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Giving Voice to Recovery
37 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
Waking Up Sober in a Convent.
In this episode of Giving Voice to Recovery Elizabeth interviews Kathy Stolecki. Kathy is a singer/songwriter and a health coach. She is also the author of the book Waking Up Sober in a Convent.Kathy shares how she came to that moment of clarity and realized that she needed and wanted to get sober. She takes us on her personal spiritual journey and shares her Spiritual awakening. A journey from devout Catholic to finding a broader spiritual path that is still central to her life and recovery. From a novice in a convent to an empowered woman who found it essential to be true to herself and her sexuality.Kathy’s personal recovery story is a beautiful demonstration of the importance of self-honesty, self-respect and compassion. Listen and check out Kathy’s book Waking Up sober in a Convent!
66 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
Evolve & Develop Your Intuition
In this episode of Giving Voice to Recovery Elizabeth interviews Jenn Beninger, the CEO and founder of Genius Unlocked Coaching Institute. Jenn has refined the art of coaching others on how to delve into what's holding them back and live in their purpose by calling on their intuition.Jenn explains that the best way to get long lasting and permanent results in any area of life is to cultivate an unshakable trust in yourself by evolving your intuition! She shares her personal recovery story and how these tools helped her move forward in her own life! Listen to find out why and how this unique method will help you take inspired action with confidence!If you like what you hear, be sure to Join the next 5 Day Class, Keys to Unlocking Intuition by clicking on the link below:https://bit.ly/3EyiO1T
45 minutes | Sep 8, 2021
Love Without Martinis – Chantal Jauvin Interview
Love Without Martinis - How Couples Build Healthy Relationships in Recovery - Chantal Jauvin InterviewCheck out my interview with Chantal Jauvin, Author of a new book titled Love Without Martinis, How Couples Build Healthy Relationships in Recovery, Based on Real Stories.As a person in long-term recovery, who is also in a long-term marriage to another person in long-term recovery, I absolutely appreciate Love Without Martinis! When we are as committed to our recovery as we are to our partnerships, there is no shortage of digging deep and continuing to work on ourselves so that we can be successful at both. Chantal walks us through the six practices outlined in her book. She shares the stories conveyed in her book that I think many will be able to relate to. If you are building or rebuilding an intimate relationship, my hope is that you will feel empowered by this interview and by Chantal’s book.Nothing is more powerful in recovery from substance use disorder than the sharing of our personal stories and this proves true in this important area of life, relationships! Great Read! Elizabeth
44 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
The Interview With Recovery Coach David Malow
Join Elizabeth as she interviews David Malow Recovery Coach.David's mission is to provide a bridge of guidance and support for individuals and their loved ones who are struggling with chemical dependency, while helping to facilitate the action steps which are necessary to maintain a happy, healthy sober lifestyle.David enjoys long-term sobriety and is a current member of CAADAC, CCAR, Recovery View, and The Sober Living Network.In 2009, David worked as a consultant to the Betty Ford Center and wrote the policies and procedures manual for their BFCSL Sober Living program. He received a scholarship from The Betty Ford Center to obtain his certification as a Grief Recovery Specialist at the Grief Recovery Institute in Los Angeles in 2008.Since 2005, David has been the lead alumni volunteer at the Betty Ford Center/Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, having served for over 5,000 hours. In 2009 David was a consultant to the Betty Ford Center for their BFCSL Sober Living program.For more about the services David offers you can contact him at:https://coachdavidmalow.com/For more information about Workshops and Coaching with Giving Voice to Recovery or Genius Unlocked please visit https://givingvoicetorecovery.com/wor...For Information about Elizabeth's Group Coaching Programs visit:GivingVoicetoRecovery/workshops
4 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
The Gift of Giving Thanks
