Tag Archives: relation

The Problem with Christmas

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All the meetings I have been going lately have shown to prove that this time of year is incredibly stressful. Thoughts of past Christmas’, struggles with expenses and family can really trigger us to want to use. This is the time to be thankful, to be selfless and to spread love, not scream ‘fuck it’ and get wasted. We need to be there for our families, for each other and for ourselves.” -Happy Christmas Eve, Robyn

Presents

Most people know the holidays can be a period of emotional highs and lows. Loneliness,
anxiety, happiness and sadness are common feelings, sometimes experienced in startling succession. The bad news is the holiday blues can trigger relapse for people recovering from alcoholism and other drug addiction. The good news is the blues can be remedied by planning ahead.

Why do the blues hit during this otherwise festive season? Doing too much or too little and being separated from loved ones at this special time can lead to sadness during the holiday season. Many recovering people associate the holidays with memories of overindulgence, perhaps of big benders that resulted in relationship problems or great personal losses.

People experience feelings of melancholy, sadness and grief tied to holiday recollections. Unlike clinical depression, which is more severe and can last for months or years, those feelings are temporary.   Anyone experiencing major symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness, anxiety, guilt or helplessness; changes in sleep patterns; and a reduction in energy and libido, should seek help from a mental health professional.

Whether you’re in recovery or not, developing a holiday plan to help prevent the blues, one that will confront unpleasant memories before they threaten your holiday experience. Your plan should include improved self-care, enhanced support from others, and healthy ways to celebrate. Here are a few suggestions to achieve a happy, sober holiday season:

Good self-care is vital. Remember to slow down. Take some quiet time each day and work on an attitude of gratitude. Plan relaxation and meditation into your day, even for a few minutes, no matter how busy you are. Relax your standards and reduce overwhelming demands and responsibilities.

Don’t overindulge. Go easy on the holiday sweets and follow a balanced diet. Monitor your intake of caffeine, nicotine and sugar. Exercise regularly to help maintain your energy level amid a busier schedule. Don’t try to do too much. Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue is a stressor. Maintain some kind of schedule and plan ahead; don’t wait until the last minute to purchase gifts or prepare to entertain.

Enhance your support system. Holidays are a good time to reach out more frequently to your therapist, sponsor, spiritual advisor, or support group. If you’re in recovery, spend time with fellow recovering people. Let others help you realize your personal limits. Learn to say “no” in a way that is comfortable for you.

Find new ways to celebrate. Create some new symbols and rituals that will help redefine a joyful holiday season. You might host a holiday gathering for special recovering friends and/or attend celebrations of your Twelve Step group. Avoid isolation and spend time with people you like who are not substance users. Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary temptations, such as gatherings where alcohol is the center of entertainment. If there are people who have a negative influence on you, avoid them.

Focus on your recovery program. Holidays are also an important time to focus on your recovery program. For example, ask, “What am I working on in my program now?” Discuss this with your sponsor.

Release your resentments. Resentment has been described as allowing a person you dislike to live in your head, rent-free. Resentments that gain steam during the holidays can be disastrous for anyone, especially recovering people. The Big Book of “Alcoholics Anonymous” refers to resentment as the No. 1 offender, or the most common factor in failed sobriety.

Holidays may also be a time to evaluate your spirituality and find a personal way to draw support from the spirit of the season. Return the holidays to a spiritual base, and stress the power of unselfish giving.

Recovery is serious work, but it is also important to have fun. Laugh a little and a little more. Start seeing the humor in those things that annoy you. Take from the holiday season what is important for you and leave the rest.

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

relationships

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.

How Mental Illness and Addiction Influence Each Other

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Many addicts struggle with mental disorders. I myself struggle with bipolar one and it is the cause of much of my use (read my journals for more personal accounts). Using drugs to defeat things like that or depression and anxiety most often make things worse. It can further offset the symptoms despite the immediate satisfaction. Its important to see a psychologist, being as honest as you can, to seek proper treatment. I have found that treating my illness with prescription drugs has controlled my mental/emotional state far better than any illegal substance I have ever used. The effects are long-term and with the help of medial professionals, I am able to stay sober and sane.” – Love, Robyn

There is a complex relationship between addiction, such as alcoholism, and mental illness. Treatment needs to focus on both conditions at the same time, once the right diagnoses have been made. 

