“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

“And Now a Message From Our Recovery Sponsor”… Dr. Rev. Kevin T. Coughlin, of  The Professional Institute of Higher Learning.

Are Your Teens Playing Games with Their Lives?


We all know that gambling, and now internet gaming has been around for a long while.

What we didn’t know was about to happen with the internet and tech offerings and expansion that began in the late 80′ and early 90’s –that gaming and gambling options would be so accessible and continue to grow at a rapid pace as it has. No person better besides myself knows this than my dear friend and The Addiction Expert of Rev Kev’s Recovery World and now the new amazing coach, teacher, and trainer behind the new “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .

So, I welcome and am honored to have Kevin Coughlin back to share some interesting facts about gaming and why parents need to be very privy to the time your kids are spending on their computers and what are they DOING on the internet …
Take it away Rev. Kev!   ~ Advocate Catherine Lyon 

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“A good coach asks great questions to help you remove the obstacles in your mind and to get you back on track in life.”  – Farshad Asl 

Recently, The World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to the International Classification of Diseases. This newly identified gaming disorder causes “impaired control over gaming,” according to The World Health Organization. The decision to include internet gaming as a mental health disorder has not come without controversy; professionals from the American Psychiatric Association and other professional’s in the industry have made clear that they believe that internet gaming disorder is a condition that needs further study. Some mental health professionals don’t agree with the “gaming disorder” diagnosis, they think the label is premature. Many clinicians voiced that they believe that young people are actually using video gaming as a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression, which are on the rise in teens, according to the latest national research.

This new process of addiction should not be determined based on a short period of behavior. The World Health Organization stated that a diagnosis of having a gaming disorder should be determined based on behavior over a period of at least twelve months. If an individual’s personal life, social life, family life, work environment, or if they’re a student, their school environment is impaired by excessive internet gaming, these should be considered warning signs of addiction. Comparable with other addictions, despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation.

Experts believe that the causes of gaming disorder are quite rare and that only approximately three-percent of gamers may suffer from this addiction. There is hope for the three percent; however, more help is needed. A former gaming disorder addict, Cam Adair, was quoted as saying, “First just more prevention, there needs to be more awareness in schools. Parents need to be educated, there is a need for better resources and a need for more professionally trained interventionists,  recovery coaches and support services available.”

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Many parents have referred to internet gaming as “digital heroin!” Don is twenty-five-years-old, who just had his second child thirteen months ago, he lives with his girlfriend and the children at her parent’s house. Don works part-time and spends more than ten hours per day playing video games online. He spends every dollar he makes buying online video games and counts on State assistance to feed his children.

Some nights, Don doesn’t even sleep, he plays video games all night and then goes straight to work in the morning. He doesn’t spend any time with his children or his girlfriend. He doesn’t give his family any financial or emotional support. His girlfriend is on the verge of leaving Don and taking the children with her. His life is totally out of control because of online gaming addiction.

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to The World Health Organization’s decision-making body, said, that there are three major diagnostic characteristics of gaming disorder: “One is that the gaming behavior takes precedence over other activities to the extent that other activities are taken to the periphery.

The second feature is impaired control of these behaviors, even when the negative consequences occur, this behavior continues or escalates. A third feature is that the condition leads to significant distress and impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational functioning. The impact is real and may include disturbed sleep patterns, like diet problems, like a deficiency in the physical activity.”

The main features of gaming disorder are very similar to the diagnostic features of pathological gambling disorder and substance use and abuse disorders. Gaming disorder is a clinical condition and must only be diagnosed by professionals who are properly trained in this mental health disorder. The majority of treatment and interventions for gaming disorder are based on the methods and principals of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other added sources of support.

Co-founder of Restart (One of the first US inpatient treatment programs for gaming disorder), Hilarie Cash was quoted as saying, “It’s time to recognize gaming disorder as a legitimate medical and mental health condition.”

Dr. Vladimir Poznyak (from The World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) was quoted as saying, “Whatever the therapy, it should be based on understanding the nature of the behavior and what can be done in order to improve the situation. Prevention interventions may also be needed.” A licensed psychologist, executive director at The Telos Project, Anthony Bean was quoted as saying,

“The ICD diagnosis is not “appropriately informed since most clinicians — and the mental health field as a whole — do not understand the gaming population. And even most clinicians would probably agree that they don’t understand the concept for video games because they’re not immersed in that world or experience.”

