Positive Lifestyle Choices - Overcoming Addictions and Other Harmful Habits
As I was contemplating and dreading writing these notes about addiction, I was struck with how many addictions I really have. And I'm not talking alcohol, tobacco, drugs or porn. I'm talking about other things--the stereotypes I cling to, how I use my spare time, my old, worn, and oh-so-comfortable excuses, sugar(!), and so many others, I'm sure. The thing is, I haven't been that desirous about changing some of these. They and I have just gotten too comfortable over time. I've learned to live with them and nothing extremely terrible has happened because of them (at least not that I'm willing to admit)!
And that's the thing--why change if the changing is harder to face than the potential bad result of the thing I'm addicted to? I mean, hey, change is HARD! I'm always going through change anyway, whether I like it or not! So why not keep a few things the same (even if they aren't the greatest for me?) Do you see the problem in this thinking? I do, but it's still hard.
So Here are the 5 stages of Change:
1. Pre-contemplation - This is the stage that you are in if you haven't even begun to think about something in terms of wanting or needing to change it.
2. Contemplation - When you start to think about a bad habit or addiction and maybe weighing the pros and cons of changing it, you are in the contemplation stage. Try thinking about something that you would be better off if you changed it. Now rate this thing in seriousness on a scale of 1 - 10. If it's only a 5, chances are you are not adequately motivated to actually make a change. What would it take for this thing to become a 10? Maybe you need to do more contemplating and actually figure out some motivating reasons to change or maybe drop the idea of changing this specific thing and move on to something else and not think about it so much. When you have moved the seriousness of the thing up to a 9 or 10, you are sufficiently motivated to start the change.
3. Preparation - After you are sufficiently motivated, you need to make a plan and prepare for the change. Plan for setbacks, opposition, criticism, and disappointment along the way. Make plans for all possible scenarios but also plan to ultimately succeed and visualize yourself succeeding in your goal.
4. Action - After you have done the preparation, it's time to implement the preparation and take action.
5. Maintenance - Part of change is the long-term maintenance of that change. Plan to keep up the implemented change by taking inventory as needed and put in the work to keep the change permanent.
In terms of Depression, the Addiction Hit includes addictive use of alchohol, marijuana, narcotics, cigarettes, caffeine and yes, pornography. Incidentally KSL just ran a major story that Utah is the #1 state for use of online pornograhy. Also, there was a particular emphasis on marijuana as being particularly bad for depression because it significantly slows down frontal lobe activity, which is the major brain center for feelings and moods.
What constitutes something being labeled an addiction? Here are some common characteristics of a true addiction (labeled here as "the thing"):
1. There is a high rate of dependance on the thing.
2. There is a compulsion to use/do the thing continuously.
3. There is an need for an increased amount of the thing over time.
4. When making an attempt to stop the thing, there is a high relapse rate.
5. The thing is harmful to yourself, immediate and work relationships and even to people you may not know, thus making it harmful to society.
In dealing with addiction, it is better to make a clean break and go for total abstinance. If you say, I'll just do it, say, once a month, chances are that you will have an increased sense of deprivation and will relapse. (Hey, I'm just the messenger here, OK?) Also, if you give up things simultaneously, it will actually be easier. For instance if you give up caffeine and tobacco together, the relapse rate is lower if you quit the 2 things at the same time.
10 ways to Quit Addiction:
1. Choose not to do the thing
2. No hidden cheats (No pepsi in the vegetable crisper, no cigs hiding in the drawer, no cookies in the laundry hamper, etc.)
3. Practice deep-breathing (See Depression Seminar Session 2). It will help you calm yourself and focus your thoughts.
4. Get daily exercise.
5. Get more sleep. The work of quitting something that is an addiction is hard work. You need the extra sleep so that you have the energy to do the thing that you've set out to accomplish.
6. Get plenty of hydration. 8 - 10 glasses of water is optimal.
7. Bathe often. This is especially true when you are shedding toxins from your body. It comes out through your skin.
8. Avoid risky situations--For example, if you know that you will be at a party that is serving something that you are tempted with, avoid going.
9. Acknowledge that the thing is destructive and choose to overcome it.
10. Rely on Spiritual resources. No one has overcome addiction without the Spirit of God.
There was actually a lot more material about addiction and help in this area and I'm so glad I was present. I think I will actually find the capacity within myself to abandon some of the things that have been chaining me down! Hooray! Yay! Onward and upward!
Oh, I almost forgot. My contemplation about the need to cut out sugar includes these compelling reasons I found in another essay about sugar addiction. Does this motivate me enough to put my need to quit at a 10 yet? I'm still contemplating!
Sugar can suppress the immune system. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.
Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.
Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.
Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).
Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).
Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
Sugar can cause kidney damage.
Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.
Sugar can cause copper deficiency.
Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.
Sugar can promote tooth decay.
Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.
Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.
Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
Sugar can increase total cholesterol.
Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.
Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.
Sugar causes food allergies.
Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.
Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.
Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.
Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.
Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
Sugar can cause depression.
Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Positive Lifestyle Choices - Overcoming Addictions and Other Harmful Habits