Tag: Gratitude

Stopping and staying stopped from Adiction

How to stop and stay stopped from an addiction

Many people with an addiction seem to fall into a relentless battle where they stop because they know they have to stop. But then they cannot stay stopped.

In fact this is so well known in recovery communities there’s the phrase: stopping is easy; it’s staying stopped that’s the difficult part.

So someone may do this repeatedly for years. They stop and then after a certain period – that could even be of several months or more – they find that almost as if against their own will they have started again.

It’s disheartening, frustrating and causes great anguish, despair and sometimes anger. Not only for the person trying to quit, but also for all those around them.

Some people eventually just give up on giving up. But there is always a way to stay stopped.

If you consider the amount of people in recovery from an addiction, there are millions of people in the world today who are living proof. This is true for alcoholism and drug addiction as well as for behavioral addictions such as shopping, sex, gambling and work.

Thankfully, there are proven methods that can help anyone to stay stopped from any addiction.

Keep it in the day

One of the first phrases that people in recovery groups and/or therapy may well hear is “keep it in the day”. It’s also said that quitting an addiction should be taken “one day at a time”.

This breaks it down and makes it seem much less daunting. You don’t have to think about giving up forever – just for this one day. 

But then repeat this, one day at a time (often abbreviated to “odaat”). There are people with, for instance, 40 years sobriety from alcohol addiction – who still take it just one day at time.

Sometimes if a day seems too long, break that down. So, make it for one hour or even one minute at a time: that is, “just for the next hour/minute I won’t drink or use or do my addictive behavior…” Then keep repeating this.

Avoid tempting places and behaviors

There’s a famous soccer player in England called Paul Merson with a well documented struggle with drink who said: “If you keep walking past the barbers, eventually you’ll get a haircut.”

Although humorous, it makes a serious point. Many people quit such as an alcohol addiction, but still go to bars…

The word “temptation” derives from a Latin word temptare meaning “handle, test, try”. So putting yourself in the place or places where you used “do” the addiction means you are giving yourself a test.

One day you might not pass the test. Then you are back under the power of the addiction.

It’s the same if your addiction was, say, shopping. If you go to the shops or start browsing online, there could be problems ahead once again.

Stick with the winners!

This is similar to avoiding places – but is directed towards people. Those people we often drank with or got drugs from or gambled with – and so on.

If you really want to stay stopped from an addiction, certainly in the beginning and for some time at the start it’s best to avoid these people. Just as is the case for most people with avoiding certain places, this is not likely to be forever.

But just until you know in your heart that you can handle the test of being in these places and among these people again. Although when many people in recovery reach this point they realize they don’t actually want to go to those places again or be with those people.

There’s a phrase frequently heard in addiction recovery circles that is “stick with the winners”. It may sound harsh, but really is just to get you considering who you’re keeping company with at any given time.

We also need to look out for people who cause us to have strong emotions or who trigger us. This could include family, friends or colleagues.

It would be best to avoid these people in most instances. But if that’s impossible, such as with some family members, at least be aware that you need to keep alert.

Also perhaps do some mental and emotional preparation before you see them – such as meditate or read something that inspires you to stay stopped from your addiction. As well, try your best to limit the time you spend with anyone like this.

Watch out for social media

Many people who are addicted to something will find they get triggered when they have negative emotions. They seek to change the way they feel – and turn to something they have found achieves that, albeit in a short-lived way that’s always detrimental in the long-term.

Social media, as well as being something to which many people get addicted, can also be a trigger. People look on Facebook, Twitter or suchlike and they feel angry due to some political opinion.

Or they feel extremely envious of someone’s house, car, latest holiday or that they have a loving partner (or so it seems). Then there’s that other person posting and boasting about their work achievements – and that leaves a feeling of being less than because self-esteem is already low.

Similarly, be aware that as well as social media, things such as the news, soap operas, song lyrics, movies and documentaries can all change the way we feel for the worse. As well, for some people watching sports can do this.

It’s not to say you necessarily need to stop these pastimes outright or forever. But if you know they lead to an addiction or even craving, perhaps they are best limited or totally avoided.

Gratitude

Develop what is known in recovery communities as “an attitude of gratitude”. It will help you focus on positives.

It’s a way of making sure negative feelings don’t get overwhelming. Gratitude lists – when you write down things you’re grateful for – are simple and wonderfully effective.

It’s important to write these regularly, such as just before you got to bed and then read them first thing in the morning. But of course they can be written any time to help chase away negative feelings.

Sometimes you may have to force yourself to write one, and this is especially beneficial when you really don’t feel like it. But they always work because such as anxiety and depression cannot exist while you are focusing on gratitude.

