Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A.C.O.A. or Destructive Alcoholic Behavior Without Drinking

Adult Children Of Alcoholics or A.C.O.A.s may not drink but suffer from the same self destructive behaviors of Alcoholics or other substance abusers.

A.C.O.A.s feel extra "crazy" because to them, there is no "reason" for them to keep on doing less than functional behavior.

It is a basic tenent of AA that the drinking is only a symptom of a larger Alcoholic behavior. See the definition of "Dry Drunk" (Not Drinking, But Not 'Of Sober Mind' Either)

September is National Recovery Month, in the Sept 25 2009 HuffingtonPost featured author Dr. Tian Dayton complied a list of behaviors often experienced by A.C.O.A. adults:

  • Problems with Self- Regulation
  • Hyper Vigilance/Anxiety
  • Hyper-reactivity/Easily Triggered
  • Emotional Constriction
  • Loss of Trust and Faith
  • Unresolved Grief 
  • Traumatic Bonding
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Somatic Disturbances
  • Tendency to Isolate
  • Cycles of Reenactment
  • High Risk Behaviors
  • Survival Guilt
  • Shame  (insert: guilt and shame are often used as synoynms: guilt is "I've made a mistake", shame is "I AM a mistake", shame is toxic, guilt carries the implication that it is repairable, shame... there is nothing to repair so why bother)
  • Development of Rigid Psychological Defenses 
  • Relationship Issues
  • Depression with Feelings of Despair
  • Distorted Reasoning
  • Loss of Ability to Take in Caring and Support from Others
  • Desire to Self Medicate

========== This article is for informational purposes only. Please contact a licensed professional in your area if you are in crisis or require mental health services
David Bruce
Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Secondary Gain, Or She's Not Doing What You Want Her To Do

Secondary Gain

You tell yourself you want X because of Y... well that's your story and you're stickin with it.

For some reason, Y just doesn't seem to happen?

That's cause part of you, wants something OTHER than what YOU want,,,,
Part of you, is looking at another part of you... in contempt
That is the very essence of codependency
and it's evidence of dis-harmony (lack of harmony, aka absence of serenity)

That part of you (the one with inner contempt for you, or for the "rest of you") has an agenda

an agenda that isn't YOURS... it has a secondary target in mind

here's the kicker.. if you're wounded, if you're not a healthy well rounded inter-dependent being


guess what's gonna happen if you want something and IT wants something else?

This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

David Bruce

Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

Monday, November 30, 2009

Make Friends With Your Negatives


Living With Your Negatives


If you have been studying personal growth materials for any
length of time, you have probably heard it said over and over
again that the name of the game is positive thinking. In other
words,  you must work to reduce and ultimately eliminàte negative
thinking and emotions from your life.

Well, yes. It's a nice idea in theory, but the practical reality
is something different altogether.

Although it is definitely correct and useful to develop an
overall optimistic and positive mindset, it may NOT be helpful to
try to eliminàte ALL negative thinking and emotions from your

Quite simply, to try to do so is rather like trying to bail out
the ocean from a leaky lifeboat, using just a coffee mug. The
more you do it, the more there is to do, and the more hopeless
the task seems to become. From a purely human aspect of striving,
it is an almost impossible task.

Indeed, the problem with getting too hung up with the negative
aspects of ourselves is that it can be a very dispiriting
experience if you are expecting to see positive improvement, but
it nèver really happens, or else you end up backsliding.

Hence, too much focus upon the negative side of your personality
can be rather like trying to dig the seeds up every day to see
how they're growing. Ultimately, they won't grow at all.

Why do people have negative emotions and attitudes? Well, put
simply, it's the human condition, certainly in the unenlightened
state. This is a BIG subject and one we cannot tackle here.
Childhood experiences, genetics, influence of peers, even past
lives (!) - they probably all play a part.

However, what is for sure is that you are very unlikely to
overcome the matter in the very near future. Certainly, there are
personal development gurus who claim that you can, and even give
the impression that they have done so themselves. However, you
don't know them personally, and you are not there in every moment
to see if they really have. Maybe their spouse might tell another
story altogether!

Even the major spiritual traditions emphasize how hard it really
is to overcome the negative aspects of ourselves. Christianity
goes as far as to talk about Original Sin, i.e. that we are
actually totally helpless to effect lasting change on account of
the fact that we inherited this "sinful" condition at birth. We
need the heavenly "Salvation" that comes from above, and which is
effectively a "new birth". However, even this only comes into
effect in full force when the old bòdy is shed off and the new
spiritual bòdy taken on. Buddhism talks about achieving
"Enlightenment", which is an analogous concept, but which
is tied in more to liberation from ignorance, delusion, and the
shackles of the Flesh.

