addiction and recovery

Self-Deception in Addiction and Recovery

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

We are all human and at times we will lie to ourselves and others. While this does not excuse the behavior, it is a reality of life. Unfortunately, we also tend to lie to ourselves, especially in addiction and in early recovery. Some of the lies and self-deceptions are obvious, some are not. One of the most common self-deceptions in recovery is that the addict has trust issues. While this may be true in some part, it is most likely that the one in recovery has issues trusting themselves and their own judgment. This means that those in recovery have to work on learning to trust themselves and understand that trusting others will come in time. There are ways to build trust, but first we must understand how we fool ourselves and develop self-deception.

Those in active addiction and typically in the beginning stages of recovery use rationalization, justification, and minimization to deal with what is happening. These may be used to make sense of addiction. Saying things like I only use because of my past or because my parents were addicts or even because I am in pain are all excuses. Even if there is truth in the statement, these are not reasons to stay with an addiction.

One must learn that though self-deception is not usually a conscious effort it can be changed. One way to remember self-deception is with the acronym DENIAL. DENIAL stands for Don’t Even Know I’m Always Lying (to myself). When we make the conscious effort to change it is as simple as paying attention to our thoughts and statements. In fact, saying things out loud can often force us to realize how little the things we are thinking making sense. Candor is key to success in recovery. This is not just for yourself but also candor and rigorous honesty with others. Addiction is wrought with lies and half-truths, recovery is a chance to come clean and start over. Learning to be candid and practice honesty in all situations is tough at first, but it does get easier.

As you grow in recovery you can pay it forward and help others, this will help you become even stronger. In the early stages of recovery it may be hard to be honest with yourself and others. But it is very important. This is not to hurt you or others. But to help you live your life out loud and keep you honest in recovery. In active addiction we are surrounded and hidden in lies. Many deny having a problem but most also lie to obtain money, drugs, or alcohol to keep the habit fed. This all has to stop in recovery.

Also during recovery we can take the opportunity to come clean with others so life can move forward without the lies and secrets that kept the habit going. There is a chance that people in your life will not accept the truth well, but this journey is about you, not others. Learn to be true to yourself and honest with others, it will increase your chances of staying in recovery long term. Are you willing to be honest to start your life over?

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opioid addictions

What are Opioids

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Opioid addictions – We hear about and read about the opioid drug crisis all the time. The problems of addiction and overdose are in the headlines around the world. Many countries like the U.S., the U.K. Australia, and Southeast Asia are gripped by an opioid addiction crisis that is often described as an epidemic. What exactly are these drugs, and how do they effect the body and Mind?

Opioids are a broad class of drugs which include chemicals derived from the opium poppy such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. Opioids also include synthetic chemicals such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

These drugs work by attaching to opioid receptors in the nervous system. This blocks pain and releases chemicals in the brain which can lead to feelings of euphoria and general ease. These two combined effects are the reasons why these drugs are both effective and dangerous.

When taken correctly for acute and chronic pain, legal opioids are highly effective for controlling pain. Drugs like fentanyl are used almost exclusively for extreme pain in circumstances such as cancer and other extreme illnesses. Heroin is not legal and is not used for any medical purpose.

All opioids are highly addictive. Because opioids work by suppressing pain receptors in the nervous system, the body will respond by re-awakening these receptors. Over time, this can lead to feelings of discomfort and even illness when people stop using the drugs. As a result, people are apt to keep taking the drugs. In this way people become addicted even to prescription opioids.

Codeine was once given as a cough suppressant. In fact, it was once considered the primary drug to be used as a cough suppressant. Recent research has shown that the use of codeine for this purpose may not be effective at all. Codeine did not show any marked difference from placebos in some studies.

Oxycodone and hydrocodone were widely prescribed for a vast array of medical issues. From sports injuries to general chronic pain, these drugs were dispensed by physicians with little restraint. As a result there has been a drastic increase in people becoming addicted to these drugs. Oxycodone and hydrocodone operate exactly like heroin and morphine. They perform the same chemical processes in the nervous system and create the same dangers for people who use them.

The widespread use of oxycodone and hydrocodone contributed to the opioid addiction crisis around the globe. In addition to the obvious danger of becoming addicted to these drugs, the addiction can lead to using other opioids like heroin. Once addicted, people seek the drugs and find that the prescription drugs they are used to are expensive and difficult to obtain. Heroin is a relatively inexpensive street drug and it is easily available.

