Weekly Reflections and Archives

Changing Attitudes In Recovery

    The following material comes from Changing Attitudes In Recovery A Handbook On Esteem. The CAIR Handbook was written by James O. Henman, Ph.D., and a Steering Committee of CAIR Self-help Group members, in 1990. Each week a new paragraph from the CAIR Handbook will be presented, along with some suggestions to consider while experiencing the paragraph.

    Take the time to stop and think about each paragraph. It is helpful to discuss these ideas and tools with others, or you can keep a journal in which you write down your reactions to each paragraph and begin sharing with yourself. This complicated maternal has been broken down into bite-size pieces which require chewing. Since recovery is a lifetime journey, go slowly and respect the many different reactions you receive while thinking about and discussing a new set of principles, beliefs, and attitudes, which we call New Program. The material in the CAIR Handbook takes time and practice to digest. You need to give yourself the gift of thought necessary for New Program to become a reality in your daily living. It is also important to remember that recovery is a participation sport, not a spectator sport. The more active you become in learning and practicing these new ways of living, the more familiar New Program can feel as you use it. The following paragraphs come from the CAIR Handbook, pages 14 - 15:

      "Since we cannot give something we do not have, we need to find some way to gain for ourselves what we want to give to those who we love. This Handbook and CAIR Self-help Groups are designed to provide a supportive "family" of people committed to learning and practicing a "New Program" way of life. This New Program helps in developing healthy self-esteem through recovery. These groups welcome everyone, regardless of the problems that lead to the desire for change. There is no cost for attending these CAIR meetings.
In an atmosphere of mutual respect and valuing, we learn to "reparent" ourselves through the development of our New Program Adult, which allows us to begin parenting our wounded inner child. This shifting of attitude alters the ecology of our inner Changing from blaming and judging toward respect and valuing allows a different emotional climate, which fosters growth and change. This healing process allows us to build a healthier self-esteem. With our own increased self-esteem we can begin to reverse the destructive circle with our children and those important in our lives. Change is possible when we are willing to take the risk of acknowledging our starting point on the journey, with respect and accuracy, and committing ourselves to recovery as a way of life. (Stop and Discuss)

    What were your reactions to reading: "we cannot give something we do not have?" When you look at how you relate to the people who are most important in your life today, do you see any patterns that you don't like? Without blaming others or yourself, would you like to make changes in these patterns? Since we tend to treat others the way we were treated growing up, we need to learn to treat ourselves differently, even as we are learning to treat others differently. Blaming and changing are two very different dynamics. In the same way denial and changing are very different. Either blaming or denying prevents changing in the present. If you can let yourself notice the patterns you want to be different, without judging in the process, you have the best chance for healthy change in the present. Seeing yourself "parenting" wounded parts from your past differently, may seem strange at first. With practice, you will find it a helpful perspective for change