"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spiritual Discipline

As a person recovering from addictive behaviors and thinking, I know that my 12 step program is a spiritual discipline. While I recognize that there is a part of me that continually wants to "arrive" somewhere and be done, but I know this is not the nature of spiritual maturity. When I look at this honestly, I realize that this search for the perfect destination and expectation of "getting there" comes from the unsettled emotional and spiritual energies of my growing up years. I was often dodging rage and not knowing when I might be blamed or criticized. Traumas unresolved and the use of alcohol to deal with painful experiences did not teach maturity and we lacked in an healthy emotional environment. My mind became adept at taking me out of fear or shame with a very elaborate fantasy of my life somewhere else. Today, I often find myself still hoping to arrive at this make-believe destination or fantasizing about something outside of my present circumstances.

Truly, I have great respect and appreciation for my heritage and I recognize the unresolved trauma and survival behaviors that I learned there as well. In my honest assessment of both the good and the unhealed within my own family history, I am able to authentically embrace who I am and who I am not. I am able to honestly embrace my own spiritual and emotional journey as just that....a journey, not a destination. I cease to compare myself to others and instead am able to look at my own emotional and spiritual maturity with myself, acknowledging my own progress over the years of my recovery.

I am able to see what I want and leave the rest in the family system. Taking the gifts and values that resonate within me from my family heritage include: generosity, laughter, community, deep spiritual faith and simplicity. The other values that I choose to embrace within my 12 step and other healing and empowerment work include: rigorous honesty, direct communication, self-reflection, compassion and forgiveness.

All of who I am and continue to learn about myself and my ancestry come from the spiritual discipline of my own prayer and meditation practice. My spiritual condition keeps my emotional challenges in perspective of a greater purpose. I remind myself today that this journey is one of a spiritual progress, not perfection and that it is the pilgrimage itself that comforts and blesses my life.

Blessings on your journey,


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Honoring our Ancestry.....

I recently visited my home town, where I was born and grew up. It is a lovely geography and there are many memories of my growing up which include connection, family celebrations and the tightly knitted threads of my heritage. There are many blessings in these community connections, but all the memories are not filled with joy and peace. These memories have their place and purpose as well.

When we intervene on our own additive behaviors and dynamics in relationship with others, our awareness of our lives deepens. We live more consciously. We are emotionally and physically more present in our own bodies and spirits since we are not using substances or other compulsive behaviors to disassociate or mood alter. Learning to hold all of our memories and develop the capacity for honesty about our heritage is essential if we are to mature spiritually and emotionally.

During Holiday times or when visiting our families, it is easy to fall into old patterns of dysfunction and survival that we learned growing up. Being able to bring our recovery and new patterns of behavior into our family of origin relationships and holiday gatherings takes time. As we stay determined in our own maturing, we will emerge victorious and we are able to stay grounded in our own values. Here are some tips for honoring our recovery and our ancestry during significant times:

1) Be gentle with yourself. We will make mistakes and learn to be more integrated in our behaviors over time; especially with family members.

2) Reach out to those who support our recovery and self-awareness. Going to family members who are not on the same path with us can trigger the old loneliness and hopelessness. When there are emotional challenging with family members, reach out to support circles that know your history and can support you in your recovery behaviors and values today.

3) Spend time in prayer and meditation during the Holidays and when visiting family. It seems that our time is most precious with so many other things to do, but it is the most important time to do these simple acts of spiritual connection.

Over time, honoring the gifts of our ancestry while at the same time being in reality about the wounds of our growing up will bring emotional and spiritual maturity. As we live our own values and spiritual connection consistently over time, we will be able to integrate who we choose to be today with where we have come from; fully embracing the gifts of our ancestry.

Blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Humility and Shame

Early in my cosex addiction recovery I learned about shame; the feeling of worthlessness and that "something was wrong with me." The good news is that I did learn early on that this feeling and sense of myself was in fact "shame." It had a name and I was not alone in these beliefs about myself. Others who grew up in an alcoholic and dysfunctional family system had a similar inner sense of themselves and in 12 step meetings we began to break the secrecy of the painful beliefs we carried inside. We gave it a name, talked about our feelings, our beliefs about ourselves and began to heal.

Over the years, I learned to do a good deal of "shame reduction work" in which I identified incidents in which I was abused or hurt and had taken on the shame of the offender. I learned to have healthful anger about ways that I was treated and develop internal boundaries in which I could protect myself from mistreatment. I also learned to set boundaries with others and became skilled at choosing kinder and more respectful individuals in which to have relationships.

In the early days making a mistake would trigger all those old feelings and beliefs that something was wrong with me and it would time to restore myself to my right thinking. Today it is rare that I feel shame. When I contradict my own values by hurting myself and someone else, I do feel guilt. This is a good indication for me to reflect on my behavior. When this happens, I take immediate action and make amends. If I am not clear about what to do or if an amend is appropriate, I have a rich and full support network to assist me. I reach out. Sometimes the amends I make are to myself or someone else are in the form of changed behavior.

When and if I feel shame today, I can look within and ask my Higher Power for assistance. When I make a mistake, I have the tools to make amends. I am grateful for the choices given me today as a result of working my 12 step program. My personal and spiritual recovery is a journey, not a destination with the guiding principle of .

Blessings on your journey,