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Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

4 Questions on Self-Love VS Narcissism

4 Questions of Self-Love VS Narcissism

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The “selfie society” that exists in a world of social media has some people saying we are more concerned with ourselves than ever. The new heightened sense of self-promotion causes many to feel we have become less interested in true connection with others. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with healthy self-love. Some may see it as simply embarking on self-exploration and celebration. Others may see it as self-seeking and being conceded. Are you more conscious, or are you pretentious? Are you introspective or disconnected?

At times the distinction becomes blurred, and that might not be your fault. Sometimes others will perceive us differently and it’s not our responsibility to change their minds. Sometimes people are afraid to give themselves the self-love they need because they don’t want to seem self-centered, but isn’t there a strong difference between self-love and narcissism?

True Narcissism

Let us be clear; narcissists seem to love themselves to an extreme, with the exclusion of others. This is often considered as a feature of a mental health disorder and includes an excessive interest in one’s self, especially physical appearances. It is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.

If you were to look up the definition of narcissism, you would probably find it also described as a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality.

Narcissism is most typically considered an issue in an individual’s or group’s relationships with self and others.

Egocentrism

Let us also be clear that narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. It is true that both egocentrism and narcissism appear comparable. However there is a distinct difference.

Much like a narcissist, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention. However, this individual does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration, as the narcissist does. In other words, the egocentric individual must receive validation and admiration from outside itself, so the self-love aspect is not so much an issue from the egocentric perspective.

Self-Love

Self-love is being more subject to the broad-stroke of “narcissism” over time, but should be viewed in a different light. For example, two forms of narcissism are not considered to be as detrimental:

  • Primary Narcissism

Freud suggested that, simply put, the desire and energy that drives one’s instinct to survive is something he dubbed primary narcissism. This sense of self-preservation is supposedly ingrained in everyone as a sense of self that protects us, without abandoning empathy or loving others.

  • Healthy Self-love

The “healthy narcissist” can be characterized as possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life. This expression of self-love, or “health narcissism,” is about having a honest appraisal of ones worth, and still valuing others.

All of this brings us back to the question; How can we love ourselves in a way that feels good and enhances the quality of our lives, but isn’t narcissistic?

Research finds four consistent differences between healthy self-love and narcissistic love. Take a look at these 4 questions that can help you with self-love vs narcissism.

  1. Do I need to be validated by others?

Narcissists need the validation of others; it is a primary motive for a lot of their actions. A true narcissist craves constant affirmation. They need to be verified by others because they haven’t created a self-sustaining sense of worthiness or self-compassion. They may seem to hold themselves highly, however they have no genuine instinct of high self-regard.

The narcissist will do things to win praise and recognition. They seek materials as tools to measure their own worthiness. Even the people they develop relationships with are possessions they use as a means of validation.

Healthy self-love is fundamentally different in the sense of measuring self-worth. With health self-love, an individual’s internal values are a primary influence of their actions. They behave in a way that is consistent with those values, and these convictions help to sustain their good feelings about themselves.

In other words, basing your self-worth on your beliefs, instead of what others may believe about you, is self-love.

  1. Am I focusing on my appearance or my performance?

This isn’t just for the sake of aesthetics either. It ties right into the last question.

A true narcissist will often make a great actor. They play many parts, such as:

  • Caring friend
  • Devoted lover
  • Good employee

But they are better at keeping up appearances than actually performing the role with expertise and aptitude. Like when an action movie hero does well at looking like they beat up a room full of ninjas, but in reality they have CGI and stunt doubles.

A narcissist doesn’t invest too much emotionally in the actual quality of their performance. They don’t mind how their role as a friend or lover actually impact the other person, they just want to make it look good, especially if other people are looking. It is another form of validation.

People with authentic self-love take real care in doing a good job and taking responsibility for their part in things, particularly in relationships. So it is very acceptable to be concerned with your contribution to relationships and how you impact others, because in a way you earn your own self-love from the way you treat others.

