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Monday, June 30, 2008

Family Groups for Addiction

The Nar-Anon Family Groups are a worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. As a Twelve-Step Program, we offer our help by sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

Nar-Anon’s Purpose

Nar-Anon is a twelve-step program designed to help relatives and friends of addicts recover from the effects of living with an addicted relative or friend. Nar-Anon’s program of recovery uses Nar-Anon’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. The only requirement to be a member and attend Nar-Anon meetings is that there is a problem of drugs or addiction in a relative or friend. Nar-Anon is not affiliated with any other organization or outside entity.

Nar-Anon’s Twelve Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over the Addict -- that our lives have become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will 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 God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. 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 whenever 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 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 others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Contact; Nar-Anon

See also;


Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery.

Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

AA For Youth

April 5, 2007 -

• “If I could have stayed cool, I’d still be drinking. Very quickly, though, I started getting into trouble. Going to sixth grade got in the way of my life, which consisted of getting drunk as much as possible.” [After rehab] “I was going to A.A. meetings. Everyone was older, even most of the kids at the young people meetings. But I found that alcoholics understand other alcoholics. . . . Regardless of how young or old or ‘special’ I am, in A.A. I’m just a drunk.” Tina, who joined A.A. at 13

• “I loved drinking and was as addicted to the lies, the shady people and places as I was to the alcohol. My grades suffered until I stopped going to school altogether. . . . I found myself in places without any idea of how I had gotten there. I overdosed on alcohol.” Since coming to A.A., “I have been given an opportunity to grow up with the Twelve Steps in my life. It is with utmost gratitude that I have just celebrated my 19th year of continuous sobriety.” Kevin, who joined A.A. at 14

NEW YORK CITY-Tina and Kevin are two of the 19 very young alcoholics who relate their experience as recovering alcoholics in a revised pamphlet just released by Alcoholics Anonymous: “Young People and A.A.” Eight recollections by early teen and preteen alcoholics are included in the new edition, which also contains most of the original stories by alcoholics 25 and under.

The young A.A.s speak candidly about their preconceived notions of A.A. and what happened when they stepped tentatively into their first meetings. As Nicole, who sobered up at 14, says, “I knew A.A. held the solution to alcoholism. What I didn’t know was that anyone old enough to have a problem is old enough to seek help from A.A.”

Since the Fellowship began in 1935, the age of new members has constantly dropped. A.A. groups for young people began appearing as early as 1945 in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Philadelphia, and now can be found across the United States and Canada. Today approximately 10 percent of A.A. members are under 30.

In reaching out to young alcoholics, A.A. offers them a variety of special literature and audiovisual material, mainly available in Spanish and French as well as English. The stories help the young newcomer to A.A. understand that an alcoholic can “hit bottom” without going through 20-plus years of drinking, never mind the loss of family, friends and financial stability. Through identification with the recovery stories of people their own age, they learn they never have to feel so alone and frightened again-and can lead comfortable, happy, even exciting lives in sobriety.

Among other A.A. pamphlets that speak directly to young people are three in comic-book format: “Too Young,” in which teenagers aged 13 to 18 share their drinking stories; the newly revised “It Happened to Alice,” geared to young female alcoholics; and “What Happened to Joe,” which tells the story of a young construction worker on the edge of alcoholic self-destruction. A counterpoint to the pamphlet “Young People and A.A.” is the 28-minute video of the same name in which four young A.A. members tell the stories of their drinking and recovery in A.A., with closed captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

To obtain a copy of the pamphlet “Young People and A.A.” or other A.A. literature and service material, call your local A.A. Intergroup or Central Office. For further information about A.A. publicinfo@aa.org

See also;


Young, Sober & Free: Experience, Strength, and Hope for Young Adults

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eating Problems

The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will 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 God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. 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 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 the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Permission to use the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous for adaptation granted by AA World Services, Inc.

OA Program of Recovery

Overeaters Anonymous offers a program of recovery from compulsive overeating using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Worldwide meetings and other tools provide a fellowship of experience, strength and hope where members respect one another’s anonymity. OA charges no dues or fees; it is self-supporting through member contributions.

Unlike other organizations, OA is not just about weight loss, obesity or diets; it addresses physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is not a religious organization and does not promote any particular diet. To address weight loss, OA encourages members to develop a food plan with a health care professional and a sponsor. If you want to stop your compulsive eating, welcome to Overeaters Anonymous.

Contact; Overeaters Anonymous

See also;


Overcoming Overeating

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Family Stages of Alcoholism

A family with an alcohol in its midst will go through several stages in dealing with the chaos and disruption caused by the alcoholic. These stages are described below in order of appearance.

Denial: Early in the development of alcoholism, occasional episodes of excessive drinking are explained away by both marriage partners. Drinking because of tiredness, worry, or a bad day is not unbelievable. The assumption is that the episode is isolated and is, therefore, not a problem.

Attempts to Eliminate the Problem:The non-alcoholic spouse realizes that the drinking is not normal and tries to pressure the alcoholic to quit, be more careful, or cut down. At the same time, the spouse tries to hide the problems from the outside and keep up a good.front. Children may start to have problems in response to the family stress.

Disorganization and Chaos: The family balance is beginning to break down. The spouse can no longer pretend everything is okay and spends most of the time going from crisis to crisis. Financial problems are not unusual. At this point the spouse is likely to seek outside help.

Reorganization in Spite of the Problem: The spouse’s coping abilities have become strengthened. He or she gradually assumes a larger share of the responsibility for the family. This may mean getting a job or taking over the finances. Rather than focusing on getting the alcoholic to shape up, the spouse is now taking charge and tries to foster family life, despite the alcoholism.

Efforts to Escape: Separation or divorce may be attempted. If the family remains intact, the family continues living around the alcoholic.

Family Reorganization: In the case of separation, family reorganization occurs without the alcoholic member. If the alcoholic achieves sobriety, a reconciliation may take place. Either way, both partners must realign their roles within the family and make new adjustments.

Recovery; Can occur at any stage provided there is compassion, empathy and understanding by key family members.

BriefTSF can help the understanding and set up the right conditions for recovery to begin.

See also;

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spouses of Alcoholics

Partner’s Criticism Linked to Relapse

A new study published in Behavior Therapy apparently confirms that Al-Anon’s purpose of offering "understanding and encouragement" to those with drinking problems is best approach family members can take in dealing with the situation.

The study, conducted by William Fals-Stewart of the State University of New York at Buffalo, found that men recovering from substance abuse are less successful if they believe their spouse or partner is critical of them, rather than supportive.

The study found that of 106 married men studied, those who reported greater criticism from their partners were more likely to have relapsed, regardless of the severity of their drug problem, age or race.

Al-Anon is a support groups for those who are affected by someone else’s drinking. In the "preamble" which is read at most Al-Anon meetings, it says:

  • Al-Anon has but one purpose to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.

"Compared to treatments for substance abuse that do not involve spouses, individuals who get couples treatment have much better outcomes -- less drug use, fewer arrests, greater likelihood to remain abstinent from drugs," Fals-Stewart told Reuters.

Other findings of the study include:

  • Of the 106 men in the study, half had relapsed after a year of treatment.
  • Most of the men perceived their partner to be moderately critical of them, with only 2 percent saying they were not critical at all, and 29 percent saying they were "very critical."
  • Older men were more likely to perceive criticism, as were those involved in more distressed relationships.
  • The study noted the men’s perceived criticism, rather than how much and how often their partners actually criticized them.

Fals-Stewart said relapses themselves may increase criticism from a spouse, who may be especially disappointed by the failure of treatment.

See also;


The Wellness-Recovery Connection: Charting Your Pathway to Optimal Health While Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Friday, June 20, 2008

12 Rewards of Recovery

Twelve Step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-anon, Cocaine Anonymous and others don’t just address the substance or overt behaviour. In progressing through the 12 Steps other benefits will be realized. These are know as the rewards of recovery. One example is;

THE TWELVE REWARDS OF SOBRIETY

By Searcy W., 55 years sober as at 2001 aged 90.

  • Faith instead of despair.

  • Courage instead of fear.

  • Hope instead of desperation.

  • Peace of mind instead of confusion.

  • Real friendships instead of loneliness.

  • Self-respect instead of self-contempt.

  • Self-confidence instead of helplessness.

  • A clean conscious instead of a sense of guilt.

  • The respect of others instead of their pity and contempt.

  • A clean pattern of living instead of a hopeless existence.

  • The love and understanding of our families instead of their doubts and fears.

  • The freedom of a happy life instead of the bondage of an alcoholic obsession.

See also;


First Year Sobriety: When All That Changes Is Everything

First Year Sobriety: When All That Changes Is Everything

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

20 Questions for Gamblers

Gamblers Anonymous asks its new members to answer the following "20 Questions" in order to determine the severity of their gambling addiction:

  1. Have you ever lost time from work due to gambling?

  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?

  3. Has gambling affected your reputation?

  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?

  5. Have you ever gambled to get money to pay debts or solve financial difficulties?

  6. Has gambling ever caused a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?

  7. After losing, do you feel you must return as soon as possible to win back your losses?

  8. After winning, do you have a strong urge to return and win more?

  9. Do you often gamble until you run out of money?

  10. Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?

  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?

  12. Are you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?

  13. Does gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself and your family?

  14. Do you ever gamble longer than planned?

  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?

  16. Have you ever committed or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?

  17. Has gambling ever caused you to have difficulty sleeping?

  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?

  19. Do you ever get the urge to celebrate any good fortune with a few hours of gambling?

  20. Have you ever considered self destruction as a result of your gambling?

If you answered "yes" to seven or more of these questions, you may have a gambling addiction problem.

See also;


Gambling Addiction: The Problem, the Pain and the Path to Recovery

Gambling Addiction: The Problem, the Pain and the Path to Recovery

Monday, June 16, 2008

AA Works for Alcoholism

The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program for beating alcohol addiction has a long history and has helped millions of people around the world back to health.

