Guest Post By Recovery Writer Dominica Applegate. In Sober Recovery. Blaming and How to Stop.


The Blame Game, we all have done it one time or another when we begin in early recovery. When we surrender and know our addiction is making our lives unmanagable, we need to learn to ownership, be honest to ourselves, and become the habit of accountability. Lets read what recovery writer, Dominica shares more about playing the blame game.




How to Successfully Stop Playing the Blame Game

Now that you’re in recovery, you are faced with the blame game dilemma—a new phase where you can either accept responsibility for your entire life or keep pointing fingers at others for how things turned out. Perhaps you blame your parents because studies have shown that addictive behaviors are genetic, but that’s still not a free pass for you to stay addicted.

Maybe you blame your friends for introducing you to partying, but you were the one who decided to put substances in your body. You also chose to continue using so really, and you have no one else to blame but yourself.
At the beginning of any recovery plan, an addict goes through an array of emotions like anger, resentment, pity, loneliness, helplessness, and so on.

To finally get off the blame train, the person in recovery must take the following steps.

Become accountable 
Now that you have taken the first step to recovery with the admission that you have an addiction. It is time to step up and be held accountable. Ultimately, you must admit that it’s no one’s fault other than your own. This is an important step in your recovery plan, as it empowers you to make the necessary changes you need to make in your life. When you blame others, you give them that power, which can really stifle growth.

Tell the truth.
Tell yourself and others that you are taking full responsibility for your entire life now, not just not the addiction. You’re not blaming anyone else no matter what the past has been like. This will not be easy, but it is a must to grow successfully on your journey.


Accountability in Recovery - Dara Rehab




Start a journal.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings tends to help relieve some of the negativity going on in your mind that affect your decision making. Every time you have a thought, or make a comment that shifts the blame of your addiction onto others, or outside influences, write them down.

Then, take a few moments to think of how you could have made that statement or expressed that feeling without placing blame elsewhere. Write them down alongside the negative statements.

Practice good self-care.
Take responsibility for life by taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. Maintain good personal hygiene, start an exercise program, choose healthy eating habits, pray or meditate, and continue your counseling sessions.

Honesty is the key for you to move forward fully. Remembering that you are the individual who led you to this addiction reinforces that you have always been in control of your own life, not control of your addiction. Now that you’ve decided to admit that you have a problem, you’re able to drive your life toward a long-term successful recovery.


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Red Flags and Warnings On How Addicts Get What They Need-Want …

“The two hardest areas for me when even thinking about becoming ‘Bet Free and Sober’ were ‘Surrender and Honesty.’ 

Let’s face it, beginning recovery and treatment is SCARY” …
~Advocate/Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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I remember two things back in the day trying to recover from gambling addiction and stay sober as I would drive to my GA meetings. One, listen to my favorite CD and song by Mary J Blige – “No More Drama,” and Two? Seeing this passage above and trying to believe in IT!

Today I received my SoberRecovery newsletter and read an article that really rang true to me when first coming out of treatment and trying to maintain early recovery. It kind of grab me around the throat a little as the title of the article I’m sharing made me think back to those early days when I would get a few weeks ‘bet free’ and then BAM! I’d be back out gambling and I am sure some of what I was saying to others rang true with me.

I would do or say anything to get what I wanted or needed so I could go gamble. I hope those who are living with or know a problem gambler will learn some warning signs to be aware of. As this also happens when the addict does relapse as well … It is why I share special articles that we all can learn, be informed, and educated by.
Catherine

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Communication Styles Addicts Use to Get What They Want

By Patrick Biegler 


Effective communication is essential to the human experience. Our ability to communicate allows us to form and maintain relationships, let others know what our needs are and reach out to help each other. In reality, however, we’re not always good at communicating effectively and this can cause a number of problems for us.

For those of us with an addiction, our methods of communication are often problematic. We tend to communicate the “need” for our drug of choice in unhealthy ways that further damage our relationships.

Here are the 4 different communication styles and how they tend to play out in everyday circumstances.

1. Passive

This is the “doormat” style of communicating. Passive communicators tend to allow others to walk all over them and often suppress their needs.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected)“That’s ok, no big deal.”

In this style of communication, the passive party does not express the feelings that are taking place. Without expressing our true feelings we are likely to suppress them, which is a very dangerous place to be for an addict.

2. Aggressive

This is the “bullying” style of communication. The tendency is to threaten or express a high level of anger.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “You should feel sorry! You’re such a selfish, uncaring jerk for not inviting me! See if I invite you to the next get-together!”