  1. Am I focusing on comparison or compassion?

Another huge piece of this puzzle is comparison. How do you perceive others in contrast to yourself?

Typically, narcissists are not self-loving or secure in their worth. Because of this, they often seek to compare ourselves with others. Now this isn’t especially exclusive to full-blown narcissism, because we all have a tendency to try and measure up.

But the narcissist will thrive on the belief that they are better than, or even the best. We all feel better about ourselves when we are accomplished or exceptional at something, but to require to always outshine others is a little more relevant to narcissism. The focus here isn’t so much on us being able to appreciate our own achievement as much as it is the need for other people to be less. In order for a narcissist to be more, other people have to be beneath them. It isn’t self-worth; it is self-inflation through the dispossession of others.

Healthy self-love and self-esteem is based on believing that we have a number of positive qualities, and that other people have such qualities. It puts us on a more level playing field and allows us to be compassionate whether or not someone is as accomplished in something as we are. So it is OK to excel at something, as long as you don’t make it about other people being less.

  1. Do emotions and attitudes seem “black and white?”

We have mentioned before the real dangers of black and white thinking. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi,

“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Basically, the issue is that some people only let it be one of two ways. It has to be black or white, no room for grey area or compromise.

Research indicates a narcissists tends to either love or hate things. They don’t to tolerate the middle ground. Usually, something with themselves or others is either preferable and exceptional or totally unacceptable. They are either everything or nothing, instead of just letting it be.

As a result, when we can’t abide our own uncomfortable feelings, we’re more likely to project them onto others. Once we force those feelings onto others we create conflict, isolation, and self-disillusionment.

Healthy self-love allows us to tolerate uncertainty. It is important to have self-love because with a strong sense of self-love we have the ability to experience our own vulnerability. Where a narcissist feels angry or intolerant of their own vulnerability, a healthy, self-loving person will naturally resort to self-compassion. This same compassion for ourselves gives us a chance to feel more connected to others.

So don’t look at self-compassion as “letting yourself off the hook,” look at it as accepting your imperfections with humility.

Recovery is Self-Love

At the end of the day, what is the moral of the story here?

Is it OK to just assume that people who have a high opinion of themselves, who believe in their own capacity to be unique and successful, and who value and respect their own impact on other people should be considered narcissists? Should the term “healthy narcissist” be something we swap for self-love once in a while to consider it as a virtue?

In recovery we hear a lot about how addicts and alcoholics are especially selfish. As often as we are told this, should we also be reminded to use our own nature as selfish people in recovery to shape that sense of self into something more constructive and empowering instead of thinking we need to abandon it completely?

Let us not be so quick to label one another as narcissists, and learn to love ourselves thoroughly as we learn again to love each other.

Mental health and self-esteem is extremely important in regards to addiction recovery. Holistic treatment programs like Palm Partners are specifically designed to address unique issues in unique ways. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

4 Surprising Advantages of Anxiety You Might Appreciate

4 Surprising Advantages of Anxiety You Might Appreciate

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Some would say “good things come to those who wait,” but others would add “only what is left by those who hustle.” Our characteristics can seem like virtues or defects depending on the lens through which they are examined, or the circumstances they arise from. There are always pros and cons, even if we have to take a very close look to find them. Sometimes, even the parts about ourselves we are most unsure of can be useful. So then what would be the advantages of anxiety?

How could our fear or stressful uncertainty help us? What good can come of being anxious? Here are 4 surprising advantages of anxiety.

  1. Doubt and double-checking

This one is all about balance, which isn’t easy for those who struggle with anxiety. While it is true that following up is time consuming, sometimes the time is worth it. Anxiety causes you to doubt, which can lead to double-checking. That feeling of something not being quite right can have us taking inventory, and sometimes this helps us catch things we may have missed.

One of the advantages of anxiety here is there will be many occasions when your double-checking proves useful. How many times have you asked someone if they were OK, and they say they are, but then it turns out they aren’t? Doubt and double-checking might help you push past that pretense and get to the heart of the matter.

