When motivation waxes and wanes

Up and down 1, photo by sanja gjenero, Zagreb, CroatiaEnergy can seem to disappear when motivation becomes low. It is important not to hand over our power to the negative feelings which are also affected by negative associations. Notice how invincible we feel when motivation is high and we then have the energy to reach great achievements. So when motivation waxes and wanes we need to remember that it is a natural occurrence and not allow ourselves to over react one way or the other. Some strategies are listening to relaxing music, writing, reading, dancing, drawing, yoga, walking and many other options including regular medication as required, meeting with people we like, discussing our state with a therapist, mentor or priest. Quite often lack of motivation can create problems in recovery from obsessive compulsions and it becomes extremely hard to stay committed to the program we have chosen. At such times, rather than resort to substance or process abuse to relieve our pain, we can use whatever has worked in the past that results in a healthy outcome.

I have had some minor health problems lately
and this had affected my motivation causing
it to wax and wane
so I gave myself permission to take it easy
and I repeated affirmations such as
I am a magnate for good health
I am a magnate for a happy secure life
because otherwise I could be absorbed by
the negativity of ill health
already I am finding myself more motivated

Up and down 1, photo by sanja gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia

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Difference between addiction or not

Perk Me Up, photo by Gomi Lao, Baguio City, Benguet, PhilippinesI have often been asked the question put to me by Uli Bartels, the photographer for the coffee addiction post, that is, how does one know the difference between addiction or not? The answer is quite simple – when the behaviour is repeated until it becomes problematic and often life-threatening then it is addiction. In other words when a person cannot stop themselves from repeating destructive behaviour then they have become addicted. So it is far better to reduce the behaviour before it becomes harmful and then it is necessary to abstain from usage all together.

Robert told me that he knew he was not addicted
because he could go without drinking for months
I asked him when he does drink what happens and
he pulled a face as he told me that he got high
but although he drank too much
he was a ‘happy drunk’ or so he was told
because he couldn’t always remember things
then the penny dropped as he realised
that he was a problem drinker
that’s the difference between addiction or not!

Perk Me Up, photo by Gomi Lao, Baguio City, Philippines

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This too shall pass

566501_world_cup_germany_2006.jpgI’ve written about burnout in the last two posts because it is so prevalent in our day and age. Having experienced it myself, I shared with you about how burnout crept up on me and its consequences to my health. Fortunately, I was able to nip it in the bud, nevertheless it had left me not as strong as I am normally. As a food addict in recovery this causes me to think of rewarding myself with trigger foods to give me the energy. However, I reminded myself of the saying this too shall pass. So, I gave myself permission to do everything at 80% level so as to recuperate and not put myself at risk of burnout again. Admittedly, it takes a while to get back to normal.

I was lacking in energy to go to hydrotherapy so
using an NLP (Nurolinguistic Programming) technique
to integrate the different selves
I got in touch with that self in me who
is responsible for this sabotage and found out
that it was a he, and that he wanted more recreation
so I agreed to spend time writing and sketching
which I had not done in at least a year
and was pleased to find as a result
I was eager to go to my next hydrotherapy session

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Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

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Being happy

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Béthune,  France,  happiness isHumans will go to any lengths to be happy. We feel we deserve happiness and rightfully so. Some people have the ability to feel happy easily from the simplest experiences. While other people are not so fortunate and they need a substance or process to help them feel that ‘high’. However, using something to feel ‘high’ becomes the beginning of the end, because happiness which is stimulated that way is never enough. The more you do it the more you want. Although abstinence from addiction may appear boring it brings serenity and eventually serenity becomes happiness and even bliss. This type of happiness is enough of a ‘high’ and doesn’t leave you wanting more and more.

I was a chain smoker in a time when it was
considered sophisticated to smoke
as we became more informed about
the dangers of this addiction it was
painful to consider living without the thrill
of lighting up and the rush of that first puff
however, it started to leave my mouth
with a foul taste and I new it was time
I thought it would be so boring and then
I quit with the help of Nicotine Anonymous
it’s been 18 years now since I took my last puff
and I have felt happiness and bliss that I thought
would never be possible without a cigarette
the high comes from within if you’re patient and
if you follow your passion to becoming fulfilled

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Béthune, France, happiness is

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Addiction and anger

Trapped, photo by Girinath Gopinath, Bangalore, India, must escapeUnresolved anger is a basic human condition which can hurt our minds and bodies. Addiction and anger feed each other in a neverending cycle. When we don’t practise skills to express our feelings appropriately then the anger that results slowly festers until it becomes uncontrollable rage. This rage has a short fuse and makes us feel trapped. The 12 Step program (AA, Alanon, NA, NicA, OA, CoDA, SLAA, SCOPE etc.) helps us to learn how to handle our feelings once we stop medicating them with substances and processes. This means identifying the problem, expressing it appropriately and then being able to walk away without being attached to the outcome. That process gives us an amazing sense of peace – serenity.

she came into the relationship as a calm woman
but the years took their toll on her
her temper reached a point when in a rage
she took off her glasses and threw them on the
carpeted floor, smashing to smithereens which
made her realise with what physical power
she had thrown them, and this frightened her
after attending Alanon for several weeks
she found her serenity again and
no one or nothing could ever make her
loose her temper again
whenever she got angry she firmly
expressed that feeling and people
knew she meant it, without a doubt
and that’s all she needed to let go of it

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Belonging to your community

Figures earth, photo by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia, community activitiesA natural need of a human being is to belong to another and to a community. Belonging to your community is far more important than people realise. Without that we can be tempted into isolation. The community can be your family and friends sharing similar interests, or your church group, or your self help group. Some of the those interests can be doing voluntary work for charitable and benevolent projects, or hobbies and sports. The learning community is another powerful area involvement. Even if your community is not a church group, belonging to a community is another form of spirituality.

how wonderful a project to see schools promoting
a marathon walk or something similar where the students
collect sponsor signatures to raise money for a charity
the excitement experienced by
the participant and the supporters
with the outcome of raising funds
or other donations which benefit
people, animals or the environment
ultimately the process rippling out globally
such a simple beginning with a profound ending
which can be duplicated over and over everywhere

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90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

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Resentments

That look, photo by Betty Miller, Colorado, United States, http://fireyes.deviantart.com, inner turmoilEvery day we have mixed feelings about different matters. Resentments are strong feelings which we can bury deep within, contaminating our wellbeing. What’s worse is being in denial about doing just that. Resentments are so cunning that we can ignore their existence until it’s too late and we have surprising explosive behaviours. That’s why it’s far better to be in touch with our feelings and own them as being naturally ours, and in doing so they settle down. Then we need to observe their origin and what can be done to resolve this turmoil. The expression ‘befriend our demons’ means finding those feelings which we have suppressed, that have subsequently turned into problematic behaviour, and processing them.

she had long ago ‘befriended her demons’
as a result of intense therapy and
personal and professional development
she took pride in being a guide for others
on similar journeys of enlightenment
but she didn’t notice resentments building up
deep within, in her inner world
on the outside she was busy and happy
but something was not as it should be
she’d gained weight and had an insatiable appetite
it took 3 OA meetings a week to get real
about her buried unwanted feelings of
resentment, self pity, boredom, loneliness
which she was busy avoiding with activities
and for which she had paid the price
fortunately it didn’t take long for her
to tweak her choices back into healthy living

That look, photo by Betty Miller, http://fireyes.deviantart.com

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Exercise for healing and fitness

A Walk in the Park 1, photo by Curtis Fletcher, Thornton, United States, easy  fitnessMany people love going to gyms and/or exercising like jogging, swimming, horse riding, dancing and bicycle riding. Others participate in sports such as tennis, bowling, football, squash, and more. Some of us who find exercise too daunting can manage walking, slow dance, aqua-aerobics, yoga, and mowing the lawn to name a few. Any exercise is vital for gaining and maintaining fitness. Furthermore, exercise is especially beneficial for healing such basic illnesses as depression and diabetes.

she sufffered from severe depression but
although she new the benefits of anti-depressants
she was loathe to take them but she did know
that exercising was therapeutic for many illnesses
she attended the gym and yoga regularly
which she told me kept her hopeful of
a speedy recovery as it had helped in the past
another wise choice was that she drank water and
ate healthy food which she mostly prepared herself
a good balance of protein and vegies
were the major ingredients and
I loved to eat them with her

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