Domestic Violence Is Epidemic in the U.S.& Beyond

Beyond the U.S. in many places domestic violence is not considered a crime   (see definition and info)

see original article now.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.

Women are much more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence with 85 percent of domestic abuse victims being women and 15 percent men. Too many women have been held captive by domestic violence — whether through physical abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse or a combination of all three.

We are inundated with news stories about domestic violence , from athletes beating their significant others in public elevators or in their own homes to celebrities publicly abusing their girlfriends. This problem is not one that will go away quickly or quietly.

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, discussions about intimate partner abuse and its horrible repercussions should not. In an attempt to illustrate the gravity of abuse all genders (but largely women) face in the U.S., we rounded up 30 statistics on domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not a singular incident, it’s an insidious problem deeply rooted in our culture — and these numbers prove that.

Read the staggering statistics original article at the Huffington Post

READ MORE!

More statistics article here:

Imagine you are in a relationship for 10 years

Imagine Your in a Relationship for 10 Years
Poll of the Week

Imagine you are in a relationship for 10 years and all is going well.
There is romance, trust and love between you both. Then all the
sudden you meet someone new and you cannot get them off your
mind. There is an unstoppable attraction that is driving you nuts.

Hammock Buddha hails from Japan and he just posed that question
in the polls. The reaction has been nothing short of extraordinary so
please visit the link above to login and kindly share your thoughts!

Find the answers to this question here…click now….

http://spiritualnetworks.com/poll/10062/you-are-in-relationship-for-10-yrs-all-is-going-well-there-is-romance-there/

 

Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation

THE FINE ART OF “MANIPULATION”

Most humans are skilled in the art of emotional manipulation even if we are unaware of it.  Thing is, we have learned controlling people works better through dishonest means rather than the honest approach.  Unfortunately that makes for sick relationships and a loss of Love.  And let’s face it AA and NA are full of dysfunctional relationships.  Unfortunately sick guidance is rampant in AA but it’s still one of the best ways to get sober.  That is, if you also seek God and get some empathic therapy along with it.  And absolutely read the Big Book for yourself and go to step study and same sex meetings.

One reason we do the 12 steps is so we can become aware of our character patterns both healthy and unhealthy.  Oftentimes active addicts have enablers who help us get our much desired dope and money.  We may feel reliant on enablers for something.  Therefore we often feel we must handle our enablers in a way they will react and behave as we want them to.  We are skilled in the art of getting a desired reaction from our “foe” per-say.

Continue reading “Addicts, Alcoholics and Manipulation”

Sober Relationships (part 2) A Man’s Perspective

Relationships and Early Recovery by Fred Hundt

 

When I came into recovery, carried into the Psych Ward for my threats against myself and others, I felt as alone as I’d ever been in my life.  My girlfriend was done with me, I’d alienated most of my friends and my main relationship problem was that I didn’t have any.  I had to face the fact that, for the first time in my life, no one was going to “rescue” me.  I had to face my addiction and my demons and I needed to accept help honestly rather than manipulating people and situations.

 

In early sobriety I heard the AA maxim of not getting into a new relationship for at least a year.  I didn’t understand it then, but listened to my sponsor’s advice to take things slowly, earning my way back into my girlfriend’s life with my behaviors, not promises.  He also warned me against turning meeting camaraderie with women in the program into anything more. 

 

Looking back, I’m grateful for the AA approach and my sponsor’s “Easy Does It” advice.  In early sobriety I needed to build a relationship with me.  I’d been avoiding myself through alcohol for years.  I had to learn to face myself, spend time with myself and, eventually, even begin to like myself.  I also needed to build a close working relationship with my Higher Power.  I learned to talk to my HP through daily prayer, to connect through meditation and to listen to the quiet voice of Spirit within.  Building those two relationships was a full time job…I couldn’t have given them the attention they needed if I had been involved in a romantic relationship.

 

I watch newcomers in the rooms get involved in relationships and I see the roller coaster rides they take.  I remember that in my early sobriety I needed less drama, not more.  I’d had plenty of it in my last few drinking years.  I needed the calm and quiet of those months to learn about serenity and how to achieve and maintain it in my life.

 

Part of what I realized about myself in early recovery is that I was a “taker,” not a “giver.”  As much as I tried to wrap my behavior in noble motives, I had always looked at relationships entirely from the point of view of what I could get from them.  I always expected that the “next” woman would save me, would make things all right.  When that didn’t happen, I pulled away.  I usually didn’t even have the courage to break up.  I would just make myself emotionally unavailable until she broke up with me.  That allowed me to play the victim or the martyr.  I didn’t know how to have an honest relationship!  If I had pursued a new relationship in early recovery, I’m certain that I would have defaulted back to my old behavior.  Falling back in the part of my life would have risked relapse, too.

 

Over months (and years) of sobriety, parts of the program began to sink in.  I began to learn humility and thought of myself less.  I began to focus on how I could serve others without expecting anything in return.  I learned that I could be honest with my Higher Power and with the people in my life.  Today I have a wonderful relationship with the woman who had “written me off” that night I went to the Psych Ward.  I’m grateful each day for the opportunity to serve her and for the simple joy it brings me.  I can’t give anyone else relationship advice, but can share that the AA program has worked for me in this and all areas of my life.

SOBER SEX

SEX IN EARLY RECOVERY

(link to Big Book page 68-71 sexual inventory)
“BIG BOOK SEXUAL INVENTORY PAGE 69” (see in pop up)
Open a popup window

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct” pg 69 Big Book.   (a*r*b*i*t*e*r-a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.)

