Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ZERO TOLERENCE: A New Drug Policy for AUSTRALIA - Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach


As a treatment and recovery professional with 20 years experience in this field, working with many addicts and their loved ones on the front lines, I have been grappling with the dilema of how can we as a society stem the growing public health problem of drug addiction.

Not a week goes by that I am hearing from Australian families from all walks of life that are being torn apart by the consequences of drug addiction. This is across the board in all states, cities and regional areas.  It is heartbreaking to say the least. 

Grandparent after grandparent having to take over the care of young children, because the their adult children are so out of control, and in some cases causing harm to their innocent little children. Parents reporting being physically and emotionally abused by their own children. Parents becoming frieghtened of their own children. Ive had a few parents becoming suicidal because they have been so traumatised by their loved ones drug addiction. 
I have even had cases over the last few years of parents having to re-mortgage their homes to pay off drug dealers for their loved ones drug debts, because their lives have been threatened by these "scumbag" drug dealers.
The Government of our day is spending millions and millions fighting terroism, and sure this is a serious issue, however I believe the real "terroism" fight is in the fight agaist drug addiction in our own backyard. Many  lives are being senslesly lost each day due to drug addiction in this country. It is estimated that at least 35 people are dying each week in this country directly from drug addiction. Yet in comparison the amount of money invested by the government in fighting drug addiction is very minimal compared to the money thrown at terroism. Doesnt make any sense to me at all, except there obviously must be more "VOTES" in the terroism fight than drug addiction.
Sydney's senior law enforcement agency has made the astonishing admission that they have lost the war on drugs, as reported in the Daily telegraph on 27th January this year. The Telegraph also reported that organised crime in NSW is “out of control” and anti-drug agencies are failing dismally to stem the tsunami of narcotics flooding the  streets.
The Telegaph also  revealed that the number of drug lords operating in Sydney has soared to 607, and law enforcement officers are unable to track them due to the criminals’ use of ­hi-tech encrypted phones.
These shocking revelations follow a recent report by the NSW Crime Commission which says organised crime is at levels not seen previously in NSW”The report found the rise of “public enemies” was “almost entirely driven by the prohibited drugs market”  Methamphetamine (ice) and cocaine supplies are high and prices for both are considerably lower than five years ago,” the report says. Offshore interests decide the volume of drugs that are imported into Australia and the domestic drug consumption market will consume whatever is available. When an oversupply occurs, the result is a reduction in the price of prohibited drugs, which is precisely what we are seeing at present.
IN MY RESEARCH OVER THE YEARS....Sweden is the model nation for a drug-free society. Its drug consumption rates are a fraction of those in Spain and Germany, and what follows is low crime rates. What a surprise!
When you hear hysterical cries from the pro-drug lobby about the futility of law enforcement to curb drug use, they rarely cite Sweden’s zero-tolerance approach. The Swedes as a race condemn illegal drugs and, with the exception of a few pro-drug academics, they support their police and judiciary in keeping drugs away from young people.
Critics cite a number of overdose deaths among recidivist drug users, but those critics won’t or can’t tell you how many thousands of lives have been saved.
Here in Australia, the folly of "harm minimisation" and the head-in-the-sand attitude of our governments to a drug-free solution are appalling. It’s time we had a debate that included all Australians, not just the so-called experts.
Personally I believe ZERO-TOLERANCE has to be the answer. It would give the authorities and health services the opportunity to identify the individuals that need help, and then the problem would be given back to the addict. What this means very simply.....identified addicts would be given the choice accept help or suffer the consequences.
One of the goals of Swedish drug policy has been not to punish drug users, but to offer help and rehabilitation, described as a "caring chain" of outreach services, detoxification, out-patient care and institutional care comprising abstinence based treatment. I believe that this type of drug policy, perhaps with some adjustments, may be our only way of steming this soul destroying and heartbreaking epidemic of DRUG ADDICTION in our land. 

