Message of the day

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. - Thomas Jefferson
~...

Need Help? A Drinking Problem Coach Can Teach You How to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction is a mental and physical problem. You are making the right decision when you decide to overcome your alcohol addiction; however, keep in mind that overcoming alcohol addiction alone is not an easy task. Luckily, the task can be easier with the aid of a drinking problem coach. You should consider getting a drinking problem coach.

A drinking problem coach can teach you how to overcome your alcohol addiction safely. If you attempt to tackle your addiction alone, you run the risk of experiencing dangerous and possibly fatal side effects,such as sudden alcohol withdrawal, which can put your body in shock and cause seizures. A coach can help avoid such an outcome by providing safe and effective tips for overcoming your alcohol addiction. Furthermore, a coach can provide ongoing motivational and emotional support. Just knowing that someone believes in you can motivate you to stay on the right track towards recovery. Plus, having someone who is there to lend an ear to your day-to-day problems can reduce negative thoughts that may hinder your progress.

To defeat your addiction, conquer your demands and improve your chances for long-term recovery success you should definitely consider hiring a quitting alcohol addiction coach. There are a number of well-trained, experienced drinking problem coaches just waiting to offer help. Ideally, the coach that you do choose should be able to provide emotional and motivation support on a daily basis. Unfortunately, as with all professions, there are lackluster addiction coaches. You want to avoid those coaches, even if they are free. You don’t want a coach who wastes your time. One bad experience may be enough to discourage you from seeking professional help elsewhere, but it is important to not give up on all coaches. Keep trying different coaches until you find one that suits your needs.

Making a Decision – First Step to Quit Drinking

ʽʽ Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!

- W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

What does it mean to make a decision? A decision is a commitment. It is diving into the now, this moment, the moment that you have right now at this very instant. There is no shadowy future date that awaits your decision because there is no power in tomorrow. A decision requires boldness and that fist pumping exhilaration of Yes, I will!

If you hesitate all is lost. If you start a sentence with “but”, or if you try explaining “I can’t because”, you are doomed. We who have addictions are undisciplined, fearful, and indecisive. We are a slave to our addictions. But in that moment of decision, we hold freedom in the palm of our hands. We just know we can do what we decide. We know that we have all the answers inside of us.

Deciding can change the path you are on in an instant. So be bold, and in this instant- decide. Whatever it is you are struggling with, let it go. Whatever fears you are suppressing, stop playing it safe. Nothing will ever change for you until you make a decision to change.

There is nothing that you can’t do. And in that boldness be the observer. Watch yourself expand and open up to all possibilities. As Murray says, now providence will take over and unforeseen things will occur. If you are in a lonely place, let people into your life that can assist you. No one expects you to do this journey alone. Once you open yourself up to all possibilities your life will be full.

There is only this moment.

In Recovery – Intimate Relationships

When we are inside an addiction, we have an intimate relationship with our substance of choice whether it is alcohol, drugs or food. Or we may have a relationship with an addictive behavior like gambling or shopping. This relationship with an addiction often prevents us from having healthy relationships with the people around us. The addiction isolates us. We can’t seem to connect to people in a healthy way. Too often we might feel that we don’t fit in or we feel lonely and misunderstood. In recovery it is important to replace our intimate relationship with the addiction with healthy relationships.

When I speak of intimacy I am referring to an emotional connection with another person. Even if we can connect with one person, it creates something we can build on. For example, in the television series Grey’s Anatomy the character Cristina is always saying to Meredith, “You are my person.” Cristina has found one person who she can confide in that offers her little or no threat, one person who she can be open and vulnerable with. In turn Meredith has Cristina as “her person”. They share love, mutuality and compassion built on a foundation of respect. They teach each other, learn from each other and trust each other. However, having only one go-to person is not ideal. You can’t get all things from one person, nor should you expect to.

Most people think intimacy is a sexual activity. Sex may be an aspect of intimacy but there are many different forms of intimacy. The relationship between Meredith and Cristina is an intimate relationship, but it doesn’t involve any physical activity. If you think about it, you may have more intimate relationships in your life than you realize.

In their book “The Intimate Marriage”, H.J. Clinebell and C. H. Clinebell describe many types of intimacy. Besides sexual intimacy there is emotional intimacy whereby you share your thoughts and feelings with one another. There is intellectual intimacy when you can share ideas, and learn from each other.