“We do not want to be the arbiter of anyones sex conduct”, so it states in the Big Book and rightly so!   Translation:  Unless someone asks for advice don’t give it.   We thank you for that clarification Bill Wilson.  BUT a big BUT!  It just so happens that  sex is a hot topic in and out of the rooms and “not being an arbiter”  doesn’t mean we can’t read and talk about what sober sex is all about.   In accordance with the 12 Steps of AA (the good and righteous principles) we  should live by truth, respect, humility, faith, hope, Love, charity and more,

BUT WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES? (click here for complete principles of AA)

Core Spiritual Principles of the Program:  Willingness, Open-mindedness, Honesty

AA’s Code:  Love and Tolerance of Others

Gratitude, Acceptance, Love, Honesty, Tolerance, Unselfishness, Strength, Serenity, Giving, Fortitude, Faith, Brotherhood, Service, Understanding, Courage, Wisdom, Humility, self-forgetting,  compassion, Love, kindness,  persistence, faith, hope, wisdom, harmony, willingness, fair minded, Good Judgment, Courage, Humility, Sincerity, Forthright, Generous, Prudence, Serenity, Patience, long-suffering, Admission of Defeat.

Sober Sex

Ok these are all wonderfully spiritual qualities.  And theses virtues are what Step 12 service work is all about…except, from what I have learned we don’t  do step 12 service work to help others as much as we do it to help ourselves.   We do step 12 to keep us sober, another “rightly so”.  If we don’t take care of our sobriety first then we are no good to anyone and certainly no good in a lasting intimate relationship  if we go full blown addict again.

Rule #1 Get to know a potential partner

Get to know this person way before you even think about having sex with them.  Do not say I love you, do not move in with them, do not get engaged, do not profess we are soul mates until at least absolute bare minimum of 90 days.  He/She could turn out to be a psycho maniac controlling hostage taker.  Or he could be the 13th step king of the club and as soon as you sleep with him he intends to mark you off as a conquered foe.   He has no intention of seeing you again after you comply.  After you make the choice to give your precious body once…he will move on to the next conquest.  And that is his prerogative and your choice.

We are building our self-esteem presently not looking to tear it down.    To this sportsman you are just his secondary addiction.  There’s one like him in every AA Group and it doesn’t mean that you are a victim.  We make our choices and if we choose to sleep with a man of this caliber we are an adult and it is our choice.  WE ARE NOT VICTIMS when he kicks us to the curb.

These type serial sex junkies are not a good choice for us even if all we want is sexual satisfaction because they don’t respect anyone that will sleep with them that makes the encounter kinda dysfunctional.

And lets not be too hard on him ladies.  He is scared to death of commitment and he is also afraid if you get to know him too well you won’t like him much.  Rejection is tough and it scars us all.  The survival skills we have developed tend to look kinda mean and selfish but all they really are underneath is hurt.

So get to know the person you are attracted to.  Find out if they are someone who is kind.  find out if you have anything in common.  Talk about everything and anything.  Does he believe in God like I do?  What is his past like?  Find out how he treats his X.  The healthiest X’s neither hate each other nor do they still sleep with each other, they have moved on and forgiven one another.

Jumping into relationship commitments such as moving in and saying I love you before the first 90 day probationary period is typical people-addiction behavior.  Again if we “need” a relationship then we are not ready for one.

GET TESTED

Rule #2 If you want to sleep with me you will have to get tested and show me the results on paper.  If you can’t resist sex in the mean-time absolutely use a condom especially if you haven’t gotten your own results in yet.  You could be committing murder.

DEFINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Rule #3 Walk through the Fear-Show Self-Respect and mutual respect.  The fear of rejection is big in early recovery.     Actually not just early recovery it’s a prime characteristic of alcoholics.   But to stick with the principles we must communicate our desires to our new or potential sex partner.  Again we should not be needy, if we are needy we are not ready to date.  These days sex kills so monogamy and sexual commitment are things that are not so far fetched even on the first date.

It feels awkward but, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE SLEEPING WITH A MAN (or woman) WHO  INTENDS TO SLEEP  AROUND WHILE HE/SHE SLEEPS WITH YOU AS WELL?  My support group asked me that question when I started dating in my first year.  I surprised myself with a big HELL NO!  Sexual commitment is not marriage, it’s not going steady and it’s not a way to control someone or take them hostage. It doesn’t mean I love you.   A sexual monogamous commitment with a partner in this day and age is for safety and mutual respect and consideration.  It means that while we two are dating if he or I decide we want to sleep with other people we will have enough respect for each other to tell the other partner before we sleep around.

Remember it takes assertiveness to be candid and reveal who we are with complete truthfulness.  Doing this the first time will be hard because of the fear of rejection.  Having a support group is so important to back you up on doing the right thing until you get used to standing on your own two feet in a place of principled morality and Loving respect for yourself and others.

Even Oprah talks about “defining our relationship” its not just a recovery thing.

Work Your AA Program First

GO HOME AT NIGHT, AND KEEP GOING HOME AND GO HOME NO MATTER HOW BAD WE MAY WANT TO FALL INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE WE ARE building a new and sober life.  We are finding out who we really are.  And we are also re-creating who we are.  It’s best if we can live alone to grow spiritually for a year or so before we commit to sharing our life with someone else.

The window to recovery is open for you now.  Now is your time.  It will be easier now than it will every be.  Get to a meeting and meet some new friends.

Life will be good!

SOON TO COME “A MANS PERSPECTIVE ON EARLY RECOVERY AND SOBER SEX”

I am currently looking for a sober man 4 years plus to write this article to the men new to recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Sober

SOBRIETY

I AM LORI E AND I AM A RECOVERING ALCOHOLIC

How To Get Sober

Typically, those who have experienced what they are teaching to others are better teachers than those who have not and are merely teaching out of the book per-say. We in AA don’t use the word “teacher” because there are too many emotional issues attached to the word for addicts.   Sponsors are teachers and we teach our sponsees how to live sober. That’s one of the most important jobs a teacher can have.   If I had not been successful at staying sober for over nine years myself this article would be less authentic.   I came from a life of deep dark heroin, cocaine, methadone,  Xanax, alcohol and nicotine addiction.  This article is heartfelt and I am mustering up some compassion for those still suffering from addiction so I don’t become too far removed from where I have come from.

