How to Handle a Crazymaker

How to Handle a Crazymakerbzacute

4 keys to keep from losing it when they start playing games.

A mother gave her son two ties for an upcoming family occasion. She then got mad at him when he showed up at the party wearing one of them. She wanted him to wear the other one.

Years later after the son had grown up and married, he presented his wife with two dresses for their anniversary dinner. He then got upset with her for wearing the wrong dress of the two.

A few years later, after the couple had a daughter, his wife accused the daughter of hugging the wrong parent first—even if the little girl switched whom she hugged each time.

Crazy-makers come in all shapes and sizes—and can have good and bad intentions. Some know they are being manipulative and oppressive. Others haven’t got a clue. Some engage in their tactics consistently. Others provide intermittent surprise attacks. The challenge is to recognize the behavior, assess if it’s from a healthy or unhealthy place, and then employ the proper strategies to stay sane and empower yourself.

Crazymaking is when a person sets you up to lose, as in the examples above: You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You’re put in lose-lose situations, but too many games are being played for you to reason yourself out of it. There is no rhyme, reason, or emotional understanding with a crazy-maker. Worse, when the behavior is stealthy and confusing, it becomes easy to feel crazy. It feels like you’re caught in a whirlwind of chaos, with the life force being sucked from you as you are manipulated with nonstop crazy-making tactics.

The Top 3 Crazy-maker Types

Narcissists. The granddaddy of all crazy-makers. Narcissists cannot empathize with anyone, meaning they cannot relate to your feelings. They only feel their own wants and needs. They are emotionally stunted, like a perpetually demanding two-year-old. It is always about them. However, they can be extremely charming and charismatic, as they have learned how to be the greatest salespeople to get their needs met. They can charm and mimic compassion for brief moments in order to get their needs satisfied. They expect only the best and can be the most materialistic—demanding trophy-relationships, endless objects of success, only well-known acquaintances, top-notch services, lavish vacations, etc. They have disdain for emotions in others and often think even less of people close to them. They try to control everyone around them and will use every available tactic to gain control. Many high-ranking executives are narcissists and consequently tend to create a narcissistic culture in their company or division.

Drama-cultivators. Whether histrionic or borderline or a version of other similar diagnosable personalities, the drama-cultivator is best known for their perpetual crises. They are like Chicken Little screaming “The sky is falling!” but they expect you to fix it. Now—and on their terms. Some people do experience an excess of rough times (and it’s true that a lot of crises can happen in one burst), but the drama-cultivator has an overabundance of crises because, for them, everything is a crisis. They expend their energy and yours responding to crises. They cannot empathize with others because they are too wrapped up in their chaos. Yet, they need you and your energy and don’t want you to leave them, so they go to great lengths to get and keep your attention. Like a wounded child, they also swing from loving and supporting you to getting angry and detesting you. Their moods and responses are inconsistent and dealing with them feels like you are walking in a field of landmines.

Stealth-bombers. They look like roses compared to the narcissist and drama-cultivator, but beware their sharp thorns. These highly dependent people try to please you, but the nice things they do have a cost. They are the martyr that keeps score. Like a stealth bomber, just when you think everything is okay, they get you. Their modus operandi is to sabotage you while they look innocent. For instance, they will commit to doing something when they really don’t want to do it and then consistently bail out at the last minute. Or they’ll conveniently forget. Perhaps they’ll run late and miss the deadline. Everyone has these experiences now and again, but stealth-bombers do it all the time and they get you to feel guilty about it. They will make up excuses with the most ambiguous details, then sulk and act like a victim if you get upset. They will conveniently lose items, forget dates, miss deadlines, ruin plans, and then become sad and withdrawn because they’ve tried so hard.

4 Common Crazy-maker Tactics

It is imperative to know if you’re dealing with a crazy-maker in the first place. However, there’s a tendency to be a little blind to the possibility if the person is a loved one or someone close. We end up taking that person’s behavior personally, and believing that the crazy-maker in our life could change if they wanted to. We also expect the crazy-maker to play by the same communication and etiquette “rules” as everyone else. But they can’t. Crazy-makers don’t play by the same rules as you. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and energy if you realize this now and stop trying to make the crazy-maker in your life dance to your song.

  1. The Double-Bind. Double-binds are negative messages disguised in a positive message or gesture. The double-bind sets you up to lose, as in the example above with the mother and the two ties. It can also be as subtle as a person giving a scolding look while saying, “I loveyou.” The insult about choosing the wrong tie is cloaked in the gift of the tie. The son is trapped because if he complains, the mother can say he doesn’t appreciate the gift. The “I love you” is coupled with an angry look, so one is prevented from addressing the look because the counter-argument might be, “But I said I love you. “Double-binds happen all of the time. Start paying attention and you’ll be appalled by the frequency. Crazy-makers employ this tactic most often.
  2. Inconsistent praise. Crazy-makers are superior at giving inconsistent praise. They are all adept at keeping you on your toes and getting you to beg for their praise. There’s a scientific explanation for it: Inconsistent praise tends to elicit desired behavior the most. Numerous animal researchers have discovered that the best way to train an animal is with an inconsistent reward. This is why gambling can be so addictive—it provides an inconsistent reward. We literally get hooked. Crazy-makers have figured this out and provide the people around them with inconsistent praise. Sometimes they are just so loving, present, or flattering that it feels good. Then it’s gone. Some people get hooked and continue to put up with crazy-making behavior because they are waiting for the payoff—the praise. In fact, a crazy-maker’s praise probably does feel better to you than praise from a person who is consistent with it. But, like gambling, it can be an addictive high that also has a queasy, unsettling feeling to it—along with a high cost.
  3. Selective memory. We all have selective memories, but crazy-makers exceptionally so. They conveniently forget any problems you’ve had with them when they want something from you. Then they throw every wrong you’ve ever done in your face when they are upset with you. Again, the key is that it’s inconsistent. You never know what your review will be like because it depends on their mood. You know that the only thing you can depend on with a crazy-maker is that you can’t depend on consistency. They will hold a grudge but expect you to forget any disruptions. They will manipulate like crazy and use their selective memory as ammunition.
  4. Impossible to empathize. Crazy-makers cannot empathize. They will simply not be able to understand your feelings or situation. They might try to give you a sense that they understand, but they can’t sit with it very long and generally turn the conversation back onto their feelings or situation. This is an important point: Empathy is a developmental trait. A child at age 4 begins to play with others in a more cooperative fashion. Prior to that, if they are with other children, they are still most likely playing in an individual fashion (serial play). That’s normal because they haven’t developmentally learned to share and take turns. When such skills kick in, empathy does as well. Typically, a crazy-maker has not developed empathy, so they are more like a two-year-old emotionally. Knowing this is critical to protecting yourself in a power struggle.

Keeping strong boundaries is the key to dealing with a crazy-maker.

4 Strategies for Dealing With a Crazy-Maker

  1. Take an observer’s point of view.There’s something about detaching and seeing a crazy-maker from an observer point of view that helps you not get entangled in their mess. It’s almost like listening to someone speaking a different language. All of a sudden, their attacks seem silly and confirm to you that they are dancing to a different tune. Letting go can be the biggest power struggle deflator of all. It can also save your sanity because you can stop yourself from engaging in a needless battle—or feeling the sting of a double-bind.
  2. Maintain a healthy sense of self-worth.Sometimes we attract crazy-makers in our life because they reflect our own lack of self-worth. We let bullies bully us because we somehow feel we deserve it on some level. We teach people how to treat us and often reinforce crazy-making behavior in our lives through accepting it. Don’t. Start telling yourself you are worth more. You can’t really ask for something from somebody else if you aren’t giving it to yourself first. So, love and respect yourself. Be gentle with yourself—especially when dealing with a crazy-maker. As proof, notice if the crazy-maker in your life treats other people better than you. Pay attention and notice if those people exude a higher sense of self-worth. That might be a clue to improve your own self-worth through positive self-talk and care.
  3. Keep a healthy distance.Do you really have to have the crazy-maker in your life, or can you just keep a healthy distance? Are you in a trap of believing that you will be worth more if the crazy-maker finally treats you better? They probably won’t, so don’t be afraid to move on. Narcissists need an audience; drama-cultivators require others to maintain drama; and stealth-bombers are dependent. In other words, you are the dance partner in their crazy-making dance and you can choose to stop dancing with them. There are other jobs and other friends that are healthy. If it’s a relative, you can still keep a healthy distance. Keep visits short and reward yourself afterward with nurturing care and positive self-talk.
  4. Cultivate internal validation.Sometimes people won’t play fair. They’ll use crazy-making tactics and engage in power struggles to feel better about themselves. You can play into it and escalate the battle or you can take the higher road. Taking the higher road includes finding internal strength. Some refer to it as spirituality. Some feel it from the heart. It’s that endless supply inside that rejuvenates you and causes people to become resilient in the face of the most challenging adversity. It is the source of hope. Tapping into it is proof that you’ve developed a good boundary. People cannot drain your energy field because it’s directly tied into the abundant source of courage, hope and love. You don’t have boundary leaks because you are no longer dependent on external validation. Fear is replaced with faith that the source of hope is abundant inside. Your heart is not hardened and your mind is not cynical. You are fully adaptable to change and at peace. In short, you are the change you want to see and you are modeling it for the world.
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The 12 Communication Roadblocks

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The 12 Communication Roadblocksrb

Throughout our lives, we have learned a variety of ways to help children as well as adults when they have strong feelings, thoughts or problems. We want to be helpful, yet many of our responses actually make it more difficult for the person to express himself, make a decision, or solve a problem.
Listed here are twelve of the more frequent “helping responses” which can become “Roadblocks” to communication. When you read this list, you may feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you because so many of your regular ways of talking responses are now called roadblocks.
  1. Ordering, Directing: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself…”
  2. Warning, Threatening: “You’ll never make friends if…” “You’d better stop worrying so much or…”
  3. Moralizing, Preaching: “Life is not a bowl of cherries…” “You shouldn’t feel that way…” “Patience is a virtue you should learn…”
  4. Advising, Giving Solutions:

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Do You Have Highly Emotional Sobriety?

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Do You Have Highly Emotional Sobriety?erpc

One of the most frustrating early-sobriety issues I dealt with was the onslaught of emotions that hit me like never before.  I didn’t expect it.  It was hard.  They weren’t happy emotions.  I was hit with fear, anger, resentment and anxiety.  I’m a future-oriented person, so my early emotional sobriety was fear-based.  If you’re past-oriented, you’ll suffer shame-based emotions.  Both are equally disturbing.

Most people early in recovery get ride the emotional roller coaster.”  In fact, the pink cloud is part of that emotional roller coaster.   If you’re going through crazy emotions, you’re normal.  Yup, that’s totally normal in early recovery.  Hang on tight … and do what you can to keep those crazy emotions at bay as best as you can.

What can you do about your emotional roller coaster?

  1.  Stay sober

Yeah, I know it’s obvious, but stay sober.  Don’t let…

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Addiction Recovery Requires a Personal Commitment first, Treatment second.

Lifeworks Substance Abuse Services

Addiction Recovery Requires a Personal Commitment first, Treatment second.get treatment

Recovery is a long process and it is important not to cut the time of learning coping skills short because of busy schedules in life or the wrong belief that an understanding has taken place. Cutting time short on learning coping skills, and having recovery highest priority in life, does in most cases lead to relapse. Recovery is a lifestyle; it needs to be lived, not to be part of life just for a while. Recovery is a commitment that needs always highest priority. Recovery is a choice which most addicts did not have by themselves before. It’s a choice which is gained during treatment. The choice has not been there in active addiction. Recovery is not a matter of willpower but of intensive help and work. Recovery needs determination and passion, not being sidetracked away from the substance and the…

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Changing behavior requires self-awareness.

helping-hands Changing a well-worn habit in particular requires that you move it from “automatic” to “conscious” so that you can make other behavioral choices. For example, if you don’t even notice that you are reaching for a cigarette as you get into your car, how are you ever going to decide to resist lighting it up?

Habits are influenced by your environment and are set off by environmental cues, sometimes called triggers. Triggers are the people, situations, locations and emotions associated with any behavior you are trying to change. When it comes to substance use, triggers are the environmental variables that provoke “cravings” or the desire to use or engage in the habit. Neuroscientists have studied the trigger effect in the brain—how an encounter with drug paraphernalia or the smell of a long-frequented pub lights up the part of the brain responsible for emotion and instinct, the “feel good” parts of the brain. As you encounter these cues in your daily life, it’s likely that you are on autopilot and don’t even notice how they are linked to your decision to engage in your habit. Scientists have also found that once these habits are engaged, the brain has a difficult time considering the consequences and risks associated with the behavior. In other words, once you are in your car, smoking the cigarette, it’s not likely that you will have the wherewithal to say “this is really bad for my health, I’m going to throw this cigarette and the rest of the pack away right now.”

If you are wanting to change a habit, it is important to start with identifying the cues/triggers (both internal and external) that lead up to the decision to engage in the behavior.

  • What are the usual times of day/night associated with this behavior?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What are you thinking?
  • Who are you with?
  • Where are you?

The good news is that by understanding these triggers you can go about altering your

environment in order to support change. In addition, when you replace old behaviors with more positive actions, new neural pathways are forged. Thankfully, triggers tend to lose their strength over time as the old pathways power down from disuse.

Suggestions:

  • Address your environment: You can choose to be one place or another. You can avoid certain places or certain people. You can consciously alter things in your environment to make it safer (remove paraphernalia or any other visual cues to use).
  • Be conscious! Much of daily life is out of our control but we can make conscious decisions about some variables and doing so can make a big difference. Who are you spending time with? Where are you hanging out? How are you responding to certain emotional states?
  • Pay special attention to the internal triggers (the feelings and the thoughts). Do you need to get specific help with anxiety? How can you go about tending to your loneliness? Fatigue? Anger?
  • Be proactive and deliberate. As you try to resist old behaviors, be creative and engage in life-enhancing alternatives so that you don’t feel deprived.
  • Ask for help. Changing your relationship to behavioral habits often involves including other people. Let people know what you are trying to do so that they don’t accidentally contribute to your being exposed to your triggers.

Remember, making changes in behavior require new learning. No one is an A student over night. Be patient with yourself as you navigate your day to day and encounter triggers and possibly the desire to engage in your habit. By shifting out of “automatic” and trying to be aware of your triggers you will have a much greater chance of changing your behavior and patterns. Conscious decision making leads to change!

While it’s a simple concept, it has some pretty profound impact

feelings-chart6

While it’s a simple concept, it has some pretty profound impact

  • Your thoughts create your feelings.  How you think about and interpret what happens to you influences your feelings.
  • You get what you focus on. If you focus on the negative side of a situation, your mood will reflect it.
  • How you interpret what happens in your life is important. The meaning you assign to events and experiences shapes your thoughts and your mood. There’s something to be said for rose colored glasses.

It’s another reminder that it’s not what’s on your plate, but how you eat it.

World, Thoughts and Mood
Events happen.  You interpret and make meaning of the events.  This creates your mood.  Burns explains the relationship between the world, your thoughts and your mood:

  1. World – a series of positive, neutral and negative events.
  2. Thoughts – you interpret the events with a series of thoughts that continually flow through your mind. This is called your “internal
    dialogue.”
  3. Mood – Your feelings are created by your thoughts and not
    the actual events. All experiences must be processed through your brain and
    given a conscious meaning before you experience any emotional response.

It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s How You React
When you’re anxious or depressed, your thoughts might be distorted.  Burns writes:

“It is not the actual events but your perception that result in changes in mood. When you are sad,your thoughts will represent a realistic interpretation of negative events. When you are depressed or anxious, your thoughts will always be illogical, distorted, unrealistic, or just plain wrong.”

Radio Dial Example
Your thoughts can be distorted depending on how you’re feeling.  You can tune in to the wrong things or blow them out of proportion.  Burns illustrates the point with an example:

“Your blue moods can be compared to the scratchy music coming from a radio that is not properly tuned to the station. The problem is not that the tubes are blown out or defective, or that the signal from the radio station is distorted as a result of bad weather. You just simply have to adjust the dials. When you learn to bring about this mental tuning, the music will come through clearly again and your depression will lift.”

Contrary to logic, intuition and common sense, the hard fact is that punishment does not reduce criminal offending.

Contrary to logic, intuition and common sense, the hard fact is that punishment does not reduce criminal offending.free

This may be a difficult one for some to swallow, especially since the past 45 years and more than $1 trillion have been spent on punishment as the centerpiece of American criminal justice policy. We essentially bet the farm on punishing more and more criminal offenders more and more severely. Unfortunately, we lost the farm.

We missed one very important observation. The simple fact is that while punishment works for the most part on those of us who are law abiding, criminal offenders are not us.

They lack many of the opportunities, alternatives and options we have. Punishment doesn’t change many of the problems, deficits and impairment that characterize the offender population.

A number of factors came into play to keep punishment as the primary tool of criminal justice. Front and center are the political benefits of keeping the train headed in the same direction and gaining momentum. Politicians routinely claimed it worked, often accompanied by the rallying cries of “lock them up and throw away the key” and “do the crime, do the time.”

But there is overwhelming evidence of just how big of a policy failure it actually is. We have the largest prison population in the world, and the vast majority of criminal offenders, well north of 60 percent, reoffend within three years of being released from prison.

Fortunately, today we have the tools to remarkably reduce crime, recidivism, victimization and cost, if we are smart.

Criminal justice policy going forward should be based on the simple premise of accurately distinguishing between those offenders we should rightfully fear and those who just make us mad.

For those we rightfully fear — violent offenders, truly habitual offenders and those who have no interest in behavioral change — there is prison. Those are the offenders who need to be removed from society.

But for those who do not fall into the “truly fear” category, we need a different path.

The evidence is clear that the key is diversion from incarceration, accompanied by accurate screening and assessment to determine what problems need to be addressed, and providing the necessary resources to effectively change behavior. All of this needs to be done in an environment of supervision, compliance and accountability, accompanied by appropriate sanctioning for noncompliance. Sounds simple, but the devil is truly in the details.

We need to build sufficient diversion and treatment capacity, change sentencing laws to provide for much greater diversion, bring the necessary clinical expertise to the table, make judicial and prosecutorial decision making much more collaborative, and change how we think about crime and punishment.

For example, drug courts are effective at reducing substance abuse and recidivism. And they are much more cost efficient than punishment alone. However, although there are approximately 3,000 drug courts in the U.S., the capacity of these courts is sufficient to address only about 10 percent of the need.

Large percentages of criminal offenders have substance abuse problems, are mentally ill, or have neurocognitive impairments and deficits. Unemployment, poor education and occasionally homelessness also plague offenders. Current policies do little to change any of these problems. Comprehensive, systematic change to the criminal justice system is required if we want to enhance public safety and reduce cost.

Every presidential candidate, Republican and Democratic, has chimed in on criminal justice reform, but none seems to grasp the big picture. The American criminal justice system is a massive failure that requires a comprehensive solution.

We have an opportunity today to get smart about crime and criminal justice policy. We have an effective path forward that is based on scientific evidence. What we appear to lack is the willingness to embrace the solution with the enthusiasm and resources with which we embraced “tough on crime” 45 years ago.

PRINCIPLE FOUR – HONESTY

PRINCIPLE FOUR – HONESTY

“Honesty is the ability to match up our insides with our outsides. 
It allows what we don’t care about to go away and what we really want
to appear and develop in our lives.”

Getting honest and learning to live openly with ourselves, God, and others is such a big part of recovery. It becomes a general principle through constant application. Like the other spiritual principles that guide us in recovery, the principle of honesty tells us what to do in situations that may be turning points. Sometimes minor troubles are merely little acts of a loving God trying to slow us down. The problem areas may be opportunities that require spiritual principles for solution. By applying spiritual principles, like honesty, we automatically make ourselves more trustworthy, a better friend, and a reliable human being. As creatures of habit, we can be honest until it becomes the normal thing to do. Honesty is acquired through learning and eventually becomes habitual. When this happens, we can move in circles reserved for those who play by the rules. Doorways closed to us open and things out of reach come near. For most of us, our admission of powerlessness over our addiction is the first honesty we’ve been certain of in quite a while. As we come to realize that we are loved and respected for our honesty, we can come to other truths about ourselves. By becoming honest, open-minded and willing to try, we find ourselves coming into better focus with real values and goals. Dishonesty gives others power over us. Honesty allows us to increase and expand our personal freedom.

Certainly, any addict in recovery is going through a series of struggles to overcome the habits we acquire in active addiction. Those of our members who have achieved long periods of total abstinence and spiritual growth share the fact that each release from the chains of our disease places new demands for personal, and spiritual honesty. Each person who trusts us is a new chance to betray. That is one reason we take our time in recovery, we want it to last. Like the other forms our disease takes, we learn to make the correct choice. Our choices bring us out of our fear, denial and hopelessness. None of us are perfect yet through the power of the Twelve Steps, we are gradually able to face life on life’s terms. We have to learn to correct mistakes and recognize the pain we cause others when we fall back on our old ways. We start to realize that in order to respond spiritually, we must do the spiritual preparation. The more we practice being honest, the easier it becomes. Working the steps with a Narcotics Anonymous sponsor is a great place to start!

Honesty as a principle, is a new habitual tool we utilize to deal with things as they come up. Honesty protects us in recovery and fleshes out the dead portions of our lives. The help of other members, a good sponsor, and a home group eases our way as we become accepted as a new person. The ties that bind us together may be more important than we know. It is characteristic of our disease to take our new friends for granted. We must remember that being around honest people makes it easier for us to be honest. When we surround ourselves with individuals who share their pain and then share the solution that helped them get through it, we feel more comfortable being honest with them when we really need help. On the other hand, if we never hear any heart felt successes and struggles, we will be less likely to share them ourselves.

Many of us have `traded off’ different forms of honesty. If we were sick and hurting inside, we might parade a great show of paid bills and cash register honesty. We divert attention away from our emotional dishonesty and pain. Then we pretend the program has let us down! If we have been more open about our thievery, we may treasure certain rationalizations about why we do these things, exhibiting great care and dexterity to shift blame for our offenses onto someone else. We only need to do this as long as we are helpless to change. As soon as we can admit our desire for change, we can begin to laugh at ourselves and stop pretending that we didn’t know what we were doing. Most of us knew, we just didn’t know any better. Our ability to make ourselves miserable with faulty logic is almost incredible.

Honesty, as a principle, tells us to turn away from lies and falsehoods; to turn towards reality and get used to using the new power recovery brings. If we honestly don’t like our jobs, we change jobs. If we have amends we need to make, we become willing and make them. We can even pray for God’s help to do this. If we’re not happy in our associations or relationships, we use the power of a loving God and find a way to become happy.

Awareness in itself is not honesty, but it is a prerequisite. As we slowly become aware of our actions and feelings and their consequences, we become more honest about our motivations. We can fool others, but we can’t afford to fool ourselves. As we become more aware of our actions, we begin to realize that self-awareness is indeed the key to our recovery. Awareness allows us to identify with what is going on around us. Our first step is the first honest admission many of us have made in a while. This kind of honesty gives us the ability to question our initial ideas and feelings and look beyond them. By being open-minded, we can allow others to plant the seeds of awareness in us, blossoming our spirit and making honesty so normal that when we are not honest, we feel a tremendous amount of pain.

Dazed and out of step with the world of non-addicts, we began to live private fearful lives. We would not reveal ourselves to others as we came to expect personal rejection. This prevented our forming trust bonds and increased our isolation. Getting to know someone new or someone who didn’t use the way we did was a serious threat. It could land us in jail or cost us our job. If we were a prostitute – male or female – we likely had a whore’s wardrobe. To live the new life requires new clothes. If we were a burglar, we had burglar tools. If we were a con-man, we had to learn a new pitch. To live a new life requires new tools.

Surrender is critical for self-honesty. Surrender is to concede without reservations; to unconditionally accept reality. When we surrender, and really get honest, we realize that we are powerless not only over our addiction but over many other aspects of our lives as well. We become open-minded to new possibilities and ideas beyond our self-centeredness. We accept the fact that we have a disease, and that our best thinking got us here. This new attitude gives us the ability to question our initial ideas, and look beyond them. Surrender results in freedom. It is an ego-erasure and helps us to be more God-centered as opposed to self-centered.

When we come to Recovery, we enter a society where spiritual principles are valued. As we grow to want what others in recovery have, we become willing to adopt these principles. We have the desire to be honest before we may actually have the ability. Our need for acceptance, and to be a part of what we want to identify with around us, leads us. We are attracted to this way of life. Our approval seeking behavior can help us move towards recovery. Later on, we may get into honesty for honesty’s sake.

Desire and willingness must go hand in hand if we are to recover. If we have the desire to change, and we exercise the willingness to do so, then we will succeed. Our desire and willingness for honesty are fueled by our need for self-love and a nurturing spirit. Our desire to practice honesty grows when we see the direct benefits in our lives. The desire to take risks and be honest becomes less fearful. As we continue to do things that feel right, our desire grows. The willingness to act honestly and responsibly comes when we take action. When we’re all jammed up, and we scream, “Help me, what do I do?”. We call our sponsors. They inevitably ask, “Are you willing to get real about this?” Getting real means getting honest. When we get real, we get to choose whether we go on as we are or make some changes. It is no longer necessary to live in procrastination. We must have the desire and willingness to get better through the twelve steps or else we will stop growing spiritually and eventually return to our old way of life that guaranteed pain and misery on an hour to hour basis.

Unavoidable pain and hardship may accompany us as we grow. We learn to focus on the growth with gratitude and stop giving energy to the pain. We learn to ask for help a thousand ways and help comes through each in time. Through the Steps, we discover the things we’ve been doing to cause our problems and are relieved of the necessity to pursue them any longer. We learn the rules of responsibility and try to avoid injuring others through our actions or inaction.

As we experience personality change for ourselves, our goals change. We find money and possessions are meaningless if we don’t feel good about ourselves. Sex is not only empty without love, it can be life threatening. A good reputation triggers self-destructiveness if our insides don’t match our outsides. Many of us are suspicious that we have an internal witness who punishes us if we violate any of our own beliefs and the rules we set for ourselves.

