Tag Archives: person

How to Scare Your Nightmares

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“When I was in rehab I was cursed with using dreams. I went to one of my conselours and told her how it effect me; I felt helpless, I felt guilty and worst of all, I felt scared. She began to explain to me the working of lucid dreaming.

“Lucidity means ‘moment of clarity.’ When paired with ‘dream,’ it defines how one is aware that they are sleeping thereby realizing that they are not experiencing physical reality. This alters the dynamics of dreaming by enhancing the perception of control. Once they are conscious within this state they will be able to change outcomes, people, places, things and heighten senses.

“With practice, I have been able to dream lucidly. I can get out of nightmares by flying away or manifesting someone to help. I can even request to be on a beach in Goa or see an old friend before I fall asleep and immediately have that desire fulfilled. Grant it, sometimes I am not so lucky, I may get there or see them and things go array but the beauty of knowing that it isn’t real allows me to at least attempt a quick fix. I do warn you that the excitement of the awareness may cause you to wake up— sometimes within the dream itself. Thats when things get confusing.

“I am also guilty of requesting types of using dreams in hopes that I will remember whats its like. The first attempt at this scared me so much because it all seemed too real. Where I experienced this high was in my own home, it all was so vivid that I literally could not tell that I was dreaming. That dream frightened me so much that before I go to bed I pray that I do not feel that ever again.” – I hope you find this useful. Please give it a try, you will be amazed at what you can do! Love, Robyn

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Benefits of Lucid Dreaming to People in Recovery from Addiction

Those individuals who manage to break away from addiction face many challenges in recovery. If they fail to overcome these obstacles it will prevent them from finding real happiness; it will also increase their risk of relapse. Any technique that can help strengthen their sobriety is always going to be welcome. Lucid dreaming may be able to do this in a number of ways including:

  • It gives them a safe environment where they can face their inner demons. If people become lucid in the middle of a nightmare they can make a decision to confront their fear. Those dreamers who do this usually report that their nightmare turns into a far more pleasant experience afterwards. When they wake up they will tend to feel like some inner conflict had been resolved. Such a cathartic effect is highly beneficial to people in recovery.
  • People in the first few years of recovery can feel uncertain about the future; they may have no real idea about what to do with their life. Lucid dreaming allows them to come in contact with their unconscious desires and hidden aspirations. The individual can use this information to chart a new course in life.
  • It makes it possible for the individual to use their sleep time productively. They can practice using their new coping strategies or other recovery skills.

Lucid Dream Dangers for Addicts

Lucid dreaming can be highly beneficial but there are potential dangers such as:

  • Some people may be tempted to indulge in fantasies of using drugs or alcohol again. This is dangerous because it will weaken their resolve to stay sober. Relapse in a dream can lead to relapse in reality.
  • It will be harmful if the individual becomes too obsessed with their dreams. They may use it as a means to escape reality; much in the same way that they once used substance abuse.

There is some concern that dealing with the unconscious mind can be potentially dangerous. The worry is that the individual will come across something that they are not yet ready to face. This concern tends to be overstated as most people only report positive outcomes from such contact with the unconscious mind in the lucid dream.

How to Dream Lucidly

Some people will achieve lucidity in dreams without ever making any special effort; they may not have even realized that it was possible to achieve lucidity beforehand. If the individual is trying to induce lucidity it can be difficult; at least in the beginning. Here are some of the techniques that have been show to be beneficial for promoting lucid dreams:

  • One of the most popular techniques for inducing lucid dreams are reality checks. This method requires that people regularly check to see if they are dreaming throughout the day. There are many differences between the real world and the dreaming world, and the purpose of reality checks is to notice these differences. If the individual becomes accustomed to doing reality checks in the waking world they will automatically begin to do them when they are dreaming too.
  • Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD) is a far more involved technique. The goal of this method is for the body to fall asleep without the mind losing awareness. One way of achieving this involves setting an alarm so that the individual wakes up 6 hours after falling asleep. They then get up for about an hour. When the individual goes back to bed they will put all their focus on staying aware as they fall back asleep. This method is also known as the wake back to bedtechnique.
  • Mnemonic induced lucid dreaming (MILD) also involves interrupting sleep. The aim here is to wake up during a dream; the person sets their alarm so that it goes off during the middle of REM sleep. Once they are woken up by the alarm the individual will try to recall their dream in as much detail as possible. They will then imagine themselves becoming lucid in this dream. As they fall back to sleep the person will focus their mind on achieving lucidity.
  • There are a number of devices that are believed to help people become lucid in dreams. One gadget involves wearing a special type of cover over the eyes. This monitors for rapid eye movement, and when these occur the device directs flashing lights towards the eyelid. These lights can notify the dreamer that they are asleep. Binaural beats are also believed to help some people achieve lucidity in their dreams.
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Solving a Co-Addiction Relationship

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Being single and sober, especially in early recovery, is suggested by most healthcare professionals and members of Anonymous groups. But sometimes people have been with their significant other for a long time, its hard to let them go, even if its for their own good. When co-addiction is present in a relationship you may find yourself in a mental prison, not knowing what to do. Here is an article from AddictionBlog.com on what you can do.” -Love, Robyn

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Do You Have The Courage?

