Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Peril of Anonymity

"In 2011, Susan Cheever, whose father, John, died of alcoholism and who is herself in recovery, wrote that it might be time to reject the second A of AA. In the New York Times, David Colman quoted novelist Molly Jong-Fast, who had gotten sober in AA thirteen years earlier: “It seems crazy that we can’t just be out with it, in this day and age. I don’t want to have to hide my sobriety; it’s the best thing about me.” In the Time article, Rick Ohrstrom, the chairman of C4Recovery Solutions, said, “I violate my anonymity daily. I am twenty-five years in recovery, and have been out there fighting for the rights of people in recovery, and I’m sick and tired of people in AA meetings not lifting a finger to do anything about it. They hide behind anonymity—if you don’t tell anyone else that recovery works, that’s what you’re doing.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Monday, July 29, 2013


"Anyone who’s ever loved a drug addict or alcoholic knows how impossibly difficult it is to address it with us. It doesn’t help matters that while protecting our disease, most of us are incredibly crafty, manipulative, demanding, and just plain old scary."

Guts by Kristen Johnston

Sunday, July 28, 2013


"Another symptom of addiction is narcissism." ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I don't have to

“If I don’t want to care what other people think of me, then I simply don’t have to.” ~ Guts by Kristen Johnston

Friday, July 26, 2013

Surrender to God “as we understood Him.”

“The only condition [required for a person to recover] is that he trust in God and clean house,” wrote Wilson in the Big Book. “To get well, we had to have God’s help,” he said in an interview. And, in spite of Wilson’s alterations, seven of the steps still require an acceptance of, prayer to, and surrender to God “as we understood Him.”

The emphasis on God isn’t relegated to the tenets and writings of the Program. At most meetings I’ve attended, speakers and participants talked about the grace of God, being saved by Him, and praying to Him. The nonreligious aren’t turned away, but people have told me about the shame and guilt they’ve felt while sitting in meetings because they didn’t or couldn’t believe. Some nonbelievers said they felt uncomfortable or even dishonest in AA meetings. Some became angry, and many left, never to return.

“If you don’t believe in God, you’re like a bug on a windshield.”

This warning—and the insistence that there’s only one way to get and stay sober—is not only wrong but harmful. Most addicts who wind up in rehab are initially belligerent, angry, uncooperative, and unwilling or unable to embrace the steps, because they’re detoxing and miserable. Sometimes, after being exhorted—sometimes ordered—to pray, or after persistent badgering and threats, they acquiesce and at least try to turn their lives over to God, as the steps require them to do. Some conversions last, but many don’t. Desperate to get well, they try to embrace and work the Program, but their successes are short-lived. Pressed by rehab counselors, they try to trust God, but ultimately they can’t.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

This passage in and of itself is great.  I would add that belief in God as male can also be extremely limiting, painful and harmful for women.

Consider the following revisions to the AA male view of God.  How does a reversal of gender feel for you?

 “The only condition [required for a person to recover] is that she trust in God and clean house,” wrote Wilson in the Big Book. “To get well, we had to have God’s help,” he said in an interview. And, in spite of Wilson’s alterations, seven of the steps still require an acceptance of, prayer to, and surrender to God “as we understood Her.”

The emphasis on God isn’t relegated to the tenets and writings of the Program. At most meetings I’ve attended, speakers and participants talked about the grace of God, being saved by Her, and praying to Her."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Being Crazy

"The biggest problem with being crazy is that you don’t know you’re crazy." 

Guts by Kristen Johnston

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Is Addiction a Choice

“When an addict takes drugs, it appears to be a choice. One of the many reasons people reject the idea that addiction is a disease is the mistaken belief that people don’t cause or contribute to “real” diseases. But they do: Eating fried chicken and pork rinds and doughnuts contribute to the onset and progression of heart disease and diabetes; smoking leads to lung cancer and emphysema….In fact, It’s possible to argue that choice plays a larger role in some diseases than it does in addiction. The brains of people with heart disease who eat fried chicken haven’t been impaired, so they have no excuse.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Wake-Up Call about Relapse

Cory Monteith, Glee actor, was found dead in his hotel room in Vancouver recently from a heroin and alcohol overdose. He was frank about his long history of struggles with addiction beginning as a teenager, using “anything and everything” by the time he was 16. Most recently, he checked himself into rehab just this past March.

