We are what we repeatedly do.
If you are at rock bottom, deep in the slough of despond and fighting off depression, then sometimes you can see no way out. Everything seems hopeless and pointless, and you may feel helpless and aimless. There may come a time when you don’t even want to get out of bed ~ unless it’s go and get your next drink or other drug of your choice. Sometimes, late at night I’ve seen disheveled individuals shopping for booze, obviously wearing a coat over whatever they last went to bed in.
When it’s that bad, may I suggest a way to get yourself back onto this planet with the ordinary people? Try to develop some useful rituals and habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Perhaps in order of bringing you back to normality, do these things every single day;
- Get yourself out of bed at the same ‘reasonable’ time every day. Say, eight in the morning.
- Go to the bathroom, have a wash, and if you’re a guy get a shave. If you’re a woman, do something with your hair. Do this every morning.
- Every single
fuckingdamn day, find some clean clothes and get dressed. If you went to bed dressed, get changed.
- In the kitchen, drink a pint of water. Try some tea, coffee, and something to eat too.
- Take out the obvious trash, and then walk to the nearest store. Do Not Drive. While you’re there buy food and fruit or vegetable juice. Do Not Buy Booze or Medications.
- After lunch take a couple of hours to nap on the sofa or in the chair. Make it an unbreakable ritual to take an afternoon nap. If you can meditate, make it an unbreakable ritual to try to meditate during that time.
- After your nap telephone someone to tell them you’re alive and doing better. It might be a while since they spoke to you when you were sober, so they’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t know anyone phone AA, or NA, or the Samaritans, but for Gods’ sakes talk to someone.
- Always go for an afternoon stroll. Don’t go into a bar, or the store, or any of your usual haunts. Walk in the park, or by the sea, somewhere peaceful.
- Read something difficult, useful, inspirational, helpful ~ if you have nothing to read, find a big book, or a Bible, or a discarded newspaper, or join the
- Eat an evening meal, every single
fuckingdamn day. Eat a meal even if you feel like throwing up ~ you need the calories and other nutrients, or you will die. Drink a pint of water with your meal
- If you have been to a 12-step meeting before, go back. Attend regularly. If you haven’t been to a 12 step meeting find one that suits your particular problem. If you can’t find something that matches your current form of self-harm, go to AA. If you can’t get there, phone them, and they will send someone to get you.
- Go to bed at the same time every day. Say ten o’clock. Drink a pint of water and then get changed before you go to bed, even if that means sleeping nude. Go to the bathroom before you go to bed, wash, clean your teeth, examine yourself for injuries that might need treatment tomorrow.
If you have never been where I’ve been, where some still are, the above 12 rituals and habits might seem bleeding obvious. But, if the last thing you drank was booze, and the last thing you ate were pills, then those 12 habits might just keep you alive, sane, and on the road to recovery.
you may think you look as cool as this when you go to your bar
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter if it’s alcohol or marijuana
In yesterday’s post 10 things successful people do, I said that successful people stay healthy and overcome their addictions ~ well, it’s impossible to stay healthy in the long-term if you have a drugs habit, drink too much, or smoke. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking will all kill you, especially if you are prey to all three. Most addicts have multiple addictions. Add gambling into the mix and you will die a horrible death, after you have lost everything you have.
There are NO exceptions to that rule.
You may think that you drink a little bit, use pot or coke just now and again, take a few too many of your prescription drugs, smoke the odd cigarette when you’re feeling stressed or happy, go to Vegas to gamble every once in a while….. It could be you have a problem you’re not admitting to yourself, and lying about to everyone else.
Denial is not a river in Egypt. Denial will kill you.
The very first step in overcoming an addiction is to admit that you have a problem. The first step in all 12 step recovery groups is to honestly admit that you have a problem. Your problem with booze, drugs, smoking, gambling, unsafe casual sex, erotica, pornography, dangerous pastimes, sugar, food….. may not be so bad ~ YET. Let me tell you, your problem will only get worse, unless you do something about it. And what you have to do is STOP drinking, smoking, using drugs, gambling, or whatever.
