Step 12 Magazine Mar-Apr 2016

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MAR-APR 2016


Carrying A Message of Hope in Recovery

HOPE is a


Pain Relief: The Muscle/Nerve Connection by Batsita Germaud

Part 4 The Neurobiology of Cannabis Abuse by Dr. Keerthy Sunder


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

Hope for Healing by Carol Tietelbaum

Love Vs. Fear by Terra Schaad

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Inside This Issue Columns

Dear Petra Questions and Answers - 24 by Petra AKA Petrabilities - Hep-C/Addiction Expert

SUNDERstanding Addiction - 26

Cover Story - “Hope is a Virtue” - 6 by Roni Askey-Doran

Dr. Judi Hollis - Food Obsession - 8

Which Came First? The Body or the Confidence?

20 Questions with Craig Shoemaker - 10 Darlene Lancer on Codependency - 12

The Neurobiology of Cannabis Abuse by Dr. Keerthy Sunder

The Seven Realities of the Addicted Family - 28 The First Reality: Pathos by Susan Jackson

Tips to Stay Sober on Saint Patrick’s Day - 29 It’s a Whangderful Life - 32 Redefining Beauty by Suzanne Whang

Recovery from Rejection and Breakups

Hope for Help - 33

by Denise Krochta

My Recovery and Its New Paradigm - 34

by Batista Gremaud - Fortifying Your Strength Against Relapse

Travel Sober - 35

The Promises Series: Promise #9

The Building Blocks of Intimacy - 37

Love vs. Fear

What is Recovery? - 38

Respond vs. React

Teen Corner with Mendi Baron - 40

Do You Love An Addict? - 13 Pain Relief: The Muscle/Nerve Connection - 14 Dan Griffin - Real Men, Real Recovery - 15 Mindfulness with Terra Schaad - 16 Unlocked for Life with Dan Sanfellipo - 21

by Lori Nelson, Author, Speaker, Educator and more by Claire Gormley

Cruising the Mexican Riviera by Bob Kocher r

by Alexandra Katehakis MFT - Healing Sex Addiction by Doctor Al J. Mooney, M.D.

Catching those Critical Z-z-z-z by Mendi Baron

It Happens to Boys - 22

Hope for Healing by Carol Tietelbaum, MFT

Regular Stuff Letter from the Editor - 5 Quotes - 7 Letter from the Publisher - 9 Random Thoughts - 9 Metaphorically Speaking - 11 Newcomers Page - 18 Movie Reviews with Leonard Buschel - 19

My Hope - 42

by Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis

Self Assessment Questions - 20 Book Reviews - 23 Puzzles - 25 Resources for Families - 29 Reader Contributions - 30 Recovery Online - 36 We Asked, You Answered - 39 Humor - 43 Recovery Trivia - 45 Horoscopes - 46

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 Hopefully hoping for hope,

Roni Askey-Doran

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes, poet Hope is a gentle whisper that says, “You will overcome this terrible hardship.” It reassures us, soothing the turmoil in our minds with its timely reminder that our lives can and will improve. The brother of despair and the cousin of faith, hope usually shines its most brilliant light when crisis looms, opening our hearts and minds to new creative possibilities. Often, it isn’t until we feel completely hopeless that we actively seek out a glimmer of hope for a better outcome. Faced with the ugly truth of our incurable, infuriating, debilitating, and sometimes lifethreatening diseases, when all else is lost, hope is the final vestige to which we can cling in order to survive our addictions; our alcoholism, our eating disorders, our teen issues, co-dependency, sex/porn addictions, internet addictions, gambling addictions, our nutrition/ health and medical problems, or our mental illnesses. Hope is the power behind the motivation we utilize to persevere into the darkness, to journey onward, despite the obstacles blocking the trail of life, despite not knowing how, or when, or where, or why our life’s story will conclude. Fortunately for all of us, hope is there to help us get through. I hope you enjoy Issue 15.

Ste[p12 Magazine TM


Karen VanDenBerg 760-898-8354


Roni Askey-Doran

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Hope is a H

ope is one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues, alongside Faith, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance, and Prudence. Wikipedia describes hope as “an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe, however tenaciously, that our lives could get better. In the beginning, as we reach upwards to that elusive bottom rung of the ladder, it seems hopeless at times. The prospect of leaving our dysfunctional comfort zone can be frightening. Learning how to live without our crutches can, at times, be overwhelming. The ups and downs of navigating this new path, however smooth or rocky it may be, can send us spiralling into a terrifying vortex of hopelessness and despair. It’s vital, especially during our weakest moments, to hang onto hope; indeed, it is often the only thing we have left to cling to. Captured within the cruel tentacles of our addictions, at our lowest, we begin to seek alternatives to our current reality. Often, it is not until we reach a place where it feels as though we are beyond all hope. In itself, this search is an act of hope. The slightest glimmer of hope for something better is often the motivation to begin the climb out of addiction’s grip, however desperate, desolate and lonely we feel. Some of us lose everything to addiction; family, friends, jobs, money, our homes, even our will to live, and yet, we cling to the fleeting idea that we can turn it all around. Holding this final shred of hope, we enter recovery.


by Roni Askey-Doran

paralysed as a bunch of cackling crackpots leaped around laughing, playing games and zigzagging under the tree, high-fiving each other as they chortled out loud at nothing in particular. It was torture. Instead of laughing, I cried. Someone from the group saw my tears and turned around to hug me. I cried harder. “It’s okay. I cried my first time, too,” she said, smiling into my mournful red eyes, and then bounced off to giggle some more. Strangely enough, even though it was a deeply painful experience, it also gave me hope. At the end of the session, I felt altered somehow. It’s not a feeling I can fully explain, except to say that it felt a bit like that first glimpse of awakening after an extended deep sleep, and then something more. It was the beginning of tangible change, and I took my first wobbly steps into recovery. On seeing this glimmer of light, I marched straight through that tunnel, knowing without doubt I could come out the other side in tact. Regardless of how agonizing life could become, I never gave up hope. No matter how rocky the road got, life would get better. It always does.

At one of my lowest points, on the brink of suicide, it seemed like there was no possible way for me to back away from the precipice. My family despaired I might be certifiably insane. At that point, I could not even envison a single speck of light shining into the endless dark tunnel that was my life. When it seemed like I was not going to make it through the ordeal in one piece, my mother took me to a laughter yoga group in my local area under the guise that she needed moral support and wanted me there as her emotional backup. It was the best trick ever executed, and I have since thanked her a million times over from deep within my heart for her deception, brought on by love and concern for my struggling mental health. In my fragile emotional state, the first time I experienced a laughter yoga group was beyond distressing. I watched 6 - MAR-APR 2016

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Famous Quotes about Hope “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”  Lyndon B. Johnson “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”  Dalai Lama “You’re going to go through tough times that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.”  Joel Osteen “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”  Martin Luther King Jr “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”  Joseph Addison “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”  Epicurus “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is youer than you!”  Dr. Seuss “There is a force within that gives you life. Seek that.”  Rumi

“I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it’s a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.” Alan Rickman

“I’ve never responded well to entrenched negative thinking.” David Bowie

MAR-APR 2016 - 7

Experience, Strength, and Hope For People Struggling with Food Obsession


Which Came First? The Body or the Confidence?

en and women agree the most attractive feature of a potential partner is confidence. Yet, we often judge our value by what we see in the mirror. We tend to judge and assign value to the tangible image reflecting back through eyes tainted with pre-determined expectations of “good” and “bad.” With this self-critical, often distorted, self-view we limit our experiences. We postpone the cruise or avoid the beach until we lose our excess weight. We judge ourselves critically and expect others to do the same. We falsely assume we can’t have fun “until….” We live in that “when I get thin” bubble. Every human being has the right to be respected and appreciated for their unique talents and abilities. Our inner qualities will shine through whether they convey confidence or insecurity. If a person wants to convey confidence, it’s important to experience life as a classroom and absorb all the lessons it offers. Today. When we think we don’t deserve to go to the beach because we are too fat, we are cheating ourselves out of a potentially beautiful experience with nature. When we think we don’t deserve to be thin, we cheat ourselves out of an opportunity to achieve our optimal health. When we think nobody will love us unless we are physically flawless, we cheat ourselves out of rich and meaningful relationships. It’s not about the external aesthetics, it’s about optimal health emotionally, spiritually and physically. If you’re telling yourself that you have to lose weight before you can date, or travel, or attend your class reunion, you may be feeding your insecurity rather than bolstering your confidence. Moving outside our comfort zones provides us with opportunities to learn and grow. Learning and growing

provides us with opportunities to boost our confidence. Twelve step sponsors often advise, “fake it ‘til you make it,” or “act as if.” “In college, I was terrified of public speaking. Speech 101 was a required course that I waited and waited to take. In my last semester as a senior, I was forced to take the class. I vomited before every appearance because I was fat and scared. I just knew the audience would only see my weight and judge me cruelly. “Years later, when I had the opportunity to be on National Television, those old feelings of fear sprang to life. Well, really, anyone would be nervous to go on The Oprah Winfrey show. This experience was outside my comfort zone. I had confidence in my material—I had been working in the field for some time, had been successful with my books, and was considered an expert on weight loss and healthy living. I had lost the weight, yet still felt the fear of being judged harshly.“ Those old thought patterns are difficult to shake. Selfconfidence and a sense of “deserving” are internal characteristics that have nothing to do with our external size, shape, color or gender. Building self confidence comes from defining your own personal comfort zone inside your particular and unique universe. If you’re not comfortable in your skin, try something new. Do something you said you’d do AFTER you lose the weight. Maybe you’ll like it so much that the weight will become less of a burden and the self-love you feel in this expanded comfort zone will start naturally melting it off. Written by Karen VanDenBerg based on interviews with Judi Hollis.

© 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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Letter from the Publisher I’m truly grateful that my journey has had it’s fair share of challenges (actually, “fair share” is rather subjective— I’m sure there are more to come). Hope allowed me to keep picking myself up, dusting myself off, nursing my bruises and using the experience to build a hint of personal growth. Not once, not twice, but countless times! In those moments of deep despair when I thought there was no “point” to living and I didn’t think I cared anymore about anything, hope kept me alive. Without hope I would have (could have) given up. At some level I knew there was something more. Thank heaven I don’t have to see the big picture and manage all the moving parts. I’m part of the whole and there’s a lot of hope in that alone. Whether you are reading this as a recovering addict/alcoholic, a chronic relapser, a process addiction sufferer, someone struggling with physical or mental health concerns, or a family member of someone struggling with their life’s journey, there is always hope. Sometimes hope is found in surrender, sometimes hope is found in acceptance, sometimes hope is found in prayer and meditation. Hopefully you will find some positive energy in these pages that allows you to be gentle with yourself and encourages you to continue forging ahead — challenges and all. HOPE is an acronym (in my mind) for Handing Out Positive Energy and that’s what this magazine stands for. I hope you love this issue. More importantly, I hope you love your life! Thank you for sharing this journey with me — couldn’t do it without you! Respectfully and Enthusiastically,

Random Thoughts Text Mis-Interpretations Me: I’ve been using my juicer lately Friend: That’s great! :-) Me: Yeah, and I’m drinking a beer before bed. Friend: What? Me: a beer! Me: a beer! Me: Damnit... a BEET!! Friend: u OK?

Karen VanDenBerg

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with CRAIG SHOEMAKER Author and Stand-up Comedian

1. Describe how you came to your “rock bottom” point. Frankly, there is no specific point. I came to many places in my mind where it should have been my bottom. I even died and hovered over my body once, but that was still not enough. I had been to meetings all through 1987, but when I woke up after another night of sex, drugs and alcohol I decided that was the day. I woke up naked on a pull-out couch in my sister’s Philadelphia apartment laying next to something I was praying was even human or female. The voices of all the people I met in fellowship were loud and I decided that was it. 2. What advice would you give your 25 year old self? Surround yourself with people who walk the walk of great spirit, and turn away from those who wish to control you and have you join them on a path to misery. 3. What does “recovery” mean to you today? It means having direction when I feel lost. It means having support when shaky. It’s a joy to know that the answers are all right here if we just surrender.