Simply put…Before I could get sober I had to hit bottom.   My bottom was crack dens and then jail.   But jail was a step up from where I had been.  First step to sobriety was prayer.  I prayed and prayed some more.  I have not stopped.

Then I did almost everything the people in AA and rehab suggested I do.  I did get into a relationship with a guy who had seven years sober at the time.  We are still sober today…but he is a rare find, hence the prayer.  He is a gift straight from God.
90 Meetings in 90 Days is a very important suggestion for many reasons like to establish new sober friendships.  To create new patterns, habits.  To learn the twelve steps and traditions.  To get a sponsor.  To work the 12 steps.  Begin doing Twelve Step work like chairing meetings which builds new new worth.  To build tolerance and patience.  For gratitude to see people worse off than me.  To share my own experience, strength, and hope which adds to my gratitude and self worth by remembering how far I have come.  For accountability which has a big part in keeping me sober in the beginning.  Basically 90 meetings in 90 days resets our brain and jump-starts our recovery.  People newly sober are like sponges.  To a point we absorb recovery sitting in repetitive meetings.

Next I sought God with my heart and at churches. I sought a spiritual connection in places where people seek God.

CONNECT WITH THE WOMEN AND GET THERAPY

Next I did group recovery therapy with other women in rehab and a brilliant psychologist.   Rehab and AA authorities teach newcomers to stay away from romance and relationships for an entire year, including sex.  However if you are a person capable of independently working your own 12 step program and not falling into a codependent life-style which pulls you away from working hard at recovery, then perhaps you won’t trade your sobriety-in for the closeness of a man or woman’s affection as so many newly sober people do.   I promise you no matter how much my partner (a man) was there for me we just were not able to relate to each other at a core level like me and the women relate.

My life-partner gave me excellent suggestions but when it came to the core level emotional processes that needed to take place for me to heal it had to be the women who listened, cared, and empathized in the way I needed.     My soul so badly needed to finally be validated and realize I was not chronically different and I dod not have to be ashamed any more.     I saw myself as a child and realized my own innocence.  I did not have to condemn myself anymore.  My sisters and I are one.   This connection phenomena is crucial to healing.

I disliked women didn’t trust them and thought I was protecting myself by not opening up to them.  I had to let my walls down and tell people that I was afraid. Tell them that I was ashamed.  Me the tough girl is a women who has a heart that wants to be loved and a ‘part-of’. My Higher Power gave me the connections I needed.  I found a safe place with my new women friends.

My boyfriend on the other hand…he makes me laugh.  Laughter is so important when your getting sober.  It releases the feel-good endorphins we all need so badly.

WORK THE 12 STEPS

I worked the 12 step of Alcoholic Anonymous. The first time I did the steps was in rehab and my fourth step was all blame and anger. I was furious at everyone, I hated myself. The second time I did them I wrote a fifty page fourth step on all my resentments, and thing I resented myself for and was ashamed of. I did writing on each one to get my pent up feelings out. Trust me the men will say it’s all wrong to do it that way, well most men. But for us women it’s a life saver. Some people stay in deep denial over their resentments and short comings. While others beat themselves to a pulp over their mistakes. All I know is the truth will set us free but we need to speak that truth to a sponsor. I needed a sponsor that would not shut me down and invalidate my feelings and thoughts. I had that all my life. It was my fifth step therefore all I needed was an empathetic listener so I could get it all out.

“CALL YOU ON YOUR SHIT” SPONSOR

I have heard many times those that need a kick you in the ass sponsor who “calls you on your shit”. If someone is still in deep denial over their-part of event of the past I can see where that could snap a person out of it. You know if that’s the kind of sponsor you need. That does not mean that you are worse than those that need the more mellow empathic sponsors. It just depends on your personality.

My Brain needed washing

If I would have had the call you on your shit sponsor I would have fired her from the get go. I consider certain things disrespectful that others may not. Such as name-calling and spewing out authoritative orders in a public place to show they are inn charge and superior. I am an addict not a dog. Don’t order me around like one. I can’t control the behavior of other people but I can walk away. Respect is the first vital component in a successful relationship. Respect from a sponsor and anyone for that matter is something I have found in sobriety. They say “We teach people how to treat us.” And we should know a person by who they show us they are not by who they tell us they are.” There is no perfect sponsor and we wouldn’t relate to one if there were. But through prayer we can get the sponsor that is perfect for us.

Next more prayer, more meditation and on that note…lots of nature. The ocean, the beach, the springs, the river. Buy a raft and go float. Get lots of sunshine and lots and lots of water. Personally I drank allot of grape juice not sure why but I believe your own body will tell you what it needs. Easy on the coffee at least the impure coffee with additives and fake creamer. Easy on the sugar but fake sugar is worse. Lots more nature. Meditate with crystals. Put one on your forehead, close your eyes and try to concentrate on one sing thought or prayer. After you do that long enough you will clear your mind. This step 11 exerciser with give you patience and insight, it will promote enlightenment.
Lastly Step 12 Service Work

I started chairing meetings at sixty days sober. I took commitments for service work such as bringing meetings into work release. Bringing meetings into the jails and the rehab center. I was hot and heavy into service work for the first five years I was sober. I kinda slacked off since then but still participate just not as much. Service work is where my self-esteem and confidence where molded. The benefits of service are immense. And there is no telling what it has done for my karma.

That’s it in a nutshell. AA builds lives.

EMOTIONALLY GROWING UP IN A.A.

