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Addiction and Treating The Underlying Causes Of Destructive Behaviour

It is a misconception that addiction is all about the drug. Many people believe that once an addict is clean from a drug the hard part is done and dusted and the process of staying off the drugs is easy. This could not be further from the truth. In most cases for an addict the easiest part is getting clean from his drug of choice and the hard part is staying clean and learning how to live without his drug of choice.

Yes it is true that some addicts struggle with getting physically clean from their drug of choice and depending on the drug the addict may need a medically assisted detox. This can make the process of getting clean tough, however the real hard work begins when the addict is considered sober and then has to face life and reality without drugs.

Addiction and Treating The Underlying Cause Of Destructive Behaviour

Trauma and Addiction

According to studies two thirds of drug addicts that seek treatment report being sexually, physically and/ or emotionally abused during childhood.

When a child is growing up his circumstances and experiences will certainly impact his physical and psychological development. Very often these issues are not resolved during childhood and unless dealt with as part of the addiction recovery process these issues will continue to add to the addict’s self destructive behavior.

There is also a link between PTSD and addiction. About 50 – 60% of people that suffer from PTSD have addiction problems, the reverse is true too where. Anyone that has gone through a very traumatic event, like rape, often suffers from PTSD and/ or other psychological problems.

This much is clear – the relationship between substance abuse and trauma is closely intertwined. Click here to find out more about trauma and addiction treatment.

Childhood abuse alcoholism

Trauma During Addiction

Now while it is clear that trauma and addiction are closely linked showing that trauma may contributing to addictive behaviors there is another side to it. While an addict is in active addiction there are countless more traumatic moments. Some severe and some not so severe but still traumatic.

Addicts are well known for wrecking their own lives and the lives of those that they love. Someone that is normally a calm and loving person yet addicted to drugs, may become aggressive and abusive towards his family.

It is simply not possible for an addictive to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Love relationships will be destructive and toxic and most likely with a partner that is also an addict.

Losing a job, losing a home, getting a divorce and being arrested are all terribly traumatic things to happen to anyone and chances are that if you are an addict you have done every single one of these, often more than once.

Very often an addict has a dual diagnosis which means that he suffers from a mental disorder as well as the addiction. This is hardly surprising since going through so much trauma will inevitably lead to things like anxiety, depression, PTSD and more. Drugs and alcohol can also change the chemistry of the brain to even further complicate matters.

Individual Counselling session

 The Importance Of Dealing With Underlying Issues

Focusing on the causes of destructive behaviors is essential during the process of recovery from addiction. Treating the cause of the destructive behaviors and not just the symptoms will help addicts to achieve and maintain long term recovery.

In order to prevent relapse it is essential for addicts to receive trauma counselling to deal with unresolved issues.

Family therapy is also vitally important to recovery from addiction. Family relations will no doubt have suffered damage during the course of addiction. Very often the addict is not the only person in the family that has suffered from trauma and these family patterns will have destructive effects if they are not addressed during therapy.

Very often family members of the addict are addicts themselves, or codependents that are enabling the addicts behaviour.

The addict needs to not only deal with the underlying issues surrounding his addiction, but also be taught new ways of coping with emotional pain, stress and anxiety that has resulted from trauma but also from every day events, so that he can cope with life in a healthy way when leaving treatment for addiction.

When the addict recognizes and understand the triggers and reasons behind them that drive him to use he can start applying the healthy coping skills learned in treatment to help prevent relapsing. Click here to read more about relapse prevention.

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Reclaim Your Apartment After Living With Your Ex

It’s never a happy situation to go through, a breakup. But what’s even worse is when you go through a breakup, and you’ve still got to live with your partner, at least for a little while. With all of the stress, anxiety, and trying to avoid one another until they leave, the relationship can taint your apartment. So when they finally go, how can you reclaim the apartment as your own once again, but also make sure that you move on with your life?

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Redecorate

The first thing you should try and do is alter the feel of the place. Once your ex has finally bid goodbye to the place, it’s time to take advantage of making the space completely your own. You might need a bit of help, and there are plenty of renovation companies like World of Renovation that can help you out, or if you are struggling financially, pepper the place with some accessories that you didn’t dare hang up before. It’s your space, do what you want with it!

Don’t Let Them Get Away Without Paying Their Half

You might be blindsided with rage and so eager to get them out the door, that you could be lumbered with a massive electric bill. This could be the most difficult part of splitting up, apart from the emotional impact of course, but if they try to get away scot-free, and emails or phone calls aren’t cutting it, you are within your rights to demand they pay up. This might be an incredible annoyance, but at the end of the day, if you are struggling to make ends meet, this money can mean the difference between you staying in the apartment and moving out. Finalizing the bills is an annoying process, to say the least, but if the relationship ends on a sour note, they may try and get away without paying their fair share. Of course, this is completely unfair on you, and it may not feel like it’s worth the fight, but you are with yourself to fight your corner, especially if you’ve been putting up with so much crap during the relationship.