“I literally moved my cluttered mind aside and responded to her with a goal of sharing my story to give her some hope.” 4. Which part of your treatment and recovery do you feel was the most interesting or unexpected? I never thought it would lead to such a significant search for higher source, finding that power is the be all and end all for me. 5. For what in your life do you feel the most gratitude? I feel most grateful for my wife who is a magnificent manifestation of promises coming true. Our relationship is the closest thing I’ve ever had to pure connection to another human being which leads to an even more heartful and loving engagement with the children. 6. How important is it to have a solid support network? It’s important as much as it is important to open my lungs to breathe. Without others there is no life. 10 - MAR-APR 2016

7. What does an average day look like for you today? Its a whirlwind, a cornucopia of feelings, actions and situations. There are no average days, they are all rich with possibility and abundant with laughter. 8. What blows your hair back and makes your heart beat wildy? There is a profound energetic shift that takes place in me when I assist others in finding their light. To help them with a breakthrough causes me to breakthrough. 9. How would you describe your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement is an ongoing process. It’s best felt when I go through, not around, difficulties and obstacles. I wrote a book about it called, Lovemaster’d, a Digital Journey into Love and Happiness. The book is a one year exchange with a fan/acquaintance of mine who lives 3,000 miles away. She expressed via private message that she was getting divorced and I literally moved my cluttered mind aside and responded to her with a goal of sharing my story to give her some hope. The book is our private message relationship over one year, and it ends with me fixing her up with my old friend from kindergarten, who she is marrying this year! 10. What was the closest you have ever come to death? In Jamaica, in 1984, I overdosed on a mixture of cocaine, Red Stripe beer, marijuana, ganja cakes and mushroom tea. I literally passed out standing up and my head bounced on the pavement like a bowling ball. I went into the light and hovered over my body. I can still hear their voices as they tried to revive me with one Jamaican saying, “Pasty mon did too much mushroom tea.” 11. Who is your favorite superhero, and why? I never got into comic books. I did enjoy a cartoon called Mighty Mouse because I related to his small frame with great bravado and his propensity to save women and children in distress. continued on page 27 Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354

Metaphorically Speaking

By Karen VanDenBerg

Distorted Perspectives I have been driving around with a cracked windshield for two-plus years. I don’t even notice it anymore. The crack gets bigger and longer and is creeping slowly from the un-visible lower passenger side diagonally up into my line of sight (a little higher). I once got an estimate for the replacement of my pebbledamaged windshield but it needed to be special ordered. I thought that was too much trouble and I put the commitment off until “tomorrow.” That was over a year ago. I blame the truck driver on Interstate 10.

Gosh, there are so many times have I looked at my flaws and right past them as if they’re not there. Or, blamed someone else for them (like my cracked windshield). It doesn’t really matter how the windshield got cracked, or my drinking got started or even when I “crossed the line.” What matters is that I get it taken care of before it continues to get worse. I think I’m ready to get that windshield fixed now. And when I do, god help me, I suspect I will start seeing all my character defects a little clearer too. It just seems to work that way.

I spend a lot of time in my car. I have over 157k miles on her. I make a conscious effort to take care of her—her name is Chloe. So I have to wonder why I’m ambivalent about this cracked windshield—it’s literally in my face! I look at it all the time without even seeing it. When I do look directly at it, I tell myself it’s not that bad. It reminds me of my propensity towards denial. For quite some time I knew my “drinking problem” needed to be addressed. I knew it was getting worse. But when I looked at it, it didn’t seem bad enough to warrant the inconvenience and disruption of my worldly duties and routines.

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Darlene Lancer


CODEPENDENCY Recovery from Rejection and Breakups


omantic rejection hurts. Feeling lonely and missing connection share the evolutionary purpose of survival and reproduction. Our reaction to pain is influenced by genetics. If we have increased sensitivity to physical pain, we’re more vulnerable to feelings of rejection. Moreover, love stimulates such strong feel-good neuro-chemicals that rejection can feel like withdrawal from a drug, says anthropologist Helen Fisher. It can compel us to engage in obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior. This proved true even for tsetse flies in lab experiments.

to seek someone to fill their inner emptiness, which not only can lead to relationship problems, but it resurfaces once they’re alone. Internalized or “toxic” shame causes us to blame ourselves and/or blame our partner. It can foster feelings of failure and unlovability that are hard to shake. We might feel guilty and responsible not only for our own shortcomings and actions, but also the feelings and actions of our partner; i.e., blaming ourselves for our partner’s affair. Toxic shame usually starts in childhood.

Most people start to feel better 11 weeks following rejection and report a sense of personal growth; similarly after divorce, partners start to feel better after months, not years. However, up to 15 percent of people suffer longer than three months. (It’s Over, Psychology Today, MayJune, 2015) Rejection can feed depression, especially if we’re already even mildly depressed or have suffered depression and other losses in the past.

Codependency and Break-ups Many codependents have an anxious attachment style, feeding obsessions, negative feelings, and attempts to restore the relationship. If we have a secure, healthy attachment style (unusual for codependents), we’re more resilient and able to self-soothe. Rejection can devastate us if our self-worth is low. Our self-esteem affects how personally we interpret our partner’s behavior and how dependent we are upon the relationship for our sense of self and self-esteem. Codependents are more prone to being reactive to signs of disfavor by their partner, and tend to take their words and actions as a comment on themselves and their value. Additionally, many codependents give up personal interests, aspirations, and friends once they’re romantically involved. They adapt to their partner and their life revolves around the relationship. Losing it can make their world crumble if they’re left without hobbies, goals, and a support system. Often their lack self-definition and autonomy beforehand prompted them

Break-ups can also trigger grief that more appropriately pertains to early parental abandonment. Many people enter relationships looking for unconditional love, hoping to salve unmet needs and wounds from childhood. We can get caught in a negative “Cycle of Abandonment” that breeds shame, fear, and abandoning relationships. If we feel unworthy and expect rejection, we’re even liable to provoke it. Healing our past allows us to live in present time and respond appropriately to others. (Read how shame can kill relationships and how to heal in Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You at continued on page 13

© 2015 Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, and expert on relationships and codependency. You can contact Darlene directly at info@ or follow her at and on Facebook.

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Do You Love an Addict?

by Denise Krochta


veryone, every family, has a story. When we love an addict, our stories seem very unique, and they are. And, although this is true, there are many elements of all of our stories that are the same. Relationships might be different, drugs/processes might be different, progression of whys and wherefores might be different, but some things are exactly the same. When we love an addict we experience panic, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, pain, disillusionment, self-doubt, and general malaise. Some of us experience some of these, some of us experience all of these. Much of the time we feel lack of control and even take on a victim role. Why me? Doesn’t our addict know what his/her use is doing to me, our family? What did I do wrong to make this happen? Do I love too much? Did I not love enough? In all my years of research and interviews one of the main things I have learned as a loved one of an addict is that it is not about us. In most circumstances, it has nothing to do with us at all.

When I faced the fact that I focused much more time on my addict and his addiction than he did, I began to reevaluate my role. I realized that I had choices. It is important, before we are able to make our choices, that we understand that at some time we must accept what is. After we do this, we can make good choices for ourselves. In my own experience, it was a lot of work and I started with very small baby steps, but with profound results.

Continued from Page 12

What kind of choices can we make? Generally, I started making choices that made me feel more comfortable. There was always judgment, advice, criticism, and urging to do one thing over another (addiction brings on a lot of this whether you are suffering with the problem or one who loves that person). I stopped doing things for my loved ones that I resented. Did this help the addict? Not necessarily, but it helped me have a bit more peace and calm in my own life. I stopped reacting to and being drawn into arguments, developing simple tools to help “on the spot”. I began to put “me” first, in a caring way, not a self centered way.

Healing Tips

Thinking from this perspective changed my life.

For optimal results, start making changes in your relationship with yourself and with others; first, with your ex. Experts agree that although it’s difficult and may be more painful in the short-run, no contact with your former partner will help you recover sooner. Avoid calling, texting, asking others about or checking up on your ex in social media. Doing so might give momentary relief, but reinforces obsessive-compulsive behavior and ties to the relationship. (If you’re engaged in divorce proceedings, necessary messages can be written or conveyed through attorneys. They should not be delivered by your children.)

Most would say that when a child is suffering, a mom suffers too. Yes, I believe that is true. But, think about this. I took charge of my own thoughts and feelings, not knowing what the outcome would be for my son, a heroin addict. What would happen when he found his way to a manageable and productive life and looked back at the destruction he caused? Most addicts learn to take responsibility for what damage they did while using and recognize the destruction it caused in a family. Is there guilt? Is there blame? Are grudges held?

Darlene Lancer

Read the full article on Darlene Lancer’s website blog: For a free PDF with 23 additional strategies to deal with rejection and breakups, email:

Many people around me felt I stopped loving my son when I began to think about myself. I just knew it was a good thing to do. Results? When my son became clean and sober and the blame, guilt, shame, and accusations got sifted through, mom and son had a bond like no other. One reason, he did not have to suffer the guilt of ruining my life because I didn’t allow it to happen. And he was grateful.

MAR-APR 2016 - 13

Fortifying Your Strength

Against Relapse

by Batista Gremaud

Pain Relief: The Muscle/Nerve Connection


hile there are many triggers that push the addict to relapse, pain, physical and/or emotional, is certainly not to be underestimated. Is there hope for a pain free life? To answer this question, lets first explore what pain is. There are several categories of pain including but not limited to:  Physical  Emotional  Contrived Pain could be described as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, with objective and subjective aspects. Both pain and response to pain are influenced by beliefs, expectations, health conditions, gender, age, culture and other psycho-social factors. We are emotional human beings: All movement in the body is caused by our feelings, which are controlled by our nervous systems. For example, physical pain that we perceive when we have an injury or infection alerts us to the potential tissue damage, by sending pain signals via the spinal column to the brain. Sometimes pain persists after the injury has healed or may even appear when there was no apparent cause (contrived). The persistent pain is linked to changes in our nervous system, which responds to internal and external changes. Interestingly enough, whether pain is contrived, physical and/ or emotional, studies show that the brain perceives all pain in the same way. The nervous system uses a set of chemicals called neurotransmitters, to communicate between neurons within and across these stations in the pain pathways. A conventional way to handle pain is by administering narcotics to interrupt the relay of these pain messages. The problem is the body develops a dependency; you will need to increase the dose for the pain to subside as time goes on. Side effects when taking any particular drug or drugs combined can be worse than the original condition. It also further weakens the nervous system, which is responsible for the healing process of the body.

When the body is too weak, the nervous system becomes frazzled and the person involved worsens the condition by overreacting to situations “without thinking about the consequences first”, usually resulting in imaginary stress or pain, which over time can become an exaggerated or chronic condition. The stronger, more grounded individual is able to first evaluate situations, before acting in any decision being made, such as a call to positive action, which will end in a more positive result without escalating the feeling of pain. So the question is: ”What safe and revolutionary tool can I use in my recovery process, to heal emotional and physical pain and go beyond conventional therapy?” First understand that a key aspect of behavioral health is for the self-development of one’s own responsibility. You have to be responsible for your own health before you can be responsible for others, such as your family, parents, children, associates, students, or people under your guidance and or care. There’s a whole realm of responsibility, but if you can’t take responsibility for your own health then how can you take responsibility for others? Solution: Specific strength training tool that produces a twenty to fifty percent strength increase, grounds the body and strengthens the nervous system physically, by sending healing messages to the brain through the release of positive and natural chemicals. This is a revolutionary tool for stress management as it instantly quiets the mind, allowing you to overcome injuries more rapidly while handling emotions that seem to come up out of nowhere. Specific strength training can unlock the mysteries of how to achieve the next level of greatness in your life, giving you new hope for a pain free life, the self confidence and poise to exercise freedom of choice, and be all your can be from the inside out, finding self-acceptance and being loved and recognized for whom you truly are and so righteously deserve.

