Sunday Everyday

Ice Addiction a Survivors Story

Human hand stretch out  from prison bars

Yesterday I published an article about the Ice Epidemic in Australia.  If you missed it you can read it here. Australia’s Ice Epidemic:  https://sundayeveryday.me/2016/07/26/tuesday-talks-australias-ice-epidemic/

Stories of drug addiction are punctuated with trauma, pain, loss and intense grief.  Families are broken and parents are often the ones left picking up the pieces.

Joining me today is my nephews partner Shae, they live with their two small children at Philip Island with my sister and her husband.  Philip Island police report an alarming increase in drug arrests on the Island and point to a rise in the use of ice.

“Police say that the social impact of ice is being seen in domestic violence, with children of users being sent to foster care as well as an increase in mental health problems. Earlier this year Wonthaggi hospital emergency department was evacuates when an ice addict caused $20’000 worth of damage and abused staff.  One officer told the Advertiser that it was not uncommon for local police to be bitten, and punched when dealing with aggressive ice addicts” (Philip Island Advertiser.  July 13 2016).

Addiction Monitor Shows Craving And Substance Abuse

 Ice Addiction a Survivors Story by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Shae is a reformed ice addict and is desperately concerned about the lack of support services for those trying to get off drugs.   Shae was on ice for two years and has been clean now for 9 months.  She knows children as young as 13 on the island using drugs.

“It’s not just the youth, its professionals too.  It’s more than people can imagine and it’s very hidden,” said Shae who moved to Cowes recently from Frankston but has been associated with the Island for most of her life.

“The only reason that I’m telling my story is because no one is doing anything about it and it’s a big problem.  Community based support is what is needed to help these kids.  They need a safe outlet to let them talk about their depression, anger or family breakdown.  Non judgmental community groups where they can get help to get off the drugs. I’ve considered starting my own campaign talking to Year 7 – 12’s to tell my story in depth about what ice does to addicts.  I know first-hand how it can ruin your life”.

Rock Bottom

The mother of two, who also has three step children, said that ice nearly totally destroyed her life.  Shae’s brother was murdered by his ice addicted partner in 2014 in Seaford, a crime that gained state-wide attention and only concluded in the courts this year.

Shae herself stopped using ice only when she hit rock bottom, knowing that her children were about to be taken away from her by the Department of Human Services.

“For me it was a bit of fun at the start.  I got involved through my brother who was dealing.”

Ice is a stimulant drug and when a person takes it, they can stay awake for days on end. It is also an appetite suppressant and the user will not eat for long periods of time.

She said in the midst of the addiction she wouldn’t eat sleep or drink and that the lack of sleep screwed with you even more.  It was costing me $300.00 a day for half a gram.  Once you get into debt then things turn very nasty.  If you owe a dealer money, they’ll just come and take your car, TV, anything that they can get their hands on.  I thought that it would be easy to get off but its not.

My sister Kerry talks about how incredibly stressful and overwhelming it is to watch your children’s lives go down the drain and be practically helpless to do anything.  They lose their jobs, cars, relationships, houses and can’t pay rent.  They are often hiding from dealers and debt.  The stress and trauma escalates and it puts enormous emotional and financial pressure on the extended family.

If you ring the police to get help, they tell you that you need an ambulance.  That takes you to the hospital and nine times our of ten the addict is released.  As a parent you are left with nowhere else to go, except rehabilitation.

Public rehabilitation has an eight to twelve month waiting list and private rehabilitation cost up to $40’000 just to get in the door.  You have to move quickly when the addict is at the point of wanting help and that’s where everything normally falls apart.  They can’t wait eight months for help.  You need someone to talk to straight away otherwise they just go back.

Shae and my nephew are now both clean and living with my sister.  It is a daily struggle but they are working hard to stay clean and deal with the issues that face an addict on the road to recovery.  They deserve our support.  As I said to Shae, being able to tell your story and to speak about it shows remarkable courage and conviction of heart.  They have the most beautiful children who need their parents well and whole.  I am very proud of my sister who has gone to hell and back and who is still able to offer forgiveness, love and support to this small family as they work hard to get well.

This is an issue that effects us all.  Please don’t get locked into the shame cycle.  If you need help the first step it to talk to someone, reach out for help.

What to do if you need help? 

There needs to be a plan.  Don’t do this by yourself! You need support.
There is help out there!!!

If you are in danger?

Leave the situation. Call the authorities. Be informed about what options you have in support for you and your loved one. Is this selfish? No! It is giving an opportunity for you to be at your best when your loved one needs you.

Also remember that a drug affected person does not have the same reasoning capacity as you.  There are many public and private drug and alcohol support services in Victoria.  These include detox units, rehab centres and counselling services.

Many of these are government funded. I suggest calling
  • Directline 1800 888 236 which is a confidential alcohol & drug counselling and referral service in Victoria for people of all ages and backgrounds.They will be able to direct you to support in your area. (this includes carer support too) Very Important!
  • See your G.P. for a referral to private hospital services if you have private health cover.
  • Family Drug Support 1300 368 186 
  • Lifeline 13 11 14  If you are feeling suicidal. 

If you are a Carer of a loved one who has an addiction or if you suffer from addiction yourself, please don’t think you have to do this journey alone.

Call someone.   There is hope!

Resources and Recommended Reading:

Brilliant 3 min DVD on “What is Drug Addiction by Dr Gabor Mate.  Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the root causes of addiction and how to deal with them.http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/what-is-addiction-gabor-mate/

http://www.turningpoint.org.au/ http://www.adf.org.au/ http://www.getoffdrugs.com.au/ice-epidemic/ (Article about Ice)

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Australia’s Ice Epidemic

Pills Of Many Shapes Grouped Together

Tuesday Talks:  Australia’s Ice Epidemic by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Cathy Mandile talks to us today about Drug Addiction.  What is it?  What is this epidemic called Ice?  What resources are available for rehabilitation and support?

Cathy is a passionate advocate of peoples rights to  receive support and compassion through the darkest times in their lives.  She is a professional counsellor currently working in the public mental health sector and has cared for many people with dual diagnoses of mental illness and substance abuse.

