Amazon

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Sober and Clean Christmas to all Our Readers.

 

We have chosen the following message to convey the spirit of this season as a message of hope to all alcoholics / addicts and co-dependents.

Bill and Lois' Christmas Message, 1944

  • From Bill Wilson – co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and
  • Lois Wilson – co-founder of Al-anon.

TO ALL MEMBERS

Greetings On Our 10th Christmas 1944

Yes, it's in the air! The spirit of Christmas once more warms this poor distraught world.

Over the whole globe millions are looking forward to that one day when strife can be forgotten, when it will be remembered that all human beings, even the least are loved by God, when men will hope for the coming of the Prince of Peace as they never hoped before.

But there is another world which is not poor. Neither is it distraught.

It is the world of Alcoholics Anonymous, where thousands dwell happily and secure. Secure because each of us, in his own way, knows a greater power who is love, who is just, and who can be trusted.

Nor can men and women of AA ever forget that only through suffering did they find enough humility to enter the portals of that New World.

How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox

  • that strength rises from weakness,
  • that humiliation goes before resurrection;
  • that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth.

Knowing it's full worth and purpose, we can no longer fear adversity, we have found prosperity where there was poverty, peace and joy have sprung out of the very midst of chaos.

Great indeed, our blessings!

And so -- Merry Christmas to you all -- from the Trustees, from Bobbie and from Lois and me.

Bill Wilson

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Addicted lawyers can overcome barriers to recovery

 

Robert started drinking at age 18 and was an alcoholic by the time he entered law school. "I managed to get my degree and go to work for a Wall Street firm. After that I changed jobs every two years or less. I just couldn’t hang on to one. Nobody ever mentioned drinking to me. But I’m sure that with every job I lost, drinking was the main reason."

Images of hard-headed, hard-drinking lawyers abound in popular culture. These images make a point: The professional status granted by a law degree offers no immunity from addiction. The same can be said for people in other prominent professions, such as physicians, pilots and politicians. In fact, the rate of addiction for attorneys may exceed that for the general population.

In 2002, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 9.4 percent of Americans age 12 and older could be classified as substance abusers or substance dependent. According to the American Bar Association, the corresponding estimate for lawyers is nearly double--15 to 18 percent.

Emil Jalonen, an attorney in recovery who now works in Hazelden’s Residential Evaluation Program in Center City, Minn., connects chemical use to the overachieving, high-pressure lifestyle of the legal profession.

"Lawyers in private practice often have many clients, which means multiple bosses," says Jalonen. "All these bosses have different personalities that the attorney must deal with, and all of them have their own needs to meet. Also, lawyers operate under very strict timelines. If you don’t get a certain paper filed by a certain time, for example, your case gets thrown out of court."

Increased competition is another factor. The fact that lawyers in many states can now advertise, paired with increased graduations from law school, creates an expanding pool of lawyers all chasing the same clients.

Lawyers’ professional survival depends on their competence as perceived by peers and clients. This in turn creates pressure to appear invincible and deny signs of addiction.

A solution lies in lawyer assistance programs--organizations formed by legal professionals to assist each other with recovery from addiction and other mental health problems. Today, such programs exist in all 50 states and Canadian provinces as well as Great Britain.

Lawyer assistance programs differ widely. Some are basically support groups. Others are full-blown diversion programs that aim to rehabilitate impaired lawyers as an alternative to suspension or disbarment. In all cases, confidentiality is strictly maintained.

One goal of peer assistance is to get impaired lawyers into addiction treatment programs. However, many lawyers fear that attending treatment will take them out of the office for extended periods of time and lead to loss of clients.

Lawyers assistance programs are frequently the answer.

"Many lawyers who have been helped by the organization want to volunteer their services to help others," says Tom Shroyer, executive director of Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. "Our volunteers will go in and at no cost for their time assist with another person’s practice in order to meet the needs of clients and keep the attorney out of trouble until he or she is able to get back on the job."

Chuck Rice, a chemical dependency counselor at Hazelden, says that peer assistance should include aftercare--continuing help for lawyers after they complete treatment.

"My experience with attorneys tells me that long-term treatment outcomes are dramatically improved when lawyers have a fair amount of external support," Rice says. This includes monitoring, ongoing contact with a treatment professional, and access to other recovering attorneys.

Robert, an advocate of peer assistance, achieved sobriety through inpatient treatment, four months in a halfway house, and a permanent move to Minnesota.

"I’ve managed, in large part as a result of that move, to stay sober for the last 16 years," he says. "I still practice law, and I sincerely believe that I am very possibly the luckiest man I will ever meet."

If you are a lawyer, judge or law student, you can access confidential help for chemical dependency and other mental health issues. Contact your state bar association and ask for a referral to a lawyer assistance program. Other resources include:

American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, 312-988-5359, www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/home.html.

International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous, a support group that acts "as a bridge between reluctant (in denial) lawyers/judges and AA," can be reached via e-mail at webmaster@ilaa.org. Its Web site is www.ilaa.org/index.html.

Alive & Free is a health column that provides information to help prevent substance abuse problems and address such problems. It is created by Hazelden, a nonprofit agency based in Center City, Minn.

          Addictive Thinking, Second Edition: Understanding Self-Deception
by Abraham J. Twerski

Read more about this title...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Step 5 - ACOA

Last week I did a step 5 with the focus on my ACOA issues.

Boy am I feeling it.

