Friday, December 30, 2011

To Each His / Her Own


Drug and alcohol recovery programs are usually pretty standard in most states but the only effective method treats the underlying problem along with or directly after withdrawal. This is usually accomplished by a dual diagnosis of one’s condition.
I have two sons, both alcoholics. One believing he is recovered and may still be in denial; while the other has entered treatment for the fourth time.  The difference between the two is that the first was always in denial of his problem while the youngest admittedly knew and made known his condition at all times. To get the youngest into treatment we first used the elusive false bottom. Making the subject believe he has no resources left. (No resources like home, job, money, or enabling.) Having spent more time with my youngest as he battled his disease, I understand how the difference between them makes his more effective than the other. However, it does not mean that when he recovers all that he has lost, that he will not return to destructive behavior again. This is where safeguards are necessary to build into the recovery. This also does not mean that my oldest son’s recovery will not uphold, because he is at least in therapy and has a supportive partner, although she has little tolerance for his failures, and his recovery is the direct result of her “deal breakers,” in their relationship as they prepare to be married.
AA alone will not suffice for a dual diagnosis. It will be necessary for my youngest to continue psychotherapy along with medication for depression and anxiety. This seems to have been his biggest problem along with returning to the same environment. It is necessary to remove oneself from their currently, enabling environment. This, of course, is the hardest step; leaving girlfriends, spouses, and family members behind while you rebuild your life. This is not to say that one cannot return to those they love, it just creates a time delay. The hardest reality that an alcoholic has to face is the thought that they can never have another drink again in their life. AA encourages them to think only of the moment or the day they are in. Hence, the Serenity Prayer becomes a necessary tool. Therapy is the other ingredient in the recovery with a dual diagnosis. My youngest has never followed through with his therapy after being released from recovery programs.
Each time my youngest has returned, I have encouraged him to use some tools that I use myself, as I also suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. The first is a very effective and necessary mind set, “It is not my business what others think of me,” by Eckhart Tolle. I raised all of my children with this mind set stated my way, “Unless someone tells you that they do not like you, assume that they do and just be yourself.” So it is a familiar family viewpoint. Another that I have given my youngest is always ask, “What would Jesus do?” before acting on an impulse. He is the only one of my children that has “faith,” and I thank God every day that he does because faith is one of the greatest answers to recovery. The faith that God is always with you and the faith in yourself to accomplish anything you set your mind to. AA has non-secular meetings also, but without faith it is “more” difficult to stay in recovery, because faith always gives you someone to support you,” while the lack of faith leaves only yourself, and if you suffer from lack of self esteem, which many do, then depending on yourself is extremely difficult; sometimes impossible and tends to set one up for failure.
It is our job as parents to recognize behavior changes in our children. My oldest was far from home during his most difficult times with alcohol, but my youngest was directly in front of me and I still missed the signs. Even when told by school officials that he was self-medicating I still did not see it. I put him in counseling but it was of no use to him at the time because he did not want to live without drugs and alcohol. The only thing that was accomplished was he stopped using drugs and went to alcohol for his primary source of solace. There is no greater disappointment as a parent than having to ask one of our children to leave the home they were raised in and go out into the world and care for oneself without the aid of family when they chose alcohol over safety and support. It is like losing a child forever, which I have also experienced, but at least a child in recovery is one that gives us hope.
None of the baby books prepare you for this kind of loss. I remember learning that it is best to begin separating for your child from birth, as it will help them to become independent adults. This only worked with my daughter, as she “heeded” the messages every day from me that she was a beautiful young girl and could do anything she ever wanted to in her life. Why don’t boys hear the same message? Both of my boys are handsome, strong, young men, but self esteem came much harder for them. It is still a mystery to me. I am leaving tomorrow for another state to help a sick relative, but all I can think of is my youngest and how hard this will be for him, and then I think maybe it will be better if I am not around and he has no source of savior but God and himself. No, it doesn’t make it easier, but it does make me feel closer to him knowing that he will have God to turn to, and so will I.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Changed Heart~