For those of us that are blessed with recovery, gratitude becomes a daily practice. Developing an attitude of gratitude is a powerful spiritual principle that helps heal our mind, body and soul. I believe that substance use disorder (addiction) is, among other things, a soul sickness. The remedy for soul sickness is a spiritual awakening. Spiritual connection, regardless of how you achieve it or what you call it is an important part of the healing process. I respect all forms of spiritual practice because what might work for one person, might not work for another. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. Gratitude and the act of giving thanks is a universal spiritual practice because it works for almost everyone. I believe Gratitude is the simplest and most sincere form of prayer.In early recovery, gratitude was a foreign concept to me. Giving thanks was an occasional reflex from my upbringing, but most of the time I was either stewing in my “victim story” or simmering in self-pity and self-loathing. I had become a “taker”.When I was very newly sober the holidays were upon us and I was super broke. Showing up sober was sure to be an improvement but I was really unconformable. A wise woman suggested to me that I offer to bring something, that that would make me feel better. I told her I barely had enough money for gas to get me there. She suggested that I find something free that had value that I could bring.I was living in Northern California, the Sierra Nevada Mountains at that time so I went out and found some really beautiful pine cones, I put them in a basket that I had and that was the gift I brought to the dinner. The pine cones were appreciated and placed in the center of the table as a part of the center piece. That was my first sober Thanks Giving and that was thirty-four years ago.Something really important happened for me that day, that simple act of giving flipped the switch from being a taker to a giver. I had acted my way into right thinking.We all have something to give and when we start living from a place of abundance and gratitude we start to create our amazing, abundant recovered lives.I am a blessed person and I am so grateful for all my blessings big and small. This year has been a challenge for many, including myself. I am especially grateful for all the hard lessons that I hated at the time but they gave me the learnings that I didn’t even know I needed. Now I do.That’s right, I’m grateful for the hard stuff as well as the fun stuff. My difficulties have and continue to make me a better version of myself. It was my difficulties in life that taught me compassion, resilience and resourcefulness. So when I say that gratitude becomes a way of life in recovery, this is what I am talking about.And just in case I haven’t said so, I am grateful for you!I’m Just Sayin’ qhsl7IJmhTSprqerBPkS
6 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
The word Stigma was borrowed from Latin meaning "mark or brand”.Stigma in English first referred to a scar left by a hot iron. In modern use the scar is figurative: stigma most often refers to a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society has about something—such as the stigma associated with addiction.Words are powerful. How we talk about ourselves and to ourselves, matters. Negative labels such as – Addict, Alcoholic, Drunk and Junkie become part of our identity. People tend to label a person by their behavior, fair or not. It is natural to act congruent with our identity. Identity has a big impact on self-esteem as well as ongoing behavior. example, “I can’t help but get drunk, I’m an alcoholic.” In recovery, it’s important to “identify”. First to make sure we are in the right place so we can get the help we need for specific substances. Secondly, the honesty and acceptance it takes to “own” the nature of our addictive patterns and substances is an important first step to change.In the rooms we celebrate when people are able to say to the group, “I’m Elizabeth and I’m a …(fill in the blank)”. When we do this, it changes the meaning of that word. It goes from being a negative to a positive, because when we own it, we can change it and not until then. When we “own it” and we tell the truth about ourselves we start the process of recovery and our identity begins to change. One of the things I started doing when I realized the importance and impact of language was I started identifying myself differently both inside and outside of the 12 –Step rooms. In the rooms I say “I’m Liz and I am a recovering … I do this to let people, especially those who are new know that we can and do recover and that it’s an ongoing process. I am also telling myself, “Hey girl, you are still in the recovery process, you are not “cured”. Over time It became important to me to identify as a recovering person and a lot of times I will throw the word “grateful” in there, because I am!Out in the rest of the world, I say I’m Elizabeth and I am a person in long-term recovery.When I am outside of the rooms talking about recovery to business people, media professionals or politicians (people who are in positions to make decisions that affect us), I have found it very helpful to eliminate the stigmatized language and labels.Recovered Substance Use Disorder doesn’t look anything like active addiction, in fact it looks normal. Most recovered people don’t openly announce this about themselves without a reason and some people have good reasons to keep it private.For me, my