Sunday, February 21, 2010

Addiction (A beautiful Soul (running away))

How do I show him that the things that make him run away are of no import? There is no need to run. When he does so, he deprives himself of so many of the experiences of this life. He may avoid the pain of accepting things as they are but he misses experiencing the joys that can be found each day.

When he runs into the void to hide from the clouds, he also misses the rainbow, and a few tomorrows while he is searching for a way back. There are no words to explain how to accept and cope with living each day, while knowing that it is simply a part of the road to tomorrow.


A beautiful Soul (running away) was was triggered by memories of my brother, who passed through the mist at 50. A crow flew into his motorcycle and he and his partner died instantly. The funny thing was that for the first time since he was 15, he was sober and happy. He never wanted to grow old and suffer the results of his life style, and somehow, I believe that he was ready and she did not want to outlive him.

He fought his own battle with addiction. It seems that sometimes reality is too harsh for a fragile soul to bear. He applied the drug of choice to the pain of living in a confusing world. I believe it is called "Self Medicating", with tongue in cheek. It is not funny, particularly to the ones going through it. Families are destroyed, lives are destroyed, and it often feels like nothing can be done. In truth, nothing can be ... except by the person who is self medicating.

In my brother's case, I do know what started his slide into addiction. He was two years younger than me. He was the blue eyed, golden haired poster baby and everyone made a big fuss over him. He was always the center of attention and he could do no wrong. Then we acquired a blonde, blue eyed baby girl sister when he was 7. Suddenly, he was no longer the star of the show. Getting into trouble and punishment were new to him. Mom had remarried and our step-father was very demanding, expecting my brother to grow up and "Be a man". It warped my brother's sense of what he should be and he could not be what he thought our step-father wanted. At 15 he was already an alcoholic. He could not measure up. I know my brother blamed my sister's arrival for his problems, although he did not blame her directly. Babies have a habit of taking the spotlight away from others who seem to need it. The other thing with my brother was hypoglycemia, a pre-diabetic condition. I have also seen this to be the case in many alcoholics.

My brother's self destructive behavior was so painful to watch that I simply could not allow myself to witness it. If he were sober, he was welcomed with open arms, if he was drinking, I would cross the street to avoid seeing the misery in his eyes. It made me very hard hearted in a way as I refused to condone, let alone enable it. I don't think the enabler sees their actions as enabling the addict's behavior. Much that is written applies to the addictive relationship as well as the abusive one.

With both my brother and my nephew there was always a woman around ready to pick up the poor broken boy and use him up, then throw him out for the next enabler to find. It seemed to be some form of misguided maternal instinct, combined with a need to control. There seems to be a poor self esteem component, and I suspect it is much the same as the mechanism that keeps a woman in an abusive relationship. If he quit drinking, went to AA and tried very hard to get his life in order, she would either sabotage him or walk out on him.

Society accepts the enabler and even heaps sympathy on them, when they really need help to kick their own addiction, their co-dependency. It is a repetitive pattern for both the addict and the enabler, who seems to have no idea why she repeats the pattern again and again.

I wish I had answers for the addict and those addicted to him or her. It truly is very complex, and the surface reasons can vary a great deal, however, I believe the pattern is almost universal. This is based on my own experiences with a number of family members and friends.

Perhaps the enabler can see the beauty hidden deep in the addict and believes they can protect or cure him. That can go on for a long time before the enabler gives up, if they do at all. Sometimes just like the abused, they will walk from one addict to the next, addicted in some way to each. There may also be a component that revolves around feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness that prevents them from choosing a healthy relationship. It may also be that the enabler feels that the addict can not find anyone else and they need to be looked after, an appeal to the maternal instinct. Or fear of living alone may motivate the enabler, feeling that they will have a partner for life. The mechanism at work is truly as complicated as the human condition.

My ex died alone after 3 failed marriages. He always said he could live with anyone rather than die alone, but he ended up exactly where he always feared, and died alone. He was unable to learn not to abuse alcohol, and the wife of the hour, both physically and mentally. After the third wife left him, he was alone. Funnily, I felt pity for him and actually hope he has learned enough that his next life will not be so tragic.

The stress of living with the addicted abuser is terrible, I narrowly escaped my own alcohol addiction, self-medicating in order to live with a big time abuser addicted to alcohol and power. I grew up in a broken home, so far below the poverty line as to not even see it. I grew up without a father, and believed I did not have the right to deprive my children of theirs. I lasted 8 years and it almost destroyed me. I drove myself (type A) in the career arena in order to provide the financial security that I had never had. Fast track to early burn-out.

Once I left the situation, the medication was no longer necessary. I was very lucky and very blessed. What a terrible price we pay for the things we think we need. With luck, wisdom comes.

Living in the moment disconnects one from such patterns, but the ability to do so is a hard won talent that comes with spiritual growth, and not a path chosen by everyone. It was my salvation.

