Burn Out: What I Do To Avoid It

January 11, 2015

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By Terence T. Gorski
Author, my books can be found at www.relapse.

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

I keep myself from burning out and becoming jaded by doing my best to focus my mind on the following things:

1. Praying: My primary repetitive prayer is: “God teach me of your will for me and give me the courage to carry that out.”

2. Renewing My Commitment To Help: I keep reinforcing that “we keep it by giving it away.” When we help others without trying to control those we are helping and without allowing ourselves to be exploited it helps me keep a balanced perspective.

3. I Dream Big: I see myself as a part of the revolution of the human spirit and human consciousness that will slowly, one person at a time, create a sober and responsible world.

4. I Manage My Expectations: I hope for the best when doing my work. I am prepared for the worst.

5. I Keep Perspective: I can’t do it alone, I can only do my part. I realize the power of a team of people working in harmony towards the same goal is powerful. I strive to stay focused on building a sober and responsible world one day at a time with the help of others.

6. I Take Time For Myself: I have areas of interest that focus my mind on many other things that I find inspiring or helpful. I read voraciously and take the lessons from everything I read that can lift my spirits and give me a positive and heroic fantasy life — kind of like I am “The Walter Mitty of the Addiction Field.”

7. I Dream Big: I strive work day-by-day to contribute things to others that will leave the world a better place. This is called building a legacy in the minds and hearts of others.

8. I Deal With Reality: I Deal With the immediate reality that confronts me by trying to do the next right thing to keep moving toward creating my life goal.

9. I Transcend Fear: I have developed the habit of facing fear without letting the fear control me. My favorite tool for this is Frank Herbert’s Litany Against Fear: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer – the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit my fear to pass over me through me. When it has gone past I will turn my inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I remain.

10. I copiously reflect upon the deep meaning of The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

11. I Collect Quotable Quotes: My two favorites are: “One person can make a difference and every person should try.” ~ John F. Kennedy; and “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. ~ Albert Einstein.

12. I Don’t Take Myself to Seriously: I try to learn something from everyone I meet and everything I do. I strive to be humble by “accepting the things I cannot change, changing the things that I can, and learning to know the difference.” I act upon my strengths without asking for permission. I overcome or compensate for my weaknesses by asking for and receiving help.

To sum it up, I recognize that I am a fallible human being; that I will die and have limited time to live; and that it’s up to me to do the best I can with the cards I am dealt in life. I know that I might be wrong so I stay open to learning, changing and growing. I accept the fact that I am responsible for my life, what I choose to do and not do, and what U choose to focus my mind upon. I look up all words I read or hear to understand what they mean. I realize that language programs the brain/mind so I careful about what I say to myself and others.

Carpe Diem!

Illigitimi non carborundum!

I also renew myself by escaping into Criminal Minds (Spencer is my favorite character) and NCIS (my two favorite character are Gibbs and McGee).

I want to leave a positive legacy and have given a lot of thought to what I want to pass forward to future generations. Here are twenty-five Ideas I want to pass forward to the next generation.

Gorski Books: www.relapse.org

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Fear, Silence, and Speaking Out

January 10, 2015

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Don’t let anyone frighten you into silence.

See the blog on arrogance and courage
https://terrygorski.com/2013/10/18/arrogance-has-a-place/


What Do You Know?

January 10, 2015

The Books of Terence T. Gorski

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There are three things to consider:

1. The things we know that we know.

2. The things we know that we don’t know.

3. The things we don’t know that we don’t know.

The last is potentially the most dangerous.


Concerned Veterans for America

January 10, 2015

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Learn from the few who have stood between you and the guns of the enemy.

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” ~ George Orwell

Concerned Veterans for America
http://cv4a.org


The Progression of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems

January 10, 2015

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By Terence T. Gorski, Gorski Books

This is an excerpt from the book by Terry Gorski
entitled: Straight Talk About Addiction

In this blog, we’re going to look at the problems people have with alcohol and other drugs.

Let us start with a simple fact: Alcohol and drug problems are common.