music naturally brought me to advocacy work. My songs reflect my life; my life reflects my recovery. Music brought me to advocacy work but it was advocating for the person who is still suffering, the person right in front of me on any given day that brought me to a deeper level with my songs. Every time I told my story to another person in hopes of connecting and helping, the wound beneath “my scar” lost a little bit more of its pain and shame. Over time the pain was gone and something amazing was in its place – purpose.A scar left behind from the burn of a hot brand is the perfect metaphor for addiction. Active addiction is painful and destructive. It is often publicly humiliating for ourselves as well as our families. It leaves emotional and sometimes physical scars. Scars can be ugly and look painful long after the trauma. When that scar heals, it identifies us but now it represents strength, courage, honesty and grace. It’s that very scar that let’s others know, “if you are struggling with substance use or addictive patterns you can talk to me because I know where you are”. This is how we transform our pain into purpose, this is when our greatest liability becomes our greatest asset. This is when we teach people who don’t know, who likely don’t understand and we give them the opportunity to learn. When people understand and they see the difference in us they usually respond from a place of love and compassion.Substance Use Disorders, is a chronic behavioral health disorder. It is treatable and when we recover we become some of the biggest contributors to society. We come from all walks of life, we come from every possible background and our stories save other people’s lives. We are worth saving, hiring, knowing and loving. There are more than 22 million people in long term recovery in the United States and another 26 million who need help. Our stories have the power to heal. We cannot all afford to stay invisible.Just Sayin’Elizabeth
11 minutes | Oct 13, 2020
Moments of Clarity
My worse day turned out to be my best day. It was the day I had my moment of clarity. It was the day I woke up from my “story”, the story I told myself every day, the story that justified self-destructive behaviors.It was the day I woke up from my lie, the lie I had been telling myself for years. “My drinking doesn’t hurt anybody.” “If I ever get as bad as so in so, I’ll quit.” “I can quit anytime I want.”Up until that point, I had referred to myself as “a wine connoisseur with bad taste in men”. Since I never let the glass get empty, I was always on my first drink. The diet pills and cocaine were necessary to keep the weight in check, “everyone does that”. This is how I saw it and I believed it one hundred percent. I believed it in the face of, and contrary to, a lot evidence. I brushed off the many comments from people who loved me and tried to help me. I literally couldn’t see it even though, on some level, there were times I feared something was really very wrong with me. I saw myself as a victim and I lived my life through that filter. Drinking and self-medicating seemed to me to be the solution and not the problem. For me, it was a quiet moment driving down a canyon road in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Feather River Canyon in Northern California. It was after a long blackout drinking weekend in which I had managed to piss everyone I knew off, again. I was baffled and that was the beginning.Protected by my defensive “woe is me” victim story, a simple thought popped into my mind and it took root. The idea that maybe they were right, maybe my problems were due to my drinking. For years’ people had suggested this to me and I had completely dismissed it. Drinking was not my problem, people were my problem! It sincerely looked and felt that way to me. “If you had lived my life you would completely agree.” I would say as I explained my trials and tribulations to anyone who would listen.For some reason on that particular day, the thought “maybe they are right” just kept popping into my mind. I started remembering what I’d heard in the 12 step groups I had attend a few years prior. I had already been there but not because I needed help. I was there to support someone who really had a problem. I would say “I’m Liz and I’m a visitor.” I would think to myself, “this is so great for these people.” I did not see myself as one of them.As I drove down the canyon road, it was dawning on me that having a drinking problem explained a lot. A few more synchronicitic little miracles happened soon after and I found myself back in the rooms. I heard “You can’t see until you can see” and “you can’t hear until you can hear” and I knew exactly what they meant.Today I celebrate that day, October 13, 1986 was the day I woke up. That strange combination of pain, bewilderment and hope cracked my denial wide open and I have been on the most amazing journey ever since. I'm Just Sayin'Elizabeth
5 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
The Serenity Prayer
