CANDLE

 


No sooner have you put the substances down because you got sick and tired of being sick and tired for far to long. Your finaly exposed to the world, demons and all. Mine being the anxiety and panic disorder coupled with Obbsesive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia. Not a bad selection hey, but joking apart the reality of it is that I live my life every day in such a way that I have almost become a recluse. I know that they say isolation is dangerous for any recovering addict But when your left exposed to deal with not just one but quite a few mental health issues that idea soon goes out of the window. Days pass by not knowing if I’m going to sleep or not so night becomes morning and day becomes night. The very thought of entering that big bad world without a substance inside me to ignite this machine is a daunting one. I plan things daily more than once and even change the plans to suit the demons of fear that lerk inside, For none of it coming to fruition and another day just passes me by Well so it may seem to the outlooker looking in but the truth of the matter is the work that I put in on a daily basis while alone inside these four walls is ridiculously tiresome, the obsessive thinking, the frustration and lack of self worth, but yet it’s something that you will never truly understand unless you’ve lived it yourself. The torment of flicking light switches on and off time after time and door checking to check that they are locked, Putting a pair of socks on or should I say 50 pairs or more, the insanity of it is that all my socks are identical plain black socks but you try to tell these demons inside, they are having none of it as they threaten you repeatedly with nasty evil threats of death. You sit for a while and try to gather yourself before your head explodes with rage and frustration. Stop just stop I tell myself as I coach myself to a halt to gaze for a while at anything but nothing just noticing the candle on my table and the flame just innocently swaying in the air as if it was dancing without a care in the world. Thoughts pass through the forefront of my mind as I just allow them to be as I just notice them pass me by. Still gazing at the candle I notice the wax melting as the wick continues to burn still dancing away in the air without a care in the world, I hear a car go by as I focus on listening to the sounds of my surroundings still staaring at the candle almost in a daze, I hear the clock ticking on my kitchen wall and the trees rustling outside in the gentle breeze, another car passes by outside as I just listen to the sound of the engine as it gradually drives by, I can start to smell the wild berry aromas gently wafting from the candle as if I can almost taste the berrys, the sweet and bitter tastes are almost on the tip of my tongue as I continue to glance at the dancing flame of the candle, more thoughts try to grab my attention vigorously as I Continue to just calmly watch them pass by still gazing at the candle all the while, I take a deep breath and feel a calm tranquility through my body as I stand up and blow out the candle still noticing the fantastic scents of Wild berrys wafting through the air I head to my bedroom in pure darkness and lay in bed still in that deep relaxed frame of mind as I gradually continue to notice the thoughts just pass by as I fall deep and sound asleep.

By Brett Pomfrey

(MY MINDFULNESS EXERCISE TO BRING YOU TO PEACE)

 

6 Tips for Finding Strength in Addiction Recovery


6 Tips for Finding Strength in Addiction Recovery

The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse defines addiction as “the continued use of a mood altering substance despite adverse dependency consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.” Meaning, an addicted individual will continue to abuse their drug of choice through health issues, financial problems, relationship failures, time in jail and other negative consequences.
Addiction is a multifaceted disease that can affect anyone regardless of their age, race or gender. At any given time, there are millions of people throughout the world struggling with addiction. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, tens of millions of people worldwide over the age of 12 have an issue with drugs or alcohol.
Although many people today have reached long-term recovery through effective addiction treatment, there are countless others who aren’t getting the help they need. Less than 1 percent, of people with a drug or alcohol problem, receive care at a specialized addiction treatment facility.


Using Strength to Weaken Addiction

For those who do get help, many entering addiction treatment unfortunately often see it as daunting and find themselves struggling for strength during recovery, especially during its initial stages. But, there are ways to help. These tips can help a person find strength during the toughest parts of addiction recovery:

 
Be kind to yourself. In the past, you’ve likely beaten yourself up over misdeeds you’ve committed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but it’s important to realize that those feelings are perfectly normal and happen to almost everyone in early recovery. It’s OK if you don’t succeed at the first try in everything you attempt.

 
Acknowledge achievements, big or small. Recovery is a building-block process and no success is too small to be counted. Recognizing each achievement can help build and maintain morale throughout treatment.

 

Remember that mistakes and failures happen. Everyone makes mistakes and each person moves through recovery at their own pace. There will be set backs but they aren’t the end of the world. Each day presents a new opportunity to learn.

 

Shift your outlook on life. Try to begin each day with a positive outlook. You have the power to decide what you’re going to think about first. For example, you can dwell on the feeling of having made less progress than you wanted the day before, or you can, make the conscious choice to accept what happened as part of the process and continue to move forward today.

 

Avoid making comparisons. Each person’s struggle with addiction is unique. Although your situation may be similar to someone else’s, everyone heals at their own pace.

 

Ask for help. At some point or another everyone needs a little extra help. Asking for assistance enables you to broaden your horizons and gives you a chance to grow on your path to recovery.

 

Many things such as public stigma, misconception, and intolerance, can make it difficult for people struggling with substance abuse to get the help they need and deserve. But despite potential roadblocks, using these tips can help an addicted person maintain the strength they need to persevere through treatment and flourish in recovery.

HELP & TIPS IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION

Dealing with DepressionSelf-Help and Coping Tips to Overcome Depression

Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t just will yourself to “snap out of it,” but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.
The road to depression recovery

Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.
It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There’s a difference, however, between something that’s difficult and something that’s impossible.
Start small and stay focused
The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there.Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one.
Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but they’ll quickly add up. And for all the energy you put into your depression recovery, you’ll get back much more in return.
Depression self-help tip 1: Cultivate supportive relationships

Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression, but the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make depression even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.
The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust, face to face if possible. The people you talk to don’t have to be able to fix you; they just need to be good listeners. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time.

Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. Often when you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.

Join a support group for depression. Being with others dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.

10 tips for reaching out and building relationships

Talk to one person about your feelings.

Help someone else by volunteering.

Have lunch or coffee with a friend.

Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.

Accompany someone to the movies, a concert, or a small get-together.

Call or email an old friend.

Go for a walk with a workout buddy.

Schedule a weekly dinner date.

Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.

Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member.

Depression self-help tip 2: Challenge negative thinking

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.
But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.
Ways to challenge negative thinking:
Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.

Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking

Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.

Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. It’s possible, though, he’s just having a bad day.

Types of negative thinking that add to depression

All-or-nothing thinking – Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)

Overgeneralization – Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever (“I can’t do anything right.”)

The mental filter – Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.

Diminishing the positive – Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)

Jumping to conclusions – Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever”)

Emotional reasoning – Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)

‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ – Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do, and beating yourself up if you don’t live up to your rules.

Labeling – Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)

Depression self-help tip 3: Take care of yourself

In order to overcome depression, you have to take care of yourself. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning to manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day.
Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.

Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day to boost your mood. If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that stress you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, taking on too much, or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.

Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed—both powerful antidotes to depression.

Do things you enjoy (or used to)
While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark.
Push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.
Develop a wellness toolbox

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and implement a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.
Spend some time in nature

List what you like about yourself

Read a good book

Watch a funny movie or TV show

Take a long, hot bath

Take care of a few small tasks

Play with a pet

Talk to friends or family face-to-face

Listen to music

Do something spontaneous

Depression self-help tip 4: Get regular exercise
When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.
Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity triggers new cell growth in the brain, increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension—all things that can have a positive effect on depression.
To gain the most benefits, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. You can start small, though, as short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Here are a few easy ways to get moving:
Take the stairs rather than the elevator

Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot

Take your dog for a walk

Pair up with an exercise partner

Walk while you’re talking on the phone

As a next step, try incorporating walks or some other enjoyable, easy form of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it.
Exercise as an Antidepressant

The following exercise tips offer a powerful prescription for boosting mood:
Exercise now… and again. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly.

Choose activities that are moderately intense. Aerobic exercise undoubtedly has mental health benefits, but you don’t need to sweat strenuously to see results.

Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic (rather than intermittent).Walking, swimming, dancing, stationery biking, and yoga are good choices.

Add a mind-body element. Activities such as yoga and tai chi rest your mind and increase your energy. You can also add a meditative element to walking or swimming by repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) as you move.

Start slowly, and don’t overdo it. More isn’t better. Athletes who over train find their moods drop rather than lift.

Adapted from Johns Hopkins Health Alerts
Depression self-help tip 5: Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of low-fat protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, saturated fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones (such as certain meats).
Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.

Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.

Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, and whole grain breads can boost serotonin levels without a crash.

Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.

Try super-foods rich in nutrients that can boost mood, such as bananas (magnesium to decrease anxiety, vitamin B6 to promote alertness, tryptophan to boost feel-good serotonin levels), brown rice (serotonin, thiamine to support sociability), and spinach (magnesium, folate to reduce agitation and improve sleep).

Consider taking a chromium supplement. Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed.

Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood.

Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA can give your mood a big boost. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold-water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed. When cooking fish, grill or bake rather than fry.

You may hear a lot about getting your omega-3s from foods rich in ALA fatty acids, such as vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax, soybeans, and tofu. Be aware that our bodies generally convert very little ALA into EPA and DHA, so you may not see as big of a benefit.

Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins, but most experts agree that the benefits of eating one or two servings a week of cold-water fatty fish outweigh the risks.

Depression self-help tip 6: Know when to get additional help

If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!
Don’t forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.

RELAPSE DREAMS

  

Dreams about Relapsing

Relapse Dreams

It is common for those in recovery to have occasional relapse dreams. During sleep they once again experience what it is like to be using alcohol or drugs. In the dream they may be enjoying the experience or it may have all the qualities of a nightmare. Many people in recovery will wake up from this type of dream with feelings of guilt, as if they choose to have such an experience. They may even view it as an omen that they are about to relapse in reality, It is important that people realize that such dreams are a normal part of recovery, and that they may even be a positive occurrence. In some instances though, these dreams may be a sign that people need to put more focus back into their recovery from addiction.

The Function of Dreams

There is no clear agreement about the function of dreams. Theories for why they occur include:

* Some experts claim that they are just random images created by the brain in response to things that have occurred during waking hours.
* Another theory suggests that the purpose of dreaming is to prepare the mind for the stresses that are likely to occur in the future. It is like the mind is practicing so that it will be better able to handle things.
* Dreams are a way that people come in contact with their subconscious. Such contact can be highly rewarding and lead to inspiration in waking life. There have been many great inventions, such as the sewing machine, that were inspired by dreams.
* Traditionally dreams have been viewed as important spiritual tools. In some culture these visions are viewed as a means to communicate with higher powers that govern the universe.
* Another view it as little more than a type of free entertainment provided by the brain so as to make sleep more enjoyable. The dreams themselves will have little real significance according to this theory.
* There is of course the classic idea of dreams as wish fulfillment (psychoanalysis), though not in the literal sense, but in ways of completing unrealized (and largely subconscious) impulses.
* Some existential psychological approaches suggest that dreams are the working out of a future destiny, though just how that works is quite interpretive and not meant to be literal.

It may be that dreams are a combination of all these proposed functions.

The Cause of Relapse Dreams

Relapse dreams may occur for any number of reasons such as:

* Addicts will usually have been abusing alcohol or drugs for many years. This means that these substances were an important part of their life. It is therefore understandable that such memories will continue to influence dreams.
* Dreams will often be inspired by random events that occurred during the day. If something happened that reminded the individual about their past then this may trigger material for a dream.
* The subconscious may continue to associate alcohol or drugs with reward and pleasure. These subconscious ideas then become material for dreams.
* There seems to be a tendency for people to have more of these relapse dreams when they are going through a particular stressful time in there life. They may be a sign that the individual needs to find better ways of coping with the situation.

Relapse Dreams and Incentive Sensitization Theory

Sensitization theory suggests that addiction is driven by the unconscious. This is because during addiction the mind begins to associate alcohol or drug use with the internal reward system. This leads to incentive salience where outward behavior is motivated by hidden internal forces. It is suggested that this subconscious drive to use alcohol or drugs can continue to operate long into recovery. It may be this that triggers many of the relapse dreams.

The Benefits of Relapse Dreams

It has been suggested that relapse dreams can be beneficial in a number of ways. This is particularly likely if the person wakes up feeling disquieted by the dream. This reaction is evidence that they are taking their recovery seriously, and that they cherish their sobriety. It can be a good reminder of what might lay in store if they do not do the right things in recovery. It may motivate them to redouble their efforts, and this is always going to be a good thing.

Sometimes these relapse dreams will be a sign that something is not quite right in recovery. It will be then up to the individual to evaluate their current situation to see where they could be going wrong. If people wake up with the urge to drink or use again then they need to take action to prevent a relapse. This may involve speaking to a therapist or a sponsor if the individual belongs to a 12 step group.

WE DO RECOVER