The complexities of mental illness are often compounded by drug and alcohol abuse, making it a challenge to get the right diagnoses and treatment for both.

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: A “Complex Dance”
“Mental illness and alcoholism or drug abuse interact in a complex dance, “says James Garbutt, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and research scientist at UNC’s Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies. “Mental illnesses can increase the risk for alcoholism or drug abuse, sometimes because of self-medicating. On the other hand, alcoholism can lead to significant anxiety and depression that may appear indistinguishable from a mental illness. Finally, one disorder can be worse than the other.”

According to Stephen Gilman, MD, an addiction psychiatrist at New York University in New York City, “Alcoholism and drug abuse addictions and other psychiatric disorders often occur at the same time. However, they are distinct disorders that must be treated as such in order to get a good outcome for the patient.”

Rorschach Test Smoke

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: Likely Conditions
Certain mental conditions are frequently associated with alcohol and drug dependency. They include:

  • Depression. In some cases, individuals may start to abuse a substance to mask the symptoms of depression. Female substance abusers are particularly likely to have depression, but it also occurs in male substance abusers.
  • Bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar disorder — a condition that causes alternating cycles of depression and an abnormally elevated mood — may attempt to smooth out mood swings with alcohol.
  • Anxiety. Alcohol abuse is more common in both men and women with anxiety disorders.
  • Schizophrenia. Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, may lead to substance abuse as a way to ease the distress that these symptoms can cause.

Those with a mental disorder may also be less inhibited and more likely to show risk-taking behavior — like buying and using illegal drugs or drinking to excess — that could quickly lead to alcohol or drug abuse. “Individuals with a mental disorder could have impaired judgment and consume higher amounts of a drug or alcohol, says Dr. Garbutt.”

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: Underlying Causes 
There are also other factors that could explain the frequent simultaneous occurrence of addiction and mental illness, including:

  • Genetics. Genetic factors seem to account for some of the co-morbidity (having both disorders at the same time) of substance abuse and mental disorders. Studies comparing identical and fraternal twins found more instances of having two disorders among the identical twins, indicating that genetics likely play some role.
  • Chemical deficiency. Neuro-chemical factors were also found to be a common thread when mental disorders and addiction occur together. A reduction in the amount of serotonin, a chemical critical to brain functioning, may be the reason that alcoholism and anxiety disorders coincide so often. There is also evidence that addiction and mental disorders are associated with the dysfunction of a group of brain chemicals called monoamine oxidases.
  • Shared environment. Studies surrounding twins also showed that environment plays a major role in having both a substance abuse problem and another mental disorder.

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: What Is the Exact Relationship?
The answer is not entirely clear, but the connection works both ways. People with alcohol and drug addictions tend to develop mental illnesses. People with certain mental illnesses tend to develop substance abuse problems.

“Fifty percent of those with an addictive disorder will have a psychiatric disorder. And for those who have a psychiatric disorder, about 20 percent have an addiction problem,” says Dr. Gilman.

That number is even higher in those with certain mental conditions. “A variety of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial personality disorder [characterized by a lack of empathy toward other people], anxiety, sleep disorders, or depression, increase the risk of addiction. Those with the highest risk of addiction have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia — up to 50 percent [of people with these conditions] can have an addiction,” says Garbutt.

Researchers don’t yet know exactly why people with these particular disorders are at an increased risk for addiction, says Garbutt, but it has been noted that:

  • Abruptly stopping alcohol intake can lead to withdrawal symptoms — including hallucinations — that may look just like schizophrenic symptoms.
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse can cause changes in the brain, sometimes leading to changes in personality and mental disorders.
  • Alcoholics of both genders frequently suffer depression and anxiety disorders, while men are more likely to exhibit antisocial personality disorder than non-abusers of alcohol.

Drug Abuse and Mental Illness: Treating Two Sets of Symptoms
According to Gilman, “It is very important, but often difficult, to distinguish which symptoms are psychiatric and which are addictive. A person must be substance-free for a period of at least two weeks in order to tease apart the various symptoms.”

