Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
July 16, 2018

“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.” – Thomas Aquinas

Life does not happen without risk.  When we put our energy into maintaining safety at all costs, we miss the point of life.  Sometimes, regardless of experience or preparation, we lose the ship.  That is the risk of exploration and growth.  On the other hand, if we have no “sailing experience,” we would be foolish to venture out of port on our own.  There is a balance.  A captain takes risks because she has the experience to judge a situation and address it appropriately.  A “landlubber” is better served by hiring a captain until he gains more experience and knowledge about how to navigate those particular waters.

When have I “stayed in port?”  When have I sailed beyond my experience or skill?  What have the consequences been?  What gifts await me as I journey forward taking appropriate risks?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
July 9, 2018

“Judgement exacerbates disconnection.” –Brene Brown

Connection is vital in recovery.  Isolation and loneliness, even when we are surrounded by friendly faces, are hallmarks of addiction.  When we judge others, we step one up on them and disconnect.  We cannot be connected and one up.  We can choose to dislike another person’s behaviors or choices and still remain equal to them.  We can even believe someone was intentionally harmful, hold them accountable, and remain equal to them.  Holding ourselves as equal to others allows for connection.

When have I stepped one up by judging someone?  What was my experience of connection in that moment?  What gifts await me as I learn to hold myself equal to others by minimizing judgments and embracing connection?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
July 2, 2018

“What’s right is what’s left when you do everything else wrong.” –Robin Williams

 

Addicts do a lot of things wrong.  If we go through the process of identifying all of the wrong things ourselves, finding what is right will involve significant suffering on our part and those close to us.  Fortunately, there are many who have walked the path before us.  The collective wisdom of others in our program can show us all the wrong things and guide us toward what is right.

 

When have I done things wrong?  Did I ignore others who were guiding me in a different direction?  What gifts await me as I trust others in the program who have already learned from doing everything else wrong?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
June 25, 2018

Necessary boundaries change with time in recovery.

 

As we progress in recovery, our necessary boundaries change.  In early recovery, we may need a flip phone and blocks on our devices.  Later in recovery, it may be important for us to learn to effectively manage temptation and, while we still have sobriety and recovery boundaries, a flip phone and blocks on our devices may actually be counterproductive to our recovery.  At times, our sobriety and recovery boundaries may be rigid and at other times they may be more nuanced. It is important for us to know which we need.

 

When have rigid boundaries been helpful to me?  When have nuanced boundaries been helpful to me?  What gifts await me as I learn to use both of these types of boundaries appropriately?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
June 18, 2018

Future tripping is blocking possible change in self and others.

 

When we future trip, we focus on one future as the only possibility.  The truth is, the future is unwritten and our role, as well as the role of others, can grow.  When we move back into the present, we make possible all the possibilities for ourselves as well as others.  Change happens with possibility.  Live in the present and choose wisely.

 

When have I future tripped? In what ways did this limit me?  What gifts await me as I learn to live in the present?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
June 11, 2018

The “Ew” Factor


It is important to recognize relationship as part of sexual attraction and arousal.  This ability to recognize relationship as part of sexuality is the basic difference between men who are sexually attracted to teenagers and men who are not.  A man who does not experience relationship as an important aspect of sexuality has no “ew” factor.  The “ew” factor is the awareness of teenager’s relational immaturity and, therefore, their inappropriateness as a potential sexual partner.  Without the “ew” factor there is little perceived difference between a physically mature teenager and an adult woman.  In recovery, we need to experience relationship as an important part of sexual attraction.


Have I experienced relationship as an important part of sexuality?  If not, how have I been inappropriate in my thoughts and actions?  What gifts await me as I recognize relationship as part of sexual attraction?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
June 4, 2018

“As long as I don’t take myself too seriously, I shouldn’t be too badly off.” –Prince


Life is difficult when we take ourselves too seriously.  Life in recovery is impossible when we do this.  In recovery, we are going to make mistakes.  We are going to be embarrassed.  We are going to need to admit we don’t have the answer.  We are going to need to laugh at ourselves and our crazy justifications.  When we take ourselves too seriously, we get in the way of our growth.  When we can be humble and imperfect, we grow.


When have I taken myself too seriously?  How has this impacted my growth in recovery?  What gifts await me as I learn to admit mistakes and laugh at my craziness?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
May 28, 2018

“Knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the bones.” –African Proverb


We receive many words of wisdom in the Program.  Old timers in the Program will suggest you follow their advice.  You will see others in recovery following the advice they receive.  And yet the advice offered to you will only be words with your own misgivings attached to them until you live that advice.  Embracing the wisdom around you and experiencing the difference it can make in your life moves those words of wisdom from hearsay to knowledge.  Change happens when the wisdom of the Program lives in your bones.


What advice have I received but been hesitant to follow?  What changes have I experienced when I embraced the wisdom of the Program?  What gifts await me as I allow the knowledge of the program to live in my bones?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
May 21, 2018

Only God can judge me by my intent.  Everyone else has to judge me by my actions.

How many times have you said “But I didn’t mean for you to get hurt.  You have to believe me.”  No matter how genuine our intent or how fervently we express our intent, that does not change the outcome or the impact on others.  With consistent, trustworthy behavior over time, perhaps those close to us may one day trust our statement of intent.  Until then, they can only judge us by our actions.

When have I hurt people without intending to?  Do I accept their pain and fear or attempt to manipulate them into accepting my intent as reality?  What gifts await me as I focus on my actions and accept that I will be judged on my actions?

Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
May 14, 2018

“Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.” –Zadie Smith

It is important that we express and receive appreciation.  It is also important that we are aware of where we can reasonably look for appreciation.  A sex addict receiving a three-month coin can reasonably expect appreciation for his work and achievement from his recovery community, his therapy group members, his therapist, and perhaps his friends.  His partner, who often experiences this as three months since they were sexually betrayed, may not be able to express appreciation.  However, it can support the partner’s healing if the addict is able to express appreciation for the partner staying in the relationship despite the trauma the addiction has caused them.  Appreciation is important.  Give it when you can.  Cherish it when you receive it.

When did I not receive appreciation when I wanted it?  When have I failed to give appreciation when it would have been helpful to others?  What gifts await me as I learn to express appreciation more consistently and accept that some people are able to offer appreciation while others cannot?