Robert Frank Mittiga
International Addiction Recovery Coach / Therapist
Ph 0439 399 809 EMAIL rmittiga@icloud.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach AUSTRALIA

To understand the addictive disorder, you need to understand that an addictive illness can be physical, mental, and emotional. Whether or not it is one or all of the three, it is always spiritual. Substances, people, behaviours, etc. are merely symptoms of a much deeper and perverse soul sickness. An addiction is something that gives a person an immediate sense of feeling whole, even though many claim to enjoy the side effects, the real sense of seeming pleasure comes from the immediate gratification and or distraction from reality they achieve with any given symptom.

Addiction recovery is not a system that changes the effects of the substance, but rather heals the person in a way that their new sense of reality is that they do not need anything or anyone to feel whole, complete, and content with life. Many people with an addictive personality disorder will shift their attention from one substance to another, and what usually transpires is that they become addicted to poly-substance abuse. Once the initial high or effect is achieved, they will go to the point of overdose to try and experience that feeling again, and the results are always disappointing. People will go to some outrageous extremes and expense, only to find what they want isn’t there.

Alcohol for example, is a sedative, depressant anesthetic drug, which puts the brain to sleep from the front to the back, and no matter how much of you drink, the euphoria is very temporary, and the central nervous system depression (hangover) is the only thing that lasts. Then the insane craving for more leads to untold disasters. The same is pretty much true for any substance, belief, behavior, attitude or whatever a person uses to achieve the initial high, no matter how much of the substance or behavior they apply to their lifestyle, they never get that initial feeling again. People become disillusioned that they didn’t take enough, or didn’t use enough of the symptom substance and consequently overdose.

Recovery is first about abstinence and a time of withdrawal from the addiction of choice. The person must then find a new sense of wholeness, so that reversion back to the false sense of well being is not sought in the addictive items of choice. There are a variety of options available to someone with an addictive personality disorder to recover a sense of dignity, identity and purpose in life that will make further addictive behaviors unnecessary.

The first step to recovery is to understand what the substances/behaviours, etc. are, what they actually do or don’t do, and then realize that what one wants in their life cannot come from these items, simply because they don’t provide those effects.

Then one needs to discover something that empowers them to resist the lure of old patterns. Twelve Step groups use a “Higher Power” or God to give them the spiritual stamina to remain abstinent, and the guidance to realize that all that is needed for a person to be whole and well is within them. It’s finding a new sense of self that makes a person feel comfortable in their own skin without a perceived need to add something to that persona that wasn’t already there.

It’s important to take an honest look at the past and see what the effects of the addiction were, and the damage caused to self and others, and feel genuine remorse as well as an honest desire to set things straight with their universe. Self-reliance along with interdependence on others is a healthy relationship with one’s universe. As people clean up their side if the street, they feel a sense of spiritual pride, which replaces the false high they sought from addictive behaviors.

As people begin to develop a sense of character and confidence, they find no need to revert back to old ways of doing things. The majority of addicts will recidivate at least twice in the first couple of years in recovery, but many do continue to work on their new way of life until they achieve some long term abstinence coupled with a recovery of a life they will be unwilling to trade for the instant gratification of an addictive illness.

The single largest ingredient in the success formula of the recovery programs that i use, is working with others, and becoming both a support system and role model for people who are new to recovery. This gives a person yet another strength they need to enjoy freedom from addiction. Most people who gain the values, habits, attitudes and beliefs of a well person will not return to the old way of living. They may have some emotional relapses into old behaviours and habits over time, but they will also have acquired the skills to stop the day and start over whenever needed to retain their recovery.

If you or someone you LOVE is in the grips of ADDICTION, call us TODAY  0439 399 809
EMAIL rmittiga@icloud.com

EATING DISORDERS and TRAUMA ..the link: Robert Frank Mittiga RECOVERY COACH

EATING DISORDERS and TRAUMA ..the link: Robert Frank Mittiga RECOVERY COACH

Studies show that the link between experiences of trauma and developing an eating disorder are very strong. Research reveals that those who are affected by eating disorders have a disproportionately high experience of neglect and/or abuses of all types: sexual, emotional and physical, usually during childhood.

These traumas often result in psychological problems such as depression, low self-esteem, loneliness and anxiety. When addressing disordered eating, it is necessary to also address prior traumas the patient may have undergone.