Also, if you are depending on someone else to complete a task. Sometimes people forget. Perhaps people are afraid to ask for help. Sometimes they are misinformed and need course correction. While micro-managing can be irritating, double-checking may help you find a problem before it becomes a problem.

Yes, you may end up experiencing unnecessary stress and worry. It may become annoying to others that you need constant reassurance. In extreme cases you could even have unnecessary medical investigations due to health anxiety, leading to injuries caused by medical investigations or treatments.

Again, it is all about balance. Even if reassurance is a good thing, you can still have too much of a good thing.

  1. More careful and thoughtful

Fear is often not that useful to us, but it can be. Worry stems from fear, and the greatest danger of worry is that it is more likely to lead to inaction than it is to useful action. People who worry excessively are commonly overwhelmed by their anxieties. So much so, in fact, they ultimately don’t face their worries because resistance seems futile.

However, there are times when worry can actually be productive. The advantages of anxiety often have a lot to do with the idea of insurance. Like with any form of insurance, you are creating a back-up in case something happens, and this is useful. Just like with a car and an insurance policy, your anxiety may teach you to be more careful and protective.

That goes for your own peace of mind, your property and other people.

Worry also allows us to be more thoughtful of others, because we also come to worry about their well-being. Anxiety can help us be more conscious of our actions and how it will impact others, or how others will see us as a result. It can make us more compassionate and even more giving.

Strategic worrying is the best way to utilize this anxiety. It means making an honest evaluation of whether worrying is helping you on a case by case basis. If you connect worrying and positive behaviors, then the worrying may be worth it to you. If you are only stressing yourself without taking action, it is merely wasted energy.

  1. Prepared when things aren’t OK

This goes with the first two advantages of anxiety quite naturally. Anxious people love to rely on the idea of better safe than sorry. They have checked and double checked; they have tried to be as careful as they can. So when things are difficult, or when things go wrong, they are definitely prepared.

When things do go wrong, people with anxiety almost have the unique position of a fortune teller being vindicated. They have had time to make sure back-up plans and safety-nets in place. At the very least, they have mentally prepared themselves for that worst-case scenario. Some of us who struggle with anxiety have almost built up immunity to it.

It is not so much to say that it is good to always expect the worst, because that can lead to compromising your standards and a willingness to settle where you shouldn’t. However, knowing that you have put things in place just in case is reassuring that you’ve done all you can. Then, even if things fail you cannot say you didn’t at least do your best.

So essentially, being prepared for when things go wrong shouldn’t be an excuse to prematurely accept defeat. Instead these advantages to anxiety give you a reason to take more action.

  1. Excited when everything is OK

On the flip-side to that last point, another of the big advantages of anxiety is when you are surprised to learn that everything is OK. As we were saying, anxiety can have you preparing for the worst and jumping to negative conclusions, but when those premonitions don’t come to fruition, it is both relieving and exciting.

You basically give yourself a little rush with that experience of relief and happiness when you learn your fears have been averted, especially if your anxieties have almost convinced you that your nightmare scenario came true. That feeling of discovering everything isn’t what is seemed can be truly uplifting. This is probably the most gratifying of the advantages of anxiety.

It is nice when our expectations of a situation are exaggerated. We find some things are easier than we expect. Sometimes, this can make us even more proud of all the work we had done leading up to that moment because we overcame our fear, while still being prepared either mentally, physically or even financially not to come out OK.

As someone who has battled with anxiety a lot in life, I can say that knowing I was ready, even when I didn’t end up needing it, was an extremely gratifying feeling.

