Thanksgiving Wishes and a Special Guest Article of Hope, Uplifting, and Serenity. Only One I Know Does It Well, Author and Advocate, Sandy Swenson …

Thanksgiving Wishes and a Special Guest Article of Hope, Uplifting, and Serenity. Only One I Know Does It Well, Author and Advocate, Sandy Swenson …

Wishing all my recovery friends and readers a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

I wanted to post something special for a few days who may mosey here as I begin my Holiday Watch and Blogging for the Holidays so anyone looking for help from gambling or any addiction will know someone cares and they are not alone through the Holidays! Leave a comment or EMAIL me: lyonmedia@aol  and I’ll be checking both many times a day!

Now, please meet Sandy Swenson! A longtime friend of mine through social media recovery communities is how we met. I have not shared a post of hers in a while but she is the ONLY person I would have and share at Holiday Time as she has been through it all and can uniquely write about how it can be a tough time when you either live with or lost an addict. SO I’ll let her get to it and Y’all go visit and signup for her newsletter too!

.

 

Nov 21, 2018, / Sandy Swenson

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

.


.

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

When my boys were little, they hovered about the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, eager to get started with stuffing the turkey. We tied on aprons, washed our hands, pushed step stools over to the kitchen counter, and discussed who, exactly, would need to touch the pale and pimply turkey flesh.

My oldest son dumped bread cubes into a large bowl and his brother stirred in the onions and sage; they took turns scooping stuffing into the hollow center of our holiday bird before it was slathered in oil and popped in the oven. Our home was full of pleasant aromas and anticipation and things to be thankful for.

Norman Rockwell picture-perfect.

But things changed once my oldest son became addicted.

.
 

Thanksgiving became a day stuffed with unspoken disappointment, anger, and fear rather than too much pie and good cheer. His younger brother, dad and I would wait for my son to show up—or not show up at all—while our turkey and sweet potatoes shriveled away in the oven. Retreating to different parts of the house, we avoided the sad festivities and phony smiles until tradition beckoned us to sit down at the table across from my son’s very empty place. Thankful, I was not.

It has been ten years now since my son even pretended he was coming home for Thanksgiving dinner. (I don’t know where he has turkey. Or if he has turkey.) I’ve had time to adjust to Thanksgiving the way it is and stop wishing for the way it should be, but time hasn’t taken away the hurt—or the hole where he should be. I suspect it never will. Instead, over time, I’ve grown stronger. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to get through and even enjoy the holidays again.

1. Make room for your feelings and let go of old expectations.

I’m now strong enough to face the hurt rather than stuff it away (more often than not), and I’m strong enough to fill the holes in my life and my heart with things that make the day better, not worse. That means facing reality, not trying to re-create what can’t be re-created, starting new traditions, and spending quality time with some happy old memories.

There’s a lot wrapped up in this big day that rolls around one short day a year. A lot of hopeful hopes, fears, disappointments, and stress—when holiday tradition and expectation meet addiction it can be madness. But it’s possible to look at things differently, to do things differently, especially if the whole family is recruited to open their eyes and minds. And when the spirit of things leading up to the big day is giving thanks, that spirit is contagious.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a day for gathering together with loved ones and having fun. So simple—and beautiful—if left simple. A performance, it is not. And living up to unrealistic expectations, I will not.

I no longer spend weeks leading up to Thanksgiving trying to pretend that everything is fine, that addiction hasn’t consumed my son (and therefore my whole family), and that we can still pull off a pretend-perfect performance.

“I no longer stuff down my sadness, putting on the dressing of normal life in the same way I shove myself into my jeans after a big meal—by taking a deep breath, swallowing the pain, and pasting on a smile.”

Instead, I plan ahead. I take the time to face my feelings—I take the time to grieve and cry for what was and what isn’t—and then, acknowledging the pitfalls I don’t want to fall into, I figure out ways to make the holiday work. And one of those ways is to ask for help—from friends, family, a therapist or counselor or any of the hundreds of support groups, like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or The Addict’s Mom.

