Tag Archives: addiction

Technology is the gateway to Hell

…because it allows us to live our lives virtually. That’s what I’ve decided this morning. Our phones keep us plugged into social media, and divide us from real, human connection at the same time. It’s coming out that screen time is yet another addiction… instead of alcohol or drugs it’s cell phones and computers. Americans spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen! When you think of how our ancestors lived, in small villages of about 30 people, with no technology, the change in our world is overwhelming. Our brains and bodies are the same as they where hundreds of years ago.

Technology also complicates our lives. It contributes to us comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we are not enough. It adds to the urgency of getting things done. I’ve found if I stay on my computer too long, the laundry doesn’t get done and important, creative projects don’t receive my attention. True work, conquers all things 🙂

I just turned my TV off, put my cell phone in the other room, and now I’m enjoying the sounds of kids playing across the street. I like it 🙂

I came across a great article this morning on simplifying life, and I LOVE it!! I want to share it in case it helps someone else out there. Then I’m putting my computer down for the day lol.

Article

Move On And Grow Stronger

7 Signs You Need To Simplify Your Life

Steve Jobs put it well:

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ­

“When our lives become too complicated, we enjoy life less. We consume too much. We have too little time and too much stress. What are other signs that it’s time to simplify?

1. Clutter clutter everywhere.

And none of it is particularly useful. Every drawer is full, every closet stuffed, every hanger in use, and ever tabletop is covered in clutter clutter clutter.

When you feel like you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to take some time and go through everything. Pick it up, look at it, and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Once you’ve finished, your life will be simpler.

2. You have a hole in your pocket.

Figuratively. You find yourself spending so much on food, fun, and everything in between. At the end of the month, the purse strings are pretty tight, right?

If this is the case, it’s time to set a budget. Ask yourself if an expenditure is something you want or need.

3. You’re buying too much stuff.

Stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff. The garage is full, every shelf covered, but do you really need all of it? Consider what your money is worth to you.

It may be time to put a lid on extra purchasing and maybe throw some things up on Craigslist.

4. You’ve lost your spirituality.

Let me guess, you were more religious or spiritual when you were younger and now it’s fading away, right? Maybe it’s time to rekindle that spirituality.

Spend 10-15 minutes of the morning in meditation or reading scripture. Reconnect with your beliefs.

5. You use technology too much.

Hell, I’m guilty of looking at my phone for a half hour in the morning when I wake and in bed before sleep. I know it’s a dumb thing to do but I do it anyway.

In times like these, it might be time to restrict yourself. Or myself. It’s good to be connected, but maybe it’s time to shut down for a few hours every day and at night.

6. You feel like you’re rushing.

Always rushing! Rushing through the day, the week, the year, and in the end, your life. We need to make the conscious decision to slow down and prioritize what we do! When we do that, we become more productive.

7. Your multitasking is out of control.

When you multitask, the effectiveness of your work is more limited than it would be if you focused in on one thing at a time.

If you simply can’t sit down and give one thing your full attention, it’s probably time to re-evaluate what it is that you’re doing and simplify your day.”

Loneliness during the Holidays

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Gertrude Abercrombie’s “The Stroll” (1943). Credit Credit Oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust

Loneliness is a worthy foe, and with the rise of social media, most of us are suffering from it in some form – especially this time of year. It’s easy to feel isolated in tense family situations or even parties.

Striving for connection along with a healthy dose of self-care will get you through the season.”

So how do we cope? I’m glad I ran across this article today. It has some fantastic actions we can take to combat loneliness, especially this time of year. Along with the list from the article, I would add these things:

Encourage Friendships

Having a social life and human connection is important for us to thrive in our lives. A lot of people are shy about reaching out, or inviting people to do things. Do It!! Same sex friendships are particularly important in my opinion. If you have trouble meeting people then volunteer for something you care about…. and/or get a pet.

Having Pets

Animals are awesome. If you don’t, or can’t,  have one, volunteering at the local shelter is a great way to interact cats and dogs, and to be of service at the same time!

Go to a Gym

It took me awhile to build up to it, but now I go three times a week. Working out keeps my blood moving and my endorphins running. I think more clearly, and I’m able to make better decisions. And I have more energy. Exercise is the best thing for everyone.

Limit Alcohol

I’m personally sober since 2005, but if I wasn’t I would severely limit alcohol and stay away from drugs. In my experience these things end up making loneliness much worse.

Limit Sugar

This time of year is next-to-impossible to eat right, but I SO stay away from eating sugar. It keeps my blood sugar steady throughout that day so there’s less moodiness.

Good Night’s Sleep

I strive to get a good night’s sleep every night – which means eight solid hours in a dark, cool room.

Practice Gratitude

List ten things you’re grateful for when you feel low and it will completely change your thinking and mood.

Walk in Nature

I take a walk in nature everyday with my dog. Looking at trees, grass, and feeling the warmth of the sun brings me lots of joy.

Be Creative

It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it. You’ll probably improve as you go along anyway. I’ve taken multiple creative paths and it feels so good to create something. Write something or pick up and instrument… or a pen!

Be of Service

Get out and be of service to people. Being of service in some way is crucial.

Get a New Job

I know from experience, if you’re unhappy with your job, you HAVE to make a change. Life is too short and we spend too much time there. Anyone can do it. Make a plan, get some training or education, and DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

The Three Types of Trauma that lead to Addiction

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Excellent article. This is why it’s so important to treat an addict or alcoholic with respect, love and care, and to encourage them to get HELP.

Trauma is not your fault, but healing IS your responsibility.

“Did you know that those who experience something traumatic during their childhood are seven to 10 times more likely to abuse substances?”

“What are the leading causes of addiction? Could it be hereditary? What about peer pressure, poverty, or toxic stress? All of these can play a role, but there is another factor that is known to have a bigger impact.

You may have heard stories of those who have suffered from some sort of trauma ending up abusing drugs or alcohol. This is actually a lot more common than some may think. In fact, 75% of men and women who receive treatment for substance abuse report histories of abuse and trauma.

Physical or sexual violence occurring during childhood, neglect, and veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD are just a few scenarios that most of us have heard of before.
Many have “taken the edge off” after a stressful day of work before, so it makes sense that people who have suffered from some sort of traumatic event use drugs or alcohol to help numb their pain.

Unresolved Traumatic Events from Childhood Can Hinder Long-Term Recovery

Childhood trauma can be so impactful, even years after the abuse or neglect ends, because a child’s brain is still in development. The frequent and high levels of stress that occur while a child experiences something traumatic can impede brain development. Results from multiple studies have proven that this level of stress causes victims of childhood trauma to be more vulnerable to substance abuse in adulthood.

Experiencing physical or sexual violence, neglect, or other forms of abuse can affect anyone at any age. But these traumatic events imprint children differently. It’s much more impactful for children because they rely on their parents or other members of their family that they trust for guidance and protection. If these family members abuse that trust and are the cause of trauma for the child, they no longer have a support system that they desperately need.

Creating this foundation of toxic stress and trauma while a child’s brain is still developing basically wires their brain differently, and makes it much more difficult to grow and function normally as a child, and later on in adulthood.

It makes sense that an adult would feel anxiety, shame, and sorrow after going through something traumatic as a child, right? Survivors of childhood trauma usually need comfort, and sometimes that source of comfort is drugs or alcohol.

Another serious issue you may not be familiar with is how likely it is for veterans to be addicted to anxiety or pain medications, which are normally prescribed for PTSD diagnoses. Veterans can become addicted to medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien. These drugs can offer an escape from the trauma they’re still experiencing in their minds, but is not a healthy way to cope with it. If an addiction has developed along with PTSD, it’s called a dual diagnosis and it’s important to reach out to a professional that treats both the PTSD and the addiction.”

 

Pluto Direct: Astro week October 1

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Pluto Direct: 7:03pm Pacific, Sept. 30th.

We are absolutely in the thick of it. Last week encompassed all the shadow themes of Pluto: addiction, obsession, sex, power, secrets, control, and the toxic sides of our psyche that desperately need healing. Over the past five months, during Pluto’s retrograde, each of us has looked for our own patterns around control and power. Do we use our power to help others? Do we abuse power and try to control or shame people? Do we hand our power over to feel safe or loved?

We are about to take the revelations we have received, and put them into positive practice. There’s a lighter side to Pluto – healing, evolution and rebirth. With Pluto’s help we find a new awareness around our deepest pain, we are purified and then magnificently transformed. All of us.

The USA is currently having a Pluto return – and we can clearly see these themes being played out on the national stage. Secrets are being brought out into the light, people in power are being confronted, and sexual crimes against women are being acknowledged and (hopefully) shown a new level of respect and understanding. Our country is absolutely divided in half over the injustices around race, and the huge disparities between the rich and the rest of us. Despite the intensity of these battles, the potential for real healing and a higher standard is possible. Pluto insists we evolve.

“When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Monday, October 1st: Moon into Cancer at 11:00am Pacific. A very sensitive day, so avoid too much truth. Be gentle with yourself and others today. If you need to indulge in comfort food, go for it.

Tuesday: We are in the dark of the moon, so take it easy this week. Catch up on rest and wrap up loose ends. Start new projects next week. Mars square Uranus ends today, closing an explosive period of male rebelliousness and entitlement. Last week’s full moon in Aries was played out by Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court hearings last week, while women’s search for the truth, justice and equality embodies Venus in Scorpio and the Libra Sun.

Wednesday: Moon VOID until 2:00pm, then into Leo. Continue to be low key and avoid social complications. This evening is great to go out and socialize or see a live performance.

Thursday: Moon in Leo. You can freely communicate anything you’ve been holding back this week. Leo validates our individual identities, and rules the heart and self expression. This is a great day to speak the truth to authority.

Friday: Venus Retrograde at 10 Scorpio. Experience some beauty today, and aim towards a light hearted social evening if possible.

Intimacy

love-couple
“We can let ourselves be close to people.

Many of us have deeply ingrained patterns for sabotaging relationships. Some of us may instinctively terminate a relationship once it moves to a certain level of closeness and intimacy.

When we start to feel close to someone, we may zero in on one of the person’s character defects, and then make it so big it’s all we can see. We may withdraw, or push the person away to create distance. We may start criticizing the other person, a behavior sure to create distance.

We may start trying to control the person, a behavior that prevents intimacy.

We may tell ourselves we don’t want or need another person, or smother the person with our needs.

Sometimes, we defeat ourselves by trying to be close to people who aren’t available for intimacy – people with active addictions, or people who don’t choose to be close to us. Sometimes, we choose people with particular faults so that when it comes time to be close, we have an escape hatch.

We’re afraid, and we fear losing ourselves. We’re afraid that closeness means we won’t be able to own our power to take care of ourselves.

In recovery, we’re learning that it’s okay to let ourselves be close to people. We’re choosing to relate to safe, healthy people, so closeness is a possibility. Closeness doesn’t mean we have to lose ourselves, or our life. As one man said, “We’re learning that we can own our power with people, even when we’re close, even when the other person has something we need.”

Today, I will be available for closeness and intimacy with people, when that’s appropriate. Whenever possible, I will let myself be who I am, let others be who they are, and enjoy the bond and good feelings between us.”

– The Language of Letting Go

Neptune stations

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This week begins with Neptune stationing (standing still) above our heads at 16 degrees Pisces, and slowly going retrograde (reversing) over the next week.

Neptune breaks up, diffuses and dissipates the place where it lands in your chart. It could also aspect one of your natal planets, dissolving the boundaries of that planet and house. If you are a Pisces, Gemini, Virgo or Sagittarius, you could be very effected by Neptune’s influence in the next few months.

With Neptune, you always have a choice. You can escape your fears by drinking or using drugs, OR you can ask for spiritual strength. I whole-heartedly encourage you to ask for the spiritual strength 🙂 The next few months offer a special time to do deep healing on yourself and your life.

Here’s a great article

from Ronnie Pontiac:  “This can indicate a spaced out but potentially dreamy quality for this week into next. Take care when you commute. For some this may be a time of exhaustion and confusion, if so stop, meditate, get some rest. Dreams may provide useful insights. Inspiration and imagination can be strong so if you’re a creative person make time to receive these gifts of perspective.
Tuesday Mercury trine Jupiter is exact however with Mercury opposition Saturn fading but still an influence this may not be as fun a time as Mercury trine Jupiter can indicate. At worst avoid over optimism, arrogance, over doing, over spending and especially overindulgence. With Neptune stationary the urge to intoxicate and other forms of escapism can be very strong. Use common sense. A good time for meditation with Neptune and Saturn so strong.
Wednesday Mercury trine Neptune one minute before 1 PM is another aspect of inspiration and imagination. Again, dreams can be insightful. Jupiter trine Neptune is still strong and with Neptune stationary the beginning of this week could be a time for profound spiritual insights. Study a spiritual path. Open yourself to mystical exploration. Enjoy some relaxing time by water.
Early Thursday morning just after 3 AM the Summer Solstice arrives as the sun enters Cancer. Can you believe it? 2018 is half over. Look back on the year so far. Are you accomplishing your goals? What would you like to accomplish over the next six months?
Also Thursday just before 10 AM Venus opposition Mars is exact. With Mars going stationary retrograde five days later the Mars side of this opposition will be emphasized. On the negative side it can indicate conflict between the genders and a generalized state of irritation. But on the positive side the tension can be romantic and sexual, and creative. A good time to complete, or turn the corner toward completion, for artistic projects. To get best results find balance between the pleasure seeking appreciation for harmony and beauty that is Venus and the forceful willpower and aggression of Mars.
Friday just before 11 PM sun sextile Uranus is exact indicated possible opportunities for greater freedom. The unexpected may give you a sense of liberation. Look to new tech, new perspectives and new communities for inspiration but be careful as Mercury opposes Pluto just a few hours later.
Very early Saturday morning Mercury opposition Pluto is exact. Expect more ugly secrets and more political power plays. Be careful of saying bitter or hateful things under the pressure of the moment. At worst this can be a time of suspicion, paranoia, and obsession. A time of irritation and arguments that can turn violent. Avoid power struggles and wasting energy on fruitless conflict. At best this can be a time to learn about healing, to communicate catharsis, to repair and reform and to discard where necessary. Pluto favors meditation.

Do this when you feel icky

PUG

“What Science Really Says About Negative Emotions.

Pretending unwelcome feelings don’t exist isn’t helping. Here’s what to do instead:

by Shelby Lorman.

Source.

Ever been told to smile when you’re feeling down? While there’s science to support the idea that forced positivity can temporarily boost your mood, convincing yourself that you’re always happy may do you more harm than good, according to an insightful piece on Quartz by Lila MacLellan. Research suggests suppressing your less-than-pleasant feelings can harm your psychological well-being, and that accepting them is a better option.
Acceptance isn’t about making peace with your negative emotions: the “magic of acceptance is in its blunting effect on emotional reactions to stressful events,” Brett Ford, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, told MacLellan. Ford added that over time, acceptance of negative emotions can lead to “positive psychological health, including higher levels of life satisfaction.”
How and why this happens isn’t exactly clear. But Ford’s recently published research (in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) offers some insights. The research is from a few years ago, when Ford was a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. She and a few other Berkeley researchers designed a three-part experiment in hopes of learning more about the link between acceptance and psychological well-being. The participants were from various socioeconomic backgrounds and races, and included people who had dealt with major and minor negative experiences (think the difference between losing a job and losing track of your keys).
Ford and her fellow researchers found that people who were more accepting of negative emotions (MacLellan calls them “habitual acceptors”) like anger or anxiety had reduced feelings of ill-being, something backed up by previous research, and were more likely to have better well-being. MacLellan notes that “accepting dark emotions like anxiety or rage won’t bring you down or amplify the emotional experience. Nor will it make you ‘happy’—at least not directly.” Instead, acceptance is linked to overall “better mental health when it’s used in response to negative emotions, not positive ones,” MacLellan writes.
Ford hopes her research can improve future mental health treatments, which “currently rely on some approaches that fail people,” she told MacLellan. “When something happens and you try to reframe it like, ‘Oh it’s not such a big deal.’ or ‘I’m going to learn and grow from that,’ it doesn’t necessarily work,” Ford said.
Bad experiences are inevitable. But if we only let in the positive emotions, we’re less equipped to deal with the rollercoaster ride that is just part and parcel of being alive. “People die in our lives, we lose them, if we have only been accustomed to being allowed to have more positive thoughts, then these realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen,” according to Svend Brinkmann, a psychology professor at Denmark’s Aalborg University quoted in the piece.
Part of the challenge of acceptance is that it runs counter to our culture’s expectation to be happy all of the time. We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Ford told her that “some companies want their customers and employees to be delighted all the time. That’s unreasonable, and when we’re faced with unreasonable expectations, it’s natural for us to start applying judgement to the negative mental experiences we have.”
This probably isn’t helped by the fact that social media today is awash in well-curated and filtered frames of positivity. While a quick mood boost might feel great, continually suppressing our own negative emotions in favor of feel-good things only sets us up for a “striving state of mind,” according to Ford, which is paradoxical to finding peace and acceptance.
The good news is that acceptance can be learned. You can start by thinking of “your emotions as passing clouds, visible but not a part of you,” MacLellan suggests. Next time you experience a negative emotion or feel pressured to smile when you’re really not feeling it, remember that, as Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”
Read more on Quartz.

Alanon meditation

ToolMe

The Language of Letting Go” is one of my favorite books of wisdom. Today’s sentiment really resonates with me, and I want to share it 🙂

Happy Monday!

Powerlessness and Unmanageability

“Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

“I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren’t, don’t want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,” said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn’t love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t. It’s been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won’t work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I’ll allow my life to become manageable.”

It’s not what you think

Fantastic insights depression and the death of Chris Cornell. I also found this study that links addiction to childhood trauma:

http://upliftconnect.com/addiction-is-a-response-to-childhood-suffering/

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING, PLEASE GET HELP. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it’s a way of taking care of yourself and the people that love you.

The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

Chris Cornell died early Thursday morning. His band Soundgarden played a show on Wednesday night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Two hours after the show ended, he was gone.

For two days, I’ve been working on a piece to pay tribute to him, and it’s been a struggle. Usually when I have a problem like this it’s because I’m staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what I want to say. That’s not the problem this time. The problem is I have way too much to say.

I’m not going to sit here and claim to have been a huge fan of Soundgarden. I didn’t dislike them, I just had to take them in small doses. I was a fan of Cornell. I love “Seasons,” the solo song he had on Cameron Crowe’s movie, Singles. It’s a droning acoustic song about isolation and the…

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Are You A Giver Or A Pleaser?

Excellent reflection on codependency, which I’ve also suffered from. My personal solution has been to stay PRESENT with myself, and to be clear about my motivations. I’d love to hear your thoughts in my comments section.

“Unfortunately when we live like this nobody wins because we lie to ourselves and those around us; and superficial dishonest relationships don’t last.”