Tag Archives: habits

Dealing with an addicted mind

We have been equipped in the great and very powerful, yet fragile tool. Our mind. In ideal world we would be able to fully control it, same got control of whole our life. However, there’s no such a thing as ideal world. It always amazed me, that people can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. That, despite their uniqueness and intelligence, they can lose to a simple substance – a chemical compound, a cluster of elements. Maybe it’s because we are just cluster of atoms too?

Despite the fact that modern psychology and medicine explain more and more mechanisms of bad habits, addictions are still stigmatized. I think it’s because many people still doesn’t quite understand it. The addiction mechanism itself is rather simple. What is more complicated lies in the mind that creates these mechanisms. Many studies indicate that addiction to alcohol, drugs or medicines are a certain, ineffective form of self-healing.

We all have this idea of ​​what addiction is. It’s medical problem. The diagnosis includes a bunch of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena. However, it’s vital to distinguish a habit from addiction. There is a subtle difference between repetitive activity and impaired ability to control it.

So how to recognize the addiction mechanism?

Basically, we become addicted to something that we think helps us cope. The thing we reach for, stimulates our brain in such a way that we feel rewarded. Or relieved. Addiction develops in the context of human personality. You can be susceptible or not, as you would with self-destructive behavior. Because it comes down to it in a broader spectrum. And although the mechanism is the same for every human being, each addiction is different. Below you can see coping cycles of affected and healthy mind:

by Sarah Smock Jordan

If you often seeking relief and running away from yourself into artificial states of mind, you might be in this dangerous spot where the roller-coaster ride starts. Why do I say this? Because this is how it looks from my own perspective.

Am I really an addict?

When I was 20 years old I ended up on rehab. After being locked for few weeks in institution I followed few years of group and individual therapy. What a fun, I’m telling you! While joining university (and you know how students life looks like) and starting over again, I wasn’t even able to socialize, cause most of human interactions are based on things I had to avoid to stay sober. Casual beer, parties, gigs, pubs and restaurants meetings. You know, all that things young adults like to do. I missed all of that in my first years of college. Instead, I spent lots of time with a bunch of ageing guys from AA group. Oh, and got emotionally involved with my therapist. Firmly I do not advise!

You can ask how did I manage to withstand it at a young age? Well, I really tasted it before, and I had it all too much. You know this slogan sex, drugs & rock’n roll? What can I say – I can’t describe teenager me better than that! Following years manifested themselves in depression and neurosis, and eventually a return to bad habits. What I can be proud of, I’ve never back to hard drugs. But there still was irresistible inclination towards that bottle full of happy percentage, not mention overusing holy herbs. It’s long and painful story. Anyways, it happened that I solved this problem in a way, that it no longer bothers me. Not so much. Amazing that I began to develop a healthy awareness of myself and these issues in my thirties. As they say – better late, than never! So, am I sober now?

No. For sure not in a way my therapist wanted me to be. But I’m not drunk or under influence of shitty stuff anymore. And here starts the tricky part. Before I write more, I would like to tell you, that I am not an advocate of ‘not staying away’ from stimulating substances. What I’m trying to say is that in some cases rigid separation from everything can be toxic.

 I remember that obstinate thought I had once looking at people having fun - I want to have fun too. Like a normal person, not an addict. I don't wanna be careful with every thing around me, I don't wanna live in constant fear of triggers that might appear everywhere on my way.I like to try treat everything normal, not as a potential threat to my sobriety.

Not a therapeutic thinking at all. But you know what? I can tell you that for few years of total sobriety I wasn’t happier person at all. Withdrawal from any substance will not help much if you still have a mess in your head. My therapist used to call it “ass cramp” – when your body is sober, but your mind still high in drunken promised paradise.

All addicts needs revolution in the brain and some dabbling in mental guts.

Use of psychoactive substances is transformed into addiction, which further aggravates all previous problems. Without proper changes in your mind, nothing will come out of being sober. Those changes must touch every aspect of your wounded soul. I can tell you it’s not easy journey. And in my case very long.

Did you know that getting drunk or drug use is a self-destructive behavior that is associated with a deep personality disorder?

Overcoming problems with addictions it’s a matter of achieving right perspective. Pint of beer won’t harm you if you know how to approach drinking. Having awareness that you are looking for intoxication is the first step to understand the problem. If you realize that you are drinking to kill something inside you, better put the bottle down. Allow yourself to it only if you are sure that there is no hidden intention.