After 4 hours, one of the comments my sponsor said was ’Most of those things relate to being rejected’.

And it was. Right back as far as I can remember, about age 4 and a half, and almost anything since - I perceived everything as rejection of me. And I ended up with the view of myself as being unworthy, rejectable; and of course ’I deserve’ to be put down, critisised and not needed.

The important thing to me is that these thoughts may only be ’perceptions’, not reality.

My thinking since has been split between ’at least I now know’ and depression - what a waste my life has been stuck in thinking I am no good.

It’s almost like being paranoid about thinking every incident being set up to reject me. And, I set myself up to be rejected.

My positive, spiritual thoughts are; ’I may or may not have been rejected, that’s not important. What is important it seems to me is changing my thoughts and self-talk to ’I am OK, even if I am rejected’.

I have been reading Step 6 in the AA 12 steps and 12 traditions book every day and that is opening my mind to just how much this twisted thinking is embedded in my mind.

Any thoughts you have on these subjects will be read with interest.

 

          The Complete ACOA Sourcebook: Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love
by Janet Woititz

Read more about this title...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some Gifts of Sobriety

The program of recovery from alcoholism offered by Alcoholics Anonymous offers the following gifts;

  • We’ll be amazed at and proud of changes we make
  • We’ll be freer and happier than we could imagine
  • Our mistakes won’t haunt us
  • We’ll feel calmer and more confident
  • What we’ve been through will help us help others
  • We’ll stop feeling stupid and sorry for ourselves
  • We’ll be more considerate of our friends and family members
  • We’ll lighten up
  • We won’t be so afraid of people and situations
  • We’ll stop worrying about money and how much we’ve got and haven’t got
  • We’ll be able to trust our gut instincts when times get tough
  • We’ll feel loved and cared for

A.A.’s 12-Steps - A Program of Action

 

A.A.’s Twelve Steps, which constitute its program of recovery, are in no way a statement of belief; they simply describe what the founding members did to get sober and stay sober.

They contain no new ideas: surrender, self-inventory, confession to someone outside ourselves, and some form of prayer and meditation are concepts found in spiritual movements throughout the world for thousands of years.

What the Steps do is frame these principles for the suffering alcoholic - sick, frightened, defiant, and grimly determined not to be told what to do or think or believe.

The Steps offer a detailed plan of action: admit that alcohol has you beaten, clean up your own life, admit your faults and do whatever it takes to change them, maintain a relationship with whatever or whoever outside of yourself can help keep you sober, and work with other alcoholics.

The same applies in a similar way to all 12-Step groups such as Al-anon, Alateen, ACOA, Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous.

AA - A Newsletter for Professionals Fall 2003 at Alcoholics Anonymous

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Aggressive Sexual Behaviour of Alcoholic Men

 

Women in psychiatric care have a pronounced record of marks on their bodies that were inflicted during sexual relations.

Researchers studied 30 women with alcoholic partners and noted body marks, duration of marks and if the marks were inflicted during love-making. These were then compared to women from the clinic with non-drinking sexual partners. Their ages, gender, ethnicity and social class were similar.

Their findings indicate that the spouses of alcoholic men are subjected to more aggressive and painful sexual experiences, more body marks in more regions that lasted an average of 7 days and more biting of body surfaces than wives of non-alcohol-dependent men.

These behaviours are interpreted as subtle signs of domestic violence.

If you have these experiences please contact your doctor or counselor.


Research; Hari D. Maharajh, MRCPsych, Akleema Ali. Aggressive Sexual Behaviour of Alcohol Dependent Men, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Volume: 23 Issue: 4, 2005

          The Road Less Travelled
by M.Scott Peck

Read more about this title...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Women's Sexual Problems

There are four recognised disorders of Female Sexual Dysfunction as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders. These are:

  • Sexual desire disorders – A lack of sex drive or low libido. This is the most common type of sexual disorder among women

  • Sexual arousal disorder – An inability to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity

  • Orgasmic disorder – A persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation

  • Sexual pain disorder – Pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.

None of them is considered to be a sexual disorder unless the woman is distressed about her sexual condition.

Several factors can cause or contribute to sexual dysfunction and these are often interrelated. Physical conditions, such as arthritis, urinary or bowel problems, pelvic surgery and trauma, fatigue, headaches, neurological disorders, and untreated pain syndromes may lead to sexual dysfunction.

Certain medications and including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and chemotherapy drugs can similarly affect a woman’s energy and desire for sexual activity.

Regular and heavy use of recreational drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines (speed), heroin, extacy and LSD can effect sexual arousal, desire, orgasm and/or produce painful sex.

The decreases in sex hormone levels that occur with menopause and normal ageing may also be at the root of FSD. Reductions in oestrogen levels after menopause may lead to vaginal dryness, thinning of the vaginal lining, and decreased vaginal elasticity which, in turn, can lead to difficult or painful intercourse.

Additionally, testosterone contributes to libido in women so the natural fall in testosterone levels on ageing may reduce sex drive. For some women, hormone replacement therapy leads to greater sexual desire and there is evidence that optimal results are achieved by supplementing both oestrogen and testosterone to premenopausal levels.

Psychological factors including untreated anxiety, depression and a history of ongoing sexual abuse, work-related stress, partner’s health, and family issues may all contribute to loss of sexual desire and consequent sexual dysfunction.

          Awakening Your Sexuality: A Guide for Recovering Women
by Stephanie S. Covington Ph. D.

Read more about this title...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

World AIDS Day, 1st December

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, with an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.

Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.

More information at; World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day 2007 Theme: Leadership

  • Over 5,700 people died each day from AIDS-related illnesses in 2007.
  • Over 6,800 people are being infected with HIV daily,
  • About 1200 of whom are children under 15 and
  • About 2,900 are women 15 years and older.
  • The infection rates in young people ages 15-24 remain frighteningly high.

We know these infections and these deaths are preventable and avoidable if promises by countries to scale up access to prevention, treatment, care and support for all are to be fulfilled by 2010.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Alateen’s Purpose

 

Alateen is part of Al-Anon, which helps families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of living with the problem drinking of a relative or friend. Alateen is a recovery program for young people. Alateen groups are sponsored by Al-Anon members.

The program of recovery is adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous and is based upon the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and the Twelve Concepts of Service.

The only requirement of membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

Al-Anon/Alateen is not affiliated with any other organization or outside entity.

What Alateen members learn

  • compulsive drinking is a disease.
  • they can detach themselves emotionally from the drinker’s problems while continuing to love the person.
  • they are not the cause of anyone else’s drinking or behavior.
  • they cannot change or control anyone but themselves.
  • they have spiritual and intellectual resources with which to develop their own potentials, no matter what happens at home.
  • they can build satisfying and rewarding life experiences for themselves.
          Alateen: Hope for Children of Alcoholics
by Al-Anon Family Group Head Inc

Read more about this title...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Addicted lawyers can overcome barriers to recovery

 

Robert started drinking at age 18 and was an alcoholic by the time he entered law school. "I managed to get my degree and go to work for a Wall Street firm. After that I changed jobs every two years or less. I just couldn’t hang on to one. Nobody ever mentioned drinking to me. But I’m sure that with every job I lost, drinking was the main reason."

Images of hard-headed, hard-drinking lawyers abound in popular culture. These images make a point: The professional status granted by a law degree offers no immunity from addiction. The same can be said for people in other prominent professions, such as physicians, pilots and politicians. In fact, the rate of addiction for attorneys may exceed that for the general population.

In 2002, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 9.4 percent of Americans age 12 and older could be classified as substance abusers or substance dependent. According to the American Bar Association, the corresponding estimate for lawyers is nearly double--15 to 18 percent.

Emil Jalonen, an attorney in recovery who now works in Hazelden’s Residential Evaluation Program in Center City, Minn., connects chemical use to the overachieving, high-pressure lifestyle of the legal profession.

"Lawyers in private practice often have many clients, which means multiple bosses," says Jalonen. "All these bosses have different personalities that the attorney must deal with, and all of them have their own needs to meet. Also, lawyers operate under very strict timelines. If you don’t get a certain paper filed by a certain time, for example, your case gets thrown out of court."

Increased competition is another factor. The fact that lawyers in many states can now advertise, paired with increased graduations from law school, creates an expanding pool of lawyers all chasing the same clients.

Lawyers’ professional survival depends on their competence as perceived by peers and clients. This in turn creates pressure to appear invincible and deny signs of addiction.

A solution lies in lawyer assistance programs--organizations formed by legal professionals to assist each other with recovery from addiction and other mental health problems. Today, such programs exist in all 50 states and Canadian provinces as well as Great Britain.

Lawyer assistance programs differ widely. Some are basically support groups. Others are full-blown diversion programs that aim to rehabilitate impaired lawyers as an alternative to suspension or disbarment. In all cases, confidentiality is strictly maintained.

One goal of peer assistance is to get impaired lawyers into addiction treatment programs. However, many lawyers fear that attending treatment will take them out of the office for extended periods of time and lead to loss of clients.

Lawyers assistance programs are frequently the answer.

"Many lawyers who have been helped by the organization want to volunteer their services to help others," says Tom Shroyer, executive director of Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. "Our volunteers will go in and at no cost for their time assist with another person’s practice in order to meet the needs of clients and keep the attorney out of trouble until he or she is able to get back on the job."

Chuck Rice, a chemical dependency counselor at Hazelden, says that peer assistance should include aftercare--continuing help for lawyers after they complete treatment.

"My experience with attorneys tells me that long-term treatment outcomes are dramatically improved when lawyers have a fair amount of external support," Rice says. This includes monitoring, ongoing contact with a treatment professional, and access to other recovering attorneys.

Robert, an advocate of peer assistance, achieved sobriety through inpatient treatment, four months in a halfway house, and a permanent move to Minnesota.

"I’ve managed, in large part as a result of that move, to stay sober for the last 16 years," he says. "I still practice law, and I sincerely believe that I am very possibly the luckiest man I will ever meet."

If you are a lawyer, judge or law student, you can access confidential help for chemical dependency and other mental health issues. Contact your state bar association and ask for a referral to a lawyer assistance program. Other resources include:

American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, 312-988-5359, www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/home.html.

International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous, a support group that acts "as a bridge between reluctant (in denial) lawyers/judges and AA," can be reached via e-mail at webmaster@ilaa.org. Its Web site is www.ilaa.org/index.html.

Brief-TSF can assist people cease alcohol consumption.


