Classic Blg: ‘All it takes is 10 mindful minutes’ by Andy Puddicombe

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions)

‘How does alcoholism develop?’ by Veronica Valli

Unknown-1Here’s an interesting and important blog from Veronica Valli which she has take from her book Why You Drink and How to Stop: A Journey to Freedom. I like Veronica’s sentence: “Alcoholism develops because it has an internal environment to grow in.”

‘In order to overcome alcoholism, stopping the drinking of alcohol simply isn’t enough.

Alcoholism develops because it has an internal environment to grow in. Although external conditions enable drinking, it is the internal conditions that allow alcoholism to control someone’s life. There is a need for a greater understanding of this.

  • Alcoholism is an internal (spiritual) illness. Drinking is only a symptom.
  • Alcoholism’s key motivator is about changing how you feel.
  • Alcoholism grows out of a faulty system of thinking and emotional responses.

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GUEST BLOGGER: Beth Burgess and ‘Can You be Grateful For Your Addiction?’

london recovery coach.jpgIn order to recover, alcoholics and addicts first have to go through the painful process of admitting their problem. Then comes the challenge of accepting the situation and doing the work to recover. But can you actually get to the point where you’re happy to be an addict? Where you appreciate what your addiction has given you and you actually enjoy your path in life?

I like being an alcoholic. Truly, I do. It’s an unusual position to take, I admit – but one that serves me well. I’m so happy, I even wrote a book about it. Let me tell you how I came to reach this point – and was able to write The Happy Addict to help others find the happiness that I already have.

The fact is that I spent a lot of my life fighting reality. I drank to escape, to numb, to hide and to retreat from the world. At the end of my drinking, there was nothing I could do to fight reality any more. My addiction was something I couldn’t deny or hide from any longer. The fact that alcohol was now betraying me was clear to me and everyone around me. My attempts at controlling my drinking had all failed and my chances of living through another withdrawal were pretty slim.

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Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions)

‘How to Stop Feeling Bad Instantly’ by Matt Kay

rsz_img_2332Time to ‘relive’ another blog from one of Wired In To Recovery’s favourite bloggers, Matt Kay.

‘As soon as you notice that you’re feeling bad – which includes feeling angry, sad, frustrated, etc – ask yourself, “What am I focusing on right now?” Most likely you’ll discover that all you’re thinking about is what you don’t want.

When you get caught in a negative thinking groove of only seeing what you don’t want, you get trapped in the situation as a victim and you’ll keep attracting more of the same thing into your life. You won’t be able to move forward until you change your thoughts.

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Welcome to SMART Recovery Guide

imagesI just wanted to let you know that I have a set up a new page in our Resources section which focuses on SMART Recovery.

This ‘Guide’ contains three video clips of SMART President Tom Horvath talking about this self-empowering peer support group and its programme, along with a film of Curtis Boudreau introducing SMART Recovery principles. There are also two Recovery Stories from people who used SMART.

All of these film clips have appeared in my blogs. I hope you find the page of value. Have a great weekend.

SMART Recovery Guide

Learn more about the self-empowering addiction recovery support group SMART Recovery. And watch two Recovery Stories from people who used SMART. Finally, we have an interesting blog and a newspaper article.

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Be Gentle with Yourself

UnknownThanks to Mike Scott for finding this on Essential-Practices.com.

‘You can only attract the people, things, and events that match the quality and intensity of your beliefs about yourself. That’s why being gentle with yourself is a pre-requisite for conscious creators. You can visualize and affirm all you want, but if in your heart you aren’t worthy, you aren’t receiving.

If you want to let the good stuff in, stop beating yourself up. No matter what.

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Stanford humanities course empowers recovering addicts and alcoholics

12925-hope_ellen_newsI was really pleased to see Stanford University is conducting a course on historical female figures for recovering women of Hope House. The course is run by Humanities students who gain the chance to “connect with the humanity and hardships behind people whom our society usually writes off.”

I’ve always felt that too many universities remain detached from the realities of the communities within which they exist, so I was excited to see this approach. I really hope more universities work in this way.

‘Wende C. is a grandmother who worked in banking for 27 years. She is also a crack addict who checked herself into Hope House, a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility in Redwood City, Calif., so she could learn the skills she needs to recover from her addiction.

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Kevan’s Story (Short version): ‘He’s a loser and will never be any good’

stories-07Here’s a short version of Kevan’s Recovery Story. Please feel free to circulate.

‘I developed a fascination for alcohol at an early age (nine), but didn’t realise that it would rule my life for over twenty years. I drank throughout my teenage years as if it was a normal thing to do, often with building site work mates or colleagues from my judo squad. Sadly, the promise I showed in judo was never realised because I shattered my right knee. Whilst I gave up the sport, I continued drinking.  

My first wife and I separated because she didn’t like my drinking. After the divorce, I spent most of the money I made from the house sale on booze. Some guys at work said that I needed help for a drinking problem, but I told them to get stuffed with their job. I was doing what all men were entitled to do. I now spent most of my time in the pub.

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‘Five patterns of negative thinking to escape from in recovery’ by Peapod

“Your radar is tuned to the negative. It’s a sophisticated old radar because it also has a magnifying glass. And that magnifying glass is peculiar in that it has a blind spot. A blind spot for the positive. The negative is magnified, the positive overlooked and the focus on the negatives out of the context of all the rich, nurturing and lovely things makes life seem a very bleak place.”

“Your radar is tuned to the negative. It’s a sophisticated old radar because it also has a magnifying glass. And that magnifying glass is peculiar in that it has a blind spot. A blind spot for the positive. The negative is magnified, the positive overlooked and the focus on the negatives out of the context of all the rich, nurturing and lovely things makes life seem a very bleak place.”

As recovering people, we need all the help we can get to grow emotionally and to build our resources and resilience. Sometimes, we can get tripped up by returning to deeply embedded patterns of thinking that are no longer serving us well. We’re not always aware of them and sometimes when aware not sure what we can do.

Here are a few examples of typical potentially harmful styles of thinking that are worth identifying and avoiding:

1. Negatively selective radar
Your radar is tuned to the negative. It’s a sophisticated old radar because it also has a magnifying glass. And that magnifying glass is peculiar in that it has a blind spot. A blind spot for the positive. The negative is magnified, the positive overlooked and the focus on the negatives out of the context of all the rich, nurturing and lovely things makes life seem a very bleak place.

Solution: First awareness, then retune the radar.

Leif Garrett said: “I’ve come to believe that there is always something positive, even in a negative situation.”

2. Blaming
Classic disempowering thinking and widespread in those suffering from addiction. Someone else is responsible for the way you feel. Or sometimes, you blame your own ‘deficiencies’ for every single problem there is.

This is a clever little distortion of thinking that is guaranteed to keep us from emotional freedom. If someone else is to blame for your pain then you can’t do anything about it.

Solution: Take responsibility for your own feelings (even if what happened was not your responsibility). It’s up to you to change the way you feel.

Eric Allenbaugh said: “Yes, there are times when something is legitimately not our fault. Blaming others, however, keeps us in a stuck state and is ultimately rough on our own self-esteem.”

3. Catastrophising
A variation on selective radar, only here negative anticipation of the future is what’s going on. Disaster is just around the corner. You play out ‘what ifs’ in your mind.

If you are imaginative enough, you can have conjure up a scenario where you, your loved ones and the cat are all dead by tea-time due to an asteroid strike that only you had a premonition of. Underlying this is lack of faith in your self and your resilience.

Solution: get some support from positive thinkers and build self-worth.

4. Fallacy of fairness
You have a strong sense of fairness and feel it’s reasonable to expect that life should be fair. What’s frustrating is that while you know what is fair, others don’t necessarily agree with you.

Resentment develops.

Frances Childress describes it like this: “Fallacy of Fairness is a cognitive distortion compelling people to obsessively walk around with a measuring ruler assuring everything ‘is fair and even.’ It is the belief they are the best ones who can measure what is fair and what is not fair, taken to the extent the inequalities consume their thoughts with agitation until fairness is achieved.”

Because fairness is relative and essentially self-defined, conflict arises and you feel emotional pain. Essentially you feel that it’s ‘not fair’.

Solution: Work on humility, plurality and open-mindedness. The fallacy of fairness is grandiosity disguised as saint-like righteousness.

5. Black and white thinking
Everything is ‘great’ or it’s ‘terrible’. You think in extremes. The Lift Depression Website describes the issue like this:

[It]“occurs when the emotional limbic system inhibits access to the rational neocortex. To put it simply, the brain gets too ‘emotionally aroused’ to think rationally.

Black and white thinking is a feature of all highly emotional states, including depression and anxiety.”

I liked George Carlin’s light-hearted take: “Have you ever noticed? Everyone going slower than you is an idiot and everyone going faster is a maniac.”

This polarisation is dangerous because you tend to end up judging yourself on the same terms and if you are not ‘perfect’ then you are failing. Growing up in recovery means accepting shades of grey and a more nuanced view of the world.

Solution: Be prepared to not judge, to learn and to see the world in glorious Technicolor.

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‘Identity lost or found’ by Tony A

IMG_4919Another classic Wired In To Recovery blog, from October 2009. Tony certainly wrote some great blogs.

‘Not had Internet due to incompetence of BT so I’ve not blogged lately. After attending Tia’s funeral last Monday I sat in my flat with that anti-climax feeling about life, my identity and a touch of who I am.

You see, I irrationally started feeling that I miss certain parts of my life as an addict. You know, the dodging, ducking, diving and dealing, never being bored, the estranged behaviours I displayed.

I honestly felt I missed it all and felt a loss of identity. I was questioning who I am and was left thinking about how futile life is. A touch of indulgence I suppose.

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