Monday, October 17, 2011

new web site - please look!

Hello everyone!

I have a new web site - filled with articles, exercises, a forum, and even a place for you to talk one on one with me.  The site is

I will actually be switching over to this new site and posting there instead of thisw blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spiritual Signs of Co-Dependency

Co-Dependency is not always easy to see.  And in the LDS faith, since there is a great focus on service, it can become even more hidden.  I see co-dependency as Satan's counterfeit to charity.  The following list is an example...
True Principles                                                Counterfeit
 Faith (trusting God)                                       If I can control you, then I can trust you


Hope (from God)                                            Trust in the arm of the flesh (hope in me)


Charity                                                            Give until I’m exhausted.  No boundaries, no limits.  I have to work my way into Heaven. 

Be a Peace Maker                                           Smooth-over everything and everyone.  No conflict, no anger.  Keep everyone happy

Love                                                                Enmeshed, Dependent, lost in each other

Intimacy                                                          Intensity, support each other by saving/ fixing/ or turn a blind eye to spouse’s faults and sins – minimize them so that everyone is happy

Godly Sorrow                                                 Self Pity, putting myself down, beating myself up

Broken Heart/Contrite Spirit                          Self-Hatred, self loathing, secretly believing I am worthless, unwanted and undesirable

Obedience                                                       Rigidity, extremism, judgmental

Humble/Meek and Lowly of Heart                Passive, Being a Door Mat, deny my gifts and talents, unable to take a compliment – either it makes my head swell or I push it away and discount it

Disciplined                                                      Compulsive, giving 155%

Committed                                                      Zealous, Obsessed

Confidence                                                     Arrogance, need to be “one-up,” need the spotlight

Surrender                                                        Lose the war, give up, be weak and powerless, without protection


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Message of Hope

Many times people struggling with addiction say - "I feel all alone.  When I pray, it's like no one is listening."  Trying to connect to God, to feel His love, His presence is often hard to access.  One recovering person remarked, "I know I'm suppose to trust God, but I've never felt a bond or anything with Him."

Remember, every ah-ha moment, every time you gain some new insight, every time you feel someone else's love, every time you gain a new perspective - your eyes suddenly open to a truth you never saw before, all of these experiences come from the Holy Ghost.  Every time a phrase hits you from the LDS Addiction Recovery Manual, even though you've read that chapter many times over, that is God teaching you, reaching out to you, talking to you.

The powers of Heaven are always there - either preparing you to experience God's love for you more fully, to actually have a moment of clarity and personal revelation, to having your own personal miracle with the Savior.  You are never alone on this journey.  Even something as small as having a twinge or a little thought pushing you to go to the recovery meeting - that is Heavenly Father talking to you.

 The Adversary wants you to feel isolated and alone.  But you are not.  Many times you are being ministered to by some unseen messenger from Heaven.  Every tiny step you take is motivated and supported by God.

Never stop looking for the Savior.  The New Testiment tells of people climbing trees, forcing their way through a crowded street, walking for days, ripping apart a roof - all just to be able to see, hear, touch and talk with Jesus.  King Lamoni said he would give up all his sins - all his traditions - his cultural based ceremonies and behaviors - everything that made him a Lamanite - to know God.

I worked with a young man for several months trying to connect to Heavenly Father.  He'd pray, but never felt anything.  He struggled in his addiction.  He struggled with anger and pain and resentments.  He became more and more despondent.  Maybe Heavenly Father just didn't love him.  We worked on removing stumbling blocks that kept him from God.  As he worked to let go of all the stored resentments he had towards others - and he had many who had been unfair and unjust with him - a miracle happened one day.  He was filled with an outpouring of love.  He later said it was as if God was hugging him - it felt that real.  This was what he had to give up - what he had to do to find God.

I promise you Heavenly Father is there.  He wants you to succeed.  The Savior wants you to come unto Him.  He wants to heal you, to make you His, to have you be reborn.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Overcoming Addiction is #3 on Top Ten Bestseller List!!!

Deseret Books has me listed as the #3 bestseller !  My joy and excitement comes from the fact that the message is getting out - that help and extra support can be had by those desiring to access the Atonement of Christ.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Love Avoidance - a Personal Story

The following is an example of how love avoidants attempt to connect to others, and the difficulty that comes from trying to gain intimacy in this manner. This comes from Jerry, a client I worked with. He kept a detailed journal while in a treatment facility for his sex addiction and love avoidance. He allowed me to take this part from his journal to help others understand love avoidance.

