ISSUE NO. 19 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Carrying A Message of Hope in Recovery
* Recovery Resources
* Humor Page
* Newcomer’s Page
by Mendi Baron
It’s A Matter Of Choice
by Denise Krochta
Running Around The House Naked
by Suzanne Whang
Acceptance Is As Acceptance Does
by Jim Anders
on the road
Other Programs Offered
Become a Drug & Alcohol Counselor
ELECTRICAL TRAINING PROGRAM
ICC United in Recovery
Event! Sept. 24th
10am - 2pm
Alcohol & Drug Counseling Studies
ASSOCIATES IN APPLIED SCIENCES
Substance Abuse Counseling
Contact us at (951)779-1300
Job Placement Assistance
Available f or those who Qualify
1989 Atlanta Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
388 West Cerritos Ave Bld 7
Anaheim, CA 92805
West Covina Campus
2235 E. Garvey North
West Covina, CA 91791
1 Civic Plaza Suite 110
Carson, CA 90745
For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, visit www.intercoast.edu.
Not all programs are available at all locations. Please call for more information. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.
2 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Sovereign Health provides innovative,
gender- specific behavioral health
treatment to adolescents, adults and their
families. Our individualized care begins
with intensive diagnostic assessments and
includes treatment for cognitive deficits
and a recovery management program
• Mental Health
• Addiction / Dual Diagnosis
• Pain Management
• Eating Disorders
24/7 Helpline | Most Insurances Acccepted
National Treatment Locations
San Clemente, CA | Los Angeles, CA | San Diego, CA | Palm Desert, CA | Chandler, AZ | Delta, UT | El Paso, TX | Fort Myers, FL | Pompano Beach, FL
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 3
Inside This Issue
10 14 22 28 34 40
6 Cover Story: The Miracle of Acceptance
by Jami DeLoe
8 Accepting the Challenge
Dr. Judi Hollis - Food Obsessions
10 Healing Yourself with Acceptance
by Carol Teitelbaum - It Happens to Boys
Darlene Lancer on Codependency
14 Mindfulness Meditation 101
by Courtney Lopresti
15 A Heart Full Of Reverence
by Tom Bliss and Alexandra Katehakis
16 It’s a Matter of Choice
by Denise Krochta
22 Life: Third Time Is A Charm
Dan Sanfellipo - Unlocked for Life
24 Accepting the Unacceptable
by Lori Nelson
26 Dear Petra Questions and Answers
by Petra Hoffmann - Expert Answers about Hep-C and Addiction
28 An Addict By Any Other Name
by Vicki Abelson
30 Easy Does It
by Terra Schaad - Mindfulness
34 PROFILE: London Rebecca Reber
by Nathalie Baret
36 The Fifth Reality: The Wrath Experience
by Susan Jackson - The Seven Realities of the Addicted Family
40 True Recovery
by Michele Downey
42 Acceptance Is As Acceptance Does
by Jim Anders
43 Accepting Acceptance
by Mendi Baron - The Teen Corner
44 Who Are You?
by Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis
45 Writing Your NOW Story
by Nora Slattery
46 A Spiritual Good Time Charlie
by Mark Masserant
48 The Pursuit of Happiness
by Judy Redman
49 How Do We Know We’ve Found Acceptance?
by Michelle Ghirelli
50 Life Shows Up
by Kyczy Hawk
52 Death Diaries for Patients
by Dr. Roneet Lev
53 Someone Amazing
by Roni Askey-Doran
54 Running Around The House Naked
by Suzanne Whang - It’s a WHANGderful Life
5 Letter from the Editor
7 Letter from the Publisher
7 Random Thoughts
11 Metaphorically Speaking
18 Newcomer’s Page
20 Movie Reviews with Leonard Lee Buschel
21 Self Assessment Questions
27 Book Reviews
4 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
37 Resources for Families
38 Reader Contributions
47 Recovery Online
51 We Asked, You Answered
57 Recovery Trivia
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Letter from the Editor
This wonderful word acceptance is one of those enormous
convoluted all-encompassing, yet simple words that
touches every aspect of our lives all of the time. From the
moment we rise each morning, that very first glance at
ourselves in the mirror demands self-acceptance. Without
it, where would we be?
It took me a long time to love and accept that reflection
in the mirror completely and unconditionally. You can
read more about that journey of discovery on page 53.
Self-acceptance is one of the hardest things we face
in recovery. But when we find true acceptance of self,
we also learn that it comes with a wonderful sense of
freedom we never before imagined.
Over the past year, I’ve had to learn to accept numerous
life events that are painful and heart-breaking. The hardest
one is losing my father to Alzheimer’s. His body lives
and breathes, but his mind is gradually being consumed
by this horrible disease. He no longer recognizes the
people who love him the most. The strong capable man I
once worshipped is no longer there. This means, at some
point, I will lose him again .... Regardless of how well
I understand and find ways to accept it, there is nothing
that will prepare me for the heartache to come.
P.O. Box 5677
Oceanside CA 92052
How to Receive Step 12 Magazine
Sign Up for email delivery or Download at:
Pick up a copy at any distribution location
Subscribe for Home Delivery ($18/year) page 36 or online
Acceptance isn’t easy, but without it, how do we go on?
I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season, and
hope that yours is filled with gifts of love and laughter,
that you enjoy the precious time spent with family and
friends, and that each moment is cherished.
3900 Prospect Ave., Suite E
Yorba Lina, Ca. 92886
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 5
The Miracle of Acceptance
by Jami DeLoe
There are no two ways about it; we all wish we could change
some things in our lives. This is especially true of those in
recovery. We wish we could change the past, things we said
or did, even our current circumstances, progress, or feelings.
In recovery, though, we quickly learn that not all things are
changeable. The Serenity Prayer tells us we need to “accept
the things we cannot change,” and we need to—for our sanity,
peace of mind, and emotional sobriety.
Acceptance has played a huge role in my recovery, and I’ve
seen the difference it’s made in the recovery of others. When
we live in denial, we can’t grow and heal, which makes
sobriety even harder than it already is. It makes us feel stuck
and unable to move. But when we live in acceptance, we are
better able to stay sober, live happily, and be fulfilled.
Recovery is a time of continuous learning, bearing with it
many lessons. Sometimes those lessons are absorbed quickly
and easily, but other times they are hard-fought and seem to
take forever. The lesson of acceptance has often been the latter
for me, something I’ve had to work hard for—and sometimes
still have to work hard to maintain. I’ve learned a lot about
acceptance along the way, though, and when I remember the
following things my life is better, my recovery is stronger,
and my outlook is happier.
It is what it is. There are so many things out of our control.
The faster we learn to accept that things are what they are and
they’re just the way they’re supposed to be at the moment,
the faster we will come to know peace. I have to remember
this when life gets me down and I am wishing for different
circumstances; this was very difficult for me in early recovery.
I would see other people who had longer sobriety than me.
They were happy and spiritually fit, and I wanted to be in the
same place. Clearly that wasn’t possible, and I had to learn
to accept my own progress was right where it was supposed
It’s a process. Acceptance doesn’t come all at once. Nothing
could be truer when it came to accepting my past. I wanted
so much for my past to be different—before, during, and
after my active drinking. The fact that I couldn’t change
any of it, no matter how desperately I wanted to, was hard
to swallow, even though the pain of wishing caused much
suffering. Acceptance of my past only came gradually, bit by
6 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
bit, even though I became willing to learn acceptance. I had to
be patient with myself and my recovery, and I had to celebrate
even the tiniest progress.
You don’t have to like it. I really hated it when a therapist said
that to me about acceptance. She explained that acceptance
doesn’t mean you condone what happened to you or you
approve of how you handled it. You don’t have to like the
things you become accepting of, you just have to do it. It
makes perfect sense that letting go of the things that cause
anger, sadness, or regret would improve my life, but it was
still difficult to hear, and equally hard to do.
It’s healing. When you learn to accept the things you cannot
change, some miraculous things happen. You begin to see that
you are able to cope in a healthy way, no matter what life
throws at you. You are able to be mindful—in the present
moment, not regretting the past or worrying about the future.
You can handle stresses that you couldn’t before. You are able
to stop falling into old behaviors that no longer serve you
well. You can deal with strong emotions and develop deeper
relationships with others. You become emotionally sober
and feel optimistic about life. It’s a beautiful and healing
Acceptance in recovery has taught me I can live life on life’s
terms. I don’t have to live at the mercy of my past, and I don’t
have to be overly concerned about the future. I can live here
and now, and know I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
doesn’t mean you
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Letter from the
We’ve Got Mail!
Letters from our Readers
I chose the theme of Acceptance for this issue because
it’s the holiday issue, which makes me think of gifts.
Giving and receiving gifts.
There are gifts under the tree, gifts of family and friends,
gifts of celebration and gifts of thanks. The gifts I had in
mind when selecting the theme are the gifts of recovery.
Accepting the gifts of recovery can be challenging,
because it usually involves change!
As a result, there’s not a lot of holiday content in this
issue. Acceptance is something we live with on a daily
basis—365 days a year. So I want to take a moment to
wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.
No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what
you’re doing, please accept that life has an abundance
of joy for everyone. We simply need to focus on the
blessings more than the challenges and accept the gifts in
whatever form they are presented. I have difficulty with
that sometimes, but with practice, I’m getting better.
My name is Cipriano L.
I am a resident at the FellowShip center in Escondido.
a few weeks ago you dropped off your magazines for
I did not know who you were when I met you that day,
however you still left an impression with me.
I Love your magazine!! I have been in recovery for
6 mos and at the fellowship for 3.
It is very informative, inspiring, and well
I met Ness Ernst at the “Recovery Happens” at Liberty
Station on the 17th of Sept. and praised her on how
I loved all that you all are doing.
I played and sang with the FellowShip band that day.
Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how
Tremendous you are and how blessed we are for having
you in our lives
Send your letters to: karen@Step12magazine.com
Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey
and for being part of mine.
Respectfully and Enthusiastically,
What do people do
with all the extra time
they save by texting ‘K’
instead of ‘OK’??
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 7
Experience, Strength, and Hope
For People Struggling with Food Obsession
Accepting the Challenge
Q: Since we can’t abstain from eating, how does someone
accept ideas of flexibility with food plans?
A: The most common threads are honesty and accountability.
In early recovery, we struggle to accept that the smaller
portions we are expected to eat will sustain us—they seem so
much less than we think are adequate. The rigid food plans
recommended in treatment centers omit most sugars and refined
carbohydrates. Initially, this kind of eating is recommended in
order to get the Newcomer’s attention. When we go through
the process of weighing and measuring our healthy portions,
we see how much excess we had been previously consuming.
This was true for me.
To my relief, this rigidity is not recommended as a lifetime
food plan. That gets worked out with the step-by-step guidance
of a sponsor. Over long periods, as the person changes, their
attitudes and obsession with food also changes so they can
handle some flexibility.
For myself and others, it has been difficult to accept that we
can relax a bit. Most of us are initially scared of that relaxation
but, without trying it, we end up white-knuckling it. So, with
guided practice, we find if we slip into old habits of overeating,
we are able to ease back to the baseline of rigidity for a while.
We eventually approach some kind of normalcy. These ideas
are not to be tried at home alone, but only in consultation with
another recovering person.
Q: When you started losing weight, did you feel recovered?
A: It is very easy to accept the good news of recovery and relish
the compliments and admiration of others, but there are also
some losses. Eventually the accolades and congratulations will
diminish. Your old and new friends will just start expecting you
to be in your new body. Sometimes that will feel like loss and
abandonment. If not addressed and accepted, this could result
in regaining lost weight. Men who are accustomed to having a
commanding larger presence have to accept fitting in with the
crowd in a normal body. They need to seek an internal power
which is actually what true recovery is all about.
Q: How did you adjust to your new body image?
A: We are often so accustomed to seeing a certain image in
the mirror it’s very difficult to accept positive body changes.
After coming down from wearing size eighteen to size ten, I
spent two years buying size twelve pants and taking them to the
tailor for alterations. I had difficulty accepting myself as a size
ten person. I grew up in the Marilyn Monroe era and she wore
size twelve. In those days, size ten was considered skinny, and
that was something I couldn’t accept. It was suggested I try
on a size ten and I started shaking. Accompanied by a helpful,
supportive friend, I tried on the tens and haven’t looked back.
The fit of my jeans continues to be more honest than the view
from my eyes or the talk from my head.
Q: Do you think unconditional self-love and acceptance is
important before true recovery can begin—regardless of
A: Loving yourself is not a requirement for getting started.
Action is! I recommend getting busy doing something and then
later evaluate your feelings about yourself. If we waited until
we felt good about ourselves, many of us would never begin.
Taking action in one area (diet, exercise, mindful eating, loving
kindness) will influence all the other areas.
Love and acceptance of self comes from practicing new
behaviors that make us admire our actions. The deeper feeling
of being comfortable in your own skin and loving yourself
(flaws and all) comes much later.
© 2015 Dr. Judi Hollis is a Licensed Family Therapist, author of several
books and educational materials, motivational speaker, radio and
television expert. Judi would love to hear from you! You can ask Judi
questions and access her materials, at www.judihollis.com or call
8 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from
“Happiness can live only in acceptance.”
~ George Orwell
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to
entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“Acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness, those are
~ Jessica Lange
“Remind yourself that you cannot fail at being
~ Wayne Dyer
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and
only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
~ JK Rowling
Famous Quotes about ... ACCEPTANCE
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself
~ Carl Gustav Jung
“Your need for
make you invisible
in this world ... risk
being seen in all
~ Jim Carrey
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 9
Healing Yourself with Acceptance
by Carol Teitelbaum, MFT
Male survivors are asked to blindly accept the messages
they receive about the requirements for being a real man,
even though those messages cause them pain, loneliness,
isolation, shame, and fear. Some of these messages keep
men from making connections with their own children and
partners. What are those messages? “Be strong, buck up, it
doesn’t hurt, be a man, don’t cry, don’t be vulnerable, don’t
be a sissy or act like a girl, protect yourself and everyone in
your charge.” These messages are conveyed to boys from the
moment they learn language.
These are not healthy messages for men, and we must help
change them in our own homes, communities and schools. So
many parents tell their boys not to cry, or be angry.
It is essential for men to be seen as human beings with
feelings, tears, laughter, anger, sadness and vulnerability, as
well as strength, courage and perseverance.
My group and I speak at middle and high schools helping
teenage boys speak up and release the secrets they have been
carrying around for years. One of the survivors in our group,
who is a manly man often starts shedding tears as he shares
stories about his past relationship with his children. At this
point in his life, the tears are gratitude for his progress and
the current relationship he has with his children. As he is
speaking, someone runs to get him a tissue and we explain,
“When someone in a group setting is getting in touch with
their feelings and shedding tears, please don’t rush for the
tissues. Someone who is crying is in their feeling space, not
thinking much, just feeling. When a tissue is handed over the
unconscious mind interprets that message as: “I should not
be crying or I better stop crying or be able to clearly describe
why I am crying.” Then, they come out of their feelings and
go back into their usual thoughts. What survivors need is a
compassionate listener, someone to validate their experiences.
After we leave a school, we get thank-you cards from the
students and every year we get some that say “Thank you,
Daniel, for showing us what a real man is.”
© Carol Teitlebaum, MFT is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She is also the founder of Creative Change Conferences and It Happens to Boys Program.
She offers free group counseling to men and teen boys who have been sexually abused as children, and a yearly conference bringing well known experts in the field of trauma,
addiction and recovery together creating a two day healing community. For more information go to CreativeChangeConferences.com or call 760-346-4606
One year at our It Happens to Boys Conference, a speaker
asked the audience to name five good things about men. It
was a sad moment. A veil of silence fell over the room for
(and I timed it) two full minutes. Then, a hand shot up in the
back of the room and the young man said, “I know, I know,
Tomas Edison invented the light bulb.” To think, a room full
of 250 people and the only good thing that could be said
about men was an invention?
Let’s work on this as a healing community. Men, I challenge
you to start sharing the positive qualities you have with
others, and say positive things about other men. Women, stop
pumelling your sons with negative be a real man messages.
Men, heal yourselves with acceptance so you can become
positive role models for your sons and daughters.
10 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
By Karen VanDenBerg
It’s not something you see every day in the heavily populated
area of Southern California. However, in more rural parts of
the country, it’s common to be whif-matized by its pungeant,
yet sweet-smelling essence long before you’re close enough
to step in it.