It works as a 12-step program - the Steps being the program of the system which guide the user away from their dysfunctional relationship with drink. The 12-steps involve belief in and surrender to a ’higher’ power which the AA people always stress need not be a formal ’God’. So does the 12-step approach work for those who are not religious?

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Addiction Program studied a group of 227 alcoholics. Those enrolled in a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous did better than those who did not. It is the camaraderie and support you get in the 12-step program that likely provides the benefit, the researchers say.

Source; Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research August 2006

See also;

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stress Affects Recovery

Alcoholics should avoid excessive physical and emotional stress during early abstinence.

Researchers have found that an important system (The HPA axis) of the body that regulates stress, hunger and illness is “stunned” during alcoholic drinking.

The researchers tested alcoholics in early recovery (less than 12 months) and found that the HPA axis recovers after about 8 weeks.

Any stress can trigger an abnormal response but moderate to extreme stress can be dangerous to abstinence and may trigger a relapse.

Reference; May 2007 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Recovery Blogger's comments;

  • The most dangerous time for recovery from alcoholism is the first 3 months. Many do not stay sober in the first 3 months.

  • Some alcoholics have been known to exercise to extreme attempting to restore physical prowess and then wondered why.

  • Others have been known to attempt to restore money and work related problems by working long hours or several jobs. They too have found difficulty staying sober.

  • Still others have been known to try restoring family or marriage relationships too early and have found it very stressful or a threat to sobriety.

This research may explain why.

Alcoholics Anonymous advises;

’Easy Does It’

The slogan "Easy Does It" is one way we A.A.’s remind each other that many of us have tendencies at times to overdo things, to rush heedlessly along, impatient with anything that slows us down. We find it hard to relax and savor life.

When one of us is in a dither to get something done or get somewhere in a hurry, a friend may gently remonstrate, "’Easy Does It,’ remember?" Then there’s often a flash of annoyance at the adviser. And that indicates the advice must have hit home, wouldn’t you say?

Page 44 of Living Sober, AA Inc (1975)

See also;


Living Sober (#2150)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

20 Tips for Stress Relief

For most people in today’s world, stress is a fact of life.

In recovery it is especially true. Although it is impossible to eliminate all stress from daily life, it is possible to control the effect that stress has on the body and the mind. The first step in managing stress is to become aware of events in your life that cause you stress.

The causes of stress vary from person to person, so that what causes you stress may not cause stress for another person. Once you are aware of what causes you stress, the goal is to find ways to avoid or control these things.

Relaxation techniques, when used consistently, can prove effective in controlling stress by helping you reach a state of mental calm, even when in the middle of a stressful situation.

Here are twenty plus 1 things you can do to reduce or escape the stress you feel when you are unable to change a situation or to better cope with the stress of everyday living.

Twenty plus 1 Healthy Ways To Manage Stress In Recovery

  1. Talk to someone you trust.

  2. Learn to accept what you cannot change.

  3. Avoid self medication.

  4. Get enough sleep to recharge your batteries.

  5. Take time out to play.

  6. Do something for others.

  7. Take one thing at a time.

  8. Agree with somebody.

  9. Manage your time better.

  10. Plan ahead.

  11. If you are ill, don’t try and carry on as if you’re not.

  12. Develop a hobby.

  13. Listen to music.

  14. Eat sensibly and exercise.

  15. Don’t put off relaxing.

  16. Don’t be afraid to say no.

  17. Know when you are tired and do something about it.

  18. Delegate responsibility.

  19. Be realistic about perfection

  20. Don’t drink or drug.

See also;


Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Series)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his young grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.He said, "my son, the battle is between 2 wolves.

One Is evil... It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good......It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The young grandson thought about this for a minute and then asked his Grandfather, "which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee replied simply......"the one you feed."

See also;


The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (Oprah's Book Club)

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (Oprah’s Book Club)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The acronym FRAMES

FRAMES

The acronym FRAMES captures the essence of the interventions commonly tested under the terms brief intervention and motivational interviewing.

Feedback: about personal risk or impairment (e.g., results from the AUDIT, the BriefTSF alcohol history and consequences inventory and/or from blood tests).

Responsibility: emphasis on personal responsibility for change.

Advice: giving clear advice may involve promoting total abstinence, advice to reduce drinking to safe levels or advice to seek further treatment such as BriefTSF.

Menu: of alternative options for changing drinking pattern and, jointly with the patient, setting a target; intermediate goals of reduction can be a start. Keeping a drinkers diary often helps.

Empathic interviewing: listening reflectively without cajoling or confronting; exploring with patients the reasons for change as they see their situation. Empathy is a potent determinant and motivator for change.

Self efficacy: the practitioner’s belief in the patient’s ability to change can also influence recovery. Continuing to address the problem in follow-up visits helps ensure a positive outcome. See also MET an interviewing style which enhances peoples’ belief in their ability to change (See Principles of Motivational Interviewing).

AA saying: I’m not responsible for my disease, but I am responsible for my behavior

From the BriefTSF training manuals.

See also;