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Serenity – Recovered 884

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A common motive for falling into substance abuse is an inability to cope with the vicissitudes of life. The individual feels overwhelmed by the problems that life is throwing at them, and desperation means that they will consider any means of escape. In the beginning alcohol and drugs do feel like the perfect solution. It gives the individual a break from their problems and the reality of day to day living. The problem is that as the individual becomes to rely on these substances it has a devastating impact on their life. It is a classic example of the cure being worse than the disease. The answer to life’s problems is not to be found by using mind altering substances. The ability to deal with life is something that the individual can develop, but it is serenity that they need for this and not intoxication.
Serenity Defined
One way of defining serenity is to say that it is a feeling of being calm and tranquil. In recovery this word is often used to describe a state of being where people are untroubled by the ups and downs in life. It means that whatever is happening in the individual’s life they can rely on an inner sense of calm. Many would say that this way of being is the goal of recovery. It may even have been the search for such inner peace that drove the individual into addiction in the first place ? they find what they are looking for in sobriety.
The topic is serenity
What comes first to mind when you hear the word serenity?
What does serenity mean to you today?
What did you understand serenity to be before program
What was your understanding when you first came into recovery?
Why is serenity important to your program?
What are your barriers to serenity?
How do you obtain serenity?
What is blocking your serenity today?
How can the program help?
What steps, slogans, prayers, etc.?
What would you say to the new guy?
Calls
Mike from FLA
https://www.speakpipe.com/messages
Alex
What would you say to the new guy?

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Call Recovered About Serenity

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A common motive for falling into substance abuse is an inability to cope with the vicissitudes of life. The individual feels overwhelmed by the problems that life is throwing at them, and desperation means that they will consider any means of escape. In the beginning alcohol and drugs do feel like the perfect solution. It gives the individual a break from their problems and the reality of day to day living. The problem is that as the individual becomes to rely on these substances it has a devastating impact on their life. It is a classic example of the cure being worse than the disease. The answer to life’s problems is not to be found by using mind altering substances. The ability to deal with life is something that the individual can develop, but it is serenity that they need for this and not intoxication.
Let’s talk about this solution.  Tap Speakpipe (preferred because the sound quality is excellent.  Use this method especially if you are outside the Unites States) or call 1-734-288-7510 and answer the following question(s):
Why is serenity important to your program?
What are your barriers to serenity?
How do you obtain serenity?
Recovered Podcast is live online every Tuesday at 6:30 pm EST as we record the show.  Join the fun and be part of the show.
If you would like to listen to the live stream of the show, just tap Recovered Chat and Live Stream.  
 
Click on our Show Notes we will use Tuesday night.

Elton J. – Recovered 883

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Elton John in a 2001 interview

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Compassion – Recovered 882

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It is sometimes suggested that the world would be a better place if humans demonstrated more compassion for each other. This is a reasonable claim, and there is no doubt that compassion can improve interpersonal relationships. Those who are recovering from an addiction are likely to find that cultivating compassion will boost their progress in sobriety. It will allow them to move away from the obsession of self that is a characteristic of life in addiction.
Compassion can be defined as:
A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Those people who are recovering from an addiction will benefit a great deal by becoming more compassionate. This is because the personality traits that make the individual more prone to addictive behavior often include self obsession and disregard for other people’s feelings. One of the goals in recovery is to deal with the character flaws associated with the addictive personality and developing compassion will certainly help with this.
What comes first to mind?
What does compassion mean to you?
Why/how is compassion important to your recovery?
What does compassion look like to you?
Examples?
What character flaw gets in the way of compassion?
Examples?
How can compassion help you in recovery?
How can we develop an awareness of others feelings?
How do you feel when you have compassion with someone else?
How do you feel when someone has compassion for you?
What steps help you with compassion?
How did you learn to be compassionate?
When are you most compassionate?
When are you least compassionate?
When can you be cruel?
How can you develop a sense of compassion at these times?
When are you indifferent?
How can you be more compassionate at these times?
Calls
Mike from FLA
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Alex
Speakpipe
Andrew
Speakpipe
Joe
Speakpipe
What would you say to the new guy?

