Blame: a lesson in accepting reality

[:nl]When we blame ourselves, other people, places or things, we can be sure of one thing: we are not happy with reality as it occurs. And the same is true for others, when they blame us. This is undeniably insane, since reality, the now, has already occurred and we cannot change the past.

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Turning the holiday blues around

 

For those suffering from unhealthy habits the holidays can be a difficult time of the year. I often hear that to many of us, days like Thanksgiving, St. Nicolas, Diwali, Hanukkah or Christmas are triggers to watch out for. Of course this is not so (see my previous post on triggers). Also, the end of the year is the time for making life changing resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking, and so on. This too is not the most helpful way to recovery and happiness (see this post). So, what can you do to enjoy this time of the year?

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Low self-esteem: who’s judging who?

One of the recurring themes that comes up when talking to people suffering from unhealthy habits is “low self-esteem”, both as a cause, an excuse and/or as a symptom for their behavior or thinking. The word self-esteem implies a judgment we have about ourselves. The word low expresses the result of that judging process.  When our self-esteem is low, we judge ourselves to be not good enough. However, isn’t judgment up to an impartial judge and jury. So, who is judging who? Awareness about the true nature of this thing called low self-esteem can be very helpful in recovery and you will find out that it is all about the ego’s insanity.

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The truth about triggers

 

Are unhealthy habits triggered and if so, how and by what. In treatment programs the expression HALT (an abbreviation for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) is often used to indicate risk factors that could trigger undesirable unhealthy habits. The truth is that it is your thinking that is at the root of your unhealthy habits, and you can say farewell to them by applying 7 fundamental principles.

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Unhealthy habits: self-image versus true self

Contemplating the statement “I am an addict” or “I am addicted” is an important step in unlearning unhealthy habits. The key question is who the “I” is. The answer may surprise you and may radically change the view you have of yourself.

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Dealing with feelings

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When you live with an addict you are likely to experience anger, frustration, fear, shame and guilt. These feelings may become very overwhelming. They stand in the way of a happy and peaceful life and make it hard to make calm and conscious choices. There are ways to deal with such feelings, and you have more control over them than you might expect.

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About boundaries

When dealing with the addiction of a loved one in your life you may experience all kinds of painful emotions and difficulties, and there is only so much you can humanly take. A very effective way of avoiding this is to set boundaries.

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The three C’s

The three C's from al-anon

One of the most common problems when dealing with an addict in your life is that you blame yourself.  You ask yourself: “Why is it that no matter what I do and how hard I try, the addict(s) in my life doesn’t change and the pain and suffering doesn’t stop”. Or “What am I doing wrong, for if I would do it right, he or she would not drink, do drugs, etc.”

In my upcoming book I explain how and why this is.

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New relationships: time is on your side

Taking down the wall around the self

We were not created to live alone.  After ending a relationship with an addict – especially a loved one – it is not always easy to make the step to find new people to like, or to love.

As you may have read elsewhere in this blog, the consequences of living with an addict are multiple. You have invested all you have. You may feel you have failed. You are disappointed and you carry emotions such as guilt, anger, shame and frustration with you.

The time will come that you feel ready for new relationships, but how do you deal with these emotions.  How do you know whether this time it will work out? The honest answer is: you don’t.

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Recovery and new relationships

Remove the labels you stick on people, places and things

In many cases recovering from living with an addict leads to ending the relationship. It is quite natural that you carry feelings of disappointment, betrayal, anger and pain with you after such a rupture for quite some time. You blame your addict for them and these feelings can stand in the way of engaging in new relationships. You are afraid to get hurt again. We generalize our anger and mistrust towards people we meet (“men are all the same anyhow” or “you cannot trust women.Period.”)

We have to realize that it is not the addict that generates our feelings. It is our own thought process. Fortunately we are in control of our thoughts.

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