Our first Book Review!

I just received my first book review 🙂  I thought it would be nice to return the favor but I’m not sure if/when I’ll find the time to read any of her books, but in the meantime feel free to read her review and visit her online. The review can be found here (at the bottom of the page) but here’s what she wrote:

Review by: Carolyn Flynn on July 19, 2012 : star star star star star
A Guide to the Recovery Toolbox is entertaining, informative, and well written. It is a must read for anyone in recovery or considering attending a 12-step program. The insights and lessons learned are valuable and applicable to anyone. It flows like a personal blog with links to related topics at the end of each section. You can easily read the book straight through or jump to the topics of most interest or relevance to you. For those not in recovery, skim through or skip the sections about the 12-step groups because the rest of the book is worth reading.

Carloyn Flynn can be found here:

Blog: http://CarolynFlynn.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarolynFlynnLPC
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clynAZ

Facebook Fan Pages: Not User Friendly At All

This post isn’t about recovery.  I don’t like having to use this blog for non-recovery related things but I’m dealing with a situation that could make it difficult for people to find Recovery Book Press on Facebook.  That alone isn’t so bad but Facebook’s help on this is nowhere to be found. Maybe making my request public will stir them to action, maybe this post will be a lesson for anyone else setting up a Facebook fan page.

Facebook has a feature called a fan page, which is different from the kind of page that a person would have.  I won’t get into the differences, but a fan page is for promoting companies, businesses, products, etc.  When I built an online presence for Recovery Book Press I created this blog, a Myspace Page, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.  What I didn’t know is that Facebook’s process for creating a fan page wasn’t user friendly.  As I went through the process I made mistakes (because the instructions they give you are inadequate) and FaceBook is now telling me the mistakes can’t be fixed.

Personally I don’t believe that – I believe Facebook can fix the problems, they just don’t want to.  It would cost time and money (but if they made a better product from the start they wouldn’t have to go back and fix things later).  So what were my errors?

When you want to create a fan page you actually have to create two pages, a personal page and then the fan page.  It turns out that certain information (like the user name you want on each page) cannot be the same.  In my case I wanted the Fan page link to read:


(By the way, if you click the link above you’ll get a Facebook error page.  I’ll explain why below.)

… so when I was asked what name I wanted my page to display I told it “RecoveryBookPress”.  Makes sense, right?  But they didn’t tell me I was creating a personal page, not the fan page.  And they didn’t explain that once RecoveryBookPress was in use it couldn’t be used by any other page – even if I’m the one creating it.  I created the personal page then Facebook wanted me to create the fan page. (“Huh? I thought I just did.”) So I created the fan page.

It gets even more confusing.  I still didn’t know what mistake I’d made because Facebook’s policy is that while personal pages can configure a user name immediately fan pages can’t do so until the page has 30 “likes”.  So while the personal page had the link I posted above the fan page’s link looked like this:


What makes this even more irritating is that after a few months Facebook did seem to acknowledge that there was a problem with the way the fan pages were handled.  One day I logged in and there was a button to click on and text saying that clicking on the button would combine the two pages.  I tried that.  It seemed like it combined some things, but not everything.  In many ways I’ve still got two pages.

And then last weekend when I finally got 30 likes on the fan page I went to configure the user name and was told I couldn’t – because it was already in use.   So I went to the personal page and changed my username there, thinking maybe if I did it would free it up to be used on the fan page.  No such luck.  I waited 24 hours to see if maybe it just needed time to clear up in FaceBook’s system.  Nope.  According to FaceBook’s help section I will never be able to use RecoveryBookPress for the fan page on Facebook.

And now for the coup de grâce … if you have a Facebook page you can type “Recovery Book Press” in the search box where you search for friends … and Facebook will link you to our fan page.  They manage to make it as confusing as possible, still connect you to whom you’re looking for, but can’t give you the link you want.  Brilliant.

So the moral of the story is: if you need to set up a Facebook fan page someday be very careful when creating your personal account or you’ll end up blocking yourself from creating the page you intended.  If you find this whole mess as annoying as I do, or if you’ve found yourself in the same situation with no help from Facebook, please share this.

