Respect and Be Respected by Adam Lieberman

Most of us all have someone that we need to answer to in one way or another. Whether it’s a supervisor at work, a teacher in school, or a parent at home, there’s usually someone in our life that plays an authoritative role. Sometimes these “bosses” enjoy reminding us constantly of their authority and like to talk down to us. And other times they’ll choose to treat us with the utmost respect and kindness.

Interestingly, we all find ourselves in the exact same authoritative position countless times throughout the day. There are many people in our lives over whom – if we choose to – we can exercise an enormous amount of dominance and control. We can treat these people most any way we see fit, usually with little or no consequences. For example, this can happen every time you interact with a waitress, a store clerk, or any hired help. Since these people “need” to listen to us, we have the potential to treat them with outright rudeness and disrespect.

The reason why you’ll sometimes see people acting this way is that they believe it gives their ego a boost to “boss” someone around. We all have a desire on some level be in a position of authority in business, politics, or the community. So, in an unconscious effort to fulfill this desire, some people will simply choose to treat others in a manner like they rule over them and act like their sheaf arose and remained standing.

This is the mistake that Joseph made with his brothers and why they really disliked him.

There’s a quick test you can take to know whether or not you’re acting properly towards others. How do you treat people that you don’t have to be nice to?

You can instantly learn about a person’s self-esteem by observing just how they treat people to whom they don’t have to be nice. Sadly, many people will act one way toward their boss and people they want to impress but then become demanding or rude when speaking to some others.

Ironically, it’s actually a huge boost to your self-esteem when you treat other people – regardless of who they are – with tremendous respect. This shows that you have a strong self-image and you don’t need to knock someone down in order for you to feel taller. In fact, the better you can make others feel, the higher your own self-esteem will soar. It’s a law of nature. While you might feel an artificial increase in your self-esteem when others bow down to you, the exact opposite is true. So start practicing the real golden rule, and treat everyone you meet like pure gold.

Wish I Had Another Chance

A young man in recovery named Charlie came to my house earlier this year with his parents. His entry into addiction came as the result of a head-on car accident caused by an old man who was driving on the wrong side of Highway 17 near Santa Cruz on Jan. 1, 2010. That was the day that changed the course of Charlie’s life. Opiates!
Charlie had been to many rehabs, but nothing had stuck. Yet, his heart shined through the epic pain and suffering his addiction had wreaked upon his life. He was sweet and had a true sense of compassion and kindness.

When we met he had been out of treatment and sober for a month or two. We chatted together and I took him to a 12-Step meeting. All at once, I felt a slight distance between us and a tremendous love for him, like someone I knew much better. I can’t explain this feeling. I think it has to do with something beyond my limited perspective, but the point is, he made an impact on me.

He was adamant about moving down to the LA area, I think to Long Beach, from his home in Northern, CA. He had no real program or connections to speak of, but his plan was to work that out when he got down. He did not ask me to sponsor him and I did not offer that. I had gotten very busy between work and my existing sponsees and it would have been difficult to take on another one.

A few months passed and I decided to email his mom to see how things were proceeding before reaching out to him. I received her email back a day later telling me that Charlie had died from his addiction just two weeks after I had met him months ago. She had wanted to email me, but just couldn’t do it. The news crushed me. It makes no sense to grieve for someone you never knew, but that’s how I felt. It was real grief.

And if you want to know the truth, I felt guilty. Had I missed an opportunity to help this person? Could I have made a difference in his life? What if I had volunteered to sponsor him?

I’m perfectly aware that I cannot control another person. I’m clear that people die all the time from the dis-ease of addiction, especially opiates these days. I know we can only help a few people, but God Dammit, I’m so sorry that Charlie died. I’m so sorry about it that I have to write about it and tell you, I wish I had another shot at this. I wish I had a chance to go back and push myself upon this kid as his sponsor. Would things have turned out differently? I have no idea, but I would like to have the shot at it.

This is part of what drives me to do the work I’m doing. Addiction is a disease. It has a treatment. If you apply the treatment you get better. If you then apply the elements of yoga, meditation, healthy diet and continue to strengthen your mind, body and connection to spirit, things turn out amazingly well. BUT all this takes an amazing amount of willingness and day-to-day vigilance. Most people just cannot understand that this is what it takes to survive and ultimately thrive in recovery.

I will not ever forget Charlie. In the face of a disease that kills amazing people like him, all we can do is to carry the message that Recovery = Life.

This is yet another wake-up call. Young people are dropping like flies around Heroin addiction. It’s an epidemic. We must get out in front of this thing and help our kids to understand just how devastating this thing is and help those afflicted to access holistic treatment to heal them into the wholeness of their being.