“Clinically speaking, you have to treat the addiction and the psychological symptoms at the same time. Misdiagnosis, and therefore under-treatment, is common, such as when an alcohol addiction is masking bipolar disorder,” says Garbutt.

Garbutt and Gilman both believe that treating an addiction and a mental illness at the same time is possible, and when you treat them together you can begin the process of unraveling the underlying causes of each.

By Linda Foster, MA from Everyday Health
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Must Watch: The Secret

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“This is a great movie that most everyone has probably seen at one point or another. The reason it is so popular is because its inspiring and so true. Thousands of people around the world have been to take the information in this film and transform their lives, so why can’t you?” -Robyn

The Secret has existed throughout the history of humankind. It has been discovered, coveted, suppressed, hidden, lost, and recovered. It has been hunted down, stolen, and bought for vast sums of money.

Fragments of The Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries.

A number of exceptional men and women discovered The Secret, and went on to become known as the greatest people who ever lived. Among them: Plato, Leonardo, Galileo, Napoleon, Hugo, Beethoven, Lincoln, Edison, Einstein and Carnegie, to name but a few.

Now for the first time in history, all the pieces of The Secret come together in a revelation that is life transforming for all who experience it. In The Secret film and her book of the same name, Rhonda Byrne presents teachers alive today who impart this special wisdom that has been known by so few. They include some of the world’s leaders in the fields of business, economics, medicine, psychology, history, theology and science.

‘Miracle Man’ Morris Goodman tells his awe-inspiring story of how he recovered from paralysis by using The Secret. Dr. Denis Waitley explains how he used various aspects of The Secret in training Olympic athletes and Apollo astronauts to reach new heights of human endeavor. Doctors in the fields of medicine and quantum physics explain the science behind The Secret. Best selling authors and philosophers explain how they have created lives of phenomenal success using The Secret.

The Secret reveals amazing real life stories and testimonials of regular people who have changed their lives in profound ways. By applying The Secret they present instances of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

The Secret shows how to apply this powerful knowledge to your life in every area from health to wealth, to success and relationships.

The Secret is everything you have dreamed of… and now it’s in your hands.

Take Nine

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Was she foolish? Yes, probably. She came here waiting for the cute guy to appear behind the counter and here he is. Only she’s jacked up on so much caffeine that she can’t count the shots she’s taken on one hand. Surely its her weakness, thats evident. She knows she shouldn’t drink it but every sip is like a surge of such great energy that it lifts her into the air like … Whatever. She just got lost in a song that played in the background. She needs to know what song that was… “Bing Crosby,” mumbles the cute guy when he returned to check. He clearly has no clue who he is. The same can’t be said for her… but it’s been a “Long, Long Time.”

It takes her back.

Arambol Crabs!

A silly crab on the beach of Arambol.

Somehow she is now on the port of Arambol, Goa. Walking with heavy steps on the cool beach to scare away any lingering crabs. She focus’s her gaze on the ground as they pop in and out of the sand. It seems to work so she repositions her head, looking to the sky. Orions belt is shining brighter than she’d ever seen in her life. Right next to it she traces the constellation of Gemini with her fingers— thats her sign. Sighing, she places her hands back to her side, holding her iPhone listening to a mix of Crosy, Fitzgerald and Armstrong. She looks around her; nothing but a vast sea of blackness to her right and glowing spheres marking the vacant huts to her left. The light from the crescent moon sends sparks dancing on the ocean. She smiles. I don’t think I’ve ever been more happier than I am here, alone on this beautiful night. 

She wore a small black dress that was gift given to her the first time she visited Goa. During that stay she had indulged in drugs and sex, more drugs and sex, and endless dancing. Now she came with a different purpose. Traveling with some girls she had met from her school and staying for a week to lay on the beach, eat too much food, watch them shop and talk for hours. They never wanted to smoke up with her but she didn’t really care. They had just left that morning and she moved into a different resort that was far more expensive but far more beautiful. Atman Resort.. When she first saw the place her jaw dropped. Huts built high above the sand, draped in silk sarrees of every colour. She was mystified. She decided to stay one more week before she had to go back home (to Kannur) and start working.

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Outside the hut.

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Inside the hut.

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Porch of the hut.

