Spirituality

Self-Care in Battling PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

My favorite group to do with our patients is on Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). If you are new to this acronym, PAWS refers to the random cravings, dreams, mood swings, body aches, sweats, and other symptoms that come a few weeks after the initial withdrawal and detox – and they can keep coming up to …

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Is There A Difference Between “Clean” and “Sober”

Clean is when the drugs have left our system. There are three aspects to sobriety: Physical sobriety, where we are abstinent for a long enough time for our brains to begin to recover so that we can think more clearly and make decisions based on reality instead of confusion and fear; Emotional and spiritual sobriety, …

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Religion or Spirituality? A Checklist

Religion may involve spirituality, but spirituality does not necessarily involve religion. Here’s how I differentiate (your mileage may vary): Religion Relationship with a God or Gods Beliefs Metaphysical or Supernatural Reality Faith Dogma Ritual Prayer Salvation Eternal reward Spirituality Qualities of the Human Spirit Love Compassion Patience Tolerance Forgiveness Sense of Responsibility Sense of Harmony Things that …

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The Second Step: Came to believe a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Drug addicts,alcoholics and other chemical abusers have a way of using the “Higher Power” references in the various 12-step programs as an excuse to avoid participating fully.  More denial (one of my favorite words, and you are doubtless coming to know).  I was going to write something about the Second Step, but then I ran …

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“…As We Understood Him…”

Problems with the so-called religious aspects of the 12-Step programs seem to crop up all the time, especially with folks new to recovery from drug addiction, alcoholism or other addiction.  They seem sometimes to be related to very specific views about God, and other times to an unwillingness to believe.  In either case, they have …

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Addicts Overcome Holiday Stress with Meditation

Demitrius, now 28, won’t be able to open gifts or ring in the new year with his family. Instead, he’ll spend the holidays and the next several months serving out a court-mandated sentence at New York’s Phoenix House, a residential and outpatient drug rehabilitation center. After he was arrested for selling drugs this past spring, …

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As Sick As Our Secrets

There’s a saying in the recovery community: “We’re as sick as our secrets.” Every now and then you will hear someone mention it at a meeting, or occasionally in private conversation, often as punctuation for a particularly typical story that someone has told. We may say these things—may in fact occasionally give them some thought—but I suspect that …

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The Serenity Prayer And Me

Religion is extremely important to the great majority of people on this planet.  It gives them reasonably coherent systems of ethics and moral guidance, community, support in hard times, and hope for a better life.  In many cases, it gives their lives structure and meaning. I am not a religious person myself, instead thinking of …

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Some Words About Resentments

There is a well-known Buddhist lesson concerning two monks who were traveling and came to a muddy stream.  There they observed a woman who was hesitating to cross, apparently concerned about soiling her clothing. The older monk approached the woman, bowed, and then picked her up and carried her across the stream.  He set her …

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