2. Celebrate those who are at the table and let go of perfection.

I have Let Go of thinking that I’m the only one who can make the day (any day, actually) perfect, for anyone. Or that I can please everyone. Thanksgiving is made all the better with family participation—which means asking for everyone’s hands and hearts to be in the right place at the right time. Together we can prepare and adapt to the fact that our addicted loved one might not show up (or worse).

But, who is not at the table shouldn’t take up more space than the people who are.

There is no end to the room I have at my table. And in my heart. But both my heart and home have rules. Before the big day, I set my boundaries (and set up escape hatches), knowing that it’s possible that not everyone who shows up is going to behave. I can’t control the actions of anyone else, but what I can control is me (and even that is no easy task.). By facing reality, my actions don’t need to be reactions. My boundaries don’t need to be rough, they just need to be strong.

3. Try something different; open your heart to something new.

When the holiday hurts, maybe it’s time to try something different—something smaller, or bigger, or somewhere new. The meal, the menu, an old family recipe, the way (or the place) that we’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving…. the little traditions mean nothing compared to the meaning of the big tradition itself.

There was a time when I would spend weeks shopping and chopping, mixing and rolling, cleaning and decorating, for a meal that, for all of its hype, actually took less than thirty minutes to eat (not counting the time spent talking). But I enjoyed all the creative chaos. Until things changed. And then I didn’t. I felt a bit guilty at first, serving store-bought pie or stuffing from the deli, but the reality is, that isn’t what matters. And no one ever noticed—or if they did, they didn’t care.

4. Share your gratitude and give back.

Who is at the table is more important than what is on the table (or where the table is). In the holiday hubbub, it’s easy to forget what the holiday is really about.

“Giving thanks.”

So I’ve learned, having grown in my own recovery, to make every effort to live in the moment. To give thanks for the moment. To give thanks for those around me—those people who matter, and who deserve to feel like they matter, no matter what else is going on. I take the time to soak in and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. Of which there is a lot.

My need to fill the hole that addiction has left in both my heart and life is big. And I’ve found that helping others keeps me moving forward. It may be overwhelming to add one more expectation to a day already laden with so much, but giving thanks by showing thanks doesn’t have to fall on one particular day in the fall. I’ve got 364 other days of the year in which to do what my heart needs to do. It helps me to help kids whose moms, for whatever reason, are unable to do mom stuff for them right now. And maybe someday someone will do the same thing for my son.

5. Accept what is, one day at a time.

Yes, I’m finally strong enough to fill the hole in my life where my son should be with things that make the holiday better, not worse. I’m strong enough to face reality—to accept what is—to start new traditions, and to spend time with some happy old memories; those are mine to keep and enjoy, forever.

Old memories still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, but I’m finally able to treasure my memories for what they are: gifts. I am blessed to have had so many years of such happiness, and not even addiction can take that away. After everything that has happened, I still have my sons’ smiles, the sounds of their voices, and the feel of their hugs, no matter how far away they may be. So, in giving thanks, I take the time to remember what was before embracing, fully, what is. I laugh, I cry. I allow the movies in my mind to fill my soul.

This year I will visit my 91-year-old mom in Memory Care, then my dad and I will have our Thanksgiving dinner at the home of the friend I grew up with and her parents, people we’ve known for about 55 years. Friends like family–I’m immensely grateful for that.

Many years ago my oldest son sent me this message:

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Hopefully, someday I’ll give you a reason to be thankful for me. I love you. Thank you for still loving me.”

No matter what, I have always been thankful for both of my boys. And I’m thankful for what I have now. And I’m thankful that they both know how much they are loved.

This is me filling, not stuffing.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with things to be thankful for, too.
~______________________________________~

Please recovery friends, go visit Sandy on her beautiful and helpful website and her Amazing Books make excellent Holiday Gifts!

.

 

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy Swenson

 

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Advertisements

Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

Tips for Building a Support System During Recovery By Christine H. My Recovery Guest.

“Addiction has an interesting effect on our interpersonal relationships. Even after we’ve gone through the process of becoming sober and repairing our lives after addiction, the scars of addiction can continue to impact the most important relationships in our lives.”

