Showing posts from June, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 8 - Triggers: The Good News!

On the previous blog, we discussed the big myth of relapse -  relapse is the result of a lack of willpower or of a half-hearted commitment. Instead, we learnaed that it is the consequence of not attending to our triggers - all kinds!   I shared that triggers are a symptom which send us warning signs that something does not feel right. Triggers lead directly back to our layers of shame, and in many cases, to the inner core of our shame. I explained how what we are feeling in the present (the trigger) is taking us to past painful emotions, feelings, and experiences, and we are reliving them. Whether the trigger is physical (craving, nausea, nervousness); psychological (painful memories, flashbacks,); emotional (depression, anxiety, anger); behavioral ( old habits or patterns, unhealthy reactions or interactions); environmental (toxic friends, places - people - things that are reminders of unhealthy and/or enticing situations); or cognitive (toxic thinking, negative self-talk, the on-g

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 7 - The Big Myth of Relapse

I believe that there are a  number of myths that surround relapse! I want to share what I call the big myth with you as it relates to recovery from relapse. One of the reasons that I spent a great deal of time on several previous blogs discussing shame is because of its critical role in not only triggering a relapse episode but also in sustaining one. I discussed how paramount it is to unravel and release the layers of outer shame (embarrassment, humiliation, guilt, self-blame,etc.) in order to begin to embrace recovery again.  And, I guided you through the tender territory of the inner core of shame which must be accessed and addressed in order to sustain recovery from relapse.  This is important for those in recovery from relapse and also those who want to support us in healing ways because contrary to a common myth, relapse is not the result of a lack of willpower. So many times, either as a therapist or in my personal life, I often heard others say, "Why doesn

My Dad - Why I Said, "I Love You", First

As this Father’s Day approaches, I have been thinking about my dad. He is 84 and because the past six months have been rough on his health, this Father’s Day seems extra meaningful. Living over 700 miles apart, we stay connected almost daily through emails and weekly phone calls.  Our relationship over the past 30 years has evolved into one of mutual love, respect, and admiration. Aside from my husband and daughter, I am more authentic with my dad than anyone else. As a child, I never thought this could have happened. It is all because I said, “I love you’, first. Growing up in a family of four sisters in the 50’s and 60’s, with young parents doing all that they could to keep ‘food on the table’ and ‘clothes on our backs’, I felt rather invisible. As the second daughter, I was the typical people-pleaser and peace-maker in a sometimes conflicted and chaotic household. My dad worked hard as a music teacher while taking on other related jobs to bring in additional income: teaching p

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 6 - More on the Core of Shame

There has been quite a response to the last blog - Digging Deep into the Core of Shame ! Although I am not surprised, I believe that it is tragic that we don't talk about this more. And so, I am going to spend a little more time on the core of shame and it relationship to relapse. First of all, I want to make clear that not everyone has deeply embedded injuries or injustices associated with their shame in relapse. At the same time, I believe that anyone who relapses has struggles with what I refer to as the outer layers of shame that were discussed in Days 3 and 4 of "Let's Talk About Relapse". And, it is critical to work through those outer layers as well. As I begin to address the core of shame and its relationship to denial in relapse, please remember to take care of yourself.  This is sensitive territory and it can bring up feelings, emotions, reactions, and behaviors that may feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Keep a pulse on your level of response. Denial

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 5 - Digging Deep into the Core of Shame

Naming our pain , I believe, is a critical step in the process of recovering. We have been talking about relapse and the destructive accompanying role that shame plays as it takes residence within us.   Without recognizing shame's presence as well as its paralyzing hold on  us, we cannot effectively begin to practice its release. Peeling Away The Bark (and the Shame)  - Chapter 7 The past couple of blogs have addressed the process of peeling away the shame - of releasing it and letting it go. We have talked about how this release needs to be a mindful and purposeful practice - letting go its invasion into your being as often as needed - whenever it is needed.  Continue with this throughout your recovering journey. Today, we are going to tread into some tender territory . So, be prepared that what I say may feel  uncomfortable or unsettling.  You may find yourself feeling angry, or you may not understand your level of emotional reactivity.  Please do whatever you need

Let's Talk About Relapse! Day 4 - Keep Peeling Away The Shame"

It's been a few days since we were talking about peeling away the shame of relapse.  I hope you  had the opportunity to read my previous post - the interview with Cathy Taughinbaugh - "Relapse: Finding the Way One Breath at a Time" .  If not, please go back and read it now!  We talked about the relationship between shame, denial, and relapse - important stuff!! Now, getting back to peeling away the layers of shame . Did you do your homework?  Did you start naming your layers - guilt, self-blame, self-hatred, embarrassment? Did you work on releasing each one, slowly and a little at a time? Did you find a process that works for you - writing or journaling, meditating, visualization, praying, etc.? If so, great - keep going!  If not, get started today -now. Let's talk about how. One of the reasons individuals don't succeed when starting any new kind of behavior, or program,