Thursday, January 31, 2013

Building healthy friendships

What is a healthy friend? In the past, your answer might have gone something like this. Someone I can drink with at the bar, self-medicate with at your house, go to the casino,  binge eat and then purge, and find some stranger to have unhealthy sex with. This is not a friend. Many of the clients and patients that have been referred to us have a difficult time understanding who a friend is and how to build a healthy interpersonal relationship with a friend. In order to build healthy relationships we need to be clean, and in our health. As you look back at your past friend relationships, surmise how healthy were they? When your mind is clean, and calm you will be able to present a accurate description to yourself of who really were your friends. The next step is setting appropriate boundaries with the people who are not your friends. This can be a deal breaker if the addict is not honest, firm, and willing! Relapse can be around the corner. Remember, old friends who were part of your addiction cycle will not help you stay clean, or keep you balanced. The boundaries you set need to be one's that you can validate yourself with and move on. Let go of the past. In order to meet new people and begin to build new friendships, a new environment is needed. The old environment where the addiction cycle spinned round and round was not a positive location for you to be in. We meet new friends by trying new things in our life. For example, get involved in church groups, fitness clubs, athletic teams, book clubs, or volunteer events. The more active you are, more opportunities will arise. As you begin this process you will understand you are working on yourself at the same time. Positive thoughts, will create positive behavior, which leads to meeting and having the chance to build friendships in a healthy way. Don't get frustrated if some friendships are not what you hoped for. You still are in control and have the ability to pick and choose what works for you. You know being clean and in recovery does not guarantee you that every friend relationship will be perfect. You may even struggle at times with trying to understand that it takes time to build healthy friendships, that is ok! Healthy struggle can only make self stronger. Have fun making new friendships. This is not a race, but a journey. When you find the right friends, it is worth the time. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Self Credit

Self credit is something that everyone will benefit from, addict or not! Being able to give self credit when things may be overwhelming or bliss is important! Positive thoughts create positive behavior, self needs to be rewarded and recognized for the credit. Often we over look on what things are working for us at this moment. We take for granted the simple things we do every day, and may not give our self credit for this. The goal is to keep positive energy flowing through out our day, thought by thought. Healthy behavior can exist when self is able to recognize these small triumphs that will help us steer away from our negative thinking and thoughts. The negative energy works against the positive validation if we are not allowing self to receive self credit. When things become negative, utilize your positive thinking of something you just gave yourself credit for. Controlling your thoughts and giving self credit for not making things bigger in your head is positive! Self credit can help you navigate through the most difficult thoughts and unhealthy behaviors that come and go. Find something new each week that you feel you are doing positive. Say your positive experience out loud, journal, and be proud. You can even share this with someone in your life. Positive validation is a component of giving self credit. Let others be part of your positive energy. Try and implement this self credit to your daily routine. Life will throw you negative thoughts, but you will be able to balance each negative thought with a positive self credit thought. You learn to control your thoughts when you balance them. We can't change the past. But, we can control the moment. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sex can wait!

Addiction is a substitute satisfaction of an unmet need. When we jumped into the addiction cycle we were chasing our unmet needs hoping to find that our addiction would be the saviour or meet our needs.  Impulsive behavior was the catalyst. Now that we are in our health, and in the moment, we can see that this negative behavior did not work, and only made things bigger in our life. When it comes to sex, some of the same principles apply. First we need to recognize that if we are clean, we have the ability to make positive decisions around our sexual desires, and not be influenced by the addiction behavior that haunted us in the past. This is a positive. We glean how to control the impulsive behavior. Next, we need to understand that building healthy interpersonal relationships does not start with sex, as the first component. Sex can be a wonderful thing, when self is ready! Learning to like yourself and love yourself is primary. Use your time alone to find where your challenges are in understanding what you need to be happy in life. Learning to control your sexual behavior is positive and rewarding. Take time to work on yourself, and then build healthy interpersonal relationships. When self was self-medicating, purging, gambling, and having unhealthy sexual experiences it is difficult to construct positive relationships. Timing can be everything when intimacy is present. Don't be co-dependent on sexual behavior, or think that sex will solve all of your problems. The more time you have to build yourself, control your urges and cravings, work through struggle alone, you become stronger as a person. You are meeting your needs in a healthy way! This has nothing to do with sex at this time in your life. Friendships can be a wonderful tool and met need which does not include having a sexual relationship. Some of your best relationships can be the one's where there is no sex! One thought at a time, do not rush things for yourself. Balance these thoughts and make positive decisions that will help you understand where you need to put your energy. Your higher power can guide you and provide support for you any time of the day, but you have to use it! Fun can be anything you want when you are in control of your self, and your behavior. Sex can wait, for when you are ready, on your time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

15 min Group

This writer does many groups all over! This writer has been doing groups for years and years. Never in all of my groups have I had the opportunity to do a group that last a whopping 15 minuets. Is it possible that I have my group framework down, that I can help people stay in the moment with only 15 minuets of lecture? No, that is not feasible, but worth a comment. In each group we teach the power of thought, which starts with self, then focus on how to balance our thoughts, utilizing our higher power, and learning how to replace our addiction behavior with fun! A model that teaches self to work through struggle, and stay in the moment. Well, during this group yesterday, I was in a locked facility working with younger clients who were being excused to come to my group. As the bell rung, (more like a siren) 8 individuals piled in our small little room. I introduced myself, and shared my passion to helping all types of people struggling with addiction. We began our customary meet and great with introducing ourselves. This took 5 minutes. Then I began to share how we can control out thoughts in any setting. One of our group members stood up, just like that, and said, "Mr Tod, will our groups last longer then 15 minuets?" Then another group member, asked the same thing. I looked perplexed, and slowly went over to the black board, and wrote group is for 45 minuets. They all of sudden cheered. Then, dinggggggggggggggggggg, the bell rung, and the guard opened up the door and said count! I'm going, our group just started sir, we have another half hour at least for our class. The guard, looked at me and said, " We have have a missing inmate, group is over in 30 seconds, unless you want to continue your group in their cell." I thought long, and hard over that one, I could see the class was shocked that I did not reply right away, the guard was even more shocked. I said, see you in two weeks gang, start your journals, and make today positive! I'm walking out though the security, and the guard comes walking fast towards me. I look at him, he looks at me, and he says, "see you next week", I reply, "thank you for the 15 minutes". It is what it is. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Habits can get self into trouble, or old habits can steer us down the old familiar way of coping, self-medicating, gambling, purging, and unhealthy sexual behavior. How do we control our habits that are not good for us? The first thing self needs to do is find a quieter, more secure state of mind. Outside life needs to slow down, and self can work on their internal health which allows you to navigate life as it unfolds. When self can begin to control their thoughts, life becomes simpler, and your reaction to everything does not have to be always negative. You will settle down your stress the more you feel your mind calm down. As you calm down your symptoms, your behavior will be controlled in a positive manner. Your habits will drop off because you don't need them any more! Self has the ability to control their thoughts, and not let those thoughts become bigger, which in return takes us back to old habits of getting out of control. At times you may want to try to hold onto insights, you don't need to, you can't lose them. You learn where to look. Balance your thoughts, think through the habits that got you into trouble when your stuck on these thoughts of negative outcomes. Let your higher power guide you through habits that work for you, not one's that destroy you. When self can learn to implement healthy habits, self is having fun again! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.