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In the Zone of Recovery- Part II

For anyone who has played a sport or had a hobby you most likely have experienced living in the moment.  Is it possible for a singer to be thinking about a pressing matter while performing?  Does a ball player have the ability to think about the grocery list while chasing down a fly ball?  I doubt it!  These are examples of being in the zone and focusing on the moment at hand.  This is what my 1987 baseball team had done.  So, addiction recovery often tries to teach the addict to remain in the present.  For many addicts, if they think about it, have had many moments when he or she was living this principle.  If one can master the concept, it will build strength in that person and bring about a sense of peace.

My 1987 baseball team turned a corner a little more than half way through the season.  There were several factors that played into this.  Maybe it was our coach telling us that we “f***ing” sucked.  He was being brutally honest with us at the time and just like addiction, sometimes we need to hear the truth although it may hurt.  Perhaps, we got sick and tired of losing or as they say in the 12-step rooms, “sick and tired of being sick and tired”.  Whatever it was we needed to make a change.  So, we did.  We started spending more time with each other outside of games and practice.  We would eat together, talk baseball and build camaraderie.  Kinda like what 12-step groups suggest…

We Needed to Make a Change!

As a result , our team began to get along much better.  We encouraged each other to do our best and we did not blame each other if something went wrong.  Furthermore,  I no longer was being chased by that crazy teammate with a bat!  Now, we were on the brink of the playoffs.  However, we needed one more win and another team to lose to be the last seed in the State Tournament. We heard the other team did lose.  Our hopes were alive.  But, we were down by three runs in the last inning of the game we needed to win.

 
So, with the bases loaded, Tommy C. did it…a towering home run to left field.  Talk about a moment of pure “sober” joy!  We did it and now all we needed to do was win four games in a row and we would accomplish our goal, State Champs.  The goal of sobriety is achievable too.  To be continued…

addiction, recovery, support

Do you think these players are thinking about who is coming for dinner tomorrow night? Nope, they are in the zone!

 

 

 

In the Zone of Recovery- Part I

It was June 1987 and about one week before I was about to graduate high school.  But, for me that was not something I was excited about.  Nope, not for me.  I had something else better going on than that.  The chance for our baseball team to win the state title.  This was years before I would understand addiction recovery and some of the concepts used to help addicts; such as mindfulness, meditation, etc.  The crazy thing about this experience in 1987 was that I was not only playing baseball but at the same time I was mastering these concepts and my buddies were too.  We were in the zone!

Looking Back Our Team Had Fellowship and It was Strong!

This all started back in March of ’87.  I had a group of friends who were on a mission.  We wanted to be the best in the state.  How could we do this?  Well, it would take a lot of the suggestions that 12-step programs give to addicts. We would have to focus…one game at a time, communicate with each other and build each other up in order to get where we were going.  We all had the same goal.  Sound familiar?  It should, as 12-step programs assert that fellowships try to solve a common problem, either alcoholism or addiction.  Looking back our team had fellowship and it was strong!  We were helping each other on and off the field.  A recent article discusses the importance of doing this and supporting one another in addiction recovery.

 
Our season, just like recovery had its setbacks.  We started out slow and it took time before we would progress and gain hope.  In addition, we had some dysfunction too.  I will never forget my childhood friend got so angry with me during a practice that he chased me with baseball bat.  Fortunately for me he was a stocky kid who I could easily outrun.  Don’t remember what I did to make him angry or how we worked it out but we did.  I must have made my amends to him.

I don’t know when it happened but at one point we turned a corner.  This is when things got very exciting.  To be continued…

addiction, recovery, mindfulness

This is what focus and living in the moment looks like!

Gambling Treatment and Getting Help

If you think you have a problem with gambling there are ways to get help.  One way is to get professional help before things get worse. Compulsive gambling is a disease that can absolutely destroy someone’s life.  Getting help is the first step to ending this destructive lifestyle.  In the beginning gambling might have been an enjoyable experience. But once someone crosses the line, gambling is no longer fun.

Seeking help for a gambling addiction can be a huge relief for a person whose gambling has gotten out of control. Gamblers Anonymous can be another way to get support in trying to quit gambling.  This is a good start because getting professional help may take some time to get an appointment.  Admitting your struggles with loved ones can also be useful.  It is important to be honest about your addiction and there are steps to take that will also alleviate your troubles.  For instance, may people who suffer from this disease will have their loved ones control their finances until they can be confident to trust themselves again with money.  One former patient gave his credit/debit cards to his brother for six months and received a small allowance.  His brother paid his bills and before long the patient could handle things on his own.

