BEATING DEPRESSION AND ALCOHOLISM-CORRECT INFO CAN HELP
Any time we can get our hands on something that might help in the fight is worth investigating. Alcoholism information and how to beat Depression techniques can be worth their weight in gold. Even answering the question have I Anxiety or Depression in addition to am I Addicted to Alcohol is not an easy quest.
Richard Fields Ph.D. has written a book called "Awakening to Mindfulness-10 Steps for Positive Change." Below is an interview with the author. Check it out. Maybe there is something in there for you or your loved ones.
But always bear in mind that the Alternative Healing methods should not replace traditional medication and professional intervention. I like to think of them as supplements to enhance medical intervention.
1. Dr. Fields can you describe "Mindfulness" for the viewer/listener who has limited exposure to the concept?Mindfulness is multifaceted. However, the key element of mindfulness is "compassion." Buddhism teaches us that life involves suffering, all of us will experience suffering in our lives, whether disappointments, illness, loss, and death. Mindfulness at its core involves having compassion for others’ suffering, as well as our own. Not being hard on ourselves and others, recognizing the challenges that we all face, and supporting one another.
2. You say it is "multifaceted," what are the other elements of "Mindfulness"?
Mindfulness involves "being in the now", concentrating and being present, moment to moment. Not judging. Not being focused on the lost opportunities of the past, nor the ruminating thought streams of the future, but instead being present "in the now", experiencing true freedom. Mindfulness is about "remembering’, remembering to be present, without criticism, judgment, self-blame or shame. It involves Right Speech, goodness, and wholeheartedness.
3. What is Right Speech?Right Speech is one of the dimensions of the Buddhist Eight Fold Path of Right Livelihood. Right speech is first of all "truthful". Half-truths, omissions, exaggerations, gossip are not right speech. Right speech is spoken with a mind of good will – it is helpful, kind, and appropriate. The Buddha believed speech should be gentle to the ear, not harsh.
4. What are the other benefits of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness and meditation helps alleviate anxiety, depression, and anger and any number of physical conditions from back pain to headaches, as well as interpersonal problems. Mindfulness allows you to focus on the "joys" of life, nature, relationships, and the gratitude for what we have, rather than focusing on what we don’t have, or think we need.
5. I understand you specialize in "Alcohol/drug recovery and relapse prevention, and you use mindfulness practices to help with alcoholism and drug addiction.Yes, indeed. I have specialized in counseling individuals with alcohol/drug problems for over 25 years, and mindfulness is a wonderful tool for both overcoming addiction and preventing relapse. For example, we use the pneumonic HALTS to remind ourselves of our vulnerability in mind and body to both alcohol/drug relapse, and general relapse to negative, self-damaging behaviors.
HALTS, stand for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, and Sick. When we are in these states, we are vulnerable to making bad decisions, being negative and critical of others, and self-damaging. Recognizing that we are in HALTS, we can then slow down, being more reflective than reactive, make connection, rest, and embrace practices of good health.
When we are out of HALTS we can then make better decisions. Many a couple have been criticial, contemptuous, blaming, and mean to one another when they are in HALTS, which results in escalated "tireless debates" that cause harm in the relationship. They would be better off, getting some thing to eat, resting, calming down, and waiting until they are out of HALTS. My book outlines these and other Mindful strategies.
6. Speaking of your book, how does this work, do people just read it to incorporate "mindfulness" in their lives?I wish it was that easy. Unfortunately mindfulness is very hard to maintain. Some people can invoke mindfulness by just reading my book, or other books, but they often relapse into "mindlessness". Awakening to Mindfulness has many other tools to help the reader develop and maintain mindfulness. There are 10 steps to healthy mindful change. Each step has a "mantra" – a word that helps the reader to remember to invoke that mindful step.
For example the first step involves "Compassion" and that is the mantra. You repeat Compassion to yourself each morning to remember to invoke compassion for others and self throughout your day. At the end of each chapter there are exercises and activities to reinforce the mindful concept for that step. There is also a meditation that you can do to focus on that step. You are also encouraged to read the step to your partner, children, or to yourself to remember and recapture the essence of that step.
The book was designed to help you be more mindful by providing all of this in an easy way to use. The steps are relatively short, so you can read them easily.
7. Can you give me an example of one of the exercises?Sure. Let me give you a personal example. One step is to make connection with others. I went to Hawaii with my wife and some friends for my 60th birthday. On the morning of my birthday, before others had a chance to phone me, I telephoned my mother, father, sister, friends, colleagues, and thanked them for their love and support.
Instead of their congratulating me on my birthday, I congratulated them for their support and connection. You can imagine the joy this brought to their hearts and mine as well.
8. What about "attitude", that is one of your mindful steps?Yes. Look at this HOPEISNOWHERE.What do you see? Most people see "Hope is no where", some see "Hope is now here." This illustrates that just a minor shift in perception can make the world of difference in attitude and therefore influence how we are in life. Interestingly one person saw "Hope I snow here." He was an avid skier and was hoping for a good snow season.
Interestingly Psychology has 25 diagnoses for depression, whereas Buddhism describes over 50 states of "Joy". Mindfulness allows us to have an attitude and focus that recognizes the suffering in life as normal, but more importantly focuses on all the wonderful and joyful things in life. This gives us true contentment, as we smile at our human condition and understand how beautiful life is, in both the pleasures and the pains.
9. A major focus of the book is the 10 steps for positive and healthy change, can you tell me more about why people do not make positive and healthy change?
I describe two major roadblocks to positive and healthy change are: denial and delusion, and procrastination. Mindfulness teaches us to be present, to not be in denial or delusion about what we need to work on.
10. Can you tell me more about this denial?
Yes. We joke in the alcohol/drug recovery field that denial stands for a river in Egypt (De-Nile). Another joke is that denial d-e-n-i-a-l, stands for I don’t even know I am lying. So a major step in exploring healthy change, is to be aware of your own denial and delusion.
Procrastination takes many forms. I was going to start a therapy group for procrastinators, but I put if off, fearing that no one would show up. There are many kinds of procrastinators. Here are a few of them:
There are Chaos Procrastinators - People often maintain chaos in their lives, in the form of clutter and disorganization. Chaos allows them to not take responsibility for their lives, and get on with growth and healthy change. Think of the mess in your garage, or your office, home, even in your car. Think of the many small and large things you have put off doing – from cleaning to paying your bills or balancing your checkbook. This kind of chaos procrastination prevents you from embracing healthy change.
There are the Perfectionistic Procrastinators - They put off change, rationalizing that things have to perfect in order to implement healthy and mindful change.
There are the Worriers Procrastinators - They worry so much, that they don’t take action.
There are the Distractor Procrastinators - They create crises, or drama, which distracts them from healthy change.
11. How does Mindfulness help us not procrastinate?Mindfulness allows us to put the real issues at the forefront, or foreground of our consciousness instead of the background. Mindfulness involves being "reflective rather than reactive". It puts in perspective the fear of rejection, fear of failure, even the fear of success – and quiets these fears through mindful awareness of reality through concentration and meditation.
So would you say everyone can benefit from this book?
Yes, as long as you make up your mind to. Tee-hee.
Interesting stuff. I have the Book for sale in my Sidebar under the Amazon banner. Please let me know what you think about this advice given in the book. My copy is en route from the States to South Africa.
Basically any Alcoholism Information or content on How to Beat Depression is time well spent.
Thanks to Richard Fields PH.D.
The New York Times ran an article on this book. Have a read. Also have a look at a Video on this subject.
Please have a look at my own Recovery Stories from Alcoholism and Depression-
Please have a look at my own Recovery Stories from Alcoholism and Depression-
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