For months now she had been with the guy she had been invited to room with. It was really all an accident how that relationship happened and it simply could not be ended given all he had done for her and the fact that they were living together. But this didn’t stop her from messaging a guy she had met in high school years before. They talked about everything. She would wait for him to settle into his evening, which was the start of her day, and they would chat for hours. He kept her company. He introduced her to Bing Crosby.

The irony of it all had been that just recently (as we fast-forward to the present), she had had a dream about him. All these months she had completely forgot about him with her head muddled by the disasters that had ensued since she returned. She looked back at everything they had said to each other from the very start. They spoke in dreams, desires and love. They were separated by miles and time. Then she dropped off from communication for a while. Only to pick up again in a scrabble of unclear words that remotely described her life post-hospitalization in India. She was delusional. Yet he had gone along with it. But how could he have known?

She tried to explain to him months later on the phone. He was reserved. Probably in shock.. but pleasant. They talked for a long time, just catching up. Nothing like it was before though. It would probably never be like it was before.

But she could still sit there in the coffee shop, gayly humming the tune to “Long, Long Time.” She mouthed the words as she stared off blindly at the workers behind the bar.

When she was in Arambol by herself for that week, she slept throughout the day to shield from the sun and arose in the evening for drinks, pot and whatever else she could scavenge from the random groups of travelers she found on the beach. One night she set herself down with a few young men from Italy. They enjoyed hearing her stories of Kannur and the parties south of Arambol. They admitted that they preferred the hippy-scene but she tried to assure them of its equally enlightening experience. She began to realize something she had forgotten— judgement.

She had erased all judgement when she landed in India. Never thinking that anyone was better than her or she was better than anyone else. She wandered around the town making friends with everyone she met and never hesitated to think that anyone would only be talking to her because she was a young American girl. Now that she reflects on it, she can see how naive she was. But was it really all that bad? She had been happy not looking so deeply behind everyones motives. It had worked for her at the time. She supposes that this is what might have gotten her into so much trouble. Yet, for some reason she misses those days when she could let her mind drift off and see the world in an elaborate web of technicoloured unity. She reminds herself, this was me in mania.

She never knew she was bipolar until she was diagnosed in India and now that she knows that there is an actual word to describe her abnormal thought process, she feels a little better. Sure, she’s different than a lot of people— although some like to say that ‘everyones a little bipolar’—she at least has an understanding of why. Being bipolar is not some shifting of moods from time to time. Its not to be belittled by anyone who thinks they understand it. They don’t live it, how could they understand it? To her, her disorder was serious. It causes her to come off as something she does not want to portray. It sends her into months of pure joy, verging on insane to spells of deep depression where all hopes are lost and suicide becomes a better answer with each day. She wonders what it would be like to live without fear. Her head is always spinning around such profound ideas that when she withdraws herself to observe her thoughts, all that can rationalize them is her rise into another manic episode… She once sought after that, too. Sometimes she wonders if she is still secretly seeking it even after the fact that she realized it was a bad idea.

She just lets these thoughts go. They can’t govern her life and she can’t be always questioning herself. She tells herself, if I become manic, then I do. If I become depressed, then that’s where I will be. For now, in this moment, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I feel happy. I feel sane. I love myself and my life and I will not let anyone get in the way of this serenity.

She mentions the idea of ‘anyone’ because she saw a pattern. When she is depressed, she tends to push it onto someone. Latch on to them as though without them, she would be nothing. She places utter most importance on their existence in her life and becomes delusional to the fact that they are just another human being—doing their own thing. She is not the center of their universe and they probably (defiantly) don’t want her to be. She has to let go of her possessive thoughts and bring herself back into a reality where it is just her and everything else. I am alone, but I am at peace. I like to be alone. I feel free. I get lost in my thoughts and gaze upon the lake. I wait for the moon as I sit myself under a palm tree. Anywhere I go, there I will be. And everywhere I go, beauty follows me.