The Serenity PrayerGod grant me the serenityto accept the things I cannot changethe courage to change the things I canand the wisdom to know the differenceAmen*There is a longer version of this prayer but the short version has been popularized and is the subject of my focus. Although there are earlier versions that captured the concept of the serenity prayer, the actual prayer, as we know it, is credited to the sermons of Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) an American theologian.The early twelve step groups adopted the prayer in 1941and as the12 Step recovery movement grew, in number and type, the popularity of this little prayer grew as well.The profound wisdom provided in this twenty-eight-word prayer is powerful and profound. Here’s my take, my understanding and my insights on how this miniature masterpiece works.God – The first word is a calling upon a higher power, a higher consciousness and a greater energy. I do this with the intention to raise my consciousness above the level of the problem. When I set this powerful intention to connect with a power greater than myself the result is that I am given access to that higher mindedness. When it comes to the word “God”, some people shut down. Don’t let words get in the way, use whatever word works for you. The point is to call upon a higher power.Grant Me – This is a simple request for grace. When I am humbled enough to recognize that this problem, situation or feeling is more than I can deal with and I ask in faith, it is given.The Serenity – Serenity is the possession of a peaceful mind. Peace of mind allows a calm to run through my body. Serenity allows me to live in peace even though I have unresolved problems at the present moment. Serenity is what I feel when I am living by the principles offered in this prayer.To Accept – Acceptance allows me to let go of what I cannot change. When I accept the things I cannot change, I stop fighting with reality. I don’t have to like it, approve of it or get happy about the situation. I just need to recognize the fact that this situation “is what it is” for the lack of a better phrase and it lies outside of my personal power.The Courage – Courage is what it takes to overcome fear. It’s the power and the empowerment to act upon a situation in order to change the things we can. It’s not what happens to me, it’s what I do with what happens to me, that determines the way I feel about it. It’s my response that often has the biggest impact on the overall outcome. I believe that God can do for us, what he can do through us, so I need the courage to suit up and show up. It takes courage to do what can be done.The Wisdom– Wisdom is usually attained by attending “the school of hard knocks”, either learning from my own mistakes or as a witness to somebody else’s pain. The beauty of the Serenity Prayer is it reminds me that I can ask my higher power to grant me that wisdom, that inner knowledge, right here, right now. This helps me make better choices. It helps me recognize what is mine and not mine. This wisdom plugs me into my natural intuition and creativity.Prayer is powerful because prayer focuses the mind on a higher consciousness. When I keep it simple and I use this prayer, I am given the grace of serenity every time.I’m Just Sayin’Elizabeth
7 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Focus on Hope
Focus on HopeI think most people would agree that we are living through challenging times. The Corona Virus Pandemic and all that comes with it including, lost loved ones, health anxiety, financial stress and forced lifestyle changes just to name a few, are taking their toll. Additionally, many of us are dealing with extreme weather events all while navigating the choppy waters of a deep political divide during an intense election cycle. How on earth are we to stay sane much less sober and serene?I have never been more grateful for my sobriety than I am now. Staying focused on recovery during challenging times is something we learn to do early on. These skills serve us well at times like these. The skills and attitudes we learn to live by in order to recover from addiction are the same skills and attitudes that it takes to be resilient. Because we learn to practice this way of life on a regular basis it sets us up to survive hard times.Of course, not everyone is as established and stable in this thinking and that is why we emphasize community and connection. Staying clean and sober during times like these can be challenging especially if you are new to recovery or not yet able to achieve physical sobriety. At a time when alcohol sales have gone through the roof, the number of suicides and opioid overdoses are all on the rise tells me that the stress level is devastating the most vulnerable among us.If you or someone you care about is struggling with obtaining or sustaining physical sobriety, my strong suggestion is to get professional help. Substance Use Disorder (addiction) is a chronic life threatening illness and getting clean and sober