Step 12 Magazine Nov-Dec 2015

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NOV-DEC 2015

The Comfort of Traditions Old



NEWS - Step 12 Magazine

Walks the Talk of Recovery

by Karen VanDenBerg, Publisher


The Neurobiology of Opiate Addiction by Dr. Keerthy Sunder

Present for the March:

Moments in Recovery History

by Mark Gladden, CEP Present Moments Recovery

Fortifying Your Strength Against Relapse By Batista Gremaud

The Power of Giving by Joe Sigurdson

INSIDE: • Horoscopes • Puzzles • Recovery Resources • Humor Page • Newcomer’s Page

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Inside This Issue Columns

Fortifying Your Strength Against Relapse - 16

Cover Story - The Comfort of Traditions -- Old and New - 6

Dan Sanfellipo - UNLOCKED FOR LIFE

Batista Gremaud, Co-Founder, Dr. Fitness, USA

by.Karen V.

Avoiding the Avalanche this Holiday Season -- 8

Dr. Judi Hollis - Experience, Strength and Hope for People Struggling with Food Obsession

Relieving Thangst: A Cornucopia of Sobriety - 9

If You Cant Win and You Cant Flee, FLOW - 21 It Happens to Boys - 22 by Carol Tietelbaum, MFT

Are You Having Fun Yet? - 24 Bob Kocher, Travel Sober

Neurobiology of Opiate Addiction (Part 2 of 4) - 26

by Lyn P., Unity Hall, Sun City

Dr. Keerthy Sunder - SUNDERSTANDING Addiction - Exploring the Science of Addiction

by Karen VanDenBerg

by Joe Sigurdson, Founder, Boys to Men Mentoring Program

Profile - Dan Sanfellipo - 10

The Power of Giving - 28

The Latest Thing Experience is Unique - 11

OCRS Approved - 29

The Biggest Cause of Anxiety - 12

Dear Petra Questions and Answers - 32

Present for the March - Moments in Recovery History - 14

Treasured Traditions - 33

Promise # 7 - 15

Suzanne Whang -- It’s a Whangderful Life

by Karen VanDenBerg.

Darlene Lancer on Codependency

by Mark Gladden, CEP Present Moments Recovery

by Karen VanDenBerg

Petra AKA Petrabilities - Hep-C Expert - 34

Lori Nelson, Author, Speaker, Educator and more

Screaming in the Church Parking Lot - 34

Dan Griffin (Real Men, Real Recovery)

Regular Stuff Book Reviews - 23 Contributions - 30 Humor -35 Horoscopes -38 Letter from Editor - 5

Metaphorically Speaking -17 Newcomers Page -18 Puzzles -25 Quotes - 7 Random Thoughts - 13 Recovery Trivia -37 Special Messages - 37 Self Assessment Questions - 20

Step 12 Magazine NEWS 50% of all Magazine Sale Proceeds Going Back to the Community.

The Mission

of Step 12 Magazine has always been focussed on carrying a message of hope, resources, and thought-provoking editorial mixed with a little fun.

This issue (November/December 2015) kicks off our 3rd year in publication. It is our continued mission to spread this magazine as far as possible to reach people who are still struggling and looking for some guidance and hope. So you’ll see a barcode on all issues going forward as we strive to be available in retail stores where family members and friends of loved ones can find us -- and more importantly to find help! Starting with this issue, in celebration of our sincere gratitude for the honor of providing this service, we are donating 1/2 of all sales of the magazine and subscriptions back to the community. By purchasing a magazine or subscription, you are giving back, we are giving back, and that’s what Step 12 is all about.

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Letter from the Editor This issue kicks off our third year in circulation. I am so incredibly grateful to be blessed with this journey. I’ve certainly made some mistakes along the way, and I’ve learned from each one of them. The doors keep opening, so I assume I’m on the right path. There was a time in my life that a “mistake” was a message from my higher power that I needed to change course -- back when I thought “perfection” was the task-at-hand. It’s not. Mistakes are just mistakes. I get to repeat them sometimes when my stubbornness stops me short of the lesson. The faster time seems to pass, the less willing I am to repeat mistakes — but I still do sometimes. Starting with this issue, the beginning of our third year we are focused on expanding distribution. The mission of Step 12 Magazine is to carry a message of hope for people who are in recovery (new or old), and people still struggling. There are so many people we haven’t reached The new price on the magazines will go towards broader distribution and to help fund treatment for people who can’t afford it. 50% of magazine sales and subscriptions will be donated to a scholarship fund. So we are stepping up our “walk of the talk” by spreading hope, resources AND funding. WE! You and Step 12 Magazine can make a tangible difference! As this year starts to wind down and I reflect on the journey of 2015 and I am grateful beyond words. Grateful for the support of my higher power, our readers, our successes and our challenges. I am grateful to be participating in this life, on this journey, and in his care — WITH YOU! Respectfully and Enthusiastically,

K aren V an D en B erg

A flower doesn’t stop being beautiful just because somebody walks by without noticing it Helplines AA - 909-825-4700 NA - 909-370-3568 Al-Anon - 909-824-1516 Nar-Anon 310-534-8188 SAMHSA 800-662-4357 Gamblers Anonymous - 626-960-3500 Overeaters Anonymous- 951-715-2080 Sexaholics Anonymous - 888-793-4659 Suicide Hotline - 800-932-9119

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The Comfort of Traditions - Old and New One definition of tradition is, “a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.” Hanging stockings by the fireplace is a tradition, drinking Champagne on New Year’s eve is a tradition, building a snowman after the first snowfall is a tradition -- traditions are comforting in the sense that they provide us with a reasonable anticipation of what to expect and a sense of participation and belonging. Our traditions in recovery work much the same way. The twelve traditions were brilliantly laid out for the preservation of the fellowship so that no one person could be deemed more important than another, and that any person with a desire to have a better life could find help and guidance regardless of their personal situations (socially, financially, spiritually, criminally, etc.). In a fellowship of autonomy, the traditions are consistent and ensure the inclusion of everyone. Personal or family traditions are just as comforting. Even though they may be “unwritten,” we cherish our traditions -- most of the time. Grandma playing the piano with her arms flapping with the ragtime beat of “Alley Cat,” Uncle Dick laughing heartily from the other room where the adults hung out, mouth-watering smells wafting through the house of roasted turkey waiting to be carved and homemade rolls in the oven — these are fond memories of Thanksgiving traditions from my youth. I was lucky to have that time in my life. I cling to those memories which can never be completely recreated. Those traditions created a sense of belonging. I always knew what to expect (in general) over the holidays. I didn’t know how precious those traditions were at the time, and it never occurred to me that Thanksgiving was celebrated any other way. Fast forward. Mom passed away unexpectedly. Dad was single. I quickly learned that not all holiday traditions are created equal. Different smells, different people, different places — resilience was the order of the times. From Norman Rockwell to “Married with Children” — the change was dramatic and I witnessed dysfunction at it’s worst. These “traditions” were flippin’ crazy from my young girl’s perspective. Nothing about them was comforting except the knowledge that I could expect insanity. I spent years trying to recreate the traditions of my youth. As a young single mother living 1,200 miles away from “home,” I would become sad and melancholy over the holidays. I wanted to give my children the same Norman Rockwell experience I’d had. I wanted to instill a sense of tradition in them amidst an ever-changing, unpredictable, often chaotic life. I was “chasing the feeling” and it was impossible to recreate.

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by Karen V.

Eventually, with the help of a therapist, I learned that I could create new traditions for my family. The memories would be OURS. New memories. The important thing about traditions is that they evoke a sense of belonging — a sense of comfort and continuity. In this crazy hectic unpredictable life, it’s comforting to have something concrete to hang on to. Baking cookies, stringing popcorn and lighting candles before bed on Christmas Eve can be a fond tradition. International Appetizer Day can be a prethanksgiving tradition while preparing for the feast. Creating homemade Christmas or Holiday cards the day after Thanksgiving can be a new tradition. Baking pumpkin pie for the local alka-thon can be a new tradition. To be a “tradition” it needs to be consistent, transferable and available to future generations. That’s all. One of the beautiful things about creating new traditions is that we can pick the ones we pass down to the next generation. We can break dysfunctional cycles and replace them with wholesome activities. Having a tradition to uphold gives us a little focus and purpose for the event. Whether it’s wearing a favorite football jersey, preparing a favorite new casserole, or lighting a candle before dinner in memory of those who have passed, we get to decide what to encapsulate into tradition. It’s fun to take pieces of our past traditions and mold them into routines of our present and future. It’s empowering to discard the parts of past traditions that are dysfunctional. Every tradition started somewhere, by someone.


The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice. Something that is handed down. A long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting. A continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices. A customary or characteristic method or manner

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Famous Quotes about Tradition

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it” -- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer “Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.” -- W. Somerset Maugham

The Gifts of

This Program -- This Life -Are Magical.

