Compassion in Recovery: Perspectives to Keep in Mind

Compassion in Recovery: Perspectives to Keep in Mind

by

 RUTA STERNBERGS, Ed. D., Psy. D., CADC-II

What is compassion in recovery?

The dictionary defines compassion as the “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” In recovery, it is the extension of that same empathy and concern towards oneself, which means treating oneself with the same level of kindness and respect that one would show others in their time of need. As individuals come out of their drug and alcohol addiction and realize the full impact of their past mistakes, it’s tempting for them to feel guilt and shame for the harm they have caused others while they were addicted. Compassion in recovery, a vital skill that people learn in dual diagnosis treatment, helps promote healing by removing obstacles of shame and guilt that often cripple an individual’s progress to full recovery.

Where does self-compassion come from if you’ve never had it in the first...

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Helpful Guide When Planning an Intervention for a Loved One

Recently I attended an intervention training with the internationally acclaimed interventionist, Ken Seeley.  The training was outstanding and I learned some new tools, which have helped me tremendously with the interventions I’ve done for mothers.  Here is a great article he wrote.

Helpful Guide When Planning an Intervention for a Loved One

By Ken Seeley, Founder of Ken Seeley Communities

Addiction can be absolutely brutal to witness in a loved one. Each day you see the cumulative effects of drugs or alcohol stealing away the person you know and love. As they spiral deeper into the vortex of addiction, family and friends are left feeling utterly helpless to change the course of the disease.

 

Amazingly, the one person who should be aware of the self-destruction being waged via addiction is the one person who seems to be completely clueless…the addict him or herself. As is common in addictive behavior, denial is like a steel barricade that has been...

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Releasing the Chains that Bind You - The Journey from Resentment to Forgiveness

Releasing the Chains that Bind You

The Journey from Resentment to Forgiveness

 

Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself- Maya Angelou

          

For the addict and alcoholic, resentment is one of the biggest offenders which can lead the addict and the alcoholic straight to the drink or drug. Instead of processing the anger healthily, the alcoholic drinks at the person with whom they are angry.  Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the person you are mad at to die.

                 

Forgiveness does not excuse the behavior of someone who may have harmed or hurt you. Forgiving is really about our own well- being and peace of mind. Forgiveness means you have decided to free the other person and yourself from the prison of resentment. I once heard someone say, “When you choose to forgive those who have hurt...

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Mastering the Art of Positive Thinking

moms positive thinking Jan 08, 2019

Our mind is one of the most powerful tools we have been given, and its power is often underestimated and misused. As humans, we can use our brains for good or for evil. Being conscious of our thoughts and choosing a positive perspective is where mastering the art of positive thinking begins.

My favorite story which demonstrates how our perspective plays a vital key in our happiness is about two five-year-old twin boys whose parents took to see a psychiatrist. The boys were polar opposites. The psychiatrist took one boy into to a room piled high with new toys, expecting the boy to be thrilled. But instead, he burst into tears.

Puzzled, the psychiatrist asked, "Don't you want to play with these toys?”

"Yes,” the little boy bawled, "but if I did I'd only break them.”

Next the psychiatrist the put the other boy into a room piled high with horse manure. The boy yelped with delight, clambered to the top of the pile, and joyfully dug out scoop after scoop, tossing the...

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A Sober Moms Guide to Enjoying the Holidays - 12 Tips for the 12 Days!

A Sober Moms Guide to Enjoying the Holidays - 12 Tips for the 12 Days!

While Eleven Pipers are Piping and Ten Lords a Leaping may be all having a great time; as moms, during the holiday season, we may feel more like Seven Swans a Swimming upstream in rough waters.  Due to all the high-stress and expectations of others, and ourselves we may feel more like the Grinch than Jolly Old St. Nick. While it would be nice to have the Eight Maids a Milking arrive at your door to help with the long to-do-list, it is possible to enjoy the holidays without them.

Here is a self-care plan to help you not just survive the holidays, but to actually enjoy them.  

1.  Lower your expectations of yourself.

For years I tried to keep up with the Jones (whoever the heck they are) and I pictured everyone having a Hallmark holiday and living happily ever after.  I worked tirelessly to have the perfect house, the perfect kids in the matching outfits, buy the perfect gifts, and send the...