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Bob D. Part 7 – Recovered 881

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Russell B. Committee on Addiction – Recovered 880

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Our generous Recovered Podcast Community allows us to be self supporting and not rely on outside contributions.  If you would like to join us, there are two ways.

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Comedian Russell Brand appears before committee on addiction.

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Handling the Holidays by Author Annie Highwater

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Handling the Holidays

Regardless the holidays or traditions you observe, this time of year can be trying, triggering and even traumatic.

From what I know personally and have listened to others openly share in “the rooms,” holidays tend to bring on some of the most emotionally charged situations.

I’ve compiled helpful suggestions and tips for handling this time based on difficult holiday seasons I’ve experienced myself, along with wisdom offered by therapists and expert family advocates.

HANDLING THE HOLIDAYS INVOLVES MANAGING THE FOLLOWING

Difficult Decisions 

FAQ’s

If a Loved One is in active use do we include them in gatherings? This is a tough decision as relationships have often been fractured and trust destroyed.  In my experience it is best to go with what makes you feel most at peace.

What if their presence causes agitation in others? Not every one has understanding and compassion when it comes to the condition of addiction or excessive alcohol use.  There are occasions when decisions must be made for the greater good of a situation, such as shielding children from reckless or inappropriate behaviors.

Possibly stagger times and locations so that those who are at odds or children who need to be spared from potential flare ups, won’t encounter whomever you choose to spend time with.

Should we offer alcoholic beverages around someone pursuing sobriety? Those who are working on recovery are responsible to know their triggers.  However if they are going to be in a setting that involves alcohol, having a safe, honest conversation in order for them to prepare is helpful.  Out of respect, I personally don’t prefer settings that have alcohol around friends or family who have had struggles with substances.

What gifts do we give someone who has broken trust? Some great suggestions I have heard are giving things like a gym membership, recovery literature such as the Big Book of AA, framed pictures of them with family and friends during happy times, a wallet or change purse filled with names and resources should they decide to pursue treatment and recovery…and so on.

What if they are unable to buy gifts? People sometimes feel deep shame over not being able to buy for others if they are having financial problems.  Even being reassured, “We just want to give gifts to you, it doesn’t matter if you give us any!” sometimes doesn’t take away from the fact that they might feel less than for what they lack.  Awareness, compassion and mindfulness goes a long way when it comes to making everyone feel comfortable and included.

Note – Making these decisions comes down to what you are at peace with.  No one can tell us the right or wrong way to handle such sensitive subjects.  Nor will anyone else live with the outcome of your decisions.  It’s a learning process to be kind and loving, yet also careful and wise.

***

Nostalgia and Exaggerations

 

Memories can be blurry.  Believing holidays should be as they were growing up can be a trap.  Especially if we are more nostalgic than realistic.

Some of us remember childhood holidays as much grander than those who were shopping for gifts, preparing lavish meals and entertaining guests and in-laws experienced them.

When we were little, we were probably unaware of the problems, dysfunction or disappointment going on with the adults. We were usually sitting at the kids table.

It’s also worth mentioning that in the age of social media, sometimes we perceive the lives of others as appearing perfect.  Or at least, better than our own.

It’s important to remember, most folks post their highlight reel versus showcasing times that are miserable or mundane.

If we think back to the age of photo albums, it was really no different. Families gathered to pose as someone held the camera, the picture taker would instruct everyone to say “Cheese!” so all would appear smiling in the picture.

The message being that you are one big, smiling, happy family.

And which were the pictures we kept in albums and frames?  The ones that presented the best appearance of the family.

In lieu of shouting “cheese,” and appearing happy, families weren’t likely to say:

“Dad yells and becomes violent when he drinks”

“Mom takes too many pills”

“Brother gets in fist fights and bullies our Mom”

“Sister is angry, her moods poison the atmosphere”

“Aunt battles depression”

“Uncle has multiple affairs”

“Cousins look down their nose at us, but they have dark sides too”

“I’m scared, sad, afraid, confused, feeling left out, angry, alone.”

No one was normally saying out loud what they felt.  Most didn’t know how to advance out of family cycles of jealousy, conflict and dysfunction. So instead, together everyone said, “Cheese” and showed the world how a family appears.

That still rings true today.

While it’s true that not everyone had traumatic experiences, one thing is certain; no one has it easy, happy or great all the time. Everybody deals with something.

So don’t let your heart sink when you see how great others have it. It’s not healthy to compare.  Everyone goes through good and hard times alike.  Just not usually at the same time.

***

Expectations

 

 

We’re assaulted with high hopes during the holidays. The fact is, we are going to have expectations, it’s how fixed we are on specific outcomes that causes pain.

Expectations are human, it’s when they multiply and grow into obsessions consuming our thoughts that they become a problem.

 

***

Loneliness and sorrow  

Dark, heavy feelings are a part of life.  Though bitter and miserable at times, the waves of sorrow and pain are due to visit us all, especially in times of grief and loss.

Resistance to these feelings makes life harder.

Sometimes we have to lean in to the hard moments in order to get through them and move forward in breaths when it comes to suffering and deep grief.

Pain has taught me that the way out, is through.

***

HEALTHY WAYS TO HANDLE TOUGH HOLIDAY SITUATIONS

Move through these days moment by moment Whether it’s a situation, a setting or the entire holiday season.  Move through it a step at a time. During a particularly miserable time I was advised to “Do the next right thing for the next ten minutes, over and over again.” And that was exactly how I got through it.

Three hour rule A counselor told me when it pertains to uncomfortable settings within his own stressful family, he gives himself a set length of time to spend with them.  He gives all of his attention and personality to the setting in that frame of time, but leaves guilt free after three hours.  Sooner if chaos erupts.

Be your own advocate Be aware of your feelings and needs and tend to them. Give yourself an out if it becomes too difficult to be around those you don’t feel at ease with.  Pay attention to things like your heart sinking, and your energy darkening, etc. Honor those feelings within, they are cues that you feel off about something.  When things feel intense, if possible, step away to a quiet room or hallway and deeply breathe for two or three minutes and then return to the group. It’s also okay to leave if you prefer to return to the safety of your own space.  It’s not selfish to look out for yourself, it’s healthy.

Don’t lose heart! Things can change, in fact – they will.  Change is one of the only certainties of life. There’s a saying: “Nothing happens and nothing happens and nothing happens…and then everything happens.”  This is as true for crisis and chaos as it is for good news and breakthroughs. Seasons of life are radically impermanent. If this is a tough year, it can get better.  You never know what can happen in a day.

Look for signs of love and hope I love signs in nature, one of my favorites is a Cardinal sighting. The male Cardinal with his bright red coloring symbolizes that passion, warmth and vibrancy are available to us even in under the cloak of winter’s grey clouds.   Many believe when a Cardinal appears it’s a sign of comfort from someone they love who has died.

For all mourning a loss, may the Cardinal appear unexpected and bright in your dreariest moments.  A vibrant symbol of hope in the midst of a cold winter to serve as a reminder that your Loved One lives on.

For those enduring harsh circumstances, possibly hoping a Loved One will come to their senses, may the Cardinal appear to you as well, offering a sign of encouragement that no matter how desperate things may seem, they can change.

***

If things are difficult for you this year, remember this too shall pass…next year might exceed expectations and be a little easier.

If this year is a happier one, remember next year may be challenging.  Pay attention to those not doing so well, there are some who may need a boost of comfort or kindness.

Overall, let’s try to embrace what is, face what aches, hope for the best, cultivate compassion and kindness, and be grateful for all we see, or remember, that is loving and beautiful.