It is important to point out that the patient was getting professional help and attended Gamblers Anonymous during the six-month period.  Some people are fortunate enough to get through their troubles by getting this sort of assistance.  But for many compulsive gamblers it is necessary to get inpatient treatment to address their gambling. This allows for intensive counseling.  A recent article discusses compulsive gambling and how it affects a person’s life.  The article also suggests other ways to combat a gambling addiction.   Gambling really causes troubles for the people in their lives.  So, getting help is paramount.

Treatment Centers or Gamblers Anonymous is Where There is Help For Gambling Addiction!

There are many answers to the question where can I get help for gambling addiction. It can be a scary thing to address but the alternative can be even more terrifying!  Get help and start living a normal life.  You will not regret it!

 

Where Can I Get Help For Gambling Addiction,honesty,treatment

Gambling Treatment? There are many signs of distress for a compulsive gambler. Get help before your ship goes down!

 

 

Attitude is Everything in Recovery

If you are new to recovery you might be wondering how can you be content without, drinking, drugging or gambling. Often this is the reason why people do not get help in the first place.  They just cannot imagine stopping their addiction and feeling contentment.  So, I am here to tell you that there is hope and there are millions in recovery who now live outstanding lives because they quit their addiction.  Moreover, Attitude is Everything in Recovery!

Connection and Recovery…You Can’t Have One Without the Other.

Laugh more often!  There was a real character in recovery, known for standing up in meetings, facing the crowd with a big smile on his face and saying, “I love everyone, but there’s always one son of a gun I love the least!”  Everyone would laugh.  Tension was relieved, newcomers felt more comfortable and the laughter created a feeling of unity.  The man’s name was Wish and he was friendly and welcoming to everyone.  In Wish’s eyes, it did not matter what you looked like, where you came from or what you had to say.  He was always a bright light with a great sense of humor.  He connected with people and that connection is what makes recovery meaningful.

 

 
There are many sayings in the recovery community and one you’ll hear often is to “have an attitude of gratitude”.  Be grateful for what you have and for the opportunity to live sober and clean.  Helping others, whether they are newcomers to sobriety or in your day-to-day relationships with family and neighbors will add to a more balanced and content state of being.  A recent article  discusses the benefits of a great attitude.  Therefore, remember there is no problem that will get better or be solved by using or gambling.  You have the power to change and it all starts with attitude!

 

recovery, attitude

It’s All About Attitude!

Addiction Treatment in Virginia and Making a Contract for Success

Okay, so your loved one has sought treatment for their addiction.  Now what?  They are out of the 28-day inpatient program and now he or she needs to maintain a clean and sober or gamble free life.  So, there will be expectations that need to be addressed. How will everyone involved in this crucial time of recovery manage things?  And believe me there will be a lot to manage!  It is important for family, friends and the person in recovery to have a game plan. So, sometimes people develop contracts to address issues such as attending 12 step meetings, finances or building back trust.

A contract or written agreement involves both parties.  For instance, a loved one may want you to attend 7 meetings a week.  This may not be a realistic expectation so it is important to make attainable goals.  The addict might agree to going to 4-5 meetings a week.  The point here is that there is a negotiation that can occur when developing a contract.  So, one might wonder what are the consequences if an agreed goal is not met.  There needs to be predetermined consequences in the contract if a goal is not met.  One example might be; if the addict does not go to the agreed number of meetings per week, then they will need to make those missed meetings up the next week.  Honest communication and listening are important to making contracts work.  Therefore, do your best to focus on these concepts.

Make a Contract for Success!

Speaking of honesty, the addict needs to be honest with his or her family about their past usage or gambling.  For instance, if in the past, you were given cash to buy toiletries and spent the money on drugs or gambling then be open about it.  Otherwise, keeping such secrets will eventually lead to a relapse.  Be open about what triggers you.  If your spouse keeps alcohol in your house and it is triggering you then communicate that.  Don’t assume that someone will always know what your triggers are.  So, be specific and don’t sugar coat things.  With regards to relationships, state your needs to your partner and if you feel rejected admit it.  The parties involved should focus on listening as this will aid in the process.

