Tag Archives: mental health

So What Does a Recovering Addict Look Like Anyway?

20 Jun

A good friend of mine asked me to do  Q&A for a new London-based magazine that is aimed that the recovery community and kind of begs the question, well “How normal are we now?” after a bit of recovery time. It’s called Normal for that very reason, I think.

When we lived lives of addiction, we did so many abnormal things that we just passed over as “one of those things”, because the addiction ruled us. In early sobriety, it is terribly easy to feel wrong and out of place, to be up and down with your emotions and to still practice many addictions, whether to food or love or Thierry Henry (sorry, just me that one).

But after several years clean and having trodden our own path of recovery, we feel a bit less like we stand out as the guy or gal ordering a diet cola at the bar. We are not necessarily as reactive or up-and-down as in those early days. We’re not as hung up over the addiction and are able to, never be complacent, but weave back into a fun and fulfilling life.

And what we find is that none of us are quite normal. My friend, Ali, who sub-edits the magazine certainly isn’t. She’s a Rawk Chick at heart, lives on a barge on the Thames and is an ardent fan of West Ham. Abnormal. Definitely.

But I’m not normal either. I’d describe myself as a Buddhist with a cracked sense of humour, a cat who I have named “Carwash”, and an indescribable urge to help people. What the freak is normal about that??humour, a cat who I have named “Carwash”, and an indescribable urge to help people. What the freak is normal about that?

Anyway, for all you US recovery peeps, I send you my love. You can read the full interview below. Thanks to Ali, and all the normalish people who decided a mag for recovery peeps was just what we needed. (And I happen to agree) .normalish people who decided a mag for recovery peeps was just what we needed. (And I happen to agree) .

ZOOOOOOMMMM INNNNN!!!!!

Q and A with Normal

Oh, and if you’re in any way as inspired by DiversityInCare‘s wonderful, life-changing work as I am, please think about donating. we’ll take pounds, pennies, dollars, cents and gifts in kind. Thanks and you’re amazing 🙂

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Smash Stigma on World Mental Health Day

10 Oct

I occasionally share something I’ve written for HuffPost here on my addiction blog. In this case, it’s very important that I do, because it’s World Mental Health Day – and there is still a massive amount of stigma towards people who are suffering from mental health problems.

As addicts, I’m sure we all know what it’s like to face stigma – it’s damaging and, in some cases, can set recovery efforts back.

So on World Mental Health Day, I’m inviting people to change the way they view mental health entirely. Take a look at my radical new way of helping to empower people who are suffering from mental health problems here:

Why Everyone Will Suffer If We Don’t Start Looking at Mental Health Differently.

Many thanks,
Beth x

Video

“How to kick Depression, Addiction and Anxiety” – NEW Radio Interview

28 Sep

Hi all,

Please do listen to my latest interview with fellow addiction worker Micheal Hilton and I on the following link. It really is chocka-block full with amazing information and insight.

https://player.cinchcast.com/?assettype=single&show_id=6955049&version=2.0&version=2.0&platformId=1

Enjoy! And drop me a line at http://www.smyls.co.uk if you think I might be able to help you.

Check Out Health Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Micheal Hlton Show on BlogTalkRadio with OPTIMAL LIFE OPTIMAL HEALTH on BlogTalkRadio

Q & A about the Recovery Process with with a Real-Life Recoveree

28 Mar

As someone in recovery from alcoholism and Borderline Personality Disorder, I often get questions about the recovery process. To recover, I mostly did Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), which I now use to help others out of addiction and mental health problems. I then went on to use other tools and practices to work on my recovery further.

I must stress that everyone is an individual, but here are some questions I have been asked, along with my honest answers. I hope you find them helpful.

1.  When did you realise that you had to stop drinking for good, rather than doing controlled drinking?

When I faced the fact that, in reality, I was rarely able to control my drinking. I almost always had more than I planned, and whenever I managed to limit myself to just a few drinks I felt so horribly deprived and grief-stricken at not being “allowed” any more, that it was better not to have any, frankly! Trying to control my drinking became far more painful than just not drinking at all.

2.  How did you know when treatment was working for you?

I had a breakthrough moment when I was doing DBT. I spoke about it in the first chapters of my book, The Happy Addict. I realised that I was either going to let go of the past and get on with making my life magnificent, or I was going to be condemned to suffering forever. I realised that whatever had happened in the past, and however much I was suffering, I had to be the one who pulled myself out.

I realised that my own thinking, beliefs and behaviours were sabotaging me more than anyone or anything from the past or the present ever could. I had to decide that I would win in the end, and commit to doing that, no matter what. For me, for my family, for my cat. But mostly for me. Because there was no other choice.

All I was doing by fighting reality was losing. If I drank, I was just making myself incapable of solving problems. If I acted out, I was just making myself feel worse about myself. The only thing to do was thoroughly and utterly commit to doing the right thing by me, no matter how I felt. It was only by doing the right things that I even started to like myself.

Our behaviour is what gets us results, including changing how we feel about ourselves. One of my biggest realisations is that I don’t have to act on how I feel. I can choose to do the right things to move forward, no matter how I feel. I never regret doing the right thing, and I always feel better about myself when I choose to act wisely.

3.  Was it a long time before you stopped having more bad than good days?

It was about three months of constantly and stubbornly applying the DBT I was learning until the worst of the days passed. Three months of constantly looking at the positives, constantly fighting down my urges to self-sabotage, constantly doing the right thing. Those three months were the most difficult, and then after that, it got easier to do the right thing – I was seeing how much better I felt for it, and how I could go upwards in life now, rather than downwards. It became like a positive dynamo.

4.  Sometimes Addiction and Mental Health services don’t understand. Did you have this and how can this be resolved?

I had people who didn’t care. I had people who didn’t understand. I had to face waiting lists that would take years. Again, those are things I couldn’t control, so I decided that I would largely do it without them. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or believes – you can still choose to get better. And you can focus on the people who do understand and are willing to help. They are there if you look for them.

5.  After you stopped drinking, did you switch to anything else, or was drinking the last coping mechanism?

If I have problems now, I either solve them, or if I can’t solve them, I let the feelings go. I don’t need to “cope”. My two options are: solve it or let it go.

6.  How long after stopping drinking did you stop counting days sober, and realise that however hard the work was, it was worth it?

I stopped counting at just under a year. I always knew it was worth it – because the alternative was staying in the misery I was in before. No matter how hard it was, it had to be better than that.

7. Do you believe anyone can recover like you did?

Yes. With all my heart.

If you’d like your questions about recovery answered, drop me a line here.

by Beth Burgess

 

Video

Addiction and Mental Health – YouTube

9 May

Addiction and Mental Health – YouTube.