What is Recovery Series Part 4: Clean your surroundings, Feel Good

‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’. This is not me trying to be overly religious because this is not a bible verse, you can find out. This expression is simply trying to say that if we want to be the best part of ourselves, keeping ourselves clean is just next to that.

Welcome Back! I’m glad you are here. Today we are continuing our series on Recovery. In this episode, we will focus on cleaning our self and surroundings.

There is a common saying which states that, ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’. This is not me trying to be overly religious because this is not a bible verse, you can find out. This expression is simply trying to say that if we want to be the best part of ourselves, keeping ourselves clean is just next to that.

Why is it so important to keep ourselves and our environment clean?

1. Improves Mental Health

Research shows that, keeping a clean self and environment does not only keep the body healthy but the mind as well.

Remember that, substance use disorder is a mental health disorder, which takes time and a lot of work to recover from. Keeping a clean environment helps to relieve stress, discomfort, makes the air fresh and clean, reduces anxiety and thus improving general mental wellbeing.

I experienced this first hand when somewhere this year my house got flooded and everything was messed up with mud and dirt. It took about a month to clean everything out of the house, throw out the spoiled and damaged property and rebuild the broken parts. During that time, I was frustrated, anxious and depressed. I only started feeling better when everything was finally cleaned and the house began to look normal again.

2. Improves Physical Health

When the environment and self is clean, there is a better chance of avoiding diseases and infections borne from germs, bacteria and viruses. This ensures a healthy physical body which will enable you have the energy that you need to support the mental exercises and activities that are required for attaining your recovery goals.

A healthy physical body means less frequent visits to the hospital which will eventually save you money and time to engage in activity that will be beneficial and profitable for you.

3. Boosts Confidence

A clean body and environment make you confident around others and makes it easier for you to make new friends as you reintegrate into the community. A clean body and environment also improve people’s opinions about you and goes a long way to determine whether you will get that job, apartment, business opportunity and any other new venture you may be trying to get into.

4. Build and Maintain a Positive Character

Living healthy is a positive character trait which you can cultivate and develop from here onwards. When you clean yourself and your environment, you inspire other people to do same and as a result you become a good example for other people to emulate. When that happens, you will be motivated to maintain that character trait that you are admired for; you would not want to ‘lower or drop the standard’. That is what will help you maintain the positive character you have initiated.

What areas should you particularly focus on cleaning?

Wash, Wash, Wash

Wash everything! Wash your clothes, underwear, sleeping sheets, towels. Towels should be washed after at most, every 3 days; you cannot imagine the number and types of germs hiding in there. Other clothes and sleeping sheets can be gathered and washed weekly.

Wash your body, mouth and hair. Change your underwear daily and shave your armpits regularly.

Wash your cups and bowls and kitchen equipment right after using them to avoid breeding bacteria in there.

Wash and scrub the bathrooms and showers, germs hide there too, especially the toilet, wash it every day.

Sweep, Dust, Mop, Weed

Sweep the room and surrounding areas. Dust surfaces to avoid dirt from getting on yourself and to avoid inhaling dust which could cause respiratory irritations and flaring up allergies in the nose and eyes.

Mop the floors at least once a week with disinfectants to prevent germs from hiding there and also to leave it looking clean and fresh.

Weed any bushes that may be growing around to prevent mosquitoes and other dangerous insects and/or reptiles like snakes from infesting your environment and putting your life at risk of getting stung or bitten, which could become a matter of life and death.

Straighten, Press, Tuck In

Lay your bed, tuck the sides into the bed frame if you have that kind of bed, press your clothes, arrange your room properly. Keep yourself and house organized, it relieves a whole lot of stress and makes it easier to find things and get other things done.

Always wear your clothes ironed, it gives you an enlightened look.

Cut, Trim, Comb

Cut your hair if you are not wearing an afro or braids or dreadlocks. If you do have locks or are keeping any style of hairdo, keep it clean. Trim your beard if applicable, and your nails too.

Try these and experience good mental and physical health, see your confidence jump to new heights and experience a stress-free new life. Let me know what you think in the comments.

