Monday, February 28, 2022

The Grind Part 7 - "I Don't Feel Like it Today"

So, you wake up and you don’t feel like doing what you know that you need to do. We have all been there, several times at least. If there is any hope at pushing past this, one of the first things to remember is the following thought: 

“Just because I don’t feel like doing this, 

does not mean that I should give up” 

Some days in the grind of life are just going to go like that and that’s just how it is. Obviously it is important to work on motivation every single day and be as proactive as possible to prevent these "I don't feel like it" days. But sometimes in spite of the best preparation and intentions, we just wake up without the motivation and the drive that we need. Or, this same phenomenon can happen at the end of a long day too, or really at any unexpected time. Since these kinds of days are inevitable for most of us, then ideally the best thing we can do is to have a plan to increase the possibility of pushing through and grinding forward - even when we don't feel like it,

For consideration - When you don't feel like doing what you know that you need to do, what coping skills and supports do you have prepared? - Before answering, consider some examples:

> Call or text a trusted friend who can help motivate you

> Go forward but go easy (if possible) - For example: walk instead of run

> Check your feelings - (Is it an unresolved emotion holding you back like fear, anxiety, guilt, etc.) - then talk to someone about it so you can work past it (if possible)

> Motivational media - View/listen to motivational music, videos, read, etc.

> If you are a spiritual or religious person, pray:  Practice what you've learned in this aspect of your life.

> Plan a (safe, non addictive) reward for later  - "If I make it through the day then tonight I'll have a nice bowl of ice cream in front on the couch in front of a good movie" 

> Finally, remember the old fail-safe to get yourself to start  even if just a little and give yourself an "out" if you need it:

    • "I'll go to they gym to work out for 10 minutes then if I still don't feel like it I will go home" "

    • "I don't want paint the bedroom today like I planned to, but I'll paint for 30 minutes and if I want to quit at that point I will"

(Then the point is to hopefully keep going once you start... but even if you don't: At least you tried and you are better prepared to keep trying tomorrow)

What else can you think of to help you get up and get going when you are stuck?

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Moral of the Story



Moral: a lesson, especially one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.

Opening Exercise - Pick a “Moral of the story” from the list provided. Try to tell a story that supports the message you chose.

  • If possible, use a true story from your own life or from someone you know well
  • If you cannot think of a true story, then make one up or else use a story that you got from TV, a movie, a book or from somewhere else


LIST – “Morals of the Story” to choose from

Honesty is the best policy

Don’t judge others

Quitters never win

Keep your word

Treat others the way you want to be treated

You reap what you sow

To forgive is divine

The price of success is responsibility

Think before you act

When in doubt, leave it out

Patience is a virtue

You’ve got to give respect to get respect

Don’t judge a book by its cover

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Don’t make promises you cannot keep

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

Pride comes before a fall

Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up

Common sense is not all that common

The best things in life are free

Lost time is never found again

Fall seven times, get up eight

Stupid is as stupid does

Your past does not equal your future

You make mistakes; mistakes don’t make you

Happiness is wanting what you have not having what you want

If you keep on lying long enough eventually, you’ll start believing your own lies

Often when you think you have everyone fooled you are only fooling yourself

Slow and steady wins the race

Brains over brawn

Look before you leap

One good turn deserves another

You become who you spend your time with

A fool and his money are soon parted

Lead by example

To thine own self be true

Nothing worth having comes easy

Its hard to fail but its worse to never have tried

Do what you always did, get what you always got


Friday, February 11, 2022

“Two-Way Coping Strategies” for Mental Health and Substance Use Issues


4 Concepts from Addiction Recovery that may be Helpful for Some Types of Mental Health Disorders:


___Insight – Substance use related problems rarely (if ever) get any better without first some degree of insight. Self-awareness of the existence of any problem is needed in order to begin to make some changes to improve that problem The same principle is true when it comes to mental health recovery, healing starts with insight


___Support – “You cannot do it alone” is often heard in the world of addiction recovery. Mental health closely follows this principle as well. Positive socialization and support can also be essential in mental health recovery. An encouraging friend and a compassionate, listening ear are excellent “medicine” for most mental health issues just the same as for addiction


