Family Matters What I Wish My Family Knew by Jami DeLoe
Family: Friend or Foe? by Judy Redman
Who Is MY Family by Carol Teitelbaum
A Motherâ€™s Love
by Dan Sanfellipo and Karen VanDenBerg New!! Book Look Section - Page 42
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Inside This Issue Contributions Family Matters
6 Family Matters by Morgan Thorpe 9
Letter from the Editor
Events in November
by Morgan Thorpe
10 Are you a Lamb, a Lion or an Owl? by Judy Voruz 16 Movie Review: Bar Fights by Carolyn Jo McGarigle 18 The Ancient Power of Ashwagandha by Dr Keerthy Sunder, MD & Jeff Bohnen, BSc 20 Gambling Addiction by Arnie Wexler 24 Family: Friend or Foe? by Judy Redman 28 What I Wish My Family Knew by Jami DeLoe 32 Who Is MY Family by Carol Teitelbaum 36 A Motherâ€™s Love by Dan Sanfellipo and Karen VanDenBerg 38 Living the Spirit of Thanksgiving by Bruce Huberman 10
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If you really look, you may find there are whole new worlds to uncover.
But wait... There’s More! In the Print Issue, you’ll also get: Puzzles Trivia Humor Horoscopes
Recovery Illustrated: What Recovery From Addiction Looks Like DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 5
Family Matters Morgan Thorpe
t’s 2:45pm and I am frantic. I just got out of a staff meeting, there are people waiting in the office for me and my coworker, I am hungry (I didn’t get a chance to eat lunch), and I need to respond to a plethora of emails. But most important, I have a very important phone call to make at 3:00pm. At 3:07pm, I make that call. “Hi Pops, how’s it going?” “Well, hello, daughter, you’re a few minutes late, been busy today?” I respond laughing, “Of course, busy as usual.” “Well you sound good, I can always tell when you are doing good.” Our conversation lasts about fifteen minutes, and in those fifteen minutes, I get my dad’s advice about my flying lessons, work, friends, and most important, life. You see, I call my father every day at 3:00pm, and it is the most important part of my day.
There used to be a time in my life when my father’s voice was not important, when his opinion did not matter, when he and I only exchanged harsh words. In those dark days, I took a black sharpie to his name and crossed him off the list of people to communicate with. Looking back, it’s because my dad is a mirror, he can always make me see myself for who I truly am and, before I was sober, the last thing I wanted to do was look in the mirror. I remember about five years ago, my father and I were walking to church on Easter. It was a beautiful day and, looking back, it was a beautiful lesson as well. I was in and out of rehab, probably loaded that day, and he was trying to re-play a message my brother had left him. He had to go through a bunch of messages before he played my brother’s message and most of them were from me. I asked, “Pops, why do you have all of those messages from me still on your phone?” His response, “Because I never knew when I would hear from you alive again or not.” That’s what I do in my addiction, that is the person I had become. There were many days I thought my family had given up on me. Me, someone who had graduated college, got diagnosed with breast cancer at 23, bought a house, got married and graciously laid my mother to rest. I was a strong warrior, or so I thought, who had become nothing more than a junkie in jail. But I remember one day, while serving a long sentence and hoping I would be able to see the sunlight for the first time in two months, the Deputy came over the speaker. “Thorpe, you have a visitor.” I had no idea who it was. I had not spoken to anyone in months. I went upstairs, and when I entered the phone booth, I saw him … it was my father. He picked up the phone
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monitor and said, “Hey Mork (a childhood nickname), nice prison garb.” And I laughed through tears, there he was, my hero, and he never gave up on me even though he should have. My father continued visiting me every week, asking me what my plans were when I got out, he sent me emails nearly every day. You see, my father is a very educated man. And I need to brag about his thirty years serving our country in the Air Force; he plans, he leads, and he loves. Oh my, he loves, and that is his greatest asset.
I don’t know if I have a comeback story. But what I do know is that I have a great life. It is hectic, it is beautiful and, just today, my father and I had a moment of reflection. My father said, “You know, I know when you are happy, and I know you are living a great life.”
It is with his love, and with the love of my sponsor that I can proudly say I have over three years of sobriety. When I have a question about life I call my sponsor, and she says, “What does your father say?” I am so blessed to have both of them in my life. There are only three people in this life whose opinion matters … God/Sponsor/Father, and unfortunately (insert smile here) my sponsor and my father are usually on the same page.
I work in recovery and my job is to make other people’s lives better. Yet, I guess as a living amends, I call my father, every day at 3:00pm. And that makes my life better, and I think it makes his life better too. I remember the last words I think I heard my father say today, not verbally, but with the smile in his voice. He said “Mork, I can rest on my pillow tonight knowing that you are sober today.” And in the end, that is the most beautiful gift sobriety has given me, and has given to him as well.
In the end, my family are the only ones who can explain me. I vividly remember my little brother’s advice, when I was down and out. He said, “Mork, everyone loves a comeback story.”
His birthday is next week, and we made plans to have lunch. We made plans, and those plans mean the world to me. Today I am my dad’s daughter and today he is my dad.
Morgan Thorpe holds a B.A. in Communications and works at Wavelengths Recovery in Huntington Beach, CA. As a freelance writer, Morgan is passionate about sharing her experience, strength and hope with those in the recovery community. Morgan Thorpe can be reached at email@example.com.
