Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Genetics of Addiction: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

The Genetics of Addiction

The Role of Family History

Addiction is due 50 percent to genetic predisposition and 50 percent to poor coping skills. This has been confirmed by numerous studies. One study looked at 861 identical twin pairs and 653 fraternal (non-identical) twin pairs. When one identical twin was addicted to alcohol, the other twin had a high probability of being addicted. But when one non-identical twin was addicted to alcohol, the other twin did not necessarily have an addiction. Based on the differences between the identical and non-identical twins, the study showed 50-60% of addiction is due to genetic factors.(1) Those numbers have been confirmed by other studies.

The children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction. One study looked at 231 people who were diagnosed with drug or alcohol addiction, and compared them to 61 people who did not have an addiction. Then it looked at the first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of those people. It discovered that if a parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, the child had an 8 times greater chance of developing an addiction.(3)

Why are there genes for addiction? We all have the genetic predisposition for addiction because there is an evolutionary advantage to that. When an animal eats a certain food that it likes, there is an advantage to associating pleasure with that food so that the animal will look for that food in the future. In other words the potential for addiction is hardwired into our brain. Everyone has eaten too much of their favourite food even though they knew it wasn't good for them.

Although everyone has the potential for addiction, some people are more predisposed to addiction than others. Some people drink alcoholically from the beginning. Other people start out as a moderate drinker and then become alcoholics later on. How does that happen?

Repeatedly abusing drugs or alcohol permanently rewires your brain. If you start out with a low genetic predisposition for addiction, you can still end up with an addiction. If you repeatedly abuse drugs or alcohol because of poor coping skills, then you'll permanently rewire your brain. Every time you abuse alcohol, you'll strengthen the wiring associated with drinking, and you'll chase that buzz even more. The more you chase the effect of alcohol, the greater your chance of eventually developing an addiction.

Your genes are not your destiny. The 50% of addiction that is caused by poor coping skills is where you can make a difference. Lots of people have come from addicted families but managed to overcome their family history and live happy lives. You can use this opportunity to change your life. 

What Is Your Family History?

Most people don't know their family history of addiction very well. Addiction is not the sort of thing that most families talk about. Not too long ago you could have a raging alcoholic in your family and nobody would talk about it. Or they would make some quaint remark like, "Oh he drinks a little too much." There was so little people could do about addiction before that there was no point in talking about it.

But now that you can do something about addiction, a family history is worth talking about. Once you stop using and tell your family that you're in recovery, that's often when they will tell you about the family secrets. That's when family members will sometimes come out of the closet and tell you their stories.

Let your coping skills be the legacy you pass on to your children. Don't let your genes be the only legacy you pass on to your children. Your children are more likely to have an addiction because of your addiction. But their genes don't have to be their destiny. You can help your children lead happy lives by teaching them healthy coping skills – by being an example with your recovery.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Addiction is like most major diseases. Consider heart disease, the leading cause of death in the developed world. It's partly due to genes and partly due to poor life style choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. The same is true for other common diseases like adult-onset diabetes. Many forms of cancers are due to a combination of genes and life style. But if your doctor said that you had diabetes or heart disease, you wouldn't think you were bad person. You would think, "What can I do to overcome this disease?" That is how you should approach addiction.

Addiction is not a weakness. The fact that addiction crosses all socio-economic boundaries confirms that addiction is a disease. People who don't know about addiction will tell you that you just need to be stronger to control your use. But if that was true then only unsuccessful people or unmotivated people would have an addiction, and yet 10% of high-functioning executives have an addiction.

If you think of addiction as a weakness, you'll paint yourself into a corner that you can't get out of. You'll focus on being stronger and trying to control your use, instead of treating addiction like a disease and focusing on stopping your use.

Cross Addiction

You can become addicted to any drug, if you have a family history of addiction. If at least one of your family members is addicted to alcohol, you have a greater chance of developing an addiction to any other drug. Cross addiction occurs because all addictions work in the same part of the brain. If your brain is wired so that you're predisposed to one addiction, then you're predisposed to all addictions.