“There is no creation without tradition; the ‘new’ is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.” -- Carlos Fuentes, Myself with Others: Selected Essays “Sometimes we get so enamored with the tradition of something that we forget about the intent of it.” -- Todd Stocker “The customs are as formalised as an eighteenth-century minuet, and a child at the race’s knee learns the moves and twirls by osmosis and observation.” -- Maya Angelou “The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.” -- Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline “It’s wonderful to me that bees have this simple, age-old thing going on.” -- Peter Fonda

Traditions are a foundation steadfast in memory and connection

“Tradition without intelligence, he challenges, “is not worth having.” -- T.S. Eliot “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” -- John Maynard Keynes

NOV-DEC 2015 - 7

Experience, Strength, and Hope For People Struggling with Food Obsession Avoiding the Avalanche this Holiday Season

The holidays can be a huge trigger for people working on their obsession with food. So many events of the season revolve around traditional foods cooked with ingredients that we may be trying to avoid. We might feel as if we are being “insulting” by not having a piece of the famous family fudge or the rum-soaked fruitcake. There is a way to practice recovery from food obsession without shame, blame or sabotage. It’s possible to get through the holidays with your head held high — even if you do taste the fudge or nibble on the mashed potatoes. We are first and foremost human beings. We aren’t expected to be perfect. One of the primary principles of recovery is honesty. We are encouraged to be as absolutely honest as possible about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Often, our truths are hidden behind a veil of denial (Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying). A different perspective can shed light on things that we cannot see behind that veil. Fresh, honest and valuable feedback about our thoughts, feelings and behaviors is a key component in fighting food obsession. Having a non-judgmental, knowledgable, open-minded confidante is critical to successful recovery. Whether you talk to a sponsor, a therapist, a coach or a spiritual advisor, the important thing is to share honestly and candidly about your behavior. The best gift you can give yourself this holiday season is a “sponsor check-up.” If you don’t feel like you can be completely honest with your sponsor about what you plan to consume, or about where you may have slipped, there will be no opportunity for valuable feedback and enlightenment. If you feel like you have to sugar-coat a situation or avoid discussing it completely for fear of scornful reprimand, it may be

time to consider finding a new sponsor. If punishment and reprimand works for you, just acknowledge that. The point is to be completely honest with yourself, your higher power, and another human being. If you intend to eat your mother’s special stuffing at Thanksgiving, or you think you can’t pass up the delicious pumpkin pie, talk about it. Make it part of your food plan. Give yourself permission to explore the effects of that on your body (which may manifest several days later). If you intend to stick to no sugar, no flour and minimal fats, talk about that, too. The point is to be realistic about your choices, make reasonable plans before you sit down at the table, and be completely transparent about how well (or not) the execution of your plan unfolded. Gift yourself with accountability to another human being so the slip doesn’t turn into an avalanche. It’s a good idea to “bookend” which means going to a meeting or calling someone both before and after an event. Then you know you can take your recovery along with you. Most AA clubhouses hold marathon meetings on holidays. Most of all, remember, our literature instructs, “We absolutely insist on enjoying life. Decide which behaviors will contribute to that enjoyment or which will render you full of remorse Experiencing the holidays with a witness will help get the skeletons out of the cupboards, the devil off our shoulder, and the gravy off our plates. Having a sponsor witness our deviations along with our accomplishments takes the veil of denial out of the kitchen and makes room for the master chef to create a life we can really sink our teeth into.

by Karen VanDenBerg based on interview with Judi Hollis in May 2015

(c) 2015. Dr. Judi Hollis is a Licensed Family Therapist, author of several books and educational materials, motivational speaker, radio and television expert. Judi would love to hear from you! You can ask Judi questions and access her materials, at or call 1-800-8-ENOUGH

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Relieving Thangst: A Cornucopia of Sobriety By Lyn P. Unity Hall, Sun City Can you smell the aroma of the fresh-baked apple pie? How about reveling in the taste of sweet, candied yams? Just look at the concave peaks of mashed potatoes housing a dollop of melted butter floating amid thick gravy. I’ll take a small portion, ensuring room for the creamy Baily’s and coffee with my pie later on. But first I’ll pour another shot of tequila. I can feel giddiness washing over me. Yes, Aunt Sally, I can stop drinking any time I choose, just not today. What do you mean I’m slurring my speech and I appear wobbly? C’mon, let’s see how you do the chicken dance! Stealing away to the kitchen under the pretense of scrubbing pots and pans, I’d visually scour the bottles lined up on the sink like stalwart soldiers. Well, where’s Jose? He’ll help me wash dishes. No more? Alrighty then, who’s going to the liquor store? The liquor store is always open. We need more booze, people. Booze! Of course, holiday feasts and drinking alcohol to excess makes for a bad gastronomical combination. Despite the pleasant, imbibed distractions of watching football and playfully supervising children, I tried hiding my drinking and the ensuing, nauseating results. Bouncing off the walls, I thought that no one would notice my frequent, ataxic sprints to the closest washroom. I inevitably became immobilized on the washroom floor, retching over the porcelain bowl propping me up. In my vague holiday annals, someone always helped me to my feet and lovingly escorted me to the guest room, leaving a small trash can and a washcloth at bedside for incessant outbursts. Let’s not talk

about the next couple of excruciating days recovering from a hellacious hangover. Frankly, I’m not sure why the holiday season conjures up hellacious thoughts in my head. There may have been a few familial disagreements throughout the years. Of late, I’m estranged from my family. No matter. These days, whether I’m being of service for an hour, or all day, providing transportation to a meeting, making coffee, handing newcomers a schedule and AA literature or bringing fare to a potluck, AA’s cornucopia of sobriety blessings fills a void with many new traditions. An unwieldy life-on-life’s terms no longer preempts my holiday seasons. Before I shuffled into AA, December 2010, I had nowhere else to go. Now I know I’m welcome at any AA fellowship anywhere along the road of happy destiny. Have you ever overindulged in holiday feasts over the course of the day and NOT gotten ill afterward? The experience is a whole, new gratifying dimension. I suggest filing away AA (marathon) meetings located near your holiday festivities. Embrace AA and the fellowship as your personal, VIP, holiday resource. We’ll even wrap it up for you: There’s a special seat here for you and the coffee’s always on. Sooo, have a happy holiday, Always thank the cook. Bow your head and pass the bread, Take another look. If you eat too much, count it well, A blessing good and true. Look in the mirror for it gets clearer, The cornucopia is YOU.

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NOV-DEC 2015 - 9


Dan Sanfellipo

by Karen VanDenBerg

“The truth hurts. The truth heals. Complete honesty is the most terrifying and liberating experience I’ve ever known. Disclosing my deepest darkest secret is when my true recovery began - and I found freedom.” -- Dan S.

For 28 of his 42 years on this planet, Dan didn’t trust. It didn’t matter how trustworthy or scandalous a person was, through Dan’s eyes, they were going to take something from him, hurt him in some way, and not care. At age 9, Dan ran away from home. While his parents were out of town for 2 weeks Dan was subjected to molestation and abuse at the hands of a familiar and trusted person. His world was shattered by the trauma and Dan ran. He hustled where he could, took what he wanted, and used drugs/alcohol to escape the harsh reality of his choices and circumstances. Before he was 13 years old, Danny had been to Juvenile Hall several times. At 13, he landed in the “care” of the Youth Authorities to serve an 8 year sentence. He describes Juvenile prison as a “breeding ground for monsters,” and his transfer to adult prison at age 21 was a “cake walk” by comparison. This was his education. Through numerous incarcerations for various offenses, Dan honed his salesmanship skills (selling mostly drugs), mastered his macho “respectable” persona (“managing the yard” through his actions and words) and perfected his disguises (never ever admitting weakness or fault). His parents were devastated. Dan tried to turn his life around whenever he was released. “This time will be different. I know what NOT to do.” Inevitably, he did what he knew HOW to do, and he ended up where he always did — in handcuffs. Big tough ex-cons won’t admit they don’t know how to write a resume, get a driver’s license, set an alarm clock or shop for groceries. 90% of the past 30 years, in fact, Dan spent behind bars. No high school experience, no teenage adventures, no college, no career path and no hope. 4 years ago, Dan was released from prison and made a conscious decision to kick the habit of returning to jail. He put his salesmanship skills to good use and started selling products and services with a business partner. He put energy into improving his health by training for and competing successfully in Jiu Jitsu competitions (first place in the American Nationals Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship and third place in the World Championship this year). In October, 2012, Dan got sober — determined to do everything within his power to stay out of the prison cycle. He dove into working the steps and completed them by the time he had 6 months in the program. But Dan’s real recovery began when he publicly admitted his deepest, darkest secret. As a result of slamming heroin inside and outside the walls, Dan had contracted HIV and Hep-C. He didn’t tell anyone. Fear kept the secret festering inside him for years. It was only after his newfound sober conscience weighed heavily on his heart that he publicly admitted having had intimate relations in sobriety — without disclosing his diseases. It was a meeting confession. It was horrifying and shameful. He immediately wanted to run. And sitting through it saved his life. The support, acceptance and guidance from the other members in the room were the first glimpses of true recovery he experienced. In this outwardly “snooty” club, filled with non-condemning and genuinely caring people there came a tidal wave of love. Rather than run from the shame, Dan allowed the love to envelop him and the relief was liberating. Not knowing what to expect, Dan did the next right thing. He went to each of the women he had been with (even though he had been as cautious as possible during their intimacy) and told them his secret and went with them for their testing (and ultimate clean bill of health). Initially mortified, they all love Dan today. Today, Dan is free! Free from prison, free from shame, free from poverty, free from isolation, free from restriction, free from stigma, and free from addiction. Today, Dan works to help other people caught in the relentless prison cycle and provides tangible resources and tools to eliminate the handcuffs (self-inflicted or otherwise), build self-esteem, and find happiness and prosperity living life on life’s terms. Today, Dan is experiencing the manifestation of a vision that will help thousands of people break through the walls successfully. “Unlocked for Life” is a jail rehabilitation program where Dan can share his experience, strength, hope and success with people trapped in their own handcuffs.* Today, Dan has a life that he once believed was out of reach — including an intimate relationship with a beautiful woman (free of fear and dysfunction), a strong and supportive relationship with his family, and a healthy purposeful life. Today, Dan doesn’t run away — he runs towards. *For more information go to or contact Dan at (714-331-6494)

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is The Latest Thing Experience Unique.

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Besides having everything you could possibly desire to support and enhance your recovery, the spiritual and welcoming atmosphere will resonate with your soul from the minute you walk in the door, until long after you park your car in the garage at home. Have you ever seen artwork by Kelly Rae Roberts? She was a social worker for decades and now follows her artistic dreams by creating beautiful pieces of art depicting the wisdom she acquired during her years of service — very inspiring and tasteful. Have you ever seen a Lotion Candle? Once softened by the flame, the soy candle is an excellent skin lotion and it smells heavenly! You can find these things and so many more unique gift ideas at The Latest Thing! And they even offer spiritual readings on site! Whether you’re shopping for yourself, a sponsor, a sponsee, or a friend, walking into The Latest Thing is like walking into a haven of serenity. Over the last 26 years, Kimberly has created an environment rich with “recovery of the spirit” and her little oasis amid the chaos serves the community by supporting everyone’s journey, regardless of the path or the step you’re on. There are entire sections devoted to books, jewelry, candles, crystals, oils, angels, fairies, plaques, hand-crafted gifts, god-boxes, journals, t-shirts, hats, affirmation cards, cards, and so much more! The seemingly endless selection of chips and medallians will have you mesmerized and indecisive with styles ranging from simple, to enameled, to crystallized and glittered. There is a huge assortment of quality affordable items priced under $10. Perfect for stocking stuffers, thoughtful gifts or a personal treat supporting spirituality and recovery. If you’ve never been to The Latest Thing, I encourage you to check it out! You won’t be disappointed and the staff is so friendly and helpful you will feel like part of the family!

