Introducing The First Layer – by Freddie van Rensburg

I am so excited to introduce you to The First Layer by Freddie van Rensburg. I ordered my book last week and it arrived in the post this morning.

One of the reasons I am so excited to have received this book is that I was in treatment with Freddie 9 years ago and it is amazing to look back now and see how far we have both come – the hard work and all the healing. Freddy is now a counselor and brings out regular podcasts on his website which you can access here.

Freddie is a gentle and kind person with an amazing sense of humor, and I can see him making an incredible counselor that has wonderful insight into people.

The First Layer is a 12 step work book that will take you through the 12 steps in 21 days, which is a great thing for newbies to recovery and an oldie like me that gets tired of working the same stepwork book!

Read more about The First Layer here.

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The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn – My real life in addiction

The last week has been quite an emotional journey for me as I have been finishing writing my eBook The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn which is made up of real life stories about drug addiction. My drug addiction stories from my life.

I really enjoyed writing this book in the beginning and it was an amazing process but as the time came closer and closer to publishing I got physically sick. At first I assumed it was just the flu but now I can feel very clearly that all the emotions that came up while writing this book have come out and made me physically ill.

Every day this week I have woken up with flu symptoms and every morning around 11am I have started with a headache which became a raging migraine by the time it was afternoon. Last night was the worst. By the time my husband got home from work my migraine was so bad I wanted to vomit.

It suddenly became clear to me that this is not flu, this is all due to me writing about my life in such an honest way, opening myself up to other people and sharing some of my most humiliating and painful experiences from my life – things that happened to me while I was in the throes of addiction.

Thank you to my husband that spent an hour rubbing my back, neck and shoulders last night to help me relax, completely taking away my migraine proving that this is just stress.

I am worried about what my mother will think when she reads it, when she can see how far down I had gone and the awful things I did and the awful things I experienced. I worry whether she will feel guilt or like she failed me.

So a special note to my parents – this book is dedicated to you. You never did anything wrong, this was out of your control.

Without your support and love for me I would never ever have made it out.

The title of the book is something my mother has often said to me when I am struggling with something. She tells me the darkest hour is just before dawn. So when things are at their darkest the sun is about to shine.

There is a darker side to this title too. The amount of times I have been awake all night, wired on drugs, are countless. It reminds me of all those mornings in my life when I realize I have done it again, when the light starts coming in the window and I realize I am a failure.

This eBook will share many of those moments with you.

Drug Addiction Stories Real Life

Drug Addiction Stories Real Life

I bet you are wondering why I wrote this eBook about my addiction?

The first reason is because sharing about my shame and the things I have done actually frees me from them. Shame lives in dark corners of your mind, it thrives on secrets and it grows over time. Taking that shame and bringing it into the light where everyone can see it makes it smaller and it holds less power over me.

These things that I did and that happened to me were awful, but by sharing what happened I can just maybe help others. Maybe a drug addict that is stuck in the cycle of addiction will read my book and find the strength and hope to get clean. Perhaps an addict in recovery reads my book and can relate to what happened to me and his or her shame diminishes just a little bit.

Maybe a mother will read my book and understand her addict daughter and her problem better. Perhaps this mom won’t feel so much guilt afterwards and it will ease her pain.

These are all my hopes for this eBook. I hope it takes something ugly and makes something good come of it.

Alcohol Addiction Stories

Alcohol was present at the start of my journey and at the end. Drinking was the norm in my life and something that I underestimated, something that I thought was not a problem.

Alcohol is dangerous and it is a drug. The worst part of this drug for me is that it is so socially acceptable. Even being drunk is often not looked at as the serious problem that it is.

It is very addictive and very often people think that it is not as dangerous as illegal narcotics.

I don’t think so, I look at alcohol and I see my gate way drug. Yes I also smoked Marijuana – I did smoked it first when I was drunk. Yes I snorted cocaine. I tried it first when I was drunk.

Cocaine Addiction Stories

Strangely enough cocaine only showed up in my life when I was about 24 years old but it took hold of me so fast and dragged me straight down.

In a strange way I should be grateful to cocaine.

Without it I might still be limping along with my alcohol addiction, managing to convince myself that I don’t have a problem. Perhaps it helped me sink so low that I had only a few choices left… get clean, go to jail or die.

Cocaine made me stay awake for days at a time, not eating and becoming more and more delusional as time went on.