Give Yourself The Time To Grieve

For all of the painful aspects of breaking up with anyone, and the inevitable fall out over money, you might forget to grieve. You shared an apartment together, and it could be difficult for the first month or two, or even longer if you decide to stay there. But, there’s a reason you’re staying in this apartment, and, more than likely, it’s because it’s too good to give up! So, allow yourself the time to grieve the relationship. Yes, you have precious memories with your ex here, but life moves on, so don’t beat yourself up about the relationship ending. And, after all, and you’ve got the apartment to redecorate and make your own!

Some of us just want to move on as quickly as possible, and this means leaving the apartment behind. Sometimes though, you’ve bought an apartment, or it’s a space that’s too good to leave. It can mean a difficult transition period, but reclaiming your apartment means you can just put your stamp all over it now. You don’t need to share the space, so embrace this!

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Getting Through My Miscarriage (Mostly) Sober

This year started off so well for me. I even wrote a blog on Wealthy Affiliate titled 2018 Is Going To Be Amazing because business was coming in and I was feeling so positive. 2018 was going to be the year it all came together for me. I could feel it!

Just two weeks later I found myself in hospital finding out that I was pregnant (huge shock here since I was sterilized), I was losing my baby and my life was in danger. I had an ectopic pregnancy, which is where the fetus embeds outside the womb. There is no chance the baby will be able to make it because it was in my tube and my tube had ruptured. I had internal bleeding and if they didn’t operate I would die.

Honestly I drove to hospital convinced that my appendix had burst and praying for anything else. Funny how you pray for something and then realize that the first option would have been so much easier.

Getting Through My Miscarriage (Mostly) Sober

If you have been following my blog or read my ebook then you will know that my addiction has taken me to some dark and ugly places. The thing is that this experience I went through less than 2 months ago was so intensely painful, it beats anything that I have ever been through hands down. I’ve been beaten, I’ve been abused and I’ve been raped. And I’m still standing… but this miscarriage brought me to my knees.

I didn’t want another baby, that is why I had my tubes cut when my son was born in 2013. But that doesn’t change how I felt when I found out I was pregnant. It was a shock, but it was my baby. Then I was losing it. Having that come at me out of the blue knocked me so flat I can’t even describe the feeling.

One of the big things for me being an addict is that I struggle to cope with intense feelings. My coping mechanism for so many years was drugs and alcohol that it can be very hard for me to sit with uncomfortable feelings and just feel them.

After my opI remember clearly lying on the operating table feeling the anesthetics stinging in my arm, about to knock me out. Tears rolling out of my eyes, wondering how on earth I got to this place. I was just feeling the shock and it felt like seconds later when I woke up vomiting and crying. It was done, my baby was gone.

A few hours after the operation a doctor came in to see me and he said he sees on my chart I am an addict and that I have been prescribed an anti-inflammatory and paracetamol, but he just wants me to know that if I do need it he has prescribed morphine. I was nauseas, emotional and in pain. I told him thank you, I will let him know.

I closed my eyes and I thought about the absolutely divine oblivion that morphine would bring me. All this pain would magically go away, I could block the events of the last few hours out.

It dawned on me suddenly that not once did I think about the physical pain while considering taking morphine, I didn’t care about the physical pain. I wanted my mind to be blotto. I wanted respite from the emotional and spiritual pain I was in.


When the doctor came back to check on me I asked him to please scratch out the morphine on my chart. I must not have it. It hurt just saying that to him. I was going to do this the hard way, the recovery way. Have I said yet how much I resent paracetamol? I’m not sure but really I do. When everyone else is getting all the good stuff I get paracetamol after an operation. That stuff doesn’t even work for a headache… but I will take them anyway and just hope that they do something.

A week after my operation I went to my GP for a checkup and he said I had a slight infection so I was put on antibiotics. He asked me how the pain was and I told him awful so he gave me some more meds. I barely looked at the meds, I was struggling to cope and I have had the same GP for nearly 7 years.

That was on a Monday afternoon. On the Wednesday afternoon at about 4pm I started feeling edgy, anxious and short tempered. I checked my watch to see if it was time for my meds… still a few hours till meds time. Then I started grinding my teeth…. and connected the dots. My husband was home early and I asked him to please check the medication. He came back to me and said it doesn’t look like there is anything addictive. But I knew. I could feel it. The hunger. I asked him to check everything in it online for me please.