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y hanksgiv in g
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orld Diab et hW t 4
s Da y ren’ ild
orld Kind n hW t 3
At the same time, being so far away, I am consciously aware of being absent for some precious family moments that will never be repeated. Fortunately, I have some family members who take the time to keep me up to date, who share their experiences, the good and the bad, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
orld Toile t hW t 9
P e ace & D
ra Vete ns Da h y t
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There are people in my family who haven’t spoken to me for decades. This irreversible tragedy was caused by another family member when we were children. It’s taken quite a long time to come to terms with that part of my life, and to accept that my family will be broken forever. Other family members were always too busy whenever I tried to connect. “No time to chat,” was their constant response. I was called “selfish” or “childish” if I pointed it out. Eventually, I stopped trying. If they truly wanted me in their lives, I wouldn’t have to wrangle for five minutes of their time. I stopped fighting, and it hurts less now.
Here’s what’s happening in NOVEMBER!
I moved far away from my family a long time ago. We seem to get along better if there’s an ocean between us. Even so, it has always been important to me to stay connected, keep in touch, still be part (if only virtually) of their lives, even though I have been living on different continents for many years.
D Int’l. ay for h 6t
eE Tim nds
Families can be complicated, and dysfunctional, and messy. I know mine is. Only recently, I have come to realize that my decades old fantasy of my “close-knit family” is just that, a fantasy, or maybe it’s a wish. They say you remember the past as being better than it was, focusing on the good bits and forgetting the bad. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad people ... they’re just ... complicated.
ylight Sav i
Letter from the Editor
DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 9
Talking With An Addict:
Are you a Lamb, a Lion or an Owl?
hen you have a friend or loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you know that it’s super challenging to talk to them about their addiction. When you do, you run into all kinds of defenses. In their current mindset and understanding, they will do almost anything to be able to maintain their addiction and especially to avoid treatment of any kind. Below, I use the metaphors of the Lamb, the Lion and the Owl to identify the alternative communication styles that you may use to talk with your loved one.
The Lion is confrontational, has strong opinions about what needs to be done, favors tough love, sees behavior as right or wrong.
The Lion’s form of communication is forceful, authoritarian, and based on preconceived notions of what their loved one may need. It usually evokes defensiveness, withdrawal or resentment.
The Lamb’s style of communicating is softer, more flexible, responds to resistance, distress or unhappiness with nurturing, and compromise. PAGE 10 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
The Owl listens, asks questions to learn more, and reflects on what is being shared.
Results of Each Style The Lamb’s way can lack a sense of firmness, clarity, guidance or direction for their loved one.
The Owl is there to draw out their loved one’s experience and provide an opportunity for them to reflect on and discover their desire for change and for finding their own wisdom and way out of addiction.
Communication Scenarios Your loved one is not purposefully avoiding getting help or wanting to change. They are aware of their addiction and its consequences for themselves and those around them. However, they are caught in a cycle of negative perceptions that doesn’t allow them to see what is really happening to them. In their minds they feel they have no choice about whether they use or not. Because they see their addiction as the only solution to their uncomfortable or distressing feelings created by their repetitive thought patterns, they quite naturally go into a defensive or protective mode; thus you encounter avoidance, anger, guilt, resentment, and blame. Therefore, talking with an addict about their situation requires a new understanding of addiction, what creates it and how to support your loved one in letting it go. Below are some typical communication scenarios that illustrate what works and what doesn’t. 1. “I need to tell you how I really feel.” This is often a disguise for assigning your feelings to the other person’s behavior. Feelings are the result of your state of mind about what’s happening in the moment. This is universally true for everyone. Realizing this can foster a powerful change in your understanding of what creates your experience of your loved one. With this insight, much of your reactivity to your loved one can calm down. Blame turns to compassion, curiosity about their experience, and a greater ability to access wisdom for finding a way forward. 2. “What can I do to help you?” The question starts from the attitude that there is something wrong with the other person and they need to be fixed. True, they have an addiction. Their addiction is their attempt to deal with negative mind states. These states create uncomfortable feelings which create the urge to drink or use. Once they see that they do not have to act on their thought/feeling, they can either heed the pull of the compulsion or let it go. As they continue to disregard the thought-generated compulsion to use, overtime the urges will fade. Seeing your loved one as whole and in need of a new understanding about the nature of thought will change your perception of them and yourself. Gradually you begin to have a greater ability to stay present and to listen without judgment. Bringing these qualities to your interaction creates the best container for change and healing. WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
3. “I miss the time we spent together. How can we start hanging out again?” It is so important to stay connected to your addicted loved one in any way you can. This may not be easy and will require a high level of honesty on your part about your ability to be or not to be with the person’s behavior. If you are honest with them about your own limitations while expressing your love for them, you will continue to be a positive factor in their ability to create change 4. “If you don’t have a problem, why did this [series of events] happen?” Questions or statements that remind the addict of all their bad behavior will only add to the already huge load of shame and guilt they carry about their addiction. Thus the hold of addiction can tighten even more—often diminishing their ability to realize the effect of their using.
