Category Archives: addictions

The Desire Map and Addictions

When I think about the upcoming workshop I’m holding using Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map process and addictions I honestly wish I could share it with everyone right this minute. I was pretty riled up this weekend about addictions and how they can tear individuals and families apart and all I could think about was this process of flipping everything we know on its head and achieving our goals in a spirit supporting way, decreasing the shame of our human failings and really expressing who we are without any hesitation or censure.

Addictions, which includes alcoholism in my definition, are a part of my past and present, my family and friends history and the shame they engender is overwhelming for most people until they learn that secrets really can kill us and bringing light to the darkness is critical. The more we bring addictions and how they affect us out into the open the faster the shame dissipates however the process of taking those first steps of disclosure can be truly excruciating.

I used to be a therapist and worked with substance abuse and trauma for many years, I’ve seen clients and my father die from it. I watch my husband struggle with it every day and I struggle with my own cravings and addictive tendencies. However I know the freedom that comes from accepting the fact that addictions do not equal loser or failure or forever fucked up and it is enormous. Addiction is a disease which means it can and is cured every single day.

You are not lost forever. You are not worthless and you are not to blame for the addiction itself although you are responsible for managing your behaviors for your sake and for those who love you.

How does this related to Desire Mapping? In every way.

Desire Mapping gives you permission to want what you want without judgement. Well, I want heroin thank you very much and I say that’s perfectly fine! You want it, accept that you want it and then plan for how not to act on that wanting.  Once people are past the physical withdrawal it becomes critical to face and learn to handle the psychological components. The Desire Map helps you define, clearly and succinctly how you want to feel and teaches you to achieve your goals from that place, from the place you want to be right now without struggling over how.

No one truly wants to feel numb or hungover, we just want to avoid the emptiness or the anxiety or the hopeless feeling that nothing will ever get better. No one wakes up one day and sets out to burn their lives to the ground leaving a trail of broken promises and hearts behind them.

Addicts in general feel different. They feel odd, out of step, always searching for but never finding “home”, as if they are interacting with the world through a glass wall fearing exposure for the rotten person they believe themselves to be and yet needing to be seen because we all want to belong.  Families and loved ones want to feel supportive yet often don’t know how to love the person while still setting and holding boundaries against the harmful behaviors of a person active in their addiction.

What we want as humans in general is to feel accepted, loved, seen with compassion for who we are and encouraged to reach for even more development.  What we want is to feel alive, productive and creative and I can tell you that every active addict has a stifled creative nature so large that it must be given a channel for expression or it will continue to turn inward and contribute to the outward destruction.

Desire Mapping says your desire is your fuel. What you want is where you start. We don’t start with I’m going to stay sober forever.  We don’t start with I’m leaving if he comes home drunk one more damn time.  Those goals are too big and they miss the core of it all, it takes us too far into uncertainty so we say I want to feel in control of my urges today, for this hour, for this minute. I want to feel accepted (which starts from within) and how can I feel it? What does acceptance look like? Is it knowing I want to drink, accepting that the urge is perfectly ok but not acting on it? Is it exploring avenues of creation so that all that energy we’ve been holding back has somewhere safe to go?

What tiny part of myself can I accept right now and then use that to expand to another part and another? Is it possible for me to choose an emotion other than despair and if so what emotion would I like to feel and how do I stay there?  Do I even know emotions exist other than happy or sad?How do I get distracted, wander off from that feeling and ease myself back into it time and time again throughout the day/night without feeling like a failure at this too?

Desire Mapping answers those questions in a loving way that still holds you personally responsible for your life. Yes you. No one can change the thoughts but you, no one can make the choices but you and the Desire Map process shows you how. If you can’t come to the workshop in Jan go get the book. If you’re out of money get yourself to the library and read it. Ask questions here with the contact form if you need clarification or visit my Facebook pages here and here where you’ll find art and words and Young Living essential oils.

If you want a workshop held where you live contact me, it might be possible for it to be brought to you, you never know unless you ask right?

In the meantime, just for today, please let yourself off the hook if you’re in addiction or if you love someone who is. You are not a loser if you love an addict. You are not anything that your disease says you are if you’re addicted. You deserve a life free from bondage please give yourself permission to feel happiness and peace. If you can’t feel it, imagine that you can and it will come.