About two-thirds of all Americans drink. About one-third do not. Of those who drink, about half develop alcohol-related problems.

Somewhere between 6 and 10 percent of all Americans will become alcoholics.

In addition to alcohol, many people use illegal drugs and abuse prescription medications.

When you add it all together, about 15% of all people will have serious problems with alcohol or other drugs at some point in their lives.

One thing is certain – no one starts drinking or drugging with the goal of getting addicted. People do not wake up in the morning and say: “Gee, this is beautiful day, I think I’ll go out and get addicted! That’s just not how it works.

Addiction is a slow and insidious process. It sneaks up on people from behind, when they are not looking. Here is how it happens.

When some people start using alcohol and other drugs, they feel really good. The drugs make them feel better than they have ever felt before. Therefore, they keep drinking and drugging.

They focus on enjoying the good times and get in the habit of pushing the bad times out of their minds. This allows the disease of addiction to quietly sneak in through the back door. The “Big Book “of Alcoholics Anonymous says it better than I ever could – Addiction is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.”

Addiction comes into our lives posing as a friend and then slowly grows into a monster that can destroy us.

There was once a man named Ted. His best friend gave him a little kitten. Ted loved that soft cuddly little cat and made it a part of his life. As time went by the cat kept growing and growing. It started to get so big that it was causing problems. It would knock things off the counters, break things, and tear up the house.

Ted loved the cat so much, that he decided to ignore the problems. By the time the cat was six months old, it was clear to everyone that this was no ordinary cat. Ted’s friend had given him a baby mountain lion.

Knowing this, however, didn’t change Ted’s feelings. He loved his “cat so much that he decided to keep it. After all, what harm could it do? He would just take some extra precautions and everything would be fine.

About eight months later a friend came over to visit. Ted’s mountain lion attacked his friend. When Ted tried to pull the cat off of his friend, the mountain lion turned on him and clawed Ted so badly that he nearly died.

Addiction is a lot like Ted’s mountain lion. It starts out as a cute and cuddly little thing that brings a lot of joy, fun, and excitement into our lives. Then the addiction starts to grow up.

As it grows, our addiction turns into a vicious monster that destroys our lives. In this section, we will look at how this happens.

This is an excerpt from the book by Terry Gorski
entitled: Straight Talk About Addiction

Gorski Books: www.relapse.org
Gorski Home Studies: www.cenaps.com<

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COUNSELOR STRESS AND TREATMENT ENGAGEMENT

November 11, 2013

http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2013/02/staff-stress-affects-patients-engagement-in-therapy

Staff Stress Affects Patients’ Engagement in Therapy
February 20, 2013

Substance abuse treatment is stressful work. Treatment professionals must deal with problems that are complex and urgent, often with limited resources. A NIDA-supported study suggests that outpatient drug-free programs can help substance abuse treatment professionals reduce their stress and more effectively engage patients in treatment.

Dr. Brittany Landrum, Dr. Danica K. Knight, and Dr. Patrick M. Flynn of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth surveyed staff and patients in 89 outpatient drug-free programs in nine states. Staff who had direct contact with patients filled out the Survey of Organizational Functioning. Patients completed the Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment questionnaire.

The survey results revealed that when staff members reported lower levels of stress, patients reported more active participation in treatment (see figure). The results also suggested treatment programs can reduce staff stress by giving employees a voice in organizational policies and procedures. Staff who rated their influence within their programs as relatively high tolerated stress with fewer symptoms of burnout—emotional exhaustion and low sense of personal accomplishment—than staff who rated their influence as relatively low.

Surprisingly, the link between staff stress and burnout was weaker in programs with higher patient caseloads than those with lower caseloads. The researchers speculate that counselors who have more patients to treat can channel their stress positively into a sense of challenge that may be protective against burnout.

Patients Report Higher Treatment Engagement in Programs Where Staff Report Less Stress In a study of outpatient drug-free treatment programs, staff reported less burnout in those programs where they had higher perceived influence in organizational decisions and where they had higher average caseloads.
This study was supported by NIH grants DA014468, DA014468-01A2, DA014468-02, DA014468-02S1, DA014468-03, DA014468-04, and DA014468-05.

