Tag Archives: Addiction

Keeper of the Month – April

Lifering’s e-mail groups are active, thriving communities of people who use them as strong sources of sobriety support, and many members often post remarkably written sources of inspiration, hope and encouragement that many other group members call “Keepers” – posts that they save for themselves so they can go back and look at them as often as they like.

We here at LifeRing like sharing these posts, with the authors’ permission, on our Blog so that everyone can enjoy them as much as our group members do.

  You gotta do what you have to do

LifeRing’s major mission is helping addicts learn to practice “The Sobriety Priority“, which means making recovery the most important thing in one’s life. When done, everything one does or doesn’t do thereafter involves considering the impact upon their recovery, and making self-care and life decisions based upon those principles.

Sometimes people in early recovery have a difficult time wrapping their minds around what, exactly, this means or why it’s necessary. This month’s Keeper is a LifeRing “old timer” answering those very questions posed by a newcomer:

 

From my point of view, sobriety is about learning how to live life, in whatever permutation you choose it to take. The thing about it that’s always appealed to me is the very possibility of that, whereas when I was drinking alcohol my choices were extremely limited, usually to more of it, and less of pretty much everything else.

Most active alcoholics, contrary to popular belief, are able to hold down jobs, mortgages, marriages and families, hobbies and almost all other vestiges of daily life precisely because they smack of “normalcy”, and allow the drinker to point out to themselves and everyone else that, since they’re not sitting underneath a bridge somewhere, swilling things out of brown paper sacks (or some other horrific fate worse than death), then they must be OK.

Some are more or less successful at this depending upon to what degree they are willing to work to maintain operating under the illusion that they’re running the show, while shackled in chains.

When you sober up, one thing that happens almost immediately is that you begin to notice the detritus left scattered about from your own personal, slow-motion train wreck, all of which was generally observable the entire time, only you were too drunk to notice or care. Without the blinders of alcohol, it can seem overwhelming.

The part of your brain that’s responsible for the whole thing, conveniently, thinks the solution to seeing the light of day is to put the blinders back on, and carry on with the chief fallacy of every addict’s life–“You can’t deal with all this! It’s not a good time, not a good time at all. You’ve got this (insert adjective of importance here) to do right now, and once that happens, then you can think aboutquitting drinking. How about we wait and pencil it in for next Thursday?”

It seems, to me, that the real key to freedom, to life, is learning how to sort out the truth from the lies–reality versus illusion–and what of either we choose to believe. The reality is, the rest of your life can be a long time, but it won’t happen next Thursday, after the illusion of some other self-imposed condition has been improbably met. It begins when you begin it, and it continues if you sustain and build on what you’ve begun.

Since life is not an instant but begins (and ends) in them, and instants become moments, and moments unfold into days, all you can do is take them as they come; some days are better than others, but through continuous practice – and yes, some monumental effort – and often to your own amazement, you realize you’re able to point your life in the direction you want it to go for the simple reason that you’re finally able to lift your aim that high.

You may not find that out for a while, but there’s plenty of time for it, and anything else you’d like, if you’re willing to give it to yourself.

~~

 

 

 

The Essential Recovery Toolkit

Leonard Nimoy Quote 2

 

Hi Everyone,

Since I’ve been fiddling around while Rome burns (i.e. working very, very, slowly on new blog pieces), I’d like to direct you to a new page placed on our website today that, in my humble opinion, is truly the most remarkable collection of recovery toolkits I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Made up of real tools contributed by LifeRing members, including links to LifeRing-related tools here at lifering.org, it’s the perfect starting place for newcomers, go-to for those in early recovery, and a great refresher for those long-timers who can use one.

Please have a look-see at it here:

LifeRing Recovery Toolkit

Enjoy!

:) Bobbi C.

Links For a Week!

Hi friends. I’ll be heading off to Colorado to try my hand, for the fourth time, at skiing (yipes) and thus will not be around to post anything for a while, so! I thought I would leave you with a weeks’ worth of delightful links to chew on.

And a-waaaaa-ay we go!

 

*Do you live in Northern Ireland? Are you looking for support there, including in a face-to-face meeting? Look no further – LifeRing Northern Ireland is there! For more information, please visit their website and/or Facebook pages:

www.liferingni.com/

www.facebook.com/LiferingNi

*This article’s been all over the web for a coupla weeks now (link to follow), but I still feel compelled to offer my two cents on it. Therefore, please enjoy the following mini rant from me:
  • I find this article overly simplistic in it’s “discovery” of the “real reason” for addiction, A). because yes, while finding a better “room” in which to spend one’s time helps immensely, 2). Some scientist isn’t in charge of controlling your drug habit or changing your environment – you are. And, let’s face it – I’m sure rats have some choices to make in their lives, but given the choice between rooms, how many of them would or do voluntarily go to another one to begin with?
  • I also find it interesting that so many posting in the comments boiled the article down to being the reason why AA is the perfect example of finding a better room, whereas I see ANY recovery group being able to provide the same supportive experience. LifeRing certainly did for me.

