Thursday, May 31, 2012
The other day I was up on a Native American Reservation, and I met a lady who was getting up there in age, the century mark. She told me one thing, one thing only. She said what ever path you take, remember that path can change any time- but can you? Well I thought about that for awhile. Today, I was giving a group for a senior citizen outfit, I started the group off with that very statement, what I learned from the lady at the reservation. As I was just getting ready to switch topics, a burst of conversation filled our tiny room with all these grey haired people. I kept hearing, path, 1929, 1938, and a litany of other dates, and events. I tried to raise my voice and get the attention back on me, the speaker. All that did, was make the voices louder. So I sat down, and I listened. Soon, everybody was listening to one person, she was 101. She talked very slow, and very quiet. We all had to scoot in to listen to her every breath. Then it hit, me. My group today was about me learning from them, not the other way around. Truth be told, in this group, the more I think about it, and write about it, was a learning tool for this writer. So I got out my pen, and began to write. Listening to every member, as we went around the room. The topic was path/change, and what I think to be true, hearing about how younger people waste their time trying to get things they don't need. Wow. I can still see the lady up at the reservation, talking to me like she knew I would be talking about this at a different time. Learning from our elders can be a wonderful thing! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
It seems that daily life is all about organization. We plan our schedule, work, kids, family, support, but do we organize our thoughts? During the day, I'm sure you have a thought here and there, and it may be a thought that seems to bring you down, or you tend to hold on to that thought through out your day. That thought, may be one of anxiety, depression, urge, craving or something that is really bothering you. If you adhere to your daily organization skills, what would you do? You would prioritize, think it through, and move on to the next task, right? Well, it's that easy. You control the pen that writes, or fingers that type, now control the thought. Decide what type of energy is needed to organize self's thoughts. Do you need to write about what is on your mind, or can you talk to someone about it? These vary questions, start off as thoughts, organize them just like you do your schedule, kids activities, family events, and your support meetings. Some of us need work on organizing our daily affairs, and our thoughts. When things are cluttered we panic, or become depressed. Work through your thoughts and start getting organized for self. I can tell you respectfully, that the clients and peers who are organizing their thoughts and organizing their daily affairs are the one's that accomplish goals. Positive energy appears to work hand in hand with organization. Once self is organizing it's thoughts, all the other tasks seem to fall into place on your own timeline. It feels good to be in control of what is going on in your life! Some helpful hints that may work for you in organizing your thoughts and daily affairs. Get into a routine where you are able to make a list, and stick to it. Check off each thought and task once they are let go, or accomplished, or need more attention. Sometimes you may not accomplish your task, or goal. Can you let that thought go, and move on to the next task. Be creative in your thinking, and how you give yourself credit for being organized! Don't over organize, we all need to have free thinking and be spontaneous. All are brains are highly organized, now we need to use the thoughts that help us stay organized. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Do you remember all the excuses self would use not to go out and exercise? Honesty was something that self was unable to come to grips with. There may have been some days where all of your energy was being preoccupied by your addiction, stress, or lack of caring for your own mental health. Things have changed for you now. You have the ability to go out there and sweat it out! Excuses are no longer a threat for you. You are in control of your addiction, taking the steps necessary to manage your mental health. Stress is something that you are learning to let go, and not make that thought bigger. Self is making choices for self, and their positive ones! When you control your thoughts, you can decide what you need to do for you. As you are working out today, sweat those negative thoughts out, and let the positive thoughts come in. Look at you, not bad at all! Feel the sensation of being in control. Run faster, walk harder, bike with more energy, swim more laps, sweat because you can. Keep this healthy routine up. Abolish the excuses, and welcome the challenge of physical activity. Those cravings and urges begin to minimize with the more sweat you sweat. Your body is loving this workout, as your mind stays clear. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Friday, May 25, 2012