Though trauma can also be experienced through living in a dysfunctional or alcoholic home, the death of a loved one, violent assault or even by living through a natural disaster, the commonality is an occasion of deep hurt and feeling helplessly out of control in the situation. It should be noted that while Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is also linked to experienced trauma, it is not linked to eating disorders and has its own distinct criteria.

In an attempt to manage the pain and negative emotions associated with trauma, a person may develop an eating disorder. Underneath the behavior is an attempt to take back a measure of control. As an example, the woman who suffers rape may overeat to excess (binge) and gain weight to avoid attracting further male attention.

Conversely, she may severely restrict her food intake (anorexia) to assert control over her own body. It is imperative that patients deal with prior trauma in order to truly recover from an eating disorder. Until the trauma is addressed, relapse casts a large shadow over treatment.

If YOU or someone you love is in the grips of an Eating Disorder; Compulsive over eating, Bulimia, or Anorexia call us today for immediate confidential help.
PHONE 0439 399 809 or EMAIL rmittiga@icloud.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ADDICTION RECOVERY CHECKLIST: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

Addiction Recovery Checklist
There may be debate about the general stages of recovery, but almost everyone agrees that the first 90 days of recovery are critical. That’s because it’s during this time that most relapses occur. You’re still so new to being clean and sober that you haven’t yet become comfortable in practicing your recovery skills or dealing with everyday life without your “drug” of choice, whether that’s a substance(s) or a behaviour(s).
If you’re just returning home from treatment, there’s so much that gets thrown at you — your home, family, job and friends. Sometimes — often, in fact — it can feel like too much. When you give up an addiction, you give up more than a substance or behavior; you give up a means of navigating (however ineffectively) life. Without structure, routine and consistency, you’re likely to find your recovery far more difficult to manage, and it may even collapse.
So start off slowly so that you don’t become overwhelmed by all that you want or believe you need to do. Remember that recovery isn’t a race but a lifelong journey.
A list of important goals for your first year of recovery. Use it as a reminder and to help you stay on track in the days and months ahead.  

  • Accept that you have an addiction.
  • Practice honesty in your life.
  • Learn to avoid high-risk situations.
  • Learn to ask for help.
  • There are many paths to recovery. The most difficult doing it alone.
  • Practice calling friends or coach before you have cravings.
  • Become actively involved in self-help recovery groups.
  • Go to discussion meetings and begin to share. You are not alone.
  • Get a sponsor and do step work.
  • Get rid of using friends.
  • Make time for you and your recovery.
  • Celebrate your small victories. Recovery is about progress not perfection.
  • Practice saying no.
  • Take better care of yourself.
  • Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits.
  • Learn how to relax and let go of stress.
  • Discover how to have fun clean and sober.
  • Make new recovery friends and bring them into your life.
  • Re-evaluate your lifestyle periodically to make sure you remain on track.
  • Deal with cravings by “playing the tape forward” What will happen if you start?
  • Find ways to distract yourself when you have cravings.
  • Physical activity helps many aspects of recovery.
  • Deal with post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
  • Develop strategies for social environments where drinking or drugging is involved.
  • Keep a gratitude list of your recovery, your life, and the people in it.
  • Say goodbye to your addiction.
  • Develop tolerance and compassion for others and for yourself.
  • Begin to give back and help others once you have a solid recovery.
  • See yourself as a non-user.                                                                                          

Saturday, March 18, 2017

UNDERSTANDING SELF-WORTH and SELF-HATE: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach


Self-worth is how someone defines their value or worth as a person. Many people measure their value or self-worth on external factors, from body image and possessions to acceptance from others and social standing. However, self-worth is about who you are, not what you do or what you have. Looking for your worth as a person by comparing yourself with others is always a losing battle and can have lasting negative effects.

Many people who struggle with their self-worth can easily slip into a cycle of self-hate, characterized by destructive thoughts and often triggering self-destructive behaviour. Self-hate is often referred to as “low self-esteem” or “bad self-image”. No matter what term you use, self-hate is a self-worth problem. If you struggle with these extremely critical thoughts, you aren’t alone.