“Talking with an addict about their situation requires a new understanding of addiction.” Asking self-reflective questions provides a gateway for them into more awareness of their experience. A self-reflective question that creates an opportunity for learning rarely begins with “why?” “Why” takes us further down the rabbit hole of trying to “figure out” in our heads the source of the problem—the last place we will find the answers we seek. We want to know what is their experience? Where do they think their feelings are coming from? Do they see a repeating pattern in their state of mind and behavior? And what happens when they engage in that repetitive pattern of thinking? We want them to be more conscious of their experience and to feel it being created by their attitude in the moment. Denial has too often been used as a club instead of signaling the need for greater self-awareness. 5. “I love you but I can’t do this anymore.” Before you decide to cut off contact with your loved one, it would be useful to understand where your feelings about your loved are coming from. It seems as though they are coming from your loved one’s behavior much the same way that your loved one thinks their urges/feelings are coming from their addiction to a substance. In both cases it is thought generated feeling that is the culprit. You might notice how much of your thought centers on the addict and their addiction. You may be surprised to find that your feelings about your situation arise from your state of mind in the moment. continued on page 12 DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 11
Are you a Lamb, a Lion or an Owl? continued from page 11
When you take responsibility for your thought-generated emotions, you set an example for your loved one. You will begin to see how your habits of worry, anger, disgust, disappointment, etc., are being created inside of you. You will begin to separate your loved one from their behavior. However, if there are certain behaviors that are too difficult to be around, then it is good to identify those and set limits around them. For instance, you may not want to be with your loved one when they are under the influence. In this case you can tell them not to call or not to come home if they have been using. Tell them to get a motel room and sleep it off or any other creative solution you come up with to shield yourself from the behavior. However, always keep in mind that your thoughts about their addiction and their situation is different from who they are. If you have decided to maintain a relationship, then the easiest and most effective way to stay connected is to simply listen to them. Listen for what they are saying on a deeper level. Listen for some truth or logic in how they see their experience. This will provide the context and basis for a conversation about the way forward and the possibility of change. The stance and attitude you assume in talking with your loved one makes a huge difference in how they will respond to you and your efforts to support them to change. In truth, there is no one right way to talk to your loved one about their addiction. Sometimes being soft and flexible like the Lamb may work. Other times the tough love of the Lion is needed. My bias is toward the way of the Owl because it honors your loved oneâ€™s experience and gives them space for insight and self-discovery.
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As you deepen your understanding of the universal truth that feelings are created by thought in the moment, not by the person, the situation or the behavior, you will be more and more in touch with the source of wisdom, clarity and well being. Any blame, shame or guilt will give way to a sense of compassion for your loved who is also simply caught in a misunderstanding about the source of their experience. Guided by this deeper aspect of yourself, you will have a larger capacity to interact with your loved one in a way that provides the best support for them to let go of their addiction. Judy Voruz is a family counselor, helping families struggling with addiction since 1985. She holds a Masterâ€™s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. For five years, Judy served as a family counselor at the Hazelden/Betty Ford Foundation. Contact her at 541-274-0758 or email@example.com.
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DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 15
with Leonard Lee Buschel
review by Carolyn Jo McGarigle
young poet wakes up in his dismal bedroom, hands shaking. He drinks his own urine to stop the trembling. Disgusted with himself, he goes to the nearby liquor store once again. In the cold Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the days and nights drag on and the local stragglers don’t suffice. He finds warmth and tenderness from the one person who knows exactly how much he drinks—the liquor store clerk. Her honest and sobering friendship inspires him to change. But first he has to get rid of the DT’s. Michael Max Nitkowski, Pay Check to Paycheck Productions, wrote, directed, and starred in this low budget slice of life—too much, too often, in a familiar place that used to be fun, while passing the time ....
A soft portrayal of violence adds stylized grit like in vintage westerns. Nature scenery and the soundtrack are rich with attitude, pain, and frustration. Shot in old school black & white, it’s a taste of modern-day boredom, loneliness, and desire for connection that lingers long after the movie is over. Appropriate for creatives alike, adults, and those who have seen or wondered what the edge looks like. This is not a film that glamorizes alcohol consumption. It is not for children, happy-go-lucky types, or those who have short attention spans. This movie is a tremendous success for first time filmmaker, Michael Max Nikowski. The REEL Recovery Film Festival, produced by Leonard Buschel and Writers In Treatment, offers unique opportunities for creatives like Nikowski to show off their work. The festival is in its 9th year and is the longest recovery event in the country. The mission is to reduce the stigma of alcoholism and addiction with cultural events that celebrate sobriety. During the Q&A after the screening at the Laemmle NoHo cinema, Michael said the film was inspired by his best friend “who didn’t make it.” He also mentioned the biggest part of the budget went for gasoline, as he had to drive from Little Egg Harbor in South Jersey to New York every week to pick up his friends who were acting as cast and crew, As festival director, Leonard Buschel said when he founded REEL Recovery nine years ago, “Anyone with a thousand dollars, some friends and a good idea, can make a film worth projecting on the big screen.” Bar Fights proves him right beyond a doubt. TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJmEpziv5VM Leonard Buschel is the Founder and Director of the REEL Recovery Film Festival. For more info, see his website at: www.reelrecoveryfilmfestival.org
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DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 17
The Ancient Power of
Dr Keerthy Sunder, MD & Jeff Bohnen, BSc
hen was the last time you felt fatigued or overly stressed? Perhaps you experience difficulty sleeping? Or maybe you feel like you could use an extra boost of energy and focus throughout the day? If any of these questions ring a bell for you, then keep reading. This may be your first time hearing about (or attempting to pronounce) ashwagandha, which is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries in various systems of healing. Notably, ashwagandha has played a prominent role in Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, as well as in traditional African medicine. The name “Ashwagandha” comes from the Sanskrit language, combining the word “ashva” (which means “horse”) with the word “gandha” (which means “smell”), reflecting the root’s strong aroma. This name was also intended to convey the vigor of a stallion, as ashwagandha was traditionally used to strengthen the immune system.