Hence, if you think you are going to solve ALL your personality
issues overnight by listening to a twenty minute self-hypnosis
tape, or by doing some affirmations... Well, it's unlikely to

However, that does not mean to say that personal growth is a
waste of time. You ARE supposed to accentuate the positive. Just
don't focus on any perceived lack of progress with the negative,
or get frustrated with its continued presence. Use "moving
towards" motivation, i.e. moving TOWARDS what you want, rather
than "moving away from" motivation, i.e. trying to avoid and
deny what you do NOT want.

Whatever you focus your mind upon has a tendency to grow in
power. Hence, focusing on your negativities has a tendency to
make them stronger. Focus rather upon what you wish to incrèase
in your life, and let the negative side of your personality find
its own place. In other words, make friènds with it a bit, rather
than treat it as an enemy. Regard it rather as you would an
aching limb. You don't hate it just because it aches!

Statistics show that optimistic people actually have a lower risk
of heart disease than pessimistic people. Hence, even from a
purely pragmatic health perspective, it IS better to be positive
than negative in mental outlook! No doubt about it.

nèvertheless, total liberation from the negative side of our
personalities does not come without a total spiritual rebirth.
This is not a matter of a few months or years of toil. Maybe it
will take countless lifetimes for most people, as the Buddhists
believe to be the case.

You do well to remember the Eastern perspective of Yin and Yang
- the teaching that dark and light are inextricably interwoven
and inseparable in this cosmos. That applies within our minds
too. To try to separate one from the other, using standard
psychological tools, is a pretty hopeless task.

Only a new creation, entirely other than this world, can
ever reconciles this paradox and live in harmony with it. That is
the goal of the spiritual path. So, until then, be easy on
yourself. Celebrate every advance, but don't let any apparent
negative personality aspects get you down.

Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2004. All Rights Reserved.
For more articles like this visit

This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

David Bruce

Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Food is a Good Girl’s Sex

Changing Our Relationship to Our Skin: Sexual Anorexia and Overeating

April 16th, 2009overeating
Last week on Oprah’s show they explored how to talk to your children about sex and Dr. Laura Berman said something that provoked a huge response in the audience: that parents should give their daughters permission to masturbate. She went so far as to say that at 15 or 16, introduce a vibrator. She asserted that if we teach young girls to take their power back around sexuality, they won’t be dependent on boys for their pleasure and confuse the good feelings they get from being pleasured by a boy with love.

Although Oprah was completely on board with this, Gayle was against it. She asserted one of the most sexist things I’ve ever heard on this show: that it is ok for boys to masturbate because they are more sexually driven as teenagers. Well, I can tell you that as a child growing up in the 70’s where sexual mores had changed dramatically, I lived in a home where I was taught sex was for marriage.

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I drove all my chaotic, sexual feelings into food and between the ages of 13-15, gained 40 pounds. I remember having sexual arousal but not knowing what to do with it, my stress management technique was to eat cookies instead. How many girls who aren’t dating is this also true for? In the words of Dr. Toni Grant:

“Food is a good girl’s sex.”

But I digress. Getting back to Gayle and the Oprah show. Gayle has made no bones about mentioning her love for food.

Why is it ok to derive pleasure from food but not from our own bodies? If a teenage girl sat down at a great meal and ate from pleasure, Gayle (and many people in America who agree with her) would be fine with that but it is not ok to have that pleasure come from touching ourselves.

Dr. Berman did not go far enough. Although masturbation is part of the pleasure, what we aren’t taught is how to touch ourselves lovingly all over our bodies.

And here’s the irony: Food when eaten to excess produces childhood obesity, diabetes, and a host of other health issues. The last I heard, stroking your own body does not make you go blind! Nor does it produce weight gain.

In Ashley Montagu’s seminal work first published in 1971, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin, he shares with the reader the studies that were done that support how critical being touched is to healthy human functioning and as an extension, to the ability to bond with another.

My take on this is that when we are not touched, food becomes the safe mother. The mother who gives us unconditional love.

When a teenage girl is given permission in her formative years to have intimacy with herself first, she does not reach out to find it indiscriminately with a boy, another adolescent most probably incapable of giving her what she truly needs. He can’t because he is being driven by the mother lode of testosterone into focusing his desire for sexual release. If girls had another avenue for nurturing themselves, they wouldn’t be as driven to make food their lover. It is time for us to move beyond this puritan schizophrenia we have that allows kids to see soft porn scenes in day- time soap operas while at the same time making a physical relationship with our own bodies forbidden.

Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist and author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon. Her website address is She is also available for consultation at 310-712-2600.

This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

David Bruce

Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ward of the state- incompent social workers

Who do you hang out with?

I used to hang out with the people I was dysfunctional with on a regular basis, that made it easy for me to write about my personal experiences and dealing with both my self destructive behavior and the dysfunctionals I spent my days and nights with. I've come to the conclusion that you can't be dysfunctional in a vacuum, you need someone to agree with you if you're to really do dysfunction and get it right.

While I did experience helping people less dysfunctional than me by showing by example that a foul up who was just like them could pull themselves up and out by their own bootstraps, I did eventually have to get away from the proximity to drugs.

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I'd gone from daily use (cocaine as a means to further sex addiction as a function of love addiction) to once a week to twice a month and could not get completely sober until I removed my self totally.

"Hockey Players don't hang around with Chess Players"
John Bradshaw

"If you don't want to slip, stay away from slippery places"
anonymous 12 step saying.

"People who don't go to meetings don't hear about what happens to people who don't go to meetings"
anonymous 12 step saying.

Having gotten away from the dysfunction has had pros and cons associated with it:
PRO - I'm now at 140 days consecutive sobriety
I'm not at all ashamed of the 4 months of once a week, and dwindling down to twice a month... but totally clean is great, I have to say.

CON- I'm finding it harder to write about dysfunction, in a manner that dysfunctional people can relate to. When I was one of them, it was easier. I'm still one of them but I'm a lot, LOT better off now as compared to then.

Which brings me to the crux of this post's main idea:

Rehab and 'programs' offered by Governmental agencies are MORE dysfunctional than the people they are ostensibly attempting to help. The schools are churning out idiots with social working degrees... and the social working jobs are hiring them.

The entire concept of 'social work' has become a cottage industry

I'm of the opinion, based on the people I've seen in this field and the people I've seen taking this in college... that social work is seen as a cushy job for slackers.

If you go to and type in social working, before you even get the entire sentence completed you see millions of possible results... all biased towards helping YOU get into this billion dollar industry with the governments blessing, and a virtually unlimited number of possible 'patients' or 'clients'.

social working

Results 1 - 10 of about 388,000,000 for social working

As a journalist, I'm bound to protect my sources.

I've heard from the people who's job it is to "process" teen delinquents, it's heart breaking the stories I've been told. The fools in charge of 'social work' don't give a damn about the kids, their families, the public... they only care about retiring from their cushy job.

The text books teach garbage, who writes that crap?
Would you want a drug counselor that never used?

think about that for a moment.

No where do they teach Family Systems Theory.

They still teach B.F. Skinner for Christ's sake.
Wikipedia has this to say about the definition of social work:

Social work is a discipline involving the application of social theory and research methods to study and improve the lives of people, groups, and societies. It incorporates and uses other social sciences as a means to improve the human condition and positively change society's response to chronic problems.

None, not one, not a single social worker I've ever seen or heard about did a damn thing to positively change anything other than their time clock.

All of societies miscreants and all of the disaffected would be served well if the people charged with ameliorating their suffering read the following book.

Adult Child's Guide to What's Normal

This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

David Bruce

Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

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Friday, December 12, 2008

We not shoot, you not shoot

We not shoot, you not shoot

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005

Hi all,

Yesterday the last British soldier who was present at the famous Christmas Truce in the First World War died.

You know, in the First World War there were trenches all across France, Belgium and Germany, in which millions of soldiers died just to gain a couple of miles of territory, only to loose them a month later. On of the most senseless destruction of human lives ever seen.

The trenches were often just hundreds of meters away from each other and from there the two sides attacked each other with just invented poison gas, machine guns, and other. In between was no man's land, a destroyed desert.

On Christmas morning 1914, on the German side the soldiers started singing
'Silent Night, Holy Night'.
Then a German soldier climbed out his trench, walked into no man's land, and said to the British:
"Merry Christmas. We not
shoot, you not shoot.

This started a spontaneous truce, which spread across the more than 700 kilometers of trenches. Soldiers climbed out of the trenches, shook hands with their official enemies, sang together and played soccer. German officers invited British officers into their tents for a glass of wine. A hairdresser would cut the hair of soldiers of both sides, in the middle of no man's land. On some places, the truce lasted several

What this has to do with recovery? I don't know. I had to cry when I read this in today's newspaper. It shows me that although there is much evil in the world, most ordinary people only want to do the good thing.

A simple song about Christ can touch people's hearts and cause them to do incredible
wonderful things. This story about the Christmas Truce is world famous and has touched many more people than the unknown German soldier could ever imagined.
Anyway, after reading this I decided that I will stay sober for another 24 hours. It's day 12 today and this evening there is a meeting.

All the best to all of you,

Reprinted with permission from a Sex Addiction Recovery List I've belonged to for more than 4 years.

This article is for informational purposes only.
Please contact a licensed professional in your area
if you are in crisis or require mental health services

David Bruce

Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cleaning up your wreckage

That's an A.A. term, well a 12 step term really.

What it means is while we were:
  • Druggin

  • Raging

  • Codependent-ing

  • Manipulating

  • Being a Control Freak

  • Over Eating

  • Drinking

  • Insert Drug of Choice Here

  • ... while we were addicted... someone had to wipe our ass.

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    Do you know how "they" came up with the term: "Co Dependent"?

    That term originally came from the term: "Co Alcoholic"

    It came from the 1940's, researchers in behavior and psychology found that alcoholics seem to always have a Co Alcoholic. Apparently you can't be an addict in a vacuum!

    For Example:

    If you're half of a parenting team (father and mother) and one of you is frequently drunk and incapacitated... it stands to reason that the other half of the team is doing the others share of work.

    If I'm high... my spouse is gonna have to 'take up the slack'.

    ...or Some body's gonna have to!

    Those same researchers were amazed to discover (and this is clinical, it's in the decades of case histories... don't take my word for it, I'm not just making this stuff up)

    ... were amazed to find that the (usually women) co alcoholics kept on falling for another alcoholic!

    Wife Beaters followed the same path... women who got beat up by their spouses, when (or IF) they left the abusive man...

    they went out and found themselves the same kind of guy!

    You see, codependency is: "A disease of irresponsibility"
    And it's a learned irresponsibility at that.

    Ok, enough of the set up...

    Cleaning Up Your Wreckage means:

    You let your loved ones down

    They were 'Wronged By You"

    While you were (insert drug of choice here)high, compulsively masturbating, over eating, drunk... while you were "NOT PRESENT" ... somebody had to wipe your ass.

    That was unfair to who ever was covering for you while you were fucking up.

    It doesn't matter if the person who covered for you was, themselves, unhealthy.

    That's IRRELEVANT.

    You screwed up, you dropped the ball, you let someone else carry YOUR WEIGHT.

    and that person or persons, whoever they are (mother father, family friend, old girlfriend) got wronged.

    You left Wreckage

    At some point you're going to have to 'Clean up the Wreckage you left behind'

    You're not going to be able to 'come to terms' with your past
    (I really do hate that phrase, but I know I'm writing this to people outside of 12 step group terminology)

    I'm cleaning up some of my wreckage.

    I was.. for the first 3 years of my children's lives, a loving, capable father.
    For the next 16 years I 'blew my fuses', my kids did not have a functional father.

    OK, I can't undo the past... it was what it was.

    John Bradshaw said in an audio tape series I had, said:

    "The best thing we can do for our kids is to let em see us heal"

    When I heard that 10 years ago, I 'wished' I could pull that off.
    I wanted to pull that off... the fact of even considering "let my kids see me heal" even being on the table led me to this:

    I could see how far I'd have to go to pull that off.

    If I'd not 'wanted to do that' (3 of the 12 steps don't say "DO THIS", they say "become READY to do this")... I'd not have been aware of the distance between where I was and where I needed to be if I was gonna pull that off.

    so... I created an N.L.P. reframe for me to 'collapse anchor' when ever my 'irrational jealousy' kept me from being a functional father.

    All my kids wanted was a father, they did not require that I be a perfect father, they did not require that I even be a functional father... what they DID want and need was for me to be there when they needed me to be there. ie, do the best I could under whatever circumstances presented themselves.

    Fast Forward to a few years ago:

    My kids were in college (not that I helped.. they actually qualified for student loans because I was non functional... often homeless, couldn't keep a job, spent the money badly when I did have a job), My kids needed ME to help them with their homework.

    By the grace of god, my kids needed help with their computer skills, one of my daughters even took web design classes... Not only did I get to help her with her HTML skills, I was the ONLY person in her life that even knew HTML skills.

    Fast Forward to today: Not only am I in daily contact with my two youngest children, (I'm consider my self lucky that they even talk to me)I'm a GrandFather...

    I'm doing the Granddady Day Care and I love it.

    I'm even finally earning enough from my web writing to be able to be there for my grandchildren...

    It IS possible to 'let your kids see you heal'

    even if you were fucking up as much as I was.

    This article is for informational purposes only.
    Please contact a licensed professional in your area
    if you are in crisis or require mental health services

    David Bruce

    Healthy Boundaries & Victim Behavior