During a brisk walk on a sunny day, my friend was heading
back to her house. She wasn’t alone. She was returning with
a friend after a day at the local farmer’s market. They walked
in the door, put down their packages and my friend promptly
dug out her shovel and headed back out of the gate towards
Her friend asked what she was doing.
“I’m not going to leave those cow-patties in the middle of the
road,” she replied.
So, with shovel in hand, she walked back to the place where
she’d seen the fresh piles of cow dung, scooped them into her
shovel and carried them back to her garden. This metaphor
is more than just “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”
Even when there is shit in the middle of the road, we really
don’t want to acknowledge it. We walk around it. We pretend
it isn’t there. We effectively block it from our view. It goes
to waste. It just ends up festering, rotting, and feasted upon
by mother nature’s amazing ecosystem. But without fail, it is
recycled and reborn as the same shit—different manifestation.
Instead of allowing that to happen, my friend faced the piles
of poop on her journey and she scooped them up and took
ownership of them. After the patties dried out, she broke them
down, split them up into smaller more manageable pieces,
and spread them around her garden. They’ve been processed.
As a direct result of handling the unpleasantness with energy
and purpose, she will have a garden of vegetables rich in
nutrients that will feed her body and soul.
That’s how it seems to work.
When we take care of stinky
messes on our path and see
the potential for new growth
in the aftermath, we blossom.
The next time you come across
some bullshit in the road,
remember … you can either
step in it, step around it, or
scoop it up and put it to good
use. Our gardens can flourish.
Metaphorically Speaking is a regular column in Step 12 Magazine designed to help us connect our spiritual journey to worldly situations. Something to think about.
• Highly Experienced
• Detox/Treatment Services
Leaders in Ethical Recovery
Focused on Healing and New Beginnings
“We deliver QUALITY care because you’re worth it!”
• Family Support
• Case Management
• Sober Transportation
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 11
Codependents often forgive and forget, and continue
to put themselves in harm’s way. They forgive and
then rationalize or minimize their loved one’s abuse
or addiction. This is their denial. They may even
contribute to it by enabling. We should never deny,
enable, or condone abuse.
Real forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget or condone
another’s actions. In fact, we may decide to never
see the person again. Nor does it mean we justify or
play down the hurt caused. When we hold a grudge,
hostility can sabotage our ability to enjoy the present and our
future relationships. It actually has negative health consequences. It
raises blood pressure, impairs digestion, and creates psychological
symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and mental and physical
True forgiveness improves mental and physical functioning. We let
go of resentment, releasing us from obsessive or recurring negative
thoughts and any desire for revenge or that misfortune comes to
the other person. Empathy and understanding help us forgive. We
can then attempt to rebuild trust and may set boundaries around our
partner’s conduct in the future. We’re able to make constructive
changes and move on in peace.
The Timing of Forgiveness
Forgiveness too soon may deny anger needed for change. Justified
anger affirms our self-respect and motivates us to protect ourselves
with appropriate boundaries. It helps us cope with grief and let go. It
can smooth the progress of separation from an abuser.
If we’ve been betrayed or rejected, it’s natural to feel pain. We need
to experience it and cry without self-judgment. We need time to
feel the hurt and loss and to heal. Once, we feel safe and have gone
through the stages of loss, it’s easier to forgive.
Denial can make us forgive too soon or block forgiveness altogether.
Denying, including minimization and rationalization, that someone
is an addict or abuser encourages us to continually accept broken
promises, avoid setting boundaries, or stay in a toxic relationship.
Denying that a loved one isn’t the ideal we want or imagined only
feeds our disappointment and resentment. Accepting reality opens
the door to acceptance and forgiveness.
If forgiveness is withheld too long, it can impede completing the
stages of grief and lead to bitterness. Many codependents are
uncomfortable with feeling or showing anger. Instead, they’re
preoccupied with resentment and replay negative scripts and events
in their minds. Resentment can disappear when we give ourselves
permission to allow our feelings of anger and sadness to flow.
Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, and an expert on relationships and codependency. Contact Darlene directly at email@example.com or
follow her blogs on www.whatiscodependency.com, also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/darlene.lancer, and on Twitter: @DarleneLancer.
12 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
How to Forgive
It takes conscious reflection, a decision, and often prayer to let go
and forgive. The following are some suggestions:
• Be sure to work through the stages of grief.
• Keep in mind that forgiveness relieves you of pain. It’s medicine
• Think about the ways that resentment negatively holds you back
and affects your life.
• Consider your contribution to the situation.
• Try to see the person’s behavior and attitude from his or her
point-of-view in the context of their life experience. Did he or she
intentionally try to hurt you? In other words, develop empathy, but
this doesn’t justify abuse or mean you should forget they’re capable
of repeating it.
• Praying for the other person is effective.
Sometimes we must forgive ourselves before we’re ready to forgive
someone else. We often blame others when we feel guilty. We can
hold onto resentment to avoid accepting responsibility for our
actions or to avoid feeling guilty. Although it’s important to reflect
upon and take responsibility for our contribution to the problem, we
need to forgive ourselves for any part we played. It may be harder to
forgive ourselves than someone else.
Reconciliation may or may not follow forgiveness. Sometimes, we
must clearly recognize that the person we care about won’t change.
Letting go of unrealistic expectations sets the stage for acceptance of
reality. We may decide to continue the relationship on less intimate
terms or with different boundaries that protect you.
The other person might not be willing to forgive us. Other people’s
anger hurts them, and our anger hurts us. Remember that forgiveness
increases our integrity and peace of mind. It heals the cracks in our
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Earn up to 28 hours of continuing education hours
The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference
at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport Hotel February 2 - 5, 2017
FEBRUARY 2 - 5, 2017
A monthly magazine dedicated to those
helping people to help themselves
to a better quality of life.
Magazine for Long-Term Healthy Lifestyles of Recovery
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 13
Think about the word meditation.
What do you see?
Mindfulness Meditation 101
by Courtney Lopresti, M.S.
Maybe you picture a dark room. Incense. People sitting crosslegged,
clearing their minds of all earthly worries. Maybe you
think about highly trained monks, the kind who are so adept
at the task they can change their body temperature.
Thankfully, meditation isn’t nearly as complex—or intense—
as popular culture might suggest. Not only can anyone
meditate, but researchers have found that mindfulness
meditation can help people combat mental illness, addiction
and even chronic pain.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation has nothing to do with clearing your
mind and everything to do with listening to what your mind
has to tell you. Specifically, mindfulness meditation involves
focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting
each thought or sensation without judgment.
Headspace, a digital meditation service, likens mindfulness
meditation to watching cars speed down the highway.
Each car represents a thought or emotion, whether positive
(relaxation, happiness, food) or negative (sadness, anxiety,
pain). Our automatic response is to run into this metaphoric
traffic to chase down all the positive cars and stop all the
negative cars; an exhausting if not impossible task. During
mindfulness meditation, the goal is to watch each car drive
by, acknowledge the thought or feeling attached to that car,
and let it continue on its way.
Why is mindfulness meditation good for you?
People who practice mindfulness meditation often report
they feel more engaged with the world around them. They
also report a decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms,
instead finding they are able to more easily cope with adverse
These benefits are more than anecdotal. Researchers from
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted
an extensive, quantitative analysis on forty-seven trials which
studied the effect of meditation on the brain. All of the studies
were rigorously conducted and contained no visible bias.
From their analysis, the researchers found that mindfulness
meditation can significantly reduce the severity of
psychological stressors including anxiety, depression and
“Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can
result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative
dimensions of psychological stress,” wrote the researchers.
14 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
What makes mindfulness so good for you? Some experts
believe that the benefits arise from being able to accept the
negatives in life without judgment. For instance, people who
struggle with addiction may agonize over their drug cravings,
wondering if a relapse is imminent or if they don’t deserve
sobriety. With mindfulness meditation, it becomes easier to
see drug cravings for what they are: an unpleasant sensation
that won’t last forever.
How do you meditate?
Mindfulness meditation requires no special equipment, nor
does it require an ability to sit still. You don’t need to clear
your mind, change your heart rate or purchase any special
incense. All you need to do is practice.
• Find a quiet, calm environment and sit down. If you want,
you can close your eyes, but you don’t need to.
• Focus on your breathing. How does the air feel when it
flows through your nostrils? How much does your stomach
move with each inhale and exhale?
• If you lose concentration, gently redirect your thoughts back
to your breathing.
• With time, expand your focus from your breath to the rest
of your body. Can you feel how your body rests on the chair
or ground beneath you? Can you feel your tongue in your
• Try to avoid judging any thoughts or sensations. Experience
them, acknowledge them, and then let them drive down the
road away from you.
Meditation can seem frightening, especially at first—it’s
not easy to sit alone with your own thoughts. With practice,
however, mindfulness meditation can help you live a calmer,
less anxious life. Try spending just ten minutes today being a
little more mindful. You won’t regret it.
Courtney Lopresti, M.S., is a senior staff writer for Sovereign Health, where she uses her scientific background to write online blogs and articles for a general audience. Contact
the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Sovereign Health, visit www.sovhealth.com
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
A Heart Full Of Reverence
by Tom Bliss & Alexandra Katehakis
excerpted from Mirror of Intimacy
To have a heart full of reverence for all that exists is the secret
principle of acceptance. And acceptance is an infinite loop: if you
revere life, you can accept reality; and only when you accept reality
can you revere life. You must jump right in to this acceptance loop,
but it’s not that hard. In fact, it’s impossible to take your deepest
breath and refuse life in that same moment.
Acceptance is objective empathy—the belief
that everything that is deserves to exist or
it would never have come into being. So
even before our choice, discrimination, and
intention come into play, we must practice
acceptance. A first step is to acknowledge that
there are no good people and no bad people;
there are only people whose experiences
taught them to cope the best they can.
But acceptance doesn’t mean approval,
advocacy, indulgence, or submission. We
don’t let the universe toss us into the tide of
another’s creed or being which may be hateful
and damaging to us. Acceptance simply
ushers into our awareness what already exists. And by affirming the
livingness of others, we spring to life.
The result of acceptance is connection to your world, which allows
a connection to the very center of your most secret self. This linkage
frees your ability for deeper experience and feeling. It invites your
self-awareness to help you enter into a co-regulated partnership with
another that may contain preference patterns and arousal templates
different from your own. Acceptance is a precursor to the most potent
intimacy, and acts as a lightning rod for sexual ignition, because the
cosmically connected, overflowing energy
in your body is evident to attuned others.
Through the widening empathy engendered
by ever-greater acceptance, you overflow to
feel your lover feeling your own overflowing
Daily Healthy Sex Acts
Who accepts you unconditionally? Do you
accept yourself? Think of all the moments
when someone’s acceptance affected your
life. We may not approve of everyone, but we
can accept and love people unconditionally
as others have loved us despite our faults.
Accept yourself. Accept your life. Accept
your feelings and fate. Today, walk in the world with loving
acceptance of all you perceive. Know that there is a greater meaning
beyond the superficial veil of existence, and that acceptance for
all that is, despite our biases and inherited narratives, is the key to
greater perception of that meaning.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 15
It’s a Matter of Choice
by Denise Krochta
The other day, I was visiting with a friend whom I hadn’t seen for
almost a year. I told her I was about to write an article on acceptance.
Without hesitation she said, “Life-changing.”
Acceptance. What a concept! This is something we humans often
have great difficulty understanding. We like to feel we have influence
on everything and everyone in our lives. It’s our right and our duty.
As one who has loved numerous addicts and alcoholics most of my
adult life, I can tell you that acceptance didn’t enter my realm of
thought for a very long time. Speaking for myself (although I know
I represent thousands of loved ones everywhere), addiction in my
family was not acceptable and I was going to do everything in my
power to make sure it was gone from our family as soon as possible.
It wasn’t until I realized how little power I really had with this issue,
did I begin to think about the concept of acceptance. I spent the
majority of my time trying to figure out how to change others and
make them see things my way—the right way, of course. It was a
difficult lesson to learn and it took a long time, but I did finally get
that I could have spent my time much more wisely.
It was not a matter of just accepting others and their choices,which
is a very difficult thing to do, it was more than that. It was also
releasing judgements, and understanding that everyone is unique
and their perspectives are often different than ours.
In my world, I can offer two very specific examples of how being
able to accept who people are and how what is was life-changing
I have a loved one who has been in my life forever . Her life choices
were unacceptable to me. For a long time, any time I had to be
around her or make decisions regarding her, my body would tense,
my stomach would get queasy, and I projected all kinds of bad things
to happen. It totally affected my physiology and temperament. After
I learned and embraced the concept of acceptance and stopped
trying to get her to be someone I wanted her to be, all that stopped.
She did not change. I changed. My time spent with her these days
are pleasant, enjoyable, and not about me. I choose to accept who
she is and appreciate the best parts of her.
My second example is something that many of us loved ones will
relate to. When we discover addiction in our world, we often feel
guilt that we’ve done something to cause this. Even when we know
deep down inside this is probably not the case, that thought often
stays in the back of our minds. We are embarrassed to share our
troubles and often suffer in silence. When I released my book to
help people with tools and strategies to cope with loving an addict,
two major things happened to me. First, people who had been
keeping the same secret came and thanked me for the tools and also
for giving them someone to talk to who would not judge them. They
felt accepted. It was life-changing for some of them.
“It was life-changing
for some of them.“
The other thing that happened was that I received letters and emails
from people telling me what a bad parent I must have been to have
a child who had trouble with substance abuse. At first each letter
pushed me back into the mode of guilt. After over six years of writing
on the topic of loving those with mental health and substance use
and misuse issues, hosting my radio show with experts on the topic,
and advocating for this population, I’d like to say I am secure in
what I do and why I do it. But, just this week I ran into a situation
which had a very surprising effect on me and made me wonder
about my ability to embrace the concept of acceptance. Someone
very close to me was questioned by a family member whom he
loves dearly, why he would want to associate with someone like
me, who has addiction in the family. Momentarily, it took me back
to when I first got those letters. I realize now how important it is to
accept ourselves first and foremost, without judgement, to be able
to truly move on .... Life-changing!
Denise, who has dealt with addicts in her family most of her adult life, moved into crisis mode when she discovered that her teenage son was addicted to prescription drugs
along with alcohol and street drugs. Hers is a story of discovery and recovery. Her career in International business took her to places around the globe where meeting people
and learning their values and traditions has become an integral part of her life. Websites: www.addictsfamilylifeline.com and www.denisekrochta.com
16 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 17
Reducing Stress with
the “Acceptance Button”
by Kristin Wilhite, HHP
We all have buttons easily accessed by our loved ones. Imagine
if we had a button giving instant acceptance of what is that
initiates a calm response—no defensive or attacking reactions,
no hate, no drama, just the willingness to see things for what
they are and then act in a healthy way for you and your family.
Growing up in a culture where people had a difficult time
letting go of things not working out their way left me feeling
guilty and ashamed when I didn’t take the path my parents
choose for me. I felt I was a disappointment to my parents.
As I have gotten older and studied holistic health care, I’ve
realized the importance of not carrying guilt and shame. For
years, I have worked diligently to create inner peace, healthy
perspectives and lifestyle. Why? Because I want to be healthy,
positive and HAPPY!
In June, Orlando, FL faced a horrific shooting. I believe if we
are better able to accept each other’s differences, ourselves,
and our children as they are, there would be less hurt. No
matter what the motivation of the gunman’s attack, had he
grown up in a loving household where he was taught to respect
himself and others, would he have been driven to commit such
a heinous act?
Lack of acceptance leads us into inner conflict, frustration,
anger and self-destruction. I have seen children raised with
inner conflicts due to cultural differences. It is up to parents to
assimilate, then help their children integrate, not just expect
their children to cope with the traditions of the past.
aDon’t Take That First Drink or Drug
aMake Plenty of Meetings
aHang out with People in Recovery
aFocus on the Positive
aTalk about your Feelings
Having witnessed the sadness my family experienced from
not knowing how to accept what is, I became an overaccepter.
Resentment, emotional pain, resistance, and lack of
forgiveness nearly tore my family apart. I am an empath, I felt
it all—no matter how much my parents thought they could
shelter me from it. My tolerance for unhealthy behavior led
me into many experiences I wish I’d never had. In my adult
life, I have chosen to learn tools to forgive, accept, connect,
nurture, communicate, and not be co-dependent! Of course,
these experiences taught me a lot, including how not to do it.
Putting up with abuse never served my highest good. It only
served the part of me that wanted to perpetuate my guilt,
resentment, anger and pain. I made a conscious decision to
stop cause and change! I say this solely because I want you
to know, just like happiness is a choice, so is living with
negativity and self-destruction.