What is Recovery Series Part 3 : Economic and Financial Recovery

After all the skills sharpening, new training and education and putting out your best work, do not spend everything you earn. Invest some of the money for a ‘rainy day’.

Most of the time, the storm of substance use for many years results in deep economic recession in your life as well as that of your family.

I remember a quote, which is also a fact that I heard for the first time in primary school, class 6 in a science lesson; ‘we eat to live, we don’t live to eat’! I did not understand it back then, so it sounded a bit odd to me. I was thinking that the statement should be reversed, because I thought, ‘If you are not alive, how can you eat?’

But how wrong I was. The big questions are; how long can you live without food? Can you get any food without money? Can you make any living without financial resources?

Maybe you can live on charity from your family, friends and neighbours for a while, but how sustainable can that be? How long will that last? To make a good and decent living (to eat well, have a good place to call your home, good clothes to wear) for yourself and dependents, you need to take matters into your own hands. You must do it yourself.

Let’s look at 3 basic ways to start recovering financially.

Get a Job that can Earn you an Income

Nowadays the best way to get a job is to be referred by someone who knows you. Start asking your friends, family members and neighbours to tell you about any job that they may hear about which matches your job and skills.

Some of these people may be in a position to offer you a job, why don’t you go ahead and ask. Do not be afraid of rejection because of your substance use history. You will never receive help if you do not ask for it. So just ask and see how it goes.

Your drug treatment programme may even be able to assist you in getting a job, find out from them whether any of those services are available or whether they can refer you to any recruitment firm which may be able to match your skills and experience to a job which may be available.

If you already have a job, this is the opportunity to ‘resume with renewed energy and good attitude.’ This is your opportunity to do your best job, to show everyone that you are a new person, living a new life. Your hard work will eventually lead to a promotion and raise in salary, as well as other opportunities that will make your life better.

Some jobs even come with packages like health insurance for you and your dependents, paid vacations, vehicle maintenance allowance and rent allowance, imagine if you were to get one of those…..

Get Your Skills Updated/Get Yourself Trained

You may have been out of commission for a long time and thus may not be abreast with current trends in your industry. Take the opportunity to learn about what is new, sharpen your skills so that you can put out good work which would eventually bring you good fruits.

Look to trusted colleagues and supervisors for help. Nowadays, so many free training can be found online, use that avenue if necessary.

If you do not already have a job or career to rebuild or sharpen, then get yourself trained in something that you believe you will be good at. You have skills or passions that may not have been developed; get yourself enrolled in some formal education or a vocational trade; whichever you prefer is fine.

Do something with yourself, give back to the community. If along the way you encounter any challenges; maybe financial, look for help in the community in the form of community free training opportunities, scholarship opportunities, entrepreneurship and other mentorship opportunities around you. You will not find them if you do not seek them. So please seek for these opportunities, they are out there.

Invest

After all the skills sharpening, new training and education and putting out your best work, do not spend everything you earn. Invest some of the money for a ‘rainy day’.

Beware of suspicious investment schemes who try to double your money in a few weeks or months, those are never reliable and always end up being fraudulent.

The hallmark of any good investment scheme is that, you get returns on your investment gradually and at ‘reasonable’ rates. Do your research, look for a reputable financial institution, let them tell you about what options are available and suitable for you.

Investing in insurance policies especially health insurance, will serve as a cushion for you in times of health emergencies such that, you wouldn’t have to liquidate your investment account to take care of that. There are other insurance policies that you can explore, talk to a reputable insurance company for advise.

This is the end of part three, I hope you are enjoying our time together as I am. I will see you soon with part 4. Until then, stay safe, work hard, make money, eat well, live well.

Happy Fathers’ Day

For you in recovery, this is an opportunity to ‘mend fences, build broken bridges and strengthen wobbly ladders’ with your fathers. This is the time to get closer to such figures who are capable of being there for you physically, emotionally, financially as well as spiritually.

Father’s Day. Yeeeiiiii!