This applies to all other addictions, because not all of them result from the abuse of psychoactive substances. The same mechanisms apply to addiction to gambling or sex. In addition, different types of addiction can be identified. According to American biostatic and physiologist Elvin Molton Jellinek, who referred to alcohol addiction, there are five types:

  • Alfa – when the substance is used to relax, reduce stress and it leads to loosing control over drinking/using.
  • Beta – addiction combined with physical complications
  • Gamma – most common, is distinguished by a gradual increase in alcohol tolerance. An addicted person loses control over the amount of alcohol consumed, but drinks intermittently, maintains the ability to decide when to start drinking after a break.
  • Delta – can control the amount of alcohol consumed, but is unable to refrain from drinking.
  • Epsilon – periodic getting drunk, in ‘series’.

We can also identify four stages of addiction development: initial, warning, critical and chronic. As you can see all habits and addictions are complex issue. If there is anything that worries you about this topic, I suggest you take a closer look.

Bottle of wine is not a plaster for a broken soul.

addiction is not only alcohol and drugs, it is also medicine, sugar, sex, gambling, food, masturbation, games, pornography, falling in love …

This is probably the most important thing – intoxication will not help you heal yourself of sadness, lack or emptiness. What’s more, it can increase their intensity. Substance abuse is like self-propelled destruction machine. Addicted mind is confused and fragile, it gets easily lost in the complexities of reality. I can certainly say that in my case it contributed to the deepening of nervous problems. Although it’s ok now, I know these problems will come back. Because this is life – take the bitter with the sweet. Relapses may appear unexpectedly. There was a time, bad time, when I was treated medically, but I gave up medication. I currently believe that a holistic approach can be equally effective. Of course, this depends on the specific cases.

To start dealing with any addiction we need to understand what wounds we want to cover with it. We need to look deep inside ourselves, even if we think this is really dark and cold place. We can’t close eyes to avoid seeing those scary shadows we are afraid of. We need to meet our demons – fears, disappointments, failure, rejection, guilt, emptiness. And we need to accept that they are there, inside. Otherwise will be impossible to fight them and transform. I know it might sounds naive, but once we deal with all unpleasant emotions, we will be able to move to the level where we can reveal in ourselves understanding, forgiveness, fulfillment, love. This is how healing starts.

What about renovate our lives?

Have you ever experienced a meltdown because you compared your life with someone other’s life? When I was 27 I watched American Psycho – if you never seen it I will just mention that main character is wealthy New York investment banker (and psychopathic murderer. Whatever.) And he’s 27. Just like me watching the movie. The difference between me and him was not only that I wasn’t successful (and I wasn’t psychopathic murderer!) At age of 27 I felt like my life is over and it wasn’t only about regretting my choices which lead me to where I was (for clarification: in deep shit). I had no idea what to do and I felt like it’s too late for everything. I felt so silly for envy a movie character its amazing career. I was like babe in the woods.

How is it possible that my dreams was not yet fulfilled?

For many one chosen path is one for life. We are learning that we have to decide about our life while we are very young. When I was 19 year old with head full of poetry and pot smog I really wanted to study philosophy. But I didn’t because I was told that I have to chose something closer to real life. To be clear me the closest thing to life was intoxicating myself with any possible thing while immersing in mysticism of the world. But mostly intoxicating. I had no idea what things are close to “real life”. Finally I end up as a literature student, then I done my master in journalism and PR. I don’t think that would be my choice now. Honestly, my interest in journalism faded after internship in local newspaper and when I moved to other country my language abilities did not even let me think about working in industry. So I ended up in some random jobs most of whom I was ashamed of. And I stayed there. For years.

Sometimes change is the hardest thing to do

Personally, I think that most of choices we make as a very young people do not harmonize with what we become during life.

Why not make new decisions and choices now?

Many times during life we change or renovate apartments, improving a garden landscape, we renew the wardrobe ect.

Why don’t renovate our lives?

The truth is that our inability to change is dictated by social norms. When we look at our parents generations we can clearly see this particular pattern of life: school-optional college-job-family-stabilization. But…it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel that you are in the wrong place I tell you something: it is never too late to change it.

