Relaxation

Candles, photo by xlucas, Germany, meditationPeople underestimate the importance of relaxation for settling the temper, creating accelerated learning, accessing motivation, and contributing to recovery from addictions and other ill health. An effective method of relaxation is meditation with candles and our favourite relaxation music. If meditation by candlelight is not possible then a short walk will work wonders to relax us enough, and that is called walking meditation.

Wards of the State had developed serious
violent outbursts which were life threatening
my message to youthworkers of
this residential program was to teach
these youths how to relax when they
became frustrated and agitated
so the appropriate first stage for relaxation
was that they go for a walk as soon as
they felt the rage fester and if they did this
they would receive incentive points which
would be rewarded weekly
in time the smashing of windows and walls
ceased completely and the youths either
went for a walk and/or resorted to
hitting the punching bag in the rumpus room
till they felt relaxed enough to negotiate
a solution to their conflict

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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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Devil woman

Paper devil, photo by Brian S, Jakarta Indonesia, no faultHow often have we heard “the devil made me do it”? In actual fact we make choices and sometimes we regret these choices and find it necessary to blame others in order to save face. This is especially the case when the consequences are not wanted. No one can make us feel anything we don’t want to – we allow them to make us feel in a certain way.

he had cheated before but convinced his wife that
it wouldn’t happen again and she believed him
then one day he disappeared with his best friend’s wife
she suffered for two weeks not knowing where he was
then he came back and professed his love for her
insisting that he did not love the other woman
but that she had thrown herself at him and
eventually he weakened and gave into her spell
the devil woman made him do it
that was the line that convinced his wife
it was impossible for them to
have a happy life together so she ended it
to this day he cries over being dumped by her
and his friends actually feel sorry for him!

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The clown in addiction

Clowns 2, photo by Sasha Davas, Australia, double bindIn life we need fun and laughter to stay healthy. When it is missing then we turn to substances and or processes that lift our spirits. Unfortunately, using such means results in repetitive behaviour which is not fulfilling because eventually whatever we do isn’t enough. The clown in addiction can be a cover up for immense unhappiness and low self esteem. In other circumstances, the clown is a fun performance for the audience to enjoy.

as she spoke to me about the sadness and abuse
she had experienced all her life up till now
she chuckled often at the most traumatic recollections
as a therapist I was obliged to give her feedback on this
pointing out that incongruous behaviour was not unusual
in codependence and addictions
she quickly understood the message about
the clown in addiction
and this insight, although it hurt a little
no pain no gain they say
helped her to be more authentic about
her feelings and therefore closer
to resolving the turmoil inside
serenity at last

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Projection

Hands, photo by Bianca de Blok, Netherlands, self awarenessAs the saying goes – when you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you. How often is it easier to blame someone else about their behaviour without realising that what is truly annoying us is projection of our own unacceptable behaviour onto them. Projection needs to be considered first when we are upset by someone else’s behaviour, and only then if we are satisfied that we are not being reminded of our own shortcomings, can we give others honest feedback about their’s. In doing so we are role models to others, especially our children.

my mother used to accuse me of lying
at every opportunity and
as a child not only was I so offended
but I went to great lengths to
prove I was being honest
as I grew I realised that
my mother lied so easily
and would get so annoyed with
my need to be honest when
she was trying to spin a tale
so her projection onto me
about her lying tendencies
kept her in denial about
her own behaviour and guilt

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Spending addiction

mother and children at doctor, photo by Jyn Meyer, Spokane, United States,  depressed, therapy  We delight in the thought of going shopping when we want to lift our spirits. Everyone supports this by laughing about it when it’s mentioned. It is healthy fun except when it is a spending addiction. How do we know the difference? It’s a matter of whether the spending is affordable, not excessive, and above all does not create clutter by accumulating too much. Mainly when we feel uncomfortable about the spending and still do it then it needs attention.

she looked depressed and opened up to
how low her finances were and how hard
it is to feed small children as a sole parent
with no support from the father
her job was not paying well and the
expenses were high
there was no time nor money for
socialising and having fun with friends
her only delight was shopping sprees at
St. Vincents de Paul where she spent little
and got things she couldn’t otherwise afford
however her spending addiction was getting out of hand
in therapy she found out that by admitting it
half the problem is solved and she made a plan
to get her spirits lifted a healthier way

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Passive Aggression

miserly witch photo by uc sesselle Adegem, Belgium passive aggressionWe all get angry but different people have different ways of behaving when they get angry. Some shout and others express themselves appropriately without throwing a tantrum. Then again there are those whose response is minimal but deep inside there is turmoil, so they withdraw. Nevertheless their behaviour shows they are unhappy and it is tense around them. That’s what is commonly known as passive aggression and not very helpful in a relationship. It is better for them and others that they at least attempt to express their feelings maturely rather than hold them inside which causes ill health, just as acting out angry behaviour aggressively also does.

for a long time she kept quiet when she was angry
that’s the way it had always been for her but
she had not realised that it was written on her face
all the frustration, the hurt and the pain
brought about by that anger
however it did not help in the long run even though she
had become good at passive aggression
as she practised a healthier way of communicating
she became more loveable and happier
only now and then she slipped back to the old ways
but at least nowadays it was for a shorter time because
she knew that it was so obviously
immature and unhealthy

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