Being Child-Like Is Not The Same As Being Childish

I came across a quote today I’d like to share:

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” — Anais Nin

When I first read this I particularly liked the phrase, “We are mature in one realm, childish in another.”  I grew up on The Muppet Show and at times my sense of humor can be really corny and silly … one of the tools I learned in recovery is that Being Child-Like Is Not The Same As Being Childish.  In my teens I’d been shamed by my stepfather for my silliness and it took more than a decade to realize I need not feel any shame for joy in my childhood.  I had to learn to give myself permission to start releasing it again, and now that I have this same sense of awe and joy I had in my childhood has served me well as an adult.

The same phrase also reminded me of a man I met this past week at a meeting.  We talked after the meeting about early childhood development and how even through our teens and young adult phases we have certain needs … if our growth is halted in any of these phases it can stick with us for decades until we address that phase of development.  All the time I hear about how men these days are nothing but grown up boys, and part of me has feared that having a Child-Like side could be interpreted that way.  It was nice to be reminded that while some dimensions of my personality are well developed it’s okay that others are Child-Like.  I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have to be adult 100% of the time, in every way, and in fact trying to be probably isn’t natural.  I’m happy the way I am.  Layers, cells, constellations, and all.

What to do if you’ve been worrying lately…

The paperback is published!

I’ve gotten all the forms taken care of, printed a proof for myself, and everything’s taken care of!  You can now purchase a copy in both eBook and paperback formats:

eBook ($2.99): A Guide to the Recovery Toolbox at Smashwords.com
Paperback ($14.99): A Guide to the Recovery Toolbox at Lulu.com

I’m pretty excited but I know this is just the beginning.  I chose to self-publish the book to retain editorial control over the book but this means I don’t have access to a marketing department – so if you can, please tell your friends and spread the word. I would really like to see the book help as many as possible.  I hope someday this index of the tools will become an important companion piece to the other well-known recovery books out there.

Dry Drunk Syndrome

Yesterday I was honored to guest-blog over at www.inrecoveryblog.com. Please go check out my post about Dry Drunk Syndrome.

Also check out the rest of the website.  I particularly liked his post titled Romancing the Stone.

Coupon for the new book!

To celebrate the book publishing I’ve created a 50% off coupon! Good through Jan 16th, enter code HU36A to get the ebook for $1.50.  The book is available at:


Repost/retweet to anyone you anyone you feel might benefit from this.  Thanks! 🙂

Recovery Music: Forty Six & 2

I just heard this song again today and thought I’d share because it helped me through the hardest part of my recovery process – the beginning. The song is called Forty Six & Two, by a band named Tool.  I’d been a fan of the band for a few years, but when I entered recovery this song took on a whole new meaning.

The song title refers to the fact that humans have forty six chromosomes (23 pairs). Some people believe humans will someday mutate, gain another two chromosomes, and we’ll evolve into another life form.  That part of the song I take with a grain of salt – artistic license and all that.  Other lyrics of the song (and throughout the entire album) refer to Carl Jung’s psychological theories, specifically the way he broke down each person into having the following sections of their psychological makeup: the Self, the Ego, the Shadow, the Anima/Animus, and the Persona.

Jung believed each of the sections have qualities that could be good or bad depending on how they come out in our lives.  He believed a major goal of every individual should be to understand these different parts of himself or herself in order to consciously put them to good use. He felt that if we fail to do this consciously we run the risk of allowing those qualities to come out at the wrong time, in ways that would hurt us or others.

Looking back I could see similarities to exactly that in my life. This song helped me deal with the struggle of facing, understanding, and integrating those parts of myself.  Aside from having great lyrics, the song breaks into a harsh cadence that feels absolutely cathartic. It really mirrors the feeling of fighting … fighting myself, fighting to break through to the other side … especially the ending of the song.