Cathy thank you so much for joining us today on Sunday Everyday.  I want to talk to you about Drugs and what this looks like in our Australian landscape.  This is a huge topic and I’m sure it will be the first of many posts.  However, firstly lets look at some statistics by ANDREW CARSWELL – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH  JULY 07, 2014 12:00AM.

“AUSTRALIA, a country of sports champions, innovators … and drug takers. The nation has the inglorious distinction of having the highest proportion of recreational drug users in the world — an embarrassing new low, albeit from getting high.

Our collective craving for a hit is only set to heighten, with the number of drug users continuing to rise steadily. The frightening statistics in the United Nation’s 2014 World Drug Report confirm Australia as leading the world in the use of party drug ecstasy, third in methamphetamines and fourth in cocaine.

Of greater concern is the addiction to prescribed or black market opioids such as codeine and morphine. We rank second only to the US, with 3.1-3.6 per cent of people between 15 and 65 considered regular users, mostly women”.

“AUSTRALIA is in the midst of an ice epidemic, with the drug being linked to a growing number of crimes, and higher quantities of the amphetamine seized at our borders”.

And there is no end in sight to our addiction.  Evidence showing the extent of the problem emerged last week with an Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) survey showing large numbers of people who had been arrested had amphetamines in their system, with ice being one of the most common varieties.  The report said the long-term use of ice can lead to aggressive and violent behaviour, depression, cardiovascular problems, and kidney failure” (Article by news.com.au JUNE 04, 2014 11:36AM).

LW:  Cathy do these statistics ring true to you?  Personally I know so many families devastated by drugs;  and it effects the whole family not just the one taking the drugs?

CM:  Absolutely! Ice is one of the most evil substances on this planet not only for its addictive nature but because of the effects it has on families and individuals alike. We see in the media daily reports of robberies, domestic violence, and car accidents and of course lives taken as a result of ice addiction. It is not a respecter of race, religion, age, sex or socioeconomic demographic. It can cause psychotic episodes and behavioural changes that are extremely confronting and quite often frightening. I have counselled many people with substance abuse and mental health issues including businessmen/women, mothers, fathers, GLBTI community, individuals being exited from jail and Flo and Joe next door. I can honestly say that these precious people have families who have been devastated and traumatized by the effects of their substance use.   Addiction Monitor Shows Craving And Substance Abuse

What is Drug Addiction

CM: Where do I start? Wikipedia suggests. A drug addiction, is defined as compulsive, out-of-control drug use, despite negative consequences.

An addictive drug is both rewarding and reinforcing  otherwise people would not engage in it. I have asked many clients what the ‘pay off’ is in using illicit drugs and the response is often around these themes.

 

  1. It makes me ‘feel’ good.
  2. I don’t have to deal with the trauma.
  3. It is an escape from ‘life’.
  4. Everyone is doing it.
  5. I just wanted to try it and now I can’t stop.
  6. I can go for days without sleeping and party all night.
  7. To lose weight.

Just to name a few! In the beginning of using methamphetamine (Ice) the experience can be euphoric and very pleasurable. However it leads not only to physiological difficulties as you have stated above but also HUGE psychological and behavioural consequences. Confusion, anxiety and agitation, impaired cognition, aggression and violent behaviour, paranoia and delusions. Scary stuff!!! It is easy for us to say to an individual to ‘just stop using’ however we need to explore drug addiction in its entirety. What other factors are going on in their life? Have they endured significant trauma? Is there a family history of substance use? Is there polysubstance use? (use of more than one drug) What, if any, medications are they taking?

People often find themselves in a quagmire of hopelessness and helplessness when facing drug addiction.  They want to give it up and often relapse into further addiction.  Mix these with anxiety, depression, psychosis and other mental illnesses and you are faced with very difficult and soul destroying circumstances.

LW:  Why has Ice become such an epidemic and why is this addiction so hard to break? Human hand stretch out from prison bars

Firstly the epidemic of Ice. 

Ice is a stimulant drug and when a person takes it, they can stay awake for days on end. It is also an appetite suppressant and the user will not eat for long periods of time.

Let’s look at this for a moment. We live in a 24/7 society. There is such a lot of pressure to perform at our best and an obsession over our weight that these can often override our  family life and self care.

Another reason to consider is that long term Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation that is government funded have waiting lists that stretch into months.

People often think that if a person detoxes from the drug of choice, which takes about 10 days, then they should be as good as gold.  NO! Ice and other drugs have a significant psychological addiction too.

This needs long term rehabilitation in most cases. We simply do not have enough rehabilitation centres available to facilitate the growing pandemic of Ice and other drug addictions.

Secondly why is it so hard to break this addiction?

Some drug addictions respond to pharmacotherapy drugs.

For example: Alcohol withdrawal can be treated with benzodiazepines (eg diazepam);

Heroin with methadone.

Ice however does not to date have a standard pharmacotherapy treatment for the management of withdrawal or dependence. Medications such as dopamine agonists (which have similar properties to methamphetamines)  and antagonists ( which block the effects of stimulant drugs, Herman et al 2005) have been trialled for their effectiveness in managing methamphetamine withdrawal or dependence. (Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre).

Furthermore, the beginnings of meth use cause euphoric and pleasurable feelings. The more dependent one becomes the more frequent and higher doses are required to sustain the ‘pay off’.The addiction then is set and the ‘pay off’ subsides to the negative consequences depression, psychosis, anxiety etc. A very vicious cycle.

LW:  Recently I heard of a brother high on ice, breaking into his family home and terrorising the family, head butting the father and threatening to kill his sister.  This is a boy who would normally never dream of acting out like this.   It’s so difficult because your natural inclination is to protect or to help but I am hearing more and more parents and siblings saying; “We just don’t know what to do”. 

What do family and friends do in these situations?  Do they have avenues of help and protection? What practical steps can they take?  Can they go to the police?  Will this just make it worse?

CM:  There needs to be a plan.  Don’t do this by yourself!!!!! Support! Support! Support!!

There is help out there!!! I think of the scenario of when you are on a plane and the hostess states that if in the event of a crash and oxygen is needed then place the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your child. We are no good to anyone if we don’t self care first.

If you are in danger?

Leave the situation. Call the authorities.Be informed about what options you have in support for you and your loved one. Is this selfish? No! It is giving an opportunity for you to be at your best when your loved one needs you.

Also remember that a drug affected person does not have the same reasoning capacity as you.

LW:  If you do have a drug problem and you want help, where do you turn?  What are the first steps that you can take and how hard is it to rehabilitate?  Is there government assistance?

CM:  There are many public and private drug and alcohol support services in Victoria.  These include detox units, rehab centres and counselling services.

Many of these are government funded. I suggest calling
  • Directline 1800 888 236 which is a confidential alcohol & drug counselling and referral service in Victoria for people of all ages and backgrounds.They will be able to direct you to support in your area. (this includes carer support too) Very Important!!!!
  • See your G.P. for a referral to private hospital services if you have private health cover.

LW:  Lets go to the Christian parallel.  I know that many Christian families find this particularly hard because of the stigma and the desire to portray the perfect Christian family and of the fear of people finding out.  Also the church is not the greatest at talking about these issues.  What would you say to this predicament and do you face this dynamic in your work from Christians?

CM:  You know Lisa, I find this incredibly puzzling  I think our Christian culture has lost the very basics of what Christianity is all about.  Didn’t Jesus come to save the lost?  Aren’t we all lost?  We create walls to ‘protect’ ourselves and these extend to our loved ones too. I recall a pastor who was using Ice blamed the devil for his addiction whilst his wife was in agony watching the man she fell in love with soliciting prostitutes. She was trying to hold the family together and ‘keep face’. Recovery followed once he accepted responsibility for his actions and sought after help and support.

In my work with Christians who have drug addictions and mental health concerns, isolation and shame is prevalent. It makes me ask. How can we make a safe place of hope for ALL Christians and ALL Non Christians without the fear of judgment and retribution??

LW:  Oh so many questions, I can see that we have so many more conversations to come.   Cathy is there something else you would like to add?

CM:  If you are a Carer of a loved one who has an addiction or if you suffer from addiction yourself, please don’t think you have to do this journey alone.

Call someone.   Family Drug Support 1300 368 186  Lifeline 13 11 14. If you are feeling suicidal. There is hope!

LW:  Cathy thank you so very much for joining us today.  I hope that you will join us again soon.

Resources and Recommended Reading:

Brilliant 3 min DVD on “What is Drug Addiction by Dr Gabor Mate http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/what-is-addiction-gabor-mate/ http://www.turningpoint.org.au/ http://www.adf.org.au/ http://www.getoffdrugs.com.au/ice-epidemic/ (Article about Ice)

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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An Age of Darkness and Anxiety

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An Age of Darkness and Anxiety by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I believe that his age will be known as the age of anxiety.  The world seems very big, very out of control and we seem very small and we don’t know what to do about it.  The sign posts have all changed.  The world is no longer a simple place.  We don’t even know who our enemies are any more.  It is no longer black and white.

One reason that people have lost heart today is that we feel both confused and powerless.  The forces against us are overwhelming: consumerism, racism, militarism, individualism, patriarchy…these powers and principalities seem to be fully in control (Richard Rohr).

We don’t know what to do with our fear.  365 time in the bible instruct us: ‘do not be afraid’ but we are not sure how to not be afraid when every morning we wake up to a new level of terror and pain.  Fear is a very real enemy that we need to recognise and learn how to deal with.   Fear is negative energy and if we don’t know how to hold it, to transform it, we expel it.  We breath it over our lives and it consumes everything in it’s path.  We expel it in anxiety, rejection, hatred and by shrinking the world around us into manageable bite size pieces that we can control.  Unfortunately this suffocates relationships and is the exact opposite of love.

People with anxiety perceive the world differently—their brain lumps both safe and unsafe things together and labels them all unsafe.
The very definition of spirituality is to be able to sit with pain.  To hold it, to embrace it, to understand it and to allow it to transform us.  It is the opposite to expelling.  Richard Rohr says that ‘Spirituality at its best is what you do with your pain’.   We are bombarded, literally daily with global pain and we are overwhelmed.  We have no idea what to do with our pain and this is causing a global crisis of anxiety.

Talk to any psychologist and they will tell you that the fear response works two ways.  Fight or flight.   We use these responses to avoid pain.  It is an natural inbuilt response to avoid danger, to avoid the predator.  Think of a animal being hunted, its first reaction is to flee from danger,  if it can’t, it will stop and fight.  How does this look in our daily life.

Fight

You hear and see the fighters.  They are loud and aggressive.  Their opinions override you.  They are the zealots.  They are the ones condemning, controlling.  They are always look for the evil person so that they can hate, reject, expel.  They do it for all the right reasons and in self righteous rage.   They get energised by having an enemy.  You don’t have to look far – look at the American Presidential race and see the hatred and vitriol, or bring up the topic of refugees, the American gun lobby, ISIS or LGBTIQ.

Flight

These respond out of ignorance.  They are often ill-informed and very conservative.  They hold to their moral ground at all costs.  Everything is black and white.  We are right and you are wrong.  There are good people and bad people and they have nothing to do with the bad people.  They are the bubble people who surround themselves with other bubble people who safely hold the same opinion.  The world is a bad place and we need to keep all the bad people away from us.  Secure our boarders,  send back the boats, get rid of the Muslims, don’t allow LGBTIQ people into the church. Why?  Because its wrong and that’s enough for me.  They are in denial and live in naivety and they like it that way.

Third Way

There is a third way, Rohr calls this the way of wisdom.

The other day I took my kids and their partners out for dinner.  The topic came up about the recent QandA which hosted Pauline Hanson and then the following media storm around the comments made by Sonia Kruger.  My kids are all pretty vocal,  so the partners sat quietly for a while and let the lions roar.  They were enraged at the ignorance of comments made against Muslims.  They were furious at the racism, the fear and the stupidity.  I was trying to say what was on my heart but had to let the roar continue for a while.  When a quiet voice piped up,  can you three quiet down, I would really like to hear your mothers opinion.

My concern was that although I didn’t agree with Pauline and Sonia I could hear and see their pain.  My question to my kids was this.  Instead of just slamming them, who is helping them with their pain?  Watching Sonia on the Today Show you could see she was visibly shaken and frightened.  No one is addressing the fear or the pain.  We are just getting fight of flight responses.