Most people want out of an abusive situation but somehow cannot muster up the courage. They do not believe they have the self-efficacy to do it. But recovery from co-addiction starts with the first step.

I woke up one morning with a urinary tract infection and my lower back was in excruciating pain. I was sick—physically. I went to look for my doctor’s number on my husband’s phone because mine was dead. I found a text from a guy I knew dealt drugs. My daughter woke up with a stomach ache. The walls were closing in.

  • How could I take care of everyone if I couldn’t take care of myself?
  • Why was this happening to me?
  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • I was trying so hard to help my husband stay clean, and everything that could go wrong, did?

This was my old thought process.

Negative behavior patterns seem harmless. Some people attribute the negativity in their lives to circumstance. They believe their lives are not what they want because of the situation they are in, the person they are in a relationship with, or the job they cannot leave. I used to look at people I admired and thought, “How did they get to where they are?” I felt like a log, drifting down a river just bumping into things along the way. I had no control over my life. I noticed myself complaining to my friends and family about how life was unfair and asking them why I had to go through this when all I ever did was try to help everyone.

This is where co-addiction may take on characteristics martyrdom. A martyr helps everyone else but suffers for it.

Disaster Mode

I have a friend who cannot get out of her own way. When I look at her, I see a person who has two beautiful children, a loving husband, secure finances, lots of help from wonderful parents. When I speak with her, she is always trying a “new diet” to lose weight, she is buying a new product to fill a void, she is stressed, overweight, and complaining about her child. There is always some disaster happening in her life.

Sometimes, I get caught in it. I notice myself feeling negative. I can easily get sucked into the “poor me” role when I talk with her. I noticed the times when I am most happy and successful are when I am “doing” and taking positive steps in the direction of my goals and not talking about them. It is the times between complaining that things start to happen.

Opportunity Is Knocking

If you really want something, you can have it. If you really want out of a situation that is hopeless, if you want it enough, you can find a way out. You will be amazed how opportunities open up when you are open to them. When you set your mind to a goal you can turn complacency into action, by suppressing the thought of why things are not going your way.

No person can have a hold over you, only you can hold yourself back. You can turn your role in co-addiction into role model. When an addict realizes that they no longer have power over you, they will move on and so will you. When you can turn sorrow into joy, pain into gratitude, misery into appreciation for life, and fear into self-confidence, you can make great strides.

You can read hundreds of self-help books and wait for them to give you the recipe for change. The truth of it is, most of us do not take action. We wait for things to change. Nothing gets done unless there is ACTION. The most important thing in stepping out of an ugly situation is the first step. Every situation is unique and inside all of us, we know things we could do to change our lives, we just have to have the guts to do them. Your role model is no different than you. The only difference is they took action. Remember one action can change your whole life.

Just Be Happy

Abraham Lincoln once said, “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It took me a long time to truly appreciate what that meant. I found I could not change those around me but I could change myself.

I woke up one day; and day after day, after day, made one small change that would take me in the direction I wanted to go. I let go of my role as the wife of a person with a rainbow of addictions. I could no longer attempt to change him so I started to change myself instead.

I made a startling observation. The people around me who were happy and comfortable in their own skin weren’t asking other people why their life was not what they hoped. They were not complaining all of the time. They were successful in their own right. Even more startling, was that they were not always talking about it! Although they faced obstacles like everyone else, they were not focused on what was wrong or looking for empathy.

A short time ago, I sat in a place where my life seemed hopeless. I did not wake up one day and change it, but I did wake up one day and change something, and in time, something in me changed.

The Streets of New York

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“This is a powerful collection of photos that truly reflect the outcome of drug use in on the streets of New York. While the pictures speak a thousand words, the accompanying descriptions shed more light on the individuals stories— although its more like a darkness. Chris Arnade is an inspirational photographer whose courage and curiosity drives him to meet hundreds of people who are suffering with addiction, poverty and what is typically seen as poor life decisions such as prostitution. You can visit his website to view more of his heart-breaking and thought-provoking work.” -Enjoy, Robyn

Chris

Chris

Chris Bishop was drinking in front of a liquor store when we met. A resident in the local homeless shelter, he told me the following: At the age of 13, Chris killed his father, stabbing him with a knife after a childhood of abuse. He spent the next 18 years in correctional facilities. ‘When he was drunk and mad he would hold me out the apartment window and threaten to drop me to the street, eight floors below. He beat me and my mother all the time. I have been drinking ever since. To forget.’ When I asked how he wanted to be described, his eyes teared up and he said, ‘I am human, like everyone else.

