Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Okay To Cry

I remember wanting to get buzzed with alcohol when I was addicted to drinking. I looked forward to it. I planned it. I sometimes had to time it just right so that I could cop a buzz from my home with a drink before going out for a round of social drinking.

There were ruined relationships and fights with boyfriends. But at the time, I would rather keep my alcohol than a boyfriend. When I quit, it took me about six months to get a clear mind.

Then I learned to enjoy being sober. There is something wonderful about being able to have once been addicted to a drug, overcome it and say that it's truly a joy to be sober. I can better handle whatever comes my way in life now.

What happens when things go wrong? I cry. When my father died, I cried for days. I missed him tremendously. I didn’t drink. I didn’t want to. Instead, I cried.

Drinking had been a crutch, and not a good one. Now, when things become so overwhelming that I feel that I’ve got to do something, I have learned that crying can be a great release.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Don't Let a Bad Economy Be Your Lousy Excuse

Sure, it’s a bad, bad economy out there. People are losing their homes and their jobs. If you haven’t lost your job or place to live, you could be next. That’s the kind of stress that studies show are causing people to slip back into their old habits.

The national public health think tank, the American Legacy Foundation, reported the results of a new survey this year that linked stress over the current recession to more smokers increasing the number of cigarettes they smoked. And the foundation reported that many who had quit smoking took up smoking again.

Is this your excuse to go ahead and put your plans to quit your addictions on hold? Until things get a little better? Is this your excuse to say, well, look at all those other people who are falling off their wagons; why shouldn’t I light up, take a drink or scrap the diet?

To put it bluntly, what a lousy excuse!

Addictions are bad for your health and cost a lot of money you should not be throwing around in a bad economy. Cigarettes won’t pay your bills, and candy bars or six-packs won’t put more money in your bank account. Addictions can get you fired faster, and they certainly won’t help you find a new job.

So don’t even think about it. Arm yourself with the knowledge that bad economies can cause you a lot of stress. Then do something about the stress that you’re feeling. Exercise or meditate. Or both. Hit the job boards instead of the bars to find a part-time job or other ways to make more money. If you already fell down, pick yourself up and move forward right now. You can do it!

Respond to this blog with other ways to get rid of the stress, and I’ll share them in a future report.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who Says You Have to Go It Alone?

Not everyone can just say “I quit!,” and then do it. Some five million people participate in self-help groups each year to get help quitting their addictions to alcohol or drugs. That’s according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which goes by the acronym SAMHSA (pronounced SAM-SAH). Is a self-help group for you?

According to SAMHSA’s latest report this year, 2.3 million people who said they participated in self-help groups for drinking or drug use also said they had not used alcohol or illegal drugs for the previous month. This is based on the government agency’s survey each year since 2006.

What that means to me is that self-help groups aren’t the only answer. But they can help. You’ve got to be willing to say, ‘I quit!,” and mean it. I hit rock bottom plenty of times before I quit my three addictions to alcohol, cigarettes and overeating. Do whatever it takes to quit. If you’ve tried to quit and haven’t done it, get on the phone and call a self-help group. Nobody says you have to go it alone!

If you want to do more homework on people who chose self-help groups, or if you’re trying to convince an addicted friend or family member to sign up, here are two ways to get copies of the full report on the self-help study.

You can get the report at this Web site: Or you can call the federal agency for your free copy at 1-877-726-4727. Ask for the report by its inventory number, which is SMA 08-4333.

Write to me at if it works for you!
The bottom line is: do something!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Do You Realize You Could Quit Your Addiction Today?

I was driving to the gym this morning and seemingly out of nowhere I thought of how possible it is for anyone suffering from addiction to quit today. Think about it. Let's say you've been an alcoholic for years, you've quit and gone back to it several times. You've lost confidence in yourself to the point where you never think you can quit. You're depressed and think it will never happen for you.

Then turn that thought process around. (Let's use that same example) You're hungover today, you have your coffee to wake up, you sit there thinking about the possibility of never drinking again, although it's hard to imagine that because you've failed so many times when trying to quit. But today is different. Your mind opens up for the first time to the reality that it IS possible to quit. Oh my God! You see that it's doable. You make plans for your future because you've decided drinking was a thing of the past. You realize that you are in charge of your life and if you say you want to put down that drink forever, you can. You also decide you won't let any thoughts of alcohol and wanting alcohol ever again to occupy your thoughts. You're giving it up right there--in your room today---drinking your coffee.

Does it seem like a possible scenario? That's exactly how it happened for me 21.5 years ago, the day I gave up alcohol and I never looked back.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be Your Own Valentine

The thing about being addicted to drugs, alcohol or binge eating is that it’s not very romantic to anyone else who has any sense in their head. Addicts don’t get many Valentine’s Day cards. If you’re trying to quit, or already have quit, don’t wallow in lost love or all those stupid things that have been done and can’t be undone, even though they make you feel alone this time of year. This year, be your own Valentine.

Plan something that will make you happy on Valentine’s Day. Go see a movie, visit a good friend or sympathetic relative. Splurge a little on a gift or a special meal.
Spend the exact amount of money you would have spent on a drink, a pack of cigarettes or a super-size box of Oreo cookies. Put a red bow on your little splurge. Write a note in red ink that says, Happy Valentine’s Day to Me, sign it, seal it up in an envelope and open it on Valentine’s Day. (I know it may sound corny, but it won't if you do it!)

Studies show that people stress over holidays because of the money involved or because it puts them in situations they can’t control -- like being forced to spend time with negative people. Don’t do it. Don’t spend money if you don’t have it. Don’t make any plans involving people who are negative, or who will indulge in those same addictions you don’t want to be anywhere around. Don’t get stressed.

Happy Valentine's Day....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Are You Afraid to Quit Your Addiction?

When you think of quitting your addiction, I bet many fears come to the surface: what will I do with all the spare time I will now have? Or how will I handle life’s problems without my addiction? And what if I try to quit then go back to it later and feel like a total failure?

I was lucky, I guess you could call it, by knowing on Day 1 that I wasn’t going to drink ever again. The decision was made on that morning over 21 years ago by me. And looking back, I’m so glad for my sanity that I made that decision. I knew how my mind worked---very obsessive---and if I didn’t decide on that day to quit for good, my thoughts would have tried to get me to go back to drinking forever. That’s how it is with addictions---the mind plays games with you (haven’t you noticed)?

So get the fear out of your life. How? You have to find out for yourself what works for you, whether it's God, Spirituality, classes, therapy---something will work. For me it was as easy as declaring what I wanted. I wanted to not EVER want alcohol again so I could live my life without all those thoughts trying to get me to drink. I wanted more peace in my life.

Try it for yourself. Let me know how you're doing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Will "Trying" to Quit My Addiction Work?

I say NO it won't. When we try something we leave ourselves very open to the possibility of it not working. If anything comes up such as---it's too difficult (that's a big one!), I'm too stressed to quit now or I don't think I'll be able to quit for good so I just won't try at all.

If you take out the word "try" and replace it with a phrase like "I will quit" or "I have decided to quit" you can see how much more powerful you will feel. You're now coming from a place of conviction. You're not being wimpy and "trying" to quit anymore.

On the day I quit drinking over 21 years ago I said to myself "I am done drinking. I will not go to a bar and get a juice or bottled water but really would rather have a drink. No it's done starting right now--today." That conviction helped me more than you know. It prevented all the times since I quit when I could have been tempted to drink. But I haven't been tempted to drink ever since I quit.

So don't "try" to quit your addiction......."quit!" your addiction.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Won't I Always Miss My Addiction If I Quit?

I get this question a lot. I quit drinking 21 years ago, quit smoking 8 years ago and I've been at a good, comfortable weight for about 20 years after years of being fat. I don't miss any of my former addictions. But I didn't think that would be the case when I was drinking, smoking or eating candy bars, Twinkies and candy.

Sometimes in life you can't see the other side of a situation until after you make the commitment and do what you need to do---in this case, quit your addiction. In the beginning you probably will miss the addiction you gave up because you're used to the habit of your addiction. I know when I smoked I had certain times of the day when I smoked a cigarette and when the time was approaching I could almost feel like I was getting a nicotine craving. I didn't get them at other times of the day. Looking back, I now know it was a psychological craving because I knew "it was time to smoke."

I also believe that when you quit your addiction you can tell yourself that it will NOT be interfering in your life and you will NOT be beholding to it anymore. The day I quit drinking I was sitting in my room, hungover, and I told myself that starting that day I was giving up alcohol for good. And that included in my mind as well. I "told" myself that if I went out to bars ever again with my friends that I would get a bottled water or juice, not because I couldn't have alcohol, but because I "chose" something other than alcohol. I would never go into a bar again and truly want alcohol, but get juice because I couldn't drink. I made a vow that day to give up alcohol physically AND mentally.

And it worked. I've been to restaurants, bars, parties---I never consider taking a drink because I made the decision 21 years ago. Funny how the mind goes along with what you tell it.