At this point in my life, I am careful with who I allow into my
circle and how I go about my day. I choose to be conscious of
my actions, my words, my energy and how I treat others.
There is great value in honoring that there is more than one
method to get from Point A to Point B. My husband and I do
things differently. If I judged him for how he does it differently,
there would be unnecessary drama in our lives. I have seen this
kind of drama drive people to the demise of their marriage.
It’s important that we accept each other’s unique way we do
things. Rarely are we ever going to think alike, and when we
do—it sure is entertaining. But when we don’t, we look to
honor each other’s ways.
The more we can allow others to be themselves, the more they
will feel confident in knowing we trust them, which is the
foundation of respect, and ultimately LOVE.
Kristin Wilhite, HHP is the Owner/Founder of www.SustainableHolistic.com DBA
Progressive Holistic Living: Providing Professional Holistic Health Care Since 1995. Check
out her online class “Put the Happy in the Holidays” To Relieve your Holiday Blues. Info:
aBeware of People, Places, & Things
aTake One Day at a Time
aAsk Higher Power for Help
aStay out of “Your Head”
aMove a Muscle, Change a Thought
aRead the Literature
18 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
NO MATTER THE ADDICTION,
YOU CAN RECOVER. MFI CAN HELP.
Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Addiction
Specializing in Suboxone ® and Vivitrol anti-addiction medication
for long term sobriety, as well as alcohol and opiate detox treatment.
MFI Recovery provides the following:
RESIDENTIAL AND OUTPATIENT TREATMENT
TEEN SUBSTANCE USE COUNSELING I SPECIALIZED WOMEN’S PROGRAMS
MARITAL FAMILY AND CHILD COUNSELING I PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES
866.218.4697 OR WWW.MFIRECOVERY.COM
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 19
with Leonard Lee Buschel
The Girl On The Train
and possessive, although Tom also looks a bit clenched. Not as
clenched as Kamal (Edgar Ramírez), however, who is Megan’s
superhot shrink. Rachel will later enroll as a patient of Kamal’s.
Stay with me here. It so happens that Rachel, who is obsessed
with her ex, takes a twice-daily train ride that passes the house
where Tom and Anna live. One day, she—Rachel, not Anna—
sees, or thinks she sees, a woman with blond hair, who could be
Megan, although she might be mistaken for Anna, kissing a man
with dark hair, who could be Scott, Tom, Kamal, or possibly the
FedEx delivery guy, on a balcony. Faced with this devastating
evidence, she, Rachel, becomes a sleuth, teaming up, slightly
unwisely, with Scott, who believes, slightly wrongly, that she is
a friend of Megan’s. So (1), who beds whom? (2) Who doesn’t?
(3) Who gets whacked? (4) Why can’t Rachel mind her own
business? (5) Frankly, who gives a damn.”
Last stop, end of the line.
I love trains. I love girls. So why did I find, The Girl on the
Train to be such a wreck? Maybe if I took more trains, Amtrak,
Southern Pacific or the Orient Express, I would have had more
time to have read the best-selling book, The Girl on the Train.
Then, I might have been able to let this runaway failure go by
without having to board this boring Hollywood—let’s a make
buck without caring about a good script—adaption.
I’m not sure if it was a thriller, a mystery, or a film about a woman
who loves to drink alcohol all the time. I’m not sure what the
story was about. I’m not even sure who the story was about.
And it wasn’t clear why anyone did anything to each other, or
themselves. Oh yes, I think there might have been a child in the
film, possibly an important part of the narrative.
The film seemed more intent on putting me to sleep, rather than
putting me in coach or business class where a conductor could
come by every fifteen minutes and explain the plot.
Maybe I’m not being fair to this ride that should refund my fare.
So I’ll let Anthony Lane, my collegue over at the New Yorker
enlighten you a little more.
He writes, “Here is an introduction to The Girl on the Train.
Listen carefully, and answer the questions that follow. Rachel
(Emily Blunt) used to be married to Tom (Justin Theroux), but
Tom had an affair with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), who is now
his wife. He and Anna have a baby, whose nanny is named
Megan (Haley Bennett). Megan looks a bit like Anna. She—
Megan, not Anna—lives with Scott (Luke Evans), who is creepy
Leonard Buschel is the Founder and Director of REEL Recovery Film Festival. See the
website at: www.reelrecoveryfilmfestival.org.
12-Step Program for Couples
Recovering from Dysfunctional
Patterns of Communication
20 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
For You or a Loved One
One of the oldest and most time tested dependency evaluation
tools for chemical dependency has its origins from the
Johnson Institute of Minneapolis. Many variations exist, but
the basic questions are as follows:
1. Has anyone ever suggested you quit or cut back on your
drug/alcohol use? Y / N
2. Has drinking or using affected your reputation? Y / N
3. Have you made promises to control your drinking or
using and then broken them? Y / N
4. Have you ever switched to different drinks or drugs or
changed your using pattern in an effort to control or
reduce your consumption? Y / N
5. Have you ever gotten into financial, legal, or relationship
difficulties due to drinking or using? Y / N
6. Have you ever lost time from work because of drinking or
using? Y / N
7. Have you ever sneaked or hidden your use? Y / N
8. On occasion, do you feel uncomfortable if alcohol or your
drug is not available? Y / N
9. Do you continue drinking or using when friends or family
suggest you have had enough? Y / N
10. Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed about your drinking
or using or what you did while under the influence? Y /
11. Has your efficiency decreased as a result of your drinking
or using? Y / N
12. When using or drinking, do you neglect to eat properly?
Y / N
13. Do you use or drink alone? Y / N
14. Do you use or drink more than usual when under pressure,
angry, or depressed? Y / N
15. Are you able to drink or use more now without feeling it,
compared to when you first started using? Y / N
16. Have you lost interest in other activities or noticed a
decrease in your ambition as a result of your drinking or
using? Y / N
17. Have you had the shakes or tremors following heavy
drinking or using or not using for a period of time Y/ N
18. Do you want to drink or use at a particular time each day?
Y / N
19. Do you go on and off the wagon? Y / N
20. Is drinking or using jeopardizing your job? Y / N
Three or more “yes” answers suggest that you should more
closely evaluate your drug and or alcohol use. Call for help
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 21
UNLOCKED For Life
Life: Third Time Is A Charm
The most thought-provoking messages
are often delivered in the most
unexpected ways. I am compelled to
share some recent insights prompted
by a television show season finale!
My girl and I were sitting in front of the T.V., watching the last
episode in the latest season of Game Of Thrones. It’s a popular
show, and we find it entertaining. For readers who aren’t
familiar with the series, here’s a very brief synopsis: Jon Snow
is one of the primary characters in a show about territorial wars,
thrones, and kingdoms set in Medieval times.
In this season-ending episode, Jon Snow was killed! He was
brought back to life so he could fight in another bloody battle.
Understandably, he began to ponder his purpose. He thought
maybe he was brought back to life just so he could die again in
this final battle. However, he did survive.
As we sat contemplating the meaning of his revival my girl
said, “What do you think it’s like to be in that guy’s shoes; to be
dead and then brought back to life, only to be wondering what
your purpose is and why you’re there?”
It didn’t take long to answer that question. I have a really good
sense of exactly what it’s like to be dead and brought back to
life. I said, “It’s awesome!”
I’m on my third life right now. My first life was my childhood.
The time-frame is a little different for everyone. That first life of
mine, lasted until my first serious trauma. The innocence of my
childhood died, and the birth of my second life began.
Life number two lasted the better part of thirty years. I only
refer to it as a life because I was breathing, had a heartbeat, and
was still above ground. However, my soul was in darkness. My
life consisted of drinking, using drugs, smoking, going to jail,
prison, etc. I was comfortable living to numb my pain and my
life revolved around the next conquest.
Sadly, it is common to meet people in recovery who have
experienced some major trauma in their childhood which
casts darkness over their lives and puts a stranglehold on their
soul. So many people in the prison system have fallen victim
to an innocence-killing event (whether real or imagined) that
fractured their life and identity.
In recovery, I’ve been reborn into my third life. After walking
around dead inside for decades, I found a way to a better life
that feels fresh, new, and purposeful. At the age of thirty-nine,
I put down the drugs, alcohol, and criminal behavior in search
of something more meaningful and, as a result, I was brought
back to life—like Jon Snow. And like Jon Snow, I came back
to fight some battles! The demons I fight today are old habits,
old thought patterns, unwillingness to feel discomfort, and
self-centered motivation. Like Jon Snow, I have survived those
battles following my rebirth.
It’s an amazing feeling to recognize my opportunity to do
things differently. I build new relationships with love rather
than fear. I support myself through hard work and honest pay
rather than taking what I want out of jealousy and entitlement.
I help people because I have the means, not because I expect
them to repay me. I live a clean life.
It took a fictional television show where some guy came back
from the dead to fight a battle with a whole new perspective for
me to really understand that I’m not dead anymore. There are
still battles, but I don’t have to fight alone, and the rewards are
If I had made a list of everything I expected to gain in the first
four years of my new life, I would have completely shortchanged
myself. By being clean/sober and working the twelve
steps, having a new spiritual relationship with my higher power,
I’ve been given a new life.
This new life is available to anyone. A willingness to be
temporarily uncomfortable is the key to unlock a life more
exciting and rewarding than most can imagine.
Written by K.VanDenBerg based on interviews with D. Sanfellipo
© Dan Sanfellipo received his education in the California State Penal system from the age of 13. A trauma survivor, author of the upcoming book “Unlocked for Life” and founder of support
and coaching program of the same name, Dan is a practicing member of 12-step recovery and an international competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Dan has dedicated his energy, experience,
strength and hope to helping men and women find lasting freedom—from poverty, restriction, stigma, addiction, despair and prison. Dan can be reached at Dan@unlockedforlife.com
22 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
(Legislative Day Included)
Hilton Arden West in Sacramento
Let it go!
Free yourself to
accept the gifts
Sheraton Park Hotel at the
Anaheim Resort, Anaheim
Coming to Visalia, Summer 2017
Venue and dates coming soon!
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 23
Accepting the Unacceptable
Acceptance. We preach it. We read about it. We pretend
it. The thing is, sooner or later, we will all reach it.
Acceptance. Even if it’s your last day on earth (you’ll
be accepting then, won’t you?) the time will eventually come
when there will be no other choice than to throw in the towel,
wave the white flag—whatever your personal signal will be—
finally resigned that the unacceptable can only be dealt with by
making it acceptable.
Part of being a human being comes with the uncomfortableness
of being a human being. What we don’t like or appreciate
about others, we’ve got in ourselves. “If you spot it, you’ve
got it,” sounds the chorus of chaotic addicts in meeting rooms
everywhere. We wouldn’t recognize any flaws (or angelic
attributes, for that matter) in others if we didn’t also have
them within ourselves—to do, say, be, or act that way too. It
wouldn’t bother us, unless, well, it bothers us. Acceptance.
Oddly, we willingly accept in others what we won’t accept in
ourselves. Someone acts crazy; we laugh, we forgive. We act
crazy; a shame spiral ensues. Another person falls; we feel bad
for them. We fall; we feel guilty or angry. Someone else is a
mess; poor them. We are a mess; apologize and make amends.
Why the different standards? Where is the acceptance for us,
for them, for all, for the past, the future, the forever …?
Part of us always knows that, in the end, acceptance will be
the only option. Yet we fight until that end, thinking the fight
will potentially change the outcome. It won’t. And how many
times do we need to test this theory to learn the flow of only
two things: Now. Next. That’s it. That’s all we’ve got. Now
So where do we go from here?
Even as you’re reading this, you’re nodding inside. Yeah,
that’s right. Thanks, Lori. I’ll need to remember that. But,
being human, you won’t. You’ll still struggle. You’ll still
flounder and flop and fight against instincts, other people,
governments, traffic, mounting bills, unsatisfied yearnings,
poor food choices, weather (weather! For goodness sake—as
if you could do a thing about it!), your kids, your loved ones,
your parents (that particular battle is universally acceptable),
neighbors, and on and on and on. To be first is sometimes to
be last—like the first person into an elevator will be the last to
leave. And sometimes last is first. There is no fair. And there is
no fairy tale to explain why life fails each of us along our own
When we plant a garden, we accept what grows and what dies.
Only two tomatoes this year doesn’t mean next year won’t
bring a bountiful harvest of twenty-two tomatoes. It should be
the same way with all of life. We sow and we reap. We accept.
It won’t always be predictable or perfect. Sometimes surprises
astound us with joyful resonance; other times the unthinkable
happens just as we recover from the last intolerable dilemma.
Be a boat. Learn to go with the flow, coast the waves, rock
unsteady, accept the gusts of perpetual winds that propel you
into Now or Next. No sense to linger in looking back, because
you are not going that way.
Yes, sooner or later, we all come to acceptance. Don’t let it
leave you bitter. Be better. Don’t try. Do. Don’t should on
yourself, or should on anyone else.
Simply accept. It’s easier that way, and yes, Scarlett, tomorrow
is another day. There will be another chance to get it right. Or
not. Either way … Next?
© Lori Nelson is an author, speaker, educator, and an international “edutainer”
aboard cruise ships. She occasionally blogs at anotherloristory.
blogspot.com. Find Lori on Facebook. Torture: Broken Foot, Shattered
Soul, is available on Amazon, or email Lori at anotherloristory@gmail.
com. Lori lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Lori Nelson
24 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
• Workshops on the 12-Steps
• Emotional Sobriety
• Sober Social Networking
with Author and Spiritual Teacher Herb K.
December 4-11, 2016
Reserve Your Spot Today
with In This Life Custom
(per person dbl/occ)
Cruising on The Norwegian Dawn Includes
• Freestyle Cruising
• 15 Dining Options
• Shore Excursions
• World Class Accommodations
Herb K. is an author
and spiritual teacher
who leads Twelve-
Step workshops and
retreats around the
world sharing his
from his personal
New Orleans, LA
Costa Maya Mexico Roatan Honduras Harvest Caye Belize
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 25
Expert answers to your questions about Hep C and Addiction
Generic Hep C Treatment
Dear Petra: I am one of the millions of people unable to
afford the new Hep C treatment. It still blows my mind how
our country (not 3rd world either) can allow us to die due
to lack of funding and greedy pharmaceutical companies!!!
I keep hearing and reading about generic treatments, being
muled or shipped out of India. My questions is: How legal is
this route, and how do I know they are not just sugar pills!?
Dear Answer-Seeker: Great question! As a charity, we have
been approached by many sellers to promote this underground
Buyers Club. We have also been confused but, to err on the
side of caution, we have reached out and are working with
partnering organizations to eradicate this utter confusion. We
are working on helping to provide more detailed consumer
information going forward. I would suggest that if one were
to receive these meds, take them to a local pharmacist to have
Hepatitis C and the Flu Shot?
Dear Petra: I am enduring a crazy inner dialogue about
whether or not I should get the flu shot. I have to tell you
that I am not comfortable with it, nor do I trust the system.
How important is it that I get it, considering my hepatitis C
Dear Inner Dialogue: Just in the United States, more than
2.7 million people are infected with hepatitis C, though
most who are (upwards of 75%) don’t know it. Being one of
those infected, you are at risk of flu complications including
worsening of your underlying liver condition, pneumonia,
bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections. Now, on
a personal level, I feel the same way you do, but when I
still had the disease myself, and especially when I was on
the treatment (when my immune system was even more
compromised,) I made the difficult decision to get the shot.
Perhaps have a good sit down with your doctor to understand
I’m a “Dabbler!”
Dear Petra: I am an active, seventeen year old, normal
teenager. I hope my parents never find out, but I do play
around with various drugs from time to time. My friends
say they are not worried at all that they may turn into drug
addicts. I kinda think the same thing, as I only dabble and
use once in a while. Can you tell me what you believe? Can I
become a full fledged addict?
Dear Dabbler: I am so glad you have the courage to write
in and ask. I hope you share this with your friends as well.
I myself was a dabbler with cocaine for many many years.
Before I knew what hit me, I finally came to the realization
that I was no longer just dabbling! This subsequently turned
into many more years of being caught in the fires of hell,
putting my daughter and family through misery (even though
they had no idea I was using.) The truth is, I emotionally
abandoned my daughter and also other family members
and close friends, even though at the time I thought I was
only hurting myself. It is a long road to recovery, so my best
advice is that you knock it off immediately! Nine times out of
ten … dabbling leads to agonizing addiction.
