Choke the addiction cycle

Can We Choke the Addiction Cycle by DE-emphasizing it?

In general there are no shortages of triggering events that effect people dealing with addiction and self-sabotaging behavior. However, the holiday season is particularly fraught with them.

As addiction counselors we have our work cut out for us: help steer someone down a narrow and difficult path. However, have you considered that our continual attention to our client’s addiction, success, and at times failures may feed their addiction cycle?

Consider this for a moment. When we talk to our clients, there is a huge focus on the negative impact of addiction, not only to themselves, but also their families. As enticement, we may even discuss the positive aspect of living without addiction. Notice, however, our emphasis continues to be on addiction. This in turn feeds the powerful momentum in the minds of our clients that continues to revolve around addictive thinking, fantasizing, and behavior. And strange as it may seem, it’s not their fault!

That’s the power of the Law of Attraction. Not only does each thought attract another like it, the next thought has a greater level of momentum, or intensity. Therefore a simple conversation about overcoming addiction may actually be a trigger for many people. Ever tried going on a diet and NOT thinking about food? It’s the same principle.

Ernest Holmes, teacher and author of The Science of Mind reminds us that “life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” With that in mind, how do we help our clients release their momentum on one subject and develop it on another if we can’t even talk about the subject?
Start by changing their focus. For example, instead of building your process around overcoming addiction (notice the focus is still on addiction), emphasize the joy of living a life filled with freedom, self-fulfillment and excitement. In other words, place the emphasis in the area that you want to build momentum in – joy, well-being, self-care. Why is this important? Nobody relapses when they are only focused on the momentum of their well-being. Just like you cannot put your car in reverse and drive forward! Unfortunately, many people have split energy as they also focus on their addiction and when triggered, can relapse.

It’s important to recognize that this process takes time as they have already built up a powerful momentum in one direction and we are asking them to shift course mind stream. I find that explaining how momentum works as evidence of their powerful thoughts fills my clients with much needed confidence and a feeling of control over their lives. For many this is a new and unfamiliar feeling.

Next month I’ll discuss how momentum from your thoughts and beliefs impact your clients’ recovery.

Naheed Oberfeld is an EFT practitioner, coach, and speaker based out of Germantown Maryland. She uses EFT and the Law of Attraction to help her clients live their full potential by releasing patterns of behavior that keep them stuck. She has helped her clients grow their business, reach their career goals, and mend broken relationships, all while creating a life of ease, joy, and passion.

If life is a journey, Naheed helps you enjoy the ride! She can be reached at naheed@oberfeldcoaching.com. Her website is www.OberfeldCoaching.com.


Visualizing Your Way Out Using Your Emotional Guidance System

Last month I talked about the 3 step system to help you move yourself up the emotional ladder.

Hicks Emotional ScaleStep one starts with acknowledging how you feel right now. Step two, which can be the hardest, is to accept yourself as you are. When I was deep in my depression and feeling a lot of self-disgust, I had to believe that I was worthy of a better life, even though I had no external evidence for it. This is the juice you need to fire your engine and get out of your behavior cycles. And finally, step three is reaching for the next higher feeling.

After reading my article last month, a reader asked how do we move from the lower levels of guilt and shame to living a healthier and self-affirming life? This is the focus of this month’s article.

It starts with an understanding of the Law of Attraction – your life is a giant mirror and your outer world faithfully reflects your inner emotions about yourself, the world, and your place in it.

Are you in a situation where your past or present behavior makes you feel guilty, shameful, undeserving of love? If so, you are experiencing the lowest vibration (emotion) on Abraham Hicks’ Emotional Guidance Scale. Click here for the full sized scale. What you may not realize is that the more you focus on these emotions, the more you recreate them in your life. The goal is to reach for the next higher level emotion inside of you.

Start by taking 15 minutes daily and thinking about one aspect about yourself that you can appreciate. For example, with my weight loss clients who claim they hate everything about their body, I ask, even your eyes? How about your fingers? If you have trouble with it, go back to childhood. Perhaps you were a curious child, or was imaginative, full of live? Reconnect with that piece of you, no matter how long ago that was.

As you focus on this part of you that you appreciate, what feelings come up? Can you feel any positive emotion for that part of you, no matter how trivial it may be? Take deep, full breaths and allow these feelings to penetrate every cell in your body. How does it feel? Does it make you feel light? See if you intensify the physical feelings and emotions. As you focus on these feelings, ask yourself if there is one positive situation that you feel you deserve today. It does not have to be big. It could be a smile from a stranger, or maybe a word of kindness or appreciation. But it does have to be something that you do not emotionally reject because you feel undeserving.