When someone bases their self-worth on external factors, the result is a distorted view of their own value as a person. 
Common signs of self-worth issues are:
  • ·        Feelings of not being good enough, unloved or incompetent
  • ·        Constantly comparing oneself with others
  • ·        Avoiding people or activities, like social gatherings or school, due to negative        self -perception
  • ·        Intense, highly critical thoughts about your self
  • ·        Being extremely judgemental towards others and yourself

Self-worth isn’t just an emotional issue. Not dealing with thoughts of negative self-worth can often lead to other self-destructive activities, such as intense self-hatred, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol addictions, cutting and even suicide. 

What starts out as a negative internal thought process can quickly turn into a pattern of self-hate that impacts every area of your life. Learning how to break the cycle of self-hate and adjust your self-perception is the key to developing a healthy self-worth.

Challenge your inner critic. Everyone has a critical “inner voice” inside their heads that constantly judges and criticizes, like a bully. If you don’t stop this type of unhealthy internal dialogue, over time you may accept this destructive critique as the way you actually see yourself. In order to separate your thoughts from the negative critique, try writing down a compassionate response. 

For example, if your “inner voice” says “You can’t do anything right”, your written response might be “I might not always do everything perfectly but I am smart and capable”. This will help you gain a healthier perspective and stop the negativity.
   Stop comparing yourself. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Nothing will drag you down faster than comparing yourself to someone else. Everyone, no matter how famous or seemingly perfect, has their own struggles and issues with which they deal. In the age of social media and celebrity, the images and lifestyle people portray online are rarely ever an accurate picture of real life.

    Be mindful of your thoughts. Every time you think you aren’t worthy, loved or cool, stop and remind yourself that you are. Your thoughts impact how you perceive yourself and eventually it becomes your reality--that’s why it’s important to stop negative thinking in its tracks.

     Find activities that are worthwhile and help others.

  Try a new hobby, do something nice for someone or volunteer for a local non-profit. New experiences often provide perspective on what really matters, cultivates gratefulness and offers an opportunity to grow as a person.

    Chat with one of our self–esteem recovery coaches. If you need to talk about self-worth issues or just need some encouragement, chat online via SKYPE with a caring and understanding coach. PH 0439 399 809 Email rmittiga@icloud.com

Comparison is THE thief of Joy!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CODEPENDENCY: A simple understnding: Robert Frank Mittiga RECOVERY COACH

Codependency is simply the loss of sense of self.  It is when you do not have the conscious ability to separate yourself emotionally from another or others.  

The following questions can be helpful in making a beginning self-assessment.

1.    Do I often feel isolated and afraid of people, especially authority figures?

2.    Have I observed myself to be an approval seeker, losing my own identity in the process?
3.    Do I feel overly frightened of angry people and personal criticism?
4.    Do I often feel I’m a victim in personal and career relationships?
5.    Do I sometimes feel I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, which makes it easier to be concerned with others rather than myself?
6.    Do I find it hard to look at my own faults and my own responsibility to myself?
7.    Do I get guilty feelings when I stand up for myself instead of giving in to others?
8.    Do I feel addicted to excitement?
9.    Do I confuse love with pity and tend to love people I can pity and rescue?
10.  Do I find it hard to feel or express feelings, including feelings such as joy or happiness?
11.  Do I find I judge myself harshly?
12.  Do I have a low sense of self-esteem?
13.  Do I often feel abandoned in the course of my relationships?  Do I tend to be a reactor, instead of an actor?
If you answered yes to any of the questions you may have a problem with codependency.  
If you answered yes to 2 or more questions you definitely have a problem with loss of sense of self and it would be to your advantage to seek some type of support or help.  

 I need to be very clear about this next point; your recovery or change is directly tied to your willingness to experience your feelings and trust someone to be there for you.  Recovery, change and healing do not happen in a vacuum.

Alice Miller, author of “Drama of the Gifted Child” states, and I wholeheartedly agree, "That it is not the traumatic event or events in your life that is the problem today its your unwillingness or inability to talk about it fully connected to the feelings associated to the event that bring about today’s problems.”

Being willing to tell the truth about yourself all the time is a key recovery activity; open, honest communication with yourself and others is indispensable.