STEP FOUR, STEP 12, AND SELF-WORTH.  AGREE TO DISAGREE BY GAINING SELF-WORTH, GAIN SELF WORTH BY WORKING THE STEPS

Having a different opinion than my fellows is ok.  Expressing varied views and opinions is good.  Debate is good and necessary for the progress of A.A. AND OUR NATION.  We have elections in every aspect of A,A, except regular meetings.  We learn to agree to disagree because it is the mature and emotionally sober thing to do. Even in a facebook A.A. group varying outlooks and opinions are part of healthy social expression.  DISRESPECT AND PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE INSULTS ARE A WHOLE OTHER MATTER.  Time to learn which is which if we don’t already know.  And if we don’t know how to disagree with a fellow without running away no doubt it’s because of a valid reason stemming from our past.  We shouldn’t be hard on ourselves or others if we  or they are in the process of growing up emotionally.

AGREE TO DISAGREE by working the 12 steps.

Without “agree to disagree” there would be no Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the other 12 step programs.  Without agree to disagree anything that involves political decision making and voting would be chaos.  Firstly humans always will and always have had varied opinions and viewpoints on topics.  When we have business meetings in A.A. whether it be in our home group, inter-group or at area assembly there are important matters at hand and decisions to be made.  Sometimes the outcome of these votes will effect A.A. as a whole.  These votes are not about “me” as an individual.  The votes and varied opinions though they may differ than my own choices or viewpoints do not mean that I am bad, wrong, ugly or any other negative adjective for having different viewpoints than my peers.  Sounds a little crazy when you say it outload but this issue is why fights break out over minor disagreements people perceive that if someone has another opinion than theirs that they are belittled somehow.  The thing is if a man has low self-worth then he takes many things personally as an insult about himself.  Low self-esteem always has its feelers out looking to protect itself against perceived insults.  Low self-esteem is always in “defense” mode.  It hones in on comments or actions that have nothing at all to do with itself and perceives them as if they are putting him down and expressly meant to insult him.  Let’s face it low self-worth thinks that the world revolves around its belly button. 

What are the solutions to low self-worth?  Notice in the fourth step grid on page 65 http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf  in the “effects my” column of the fourth step.  After every resentment “pride” and “self-esteem” are at the core of every resentment.  It’s not that the resentment gave me low self-worth it’s that low self-worth is the prime breeding ground for resentments because it puts us on the defensive.  So typically if I have low self-worth then the chances of me being able to engage in a peaceful disagreement such as a business meeting vote and debate or an election of some sort are slim. With addiction we continually go against our ingrained conscience and each blow against our conscience is a blow against our self-worth.   

And if we were raised in a home where every disagreement or varying viewpoint ended in a violent fight it’s no wonder we are squeamish around any hint of varying opinion. 

So what then do we leave all the important elections, crucial debates and decision making to those who understand peaceful debate and didn’t grow up in a violent home where agree to disagree was never exhibited?  HELL NO!  We learn, we grow we find out how to achieve the self-worth needed to NOT take every comment personally!  Image how nice it would feel to not get emotionally triggered every time we try to socialize?  So, we do a painful and honest fourth step.  We do a candid fifth step and share with someone who shows respect and empathy not some “beat you down” sponsor who hasn’t gained any self-worth themselves. 

We do 12 step service work until we are blue in the face!  We take meetings into jails and institutions even if we feel like our anxiety is going to kill us!  We stifle our expression of pen and tongue unless we are speaking with respect.  We journal until we are blue in the face because getting out our fearful feelings WILL RELIEVE OUR ANXIETY.    We get a same sexed sponsor and gain a support group who will show us respect, and if they don’t respect us then we respectfully tell them, …no we “ask” them not to do it again because we consider their action toward us disrespectful.  We remember that we can’t make anybody do or think anything, if they don’t show us respect we WALK AWAY and find friends that will show us respect by choice.  We will find that once we start to work the steps and engage in steps 10 through 12 on a regular basis we won’t have to command and defend because people will automatically show us respect.  Even fulfilling our part of probation is an emotional growth experience.  Doing a couple years’ probation in early sobriety will most likely benefit us in many ways.  Once we have worked the steps and put the things on our fourth step that we were most ashamed of, those things we did that we NEVER WANTED ANYBODY TO EVER FIND OUT these are the things that need to be on that list the most.  If we can’t be honest with our steps we won’t gain the self-esteem needed to agree to disagree.

We do these thing even though they are new and scare the hell out of us emotionally.  We do not hesitate to make a “fear list” even though we may have a year or two sober because there is no shame in being afraid.  The people that hide their fears are the one’s that suffer the most emotionally.  Being afraid is part of the human condition and if we are newly sober SOMETHING IS WRONG IF WE ARE NOT AFRAID.  So after we write down all our fears pertaining to loss of our loved one’s loss of our social status and loss of our security we have a talk with our higher power and ask for some “faith” and to learn how to better trust that Higher Power.  If we have a resentment that won’t let up we pray for that person to receive all the blessings that we wish for.  And we do the work that 75% of the people in A.A. are too far into denial to see that they need to do as well.  And every time we catch ourselves looking for the differences instead of the similarities in a meeting we pray for help with that because relating to others in A.A. is one of the ways we get well.  Just some solutions.

 

 

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Dating and Sex in Sobriety

NO RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE A YEAR SOBER..SO THEY SAY IN AA.  the suggestion has much merit but there are exceptions to the rule.

We can quickly destroy all our loving relationships due to natural knee-jerk reactions that fend off fear and the feelings that fear creates.  Some deadly knee-jerk solutions are blame, criticisms, hate, playing the victim or the oppressor anything that relates to putting down and condemning others to make ourselves feel better if even just for a short while.  There is no shortage of people to condemn including ourselves.  In the meantime we lose what our hearts really need and crave…to Love and to be Loved, to comfort and to be comforted, to understand and to be understood, to follow our conscience and to live guilt-free.

