Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Changemaker Difference

It’s fairly infrequently that I take the time to recommend a particular website but I’ve come across one recently that I think most of us here would be able to benefit from in one way or another. If you have time, please try to check out Changemaker: Change Your Life. It’s been around since 2004 and has a tremendous amount of links concerning recovery. Primarily it is a site to aid in one’s path of self-discovery and healing. Following is essentially the site’s mission statement. I think that the author of the site can do a much better job explaining and describing her site than I could ever pretend to do. No doubt that I would end up doing a disservice!

The Changemaker Difference

Addiction treatment by the medical model means that an addict is “sick” and that someone else knows how to get that addict “well”. In reality, each person has a part of themselves that is perfect and was given to them at birth.

The basic problem with the medical model of addiction recovery is that the medical field calls someone “well” by sending them to take classes about symptoms and this determines the level of “help” that the “well” person will be able to give.

The reality of any emotional/mental help is that the healer can’t help beyond his/her level of recovery. We are all wounded healers but growth only happens after surrender to the need for recovery.

What other field of medicine focuses mainly or only on the symptoms? I mean, where is the cure? Certainly a label can help by identifying what information is needed to lead to a cure. But how does telling someone that they are in denial help that person to understand that their thinking is faulty?

Denial is not about lying but about someone not knowing the truth. Isn’t it more helpful to say that an addict is someone using a learned pattern of behavior to deal with uncomfortable feelings? If there are problems because of the addiction, then the learned pattern has to be given up and a new pattern of behavior has to be chosen for the energy used to be a positive for the addict.

In other words, some of the main issues in addiction treatment are maturity issues. The age at which a person started drinking, using, eating, buying, being overpowering to others, using sex, etc. is the emotional age he/she still is. If he/she started at age 15, which is pretty normal, then he/she is age 14 emotionally.

So recovery is generally about growing up. Another main issue of why people are addictive is to continue to live life in their head or in their imagination. No one knows reality–we only have a perception of reality.

As the hero in 10 Million Ways to Die says,”I never knew that I lived in a world that I hadn’t created..” That is why the addict experiences such anger at having to give up the addiction. The addict believes that his/her using only affects him/her and is no one else’ business. In reality, the addiction is affecting everyone in the addict’s life.

In the self-discovery model of group healing, everyone in the group is a student. The sharing of power in relationships defines the health of the relationship. No hierarchy is needed when people enter groups to help each other. The leadership of the group can be shared by all on a rotation basis.

The group members in the self-discovery group must agree to follow guidelines that the group chooses. The main goal of the group should be short-term with the idea of splitting up to form new groups. Some people may choose to recycle–repeat the same group–before branching out to their own group. After 2-3 times recycling, the other group members may help with the formation of new group to a group member who needs more support.

The Mental Health Institute claims 20% of the population suffers from mental illness. These people generally can benefit from mental health counseling. In America, with all our wealth, many of these poor souls wander our streets as the homeless. They have no medical insurance so menat health care is a sometime thing. Since most of the population isn’t mentally ill, education groups can be a great source of comfort and growth for those not needing therapy.

Go here to read the original.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One Day At A Time

Well I guess that I should fill you all into what has actually been happening in my life recently. Me and mine have been fairly busy as we attempt to adjust to our new home as well as new jobs, not to mention the simple fact alone that I’ve had to adjust to the fact that I was actually returning to work after such a long period of time off!

With my arm being in the shape that it is now in, coupled with the fact that I had pretty much burned myself out doing tech support just prior to my leaving my job last year, I knew that once the decision had been made for me to return to work that I was going to have to have some form of plan in order for me to be able to try something completely different.

Well, I am pretty confident that I’ve succeeded way beyond my wildest dreams in this particular area.

So please bear with me a little bit. Yes, Jim and I have been doing great with our recovery and MMT, and we certainly are no longer spending the shocking amounts of money that we had been just a year and a half ago. By some sort of miracle we have also managed to dig ourselves out of a pretty deep hole and are no longer in debt. Period. Full stop. Yet, at the same time, we also found ourselves struggling to make any significant financial headway. I know that a combination of events somewhat sabotaged us - my arm breaking didn’t help but it did pretty much result in us having only one provider which just happened to occur at the same time that we experienced another adult sized person joining our family. Yikes. At least we managed to stay afloat.

This situation certainly was fine for the short term but I was beginning to find the whole thing somewhat untenable. Each time I came back from looking at the size of apartment that ideally I wanted in a luxury high rise, the more frustrated everything became. Realistically we were going to have to pay approx $1500 plus on average each month for what I wanted. That amount seemed pretty far out of my reach for the immediate future. Or was it? One day I had a magical and utterly brilliant idea.

Jim and I own a 23 unit, three story walk up apartment building about a half an hour out of town and have owned it since December 2000. This is to be our Freedom 55 as the mortgage will more or less be paid of by then so that when we “retire” we’ll have 23 units multiplied by whatever the rent will be then all to ourselves - less any monthly operating costs, etc. Currently Jim also draws a monthly salary from this business and does the lion’s share of any work required which ends up averaging approx 15 days per month give or take. We also pay one of our tenants a small monthly stipend to keep an eye on everything as we don’t actually reside at the property.