If you enjoy sports you may share an intimate relationship with someone who shares your fitness goals, or enjoys watching competitive events for fun. You may have also have relationships at work that bind you as you share responsibilities and work on common tasks. During times of crisis or conflict you might share closeness with someone who helps you cope. You may have someone close to you who shares a love of beauty, music, or the arts. You may have projects that you co-create with someone and through that process you develop a bond. You may have a spiritual intimacy with someone whom you can share philosophies or religious experiences.

An addiction often takes away our intimate relationships. An alcohol or drug addiction affects our relationships with nearly everyone around us including our family, friends and co-workers. We stop doing many of the activities that we used to do and lose the connections with those people who we shared things with. We even stop doing the things that we are passionate about. One by one our healthy relationships fall to the wayside. Our goal once in recovery is to start getting those relationships back. Some we can repair and some we can’t, but finding a connection to someone who is “on your side” and who you can say, “You are MY person” is a healthy start.

Peer Pressure in Adulthood

Unwittingly, some of us carry around our experiences with peer pressure, from our youth into adulthood. Remember when, in high school for example, there was a constant stream of information telling us how to fit in, how to dress, how to act, and how to become one of the “beautiful people”? Who did not want to be popular and be accepted by our peers?

If we were in the popular crowd, we were fortunate. However, we were conforming to what was expected of us to stay there. If we were not so fortunate, we felt like an outsider and the message became “you are not good enough”.

The peer pressure experienced from our past can echo into our present. Sometimes we go to any length to be accepted and liked, both in our professional and personal lives. After all, we need to hear positive things about ourselves and be recognized and valued. That’s normal. But if our self esteem or confidence has been threatened by some trauma from the past and if we feel that we are not good enough, an addiction can fill that void. Some of us can turn to food, others to gambling, alcohol or drugs. For a little while this works.

When we decide to make changes in our lives, like dealing with an addiction, we often do a mental checklist to be sure that we will still be accepted by our peers. We question whether we will continue to fit in. Our concerns may go something like this: (and you can substitute the word “drinking” with the addiction that you are living with.)

What will people think about me if I quit drinking?

What am I going to say to people when I refuse a drink?

Will people treat me the same way when I stop drinking?

Will people think I have a problem and therefore am weak?

Will people find out that I have an addiction?

Reflections:

1. What are some of the messages about yourself that you received in the past from other people?

2. What are the messages you are receiving from people now?

3. Do you care so much about what others think that it is stopping you from getting well?

4. How much do you want to change?

5. How much do you worry about what others will think?

The Trouble with Al Anon

The trouble with Al-Anon is that many people have misconceptions of what it really is. These misconceptions keep people from a joining the organization and that is a real shame. Here are some common misconceptions:

1. Al Anon is not a group of people married to drunks who” huddle around a meeting room, making the most of their spouse’s drinking, forgiving them and thinking of little ways to help them.”                     Melodie Beattie “Codependent No More”

2. Al Anon is not an organization to join if you want to do one more good deed for your alcoholic spouse.
3. Al Anon is not an organization where you sit around discussing the problems of the drinker.
4. Al Anon is not an organization that teaches you how to control “ your” alcoholic.
5. Al Anon is not an organization that instructs you how to get your alcoholic to stop drinking or an addict to stop using.
6. Al Anon is not an organization that asks you to keep giving more and more of yourself to the addicted person.
7. Al Anon is not just an organization for spouses of alcoholics, but helps millions of other codependents in similar circumstances to get their life back.

In fact it’s really not about the alcoholic at all. It’s about YOU – the spouse or loved one.

Alcohol and drug addiction affects everyone whether it is the children of an alcoholic, significant other, mother or father of an addict and other family members. But that can be hard to accept. After all we cry,“It’s the alcohol dependent person that is sick – not me! It is their fault that we are in a financial crisis, it’s their fault that our relationship is falling apart, and it is their fault that I feel lonely, scared, angry and hopeless”.

If you feel exhausted and defeated at the end of the day, and you think tomorrow will be better, and then tomorrow is a hell of a day and on and on – do you really want to feel that way one more day? You too are entitled to “get better.” And that is what Al Anon is all about. It offers support for the people left in the wake of addiction. To get started find a meeting near you. Al Anon offers a simple three-part formula for success called “HOW”: Honesty, Openness, and Willingness.