Variety of Alcoholics Anonymous Groups Reflects a Diverse Fellowship

 

Alcoholics Anonymous is known for the diversity of its membership, with A.A. members from every walk of life sitting side by side in the approximately 60,000 A.A. groups in the United States and Canada. Over the years, though, professionals-doctors, lawyers, airplane pilots, and others-have established a few A.A. groups for those in their field.

Given their common concerns and issues, these members have found A.A. meetings with peers useful. Such groups, which are autonomous along with every other A.A. group, are usually found in large metropolitan areas. They function as any other A.A. meeting.

Among their other purposes, these groups can allay the fears of new A.A. members who may feel more comfortable in a meeting of their peers. The preamble read at “Birds of a Feather” A.A. meetings, which are attended by airline cockpit crew members, refers to the “occupational sensitivity of its members.”

One of the hurdles facing those seeking help in A.A. may be fear of exposure or the shameful sense that their problem is unique to them. Local A.A. offices-called central offices or intergroups- sometimes have lists of A.A. members willing to talk one-on-one with a person seeking information about Alcoholics Anonymous. On these lists are representatives of many professions who will be able to reassure a prospective A.A. member that they are not alone.

There are also A.A. groups for women, men, gays, lesbians, and young people, among others. Information on where to find these groups or any other local meetings is available at A.A. offices around the country.

In the early stages alcoholics can be helped into recovery, see Brief-TSF can assist patients cease alcohol consumption.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

THE STORY OF THE LOTUS EATERS

 

About 3000 years ago, the poet Homer told a story about a man called Odysseus and his voyage home to Greece following the Trojan Wars. Odysseus and his men met up with many exciting adventures along the way, but the most relevant to us is the story of his landing on the Island of the Lotus Eaters.

The island was so beautiful that Odysseus wanted to stay there awhile and rest up. So he sent out some scouts to determine if the natives were friendly. Odysseus waited and waited, but the scouts never returned.

What had happened was this: the scouts had indeed met up with the locals, the Lotus Eaters, who turned out to be very friendly. The Lotus Eaters even shared their food with the scouts. But the food - the lotus - was a kind of dope, and the scouts got wasted from it and forgot all about Odysseus, their mission, getting back to Greece...everything. All they wanted to do was hang out, eat lotus, and get high.

Lucky for them, Odysseus came and dragged them kicking and screaming back to the ship. He tied them to their seats and ordered the crew to row like hell, in case anyone else might eat the lotus and forget the way home.

The story of Odysseus is about more than just a Greek guy in a boat. It’s about the journey people take through life and the obstacles they meet along the way. The story of the Lotus Eaters speaks particularly to us dopeheads. As addicts, we were stuck in a Lotus Land; we forgot our mission; we forgot the other adventures that awaited us; we forgot about going home.

Luckily, we each had within us our own Odysseus, our own Higher Power, which grabbed us by the collar and threw us back into the boat. So now we’re rowing like hell.

We may not know what’s going to come next, but we’re back on our way through life again.

From Marijuana Anonymous.


Amazon books; Quitting marijuana: Your personal recovery plan (A Hazelden workbook)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Internet, Porn, and Cybersex Addictions:

 

The Internet is a wonderful tool for communication. However, it can become an escape from reality that has the appearance of safety, intimacy and anonymity. Use of the Internet for games, gambling, messages, porn or cybersex can become as addictive as any other drug.

What is Internet or Computer Addiction?

  • A student has difficulty getting his/her homework done because computer games occupy all after-school time.
  • Someone connects to the Internet at 9:00pm and suddenly discovers it is dawn and he/she has not left the computer.
  • A wife is distraught because her husband has replaced their sexual relationship with Internet porn and online sex.

Searching for information, skimming news headlines, downloading your favorite songs, or placing bids on eBay … the options are endless. We all enjoy the benefits of the Internet. But at what point does frequent online activity become too frequent and become a source of significant problems in someone’s life? Internet addiction is generally defined as spending so much time online that Internet use adversely affects marriages, family and social life, work, and psychological and physical well-being.

What are signs and symptoms of Internet or Computer Addiction?

As with any other addiction, a computer addict is likely to have several of the experiences and feelings on the list below. How many of them describe you or someone close to you?

  • Have mixed feelings of well-being and guilt while at the computer.
  • Lose control of time while on the computer; want to quit or cut down, but are unable to.
  • Neglect friends, family and/or responsibilities in order to be online.
  • Lie to your boss and family about the amount of time spent on the computer and what you do while on it.
  • Feel anxious, depressed, or irritable when your computer time is shortened or interrupted.
  • Use the computer repeatedly as an outlet when sad, upset, or for sexual gratification.
  • Develop problems in school or on the job as a result of the time spent and the type of activities accessed on the computer.
  • Have financial problems due to on-line purchases or gambling.
  • Become tempted to get involved in relationships with strangers, which may put you at risk for victimization or jeopardize your safety.

Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyberfreaks, and Those Who Love Them


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Can alcoholism be cured?

 

No, alcoholism cannot be cured at this time. Even if an alcoholic hasn’t been drinking for a long time, he or she can still suffer a relapse. Not drinking is the safest course for most people with alcoholism.

Can alcoholism be treated?

Yes, alcoholism can be treated. Alcoholism treatment programs use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking. Treatment has helped many people stop drinking and rebuild their lives.

Does alcoholism treatment work?

