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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:20 am
Posts: 5
Hello. This is my first ever post on this forum.

Workshop lesson 1: Establishing A Foundation For Permanent Change.

A) Here’s where I stand in relation to the three keys to establishing a successful foundation for personal change:
actively committing yourself to change
Well, what occurs to me initially about commitment, is that it’s a very easy thing to say, to want to believe, but very hard to do. Commitment for me is not about making a one-off statement to oneself, but attempting to permanently adopt a mindset based on the idea of sticking to a course of action. I know this because I am the sort of person that finds it SO hard to stick to a course of action. Generally in my life I find staying with a course of action, or maintaining a regular habit of any kind, almost next to impossible. If my desire to change wasn’t as strong as my inability to stick to courses of action and good habits, then I would have given up trying to lose my addiction long ago. As it is, my resolve has been so far incredibly weak. I am hoping that by trying to replace my acting-out behaviour for these workshop exercises, I can improve my resolve and truly begin to lay down a solid foundation for change. For the living of an authentic life. At last.

not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
That’s a tough one, because my guilt and shame is very strong. I find it very easy to feel guilty, especially as my current life situation is in a state of flux somewhat. Despite being an intelligent, talented and creative person with a good education and many years of experience in my chosen field behind me, I am currently unemployed and have been for a long time. The guilt and shame I feel about this is so strong, and has been with me for so long, that it has become my default way of being; I only have increasingly distant memories of how it felt to be satisfied in my daily life.

I suppose the key to not allowing guilt and shame to cloud oneäs commitment to change is to try to remember all the time that it is a condition of my brian, both physically and psychologically that leads me to be in a state of addiction. I have also been diagnosed with ADHD (of the attention deficit variety), which also I feel exacerbates not only my addiction to begin with, but also my feelings of guilt and shame. Remembering this helps. And also trying to stay within the moment, trying to live in the present time, one day at a time, also helps. This is also connected to the ideas and techniques of Mindfulness and how that can be a benefit to my situation. That can help combat guilt and shame, and help keep one on the right track. Don’t ask me exactly how I know this, call it a gut feeling. :)


allowing yourself time to change.
Well, that’s another bummer of a doozy of a task, but again, perhaps it can be helpful to approach this in a mindful way. If I try to get into the habit of focusing just on today, then perhaps I can ignore the fact that days are accumulating. At least for a little while. I don’t know, this is very off the top of my head, I have not pre-thought this.


(B) My motivation.
10 - 15 reasons why I’m seeking to permanently change my life
I don’t want to live like this. I deserve better. I need better. I deserve to be a happier person free from this pain.
I love my wife and I owe it to her. I have a duty to her to be a better person and a better husband.
I am not fulfilling those duties ATM. I am not earning enough money, and she is keeping me. That is unacceptable. I want to earn money and be on a more equal financial footing with her.
I want to be more honest and open with her. Getting this silly addiction out of my life will help me to face the other challenges we have as a couple and that exist in general in life.
I am wasting so much time. Time is the most precious thing you can give to someone. So I owe it to myself, and to my wife.
I have enormous career potential, but time is running out. I have to establish a decent career before it’s too late. It’s already harder than it was five years ago when I moved here.
What if we want to have a mortgage?
What if we want to have a dog?
What if we want to have kids?
I want to able to look back at my life when I am much older and say that I lived an authentic life, that I lived up to my potential as a human being, husband and friend.
I have extreme emotional problems that I want to improve. I want to learn to use my emotions properly, and not be used by them.
I want to be happy.

(C) Photograph of me as a child.
I have looked at this photo and felt the connection to that person that I was. That person that in many ways I still am. I feel a deep bond with him and I feel pain and sadness for him. I wept for him. That look of hope and love in his eyes is still there in my eyes. I still hope for a life of joy and to be free of the pain that my addiction has caused. I somehow feel that the normal pain of everyday life can not be as great as the pain that my addiction has caused me. And so as much as I feel sad for that child and the wasted opportunities that have passed him by, I still recognise his innocence and hope within myself, and that helps me to have the courage to take the next faltering steps of this journey.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Hi 7Squirrels,
Welcome to RN.
Quote:
This is also connected to the ideas and techniques of Mindfulness and how that can be a benefit to my situation. That can help combat guilt and shame, and help keep one on the right track. Don’t ask me exactly how I know this, call it a gut feeling. :)

Sounds like you have a developed awareness and knowledge of mindfulness that could be incredibly helpful in your recovery. As you progress through the lessons, you’ll notice that mindfulness and emotional intelligence are key skills that can be utilized to manage your life and thus your addiction.
Quote:
That look of hope and love in his eyes is still there in my eyes.

