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Twenty-Four Hours a Day Book

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 6:38 PM Comments comments (1)
Thought for the Day:
 
An alcoholic carries an awful load around with him. What a load lying puts on your shoulders! Drinking makes liars out of all us alcoholics. In order to get the liquor we want, we have to lie all the time. We have to lie about where we've been and what we've been doing. A man who's lying is only half alive, because of the constant fear of being found out. When you come into A.A., and get honest with yourself and with other people, that terrible load of lying falls off your shoulders. Have I got rid of that load of lying?
 
Meditation for the Day:
 
I believe that in the spiritual world, as in the material world, there is no empty space. As fears and worries and resentments depart out of my life, the things of the spirit come in to take their places. Calm comes after a storm. As soon as I am rid of fears and hate and selfishness, God's love and calm and peace can come in.
 
Prayer for the Day:
 
I pray that I may rid myself of all fears and resentments, so that peace and serenity may take their place. I pray that I may sweep my life clean of evil, so that good may come in.
 

Pulling Ourselves Out Of Issolation and Loneliness

Posted on November 18, 2018 at 7:02 PM Comments comments (0)
Alone no more.
"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."
Basic Text, p. 37
Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people-especially people who were not using-at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.
In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said-the program works, if we let it.
Just for Today: The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.
Corresponding page Sixth Edition
Basic Text, p., 37
This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day. We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life. This growth is not the result of wishing, but of action and prayer. The main objective of Step Seven is to get out of ourselves and strive to achieve the will of our Higher Power.
If we are careless and fail to grasp the spiritual meaning of this step, we may have difficulties and stir up old troubles. One danger is in being too hard on ourselves.

A Positive Attitude

Posted on October 7, 2018 at 10:33 PM Comments comments (0)
"That old nest of negativism followed me everywhere I went."
          - Basic Text, p.137
A negative attitude is the trademark of active addiction. Everything that occurred in our lives was someone or something else's fault. We had blaming others for our shortcomings down to a fine science. In recovery, one of the first things we strive to develop is a new attitude. We find that life goes a lot easier when we replace our negative thinking with positive principles.
While a negative attitude dogged us in our active addiction, all too often it can follow us into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. How can we begin to adjust  our attitudes? By altering our actions. It isn't easy, but it can be done.
We can start by listening to the way we talk. Before we open our mouths, we ask ourselves some simple questions: Does what I'm going to say speak to the problem, or the solution? Is what I'm going to say framed in a kind manner? Is what I have to say important, or would everyone be just as well off if I kept my mouth shut? Am I talking just to hear myself talk, or is there some purpose to my "words of wisdom"?
Our attitudes are expressed in our actions. Often, it's not what we say, but the way we say it that really matters. As we learn to speak in a more positive manner' we will notice our attitudes improving as well.
 
Just for today: I want to be free of negativity. Today, I will speak and act positively.

Shame

Posted on August 12, 2018 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (1)
I'm really enjoying this IOP class I'm in. (That's a miracle) It's proving to be profoundly informative. We talked about shame tonight. I didn't realize how much shame I had, in believing that I wasn't worth the love and acceptance I've been searching for my whole life due to my abandonment issues. But talking about it and putting it in the air like this ensures that my feelings of shame won't survive. If u can name it and talk about it, shame can't survive.
 
An addict needs shame like a man dying of thirst needs salt water. -
    Terrence Real 

The Gift of Desperation

Posted on July 18, 2018 at 12:37 PM Comments comments (1)
"Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until, in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics... Anonymous."
  - Basic Text, p. 13
When we think of being desperate, we envision an undesirable state: a poor, bedraggled soul frantically clawing at something sorely needed, a desperate look in the eyes. We think of hunted animals, hungry children, and of ourselves before we found NA.
Yet it was the desperation we felt before coming to NA that compelled us to accept the First Step. We were fresh out of ideas, and so became open to new ones. Our insanity had finally risen higher than our wall of denial, forcing us to get honest about our disease. Our best efforts at control had only worn us out; hence, we became willing to surrender. We had received the gift of desperation and, as a result, were able to accept the spiritual principles that make it possible for us to recover.
Desperation is what finally drives many of us to ask for help. Once we've reached this state, we can turn around and start anew. Just as the desperate, hunted animal seeks a safe haven, so do we: in Narcotics Anonymous.
Just for Today: The gift of desperation has helped me become honest, open-minded, and willing. I am grateful for this gift because it has made my recovery possible.
  - Corresponding page Sixth Edition
  - Basic Text, p., 13
Most of us realized that in our addiction we were slowly committing suicide, but addiction is such a cunning enemy of life that we had lost the power to do anything about it. Many of us ended up in jail, or sought help through medicine, religion and psychiatry. None of these methods was sufficient for us. Our disease always resurfaced or continued to progress until in desperation, we sought help from each other in Narcotics Anonymous.
After coming to NA we realized we were sick people. We suffered from a disease from which there is no known cure. It can, however, be arrested at some point, and recovery is then possible.
 

