Sunday, March 29, 2009

You Don't Need to Know Why You're Addicted

For years when I was drinking I thought that the only way I could ever quit was to figure out why I was drinking. I read books, watched tv talk shows like Phil Donahue (he had psychologists and the like on a lot) and read magazine articles trying to figure it out. I never really found out, and I haven't had a drink in almost 22 years.

On the day that I quit drinking it hit me like a ton of bricks---I didn't need to know why I drank, just so that I was done with drinking. I may figure it out down the road, and I may not. I saw clearly on that day that the most important thing I could do was to quit drinking. Then it didn't really matter in the long run why I drank because drinking wasn't going to be an issue for me anymore anyway.

I think that most people think like I did initially---that you have to find out why you are addicted, then when you do it will magically fall away on its own. It doesn't work that way.

But the good news is, you don't need to know why you're addicted. You just need to quit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Junk is a Four-Letter Word in any Food Group

Sure, there’s a terrible recession, and it’s keeping us up at night. We stress out about losing a job. Or maybe we’re about to lose a job. Or maybe we can’t pay our bills with two jobs. So we turn to junk food.

And we’re not alone. The American Psychological Association’s recent survey on stress found that almost 50 percent of us are stressed out about the economy. And about half of us who are stressed out either skip meals, eat too much or turn to junk food.

To put it bluntly, junk is the four-letter word in any food group. And it will do you far more harm than other curse words when you’re stressed out about this economy. So cut it out. You know better.

I once weighed in at more than 200 pounds before I just said no to junk food. I was already addicted to cigarettes, too, before I quit them. And if I can do it, so can you.

Need help? Immediately toss out any junk food in your house. If it costs $20, think how much more it will cost you if you eat that junk food in terms of future doctor bills and all those new “fat” clothes.

When you’re tempted, take a walk for 10 minutes until you stop thinking about that four-letter word. Drink two glasses of ice-cold water to fill up fast, and drown that hunger pang for junk. Call someone who will give you a pep talk. Call on God, or whatever you want to call your higher power.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fighting an Addiction Is Useless

I don't think fighting something like an addiction is ever going to work in the long run. We're taught that that's exactly what we have to do to get rid of something in our lives but from my experience, it doesn't work.

When I quit drinking over 21 years ago I never fought thoughts that came up. I made the decision ahead of time that I was done with drinking, so I never went through that stage. I'm glad I didn't because if I'd have had to fight the feelings and thoughts about drinking, I know that alcohol would have won out.

Same thing with overeating and smoking. I gently let those addictions go. Well, with the food thing, it was more of a surrendering---I was 16 years old and I bawled my eyes out to God asking that if He were real, then HE would have to take the addiction away from me. He did from that day forward.

So I know that the conventional wisdom is to fight the thing you don't want anymore in your life---in this example your addiction---I say and KNOW, it doesn't work. Oh, it might work for awhile, but it will eventually catch up to you and your addiction will probably win.

So give up the fight. I love and firmly believe in the phrase "What you resist, persists."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Doing What You Know is Right Even If You Don't Feel Like It

I woke up this morning NOT in a good mood. In fact I haven't felt this crappy in a long time. I went to the gym not in a good mood, I shopped not in a good mood and I'm sure my cats know I'm not in a good mood today too.

But..even though it's not my best day I still do the things I know I need to do, knowing the feeling I'm feeling today will pass (hopefully soon). I still watched 1/2 hour of spiritual tv with my morning coffee, went to the gym, took a shower, cleaned up a litte---even though I didn't feel like doing any of it. It's Sunday and I could have woken up, said I feel bad today and I'm not doing a thing because I don't want to.

But I've been doing the things I know I need to do since I quit drinking over 21 years ago. When I quit drinking I decided to create good habits and stick with them throughout my life. And I am. So there was no decision if I'd go to the gym or spend time with God first thing this morning. It's a daily habit.

So I say you need to do what it is you need to do even if you don't feel like it. Because there will be so many times when you won't feel like it. Work through the feelings and do it. You'll be so glad you did, and you'll realize you can count on yourself more and more because you DON'T go with how you feel, rather with what you know you need to do.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting Blunt about Binge Drinking

So you’re not an alcoholic? You just occasionally get drunk? Well, then you’ve got a serious problem. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 75 percent of alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is binge drinking. That’s drinking four or more drinks within two hours.

Don’t want to go out socially with an alcoholic? Don’t get in the car with a binge drinker, either. According to the federal government, binge drinkers are 14 percent more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.

And don’t just think that only crazy college kids do the binge drinking. The government reports that 70 percent of binge drinking episodes involve adults over the age of 25.

Stay away from those “happy hour” situations that encourage binge drinking.
Print this blog and leave it where a binge drinker will see it.

Stop lying to yourself if you’re a binge drinker. Binge drinking is an addiction. Admit it; then stop it.I did too much binge drinking when I was addicted to alcohol, and I’m lucky to be alive.

Do whatever you have to. Get with a program. Get with a higher power. Get honest with yourself. Just quit!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Third-Hand Smoke Hurts Too

First-hand smoke is the stuff that goes right to your lungs, makes you look old and wrinkled before your time, gives you cancer and heart disease and a lot of other usually fatal diseases. Second-hand smoke? That’s the stuff you blow on other people to make them seriously sick, too.

Now, expect to hear a lot more about third-hand smoke. The Journal of Pediatrics this year ran a report on third-hand smoke, and the news media is picking up on it, too.

Third-hand smoke is the residue you can’t see that sticks to your clothes, your hair, the walls, floors and furniture. It’s why non-smokers know you’re a smoker even if you don’t have a cigarette in your hand. They can smell it in your hair, on your clothes and on anything else you’re near.

And those same poisons that you blow into your own lungs also are in the third-hand smoke that others can pick up by touching you, your walls, your floors, your furniture. There are 250 – yep, 250! – poisons found in cigarette smoke, according to surgeon general’s reports. Like cyanide and arsenic.

What should you do? Quit smoking!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stop! Don’t Look at People Smoking!

If you want to quit smoking, you already know to stay away from smokers. In fact, now there’s proof that even looking at people smoking can keep you from quitting.

A new study published this year in a medical trade magazine called Psychopharmacology looks at what happens when ex-smokers even look at photographs of someone smoking.

The study’s researchers did brain scans of smokers after they were shown a photograph of other people smoking. The brain scans were done either 24 hours before they quit or 24 hours after they quit.

What the brain scans showed was increased activity in those parts of the brain that make us crave things – like a cigarette if we’re addicted to them.

So if you’re trying to quit, don’t be around smoking. Don’t even look at pictures. But that’s not always possible. So you’re going to also have to re-train your brain not to respond. It’s like breaking any bad habit. Use your willpower. Use your intelligence. Know that it takes time for cravings to go away.

To help yourself, stay away from drinking coffee if you have always had a cup of coffee with a cigarette. Drink tea, or drink a cola. Chew carrots. Keep a drinking straw at your desk and “inhale” if you must. It’s harmless, and it can wean you from nicotine.

I quit, and I’m no superwoman. I just did it. You can, too!

Visit the Web site of for more tips on how to quit.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What President Obama Should Stop Talking About

President Obama, stop talking about quitting smoking. Just quit.
When I quit smoking, I didn’t tell anyone for three months after I put out that last cigarette. This is something you must do for yourself. What I didn’t need was outside opinions.

If you talk about quitting, and you really don’t believe it deep down inside, you’re going to open yourself up to a lot of outside pressure – even if it’s good intentions that’s behind it.

Whether you’re a public figure or just an ordinary person like me, there’s a betting mentality that can take place, that of, ‘Will he win this battle or not?’ Quitting is personal, so don’t encourage a betting pool over your life choices if you don’t want that extra pressure. Sure, if you really trust someone, it’s always okay to share. But skip the billboards. Just focus on quitting.

I didn't tell anyone for three months that I hadn't had a cigarette in quite a while. I thought it important to keep this to myself. I didn’t want any feedback from anyone. Even getting support from someone isn't what I needed.
After several months of not smoking, I finally told others and myself that I didn’t smoke anymore. I had smoked for 28 years, starting with two packs a day before getting it down to two a day.

And then I stopped. I shut up about it, and just quit.