Yes! So now let’s re-parent the your inner child to health! You’re not alone and recovery is possible.
Your firm commitment to your life beyond addiction will make all the difference—don’t forget that it is your choice. So if health is what you want, then commit to yourself with conviction and complete the exercises with absolute honesty. The path is long and hard, but it has been done countless times before you.
Although we recommend completing around 3 lessons a week, we encourage you to read or post daily. That being said, recovery is not a race and it’s important to go a pace with which your body and mind can safely handle—many believe recovery to be a journey, not a destination.
If you find yourself challenged or have questions with one of the lessons, utilize the help forum as help is readily available.
Coaches and Mentors are likely to drop by occasionally. If they don’t, no worries, it’s generally a good sign that you’re on the right path.

Be well,

Anon


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:02 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3893
Location: UK
Hello 7S

Quote:
I want to able to look back at my life when I am much older and say that I lived an authentic life, that I lived up to my potential as a human being, husband and friend.


what occurs to me initially about commitment, is that it’s a very easy thing to say, to want to believe, but very hard to do.


It seems to me that these two quotes are totally interconnected and very much dependant one upon another

recovery from addiction is simple
not easy by any means but simple in essence

it has been a while and what do you have to lose???????????????? :pe: :pe: :pe:

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:20 am
Posts: 5
Hello all,

Many thanks to Anon523 and Coach Kenzo for your thoughts. It is very much appreciated.

During the time that I have been away I have not been able to stay clean, but after every relapse I have a greater desperation to be free from this addiction that is such a heavy burden on me. So it really helps to know that there are those out there who are wondering where I have been and how I am doing.

So, with that being said, I will now post my responses to Workshop Lesson Two: Establishing a Healthy Vision for Your Life

Preface to lesson 2: I now have NO DOUBT in my mind that without making a concerted effort to do these exercises, stick to the programme and stay away from the offending material and associated addictive behaviour, then I am destined to fail, and ultimately live and eventually die a failure knowing that I wasted my life and never made of it what I know it could’ve been.

Workshop exercises: A

Think about who you are,
I am an honest, intelligent, creative, kind, caring, passionate, yet deeply flawed, emotionally under-developed and insecure human being.

the life that you have led,
Up to this point, up to today, one of wasted opportunity, unfulfilled potential and unrealistic, over-idealistic dreaming, fear and insecurity.

and the life that you want to lead from this point forward.
One of integrity and authenticity. That’s it. One where I tried hard to live up to my potential as a human being, one where I used the talents I have in order to develop a life of happiness and modest achievement for myself and my wife, whom I love with all my heart.

Think about your legacy.

Create a vision that you would feel comfortable committing yourself to pursuing. One that, as you someday look back upon your life, will allow you to feel proud of the person that you developed into. Of the life that you led.

That’s what I want, a life where I had enough focus and self-confidence to pursue my dreams. I want to be able to look back and know that I tried my best.

OK, that's it for today. Thank you again to those of you who see these posts and think to themselves "I hope he's doing OK." It really does help to know that I'm not alone.

Stay safe all,

7S


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
Posts: 195
Hi 7s,
This paragraph hit a few cords with me:

Quote:
Well, what occurs to me initially about commitment, is that it’s a very easy thing to say, to want to believe, but very hard to do. Commitment for me is not about making a one-off statement to oneself, but attempting to permanently adopt a mindset based on the idea of sticking to a course of action. I know this because I am the sort of person that finds it SO hard to stick to a course of action. Generally in my life I find staying with a course of action, or maintaining a regular habit of any kind, almost next to impossible. If my desire to change wasn’t as strong as my inability to stick to courses of action and good habits, then I would have given up trying to lose my addiction long ago. As it is, my resolve has been so far incredibly weak. I am hoping that by trying to replace my acting-out behaviour for these workshop exercises, I can improve my resolve and truly begin to lay down a solid foundation for change. For the living of an authentic life. At last.


You have obviously found it hard to get going on this workshop, but do not give up. The insight you will get from it is immeasurable.
Thinking about when I started, I said similar things to myself and then it dawned on me, I could stick to acting out no problem at all!!!
So if I could channel that into a healthy lifestyle I would overcome these issues.
and so far so good :g:

Good luck with the workshop

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
Regards
T


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:20 am
Posts: 5
Hi Theseus1112,

Thanks for your insight. Wow, this really helps me right now as I write this, because I'm really tempted to act out (I don't want to go into specifics obviously, and I am also aware that one has to be careful not to describe behaviour that could be be interpreted as a trigger for anyone reading, but just to illustrate how easy it would be for me to take a step back and continue to feed my addiction, my particular problem involves nothing more difficult to arrange than looking at online images, so all it would take is a couple of mouse clicks. And I work at my computer from home, so the opportunities are there on a plate so to speak). However, your words really struck a chord back :), especially the part about how you were able to stick to acting out. That had never occurred to me before, and its simple insights like that that make this forum so valuable for someone in my situation; the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, observations etc. with others. Thank you. Today is the beginning of the 3rd day that I have not acted out. And reading this post has really helped me to be more determined in my aim towards healing and recovery.

Thanks again Theseus1112, and have a good day everyone.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:20 am
Posts: 5
Hey everyone,

sh*t - probably less than 2 hours after I posted earlier today, I relapsed and acted out again. Only quickly, but I feel like the damage is done. Dammit - I really feel like I'm on that terrible carousel of acting out, regret, preparation, relapse, regret etc....

I had intended to finish my response to lesson three and post it here, but instead my familiar patterns re-emerged and I fell into the all too familiar terrible trap that always seems to get me.

I find it incredible that one moment I can be so full of inspiration and resolve to carry on forward into that terrifying yet exciting unknown world - a world without the need for P - but then before long I find myself sucked back into the vortex.

I would like to ask - is it OK to continue with the next workshop lesson I was on, or should I go back and at least re-read what I have written for lessons 1 and 2?

I know how pathetic this must look as I try miserably and fail spectacularly in this endeavour after so little time. This is easily the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. But I do so want to succeed.

Thanks,
7S


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:00 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3893
Location: UK
Hi 7
Quote:
I feel like the damage is done.



it is but it was done a good while ago
you need to face the fact that you are addicted and then totally commit to recovery. or not
you can and should choose, learn from today
why did you choose to act out
what did it give you vs what did it cost you?
for sure slips happen but that does not mean that they are acceptable

Quote:
all too familiar terrible trap that always seems to get me.


who sets these traps?


Quote:
I would like to ask - is it OK to continue with the next workshop lesson I was on, or should I go back and at least re-read what I have written for lessons 1 and 2?


believe me you do get to choose
learn from your mistake and move on
choose wisely
Quote:
This is easily the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. But I do so want to succeed.


recovery is not easy but not acting out to satisfy those urges is not too difficult
simply choose
start by abstaining and see how much better you feel about yourself

change is inevitable but you do get to choose your direction of change

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 4:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:20 am
Posts: 5
Response to Kenzo’s comments / Recapping the first two workshop lessons.

Yes, the damage was done so long ago that I was still a child; I was unaware of the damage for years. And unaware that I was addicted. But I am now aware that I am addicted. I have been aware of this for more than 10 years. In that time I have accepted that I am an addict but struggled enormously with it every day. Trying to cope, to fight it, but lacking the information, insight and personal wherewithal to sustain the effort, to carry on and succeed. This addiction has been with me for all of my adult life, and living without it is something I have never experienced. But that in itself represents a tantalising challenge and something to aspire to: the vision of my life from this point on. A life where healthy life-management skills are practised. I am revisiting and gaining strength from the words of lesson two as I write this. (There is a lot to all this, so if it seems like I’m skipping over important sections, I’m not, this is a summary of the first two lessons mixed with my responses to Kenzo’s comments.)

Yes, I choose to learn from the past, recommit and move on.
Learning from past mistakes. Why did I act out / why did I always act out? Because the pain of not doing so felt too great; facing the problem and asking oneself those difficult questions seemed like too much to deal with in the moments of weakness, when it was easier to go down the quick and easy well-trodden path of acting out.

What did acting out give me? A (very) temporary respite from the weight of things that I see now as the normal trials and tribulations that we all deal with every day, but that for some reason I have always had difficulty dealing with (and those reasons are at the heart of **- see later)

What did it cost me? A lot. It caused me to doubt myself. My ability to have courage and resolve. It caused me to feel shame, guilt and depression, to feel hopelessness and self-pity (which I hate! Ugh! And which in itself is another of the traps that can lead to more acting out.)

Yes, slips happen, and of course they are unacceptable. I never think they are. And among the other bad consequences of self-pity, too much beating oneself up can lead inexorably back to that shame and guilt that makes one feel so worthlessness, that causes pain. A misguided cure for which is… acting out...another trap one must avoid. Knowing a trap is there is the first step towards avoiding it...why is the trap there? Because….yes, I set it. I set it by not trying hard enough to break the 5-point cycle of acting out…regret...reconstitution...trigger...preparation...acting out and also by not paying enough attention to and addressing the underlying issues in my life that led me down this road in the first place.

**This brings me back to the realisation as outlined in lesson two that it was not the addiction that triggered my crisis, that was a symptom of a life out of balance. A life where balance and health is not being attempted or achieved. The importance of establishing a vision for the rest of one’s life is such a valuable part of this whole process and something that I do appreciate and embrace. I may never come to have exactly the life I want, the life I feel I do actually deserve, but If I can look back at the end of each day and say “today I tried my best to live without the need for falling back into old bad habits, without submitting to my addictive behaviour and thinking, but instead to pursue happiness and authenticity for myself and my loved ones” by concentrating on the day’s tasks; the tasks that contribute to the overall life vision, then, OK.

Yes, I choose to learn and move on. I know what my priorities are. In a nutshell, understanding, strategy, health and recovery, living with authenticity.

I choose to abstain. I recognise easily how good it feels, and at the same time realise that one must never become complacent. This is something to be worked at. It’s a mental and spiritual exercise.

I choose that the direction of the change happening in me is towards health and positivity.

--------------------------------------
My Responses to Lesson 3.
Lesson 3 Exercises:
A. Note: In the previous lesson, you were asked to write out your vision for the life that you want to live. If you have not yet completed this task, do so now, before beginning this exercise.

To recap my vision:

Think about who you are,
I am an honest, intelligent, creative, kind, caring, passionate, yet deeply flawed, emotionally under-developed and insecure human being.

the life that you have led,
Up to this point, up to today, one of wasted opportunity, unfulfilled potential and unrealistic, over-idealistic dreaming, fear and insecurity.

and the life that you want to lead from this point forward.
One of integrity and authenticity. That’s it. One where I tried hard to live up to my potential as a human being, one where I used the talents I have in order to develop a life of happiness and modest achievement for myself and my wife, whom I love with all my heart.

Think about your legacy.

Create a vision that you would feel comfortable committing yourself to pursuing. One that, as you someday look back upon your life, will allow you to feel proud of the person that you developed into. Of the life that you led.

That’s what I want, a life where I had enough focus and self-confidence to pursue my dreams. I want to be able to look back and know that I tried my best.

Exercise B and C The values from my vision and those from the example list that are relevant to me.

Being honest with myself. If I fail, knowing how to admit I have failed, when I need to re-examine my values, but not so as to wallow in self-pity (one of my bad habits), but to act as an incentive to get back on the horse and keep trying.

Being calm with my loved ones and not taking my inner frustration and turmoil out verbally on them, especially my wife.

Trying to live with emotional intelligence. For me, this means practically thinking things through when processing information in order to formulate a considered response and not just an instinctive reaction based on my currently skewed emotional perspective. This applies to all situations, not just those relating to my addiction.

Thinking critically when making decisions; for example about what I want career-wise etc. The current path I am on is one of re-building my professional life after a long period of unemployment.

Number 4 also involves being honest with myself about what I can practically achieve; not being too idealistic but thinking with pragmatism about how I can achieve those things I need to achieve. For example, owning my own home. The inspiration for this point is taken from the part in the lesson where it stresses the importance of choosing values that are congruent with the life one wants to lead.

Having compassion. Not just for others, but for myself. When I fail at something or feel I have let myself or others down, saying to myself “it’s OK, you have failed at this, you must understand what you have done wrong or failed to do in order to learn from this mistake; to try and take the positive practice lesson in this, and learn from it.”

Self-confidence. Having the belief in myself to say “I believe in these values, and I’m determined to live by them in the practical execution of my life, such as in the daily carrying out of tasks and responsibilities.”
Trusting the Recovery Programme. Reassuring myself that this is a tried and tested series of exercises that if followed with commitment and integrity can help me to reconnect with my values, help me to manage my emotional life and encourage me to continue down the path of self-discovery and self-realisation.

Being Creative. I have some creative talent in various areas. By exercising these talents, I not only strengthen my self-confidence and therefore my ability to continue down the positive path, but I lay the foundations for greater creative endeavours and the improvement of my career.

Being Kind. Compassion. Not only is it important to be kind and look out for others, but there is also some truth to the old phrase “ a good deed is its own reward.”