is often harder than staying that way. For some it takes multiple attempts to quit and stay quit. Even in the case of relapse, don’t give up, some people relapse before they “get it” and every relapse teaches a missing truth that improves the odds and gets us closer to our goal of sobriety. Many of us need professional help, especially if there is co-occurring mental health issues or if multiple substances are being used. This can be very tricky but there is a whole world of capable people that can help you even if you are homeless and broke. I have included a link below to our resource page, help is available regardless of Covid19.https://givingvoicetorecovery.com/recovery-resources/For those of us who are clean, sober and relatively stable – it’s online meetings, outdoor socially distanced meetings with masks, regular phone time with others in recovery, prayer and meditation, speaker meeting recordings, journaling, telehealth appointments with health and mental health professionals, reading inspiring books and recovery literature and inventory work. Maybe there’s a silver lining in all of this. Maybe this situation has given you the opportunity to indulge in creative projects that you’ve been meaning to get to, or cleaning and organizing chores long overdue. Possibly, this is a transition point in life you didn’t know you needed, or a time to go inward and reevaluate. Sometimes it just helps to re-frame a situation so we can get a better perspective.Hope is an important principle of recovery, if there is no hope, we won’t try, if we don’t try, things won’t change, if nothing changes then nothing changes.Here is how I practice focusing on hope:First, I remind myself that it’s not only what happens to me, but what I do in response to what happens to me that determines my personal experience and final outcome.Next, I assess the situation, careful not to exaggerate or minimize the situation – I often run this by another person to be sure I’m seeing things clearly.Then I ask myself:1. What could I be hopeful about in this situation right now?2. What gives me reason for hope?3. What can I do to increase the chances for a positive outcome?4. How can I stay focused and productive toward that end?I hope you try my recipe for hope. As always, I hope you find this to be helpful, if so, please like, share and comment, I would love to hear from you!I'm Just Sayin,Elizabeth
4 minutes | Aug 25, 2020
Guilt vs. Shame
Guilt vs. ShameGuilt is the emotional signal that says, oops I messed up, I did something wrong, I made a mistake, I need to clean that up or walk it back.Shame, on the other hand is the core belief that says, you are not good. It’s that subconscious feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. It’s says “you are bad”, “you are a mistake”, “you are less than” or “you don’t belong”.Shame is the fuel of addictive behaviors. It’s the thinking that says “you need to outdo everyone else or don’t even bother trying”. Shame is low self-worth hiding behind an over inflated ego, it’s “better than — less than” thinking. Shame robs us of the ability to like or love anything about ourselves because we are conditioned to believe we are fundamentally flawed and therefor unlovable.Intimacy is impossible because if we get too close, you might see those flaws. Shame keeps us from being able to be happy for others or even recognize our own achievements. Shame is that subconscious voice that says things like “It’s never enough”, “life isn’t enough”, “It’s not good enough”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not enough” or “I’m too much”. It keeps us wrong, isolated and different.Addiction is that hunger for something outside to fix the feelings inside. Shame is that critical voice that can’t allow us to actually own our human failings or even acknowledge a simple mistake. The weight of a simple error is too heavy for a shame based person.Shame comes from a family system that likely created roles that included a Scapegoat. The Scapegoat is to blame for all that was wrong. I, like most of the people I have met on my recovery journey have played this role and adopted this role as an identity. We tended to act out who we believe ourselves to be adding more “shameful” behaviors and consequences to the pile.An important part of my recovery was when I started learning that first and foremost, I am a human being not a human doing. I’m not my mistakes nor am I my accomplishments. I am much more than that and so are you! I have made many mistakes but I am not a mistake, in fact I am a miracle. We all are.I learned that in order to change any part of myself and my life, I must first “own it” – you can’t change what you don’t own. Imperfections, mistakes and shortcomings are part of the human condition. This is why we apologize, we pay fines and restitution when necessary, we excuse ourselves, we make amends, we self-correct and then we try our best to do better and not repeat our mistakes. This is humility, this is healthy, this is human.When we all