Today, I saw a lot of social media posts of pictures of fathers, pastors, husbands, brothers and father figures in general. The first thought that crept into my mind is this, ‘‘most of these people are posting pictures of father’s they probably have not spoken to or been good to in weeks or months, just to keep up appearances’’.

I am not saying you are one of those people. I was just wondering whether we have taken time to actually reflect on what this day is supposed to be about.

I personally think this is a day to be grateful to the fathers in our lives for their love, care and guidance.

For you in recovery, this is an opportunity to ‘mend fences, build broken bridges and strengthen wobbly ladders’ with your fathers. This is the time to get closer to such figures who are capable of being there for you physically, emotionally, financially as well as spiritually.

If you do not know how to go about that, here are a few suggestions.

Say Thank You

It is important to express how grateful you are to your father or father figure for what they have done for you. Be specific in what you are thanking him for. There may be a lot of things you can say but listing them specifically will have a greater impact than just saying, ”Thank you daddy for everything’’. How do you think something like, ‘‘thank you daddy for paying my hospital bills last month’’, will make him feel? Even if he has done nothing for you according to your expectations, you can still thank him for giving you life (that is if he is your biological father).

Saying ‘Thank You’ attracts more of everything. You will get more of whatever you appreciate, so thank him more often.

Say Sorry

If you have offended your father in any way, apologize to him, not just today but today can be the beginning of a better relationship between the two of you. 

If he is the one who has offended you, you can forgive him and try to start a healthy relationship with him again. 

Humility, forgiveness and letting go of bad blood between close relatives and associates is the beginning of a healing process which will eventually help in your general recovery.

This does not however mean that you should hold on to relationships that are toxic, abusive or drug fueled which could eventually set you back in your recovery.

Forgive, let go, but only hold on to fruitful and nourishing relationships; father or whoever.

Make Amends

This applies in situations where you can make up for a loss you have caused. Let us say, during the time when you were actively using drugs, you took some money from your father without his permission. This will be a good time to return it, that is, if you can afford to.

Try it, it could be a wonderful surprise, but if by your assessment you think this gesture will cause any form of trouble, it is better to just move forward and forget about the past.

Now Do the Social Media and Other Things

Post pictures and beautiful poetry about your father. I am sure this will make his day when he sees it.

You can also organize him a small party, buy him a gift or take him to a nice restaurant to treat him to a wonderful dining experience. 

All these will go a long way to let him know how much you appreciate him and also help you develop a deeper bond which in turn will be beneficial for you as a source of unconditional support.

Let me know how it goes!

Mind Your Own Life: 5 Strategies to Help you Focus

There can be a lot of pressure to conform to living the life that everyone else is living and measure success according to certain common standards. Nowadays, most people measure success by looking at what house one has, what car one drives, whether someone of a certain age is married with children, where they go out to eat, where they go on vacation, what clothes they wear and a whole lot of superficial things.

This ‘eye service’ style of living has brought a lot of people up to their neck in debt yet they still continue borrowing just to keep up appearances. These same people accuse others who do not want to go down this path as being frugal or stingy.

It is not a bad thing to live a luxurious life if you can afford it, however, for someone in recovery, massing up huge debts just to live to impress other people may serve as a source of stress and potential trigger for relapse.

By all good means and with patience, strive to achieve success which should be measured by your own goals and where you envision yourself in a few years from now, then work towards those goals: your own goals, not those of your friends and neighbours.

Lets look at a few strategies that can be used to live a satisfying life while striving to achieve your goals without getting into unnecessary debt.

1. Live Within Your Means

This should be very basic knowledge for everyone but somehow, it is very difficult for many to follow. In an age where loans are being shoved in our faces here and there, it is very difficult to resist the temptation of taking advantage of these credit facilities.
It is however easier to manage whatever you have, to live within your own means, accruing as little debt as possible so as not to add the stress of servicing huge debts to the other stresses of life.

Make it a rule: Borrow only when it is an emergency.

2. Be Grateful for Where You Are

As you may have heard before, ‘we are all walking different paths in the same world’. Some of the people you started life with may seem to be miles ahead of you. The truth is, how do you know that is true? You may just be where you are meant to be and they may also be just where they are meant to be.
Be grateful that you are on the recovery road right now. There is hope that every other thing in your life will eventually fall in place soon.