Bean recommends that parents and other loved ones concerned about a much-too-avid gamer, ask questions to become as informed as possible. What games are they playing? Why do they find them interesting? Bean is the author of a guidebook for clinicians wishing to work with gamers; however, he has made it clear that he is not on team Poznyak when it comes to the latest thinking on gaming disorder. I believe that Dr. Poznyak is right on target!

Witnessing Don’s gaming addiction firsthand, there is no doubt in my mind that online gaming becomes a disorder when despite negative consequences, there is a loss of control and escalation and the person’s choices are even affecting his family in a negative way because of online gaming.

Anything that is out of balance in a person’s life that has negative consequences that are ignored is a potential problem. I think the writing was on the wall a long time ago when it came to gaming addiction. I’m surprised it wasn’t diagnosed sooner!

Some of the warning signs that parents can look for to help determine if there is a problem with gaming and their teen:

Long hours of playing video games.
 
On the computer or other online devices.

Poor personal hygiene.

Lack of self-care.

Not sleeping, playing video games all night.

Poor grades in school or skipping school.

Lack of interest in everything except video gaming.

Isolation and spending much time in their room.

Irritability and anger problems when not playing video games.

Compulsively buying video games and add-ons.

Not eating regular meals at regular times.

Unhealthy diet, impulsivity,  and irresponsibility.

Life out of balance, obsessed with video gaming.

Depression, anxiety, or mood swings.

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Remember, if you think that your loved one is suffering from a gaming disorder, this should be diagnosed and treated by professional clinicians. You should also remember that approximately three-percent of gamers suffer from this addiction and that behavior should be considered over at least a twelve-month period.

The last thing that anyone wants is a parent thinking that their teen has a problem because they played video games one afternoon for several hours and skipped lunch. It’s important to look at the big picture and not to ignore the facts. Should you have any questions, consult a professional who works in this field. Let’s all be informed and aware!

Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.
www.theaddiction.expert
Visit:  “The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online” .
Learn More: About Coaching-LinkedIn Article

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Recovery Online Education and Support From Home! Offered By The Best Addiction/Recovery Expert and Coach Around…

Recovery Online Education and Support From Home! Offered By The Best Addiction/Recovery Expert and Coach Around…

Most all recovery advocates know in order to gain personal long-term recovery, we need to continue to be informed and educated to get there. That is why I support many forms learning by reading, journaling, visiting websites and blogs, and online learning. The more we know about the disease of addictions the better our chances are to maintain recovery without relapse or roadblocks and learn how to avoid them.

That is also true for those who gain long-term recovery and are now wanting ‘to be of recovery service to others’ looking to recover as well. Keep in mind, many reach out and are in crisis and maybe needing to enter dextox, rehab, or treatment. So what do you do? You need to be prepared. What if you want to be a recovery coach? Or maybe your a parent needing help with a teen who may be using drugs, then what? Maybe you need help and support in your own recovery journey.

Then you need to know all about The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online as they have several online courses and more are being added often… Just click, pick your course, pay, and LEARN!

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(Like this courses coming soon!)

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They offer an array of online courses, even recovery coaching for those early in and coming to begin their maintining recovery from any type of addiction. Offered, a course that will even help you work a 12-Step Recovery! Don’t hesitate to visit and take avvantage of Addiction/Recovery Higher Learning, Coaching, and Support Now with the Experts at The Professional’s International Institute Of Higher LearningOnline  with the added convience from your own home safely online. More affordable compared to many other online or onsite addiction/recovery education and support!

ABOUT The Professional International Institue Of Higher Learning

The Professional’s International Institute of Higher Learning Online is a place of learning for those individuals who want to be the very best at their respective craft. These specialized training courses in the Professional Coaching Industry and the Addiction Recovery Industry are unparalleled. Students can take our courses at their own pace without paying outrageous fees that are unrealistic. Our instructors have decades of experience in the subjects that they teach on. To be the best, you need to be instructed by the best! They have trained hundreds of Professionals in the Industry.

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More About The Addiction Expert ~ Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin,
PhD.

My name is Reverend Dr., Provincial Superintendent Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D., most call me Rev. Kev. All that I have been, all that I am, and all that I ever will be is because of God’s grace. I am well trained. I am an International Certified Master Addictions Coach, I specialize in Drug & Alcohol abuse addiction recovery & family recovery coach, gambling addiction, Life coaching, Christian Coaching, Case Management, Prevention & Relapse Prevention, LAMA, Ethics, Spirituality, Sexual Addiction, Anger Management, Domestic Violence Advocacy, Interventionist & Life Recovery Coach, Licensed & Ordained Minister.

