Posted in addictions, Authentic Freedom

New Year’s Resolutions – from addiction to recovery

Dear Readers,

Today, as an example of resolutions gone RIGHT, I am sharing with you a blog posted today by one of my clients, Brian Hayford.  It is with Brian’s permission that I share this blog here today and I do so with great pride and admiration of the VERY HARD WORK Brian has accomplished in the past year and with great humility for having been a part of Brian’s amazing journey from opiate addiction to recovery.  Congratulations Brian and KEEP UP the hard work!  Since completing an in-patient stint at Hazelden, Brian continues to work the 12-Steps, has worked through and continues to work the Authentic Freedom process, rediscovered Martial Arts as a vehicle for building strength and self-empowerment, and is in the process of rediscovering the person he lost through addiction.

Brian is a talented writer (as you will see) and artist.  He has a keen sense of justice and has an innate sensitivity to the struggles of the human condition through which he is called to help facilitate the birth of a new and better world.  I for one am grateful for Brian’s passion and vision and trust that as he stays on the recovery path, his unique participation in this vision will be revealed.

You can read Brian’s story here:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/1941482-what-a-ride-looking-back-on-my-2013-lots-of-lesson-learned-finally

Posted in addictions, codependency, guilt, shame, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Partners of Sex Addicts Part II

Today’s blog is the final of a four-part series on sex addiction.  Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s blog focused on identifying sex addiction and understanding some of its possible causes.  Thursday’s began the discussion on how partners of sex addicts are effected by the addiction and today’s blog continues that discussion, exploring possible resources for assisting partners of sex addicts in their own journey of healing. 

Co-Addiction?

Many experts in the field of sex addiction refer to the relationship between a sex addict and their partner as co-addiction.  Drawing from 12-step recovery programs, the partner of a sex addict is held accountable for their role in enabling the addiction through denial, preoccupation, enabling or rescuing, taking excessive responsibility, and trying to (or wishing they could) control the addict’s behaviors.  In order for one to identify sexual addiction in their partner, they also have to acknowledge their own role in the cycle of addiction.  Denial is perhaps the greatest obstacle to the addict and their partner in stopping the cycle of addiction.  For the partner of the addict, excessive responsibility is perhaps the second obstacle.  Partners of addicts come to believe that the dissatisfaction, restlessness and irritability of the addict is somehow their fault and often work to try to “make the addict happy” by engaging in sexual activities that make them uncomfortable or looking the other way when the addict seeks to satisfy their need through pornography, excessive masturbation, sex-sites, other partners, etc.  For those who choose to remain in a relationship with a sex addict (who is still engaging in addictive behaviors), unraveling themselves from their role as enabler is critical.  In order to keep one’s self safe, the partner of a sex addict must stop taking responsibility, feeling guilty for the addict’s unhappiness and for excusing their sexual acting out.  If the addict remains in denial and refuses treatment for their addiction, the partner may eventually determine that the relationship is no longer viable and may decide to leave.  (For more on working together to recover from sex addiction, please read, Mending a Shattered Heart, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

codependencytriangle

For those who leave

For those who choose to leave a relationship with a sex addict, acknowledging their co-addictive behavior will be an important step in healing from the co-addictive relationship and for establishing a ground upon which healthy intimacy may one day be possible.  In the beginning stages of having left a sex addict, however, I believe that attention first needs to be given to grief * and shame**. First, the partner needs strategies, room and time to grieve the loss of the relationship they at one time hoped to have with the addict (before they knew of the addiction).  What also needs to be addressed is the deep well of shame experienced by a partner of a sex addict.  Shame from having been in the relationship in the first place.  Shame over their co-addictive behaviors (denial, bargaining, over responsibility, etc.).  Shame from all the ways in which they were told they failed the addict.  Then somewhere along the line, the partner of a sex addict needs to pick up all the shreds of their own desire and sexual self-confidence which were destroyed in the course of the relationship and put those back together.  In grieving the loss of the hoped-for relationship, healing the deep well of shame, reassembling one’s self-confidence and desire, and addressing any co-addictive behaviors provides the foundation upon which the former partner of a sex addict may enter into a meaningful, healthy and intimate love relationship – the kind that was, sadly, not possible with the addict.

* To learn more about the grieving process, click HERE. 

** To learn more about releasing shame, click HERE.

If you are a partner of a sex addict, please seek out help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or a local 12-Step group well versed in the subtleties of sex addiction. For additional support, check out Mending a Shattered Heart – a Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, edited by Stefanie Carnes, PhD.

