Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs

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self-relianceTina Tessina is a licensed psychotherapist in Southern California, with 30 years of experience in counseling individuals and couples. She is known on the Web as Dr. Romance. Tina is also the author of 13 books in 16 languages, including Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media) ) Dr. Romance’s Guide to Dating In the Digital Age, and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs. Following are loosely transcribed highlights of our radio show, Discovering Confidence‬, Self-Reliance & ‪‎Independence‬ Beyond the 12 Step Programs.

Sandy: Why did you write the book?

Tina: Over the years of my practice, I had so many people who were recovering addicts/alcoholics,  and were solidly in recovery. But they were missing big chunks of information. One patient started drinking at 14 and needed help emotionally to learn how to deal with relationships. Client after client, I saw the same things over and over, which began to compile into what I wrote in this book.

Sandy: What is “graduation” to the Real 13th Step?

Tina: In recovery, 13-stepping refers to becoming intimate with a new member of the 12-step program. This graduation is to the next step, the next things you need after being in recovery for a while. It’s not about rejecting the program, but adding to the program and moving to become stabilized. There’s a lot of internal pain in people who have compulsions and addictions. They turn to their addictions to try and escape the pain. My work with clients helps them heal their own internal pain and become self-reliant.

Sandy: What skills do people in recovery need in addition to what they learn in AA?

Tina: They need to learn to become autonomous. Codependents get addicted to addicts and other self-destructive people. They are loving people to everyone but themselves. Some of the steps towards healing are the six magic tools. They effect the subconscious, which takes control of your life. You’re reactive instead of self-sufficient. It’s because of your internal pain. Your subconscious speaks in a different language.

The six tools: 

1. Senses: power of experience. Go back into the past experiences and experience them again and heal through your senses.

2. Imagery: the power to change events. Go back and re-experience the past events and become your own hero.

3. Self love: the power to heal your hurts. Turn your wonderful love in on yourself where it’s so needed and heal yourself.

4. Self image: the power to be your own hero. Acknowledge your wisdom and ability. You can now fix things because you’ve survived and overcome so much for so many years.

5. Environment: the power to create support. With support, you listen to others go through ups and downs, which gives you attitudes and skills that you absorb to heal.

6. Repetition and memorization: the power to affect your beliefs. You learned negativity by how it was repeated in your life. Repetition of positivity gets it down into the subconscious so that all the negative stuff rises up.

Sandy: Why is Self-Reliance important?

Tina: What’s healthy is a balance between being self-reliant and depending on someone else. Being too dependent isn’t healthy. Being self-governing doesn’t mean shutting others out. Autonomy means you are in charge of yourself and you’re doing what you’re doing because you want to do it. Not “I have to do this to make him happy because my whole goal is to make him happy.” When you’re happy, you can give back to someone else.

Thanks again, Tina, for a fabulous radio show! To listen to the podcast, click here.


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