Addiction stole 15 years of my life.

From the time I was 14 years old and I started cutting myself, drinking and getting into abusive relationships until the time I was 29 years old and hopelessly hooked on cocaine.

Real Life Drug Addiction Stories

Writing this eBook was quite tricky because everything is so fuzzy. I can’t get things from that time in my life into a chronological order.

Some of the things I remember are fuzzy because of the alcohol and drugs but some of the things I have a few realities in my mind and I can’t figure out which is which.

That must sound so strange but the thing is that as an addict I had to lie a lot to save my bacon.

I would have to tell different people different versions of events, you know one to suit each person? Over time and with retelling things in different ways there are some things that happened in my life but I just can’t figure out which is the real truth.

Another difficulty I had with writing this eBook is that this is my story, but other people were involved too.

For this reason everyone in my eBook is called Bob or Jane, faceless people all with same name. The only distinction being between male and female.

And nobody in my life was called Bob or Jane so this fits nicely. All Bob’s and Jane’s are guilt free.

The first 2 stories in my eBook are free to my subcribers, so if you have signed up for my newsletter previously you should have received your eBook already by email.

If you sign up now you will be emailed your free preview as soon as you confirm your subscription.

You can now buy my ebook from the following websites:

Fiverr

SmashWords

ListingDock

 

Make money promoting my eBook!

And of course since I am an online marketer, if you would like to promote my eBook to your friends, family or on your own website you will get 20% lifetime commission on all sales you make for my eBook from ListingDock.

The standard affiliate commission at ListingDock is 10% but I doubled that just for you!

Coming out next…

My intention for this eBook is that it is the first of three. I have now shared what my addiction was like, how bad it was. I am closing off that chapter for now.

My next next eBook will share my experience getting clean and the last will be my life in recovery, sharing how I stay clean.

Perhaps there will be more eBooks to come, who knows what my journey forward holds.

BUY The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn

Please give some honest feedback on my eBook if you have read it!

I would love to hear from you!

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Someone I love is an addict! Help, what do I do?

I am quite open about my addiction, obviously since I blog about it! I am open in my community and regularly post in Facebook groups reaching out to other addicts to contact me for help to get clean.

The result is that I mostly get phone calls from the moms of addicts. I find this really sad, because it reminds of what I have put my family through. Drug addiction family effects can be devastating. The addict doesn’t just suck him or herself into dark places but the entire family too. Everything revolves around the addict and the chaos that the addict causes.

Drug Addiction Family Effects - What To Do

Drug Addiction Family Effects

There are so many ways that drug addiction and alcoholism effects the family, from financial damages to safety risks. The list here is so long and I couldn’t possibly cover all the effects on family.

Drug Addiction Family Effects

Here are just a few  examples:

  • Emotional pain, worry and upset. Think about it right, you’re a mom and your teenage daughter is out of control and on drugs… you don’t even know where she is and it’s 1am? I can’t even begin to think how this would affect me! And when she comes home and you ask her she gets aggressive and nasty with you?
  • Verbal and emotional abuse. Yes an addict will be abusive towards the family, at the every least by being emotionally and verbally aggressive.
  • Possible physical abuse and/ or sexual abuse.
  • Child neglect.
  • Safety risks by bringing drug dealers or other addicts to your home.
  • Theft of money, household goods and anything else the addict can sell for drugs. The addict could steal from you, your work place, your friends or anywhere so you must be vigilant.
  • Loss of money when addict says they need it to get out of a fix and there will be plenty of these when the addict loses a job, gets evicted, crashes their car….

So here I am painting the addict as a terrible person, well they’re not really.  Addiction can turn the most amazing person into scum.

Your lovely son/ daughter/ wife/ mom/ brother is still in there, I promise you. And knowing the right way to handle the situation could mean all the difference.

So what do I advise you to do? Here are some steps you can follow to help your love one. They may not result in your loved one getting clean but they will help you to cope with the problem better.

These are my personal suggestions for helping your loved one. I am not an addiction counselor or a professional in the addiction field.

My experience is personal experience being an addict. I used for 15 years and I am now 7 years clean. I spent nearly a year in a drug rehabilitation center and I regularly attend 12 Step Meetings.

I have done a 1 year counseling course and spent a year working with addicts and their families in a drug rehabilitation center.




Step 1: You didn’t Cause it. You can’t Control it. You can’t Cure it.