In Recovery – Benefits of a Recovery Journal

I always wanted to be a writer and during some of my drinking sprees, I would open that second bottle of wine, get out pen and paper and start writing what I thought were very important and life changing revelations. These writings seemed to be in the form of letters. I remember writing long letters to my Father (because I had “Daddy” issues; and because phoning him at that hour of the night wouldn’t win me the kind of attention I wanted). I also wrote letters to my husband (because I had “husband” issues; although I’m only on my third), and I often wrote letters for the benefit of all mankind.

In the morning I would take my sick self downstairs and find my illegible scratching strewn across my desk or under the desk. Sometimes I would find these letters in unexpected places, probably because I wanted them to be my private musings and thought to hide them away. I actually thought that these letters contained brilliant gems of wisdom and that I should keep them for future reference. Ironically, during my alcohol free days, I was absolutely mute. I could not put one word on a piece of paper. This led me further to believe that my real genius only comes out when I am drinking wine in copious amounts.

This was my feeble attempt at starting a personal journal and it was a huge benefit to me. It kept me occupied and stopped me from making embarrassing phone calls in the middle of the night.

There are all types of journals. Some people start travel diaries, bug-list diaries, prayer diaries, confession diaries, weather diaries. Others have companion journals where they write down the private parts of their life. And yes, journals can even be in the form of letters. Take for example the letters written by John Adams to his wife Abigail. They exchanged over 1100 letters which follow their courtship and his political career.

Barnet and Stubbs draw a distinction between a journal and a diary.

“A diary mentions things that have happened; a journal reflects on the happenings. A diary lists appointments; a journal records events, but gives some sense of why they were meaningful.”

If you are trying to overcome an addiction, journal writing is a valuable tool and it will take you far. A recovery journal should contain both types of entries – diary entries where you keep track of your recovery process, document specific tasks that you have completed, follow day to day stats on alcohol consumption or cravings; and it should also contain journal type entries, where you can look at your inner self, where you can reflect, get “stuff” out of your head and attempt to understand the world around you and understand yourself.

I know that it’s scary to look inward, especially for an alcoholic or addict. We often think that inward is where our addiction lives. If we look there we will find only insanity, dark and depraved thoughts, regrets and self hatred. But a recovery journal is a lot different than you might think. A recovery journal is all about new beginnings – a renewal so to speak. It is like having an intimate friend or maybe it is something that you can come home to and settle in with like a great cup of coffee or a fluffy pillow. It is your security blanket.

A recovery journal starts at the beginning of your recovery and follows you until you reach the end. You will want to review past entries to see how much you have grown and remind yourself of the issues that you have tackled and the things that you are still working on.

Here are some ideas that you can start with to get going on your recovery journal. I would recommend dividing the journal into different sections. Some sections will be more like diary entries and other sections more reflective.

My Recovery
This section documents your recovery process. Record when you fall down and when you get up. Record the hurdles you have overcome. Record your drinking levels (if you are stepping down). Record your level of cravings from no cravings to severe. Record tasks and activities you have done during recovery. What worked and what didn’t work.

Questions about Recovery
Most people in recovery have a support system, coach or therapist. Jot down things you don’t understand, or questions that you need answered and ask your coach or counselor at your next session. For e.g. you might want to know how to make a recovery plan, or find out how long your cravings will last, or maybe you want to know why you feel anxious all the time.

Unfinished Business
There is likely to be many things that have been neglected because of your addiction. You may have neglected things in your life such as finances, your home, your family, your job. Tasks have been half done or never started. Now that your family sees that you are sober they put more and more demands on your time. All of this can be overwhelming to say the least. You are just one person and sobriety is your number one job. In this section you can make to-do lists and complete the tasks as you can in order of importance.

Hopes and Dreams
Write down the good things you want for you and your family and your hopes for the future. There is no use dreaming small when you can dream big. After all, this is a confidential journal and no one will read it. You are perfectly safe in writing that you want to be the first woman on mars wearing Chanel in Prada heels.

Feelings and Emotions

During the recovery process, you many experience many different kinds of emotions – both good and bad. This is the brain “off” of drugs. Depression is common when coming off of alcohol. You may get angry easily or become anxious, fearful or jealous. Practice naming your feelings or describing them on paper. If you are angry for e.g., writing it all down is better than lashing out.

Reflections and Musings
Here you may want to include life lessons that you have learned or thoughts about the world around you and how you fit into it. Or you may just want to record a daydream.

These are just a few examples of the things you can put in your recovery journal, but there are hundreds of options. Remember that this journal is a record of your journey. It is just for you and should be kept confidential. Always be honest with yourself and when you are ready to “look inward” add that as another section in your journal. You will find nothing there that you and your journal can’t handle together.

I am sure that you are wondering about my private letters mentioned earlier and if they have survived after all these years for the sake of future humanity. I regret telling you that they were lost in a fire – a bonfire!

Feeling Good Without an Addiction

When a person quits drinking alcohol or tries quitting any kind of addiction one is often left with an empty feeling or a kind of void or black hole; also time – minutes and hours of time to fill that were once taken up by the addiction. I’m not sure which is worse – the depression of the black hole or all that extra time. How to fill that void and fill those hours is a challenge to any recovering addict. If you are successful with this, you will likely be well on your way to recovery – if not, you will probably relapse or replace one addiction with another. For e.g. some may quit drinking but then start to smoke, gamble, or over eat. Some get hooked on addictive medications or pain killers. Some are drawn to dangerous thrill seeking or sex addictions. Notice that the new addiction may be just as destructive as the last. Why do we feel so good (we think) with an addiction and so bad when we stop?

The human brain is an extraordinary organ. It controls everything. It allows us to think, dream, solve problems, and feel emotion. When we drink, eat, or take drugs the brain then releases a chemical called dopamine which then gives us feelings of pleasure. The brain remembers this pleasure and of course wants to experience this over and over again. Let’s use food for example; we eat every day to survive and this is of course more important than any other need. But when someone drinks alcohol, the brain takes on the same need as when you eat, but this need becomes more important than any other need and eventually the addiction is so strong that nothing else matters and instead of getting pleasure from the addiction you end up depending on it just to get through the day.

Naturally we as humans love the way our brain produces the dopamine and gives us pleasure. So when someone quits drinking and doesn`t feel that pleasure anymore it can create other emotions such as sadness, anxiety, stress, and depression. Did you know that we can replace our bad addiction with a healthy one and still feel that pleasure?

Here are a few things that you can do to get that good feeling back plus fill your time with healthy choices:

• Eat healthy. Get involved with grocery shopping and cooking. Foods such as bananas, watermelon, beets, chicken, fish, and cheese help replace depleted nutrients. Most people with an alcohol addiction are malnourished, even though they swear that they eat well. Alcohol inhibits the bodies ability to absorb nutrients. Plus alcohol is full of empty calories.

• Take vitamin supplements. You aren’t going to be able to get all your nutrients from food and being deficient of vitamins and minerals affects your health in profound ways. Alcohol induced deficiencies include Folic Acid, Thiamine, Niacin, Riboflavin, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.

• Supplement Minerals. Magnesium is known to increase dopamine levels. Being deficient in magnesium can lead to anxiety, depression, muscle spasm, tremors and chronic pain. Other mineral deficiencies may include Calcium and Zinc.

• Try Ginko Biloba. Ginko Biloba contains flavonoids known to improve memory and enhance dopamine levels.

• Exercise. Have you ever heard of runners high? Vigorous exercise is a serious mood boost. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy and make it part of your weekly routine.

• Try Green Tea. Green tea contains polyphenols which can increase dopamine levels. Plus green tea is a healthy choice.

• Start a journal. Journaling is a great way to de stress, plus it keeps your thoughts from going round and round in your head. Write down your struggles, your frustrations and resentments, your goals. Journaling keeps you conscious of how you are thinking. If your thinking is getting too negative add a gratitude list to your journal.

• Meditation. Learning meditation is an art, but to keep it simple, find a quiet place and each day sit and be still. Concentrate on your breath going in and out. Try doing this for 10 minutes and then increase the time as you feel comfortable. Your brain will probably jump from one problem to another, but keep at it, and in time meditation will improve concentration and decision making and lower anxiety. If this seems too hard, and you aren’t getting anywhere with it, try Yoga.

• Do something you love. There is no better medicine in the world than being passionate about something. Return to things that you left behind because of your addiction. Get involved in your life and enjoy yourself. Laugh often.

Yes we all miss the high of our addictions. After all, if we weren’t getting something out of them, why keep them up? Stopping an addiction isn’t easy and when our moods plummet to anxiety, worry, depression and fear, it is easy to just go back to what we know. We know the addiction will make us feel better. It is the “feeling” that we want, not all the destructive behaviors that go with it. Unfortunately, chasing that “feeling” results in millions of deaths each year. Try the simple methods above to improve your chances of staying well. If these natural methods don’t work, consult a doctor for medications.

Attaining and Maintaining Change

Change is Not Easy
Whether people participate in the formal rehabilitation process or not, making change is never easy and requires a great deal of effort to attain the desired changes and then maintain them. Sometimes it can take a long time. And maintaining change is a lifelong task.

There are 3 stages of change:
1. Action
2. Maintenance
3. Termination

Action Stage
Making a change can be difficult for people because early action is often not rewarding. Particularly when changing addictive behaviors, there can be “much pain with no apparent gain” as people go through detoxification and experience withdrawal. Having support early on helps. Coaches and councilors can provide support and encouragement to help maintain the two necessary conditions for successful action. A coach will also remind people of the “game plan” (rehabilitation plan) and even adjust the plan to meet changing needs and circumstances. The goal of the action stage is to sustain successful behavior change for a long enough period of time for the person making change to gain some feelings of stability. Once the person has gained some resiliency and self –efficacy they will then move on to the maintenance stage of change.

Maintenance Stage
As the saying goes “getting there is only half the battle.” The maintenance stage is another period where the individual needs to learn new coping methods. Two factors have been identified as fundamental to successful maintenance: sustained, long term effort, and revised lifestyle. Revised Lifestyle is the key factor identifier of the maintenance stage of change. Negative thoughts have to be replaced with positive thoughts; problematic conditions need to be replaced with non-problematic ones. These substitutions promote growth and the development of holistic lifestyle changes- changes that may ultimately become the norm and totally replace the old addiction.

Termination Stage
The termination stage has been described as the ultimate goal for changers. A person who has reduced his level of alcohol consumption to regular involvement, with no associated harms for 10 years, but still avoids an annual fishing trip with his buddies because he is not certain he can resist binge drinking in that situation, has successfully changed, and remains in maintenance.
Research and clinical experience indicate there are four defining criteria between lifetime maintenance and the termination stage:
 A new self-image

 No temptation in any situation

 Solid self confidence

 A healthier lifestyle
When individuals reach the termination stage they are no longer actively involved in changing or maintaining changes around that old behavior. Their work in that area is over and they may look to new challenges and changes.

Always Monitor Change
It is always important to monitor change because work is still necessary in your recovery. Remember that ongoing monitoring of actions and progress/regress is necessary for success. Speak to your coach or councilor about an aftercare plan or methods for self-monitoring.

Stopping Drinking Starts With a Decision

”Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
- W. H. Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

What does it mean to make a decision? A decision is a commitment. It is diving into the now, this moment, the moment that you have right now at this very instant. There is no shadowy future date that awaits your decision because there is no power in tomorrow. A decision requires boldness and that fist pumping exhilaration of Yes, I will!

If you hesitate all is lost. If you start a sentence with “but”, or if you try explaining “I can’t because”, you are doomed. You can mouth the words “Yes I will stop drinking, or Yes I will quit using, but the words are ineffective if you didn’t really make a decision. Nothing is clear.

When you experience a moment of clarity all things make sense and all things are possible. Fear is but a distant enemy and is swooped aside for freedom. Because in deciding we are free. We who have addictions are undisciplined, fearful, and indecisive. We are a slave to our addictions. But in that moment of decision, we hold freedom in the palm of our hands. We just know we can do what we decide. We know that we have all the answers inside of us.

Deciding can change the path you are on in an instant. So be bold, and in this instant decide. Whatever it is you are struggling with, let it go. Whatever fears you are suppressing, stop playing it safe. Nothing will ever change for you until you make a decision to change.

There is nothing that you can’t do. And in that boldness be the observer. Watch yourself expand and open up to all possibilities. As Murray says, now providence will take over and unforeseen things will occur. If you are in a lonely place, let people into your life that can assist you. No one expects you to do this journey alone. Once you open yourself up to all possibilities your life will be full.

There is only this moment.

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The material on our website is for informational purposes only, and is intended as a supplement, not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health-care provider. Read more...