The third way to look at these issues is through the eyes of wisdom.  Wisdom teaches us to see the pain and to learn how to process it but more than that, allows us to transform the pain.  Transformation is always a process, it is confusing, dark, disorientating.  The end game of transformation is that takes you to a place where you can comfortably hold paradox, where you can weigh up both flight and fight responses but see something more.

If we don’t transform the pain we will transmit it.

“The way of wisdom is beyond flight and beyond fight, and yet is a certain sense including both of them.  It’s fighting in a new way from within and fleeing from the quick egocentric response.  Only God can hold such an act together within us.  The small self is always too small” (Richard Rohr)

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I believe that the true Christ followers of our age will be bridge builders.  They will be the ones to walk with grace, and peace and light to show the way.  These will be the ones who are able to see both sides, hold the tension, build the bridge and allow both sides to not only meet in the middle but to transverse to the other side.  To engage in empathy and to walk a mile in the ‘others’ shoes.  Bridge builders are more concerned for the other, they see pain and they embrace it, they walk alongside it.  This is the message of the gospel.  The gospel that loves the enemy and embraces the marginalised.

Bridge builders operate out of love and love is the opposite of fear.  Fear burns the bridges, fear build walls, fear isolates.   Love dispels fear.  Love is a healing balm in this rageous and enflamed society in which we live.  Love pulls down the middle walls of division and extends the olive branch of peace.  Love looks at darkness and chaos and sees creativity and possibility.  Life is birthed in the dark womb.  Life was breathed over the darkness and chaos of a world which was void of life.  Life comes to a seed which is planted deep in the darkness of the womb earth.

Love sees possibility, life and creativity where fear only has the ability to expel, reject, hate and kill.

Featured Image by Matt Lawson

Richard Rohr Quotes taken from his book Hope against Darkness.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Trying to Understand Self Harm?

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“I am currently dealing with self-harm. It is true I don’t want to kill myself. I cut to relieve my pain . . . I feel like I have no other way to cope but to cut and relieve all this tension.” Kerry

“When you are carrying so much internal pain and trauma it is so hard to get your head around it.  No-one sees it, no-one would know.  If you are bleeding, bruised or cut open, at least you can see your pain, you can name it.  It is visible.”  Lisa.

For seven years I worked as an Art Therapist for Spectrum Ringwood, a mental health program that offered full time care and support for women with Borderline Personality Disorder.  All of them self harmed, all of them made repeated attempts at suicide.  Talking with the girls about this, their descriptions were all very similar.  They self harmed because it was something that they could control.  They could not control the storm of trauma and emotional dissociation that they lived with.  They could not control the abuse and the horror.  They could control their cutting, burning, bruising, poisoning.

It is a way of making unseen pain visible and it is a symptomatic of pain far deeper and harder to manage.

The first national report on this “largely hidden and misunderstood behaviour”, comes from a survey taken in 2012 of 12’000 Australians. It was  published in the Medical Journal of Australia and showed that a quarter of young women and one fifth of young men have self harmed yet half of them do not seek help due to the stigma and lack of community understanding.

If you or someone you know is self harming it is crucial that you understand why people self harm.  Understand the myths around this topic and know the steps to take to get help.  Lisa Hunt-Wotton

National Survey of Youth Mental Health taken in 2015 found that as many as one in 10 teenagers – or about 186,000 – had engaged in some form of self-harm in their life, including a staggering quarter of teenage girls aged 16-17. About one in 13 teenagers (aged 12 to 17) also contemplated suicide – the equivalent of 128,000 youth – with one in 20 reportedly making a plan to take their own life and one in 40 attempting it.

What is Self Harm?

This definition is taken from Headspace, which  is the national youth mental health foundation, which is dedicated to improving the wellbeing of young Australians.  It has fantastic resources and is a good place to go to for help.

“People who engage in self-harm deliberately hurt their bodies. The term ‘self-harm’ refers to a range of behaviours, not a mental disorder or illness”.

The most common methods of self-harm among young people are cutting and deliberately overdosing on medication (self-poisoning). Other methods include burning the body, pinching or scratching oneself, hitting or banging body parts, hanging, and interfering with wound healing.

In many cases self-harm is not intended to be fatal, but should still be taken seriously. While it might seem counter-intuitive, in many cases, people use self-harm as a coping mechanism to continue to live rather than end their life.

For many young people, the function of self-harm is a way to alleviate intense emotional pain or distress, or overwhelming negative feelings, thoughts, or memories. Other reasons include self-punishment, to end experiences of dissociation or numbness, or as a way to show others how bad they feel.”

Professor Philip Hazell is Conjoint Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with the Sydney Medical School. He is in addition Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.   Professor Hazell says that most injuries are inflicted in secret and are often covered up with clothing so the hospital figures only tell part of the story.

“They represent the tip of the iceberg. Only about one-in-10 people who self-harm come to clinical attention,” he said.

Professor Hazell says that “For most people it seems to be a way of relieving immediate distress,” he said.

“So people who engage in self-harm say that for a period after they self-harm they feel a bit better. That period can be a few minutes, sometimes it can be a few hours, sometimes a few days. That’s the typical scenario. It looks like for very young adolescents they’re more likely to do it because they feel bad about themselves”.

“The pattern seems to be that if people engage in self-harm they’ve usually stopped within about five years; about half of the people who self-harm stop within a year,” he said.

I was about 12 when I first started self-harming. At about that age I started suffering from depression quite badly and suffering from depression you convince yourself that you’re a bad person, you’re just not right.  Bec, 25, Sydney

Why do people harm themselves? 

Self-harm is often a response to feelings of extreme psychological distress or emotional pain. People self harm because it makes them feel better and it is a way of controlling feelings that often seem out of control.  Many people who have suffered abuse or truama are often disconnected or disociated from the pain of what has happened to them.   Self harming helps them to feel something, anything.

Self-harm can also be a way of coping with problems. It may help you express feelings you can’t put into words, distract you from your life, or release emotional pain. Afterwards, you probably feel better—at least for a little while. But then the painful feelings return, and you feel the urge to hurt yourself again. If you want to stop but don’t know how, remember this: you deserve to feel better, and you can get there without hurting yourself.

