Eight little-known signs of alcoholic behavior

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During the quarantine, many people have turned to substance abuse to feel more comfortable in their own skin. The truth is alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases of apathy. The addict does not want to care. But they care too much and it must be quelled. Here are some little-known signs of alcoholism that also apply to drug addicts that maybe useful during this difficult time of involuntary isolation.

Of course, we all know the easy way to spot an alcoholic: red face, preoccupation with alcohol, unable to stop drinking once started, etc. etc. But today I am going to share with you some insight on the characteristics of an alcoholic you may not know. Keep in mind, that what applies to spotting an alcoholic also applies to spotting a relapse because drinking alcohol is only a symptom of a greater problem inside the heads and hearts of people inflicted with the disease.

The Eight Signs

1. Anger and resentment- This is nothing new to someone who is in AA. The whole book is written around this subject. Alcoholics have a pattern of being angry and resentful. Often, on social media, one can see someone with hostile posts. This is a time to grow a bit suspicious. Alcoholics are triggered by what they deem to be unfair acts against them especially when it comes to close relationships. The disease makes it very difficult for the alcoholic to not take someone’s actions personal. However, in recovery, people learn that even the most atrocious acts of unkindness are not personal and people are taught to believe what other people say about them is none of their business.

2. Comorbidity- Almost all alcoholics have secondary afflictions of the spirit, mind, and body that manifest prior to the age we begin drinking. Many suffer from anxiety and depression. These symptoms pre-date substance abuse. have. In recovery, alcoholics are bonded by identifying in each other the same twisted personality traits. It seems like everything each alcoholic feels is always to the extreme. Alcoholics are incredibly sensitive. In alcohol. they look for relief in caring so much about anything and everything.

3. Big Plans but No Follow Through- The brain of an alcoholic is very different than that of a person who is not inflicted with the disease. The pleasure centers of their brains are not naturally full and it takes action every day to get into a pleasurable space. Alcohol replaces action in a way that thoughts of big ideas, sometimes brilliant ideas, are never completed due the fact that the intake of alcohol gives the alcoholic the same reward response as if they had actually followed through on goal or a task.

For example, if an alcoholic wakes up and decided that the lawn must be mowed, if they pick up, it is highly likely they will never mow the lawn or get anything done because alcohol creates a feeling of an accomplishment in the reward center of a person’s mind, leaving many tasks unfinished. This is why in recovery action is far more important than thought. Someone in relapse will begin slowly not to accomplish anything that is important for daily functioning and in the grander scheme of life.

4. A Track Record- This is very hard for alcoholics to see. They feel things are happening to them independent of their drinking. They believe that they are just unlucky. It is very difficult for an alcoholic to link their drinking as a consequence of what they choose. An alcoholic does not have to be drunk to make bad decisions. Once again, drinking is only a symptom that masks what drives a person to be reckless, irresponsible and sometimes very foolish. And the next thing they notice is that multiple situations are transpiring at once: but they cannot figure out why.

For instance, they get in fights with significant others, their bills are not paid or they lack money, their health deteriorates and most importantly, they stop doing things that they usually love, all at the same time. When someone is in their disease it is almost impossible for them to be accountable because their disease wants more alcohol. This is incredibly hard for a normal person to understand but it true.

5. Unhealthy Boundaries- It is hard to know if the inability to have healthy boundaries starts in the family of origin, which are likely full of other alcoholics or if it is just the nature of the disease. But alcoholics do not have healthy boundaries. They are often promiscuous, codependent and often expect others to do for them what they should be doing for themselves. They are abusive and they let themselves be abused. They do not know where they begin as a person and others start. This is very hard to master even in sobriety because of the extreme feelings and thinking that tend to create scenarios both in their heads and in their lives that cross lines of respectability and human decency.

6. Great Senses of Humor- Recovering alcoholics know how to laugh at themselves. They are usually very funny with off-color remarks and ideas. The way they view the world is quite different than a normal person and they are not afraid to embrace that side of themselves because they are usually rewarded by other people for it.

7. Moderation in Moderation- Alcoholics are all or nothing thinkers. Balance is just not a part of their vocabulary. If they eat, they eat a lot. If they exercise, they exercise to the extreme. And if they love someone, their love comes at the price of suffocating or isolating the person who is involved with them.

