Forgiveness

When you or your loved one(s) suffer from an unhealthy habit, blame and anger or guilt and shame,  are states of mind that many of us are all too familiar with. We feel guilty and ashamed for the suffering we cause. We are angry and blame others for our own pain.  What we sometimes do not realize is that these states become an unhealthy habit in themselves. We become used to them. Our lives and the way way deal with people, places and events, and especially how we perceive them, are dominated by them. It has become a form of energy we fuel our lives with. But why would we want to be fueling something that causes us pain and negativity? And what can we do to end this behavior?  I have found that forgiveness is the key.

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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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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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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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Denial

Sometimes things happen in your life that are so painful that you put them away in the deepest realms of our mind. Sometimes you even deny them. This denial protects you from having to feel or relive pain or suffering. Read more
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Truth versus selective perception

The reality you perceive may not be the truth. People have a tendency to interpret what they perceive through their senses, according to what they believe, according to their convictions. It is very useful to be aware of these “tricks” your mind and your thinking may play on you.

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Life on life’s terms

As you may have noticed I have not been posting any new articles for almost 12 months.

I chose to dedicate most of my time to my mother and father who were both suffering from severe health problems. After 53 years of marriage they were admitted in separate health care facilities 20 miles apart in The Netherlands. On Friday August 24th my father passed away. My mother is still in critical, albeit stable, condition. So “life  on life’s terms” seemed to be an appropriate titel to pick up where I left off.

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Denial: the main obstacle to recovery

Denial

Logically, the need to recover from living with an addict can only become apparent when you are  conscious of the fact that it is indeed addiction that is affecting your life and that of the addict. Unfortunately this consciousness is often hindered by the mechanisms of denial and repression.

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The truth about higher power

In 12-step programs such as AA, Al-anon, CA, XA, SLAA (and there are many more) the basis for recovery is the belief in a “Higher Power as you understand him” or “God”. So what to do with this when you consider yourself to be an atheist or when you are not a Christian.

In many conversations I have had with people suffering from unhealthy habits I commonly hear – or sense –some form of anger or frustration when talking about this notion of a Higher Power. Some people are outright pi..ed off. How can it be, they ask themselves, that there is so much (personal) suffering and misery in their lives and in the world if there is a God. Why does the Higher Power let this happen?  If this is how you think, then this post is for you.

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Forgiveness: finding peace in truth

Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution (source:Wikipedia). It is important to realize that you are the one making the choice to forgive. This means that you can end your own suffering. Read more
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