© 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

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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 #9: Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Addiction is a hopeless state of body and mind in which feelings of desperation affect every area of our lives. Through the recovery process, our bodies and our minds begin to heal, and soon, the world starts to change. When I first began recovery I was offered a vision of what my life might look like one day when I heard another man read The 9th Step Promises. I did not think it was possible for my life but I hoped it was possible. I remember the day – even where I was standing – when suicide was no longer an option for me. Over a year sober, and shortly after my father died, I was on my way to a class at graduate school when the thought popped into my head as it so often had for so many years. But this time something inside of me told me that no matter what I was going through somehow it would pass. I

began to see that life was a gift and what an incredible disservice it was to me – and what a profound lack of appreciation for the very breath that gave me life – to callously threaten to throw it away. Suicide simply was no longer an option. As each year has passed over these last 21 years of my recovery I have worked to find a deeper and greater appreciation for Life. When we look back to our lives of addiction after years of recovery it is as if we are remembering the life of a completely different person. That is how it feels for me today. Today I love life – with all of its pain and confusion – each day is an opportunity to grow and learn and continue on this amazing journey. I do not see life as something that must be endured anymore. I do not worship the Smiths, Samuel Beckett, and Sylvia Plath – to name a few of the necromantics – or at least the forlornaholics. You know, those bards of our culture who are intoxicated on the bleakness of life. That used to feed me – not realizing it was eating away my life from the inside. I am not naïve enough to believe that a return to that old life could never happen. I know that is not the case. But I do not live in fear of it. Nor do I spend nearly as much of my todays stuck in all of my yesterdays. I appreciate that it may feel like a risk to you to truly embrace life – knowing that it can and most likely will hurt you. But today it is worth the risk for me. As the Desiderata says at its end: “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

© 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

MAR-APR 2016 - 15

Mindfulness with Terra Schaad

Love Versus Fear


id you know there are only two primary emotions, love and fear? Every single other emotion that shows up in our body can be categorized under both of those two. Think about it, when we are grieving, we are fearful of life without the being or situation we are losing. When we are angry, we are fearful that our status is being threatened. When we are joyful, we are open and in love with the opportunity that we think may be presenting itself. If we pause long enough to notice how love and fear show up in our body, we begin to notice the subtleties of the varying emotional responses. When we are feeling LOVE emotions like happiness, joy, and curiosity, our heart space is open, our eye brows are raised, our jaw is soft, and our heart rate may even be a little elevated.

FEAR emotions often show up with muscle tension, jaws tightened, eyebrows furrowed, and a slight downward draw of the mouth. Take time to notice what these positive, neutral, and negative emotional states feel like in your body. Get curious about them. Study them using a beginners mind. Every day we witness clients moving into love and away from fear. Recently, a new client brought with her a past of negative experiences with both horses and an ex-boyfriend—experiences that triggered fear a fear response in the arena with horses. Discussion revealed her typical behaviors with her ex included avoidance, missing work, isolating and feeling unworthy. Behaviors motivated by fear. Together, we explored the mindfulness practice of beginner’s mind: entering a situation, that maybe once caused fear, and practicing experiencing it as if it is the first time—as a beginner would. When we use beginners mind, we notice the fear response that arises, let go of judgments and expectations, and begin again. When our client practiced walking into the arena as if it was the first time she had ever seen a horse, she was able to feel curious about what new stories and connections she could create, in the present moment, with our herd of four legged healers. They responded with love and approached immediately. As she reached out her hand to touch, pet, and connect with them, her face was beaming within moments. The shift allowed us to move into a conversation about how she could use beginner’s mind to shift the fear and avoidance she felt when facing her ex. In the arena she was able to let go of the hurt and anger left from past encounters. Those encounters no longer define her future. When we practice using our beginner’s mind, we change our experiences and create hope.

© Terra is a zealous horse lover and the executive director of Hunkapi Programs, Inc. Terra holds a bachelor of science degree in pre-veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Arizona State University. She practices living mindfully, is an avid adventurer, yogi, and two-time Ironman Arizona finisher. She embraces her extraordinary life with mindful, contagious enthusiasm and gratitude.

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No Bunny is beyond Hope

MAR-APR 2016 - 17

Step 12 Magazine’s

Newcomer’s Page The Promises

As newcomers, we often walk through the doors of our respective 12-step meetings in complete despair. In almost every case, there has been some devastating event preceding that reluctant seat in the anonymous rooms. What carries us in is the hope that a solution exists. Whether kicking and screaming on a “nudge from the judge”, slithering shamefully after another failed attempt to exercise our self-control, or the desire to stop drinking recklessly and start drinking responsibly, we arrive hopeful.

When we really look at the promises and visualize their true essence, we can see that they are centered around peace of mind and serenity. They promise self-respect and freedom from addiction. We are promised the help we need to avoid the inevitable negative consequences.

Whether we have walked in for the first time, or we’re returning after another failed attempt, it usually feels like we’ve reached the last house on the block. And although we might be skeptical, hope lives in the fact that we are there. Hope lives in the fact that this solution has worked for thousands who, otherwise, would be considered hopeless. There are some facts about alcoholics and addicts that cannot be disputed. Without the willingness to get help, many of us will be destined for jails, institutions and untimely death. These drastic consequences are pointed out in the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous and are commonly accepted in most substance-related 12-step fellowships. They are not promises, they just seem to be the natural progression of the disease and it’s consequences. There is proof of these consequences in every newspaper, news broadcast, and heartbroken family torn apart by the powerlessness of addiction.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. • We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. • That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. • Self-Seeking will slip away. • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

The 12-step recovery program does make some promises. These promises are the positive consequences we can expect when we thoroughly work the program. As a newcomer it’s hard to trust a promise. Many of us have made countless promises only to break them over and over—usually without intending to. But the promises can only be denied if we ourselves chose not to embrace the program, work the steps, stay clean/sober one day at a time with the help of someone who has been there before and understands how hard it really is.

As a newcomer, it’s difficult to believe or even imagine these promises coming true for us. Find someone who looks like they have peace of mind and serenity in their life and ask them what it was like before. You will undoubtedly see the manifestation of these promises in their life and it will be hard to imagine them in a state of despair and disease. We all deserve to have these gifts in our lives — and we all have the ability to work for them.

The Promises

Pages 83-84 of the Big Book of A.A.--at the end of Steps 8 & 9 (Making Amends)

Newcomer’s Checklist aDon’t Take That First Drink or Drug aMake Plenty of Meetings aCall Sponsor aHang out with People in Recovery aFocus on the Positive aTalk about your Feelings aBeware of People, Places, & Things 18 - MAR-APR 2016

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

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out of their way to cause (for a public freshly weened on ‘direct to consumer’ marketing—thanks to Ronald Reagan) ‘problems’ to which only they hold the solution—in the form of a pill. Rental available at Amazon prime, HD $6.99

THUGS & DOLLS Prescription Thugs 2016 / Valley Of The Dolls 1967 When a film starts in black and white, you might expect it to be dull or overly historical. However after the B&W opening in Prescription Thugs, we’re suddenly slammed to the mat at a WWE match. From personal demons that are revealed later, to the death of the filmmaker’s brother, we are unflinchingly exposed to today’s leading cause of accidental death in America—and it’s not car accidents or drunk drivers anymore. A cautionary tale on so many levels, viewers of Prescription Thugs, directed and narrated by Chris (Bigger Stronger Faster) Bell, gain a keen understanding that, as murderous and collusive as the pharmaceutical industry is in their relentless march to profit for their shareholders, we don’t know the half of it. The film is entertaining enough to keep viewers engaged throughout, though I don’t believe it will reach the audience that would most benefit from it: high school and college students. Chris and Mike ‘Mad-Dog’ Bell are brothers who are both professional wrestlers. While it looks like it’s going to be about wrestlers, director Bell deftly brings the material around so nearly anyone can identify with the cycles of addiction it’s so easy to slip into, once pushed on some metaphorical ice. Prescription Thugs brings in how Pharmaceutical corporate giants, who go

For an unlikely companion piece to the one hour, 26 minutes Prescription Thugs, one would have to go back almost 50 years to find the 1967 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, a New York and Hollywood mash-up that no Damon Runyon ‘Guy’ would ever take a ‘Doll’ to because in this universe which, unlike the Bell’s documentary, resonates with no one. ‘Dolls’ are a euphemism for garden variety, very random ‘pills’ also known as ‘medication’. As bizarre as it may seem, there’s a certain symmetry to these two films, if for no other reason than they belong together purely on the criteria of pills—and since not all pills are equal, we can enjoy the over the top studio treatment that a big budget, notorious pile of campy trash can provide for a the very naive populace of America, circa the mid-1960s, for what it is and still gasp in the true horror that, nearly five decades later, only the hair styles have changed. It was enlightening to look at the phenomenon that Valley Of The Dolls was. I couldn’t resist it and found it a nearly captivating comic relief for a genre—the addiction/recovery film, that I’ll be writing about regularly in the pages of this magazine. And as old-school as this may sound, I’m determined to keep

the tone light enough to entertain while seriously navigating the very real precipice of what drug and alcohol addiction have come to mean in the very twisted America of 2016.

e p o D n o e oN Hop

Leonard Buschel is the Founder and Director of REEL Recovery Film Festival

Not Your Mother’s Podcast

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Real Internet Radio ~ Live & On Demand

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MAR-APR 2016 - 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!

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Dan Sanfellipo

Respond vs. React

n the past I never took the time to pause and assess a situation completely. I could see the immediate circumstance and I instinctively needed to take control of it. I learned to “gain the upper hand” early in my life and I practiced it daily. I became a champion at controlling and manipulating situations so that I would emerge the victor; the most powerful, the most feared, the most respected. In recovery, it takes practice to unlearn the instinct to react with aggression. It takes practice to assess situations beyond the immediate intense emotion and pause long enough to respond appropriately rather than react instinctively. With about a year clean/sober, I was having lunch with a dear friend I’d known for twenty years. She was going through some difficulties and reached out to me for “spiritual advice straight from the Buddha.” I was feeling clear-headed and proud of myself for being available and grounded enough to help. At that time, having lunch at Polly Pie’s in Huntington Beach, I was able to focus on someone else. I was having a positive impact on another human being. As I was driving home from that spiritually uplifting experience, some guy pulls in front of me on the freeway and slams on his brakes. He wouldn’t let me pass and he wouldn’t speed up. It was aggressive behavior and my old instincts kicked in with a vengeance—it was ON. I ended up chasing him down the freeway, pulling up next to him and “ordered him” to pull over through my rolled down window. I got in front of him and slammed on my brakes—I was SHOWING him who “I” was! It was maniac behavior on my part. The only sign of anything spiritual is the fact that the guy did not pull over. As a third-striker, any violent confrontation would have led to my immediate arrest and I would be facing another life sentence. From Buddha to Badass in the blink of an eye. It’s a daily battle. It became clear (although not immediately) that victory over these extreme reactions would require continuous practice—practicing response rather than reaction which would require leaning how to pause.