Anyhoo, any thoughts on this one?

www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addiction

*Today marks the one year anniversary of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death from a drug overdose. The  performances he would’ve given will be missed for years to come, but here’s an excellent, spot on synopsis of each of the roles he played throughout his career:

thedissolve.com/features/career-view/890-the-epic-uncool-of-philip-seymour-hoffman/

*Mini-rant, part deux:

An in depth, well-researched and well-written article about the state of heroin addiction treatment in America. In many ways, this article reiterates what I’ve believed for a long time about addiction, which is that if it is a disease (and of course for many that’s entirely debatable), then why is it not being treated medically, as all other diseases are? For example, can you imagine treating mental illness, diabetes, or even cancer with, in large part, a spiritual solution? I know I can’t, and I also know that works well for some, but not for all. I think this article accurately demonstrates why:

projects.huffingtonpost.com/dying-to-be-free-heroin-treatment

*With that, the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has changed its definition of recovery, and SAMHSA (the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration) has redefined recovery, as well – all of which bodes well for secular and other recovery treatment resources:

www.rehabs.com/pro-talk-articles/the-addiction-therapists-guide-to-change-in-the-21st-century/

*Finally, eine kleine recovery humor – I would highly recommend the South Park clip at the top of the first page:

recoveryhumor.com/

Have a good one! :)

~~

 

Sobriety, dual diagnosis, and personal OTC self-help

First, I want to make clear that this is just about my personal experiences, since Lifering is about personalized, individualized, self-empowerment, or self-help.

That said, let’s jump into what’s on my mind.

A fair percentage of people who eventually have addictive problems to drugs or alcohol are “dual diagnosis.” That is, they have some mental health issue connected with their addiction. Often it’s depression. Often it’s anxiety. Sometimes it’s bipolar disorder, occasionally schizophrenia.

For people that have “simple” depression or anxiety, and have been to a doctor before, for lower-level depression or anxiety, it’s tempting to self-medicate with over-the-counter items. For example, it’s a “commonplace” that Benadryl can help mild anxiety. Many people use St. John’s wort for mild depression. Beyond that, over-the-counter versions of lithium compounds, somewhat similar to, but not the same as, the prescription versions, are available. And more.

But, even over-the-counter medications aren’t risk free.

For example, prescription lithium has a narrow range of dosages. The non-prescription versions are presumably similar.

With St. John’s wort, there are studies indicating it can help with some cases of mild-moderate depression. There’s no “magic secret” as to why, though. The active ingredient is an MAO inhibitor, just like the first class of anti-depressant medications. Given that prescription MAO inhibitors come with certain warnings, like not combining them with aged cheeses, something similar might apply to St. John’s worth.

And, there’s the placebo effect. A lot of people swear by GABA, a natural neurotransmitter, to help with anxiety. However, GABA does not cross what’s known as the blood-brain barrier, therefore people are presumably just talking about a placebo effect.

Also, just as a prescription anti-depressant that works for one person might not work well for another, the same is true of these OTC self-helps.

A Lifering friend mentioned his doctor suggested he take a new OTC medication, which is GABA chemically linked to niacin, the B vitamin. He said it helped totally kill alcohol cravings, as well as some anxiety.

I decided to order it myself; it’s readily available online.

Well, my “sample size date” is only 10 days so far, but, I may discontinue it after another week.

While it’s not quite making me MORE anxious, I have had trouble falling asleep since then. I’ve had a couple of issues in my mind, but, this may be a contributing factor.

For me, the one time I went to a doctor with even more serious anxiety, it was anti-depressants that helped.

There’s nothing wrong with a prescription from a doctor, and there’s nothing magical about over-the-counter items. It never hurts to get professional advice.

100 Americans Die Every Day from Drug Overdose

hoffmanPhillip Seymour Hoffman, the widely admired and award winning actor, died recently from a drug overdose. That got a lot of publicity and millions of people asked themselves how such a thing could happen to someone like that. Meanwhile, on that same day if it was average, 99 other people died in the same way without the public taking notice, or seeming to care. Overdose is the largest single cause of accidental death in America — beating out car crashes for that “honor.”

Here is an article from the Washington Post, a lengthy interview with a prominent psychiatrist and leading researcher in the field of addiction. There is much of interest in the article. An example, when the interviewer asks about private detox facilities, the response is scathing:

It’s such a horrible promise to hold out to desperate people and their families. By the way, those programs are usually cash-pay only. They promise to take away your addiction in two weeks but what they really take is your money….Some [very wealthy people] are checking into rehabs that don’t seem much different than luxury hotels. I suspect, actually, that you might get better care being a working class veteran, or someone who happens to live near a primary care doctor who has trained him or herself using buprenorphine than you would being a rich and famous person in that luxury tier of care.

The article is filled with much information and insight. See it Here.