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Written by Mike
Had a blast at the NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers) conference this past week. I’m constantly impressed with the group of leaders that get together to talk about best practices, network with other leaders, and in general look towards the future. I’m also very happy that my presentation on Thought Leadership and Succession Planning went so well and was very well attended. Thanks to everyone who came, and I’m looking forward to many ongoing discussions in this area. Can’t wait to see everyone out there on the road, working to improve treatment and create true changes within families.
Written by Mike
I had the chance this week to spend some time with the folks at MusiCares, a charity that helps struggling musicians get back on their feet. MusiCares has a great outreach department that provides support for musicians around the country. Most of my work and experience with MusiCares has been in their addiction services, but they also provide support in areas like dentistry, medical care, and flood assistance. Although a branch of the Grammys, MusiCares operates independently and can always use more support. Click here to see how you can help a musician get well. And here’s a link to see some of the inspiring stories about musicians getting clean and sober.
I have to open this by admitting, I was once a smoker. I loved cigarettes. Deep down, part of me still loves them. Not the actual cigarette, or the smell, or the taste… maybe I miss the comradery? The excuse of taking a break to smoke? The actual ritual?
So, why did I quit? I had of course heard health risks for years. Some how knowing the facts were not enough. Finally, I realized that my mental, physical, and spiritual health had to be in balance in order to be fully and wholly “well.” Smoking was the one factor that was preventing me from truly taking care of myself.
I did not take medication. I did not wean myself off of cigarettes. I just stopped. However, I did have a wonderful support group of friends that had already quit smoking, or were in the process. If I wanted to smoke, I simply called a friend, read some motivating literature, or wrote down why I did not need/want to smoke. Today, I am completely nicotine free. The smoke and tar are not the only detrimental elements of a cigarette – the nicotine is extremely poisonous as well.
Some problems with nicotine:
“Nicotine initially causes a rapid release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone. If you’ve ever jumped in fright at a scary movie or rushed around the office trying to finish a project by your deadline, you may be familiar with adrenaline’s effects:
· Rapid heartbeat
· Increased blood pressure
· Rapid, shallow breathing
Adrenaline also tells your body to dump some of its glucose stores into your blood. This makes sense if you remind yourself that the “fight-or-flight” response is meant to help you either defend yourself from a hungry predator or hightail it out of a dangerous situation — running or brawling both require plenty of energy to fuel your muscles.
Nicotine itself may also block the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin tells your cells to take up excess glucose from your blood. This means that nicotine makes people somewhat hyperglycemic, having more sugar than usual in their blood. Some people think that nicotine also curbs their appetite so that they eat less. This hyperglycemia could be one explanation why: Their bodies and brain may see the excess sugar and down-regulate the hormones and other signals that are perceived as hunger.”
The above is from: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nicotine3.htm
The following is an extremely helpful list of tips from Zen Habits:
10 Tips for Quitting Smoking
I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of quitting smoking. Well, of finally quitting … like most smokers, I had tried to quit many times and failed. But this quit stuck, and I’d like to share the top 10 things that made this quit successful when the others failed.
1. Commit Thyself Fully. In the quits that failed, I was only half into it. I told myself I wanted to quit, but I always felt in the back of my mind that I’d fail. I didn’t write anything down, I didn’t tell everybody (maybe my wife, but just her). This time, I wrote it down. I wrote down a plan. I blogged about it. I made a vow to my daughter. I told family and friends I was quitting. I went online and joined a quit forum. I had rewards. Many of these will be in the following tips, but the point is that I fully committed, and there was no turning back. I didn’t make it easy for myself to fail.
2. Make a Plan. You can’t just up and say, “I’m gonna quit today.” You have to prepare yourself. Plan it out. Have a system of rewards, a support system, a person to call if you’re in trouble. Write down what you’ll do when you get an urge. Print it out. Post it up on your wall, at home and at work. If you wait until you get the urge to figure out what you’re going to do, you’ve already lost. You have to be ready when those urges come.
3. Know Your Motivation. When the urge comes, your mind will rationalize. “What’s the harm?” And you’ll forget why you’re doing this. Know why you’re doing this BEFORE that urge comes. Is it for your kids? For your wife? For you health? So you can run? Because the girl you like doesn’t like smokers? Have a very good reason or reasons for quitting. List them out. Print them out. Put it on a wall. And remind yourself of those reasons every day, every urge.
4. Not One Puff, Ever (N.O.P.E.). The mind is a tricky thing. It will tell you that one cigarette won’t hurt. And it’s hard to argue with that logic, especially when you’re in the middle of an urge. And those urges are super hard to argue with. Don’t give in. Tell yourself, before the urges come, that you will not smoke a single puff, ever again. Because the truth is, that one puff WILL hurt. One puff leads to a second, and a third, and soon you’re not quitting, you’re smoking. Don’t fool yourself. A single puff will almost always lead to a recession. DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE PUFF!
5. Join a Forum. One of the things that helped the most in this quit was an online forum for quitters (quitsmoking.about.com) … you don’t feel so alone when you’re miserable. Misery loves company, after all. Go online, introduce yourself, get to know the others who are going through the exact same thing, post about your crappy experience, and read about others who are even worse than you. Best rule: Post Before You Smoke. If you set this rule and stick to it, you will make it through your urge. Others will talk you through it. And they’ll celebrate with you when you make it through your first day, day 2, 3, and 4, week 1 and beyond. It’s great fun.
