ADDICTION, not an easy topic to discuss as it’s not usually brought up around the dinner table or at the neighborhood BBQ. It’s a topic we deny within ourselves and for those around the addicted are usually enabling by evading the bad behaviors with silence hoping they will just go away, someday. Addiction, for many years, was considered a moral and ethical issue where the majorities without a classified addiction believed the inflicted actually had the capability to stop their behavior at any given moment on their own. Did you know addiction actually became a classified medical disease around 50 years ago?
Here the American Society of Addiction Medicine gives a short definition of what is now known as the disease of addiction… a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
When one finally has the courage to admit there is a problem it’s usually considered to be alcohol or non-prescribed drugs. But we cannot leave out sex, gambling, food, shopping and the addiction to money. We even use social media to seek reward. Addiction is tricky; it’s not just about the ingesting of a substance. I believe, we are reaching for the convenience of “things” outside of ourselves pursuing a quick reward to feel better so that we can turn away from the real inner problems.
As a species, we crave connection. We’re getting caught up in the use of social media for our “perceived” personal interaction. Let’s face it, we are fooling ourselves and it’s changing our brains. As studies have shown when we hit “like” on the facebook post a dopamine release happens serving as a reward which is confusing us to believe we are actually connecting through the wifi. It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s quick. We get the rush and we move on. I don’t know about you but when I get on Facebook time flies by and I’ve totally distracted myself for an hour or two!
But this is a limited and short term release and then later we go back to the outer reality and the unhappiness of our inner reality. So we are actually placing the distraction before making an actual deeper connection with ourselves or others. This distraction is taking away time to be with our own self which would inevitably help the inner problems to eventually go away. I see it all the time with my clients who are really craving the need for a true connection. Distraction is the real addiction. We justify the behaviors of convenience. We miss out on opportunities to actually deepen our relationships.
When treating addiction we consider it a Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual disorder, so we have to look at every aspect of life and treat from a whole person perspective. This is a misconceived idea by many who are not educated around the topic and believe healing is just removing the substance out of one’s life. We know there is no “cookie cutter” method or program that works for everyone and I see the treatment field transitioning out of “old school” teachings moving into a more “new school” belief and approach. Neuroscience is coming into main stream with more options in helping by providing the knowledge we can couple treatment with ancient learnings of mindfulness, meditation and even energy work to help those suffering. Every individual is unique in their learning of how to become a whole person again. The addicted just need to learn it’s ok to just be and it’s ok to be authentic. So, shop around to find the help that’s right for you.
Ask yourself what are the things I want to work on? What am I finding that resonates with me that would best serve me? Start by asking your higher-self for answers. I promise a higher intelligence will show up and step in with different healing options. It may feel overwhelming at first and you may feel lost, but trust me, you can’t go wrong when you are trying to rediscover who you are and what you need… from meditation to medication
Rediscovering YOU and realigning with better behaviors will lead you down a very different path then where you are today. So be open, be a sponge towards a “new life” and just see what is out there.
Try all sorts of things; you never know what might be the one thing that really clicks. I can tell you this; everything you try… are ALL working… even if you don’t think that last one you tried did. There is always something to be gained out of each life experience, so keep experiencing, the next one could be the one that got you ready… the next on could work exactly the way you were hoping.
To learn more about a safe and effective addiction recovery alternative, call Anne Ferguson, Certified Addiction Counselor and Higher Brain Living Practitioner at (612) 865-0281
What do you think of when I say the word, CHANGE? Does it give you a physical response? Does your mind start racing with all the reasons why NOT to change? Usually our initial response to change is stress, anxiety and worry? However, I bet if you looked at your life over the past year maybe even 6 months back you’ll see there’s been some changes made. Change is inevitable and constant and it’s going to happen whether we are willing or resistant. So learning to respond to change is better than having a default of resisting change.
As an Addictions counselor I see people come into treatment trying to pull themselves and their lives back together. We tell them “You’ll need to change everything.” Sounds a bit overwhelming, huh? I tell my clients, “It doesn’t matter how you got here or what happened before you got here. The truth is if nothing changes, nothing changes.” So let the past guide you, but not define you.
When going through the recovery change or i believe any change repeating the
serenity prayer helps..
See, I’ve been there; I had a time in my life when I was totally miserable and recovery was the only avenue for change. I worked hard on the inside and the outside to change everything and create a better life. Then after 8 years of recovery, I found myself needing another change. I was stressed and burnt out in my career. I ended another bad relationship and noticed I was living from fear and my mental state was not good. That’s when Higher Brain Living found me. Yes I said “found me.” I had been talking to God, the universe, my higher power whatever you want to call it and I was asking and praying for help. Higher Brain Living showed up. I’ve come to know, when we ask for what we need the healing help comes. It's just sometimes, it’s not how we expected it. I don't think I was really expecting anything because I didn’t know how or what needed to change. I only knew there was an internal agreement going on with myself that knew I wasn’t living in alignment and a change needed to happen. I found I had a choice. I could live by the definition of insanity “doing the same thing over and over expecting different results” or I could discover a whole new way to living..."Life is not about surviving the storm. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
However there is a big challenge for those of us working a recovery program. Once we remove the numbing substances or behaviors we now become forced to learn how to feel again, not just in the beginning, but over and over and over. I felt like I understood what it meant to feel more emotions but the Higher Brain Living system allowed me to finally balance out all my emotions. In fact I found a new realignment with my happy, my calm, my real authentic being and my truth of who I am as a woman living in her full potential. I feel like I have came home to the real knowing of me.
My life before HBL, in my recovery, was a constant state of working at managing my emotions. My core emotions of anger, irritation and dissatisfaction. I actually thought I was a positive person. Now I see I was actually a positive “the cup is half empty” person. We call the recovery path a “courageous” path but as I dig deeper into me, I'm finding the spiritual path is a whole new level of courage. I continue to find the courage to go deeper and deeper into my heart, my life and learn more of me. (but that will be a whole other blog)
To put things in perspective, when you’ve been engaging in bad behavior patterns for such a long time... change seems impossible. As i grew I learned there were more bad habits to face in this new life change. Those younger years of growing bad habits had been reinforced and rooted into the brain through my surrounding environment of family, friends and authority figures keep trying to creep in. I"m sure you have experienced it you've worked towards a change? Your mind says “hey it’s just the way I do things,” “i can handle this,” “if I change I might make so and so mad,” “it will be too painful.” Since we’ve all been conditioned and allowed to behave in certain ways we can fall into the trap of justifying exactly “why” our behaviors are acceptable. We rationalize the behavior and our way of thinking into a perceived truth, therefore making the justified behavior our comfort zone keeping change from happening.
I’ve worked in all levels of recovery care as an addiction counselor; inpatient, out-patient and residential so I know. If we never get out of the comfort zone change is not going to happen. Many are never taught to handle change in their lives or learn how to adapt a winning mindset. I've come to see it’s pretty evident without accepting change our life will eventually get to a point of not working. Then as an adult we have to learn to teach ourselves to roll with the tides of change and it can be a struggle. If we can learn to change the way we think, our perception, that's half the battle and can actually be an opening for a better future. Now, I choose to see change as an opportunity to go deeper within, to get real honest with myself and to learn more about what’s not working in my life so I can find one way or another to change it. It's not always easy or comfortable, but I can't live life staying stagnet any more.
Maybe you or someone you know has finally gotten to this place in their life? A place where happiness is not the default and feelings of stress are? Or maybe you’re experiencing consistent thoughts of fear coupled with feelings of anxiety and depression. Maybe you’ve decided it’s just time for a change and you are ready?
Just know, there is not perfect time to begin a change, so try to understand, it's when you simply know you need to move out of where you are and shift into a new way of being.
As hard as it may be, ask for help. Then once you make the decision to change, know your mind will go into overdrive and throw a fit like a 2 year old! I have learned my own minds strategy… over active thoughts that keep throwing up every scenario of why I can’t , I couldn’t, and I shouldn’t …
that’s when I say, “Oh Yeah, “life is about to change.”
Change is better with loving support from someone who can keep you accountable to not go back into the comfort zone, back into the misery or dissatisfaction you’re trying to escape. Let change be your friend, not your enemy. Think about it, you may find a new freedom, a new sense of relief, and a brand new start. That is exactly what Higher Brain Living did for me. So make the decision to change your life and tell yourself... you’ve got the courage to do this!
Before you know it, you’ll look back and be happy you did.
I’m here for you, ready to guide you and support you along the way.