Self Harm may provide short-term relief from these feelings. It may be an attempt to express or even control them briefly. It does not resolve them, however, and can become a compulsive and dangerous activity.

Myths and facts about cutting and self-harm

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you—and possibly even you—may harbor serious misunderstandings about your motivations and state of mind. Don’t let these myths get in the way of getting help or helping someone you care about.

Myth: People who cut and self-injure are trying to get attention.

Fact: The painful truth is that people who self-harm generally harm themselves in secret. They aren’t trying to manipulate others or draw attention to themselves. In fact, shame and fear can make it very difficult to come forward and ask for help.

Myth: People who self-injure are crazy and/or dangerous.

Fact: It is true that many people who self-harm suffer from anxiety, depression, or a previous trauma—just like millions of others in the general population, but that doesn’t make them crazy or dangerous. Self-injury is how they cope. Sticking a label like “crazy” or “dangerous” on a person isn’t accurate or helpful.

Myth: People who self-injure want to die.

Fact: People who self-injure usually do not want to die. When they self-harm, they are not trying to kill themselves—they are trying to cope with their problems and pain. In fact, self-injury may be a way of helping themselves go on living. However, in the long-term, people who self-injure have a much higher risk of suicide, which is why it’s so important to seek help.

Myth: If the wounds aren’t bad, it’s not that serious.

Fact: The severity of a person’s wounds has very little to do with how much he or she may be suffering. Don’t assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there’s nothing to worry about.

Psychological signs:

•Dramatic changes in mood

•Changes in sleeping and eating patterns

•Losing interest and pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed

•Social withdrawal – decreased participation and poor communication with friends and family

•Hiding or washing their own clothes separately

•Avoiding situations where their arms or legs are exposed (eg, swimming)

•Dramatic drop in performance and interactions at school, work, or home

•Strange excuses provided for injuries

Physical signs:

•Unexplained injuries, such as scratches or cigarette burns

•Unexplained physical complaints such as headaches or stomach pains

•Wearing clothes that are inappropriate to weather conditions (e.g. long sleeves and pants in very hot weather)

•Hiding objects such as razor blades or lighters in unusual places (e.g. at the back of drawers)

HopeWristFilter

Things that can help:

“Sometimes doing some exercise can really help; writing down any negative thoughts in a journal or on a piece of paper and then ripping them up; hitting a punching bag; talking to a friend; sometimes using a red pen to mark the skin instead of cutting; flicking a rubber band on your wrist; or holding ice in your hand until it starts to get really cold.”

Help for cutting and self-harm: Figure out why you cut

Understanding why you cut or self-harm is a vital first step toward your recovery. If you can figure out what function your self-injury serves, you can learn other ways to get those needs met—which in turn can reduce your desire to hurt yourself.

Identify your self-harm triggersIdentify your self-harm triggers

Remember, self-harm is most often a way of dealing with emotional pain. What feelings make you want to cut or hurt yourself? Sadness? Anger? Shame? Loneliness? Guilt? Emptiness?

Once you learn to recognize the feelings that trigger your need to self-injure, you can start developing healthier alternatives.

How do I help someone who self-harms?

Talk calmly and normal about your concerns.  Don’t be judgemental, scary or weird.  You are trying to help not make it worse.

•Encourage the person to see a doctor or other health professional about the self-harming.

•Suggest options for getting help, rather than directing the person what to do.

•Do not hesitate to call emergency services on 000 if you think the person is at risk of serious injury.

•Remember that you cannot stop someone from self-harming and it is not your responsibility when they do. You can only do your best to encourage them to get help.

Where to call for help

Immediate assistance

•Emergency services 000

•Local hospital, Psychiatric Emergency Team

Telephone counselling

•Lifeline 13 11 14

•Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Information and advice on mental illness

•Contact SANE Help Centre on 1800 18 7263

Contact:  Headspace  1800 650 890

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Jocularity: a Therapeutic Cure to the Disease of Seriousity.

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Jocularity: a Therapeutic Cure to the Disease of Seriousity
by Janice Florent
Originally posted in the Australian Association of Family Therapy Newsletter
Volume 38 No.2: June 2016

In light of all of the tragedy and trauma in the news over that last week I thought that we should maybe meditate for a bit on the power of laughter.  Even in the most traumatic situations laughter can lighten the burden and lift the load.  Ancient King Solomon from the Old Testament prescribes that a merry heart is as good as medicine.

A note on the power of laughter from Lisa:

I am a baby from the early 60’s and come from a very eccentric family whose number one priority, even in the most inappropriate times,  is hilarity and jocularity.  It is only just recently that I realised with shock that my mothers family grew up in poverty in struggle town in the inner suburbs of Melbourne’s  Collingwood/Richmond from the 1930’s to  the late 50’s.

I never realised this of course because every single family memory and recollection was told with one common denominator, humour.  The retelling of my families lives was so punctuated with funny stories and practical jokes that I thought they were the most amazing and incredible family one could possibly have.

Now in my 50’s I realise that seven people living in a one bedroom single fronted town house in Collingwood couldn’t have been all that fun.  Baths once a week and vegetables only on Sunday’s seem like life on another planet.  My grandfather filled in the front porch to make a bedroom and filled in the side way to make another.  My mother tells of her despair at not finishing school, which she loved so much, because as soon as she turned 14 she had to get a job to help support the family.  Never the less one family legacy remains.

A wicked and irreverent sense of humour that has carried us all through the darkest of days and a it is a legacy for which I am very grateful.

In these photos you get a tiny glimpse of the insanity. Above are my siblings at my 50’th birthday morning tea.  My brother thought it would be hilarious to surprise me and arrive as Stephanie instead of Steven.  The drunken and passed out women above are my aunt and sister at THE WINDSOR high tea for my mothers 81st birthday party.  Pretending that they couldn’t hold their liquor.  Mind you my aunt doesn’t even drink.  And the final photo is of my beautiful mother, crying with laughter at her birthday high tea.  Needless to say we are often asked to ‘keep it down’ a little.  Quiet, we are not.  You could say that our family motto would be:

Life may be grave but it doesn’t have to be serious.