Here, the aggressive party expresses some of the emotions (mainly anger) by lashing out at the other party. While expressing one’s emotion can be healthy, this style of response is overdone and tends to leave other emotions unaddressed. Additionally, the other party walks away angry and resentful, leaving both parties unhappy. It leads to a negative experience that raises relapse risk for someone with an addiction.

3. Passive/Aggressive

This style of communication is one that addicts tend to be quite proficient at. It’s a manipulative way to get our needs met and is often an attempt to “guilt” the other party to give in.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “That’s fine, it’s always nice to know how unimportant I am to you. Perhaps I should give you my phone number again since you seem to have forgotten it.”

Once again the emotions are not appropriately expressed directly but the inference from the response indicates that there are negative emotions that have resulted. This here is another style of communication that leaves both parties in a negative emotional state.

4. Assertive

Generally, the assertive communication style is the best way to communicate. It involves both parties listening to what the other has to say and fosters genuine dialogue about the emotional impact of the event.

Friend: “I’m so sorry I forgot to invite you to the party last night.”

Self: (feels angry, lonely, unloved, rejected) “I appreciate the apology and I must say that I felt angry and rejected by not being invited. I understand it was a genuine mistake and I’m willing to forgive and forget.”

Here, both parties express their true feelings in a non-confrontational dialogue, hopefully leaving both parties feeling heard and understood.

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For addicts, this style of communication often feels very uncomfortable, especially for addicts. We’re not very adept at recognizing and expressing emotions in a controlled manner and we don’t like feeling vulnerable by expressing our true selves. With enough practice though, we can learn to more effectively communicate our needs and feelings.

How Addicts Communicate to Feed the Addiction

For someone who is still in throes of addiction, there are two styles of communication we’re accustomed to using as our primary means of conveying the things we desire: aggressive and passive-aggressive.

Here’s how my past conversations usually played out.

Aggressive:

Me: “Hey, I need $30.00.”

You: “What for?”

Me: “Does it matter? I need the money! Give it to me!” (implying that “If you don’t give me the money, I’m willing to steal it.”)

Passive-Aggressive:

Me: (I need drugs and I need to get some money.) “Hey, can you lend me $30.00 for gas for my car?”

You: I don’t know, are you going to buy drugs with this money?”

Me: “Of course not, I need it for gas money.”

You: “I’m not sure I trust you, the last time I gave you money you spent it on drugs.”

Me: “Fine, if you won’t give me money, I won’t have a car to drive to work. Thanks a lot!”

Approaching Someone with Addiction

If you’re dealing with someone with an addiction, know that he or she will do ANYTHING to get his or her drug of choice. If that means lying to you or manipulating you, we WILL DO IT. The drug is the goal and whatever it takes to reach this goal is fair game for us. So what do you do?

1. Realize that whatever we say, we are trying to manipulate or intimidate you in order to feed our addiction.

2. Have a firm resolution not to give in to threats. If we “need” money for ‘rent’ then pay the bill directly, don’t give us the cash to pay it.

Recognizing these styles of communication is an important step to learning how to change our behavior to more effectively communicate our legitimate needs.

It is also important to recognize how addicts manipulate communication to score drugs. Honesty and candor from both sides are key to effective communication and recovery from addiction. When we all communicate our needs and concerns in an assertive manner, we have a much better chance of working together towards a life free of addiction and toward recovery.


“Problem Gambling Awareness Month” Special Guest Author: Alek M. Revitalizing Your Marriage After Addiction.

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Revitalizing your marriage or relationship is an important and sometimes scary process. When recovering from gambling addiction, the other partner feels that the gambling was the only thing the other person cared about, like if it had been a “love affair.” That is why this topic and article by Alek M. is so important in any recovery from any type of addiction….

Addiction can be one of the most trying experiences that an individual will face in their life, and recovery is a road that certainly isn’t easy. However, it is through the most challenging times in life that we are able to grow, as people, and emerge as a stronger version of yourself. This is what recovery is all about, as becoming a new and better you is a key part of lasting recovery that is sustainable.

However, during the course of addiction and recovery, the person undergoing these events is not the only person who will be tested. If an addict is married or in a long-term romantic relationship, then their partner is certainly going to go through a trying time, as well. However, having been through this journey together makes it all the more important to take crucial steps after recovery. Here are some tips on revitalizing your marriage after addiction…

Avoid starting new relationships in recovery


First of all, it’s important to note that is highly advisable to not start any new romantic relationships right after recovery, or in recovery, for that matter. A romantic relationship has the potential to distract you from what you should be focusing on in recovery, especially in the crucial early month, as staying sober is key. Relationships also have the potential to cause stress, which can be triggering for someone who just got through recovery. As a matter of fact, many aspects of an early relationship can have an unpredictable effect on someone who is probably still getting cravings. For this reason, it’s best just to avoid all of this, for the time being.
Here’s a good article if you’d like to read more about this situation.