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Darlene Lancer


CODEPENDENCY The Biggest Cause of Anxiety

Anxiety is apprehension of experiencing fear in the future. The danger feared isn’t imminent and may not even be known or realistic. In contrast, fear is an emotional and physical reaction to a present, known threat. Anxiety is typically characterized by obsessive worry and an inability to concentrate that may affect our sleep. It can trigger a full-blown fight-flight-or-freeze response of our sympathetic nervous system that prepares us to meet real danger; however, a big difference between fear and anxiety is that because anxiety is an emotional response to something that hasn’t occurred, there is nothing to fight or flee. Therefore, tension builds up inside our body, but there is no action we can take to release it. Instead, our mind goes round and round, replaying possibilities and scenarios.


Physical symptoms can still include any of the following: Increased heart rate Numbness or tingling in hands or feet Perspiration Shortness of breath Tunnel vision Nausea or diarrhea Dry mouth Dizziness Restlessness Muscle tension When excessive, unrealistic worry persists about two or more things for at least six months and is accompanied by at least three of these symptoms: irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, or the last two listed above. In some cases, anxiety can manifest in specific phobias that are inappropriate to the specific situation, or in a panic disorder, where we feel sudden, unprovoked terror that can cause chest pain and a choking sensation and be mistaken for a heart attack. When I was hit while driving by an oncoming car, in the moments before impact, I felt terror and didn’t expect to survive the crash. For about a month afterward, I felt anxiety about driving and drove slower and more cautiously. This was a traumatic event, but eventually my anxiety passed.

Shame anxiety

Abuse and trauma, including major losses, are considered foremost causes of anxiety. We can feel anxiety about our finances or serious medical diagnosis, but most anxiety is shame anxiety, which is apprehension about experiencing shame. It’s caused by traumatic shame that has been internalized from the past, usually from childhood. Shame anxiety affects our self-esteem. We worry about what we say, how well we perform, and how we’re perceived by others. It can make us very sensitive to real or imagined criticism from ourselves or others. Shame anxiety may manifest as social phobia, or in symptoms of codependency, such as controlling behavior, people-pleasing, perfectionism, fear of abandonment, or obsessions about another person or addiction. Worry about our performance on the job, an exam, or speaking before a group is apprehension about how we’ll be evaluated or judged. Whereas men are more vulnerable to shame anxiety about loss of work, women worry more about their appearance and relationships. Men in particular, have shame anxiety about failing or not being a good provider. Perfectionism, too, is an attempt to achieve an imaginary ideal in an attempt to be accepted by others.

Emotional abandonment

Shame anxiety and abandonment go hand-in-hand. Loss of physical closeness due to death, divorce, or illness is also felt as an emotional abandonment. When we’re physically left, even briefly, we can blame ourselves and believe it’s due to something we did “wrong.” Yet, shame anxiety about abandonment has nothing to do with proximity. It happens whenever we perceive that someone we care about may not like or love us. We assume that we’re being rejected because in some way we’re inadequate or inferior, triggering deep beliefs that we’re basically unlovable. Even the passing of a loved one can activate feelings of emotional abandonment from childhood and cause shame about how our behavior prior to the death. If we’ve suffered emotional abandonment in the past, particularly in childhood, we can have anxiety about experiencing

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Darlene Lancer

Continued from Page 12

it in the future. We worry others are judging us or upset with us. If we have an emotionally or physically abusive partner, we’re liable to be “walking on eggshells,” anxious about displeasing him or her. This reaction is typical when living with a practicing addict, narcissist, or someone bipolar or with a borderline disorder. It’s also common among children of addicts or those who grew up in a dysfunctional family where emotional abuse, including control or criticism, was common. When we live in such an environment for years, we may not realize we’re anxious. The state of hypervigilance becomes so constant, we can take it for granted. Anxiety and accompanying depression are characteristic of codependents.

Treating Anxiety

Early intervention yields the best results. Psychotherapy empowers patients to reduce anxiety by changing beliefs, thoughts, and behavior throughout their lives without the side-effects of prescription drugs. Effective therapies include various forms of cognitive-behavioral techniques, such as exposure therapy, CBT, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Other options include anti-anxiety medication and natural alternatives, such as non-drug supplements, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, and mindful meditation. Whereas drugs provide fast relief, the effect is mostly analgesic. Healing shame and freeing the true self provide long lasting reduction of anxiety by allowing us to be authentic and not worry about others’ opinion of us. See Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.. ©DarleneLancer2015 Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, and expert on relationships and codependency. You can contact Darlene directly at or follow her at and on Facebook.

Random Thoughts Denialation (new word I just made it up) dih-nahy-uh-lay-shun: (verb) 1) A state of annihilation while steadfast in the belief that what is false is really true. 2) To be consumed in denial to the point of self-detruction. “She could have stopped blaming others for her problems -- it was her denialation that ultimately did her in” Cure: Talking about it and accepting feedback with an open mind and a willingness to see the sometimes painful reality - it is what it is.

NOV-DEC 2015 - 13

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Dan Griffin on

Real Men, Real Reovery

The Promises Series When I was young and just coming into recovery, I read these words on pages 83 and 84 and saw for the first time what my life could be some day. In the midst of my deep insecurity, shame, fear, and hopelessness, these words were a beacon. I took very seriously the fact that they are called the Promises, not the Maybes or the Might Happens. I went to meetings where men and women talked about how the promises had come true in their life and so I held onto them as a covenant between me and the fellowship. They have come true for me. And, they will come true for you, too – so long as you are willing to do the work. Promise # 7:

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows Are men naturally self-centered? Sure. Are women? Yes, though they may express it differently. What does it even mean to be self-centered? Mostly, it seems to mean that we are human. We are more worried about ourselves than others. We focus more on our problems – real and imagined – and any of the drama that goes along with them. And even those of us who are more focused on others and their problems are often doing it so that we can get something out of it – feel better than the other person, feel better about ourselves, or any number of other machinations that sometimes belie the seeming selflessness of others. What is clear is that few people are as focused on themselves as we people with addictions are – focused on our pain, on our needs, and our wants. What we deserve and what

we will never get. Fear often seems to be at the root of it. Fear has an amazing ability to convince me that what is not real is real. The more I focus on how I feel and the thoughts inside of my head, by definition, the more self-centered I become. While self-awareness is critical to my recovery, self-obsession is disastrous for it. It does not matter how long I have been in recovery – should I start to worship my emotion-driven perception of the world then I will inevitably be inviting unnecessary suffering into my life.

The road to misery begins in the self. The discipline of working the Steps and applying the principles to our lives teach us how to be selfless in our service to others. What does it mean to be of service? Being of service is sacrificing our immediate needs and wants in order to serve a greater purpose. Every time I do this – without exception – I forget about myself and my petty, annoying, and peevish problems. One of the best, and probably hardest, ways to be of service is to go out of our way for others – with no expectation of acknowledgment or reward. Maybe we even do it anonymously. But in recovery something happens sometimes in spite of ourselves - and we lose interest in our selfish pursuits and gain interest in our fellows. We realize that the freedom of recovery lies in our commitment to service and that which is bigger than us. We are not saints, however, as they say; it often takes a long time to eliminate all of the cancer of selfcenteredness. But we grow and our world expands as we join hands with those around us. We get to be a part of the community once again.

© Dan Griffin Dan Griffin, MA is a husband, father, and author and has been on his own journey of recovery since 1994. You can follow Dan at

The Twelve Songs Workbook

Experience the Twelve Steps through Music! The Twelve Songs CD has been out for years and has already proven to be a success in helping people hear the message of recovery through music. The workbook is a one of a kind music study that enhances the recovery experience on an individual basis through music and reflection. The workbook makes it easier to have conversations about the principles of The twelve steps. Each page includes the lyrics, a picture and a series of questions that relate to the corresponding song (and step). This workbook is a great way to experience the steps through music and is currently being used in residential treatment centers and IOPs with great success. It can also be used at retreats, seminars, sponsorship or individual study. Please check out for special package offers or you can contact Mary Lyn B. personally through the website.

This is an exciting, fun and affordable new way to enjoy recovery.

NOV-DEC 2015 - 15

Fortifying Your Strength

Against Relapse

by Batista Gremaud

Relapse in recovery is common. It happens in stages, often beginning with unresolved issues that lead to uncontrollable negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, fear, and resentments. Temptations often emerge out of nowhere. Unforeseen pressures, psychological and circumstantial, may build progressively and then unexpectedly combine to drive a person over the edge. Having lost tremendous functional strength through an addictive unhealthy lifestyle, he/she is often unable to think things through and make healthy decisions. In this 3-part series, I will address three of the most common triggers to relapse; relationships, stress and emotional / physical pain. In this issue, we’ll begin with relationships.


Resentment is considered one main offender when it comes to relapse. A foundational concept to acknowledge before going on, is that all relationships begin with the relationship with ourselves and our own ability to love and forgive ourselves first, then forgive others and let go of resentments and regrets. Since the addict’s emotional growth was stunted when the active addiction started, they face many challenges for healthy relationships. Some factors may include fear of rejection, fear of intimacy and/or poor self-esteem. Constantly caught between thoughts and feelings, he/she is vulnerable to relapse if rumination continues without taking any action. The most commonly adopted methods to address this phenomenon in recovery are based on intellectual knowledge through the medium of workshops, support groups, therapy etc. Those methods are valuable, however much emphasis is placed on the social, psychological and emotional causes of the disease via intellectual data, while little attention is placed on grounding the information into the physical body which is where information is housed. When it is all said and done, at the end of the day, the fact remains that addicts and alcoholics, are by nature uncomfortable in their own skin; always seeking to escape that feeling of being present — lacking the desire and ability to be grounded. This results in the inability to set healthy boundaries, which is a key factor in relapse. Every action creates a reaction and every motion creates an emotion. Physical strength training is a specific action that can be taken immediately to provide an instant increase in functional strength and begin to change one’s habits to generate a more positive mind-set. It provides fast measurable results, and rebuilds the alcoholic brain by increasing neurogenesis. It offers an avenue to blow off steam (so to speak) and quiets the mind. It also allows a safe place to let go of negativity, and distance yourself from undesired situations. When done properly, strength training also presents off the chart health opportunities for men and women. When you start feeling better in your own skin, you will automatically begin to make new relationships that support your newfound self-esteem and healthier lifestyle. Men and women who have grown up believing they are victims of everything from their mothers to the foods and the drinks they consume begin to experience a new sense of self-confidence and self-respect, feeling powerful, competent and capable of taking charge of their bodies and their lives. Batista Gremaud AKA Batista is a published author, empowerment speaker, entertainer and Co-founder of Body Design Formula and the International Institute of Body Design. She is a 7th Degree Master Teacher in Dr. Fitness USA’s protocols, Body Design. Her recent book, Feminine Body Design is now available at You can contact Batista for more information at