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Avoiding​ ​Triggers​ ​and​ ​Relapse​ ​During​ ​the​ ​Holidays​ ​for​ ​Sober​ ​Moms

Recovering from an addiction is tough enough, but when you throw in the tremendous responsibilities of motherhood, resisting cravings and remaining abstinent—much less enjoying the rewards of the holidays—can seem like an impossible challenge.

The holidays can bring up many uncomfortable feelings of stress, loneliness, financial fear and overwhelm which can often trigger a relapse. For the alcoholic or addicted mom trying to get sober or stay sober, it’s vital we know what our triggers are and step-up our recovery plan to avoid a relapse. I heard someone once say, “we are either working on our recovery or working on a relapse.”

Once we know what our danger signs are, we can watch out for them. So when we identify the triggers, we can see them as highway signs that say Danger Ahead with flashing red lights.

For many, one of the most challenging places during the holidays can be at home. I once saw a bumper sticker which read, “Good news: The...

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Intuition . . . Finding Your Answers Within

intuition moms sober Jul 05, 2018

Intuition 

 Finding Your Answers Within

Never apologize for trusting your intuition. Your brain can play tricks,
your heart can blind, but your gut is always right.
Rachel Wolchin

Some call intuition an inner guide, gut feeling, internal authority. Wikipedia defines the word intuition as ‘a phenomenon of the mind, describes the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.’

For me, intuition is like coming home and listening to that small voice within.

As children, most of us had a strong sense of intuition, yet we seem to lose it as we get older. Most children have a strong feeling of people who feel safe and situations which don’t feel right.   We stop listening to our inner voice because we begin to reason with it, argue with it, and our rational linear minds want concrete proof.

In recovery, it seemed as though my intuition started to wake back up after the fog began to clear in my mind. There was a small faint voice...

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The Shocking Truth About Margaritas, Martinis, and Being a Mother

I loved margaritas, martinis, and being a mother. I’m not sure what I liked most about the margarita.  Was it was the salt, the sweet slushiness, the colossal glass, the tequila or the tequila chaser? Well let's get serious, it was the tequila I loved.  How do I know this? Well, all I had to do to was to try the ‘virgin margarita,’ and that did it for me. Yuck! Add the word ‘virgin’ to anything, and I’m already turned off (pun definitely intended!)

I loved margaritas so much, that  right after my first child was born, when a friend called me in the hospital and asked me if I wanted her to bring me anything, I replied, “Yes, bring me a pitcher of margaritas.” What I loved about the margarita was this: I thought it made me appear ‘lady-like’ instead of a barfly shooting shots.

I also loved martinis! I had the illusion martinis made me look classy and sophisticated. Somehow purchasing fancy expensive...

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Freedom from Guilt for Moms in Recovery - 3 Quick Strategies that Work!

 

Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving.
ERMA BOMBECK

Guilt is the constant companion of the alcoholic or addict, maybe even more so for a mom. Every mother feels guilt about her parenting from time to time. That’s doubly true for women who have created drama and caused distress for their children by drinking or using—possibly inflicting psychological damage. Here’s one story from my past that still makes me cringe.

Due to my drinking, I was separated from my husband but was still living in my beautiful Northern California home with my three children, ages two, five, and eight. I was the top salesperson in my company and still getting promoted. I had the perfect job for a drunk, taking clients to lunch and dinner, with lots of drinks on the company dime. Things looked good on the outside but they were rotten within.

I promised myself I was only going out for two drinks. I told the eleven-year-old babysitter I’d be home in a couple of hours—no later...

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It's Not All About Sex - 3 Secrets to Building True Intimacy

intimacy moms recovery sex sober Feb 20, 2018

 Fear is the great enemy of intimacy.  Fear makes us run away from each other or
cling to each other but does not create true intimacy.
Henri Nouwen 

Intimacy is one of the greatest human needs — those longing for someone to truly deeply know and accept us for who we truly are. We all have a primal human desire to connect with another person on a deep spiritual and emotional level, a yearning to be known and understood. We want to know we matter, that our presence on this planet has a purpose.

Before I got sober, I had the false expectation that this yearning for intimacy was fulfilled through having sex. As my friend Diane said, “We go to bed with a man, and the next morning he’s planning golf while we’re shopping for the wedding dress.”

Another fallacy I believed was that if I had a man in my life, it would mean I did matter; I would never feel afraid, lost, or unsettled. I knew nothing about healthy emotional closeness. I was afraid...

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