Archive for August, 2013

One of the things I have learned is to always see the good, and the beautiful in everything, and everyone.

We have to train minds to do this.  It’s a very difficult thing to do.  The normal human response would be to see the faults in others.  Not because we are bad human beings, but because we project our own insecurities on others.  This is a defence mechanism. It’s a way for us to feel better about ourselves, in that given moment.

When we start to focus on the positives of others, we automatically begin to focus on the positives in ourselves.  When we see the positives in ourselves, we start to love ourselves, when we start to love ourselves, other will love us to. When others love us, they will start to focus on our positives, therefore changing their mind set, and outlook about themselves.

So you see by just changing our own thinking pattern, from negative to positive, we can have a huge impact. Not only on ourselves but on all those around us.  To see everything in a positive light reduces stress, depression, and fatigue.

A positive mind set attracts positive people. In recovery we need to let go of the things, and people in the past that we used to drink, and drug with.  You will be surprised to see how fast you will get new, clean positive friends when your mind set, and actions only reflects positivity.

What do you have to lose?  

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The mind is a fascinating place.  It can be our escape too far off places, seeing extraordinary things, where we can be who we want be, go where we want to go.  It can also be a prison cell, where we are chained up, unable to move, unable to think.

Only by breaking the chains, of belief systems, and emotions can we truly free ourselves.  We need to train our mind, to think, to be more open to new ideas.  We need to search for our own answers to questions. Think for yourself.  Empower yourself.  I can’t believe the change in myself since I started really thinking, and questioning the beliefs I had. I am starting to know myself better every day.  When you know yourself, you will love yourself. When you love yourself, everyone else will love you.

The first step in freeing your mind is controlling your emotions.  When we get angry, our brain releases a stress hormone.  It is the same hormone that is released when our lives are in danger, or threatened.  Our body tenses up, our mind blocks out any other thing that is said to us. It only focuses on the here and now, memory is supressed, and anything said to us, in that moment is rejected.  We become narrow-minded.

When this happens you need to focus on the emotion. Rationalize it, focus on calming down.  You need to make a conscious decision (a mental note) to stop feeling angry, only in this way you will start to train your brain.  After a while your brain will automatically do this.  It will stop releasing the stress hormone, when you get in an argument, therefore you will have a lot more control, over thinking, acting in any given situation. You will be able to reject, or except the idea, if you want to. Not just by making an impulsive emotional decision, but a decision based on a calm, rational, logical thought process.

Being in control of your mind sets you free.  Imagine getting a craving, and you can control your thought process. You can rationalize your emotional attachment to the substance. Way up the pros, and cons, reject the thought, or idea.  Your mind will be trained to think, logically.  The craving will disappear quickly.  All of this will happen automatically, and very quickly.  There won’t be such a thing as entertaining the idea of getting the drug.  The battle of addiction will be won.

All outside influences that create can create a negative response, could be handled, and dealt with, by being in control of our minds.

We can only be free, by giving up the freedom for our own minds to act as it wants to. We can only be free once we are in control of our minds, and not the other way around.

The question on is addiction a disease, or a choice has been won by the disease argument with proven scientific, and medical facts.  “Addiction starts out as a choice, and ends up as a disease”

I think there is more to addiction than just the medical facts.  Our knowledge of the brain is still very limited, although recent discoveries have shown us that substances have a huge impact on the reward/pleasure system in the brain.  “Addiction fits the disease model perfectly. Organ – Midbrain, Defect – Pleasure/Reward system, and the Symptoms – Craving, impaired thinking, etc.” Therefore we can safely say that addiction is a disease.  There are allot of medications available to treat the symptoms, but there are no cures, no quick fixes.

Although major breakthroughs have been made in treatment of addiction, we are still a very long way of, curing this disease.  Are we missing something? Isn’t there a better way to prevent people from getting addicted in the first place?  The current educational drug awareness programs fail miserably.  All that they point out how drugs are bad for you.  How it effects our health etc. In a society surrounded by drugs, and alcohol, children, and teens are bombarded with images of celebrity’s going to court for using drugs, or alcohol.  Advertisements on the latest prescription drugs on the market, and don’t forget the alcohol advertisements showing everybody having a good, carefree time.

Why would the youth, listen to educational videos, and speakers when at home, and on the internet, the exact opposite is shown.  When drinking, and drugging makes it easier to fit into a crowd, and give you acceptance, why not do it?  The youth is under so much pressure, from all there social networks, and school, and friends.  I’m not even speaking at the pressure at home, with parents, or siblings.

Their Idols are shown partying, and having fun.  They seem to have little consequences for their actions, and it seems that their lives aren’t influenced badly at all. Which we know isn’t true, but that is how it’s portrayed in the media. 

Children, and teens don’t have the ability to make quality, informed decisions. We all know this. When our kids get addicted, we all ask why.  Later on, they may go to prison, overdose etc. People label them as drug addicts, and the scum of society. How quickly we forget how we were at that age. Susceptible to allot of things, all the wrong choices we made.

I don’t know the solution to this problem.  I don’t even know where to begin.  Is there even a solution?  All I am trying to say is, we should stop judging addicts, and realize that addiction is a disease, created by a bad choice, stemming out of the Society we live in.         

What is the most difficult aspect of recovery?

Is it the craving? Is it the pressure of those around you to stay clean and sober? The difficulty to adapt to the world? Picking up the pieces of the life the substance left behind? Or the fear of relapsing again?

These are by no means all the questions we as recovering addict need to face, there are many more, but all questions have answers.  They all bring on anxiety.  They all need to be addressed in order for us to stay in recovery.  The answers depend on the individual.  No one is the same, no one has the same circumstances.  We all have different ways cope with different aspects of life. Different viewpoints, and perceptions.

For me personally, recovery is made easier by setting small goals every day, staying to a routine, and expressing my feelings. Either on talking about it, or writing it down.  I set out a certain time of my day, focusing, and thinking just about recovery.  The rest of the day, I divide up in segments to deal other aspects of my life.  Study, work, exercise etc. 

I have learnt that spending too much time, thinking about a certain aspect has negative consequences.  Overthinking brings our minds in confusion. Which brings on stress, and craving.  It causes us to miss other goals that we set out to do, which in turn will put us on the road back to relapse.

I have come to realize that we need to take little steps towards, in everything we do, and in the end all will fall in place.  The most important thing is to stay positive.  Think positive, surround yourself with positive people.  I have come to realize that anything is possible.  The only thing that stands between you, and your dreams is You. ‘’Whether YOU think YOU can, or YOU can’t YOU’RE right!’’

The Fear of relapsing, and the Fear of disappointing others, will lead you to relapse. You won’t relapse if you stay positive, stick to your plan, and if relapse it’s not the end of the world.  Get help as quick as you can, and change the things that caused you to relapse.  Don’t feel like a failure. You are not the exception. Most addicts have relapsed before, they stuck to recovery.  The most important thing is you need, to be open and honest about it.  People will appreciate your honesty more than, hiding it from them.  They will help you not to fall into the spiral of death again.

Recovery is different for all of us, it can be difficult, and scary. But it can be so rewarding as well.  Every day we stay sober is an accomplishment. It shows us that we are human. It shows us that we can do anything that we set our mind to.  It’s brings out the best in us.  It builds our character. It shows everybody around us, that we are stronger, and better than they thought we are.

Let’s stay in recovery, let’s stay free!

As a recovering addict I failed in the past to prioritize my life. When I think back on my life, my priorities were to party, sleep, and party some more.  I never felt at ease in my life, always restless, always wanting something more, never happy of what I have, and where I am.

I turned to religion to fill the emptiness, I tried hobbies, shopping sprees etc. Still the feelings of, emptiness, and restlessness would not go away.  One of my major reasons for relapse thinking back was religion.  When I did something wrong, I felt guilty, and I started to crave.  In the end I would start drinking again, drugging again.

“I am not trying to offend anybody who has found religion.  All the statements I make is out of my point of view”.

I began to experience true freedom this year, when I started looking at addiction through a medical, and scientific viewpoint.  When I started viewing addiction as a disease.  I starting seeing immense growth in my own life.  When started using the right medication, when I got CBT from the right Clinical Psychologist, and when I implemented certain things in my life, that emptiness that I talked about earlier disappeared.

For the first time in my life, I can think logically, and rationally about things.  I don’t ask questions like “God why me? God are you testing me? God where are you?  God Please help me.” I never got an answer. If something positive happened, I thought “hey God is answering my prayers” I came to realise that it has only happened, because of what I did.

I also justified my addiction through religion. ‘’I can use, because my sins are forgiven. If I die at least I will go to heaven.”  So you see for me, religion was detrimental. It was always a cop out. Everything happens for a reason right? With this mentality, you would never do something.  I would rather say ‘’every action has a reaction’’ We will only get as much out of life, as we put in.

For the first time in my life, I feel liberated.  I am the master of my own destiny. The captain of my own ship.  I understand myself. I know what boundaries to set.  I listen to others, I am more open to suggestions, and others opinions. 

I don’t judge others, I am humble, and I am thankful, more thankful than I ever was, because everything I do, I did it for myself. Something didn’t give it to me, or blessed me.  My priorities have changed.  I am content with myself for the first time.

Now my priorities are, to better myself, study, help others. Just living a chilled out, relaxed, comfortable life.  For me “I saw the truth, and the truth set me free”

 

P.S.  Again I am not trying to convert people reading this.  I am stating everything in regards to my life.

Throughout human history we have all wrestled with questions, questions of who we are, where do we come from? What is our purpose?  Why? Why? Why?  I am not a philosopher.  I am not a scientist.  I am a normal person who tries to make sense of the world.  I am trying to become self-aware.  I first need to know how my own mind works.  Why I think like I do? Why I do things the way I do.

This is a very, very difficult subject.  The way I perceive the world as, and how you perceive the world as, will be very different.  How I perceive myself, and how the world perceives me will be totally different.  This is for you to figure out. I am going to write this to myself, about myself.

As I see it the world is all in the mind.  Billions of neurons communicating with each other. Signals firing between each other, depending on what happens around us.  Our brain works like this.  Pathways are formed through behaviours. Strengthening by practising, or doing something over and over.  If we practise something, like playing a guitar. Certain areas of the brain becomes active, more often which in turn strengthens. The neurons, in that certain area of the brain. After a while we can play a guitar without even thinking about it, it comes naturally.

Thinking rational, and logical, and controlling our emotions can also be trained in this way.  This will help in the long run in making better decisions, in all aspects of life. This will also help us to be more in control in all situations in life. There are mirror-neurons in the brain, which I would call empathy neurons.  These neurons gives us the ability to feel what others feel just by looking at them, and the way they are acting.  These neurons were formed by our own past experiences.  When we look at someone who is crying because of a certain issue that you have also experienced, the empathy neurons fire. This brings forth the emotions, and memories that you experienced in that situation.  The brain doesn’t distinguish the firing of the mirror neurons, from your normal neurons. That why we also feel the same emotion as the person crying, although we have no reason to.

The way others react to our opinions, also has a profound effect on how we react.  When they react positive, the brain releases dopamine, and serotonin, which causes a pleasurable experience in the brain.  A memory is added, so that when needed, the brain knows how to respond in the future to the same situation.  When we get a negative reaction, normally we get defensive, and angry.  No dopamine, serotonin is released. A negative memory is coupled with the action, but it won’t be nearly as profound as a positive memory. This happens because, when we get angry, and/or defensive.  The parts with the brain that works with reason becomes less active, and the parts of the brain that work with survival becomes more active.  The mid-brain.  The same part that is defective in addiction. We become narrow-minded, only because others don’t think as we do, or do things we do. Emotions take over, impulsiveness shortly follow.

This is why it is so important to start to learn to control our emotions. We need to learn to be open to new ideas, of thinking.  When you have control of how we feel, or think, you’ll be free.  When you are self-aware, you’ll have better understanding about yourself, and the world.  To the recovering addict this could be freedom from cravings, freedom from even thinking of the substance. 

I am in the process of exercising my mind to think, to feel the way, I want to.  This will take a long time, I know. But we all have to start somewhere.  Just think about it.  No more wondering thoughts, no more impulsive in the moment decisions.  Emotion is very important, yes, but we need to control it.  You will always feel emotion, but how you act on it, should be up to you.

Being a recovering addict is a blessing for me.  The disease keeps me humble, it shows me my strengths and weaknesses.

I am thankful for everyday that I am clean.  I became a much wiser person whilst battling this disease.  I have learnt to be humble, I have learnt to forgive, and most of all I have learnt to be thankful.  I have seen things, experienced things few people have.  I have learnt to look past the outside of a person, and look into their heart.  Everybody wants a sense of belonging, and acceptance.  Everyone needs love. 

We live in a broken world. People are being used, and things are loved.  Addiction is one of the ways to escape the harsh realities of life. But addiction also enslaves us. It takes away our homes and, loved ones.  It takes away our soul. Addiction is a lie. It gives us a false sense of security.  Addiction gives us a false sense of belonging, and acceptance. Addiction brings likeminded individuals together.  For the first time we are accepted, by others.  This makes us think that we are right, and society is wrong.  We believe that we are a minority group fighting for equal rights, with the majority.

Everything unravels fairly quickly.  After a while addiction isolates us. After we alienate our loved ones, and others that truly care for us, our new so called friends also disappear. That leaves us alone, and feeling hopeless.  We try to use more drugs, to try and take away the pain.  Which only brings on more, and more misery in our lives.  It’s a spiral with only three outcomes.  Death, incarceration, and if we are of the lucky few, rehab or institution.  Every time we relapse we get back into the spiral of death.  ‘’insanity is trying to do the same thing over, and over and expecting a different result’’.

Now in Recovery I see things differently. Other things are more important to me.  Not things, but people. My heart goes out to addicts.  I know there pain.  I understand their plight. I see the person behind the addiction.  No one wants to be addicted.  No one wants to be distrusted, and labelled by society.  No one wants to be slaves, and out of control.  The lost needs to be shown hope, love and, forgiveness.  Not hate, and rejection.

Addiction taught me valuable lessons in life.  Although it all came at great cost, I believe it has made me a better person.  I am going to give back to society.  I want to share my story with others, and maybe just, maybe.  Others can find hope again.  In themselves, and others.