addiction memoir

Why Expectations Will Always Let You Down

Do you remember being a little kid on Christmas? I do. The night before I would always have trouble sleeping because of the anticipation of the next day and the thought of all of the toys that Santa would bring me. The whole night would consist of my mind leaping from fantastic image to fantastic image and most years I would be out of bed before my parents were even up. I would run into their room and force them awake because I couldn’t wait to go downstairs and open up my presents. 

But I also remember something else. After all the presents were opened, the last scrap of wrapping paper being torn from its boxes, I would feel let down even if I got everything that I wanted. I found that my expectations of what Christmas would be and how I would feel, never matched up to reality and so after the hustle and bustle of opening presents was over; I would sort of feel depressed. This foreshadowed my inability to let go not only of expectations but also in letting go of resentments.

Now as a little kid I am not sure how aware I was of all of this, I just knew that I felt a certain way after the presents were opened, but upon reflection, as an adult, I realized that I still do these same things today and with the same result. I still set expectations on people and events and very rarely are my expectations met. When they are not met I am always let down and if the expectation is too large it can even feel heartbreaking. I recently experienced this in a way different than I ever had before and it had to do with my children.

I spent the first 18 months of my sobriety in South Florida, away from my family. This I believe was necessary in order for me to finally get sober, but the whole time that I was in Florida, my goal was to move back home to be with my children. During my time away my ex-husband and I finalized our divorce and we hashed out the visitation agreement as well.

When I finally moved back home I had the expectation that I would have something like joint custody with my ex-husband, but this is not the way that it worked out. After about six months of being home I still only had a visitation schedule with my kids.  This was not what I had hoped for or expected to happen. 

I really struggled with this and still am to a certain degree, because I had certain expectations for how my moving back home would go. I thought that since I had been sober for a while now, I had a good job, and was responsible, I even had my own house, I thought that everything would go swimmingly, but this has not been the case.

It’s funny how no matter how many disappointments I have faced as a direct result of unrealistic expectations I still continue to use them in my life.  Though there has finally been a shift as I now have an awareness that I did not have before.

These are the lessons that I am currently learning, though, that when you set expectations for yourself or others, you will almost always be let down, or as John Steinbeck said, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

The reality is that I cannot control other people or what they do and my expectations are usually the result of me thinking that I can control outcomes. You would think that this point in my life I would have learned that this is not the case, but this is a lesson that just doesn’t seem to want to stick.

I believe that it is okay to want things in life, in fact, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t, but the difference between wanting and expecting is often the difference between satisfaction and hurt. If I want something to go a certain way and it doesn’t, I may be a little upset but probably won’t take it that hard, but when I expect something to go a certain way and it doesn’t, I usually get pretty upset. 

This goes for setting an expectation for myself as well. Going back to the example of moving home, I had expectations of how I would handle the move. I have found that I usually overestimate my ability to handle change and expect myself to handle situations better than I do. Then when I fail to meet these high and unrealistic expectations I get mad at myself, which does nothing but just make me feel worse.

This has been the case with moving back home. I have not handled the move as well as I thought I would and at times it has really affected me. I am not around my original support group, I don’t have access to the same meetings I got sober in, and I have had to create a whole new recovery community for myself. This has been pretty difficult and at times it has felt completely overwhelming. It has tested my faith in ways I didn’t know was possibly, but I think the worst part is how harshly I have judged myself for not meeting my own expectations. The thing is I have a really hard time giving myself a break I always think I could have done better I don’t want to accept what I do.

Expectations very rarely play out the way we think they will and because of this we often set up ourselves up for failure when we have them. I am trying to learn to not have expectations on myself or others, but just try to show up, do the best I can, and have faith that all things will work out. This is harder some days than others, but I’ll continue to trudge this road and hopefully in time expect less and accept more.

***

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

 

I Don’t Want To Do A 12 Step Program: What Are My Options?

Both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will be the first to tell you that they do not have a monopoly on recovery. They merely offer one solution for getting sober that has proven pretty effective for many people. That being said there are people who do not want to participate in a 12 Step program or have found that the 12 Steps just don’t seem to work for them. There arealternatives to 12-step programs that work. Many times these people can feel at a loss because they may have been lead to believe that if they can’t get sober in AA or NA then there is no hope for them. This, however, is not the case and there are a number of other options for getting sober if you do not want to be involved in a 12 Step Program.

Options For Getting Sober Without The Steps

 In the early 20th century renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung expressed the fact that in order for someone to overcome their addiction or alcoholism, something needed to occur that would result in a complete shift in thinking. Jung went on to say how often times therapy alone was not sufficient for this shift to take place, but something else, something along the lines of a spiritual experience, needed to take place in order for the shift to occur. For those who are opposed to the idea of spirituality in any sense of the word, try to keep an open mind and think of it as a change of the psyche, which is what all of these alternatives to AA or NA propose in one form or another.