Vanessa

Vanessa

Vanessa, 35, had three children with an abusive husband. She ‘lost her mind, started doing heroin,’ after losing the children, who were taken away and given to her mother. The drugs led to homelessness and prostitution. She grew up on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, but now spends her time in Hunts Point, ‘trying to survive every day. Just doing whatever it takes.’ She was standing on the cold street corner looking for business, wearing only flip flops and smoking with her two friends. When I asked her how she wanted to be described, Mary Alice jumped in and said, ‘She’s the sweetest woman I know. She will give you the shirt off her back, if she has one on.

Beauty

Beauty

“Beauty, 21, was born and raised in Oklahoma, and was brought to New York City by a pimp who promised her she could ‘make some mad money.’ She has since had nine pimps. ‘I have been through nine nigg*s. Got my first black eye from one, another punched me in mouth, but this guy is good to me.’ Her mother was an addict. ‘She started using crack. That’s when it all started, the walls started coming in on me. Now she is incarcerated. I can’t blame my mom, she’s my mom. I smoke weed, but not crack. I don’t like that peppermint burning smell. I want to get out of this stuff, but I am scared. I guess I could stop at any time. Some of the guys tell me I could be a model. Money wise it’s good, but otherwise, fuck Hunts Point. Maybe I can become an RN, or go into childcare.’ When I asked her how she wanted to be described, she said, ‘I’m a good person. I don’t like to see anyone down. I like to make people happy.'”

Luis

Luis

“I call him Luis, but I am not sure. Luis is unable to do more than mutter a few words, often breaking down in tears. He refuses to go to the local shelter or methadone clinic, sleeping instead in various spots, spending his waking hours bumming cigarettes and panhandling in front of bodegas. I worry that my pictures put a happy face on addiction. Photos cannot capture the pain, suffering, and destruction wrought by heroin, crack or in this case, whiskey. Sometimes it requires smoking a cigarette with a sobbing incoherent drunk to truly remind you what loneliness and addiction can do.”

Clarence

Clarence

“The ‘brickyard’ is a vacant lot on an otherwise industrial side street in Hunts Point. It’s where many of the local addicts spend their time, gossiping and smoking. They bring their carts filled with what they can collect to sell to the adjacent scrap metal shops. It’s where I found Clarence, who has lived for 40 years in Hunts Point since moving from North Carolina as a teenager. I spoke with Clarence, a former truck driver, for a long time. He told me all that his addiction has wrought: job loss, homelessness, health problems. Never once did he sound angry, bitter, or depressed.”

Sonya

Sonya

“Sonya lives on the top floor of an abandoned building with her husband of ten years Eric. They left Rhode Island in pursuit of drugs, settling in Hunts Point five years ago. Eric said, ‘This is the only reason me and Sonya are in Hunts Point, because this is literally right now the best heroin in all of New York City.’ Sonya left her husband and family after being turned on to heroin by Eric. ‘I wasn’t addicted to drugs until my 30s. Before then, I was a normal person, meaning I wasn’t a fucking junkie. I lived in Rhode Island and had a family. I was a soccer mom. I always kind of knew I was a heroin addict. I always knew not to fuck with heroin. I always knew it was the drug for me. It just makes you feel good. And when you’re feeling bad, having a magic button is kind of a great thing. Unfortunately the magic button is also a stupid button because it comes with a lot of consequences. I am happier in some ways than I’ve ever been in my life. But I’ve lost so many things. I want to get out of my addiction but in some ways it’s made me grow a lot. And I think I know now how to live more than I ever have.'”

Supreme

Supreme

“Supreme saw me taking pictures and asked to be photographed with his dog Obama (yes, Obama). I asked him why he was giving the camera the finger, he said, ‘Thats for people judging who I am.’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘A doped up junkie.’ I told him I post the pictures online and write a short description. He said, ‘I ain’t mind people knowing what I do or who I am. Its me.’ Supreme and I chatted awhile more; despite the finger he was happy to talk.”