There is no such thing as controlled drinking, drug abuse, gambling…..
And, if you cannot stop, and if you still lie about it to yourself and others, then you are a true alcoholic, drug addict, compulsive gambler, long-term chain smoker, and you’re going to lose everything you have, and die horribly. Things may only be a little bit rocky now, but that’s ok for you, missing work once in a while isn’t so bad. Let me tell you, it is going to get worse if you do not completely stop drinking, using, smoking, gambling…..
No matter how bad thing are now, they will get worse.
What to do? A good start is to go and see your doctor, and tell him / her that you have a problem. But, the chances are that, unless you have an exceptional doctor, they’re not going to be much help. Do Not just accept more medication from your doctor ~ drugs in any form are bad for you. Also, the chances are that if you have a propensity to addiction, then you also have an underlying psychological problem. What you probably need is ‘talking therapy’ to deal with your underlying Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD……
Admit you have a problem, and talk to people who understand.
From bitter personal experience I can tell you that there are only two things that work when it comes to recovering from the problems of an addiction;
- Completely stop drinking, using, smoking, gambling, binge eating…..
- Talk with people who truly understand. Ask for their help.
If you are an addict, then you will never, ever be cured, all you can do is begin to recover from your addiction. You will never be able to go back to drinking, or whatever…..
Some say that being an addict means that you are a morally weak degenerate lunatic. And, that all addicts are hopeless cases who will just die sooner rather than later. All I know is that it is possible to begin to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder and Alcoholism.
addicts are not lunatics,
but they may well have a psychological problem
Pouring wine onto yourself means you might be crazy.
There are a lot of crazy and insane people in this world, and I should know because I used to be one of them. Strictly speaking crazy means you’re wild and possibly aggressive, while insane means you have an abnormal view of the world. Both mean that you can’t interact normally with other people, and that any relationship you’re in is likely to lurch from one crisis to another.
Symptoms of being crazy and insane include extremes of; being intense and passionate, being unstable, doing stupid and dangerous things on an impulse, self-harm, excessive consumption of booze, taking drugs, smoking marijuana, engaging in cheap and meaningless sex, nudity at inappropriate times, mood swings, explosive bad temper, insomnia, extremes of jealousy, panic, paranoia, schizophrenia, feelings of worthlessness, depression, euphoria, and quite a few more personality disorders and character defects.
Most crazy and insane people have most of the above problems some of the time, and most of us have self-diagnosed and tried to cure ourselves with much more of the same things that drove us crazy in the first place.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein
Or we try to cure ourselves by switching from one crazy and insane set of behaviours to another~ say from depression and melancholia to copious quantities of booze and indulging in unsafe meaningless cheap sex.
I wouldn’t recommend alcohol, sex, drugs, or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me. Hunter S. Thompson
How do we know if we’re crazy and insane, or as ‘normal’ as the rest of the crazy people out there?
One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. ~ Tim Burton
Some say that if you have to ask yourself the question, ‘Am I going crazy‘ then you probably are insane and crazy. And, that if anyone else says that you’re crazy, then most likely you are. Of course, you can find Am I Insane?, Personality Disorder Tests, and Just How Insane Am I? tests online. Or, find your own online insanity / craziness tests. Your results might surprise you ~ a lot.
The last time I took one of these on-line tests, to see if I was suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I came out at the extreme bad end of the scale.
Alternatively you could just look for these attitudes, feelings, and behaviours in yourself;
- Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, jealousy, anger
- Mania, depression, thoughts of suicide
- Memory loss, personality changes and mood swings, time and place distortions and disorientation
- Talking to yourself, talking to your pets and plants, giving unwanted and unsolicited advice, believing in angels, demons, extraterrestrial abduction, ghosts, gods and goddesses, past lives, and witches.
