Category Archives: Drug Addiction

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.


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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.


You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Embracing the New ~ Imbolc

 

“An old error is always more popular than a new truth.” — German Proverb

The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision.  This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.

My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance.  When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors.  I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.

Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways.  Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior.  Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life!  This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.

Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.


That’s Who I Used to Be

“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.”  –John Spalding

There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth.  I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged.  However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self.  I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.

A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!”  Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection.  I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.

If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come.  I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection.  There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!

About The Narcissistic Personality Disordered Person

My previous relationship was with a man with a paranoid personality disorder.  Eventually, it was determined that he also had a narcissistic personality disorder.  With this knowledge I chose to stand by the side of my then partner, as I felt that, through no choice of his own, he was afflicted by mental illness. It goes without saying, that this affliction played a major role in my life both individually and in the relationship. Each day proved to be a difficult day. I have blogged about my experience with his paranoid personality disorder. The insight I have gained through my process of understanding narcissism has broadened the scope of my comprehension of the bigger picture of what was going on and what was “in play” within our relationship. I stated in my blog about paranoia that by sharing this type of information openly in forums such as this and my decision honor the commitments I have made to my partner, I have alienated myself from key persons I would normally choose to have in my support network. As a result of my openness and honesty, I sacrificed both family connections and close friendships.

Contrary to what some people may think, I felt I had given considerable thought to my decision to stand by my partner, again consulting with both paraprofessionals and professionals in the field of psychiatry. It is a lonely experience trying to share the struggles my partner and I faced to some in our support network, and some abandoned us altogether. I was often asked,” Why do you stay with such a person?” When faced with trying to understand his narcissistic behavior, I found myself in a very familiar place, asking myself that very same question.

As I continued to learn to live with the decisions I made, I saw more of the options available to me. Thoughts, feelings and emotions were so jumbled up inside my head. I felt as though I was hanging onto a very thin rope over a very deep abyss. I knew that in times such as those I was experiencing, I needed to first take care of myself. Eventually, healthy people came into my life. One or two of them were there all along, only I wasn’t open to receiving their opinion and I didn’t pursue the friendship. I found I had a small circle of stable people I could call and talk to and spend time with outside of my home environment.

I knew I needed a tool to process the jumbled feelings, the hurts, resentments and fears that were consuming my thoughts; even manifesting themselves physically in my body. One way I typically approach the more significant issues in my life is to look at the situation very analytically. One of the ways I do this is to write a blog and journal which incorporates the more factual matters; much like the way one would approach writing a research paper on the subject matter. Following is the result from my research, condensed and specific to my situation with my former partner:

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and a lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually arrogantly self-assured and confident. They expect to be noticed as superior. Individuals with NPD are sometimes called “serial bullies.” Many highly successful people might be considered narcissistic. However, this disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing. The narcissist does not cater at all to his own needs. Contrary to his reputation, the narcissist does not “love” himself in any true sense of this loaded word.

He feeds off other people who hurl back at him an image that he projects to them. This is their sole function in his world: to reflect, to admire, to applaud, to detest – in a word, to assure him that he exists. Otherwise, they have no right to tax his time, energy, or emotions – so he feels.

NPD is a true mental diagnosis for people who need admiration, lack empathy and have a grandiose sense of their self-importance. It is called a pervasive pattern of grandiosity in fantasy and behavior, and usually begins by early adulthood and it presents itself in a variety of symptoms. To make this diagnosis, a person presents five or more of the following:

Are You Narcissistic?

 

 

Fill in the blank next to each question with a number from 1 to 5 as follows:

 

1 strongly disagree     2 disagree     3 neutral     4 agree     5 strongly agree

 

_____      I am very concerned with what others think of me.

 

_____      I am easily bored.

 

_____      I feel that I am attractive

 

_____      I call, text or email my friends when we haven’t spoken for a while.

 

_____      People are always coming to me with their problems.

 

_____      I am more important than most people I know.

 

_____      I find that other people’s remarks can be hurtful.

 

_____      I don’t like being alone for long.

 

_____      People often don’t appreciate me.

 

_____      I feel that I am always sorting out people’s problems for them.

 

Scores between 24 and 34 are normal (The average is 29).

If your score is 35 or more you may be narcissistic.

If your score is 23 or less you may be lacking in self-confidence.

It is rare for a narcissistic person to be diagnosed with NPD because those who really should be don’t seek help and so don’t get clinically assessed; it is usually members of their family or work colleagues who seek help to cope with them. Here are a few pointers that may help you identify one:

Their lack of empathy colors everything they do.

They may say, “How are you?” when you meet, but they are working from memory.

They are not interested in how you are.

Virtually all of their ideas or ways of behaving in a given situation are taken from others, people they know and perhaps think of as an authority (mirroring).

Their sense of self-importance and lack of empathy means that they will often interrupt the conversations of others.

They expect others to do the day-to-day chores as they feel too important to waste their time on common things.

Listen for the constant use of “I”, “me” and “my” when they talk.

They very rarely talk about their inner life, such as their memories and dreams.