I am a Founder, and former Board Member & Spiritual Director of New Beginning Ministry, Inc., a residential addiction recovery program. Over the past 20+ years, we have been blessed to help thousands of individuals and families to change their lives! I am often utilized as a consultant on addiction and recovery and considered an expert in the field. I have given thousands of workshops and lectures, training seminars, and retreats.

I was an instructor at The Addictions Academy. I am The President and CEO of Phase II Christian Coaching, LLC. I am a member in good standing in the AACC, ICCA, NAADAC, IAMMF, ECPG, NCPG, and AACT. I am an internationally published poet and a best-selling author, I am 9 time National Bench Press Champion and 2 time World Champion.

I have been blessed to be awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling, Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling, and Doctorate Degree, Ph.D., DCC, DDVCA, DLC, DD, and am Board Certified by DIT Seminary IN Christian counseling. I am an Associate Professor at Dayspring Christian University and a Board Member. I have been approved by the Board for a year of study to be consecrated a Bishop at the Florida Conference next year. I have a great deal of experience in volunteer recruitment, philanthropic, nonprofit, program development.

Today, I love to teach, educate, write, and Raise Awareness!

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“IF YOU WANT CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE, A NEW WORLDVIEW, A BETTER JOB, A BETTER PAYING JOB, A MORE RESPECTABLE JOB, IF YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS, IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE, IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO HELP PEOPLE, THERE IS A BETTER WAY!”

THE BEST WAY IS TO LEARN, TAKE COURSES, GAIN NEW SKILL-SETS, TOOLS, TECHNIQUES, KNOWLEDGE, INFORMATION, SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH OTHERS, TALK WITH EXPERTS AND SHARE IN THEIR WISDOM. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVES AND PERCEPTIONS; CHANGE YOUR REALITY!

CERTIFICATE COURSES ARE NOW OPEN AR THE PROFESSIONAL’S INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING ONLINE, WON’T YOU JOIN US?
LIST OF COURSES HERE: Pick Your Courses!

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What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

What to Expect from Your First Few Days of Rehab by Alek Sabin. My Weekend Recovery Guest.

Fighting against addiction is not an easy process, as it is a behavioral disease that can take over every aspect of your life and actions. However, every recovery begins with a simple step: getting help. For many addicts, this means going to inpatient rehab.

If you’ve never been to an inpatient rehab facility, then one can seem very intimidating. The images in your mind may flip between something resembling a prison or a judgement panel of doom doctors. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. To help one get comfortable with the idea of inpatient rehab, here’s an honest take on what to expect from your first few days of inpatient rehab…

Intake process

First of all, every patient goes through an intake process, where there is a full examination of the addict that includes a comprehensive medical exam, as well as an interview about their personal history and past of substance abuse.

Before this happens, you’ll have already packed everything that you’ll need for rehab, and are ready to spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days in this new home. These examinations will determine if you need to go through a detox process, which is absolutely necessary for people who have developed a dependency to alcohol, heroin, or other extremely addictive substances.

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Detoxification

If you’re in inpatient rehab, then you likely will need to undergo the detoxification process, where harmful drugs are eased out of your system in a safe medical environment. This may include treatment with naloxone or other types of medically administered drugs that gradually wean the body off of a substance.

Trying to quit cold turkey on a drug like heroin can be incredibly dangerous, as vital organs may need it to keep going, and the mind is unable to produce certain chemicals on its own. This process typically lasts 2-3 days under constant medical supervision.

First group meetings are always awkward

After your body is clean of a certain substance, next comes the healing of the mind, which is a significantly more complicated process that takes time and effort. One of the scariest aspects of this new experience is the first group meeting that you go to. Even though other participants in the group will be used to each other, you will pretty much feel terribly awkward, and that’s a guarantee.

Sharing deep emotional feelings that are difficult to bring up with total strangers isn’t something that you can just do on your first go, but it’s something that you’ll get used to and come to love and appreciate, as it is necessary to create a lasting recovery. Make sure that you look for a good peer to get help and advice from, during this time.

Get ready to be searched

When you first come to a treatment facility, you probably aren’t that removed from the last time you used an illicit substance (or you wouldn’t be there in the first place). For this reason, the facility you are at will need to routinely search you and your belongings to make sure that there are no harmful substances in their place of recovery. This is in the interest of the addict, as well as everyone in the facility, who is there to avoid temptation and make personal progress.