16 - NOV-DEC 2015

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Metaphorically Speaking

By Karen VanDenBerg

What’s Your Crack Filled With? “When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” — Billie Mobayed Many of us are like that pottery. We were somehow broken through trauma and our boundaries were compromised. Some of our value (self-worth) began to trickle out and we desperately tried to replace it with something. We found a glue that would hold us together and helped us feel a “part of.” The glue was alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, working, etc. But the glue made us ugly and ultimately ineffective. It kept breaking down and we required more and more to fill the void. We were losing more of our purpose and usefulness with every failed attempt to be whole. When we tried to give up the glue, we noticed how much of ourselves we had already lost. In our panic we tried the glue again and again in fear that we would lose it all. And many of us did. Our vessels are vulnerable but they are strong. Our contents may have leaked out but it is within reach. So in desperation, and with very little hope of ever functioning as we were intended, we searched for a power greater than ourselves (and greater than the glue) that would be strong enough to fill our cracks permanently. In the rooms of recovery, we connected with our higher power and we were healed. As our insides began to fill with precious strength and priceless value at the masterful hand of our higher power, the crack began to fill. Healed from the inside out, we are stronger than we were before, and more beautiful because of the journey.

NOV-DEC 2015 - 17

Step 12 Magazine’s

Newcomer’s Page

The Value of Traditions in Recovery Who cares about the traditions? Understandably, our focus as a newcomer is getting clean/sober, finding a way to stay that way, and becoming willing to work with a fellow sufferer (i.e. sponsor). That’s a LOT. And that’s good enough for today. The light at the end of this tunnel is not an oncoming train, it is the life we are walking towards -- one step at a time. The traditions are like the tunnel. The traditions provide the structure needed so we can safely advance in the direction of the light. Without the tunnel, what would protect us from outside elements/influences that are not committed to our recovery? Our primary purpose is to get clean/sober physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are principles associated with each of the traditions. As a newcomer it might be helpful to have a general understanding of how the program works and how we (as individuals) can respect and appreciate the value of the bigger picture. Without the Traditions, we would have no “tunnel” through which we can safely travel towards our lives of happy destiny. 1- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon [fellowship] unity. Unity: Oneness of mind, feeling, etc., among a number of persons; 2- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. Group Conscience: An assemblage of persons with a common inner sense of what is right or wrong in it’s conduct. 3- The only requirement for [fellowship] membership is a desire to stop (self-destructive behavior). Membership: Belonging to an organization, society, etc. 4- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or [fellowship] as a whole. Autonomy: a selfgoverning community 5- Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry it’s message to the [person] who still suffers. Primary Purpose: the reason for which something exists is the first or highest in rank or importance. 6- A [fellowship] group ought never endorse, finance or lend the [fellowship] name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. Non-Affiliation: Not to bring into close association or connection with another entity or organization. 7- Every [fellowship] group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. Self-Supporting: The supporting or maintaining of itself without reliance on outside aid. 8- [Fellowship] should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. Non-Professional: Not undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood for gain. 9- [Fellowship], as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. Spirit of Service: An attitude that inspires an act of helpful activity; help; aid. 10- [Fellowship] has no opinion on outside issues; hence the [fellowship] an ought never be drawn into public controversy. Outside Issues: The external aspect or appearance regarding a point in question or a matter that is in dispute. 11- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Attraction rather than promotion: A person or thing that draws, allures, or entices rather than publicizing or advertising a product, cause, institution, etc. 12- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. Principles before Personalities: The guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct is more important than the visible aspect of an individual’s character.

Newcomer’s Checklist aDon’t Take That First Drink or Drug aMake Plenty of Meetings aCall Sponsor aHang out with AA/NA People aFocus on the Positive aTalk about your Feelings 18 - NOV-DEC 2015

aBeware of People, Places, & Things aTake One Day at a Time aAsk Higher Power for Help aStay out of “Your Head” aMove a Muscle, Change a Thought aRead the Literature Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354

NOV-DEC 2015 - 19

20 IMPORTANT Self-Assessment QUESTIONS For You or a Loved One

One of the oldest and most time tested dependency evaluation tools for chemical dependency has its origins from the Johnson Institute of Minneapolis. Many variations exist, but the basic questions are as follows: 1. Has anyone ever suggested you quit or cut back on your drug/alcohol use? Y / N 2. Has drinking or using affected your reputation? Y / N 3. Have you made promises to control your drinking or using and then broken them? Y / N 4. Have you ever switched to different drinks or drugs or changed your using pattern in an effort to control or reduce your consumption? Y / N 5. Have you ever gotten into financial, legal, or relationship difficulties due to drinking or using? Y / N 6. Have you ever lost time from work because of drinking or using? Y / N 7. Have you ever sneaked or hidden your use? Y / N 8. On occasion, do you feel uncomfortable if alcohol or your drug is not available? Y / N 9. Do you continue drinking or using when friends or family suggest you have had enough? Y / N 10. Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed about your drinking or using or what you did while under the influence? Y / N 11. Has your efficiency decreased as a result of your drinking or using? Y / N 12. When using or drinking, do you neglect to eat properly? Y/N 13. Do you use or drink alone? Y / N 14. Do you use or drink more than usual when under pressure, angry, or depressed? Y / N 15. Are you able to drink or use more now without feeling it, compared to when you first started using? Y / N 16. Have you lost interest in other activities or noticed a decrease in your ambition as a result of your drinking or using? Y / N 17. Have you had the shakes or tremors following heavy drinking or using or not using for a period of time Y/ N 18. Do you want to drink or use at a particular time each day? Y/N 19. Do you go on and off the wagon? Y / N 20. Is drinking or using jeopardizing your job? Y / N Three or more “yes� answers suggest that you should more closely evaluate your drug and or alcohol use. Call for help today!

20 - NOV-DEC 2015

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UNLOCKEDFor Life with

Dan Sanfellipo

If You Can’t Win and You Can’t Flee, FLOW

There’s a concept around acceptance that I have adopted in my life. It serves me well in nearly every area of my life from personal relationships to employment to Jiu Jitsu training and competitions. Maybe it will serve you. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and misery over the years if I had learned this tool before. However, I learned to incorporate this concept in my life in my program of recovery, my Jiu Jitsu training and competition and all my personal interactions/relationships (romantic, employment, fellow sufferers, etc.). Whenever I was first incarcerated, I was very unaccepting of the situation. I knew I couldn’t “win” because I was arrested for a crime that I had indeed committed. I couldn’t “flee” because there was barbed wire and walls specifically designed to keep me captive. “Flowing” didn’t occur to me. It was my pattern to fight and rebel with everyone and everything in that situation. I fought with the police, the correctional officers, and other inmates/convicts. Getting my butt kicked every time didn’t teach me to flow. Getting my butt kicked taught me to fight harder — never surrender! I wasted a lot of energy fighting a fight I couldn’t win. And I continued to repeat the battle cry. That’s what I thought my survival was dependent on. It was exhausting and got me nowhere. When I started practicing Jiu Jitsu, I applied that same “beat them down” mentality. When faced with a more skilled competitor, I would get hurt, I would get tired and I would inevitably lose the match. I started to realize that by relaxing, observing, and using the 5-8 minute match to hone my technique and learn from those more experienced, losing the match could ultimately be a win for me — as a competitor and as a person. When I started my journey of 12-step recovery, I couldn’t win because I could not successfully prove that I was NOT an alcoholic/addict. I couldn’t flee because leaving the program meant returning to my old way of living because that’s all I knew how to do. I’d already witnessed the collateral damage of that lifestyle and prison was no longer my destination. An unwillingness to accept a life-long sentence of sobriety was overwhelming. My constant “defense” of my non-alcoholic status drained all my energy and made me tired. I wanted more than exhaustion and frustration. I wanted to turn my life around. Once I learned to say, “okay” I am an alcoholic/addict, “okay” I should do what my sponsor says, “okay” these new suggestions I’m getting will work, I stopped fighting. Once I started to work WITH my environment I started to “flow.” Once I started to flow (accept the situation and circumstance “as is”), I began to be led towards solutions rather than conflicts, lessons rather than hard knocks and peace of mind rather than restlessness, irritability and discontent. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy? Do I want to get hurt, or do I want to survive? Do I want to argue, or do I want to get along? It’s more rewarding to be happy than to be “right.” Going with the flow doesn’t indicate weakness. Avoiding conflict doesn’t indicate cowardice. Going with the flow is about accepting the things we cannot change. It’s about survival of the fittest — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do I want to fight, or do I want to flow?

Dan Sanfellipo received his education in the California State Penal system from the age of 13. A trauma survivor, author of the upcoming book “Unlocked for Life” and founder of support and coaching program of the same name. Dan is a practicing member of 12-step recovery and an international competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dan has dedicated his energy, experience, strength and hope to helping men and women find lasting freedom -- from poverty, restriction, stigma, addiction, despair and prison. Dan can be reached at

NOV-DEC 2015 - 21

It Happens To Boys!

