, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think it is easy for us to get caught up in addictions without even being aware of what we are doing until it starts taking over our lives and changing the way we interact with people, or treat our pets. We get so caught up with the excitement, the distraction it provides,  that it seduces us. It is only when we realize we no longer have peace or happiness, that we come to terms with the realization something is wrong. Sometimes we even sacrifice pieces of ourselves to feed the addiction. We stay up late, do things we know damages our health, and we try to convince ourselves that what we are doing has great value to us. It also keeps us from taking advantage of all the things around us that we now have. We become consumed by the addiction. Sometimes we neglect family, responsibilities, pets, spirituality, health, and other relationships.

I became addicted to the computer, to writing. It was a way to escape my illness, facing my eight-hour infusions in the hospital every two weeks, my grief over losing someone, and having to deal with new changes in my life-style because of illness and retirement. So I decided to go two weeks without blogging. I set myself up with a schedule of doing things I did three years ago when I felt happy and peaceful.

Found on Pinterest on 4-1-15. Melody Beattie.

Found on Pinterest on 4-1-15. Melody Beattie.

I set myself up to read a devotional every morning and to pray. I stayed off the computer except to go through e-mails and delete the ads, and the political ones so when I came back in two weeks to answer the ones I needed to, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I watched DVD’s on T.V., but not many. I read the paper every morning. I took the time to go out and meet with friends, do acts of charity toward others, and do errands. I read books for pleasure and books for self-improvement.

Every day I tried to do something creative: write a story in longhand, write in a journal, and use my hands to make something. I spent more time outdoors. I increased the time I spent with my dogs and threw balls to them.

Found on Pinterest on 8-8-15.

Found on Pinterest on 8-8-15.

I made sure I ate two meals a day, slept 6-7 hours at night, took my medications as prescribed, scheduled chores when I had the energy, and had a small list of chores to try and accomplish every day. Social activities were planned every week. I used DBT skills to deal with emotions: distraction, deep breathing, self-soothing activities,  and I tended to my own needs. That was new for me. I learned to start accepting things I could not change and began to appreciate the things I have now.

I became kinder to myself in terms of being more accepting of my weaknesses, my thoughts, and feelings, and learned not to reject what was imperfect in me. The surprise was I found peace inside me by making me do those things which would create joy, peace, and good feelings. I feel more grateful for the things I have now and prayer has helped me feel more hopeful. The hard part is going to be to regulate my time on the computer so it doesn’t interfere with living, to finally let go of relationships that aren’t helpful in building self-esteem, and to improve my health. Peace and happiness lie within me, not other people. People can support you and care for you, but ultimately peace and happiness starts within you.