It is sad when people use phrases like, "God told me to do this or that." To my knowledge, God has not spoken directly to anyone since the Old Testament. Correct me if I'm wrong, but scripture will prove that to be correct. Many that have recently experienced a change in their heart, will use that phrase; along with "I found God." But for me, I never knew he was lost.
We don't find God, he finds us; and has always known where we were. My daughter, a non-believer, was approached yesterday by an old boyfriend who led the conversation with those phrases. She was disturbed by this connection. I mean, I'm all for anyone that can help her to believe, but it will never happen for her with phrases like that.
Faith takes knowledge. The knowledge needed to talk to others about their faith and what the "Bible" says about God. When we are witnessing to others we need to use the right words and it takes knowledge to do that. I worry that this young man has been taught to witness incorrectly. He expressed some concerns to her that I think need to be addressed; but it seems like he might not be open to hearing the truth. Whatever the case, he needs someone to talk to, so I told my daughter I would be the one to do that for her. She immediately said, "You're the best," and surprised by that, I asked her if she could repeat it so I could record it. We just laughed.
God works in such mysterious ways. Not five minutes ago, my youngest son, knocked on my door, visibly upset. Upon further discovery I learned he had been fired. Fired from the only job he has held for 10 years. He's an alcoholic who has progressively brought himself to this place. I had a short talk with him about his next step and reminded him that just last week he told me this was probably going to happen soon, and here it is. It's funny how we bring ourselves to the place we say we are going. "We are responsible for our own reality." I think that is the hardest thing for most to accept.
God knows where we are going and always has, that is why he sent his only son to save us from sin. He sent Jesus to live in the "real" world and then sacrificed him to give us the grace we now have. We now have a forgiving God, and we should thank him everyday for his sacrifice.
This is a hard time of year for many, my son especially; but the strange part is that my church family and I have prayed for him to get here also. God has answered our prayer and now he will answer my son's when he turns to him for his much needed recovery. At this moment, he is not feeling very grateful and I understand that, but I am. I am so grateful that he is where he is so that he can now get the help he so greatly needs.
I know it must sound strange to many to hear that we prayed for him to hit bottom, but he was so unwilling to get there on his own that we felt he needed help and the only help we could offer was for him to  get here. With God's help the rest will right itself. It may not be a lasting solution, many have to try sobriety dozens of times, but for this Christmas; I am so grateful to God for bringing my son right where he is right now. God answered my prayer...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hypnotic Marketing. Really????

It's sad when something so amazing as the internet is abused by people trying to make money dishonestly.  Pyramid schemes are called many things because every time someone creates one, it has to be something new; because too many people are afraid of the words "pyramid schemes." These things do not work unless you are burdening your friends and family with these" pie in the sky" ideas. They have even added a whole new element to take advantage of people...hypnotic marketing. It is exactly what it says it is too.

I think of the internet as something that reaches the "greatest number of people in the shortest period of time, " while others think of it as a way of hurting the "greatest number of people" in the shortest period of time. The only time this is different is when the product you are supposedly selling is through a reputable company that has a strong history and reputation.

Most "schemes, shams, and farces," are created by very savvy, internet frauds who have found ways to generate and run programs that look like money is going to go to your account, but in turn goes directly into theirs. These programs have become very sophisticated and actually use legitimate merchant accounts through supposedly legitimate banks. I recently signed to join a program that I will not name because I refuse to give them any more power over me than they have already had. This is the time of year that the creeps come out of the woodwork, so please...be careful. When it sounds too good to be true..it usually is.

Wouldn't it be nice if legitimate people offered to help those in need? It is sad when others need to take advantage of people to make a living. "Treat others as you want them to treat you," the Golden Rule and also one of God's most important lessons to us. What do we have to do to live in a world full of people that take advantage of others? God would say, forgive and forget...so I guess we take responsibility for our vulnerability, move on, and hope that the next time we won't be taken in by vipers, and remember that what "goes around comes around," without looking for it to happen; just knowing that it does, is enough for good people.
If one person is saved from being taken advantage of by one of these vipers as a result of reading this post, then I am truly blessed this season.
Happy Holidays~