When I was at The Meadows, I was entranced by my therapist, Beth. I wanted her to love me and pick me above all the other members of the group. I wanted to feel special, but I never felt I could get close to her. One day I knocked on the group room door and asked if I could speak with her.

I sat down and she turned from her desk and faced me. I was suddenly nervous. What exactly was it I wanted to say? That I loved her and wanted her to love me? That sounded way off kilter. “I don’t feel close to you.” I stammered out. Only for a second did she have a look of surprise on her face.

“What do you mean?” I looked around the room, searching for the right thing to say. “It’s like …I can only get so close to you and then there’s this wall. Why can’t I get inside?” I felt beads of sweat form on my forehead and knew I was wringing my hands, but couldn’t stop it.

Beth sat back in her chair. “You want me to let down my boundaries with you?”

I nodded my head. “Ok.” She situated her chair so she was sitting directly in front of me, a few feet away. “What I want you to do Jerry is to watch my hands. As I separate them, I’ll be letting down my boundaries.” She put her hands together, like she was praying in front of me. She slowly started to open them. This was it! I was going to get inside and have a special place in her that none of the other guys had. Yet as her hands started to open up, I found myself backing up in my chair. My head started to go back and to the side…and I had a combination of feeling suffocated and nauseous.

“What’s a matter? Isn’t this what you want?” she asked.

I nodded my head and repositioned myself in my chair. “Yes.” I said defiantly. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but without getting “inside” Beth's boundaries, I didn’t think I could trust her, rely on her, or believe her when she said she cared about me. She started to open up again, letting down her boundaries. I again, instinctively, reared my head back and felt like I was covered in slime.

Beth put her hands back together and asked me what I was feeling. “I…feel icky…gross – like something bad is happening.”

And then she said the one thing has stuck with me more than anything else she ever told me. “Jerry, you believe that love means you get lost in someone, enmeshed with them. That has been your relationship with your mother and father. Yet when you are enmeshed, you feel suffocated. You are completely vulnerable – no boundaries what so ever. And neither did your mom or dad. So you feel icky or gross being that intimately connected to your parents.” She moved her chair a little closer. “It is because I DO care about you that I keep my boundaries up. By keeping my boundaries up around you, it shows I respect you. It helps to keep you safe – not engulfed by me, not lost inside of me. Now you can start to concentrate on yourself and start to discover who Jerry is.”

Suddenly, I didn’t want to be that “special someone.” I wanted her to keep on doing what she was doing. In that moment, I so appreciated all the hard work she did in her own journey of recovery. And she helped me to see, for the first time, that my definition of love was scary and twisted. No wonder once I started to get emotionally close to someone, I’d have to create some distance in the relationship. Love meant I’d have to lose myself in someone else. Love was to be engulfed, enmeshed, boundary-less around the object of my affection. And that was so terrifying, I’d run from it. I’d cheat on my lover, start fights, withdraw emotionally, or get lost in one of my addictions to keep some distance. And then with too much distance, I’d feel abandoned and lonely, so I’d try everything to get back“inside.” This was to be a cycle that would hurt me and almost everyone I had a relationship with – even my children.

More on Love Avoidance

 Many wounded adults actually avoid love, becoming restless around persons who might provide genuine care and nurturing.  In these cases, the closer the adult come to obtaining the reality of love, the more they will push their partners away.  This move, becoming avoidant and trying to create emotional distance within the relationship, is fueled by a fear of intimacy.  Indeed love avoidants fear intimacy.  Some love avoidants push away love as a test to see if their partner will continue to love them even when they are acting disagreeable or unpleasant.  This behavior is a result of the conditional and irregular love the wounded adult experienced as children from their caregivers. 

  The struggle for the love avoidant is that he/she, like anyone else, wants to feel love and closeness.  Regardless of what the past emotional, physical and/or sexual wounds might be, there is still an intrinsic desire for the security and affection and healing that comes from love.  What the love avoidant will look like in a relationship, then, is to come in close and fast and make intense connections.  As the relationship continues, the avoidant will start to distance him/herself from their partner.  If the relationship continues, eventually the love avoidant person will seek to re-ignite the passion and intensity that used to be felt in the past.  With time, distancing will occur again. 

For most love avoidants, they are very good at beginning relationships, but horrible at keeping and maintaining a relationship.  There is a lot of pulling in and pushing out – pulling in their love interest and then once the connection happens and the relationship becomes deeper, they push their partner away. 

Origins of Love Avoidance

Avoidant love behaviors also arise from the co-dependent wounds found in the origins of the relationship with one’s parents.   Again, to refer to Pia Mellody, those who exhibit love avoidant behaviors usually come from families where the parents are emotionally enmeshed with their children. Enmeshment means that there are poor boundaries in the parent-child relationship. This can take the form of the parent who uses the child as a confidant, like a substitute spouse – looking for emotional support and emotional intimacy from the child.  It can also take on the appearance of a child being made to be dependent on the parents – squashing the child’s ability to become autonomous and independent.

            As the child grows into adulthood, he or she will want to be in a relationship and work hard to make that happen. What they use to help establish a relationship is often based on intensity, creating closeness rapidly, and exhibiting a great deal of charm and sexual energy.  Yet once the relationship has been formed, the individual will withdraw emotionally and even physically. Those not married will be able to see a string of past relationships that made it to a certain point and then dissolved. Some might hear their partners tell them they are afraid to make a commitment.  And so the wounded adult using love avoidant behaviors remains alone within him/herself – tortured by being afraid of the very thing they want – love, security, affection, and nurturing.    

            As the love avoidant sees the relationship he/she is building with another – and intimacy begins – withdrawal will occur.  The person will withdraw either physically, emotionally or both.    Love avoidants can be men or women, and struggle to maintain friendships – same sex or otherwise.  Once in a relationship, a love avoidant will often feel overwhelmed, suffocated and emotionally exhausted. 

The following are love avoidant behaviors done in order to create space within the relationship.  See if any of these fit with what you do in a relationship:

causing arguments, staying up after partner has gone to bed, becoming obsessed with work or some other activity, being defensive, turning arguments back on the other person so they look like they are all at fault, compulsively flirting with other people, thinking of other people when you have sex with your partner, avoiding physical affection – snuggling, holding hands, etc. flamboyant and charming outside of the relationship and withdrawn and sullen inside the relationship, feeling a sense of shame about who you are, allowing guilt and shame to be motivating factors for what you do in a relationship.

There are some love avoidants who never seek out people.  They struggle to be around people and are often reclusive.  They may want relationships and are sick and tired of being so lonely, but see that first step as too much.  Many suffer from depression.  They can go months and years without being in a relationship.  Regardless of what the love avoidant behavior is, these types of wounded people live in fear of intimacy but crave the affection and nurturing that comes with that kind of a relationship.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Book Is Here!

After years of trying to get published, I have finally been blessed to see it happen.  First came a manuscript for adult survivors of childhood trauma.  Then came a trilogy of fiction called The Oppenhiemer Chronicles.  Then came a study guide for the LDS Church's Addiction Recovery Program.  And yet, time after time, I recieved rejections.  Countless rejections - to the point that I stopped counting (over 200 since 2004).  I recieved a priesthood blessing in 2004 to never stop writing.  In 2005 I recieved a blessing stating that the Lord knew the thoughts and intents of my heart and that the righteous desires of my heart would be given to me.  Years past, but I never forgot those blessings.  Eventually, though, I lost hope.  And then a thought came to me - Put your life in order.  Come unto Me and repent.

I changed my focus to do just that - return to the Church and apply the Atonement of the Savior in my life.  I kept writing, but now my writing was focused on the Atonement.  A year after I was re-baptised, my manuscript for helping LDS recovering addicts work the Church's 12 step program was picked up by Leatherwood Press.  7 1/2 months later, the book is now on shelves at Deseret Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other LDS book stores.

The righteous desires of my heart are coming to pass.  And my heart is full with gratitude.  My hope is that this companion guide will help others overcome their addictive struggles.  Even more than that, however, this guide can be used for any problem - simply replace the word addiction with your problem.  The result will be the same - you will come to access the Atonement in a deeper and more profound way.