3. Have a Clear Picture in your Mind’s Eye about where you are Going

To be motivated and driven to achieve anything in life, you need to have it very well drawn in your mind. Then you need to express that picture in your mind on paper, add up projected timelines with which you wish to achieve these goals, then start working towards them.
Focus hard on these goals, avoid any distractions and diversions and with determination and hard work, you will definitely reach where you want to be.

4. Believe in Yourself, Not What Others Say or Think about You

Most of the time, those people who do not conform to living the life that everyone else is living are tagged as odd or strange. The people in your inner most circle may even call you slow, boring or even stingy. They will tell you that life is short, so spend your money. They will not tell you to save. Yet ask them for assistance in times of crisis and you will most of the time be very disappointed.
Remember, no one will take care of you better that you can. Only you know why you have decided to live your life this way. Believe in your cause and no one can derail you from your path no matter what they say or think about you.

5. Have a little more Faith, it is already done, You just can’t see it Yet

Someone once said that, without faith, we would not be able to do anything, not even something as mundane as sitting on a chair. You sit down on the chair because you believe it is strong enough to hold you up.
If you live life based on the principle of the chair, it would be much easier for you to achieve anything you put your mind to. You would be very confident, questioning the possibility of nothing, because you are sure that whatever enterprise you engage in will succeed.

Your Takeaway

It is true that sometimes you may feel left behind but do not be deceived, a life may look pretty and glamourous but may also be full of debt and stress; just keeping up appearances. Do not get caught up in debt trying to follow that crowd, you do not even know where they are going. You know where you want to be, focus on your goals, and do not give up or allow yourself to be distracted for any reason. Slow and steady always wins the race, just ask the tortoise.

This Human Condition

We are always preoccupied with eating, drinking, sleeping and exercise.
We are so high maintenance.
Failure to do any of these maintenance activities results in deprivation which prevents the human body from functioning properly.
Overindulgence in these activities floods the system with unnecessary junk and also causes the human body to malfunction.
The human body will function at optimal capacity only when a good balance is found between indulgence and deprivation.
There can never be perfect balance of course, but a careful balance at both ends is essential.
I know you have heard all this before, but sometimes I think about it a lot, and realize how so basic this life is, how it can easily be destroyed if not properly cared for.
Take care of yourself, like you would care for your little child.
If you would not over feed or over exert your child, do not do the same to yourself.
Recovery from Substance Use Disorder is not only about Abstinence, it also has everything to do with Self Care.


Take good care of Yourself.

2 Ways to Make It About Love

A while ago, I was having a conversation with someone who was referred to me by his mother. She said he was smoking too much Marijuana and was worried about his health so she wanted me to try and see if I could help him to start thinking about quitting.
It took a lot of tossing and evasive maneuvers from him but he eventually agreed to the meeting.

I tried to explain his mother’s concerns to him; how she was worried and why it will be helpful for him to start thinking about quitting. His response to me was, ‘It is true that I smoke a lot of Marijuana but I do not do it to commit any crimes. I only smoke it because it is something I like. I am not a bad guy’.

I did not know what perceptions or feelings his mother and others may have expressed to him about people who use marijuana but I could deduce from his response that, it was all negative.

This position taken by others towards him probably made him feel like, he had to continue using the drug to prove to them that, he could smoke and still not become a criminal. So I tried to help him see another reason why his mother was concerned about his drug use by looking at two dangerous consequences of continuous Marijuana use.

1. Do you know that continuous Marijuana use can lead to severe health consequences?
‘Extensive research has shown that Marijuana use can cause damage to the heart, lungs and mental health. It can also cause accidents on the road while you are driving by slowing your reaction time, impairing your coordination and distorting your perception’.

‘Since you use and drive, your Marijuana use does not concern only you but all other road users. You could hurt other people even when you do not intend to’.

2. Do you know that Marijuana use is illegal in Ghana?
‘According to the laws of Ghana, anytime you buy, possess or use any Marijuana product, you are breaking the law. So in the process of gaining access to, preparing and using the drug even once, you would have broken the law several times, which could land you in jail for at least ten years’.