Just For Today

Look up this card that’s actually produced by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – but doesn’t talk about alcohol, just good ways to live your life.

It is full of positive ways to live, one day at a time. This is for everyone, not just people who are addicted to something. 

Live well – and say sorry

Following on from the Just For Today card is this: to live the mantra – how can I help others? See what you can give to the world. 

Many people who are addicted take from the world, including such as from their work, other people, family and friends. This is not because they are bad people, but because they feel empty and consumed with pain – and are simply desperate to fill up their emptiness and block the pain. 

But the best way to do this is quite the opposite of taking. Whenever we give, we gain.

So help others and always see what you can give to the stream of life. Be kind and generous.

This includes saying sorry as promptly as you can when you realize you’ve said or done something that might have caused harm. Never say “Sorry, but…” – just sincerely saying “Sorry” is best.

Alter attitudes

Many people who go to AA Meetings say AA could also stand for Altered Attitudes. This is because if you are stopping an addiction you need to learn to live a new way, where you change your responses and reactions to certain things that are a part of life.

It is necessary to work on self-esteem, self-love and self-confidence. This is an inside job.

Then when you feel stronger from the inside, outside things won’t have such a negative impact. Acceptance will come easier – and people feel calmer and more assured about life.

Meditation

Meditation has for centuries benefitted people around the world. There’s no one way to do it, but many people who are experts in it speak about seeking calm and stillness, of being an observer of the moment without any judgement.

It’s been proven to be especially beneficial as a way to start the day. If we begin the day calmly like this we will have more energy for dealing with anything that the day ahead might bring to us.

Meetings

Twelve Steps group meetings such as for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or any of the many different types of Twelve Steps groups have proven now for more than 80 years to be of immense help to many people.

This is for people who once felt hopeless. There are many reasons why they are thought to be so beneficial – one of those being that a group of people together is stronger than a person alone.

Twelve Steps

Another reason why Twelve Steps group meetings are so beneficial to so many addicts is that they are often what leads to someone starting the Twelve Steps recovery program.

You don’t have to do the Twelve Steps if you attend any of these meetings, but it is one of the main reasons for them. Many people in Twelve Steps recovery compare the meetings to the physician’s waiting room and the Twelve Steps are the medication you’re given to get and stay well.

Therapy

Therapy is of course a hugely effective and proven way of quitting an addiction and staying stopped. A good therapist will offer methods to live well day by day and also look back at your life, such as at family history or help you deal with a trauma.

Here at Tikvah Lake Recovery we specialize in offering daily one-on-one therapy. In our experience this is by far the best sort of treatment.

We can also offer you an introduction to the Twelve Steps. We listen carefully to all of our guests and then personalize the treatment so that it works as swiftly as possible and gives the strongest and most enduring recovery possible.

Nestled beside a tranquil lake, our luxury home is in an idyllic natural setting for your relaxation, mental health, emotional wellbeing and recovery.

Contact us to find out how we can help you or someone you care about to move into recovery today.

Dealing with aging

Dealing with aging

We may not like to admit it or even think about it… but most of us who are not presently old will one day be old. Yet for many people as they age, life gets increasingly difficult.

But there are definite positive ways to deal with aging. One of the first of these is a mindset that realizes that by getting old at least you’ve lived a long life, something that some people do not get the privilege of experiencing.

There are other optimistic ways of looking at getting older. These are not just aspects of living that are useful to those who are older or already old – but for everyone to know right now, young and old alike.

Have an attitude of gratitude

Focus on what you have that you didn’t when you were younger. This could include your children now as adults and hopefully doing well; grandchildren; earned wisdom; a lifetime of memories; a partner who you’ve been with for many years; more financial security…

Gratitude makes acceptance easier. So accepting that you are now older will make it easier to be older.

Looking back and feeling sad about not being so young any more won’t make you young again. In fact having a despondent attitude like this will make you feel even older more swiftly!

Stay young at heart.  Accept yourself at every age you are, accept the things you cannot change.

It’s a fact that you are the age you have reached. Neither all the money nor all the will in the world can change when you were born.

Don’t look back too much, especially with regrets. Similarly, try not to worry about the future.

Keep it in the moment. Do your best to live one day at a time.

Writer Mitch Albom’s international bestselling book Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson has much to do with aging. It is a true story about an old man called Morrie Schwartz who has an illness that means he will die in a few months – and the wisdom about living that he offers Mitch, his college student from nearly 20 years ago.

“You have to find what’s the good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now,” said Morrie in the book. “Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.

“The truth is, part of me is every age. I’m a three-year-old, I’m a five-year-old, I’m a 37-year-old, I’m a 50-year-old. I’ve been through all of them, and I know what it’s like. I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate to be a child. I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate.

“Think of all I can be! I am every age, up to my own.

“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at 22, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at 22. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

Get active

One of the most important things to remember about aging is that it’s not solely about living for as long as possible. It’s also about staying in shape enough that you can actually be physically active.

Sadly, too many people – even sometimes while only in their 40s or 50s – struggle with even the most basic physical activity. Yet there are also people in their 70s and even 80s still regularly playing sports.

In most instances it’s due to lifestyles, and attitude too. As Wayne Dyer, author of some of the world’s bestselling recovery and self-help books, said: “Refuse to let an old person move into your body.”

One of the most important things with age is what you are doing in your life. People frequently eat themselves older, drink themselves older, smoke themselves older, worry themselves older and then there is a lack of exercise too.

All of these things make someone older much quicker. Exercise is essential for everyone. 

Find whatever exercise it is that you enjoy. It needs to be fun.

So many people have severe problems when they age. But you can often see why they have these problems from what they eat, what they drink, what they smoke, how little exercise they do and how much they worry about things.

Aging does cause physical changes, that is unavoidable as all life on earth starts to deteriorate at some point – but it definitely does not necessarily have to mean discomfort, pain or disability.

While not all illness is avoidable of course, many of the physical aspects associated with aging can be avoided, alleviated or beaten by eating healthily and exercising regularly – as well as maintaining a positive attitude.

For anyone who’s still young or not yet “old”, it’s wise to know that what you do now will certainly influence your health and wellbeing in future years. So if need be, improve your diet and get exercising without delay.

Then for those who are older or elderly, simply don’t listen to that self-sabotaging voice in the mind that says something like: “You’re too old to start this now.”

You’re never too old to start improving your quality of life. In fact, the best years of your life may well be ahead of you.

Keep mentally fit

It’s just as important alongside physical health to keep your mental abilities fit and healthy. The two are strongly connected of course.

Staying active and being social will help keep your mind sharp. This is even more important if you’ve retired and you’re not using your mind to solve work issues or socializing as much as you used to do.

There’s plenty that people can do to exercise their mind. This ranges from starting a hobby such as playing chess to doing puzzles or learning something new – for instance, playing an instrument or going to Spanish classes.

Then there is always reading, whether it be novels or self-help books. Or perhaps something combined with a new interest, such as reading a magazine about astronomy.

A small card with some suggestions for how to live life well called the Just For Today card is popular in Twelve Steps recovery communities. One of its suggestions is useful to remember every day here: 

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.”

Discover your meaning

It’s extremely important for healthy aging to have a sense of purpose.

It will make you feel really alive. Wayne Dyer put it this way: “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

It could be something completely new, that there is now time for after retiring. Getting old is not a time to cease making progress.

In fact it can be as exciting as when you first left home to discover the world. Now you’ve learned how to navigate life it can be even better!

It could be that you start once again a passion that you gave up to have a family and career. Or you could try something completely new – keep an open mind.

Get among nature, travel, go to concerts, museums, art galleries, join a drama group… Just do it all with enthusiasm and joy – and the aging process will be kind to you.

Maybe it’s that you always wanted to do something to make the world a better place. You could volunteer for a charity or set up something that helps a particular group or person or nation in need.

As Morrie put it in Tuesdays With Morrie about why so many people wished they could be younger again. “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning.

“Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.”

Keep in touch

Many older people feel isolated because they spend too much time alone. But this is not beneficial for emotional wellbeing.

People are social beings. We need contact with each other.

Thankfully, we live in an era when there are plenty of ways to stay in touch – whether that’s by traditional phone calls or video-calls on such as WhatsApp or FaceTime. For instance, make sure you’re in regular contact with your children: they may be grown up, but you can still give them so much and have great conversations.

But perhaps even better is to use the extra time most older people find they have to visit your loved ones. Or visit places you’ve always wanted to see: cities, museums, sports stadiums, famous sights – the list is endless.

Now is your opportunity to live life to the full and do what you’ve always wanted. There’s no reason why it can’t be the best time of your life.

Our experienced Tikvah Lake team has a great deal of experience in treating all emotional problems. We have several successful proven treatments that we personalize for each of our guests after carefully listening.

We are situated next to a stunning tranquil lake in the most wonderful and stunning natural setting. Our luxury home is created for everyone’s utter relaxation and peace of mind.

Contact us to chat about how we can help you or someone you love.

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