If you want to read  what Alcoholics Anonymous’ take on dating and sex is read page 69 from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Also here’s the link to the Narcotics Anonymous literature on the topic.

http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

http://www.nawol.org/2012_ch16%20RELATIONSHIPS.htm

There are some awesome suggestions in both texts.  I feel obligated and inspired to write my own experience on the topic as an A.A. member since 2006.  My sobriety date is 04-15-06.  My name is Lori E. and I am a recovering drunk, heroin addict, crack-head, and co-dependent.  Given all of the things that I have recovered from including cigarettes I needed more than just A,A, to get better.

However without A.A. I doubt I would still be sane and sober.  I am the Chairman of the New Life Group in Gainesville, Florida.  I have done my share of taking meetings into the very jail I got sober in and the institution that taught me emotional healing.  Bridge House at Meridian Health Care.  http://mbhci.org/treatment-services/residential-inpatient-services/   saved my life and it cost me about $4 a day for 28 days if memory serves.  I do know at the time of my stay the government was footing  most of the bill.  They allow A.A. to bring meetings into inpatient on a regular basis including women meetings which at this phase of my sobriety are my favorite. Women open up on issues that are so pertinent to their healing that would otherwise be taboo in mixed meetings.  I remember they told us that only one out of the 30 patients in our group would still be sober after a year.  We proved them wrong due tothe excellent psychological therapy that we received from psychologists working there at that time.   There is a group of 5 or 6 of us who are pushing the 10 year mark of sobriety.  “Trauma in recovery” was the name of the therapy group.  And we had a “women’s issues” group also.   Out of the two therapists who saved our lives and taught us how to emotionally process (live with feelings) one has passed away and the other still works there.

SOBER RELATIONSHIPS and codependency

Three of the women that I got sober with including myself have been in long term healthy relationships that began during the first year of our sobriety in 2006.  Two of us are with men that have at least 7 more years sober than ourselves and we met these men in the program.  Technically that makes those two men 13th steppers but we can laugh about that now.   Thank god for the 13th step!  13th stepping is when a member with say a year or more sober preys upon a new and vulnerable member.  Technically this can be a very bad thing so I won’t make light of it without explanation.  I believe if we are over the age of 18 we are responsible for our choices and that includes when we are newly sober.

We women in my outpatient therapy group were dating early on but we took every action and choice that we made regarding our new relationships into the group for feedback and guidance.  We all spent at least a year in that therapy group 2 to 3 nights a week.   Since we had a support group we were not technically as vulnerable as your typical and newly sober woman.  Without that group I would not be in a mature and happy relationship today.  But it took allot of work on myself to change.  So two of us found our men in A.A. and the third women a total miracle because she found her husband in Bridge House.   Hers was what we call a re-hab relationship.  Re-hab relationships rarely last.  Usually what happens is the two people leave rehab and use drugs together.  Next they betray one another and the relationship ends in a total train wreck.  That’s the odds.

Even our wise counselor at Bridge House told us that from what he had seen people who get into relationships in their first year always relapse.  I remember in group one day Dr. Rand Maryowitz told us that he had never seen a relationship work that had started in the first year of sobriety.  Us women looked at each other reading one another’s minds we thought, “there is no way we are ending this relationship!  It feels too good.”  And it was good, the trick for me was to survive the crash of the fairy tale expectations which was one of my patterns of co-dependency.

I wanted to RUN AND BLAME

so many times when my feelings would get hurt and I felt he had wronged me.  That was me a runner and a blamer.  I was the victim.  Each time I felt that way I would call my new friends from group instead of running.  I would then realize one of two things, either my new partner had not wronged me at all or he had unknowingly done so and I just needed to communicate with him on an honest level and let him know how I felt and why I felt I was wronged.  Not so I could be “right” but so we could get to know each other and learn what one another considers disrespectful.  If you are with a partner that is willing to work with you and communicate at a core and honest level then you have a chance of gaining a life-long mate.  Soul mates     THE FACES OF LOVE

RULE NUMBER ONE- STOP BLAMING MY PARTNER FOR MY OWN FEELINGS AND MY  OWN CHOICES.

RULE NUMBER TWO- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING IN MY OWN LIFE.  INCLUDING MY PAIN AND INSECURITIES

RULE THREE-LEARN WHAT TO DO WITH THE INTENSE FEELINGS THAT WON’T GO AWAY.

I had spent my whole life blaming others for my shit.  It took a strong support group, a good counselor, and A.A (the twelve steps to be precise) for me to make the transition into self-responsibility.   Here are some of the articles that talk about the solutions to relationship sabotage.  I really had no idea what a healthy relationship was until I got sober and allowed myself to be emotionally vulnerable and teachable.

The thing is we get hurt and betrayed then we put up walls that protect us from that happening again.  But unfortunately the instinctual walls of a sick addict push love out and bring fear in.  I had to learn how to be okay with me.  I had to let myself off the hook for all the mistakes of the past and make amends where I could.  I had to invite God into all the areas of my life that I had been shielding Him from.  Without a Higher Power the healing process does not have the supernatural punch needed for an emotional make-over.  Therapy, 12 steps and God.  Three ingredients to a super dooper recovery!  I know many people in A.A. have given up of intimate relationships.  Many times when they do give up then, finally they find their soul mate.  A partner cannot fix us.  They cannot process our feelings for us or build our needed self-esteem only we can do that by doing the next right thing.  And continuing to do the next right thing.  Here are some articles about relationships and what it takes to be a partner.