Traditional Therapy

Often times traditional therapy is not enough to get someone sober because the element of relating is not there, but there are some cases where therapy has gotten people sober. If you are opposed to the idea of going to 12 Step meetings then check out therapy and see if this method of treatment will work in allowing you to overcome your addiction.

 Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery was started in the early 90s as a Christian support group for people suffering from alcoholism and addiction. Rather than using 12 Steps, it has 8 principles which it follows, that adhere to the beatitudes. Even though the program is somewhat based on the 12 Steps, it is in no way associated with AA or NA and its usage of the bible may make it useful for someone who is Christian. There are currently over 10,000 churches that offer Celebrate Recovery so finding a meeting near you should not be too difficult.

 SMART Recovery

Smart Recovery uses the ideas of cognitive behavioral therapy in order to allow its members to re-associate certain environmental and emotional influences that may have caused their alcoholism or addiction. By doing this the program allows its members to create healthier patterns of actions and thoughts, which break the cycle of addictive behaviors. The program employs the latest scientific and psychiatric research and although it is based on abstinence only, the program is not opposed to having members who are not sure if they want to quit completely. The goal is to empower its members and this is done by following a 4-point program consisting of:

  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced life

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety was started in the 1980s by a former AA member who felt uncomfortable with AA’s insistence on turning the will over to a higher power. He felt that by taking personal responsibility for his drinking and removing this notion from the idea of God, it would be more beneficial to his sobriety and life. There is no real structure of this program besides the idea of taking responsible for your actions and a few other suggestions as well.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety for formed in the 1970s by a socialist named Jean Kirkpatrick, who felt that what women needed in order to get sober was different from what men needed. Her approach differs from AA in that she views alcoholism as something that develops out of emotional problems, rather than alcoholism being the underlying cause behind other issues.

 LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is an offshoot of Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Some members of SOS disagreed with the structure of the program and so they decided to start their own program. LifeRing Secular Recovery has three principles, which are centered on the ideas of sobriety, secularism, and self-help. In many ways, they are similar to SOS and they have grown quite a bit over the past 10 years.

 Religion

Finding sobriety through your chosen faith is a way that many people who do not go to AA or NA finally get sober. In fact, besides AA or NA, this is probably the most popular method of getting sober. The support that can be found in the church, synagogue, or mosque, coupled with a spiritual influence can be exactly what is needed in order to overcome addiction or alcoholism.

If you are at a point with your drinking or using where you feel that you need to make a change but do not want to go to a 12 Step Program, then seek out information on one of the alternatives above. Just because you do not want to go to AA or NA does not mean that you do not have the option to get sober. There are many people who felt exactly like you do and they were able to find their own niche in recovery. Hopefully this information was helpful to you and I hope that in the end you find exactly what it is that you are looking for. 

 ***

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

 

 

 

Shannon Egan Celebrates 5 Years in Recovery

Five years ago I crashed my parent’s car into a ditch and ended up in jail with my 3rd DUI-- and with that I became a convicted felon. Today, I am a public face and voice for recovery in my community and the National Recovery Movement, and I’m so honored to carry the message in order to#SquashStigma and infuse hope. However, after publishing my first addiction memoir, No Tourists Allowed, I was reminded that I am not just a woman in long-term recovery, but much more. 

Prior to my felony, I was writing about sexual and reproductive health issues in emergency settings for the UN Population Fund in NYC, which required an in-depth understanding of how the ‘culture of silence’ surrounding sex further exacerbated life threatening situations for families and communities around the world. I was an avid reader and researcher, and I had dreams of traveling the world, and writing many books that empowered readers and challenged the status quo in creativity, spirituality, sex, addiction, religion, and so forth. 

At five years, the time has come for me to live a more balanced and authentic life. Besides working for USARA and advocating for recovery nationally, I want to take my creativity and sensuality (gasp! 😱) to the next level through #Cosplay, and develop more networks outside of the recovery community. 

This year, I will publish my second memoir, Sex, Drugs & Recovery (which picks up after Africa and takes place in NYC), and in 2017, I’ll publish a third: Girl Gone Global, which will feature a variety of travel stories and humanitarian issues that didn’t make the first two. One day, I hope to go back out into the world and wander for a while (with my cats in tow, won’t that be interesting!) 

I hope you’ll join me in the quest to live more authentically--despite the judgements of others. I believe it’s an opportunity for individuals to practice tolerance —if they’re awake—and gain a deeper understanding of the concept of multiple pathways in all things. 

As Steve Jobs put it, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

💫 As for me, I choose to live my life boldly and with great passion. 💫

Thank you for sharing the journey with me, Shan. 

 

upcoming Author's Addiction Memoir Makes Waves Amongst readers and America's Recovery Community.