accept that no one is perfect nor is it required of us to be loved we can let it go and move on but when we are operating from a shame core, we mistake shame for guilt and we tend to deny any wrong doing. If we can’t deny it, we hide it and when we can’t hide it we get defiant and blame anyone and everyone for our behavior, choices and consequences. Often times the “blame story” becomes our delusional reality and drives us to drink, use or act out even more. We start drinking or using at people, as if we are hurting them. This is when other people look at us with sad concerned eyes or just tell us we’re crazy. This is when our “crazy” world becomes very real to us and we become very hard to reach.Shame is a powerful poison that seeps down into the foundation of our thinking. Recovery from addiction is the process of uncovering, discovering and discarding all the false beliefs about ourselves and others as well as evolving into the fullness of our perfectly imperfect beautiful humanness.Learning to acknowledge guilt for what it is, a signal that tells us we have broken our own rules or we didn’t live up to our own standards is a healthy and vital step. The 12 step programs revolve around this process and concept – “When we were wrong we promptly admit it.” Accountability, honesty and acceptance are key principle components to all paths to recovery.One of the biggest gifts of recovery is true self-esteem and self-worth. Self-compassion along with self-correction is a beautiful experience and becomes a way of life. Recovery from a shame-based belief system is like repairing the foundation of a structure that has already been built, it’s not easy but it is worth it!I’m Just Sayin, Elizabeth
5 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
It's Progress Not Perfection
One of the guiding principles of the many 12 step programs is “Progress Not Perfection”. This is a vital concept to recovery for several reasons and when you employ it you will immediately benefit from the change of focus.Perfection is a false standard. I’m not “perfect”, You’re not “perfect”, life is rarely “perfect” and because perfection has little to do with objective reality it is useless, in fact it can be harmful to use as a measuring stick for human beings.Perfectionism goes hand in hand with procrastination. The result is that nothing gets done and nothing changes. Nothing changes unless something changes, right? Procrastination and perfectionism are the opposites sides of the same coin and they both get you the same thing, nothing. They both keep us stuck because action is the key.Recovery of any kind takes action and lots of it! Recovery, and a productive life in general takes action. For many who have suffered with Substance Use Disorder, taking action can feel overwhelming and many of us get paralyzed by fear and confusion. Sometimes we get stuck in close minded thinking. That’s when we believe we already know the outcome, so why try. It’s contempt prior to investigation. At other times we get stuck in the “I’ll do it when I’m better, or when the time is perfect, or when the situation is perfect. Perfect never comes.The ideas that “when it’s perfect, I will be ready” or “I will do it when the time feels perfect”, are fundamentally flawed. Here is a clue, if “perfect” hasn’t showed up by now, it probably won’t in the future. If you haven’t become “perfect” enough yet, waiting doesn’t usually get you there, but action does.Here’s the trick I use, it helped me get sober and it’s a tool I still use today in life. After I pray, meditate and journal on the big picture outcome, situation or problem that is in front of me, I take my focus off of the intended outcome and I just start asking myself “what’s the next right thing I could do now?”It is very easy to get bogged down but if I just focus on the next right simple action and nothing else until I have completed that action, I move forward. I believe life is made up of mostly baby steps and then every once in a while, a big decision. When we learn to live one day at a time, one step at a time, one idea, one decision, one lesson, one blessing, one moment, one breath at a time, that is when the overwhelm leaves and the progress happens.When I take simple actions, the thinking, the know-how, the understanding, the feelings and the motivation comes. This happens primarily after the action and not before. This process forms momentum and momentum is how we accomplish a life worth living. We’ve all heard that it’s the journey not the destination, well I think it’s both. On the journey there are stopping points if we choose to notice them. This is where we stop, turn around and recognize how far we’ve come. It’s progress that “juices” our lives.Progress happens because we’re willing to take imperfect action. We learn to “act our way into right thinking”, and our thinking changes for the better. Our lives get bigger and bolder and deeper and more meaningful. This is how we grow into our perfectly imperfect best self, our recovered self.
