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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

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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

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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

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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.

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