Alcoholism treatment works for many people. But like other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma, there are varying levels of success when it comes to treatment. Some people stop drinking and remain sober. Others have long periods of sobriety with bouts of relapse. And still others cannot stop drinking for any length of time. With treatment, one thing is clear, however: the longer a person abstains from alcohol, the more likely he or she will be able to stay sober.

Can a problem drinker simply cut down?

It depends. If that person has been diagnosed as an alcoholic, the answer is "no." Alcoholics who try to cut down on drinking rarely succeed. Cutting out alcohol--that is, abstaining--is usually the best course for recovery. People who are not alcohol dependent but who have experienced alcohol-related problems may be able to limit the amount they drink. If they can’t stay within those limits, they need to stop drinking altogether. (See also "Publications/Pamphlets and Brochures," How to Cut Down on Your Drinking.)

How can a person get help for an alcohol problem?

Many people find support groups a helpful aid to recovery. The following list includes a variety of resources:

Al-Anon/Alateen

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA)

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)

        Blessed Are the Addicts: The Spiritual Side of Alcoholism, Addiction, and Recovery
by John A. Martin

Read more about this title...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Study confirms sex is better than masturbation

 

  • Normal intercourse results in greater satisfaction, better intimacy, promotes more trust with passion and real love.
  • Hanky panky without intercourse does not give true satisfaction and is less intimate, passionate and loving.
  • Masturbation does not result in effective satisfaction, is less intimate and does not promote trust, genuine passion or love.

These are the outcomes of a new study of Portuguese women looking at relationship quality and sexual activity.

Satisfaction increased as masturbation decreased and penis-vagina sex increased.

Now what’s so new about that? Nothing I guess! But someone had to find out for sciences sake. Anyone’s that’s had sex with a partner and compared that with hanky panky without penis-vagina penetration will know what’s better. Additionally, masturbation just does not compare.

No mention is made of sexual orientation. One assumes the women were heterosexual. Lesbian’s may have a different perspective on these activities.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Research by Rui Miguel Costa & Stuart Brody called ‘Women’s Relationship Quality is Associated with Specifically Penile-Vaginal Intercourse Orgasm and Frequency’ in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (July 2007).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship?

 

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The primary sign is fear of your partner. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, numbness, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether or not you’re in an abusive relationship, answer the questions in the table below. The more questions to which you answer “yes,” the more likely your relationship is abusive.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

Your Inner Feelings and Thoughts

Do you :

  • fear your partner a large percentage of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • ever think you deserve to be physically hurt or mistreated?
  • sometimes wonder if you are the one who is crazy?
  • feel afraid that your partner may try to hurt or kill you?
  • feel afraid that your partner will try to take your children away?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?
  • think that domestic violence seem normal to you?

Your Partner’s Violent or Threatening Behavior

Has your partner ever:

  • had a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threatened to hurt or kill you?
  • threatened to take your children away, especially if you try to leave?
  • threatened to commit suicide, especially as a way of keeping you from leaving?
  • forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?
  • destroyed your belongings or household objects?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • try to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • make you embarrassed to invite friends or family over to your house?
  • limit your access to money, the telephone, or the car?
  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • try to stop you from going where you want to go or doing what you want to do?
  • check up on you, including where you’ve been or who you’ve been with?

Your Partner’s Belittlement of You

Does your partner:

  • verbally abuse you?
  • humiliate or criticize you in front of others?
  • often ignore you or put down your opinions or contributions?
  • blame you for their own violent behavior?
  • objectify and disrespect those of your gender?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

If you think you may ne in such a relationship seek help from a self-help group, a counselor or your doctor. Self-help groups such as Al-anon or ACOA may be of help if alcohol abuse is involved.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Agnostics and Alcoholics Anonymous

For agnostics who would like to work the steps, this version of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provides slightly different wording of the six steps that make reference to God or a Higher Power. This version of the Twelve Steps seems to have originated in agnostic A.A. groups in California.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

[Original: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.]

3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

[Original: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.]

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

[Original: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.]

6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

[Original: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.]

7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.

[Original: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.]

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

[Original: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.]

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Amazon books; I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: God for Agnostics

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Self-help Prayer Formula

Basics: The basic daily practices for a spiritual life are prayer and meditation.

When –

Daily: Prayer works best on our mind and body when it’s cumulative. Daily prayer is a good idea.

At Days Beginning: We begin first thing in the morning. We ask "a Power greater than ourselves" to direct our thinking during the day ahead. Especially important is being willing to let go of self-pity (depression and victimization), dishonesty (mostly within self and with others, but also with money), and selfishness.

At Days ending: Before going to sleep, we review our mental life for that day, looking for traces of resentment or fear – especially rationalizing or justifying our behavior out of fear or resentment. In addition, we plan to make any necessary apologies or amends during the 24 hours ahead. Here it is crucial to avoid "worry, remorse, or morbid reflection.

We ask questions: What more do you want to say? Where shall I go now? What shall I do next? What do you want from me God?

Pray for self and others: Pray for others as well as for yourself. This is not simply an admonition not to be selfish; rather, the force of your actions is too powerful to be directed inside only. By including those you care about in your prayers, you are solidifying the bonds between you.

Style –

The collaborative style: Here, God is the co-pilot. You talk to God, listen, consult, and the responsibility for solving a problem is shared. Collaborators gain the most from their spiritual coping. They get a strong sense of spiritual support from God. A crisis becomes an opportunity to grow spiritually, to learn more about your life and God.