Recently, Shannon Egan joined Good Morning Utah to talk about her new book, No Tourists Allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan.  The book covers her journey seeking inner peace and sobriety in Utah, where Egan grew up in a Mormon community, and war-torn Sudan, where she worked for two years as a freelance journalist for the United Nations. 

“I was an alcoholic for nearly fifteen years," Egan told Brian Carlson, newscaster for Good Morning Utah. "I have three DUIs, and at my lowest point I worked around town as a stripper. Eventually, I ended up in the Salt Lake County jail with a felony DUI.

 "I had so much shame about my past, which is why I'm passionate about this book. I hope it will help others find purpose and meaning in their struggle, and know for themselves that no matter what their story is, they have a place in our world, and healing and redemption are possible."

Vivid. Gripping. Thought-provoking.

 No Tourists Allowed is the ultimate solo travel adventure. Talented author, Shannon Egan, weaves through tough issues of addiction, ambition, spirituality, altruism, culture shock, and trauma with grace and honesty. Individuals who have never struggled with addiction will find her story completely relatable. It is a story of coming into oneself in a big, complex world.

Holiday Sale: Save up to 75%!  Hurry, limited-time offer: 

$14.99 Amazon Paperback
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Readers have given No Tourists Allowed rave reviews , and the book was recently featured as a 'recovery resource' by Faces and Voices of Recovery, our nation's Recovery Community Organization based in Washington D.C.  Check it out for yourself: Read the first two chapters online for free. 

About the Author: Shannon Egan

Shannon Egan is an author, international freelance journalist, and advocate for addiction recovery. Egan currently works as the Development Director for USARA, Utah’s statewide Recovery Community Organization, and as a Recovery Advocate for the National Recovery Movement in order to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction as well as barriers to sustaining long-term recovery.  Previously, she wrote for the United Nations in Africa New York City.  

Despite training as a writer on humanitarian issues for the UN, Shannon prefers sharing her personal stories of addiction and recovery to infuse hope in those still struggling and spread the message that recovery is possible. Egan is available for interviews and appearances. For booking presentations, media appearances, interviews, and book-signings.

Contact:

 



Changing the Face of Addiction by Creating Positive Memes on social media

On October 1st, 2015 I posted a picture of myself on Facebook holding a sign that read:

I'm a convicted felon in recovery. Forgive me my past. Allow me my future.

This photo was accompanied with a public statement about why I was going to the UNITE to Face Addiction Rally, a history-making day, which took place on October 4th, 2015, in the effort to face addiction in the public arena. At the rally, tens of thousands of people showed up and 700 partners joined together for the first-ever rally and concert on the National Mall in Washington DC.

We called it: the day to end the silence. In a united front, with many faces and one voice, we shouted: NO MORE SHAME. NO MORE STIGMA.

My post read, “I’m going to UNITE To Face Addiction in order to spread the message that recovery is possible. I’m a convicted felon, but I deserve a second chance. We all do. Today, I have nearly five years in long-term recovery, and I’m not just sober, but I’m happy, healthy, and thriving both professionally and personally. My life has been transformed from an experience of shame and darkness to one filled with love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I speak publicly about my experiences and write about them in my book No Tourists Allowed in order to drive the National Recovery Movement forward and to create a positive conversation around addiction and recovery throughout the world. No more shame. No more stigma.” –Shannon Egan, Salt Lake City, UT. 

Today, I have 5 years in long-term recovery and I work at USARA as the Development and Communications Director. USARA is a Recovery Community Organization (RCO) located in Utah, and we advocate, celebrate, support and educate on behalf of addiction recovery and Utah’s recovering community. For my job I run our social media campaigns and I’ve seen firsthand the power of social media and how it can connect individuals in long-term recovery--and those currently seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction-- to their local recovery community. It’s also a powerful way to spread the message of recovery, eradicate shame, and stigma, advocate for change, and promote and strengthen the National Recovery Movement.

For example, in one day my ‘felon’ post went viral with over 1,000 Likes, 800 shares, and hundreds of supportive comments. The meme was spreading like wild fire and this is a good thing because it had a positive and powerful message: we make mistakes, but we recovery, end of story! Here's some tips on how you can help be apart of the change! 

