The following is a clip from my last essay about additional things people suffering from cancer could do to help themselves out. I promise, if it helps those fighting cancer, it can help those fighting addiction!
*** If cancer is the ‘in balance’ of our homeostasis than integrative treatment would be the process of aiding in its rebalancing, as well as helping to alleviate some of the actual symptoms of cancer. The practice of acupuncture can help with: “depression and anxiety … chemotherapy-induced nausea, chronic pain, dry mouth from radiation to the head and neck … and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (Eldridge, 2015).”
Meditation is another alternative ‘medicine’ that is regularly used to help people deal with stress. One of the reasons it can be so beneficial is that it has the potential to be used by anyone at any time, regardless of age, income, or treatments being used. Meditation has been known for its common beneficial side effects of “decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure, ease muscle tension and improved mood (Eldridge, 2015)”. However, mediation has specifically been found to “significantly improve the perception of stress in people with cancer … improve cognitive function with cancer … improve energy levels and lessen fatigue for people living with cancer … (and help with) insomnia and an improved quality of sleep (Eldridge, 2015).” It has also been thought that the drop in the stress hormones could “play a role in how well someone responds to cancer treatment, and even affect survival (Eldridge, 2015)” which also play right into yoga.
Yoga is another one of the alternative treatments that can be very beneficial to those suffering from or recovering from cancer treatment, and is now a very common sight at many cancer centers. Yoga itself has two main beneficial components for cancer patients. First “cancer patients practicing yoga reported significantly less emotional distress and improved sleep”; the other is yoga can be that ‘not to strenuous’ form of exercise that not only improves quality of life issues, but “may improve survival” as well (Eldridge, 2015). Yoga also stacks with mediation in its ability to help with: sleep and insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, pain, and stress. However yoga can also help with the loss off appetite associated with cancer treatment (Eldridge, 2015).
I hope this helps!!!
So here is a quick and easy idea to wrap your head around that might help you not relapse sometime in the future:
The next time you are thinking about buying something because you are: stressed, angry, depressed, or whatever make sure you have enough money to buy your kid or kids a good 'hit' as well.
Why are you looking at the screen funny? Yes I said "make sure you buy your kids some dope too." Why are you shaking your head? What, you don't think that little Johnny isn't sad about a relative dying? You don't think little Johnny couldn't use some extra energy so he can go to school? So he can focus better on his test? So he can deal with the stress of school and life? So he can … deal with life the way you do?!
If it 'works' for you, why wouldn't it 'work' for them?
MAYBE if the concept of crushing a pill for your 10 year old son is ridiculous; MAYBE if the idea of mainlining some heroin in your 6 year old daughter is ludacris; MAYBE if letting your twins smoke crack is the dumbest fucking idea on the planet ~ MAYBE it's not such a bang up idea for YOU either?!
Let this next part burn in REALLY good ~
REMEMBER … even if you are not 'giving' it to them, you ARE TEACHING THEM how to deal with life in their future!
I wanted to take a second to tell you a little about who is passing along the information you are reading.
My name is Chad.
I was born almost 43 years ago in a little town in northern Colorado. Since that moment I have traveled across the entire country (living from West Palm Beach FL, to San Diego CA and well over 60 other places in between). I have also spent some time out of country as well.
I served in the U.S. Navy, and was a civilian contractor for the U.S. Army as well. I have a resume that reads like a short novel, however personal training has been a consistent on that resume for more than 20 yeas now (holly crap where does time go?).
I turned my attention to helping people in recovery over 5 years ago now, and what I found was a blessing and a curse. You see I was trying to get OUT of the fitness and nutrition field. However, what I soon found was that fitness and nutrition is actually a very important part of addiction recovery. So much for getting away from it, ha ha. However, it also helps that I have more than two decades of experience with helping people: get/stay/re motivated, set short term/long term goals, harm reduction, choosing healthier options, changing life styles, and so on.
I have been a competitive body builder in the past. I still train on a regular basis but its more just to stay in shape now, than compete. I go to school full time for psychology. And I spend any 'free time' with my lovely wife and playful chocolate lab "Kismet" (which means 'fate' or 'lady luck').
I offer the opportunity to ask any other questions you might have at this time. Feel free to leave them in the comments or send them in the form of emails.
Recovery happens in the 'heart' not in the mind. Most everyone I talk to 'knows' what they SHOULD be doing, but is not applying those ideas or concepts. My hopes is that as trust builds you start to 'believe' in your heart ... as that is where the magic happens!
Here is a topic that sometimes hurts, as it's the truth!
So you are in 'recovery' but are you really wanting to succeed?
If you are not taking a multivitamin (directed by the "Essential of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing"), if you are not drinking lots of water, if you are not waking every day, if you are not trying to eat healthier, if you are not learning meditation, if you are not practicing deep breathing, if you are not learning yoga, if you are not reading, if you are not getting sun shine, if you are not getting away from people/places/things, if you are not building a support group, if you are not ... doing everything you can to stay clean and sober then I question the idea that you are 'trying' to get clean. As if these things would help you stay high, you would be doing them EVERYDAY, ALL DAY!
I have been talking with several people that I deal with on a daily basis about this very topic and one common idea has come about, so I thought I'd share it with those that are interested.
You will really start to 'recover' when you start to love yourself again!
What do I mean by that? When you stop beating yourself up for things you have done, or didn't do. When you can forgive others for transgressions or grievances of their own. When you can look in the mirror and love who is looking back at you. When you care about being around for tomorrow and years after.
See here is the thing. In active addiction, you didn't care! You didn't care if you ate. You didn't care if you were in good health. You didn't care about friends or family. You didn't care if you got fired. You didn't care about what others thought. You didn't care ...
So if recovery is the opposite of addiction than to recover you MUST learn to care again!
See, eating an apple today will not save you. Taking a multivitamin today will not save you. Drinking water instead of soda today, will not save you. Exercising, learning meditation, doing yoga, deep breathing, and spending some time outside in the sun today ... WILL NOT SAVE YOU (even if all these things ARE in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing textbook). These things WILL help make recovery easier, but I'll get to that in a moment.
So what WILL save you?! The paradigm shift from "I don't care" to that of "I care." As IF you CHOOSE to take a vitamin today, its because you care. IF you CHOOSE to go for a walk today, its because you care! If you CHOOSE to learn mediation, try yoga, go for a run or whatever ... its because YOU CARE! And caring WILL HELP SAVE YOU!
You will also get some immediate benefits from the other stuff as well. Your stress will drop, your energy will increase, your moods will stabalize, your restless legs will subside, you will finally start getting more than an hour or two of sleep a night, meaning you will actually wake up with some "I want too." Because here is the issue. Lets be real for a moment, if you don't feel like getting up, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and washing your ass ... you probably aren't going to do a damn thing for your recovery either.
So focus on loving YOU again. Ask yourself ... Who am I?
I have a question for you all. How do I go about breaking the mental barrier of "It won't work for me?"
The information I have works, its been tested, its been studied, it is what multiple treatment programs are using to help people all across the globe ... but this information does NOTHING, for those that think "Well I'm glad it works for them, but it won't work for me", "I've tried everything, nothing will work" or whatever lies you are believing to think that you are really that much different than the other 30 million that are suffering from the very same issue.
So how do I break in? How do I get you to trust the things I say? How do I get you to try the things that will help you?
Today we are going to try to prevent you from sinking in over your head and drowning.
While Suboxone and the likes can be life saving drugs, they can also just kill you slowly. Understanding the 'hows' and 'whys' might help save your own life, or the life of a friend.
The main issue with Suboxone is that it works too well! Yes, I said TOO well! Most that I deal with have stopped doing the hard work of actually 'recovery' and see suboxone AS recovery.
Why do the 'work' when I could just take a pill, and 'recover' NEXT week. I've heard tons of excuses: I don't have time, I do work, I have kids, I don't have a ride, I can't find meetings, I don't like meetings, and on and on. I have one response, would ANY of these things kept you from finding your drug of choice? Exactly! And WHY did nothing stand in your way? NOT because you wanted to get high, but because you DIDN'T want to be in pain! PAIN causes change my friends, and Suboxone keeps you from being in pain. Therefor there is no drive to change!
When do you finally start on the honey-do list? When the nagging gets too irritating. When do you finally start that diet? When the pain of your reflection gets to be too much. When do you finally do what you have been procrastinating about? When the pain of NOT doing it overrides the pain of doing it.
Suboxone works too well. And if you are not careful you will turn around and realize that you have been on it for 2 years, 3 years, 5 years or more and that now IT is your drug of choice and that you are just as if not more addicted to IT than you were your old drug of choice.
Get out of the quicksand before it's too late! DO THE WORK! FOCUS ON RECOVERY ... NOT how many Suboxone you have left for the week!
I hope this opens some eyes!
I wanted to touch on something that I find many people seem to overlook and take for granted ~ hidden blessings.
So lets start with a normal day shall we ... the alarm goes off: Were you able to "hear" it? Look up and "see" the time? "Stand up", out of a 'bed"? "Walk"? On a "solid" floor? Into another "room"? In "your" "house"? Use "electricity" to turn on "lights"? Use "hot", "running" water? Then select clothing from "multiple" outfits? Put on "shoes"? "Eat" unassisted? More than 50 calories? Kiss your "loved ones" good day? As you leave for "work"? In your "car"?
This is but a short list of the multiple things we take for granted on a day to day basis!
I have a personal experience of this very idea, and how much it impacted my own day. I had recently been hit while riding my motorcycle on vacation. So I was stranded, without all my things, and I was staying on a newly acquainted friends couch. I was currently 'limping' down the sidewalk in the rain (of course it was raining), with my head tucked down in my rain coat, in a bad mood, and mumbling something at God. Then ONE thought changed EVERYTHING! One thought made me drop my shoulders, lean my head back and smile in the rain. And then 'step-out' for the rest of the mile to the doctors office. Any idea what that ONE thought could have been, to mach such a huge change in my thinking? ... "I wonder what my dead father, or paralyzed step-father would give to walk in the rain, just one more time!"
