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Month: April 2014

Flap Your Wings

Flap Your Wings

Stopping the Cycle of Generational Alcoholism

I was disgusted with my parents’ alcoholism. So this is how I handled it; I took drugs instead. It made total sense to me at the time. Drugs were clean. I could hide them more easily than my mother’s 5th of Vodka. I could take certain types and instead of getting sloppy and mean I could laugh and have fun. And of course, I could stop whenever I wanted. As long as I never stayed with one class of drugs for too long, I would never get addicted.

Of course we all know the folly of that kind of thinking. Drugs just about destroyed me. It clouded my judgement so that I allowed hurtful people to have access to my life. It kept me numb to pain so that instead of dealing with each hurt as it came, I stuffed it all until it exploded into serious mental illness. It took years to recover.

And with all the care I took to keep from getting addicted, the chickens came home to roost many years later when I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my neck. With my brain primed for addiction through the use of drugs in my teens and early twenties, it was no time at all before I became seriously addicted to the opiate pain killers prescribed by my family physician. I soon found out what the hell of withdrawal was like.

Being an adult child of an alcoholic means having to learn new ways of living. It’s not easy, but there are many who have traveled the road before and shine the light so we can follow their path. The video below is a wonderful example.

Did you recognize yourself in her words? If so, reach out to someone for help. Stop the cycle of alcoholism in your own family line. I like to say, “Be a butterfly.” One small flap of your wings can change generations of your family. Do this for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, and your great-great grandchildren. You get the idea.

Can you relate? In what ways have generational alcoholism touched your life? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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3 Ways to Using Imagery to Calm Your Emotions

3 Ways to Using Imagery to Calm Your Emotions

Have you ever felt like going to bed because your emotions were “off the charts?” I have, and I found myself lying there thinking about what I was so angry about. Turns out, that’s not very helpful. Then I learned a DBT Skill that helped me not only calm down but also helped to turn those negative emotions towards more positive ones as well.

I headed off to the beach.

Well…sort of. You see, I live in Montana. Not much in the way of ocean breezes around here. I grew up near the beaches of Southern California and to say I miss the beach is an understatement. But I can give myself a taste of that experience whenever I want. Here’s how.

1. Think of a place (either real or imaginary) that you would like to be right now.

For me, that’s always the ocean. I love everything about it; even the smell of rotting seaweed.

2. If you can, gather things that will help you experience it with your 5 senses.

When I was a teenager I went to the beach with my friends as often as we could afford the 33 cents for bus fare. We slathered on the suntan lotion and put lemon juice in our hair to lighten it. We listened to The Beach Boys on the radio and let the sound of the waves massage our souls. I have suntan lotion in my bathroom cabinet and lemon juice in the fridge. I also own a CD of ocean waves (you can also listen to waves on Youtube). And of course I own several Beach Boys CD’s. When California Girl comes through the speakers in my room, I am 14-years-old again! These smells and sounds help me remember what it was like to actually be at the beach. One time I even clicked on a small electric heater to simulate the heat of the sun!

3. Sit or lie down and allow yourself to be carried away to the place of your dreams.Your emotions will calm as you soothe yourself with a free, 10-minute vacation.

Try this exercise and let me know where you went in the comments below. I am giving away Christy Matta’s book, The Stress Response, to one lucky winner (randomly picked from the comments).