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March 28, 2012

Waiting For Life To Begin

For most of my adult years I seemed to continually come upon one crossroad after another that alwaysPath hindered the attainment of what I thought I really wanted most out of life.  I longed for the path to be easier, less arduous and most of all less painful.  But there always seemed to be something blocking my way, something to over come, to finish, to be repaired or repaid.  All, which in the, end prevented me from realizing what I thought I really wanted…for my life to really begin.

 Yet in my recovery from loss and addiction I have come to realize in the fullness of time that these obstacles WERE my life and that I had been living it all along.  

There are many paths but only one journey.

March 28, 2012 at 03:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2012

Compassion and the Recovering Adolescent Addict

For many parents who have a child in the throes of substance abuse or recovery from addiction developing compassion for for them, their using friends and sometimes even ourselves does not come easy. Compassion is difficult in the beginning because it means we must go with others or take ourselves to those dark places where we are weak, vulnerable, lonely, broken and afraid. Compassion of course is rarely our first response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it in denial, anger or resentment.

The Dali Lama says that, “Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. Without compassion, none of us would long survive.”

How do we get there? Is there some guidebook or strategy for how to develop a sense of compassion? Actually, compassion is much like a developing awareness. We can begin by acknowledging that there are others who are not as fortunate as we and try to find ways to help them out. Maybe it’s with a kind word or act. That doesn’t take too much from us. In fact, by trying to find ways to help others, we benefit as much, if not more, than the recipient. We soon learn that it feels good to show compassion for others. Then, it becomes easier to show compassion. Then, we don’t even need to think about it – we just have it.

March 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2012

SUFFERING AND RECOVERY

LossWhen my youngest son died of addiction the suffering that followed darkened my ability to care and be there for those I loved the most…especially my wife and my older son Josh. In the two years that followed I selfishly perpetuated my suffering and self pity with drugs and alcohol until my own addiction brought me such despair and hopelessness that I actually began to thoughtlessly contemplate ending my own life.

I was fortunate that my family encouraged and welcomed my entering treatment for my addiction, and the recovery that followed has not only brought a better life but joy, happiness and hope have replaced the suffering of those early days. Recovery has also brought a deeper self-awareness that I was incapable of before AND the realization that my suffering has played a vital role in this self-discovery.

Helen Keller once said that “All the world is full of suffering. Yet it is also full of overcoming.”

And so it is that in my “Recovery” I have learned the most authentic thing about us as human beings is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.Kim_manlove_family

March 9, 2012 at 06:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2012

The You Are Not Alone Program From The Partnership@DRUGFREE.ORG

According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org:

85 million Americans have been affected a great deal by drug and alcohol addiction. Ninety percent of all adults with drug or drinking problems started using before they were 18 years old.

You Are Not Alone is a campaign that calls on all those impacted by drug and alcohol addiction — individuals, families, communities and companies — to come forward, share stories and help teens and young adults get the help they need to recover and get well (through treatment centers, rehab, 12-step programs and other types of community support and help).

By sharing addiction and recovery stories we break through the stigma and discrimination that people with drug or drinking problems face. You Are Not Alone will let young people and the families of teens and young adults who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction know that they are not alone and that they're united with millions of other the families who want their loved ones to get the help they need to recover.

 Here is just one story

 

More personal stories can be found at http://www.drugfree.org/give-get-involved/you-are-not-alone

March 7, 2012 at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get Off Your Twelve Step Recovery Bus And Move On Down The Road

For a few years now September has been designated as Recovery Month to celebrate the successes of those who struggle with addiction. And yet for society at large the concept of Recovery remains somewhat of an enigma. For me recovery is a multi-faceted existence and that it existsBus everywhere. When one of us recovers from addiction, everyone benefits. We are restored to sanity and usefulness, our productivity improves and the lives of our family members, friends and neighbors are made better.

I choose to say today that I am a person in long term recovery, not just an alcoholic or an addict, because I qualify for membership in number of the 12 Step fellowships. I say this because I find “12 Step Culture” today, (and trust me it meets all the definitions of the word culture) as a group of tribes or religions that co-exist on the same plain but don’t often interact or communicate very well or at ALL. And historically, like tribes and religions, we at times have not been tolerant or compassionate of our brothers and sisters in other fellowships.

This has to stop and I believe it can stop when we understand that what we all share is the common bond and experience of Recovery….Recovery which contains the common elements of a personal journey or odyssey, the development of meaning, discovering a sense of self, learning how to have supportive healthy relationships, developing coping skills that allow us to handle situations that used to baffle us, and most of all the development or rediscovery of hope.

But barriers and challenges persist. Shame and stigma continue to undermine our progress. It comes from society at large which continues to tenaciously cling to the notion that our struggles with addiction and recovery are a personal weakness. Sometimes we perpetuate it ourselves in our own fellowships through the interpretation, or in my view, the "misinterpretation" of anonymity.

Skepticism and Intolerance toward those who come to recovery initially through treatment centers or other recovery models is another problem today within our fellowships as if their recovery is somehow tainted as opposed to those who find their way into 12 Step fellowships on their own. Today a rapidly growing number of folks find their way into recovery through a variety of treatment models which are therapeutically, spiritually and/or religiously based.  Their experience and successes are no less valid, their “recovery” no less real and we must embrace them as the brothers and sisters they are and always have been.

I believe that Recovery’s time has come and that we who are in recovery are poised to make more of a difference than ever before if we will only join our voices together and stand up, be open and be proud that we are in recovery. Sure you can keep your particular 12 Step program anonymous but if we don’t raise our voices together then the voices of shame, stigma and intolerance, who continue to see our efforts at recovery as the result of a moral failing, will drown us out. This we cannot endure.

Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, talked about the broad highway and the happy road to destiny that we find in recovery. Too often we travel that highway and road in our own comfortable 12 Step fellowship buses.  We need to get off those buses, walk down that highway together hand in hand and celebrate our common experiences of the wondrous odyssey along the Road of Recovery.

March 7, 2012 at 03:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack