“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

 

When I am rigid and stuck in my ways, my days can become long and exhausting. During my days of drinking and drug use, it was “my way or the highway”. I was right and you were wrong. I was rigid and inflexible in my thinking. I was not willing to listen to what you had to say. Through working the 12-Steps, I have learned how to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. I have learned to open my heart and open my mind. The result being that my days are much easier. I have learned that being inflexible in my thinking causes me to have expectations. Those expectations are resentments waiting to happen. If I open my mind and if I am flexible, I have no expectations. Having no expectations means that I can be present and focus on the current moment. Being open and flexible allows me to change the way that I look at things. This is a much easier way to live life. This way of living leads to being happy, joyous, and free.

Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering

Miguel Ruiz

In recovery and through working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have learned that what other people do or say has nothing to do with me. I am powerless over people, places, and things. If I put energy on things that other people do, I am only hurting myself. When I put energy on things that other people do, that means I am trying to be in control. Being in control means that I start worrying about the outcome. This is a weight that I don’t need on my shoulders. As the saying goes, “acceptance is the answer to all of my problems’. Acceptance leads to happiness and freedom. I believe that everyone does the best that they can with the tools they have been given. Today, I do the very best that I can to make the right decisions and to keep my side of the street clean. This way of living makes life much easier and keeps me happy.

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.

–Katharine Hepburn

 

Newcomer

 

I appreciate the fact that you remain friendly and even-tempered even though I don’t always follow your advice.

 

Sponsor

 

Friends can disagree without having to end their relationship. I might have trouble sponsoring someone who never attends meetings, someone who has frequent relapses, or someone who complains about his or her problems without ever being willing to attempt the Steps. But occasional disagreements are a part of life.

 

A sponsor’s suggestions aren’t commands, any more than the Twelve Steps are. As a sponsor, I only make suggestions; even though they’re based on my experience, I’m not always right about what will work for another person. And I may misjudge what another person’s timetable is. I’m not infallible. I try not to let my ego get in the way, to feel hurt or angry when you need to try something on your own. Learning to make your own decisions is necessary to growth.

 

Each of us makes his or her own way through the process of recovery. We learn more from our own experiences, good and bad, than from anything we read in a book or hear at a meeting.

 

Today, I learn from my experience.

 

Everyone has their own path. My way is what worked for me. However, it does not mean that my way will work for anyone else. I used get upset if a sponsee or newcomer would not take my suggestions. I have learned not to be attached to another person’s actions. After all, I am powerless over people, places, and things. AA is a program of action and a program only works if you work it. So regardless of a person’s path, he or she must work a program if he/she wants to stay sober and if he/she wants to be happy, joyous, and free.

Reality is what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is what we believe.

What we believe is based upon our perceptions.

What we perceive depends upon what we look for.

What we look for depends upon what we think.

What we think depends upon what we perceive.

What we perceive determines what we believe.

What we believe determines what we take to be true.

What we take to be true is our reality.

~ Gary Zukav ~

My perception is my reality. Everyone has their own perception of reality, and that is their reality. I used to always want to be right. Better yet, I was always right. Being right in my mind does not necessarily mean that I am right. Everyone has their own perception of what is right. Further, being right does not create happiness. I have learned through my experiences that if anything, being right leads to unhappiness. Being right leads to separation and closed doors. Being open leads to joy, happiness, and freedom.

What are the unique challenges in treating someone with an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder? 

There are unique challenges in treating someone with an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder. I have personal experience with someone who had an anxiety disorder. She used to have panic attacks on a regular basis. If she had a few drinks, she would not have a panic attack The drinks would help her relax. She would also take xanex on a regular basis. The xanex or alcohol was a way to self-medicate. Therefore, after the medication would wear off, the anxiety would surface. Often times, the anxiety would be worse than it was prior to drinking alcohol. I also had to take this woman to the emergency room several times because she literally thought that she was dying. When I would take her to the emergency room, the doctors would look at her like she was crazy. She was obviously not the first person that came to the emergency room due to a panic attack. It is so interesting how a person can actually think that they are going to die even though everything is perfectly okay.

 

When treating someone with both anxiety and a substance abuse disorder, both disorders need to be treated. The client could have resorted to self-medicating the anxiety, which in-turn could have caused the substance use disorder. Or the substance use disorder could have caused the anxiety disorder.

Every intention sets energy into motion

Whether you are conscious of it or not.

 

~ Gary Zukav ~

 

I know what my true intentions were based upon my results. Once I made the decision to be sober, my actions around sobriety supported that decision. I fully immersed myself into the program of AA. I went to one or two 12-step meetings per day, I got a sponsor and I started working the steps, I got a home group and a service commitment. In my first year of recovery, the majority of my life revolved around recovery related activities. Health, fitness, and exercise, yoga and meditation, food and nutrition were all huge compliments to my recovery. Structure, rules, and living a balanced life were important parts of my recovery. I am an alcoholic and an addict. This means that I tend to get focused on one activity and go overboard. This means that I can be a workaholic, sex addict, shopaholic, or exercise addict. Structure and balance are imperative.