There are several issues that will need to be addressed once the addict leaves treatment.  It is a great idea to develop such plans while the patient is in treatment.  A therapist can help facilitate this process.  But, if a plan is not done in treatment you can always have a neutral friend help with developing the right formula.  Good luck and stick to the plan!

Addiction, contract, family

I agree!

 

Famous People Who Do Not Drink

We have all heard the stories of celebrities throwing wild parties, getting drunk and getting into trouble.  You’ve probably seen the mugshots.  We’d like to give a shout out to celebrities who have chosen not to drink, because we don’t hear about these nearly enough!  So let’s raise a glass of iced tea to the following famous people who do not drink alcohol.  Everyone from sports stars, actors/actresses, musicians, comedians and politicians, the people on this list have either never taken a drink at all, or made the choice to abstain.

Blake Lively has never touched a drop of alcohol

Eric Clapton

Jim Carrey

Shania Twain doesn’t drink or do drugs. She’s also a vegetarian.

Eminem

Jennifer Lopez

Daniel Radcliffe

Bruce Willis

Robert Downey, Jr.

Sarah Silverman

Tyra Banks

Bradley Cooper

David Beckham

Tobey Maguire

Jennifer Hudson has never had a drink.

Tim McGraw

Donald Trump

Christiano Renaldo

Brett Favre

Charles Barkley

Joe Namath

celebrities, don't drink,

Looks like these guys are choosing a coffee over booze!

One article discusses how President Trump does not drink.  The article also pokes fun of him but at the same time tells about the serious reason why he chooses not to drink and the fact that he lost his brother to alcoholism. Let’s give all these folks a lot of credit considering how often there is alcohol in their work settings!

What is The Al-Anon Program?

Al-Anon is a program for those families and friends who have been affected by someone else’s alcoholism.  It is basically a support group to help people cope and learn how to manage life.  Many people have found that Al-Anon has provided them with the tools to live a happy life.  So, Al-Anon meetings give people a chance to connect with others.  This connection allows people to relate to each other and build support throughout their daily lives.

Alcoholics can cause a lot of damage to family and friends.  A recent article discusses what alcoholism is and some of the signs and symptoms of it.  The article also describes how it is diagnosed, the complications of alcoholism, as well as treatment options.  But, not all alcoholics are ready to stop and want treatment.  The wonderful thing is that Al-Anon will help those families and friends whether their loved one has stopped drinking or not.  The program will help people will gain back control of their lives.  Then, they will start enjoying themselves again.

The program is an anonymous program which is one of their basic principles.  Therefore, if you attend no one shall disclose that you were at a meeting.  It is very much like alcoholics anonymous in that what is said in the meetings is kept confidential.  If you decide to go to a meeting you do not have to say your name or say anything at all.  Hence, just sit and listen if you choose.  In addition, the program is free and you do not need an appointment to attend.  Just go to one of their meetings.  You can find a meeting by going on-line or by calling 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).

Many People Have Found that Al-Anon Has Provided Them with the Tools to Live a Happy Life!

So, if you need help dealing with a loved one’s drinking, Al-Anon is one of the most widely used forms of support. There are many members who are willing to lend a hand to you.  They will guide you to living a new way of life!

Al-Anon, family support, alcoholism

Take Back Control of Your Life and Have Fun!

Campus Gambling and the Need for Action

As a child, you probably played card games such as rummy, war, slap jack or even poker.  Poker for fun of course! Then there is bingo, which you may have been introduced to by your school or your church.  These games can be addictive.  I am not sure which is worse these days, games like these or the typical video game.  The seed of a gambling addiction can be planted at a very early age and start to grow with time.  As an individual gains access to more money and freedom, what was a fun past time can morph into a full-fledged gambling problem.  Gambling on our college campuses is becoming more widespread primarily because of the ease and convenience of online gambling.

What is currently happening in our country is that campus gambling and the potential hazards of it are becoming all too evident. Moreover, to think it might be stemming from the innocent games played as a child is quite possible.  A former athlete once told me that his gambling began in college.  He and his teammates would play poker on the bus while traveling to play intercollegiate baseball.  Some guys would be studying, others listening to music, but most would be gambling.  The same thing would happen when they got to the hotel, if time allowed.  Then, if it happened to rain, the game got canceled and the gambling would be an all-day event.  It was a big joke when some players would gamble away their meal money.  But for those of us working with gambling addicts, it was one of the signs that gambling was becoming a problem.  Usually, the coach would have pity on the player and take care of his tab.  This was a nice gesture, but probably the type of enabling that can give the gambler the impression that he will always find a way out of trouble.

