Our culture increasingly has become even more digitized with technology. Our mobile phones have actually now become small portable computers. These tiny devices can quickly locate great restaurants, indicate memorable places to visit, and play our latest hit songs. Not only that, this micro circuitry takes portraits with greater clarity, brilliance, and speed than any camera from years ago.
These cameras are just not in cellular phones. They have exponentially multiplied. Moreover, they are located everywhere. These small inexpensive devices are located on street lights, garages, hallways and elevators taking consistent video of how we behave, what we say, and how we appear.
Never before in history has there been such an availability of constant real-time play back
on what people are really doing. As a result of these changes, the world has become a more transparent and vulnerable place to live. Behaviors, actions, and utterances that were once thought to be more private have the possibility of becoming personalized public nuisances.
For the addict, this new world can become increasingly difficult. Those who have been connoisseurs of denial, rationalization, and minimization are no longer able to hide. In fact, they stick out like a sore thumb. Significant others are more likely to find glaring inconsistencies in alibis from loved ones when posts show up on social media about where one spent their time on Friday night. Also, the entire world can discover charges including DUI’s, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and other mischievous behaviors quickly on the internet.
Occupationally, one’s ability to hide locations of leisure can quickly be deciphered by looking at the location finder on a cellular phone. It is more difficult to deceive. It is more challenging to manipulate. In essence, the substance abuser’s ability to change the reality of stories just plain outright does not work. Although the substance abuser may not like this new reality, there are many opportunities that can be gleaned from our advancing technologized culture.
Because anonymity has markedly eroded, we are now challenged to become more genuine, authentic, and credible. We are forced to make sure that the heart, our head, and behaviors are synchronously aligned. We are pulled to become greater people, with higher values, who strive for more noble causes.
Some scientists suggest that genetic determinism is essentially the predictor of our future. They tend to lock us rather securely into our physical heritage through heredity. So when it comes to addiction, these scientists tell us that if we have one parent who is an alcoholic or drug addict, we have a fifty percent chance of inheriting the same disease. If both our parents are addicts, we have a ninety percent chance of becoming similarly addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.
Many who accept the premise of genetic determination often try to change or delay its impact when it comes to such obvious life threatening maladies such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and COPD. They exercise, lose weight, eat healthier and pay close attention to the advice and warnings they receive from their doctors and other health specialists. Few, however, who live in the danger zone of addiction, follow the same protocol.
In fact, too many people biologically targeted by addiction even know or understand the warning signs of alcoholism or drug abuse. Instead they live blithely in denial until they begin to teeter on the edge of disaster or are already in its clutches. Even then, through some illogical mental quirks like pride, shame, ignorance and fear,many still believe they can handle things on their own and refuse to reach out for help.
Alcoholism is a threefold disease. It affects one physically, mentally and spiritually. An alcoholic is constantly walking around with a drink on his mind. It’s called a mental obsession. Then once he or she picks up a drink, a physical compulsion takes over and they can’t stop. They become powerless over booze.
One drink is too many and a thousand aren’t enough. And as they slide deeper and deeper into addiction and become willing to do almost anything for another drink, they become spiritually bankrupt. While addiction can be a disastrous family inheritance, the miracle of recovery can overcome the power of our genes and give us the greatest gift anyone could possibly receive – sobriety – and it’s offered to anyone who truly wants it.
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Finding fulfilling work is an important part of one’s recovery. A successful career choice allows one to express passions and earn income. Working for one company for decades and then retiring with a pension, as past generations did, is history. Corporate loyalty is gone, replaced by a freelance marketplace in which everyone is always hustling for the next project or the next client. Today, when creating a career in any field, you want to find as many ways as you can to generate income.