Regardless of what your life looks like now, it is important to realize that our current circumstances do not need to define our future reality. Every sports star has to first visualize herself as a winner many years prior to the first competition. As you spend time visualizing appreciating yourself, the Law of Attraction will do the heavy lifting for you. It will bring you the next thought of appreciation, which will be matched by another. Soon you will experience people responding to you in positive ways and circumstances and situations will literally rearrange themselves to match your thoughts and emotions. That’s the power of the Law of Attraction! All it requires is spending a few minutes sending kind thoughts your way.

“The Law of Attraction is responding to your thought, not to your current reality. When you change the thought, your reality must follow suit. If things are going well for you, then focusing upon what is happening now will cause the well-being to continue, but if there are things happening now that are not pleasing, you must find a way of taking your attention away from those unwanted things.” – Abraham Hicks (Money & the Law of Attraction)

By doing this exercise you have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually your life experience. You can read more about it in The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide by Esther and Jerry Hicks.

Naheed Oberfeld is an EFT practitioner, coach, and speaker based out of Germantown Maryland. She uses EFT and the Law of Attraction to help her clients live their full potential by releasing patterns of behavior that keep them stuck. She has helped her clients grow their business, reach their career goals, and mend broken relationships, all while creating a life of ease, joy, and passion.

If life is a journey, Naheed helps you enjoy the ride! She can be reached at naheed@oberfeldcoaching.com. Her website is www.OberfeldCoaching.com


Emotional Guidance System

Three Steps to Using Your Emotional Guidance System to Feel Your Way to an Empowered Life

I was driving home after attending a networking meeting when for no particular reason I had the urge to shift lanes. The right lane meant slower traffic, which I generally avoided. On this day I followed the impulse. No sooner than I did, I saw the speed trap; a cop parked behind some bushes. This time I heeded that still, small voice. Too many times I ignored it. Sounds familiar?

When we are in the throes of addiction we disconnect ourselves from that inner voice that always guides us back home to self-love.

According to master teacher Abraham Hicks, by training yourself to move up your Emotional Guidance Scale you regain that voice, which is key to overcoming addiction. The emotional scale is a list of incrementally better feeling emotions that you slide in and out of, but when used deliberately, can be a very powerful tool.

Use this simple three step process. Experiment with it and make it yours!

Step 1: How do you feel this very moment?
Take a moment and list the top three emotions you feel right now. Most of us avoid confronting the bad feeling stuff inside of us. It’s easier to suppress rather than acknowledge it. We are even taught to stay focused on the positive and ignore the rest. This inner conflict in your emotions creates an energy imbalance which you experience as addictions and self-defeating behavior.

Step 2: Choose to accept yourself anyway!
Our self worth can quickly spiral downward when we fail either ourselves or those who love and trust us. As tough as it may be, acknowledge that who you are as a person (deserving of love) is separate and independent of the behavior. Without this realization you will feel stuck in a downward cycle of unworthiness which you “prove” to yourself by continuing to commit harmful and illegal acts, which further convinces you of your unworthiness.

Step 3: Reach for the next highest feeling emotion
Our greatest success comes one step at a time. You will either never start on the road to recovery or slide back down if you try to make a leap that is too big because you are not emotionally aligned with the goal. Start by finding yourself on the emotional scale and see what the next level up looks like.
For example, if you are feeling stuck at depression and despair, don’t try to reach for happy and joyful. As improbable as it may seem, feeling guilty is an improvement in the vibration of your emotions. Once you consistently feel guilty, you may find yourself slipping into revenge or even anger. Celebrate that as progress! Crazy, I know, but acknowledge and celebrate every moment spent in a better feeling emotion.

The goal is not to stay stuck on the lower emotions, but rather to use it a guide to see what small, incremental changes you can make to move up one rung on the ladder. I’ll talk more about how to shift to the next higher emotion in the next article.

The beauty of this system is that it allows you to uncover exactly where you are moment by moment. We do not live our lives moving in one smooth direction, either upward or downward. Instead our emotions are constantly jumping around. However, by being aware of them you can intentionally lift yourself up rather than unwittingly spiral downward.

Emotional Guidance Scale

  1. Fear/grief/depression/despair/powerlessness
  2. Insecurity/guilt/unworthiness
  3. Jealousy
  4. Hatred/rage
  5. Revenge
  6. Anger
  7. Discouragement
  8. Blame
  9. Worry
  10. Doubt
  11. Disappointment
  12. Overwhelming
  13. Frustration/irritation/impatience
  14. Pessimism
  15. Boredom
  16. Contentment
  17. Hopefulness
  18. Optimism
  19. Positive expectations/beliefs
  20. Enthusiasm/eagerness/happiness
  21. Passion
  22. Joy/appreciation/empowered/freedom/love

Naheed Oberfeld is an EFT practitioner, coach, and speaker based out of Germantown Maryland. She uses EFT and the Law of Attraction to help her clients live their full potential by releasing patterns of behavior that keep them stuck. She has helped her clients grow their business, reach their career goals, and mend broken relationships, all while creating a life of ease, joy, and passion.