Time away from loved ones is rough

Eventually, your friends and family will be able to come and visit you during the treatment process, but the first few days you will probably be on your own. This is to help an addict transition into the inpatient rehab lifestyle, and allowing friends and family to visit too early can make it difficult for a person to dedicate themselves completely to their treatment. Your loved ones will understand this, as they want to support you and your recovery.

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The rewards are great

If these events and steps seem awkward and scary, it’s because they are, at least at first. However, the honest truth is that inpatient rehab presents the best possible environment to reclaim control of your life and make a lasting recovery. When leaving, make sure you have aftercare and support waiting upon your leaving so you have the best chance at making your recovery journey an open door to Living a Balanced Happy Life You are Worthy Of!   ~Alek Sabin

Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

Recovery Book Review~A Book All Need To Read By Brittany L. Shelton. We Can Overcome Trauma …

 

My book review for an amazing read I just finished by my dear friend and now I can call her a New Fellow!, Author, Brittany L. Shelton. It is titled; Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction.

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About The Book: 

Stories bring us together and remind us that we aren’t alone. Discovering Beautiful is a series of personal stories that illustrate what it’s really like to grow up in a dysfunctional home, as a child lost in the shadows of the chaos. It demonstrates how one little girl internalized societal stigma and turned inward to cope with the shame of her reality. This story paints a picture of a family savagely torn apart, destroyed, by toxicity and disconnection. This is a story of desperation, exhaustion, fear, and finally restoration and hope.


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Discovering Beautiful: Finding Freedom from Childhood Trauma and Self-Destruction

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REVIEW: Sharing One’s Story Can Be Powerful To Help Others


That is exactly what this book and the author will do very clearly, brutally honest, and open.
It can be a bit scary sharing the “not so nice” when we are not raised in an “angelic family dynamic.” When we are told as children over and over, “don’t speak outside this house” od what goes on behind closed doors, this includes the deep hurtful pain some children endure that their parents may never know happened …
UNTIL OUR VOICE and STORY IS TOLD.

This book by Author, Brittany Shelton is exactly that. Not only is her story of pain and heartbreaking accounts of trauma and abuse, she tells it with hardly any resentment nor excuses when it comes to addiction in her life. No, it shows the seeds of power and truth that lie within us as we learn with faith to overcome, forgive, let it go, and rise up to triumph in life. The sharing much of the chaos but importance of showing family dysfunction can be generational sadly.

This is some of what you learn from this brave woman’s testimony. I too am a childhood trauma and abuse survivor and shared with the author all the many similarities we have. I always thought I was alone and no other child into an adult could have possibly gone through what I had. I was wrong! Reading her book, perfect writing style, was as if we were having coffee together and talking about each other’s life.

The book itself is easy to read and well laid out. My favorite areas that touched me deeply and musings too like, “People with mental illness scared me.” Funny, as I felt the same! First, the author defines trauma and how the effects us. I laughed when she shares how our moms teach us the “most useless shit” that seeps into our brains … and some of where we get those “I’m worthless” thoughts when told year after year. But Chapters 11 & 12 were intriguing to self-image and the way we look at ourselves until addiction beats up down so much, we don’t look anymore …

I highly suggest this book for everyone! It gives an exceptional in-depth look into so many topics and issues happening today, just as much as the child we were. How addictions can devastate families and so much more. I commend the author for sharing her story so others can learn there’s much help available and Hope. You are not alone anymore and YOU do have a VOICE!

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Brittany L. Shelton

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About The Author:

I am in long-term recovery from shame and perpetual escape. I kicked my inner-victim out on its ass and have been healing from the damaging effects of childhood trauma and self-destruction ever since. I’m a believer in the kind of Truth that can set a person free, but only because I have experienced it for myself.

I live with my husband and three young boys and am simply enjoying this season in my life. My goal is to help shift how things work in my family, and I believe that change happens one memory and one new tradition at a time.

Come connect with Brittany on Social Media!

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ InstaGram ~ and on GoodReads! ~ Come and visit Brittany on her website at “Discovering Beautiful Dot Com”

Amazing Memorial Weekend Book Review For My Memoir, “Addicted To Dimes” By Book Must!

Happy Memorial Weekend Reading and Review … By “Book To The Future.”

 

Addicted to Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat – Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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

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How does a good girl go bad? Based on a true story, told in the author’s own words, without polish or prose, this haunting tale of addiction, family secrets, abuse, sexual misconduct, destruction, crime and…. recovery! One day at a time, one page at a time. Learn of this remarkable and brave story.