Michael, age 8 lives with his single mom in a onebedroom apartment. He wears a key around his neck on silver chain that mom bought him. He felt very gown up and was proud that she trusted him to be at home alone. Michael was a good student, had lots of activities and friends. He was just learning math time’s tables, learning to spell by memorizing the letters reciting them to mom as she quizzed him while they had breakfast together before school. All in all things were not so bad. Michael felt sad he did not have a father but also felt lucky the father he did have was gone. Most of the guys at school had a Dad. When Father and Son events came up Michael just stayed home saying he was sick. Sometimes he would lie in bed at night and think about the times he walked into a fight mom and dad were having. They would only argue at first, which Michael thought was a normal event for married couples. The pattern was already established, his parents would drink, laugh, argue, then Michael would hear nasty words that he was not allowed to say, followed by some sort of thump. Mom would cry Dad would leave and slam the door; Mom would then come looking for Michael, saying “You are my big boy, the man of the family “and take him into bed with her where she would cry on his shoulder, hug him till she fell asleep. This was his life. He could never risk having a friend sleepover. As Michael was turning 10 Dad had moved out and his mom started dating. Enter Joe, a really nice guy. Joe, 45 had never been married and said he really liked kids. Michael wasn’t happy about Joe moving in but felt helpless to stop it. Joe cooked dinner, helped with his homework and signed him up for baseball. They would play catch and hit the ball. Joe would tuck him in at night and read him a story. Michael’s life was pretty good, no more fighting, and everyone was happy. Joe was so different than Michael’s dad. Joe didn’t go to work, he was home for Michael when he got home from school, he cooked and cleaned and told good stories. He helped Michael learn things he did not know. Michael thinks this is great. Until one day when Michael and Joe were alone together, Joe leaned over brushed a hair out of Michael’s eyes and said “You know Michael, I love you just as much as if you were my biological son” Michael hugged his neck and tears started falling down his cheeks. He felt happier than he had ever been however Joe’s hand did not stop at Michael’s head. This is where Michael’s life changed. Joe had taken a lot of time to gain Michael’s trust. Sometimes perpetrators groom their victims for up to five years before they begin to abuse them. Joe said things to Michael like, “This is our secret, don’t ever tell anyone.” “I am just teaching you about being a man, this is perfectly normal father son behavior.” Michael thought, “If this is normal, why do I feel so bad about myself after he touches me?”

By Carol Teitelbaum, MFT

As time goes on Michael changed from being a good student and his grades stated to fall. He refused to play sports, he stopped taking showers, and he rarely combed his hair. He always loved to go to Grandpa’s for Thanksgiving but now he didn’t want to be around any family members. He became fearful he might tell someone and then Joe would be mad at him. Why did no one in his family notice Michael’s changes? Sexual abuse is a subject that no one wants to talk about — especially when it happens to boys. Our society is still under the impression that women are victims and men are perpetrators, men are not recognized as victims. From the time boys understand language they are told, “ Don’t act like a girl, boys don’t cry, be strong, buck up, you should be able to protect yourself and those around you, boys don’t talk about feelings, just deal with it, don’t act vulnerable.” With those messages in your head, would you tell someone you were abused?” When women are abused they often feel like damaged goods, while men feel like they are not real men. Everybody should be concerned about this travesty? Untreated survivors of abuse cost our society billions of dollars per year. Suppressed feelings are often expressed in road rage, domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, arrests, traffic violations, suicide attempts and successes. Hurt people, hurt people. We are finding there is very little training about sexual abuse for physicians, nurses, social workers, dentists and therapists, yet these are the people who are treating male survivors and we want them to know how to help that survivor who is experiencing being triggered from a past traumatic experience. It is so difficult for men to admit they need help and so important for them to feel safe when they do ask. Be that non shaming person they might open up to. A wide-scale investigation, ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) conducted by Kaiser and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reveals that there is a strong connection between childhood maltreatment and later-life physical and mental health issues. Over 68% of men in recovery centers are sexual abuse survivors who never told anyone. It’s time to make changes in our treatment of these male survivors. Time to let them know they are not to blame and they are not alone. Educate yourself, be open, ask questions. Know that recovery is possible.

Carol Teitlebaum, MFT is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She is also the founder of Creative Change Conferences and It Happens to Boys Program. She offers free group counseling to men and teen boys who have been sexually abused as children, and a yearly conference bringing well known experts in the field of trauma, addiction and recovery together creating a two day healing community. For more information go to or call 760-346-4606

22 - NOV-DEC 2015

Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354

Book Reviews

by 12 The Step e Magazin Team

These book reviews are the result of publishers sending advance copies of promising writers. We are honored to share our honest IMPRESSIONS of them with you - get your copy and see if you agree.. These are not “paid” reviews.

BOTTLED, by Dana Bowman. Do not read this book! If you start, you will not be able to put it down! You will take it with you to bathroom breaks! Dana chronicles her fun slide into alcoholism, her awakening, and her struggles for sobriety. You will have tears from the belly-laughs, and tears from compassion. There is humor in the most dire of circumstances, and she finds it. A spouse or significant-other will find this book very educational. For example: Dana expects a several hundred word supportive response from her husband regarding an incident in her day. His response is less than ten words. Practical. Concise. Guaranteed to start World War Three! Each chapter ends with “10 Ways to.........”, relating to the chapter subject. These are humorous, poignant, and always practical. Get comfortable, plan nothing for a few hours, curl up and get “Bottled”. Time well spent. This book will entertain and enlighten all audiences whether you are in recovery -- or not.! LIFE on the ROCKS, by Peg O’Connor, PhD If you are new to Recovery, this book is not for you. However, this is a “must read” if you have some “miles” in Recovery. It is not a “fast” read. You need to take your time, but it is time well spent. Dr. O’Connor addresses addiction from a unique philosophical direction. Philosophy has always been concerned with the human condition, and addiction is a particular form of suffering that is part of the human condition. She poses the question addressing belief: What is the possibility of proving Gods existence? Is such a proof possible? She then takes us through several steps, and the conclusion is that it is rational to believe in God and live one’s life in accordance with that belief. She then asks “Am I still an alcoholic after all these years of sobriety? What is the value of believing that “I am still an alcoholic”. She lists three possible paths she could take. There is much wisdom in this book and the reader will gain many new tools to help deal with the “ROCKS”.

NOV-DEC 2015 - 23

Conference With Bob K A Recovery At Sea Norweigian Jade

Are You Having Fun Yet?

I remember my first road trip after I got sober. Thirty minutes from home, I missed my room, my dog, my TV, my meetings. I almost turned around and went home. The words of my sponsor finally broke the chatter of the committee in my head. “Wherever you are, you can find a meeting; just like you used to find a bar.” Well, that was a start. But, what about all the ads that show people on vacation laughing and drinking and drinking and drinking?

Okay, we are not a glum lot. We get sober and as God’s kids can go anywhere, safely. So, where do you want to go. One of the choices offers low cost fun, a place to meet new friends and a spiritual base to feel safe when in potentially slippery places. There are several companies that provide group travel experiences for people in recovery on cruises and land-based resorts. TravelSober programs are much like what one would experience at a local convention. Speaker and daily program meetings are available combined with social events like comedy shows, music and dancing, special events and there is always great healthy food. Other activities include optional tours, golf, karaoke and more. Trips range from low cost to luxury in beautiful surroundings, nearby or far away.

on the

Presented by

For Recovering People, Family & Friends

Western Caribbean from Houston to: Cozumel, Belize City, Belize & Roatan Bay, Honduras Speakers: Comedian Mark L (San Jose, CA) Gigi V (Phoenix, AZ) & Kim W (Prescott, AZ) Comedy with Mark L. - Great Speakers - Meetings - Couples Workshops, - Special ‘In This Life’ Tours (great snorkeling, swim with stingrays and sharks) - Entertainment - Dancing - Great Food


Cruises and All-Inclusive resorts have long had a bad reputation for pushing alcohol and not being safe. Over the last twenty years, the travel industry has become more sensitive to making travel safe for everyone. Both offer great value to vacationers because just about everything is included. Cruises are great for the adventurers who want to see different places, experience different cultures and have some time restrictions. Cruises are less expensive every year because the industry keeps building ships and needs people to fill the beds. Twenty years ago a one week Caribbean cruise started at 900.00 per person. Today you can get a better cabin on a similar itinerary for under 600.00 per person and sometimes less. Ships are floating hotels. You unpack once, get pampered by wonderful staff and enjoy great entertainment and a variety of free recreational programs. Ships of today have stabilizers’ that make sailing more comfortable. Sober Travel provides safety for the group. We coordinate meetings, make travel arrangements and supply information about ways to save money on onboard services. Whether you are interested in a sober safari, ski trip, scuba adventure or international tour, this type of travel is “worry free.” Your only job is to show up, meet new friends, reunite with old friends and take the “yet” out of having fun! And, remember, travel safe and TravelSober. Bob Kocher has spent over 22 years in the travel industry, working as a guide, group planner, agency owner and more. He has led more than 125 groups worldwide. Check out the agency web site for updates on travel tips or information on a specific travel destination.

24 - NOV-DEC 2015

December 5-12, 2015 Prices start at: (includes port charges-tax & govt. fees) Interior - $ 595.00 * Oceanview - $ 655.00 * Balcony - $ 955.00 * Mini-Suite - $ 1095.00 *

Exclusive Reservations made through In This Life Travel Contact Bob or Shannon at 805-927-6910 or email *Deposit & Conference Registration Fee of 95.00 required to hold your space. *Ask about Latitudes Promotions, military and senior discounts, upgrades & sale prices

Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354

Word Puzzles

Traditions Belong Comfort Decorations Expectations Familiar Football Gathering Gifts Giving

Solution on Page 36 Grace Gratitude Holiday Love Memories Obligation Orderly Powerful Purpose

Recognition Redefine Routine Seasonal Stockings Tradition Turkey

Solution on Page 36

Spot the 12 differences in these pictures

Solution on Page 36

NOV-DEC 2015 - 25

An Exclusive Four Part Series for Step 12 Magazine onThe Neurobiology of Addiction This series is a basic explanation of exactly what happens to the chemically dependent brain during addiction and how it can be restored to a healthy state of being with recovery. We will be using the latest diagnostic tools available today to demonstrate that to you. The topics we will be telling you about are: Part 1 - Neurobiology of Alcohol Dependence/Use Disorder Part 2 - Neurobiology of Opiate Dependence/Use Disorder Part 3 - Neurobiology of Stimulant Dependence/Use Disorder (Methamphetamine and Cocaine) Part 4 - Neurobiology of Marijuana Dependence/Use Disorder I believe, if you actually know how your brain functions and processes information, and what is going on with the interaction of using chemicals to temporarily change your emotional state, your body and mind, you, can also learn the tools of recovery, and restore your brain and life,

Neurobiology is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as: “A branch of the life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system,” but I believe there is so much more to this definition given the nature of the variety of addictions today.