‘You just told me that you do not engage in any criminal activity when you use the drug, but criminal activity is not limited to violent crimes like murder or armed robbery, it is any act which is against the laws of our country’, I said.

I continued to help him understand that, his mother is not interested in making him feel like a bad guy, she just loves him so much, she does not want to loose him to ill health or the criminal justice system. She just wants him to live a healthy and full life without any health or legal obstacles.

If you know anyone struggling with drug use, approach them from a place of love instead of condemnation. That is more likely to yield better results.

By the way, the guy agreed to go into treatment, and is taking it a day at a time.

5 Ways to Stop Anger from Eating You Up

Sometime ago, I was very angry about a whole range of issues. From work, to my landlord, and about some other things I do not even remember now.
I was particularly mad at work because, I felt the ‘system’ was not helping me to grow and develop my potential to the fullest. I chose to focus on everything that was not going well, instead of looking at all what was going very well. My thinking made me mad, sad and bitter.

One day, I was talking to a friend, then I said, ‘you know, I don’t even understand why I’m so angry. I think I should just try to fit into the system; I cannot do anything about it anyway, unless I leave, and I am not ready to leave. Maybe I can make use of my abilities elsewhere’.

That was it, I was awake! I realized that the system was not fashioned against me after all; (I find myself laughing at that).
Since that day, I realized that I could always choose to feel a certain way about certain situations and conditions in my life, no matter how dire they may seem.
Life is rough, we will surely feel angry sometimes but holding on to anger does not solve anything. It just eats at us, takes away our loveliness, definitely causes us harm and may lead us to adopt certain unhealthy coping strategies like drug use.

Let us explore healthy ways of managing anger instead of resorting to drug use and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

1. Reframe your Thoughts
This is hard to do, but that is what worked for me. I decided not to let anger control me and destroy my loveliness, take away my beauty, destroy my relationship. I chose to allow myself time to do an honest introspection of the whole situation and the people I was holding responsible for my anger and bitterness. Then I decided not to be like them, I took responsibility for my role in the matter. I just have to do my part and hope others also hold up their end, after all, remaining angry won’t change a damn thing. Being able to let it go changes, everything.
It makes you see better, think better, look better, feel better and eventually be healthier. There are too many things one can possibly die from already, let’s take anger off the list.

2. Talk to Someone
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the best way to deal with this kind of anger that eats at you and makes you miserable is to see a professional. It is very important to talk to a neutral person who is trained to take care of emotional troubles.
Just like it is necessary to take your physical pain to the Medical Doctor, it is equally important to tend to your emotional pain: see a Psychologist, so you do not make things worse by self medicating with drugs.

3. Relax
Sometimes it is easier not to take things too seriously. Learn to take things easy when you have to, take time off work if you need to. Listen to music, go to a quiet place and think things through. Just do what you love. This is likely to take some of the negative angry feelings away.

4. Write it Down

According to research and through my own experiences, I have realized that writing your emotions down on paper is like throwing up unpleasant things that are stuck in your throat. It is an incredibly relieving exercise. Writing your feelings down helps you understand them better because you are forced to put them in words, to express them, which is very therapeutic.

5. Take the High Road
Sometimes some people just want to piss you off. They do that because they probably have problems with other people they cannot stand up to, so they think they can use you as a punching bag instead. Avoid those people if you can. If you have to deal with them on a daily basis, try not to engage in fights with them, ignore them. They don’t have power over you. If they are being consistently unbearable, report them to the authorities wherever you may be, whether it is at work or school. Do not be like them and get aggressive, be classy, let your ‘lawyer’ handle them.

Have a lovely weekend!

4 Reasons Why You Should Tell Someone About Your Recovery Journey

Most of us want the people closest to us to know about any new journey that we decide to embark on. We may even invite them to come along with us.
Why do we do this? Tell me about your reasons in the comments.