Dear Petra: I found you online and think you are great! I have
a question regarding my teenage boys. How exactly can I tell
if they are drug or alcohol addicts or not? I know they drink
and use some drugs (although they try to deny it), but I can
always tell by the way they behave. Does that mean they are
Dear Worried: The fear as a parent here is that the younger
they are, the more likely they will become addicted. There
are also DNA/hereditary factors involved. Does addiction
run in yours or your spouse’s family? Also, has there been
any trauma in their childhood? I believe very strongly that
all addiction is rooted in past trauma, without exception. It
sounds to me if you are even asking the question, then there
must already be cause for concern? I would suggest it is time
to sit them down at a family meeting and address the issue
Hepatitis C is a growing Global Pandemic!
1 in 12 people have viral hepatitis worldwide.
© 2016 Petra aka Petrabilities is a Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Card Reader, Speaker, Author and CEO of #HepCGI . Being an expert in her field and specializing in addictions, Petra is
here to answer all your questions and concerns. Please send your questions anonymously via the contact form at www.Petrabilities.com or http://hepcgi.wix.com/hepcgi
26 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Writers In Treatment Presents
The following book reviews are
honest IMPRESSIONS of these
newly released titles.
Grab a copy and see if you agree...
These are not “paid” reviews.
Do you have any recommendations for
books about recovery? Get in touch!
Making Peace with Suicide
A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort
by Adele Ryan McDowell
5240 Lankershim Blvd.
No. Hollywood, CA 91601
CALL FOR A FREE 7-DAY PASS
Author Adele R. McDowell combines
practical guidance with spirituality
and a deep understanding of pain
and grief, and trauma and its impact.
Adele has packed every aspect of
losing a loved one to suicide into a
single insightful, meaningful edition
which should be read again and again.
Personal accounts of those who have attempted
suicide, sometimes multiple times, from people
who have leaned over the edge of the abyss but
didn’t jump, show us how moving away from
suicidal tendencies requires conscious choice and
deliberate action. Adele helps readers understand
the complex factors involved when people choose
to take their own lives, making it abundantly clear
that society needs to find better ways to talk about
and understand why people become so desperate
to escape that they choose to end their own lives.
in the Twelve Steps
by Darlene Lancer
“In working the steps, you become
teachable and begin to see yourself
realistically—the good and bad, strong
and weak, and in true relationship
to others,” therapist Darlene Lancer
explains. She examines each of the
Twelve Steps and describes in detail
how each should be practiced in
order to achieve a spiritual awakening. Focused
on drug addiction and codependent relationships,
one of the book’s best features is that there is
plenty of help for codependent individuals. At the
end of each step, there is a list of questions, each
of which guides the reader during those first
tentative steps towards a journey of self-inquiry
and discovery. It’s a great resource manual for
anyone (addict, codependent, friend or family)
seeking a meaningful life-change.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 27
An Addict By Any Other Name
by Vicki Ableson
You can’t turn a pickle into a cucumber. I’ve always
been an addict. This is how I stay sober.
Yesterday I didn’t enjoy a beautiful opportunity, or
have the appropriate gratitude for its bounty. I focused on my
frustration over things that I’m powerless over. I needed to
make a different choice … trust … find my faith … and know
that everything will be all right. I have tools. Not everyone is
as lucky ….
Recent events are a stunning reminder of what can happen if I
ever forget that I am, and always will be, an addict.
“That morphine drip was like
being in a velvet body Snuggie—
with Sting—having tantric sex,
whilst he sang Sister Moon
gently in my ear.”
When I like something, I want more of it, and I want it now.
That pretty much means anything and everything. When I was
a kid, it was too much TV, candy, and boys. I can remember
being four and having a mad crush on an unavailable toddler.
Okay, he was six, but that’s not funny. Neither was my
obsession. At four? There’s something not quite right about
In my teens, it was cigarettes and pot. Then came the three
C’s: coffee, Cheetos, and Coke, diet, of course. The calorie
savings were needed to compensate for the aforementioned
cheese curls, chips, and carbs in general—the low fiber kind.
There was LSD, and more boys. Almost always, the “bad
ones.” It was all sprinkled generously with Boone’s Farm,
and topped with a Quaalude or three.
In college, I played marathon sessions of poker, pinochle, and
Risk—till the coke ran out—the other kind. There was also
Boodles gin, and again with the boys. Oh, those nasty boys!
Post university, I graduated to playing Ms. Pac Man and
Donkey Kong till the wee hours of the morning, when it
was just me and the scary crackheads in the arcade. My own
coke usage amped up, I ate cold pizza ‘round the clock, and
developed a taste for fine wine and cognac. Interestingly, just
about the only thing I wasn’t constantly craving was booze.
I compensated for that with a fixation on an alcoholic who
thought of little else.
28 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Marijuana eventually brought me to my knees. That
sometimes amuses people. “Let me know when you have a
real problem.” Wikipedia defines addiction as “the continued
repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences.” I’m
tired of debating whether pot qualifies. It does for me. I can’t
smoke it like a lady, or a gentleman. I know that if I take one
hit, I’ll be off and running. 24/7. There’s not a doubt in my
There were still ashtrays on restaurant tables when I quit
smoking cigarettes. I gave up weed more than a decade ago.
In both instances, removing the substances from my life, and
white knuckling it, was made possible thanks to self-righteous
indignation. But, I was still a vulnerable, miserable addict.
Once I got into recovery a whole different deal started to
happen. It was no longer just about not doing something,
I became painfully aware of the crap I was doing. I’m
intolerant, impatient, and unrelenting—high maintenance and
exhausting. Control and perfectionism drive me.
Years of therapy hadn’t solved it. I learned how to work
through situations but I didn’t have a clue how to change my
reactions or alter my perceptions. Working the steps took me
in and made me look around. It was dark in there, really dark.
The program brought light.
continued on page 29
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
continued from page 28
I’ve abstained from substances and addressed the root causes
of my addiction but, once an addict …. I still act out and the
computer became my drug of choice; Facebook is my favorite
brand. It won’t kill me—in many ways it feeds me—but it’s
the way I do it. The compulsion is running the show.
I went from always being early to being chronically late. I’ve
whiled away more hours the Facebook homepage than I can
bear to think about. But I use it for my work; it continues to
be directly responsible for the path of my success. It’s also the
source of my social life to an enormous degree. When I look
at where my life is now, little of it would be possible without
Facebook. I attempt to use the force for good, but moderation
has never been my strong suit. I challenge myself daily to get the
hell off more often. Some days I’m more successful than others.
I can be disciplined doing what needs to be done, but I still
can’t control my obsessions with anything I like unless I
humbly seek assistance. Constantly. I’m not a love junkie any
more. That’s something.
I have a sponsor, sponsees, a program, and a higher power.
I go to meetings and check in with friends. If not for those
things, yesterday, I well might have used. It’s not for lack
of willpower, nor a choice. My brain is hotwired differently.
I require vigilance, and will for the rest of my days. I’m an
addict. I know I said that before ad nauseum. I think it bears
repeating—again and again and again. My disease wants me
to forget. It fucks with me constantly. I can’t think myself
right. I can only do the right thing with a shitload of help.
I never stuck a needle in my arm, they scared me too much,
thank God. In my early twenties I had surgery and was sliced
open. I was given morphine to ease the pain. It’s been thirty
years, but I can remember the feeling as if it were yesterday. It
was the most euphoric sensation I’ve ever known, even more
than falling in love, or meeting my babies. Now that’s scary!
I remember saying aloud to myself, “Now I understand.”
I’ve heard heroin and its derivatives described as feeling like
a warm blanket. For me, that morphine drip was like being
in a velvet body Snuggie—with Sting—having tantric sex,
whilst he sang Sister Moon gently in my ear, pausing only to
tell me how smart, funny, beautiful, sexy and skinny I was, as
he shot-gunned a bowl of ganja through a perfect kiss, while
feeding me potato chips with Chubby Hubby ice cream,
chased by a margarita on the rocks with salt.
Had that drug been administered for more than a day I
wouldn’t have stood a chance of not chasing it forever.
Yesterday, life was not going according to my plan. People
were not reading from my script, and the time-line was way
off. I was hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. I wanted to rage
and be vengeful. Then, I wanted to run and hide. I just wanted
it to stop. The noise in my head was too loud. Then I thought
of a broken hero now gone. And called my sponsor.
Bestselling author, performer, producer, promoter, and talk show host, Vicki Abelson,
thrice appeared on Saturday Night Live, co-starred in a pilot for Comedy Central,
and optioned a music reality show to Telepictures. Vicki is the creator and host of the
celebrity-driven literary salon Vicki Abelson’s Women Who Write. Follow her on Twitter
at @vickiabelson. This article was originally published in The Fix, 4/2/14.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 29
with Terra Schaad
Acceptance, as we think of it in mindfulness, is acknowledging
things as they actually are in the moment without judging or trying
to change it. Few situations actually force us into acceptance like
the death of a loved one. My program, Hunkapi, recently lost our
horse, Easy, who had been with us for over thirteen years and,
through his death, I got to experience the fast lane to acceptance.
The day Easy died was a normal day for me and him. I was preoccupied
with contracts, emails and cleaning stalls. Easy was
perky and hungry, as always.
At 3:00 pm, I went and gave all the horses a snack and he met me
at his stall hungry and alert, tearing into his snack voraciously.
At 4:30 pm, I checked on him again and he was down, sweating,
rolling, and in distress. In that moment, there wasn’t a contract
or email in my inbox that mattered more than relieving the pain
I could see he was in. In that moment, I began living in my most
present state of the whole day.
Over the next three hours, I witnessed the sheer will of a being
who was fighting to live, and I was forced to accept there was
almost nothing I could do to help him, other than be beside him.
As a therapist, my day is spent working with people, both
children and adults, who come here fighting to protect themselves
from harm. We move quickly into fight, flight, or freeze through
our hurtful words, our violent actions, substance use, or by nonresponse
to protect our mind, body and spirit, only to create
distance and disconnection from those whom we truly crave love.
In our final hours, though, our human body, like Easy’s, will fight,
not to create distance, but to live. It will fight to live because it is
our most innate nature. It will fight to live, because it was born to
Easy Does It
live, and living is worth fighting for. To fight for any other reason,
is a waste of attention and energy.
The compassion and acceptance that filled each of us as we sat
on the ground weeping his death was enveloping. I sat in awe as
I realized that even in his death, he asked us to be our best selves.
There was no criticism, judgment, or fear in that space; only love,
support, and an absolute desire to take away his pain.
With acceptance, we have the opportunity to move forward
into situations in life, with new-found intention and behaviors
that are more benefiting to us and our community. In honor of
Easy, let’s practice noticing our critical mind, judgments and the
harsh words we use to protect and defend. Let’s practice meeting
people with compassion and acceptance and seeing how we may
ease their suffering. Let’s practice loving, supporting, and living.
© Terra is a zealous horse-lover and the executive director of Hunkapi Programs,
Inc. Terra holds a bachelor of science degree in pre-veterinary medicine from Texas
A&M University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Arizona State
University. She practices living mindfully, is an avid adventurer, yogi, and two-time
Ironman Arizona finisher. She embraces her extraordinary life with mindful, contagious
enthusiasm and gratitude.
30 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
New Creation Behavioral Healthcare Foundation
and New Creation College
FREE LOCAL PREMIER
of the Newly-Released film:
Memo to Self: Protecting Sobriety
with the Science of Safety
by Dr. Kevin McCauley
Dr. Kevin McCauley is a former Navy flight
surgeon and co-founder of the Institute
for Addiction Study. He is recognized as
an engaging lecturer, creative filmmaker,
and innovative program designer whose
work makes difficult scientific concepts
understandable to all and fosters the
acceptance of people in recovery as full
and valued members of society. Memo
to Self: Protecting Sobriety with the Science of Safety is an
eagerly anticipated sequel to the award-winning video “Pleasure
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Neighborhood Community Center
1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa CA 92627
Limited Seating - Registration is Required
Sign up for this event at:
In this film, Dr. Kevin McCauley re-lives his own precarious early
sobriety – negotiating hazards such as hostile prosecutors, treatment
programs with divided loyalties, and his own craving brain. Following
the advice of the Addiction Medicine experts who helped him, he
replicates the sobriety habits and success of recovering pilots and
health care professionals. By framing addiction not as a problem
of moral choice but as a safety/risk management challenge, Dr.
McCauley explains how recovery is neither rare nor random – with
the right kind of support, it can even be expected.
This film will prove a valuable tool for therapists, counselors, recovery
coaches and clinicians to introduce audiences to the concepts and
practices of Recovery Management, and for people in early recovery
and their families learning how to survive the first year of sobriety.
Dr. McCauley will answer questions after the viewing.
Sponsorships and Donations are
10:30 - Networking
11:30 - Lunch (Provided)
12:00 - New Creation
College Virtual Tour and
12:30 - Movie Premier
2:00 - Questions/Answers
with Dr. McCauley
Sponsorship is Tax-Deductable. Proceeds will go to New Creation Behavioral Healthcare Foundation to benefit education and treatment scholarships
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 31
6. “God, grant me the __________”
8. Common Thanksgiving Main Dish
10. Mental power, force, or vigor
11. Dedication and responsibility
14. We all have to face the _______ of our choices (good and
19. The state where Bill W. and Dr. Bob met.
20. Quiet conversation with a Higher Power
21. An event or circumstance that pushes personal limits
22. Wrapped items stored under a Christmas Tree
23. A fundamental, primary, or general law of truth
25. Lack of strength
Solution on Page 56
1. The exchange of money or favor for goods or services
2. The act of taking or receiving something offered
3. Silencing of the mind for spiritual connection
4. A pre-determined destiny
5. Faith and reliance
7. The opposite of falsehood
9. Information that is understood and accepted
12. “____ Grapevine”: AA’s Subscription magazine
15. Hung by the chimney with care—sometimes filled
16. Quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies
17. Mercy, clemency, pardon
18. A situation or circumstance as it truly is
20. Often converted to a jack-o-lantern
24. Turkey day is a day to give _______
32 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Solution on Page 56
Spot the 12
Solution on Page 56
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 33
PROFILE: London Rebecca Reber
by Nathalie Baret
Barely six months into her sobriety, London Rebecca Reber
received an unforeseen opportunity to become Miss Venice
“It was shocking to me,” said the now former Miss California,
United States 2012. “I’d always been an athlete, so this was
really far out of my comfort zone. With no pageant experience,
newly sober, and trying to find my way, I certainly didn’t feel
worthy or capable of being crowned a queen.”
After wrestling with the idea for two weeks, plagued with
the fear of never feeling good enough, the Oakland-born,
Californian native surrendered. “This wasn’t my plan for my
life, but for reasons I couldn’t predict, I was being led to do this
thing and I just knew I needed to stop denying what had come
to me so effortlessly. I thought, ‘Maybe this is God’s will for my
life and it’s time for me to get out of my own way.’”
Then, at twenty-eight years old, Reber received a healthy dollop
of praise and support after accepting her title as Miss Venice
Beach and felt encouraged to try out for Miss California, United
On finals night at the Miss California pageant, she stood
behind the curtain waiting for her name to be called, about to
walk the stage in her bikini. She had made it to the final three
contestants and now it was down to the live-session interview
round. Suddenly, flooded with mixed emotions, she heard her
fear creep in, saying, “I don’t want to let my sponsors down. I
need to make my family proud. But still, every other girl here
probably wants those same things.” So, I challenged those
doubts, “What makes me different? Why pick me?”
Reber recalled, “A voice in my head gently whispered, ‘I’ve
done everything I possibly could to prepare myself to get
to this point. There’s nothing I can do now to change who I
am in this moment, I might as well enjoy it!’ I accepted that
if the judges didn’t pick me, I’m okay—that just means they
want something other than me, which I can’t be.” So behind
the curtains, she decided her purpose was to be of service. “If
34 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
they did choose me, I would use the crown as a microphone
to spread an inspirational message of hope to young women:
that no matter what you’re struggling with, you can change. It
mattered because, before I got sober, on the outside everything
looked fine—I still had a job, a car, an apartment—but inside I
wanted to die. I was suicidal, I was hopeless.”
Reber attributes this clarity to three things. “I give my God, my
sobriety, and my program the credit to even come up with that
As Reber heard her name called, she took to the stage. Instead
of being questioned about her goals or political beliefs, she was
asked about who or what inspires her the most. “It couldn’t
have been a more perfect question because my sister Elizabeth
McCurry was in the audience. And, besides having Downs
Syndrome, she has undergone three open-heart surgeries, as well
as leukemia which put her through two years of chemotherapy,
and she also survived heart failure in 2010. My sister has been a
huge inspiration, and sparked my desire to get sober. I watched
her fight literally every day, for every breath. While I was using
drugs and alcohol to kill myself, she was trying so hard to live.”