If you have an anxiety disorder it can interfere with your life in some very big ways. If you feel like you need more support with getting it under control, please consider some form of treatment. Anxiety and other psychological disorders are common to those who also struggle with substance abuse. If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. Palm Partners offers dual diagnosis treatment to help people with mental illness and addiction issues to heal and recover. Please, call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

4 Meditation Tips for More Mindfulness

4 Meditation Tips for More Mindfulness

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

When we think of meditation and mindfulness we often have a certain image or experience in our mind. Some people think it must be a profound and extremely disciplined experience every time. Our misconceptions about what meditation really is often deter us from actively practicing it. However when we do practice, we realize the benefits of mindfulness. Regardless of how you imagine meditation should be, give yourself plenty of opportunity to try it out and see what is could be.

Here are 4 meditation tips for more mindfulness.

  1. You’re NOT “bad” at meditation

When the concept of meditation is suggested, some people immediately assume they are “bad at it.” They allow their preconceptions of what meditation is supposed to mean tell them can’t successfully use it to find serenity. The very simplicity of meditation can itself present a challenge because the mind’s habitual nature prefers stimulation through distraction over intense focus.

It is as if you find yourself in a quiet space, sit in silence and then continuously ask yourself- “am I meditating yet?” or “Is this how I’m supposed to do it?”

The reality is meditation is not strictly limited to sitting in full-lotus with candles everywhere and yogi music playing. Meditation is about the practice of drawing awareness to the present, and some people meditate through activities or exercise.

Yoga, for example, is described by many as a moving meditation. So, don’t trouble yourself with wondering if you’re meditating ‘right’ or if you are ‘bad at it,’ because your practice is yours. The more you practice, the more it will grow into whatever you need it to be.

  1. The goal is NOT to be “good” at meditation

Just like with the assumption that you can be ‘bad at it,’ if you approach meditation with the goal of “I want to be good at this” you’re probably going to be disappointed. There are no gold medals for meditation… at least, not that I know of. But anyone can just go buy a gold Buddha if it’s really that important to them.

Sometimes meditation can be boring. In our world on smartphones and constant connection, we rarely have to be bored anymore. Just because you get bored doesn’t mean you have to be better at meditating, it is just a thought we all feel. Recognize it, reflect and move on. Even people who have been meditating a long time can still get bored with it.

When meditation is offered to many of us in early recovery we may have this thought that once we ‘master’ meditation we will begin to see results right away. We are the type to thrive off instant gratification after all. We want it to help us get well right away, but it doesn’t always work like that. Just remember, there are no trophies for meditation… I think.

  1. Don’t criticize your mind

We utilize the practice of meditation to set an intention and focus, but also to notice when the mind loses focus, and to see where it goes. The mind is good at wandering, but you should never criticize yourself for it. Being the witness to the wandering mind is part of the practice. If you begin to think on other things, just be aware of those things as they present themselves.

Just as a random example- If my intention in meditation is on my gratitude, and suddenly my mind has drifted off into the dynamics of my relationships with my family, I should take notice. Maybe my mind is trying to tell me how grateful I am for my family. Maybe it is telling me how gratitude brings them to mind. I acknowledge the thought and come back into focus. I should not criticize my mind for drifting off topic, or criticize the thoughts themselves.

Sometimes we beat ourselves up because the mind will take us so far from our intention we forget how we got there. We begin to feel we are ‘bad at it’ again, or that we are wasting time. Don’t let these frustrations or the nature of the wandering mind make you critical. Be present to your mediation without judgment.

  1. Let go of the outcome of your meditation

Once we’re aware of the benefits of meditating, we might set expectation on every experience. You might trick yourself into thinking you must feel a certain way, but expectations can be down-payments on disappointments. We may expect to feel calm and relaxed; clarity and serenity, and when we don’t get the outcome we anticipate we can get frustrated.

In reality meditation will lead you to several different experiences. Sometimes the experience will change multiple times within a single session. Part of the practice is letting go of the outcome. Approach your meditation with an open heart and mind. Waiting for a specific result can also distance us from the present moment.

Again, meditation is about being aware and in tune with the present. It is not about judging our experience. Meditating to be “good at it” is like saying you watched TV for hours just to make sure the remote works. Your mind and the present are already there, meditation is just about taking the time away from your overactive or analytical mode to notice them. Don’t expect answers all the time, just be aware and listen.