Accepting Life

Posted on June 16, 2018 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (6)
“Some things we must accept, others we can change. The wisdom to know the difference comes with growth in our spiritual program.”
Basic Text, p. 95
 
It’s relatively easy to accept the things we like—it’s the things we don’t like that are hard to accept. But remaking the world and everyone in it to suit our tastes would solve nothing. After all, the idea that the world was to blame for all our problems was the attitude that kept us using—and that attitude nearly killed us.
In the course of working the steps, we begin to ask ourselves hard questions about the roles we ourselves have played in creating the unacceptable lives we’ve lived. In most cases, we’ve found that what needed changing was our own attitude and our own actions, not the people, places, and things around us.
In recovery, we pray for wisdom to know the difference between what can and can’t be changed. Then, once we see the truth of our situation, we pray for the willingness to change ourselves.
 
Just for today: Higher Power, grant me the wisdom to know the difference between what can be changed and what I must accept. Please help me gratefully accept the life I’ve been given.

Alcohol and Sleep

Posted on May 24, 2018 at 5:36 PM Comments comments (0)
Alcohol causes drowsiness. This has led to the popular misconception that it can aid sleep. Up to 20 percent of Americans report using alcohol as a sleep aid. However, alcohol negatively impacts the quality of your sleep, as well as how long you can expect to sleep. Alcohol consumption before bed causes interrupted sleep, due to side effects such as night sweats and disturbed REM sleep.
Alcohol dependence and sleep disorders are often co-morbid – people suffer both at the same time. Alcohol-related sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, and daytime fatigue.
 
The problem with using alcohol as a sleep aid
 
Alcohol does reduce the initial amount of time required for you to fall asleep. However, it result in disrupted sleep.
The problem with using one drink as a sleep aid, is that while it may work initially, eventually your body develops a tolerance for it. As a result, you may find yourself needing more and more levels of alcohol in order to fall asleep, which can lead to alcoholism. Using alcohol as a sleep aid is dangerous as it can lead to dependence and even alcoholism.
One drink before bed may not impact sleep quality or length. However, the effects of alcohol on sleep are directly correlated – the more alcohol that is consumed, the worse the effects on sleep.
 
How does alcohol interrupt sleep?
 
After a few drinks, especially in people who don’t drink much, individuals often report subjectively shallow sleep and frequent mid-night awakenings, according to a joint study by Wayne State University and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Interrupted sleep may be caused by a variety of factors, all attributed to alcohol consumption:
  • Alcohol causes more abrupt transitions between sleep stages, causing more vivid dreams
  • Alcohol is a diuretic – which means that it can cause you to need to use the restroom during the night
  • Alcohol causes snoring and sleep apnea
  • Alcoholism can induce or worsen the effects of insomnia
  • Alcohol brings on night sweats, which can be especially problematic for people who already tend to sleep hot
  •  
    Why does alcohol cause night sweats?
     
    Drinking lowers the body’s core temperature slightly, followed by a rise.
    Thermoregulation during sleep is key to maintaining sleep homeostasis (keeping the body asleep). During stage 2 of light sleep, the body’s core temperature drops. Cooler body temperature aids the body’s ability to sleep. This is why exercise late at night can interfere with your ability to fall asleep – it energizes you and increases your body temperature.
    By allowing the body’s temperature to drop, alcohol initially helps you fall asleep. However, once the effects wear off, your body counteracts it with a corresponding premature rise in body temperature. As a result, people who drink heavily before bed wake up earlier than expected.
     
    Can drinking alcohol cause sleep apnea?
     