 

Posted in Being Human, Healing, Inspiration

Replacing the Inner Critic with Love

Hi.  My name is Lauri.  I am a perfectionist, driven by my addiction to my inner critic.  I admit that I am powerless over my addiction to rejection and that because of this addiction, my life has become unmanageable.  I believe in a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity.  I turn this addiction over to the God of my understanding.   And this is when true miracles happen!

The Demons of Self-Rejection and Self-Loathing

All of my life, I have been plagued by a voice that seems to come at me from both directions – both from inside of me and from outside of me.  This is the voice of the Inner Critic – that big, mean, Lauri that stands outside of me wagging the finger of blame and speaking within me eating away at my self worth.  “It is all your fault.  There is something wrong with you.  If you aren’t perfect, people won’t love you.  If you work really hard, you might be loved.  If you aren’t loved, it means you aren’t enough or your efforts weren’t good enough.”  This is the inner critic that for my whole life has told me that there is something wrong with me, that I am not enough and that I am not good enough.  This is the voice that compelled me as a child to embrace the compulsion of perfectionism – I had to be the straight A student, the top achiever, the teacher’s pet, the star, the best…at everything.  This voice served me well in academics where I naturally thrived, but beyond that, that voice was a B.I.T.C.H.  When I couldn’t throw or catch a ball, she said, “I told you there was something wrong with you.”  When I couldn’t draw, “I told you you had no talent.”  When I forgot the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata at my senior recital, “Who told you you could play piano?”  When no one asked me out for prom, “I told you you were ugly.”  When the people around me were hurt, angry, depressed, scared, the voice told me, “It must be your fault….something you’ve done.”  ARGH!  I hate that voice and all the ways she has made me feel like C.R.A.P.

Origin of the Voice?

Psychologists would tell me that this voice of the Inner Critic came about through my childhood – an overly critical or overbearing parent or something like that.  The Enneagram, however, offers a softer and kinder possibility.  The voice of the Inner Critic was something that I was born with.  While the development of its shadow side may have been supported by certain family of origin dynamics, the Inner Critic’s source of origin (according to the Enneagram) is the unique lens I was born with and through which I perceive my world and my life experiences.  Hidden within the voice of the critic is the gift that I was born to share with the world.  The trick is to find healing for the spiritual wound of separation (for more on that, see my book Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy), so that the shadow side of the gift may soften and relax and the gift may emerge.

Elusive Healing

I have worked for YEARS on trying to heal that wound of separation and quiet the voice of the Inner Critic.  While my perfectionist has relaxed and I am WAY better than I used to be, I have still found myself plagued by that darn Inner voice wagging the finger of blame at me.  With the recent end of a love relationship, that darn Inner Critic has gotten especially loud and annoying.  As I have been moving through the expected faces of grief, the Inner Critic has been beating the crap out of me and on Monday, I finally realized how mean she really is and how much I no longer want her to be a part of  my life.  For the first time, I PRAYED for healing and asked God to take this burden away from me.

Ask and it Shall Be Given

As I finally collapsed into a helpless heap of frustration and admitted I was powerless over this darn Inner Critic and finally asked for God’s help, miracles began to happen.  Through a series of experiences, I found the Inner Critic began to become quieter.  I re-discovered some meditation tools that helped me to further calm that inner voice and allow myself to remember a deeper state of peace and love.  Then something AMAZING happened – three separate individuals (spiritual teachers) in three separate conversations offered similar advice, “Give love to yourself.  Shower yourself in love.  Tend to your own need for love.”  It wasn’t until the third offering on the third day that I GOT IT.  And this is what I saw:

Standing outside of me was me.  At first the outside me was the Inner Critic, wagging her finger of self-hatred at me.  Then, she suddenly changed.  She lowered her arm, turned to face me, looked into my eyes, embraced me, and loved me.

The Inner Critic was now the Inner Lover.  Holding me.  Loving me.  Supporting me.  Adoring me.  For the first time in my life, I received the love that I so generously and freely give to others.  And that was an amazing thing.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Healing, Uncategorized

Shortcuts to Contentment and Joy

Today’s blog explores the seven core spiritual fears that prevent us from living a life of contentment and joy and the tools that help us to find healing and release of those fears.