Meditation can reform the mind in the most incredible ways, and it is often one of the best medicines for people in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. It can be used for mental, emotional and even physical fitness. Holistic recovery is about a lot more than removing drugs and alcohol; it is also about rewiring our thinking. If you or someone you love is struggling, find out how holistic healing can help.

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Liking VS Wanting: Addiction’s Pursuit VS Happiness

Liking VS Wanting: Addiction’s Pursuit VS Happiness

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Thanks to Facebook, we know how to ‘LIKE’ stuff a whole lot these days. We ‘like’ pictures and videos, blogs and articles, even relationship statuses. Social media has totally changed the ‘like’ game! But that’s not the kind of liking we are talking about here. Not specifically anyway. With the way our senses are wired to seek pleasure we forget the difference between healthy and hazardous stimulation. This should be a no-brainer in relation to addiction. Many of us believe that we drink or use drugs essentially because we like the effect of substances. While there are surely other elements of our mental and emotional lives that contribute to our addiction, we cannot deny it begins often as a means to get something we want.

One idea describes a discernment between liking something and wanting it. Drawing from this logic, I thought it would be cool to relate it to addiction, alcoholism and just experience in life of sobriety.

Two of a Kind

This idea on ‘liking VS wanting’ comes from a 2007 paper in the journal Psychopharmacology. Here the author breaks down the idea of two kinds of pleasure.

  1. Liking

Liking is how we usually think of pleasure. That is to say, we relate it to a state of happiness or satisfaction. Think of the kind of genuine gratification you experience after a good meal, or some cold water when you’re overheated and dehydrated. This is the kind of pleasure defined as liking.

We would think of liking as the kind of pleasure that comes from something like falling in love. It is characterized with feelings like:

  • Contentment
  • Relaxation
  • Safety

This is a powerful pleasure felt at an intrinsic level of fulfillment.

  1. Wanting

This second kind of pleasure comes from the chase. In this context, wanting is probably comparable to lusting or yearning after something. This pursuit is coupled with feelings like:

  • Excitement
  • Anticipation
  • Seduction
  • Empowerment

This wanting pleasure is the thrill of the chase and the burning of desire. Wanting is the kind of impulse that motivates us to do senseless things. Even when we know it to be injurious, we fixate on the pleasure we get from wanting and do it anyway.

I feel like every person reading this can relate to this. To some extent or another we have all been there.

Wanting and Addiction

The most obvious example of wanting is drug use.  The feeling of wanting is strongly connected to the brain’s dopamine system. Chasing the feeling of wanting through substances can intensify from an occasional means of quick-fix satisfaction to an irresistibly compulsive addiction. This typically happens when we rely on feelings of wanting instead of liking for extended periods of time to meet our needs.

How long it takes wanting to transform into ‘craving’ depends on the combination of predisposition to addiction and experience with drug use.

Once habitual reliance on drugs or alcohol creates an overwhelming craving, the wanting feeling wins even if someone feels sick or if using costs them their health and relationships.

This same kind of dopamine response is also relative to other compulsive behaviors such as:

So even when you know you’re not making a wise or healthy choice the wanting can be undeniably strong after relying on it for long enough.

Liking Your Life

The battle between liking and wanting is very real when it comes to the pursuit of happiness. Especially when you think of it as actual happiness versus the pursuit of something you think will make you happy. When you focus on your ‘wanting’ you are chasing things that aren’t necessarily sustainable.

Liking and wanting can be compared to that ‘grass is greener’ ideology. Actually liking your life is savoring the moments and the experiences. True happiness and real gratitude are powerful expressions many addicts and alcoholics find as rewards in sobriety. We learn not to want as much and to enjoy more. This is better than living in a constant state of wanting. It reminds me of when addicts say we have the disease of ‘more,’ meaning we are always chasing the next high instead of living in the true happiness that is already here.