    Sleep-disordered breathing, a dyssomnia affecting millions of people, is made worse by alcohol.
    There’s a connection between obstructive sleep apnea and alcohol consumption. Drinkers can experience apnea if only for a night. Alcohol impairs breathing in sleep by relaxing the throat muscles. As the throat muscles relax, they narrow and obstruct the airway, resulting in snoring. Even people who normally don’t snore do so if they have been drinking the night before. Snorers without apnea can exhibit apnea symptoms if they have been drinking.
    Alcohol consumption also affects the brain’s breathing center by masking the effect of low oxygen levels in the bloodstream, possibly damaging tissue. Hangover symptoms – attributed to the efforts of the body to metabolize alcohol – are frequently partially due to breathing-disordered sleep.
     
    The link between alcoholism and insomnia
     
    Insomniacs are more likely to drink before bedtime than good sleepers. Knowing alcohol’s ability to cut sleep latency times, insomniacs could be more likely to take a drink before bed – self medicating with whatever is in the liquor cabinet.  Maybe this works as a short-term fix, but for most people it is not a long-term solution.  Frequent alcohol use can lead to a dependency and over sustained use, as alcohol changes the sleep cycle.
    Insomnia and alcoholism can both be chronic conditions and are often co-morbid (exist together).
    Sleep fragmentation and difficulty in maintaining sleep are common in alcoholics – both those who drink and those who are trying to quit.  Sleep problems are often experienced by people who cut back on their alcohol consumption. Alcoholics in recovery programs have to remember this. Insomnia is both a symptom of withdrawal, as well as alcohol dependence,  so alcoholics are likely to face sleep problems no matter what.
    Not only is insomnia more prevalent in alcoholics who are not trying to quit (estimated as high as 45%), but the detoxification process during quitting increase the likelihood of insomnia even more. Studies of alcoholics who quit drinking have found it takes a while for sleep to return to a normal pattern. Addicts have fragmented sleep, and sleep fragmentation persists in abstainers for over a year. Sleep latency returns to normal a few months after quitting.
    In fact, poor sleep and the discomfort it brings is thought to be a major reason for relapse among alcoholics trying to quit. There is also the causal arrow running in the opposite direction. People who don’t get a good night’s sleep and are tired during the day may be more apt to drink in the evening.
    If you think you may be at risk for alcoholism, you can find help through Alcoholics Anonymous or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
     
    The impact of alcohol on brain wave activity during sleep
     
    Chronic alcohol consumption disturbs the function of calcium channels in the thalamus, which is part of the brain involved in sleep regulation.  Even for non-alcoholics, drinking alcohol alters the brain wave activity experienced during sleep.
    It is normal for your brainwave activity to change during the night according to the different stages of sleep. When you’re awake, you experience alpha brain waves. During the stages of non-REM sleep, you transition from theta waves to spindle waves to slow waves, and finally delta waves. Once you enter REM sleep, your brain exhibits alpha waves similar to those experienced while awake. People who drink alcohol before bed tend to exhibit higher amounts of alpha brain waves and delta waves than those who don’t. The combination of these two types of brainwave activity interferes with your sleep cycle and ability to get truly restorative sleep.
     
    Does alcohol affect REM sleep?
     
    Your body requires the entire sleep cycle in order to receive the benefits of a good night’s sleep. REM sleep in particular accounts for about 25 percent of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is when dreams occur and you experience muscle paralysis. During this critical stage of sleep, your mind and body are renewed. During REM sleep, the brain restores neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are directly associated with your mood, which is why a lack of REM sleep often results in crankiness, irritability, and overall poorer mood. Lack of REM sleep is also associated with reduced concentration, impaired memory and motor skills.
    Many insomniacs take a drink of whiskey or wine before bedtime in order to reduce sleep latency. While alcohol does help people get to sleep faster, drinking has been shown to result in low quality of sleep as measured by nighttime awakenings (fragmented sleep) and decreased time spent in REM sleep.
    In controlled studies with EEG monitoring, researchers have found that REM is suppressed early in the nighttime, but that the REM rebound effect can occur in the second half of the night.
     
    What is the REM rebound effect?
     