This is especially important for women who may come from alcoholic families, but who often develop addictions that go undetected, like addictions to tranquilizers, pain relievers, or eating disorders.

One addiction can lead to other addictions, and one drug can make you relapse on another drug. That's one of the consequences of a brain that's wired for addiction. Suppose you're addicted to cocaine. If you want to stop using cocaine then you have to stop using all addictive drugs including alcohol and marijuana. You may never have had a problem with either of them, but if you continue to use alcohol or marijuana, even casually, they'll eventually lead you back to your drug of choice. Recovery requires total abstinence.

How does cross addiction cause relapse:

All addictions work in the same part of the brain. Addiction is addiction is addiction. Therefore one drug can lead you back to any other drug.

Even moderate drinking or smoking marijuana lowers your inhibitions, which makes it harder for you to make the right choices.

If you stop using your drug of choice but continue to use alcohol or marijuana, you're saying that you don't want to learn new coping skills and that you don't want to change your life. You're saying that you want to continue to rely on drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, and reward yourself. But if you don't learn those new skills, then you won't have changed, and your addiction will catch up with you all over again.


1) Prescott, C. A., & Kendler, K. S., Genetic and environmental contributions to alcohol abuse and dependence in a population-based sample of male twins. Am J Psychiatry, 1999. 156(1): p. 34-40.
2) Enoch, M. A., & Goldman, D., The genetics of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Curr Psychiatry Rep, 2001. 3(2): p. 144-51.

3) Merikangas, K. R., Stolar, M., Stevens, D. E., Goulet, J., et al., Familial transmission of substance use disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1998. 55(11): p. 973-9.


WHEN YOUR CHILD IS IN THE GRIPS OF ADDICTION: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach.

By Robert Frank Mittiga


From the moment you give birth, an innate force within secures a powerful and concentrated intent at the deepest level to protect your precious child, protect them from harm. As a parent, you accept this role with reverence as it carries the highest priority.

Holding your child carefully, keeping them warm, nourished and safe, you show them the immeasurable importance of their place on earth. They feel loved and of great value, knowing that you care about their happiness, comfort and fulfilment. You are their greatest fan and root them on as they step into the world, deciding for themselves how they wish to engage in the life experience. Seeing them in harm’s way can stir deep desires to protect them.  As their caretaker for many years, this powerful urge does not ever truly end. You simply let go, hoping the years of love, guidance and care remain as the foundation for their own ability to keep themselves safe from harm.

What happens when your child is involved in one of the most harmful behaviours possible and they fall away from the safety you worked so hard to instil, strengthen and ensure? How do you handle watching them sink deeper into a world that seems to swallow them into darkness, an unreachable place where you feel powerless – the world of the disease of addiction?

Addiction is dangerous and destructive to everything you have committed to keep safe. How do you protect your child? Your natural instinct is to shield them from harm, however in your attempts to do this, the addiction begins to engulf your life as well. This is when your child’s addiction becomes your own.

Three major reasons for this are:
1) Believing that you have the power to change or control the person/addiction.
Feeling powerless, you strive for ways to gain a sense of control – life centres around fixing the problem and dealing with the addiction’s consequences.

Attempts to gain control are:
• Becoming a “perfect” parent, supporter, nurturer

• Being careful about everything you say and do
• Peacekeeping
• Taking care of the child’s needs over your own

2) Treating addiction as a moral, behavioural issue rather than an illness.
Expecting rational thinking from an irrational, altered state of perception – addictions cease to be rational by their very nature. Usual support and guidance are ineffective. When tried, there is a great sense of failure, frustration and hopelessness for all involved.

3) Believing the addiction means something about you.
Self-blaming causes guilt, anger, regret, and a sense of inadequacy as a parent. Identifying with your child’s addiction – either feeling responsible for fixing it or unable to face it. The key is not gaining control or changing the addiction. It is about understanding you have no control over the addiction. You do, however, have power; the power to let go.

