Happy New Year

Look at the futur 1, Martin BOULANGER, Lyon, FranceI wish you all a Happy New Year with happiness and love in your lives.? The festivities found me recuperating from a shoulder injury, as you know,? but now I am feeling more agile. My mind has turned to new year resolutions that we often make, some do-able and some unrealistic. Far better to set realistic goals so as to have a better chance of achieving them and less chance of failure with the outcome of guilt.

I am fascinated at the passion with which
we make new year resolutions
as though with the new year comes
a magic drive to achieve the unachievable
of the past year!
then after a few days we find ourselves
slipping back to old unacceptable behaviours
bummer! we blame the gods
better to not become intoxicated by the
passion of the promise of the new year
and rationally make a plan to get things done
things which we believe are best for us
and are more likely to succeed with

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Eating disorders

Stone sorrow,photo by constantin jurcut,Rachel commented on my post on addiction and anorexia saying that she hoped I could help her. When it comes to eating out she tries to order a meal that will be easier for her to finish instead of one that she really wants and feels nervous throughout. Rachel claims she is so preoccupied with this thinking that she doesn’t finish the meal. As she is planning to travel, this problem is preventing her from going.

My response to Rachel is that as I do not know enough about her condition I cannot accurately assess her problem, however, I am willing to hazard a guess. Rachel, what you describe sounds to me that your are obsessing over your problem and that is usually the basis of an eating disorder. I have had clients who have benefited from a few sessions with me. There are also stories which can help you that are shared at OA, which is for all eating disorders not just overeating. So Rachel get professional help to guide you through this difficult condition and attend some OA meetings for support from others who have experienced what you have and found the solution.

Stone sorrow, photo by constantin jurcut, Hungary, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/888751

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Addiction to touching

833820_hands.jpgLaurie commented on my post called Touch to stay alive asking whether it is possible to be addicted to touching, because she feels it may be her compulsion as she was deprived of touch? This compulsion is a symptom of codependence and love addiction which have the underlying characteristics of low self esteem, fear of intimacy and lack of trust, to name a few. In such a case we become addicted to touch and yet attracting more deprivation. Recovery will ease the pain because we learn how to give and receive affection in a healthy manner. Otherwise we attract those who reject us or those who are needy.

I recommend reading Pia Mellody’s books Facing Codependence and Facing Love Addiction. It is important to understand how in a relationship we can either be a love addict or an avoidant – the “back walking away”. We can switch roles too, which comes with fear of intimacy, low self esteem and lacking in trust. In recovery we learn to think rationally.

Recovery is also possible through belonging to self help groups like CoDA and SLAA, where it extremely invaluable to hear how members have found recover.y. Sometimes therapy is also needed with an experienced, qualified therapist who specialises in codependence and love addiction.

Hands, photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert, Concord, United States,

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Purpose and direction

Note, photo by Flaviu Lupoian, Cluj-Napoca, RomaniaTo be happy we need to have purpose and direction in life. Planning a timetable can create the feeling of productivity which leads to happiness and contentment. Of course, it is important that we avoid making lists which we don’t act on. Sometimes that happens when we feel anxious and in making the list we gain relief but not carrying out the tasks we can feel unnecessarily guilty and is self-defeating.

she made a list and backed it up with the
relevant affirmations but
on a daily basis she only achieved
one or two tasks off the list!
that led to the realisation that
not only was she suffering from burnout but at least
on the bright side she was doing one or two tasks at a time
which made her feel better, little by little
nevertheless purpose and direction lessened the stress
and the outcome was rewarding

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Relationship with self

elisa_hiding_pose, Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria, self loathingTo have fulfilling relationships with anyone else we need to first develop a loving relationship with self. It’s the foundation for any type of love we have with others. Without the ability to love ourselves we feel emptiness or self hate which leads to needing feelgoods such as food, alcohol and other drugs or addictive processes like work, gambling, love and sex. To develop healthy self love we list our strengths and weaknesses, because that raises our self awareness – education is 50% of achieving the outcome we want. Then we list what we want out of life and what we definitely don’t want. Try it and see.

Yvonne was a pleasant person who
made friends easily but she was
extremely overweight from using
food to medicate her resentments
at times she appeared “sickly sweet”
and so apologetic that it seemed
she was even apologising for breathing
that is codependent behaviour and
can only lead to unhappiness
as she got into recovery from codependency
she developed her relationship with herself
in listing her strengths and weaknesses
as well as her wants and needs in life
her self esteem was strengthened and
in time her relationships with others
became more fulfilling
eventually she lost a lot of weight because
she didn’t need to self medicate with food

elisa_hiding_pose, photo by Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria

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Timing is vital

Clock, photo by Henning Buchholz, Bremen, Germany, high priorityWhen good intentions become failures, then our timing could be out of sinc. Timing is vital in any plan of action, even for simple discussions. How often do we begin to say something, feeling confident and enthusiastic, and then the whole situation deteriorates into struggling in emotional quicksand? The more we struggle the worst it becomes and we wonder how it happened? Perhaps we didn’t consider whether it was appropriate to bring the matter up, no matter how simple it seemed. Perhaps we didn’t consider whether the other person was in the mood to deal with the matter. Perhaps we didn’t consider how capable we were at that point to express the matter appropriately. Or a combination of all of these things. When we pause and plan how to express ourselves, especially taking into consideration how right the timing is, then the interaction has more of a chance of being successful.

Stephanie had learnt from a young age
not to jump into the emotional deep end!
her father had a volatile personality
whether he was drunk or not, and so
before she spoke about anything delicate to anyone
she’d ask “are you free to speak for a moment?”
this usually prepared the other person
and it spared her unnecessary hurt!
how easy would it be if it were protocol for us
to first ask this question, just as we
automatically say “please” and “thank you”,
checking that the timing is right, could
protect us from abusive personalities
whilst respecting each others availability to
be fully present in a discussion

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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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Leisure time for good health

Exercise by the sea, photo by Adam Kurzok, trinec, Czech Republic, wellbeing We can get swept up by work commitments, which results in emotional and physical burnout. We are not aware of this happening because usually the process is enjoyable. Having purpose and direction is very potent for us human beings, whether paid or voluntary activities. However, without leisure time for good health, we can become sick. This can creep up on us, manifesting as common illnesses, depression, addiction and/or moodiness. Being vigilant about these symptoms? can be an early remedy. Better still is prevention, so we need to have a balance between our work and leisure time – no excuses.

I was chosen to run a new program and
we had great success with it which was
most beneficial for the clients involved
I was on call 24 hours a day
for their safety and that of the workers
and after 2 years at this pace
my weight increased and I got
chronic bronchitis and diabetes
my moodiness was not apparent to me
then I developed depression
which took 6 months to recover
I realised how run down I had become, so
I quit the job and found more relaxing work
to this day I am amazed at how intoxicating
that project was that I did not notice
how hard I was working and how
my leisure time had become minimal

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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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