Alcohol Alcohol……Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink.

It’s everywhere, alcohol, isn’t it? But what do you do if you want to stop drinking, or you’ve committed to sobriety, and yet booze is all around you?

Maybe your friends and family are still drinking, your partner drinks a lot, or your job involves a lot of boozy events and receptions. Does that mean that you can’t stop drinking, or that your efforts to quit drinking will be in vain, or perhaps that you will have to become a hermit for the rest of your life, just to avoid alcohol?

Well no. If you’re stuck in a situation where alcohol is inescapable, the best thing to do is to separate your own drinking habits from those of everyone else. So what if the world is filled with bars, pubs and off-licences and hoards of binge drinkers out on a Friday night? That is not your problem. Your issue is you, and your own relationship to alcohol, and that is what you should focus on. After all, you can not change other people or what the rest of the world does.

You can get sober and be happy about it, no matter what your environment is like, and no matter what anyone else around you is doing. At my age, a lot of birthdays are celebrated in bars, and social events are ‘naturally’ accompanied by alcohol. I can’t just avoid them all. In fact, I first got long-term sober while living with a partner who drank alcohol every day. I thought this was fairly unhealthy, but when it came down to it, it didn’t tempt me to drink.

That’s because I realise that ‘alcohol and me’ is my problem, not alcohol and anyone else. Other people’s relationships with drink or drugs are not my issue. My focus is always on my own recovery. You can not change anyone or anything else – you can only change yourself.

So, stay focused on your recovery, be grateful for being sober and safe, for not having hangovers, withdrawals and all the other nasty things that come with drinking alcohol. Whatever being sober is currently like for you, it’s got to be better than the pain, shame, guilt and frustration of being dependent on alcohol.

Focus on the great life you can create for yourself now that you are free of the bottle. Be grateful for the opportunity to clean up and change your life. Find new ways to enjoy yourself without alcohol. Above all, remember what the issue is. It’s not about anyone else. It’s about you and your recovery.

Very kindly written by Beth Burgess @ smyls.co.uk

 

Abstinence & Relapse

First Steps towards Recovery

When we reach out for help from a professional alcohol and drug rehabilitation program, we begin the first stage of our recovery, treatment initiation. Whether we seek help voluntarily or are forced by circumstances to enter rehab, our recovery process will begin with us initiating professional supervised treatment.

In the early hours and days of our treatment, we probably will have some ambivalent feelings about giving up our drug of choice permanently, and we may think that our substance abuse problem is not as bad as others. Beware!. Ambivalence and denial can be our worst enemies in the first days of our recovery.

First Stages of Abstinence

Once we have made a commitment to continue treatment for our substance abuse issues, we will enter the second stage of rehab known as early abstinence. This can be the toughest stage to cope with because of many factors, including continued withdrawal symptoms, physical cravings, psychological dependence and a host of triggers that can tempt us into a relapse.

It is during this early abstinence stage that our trained addiction counsellors will begin to teach us the coping skills that we need to begin to lead a sober lifestyle. The tools that we learn to use now will help us throughout our recovery.

Maintaining Abstinence

After approximately 6 months of continuous abstinence, we will move from the early abstinence stage of recovery to the third stage, maintaining abstinence. If we started with a residential treatment program, we will now move to the continuing or follow-up counselling phase of our rehabilitation program on an outpatient basis.

One focus of this stage of rehabilitation is obviously to maintain abstinence by avoiding a relapse. We will learn the warning signs and the steps that can lead up to a relapse.

Also during this stage of our recovery, we will learn to put the tools that we have learnt in early abstinence to use in other areas of our life so that we can continue to live a truly rewarding drug/ alcohol-free lifestyle. We will learn new coping skills and tools that can help us deal with difficult areas/triggers in our lives.

The maintain abstinence stage of recovery will begin at about three months into our rehabilitation program and last until we reach approximately five years clean and sober, at which time the follow-up counselling will usually terminate.

Ongoing Recovery

After approximately five years of abstinence, we will reach the fourth and final stage of our treatment and ongoing recovery. It is at this point that we take all the tools and skills that we have learnt during our rehabilitation, counselling and put them to use living a satisfying, fulfilling life.

Not only will we merely be able to remain abstinent, we will also have the skills to become a healthier person, a better spouse and parent, a productive member of society and a good neighbour, peer and citizen.

Relapse

If we have tried to quit drinking or using drugs, but had a relapse and returned to drinking or using, we are not alone. Statistics indicate that up to 90% of people

who try to quit have at least one relapse before achieving long-term sobriety.
Do not let this put you off?

In recovery circles, it’s called a slip or falling back into old behaviours. When or if it happens, it is important that we get back up, dust ourselves off and get back on the road to recovery.

It is an opportunity for us to assess how we feel about getting clean/sober, about what led to the drinking/using, and to consider again whether we have had enough. We don’t know that we can ever explain all of the whys and wherefores of drinking or using, but we can certainly identify our triggers and our vulnerable situations/places.

Avoid Relapse Triggers

For those in early recovery, there are many factors that can trigger a relapse. But relapse is predictable and preventable if we learn to recognize and avoid the triggers and begin to focus on other more healthy activities.

But even if a relapse occurs, rather than viewing it as a failure, we can turn it into a positive, by looking at it as a learning experience in the process that can lead to long-term sobriety. Recovery is much more than just staying clean and sober.

You can do it. Nothing worthwhile ever happens quickly and easily.

Letter To Addiction

Dear Addiction,

First of all I would like to ask why you had to pick on me?

I feel you were probably there when I was born! Waiting til you thought I was old enough to hide inside me, and hold me responsible for all your actions, knowing full well that I did not understand.

As I got older, with no thought or consideration, you used me to live a destructive, manipulative, fearless, uncaring, deceitful existence.

You made me feel you were my friend and that you would take care of me? You had me believe you would take away fear, give me confidence, make people like me, make me more successful, make me more popular and be there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on?
i.e. the bottom of a glass?…

As I got older you took away my dignity, respect and care for others. I became blinkered about how I really felt. You destroyed any love I might have had for anyone or anything. You made me feel it was OK to take what was not mine, you told me you would stand up for me! Yet you hid away and let me take all the blame. You made me believe you were the only thing in the world that understood me, yet every time anyone showed me any attention or love, you told me they were no good for me? You drove them away, so that you could have my undivided attention.

Every time I thought I was wrong, you made a joke of it? And made me look worthless. Anything I ever cared for you took away from me. Then! When you were really at your lowest, you started on my health. Just to get attention, you even tried to kill me? But No! You had not finished with me yet?

People that cared for me got me into treatment, just to get me away from you. I started to hate you, I stayed away from you, I started to live a healthy life without you, and I became a more caring person. I actually started to like myself. For the first time I could remember, I had feelings? A sense of responsibility, and I had respect for others.
I felt good??

So I got confused, what happened? You crawled back out and pestered me, made me feel sorry for you. I believed you when you said you would get me through hard times and uncertainty? I took you back!!

What did you do? All the work I put in, you destroyed it? But this time you really put your foot down, you didn’t take a lifetime to inflict damage to me, pain and suffering to others, put me back in hospital, you tried to kill me again, and again, and again?

Well Mr F****d up alcohol existence! I have had enough of you? I am not even going to let you down gently. I, yes I! Can see and feel the damage you have done to me. You did it again, left me with nothing? Except poor me, poor me, poor me another drink?

Well not this time! You have robbed most of my life. I don’t know how much I have left, but guess what? You’re not having it! I can’t get an injunction against you; I can’t call the police when you appear? But I can see you, lurking in the supermarkets, and the big superstar in the TV ads, using people I care about, causing misery wherever and whenever you feel like it.

I know you will never pay for, your actions, or accept any of the consequences? Truth is, I can’t handle you or your behaviour anymore.

I want some peace, I want my feelings back, and I want to be accepted for me? Not! What you do to me? I know it’s no good asking you nicely, because you have no heart! I need, Yes, I need, not want? Need! You to leave me alone. This relationship is Bad! For me and people I care about. You? You will just move on and make someone else’s life a misery. It’s a shame the whole world can’t see you for what you really are?

Kindly sent to us by a client in Rehab 2012

 

Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling

Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

Whether you bet on horses, sports, scratch cards, roulette, poker, or slots machines in a casino or even online, problem gambling can strain relationships, interfere with work, and could lead to financial downfall. You may even experience things you never thought you would, like stealing money to gamble or pay off your debts. You may think you can’t stop but, with the right help and guidance, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction, and regain control of your life. The first step is recognising and acknowledging there is a problem.

Understanding Gambling Addiction & Problem Gambling

Gambling addiction, also known as compulsive gambling, is a type of impulse-control disorder. Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. Gambling is all they can think about and all they want to do, no matter what or where the consequences may lead to. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re winning or losing, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can’t afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can’t “say no to a bet?.”

Gamblers can have a problem, however, without being totally out of control. Problem Gambling is any gambling behaviour that disrupts your own or someone else’s life. If you’re preoccupied with gambling, spending more and more time and money on it, chasing losses, or gambling despite serious consequences, you have a gambling problem.

Treatment for Problem Gambling

Every gambler is unique and requires a recovery program tailored specifically to him or her. What works for one gambler won’t necessarily work for another. The biggest step towards treatment and recovery is realising you have a problem with gambling. It takes tremendous strength and courage to acknowledge this, especially if you have lost a lot of money and strained or broken relationships along the way. Don’t despair, and don’t try to go it alone. Many others have sought advice, and have been able to break the habit.

Overcoming a gambling addiction or problem is never easy.

“Recovery is possible, with the right help and support”

in-recovery.com would like to extend our gratitude to all involved with the content and running of this website.

We wish you all a safe & peaceful Christmas

 

Symptoms of Co-dependency

The term co-dependency has been around for almost four decades. Although it originally applied to spouses of alcoholics, first called co-alcoholics, researchers revealed that the characteristics of co-dependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had been imagined. In fact, they found that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, you’re likely co-dependent.

Don’t feel bad if that includes you. Most families are dysfunctional. You’re in the majority!

Researchers also found that co-dependent symptoms got worse if left untreated. The good news is that they’re reversible.

Following is a list of symptoms of co-dependents. You needn’t have them all to qualify as co-dependent.

Low self-esteem

Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem. The tricky thing about self-esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only a disguise — they actually feel unlovable or inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame, guilt and perfectionism often go along with low self-esteem. If everything is perfect, you don’t feel bad about yourself.

People-pleasing

It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but co-dependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.

Poor Boundaries

Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where co-dependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else. Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.

Reactivity

A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realise it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements.

Caretaking

Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up on yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but co-dependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. In fact, they need to help and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help. Moreover, they keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.

Control

Control helps co-dependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for co-dependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Sometimes they have an addiction that either helps them loosen up, like alcoholism, or helps them hold their feelings down, like workaholism so that they don’t feel out of control. Co-dependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. In fact, people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, co-dependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.

Dysfunctional Communication

Co-dependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. Of course, if you don’t know what you think, feel or need, this becomes a problem. Other times, you know, but you won’t own up to your truth. You’re afraid to be truthful because you don’t want to upset someone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when you try to manipulate the other person out of fear.

Obsessions

Co-dependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a “mistake.” Sometimes you can lapse into a fantasy about how you’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present. This is one way to stay in denial, discussed below, but it keeps you from living your life.

Dependency

Co-dependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.

Denial

One of the problems people face in getting help for co-dependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually, they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem. Co-dependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some co-dependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.

Problems with intimacy

By this, I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close with someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left. On the other hand, you may fear being smothered in a relationship and losing your autonomy. You might deny your need for closeness and feel that your partner wants too much of your time; your partner complains that you’re unavailable, but he or she is denying his or her need for separateness.