It’s to easy these days to dismiss an addict without any real thought as to the contributing factors and the struggles they face each day when coping in a world that actively encourages habit-forming pursuits.

Catherine Townsend-Lyon is a recovering gambling addict who guides us through her journey, reliving the most heartbreaking of times up to today, where the lessons hard learned are put forward in their stark honesty.

As you would expect from somebody who has felt the pull of addiction, this retrospective holds nothing back.  It’s brutally honest, makes no excuses or blame and does explore the complex history of the author’s case and painful past childhood where her roots began.

It’s challenging to read but that is how it is written and should be, an uncompromising, self-aware examination of a life that has turned out in an unexpected devastating way.  If you are looking for a writer who leans towards the more literary style of writing, you won’t get it here. Not hiding behind fancy words is sometimes detrimental to the message.

“Here the gritty and down to earth writing bring forth the right range of observations to a dysfunctional past.”

As well as looking at just one specific life, there is also an insight into the flaws of a system that on one hand allows the encouragement of gambling (responsibly of course!) and enjoys the taxes off of said companies and people who partake, yet doesn’t have the ability to support the people who fall prey to the industries ills.  It’s a blatant conflict of interests, the swirling lights, bells and whistles, and noises drawing people into a world fundamentally obsessed and geared to money, a payoff, and glamour that cannot be sustained for any length of time despite what the adverts would have us believe.


“At life’s lowest ebbs, the stigma of gambling addiction underlines the point that we must care for the weakest members of society and give more help and second chances.”

There is some admirable support out there but there could be more for this specific disease. It’s to easy to judge somebody for their failings without understanding the often complex struggles that the individual had to deal with, society these days is extremely cynical and that is likely to cause more harm than good in the long run.  Addiction harms everybody, even in our communities as this author shares.

it’s a stark warning, a forthright exposé, nothing is held back for the reader’s sensitivities and it is something perhaps few of us stop to consider in our own busy lives. It is hard to say I enjoyed the book in the traditional sense of the word, but the insights and the overcoming of adversity made it a worthwhile read.

In a world of ‘celebrity’ addiction this is one book that rings true, means something and will ultimately give context to the darker side of gambling.

I highly suggest this one and her books can be picked up at Amazon both E-Book and Paperback … For more information about the author and recovery resources visit her informative blog  Catherine’s blog

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About Book To The Future!

The About Bit

 

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‘I felt a new About Bit was probably in order now that I seem to have shipwrecked myself on the rocky shores of the blogging community for good. Starting out, as I did back in the day as primarily a book blog now, I tend to write whatever wild winds of whimsy lead me too. A lot of that will be from The Philippines as that is where the said winds did blow me. Everyone calls me Ste J, I am an obsessive book creature, in fact, I spend more time between the (book) covers (I read in bed as well though) than I do with ‘real’ people. Which means I probably spend more time with you guys than anyone else. Feel privileged.

‘I have an urge to read as much as I can, in any genre and give my forthright and sometimes slightly obscure opinions on books and whatever other thing takes my fancy, such as life, or gnomes, although I haven’t done a gnome post yet…

‘Here you will find provided, an eclectic mix of stuff for your reading pleasure, when it comes to books, I intentionally do not reveal much plot, if you fancy reading it, you don’t want me coming along and telling you the butler did it or such like. Not that I’m saying he did do it, but he could have.

‘As a public service, I also read the rubbish books so you don’t have too, as well as delighting in finding the obscure to amuse you. I am also looking to review more authors who are self-publishing and attempting to vary the content more and grow this into something interesting. Feel free to look around and make yourself at home, there’s tea in the pot.

‘Recently I have taken to adding more posts on things not found in a book (or those infernal e-readers), so although I am primarily a book, I wish to keep it varied and hopefully bring you a more different and whimsical variety of posts.  Enjoy….

Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way – Christopher Hitchens

 

A Living Master Shares Recovery Wisdom. The Road to Recovery From Addiction ~ The Zen Approach.

The Zen Approach To Recovery ~ By Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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From the point of view of Eastern Asian medicine, the problem of addiction is the game played by water and fire. In a state of health, these two elements (of the five phases of transformation i.e. wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) ensure that people are deeply grounded and can grow spiritually when in harmony with one another.

However, if the two phases are out of harmony, one of them becomes overly dominant thanks to various ego processes. If water dominates, the person is pulled downwards, and the energy is channeled in the person’s lower chakras. The result is an addiction, an overemphasis on sex or the compulsive urge to fulfill seemingly essential “needs” (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling etc.), which are actually the needs of the ego.