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory-pg-69-big-book/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/the-power-of-choice-clearing-the-wreckage-of-the-past/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/relationships-alcoholics-anonymous/

http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/2/sexual-inventory/

 

 

 

FORGIVENESS and STEP FOUR

krishna-christ

 

FORGIVENESS

Most religions teach forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a part of self-Love because when we forgive we receive peace of mind and healing on an emotional and spiritual level.  But, is it easier to forgive a stranger or a family member?  Don’t we tend to allow family members much more leniency where our boundaries are concerned?

I recently had an argument with some family members.  We argued back and forth and one of them un-friended me…temporarily that is.  However when my nephews new wife entered the picture and began verbally attacking me suddenly I realized that I had totally forgiven the members of my family and now despised this strange women that my nephew had recently married.  I found myself hoping for their speedy divorce so everyone would see what a bitch and traitor she is

Yes it’s a good thing that I so easily forgave my family but it’s just as important to forgive strangers.   I thought to myself; “screw that bitch who does she think she is?  She doesn’t deserve my forgiveness!”   However,  my unforgivness or “resentment” toward her is not hurting her at all.  On the contrary it’s actually hurting me.  Resentments are poison that live inside out bodies until they make us physically sick.  Furthermore a resentment can morph into full blown hate.  And then into wrath where we are lashing out and spewing evil words from our mouth.

Jesus said “It’s not what enters the body that pollutes it but rather what comes out of the body that defiles it.”  http://www.blueletterbible.org/bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=15  They say in A.A. a resentment is like eating poison and waiting for the other person to die.  And really every resentment stems from a lack of love for one’s self.  (Big Book page 417)         http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_bigbook_personalstories_partII.pdf

Acceptance
A
nd acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober;
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417 If I am angry at others it is something in me that is ill-at-ease that is sparking that anger.  I know this.  Please, I do not mean that anger is a “wrong” and “bad” emotion.  It is a valid feeling that is part of the human condition.  If I am angry there is a reason behind it if I can just get to it and understand it so I can let it go.

I have found that for myself most of my anger stems from my unreasonable and even slightly irrational desire to be perfect in my own eyes.  If I say I want to be God it soundS ridiculous however, that is the core character flaw of most addicts and alcoholics in recovery.  It is where controlism springs from and lord knows there are a boat-load of control freaks in A.A.

Ok but how do I go about forgiving someone I hate or am disgusted with?  Journalling what happened and how it made me feel in regard to my resentment is very helpful as well and is part of the letting go process.  Being as concise as possible when describing ny feelings is very important.  Words like “I felt weird” or “uncomfortable”, “uneasy”, are not direct terms.  If I felt insecure or afraid or the fear of loss, or hateful, angry lesser than or ashamed I should write it down.

 

STEP FOUR

Remember feelings of shame, fear, and insecurities do not have to be logical to be valid and real.  If we shrug off every intense feeling because it is illogical to our intellect or originated in our past then we are still repressing emotions and they will eventually come out sideways usually at those we love most.

Firstly the most  handy and simple solution is to pray for those we resent.  Again, they teach this in A.A. and it’s also in the Bible    Start by praying every day for the person we resent.  If that doesn’t work then write out a formal fourth step to get to the bottom of what it is that we are really afraid of regarding the resentment.  There is ALWAYS fear at the core of every resentment whether (Big Book step fourhttp://www.stepsfoundation.com/Assets/Documents/4thStepForm.pdf

I want to stop right here and interject one of the most important parts of the forgiveness process.  In spite of what A.A. teaches about “my part” and EVERYTHING SURROUNDING A RESENTMENT BEING “MY FAULT”, the truth is there are abusers and very mean people out there who have not and will not hesitate to abuse small children in unthinkable ways.  When we have been wronged it’s important that we don’t blame ourselves for not knowing how to let the pain and violence that was inflicted on us as children or adults, go.  People can tell us all day long to forgive and “let it go” but if we don’t know how to let it go their instructions do us no good.  Furthermore if I was abused as a child, as many addicts were it is clearly not my fault.  Many of us tend to blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for things we didn’t have “a part” in.  Granted if we hate our abuser then that is “our part” and we need to let that go by working the 12 steps.

It is apparent in A,A. that there are two types of people.  Those who are much too hard on themselves and are hyper-aware of most of their character defect patterns.  And those who remain in deep denial of their shortcomings and are incapable of recognizing their faults on their own.  These types do well with a sponsor that will not hesitate to point out their shortcomings for them.  As long as the light bulb goes off when their sponsor points out their patterns they can then work a successful fourth and fifth step….with their sponsors help.  The hyper-aware types don’t need a sponsor to further point out defects they have already beat themselves up for for far too long.   These types need a more empathic and nurturing type of sponsor, caring, compassionate, understanding.  Both types are being nurtured in their own ways.  What one man considers “disrespect” another man considers that same thing “love”.  To each his own.

Making a Fear List is documented in the Big Book as part of the fourth step, of which many people overlook.  Learning to identify the fear that lives behind our intense feelings is part of the life changing self awareness that comes to us when we work the 12 steps.  However these fears live in us at a core, or root childlike level.  Most people are ashamed of their core fears and rarely want to admit them to themselves much less to others in a fifth step.  “The truth shall set us free”.  If we address these core fears and share them their burden will be lifted from us along with the shame of who we are.

So many times we hear in A.A. “I don’t care what people think about me.”  When in all reality if we don’t care what our fellows think of us then we are bordering on sociopath.  It is completely natural to care what our fellows think of us and to fear what people will think of us as well.  Fear of what people think of us should most likely be on our fear list.  Ninth Step Promise “fear of people will leave us”, but not if we don’t do the work.  We label this flavor of fear “society”.

The next big fear is “security”.  who doesn’t fear losing their car or home once in a while.  Specially if we live from week to week or moth to mon financially.

