It was a quite a shock for audiences to hear that the actor, Michael Douglas, has Stage IV throat cancer. What was even more alarming was to learn that it most likely was caused by drinking alcohol and smoking. At least three quarters of people who have mouth or throat cancer consume alcohol frequently. Statistics also report that people who drink alcohol often are 6 times more likely to develop mouth or throat cancer. In addition, people who both drink alcohol and smoke even have a higher risk than people who only use tobacco alone.
We are so bombarded with stories of young starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton getting arrested or going to jail due to some sort of substance abuse issue, it is shocking when a story hits the air waves related to an actor who is dealing with the health consequences of substance abuse rather than just the legal issues.
I remember as a child my brother and I holding up large poster size signs saying STOP SMOKING as a way to get our parent’s attention. Both my parents were smoking and thank god they quit over 25 years ago. My father definitely had ramifications from his smoking when he had a heart attack at 51 and later had to have open heart surgery. He also suffers from emphysema. What is so ironic is that my brother became a major pot smoker (quit 20 yrs ago) and I became addicted to cigarettes (quit 16 yrs ago) even though we were staunchly against our own parent’s smoking and we knew you could become seriously ill from smoking.
Again, it illustrates the insanity of addiction. We will go to any length to deny the consequences of our behavior in our disease. What is saddening is when I continue to see young, as well as older people, continue a slow death by drinking and smoking. I am very sorry this has happened to Michael Douglas, as I would be anybody with this diagnosis. Although, his doctors say his chance of survival is 80% with eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. That’s great news.
Five years ago before I began working in addictions, I was a hospice social worker. I saw many families watch their loved ones as they went through the dying process from cancer and other life threatening diseases. It is excruciatingly painful to watch someone die, especially some of the younger clients I worked with. The ones that had the more peaceful deaths were those who had a spiritual foundation. At least, that was my experience.
Although, this is very scary about Michael Douglas’s diagnosis, I hope it is a wakeup call for those who still suffer from the ravages of alcohol and smoking addictions.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach and Recovery Coach specializing in addictions, trauma, anxiety, depression, and helping her clients find their life purpose. She is the author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery.” She is a sought after speaker, and frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information about life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars.
Science improves and saves lives, but the spiritual domain is where healing and happiness reside. In the book, “The Ego-Less Self: Achieving Peace and Tranquility Beyond All Understanding, the author, Cardwell C. Nuckols, Ph.D. presents the truth to you from his own life experiences. While it’s true that subjective experiences cannot be proven per se, there is a “knowingness” that comes from walking through the fire and coming out the other end that is of great, if not greater, value than scientific objectivity. The experience and knowingness gained from being a survivor–whether from addiction, depression, loss of a loved one, or other life-altering event–creates an opportunity for each of us to evolve to a higher spiritual plane. When seized, life’s tragedies become spiritual opportunities.
The ego is our “false self,” “mind,” or “small self.” It knows of no power greater than itself. It is self-serving and is constantly battling for survival or personal gain. It is always fighting or fleeing from some perceived fear. It will do whatever it takes to relieve itself of life’s “miseries.” But it always fails. Itself-destructive line of thinking can drive us into maladaptive behaviors designed to serve only the ego. To the ego, no one else matters. The ego is the source of all human misery.
In order for correction to take place–in other words, for joy to replace misery–there must be a change in character. There must be a simple but profound return to the Self–our Divine nature or soul. Reclaiming the Self brings spiritual healing and transformation. This is a book about healing. It is not about symptom reduction. The author shows you how the ego develops and how it causes all of the suffering in our lives. He also endeavors to show you who you really are: the Self. The Self is God immanent and is the source of happiness and unconditional love. This book is about a journey of discovery. It is about a return to the Self.
With a broad range of spiritual influences, from the Bible to Zen Buddhism, the Ego-Less SELF sets out to deflate the ego to let the true self shine through. You will begin to learn how to get rid of resentments, surrender the ego’s unconscious programs for happiness, and employ simple techniques to increase contact with consciousness. The book is available at www.hcibooks.com/p-4049-the-ego–less–self.aspx
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters and a sought after speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information about life coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her blogs at Counselor Magazine.com and The Law of Sobriety Blog with HCI.
This morning I had to re-read the chapter in my book “Learning to Let Go of Resistance and Attachments.” My book, “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” comes out this Wednesday, September 1, 2010. I have bitten every one of my nails as I anxiously await the day. This has been a work in progress for over a year when I started writing the proposal, and really two and a half years ago when I landed on the radio with Dr. Drew Pinsky, and I suppose even longer than that, when I entered my first AA meeting. All of these experiences has brought me to the launching of my very own book about healing addictions.
Through this process, I have gone through many goals, one of which is just wanting to help people heal as they go through the process of getting sober. Then the goals morphed into writing a book that I could be proud of and gain some success at the same time. When I think of success, I also think of my “ego” getting in the way. I also think of getting attached to the results of this endeavor.
In my book I write, “When you live with the Law of Sobriety as your guidepost, you are able to deal with whatever is in front of you because you are not attached to having things turn out exactly as you imagined them.” This week I must confess I have been attached to having things turn out a certain way starting with expecting those around me who have been part of the process to do things “my way.” When you write a book there are many people involved in the process of getting the book out into the reader’s hands, and unfortunately sometimes their vision and way of doing things does not always match with the authors. That has been the case at times and especially this week. I am having lots of feelings that range from excitement that this is one of the biggest weeks of my career to self doubt that I will be disappointed with what may transpire this week. I keep forgetting that September 1, 2010 is only one day and that this book will be around for a very long time.
Finally, when I wrote, “When you let go of the way you believe things are supposed to be, you free yourself from negativity….the perpetual disappointment, doubt, and frustration that come when things don’t turn out as you thought they would,” I realize that is where I need to shift my focus starting right now. I am only feeling self-doubt because my expectations of people, places, and things are off the chart. I can only control my actions and no one else’s, and really in the end, it is god’s will, not mine, that is in charge. I am so glad I chose to read this excerpt today so I can free myself and surrender once again to my higher power, who I know, always has my best interest.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and for Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters, and is a sought after speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information about life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her blogs at Counselor Magazine.com and The Law of Sobriety Blog at HCI.