"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, January 25, 2011

Telling our stories....

One of the things that we are told to do in 12 step circles is to "tell our story." Telling our story breaks the silence and allows us to feel our feelings and heal. In our speaking aloud what happened to us, we are able to be received by the hearts of those who witness our telling. This is similar to other support circles, therapist/patient relationships and even the "witnessing" that happens in some churches when we speak of a spiritual awakening. It is an essential piece for coming into the light and experiencing the freedom of recovery.

I've been asked to tell my story in a particular environment for the purpose of highlighting the power of recovery. It's been a long time since I've done this and I find myself stirred up a bit emotionally. I think this is part of the power in our healing. When we speak aloud what has been challenging or painful in our lives, it becomes real. In its realness, we can see if from a new perspective. Even if we have been working the 12 steps for awhile, each time we tell our story, it allows a deeper healing for us. We learn more about ourselves. Not only do we see the maladaptive behavior patterns that we took on as a result of the co-dependency and addiction in our environment, but we can begin to see new ways to interact with our world. We also see our own progress and how far we have come. We have a choice about our behavior and our relationships with others. We can take the values from our family of origin that resonate with us today and leave what does not. Our journey of emotional and spiritual intelligence is vibrant and fluid.

Telling our stories offers the opportunity for compassion. We see ourselves in one another. We are able to receive their compassion and also see our own stories with compassion for those who did the best they could. We see our own progress when we tell our stories and are able to see how the tools of the 12 steps, meetings, sponsorship and a spiritual program can and will transform our lives.

A friend in recovery has often said, "When I compare myself to others, I always fall short. When I compare myself to myself, I see how far I've come." This is the greatest gift of telling our story.

Blessings to you as you find loving hearts to hold your stories,


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Living in a Time Warp....

A friend and I recently laughed as we thought about our relationships and the challenges we all face on the journey of emotional and spiritual intelligence. Most especially how it relates to CHANGE. Change not only calls us to choose new behaviors that may be uncomfortable and awkward but we must face and confront the unknown. What will the relationship be like when we change? How might our life change if we stop doing the same things over and over? What if the unknown is not what we want?

There is also difficulty that others have in believing that we really have changed especially those who have been in our lives for a long time: our children, spouses, siblings and old friends. So not only do we sometimes choose to live in a time warp, but others relate to us in our "old selves" and we relate to them this way as well. It's hard to leave that time warp behind and enter the unfamiliarity of present day. There is an expectation that we will react in an old pattern or as we "always have in the past" and others may be resistant to seeing our new behavior changes as well.

We are also learning about brain chemistry and the challenges that there are in developing these new patterns in the brain, letting go of old beliefs and automatic patterns. In our wounding, we learn to adapt to dysfunctional environments and navigate trauma by shutting down and/or reacting automatically to avoid further pain. Our brain patterns get set as well and when there is any similar situation to the one in which we were originally wounded, we react as we did then. It takes great intention to recognize this and adjust to more flexible and effective options. The time warp is comfortable, predictable and easy to fall back into. Here are some tips for dealing with others' or our own tendency toward living in a time warp:

1. Recognize the ease of living in a time warp and the challenge there is in changing reactive behavior. Have patience but be determined to change and allow others to change as well.

2. Stay Calm when someone seems to be resistant to seeing the changes in you. Without defensiveness or anger, explain that you are choosing to do it differently, or just let them be with their own reactions while staying calm and peaceful. They may need time to leave their time warp of old and reactive behaviors and join you in the present time relationship with new and more functional behaviors.

3. Work the 12 steps with someone who is more experienced. As you work the steps and clean out the old family of origin issues, beliefs, feelings and see clearly those adaptive behaviors, you will be free to choose more functional and healthful behaviors. You will learn to recognize the old way of reacting and choose new responses and behaviors in any given situation.

Doing our own family of origin work allows us to move out of old, reactive patterns of behavior. We can leave our time warp where it belongs, in our histories and choose new patterns of behavior in our relationships today based on awareness, current values and spiritual principles. This takes time, but persistence and commitment to the spiritual discipline of the 12 steps will overcome the pull of familiarity and old reactive behaviors.

Blessings on your journey,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Women's Oppression and Cosex Addiction....

I'm reading two books right now. One is entitled, "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History" and the other is, "Why Women Should Rule the World." It's great fun and both books have historical and well-researched information about gender differences and the oppression of women.

While I am grateful for these non-fiction works, I do feel sad and angry as I read the books. I also feel comforted as I am able to experience being part of a larger tribe, which affirms my knowing deep within that women's oppression exists. My husband is an amazing man: mature and wise, and still there are subtle ways that he speaks or behaves which communicate to me that he doesn't recognize what I recognize around this issue. He doesn't have the same sensitivity in his speaking and how much eye contact there is when men and women are together. In a mixed gender group, he does not notice as readily as I do how much more time we all spend listening to the men speaking than to the women. It's sobering to me as I know he is highly sensitive to these issues. There is a level of awareness that he lacks simply because he is not a woman in our patriarchal culture.

What does this all have to do with cosex addiction? For me, it is a reminder that while my recovery is very personal and I am responsible for my own fit spiritual condition, all of this occurs within a context. The context is our culture and societal wounds. I must remain mindful of this in order to stay in reality about the challenges of finding my power as a recovering cosex addict. I must seek additional support from other women.

I think it is also important to know that we as women carry this internalized oppression and will, albeit unconsciously, act it out with one another. There have been more than a few occasions when I've known women to gossip about me or other women. I've often felt a lack of support for my accomplishments and achievements from other women as well. We are conditioned to see one another as competition. Additionally, we unknowingly take our internalized self-hatred of ourselves as women and project it onto each other. These "shadows" within ourselves are so important to acknowledge. In our awareness, we can begin to transform this internalized oppressive messages of the feminine and confront the dynamic in our society.

Here are some simple tips for honoring the feminine internally and culturally:

1. Become aware of the internalized oppressive messages that you carry. One cannot grow up in our culture without experiencing this and a courageous acknowledgment of these messages is the first step in changing them.

2. Seek support from other women and allow yourself to be witnessed in your pain and anger about the oppression of women and the sexist in our culture.

3. Acknowledge another woman's accomplishments. Even though we are conditioned to feel competitive and jealous of other women, the more we contradict this message and celebrate each other's achievements, the more we can overcome together.

Honesty, communication and a celebration of women with women is the key.

Blessings on your journey,