Two years later, I had a similar situation with a very different response. Driving home late one night from Jiu Jitsu after a couple hours of training, this car pulls up on my passenger side. The guy driving is honking his horn and flipping me off. He’s insanely angry and yelling “use your blinker! Are you autistic?” He was doing what I did before—being a badass. Instinctively, every fiber in my body wanted to react. My head was reacting internally, “How bad do you wanna find out? “Pull over and I’ll show you.” “Let’s ask your mother!” But I paused at the thought that quickly followed: the potential and probable outcome. I did not want to be calling my girl from jail to say I wouldn’t be home tonight—or maybe ever. I did not want to have her tell my boss that I wouldn’t be into work tomorrow—or ever again. I looked at this guy as he waited for my reaction. Instead, I responded, “Matter of fact, I am.” I rolled up my window and kept driving. He was furious, took the next right turn, and it was over. I went home, rested, and played the scenarios out in my head. I’m grateful that there was no fight, no gunshot, no blood, no prison. I still hate being talked to with disrespect and aggression. I still go quickly into “You don’t know who you’re messin’ with, but I will set you straight” mode. Now, I know how to pause. When I’m in a moment and don’t like what’s going down, I can pause long enough to choose my response rather than react instinctively. The consequences of a situation will be drastically different because of that pause. In that pause I can make a choice. I still want the upper hand. I still have a strong survival instinct. With the help of my willingness to lean on a higher power and my willingness to practice unlearning some old behaviors, I can respond to life in a positive rational way rather than react with force and dominance. Ironically, I earn respect Written by Karen VanDenBerg based on interviews with Dan Sanfellip

© 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

MAR-APR 2016 - 21

Hope for Healing - It Happens to Boys

By Carol Teitelbaum, MFT


s a result of the ten year ACE study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Disease Control we now know the possible problems that can arise after being subjected to abuse or neglect, everything from physical and emotional problems to learning disabilities. I have been working with men for the last eight years and I have witnessed the shame and hurt from their past abuse turn into rage. Men have been told from the time they understand language that to be a “real” man they must not cry, show their vulnerabilities, or ask for help. They must “Keep that Stiff Upper Lip”. The result of suppressing feelings for years and years, as well as keeping the secret of being sexually abused, is usually expressed as rage. Men who have not dealt with their abuse issues are “Acting out” by using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, “acting out” sexually, (excessive masturbation, pornography, sexual encounters) gambling, domestic violence, child abuse, road rage, self harm, or “acting in”, depression, fear, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Just as the effects of using drugs and alcohol at an early age arrests one’s emotional maturity, so does being sexually abused. When a young boy is sexually abused he has lost his ability to mature sexually in a ritualized way. First boys discover their own bodies; they learn what their body feels like, touching themselves and eventually discovering that their penis does more than just urinate. They learn when they touch their penis in a certain way it feels good and they learn about masturbation. As the boy gets older he has an experience with a partner, discovering their body and learning about what makes them feel good. Now imagine someone has robbed you of that experience and manipulated you into performing these rituals all at once and you are only eight or ten years old, way too young to even understand the feelings you are having or what this behavior means. So many men have no sexual education; they have no knowledge except from magazines or porn about how to make love to a partner, and the expectations they have from watching professional actors perform in porn movies leaves them questioning even more their own real life sexual experience. The experience never seems to match up to what they saw on the screen. The first step in healing is speaking up and telling someone what happened, therapist, a counselor, a sponsor, a good friend. The first telling is very difficult for men to do but so freeing when they find out they are not alone. The statistics are staggering; one in three girls and one in four boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. Once men learn that other men out there have been through similar experiences they start to feel some relief. Since most children blame themselves if something bad happens in their family; a divorce, abuse, poverty, drugs and alcohol, children are positive that whatever happened was as a result of their own shortcomings; not smart enough, not good looking enough, or not strong enough. Most male survivors feel such shame because they failed the litmus test

of what a “real” man is. Real men are not abused, beaten, or witness the abuse of their siblings, “real” men fight back, protect themselves and those around them, and never shed a tear. This is what they have been told. This message is damaging to our men. When I hold up a size eight T shirt in front of a man and ask him to look at how big he really was when he was abused, it usually brings him to tears. How could an eight year old body defend himself against a grown man? The visual cue really helps to understand the disparity between the adult man and the little boy. Helping men get in touch with that little boy they once were and committing to be a good parent to him is so helpful in the healing process, to be able to understand what triggers their old wounds and fears and to know that these events are not happening in the present moment, but deeply seeded in their past. Men can learn mindfulness exercises and learn how to regulate their emotions, bringing themselves back to the here- and- now and by learning re-parenting of that wounded little child they once were. When my group of survivors and I began to speak at recovery centers offering workshops to male patients and staff, we had to fight an uphill battle, being told over and over again that men had to be sober a year before they could deal with these issues. What we found, working in the trenches, is that sixtyeight percent of men in recovery facilities are abuse survivors but never tell anyone. They get out of treatment, get triggered and relapse. Now, thankfully trauma work is a part of most facilities and we are invited in to offer our workshops. Watching men heal has been so rewarding, seeing smiling sober faces, having good relationships with partners and their children. There is Hope. See more information about the It Happens to Boys Conference taking place on 3/5/16 at

© 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

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39th Annual SAN DIEGO SPRING ROUND UP March 24-27, 2016 Town & Country Resort Hotel

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The following book reviews are honest IMPRESSIONS of these newly released titles. Grab a copy and see if you agree... These are not “paid” reviews. Do you have any recommendations for books about recovery? Get in touch! email:

Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery by Erica Spiegelman

Erica Spiegelman is one of the few people who truly understands the disease of addiction and the attainability of recovery. Through Rewired, she shares the principles and actions required to cultivate and re-enforce a healthy self. This book offers readers the tools necessary to plot a road to recovery, and to proceed step-by-step toward maintaining this positive change with useful and practical advice on what addicts can do to recover from their addictions. Written from the perspective of an experienced professional in the field of addiction, this book is forward-thinking and innovative, and maintains a down to earth, intuitive wisdom as it navigates the path not just though addiction and recovery, but through all the challenges life has to offer. Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs by Marc Lewis PhD

Meticulous and evocative, this is a compelling story for anyone grappling with any kind of drug addiction. Marc Lewis’s brutally honest account of his own life as an addict skips deftly from vivid accounts of his drug using years to neuroscientific explanations of the effects on his own brain of the drugs he used. Using an unusual blend of scientific expertise and street cred, Lewis’ work embraces the typical rise to redemption narrative; teenage experiments, late 60s Berkeley, exotic forays into Malaysia and Calcutta, and his inevitable slide into crime and desperation. The real plot twist here is that he ends up a professional neuropsychologist, able to break down the neuro-chemical changes taking place inside his brain as he consumed drugs, and finally throughout his struggle to come clean. A fascinating two-sided perspective on the perils and allure of drug addiction.

MAR-APR 2016 - 23

Dear Petra...

Expert answers to your questions about Hep C and Addiction

90 Day Post Treatment Test!? Washington, DC

Dear Petra: How can someone be undetected the entire time they are on treatment, only to relapse at the end of treatment? This happened after my 90 day post treatment blood test. Do you have a theory as to why this occurs? I am devastated. Dear Devastated: I cannot tell you how much empathy I feel for you at this moment. The Hep C virus is a very smart and tricky one. What happens is that it hides in the fat of your liver ... appearing to be gone ... then as treatment comes to an end, it comes back out to create more havoc. I pray that you never give up hope and that they find a better course of treatment for you.

How the Heck Did I End Up With Hepatitis C?

Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Petra: A close friend of mine convinced me to get a Hepatitis C test the next time I went in for my regular blood work. She advised me that I had to demand it since it is a separate test and so I did. The test came back positive and I have no idea how I could have contracted this disease!? They tell me that it is life threatening! Can you help me please??? Dear How Did I Contract Hep C?: I am so very sorry to hear of your unexpected news. Hepatitis C is a blood to blood disease. There is no vaccine, and it is not Hep A or B. There are literally countless ways to contract Hep C, so allow me to name the most common. Blood transfusion prior to 1992, injection drug use (including steroid, tan, botox, etc.) straws, pipes (all paraphernalia including the water and cotton ... redipping) tattoos, piercings, razor blades, toothbrushes, nail clippers, fights, medical and dental equipment (not sterilized properly). No one ever really knows how they contracted it, but most have a generally good idea. The sooner you get treated, the better the chances of being cured. I wish you the best in your future.

Parent of an Addict

Grand Prairie, Alberta Dear Petra: I need to learn how to detach myself from my son’s addictions, so any advice would be helpful. I also do not have a support system right now. I have learned about my son’s addiction last year. I thought it was just a passing phase in his life. After giving him some “ultimatums,” I still find stashes of different drugs in his bag and he continues to go out drinking with his friends. It painful as a parent to see him destroy his life like this. What can I do to help him? Dear Loving Parent: The hard truth here is that you are more than likely the last person on the planet that can help your son. As a matter of fact, you both need help. The first option

of course would be to direct you to a private counselor. If money is an issue then I would advice you both to seek support groups (for you, perhaps Al-Anon). You need support and to learn more about addictions, and he needs to be given some “tools” to help him cope differently with life. I wish you both a healthier future.

Broken and Beautiful Anaheim, California

Dear Petra: I am addicted to Adderall, so I would more than welcome any advice and/or ideas for resources. Thinking about trying it on my own... which is why I am here looking for information/inspiration. Dear Broken: Rather than try to quit adderall on your own, it is always recommended that you taper off of the drug within a detox facility, where you will have the help of medical professionals.That being said, and depending on your usage, if you are planning to do this on your own, I advice that you taper off slowly, with your doctors help. Also make sure that people that love and care about you are available and checking in on you. The side effects can range in severity and include depression, trouble sleeping, aggression, and even suicidal thoughts. Please be well, and know that you are one courageous young woman, to have the desire to quit.

Am I addicted to the Internet? Fragment Shadow El Paso, Texas

Dear Petra: I spend a lot of time on the internet and in chats and forums. I feel like it might be becoming a real issue for me, as I cannot seem to stop going online. As soon as there is a pause and I have nothing to do for just a moment ... there I go again. Is there such a thing as being addicted to the internet? Dear Fragmented: Yes, internet addiction is real and considered to be the “new age addiction.” It is even in Wikipedia: Internet addiction disorder (IAD), commonly called problematic Internet use (PIU), compulsive Internet use (CIU), Internet overuse, problematic computer use, pathological computer use, or iDisorder, refers to excessive computer use which interferes with daily life. If this is the case you might want to think about weaning yourself off. Best of luck. ATTENTION DEAR READERS My colleagues and I have been working on a platform that translates all languages globally in real time (after we receive funding). It connects doctors and scientists and NGO’s to patients and caregivers and to one another. We pray in time it will help raise awareness and education and ERADICATE the STIGMA! Please do your part and sign up today at Hepatitis C is a growing Global Pandemic! 1 in 12 people have viral hepatitis Globally.

© 2016 Petra aka Petrabilities is a Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Card Reader, Speaker, Author and CEO of #HepCGI . Being an expert in her field and specializing in addictions, Petra is here to answer all your questions and concerns. Please send your questions anonymously via the contact form at or

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Puzzles Above Action Adventure Believe Blessings Challenge Easter Embrace Encourage Faith Fortune Gratitude

Hope Lessons Light Needs Optimism Prayer Rewars Security Shelter Spring Struggle Triumph


2. “…as we trudge the road to happy ________” 6. Step one “We admitted we were _______ over…” 10. Appendix II in the Big Book, ________ Experience. 11. An undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally. 12. The act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself. 13. A feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. 14. A positive outlook with hopeful expectations. 16. Bill W.’s last name. 17. Alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, oppression, etc. 18. The principle associated with Tradition one of AA.


Solutions on Page 44

Solution on Page 44

Spot the 21 differences in these pictures

Down 1. To continue a purpose steadfastly. 3. ______ springs eternal. 4. Chapter 5 in the Big Book, How it ______. 5. __________ before personalities 7. “But for the ______ of God….” 8. One_____ at a time. 9. The act or process of imparting or acquiring knowledge. 15. There is _______ in numbers.

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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. 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,

Part 4: The Neurobiology of Cannabis Abuse Marijuana continues to be one of the most widely used substances throughout the United States and Europe. Marijuana dependence is marked by continued usage despite ensuing social, psychological, and physical deficiencies. Additional deleterious impacts of marijuana dependence can include family and relationship issues, financial difficulties, depleted energy, reduced self-esteem, cycles of unproductivity, sleep disturbances, memory problems and a general dissatisfaction with life. Those suffering from this form of addiction perceive themselves as unable to stop, and most experience a period of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. An increasing body of clinical evidence suggests that cannabis may compromise the prefrontal cortex of the brain, thereby inducing impairment in an array of complex cognitive functions. The younger the user, the greater the propensity for abnormal changes in brain structures. This is particularly notable in the memory centers of the brain. A poor working memory is often a catalyst for poor academic and professional outcomes and an overall decrease in quality of life. These induced brain anomalies have been often witnessed up to two years after cessation of marijuana use, indicating possible extended term damage from chronic cannabis exposure. The respective damage to these memory-related brain structures may result in shrinkage and inward collapsing of the neurons. Marijuana related structural damages strongly resemble the brain abnormalities associated with Schizophrenia. Research has shown that structural brain changes can vastly impact the organ’s functionality. Chronic marijuana usage in young adults is additionally associated with exposure-dependent alterations of the Nucleus Accumbens and the Amygdala (the core neural reward structures) which affect motivation, decision making and emotions. Effective strategies for marijuana cessation

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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.

must address these types of underlying brain dysregulation. EEG neurofeedback is an appropriate therapeutic avenue for achieving better brain regulation. As the brain begins to self-regulate from neurofeedback entrainment, marijuana utilization becomes superfluous. Users feel far less compelled to “get high” when their brains are performing optimally with decreased levels of anxiety, tension, pain and stress.