Source

Landrum, B.; Knight, D.K.; and Flynn, P.M. The impact of organizational stress and burnout on client engagement. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 42(2):222–230, 2012. Abstract

http://archives.drugabuse.gov/ADAC/ADAC7.html


Stress Self-Monitoring and Relapse

April 27, 2012

By Terence T. Gorski
www.relapse.org 

An exciting new development in the treatment of addiction is the integration of stress management into the treatment and recovery process.  Although stress management has been recognized as an important adjunct to addiction treatment for over twenty years, the relationship between acute stress reactions, denial and treatment resistance is now becoming clear.  As stress goes up, so does denial and treatment resistance.  A key to effectively managing denial and treatment resistance is to teach recovering people to recognize their stress levels and use immediate relaxation techniques to lower their stress.

Recovering people are especially vulnerable to stress.  There is a growing body of evidence that many addicted people have brain chemistry imbalances that predispose them to both addiction and difficulty in managing stress.  The regular and heavy use of alcohol and other drugs can cause toxic effects to the brain that create symptoms that cause additional stress and interfere with effective stress management.

Many recovering people have severe problems with Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW).  PAW is caused by brain chemistry imbalances that are related to addiction that disrupt the ability to think clearly, manage feelings and emotions, manage stress, and self-regulate behavior.  PAW is stress sensitive.  As the level of stress goes up, the severity of PAW symptoms increases.  As PAW symptoms get worse, recovering people start losing their ability to effectively manage their stress.  As a result they are locked into chronic states of high stress that cause them to vacillate between emotional numbness and emotional overreaction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, exposure to stress is one of the most powerful triggers for relapse to substance abuse in addicted individuals, even after long periods of abstinence.  Stress can cause a problem drinker to drink more, and a recovering alcoholic to relapse.

Many counselors are dealing with these stress related problems by using a simple tool called The Stress Thermometer.

The Stress Thermometer

The Stress Thermometer is a self-monitoring tool that teaches people to become aware of their current stress levels, notice increases and decreases in stress during sessions, and encourages the use of immediate relaxation techniques to lower stress as soon a stress levels begin to rise.  The stress thermometer makes the problem of stress an acceptable issue to bring up any time stress levels increase to a point where denial and resistance are activated.

The concept of using a stress thermometer came from thinking about how we use a temperature thermometer to measure our body temperature.  When we take our body temperature we use a thermometer to tell us accurately and objectively what our body temperature is.  When we use a stress thermometer, we use a system for self-monitoring our stress levels that can tell us accurately and objectively how high our stress levels are.

The stress thermometer is divided into four color-coded regions: blue – relaxation, green – functional, yellow – acute stress reaction, and red – trauma reaction.

Relaxation: Stress levels of 1, 2, and 3 are coded blue. Blue is a color that represents a state of relaxation. We are relaxed and attending to the completion of any tasks. Stress Level 1: Relaxed Nearly Asleep; Stress Level 2: Relaxed – Not Focused; and Stress Level 3: Relaxed – Focused

Functional Stress: Stress levels 4, 5 & 6 designate the zone of functional stress. They are coded green because green is a color that represents “go”.  At stress levels 4, 5, and 6 we are experiencing stress levels that are high enough to give us the energy we need to get things done but are not so high that the stress begins to impair our performance.  Stress Level 4: Focused and Active; Stress Level 5: Free Flow With No Effort; and Stress Level 6: Free Flow With Effort.

Acute Stress Reaction: Stress level 7, 8, and 9 are coded yellow. The color yellow represents caution. At stress levels 7, 8, and 9 we are experiencing an acute stress reaction. The word acute means immediate and severe. Our immediate levels of stress have gotten so high that we can’t consistently function normally. We’re in danger. Stress Level 7: Space Out; Stress Level 8: Get Defensive; and Stress Level 9: Overreact.

Traunatic Stress: Level 10 Plus


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