The third primary fear of loss is labelled “sex”.  Fear of losing our sexual partner is a big on.  So many character defects can be triggered by these fears of loss.  Jealously, envy, greed, worry, lying, cheating, and stealing are all motivated by fear of not having enough money  or enough control over our significant others.  Where are they at?  What time will they be home?  Who were they talking to?  Why were they out all night?

So we right down our fears and then we go one step further…Below the surface, why am I really afraid of losing my significant other?  Two things 1. I am not trusting my Higher Power and 2. I have self-esteem issues, I don’t think I am good enough.  If I were totally confident in myself and in God I would not fear losing the three S’s, sex, society, and security.  99 times out of 100 if I am disturbed it is because I am afraid of losing and I am not trusting God.  So what’s the solution?

I repent of my lack of faith, trust, and I ask my Higher Power to forgive me and help me to trust Him, It, Her.  Also working steps 10 through 12 on a regular basis will increase my self esteem and bring me closer to God through prayer and meditation

The 12 steps work.  they were developed for addicts, thing is most people that work the steps do it at a very superficial level.  Few people will admit that they fear and have self-esteem issues.  Obviously is I have low self-esteem it will make me very ashamed and uncomfortable to broach the topic in a candid way.

 

A Parent Growing Up With An Addict

Hi this is Lori E administrator, web-tech, writer and designer of Recovery Farmhouse.   I am also known as Laura of Akron in some parts of this website (psychic readings) and other various social sites……. and I am a recovered alcoholic.    I can say recovered because I haven’t picked up a drink, a hit of crack or a shot of heroin in nearly 10 years.

I want to introduce Bill C my father.  Here is an article I thank him for writing.  Please feel free to comment.

 

I was asked by the creator of this web-site to write something

that the readers might find interesting. My first reaction was,

yes but I needed to think about what to write.

Years ago my reaction would have been different. What

the flip do I know about AA? What do I know about a Big Blue

Book? And about that dance, the 12 step? I had heard about

the 2 step and the 4 step, but I sure didn’t know about the

12 step dance. Well, my daughter corrected me on that.

She said it has nothing to do with dancing. Dad it is a 12

step program that helps people stop drinking.

Before my daughter was introduced to AA she tried a

lot of drinks and pills to make her happy. All it was doing

was causing her parents pain.

We spent sleepless nights wondering where she was.

I am sure some of you reading  this can relate to what parents

went through worrying about you.

She got into some trouble while driving, lost her license

and had to go through what they call the revolving door.

Paying fines and reporting to a probation officer.

After the mess was cleared up she finally decided to get

sober. I don’t know if the addict knows what parents go

through while all this is going on. Yes we go through hell.

It is ironic that Laura of Akron was born in the same

city that 2 young men founded AA.

I would like to end this writing with a poem by an

amateur poet.

The addict and the parent

The addict says I’ll take this pill,

And then an alcoholic drink.

Then the parent holds her up,

While she throws up in the sink.

The addict says I’ll take more pills,

They will make me feel swell.

The parent says here we go again,

She’s putting us through hell.

The addict says I need a drink,

To get me through the day.

The parent says she traded her VCR,

We got her for her birthday.

But all of that is in the past,

No more beer or wine.

Yes we have our daughter back,

And she is doing just fine.

If this writing has helped one person,

In some special way.

Then it makes it all worthwhile,

You have made my day.

. . . By Bill C.  Laura of Akron is my daughter.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE SCROLL OVER “GUEST WRITERS” IN THE WEBSITES TOP MENU AND CLICK ON THIS ARTICLE “A PARENT GROWING UP WITH AN ADDICT” IT WILL HAVE A COMMENT BLOCK AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE.  WHEREAS THE VERSION IN E-MAIL LINK DOES NOT.

 

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

IS IT LOVE OR IS IT FEAR?

(for those who don’t know what RULE 62 is it means, “don’t take yourself so seriously.”

RELATIONSHIPS IN AA, SOBER IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND LOVE & INTIMACY

How can I tell if I am acting out of fear or if I am really acting out of Love?  When it comes to relationships so many times we throw around the words, “I love you” for the wrong reasons.  We may say the words to make someone feel needed or Loved which in itself is a kind manipulation.  We may say it to make someone feel obligated to us as if being loved has a price tag on it.  Or we may say it because we have been hurt by someone and we want them to feel extra guilty…”how could you leave me for another woman I love you!”

Often-times drug addicts have to learn how to manipulate people to ensure that their using needs will be met.  To make sure that I would have the drugs I needed I had several enablers on a line.  Enablers tend to have their own underlying reasons to enable us but that’s a whole other matter.    So in my mind the numerous “sugar daddy’s” that I had on the line had the following reasons to want me around.  They wanted to be seen with a young and beautiful woman, “hood ornament” per-say.  They wanted sex, of course that’s the most common one.  They just wanted affection and to feel loved.  They wanted to feel important and needed.  They wanted to feel masculine, sensual, strong, and beautiful or maybe they just wanted to feel.  And I was there to accommodate and fend off their insecurities.

Armed with this knowledge I would tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and much of that was the “I love you”.  So I lied I cheated, I manipulated and said I love you because of fear.  I was afraid if I didn’t say and do these things I wouldn’t get what I needed to stay well and wanted to feel good.

But what about regular intimate romantic relationships that aren’t cursed with drug addict motives?  Do we still act out of fear and say the “I love you” for the wrong reasons?  HELL YES it happens all the time!  The primary reason is control and fear of loss.  Oftentimes people in relationships tend to act out because they are afraid of losing…especially addicts who no longer have their drink and drug.  Now the sober addict has a person that they begin to obsess on and become way too dependent on emotionally and perhaps financially.  The “I love you” becomes a staunch obligation to the partner rather than a giving and affectionate tid-bit of verbal yummy.  Lol!