As a doctor who treats opiate addiction every day in my office in San Francisco, I see many accomplished people like Cory who are working hard to get and stay clean.

Unlike the myth of addicts being complete train wrecks — barefoot and disheveled — my patients are high-functioning. They are lawyers, computer programmers, housewives, construction workers and entrepreneurs. They work, raise families and contribute to their communities.

I help each of them plan for relapse because the likelihood is so high and the risks are so deadly. After a period of being clean, the body’s tolerance for opiates lowers and doses previously used become deadly.

Sadly, it’s not entirely surprising that Cory’s overdose came after a recent rehab.

Brain chemistry has a lot to do with why relapse is so common. Opiates have an intense effect on the brain. They are engineered to make you feel really good and they do this so well that within a short time of using, it becomes very difficult to feel “normal” without the drug. Even after months or years of being clean people struggle with withdrawal symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia.

When the going gets tough, people in recovery need something other than opiates to help them through. Preparation is the key to prevention.

In my practice, I combine medications with mind/body training. There are several FDA-approved medications, like buprenorphine, that can help people get off the roller coaster of opiate addiction. Within a few days of taking the medication, cravings are gone for the vast majority of people.

Buprenorphin, isn’t a cure-all, but it does save lives. It helps the brain to start healing and creates some breathing room for people to learn healthier ways to manage the ups and downs of life.

Relapse is virtually a given unless patients learn skills to reduce anxiety and sleep better, get nutrients that best support brain, body and recovery and develop tools for dealing with cravings, withdrawal and pain.

The brain can heal. It’s not easy, but I’ve found when people understand how opiates work in their brains, they are better able to take their recovery in new directions.

By Alex Zaphiris, MDFrom: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/07/20/cory-monteith-a-wake-up-call-about-relapse/

Never Again!

"Never ever again will I accept that someone else’s reality is mine, just to make them happy.”

Guts by Kristen Johnston

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why have we come here?

"If not for reverence, if not for wonder, if not for love, why have we come here?"

~Raffi, Tomorrow's Children

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Refused treatment

"Addiction is the only disease whose patients are refused treatment  for showing their symptoms." ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Let Go or Be Dragged." ~ Zen Proverb

Friday, July 19, 2013


“Lennard Davis, author of Obsession: A History, says that codependency “describes a certain kind of behavior if you’re looking through a really stupid lens”. His criticism comes from a view that, he says, “we pathologize behaviors and feelings that for many people are normal.” Wendy Kaminer, in the New York Times Book Review, noted that Melody Beattie defined codependence as being affected by someone else’s behavior and obsessed with controlling it. Kaminer then asked, “Who isn’t?” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Thursday, July 18, 2013


"If you live off a man’s compliments, you’ll die from his criticism" -Cornelius Lindsey

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

3 Months

“Yale University researchers concluded that it takes at least three months of abstinence for the brain’s prefrontal cortex to be able to process the kinds of information related to decision making and analytical functions.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to be a Lady

“I told Alex that, even though I’d gotten kicked out of etiquette school, I’d actually learned how to be a lady from our grandmother, and that it had nothing to do with how you get out of a car or set a table, but with how you treat people: how you look at them when you’re talking, and whether you actually listen when they try to tell you something.”  ~Christian Zwahlen, “It Must Have Been Beautiful, But Now It’s Gone”, a short story from The Sun Magazine July 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

One of the best descriptions of Addiction I've read

"That’s how strong He is. When He’s got His evil talons in you, you don’t care. You will lie to protect Him, no matter what happens. He’s your most devoted better half, your longtime lover, He’s adoring and reliable and He’s never let you down. It’s certainly not His fault that He’s killing you. Like a battered wife, you take him back even though He just knocked out your two front teeth. You lie to your weeping mother even though He’s convinced you to steal the painkillers she actually needs after knee-replacement surgery. You will die protecting Him, no matter what.

