Freedom from Compulsive Disorders

S. Strachen

Thank you for keeping me straight yesterday. Please help me stay straight today.
—paraphrased from Alcoholics Anonymous
When I first began my recovery from codependency, I was furious about having to begin another recovery program. Seven years earlier, I had begun recovery from chemical dependency. It didn’t seem fair that one person should have to address two major issues in one lifetime.
I’ve gotten over my anger. I’ve learned that my recoveries aren’t isolated from one another. Many of us recovering from codependency and adult children issues are also recovering from addictions: alcoholism, other drug dependency, gambling, food, work, or sex addiction. Some of us are trying to stay free of other compulsive disorders—ranging from caretaking to compulsively feeling miserable, guilty, or ashamed.
An important part of codependency recovery is staying clean and free of our compulsive of addictive behaviors. Recovery is one big room we’ve entered called healthy living.
We can wave the white flag of surrender to all our addictions. We can safely turn to a Power greater than ourselves to relieve us of our compulsive behavior. We know that now. Once we begin actively working a program of recovery, God will relieve us of our addictions. Ask God each morning to help us stay free of our addictions and compulsions. Thank God for helping us the day before.
Today, God, help me pay attention to all my recovery issues. Help me know that before I can work on the finer points of my recovery, such as my relationships, I must be free of addictive behaviors.

Thanks to Sophie for sharing on Facebook

My Positive Partner

I always speculated that being involved with someone who’s HIV positive will be like an end of the world for me. To think of it, I was ignorant and blindly uneducated of the fact there is life after being aware of a positive status.

My partner is HIV positive and there have never been a point in my subconscious on which it seems like I should give up on her or us. When she disclosed to me before our intimacy, I appreciated her more as she has given me a choice to stay with her or leave; I respected her more and took the time out to be sensitized as to the facts and myths surrounding HIV. What stood out to me was that my spouse was and is loaded with a wealth of information about HIV and that motivated me as to her being informative and demonstrated good self-care.

Life is a gift and being HIV positive is not a death sentence! Being fully aware of HIV is a lid opener. Sometime it’s better to look over the mountain top than to stare at its lowest perspective, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” ST. Matthew 5:5. My spouse has demonstrated that living with HIV doesn’t mean to overshadow one’s self with negativity, one should remain in a positive frame of mind. I have no regrets accepting my spouse with her positive status, I’m happier and less arrogant or irascible than before. Knowing that my partner is HIV positive has given me the motivation to work harder and the will power to push to the fullest of my abilities as she doesn’t allow her positive status to hinder her from being a nation builder or living to her fullest potential.

Don’t sit feeling sorry for yourself or depressed due to your positive status that can be controlled and maintained medically (medication adherence). Live and love life while being positive, have a positive mind-set each day, live every day, every present moment to the fullest.

It might sound uncanny to some and most probably will be perplexed thinking I’m crazy to be involved with a HIV positive partner but after all, her status doesn’t defines her or the beauty she possess inside. Out with the old in with the new, tolerance, awareness and knowledge allows room for less stigma and discrimination. My partner gave me a choice, her honesty and wealth of knowledge about HIV gave me hope and a different mind-set about positive individuals. Live your life and shine brighter than before!

BY: Supportive partner

INSPIRED

It just hit me of how low I was some few months ago, I was so uncomfortable with where I was and had no clear picture of where I was going. In that discomfort I analyzed my life and what was up. Money issues, broken promises and missed expectations.

I kept a list of what I wanted, how I wanted it and would look at it from time to time. I just began with what I could offer. I thank heaven’s for one person who still believed in me when everyone else had lost faith.  

Today I am not where I was late last year, I joined groups on Facebook (CYWAG), tried this and that, here and there, as I aimed high and the stars kept aligning in my favor to this minute I am hoping you will be inspired.

What do you have in your hands now? what can you offer? start there! So much information is out there only if you want it and expecting it. Make that list and as you look at it, things will become clearer as you think of it, people will enter your life and hold your hands.

