Freedom From Addiction

 

freefromaddiction

Taking the First Step

If you have reached this page and have an active addiction, you have probably been listening to that still small voice inside of you that is nudging you toward change. Whether a whisper or a shout, acknowledging and nurturing that inner voice is the beginning of building a strong foundation to recovery.

Ceasing the use of alcohol and drugs is the first step. What follows is addressing the thoughts, beliefs, and actions that lead us to choose drink, do drugs or other destructive behaviors. For those of us having gone through this process we know it can seem pretty scary to leave behind what is familiar even though we know it isn’t good for us.  All of us have experienced fear and discomfort when leaving the familiar and trying something new; however, we (those of us at Freedom Through Choice) have followed a path toward change that has been significant in helping us transform our situations and experiences to ones that are rich and satisfying with emotional and spiritual wholeness.  You can too!

Making the decision to move past your addiction by addressing life-long patterns is the next step.  How do you begin to change life-long patterns? Our most powerful weapon in the change process is our own mind. To use that powerful tool for change, however, we need to understand it, engage it and give it conscious direction.

Understanding Your Mind

You don’t need to be a neuroscientist to begin to understand the workings of your mind.   You can begin by simply listening to your thoughts…a process known as mindfulness in many circles.   Mindfulness just means to listen to the constant chatter in your mind. Listening to your thoughts can give you an idea of how your mind works.

When you begin to listen to your mind, you may begin to notice that your mind’s chatter is habitually speaking in a certain way.  This habitual pattern is known as a mindset.

Understanding your mindset will be a huge help to you in your process of changing your habits.

What is a Mindset?

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck PhD describes our thinking patterns as “mindsets”.   She defines two different kinds of mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset.

A fixed mindset does not allow for change.   It is a mindset that is focused on judging and creates a negative internal dialogue riddled with blame and self-defeating language.   “It’s his fault that I act like this.”     “I can never change.”  “My family are all addicts, and so I was destined to be one.”   In a fixed mindset, there is no room for growth or change.   Patterns keep repeating and you are caught in a never-ending loop of self-defeating behavior.

A growth mindset, as Dr.Dweck describes, is a mindset where we examine and evaluate our thoughts and use them as a springboard for constructive action and positive change.  When a negative thought is experienced, a growth mindset will ask “Where did this thought come from?” and “What can I learn from this?”   “Is this really how I feel?  “Are these my old patterns talking”?

Mindset and Addictions

If you think you can never let go of your addiction, or it is too hard to change, then you have a fixed mindset.  However, we are here to tell you that a fixed mindset can be changed, because we have done it!

Can we Change from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset?  The answer is yes, we can

The following steps are extracted from Dr. Dweck’s website

Step 1:  Learn to Hear Your Fixed Mindset Voice

Our thoughts are a noisy, endless chatter that never stops.   Thoughts go through our mind at the speed of light, and can change direction in a micro-second.   It is our thoughts that drive our feelings, and feelings drive our behaviors.

So, if we wish to change our behaviors, we need to begin to look at the source of our behavior- our thoughts.   Our mind has a core set of thoughts or beliefs that shape how we feel about the world and about ourselves.   These beliefs were formed when we were very young.   These beliefs were learned, based upon our experiences as small children.  They operate beneath our conscious thought.   When we first learned to drive, we were very conscious of every move we made.  However, it soon became an automatic learned behavior and we no longer think about each turn, start or stop.   It is the same with our beliefs.   We don’t consciously think about them, but they do have a voice and drive us in certain directions.

What type of mindset do you have?   The following self-assessment test will help you determine what type of mindset you have.

Self –assessment quiz

Step 2:  Know that you have a Choice

This step is one of the most powerful tools of change. How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice. Your fixed mindset can interpret them as proof that you are incapable of change or lack the ability to move forward.  Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as areas where more work is needed and that you may need to adopt new strategies. Putting new tools in your mental toolbox gives you flexibility and adaptability.    The more tools you have to work with, the more powerful you become.

Step 3:  Talk Back to Yourself with your Growth Mindset Voice

Once you recognize that you have a mental pattern that limits your growth, you can begin to consciously challenge yourself.  When you catch yourself in limited thinking, have a dialogue with yourself to question the belief, rather than just accept it.

This is a process that can take some time.  At first, you may not fully believe what you are telling yourself.   However, “fake it ’till you make it”!   Keep at it!  Repeated challenges to limited beliefs will eventually wear them down, replacing your limited thinking with positive, growth-orientated beliefs.

Remember, it is a process.

Some examples of internal dialogue:

1) Fixed mindset: I will never get that job –  no sense even applying.

The challenge:  I have several skills that would make me a good fit for that job.   I have a good chance in getting it.  I will give it my best shot.

Fixed mindset:  What if you don’t get called for an interview?  You probably won’t.

The challenge:  There are many opportunities out there.  I will continue to look for new jobs where I can use my skills and I will continue to go after those opportunities until I find the right fit for me. I deserve to be successful.

2) Fixed mindset:   I will never stop my addiction.  Some people can change, but they aren’t me.

The challenge:  Anyone can change and so can I.  Change is learning to make different choices and I am perfectly capable of doing that.

Quick tools for a mindset change.

Posturing

Changing from a negative, defeating attitude to a positive, affirming one can be as simple as changing your body’s language.    Raise your hands in the air in victory position, and feel the emotions in your body

change.   Give yourself a thumbs-up—notice any difference in your feelings?   Do these simple gestures several times a day, especially when you need a quick burst of positive energy.

Suggested video: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Journaling

Feeling good?  In a very bad mood?  Write it down!  Journaling is a great tool to express your emotions and begin to understand your thought processes.    It is a good way to chart your personal growth, and watch your feelings and your thoughts change as you move forward in a growth mindset.

Meditation

Meditation is a powerful tool that has numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being.  You do not have to be an experienced meditator to gain these benefits.  Our guided meditations are effective for the very beginner as well as experienced meditators.

We invite you to explore the following links to our mp3 files for some guided meditations that will assist you in engaging your mind in positive change.

Click To Listen To Meditation

Getting Away from it All…Discovering your Inner Sanctuary

This meditation is a great place to start if you are new to meditation.  It will assist you in relaxing and creating an “inner retreat”, away from life’s day-to-day stressors.

Click To Listen To Meditation

Buried Treasures

This meditation will assist you in “gathering your inner resources”, tools to use in your process of change.

Click To Listen To Meditation

Changing Beliefs

You can change long-standing beliefs that you have had about yourself.  This meditation will assist you in letting go of non-constructive beliefs and lay the foundation for a growth-centered mindset.

Click To Listen To Meditation

Confidence

Need a boost of confidence?  This meditation is designed to help you remember your inner power and strength.