Because no one will ever, ever love you as much as He does."  

Guts by Kristen Johnston

Victim Blaming

Yep...this pretty much sums it up...

Eat Dinner Together!

According to a series of studies by CASA, teens who don’t eat dinner with their families five to seven times a week are twice as likely to have used alcohol; two and a half times likelier to have used marijuana.

The more times parents spend with their children, the more they are I n a position to recognize dangerous behavior early.

A CASA study found that “the greater perceived parental disapproval of substance use, the less likely teens are to use.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Love vs. Anxiety

“Two drivers of formative human development are love and anxiety. Love is the primary nutrient in the ecology of the child. And the quality of that love is important to the reduction of anxiety. "Love," says Chilean biologist Humberto Maturana, "is the only emotion that expands intelligence." Anxiety," child development author Joseph C. Pearce observes, "is the great crippler of intelligence. Love is the only emotion that expands intelligence. Anxiety is the great crippler of intelligence.” ~Raffi Cavoukian

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Change the beginning of the story

“If we change the beginning of the story, we change the whole story. “ ~Dr. Dimitri Christakis

Friday, July 12, 2013

Childhood Loss

“Addiction is always an attempt to soothe severe emotional suffering which is often rooted in childhood emotional loss or trauma.” Gabor Mate

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Missing the Point

"The point in personal growth and emotional healing work is not to become well-adjusted to an unhealthy culture." ~Raffi Cavoukian

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Addiction starts Early

“Nine out of ten people who become addicted began using before they were eighteen; a person who gets to age twenty-one without using is virtually certain never to do so (and only one in twenty of those who start using after the age of twenty-one become addicted.)” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A “moral inventory"

"When addicts reach step Four of the Program, they’re instructed to make a “moral inventory”; in Step Nine, they are to make amends to those they’ve harmed. Obviously, it’s positive for any of us to soul-search, acknowledge faults and work to remedy them, and strive to repair damaged relationships. However, these actions aren’t requisites for a person to get and stay sober. A step that requires a form of atonement implies that addiction is a sin and injects morality into treatment." ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

This passage was particularly tough for me to read.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I think I had confused my ex-husband's mental illness with his addiction.  I do believe that both he and his father owe me a full amends, based on the AA program they say they subscribe to.

I have believed in the past that the failure of both of them to do so reflected poorly on their "recovery".

I'm not entirely sure what I think about this quote, but it was interesting to me so I decided to post it in case it was helpful to someone else.

 As someone who went through Al-Anon, I did find these steps to be helpful to me on a personal level. But once again, if you flip this around and apply it to "co-dependents" instead of addicts, it provides further food for thought.

 "When co-dependents reach step Four of the Program, they’re instructed to make a “moral inventory”; in Step Nine, they are to make amends to those they’ve harmed. Obviously, it’s positive for any of us to soul-search, acknowledge faults and work to remedy them, and strive to repair damaged relationships. However, these actions aren’t requisites for a person to get and stay in recovery. A step that requires a form of atonement implies that co-dependency is a sin and injects morality into treatment."

Surviving the Agent

To survive men, women have learned to navigate male moods and to do this, they have learned to empathize with a capital “E”. Women empathize with men to such a degree that they take on male pain as if it were there own. Women for the most part aren’t aware that this is hard wired into them. If I hadn’t read, “Loving to Survive” by Dee L. Graham, I too would not have been aware that I was doing this myself. I’ve always wondered why when I see a man, even a complete stranger cry, I feel like crying too. It tugs on my heart strings and I feel responsible for making him feel better. I realize now what this means. The very idea that I feel responsible for male pain and worse, that I do not feel this at all when I see a woman cry, makes perfect sense now. Knowing this however doesn’t feel very good. It makes me cringe inside. But there it is, patriarchal survival 101, and even I, a radical feminist, can’t escape it.