There are other reasons for self-medicating. In order to live with another addiction, it is often necessary to numb the senses. This numbing becomes an addiction in itself and the original reason is lost in a drugged haze.

It has been my experience that the addict is usually an accomplished con man, and the first person they con is themselves. Unless or until he can admit that he is a chameleon, he can not change it. I have noticed that when he has no one to play to, depression drove him.

My brother was a tall, good looking guy who could charm the spots of a leopard, but also did not know who he was if he was not playing a role. He re-invented himself repeatedly, and even convinced himself that he was who he proposed to be. At one time, he decided to write the story of his life. He spent pages and pages detailing his growing up years in such abject poverty that he had to go out with the gun and shoot a rabbit to have food for the family for breakfast. Now this was when he would have been around 10 years old. His whole life was like that. I guess that is why it was so important to me that he was sober and had found someone he cared for more than the bottle when he died. For the first time in his life he knew who he was, and had found happiness.

There is something about such men that really does attract women, and it is too easy to woo them. The pleasure is in the stalking and when the woman is finally conquered, the appeal simply disappears and they are off to find the next conquest. With familiarity, the woman starts to see the flaws in his character and no longer strokes his ego in the same way as at first, and as he seems to need. Sometimes it is that they appeal to the mother instinct, or to the need to nurture or control, or the feeling that they can rehabilitate them. Often the woman does not see the pattern and would be surprised if it were pointed out. Sometimes the woman also feels she does not deserve better and is grateful for the male attention. People are so complex that we will never understand it all.

It does appear that when the addict deals with his or her issues and walks the road to recovery, they are no longer attractive to an enabler. This is also true for the enabler, so there is hope and there is a way off the merry-go-round. I am not sure one must walk the recovery path alone, but it may be necessary to choose support people very carefully. At some point, recovery has become a way of life and a healthy loving relationship becomes not only possible but almost inevitable.

A lot of this is generalizing what I have seen in individuals, and probably not as accurate as I would wish. I really would like to get input and write an article about women who enable and some idea of why, and how to break the pattern ... Like the Ladies of the Club that was written by a number of us sharing our experiences in order to find a pattern for the problem and for the breaking away. These women need help as well, and any little thing we can do to help is worthwhile.

It breaks my heart when someone wasted his life, but I do not have high expectations, only hopes. I see fairly clearly, I do not expect miracles, but still hope and do what I can. I know we can not save them all, but it does not stop us from trying. I write my life in the hope that some of the things I have learned may help someone else to traverse the same treacherous spots.


Thinking Meditations

Thinking is a meditation when used like a sharp blade rather than a blunt baseball bat. One simply keeps bringing the mind GENTLY back to the issue at hand whenever it wanders, which it will constantly. One of the challenges of meditation is training the mind. Walking meditations are also possible.

There are some very excellent thought meditations. If one's mind is occupied with a train of thought, the body and the spirit can both take or give what they need. Three of my favorite thinking meditations are, first: the healing ritual and second, the who am I train of thought, and third, petitioning for assistance.

In the healing meditation, one lies on one's back, feet apart and hands either at one's side or lightly clasped over the abdomen. After taking a few deep steady breaths to relax, start at the toes, mentally massaging the area while picturing the healing energy coming in through the breath and the negative going out with the exhalation. Slowly work your way up the body from the toes on one foot to the leg. My preference is to work up to the knee on one leg then bring the other leg to the same spot. Continue up the body slowly until you reach the shoulders. Go to the fingers on one hand and repeat the process as you did with the feet and legs. Once back to the neck, slowly work up through the head and finish at your crown. Spend a few moments again relaxing before going about your daily business or to sleep for the night.

Each of us develops a pattern that works well for the individual. None are inherently right or wrong, just unique. I recommend performing this meditation lying down rather than sitting as most people who practice it will fall asleep in the beginning. Again, that is neither bad or good, it simply is the body taking what it needs and if it needs sleep, that is what it will take. You will also note that when you reach a part of the body that needs healing, it may well feel quite warm internally as well as to the touch. When that happens, just spend a little more time working on that area, directing the healing energy there.

Some spectacular results have been achieved with this meditation.


Many years ago, I created a special place in my mind to be able to go when I needed to. We all need such a place and we need to go to it when our spirit needs healing and rest, or when we need to commune with the Creator to ask for wisdom.

Some want to create such a space but do not even begin to know how. I pictured a blank canvas in my mind and began adding elements as they arose and demanded to be added. Ultimately, I had created a clearing in an oaken forest with a stream burbling down one side with some very large rocks beside it. There is also a trail leading to a stone cottage with a thatched roof. The clearing is filled with bird songs, butterflies and other wildlife. I sit upon a flat rock and meditate, soaking in the sunlight and the peace that surrounds me there. When I am renewed, I rise and walk out of the clearing into my daily life.