Jocularity: a Therapeutic Cure to the Disease of Seriousity by Janice Florent

The risk of a lack of humour might be graver. We might miss the opportunity to be curious, creative and observe alternative viewpoints. We risk seeming judgmental and rigid: the expert rather than person- centred. Imagine the poor client who tries to relieve their awkwardness with a little humour and is met with a therapist’s straight-faced nod of intensity. Without humour in our practice, we risk burnout and of course being cursed with seriousity.

Humour allows for playfulness; connecting to the inner child; can reduce anxiety; can help us to see the absurdity of situations.

Underwater portrait of happy child

Underwater portrait of happy child. Summer vacation

The ability to laugh at ourselves and our human frailty may perhaps allow us to be kind to ourselves, to forgive, to give permission to identify our strengths and opportunities for joy. Humour or jocularity is thus a powerful tool.The question arises however whether humour truly is a tool or a stance? Do we use humour in a calculated way; prepare jokes or jocular responses? Moshe proposes that we should not ‘use’ humour that way, but rather cultivate humour as a state of mind. He likened humour to empathy, in that we don’t use empathy, we are simply empathic.

  • Humour, like empathy, requires authenticity. When we are authentic and attuned to our clients, we have an opportunity to respond to affect in a number of ways
  • to respond accurately, which supports therapeutic alliance;
  • to amplify or intensify, which will either support insight and awareness or misfire and increase distress; or
  • to de-intensify with the use of humour. This will either misfire and fracture the alliance or allow for brevity and therefore a well-timed lifting of a heavy burden.

A burden need not always be heavy. The burden of parenthood, the worry of raising children for example could be seen as the joy of watching children grow and explore the wonders of the world. We need not always be literal Moshe says, there is always another way of seeing things. Maybe the glass is not half empty after all?

As Moshe stated, it is all in the interpretation; how language and its nuances can create different meanings.Moshe shared his experience as a new migrant with formal English as his second language and the hilarity of misunderstanding ‘strine’. Like Nino Culotta in the book, “They’re a weird mob”, one man’s confusion is another man’s comedic genius. We can spend a session in complete confusion with our client due to language, with both parties failing to understand the intended meaning. Do we become frustrated and argumentative, or do we take a step back and laugh?

If we can learn to see the humour in life and figure out when lightness is appropriate we can revel in the jocularity of being part of the weird mob and thereby free ourselves from the constipation of the bowels of despair, otherwise known as seriousity.

Janice Florent

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Why I Love The Gay Community

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Why I Love the Gay Community by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

The last post I wrote personally on this topic was more an outline about the topic of Homosexuality itself, the differing views that are held and where  people sit on the continuum of opinion.  You can read it here:  Homosexuality a Chat.

This time I am coming at it from a personal level.  I will not really engage in the theology  or scriptural debate over this because there are plenty of theologians who can do a better job than me.  I’ve put a lot of thought into this and have watched and heard many different opinions.  I have watched loved ones rejected and castigated over this topic so I take it very seriously.  This post comes from the basis of what I believe as a Christian.  From the very core of who I am and who I believe Jesus to be.  It’s as simple as that.

Studying Theology in College we were asked to make a personal mission statement.  We were asked to write out the ‘non-negotiables’ for us as followers of Christ.  What we would live or die for.  So much of what I am about to say is measured by that.

I have lived  the life of a Christ follower for as long as I can remember.  Much of my life though obscured by trauma and abuse has had one clear and golden thread.  The friendship, love and acceptance of Jesus.  He is as close to me as a brother and it is from His example that I endeavour to lead.  This is what I know of Him.

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I have received a love deeper than the ocean itself and that love is from Jesus Christ.  Therefore how can I withhold that same love and acceptance from another fellow human being?

Jesus sets out His mission statement in Luke 4 where he declares the reason that He came to the earth.

To open the eyes of the blind

To bring good news to the poor

To pardon prisoners

To set the oppressed free

This statement caused such fury that the elders in the synagogue wanted to throw him from a cliff.  I’m not sure that much has changed today.  You can read it in Luke 4: 14 -30

My sisters and brothers in the gay community are imprisoned and oppressed.  They are marginalised, rejected and  despised, often by their own families, communities and nations.  How can I indulge in any behaviour that causes more oppression to them.  The good news is that they are loved and accepted for who they are.

Jesus entire ministry was directed to the marginalised and the outcast of society.  His ministry is to love.  He tells us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  The story that is given to explain who our neighbour is describes one of the most hated people of the day.  A Samaritan.  Yet this is who Jesus says is our neighbour.

In Mark 12 Jesus reinforces the Shema, the most important prayer in Judaism, which says that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength.  The He adds to the Shema a new command,  to love our neighbour as ourselves.  In Luke 6:31 He instructs us to treat others the way that we would like to be treated.

When I look at these commands how can I reject, exclude or minimise the validity of any other person based on their sexuality or belief system?  Jesus also instructs me not to judge unless I would like to be judged the same way.  It seems pretty clear to me – I will leave the judging and decision making up to Him, it is my job to love.

In the last article that I wrote I asked a question at the bottom of the page.

Is there a totem pole of sin?

Is there a list of sins somewhere in order of least to worse.  If there is I have not seen it.  IF we assume for a minute, as some of you do, that homosexuality is a sin, then why do Christians put it at the top of the totem pole.  As I understand it ALL have sinned and come short of Gods glory.

Jesus says in Matthew 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Adultery, sex before marriage, theft, swearing, lying, deceiving, drunkenness are all listed and I know plenty of Christians who have done some or all of these.  Interesting isn’t it that they are all allowed to be members and leaders in Churches.  They are all welcomed and affirmed and forgiven.  Often over and over again.

My point is that none of us are without blame.  Yet why are some excluded and some included.  Who makes the rules?

Wendell Berry says it far better than I ever could.

“Christians of a certain disposition have found several ways to categorize homosexuals as different as themselves, who are in the category of heterosexual and therefore normal and therefore good,” Berry said. What is unclear, he said, is why they single out homosexuality as a perversion.

