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The 12 Steps of Recovery; Why They Need To Be Changed

LVPicker

12 Steps of Recovery

The first 3 Steps of the 12 Steps of recovery are a real problem, and need to be updated. In an earlier blog, I talked about the formation of dis-empowering beliefs, and at the foundation, are the very first beliefs, we form about the nature of the Universe, and whether it’s nurturing or threatening. It’s often said in “meetings” that it’s the spiritual hole within us that leads us to addiction. This spiritual hole has at its start, the dis-empowering belief that the Universe is a threatening and unfriendly place so it must follow that God doesn’t care about us. This one foundation belief about the Universe, has created multiple ancillary beliefs, even about God, that support and strengthen it.

The Seeds of Addiction

The more dis-empowering beliefs we have the more irritable and discontent we become, often at a very early age. It is these feelings of irritability and discontent that are the seeds to addiction. We either search or find by accident a medicine that gives us relief from these feelings. And because of our inability to delay gratification we abuse our medicine until we form an allergy to it. The allergy of can’t stop.

The Problem with Step 1

This brings me to the 12 Steps and the problem (as I see it) with the first 3 Steps. Step 1 states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable”. While a new person coming in contact with these steps for the first time might not have a problem understanding being powerless over their drug of choice, it’s the “and our lives had become unmanageable”, where the problem occurs, especially if they are high bottom people who still have responsible jobs, families, houses and cars. If we just change the word “lives” with “thinking” it would be so much easier for new people to get their arms around this key point. It is so much easier to get into a dialogue about someones thinking being screwed up as opposed to trying to explain a life, that from the outside looks pretty good, as being unmanageable. To focus on the idea that it’s our thinking that creates our lives and it’s this thinking that has become unmanageable.

The Problem with Step 2

Step 2 states,” Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. This step is vague and misleading and insinuates that we need is an idea of God to recover. It would be easier to understand if it said “Came to believe that it’s only through outside help that we can be restored to sanity”. The point being that a sick mind, can’t fix a sick mind.

The Problem with Step 3

But it’s in Step 3 where most of the confusion lies. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him”. It’s this statement that insinuates that it’s only through putting the solution outside ourselves that we can find the solution, when the solution clearly lies within us. We need to make a decision to stop blaming the Universe and God for our problems, but to instead look inward on why we believe we are powerless over our own lives. It should read “Made a decision to learn and understand our Gods will for us”By changing the wording even a layman can discuss the fundamental ideas of a divine mind made in the image of our creator, who placed us in a Universe designed to grow man. This eliminates a “sponsor” quandary of trying to explain what turning your will and your life over to God means or looks like.

If They Would Have Just Told Me

If someone had just told me back in 1989, that the reason my life was unmanageable, was because of the dis-empowering beliefs I held, about the Universe and life in general, and it was these beliefs that were making me miserable, I would have been much better off. If they had just told me, that my drug use was only a symptom, of a serious thinking problem, I’d been much better off. And that one of the best ways to find a cure, was to find someone, who had recovered, from the same thinking problems I had. Instead, I went on a quest to find God, alone.

We can Change our Beliefs

The most affordable way to do this today is still, to find a community of men and women who have recovered from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. And that all you need (and this is crucial) is a willingness to listen. You don’t have to be like me and spend years as a dry drunk because you can’t figure out how to turn your life and will over to the care of a God, I didn’t even know. Telling someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that they need to turn their thinking over to someone else, as opposed to taking responsibility for it, is wrong. It’s through showing them, how their dis-empowering beliefs, create the life they find themselves in. That they have free will, and can change both their beliefs and their lives.

Stuck in the Past

These Steps of Recovery were written almost a 100 years ago, nobody today would suggest using a “textbook” written 100 years ago to teach people today. To insist that this is the bible of recovery is to be caught in a form of Narcissism, to ignore the development of new ideas and advances in science, medicine and psychology and to adopt them to an ever-changing world is a dis-empowering belief system that continues to accept falling recovery rates.

It’s Simple

What can be easier to understand than this simple concept. It’s our thinking that is the cause of our lives (the effect). Our divine mind has free will to believe anything we choose. The Universe was provided to grow Man and produce what ever we plant. It can do no less. Gods will is for Man to prosper and be happy.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

The Causes of Alcoholism; Who You Going To Trust

LVPicker

What’s better Study or Experience?

Who would you trust? Someone who has studied painting for 30 years or somebody who has painted for 30 years? Someone who has studied dancing for 30 years or someone who has danced for 30 years? Someone who has studied alcoholism for 30 years or someone who had been alcoholic for 30 years? Someone who has studied recovery or someone who has recovered? They’re people out there, that believe something because they have studied it, then there are those that believe because they know.

Beliefs; Subjective or Objective

While to believe is good there are levels of belief, both subjective and objective. The belief gained through study is subjective, and the belief gained through experience is objective. You can trust the belief gained through education but you can have faith in the belief gained through experience. What is stronger trust or faith?