I was too jittery and uncomfortable to do it myself. I was in the bedroom and I kept the door closed.

He came back and told me it has Tramadol in it. Geez I even published a blog post on my website about Tramadol. Forehead slap.

I couldn’t believe it had taken me 3 days to realize I was high. I felt so darn stupid. Then again I had been feeling dissociated a lot since the operation, so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

I phoned my mother to let her know, just to be on the safe side. Who knows what might happen even though I have  years clean time behind me. It was a little scary. I looked up the withdrawal symptoms of Tramadol and it looked quite rotten but I had not been taking more than was prescribed and it was only 3 days of use.

I take Seroquel in small doses to help me with my insomnia and when I am struggling with my bipolar disorder or under a lot of stress I chat to my doctor and increase my Seroquel dosage for a while.

I got hold of my GP on whatsapp and let him know he gave me addictive medication and asked if I could double up my Seroquel for the night to get myself to sleep and he said that is fine, along with an apology.

Fortunately I fell asleep quite quickly and aside from feeling a little but ditsy for a couple of days I coped fine, thankfully.

Beautiful white and pink flowers

A number of people have told me that I should take this further with my GP but really this is as much my responsibility in my eyes. Every time I get prescribed medication I have always reminded my GP and when I ask the pharmacist for over the counter medication I always tell him too. When I get home with any new medication I always do a final check before taking anything.

This time I did none of those things, I was prescribed medication and I came home and took it. It is a lesson for me to never left my guard up. My recovery is my responsibility.

The funny thing is that when the physical pain starting easing up it was awful. When I was in physical pain it took my attention away from  my emotional pain. When the physical pain was gone then I started having to face what I was feeling emotionally. It reminded me of when I used to cut myself to get away from what I was feeling.

It’s been 7+ weeks since my miscarriage and things are a lot easier now. For the first few weeks it was such a roller-coaster of pain and tears. I did write about my miscarriage on my parenting blog 10 days after it happened, but I couldn’t quite get the courage or strength to share about it here too until now.


Here are some of the things that helped me to get through this awful experience sober (or mostly anyway):

  • Talking about my feelings with my husband, mom, sisters and close girlfriends.
  • Writing – both on my blog and in my journal.
  • Being kind to myself – avoiding negative self talk and being loving towards myself.
  • Resting and allowing myself to be sad. Letting myself cry when I felt overwhelmed.
  • Having a session with my counselor when I got out of hospital.
  • Remembering that this is a process and my healing won’t be in a straight line.
  • Allowing myself to grieve for my lost baby.

There are still so many moments of sadness and lots of tears. I can hardly think about what happened without shedding some tears.

Life is going to throw curve balls and even in long term recovery there will be tough moments. Being clean doesn’t mean that things are always going to be easy, in fact some of the hard moments are really intense, but I don’t need drugs or alcohol to blot them out. I can face them and I can get through it in one piece.

What hard things have you had to face in recovery?

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Top 5 Tech Products for Managing Mental Health

When it comes to managing your mental health, you usually don’t think of technology as the number one solution. Therapy and medication are much more common. But the truth is, there is some great technology out there that can help you manage your mental health in accordance with the medication and treatment plan that your provider has given you. Let’s take a look at five technologies

Apps Mental Health

Reveal

Reveal is targeted towards a very specific segment of people with mental health problems – those with autism. It monitors the mood and behavior of an autistic person, giving the caregiver a great deal more information about what is going on in their head. Reveal can help to prevent meltdowns which can sometimes happen with autism, as well as help parents and other caregivers to be able to respond when a child or autistic person want something but cannot communicate exactly what that is.




ELF Emmit

ELF Emmit is an all-around system for improving your mind and body. This tool helps you with learning how to focus better, sleep deeper, meditate and even improve your ability to learn. It might seem a little strange at first, but the technology works with the digital metronome that is very stylish. You wear this metronome around your head and it is able to affect your brain waves to adjust your mind and body to what sort of mood you want to be in. Although it is not necessarily considered a medical device, it does use an accepted scientific principle called PEMT, which stands for pulsed electromagnetic therapy – an FDA approved treatment technique

Feel/Spire

Both Feel and Spire are devices that help you determine what your mood currently is in change it if necessary. Some people wear their emotions openly, but others are more difficult to understand which makes social interaction difficult as well. It is also difficult sometimes to get into your own headspace and be able to make adjustments. But applications like Feel and Spire track your emotions throughout the day and give you personalized coaching that will make it easier to recognize your emotions and deal with them in a healthy way. These applications can detect sadness, happiness, anger, stress and much more. They use bio-signals in order to measure these things.