If you suffer from / truly believe in any of the above, it may mean that while you are doing the best you can, and are thinking deeply and seriously about yourself and your issues, you’re not thinking clearly, and you may be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.
The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. ~ Nikola Tesla
Another sign of utterly crazy insanity is being addicted to anything; Alcohol, Anger, Coffee, Cough Medicine, Drugs, Food, Gambling, Jealousy, Laziness, Masturbation, Pornography, Prescription Drugs, Sex, Shopping, Smoking, Social Media, Technology, Trivia, or Work. (Trust me, people can and do get addicted to just about anything.)
Perhaps the easiest things to check to see if you really are an addict is to see if you’re suffering from; alcoholism, drug addiction, or sexual addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous have a very, very good self test that will let you know if you’ve slipped from being a social drinker to an insane boozer. There are similar self tests for drug addiction and sexual addiction.
However, the chances are that if you find yourself ever taking one of these tests, then you are already crazy, insane, and slightly weird. That doesn’t mean you are bad and stupid, it means that you’re unwell.
I’ll take weird and crazy over stupid any day. ~ Joss Whedon
Of course, another sign of being crazy, deranged, insane, peculiar, strange, unstable, unusual, or weird, is doing things in secret and lying about what you’ve done afterwards. And, lying includes lying by omission, refusing to say anything at all, and only telling part of the truth.
The problem with slightly crazy people is they do crazy things ~ and you will know this to your cost if you’ve ever dated a bunny-boiler, stalker, self-confessed witch… or any of the other strange people out there.
So if you’ve been a little bit crazy recently, acting like a sack of cats in a thunderstorm, how do you recover?
- Fully and honestly accept that you haven’t been doing so well lately.
- Figure out / try and remember just what the hell you’ve been doing that’s so bad you’re reluctant to even admit it to yourself.
- Go and see your doctor and honestly tell them what’s been going on.
- Take whatever medication your doctor advises.
- Stop self-medicating with booze, drugs, sex, or whatever.
- See a professional counsellor / therapist for whatever flavour of crazy insane you’ve been.
- Get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and sleep.
- Have a good diet, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Try soothing and calming stuff; meditation, restful music, reading uplifting books, talking long walks in the forest or by the sea, yoga
- Apologise to everyone you have harmed, unless doing so will only make things worse.
- Make a solemn promise to yourself to be a ‘better’ person.
- Just get through each day without being a totally evil crazy insane wazzock, just one day at a time.
In my case I was completely crazy and insane due to a chronic lack of critical vitamins and minerals in my blood, (potassium and thiamine) ~ because I wasn’t eating properly. The symptoms of a lack of potassium, and a lack of thiamine are quite severe~ literally you go crazy insane, and possibly die.
The upside is that within a couple of days of taking prescribed, very strong, vitamin and mineral supplements I made a miraculous recovery. Today I feel very well indeed, in body, mind and spirit.
So however bad you may feel;
nil desperandum ~ carpe diem ~ noli illegitimi carborundum
and that’s crazy.
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Life is not merely being alive, but being well.
If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life. But, what is a healthy lifestyle? Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.
The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run. ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet. Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;
- Stop smoking. Stop smoking weed too. Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
- Drink only in moderation. If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
- Don’t be fat, don’t be obese. It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories. Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you. There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet; sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy. Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
- Take enough appropriate exercise. Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life. You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights. Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
- Have a good quality and healthy diet. And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin… The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.
Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK. In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.
Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life. Professor Kenji Shibuya.
Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;
- Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
- Get your blood pressure checked.
- Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
- Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings. Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
- Stop smoking.
- Start exercising. There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
- Walk don’t drive. Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
- Don’t get stressed. Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
- Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day. Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
- And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital. Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.
These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own. Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness. As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~ Paul Dudley White.
Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.
Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.