Letting go is:
• Supporting, not fixing

• Permitting another to face reality
• Allowing consequences
• Not taking responsibility for them
• Admitting the outcome is not in your hands
• Acceptance

In letting go, you truly embrace your parental power, by being the example of that which you wish them to do. The addict will be most positively affected by a healthy parent who takes care of themselves, has good boundaries, follows through, respects themselves and honours their life. You don’t need to control or change the addict’s actions, but you can learn to change your responses.

The best way to help your addicted child is by:
• Reaching out for support of others who have been through it
• Expressing your feelings
• Letting your child solve the problems their addiction creates
• Focusing on one day at a time
• Not determining your choices by theirs
• Not doing for them what they can do for themselves and STOP any enabling.

Remember, your child doesn’t need you to take them away from their journey towards discovering their light, they simply need to see your light shining as a reminder of their own along the way.


Monday, January 30, 2017

What Are Personal Boundaries and Co-dependency Recovery: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach.

What Are Personal Boundaries 
and Co-dependency Recovery:

Love can’t exist without boundaries, even with your children. It’s easy to understand external boundaries as your bottom line. Think of rules and principles you live by when you say what you will or won’t do or allow.

If you have difficulty saying no, override your needs to please others, or are bothered by someone who is demanding, controlling, criticising, pushy, abusive, invasive, pleading, or even smothering you with kindness, it’s your responsibility to speak up.

Types of Boundaries

There are several areas where boundaries apply:

Material boundaries determine whether you give or lend things, such as your money, car, clothes, books, food, or toothbrush.

Physical boundaries pertain to your personal space, privacy, and body. Do you give a handshake or a hug – to whom and when? How do you feel about loud music, nudity, and locked doors?

Mental boundaries apply to your thoughts, values, and opinions. Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe, and can you hold onto your opinions? Can you listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion without becoming rigid? If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.

Sexual boundaries protect your comfort level with sexual touch and activity – what, where, when, and with whom.

Spiritual boundaries relate to your beliefs and experiences in connection with God or a higher power.

Why It’s Hard

It’s hard for co-dependents to set boundaries because:

They put others’ needs and feelings first;
They don’t know themselves;
They don’t feel they have rights;
They believe setting boundaries jeopardizes the relationship; and
They never learned to have healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are learned. If yours weren’t valued as a child, you didn’t learn you had them. Any kind of abuse violates personal boundaries, including teasing. For example, my brother ignored my pleas for him to stop tickling me until I could barely breathe. This made me feel powerless and that I didn’t have a right to say “stop” when I was uncomfortable. In recovery, I gained the capacity to tell a masseuse to stop and use less pressure. In some cases, boundary violations affect a child’s ability to mature into an independent, responsible adult.

You Have Rights

You may not believe you have any rights if yours weren’t respected growing up. For example, you have a right to privacy, to say “no,” to be addressed with courtesy and respect, to change your mind or cancel commitments, to ask people you hire to work the way you want, to ask for help, to be left alone, to conserve your energy, and not to answer a question, the phone, or an email.

Think about all the situations where these rights apply. Write how you feel and how you currently handle them. How often do you say “yes” when you’d like to say “no?”

Write what you want to happen. List your personal bill of rights. What prevents you from asserting them? Write statements expressing your bottom line. Be kind. For example, “Please don’t criticise (or call) me (or borrow my . . .),” and “Thank you for thinking of me, but I regret I won’t be joining (or able to help) you . . .”

Internal Boundaries

Internal boundaries involve regulating your relationship with yourself. Think of them as self-discipline and healthy management of time, thoughts, emotions, behaviour and impulses. If you’re procrastinating, doing things you neither have to nor want to do, or overdoing and not getting enough rest, recreation, or balanced meals, you may be neglecting internal physical boundaries. Learning to manage negative thoughts and feelings empowers you, as does the ability to follow through on goals and commitments to yourself.

Healthy emotional and mental internal boundaries help you not to assume responsibility for, or obsess about, other people’s feelings and problems – something co-dependents commonly do. Strong internal boundaries curb suggestibility. You think about yourself, rather than automatically agreeing with others’ criticism or advice. You’re then empowered to set external emotional boundaries if you choose. Similarly, since you’re accountable for your feelings and actions, you don’t blame others. When you’re blamed, if you don’t feel responsible, instead of defending yourself or apologising, you can say, “I don’t take responsibility for that.”

Guilt and Resentment

Anger often is a signal that action is required. If you feel resentful or victimised and are blaming someone or something, it might mean that you haven’t been setting boundaries. If you feel anxious or guilty about setting boundaries, remember, your relationship suffers when you’re unhappy. Once you get practice setting boundaries, you feel empowered and suffer less anxiety, resentment, and guilt. Generally, you receive more respect from others and your relationships improve.

Setting Effective Boundaries

People often say they set a boundary, but it didn’t help. There’s an art to setting boundaries. If it’s done in anger or by nagging, you won’t be heard. Boundaries are not meant to punish, but are for your well-being and protection. They’re more effective when you’re assertive, calm, firm, and courteous. If that doesn’t work, you may need to communicate consequences to encourage compliance. It’s essential, however, that you never threaten a consequence you’re not fully prepared to carry out.

It takes time, support, and relearning to be able to set effective boundaries. Self-awareness and learning to be assertive are the first steps. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish. It’s self-love – you say “yes” to yourself each time you say “no.” It builds self-esteem. But it usually takes encouragement to make yourself a priority and to persist, especially when you receive pushback. 



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Characteristics and Personality Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic/Addict: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach.

Characteristics and Personality Traits 
of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic:

Fear of losing control.
Adult children of alcoholics maintain control over their behaviour and feelings.  They also try to control the behaviour and feelings of others. They do this because they are afraid not because they want to hurt themselves or others.  They fear that if they relinquish control their lives will get worse, and they can become very anxious when they are not able to control a situation.

Fear of emotions and feelings
Adult children of alcoholics tend to bury their feelings (particularly anger and sadness) since childhood and are not able to feel or express emotions easily. Ultimately they fear all powerful emotions and even fear positive emotions like fun and joy.
Avoid conflict
Adult children of alcoholics have a fear of people who are in authority, people who are angry, and do not take personal criticism very well.  Often they misinterpret assertiveness for anger. Therefore, they are constantly seeking approval of others whilst losing their identities in the process.  Frequently they isolate themselves.
A high burden of responsibility and constant approval seeking
Adult children of alcoholics are oversensitive to the needs of others. Their self-esteem comes from others’ judgments of them, thus having the compulsive need to be perfectionists and be accepted.
An inability to relax and have fun.
Adult children of alcoholics cannot have fun because it is stressful, especially when others are watching. The child inside is frightened, and in an effort to appear perfect, exercises strict self-control.
Harsh self-criticism and low self esteem
Adult children of alcoholics are weighed down with a very low sense of self-esteem and respect, no matter how competent they may be.
Whenever adult children of alcoholics feel threatened, they tend to deny that which provoke their fears.
Difficulties with intimacy
Adult children of alcoholics fear intimacy because it makes them feel that they lost control.  They have difficulties expressing their needs and consequently have problems with their sexuality, and repeat relationship patterns.
Develop a victim mentality
Adult children of alcoholics may either be passive or aggressive victims, and are often attracted to others like them whether in friendships, career and love relationships.
Adopting compulsive and/or addictive behaviours
Adult children of alcoholics may eat compulsively or become workaholics.  They may become addicted and co-dependent in a relationship, or behave compulsively in other ways. Sadly, they may abuse alcohol and become alcoholics like their parent(s).
More comfortable living in chaos or drama than in peace
Adult children of alcoholics become addicted to chaos and drama, which gives them their adrenaline fix and feelings of power and control.
The tendency to confuse love with pity.
Adult children of alcoholics are often in relationships with people they can rescue.
Abandonment issues
Adult children of alcoholics will do anything to save a relationship, rather than face the pain of abandonment even if the relationship is unhealthy.
Tendency to see everything and everyone in extremes, when under pressure
Adult children of alcoholics are highly susceptible to stress-related illnesses.
Suffering from an accumulation of grief.
Adult children of alcoholics are frequently depressed. Losses experienced during their childhood were often never grieved for because the alcoholic family doesn’t tolerate intense uncomfortable feelings.
Overreaction to outside changes
Adult children of alcoholics remain hyper vigilant, constantly scanning their surroundings for potential catastrophes.
Adult Children of Alcoholics are Attracted to Compulsive Personalities
Many lose themselves in their relationship with others and sometimes find themselves attracted to alcoholics or other compulsive personalities - such as workaholics.  They are generally attracted to those who are emotionally unavailable. Adult children sometimes like to be the “rescuer” and will form relationships with others who need their help, to the extent of neglecting their own needs. What happens is that they place the focus on the needs of someone else whilst not having to examine their own difficulties and shortcomings.
Often, these adult children will acquire the characteristics of alcoholics, even if they never drink themselves.  They can be in denial, develop poor coping strategies, have an inability to problem solve and form dysfunctional relationships.
Adult Children of Alcoholics and Help
Many adult children who grew up in a dysfunctional home have been deeply affected by their experiences and often seek counselling and professional treatment to help resolve these issues.
FOR HELP CALL US TODAY PH 0439 399 809 or EMAIL rmittiga@icloud.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