The standpoint of Zen is completely different from the principles of the East, primarily Traditional Chinese Medicine, as described above. It also takes a different viewpoint from Western medicine, which sees addiction as a kind of illness, from the brain via various organs of the body.

In Zen, the crucial step is in line with the longstanding Zen teaching, “First free your mind, and then do what you want!” If you do not free your mind, you will remain imprisoned and enchained. You will sacrifice your happiness, health, and contentment to satisfy your ego’s needs and accept the burdens it imposes on you, the roller coaster ride of feelings, the arguments about your being victimized, lowly, unworthy, unfulfilled or whatever else it convincingly throws at you to justify or coerce you into addiction.

Healing only by focusing on the roots of the problem

You can try to gradually reduce the effects of the plant or weed (= addiction) in your inner garden using various methods or even attempt to eradicate the weed. Think of substitute drugs, psychotherapy and the broad spectrum of therapeutic approaches. However, it is only possible to eradicate this plant if one severs the roots, the causes of this “evil” instead of just pulling off the leaves of this shrub. Therapy may have a soothing or beneficial effect but does not penetrate to the heart of the matter.

In Zen, freeing your mind is based on the experience of realization and enlightenment, and is the pre-requisite for the healing or salvation of a human being. As long as the mind is blurred, blinded and afflicted by a deep depression or you believe you have to abide in other painful physical and mental states, an addiction such as alcohol abuse, smoking cigarettes or drugs may seem to be the most obvious and natural way out and way forward.

 

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Achieving a breakthrough

Suffering is a very human trait. Buddha said that “all life is suffering.” Awareness, realization, awakening – that is the Zen approach. With the mindful, watchful observing and centered inner eye, you will make moderate use of the resources and opportunities at your disposal. In Zen, there is absolutely no problem in enjoying a glass of wine to spark the imagination or an inspiring drink with a good dinner, but the key is to adhere to the “Middle Way”, the measure of all things, which rejects extremes and does not go overboard or strive to do, have or consume too much.

For this reason, the one-sided approaches to addiction on the part of Western or Eastern medicine ultimately do not provide the permanent solution which is needed. These approaches may provide some relief or alleviation of the problem. But the real breakthrough to a new life, healing, and salvation, to love and bliss, is through clearing the mind by means of meditation or trusting a Master or another person standing in the truth. Meditation unfolds in us what we really are and have always been, namely unconditional, Absolute Being, the One Self which is infinite, timeless and unchanging.

Empowerment to overcome addiction

On the pathless path which we share, as described in our book “Find the Seeker”, and which all of us are on whether we know it or not, awareness, the inner guru, will lovingly but effectively cut the supposed cord of addiction. It will empower us to be Self-reliant without our depending on anything and anyone and enable us to embody the fact that we are whole and complete fro the start. In this way, we are transformed and free ourselves from the suffering and can contribute to helping all sentient beings to free themselves from suffering and experience a life of bliss.

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About Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi (Laoshi = “Spiritual Master”)

Gert Beirer, one of the few living Zen Masters 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.

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I thank Master Genro for this special recovery post written just for all of my recovery friends and visitors. Please visit his website and blog as he and co-author Clifford Stevens present “Weekly Wisdom” that is inspiring and informational here at Find The Seeker!
Genro is also co-author of the recently published highly-acclaimed spiritual self-help book Find the Seeker (Amazon link: http://bit.ly/find-seeker).

 

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

Is The 12-Step Way The Only Way? I don’t Think So. It Is a Solid Part of a Good Recovery Plan, Just Not The Only One.

“We have a choice on HOW we want to recover. And everyone’s experiences can be different.  It is WHY we have the choice, to begin with! But The 12-Step way shouldn’t be the ONLY WAY to recover from any addiction.”

As we find by this new Guest Featured Article Courtesy of The Fix Magazine! ~ AS I Celebrate my 5-Year WordPress Recovery Blog Anniversary!!

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Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us.

Keep up the good blogging.

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When 12-Step Doesn’t Work…


“In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely NOT your fault.”

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” –The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I could write rehab reviews like a New York City socialite could write restaurant reviews, detailed with an extensive variety of experience and a favorite for every season. I was close with all of the staff at one, asked to leave for causing trouble at another, and I visited my preferred choice on two separate occasions, making myself at home and staying a while each time. Although many of the rehabs I took residency with differed greatly, they all seemed to share a fundamental staple regarding treatment: 12-step meetings were the way, and anything else was the highway.