As the movement to decriminalize marijuana increases momentum, it is important for individuals to understand the way that accessible substances may interact with their brain. These findings are critical for teens and young adults who are at increased risk for developing structural brain damage from protracted marijuana use. For further information about addiction, please visit our websites; and or contact us at © 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 www. and or reach him at

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with Craig Shoemaker continued from page 10

12. Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been emotionally and why? I’ve had a long and painful relationship with my ex-wife, which includes countless false allegations being lodged against me in court and out. The depths of despair and frustration were something I could have never foreseen. However the adversity also led to the most monumental changes of my life. It forced me to do personal inventory and this time put it on steroids. The benefits of the infinite authentic self that rose from the ashes, something that I could never have dreamed of, especially from such a chaotic and fear-filled childhood. 13. Describe the weirdest situation you’ve ever been in. To ask a comedian to define one weird moment of significance is like asking a sea captain to describe his favorite wave. There are too many to count, I’ve had so many surreal times that have had both good and bad consequences, but the key is to grow from each one. 14. Have you ever described in a public place as an addict or alcoholic? How did that feel? Because I used to surround myself with like-minded people, who drank and used like I did, I didn’t hear the label very often. If I do now, its a source of pride knowing that I am on a clear path of recovery. But it wasn’t always that way. My first few years of sobriety were filled with shame, rarely wanting to admit to anyone that I had what was perceived as a weakness. 15. Do you feel that substance/alcohol abuse magnified your problems? If so, in what ways? Substance abuse magnified my problems because it numbed my feelings to the point where I could justify and block out bad behavior. I have committed many crimes, and drinking with my friends led to laughing off the plight of the victims of those crimes. 16. Global advocacy against stigma is stronger than ever. Do you feel the battle is being won, and what more needs to be done? I believe our world is always evolving so there is always more to be done.

17. What is the biggest lesson life has taught you so far? That absolute truth and my acknowledgment of it is always the road to peace and happiness. 18. If you could be any cartoon character on earth, who would you be? Funny, I didn’t see this question when I answered the super hero with an animated character. Sometimes I wish I would just shut my mouth and be cool like the Pink Panther. He says it all without saying a word. 19. How big a part do you think diet plays in the maintenance and management of addiction? Good question. I think mind body and spirit are all very important. If we take care of our bodies through good nutrition it also strengthens our minds and our souls. 20. What should I have asked you that I didn’t? Has sobriety helped my career? The answer is most definitely. Not in a traditional sense by a fellow sober member hiring me for a job, but my approach to success is now about being in the moment. This has led to a thriving career that keeps getting better. It’s also led to another form of being of service as I have dedicated myself to raising the awareness of the healing powers of laughter. I’m even producing a weekend retreat which brings together top consciousness leaders with world renowned comedians. Its like building a bridge from the “woo-hoo to the ha-ha”. Lovemaster’d:

Alano Club of Costa Mesa 2040 Placentia Ave. Costa Mesa, Ca 92627





For Meeting Schedules and Upcoming Events Please visit our Website

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Realities of the Addicted Family

by Susan Jackson

The First Reality: Pathos I hope that the past few weeks have been a positive healing experience for you. I also hope that you may have considered how family addiction is like a scrimmage which includes several realities. As indicated in my last article about the addictive family, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the seven realities may help to find a healthy solution in our much sought after self-acceptance. The first reality we will explore is Pathos, a Greek word used to describe deep sadness or to suffer emotionally. Families and individuals suffering from the effects of chemical addiction in the family often suffer a deep sadness and the pain of emotional suffering. Emotional pain accompanies addiction in many forms. For instance; depression, anxiety and somatic symptoms when, in reality, they are the appropriate symptoms of living in an addictive family. As the disease of addiction progresses so does the pathos. Over time the addiction and the pathos merge and become unrecognizable as they devour each member of the family. Together addiction and pathos fulfill their role: keeping the family in a state of denial as to the true reality of their experience. Pathos describes the ongoing sorrow and the pain of a tormented mind. Eventually, this ongoing sorrow saturates into the body and spirit resulting in the addiction transforming itself into a mystifying powerful figure ruling over the whole family. The family sorrow intensifies. Every family experiences some level of emotional suffering. In the addictive family there is usually a tremendous amount of emotional suffering due to the unpredictability of the individual or individuals under the influence of a mind altering substance. This is due in part to the daily struggle within the family as they adjust to living with addiction, the scrimmage. Scrimmage, meaning a rough and vigorous struggle which can eventually lead to a “bloody battle”. The progression of addiction, in some cases, sadly does. Children growing up in an addictive family can be conditioned unconsciously to prepare for a daily family scrimmage. Pathos and scrimmage result in frequent emotional injuries that deeply wound and often destroy the genuine-self. A false-self can emerge and annihilate the true genuine-self, appearing as low self-esteem when in reality it is much deeper than that. The pathos experiences can often explain current circumstances that may be unpleasant, such as in our toxic relationships. For example, “the amount of pathos in an individual’s life can

determine the degree of emotional immaturity or maturity that one takes into a relationship” (Jackson). Pathos will cultivate a painful emotional identity, a Pathos Identity. This will often lead them into relationships that will continue the agonizing experiences of childhood. Without early intervention to resolve this painful emotional identity, their pathos slowly becomes comfortable and familiar and difficult to live without. It becomes excessive. This pathos, the on-going daily emotional suffering leads the emerged false-self into a relationship with another’s false-self; chaos ensues. How do we heal from this pathos cycle which is experienced in the addictive family? The answer lies in identifying the amount of pathos we have experienced and the scrimmage wounds that remain exposed. Realizing and accepting the family’s pathos, and the power and position it has had on the addictive family, can prepare the family for recovery. The goal is a congruent life, a Profound Coherent life. Understanding all the realities is the beginning of healing. The second reality is the Abstruse, the secrets, secret. The addictive family secrets are abstruse. We will explore the second reality next issue. Until then, remember we can heal from the family scrimmage and find our own personal joy and serenity. What once was an injustice can now be the teacher that taught us to live in truth if we so choose to do so.

© Susan Jackson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, and Clinical Director for New Creation Healthcare Foundation/His House. Susan has contributed to the field of addiction, as distinguished Clinician, Clinical Supervisor, Director, and Author for over 28 years. She began her career working for the City of Chino, as a Gang Interventionist, Domestic Violence Counselor, and Prevention Specialist. Susan’s dedication and experience working with adolescents with substance use disorders, and their afflicted families, led her to Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, where she became the Family Therapist on the Chemical Dependency Unit.

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Saint Patrick’s Day can be a tough day for recovering alcoholics. This holiday in particular can be more difficult than others. Temptation lurks on every corner. Friends and family jump into the spirit of the day, wearing green clothes, making green food and even greener drinks. There are parties everywhere. Traditionally, Saint Paddy’s Day was celebrated as a day to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland, but more recently it has evolved into an “all you can drink” party all over the world which has nothing to do with Ireland or Saint Patrick. Many recovering alcoholics despise this day for obvious reasons. It’s one of the few days of the year it can be almost impossible to avoid the drinking culture. While it can be challenging to maintain a positive outlook, it’s not impossible. There is no reason a recovering alcoholic should feel worried, scared or intimidated on this day. Here are some helpful tips to stay sober and enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day: 1. Keep away from the party hotspots if you can. 2. Stay at home and avoid the crowds. 3. Find a sober St. Patricks day party. 4. Make a list of things to do and do them. 5. Keep on living your life like it’s any other day. 6. Connect with sober friends and call your sponsor. 7. Celebrate with friends and family by making a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and then watch The Commitments. Positive Messages Hidden in The Energy of Gratitude

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Resources for Families Naranon Family Groups Alanon Family Groups CODA for Co-dependents NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Ask The Judge (answers for teens about the law) Addiction Inbox Pathway to Prevention (teen use and abuse stops here) CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) GRASP (Grief support for those who have lost someone to addiction) Camp Mariposa (For children who have addiction in the family) Recovery Research Institute The McAlister Institute (low cost/no cost treatment services) Resource List from Denise Krochta at Addicts Family Lifeline, Inc.

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Please send your submissions to: We’d love to hear from you.

Old Man

Chris Roe. Norfolk, England

By your side There is peace, A quiet place Of beauty and realisation, Where wisdom Seeks reason and understanding, Where myth is laid to rest By the reality of knowledge. By your side There is hope, That arrogance and greed Will not destroy, That selfless love Will prevail. By your side Life is sacred, A future For the children To unfold. By your side In your presence There is love

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I look in the mirror and I like who I see I think I found myself I’m finally free. |S.M. Pastore|

You Think You Know Me... By Jennifer Lee You think you know me, but you don’t. You judge me for my clothes, my looks, My past, my present, my walk, my talk .... You think you know me, but you don’t. Do you see, do you really see me? Look again... I’m that girl, The one who hides in the corner, Because she’s shy, not stuck up. The one who smiles all the time, Even when she has a hard time finding that smile. The addict who overcame, Even when the world fell out from under her. The single mom who sometimes cries herself to sleep, Because she doesn’t know how she’s going to keep going. The quiet girl with her nose in a book, Because sometimes fantasy is better than reality. The smart girl who never speaks up, Because no one listens to her anyway. The woman who found God and told the world, Because victory is sweet. You think you know me, but you don’t....

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Hope Floats on Quips and Quotes by Lyn P., Unity Hall, Sun City

“Why I Am Worthy” by Sydnee Kyle Hemet, CA I am worthy. Of life, and this second chance I choose to take advantage of. I am worthy of acknowledgement. Not because I feel entitled, but because I, like every single one of us, am a tiny but necessary piece in the puzzle of life. Every thing and every one happens for a reason. I am worthy of love. Not because society or culture tells us to love one another, but because I was born into this world with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual capabilities of giving love, and receiving love. I am worthy of compassion, because I am not a bad or evil person. I am simply a person striving for positive improvement. I am worthy of companionship and a multitude of relationships with people. I was not created in this world as one single individual forced to spend my days in complete isolation, so why would I? I am worthy of being my own individual. Everything about me, from my past, my experiences, my knowledge, and even down to my fingerprints, is mine, and mine alone. Therefore, I have a right to be me just as much as you have the right to be you. I am worthy of laughter. Animals that walk this planet are not equipped with useless traits. The tiger has stripes for camouflage. The bird has wings to fly. The fish has gills to breathe. We have laughter to heal the soul. I am worthy of sobriety. You would not damn the child born with Down’s Syndrome. You would not damn the man struck by lightning. You would not damn the woman who gave birth to a stillborn. So why should I be damned for addiction? I won’t. Because I am worthy.

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ang h W e n Suzan

What a WHANGderful World! Redefining Beauty

I’ve had breast cancer three times in the past ten years, Extracellular Matrix Powder, made out of pig bladders, because like most Asians, I’m an overachiever. In 2011 which regrows human tissue. I decided to try it in my it metastasized to Stage Four, and the doctors said I had crater, and it worked, but my left breast oinks now. six months to live. I chose not to get reconstructive plastic surgery to “fix” Throughout my journey, I had multiple surgeries, my left breast, because I decided it looks beautiful just radiation, and an oral form of chemotherapy. I also the way it is—asymmetrical, scarred, and bizarre, with changed what I eat, drink, and think. I started meditating some magically regrown tissue and skin. I realized that I and getting acupuncture. I learned that I needed to slow can redefine what I see as feminine, beautiful and sexy. down, ask for help, and receive it. In Asian culture, I was encouraged to do a topless photo shoot. Before I it’s considered low class to admit that you have any got cancer, if anyone had asked me to do that, I would problems. But I have come to realize that we are only as have said, “Not in a million years. I will do that at sick as our secrets. I had been keeping the cancer private NEVER O’CLOCK.” But I decided to say yes. It was for the first five years, and when I finally came out of the a very emotional experience, and I had to push through cancer closet, I received a tsunami of love and support. I fear, sadness and resistance. My friend Caroline White was, quite literally, LOVED back to life. I made cancer took the photos, and my favorite one captured me feeling my bitch, and I’m now completely cancer-free. beautiful, strong, and grounded. One of my surgeries was a lumpectomy removing a I am now healthier and happier than I ever was before I grapefruit-sized tumor from my left breast. The incision got cancer. I don’t just site got infected and believe in miracles, opened up, leaving a I AM one. I’m 53 large crater filled with years young, and the black necrotic tissue, best is yet to come. If which the surgeon you’re dealing with had to snip out with cancer or any other no anesthesia while major challenge, I I screamed. To heal know you can reclaim the crater, a nurse your health. Expect came and placed a miracle. And if you saline-soaked gauze have judgment or inside the crater, and insecurity about any then came back eight part of your body, I hours later to rip out hope this story will the dry gauze while I help you embrace your screamed. This process scars, asymmetries, removes dead tissue and imperfections, and promotes growth and realize that you of new healthy tissue. are uniquely gorgeous, A few weeks into this exactly the way you process, I learned about (To see the full photograph, go to “An Open Apology”) are. © Suzanne Whang is best known as the host of HGTV’s #1 show, House Hunters, for almost a decade. She also co-hosted Bloopers with Dick Clark on NBC, and FOX After Breakfast with Tom Bergeron. Suzanne played Polly on NBC’s Las Vegas for four seasons, and she’s a double award-winning stand-up comedian. She’s a published author, keynote speaker, teacher, coach, political activist, and metaphysical minister. Suzanne has a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University, and a Masters in Cognitive Psychology from Brown University. She’s currently starring in the sitcom From Here On Out (Here TV), recurring on the new DirecTV series Kingdom, and starring in the hilarious upcoming feature film, A Weekend With The Family, in theaters April 1st. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @suzannewhang.

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Hope For Help

ollering “Help!” oddly didn’t help. Crying wasted precious salt reserves that my system struggled to save, disjointed thoughts battled each other on the overcrowded battlefield of my warped brain. Pain on top of pain promised only more pain on top of pain. Going beneath the bottom of the bottoms brought the resignation that there was nothing more that I could do, think, try. In the distance shone a tiny ray of (dare I think it?) H.O.P.E. Actually Hope is all that is left when everything else packs up and leaves. Hope is the last life-preserver before the ship slips beneath view. Hope is the friend I thought I lost that calls from out of the blue with a joke or a jingle. Hope is the knot untied that threatened to remain a tangled mess forever. Hope is help that waits quietly inside where it’s always waited: quiet, unobtrusive, steadfast, loyal. It’s the seed of survival waiting to be watered into full bloom. Hope is Faith. Many people “wish”. Wishing differs from hope in that wishing indicates lack of probability. Wishing is dreaming.

By Lori Nelson

We wish to win the lottery. We wish the job of our dreams to magically appear via a networking event full of other wishful bores. We wish for the car of our dreams; a mate who’s loyal; gorgeous, tall children who will support us when they become astronauts or doctors; and that our Oscar speech will be the viral video of show business for decades. We wish. And we rub the genie lamps of our dreams with those wishes. Hope is different. While wishes hold fantasy and imagination, hope wagers with reality and possibility. With hope comes conquering strength. Hope gets support from will and effort. Hope lifts impossibility. Hope finds a way. Tears dry up, leaving resolve and resolution on a well-worn path. Hope is a can-do call for action. Hope means survival and most of all hope means all of our wishes and dreams can come true. That is my wish for you. Hope is Faith and Faith is forever.

© 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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My Recovery and Its ‘New Paradigm’

by Claire Gormley

My sobriety kicked in at some point in the late 90’s while living in Istanbul. The exact date is unknown. My memory isn’t good because of multiple electric shock therapy treatments back in the early 90’s while undergoing treatment for depression caused by alcohol addiction. I grew up in a village in Ireland, our family home was an apartment above my parent’s bar. My mother is an alcoholic, as was her father. Being a vulnerable child, I was sexually abused by a local priest from an early age. My parents were busy working the bar seven days a week. Most nights I went to sleep listening to the roars of drunkenness below. At the age of fourteen I started drinking, and subsequently spent many years escaping inner turmoil. I lived in many places the world over, looking for a place to be happy, or find peace. I couldn’t find that place. I always ended up living on the edge, with the worst crowd, people who couldn’t seem to function, fellow souls who wanted to obliterate, with zero awareness I was stuck on a destructive path, and no sense to find a way out. AA was a lifesaver, as was meeting others I could relate to. Clarity and a deeper understanding of life set in. I realized I needed healing, talking alone wasn’t enough. I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood trauma and major abuse. I felt out of body trying to cope, my soul fragmented. The 11th step attracted me. I felt really drawn to meditate, but I couldn’t discipline myself to do it alone, so I joined a worldwide meditation system called Heartfulness. It

focuses on expansion of the heart, the seat of the soul. It helps one to be in a constant state of love; the original condition, behind all our complexities. It gave me a rest from all the thinking. I can go into deeply absorbed states, regulate my thoughts, and feel centered, balanced. It removes the lower tendencies of self. In the deepest silence of meditation, where all the turbulence of life is forgotten, only peace and bliss remain. It doesn’t cost money and is the best medication for the soul! In 2012, the Mayan Elders predicted a shift in consciousness, not the end of times as many thought; a shift into a Higher ReaIity and a new Paradigm/ Era would begin. With that shift, many people are waking up, wanting a different way of life, tired of the old materialistic system. Many seek spiritual paths, especially the younger generation, who seem to come to earth with more awareness. Quantum Physics brings a greater understanding of life in all its dimensions and realms. I read many books on spirituality, healing, and science. I began to understand that the body, the mind, the heart, the soul are all inseparable from one another. All of life is interconnected, a vibrating mass of energy. How expanded brain states, light and sound healing, energy and vibrational healing, conscious breathing, exercise, nutrition, harmonious thoughts, all contribute to feeling whole, and connected to All that is. It is incredible to know, and feel, all these dimensions to life, and diverse ways of healing. It seems that AA is also evolving! I recently spent time in LA and was happy to see there were meditation-only meetings every week. Sometimes it suits me better to connect with fellow members in deeper silence, the easiest way for me to improve Conscious Contact with the Divine Source.

Claire Gormley is an author. For more information about The Divine Spark see: and www.

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. 34 - MAR-APR 2016

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

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With Bob K Cruising the Mexican Riviera

Recovering Couples Anonymous 12-Step Program for Couples

Recovering from Dysfunctional Patterns of Communication

781-794-1456 (WSO)

Well, here’s a new one! The TravelSober professional took a real non-working vacation. Beth and I went on, what else, a seven-day cruise on the Norwegian Jewel to the Mexican Riviera. Not so surprising, as we love cruising. We decided to evaluate the cruise as passengers, not divulging our profession, at least in the beginning. We love cruise vacations for a variety of reasons. We unpack once. We pick where we want to go and do what we want to do when we arrive. We do not have to pay for point to point air in order to see a variety of interesting cities in Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, or anywhere else! Onboard a cruise ship, there are many choices for excellent cuisine. Healthy choices are available and ohhhhh the desserts, just sayin’. All cruise lines also have specialty dining choices for a modest surcharge, much less than you would pay at your favorite restaurant. These choices are intimate, fun and worthwhile. And, you don’t have to pay to get great food. The entertainment on the ship is the caliber of what you would get at a top line show in Las Vegas or on Broadway in the Big Apple. There was everything from Musical Revue (singers and dancers) to rock music, to a comedian and a magician. For those who like to sing, there is Karaoke and a new concept Bandaoke, where the singer is actually accompanied by a full band. I almost went for it this time. We spent time on our balcony where we were treated to whale sightings, went to the pool, and listened to some great lounge singers who did tributes to the Beatles. In Cabo San Lucas, we had a leisurely day of shopping for warm weather clothes. On Mexican Riviera cruises it is fun to under pack as Cabo is the first stop and t-shirts dresses for Beth were really inexpensive. The Dolphin Experience in Cabo, which we did last year, is an awesome experience. At Mazatlan, we bought a tour to Stone Island where we were treated to a boat tour, then snorkeled, sunned and rode on a banana boat, with horse riding an option, all for one low price. It was a greatful, grateful day. In Puerto Vallarta, there is a very strong AA group, which has a morning meeting. A $10.00 each way, 15-minute cab ride is worth it and the restaurants near the meeting site are good with safe food, water and ice. March 5-12, 2017 is our next scheduled Recovery Conference at Sea. Have a look at our web site for more information and join the 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.

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RECOVERY ONLINE Alcohol Addiction Alcoholics Anonymous: Secular Sobriety: Women for Sobriety: SMART Recovery: NIAAA: CDC: Drug Addiction/Substance Abuse: Narcotics Anonymous: NIDA: Recovery Program Search Engine: Sex Addiction Sex Addicts Anonymous: Sex Addict Help: Healthy Mind: SASH: Food Addiction Overeaters Anonymous: ACORN: Food Addicts: RFA: Gambling Addiction: Gambling Anonymous: Problem Gambling: CCPG: Other Addictions: Internet Addiction Addictions/index.aspx?AID=43 ReStart: www.netaddictionrecovery Support Groups for Family and Friends Al-anon: Al-ateen: Adult Children of Addicts: Gam-Anon: Codependency: Forums: Mental Health Links SAMHSA: Check out Step 12 Magazine on Social Media @Step12Magazine

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Healing Sex Addiction: The Building Blocks of Intimacy

by Alexandra Katehakis MFT

Sex addiction is a coping mechanism, much like compulsive eating, gambling or drinking, that works to either augment the addict’s pleasure or numb his or her pain. It’s a defense against overwhelming feelings that the addict cannot regulate, feelings that have their roots in childhood, when primary caregivers proved unreliable at best, and abusive at worst. Having failed to attach in a healthy way within these initial relationships, the addict now struggles to form bonds with others, either due to fear of abandonment, fear of enmeshment, or fear of harm. The result of these fears, regardless of their particular flavor, is a phobia of intimacy that pervades the sex addict’s life. In response, he or she turns to relationship substitutes that also function as brain chemistry-altering drugs; porn, affairs, prostitutes, promiscuity. Thus sex addiction is a complex and highly sophisticated “solution” to the addict’s emotional problems. It is not dismantled easily. What’s needed is an understanding of the building blocks of intimacy, which when worked on individually and as a whole, will gradually allow the addict to learn a new style of relating to others. The goal is for the addict is to learn to securely attach to healthy partners and experience the joy of intimacy, which once tasted, can be so powerful it incinerates all illusions that sexual acting out can ever fulfill the deep inner longing for connection that all humans have in common. One of the most important building blocks is transparency. This means allowing ourselves to be seen and known authentically, no matter the consequences. To a sex addict, this can be horrifying. The shame involved in coming clean about the addiction is enough to send the addict right back

to the sex club. But transparency is not just about disclosing secrets or divulging details to a partner. It’s about letting other people know when we’re hurting; lettings others in on our humor; sharing our talents; and even just being “boring” when we’re tired or need down time. Transparency is like the clean oxygen needed for relationships to breathe, and it begins in the safety of a therapeutic setting where addicts can risk being themselves, perhaps for the first time ever. Another major building block of intimacy is vulnerability. Through years of acting out, the sex addict has built of a brick wall of “toughness,” an emotional invincibility that is evidenced in the callous objectifying of others and the ability to stay emotionally detached from partners. Learning to accept that we can be hurt, that we most likely will be hurt from time and time, and that we can be hurt and still be okay is the key to moving towards healthy bonds. To even acknowledge how deeply we can be wounded by a cold look, an unreturned email or a rejected invitation can be daunting, but once viewed in the context of our shared humanity, it becomes easier for the addict to understand how normal their responses are, and to cope with the disappointment in ways that are loving and respectful towards oneself, rather than destructive. There are many more building blocks and cornerstones of intimacy, and each one is like a key that can open the door to freedom for the sex addict. Throughout the journey, it is essential to having a kind and supportive guide in the form of a therapist or counselor, for this work can unearth traumas too great to be handled on one’s own. Support groups are also invaluable during this stage of recovery, where addicts can share their progress and ultimately begin to grasp that they are not alone.

Alexandra Katehakis, MFT is Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex (link is external) in Los Angeles, Senior Fellow at The Meadows, Facility for the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals, and the 2012 Carnes Award recipient. She is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist/Supervisor and Certified Sex Therapist/Supervisor specializing in the treatment of sexual disorders.

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What is Recovery? Adapted from The Recovery Book: Answers to All Your Questions About Addiction and Alcoholism and Finding Health and Happiness in Sobriety (Workman, 2014), by Al J. Mooney, MD, Catherine Dold, and Howard Eisenberg. The book is available at: Reprinted with permission.


etting and staying sober is the first priority when someone gets into recovery. But most soon learn that recovery is about so much more. Here are some basic truths about living in recovery. Recovery is a way of life. Recovery is about building and enjoying a better life for yourself in sobriety. It’s about finding and developing loving relationships, solid friendships, strong community ties, satisfying work, and invigorating play. It’s about spending your life in good health and good spirits. It’s about living a good life steeped in the culture of recovery. Recovery is about healing. Over time you’ll notice that your body is healing. Even better, your brain will be healing as well. Addiction hijacked your brain, making it very hard for you to make good choices. As you focus your thoughts and actions on sobriety and recovery, your cravings will disappear and your thoughts will no longer focus solely on getting your next fix. Thinking about recovery, and building your life around it, will be your new normal. Recovery is a process. It takes time. You can’t expect it all to happen overnight. You need to build your new life one day at a time, on top of a rocksolid foundation. That means following the Recovery Zone System, where you focus first on saving your life (Red Zone)

and then on rebuilding it (Yellow Zone). Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you can celebrate your life and share the gift of recovery with others (Green Zone). For many people, the process also means sticking with a 12-step support fellowship like AA or NA. In fact, these two pathways—the Recovery Zone System and the 12-step philosophy—work hand in hand. Recovery is one of the biggest clubs on the planet. And that means that you don’t have to do it alone. Millions of once “hopeless” alcoholics and addicts have gone down this road before you. Instead of dying of alcohol poisoning, or a car accident, or a drug overdose, they are now living happy, productive, sober lives. Many of them live in your area and are more than willing to help. They’re just waiting to welcome you.

Doctor Al J. Mooney, M.D., is an internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction and recovery. He has been involved in this field since he was a teenager, when his parents entered into recovery and then founded an addiction treatment center, Willingway Hospital. Dr. Mooney was CEO of the hospital for many years, and is currently the Director of Addiction Medicine and Recovery at Willingway. For more information:,, Twitter: @TheRecoveryBook.

Accepting submissions year-round.

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authentically,laugh more often,

“What is Your HOPE for 2016?”

“I hop e to day at live one a ~ Mar y C, To time.” wnsen d, WI

“My Mom is sick, so I hope she gets better.” ~ Jane G, Big Sur, CA

“I ju s I do t hope n’t u ~ Le se.” Calif nny orni a

e I can get “I really hop whole year through the .“ psing again without rela o g San Die ~ Robert W,

“I b scho uried th re o lost l friend e of my s las to a ddic t ye this tio ar y choo ear eve n. I hop , ~ An se life o ryone w e v il n P, Los er drugs l Ang . ” eles , CA

“To finish and publish my début book about addiction and recovery.” ~ Karl N r “My hope fo ave h to this year is by g in b indoor plum .” the end of it Ecuador ~ Roni A-D,

avel “I hope to tr year.” abroad this YC ~ Jake Z, N

“This year, I hope to find a really nice boyfriend.” ~ Katie B, San Francisco

ring y suffe d r e v e ic an ”That lcohol a e e v i t ac nds th s fi t c i d d m drug a and progra p r i o h f s fellow ble to them a ry! avail ecove their r n R, ~ Ro da , Cana s l l a f a Niagar

“Inner peace .“ ~ Cameron B, Orange Cou nty

“Spiritual gro wth and compassion for the brok en.” ~ Karen M, New Orlean s, LA

Hope... Ummm... Hope. Oh yeah! I know! I hope this year Shrek stops treating me like a donkey, ‘cos, you know, that’s just insulting! ~ Donkey

nt an pleme our m i o t wer hoping , to po tive, m “I am e t s d sy erna l off-gri ge with alt biofue a l l i y v g o r c e ene nable ve solar.” sustai si s alto, and pa anglar M , C erine or ~ Cath Ecuad

“PE amo ACE! Pe good ng my f ace an d e of u s all llow ma unity .” ~ n Greg for the ory C, L “For A ever y o ne rem emb to e put kind r to “To write m ore, travel befo ness more, eat le r e judg ss, stress e less, and re ~ Kr ment.” member to is enjoy all the Sma tine D, positives.” ll tow ~ Whitney B n , M , elbourne, USA Australia

“I hope Miss Piggy will finally realize our offspring would be ‘friggies’ ... and that’s just not right.” ~ Kermit the Frog

“I’m hoping more people move into a space of unity and come to realize that dividing humanity will only lead to more insanity.” ~ Craig Shoemaker, Comedian

“I hope to find inner peace and a place where I don’t have to think for a while” ~ Moira J, San Diego, CA

“To live authentically, laugh often, and love unconditionally” - Karen V, CA “A deeper relationship with my Higher Power, God.” - Jennifer A, San Diego, CA.

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Catching those Critical Z-z-z-z


How chronic sleep disturbance impacts teens

hat? You mean your teen doesn’t greet you in the kitchen every morning with a huge smile on his or her face as they reach for that box of Cheerios? Nope, only in corny commercials does that scenario exist. In real life, teens, just like many adults, wake up feeling less than refreshed due to myriad sleep issues that inhibit that deep, relaxing REM stage from doing its thing. Ideally, teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep per night to function at peak performance, both scholastically and physically. The problem is getting those nine hours of quality sleep. Young people are already at a disadvantage when it comes to getting optimum shut-eye. Their bodies’ circadian rhythm – that internal biological clock—is different from adults’ due to the production of the hormone melatonin in a teen brain which occurs later at night. This may explain why teens are night owls, taking their sleep cues from basic physiology. If they had their druthers, they would go to bed later and sleep later because that is what Mother Nature is telling their bodies to do. And then there are the distractions. Yep, let’s face it; there are a plethora of techno toys available to engage your adolescent’s attention well beyond bedtime. While parents assume their son or daughter is snoozing away, the reality is their teenager could be gaming online, watching YouTube videos, texting friends, or binge watching on Netflix. All of these activities can cut into valuable sleep time, and stimulate their brains when they should be winding down for the day.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) GERD is a gastric system condition that generally occurs at night, often causing sleep disturbances. The valve between the esophagus and the gut doesn’t function properly, allowing stomach acids to back up into the esophagus, resulting in irritation and inflammation. Ask your teen if they are experiencing heart burn, chest pain or a chronic cough during the night. There are many over-the-counter medications that may be helpful if this is the case. Medications Certain medications, usually prescribed for ADHD such as Adderall or Ritalin, can cause sleep problems. If the dose isn’t taken at the same time each day, or if the medication is taken too late in the day, the teen will often suffer from insomnia. This can also be the result of a teen using these drugs illicitly, with no actual diagnosis, causing the drug to act as a stimulant.

Emotional Causes of Sleep Problems

Chronic insomnia—having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep—in a teenager who has no physical issues may be due to emotional problems. There are many causes of emotional strife in a young person’s life, including: Stress Stress is the most common cause of insomnia. According to the Physical Causes of Sleep Problems American Psychological Association, a 2013 survey demonstrated When getting your teen to shut down their devices and get to that stress is very common among adolescents, primarily due to bed earlier doesn’t seem to net any improvement in sleep quality, pressures at school. Their survey found that teens experience both there may be a physical explanation for the problem. Some of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, including feeling anxious, tired, overwhelmed, and disruption in sleep habits. common causes include: Restless Leg Syndrome RLS sometimes can present between the ages of 12-20, causing the legs to jerk, tingle, or ache, negatively impacting the quality of sleep. Involuntary leg movements can disrupt the teen’s sleep, making it difficult to complete the normal sleep cycle. Stretching, hot baths, and heating pads may help provide relief. Sleep Apnea Although snoring in itself is common, sometimes the cause of the snoring is something more serious, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). A severe narrowing of the airway prevents the lungs from getting enough air, so the brain will wake the young person up to catch their breath and unlock the air passage. Although sleep apnea affects as many as 1 in 10 kids, they will usually outgrow it. © Mendi Baron, LCSW, is the founder and CEO of Evolve Treatment Centers, a treatment Center for teens struggling with mental health and addiction issues, based in Southern California. A passionate advocate for teens in the field of mental health and addiction, Mendi is a go-to expert to start the conversation on critical issues that impact teens and their families. For more information go to or email Mendi at

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Teen Corner (Continued from page 40) Depression Everyone occasionally experiences the blues, but if your teen is showing signs of depression it may be affecting their ability to get a good night’s sleep. The American Sleep Foundation cites their poll “Sleep in America,” which found that almost half the teens surveyed cited feelings of sadness, worry, and despair, and that those teens also tended to have sleep problems. Family Problems or Relationship Difficulties When there is disruption in a teenager’s core relationships, their family, their friends, or their romantic partner, it is common for sleep problems to result. Angst and worry caused by tumult in primary relationships can keep young people tossing and turning, disrupting sleep.

How to Improve the Quality of Sleep?

Parents and teens should work together to discover the underlying cause of sleep disturbances. By communicating openly, a clear cause can be revealed allowing for improved sleep quality going forward. Whether it is something as simple as not drinking caffeinated beverages after 3pm, or as serious as sleep apnea, open dialogue between the parent and their adolescent is key to making a positive change. Some basic changes in sleep habits may also result in improvements, such as:  Restricting the use of smart phones, computers, and gaming stations after a specified time each evening  Reducing noise in the house after a certain time each evening  Relaxation techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises can help with stress  Eating less sugar and avoiding heavy meals before bedtime  Taking a warm bath before bedtime  Establishing regular bedtime routines Nurturing good sleep habits starts at birth, by keeping the child on a sleep schedule. Helping your teen sustain those routines is essential to their physical and emotional wellbeing.

April 1, 1996: The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

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My Hope

my heart and giving me only what was for my good.” I am learning that answered prayer is not always yes; sometimes it is no, maybe, wait, and not now, later.

by Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis

Difficulties don’t last forever and can teach us, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” Looking at the problem brings fear and the desire to put up all of my defenses. Peace comes when I look to my higher power and trust that the perfect solution has already been created. Learning who He says I am while rejecting the world’s view requires study and abandonment of childhood lies. Who is He? He is not the higher power of my parents’ understanding, but of mine. That helps me build trust and dependence on the only one who wants the best.

We constantly strive toward becoming who we were created to become. Sometimes the journey is a delightful mountain top experience; other times a lonely desert of fear, sadness, or depression. Once I believed that commitment to a twelve-step program promised a safe, secure and trouble free future.

This year brings the hope of His promises as I learn to walk in an intimate relationship with Him. I must listen to His voice and direction in everything. I “Celebrate Recovery” with my friends who are not willing to settle for second best. We have a whole year filled with hope, built from the inside out, seeking transformation.

