Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't Let Upcoming Holidays Trigger Past Addictions

Here's an article I wrote a year ago, and since it's Christmas time, I thought I'd publish it again today on my blog. Merry Christmas everyone.....

Holiday temptations to over-eat or drink too much can trigger a return to past addictions. For those who have stuck to their diets, or quit drinking or smoking, avoiding temptations can be especially tough with the extra stress created by this year's battered economy.

Right now, before the holidays are in full swing, is when you can call on the same inner resolve that led you to quit your past addictions in the first place. You can vow right now to be pro-active, and you'll be better prepared to resist holiday temptations and stress. On top of traditional temptations of holidays and social obligations, this year's holidays might prove even more stressful because of the dire state of the economy. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll reports that 75 percent of people surveyed said they are suffering high stress because of the economy. Here are five common sense tips to avoid letting the holidays or a bad economy undermine your addiction-free lifestyle:

Avoid friends and acquaintances who are not supportive of your resolve to stay free of past addictions. Even when you can't avoid holiday occasions involving non-supportive family members, minimize your time spent with them or insist on bringing along a supportive friend or relative.
Avoid environments that might tempt you to return to your past bad habits. If you have stopped drinking, don't go to holiday parties at bars or even homes where alcohol will be a major focus. Politely decline. Your health and lifestyle are more important than social obligations.
Take a stress-busting walk. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Every time you feel internal worries building up, take an energizing walk through the woods, at the beach, or even around the block outside your office. If you can't outside to take a walk, practice deep breathing exercises to calm you.
Start a new hobby. Instead of worrying about past bad habits, begin a new good habit. Find a hobby that interests you, and one that is fun, too.

Join a group. When you were addicted, life was all about you. Getting involved with other people who are doing something positive will stop you from focusing too much on yourself. Join a social group, enroll in a class or become a volunteer in your community. Volunteers are critically needed in a struggling economy, and especially before and during the holiday season


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just An Observation

I went to lunch with my mother yesterday like I always do on Saturday afternoons. We started this ritual after her husband died 5 years ago. She said she really enjoys it, and it's good to catch up on things with mom.

Yesterday I noticed a couple I recognized from high school years ago, sitting at the next table. I didn't know them, but I new they'd been married for about 25 years. The man was tall and thin, and his wife was I would guess, 75 pounds overweight. I remembered her in high school---thin, popular, outgoing---and now she was fat. She still had a pretty face.

I just observed them, wondering what the woman, now heavy, was probably thinking on a regular basis. I would guess thoughts like "why can't I be thin like I used to be" or "will I always be fat?" Or maybe she wasn't thinking any of those questions. Maybe she's come to terms with being fat.

Just an observation while I was having lunch.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is Today the Day You Quit Your Addiction?

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 over 22years ago, the day I gave up alcohol and I never looked back.