Early in recovery, the meetings were my favorite part of the day. Once discharged from inpatient treatment, I’d hop in my dented up silver Honda and travel 50 plus miles to attend meetings with my former rehab mates. It gave me something to look forward to and was a great way to maintain the mere semblance of a social life, my previous social life having been obliterated.

I loved hearing the speakers tell their heart-wrenching and inspirational stories of overcoming immense adversity and eventually finding their way. I loved thinking to myself, “Wow, you’d never guess they were once an addict,” and hoping one day someone would look at me and think the same. I loved the strong coffee, stale cookies, and smoke breaks; it was like a cozy blanket and comfort food to me. I loved 12-step meetings, but the longer I stayed, the more the love began to feel unrequited.

As time passed, I enviously witnessed my peers collecting their milestone chips. I stoically sang happy birthday to people celebrating one, two, five, sometimes 20 years of sobriety. “Keep coming back, it works if you work it!” I’d smile and clap and secretly resign myself to what appeared to be my only two options: keep relapsing and likely die or go to meetings for the next 20 years. Either way, I’d never be escaping my identity as an addict. It never sat well with me that after 20 years of abstinence from mind-altering substances, people in the program would still be in meetings identifying as addicts.

Time and time again, I’d hear a person share with the group how one desperate, dreary day, they’d dropped to their knees and begged God to remove from them the burden of addiction, and the next day they’d woken up and poof! It worked. After a person hears that so many times, they’re bound to try it themselves. I must have tried it as many times as I heard that same testimony. “Stay until the miracle happens,” they’d say. I stayed. I waited for the miracle. I’d wake up desperate for deliverance, only to find defeat. Why was God removing their burden but leaving me with mine? I was deeply genuine, crying, begging even—so naturally, I grew cynical. The more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that everything I was seeing work so well for my peers, was not at all working for me.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and  Narcotics Anonymous, while technically three distinct programs, they all share the same philosophy and principles. There is no strict delineation between the groups and you’ll often meet people with a breadth of narcotic experience in AA and people who struggle with alcohol use in NA and many are drug users and drinkers with gambling problems or addicted. The steps are the same for all and somewhere within those steps is where all the “magic happens.”

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Before you can attempt the steps, you have to find a sponsor who will show you the way. A sponsor is another person in recovery, typically with an arbitrary minimum number of sober months or years that seems to vary depending on who you ask (but with more time than you). Ideally, they are a mentor, a trusted confidante who will talk you off the wagon’s edge.

They’re someone you tell your deepest darkest secrets to. Literally, your fourth step requires you to write a list of your life’s mistakes, from minor faux pas to your most egregious offenses, and then spill all the dirt to your sponsor. This was the first of many roadblocks I ran into within the program.

I seemed to burn through sponsors like an Uber driver does a tank of gas. My first sponsor and I were unknowingly involved in a 12-step love triangle. Program romances were rampant and newcomers were fresh meat. This is not uncommon and is jokingly referred to as the 13th step. I had a few short-lived sponsors before I found “the one.” She was my perfect match, and then . . . I moved 700 miles away. Although I pleaded with her to continue sponsoring me via Skype, she said it would be best for me to have a sponsor close by.

My next sponsor was someone I felt instantly drawn to and grew very close to. After working through the first three steps, I recorded all of my transgressions, ready for the big reveal. Then casually during an AA group dinner, a mutual friend referenced some seriously confidential information I had shared with only my sponsor, making it apparent our confidentiality agreement had been breached. Although we remained close friends, the trust was damaged beyond repair and my fourth step progress came to a halt.

The good thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The bad thing about the 12-step program is that other addicts guide you through your recovery. The first time someone struggling with addiction or alcoholism reads The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the similarities are so striking, it’s as though you’re reading your own diary at times.

People who have experienced addiction share the same symptoms, underlying causes, triggers, and lifestyle and The Big Book articulates that in a way that transcends time, age, and gender. There is, however, a glaring difference between someone early in recovery and a seasoned 12-stepper with several years under their belt. This difference was problematic for me.

Newcomers, or people early in recovery, are generally vulnerable and shaky. It is not uncommon for a newcomer to relapse once or even multiple times. One of the main draws of AA and NA is that the program offers a “sober network,” a community of like-minded individuals who have gone through the same thing and can, therefore, teach the newcomers how to treat their disease. The sober network that the 12-step program provides, however, is not purely sober.