Thirty years later I have come to understand the error of my thinking. Trusting people to be perfect is a set up for failure. Relying on my own plans brings disappointment. Nothing gives peace, serenity and hope except my higher power. This strange phenomenon of trusting people, places and things to fulfill my every need is codependency. It is only when I stopped trying to please the masses and learned to please the Master that I started my journey to peace, my hope. Spending time with my higher power asking and listening for His voice, I am learning to let go of my own plans and seek His. Change for an Adult Child is usually met with fear and resistance because of childhood experiences and woundedness. I am learning to embrace change as a surprise that is bigger and more wonderful than I dared ask. This walk of promised hope, peace and serenity requires trust which is difficult for me; but, I am learning. Commitment promises more than I could possibly accomplish on my own. Why did I ever believe that I could have an intimate relationship while I was unwilling to devote time and energy to it? Learning to know and trust my higher power requires time just as all relationships do. I am learning to be thankful when I don’t get my desires met. Looking back I see unforeseen problems that I would have encountered, yet I was protected. That brings new gratitude to my recovery. “Thank you for unanswered prayers, for sifting through the desires of © Rev. Carrol graduated from Furman University, ordained in 1975. Honored in Who’s Who, Dr. Phyllis E. graduated from the Union Institute. Davis & Davis were awarded the Christian Authors Award for “Stop the Violence Seven Stages to Sanctify.” Participants give the book, “Journey of the Soul Cracked Pots and Broken Vessels,” and workshops five star reviews as they journey to resolve challenges of living life in a fallen world.

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Humor Page One hot summer’s day a mouse was walking along the banks of a river that ran through the jungle. He saw a hippopotamus in the water and shouted to the hippopotamus, “Hey you, get out of the water, right now!” The hippopotamus looked at the mouse with askance. “Don’t argue with me!” shouted the mouse, paws firmly placed on his hips. “Get up here right this minute!” The slightly amused hippopotamus lumbered onto the bank as requested. The mouse looked him up and down, then snorted, “Humph!” and marched angrily away. The mouse continued stomping along the bank until he came upon a lion having a little dip in the river. The mouse shouted across to the lion, “Hey you, Lion! Get out of the water right now!” The lion looked the mouse up and down and licked his lips. “Don’t you mess with me, Lion!” yelled the mouse. “Get up here on the river bank!” Impressed with the mouse’s bravery, the lion complied and climbed up onto the bank. The mouse inspected him from mane to paws, then snorted, “Humph!” and marched angrily away. The lion shrugged and returned to the river. The mouse continued along the banks of the river until he came across an elephant having a good old soak. The mouse shouted to the elephant. “Hey, Elephant, Get out of the water right now!” “What the hell is wrong with you mouse?” asked the elephant. “Don’t mess with me, Elephant! I’m not in the mood for any of your games,” yelled the mouse. “Get up here!” The bemused elephant shrugged and lumbered out the water. The mouse looked him up and down, then snorted, “Humph!” and marched angrily away. The angry mouse stomped along the river bank until a monkey came out of a tree. “What are you doing, Mouse? Are you out of your mind? I’ve just seen you call Hippopotamus, Lion and Elephant out of the water! They’re going to kill you! What happened?” The furious mouse pursed his lips and spat, “Somebody stole my swimming trunks!”

What am I? Clue: Peel off my skin, layer by layer and I won’t cry, but you might. Answer: An onion Clue: Feed me and I will surely live, but if you give me water I will surely die. Answer: A fire Clue : Tear one off and scratch my head what was red is black instead. Answer: A matchstick Q: A man is pushing his car and comes to a hotel, why does he suddently shout “I’M BANKRUPT!”? A: He’s playing Monopoly Q: What gets broken without ever being used? A: A promise Q: What is at the end of the rainbow? A: The letter W Q: What room can no one enter? A: A mushroom Q: What is always coming but never arrives? A: Tomorrow Q: What can travel around the world while staying in a corner? A: A stamp Q: What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? A: A towel Q: Imagine you are trapped in a dark scary room. How do you get out? A: Stop imagining Q: What invention lets you look right through a wall? A: A window Q: What can you catch but not throw? A: A cold

MAR-APR 2016 - 43

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Recovery Trivia, Messages

and things that make ya go “Hmmmm..”

Amphetamine, discovered before methamphetamine, was first synthesized in 1887 in Germany by Romanian chemist Lazăr Edeleanu who named it phenylisopropylamine. Shortly after, methamphetamine was synthesized from ephedrine in 1893 by Japanese chemist Nagai Nagayoshi.

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Mar / Apr



Mar- You may feel like you can no longer explore your inner feelings, but you must persevere. You have a tremendous capacity to bury problems deeply. Your anger over a specific comment this month seems straightforward on the surface, but is there something more going on? You may be very confused about your feelings, but one thing’s for sure: there’s definitely passion here! Be careful when texting a potential love interest. Autocorrect isn’t always your friend. Aries Mar 21 – Apr 19 Apr- The Universe sends lucky vibes to your house of cash and values. Opportunities abound, as do chances to enjoy what you do for a living. You have inner resilience, and you’ll need it now. The main issue seems to be doubt or disillusionment. Don’t let negative thinking get in the way of your recovery. Do anything you can to lift your spirits and come to the realization that your healing is very much in your hands. Mar- You’re in the process of changing directions in your professional life. This can’t be done in a day. Things will be going slowly and require you to confront yourself honestly. Don’t run away even if you’re tempted to do so. Trust that you aren’t far from your goal. Arrange a talk with someone in the workplace that you need to speak frankly with. There is no need to hide your frustration with this person any longer. Your gentle, sensitive, and compassionate approach will smooth the wrinkles in your relationship. Taurus Apr 20 – May 20 Apr- If a situation doesn’t feel right, stay away from it. Your intuition is dead on, and listening to it now will probably save you a lot of heartache in the long run. Show off your winning personality instead of flaunting your material possessions. Become the source of advice and comfort for someone needing encouragement or redirection. Or you could simply be an example of what they need to see.

Mar- This month’s New Moon shines into your family and home environment. It’s a new season and you can make whatever changes you want that will bring your home closer to perfection. You have the resources, energy, and support. Think about it. Dress up and take your place as the center of attraction for the Full Moon. Actually, no matter your appearance, your sense of fun and happiness will make you the most attractive one in the room. Co-workers may have trouble being clear, so be patient. Libra Sept 23 – Oct 22 Apr- It could be all too easy to get sidetracked unless you have very clear objectives this month. You might find that you have to be particularly businesslike when it comes to getting things done. Be open and receptive to opportunities to reconsider a deal or get a fresh perspective on a relationship that’s important to you now. Allow your imagination run wild and you may find that you’re full of great ideas to make more money. Mar– Spend time in and around water. You are seeing a new side of yourself this month, Scorpio, and what a lovely side it is! Normally so conservative, now you find yourself considering purchasing clothes with stylish details and expensive fabrics. And why not? You only live once, after all. And romance is definitely in the air, so any sexy or sensuous purchases you make are bound to find an audience. FEB– If there’s one thing you dread, it’s change. Open yourself to new possibilities, because they really Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 21 aren’t as scary as you may be imagining them to be. Make an important investment this month. Invest in yourself. Instead of working to put money into someone else’s pocket, this is the time to realize your own potential. You have the ability to be successful on your own so do it.

Mar- You may find yourself overwhelmed with information. It seems everyone needs a piece of you this month. Don’t try and accomplish everything that people expect of you; it simply isn’t possible. Instead, make your own decisions about what is important and what isn’t. You may get some resistance from higher-ups, but in the end they will see the wisdom of your thinking. Apr- You may be surprised by how much patience you have and how quickly you can analyze problems Gemini May 21 – Jun 20 and zone in on the fix. Don’t burn out trying to do it all, though. April 20 sparkles with wit, amusement, and maybe mischief. Friends and neighbors keep you busy around the 23rd. They may have some amazing and crazy notions of fun, and you might be in the mood, so take care

Mar– Your brain is really working overtime this month, especially with the present astral energy. The difficulty is that what you want and what you think you want are two different things. You may have seduced yourself into believing that you know where a certain relationship is going. But in actual fact, if you let go of the reins for a while you could discover it turns out even better. Trust your instincts here, and don’t be afraid to take one or two steps back before you charge ahead. Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 21 Apr– The results from the hard work that you have been so diligent with seem to be slipping through your fingers. But remember that results are only temporary. Take the time to reflect on all the accomplishments you have achieved so far and how they build upon each other, creating strong foundations. Breath and let go, your hands can only hold so much and the extra weight of things that no longer serve you, only weigh you down. You know that the world is bigger than this and you want to do more, see more, and hear more. Mar– A lot of beauty may be concealed in humble places. The New Moon gives you a powerful, productive energy. Be calm, be sure of your own abilities, and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you. Extra good luck in your career is breaking your way. If it’s time to start something new or assume more responsibility, go for it. If you’ve been baffled or discouraged about something, those feelings and attitudes will melt away. Capricorn Dec 22 – Jan 19 Apr– Someone in your workplace is likely to direct a great deal of information your way. Take this information with a grain of salt. Other people are strictly opposed to this person’s viewpoint. Consider both sides. In love, you also feel propelled to take a risk with a certain relationship, yet you also feel very apprehensive about doing so. The conflict is truly creative, and it would be more appropriate to ignore your fears and just go ahead. Mar– You will find that encounters with other people leave you feeling full and satisfied. After all, it is our loved ones who truly make life worth living. However, there is such a thing as compassion, and if you really care about someone deep down, you will need to be honest about why you are behaving in a certain way. A harmonious environment is essential to your well-being. Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18 Apr– You’re in a phase when it would be helpful to recharge your batteries. Doing so will set you up for great things over the weeks and months ahead. Ideas that you thought were fantastic are being shot down by the people with the influence and the resources. Don’t get discouraged. This is no reason for you to give up. Instead of getting angry, be optimistic and willing to adapt.

Mar- This month you could greatly benefit from spending some time outdoors in quiet reflection. Even a half-hour’s walk through a city park will help you feel more rested and grounded. You have been working especially hard lately, and need some time to refill the well of your soul. Don’t deny yourself some downtime. Otherwise, you’re at risk of burning out. Apr- Encounters with others encourage some deep subjects to be brought out into the open. The Cancer Jun 21 –Jul 22 celestial configuration means conversations can border on the psychological or the mystical, but will also encompass the prospect of change. Be ready and prepared for anything, as some special events could be on the horizon, and will have a more profound effect on your life than you can currently appreciate. Try not to take thoughtless remarks personally. Be receptive and open. Mar- You can’t force creativity. Not even you, Leo. As much as you want to produce something fantastic right this minute, you will find that mere mortals such as us need the help of a creative muse. And alas, the muse is a fickle being. You can’t just snap your finger and summon it. You must coax it out, slowly, gently. This all takes time, but the end result makes the effort worthwhile. For now, you must sit and wait, and trust that it will come to you. Leo Jul 23 – Aug 22 Apr- Feel your most intense and pursue a special deep and personal passion on the 5th. If you have any health concerns, just be practical and do what you need to do. Acknowledge any fleeting fears inspired by the news of a friend’s problem as simply that, but be smart and realistic, too. Look and feel like a million dollars on the 23rd. You’re worth way more, of course, and people will look at you and see it. Prepare for serious admiration. Mar– Constructive, creative ideas are pouring out of everyone who talks with you. Be enthusiastic and let your inner child romp a little more. It could inspire some grand intentions and noble plans. Pick your favorite and most heartfelt, and surprise yourself with how possible it really might be. It’s a good time to dream big. You don’t have to tell anyone. Love could get exciting around the 29th. A partner may try to surprise you, but you’ll see it coming. Virgo Aug 23 – Sept 22 Apr– This month’s planetary energy brings the urgent need to talk with a loved one, but the only question is, just how much of this talk reflects what either of you truly feels? You may think you are both getting to the heart of the matter, but in fact you may be just skirting around one particular issue. It is best not to come to any firm decisions just yet. Also, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the combination of professional and social obligations. Accept help.

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Mar– Do your best to remain calm, no matter how other people behave. Your intuition about people and situations will be quite accurate. Keep your wits about you, and seize any intriguing opportunity that comes along. While your head is overflowing with plans and ideas, you may feel deflated when you consider all the logistics of realizing these dreams. Fret not. You will have an energy level that is equal to the task, so go ahead and get started! Pisces Feb 19 – Mar 20 Apr– Good self-esteem is your lucky charm now. The change you have been hoping for so long is likely to occur. The enormity of the change may not be obvious, at least at first. But over time, you will look back on the events of this month and see just how pivotal they were. So remember to continue to be aware and relish the experiences as they occur.

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MAR-APR 2016 - 47