Painful Emotions

Co-dependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear of being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.

There is help for recovery and change.
The first step is getting guidance and support.
These symptoms are deeply ingrained habits and difficult to
identify and change on your own.

Try a 12-Step program, such as Co-dependents Anonymous or seek counselling.
Work on becoming more assertive and building your self-esteem.

Everyone involved at in-recovery.com is proud to be entering our 5th year online, we thank you all for your on-going support

The Journey Continues

Well, it’s been four years now since we last updated. But god willing we are back on track. Close friends have been lost, and relapse struck with a vengeance. For myself, alcohol managed to get past my barriers, and caught me unaware? Two and a half years and I thought I had the better of it, how wrong I was.

I often asked the question, what made you pick up? I have asked myself the same, I have no answer, though one drink wouldn’t harm. How wrong was I? back to square one in no time at all, knowing full well that I chose to drink, nobody forced me, I had nothing or nobody to blame but myself.

Back into rehab January 2010 after 2-week detox, only lasted a week. I wasn’t ready. May 2010 saw the loss of my closest friend, not caused by alcohol alone, but was a contributory factor. I was searching for answers, but there were none. I continued to drink on & off until August this year when I finally got the strength to say no more! Life was becoming unbearable.

We all know that it’s difficult at times to stay abstinent, but it is the only answer to survive and stay alive, even when we feel like giving up. There is help out there for everybody, we just have to be strong enough to ask. There is no shame in admitting we are powerless over our demons.

Some find strength in AA/NA, this is a great place to meet and share experiences with others in the same or similar situation. “you are not alone” There are organizations and support groups that are more than willing to guide us in the right direction. I started with my doctor who was very understanding.

In-recovery.com is a site compiled to provide information about, and where to look for help and support. We are more than happy to publish any stories that may help others seeking guidance. The November newsletter will be dedicated towards the understanding of dual diagnoses. Please feel free to email us anytime to info@in-recovery.com we will respond.

Thank you for visiting.

This issue is dedicated to the memory and sad loss of
Jacqueline Nunn
1961 – 2010

Where it all started 17/05/08

Daylight? Never thought I’d see it…

I was sat in a group session whilst in a treatment centre for alcohol addiction. Looking out a window in a dream state, as usual, I found myself thinking “Why am I here?” I am in recovery! I would love to give something back… but what? I know! www.in-recovery.com! wouldn’t that be great! I have learnt so much about myself. I have learnt how to care, the only time care ever came up was “I don’t care”. I had no respect, no ambition and most of all NO hope!

Alcohol and drugs took hope away from me

I had no understanding of what was happening to me. I had an illness that I thought was unique, it was only me that had it. Who’s fault was it? Certainly not mine! Everything and everyone around me, that’s where I put the blame. I just didn’t care, and not surprisingly, neither did anyone else. It very nearly cost me my life. And at the time I didn’t really care about that either.

Enough was enough…

I said to myself whilst having a drink after 10 days in a hospital. I was sick of being sick. I needed help and accepted this for the first time in my life. Why? No idea! someone or something was watching me. I am on a journey, if I ever say to myself I’m fixed… That’s the day I will no longer be!

Where are we going?

This site will be run solely by people who have been in recovery experienced issues with any form of mood-altering addictions, or have been in some way, involved in the addiction treatment field of work.

There are NO governing body/parties.

This is a site that has been set up to promote awareness, offer direction and support for the still suffering addict, worried family members, ex-treatment centre clients who wish to add content. Also, members of the general public who feel they have something to offer are most welcome. We are addressing all forms of addiction, not just drugs, alcohol, or gambling.

Dedicated Message Board and chat will be available for people who are, have been in, or considering treatment. As well as for site visitors. You may just wish to find out what addiction and different types of treatment are all about
It’s your site! Use it!

TOTAL CONFIDENTIALITY ASSURED

We intend to work hand in hand with other organizations with the same interests and commitments.
Our mission statement is simple:

There is hope for everyone!