Recovery Requires Overcoming our Past Pain …Identifying Underlying Issues and Roots to Your Addiction to Gain Recovery.

Recovery Requires Overcoming our Past Pain …Identifying Underlying Issues and Roots to Your Addiction to Gain Recovery.

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I have recently been introduced to a new recovery friend who I may be helping him with a writing project of his memoirs. His story and testimony, like mine, are filled with many roots, underlying issues and old pain as to why he turned to addiction. 

Actually, what this man had endured and now causes him much haunting pain and nightmares today that had been suppressed in his memory for many years, it amazes me he is still alive to tell his story.

Why? Because the stats are alarming on how many people are sexually assaulted every year in America, and on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assaults each year.  Every 73 seconds, a sexual assault occurs.

Just boys and men alone, 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. This leaves many lives traumatically changed forever, constant pain and haunting memories as I had for years myself and those feelings of the shame, lost innocence, and feeling dirty as though it was my fault this happened to me. 

All those years of asking GOD?

 WHY ME? 


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I won’t lie, even though I now have learned the tools to process what happened to me, talking with my new friend, it has brought up some of those feelings back. As we spoke, I felt his pain. I can hear the anxiety and anger.

I have told him he needs to let go of the anger and resentment I was hearing in his voice as he shared his story and events with me, and privileged he is, it needs to be validated for him instead of others just shutting him down or think he’s just crazy. He is a human being with feelings. I know just how much “words” can hurt and hurt more so than physical pain. Because I too have been ridiculed in the same manner by my own family members, I am estranged from today.

Being molested and experienced trauma of this kind is challenging to find the proper words to describe your loss of innocence and your identity stripped away, leaving you confused, empty, broken, and feeling worthless and ashamed. I carried that into my adulthood. I learned I could use a mask of humor to appear I was just as happy and healthy like everyone else while my pain and rage began building through the years. Many other issues came into play as I was growing up. Feeling significant sensitivity when my parents physically disciplined me, as I got older, the verbal abuse.

Of course, all the while, the anger was building a perfect storm, as it continued brewing into my adult life, and turning to addiction to try and cope, numb out and not feel the haunting pain and nightmares that came back around age 30.  By 33, I was almost into full-blown gambling addiction.  Right before my first suicide attempt and treatment and was not my last, I began to abuse alcohol toward my second suicide attempt as addicted gambling stopped working as my escape and hide from the pain.

I began gaining a few years of recovery time, is when I started writing in a journal.  Those journals helped in releasing my book/memoir. I started my research for my book learning dark secrets that had me looking at my parents much; differently, it is an uncomfortable feeling to see your parents in a whole new light. And not a positive one either.

I share these feelings as it seems, even after fifteen years of estrangement from my father and the rest of my dysfunctional side of the family, they still feel the need to add salt to the old wounds even today by leaving “ugly” comments of my book as reviews anywhere they think they can hurt me. I’m OK today, so I ignore it.

WHY?

Because I set those boundaries long ago and learned the tools not to let any of that as blame to make me relapse nor relapse from any of my roots and underlying issues that used to make me run to escape with a few hours of gambling, and ALL THE TIME.  You can learn the full-back story as I wrote a recent recovery post about this topic here on my recovery blog  https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/family-may-not-understand-about-addiction-nor-support-you-as-you-change-maintaining-recovery-the-2nd-chance-syndrome-some-dont-get-it/


See, one of my new years “fear busting resolutions” is to share more
about this side of my life and embrace the fact it happened, and I made it out the other side of my sexual trauma and abuse. Not as a victim any longer, and I know it wasn’t me or anything I did to invite sexual molestation to happen to me.

Again, I want to be clear that I am a recovery warrior and no longer a victim.  NO, I don’t blame my parents either, but we don’t get to pick and choose who our family is.  But I won’t continue to be treated poorly, seek their approval, or be verbally abused by them any longer.  I don’t have to keep and use my moms’ old poor behaviors as they have used for years and enabled my mom.

So, sadly,  I needed to distance myself to keep my own sanity and recovery intact later in my life and did so many year’s ago.

My main point to my ramblings? 

Learning the roots and underlying issues of why we turned addiction, and these were some of the fuel to mine, we have to process them healthily, know it is OK to seek professional help, and no shame in doing so.  This will aide you from relapse.  I learned that the hard way.  When you do, you can begin to forgive, let go and “Let God” and begin to heal, find true peace and happiness, and start a successful long-term recovery road.