WHAT IS TOXIC SHAME? The block to healthy Self Esteem. Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach.

Internalised Shame a block to healthy selfesteem 

When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that comes and goes, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful. 

Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction. We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves. We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves. We all have our own specific triggers or tender points that produce feelings of shame. The intensity of our experience varies, too, depending upon our prior life experiences, cultural beliefs, personality, and the activating event.

Characteristics of Toxic Shame

Unlike ordinary shame, “internalised shame” hangs around and alters our self-image. It’s shame that has become “toxic,” a term first coined by Sylvan Tomkins in the early 60s in his scholarly examination of human affect. For some people, toxic shame can consume their personality, while for others, it lies beneath their conscious awareness, but can easily be triggered. Toxic shame differs from ordinary shame, which passes in a day or a few hours, in the following respects:

1. It can hide in our unconscious, so that we’re unaware that we have shame.
2. When we experience shame, it lasts much longer.
3. The feelings and pain associated with shame are of greater intensity.
4. An external event isn’t required to trigger it. Our own thoughts can bring on feelings of shame.
5. It leads to shame spirals that cause depression and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
6. It causes chronic “shame anxiety” – the fear of experiencing shame.
7. It’s accompanied by voices, images, or beliefs originating in childhood and is associated with a negative “shame story” about ourselves.
8. We needn’t recall the original source of the immediate shame, which usually originated in childhood or a prior trauma.
9. It creates deep feelings of inadequacy.

Shame-Based Beliefs

The fundamental belief underlying shame is that “I’m unlovable – that I’m not worthy of connection.” Usually, internalised  toxic shame manifests as one of the following  beliefs or a variation thereof:

• I’m stupid
• I’m unattractive (especially to a romantic partner)
• I’m a failure
• I’m a bad person
• I’m a fraud or phony
• I’m selfish
• I’m not enough (this belief can be applied to numerous areas)
• I hate myself
• I don’t matter
• I’m defective, inadequate
• I shouldn’t have been born 
• I’m unlovable

The Cause of Toxic Shame

In most cases, shame becomes internalised or toxic from chronic or intense experiences of shame in childhood. Parents can unintentionally transfer their shame to their children through verbal messages or nonverbal behavior. For an example, a child might feel unloved in reaction to a parent’s depression, absence, indifference, or irritability or feel inadequate due to a parent’s competitiveness or over-correcting behavior. Children need to feel uniquely loved by both parents. When that connection is breached, such as when a child is scolded harshly, children feel alone and ashamed, unless the parent-child bond of love is soon repaired. However, even if shame has been internalised, it can be surmounted by later positive experiences.

