Category Archives: Addiction

Addiction to Crystal Meth and other illegal and illicit substances and the recovery associated with these drugs.

Respect Whatever Life Brings Us

What we don’t know supports what we do know.”   — Bill Moyers

One way we show respect for ourselves and others is by respecting whatever life brings us.  What prevented that in the past was our preoccupation with everything that prevented us from having our own way.  Now, we live lives on a different rhythm: one of letting go.  It is that rhythm to which we must pay attention.

At times letting go feels like doing nothing, and doing nothing feels like standing still.  But letting go is not the same as standing still.  It is active, not passive.  Letting go focuses our attention on life in the present, living it fully, moment by moment, and not in a fantasy future that seems to promise the outcome we crave. 

It has been said that the light of God’s love is so bright that it seems as darkness to us.  When we feel we’re living in darkness, we may be living in the all-encompassing light of God’s love.and compassion for our struggle.  We can trust the daily evidence of that love and know we are safe. 

 

To Change OurselvesI’m

“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”  — Bernard of Clairvaux

There comes a day when we realize that looking for external solutions to our problems just won’t work.  How vain has been the time and energy spent looking for the perfect mate or partner, the perfect job, the perfect life. So instead, we start to search for internal solutions; we begin to change ourselves.

To change ourselves is a different process from controlling ourselves, which cannot be done.  But when we start to give up the control, the rigidity, the perfectionism, the self-will, we begin to change.  This change seems like a miracle because it is!  It’s an incredible gift from the Universe, who loves us beyond our imagining.  The more we change our focus from the external to the internal, the more we’re able to accept ourselves.  We become humble with each small choice to accept ourselves as we are.  We become whole as we let that choice be enough for today.

Are you living within yourself or outside of yourself today?  To keep the focus within requires self-acceptance.


What I Want is to be Myself Again

mark blue

I’m learning that when we lose faith in our feelings, we lose faith in ourselves and become outer-directed. That is, we look to the world to tell us how to feel and what to do.  We seek approval and love from others so we can prove to ourselves that we are worthy.  Paradoxically, to be outer-directed is to be self-absorbed. How can this be?  We feel so unsure of who we are , that we cannot let go, be spontaneous or real.We can reclaim ourselves by becoming inner-directed.  This means looking within ourselves for the direction we need.  When we’re just beginning to learn to trust our feelings, this can seem to be truly agonizing.  It means trusting the reality of our needs and our right to express them.  Only then can we find the faith in ourselves and in life, that we have lacked.

Becoming inner-directed takes self-acceptance and self-love.  It also takes time. Until then, there will be no real peace because it is the only way to find ourselves.

Weakness and Fear

“When people are least sure, they are often most dogmatic.”  — J.K. Galbraith

Weakness and fear make me defensive and dogmatic (adhering strictly to something).  I often find myself becoming strident and aggressive without any apparent reason.  I insult my acquaintances, hurt my friends, and even frighten the neighbor’s children.   In that moment, I may feel I am being strong and assertive, and yet the effects are just the opposite of what I had intended.  I am hurting, and so I lash out and wound others.

What am I hiding?  Why am I feeling threatened, vulnerable and weak?  I usually strike out when hiding my needs and fears.  I think that, if I attack, maybe I won’t need to let anyone in.  I start to make-up in my mind that if I let people in, they won’t love me; I feel unworthy and shameful.

I have come to find out however, that it is the strong that are tolerant and charitable and forgiving.  As I continue to grow in confidence and strength, I will find that I too am able to be flexible, patient and open with others.  I am striving to be strong, open, tolerant and loving.

To Learn to Love Ourselves

“There is luxury in self-reproach.  When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.”  — Oscar Wilde

Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves.  Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty.  All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.

We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame.  Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values.  Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad.  Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless.  To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors.  There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.

I Quit

dontsmoke

“I quit smoking.”  — Me

I’ve done it!

I’ve considered myself to be a smoker since the age of twelve.  My cousin Randy and I would sneak cigarettes from our parents and smoke them as we walked to school each morning.  Back then, cigarettes cost no more that seventy-five cents from the vending machine at the local bowling alley.

By the time I was fourteen years-old, my parents had grown tired of trying to stop me from smoking and allowed me to smoke openly.  My mother would even buy cigarettes for me when she went to the grocery store.  I smoked and smoked and smoked.