6. Reward Yourself. Set up a plan for your rewards. Definitely reward yourself after the first day, and the second, and the third. You can do the fourth if you want, but definitely after Week 1 and Week2. And month 1, and month 2. And 6 months and a year. Make them good rewards, that you’ll look forward to: CDs, books, DVDs, T-shirts, shoes, a massage, a bike, a dinner out at your favorite restaurant, a hotel stay … whatever you can afford. Even better: take whatever you would have spent on smoking each day, and put it in a jar. This is your Rewards Jar. Go crazy! Celebrate your every success! You deserve it.
7. Delay. If you have an urge, wait. Do the following things: take 10 deep breaths. Drink water. Eat a snack (at first it was candy and gum, then I switched to healthier stuff like carrots and frozen grapes and pretzels). Call your support person. Post on your smoking cessation forum. Exercise. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES, BUT DELAY, DELAY, DELAY. You will make it through it, and the urge will go away. When it does, celebrate! Take it one urge at a time, and you can do it.
8. Replace Negative Habits with Positive Ones. What do you do when you’re stressed? If you currently react to stress with a cigarette, you’ll need to find something else to do. Deep breathing, self massage of my neck and shoulders, and exercise have worked wonders for me. Other habits, such as what you do first thing in the morning, or what you do in the car, or wherever you usually smoke, should be replaced with better, more positive ones. Running has been my best positive habit, altho I have a few others that replaced smoking.
9. Make it Through Hell Week, then Heck Week, and You’re Golden. The hardest part of quitting is the first two days. If you can get past that, you’ve passed the nicotine withdrawal stage, and the rest is mostly mental. But all of the first week is hell. Which is why it’s called Hell Week. After that, it begins to get easier. Second week is Heck Week, and is still difficult, but not nearly as hellish as the first. After that, it was smooth sailing for me. I just had to deal with an occasional strong urge, but the rest of the urges were light, and I felt confident I could make it through anything.
10. If You Fall, Get Up. And Learn From Your Mistakes. Yes, we all fail. That does not mean we are failures, or that we can never succeed. If you fall, it’s not the end of the world. Get up, brush yourself off, and try again. I failed numerous times before succeeding. But you know what? Each of those failures taught me something. Well, sometimes I repeated the same mistakes several times, but eventually I learned. Figure out what your obstacles to success are, and plan to overcome them in your next quit. And don’t wait a few months until your next quit. Give yourself a few days to plan and prepare, commit fully to it, and go for it!
BONUS TIP #11: THINK POSITIVE. This is the most important tip of all. I saved it for last. If you have a positive, can-do attitude, as corny as it may sound, you will succeed. Trust me. It works. Tell yourself that you can do it, and you will. Tell yourself that you can’t do it, and you definitely won’t. When things get rough, think positive! You CAN make it through the urge. You CAN make it through Hell Week. And you can. I did. So have millions of others. We are no better than you. (In my case, worse.)
For more from Claire’s blog, check out Southern Phried Mamas.
Occasionally during the Holidays, we are so concerned with gifts, shopping, baking, crafting, parties, and decorating that we forget the most important task… taking care of ourselves. Multi-tasking and eating are what my Holidays typically consist of. However, this year is different. I’ve managed to exercise almost daily, journal, meditate, eat a healthy diet, enjoy time with friends and family, rest, and attend my support groups. I know… this sounds crazy. But, all it takes is a plan.
Each week I open up my calendar – if you are reading this blog, chances are your iPad, laptop, or phone has the calendar application. I allot time each day for my most important activities. I “schedule” everything from times to work, to meetings, to my yoga classes. I print the calendar and post it all over my house, so I can hold myself accountable. The past few weeks have possibly been the best I’ve had all of 2011.
By putting myself and my own recovery first, I am peaceful, grateful, and calm. I find “what is right” rather than “what is wrong.” I am able to prioritize my life, and yes, ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS.
May you all be merry and bright!
”Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world” – George Bernard Shaw
Recently. the team at Ferguson BHC was fortunate enough to visit English Mountain Recovery (EMR) in the beautiful mountains of Sevierville, Tennessee. Executive Director, David Cunningham, gave us an amazing and thoughtful tour of this warm facility. It was so refreshing to visit a program full of love, for not only their clients, but their staff and the surrounding environment.
For more information on English Mountain Recovery, visit:
Spent some time traveling around and learning more about our field. Here’s a quick snap of Mike Ferguson and Jennifer Graham of Second Nature Wilderness Programs at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders. Mike sits on the board for C4 Recovery Solutions, the group that puts on the conference.
Over the last two months, our team has been very busy, visiting residential, therapeutic and aftercare resources all over the country. We’ve visited program therapists and staff at PCH Treatment Center, Cirque Lodge, Second Nature, Mountainside, Mountainview Recovery, and Alta Mira. We also had the opportunity to have a great visit at Lifeskills of South Florida and look forward to doing more work together. While in Florida, we also visited Hanley Center and met with the staff of Wings, a consulting group in Boston. Near the end of October, we visited English Mountain Recovery and played in a golf tournament supporting Next Step Recovery, a not-for-profit sober living group that supports both men and women leaving primary treatment.
Our team looks forward to continuing our work with these and other providers in the upcoming months.
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