked other people in recovery how they made it through a parent’s illness and death, almost all of them said the same thing: They didn’t. They drank and used during the whole process to escape the pain and it was the biggest regret of their lives.

Whether the parent had known or not was immaterial. They were haunted by the guilt they felt and if they could do it all over again, they’d stay sober, give their parent the gift of being completely present, and not run from the feelings. I can and will do that, as ungraceful as it might be.

I said to one of my sponsees: “You are about to witness a magic trick. You are about to watch your sponsor go through one of the most painful times ever and not get loaded.” I think I was telling myself as much as her.

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Amy Dresner
is a recovering drug addict and all-around fuck up. She’s been regularly writing for The Fix since 2012.

When she isn’t humorously chronicling her epic ups and downs for us, she’s freelancing for Refinery 29AlternetAfter Party ChatSalonThe FriskyCosmo LatinaUnbound BoxAddiction.com and Psychology Today.

Her first book, My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean was published in September 2017 by Hachette Books. Follow her on Twitter @amydresner.