Because I am a woman, who must survive in a male dominated world, I have an investment in making sure men are less violent. The need to decipher the male mood and work towards keeping them less violent is what women have done and continue to do because they believe that they can make a difference, that if they do everything right, if they are subservient enough, kind enough, loving enough, selfless enough, they can change him into a better human being. This belief is what keeps women from going off the deep end; regardless of whether or not it is true. Women need to feel safe, to have some sense of security even if this safety and security is an illusion. Women need to understand this phenomenon. Women need to understand why they behave the way they do. Why they ring their hands and feel responsible for men’s feelings and behaviors and why they stay with abusive men. It is all connected and if women understood this, they could take steps towards realizing that they too are sick with this disorder and would feel less compassion for men and more compassion for themselves and other women. Ignorance in this case is only bliss for men, not women. Ignorance also makes women less compassionate for other women who we see catering to their men.

Before coming across this knowledge, when I saw women doing this, walking on eggshells, catering to men, I would cringe because (or so I thought) it rubbed my radical feminist sensibility the wrong way; however, now even though subtle, I realize that I do the same thing when I interact with men. I also realized that it wasn’t about me being a radical feminist, but instead, me judging other women was a projection of my own self loathing. On the surface, it looks like women are needy and need male attention and approval. It may even look like compassion, but if you look deeper, you will find that this behavior comes from the need to survive male violence. To survive, women must take on their abusers perception, get inside their heads in an effort to control their abuse, in order to feel safer, they ultimately lose their own perspective and begin seeing themselves through men’s perspective.

“Captor Sees the World from the Captor’s Perspective. She or He May not Have Her or His Own Perspective. Captive Experiences Own Sense of Self through the Captor’s Eyes.”

Women believe that their best chance of survival, although brutal and painful, is to stay with the men they know (literally). Knowing their men then replaces their own sense of safety, their fight or flight instincts. Women then believe that men’s behaviors including abuse is their fault. If men lash out at women ( non persons) women are at fault because they are seeing themselves through their abusers eyes and instead of it being their abusers fault, she takes responsibility for it because she must have done something wrong to make him act that way. She wasn’t timid enough, nice enough or what have you; therefore, it was her fault. Women blame themselves because they failed at doing the one thing they have learned to do for survival and that is to keep their men less violent.

Women also feel that it would be more dangerous to leave the male batterer that they know, then to be out in the world without protection from other men. She chooses instead to stay with him, wanting to believe that even though he is violent and even though he hurts her emotionally and physically, amongst a sea of male violence, he is her life preserver. She probably also knows that when she leaves him, he could hunt her down and kill her, which is quite common due to the lack of protection provided to women in our society. Ironically, men created the nuclear family to isolate women to ensure female subservience and complicity, and this arrangement has benefited men in many ways. What men did not bargain on was the female tenacity to survive and what these survival tactics would look like.

Women have had to become invisible to survive for thousands of years and taking that first step out of bondage, by letting go of what they believe is their life preserver (men) is frightening. So with this mentality, most women don’t rock the boat. Most women don’t name the perpetrator and men continue to get away with violating women. In this insane world, women try to work on the problem that is male violence while at the same time hanging on to their life preserver for dear life. I’ve always argued that women temper male violence. That in places where there are no women such as male prisons and where women have no rights or power, where they are disenfranchised the most such as the Taliban in the Middle East, men are the most violent. When men are left to their own devices, they tend to transgress into barbarians. And although my argument is true, my reasoning on why women are able to temper male violence was incomplete, because I didn’t have all of the information needed to really understand why. The reason of course is because in places where women are allowed even the minimum of rights, such as domestic rights and the right to emotionally support their husbands, women go to extremes to make men less violent.

If women stop believing in the illusion that they can control male violence and that it is their fault if they can’t, they can begin to get out from under their denial, out from under the male perspective, their captors perspective and into their own perspective, ultimately seeing the epidemic of male violence against women for what it is, a serious threat. Then women can take steps towards protecting themselves and other women from that threat. Whether they purchase guns, learn how to use them and carry them on their person, or whether they choose other ways to defend themselves, the important thing is that women choose to protect their lives instead of continuing to protect men.