The deferring style: We leave our problems fully to God. It’s a good response to a situation when it’s truly out of your hands. But it’s not helpful if people use it to sidestep their own responsibility. ‘Let go, let God’

The self-directing style: You’re in charge. God gave us the resources to solve our problems and now it’s up to us to handle them. We aren’t really looking to God for help, either because they just don’t think it’s God’s place to solve their problems or because they’re cynical. This style works well when seeking the power of the Higher Power if we really know what to do.

Petitions and inward communication: It is either a petition to God or, in its wider sense, is inward communication with your real self. In either case, the ultimate result is the same.

Focus: We can pray for the cleansing and purification of the inner self, for freeing it from the layers of ignorance and darkness that envelops it. The enveloping ego can stop us doing what we really ‘need’ to do or say.

Vital things: Prayer is a means of bringing orderliness and peace and repose in our daily thinking and actions. Take care of the vital things and the other things will take care of themselves.

Twenty minutes a day: Prayer and meditation are important simply because you owe yourself 20 minutes each day to reflect on who you are, what you have become, where you are, where you have been, and where you’re going.

          Spiritual Connections: How to Find Spirituality Throughout All the Relationships in Your Life
by Sylvia Browne

Read more about this title...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Alcoholic Mummyism

 

The primary cause of alcoholism is not positively known in the present knowledge of the problem. Nor do we believe that the cause in most instances is singular, but usually a combination of causes.

However, we are of the opinion that to date the best-defined cause for alcoholism is the one given by Dr Edward Strecker, Psyc D., head psychiatrist of Pennsylvania University. He defined the cause of alcoholism as “’Momism’ mixed with alcohol.” By this is meant that the average alcoholic is the individual who was pampered or neglected in childhood.

In the first instance - in the case of the over-pampered child - the individual grows to adult life and tends to retreat from life. Although this tendency is present in most human beings to a certain extent, it is emphatically obvious in the alcoholic personality, and because of this childhood emotional damage, which now may not even be in the consciousness, will cause abnormal insecurity and fear. If such is mixed with a regular intake of alcohol, the fear element is released and dominates the personality.

Likewise, in the case of the neglected child, fear is instilled from childhood, and through regular alcoholic intake, is accentuated beyond control. Thus, we find that the basic ingredient in every alcoholic personality is an abnormal fear element that lies behind and motivates most of the abnormal and inhuman behaviour of the alcoholic, which is so trying to, and misunderstood by, those nearest and dearest to him.

This abnormal condition of fear is responsible for the four basic traits found in every alcoholic:

  • sensitivity,
  • childishness,
  • egocentricity, and
  • grandiosity.

These are usually operative in the area of the subconscious. They are manifested in the consciousness by;

  • irritability,
  • defiance,
  • pouting,
  • bragging,
  • quarrelling,
  • loneliness,
  • depression,
  • elation,
  • reticence,
  • aggressiveness,
  • stubbornness,
  • determination,
  • dishonesty,
  • nervousness,
  • restlessness,
  • frustration, and
  • selfishness.

All these “quirks” of the alcoholic personality stem from the basic abnormal fear motive. It is the reason that an alcoholic must be approached, not with the idea of correcting the above “faults,” but with the hope of instilling faith and confidence to offset the basic element of fear.

It is also the reason that criticising, condemning, making fun of, or frightening the alcoholic only accentuates his alcoholism because it only deepens his fear and insecurity. A normal person who pouts does so because he has been hurt; on the other hand, when the alcoholic apparently pouts he often times does so because he has been frightened.

It is true that his fears are very abnormal, but it is also true that they are present, and we must face facts and not indulge in wishful thinking.

Practically every alcoholic who has achieved sobriety, has achieved it, and maintains it, because someone, somewhere, rebuilt his human confidence, and thus led him again to a confidence and faith in a Higher Power, which ultimately is the only real security.

Thus the responsibility of the alcoholic is to stop drinking and then find, with help, those things in their personality which are holding them in the grip of alcoholism.

Once identified and accepted each person surrenders, stops fighting the problem and begins to live the answer - recovery.

This description also applies to the syndrome known as the ’Dry Drunk’. Someone who is sober but is not serene.

From; Sobriety and Beyond. (1953) BMT Guilde. Minneapolis. A classic in recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

          Sobriety and Beyond
by Father Ralph Pfau

Read more about this title...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Relapse prevention the AA Way

Relapse prevention the Alcoholics Anonymous way is proactive action.

One form of these strategies is The AA Six Pack, which says;

  • Don’t Drink
  • Go to meetings
  • Ask for help
  • Get a sponsor
  • Join a home group
  • Get active (in the program)

These are practiced so as to ensure immunity, an insurance policy against the first drink.

Family, friends and counselors can encourage people to adhere to this plan.

AA says;

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, …

Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely (AA, pp 58).

Half measures availed us nothing (AA, pp 59).

Another AA informal catchphrase is; ‘Ring, before you drink’ indicating one should phone ones peer sponsor before picking up the first drink.

Tools of Recovery

These are some of the main tools used by AA members to achieve and maintain sobriety.