I need to say this to you perfectionists that may be reading this article; perfect, honest communication 100% of the time is not the goal, it’s a set up for failure.  The goal is to be willing to be as honest as you can be at the time of each communication and notice rather than judge your behavior.  Since honest communication is such an important part of the recovery process it is worth spending time on.

I'll frame this information on the

formula as taught by Terry Kellogg, an expert in the recovery field and author of, “Broken Toys, Broken Dreams.”  

His formula is as follows:
  • Acknowledge that there was a wrong done. 
  • Acknowledge that you had feelings about the wrong done.
  • Embrace the feelings.
  • Share the feelings.
  • Decide upon the kind of relationship you want to have with the wrong done and the wrong doer.
  • Move to a position of acceptance and forgiveness.

I love this formula because it is simple, direct and a way to direct my clients through a healing the process.

As far as communication goes the most important dialogue we have is with ourselves.  When we can get honest enough, have awareness enough to acknowledge that there has been a wrong done to us, we begin to speak the truth about ourselves.  We are breaking through walls of fear, denial, minimization, justification, victimization, ignorance, etc. to simply get to the surface jumping off point.  It is a step in reclaiming our lives. 

Remember the simple definition of codependency is loss of sense of self.  The first step in finding ourselves is to acknowledge that something happened to us when we were growing up. Now I need to speak to those of you who might say, “My parents did their very best, how can I blame them” or “I don’t want to swim around in all that history, besides if they could have done better than they would have.”  You are correct; they probably would have if they could have.  

I believe that we all simply do what we were taught, covertly and/or overtly, unless we consciously learn to do something different.  This process has nothing to do with blaming anyone.  It is about calming your feelings about what ever happened that you repressed at the time of the event/events.

You will repeat what you do not complete… This is a completion process.  It’s reclaiming your emotions, thought life, spirituality, sexuality, comprise your relationship with yourself, and if any aspect is repressed; you do not have a truthful relationship with yourself.

The first step in recovery is to acknowledge that you had feelings about the wrong done. It is at this point, once again, that your internal dialogues will either be helpful or hurtful. Some say, “Why bother getting into the past- just live your life and forget about the past,” or “Why dwell on what you cannot do anything about,” while others use this to rage on and on in endless self-justified anger, refusing to move forward in recovery.  

Others will be found in the middle of the two extremes.  When you acknowledge that you had feelings about a wrong done to you, you begin an honest internal dialogue with yourself.  It is only when something becomes real that we have the possibility to change.

Therapy/coaching can play and important role in this stage of recovery.  Since you do not develop your problems in a vacuum you need others to affect a recovery.  Other people can act as a mirror for the codependent to show them the behavior that which they may be unaware of at this point.  Also, other people can make statements as to how they feel about what has happened to you. This sharing process can give you alternative ways to feel or simple validation to your feeling reality.

If you were raised with physical, verbal, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial, spiritual/religious abuse or incest, than your norm is that type of abuse and unless there is some education to explain what abuse is, you will probably continue to accept it in your life.

Through activities that support your awareness about your feelings around the harm done; you can move to the next phase of recovery, which is, embrace your feelings.  Honest communication involves connection and through embracing your feelings you enhance your personal connection.  To embrace means to accept, to include.  To embrace your feelings means to stop any addictive compulsive behaviours, end the minimisation or rationalisations that block or deflect the emotions.  

The main reason people avoid their feelings is to negate the pain.  I believe that pain has been given a bad name in our society.  The belief is that somehow when we are feeling emotions that aren’t joyous we need to get rid of them.  Pain is just nature’s way of letting us know that something is wrong.  

When you can embrace your feelings you claim your truthful relationship with yourself.

Through the development of inner strength and trust exhibited by embracing your feelings, you are empowered to move to the next stage of recovery and forgiveness, which is to share these feelings with another or others.  Trust is something that needs to be earned by others.  

When you are looking for someone to share your emotions with ask questions to see if they have the willingness and ability to really be there for you.  Here again self-honesty is the key. Notice how they respond when you ask specific questions or you give them some surface information.  If they seem to be there for you trust your gut reaction.  

Remember- “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”