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All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
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confession, penance, atonement, amends, forgiveness
Today, the 28th of February, is Shrove Tuesday ~ a day when the basic tenents of religion, 12 step recovery programmes, and a spiritual lifestyle all come together. It’s all based on strength, honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. It’s sometimes called a moral inventory, and it may involve the God /Goddess of your understanding, your Higher Power, your most trusted friend, or any combination or variation of all three. Ash Wednesday, and by extension Shrove Tuesday, is really a Pagan Festival anyway ~ the main thing is that today is a good day for me to take the next step on my own spiritual journey.
All this, the whole point of Shrove Tuesday, may have nothing to do with religion, or recovery from an addiction, or eating special meals, or the carnival celebrations of Mardis Gras ~ but what it should have to do with is acceptance of who we are, who we used to be, and who we wish to become in the future. Today I will take a long look at who I was and what I did, all the good, the bad and the ugly. I will try to accept and understand the past. I will acknowledge the reality of the past, and think about making my amends in the future. Today I will forgive myself for yesterday’s mistakes, and hope that others do too. I will think about being a ‘better’ man tomorrow than I was yesterday. My personal tools for doing this are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
I am not a follower of the Buddha ~ in fact my personal ‘higher power’ is the Mother Goddess, in one of her forms, (it’s complicated). But the Buddha’s Teachings will make sense to me today ~ Shrove Tuesday. I will be making pancakes today, but the whole idea of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival is not really an English Gentleman’s thing. Mardi Gras isn’t really a spiritual event, it’s just a street party.
Have a Happy Fat Tuesday, a Great Carnival, a Joyous Mardi Gras, and a Calm and Spiritual Shrove Tuesday.
(Maybe one day I’ll look for a cool woman wearing a great mask at Mardi Gras.)
a fool and his money are soon parted
If you want to lose money really fast, or just guarantee that you will go broke eventually, then here are some brilliant ideas for you;
- Online Gambling. Gambling in any form ~ from playing the slots in Las Vegas, to betting on horse racing at a high-street bookmaker in England ~ is guaranteed to lose you as much money as you like. All those attractive online gambling sites just allow you to lose your money with 24/7 dedication from the comfort of your own home / office / car… Online Forex Trading is just another form of gambling ~ you will lose loads of money.
- Forex Trading. The foreign exchange market exists for some very sensible reasons ~ it allows me to pay for a hotel stay in Wyoming, (priced in $), on my English credit card, (denominated in £). Unecessary trading on the the Forex Market also allows idiots to risk vast amounts of money, and then inevitably lose it. I’m an expert in all this stuff, and it would take me a week to teach you the basics, so just trust me, you will lose if you go online trading. Even companies like Rolls Royce get burned, (lately to the tune of £4 billion), due to unecessarily hedging the Forex Market.
- Expensive New Cars. A hot set of wheels might boost your ego, get you a hot date, and it will also lose you a fortune. Almost all cars depreciate over time, and some high-status cars depreciate at an horrific rate. Add in the high cost on insuring your new car, and the good chance that you’ll crash the thing if you ever drive it hard, and an expensive new car can be a real money pit. Best of all, get drunk, drive really fast, and then roll your car down a freeway embankment. By the way, never believe a car salesperson, all sales people are professional liars, and I should know because I used to be one.
- Online Dating. If your expensive new car hasn’t got you a real date, you could be a totally insane pathetic loser and try online dating as well. Online dating isn’t cheap, both in terms of money and time. And, it’s one of most dangerous things you can do, for example both human and robot scammers target the sad people who use online dating sites. Or, you could get used, abused, robbed, raped, or dead. If you just want to ruin your life, the get yourself addicted to paid online porn.
- Dangerous Drugs. I include here; street drugs including marijuana, prescription drugs, party drugs, legal highs, tobacco, and booze. To really waste a great deal of money while ruining your health and your life along the way, then get into everything at once. Best of all get buzzed and go on the internet with your credit cards to hand. Do not go near 12 step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
There are some other brilliant ways to go broke fast; trophy wife, mistress, toyboy, high-class hookers, marrying a foreigner, getting sick abroad without proper insurance, buying a home without having a full survey, signing things you don’t understand, and perhaps best of all guaranteed get rich quick schemes.