So the first step is getting help for yourself. The 3 C’s is a common thing that is taught in family programs. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.

You have probably been through a living hell. You need support and help for yourself first. Remember you can’t help anyone when you have nothing to give. If you have been battling this problem for a long time you have nothing left to give.

So I suggest you contact the family side of a 12 step program. So contact Al-anon (the family group for Alcoholics Anonymous), Nar-anon (the family group for Narcotics Anonymous or Coda (Codependency Anonymous is a 12 step group that focuses on support to form healthy relationships). These groups are made up of people that also have loved ones that are addicts, so you can talk to them and get support.

Alternatively, or even better, in addition to, contact a counselor that specializes in family counseling for addiction.

If you are religious and attend religious services please contact your religious leader and get support from them. Lots of churches have addiction support programs. Get as much support as possible. While I think this is a great addition to my previous suggestions, please don’t only use the church. The church does not specialize in addiction problems and I mean this is the best way possible when I say that addiction cannot be prayed away. The 12 Step program is based on a higher powers, so use the 12 Step Program with God as your higher power. Include God in your strategy but don’t make God your entire strategy.

The focus here is to get support for yourself, not for your loved one. You will need it for this journey.

This may seem like something you don’t want to do, it may seem pointless or stupid, but please trust me that this first step is the most important part of this whole process. You cannot help anyone else if you cannot help yourself.




Step 2: Learn About Addiction

Prepare yourself for battle, learn about what you are up against. Like they say in meetings, addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. You have no idea what you are up against and you may be doing things that you think are helpful but in fact are just helping the addict to stay sick. You need to learn how to deal with your loved one, to deal with them with love but tough love.

You need to learn how to set your boundaries and stick to them.

You cannot change anyone else, but you can make changes to yourself, to the way that you do things. Through these changes that you make to yourself the addict may change.

This is a great book to read that will teach you a lot about addiction. it is also full of practical tips and examples. This will be a good place to start learning.

Step 3: Plan and Carry Out an Intervention

Please don’t do this step alone. Contact an addictions counselor and have them assist you with your planning of this step and carrying it out. You can even have the counselor with you at the intervention.

An intervention is where you and all significant others of the addict come together and have a show down with the addict. This must be done in a firm, yet loving way. It will be very hard to do and for this reason I suggest having a counselor present to help with everything.

An intervention serves these purposes:

  • To present a united front to the addict and let the addict know the extent of the damages caused by his or her behavior. Hopefully this will break through the denial of the addict.
  • To show a united front that cannot be manipulated out of. Addicts play people off on one another all the time and this is especially common with those closest to the addict.
  • To tell the addict what boundaries are being set.
  • To tell the addict what the consequences will be if he or she addict breaks any of these boundaries
  • To give an ultimatum to the addict to get clean and get his or her act together. This can include that the addict must go to rehab and/or 12 step meetings, whatever you have planned with the counselor.
  • To make sure the addict knows this is not an attack but an act of love.

Step 4: Sink or Swim!

This is the hard part but the addict must do this for himself or herself. You cannot do anything more for the addict. It will literally be sink or swim and you must not interfere with this process.

Remember that the addict needs to hit rock bottom before he or she will make any changes. By having an intervention this could actually help the addict hit rock bottom. When the addict knows that he or she won’t get any more money for drugs or be bailed out of trouble when he or she causes damages it may be the rock bottom needed.

An addict’s rock bottom is simply when the addict decides to stop digging. And when an addict thinks he has hit rock bottom he or she can always go down further. If the addict is not dead, the hole can be dug deeper can’t it?

How can I help an addict?

Step 5: Stick to Your Boundaries and Carry Out Consequences

This is really important. You need to stick to your guns and be consistent.

Remember what I said about rock bottom? If you let the addict break the boundaries you set down in the intervention you are causing damage and letting the addict stay sick. There is no point in setting boundaries and then doing nothing when they are crossed.

How many times has the addict promised to get clean? How many times has the addict said sorry and promised not to steal money from you? How many times has the addict borrowed money and not paid it back?

So for example if you told your daughter that if she drives drunk or high with her child you will call the social services you need to do that. It will be hard but your daughter needs to face the consequences of her actions or she will never change.

If you continue letting the addict get away with this behavior nothing will change and you are actually preventing the addict from getting better.