Part 2: T he Neurobiology of Opiate Dependence /Use Disorder

New Users (x 1000)

Past Year Initiation of Non-medical Use of Prescription-type Psychopharmaceutics, Age 12 or Older: In Thousands, 20022008 800 600

Pain Relievers





0 2002







SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH data, 2009


Trends in drug abuse related ED visits involving hydrocodone and oxycodone, coterminous U.S. 20042006 80,000

Hydrocodone/ combinations

60,000 40,000

Oxycodone/ combinations

20,000 0 2004



Opioid dependence affects nearly 5 million people across the United States. Although it is a treatable condition only 20 percent of Americans suffering from opioid dependence receive treatment today. Opioid dependence greatly impacts the U.S. economy, with about $56 billion spent on the disease per year. In addition, the average healthcare cost per patient with opioid dependence is eight times higher compared to

26 - NOV-DEC 2015

SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2008

nondependent patients. There is also a great impact on human life, with almost 17,000 deaths from opioid pain relievers in the U.S. every year. There has been a steady increase in the non-medical use of prescription analgesics and Emergency room admissions over the years as evidenced by the data published by SAMHSA.

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(Continued from Page 26) Internal triggers typically involve uncomfortable emotions such as depression, anxiety, shame, anger, fear, guilt, remorse, etc. External triggers can be people, places, things, and events Sadly, triggers are unavoidable. Studies show that triggers and underlying issues are at their peak when persons with addictions are between thirty and ninety days clean. Happily, after ninety days the odds of longterm abstinence begin to increase, and after a year the odds of lasting sobriety are actually quite good. Thus, it is very important to teach persons in recovery, as quickly as possible, ways in which they can identify and counteract their triggers. Chronic use of Opiates result in a Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) and Brain Scans demonstrate underactivity secondary to localized Dopamine Neurotransmitter Deficiency. The good news is that sobriety results in significant structural and functional restoration of the affected brain. Triggers, Cravings, Relapse After a brain is hardwired for addiction, “triggers” come into play. Triggers are the thoughts and feelings that induce drug cravings. If a person with addiction can learn to identify triggers and stop them in their tracks –before they induce the phenomenon of craving – that person has a chance to stay sober, despite being triggered Unfortunately, anything that triggers the brain to remember the (long-lost) pleasure of using drugs is a potential precursor for cravings and relapse.

Medications such as Buprenorphine and Clonidine are known to decrease cravings during the process of Detoxification. After a period of withdrawal from opiates or opiate agonists, medications such as Naltrexone (Revia or Vivitrol) can be effectively employed to target cravings and complement Psycho-social and Spiritual approaches towards long term recovery and relapse prevention.

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished Physician with extensive experience as a clinician, researcher, administrator, teacher, lecturer and writer. In Feb 2013, he was invited to join the Editorial Team of the prestigious Journal of Addiction Therapy and Research. He is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Dr. Sunder currently serves as Medical Director for the Mind & Body Treatment and Research Institute and Brisas IOP in Riverside, California and Principal Investigator for CNS Clinical Trials at Clinical Innovations in Riverside, California. You can follow Dr. Sunder at and or reach him at

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NOV-DEC 2015 - 27

The Power of Giving A

lcoholics and addicts understand the power of the give away, that our recovery is incumbent on giving away that which has been so freely given to us. That’s why we seek opportunities to serve — mostly inside the fellowship. Often this spirit of service extends beyond the rooms of our fellowship and into our greater communities. Boys to Men Mentoring Network is one of those community programs that has benefitted greatly through the fellowship of recovery and the power of the give away. Every day young men are facing turning points in their lives. “Should I ditch class, drink this beer, smoke this joint, steal this I-Phone, hit this dude?” They face all kinds of decisions that can determine the trajectory of their lives. Some of them have good fathers at home who act as a sounding board, offer advice, support and accountability. Many of them (35 % on average) don’t have a father or any other man available to help them and the only voice they hear is the one in their head. This often leads to impulsive bad decision making with lasting consequences. Every week men in recovery show up in high schools and middle schools throughout San Diego County to sit in circles with mostly fatherless boys (85%). The Boys need someone too listen to their stories, accept them exactly as they are and encourage them to make the choices that will allow them to become the good men they want to be.

by Joe Sigurdson

September) makes it possible to support these boys and mentor them into responsible men. This event works like a walk-a-thon. Surfers create landing pages and send out links to their family and friends asking them to make a pledge for every wave they catch. Each surfer is responsible for raising $1,000.00. Last month, over 175 surfers caught over 17,000 waves and raised $345,000.00. This fundraising event set’s the budget for how many schools will be able to have the Boys to Men program offered at their facility. The cost for the program is $20,000.00 per school per year. The entire day (from dawn to dusk) is geared toward keeping the surfers fresh, nurtured and relaxed so they can meet their goals of catching 100 waves! It’s fun and energetic. Our event sponsors provided breakfast (Souplantation), fresh fish tacos for lunch (Wahoo’s), hydration and refreshments (Sambazon, Guyaki, Coco Libre). We set up a little oasis of shade and encouragement under 2,000 square feet of pop-up tents with artificial grass, tropical plants and blow-up sofas because we know that 100 waves is physically challenging — even Shaun Tomson (world class surfing champion) needed an occasional break! Recovery is achieved oneday-at-a-time. Healing a community is achieved one-person-at-a-time. Our boys are better off and grateful for the presence and generosity of people in our recovery community as they courageously strive to become men they can be proud of. Thank you!

Why would boys show up every week to bare their hearts and unburden their souls? They are looking for community, to be a part of something bigger than them, to feel safe, share fellowship, to help themselves and others. They do it for the same reason people in recovery show up to meetings. These boys feel the safety of the group because men in recovery share their experience, strength and hope. These men talk openly and honestly about the decisions they made as young men, the price they paid and how those consequences panned out over a lifetime. When the boys hear grown men being open, honest and vulnerable, it gives them permission to do the same. When the boys let go of their secrets and unburden their souls, their self-esteem and self worth rises. As they feel better about themselves a miraculous thing happens; magically their GPA and attendance go up, while their discipline problems go down. Sound familiar? The 100 Wave Challenge fundraiser (held annually in Joe Sigurdson is the cofounder of Boys to Men Mentoring Network. Joe was a teenage father. He and his wife of thirty nine years Nancy have two children and seven grandchildren. Joe is an active member of 12-Step recovery with twenty seven years of sobriety. He has been active in the Mankind Project doing interpersonal work for the past twenty one years. His experiences in both these programs have given him insight to what he believes is lacking in our society, especially teenage boys. He has worked with thousands of men and boys. He knows that inside every boy is a desire to be a good man. Boys to Men has developed their approach to helping boys become better men by listening accepting and admiring them for who they are. These principles are the result of Joe’s path through life and recovery. Joe has freely given away the Boys to Men program since it’s inception. Currently there are 12 Boys to Men communities in the United States and 15 more throughout, Europe, India, Africa and New Zealand.

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Court Approved Client Approved City Approved Family Approved


OCRS has moved! Now located on Beach Blvd. in Huntington Beach, this stand-alone building with it’s shabby-sheik warehouse feel, continues to be a highly effective resource for men who are actively seeking support and guidance through the difficult transition from active addiction to serenity.

We’re Here To Help

Thursday afternoons, you can find the enormous group room filled with the resonating sounds of drums coupled with the calming energy of meditation. The unique acoustics of the space allow for the sounds to reach deep into the soul and release feelings and memories that might not otherwise be accessible. This form of group therapy is designed to work at a subconscious level and is very effective at releasing previously unprocessed emotion. This is just one of the unique ways OCRS empowers individuals to overcome underlying issues that could lead to emotional unrest — or relapse.

You can’t do this alone,

This applies to both the family and the individual suffering from substance abuse issues.

Day and Evening Outpatient Intervention Services Structured Sober Living Rehab Alternatives Drug Testing Counseling Court Approved

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The hand-crafted chimney fire pit flanked by deep-cushion rattan sofas surrounded by bamboo laced fencing is an ideal gathering space for alumni events, cook-outs, meetings and fellowship. Very zen, clean, simple and inviting. A strong support network is critical in maintaining ongoing sobriety and this facility screams “brotherhood.” As a licensed stand-alone outpatient treatment provider, OCRS also has lab drug-testing onsite. Accountability is a key component on the recovery journey and it is taken very seriously. OCRS is able to record testing activity along with treatment participation and report accurately to the courts to satisfy any legal obligations. However, more than just satisfying the courts, a primary mission of OCRS is to help individuals and families restore their lives to sanity. OCRS continues to partner with Ohio House Sober Living in Costa Mesa/Newport Beach, several inpatient rehab facilities, the court system and individuals seeking an alternative to inpatient treatment. Day and evening sessions make scheduling convenient and accommodating which allows day-to-day responsibilities and commitments to continue. Yes, OCRS has moved! The location and the awesomeness are even better than before. Check it out!

NOV-DEC 2015 - 29




Open Your Eyes

by Selena M. Berry (7/14/15)

Time is so precious. Can’t you see? The clock ticks, and it rocks — 1, 2, 3.


We take for granted the minutes and hours; Eyes wide open, yet we can’t see the flowers.

Christmas Without My Family

by Mike Jennings (From Soledad State Prison 2014)

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below, with tiny lights like heaven’s stars reflecting in the snow. The sight is so spectacular please wipe away that tear, for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year. I hear the any Christmas songs the people hold so dear, but the music can’t compare with the Christmas Choir up here! I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, for it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

Beauty of life is all around, Until end of life is what we have found. Our time on earth is closing near Now end of life is what we fear. Open your eyes so you can see The amazing life of recovery If you choose to stay blind then prepare your date Because the end will come and so will your fate. A second chance is what you’ve been given Take this gift — your sins are forgiven

I know how much you miss me — I see the pain inside your heart. But I am not so far away, we really aren’t apart.

No drink or drug will set you free Only your faith in God and sobriety

So be happy for me, loved one, you know i hold you dear. And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

So open your eyes, the time is now Go to a meeting — they will show you how.

I’m sending a special gift from my heavenly home above. I’m sending you dear memories, of my true undying love. After all, “Love” is a gift more precious than pure gold. It was always most important in the stories Jesus told. Please love and keep each other, as my father said to do. For I can’t count the blessings of the love he has for you. So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away that tear. Remember I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year!