Faith vs Trust

If you have lived with dis-empowering beliefs for 30 years, like I have you can have faith that I know, as opposed to someone who has studied dis-empowering beliefs for 30 years. They may trust they know but they don’t have faith that they know. The arrogance of people with education and a lot of letters behind their names never cease to amaze me. The egos of these people, is only surpassed by how wrong they have been, about so many things, they believed they knew.

Can you Trust the Experts?

We laugh today at what the “experts” told us was true only 50 years ago. History has shown us this over and over. Often at the determent to the population at large. Yet the “experts” never stop pontificating about something they trust to be true. Simply because they have studied the problem, only to be proven wrong by someone who has lived the problem, and who was brave enough to talk or write about it.

The Hubris

When I hear or read about an “expert” telling the world that alcoholism is an incurable disease, I’m struck by the hubris of the statement, I wonder how, without really living it, they can be so sure of themselves. Without any regard to who it hurts, when they spread these dis-empowering beliefs, into the public arena. Unless you’ve lived it you don’t really know, well I know.

A Life of Alcoholism

I’ve lived around alcoholism my whole life and have suffered with it for 30 years. It has affected every aspect of my life. It has been responsible for killing three careers, two marriages and the relationship with my children, and I know hundreds of other people who have experienced the same and even worse. What I’ve also seen is hundreds of people who have successfully recovered from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and I’m one of them. When I read that its incurable I look in the mirror and ask what do they know? Am I a lie?

The Motivation is Money

Are these “experts” going to tell me I can’t trust my own experiences? That a person can’t have faith that not only is recovery from alcoholism possible but attainable. Again what are the motivations behind anyone telling people that alcoholism is incurable. I’m here to tell everyone that alcoholism can be cured, and you don’t have to attend meetings for the rest of your life to accomplish it. Recovery can occur quite quickly, if we started to focus on the root cause as opposed to just looking at the effects.

It’s Narcissism

Nobody likes to admit they are Narcissistic. And this is the whole problem, nobody will admit it. The condition of Narcissism by its very nature is to deny, deflect and misdirect attention elsewhere. The Narcissist manipulates the situation in such a way that blame can never be placed where it belongs. It’s like this mental illness’s mantra is call me anything, but don’t call me narcissistic. Well the jig is up’ the cats out of the bag.

Attend 90 in 90, see for yourself

Anybody who has seriously read the symptoms and behaviors of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) only has to attend 90 in 90 to be thoroughly convinced that its this, mental illness, that is not only behind alcoholism but is the root cause behind most addictions today. The third step prayer in A.A. especially asks God to remove “the bondage of self”. And NPD in its pure form is the bondage of self.

It’s the Beliefs you Hold

Being stuck with the dis-empowering beliefs, that convince us, that we are separate, alone and victims in a hostile universe, makes us so unhappy, and discontent that we either actively search for relief or find it by accident. And the medicine that’s been most easily found, since forever, has been alcohol, but it certainly is’nt the only medication people turn too.

Dismay Recovery Rates

It’s my opinion that this obsession of the mind, is the mental illness called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The sooner we start to realize this and bring it the attention it deserves, the sooner we will see an improvement in the dismal recovery rates we continue to see. Only through a psychic change that I finally experienced in Step 11, have I become willing to show my own vulnerabilities and have the confidence to start speaking out.

Check it Out

I encourage anyone reading this, that if you or someone you know ,is suffering from an addiction, of any kind, that you look at NPD. Our beliefs create our thinking. Our thinking leads to behaviors and emotions and creates the life we live. Once we realize, we are not our thoughts, then we can start the healing process. My blogs will cover all kinds of dis-empowering beliefs and shine the light empowerment upon them. I look forward to any comments you may have and welcome them. It’s only through open and honest communication that we can pull back the curtain. Once, your aware, there is no going back. Enjoy the journey.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

Politically Incorrect; Assisted Living The Next Scandal

LVPicker

Looking at the Options

Being the product of a divorced home, I’ve had the inevitable opportunity, to see two sets of parents, go through the Assisted Living experience. I want to share with you my Dad’s experience.

My Dad developed Parkinson Disease probably in his early to mid sixties. The disease progressed steadily for the next ten years to where he could no longer live independently. Not being in a position emotionally to care for him myself, we started looking to find Assisted Living Facilities for him.

Price the Same No Matter Where You Live?

Like everything, you have your Good, Better and Best options. Obviously wanting the best for Dad we started looking at the Best Facilities. We toured a number of facilities,both in Indiana where Dad had his home and in Nevada, where I lived. I was surprised right at the start to find that the facilities in rural Indiana charged the same as facilities in urban Las Vegas, Nevada. This has never made sense to me since the median price of a home in Indiana was around 150,000 and in Vegas it was around 350,000. It was obvious that the cost of living of a particular geographical area had no impact on the cost of Assisted Living. The Assisted Living Industry has standardized the price throughout the U.S. This Industry is dominated by a few major Corporations. We are talking BIG money and these corporations call the shots.