Rebers won the pageant and also won Miss Congeniality, United
States that same year. She spent her reign traveling the country,
practicing philanthropy. “I made speeches at school assemblies
about body image and how that can drive us to bully others,
based on how we feel about ourselves. I started taking my sister
to all the charity events and fundraisers—she began inspiring
the public in such a unique way that she was crowned Honorary
Miss California and walked onto the stage with me to pass my
title on to the 2013 winner!”
Since choosing sobriety in 2011, Reber has helped countless
women in twelve-step fellowships get their lives back.
Currently, London is the National Outreach representative for
Connections in Recovery, an international addiction and mental
health treatment consulting and referral resource company.
Nathalie Baret is the Director of Public Relations at Win-Win Publicity House.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
• Free Nationwide Directory
• Choose Facility based on
• No Kickbacks or
• No Bait/Switch
• All Levels of Care
• All Insurance Accepted
To list a qualified facility or Service in this Trusted Resource,
call 888-263-6793 or email Listing@TrustedTreatmentSolutions.com
Includes: Comfortable Bed, Utilities, Big Screen TV,
BBQ, Fully Equipped Kitchen
Close to: Shopping, Transportation, Jobs, Meetings
We Welcome: Parolees, Probationers, Court
Mandated, & From Treatment
Sober Living Coalition Member
Alano Club of Costa Mesa
2040 Placentia Ave.
Costa Mesa, Ca 92627
For Meeting Schedules and
Please visit our Website
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 35
Realities of the Addicted Family
The Fifth Reality:
The Wrath Experience
by Susan Jackson, LMFT
Of all the family scrimmage realities, the
wrath experience is the most serious. The
wrath experience in regards to the addictive
family system is developed in stages. The
stages correspond to the progression of the
addiction. These stages include; anger, rage
and wrath. One of the first indications that a change is beginning
to happen within the addictive family is the constant angry
responses to the addict or alcoholic by family members. Angry
responses in the beginning are not immediately recognized due
to the addict’s drinking or drug use. When the anger remains
unresolved it intensifies and develops into rage. Eventually the
rage progresses to the last stage, wrath.
A good example of these stages is in this simple vignette
describing the experience of a young child whose mother is an
alcoholic. In the early stage of mother’s drinking the child may
begin to get angry each time she drinks. The child may express
anger by sharing feelings and asking mother not to drink. Of
course, mother doesn’t stop drinking. As her drinking progresses
to the middle stage of her alcoholism, the child may start yelling
at her, demanding that she stop drinking. The child, more than
angry at this point, is unaware that their anger has progressed
As mother’s drinking increases, the child, in an attempt to
stop her drinking, begins fighting with her. The child’s rage
is expressed by pushing and hitting. Eventually the drinking
progresses to the late stage and the child experiences wrath. The
child is so distraught by the ongoing frustration over mother’s
drinking, revenge is sought. Unfortunately, thoughts of suicide
and/or homicide are considerations. Seeking vengeance is a sign
of late-stage wrath. This vignette is all too real. Sometimes it
is the addict and sometimes it is the non-drinking, non-using
family member who acts out during the late stages of addiction
and wrath. This is the reality of the addictive family.
Although the wrath experience may manifest at any stage of
addiction, it usually reveals itself in the late stage and is evidenced
by extreme negative and self-destructive behavior. This behavior
can include suicidal and homicidal ideations or actions. Wrath
has been described as anger that is vicious and fierce.
For the family, the embarrassing moments, lack of emotional
connectedness, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, or
debilitating experience of grave incongruence all contribute
© Susan Jackson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, and Clinical
Director for New Creation Healthcare Foundation/His House. Susan has contributed
to the field of addiction, as distinguished Clinician, Clinical Supervisor, Director, and
Author for over 28 years. She began her career working for the City of Chino, as a
Gang Interventionist, Domestic Violence Counselor, and Prevention Specialist. Susan’s
dedication and experience working with adolescents with substance use disorders,
and their afflicted families, led her to Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine
Center, where she became the Family Therapist on the Chemical Dependency Unit.
36 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
to the family scrimmage reality
of wrath. The wrath experience
is located below the abstruse (the
second reality) and manifests in the
deepest part of the pain of addiction.
Wrath is accompanied by despair,
panic, and agitation.
Pathos, the abstruse, and grave incongruence all contribute to
the wrath experience. These realities fuel the irrational desire
of family members to destroy the cause of their emotional pain,
their resentments and the deterioration of the family.
The non-violent expression of wrath by family members may be
displayed in passive aggressive behaviors, such as over-spending
or expressing advanced rage using sharp, sarcastic comments.
These expressions of wrath are justified by the family because
the addict or alcoholic does not stop using or seek help and keeps
the addictive family in a state of denial.
The reality of the wrath experience has been described by family
members as a monster inside. The feelings of wrath are destructive
and are the most anxiety-producing experience of all the
realities. This is because there is complete disdain for the addict
or alcoholic in the late stage of the addictive family. Frequently,
family members feel disgust and loathing towards themselves.
Wrath is deeply concealed and extremely difficult to understand.
Wrath’s last expression, as stated before, can result in homicide
or suicide, or both. If you can identify this as your experience,
please get help. The
is about taking an
look at the
addictive family in
an effort to evoke a
desire for addictive
families to seek
Wrath is the result
of participating in
the daily family
we are able to
realities, we can
resolve and heal.
There is always
hope. Recovery is
the ultimate reality!
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Naranon Family Groups
Alanon Family Groups
CODA for Co-dependents
(National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Ask The Judge
(answers for teens about the law)
Pathway to Prevention
(teen use and abuse stops here)
(Community Reinforcement and Family Training)
(Grief support for those who have lost someone to addiction)
(For children who have addiction in the family)
Recovery Research Institute
The McAlister Institute
(low cost/no cost treatment services)
Resource List from Denise Krochta at Addicts Family
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 37
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OUR
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
Please send your submissions to: email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Lyn P., Sun City
Good, White Noise.
Foaming, unfurling, crashing waves.
Paddling out on my surfboard, duck-diving,
Sturdy walls of ocean water, underneath the hurl,
Of crushing turbulence.
Before I catch a good swell, I gain enough momentum,
Catapulted by sheer, natural force.
Standing, wobbling, walking the stick projectile,
‘Til the tide raises me on my ratty board,
Like an offering to the sky,
Above the swirling, salt water, drenched, discombobulated,
Reliant on my sense of sober balance.
Living, powerful, ocean breaths surging rhythmically, roaring,
Rough and tumble.
All around, palpable synchronicity; perfect timing,
Without fussy help from me.
Good, White Noise.
Sometimes I can’t decipher life on life’s terms.
I’m simply focused on accepting,
The open invitation to…
RIDE the WILD, wooly WAVES!
You can’t stop the waves,
but you can learn to surf.
~ Joseph Goldstein
38 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
You Can Change Tomorrow
by Kirk Bocksberger
You can change tomorrow, but you have to start today.
Addiction may hold you down, depression and despair may arrest all your hope,
but deep down inside you do have the strength.
You can change tomorrow, but you have to start today.
Search inside yourself; listen to your new voice.
The time has finally come, make the right choice,
as grim as it may seem to be,
change is possible, just do the right thing and soon you will see,
Make no mistake it’s a tough road ahead, there is no such thing as an easy way out.
But I know you can do it, I have no doubt.
Just stop running and don’t try to hide,
Listen to God, he speaks from inside,
He will show you the way.
You can change tomorrow, but you have to start today.
The Roads I’ve Traveled
by Patricia Bruckner ©2016
I traveled a road fueled by alcohol,
Where all roads led to my own downfall.
There were roads called misery, and roads called pain,
Leading to nowhere, no sweet refrain,
From the many demons within my brain.
There were roads to anger and roads to malice,
Where all sins were drunk from a silver chalice.
There were roads to anguish, and roads to lies,
Leading to nowhere, with no alibis.
There were roads with pits, and many holes,
Buried beneath were all the lost souls.
Along the roads, skylines of cities called debauchery and guilt,
The foundations; disease from which they were built
You could buy sex for the price of a beer,
Losing all thought of things once held dear.
So many roads along the way,
Where every day was Groundhog Day.
Roads in circles and never-ending motion,
Round and round like a lovesick potion.
So many roads, so little time,
My life was worth less than a dime.
And then, out of the corner of my eye,
I saw a road less traveled by.
It whispered to me, it called my name,
“Come travel my road, we’ll learn a new game.”
There were twelve paths along the way
Leading to freedom and a brand new day.
Each path I took drew me to a higher power
Where my life was changed each minute, each hour.
When I reached the twelfth path, I came to believe
That God had given me another reprieve.
All things are possible with God in my life.
The road I now travel is free from strife.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 39
40 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
When I first worked in the hospital as a nursing assistant,
they asked me if I would go to the new CARE alcohol unit
they were starting. I knew it was a new adventure because
nobody knew if this would even work in a hospital. I also
knew nobody else volunteered for it because they were
scared. I went. It worked out. So, I began my long and
fruitful journey studying and working in the treatment and
addiction field. Along the way, the director of a treatment
program told me that, as a requirement to be in the job, I had
to go to Al-Anon and have a sponsor. Since I was working
with these alcoholics five days a week, eight hours a day, I
would be spending more time with them than their families.
If the family needed treatment, so did I. (Of course, today he
couldn’t get away with that kind of direction but that Eskimo
saved my personal and professional life)
“The dis-ease is cunning,
powerful, baffling and patient.”
Years later, I was able to introduce Dr. Anne Wilson-Schaef
to a group of professionals as their main speaker (right off the
plane just after she had spent months with aboriginal elders
in Australia). She coined the famous process vs. substance
addictions, and determined that not just individuals and
families had addictive processes organizations, but also the
work place. Suddenly, this addiction thing became much
bigger than the alcoholism treatment I had started with.
The disease, I was told, was cunning, powerful, baffling and
patient. I didn’t know how true those words were not only
in my life, but in my patient’s lives. Much like the topic of
cross-addiction, we were educating people that the type of
drug didn’t matter. The disease could care less if it was legal
or illegal; it was an equal opportunity destroyer.
Substance addictions, we were taught, were just the ones we
were familiar with in treatment; drugs, alcohol and pills and/
or the eating disorders of anorexia, bulimia and compulsive
over-eating. But the hardest addictions to see were the ones
society rewards well. Shopping, gambling, religious, work,
sex and love (people) addictions were everywhere. I was also
told that, over time, switches in addiction could occur because
addicts weren’t adept at dealing with their feelings. Who
could blame someone who was worrying about a loved one
(love addiction) or worked hard (work addiction) or wanted
to do a little shopping (shopping addiction)? Everything was
done in secret. This pain is equal to the pain of an addict
doing drugs, alcohol and pills.
by Michele Downey RN MAC LMFT
But, when I heard the solution was spiritual, everything
started to make sense. When addicts accepted and loved their
spirit, their feelings (and what to do with them) and found a
power they could do business with, I saw that the addiction
process wasn’t necessary any longer. I saw that it could be
truly healed as long as people in recovery were vigilant.
As long as they were aware that each new thing (working,
shopping, internet, man, woman, food) had the potential to
become addictive. Then, they had as much chance as someone
recovering from alcohol addiction who also knew to stay
away from pills and drugs. If addicts undertood this spiritual
thing, recovered their spirit, understood their feelings, then
they could maintain their true recovery, one day at a time.
I’ve painfully experienced the truth of this, not only in my
life, and the lives of my loved ones, but also in my patients
and clients lives for over thirty years.
I am grateful for that Eskimo who pointed me toward the
road to humility by first looking at myself through the twelve
steps of Al-Anon. Eventually, with continuous mentorship,
practice and grace, I have been able to recover and see
how true recovery is possible. It may be that the dis-ease is
cunning, powerful, baffling and patient but then my recovery
is so much more cunning, baffling, powerful and patient.
Michele Downey is the founder of Michele Downey’s Recovery Life Coaching School, and the Host of the “Design for Living” Radio Show, Mondays at 10:30a & 4:30p PST
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 41
Acceptance Is As Acceptance Does
by Jim Anders MA
Many years ago, I used to attend a wonderful Sunday
night NA meeting in Southern California. This was a small
meeting, as there were rarely more than twelve and never
more than twenty attendees. Yet, in spite of its diminutive
size, its impact, at least on me, was substantial. One could
feel the spiritual gravitas in the atmosphere of the rooms.
Also obvious to the practiced eye was the effort by nearly all
who attended to be genuinely engaged with each other and
the Twelve Step traditions. This particular assemblage of the
afflicted seemed to be pregnant with hope and possibility.
Although there were, no doubt, several reasons for this
enviable state of affairs, I was particularly fond of one
idiosyncratic practice in particular. At this meeting (as at
a few others like it) the individual tasked with leading the
meeting on any particular week would begin by sharing on
the First Step only. Every week, every leader opened with
the same topic. And guess what? It never ever got old, and
never even seemed repetitive. It appears there is an infinite
number of ways addicts (like us) can find to crash our lives
I, for instance, am a disgraced former member of the
evangelical clergy. Toward the end of my active addiction
and in desperation for the next hit it was a common practice
of mine to steal from the very church that employed me.
Other friends at that meeting had similar stories. One story, as
an example, involved the use of benzos liberally mixed with
alcohol, which inevitably led to blackouts. What happened
during those blackouts would be comical if it were not so
potentially hazardous. My friend would describe in detail
how he drank to black out almost every time he drank. After
a night of partying, and losing his intellectual bearings and
moral sanity, he would wake up in the morning and count
it a blessing if he recognized the bed he was sleeping in,
and it was another blessing if he could remember where he
left his car. Most shockingly, he related that if he could find
his car in the morning after such a riotous night, he would
carefully and slowly inspect it for dents, dried blood, hair
and torn clothing. Before completing that macabre ritual, he
couldn’t be certain that he hadn’t run over or into something
or someone during the previous night. There were countless
other stunning recollections of insane behavior from that
motley crew of grateful-to-be-clean and sober addicts. These
admittedly crazy stories proved essential to my developing
42 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
“There is an infinite number
of ways addicts can find to
crash our lives in flames.”
I considered myself lucky to have found and attended such
an insane group in my early sobriety because the constant
focus on insanity—paradoxically—helped keep me sane.
For me, as for most of you, accepting that all hope of
regaining control was gone (and was probably illusionary
from the beginning, anyway) is, quite likely, one of the most
difficult things we’ve ever set out to accomplish. Yet, being
substance-free without true acceptance of powerlessness is a
fool’s errand. While hope remains that we can still use drugs
recreationally or drink responsibly we will try to do so.
For us, attempting to consume substances without loss of
control and demoralizing consequences becomes far more
likely when we forget those very consequences. Acceptance
comes when we remember the pain, loss and shame that
substance use always produces. Acceptance that substance
use is unacceptable is the only sane option.
Jim Anders holds graduate degrees in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary
and in Psychology from Brandman University. He is in recovery himself and has the
pleasure of being program manager at the 122 bed Salvation Army facility in Perris CA
where he has worked for nearly four years.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
I remember it vividly. I was seventeen years old and home
visiting from yeshivah (Jewish/Rabbinic school). My hardworking
father was relaxing on the couch in our suburban
home when my younger brother ran in. He was in tears. As
it turns out, the neighbors kid wasn’t allowing my brother to
join the rest of his friends on the basketball hoop. His dad
banned our family until “the Rabbi mows his lawn.” Now
mind you, we weren’t talking about some kind of overgrown
jungle left unattended. Our neighbor would proudly march
across his lawn weekly in his custom sports jerseys mowing
his lawn to measuring stick perfection. My dad, with eleven
kids to support and a community requiring his constant
attention, didn’t have that kind of luxury.
I was fuming—I mean really mad—and prepared myself to
march over to their house and give that man a piece of my
mind. My dad, is his infinite patience looked up from his
bible study and said, “Don’t worry, I will handle him.” “Are
you sure?” I asked (quite protectively for seventeen). “Don’t
worry, I will handle it,” he said. I believed him and left to
blow off some steam at the gym. Upon returning shortly
thereafter, I found my dad engaged in his solution; he was
mowing the lawn.