How many of you back in the day could not remember your holiday weekend do to being impaired in some fashion? Some of you may have started your binge two or three days in before the actual holiday weekend commenced. Take some time today and reflect back on where you were and what you were doing while you were self-medicating, gambling, purging, or unhealthy sexual behavior. Now fast forward today, and look how you are in control of your thoughts, working through the urges and cravings and doing something positive this holiday weekend. You could be spending some quality time with your family, friends, or using a support group to share with others. This holiday weekend let us reward self with positive energy, and experience joy with new "clean" memories. It feels good to be balanced and slowing down your once roller coaster of a life. Clients tell me all the time that they look forward to a controlled holiday, where they have no expectations and are staying in their health. Waking up on self's own schedule, having healthy meals, and exercising with friends are positive ways that you may enjoy the holiday weekend. Back in the day, you probably did not go to sleep, eat any meals, and would be on your drug of choice, chase for gambling, or bender, 24/7! It is important that self recognize the changes you have made, and the positive decisions you are making this holiday weekend. You deserve some credit. Find some time this holiday weekend, and journal your thoughts for fun, explore where your are now, and what it feels like to be clean and sober, eating your meals and keeping them down, not gambling your life away or living with unhealthy sexual behavior. Your going to struggle, but it is healthy struggle, you are in control of your thoughts, not making things bigger! Keep up the positive energy, and smile, you deserve it! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Coming fresh off our Tuesday night group. This group is where individuals are struggling with their sexuality and working on their addiction. Tonight was a special night. I feel fortunate that I am able to share with you, with the groups consent. Sometimes we feel we don't like our body, or our gender, and want to be different. Society appears to have strict guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not. Therefore, some hide their aspirations of wanting to be who they really think they are. Addiction for this population serves as a coping mechanism. Many of our group members have been using drugs and alcohol over the years to deny who and what they really want to be. For what ever reason, tonight we broke individual barriers and began to examine self's real identity. It was amazing to hear the courage of each member tell their story and be honest with their feelings. The amount of energy that was used in the past to pretend they were something that they did not want to be became disheartening. Half of our group has tried at one time to end their life, some of the group members tried multiple times. Tonight's topic was self acceptance for self. Accepting who we are at this moment, and who we aspire to be when our body fits what we want to accept. I think the lesson learned tonight was not about what horrible things happened to some of these members in the past, nor what addiction they latched onto to hide themselves from society, but how self has the power to accept self on self's terms. Does it really matter if you like men, women, and want to be a man or a woman, or share the body of both? What really matters is that you can accept yourself for who you are, and what you want to do with your life without using addiction to cope. 13 voices were heard tonight. 13 voices began to accept their path on their terms. 13 voices decided for this group tonight that making things bigger does not work. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Many parents wonder why their kids turn to drug use. This writer believes that a kid first starts experimenting with drugs to achieve the following: euphoria, boredom, rebellion, entertainment, curiosity, peer pressure and stress reduction. Now, the kid will continue this behavior if it minimizes or maximizes pleasure and satisfaction. What happens next is something all of you parents probably see first hand in your child's behavior. The child will begin to substitute their drug use for other healthy activities or hobbies they once did. In essence the unmet need becomes the drug use, which spirals to drug abuse which can end up as drug dependence. Yes your kid may abuse drugs do to a biochemical predisposition, but in this writer's experience, more kids seem to abuse drugs do to poor self-image, escape, impulsivity, and suffering from a family dysfunction or some type of physical/sexual abuse. The child sees few perceived options to deal with their current self, and look to find comfort with using peers. Respectfully, these using peers can share the same addictive personality trait as your child or are struggling with their own self image to. When your child is self-medicating daily, they increase antisocial behavior, block completion of normal developmental tasks, and sometimes lead to the development of a deviant lifestyle. The child begins to take risks, which may include stealing things around your home, stealing from others or stealing from the community. Frequent adolescent drug abusers often appear as withdrawn, alienated, and generally unhappy. The kid is unable to invest energy into developing healthy interpersonal relationships, completing school or work, and generally set positive future goals. If this is going on in your household, it is important to seek intervention, and begin to understand your child's needs. It is important to be sensitive and educational for your child. The prevention program should include the child's school, and any other collaboration with mental health services that is needed, including the family support. Positive prevention plans are one's that are designed to build skills, mentor, and allow your child to be a active participant in addiction education. The child has the capacity to work on their self, learn how to balance their feelings and goals, while finding their higher power. The child can learn to have fun again, before the drug induced behavior took over their lives. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Find something that you are really passionate about and do it. That is a order. Put your energy into something that you may have always wanted to do, and today is the day that you are going to do it. No excuses, everyone has something in their life that they are passionate about. Being passionate about something will help self focus and get you through the negative, destructive thoughts that sometimes you hold onto longer. Once you are able to enjoy what ever gives you passion, you will become stronger, balanced, and will begin to have fun again. This writer identifies passion outlets as certain times of the day, week, or month that self can take that opportunity and enjoy something that you love to do. Make this part of your routine when you are organizing your day. This could be your reward for the week if you accomplish your goals. Clients and peers often tell me that once they get to experience their passion outlet, they are so excited to do it again. They create a healthy need with their passion outlet. Sometimes that outlet is a stepping stone to build new interpersonal relationships with new people. When you are passionate about something, you wear it on your face, and everyone around you can notice! The energy you give off is vibrant and intoxicating. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
If there is one thing that this writer does get annoyed about, it is when society adds this tremendous pressure to create this absurd world of suggesting that you need to diet to be acceptable to your self. Really? Diet this world, if you know I mean. It is one thing to watch what you eat, and be conscious of your calories, but the notion if you diet, you will be happy, and more importantly, your now accepted by society. Every one of my eating disorder clients, I encourage to halt this ridiculous attempt to diet. Male or female. If you are trying to lose weight, try exercising, and work on finding that unmet need that causes you to binge eat. Get to know your self, and understand why you feel the need to diet. Lets focus on self, then we will work on how to feel good about who you are and what you need to do. Learn how to enjoy your food and be comfortable with eating one portion at a time. Set goals for self that are based on not what society wants to label as attractive, or your girl friend or boy friend wants, spouse feels is important, but what your current body will look good in. I can't tell you how important it is to exercise out these thoughts of dieting and start eating, yes eating healthier. Skipping meals and purging meals is not even dieting, only adding more stress to your life and lowering your self esteem. All shapes and sizes have benefits, you decide what your benefit it is for you. Body image is something you can control, with your thoughts, positive energy, and be disciplined. People who over come their eating disorders and lose weight the healthy way are one's that work on their self, and begin to feel positive about their body image regardless of society's erroneous expectations. Let the diet thoughts go, and start implementing the exercise thoughts, with positive energy that allows you to eat healthy, find balance with your own mental health and feel good about what you are eating. Find your higher power. Self can have fun with the body you created. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
What happens when things do not go the way you expected? A project at work gets delayed for what ever reason. Your child acts up in school and you can't believe the reason. Your relationship is not what you thought it would be. The person you confide in is not taking your side. The therapist does not understand you the way you want to be understood. When you think about it, expectations can take all of your energy just like that. Or do we have the power to modify our expectations? Sure you do. Self can adapt to any situation, if you set your mind to it. Things sometimes do not work the way we envisioned or planned. That is a fact. Instead of stressing why your expectation of something did not work or someone did not act the way you wanted, it is not a deal breaker. You can control how you want to react to the expectation that did not meet your needs. First, you need to acknowledge to your self that it is not worth the negative energy to get upset. Second, revise your expectation while understanding that it still may not work the way you want it, but you are trying regardless. Third, focus on how you are handling the expectation process in a positive manner which should boost your self esteem. Respectfully, it is ok to be frustrated when our expectations do not get met. But, it does not need to control our mood for the rest of the day. My clients tell me daily that their expectations of their family never are going the way they thought. Right there you can see the problem. Do not assume you can control your families thoughts or reactions. You control your own. This way you are able to be prepared for what ever. Interpersonal relationships with the people we love is another expectation that often gets us out of our health. Why try to control someone that you know will not work. A healthy expectation is one that can be modified at any time, and you still are able to stay in your health, not making things bigger. Expect what you can handle at this very moment. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Friday, May 11, 2012
This particular blog is meant for a special person, who is at this moment changing his life in a positive way. I would love to share many stories with you, however, do to confidentiality, I do not get that chance. In this case, I do. It is special day for a young man who went into the system 17 years ago. This man had seen it all, and to some extent done it all. The last ten years of his incarceration life he decided to start working on his self, and stop feeling pity for him self. He began by agreeing to talk with this writer, and begin to work through his pain. Over the last 8 years and change, I have began to form a positive helping relationship with this special person. Today this man will be released and will start his new life. Over 17 years inside this man was able to pass his GED, graduate from a two year college, but most important, (according to him) be able to do his time in a healthy way. At first he was the same person who and what got him to incarceration. I met his family 8 years ago, and we began the helping relationship. Prior to meeting him, he will be the first to tell you that 10 years ago he made the choice to start living for him self when his cell mate was killed. In those two years he worked him self from a maxium custody level to a camp level or minimum level of security. As the man learned how to develop a positive daily routine, accepting his crime, making amends, and working his higher power he became alive again. I would be lying to you if I said there was not any hurdles in the 8 years that I worked with him. Actually, he would be the first to tell you that, be he would also let you know that each struggle was a healthy one. This man has reconnected with his family, while being incarcerated, and has played a positive role in his families life the last ten years. I'm so proud of this man, that tears are flowing down my face as I write this and can see him in my mind with his smile, and his familiar saying, "Tod, I will make it out of here, you will see amigo" Over the last year, when I get his monthly phone call, I could sense his anxiety and curiosity of what his life may be like. Today this man is released, and will start a new life, where he will be the first to tell you, that it started inside 10 years ago. My prayers go out to this special man, and I wish him all the best amigo. Thank you for touching my life, and giving me the opportunity to meet you and your family. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Self appears to always be in a rush! Got to do that, late for that, need to hurry up and get that done. Sure, we need to slow down, this writer included, but being first for everything and lunging into things is not always healthy. We may know the answer but when is the right time to deliver it? I think the same concept can apply to risk situations that self can get into. Addiction, uncomfortable habits, and unhealthy choices are all areas where self can take a step back and think before self reacts. The addiction cycle needs a urge or a craving to get started. That unmet need is where that urge or craving commences. If you can think it through, while taking a step back and not rushing into that addiction behavior, you learn to control your thought. Hence, you know you can use, but at this time, are choosing not to! Powerful stuff the mind can control. The same thing applies when self gets into uncomfortable habits. Purchasing things you do not need. We all can work on this uncomfortable habit. Use your logic. Take a step back, do you really need to buy this impulse item? Sure it would be cool, but you do not need it at this time. Think it through. Unhealthy choices seem to be a huge reason why self should learn to take a step back. When we decide to do things, are there consequences to our choice? The last time you made a unhealthy choice for your self, I'm sure it did not help you in any way. You may have already known the ramification before you made the unhealthy choice. If you would of taken a step back, and thought things through, you probably would have not made that unhealthy choice. It is poignant that self can slow down, and step back from early, rushed, impulsive decisions that will not benefit self. You still can make the decision, but think it through first, then go forward. You will realize that your new decision, is one that is appropriately thought through, and controlled. Your stress and anxiety will diminish when you are able to take a step back, breathe, and think it through! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
If I was talking to you or a group of all of your friends today, this is what I would open up with. You spent your whole life taking care of others. Many of you would nod your head, and affirm this statement, proudly. Then I would say, now it is time to take care of you, self! Many of you would not nod your head in agreement, or look up at me, but would look down, and start to think. We all have done marvelous things in taking care of the people we love, or strangers we just met. But, we stopped taking care of self, and we thought that if we could take care of more people that somehow, someway self would be in better spot. Wrong, life does not work that way. Self needs to take care of self, then help others, and care for the one's we love and assist strangers when we can. Be honest with yourself, are you taking care of self? Some of us work our tails off at work, and help a lot of people. However, when we get home, do not help our self in a healthy way. We preach to our kids, families, spouses, significant others how it is important to be balanced, and have positive energy to make it through our day, but forget that self needs to be balanced, and work on self too! When people turn on us for their support, and a ear to listen to we feel validated. Self needs to validate self to be a healthy person. You already have the skills to take care of yourself, now use them! You spent your whole life taking care of others, now its self time. Just think how good you will feel when you are able to meet your own needs and still meet others needs at the same time, bonus! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Think about what you do on your daily job? It is probably safe to assume there may be some writing of some sort during the day at work. Many of you may write more then others depending on what line of work you are in. What happens when you are stressed at work? I'm pretty sure you still write things down and continue the job at hand. But, you still may be anxious, stressed or upset at something going on in your life. You still need to concentrate at work, in order to be productive, stressed or not. Try this unique exercise when you are stressed at work. Think about why you are out of your health, and write down five words or sentences that you feel at this second. After you write them down, move on to the next thought for your job. In one hour, if you are still thinking about what you wrote down that were stresses from the start of this exercise, write five more words or sentences of why you think you should still be thinking about this. Then, move on again to the next work related thought. You are learning to journal your thoughts, and move on to new thoughts. Some people will go home, or once they clock out of their job, revisit their journal and laugh over why they did not try this a long time ago. They are your thoughts, your feelings, your own stress. You have the power to let each thought go on paper, or in your head. Train your mind to work for you not against you. If you hold on to that stressful thought, and do not let it go, guess what, you are still stressed and are making that thought bigger minute by minute. You do not have to be at work to utilize this exercise of writing down your thoughts. Work is a positive platform for this opportunity to write it down, because you have a task at hand to get back to. However, you can journal where ever you are in the day. Once you begin to practice writing down your thoughts, you are able to move on to the next thought, and let the negative thoughts go. You feel validated, and are doing this on your own! Five words, or five sentences. It feels nice to handle your own stuff on your own time table. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Self works so hard to be honest with self. In working with clients with addiction, this writer has found that honesty can be a positive break through for the client. The client who has or is struggling with addiction appear to be struggling with being honest with their self first. Addicts do not like to be called out on their honesty when they are using. The addict will build walls around their self, in order to keep the addiction cycle up. During this using behavior, the addict may even begin to believe their own lies, and have a difficult time separating what is true to what is being distorted or a fallacy. Some addicts create their own dysfunctional drama by being dishonest with their family, friends, and significant others. This dysfunctional drama behavior will increase as the addict continues to become pathological about their using behavior. How does the addict begin to be honest with their self when they reach this point? Everybody is different, or this writer likes to say, everyone has different levels of denial, right? When the addict is able to seek help, forced or unforced, the addict begins to realize through their own deterioration of health, and usually no place to live, they become physically ill and mentally are struggling. At this time, the addict has lost it's zest to use, and seems to be feel the shame, loss, grief, and overall exhaustion. The addict is ascertaining they need help. Regardless if it is non-voluntary. At this time, the addict begins to be honest with their self, at this very moment! Rock bottom, for some, is the first step in being honest with self. This is where self needs to understand how to stay in their health, and stay in the moment. This is very important. It is not about the past any more, or the future, it is about right now, and how that addict will begin to be honest with self. Once the addict can begin being honest with self, the addict will show signs of being honest with the others, particularly, the one's where amends will need to be made. Honesty begins to be the pillar of recovery through self when the addict begins to recover in a healthy way. The addict starts to validate self by telling the truth, and working through their struggles. The addict will always struggle, but will glean to struggle in a healthy manner, not going back to the unhealthy struggling behavior where honesty was absent. As the addict gets clean time, honest behavior continues to grow. I have recognized when working with clients who begin to be honest with their selves, they instantly demand honesty with others. This expectation can be grossly unmet for the addict, if their support from their family, or other person is not being honest back to the client. Respectfully, the addicts honesty is only for the addict, it will benefit the family, or whom the addict is trying to make amends, but not everyone will validate the addict the way the addict will want to be validated. Addicts are brutally honest when in recovery. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working with a kid who was destined to the next level of risk taking, or what some call, heading to where the big boys are! I met this kid up north, where he was recommended, ok, tribal court ordered to attend my group on the reservation. At first, it was a tug of war, I mean, I was being tested, and as I looked above, higher power was being tested too! As the addiction education sessions increased with this kid, he began to open up. The unfortunate thing, after he began to trust me he was moved to a higher setting of incarceration. This writer followed this kid, and saw him two more times while behind bars. Then, he was stabbed, or shanked. He was sent to the hospital, and the medical staff were not sure he was going to make it. A month ago, after getting released from the hospital, I was able to see him briefly. I will never forget what he told me. He had a court date approaching, where he was facing 10 years in a adult prison, or he could get treatment that was highly recommended. As I sat there, he told me that he was going to escape, and be on the run. But, he wanted to let me know that I would not be responsible, and he was trying to stay in his health, but at this moment he wanted to take that risk, just like using opiates, that was his vice. I looked at him and replied you finally understand it. He looks at me like a frog, with his mouth open. I told him, there is nothing wrong with what you are feeling, and if your going to bounce (that was his favorite word) you know you can try, and deal with the consequences. But, it is only a thought. He stood right up in my face, this kid was big kid, even at 16. A week later, his court proceedings had started and finished. Two weeks ago, as I was starting my group, the common car pulled in, where some of the treatment inmates were dropped off to come to my group. There he was, I almost hurdled one client to get to him. He looked at me and said, I could of bounced, but this time I'm choosing to work on my self. I lost it, tears are flying down my face. The other people in group began to chant, (one of my favorite chants) we chanted for 10 minuets straight. This kid had a chance, a thought, and was staying in his health. I just got a phone call from the probation, that he enrolled in the summer school program and was leading his peers, (inside- the jail, treatment center) talking about support for each other. Ironic, how this kid was the leader of his gang, where he saw his father, brother, and best friend all be killed in the last 10 years. A kid who made it, thus far. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Here is your challenge today. Before we begin, you must follow the rules. Allow your self 10 to 15 minuets to accept this challenge and proceed. Once you begin, you may not talk to anyone, even if someone says something to you, or asks you a question. All cell phones, pagers, and any other electronics must be turned off. Ok, you are ready now? Pick a path, trail, sidewalk, parking lot, street, or subway and begin your walk. You can only look with your eyes, and listen with your ears. All the things you see, will be examined later. No words, not one peep out of your mouth. I'm watching you, or actually someone above is watching you. Feel your thoughts wonder, and absorb the sounds of your journey. Remember not one word, even if you pass peers, friends, pets, strangers, you must focus on your self and thoughts. Look around you and see the elements, feel the air in your body. Now head back to where you started, and sit down. Find your notebook, paper, or journal, and tell me what you experienced. What did you notice on your 10 to 15 minuet walk? How did you feel when you saw people but could not respond? What did you think about? How do you feel now? This reflection walk I use in my treatment groups, 1:1's, and incarceration groups. Self has the power to reflect on anything, and control any thought, at any time. When I go into incarceration settings I use this walk as a way to help the inmates stay in their health, and stay in the moment. I have been told by many inmates that this walk is something they practice daily by their self or with a group of friends as they walk the yard. Can you imagine the discipline it must take not to talk to anyone on this reflection walk in this setting? Well, that is the key. Separate self from others while learning to stay in the moment, and appreciate the sounds, or sights no matter where you are. Your higher power is watching over you. This reflection walk is implemented with at risk teens in the jails that I go to. We use the gym or sometimes even the tiers to teach self how to concentrate and focus on self. In treatment settings, this reflection walk is a wonderful tool to help clients control their urges and cravings. I have been told that when on these walks with my groups that some clients actually think about running away, but soon are able to control their thoughts and begin to appreciate their reflections. The client is able to let the thoughts out while walking, and journal after the walk is over. The client will then present to the group what they experienced. Reflection walks are important for self, regardless if you have or do not have a addiction. This time will give you the opportunity to reflect on your stress, and let it go. Remember follow the rules, challenge your self to listen and not talk. Journal your thoughts after the walk. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.