By Michele Braa-Heidner

I strongly suggest reading this entire essay - only a small portion of which I have shared here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

No Place to Go

"...there are those who dish it out and those who have to take it. some get to dish it out without ever having to take it, some take it from those above and dish it out to those below, and some find themselves in the position of always having to take it. Such a position is, psychologically and emotionally speaking, almost unbearable. Rage and despair accumulate with no place to go." ~Elizabeth Stone

My ex-spouse is refusing to pay court-ordered child support. How can I have the order enforced?

Under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys (D.A.s) or state's attorneys must help you collect child support. Sometimes this means that the D.A. will serve papers requiring that your ex meet with the D.A. to arrange a payment schedule. These papers usually say that, if the ex refuses to meet or pay, jail time could result.

Federal laws allow the interception of tax refunds to enforce child support orders. Other methods of enforcement include wage attachments, seizing property, suspending the business or occupational license of a payer who is behind on child support, or -- in some states -- revoking the payer's driver's license. Your state's D.A. may employ any one of these methods in an attempt to help you collect from your ex. In addition, the U.S. Department of State may refuse to issue a passport to anyone who owes more than $2,500 in child support.

As a last resort, the court that has issued the child support order can hold your ex in contempt and, in the absence of a reasonable explanation for the delinquency, impose a jail term. This contempt power is exercised sparingly in most states, primarily because most judges would rather keep the payer out of jail where there's still a chance your ex will earn the income necessary to pay the support.

Almost every state has an agency that can help you with child support enforcement at little or no cost to you. For a list of links to these agencies, visit the National Child Support Enforcement Association at http://ncsea.org


Patriarchy, hierarchy, and capitalism create, encourage, maintain, & perpetuate addiction

"...patriarchy, hierarchy, and capitalism create, encourage, maintain, and perpetuate addiction and dependency. Patriarchy and hierarchy are based on domination and subordination, which result in fear. This fear is expressed by the dominators through control and violence, and in subordinated people through passivity and repression of anger. The external conflict of hierarchy between dominants and subordinates becomes internalized in individuals, creating personal inner chaos, anxiety and duality. To quell the inner conflict people resort to addictive substances and behavior."
-Charlotte Davis Kasl, PhD - Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Actions, not promises.

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy

I finished reading Clean yesterday. As I suspected, it was a hard and challenging read for me.

I think the biggest issue I have failed to realize with my ex-husband's addiction is that he likely has a dual diagnosis of addiction and some sort of mental illness.

David Sheff devotes and entire chapter to "Treating Dual Diagnosis".  This was one of the most enlightening segments for me.

I still don't know if my ex-husband is
A) an asshole because he is an addict
B) an asshole because he is mentally ill
C) just an asshole

I suppose it really doesn't matter.

What I have seen again and again in women who are in relationships with addicts is that they are treated poorly.  In almost every case.

So that's the tough part for me.

Sheff does acknowledge, "Another symptom of addiction is narcissism." 

Sheff did bring me a little closer to believing addiction may be a disease, and I will share many of those quotes in the weeks to come. That still doesn't feel completely true to me though.

I think learning as much as we can about addiction is helpful. I certainly wish I knew more walking into my previous relationship.  I likely would not have gone further with it.

As I said in a previous post, I do believe this is a critically important book.  It is certainly the book I would want if my children were addicts - or if I did happen to be one of the few women who was in love with an addict who treated me well.

For those of us who are left with the crumbs of a life destroyed by an addict, I suppose we need a different book. I still don't think there is nearly enough good information out there for women affected by the selfishness of an addict.

More than anything, our children need us to read that book. Because one thing I am sure of is that addiction is often learned behavior.  We need new paths for our children.

I hope, like Sheff, that one day we will have a cure for addiction. But I wouldn't hold my breath and put the lives of my children at risk waiting for it to come.

Prevention efforts should focus on children

“Given what we know about the trajectory of drug use and the effects of drugs o the developing brains of adolescents, it’s clear that we prevention efforts should focus on children. The onset of the disease of addiction is so early, it can devastate a person’s entire life.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Only then are we free

“Only when we feel our feelings and recognize why we have them can we know what gives our lives meaning…In order for us to know what we feel, significant others have had to care about us and been concerned about how we feel. It has had to be or become safe for us to speak the truth and to at upon what we know. Once we can act upon what is true for us, our choices shape our lives, and our lives are expressions of what genuinely matters to us. Only then are we free of the ring of power.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, The Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine

Friday, July 5, 2013

You Teach People How to Treat You. Really?

I see this saying written by Tony Caskins all the time making its rounds on Facebook:

“You teach people how to treat you

by what you allow, what you stop

and what you reinforce.”

At first glance, it looks like the truth, but whose truth is it and from what perspective?

Females don’t allow, refuse to stop or reinforce male oppression, rape and murder and yet male violence against females is epidemic. Male violence against females happens only because most men are physically stronger than women and because they choose to use their brute strength to control women and our patriarchal society condones this violent male behavior. Men use their strength against women because they want to, not because women teach them to do so. On a societal level, patriarchy and their male creators teach men to beat, rape and murder females because they allow, refuse to stop and reinforce this violent male behavior. If we look at this saying through male eyes only, which unfortunately, is the way all human beings including female human beings living in patriarchy have been taught to see, then this saying makes sense because men have taught women how to treat them. But this is not usually a two way street.

When men, with the threat of violence, only allow females to behave subserviently, by stopping females from behaving authentically and by reinforcing subservient and/or feminine behavior, men teach women how to be their slaves. With brute force men have enslaved females for thousands of years and the resulting female terror is real and felt by every female; therefore, how can we not recognize that this violence and victimization has a profound effect on female behavior? How can we deny that females behave this way because males have trained them to behave this way through violence? To say that we are treated the way we teach others to treat us, is to speak from a dominant point of view, dismissing the reality of females completely, not to mention the reality of all dominated races & classes.

Females have been conditioned by male coercion and violence to distrust themselves and other females and to revere the male/masculine identity. By doing this, men have created an environment for females to exist in that simultaneously denies their existence and is therefore systemically hostile. Females then live in a state of terror waiting for the male fist to drop–literally. This hostile environment is not conducive to female expression or even to female life; thereby, making half of the human population mute and unable to speak their own truth, let alone stand up for this truth. Consequently, men have full reign, without opposition, in their man made environment. Therefore, because men hand out violent consequences for female behaviors that are anything other than feminine /subservient, how can females be anything other than feminine /subservient? If one wants to survive, and one does, one must adapt accordingly. How can the subservient teach a dominant how to treat them when the subservient isn’t allowed to know or be themselves? How can they teach others to treat them good when they have been taught that they aren’t good and don’t deserve good treatment, especially when this detrimental idea is reinforced by our society?

This saying may be true when you are the dominant gender in a society that promotes unequal gender roles; however it falls short when you are female, the dominated gender that is victimized violently when she dares to behave authentically or asks for fair treatment. Further, this saying is what I like to call a patriarchal sleight of hand because within what appears to be an insightful idea, upon further investigation, you find that it dismisses the reality of the female, living within the confines of male domination and patriarchy, reinforcing the idea that men are omnipotent and at the same time inadvertently blaming females for male violence. If females are treated badly, it is because they allowed, did not stop or reinforced said treatment. In this patriarchal la la land of delusion, females are responsible for male violence.

Shared from http://shehasthepower.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why is the "War on Drugs" Failing?

“It’s useless to tell a person who’s being bullied or is failing in school or is traumatized by family turmoil to just say no. It’s pointless to tell people to “make good choices” about drugs if drugs offer then a reprieve from the darkness they feel. Preaching restraint or moderation to someone with a genetic predisposition to addiction is futile. SO is warning children that drug use will be detrimental to their future if they feel they have no future.” ~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

In our own Hands

"Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands.”  ~bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

You don't recover from something while it is still happening.

I figured out what my problem is with traditional "Recovery" for "co-dependents."

You don't recover from something while it is still happening. 

Asking a "co-dependent" to recover from the habitual abuse inflicted upon them by an addict is unfair.

You are not in recovery or remission from cancer until your cancer is gone. 

Until the abuse stops, there is no way to completely recover.  That would be like pulling someone halfway out of chemo.