Be honest, no matter what

When you are fresh out of recovery, your relationship needs to continue with a theme of honesty, or it simply won’t work. No matter what, it’s important for both you and your partner to be honest with each other about everything, especially what you are thinking about the situation. Make sure you both tell each other how you are feeling, every single day, and truly be honest about those feelings. If you are having cravings, or even if you suffer a relapse, these are among the most important times to be honest, as they can make the difference in your path to recovery.

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Clearly, communicate your needs

Remember that your partner will have their own specific needs during this time, and be considerate of those needs. However, it’s also important to be clear about what you need during this time of recovery, as your support system is a vital element to a lasting recovery. This means that each person in the relationship needs to have a clear line of communication with the other, so that they can say how they are truly feeling, without judgment.

Take this time to learn how to be better versions of yourself

At this time, remember that you are in a period of rebuilding who you are, and that you and your partner will be in a period of rebuilding your own relationship. While this will definitely be difficult, at times, it should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourselves and strengthen the bond between you two. Besides, if you can both support each other through the difficult time of recovery, then you will find that you have a stronger relationship on the other side.

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Find projects around the home to work on together

After getting out of recovery, you and your partner need to find new ways to bond so that you can make sure that you both still know each other, even after this life-changing experience. While getting out and going on adventures, like hiking, can be a great way to do this, it is also very important to try to find ways to enjoy being home with each other.


One particular way to do this is to find projects around your home that you can work on together. Look for something you both would love to see in your home.
Should you get new marble countertops? Should you build a treehouse? Just find something that you can both work together to improve your lives. Building new memories together, especially memories with tangible evidence all around you starts to replace negative experiences that you’ve both been through before.

Having a project is also a great tool to aid in recovery since it gives you a positive focus!

Honesty In Recovery Means Swallowing Your Pride. It’s About Accountability.

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Recovery Tip of The Week!

“When we learn to Swallow our Pride and put Ego Aside? It makes room in our Recovery, to be HONEST, BE RESPONSIBLE, and BECOME ACCOUNTABLE.”

It Just Might Help Make Your Recovery Journey Much Smoother and a Successful One!

ODAAT Recovery Friends!

Author & Recovery Columnist,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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Recovery Sharing and Engaging With Others About My Life & My Book. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Supporters, and Welcome New Visitors,


“Always know your not less than, you worth more than”. . .

Living ones life in recovery means different things to different recovery people. Those of us who accept and surrender come from all walks of life, and we come from addictions from many different paths. I always say, “we all have a story to tell, and that story can be a powerful tool to help others in their recovery.”

As many of my friends who know me well, they know that besides advocating and sharing my personal recovery journey, I book promote for some fine authors to make a living. Many of my clients turn into fantastic friends. They support my life in recovery, and my current published book of my story of addiction and much more! They trust that I put the effort into promoting their books as I do into advocating for recovery. But I do always share who I am in recovery as I do as a published author. WHY?

Because I’m honest, accountable, and not feeling “less than” in life. Most new friends I meet as book promo clients buy and read my book, and learn exactly where I’ve been, and who I am today. What I had to work through and overcome. I never let my past define the person I am today. That is why I wanted to share this interaction that I had with a new author/book promoting client. It really shows how passionate I am about my life in recovery, and shows just how serious and honest people can be about their views of people in recovery. My sharing is meant to continue my fight of shattering STIGMA around those of us who choose to live in recovery from a very hush, hush addiction of “Compulsive Addicted Gambling, Mental Health, and Childhood Trauma & Abuse.” . . .


“No More Shame” . . .

My Interaction with Author, Jeanne Marie Peters by email:

Jeanne: Dear Catherine,
I’ve read one-half of your story and it has well-defined for me what the phrase “dysfunctional family” means. I’m so glad you have this wonderful husband and I hope the second half of your story will record the sunshine hours of your life. So far my summation is: All the while the drama of mortal existence takes front stage, but in the quiet background pure affection is winning its way, until the whole lump of human life is leavened, and the sweet odor of gentleness perfumes the air.

