Blog Posts

Why Do Addicts Use?

No one has all the answers on addiction, or we would not have an addiction problem in the world today. The fact is that we have a tremendous problem in society with addictions from drug addictions, alcoholism, codependency in relationships, sex, love, and pornography addictions, food addictions, nicotine addictions and the list goes on and on. Even exercise or work can be done excessively and become an area of concern. The reasons why these addicts are using people, substances, and things (such as shopping addiction, or car envy) are somewhat elusive when those who would assist them try to pinpoint causes.

One plausible answer is that the addict is trying to treat pain that has become unbearable for them. Loneliness and a feeling of not belonging set many addicts running for the comfort of isolation, where no one can make them any more uncomfortable in their own skin than they already are. The addict can feel totally alone in a group of people just from realizing that these other people are not practicing addictive behaviors in their lives. This feeling is greatly accentuated when the group is espousing a different set of values than the addicted person is accustomed to.

Church is one example of this problem. The addict gets further and further removed from society, and loses touch with talking to God in most cases. Where estrangement is not the issue, others may have been emotionally or verbally abused about religion in their upbringing and now want nothing to do with God or God’s people. It may not be church at all, but rather just law-abiding society. In many addictions laws get broken frequently and the established law enforcement system becomes the enemy in their minds. Some addicts came to hate the social setting in schools for various reasons.

At any rate, a gaping hole in their being is pulling constantly to be filled, and is a relentless driving force that keeps an addict on the move trying to get the right fix in the absence of healthy  community in society and healthy relationships with people. Unfortunately, the addict’s relationships are usually not healthy. Healthy relationships require honesty, trust, love (as a verb), and loyalty. These are attributes that most addicts just simply have no access to during the period of their compulsive use of drugs, alcohol, people etc. while they are trying to find some temporary relief.

Another common problem in addiction is an inappropriate response to emotional challenges that come up in everyday life. Some addicts have some very sad or tragically abusive histories that they are still reacting to in today’s life challenges. There is often an overreaction to an offense or slight that happens today that may well have been unintended. The body produces a lot of toxic chemicals in response to anger and stress and people can become accustomed to being upset and in crisis. They start to thrive on those chemicals and feel lost in a place of peace, not content.

Suspicion and fear keep a lot of addicts treating themselves with more of their drug of choice. Addicts become accustomed to having to use the people, circumstances, and resources in their environment excessively to try to quell the cravings of their addiction. This brings on a guilty conscience and that can easily bring on feelings of unworthiness, or fear of retaliation from those they have used. Even to the point of paranoia such as methamphetamine addicts repeatedly looking out the window and believing they are being watched. Most addicts are running away from their last episode of using or mistreating someone who has reason to feel aggrieved. Therefore they have trouble believing that people who want to help them are genuine and want nothing in return.

Self-focus is a common problem in all addicts. It is difficult to think about something else when there is a gnawing, deep emptiness and pain in your soul, coupled with a broken heart and confusion, in many cases, about how life went so wrong. I do not think that we do them a big favor if we start calling out selfishness to too great a degree initially. They are truly in pain and lost for a solid sense of direction. We can tell people to think of others, but deep pain will prevent it from happening. Leading by example often works very well in the long term.

What I have seen work over the years in many cases is a loving community of people who have escaped the pain and terror of addiction welcoming them into the fold with no questions asked and no requirements on them; just a need and desire to be free from addiction. Regular time with this group is very important as a stable support to anyone who is separating themselves from a serious addition. There should be unconditional love tempered with the speaking of the truth in love by those who have recovery. Accountability is something that addicts have not had any of in a long time. Addiction cannot thrive in the face of loving accountability, it has to run if it is to continue on. Hearing their own story coming out of the mouths of others also forms a strong bond with the recovery community.

Many times addicts have mental illness issues by the time they realize that they need help stopping their addiction. Medical help is available to treat these and those who help addicts should try to refrain from advising them on their medical regime. This is a common problem that I have seen over the years. Many times deeper issues elicit a need for professional counseling and that is another area where lay persons would be wise to avoid comment, about the actual counseling. Some people really benefit from that.

