Browsing all articles tagged with addiction

I fell off the wagon

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My reason for writing a blog every week is to share my journey to inspire you so you know you are not alone with whatever you are going through. Thank you for your love and support and for reading the blogs every week.

As an alcohol and drug therapist for 20 years, one of my jobs was to do interventions and help patients come out of DENIAL about how alcohol or drugs had robbed them of everything. It was my job to get them to say yes to treatment.

DENIAL is a symptom of addiction and a very powerful defense mechanism.  We stay in denial because we are afraid and don’t want to admit there is a problem. Once you admit there is a problem, you have to do something about it.

The reality is we are all addicted to something whether it be a substance or a process. Substances include alcohol, drugs, food, sugar, nicotine, or caffeine. Process addictions include gambling, cleaning, hoarding, workaholism, religiosity, perfectionism, control, shopping, codependency.

Your “drug of choice” keeps you from feeling your feelings. Years ago, at a very low point in my life, I sat in a dark room eating chocolate and drinking a glass of wine.  It took away the pain for a moment. What is your drug of choice to avoid your feelings?

I read a quote this week from Steven Pressfield, Resistance for Evolution that states “The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel it.”

This spoke to me as I was feeling a lot of RESISTANCE to changing my diet. I wondered, “Is denial the same as resistance?” I think it’s different but similar. When I’m in denial, I don’t think there is a problem. When I’m in resistance, I know there is a problem and I’m angry that I have to change. I’m kicking and screaming and feel like a victim and wondering why I can’t eat like normal people?

Like many others who live on this planet due to chemicals, GMO and processed foods, I suffer from inflammation and gut issues. I was in denial over the holidays and thought I could eat desserts and be fine. I thought my gut issues were gone.

My symptoms came back and worse than ever.  I was angry and felt like my body had betrayed me.  Just like the addict, I want what I want when I want it! I love sugar, chocolate, muffins, and bagels and didn’t want to deny myself.

I knew I was in trouble and had to pay attention. I went back to the anti-inflammatory diet that I had done in the past which is no grains, fruit, caffeine, dairy, or sugar. I kept saying, “This is so hard.” The truth is that it is hard, but if I kept saying this is hard, it would continue to be hard. I needed to change my perspective and I did.

I’m grateful that I didn’t beat up on myself, but instead forgave myself for “falling off the wagon” and putting food into my body that I wasn’t able to tolerate. With the grace of God, I thanked my body (even though I didn’t like it) for letting me know what wasn’t good for me.

Most importantly, I became willing to change and ask God for help. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I used the 1st step of AA. I admit I am powerless over sugar and 2nd step I admit a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. It works as I have been “clean” since January 1. I will continue to ask for help every day.

Are you in denial or resisting anything in your life that is not healthy for you? Remember, “The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel it.”

The Role of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery – June 22,2011

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The Institute for Addiction Recovery at Rhode Island College and Faith Infused Recovery Efforts (FIRE) present…

The Role of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery

2011 Forum


Keynote speech from Patricia A. Burke, MSW, LCW, BCD

Expert panelists to discuss the role that spirituality played in their recovery,

Breakout sessions featuring tai chi, laughing yoga, meditation, music and chanting

CEUs available for attendees! This forum is FREE

I will be leading a workshop called “Pathways to Spiritual Freedom and Well Being”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8:30AM – 1:00 PM

RI College Student Union Ballroom

Spirituality can be reached by all people, regardless of age, gender, personal history or recovery pathway.

It is the inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being.

Join us as we explore the role of spirituality in addiction recovery. The 2011 Forum will identify strategies for integrating spirituality into treatment and recovery support programs, discovering a variety of spiritual paths to recovery, help attendees understand the importance of spirituality in addiction recovery, and broaden the overall perception of spirituality and the life-changing impact it can have on individuals in recovery.

For more information or to reserve your spot, please contact Sandra DelSesto @


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My name is Pat and I am a “Recovering Rushaholic.”  My addiction was to rushing, staying busy, producing, and achieving.  Is there anyone out there who can relate to this?  Raise your hands! You know who you are.

The first step in recovering from any addiction is to admit there is a problem.  Rushing and staying busy had become a way of life for me.  I was the queen of multi-tasking.  Picture this scene many years ago in my kitchen-talking on the phone, stirring the scrambled eggs in the frying pan and nursing my infant son. Now, that’s insanity.  But that is what I did and I’m not proud of it.

I now know why I rushed and stayed busy.  Rushing and staying busy medicated my feelings.  I didn’t want to go within and feel the pain inside.  I didn’t want to feel my feelings of inadequacy, self-hatred, fear, guilt and not being good enough that plagued me all of my life.  

When I stayed busy, produced and achieved, I felt good about myself.  I looked outside for validation; therefore my self esteem depended on others. If you liked me, I felt good about myself, but if you didn’t like me, I didn’t feel good about myself.  My insides didn’t match my outside.  I looked successful on the outside, but inside was a different story.  In high school, it wasn’t enough to be a cheerleader, I had to be the captain of the cheerleader s and the president of the sorority I joined.  I often beat up on myself and compared myself to others and felt less than – that I wasn’t doing enough. Sound familiar?

What an exhausting and stressful existence to always have to rush, achieve and produce.  There is no peace of mind and living in the moment.  I needed to change and do something different if I wanted peace in my life.  I had to slow down, ask for help and take action.  I now have a morning ritual. When I get out of bed, I immediately get on my knees and pray the serenity prayer and repeat my intention for the day. My intention is to be peaceful, love and serve. It works.

I became acutely aware of my addiction while working in the hospital where it is very fast paced. You were expected to rush from one patient to the next and often without even taking a bathroom break. I started consciously walking slower rather than racing down the hall. I repeated my affirmation “my intention is to be peaceful” in my head.   An amazing thing happened.  I felt more peaceful and heard comments from patients and co-workers  such as “ I know Pat is coming down the hall before I even see her because of her meditative and peaceful walk.”  

Do I still get tempted to rush, stay busy and achieve?  I sure do.  Old habits don’t die easily, but when I become aware of these behaviors,  I stop, go within and see what’s going on. Here are my 6 Tips to Live in Peace.

                                                            6 TIPS TO LIVE IN PEACE

SHOW UP – Develop a daily spiritual practice of prayer and meditation. Set an intention for the day.

ASK FOR WHATYOU WANT and expect an answer.  Be clear about what you want. Visualize and believe.

BE GRATEFUL – An attitude of Gratitude is the key to make  things manifest quickly. Focus on what you have, rather than what’s missing. 

FORGIVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS – Holding onto resentment and anger blocks the energy flow and prevents or slows down your ability to manifest your dreams. 

HAVE FAITH – Your prayers are being answered. Faith is believing what you cannot see. Change your thinking.

LET GO OF CONTROL –Trust the process and surrender to “what  is.”  You are exactly where you need to be and in perfect and divine order.

Addiction: Deficit of the Spirit

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Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. Often likened to having “a hole in the soul,” it is a spiritual deprivation that requires the development of an inner spirituality for full recovery.

Spirituality is a connectedness with self, others and a greater power, referred to sometimes as God, or higher power, Source or Universe. Spirituality may be practiced through organized religion or not.

Those who are addicted are disconnected from themselves, from others and from

their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs or homes due to their addiction.

The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects. Physical problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, colitis or heart disease. Emotional problems include anger, irritability, loneliness, guilt, resentment and depression. A person may find themselves withdrawn, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive and controlling. Hopelessness and lack of faith may also befall a person living with an addict.

Spiritual coaching can help both the addict and those living with one. The goal is to support the movement from a place of dis-ease to a place of happiness and peace. All problems are spiritual problems in the sense that they arise when we feel disconnected from the Source of our being. Spiritual coaching supports a movement from an experience of disconnect to one of deep connection. The effects of coaching is to experience more peace and joy, a deepening of relationships, a stronger connection to God and others, finding true purpose and being present in a way that reflects inner love.

Pat Hastings is a licensed Chemical Dependency Professional with more than 20 years of experience. She is a spiritual coach, retreat and workshop leader and inspirational speaker. She is author of the book “Simply a Woman of Faith,” and the recently released CD: “How to Pray and Get Results: 10 Tips to Have Your Prayers Answered.” Contact her at  or call 401-521-6783.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
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