  • Meetings: Meetings are the main place where patients learn how the program works and share their experiences, strengths and hope with others. Clients learn in meetings that their struggles and troubles are not unique, and gain the hope and assurance that they can recover and grow.
  • Sharing at meetings: Clients being honest and vulnerable in front of peers is frightening but worth it. Many believe that recovery in direct proportion to their willingness to share at meetings.
  • Telephoning: Advise patients to use the phone to contact members of AA between meetings.
  • Support system: Encourage clients to meet with other AA members over coffee to discuss their program so that they can learn that they are not alone and also allows them to get another perspective on their problems.
  • Reading and working the steps: Encourage patients to read AA literature, especially the Big Book, to better understand and work the program.
  • Sponsorship: Advise clients to ask others for help, including their AA sponsor as well as other members in the Program.
  • Balancing: To maintain and help build balance in their lives, help clients to understand that working at relationships with people other than AA members will enhance recovery.
  • Reading daily meditations: Many recovering alcoholics read a mediation book with breakfast each day to help keep the focus on recovery. The AA book ‘Daily Reflections’ or ‘One Day at a Time’ are recommended.

From the Brief-TSF education manuals.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS

THE 12 QUESTIONS OF MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS

The following questions may help you determine whether marijuana is a problem in your life.

  1. Has smoking pot stopped being fun?
  2. Do you ever get high alone?
  3. Is it hard for you to imagine a life without marijuana?
  4. Do you find that your friends are determined by your marijuana use?
  5. Do you smoke marijuana to avoid dealing with your problems?
  6. Do you smoke pot to cope with your feelings?
  7. Does your marijuana use let you live in a privately defined world?
  8. Have you ever failed to keep promises you made about cutting down or controlling your dope smoking?
  9. Has your use of marijuana caused problems with memory, concentration, or motivation?
  10. When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?
  11. Do you plan your life around your marijuana use?
  12. Have friends or relatives ever complained that your pot smoking is damaging your relationship with them?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have a problem with marijuana.

From; Marijuana Anonymous

          Life With Hope: A Return to Living Through the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous
by Marijuana Anonymous

Read more about this title...

Two Free Days

 

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and its poor performance.

Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.

Any person can fight the battle of just one day. It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternity’s, Yesterday and Tomorrow, that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.

          Just for Today: Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts
by

Read more about this title...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Normally High

Natural Highs

Consider and feel each before going on to the next one.........

  • Falling in love.
  • Laughing so hard your face hurts.
  • A hot shower on a cold day.
  • No lines at the supermarket
  • A special glance.
  • Taking a drive on a scenic road.
  • Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
  • Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
  • Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
  • Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla!) (or strawberry)
  • A bubble bath.
  • Laughing, Giggling.
  • A good conversation.
  • The beach
  • Finding a 20 note in your coat from last winter.
  • Laughing at yourself.
  • Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
  • Running through sprinklers.
  • Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
  • Having someone tell you that you're OK.
  • Laughing at an inside joke.
  • Friends.
  • Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
  • Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
  • Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
  • Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
  • Playing with a new puppy.
  • Having someone play with your hair.
  • Sweet dreams.
  • Hot chocolate.
  • Road trips with friends.
  • Swinging on swings.
  • Wrapping presents under the Christmas tree while eating cookies.
  • Song lyrics on your iPod so you can sing along without feeling stupid.
  • Going to a really good concert.
  • Making eye contact with a cute stranger
  • Winning a really competitive game.
  • Making chocolate chip cookies.
  • Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
  • Spending time with close friends.
  • Seeing smiles and hearing laughter from your friends.
  • Holding hands with someone you care about.
  • Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change
  • Riding the best roller coasters over and over.
  • Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.
  • Watching the sunrise/sunset.
  • Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.

Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

’Roid rage, depression and suicide

 

Some of the damage from steroids is irreversible, doctor says

Suspicions of steroid use are clouding Major League Baseball at the start of its season, but a bigger problem than the image of the national pastime is the health impact of anabolic steroids on adolescents, a University of Michigan addiction expert says.

Brower cautions that young people may think steroids are safe when they hear of their sports idols taking them. In reality, the risks of steroid use can include serious and irreversible physical effects, as well as mental perils such as severe depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and violent aggression, known as “’roid rage.”

He notes that suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15-24. “This is an age group that is already at high risk,” says Brower, associate professor of psychiatry at UMHS. “When you add steroids, you are increasing the risk of suicide.”

Although the actual rate of adverse psychiatric effects is difficult to measure, he notes that studies have found higher rates of psychiatric effects among weight-training users of steroids than comparable non-users. Brower, who recently testified at a highly publicized congressional hearing about anabolic steroid use, says the drugs can worsen the usual degree of psychological upset during adolescence.

“It can be difficult to detect when adolescents or young athletes are using steroids, so parents and coaches need to know what to look for,” he says. “One of the reasons it can be difficult is because some of the things that you see, such as mood swings and weight gain, are things that you would expect to see in adolescents.”

How can you tell if the mood swings, weight gain and acne are just part of growing up, or if they are related to steroid use?

Brower says to watch for intense dietary regimens that go along with frequent and prolonged periods of weight training.

“People become very focused on how often they need to work out, how much they need to work out, how much they eat, what kinds of foods they need to eat,” he says, “and they may even get irritable when they’re not able to do those things.”

Some warning signs should prompt parents to seek professional help for their kids, such as

  • when they become aggressive or violent with friends, family or strangers;
  • when they aren’t eating or sleeping;
  • when parents discover their children are hanging around with other kids who are doing drugs; or
  • when they are talking about suicide.