There are no words to express the feelings I experienced that
day. I was angry, righteously indignant, politically fired up
and most of all disappointed in my dad. In many senses, I
was right. Why let this man get away with treating us with
disrespect. Who was he? And who were we to enable this
behavior? Why shouldn’t we stand up for ourselves as Jews
and Americans? How could we let such behavior and such
Mendi Baron, LCSW, is the founder and CEO of a several residential and outpatient
treatment centers for teens struggling with mental health and addiction issues
based in Southern California and New York. A passionate advocate for teens in the
field of mental health and addiction, Mendi is a go-to expert to start the conversation
on critical issues that impact teens and their families. To contact Mendi go to
That day was a lesson I continue to learn from, and grow from
as I mature each day. As always, my dad stayed a few steps
ahead. He realized that, sometimes, there are some things
you cannot change and some people you cannot control. He
understood and internalized a concept I am still working on,
that of acceptance. Like the serenity prayer many a client of
mine says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.”
Today, the neighbor and our family are good friends and, with
eleven kids, eleven grandkids, numerous parked cars, and extra
traffic, it seems they too have learned to practice acceptance.
It is important to note that acceptance does not mean
subjecting oneself to abuse or degradation, and this is also
an important part of knowing the difference. After all, there
is an element of every situation that you can control, that
being yourself and how you react and adjust to it. Sometimes
acceptance means having enough self-respect to know you
cannot change others and, thus, wisdom to know how to live
your life free of those trolls.
The greatest gift you can give to
others is the gift of unconditional
love and acceptance
- Brian Tracy
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 43
Who Are You?
by Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis
“Who are you?” is the question my husband asked our
granddaughter every time he saw her. It is a game he started
the first time they met. She was just a toddler of three. She
always responded with a grin and the affirmation, “Alexa.”
Alexa has grown to become an independent, confident young
teen. The last time we saw her, she beat him to the punch.
Darting in the doorway, hands on her hips, head cocked to
the side, she challenged him with her question, “And who are
you?” in her most grown up voice. Laughter followed as they
hugged each other hello.
How important is the question? Who we believe we are
creates the reality of a life of promise or one of desperation.
Notice the question we are asking is: who we believe we are.
Belief is the key word, not the reality of who we are.
Acceptance is one of our most important needs according
to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We need acceptance and
approval in order to feel needed, valued, and loved. This
driving force starts when we enter the world. We look for
acceptance from family, friends, co-workers, and associates
in many different ways: for our appearance, work, ideas,
beliefs, values, possessions, talents, abilities, etc. The need to
be accepted and valued is the root cause of most addictions
What happens to your world if you believe you are somebody
you are not? The brain operates much like a computer taking
in information from the world around us. Children take in
information from the people, places, and situations they are
exposed to, creating and developing beliefs and values.
What we think determines how we feel, and how we act and/
or react to a situation. If we have positive beliefs about who
we are, we make better choices. Negative beliefs cause poor
choices creating disappointments and failures.
Christians base their beliefs and values on scriptures. Yet
many Christians fail in their life choices, careers, and social
interactions, suffering from addictions, anxiety, depression,
fears, phobias, and mental disorders. Why?
The answer can be found in about twelve inches, the distance
between our heads and our hearts. Who we say we are and
who we believe we are do not match. The beliefs we claim to
be true are not reflected in the authenticity of our lives. We
say we have certain thoughts, beliefs, and values, yet when
held up to the hash critic of reality, we fall short; we miss the
mark. Christians look no different than the secular world and
we wonder why people are not drawn to Christ.
The hope and promises offered in scripture reside in our heads
as intellectual belief. Yet, what we believe to be true in our
hearts drives our decisions. If we believe the words of Christ
in our heads but believe the lies of Satan in our hearts, our
lives will reflect the lies of Satan as if they were true.
44 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
You are not acceptable
You never get it right
You are unloved
You don’t belong
You have no value
You are a child of the King
You are forgiven and accepted
You are loved with an everlasting love
You were chosen before time began
You were created in the image of God
Knowing the truth of who we are, and believing that truth
with our entire heart, can turn a life of depression, anxiety,
addiction, worry, and illnesses into a life of promise filled
with joy and hope.
Take steps to open your heart to the transforming power of the
risen Lord. Write the truth on post-it-notes of various colors
and post them throughout your home. Speak truth into a tape
recorder and play the tape as you sleep. Speak the truth and
affirm who you really are into a mirror. We challenge you to
try these exercises for three months. You will see a dramatic
difference in your life.
(Excerpts: “Journey of the Soul … Cracked Pots and Broken Vessels”
and workbook, “Stop the Violence … Seven Stages to Sanctify,” by
Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis, wherever books are sold)
© Rev. Carrol graduated from Furman University, ordained in 1975. Honored in Who’s
Who, Dr. Phyllis E. graduated from the Union Institute. Davis & Davis were awarded the
Christian Authors Award for “Stop the Violence Seven Stages to Sanctify.” Participants
give the book, “Journey of the Soul Cracked Pots and Broken Vessels,” and workshops
five star reviews as they journey to resolve challenges of living life in a fallen world.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Writing Your NOW Story
by Nora Slattery
When you have to face the harsh mirror, and the bitter reflection
says all you understood or desired has fallen apart, where do
you go from there? That is the point where I felt hopeless.
I knew I had a serious problem, even though I was able to hide
it from the world as a successful businesswoman—though not
from my family or friends. And I could not hide it from myself.
I would have liked to, but you look in the mirror, and there it is.
I thought I could never be better than the worst I had become.
So, who was this horrible person? This loser? Why was I her?
I had to know. I am a writer by trade, an investigator, and a
reporter. So I picked up my pen and asked myself; how did I
get here? Why? What did I want? What do I want? Honestly.
That was a hard assignment.
I interrogated myself. Truthfully asking where I had gone off
the path, did I want to change, and if so, what were the steps
back? I put it on paper. I was as clear as I could be. Since only
I would read this, I felt free to write down what I could not tell
those closest to me, even those who most wanted to help. Some
of it was profane, some deeply embarrassing, even shocking,
but some of it almost verged on funny. (That helped.) I wrote
the story of my life, as it was then, as it was in the present, but
most importantly, how it could be.
It saved my life. It took me six weeks and fifty dense pages.
Not prettily written or—in parts—coherent to anybody but me,
but there it was. The story of where I had been, but also where
I hoped (and prayed) I could go. It wasn’t hopeless. Writing it,
and then reading it freed me. It allowed me to believe in myself
I do not think the story of your life is written in stone. Examine
the pieces, and find understanding, inspiration, and forgiveness.
No, you cannot erase what happened, but you can accept it and
in doing so, perhaps, send yourself off in another direction, to
write another new chapter.
Writing the truth takes courage, but so does life. Just take a
pen and paper and give it a try, it might just be the start of your
Nora Slattery is a professional business and speechwriter. She is a certified Journal to
the Self instructor, teaching a workshop created by the Center for Journal Therapy.
She is currently working on a memoir in the UCLA Writer’s Program. For workshop
information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Family Business
The Benchmark Transitions ® Program
Benchmark Transitions ® is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to residential therapeutic
transitional living for young adult men and women offering a full continuum of transitional living services:
• PHP (Day Treatment)
• IOP (Intensive Outpatient)
• OP (Outpatient)
• Transitional Living
• Extended Care
• Evening IOP
INTRODUCING a new and exciting phase to
our program development ... Opening Summer, 2016!
Benchmark Transitions ® welcomes two primary residential programs to our family
of services. Founded in 1993 by Jayne Longnecker-Harper, Benchmark Transitions
continues to be family owned and operated, serving young adults and their families
for nearly twenty three years.
Our dual-diagnosis model combines clinical treatment, behavioral health therapy, addiction recovery &
aftercare, educational & occupational opportunities, career development and life skills in a structured and
nurturing environment that fosters self-discovery and autonomy.
Individualized Treatment with Comprehensive Program Options
Recovery by Benchmark ®
Substance abuse treatment
specific to young adults
We won’t give up if you don’t give up.
Benchmark Behavioral Health
Specific treatment option for clients
without substance use history
Individual treatment plans
specific to each client’s needs
Benchmark Transitions ® is known for our comprehensive clinical support, life
skills, education and vocational guidance. It is with tremendous gratitude that we
announce a new and exciting phase to our program development...
Benchmark Transitions ® at Wildwood Canyon for
young adult men and Benchmark Transitions ® at
Panorama Ridge for young adult women.
We are thrilled to include a true, primary residential
experience for families and our clients, in addition
to the structured transitional and extended care
services we have always offered.
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 45
A Spiritual Good Time Charlie
“I amz what I amz and that’s allz that I amz.”
– Popeye T. Sailorman
For me, acceptance usually involves some discomfort. Defeat
at the hands of alcohol was a victory not easily gained. On
the surface, I was sure I had surrendered, yet hidden deep
beneath all my bullshit, part of me hoped it wasn’t real. I
knew I would be lost for a long time.
My journey into recovery couldn’t really begin until I accepted
I was an alcoholic. It demanded that I burn the bridge back to
alcohol. To the ground. Although more painful than I’d like to
admit, it was necessary.
After many years of drinking, I wasn’t sure who I was when I
got sober, but I had to shed the image that had been created by
booze. Surely, the old me would drink again. There had to be
a new me, and he would be introduced when the masks and
old ideas were discarded. I had to stop trying to be what I am
not, and stop trying not to be what I am.
“You’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above.”
– Bruce Springsteen
Stashed for years in my unwanted feelings bank was an
extensive backlog of things I had to accept. A few were
traumatic. Help was required from my sponsor to identify the
working parts of the Serenity Prayer. Wiggle room be damned,
it was I who would have to change and I who would have to
accept. Everyone else was disqualified. “Could anyone ever
change you?” he challenged.
46 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
There’s a good reason why some Twelve Step vendor hasn’t
made millions hawking No Pain, No Gain bumper stickers.
Nobody likes pain. And alcoholics and addicts drain vast
amounts of energy trying to escape from any discomfort,
large or small. Nevertheless, you can run, but you can’t hide.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you reach in a grab
bag and pull out a turd.
“That’s just the way it is. Some things never change.”
– Bruce Hornsby
Accepting that my beloved old ideas were suddenly unusable
was difficult. There were so many to let go of, namely: that
I had all the answers, and that people would like me if I had
all the answers; that if I was happy, everyone was happy. So
many of my old ideas were balonious*. And I wasn’t sure
how the new ones would work out in recovery.
Furthermore, what was important to me and what’s really
important were two different things. I had things upsidedown,
inside-out and twisted. It was apparent I had missed
some life lessons, and I had to play a quick game of catch-up.
“It’s always something.”
– Roseanne Roseannadanna
Recovery isn’t about learning how to get what I want, but
learning how to live with what I get. I had to let go of getting
my way, of trying to control. Realizing my limits, I needed to
end my feeble attempts at playing God.
Naturally, I still had my conniptions when things were going
badly. I was a spiritual good-time Charlie. Now and then, I
wondered if God had a suggestion box. Occasionally, I had to
send myself to my room and let the idiot run around inside of
me; he always wears himself out eventually. That’s a good thing.
This cat didn’t always land on all fours, though. When things
went way south, sometimes I got so mad at God I think I gave
him an ear infection. Sorry.
“When will I ever learn to live in God?”
– Van Morrison
Consequently, the path of least resistance is a walk of peace. My
emotional barometer, restless, irritable and discontent, warns
me when I’m off the path, and it’s hard to ignore. When I stop
fighting everybody and everything, the resistance subsides;
when I accept God’s will, there is peace. It’s win-win.
Despite occasional discomfort, there is a magnificent gift I
can accept as I continue on. I can live in the space between
two drinks: the last drunk and the next first drink. Amidst the
miracle of days, weeks, months and then years of sobriety,
I discover something precious between those two drinks;
something I had been missing: life. Mine.
* aka—full of baloney
by mark masserant
with a little help from phive filosophers
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org
Secular Sobriety: www.sossobriety.org
Women for Sobriety: www.womenforsobriety.org
SMART Recovery: www.smartrecovery.org
Drug Addiction/Substance Abuse:
Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org
Recovery Program Search Engine: www.recovery.org
Sex Addicts Anonymous: saa-recovery.org
Sex Addict Help: sexaddicthelp.com/Links/index.htm
Healthy Mind: www.healthymind.com/s-index.html
Overeaters Anonymous: www.oa.org
Food Addicts: www.foodaddicts.org
Gambling Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga
Problem Gambling: www.problemgambling.com
Internet Addiction www.addictionrecov.org/
Support Groups for Family and Friends
Adult Children of Addicts: www.adultchildren.org
Mental Health Links
Other Links and Resources
Check out Step 12 Magazine on Social Media
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 47
The Pursuit of Happiness
I work and teach in the recovery industry, and I can honestly
say there is no one I have more love, empathy, and respect for
than the individual who is in early recovery. By far, the most
difficult journey I have ever taken was my first year of recovery.
Painful doesn’t begin to describe the horror I lived through in
that first twelve months. When I entered the rooms, I felt like
I was carrying a cross to my own crucifixion. I bore so much
hurt on my worn-out frame that I had little hope I was going to
make it. I would have preferred a crown of thorns piercing into
my flesh over the internal daggers tearing at my mind from the
inside out. My head was in psychological torment.
With such odds against us, it’s a miracle that any of us ever
makes it into sobriety, much less be able to stay and grow there.
Many of us arrive into the rooms so devastatingly broken, we
are unable to continue on life’s plan. We come in spiritually
bankrupt, delusional, angry, ruthless, resentful, hurt, wounded,
prideful, devastated, and defensive. Despite all this, by the grace
of God, we are able to hear bits and pieces of the message in the
meetings which provide us with glimpses of hope. Then, on the
flipside, we hear those things that leave us completely baffled,
bewildered, and frustrated.
When they quip, “Acceptance is the key” what are they
talking about? In early recovery, I remember being completely
Dr. Judy Redman is a leading proponent of recovery. She has dedicated much of
her personal and professional life to the betterment of the recovering community.
She began her career as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in 2000. She began
teaching AOD Counseling Studies in 2004 and is currently the Director of Education
for New Creation College, Costa Mesa. Currently, Dr. Redman is completing
her Dissertation; Motivational Interviewing’s Impact on Addiction Counselors.
48 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
by Judy Redman, Phd
submerged in self-pity, crying my eyes out in
front of my cold-hearted sponsor, only to hear
her say the most ridiculous thing I had ever
heard in my life: “Acceptance is the key.”
What?! Was she nuts? Why would she say
something so unfeeling and callous? Didn’t
she hear me tell her what those people did to
me? It was one of those instances where I was left completely
baffled, bewildered, and frustrated.
My sponsor understood acceptance was the key to serenity
which would open the door, and enable my pursuit of happiness.
She knew that until I was capable of grasping the concept of
acceptance, I was going to remain behind the locked doors of
my tortured mind, forever enduring those daggers of resentment,
relentlessly, stabbing at my mental torment.
Clarification to my sponsor’s baffling reply trickled in slowly,
in bits and pieces. Through the consistent exposure of Reinhold
Niebuhr’s well-known prayer, which is popular in recovery:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the
difference”, and the reading: “Acceptance is the answer to all my
problems today” on page 417 of the fourth edition of AA’s Big
Book, in a chapter called “Acceptance Was the Answer”, and
also by observing the actions and acceptance of the old-timers in
the rooms, I began to understand the phenomena of acceptance.
Finally understanding the need for acceptance, I then turned to
the questions “Why do we pray to God to grant and not give us
serenity?” Why can’t we just pray for God to give us serenity
to accept the things we cannot change? Why do we have to
work so hard for acceptance? Why can’t it be easy? My sponsor
gently informed me that my questions were examples of my not
accepting. I could not move forward until I accepted the process
of recovery. I had to accept there were things I was not going
to be able to understand but, if I wanted to pursue happiness, I
would need to accept the direction I was being given.
Acceptance doesn’t have to be difficult, but we make it difficult.
We continue to burn and steam over the things we are most
powerless over. We continue to harbor grudges over and over
because of something that happened to us in the past. The work
in recovery teaches how to go through those piercing daggers of
resentments and to discard them one by one. We cannot re-frame
our thinking about resentments until we are ready to give up our
current way of processing life. We can choose to keep dodging
the internal daggers of resentment in our mind or we can choose
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
How Do We Know We’ve Found Acceptance?
by Michelle Ghirelli
I was once told, “Denial can be a dangerous and deadly thing.”