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In addition to boosting immune function, ashwagandha may be capable of: • Alleviating the effects of stress • Improving learning and mental clarity • Reducing anxiety and depression • Preserving brain health • Stabilizing blood sugar • Helping to lower cholesterol • Reducing inflammation • Enhancing sexual potency In experimental models, ashwagandha increased the stamina of rats during a swimming endurance test. Research has also indicated that ashwagandha may be useful for children with memory deficit and for elderly people with memory loss. Ashwagandha has even been shown to promote the formation of dendrites (which help form connections among brain cells). WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, padalsingh, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.
Moreover, ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that help modulate your bodyâ€™s response to stress or a changing environment. Adaptogens help your body deal with both internal stressors (such as restlessness) and external stressors (such as environmental toxins). In essence, these substances help balance your body by normalizing your physiological functions. Although empirical evidence for the applications of ashwagandha in Western medicine is still emerging, the root has been used for arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, and chronic liver disease. This ancient plant shows great promise in healing a variety of ailments, but it is important to remember that much of the support for ashwagandha comes from anecdotal evidence. As always, consult with your doctor before adding this root to your diet or supplementation regimen as it may interact with medications. Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is the creator of Brain Tune Nutraceuticals and Brain Optimization Intensive Retreats, and also the best-selling author of Face Your Addiction and Save Your Life. Visit his websites at www.doctorsunder.com and www.mindandbodytreatment.com Jeff Bohnen, BSc studied Psychology and Music at the University of Michigan. Heâ€™s currently studying Integrative Neuropsychiatry at the Mind & Body Treatment and Research Institute before beginning medical school in July. WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 19
And How To Get Help For It Arnie Wexler ICGC
y addiction started at age seven and, by age fourteen, I was stealing to support my gambling addiction. My gambling addiction lasted till I was thirty years old and did much damage to myself, my family and everyone I came into contact with. My last bet was 4/10/68, opening day of the 1968 baseball season. Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease, much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. In many cases, the gambling addiction is hidden until the gambler becomes unable to function without gambling, and he or she begins to exclude all other activities from their lives. Inability to stop gambling often results in financial devastation, broken homes, employment problems, criminal acts and suicide attempts. The gambler is eventually able to remove themselves from reality to the point of being totally obsessed with gambling. Eventually, they will do anything to get the money with which to stay in â€œaction.â€? They will spend all their time and energy developing schemes in order to get the money to continue gambling. Lying becomes a way of life for the gambler.
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They will try to convince others and themselves that their lies are actually truths and they will even begin to believe their own lies. After a gambling addict hits a real bottom they will have to actively do something if they want to try to recover. Most gamblers who reach that point want to stop but can’t (they wont be able to). Most, even at breaking point, will keep gambling. Some will end up in jail, some will attempt suicide. (The attempted suicide rate for gamblers is twenty times higher than for other addictions.) Some will die from their addictions as they will not take care of their health, or the stress will kill them. A small group of addicted gamblers will seek and find real help, but the real trick is to get in to true recovery, not just abstinence. By the time the gambler comes looking for help, they have broken brains (meaning that their brains don’t work in the same way they used to before the damage of their addiction). To achieve true recovery, gamblers need to work on themselves, one day at a time, and find someone who has been in recovery for a while whose brain is working as it should (a sponsor) to do their thinking for them. After some time in recovery, the brain will begin to function normally. They will become productive in their job, and become a good parent and spouse. Recovery is a process and does not happen without a lot of work, like making a moral and financial inventory. People can recover, and do. As with other addictions, it is not unusual for compulsive gamblers to have cross-addictions. An addict may have switched addictions early on, or they may have been cross-addicted throughout their history. It is also important to note that gambling addicts may also pick up a new addiction while trying to recover from their gambling problem. Many people go for treatment for drugs or drinking and also have a gambling problem, but it’s never addressed in treatment. As in most cases, gambling is not asked about in treatment or the center doesn’t have someone on staff who understands gambling addiction. So, the client goes home and keeps on gambling. Soon, they are heading into a relapse of their other addictions. In no time, they will be looking for treatment again. Hopefully, at that point, the client will be ready to address the gambling problem and may end up in a treatment center that knows something about gambling addiction! The other thing that happens is that someone goes for treatment for another addiction, then gets out of treatment and is recovering from that addiction, and starts to gamble and that becomes a gambling addiction.