If it’s a rocky time, rejoice and rewrite your life, then see the magic happen. Be sad, irritable, try new things, fail, win then fail, cry, lose hope, wonder when and why. Then RISE slowly  and remind yourself of those little wins, they hold you up when you slide.

With time, it will all fall back in place. I promise, just don’t stay down there, don’t copy, listen to what’s inside you, you got this!

By: Moana

Reflection of Strength

Being HIV positive is no joke! The thought of adhering to prescribed drugs for the rest of your life and the frightening feel of being stick with a needle twice or more per year was and is quite traumatic but clearly I’m much stronger and braver than I thought!
I recall many times feeling discouraged and ashamed of accessing treatment due to my status at the health centre as I was terrified by constant stares of other patients or passer-by’s towards me. Clearly I’m much stronger and braver than I thought!
I was once a silent woman, my status was self-secret and never did I imagined today would have existed when I can boldly say “I’m HIV positive” and that is to who needs to know. To my surprise I’m loved and appreciated more due to my disclosure and persistence towards life. Clearly I’m much stronger and braver than I thought!
Years ago I believed my existence did not matter and my potential and drive to becoming a nation builder was doomed, yet, all that was a destructive and distraction thought as I was not empowered neither was I given the correct information or enlighten to the possibilities of life while living with HIV. Currently I’m a force to reckon with! Clearly I’m much stronger and braver than I thought!

Often times I felt trampled and suffocated by families and friends as they were in denial and or gossip about my HIV status, throughout all that I never felt inferior. Clearly I’m much stronger and braver than I thought!
It is not an easy road to trod with HIV, especially with the many stigma and discrimination that follows but with such strength and drive that I’ve possessed over the past years I can truly say I’ve gotten far and I will continue.

 

By MzConfident — a JCW+ Participant

Old Folks Have Sex Too

Most times if not all times, safe sex messages are tailored and directed towards younger people. That is so biased though I mean aren’t ‘older folks having sex too?  😐 The fact is, ALL sexually active people of regardless of age should be aware and be encouraged to engage in and practice safe sex. Safe sex is about taking precautions regardless of your sexual preferences. Sexual intercourse between those of the opposite sex could lead to an unintended pregnancy; and sexual contact of any sort can potentiously lead to the contraction and spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Safe sex is an essential commodity to avoiding such unwanted and often times unforeseen consequences or circumstances. And let’s just say safe sex begins in the mind, before you’re anywhere near ready to have sex.

The ‘natural’ outcome of engaging in unprotected sex can be deemed as pregnancy, right? So one should be in the know about condoms along with other contraceptive methods. I mean let’s face it, a condom may not be in the forefront of your brain if you’re in the heat of passion with your partner, especially in the case where you’re both partially or fully undressed – BIRTHDAY SUIT! Contraception isn’t difficult but it does takes some planning and commitment . The most reliable method of preventing pregnancy is celibacy!  But just incase you feel you just MUST have sexr visit a doctor or family planning clinic. Others necessitate is at least a trip to the drugstore – postinor 2, always available!

Don’t ever feel threatened to do what your partner wants, if he loves and wants what is best for BOTH of you he would never try to guilt you into unprotected sex. See that right there is NOT a good trait of a man to be the father of your children. So yes you may love his ass but if you are absolutely, positively sure you do not want to make a baby, then don’t have sexual intercourse — be abstinent!  Do not go on a guilt trip and mess up your track!

The ‘alphabeth disease’ and those of it’s kind also comes into play. Even if you guard against pregnancy, you still run the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. In fact, some contraceptive methods don’t offer any protection against STIs. The condom is really the ONLY two in one method of birth control and disease control although it’s not the most effective method of birth control. So you may have to use two types of contraceptive to maximize the effect.

Sounds tedious right? Can arguable say this is why so many people just don’t bother to use any form of protection, like most times. As a result this has contributed to being one of the reasons why there are so many unintended pregnancies and why STIs are so rampant amongst us. But let me urge you in saying that if you’re going to engage in sexual intercourse, please make the effort to learn how to prevent the circumstances you have no desire to succumb to.