Think about this: studies shows that to master any skill (any, from playing an instrument to master a knowledge of some extend or graduate university) we need approximately 5 years. So even if you not belong to the youngest part of population you are still able to pick up totally new thing and master it! Or two things, or three…Don’t worry that they all require time. Time will pass anyway.

If you doubt in possibility that you can redirect your life path in direction of your choice just look around and see inspirations in those who made it. And there are plenty of them. We all know names like Vera Wang (she entered into fashion industry when she was 40), Samuel L.Jackson ( he was 46 when he got first serious role), J.K. Rowling (she was 36 when Harry Potter was published after being rejected twelve times by different publishers), Raymond Chandler (he was 44 when his first novel came out), or Grandma Moses who began her prolific painting career at age 78!

So how can you say you’re too old to sign up for a course you always wanted, enroll university, open pancake shop or learn new language? How can you say it’s too late to begin drawing, singing, playing piano, baking, dive, embroider, making dumplings, become yoga master?

You still have so many years ahead of you, fill them with something meaningful, that when you look back you’ll feel proud and content. And start now, nothing will happen by itself! Always wanted be an artist? So grab that fucking pencil and start sketching anything, you will be surprise how good you can become if you keep doing it for next weeks and months.

Think where you want to see yourself in few years. If it’s totally different place from the one you’re in now, decide to change. It can be done. Little steps are fine. Someday you’ll get there, just don’t stop. Meanwhile enjoy the beautiful trip which is life!

The best is yet to come!





Slow down!

When I started my journey to a better life I really throwed myself out there. I decided to leave my comfort zone and step by step reach for what is the best in life for me. I felt like I have to quickly make up for all those years I spent living below my potential. I had an urge to compensate all shity jobs, all unused ideas, wasted talents and wasted time. And I wanted to do it RIGHT NOW, with the feeling like the world is ending.


 As I always been creative person with a thousands ideas popping into my head every minute, I started doing a lot. I changed a job, I learned some new skills and opened my own small buisness, I started seriously work on my first book and I still felt like this is not enough. I started to practice drawing and learn portugeese, I begin to write two different blogs. I was doing gym three times a week and also I’ve tried to learn yoga. And there was more things to do on my long as devil’s tail TO DO LIST. One day after working whole two weeks day and night for my full time job and for the events related to my buisness, I back home, sat down and almost cried in relief that finally after so long time I’m going to have a day off. But in fact it wasn’t to be a real day off, in fact I had a long list of things I planned to do already prepared. What did I do?


I spend all day reading absorbing book and late afternoon I sacrifice myself to bottle of wine and Netflix. That was the best day ever.


Don’t get me wrong – having things done and ‘to do lists’ are great.Goals are great, and development is great. But sometimes when we are starting our experience with selfdevelopment, we sink into an immeasurable amount of things that come to our minds. Very often while we are trying to squize the best of our lifes, we are forgetting about the most fundamental thing. We all need rest. We all need relax. We all need to take it easy sometimes. We are here to enjoy ourselfs, life is not a copmetition for who will do more.



We all need that fucking bottle of wine and free evening from time to time!


While you might thinking that you cannot spare any of your precious time to be wasted, the truth is we can’t afford not to relax. Repeating after Russel the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.


Let’s treat doing ‘nothing’ as a recharging our batteries, as a way to change our personal mode. Proper rest leads to so many benefits, that is hardly to believe, that so many people still underestimate the art of rest. And anyone can do it on it’s own way. Without feeling of guilt that we squander something.


When you rest-deprived you’re not able to reach your full potential. When your body and mind are overwhelmed your health suffering. Whole machanism of your human shell doesn’t work as it supposed to.

 So, if you want to be someone who easily achieves goals and fulfills his duties, has a fresh and creative mind and feels full, learn to rest. If you seriously think about selfdevelopment it is a MUST for you.


When you slow down you achieving totally new perspective.

Study shows taht rest sharpens your creative abilities, when you rested your brain cells communicate effectively and also your relationships become more harmonious.

There are spiritual benefits too – by deeply resting your mind you can discover your inner windsom. This is why we can distinguish physical rest, mental rest, and spiritual rest. 


So next time when you feel that you are totally wiped out don’t force yourself to finish all the tasks. Take a nap, some things can be done tomorrow.