This is especially problematic considering how essential relationships are for ongoing recovery. In fact, some researchers have gone so far as to claim that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, but connection. Sociologically, addiction can have a powerful impact on isolation, and feel “cast out.”

Addiction can make it hard to integrate back into normal life: getting a job, going on dates, making new friends, and being yourself with close friends and family. However, it is possible, and the benefits of building up your support network of friends and family are absolutely worth the investment that you put into it.

A support network doesn’t just empower your recovery after addiction, it also brings you moments and experiences that help you know that recovery (and life itself!) is worthwhile. Here are some tips to help you on your way:

1: Friends who have also experienced addiction are invaluable… as long as they’re as dedicated to recovery as you are.


Often, the new friends that we make during recovery are individuals who have been through something similar to us. They might be friends that you make in group therapy, a support group, or in residential rehab. They might even be people that you just happen to connect with spontaneously when you learn about your commonalities.

However, it’s important to remember to protect your sobriety carefully. Maintaining friendships with people who are currently involved in addiction, without any attempts to change, can be damaging to your own wellbeing. Tread carefully, and trust the advice of professionals and sober friends who have helped you in your own recovery process.

2: Do what you can to build family relationships wherever possible.

.

Displaying Support system 2.jpg

Family relationships are complicated. However, they’re also the best resources when you really need help. The family knows you best, and they’ve taken care of you in the past, and vice versa. That being said, sometimes those of us who have experienced addiction in our lives are more likely to have some family relationships that contribute to underlying causes of addiction, instead of healing them.
It’s important to utilize professional resources, in this case, to repair family systems when possible. Having an experienced third party looking at your family dynamics can help you to identify harmful patterns and communicate effectively, instead of falling into familiar, unfruitful arguments.


Besides utilizing professional help to repair family relationships, there are two things that you can do whenever possible in order to further support family connections. First, recognize when you’re responsible for something being difficult or hard for another person to bear, and apologize appropriately.

Second, express gratitude more often for the things that family members do for you. Many of these things will be small, and others will be large. No matter the size, show appreciation for those people closest to you that you’re otherwise likely to take for granted.

3: Some things need professional help.

.

Displaying Support system 3.jpg

.

If you’re leaning on your friends for weekly intensive, introspective discussions to support your ongoing recovery, it can be a lot for them to handle. First of all, your friend might not have the experience and education they need to really be helpful.

Second of all, a little help from a friend might turn into a lot very quickly. Make sure that you utilize professional resources where appropriate, including group and individual therapy, sobriety coaches, and sponsors (which aren’t professional, per say, but are still specialized.)

4: Make new friends too.

It’s important to recognize that during this period, you might be rather needy. Don’t rely on just one person to provide all that you need, or you could burn them out fast. After addiction, it’s easy to withdraw and only rely on a few trusted individuals who understand the whole story and have shown themselves to be supportive of you. And you don’t need to get into codependent relationships.

However, being active supports a sober lifestyle, and you will probably need different friends for different purposes. Go out and meet new people. They don’t all need to know your whole life story; some will simply be acquaintances. But acquaintances who encourage you to go out, be active, and do things that you love are also invaluable.

5: Give as much as you get.

I mentioned gratitude towards family members above; it’s important to infuse gratitude in all of your interactions with other people. When we recognize all the ways that others help us, it motivates us to help them, too. No friendship is a one-way street, and you’re never the only person out there who needs a helping hand. Acknowledge that most of the people around you are also going through something hard, although their challenges might look different from yours.

Find opportunities to be a true friend to them, just as they are to you.

.

Related image

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!

.

(Like this courses coming soon!)

.

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.

Image result for copy free images of kevin t coughlin


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!

.

.

“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!

Free E-Book With Certificate Course On The Twelve-Step Process

The Professional’s International Institute Of Higher Learning Online Private Online Mastermind Group For Students

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Don’t worry, your information will not be shared.

