Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

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What is a Life Coach?

I’ve been asked “what is a life coach?” and so here is my definition as I function in that role and as the facilitator of the Affie Adagio Life Strategies Workshops.
Talking strategy, photo by Julie Elliot, Whichita, United States, action plan Life coach: a person qualified and experienced in the areas of relationships, personal and professional development. People can develop life strategies to accomplish the lifestyle they dream of, through the services of a life coach. This means achieving goals that have been previously unattainable due to obstacles that seem insurmountable or when resolved keep reappearing. Everyone possesses the skills to improve their lifestyle and often a guide is required to remind them of how it is done. That is the role of a reputable, competent life coach.

a successful businessman comes to see me
as he needed a professional to regularly
use as a sounding board
he provides a person-to-person service
for many of his clients and realised
that over time he was neglecting himself
too busy for self evaluation meant that
he abandoned his own needs for those of others
“that can only have dire consequences” he told me
and he was right, because we get into denial about
where we are at and where we are going, so then
we cannot role model effective behaviour for others!
a monthly visit with me meant he could become real
about his own plan of action and any obstacles
that may have arisen unexpectedly
even though his insights came easily
a gentle prod from me, now and then, was
all he needed because he had done considerable
personal and professional development previously
no wonder he was so successful and
useful for others in their achievements

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Codependence or addiction?

Paper people, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, friend networkI’ve been asked “which comes first codependence or addiction?”. As a therapist I speak professionally and from personal experience as a recovering codependent, as well as a food and nicotine addict in recovery. A codependent can be either a victim or a perpetrator of dysfunctional behaviour and as a result addictions manifest in an effort to self medicate the disturbing feelings. There’s a difference between giving service to others and becoming a martyr for their sake, which is also codependence. A recovering codependent is someone who has identified their condition and admitted it; staying vigilant about it; being a part of a recovery program; and giving service to maintain their recovery and that of others, in a loving fellowship. This recovery also involves being abstinent from addictive behaviours.

Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence), who is
a leader in the codependence recovery field
spoke on her recovery from codependence and addictions
her honesty moved me because society can scoff at
people being transparent about their shortcomings
and how they’ve taken the journey to recovery
this could be because the majority of people are
afflicted by codependence and addictive behaviours
so it’s easier to scoff than to take action
until they reach their rock bottom and only then
they become willing to find sanity and serenity
in a loving fellowship committed to recovery

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Feelings of Deprivation

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapyParents and teachers have the important role of setting limits for children. However, some people forget to be loving and are too strict in this role. This causes feelings of deprivation in children which influence them negatively all their lives. Deprivation is one of the basic symptoms of addiction. Addicted people try to feed the feelings of deprivation by rewarding themselves to excess. This leads to lack of self discipline and they are compelled to keep rewarding themselves to their own detriment. The solution is to find a method that resolves the deprivation experienced and creates feelings of love. This varies with the individual but it can be done successfully with or without therapy. Self help groups are a loving fellowship and play an important healing role in this process.

whenever I promised myself to eat healthy and avoid
what’s unhealthy for my diabetes and weight gain
all the good intentions kept failing!
overcome by the strongest feelings of deprivation
my resolve weakened which led to
eating something not on my food plan but
I remembered how I mastered my nicotine addiction with
18yrs of abstinence, freedom from chain smoking now
but that feeling of rewarding myself no matter how
short lived was connected to the amount of strictness
I experienced as a child and I was in touch with that so
when I gave in it was like rewarding the crying child inside
then I found a food plan for Carbohydrate Addicts and
my feelings of deprivation and cravings were resolved
what’s more I feel loved and normal while losing weight
my diabetes blood sugar count is lowering steadily

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapy

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Panic

Fear in the eye, photo by Joonas Lampinen, Kuopio, Finland, stay coolToday I’m writing about panic as the cause of whether we handle situations well or not. Panic is fuelled by anxiety and different people react differently to stressful situations. The need to fight or flight is natural and some of us under such circumstances will appear cool, calm and collected making the necessary appropriate decisions which resolve the emergency. Others may become flustered and make mistakes that can be fatal. Then again people may experience both reactions at different times.

The best solution is to be prepared by developing relaxation techniques beforehand, like breathing evenly in a circular fashion; repetition of words to steady thought patterns, e.g. “I can do it, I can do it” over and over again (otherwise known as affirmations or self hypnosis); asking for help or making a loud noise, if possible and so on.

PANIC DEFINITION: in American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition [DSM-IV]. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994, p. 394-403
The symptoms the DSM-IV list are:

  1. palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  2. sweating
  3. trembling or shaking
  4. sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  5. feeling of choking
  6. chest pain or discomfort
  7. nausea or abdominal distress
  8. feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  9. derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  10. fear of losing control or going crazy
  11. fear of dying
  12. paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations.
  13. chills or hot flushes

This definition of panic is from (and for more information) (Ask Tog)

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Generation gap

Mummy and me, photo by sanja gjenero, zagreb, Croatia,  parent  childTake back your authority as a parent, regardless of the age of your children. Even adult children need to feel that there is a healthy generation gap. You are the parent they are the children. You can be a friend but that role is governed by your role as the parent. They have friends who are there to share in their fun and foibles but do not confuse that role with the role of being a parent. In this way you keep good boundaries for yourself and also role model healthy boundaries for your children. Otherwise, children take on parenting roles towards their siblings or even towards their own parents – they become the parentified child. So, before long the roles are reversed, with children becoming critical towards their parents or feeling overly responsible for them and this is all due to the ambiguity. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensuring this does not happen by not relinquishing their role as the parent.

she wondered why she felt fear around her adult children
unable to express her needs to see them more often
she became depressed and confused
their claims that she was being needy felt accurate
until we discussed it and she became aware that
her expectations were quite normal for a mother who
had spent her life dedicated to the wellbeing of her children
now that they were adults it was not unreasonable
to expect her love to be reciprocated accordingly
expecting her busy offspring to reach out was unrealistic
yet trying to arrange visits was being met with
resistance and sometimes intolerance
until she realised that she had to take back
her role of mother and correct the imbalance
before more harm was caused to her and
to her adult children by being role modelled
ineffective parenting skills
in taking back her role of parent she became
confident, nurturing and specific about
what her needs as a mother were
resulting in renewed respect from her children

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Seeing the light

Candles in Soft Light, photo by Debbie Miller, Munro, United States, self awarenessHaving experiences that are naturally blissful has been a favoured topic for me lately. Another such bliss is when we get an Ahaa at seeing the light about something. Good communication is one of life’s main assets. Getting it right when we wish to communicate our needs and wants means that our relationships are healthier, our work is more successful, and we have a more enjoyable life. Don’t settle for something that is not clear for fear of annoying another should you probe for more information. The reward of understanding something is priceless. Otherwise you suffer the stress brought on by confusion and misunderstanding.

she was crying her heart out when
I asked what was wrong and
she refused to explain
I paused, giving her time to cry a little more
as I waited she noticed that I was not
going to try and stop her and
she began explaining her predicament
of how her bills were greater than
the money coming in
I suggested that when she was
able to talk we might be able to
look at what options there were
then she became more settled and peaceful
so we considered what she could do
she made a list of those she could contact
and make a payment arrangement with
also what expenses she could do without
like a serious plan to give up smoking
things looked promising as can happen
when seeing the light occurs
that makes all the difference
at the worst of times

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Life Strategies Workshop

Smiley Orange, photo by Levi Szekeres, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, stress managementHave you ever reached a stage that you look around and see people around you relating in a superficial manner – plastic and meaningless, dragging you into the same empty space? There are enjoyable ways to bring you back in touch with your true self and your passion which otherwise can just die away. Today I facilitated another Life Strategies Workshop. This one took place in the boardroom at the Crest Hotel at Kings Cross. There were 9 participants and we had fun unwinding from the stresses of life.

Those present already have experience in using effective life strategies and are involved in providing person-to-person services in corporate life. Today was their turn to take the focus off others and put it on themselves. It was also great to have such a good ratio of men and women.

We looked at how to identify different personality types so as to improve communication in the workplace and in personal relationships. Also how to find your passion which is so important to keep you motivated to achieve your goals. Then how to move on after a relationship has ended, with the least possible suffering. All vital life strategies which need honing now and then, no matter how good you are at dealing with life’s ups and downs.

The participants also experienced developing their skills in dealing effectively with a rebellious, difficult person without losing their sanity. For some, such a person is an adolescent child with unrealistic expectations.

Feedback from some participants was along the lines of:

  • more productive than other workshops
  • confronting, yet light and enjoyable
  • very different from what I expected, good work
  • interesting workshop, good group of people
  • enjoyable afternoon, a good learning curve
  • good to be with like minded people and unwind
  • great to refine my negotiation skills in a pleasant way
  • will remember this day for a long while, stress free
  • I liked the lots of humour for change
  • it mapped a path to my goals, back on track
  • more beneficial than I expected, cause I dealt with something new

The venue, atmosphere and delicious food and beverages created a moment in time that busy successful people could really appreciate. This is a reliable method of ensuring that your life is kept on an even keel.

The next Life Strategies Workshop will take place 1-5pm on Sunday January 28th 2007 [changed to February 4th]. So book early as only 9 or 10 participants are accepted.

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Living skills

Globe, photo by Elvis Santana, Hialeah, United States, enlightenment, developmentThroughout the world people are faced with everyday dramas. What helps everyone get fulfilment in their lives regardless of these dramas is their living skills. Living skills or life strategies are learned behaviours we use to overcome life’s obstacles. When people are able to recognise their own feelings as assets and not fear them, which means they befriend their demons, then they are using life strategies. Having purpose and direction motivates us into living fuller lives and that too is using life strategies. These abilities are innate, that is, such living skills come naturally but because of life’s ravages we need to purposefully set aside time to consciously refresh these skills. This needs to be done in a safe environment with a qualified facilitator – a Life Strategies Workshop.

he told me that he did not want to
go with her to a life strategies workshop
because he thought only losers needed that
I asked him if he felt the same about using
the services of a doctor, accountant or lawyer?
he admitted that he did not and with this
he realised that going to a workshop where
a professional would facilitate the process
of refreshing his living skills to manage life efficiently
was indeed no different to turning to any other
professional resource person
this insight meant that he got full benefit
from the life strategies workshop

Globe, photo by Elvis Santana, Hialeah, United States, elightenment, development

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