Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Tapes

In the rooms we talk about the “tapes” in our heads: Letting go of old tapes; changing the tapes; and erasing old tapes to change our thinking.

Something that has worked for me is to apply this metaphor quite directly. I have found that when I need to change a behavior or way of thinking that if I can find a recovery or self-help audio tape or CD that addresses the issue and listen to it over and over I can sometimes rewrite the tapes in my head. The speaker’s voice –kind of like a good therapist’s voice—gradually becomes part of me and the new idea or belief can also –over time—integrate into my thinking.

It does take lots and lots of repetition so it only works with teachers and speakers that resonate for me.

In early recovery I listened to AA speaker Bob E. from New Mexico. I bought tapes and CD’s of his conference talks and I must have listened to some of them hundreds of times. I got so much from him about caring for the wounds we carry as addicts and for genuine progress not perfection as he detailed his many relationships and jobs and geographic changes over 30 years of sobriety. I also laughed out loud at the good and bad of his recovery life and early on it gave me a frame that ours is a journey of discovery.

Later I discovered the work and audio tapes of Ellen Kriedman, a California psychologist and trainer whose bestselling book is called “Light His Fire”. I know, I know it sounds like some Cosmo Girl how to catch a guy title but it’s not. The book and audio workshop is about communication in relationships. Again, this one has lots of humor so it never feels old or stale. I still listen to Ellen and continue to learn from her.

Recently I’ve been listening to “Codependent No More” by Melody Beatty. Beatty has written a dozen or more books detailing her recovery from substances, grief and codependence. This one, “Co No Mo” --is one of the first books she wrote. I keep these cd’s in my car to give strength to the new messages I want and to gradually weaken the old ones my brain has played for me all the years before and even in recovery.

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