Furthermore, because the alcohol is filling their pleasure and reward systems, they don’t see much reason to change. They have a history of doing everything in our life to excess. Once again, they have a blind spot. They are unable to match their thinking with their behavior. They do not see the link unless they are practicing being mindful. It is doubtful that becoming moderate ever becomes easy for someone even they have years of sobriety. Each day moderation must be managed. That is why it is helpful to go to meetings, have a sponsor and be able to tell on ourselves to a therapist or other care professional. Otherwise, they slowly or quickly unravel into some sort of extreme.

8. A Need to be Special- Alcoholics almost always feel that they do not fit in. Because of this, they have a desire to be more “special” than their peers. They truly believe they are superior because of it. But at the same time, being special creates a distance which in turn breeds loneliness. One of the greatest things an alcoholic can learn is to find the similarities they share with my others if they ever want to enjoy a fulfilling relationship.

This list is not extensive. But it can tip a person off to know if someone has a problem with an alcohol problem. I usually can spot someone right away. However, it is seldom useful to tell a person that they are alcoholic. An alcoholic usually can figure this out on some level and either desperately tries to hide it or is willing to seek help.

The best way to endure and deal with this quarantine is to be creative and productive. That may take a little more effort for a recovered alcoholic, but it probably the best outlet they can find besides exercise and eating healthy.

via The New New Normal

The New New Normal

tif deb catlin

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

There is an eerie phrase surfacing among the herds: The New Normal. I do not know about you but I do not want the advertisers, the media or the government to decide what “The New Normal,” looks like. And there is no way to avoid that from happening if we do not decide what we want NOW!

In Julio Vincent Gambunto’s ominous article, “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting,” he warns that The New Normal will be decided for us.  He brilliantly describes how the powers that be will try to control us. To combat the marketing, propaganda, and sensationalism, one must first know what they do not want.

I know longer want to be told how to look, how to eat, how to act in public and to hide who I am. I have witnessed a world that is extremely different behind closed doors than what the world is on social media. I want nothing to do with it anymore. Furthermore, two-party systems, fighting amongst each other over unreliable resources and pushing hate as an agenda has no place in what we can create! We must push forward and destigmatize all the stereotypes about people, illnesses, drug addiction, social class and total vanity that has been pushed upon us for decades.

Are you aware that we have always had a need to social distance in this country?  The average American prefers 18 inches between each other. If a person climbs on an empty bus, like clockwork, the seats will fill with people sitting far apart until the choice to sit next to each other is the last option.

Now, we have social distancing and it is not going away anytime soon. Six feet apart? Ok. But, in that space, may I tell you who I am? Or do I need to continue to hide? Shame and judgment are manufactured by marketing firms with roots in the days of Puritans and at the same time, we are pushed to be DIFFERENT. I have learned that the loneliest feeling in the world is to be different, therefore, in our new society, finding similarities between each other is the key to having a fulfilling life.

Think about it. Instead of being pushed to buy something new to fill that void, we could actually make a friend or meet our neighbors or be kind. (Mind blown!) We do not need to be medicated and obligated to line up like sheep prior to Gambuto’s idea of the “Great Pause.” Like the famous comedian Bill Hick’s used to say about the corporations and the government “You are free to do what we tell you to do. You are free to think what we tell you to think.” Well, that is not going to fly anymore.

Decisions need to make. Because if we do not make decisions for ourselves, they will indeed be made for us. I am deciding to continue to embrace the “Great Pause.” We did not even know how uncomfortable we were in our own skins until we were left with only ourselves: no shopping, no people, no restaurants, no more turning outward to seek what we already have inside. We can choose love, courage and the ability to be the change we want to be in the world (Gandhi).

Pay attention… because this is the first time in history that the whole world is truly watching what happens next and as a whole, we are helping each other. Take stock of your values. Do not end up in the daily grind. This is our chance to shine. As the greatest music band of all time proclaimed,  Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be (Beatles).

 

Beware of Air: A New Version of Ourselves

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I prefer to wash my hands to the beautiful lyrics of ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” But you can do whatever you want. It seems like every day is Groundhog Day and the end is nowhere in sight. It is funny, though, because no one seems to know what day it is anymore and it has only been two weeks of isolation. Every single one of my neighbors took out their trash a day ahead in complete social conformity believing that it was Trash Day when it was not. Confusion runs amok and we are all reacting the best we can.