The problem is, when you are stuck in denial, you are the last
person to know. As I look back on my life almost two years ago,
I think about all the things I was in denial about: the fact that my
career was over, that I had actually been arrested, that I had to
confront my friends and family, that I had
a problem, and that my life as I knew it
was going to change completely. For me,
it would have been so much easier to crawl
into a hole, stay stuck in my denial, and
give up on living. However, acceptance is
what saved my life.
If you asked me now how I was able
to accept all these traumatic changes in
my life I don’t even think I’d be able to
answer. What I do know is that acceptance
happened through a lot of time, tears, and work. By no means was
I able to wake up one day and be in full acceptance of my past,
and there was really no specific moment when I realized I was
moving from denial to acceptance. It is a process you don’t notice
in the moment but, looking back, you realize how hard you have
So how did I know I had found acceptance, and that I was allowing
my higher power to work in my life? I was more at peace than ever
before. Each day, because of the work I was doing, I was able to
feel peace in the chaos. A life full of acceptance, acceptance of
myself, my past, other people and situations, allows me to find
happiness where before I found despair
The art of acceptance is a lifelong gift that
must be worked on every moment. Every
day, I come across something I need to
accept, whether it’s people or situations.
The difference today is, I know how to do
it. I know I am able to accept things that
upset or displease me, and that doesn’t
make me a weak person. On the contrary,
being accepting of other people, places,
and situations makes me the strongest person I’ve ever been.
And so I leave you with this:
“And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today …. Nothing,
absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake …. I need to
concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as
on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes” (BB pg. 417).
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 49
Life Shows Up
by Kyczy Hawk
It sounds possible: to be in acceptance and yet, it is hard to
stay there. This is how it was for me; I watched my life go
down the tubes. I was so low, I had no more defenses, reasons,
rationalizations. I was tired of trying to make everything seem
okay. It wasn’t. I was a mess. I needed to accept that I was an
addict and my life had become unmanageable.
This acceptance happened once, when I gave up drugs and
alcohol. Then, I relapsed on drugs. The acceptance had
slipped away. The demoralization had to happen again and I
am very lucky it did. I had to re-accept that I am an addict and
an alcoholic. On this point, there has been no dithering. I have
been clean and sober since then.
As I moved into recovery, life showed up—not just the chaos
I’d created while I was using, drinking; betraying friends,
stealing, and denying my kids an ethical, reliable, caring
mom. I created so much chaos when I was using there was no
way to find that life acceptable.
When I found recovery, I thought all would be well! I would
no longer be challenged by what I deemed unacceptable
situations. Not! Life showed up. Getting a job, being fired
from a job, finding an apartment, having difficulty with the
rent, not to mention the changes in relationships which occur
when you are there—sober and present. Everything didn’t go
my way. There were days when nothing went my way. On
one hand, the kids loved that I was present and, on the other
hand, they couldn’t run the house anymore. They were angry.
Life showed up big time.
I had to accept that. I had to accept that I was going to have
to grow up and that the world was not going to bow down to
me just because I had stopped drinking and using. I got used
to that reality and acceptance eased the pain.
The longer I am in recovery, the more big kid things come up
that renew my acceptance skills: ill and dying parents, grown
children with their life issues (including addiction), the aging
of my body. Acceptance.
Changes in household circumstances, income and job.
Developing boundaries in my relationships, some of which
cost me the relationship. Acceptance.
How do you do it? How do you accept? I’ve discovered that
I only ever find acceptance whenever I face my limits of
resistance. I don’t want my parents to be ill! My resistance
did nothing to change that. When I accepted the situation, I
could be of service in a compassionate way. When I stopped
resisting my son’s way of finding a drug-free life, I could
accept his path. When I stopped resisting my own aging (the
changes in my abilities and looks) I could accept the fact that
this happens to us all, and resistance is futile.
As a person of yoga, I use my breath to help me take a
moment—a pause—to disengage from my wants and griefs
and just bask in what is. I hold the present moment where
everything is alright. Inhale, exhale, slowly and evenly with
calm and care. The next thing I know, I am in the hands of my
higher power, and the way is clear.
Over and over, I resist, but for shorter and shorter periods
of time. I use my breath. I take a break. Eventually I accept
(people, places and things) and, just when I least expect it, I
Kyczy Hawk is in long term recovery and is enthusiastic about her life in sobriety. She
is the “secretary” of the “Yoga Recovery” meetings, Sundays 7am PST on In The Rooms
( http://www.intherooms.com/livemeetings/view?meeting_id=144&check=1 ). She is
a yoga teacher and author of Yoga and The Twelve Step Path and Life in Bite Sized
Morsels. For more yoga tools, visit her website at: http://yogarecovery.com/additional
She is aided and amused by her family who keep her busy and humble.
Are you or someone
you love experiencing
a family, relationship
or addiction crisis?
I can help.
Your Crisis Coach
Call or text now: (619) 993-2738
50 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
“The hardest thing I’ve had to accept is...”
“Feeling every one of
~ Sally W, Utah
~ Joanie B, CA
“The party is over.“
~ Georgina, Miami, FL
“That there are
people who love me in
spite of myself.“
~ Dean M, NYC
“Not everyone is
going to like me.
As long as I’m
genuine and kind to
everyone, I’m doing
the best I can.”
~ Jennifer L, CA
“That I am who I am”
~ Ness E, LA, CA
“They will probably
never make a pair of
Spanx designed to fit
my body perfectly.”
~ Miss Piggy
“Walking away from my old
life and all the boys I went to
school with. They’re still there,
doing the same stupid things,
oblivious to their addictions.”
~ Jeremy O, Big Sur, CA
“Craving a drink every
single day and not
picking up a glass.”
~ Nelson W, CA
“I’m not God.“
~ Susan F, Carlsbad, CA
“Not everyone has
the ability, means, or
want to recover.“
~ Beck G, Florida
“That I have a good
heart, after all.“
~ Alison P, CA
“I am worthy.“
~ Jonathon G, CA
“My lack of control over
~ Karen V, LA, CA
“That I have a disease
with no cure.”
~ Deana C, Facebook
“Having to go to
house and ask for
her forgiveness. I
didn’t go yet.”
~ Tina P, NYC
of actual life”
~ Roger M, San Diego, CA
“Leaving the past in the past. I
can’t help looking over my shoulder.”
~ Kate G, Seattle, WA
“All the hard-core things my sponsor
drummed into me and all that stuff I
never wanted to hear. That was what
actually saved my ass in the end.
~ Catherine J, Ohio
~ Fiona T, LA, CA
“Knowing that some of the people I
love will never forgive me, even though
I’m sober now. They’ll never forget my
past. They’ll never trust me again.
~ Lenora H, San Diego, CA
“That one of my parents
is a bad person. This
toxic person does no
good for me and is trying
to destroy me from the
inside. The saddest part is
that I’ve lost a parent.“
~ Zachary R, LA, CA
“No matter what I
do with it, my crazy
hair will always
stick straight out
~ Pippi Longstocking
~ Helen C, Dallas, TX
“The loss of the love of my life.”
~ Diane B, Leesburg Florida
“The concept of a
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 51
Death Diaries for Patients:
Is Your Name On A Death Prescription?
by Roneet Lev, MD FACEP
Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Prince,
Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, all world famous
entertainers from different eras and backgrounds who
share one distressing distinction; each died of an accidental
prescription drug overdose. While these deaths are well known,
thousands of men, woman and children—who are not rich or
famous—die without ever being noticed. Despite that, chances
are you know someone who died of an accidental prescription
overdose. Sadly, none of the people who die intend to overdose.
In 2015, the San Diego’s Medical Examiner’s office worked with
the California Controlled Substance Utilization and Review
and Evaluation System, CURES, to look at the prescriptions
people took in the year before they died. We called this study
the San Diego Death Diaries because they tell the story of a
person’s life through prescription drug use and abuse. Every
day in the United States, over one hundred people die from
accidental medication overdoses. The majority, seventy-eight a
day, die as a result of prescription painkillers.
In 2013, in San Diego County, 254 people died from
prescriptions; 186 had data on CURES. This group
received 4,366 prescriptions for thirty-three different types
of medications, from 713 different physicians, and 275
pharmacies. Eighty percent died from a cocktail of several
medications. Methadone was the cause of death in forty-six
people; in twelve others, methadone was most responsible for
deaths related to a single medication.
Do people die if they take their medications exactly as they are
told? The answer is, yes, but in significantly lower numbers.
Of the 254 people who died, forty-two (16.5%) died using the
medication in the doses and intervals they were prescribed, and
not combining their medication with drugs or alcohol. There
are risks even when taking medication as prescribed—let alone
taking too many or mixing medication with alcohol or overthe-counter
As much as we wish for everyone to be pain and anxiety
free, it is not always possible. Patients—especially those in
recovery—need to ask themselves: do I really need this? Ask
the same question of your doctor.
Here are some tips cultivated from studying the Death Diaries.
Please remember that these recommendations do not replace
talking with your doctor about your medications.
Take medications only as prescribed. There is a fine line
between a medication being helpful and being a poison. No
extras. More is not better.
Do not share your medication. While your intentions may be
good, you may be hurting, not helping.
52 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Use only one doctor and one pharmacy for coordinating your
medications. Many patients have different doctors: primary
care, psychiatrist, and surgeon, but there must be one who is
coordinating the medication to avoid drug interactions.
Beware of sleeping pills and Benadryl. Sleep aids depress
your central nervous system and have an additive effect on
painkillers and anxiety medications. Sleep aids stop being
effective after continued use. It is best to use non-medication
methods of getting sleep when necessary.
Avoid being on pain and anxiety medications at the same time.
More than half of the Death Diaries showed this combination.
Many people are anxious and in pain, but that does not take
away from the risk this combination causes.
Do not assume that, because you have been taking your
medication for years, they are safe. Sometimes your family
and friends are able to see changes in you that you cannot see,
ask them about it.
With pain medications one
must beware of time lapses
between dosages. Your
pain receptors adjust over
time and many people die
assuming they can handle
the dosage because they did
Realize there are many
alternatives to pain
medication. You need to
understand your pain, have
realistic expectations of
pain management, and use
alternative methods of care,
including ice, heat, massage,
Prescription medications can
be lifesavers, but when they
are misused, unintentionally
or otherwise, they can
become prescriptions for
death. Use this information
to reduce your chances of
becoming a prescription drug
Dr. Roneet Lev chairs the Prescription Drug Abuse Medical Task Force and is Director of
Operations at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Amino-Acids for Brain Health
by Roni Askey-Doran
“Stand in front the bathroom mirror and look at your face. Look
directly into your eyes and repeat the following statement five
times: ‘You are beautiful and I love you.’ Do this twice a day;
once in the morning, and again before you go to bed.” These
were my therapist’s instructions. I gaped in horror as she let this
information sink in. Look in a mirror? I hadn’t even glanced
sideways at a mirror for years. My reflection in anything: a
mirror, a window, even someone’s sunglasses, repulsed me. The
thought of viewing my reflection on purpose made me nauseous.
The first time I did this exercise, I collapsed in a heap on the
bathroom floor, howling in pain. I hated myself so completely
I couldn’t even look. Then, I got up and stood there, not able to
look myself in the eye, taking in the horrid creature I’d grown
accustomed to ignoring. It was excruciating to look at myself.
Unable to see anyone worthy looking back, I spat the words at
the mirror. The pointlessness of the exercise filled me with rage.
It was weeks before I felt anything besides anger and loathing.
Several times, I picked myself up off the floor and forced myself
to look into my own eyes. Sometimes, I refused to look at any
other part of my face, and focused on my eyes. Often, they were
puffy and red from crying. Other times, I squeezed them shut and
numbly chanted the statement, not believing a word of it.
At least twice, I crossed my eyes in frustration, doubling the pain.
Despite my yearning to throw a rock at the mirror, I kept my
promise, as long as
I wasn’t prescribed
I practiced the
and recited the
until I finally
began to believe
it. The first minor
took a month.
therapist noticed the
change in my face,
especially in my eyes.
Standing at the mirror every
day was vital. I repeated the
mantra until the first glimmer of
self-acceptance kicked in. Gradually, I
felt a perceptible shift in my emotional state.
After several weeks, I smiled at my reflection for the first time.
That small gesture brought tears. That morning, I noticed my
eyes shone bluer. As I chanted my daily mantra, the darkness
began to fade away. Life was looking up, and more positives
came my way. This simple sentence had the power to change
my perspective, and awaken my long lost self-love. Inside that
terrifying looking glass, I discovered someone amazing.
Experience The Twelve
Steps Through Music!
“You are beautiful and I love you.”
What is Synaptamine and how does it work?
Addiction has a high heredity component, based on a reward deficiency trait that may be impacted by the environment. We believe that in
order to change the continued epidemic of abuse of opiates/opioids or any other drug and non-‐drug addictive behavior, the La-‐Vita RDS
patented aqua–nano liquid product, Synaptamine, should be a first-‐line defense.
LaVita Scientists, especially Dr. Kenneth Blum, their Chief Scientific Officer, have published many articles proposing that even initially during
detoxification, Medically Assisted Treatments (MATs) should be substituted with the non-‐addicting and safe ‘pro-‐dopamine’ regulator –
Synaptamine. This statement it is backed by extensive scientific peer reviewed published articles in prestigious journals. We now know that
addiction or Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) [now featured in SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal Psychology 2016] is a brain disorder and is
due to genetic vulnerability in at least 100,000 million people in the America. Any treating clinician should embrace the concept that both
initiation of substance seeking and continued abuse is due primarily to a hypo-‐dopaminergic trait (genetic) or environmentally induced state
(epigenetic) or a combination of both.
So a major solution must address the low dopamine brain function early on in the recovery process especially when an individual seeks help,
clinicians should promote the long-‐term balancing of dopamine function with the laudable goal of inducing “Dopamine Homeostasis”
(regulation). There is continuing excitement concerning the consistent positive effects of Synaptamine. Almost thirty published studies clearly
show major anti-‐craving effects, enhanced well-‐being (stress reduction).
Synaptamine is not a drug rather it is a natural mixture of precursor amino-‐acids to neurotransmitters like serotonin, glutamine, and
dopamine, inhibitors of the breakdown of brain endorphins and inhibitors of enzymes known to clear or breakdown dopamine in the synapse.
Simply it has been found that Synaptamine has been shown to gently activate (light up) dopamine across the reward circuitry of the brain in
abstinent heroin addicts. Studies have revealed that there is an increased recruitment of additional dopamine neurons firing in brain areas
involved in reward processing with possible neuroplasticity even in the long-‐term.
The Synaptamine model, unlike other detoxification models that continue the addiction cycle, by administering either methadone or
buprenorphine/naloxone during this critical detoxification period, definitely by-‐passes this unwanted therapy and starts the individual on a path
of victory from the chains of addictive drugs. So what is our secret?
1) Understanding the mechanisms involved
2) Finding new ways to induce long-‐term dopamine homeostasis.
We achieve this by supplying the abstinent opiate addict with just the right amount of dopamine, which induces just the optimal amount of
dopamine to be released from the neuron -‐ without adding MATs like methadone or buprenorphine in any form, rather replacing it with
Glutaminergic-‐Dopaminergic optimization (GDOC) as provided by Synaptamine.
Through continued additional research, along with fellow neuroscientists and clinicians, we may find new ways
to further enhance an optimization of glutaminergic/ dopaminergic systems. With Synaptamine you can induce
“dopamine homeostasis”, redeem joy and restore hope!
I have children who suffer with depression
and/or anxiety. We have tried many
medications over the years, but the effects
were short term & the side effects were
sometimes worse than the depression itself.
After introducing my son to Synaptamine, he
came to me one day and said "Mom, I can tell
it is working because I am smiling all the
time." My daughter's also added Synaptamine
to what she was already doing and
immediately noticed improvement with her
anxiety. Thank you so much for this wonderful
product! [Wendy A.]
As a mom of 5 kids and a wife of a recovering
addict, saying I’m stressed would be an
understatement. Since being on
Synaptamine, my stress level has decreased
and my energy level has really increased. It
also has helped with my cravings for carbs
and I even noticed weight loss with this
product. I was looking for something natural
with no side effects to come along because I
didn't want to be on medication. My body
never reacted well with anything the doctor
prescribed. I am so happy I was introduced to
Synaptamine! [C. Hendrix]
I am a 56 & in recovery from alcoholism. I
agreed to start using Synaptamine on the
urging of a friend. I began taking it daily and
within the first week noticed that I was able
to stay sharp in a demanding job without
feeling overwhelmed or taxed. I happened to
run out of the product over a weekend … the
way I felt after suddenly discontinuing its use
only reinforced in my mind the great benefits
I had been enjoying during my daily doses. I
won't let that happen again as this has
honestly given my recovery a boost that I'm
not willing to be without. [Bill G.]
