Here’s to 2016! But First, 2015 In Review

We had three times as many views this year as it 2014!!

2015 was a funny old year for this blogsite.

I decided to change the personality of this blogsite from academic to more personal, from explaining the condition of addiction to personally describing how recovery has been and is for me. How my addictive behaviours affect me and what they have been borne out of, e.g. post trauma.

I have tried to write more in the language of the heart to connect on a more emotional, spiritual and psychological level. I also spent a period writing for newcomers and their families.

Next year, 2016, will see a greater immersion into the personal, with a step into treatment for trauma which I have had to delay for two months or so due to professional commitments.

This can be delayed no longer although the thought of treatment for PTSD makes my guts flip over just thinking about it. It has been creating an undercurrent of distress for months now.

It needs to be done and will be – join me as I write about this therapeutic process.

I believe my addictive behaviours, of which I suffer a wide variety, stem from a combination of my genetic inheritance and the fertile ground of childhood trauma.

Genes can be altered in life via behaviours and the multitude of maladaptive behaviours I inherited as a result of my childhood can be re-learnt via treatment too I believe.

I believe my addictive behaviours grew out of the combination of these maladaptive behaviours, the emotion dysfunction of a dysfunctional family and the persistent negative self schemata I have ingrained in my mind since childhood.

For years in recovery I thought my “alcoholism talked to me” like a ghostly entity in my brain  and that was it. I have continually discovered that the negative voices in my head are in fact mainly the discordant echoing voices of others from my past. These have shaped my life and my addictions.

I learnt these views of me, thus I can unlearn them.

Trauma is the source of my  addictive behaviours and my ongoing negative self schemata. I believe these can be changed to more realistic, positive self talking by going back to the source, re-experiencing it and reprocessing it in my long term memory to create a new self schema.

Unfortunately, or tragically, the legacy of our pasts lives on in the neural networks of our brains until these are re-addressed. The behaviours I needed to survive a traumatic upbringing are no longer required, they have way outlived their usefulness.

I need  a reboot.

What I learnt and was told lives on but does not need to live on too much longer. It has taken nearly a decade of recovery to be ready for this next journey in my recovery. I now feel ready for it.

Much of my profound condition of addictive behaviours is based on an inherent emotional immaturity that life experience has helped create, an arrested development in my emotional development.

I was not allowed to mature properly, to grow up.

I “grew up” too quickly without actually having had a maturing emotionally.

In 2016 I will attempt to continue to “grow up”. It doesn’t sound as good as recovery from my spiritual malady but it seems more real.

And being real and realistic have never been my strongest points!

There are basic and interesting things I want to achieve in 2016.

Like other people I look forward to 2016. For the first time, I look forward to the next stage in my journey of discovery, in the next stages of this second chance at life, which is what it is.

I am very very grateful for this second chance at life. I also appreciate that I have a progressive illness and as a result my recovery has to continue to progress also.

Thank you to all of lovely people who visit, read, like and even comment on this blogsite. Due to time constraints I have not been able to check out other blogs as much as I would like but this will change in 2016.

Happy New Year everyone, keep safe! See you in 2016.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


  1. Trish · December 30, 2015

    I have only just found your blog. And I wish I had found it when i first got sober. 17 years ago with the help of the Fellowship. As for your PTSD. I too had a traumatic childhood, and trauma right up through my adulthood. One thing i would say, you only have to relive it once. When you face up to it, and deal with it, you can let it go. It will be the hardest thing for you to do, but is worth it. I identify with almost everthing you write, especially having to grow up fast without emotional maturity. But today is a good day, because of all I have experience, not in spite. May your Higher Power help you through what is to come. And may you find the way to let go, and to grow. ((HUGS))

    • alcoholicsguide · December 30, 2015

      thank you Trish for your kind words about my blog and also the reassuring words and encouragement in relation to PTSD – a message of hope indeed. I am interested in what type of treatment you did? They say there are traumas with a capital T and those with a smaller t – my wife did EMDR for a Capital T and this helped a lot with the major trauma incident but she still has PTSD, in reduced energy levels, needing to regulate her stress levels etc so she manages her condition now but it is not overwhelmed like before. For me the smaller t traumas are linked also to co-dependency and insecure attachment issues. It will be interesting to see how the EMDR helps with these too? It is great to read that line “today is a good day, because of all I have experienced, not in spite.” which points to how our experience can help others. Sending ((HUGS)) to you too Trish

  2. Lauren · January 1, 2016

    I found your blog by googling Alcoholism + Attachment Theory. I think it’s great that you’re studying the science of addiction but also love AA.

