Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Addicted to Stress?

According to the American Institute of Stress, between 75-90% of visits to primary care physicians result from stress related disorders.

So, a reminder… the definition of addiction is “Any behaviour you cannot stop, that results in destructive consequences.” Are you addicted to stress? Do you thrive on chaos and conflict? Children and people who live in poverty or through war obviously don’t have the same choices in their life but I’m talking about someone who is hooked on the adrenal rush.

Feeling chronically exhausted? Are you constantly doing a hundred and one things at a time? Can’t seem to slow down your own thoughts let alone your hectic pace? Stress isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, it can provide great motivation and energy… but if things are breaking down for you emotionally, physically, your relationships etc and you can’t stop it… you may be headed for trouble.

It has been documented that there are over 1400 physical and chemical reactions occurring to the human body when someone is having a major stress reaction. If you are not able to stop, or at least take a break from some of your stress activities and behaviours, or you are actually constantly seeking things/events/people to create stress and drama (perhaps as a distraction?) and yet you believe there is no destructive consequence, then I ask… how long can you run your car at 10,000 rpms? Something is eventually (if not very soon) going to break down! If you can’t stop it AND its destructive, stress itself can be an addiction.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Virtual Intervention"

Hello folks, how goes it? In response to a lot of email inquiries, we have included a new feature on our website..."virtual intervention".

or here

We have made it easier for you to take a step and share your concern with the person you care about. When you do have a conversation with this person, it's better to tell them what their addiction is doing to you. How you are effected by their behaviour ie feeling angry, hurt, helpless, frustrated etc. This usually creates less defensiveness. Allow yourself to "get real" and share that you do care and are concerned and this helps model to them to "get real" as well.

Be honest, say what you need to say in the most direct and caring way possible. They may be ready to hear what you have to say, they may not. If nothing else, you have been open and honest with them and you will leave them with something to think about.

See a recent news clip of how this program is already saving and transforming lives and families 24/7.

Best of health and best regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freedom from... before freedom to

There is a significant difference between sobriety and recovery. Sobriety is when you stop engaging in an addictive behaviour, whether its alcohol, drugs, smoking, over eating, gambling, shopping etc. Freedom from before freedom to… this is a vital, significant first step on the journey of recovery. The difference between sobriety and recovery is… you may have stopped engaging in your addiction, however, your relationships may still be toxic, your boundaries and self esteem may be non existent or in rough shape. You still may be engaging in other toxic and destructive behaviours and stinking thinking.

Recovery is not just about abstaining, its about moving toward a healthier self, going from a negative not just to a neutral, but to a positive place of being. Recovery and health is not just the absence of disease or addiction, it is the presence of wellness… emotionally, physically, better relationships, self esteem, a sense of inner peace.

Best of health and best regards, Paul Radkowski

Friday, February 13, 2009

We all have a story... what is yours?

During a recent interview talking about how the All Addictions Life Recovery Program came to be, the interviewer had shared a story of how his brother in law overcame an addiction. He had struggled for years to overcome his addiction to alcohol, without much success.

One day he decided to take the money he would normally spend on alcohol and put it into a bank account instead. He shifted his attention and energy from something that was destructive and redirected it to something positive. He still went to A.A. meetings and accessed support from those around him. In a few years time, he had paid off his mortgage and bought a new car with the money he would normally have spent on his alcohol addiction.

I felt very privileged to have been on that interview to share my online addictions program with part of the global community. I felt even more privileged to hear in the sharing of someone actively and creatively overcoming the adversity of their addiction and making their part of their world… a better place. Sometimes the most powerful transformation comes from the sharing of a story. I want to hear your story, your greatest obstacles, your greatest triumphs. We all have a journey of the heart, a song of the spirit and a story to be shared. We all have a story… what is yours?

Best of health and best regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small steps and celebrations...

Hello folks, how goes it? For the readers of this blog out there i just wanted to send an update as to where I’ve been over the last week or so. I have just returned from the stunning island of Oahu, Hawaii where I had attended a conference in which I was honoured and most blessed to receive the “Outstanding Addiction Professional Award” from the International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors for my contributions in the field of addictions and for the creation of the online recovery resource

I was privileged to be a part of this conference in which 3000 colleagues in the fields of addiction, education and counseling attended. I’d like to take a moment to thank the IAAOC and the American Counseling Association for this esteemed honour. I also want to acknowledge all of my mentors, clinicians, educators, supervisors and most of all… the people and clients who I have been most fortunate to witness and share in the journey and triumphs of their recovery.

It has always been my mission to provide the highest level of commitment, compassion and care to the people I serve. This “outstanding” award renews my faith and spirit that I will continue to learn, grow and serve in the greatest of my abilities, so that many others will reach and achieve the greatness of their own.

Beyond the cold depths of sorrow’s darkness
Within the warm rays of heaven’s light
The spirit knows no shadow
Born in love and bathed in light
In your life journey remember this truth,
Love is the skin of your soul

With sincerest regards, Paul Radkowski

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So whether you’re hitting the bottle, casino, crack pipe or credit card…

It may seem quite obvious why someone would be addicted to substances like alcohol, meth, coke, heroin etc, but how does it work with a “behavioural addiction” i.e. shop-aholic, gambling, self cutting, anger etc? Well, I did a bit of research and found some amazing facts about behavioural addictions that just might surprise you.

Did you know that some of the latest brain imaging and mapping techniques suggest that the brain/body can’t really tell the difference between whether you’re getting “fired up” with booze/cocaine, or, whether you’re getting “juiced up” from overdoing it at the casino, or at the shopping mall?

Neuro-chemically (juices in the brain) you’re still getting a “hit of stuff”. The hit is usually a great big dose of dopamine and seratonin the “feel good” chemicals produced by the emotional part of your brain… the limbic system (meso-telencephalic dopamine system).

So, regardless of whether you’re hitting the casino, the bottle, crack pipe or credit card… you will experience the same neuro-chemical and physiological response with all of them. There is a closer link with all of these than many would think.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Monday, February 9, 2009

A "Healthy" Addiction....

Many of us at some point have struggled with an addictive pattern of behaviour… of some kind of a “behaviour we cannot stop, that has destructive consequences”. You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol, heroine, cocaine, smoking, crystal meth. and substances that have obvious “destructive consequences” to physical health to be an addiction. There are a lot of folks who are struggling with addiction with seemingly healthy activities. For example if someone is into the activity of jogging… to a point where they can’t stop AND it has destructive consequences… that becomes an addiction.

I had worked with a fellow who would be late for work and business meetings because of his jogging… his relationship with his family was also taking a nose dive… and this was just a couple of the destructive consequences of his jogging behaviour. AND the fact that he couldn’t stop engaging in this jogging activity… makes it an addiction. He was engaging in a behaviour he couldn’t stop, it was out of control for him… it also had destructive aspects to it… he nearly lost his marriage and his job. Still not convinced this may be an addiction??? Did I mention that this behaviour was so out of control for him that he was jogging with a broken foot?

Paul Radkowski

-Striving to be perfect, we fail to be ourselves.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Addiction … a Disease? … a Choice??

As mentioned in the previous blog, one view of addiction is “a behaviour you cannot stop that has destructive consequences.” This definition is not meant to pathologize, I believe that it is meant to normalize. No one chooses to become an addict, becoming an addict is often a process of someone making unhealthy choices, again… and again… and again until finally that person becomes stuck in their addiction. Yet the road to recovery is about making choices as well, choices that are in one’s highest interest, choices that enhance physical well-being, self-esteem, relationships, our spirit and making these choices again… and again… and again. So, how do you choose?

Warm regards & best of health,
Paul Radkowski

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What's An Addiction?

Howdy folks,

My name is Paul and I am a Family therapist and Crisis/Trauma/Addictions specialist. Throughout the past, addictions have been defined as a… disease, as a moral deficiency, as something based on a level of tolerance and withdrawal to a substance, as a maladaptive pattern of behaviour, lack of “will power”, as a character defect… etc….etc… I’m sure I’m leaving a lot of other “definitions” out.

As an addictions specialist, setting up programs for various treatment centres and government agencies, I believe Dr. Jerome Jaffe said it best… an addiction is “A pattern of compulsive behaviour which results in serious negative consequences for the individual, who, in spite of these consequences, continues the behaviour” Or, simply put… a behaviour you cannot stop, that results in destructive consequences.

Now, this definition has been around for over 20 years and is perhaps one of the most powerful definitions of addiction. This definition can apply to ANY behaviour. Many people associate addiction with a substance like alcohol, drugs, smoking etc. The definition of addiction I believe changes the playing field. Some more obvious examples would be… gambling, shopping, eating etc. Other less obvious examples would be… anger, toxic relationships…etc. What are some examples that you know and may be struggling with?

What might be some of the addictive behaviour(s) you are you struggling with? Does this defintion of addictions as “ANY behaviour you cannot stop, that results in destructive consequences” change the was you see things? Does it change the way you view what is an addiction? Do you find yourself falling within this definition???

So… feel free to write to me and share with others and myself, what your thoughts are? Share what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you. I will share some of the things that I have learned and have seen work time and time again in hopes of providing hope, support and help for folks in our global community.

You can also visit my site to learn more about Addiction Recovery

An inspired path, is an enlightened one.

warm regards & best of health,
Paul Radkowski, MTS, IAAOC