It could be considered ‘taking care of yourself‘ by connecting with your passion in life and finding a way to monetize it, in order to be of service to yourself and others. You will want to shift your orientation to using your gifts as a contribution, so your self-marketing efforts are always about what others need. It’s likely that you will have many careers during your lifetime. members of the millennial generation can expect to have six or seven, so focus on getting to work, expressing your gifts, learning, and making friends. And be open to having a different vocation in a few years. Reinvention is the new normal. Always remember that everything you’ve done in the past will help make you better at what you’ll do next.
Set forth your goals and plan of action out of your head and into digital or written form. Start at the end — what’s your goal? Be as specific as possible, and use as few words as you can. Then note all the steps you need to take to get you where you want to go. Include a list of deliverables and a timeline. As you log your daily progress, pay attention to what resources you utilized, including networking and collaboration, and what obstacles you had to overcome.
You’ll begin to notice your behavior patterns, the things you do, or don’t do, that keep getting in the way of turning your dreams into tangible results. This might include things like overcommitting, procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed and then giving up. You probably can’t get rid of your bad habits, so learn to manage them. If you begin to recognize them when they appear, you can start to reduce their impact. If you tend to procrastinate when you have a project, instead of worrying about it and not doing anything for two weeks, maybe you can train yourself to only spend a couple of hours being worried and then get to work.
You were given unique talents. They are not to be wasted, they are to be nurtured and used to help others. Using critical thinking and journaling your progress will encourage you to avoid the frustration by replacing it with tangible results. These results include an ongoing sense of accomplishment, increased self-esteem and lifelong healthy habits. Finding work that is fulfilling and satisfying supports a positive identity in your recovery and confidence in the person you’ve become.
The past may have influenced where you are today, but where you want to be tomorrow is up to you. No matter when, how, or why you started using or abusing drugs, at one point it became a learned behavior. You may have learned about drugs in your own family. For some, a family member may have turned you on or used with you.
You may have tried to escape feelings or memories that brought you to a place you didn’t want to be and self-medicating became easier. Even with the innocence of having fun with friends, it still can become a bad habit that leads to addiction that could destroy your life. Most importantly, anyone can change bad habits; because anything learned can be unlearned.
While bad habits may be hard to break, good choices are not as difficult as we sometimes make them. Imagine a dog accidently trapped in the trunk of a car. No matter how short the trip was, the dog, if given a choice, would never want to go in a car again. There would be no denial it was a bad experience; one he would not want to relive again. Yet, even if you had a bad experience or a major consequence at any time during your use, why would you ever use again?
Regardless of the consequences, staying builds tolerance. The more you tolerate, the more you use, and the longer you stay. Denial keeps you trapped. You ignore the warning signs and problems that come with continuing to engage in drug use. Ultimately, it’s too late. Many describe this as their “rock bottom.” In order to change a behavior, you must first change your attitude toward it. You must acknowledge that you have the problem and how it has impacted your life
If your perception is you are not addicted, you will continue to use in spite of the problems your using causes. Your faulty thoughts, feelings and interpretations will keep you stuck in denial. Conversely, if you hit rock bottom and are not in denial, you’ll seek help. Changing your attitude will help you change your behavior and the quality of your life. Your attitude can ultimately lead you to addiction or recovery. When you are in denial, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and interpretations are distorted.
The longer you engage in self-defeating behaviors, the more you train your brain that your chemical use is a viable option in your life. In reality, if you are addicted, you are not choosing any options. The drug has control. You may be powerless over your chemical addiction, but you are not powerless over the choice to use or not to use. Your brain works like a computer. It stores memory and connects links together. When you continue to use, everything you do while using becomes connected and natural. Not using creates anxiety and overwhelming feelings. The brain looks for normalcy.
Chemical addiction is a disease. You may not have caused it, but you are responsible to find a way to treat it. Abstinence is the first step. You may be powerless over chemicals, but remember you are not powerless over making the choice to use or not to use. If you struggle with problems from your past, you do not have to let them have power over you in the present. Do not let anyone dictate the direction your life will move in the future. Stay sober and live a happier and healthier life.