If you really throw yourself into the above activities, not only could you lose all the money you have, you could also get yourself heavily into debt with some nasty people. Along the way you are very likely to lose your self-respect, job, real friends, home, family, health, and maybe your life. If you want to go downhill really, really fast, then I recommend you start at #5 and work your way upwards.
Most of you will never get as far as #1 because you’ll be on the streets, in jail, or dead long before that. If you work diligently at #5 you could be dead broke and dead in a couple of years.
Good luck with totally ruining your life by getting heavily into any of the above financially stupid moves.
these thoughts are mine, and mine alone
There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.
For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy. I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim. Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.
In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you? How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it? Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.
My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem. Over several months Sue got to know me quite well. She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.
I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness. Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale. I fully accepted and embraced these results. This was the beginning of my recovery. When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.
My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth). I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told). I never, ever bonded with mt mother. I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.
A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma. Eventually, I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.
Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously. My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD. After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself. Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence. (A little English irony there.)
How did I manage this remarkable recovery?
- I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
- I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
- I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs. Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
- I got physically fit. (Mens sano in corpore sano. ~ Juvenal)
- I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
- I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books. (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
- I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way. I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
- I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.
And things got better. My life got much better, my relationships with others improved. I was sleeping well. I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And I felt empty inside. I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind. All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.
It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me. Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening. Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.
I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become. You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.
I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right. The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous
I substituted ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.
I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.
There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.
these opinions are mine and mine alone
Abstinence versus Control
Some may remember that I stopped drinking coffee on June 9th this year. I stopped drinking booze a good while before that, and in the fairly recent past I spent several years being completely celibate ~ (in retrospect I could not recomend that lifestyle choice to anyone outside of a nun or priest).
The point is I find it fairly easy to practice total abstinence from pleasurable activities.
On the other hand I find it very difficult to exercise self-control when it comes to reducing and limiting my consumption of pleasurable substances and experiences. At the same time I gave up coffee I also planned to give up eating wheat products, (bread, cake, cookies, biscuits), and reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and watching trashy shows on television I was ‘enjoying’.
Regrettably, I have to report total failure on the sugar front, limited success on the salt issue, some success when it comes to watching TV, and almost complete success when it comes to not buying bread ~(the bread thing is a ‘cheat’ because I am now practicing abstinence from baked stuffs).
You know what? It’s not just poor me who suffers from this dichotomy of abstinence versus controlled consumption. On my very rocky road through Life have seen the same thing so many times in others; alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, abusers of prescription drugs, exhibitionists, pornography addicts, women who profess to like casual sex….
In the various recovery programmes from various forms of addiction there is a much greater emphasis placed upon abstinence as opposed to controlled consumption. Every 12 step recovery programme I know of, (Alcoholics Anonymous, N.A., C.A. & etc.), focuses on total abstinence. Why is that? Because it works and controlled consumption mostly doesn’t.
If you are trying to lose weight, cut down your alcohol consumption, cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke, then it’s worth remembering that abstinence works and controlled consumption mostly doesn’t.
Now for the good news. You don’t think a genius such as I would be prepared to just leave you with that Catch-22. You can do what I’m doing with my weight loss / dieting programme. I am giving up eating, being abstinent from food, because that’s much easier than eating less. OK, I’m not crazy ~ not completely anyhow.
There are some perfectly respectable weight loss regime based on short periods of fasting. This intermittent fasting can be from 12 hours to 36, or even 3 days, from a couple of times a week to once a month. So, the hard science says that giving up booze 2 days a week is much easier than drinking less every day, and not smoking at all while at work is easier than only having two or three cigarettes.
Trust me, I know all about this. But don’t trust me completely, abstinence is a very rocky road, get advice from your doctor before you try any of this stuff.
Personally, I’m fasting for 20 some hours twice a week, and I’ll let you know if I can stay on track.