Monday, April 29, 2013

Talking "Relapse" with Victor Schueller | Blog Talk Radio

Mountain Air: Relapsing and Finding the Way Back...One Breath at a Time

An Honest Conversation About Relapse! 
You Are Not Alone!!

Guest - Holli Kenley 04/29 by Victor Schueller | Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse! Day 2 -"Shame"

Today...let's just zero in on the topic of shame.   Let's get it out in the open!  Let's talk about what it does to us.
  • It keeps us stuck. We don't feel there is any way out.  We give up before we have even started.  
  • It keeps us shut down.  We keep playing those 'negative tapes' in our heads convincing ourselves that we are nothing, losers, no good.
  • It robs us of all the good parts of ourselves.  We 'become' the shame.  We forget that we are more than 'it'. 
  • It suffocates us!  We can't even begin to take in any kind of healthy flow because we continue to breathe in toxic air!  

So what is actually going on with us?  What is shame all about?  Think about this:
  • S  -   Self
  • H  -   Hatred
  • A  -   And
  • M  -  Malignant
  • E   -  Embarrassment

Yes, we made bad choices. We betrayed ourselves by choosing the wrong people, places, and things.  Yes, we put ourselves in harm's way.  We blew it!  We let go of the things that helped and healed us! We own what has happened!  And, we hate ourselves for doing so. And, the malignant embarrassment of it all - of letting ourselves down, of disappointing others...again- eats away at our core.

Shame smothers us and it prevents us from even beginning to move forward. We have to start somewhere.  The longer we hold ourselves hostage to the shame, the more we betray ourselves. We are going to start getting out from underneath it.  We will begin with this thought:

The shame that I am feeling right now is going to provide me with  the exact nutrients that I need to grow again.

Homework:  Ponder that thought.  Journal about it.  Meditate on it.  Start replacing that toxic thinking with this mindset of hope and of healing.  Do this now. Go slowly.  Breathe in this truth.  Keep going.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse! Day 1!!

Over the next several weeks, I want to talk to you about Relapse....  I know... its a subject that we don't like to discuss.  It's a word that has all kinds of negative connotations associated with it - failure...disappointment...guilt...self-blame...worthlessness...looser...and the worst one of all - shame.  And this is exactly why we need to discuss it!  All those feelings and emotions are real.  And yes, we are responsible for our choices that  led us to relapse.  At the same time, in order for us to get out from underneath that mountain of shame that we have piled on ourselves, we need to talk about it! And, we need to get to work to dig ourselves out!

Why am I choosing the subject of Relapse?  To be honest with you, my newest book that was just released in on this very subject - Mountain Air: Relapsing and Finding the Way Back...One Breath at a Time.  This book details my story - my descent into a painful place and my regression into old toxic patterns of thinking and behaving.  And, this book describes how I found my way back to a place of wellness. I share this with you because I want you to know that I have been there - I have lived it! And, I want you to know that you are not alone in your shame.  Perhaps, most importantly, I want to share the healing lessons I learned along the way.  

You might be thinking...well, I am not an addict... or I have never had any problem with substances.  This blog is not for me...  But think again.  Relapse does not just apply to those who struggle with addiction. Have you ever fallen off of a diet....again and again?  Have you quit an unhealthy habit ....over and over, just to start up again?  Have you returned to a relationship - professional or personal - that you knew was not good for you? Have you trusted, believed, or invested into someone or something that served you really well....and then let go of it or just got tired of the work involved...after you promised you would stay committed?  Have you lied to yourself about what is good and healthy for you....and for those who love you, disappointing yourself and them, again?

Relapse touches most of us... to some degree. No one is really immune.  Let's have an honest conversation about Relapse...  And let's deal with it - together!

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Respect Your Voice - Especially in the Digital Age!

We live in a time when 'the good news is' - everyone has a voice!  We live in a time when 'the bad news is' - everyone has a voice! It is incredibly freeing and exciting to be able to state our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to a vast audience with just the click of a tab or key.  At the same time, whenever we do so, we not only open ourselves up for constructive comment or criticism or perhaps even affirmation, but often we  put ourselves at risk for judgment, evaluation, and incredible injury. How then, do we respect our voices especially in the digital age?

Many times our voice is disrespected because we are not as selective and discerning as we need to be in our disclosures. First, we must value the content of what we have to say. And, we must respect the way we deliver our words and to whom we deliver them.  Yes, we need to take ownership of our words and demonstrate that we value our voice.  In order to practice this, start implementing a strategic guiding principle - containing your experiences.

As you consider your life experiences, begin making deliberate choices about what you will share. Contain your experiences that are sensitive, private, or hold emotional value for you. For matters that carry deep significance with them, keep your 'circle of confidence' small by sharing your words with only those who are worthy of your voice.  I realize that this concept is completely contrary to current waves of communication (Facebook,Twitter, etc.), but remember, the more people you share your voice with, the higher the risk of injury or re-injury, and the more you give away, the more vulnerable your voice becomes!

Once you have embraced this idea of 'containment', complete the following exercise. On a piece of paper, make two columns:  Worthy of  My Voice    /    Unworthy of My Voice.  Take your time and think over individual people, groups, circles, followers, etc. to whom you disclose your experiences. As you carefully think about how these recipients have responded to you and how those responses have hurt or helped you (or have been respectful or disrespectful in any way to you) write down those recipients' names or identities in the appropriate column. This can be difficult, so take your time.  Be honest with yourself. Who has proven worthy of your voice?  Who has not?

For those who are worthy - good news! Your disclosures have proven safe with them.  At the same time, it is often healthy to be selective, even within this trusted group. There are times when it is wise to keep our disclosures concise and contained.  When we rattle on and on, even to those in whom we trust our narratives, at times others tire of our stories and even from us. Also, remember to be careful not to disclose too much information (or any at all) when you are in an emotionally charged state - angry, depressed, etc. Later, you might regret what you shared or the tone used in your disclosure. Take some time to move past the emotions or at least get some perspective before revealing sensitive issues.  For those who consider to be worthy of your voice, you know them best; trust in the connection you have with them and in the conversational cues you glean from them!

For those who we have now realized are  not worthy - again good news!  We do not necessarily need to cut them out of our lives; we simply will make deliberate decisions about containment of our experiences. Some individuals will choose to stop sharing of any personal information or of emotional value, or they will significantly cut back on the degree of disclosure. Other individuals practice a common communication strategy of preparing and practicing generic statements ahead of time. These polite yet impersonal statements protect your voice while allowing you the freedom of participating in the venues of communication that you love! You will have to be the judge; review your history with the recipients and move forward giving trust only where it has been earned and honored.

As you can see, respecting our voices starts with us!  When I am in doubt as the degree of sharing or if I even want to disclose something, I often hear this voice inside my head saying, "Once I put my words out there, I have absolutely no control what anyone does with them." It's a great self-check! And in this amazing digital age, I can respect my voice by making deliberate and healthy disclosures!  

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