So, the best answer that I have today, as a recovered addict, is to really thrive and live the recovery lifestyle. Then they can see the example of what really worked in someone else’s life. I stay close to a 12 Step Program myself, by doing the daily things that the program suggests. I stay close to God in daily prayer, make a daily appraisal of my progress and liabilities, show up regularly in the fellowship hall to be available to new people, accept the direction and guidance of a mentor who is older in the recovery program than me, and mentor other women in the process of recovery. I accept constructive criticism graciously and consider if I should make any changes based on it. Mavericks do not do well in these fellowships because we have literature that is tried and true and people that blaze a trail on their own will be challenged by the others, whose concern is only for the new ones coming in for help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Astonishing Denouement

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

I had always felt guilty about my relationship with my husband; I had hesitated in my heart before we got married. On our wedding day we got exceedingly drunk together and partook of some recreational drugs, as well. We were up on the 10th floor of a hotel tower in Dallas, Texas, which was part of a chain that had purchased the Inn that he managed in a nearby college town. He was an Executive Inn Keeper but somehow I felt that I may have made some kind of a mistake. He had only insisted on marrying me because I had grown bored with the respectable life that he offered me, and headed back downtown to the burlesque area where we had met to drink and carouse with my friends in some of my old haunts. There was no questioning the fact that I had feet that were itching to get into mischief during those days of my life.

Little could he have known that I was actually already in a very demanding and engaging relationship with drugs and alcohol. I was not available to him or to anyone else because I was constantly trying to get the relief that these brought me; and then to sink back and enjoy the high experience of escaping my problems for awhile. Initially, I had been grateful for his companionship in my life. I had felt very unworthy of love and affection, probably partly due to some of the circumstances that surrounded my obtaining the drugs and being under their influence before I had met him. But human affection and passing gratitude are no match for the merciless cravings that beset someone who is truly dependent on their substances in an addictive way. So, very soon, I lost interest in the relationship and it seemed to be a matter of convenience for security, provision, and protection.

I never thought those things out loud in my own head, I just knew that I became very fearful if I thought  about a break occurring between us. If love is a verb, and something that we do to show someone else how important they are to us, there was no evidence that I had a bond with this man that could not be replaced by another willing supplier. Denial can reign supreme in the guilty party and I was convinced that it was truly a red hot romance that was much to be desired. The more affection and attention that I extended toward my husband the deeper he seemed to be lost in my spell.

I had bewitched him initially from the stage at the burlesque hall. He looked like he had just arrived from the farm in a football jersey. I was just coming out of a relationship with a guy who had tried hard to get me to become a prostitute, and had eventually left me for a man. I certainly had a pressing need for affirmation and something to prove. I mechanically went through all the customary moves to wow the audience and he and his group of tourists from his Inn responded with money and applause in abundant measure. I felt like Joan Jett singing, “I could tell that it wouldn’t be long until he was with me, yeah me.” And so it was.

I did not mean to entrap him because to me, I was just getting high and having a good time, and that seemed like the only normal thing to do. I did not know that I had a callous on my heart that was almost impenetrable and that I could not love another. I meant well, but all went awry pretty quickly when the water got hot. We never bonded mentally, spiritually, or emotionally; rather we proceeded to have a 32 year physical relationship that was very much like a modeling job to me in many ways.

I always had to look absolutely picture perfect. I hated other women and I did not want any of them getting anywhere near my prey. Therefore, I had no women friends. I did not want him to have his friends over either, although he had friends, because I was so insecure and jealous of the relationship, or perhaps my own security in life. I do not know why I was so anxious about security because I went to college and got a well-paying job as a registered nurse. I flaunted my money at him and he did have a heart for money that kept him firmly in my grasp so that I thought nothing could ever interfere with us.

Eventually, I got pretty sick of myself and needed to use more drugs and alcohol to cover that up. I degenerated physically and mentally into a state of desperately needing some help if I was going to live at all. Once the drugs and alcohol were gone, because I had to stop the madness to survive, I started to feel guilty about the way that I had treated my husband and how I had thought about him over the years. I certainly had reason for regrets. I decided in recovery that I would turn over a new leaf and start treating him like a wonderful deserving human being.

Little did I know that my deviance and dereliction were the glue that had been holding us together all those years. He was appalled at the change in me and did not recognize me. When I told him that I was going to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, he told me, “I was here first!” He was not joking, so I did not laugh or tell him that God was here first.  The astonishing denouement was that once I became desirable as a lover and a wife he told me he was no longer attracted to me and that he was divorcing me. Nothing could have brought that about while I was telling him to shut up and get me a beer.