In the future, challenge yourself to find a state of liking where you are and who you are. It’s OK to be ambitious, but don’t let your drive for the next moment make this one right now seem insignificant. Addiction has a way of numbing you to the beautiful things you have now to make you crave things you think will make you feel better. Substance abuse and addiction are more powerful and insidious than most people know, but there is help. Learning to like the life you live is part of the process that leads to strong and lasting recovery.

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Addict Logic

Addict Logic

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Author: Justin Mckibben

As a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, it is funny to talk about how insane my logic used to be, and how I could justify so many ridiculous things in my life in ways that to a ‘normal’ person seems so outrageous there isn’t even a word for it. However in my eyes these explanations made perfect sense and it was shocking no one else could see them. Ignorance is bliss, or maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder fits this scenario. Either way people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol have some of the most incredibly backwards logic and we often don’t even know it, or we do but it has been normalized.

Here in this article I’m going to address a few examples of the alibis we give for our madness, and hopefully some people will relate or maybe I’m crazier than anyone expected. Maybe if you’re not sure about how bad your addiction is, this kind of logic will help you decide. To help me better illustrate my point, I have commander Spok of Star Trek (who is the MASTER of logic) here to help, and we’re going to hash-tag (#) this article like crazy, because that would be the logical thing to do, right?!

I’m not going to take any cash with me tonight, because then I can’t buy any drugs… but I will take my bank card just in case I need to hit an ATM.

Addict Logic

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#MoreMoneyMoreProblems

I didn’t die from my overdose?! Good, because I still have drugs to do!

Addict Logic

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#YOLO #BackFromTheDead

I did really well and didn’t use drugs all day… so let me reward myself with a bunch of drugs tonight!

Addict Logic

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#PositiveReinforcement

Well now that I have successfully completed detox, my tolerance will have gone down and I can use.

Addict Logic

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#Lightweight #Winning

I won’t prostitute myself for drugs; I just have sugar daddies who buy them for me.

Addict Logic

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#Diva #PimpinAintEasy #OldestProfession

I feel like such a failure for being an addict, and I hate feeling my feelings, so I’m going to keep getting high so I don’t have to feel bad for getting high.

Addict Logic

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#SeemsLegit #ZombieLife #SoManyFeels

I’m getting clean, so my parents should pay my rent because I deserve it.

Addict Logic

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#ImSoFancy #FirstWorldProblems

Like 5 people have died from that guy’s drugs, so I need to find him because the drugs MUST be good.

Addict Logic

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#GoBigorGoHome #WalterWhite  

I’ll only get high when I play Xbox… now if only I could stop playing Xbox.

Addict Logic

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#HIGHScore #DontHatethePlayer #HatetheGame

I’m so sick, there’s no way it’s from the drugs. In fact, I need to take the drugs to feel BETTER!

Addict Logic

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#NOPEChuckTesta #HealthyLivin #GluttonFree

I was a total heroin addict, so I stopped using heroin. Now I just drink a lot of beer and use painkillers.

Addict Logic

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#StuntDouble #IHaveaPrescription

 All jokes aside we addicts have a very funny way of making things sound like a good idea at the time, like excuses why we keep using, reasons we don’t need to quit, and even why we relapse. Addicts are not stupid people by any means, we are brilliant in so many ways whether we see it or not and we tend to perfect the art of manipulation and self-deception. Our thinking patterns and our instincts often lead us to believe our bad ideas to be inspired and helpful, but we are only furthering our physical and mental anguish.

Commander Spok, you are dismissed!

Addict Logic

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Once we addicts and alcoholics can take an honest look at the way we handle ourselves, at the way we treat others, and at the way that our lives are impacted by the actions and the ideas that we use to define us as individuals and justify or rationalize our erratic and irresponsible behavior. Once we take a look at the damage we cause ourselves and others, we can start to mend our lives, but first there much be a mental change and actions taken for recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

 

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