5 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
Great Questions Beat "Learned Helplessness"
It is so easy to fall into "Learned Helplessness" during times of stress. Before I got sober I lived in a state of "learned helplessness", that frame of mind that looks and feels like "life is happening to me and I can't do anything about it". Basically a stuck, frozen victim mentality that leads to defeat and despair. One of the many tools I've learned along the road of recovery is to "Ask a Better Question", because when I do, I get a better answer. I learned this important technique from Tony Robbins and have been forever grateful, I use it all the time and it keeps me out of negative self-destructive, self-defeating thinking, thanks Tony! Here are the basics; because questions are powerful and because our minds will find an answer to any question it is asked, even if the answer is not true or helpful, we will find an answer. For example, let's say something we perceive as negative happens and we ask "why does this always happen to me?" the mind will find an answer that sounds something like "because you are unlucky." It will fill in the blank with something negative because the question is coming from a "victim" mind set. When we come from the mindset of a "victim" we create a self-fulfilling outcome because we ask questions that end up confirming that underlying belief. A better question might be, "What's good about this?" or "What could be good about this?", "What could I learn from this?" or "How can I correct this?" or maybe "Is there a different way?" or "Maybe there is a better way to deal with this situation?" You get the idea. When we ask ourselves empowering questions we get empowering ideas.We are not powerless over what we focus on nor what we say to ourselves and what we focus on and say to ourselves have an enormous impact on our mood, outlook and behavior. Something to consider, as always I hope this is helpful!I'm just saying,Elizabeth
5 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Why Fear and Shame Don’t Work
This one is for anyone who has ever loved or cared about a person who is hurting themselves with an active addiction.It is a mind boggling and terrifying experience to watch someone ruin their life, their health and their future opportunities because of an addictive behavior.Why can't they see the danger they are in? Why are they not ashamed of themselves? We beg them to see what they are doing to their family, friends and employers but they don't seem to care. Nothing seems to make a dent, we cry. "Fearing" and Shaming someone to quit doesn't usually work, in fact it often alienates them even further.The reason it doesn't work is because you can't "out shame" an addict, nothing you can say to them is worse than what they say to themselves, even if they hide it well.If fear worked, it would have stopped them long before you ever noticed they had a problem. People suffering from addiction are drowning in fear and shame. These feelings are the feelings that fuel addiction, not heal it.The feelings and beliefs that encourage recovery are pain and hope. If you are lucky, they come in that order, quickly and one after the other. Then quickly followed by humility. Not humiliation, but humility.It is humility that allows these life changing realization to sink in; "I need help". "I can't do this alone or I would have by now". "I want help". "I hope my life can be different". “I need to change, my life needs to change and I'm willing to change because I want to live". This is what we in recovery call “surrendering”, “I can’t live like this anymore.”Here is how we as family, friends and loved ones can help that moment happen.Get out of the way, stop saving them from the consequences of their behaviors. Stop enabling unhealthy behaviors. Let the consequences be what they will be. It likely feels counterintuitive to allow someone you love get hurt by their behavior but I challenge you to ask yourself, “Am I keeping my loved one from the very pain they need to change?” This is not easy but it is likely necessary. I am not suggesting you “pile on” additional consequences, just simply that you step back and let life do what it does. In the case of life threatening events, ask yourself, what would I do in any other life threatening event? Most likely you would call for help. Yes, sometimes we have to call the police or paramedics or take them to emergency rooms and when we do we tell the professional the truth.Another important piece of the puzzle is to “own your own feelings”. It is so easy to get sucked into the drama and want to blame what we see as the source of fear, anger and embarrassment. It is really helpful to get clear about what you are feeling instead of what they are doing. These two things might seem intertwined but finding a safe place and way to express yourself is imperative to healing.Learning to own your feelings such as "I feel afraid" "I feel angry" " I feel embarrassed" instead of blaming such as "You make me.....” or “He is so..... " or “She made me …“ goes a long way in shifting the dynamics of the situation for everyone involved. “You Messages” make you the victim, you are literally giving your power away. “I feel” statements are authentic, hard to argue with and can have a positive impact on the situation because you are providing negative consequences to bad behavior.Find a safe place to get support for yourself. Living with addiction is destructive to everyone it touches but recovery is available for everyone who wants it for themselves. In fact, your recovery and the resulting changes in your behavior and attitude will have a positive and profound effect on everyone including your addicted loved one, but especially on yourself.Here is a link to many support systems available:https://givingvoicetorecovery.com/recovery-resources/I hope you find this helpful,Elizabeth Edwards
5 minutes | Oct 24, 2019
Attitude of Gratitude
Cultivating an Attitude of GratitudeElizabeth explores the value and power of cultivating an attitude of gratitude as a cornerstone of recovery from addiction.One of the first and most important things I learned early onIt’s a baby step in the right direct – it's a decision, it supports a turning point.It becomes a daily practiceAddiction, among other things is a form of "Soul Sickness" and spiritual practice opens us up to a spiritual experience that can help us heal.Gratitude is the most sincere form of prayer and teaches us to:Look for the Gift - Look for the Good – Look for the “God” in everythingand it teaches us to ask better questionsWhat’s good about this?What could be good about this?Where is the gift in this?
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