If not healed, toxic shame can lead to aggression, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and  other addictions. It generates self esteem injuries, anxiety, irrational guilt, perfectionism, and codependency, and it limits our ability to enjoy satisfying relationships and professional success.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery
Gratefulness as the Key to Success in Addiction and Codependency Recovery

When people are grateful for what they have, they will experience a great deal of happiness in their life. When the individual is constantly lamenting their lot, it will be impossible for them to find peace of mind. Gratitude is not about what people have or do not have. There are billionaires who still do not feel satisfied and poor people who feel they have everything they need. The tendency to feel grateful is a mental attitude that can be developed. It is particularly important that people recovering from an addiction try to cultivate this positive outlook, because it can help to ensure their success in the future.

Gratitude Defined

Gratitude can be defined as an acknowledgement of a benefit that an individual has received. People can for grateful that something has happened or is about to happen. They can also have a general attitude of gratefulness, because they are happy with their life. It is also possible for the individual to express gratitude without actually meaning it.

Gratitude and Positive Thinking

Positive thinking can greatly improve an in individual’s mental and physical health. It gives them energy and the confidence to do the things that will make their life better. Gratitude and positive thinking go hand in hand. In fact, it would not really be possible for people to experience much positivity if they are not happy with their life. If people feel grateful they will automatically be thinking positively.

The opposite to positive thinking is stinking thinking. This is where people are full of negativity. They view their current situation as unsatisfactory, and they might not have much hope that things will improve in the future. Stinking thinking is a dangerous for people in recovery, because it can easily lead to relapse. The key to combating this negative mode of thought is to become more grateful for the positive things in life. Everyone will find that they do have things to feel good about if they look.

Benefits of Gratitude

People who are grateful tend to experience a great deal of joy in their life. These are some of the benefits of gratitude:

* A much admired Hindi guru called Nisargadatta Maharaj told his followers that the key to happiness is gratitude. People become unhappy because they have things they do not want and they want things they do not have. The way to be happy is to change this thinking so that people want what they have and do not want what they do not have. If people can feel gratitude for their life now they can avoid much suffering.

* Grateful people are nice to be around so they tend to have many friends. They can always see the good in people and spending time in their company can feel rejuvenating. Those individuals who are always complaining about life tend to drive others away.

* When people are positive about things they will be more willing to take chances. In order to experience some of the real joys in life, the individual will sometimes have to be willing to accept some risk. The grateful person will be willing to take such risks. This does not happen because they want their life to improve, but it comes from a sense of adventure.

* People with this type of positive outlook will experience less stress in their lives. They do not go looking for problems, and when something challenging happens, they do not automatically assume the worst. Stress is known to be at least a contributing cause to many types of physical and mental illness. This means that cultivating a sense of gratitude can improve health and help people live longer.

* When people are grateful, they are less likely to come in conflict with other people. They have no deep need to always get their own way and they tend not to have hidden agendas. If people are happy with their own life, they tend to want the same for other individuals. It tends to be humans who are dissatisfied with their life who end up in regular interpersonal conflicts.

* When people have this attitude, they are far less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms. Gratitude and positivity are closely related.

The Importance of Gratitude in Recovery

If people are grateful to be sober, it is unlikely that they will relapse back to their addiction. This is because they will have to motivation to do what they need to in order to protect their sobriety. It is only when people take their recovery for granted, or they develop stinking thinking, that they begin sliding towards a relapse. A grateful attitude will mean that people can face the challenges that confront them in recovery calmly. They will tend to see problems as a chance to grow rather than some type of attitude. This positive way of dealing with things will lead them towards the ultimate goal of recovery, that is, compete serenity.

Self absorption can be a huge problem for people in recovery. When people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, they will spend most of the time only thinking about their own needs. When these individuals become sober, they may continue to be preoccupied with themselves. Self-absorption makes life difficult but when people feel grateful they have less reason to be so selfish. They feel satisfied that their own needs are being met so they can now focus at least some of their attention on the needs of other people.

How to Increase Feelings of Gratitude

If people feel grateful, it is going to benefit them in many ways. It is therefore wise that people should try to develop this attitude. These are some tips for achieving feelings of gratitude:

* A gratitude journal can be a wonderful tool for increasing this type of feeling. This is where people record all the things they have to be grateful for on a daily basis. This allows them to develop the habit of looking for the good things in life.