Heroin has been cut with fentanyl in recent years leading to an even more deadly form of illegal street drug. Fentanyl is vastly more potent that heroin and can lead to fatal overdoses even in small concentrations. All of this has contributed to the opioid addiction crisis around the world.

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The Process of Learning to Love Yourself

The Process of Learning to Love Yourself – Part Three

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

In part-one of this series, we told you it is important to learn to love yourself in recovery. In  part-two, we outlined the process of practicing self-love and explained that love is an action. Now, we’ll give you some actions you can take for how you can actually learn to love yourself.

#1 Continue To Stay In Recovery – One Day At A Time

As you grow in recovery, so will the love you have for yourself. Every day that you stay sober or refrain from unhealthy sex, you are acting in self-love. Engaging in addiction is engaging in self-hatred and self-destruction. Make the commitment every day that you are going to work on your recovery and you are already halfway there.

#2 Change The Way You Talk To Yourself

Changing the way you talk to yourself has to be deliberate and intention. It won’t come easy at first. You are going to have to be vigilant in paying attention to your thought life and replacing self-defeating thoughts with loving, empowering ones.

For example, when you look in the mirror and think, “I’m so ugly!” change that thought immediately to “I am so beautiful. Look at my eyes!” If you think “I am such a loser,” replace that thought with “I am so proud of myself that I am working on self-improvement!”

This will feel strange at first. You won’t believe the new thoughts you are thinking. But, before long, you will start noticing how uncomfortable it is to talk down to yourself. Your awareness will shift and you will start filling your own head with positive affirmations. It really works!

#3 Become Aware Of Behaviors That Harm You And Commit To Changing Them

Notice what kind of things you are doing to yourself that are unhealthy. Do you smoke cigarettes? Do you cut yourself? Do you hit yourself? Do you destroy your own property? When you do things that hurt you, you are not being loving towards yourself. Remember, recovery is about more than just ceasing addictive behaviors. It is about an active change in other behaviors as well.

Don’t feel overwhelmed. We are not asking you to give up your other coping skills until you are ready. We are simply asking you to become aware of your negative coping skills and encouraging you to make the commitment to change them – one day, when the time is right. Just by doing this, you will be amazed at how quickly your desire to be more loving to yourself will begin to take hold. Suddenly, those old behaviors won’t feel so good.  

 #4 Stay Away From Negative People

One of the most unloving things you can do for yourself is to keep company with toxic people. If you are in relationships with people who make you feel bad about yourself, stay away from those people. Surround yourself with people who build you up and empower you. It is better to be alone than in bad company. When you love yourself, you only associate with people who love and cherish you in return. By cutting out negative people and replacing them will supportive ones, you are expressing a great deal of self-love.  

#5 Be Kind To Yourself And Treat Yourself Well

When you love yourself, you take care of yourself. You eat healthy and you get exercise. You get plenty of sleep. You tend to your physical and mental well-being. You do things that make you feel good about you. This may include buying yourself nice clothes or taking yourself out for a nice meal. It might mean taking a hot bubble bath. It could mean painting yourself a picture or writing yourself a poem.

Find out what you can do for yourself that makes you feel loved and do it!

Remember, Learning To Love Yourself Is A Process

After years of abusing yourself in your addiction, learning to love yourself will take time. That’s okay! Give time time. Don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up because you aren’t loving yourself. This isn’t loving!

The more you practice self-love, the more comfortable it will feel and the more you will want to do it. Just remember: stay in recovery (one day at a time), change the way you talk to yourself, become aware of behaviors that harm you and commit to changing them (one day!), stay away from negative people, and be kind to yourself. Soon, loving yourself will become a natural state of being.  

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learning to love yourself

The Process of Learning to Love Yourself – Part Two

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Treatment, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

In part one of this series, we talked about how important it is to learn to love yourself. In this blog post, we will outline the process of practicing self-love.

How Do You Start The Process of Learning To Love Yourself?

The first step in learning to love yourself is coming to an awareness that you don’t already. This is usually a very painful realization, but it is a necessary one. Self-awareness is always the first step to changing a deeply engrained behavior or altering your current state of being.

Most people realize they don’t love themselves when they really start paying attention to how they talk to themselves. If you have nothing but negative things to say to yourself about yourself, you probably don’t love yourself.

Are you constantly telling yourself that you are fat, stupid, bad, worthless, useless or ugly? Do you call yourself names like idiot, loser, moron, monster, or failure? Are you mean to yourself in your own head? Are you very unforgiving of yourself when you make a mistake? If so, you may have a deeply rooted negative self-image that doesn’t reflect self-love.

If you want to begin the process of learning to love yourself, start paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. When you realize you don’t love yourself, you will suddenly feel very uncomfortable, which will motivate you to want to learn how.   

To Love Yourself, You Have To Understand What Love Is

The second step to learning to love yourself is to define love.

Most people who have had problems with addiction do not really know what love is. They almost always confuse love with infatuation, obsession, great sex, or feelings of elation. But, these are not demonstrations of real love. Real love is much deeper.

Furthermore, when most people think of the word love, they almost always associate it with romantic love. They think of finding “the one,” falling in love, getting married, and living happily every after. But it is important to understand that love is not limited to romance. To learn to love yourself, you have to start relating to the concept of love in a different way. 

The reason why so many people are confused about love is that we overuse the word. We say we love French fries, or we love drugs and alcohol, or we love sex. We seem to equate love with a strong liking for something. When we want more and more of the feeling something or someone gives us, we think we must love it/him/her. But, the truth is that we don’t love French fries, or drugs and alcohol, and sex. We enjoy the way they make us feel.  

The thing is, love is not a feeling. Love is an action.

To Practice Self-Love, You Must Get Into Action

In the process of learning to love yourself, you first have to understand that you don’t love yourself so you will become motivated to change. Then, you have to come to understand that love is an action. Finally, you have to go about the business of practicing self-love through action.

Be sure to check out the third and final part to this series – The Process of Learning to Love Yourself – Part Three where you will learn how to practice self-love. 

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Love yourself

The Process of Learning to Love Yourself – Part One

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Malaysia, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

This is part-one of a three-part series about self-love.

In Recovery, You Must Learn To Love Yourself

If you are in recovery – whether it’s from drugs, alcohol, or sexual addiction – part of the process is learning to love yourself. When you were in active addiction, you perpetrated harm against yourself. If you were addicted to mood or mind-altering substances, you used toxic chemicals and abused your body. If you were a sex addict, you put yourself in compromising positions that led to shame, guilt, and self-hatred.

Now that you are in recovery, you have to develop a healthy relationship with yourself that reflects self-love. If you are constantly engaged in a cycle of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, you are doomed to a life of misery and discomfort. After all, you are stuck with you all day long! You have to live with yourself because you are the only person who can leave you. If you are unkind, unloving, and disrespectful towards yourself, it makes for a very difficult journey.

In Recovery, You Realize The Relationship Have With Yourself Needs Work

Chances are, you didn’t have a great relationship with yourself when you started engaging in whatever addictive behavior you are currently recovering from. You might have had low self-esteem. You may have been the victim of abuse or neglect growing up, which caused you to feel worthless and unlovable. Or, you might have been going through a divorce or grieving the loss of a loved one, which caused you to want to numb your pain.  

Whatever individual circumstance brought you to use drugs or alcohol or act out sexually, you engaged in negative coping skills that did not reflect self-love. Drugs, alcohol, and sex can trick you into believing you have found a solution to whatever dilemma you are facing – even if that solution is fleeting and counterproductive. Ultimately, addiction brought you to your knees because you came to terms with the fact that it was never a solution and it only created more problems.

When you get into recovery, it becomes painfully obvious that you have been harming yourself with your own behavior. You begin to realize that you don’t know how to love yourself or be kind to yourself. You recognize the fact that the relationship you have with yourself needs some work. This is a good place to be.

Learning To Love Yourself Is A Process  

After losing an exhausting battle with addiction, you feel defeated. Life feels overwhelming. At first, it is all you can do just to overcome cravings. Learning to live a life that isn’t centered around drugs, alcohol, or sex is hard work all by itself. But, when the time is right, you find that in order to stay in recovery, you have to begin the process of learning to love yourself.

Be sure and read Learning to Love Yourself – Part Two. In the next blog post, we will talk about how you can begin the process of loving yourself.  

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