I guess that it must be true that broken people attract broken people and have broken relationships that work for them. All those years were not lost though, I learned so much about sick relationships that today I can recognize one a mile away, and I am able to understand and give good counsel to women who want my mentoring in the recovery fellowships. God can always bring good out of a complete disaster, so I am more blessed today than I have ever been in my life. At least I can recognize when old thought patterns try to take root in my heart and mind in thinking about potential relationships.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Well, we live in a time of modern technology that is both amazing and discomfiting for those of us who are not natural adepts with the electronic gadgetry the children are using. Here is a video that I made live on Facebook today after I gave up on trying to get my Wirecast Encoder to work together with a YouTube to live stream my first sermon as a Reverend. Here I discuss some things about recovery in general, and my own recovery in particular.

 

 

My Last Tantrum

via Daily Prompt: Tantrum

I was always planning to control my drinking in the final days of my social relationship with alcohol. It seemed like I always became much more inebriated that I had originally planned when I started drinking. I just wanted to take the edge off of my nerves, and have a few lighthearted laughs with some of my friends. Soon a couple of drinks became five, six, or more and my behavior was starting to get out of control whenever I was drinking. Once I took that first drink, I could no longer be sure of what was going to happen to me.

Lately I was starting to accumulate a list of problems and losses that I could now directly pinpoint to being associated with the drinking. Early on, I thought things were happening as a consequence of what someone said, or did, or failed to do. However, after awhile I began to notice a consistency in the types of things that were occurring in my life that I did not like. Sure enough every time I was suffering a loss or a humiliation of some sort there was always the fact that I was having some drinks at the time that this happened to me.

Certainly I did not want to think it had anything to do with the alcohol; perhaps because I really felt that I needed it to unwind in awkward situations other people, or when the pressure at work was just too much. I could always count on a drink to give me that feeling of happy, near ecstatic, jubilation that I described as ‘magic.’ It was magic to my perception of myself and how I was being perceived, until something happened like the club manager asked me to leave right after the dance contest.

Somewhere along the way it began to happen that I was not such a happy drunk anymore and started to want to argue with people and try to instigate an altercation if possible. My ex-husband and I were starting to have a lot of really heated marital disputes and he would be mad about my drinking behavior for several days at a time. My memory was starting to fail me about who said what and how it all happened in the first place. I continued to think that the behavior of others was a real contributing factor in the problems that I was having.

It came to the place where the club owners would speak to my ex-husband when we came in, instead of waiting for me to get really lit up. Finally, my ex-husband chose to stay away from me and I had been banned  from most of the drinking establishments that I had frequented due to my drunken tantrums. Our marital disputes had escalated from shouting matches to shove fests with someone falling down and throwing something before it was all over.

After everyone had left me to drink alone, and I did that long enough, I finally realized that alcohol was causing me a lot of problems in my relationships, my work life, my home life, my friendships, and my legal status. I had been taken to jail overnight and released about as many times as one might be able to get away with and I knew serious consequences would result if I drank in public again.

That was the point in my life where I went deep into the world of the illusions and delusions that alcohol brings into the lives of those who cannot live without it. Before it was finished many people were worried for my sanity, including me. I finally stopped fighting people when they all left me, and only then was I willing to accept the fact that I truly needed some outside help in order to be free from this life-changing debilitating habit that I had.

Today I am free, but it was not simple or easy to get there. God blessed me with the right people to lead me where I needed to go to get help and comforted me as I went through the process of separation from my deep dependence on my ‘friend.’ For those who see a pattern of unfortunate circumstances starting to mount in their lives with alcohol being the common denominator in all these, they may need to reach out and accept some of the help that is being offered by their doctors, pastors, employers, and friends. I am glad that I did.

 

Could You Elaborate?

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

I went into the rooms of 12 Step Recovery running from the past; what I had done, who I had hurt. I was looking for shelter, cover, and perhaps some ideas on alibis that might work with the people that I had used during my active addiction process. I did not start out to be a bad person, it was just that necessity became the mother of invention as I began to create false scenarios in order to explain away my erratic behavior and missed commitments.

I was told that in recovery we would come to a place where we could be, ‘Happy, Joyous, and Free,’ if we stuck with the 12 Step principles and applied them to our lives. All I knew was that I was really uncomfortable in my own skin at all times. My mind was racing, my skin was itching, my emotions were agitated and my relationships were now gone, along with my career, my self-confidence and my hope. I hated to look in the mirror in those days, because I had let myself down in life.

