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5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

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5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

Although most people have to hit rock bottom in order to recognise that they are totally dependent on a substance to function, there are other easier routes to recognise addiction and substance abuse. These routes require serious self-assessment such as honestly acknowledging the fact that a certain substance helps you combat boredom, be more confident or function properly from day-to-day and without that substance, your anxieties, fears and loneliness come rushing.

Once you recognise – through self-awareness or hitting rock bottom – that you have an addiction problem, the next step is combating this scourge with the techniques outlined below.

1. Choosing the Cold Turkey Route

Going ‘cold turkey’ is the method of combating addiction by sequestering oneself from anything or the triggers that get you to seek calm through a substance. This technique involves considerable effort on your part such as moving to another town or a cabin in the woods where you have no acquaintances or dealers on hand to feed your addiction.

From personal experience, anyone addicted to hard drugs will find the cold turkey route to be highly effective but difficult. The difficulties stem from withdrawal symptoms – stooling, anxiety, agitation, paranoia and fear – which last for approximately 2 weeks. After the first 14 days, these symptoms subside and you can now proceed to functioning as a new being.

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2. Long-term Rehabilitation Works

Unlike what you see in the movies, the probability of a 21 day stay at a rehab centre keeping an individual of drugs is rather low due to the fact that addiction totally hijacks the brain. This is not to say that rehabilitation centres and the therapy that comes with them do not work but an extended stay in a long-term rehab facility is your best bet of tackling serious addiction problems.

During extended stays, you will be taken through the 12 steps program and also be provided with complimentary activities needed to wean the brain of the harmful endorphins substance abuse trigger.

3. Beat Addiction and Anxiety with Animal Therapy

Substance abuse and the addiction that comes with it creates an emotional void and physiology issues that lead to one becoming overtly attuned to only their needs. Animal therapy helps combat this physiological problems by giving you something else to think about aside oneself which is caring for or bonding with your favourite animal or pet.

Equine therapy has been highlighted as a viable option of curing addiction alongside other traditional means. And it involves close contact with horses were the patient acts as its primary care taker.

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4. Visualize your Triggers through Virtual Reality Therapy

For those who find comfort interacting with tech devices, the use of virtual reality headsets have proven to be an effective method of combating addiction. It is important to note that this method does not consist of replacing one addiction with another but involves working with a counsellor who employs the use of virtual drugs via VR headsets, to trigger a patients need for the release drugs/alcohol provides.

Once that need is triggered, the counsellor or therapist gets a front row seat in observing how one reacts to his or her triggers and this gives the therapist real-time information to help you combat your addictions.

    5. Align yourself through Yoga

    Substance abuse leads to out-dated or skewed behavioural patterns due to ones reliance on external factors to feel both physical and psychologically complete. To combat this reliance, it is important to work on reconnecting with your old self – the periods you functioned normally without a crutch – and this can be achieved through Yoga.

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    Yoga combines three factors: breathe work, physical posturing and meditation with the goal of aligning your mind, body and spirit together in peace. This alignment helps realign the entire being to its default setting thereby helping addicts re-develop healthy behavioral patterns.

    It is important to note that every sufferer of addiction reacts to treatment in different ways. Therefore, going the extra mile to fight your addiction by combining two or more of these techniques is recommended to permanently kick any addiction. Also do not forget that a relapse isn’t the end of the world and with a solid support system built around you, you will ultimately end up beating your addictions.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    Image Credits:

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    Virtual Reality

    Featured photo credit: Aral Tasher via stocksnap.io

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    Published on November 23, 2020

    How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

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    How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

    Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

    Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

    Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

    Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

    Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

    Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

    Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

    In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

    Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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    After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

    What can we learn from this historical lesson?

    1. Focus on the Consequences

    Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

    So was Moscow not an important target after all?

    Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

    When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

    • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
    • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
    • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

    The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

    This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

    2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

    Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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    Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

    If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

    Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

    This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

    Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

    • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
    • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
    • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
    • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

    Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

    3. Ask for Advice

    Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

    Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

    A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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    Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

    4. Beware of Biased Advice

    Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

    For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

    • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
    • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
    • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
    • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
    • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

    However, most purchases are unnecessary.

    Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

    Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

    After all,

    • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
    • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
    • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
    • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
    • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

    There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

    Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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    Bottom Line

    It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

    You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

    Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

    Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

    Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

    Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

    Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

    More Tips on Thinking Clearly

    Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
    [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
    [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
    [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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