 

Identifying Fears

In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I identify the seven core spiritual fears that prevent us from living in the peace, joy and love that are our original nature.  The seven core fears are:

  • There is not enough (time, money, material possessions, power, fame, status, etc.0
  • I will be unable to bring forth life that will persist (physical and/or creative life)
  • I can’t (be and live as my most authentic self) 
  • I am not loved
  • I am not free to express my truth
  • I do not know
  • I am alone/I have to do it alone

In Authentic Freedom, the reader is introduced to the ways in which they can identify these fears as being active in their lives through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual signs and symptoms.  As anyone in the recovery world knows, the first step in healing our addictions, our fears, etc. is to identify these fears.  After identifying these fears, we then need a comprehensive process through which we can move through these fears and release them for healing.  Authentic Freedom provides that process.  Through the help of scripture, along with effective tools of meditation, contemplation and personal reflection, you are empowered to give over for healing and release, the fears that prevent you from being the person God made you to be – compassionate, joyful, contented and fulfilled.

Who is really doing the healing here?

So while Authentic Freedom provides a kind of self-help program for healing our deepest spiritual wounds, at the end of the day, every exercise revealed in this work, leads us to a common destination – turning our fears over to God for healing and release.  While working through the Authentic Freedom process, we discover that we are really taking the first three steps as illuminated in all recovery programs, We admit that we are powerless over these fears and we turn them over to the God of our understanding.  While we need to come forward and show up for the work, it is ultimately God who is doing the healing and it is especially helpful to realize this when we come face to face with the big fears that most often feel insurmountable.

Offering a Shortcut

So, while I want you to buy my book, I will offer you this short cut to claiming a life of contentment and joy….and that shortcut is God.  Name your fear.  Give it to God for healing and release.  Name your fear.  Give it to God for healing and release.  Name your fear.  Give it to God for healing and release.  And one final and critical step…..BELIEVE that God is doing it.  And if all else fails…..ASK GOD FOR HELP!

What is your relationship to the fears listed above?

How are you being invited to admit your powerlessness over these fears?

How can you turn these fears over to God for healing and release?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in codependency, Surrender

Midnight Confessions of Co-Dependency

Healthy, intimate relationships are one of the fringe benefits of the journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment.  How do we negotiate the muddy waters of co-dependency as we move toward accepting mutually supportive, loving and nurturing relationships?  I don’t know….DO YOU?????

Midnight confessions

Ok, it is not really midnight, but doesn’t that sound poetic?  I have a confession to make.  I suffer from co-dependency and I don’t like it.  It is beyond humbling to even admit this…but there it is.  Yep, I learned co-dependency and this seems to be one of the final frontiers in my own road to spiritual healing and growth.  ARGH! 

What is Co-dependency?

According to Mental Health American: Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.  http://www.nmha.org/go/codependency

Their site goes on to describe the typical characteristics of people who have learned co-dependent behaviors:

Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions

Of course, these characteristics are general, and those who experience co-dependency may possess some of all of these traits and in varying degrees. 

Me and Co-dependency

As I read through the list, I am actually amazed at how far I have come in healing from many of these behaviors….of course, there is always room for improvement.  For me, the primary struggle is around the fear of rejection and wanting other people to like me…out of which often comes people-pleasing behaviors.  Then there is the just plain obsessing about individuals their thoughts and opinions of me.  BLECH!!!!!   (Ha…now I’m being humbled…here I am rejecting my co-dependency when just yesterday I wrote about saying yes.  Yep, still human!)

Easy is Bad

Recently, I have been given a tool that has served as a kind of protection against my tendency to enter into co-dependent behavior.  And the funny thing is that this very tool showed up in our Monday meditation group.  As the participants are sharing the thoughts and reflections that came out of their meditation time, one of the participants shares with the group, “Easy is Bad.”  Those words hit me between the eyeballs because these are the very words I have been applying to those moments when I am tempted to enter into co-dependent behavior.  Here’s how it works:

  • Co-dependency is a learned, habitual behavior – an addiction of sorts.
  • “Easy” is to indulge in the habitual behavior.
  • When something is easy (like pursuing a relationship you KNOW would be unhealthy for you, or crawling back seeking someone’s approval after they have hurt or rejected you) recognize the easy and make a different choice. 
  • “Easy” becomes the litmus test for future behaviors and decisions.
  • “Hard” (like taking time to get to know someone before jumping into “love” or staying away from the person who hurt or rejected you) becomes the indicator of healthier choices. 

Easy is Bad.  Hard is Good. 

Accepting the possibility that I don’t know squat!

And then again, I might have no idea what I am talking about.  This whole co-dependency thing is a tough one for me, so as any good student of recovery would do, I turn to the 12 Steps…..perhaps they can shed some light:

The 12 Steps

  • Step 1We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  • Step 3Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
  • Step 4Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  • Step 5Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
  • Step 11Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

 

Yep, I turn this one over to God. 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com