Working the steps using the Twelve Songs
Workbook with the Twelve Songs CD is a great way
to experience Recovery Through Music. Each page
of the workbook incldes the lyrics, a picture, and a
series of questions that relate to the corresponding
song (and step).
This is an exciting, fun and affordable new way to
enhance spiritual growth no matter what a person is
recovering from on their journey
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 53
What a WHANGderful World!
Running Around the
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change.” That’s the first line of the Serenity Prayer, so I guess
it’s pretty important. Acceptance of the things I cannot change.
For example, I cannot change or control what other people
say or do, but I can choose my response to it. I’ve heard it
said that God exists in the pause between when someone else
says or does something, and when I reply. It helps for me to
pause, take a breath, and remember that the things people say
to me are more often a reflection of them than they are of me.
In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us not
to take anything personally. That includes both compliments
and insults. Ideally I have my own sense of self-worth that
isn’t dependent on external feedback, so I don’t rollercoaster
emotionally with high praise or harsh condemnation from
those around me. As a recovering codependent, my goal is
to respond, not react. Reacting implies something childish,
emotional and impulsive, whereas responding implies
something mature, evolved, and thoughtful.
I love the saying, “If I’m hysterical, it’s historical.” One of
the ways I can maintain my serenity is by identifying and
healing my open wounds. If I have no open wounds, then no
one can hurt me by throwing salt. If someone came up to me
on the sidewalk and said, “You’re a fat, bald murderer!” I
wouldn’t get triggered, because I know none of that is true.
But if someone said, “You should be on that show Hoarders!”
I would probably get defensive, because cluttering has been
an issue in my life for decades. I’ve hired professional
organizers, discussed it in therapy, and made huge progress,
but it’s far from being handled.
If a recovering alcoholic’s number one priority is sobriety, then
a recovering codependent’s number one priority is serenity.
It’s tricky to be in a program where falling off the wagon is
so nebulous. With alcoholics or drug addicts, sobriety means
you don’t drink or do drugs, and if you do, you’ve fallen
off the wagon. What constitutes falling off the wagon for a
recovering codependent? If it’s defined as slipping away
54 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
from serenity, then I fall off the wagon regularly. But I see
how being in acceptance can help me get back on track. It’s
counterproductive for me to rail against the present moment.
My boyfriend Jeff and I just moved into a new house. Well,
the house was built in 1946, but it’s new to us. I sold the house
I owned for the past twelve years, and we’re renting this
house together. We are surrounded by boxes, and our lives
have become a 24/7 game show entitled, Where Is That Thing
I Need Right Now? The idea of unpacking, decluttering, and
getting settled into this house is beyond overwhelming. And
when I’m overwhelmed, I can get paralyzed.
Author Anne Lamott has a great story about her brother.
When he was ten years old, he was writing a book report on
birds that he had been putting off for months, and it was due
the next day. He was at the kitchen table freaking out and
close to crying, surrounded by blank paper and pencils and
many different books on birds, paralyzed by the gargantuan
task he faced. Her father came and sat beside him, put his arm
around her brother, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take
it bird by bird.”
Last week, I was in the middle of freaking out about packing
for the move, when Jeff reminded me of this story. He just
smiled and said, “Bird by bird.” Ah, yes. Acceptance for
me right now means that I must accept the current chaotic
condition of the house. I will not dig my head in the sand. I
will let my gratitude list for this new place surpass my task
list. Just for today I can do this, one box at a time. Progress,
not perfection. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.” So today, I will take a few steps.
I will be gentle with myself. I will remember that moving
is considered one of the most stressful things a human can
experience, and that I’m doing great. I’m so thankful to have
a wonderful house to live in, and a boyfriend who makes me
laugh every day. And since we have a beautiful front porch,
I can take a break and enjoy a cup of tea whenever I want. I
can bask in the beautiful rose bushes that grace our yard. And
I can feel serene. Until I can’t find the dress I want to wear
tonight, and I’m running around the house naked, screaming,
“OH COME ON! WHERE IS IT?!”
© Suzanne Whang is best known as the host of HGTV’s #1 show, House Hunters, for
almost a decade. She also co-hosted Bloopers with Dick Clark on NBC, and FOX After
Breakfast with Tom Bergeron. Suzanne played Polly on NBC’s Las Vegas for four
seasons, and she’s a double award-winning stand-up comedian. She’s a published
author, keynote speaker, teacher, coach, political activist, and metaphysical minister.
Suzanne has a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University, and a Masters in Cognitive
Psychology from Brown University. She’s currently starring in the sitcom From Here
On Out (Here TV), recurring on the new DirecTV series Kingdom, and starring in the
hilarious upcoming feature film, A Weekend With The Family, in theaters April 1st. You
can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @suzannewhang.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
Jimmy worked hard all his life and saved every penny
of his earnings. Even though he was a rich man, he
was a scrooge when it came to money. He loved it more
than anything, including his wife, Maria. On the brink
of retirement, Jimmy was diagnosed with untreatable
cancer. Just before Jimmy died, he said to his wife:
“When I die I want you to collect all my money together
and place it in the casket with me. I want to take it all with
me to the after life.”
Jimmy made Maria promise with her hand on her heart
that when he died she would put every cent of his money
in the casket with him. Eventually, the cancer consumed
his soul, and he was gone.
At the funeral, Jimmy was stretched out in the casket in
his best suit, and his grieving wife sat draped in black
next to their best friend, Nancy. When the ceremony was
over, just before the undertaker closed the casket, Maria
said, “Wait a minute!”
She was holding a shoe box. Carefully, she placed it
inside the casket with her departed husband’s body. The
undertaker locked the coffin and rolled it away.
Nancy whispered, “I hope you weren’t crazy enough to
put all that money in there with that stingy old man.”
Maria responded, “Yes, I promised. I’m a good Christian,
I can’t lie. I promised I would bury his money with him.”
“You mean to tell me you just went and put every cent of
that so-and-so’s money in the casket with him?” Nancy
“I sure did,” said Maria. “I got it all together, put it into my
account and I wrote him a check.”
Q: What do you call a cow with no legs?
A: Ground beef.
Q: What has eighteen legs and catches flies?
A: A baseball team.
Q: What would you give to injured lemons?
Q: Why did the referee stop the leper’s hockey game?
A: There was a face-off in the corner.
Q: Where would you learn how to make ice cream?
A: At Sundae School.
Q: What has more lives than a cat?
A: A frog—it croaks every night.
Q: What kind of dog hears voices?
A: A Shih-Tzu-Phrenic.
Q: What did did the mother duck say to her duckling?
A: “If you don’t behave, I’m gonna quack you one.”
by Ranay Dato
by Ranay Dato
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 55
Carrying A Message of Hope
Guarantee that you won’t miss out
on a single issue! Subscribe Today for
only $18 per YEAR
3 Ways To Order:
or mail check to
Step 12 Magazine
P O Box 5677
Oceanside, CA. 92052
Puzzle Solutions from Pages 32 & 33
56 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
MESSAGES and things that make you go “Hmmmm.”
Athlete and surfing
extraordinaire Andy Irons struggled with
poly-addictions. Hotel maids found his lifeless body
in 2010, lying in a bed with the sheets pulled up to his chin.
Autopsy results showed Irons died of cardiac arrest from a
mixture of cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam
Heroin was originally called
tetra acetyl morphine; the
result of a slight scientific
An estimated 20 million
Americans aged 12 or older have
used illegal drugs in the past 30
days. This estimate represents
8% percent of the population
aged 12 years old or older.
The most commonly abused drugs in the United
States of America include cocaine, heroin, inhalants,
LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine,
phencyclidine (PCP), steroids (anabolic), Vicodin,
OxyContin and legal prescription drugs.
known for his
roles in Baywatch
and Knight Rider,
several very public
completed rehab in
2009 and has been
sober ever since.
It takes MDMA
as “Molly” or “ecstasy”)
approximatley 15 minutes
to reach the brain and
begin having an effect
on the body.
In the 19th Century, cocaine was
marketed in medicines for children,
mainly “tooth drops” to alleviate pain.
Methadone was created by chemists in Germany in WWII.
Its original intention was to take the place of the scarcely
available morphine to work as a painkiller.
William Stewart Halsted
was a physician and
pioneer in the field
of breast cancer
treatment. One of the
“Big Four” founding
professors at the Johns
Halsted was the first
surgeon to perform a
mastectomy. He was
also a morphine and
In the late 1800s,
most opiate addicts
were upper- and
14 YEARS CLEAN
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 57
Nov / Dec 2016 Horoscopes
Mar 21 – Apr 19
Apr 20 – May 20
May 21 – Jun 20
Jun 21 –Jul 22
Jul 23 – Aug 22
Aug 23 – Sept 22
NOV - Someone in your family or social group is going through something that is
starting to affect your relationship with them. Communication is going to be either
strained or outright hostile, but you need to try very hard not to take anything
personally. Regarding your finances: charm is a given, but whether you are the one
playing the flute or snaking your way out of the basket remains to be seen.
DEC - If you own your home or have any kind of investments in real estate, Aries,
you might hear some great news this month about the value of that investment. It’s
likely to be increasing, and probably will continue in that direction. This could make a
big difference in your life in some way right now. In fact, there might be a number of
options opening to you. Consider them all carefully, and go for the gold.
NOV - With all the social events you’ve attended lately, it’s likely you’ve met some
people in the healing professions. These doctors, nurses, and technicians could be
useful to you later. Be sure to file their contact information away for future reference.
On another front, expect to receive some good news concerning your finances.
DEC - If other people around you get loud and angry about a surprise announcement,
you should definitely not follow their example—no matter how justified they may
be. Screaming at someone isn’t going to mitigate the stress or anxiety, it will only
increase it. Be mindful of your role in every conversation, and try to be a force for
mutual respect, not power struggles. There will be another day for you to get down
and dirty—and get things off your chest.
NOV - Exciting news could bring a lot of joy into your life, Gemini. Your income
may soon skyrocket, and more opportunities to advance yourself professionally
should start coming thick and fast. You may even receive some sort of public
acknowledgment. This isn’t the end of the line, however—this is only the beginning!
You will be glad to know you can expect this trend to continue for some time.
DEC - You’ve been out of the social loop lately, but you are still on the mind of your
friends. They’ve been reading your mood and think you need time alone, so if that’s
not the case you need to let them know as soon as possible! Get yourself involved
in the rhythms and activities of your favorite people and let them know you’d love to
tag along when they run their errands, or household chores.
NOV - People are apt to try to hit you square on the head with their ideas and
thoughts, so be ready for the onslaught of information that may come your way.
There’s a distinct advantage to listening to the whole spiel before you react with your
own facts and emotions. The problem is that you’re going to be tempted to argue
instead of calmly resolve the matter. Practice active listening this month.
DEC - It’s a good time to get what you want from people who have never been
interested in coming to your aid before. Your charm is strong enough to overcome
anyone’s selfishness, and you shouldn’t think twice about celebrating the fact that
you have won them over. Invite them out for coffee or even dinner. Now that the ice is
melted, it’s time to build on that warmth and create something long-lasting.
NOV - Tightening your money belt is not fun, but having the extra cash when you
really need it is! Think about long term gains in, and be more thrifty. Order the
small size, skip the fancy extras and don’t you dare take a cab! If you enjoy a small
convenience today, you will suffer a major inconvenience tomorrow—so do your
future self a favor by simply saying ‘no’ to your usual luxuries this month.
DEC - Leo, love of all kinds—of friends, of family members, romantic love—flourishes
in the home this month as several visitors come to your door, perhaps unexpectedly.
One of your guests could bring some wonderful news about money. A strong sense
of unity among all those present should be very apparent, at least to you. Anchor
yourself in practical matters before you try to prove your point to others.
NOV - You may experience a transformation in your thinking. It’s bound to affect
every aspect of your life. By always questioning, you work through difficult issues
that require a constant reshuffling of viewpoints. Feel free to open yourself up to new
ways of thinking as you dismiss old ways that no longer serve you. Now is a terrific
time to consider a fresh wave of thought. You’ll be exposed to a new way of truth.
DEC - A large gathering of friends, relatives, and neighbors could take place in your
home this month, Virgo. You might run into a few old friends you haven’t seen in a
long time and enjoy catching up. A former romantic partner could also be present.
Are you still interested? If so, pursue it. It might work this time! If you’re no longer
interested, perhaps you could now be friends. Think about it!
58 - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016
Sept 23 – Oct 22
Oct 23 – Nov 21
Nov 22 – Dec 21
Dec 22 – Jan 19
Jan 20 – Feb 18
Feb 19 – Mar 20
NOV - You will find certain aspects of your life which may have felt disconnected in
the past are finally slipping into their proper place in the puzzle. Have faith that all
your painstaking planning and organizing is finally going to pay off. This is especially
true in love and romance. This month, Libra, spend intimate time with a close partner
as soon as the opportunity arises.
DEC - You will be faced with some very tantalizing social invitations, be very picky
about which ones you accept. Even a quiet night out could snowball into a very foggy
morning. You know the usual suspects, so look out for familiar patterns. The leopard
cannot change its spots, so if a friend who usually walks on the wild side wants you
to walk there with them, say ‘no.’
NOV - Restriction and discipline might not be your forte, Scorpio, but realize that this
may be exactly the type of thing you need the most. Try not to expend your energy in
too many directions. Focus and channel your efforts into those things you consider
the most important. Make sure that most of your day is spent tending to these things.
Have you hugged your loved ones lately?
DEC - Retail therapy is a very bad strategy for dealing with the dramas you’re going
through right now—you can’t buy yourself out of the blues. Any impulse buys you
make in the moment might provide a temporary relief of your symptoms, but they
definitely won’t deal with the underlying cause. Save your money for another day.
Instead, take a walk or visit with a friend—for free.
NOV - Appreciate the good things you have. Don’t let another day go by without
really paying homage to the people who’ve helped you grow along the way. Take
a walk. Climb a tree or help a child build a tree house. Connect with your spiritual
side that finds satisfaction in where you are now instead of always feeling a need to
search for something bigger and better.
DEC - Try to be as generous as you can this month. Your benevolence can open
doors and make people remember you in an extremely favorable way. Be the first
one to give someone a compliment. Loan a friend a few bucks, or offer to lend a
coworker a hand on a particularity ambitious project. The more outgoing you are with
your time and goodwill, the faster you’ll feel the karmic results.
NOV - When it comes to matters of love and romance, you may need to tone things
down a bit. An aggressive approach now may drive your loved one further away from
you instead of drawing them closer. Remember that love is a two-way street. Don’t
just do things the way you’d like to do them. Capricorn, this month it’s crucial you
consider your partner’s thoughts and feelings every step of the way.
DEC - If you take every little detail into consideration, your head will explode, and no
one wants that. Start the month slowly, but don’t obsess over matters that may turn
out to be inconsequential. Your intentions are good, and you genuinely care about
the other people involved, as you will demonstrate mid-month. The holidays will have
you charming someone out of a bad mood with a razzle-dazzle tap dance.
NOV - You may find your love is incredibly magnetic now, Aquarius. All you need to
do is be yourself and, suddenly, people flock your way. There are terrific opportunities
for you to strengthen the bonds you have with the people you care about the most.
Solidify your relationship with soft romantic words and actions. There is an extra
sensuality to your mood and actions now.
DEC - A big change up is coming to your immediate surroundings—the world around
you will be different place by the end of the month. With a change in environment,
you’ll experience a change in attitude. What used to seem like a waste of time will
suddenly ignite a flicker of hope. It’s time to pick back up on what you thought was a
lost cause—because it just might not be so lost after all!
NOV - Consider taking a more conservative approach to your actions this month,
Pisces, as well as to the way you dress. Others may be rather put off by something
that comes across as too flashy. Fashion is apt to be a significant concern for you
now, which is fine. Don’t underestimate the power of personal appearance.
DEC - Doubting yourself is normal—in fact, it’s healthy. When you doubt your
actions, you apply a healthy skepticism to your decision making and help perfect it.
Luckily, any doubts you have will be quickly erased this month. December will be full
of signs and affirmations that you are on the right path—despite what other people
might be telling you. You are swimming with sharks now, but you are in no danger as
long as you keep moving forward.
Contact Step 12 Magazine at 760-898-8354
NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2016 - 59