Apr 27

The Body

The human body is our concrete link to the physical world.  Everything we do, what we eat, drink, breathe and all the actions we take affects not only our physical health but the way we think and feel.  Mental and emotional healing requires balance in the body.  As long as the body is out of balance we struggle to find peace.

“The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.”  ~ Robert C. Peale

Recovery begins with removing destructive unhealthy habits but it is sustained by creating productive healthy behaviors.  Some have found relief through modern medicine but there are many of us who have a hard time replacing one drug with another.  Whether by conscious choice or basic physical reaction sometimes it just doesn’t FEEL right.  This site is devoted to the belief that we already have what we need to heal ourselves inside us.  Since we have constant access to the greatest pharmacy in existence in every situation; our bodies really do have the ability to produce what we need but only if we’re living in alignment with the laws of nature.

I believe that the body has an innate capacity to heal itself but to in order to make any real progress we have to get honest about our habits.  Simple changes in nutrition and exercise can provide almost immediate results in the way we feel both physically and mentally.  It almost goes without saying that any kind of substance abuse is a major source of disruption in the body.  Until the addictive behavior stops the damage will continue and no meaningful healing can occur. Overeating, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle are other major factors that contribute to not just physical but mental and emotional health.

If you’re recovering from anything that relates directly to your physical habits this is where you start.  We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to fix everything all at once - it’s a process.  Let me say however that when it comes to addiction there is no gray area.  Substance abuse has to end for healing to begin but that doesn’t mean you have to quit smoking and go vegan today to start feeling better.

The body has an innate sense of what needs to go if we’re listening to it.  Take an inventory of your physical conditions and habits and make a list of areas for improvement.  Decide what you’re willing to do today to start the process of healing and then do it.  Use some of the ideas on this site for positive thinking to affirm your change.  The mind influences the body in the same way that the body influences the mind.  They’re connected so take advantage of the mental tools that are available to help you succeed.

Feeling the affects of a healthier lifestyle is the greatest motivator to do more.  The healthier you get the easier it is to read the signals the body sends to let you know what it needs.  So do something today to start moving in the right direction.  There will be many posts to come on this subject and you can find great resources to get you started in the menu above.

Once again I repeat the disclaimer that I am not a doctor and am in no way encouraging you to go against medical advice.  Use common sense, see how you feel, talk it over with your doctor and then follow your heart.

Apr 26

The Mind

The mind is the place where we process all the experiences of the body and decide what is real for us.  Much of what happens in the mind is a result of what’s happening in the physical body but the opposite is also true.  Learning to quiet the mind and choose a new way of thinking is one of the most powerful tools we have in recovery.  You can use your thoughts to change your life.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”  ~ Buddha

As you can see from the quote above the idea that thoughts are things is more than a New Age fad.   Your perception is your reality so the thoughts that occupy your mind on a regular basis have a tendency to express themselves in the world around you.  Many of us are recovering from loss or depression and find it very difficult to imagine being able to change the landscape of the mind.  Here is a simple place to start.  The idea of being able to change your state has been explained in detail by many famous authors and motivational speakers – I think the phrase was coined by Tony Robbins actually – so there is an abundance of information on this topic.  This is also the primary goal of all yogic practice.  As we learn to let go and quiet the mind we make space for new and healthy thought patterns.

The basic idea is that you can’t really think of more than one thing at once.  If you put all your attention on something else the uncomfortable thoughts will recede.  There are more ways to change your state of mind than I could possibly list but whether it’s through repeating positive affirmations or jumping up and down  the unhealthy thoughts will inevitably fade even if only for a few moments at first.  This is a process, it takes a while to change habitual negative thinking but the beauty lies in the fact that there is some immediate relief.   Contrary to what many might think we do have control over our thoughts, simply recognizing that fact is often an enormous help in turning things around.  Some great ideas for changing your state include yoga, meditation, journaling, any physical exercise, EFT, concentrating on your own breath and getting outside and enjoying nature.  We’ll discuss lots of ideas here for positive thinking in future posts.  In the meantime check out the resources page for books and links to get you started.