They feel that the rules at work don’t apply to them

They will always cheat when they think they can get away with it

If you share workload with them expect to do the lion’s share yourself.

They love to delegate work or projects, and then interfere by micro-managing it. If it goes well, they take the credit, if it goes badly they blame the person they delegated it to.

There tends to be higher levels of stress with people who work with or interact with a narcissist, which in turn increases absenteeism and staff turnover.

They get impatient and restless when the topic of discussion is about someone else, and not about them.

How is narcissistic personality disorder treated?

There is no known cure for narcissistic personality disorder, but psychotherapy might help the person learn to relate to others in a more positive and rewarding way. Psychotherapy tries to provide the person with greater insight into his or her problems and attitudes in the hope that this will change behavior. The goal of therapy is to help the person develop a better self-esteem and more realistic expectations of others. Medicine might be used to treat the distressing symptoms, such as behavioral problems, that might occur with this disorder.

What are the complications of narcissistic personality disorder?

People with narcissistic personality disorder might abuse drugs and/or alcohol as a way of coping with their symptoms. The disorder also might interfere with the development of healthy relationships with others.

What is the outlook for people with narcissistic personality disorder?
The prognosis depends on the severity of the disorder.

Can narcissistic personality disorder be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent narcissistic personality disorder.


The Power of Art

Mask of Domestic ViolenceThe Mask of Domestic Violence – By Artist, Christopher Eshenbaugh

 

Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world (our own), we see it multiplied.”  — Marcel Proust

 

I’ve been looking at the therapeutic nature of art to one’s recovery lately.  In our active addiction, we tended to have a single, narrow view of ourselves and the world we live in.  We thought that everyone was obsessed by using, fantasies and erotic images; we saw others perhaps as mere doubles of ourselves. 

One of the great joys I find in reading is the ability to enter other people’s lives.  We often come to know fictional characters even better than our friends because a novelist can give us the illusion of being all-powerful and all-knowing.  So we get a special “inside view,” and many people in books become familiar and very dear to us.

Reading can take us out of ourselves and expand our views of other people.  We learn that, indeed, “it takes all sorts to make up a community in this world of ours,” and our lives become less isolated through contact with others.  The power of art is to deepen and enrich this perception of ourselves in relationship to the world.  Through reading, watching plays and films, or exploring a painter’s world, we begin

Art is Meant to Disturb

Mask of Mental Illness 2

The Mask of Mental Illness – By Christopher Dale Eshenbaugh

I can see that my new life will be full of the unknown, but that is what can make it exciting and creative.

Many great artists were neglected or even abused during their lifetime because their work was considered too provocative.  Painters like Van Gogh, poets like Blake or Poe, and novelists like James Joyce were pushed out to the margins of society because their vision was too disturbing.

Most of us like a comfortable life, and those of us who are addicted to one high or another may not want to be troubled by new ways of seeing and imagining the world.  Yet, the day comes when our addiction no longer satisfies us and we begin to long for a new vision and version of our lives.  Art can help us in our recovery. 

Art allows us to change our way of looking and living, even if at first the change is disturbing.  Like artists, we can create new images and new patterns for our lives.  At first, it may be painful.  Old, comfortable habits die hard!  But, as we move forward, taking our little baby steps, by baby steps, we come to see that it’s exciting to be on the move and even at the frontier of new, creative endeavors.  Creativity, after all, comes from loving ourselves and others. 

Judgment Day

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“I shall tell you a great secret, my friend.  Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.”  — Albert Camus

It is easy to hope that at some time in the future we may redeem ourselves by some great act of heroism or undergo a dramatic conversion of sorts.  But in the meantime, all too often, it’s business as usual.  Too easily we can become used to our unhealthy behaviors, denying that our acting-out has harmed anyone… except ourselves and those we love and who love and trust us.  Deep down we knew we were judging ourselves and being judged.  Now, each day, we can assess our actions and evaluate our behavior.  In this way, we learn how our behavior has affected every part of our lives and our relationships.

It is time to change.  The longer we wait, the more ingrained are our habits and ways of perceiving and deceiving.  If we live a lie, we will be judged accordingly, by ourselves and those close to us.  We can change and grow and move ahead into the openness and fullness of each new day.

Tears Dry On Their Own — Amy Winehouse

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All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we knew
And this regret I got accustomed to
Once it was so right
When we were at our height
Waiting for you in the hotel at night

I knew I hadn’t met my match
But every moment we could snatch
I don’t know why I got so attached

It’s my responsibility
You don’t owe nothing to me
But to walk away I have no capacity

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I don’t understand
Why do I stress a man
When there’s so many bigger things at hand

We could’ve never had it all
We had to hit a wall
So this is inevitable withdrawal

Even if I stop wanting you
And perspective pushes true
I’ll be some next man’s other man soon

I cannot play myself again
Should just be my own best friend
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

So we are history
Your shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I wish I could say no regrets
And no emotional debt
‘Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets

So we are history
A shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze
That only lovers see

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
My blue shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry

— Amy Winehouse