I’m no way a Dr. Phil fan.
Dr Phil is okay, but I prefer the ratchedness of Maury Povitch and Jerry Springer. To balance this out, I tune into Judge Judy. It’s something about her botoxed yells that gives me glee.
When I think of what 2012 has in store for me, the ususal things come to mind:
· losing weight
· eating healthy
· more traveling
· fearless living
· more (read lucrative) blogging
· the beginning of a dream career
· of course this isn’t an inclusive list and will be incorporated in my pages list to keep track of my progress
However, while I’m working on me and the idea of Letting Go, I found this handy guide from Dr. Phil about addictions. A connoisseur of Hoarders and Intervention, I realize that addictions manifest themselves in ways that range from piles of cat poop to people drinking mouthwash or their latest high.
Dr Phil has this handy guide* to help identify and deal with addicting behavior.
1) Acknowledge the purpose.
My purpose was to win. For months I didn’t cook dinner, felt less than guilty when I sent the kids to school with leftover Chinese and laundry was done on an as need basis (as in I need clean underwear). I was addicted with the goal to win. I worked hard, played by the rules, eschewing the old me who would use your neck as a stepping stone to get where I wanted. The past me would have found the most thugged out folks and like Evita Peron, created a New Upper Darby. But I didn’t’t. I knew that dishonesty only gets one so far and deceit always has a way of sneaking up and catching you unaware. I came in second. People tell me I made a respectable second, but second don’t make the history books. No one wants to be Robin; they always want to be Batman. I’ve only found glory in second place during times at The Turf Club and that’s where you have the option to Win, Place, or Show. There are no interviews of the quarterback on the losing team on Super Bowl Sunday.
Image courtesy of http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/Charlies-Angels.jpg
I remember when we were kids and reenacted Charlie’s Angels. My friends and I would fight over who would be Kelly Garrett or Jill Munroe. No one wanted to be Sabrina Duncan and Bosley was relegated to the kid with intense medical problems that we were forced to play hang out with. Kids having a choice of an ABC character are nothing compared to the kick in life of the land of second place. I had become addicted to success. My anger and hostility about what should have been a sure win should have me worked up for the next opportunity, but I can’t see past the failure of losing to think about my next move.
2) Think rational thoughts instead of denial.
Dr Phil says “You understand at a conscious level, at an intellectual level that your addiction is unhealthy, yet you continue and this perplexes you”. He further explains “If you’re in denial about it, if you’re minimizing it, if you’re trivializing it, if you’re conning yourself about it, then you’ll never get where you need to be.” If you can’t get through the day without a shot, you may be medicating yourself for anxiety, depression or pain. You may need to count on others to help you think rationally.” Alcohol and drugs aren’t my choice of numbing, but being mad and resentful has shielded me from love and care others have tried to give me. Like a petulant child, I have deleted half of the contacts from my phone, because I don’t want to hear what the other people have to say. As I explored in Part 3, it’s okay to FEEL the feelings. But once I let them consume me, and become ME rather than something I feel, I’m doomed.
3) Use alternative coping skills.
Dr. Phil says: People don’t break bad habits; they replace them with new ones. Recognize that you get a reward from your current state. Practicing yoga twice a day has helped me to calm and center myself, taking brisk walks in the nearby woods offers a time or me to cry, bawl, and think about alternatives to the latest line of thinking. When I cram my ear buds in and blast Amy Winehouse, I feel that fire that used to propel me to one of the top sellers at Bend Over America. These steps do help with coping, but what happens when my phone is not near, or the cats and kids use my yoga props for sleeping or weapons? These are temporary fixes. They do help. When I’m not in Upper Darby and perhaps with the kids doing an activity they chose, or if I’m running and feeling my lungs scream, I’m out of my head long enough. Then reality crashes back. I have to return to a place where I feel rejected, where I resent those who didn’t choose me but still require my help, where I shifted myself so much that I don’t know who I am any longer. And cramming my ear buds in as I do everyday business helps me to take the focus off of my bitterness. Inside, I’m still mad at God, at the people who didn’t choose me, at the naivety that despite doing my best, I still lost. I still have to dig to the root of my issue and really understand what and why I am super pissed and stuck. Dr. Phil explains, “It calms you. It takes your anxiety away. It lifts your spirits. It numbs you to the pain of your life. If I take that away from you and then don’t put anything in its place, then you’re just there stripped of your coping mechanisms and you’re going to go back to what you were doing before.” Some alternative techniques to consider replacing your addiction are breathing exercises or relaxation techniques. I’m also a bug advocate of Mindfulness which I’ll explore in another post. I have found the sounds of ocean waves and listening to music helps me tremendously. Amy Winehouse of course helps when I’m ready to kick ass. Cassandra Wilson is good for deeper introspections, and Jill Scott keeps me empowered. Quieting myself through music, meditation, and sensory deprivation really helps me get through the times where I feel like I want to strangle someone, I reduce my stress levels and the idea o kissing one with my fist doesn’t pop up quite as often.
4) Identify your danger zones.
A danger zone can be a particular time of day or your reaction to a particular circumstance. When I see the people who hurt me, I see red and like Bobby Boucher in The Waterboy:
I’m ready to pop off. But I’m almost forty and popping of is something I’ll save for reality stars and teenagers. For now, to keep my cool I’ll have to limit the time that would bring the people I dislike out of my life. Counting to ten and practice hatha breathing along with using a rubber band on my wrist to bring me back to reality will help. I have to avoid things and people that tick. For now, I have to take There are times when my I’m going to pop off when I see that you’re more prone to indulge in your habit than others. For now I have to avoid the places where I’ll see the ones who piss me off. Recognizing what those times are, and doing something that is incompatible with the addiction I’m trying to break is key to my success. For example, if you have the urge to snap at the people who anger me, count to tem, walk away, and get myself away from the situation. Dr. Phil says, “You don’t have to be strong and powerful all day long every day. You just need to recognize your danger zones, and do something incompatible with your addiction.
5) Make lifestyle changes.
“It’s not willpower, it’s programming,” Dr. Phil says. You have to set your life up for success if you’re going to break your addiction. If you’re trying to stop being angry, try simple things like positive affirmations. One person I really didn’t like I would just stare at her and think “I have love for her, she is love. If this didn’t work, I politely removed myself from her presence until I was able to rationally think and act. For extreme cases, I make sure I have no access to the thing or person causing me pain. In 2012 I have decided to let bull sh*t become a thing o the past.
6) Be accountable and have a support system.
Being accountable to someone means that that person will not only support you, but will give you the kick in the rear that you need when it gets tough and tell you the truth when you’re kidding yourself. Get your family and friends involved in your efforts to kick the habit. My problems with holding on to grudges are that it’s easy to keep the pain going by dredging up old hurts and the unfairness of it all. At some point, I have to hold me head up, and remember the good I did and the accomplishments I managed in a short time. I also have to remember that I made my title, not the other way around. Yes, doors opened because of my title and position, but *I* made the title my own, and *I* opened those doors. I commanded attention when I walked in a room, and I was able to make things happen. The people around me sees this, but my pain and grief are too deep for me to recognize this power I have. No more pity parties. A new year begins shortly and like millions of others, so will a new me. I plan to find a community that supports me during this time and embrace my decision to be healthier.
7) Reward yourself.
Overcoming an addiction to drama can be very difficult, but it can be done. When you see yourself making progress, even baby steps, you have to motivate yourself to keep going. Give myself credit. Reward every step I make, starting with admitting that I indeed have a problem and have finally asked for help.
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