I’ve copied the lyrics below the video. If you have a song that helped you through recovery, please leave a note about it in the comments section! 🙂

Tool – Forty Six & Two

Join in my
Join in my child and listen
Digging through
My old numb Shadow

My shadow’s
Shedding skin
and I’ve been picking
Scabs again
I’m down
Digging through
My old muscles
Looking for a clue

I’ve been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could’ve been
I’ve been wallowing in my own confused
And insecure delusions
For a piece to cross me over
Or a word to guide me in
I wanna feel the changes coming down
I wanna know what I’ve been hiding in

My shadow … my shadow
Change is coming through my shadow
My shadow’s shedding skin
I’ve been picking
My scabs again

Join in my
Join in my child
My shadow moves
Closer to meaning

I’ve been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could’ve been
I’ve been wallowing in my own chaotic
And insecure delusions

I wanna feel the change consume me
Feel the outside turning in
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I’ve endured within

My shadow … my shadow
Change is coming
Now is my time

Listen to my muscle memory
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to
Forty-six and two ahead of me

I choose to live, and to grow
Take, and give, and to move
Learn, and love, and to cry
Kill, and die, and to be
Paranoid, and to lie
Hate, and fear, and to DO
What it takes to move through

I choose to live, and to lie
Kill, and give, and to die
Learn, and love, and to DO
What it takes to step through

See my shadow changing
Stretching up and over me
Soften this old armor
Hoping I can clear the way
By stepping through my shadow
Coming out the other side
Step into the shadow
Forty six and two are just ahead of me

The book is published!

The book is on Smashwords now, and the first 20% of the book is freely viewable here:

A Guide To The Recovery Toolbox

From my research it appears the average book is lucky to sell even 500 copies, but at $2.99 a copy (only about half of which I’ll get) I’ll need to sell about 1,000 to be able to roll the profits into publishing it as a paperback. I’m really hoping that can happen. For some reason my gut is telling me the book would help more people in paperback, but maybe it’s just some preconceived notion I have.  I hope the electronic version helps a lot of people too.

Even so, I have to admit to being excited – my first book is published! I’ll be celebrating tonight by ordering pizza and watching some TV. Pretty wild, huh?

The Five Stages of Grief

During my first year of counseling my counselor told me about the five stages of grief. We all go through these stages whenever we face a change in our lives. Sometimes we go through them in the order listed; sometimes we zigzag back and forth, gradually working our way towards acceptance:

1. Shock/Denial
2. Anger
3. Depression
4. Bargaining
5. Acceptance

My counselor wrote them down for me and to this day I still have that piece of paper taped to my mirror. Looking at this list helps me understand where I am in the process of dealing with changes in my life. It helps me understand where other people are too. It was particularly useful in helping me learn to stand my ground when telling people bad news – saying no to working overtime or to covering a shift for someone else, choosing to go home and go to bed instead of going to see the person I’m dating, telling my roommate that I was moving out – these are all things this list helped me do. Eventually I didn’t even need to look at the list. I knew if I stuck to my guns the other party would work through whatever they needed to work through and accept my decision.

Another way this list is helpful is to view it as a tool. I have a friend whose brother committed suicide. When she becomes depressed about other things in her life she returns to thinking of her brother, and that depresses her further. A few days ago she said she was afraid this reoccurring depression meant she was broken… that she would never be the same.

She’s not broken. There is nothing to fix. Any time we face an unexpected change in life we’re put into Stage 1 (Shock/Denial) and we work through the stages till we find Acceptance of whatever the new change is. As we do this our brains remember other times we’ve gone through the stages. Not being able to differentiate this time through from other times is one of the things that can cause an addict to stress themselves out to the point of reverting to old comforts.

But we’re not on an infinite loop. It’s the same process, but not the same situation. Each time I write the word “think” I’m not referring to the same thought. I use the same hammer for every nail I put in. That doesn’t bother me. There’s nothing broken in us for using the same tool to get us through multiple changes in life, nor for remembering our past – and it doesn’t mean that this time is the same as (or as bad as) other times we had to use the tool.