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There is no god, and he hates me.

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM / by John MacDougall posted in addiction, higher power, god, disease of alcoholism

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The disease of alcoholism and addiction shows up in our lives in the form of a voice in our heads.  That voice is like a channel of discouragement that is hard to totally eliminate. The addictive voice doesn’t have to make any sense to be effective. Because it has been there so long, and because its messages are so consistently depressing, we come to accept it, just because it wears us down.

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Addicted to Self Will?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Kara F posted in Alcoholics Anonymous, addiction, big book, self-will

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 Hello my name is Kara and I am addicted to self-will!

Page 62 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states “So our troubles, we think , are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot”…..um….bummer!  I don’t know about you but I have never lived in peace and riot at the same time.  Of course, I have given it one heck of an effort, but the 2 don’t mesh.  Ultimately, through experiencing both peace and unrest, I decided I would like to choose peace.  It’s one or the other. And I like peace!

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Grateful for Addiction?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 16, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Sherry Gaugler-Stewart posted in addiction, gratitude

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Everyone is Entitled to Their Own Opinions, but They’re Not Entitled to Their Own Facts

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 26, 2016 10:30:00 AM / by John MacDougall posted in drug addiction, addiction

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Our national drug policies are being set, and re-set recently on the basis of popular opinion, rather than on the basis of risk of addiction or risk of death.  There is no national drug policy, just a confusing and contradictory set of policies that are constantly changing, as those who want to cut the death rate are in conflict with those who want to make addictive drugs more available.  There is very little science, and lots of politics.

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Have You A Substitute?

[fa icon="calendar'] May 25, 2016 9:30:00 AM / by John MacDougall posted in addiction, AA, alcohol recovery, alcoholism

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In the spring of 1989, I finally figured out that I was an alcoholic. I had taught Addiction Studies in a Graduate School for four years without ever figuring out that I was an alcoholic. I even told the old joke that an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than his doctor, not realizing that I thought that an alcoholic was someone who drinks more than an associate professor.  It was only years later, when I decided to go to Hazelden as a student in their chemical dependency counselor program that I read the textbook, the DSM-III-R,  and applied it to myself that I figured it out. I carefully detoxed myself over a six week period and joined the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I did so with a sense of grim resignation.

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The Family Mascot: “If I make people laugh, there is no pain.”

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Mark Korman posted in addiction, Children, Family

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On April 29th, Claudia Black, Ph.D. and national expert on the family disease of addiction, will be presenting a workshop sponsored by The Retreat titled “Transforming Families: From Script to Choice.” This workshop will explore different ways families respond to addiction and alcoholism, including the scripts children adopt in reaction to this situation. This month’s blog post briefly describes one of these adopted roles, the “Mascot.”

Mascots are often identified as the “family clown.” They have adapted a knack to distract from the tension that is often created where addiction is present, and, hence, relieve some stress and pain for themselves and others in the family. These children have learned to avoid hard feelings, whether consciously or unconsciously, through attention seeking, humor, or acting out. The Mascot’s goal is to distract from the difficulties families dealing with addiction often face.

Due to the amount of time they spend acting, these children can lose touch with their authentic self, and can carry this role of actor into their adult years. Some adult Mascots find themselves unable to face challenging situations. They avoid conflict because their coping skill didn’t allow for learning how to take important  matters seriously. As a result, Mascots are susceptible to acting inappropriately, crossing boundaries, and missing important social maturity markers.

Mascots also risk the potential of measuring self-worth by how others see them. They long to be liked, and become confused when they are not the center of attention. They may feel uneasy in the absence of drama and may create a diversion in order to feel normal. Mascots are prone to struggle with intimacy issues because they’ve learned to protect themselves from their feelings.

However, Mascots have also developed the gift of being adaptable and flexible in dealing with whatever life throws their way.

There is hope.  Join us at our workshop on Friday, April 29th, when Claudia Black will share insights on how to change the Mascot’s role, and all of the roles that have been mentioned in this blog in the last few months. We hope to see you there! Here’s a link for more information, or to register for this exciting, Claudia Black, Ph.D. and national expert on the family disease of addiction opportunity, follow this link!

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The Responsible Child: Preventing Pain through Planning

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 20, 2016 3:54:37 PM / by Mark Korman posted in addiction, families, Children

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Children in homes where addiction is present tend to adopt relatively predictable family of origin roles or scripts. These roles allow children to draw positive attention, and sometimes are designed to avoid any attention at all. Each role seems to be focused on a universal primary relationship goal: an attempt to not feel pain. Our kids often play their roles with such fluidity that they go unnoticed. They do their best to help the chemically dependent home they are living in feel safe and structured.

The Responsible Child is the adolescent who acts like an adult. They try to produce predictability, tame tensions, and organize the outcomes. On the extreme end, these kids are planning and preparing meals. They may be cleaning the household, or making sure the doors are locked at night. If there are younger siblings, they may be checking backpacks for homework folders and ensuring that assignments are completed. 

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Mindfulness during the Holiday Season

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 18, 2015 1:39:53 PM / by Ellie Hyatt posted in recovery process, addiction, Al-anon, Family Program, family support, family recovery, drug recovery, alcohol recovery, mindfulness

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The expectation of the holiday season can be stressful for everyone. For reasons that might be obvious, that stress seems to be even greater in families dealing with recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. 

There is a simple practice that can reduce that stress and offer us the opportunity for a meaningful holiday experience; that is a mindfulness practice. It allows us to stop our racing thoughts, which are usually produced by some form of fear. It allows us to make choices that support our well-being. It allows us to be present.

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Set Limits with an Alcoholic Loved One and Stick to Them.

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 28, 2015 10:30:00 AM / by Ellie Hyatt posted in addiction, Family Program, family support, family recovery, alcoholic loved one, setting limits with an alcoholic

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Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.

Part 3: Set Limits and Stick to Them

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Helping Loved Ones By Understanding Alcohol Addiction.

[fa icon="calendar'] May 26, 2015 1:30:00 PM / by Ellie Hyatt posted in alcohol addiction, alcohol dependency, drug addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, sober community, addiction, Al-anon, Family Program, family support, families

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Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.

Part One: Educate Yourself About Alcoholism and Addiction

Even though the first step in Al-Anon tells us we are powerless over another’s drinking or addiction, we know there are things we can do to help the situation.  In the coming months, we’d like to discuss 6 things you actually can do to help an alcoholic loved one.  

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