The Higher Power paradox

[:nl]The dictionary defines the word paradox as: a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. In Greek the word literally translates as “conflicting with expectation”. Accepting powerlessness over unhealthy habits and the unmanageability of our lives and the belief that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, are the essence of recovery in 12 step programs, such as AA, Al-anon, CA, NA, OA, etc.

However, accepting our powerlessness and unmanageability is a hard nut to crack. We do not like to admit we are wrong or that we have “failed”. Basically it means admitting that until now, all the efforts that you have put in changing yourself or someone else were pointless. This a source of frustration to most people.

Secondly, accepting a higher power that can restore us to sanity is also difficult to many. Many people do not believe in a supreme being, a Higher Power, a God.

After all, isn’t this higher power also responsible for the current state of suffering in our lives and in the world? So how on earth can we turn to it for such a positive thing as our recovery.

Overcoming our mental resistance because of this paradox is key to recovery and is simpler that you think.

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About al-anon’s “step one”

To get rid of unhealthy habits many people turn to so-called 12-step programs, such as AA, CA, Al-Anon, to name just a few of the more than 50.

Regular meetings in which the participants suffering from the same habits share their personal stories and experience form the basis of these programs.

It is common practice to have a so-called “step 1 meeting” when there are newcomers in the group. I remember my first al-anon meeting vividly (note: al-anon is a 12 step program for people living or having lived with an alcoholic partner, family member, parent , child, friend, colleague, etc.) and it may be worth while to share this experience with you.

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The truth about higher power

In 12-step programs such as AA, Al-anon, CA, XA, SLAA (and there are many more) the basis for recovery is the belief in a “Higher Power as you understand him” or “God”. So what to do with this when you consider yourself to be an atheist or when you are not a Christian.

In many conversations I have had with people suffering from unhealthy habits I commonly hear – or sense –some form of anger or frustration when talking about this notion of a Higher Power. Some people are outright pi..ed off. How can it be, they ask themselves, that there is so much (personal) suffering and misery in their lives and in the world if there is a God. Why does the Higher Power let this happen?  If this is how you think, then this post is for you.

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Turning the holiday blues around

 

For those suffering from unhealthy habits the holidays can be a difficult time of the year. I often hear that to many of us, days like Thanksgiving, St. Nicolas, Diwali, Hanukkah or Christmas are triggers to watch out for. Of course this is not so (see my previous post on triggers). Also, the end of the year is the time for making life changing resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking, and so on. This too is not the most helpful way to recovery and happiness (see this post). So, what can you do to enjoy this time of the year?

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Low self-esteem: who’s judging who?

One of the recurring themes that comes up when talking to people suffering from unhealthy habits is “low self-esteem”, both as a cause, an excuse and/or as a symptom for their behavior or thinking. The word self-esteem implies a judgment we have about ourselves. The word low expresses the result of that judging process.  When our self-esteem is low, we judge ourselves to be not good enough. However, isn’t judgment up to an impartial judge and jury. So, who is judging who? Awareness about the true nature of this thing called low self-esteem can be very helpful in recovery and you will find out that it is all about the ego’s insanity.

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Addiction farewell

[:nl]I do not like the words addiction or addict. It makes me think of commonly used labels, such as “disease”, “powerlessness”, “patient” and the need for a “higher power”. It creates a sense of unavoidable dependency and despair, taking away the incentive for an active personal involvement in working on recovery, on healing. I prefer to talk about unhealthy habits, and that includes the way you think.

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The three C’s

The three C's from al-anon

One of the most common problems when dealing with an addict in your life is that you blame yourself.  You ask yourself: “Why is it that no matter what I do and how hard I try, the addict(s) in my life doesn’t change and the pain and suffering doesn’t stop”. Or “What am I doing wrong, for if I would do it right, he or she would not drink, do drugs, etc.”

In my upcoming book I explain how and why this is.

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Me meditate?

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Healing addiction through belief

The healing power of belief in the oneness of creation

We are all created, composed of tiny particles, so scientists say. Before we were born they already existed, and when we die, these atoms that formed us do not disappear. They live on. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We come from all, and we return to all. We are all. We did not choose our parents, the color of our eyes, our sex, the place and the circumstances we were born in. In fact there is very little we choose, most of it simply, miraculously happens. Somehow and sometimes we still realize that we are part of creation, of this incredible engine or wheel of life. That we are one with it. Unfortunately most of the time we lose sight of this awareness, because we have become addicted to experiencing our life, we have lost ourselves to this earthly life experience. We are scared to death of losing this or having to give that up. But what are we afraid of?

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