If I simply need to run away for a wee while, I ascend to the attic of my mind, where I have created a dormer window and window seat that looks out over the fields and forests with a bubbling brook. There I curl up on the window seat and write a good book.

It is also possible for people to share their special place with others if they are close. If they build a sanctury together, they can both visit it, either at the same time or one at a time. It may take some time and effort to create your sanctuary, and even longer to create a place to share, but it is well worth the effort.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Body Needs

I have often heard that someone can not meditate because they can not still the mind or they go to sleep. Often this is because the body has needs that have not been met.
If you have tried all of the suggestions and they don't work, I am guessing that you are under a lot of stress and your body is running on empty. Try at bedtime and see if you get into a really good, refreshing sleep. If so, then use the meditation to obtain that good sleep for a few nights and see if you are better rested and can then stay awake while meditating.

The all over exercise is a good one to try to rejuvenate the body. Lie on your back, feet apart, hands across your abdomen and begin by relaxing, then start, with each indrawn breath, to mentally massage your body, beginning at the feet, one then the other. As you breathe in, bring relaxation and healing energy to that part of the body. As the breath goes out, picture illness or fatigue going out of you with it. As you work up your legs and onto the trunk, repeat the directing of relaxation and energy on the in breath, and expel the fatigue or illness on the out breath.
Don't worry if you go to sleep. The sleep will be a healing one. Just repeat the exercise on retiring each night. When you start mentally massaging problem areas, they may begin to feel warm as you direct the relaxation and healing energy to them. You may also find the body's energy centers responding to the meditation. Again, it is normal and will help you balance your body.

Many years ago, I had back surgery to remove the lowest disk in my spine. After the surgery, the area became unstable and I had to wear a back brace, which I put on before I got out of bed, and could not take off until I was in bed again. Morning and night, I would perform this meditation, spending extra time where the spine was damaged. The area often heated up during the meditation and I frequently went to sleep before reaching the top of my head. But even falling asleep, this particular meditation helped my spine to fuse in the damaged area and I was able to get rid of the brace. I still drag one leg a little when I am over tired, but no other problem with the area. I know it fused, as later x-rays showed it fused and the doctor asked me when I had the operation to fuse it. I had to show him there were no scars on my hip, which is where the bone would have been taken to brace the spine.

It is worth the effort to continue a meditation technique for some time before discarding it and taking up another technique. ☺

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Human Touch, Part Two (written in hospital)

After exploring the loss of so much touch with a number of nurses, I realized how important to my personal healing and well being. Since that two AM stroking of my temples, which stopped me from a panic attack, I have received such warm loving touch, hugs and even a shower, my physical and mental healing are now more rapid and I can look forward to going home in another three or four days.

Continuing discussions about the roll of touch, particularly in a hospital situation, has convinced me that it is not gone completely, but much rarer. The risks are such that one needs to exercise caution, but not stop totally.

Because the greatest change is in the roll of the nurses, they are most aware and most disturbed by this loss of so much healing power. Many are looking for other venues in which to exercise healing touch. Some ideas I have heard involve blending eastern and western practices including touch, perhaps a whole new approach to treating the whole patient in a non-invasive way, including vitamins, minerals, wholesome foods, massage, acupuncture and other techniques as they prove to be useful.

With the number of nurses who are aware of and practice therapeutic touch, I believe new answers will be found, but we must be both vigilant and encouraging in order to support these new/old answers.

I would like to thank all those who shared their ideas and feelings with me, making it possible for me to write this article.

The Human Touch (written in hospital)

Two AM in a darkened room, in a quiet and darkened hospital, sitting up in bed with a nurse, trying to breathe, suddenly another figure joins us and strokes my brow and temples, tells me she is glad to see me, but not like this.

That gentle, caring touch was the best medicine at the time, preventing panic, promoting relaxation. So much was conveyed in that touch. But as I think about it and savor the warm glow, I realize such touches, once so common, are now rare. We are losing something so necessary to our health and well being. It is the human condition to share love, caring, strength and healing through touch. Something very important is lost when touch happens only through the barrier of gloves and such. I suspect that touch involves the blending of auras, and perhaps even on some more esoteric level

When it becomes unsafe to touch, we are rapidly severing the connection with our own humanity. Over the past number of years, there have been so many super bugs, resistant to antibiotics, particularly in hospitals. Some have taken precautions to try and control infection by means of isolation units, hand sanitizing, gloves, masks, and control of visitors. Our local hospital did this, but I have watched it go from a small sanitizing station at the front entrance, to being so over run that there are boxes of gloves, hand sanitizers, masks and gowns at every patient room and up and down all the halls. There are so many sick people that isolation might simply involve one’s bed area being off limits to the person in the next bed.

As the traditional western healing centers become less effective, more and more people seek out those who practice t he ancient eastern arts including the human touch. Is there a solution? I don’t know. I do know that our world is changing so fast that none of us can predict the future with any level of accuracy.