Overcoming addiction

 

I was in denial for most of my adult life about my addictions. It’s not really something which people want to talk about I guess.

But I know that what I went through is similar to a lot of things most of us go through.

Addiction is a stigma, a taboo, and something to be ashamed of in all societies. No matter where you’re from, having an addiction makes you an outcast. So, identifying as an addict is a little bit controversial in my mind.

I believe we all have some degrees of addiction and that’s why I needed to write this post. I also wanted to share my story because I have seen the epidemic which is going on around the world about the increased use of narcotics.

I was going through a rough patch in life and I found myself doing ‘drugs’ (not really drugs but that’s what I am going to call it for now). It was a habit which slowly became hard to break and with time, it became the norm.

I eventually sorted the problems that caused the downward spiral which made me to self-soothe with ‘drugs.’ But my recovery was very strange and uncommon. What I’ve learnt from my recovery is that we don’t know enough about addiction and what it takes to overcome them.

A few years passed before I realised that my addiction had just disappeared. I had no impulse or desire to use ‘drugs’ any more. Just like magic, I was free from an addiction which probably lasted about 13 years.

It made me question what had happened and whether I had an addiction in the first place. I came to the knowledge that I had unknowingly placed myself in rehab.

What people need to realise, is that when you have an addiction you may not like the use of whichever substance or habit you are drawn to, but you probably have no willpower to consciously stop your toxic consumption or habits.

But what happened to me is that I found a deeper connection in something greater. And that’s what a lot of people are lacking, greater connections.

Most are unaware that there are unknown addictions too. The ones which society would not label as toxic but with time ‘these things’ consume you and make you numb the pain, the dissatisfaction of the moment, the failures of yesterday, and all the things which you wish would just be okay.

Unusual addiction

Shopping, gambling, Twitter, binging on unhealthy foods. These can become an addiction too. Some have become so drawn to modern day addiction, you would be surprised that it will soon become an even a bigger problem.

However, I don’t think there is a lesser drug, because, at the end of the day, they all destroy you in the process. Some destroy faster and others appear to have no side effect at all. But how wrong our we to assume some ‘narcotics’ don’t have side effects. Because you can’t see the damage doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And the thing with ‘drugs’ is that it also affects those who are around you. The whole human chain is affected. Some people are touched directly and some may never feel the effect until years later.

I found the remedy for my addiction without looking for it. I didn’t intend to stop using drugs although I knew the negative effect massively outweighed the good effect. I found myself in at a crossroad and that’s when I would pinpoint as ‘the turning point,’ But I only just recently realise that I had the total transformation.

So what did I do which drastically changed my old habits? Well, I moved away. I had no plans on moving away. But the change of environment was the catalyst for the new me.

I found myself with a different kind of people. In a different crowd. It’s not so much the people but also their mindset. I had a strong desire already welling up within me for a change. So when the change came it also contaminated other areas which I had no hope for, areas which obviously needed to change, i.e my addictions.

But like I said, finding a deeper connection in people, in life, in work, in God is what changed things for me. We live in a world that gets more and more lonely. I used to be able to count the number of friends I had with my ten fingers, I’d be incredibly lucky if my circle of friends even reached number 5.

So for me, the urge to do drugs wasn’t there anymore. No desire to get high, and hear this… No withdrawal syndrome. When I think about it, it makes me want to pinch myself, because if you have any compulsive behaviour you will understand how hard it is to stop doing a particular thing.

But in my case, I didn’t work for it. God took care of it in a supernatural way. He moved me on from all the triggering factors. The frustration which automatically made me feel inadequate and worthless were gone. The stagnation of life came to an end and so did my addiction. Answering all the why’s in your life goes a long way in getting the rehab effect on your addictions.

Just know that no matter your addiction, you can overcome it. Find yourself someone who really cares, someone who won’t let you down, no matter how long your recovery journey takes.

A very special video will soon follow this post.

I know a lot of people are wondering, so what is your addiction? My addiction was a success. I was so addicted to experience, feel and live a so-called successful life that it all spiralled out of control. This addiction made me take an irrational decision. It stole my joy and my self-esteem.

And many would never call this an addiction. But compulsive behaviour, self-damaging habits is a problem. So call it what you want, it still needs addressing.

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People Skills

Why Understanding People is a Life Saving Skill

What is people skills?

Have you ever heard of ‘people skills?’ (well, you have now)

I consider this one of the most important skills a human being can have. Because understanding why people are the way they are will make a difference in maintaining good relationships. But what is the definition of people’s skills? This is a skill employers love!

A Forbes article described people skills as  “the various attributes and competencies that allow one to play well with others…” I couldn’t agree more, and the word ‘playing’ implies a child like mentality and approach to relationships. You see, children always get into fights.  but eventually they forget their differences and end up playing with each other again. I think we are born with people skills and then along the way they get tarnished and damaged then need repairing.