In Loving Memory of Charlie Thomas,

—Tommy Rosen

Rising Above Circumstances

“And Jacob went out from Beer Sheba and went towards Haran”—Genesis 28:10.

The story of Jacob’s life continues in this week’s Torah portion. Jacob is fleeing from his brother Esau and is forced to leave behind the holy shelter of his father’s home. He sets off for Haran, a place whose very name – literally “anger” in Hebrew – denotes that it was a place which evoked wrath. It was a place where selfishness and dishonesty were commonplace, and where people had no regard for each other’s welfare. He now lived in an environment whose very nature was inhospitable to spirituality and high moral standards. Yet, Jacob was able to marry and raise his family there in a manner befitting his loftiest ideals. His twelve sons would become the forebears of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

It is said that it was not despite his environment that Jacob was able to carry out all of this—it was because of it. If he had remained in the safety of the Holy Land, he would not have had to overcome the obstacles that would elevate him and show him his purpose in life. Certainly Jacob would have preferred to stay in a place more conducive to his spiritual way of living. Yet, only by facing the challenges of a place, which was opposed, to spirituality, was he able to meet a level where he could actually fulfill his calling as the father of Israel. Coming to Haran was a necessary descent—for the sake of a later greater ascent.

If our Higher Power really wants us to accept the will of the Power of The Universe why not make it easier for us. If we are expected to have impeccable standards, why not remove all temptation from our path? If we are to stick to our values, why not protect us from spiritual peril?

The story of Jacob and his years spent away from home addresses the heart of these questions. In Haran it was easier to sin than to cling to virtue. Yet, it is precisely because Jacob remained committed to his ideals – even when exposed to such challenges – that he was able to build the House of Israel.

Obviously, we must never intentionally submit ourselves to a test of moral character. Indeed, we should pray that God steers us clear of temptation. When Divine Providence leads us into such a situation in life that makes it easy to rationalize doing the wrong thing, we need not fear. We must know that, without exception, we are brought to such a trial only in order to take us to a higher level.

Our spiritual seeking has taught us to take personal responsibility for our own actions. It has empowered us so that we never blame circumstances. We are not circumstantial victims of fate, and we always have free choice when it comes to deciding to do what is right in God’s eyes.

We have also learned trust and acceptance. We know that The Sunlight of the Spirit can surely be relied upon to know what is good for us. If our Higher Power places us in a situation that would seem to make it difficult to choose right over wrong, it is only because The Power of the Universe considers us up to the task.

It has been said that life itself is a series of trials. Our very mission in life is to withstand such tests; we must embrace the fact that God does not always make things easy for us. Most of us are tired of excuses, exhausted by self-justification and overwhelmed by our overactive minds. Whenever our commitment to spiritual principles wavers, our reflexive response is to blame people, places and things. However, the voice of conscience inside us always knows that there is nothing that can happen to us in life that will ever take us away from our commitment to lofty principles.

Gratitude and Trust

Gratitude and Trust

Oprah sits down with Oscar®- and Grammy®-winning songwriter Paul Williams and screenwriter Tracey Jackson, who discuss their new book on addiction and recovery, Gratitude and Trust. In the interview, each shares a unique experience of addiction: Paul as a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 24 years, and Tracey as someone who has been inspired by her friends who participate in traditional recovery programs. Paul and Tracey believe that everyone, even the nonaddict, struggles with life-limiting behaviors. Through these fear-based habits—including perfectionism, smartphone obsession, overeating and fear of intimacy—we subconsciously stand in the way of our personal wholeness. Paul and Tracey have created six affirmations, rooted in traditional principles of recovery, that they say can help people identify personal obstacles, break their dysfunctional patterns and embark on a path toward a better version of themselves while learning to evolve through trust and gratitude.

 

 

Anonymity

I have come to believe certain things about recovery, and you can dis¬agree with every word; yet both of us can be sober…both of us can be useful, productive mem¬bers, not only of our fellowship, but of society. So, if anything of what I am writing bothers you, just dismiss it. If any¬thing I say you disagree with, you’re entitled to.
……nobody speaks officially for any of our Fellowships, not even the founders.

It is my belief that the retelling of our experiences, what we have leaned from them and how we have changed our lives in recovery is key to helping others. Consequently, since our “Primary Purpose” is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety, I came out publicly several years. My public declaration was not as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous but as a person in recovery, infer what you want.

This wasn’t something I did capriciously; it was done with prayer, meditation and after speaking with others. The bottom line was that I feel that recovery needs to be spoken about publicly; the insidiousness of the disease of addiction and the devastation it wreaks on millions of lives is solvable. The solution that was given to me and millions of others needs to be shared globally. If a regular guy like me who lived mostly a fearful life for 45 years can make changes that bring joy, freedom and happiness to me, my family and friends, then anyone can have what I have.