This major shift has cast upon us a new world that will never be the same again. The way we live, shop, eat, work, and interact will morph us into a new society. This pandemic is a catalyst for change and for unifying our species as one. And at the same time, death seems one breath away.

Still, never in our lives have we been faced with the idea that we are all just one person. For this pandemic does not recognize race, ethnicity, sexual identification, nationality or preference of self. This is the first time that humanity must work together as a whole community without borders to save our own lives and the lives of others. And we are in fear of not having toilet paper!

The magnitude of this event is completely shocking: displayed readily by the highs and lows of people interacting the only way they know how, through memes and social media. Our lives have been condensed to living with few distractions and entirely facing our own selves in our own skin. Unless you have borrowed someone else’s skin and that would go against our newly integrated law of social distancing. (Kids do not try this at home.)

Faced with this new norm are choices. I have already made a few. First, I reveled with humor faced with my possible demise. And I hope that trend continues to last. Then, I sunk into depression: a familiar darkness I have felt many times before. But I knew what to do.

In the throes of despair, I asked myself questions that truly will shape who I will become in the aftermath of this utmost urgent time. Who do I want to be when this is over? Oh, I could be hospitalized, quivering in a room with no locks waiting for my next dose of Valium. That is entirely possible. I could be on the floor, altered and discombobulated, in front of my son who is already terrified. Or, I could be the best version of myself.

And I choose the latter. When this is all over, whatever that means, I want to be fit, healthy, accomplished in ways that are aligned with my soul. I want to be loving, kind, and strong. For the lack of distractions beckon me to focus on myself for once in my life while I live in the bubble of my home for endless days unknown.

Listen to the media if you want. That is a definite rush and will keep you away from yourself. Fight on social media about how “right” you are about some opinion. But I do not speak in opinions, I speak only of experience. And experience has taught me to be more silent and listen. Conflict is a short-term rush much like a drug that makes a person feel high. I see why it is happening. Fear shoots cortisol throughout your body which immerses your body in fight or flight until it is processed through your kidneys and livers. Get high if that is your thing. But, know there is no escaping yourself. The only way out is in.

Fear is a great motivator. But so is love. And I will not be reduced to social conforms and sheep-like tactics. It is a time to beat to your own drum unless you drop dead but at least you know you did with glory. So I challenge you to be the best version of yourself and to recognize the state of affairs lies completely in our own, hopefully, clean and washed hands. No one can save us but ourselves. This is a time of unity and an opportunity to actually live as one: an opportunity we all said we strived for but have yet to achieve.

Take what I say as you please. I know there are haters and lovers and extremely numb people who may read my rant. But, consider this an opportunity to come together, for once, and focus on our similarities while we live in isolation so we can save lives on a global scale. Forget America First. We lost that the day the virus began.

 

Beyond Social Media

“Man was born to live with his fellow human beings. Separate him, isolate him, his character will go bad, a thousand ridiculous affects will invade his heart, extravagant thoughts will germinate in his brain, like thorns in an uncultivated land.”
—Suzanne Simon from MEMOIRS OF A NUN (1796)

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We are caught in an illusion of togetherness when we converse online. Days pass quickly as the all-mighty computer consumes are actions. It feels like we are not alone. Our conversations feel like true substitutes for real relationships. However, one thing is amiss: physicality. Humans are social creatures. Like all mammals, we need to be with one another to thrive. The isolation of the computer confuses the mind by fueling our time with compulsiveness and boredom.

How many times a day to we check our phones? Waiting, hoping for something to increase endorphins. However, the computer never really satisfies. It gives the gift of insatiability where there is never enough and the user is always wanting more. And in that period of wanting…life passes by.

Most mammals run in packs to assure safety and the ability to procreate the next generations. The togetherness is the reason for living: without it, the mammal would surely die. Human beings are not the elite. They are mammals too. Mammals who have forgotten their basic needs to function and thrive.

