self efficacy

vagabond superstar

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There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.

firstly, ii would request that all readers also read mark olmsted’s blog regarding the passing of phillip seymour hoffman at question marxist. mark olmsted – aka the trash whisperer- touches on the very core of a major challenge with living in recovery- emotional sobriety. people with addictions – both active and arrested- remains the most complicated and treacherous path that I have walked and that those ii walk with encounter.


What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?

there are moments in which the clarity and cruelty of feeling are so uber-pronounced and omnipresent that frozen only begins to describe the fear and uncertainty that follow. sometimes an exchange of words or ideas will give a glimpse of unknowing that feels just like the chill of a visiting spirit. someone may something to me that ii am not clear how to take and ii will panic- not because of what was said, but more because of the not knowing how to proceed.

it may turn out that I struggle with emotionality for the rest of my days. it gets easier and the frightful crazy part lasts shorter periods of time. but as mark olmsted points out, it is not how we feel that creates problems, but more how we think we should feel.


Emotional Management

There is no feeling without a thought. There is no feeling or thought without a corresponding physical response. We are not many. We are one.

It is a mistake for any of us to so divide ourselves into segments that we lose the sense of ourselves as holistic beings. There is no thought without a feeling. However by singling out a specific aspect of how we as people function, in this case the emotions, specific care can be given on that aspect. Feelings have the power to both take us to heaven and pitch us into hell. Feelings are perfectly capable of telling us the saving truth as well as sending us on the road to destruction. Feelings are powerful. As with all powerful things the task is to control and manage that power so it works to the person’s benefit.

Feelings must be understood for what they are and where they originate if the person experiencing them is to gain a life of sobriety, balance and serenity.

Topics covered in our various products dealing with emotional management:

  • Understanding the anatomy of emotions
  • Learning to feel long repressed feelings
  • Discerning if the feeling is telling us a useful truth
  • Not allowing feelings to be the sole dictator of behavior
  • Steps to gaining emotional management
  • words and thoughts by ernie larsen

a simple matter of pride

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he stopped by today to get a letter of support. the change in him these last few months is rather astonishing really. he has been sleeping regularly, has ceased using speed ad nauseum, and has been eating regularly. his eyes have become clear, his thought process has become understandable, and his smile and laughter have returned as if they had gone to afghanistan and had finished their tour of duty.

he has been in residential treatment these sixty-some days and has sparked a new interest in self-care. about 4 weeks in this process, he was told by a couple of employees that he would be restricted from doing his chore work by either cooking or washing dishes. the inference was that since he was hiv positive, he might endanger the rest of the residents if he were near the kitchen.

this had upset him naturally. it has been some time since he had been stable enough to think about standing up for himself. he had spent the last 3 years or so just trying to survive- mostly depending on the kindness of tricks and strangers. as i listened to him tell me this, i could hear the tone of “victim” in his voice. i recognize it well.

i asked him if it bothered him. he indicated that it did somewhat, but he did not want to take the chance of stirring up trouble. i understood this, however i felt it a duty to nudge him to talk to his case manager about the situation. he could relay how the restriction made him feel, and he could underline the fact that this policy is not logical nor legal. i would be happy to help educate the staff  if needed about the facts and the myths about hiv as we know them in 2011.

as we chatted today, he told me that the counselor had listened to him, would research the issue, and get back to him- which he did in 2 days. he told our guy that he was right and he would be talking about the issue at the next staff meeting. yesterday was the meeting, and both the staff members that did the duty restriction came up to him individually and apologized.

his eyes lit up as he lightly savored self efficacy. he almost oozed the joy of being pleased with himself. i don’t often have such a joy-filled disneylandesque experience.  my days seem to be mostly much more complicated. but today, it certainly made me happy to see someone else happy.  for a minute, i got to be lighthearted and witness a beautifully simple (and drug free) pride parade.

 let the rainbow flag fly…:D