Posts

Be ready to tackle your day so your day doesn’t tackle you!

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Beginnings are so important–in books, movies, relationships, etc. And the way we begin our day is also important. If we do it right we can set ourselves up for more success and less stress throughout the day.

Give these 5 tools a try to jump-start your day. Make them habits and you’ll probably start having a lot more good days than bad days.

1. Catch Your ZZZ’S

Most folks need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested and have a peak performance day. A great morning starts with planning the night before. Get to bed early enough to get all the sleep you need. You don’t need to stay up to watch the Tonight Show–that’s what DVR’s are for!

2. Get Centered

Spend time every morning doing meditation or prayer. This will give you a calm, centered and focused start to your day. I love the Stop, Breathe and Think app for meditation.

3. Pump It Up

Do some form of exercise–cardio, weights, yoga, run, walk–whatever you like to do. If you are short on time you can find thousands of mini workout routines online. Do something to get that blood pumping and you will feel more energized and ready to tackle the day!

4. Be In The Know

Spend a few minutes getting caught up on the news or read a new blog related to your industry. Stay up to date and informed about the world, your community, and your chosen field. Do this and you’ll be ready and well informed for conversations throughout the day.

5. Focus

Be crystal clear on the most important item or items to accomplish each day. Ask yourself, “What is my priority today?” If you don’t know–then choose one!

I would love to hear if you have any tools you use to jump-start your mornings! You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my website for more info on counseling and life coaching at www.randymoraitis.com. Please visit our nonprofit foundation CarePossible at www.carepossible.org for info and resources for those in need.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Hardly a day goes by that I am not approached by someone–either an addict in recovery who is struggling to stay clean, or the loved one of an addict concerned about their loved one relapsing and overdosing.

These are people from all walks of life, yet they usually ask the same question—a question truly born out of desperation, and that question is: “What should I do?”

To help answer that question I offer these 8 Tools for Relapse Prevention. If an addict in recovery sincerely works in these eight areas they will greatly reduce the likelihood of a potential fatal relapse. This is important for both the addict and the family to know.

8 Tools for Relapse Prevention

1. Meetings—addicts need to go to recovery meetings such as AA, NA, CA, Celebrate Recovery, or Lifelines.Meetings are where you learn new things to help the brain heal from the damage caused by the addictive behaviors, and where you can find encouragement from hearing the experience, strength and hope of others staying clean. There is great wisdom in attending 90 meetings in 90 days for those trying to get and stay clean.

2. Counseling—addicts often have some deep down issues that, if never addressed, will continue to
rear their ugly heads and possibly trigger relapse. Issues such as anxiety, depression, and trauma can be processed with a good counselor or therapist and the addict can be given tools to grow in healthy ways. The counselor may also recommend a medical exam for a complete assessment and treatment plan.

3. 12 Steps—the 12 steps are an amazing tool for healing and spiritual growth. I highly recommend everyone work through the steps as they are even beneficial to those not in recovery from addiction. Here is a great site with info on the 12 steps: http://12step.org/

4. Sponsor—addicts need a sponsor to guide them through the 12 steps. I recommend a sponsor be of
the same sex, have one year or more of sobriety, and have worked through the steps with their own sponsor. The addict should find a sponsor they trust who meets these guidelines, then take direction from the sponsor.

5. Health and Wellness—this includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, stretching, and relaxation/meditation. I highly recommend those in recovery find a healthy activity that they enjoy such as crossfit, martial arts, running, surfing, or yoga. This will give them some good clean fun, get those endorphins flowing, and often lead to making new, healthy friends.

6. Family Support—addiction is a family disease. If you have a family member or loved one impacted by addiction, guess what? You are impacted by addiction! Family members of addicts will help the addict, and themselves, by attending Al-Anon or CoDa meetings. Seeking counseling to learn healthy ways to support the addict
without enabling, as well as how to have healthy self-care is also recommended.

7. Recovery Coach—a good recovery coach will give the addict numerous tools to stay clean and sober and hold them accountable in their growth and sobriety. Additionally, a recovery coach will guide the addict to find purpose in life. Once a person has purpose and they are passionate about it, they are more likely to stay focused on achieving their purpose and less likely to relapse.

8. God—the 12 steps were designed to take people on a spiritual journey and trust in a higher power. Many addicts fresh in their recovery have no idea who their higher power is. That’s normal and to be expected. My personal experience is that I have seen thousands of addicts over the years have great success choosing God as their higher power. Having a spiritual foundation gives one much needed strength during times of temptation and triggers. The Life Recovery Bible is a great resource to learn more about the intersection of faith and recovery, and prayer can be a powerful tool for healing.

I would love to hear if you have any tools you recommend for relapse prevention. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my website for more info on counseling and recovery coaching www.randymoraitis.com, or visit our nonprofit foundation CarePossible at www.carepossible.org for info and resources for those in need.

By Randy Moraaitis

If you have never been to a 12 step meeting, then you probably have no idea what the 12 steps are all about, other than perhaps associating the steps with addicts. Following is a very brief overview of the 12 steps to help spread awareness.