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Today, I have the comfort of knowing that GOD and those who have passed on like my mother, my brother-in-law, just a couple of dear friends who are the only ones who know my real truth of what I went through.

This is the only validation I need that keeps me in peace and serenity.

As I know GOD will always love me unconditionally . . .  ✝💞👼🙏🙏

 

Guest Recovery Article – Making Amends Within Our Recovery and How It Is Done.

Guest Recovery Article – Making Amends Within Our Recovery and How It Is Done.

When it’s time for an addict maintaining recovery to make amends to those loved ones they have caused pain and may have hurt from the wreckage of our addiction, where does one begin? What if you can not remember all those who may have been hurt? I ask this because if we are high, drunk, or zoned out, we may not recall everyone we may have touched within our “selfishness” and is a part of the disease of addiction.

I know I couldn’t remember everyone I may have owed money to when I was thick into my gambling addiction. Our choices made within the sickness of pills or fog and haze of alcohol, many addicts don’t recall and those left in pain may not understand this really can happen. I’m a firm believer that our past should not dictate our future.

So how to begin the process of “amends.” When we have done the hard work needed within recovery and we have completed the “inner work” of self and are ready to move on to apologize to those we offended, which includes criminally, how to get started?

This featured article is shared by the fine folks of Betty Ford – Hazelden Org, can help all of us who have come to this fork in the road within our recovery journey. Making amends is an important part of our work and has to be done right …
Catherine

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“Making Amends is More Than an Apology” ~ By John MacDougall, D.Min. ~ Restoring justice as much as possible.

Addiction creates moral wreckage. People who become addicted to alcohol or other drugs might lie, cheat, or steal in order to get and use their drug of choice. Often what’s left behind is a trail of shattered relationships.

In this situation, apologies won’t do. Alcoholics Anonymous calls for making amends instead. These are mentioned specifically in several of The Twelve Steps, including:

  • Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Carrying out these two steps is a delicate process that calls for guidance from a sponsor or counselor. In an interview, John MacDougall, D.Min., a Dan Anderson Renewal Center presenter, answered questions about making amends.

How do amends differ from apologies?

An amend has to do with restoring justice as much as possible. The idea is to restore in a direct way that which we have broken or damaged—or to make restoration in a symbolic way if we can’t do it directly.

Say, for example, that I borrowed 20 dollars from you and never paid you back. If I go up to you and say, “Gee, I’m sorry I borrowed your 20 dollars and spent it on drugs,” that would be an apology. Making amends is giving your money back to you.

Why does Step Nine suggest that people avoid direct amends in certain cases?

For instance, you don’t run home and say to your spouse, “Gee honey, I had a wonderful time in addiction treatment. I learned all about rigorous honesty, so I want to apologize to you for an affair I had five years ago.” That’s clearing your conscience at the expense of someone else who’s going to feel terrible. In this case, your amend can be an indirect one. Stop having affairs and bring your heart, your energy, and your attention back home where it belongs.

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Are direct amends simply impossible at times?

Yes. Say, for example, that someone gets drunk, drives, and kills somebody in a traffic accident. You can’t go back and “unkill” the person who died. Instead, you can fill out an organ donor card. This is an indirect amend that can give life back to someone in the future. Remember that with crimes such as drunk driving, people might need to go to court and take a punishment. That’s part of making amends as well.

You’ve mentioned direct and indirect amends. Are there other kinds?

Sometimes people talk about “living” amends. This simply means that we live differently. Amends are about a genuine change in our behavior instead of the patchwork of an apology. We take on a whole new way of life. We stop accumulating fresh insults to our selves and others.

What are the benefits of making amends?

If we’ve continually harmed people and haven’t made any effort toward amends, then we’ve got a lot of people, places, and things to avoid. Large areas of life become closed off to us. When you’re willing to make amends, those areas open up again. You don’t have to avoid people anymore. This is true not only for people in recovery but for all of us.

The book of AA mentions the promises of recovery. They come right after the explanation of Step Nine. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development,” it says, “we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.”

That’s what happens when we bring justice back into our lives by making amends.



John MacDougall, Dan Anderson Renewal Center presenter

John MacDougall is the spiritual care coordinator at The Retreat in Wayzata, Minnesota. He was previously at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for 20 years and is the author of  Being Sober and Becoming Happy.