There have been occasions in my life when I have been able to quit; usually because of illness of some sort (usually upper respiratory since I am asthmatic) or because of a new commitment to overall health.  It has been nearly 2 months since my last cigarette.  This time my reasons do include health concerns, mortality and cost.  The price one pays for cigarettes now, with all of the various taxes, has become prohibitive.

My home smells better, my senses already seem more aware to smell and taste.  Soon, I know I will also be able to claim better health and longer life.

 

Life Lived Fully

 

 

“What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”  — Colette

Colette was a French author whose books give a sense of a life fully lived.  Yet, even she regretted that she hadn’t appreciated her good fortune earlier on.  It was only while writing that she learned to see how lucky and happy she was and to praise life.

I know that I have been tardy in realizing how rich my life has been.  It is often only in retrospect that I can see the beauty and feel the joy.  How beautiful that day was!  How much I was loved! How lucky I was to have such good friends around me!  What a beautiful child!

Why didn’t I see what was happening right before my own eyes? Why couldn’t I seize the moment?  It’s good to remember, but it is amazing to live in the present and to cherish each moment while it is happening.

 


Facing Our Own Dishonesty

 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  — Prov. 25:11

Facing our own dishonesty can be daunting, but maintaining absolute honesty is a basic premise of our recovery program.  12 Step programs of recovery describe it as “rigorous” honesty.  Belief that we can be honest without a solid commitment simply won’t work.

The more we grow, the more we develop our ability to make one choice at a time, to experience one feeling at a time, to tell the truth one situation at a time.  We admit to ourselves when we feel guilty, angry, fearful, and resentful – the negative feelings that are difficult to face.  Being honest is how we finally come to know what used to baffle us about our addiction.  When we create a unity between honest feeling, honest thinking, and honest action, we find that we have become honest people.  Personal honesty is a gift for which I thank the Universe every day.


Those Few Special Friendships

 

“A friend is a gift you give yourself.”  — Robert Louis Stevenson

More.  Some of us have come to believe that more means better.  But there are some things where less is more, and one of them is a close friendship.  The truth is, we don’t have many special friends, and that is exactly what makes them special.

Between such friends, there is a bond of understanding, honesty, acceptance and love that is valued even more over time.  Trusted friends offer us the opportunity to learn to be intimate and to let ourselves be known as we truly are, time and time again.  From that mutual sharing, we receive what we need.  We can take certain risks, secure in the knowledge that the friendship will endure the test. With our special friends, we don’t have to worry about being perfect because we’re loved for who we are; the way we are.  These friendships possess an innate freedom.

Special friendships can be platonic or romantic. It doesn’t matter. Through good times and bad, we begin to sense a divine triangle of growth and love between ourselves, our special friends and our connection with the Universe.

To my close friends, Trish, Andrea, Scott, Kevin and Gregg, “Thank you for accepting “me” as me. The five of you were the special friendships I had in my mind when writing this blog.”

 


Fed Up With Perfectionism?

upside-down-proverb

 

“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”  — G.K. Chesterton

Ever turn a proverb upside down?  In “Way of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler, Ernest was annoyed and surprised at his parents for wanting him to be more religious all his life, and when he did, they were still not satisfied. He said to himself that a prophet was not without honors save in his own country, but he had gotten into an odious habit of turning proverbs upside down, and it occurred to him that a country is sometimes not without honor save for its own prophet.

It helps sometimes, to see what happens.    Many of us are brought up to believe that we have to do, excel, finish first, get on the team, do a good job, see it through, get it done on time, say it right, get ahead, and on and on, better and better as we go.  Why?  Maybe that’s the way Dad did it; and Grandma did it and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

And then, inevitably, we’d fail or fall. So we’d turn back on ourselves in shame, beat ourselves up, maybe turn to alcohol or drugs or some other addiction.  If we were failures in public, then many of us would make up our own private world where failure doesn’t exist.  In this little world fantasy ruled, and in fantasy there are only successes; everybody scores

But I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be so.  We can break the spell and stop beating ourselves, and get away from Father’s angry voice or that disappointed look on Mother’s face.  We can do things at our own speed, in our own unique way, on our own timeline, just for the joy of doing them.