The 12 steps are a set of guiding or spiritual principles originally designed to help those struggling with alcoholism. The steps have proven to be a very effective tool for many people struggling with, not only alcoholism, but addictions and compulsions of many varieties including drugs, food and pornography.

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.  Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

A great benefit of the steps is that those who sincerely work through the 12 steps can live healthier and more honest lives than those who do not. There are numerous types of 12 step groups and meetings where one can find the steps being put into practice including:

  • AA—Alcoholics Anonymous
  • NA—Narcotics Anonymous
  • CA—Cocaine Anonymous
  • MA—Marijuana Anonymous
  • SA—Sexaholics Anonymous
  • OA—Overeaters Anonymous
  • CoDa—Codependents Anonymous
  • Al-Anon—for friends and family of addicts

12 step groups are a great source of free therapy. If someone cannot afford traditional therapy or counseling, they just might find a lot of healing in a 12 step group related to their struggles.

There are many variances between 12 step groups, so if you try one that is not a good fit, don’t give up—try another one. A simple Google search will lead to meeting schedules and descriptions.

Bottom line—the 12 steps are a great tool for healing, so if you’re new to the steps read through them a few times and see how they could grow you—even if you’re not an addict.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. For more info, or for help finding a meeting, please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com.

Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com.

Here are the Top 5 Wisdom on the Way Blog Posts of 2014

What was your favorite blog post of 2014?  I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org.

Websites:
www.carepossible.org
www.thecrossing.com
www.randymoraitis.com

liar

Do you ever wish you were better at spotting a liar?  Do you have trouble trusting your teen, spouse, or employee? Here’s some info that will help you be a better lie detector!

It takes a lot more mental effort to lie than it does to tell the truth because it’s hard work to remember all the details of the lies. This fact can help us catch a lie if we know what to look for.

Psychologist Jacqueline Evans of the University of Texas and her colleagues developed a set of lie-detecting guidelines that anyone can use.  Here are six cues that, when combined, signal a lie.

  1. Missing Details–A person honestly recounting an event might mention the kind of music playing in the background or the color of the flowers on the table. A liar skips many little details because they are difficult to reconstruct or remember in later renditions.
  2. Claims of Faulty Memory–Liars may claim to have a poor memory, when the truth is that they can’t remember their own lies!
  3. Corrections or Contradictions–Liars often heavily edit their stories as they are retelling them. So pay attention–if this happens frequently enough, you may be hearing a lie.
  4. Effortful Thinking–If it appears the person is putting a lot of effort into coming up with their story, then that is a good indication that you may be hearing a lie.
  5. Nerves or Tension–It takes a great liar, or a psychopath, to pull off a string of falsehoods without looking at least somewhat anxious.
  6. Unusually Slow Speed–Liars often need to take quite a bit longer to tell their stories because they need to self-edit and try to be consistent.

What’s your favorite way to spot a liar?  I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org

Websites:
www.carepossible.org
www.thecrossing.com
www.randymoraitis.com

Special thanks to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PH.D., and Psychology Today 12/14 for this info.

Temper Tantrum

I’ve noticed that adults rarely think in terms of maturity with each other. In fact, we grown ups tend to expect maturity from other grown ups, right? And that often leads to disappointment.

Here are 7 Signs of Emotional Maturity. Take a moment to honestly assess how you are doing in each of these areas.

1. The ability to deal constructively with reality.

2. The capacity to adapt to change.

3. A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties.

4. The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving.

5. The ability to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness.

6. The capacity to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets.

7. The capacity to love.

If you find yourself lacking in one or more of the above criteria, you are not alone. Many of us grew up in homes where these traits were not modeled or taught. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to grow up! Ask a trusted friend or mentor to help you grow in the areas needed, or seek a coach or counselor for expert guidance.

I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org

Websites: www.carepossible.orgwww.thecrossing.comwww.randymoraitis.com

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

K2, Spice, and bath salts are designer drugs that frequently make the news because of their link to overdose deaths and abnormal behavior. In fact, just this past March there were several teen deaths in Washington State caused by designer drugs.

Designer drugs problems are not isolated to America. Europe has seen a huge influx of designer drugs, and earlier this month New Zealand actually banned all designer drugs making them illegal. (Something I believe all countries must do!)

I learned the truth about these substances at a seminar taught by a leading physician/scientist in the field of addiction and designer drugs. Here are the important highlights that everyone needs to know:

  1. K2 and Spice are often considered a marijuana replacement because they resemble marijuana and are smoked.
  2. K2 and Spice are actually nothing like marijuana in their chemical composition.
  3. K2 and Spice are chemically similar to a combination of methamphetamine and LSD.
  4. K2, Spice, and Bath Salts are very dangerous. The original inventor said that these substances were not for human consumption.
  5. Designer drugs can be very addictive.
  6. K2, Spice, and bath salts can cause permanent brain damage or psychosis, including schizophrenia, after one use.
  7. Designer drugs kill brain cells.
  8. Spice causes delirium, a sudden severe confusion.
  9. People can have flashbacks from Spice and bath salts.
  10. Chemists frequently change the molecular composition of designer drugs to stay one step ahead of drug tests, so designer drugs often go undetected.