The traditions of our fellowships were necessary 50-75 years ago and served us well as we took the first steps towards becoming productive members of society. The 21st century brings with it new opportunities for growth as individuals and as groups. Now more than ever the “normal” people and the “suffering” people need to know that there is a solution for their families, their friends and themselves, and that it is not a shameful or degrading disease.

The fear that if someone comes out publicly and relapses, it will make the Fellowship look bad and possibly make someone who needs help look askance at our solution is a non-issue. It is happening among our celebrity fellows regularly, what is more important is that the public needs to be educated to understand that sometimes relapse is part of recovery and that like other fatal diseases there are not any guarantees. More importantly, we must spread the word that if we don’t pick up that first one, we have a chance.

This is my opinion and my choice; each of us has the right to make whatever choice we want. Our steps and traditions are only suggestions.

Hope In Recovery

By Rachel Naomi Remen

“hope is a greater stimulant of life than any single realized joy could be.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Strong hope in recovery from addiction, is just as important as embracing a “one day at a time” perspective, seeking therapy, seeking a support system, having courage to change, and determination to never give up no matter how many times you fall. There are many ways to help you embrace an attitude of hope: 

Writing in a journal acknowledging the progress is so important. Addicts in recovery often get stuck thinking they are making no progress in the recovery journey. If they keep a journal, and look back over a few months they will see progress happens, just one day at a time and builds over time. 

I think a lot of people in recovery get tripped up over relapse, they lose hope, and worry that they are back to square one, but this is not the case. They are constantly learning in recovery, and with each relapse they learn new triggers, and can apply new tools to help them stand back up and fight for recovery. They never start in square one; they just may have stopped moving forward. They need to keep pushing forward knowing that they have learned from the past, will continue to learn, and there is hope that with each new day they are moving further in their recovery. 

Every day, they may learn to embrace a little more hope. Not be so hard on them for not feeling like they have “enough” hope. The recovery path is different from others, and the hope being built will take time. After years of addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, etc. they may have lost any hope they ever had, and it will take time to build a reservoir of hope to tap into on the hard days. 

Many people may be overachiever, perfectionists, and want to be recovered fast, and with little effort. Some may feel frustrated when they see others doing so well, and they feel like they are fighting harder and harder and not getting anywhere. It is important to stop comparing to others, and lower expectations in recovery. There will be progression at their own speed, and having hope and accepting a mindset of being present in the moment will help them take one step at a time. This isn’t a race, and finding a support system to help them along the way, can help slowly build hope in the recovery process. 
I believe embracing a mindset of hope is returning more and more to their authentic selves, working with and embracing who they really are. 

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.

Blog

The first time I tried to stop drinking for more than a few days or weeks, it was by attending AA meetings and being stubbornly abstinent. I did it to get everyone off my back. My wife had threatened to divorce me and I thought this was the way to lessen the incessant feeling of being scrutinized every time I picked up a drink, which was often. It lasted about 3 years and I got nothing. My life did not get any better. It was a conniving attempt on my part to appear to be better. I would listen to old timers speaking of recovery and burglarize their conversations, repeating what I had heard as if they were my thoughts, pretending to have found some spirituality. It didn’t work.

I was out to dinner after about 30 months and without any premeditation said, “ It’s been 2 ½ years since I had a drink, I can probably have one with dinner.” The naïve responses were, “That’s great.” I was off and running for 6 months. The end came when I totaled my car in a blackout on the interstate, in the middle of the afternoon. Miraculously, I walked away without hurting myself or anyone else. My next step was to try recovery not abstinence. I found that they were compatible and my life could be better.

It is generally accepted that addiction is a disease if left untreated has a predictable end, premature death. Addiction was defined as a disease by Dr. William Silkworth in the 1930’s and continues to be recognized as a disease of the mind or mental illness by the AMA and SAMSHA. This is commonly referred to as the disease model, and is 100% part of all 12 Step programs and most treatment centers.

A new dynamic that has been introduced with more zeal lately is the elimination of addiction through medication. Not new in the sense it has never been tried but that it is the new cure. The opinion among those seeking a non-12 Step cure is that religion plays to big a role in 12 Step Programs and that scientists have developed medications that if taken as prescribed can cure addiction. One of the offshoots of this approach is that some are better off with a life of moderation rather than total abstinence.

The disease of addiction is a gradual deteriorative affliction that devastates entire families and will continue to do so unless the addict member takes action to live a life of sobriety: physically and mentally. It affects the person who is addicted, that person’s family and everyone who interacts with that person.

Substance Recovery Coach Team

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