I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually bankrupt and I was barely hanging on physically at that time of my life as well. I went into a recovery fellowship meeting and they had a poem on the wall called, ‘The Man in the Glass.’ I felt that was almost an omen that I certainly belonged there. I surrendered completely to them and made myself available and willing to do what they suggested in all areas of my life. I had nothing to lose.

As it all turned out, I had everything to gain, starting with a lot of new friends that were real friends that would speak the truth in love to me, and loved me where I was. I also got about forty other things that I was not really expecting to get when I went in. I just wanted the madness to stop. Here I will elaborate on the forty things I recovered or gained as a result of working the 12 Step Recovery Process: Faith; Hope; Love; Trust; Humility; Joy; My Identity as a Child of God; Right Standing with God; Grace; Mercy in my Heart; Prayer Life; Peace of Mind; Soundness of Mind; Sobriety; Good Judgment; Sense of Purpose and Direction; Integrity; Reputation as a Christian; Honor; Pride-Self-Esteem; Family; Pride in my Heritage; Confidence; Energy; Health; Strength; Endurance; Stamina; Breath; Music; Smile; Sense of Humor; Harmonious Relationships; Fellowship with the Church; Ministry; Courage; Discernment; Charity; Stability; and a Testimony.

When at look at my list, I realize that not everyone wants everything that was on my list, but many of these things were lost to me as I was when I started the journey. I was wounded in my faith and a return to the church seemed undesirable to me and totally out of the question, after all that I had said and done. The gist is that I got everything that I needed to give me a smile that is radiant and genuine when I look in the mirror, and today I can truly say that I really am, ‘Happy, Joyous, and Free.’

 

The Ultimate Bestowal

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

I have survived times of extreme desperation laden with hopelessness during my journey through this life. Usually, I try to simply learn from those experiences and rise up and move forward toward a more upbeat future. There was one time however, when no matter how hard I tried, or how much I might strategize, I simply could not pull myself up out of the miry pit I had slid into.

This circumstance of total helplessness initially came about as the result of a back injury that I sustained at work as a Registered Nurse in the ICU unit at the hospital. I was prescribed muscle relaxers and pain pills, and I was encouraged by the employee health nurse to stay heavily medicated in the interest of healing. I decided to potentiate the effects of my medication by drinking beer during the day while I convalesced.

Meanwhile, a storm was brewing in my life that culminated in an epic struggle with the Workman’s Compensation Office that was handling my claim. It seemed that the physician who treated me at the hospital where I was employed had recorded that my back trouble was caused by ‘Degenerative Changes.’ That dumbfounded me and I retorted that I was young and able-bodied when I arrived at work and injured and degenerated when I left work that day. During those years I had a definite sarcastic attitude problem.

Workman’s Comp was trying to deny my claim and a battle of correspondence ensued from my camp that caused me to believe that I probably needed more beer to go along with my other medications. I quickly increased my intake of beer to over 24 per day, which is a case a day. I was drowning in a sea of self-pity and I was eaten up with bitterness and and became a reservoir of vitriol in all my communications with Workman’s Comp, my employer, and gradually with the politicians that I felt could help me with my struggle.

I finally garnered a surgery, after conservative treatments had failed to resolve the herniated disc that the X-rays revealed. Unfortunately, my drinking had escalated to more than a pastime by that point. I was unable to abstain from drinking beer even up to the time that I went in for surgery early one morning. I had a lumbar fusion on my lower vertebrae in my back and the pain was inconceivable to me. This added to my sense of entitlement regarding any kind of pleasure that I could get out of life at that point.

As my life whirled mindlessly into the downward spiral of active addiction, I became somewhat delusional. This progressed until I was in active hallucinations whenever I was drinking. I decided that I must be an alcoholic at that point, because I felt that no one but an alcoholic would suffer from hallucinations while drinking. I knew from experience as a nurse that I had a real problem at that point. A physical problem, I thought, at that time.

I had been a practicing atheist for 14 years because of seeing the results of child abuse during my nursing school rotation at the county hospital. I felt that there could not be a God if such things could happen in the world, and so I left my childhood faith behind just before I graduated. The hallucinations that I was having caused me to rethink my atheist philosophy because I came to feel that I may actually really have a soul and a very troubled soul at that.

I became suicidal and wanted to end it all with the shotgun we kept in our home for protection. My ex-husband had enabled me to a large extent by always bringing home a case of iced down beer every night. My drinking caused us to have fierce fights that ended in some altercations, that I started.