 

Why Am I even talking people’s skills?

This blog post came about very naturally if you ask me . I had a misunderstanding with a family member a while ago and I just couldn’t understand their reactions. Look, no matter how tough someone can look, they still have feelings. But as obvious as that can be I think it is easy to forget that people have emotions like us (sounds vain, but it’s true).

Looking back at the old classic movies (or cartoons I should say),  they often portrayed big tough guys as really sensitive and big softy inside. I have learnt to not let people’s looks fool me, after all even mature men cry from time to time.

This realisation made me see people in a different light because it is so easy to put ourselves before everyone else and to undermined what other  are feeling. I just want to share a thing or two from what I learnt from personal experience.

Men cry too

When I first saw my dad cry; I just couldn’t believe my eyes, I thought to myself, something must be terribly wrong. By the way, I was probably about 9 years old at the time. I then got to understand that my uncle had passed away. This was my first time experiencing grief, and it cut really deep.

Understanding that emotions can sway people in different ways,this should really make you sensible to how you approach people. I know grief is such a strong emotion but for me it’s the best emotion I can use to make people understand my point.

No one really wants to experience grief, because it’s such a hard emotion to shift and get over. Well, I have learnt to treat people in a same manner, don’t allow people to feel emotions that are hard to shift. Don’t allow your feelings to spill over which consequently make someone feel grief like emotions that will impact them for a long time to come.

The emotion factor: What has emotion got to do with it?

My sister in-law sent me a very cute message the other day. And here it is:

“Everything Heals. Your heart heals. The mind heals. Wound heals. Your happiness is always going to come back. Tough times never last only tough people do.”

I was so touched by this tiny yet powerful message, in fact, it almost made me cry because the message came at such a perfect time. Although  healing is inevitable and that is a really reassuring to many of us. But we need to remember that scars are a reality too and if you have scars on your body you will know they take a long time to fade. So ideally I prefer to avoid causing any wounds.

I found a very enlightening article the other day which highlights why emotions are important. It pointed out the following points.

  • Emotions Help Us Survive, Thrive, and Avoid Danger
  • Emotions Can Help Us Make Decisions
  • Emotions Allow Other People to Understand Us
  • Emotions Allow Us to Understand Others

The one that stood out to me the most, is the one that talked about decisions making. This is because I know what it means to make decision based on feelings, they are the worst kind of decisions and often leads to regret. So I think twice when I speak because I know it can impact someone’s feelings and therefore their emotions.

The environmental factor

The second factor to consider when trying to understand people is their environment is different from yours. People come from different background, cultures, religions, upbringing (The list is long). Why people are quick to claim that their ideology is better than everyone else? I don’t know. Why people are always claiming their culture is superior than the rest of ours? I don’t know. But what I do know is, there is bound to be one thing which you can appreciate in a foreign culture. At least one.

And if like me you were born in Africa but raised in the west, you may have come to embrace two different cultures, and to be frank I am never over critical or fanatical of any of the two cultures. But one thing I have come to understand is that it is useless to make someone see from your perspective when they have never seen through your eyes. I would love for people to have walked in my shoes but the reality of things is that people may never walk in our shoes.

in conclusion…

Once you come to understand the fact that people have similar emotions to yours and that their environment is why they are the way they are, it will create a tolerance and instill patience when dealing with people. It will change your reaction and social interactions with people forever. so now you know that some people smile and some people don’t, some people look others in the eyes some others don’t. Some cultures spit while others don’t. Now you may understand why people skills has helped me and may help you in your relationships.

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Why asking for help is not a sign of weakness but actually a sign of great strength

Many believe that asking for help makes one look weak, incompetent and cowardly. I once believed it myself, but thing changed, not so long ago.

The idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness, is like refusing to wear life jacket while at sea (best analogy I could think of). The thought of asking for help  was unthinkable to me at one point. I would have rather  be left out dry than to  simply ask for help. My brain was wired in a strange way then, and I believe that this mindset stemmed from what I had witness and endured in the past. I saw people close to me asking for help when they were in a most deprived environment, in a desperate place, in a weak and vulnerable position. I have since then associated  a cry for help as a position of weakness. Until I got a revelation; help is not only for the weak but also for the strong. I came to the conclusion that help can be acquired for those that have found success and also those who aspire for success.

I have always been obsessed with crime dramas as long as I can remember. And you may wonder how this is relevant at all. Well, I have studied lawyers and attorneys for a while; I realized that they are only able to make a successful case with help of many individuals. As talented and smart as lawyers are, they still need help from others to succeed. Lawyers don’t just knock on doors they often smash doors too. Okay, I’m not saying to knock anybody down for the sake of getting what you need but you can certainly learn the art of assertiveness and get people who wouldn’t normally look in your direction to partner with you.   So I now better understand the expression ‘NO man is an island,’ I need you and you need me. I scratch your back and you scratch mine.