From here, I more or less expanded my idea in the hopes that we could apply - and hopefully get hired - to some of the more desirable high rise apartment buildings in London for the position of Building Manager. I ended up spending a good six plus months researching the various property management companies as well as the types of properties that each company owned. I finally narrowed our choices down to three although I was a little bit unsure of my third choice. As it so happened, we actually got hired by my number one choice so you can well imagine how utterly excited and happy I was. Jim and I are now Building Managers of the property in the photo above this entry.

We started our jobs exactly 12 days ago so we are very much newbies to this particular experience. When I was doing my research, I based my choices on said company’s properties with no actual knowledge of what kind of renumeration that would be offered. As it turns out, this company not only has spectacular buildings, they also have a renumeration package beyond compare.

As well as receiving a three bedroom, two full bathroom 1425 square foot apartment valued at $1500 per month, the company also pays for all of our utilities, telephone, cable, internet and newspaper delivery daily at our doorstep. In three months, we will also have a full benefit package. Our starting salary is $36 000 with a raise also in three months and from then on, a raise on an annual basis. On our third day of employment, I received a call from their main office advising me that our computer was ready for pickup!

I sure am hard pressed to find too many more companies like this one! Of course, I’m sure that you are all thinking that there has to be a catch somewhere and I don’t blame anyone for thinking that either. I sure as heck was waiting nervously for the other shoe to drop so to speak and as of today, I’m still waiting. All of their employees are long term ones with the average length of time with them approx ten years. The only reason that they even had an opening was that they had just completed building a brand new sixteen story building.

Wow, eh? What absolutely blows my mind right now is that we no longer have any bills at all to pay. I asked Jim what I was going to do with my daytimer from now on…That’s not an absolute truth as we still have to pay $300 total each month for our methadone but this too shall disappear in less than three month’s time now. Cool n’est pas?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Moving On Up

Once again it seems as if its been an eternity since I bothered to do any updates which is my bad but this time I have some really valid excuses. Just this past month alone we have moved house at the exact time that I finally returned to work after almost a year off. Wow, my head is still kind of spinning!!!

First let me tell you all about our move cause this in itself is a huge reflection of how far Jim and I have managed to come this past sixteen months. We had been living in a decent enough spot but it certainly wasn’t near as nice of a place that I had been accustomed to, so for me, it very much felt like a step backwards and the entire time that we were there, it was a constant struggle for me to remain positive. I literally loathed eveything about this place and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

More than anything else though, it was a constant reminder of what we had been forced to settle for due to our addictions taking precedent over most everything else.  Each morning that I woke up still living under that same roof was another day where I felt like a massive failure regardless of what other successes we were experiencing. I literally could not escape these feelings although the flipside was that this environment became a huge motivator for change and if change meant putting every spare penny away so that we could afford to put a deposit down on my dream home then so be it.

And it worked fabulously as I am now sitting in my massive new bedroom of our three bedroom, two full bathroom 1425 square foot apartment condo. This is a huge step up for us as previously the four of us - plus we now have six cats cause of the newborn kittens - were crammed into a rather small two bedroom where our bathroom only had room for a shower and no bathtub. The two girls were forced to share a bedroom that barely measured 10′ by 10′. Truly depressing. Now the girls have one bedroom that measures 16′ by 13′ and another that measures 12′ by 19′.

They’ve actually decided to continue to share a bedroom and turn the extra room into a tv/lounge room so that when they have friends over, they won’t have to invade our space. Personally, I think that this is a brilliant idea although right now we don’t have any furniture for it but this situation shouldn’t last too long.

One of the other things that had been bothering me at our old place was the state of our furniture so I decided that when we did finally move, I was going to leave most of it behind and start anew. The girls had been sharing Sara’s double bed but Jim and I decided to get them their own beds once we moved. They picked out these matching solid pine single bed frames with a rail round three of the edges. We also bought them new mattresses for each of their bed frames as well as matching three drawer bedside tables. Sara picked out a really funky brushed silver floor lamp that fans out to approx six separate lights - hard to describe but its really cool!

We got a complete bedroom suite for ourselves - head and foot board, two side tables, a short, long nine drawer dresser with mirror and a tall, narrow five drawer dresser in the darkest brown wood - almost black - that we could find. The handles of our suite are very plain but are done in a brushed silver that looks fabulous. We also bought a new dinette set - a 3′ by 3′ bar table -  means that it is taller than normal or 36″ tall - with four matching wooden chairs with their seat cushions covered in a taupe microsuede. This set is also the darkest brown that we could find.

That’s all that we could afford for the moment but we’re off to a good start. I’m so excited and can’t wait to get our new furniture - it doesn’t arrive until this Wednesday which is now only two days away!

Must dash as I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Junk Songs

01. Perfect Day · Lou Reed
02. Jesus Shootin’ Heroin · The Flaming Lips
03. Dead Flowers · The Rolling Stones
04. Comfortably Numb · Pink Floyd
05. Under The Bridge · Red Hot Chilli Peppers
06. Heroin · The Velvet Underground
07. Golden Brown · The Stranglers
08. Mr. Brownstone · Guns N’ Roses
09. She’s Like Heroin · System Of A Down
10. Cold Turkey · The Plastic Ono Band
11. Black Gold · Soul Asylum
12. Waiting For The Man · The Velvet Underground
13. Just One Fix · Ministry
14. Beetlebum · Blur
15. Jane Says · Jane’s Addiction
16. Heroin Girl · Everclear
17. Junkie’s Promise · Sonic Youth
18. Chinese Rocks · Johnny Thunders
19. Heroin · Alice In Chains