 

 

Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Guest Article Share by SoberRecovery That Addresses – Is Addiction a Choice, a Disease, or Both? By Caitlin Thiede

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors,

This topic has been a question and debate that has been around a long time. Do addicts make the choice to destroy their lives? Or is addiction really an illness and disease? Or is both? When I visit other addiction/recovery websites and online magazines to be informed, educated, and learn more about recovery, I seem to find some engaging articles.

Since my own addiction I maintain recovery from, this question always seems to get a lot of comments because gambling addiction is still so underground. The action of gambling is still seen in the light of “just a few hours of fun and entertaining,” so how could an activity like this produce addicts? Part of that comes from Stigma. I can tell you I have read a lot of negative comments from people I assume have never been touched by a gambling problem or know someone with one. So you won’t seem to receive empathy or understanding from someone like this.

It is why I write, blog, and advocate. I want to change the landscape around and the conversation that needs to begin about addicted gambling. Addicted compulsive gambling doesn’t happen over night. Just like many other addictions. But it is time to bring it into the light and out of the shadows. So let’s read this article and learn if addiction is a choice, a disease, or both …Catherine

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Addiction is claiming the lives of people at an alarming rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 33,091 deaths from opioids in 2015. This number is largely reflected by an increasing use of synthetic opioids and heroin.

The Clean Slate

After going through 12 Step Processes and other recovery treatments to eventually overcome addiction firsthand, Steven Slate, who authored an addiction site named “The Clean Slate,” is starting new conversations on how we approach addiction. Slate is most famous for his TED Talk speech on “Addiction Is A Choice.” Through the TED Talk and his organization “The Clean Slate,” he is advocating a deeper look beyond the age old debate of addiction as a disease vs. addiction as a choice.

Slate’s website states regarding the addiction as a disease theory:

“On the issue of ‘addiction,’ you will change it when you cease to believe that heavy drug and alcohol use is your best option for finding happiness. Work on changing that belief if you want to change your habit.

Believing in the ‘underlying causes of addiction’ (and/or ‘self-medication’) model creates a more complicated problem. If you invest in this idea, then every time life sends a problem your way, or when you feel the very normal emotions of sadness, depression, stress, or anxiety – then you will feel as if you must use drugs and alcohol. If you cease to believe that heavy drug or alcohol use is your best option for happiness then you will cease the heavy use of drugs and alcohol – regardless of whether you continue to face depression, stress, anxiety, etc.”

His site continues with the answer to a challenge his “choice” theory often faces:

“You say addiction is a choice, so what do you suggest people do, use willpower to quit?
‘Addicts’ have no less or no more ‘willpower’ than anyone else. Every behavior that every person makes at any given time is, in a sense, an expression of willpower. … Essentially, if you choose to think differently about drugs and alcohol, and about how they fit into your life and competing goals, then your desire for them will change.”

Although this may sound outrageously optimistic to some, Slate’s perspective on the issue is relevant to every psychiatrist, doctor, clinician and addict who may be in treatment. His site poses (and answers) the most important question of all—is our approach towards diagnosing addicts making them feel empowered or leaving them feeling powerless?

Pros & Cons of Each Viewpoint

When researching articles of addiction as a disease, it accurately argues the brain’s physical changes in response to a drug. Addiction is the malfunctioning of brain and nerve endings due to excessive dopamine levels. A normal brain would respond “happily” to pleasurable things such as good food, healthy relationships, and rewarding experiences. However, an addicted brain sends signals to nerve endings that there is something wrong. What would trigger “happy” feelings for a normal brain is no longer enough for the addicted brain.

The pros of the “addiction as a disease” argument is that it circumvents the demonization of the drug user. On the other hand, this judgment can also lead to addicts indulging in self-destructive behavior because they feel there is something innately wrong with them. This viewpoint also sends messages that addicts are at the mercy of something bigger than them, and it may leave them feeling like a helpless victim stuck in a never-ending cycle.

Alternatively, the “addiction as a choice” viewpoint rightfully defends the addict as a person of will. This attitude translates into empowerment, and can boost the user’s confidence and self-esteem as they conquer the most unfavorable circumstances, symptoms, and mindsets. On the down side, this outlook can encourage a lack of compassion for addicts because they “could have done better.”

The Verdict

All arguments aside, this ongoing debate concerning addiction highlights a significant flaw in our system; rallying for a label may be prioritized above rallying for the success of an individual. Instead of focusing on why someone becomes an addict, we need to redirect the conversation to how an addict can heal. No matter why or how someone gets to this point in their lives, our only job as professionals, friends and family is to love them unconditionally. Of course, not to judge their choices or debate the root of their addiction. If you or someone you love is an addict, remind them that they aren’t alone.

PLEASE Browse There directory of treatment centers to find one that may be a good fit, or call 800-772-8219 to speak to a treatment specialist today. You can also subcribe by visiting here at SoberRecovery!

A Special Message From ~ “The Addicts Mom” Who Advocates Tirelessly About Her Son & Helping Other Moms…

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AUGUST 31st 2017 IS “Fed Up” Day of Remembrance ~ TAM Hero

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“Another TAM Hero – The Core Centers of Recovery for helped Darrell N Michelle Jaskulski son Kyle achieve recovery. We are so grateful to Stuart Goffman and his wonderful staff at the Core for their outstanding treatment.”


Voices of The Addict’s Mom

When Treatment Works By Michelle Jaskulski


“I want to share with everyone the story of my son Kyle, and his recent experience with treatment. We are very hopeful that he is truly on the road to life-long recovery.”

The week after Easter, my 24-year-old son, Kyle, after four years of struggling with opioids, heroin, and other drugs, finally was willing to accept help in the form of inpatient substance abuse treatment. I called every facility in our state of Wisconsin looking for help, but there were so many obstacles, including lack of appropriate insurance coverage, too much down payment money required, or a month long wait-list. To further complicate matters, Kyle was on probation.

Because TAM Founder, Barbara Theodosiou, has openly “Shared Without Shame” for ten years, she and TAM are very well-known in South Florida, and across the nation. Stuart Goffman of The Core Centers in Fort Lauderdale was touched by Barbara’s tragic story of Daniel and how some of the people in the treatment industry had taken advantage of Daniel during his many attempts at recovery. Stuart wanted to establish a relationship with TAM. I felt relieved when Barbara and Stuart and I spoke on the phone about bringing Kyle to The Core. Stuart was very attentive to not only Kyle’s needs, but to mine as the mother of an addicted child.

The staff at The Core was very helpful and welcoming. Kyle was homesick because we are a close family and he was very far from home! In addition, this was his first attempt at inpatient treatment. The staff practice client-centered methods of treatment and they worked with Kyle to help him adjust to his new environment. The staff encouraged open communication with our son, so Kyle and his counselor called us once a week to go over his progress and his plans. With each call, we could tell he was getting better, stronger and more determined to recover. He had to learn to be independent and cope with his struggles, by developing life skills. Through group tasks, the young people learned to cooperate with each other and became Kyle’s second family.

When it was time for Kyle to come home, the staff helped Kyle with a smooth transition. Members of the staff also wrote letters of support to Kyle’s probation officer, who at the time wanted to revoke him for leaving the state.  Ultimately, Kyle did not get revoked and has been back home with us since the beginning of July. He has continued to work his recovery, going to a weekly group, and he has found a full-time job. He is not only paying off his restitution, he is working out at the gym each day.

I am really proud of the efforts and progress my son has made over the last several months. I’ve asked him what he thinks are the reasons for his success, and he attributes it to the community-like atmosphere and care that The Core offers as a small center. I want to thank everyone at the center for helping Kyle begin his life again, with hopes for a successful future.   ~Michelle Jaskulski


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Stuart Goffman, CFO and a Co-Founder of The Core Centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, feel’s very fortunate that in his youth, he “never had any connection to the recovery world.” When Stuart moved to Florida, however, a good friend became a serious alcoholic and Stuart was both was saddened and amazed at his choices and behavior. Stuart tried to help his friend through tough love, encouragement and positive solutions.

However, according to Stuart, “I didn’t understand that addiction is a disease, and tough love doesn’t always work.”

Through his experiences with his friend, Stuart learned about addiction, recovery, and sobriety. He decided to found The Core Centers to treat clients the way he would want to be treated. Stuart hired an expert staff that practice patient-centered treatment in a family-like atmosphere. His staff is committed to helping each and every individual in their care achieve success in their recovery in order that they may have an opportunity to live a productive, happy future…..


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Please also visit and become a supporter by signing up for ” The Addicts Mom Website for helpful resources and her story!

AND THIS MY Recovery Friends is how treatment, recovery, and aftercare should work!!   “Sometimes it takes a village.”

Catherine 🙂