 

Must Read: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

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“Ever since I saw the series of Orange is the New Black on Netflix before I went to rehab, I had recommended it to all the girls I had met that had been in jail. After hearing their experiences of being locked up in prison for months or years, I knew this was something they could relate to. I find that when we can relate to something, we feel less alone, less of a need to isolate. Things of our past no longer seem so daunting. Instead they appear as experiences that have only made us stronger. Piper might not have been a heroin addict but in her time spent behind bars, she met many and could sympathize with most every woman she that came into her life during her year sentence. I found this book to be heartbreaking yet hilarious. Opening my eyes to a rock bottom I hope to never hit! Below is a summary and make sure you watch the series too, you won’t be disappointed!” -Love and light, Robyn

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In 1998, Piper Kerman was working as a freelance producer in New York City and living a peaceful life with her magazine editor boyfriend, Larry. When two police officers arrived at their door one morning, Kerman assumed it must have something to do with the apartment building. In fact, they were there to arrest her on conspiracy drug charges related to her role in a heroin trafficking ring several years earlier.

At the time of her arrest, Kerman’s family, friends and boyfriend had no idea about her criminal past. Despite their assurances that a “nice blond lady” would never do time, Kerman ultimately served eleven months at the federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a memoir ensued. The result is a perceptive, if imperfect inside look at our criminal justice system and the women who cycle through it.

Kerman begins by describing how, in 1992, she found herself a recent Smith College graduate from a good Boston family “with a thirst for bohemian counterculture and no clear plan.” She stuck around her college town waiting tables and soon began dating an older woman named Nora, who revealed on their first date that she was part of an international heroin trafficking network. While this disclosure may have prompted a “Check, please!” from your average gal, a young Kerman found it “exciting beyond belief.”

She spent the next four months traveling the world on heroin-smuggling missions with Nora and her crew: Hanging out in Bali beach clubs, wandering through Paris, and transporting drug money (but never actual drugs), before realizing that she was getting in too deep and breaking all ties. When Kerman reflects on this time, she seems unwilling or unable to explore her motivations, and more often resorts to describing her lifestyle in list form. A typical recollection: “We worked, we threw parties, we went skinny-dipping or sledding, we fucked, sometimes we fell in love. We got tattoos.”

In contrast, her depiction of arriving at the prison in 2004—saying goodbye to Larry, surrendering all her possessions—is poignant and thoroughly-rendered. If the author seems hard to relate to in her wild-child days, empathy abounds as she skillfully describes her sense of terror upon losing all freedom.

Contrary to her fears, most of her fellow inmates approach her with warmth and concern. Descriptions of their small acts of kindness are remarkably touching. When one woman shares a commissary root beer float that Kerman has not yet been approved to buy for herself, you feel so vicariously grateful that she may as well have given Kerman a kidney.

The author is soon showing newbies the ropes, helping her fellow inmates with schoolwork, and lending them books. (Unlike most women at Danbury, she receives a steady stream of mail and reading material from family and friends.)

She learns that prison life is sometimes brutal (guards sexually abuse inmates with impunity), often humiliating (the women are subject to strip searches at any time), and generally tedious. Still, deep friendships spring up; surrogate mother-daughter relationships are cultivated. The inmates throw birthday parties, complete with inspired microwave creations. (Kerman’s specialty is prison cheesecake. She supplies the recipe, which calls for a whole container of coffee creamer and nearly an entire bottle of lemon juice.)

Kerman excels at chronicling the other women and their struggles, from teenagers doing time for drug-related crimes to a 69-year-old nun in jail for trespassing as part of a peaceful protest at a missile silo. In one haunting scene, inmates are briefly reunited with their children for a field day—the separation afterward is brutal, and Kerman weeps. At another point, Kerman grieves over the fact that some inmates are actually afraid to leave prison because their neighborhoods are “more desperate and dangerous than jails.”

She is less successful at talking about herself. Occasionally, she opens up, and these moments are powerful. But, a public relations executive by trade, Kerman is often frustratingly careful, polite. She paints nearly everyone pretty rosily and without much nuance.

Everyone, that is, except “The Fed.” Interwoven with the women’s stories are facts about the War on Drugs, with which Kerman makes no effort to hide her anger and bafflement. While acknowledging her privileged background, Kerman never fully dispels the reader’s discomfort when she more or less conflates her own case with those of the majority of the women around her. Drug use has wreaked havoc on so many of their lives, a fact that ultimately makes Kerman aware of “the people who suffered because of what people like me had done.”

Though certain aspects of her own story never quite seem resolved, her sympathetic portraits of these people stay with you long after the book is through.