Some of the physical signs of steroid use include male-pattern baldness in men, the growth of facial hair and deepened voice in women, marked acne, oily skin, and injection marks over large muscle groups such as shoulders, thighs and buttocks. Steroids also cause a shrinking of testicles in men, and the appearance of sex organs in women to become more male-like.

The fact that a national spotlight has been shining on steroid use among well-known baseball players complicates the message, Brower says. Even if young people hear about the harmful effects of using the drugs, they see images of the famous athletes accused of steroid use - athletes who are wealthy and who appear healthy.

“We like our sports heroes because they’re celebrities, they’re famous, they look well, they perform well,” Brower says. “And when that becomes associated with anabolic steroids, it adds to the positive image of steroids.”

Steering young people away from using steroids is especially difficult not just because their sports idols may use them, but also because anabolic steroids are very easy for adolescents to get, Brower says.

Facts about anabolic steroids:

Steroids can lead to depression and can be addictive.

Side effects of steroids can include:

  • tears of muscles and tendons;
  • acne;
  • liver damage;
  • mood swings and
  • aggressive behavior;
  • shrinkage in the size of testicles;
  • loss of the ability to get erections;
  • a decreased sperm count;
  • an increase in men’s breast size;
  • high blood pressure;
  • abnormal cholesterol levels;
  • jaundice;
  • male-pattern baldness in men and women; and
  • the growth of facial hair in women.

Anabolic steroids are synthetic drugs similar to the male hormone testosterone. They sometimes are prescribed by doctors to treat men who can’t make enough testosterone naturally or to increase weight in people with some problems or disorders, such as AIDS.

Anabolic steroids were developed in the late 1930s primarily to treat hypogonadism, in which the testes do not produce enough testosterone, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

      Roid Rage
by Lesley Choyce

Read more about this title...

Monday, October 22, 2007

What’s Your Greatest Asset?

 

Five Strengths of an ACoA

Amy Eden writes about the assets of ACOA’s.

“I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel exasperated with the emphasis on problems tied to being the offspring of alcoholics.

Today I need to hear the B side of the record, to think about our other characteristics.”

Here are her first five assets of ACOA’s.

YOU CAN EMPATHIZE

YOU’RE INDEPENDENT

YOU’RE CREATIVE

YOU’RE RESILIENT

YOU’RE CALM

Full post at Guess What Normal Is.

      Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
by Melody Beattie

Read more about this title...

Detachment from the Alcoholic

 

The following recommendation comes from Al-Anon Family Groups.

"Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help.

"In Al-Anon we learn individuals are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it.

"We let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights; lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves.

"In Al-Anon we learn

  • Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
  • Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery.
  • Not to do for others what they can do for themselves.
  • Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink.
  • Not to cover for anyone’s mistakes or misdeeds.
  • Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

"Detachment is neither kind or unkind. It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person’s alcoholism can have on our lives.

"Detachment helps families look at their situations realistically and objectively, thereby making intelligent decisions possible.


LET GO

"To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means ’I can’t do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,
its the realization I can’t control another human.

To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness,
Which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it’s to make the most of myself

To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To let go is not to be protective,
it’s to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to criticize or regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is to fear less, and to love more."

Anonymous

          How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics
by Al-Anon Family Group Head Inc

Read more about this title...

The Promises of the Adult Children Of Alcoholics program

 

If we are painstaking about doing the program -

1. We will discover our real identities by loving and accepting ourselves.

2. Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis.

3. Fear of authority figures and the need to "people-please" will leave us.

4. Our ability to share intimacy will grow inside us.

5. As we face our abandonment issues, we will be attracted by strengths and become more tolerant of weaknesses.

6. We will enjoy feeling stable, peaceful, and financially secure.

7. We will learn how to play and have fun in our lives.

8. We will chose to love people who can love and be responsible for themselves.

9. Healthy boundaries and limits will become easier for us to set.

10. Fears of failures and success will leave us, as we intuitively make healthier choices.

11. With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors.

12. Gradually, with our Higher Power’s help, we learn to expect a better life and get it.

      The Complete ACOA Sourcebook: Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love
by Janet Woititz

Read more about this title...

A A Is a Spirit

 

  • It cannot be touched, nor can it be completely understood,
  • It is as wide as the world,
  • Yet it is small enough to fit inside the mind of man,
  • It has brought light to where only darkness dwelt
  • It has given Hope" to those who yearned in despair
  • It has nourished forgiveness in those who knew no pity
  • It has given strength to the weak and humility to the strong
  • It has given greatness to the common
  • It has spurred to higher goals those who once strove for nothing
  • It has been a home to the destitute
  • It has transformed sorrow into a weapon of happiness
  • It has given purpose to the trackless and shelter to the lost
  • It has taught patience to the hurried and action to the slothful
  • To the youth it has given Vision
  • To the aged it has given Promise
  • To the hopeless it has given Hope
  • To the restless it has given Rest
  • To the sick it has been a Doctor
  • To the dying, it has given a desire to Live
  • To those who have fallen, it has been a Helping hand
  • To the outcast it has been a Home
  • To the childless it has given Children
  • To the unwise it has given Wisdom
  • To the intolerant it has given Tolerance
  • It has no judgement against the Un-teachable
  • Yet, it has praise for those who Learn
  • For all those who embrace it. It has given to them the most precious gift of all "Sobriety"
  • It also given them another gift "The love for, truth" with more than enough left over to share with each other.

Author Unknown

      Living Sober
by AA Services

Read more about this title...