One of the first things you’ll hear going into recovery is that you have to cut ties with your using buddies. I agree with that 100 percent; But in AA and NA, you are actively hanging around people who are barely clean, habitually relapsing, or even just there for the court-mandated requirements and not clean at all. For some people in the program, that’s not an issue.

For me, however, it was like these people were a walking billboard: “Potential Using Buddy,” with loud sirens and flashing lights, a temptation I could not seem to ignore despite two years of actively trying. My addict brain was drawn toward other vulnerable people in the meeting. One of the most important developments in my recovery was acknowledging and owning up to my tendency to take advantage of those situations. When I finally put my foot down and said I cannot recover in the company of fellow addicts, I closed one door and opened a new door to a realistic opportunity for recovery.

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During my two-year and some change trial of the 12-step program, I earned hundreds of chips. You’d think that’s a good thing, but it’s not. In your first 30 days, you get a chip each day and then a 30, 60, 90-day, 6-month, and 9-month chip after that, and from then on, they’re earned yearly. In AA and NA, if you’ve acquired a set number of sobriety days and then you relapse, you are required to stand up, announce that you are newly sober again, and take a newcomer chip every day for your first 30 days back—recounting your sober days from scratch. If you keep relapsing before you hit 30 days, that’s an unending requirement of standing up and identifying as a newcomer.

I remember a specific exchange with a program friend that in recollection feels poignant. I was sharing that I hated counting days and my friend said, “Why? It’s an accomplishment.” I replied, “Maybe for you. For me, it’s repeated humiliation and shame.” And it was. I was in the program as a newcomer for so long, I’d still take a newcomer chip the same day that a peer I came into the program with would receive their one-year chip.

After two years of stumbling through the program, I started seeing an addiction therapist. I disclosed my ill-will toward counting days and she responded by simply suggesting that I stop. That’s not allowed, I told her, the rules are strict. She said if I hated counting days, just stop. I was filled with a huge sense of relief.

Convinced I was incurable because of my abject failings with GA, AA, and NA, I began seeing my addiction therapist twice weekly. It was there in therapy that I was able to free myself of some of the constraints the program had placed on my treatment path and explore more fitting options.

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My therapist told me I didn’t need a sponsor, I didn’t have to count days, I didn’t have to recover in the company of other addicts, and it was okay for me to try medication-assisted treatment. In the 12-step program, if you’re not getting better it’s because you can’t or won’t adhere to the simple program, and it is definitely your fault, so this therapist was either a hippie or an angel. Whatever she was, I had hope for the first time.

Now, not to say during my time in the program, I did meet hundreds of people who have successfully recovered. The program can work and I would never suggest otherwise. While it has given life back to tens of thousands of people all over the world for almost a century, it has also left others baffled, frustrated, and defeated.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction and I think suggesting there is is the number one defect of the 12-step program. The program didn’t work for me and that does not make me flawed or a failure. It doesn’t work for many people, and that doesn’t make them incapable of being honest or unwilling to invest in their own recovery. And for those of us who don’t find our solution in the 12 steps, there is a multitude of other options.

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Marriage and Family Therapist Rebecca Deighan stresses the importance of building a network of support, and while that network may be GA, AA, or NA, it doesn’t have to be. It’s more about having a network of people who are supportive and caring, a sense of community. When asked about the 12-step program not working for everyone, Deighan said, “Everybody has a right to self-determination.”

Learning to trust your own instincts and know what is or isn’t working for you is no easy feat for people battling addiction. Having a therapist who encouraged me to trust my own opinions regarding my treatment was incredibly valuable. I can thank almost two years of therapy and medication-assisted treatment for my success in recovery.

There are many options when it comes to recovery: church, yoga and meditation, therapy, exercise, medication-assisted treatment, using self-help books and apps, support groups (12-stepSMARTWomen for SobrietyLifeRing, and others) and more. I recommend trying one or a combination of any of the above.

“Hello, I’m Emily and I’m an addict,” are words that will likely never leave my lips again. I don’t identify as an addict now and I won’t in 20 years.

I chose a recovery path that has left my life as an addict completely in the rear-view mirror, and for me, that’s right where it belongs.

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Emily J. Sullivan

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Emily J. Sullivan is a Los Angeles based writer specializing in addiction, mental health, relationships, and lifestyle. When she’s not chasing around her twin daughters, she’s writing, dancing, geeking out on Game of Thrones with her fiancé and soon-to-be stepson, or shopping for Jimmy Choos on eBay.