Say to yourself in a mirror, “It’s ok. We’re going to find the answers we need and in this moment I accept you as is, no questions asked.Every day, every minute we get a chance to start over, it’s ok.” Sounds ridiculous but don’t underestimate the power of speaking that out loud even if you don’t believe it and guess what? You deserve to feel good and nothing will change until you make that a priority!

Visit the website for Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or Al-Anon for more resources available to you locally.

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Throw Your Dog (Mind) A Bone: 25 ways to Stop Addictive Obsessions!

How many times have you been up in the middle of the night chewing a bone of worry? Replaying a conversation or argument in your mind with all the accompanying “Oh I should have said that to him!” or “What did she mean when she said x, y or z?” is wasted energy. It’s so hard to go to or return to sleep what the mind is on a tear, chewing, gnawing and grinding on an issue or issues. The best solution to this is to throw your mind a bone to chew on that you control. Curious? Well keep reading.

Our minds are natural problem solvers. We have a problem so we stew on it and create solutions. We needed to wheels to get around easier so we made them. We needed fire for tastier food and neighborhood cookouts so we created a way to start it and keep it going. It’s what we do, we create tools, procedures, internets pretty much entire worlds through the amazing problem solving ability in our noggins. The problem is when those powers stop being used for good and we start chewing our own paws so to speak. And when we chew long enough without progress we find depression setting in, feelings of defeat, self-doubt and angst begin to percolate and make us feel worthless which can lead to triggering addictive behaviors and all manner or not so good things we do to try and shut the brain down.

This is an easy fix relatively speaking. You have to train yourself like you would a new puppy. You don’t allow obsessions to take over your mind. Your mind is chewing your new leather shoes so you take those away and give it a rawhide of a “problem” to solve that you know you can figure out. The success of solving a problem or introducing something, anything, unfamiliar to the brain creates a nice rush of brain chemicals and can provide a respite from obsessions.

Here are 25 options:

1. Sudoku or crossword puzzle.

2. Music lessons which are often free and very easily found by using Google to search for “kazoo lessons” or any other instrument of your choice.

3. Take apart your old VCR gathering dust in the garage and try to put it back together.

4. Jigsaw puzzles.

5. Take up knitting or crochet for which you can also find numerous free video lessons through Google.
6. Gratitude lists.

7. Organize your bookshelves.

8. Clean your kitchen drawers.

9. Rearrange your closet.

10. Make Fido or Fifi healthy dog cookies.

11. Make a guest list for your next party.

12. Try out a few yoga poses. Try holding them for 2-3 minutes if you can without pain.

13. Mindfulness exercises such as eating a raisin or chocolate chip or Doritos with incredible slowness.

14. Massage a nice smelling lotion on your hands making sure you really stay aware of how it feels.

15. Change up your routine in any area that you can.

16. Dig out those foreign language CDs and start listening. Just listen, don’t strain, focus on the sound of the words.

17. Try to find a foreign newspaper at the library or online and try to read it.

18. Buy a coloring book for adults and use it! My favorite is ‘Everyone’s Mandala Coloring Book” by Monique Mandali.

19. Swipe one of your kids coloring books and go at it. Disney Princesses or Winnie The Pooh might be just what you need.

20. Brainstorm 25 ways to get rich quick.

21. Take action on one of those ways with any small step you can.

22. Walk and breathe and breathe. Try coordinating your breathing with your footsteps.

23. Walk backwards and then forwards. Alternate. Your brain loves change ups.

24. Watch your breathing and try to count 1 inhale, 1 exhale, 2 inhale, 2 exhale until you get to 10. Sounds easy? It so is not!

25. Play the game of what you would do if you won the lottery. Make lists in order of what you’d do first.

The point is to give your brain something to do other than grind on whatever issue you are stuck on. Learning something new or doing something different may be all you need to relax and when you revisit your original problem you’ll be much more likely to solve it. If obsession or depression is impacting your life please seek professional help immediately. Remember problems are a given, suffering over them is optional.

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