Either you have to completely cut yourself off from the abuse (ie the addict) or the addict has to completely change.  Given what I have seen of "sobriety", this seems unlikely, particularly if you are living with an active addict.  Actually, I'd say, recovery from "co-dependency" while living with someone active in their addiction is almost impossible.

While some people may completely change and stop abusing others, most don't.  If you spend a lifetime habitually abusing other people, it may take another lifetime to learn how to stop.

Depending on how dysfunctional the family of the addict is, "Recovery" for a "co-dependent" may be impossible if the addict is still in the picture.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Financial Abuse

Once again, my ex can not be bothered to pay his child support on time.

He's on vacation, of course.

For those of us who have experienced ongoing financial abuse, I am sharing this link of resource from Women'sLaw.org.  I wish I had this information earlier myself, but all I can do now is hope that the same does not happen to other women.

So, here it is:

"Making or attempting to make a person financially dependent, e.g., maintaining total control over financial resources and withholding access to money, are some forms of financial abuse (also called economic abuse). Below is information on how to handle the aftermath of this type of abuse, including dealing with credit card debt and identity theft.

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse is one form of domestic abuse. Withholding money, stealing money and restricting the use of finances are some examples of financial abuse. To figure out if your partner is financially abusing you, think about how you are being treated by answering the following questions.
Does your partner:
  • Steal money from you or your family?
  • Force you to give him/her access to your bank accounts to make transactions without your input?
  • Make you feel as though you don't have a right to know any details about money or household resources?
  • Put you on an “allowance” even if you object to this?
  • Force to you to account for all money you spend by, for example, asking for receipts?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school or skill-training sessions?
  • Overuse your credit cards or refuse to pay the bills (thus ruining your credit)?
  • Withhold physical resources from you including food, clothes, necessary medications or shelter?
  • Force you to turn over your paychecks or public benefit payments?
  • Force you to cash in, sell or sign over any financial assets you own (e.g., bonds, stock or property)?
  • Force you to agree to power-of-attorney so s/he can sign legal documents?
  • Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay?*
If you have answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, your partner may be financially abusing you.  Where there is financial abuse, there may also likely be other forms of abuse in your relationship. To see if you are being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, you can go to the following pages on our website: Am I Being Abused? and Domestic Violence."

You can read the entire post here, which includes links for help.womenslaw.org

Dysfunction in Families

“Research shows that a strong family bond is a protective factor for addiction; that is, it decreases the likelihood that someone will abuse drugs. However, some families make children’s drug abuse more likely. It obviously increases risk when there’s abuse, neglect, or violence, or when there’s drug use in the home. In face, one of the greatest risk factors for a child growing up in a family in which one or both parents abuse alcohol or use drugs. If one parent is a heavy drinker, the child’s chances of becoming a heavy drinker increases two or three times. Kids to have seen their parents drunk are five times more likely than kids who haven’t to get drunk one or more times a month.

There are at least 7.5 million children in the United States—10.5 percent of the population—living with an alcoholic parent. This doesn’t take into account kids who live with parents who are addicted to other drugs.”

~David Sheff, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

Monday, July 1, 2013

It isn’t enough

"It isn’t enough to love a child and wish her well. It isn’t enough to open my heart to a bird-graced morning. Can I claim to love a morning if I don’t protect what creates its beauty? Can I claim to love a child if I don’t use all the power of my beating heart to preserve a world that nourishes children’s joy? Loving is not a kind of la-de-da. Loving is a sacred trust. To love is to affirm the absolute worth of what you love and to pledge your life to its thriving—to protect it fiercely and faithfully, for all time.“
~Kathleen Dean Moore, from “The Call to Forgiveness at the End of the Day”

We fear the consequences

“Acting deferentially, which means suppressing our feelings and thoughts, is something we do in the presence of power that could be used against us. … We fear the consequences of not responding as we are expected to and so learn to adapt by doing this rather than act on what we authentically feel. This is the basis of codependent behavior.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, The Ring of Power: The Abandoned Child, the Authoritarian Father, and the Disempowered Feminine