Egypt

Egypt

“Egypt, 38 and homeless, was 14 when her mother, an addict and prostitute, put her out on the streets. She has been working the streets, in the Bronx, addicted to heroin and crack, much of the time since. While telling me her story, she started crying. She was high, having just shot crack. ‘Mix it with lemon juice. If you do it with water you will be fucked up. Abscess, dead.’ She noticed a beat up alley cat wandering. ‘That cat’s how I feel. I really do. I didn’t come out here to fucking cry. See, that cat needs a hug. I get that. He wants somebody to love him. Saying, ‘Don’t touch that,’ is like saying not to touch me.” I apologized for making her cry. She said, ‘I didn’t cry. There’s no time for crying out here. If you cry, you’re a pussy, and you can’t let them do that to you. You can’t let them see you cry. You can’t show your weakness. I’m a cancer. You scrape us off and we come right back. But we’re curable. It’s only as hard as you make it. If you think you can change, if you know you can change, you can. If you set your mind to something, that’s what’s going to happen. You have to want it. You can’t have someone else want it for you.'” Original Images and Descriptions by Chris Arnade.

Take Two

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Now she sits here in the local coffee shop. She couldn’t resist. She told herself she was going to the library to read only now she’s people watching as she sips on an iced red eye with two extra shots of espresso. What will this do, she wonders. She didn’t sleep last night. She was busy. Yes. Busy. Busy doing things like watching television, painting, reading and chain smoking. It was a good night. She busied her mind. Now she sits jittery, wondering what to do next. The AA meeting didn’t do a good job of convincing her not to do drugs. Right now a relapse doesn’t seem so awful. Especially when her mother is still drinking. She’s found the proof today when she emptied out the dishwasher; only one of the many things she has accomplished today– oh the power of the awake! It was a wine glass. Why else would there be a single wine glass in the dishwasher? Had her mother fancied herself a glass of fancy 2% milk in a fancy glass for the (what the hell, why not?) fancy night? She thinks not. Its clear her mother likes to get lost in the mess of unmade clarity just like her. She misses it, but that feeling is fleeting. She can’t really relapse. Too much is at stake. Plus it would totally mess up her experiment. It’s been so long since she had done one of these. Before, when she was in college studying massage and oriental medicine, she had constantly experimented with her diet. She tried the regular vegan, the Jain vegan (no root vegetables), the only-fruit vegan, the only-water vegan (aka, anorexia). It was fun for her. Feeling her body express a sense of transformation through her control. But only now it is not her body she is examining; it’s her mind.

Ever since she got diagnosed bipolar about six months ago, she had a hard time accepting what it meant. As far as she could tell, bipolar one meant you were crazy. She surely acknowledges the fact that she was crazy… At least for about two months.. But that psychosis was drug induced. She is sure of it. She never went through such a mind-bending experience before. But she is young, she has time to go through it again– if she so choose. It seems that by neglecting the medicine that regulates and stabilizes her mood is one way to contribute to her experiment. She still takes the one in the morning that is a relatively new addition to her daily pill intake. This one isn’t supposed to kick in for another week or so and it mainly deals with suppressing the depressive stage of bipolar. This will do wonderfully, she thinks. This will increase my chances of mania over depression. She even rationalized a reason to drink caffeine again. Once considered another drug in her eyes, coffee is now a way to support her cause. But perhaps, her mind trails, this is too much coffee. She hasn’t had coffee in months. Caffeine in general– in months. She notices her hands beginning to shake. She has another two cups to go. It was a large that she ordered. Twenty ounces. She takes another sip making a pouty face and quivering at the bitter taste. She will definitely have to pee about four time by the end of the hour… But that’s no concern. What’s on her mind now is what to do with all this time before she has to go to her outpatient program. She was going to workout, only her stomach is filled with acid. Maybe in a couple of hours, after the peeing, when her stomach settles…Suddenly she has a thought; you know, come to think of it, this coffee is something like a laxative for me. This can be beneficial to my eating disorder which in turn may help set off my experiment. She hadn’t eaten much all day. She drank a bit of a fruit smoothie but everything that was solid had later been purged. She was hungry, but now she just feels sick with coffee overload.

Why is this light on? It’s clearly not providing anything useful to this shop! Its daylight. It may not be super sunny, there are scattered clouds, but the sky is the brightest blue I’ve seen in a while. Her thoughts have trailed onward to report the weather apparently. But she’s right. The past week had been cold and bleak. Grey sky’s and falling leaves, rain and a shy full moon at night. She had gotten lost in depression to the point of that new prescription. She confessed to her psychologist that she was fed up with feeling so anxious and helpless. She preferred mania over the feeling of such worthlessness. But most bipolar people do, her doctor reminded her. “This doesn’t mean you should trail off from your meds, they will work in time, give it time.” Fuck time. That’s when she decided to try this experiment. Now she thinks; I should really document all this! Maybe write a book: How to Get Out of Depression, for Bipolar Freaks. Wonderful! She laughs out loud at herself…

Step one. Only take the meds that promote the opposite of how you want to feel.
Step two. Stay up. Just do it. Make yourself do it. You can do it!
Step three. Don’t do drugs.
Step four. Do drink caffeine.
Step five. Eat irregularly. Whatever that means for you.
Step six. Keep busy. If your mind says you should do something, take it up on its impulse and do it.