    I’ve been sober 29 years and have come to a place of digging deeper to try to heal some of the lingering trauma and maladaptive coping mechanisms. So far I’m just hovering up books and meditating but I’ve been considering going back to therapy. I really look forward to hearing about your experience with EMDR.

    A friend in the program with long-term sobriety died recently from a toxic blend (probably not conscious suicide) of sleeping pills and a few other things. I knew something was off with him but I had no idea how much he was suffering.

    I love AA and see how healing it has been for me and others but I think the next frontier ( in AA may be facing that there is more outside (but complimentary to AA) work to do.

    I’m excited and hopeful as I read about the progress people are making as they follow varied paths to understanding addiction.

    I’ll copy a few of my favorite book titles below and would love any recommendations you might have of books that have helped you.

    Thank you for your great blogs!

    A General Theory of Love Lewis, Amini. Lannon
    Attachment in Psychotherapy, David Wallin
    Mindsight, Daniel Siegel
    In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Mate

    • alcoholicsguide · January 1, 2016

      Hi Lauren, great to hear from you and thank you for your book list. I link you to a post I wrote a while back on how emotional sobriety is dealing with emotional immaturity
      in fact a study in the 1950s stated that what we AAs had in common was grandiosity and immaturity. It is amazing to watch oneself and one’s reactions to the world and conclude that they are not a tad immature. I feel this is due to emotionally not developing as a child in a healthy, adaptive way. Hopefully the EMDR will help me grow up a bit more by lightening some of the load of my past. Lauren I also contribute to Inside the Alcoholic Brain which may also help in understanding this strange illness. I was sorry to hear of your friend who passed away. I feel that there are many in AA who hit a emotional brick wall in long term recovery when they realise that this illness is about more than alcohol. It has taken me ten years to start realising all the conditons I appear to have co-morbidly. Although I think all these co-morbidities are tributaries which flow into my addictive behaviours of which alcoholism is only one. Thus I have found that PTSD is the most significant contributor to my addictive behaviours and the greatest risk for me in terms of recovery and relapse. I find when I have dealt therapeutically with my trauma that the symptoms of my addictive behaviours lessen. The maladaptive coping mechanisms you mention are all learnt I believe and ingrained in my overall set of behaviours and negative self schemata. It is fascinating to me that certain events in one’s life can have such powerful echos and consequences throughout one’s ongoing life. That the repercussions are felt, literally, decades later. They appear to live in “our bones” or as one book title suggests “the body remembers”. For me I am hoping these sensations and repressed emotions get a chance to manifest so that I can express, process and consign them to long term memory so that the neural ghosts of the past can be exorcised. I will keep readers abreast of what happens although I except there will be times when I will not be able to. It is good to connect Lauren, hopefully you can continue to follow me here at The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism, thank you for stopping by and for your kind word about my blogs, Paul

  3. feelingmywaybackintolife · January 2, 2016

    Hi Paul,
    Wishing you a very good 2016 too. 🙂 And, ghegheghe, making sure that in 2016 I will be your top commenter too. :-D. Gosh…. I eh, might, some day, need to take a look at the ‘Hear me! Hear me!’ thing that I (still?) carry around. 😀 / :-/
    Looking forward to reading your posts in 2016!
    xx, Feeling

    • alcoholicsguide · January 3, 2016

      Hi Feeling, good start on the bid to be top commentator! 😉 I love the laughing in Dutch gheghe…it is great! I also love talking to you via blog comments and hope we can talk lots this year too. I want to hear you, hear you! We have this issue because we were not listened to enough as children and still need to be heard. It is a need that’s all, nothing bad. It can appear needy I guess but we are needy for the things we did not receive. It is about being real and accepting this. There is no good or bad just things that need to be worked through. I am reading lots about EMDR at the moment and really think it may help with resolving some of my neediness around being heard. I will keep you posted 🙂 much love xx Paul. Happy New Year!

      • feelingmywaybackintolife · January 3, 2016

        Thank you Paul. It is ‘only a blog reaction’ but it brings tears to my eyes to read somebody say ‘I hear you’. Realising that, no matter how much I speak, I still feel nobody understands. Which is in fact not true, I realise that now, but it is a position I take. All these assumptions which form our lives. So amazing to dis/uncover them now. 🙂
        I’m going to look into EMDR to get an inkling of what you will be doing. 🙂
        xx, Feeling

      • alcoholicsguide · January 3, 2016

        I will blog on two things in the next week or so – what I suffer from Complex PTSD (not PTSD) and how EMDR seems to successfully treat it. Good to know you will be looking into EMDR to know what I will going through 🙂 – essentially the assumptions you mentioned are the product of old unprocessed memories from childhood that need to be properly processed and in doings so replaced by self perceptions of self which are more realistic and true. 🙂

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