Trapped Between Life & Death
One of the hallmarks of addiction is the feeling that life is not worth living without this particular substance, feeling, or activity. It can be alcohol or drugs. It can be an emotion like love. It can be an activity like eating, gambling, or shopping. What all these have in common is the feeling of despair that comes up when you can’t have what you are addicted to. When you reach this point you are trapped between life and death.
When you find yourself in this position, hopefully you will reach out for help. You will go to a support group and hear your story. Now you know that you are not alone. Then you will surrender to a Higher Power and go through withdrawal. When you are feeling better, you will begin to have hope for a brighter tomorrow.
When your hope returns you are ready to change–to give up your life as an addict and reach your full potential. You are ready to become happy, joyous, and free. I have done this with alcohol, food, love, and shopping. You too can change. Here are some suggestions . . .
The Process of Changing
Changing includes both outer modifications of behavior and an inner shift in values and thinking patterns. The changes you make will be based on insights you’ve gained. When you are ready to change, you should do the easier things first to build up your confidence and then other changes will follow. Success builds upon success. Sometimes inner changes come from outer changes, and sometimes outer changes are a by-product of inner changes.
Here are some suggestions and techniques to help you make changes.
Recognize when you do something you don’t want to do. Dwell on this for as long as you need to. Continued awareness is the beginning of change.
Break down the changes you want to make into manageable pieces. You can make a list if you want.
• Identify and make a list of alternative behaviors.
• Substitute a good habit for a bad one.
• Give yourself encouragement. Use affirmations.
• Seek advice and help from others.
• Join a support group.
• Make a commitment to a friend or support group; verbalization can really help.
• Avoid companions who don’t support you.
• Find role models who exhibit the changes you want to make and observe them for as long as you need to.
• Remember: Action leads to motivation leads to more action.
• Don’t forget that changing is a process; it takes time. Be patient.
• Avoid negative attitudes that inhibit change. The glass is half full not half empty.
• Visualize the results; become goal oriented.
• Work on building your self-esteem.
• If you are a spiritual or religious person and believe in grace, divine intervention, or the power of prayer, then by all means pray for the energy and willingness to take action.
Don’t give up, even is change is slow in coming. If you continue to incorporate these techniques into your life, they will help you change.
From The Art of Changing by Susan Peabody.
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