If life is a journey, Naheed helps you enjoy the ride! She can be reached at naheed@oberfeldcoaching.com for a no-obligation, complimentary coaching session. Her website is www.OberfeldCoaching.com.


Addiction and the Law of Attraction - Two Girls Smoking

Addiction and the Law of Attraction

Many of us are familiar with the principle of the Law of Attraction – that which you focus on is what you’ll create in your life. Some of us may even practice a version of it to create our desired life. However, how many of us have given thought to the idea that cycles of addiction (drugs, food, sex, or even undesirable thoughts and impulses) are evidence of the Law of Attraction powerfully at work?

The basis of the principle, as explained by Abraham in the book Law of Attraction by Jerry and Ester Hicks, states that when we give our attention to something and anticipate it with strong emotions, it becomes more sharply focused in our lives.

There are many theories that explain the reasons why addictions have such a powerful hold over us. One of them is the positive-incentive theory which states “that addicts are first and foremost caught in a web of expectation.” According to this theory, the anticipation of the pleasure (or release) outweighs the actual experience. Award-winning professors of Psychology who study addiction, Terry E. Robinson and Kent C. Berridge “emphasize that it’s not the pleasure of the drug that is fundamental to addiction. Rather, it’s the wanting, the anticipation of a joyful high, or the release and disinhibition of drunkenness.”

The emotional highs that Robinson and Berridge describe are exactly the types of emotions that Abraham talks about. The problem is that addicts are using the very real power of the Law of Attraction to create deeper cycles of addition. The driving force, the fuel of any manifestation is their singular focus and strong emotion.

If misplaced emotions lead to self-sabotaging behavior, what’s the solution? In the 1990s a Stanford engineer by the name of Gary Craig developed a system he called Emotional Freedom Technique, better known as EFT or tapping (because we tap on acupressure points). It was adapted from an earlier therapy created by a psychologist named Dr. Roger Callahan. The benefit of EFT (or tapping) is to experience freedom from conscious, but mostly unconscious emotions that keep us stuck in undesirable behavior patterns.
How does EFT work? You start by tuning into a distressing incident, such as a recent relapse. You tap on your acupressure points as you recall the event. The focus on the event can bring about a full body stress response which creates a visceral and emotional reaction. Typically the emotions are layered. An example might be feeling a sense of self-loathing for being “weak.” As you continue to “tap” the primary emotion subsides and it may be replaced by another one, such as feeling “out of control.” During the course of one session you can uncover and release close to a dozen different emotions. Often times you also uncover an unwillingness (at some level) of letting go of the anticipatory high, which justifies the need for the addition.

As we “tap” on old traumatizing events and emotions, our brain goes through a period of reconsolidation and our emotions related to that event changes. This in turn shifts our beliefs related to those events. In other words, as we release the emotional high we have associated with an addiction, we release the belief that props up the emotion, and ultimately the behavior begins to collapse from the inside out.

Only at this stage will an addict be emotionally willing to redirect the strong emotions felt for the anticipated high towards more self-affirming behavior, once again harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction!

Naheed Oberfeld is an EFT practitioner, coach, and speaker based out of Germantown Maryland. She uses EFT and the Law of Attraction to help her clients live their full potential by releasing patterns of behavior that keep them stuck. She has helped her clients grow their business, reach their career goals, and mend broken relationships, all while creating a life of ease, joy, and passion.

If life is a journey, Naheed helps you enjoy the ride! She can be reached at naheed@oberfeldcoaching.com for a no obligation, complimentary coaching session. Her website is www.OberfeldCoaching.com.

[1] James L. Furrow, Johnson S. M., Bradley B. A. (Eds.) (2011). Emotionally Focused Casebook: New Directions in Treating Couples. Routledge.


Top Ten Criminal Thinking Errors

Criminal thinking errors are prevalent in our society and these made the top ten list thanks to the ground-breaking work of Stanton Samenow and Yochelson in their three volumes of work titled, “The Criminal Personality”. Although these errors are considered “criminal thinking” they really are present in each of us to varying degrees. Offenders take these errors to the extreme which then develops into patterns of thinking and behavior that continually victimize and harm others.

Key Question: Which of these errors to you see in yourself and how can you change them?

top ten thinking errors infographicCheck out our other criminal thinking infographic… and visit us at www.criminalthinking.net!


