Personal Boundaries: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Protect Them

You have the right to decide when to share your feelings and the kind of information you share with other people.

Happy New Year Friends! It has been a while. I hope you take this topic into consideration when thinking about your New Year Resolutions. Let’s get into it then.

I happened to find myself in a conversation one day with a bunch of people; I knew them a little, I would not say we were close or best friends. All of a sudden out of nowhere, the conversation turned into a talk about sexual positions they liked and had been in and would like to be in. Yeah, it turned very awkward very quickly but I could not get out of there for a reason. All of a sudden, they were all looking at me like it was my turn, when I told them that the topic was very personal and that I was not going to talk about it, they tried to guilt trip me into spilling. One of them said, ‘Oh! this is just an opportunity for us to learn from each other’. Another one said, ‘You just heard ours, do not spoil the conversation’.

I laughed a little, in my head I was saying, ‘I did not ask you to say all that, I did not start the conversation’. I insisted that, I was not comfortable having such a conversation so I did not.

I was being true to myself and protecting my boundaries, I was not going to allow anyone to convince or manipulate their way into crossing them, which will later cause me some form of discomfort.

These kinds of situations normally tend to happen when we try to venture into new relationships or groups. Let us take a little time to find out what personal boundaries are, why we need them and how we can effectively set and enforce them.

What are Personal Boundaries?

Personal boundaries are invisible lines which separate what is acceptable or not to an individual. Each individual defines what is acceptable to them and thus where a boundary is drawn is very specific to that individual.

Boundaries are also drawn in relation to the different kinds of relationships in an individual’s life. For instance, the kind of personal information which an individual will share with a spouse will be very different from what will be shared with someone they just met on a bus.

Types of Personal Boundaries

There are a variety of personal boundaries that you need to set in order to maintain control of your life, especially now that you are in recovery and seeking to build your life back up. We will however discuss physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual and time boundaries here.

Physical Boundaries

Physical boundaries have to do with physical touch, personal space as well as your physical needs.

Touch, is about who is allowed to touch you when and in what ways.

Personal space is about the amount of physical space that you allow between yourself and others, for instance, maybe you are comfortable to allow people in a space of about 20 meters away from you but not closer, you have a right to communicate that to people around you. The amount of personal space you require may differ for the different people in your life; it could be closer for people you are very close to; like your best friend and wider for other people; like co-workers.

Personal space also has to do with the people you allow in certain spaces in your life like your home or bedroom; you have the right to decide who is allowed in and who is not.

Physical needs such as when you eat and sleep are things that you should be in charge of; you have the right to decide when you eat or sleep, these are things you should not allow other people to make you feel guilty about.

Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries have to do with your feelings and thoughts; recognizing and acknowledging them as well as the right to feel a certain way in reaction to certain situations. This also has to do with how much emotional energy you have to offer in any given relationship and recognizing that you are not responsible for other peoples’ happiness, just as other people are not responsible for yours.

You have the right to decide when to share your feelings and the kind of information you share with other people.

Sexual Boundaries

Sexual boundaries refer to the lines you draw in relation to your sexual behaviour. The kinds of things you are comfortable doing in a sexual situation with and to whom, when, where and in what manner. An example could be clearly communicating to a partner about your desire to keep your relationship without sex until whenever you become comfortable.

Spiritual Boundaries

Spiritual boundaries are drawn to protect your rights to believe in what you want and in what ways you worship and practice your religious beliefs, so long as whatever you are doing is legal wherever you find yourself. Like for instance, someone was trying to argue with me about the importance of fasting and praying as a Christian, because he did not believe in such a practice. I had to politely ask him to respect my beliefs and not to argue with me about it.

Time Boundaries

Time boundaries have to do with the time you make for yourself and deciding how you want to spend it without distractions from other people. It also has to do with having the right to protect yourself from having people waste your time and being over-worked. For example, you have the right to insist that your evenings are for spending time with yourself instead of being forced to take work calls.

Importance of Setting Personal Boundaries

1. Shows Your True Self

Your boundaries separate you from other people by showing what your standards, values and beliefs are. That way, you show that you know who you are and what you like and will not allow anyone to tell you otherwise. This gives you a sense of independence and confidence in yourself which will command the respect of others.

2. Fosters Healthy Relationships

Because you know who you are and what you want, the tendency of allowing other people to violate your boundaries without taking any form of action to protect yourself is very unlikely. At the same time, you communicate clearly what you need and expect from other people in your life and make sure that that is what you are receiving. This fosters respect from others and protects you from physical, emotional and sexual violations and thus fosters healthy relationships.