If you change your thinking, it WILL change your life. Not by changing what happens to you, but by changing how life impacts your day! Lean to control your thoughts, and you will learn how to control your life!
Today I'm going to help point out the obvious, to some that may not see the forest for all the trees!
Many of you may not know it but I've been (still train a few people) a personal trainer for more than 20 years now, and I hear a funny phrase from people now and again and it just so happens to fall in perfect line with recovery as well: "I tried the gym, it didn't work for me."
Really? Do you really think the 'gym' didn't work? Or do you think there was another factor not being looked at? Mmmmm, indeed. Lets look at that factor!
So here you have a gym (or a recovery program) with all the bells and whistles to help get you fit & lean (or clean & sober). However, what happens to your waistline if you do not go in and use those pieces of cardio on a regular basis? What happens if you just keep eating like you used to, hanging out with people who are not dieting and trying to eat clean, or people who don't want you to go to the gym (people/places/things comes to mind)?
What happens if you go in and don't use the equipment correctly? What about if you go in thinking that "one workout" will make it all better? How about if you are more worried about trying to find a softer, easier way of getting in shape instead of just focusing on the work that needs to be done (relapse comes to mind)?
What about, if you just come in and 'go through the motions' of working out? How much weight are you going to drop and how much muscle are you going to shape by half-assing the workouts? Exactly! If you half ass it, you will get half ass results ... at best!
All this applies to recovery as well. You can't just buy a gym membership and expect to tone and fit, anymore than you can just say "I'm in recovery" and expect to be clean and sober ... both take fucking work! Like the saying in body building goes: "everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, but no one wants to life any heavy ass weight."
You also can't just go into the gym and do a little of this and a little of that and expect to get anywhere. Although it happens EVERY YEAR! Every New Year people come in with lots of motivation but absolutely no real plan or direction and then become frustrated because they did't get amazing results in the first month. Look folks, two main things here. One, it took you how long to get where you are (either in weight or using), it's going to take you a bit to get back to where you want to be! Two, being successful at ANYTHING means you have to know what the hell you are doing! Get a trainer, get a therapist, get a counselor, get a mentor, ... (getting off your ass would also help!).
And obviously you can't just half ass it. You need to go after your recovery, or ANY goal with everything you have! As they say in the gym ... if you want to BE the best, you have to train to BEAT the best! Remember, if you are in recovery, you are a fucking gladiator! Step up and act like it!
So I want to touch on the topic of actually CHANGING how you think, as there are too many out there that are just leaving their lives and minds up to the crazy winds of 'chance'.
Do you remember the 'scary' movies you watched as a kid that used to give you nightmares or chills in a dark room? Why don't they still scare you? Because at some point in time you actively changed how you thought about that movie. You came to terms with the fact that it was just a movie, that it wasn't real, that it wouldn't happen to you, or even if it was a true story that it wasn't happening now. YOU DID THIS! YOU changed how you felt, thought, and reacted to a movie.
Do you know what thoughts of your past are like? They are like movies! Every time you 'replay' a memory about something, good or bad, you are 'watching a mental movie' of your past.
So lets start simple. What do you do if you are watching a movie that you don't like? You get up and hit eject, right? Or you change the channel. That's what you need to learn to do with your own thoughts as well. Realize that YOU are CHOOSING to watch the movies in your head! No one is standing behind you or following you around with a gun to your head saying "you will relive this one moment over and over in your head, or I'll pull this trigger". You are doing that, you are playing those tapes!
I talk to people all the time that keep reliving a certain experience in their life: someone dying, catching their loved one cheating, something someone said or did, etc, and they just keep hitting 'repeat'. Why? YOU hold the remote!
Here try this: close your eyes in a second and picture your favorite cartoon character from when you were a kid. Try it now. Did you see them? Where they running around, or laughing, or acting silly or whatever? It's that simple to 'change' the channel! It's not always easy, but it IS that simple. You just CHOOSE to focus on something else. You DO control what tapes you watch in your mind.
Now there is normally another issue, and sometimes many other issues tied to a certain 'film', and that is ultimately why we don't just 'change the channel'. However, until you can work through the main driving forces of why that specific tape is still 'haunting' you, just try the cartoon character trick. I have also found a huge success with singing Christmas songs. Try to be in a bad mood while singing 'Jingle Bells' ha ha.
Only YOU can change the channel in your head, so you MUST learn how to do so if you ever want to experience true peace and happiness!
I hope this helps! Drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Who am I?
I have been called "Sirthinkalot" and "The mender of souls." I am an addiction specialist and a full-time psychology student on the way to Dr. Davis in clinical psychology. I am currently crusading for the expedited paradigm shift in addiction recovery!