Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Suggestion has been a powerful tool used by media corporations, and advertising firms from the start.  Certain queues, and images to activate the sub-conscious mind have been used to market products, or services without the knowledge of the public.  Repetition, and positive reinforcement are two key issues here.    

The same centres of the brain activated in the brain of an addict is also activated in adverts.  It is very hard to control our impulses to something once our brain has made a positive connotation to something.  It is usually not the company with the best product out there that is successful, but the one with the biggest budget set towards their marketing, and advertising department.

It is therefore imperative that the recovering addict makes as many changes as possible to his way of life once he gets out of rehab.  That means new friends, new hobbies etc.  One word from a friend, even driving past a place where he used before can trigger an onset of a craving.

We need to become aware when we see, or hear a suggestion, because suggestion mainly works on the sub-conscious mind, and we are not immediately aware of it before it’s too late. When you train yourself to become aware, and think about the suggestion in your conscious mind, then and only then will you be able to control your thought process.

Now how do you train yourself?  This is how I started, and it may sound stupid but it worked for me, and made me allot more aware of my surroundings, and thought processes.  I started to look for brands in movies, and television shows.  Actively look for them. It’s well known that products are advertised in movies, and that only certain brands are shown. Only the brands of companies that gave an X amount towards the production of a movie.

Now how did this help me? Well by actively becoming aware of the marketing I could think about it and put a stop to the thought of the brand then, and there.  I trained my mind to think what I wanted to think about.  Now I have the ability to speak to someone, or see something, and immediately recognise, a trigger and deal with it. 

To act out of logic, and not out of, impulse, or emotion is a direct result. When I feel angry, I know the reason, when I get agitated, I know the reason.  The sense of control is empowering to say the least.  I still have a long way to go, to completely control my mind, and thought processes, but dealing with suggestion has been a major step for me.

Like anything in life this doesn’t come easy, but it’s well worth it.

Suggestion the Powerful, not anymore. I am in charge now. I have taken control back.  

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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?  

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.         

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.

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.       

Allot of recovering addict feel ashamed by all the things that they have done in the past.  I can’t believe all the terrible things I’ve done, just to get another gram.  We normally hurt the people that’s closest to us the most.  All thoughts, or feelings of morality goes out the window when we use. 

In recovery we need to deal with all these negative emotions.  This is also one of the major reasons why we relapse.  We aren’t used to feel this way.  The substance numbed the pain.  That’s why we should leave THAT life behind.  We must accept the fact that, yes we did all those things, we can’t change it.  The only thing we can change is how we live life from now on.  Do you know how fortunate we are to be clean?  It is our mission in life to show addicts that there is hope, there is life after substance abuse.  We need to show the world, that recovery is possible.  We need to rid the world of the stigma connected to substance abuse, and drug addicts.

We have been there, we know what hell it is to be trapped, and out of control. We need to show the addicts that there is people that actually care about them.  People who doesn’t judge them.  We need to take a stand against drugs.  Not out of force, but by love.  We need to get fathers back to their homes, mothers of the street, and kids out of gangs.  We can change society. We can bring values, and morals back to society.  You know why?  Because we know how it feels like to have none, we know how it feels like to be judged.  We don’t take things for granted.  We know how it feels like to have no hope.  We know how it feels like to have nothing. 

Society can learn from us what’s important in life, things they have forgot, things they take for granted.  Family, Love, and caring for each other.  These things are the most important.  It’s not about what you have in life that matters, it’s about giving.  I’m not just talking about money.  Give advice, show love to the lost and broken.  Give people hope.  We need to inspire people. 

Recovery is our chance to give back.  To bring healing not just to ourselves, but to others out there.  Just imagine how we can change the world, one small step at a time.  One person at a time, one family at a time, one neighbourhood at a time etc.  Let’s start today, For tomorrow can be too late for someone out there.