Social Media: a Tool for Advocacy, Celebrating Recovery Community, and Promoting the National Recovery Movement:

  1. Share your successes: Always remember to choose content and photos that inspire and encourage as opposed to content that spreads fear and panic—no more posts about scary overdose epidemics! Yes, this is happening, but we don’t want to paralyze with our messaging. We want to empower, and the most effective way to do this is to spread hope. We must start eradicating the stigma by highlighting our personal successes—no matter how big or small. Tell your story!  My felon post is a great example of this.  #NotAnonymous #OurStoriesHavePower
  2.  Recovery focused hashtags: Hashtags are integral to the way we communicate online. Plus, they can be a fun! The same hashtags can and should be used for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link.  As individuals in recovery, we need a way to connect our messaging to one another so we can create a stronger and more unified network.  In order to turn our content into a searchable and powerful link, we must use one hashtag for all our posts, and that is: #NationalRecoveryMovement. Some other key hashtags America’s recovery community is currently using are: #FacesAndVoicesOfRecovery, #NotAnonymous, #WeCanRecover, #RecoveryAdvocates, and #OurVoicesHavePower
  3.  Create a powerful and positive meme. Then, watch it go viral!: My felon post went viral for two reasons: 1) the message was short, sweet and struck a chord with our target audience: people in recovery; 2) The message itself was visual (instead of just text). While at the UNITE to Face Addiction rally I put the same message on a poster, and many people stopped to take their picture with it. Why? Because they had a similar story and the message meant something to them. They wanted to pass the message or meme along. Don’t know what a meme is? It's an important word in the world of social media and according to the Urban Dictionary, a meme is a: pervasive thought or thought pattern that replicates itself via cultural means. Here are a few pictures of people borrowing my sign at the UNITE rally: 

4.  Highlight your family and friends who are in recovery: use your social media platform to celebrate the recovery milestones and contributions of your recovering friends and family. Keep the content brief (2-4 sentences max!) and always have a positive, fun picture to go with it. Include the hashtag: #NationalRecoveryMovement. Here’s a few examples of how we celebrate Utah's recovery community. Click on the picture to blow up the text:  

Post a Fun, Recovery-Focused Selfie or Photo: The power of the selfie cannot be denied, especially since Facebook and its fans adore it. So, let’s jump on board and have some fun with it, shall we? Selfies and people-focused photos are essential ways to promote important concepts online, such as:

  • recovery community
  • fun in recovery
  • volunteering for recovery, service
  •  recovery community centers
  •  all pathways to recovery
  •  recovery-focused services and people
selfie2.png

Hopefully it's clear that as people in recovery, our social media platforms have the power to heal or harm, and paralyze or empower our communities-- and in a big way! With strategic social media messaging and visuals, we can play a critical role in offsetting the sensational and demeaning portrayals in the mass media of people caught in addiction’s downward spiral. Just remember, social media is about SOCIAL networks. Therefore, there must be an element of fun in your posts in order to promote social engagement. Without the ‘fun’, you will not be successful.

So let’s get our hashtag and selfie on, shall we?  

***

Shannon Egan is the author of No tourists allowed: Seeking Inner Peace and Sobriety in War-Torn Sudan. She’s also an international freelance journalist and advocate for the National Recovery Movement. Despite training as a writer on humanitarian issues for the United Nations, Shannon prefers sharing her personal stories of addiction and recovery to infuse hope in those still struggling and spread the message that recovery is possible.   

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No Tourists Allowed: Review by Blogger Margy Ullmann Layton

Shove Me in the Shallow Water

by Blogger Margy Ullmann Layton

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book #41: No Tourists Allowed

Ah, I scratched three itches with this book!

First, I'm always looking for ways to better understand people in my community who deal with addiction, especially when their addictions land them in jail. Shannon Egan grew up Mormon in Utah. She couldn't figure out how to make herself fit inside it all, and as she grappled with that for years, she numbed her pain with alcohol, and she ended up with a felony DUI.

Second, I'm always up for a vicarious adventure. Hopping on a plane to take a tenuous teaching position in the heat and civil unrest of Sudan? Check. Jumping into a career in international journalism without any actual experience? Check. Heading into Darfur while the war there was raging? Check.

Third, I'm deeply curious about how people in various parts of the world struggle to live in community with one another, especially when they have vastly different world views and corrupt political leaders who have their own agendas. Egan delivered an accessible an emotionally wrenching front-row account of the divisions in Sudan that eventually led to South Sudan's independence. She learned her trade well!

Early in the book she writes about a couple of epiphanies she had growing up: 

"I don't want to walk in a straight line for the rest of my life." And, "I never liked the idea of having everything figured out and decided upon. I wanted the experience of seeking and finding and knowing for myself. I wanted to get to the heart of matters without being shamed for it."

Her epiphanies totally resonate with me.

Those and the scandalous crush she has on Steven Tyler that she reveals toward the end. I don't know what it is about that guy . . .

Posted by Margy at 8:55 PM No comments: 

About Me

Margy

A few years ago my husband Roger and I closed our happy little independent bookstore called The Read Leaf in Springville, Utah, and we are embarking on new adventures. We are parents to Jack (16), who is smart and funny and determined to live life on his own terms. I'm originally from Massachusetts and headed west to attend college. I stayed because I married a Utah boy who hates humidity.