The Best

While it’s true that these facilities follow the good, better, and best formula, these are totally based on socioeconomic guidelines. The best facilities are for the wealthy, better is for the middle class, and good is for the poor. While Dad would be considered wealthy by most, in touring the best facilities, he felt uncomfortable. The idea of wearing a sports coat to dinner under chandeliers, with classical music playing in the background just left him cold. And while he could afford the basic cost (no assistance) of $4000.00/month for a studio was affordable, it just didn’t suit him.

The Better

So we started to look at the next tier of facilities, the better, designed for middle class sensibilities. We found these to be more to his taste, very nice without being ostentatious, comfortable well appointed living rooms, large and airy dinning rooms, theaters and libraries and even bistros for midnight snacks, some even had swimming pools and spas. With the basic cost (no assistance) of $3000.00/month for a studio, this seemed to fit Dad’s needs. He upgraded to a one bedroom for only an additional $200.00/month. After his initial evaluation, it was determined that he didn’t need any special assistance dressing, bathing or feeding himself so his cost would only be $3200.00/month for a one bedroom. These rooms had a sink, a mini refrigerator and a microwave.

After six months the nurse practitioner decided that Dad needed too much assistance dressing, so they tacked on $500.00 a month. Dad was often frustrated that it took forever to get anyone to help him dress. It would take him 45 minutes to get his shirt on by himself. This became a constant irritation to him. After a year of being frustrated, over little things, Like Staff never answering repeated requests for help. Dad wanted to look at different Families, to see if he could get better service cheaper. It’s at this point that my education about the Assisted Living Industry really began.

The Good

We had seen the best and the better so now we were going to check out the good. The facilities designed for the poor. The larger facilities in most cases had the feel of hospitals. The studios could only be described as better appointed hospital rooms, with the lobby, dinning rooms and recreation areas all with the feel of a nursing home. With a basic cost (no assistance) of $2000.00/month for a studio, appealed to Dad’s frugality, it obviously wasn’t what he was looking for. It’s at this point that we started to look at Group Homes.

Free Referral Service?

The Assisted Living industry has all types of services, available at no cost, to help families, find suitable arrangements. These services, I’m sure, are paid on a commission basis, by the group homes, for finding and directing qualified prospects to them. But I have not really investigated that side of the business. Most referral services have a number of homes they work with though, they know the price structures of each home, and the applicants’ ability to pay. While the whole industry needs to be scrutinized, special attention needs to be placed on Group Homes, this area is ripe for abuses to occur.

Group Homes

Group Homes follow the same socioeconomic breakdown of good for the poor, better for the middle class, and best for the wealthy. Always looking for a deal Dad insisted on looking at a Group Home that cost $2000.00/month. Our referral assistant knew of a home that had an opening for one male. She took us to an average looking house, in an average neighborhood, from the outside it looked like a normal three or four bedroom house. Upon entering, we were meet by the operators of the home, a husband and wife team who had satisfied the State requirements to manage a Group Home. We came to find out that an individual can have one or many Group Homes and because it’s very lucrative the more the better. It’s an Industry that gets very little attention.

Very Lucrative

Upon entering, we found nine people, sitting or milling about the living room, watching TV. They showed us the bed they had available for Dad, he only shared the bedroom with one other man, two of the bedrooms had three beds in them. This turned out to be a five bedroom house with the master being used by the operators. They could handle ten people, which at $2000.00 each comes out to $20,000.00 a month. Very lucrative indeed.

Kitchen enclosed with a Chain Link Fence

We noticed that the kitchen had been enclosed with a chain link fence with a lock on the door, when we inquired about it we were told that residents weren’t allowed in the kitchen in order to prevent possible fires due to residents putting styrofoam containers on the stove or cans in the microwave. That meals were provided three times a day. After walking the house for a few more minutes, wondering how twelve people could live there comfortably we left. The referral agent told us we could move in immediately and that the rent would be prorated, we asked her if this was standard for $2000.00 a month, she said that there were homes that didn’t have as many residents, but that it was pretty standard. We asked her if she knew of anyplace for maybe $3000.00/month. She knew of a number of homes at that price and after visiting a few, Dad found a nice Home, where he could have the master bedroom and garage access, and that only had one other resident. All for only $3500.00 a month. Dad ended up living there for almost a year until a slip and fall in the shower sent him to the hospital from which he never recovered.

The Next Big Scandal

It’s my belief that the Assisted Living Industry is the next big scandal waiting to hit the headlines. I inquired about the average time a person lived in Assisted Living and was told it’s between two to three years. At those prices I wondered if it was because the resident died or just ran out of money. All one needs to do is Google Assisted Living Scandal to see that it’s an issue that is calling for investigation and possible over site. It’s time we look at these national organizations who have obviously colluded to set prices across the country but to especially look at these Group Home entrepreneurs who are making huge amounts of money with very little if any oversight.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave