You are reading from the book Twenty Four Hours a Day

24 hour book

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Thought for the Day

In twelfth step work, the second thing is confession. By frankly sharing with prospects, we get them talking about their own experiences. They will open up and confess things to us that they haven’t been able to tell other people. And they feel better when this confession has been made. It’s a great load off their minds to get these things out into the open. It’s the things that are kept hidden that weigh on the mind. They feel a sense of release and freedom when they have opened up their hearts to us. Do I care enough about other alcoholics to help them to make a confession?

Meditation of the Day

I should help others all I can. Every troubled soul that God puts in my path is the one for me to help. As I sincerely try to help, a supply of strength will flow into me from God. My circle of helpfulness will widen more and more. God hands out the spiritual food to me and I pass it on to others. I must never say that I have only enough strength for my own need. The more I give away, the more I will keep. That which I keep to myself, I will lose in the end.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may have a sincere willingness to give. I pray that I may not hold back the strength I have received for myself alone.

From Twenty-Four Hours a Day © 1975 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

Want to Prevent Addiction? Assess Your Risk Factors

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There are five key risk factors that contribute to a person developing the disease of addiction – genetics, childhood trauma, mental illness, social environment and early use. Please remember – just because you have one or more risk factors doesn’t mean you are one drink or one drug use away from alcoholism or drug addiction. It means you want to be very, very careful in your use of drugs or alcohol because your brain may not interact the way another person’s brain does and the only brain you need to worry about is your own. Genetics – It’s not that there is a specific addiction gene – at least not one that has not been identified, yet. Rather it’s the idea of genetic differences. There are roughly 25,000 genes in our DNA, and the way they turn on or off determines how we look and how our bodies work. So just as we are born with (inherit from our parents) certain genetic differences that determine our eye shape or skin color, for example, so too are there genetic differences, such as higher or lower levels of dopamine receptors or lower levels of the enzymes in the liver that break down the alcohol in one standard drink, that can influence how one person’s brain or body will interact with the chemicals in alcohol or drugs. These genetic differences are passed along from one generation to the next. So looking at your family history – mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles – to see if they had/have addiction is one way to determine if you are predisposed to it, as well. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) > Genetics of Alcohol Use Disorders, “genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism.” Mental Illness – Mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, ADHD, are also brain changers / brain differences. In other words, the way a person with mental illnesses brain cells communicate with one another is different (for a variety of reasons) than someone who does not have one. This is important to understand because ”[t]hirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness,” reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness. To learn more about mental illnesses (there you will find detailed information on various kinds of mental illnesses, as well treatment options). Childhood Trauma – Childhood trauma has a profound impact on the neural circuitry of a child’s brain (meaning how or if brain cells “talk” to one another). It “injures a child’s brain. It impairs the brain’s physical development and function. You can see the effects of trauma on a brain scan. This in turn has a profound impact on how a child copes – how they express anger, fear, powerlessness, how they interpret and respond to other people’s words and actions, how or if they trust, how they learn – it can even lead to mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. These brain changes in turn have a profound impact on whether that child’s brain will seek drugs or alcohol for their brain-soothing qualities, as well as how that child’s brain will interact with drugs and alcohol if they use. Childhood trauma includes verbal, physical and emotional abuse and sexual abuse, for example. It also includes domestic violence in the home and parental divorce. Social Environment – If a person lives or works or goes to school in an environment where heavy drinking or drug use is the norm, that person will likely drink or use drugs to that same level. Unfortunately, that same level may not work in their brains the way it works in the brain of their co-workers, family members, fellow students or friends (and frankly, it’s likely not working all that well in those other brains, either). Early Use – This is incredibly important to understand because the adolescent brain is not the brain of an adult. That means the adolescent brain reacts differently with drugs and alcohol than the brain of an adult AND the harm of substance abuse during key developmental processes makes adolescent substance abuse ESPECIALLY problematic. Dr. Paul Thompson’s 10-year time lapse study of brain development ages 5-20 shows just how much wiring – brain maturity – occurs from approximately ages 16-20. It’s now understood this maturity process continues until roughly age 25. Telling the adolescent brain, ages 12-15, to “just say ‘no’” doesn’t work because the adolescent brain is telling the adolescent to “take risks,” “turn to your peers,” and if their peers are saying, “yes” to risks, drugs and/or alcohol, likely that adolescent will, too. This does not mean they’re a bad kid; it simply means their brain’s instinctual wiring (that which activates during puberty) is in charge. Lastly, early use – early abuse of drugs or alcohol – wires in brain maps around the finding, seeking, using, hiding, covering up, recovering from at an especially vulnerable time because it’s occurring during the time the brain is going through it’s CRITCAL cerebral cortex development and its strengthening and pruning processes Bottom Line Just because a person has risk factors does not mean they will develop addiction. It takes abusing a substance to chemically and structurally change the brain to make the brain more susceptible to its risk factors. HOWEVER, the risk factors can also make the brain more “driven” to use and abuse a substance. So the prevention message has to be two-fold – “don’t go overboard” or “just say, ‘No’” AND here’s why – the “why,” of course, is your risk factors. So please pass this along – share it with your spouse, close friend, community leader, teachers, parents, school administrators and perhaps most importantly, youth | your child, because of their particular vulnerability. Assessing your risk factors (or helping someone else to assess theirs) can be the key to addiction prevention. It can also be the key to a person with addiction recognizing they have this disease (it’s more than they “drink too much”) and agreeing to seek treatment for it, which of course will require treatment for any of their underlying risk factors  (mental illness) childhood trauma, as examples).

Step Three

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Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him. Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?

Our actor is self-centered – ego-eccentric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.

This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.

We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: “God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.

We found it very desirable to take this spiritual step with an understanding person, such as our wife, best friend or spiritual adviser. But it is better to meet God alone than with one who might misunderstand. The wording was, of course, quite optional so long as we expressed the idea, voicing it without reservation. This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.

Preventing Alcohol Relapse

 

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Alcohol relapses are not uncommon among recovering alcoholics. Approximately 90 percent of alcoholics will experience one or more relapses during the four years after treatment, according to a publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. While avoiding situations that could trigger a relapse is an excellent first step, building skills to successfully address triggers and avoid alcohol is also important. Support groups, therapy and medication are a few methods of continuing care that can help prevent a relapse even when someone is faced with a potent trigger.

 

Alcohol relapse is caused by one of three possible categories of triggers. The first trigger is exposure to small amounts of alcohol. This alcohol could be in food or otherwise consumed unknowingly. Sometimes people may also consume small amounts of alcohol after abstaining to test their own ability to drink moderately.

Alcohol relapse can also be caused by environmental triggers. These types of triggers often occur when someone visits a place, talks to a person, or attempts an activity that the recovering alcoholic once associated with drinking. Environmental triggers often remind recovering alcoholics of any good times they formerly associate with drinking. Because environmental triggers can be so far-reaching, they can be very difficult to completely avoid. One particular type of environmental pressure, social pressure, contributed to over 20 percent of relapse episodes, according to a 1996 study by G.A. Marlatt published in The American Psychiatric Press Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment.

The third trigger is stress. Many alcoholics use alcohol as a way to address stressful feelings. When a stressful event occurs, a recovering alcoholic may return to old patterns and begin drinking again. Living a completely stress-free life is incredibly difficult, so former alcoholics must develop ways to cope with stress without returning to addiction.

Studies suggest that people who are dependent on alcohol are also more sensitive to these types of stimuli, which can make abstaining from alcohol even more difficult for them. If you or a loved one is experiencing a relapse, call 1-855-394-1150 to discuss possible rehab and recovery treatment options.

12-Step Programs

Alcoholics AnonymousAlcoholics Anonymous can help prevent alcohol relapse by providing support and encouraging former alcoholics to take their recoveries seriously. Members of the program recommend a one-day-at-a-time philosophy, which lets recovering alcoholics focus on battling their addictions on a daily basis rather than worrying about the future. AA members discuss their own struggles with alcohol during meetings. By listening to other sober alcoholics, newly recovering alcoholics can learn how to deal with possible triggers and avoid relapse.

AA also encourages members to follow or work their 12-step program. These 12 steps are a list of suggested ideas and actions to help recovering alcoholics mend their lives and stay sober. Members are encouraged to begin with the first step and slowly work through each step individually, rather than attempting them all at once.

Members of AA can sponsor newly sober alcoholics to help them recover and prevent relapse. Sponsors have already finished the 12 steps and been sober for a long period of time. Sponsors help newer members navigate their specific life challenges by using the experience they acquired through their own struggles with addiction. If you are concerned that you’re losing your struggle with alcohol addiction, don’t give up. Instead, call 1-855-394-1150 to find out possible ways to recover.

Therapy

Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help recovering alcoholics build the skills necessary to avoid alcohol. People may relapse because they don’t know how to respond to social pressure to drink or haven’t addressed the negative emotions or conflict that led to drinking. Through therapy, either as an individual or in a group setting, a recovering alcoholic can learn how to respond to stress and environmental triggers. People in recovery who experience a high-risk situation that could trigger a relapse learn how to successfully cope with the situation. If they successfully handle these high-risk situations, recovering alcoholics feel increasingly self-sufficient. These feelings can reduce the chance of a relapse.

Therapy can also help recovering alcoholics prevent a single slip from becoming a complete relapse. Alcoholics who view a single slip as a personal failure, which can cause guilt and shame, often have a full relapse as a result. Recovering alcoholics who believe that a slip was due to circumstances beyond their control are also at great risk for a complete relapse. Therapy can help recovering alcoholics view a single slip as an inability to properly cope with a specific high-risk situation. Then a therapist can help the recovering addict gain the necessary coping skills to successfully address future high-risk situations. If you or a loved one has experienced a slip, it’s important to get help before it turns into a complete relapse. Call 1-855-394-1150 for information that can help you at any stage in the recovery process.

Medication

In some cases, medication can be prescribed to help a recovering alcoholic prevent a relapse. Disulfiram, for example, will cause recovering alcoholics who drink to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Headache or throbbing in the head or neck
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Vomiting
  • Thirst
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid breathing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo
  • Weakness
  • Uneasiness

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Disulfiram is used to train the mind and body to recognize the harmful effects of alcohol and break the positive association a person may have with alcohol; however, not all medications make recovering alcoholics feel sick if they drink. Naltrexone will not cause nausea or other symptoms if someone drinks while being medicated, though recovering alcoholics who take naltrexone have better treatment results and fewer alcohol cravings. Any medication prescribed to prevent a relapse should be discussed with a doctor and should only be used as part of an overall recovery program.

Support, medication and therapy are three powerful options that can help you avoid a relapse into alcoholism. Of course, these solutions only work if you are willing to regularly attend therapy, participate in a support group or take medication as directed by a physician. If you doubt your ability to stay sober without 24-hour help and supervision, you may want to consider attending an inpatient treatment facility. At a facility, you can build the skills you need to cope with alcoholism with the help of dedicated staff members. To learn more about inpatient treatment or other options that can help with an alcohol relapse, call 1-855-394-1150.

 

Taken from the Article Preventing Alcohol Relapse

Sobriety By The Grace Of God: Eckhart Tolle

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PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

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When a person first become sober, they step into a new world. That new world is supposed to be free of the pain of addiction and filled with positivism, promise, and happiness. In the beginning, however, it doesn’t always feel that way. It feels confusing, sometimes sad, and it’s certainly not very fun.
Those negative feelings in early recovery are the result of PAWS – post acute withdrawal syndrome – and they’re normal and can last up to two years. While the brain is repairing itself from the damage caused by addiction, the individual won’t always feel in the best state of mind. They may ask them self, “Is it going to get better?” or “Will it ever be fun?” Reassure your client that recovery takes time, it’s on a daily basis, eventually those feelings will pass, but the only way out of Hell is to keep walking.

Did you know

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