I ordered two workbooks my yoyo inspector wants me to do work in. When the package came, I immediately opened the book to see if the order was right, but then took the box and deposited it in my bedroom, the infamous cave. Did I ever tell anyone what color my cave walls are painted? They're bohemian red (dark red). I have African masks on the walls and a few wooden African statues. Over my bed or at least one of my beds, the one in the "red room" (I have 3 places in the house I attempt sleep) I have a large framed Wizard of Oz poster.

Getting back to the workbooks sat in the box until last night while I was watching Bill Maher's HBO show Real Time. I picked up the one titled The Courage to Heal Workbook For Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and held it in my hands for about 2 seconds before tossing it back in the box. Nope! I wasn't ready for that one yet!
The other seemed less intimidating: Pain Recovery How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain A Comprehensive Opioid-Free Approach. How's that for a title?

I opened the book and started reading. Almost immediately, there was a large caution written? Basically, it said cold turkey isn't the way to kick a habit. I wrote an "OOPS!!" in the margin. I guess that's not a good way to start a new program by doing things the Mildred Ratched method (like that way has worked so well for me in the past).

I got through the first exercise okay. I had to identify my causes of chronic pain from a rather long list. I checked off what applied to me. The next exercise, I read and went blank. I really didn't know what to write. I read it again and still drew a blank, so I went on to the next exercise. This little jewel was titled: Secondary Gain: A Hidden Barrier to Recovery. I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. I instantly felt so embarrassed and ashamed that I wanted to runaway or at least never come out of my cave again. I can't do this! I can't make myself feel worse while I'm already teetering on the edge. My very thin lifeline has been being able to express how I feel and now I feel I shouldn't do that because it's a secondary gain. WTF!!! Retreat! Stay silent! Don't ask, don't tell!

To quote the book: Secondary gain refers to any perceived benefit you receive from having pain. If not indentified, secondary gain gives you unconscious reasons for holding onto your pain. This does not mean you are pretending to hurt for the benefits you get, just that the perceived benefits make pain rewarding in some ways and thus more complicated to treat. (pain junkie aka glutton for punishmnet)

My next blog entry will deal with the list of perceived payoffs I get for being in pain. I need awhile to warp my short-circuited brain around this so I can start to move past it. This isn't something I want to do because just the thought of secondary gain is causing me pain, stress, embarrassment and shame, but since I'm a glutton for punishment I'll do it and I'll do it with honesty and conviction.

Gratitude statement: Although recovering is a difficult and lifelong process, taking the first step is the hardest. I'm thankful for having the courage and good sense to take that first step.


  1. "From Frank Szabo - Monday, June 15, 2009

    We are committed to providing dignified and effective treatment of addiction for individuals and their families"
    Feeling ashamed or embarrassed about your 'secondary gain' is something you should discuss with your "YO YO" therapist. These books and treatment centers do not individualize therapy and your need to write (you do it so well) is GOOD therapy. You are able to visualize and be open about what it is that infects you. Many are not able to see so clear and suffer without a picture of why they do.
    Not all that you read in these books is 100% for you. Modification is allowed (or should be.)
    Just my opinion my dear.

  2. Mildred: I've thought quite a bit about how to comment on this entry...I didn't want to appear flippant, and I didn't want NOT to comment either.

    This is going to sound pompous, arrogant and possibly insane, but I've always felt that I (and you, if you must know) probably know more than most yo-yo's when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

    How can someone who does NOT know me possibly heal me when I'm smart enough to manipulate the whole scenario?...which I HAVE done in the past.

    Also, to paraphrase: Those who live life, do. Those who can't, shrink and/or write self-help books.

    I'm thrilled that you have come to a point where you want to move past self-defeating behavior...however, my belief is that you can and will do it without the help of "lessons."

    Just my opinion, and you can take it with a grain of salt, but if I had to bet, I'd bet on YOU and not a yo-yo—if you get my drift—to get to the place you want to be.

    Courage and good sense is something you don't get out of books.

  3. and now that I've posted the comment and re-read it, my advice to you is to ignore anything I say.


    You cant always get what you want,
    But if you try sometime, yeah,
    You just might find you get what you need!

  4. Barbie, I know that self-help books are aimed at pointing the person in the right direction. I guess when I read that about secondary gains it threw me. I would give anything to be physically where I was 10 years ago...I hate not being Wonder Woman anymore. These days I feel more like the Seahag on Popeye. I guess I'm at a point where I feel I need help with accepting my limitations and doing the best i can from there.

    Jnuts, no I won't ignore what you write. I guess what lead me to the yoyo inspector was that I've spent my whole life doing things MY way and well, look where it's gotten me. After being physically and mentally beaten down, I thought maybe it's time to try something different. At this point I don't have anything to lose and I'll know soon enough if I'm pointed in the right direction or if I need to just do things the way I've always done them.

    Now, I want you to know I've never considered anything you write as being arrogant, pompous or insane (well maybe somewhat insane), but I always "get" what you write and so many times have smiled because your words feel like they've come out of my brain. All I ask is stick with me through this and then you can say I told you so when I admit I know more than my yoyo inspector.

  5. "I am stuck on Mildred, 'cause Mildred's stuck on me."

    or bandaids...or somethin'.