I urge every parent and care giver of children and teens to learn the facts about designer drugs and then share them with your kids. Kids think that designer drugs are harmless because they can buy them in stores or online. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to educate our families and our communities about the serious dangers of designer drugs!

Please share this post with others to save lives and prevent overdoses.

I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org.

Websites: www.carepossible.orgwww.randymoraitis.com

Intervention

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction–to drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or other behavior, then you are probably stressed, worried, frustrated and angry.

You’re probably wondering what you can do to help your loved one, or if there even is anything you can do to help your loved one. There is a myth that we must wait for an addict to bottom out. The truth is that for many addicts their bottom is death.

Addiction is a disease, and caring people do not wait for someone with a disease to die. Caring people do all they can to get the person with the disease into proper treatment.

For those afflicted with the disease of addiction, a proven way to get them into treatment is to do an intervention. Now, we have all seen interventions done on TV shows or in movies, so we all have an idea of what an intervention is like.

But the truth is that the method of doing interventions has greatly evolved over the years. No longer do we need to surprise our loved one and simply read letters to them (without even making eye contact!).

There is now a more effective (and more user friendly) method of intervention developed and refined by nationally known interventionist Brad Lamm who is the interventionist for The Today Show, Dr. Phil and The Dr. Oz Show.

This method is known as an invitational intervention and has as it’s ultimate goal to get your loved one to say yes to a change plan moving them towards healthier behaviors. With the support of the loved one’s family and friends, along with the guidance and pre-planning of the trained interventionist, the loved one will be set up for success and given an opportunity that may save their life as well as bring healing to the entire family.

If you do have a loved one struggling with addiction, you have options. As a Certified Intervention Professional I am happy to answer any questions you have and guide you towards the best help for your particular set of circumstances. Please feel free to contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com.

Websites: www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com

Observations from The Gathering on Mental Health and The Church held at Saddleback Church on March 28, 2014:

  • This was not a churchy pray away the problem type of event. It was very scientifically sound and included teaching from some top mental health professionals including Daniel Amen, MD, Tom Okamoto, MD and Aaron Kheriaty, MD (Professor of Psychiatry at UC Irvine).
  • The goal was to prepare church leaders to effectively deal with mental health issues because 26% of adults will have these issues and one third of these folks seek help from the local church first.
  • Another goal of the event was to reduce the stigma and reduce the fear of mental illness.
  • Science and religion should be in dialogue–not contradict each other.
  • Research shows prayer and meditation are very helpful to those with some mental health issues.
  • We’re all mentally ill on some level–it’s just a continuum–so don’t judge others!
  • Family, faith and community support are huge factors in successfully treating those with mental illness.

Conclusion–this was an amazing, much needed and much overdue event! Lives will be changed and even saved from the seeds planted at this event. Personally, I am very grateful to work at a church that is on the forefront of providing quality mental health care to our community.

You can watch a webcast of the event and download the accompanying workbook here: http://mentalhealthandthechurch.com/Webcast. The workbook is an incredible compilation of helpful resources and next steps in helping those struggling with mental health issues.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Email: randy@randymoraitis.com

Websites: www.thecrossing.com, www.thecrossing.com, www.randymoraitis.com


Those who know me well know that I am a huge fan of healthy boundaries. So when I came across these tips on Finding Your Voice to say No by psychologist Judith Sills, Ph.D., I just had to share. If you are new to saying no and setting boundaries, give these tips a try– you will be empowered!

Finding Your Voice

1. Replace your automatic Yes with “I’ll think about it.” This puts you in control, softens the ground for a NO and gives you time to think things through to make a healthy choice.

2. Soften your language. Try “I’m not comfortable with that”, or “I’d rather not”, or “let’s agree to disagree”. You are still delivering a clear “no”, but softening your language may make it go down better.

3. Contain your feelings. Even though you may not feel like it, No is best delivered pleasantly with an air of calm. Outward calm quiets your inner turmoil and reduces the negative impact of your No on your audience.

4. Refer to your commitment to others. Say No without appearing selfish by stating how you would love to help, but must keep your prior commitment to your mother, child, etc., and you can’t let them down.

5. Realize you represent others. When you realize it is not just your own interest at stake, but that of your family’s, you will feel more assertive in giving a No to a low-ball offer or intrusion on your time.

6. Rehearse. This strategy is best for ongoing situations such as a demanding boss or recurring relational conflict with a spouse, friend, or family member. By rehearsing, you are prepared to respond with a calm, respectful No.

With some regular practice finding your voice, you just may get to the place where you can respond to any inappropriate, uncomfortable, excessive request with a firm one-word, no explanation verdict–No.

I wish you well in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Email: randy@randymoraitis.com

Websites: www.carepossible.com, www.randymoraitis.com