Part of My Story by Al Seadler

I was told that the 70’s were an awesome decade — that a lot of changes came about. Big promises were made available to everyone. I can only guess thats why my parents chose to start a family right? Wrong — the better answer is that both my parents were drug addicts, had no sense of responsibility, didn’t use protection and here I am! Earliest memory of my parents: arguments, beat downs, needles and spoons, and a pistol whipping that had 3 of my mother’s teeth land in my lap as i was sitting there screaming for my dad to stop — I was 3. By the grace of god, I had some family recognize the insanity of drug use and prison terms. They pulled me from that shipwreck and gave me a life i wasn’t prepared for or knew even existed! I was literally thrown on a plane with an escort from Social Services to Hawaii to live with my aunt & uncle. Talk about culture shock! Not even 10 years earlier I was on a litter covered street with the blackened bubble gum

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spotted sidewalks of the hood. Now, crystal blue waters, coral covered ocean floors, and palm trees as far as the eye could see. Life was good. I was afforded all my needs and my memory of all things bad seemed to escape like the tidal waters of the oceans that now surrounded me. Eventually we moved back to the mainland and continued to live the life! As years passed, recognition of voids in my life seemed to creep up like vents on the side of an old brick mansion. Abandonment issues, self-hate, insecurities all contributed to feelings of loss — and I chose to fill that feeling of loss with the love of drugs. This game of addiction played cat ’n’ mouse in my life until 3 weeks ago when I decided to say “checkmate” to my addiction and learn that the things I value in life outweigh every superficial feeling of “love” my addiction pretended to let me feel. My life in a nutshell seems fast ’n’ furious. But as I play it back in my mind, I know the next reel of film I shoot of my life will be priceless.

To Thine Own Self Be True

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Dear Petra

Hepatitis C is a growing Global Pandemic! 1 in 12 people have viral hepatitis Globally.

Can Harvoni Cause Urinary Problems? Morgantown, West Virginia

Dear Petra: I’m currently undergoing treatment with Harvoni, and have a question for those who’ve also taken it. Have or did any of you experience urinary problems (urgency, frequency, pain, etc.) while taking Harvoni? Dear Harvoni Recipiant: Yes, one of the side effects listed on the Gilead site is “urinerary retention.” This may cause it to be painful during urine release. My best advice is, I would ask your doctor to check for bladder or urinary tract infection. Other than that...keep hydrated and don’t let this deter you form drinking lots of water to flush out your “system.”

What Do HCV Antibody Tests Really Mean? Puebla, Mexico

Dear Petra: In a general blood test, it said I was positive for HCV antibodies. Does this means I no longer have the Hep C virus? Will I be immune to the Hepatitis C viruse now? Dear Positive Antibodies: *A non-reactive or a negative hepatitis C antibody test result means that a person does not have hepatitis C. However, if a person has been recently exposed to the hepatitis C virus, he or she will need to be tested again. *A reactive or a positive hepatitis C antibody test result means that hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood and a person has been infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in time. *Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true if even if they have cleared the hepatitis C virus.

Brain Fog Post Treatment? Houston, Texas

Dear Petra: Do many people still experience mental brain fog and bad memory retention after the hepatitis C virus is undetected? Dear Brain Fog: If you have had the virus for many years (as many do, since it is the “Silent Killer”) you may suffer brain fog even after clearing the virus. Many patients end up with hepatic encephalopathy, which is more than just brain fog. It’s a condition in which brain function is harmed because the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. This allows harmful chemicals to build up in the bloodstream. It generally occurs in people who have advanced hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, or some other chronic liver disease.If you’re struggling with brain fog, there’s no need to suffer silently. It’s worth having a conversation with your doctor. Petra aka Petrabilities is a Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, and CEO of Hepatitis C Global Initiatives. Being an expert in her field, Petra is here to answer all your questions and concerns related to living with Hep-C. This is not a medical advice column. Please send your questions via the contact form at

32 - NOV-DEC 2015

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Treasured Traditions Traditions are habits that we like. Just as weeds are plants that we don’t like, we humans are odd in our assignment of titles when we like something or when we don’t. Fortunately we enjoy tradition. We treasure tradition. Whether it’s the simple task of morning coffee (with cream, please) or whether it’s the elaborate planning, shopping, visiting Santa, and all the other family fiascos associated with Christmas, we deliberately and delicately guard our own habits. There are traditions associated with making appointments, with the way we get dressed each morning, with where our next vacation will be, with who gets control of the clicker to watch TV. Traditions surround birthdays, Sunday dinners, kids’ soccer, grocery shopping. If there is illness or addiction, tradition surrounds treatment, meetings, social events and lifestyle, and nearly everything else in the life of an afflicted person. As an international speaker on board cruise ships, I’ve developed an odd tradition of unique souvenir searching everywhere I visit. Except for the fact that my acquiring certain items continues to change to other certain items, I still have the yen to bring home a “thing.” It used to be magnets, until I realized what a dumb idea that is. (Sorry magnetically attracted people.) For years I was happy with pretty postcards. Then dolls, and after that, country specific food finds. (The customs officials abruptly ended that fascination.) In recent years I’ve decided jewels particular to a destination are the treasures to collect. Portable, pretty, sometimes expensive, always unique, jewels or raw rock gemstones remind me of whatever part of the world they came from and my negotiations with gem collectors in mines, stores, factories, and museums.

By Lori Nelson

It’s exhausting and fun! I’m sure my “tradition” will change again. I’ll find something else I have to have besides emails from new friends and norovirus contagions I’m sure I unsuspectingly pack in my already overcrowded luggage. I try to break tradition. I like to mix it up, try new things, see new people, go different ways. I’m recalcitrant. The difficulty is that traditions trouble me – make me uncomfortable because I break the chain of continuous routine. Will someone admonish me for cooking a “Turducken” instead of a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving? Will my personal trainer scold me for skipping two weeks and then changing our regularly scheduled appointment to a completely different day and time? Will my calendar close ranks if I want to ski in the winter instead of bask at the beach in the summer? What if I don’t call my friend back the same day? Does that mean I’m dead? As the holiday season approaches and the mall skips fall window displays to rush into Christmas commotion, I’m planning my traditional avoidance of all things “tradition.” I will hibernate in a hideaway of my choosing. I will not buy gifts, cards, booze, or baked goods. I will not sing in the choir. (I broke that one last year and sang and then wondered what I was doing in church at midnight!) I will avoid family, which admittedly is something I do regardless of the season. When I think about it though, THAT IS my tradition. So despite my protestations and regardless of my complete disregard for traditions or traditional ways of working through my traditionally challenged way of thinking I’m still part of the human race. Maybe someday I’ll find my way out of that, too.

Lori Nelson is an author, speaker, educator, and an international “edu-tainer” aboard cruise ships. She occasionally blogs (rants, really) at anotherloristory. You can find Lori on Facebook. Her book, Torture: Broken Foot, Shattered Soul, is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or email Lori at Lori lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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NOV-DEC 2015 - 33

ang h W e n Suzan

What a WHANGderful World! Screaming in the Church Parking Lot

I remember when I attended my first 12-step meeting, and someone was asked to read the 12 Traditions aloud. I found the 12 Steps fascinating, but the 12 Traditions? What a snoozefest. Zzzzzzz… My mind drifted to the errands I had to do later that day. But as I continued to attend meetings, I learned more about the traditions from members’ shares and from conference-approved literature. I started to realize the wisdom and the value of the traditions, how they help the program to be as effective as possible, and how their wisdom was also applicable outside of the meeting rooms.

Tradition 11 has been especially significant in my life. It begins with, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion.” To me, this means that not only is it not my job to promote any 12 step program, it is in fact discouraged. It would be wise for me not to spend any energy cajoling anyone into attending meetings. I know that I cringe when anyone pounces on me with a hard sell tactic, whether it’s at a car dealership or a Landmark Forum seminar. “Attraction rather than promotion” means that if I lead by example, people will approach me and ask me what I do to achieve happiness. And then I will happily tell them about the serenity, wisdom, and courage I’ve gotten from 12-step meetings. Albert Schweitzer said it so well: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” One of my least favorite things in life is someone who talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. I prefer a blatant douchecanoe over a spiritual hypocrite, ANY day! It cracks me up when I go to a Sunday spiritual service, and we all hold hands and cry and sing together for hours about peace, love, and compassion, and then ten minutes later in the parking lot, everyone’s honking and screaming at each other to “Get out of the F*CKING way!” Really? Our agape love doesn’t even last for 10 minutes? Bwahahaha!

inventory. In the 12-step world, that means instead of pointing out the dirt on someone else’s side of the street, it would be better for me to just sweep my own side, and keep it clean. Any time I spend across the street, screaming at my neighbor to sweep, is time taken away from my own sweeping. My sponsor encourages me not to dominate, scold, or be self-righteous. Give what I want to receive. If I want forgiveness, be forgiving. If I want kindness, be kind. If I want humility from others, throw my own ego out the window. If I want people to let go of the past, I have to be willing to do the same. I can look at the past, but I’d better not stare. That’s rude. ☺ And finally, the best way to attract honesty from others, is to truly be my authentic self. “Authenticity” is one of my favorite words in the English language. Part of my life’s journey is to continue releasing each layer of armor and every obstacle in the way of my authentic self. Sometimes that requires venting anger, sometimes that involves channeling my emotions into art, and sometimes it means laughing and finding levity in the darkness. There are an infinite number of ways to let go and be authentic. I love the Hopi Indian poem that begins, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” So, let’s all make Albert and Mahatma proud. Let’s lead by example and become sparkling beacons of recovery – the time is NOW!

Gandhi said, “BE the change you want to see in the world.” He didn’t say, “Whine about the change you want to see in the world, and then nag other people to do something about it.” Whenever I’m trying to promote a specific spiritual path to someone else, it’s wise for me to remind myself to put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror. If I’m focused on what everyone else should be doing to improve themselves, that’s just an elaborate distraction from the full-time job of working on myself. It’s not my job to take anybody else’s

(c) Suzanne Whang (pronounced Hwong) is a television host (best known as the host of HGTV’s #1 show, House Hunters, for almost a decade), actor, standup comedian, emcee, keynote speaker, political activist, minister, radio host, published author, and stage 4 breast cancer thriver. In her spare time, she sleeps. You can follow Suzanne on Facebook ( & Twitter ( and at

34 - NOV-DEC 2015

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Humor Page Holiday Humor

Q: What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? A: Plymouth Rock

Q: What is a webmaster’s favorite hymn? A: Oh, dot com all ye faithful!

Q. What happened when Guy ate the Christmas decorations? A. He went down with tinsel-itis.

Q: What do you call the age of a pilgrim? A: Pilgrimage.

Q: Why was the Thanksgiving soup so expensive? A: It had 24 carrots. Q: What happened when the turkey got into a fight? A: He got the stuffing knocked out of him! Q: What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo? A: A turkey that can pluck itself!

Q: What kind of tan did pilgrims get at the beach? A: Puritan. Q. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas? A. It’s Christmas, Eve. Q: What does Dracula call Thanksgiving? A: Fangs-giving.

Q: What did the turkeys sing on Thanksgiving Day? A: God save the kin.

Q: If the pilgrims came on the Mayflower than what did the teacher come on? A: The scholar ship.

Q: Why did the police arrest the turkey? A: They suspected it of fowl play

Q: Dear Turkeys, don’t worry... they only love us for our breasts too. A: Sincerely, women.

Q: Did you hear that one of Santa’s reindeer now works for Proctor and Gamble? A: Its true . . . Comet cleans sinks! Q. How is the Italian version of Christmas different? A. One Mary, one Jesus, and 32 Wise guys. Q: What happened to the Pilgrim who was shot at by an Indian? A: He had an arrow escape Q: What key has legs and can’t open doors? A: A Turkey. Q: Why does a pilgrim’s pants always fall down? A: Because they wear their belt buckle on their hat. Q: What’s the best dance to do on Thanksgiving? A: The turkey trot

Q: What would you get if you crossed a turkey with an evil spirit? A: A poultrygeist! Q: If you call a large turkey a gobbler what do you call a small turkey? A: A Goblet. Q. How is the Italian version of Christmas different? A. One Mary, one Jesus, and 32 Wise guys. Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? A: Pumpkin pi. Q: What is a pumpkin’s favorite sport? A: Squash Q: Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve? A: Because it “soots” him!

NOV-DEC 2015 - 35

Solution to Word Search on Page 25

Solution to Puzzle on Page 25.

Solution to Crossword on Page 25

1. Girl’s hand is hidden behind snowman. 2. Branch on snowman’s arm is missing. 3. Pattern on jacket is missing. 4. Snow on mountain peak is missing. 5. Cabin door is colored in. 6. Boot tread is colored in. 7. Snowman’s arm has moved. 8. Tree has moved. 9. Snowball on ground has moved. 10. Pipe on cabin roof has moved. 11. Snowman’s hat is taller. 12. Icicle on roof is larger.

36 - NOV-DEC 2015

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Recovery Trivia, Messages

and things that make ya go “Hmmmm..” Happy B-Day(s) Charlene R. AA. 12/26/91 Al-Anon 12/5/89 Dear friend and supporter of Step 12 Magazine!

About 23% of all “years lost” because of disability is caused by mental and substance use disorders.

Alcoholics who came into the rooms of A.A. with

It’s believed that the

anyway). The origial name of Narcotics Anonymous was

San Fernando Valley Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous

The words

“Drugs” and “Narcotics” appear


in NA’s Twelve Steps About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14.

NOV-DEC 2015 - 37

Nov / Dec


Aries (March 21 – April 19) NOV– You can breathe a huge sigh of relief Aries because your love life is finally about to get back on track! After the 6th, you’ll notice that romantic happenings are not only “happening”, but they’ll be moving in the right direction. Then, after the 13th, focus on an incredible work related opportunity. This might be a dream assignment that comes your way. If you’re a business owner, you might assemble the perfect team. Try to exercise patience until December 9th. DEC– The zodiac sign of Aries will be one of the most successful and lucky signs in December. In fact, truly amazing circumstances will develop around you that will largely determine your fate. Aries will have many resources at its disposal that could promptly change the current situation in the workplace. Do not doubt your actions, even if someone from your family is strongly opposed to your ideas. Taurus (April 20 – May 20) NOV- This month you’ll definitely start to feel more comfortable in your own skin. You may notice that family matters finally begin moving in the harmonious direction you’ve been striving for. Love is certainly on your agenda this month one way or another. Pay attention to what develops! Adopt a mature and responsible attitude to handling your finances on your own. You’ve got this. DEC– This month you may easily solve all of your current tasks and take on new projects. Therefore, think carefully before you invest energy and resources in new beginnings. And remember one thing: do not let emotions affect your work. With that said, you have to invest a lot of effort and resources to the resolution of current romantic conflicts, which at first may seem not very important. Gemini (May 21 – June 20) NOV– Communication with a sweetheart about your relationship or finances will become much easier after the 6th. You might also be ready to make a significant decision about one or both of these areas of life. Don’t worry; you’ve got a green light! There may be someone in your life who calls themself a friend but in reality, stirs up more trouble than you’re comfortable with. Domestic changes are likely after the 13th. DEC– Though it might seem it, it will not be a completely bleak and negative time, at the end of the year you will be introduced to many opportunities to improve your financial standings, and perhaps you will get a new position. The main thing is not to doubt your abilities under any circumstances. If you know that you can – then do it. This idea also transitions to matters of the heart. Cancer (June 21 –July 22) NOV– Your financial life will get back on track after the 6th. This will be the month you make changes that will allow you to assert your worth on the job and reclaim confidence in your earning power. You might leave one career path in order to pursue another. Although scary, you’ll ultimately be much happier. DEC– You do not need to get involved in new projects this month, despite the particularly positive atmosphere. Gather yourself and define the most important priorities in which you will invest your fundamental resources. You will be happy, especially if you try to spend most of your free time with friends. In relations with your lover – be yourself and that will be enough. Leo (July 23 – August 22) NOV– Hello Beautiful! Maybe you have spent the last few weeks struggling to reclaim a feeling of self-love and respect. But recently, you have learned how to stop searching for validation from others and instead, look deeper within. In other news, a major financial development is in store. Opportunity to enhance your earnings is everywhere! Be patient in communication matters after the 17th, it’ll be all too easy to mix up your words. DEC– This month Leos will lack the strength and resources to realize their full potential. You may be struggling in the workplace, and it might seem as if you can’t conquer one problem before another is at your feet. Remember that there is always balance. You just have to reconsider your views on life and form new principled positions on some issues. Do not be afraid of change, accept it readily. The solar positivity may well be the cause of the most amazing and romantic circumstances. Virgo (August 23 – September 22) NOV– This month you’ll feel free from all of the skeletons that have been rattling around in your closet (no Halloween pun intended) -- especially the ones connected to your love life! Move forward and leave behind any unhealthy relationship patterns that have held you back in the past. A new day has arrived! You are also about to begin an important phase that will require you to build a solid foundation for yourself in order to create lasting emotional security. DEC– This is a time for reflection and change. It will be a hard time, full of anxieties and doubts, however, there will be quite a few positively memorable aspects of the current life path for Virgos. Think seriously about how you behave with those whom you care about. The actions that you sow now will be powerful and KARMA is no joke. Make plans with genuin honesty and be confident in their success.

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Libra (September 23 – October 22) NOV– You’re sure to notice a greater sense of balance return to your social life. Over the last few weeks it’s possible that you and a pal experienced a rift. How you communicate becomes more important than ever after the 17th, you’re about to learn a major lesson on being responsible for your words. Authenticity is key. Rehashing things over and over with a romantic interest may now prove to be incredibly draining. A new perspective will make things clear. DEC– The zodiac sign of Libra will experience an exceptional, bright, and a spectacular stage of life in December. The members of this sign will have enough power and resources to deal with any urgent matter and not just their own. All is in your hands, be careful and strong in spirit. If you cease to be afraid of change, you can let something new and interesting into your life. Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) NOV– You’ll be extra charismatic during your birthday month. Your career will move in the right direction after the 6th. If you are in a job that requires you to showcase your creative talents, you’ll be coveted this month. This is your time to network like crazy and use your connections! After the 17th you’ll have a long term goal that you need to save for or a hefty expense coming due. It’s time to be prudent about your money. DEC– Scorpio is in a stage of its highest development, and will really be one of the most successful and lucky signs this month. But this is not to say that you will have nothing to do, on the contrary - the more effort invested in the solution of a problem – the more positive the result. Do you best to remain calm and restrained this month. Your whisper is more powerful than your shout. Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) NOV– This month it’s possible that your love life will gain traction in a more spiritually aligned direction. If you and your mate have been grappling with a significant moral dilemma or different philosophical perspective, now, at the very least, you’ll be ready to “agree to disagree” and move forward. But, you’ve got bigger fish to fry and it all has to do with your professional life. You will find yourself in a position of greater authority or respect regarding your career. Embrace whatever obligations come your way with maturity. DEC– December will frankly be the best time, not without its moments, but overall - very promising and successful. Regarding love, you should wait for amazing and memorable events that will forever change your life. There will be plenty, don’t doubt your worth. As well, in December Sagittarius will be free to choose their own destiny out of any of the available options for career development. Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) NOV– In November you’ll begin to see financial movement again. Also, it appears a resolution is finally in sight if you have been struggling to allocate joint money. Career matters might become frustrating after the 17th. As a result, you might feel as if your superiors don’t really “hear” you. Take this “quiet” time to honestly re-evaluate your goals in order to ensure they still ring true. This won’t be an ideal time to initiate new, vital conversations with a VIP or to sign any major career-related contract. DEC– Capricorn will experience a harmonious and positive step in December, which can be described as an extremely creative and promising period. You will handle the lion’s share of your current problems with ease, clearing the way for the solution of urgent issues and achieving their goals. Be careful and don’t let your guard down, even in moments when literally everything goes exactly as planned. Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) NOV– Peace and harmony comes to you and your partner. You and your mate might be experiencing something of a “relationship rehab” phase. After the 17th, it won’t be so important to be surrounded by a large group of pals. Instead, you’ll want to spend your valuable time with cherished friends. If you’re planning to travel this month, allow extra time for everything. DEC– December will be a successful and promising time, but not the easiest. Be careful and communicative at work. As they say “measure twice, cut once”. In regards to your personal life, try not to fill your calendar. You will not have much energy, so seizing everything will not be the best idea. A few meaningful engagements will be enough to quench your thirst for human connection. Pisces (February 19 – March 20) NOV– When it comes to your professional life you will have to pay your dues before you see a reward. If it’s time to leave an unfulfilling career path, you’ll know. In the end, all the effort you put into career now will come back to you tenfold in the future. Trust the process. In regards to your romantic life, try not to mix up Goodnight and Good Bye. Take extra care to listen to those that take the time to talk. DEC– You will experience quite a dynamic life stage this month, but not as positive as we would all like. Do not seek to take on more projects, instead consistently perform your current tasks. Do not take unreasonable actions guided by feelings, they will let you down. Emotionally you will have the desire and you will have the opportunities to dramatically shift your fundamental perspective.

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