Subscribe

Support In Recovery? Many Just Don’t Have It! But I Am Blessed To Have Marilyn. . .

pic

Let me tell you about a wonderful dear friend of mine, Marilyn.  She is an author like me, and when I started to help her with promoting her books, we became fast friends. Our friendship has grown to more like a mom and daughter, as she IS a #1 recovery supporter of mine.  And I have been “blessed” since the first day we met.  Her self-help book titled; Silent Echoes By Marilyn Fowler On Amazon  is a very helpful read. Marilyn Fowler is full of wise wisdom and shares so much support and life coaching with me that I feel I need to pay $$$ for it! LOL! .. But she gives it freely.

I share this because many of us are not always blessed with people or family around us in recovery that are willing to support us on this journey of as Marilyn put in new blog post today, Self-Discovery. Now she was talking about it in the context when you have health challenges, but I told her that it can apply to us in recovery.

Part of our work we do within ourselves is also “self-discovery” and making changes to become better people. And I know HOW important support from family and friends can be to, especially when not ALL family members support or understand that a person can recover from addiction. I have come to accept and overcome this. WHY? Because I have so many wonderful friends here who are like family to me who DO support me in all I do. So here is the share of my adopted mom, Marilyn’s post, and please go visit and read all her wonderful and helpful “self-help” posts here: Self Help Road To Freedom By Marilyn “-)
–   –    –    –    –     –    –

November 11, 2015

Using Health Challenges As Windows To Self-Discovery.

In our travel through life we live in mostly predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. When we get up in the morning, we expect our day to be as we’ve already imagined it. Our plans are made, and we expect to fulfill them. And we don’t want unexpected occurrences changing any of it. No interruptions, please.

But whether we like it or not, unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, your kid missed the school bus, you forgot an important appointment, etc, etc. All bothersome, but part of daily life and fairly quickly resolved or at least tolerated. But what happens when unexpected illness invades your systematic life, like a ferocious belly ache, a hip replacement, a fractured leg, the flu, various viral infections, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a Band-Aid.

Ten days ago I had eye surgery to remove old lens debris from cataract surgery 7 years ago that just now caused a cloud over my eye. After surgery I spent 2 days exhausted and a little dizzy, maybe from anesthesia, most of the week with visual restrictions, not driving, and I’m still using eye drops and an eye shield at night. I never heard of such a thing, but it’s a good example of how a health challenge can suddenly interrupt your life.

Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality and the way you view your life. It may involve physical pain, frustration, annoyance, guilt, self-criticism, worry, resentment, added expenses, etc. And it may rob you of your mobility, freedom, and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. It interrupts your daily plan for living and leaves time on your hands that doesn’t fit in with your scheme of things.

.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
~Bernice Johnson Reagon

Over the years we’re given many opportunities to learn and grow as our own unique, special self. But do you ever see such a blessing in those health challenges that knock you off your familiar path? How do you respond in those situations? Do you stomp your feet and throw things because you can’t keep that important event? Do you worry about being late paying the electric bill? Do you worry about the unknown? Or do you take advantage of each situation to observe yourself and discover more of who you are?

“The wish for healing has always been half of health.”   ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
 
My eye surgery could have been more stressful had I not learned from a bout with pneumonia last spring with 3 days in the hospital, then home with medication and oxygen 24/7. That oxygen hose hanging from my nose and dragging the floor around my feet and legs slowed me way down enough to turn on some self-observation. And I’m learning a lot about myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don’t like being sick–I’d rather be swimming with an alligator in Silver Springs (a tame one)–but now I’m better able to view illness not as an enemy, but an ally there to help me. I’m learning more about me, and I’m transferring what I learn to other aspects of my life.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

When you go through a non-life-threatening illness, and your life has been put on hold for a while, quiet your mind and ask what you can learn from that experience. Clarify your thoughts and feelings. And pay attention to how you react to physical pain and/or your situation. What are you losing and gaining? Question your life style. Are there positive changes you can make? Use this extra time to learn more about you…the most important person in your life. And come through it changed in some way with gratitude.

I wish you happy enlightenment, Marilyn .  .  .  .

I hope you enjoyed reading and meeting my adopted mom! LOL. So happy to have her and all of you in my Life! XO

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate