Date Tags support

Giving up a long held belief or lifestyle, even one that works against you, isn't easy. Beating up on yourself doesn't help, nor does trying to hurry the process along. Like a cigarette smoker who only wants to stop smoking--but never gives stopping an honest try, wishing alone doesn't help, because wishing is not a strategy. What does help is learning to do things differently, and then giving those new ways a real chance by trying them out. In short, it's all in the "do"-ing. Change is possible. As you will see later, the key ingredient that you'll need to provide is willingness. Change takes place slowly and over a long time. It's essential that you give yourself patience in order to continue growing into the person you want to become. You'll also need to treat yourself to love and understanding. As a friend pointed out to me, "Ask yourself this question. What would you do if you loved yourself?" If you are a habitual procrastinator, the "spell" that you've seemingly been living under can be cast aside and believe it or not, the power is in your own hands. I was suffering through a prolonged and devastating mental depression, and my spirits seemed as low as the clouds that clung to London's low rooftops. Feeling under pressure because I was low on money, every morning I awoke to panic attacks--talk about your morning jolt! Typically, there were three types of days I muddled through: Those on which I was very depressed. Those when I suffered though anxiety and panic attacks, but didn't feel terribly depressed. And the days when I suffered through panic attacks while feeling greatly depressed for most, if not all, of the day. "Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen." - Leonardo Da Vinci As you expend energy and focus on goals, avoid getting sick of what you're doing, burning out, and giving up by taking breaks, disconnecting, and getting away for a moment. It's good for productivity and sanity.

We get so involved in our lives, work, and goals that we get stuck in them and we can't see them for what they really are. We can't see their true form. We get emotionally wrapped up and blinded to what the right moves and decisions are. Leonardo da Vinci said to take breaks, completely disconnect, and get it out of your mind. To focus on something else and give your mind and body a break. When you come back, you see it clearer and it's more manageable. You see what you didn't see before. You understand it in a way you didn't before. In the book, The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, Jim, a performance psychologist, spent hundreds of hours figuring out the differences between the greatest tennis players and those who weren't. To his surprise, there weren't any that met the eye. But when he paid closer attention, he noticed differences so small you miss them if you're not looking for them. "In the sixteen to twenty seconds BETWEEN points, the best tennis players were able to lower their heart rates by as much as twenty beats per minute." Completely disconnecting and resting for as little as twenty seconds helps you recover and do better. Instead of wearing yourself out and burning out, take the time to disconnect, renew, and come back to it. Cultural competence in health care, including mental health and the addictions, seeks to understand people's experiences with their lives and their illnesses. What patients know and value informs a clinician's approach to them, and in addition, people's backgrounds, lived experiences, and communities can become important guides in helping them take greater control over their health and well-being. Finally, family and friends are recognized and included whenever possible. While language is important, these other elements of a culturally informed approach to clinical care are even more essential. The essence of this principle is that clinician and patient share the view that the treatment aims toward a clean and sober life (or as close as possible) and toward the reduction of the emotional problems that helped create and sustain substance use. Those are essential, but not enough. Recovery-oriented treatment also has as its goal that people rebuild their lives and recover relationships, functioning, contribution, and purpose.

Patients and families need to seek and stay with clinicians and programs that are recovery oriented. Our behaviors, our habits--such as excessive and poor eating, more than moderate drinking, smoking, physical inactivity and poor sleep, sugary beverages, high-salt and processed-food intake--drive the lion's share (40 percent!) of ill health and early demise. Another 30 percent of our health appears attributable to our genes. But we now recognize, through the science of epigenetics, that DNA is turned on or off by its exposure to our environment and what we do and don't do. If we are to be healthier and live longer, we must look beyond hospitals, doctors, and clinics because together they account for only 10 percent of our health. This was put brilliantly by Professor Paula Lantz when she wrote that Americans are prone to "mistaking health care for health." Poor health and premature death are determined by a number of factors, with individual behavior as a major driver. We also must always keep hope alive. People with substance use disorders can and do recover. That takes good treatment, hard work, time, ongoing support, and belief in the possibility of recovery. People with addictions can get on the path to recovery--but it is hard to predict when that will happen. Some will stop or control use on their own. For some of those who seek treatment, it will be early, even after one or two rehabilitation programs. For others it may take five, ten, or twenty rehab programs, and the pain and suffering of too many relapses. Their loved ones and clinical providers need to sustain hope that recovery can happen during what can be protracted and dark times. The darkest moments, the most deadly, are when hope evaporates, which is when exile from family, friends, and communities, as well as suicide, are most likely. Although I had had quite a long history of depression back home, my living circumstances in London contributed greatly to my heightened level of distress. An old adage goes, "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!" That resonated within me because although it had once been my dream to live in London, my dream had turned into a living nightmare. Not only was I attempting to cope in the midst of a terrible depression, I was running out of money as well. If that weren't enough, I also had to deal with my new cultural status, that of being a foreigner. Despite the fact that I had visited London many times prior to relocating there, another old adage rang true: "It's one thing to visit a place, and another thing to live there." Just months earlier, I had been hospitalized there for depression.

However, "depression" was too mild a term for what I had been going through. What actually landed me in the hospital was a strong desire for permanent relief from all the difficulties that I had faced for far too long. Living in that foreign locale, I was alienated to a large degree and even worse, I had far too much free time on my hands. Hoping to reduce my woes by talking them through, I visited the walk-in center of The Samaritans, where I would chat about my troubles with a kind volunteer. I also availed The Caravan, a free counseling center on the grounds of St. James Church, just a short stroll down the road from Piccadilly Circus. These gracious strangers helped me to continue moving forward through that sad, desperate period of dark despair. If you don't get your rest and recovery cycle down, everything else in your life suffers. If you're always tired, you're not as effective, in the best mood, motivated, and productive. Quality of sleep matters. If you drink yourself to sleep, you spend all night ridding itself of the toxins and you wake up feeling pretty shitty. If you leave the TV on while you sleep, your brain still receives, processes, and programs itself with whatever is on. This uses up energy - energy you're trying to restore and renew. It's like trying to charge your phone while using all of your apps. It goes against the purpose. Your phone charges fastest when it's off or you aren't using it. We consider weekends to be recovery time from a long week of "work" but then we go out and destroy our energy by gorging ourselves with junk food, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and partying and when Monday rolls around, we feel worse than we did at the end of Friday's workday! Doesn't sound very smart. When we're stressed out, we sit down, watch TV, and "relax" by watching things that are dramatic, negative, and overly-emotionally stimulating It's important your "recovery" and renewal consists of chilling out, calming down, grounding yourself, and disconnecting from everything negative, extreme, and intense. Disconnecting from everything overstimulating to give our mind and body a break.

Remember, junk food, alcohol, drugs, etc. cause a very negative type of stress and do not assist in recovery. Exercising, training, and anything else good for the mind and body causes positive stress and helps disconnect the mind and does wonders for recovery. After the movie screening, Chris Herren settled onto a stool, microphone in hand, for the Q and A and rubbed his left knee--the knee that hurt too much to continue to play for the Boston Celtics and accelerated his dependence on drugs and alcohol. The occasion was a preview of an ESPN documentary on the life of this gifted athlete from Fall River, Massachusetts, who wowed them at Durfee High School and in a pro career that was as brilliant and transient as a comet in the autumn sky. This basketball guard displayed incredible moves from his days on the playgrounds of Fall River, to Boston College, to Fresno State under the wing of the legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian. Drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999, he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2000. Man, could this handsome, beaming, arm-pumping athlete drive, pass, and shoot. Even under the influence. But ultimately, his arms were where he stuck a needle loaded with heroin. He traded a shelf of trophies for a rap sheet of felony convictions. His fans booed him. His family cried from the pain he brought upon himself and them. He converted "nothing but net" into nothing but a life compulsively driven by dope. As painful as that is to watch, imagine what it must have been to live. Chris Herren went from drinking and marijuana to his first line of cocaine when he was eighteen. But it was opioid pain pills that took him to the major leagues of drug addiction. First it was Percodan, then Vicodin, but not until OxyContin did he become a pro. Life centered no longer on basketball: it centered on scoring a pill that has become a nationwide killer of people, not just pain. Herren continued taking OxyContin not to get high, but to manage the withdrawal, the "dope sickness" that comes when the body is denied a substance upon which it has become dependent.