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DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 21
Gambling Addiction continued from page 21
To recover from a gambling addiction the gambler is well advised to get themselves into a twelve-step program specifically for gambling addictions. Family involvement will enhance the treatment process. Family members should not try to bail out the gambler as bailouts are detrimental to the gamblers’ recovery. Family members may also feel the need to find a road to recovery for themselves. Here are the symptoms the DSM describes: Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the following characteristics in a twelve month period: 1. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement. 2. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling. 3. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling. 4. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
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5. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed). 6. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (known as “chasing” one’s losses). 7. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling. 8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of their gambling. 9. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling. Compulsive gamblers (and their families) can recover from this devastating addiction. This process takes time and effort. During, and after treatment, gamblers needs to continue attendance at GA meetings. They need to find a sponsor, have a pressure relief meeting to aid in financial recovery, and continue to learn and live the twelve steps of recovery. The family can also attend Gamanon in order to find healing and understanding from the effects of living with the gambling problem. However difficult an addict’s life becomes, like all other seemingly hopeless addictions, there is also a solution to the gambling addiction. Arnie Wexler is a Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC), and was the Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey for eight years. He co-authored the bestselling book All Bets Are Off with his wife Sheila Wexler. For more information, see: http://aswexler.com/arnie-wexler
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Family Friend Or Foe?
hat in goodness name are we supposed to do with our thoughts, feelings, and emotions regarding our families? If you are anything like me, you experienced a family that was, at least in part dysfunctional, and at times boarding on psychotic. How do we make peace with the insanity we grew up with? How do we build relationships when we did not learn to trust? For a lot of us, the subject of family is painful. We may have entered treatment feeling as if we were cheated out of the “good life” because of our family of origin. Some of us come from mean, awful, people, and we often wonder how different life would had been had we been blessed with one of those “good” families. We have an image of families that are clean, polite, and well-mannered. We have seared resentment toward those “fortunate” families who lovingly celebrate life together. We are
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convinced that, had we come from a loving family, we would have turned out okay. Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I was sitting in the backseat of my older brother’s old beat-up Chevy. I can recall details of that backseat, how big it was, how frayed the upholstery was, the dingy faded color, all because I spent a lot of time sitting in the back seat staring up at my big brother. I wanted to be near my brother, my protector, my hero. Had I had the chance I would have glued myself to him. I did not realize what a nuisance it was for him to have me hanging around until he got a girlfriend. On this occasion, my brother and his buddy were in the front seat smoking a joint—the same as on every other occasion. His friend said to him “Man, your mom is so cool.” “I wish I had your mom for a mom!” I can continued on page 26 WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
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Family: Friend Or Foe? continued from page 24
clearly recall my brother taking a long hit off the joint and responding in a hushed, exasperated, exhale “Man, no you don’t!” “You have no idea how much I wish my mom could be a mother.” I learned a life lesson from that experience that people do not always know what they are wishing for. It wasn’t too much longer after that that I was taken from my mother, sister, and brother. The cool mom went to prison. A family is what you get, not what you want. When I realized just how blessed I was to “get” the family I was born into, it made my whole attitude about my preconceived victimization change. Today, I understand the blessing of coming from a dysfunctional family. I learned so many lessons about life and the fragility of relationships not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I once heard in AA, “There are no victims in AA.” Fortunately, I can embrace that concept, and I think my children can too. You see, my children were dealt the leftovers of their mother’s hand! They, too, were exposed to madness no child should have to endure. Like their
mother before them, foster care was no stranger. We can choose to live in gratitude and make our lives work, or we can feel victimized and suffer. We can now appreciate the gifts of resilience and gratitude that came from our misfortune. I wish I had been a better mother. However, I would not change my children’s outcome. I could not be prouder of the men my boys have become. They are good and decent, and they give to their community. My oldest son is the Director of a Mission, my youngest works in recovery. My oldest son is a proud father and a loving husband to the same beautiful wife for the last 25 years. They are leaving this planet better because they were here. Because we have suffered, we have learned compassion. Because we were abused, we know how to heal. Because we were hungry, we learned responsibility, and we know to feed others. Because we were victimized, we were made resilient. We are family for better or worse! Dr. Judy Redman has dedicated much of her personal and professional life to the betterment of the recovering community. She began her career as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in 2000 and is currently the Director of Education at Social Model Recovery Systems: www.socialmodel.com
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What I Wish My Family Knew Jami DeLoe
hen I was actively drinking, I was not the person I wanted to be. I think it’s fair to say no one sets out to become an addict or an alcoholic—I know I didn’t. Active addiction is a lonely, desperate, and dangerous place to be. I never would have put myself there, or put my family through what I did, on purpose. But, it happened and none of us can change it now.
I was in active addiction. Of course, when someone is drinking and behaving the way that I did, there is no opportunity to express these things. It’s only been after the fact that I have had the clarity of mind to recognize what I wish they had understood then.
Unfortunately, I have lost those relationships—at least for now, but maybe forever. So, I write this for the families of addicts in the hope that it might help My alcoholism, and the choices I made when I was them to better understand what their addicted loved drinking, caused my family to wash their hands of me, one might be feeling even though they probably don’t even after I got sober. That loss has made me think a have the capacity to express it. lot about what I wish my family knew about me when continued on page 30 PAGE 28 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
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What I Wish My Family Knew continued from page 28
These are some of the things that I wish my family knew when I was drinking. No, I can’t just stop. One of the things that is so hard for “normal” people to understand is that by the time a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s nearly impossible for them to just stop. I wanted to stop drinking for a long time before I was actually able to do so. It took two stays in rehab, countless twelvestep meetings, many therapy sessions, and psychiatric care for me to achieve the sobriety I have today. Without any one of those things, I wouldn’t have stopped drinking. I couldn’t have stopped drinking.
“I meant it every time I said ‘I’m sorry’ I was truly sorry for all the bad things I did.”