Every living organism on this earth is just trying to survive. That is how the world exists. Humans surpassed this mode and what was left became ingenuity, creativity, and insanity. The basis for neurosis dwells in the separation to which we agree to in our online relationships, in our comments as well as passing around propaganda as the truth. It is a possibility that we are destroying our species because we stepped out of the line of what was natural: staying with the pack, caring for one another and fighting for the existence of the whole rather than the individual.

As the years pass in the is the digital age, people’s hearts become crueler behind the computer. Unnecessary words are exchanged to sustain the level of serotonin that the computer offers. It is dangerous to depend on an external object to feed your soul. The danger lies in not really pondering what is within without comparing oneself to what is viewed on social media.

Creating social media was supposed to be a good idea. But it is has taken over the daily lives of humans. If we stop questioning the real world we are left in an imaginary maze of toxic overload, spread by each other, alone.

Take a minute to smell the air, watch the trees turn red and yellow and the temperatures drop. For a moment, look at who you live with as if they are more important than the fix you receive in the digital world. Just maybe, you may see life as it happens. We say life is short but we shorten every minute we spend interacting on social media rather than with each other in person. Humans were born to be together. I hope we do not lose sight of that through mundane distractions and arguing useless battles. All we have is today. Let us start now.

 

For Coco

Corey sleeping

I have nine more years to prepare you for adulthood and the days seem to fly by so rapidly. There are so many things I want to teach you but life gets in the way. So lets start with that.

  1. Life gets in the way of all plans. That is why it is important to take the right action instead of being concerned your plans will not unfold the way you want. We always get to where we need to be.
  2. Our society teaches us to to be fiercely independent and to be special. Special people are lonely. It is more important to find the similarities with others than to be different. You are who you are…you don’t have to try be anything else.
  3. Social media hurts people. It takes away our humanness and leads us to believe we are connected through a computer screen of false images and ideas. Mammals are social beings and they need to be actually around each other for fulfillment.
  4. Your parents are only human. They have faults and flaws and can be selfish, too.
  5. What anyone says about you is none of your business. It is not personal. It is where that person is at in his or her lives. Try to be loving no matter what.
  6. Resentments only hurt you. Wishing bad things on other people creates hate within your body and damages your sense of well being.
  7. There are no shortcuts so do not even try.
  8. Dream big. Anything can be accomplished with hard work and a sense of purpose.
  9. You will have your heart broken. Maybe several times. Keep loving anyway.
  10. You do not know everything. I think you may have learned that from me but knowing everything discourages learning and this life is full of wonder and different things to learn about.
  11. Be of service. It is the easiest way to find happiness when you stop thinking about yourself all the time.
  12. Travel the world but also find a place to become rooted. Traveling expands your mind but being rooted deepens your soul.
  13. Human kindness exists and champions over any tragedy. Love is all around you.
  14. You are hundred percent accountable for yourself. Victims do not succeed. And placing blame is useless.
  15. Humility is the gateway to freedom from the ego.
  16. Start where you are. Not where you want to be or think you should be. Figure out where you are and begin. This is the only way to overcome adversity.
  17. Keep your eyes open and look at everything coming your way. There is nothing you cannot handle if you continue to take the right actions and stay 100 percent accountable.
  18. You are entitled to nothing. You reap what you sow and this feeds your soul.
  19. Look people in the eye when you firmly shake their hands.
  20. Never be too certain. An open mind will bring you more answers than a mind that fully believes it its own convictions.
  21. Sink into yourself. You are far more likable by others if you simply show your flaws and be thoroughly honest.
  22. Engage in small talk at first. This is the way our culture gauges each other. I had to learn this the hard way. I hope you heed my advice.
  23. All things are temporary and that is okay. Accept the natural ebb and flow of life.
  24. Always ask for help if you need it. Those that love you want you to be honest. It is the best way to build connections and life long friends. And of course, always be willing to help the best that you can.
  25. What you put into your body creates who you are. Think carefully how you treat yourself and always tend to your basic needs.
  26. Having courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. Be brave and get through whatever is in front of you.
  27. Comparison is the thief of joy. And joy can happen at anytime if you are paying attention.
  28. Laugh and cry and feel and think. Experience everything you can in this lifetime. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You are already nine years into the one you started.
  29. Don’t trust the media.
  30. Know that I love you with all my heart and I will always be there for you. Never be afraid to share with me your mistakes, your feelings or hide who you are. I LOVE ALL OF YOU.