Summary from Chicago Tribune by J. Courtney Sullivan

Chakras and Addiction

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“I absolutely love this article! Kelley Young, a writer for Mind Body Spirit Healing, gives an introduction to the theories of chakras in their basic form and goes on to describe their effects through substance abuse. I try to go a little more in depth, noting physical and mental correlation’s and how they effected us during our us and can aid us in recovery. We learn that all the 7 chakras can benefit a different part of our lives and are all equally important. We can easily incorporate these spiritual beliefs into our daily meditation and yoga routine. Each chakra holds a different association to the mind and body. Certain colours also stimulate these chakras, so even meditation on an object of this colour can enhance the energy flow. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!” -Namaste, Robyn 

What role do Chakra’s play in addictions and behavioral health and how can we treat addictions and behavioral health issues by working with the body’s energy system? For starters lets look at what a “chakra” is. Wiki defines Chakras as follows, “Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the subtle body of living beings.] The chakras are said to be “force centers” or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies.”

When these chakras are out of balance, either over or under active, or when they have built up toxins, the physical body will attempt to balance them through negative behavior patterns and addictions, by literally reaching out for some kind of fix. Each chakra relates to specific issues, and therefore specific addictions or behavioral patterns. By balancing each chakra and removing toxins that have built up in the energy patterns, it is possible to treat and overcome addictions and behavioral health issues Common treatments for addictions do not always entail spiritual healing, but only touch on aspects of spirituality for healing. For example, in a traditional addictions treatment program, there may be a specific group or topic of a group called something similar to spirituality for addictions. Perhaps this group would meet once per week and discuss the topic for about an hour or so. Then group parts ways and perhaps the addicted person may further discuss spirituality with an individual counselor or attend AA meetings, but that is different than actually changing the bodies energy system. With my chakra cleansing program the addicted individual is given the opportunity to heal on all levels, mind, body, and spirit in a private and safe setting. One on one energy work until balance in each chakra and the energy system as a whole is found. Removing blockages and toxins that deter healing on all three energy bodies..physical, etheric and astral… clearing what is unhealthy and replacing it with health. Health is energy with grace.

chakras

As I said above, each chakra relates to specific addictions and behavioral patterns. They are as follows:

Chakra 1 The Root Chakra: Related to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, milk, fat, meats. “Located at the base of the spine, it is a symbol of foundation. It is related to security, survival and potential. It governs sexuality and stability, giving us the ability to be sensual yet balanced which is something many of us have struggled with in and out of recovery. Weaknesses in the root chakra manifest in unbalanced sex life, overspending, cutting and overall health.”

Chakra 2 The Sacral Chakra: Gluten, wheat, starchy carbs, grain based alcohol, chocolate. “Located in the sacrum, it is associated to reproductive organs and sex hormones. Stimulation helps reproduction, creativity, joy and enthusiasm. Issues tend to be with relationships, violence, emotional needs including (but not limited to) pleasure. Excuses to use drugs often stem from these deficiencies.”

Chakra 3 The Solar Plexus Chakra: Cannabis, cocaine, caffeine, carbonated beverages, corn based alcohol, beer, corn processed sugars. “Located near the navel, this chakra plays a valuable role in digestion and adrenaline— both of which are highly effected by drug use by simply using and manipulating the way the body normally reacts while stable. Issues include personal power, fear, anxiety, self-identification and growth. With addiction, much of these emotional/mental formations are skewed and attempted to cover-up through use.”

Chakra 4 The Heart Chakra: Ecstasy, smoking, sugars and sweets, wine. “Located (obviously) at the heart, this chakra deals with circulation, the immune system and endocrine system. Emotional problems that arise have to do with compassion, tenderness, love for self and others, rejection and well-being. Many people that PTSD from relationships tend to have weak heart chakras. Also, after recovering from opiate or heroine use, that sugar craving can arise and effect the heart chakra in a negative way.”

Chakra 5 The Throat Chakra: Smoking, food in general. “Located at the throat, this chakra can effect the thyroid and is normally associated to compulsiveness. This relation can be found in the natural compulsive behaviour of using, shopping, overeating and even mania in people who are bipolar. Mentally it governs independence and thought.”