So if our partner interacts with other friends do we find ourselves feeling threatened subconsciously and then react by using sex to get then under control?  Or maybe we find a reason why the partner shouldn’t be with their friends like…it’s dangerous, I am worried about you.  Or when they come home do we throw a fit about how worried we were about them because “WE LOVE THEM”.

We can use this thermometer Love is charitable, it is giving, Love does not attack verbally but fear does.  Love does not try to play god, but fear does.  Love would never tell another adult how to live.

If we are concerned about a Loved one then we share our concerns in a respectful manner such as sharing our fears for that person by speaking in the “I” context.  NO “YOU’S” you this you that tends to be an attack.  For instance if my partner is hanging out with his old using friends I could say.  “Wow you must be stronger than me if I were hanging out with my old using friends I would relapse for sure.”

One of the oldest control games in the world is limiting freedom for one’s own well-being for one’s own good.  All people deserve to have peace and freedom.  Once we are adults our mommies don’t control us any longer.  The law and our employers are the only authorities that we endure.  Each man has the right to make his own mistakes.  Each man has the right to have peace in his home.  Sponsorship means we suggest and we ask questions we don’t make our sponcee’s decisions for them that is enabling as well.

We should treat our life-partners or significant others like friends giving them the same respect and freedom we would give a good friend.

 

 

AA CLICHE’

Killing by AA Cliche

OUR CLICHE’S AID IN SAVING OUR ASSES, BUT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL HOW WE USE THEM WHEN AIMING THEM AT OUR FELLOWS.  WHAT IS THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE CLICHE?  MOTIVES ARE RELEVANT.  SOME ADDICTS DO KNOW HOW TO TAKE A HELPFUL TOOL AND CAREFULLY TRANSFORM IT INTO AN ARSENAL OF WEAPONS.

I have a razor sharp cliche and it’s aimed at YOU!  YIKES!  Like “Keep comin’ back”.  Everybody in A.A. knows that sometimes it is code for “your an idiot maybe if you come to enough meetings you will grow a brain.” Or how about “some are sicker than others” which is code for “your way sicker than I am buddy!”

Emotional Sobriety 101

 I want to investigate the topic of AA cliches and some common uses for our little sayings.  Keeping in mind that if we did not have human weakness, fear, shame, regret, guilt, remorse, joy, happiness, sadness, we would be sociopath.

What is the fine art of killing by AA cliché and who is it that uses such ratchet techniques?    Firstly anybody who has been around the rooms for a while knows that we in AA have lots and lots of little helpful sayings that when we apply them to ourselves and put them into action not only do they aid us in our recovery but they can save our lives.

Also, when we are trying to make a helpful point to others in a meeting, giving advice to those who ask for it or telling our story at jails or institutions we quote the cliche to help make our point. These sayings also help the newcomer remember the solutions by adding the little saying to their recovery toolbox to put into action.

Oftentimes it’s easier to remember a catchy phrase and put it to use than to remember the principles and instructional paragraph size readings behind the phrase. Sayings like “Out of the problem into the solution” are priceless to an addict who is spinning around inside their mind and obsessing on a fear. We remember to just get out of the fear by choosing a solution and taking that action.

So what’s killing by cliché? Can such wonderful things as our innocent AA sayings be used in a wrong way? I don’t know can the bible be used in the wrong way? Hell yes and often!

An AA cliché is best used with the RIGHT MOTIVE and the right meaning; right motives behind the cliché are vital . When the alcoholic is still miserable, suffering from low self-worth and has a boat-load of wreckage yet to clean up from their past or present the old survival skills are still in place. They are still hurting, sick and suffering. Lashing out at others sadly brings them relief. Putting other people down is the only relief and form of self-worth they can get right now. They either don’t have the healthy and respectful solutions for emotional pain or they have chosen not to use them. However most of us sober or not do know right from wrong we know that in AA if we blatantly attack someone verbally our fellows will call us on it. The verbal attacker would be ostracized publicly and shamed for being mean and disrespectful. So instead the attacker do a little passive aggressive dance. They seek out emotional vulnerabilities in others such as a newcomer who has the courage to admit they are afraid or an old-timer who has the courage to admit they are going through an emotional time. This is how we get help and feedback. But the emotional butchers hone out addict traits in people with their high powered alcoholic perception and strike with the AA sword lopping off the emotional head of the recipient striking fear in them to never open-up in a meeting again.

Under the guise of “telling the truth” (truth should be tempered with respect and care even gossip is often truth) they cut off the emotional head of their vulnerable fellow by teaching them to never open up in a meeting again. Healthy emotions are indicative of talking about our problems, crying, venting, journaling, processing not stifling, repressing, hiding and denying that our feelings are there, that my friend is how we got sick to begin with. “We are as sick as our secrets.”

Sharing experience strength and hope is done by hearing the topic of the first share person and then asking ourselves can I relate to that, if so how, what solutions worked for me when I went through THAT SAME THING. By sharing that we undergo or have undergone the same personal and emotional struggles, and fears as the original sharer we don’t put them on the defensive or belittle them. We don’t punish them for having trouble staying sober. If we can’t relate to them maybe we are not an alcoholic regardless if we don’t relate then we have no business sharing advice. We don’t punish them for struggles or ignorance, we are not better…we are just perhaps in a better place.

It is by the Grace of God that we are sober when we start sober bashing with clichés we hurt ourselves and others. When we quote an AA cliché we should share what it means to us so the newcomer understands the right use, the loving use for the saying. “Keep it simple stupid” is one perfect example of killing by cliché. These sayings were not made so we can call the alcoholic wrong, stupid and bad and engage in fault-finding and criticisms while we are pretending to be helpful. the cliches should not be used to set ourselves above others by belittling.

“Help others do no harm”. Recovery is not a lesson in how to further harden our hearts and teach others to do the same. Recovery is about staying sober and becoming better people.