Apr 25

Coming Up For Air

Have you ever had a dream that you’re drowning?  One of those dreams where you feel like you can’t hold your breath for even one more second but somehow you do?  And then either you finally wake up gasping or suddenly you manage to break free and swim to the surface.  There is a moment in the dream that’s the turning point, when you feel like you just can’t take it anymore but somehow you find the strength to come up for air.

This is the turning point.  This is that moment where you decide that you have a choice, that you’re strong enough to make it and that it’s worth the struggle.  There is usually some discomfort involved in the early stages of recovery.  Change can be a scary thing; working through feelings can be painful.  For some of us there is guilt that needs to be laid to rest, truth that needs to be faced, or maybe someone we need to forgive or set free.  Sometimes it feels like it might be easier to keep our heads underwater and in fact it probably would be but then what?

Back to the dream analogy.  The decision to swim to the surface is not the easy way out.  It requires a burst of energy, a commitment, absolute determination to stay alive.  It’s worth the struggle because we know for a fact that there is air up there!  It’s just as true for us now, we know there is relief when you break through the surface.  There is life on the other side.  Once you commit and decide that there is no turning back you’ll find the strength.

 

Apr 24

The 12 Steps

I am a huge fan of 12 step programs and although there are many roads to recovery these steps stand the test of time.  I think one of the reasons I like them so much  is that they include mental, physical and spiritual elements for meaningful change.  Following in the tradition of attraction rather than promotion I must say here that I’m not promoting or speaking for these programs. There are other good organizations out there, there are other methods, this one just happens to speak to me and I don’t know how I could address the path to recovery without expressing the importance of working some kind of program. This is my favorite and these are simply my thoughts regarding the value of step work in the healing process.

It seems to me that just about everyone on the face of the planet could benefit from going through these steps.  Take out the word alchohol and insert your addiction, your relationship, behavior or trauma.  It doesn’t take much to begin to see that these steps apply to nearly any situation that requires a change of heart.  It isn’t always easy to get honest about how far we’ve fallen and it is far from easy to let go and begin to rebuild our lives.  Certainly anyone recovering from any form of addiction and most behavioral disorders can find some relief in the knowledge that so many have been saved by the honest application of these principles.

There will be plenty of time, and plenty of posts, to explore the steps in more detail but these are the steps as they appear in the Big Book of Alchoholics Anonymous:

The Twelve Steps

1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Apr 23

Meet Jane Doe

Jane Doe is the name used for an unidentified woman.  Same goes for John Doe.  They’re also used as placeholders for someone who needs to remain anonymous and sometimes as a term for the everyday average person. Jane Doe could be anyone.  As a matter of fact I’m starting to think that she’s everyone.

“Don’t believe in miracles – depend on them. “  ~ Laurence J. Peter

People in recovery need to believe in miracles. Something has gone seriously wrong, the circumstances of how we got here may be very different but the results are the same.  Life is officially unmanageable. We know that something has to change and now we’re ready to take the first step.  Who we are and how we got into this mess isn’t nearly as important as who we want to be and how we’ll find our way out. If you’re reading this I probably don’t need to tell you that recovery can be uncomfortable but I do want to tell you that it’s worth it and you’re not alone.

The anonymity we find in being Jane (or John) both frees and unifies.  Knowing that we aren’t so very different and that we don’t have to publicly bare our souls gives us the courage to share the experience. I don’t think it makes much difference whether you’re recovering from addiction, codependency, grief or depression – if you’re suffering there is a need for healing.  We don’t need to know each other’s name, age, profession, drug of choice, childhood trauma or recent tragedy to understand what pain feels like.

This Jane Doe is not a doctor; neither is she a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. What you read here is no substitute for medical advice. I am not encouraging you to go off your meds if you’re on them (or go on them if you’re not) or in any way recommending that you ignore doctor’s orders.  I just believe that it’s worth the effort to consider options that don’t include taking more pills or falling into another unhealthy behavior to numb the pain. This is just my opinion based on my own experience.

The ideas for recovery on this site come from the research of living, done the hard way, by making mistakes and looking for ways to put things right. There are plenty of resources to explore, there are programs with practical steps for rebuilding a life, habits that heal the body and new ways of thinking that bring peace. That’s what I want to talk about here.

I am Jane Doe and this is where I am today… Ready to surrender and expecting a miracle.

 

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