Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Don't suffocate something good.
If you have a bad time with your family this season,
let it go.
Don't wallow in your self-destruction.
If you have no family this season,
find someone else to do something nice for.
Create abundance out of your simple life.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
If you want to run,
If you want to stay, move forward.
Jump if you want to crawl.
Crawl if you want to jump.
Say thank you for this time.
Contrary action reaps abundant rewards.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
County your blessings.
Just let go.
And, for sure..eat something that sustains you and form relationships that do the same.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
After all, using wasn't always fun. It was also a reason to "escape" discomfort and, most certainly, to escape the blues.
The fact that is caused blues that would rival any tsunami was beside the point, because, after all, it did temporarily remove the pain.
So, for today, think about what it is you can do to replace that self-soothing tactic. Think about what will "feed" you instead of deplete you more. Think of what will make you more alive and able to embrace the reality of this time of year. You might just find that means doing something for someone else.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
That sense of entitlement is not only what got you sick, but, more importantly, what kept you there.
It is amazing how when we let others know we appreciate their help and that we don't feel it is ours for the taking, they actually want to help us.
Just for Today, don't take advantage of anyone else's generosity. And, remember, to always thank others when they offer you help.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
You won't like yourself by planning to or reading self-help books strewn about your bedroom floor.
And, as a wise friend of mine always says, "unless you plant yourself you cannot bloom."
Accept where you are.
Take action right where you are.
Do the next right thing, even though you hate everything about it.
you won't hate IT or yourself anymore.
Just for today, get over it and move forward.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Make a collage or a book of all happy memories.
Add that to your gratitude list today.
Just for today, remember that even though you struggled at times (and sometimes REALLY struggled), that weaved throughout the pain, there was always an element of goodness.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
You may think you are fat or thin or healthy or sick, or you might even miss the fact that you are in chronic pain.
Sometimes you might even be using to numb that pain.
As my posts and others' comments keep reminding us, getting sober is to GAIN self and other connection and part of that is reconnecting (or connecting for the first time) to your physical body.
Start with a list of everything you think you look like. Then, take it to the next level. Focus on different parts of your body. How do they feel? What are they telling you about what they need?
More exercise? Less? More treats? Less?
This is the first step to getting to know the crux of who you are, as even though we are spiritual beings, we are attached to our bodies on this earth.
Just for today, make friends with your physical being. Even if you don't feel like it.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Then DO it.
Or, at least, take the steps you need to take to find success in that area.
In early recovery (or anytime at all), it is easy to forget that you got clean to LIVE.
And part of living is doing things that we really WANT to do, but that we are afraid we might not do well.
So what if your pie isn't perfect. So what if you only climb halfway...
The bottom line is that you are thinking new things doing new things and forming a life of self-imposed challenges.
In the beginning, getting clean/sober may be the greatest challenge on which you ever embark; however, the result will be the desire to challenge yourself and grow more and more and more....
Just for today, ACT don't think.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Get up, go to meeting or work, go to gym, go to pick up children...etc. etc. etc.
eat same food for lunch (I know this one all too well), talk to same people at work.
Just like your mind got smaller when you were using, it can continue to get "stuck" during intervals when you don't throw a proverbial "wrench" in your plan.
Just for today do one thing differently. Take a different route, say hello to a different neighbor, watch a different television show, go to a different meeting....
After all, the best laid plans.........
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Go back and find at least one picture of yourself when you were at the "height" of your disease.
Then look at yourself in the mirror or of a picture of you now.
See the difference?
Just for today, make a gratitude list of all of the ways you have been restored to sanity by choosing to take a clean and sober journey through life.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
If you are a classic caregiver, like many fine recovering persons are...
don't forget that after you make the soup to eat it too.
Doing for others is a nice gesture, but you can't be there for others unless you feed yourself as well.
Just for today, focus on activities that feed you literally and figuratively. See how your energy and your heart open up.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
That being said, easy-to-do and and yummy recipes can not only leave you with a healthy, feel-good meal, but they can also give you the boost in self-esteem that doing something creative, successful and good-for-you can provide.
And, of course, with fall breezes and football under way, what better to treat yourself to than a nice bowl of soup.
Now, I am NO chef, but I found this delightful butternut squash soup recipe online last weekend, and not only did it turn out mouth drippingly good, but it also was easy and cheap to make.