A couple of the most popular reasons are that, we want to have someone to share our experiences with. Also, we want someone to kind of watch our back. Another reason may be that, we want to have someone to share the costs with (for instance, you want to go on a trip but can’t afford it by yourself so you invite a friend and then share costs ). It could also be that you want to cheer them up, that is why you are taking them along on a trip.
On the recovery road, you can equally ‘invite someone to come along with.’ This simply means, you can rely on a spouse or partner, trusted friend, sibling, professional SUD counselor or a support group who will give you all the help and support that you would need like on a literal journey with them.
Why then is it necessary to let tell someone about your recovery journey?

To share your Experiences

Bringing someone on your recovery journey gives you the opportunity to have a good and safe outlet to talk about your struggles, successes, failures, wins, insecurities, flaws, the good and exciting days and any other subject you may wish to discuss.
Substance Use Disorder is a disease that many people do not understand and do not care to learn about, they are satisfied with their understanding of it and use those mostly inaccurate perceptions to judge people who are suffering from the disease.
Whoever you bring along on this journey should be open minded and ready to learn about the nature of what you are going through and be ready to attend recovery engagements with you if necessary. This is the only way that the person can truly understand your unique experiences and be able to listen without judgement so as to give you the support that you need to enjoy the journey.

To watch your back

Sometimes we need trusted friends around us to protect us from getting ourselves into dangerous situations or give us advice about some bad habits we may be engaging in. In the same way, we need friends to come along with us on the recovery journey to ‘warn’ us when we seem to be driving off onto a road which is not going to lead to our destination; roads which may lead to people, places and things which could be a trigger for relapse, turn you around and take you back to where you were before the journey began.

To share the costs

Treatment, which is mostly the beginning of the recovery journey is not free, it could be expensive and therefore you may need support from someone to help take care of the financial costs. Other costs may come in the form of taking time off work to get into treatment; in this case, you will need permission from work, meaning you have to tell your supervisor about your journey so that you do not end up loosing your source of livelihood while trying to get well to become a better employee. Even if you run your own business, you will need someone to take care while you are away. Another cost may be child care. If you have children, you may need your partner’s support to cater for them while you are away or you may need to get another family member or trusted friend to care for them if you are a single parent.

To have fun and cheer them up

When you are in the throes of substance use, you tend to ignore most of your responsibilities and obligations to your family, job and community; that is a symptom of the disease of substance use. This situation tends to bring about a lot of tension between you and everyone around you.
Bringing the very closest ones with you on the recovery journey and allowing them to see the amount of work you put in to become yourself again, will definitely serve as a source of joy which will cheer them up and make them extremely happy, which will in turn make the journey fun and cheerful for you too.

So why not bring someone special on your recovery journey today, it will surely be something worth looking forward to.

The Plague called Drug Addiction

I was talking to friend recently who unfortunately has been using drugs for a while now. A young beautiful woman who happens to be in a not so healthy relationship; unfortunately, it is a drug fueled one. Another unfortunate thing in this situation is that, she is expecting!
Apparently, the most important relationships in her life; that which she has with her siblings is also drug fueled. I do not know if it is appropriate to say this but, i think her whole life is ‘infested’ with drugs; cannabis, crack cocaine, heroin and others.
Infested, I hate that word, it makes me think of worms and parasites and locusts and the plagues of Egypt. Whenever someone, anything or place becomes infested with anything, it is almost always devoured. I just remembered the army worm infestation that hit our farms in this country some time ago. It was very bad, most of the affected farms were destroyed because the medicine needed to fight the army worms were not received quickly enough.
My friend used to tell me that she was not addicted to drugs, she said she was just an occasional user. But on this day she started telling me by herself how much weight she had lost over the years (i did not know that), how she used to be successful, had so many friends but had lost all those things now. Then she said, ‘drugs have spoiled my life. Someone I used to smoke ‘the grass’ with told me once that crack cocaine was the devil so I should not try it but I did not listen to her’.
‘The first time I tried it, I could not believe anything could make me feel this way; I felt good so I gave the people around me all my money to buy it with. That’s what I used to do. Eventually my business collapsed because I spent all my money on my friends and drugs, I am generally generous and I cant help it. I used to buy them food, clothes , hair, everything. When I lost everything, they left me, sometimes I did not even have anything to eat but no of them was there for me’.
‘Fortunately for me, I managed to stop but recently I have started taking it again once in a while, when I am hurt. I am always hurt when I remember those times, and also when I fight with my man. I did not even know that he used Heroin until he fell severly ill, I thought he was going to die, I felt helpless and I needed to feel strong and capable of taking care of him so I had to use. Then I felt strong and unafraid’.
We are always fighting so I am always hurt, I don’t know who to talk to. I am hurt, I am always hurt’.She was in tears all through her narration.
Then I asked whether she felt she needed help with the situation so that she could abstain and be a mother to her child, then she said, ‘I am hurt but drugs have hurt me baddest, it has spoiled my life. I want to stop’.
In summary, some people like my friend may use drugs because it is part of what they know and have been thought to be good when they were growing up. Eventually, it may become a solution to their hurts and pains and their need to do and perform better at certain things. However in the end, it becomes a problem when it takes over and infests their lives, slowing killing them. If they don’t receive their treatment soon and on time, they get devoured and perish.
They may be hurting, but drugs hurts them baddest and others around them especially the little babies that may be growing in them who will come out also infested. Or those already born who may be neglected because the person supposed to care for them is hurting baddest.
Help a friend to get help now!