___Relapse Prevention Planning is such a huge part of addiction recovery. Once progress is made in recovery it is so important to have a plan to sustain that progress and avoid going backward. The same is true for mental health. When someone makes progress mentally and emotionally, then planning to stay on a positive path is extremely helpful. Two important concepts from relapse prevention planning are:


o   Triggers – Knowing what types of people, places, things, thoughts, feelings, conditions and events that may disrupt progress is important for both addiction and mental health recovery


o   Relapse Warning Signs – It is also helpful to know what types of attitudes, thinking and behaviors are signs that things may be starting to move in a negative direction


___ “One Day at a Time” is a saying so often associated with substance use recovery, as taking things little by little, day by day (or even hour by hour) can be so helpful especially when life feels overwhelming. The idea of “one day at a time” works extremely well for mental health issues like depression, anxiety and others.


___Acceptance is another idea often talked about in addiction recovery. “Accepting the things we cannot change…” has helped so many who struggled with addiction. Acceptance is also very helpful with mental health disorders as well. Often accepting our current circumstances that we may not be able to change at the moment, no matter what they may be, can so much better than “swimming against the current” and hoping for “magic” answers to suddenly happen or just waiting for thing to get better on their own.


After reviewing and discussing this list as a group, place your initials in the line next to each of the above concepts that you feel can be helpful for you. Discuss your answers as a group

Other recovery concepts that can be effective for both addiction and mental health recovery:


___CBT Skills – CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which is based on the principle that if you can change your thinking, you can change your feelings and behavior. CBT is a huge part of recovery from substance use disorders as part of that process is to change “addictive thinking” patterns. This is also highly effective in mental health recovery. Changing negative thinking can help with a variety of mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and others. There are many CBT skills but here are two that are easy to use and very effective when practiced for either substance use issues, mental health or both


·        Positive Self Talk – This involves learning to tell yourself positive and encouraging messages that eventually take the place of negative self-messages. Ex.: “I can do this” or “I can and will get better!”


·        Cognitive Reframing – This involves challenging irrational thinking and then restating these thoughts in a more accurate and hopeful light. For example, someone depressed may say something like “There is no point in trying, things will always turn out bad” – Cognitive reframing of that statement to be more accurate and hopeful may sound like: “The truth is that sometimes things will not work out the way that I want them too but this does not always happen and if I keep trying, things will eventually get better”


___Exercise – Getting up and getting active and moving is proven by research to be effective in helping with both substance use and mental health issues.


___Hobbies/New Interests – Filling empty time with positive things that we can learn to take an interest in, is effective for both substance use and mental health


___Searching for Meaning and Purpose – Increasing awareness and involvement in things that are deeper, more purposeful and more meaningful than the day-to-day grind is proven to be helpful with both substance use and mental health issues


___Therapy for Trauma (when applicable) – If there are unresolved issues from the past that are impacting current functioning, then getting some help with past trauma can make a difference with both substance use and mental health issues


___Medication (When appropriate) – Sometimes motivation and effort are not enough. When a struggle with mental health or addiction is persistent and does not get better just by working on it, then there is no shame in seeing an appropriate prescriber for a consultation for medication for help with a substance use disorder, mental health or both. Taking medication for these issues is not a “crutch” and it does not mean someone is “weak” but rather is just means some extra help is needed. To put it in perspective would you criticize someone for taking insulin for diabetes or for taking high blood pressure medication to prevent a heart attack?


After discussing these additional concepts, write your initials next to the ideas you are either working on or considering working on to help improve your situation. Discuss your choices

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Funny Questions

The object of this exercise is to process some questions that can bring about amusing responses. With that in mind, please keep it light when possible and refrain from answers that may be offensive, insulting or overly controversial. At the end is some information on the benefits of humor in recovery. Enjoy and have fun

Directions – Take turns picking a category and the counselor will ask a question from that category.

Categories are in bold, with questions below each one


What is something that you said that was embarrassing

What is something that you did that was embarrassing

What is something you’ve seen or witnessed of someone else embarrassing themselves

What is something embarrassing that happened to you but fortunately no one saw

What is something a celebrity has done that you think is cringeworthy

Who do you know of that repeatedly embarrasses their self and what are some things they do?

Is there an embarrassing song, artist or band you like?

Is there an embarrassing movie or TV show you like?

Did you ever have one of those “aha” moments where you now realize that something you used to do you thought was cool but now is embarrassing?

When is the last time you witnessed someone make a fool of themselves?