Mobile showing apps

Fisher-Wallace Stimulator

Another tool that is changing the mental health landscape is called the Fisher Wallace stimulator. This is an FDA approved device that helps to treat depression, anxiety and even more mental health issues. Experts are even hoping that illnesses such as bipolar disorder might benefit from devices like these. The Fisher-Wallace stimulator is not available to the public without the recommendation and supervision of your provider, but neural stimulation therapy is going to be one of the technologies that help to eradicate mental health problems in the coming future.




Pacifica

Finally, there is a mobile app called Pacifica that is an extremely valuable resource when it comes to mental health treatment. Apps like Pacifica can help people learn how to manage their anxiety better; get out of depressive episodes when they have them and in general, live healthier happier lives. Pacifica uses cognitive behavioral therapy as well as techniques for relaxation and cycle breaking in order to treat a variety of mental health symptoms.

One final tech product that has been very useful in managing mental health is the medical alert bracelet. The technology on medical alert bracelets has advanced so much now that they are being used for more than just emergencies. You should find the best one and make sure that you have it on you.

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Sticking Together Through Easy Riding and Bumpy Roads

Getting into a relationship is an exciting, butterfly spamming experience that will begin setting you up for the rest of your life. You will have no doubt gone through an endless number of relationships, from innocent schoolyard hand holding to your first serious experiences as a teenager, to university flings and then, now you are older, to your first forays into the world of an adult relationship.

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You will also, at some point, experienced heartache. This could be for any number of reasons. But some of these reasons can include immaturity, you and your previous partner wanting wholly different things, or merely just coming to the end of some finding-yourself experiment.

You will have loved and laughed and learned. As you grow older, the need to be with someone is something that slips into everybody’s mind. When you find this person, you will realise sooner rather than later that this is the person you want to be with without caring about what anybody else may think. You will accept all their faults and stand by them throughout everything that comes your way. You will stop being an I and instead become We.

Because of this, you both need to work together to hold on to one another, no matter if the road ahead looks fraught with challenges, or even if things seem to be going exceptionally well.

YOUR PROBLEMS ARE OUR PROBLEMS

Continual support for your partner throughout thick and thin is essential for fostering a relationship built on trust and transparency where you are open about anything and everything. This will allow you both to avoid any unfortunate surprises as well as feel comfortable in discussing any issues that you may have.

And these problems can range from minute issues such as the way you cook your eggs to something further, something more damaging that, if not discussed openly can have ruinous effects on your relationship. This can include things such as addictions, anxieties, doubts, and anything else that if not talked about can breed distrust and only cause further problems later on.

In situations such as this and as terrifying a prospect as discussing your supposed faults and issues with your partner, you will feel better receiving support for it all once it is said and done. Furthermore, while there is a large chance that your partner may decide it is not for them – through no fault of their own, some people just react like that – at least it will save you both further heartache down the line.

If they do decide to leave, then you should at least hope to still have their support in helping you change for the better. If not, then it is for the best you have both decided to move on. In relationships, there is no such thing as an isolated problem, and no one person is an island. However, hiding these problems from your partner will only exacerbate the issue later on.




TOGETHER WHATEVER

The fact that we can travel far and wide in the modern world has granted people the opportunity to meet anybody, anywhere and perhaps even fall in love with them. It is becoming something of a romantic tale that two people meet while in a different country, experience all the wonders of the word together and then, at the airport at the end of it all, have to say goodbye.

Long distance can be a tough thing to tackle. However, if you can make it work, then it will build a stronger relationship that is sure to last a lifetime. Before embarking on something that will change the course of your life though, you need to ensure that you can handle living together.

Visiting your partner’s country and living with them for a time can be something that will make or break your future. You will learn more about each other and be able to understand what cohabitation is like. From here, you will be able to work out any issues in the relationship and move forward. Or, you will realise that it is perhaps just not meant to be and go home.

If you do realise that this person is seriously the one, then you will eventually want to look into one of you staying permanently in the other’s home country. Those with dual citizenship for both your and their country will find these easy. However, those without it can look into more information on spouse visas which will give you everything you need regarding the transition from old home to new.

FROM DISAPPOINTMENT BLOOMS HOPE

Every couple will at some point in their lives suffer a disappointment that maybe came out of nowhere and it seems that everything is tumbling toward a downward spiral that looks impossible to recover from. This disappointment can stem from the inability to conceive, being denied a loan to buy a house and start the next stage of your life, or getting promotions at work or looking for a new job.

When this disappointment does strike, it is only natural to believe that things will only get worse. However, no matter how bleak and grim your situation may seem at the minute, it is essential that you keep your chin up and continue moving forward.