Beat Your Allergies

Many of my patients have asked me, ‘Now that I have stopped using drugs, can I drink alcohol, since it’s not a drug?’

Because this particular question has become too common, it got me thinking about the best and easiest way to answer it thoroughly.

A couple of days later, with still no solution  to my common question problem, I went shopping then I bought a pineapple because my doctor had told me earlier to take a lot of fruits since I was lacking that in my diet. At home, I thoroughly washed the pineapple, peeled it, chopped it into cubes; which are how I like my pineapple and had some before my main meal.

A few hours later, I started having severe stomach ache, it was so bad I could not move for a while, when it got a little better, I went to the hospital.

During my interview with the doctor she asked, ‘what did you eat?’ ‘Fruits and rice, I said.’ ‘What sorts of fruit?’ she asked. I said pineapple. She took her focus off my folder, stared at my face and shook her head. Then I remembered immediately, she had told me several times not to eat pineapples and oranges. Then she reminded me again, “’you are allergic to that fruit, it will hurt you badly if you keep eating it’.

It was really funny how I remembered that I was not supposed to eat oranges but I always forgot that pineapples were not good for me. Truth be told, I have never liked oranges but I love pineapples. I love them so much!

This got me thinking about the question I have been trying to answer. ‘How can somebody who has used drugs and alcohol for such a long time, learn to live without it?’ Despite all the obvious negative consequences of drug use, it can also not be denied that drugs give certain positive effects to those who use them.

Most people start using drugs because they need it to feel better (those suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, pain); nobody ever plans to become addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, once they become dependent on the drug because of the actions that it performs in the brain, it becomes very difficult to stop using without professional help and social support.

My pineapple experience made it clear to me that, not everything we ‘love’ because of how it makes us feel or for whatever reason is good for us. We are ALLERGIC to some of them and if we do not stop taking them, they will hurt us badly.

Drugs may make us feel good, happy, confident, strong, aroused, alert, relaxed, have clarity of thought and help us do so many things that we feel we may not be able to do. But we need to believe that, we are allergic to them, they will hurt us badly if we do not stop running after them. They will eventually stop giving us all those ‘positive’ feelings and make us feel worse than before we started loving them. Later, take away all the other things that we love; our health, loved ones, wealth, dignity, status in society and finally our breath!

Last week, someone ask me again, ‘Now that I have stopped taking drugs, can I drink alcohol since that is not a drug? I said, ‘I know you know that alcohol is a drug. You want to drink it because of how it will make you feel. You should know that, no matter how it makes you feel, it will eventually hurt you badly if you do not stop running after it. Like all the other drugs, you are ALLERGIC to it. Your allergies will kill you if you do not avoid them’.

‘Ask me instead, how can I avoid my allergies, I love them so much and I see them everywhere?’