It is About Time Our Society Realizes that Even the Young are Vulnerable!

A recent article discusses some of the reasons young people gamble, as well as some of the signs that they might have a problem. No matter what type of gambling a young person is into, the results can be life altering.  It is about time our society realizes that even the young are vulnerable. We need to better educate our youth about the choices they make and the unintended consequences that can occur; poor grades, low self-esteem, anxiety and losing friends, to name just a few. If we educate our children, limit the access to gambling and other addictive situations, they can have a future with unlimited possibilities.

Campus Gambling and the Need for Action, youth

Campus Gambling and the Need for Action. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

 

 

Alcoholism and Violence

When a person is drinking it is more likely that he or she will exhibit behaviors that are not typical when they are sober.  Alcohol often causes a person to make poor choices.  Unfortunately, these choices and behaviors can lead to violence.  A person who gets drunk will sometimes blackout and not remember what happened while he or she was drinking.  Often, their friends will tell them what happened and the person will be shocked and/or perplexed at what they did.  At other times, they will have a memory of erratic behavior and will not understand why they acted that way.

So, plain and simply put, the only truthful way to avoid having these aggressive encounters is to not drink.  But, someone who drinks might have many excuses to keep drinking.  In fact, he or she might blame others for their drinking.  For example, the person could think that if people were not so irritating to be around then they wouldn’t have to drink.  Or if you had my life you would drink too.  Moreover, they might even claim that it’s someone else’s fault they got so drunk and acted so savagely.  It’s like the person who gets the DUI and criticizes the police for their legal troubles.

It’s Time to Take Responsibility for Your Behavior!

Then there is the person who claims that their violent behavior was an isolated event and there is no way it will happen again.  He or she might rationalize about such incidents and try to point out all of the good that they do. Therefore, ignoring and not taking responsibility for their negative actions.  This is all part of addictive thinking patterns and points to the irrational thinking of an active drinker.

A recent article discusses the unpredictability of a person who drinks and the harm it can cause others.  So, however you may rationalize your behavior when drunk, remember that it impacts the people around you.  Furthermore, when a person does not drink they can make good behavior choices and behave appropriately.  Not to mention, he or she will now live a life that is guilt free and one that does not harm those they love.

alcohol, violence, recovery

Recovery Gives You a Chance to Live Without Regrets!

Drug Rehab Virginia and Step Four of the 12-Step Program

Step Four in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

If you have decided to give Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) a try then you will hear about the 12-steps of recovery.  These steps are a guideline on how to become happy in recovery.  In addition, by following these steps (in order) you will learn how to maintain healthy long-term sobriety.  Now, many people here about the steps and in particular the fourth step and panic.  The fourth step is about  making a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.  We list both the good and the bad and when working any of the steps it is important to have a sponsor help you through the process.  So, please don’t worry!

Typically, the whole working the steps idea is stressful.  But, please be reassured that once you complete these steps you will have a new outlook on life.  The other neat thing about working the 12-steps is that there is no deadline to get them done.  Therefore, this is another reason not to get worked up about it.

Exactly what do we hope to achieve by working this step? Some goals are identifying the causes and conditions of the consequences we have suffered because of our reliance on substances.  Other goals are uncovering some truths about ourselves and being ready to admit them to another human being.   Another great goal we hope to achieve is discovering unhealthy patterns which have been causing problems in relationships. Finally, we strive to  name some of our most troublesome “character defects”, which we would like to work on or have removed. Once this step is completed, make an appointment to meet with your sponsor.

Next, it’s suggested that you go over Step 4 with your sponsor (Step 5).  Sharing your personal inventory with your sponsor is a very important phase in recovery. The best sponsors will listen, be empathetic and encouraging. Your sponsor should be able to give you valuable feedback and will offer his or her opinion on your work.

This step and all the others prepare us to live a life of purpose .  One that we can be in maximum fit condition to be of service to others.   So, easy does it…but do it!  Then, by working the twelve steps of recovery you will increase your chances of long-term sobriety.  Below are what will result for you by working the program.  Your life will change!

 

Drug rehab, Virginia step work

Peace and Serenity!

The AA Promises from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

8. Self-seeking will slip away.

9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves

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