Monday, May 20, 2019

"The Feeling"

“The Feeling”

Fortunately, some people who will read this will not understand what “the feeling” is, which is actually a very good thing, because “the feeling” is a not such a good thing. Others, sadly, who have felt “the feeling” will know exactly what their personal version of “the feeling” is once they hear more about it. So, you are better off if you don’t know what “the feeling” is. But if you do know, maybe this can help?

What is “The Feeling”?

“The feeling” is a different experience for everyone. “The feeling” actually is not just one feeling, but it is a conglomerate of many different troubling feelings and other unsettling thoughts that can blend together ominously to surround a person like a dark cloud rolling in over a sunny day. “The feeling” can be any unique combination of negative emotions and thoughts including (but not limited too) – Examples below

Anger – Fear – Discouragement – Disappointment – Self Doubt – Insecurity – Self Loathing – Worry – Dread – Sadness – Regret – Confusion- Discomfort – Doom – Tension – Burden – Suspicion – Uneasiness – Indecision – Overwhelmed and Unappreciated

As stated earlier each person’s unique experience with “the feeling” includes a very personal array of a portion of the above feelings in any given combination, often depending upon the timing and what is going on in life at any given time. “The feeling” is both mysteriously dark but strangely intimate for each person who feels it.

“The feeling” can appear at any time. You can be watching a movie and all of a sudden, “the feeling” comes over you. You can be driving your car, or walking down the block, at work, or out on a date or even sitting around laughing with friends, when out of nowhere, “the feeling” can enter your stream of consciousness. Something negative may happen and you may feel the feeling coming on slowly, yet at other times you may be feeling just fine and then: Boom! – “The feeling” creeped up on you and took over. “The feeling” can be like an evil monster that comes to visit your consciousness every now and then, sometimes when you expect it and other times completely unforeseen and unpredicted – but always unwelcomed.

“The Feeling” and Addiction

It is unlikely that anyone has ever scientifically studied “the feeling” (but they probably should). If scientists did research more into “the feeling” they likely would discover that many people who use or abuse drugs and alcohol do so to escape “the feeling” Just having a few hours or even a few minutes to be free of “the feeling” or to send it away for a time, could be a driving force to get high, to forget, to clear away “the feeling” from your brain for a little while so you can just be you and be okay for a time. If you have felt “the feeling” surely you can understand.

The problem is, however, that doing drugs isn’t a long term answer to rid yourself of “the feeling”. In fact the longer you do drugs in an effort to escape, the worse “the feeling” can become. It’s a lot like using a credit card to pay your bills. A credit card temporarily pays the bills but in the long run you only accrue more and more bills until you have so much debt that you have no credit left and there is so much to pay, that you run out of credit and then it will take years to pay it all back. It works the same when you get high to escape “the feeling”. Getting high works in the short run, but it takes more and more to get high to get rid of “the feeling” which then costs more money and takes up more time only causing more stress, fear, and dread, anxiety which only then makes “the feeling” come back even stronger and more often. People spend years trying to run from “the feeling” with drugs and alcohol but “the feeling” never truly goes away, it just waits for you when you are broke, tired, confused and overwhelmed again, which inevitably happens repeatedly when you are caught up in this vicious cycle.

Breaking Free from “The Feeling” Naturally

Sometimes when people first stop using substances, they may feel good for a while but then they may get stumbled if “the feeling” comes back in spite of a period of no longer using. That is why the process of getting better is more than just stopping using, but it is about positive change. Breaking free from substance use issues is an essential part of the puzzle but there is so much more important, challenging but extremely rewarding work to do. The change process is what finally makes “the feeling” go away. For some people, even when you are doing the right thing, “the feeling” may peek its ugly head back in to your brain every once in a while. But when you develop the tools and you have the right plan in place, you can learn to escape the feeling without having to run to a drink, a pipe, a needle or a line to get that quick fix to try to get away. When you finally take the time to listen and learn, and then practice and apply what you need to do, you can break free from “the feeling” and finally let the sun shine in your life through good times and in bad, through struggles and through triumphs. You can find lasting shelter from the black cloud that is “the feeling”

Questions for Discussion
1.    Can you identify with the idea of “the feeling”?
2.    What is “the feeling” like for you?
3.    How have you used/misused substances in an effort to cope?
4.    Have you found yourself in a negative cycle as described above?
5.    What has helped you?
6.    We all want to feel better- but for you personally, what is your hope?


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Counting the Cost of THC (This has nothing to do with marijuana)

Almost everything comes with a cost. There is some type of sacrifice needed for the vast majority of choices that we may make, both good and bad.

For example, consider some choices people make that are most often viewed as positive that carry a cost.
  • Although starting a family can be extremely rewarding when you have the resources, there are still sacrifices that must be made including time, money as well as possibly giving up on some other life goals that are easier for single people with no kids

  • Having a career can be rewarding but nowadays there is a sacrifice of time, effort, education, focus, and other life pursuits in order to advance in a career.

The same is true when it comes to substance use; there is also a cost to consider. If you are in a treatment program of some kind right now, it is extremely likely that you have already witnessed some of the potential and actual cost of substance use. This is especially true if some kind of negative outcome related to substance use lead you to being in this substance use program (Such as a legal, family or work problem related to substance use, for example)
In spite of whatever your personal situation is that brought you into treatment, everyone has a choice when it comes to how you choose to navigate a treatment program. There are many variables in one’s attitude that can affect the outcome in substance use treatment. Below we will consider three important personality factors that truly guide the path through treatment.
The initials for these three factors is THC. In this case, these letters have nothing necessarily to do with cannabis however the initials THC are just easy to remember in a substance use program.

Rule #1 – This is not about judgment! – There is no benefit to anyone in this group pointing fingers at one another and making accusations about personality traits. Instead focus on self-assessment and introspection when you discuss the following:

A person may choose to be tricky and use clever deception to get through a program (Faking urine tests, using substances on the sneak, etc.). Particularly when it comes to substance use, what may be the long term cost of choosing that course of action?

Even though it may be harder to do, what can a person gain from being transparent about their motives and actions? How can this help you learn more about yourself and gain some valuable insight?

What is the downside of being headstrong and insisting on having it your way? How can that end up holding you back from growing as a person?

What can you gain by striving to be humble? What is the benefit to being teachable and open minded to learning and considering the suggestions of others?

Some people choose to be closed because of fear of what will happen if people get to know their true selves. What are some of the things closed people may be missing out on?

What is the long term upside of having the courage to be open and candid about who you really are?