As these changes take place, we are experiencing revitalization on every level: mental, physical and spiritual. We don’t get involved with plots because we don’t like what plots bring. We don’t allow authority figures to make us break laws, legal or moral. As we blink our way into the world of personal responsibility, we come to see the futility of scheming and manipulating others. Perhaps others can take chances. If we want the clean life and freedom from guilt, despair, and embarrassment, we will not knowingly do wrong. Sadly, we know if no one else is aware of our wrongdoing, we ourselves are witnesses. And we know how to punish ourselves. It is important to learn how to back out of a bad deal or situation.

An honest mistake, even an intentional mistake where we were temporarily blinded to the negative effects, can usually be amended. Our disease is such that amends making is a survival skill. Amends need to be made quickly once an error has become known to us. If harm has been done, we want to stop the ripple effect. We ask our higher power for strength and guidance. We do what must be done to correct the wrong. We trust and have faith we will be guided. Often, we find ourselves in need of the basics that personally helped us get clean and stay clean in the first place and restore our sense of balance. Being honest helps us get better quicker and keeps us on the spiritual path that continues to give us freedom beyond our wildest dreams.

Do You Need To Reach Rock Bottom Before Quitting Alcohol?

Do You Need To Reach Rock Bottom Before Quitting Alcohol?Do-You-Need-To-Reach-Rock-Bottom-Before-You-Quit-Drinking

I think the definition of rock bottom is going to be different for everyone. It depends who you are.
For a married man with kids, I think rock bottom for him would be if he lost his job, lost his family, lost his house, his kids wouldn’t talk to him anymore. Maybe he’s on a park bench!
To some rock bottom is somebody that I see on the streets. They just have no dignity left, they have nothing else to live for except the booze. They’ve got no shelter, they’ve got no food to speak of, they don’t really care about food. The only thing that they care about is the alcohol. To me, that would be my personal rock bottom.
Do you have to reach rock bottom before quitting alcohol? No, of course not! You don’t have to get that far at all.
The Signposts Along the Way

There’s plenty of signposts along the way that say you’ve got a problem, you need to address this, you need to get your head sorted out and wake up and smell the roses.
Once you start to see those signs, it’s a question of mind over matter, it’s a question of getting your head sorted out enough so you can deal with this thing.

Your Active Participation

Alcohol is just an inert substance, it’s just in a glass. It can’t do anything until you lift it up, pour it in your mouth and drink it. It takes your active participation and your approval to do it. Without that, if you’re against it, you can never be an alcoholic. You can never be a drinker.
So the main thing is to take those signs along the way, listen to those signs. It might be someone who’s saying something to you. Somebody that cares about you, maybe they’re saying “look, you’re drinking a bit too much”. It might be something that you’ve done, or something that you’ve said. It’s something that is making you think about this thing.
If you’re asking the question – do you have to hit rock bottom before you quit drinking alcohol – you’re thinking about it.

Stop Digging

The problem is, with a lot of people, the really bad alcoholics, is they keep digging and digging and digging. The further you dig down, the further you’ve got to come back up again. And the harder it is to get back up out of the whole. So, stop digging.
In answer to the question “Do you have to reach rock bottom before you quit drinking?” absolutely not.” You don’t have to hit rock bottom at all. All you have to do is listen to what’s going on around you and stop!

Addiction Recovery Requires a Personal Commitment first, Treatment second.

Addiction Recovery Requires a Personal Commitment first, Treatment second.get treatment

Recovery is a long process and it is important not to cut the time of learning coping skills short because of busy schedules in life or the wrong belief that an understanding has taken place. Cutting time short on learning coping skills, and having recovery highest priority in life, does in most cases lead to relapse. Recovery is a lifestyle; it needs to be lived, not to be part of life just for a while. Recovery is a commitment that needs always highest priority. Recovery is a choice which most addicts did not have by themselves before. It’s a choice which is gained during treatment. The choice has not been there in active addiction. Recovery is not a matter of willpower but of intensive help and work. Recovery needs determination and passion, not being sidetracked away from the substance and the problem.