Having intercourse has three potential outcomes: causing pleasure, contracting an STI and making babies. You will have moments in your life when you’ll want to combine two of those three being pleaseure and baby making. But most of the time you’re going to want pleasure without babies and most definitely you would never want an STI. That’s where safe sex comes in. And the less worried you are about causing an unintended pregnancy or risking an infection, the more you’ll enjoy sex — sort of a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. This also works the other way, so if you opt to have sex without using contraception, and you don’t want to get pregnant or contract an STI, you’ll enjoy sex a lot less. Safe sex has never subtracted from the pleasure of sex shun that myth about condoms makes it feel less enjoyable.

Tek Charge and use a condom EVERYTIME! #SafeSexWeek207

Self Love and Acceptance

Never did I imagine myself being HIV positive!
Growing up as a child, my intrinsic belief of HIV was for “certain People” and the lifestyle that they themselves were engaged.
To my surprise, HIV is beyond our own beliefs!
Over the past years, I’ve battled with my mind and self-acceptance, not realizing that the solace of self is a continuous journey and whatever choices I make or made will eventually be the outcome of such.

Now I’m at a stage in my life living Positive with HIV and have no regrets as it has thought me self-love and appreciation and how to tolerate and rationalise diversities.

Today I allow my flamboyant personality to shine throughout all catastrophes and the potholes of life, casting away all distractions and negativity.

Yesterday has thought me a valuable lesson.
Today I shine and embrace my inner peace.
Tomorrow I will love myself even more.

WILL YOU LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF TODAY!
TRY IT! IT WORKS!

By: Mz Confident

Tek Charge and Practice Safe Sex!

Thousands of people living with HIV are unaware they are infected with the virus, and as such, risk spreading the disease through unsafe sex practices.

This Safer Sex Week 2017 under the theme ‘Tek Charge’ the surge in HIV diagnoses has prompted NGO and Government to engage in prevention programmes to address the situation. Not only is safer sex week limited to that of HIV and other STI prevention but also that of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

It is safe to say that we have been growing complacency around HIV, the disease that needs to be tackled. With HIV no longer regarded as a death sentence, people are less fearful now as it is a manageable illness. No one bothers themself with the thought of HIV taking years off their lives. Reports of unprotected sex have been rising slowly, but the increase in rates of unprotected sex has resulted in more persons getting tested and diagnosed. The evolution of the rapid HIV testing, where patients get results in 20 minutes or less, and the roll out community based testing mainly via the ‘Bashy Bus’ has contributed immensely. It is true though that we need to test a lot more. Usually persons living with HIV are diagnosed years after infection; thereby risking the spread of the virus unknowingly.

While there has been steady improvements in treatment – and a sharp decline in mortality rates, in the past 6 months I have seen many of my kind – young women living with HIV, falling dead. Yes they seem to adhere to their appointments and medication as recommended but they kept exposing themselves to other ailments posing many challenges for them. So they take their medication and go to the doctor but neglect their over-all treatment plan. Do not be delusional that having acheived viral suppression means that you should go around having unprotected sex nor does it mean that it’s ok to participate in unprotected sex with your partner just because you are both infected. HIV has different strains! The key factor that is being explored is ‘test- start- treat (TST)’. A means to scale-up testing initiatives so that people who are positive can go on treatment straight away as sanctioned by WHO,  treat regardless of CD4 count as treatment does have a huge prevention impact.

Social media, dating websites and the need to ‘fit in’ due to peer pressure has contributed to the fuelled increase in HIV transmission. I have concluded that there appears to be a degree of ambivalence amongst us that HIV compounded with an unintended or unwanted pregnancy is not so bad. The advances in treatment of HIV and abortion services have taken the edge off the perceived seriousness of this. 

If i had known then what I know now I would have ‘tek charge’ and made different choices to shape my life. Take a young women by age but old by experience advice, choose two – condom and birth control. ALWAYS use a condom and make it YOUR responsibility to walk with a condom. Explore your options for safe sex but no matter what you choose use a condom and TEK CHARGE!