* People today tend to have an inner drive that is always telling them that they need more. This hunger can never be satisfied and can only lead to unhappiness and disillusionment. The individual needs to decide on what is really important in their life and focus on that. This is usually other people and not possessions. It is not common for people on their deathbed to lament their lack of belongings.

* Gratitude is an attitude that people can learn. It only takes a month to 90 days for something to become habitual. If people make an attempt each day to be grateful, they will eventually begin to do this automatically.

* Metta (loving kindness) meditation involves deliberately cultivating feelings of good will towards other people. Those who practice this technique can even begin to love their enemies. Most importantly, by practicing metta cultivation, the individual learns to love themselves more. This increases their sense of gratitude for what they have.

* One of the things that cause people to feel ungrateful is when they compare themselves to other people. Such comparisons are unhelpful and also misleading. Other people may be successful in one area of their life, but a complete failure in another. In short, no one is perfect.

* Humans are highly influenced by the people they spend their time with. If the individual is always surrounded by negative people, they may begin to absorb such an outlook themselves. If people eat bad food it will harm their health, and spending time with negative people works in a similar way. It can therefore be beneficial if the individual tries to spend as much time as they can with positive role models – people who are full of gratitude for what they have.

* Learning to be grateful is a skill that requires practice and patience. The individual will have days where they seem to be making progress and days where they feel they are going backwards. If people are persistent at cultivating a grateful attitude they will undoubtedly see progress over time.

Tips For Making A Gratitude List

Whether we notice them or not, we are sprinkled with an abundance of blessings on a daily basis. Some big, some small; but blessings just the same. Making a gratitude list helps us to recognize these blessings and keep our focus on the good things in our lives. This is especially helpful when times get a little tough and extremely beneficial during substance abuse recovery. But how can you feel more grateful?

Creating and reading gratitude lists will promote a positive attitude every day. It is a good tool to have to lift your spirits when you need a little lifting, or a great way to start the day off on the right foot. Searching out and documenting the good things in life is also a good way to monitor your recovery progress by noting and being thankful for milestones as you reach them. If you need help getting started, get involved in recovery coaching for guidance.

How To Begin A Gratitude List

A good place to start is to be thankful for recovery itself and all that it provides. Research has proven that people in recovery who focus on all that they have to be thankful for are less likely to relapse. It will also help you not take your recovery for granted over time.

When recovery becomes the norm, it is easy to let your guard down or not work as hard to maintain your new sober lifestyle. A daily reminder of all that recovery provides will keep you strong and motivated moving forward. Following these tips will get you started in the right direction.

Tips To Establish Gratitude

1. Commit to writing something every day. Maybe you want to just write a word or two; my mom called. Or write your list of blessings with more detail; my mom called to see how I’m doing, invite me to dinner, and to tell me she loves me; this really made my day!

2. You can create your gratitude list with pen and paper, on your smart phone, keep it in a Word document on your computer, or use a calendar with large boxes to write your blessings on each day. You can format it any way that feels comfortable to you. Create it someplace safe as you may want to keep it and reread it for years to come.

3. Make your gratitude list an essential tool in your relapse prevention toolbox. When you get overwhelmed, take it out and read back over all the good things in your life. The gray clouds will soon go unnoticed; as will your thoughts of drugs or alcohol.

4. How can you express your gratitude every day? There will be days when you think there is absolutely nothing to be grateful for. Make an entry on your gratitude list anyway. There is always some little thing you can find. Maybe the sun is out, there’s a bird singing outside your window, or you didn’t burn the toast today – anything. Just write.

5. Incorporate time to be grateful into your daily structure. It’s been proven that documenting thankfulness just before bed produces a more restful night’s sleep and sweeter dreams.

6. Ask someone to be your gratitude buddy. Sharing gratitude lists with each other will give you one more thing to add to your list, look forward to, and keep you accountable to keep your list going.

7. Over time, you will begin to notice you seem happier every day by seeking out and spending time on each day’s blessings. Don’t give up your gratitude list when things are grand. Just write a longer list!

Start today. Be grateful you found this blog post to help you get started! Always be grateful you are alive, making good choices for yourself, and you’re now sober.



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