If you have lost hope and think your loved one has no chance of getting clean, let me set you straight. I was a lost cause and I was the one all the counselors thought wouldn’t make it. There is always hope, just get started on the right path. Then let go and let God.

Newsletter Darkest Hour FiverrI wrote an ebook about my addiction – you can read more about that here. It will give you an inside look into addiction.

If you have any questions about this topic, or anything about addiction… perhaps you just want to chat? Please leave a comment and I will answer you as soon as possible.

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My Booky Wook review

My Booky Wook ReviewI recently tried to read My Booky Wook by Russell Brand. I only came across it because it was given to me by someone that I regularly trade books with. Until I saw the book I have not known any about Russell Brand except for the fact that he dated Katy Perry for a while.

I have not watched any movies featuring Russell Brand and I have not watched any of his stand up comedian shows. After coming across his book I did briefly look at his Youtube channel, I watched half a video about Rene Zellweger’s face which I found mildly amusing but couldn’t be bothered to watch to the end.

What is My Booky Wook about?

So this book is about Russell Brand’s life, his sex and love addiction, his heroin addiction and just stories from his life.

What I liked about My Booky Wook

Russell Brand tells it how it is, he is honest about his addiction problems and doesn’t hide anything. When he shares about something that happened it is raw and brutal, which really gives some insight into how addiction really is.

What I disliked about My Booky Wook

Ok Russell, I am sorry because I feel like I am attacking you personally and that is the last thing I want to do to a fellow addict. Like you were honest in your book I will have to be honest here too. I did not like this book at all, in fact I couldn’t even finish reading it.

This book was badly written, the vocabulary was ridiculous for starters. Who uses words like that? Does anyone know what those words mean? The sentence structure and grammar was appalling. I am not a stupid person but I couldn’t even understand what was being said the majority of the time. I could only read about two pages at a time and even then I couldn’t understand what I had read.

My Booky Wook is distinctly British, if you are not British you will not understand what he is on about. I am not British and I was completely lost. There are footnotes to explain all the references but really I couldn’t be bother trying to follow.

The biggest issue I had with this book though is the way he portrays his stories. I am an addict and I know how we behave when we are in an unhealthy state of mind. We glorify everything, we glamorize things… make them into cool and fun “war stories”. This behavior came through very strongly for me. I am not a counselor and I really shouldn’t pass judgement here, but my feeling is that when Russell Brand wrote this book he was very much in the throes of addiction.




It appears the honesty that I first liked could just be a way of throwing his stuff out there, like in your face? A shock tactic of “look at me, I am crazy and wild”. Another character defect common in addicts in active addiction.

Nothing wrong with that really, anyone has the right to read a book. I just had the impression he was in recovery and that perhaps I would find reading the memoirs of another addict inspiring.

My Booky Wook by Russell Brand

What did My Booky Wook do for me?

It did nothing for me but leave me with a sick and uneasy feeling in my stomach. I’m glad this book was given to me, not as a gift but as a second hand trade. I would have been disappointed if I had spent money on this book.

Would I recommend this?

Nope I wouldn’t. However I must just share that I checked out the reviews and comments on Amazon, this book scored 3.8 stars out of 5. There were 317 reviews most of which were very positive. A lot of people found his book very entertaining and funny, they say it was brilliantly written?

Buy It Now

I love reading, it is one of my favorite things to do to relax. I especially love reading books by other addicts. The fact I couldn’t force myself to finish this book says a lot.

For me as a recovering addict, a person that takes my recovery very seriously I don’t recommend this. Addiction is black and white. It is life or death. Yes there have been some hilarious things happen in my life and yes I can laugh about it and I can probably get you to laugh too. BUT I won’t glorify what happened or glamorize it.

Once again, sorry Russell, I am sure you are a lovely chap and I wish you all the best with your journey. I just won’t be following it.

Have you read this book? Please leave a comment if you have any feedback or questions about this review. 

 

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Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way

Unless you have heard of the book you probably think the title of my post is a little odd. Before I tell you about this book I would like to tell you how I came across it.

If you read my first post after I quit smoking you will see that I spoke about screaming Fuck It every now and then for no reason. I don’t know why I did this, it just sort of happened. The Fuck It just came out of me all on its own. The strange this is that this really helped me get through those first few days. It just released the craving a little bit for me.

Yes sometimes you just have to say Fuck It!

On hearing about my strange behaviour my sister assumed I had been practicing the Fuck It way… I said I’m sorry, what? Surely this must be a sign from my Higher Power that I need to know about this?