Chakra 6 The Third Eye Chakra: All mood-altering substances, chocolate, caffeine. “Located in the center between the brows, this chakra deals with the pineal gland and melatonin which regulates sleep. Physically, addicts normally struggle with sleeping problems with either lack or excess and bad dreams. Mentally it deals with visual consciousness, clarity and intuition, trust and inner guidance. Meditation on this chakra can raise awareness and bring a sense of ecstasy through heightened thoughts.”

Chakra 7 The Crown Chakra: All mind-altering substances. “Located at the top of the head, this chakra deals with the nervous system and the base of consciousness. It deals with the release of karma, spirituality, meditation, mental reactions, creative force and unity or oneness. This is especially important to open during meditation because it is what brings us closer to our higher power and gives us a sense of peace in an unaltered reality.”

You may have noticed that some of the addictions or behaviors are found in more than one chakra, so it is necessary to treat each chakra that the issue is found in. The Chakra cleansing program is for anyone who wants to overcome on not just a physical level but spiritual and emotional level as well. My personal opinion is that in traditional treatment centers, relapse is so common because only the physical and emotional bodies are being treated typically. So many issues and toxins literally get stuck in the individuals astral and etheric bodies where they “creep” back into the physical body which can then lead to relapse. The goal of this program is to offer an opportunity for holistic healing for the addicted person or for the person with negative thought or behavioral patterns.

Take Seven

Standard

She remembers a time when her phone was so heavy. When she could find any excuse not to pick it up. But something about today was different. Something couldn’t keep her hands off her phone. She went down a long list of all the girls she met in rehab. Only about a quarter of them picked up but every conversation was worth it. Talking to some of them for almost an hour. Reminiscing, complaining, and expressing so much gratitude for their sober lives. So much happiness to hear from her again and know how well she was doing.

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In rehab, she had been something of a teachers pet. She sped through the steps one through three thoroughly. Constantly asking questions and seeking advise from the other girls and counselors. She kept everything neat and pristine in a large three inch binder. It was so packed after a few days that she could hardly get it to open. She didn’t care and all the girls found her so amusing.

When she first arrived she was in a daze. Having just came out of the psych ward for a week, she wasn’t sure what she was getting into. All she cared about was the fact that she was out of her house. She was going stir crazy. Knowing not to talk to any of the people she got high with in college, she tried contacting her old friend from high school. Lets call her Sunny.

Relying on Sunny was such a fail, such a disappointment. Sunny was afraid of her now. Everything she had vented to her about her experience in psychosis and her admitting to her addiction had just caused Sunny to push her further away. Its like she changed. Everything was different. She no longer accepted her. Sometimes she wonders how things got this way. We once promised we would always be there for each other, no matter what. We were going to be friends for life. But what good is it if she choses to ignore me? I am sick of all the excuses. We had a month to see each other… She seemed to be so apologetic when I called her in rehab…

I really needed you Sunny! Why didn’t you see that? You were the first person I called when I got back from India and I really could have used your support.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize what was going on.”

“You could tell something was wrong though…”

“But I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t understand what you had went through! I guess I just thought you would be a bad influence on me…”

“Really?… I was trying to get better. I was seeking your help and your support. I just really need your support. Can you promise me that you’ll always be here for me? When I get out, can we see each other and really talk?”

“Of course! I’m so sorry, I just had no idea. I’ll be here for you.”

Lies. All lies. She should have known better. She should have seen this coming. It had been so long since they had talked. Even while she was in India she couldn’t get a hold of her. Sunny was surely going through her own shit but is that an excuse to leave a friend behind? That was the last kind of person she wanted to be. She had been a poor friend before to quite a lot of people. She had dismissed them and left them with nothing but sour words all for the sake of her independence.

She always had a hard time keeping friends. Making them was easy, it was listening to the same stories, committing to emotions, understanding the expression of feelings and dealing with the neediness. She couldn’t handle all the responsibility. She could never give them what they gave to her. She knew that. At least thats what she thought back then. Several years later she has a different approach. Finally grasping the importance of friendship, she’s changed her views and made it somewhat of a goal to be a better friend. She started with picking up the phone. And she’ll never forget the support and love she received in those minutes that turned into an hour, but will last the whole day.