Like you, my younger years did not contain ‘many acknowledgements of worth,’ and I treasure the few such as hearing my Aunt Sarah say, “Isn’t Jeanne a good little girl?” and her brother, my grandfather, responding, “Yes, she’s as good as gold.”  And one of the five I ever heard from my dear mother, “You are always polite to every one; politeness is not just a social thing; it’s comes from the very fiber of your being.” But at the same time you having rage inside.”  I mention these, because it reminds me of the power of a few kind words, as I sort through your own torturous journey to your divine precious being.

Relatives who are of the Mormon faith have written my grandfather, Fred Mansfield Law, out of family history because he gambled. We’re all working something out in our lives. “Charity covereth a multitude of sins,” says the Bible. Kindly allow me to share one of grandfather’s poems. . .

Easy Valley
There’s a little spot out West
Where you can be at rest,
It’s the place that I like best: Easy Valley

Where there’s music in the air
And the birds recite a prayer,
For all that’s lovely there: in Easy Valley

It has gold along its streams
And miners in their dreams,
Know how long it seems: they’ll tarry.

Many years I’ve been away,
Now I’m going back to stay.
I’ll soon be on my way: to Easy Valley

Gee, won’t it seem to grand
Just to take my sweetheart’s hand,
The one who understands: in Easy Valley

And by a little cottage gate,
There my darling waits,
Near the River Applegate: in Easy Valley

And by a little cottage gate,
There my darling waits,
Near the River Applegate: in Easy Valley

Where there’s music in the air
And the birds recite a prayer,
For all that’s lovely there: in Easy Valley

Many years I’ve been away,
Now I’m going back to stay.
I’ll soon be on my way: to Easy Valley
God Bless,
Jeanne

Now this poem Jeanne shared with me touched my heart. Even though she was only half through my book, she understood my style of writing, and also understood the way I wrote and shared my experiences to not sound to readers like, denial, excuses, or as a victim. It is very difficult to do when writing about addiction and recovery. Especially to those readers who may not have been touched by addiction. So here is what I replied and shared back to Jeanne of my feelings. . . .

Catherine:
I’m glad you got my book ok. This poem is beautiful, and I thank you for sharing it with me. I’m also going to share it in a new recovery blog post this week too! You are becoming more like a wonderful 2nd mama to me with your wonderful recovery encouragement and support, as I didn’t get to much of that from my mom until later in life, before her passing in 2003.

I really appreciate that about you. You have such an open heart and spirit about you. It’s like a magnet. . .;-).  And what you’re doing with and for Catherine is a blessing. (Her next book co-authored with her friend). My next book is a little follow-up of where Tom, my hubby, and I are now, what I’ve been up to since my book published, and the rest is about how others can reach that all elusive first year in recovery. When I’m not promoting for clients, I’m keeping my recovery a main priority now that I just celebrated my 8th year in recover. I’m keeping to what God has given me, a life long purpose to help others in recovery from the destructive addiction of Compulsive Addicted Gambling.

And to continue my advocacy of raising awareness, help educate and inform the public of the dangers of now expansions of Indian Casinos and State Lotteries. This expansion is hurting those of us trying to stay in recovery when gambling is so accessible all around us. I harbor NO ill will towards those who can gamble for the fun and entertainment purpose, nor do I think gambling should be banned. I just want the public to know there are thousands of us out here who can not. And with expansion comes some negative impacts on our local communities. That’s it in a nutshell.

So sharing my story through my book was the only way I knew I could achieve this God Given Purpose.  And I believe that others, if given the chance can also turn their lives around and away from addictions with the right help and support. When we let our Higher Creator inside our Heart, we in Recovery are Unstoppable!

Many Blessings Your Way,
Catherine. . .

So that was my reply to Jeanne. I feel it’s important to share our true feelings. WHY?
Because within our addictions we become selfish, and so numb from the disease that we lose that ability to feel and think properly. No, I’m not blaming the addiction or disease for the poor choices I had made, I’m saying that we are in no healthy, or clear minded position to make those healthy choices in life when we have a head full of diseased thinking, bad habits and behaviors we have picked up within addiction. Addiction invades every part of you. As we know many of our thoughts and our choices come from feelings to begin with, so if we don’t feel any of the pain or devastation ourselves, and to those around us, we are barely of sound mind to make healthy life choices.

But, as I told Jeanne in my reply, if we fight like hell to reclaim our lives from addiction, and with the right help and support, we can recover and reclaim our lives back from any addiction!

Many Blessings and Happiness Recovery Friends!
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Recovery Advocate