At one point of time we must accept, ask or render help to and from someone. That’s how civilization  evolved, that’s how the world works. Any successful entity functions with the principle of providing help/solving a dilemma, an equation, a problem, ect…

I was once was ashamed to accept help from anybody. So if like my old-self you think it’s wrong to admit you need help, you may soon or later find you can’t progress any further. I thought I could do things on my own for the longest time. I would only accept help when I ran out of options, but the fact is I didn’t put myself on this earth and neither did I get this far by my own prowess or abilities. Someone had to accept my applications, someone had to open the doors, to teach me a few things. Be open minded  and allow help your way.

 

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Beautiful life (Spoken Word)

I will never leave thee nor forsake thee

You’re never helpless, nor hopeless

Don’t envy or lust on what you see with your physically senses

They’re only temporal and not eternal

Rather cast your eyes on the  spiritual

Cos godliness with contentment is great gain – Its spiritual

Nothing stems from the physical

All things are first spiritual, yes the real you, it’s spiritual

The monarch of the universe made no mistake when he made you. Just like Him

Created in his image, made to function like the master

Set to live from a position of rest

Welcome to the beautiful life

Where dreams come alive

Where sorrow is traded for joy

Where trouble is all but shadows

And Yea, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  fear no evil:

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me

He said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee

So why are we troubled by circumstance which are temporal

When we serve a God who is eternal

you serve the beginning and then end, yet question what the future holds

There is beautiful life

Have you found The life

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The Meghan Markle Effect

Dear young people
The newly titled, Her Royal Highness Duchess of Sussex formerly known as American actress ‘Meghan Markle’ is not your ticket out of oppression, she is not the answer to racial disparity. She is not a lifeline, she is not a means to escape the austerity any of us may be facing. She is not going to solve the enormity of unsolved problems our society is dealing with. So we should just leave Meghan to her royal duties

Yes we can
This is not to critical exposé on the newly wed (I’m a royalist too). I love the royal family . But I have recently been seeing all sort of unrealistic expectation being laid on the new Princess, as though she is responsible for our upkeep.

Because she is unconventional and has broken records and norms, doesn’t mean she will in turn reform our standard of living. After all, even Obama couldn’t solve the racial issue in America, therefore Markle is certainly not our ticket out of our personal challenges.

Hope not in man
Take note, we see success and we immediately think that they owe us some kind of favour. We see someone doing well, and we think they have a responsibility to sort us out too. It’s okay, to hitch a free ride now and again, but life doesn’t always dishes out favors.

On the other hand, we can personally aspire to big dreams too. I am  sure Markle didn’t apprehend Prince Harry over night. They must have worked on their relationship, they both made sacrifices for the beautiful royal union we’re witnessing today. So don’t see people as a solution, see people as inspiration instead and make time to create our own promising future.

Good intention
It goes without saying, that Markle has in the past championed amazing causes and spoken about pressing topics. That in itself is great, because we need patrons and ambassadors to highlight important causes. But Shining a light on a particular subject doesn’t address the problem, it only exposes it.  We live in one of the world riches country yet we can see experience austerity and hardship, we still in one of the worlds richest nation see kids who still live in poverty. We see division and inequality everywhere. We must admit that standing up for noble causes is admirable, commendable but it takes more than one figure to change the world. We must all be involved.

You are enough
In essence what I am trying to say is, our problems are not going to be solved by idolising great people, even the government can not solve our problems. I’ve learnt to not put my trust in men. Glorifying celebrity and putting them on a pedal stool is wasting precious time. Instead we ought to look inward. Individually, we have a role to play. We are the masters of our own lives, we have a responsibility to ourselves first. Make ‘you’ great first. If you think Markle is going to make our lives great, think again.

Sure be inspired by great women and men’s achievement, by all means emulate the good in them but also create an accolade of your own, leave a lasting legacy of your own. Become in turn, an inspiration to generations to come.
We sometimes sell ourselves short. We value others more than we value ourselves. Count yourself worthy, believe in you, believe you have what it takes to make yourself better off. The potential of a tree lies in its seed. Everything you require is already in you. You just need to harness your greatness.

Call to action
The Meghan Markle effect has been felt everywhere. Why? Because she now represents change, she represents the new, the modern. She has broken ranks and tradition, she has modernised the royal family with a ‘I can influence change’ mindset. But truth be told… She has not got the power to modernise our lives, so by all means be inspired but most importantly take charge of your own life. Take action today.

I know all too well that It takes a strong desire to effect a change. Maybe you haven’t found enough courage to become the change you want to see yet. And that’s okay. The first step is always the realisation that things can no longer stay the same. What you need next is more information and more importantly accept and believe the reality that you can change the circumstance you are in. What you want to do next is change your attitude, change the way you do things, speak the right words and listen to the right folks. Then take action. Things are not going to change themselves. Get in the drivers seat, turn on the engine and drive. Destination?… You decide.

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