    The “rebound effect” refers to the effect alcoholism takes during the second half of your sleep cycle. Imbibing enough alcohol to reach a blood alcohol level of .06 to 0.8 within one hour of falling asleep helps induce sleep. However, once your body processes the alcohol, your body will wake you up four to five hours later and interrupt the later part of the night, when you spend more time in REM sleep. Once your body processes the alcohol, your body is easily stimulated by your environment. As a result, people who drink alcohol often wake up during the night or find themselves disturbed more easily.
    Alcohol tends to be metabolized rapidly, so halfway through the night the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream is down to approximately zero.  The metabolites are still around and the effects of the alcohol persist (that’s where hangovers come from). Over time, the early waking from REM sleep can lead to insomnia. Alcoholics are also more prone to insomnia, especially during periods of withdrawal.
     
    Does alcohol impact sleep differently for men or women?
     
    There is some evidence that in general men and women react to alcohol differently.  A study on young adult women showed alcohol increased their time in deep sleep, while cutting REM sleep.  Men, on the other hand, experience a decreased in both deep and REM sleep after drinking.  These are very general trends, and individuals differ widely in their reactions.
    A more recent study found women’s sleep is MORE affected by alcohol than men’s, perhaps due to the fact that women metabolize alcohol at a faster rate than men. Women are also more prone to insomnia, which often coexists with alcoholism.

    What Is Dry Drunk Syndrome?

    Posted on April 22, 2018 at 11:56 AM Comments comments (5)
    Many know the answer to the question “what is dry drunk syndrome?”, but sometimes the family members or close loved ones do not.
    So what is dry drunk syndrome? It is when an alcoholic is not drinking, yet they are still exhibiting the same behaviors they did while drinking. For example, a dry drunk can be someone who is a violent person while drinking, but remains violent even after the drink has been removed. Though the alcohol has been removed, the family is still experiencing chaos, if not even more so than before.
    There tends to be more arguing and turmoil, much to the dismay of the family. How can this be when the drinking has stopped? This occurs when the alcoholic is not working a program of recovery. Many times the family is perplexed because they think that the drink problem has been removed, so all of the following negative characteristics should be gone, too. Why does dry drunk syndrome happen?
    The disease of alcoholism centers in the mind of the alcoholic and is followed by a physical allergy.
    This means that in no way are we ever able to safely consume alcohol. When the mental craving is followed by the actual taking of a drink, the allergy kicks in. This makes it virtually impossible for us to stop unless we either run out or pass out. Because the disease centers in our mind, the simple removal of the substance is not enough to create a balanced mind. We must commence on a path of vigorous action in the form of a spiritual program.
    When someone is in the midst of dry drunk syndrome, it is because they are not working a program that removes their defects of character. Our defects, along with an array of other attributes, are what tend to propel us into alcoholic drinking in the first place. Sure it is great to remove the drink, but working a spiritual program of recovery is actually so much more than just not drinking.
    It teaches us how to live and behave with others in mind.
    Our selfish and self-centered way of thinking is replaced with a need to be of maximum service to others. These things are not achieved by merely putting the drink down. They are achieved by proper treatment, a program of recovery such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and staying plugged into the recovery community.
     

    Dennis Rodman Hits Rehab Milestone, Sober for 30 Days

    Posted on February 17, 2018 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (3)
    Dennis Rodman's reached a new milestone -- 30 days of sobriety -- but he knows it's a journey ... and he still has a long way to go.
    The Worm posted a message for his fans Saturday ... thanking them for the support during his recovery and acknowledging that a lot of people doubted him.
    One guy who didn't, though, is his rep Darren Prince ... who says Dennis is "doing what he has to do to take care of himself and become a better healthier person and that’s just so bad ass for this bad boy with a great big heart!"
    As we reported ... Rodman entered rehab January 17 -- which he points out was Muhammad Ali's bday -- after getting busted for a DUI in Newport Beach. He checked out a week later, but only to get long-term treatment at the Turning Point center outside L.A.
    Interesting note -- Rodman's 30-day mark falls on another legend's bday -- his former teammate, Michael Jordan's!

    Sanskrit proverb

    Posted on February 11, 2018 at 4:21 PM Comments comments (1)
    Look to this day,
    For it is life,
    The very life of life.
    In its brief course lies
    All the realities and verities of existence,
    The bliss of growth,
    The splendor of action,
    The glory of power -
     
    For yesterday is but a dream,
    And tomorrow is only a vision,
    But today, well lived,
    Makes yesterday a dream of happiness,
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
     
    Look well, therefore, to this day.
     
    -- taken from the 24 Hours a Day book

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