Hope lights the way.

“Do not lose hope, please believe that there are a thousand beautiful things waiting for you.  Sunshine comes to all who feel rain.” ~R.M. Drake

Seasons Greetings,

Annie

Author of Unhooked

How’s Your Emotional IQ? An Article by Author Annie Highwater

150 150 Mark S

How’s your Emotional IQ?

 

“The biggest deficiency in the universe is emotional intelligence.”~Professor Bump

Intelligent, smart, learned, educated, astute, perspicacious, brilliant.

All words used to describe the intellectual among us.

Intelligence by definition is: The ability to learn, understand or to deal with new or trying situations. The ability to apply knowledge to one’s environment.

We all know people who are impressively intelligent.

We also know a few who are intelligent, even wildly successful, yet don’t seem to be emotionally sound.

This is often a cause for head scratching.  One is forced to wonder how immaturity and the lack of wisdom can exist in the midst of intelligence.

We are learning more and more that emotional intelligence (Emotional IQ) is different than standard intelligence and is crucial when it comes to navigating situations of life.

***

Emotions are powerful energy, and can even be sensed by those in proximity to them.  Ever walk into a room and immediately know its mood?

We send strong emotional signals (“vibes”) to one another.

According to Travis Bradberry, Author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, we have more than 400 emotional experiences daily.

Whether we know it or not.  Whether we admit it and face them or not.

At times those feelings can seem unmanageable. This is true for all of us. It’s the human condition.

Some have been taught, or sought ways of coping with them. But there are those who resist their emotions and instead act them out in negative ways.

The truth is, we are hard-wired to be emotional. What we do with our emotion is what Emotional IQ is about.

One way to tell our emotional intelligence and maturity level is by how we handle emotions related to conflict and stress as adults. 

For example…

Have you ever observed someone in their 30’s or 40’s throw what compares to a three-year-olds tantrum? 

Watched a 35 or 40-year-old manipulate like a rebellious teenager? Pitting people against one another, aligning and dividing folks to further their agenda?  Or…vendetta?

Ever seen a full grown adult either rant and rave, or run for their life to avoid dealing with emotions or stress?

We don’t want to be adults operating as children! 

Yet it’s a common occurrence. Many people are stuck in various ages of childhood or teen years when it comes to emotional tendencies.

WE ARE LEARNING THAT THERE ARE FOUR COMPONENTS THAT MAKE UP EMOTIONAL IQ:

1. Self-management taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and well-being. As emotionally sound adults, we are all accountable for and in charge of our lives.

2. Self-awareness being introspective and self-realizing is the height of emotional intelligence. When someone is notself-examining, they’re as a bull in a china shop for those in relationship with them. Not being self-aware ruins marriages, ends friendships, devours work relationships.  Being blind (or unwilling) to look at oneself causes unending frustration and sometimes permanent damage.

3. Social awareness Being socially aware means you understand how you act and react in different social situations, and effectively modify your interactions with other people so that you achieve the best results.  Being unable to discern the nuances and feelings of others is problematic and ultimately, ignorant. This is a sign of low Emotional IQ!

4. Relationship management The final area to be aware of when it comes to your Emotional IQ is that of relationship management. This is the ability to be aware of the needs and emotions of those you interact with along with your own.  It also means having healthy standards, and boundaries involving appropriate, kind, yet wise and considerate behaviors.

Note – self-awareness plays into every component.

The good news is people can develop Emotional IQ!

THERE ARE WAYS TO INCREASE EMOTIONAL IQ

Emotional IQ, as with recovery, is a mindful way of living.  You can’t just go on cruise control.  It takes daily awareness and regular effort.

