Monday, December 27, 2010

Relapse - No Simple Answers

There are many warning signs that can lead to relapse. No one thing brings us into recovery and no one thing leads us back into addiction. Recovery is the process of making and then remaking the decision not only to STOP drinking and drugging - but also to start and then maintain a way of life that provides meaning and purpose to us in sobriety. We also need ongoing support for recovery and a willingness to learn new ways of thinking and being. Solutions? Yes! Simple solutions? Don't I wish!

Relapse is a process that begins long before the first use of alcohol or other drugs. Like an avalanche, the first signs are small and seem insignificant. If ignored the problems leading to relapse keep crashing down hill and growing in strength.

Being alert for the subtle warning signs that lead to relapse is, in my opinion, a critical recovery skill. These relapse warning signs start, not with thoughts or urges to use alcohol or other drugs, but with simple problems and subtle ways of irrational thinking that cause unnecessary pain and problems in recovery. When the pain is severe and the problems overwhelming, addiction sneaks up behind us like a phantom in the dark. The addiction whispers in our ear. It tells us over and over again that the only thing that can stop the pain and solve our problems is using our drug of choice. Then, and only then, comes the addictive thinking and the craving. At that moment, before putting our drug of choice in our bodies, we are in a crisis of sobriety. We are standing hypnotized by the approaching avalanche of addiction. If we don't awake from the trance in time, we will be crushed.

Simplistic answers to the problem of relapse, in my experience, are comforting but not helpful. We must do the work of learning what this "cunning, baffling, and powerful" disease is doing to us in our sobriety. Once we are sure we have it beat forever, the disease has already won! It is only a matter of time. This is why in my understanding of the 12-Steps, we must work a daily program of rigorous honesty and correct problems as soon as we are aware of them. This early identification and solution of problems is a critical survival skill for those of us who are addicted.

--- Terry Gorski

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New Airport Body Search Procedures Horrific

I have been carefully and with great concern watching the details of the new enhanced security procedures at airports. These procedures involve both X-Ray and enhanced pat-down (body search procedures) that are being implemented at air ports. I am a frequent business flyer with some knowledge of security and terrorism. I believe these security procedures are intrusive, mostly ineffective, and a violation of our constitutional rights to "unfair search." I watched in horror a video tape of a three year old child who was too terrified to stand alone in the full body x-Ray unit that would project nude pictures of the child to the TSA worker and anyone who can look over his shoulder. (how does this relate to child pornography). The child did not want 3an intrusive body pat-down including having his generals groped by the TSA security employee. The child child was screaming and crying during the "pat-down", pushing the agents hand away, and yelling: "No! No! No!" each time the agent touched him. (this looked a lot to me like child abuse!). The mother stood back passive and stunned, complying with uniformed security who, in my interpretation, was following a policy and procedure that was forcing him to engage in what would be child abuse in any other setting. My children (my 14 year old son and 10 year old daughter) are flying home for Thanksgiving. I am nervous about their undergoing this intrusive security. I also plan to reduce my business travel for presenting lectures, workshops, and consultations. I don't want to become progressively desensitized to these intrusive and possibly unconstitutional search procedures. This is the classic "get smart and be dumb" approach to security being implemented through bureaucratic "group think" guided by the unseen hand implementing more extreme policies that invade privacy and give reasons that contribute to "the dumbing down of America."This must not stand! There are other "get tough - BE SMART" security procedures that would be more effective and much more respectful of our rights. Call Washington and complain.
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Alcohol & Other Drug Problems - Progression

In this blog, we’re going to look at the problems people have with alcohol and other drugs.

Let us start with a simple fact: Alcohol and drug problems are common. About two-thirds of all Americans drink. About one third do not. Of those who drink, about half develop alcohol-related problems. Somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of all Americans will become alcoholics. In addition to alcohol, many people use illegal drugs and abuse prescription medications. When you add it all together, about 15% of all people will have serious problems with alcohol or other drugs at some point in their lives.

One thing is certain – no one starts drinking or drugging with the goal of getting addicted. People do not wake up in the morning and say: "Gee, this is beautiful day, I think I'll go out and get addicted! That's just not how it works.

Addiction is a slow and insidious process. It sneaks up on people from behind, when they are not looking. Here is how it happens.

When some people start using alcohol and other drugs, they feel really good. The drugs make them feel better than they have ever felt before. Therefore, they keep drinking and drugging.

They focus on enjoying the good times and get in the habit of pushing the bad times out of their minds. This allows the disease of addiction to quietly sneak in through the back door. The “Big Book “of Alcoholics Anonymous says it better than I ever could – Addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.”

Addiction comes into our lives posing as a friend and then slowly grows into a monster that can destroy us.

There was once a man named Ted. His best friend gave him a little kitten. Ted loved that soft cuddly little cat and made it a part of his life. As time went by the cat kept growing and growing. It started to get so big that it was causing problems. It would knock things off the counters, break things, and tear up the house.

Ted loved the cat so much, that he decided to ignore the problems. By the time the cat was six months old, it was clear to everyone that this was no ordinary cat. Ted's friend had given him a baby mountain lion.

Knowing this, however, didn't change Ted's feelings. He loved his "cat so much that he decided to keep it. After all, what harm could it do? He would just take some extra precautions and everything would be fine.

About eight months later a friend came over to visit. Ted's mountain lion attacked his friend. When Ted tried to pull the cat off of his friend, the mountain lion turned on him and clawed Ted so badly that he nearly died.

Addiction is a lot like Ted's mountain lion. It starts out as a cute and cuddly little thing that brings a lot of joy, fun, and excitement into our lives. Then the addiction starts to grow up.

As it grows, our addiction turns into a vicious monster that destroys our lives. In this section, we will look at how this happens.

(This is an excerpt from a soon to be released book by Terry Gorski
entitled: "Straight Talk About Addiction")

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