Having a sense of wonder of the world. I am a creative person, and that child-like sense of fascination with the world is something to be participated in, to be held close and cherished. From the elegant simplicity of an oakleaf to the hypnotic quality of waves on the surface of a lake, or whatever. Man-made phenomena too. Art, science, music, cinema, architecture etc.

Having a sense of Fun. Being able to experience joy, humour, etc. by yourself and with others.

Having a sense of, and trying to embody continuity. The stability of routines. This also includes consistency. Seeing tasks through to their logical conclusion. For a person with traits of ADHD this is particularly important and can be a great source of confidence and stability.

Being creative. Not just in my job, but using my talents for the creation of something positive, from simple hobby projects to secondary and tertiary sources of income.

(related to point 8) Trust. Trust in myself, that I am capable of the stages that make up recovery; abstinence, commitment to being proactive, and doing these workshop exercises on a daily basis, and trusting myself in the beliefs that are necessary in order to continue properly down the path of recovery and change.
Being a good husband (there is obviously a lot to this, for it is a microcosm of my life values in general. Therefore I will not list them here, for the values I have already mentioned and the ones I will mention subsequently can be considered part of being a good husband)
Listening to advice and heeding it.
Listening to constructive criticism and heeding it.
Looking forward, not back. But with realism not dreamy idealism.
Working hard. Trying my very best at everything I do. From doing the dishes to working on career and life tasks.
Being helpful. A good friend told me that the most precious gift that you can give another person is your time. They were right.

Being active. This is not only an important part of life for everyone, but for me as an addict is it vitally important, as boredom and the dissatisfaction that it entails is a dangerous trigger for me that can easily lead to acting out. Fortunately I am the best I have ever been at recognising that within myself when it occurs. Perhaps it’s a part of ADHD that is connected to being overly self-analytical to the negative side of things, but the positive side of it is a good instinct for oneself. For how one is feeling. By taking the time to stop and ask yourself”why are you feeling like this? What are you your choices right now?” one can hopefully catch these moments of “emptiness”(for want of a better word), that all too often get filled with acting out, analyse my motivations, and steer myself away from the negative course of action. Usually this means literally steering myself, physically away from the situation. Get up for your desk. Stop tempting yourself (for I am the only one doing it), go for a walk, get some fresh air, go for a cycle ride, do some stretching, make a cup of coffee, whatever. These pro-actions give me time to think clearly, to ask myself some import questions. Why am I doing these negative things? What am I trying to escape from? What is really the issue at hand here? What is really so bad about that issue? What am I afraid of doing? What is stopping me from doing that thing? What is potentially the worst thing that can happen? What is the best thing? Just taking the time to be quiet and with oneself, to think these things through is incredibly important. Which brings me to...

...Allowing myself time. Time to think these things through. Being able to abstain from harmful behaviour long enough to see the change in me, the optimism return, the hope, the wonder of a new day...the untapped potential etc.

Having courage.

Being humble

Being mindful. Stop. Breath. Relax.

Taking care of myself, mentally, physically, spiritually (or for me a better word is philosophically)

Putting others’ needs before my own.

Developing emotional maturity.

Feeling masucline without the need for lust. Love and lust are not the same thing.

Liking myself.

Financial stability.

Having a sense of purpose within one’s career/workinfg life.

Self-discipline.

Developing one’s sense of inner wisdom. Listening to that little voice of reason and taking notice of what it says.

Doing the right thing.

Organisation.

Emotional stability

Integrity.

Being patient with others.

Being patient with myself.
OK, I know there are more…I will add to this list as I continue my journey.

Final part of Lesson # Exercises: Consider the 'dark side' of your decision-making. The compulsive behavior. The sexual behavior. Take some time to extract the values that went into those behaviors, and list them as well.

Fear.

Lack of confidence.

Loneliness.

Lack of a sense of purpose.

Lust.

Compulsivity.

Self-loathing.

Boredom.

Insecurity.

Lack of patience.

Procrastination of important tasks / duties

Self-pity.

Feeling worthless.

Over-introspection - focussing on the negative aspects of myself/ my life.

Dwelling on past failures, hurts.

OK, that’s all for now. I feel a hell of a lot better having gotten this out of my system. There is hope. There is always a choice.

Stay safe everyone.


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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 6:44 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3893
Location: UK
Hi 7 some great words
but dont take this the wrong way they are only words

as you say
Quote:
There is hope. There is always a choice.

turn these words into reality
:g: :g:

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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