“The Bible, as I pointed out to the writers of National Review, has a lot more to say against fornication and adultery than against homosexuality,” he said. “If one accepts the 24th and 104th Psalms as scriptural norms, then surface mining and other forms of earth destruction are perversions. If we take the Gospels seriously, how can we not see industrial warfare — with its inevitable massacre of innocents — as a most shocking perversion? By the standard of all scriptures, neglect of the poor, of widows and orphans, of the sick, the homeless, the insane, is an abominable perversion.”

“Jesus talked of hating your neighbor as tantamount to hating God, and yet some Christians hate their neighbors by policy and are busy hunting biblical justifications for doing so,” he said.

“Are they not perverts in the fullest and fairest sense of that term? And yet none of these offenses — not all of them together — has made as much political/religious noise as homosexuality”.

As I finish off I can hear friends of mine saying that I have taken the safe ground.  As I have reminded us time and again on this blog, it is not my job convince you of anything.  This blog is a social justice platform to hold sane and mature conversations about the topics that matter.  In this article I am hoping at the very least that you will look at the plank in your own eye before pointing out the speck in anyone else’s.

Jesus ministry is one of inclusion, liberation, vision, freedom, kindness, mercy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith and love.  Therefore these fruits of the spirit are the yardstick that I endeavour to use to measure my interactions with others.

Have I been kind?  Have I been inclusive?  Have I acted mercifully and graciously? Have I been loving?  Do I leave peace in my wake or heartache?

If I say that I follow Christ then it is because I believe in Him and what He taught.  He has taught me and continues to teach me how to love and for that I am forever grateful.

The greatest of all of these is love.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Homosexuality a Chat by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Depressed woman on a bench
Tuesday Talks:  Homosexuality a Chat –  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Originally posted on the 15th of September 2015.

Disclaimer:

For those of you who are not familiar with this blog.  Sunday Everyday is a blog that looks at the hard issues in a fresh way.  It is a social justice platform designed to host and explore topics, opinions and conversations.  The premise being that if we don’t start conversations and listen to the narrative of others then we can’t learn or be helpful to people who need our help. Too many times I come across people who don’t actually know what they think or why.  So before you all go mental on me, can we enter this topic with grace, love and gentleness.

Introduction:  Every single human on the planet deserves to experience Shalom.  To not be subject to abuse, to find a safe place in  community, to find respect and dignity and to not be marginalised or stigmatised.  All of us should, as Jesus instructs, treat each other the same way that we wish to be treated.

This subject is one of the most divisive issues on the planet right now especially within religious communities.

In fact it is the most conflict-ridden issue facing Christendom since slavery and the fight for women rights.  It is an emotional issue.  Propelled by homophobia, heated arguments for and against rage across communities causing major conflict, pain and threaten denominations, families and friendships all of which I have seen first hand.

Unfortunately the church is often seen as leading the anti-gay movement and not seen as leading by its embrace or love.

The Word the Definition:

The word homosexual is usually used to include gay, lesbian and bisexuals all of which form a minority group in Australia of about 2% of the population (Smith).

Summary of facts:
 1.2% of Australians identify as gay or lesbian
 1.6% of men in Australia identify as gay, 0.9% identify as bisexual
 0.8% of women identify as lesbian, 1.4% identify as bisexual
 97.9% of Victorians aged 12-24 identify as heterosexual
 Same-sex couples represented about 1% of all couples in Australia (Family Voice Australia)

The historian Michel Foucault cites “Westphal’s famous article of 1870 on ‘contrary sexual sensations'” as the “date of birth” of the categorization of the homosexual.  The term Homosexual has only been in use for just over 100 years.  This is important to remember in our biblical debates in reference to translations of the biblical texts on sexuality – otherwise known as – the clobber verses.  The original biblical texts do not use the word homosexual.

Homosexuality is a complex psychological, sociological and biological issue.
Definition:

Two definitions of “Homosexuality” (Religious Tolerance)
Religious Conservatives, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or of another religion, often define homosexuality in terms of behaviour.  It is what a person does.  A homosexual is a person who engages in same-gender sexual behaviour, a heterosexual is one who engages only in opposite gender sexual behaviour.  They generally refer to a person who has sex with both males and females as a homosexual; bisexuality is rarely acknowledged.  Behaviours can be changed by an act of will.

  • Persons who are attracted to both men and women can chose to confine there sexual activity to opposite sex relationships.  Often referred to as ex-gay.
  • Persons who are sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex can decide to remain celibate.  They are also referred to as ex-gays.
  • By changing one’s behaviour they can switch from being homosexual to heterosexual through reparative therapy.

Most religious liberals, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, therapists, etc.  define homosexuality in terms of feelings and self-identification.

  • A homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted to only members of the same sex.
  • A bisexual is attracted to both women and men although not necessarily to the same degree.
  • A heterosexual is a person who is attracted to only persons of the opposite sex.
  • Bisexuals can choose to confine their activity to one sex or the other, however they remain bi-sesxual.
  • Homosexuals can choose to remain celibate; however they remain homosexual.
  • Adult sexual orientation is generally regarded as fixed, it cannot be changed through therapy or prayer.  The success rate of reparative therapy is close to zero and very damaging.

LGBTI:

LGBTI is an an acronym used to shorten the title: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,Transgendered and Intersex.

Sexual Orientation:

Refers to ‘an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and or sexual attractions to men, worn or both sexes’ (APA, 2002).

Homophobia:

Psychologist George Wienberg invented the word “homophobia” in his book “Society and the Healthy individual” published in 1972.  He defined it as “the dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals”, he offered a fuller definition:

“a phobia about homosexuals…It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for – home and family.  It was a religious fear and it had led to great brutality as fear always does.”

What are the Issues?

There are a few paradigms: These descriptions were published in Religious Tolerance.org 23/6/10

One can divide most of the public into six groups, depending upon their fundamental beliefs about homosexuality and/or their main emphasis.
ViewPoint                              Description or Main Emphasis

“Abomination”                        Homosexuality is profoundly immoral at all times

“Change is expected”            Homosexuals can change their sexual orientation, with effort

“Marginally acceptable”         Committed homosexual relationships are the least awful option

“Celibacy is expected”           Homosexuals must either change their orientation or be celibate

“Affirmation”                           Seek equal rights.  Homosexuality is morally neutral

“Liberation”                            Reinterpret the Bible.  Homophobia, not being gay, is the main evil

Current Thinking:

There exists now a very wide gap between secular understanding and the outlook of the Church.  If the secular world views homosexuality as genetic encoded orientation, then most Religious groups would say that homosexuality is a choice and a sin.

