It’s around 6:00 am on a Friday morning and I’m sitting in my cozy bed with my delicious coffee, laptop, a cat, two snoring little boys, two dogs, and Good Morning Sacramento. I have a list of to do’s but it’s all good stuff. This is a good life. My life was not always this way. Some 8 years ago I was alone with not even a goldfish to greet me in the morning. I was depressed and lonely. I had some habits that were keeping me in a holding pattern. Bad habits or addictions, whichever you prefer to call them.
Bad habits or addictions of any kind are destructive to a good and wholesome life. Simple as that. You can’t use drugs, over eat all the time, be a chronic stoner, drink heavily all the time and have a great life filled with normal friends, close family, your money in good order, success at work, and inner peace and joy. A good life and addiction are polarized opposites. They can not co exist in the same realm. Not for long.
Some people get fooled because they have addictions and life works out. For awhile. But sooner or later the negative and polluting effects of the drugs and drinking catch up. It’s all metaphysical really. Call it karma or Law of Attraction. What you put out comes back. What you sow you reap. What you fill your mind with is what you create in your reality. So, if you are putting yourself in a fog and distorting your thinking with vices then your life will reflect that sooner or later.
I have overcome a few addictions…or really deep rooted habits, that’s how I like to label them. There are addictions that are in our blood and there are habits that we formed out of wanting to escape or survive and we have done them so long that we just can’t find our way out. Either one takes a lot of power of the mind and the creation of a whole new life to get to the other side. Not everyone travels this long and, sometimes, dark and lonely road all the way over to the other country. The land of milk and honey. It’s too bad because if you get to the other side it is so well worth it.
For me to say I know how others should do this is rediculous and vain. Just because I crossed the wild river doesn’t mean that I can build a boat for others to cross over. What I can do is show you how I did it and if it speaks to your soul then try it.
First, I got to the point of being so tired of my life as it was. I struggled with it for years and years before I woke up one day and said, “I’m done.” It sounds simple but it took years of beating my head against the wall and the feeling was deep in my very bone marrow when it finally arrived. I had exhausted every avenue, I’d tried every way, easy and hard, to change my life. I finally surrendered and went to a place where others seemed to know what to do to succeed. I did join AA for over a year. I immersed myself. I needed so much help in the beginning. I had to relearn life in a clear, present, and healthy manner.
But it was also a mind set. It is a way of being, thinking, and acting that I use anytime I want to over power a habit or way of being that is not conducive to living fully and richly. I learned tools in AA that I use for all parts of my life to this day.
For example, recently I wanted to change our eating habits to Paleo. I wanted to succeed at this but I LOVE sweets. Cake and coffee are my last vices. I love to use the excuse that I don’t smoke or drink anymore so cake is my last drug. I have justified many a Boston Cream pie with this slogan. But I’m tired of being overweight and I see the effects of too much sugar on my health. I also don’t want my boys to get too into the sweets and have poor health.
So, I struggled with it, tried easier ways, tried finding tricks around doing it fully. This is a pattern for most of us. We know we have to change and then we set about doing it. It gets hard, we miss our habits and then we start negotiating or trying to intellectualize the situation.
Negotiations just mean you are buying more time to be stuck. Intellectualizing, well, you can’t intellectualize your way into sobriety or healthy habits. You can think and do therapy until the dawning of the next civilization and it won’t get you sober.
Just do it! Such a perfect slogan by Nike or whomever. When it comes to breaking old habits you have to just wake up one day and say, “Enough!” with conviction and then set out to build a new life and new habits with all the fever of a man being chased by a bear. You have to have a new mind to make a new life! You have to tell yourself that there are no alternatives, no way back once you start forward. When the going gets rough and you want to go back you tell yourself, “You have no options to go back. You have no choice anymore.” Then you find an alternative that is healthy and positive.
For example; I replaced constant pot smoking and weekend drinking with walking and studying. I researched everything and I walked miles everyday. I also wound up with a little homeless mutt and that helped with getting me out and about. I replaced smoking cigarettes with eating, unfortunately, then movies and reading. I replaced sitting on my bum being stoned or drunk with writing books, getting involved with the theater, going to a Center for Spiritual Living and taking classes, going to AA and getting fully involved. I have a whole new life today, 7 or 8 years later. Now I’m married with children and two rescue mutts, and a cat that came out of an orchard. Today I’m full, happy, healthy, and sane.
Now I’m working on my health and fitness. I love exercising but I struggle with comfort foods and sweets. I now find alternatives at the health food store and am pretty hardcore about no carbs, except fruits and veggies. I tell myself that this is what I have committed to for at least 3 months. There is no opting out. It is a power mindset. When 3 months come and go we just add another few months on and try for a year.
- When you give up a habit you MUST replace it with something else or you have an empty space and that will get you into trouble.
- Finding support is essential for surviving the hard times.
- Finding friends or making friends that are doing the same thing you are doing will keep you motivated.
- Research and learning about the issue helps to understand yourself and move forward with more conviction.
- Creating a new life; such as new hang outs besides the pub, joining a jogging group instead of eating out with friends if over indulgence is the issue. Finding frugal blogs and books and others that are living simple lives if debt is the issue.