Remedies recommended in Emotional IQ 2.0:

  • Tend to stress, have a regular self-care regimen along the lines of daily meditation or prayer, exercise, walking, running, yoga, quiet time, etc. Recovery and self-improvement work are vital for growth and progress in every area, not just Emotional IQ. Tending to yourself keeps you mindful and progressive.  Recovery groups are powerful tools as are therapy, books and classes, journaling and regular accountability sessions with a friend or mentor.
  • Sleep patterns, this matters more than we realize! Regulating sleeping habits drastically improves our emotional health and intelligence.
  • Caffeine and other substance intake altars how we feel and how we think. The less we have mental and physical altering substances, the better.

Efforts to increase Emotional IQ matter! 

If you wonder how much…just consider those in your life who are not self-aware or managing themselves and their relationships regularly. Would it make a difference to those around them if they did?

A regular routine to improve oneself, in just a matter of weeks, can be life altering for everyone around you.  If those near you aren’t doing it, you should be.

The healthier we become, the better life becomes.

***

We can also increase our Emotional IQ by:

OWNING OUR PAIN AND WORKING TO HEAL IT, VERSUS INFLICTING IT ON OTHERS.

Own your pain so it won’t own you.  If not, you will remain stuck in it.  And it will become the excuse you give for bad behavior and mishandling of others.

Pain caused by mistreatment from someone else never justifies our behavior or reactions.

According to therapist Eugenia Oganova, “A weak and unconscious person wants revenge in response to emotional, mental, or physical pain, while a strong and conscious person is able to learn and forgive in response to pain. This is the main difference. If we own the pain, we build the Self and increase our consciousness. If we projectthe pain, we only program the lesson to repeat – until we get it.”

GRATITUDE – IT’S A RESET FOR THE BRAIN!

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all emotions.”  ~Zig Ziglar

Try a regular routine of gratitude, such as a journal of daily thankfulness or a “Gratitude project.”

A few years ago during a terribly dark time, I did a 21-day Gratitude Project.  Every morning I listed ten things I was thankful for before I faced the day. I would write things like moments of kindness from a stranger, family member or friend. Having my health, having a sweet dog, the ability to have freedom in my schedule and so on.

The project also required me to choose a different person every day for those three weeks to give a sincere compliment to.  A stranger in passing, friend over text, family member in a card or email, etc.

I made this part of my daily routine and journaled about it each day.

I felt such a lift of spirits from this daily process that I did another 21 days as soon as I finished it.

I look back on those pages now if I need a boost of positive energy, reading over it does not fail to give me new feelings of joy and gratitude!

Gratitude changes our energy and redirects negative thinking.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melanie Beattie

***

Life throws a lot at us.  Many deal with alcoholic, dysfunctional, substance abusing family, friends and loved ones.  Along with demanding jobs, financial strains, health issues, daily stress and so on. It’s no wonder we have 400 emotional experiences per day!

The question is, regardless of who or what we’re dealing with – do we want to be the best, highest version of ourselves?

Or do we sink into unconscious settling and grow stagnate, never to improve, grow or make progress. In other words, emotionally childish, stunted or stuck.

Improving Emotional IQ is a process that takes consistent effort.

Strengthening Emotional IQ is critical, valuable, simple and doable!

It’s also a choice.

“We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but by how well we handle ourselves and each other.” ~Daniel Coleman, Ph.D., Working with Emotional Intelligence

Still learning,

Annie

Author of Unhooked

Eric C. Music Addiction Redemption – Recovered 879

150 150 Mark S

Our generous Recovered Podcast Community allows us to be self supporting and not rely on outside contributions.  If you would like to join us, there are two ways.

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Eric C. Speaks About His Childhood, Music, Drug Addiction And About His Son

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David B. Ziggy Music and Addiction – Recovered 878

150 150 Mark S

Our generous Recovered Podcast Community allows us to be self supporting and not rely on outside contributions.  If you would like to join us, there are two ways.

  1. Episode Sponsorship  We will recognize you by first name only at the top, mid, and end of the episode.  Any amount will qualify.
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Call and leave a message and become part of the show

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Check out this episode!