One night things came to a head and I realized that demons are real and that this was my reality now, being tormented by demons when I drank. I realized that death would probably only continue my disturbing spiritual condition because my soul could not break free from the evil that I had brought upon myself. I was suddenly convinced that I must call out for help from the only One who is able to destroy demons, Jesus Christ. I was afraid to approach Him after my behavior as an atheist, and yet I was totally desperate. So I prayed and asked Him to take away my compulsion to drink alcohol and take away all the demonic forces that had gathered around me.

Relief came immediately and I knew He had answered my prayer. The next day I called the State Board of Nurses to see if they could recommend some sort of support during my separation process from daily drinking. They asked me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous and I did go there. What I found there was totally different that what I expected to find. I thought it would be a lot of men that had been living under a bridge downtown for some time. When I arrived I was struck by the healthy, peaceful, happy appearance of the people at the meeting. I could not believe anyone could be in such a condition that had any real experience with a sever addiction to alcohol.

Everyone shared their own experience with being overcome by alcohol and by the time that they finished talking hope had been bestowed upon my languished spirit. I could believe that I might someday be like them and regain my health and possibly some joy in my life. Their gift of sharing themselves with me turned out to be the turning point from a life of misery to a new life of freedom from not only alcohol, and drugs, but also from some negative character traits that had skewed my perception of life and people for quite some time.

That was the end of my atheist lifestyle of rebellion, lust, and drugs that had brought me to the brink of Hades and to the point where I almost did not make it back to the world of the living. I credit Jesus Christ with bringing me into recovery, and the fellowship of recovering addicts that makes my life so full of joy and worthwhile today with giving me real support for a new life of freedom. Now, I get to rescue others who have slipped into the pit of final destruction, and we all get to enjoy a brand new life that really means something together. There is a God in this world and He will answer when even a disillusioned atheist calls out to Him from the depths of despair.

 

 

Vague Forebodings

Many people who have suffered from the rigors of hitting rock bottom with substance abuse realize on hindsight that they did actually have vague forebodings that they were headed into uncharted waters and were in grave danger of some sort on more than one occasion before the climactic events that culminated in reaching the end of the road with their drug of choice. In most cases these first clues were summarily dismissed as excess anxiety and needless distractions, until the feeling of impending doom that they could not escape set in and they realized that they must have help and they must have it now.

This is the place that those who try to intervene and help addicted substance abusers are looking for in a potential client/participant, because until they have had this experience they may still be able to somehow explain away all the pain and disaster that defines the life of an addicted substance user. Once the person has come to the place where they are willing to admit and confess complete defeat in the battle to try to negotiate with and navigate through their substance addiction healing can finally begin.

The road to recovery in these cases is long and winding; it curves up mountains and dives down deep into tight crevices before finally leading the traveler to a destination that can provide some respite from their daily struggle to live without the thing that was killing them. The vague forebodings were synonymous with a red flag warning them to turn back and cut back on, or quit altogether, using substances to medicate the pains that go along with living life on life’s terms.

In recovery we can learn to listen to our inner voice and pay attention to intuitions, vague or definite. We also have the added benefit with cultivating a working relationship with a God of our own understanding who guides us on our way out of the maze of withdrawal and onto the path that leads to a life that is really worth living. Meditation helps to develop our perception to these signals and we can learn to act on that guided perception in concert with the God of our understanding. This is a far cry from blindly and repeatedly throwing substances at our problems. It is a solution that works.

 

Practice Partaking

via Daily Prompt: Partake

More will be revealed. This is a common phrase in the rooms of 12 Step Recovery fellowships. Behind it is the idea that in order to gain recovery in their lives, people will be partaking of the mysteries behind the 12 Step process long before they can understand fully the concepts behind the 12 Steps. We like to say that we act our way into right thinking, rather than think our way into right acting. Sometimes a sponsor may point out to a skeptic Newcomer who is trying to balk on going forward in process, “Your best thinking got you where you are today. Why not try using they synthesized thinking of the 12 Steps for awhile and see how you like the results?”

We have always heard that we should ‘Look before we Leap’, and that would suggest that we would be wise to know fully what we are getting into, how it will work in our own life, and exactly what results that we will gain from complying with the written suggestions the 12 Steps spell out. Change is not easy, and it is often uncomfortable; this is not highlighted in the instructions for taking the 12 Steps to Recovery in the Anonymous Fellowships.