Anyway long story short the next time my sister came over she brought me her Fuck It book, written by John C. Parkin.

fuck it way

Here is my video review if you don’t feel like reading today.

What is Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way about?

John C Parkin explains how we attach way too much meaning to things. We care too much about everything and when it comes down to it these things don’t really matter much now do they? If we let go of these attachments (and say Fuck It of course) we will experience freedom and more happiness.

If you don’t understand then let me explain it to you like this. We place importance on our job, on being on time for things, on not letting people down, on our weight, on what people think of us, on everything in our lives right? Then we are in a car accident and nearly lose our life… how much do all those little things matter now? We might have lost a lot of those things that mattered so much before, like our job for example… but we have our life so it now seems really small doesn’t it. Perhaps you didn’t even like you job in the first place, yet you place so much emphasis on it anyway.

The Fuck It way teaches you how to live in the moment, how to enjoy the now and how to say Fuck It when things in your life are not what you want. Fuck It and change it, or Fuck It and accept it, but to stop making it a problem in your life.

Buy It Now

What I Liked about the Fuck It Way

The thing I liked the most is the great humor. Ok I agree if might not be everyone’s cup of tea and I must admit that nearly everyone that knows me thinks I have a rather peculiar sense of humor.

Here is an a excerpt from the book, one of the ways to read the book:

Another great way to read this book is to read a section, then go out and tell people how much you are enjoying it and how your life is changing by the minute. In this way you benefit yourself (good karma for spreading the word), others (who benefit from the message) and me (who’s using all the proceeds from this book to build a house made of chocolate that I will slowly eat my way through, then claim the full amount on insurance, saying it was termites, and start the whole damn thing again).

I just loved that. I also loved the fact that I started laughing out loud and my spirit felt lighter, something that happened a lot throughout this book. Not only does John C Parkin teach you some great ways to relax, de-stress, make changes (or accept things) in your life but he does it in a fun and hilarious way.

He teaches a number of simple techniques to live your life the Fuck It way and shows various techniques for meditation, which is referred to the Fuck It Form. The first few Fuck It Forms are started in the basic sofa posture, where you slump on the couch like you’re watching tv. I think this is just great, especially because I tried it out and it actually works.

What I Disliked about the Fuck It Way

The only thing I disliked is the book was too short. I loved this book and I wanted more! I will have to read Fuck It Therapy: The Profane with to Profound Happiness to get my fix.




Who is this for?

This book is for everyone and anyone, whether you think you have room for improvement in your life of not. I honestly believe this will benefit everyone. Of course anyone that has a problem with profanity and find offence when people swear might just want to give this book a miss, but chances are when you saw the title of my post you left my website very quickly.

Another word of warning, there are parts of in the book that are quite blasphemous. If you are religious and take offence easily then this might not be for you. I don’t believe he intended to offend but I can certainly see how people might be upset! On that note it is interesting to see that John C Parkin’s parents were Anglican preachers.

What did this book do for me personally?

For starters it has made my heart lighter. I had so many laughs and giggles just reading the book that I think that made me a happier person. It feels good to laugh, it feels good to be happy.

I’ve applied the Fuck It Way to my life in a few ways already:

  • Before I even read the book I said Fuck It to smoking and it helped!
  • Wednesday last week was scorching hot. I said Fuck It to working, I went to the shop and bought 2 boogie boards and then picked my kids up from school early and we went to the beach.
  • I said Fuck It to my fears and insecurities and recorded a video for Youtube, yes for this post.

How has the Fuck It Way helped me:

  • I am a non smoker!
  • I am more relaxed
  • I feel lighter, more free than ever before
  • My kids thought I was the best mom ever and had a lovely afternoon playing at the beach
  • I played at the beach instead of being a moaning mom, I had fun
  • I have laughed more in the last 2 weeks then I have in a very long time
  • I have a Youtube video! YAY I have been wanting to do this for ages but I have been too scared.




Do I recommend Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way?

Fuck yes, I do! Do yourself a favor and get this book. This is one spiritual self help book that I really do believe can change your life for the better.

Buy This Book Now

FYI John C Parkin and his wife Gaia have also founded a holistic centre called The Hill That Breathes in Italy. They hold regular Fuck It Weeks where they teach the Fuck It Way. I personally would love to be able to go one day.

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