That’s all she has now. Only it’s not proven yet. This is just the procedure of the experiment. The hypothesis being that she will gain a heightened mood, release any social fears, and possibly set off psychosis… Although she is hoping she will be able to notice when this state comes on so as to avoid it… She will have to write an entirely new book on how to come down slowly from mania without falling quickly into depression.

She makes a note of this.

Now for a moment she is detoured from her thoughts to see an old customer she used to cater to when she worked at this coffee shop she sits in now. What a nice lady, she has no idea what this girl is going through mentally. Blah blah blah. The customers name is Jane. She orders an iced mocha of sorts. She can’t remember all her modifications. I think its a medium iced mocha with half the amount of regular pumps of sauce and nonfat milk, she recalls. That must be it. Jane has alway been a bit of a chatty Kathy but you should have heard the conversation this bipolar/addict was able to keep up. She sounded so normal. So intelligent. But wait, now she’s distracted by the funny police officer with this wide-brimmed hat. He seems to be deep in conversation with this couple of average looking Americans. She wonders what all the hullabaloo is all about. Whatever. Her mind moves to another topic. Only wait, she forgot it already. Look at the leaves run around! Oh lord. She’s almost done with her coffee. Maybe two or three more sips. Oh wait! She remembers what she was thinking but had forgotten! It was about the funny hat. She recalls the police in India. They wore even funnier hats! They looked like they had been taken right out of an old western film where the cowboys run around wearing gallon caps, big and black, but on an Indian, but not a Native American Indian, an India Indian. Ha! The leaves spin in a whirlwind. Creating a circle, a sequence of swirls that drift beyond the ally just outside the shop window. It’s like her mind. La dee da dee da. Spinning in and out of this or that. Around and around, repeating the same thought soon after it drifts into the abyss. At least she can still catch them before their completely gone.

One more hour to waste before she heads to the YMCA to workout. Only she really doesn’t want to go. She hasn’t gone for the past two days and today’s heavy stomach is begging her to stay. Maybe after IOP (her outpatient program) I can go to the Y? Or I can go for a run. I should have went earlier. I knew I should have gone earlier. Tomorrow’s a new day. Only now she can’t decide if she should sleep or not. And what will she say in group today? Will she admit to her lack of sleep? Her surge of inspiration and creativity? Her hours of lolly gagging and tail wagging? We will see.

There are now two officers in funny hats! So serious… She wonders what’s going on but quickly loses interest.

Energy! Energy! Energy! Yes! She will go to the Y! She wants to run in circles! But it’s too early to leave now. She will be there for three hours. But she could go now for an hour then go to the library and roll around in her head some more. Its possible. It’s all possible. Anything is possible! Life is so thrilling! How exciting is it that she gets to live today! Not knowing where her life will take her! She hasn’t a clue! She hasn’t a care! But she knows there are so many directions it can turn, its like a real-life simulation– like the matrix too! She can manipulate it to get what she wants. Oooooo.

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Yup. This is getting weird. At least she can notice she is getting weird. But should she care? Oh God! She just noticed this hideous painting to her right. Its titled “Romance,” by Ron Strum, its hanging on the wall next to the window she has been so preoccupied with. It’s obviously an oil. Completely dull colours. There sits a sad excuse for a bouquet of flowers with a candelabra and a creepy-ass sculpted dove that really would have been better off without those beady eyes. How do things like this sell? She really wants to get back into doing art again. She managed to squeeze out two unfinished projects in the past two days. That’s more than what she’s managed to produce in the past three years! She used to be quite the acclaimed artist. At least, in her “grandiose,” bipolar mind. But honestly, she did win several First Place awards and Best In Show twice in a row (which happened to be the only two times she even presented in the high school art show). But she left behind her dreams to wallow in a progressing drug addiction. She blamed it on the colleges that clearly could not recognize her potential. Although, she tends to skip past the fact that her essays sucked. I don’t even think I ever reread them... Probably deserved failure, despite all the hard work and passion she put into her pieces, she really didn’t realize that she’d have to talk the talk too. Such a pity. But she digresses as she remembers now, anything is possible!