Were you ever embarrassed by a parent, child or family member (in a funny way that you can laugh about now, not a humiliating or traumatizing way)- If so, tell a story about something they did.

Do you have a story where you or someone else was embarrassed by a bodily function or noise?

Have you ever been in a situation where there was an unexplained bad smell in the room?

Have you ever walked in on someone else’s embarrassing moment or had someone walk in on yours?


Fill in the blanks as directed

I cannot believe that ___________ (Person) ___________ (Action ending in -ed)

If people knew how often I ________ (Verb ending in -ed) then I would be _________ (Feeling)

I sometimes wonder what would happen if someone _________ (Verb past tense) with a ________ (Noun)

My _____ (Body part) looks a lot like a _________ (Noun)

It has been so long since I have ________ (Verb past tense) that my ________ (Body part) is about to _______ (Verb)

One thing I need to stop doing is ______ (Verb) because when I do, I end up _________ (Consequence)

One thing I have in common with _______ (animal(s)) is that we both ______ (Verb)

If you knew how often I ______ (Verb) you would want to by me a __________(Noun)

In the last month I _____ (Verb past tense) _____ (Number) times and it felt _______(Adjective)

If ______ (Famous person) saw me _______ (verb) then they would probably say _________ (Exclamation)

I could probably go _____ (Time Period) without______ (Verb ending in -ing) but there is no way I could ever stop ______ (Verb ending in -ing)

My _____ (Something you own) looks a lot like __________ (Interesting or scary Place)

When I think about ________ (Anything) I just want to say _______ (Exclamation)

If ______ (Verb ending in -ing) was worth money, then I would easily have ____________ (Money amount)

I wonder why they created ______ (Thing) because ______ (Same thing) reminds me a lot of ________ (Other thing you do not like)

A lot of people don’t like _____ (Verb ending in -ing) but to be honest _____ (Same verb ending in -ing) is actually pretty ________ (description)


Crazy Combinations

What would you get if you combined the last two US presidents DNA to make a new person?

What two foods eaten together would make the largest amount of people throw up?

If you could combine the DNA of your last ex and any animal (your choice) what would be the result?

What would be the hardest food to eat while going to the bathroom at the same time?

If you were making a modern-day Frankenstein from celebrities, what combination of body parts would you put together?


For a Price…

What is the least amount of money someone would have to pay you to permanently change your name to Fart Face McStinkums (and you cannot ever use another name, or you lose the money)?

What would someone have to pay you to wear your underwear on your head for a year (and you can’t tell anyone you are being paid or you lose the money)

How much would someone have to pay you to eat a stranger’s toenail?

For a tax free one $300,000 onetime payment, would you allow Google to set it so that whenever someone searches your name the result is a really ugly picture of you with the caption “Warning: This person loves to eat lizard crap”

For 50 million dollars tax free would you accept a head transplant with a moderate sized donkey - (You get to keep your brain, memory and personality but just have a donkey head on your body for life)


Would You Rather

…Wear clown makeup daily for a year or wear enormous clown shoes for 2 years?

…Let 100 people throw handfuls of green Jell-O at you for three hours on television or privately have your face smashed into a bowl of freezing cold pudding for 10 seconds once a week for six months?

…Have a thumb 3 feet long that cannot be amputated or be stuck on a roller coaster without stopping for six months (with appropriate food, water and bathroom breaks to stay alive)

…Take a bath in a tub of platypus vomit for 45 minutes or allow yourself to get your beat down brutally by a huge angry kangaroo on YouTube for 2 full minutes

…Use salami flavored toothpaste or onion flavored mouthwash for life?

PROCESS Some thoughts and questions to discuss

 humor, coping and recovery

Science actually shows that having a healthy amount of laughter in life helps with the following:

·        Stress and tension relief

·        Pain relief and a stronger immune system

·        Improved overall mood

·        An increased sense of overall satisfaction with life


How do you keep a healthy dose of “good” humor in life? (“Good” meaning not the kind that is cruel or hurtful like teasing or humiliating others)


How can a person learn not to take their self too seriously all of the time (Learn to laugh at self)?


There is a time to be serious, but how can you make sure to remember to “laugh off” some things in life?


Having healthy fun, laughter, amusement, and recreation should be part of everyone’s positive change plan. What is something specific in this important area, that you want to make sure is a part of your plan now and in the future?