I can't remember the site where I found this, so apologies in advance, but here it is for you to enjoy:
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
1 celery stalk
vegetable stock or chicken stock (I use vegetable because I am vegan, but chicken is just as good)
salt to taste
butter to taste
Heat butter in a pan and sautee all chopped ingredients, except for vegetable stock, until browned.
Put all ingredients in a medium sized pot and put your stock in until it covers the vegetables.
Simmer for 40 minutes
Puree' ingredients in a blender
And voila' brilliantly yummy squash soup will make you think you are a gourment chef.
Just for today, try this out. I don't want any excuses either, because I only own one pot and no lid for it (I simmer with a plate on top..ha)...I am also not rich, and this is very much easy to do on a budget.
Give yourself a chance to do something fun and creative, and, please, share your find your first step self-care recipes if you'd like.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
do the dishes
fold some laundry.....or pay a bill....
The point is, sometimes the easiest way to unravel your negative thinking is to do the next right thing in front of you...
This focus on the obvious and on the realities of life will not only take you out of yourself for a minute, but it may even temper a craving to drink, to drug or to get involved in somebody else's business.
Just for Today, focus on the simple things. In the long run, it is the simple things that make for a happy life.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Yes, this did happen to me this evening.
I was unassumingly standing at a bus stop (after already been lost on the train for an hour) and, shazam, I felt a bang, then an ooze.
And, there it was. A raw egg cracked right on my favorite jeans.
Well, there were two choices. Laugh or go into a temper tantrum of self-pity and rage.
Soooo, after an internal struggle with myself as to what I was going to do.....I chose to laugh.
Whether you are new in recovery or just a person in the world trying to live a happy life, the latter choice is always better.
Just for Today, recognize that you can't afford to spend valuable life energy on free-floating anger, or even anger about getting hit by someone else's "mess." After all, you don't need to be left with that "mess" all day.
Laughing is just the better option.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
the doldrums of the reality of life without this "protective layer" set in.
For instance, you may feel more vulnerable, more frightened, more child-like than ever before, because you are "exposing" part of your true self for the first time in a long time.
When the negatives take you for a ride, you basically have two choices: sink or swim...
And since you have tried ....and tried...and tried...and tried..the sinking over and over again...
why not try a new way to swim above the surface?
One clinically proven way to turn the negatives around (as hokey as it sounds) is to make a gratitude list.
You can do the old (A-to-Z) approach that lists things you are grateful for, A-to-Z..or, you can do something called the "ten finger" approach..just find ten things, counting on your ten fingers, you are grateful for every day (or every moment you feel miserable). The act of touching your fingers is also very self-soothing and distracting from negative thoughts.
The trick with gratitude lists, however, is not only to write about what you are grateful for that seems "good" in your life, but to make sure to express gratitude for the things you are struggling with as well.
It will feel as though you are lying at first, and, in many ways, you are...
however, thinking changes feelings and action changes thoughts.
If you think it...and force yourself to think it by this simple practice, you WILL find the good and the gratitude in all you are experiencing.
And the best part?
You get to stay clean and sober for another day.
Just for today, choose life instead of misery. You've already lived the life of the "walking dead," so why not do something different?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"As soon as I came to (insert twelve-step program), I felt at home,"
"I never had a family of my own until I came to ..."
For some people that may be true, but for MANY people in early recovery, the rooms of a twelve-step program can be just as daunting as being social in the "outside world."
After all, we generally use to avoid being uncomfortable in any kind of relationship (including with ourselves), and recovery meetings are asking us not only to have a relationship with ourselves, but with others as well.
While you may be one of the many people who feel "like an outsider looking in," when you begin any sort of recovery, try to keep in mind the following:
YOUR WAY WAS WRONG
YOU MOST LIKELY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WAY IS RIGHT.
No matter where you "land" yourself in early recovery (twelve-step programming, inpatient treatment, therapy, white knuckling it alone, etc...) you are going to feel awkward and uncomfortable.
That is the reality of what recovery is like...
you are also going to get through it over time, unlike your active addiction, which, given continued use, you would NEVER have gotten over.
Try to remember in your early days (and in more "blossomed" recovery when you are having one of those paranoid, "off" days), that even though it may feel like you are an alien in a strange land, that others have walked in yours shoes and that no matter what anyone says, they, too, have been "lonely and frustrated."
They too have "gotten over it."
Just for Today, try not to compare your insides with what you THINK you see on other people's outsides.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Don't take yourself too seriously.
Climb a jungle gym, bake a confetti cake and forget one of the ingredients...
jump on your bed...or better yet, jump on your child's bed if you have one.
Snort when you laugh.
Just be silly.
Just be free.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Here is the deal.
When you are using or indulging in your addiction du jour, you aren't able to take care of yourself.
Those people in recovery who are given the "double whammy" of having grown up in an addicted home, may also have not even learned self-care skills to begin with.
This is nothing to be ashamed of; for it makes up the large majority of people in recovery. But it DOES need to be acquired as a skill in order to have sustainable sobriety.
This may sound simple, but, remember, the early stages of recovery are about going back and learning the elementary things we missed out on when we began indulging in our addictions.
So, it is important to start with the following basic step when learning how to "treat" yourself for self-care in the first months and years of recovery.
Make a List every day, either when you go to bed or when you arise, about the things you did to "take care" of yourself the previous day.
Ask yourself the following questions to start?
Did I eat? Sleep? Exercise? Shower? Brush my teeth? Take any necessary medications? Talk to someone who cares about me? Do Laundry? Pay bills or contact bill collectors? Do something toward recovery? Etc.
These are the BASICS, but, for so many of us, they are simply "thrown by the wayside" when addiction permeates our lives.
If you haven't answered yes to all of these questions, then, perhaps, you need to continue making this list until you acheive a higher level of "self-care" inventory.
And, then, when you are done with "the basics," it is time to move on to more "advanced" levels of self-care "treatment," such as:
cleaning your house, your car, buying yourself flowers, saying thank you to people who have been there all along, etc.
And, only THEN, do you get to start worrying about caregiving other people again..
Just for today focus on yourself. You are worth it.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
In other words, if you are having a hard time figuring out "what to do with myself," now that you are sober, you simply are not EVEN CLOSE to being alone.
Here is a suggestion. Get your thinking skills going again and seek out any and all free activities you can find where you live (either city promoted or YOU promoted).
Concerts, open yoga classes, long walks, snow skiing, sun bathing, movies in the park, bubble baths, drawing, or jumping up and down...
The point is, that you give yourself the power to do two things here:
-find yourself being creative again and less BORING in your own thinking (because that is really the thing that gets boring, not life) and build self-esteem by saving money in the process.
Just for today, don't be a curmudgeon, notice all the free fun around you.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I can't say that I've succeeded at that task very many times in my life. But I sure have tried.
However, the willingness to even try such a behavior can make a world of difference in the life of anyone in recovery.
Of course, when you do try, dreaded FEELINGS may emerge, but, that is the whole point in cleaning up your life.
If you wanted a feelingless life, the numbness of your addiction would have kept you there just fine.
But you didn't, because you chose to stop.
Just for today remember that when you look at sitting still and feeling as a CHOICE, not a life sentence, you will free yourself to move past the feelings and live the life you were meant to live.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Let the chips fall where they may when it comes to recovery friends, family and acquaintances.
One of the sure ways of stunting our own growth process is to try and work another person's recovery process for them.
First, it keeps us from identifying our own issues (and can potentially become another addictive habit to avoid our own feelings), discounts the other person's right to their own life path, and, ultimately, causes everyone involved frustration.
Just for today: Instead of doing for another person what he/she can do for him/herself, do that very thing for yourself.
If you can get better, so can others..and since you you weren't very much help to yourself in your attempts to get better without help, it is most likely you aren't best to help someone else.
Stick with the program of action you have already started on and go from there.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
If you are having a hard time focusing today, either go out and buy the latest US Weekly or check out People online and get a taste of somebody else's chaos for today.
Not only will you be focusing on something simple and "not-so-serious" as your brain may want to imply, but you will also get a valuable lesson...
Even if you had all the money in the world, that STILL wouldn't guarantee you happiness OR sobriety.
Just for today read something ridiculous and keep doing the next right thing.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The bad news about this is two-fold:
Your drug of choice isolated you anyway, so why continue to do the same thing when you are clean (you got clean to get better)
Isolation is like a cess pull of fungus that just feeds on your disease and makes you feel more lonely, depressed, isolated, fearful and anxious (the OPPOSITE) of why you bothered to start your life over again from a sober perspective.
LEAVE THE HOUSE.
Since there can be some balance between isolating and throwing yourself in front of a mass of people, which can also be too overwhelming in early recovery, try something in-between. Sit in the sun, change your walking pattern to the office, read at the coffee shop down the street instead of in your bed...that kind of thing.
Just changing your scenery can make a world of difference.
Try this on for size.
Your disease is most likely the only "thing" that has ever REALLY tried to kill you, so why would you EVER lock yourself up alone with it?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Well, if that is the case, you just aren't alone.
Virtually every addict in early (and sometimes with seasoned) recovery has an overactive, and often negatively influenced brain.
The hard part is knowing how to calm it down enough to let ANYTHING worthwhile, and potentially crucial to your recovery process in...
So, if you are someone who struggles with this problem (i.e. not listening at recovery meetings, inability to sit more than 5 minutes at a time, constant need for some kind of external stimulation, even if it means chattering incessantly to avoid the quiet, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Additionally, there is something you can DO to help it.
And that, in fact, is the ACT of listening more than you speak- a TALL order for anyone, let alone a newly sober alcoholic or addict.
The good news about this is that when you think about the fact that you can CHOOSE to listen and that you aren't TRAPPED in a corner having to listen, then you actually regain the power to make listening a positive trait for you, rather than something you are dreading, for fear that someone will say something you don't want to hear.
Making the CHOICE to listen from a place of 'adulthood,' rather than from a place of victimization can actually make the world of difference.
The more you listen, the more you won't want to speak, and it will also REALLY help quite your brain.
Today's Challenge: Find the person you LEASE like to listen to and start there. After you listen -without interrupting-for at least five minutes, write down at least one thing you learned by listening.
You will be surprised with the results...
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I mean REALLY thought about what you think about and tell yourself on a daily basis?
As an old and dear friend of mine used to say, "If I talked to you the way you talked to you, you would hang up the phone on me..."
And she was absolutely right.
Think of your negative thoughts as an invitation to the baseball game and, literally, bat them back every time you think of someone or something that you just can't abide today.
We all need a good "brain-washing" from time-to-time, so why not start the process today?
Friday, September 11, 2009
Not laughed at something like falling over a railing or laughing over the remnants of an evening you partially remember...but, just a self-generated, sober-influenced laugh that lingered for awhile.
Many therapists and sponsors working with recovering men and women will say that they know the person with whom they work is getting a little better when he/she starts laughing again.
That's just it. Drinking and drugging robs you of one of the fundamental aspects that defines your humanity.
And, not only do you not deserve such a loss, but you DEFINITELY, deserve the chance to get that back and to live the life you were meant to live again (or, even, for the first time).
So, for today, join the equivalent of a Netflix and start ordering any show/movie/sitcom that has ever generated a belly laugh from you in your lifetime; even if it is something you remember from a brief time you might have felt joy in your childhood.
Treat yourself and the child inside of you to the playfulness you've so been triving to obtain through your addiction. Even though this will fill hoaky and, potentially, not so much fun at first, such activities are useful in re-training your brain to seek engagement and "good-times" in activities that are not related to your drug of choice.
Before long you will begin to look for other opportunities to laugh, to engage and, of course, to live life more fully again.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
In glancing over my desk to a card I bought months ago that is taped on the wall, I find that it contains a sobriety tip:
You were wild once. Don't let them tame you.
And, what, prey tell does this mean to you in recovery? This kind of "wild" implies freedom.
Freedom to be. To do. To thrive. To light up a room when you walk into it.
For today, don't confuse "wild" with "drunk" or "high," because that is NO KIND OF FREEDOM. In fact, it is self-imposed captivity.
Just for today, don't let that disease "tame" the you you were meant to be.
Make a list of all the things you did that were freeing before you started using, or all of the things you dream of doing that your diseased robbed from you. The longer you stay in recovery, the more you will be able to check off all of those things returning to your life or coming to you for the first time around.
And, boy, what a sweet smell of success.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Think of it this way. Crying over the past is, in fact, taking important time away from your attempt to make right with the present. Every second you waste thinking about what you should have done before you knew what you needed to know to get some help and get "clean," you are wasting the current time showing gratitude for having a new life to live.
With gratitude follows goodness.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Change without action is dead.
That being said, when a person is on his/her last leg of life, wishing he/she could either die or stop using, it is a far cry from when that same person has been clean a few days/weeks/months and decides that the former effort is uneccessary.
The truth is, that no matter how long you have been clean/sober/ the amount of effort you have had to put into that time (even if you are only a few hours in) will be the amount of effort that is required to maintain it. Certainly, the form will change, but, in most cases, the output of energy will not.
I'll use myself as an example. I have stomcah problems. I don't like having stomach problems, but I also don't like to give up the things I need to give up in order to have said stomach problems miraculously dissapear. I've had stomach surgery. Still, I don't want to give these things up. Hmmm..not such a bright idea.
Recently, my stomach pain had been so unbearable that I vowed to give up the following: all dairy, eggs, wheat, any gluten products and all caffeine. Wow! That sounds like a lot, but I was driven by pain to change.
I started feeling really proud of myself, really on top of the world. 5 days no caffeine, 7 days no gluten..then, this weekend, now that I am feeling less bloated, less exhausted and zero stomach pain, I have this bright idea that coffee might be great.
All of the thoughts you might have about using your drug of choice went through my mind. "Well, i probably 'don't' have a stomach problem because I am feeling good now," or "Feeling good is so uneventful, this is kind of boring. I can handle the pain," or, and this is my personal favorite, 'I DESERVE COFEE BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE CAN HAVE IT....LIFE STINKS IT ISN'T FAIR..."
Hmmm...how is that for some bizarre thinking?
Well, I, didn't indulge in the caffeine, because I know myself well enough to know now that those are self-defeating voices and that caffeine for me is the opposite of my commitment to myself. I had to put out the engery to remind myself why I'd done this, to keep myself from faultering on the very commitment I'd made to myself and to my health.
And, even though I didn't drink the bloody coffee, that other "C" word still scares me if I don't break it down into pieces.
So, how does one pare through this committment word and be okay with it?
How can someone stay sober or abstinent for years?
Well, what seems to work is this:
JUST DON'T THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU ARE COMMITTING, UNTIL YOU ARE IN DANGER OF BREAKING THE COMMITTMENT.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but here is how it works.
When you decide to get clean and sober, remind yourself you aren't trapped or stuck, you are CHOOSING to change..this gives you power back that you have given over to drugs and alcohol (or your preferred substance).
Then, as each sober day passes by, don't think about it, other than doing the normal things you do to keep yourself happy, clean and sober.
When you mind gets sick of you taking care of yourself, and the addict mind always does, then, pull out the committment word for yourself, choose to launch yourself into another phase of recovery, and remind yourself that if you indulge, you will have to commit all over again.
Ahhh..And, really, who wants to do that?
The worst part of committing is often making the initial decision. The longer you commit, the shorter time you have left to do it. Before you know it, you will be clean/sober longer than you haven't, even if it seems like a lifetime, and then you won't want to start this process all over again.
And, for today, I am still caffeine, gluten, dairy, egg, meat free!!!!
One more tip for today, make a list of all the things you CAN do, besides your drug of choice when you are clean! That will turn your thinking around quicker than might imagine.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE AND ABUSE:
The first most important element of beginning treatment for any type of addiction, including alcoholism, is to arm yourself with the facts. One of the best places to begin is with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (more affectionately known as the DSMIV). This book is the go-to manual for all professionals dealing with any mental disorder and list all the facts and symptoms regarding every single mental illness in existence. Alcohol Intoxication, Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Abuse are each listed and defined in this book. A person who has trouble with their drinking or cannot stop drinking despite a strong desire and hig/her best intended efforts can begin here. Notated symptoms, such as "a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking." (symptom of Alcohol Dependence) can lead to an informed decision about whether or not you ned help with your drinking.
NOTE ON OTHER ADDICTIONS:
If you are not someone who struggles with alcohol abuse (or at least it doesn't feel like you do), you can also substitute any other external thing in the definition above (i.e. "a persistent desire to cut down or control crystal meth use, or sexual interactions or gambling or exercising...) You get the idea. ANYTHING you need to control has control over you.