Lets look at three views on the continuum of belief.

Conservative Approach:

Homosexuality is a choice

Only solution is to repent or to change homosexual behaviour

Promote prayer and therapies to change

Middle Road:

Dont openly condemn homosexuality

Agree that it is not a choice

Believe a homosexual can be part of the community of faith.  Churches with this stance are called ‘welcoming but not affirming’ churches and homosexuals would be welcome but not allowed to become a member or a leader.

Homosexuals should remain celebate.

Liberal Approach:

Support and affirm homosexuals

Believe in gay civil rights

Believe in equal rights within the church community

Believe in same sex marriage within a loving monogamous relationship.

The sad truth is that most Christians are silent and vague on the subject.  Most Christians leaders will not openly discuss it with their congregations.    Unfortunately the church at large has not lived alongside homosexuals in sacrificial love, it has instead used its Church muscle and power to enforce its will causing many homosexuals to see Jesus as the enemy and not the instrument of Gods love (Campolo, 2009:97,98).

I agree with Deb Hirsch when she says:  “When it comes to these sorts of issues I find that Christians on the traditional side of things tend to lead with their theological position, often making it hard to embrace the person.  Remember the the old slogan “Love the sinner, hate the sin”?  The problem is that very few in the church ever got around to love the sinner – it became a cheap slogan.

We must lead with our embrace, not our theology.  When we lead with our theology, we tend to get caught up in the ‘wrongness’ of some peoples behaviour, and the humanness of that person is easily lost.

Jesus didn’t wait for us to get our behaviours cleaned up before he embraced us; he embraced us first, with open arms.

These are some of the questions that I wrestle with:

Is there a totem pole of sin?

Why did Jesus say nothing about homosexuality and quite a bit about divorce?

Why is divorce okay?

1:6 Corinthians is one of the verses used against homosexuals .  Also listed are the sexual immoral, adulterers, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, liars and extortioners.  Is there a biblical model for excluding all of  these people from church membership/attendance or just homosexuals?

I do recommend you getting Deb’s new book “Redeeming Sex” if you haven’t already.  It is a great solid look at this topic.

Love Lisa

Recommended Reading:

Redeeming Sex by Deb Hirsch – click the book image to order through Amazon.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people.Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

https://www.patreon.com/SundayEveryday

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Bibliography:

APA. (2002). For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality.

     American Psychological Association, 1-6

Campolo, T. (2009).  Chose love not power.  Ventura, California: Gospel Light Worldwide.
Religious Tolerance.  Brief descriptions of the six belief systems regarding homosexuality and bisexuality.  http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom6beli1htm

Smith, A. (2003).  Sexual experience and identity.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 138-145.

Family Voice Australia:  http://www.fava.org.au/news/2012/how-many-homosexuals-are-there-in-australia/

Arty Farty

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Arty Farty with Cameron Semmens

Today a poem for you from Cameron called:  Let’s Get this Arty Started 

But First a bit about Cam:

Cameron is a Melbourne-based, award-winning poet and performer, with 15 books and 4 CDs of his poetry published to date. He makes his living through words: running workshops, writing books and performing live throughout Australia. Cameron is a ‘Vision Artist’ with World Vision Australia.  To purchase any of his amazing work click the link above and it will take you to his website.  

1. Poetry Performance

Cameron is a highly experienced and award winning performance poet. Doing on average 50 gigs a year at a wide range of venues and events, for adults and kids alike. So, if you’re looking for thoughtful, meaningful entertainment – Cam’s your man!

2. Poetry workshops:

Cameron regularly runs poetry workshops for children, teens and adults. So, if you’re looking for a poet to inspire and enable others – get onto him! For teachers: go to the Schools Poetry Workshops page. For aspiring writers: check out the Gigs page for workshops he himself is putting on.

I met Cameron about 6 years ago through at an event I attended.  Since then I’ve booked Cameron for many gigs that I’ve worked on over the years and have always been handstand happy with his ability to engage an audience and take you on a journey of laughter and deep thought.

Cameron is just an all round amazing guy, incredibly talented humble, happy with a touch of eccentric.

 

Here’s a Poem from Cameron for today called:

Let’s Get This ARTY Started!

 

Create a garden.

Create a community.

Create a culture of yoghurt.

 

Create a rhyme to remember your family’s birthdays.

Create a planter box for couch potatoes.

Create a gallery of broken hearts and Hyundai parts.

 

Create the permission to smile whatever the weather.

Create umbrellas out of aspirins and parasols out of ice-cream.

Create cubbies from cardboard boxes and telescopes out of toilet rolls.

 

Create jewellery out of cutlery,

make cutlery out of celery,

grow celery from the seed.

And don’t stop there!

Keep on going!

On through the far-reaches of creativity into ART!

Highbrow art, lowbrow art, eyebrow art, symphonies in cow farts.

Create

ART!

It’s anti-glum fun!

It’s appealingly healing!

It’s a grief relief!

It’s a coy ahoy to joy!

It’s a humble stumble into screaming meaning!

And it’s surprisingly easy.

Turn that pain into paintings.

Turn that humiliation into humour and claymation.

Turn that cold, empty heart of yours into an esky

for the soft cheese of someone else’s hopes.

Turn the rubble of your dreams into landfill

for sculpting the dreamscape of your future.

 

Don’t be ruled by fear.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the right gear.

Just be curious!

Be yourself!

Be boldly vulnerable!

Wallow in wonder!

Linger longer

in the random, rampant spasms

of imagination!

Create!

It brings colour to black-and-white thinking;

it wraps sledgehammers in bubble wrap;

prune-like, it brings relief

to the cognitively constipated.

‘Cos if you’re not

truly expressing

you’re probably

unduly repressing,

cruelly oppressing, or

really depressing to be with.

From the bottom of my art

I beg of you –

CREATE

like your life depends on it

(‘cos it does)

 

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