As bad as things can get, believing that things can, and will, only get better is vital to building on this disappointment and striving towards improving your situation. Taking on a positive attitude may seem impossible in any depressing situation, but letting this disappointment consume you will only make things worse, even if you felt they wouldn’t get any worse.

Understanding that your disappointment will bloom hope is the first step to making things better. While this may take time, it will pay great dividends in the long-term. No matter what the disappointment may be, looking towards ways in which you can change your situation, as opposed to wallowing in self-pity, will make the transition easier than you might have expected. You can’t predict what will happen in your life, so assuming that there is no light at the end of the tunnel is counterproductive.  Things will get better, but only if you and your partner make an effort to improve them.




CLEAN SAILING

There will be tough times in your relationship, but there will also be times where everything is perfect. These are the times where food tastes sweeter, the sky is bluer, and you hit every green light on the way to work. Life, in a word, is excellent.

And during these times you will have an extra spring in your step. You won’t fight with your partner over insignificant issues, you will look to support them in everything and be supported in return, and it feels as if you have developed a bond that no one can break.

However, as blissful as this may be, it can also lead to complacency. Just because everything is peachy and you find yourself sailing over calm waters with not a cloud in sight doesn’t mean you can begin to neglect the things that made your relationship as picturesque as it became.

A lot of couples fall into the trap of the routine. They become so comfortable in their day-to-day that they forget what ignited the spark to begin with. To avoid this, ensure that you both keep things fresh. It is not up to one individual, but both of you. Treat each other randomly throughout the week or month, surprise the other with a trip or dinner reservation. Whisk them away without telling them where you are going (not in a kidnap-y way, though) and keep things fresh.

A strong relationship takes work and don’t assume that just because you are both happy that you can afford to ease the speed. Couples will naturally lose much of the passion that was first apparent when you got together, you have to keep striving to deliver that passion, and live happily ever after.

EASY RIDES, BUMPY ROADS

It is (mostly) impossible to live out your lives together without having little disagreements every now and again. But as long as the good times outweigh the bad, then you will both continue to enjoy your time together and start a family, buy a house, and grow old together and retire to some sandy shore where you can watch the sunset every night from your balcony.

As long as you both continue to support each other through both thick and thin you needn’t worry about further problems arising between the two of you. But life is tough and often unfair, there is no predicting what might happen in the future and so it is up to the both of you to seek solutions to fix any of life’s problems together.

Share your doubts and your worries, discuss them like adults and fight for your relationship, without this fight, then you may discover yourselves drifting apart, cooking up resentment for any legitimate or sometimes imagined slights. A healthy and strong relationship can weather any storm, and you both want to be happy, and each other to be happy, too. Do everything you can to make this a reality, and go forth into the world together.

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Feeling Like ‘You’ Again After Overcoming Addiction

Addiction is hard on the body, and in turn is hard on our looks. Once you make it through to the other side, you’re not the same person you were when you started either mentally or physically- and so finding ‘you’ again isn’t always something that comes easy. When you have an addiction this often comes ahead of anything else, including your health and appearance, and so spending time and effort on yourself again once you’re clean and sober might take some adjusting to. However, doing so can actually be very beneficial. Of course there’s more to a person than their outside appearance, but the way you look can really affect your self esteem and confidence. Feeling like yourself again after being detached from that for a while can be a nice feeling and it’s good for you both physically and mentally. Here’s how you can get back to being yourself.

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General Health

It might have been a while since you visited the doctor and there could be symptoms you were either ignoring or didn’t’ notice due to your addiction. If you’re a woman, you should book in for a smear test if you need one. Since alcohol has been linked to skin cancer (as well as drugs on a less direct level just as they weaken the immune system) you could book into a skin clinic if you have any concerns. Moles that have appeared or changed in shape or size are reasons to be checked out. Have your GP check your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar and make sure things are in check- if not, they can advise you about what you need to do to get these things in order. If you have been using needles or having unsafe sex, a blanket blood and sexual health test will help to give you peace of mind or let you know what kinds of treatments you need. Once you’re healthy and well again, you’ll be feeling much more like yourself.




Hair, Skin and Teeth

Addiction, particularly those that involve physical dependence such as substance abuse tend to cause issues with skin, hair and teeth. This is partially due to the addiction meaning you don’t take as good care of yourself and your maintenance regimes can slip, and they can also be a direct result of the drink or drugs. Alcohol for example is full of sugar and can cause tooth decay, and the toxins in both drink and drugs can lead to breakouts, dull skin and unhealthy hair. After addiction, take steps to put these things right. You could go to a beauty salon and have a facial and have them recommend some products. Visit a dentist about your oral health and look into cosmetic work if you need it. Go to a hairdresser and have them give you a cut and colour that suits you and makes the most of your locks. Just these things alone can massively improve your appearance and self esteem.




Do Things You Enjoy

Finally, a big part of what makes you ‘you’ is your hobbies and interests. These were likely put on hold when you were caught by addiction but are something now you can take up again. Not only will these be enjoyable but you could meet like minded people and it gives you something productive to do and takes your mind off your past addiction. It could be anything from dance to a sport to a craft or something else entirely, but throwing yourself into hobbies can prevent relapse and help you feel back like yourself again.

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Life Is Short, Stop Worrying About Needless Things

It’s often easy to get caught up in current events, unsurprisingly so. After all, we are living in the now, and as adults or even older teenagers, we start getting a bit more interested about what’s happening in the big wide world rather than just our house and our friend’s house down the street. Despite the wise words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power”, with knowledge nowadays usually comes great depression. The moment you look at the news you are simply bombarded with dozens of articles about recent tragedies, “Family of 5 found dead”, “House prices rising”, “Series of terrorist attacks” and god knows what other terrible headlines one might find in the average newspaper you find on the bus.




If those things are constantly being absorbed by your psyche on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that we find ourselves worrying about everything all the time, with stress is eating away at our physical and mental health. Let’s look at why you should stop worrying, and have a slightly more optimistic mindset in life, rather than worrying about every single little thing.


Image source: Pexels

Before you start worrying, think if it’s relevant to you

It might sound somewhat selfish to say, but no matter how much you find yourself being sad about the terrorist attack that happened halfway across the globe and no matter how of a humane gesture it might be, ultimately, you have no control over it. Or well, likely no control, unless you go and sign up for a rescue team or charity of some sorts, it’s probably out of your reach. Now think to yourself, if you know this, what can you do with this information? You can “know” it, for sure, and you can worry about it if you so desire, but can you actually act on it? Probably not, so before you go and read into the recent tragedy on the front page, think to yourself, “what benefit is there for this to be at the forefront of my thoughts for the next few weeks?”.


Image source: Pexels

What’s going to happen, will happen

Life likes to throw punches at us when we least expect it, that’s the nature of the beast. Once again, we can sit around and worry about how bad things might be, or you can try to live in the now and have a slightly more optimistic outlook on things. Worried about your credit rating? Worried about not being able to get a decent mortgage? Now you can even get a loan with a terrible rating through peer loans, as there is no credit check.




Worried about the state of the housing market and rising prices? The world is vast and you can always move somewhere where the housing prices are a bit more reasonable. Spending too much time thinking about your child’s success in school? Do your best to help them, but ultimately it’s up to them to make the right decisions. Going through an existential crisis? Try and think about things that fuel you and roll with the punches as life goes along rather than overthinking the bigger picture. These might all be minute things, but they add up, so if you find yourself worrying about all of them at all times, your health can seriously suffer as a result. Try being more optimistic, and distance yourself sometimes to be able to objectively look at the situation at hand.

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The Amazing Reality Of Living Without Drugs And Alcohol

I am very open about my alcoholism and drug addiction and it is very interesting that so many people think that it is a constant struggle for me even though I am now 9+ years clean and sober, working a program of recovery.

Getting clean was terribly hard, I can’t deny that and the first few years in recovery were exceptionally hard. Simple things like going out for a meal without having an alcoholic drink was painful. Getting through Christmas and New years Eve was a trial.

For a long time I stayed clean and worked my recovery but the truth is that there were so many times that I wondered what the point was if it was so uncomfortable and hard to get through everything. My first instinct to cope with any uncomfortable situation was to use drugs or drink alcohol. Keep in mind that almost every situation in early recovery is uncomfortable. For so long my feelings were numbed with alcohol and drugs, just dealing with people in normal social situations became a terrifying ordeal.

The thought of going through my whole life without touching another drink or drug again was horrifying. Hence why there is such a focus on “just for today”.




Thankfully these feelings don’t last forever and over time being in recovery becomes easier. I am so grateful that I persevered through my uncomfortable feelings and fears to get to where I am today. The fact is that living free from drugs and alcohol is amazing and it is hard to grasp just how incredible it can be when trying to get clean. Being in an alcohol and drug treatment facility helped me to get clean and to lay down my foundation for recovery, but is was still a long time before I started feeling “normal” in recovery.

If you are struggling to get clean and not sure exactly what it is you are working towards, here are some amazing things you can expect being free from drugs and alcohol:

The Amazing Reality Of Living Without Drugs And Alcohol

Having Real Fun

Yes it may not seem like it but having good, clean fun really is possible. In fact now that I have spent a while in recovery I realize that being drunk and high wasn’t really much fun at all. Being sober is not boring at all, it just takes some getting used to that’s all and once I got used to feeling normal sober I realized that I can have so much fun. The bonus here is that I have fun and I don’t look like an idiot or regret that fun in the morning.

Plus photos taken now while having fun are cherished memories, not embarrassing moments for the wall of shame.




Healthy Relationships

I was not able to have a healthy relationship with anyone in my life while I was in the throes of my addiction. Every romantic relationship I was in was toxic and my relationships with family members were mostly codependent relationships.

Now that I am free from alcohol and drugs my relationships with others are healthy and loving. I have a good marriage, great friendships and I am on good terms with my family. I am also able to be a good mother to my children.

Enjoying The Moment Without Cravings

While stuck in addiction I could never stop thinking about using and it controlled my every waking moment. I would constantly be thinking about how to use, how to get money to use, where to use or be using. Or I may be caught up with the consequences of my using, how to get out of trouble for using or how to get out of a fix caused by my using.

There was never a moment that went by that was not taken up with my addiction.

Today I hardly ever think of using and I spend my time living my life and enjoying precious moments. I spend time with my children, I can focus on my work and I can enjoy the company of my husband, my friends and my family.

Sleeping drunk

Living Without Fear And Shame

I remember how I used to wake up every morning. With a wave of nausea and a pounding head then a feeling of panic as I wonder what day it is and whether I need to be at work, am I late. There were times I opened my eyes and with horror realized I didn’t even know where I was or how I got there.

If you are an addict you know this feeling well.

Now every day I wake up it is calmly, without fear, shame, guilt or feeling like I need to go to the hospital to have my stomach pumped. I am clear headed, happy and ready for the day.

Looking back I can see clearly how much stress I was putting myself under, not just the obvious physical damage to my body but the emotional turmoil too.

I can drive through a road block without fear, walk through a shopping mall without hanging my head in shame and trying to dodge people. I can look people in the eye again, but more importantly I can face myself and look myself in the eye.

What A Money Saver

Binge drinking and taking drugs costs a fortune, plus you also need to factor in things like the cost of being evicted, crashing your car, losing your job and even possibly court cases. This is not cheap.

Being sober means you can budget and you will not be spending a fortune to wreck your life.

Drinking and Driving

Isn’t Life Boring Without Drugs and Alcohol?

Yes the first year or two felt boring, I won’t lie to anyone about that. It felt like I was missing out on so much and I wanted to go party!

Now I love my “boring” life. My life revolves around my little family – my husband and my two young children. On Friday afternoon I walk my kids to the shop and give them their pocket money to buy their sweets. We come home and choose a movie for the evening before they have their bath. My husband picks up 2 pizzas on the way home. Then we all watch a movie while eating pizza. My kids stay up late (or so they think… I actually just switch their routine around to confuse them) and eat their sweets after the pizza is finished.

On Saturday nights I feed my kids and put them to bed before hubby and I have a steak braai and I make hot chips. Then we watch our movie – its like a regular date night, but we don’t go out.

On Sundays we spend the day as a family.

I have a friend that I sometimes have coffee with during the week. Yes coffee… and I love it.

I work from home in the mornings before picking my kids up from playschool and I spend the afternoon at home with them. I am a mom in the afternoons. I’m not the perfect mom, but I am present and I am sober. I am a good mom.

This life may sound incredibly boring to an addict, it would have sounded terribly boring to me when I was using but the truth is that I love my life. I love the quietness of it. I love spending time at home with my family. There is nothing else I need in my life. I crave for nothing.

My absolute favorite part of my week is walking my kids to the shop to buy their sweets. I remember my dad taking me and my two sisters to the shop every Saturday morning to buy our sweets. It was the highlight of our day and a cherished tradition.

I am so grateful that I am sober and I can create lasting memories for my children that they will cherish when they are adults.

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How To Start Your 2018 Health Kick Right

2018 HealthWe all do it; we start the year off with so much promise; then we slowly let our standards slip through the year until you don’t even recognize the person shoving toddlers out the way as you head for your third helping at the family Christmas dinner. Well, January is just around the corner, which means it’s time for an overhaul of your fitness program. Below are some key things to  consider when you renew that gym membership in the New Year.

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Diet

Potentially the most important aspect of your health regime; your diet is what keeps your body healthy and well fueled. It has often been said that you can’t outrun a bad diet, so make sure your diet is working with you, and not against you. It can be very tempting to drastically cut back on your portion sizes when you’re trying to lose weight; however, this is more likely to hinder your progress. When you don’t eat enough, your body enters into ‘starvation mode’ and is actually more likely to keep hold of the fat you are trying to burn. Instead, focus on keeping your diet as balanced as possible, this way you don’t have to completely cut anything out of your diet, and can still enjoy the odd treat. Ensuring you have a quality breakfast every morning can set you up for a more productive day. You should aim for around 60% of your daily calorie intake to be from carbohydrates (yes, even for weight loss). Try to eat more complex carbohydrates, so your body has to work to get its energy, and keep simple sugars to a minimum to keep your body fueled all day long.  Whilst fruit is a great way of getting vitamins into your body, try to avoid excessive amounts of fruit smoothies. They typically have more sugar than fizzy drinks, and the liquid form means that your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the energy. Around 20% of your calories should be protein, and 20% should be fats. Fat is an important part of your diet, so avoid reduced-fat products (they’re normally pumped full of sugar instead). You should also try to keep your saturated fat levels as low as possible in your diet. Stick to the more healthy, unsaturated, fats as much as you can.




Exercise

Another excellent way of shifting those excess Christmas calories is to get your heart pumping. There will be many articles and workouts telling you that their way is best. However, the truth of the matter is that so long as you’re exercising, it doesn’t matter how you choose to do it. The important thing is that it’s something you enjoy doing and can stick at consistently. You should definitely consider incorporating some resistance training into your routine. Not only is it a great way to sculpt and tone your body, but it also burns more calories than cardio does. This is due to the fact that cardio only burns calories whilst your exercising, whereas resistance training burns calories even after you finish (your body needs extra energy to help your muscles recover). If you do choose to start utilizing resistance training, it may be worth educating yourself using online tutorials or a personal trainer. The last thing you want to do is spend the next six weeks in physio because you overdid it at the gym.




Rest

After all the effort at the gym and time spent preparing meals, you’re likely to be well and truly drained. Allowing your body to fully recharge each night is extremely important to making the most of your workouts. Good quality, deep sleep is needed to allow your body to fully rebuild itself each night, so ensure you get a solid eight hours. Don’t leave it too late before you get into bed either; the more time your body has to rest before midnight, the better. Turning off the technology an hour or two before bed is a good way to let your mind switch off, ready for a good night’s sleep. The artificial lights can play havoc with your circadian rhythm and disrupt your melatonin production all of which can make it difficult to be fully rested when your alarm goes off in the morning.

Try to research as much as possible to avoid misinformation when looking for diet tips. It’s easy to get sucked into fad diets that promise so much but deliver so little. It’s better to make small changes to your lifestyle that you can commit to for a long period of time, than it is to make drastic alterations that only last a few weeks. Follow this advice and, hopefully, your 2018 will be a year full of personal growth and targets achieved.

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Helping Your Mental Health Survive The Holidays

When you’re already suffering from mental health issues, every day can be a fight. Add in the pressure of the festive season, and you could soon find yourself struggling to make it through the holidays. Whether you’re coping with addiction or you suffer from stress and anxiety, the holidays can be one of the toughest times of the year.

Image: Pexels

The good news is that there is help out there to get you through this tricky time. Use the following advice as a starting point for helping your mental health survive the holidays.

Keep up your regular routine

It can be tough to stay in control during the holidays, but having a set routine can help. Make sure you go to bed at the same time, eat healthily and try to exercise as well. Even when you’ve got time off work, try to keep things as normal as possible and avoid the temptation to stay in bed and hide under the covers. Keeping your schedule full will help take your mind off the season so that you can just focus on you and your mental health.




Out of sight, out of mind

The holidays can be a tough time for a recovering addict. With social invitations landing in your inbox regularly, the temptation to relapse can be especially great at this time of year. The saying goes ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ which is something you can use to help you stay on track during the party season. If you know that a social occasion is going to revolve around drinking, you might want to stay away this time. Instead, plan other activities with friends and colleagues that don’t involve drinking, like movie nights and dinners that will help you enjoy the holiday season in a healthier way. Try not to turn your attention to eating instead – there are ways you avoid the temptation of holiday treats at Christmas to help keep your health and waistline on track.

Don’t be alone

When you’re feeling down around the holidays, or indeed any other time of year, it can be tempting to just cut yourself off from everyone. Even if you are spending the holidays alone – find ways to be around people. Volunteer at shelters or hospitals or speak to others about spending the holidays with them – there are places you can go where you’ll benefit from some company rather than cutting yourself off completely.

If you do find the holidays difficult, you should speak to someone about the things that you’re feeling. Get advice from friends or family or talk to professional counselling services like BlueskyPsychology – it’s much easier to deal with a problem if you talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and reach out to someone over the holidays, the person on the other end will want to help.

Keeping busy and active during the holidays can help you to embrace it, and perhaps even enjoy yourself. Stay on track with your goals and meditate daily for the best way to keep your focus and not fall behind. Think about how you can make the best of the holidays; they’ll be over before you know it!

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