Acquiring something really good in our lives usually will mean that we must let go of something not so good so we will have room to receive the new reality. Letting go can mean losing something, a person, a relationship, a quality in a relationship, a habit, or a way of thinking. This is why we have catchy phrases in these fellowships like, ‘Let Go and Let God.’ My God cannot make changes in my life for me if I am clinging to everything that went into making my old life so miserable that I sought recovery. I cannot partake of new activities and opportunities, when my plate is full and my schedule is overbooked. You have to give something up to get something, as my sponsor used to tell me.

This is probably the main reason that we have sponsors in the program. They are able to nudge us forward gently, lovingly, or otherwise, so that we move seamlessly into the next phase of a new life with all its benefits. I will admit that they do not always seem like the most altruistic people with no self interests. Sometimes they can be almost insistent that we move forward. This is usually after a long plateau period has gone on indefinitely.

In addictions, whether to substances or behaviors, we tend to isolate ourselves from the scrutiny of other people so that we can live in our addictive use of substances or people, and so that we can nurse the illusion that what we are doing is justifiable under the circumstances. Sponsors encourage us and set the example that we need to see in order to come out and partake of freedom from addiction and enjoy a brand new fresh clean life.

 

The Mallet of God

via Daily Prompt: Mallet

It has been said that a diamond is just a piece of coal that handled stress extremely well. Many times certain people have been referred to as being a diamond in the rough. What is the magic ingredient that brings about the metamorphosis from carbon to carats?

Some people would say that fortitude is the determining factor in whether or not a piece of coal can truly change for the better. This view leaves it all in the hands of the individual undergoing the changes. Others would say that mentoring is a key factor that predisposes one to success in ascending into their element.

I would like to suggest that there may be an element of Divine Grace involved when a person achieves the status of a true leader in their field and a light that brightens the lives of others. Many people will pray to God and ask that challenging and adverse circumstances be removed from them, not realizing that God may be using those very circumstances to develop their character to heroic proportions. He knows exactly how much pressure to apply to a real candidate for greatness in order to get the best effort and performance from that person in pursuing their dreams.

Many complain against a God who allows adversity to afflict His children, and yet everyone loves a winner. Remember Gideon was hiding himself when he was addressed by an angel, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor!”  Even though Gideon was afraid and hiding, God already saw him as a diamond among humanity and a real leader. Another wonderful example is Joseph, who was sold into slavery and then, when he had procured a good position in a household, falsely accused and sent to prison. All this only to eventually become the second in command under Pharaoh in Egypt.

The mallet of God is not so much cruel as it is refining, and anyone who comes under its pressure can be certain that they are being developed for great things in life.

Authentic Transformation

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

So many people today are interested in having a transformation experience in their personal life change/recovery programs that one begins to wonder what kinds of clues could there be as to whether or not a personal transformation is authentic or not. One aspect that comes to attention is that of worldview. Our worldview dictates how we will perceive events and circumstances that are happening around us in our world. Not only does our world affect our perception, but also it may dictate our responses as well.

People in 12 Step recovery circles call this authentic transformation a complete psychic change that leads to a life-changing spiritual experience. We can see clearly by the person’s behavior, expressions, desires, and words that their values have changed and that there has been an emotional shift in their personality. New character traits become apparent, such as tolerance, patience, love, and charity; whereas old behavioral response patterns are shed, or greatly reduced.

Such a real authentic transformation cannot be faked for the sake of appearances. A person can try to put forth a good image and do well for a considerable time under various circumstances. However, once the water gets really hot, the real inner self is bound to come roaring forth in some typical old behavior patterns. In order to have a lasting effect, these changes must have resulted from ego deflation and changed perspective; in other words, a personality change, or change of heart.

Of course, no one wants to have their ego deflated in a world that is constantly stroking our egos in order to get our dollar moving toward their goods, services, or charitable cause. Most people would not be willing to subject themselves to the rigors of the kind of deflation that an authentic transformation actually requires. The motivation to change must be significant and moving in order to hold their attention and serve as a goal during the recovery process.

Thankfully, there are good mentors out there that have had this experience and are ready, willing, and able to support, and guide others who choose the arduous path toward authentic transformation for themselves. In the long run, the effort and the pain are far outweighed by the peace and happiness that getting real can bring into a life that was previously stifled with pretense, strained, and perhaps even troubled with some sort of substance abuse, or activity obsession. If you are thinking about making a change in your life, my advice is that you make it an authentic transformation.