I really meant it every time I said, “I’m sorry.” If there’s one thing that addicts are good at, it’s apologizing. We say we’re sorry for our drinking, behavior, needing to be bailed out (of jail and otherwise), screwing things up, saying horrible things, and the list goes on. At a certain point, I think addicts’ families simply think they don’t mean it anymore. I did. I meant it every time I said it. I was truly sorry for all the bad things I did. And not just ones for which I was caught. Just like my family members, I wanted every “I’m sorry” to be the last one I had to say—but that hasn’t happened. I have had a deep sense of remorse from the time I started drinking alcoholically up to now; even after years of sobriety. Addiction is a horrible, ugly, all-encompassing disease that affects not only the addict, but everyone around them. If you’re not an addict yourself, it’s hard to know what or how an addict thinks. I hope my two cents gives you a little bit of insight. Jami DeLoe writes the Trauma! A PTSD Blog for HealthyPlace at www.healthyplace.com/blogs/ traumaptsdblog/, blogs personally at www. sobergrace.wordpress.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t love you any less. I know that for many family members of addicts it seems that their loved one is choosing his or her drug of choice over them. I understand why they would feel that way. I continued to drink even though I knew my family didn’t want me to, and even though I knew I was losing those relationships. I get why they would believe that I was choosing booze over them. But for me, and for many other addicts I suspect, my ability to choose was gone. I had to drink, there was no longer a choice to be made. That fact did not mean that I loved my family less, though. I loved them every bit as much as I always had—I just couldn’t do anything about it. It’s not your fault. Every family has a level of dysfunction. In mine, it was very high. Even so, just as there was nothing they could do to make me stop drinking, it wasn’t their fault that I started. It’s easy to place blame when it comes to addiction. Some family members blame the addict, and others blame themselves. I wish that my family knew that I never blamed any of them for my drinking—it was all on me. While I may not have had a choice once I was truly an alcoholic, my drinking was my fault. PAGE 30 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 31
MY Family? Carol Teitelbaum
amily can be two parents who created a child, and provided that child with an extended family. Included in that extended family might be, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Or, family could be any combination of players. Two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad, step-parents, adoptive parents, or a group of people who have helped raise the child. It might be foster parents, a group home or even a shelter. When we say the word “family”, our definition will come from what we learned from our own family of origin, or from what we watched in movies or on TV. Whatever it is, children need one! Our It Happens to Boys group was speaking at Father’s Heart Ranch, where boys who can’t get along anywhere else are sent. They have all been abused, resulting in some being very angry.
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We were there at Christmas time and the children’s wish (even some of those who had been abused by a family member) was to be home for Christmas, with their family. Family can build us up or tear us down, depending on what our parents learned about parenting. Building a child up would include, affection, nurturing, validation, having opportunities to be involved in activities the child enjoys, sports, dance, art or music. Not necessarily what the parent thinks the child should do. For instance, the dad who relives his childhood through his son’s sports successes. Parents can push their children to do things they do not feel comfortable with, like being in beauty pageants or an artistic son being forced onto a team, playing ball. continued on page 34
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Who is MY Family? continued from page 32
I had a male client who came to therapy to boost his self-esteem so that he could go home to his family of origin for Christmas and feel good about himself. He had a difficult childhood and was always made to feel inadequate. This year was going to be different! This year, he was going to be ready, be assertive, set boundaries and speak up for himself.
“Often the fantasy of a relationship is better than the actual relationship.” He worked for weeks, role-playing and journaling until he was certain he was up for the task. He bought some new clothing, got his hair cut and was feeling very good about himself. He left to go to the East Coast, where his family of origin was living, attempting to return to his childhood home.
That rarely happens although, for some involved in recovery programs, it is possible. People can change. Making amends can sometimes result in much improved relations, not because the other person changed, but because we have. There is a saying among twelve step groups, “Stop going to the hardware store for milk.” What does that mean? If a parent has never been affectionate, loving or caring, they probably won’t magically change their behavior. We can, however, accept them for who they are, and learn about their childhoods, if they can willingly share that information with you. And imagine what their life was like. We can only give what we know, as as Herb Kaigan says, “We can’t know what we don’t know and we will only know it when we learn it.” The good news is, once recovery is in motion, we can choose how we will behave. We can have sponsors, mentors, and peers who will be our role models, show us healthy affection and listen when we need to talk. Creating a healthy surrogate family can help change our life. It is never too late to learn. One of the men in my group did not begin his recovery process until he was 65. Today, his life is filled with love and friendships and most importantly, he learned how to have fun.
Two weeks later, he came in for his appointment. When he sat down on the couch I asked if he would like to share his holiday trip with me? He said, “Yes!” I replied, “Tell me how it went.” He said, “They were singing the same old song.” In earlier sessions we talked at length about the possibility that his family had not changed since he left. He remembered and acknowledged that was the case. I asked what happened next. To which he replied, “I sang along. I know all the words by heart.” He was so disappointed, and feeling like he failed. I reminded him it was just an opportunity to practice his new beliefs and behaviors and that he would have more opportunities to do better in the future. Often the fantasy of a relationship is better than the actual relationship. In our fantasy, our parents apologize, and we hug, we cry and say “I love you.” In our imagination things go on from there and we are open, honest and loving with each other. PAGE 34 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
Carol offers two free groups for men abused as children. See: www.creativechangeconferences.com Carol Teitelbaum is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education, Educational Psychology, Counseling and Guidance, both from Cal State Northridge. For more see: www.creativechangeconferences.com WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
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A Mother’s Love Dan Sanfellipo and Karen VanDenBerg
he would wake up early in the morning on the weekend, pack some snacks for the road, get in her car and drive. Sometimes she’d drive two hours, sometimes four hours, and sometimes twelve hours. She’d arrive at the Youth Authority, and later the State Prison, and wait another forty-five minutes in line with other people waiting to see their imprisoned loved ones. She did this most weekends for twenty-five years. She is my mom. We were allowed to visit in a small room for about two hours, and then she would make the long (sometimes brutally long) drive home. She never complained. I was her oldest child and from the day I ran away from home at age nine, her heart was broken. To see me in Juvenile Hall at age eleven and moved to the Youth Authority at age thirteen where I would stay for the next eight years, tore my mother up. But that didn’t stop her from visiting religiously and showing her love and support. I took these visits for granted. I always knew she would come and I expected it. When people are caught up in their addiction and self-centered behavior, like I was at the time, they don’t consider the efforts and needs of other people. Occasionally my mom would bring my brother or sister and it was nice to see them, but I didn’t ever consider the fact that they were forfeiting their weekend day to come support me, I felt entitled to this as an acknowledgment of my horrible situation. continued on page 42
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Living The Spirit of
Thanksgiving By Bruce Huberman
The ideas behind Thanksgiving make it one of our most universal and important holidays. Without question, living the spirit of Thanksgiving is good medicine for our bodies, souls, and communities. Fortunately, and appreciative attitude doesn’t cost anything—it takes very little time, it’s always available, and while there are lots of side-effects, every one of them is wonderful. Author and counselor, Melody Beattie, puts it this way, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough—and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Chances are you’re pretty good already at practicing an attitude of gratitude. The following are a few simple and quick exercises that can further build up your muscles of appreciation while warming the hearts of those you touch. Each of these activities can be done in five minutes or less.
you’ll give out at least three genuine compliments before your day ends. The nice thing about compliments is that they tend to be contagious. There’s no telling how far what you start might spread! • Either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, engage in a couple minutes of silent personal thanksgiving. Focus on your many blessings, be they large or small. Then take another minute and consciously rest in the subtle peace that usually comes as a result of this practice. Thanksgiving is the practice of choosing to think about our blessings. It doesn’t mean we bury our heads in the sand and deny negativity and problems. But id does mean that we choose to face our difficulties with courage, optimism, creativity, and faith.
• Phone a family member you don’t see very often or call an old neighbor—locally or long distance—and take a few minutes to say thanks or to share your admiration for a personal trait he or she possesses. Keep the conversation brief and upbeat knowing that you have probably made that person’s day. • Whether around home or at work, promise yourself that PAGE 38 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
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I was killing my mother with my selfish behavior and criminal activity. But she never gave up on me. Her visits were out of love and she would travel whatever distance she had to, just to come and see me. I can appreciate that now. I can appreciate that because now I’m clean and sober, I’m caring and considerate, and I’m appreciative. She is better now because I am better now. After twenty-five years behind bars, I finally grew up. Once I surrendered to the process of getting sober, I got responsible. I stopped committing crimes and stopped going back to prison. And I finally stopped expecting a pat on the back every time I did something that every adult should do. Addicts, alcoholics, and convicts feel entitled to “rewards” for
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In recovery, I’ve gained a second family. This fellowship has provided me with a family that is also supportive and caring. My brothers and sisters in recovery have walked along the same path; while not always the exact path, we have walked on common ground and can relate to each other. So, to my mom, dad, brother, sister, and my new family in the recovery community, I love you so much and thank you so much for never giving up on me. Even in my newfound sobriety, I’m no saint. Thank you for my life today. Dan Sanfellipo received his education in the California State Penal system. He is an international competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and has dedicated his life to helping people find freedom from poverty, restriction, stigma, addiction, despair, and prison. Contact: email@example.com Karen VanDenBerg worked in the corporate world for 31 years. She is the founder and publisher of Recovery Illustrated magazine, and brings together the writings of people in recovery who share messages of hope, inspiration, information, and encouragement to benefit our community.
“I was killing my mother with my selfish behavior.”
There are a lot of people who support us addicts, alcoholics, and convicts. That support goes largely unappreciated. These people, sometimes family members or loved-ones and sometimes people who have been through it before, never give up hope. Until we make a decision to get clean and sober, we can’t see the hope they see, and we can’t feel the love they feel because we don’t feel it for ourselves. I will be forever grateful to my mother for all she’s done for me. I would never have felt that way when I was still using, drinking, and active in criminal behavior.
Looking back, I think of all the people who were locked up and who never had visitors. Nobody ever came to support them or show them they were loved and cared for. In truth, however, even the people who did have regular visitors, like myself, still had an attitude of, “You don’t know what I’ve been through. You have no idea what it’s like in here. You have your freedom and you don’t understand.” That selfishness runs rampant within the walls of a prison.
continued from page 36
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Critical account of childhood pain. Story of growing up in a family steeped in deceit, crime and abuse. Bringing courage and support to survivors. Life changing lessons about resilience, recovery and release from those who torture wounded souls. Robert’s personal story entwined with stories of the Chicago Mob. His parents were attorneys for Al Capone and family. Available to order on Amazon at: www.amazon.com/dp/0692343709
Torture:Broken Foot, Shattered Soul is a true story that reads like a fairy tale. It’s a proof of angel story and a profound peek into the unexplored experiential territory of a terrified mind. Lori’s story is a psychological, spiritual, comical roller coaster ride through a journey of trauma and one woman’s truth. Available to order at: https://www. barnesandnoble.com/w/torture-lori-nels on/1120839652?ean=9780990962410
You’ll learn new techniques for standing up to abuse and managing conflict and communication problems. Being assertive and setting boundaries and limits actually reduces stress and builds self-esteem, while benefiting your career, relationships, and sense of well-being. Go to: https://www.whatiscodependency.com/ books-on-codependency/. Audio-visual companion also available at: http://www. whatiscodependency.com/product/how-tobe-assertive
Are you tired of being in pain, sluggish and out of shape? The notion that all exercise provides maximum opportunity for women’s physical and emotional health is a myth. Feminine Body Design, Empowering Fitness for Pain Free Life debunks the most popular exercise myths and offers a holistic approach in the field of women’s fitness. Available to order on Amazon at: www.amazon.com/ dp/0692532676
Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin & endorphin. The brain chemicals that make us feel good were not designed to flow all the time for no reason. They are inherited from earlier animals, and each has a special job to do. Here’s how to turn them on in healthy new ways. www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keyword s=loretta+breuning&tag=mh0b-20&inde x=aps&hvadid=7772175381388
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It’s Emily Zylaz’s birthday, and she has decided to kill herself. After struggling to cope with the roller-coaster of mental illness, a devastating failed marriage, and a soul-destroying career, she’s giving up. Emily plans to hang herself at midnight. As we journey alongside Emily, counting down the hours on her last day alive, we explore the twisted labyrinth of her troubled mind and learn why she so desperately wants to die. Available at: www.amazon.com/dp/097576005X
By aligning yoga philosophy and poses with each of the Twelve Steps, Kyczy Hawk presents a physical and spiritual guide that complements and augments any twelve-step practice. Readers will investigate how they think, feel, and believe by using a new vocabulary to process traditional recovery principles. https://shop.centralrecoverypress. com/index.php?route=product/ search&search=kyczy%20hawk
It is possible to recover from drug addiction and live a clean, happy, hopeful life. A program that combines aspects from each of the three sources of support outlined in Face Your Addiction and Save Your Life offers the best chance for a long-term recovery.
In From Bagels to Buddha, learn how to switch eating gears and get off the yo-yo weight loss merry-go-round by eating to nurture your true inner being. www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&fieldkeywords=judi+hollis&rh=i%3Aaps%2 Ck%3Ajudi+hollis
www.amazon.com/Addictions-FaceYour-Addiction-Save-ebook/dp/ B00K1KEHVW What Love Is is about what it takes to actually stand behind the loving words we too often say without understanding what they really mean, or perhaps more accurately, without understanding what we must do in order to give our words meaning. Love doesn’t come with an instruction manual but this little book just might help. www.amazon.com/What-LoveReflections-Authentic-Practice/ dp/1542697344
Thin Enough provides hope that, through faith and trust in God, teen and college age girls struggling with negative views about their bodies, can rise above the living death of eating disorders and arise as God’s daughters, full of life and with a promising future. www.amazon.com/dp/1596690038/
Freedom from addiction is available in the one place that’s the most difficult for an addict to be—the present moment. In Natural Rest for Addiction, non-duality teacher and addiction specialist Scott Kiloby offers his Natural Rest program for finding recovery from addictions of all kinds through the mindful practice of Resting Presence. www.amazon.com/Scott-Kiloby/e/ B003XGJH0W WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
Comprehensive and effective advice speaking to people with addiction, their loved ones, and addiction professionals who need a proven, trusted resource, a supportive voice, and an easy-to-follow road map to the recovery process. www.amazon.com/Recovery-BookQuestions-Addiction-Alcoholism/ dp/076117611X Color Me Sober, 31 Day Clean & Sober Coloring Journal, 5.5 X 7.5 64 pages
31 Day Clean & Sober Coloring Journal
www.pocketsponsor.com/ storefront.html#!/$6-99Color-Me-Sober-31-DayColoring-Journal-ChristmasGift-Set-NEW-this-yearNo-minimum/p/91622527/ category=11248141
A simple 12-Step based coloring book and journal that helps the user focus on recovery principles. Coloring is a form of meditation. Slogans help the mind consider recovery issues in everyday life. Journaling begins the process of healing. Work on the book a little each day and feel the magic begin.
Let Us Take a Look at YOUR Book Promote it Here
DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMER 2017 - PAGE 43
DON’T FIGHT YOUR ADDICTION. LEAVE IT BEHIND.
R TREATING ADDICTION, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION THROUGH OUR EXCLUSIVE MINDFULNESS APPROACH MINDFULNESS APPROACH
High Success Rate Trauma-first approach Detox, residential, inpatient & outpatient treatment available
Caring and professional staff trained in Scott Kiloby’s work RANCHO MIRAGE, CA PAGE 44 - DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2017
kilobycenter.com RANCHO MIRAGE, CA
Naltrexone Implant available which reduces or eliminates cravings for several months More private sessions than most treatment centers Insurance Accepted
FINANCING AVAILABLE WWW.RECOVERYILLUSTRATED.COM
Published on Nov 10, 2017
Bringing Inspiration, hope, encouragement, information, and resources to people impacted by addiction of all types.