3. It is a Form of Self-Care

Setting healthy boundaries means that you are not tossed ‘to and fro’ anywhere or do anything just because another person wants you to, which keeps you safe and gives you peace and adequate rest.

4. Helps to Develop Realistic Expectations

When you set and communicate your boundaries effectively, people in your life know what to expect from you, you will also learn about the boundaries of other people and that will help you to also know exactly what to expect from them. Thus no one is disappointed or unnecessarily hurt.

5. Helps Avoid Burnout

Enforcing your time boundaries especially at work helps you maintain work-life balance which prevents you from burning out easily.

How to Set, Communicate and Enforce Boundaries Effectively

1. Think clearly about what boundaries you need to set and why? Never forget the why, that is what will help you maintain that boundary.

2. Let your values guide you when setting your boundaries.

3. Communicate your boundaries clearly to the people around you and let them know what actions you will take when those boundaries are crossed.

4. Follow through immediately, consistently and intentionally with actions that you communicated about taking when a boundary is crossed.

5. Re-evaluate relationships regularly to determine whether certain boundaries need to be expanded or constricted.

Your Takeaway 

It is important to set personal boundaries to protect yourself from being violated physically, emotionally, spiritually or sexually. Boundaries give you a sense of who you truly are and also a sense of independence and confidence. Communicate your boundaries clearly to the people in your life and take decisive action to protect yourself when your boundaries are violated. While you are at it, learn about other people’s boundaries and respect them as well.

Go try these out, experience the new confident you and let me know what you think in the comments.

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.

Care for Women with Substance Use Disorder

Treatment for women with Substance Use Disorder is in a class of its own.

When treating a woman, her whole family especially her partner and children need to be included.

Research has shown that treatment which does not include the significant others in the woman’s life is not effective because women always put their family first before, during and after treatment.

Keep in mind that over 70% of women seeking treatment have experienced at least one trauma in their lifetime.

Treat women with respect and show that you can be trusted. Women prefer to work with genuine people who care about their situation, show respect for them and empower them to make good choices.

According to SAHMSA, women do better in women only treatment facilities run by women.

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.

What is Recovery Series: Part 2; 4 Steps to Regaining Your Social Health

If you say you are going to do something, do it. Be consistent. Don’t flip flop on your decisions. Inconsistency breeds mistrust. Don’t be that person anymore. Be honest.

Hello, welcome back. This is part 2 of the ‘What is Recovery Series’. I hope you found Part 1 insightful. Let’s get right into this one.

If you did read part 1, you would know that recovery is not only about achieving and maintaining Abstinence, it is all about making a better life for one’s self. I always tell my clients, ‘It is an opportunity to rebrand yourself. Do all the good things that you did not have the time to do before. Reinvent yourself into a far better you’.

One of the sure ways to become a better version of yourself is through proper conduct of yourself in social situations. In active addiction you may have spent all or most of your time doing not-very-credible things, hanging out with not-very-credible company, hanging out in not-very-credible places and just basically being a not-very-credible friend, parent, partner, employee, neighbour and citizen.

This is one of the major reasons why persons with substance use disorders are Stigmatized and discriminated against; the not-very-credible behaviour they exhibit.

So now that you are in abstinence and have taken care of your physical, emotional and spiritual health, let’s look at 4 ways in which you can begin healing your social life as well.

1. Stay off Roads and Connections that will Not Take you Where you Want to Go

There is this old saying ‘show me your friend and I will show you your character’. Another one says, ‘birds of a feather flock together’. Another one in the Bible says, ‘Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good habits.’ (I Corinthians 15:33).

I don’t think I need to say more. The point I am trying to make is, the best way to reinvent yourself is to do things differently than you used to. The company and connections you were used to keeping are not going the way you want to go now, unless maybe this journey is something you are taking as a group.

People who are not trying to leave drugs behind are not going to be able to inspire you to continue being abstinent, they will try to get you to remain in their company, continue to do things the old way. The question you should ask yourself is, why would you take a journey on a road going to Kumasi when you are trying to get to Cape Coast? It doesn’t make sense.

It will be hard because these old connections may have been in your life for such a long time, however these old connections could serve as triggers that if not properly handled, will lead to relapse.

Ask yourself this, ‘You have been on those roads for so long, have they taken you to any good place?

2. Build New Connections

Go ahead and make new friends.

Find people also on the recovery journey who can support you and guide you in this new endeavour. When undertaking any new venture, it is always easier to have a guide who can walk you through their own experiences, which could serve as an example to guide you, instead of bumping all around in the dark until you finally find out what works.

Also, try to meet new people not just in the area of your recovery but in any new direction you are trying to go. You may be interested in a new hobby; find people in those circles that you can share those things with. Or simply just find new people of good character, who can inspire you to achieve your goal of being the better you.

3. Mend Broken Bridges

Living the not-so-credible life means that you may have hurt some people over the years, these people may be very important to you.

At this point, the most honourable thing to do is to apologize to the people you have hurt. This is important! Don’t just move on and pretend as if everything is well and good now. Acknowledge your mistakes, own up to them and ask for forgiveness. This when done sincerely will show to the people around you that, you are being responsible and are more likely to give you another chance to prove to them that you really mean what you are saying.

This means that you are also going to have a lot more support for your recovery from all these people who are now back in your life.

 It may take more than one try to be totally forgiven by these people, don’t give up too easily.

4. Put on a New Garment

Don’t just plead and ask for forgiveness saying you are a new person and just leave it at that. Show everyone that you are truly a new person. Stop doing the not-so-credible things you were doing.

If you say you are going to do something, do it. Be consistent. Don’t flip flop on your decisions. Inconsistency breeds mistrust. Don’t be that person anymore. Be honest.

At this point, re-evaluate your values and see whether the principles you are running your life by are going to make you the better version of yourself that you are aspiring to be. If not, well, then you have some serious thinking and decisions to make.

Are you going to decide to run your life by values that make you into a better and credible person? Or are you just going to keep living by the same ‘old codes.’

The goal is to improve your life and become the very best version of yourself. Make the right choices, try these four steps, start your social healing journey, live your best life in the society!

Stay alert for Part 3, coming soon!

What is Recovery Series: Part 1 – Healing

What is Recovery?

In a real sense of the word, it means regaining everything you have lost.
I am currently enrolled in a course specifically designed to teach Evidence based approaches to giving specialized care for women with Substance Use Disorders. There was a question about an example of what recovery is. Most of the options were talking about someone who had stopped using drugs but could not hold down a job or could not maintain a healthy relationship with other. The correct option was the one describing someone who had stopped using drugs, had a job and could pay for her apartment and was in good terms with her neighbours and was also a volunteer at her local Community Centre.

To paint a clearer picture about recovery, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defined it as , ‘a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their fullest potential.’
The example and definition suggest therefore that, for someone to attain full recovery from Substance Use Disorders, a lot more than abstinence is required.

In the next few weeks, we are going to look at this topic in great detail. This will be a five part series. Let us get right into part one which I have titled, ‘Healing’.

The beginning of recovery is starting to gain your health back. Substance Use Disorder does not only negatively affect the physical and mental but also spiritual health. Now that you are in abstinence, the first order of next business is to pay to your health.

Physical Healing

You need to have a general physical health check up to find out whether everything is working at optimal levels. Take medications that may be prescribed properly.
Maintain a healthy eating habit. Make time to prepare your own meals with healthy ingredients to avoid acquiring other diseases which could arise from unhealthy food choices.
Maintain a good sleeping habit, drink a lot of water.
Do not forget to get some physical activity. Move the body, do not sit around all day. Go for walks, get some chores done and maybe do some gardening.

Mental Healing

Substance Use Disorders can induce some mental disorders like anxiety or depression, which usually resolves when substance use is stopped. Anxiety or depression can also be a sign that your body is in withdrawal from the drugs that have been taken. This situation is also likely to resolve by itself after withdrawals have ended.
However, in some cases, these may not be resolved without treatment, probably because the mental health disorder may have already been an issue independent of the drug use which was not diagnosed earlier. It could also have come about as a result of a long period of exposure to drugs.
Whatever your situation may be, you need to make an appointment with a mental health care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Other mental health disorders like bipolar disorder and personality disorders can also affect the quality of your life. See a specialist for assessment and treatment so as to start your new journey with a sound mind.

Spiritual Healing

Just like you neglected your physical and mental health during active drug use, you neglected your spiritual health.
Your spiritual health is the sum of self-care, treatment of others, what values you have and how you treat the environment.
If you treat yourself well by eating well, washing your body well and regularly, think good thoughts about yourself, you treat all others with respect and dignity, you live your life with good values that make you walk in integrity, and take time to care for your environment, then you have quite a decent spiritual life. Love of self and others is the key!
Living a good spiritual life guarantees peace, love and freedom of mind.

Your Take Away

If you want to realize the full benefits of abstinence and enjoy your life in recovery, start by taking care of any medical conditions, mental disorders and pursue a good spiritual life. These will ensure a sound body, mind and spirit, which will help you to achieve the other aspects of recovery.
This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more..

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.