Why Do Some People Hurt People?

Criminal thinking errors are pervasive in our society. Everyone has them to some degree, but the extreme criminal thinker relies on this way of thinking to justify their actions which support a criminal lifestyle.

This infographic creatively describes the errors in thinking that encompass the thought process of an extreme criminal thinker. Criminal thinking therapy, which is based on the Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) model of change, is one of the most effective ways to bring about change in an offenders thinking and life.

infographic criminal thinking errors


CT Group Tip: Thinking Error Deterrents

thinking error deterrentsDeterrents to negative thinking errors are the primary and practical way a changing criminal thinker can alter their thoughts to affect their behavior. This group facilitation tip focuses on examining the five thinking deterrents in real life situations for group participants.

1. Pick a thinking error to review.

2. Read the corresponding article for the error in the CT Module.

  • Have group members read one paragraph each
  • Ask the reader to define any potentially confusing words or concepts and the facilitator should help clarify understanding as needed.

3. Ask each reader to give an example of how they have used the thinking error recently.

4. Review the five thinking deterrents with the group.

5. Ask the first reader which deterrent they used or could have used to change their thinking in the example they described. Repeat this step with each reader.

OPTIONAL: Assign the related thinking error worksheet as a homework or in-class assignment.


CT Group Tip: Dealing with Resistance

dealing-with-resistanceResistance to change is a typical component of all criminal thinking (CT) groups. Learning to deal with and even embrace resistance is key to a successful and therapeutic group process. One common form of resistance that regularly shows up in CT groups is denial. When asked for examples of how thinking errors have caused harmed, some group participants will deny that they caused harm to others or they may even deny having thinking errors. Instead of arguing with the participant or trying to convince them of the opposite, engage them in dialog.

When a group participant denies having thinking errors, consider a response similar to this: “It makes total sense to me that you don’t recognize having any thinking errors. In fact, it actually helps me see why you are in this group/program/situation. That statement itself, about not having thinking errors, is actually an example of a very common thinking error. Do you know which one?” If they say “yes,” ask them to describe which error it is and how failing to recognize errors in thinking is an example of that thinking error. If they say “no,” tell them how this is a great opportunity for them to begin the process of identifying thinking errors in themselves which they didn’t even realize existed! Then, instead of telling them which thinking error they are displaying, ask them to read over the CT error definitions, perhaps as a homework assignment, and identify which error or errors are examples of failing to identify their own errors in thinking.

What are some other ways you deal with resistance in group situations?

View our other CT Group Tips here…

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CT Group Tip: Memorization for Change

memorization and thinking changeCreating a culture of positive change should be the focus of every Criminal Thinking group. Shaping a culture that supports change can be done intentionally with rituals that frame the group process. Many groups begin with a short reflection or recitation of group rules or code of conduct. Including a group, memorization process can help cognitively embed positive principles of change, as well as victim recognition, in the minds of group participants.

The Following group reading helps support the accountability and victim awareness that most offenders lack at the beginning of the thinking change process. It also ends with a commitment to positive change for themselves and their victims.

A group participant reads each line of the reflection and the group repeats each line in return.

“Crime”
“Crime Hurts People”
“I Will Not Hurt Others Or Myself Again”

The Five Deterrents are also a good source for group memorization. When participants commit these deterrents to memory they can be more easily accessed and remembered when negative thoughts and situations present themselves. A good memorization technique is to have the group recite the first word in each deterrent to help remember the content of each deterrent, i.e Stop, Stop, Plan, Exam, Do.

  1. Stop and think of who gets hurt
  2. Stop and think of the immediate consequences
  3. Plan ahead, think ahead, make another choice
  4. Exam-ination of conscience
  5. Do not dwell on it

Want more CT Group Tips? View our other tips here…


CT Group Tip: Pick a Picture and Present

criminalthinkinggroup_pickapictureIn some treatment modalities such as long-term support groups, open-ended relapse prevention sessions, long-term treatment and prison-based programs there is often a need for new group session ideas based on criminal thinking and thinking error deterrents. Here is a creative idea for using the free Criminal Thinking Pinterest images available on the criminalthinking.net website

  • As a facilitator, print out the same number of inspirational graphics as there are group members. If possible, print on card stock paper so that the image doesn’t show through the other side.
  • Ask group members to pick a card without looking at the image.
  • Begin with one person and ask them to show their card and read it out loud to the group.
  • Ask the person to explain which ‘criminal thinking error‘ they believe the card represents best and have them give an example of the error in their life.

Note: The more recent the life example the better. Criminal thinkers like to view themselves as good people and will want to explain that the error is something in the past.

  • Then, ask the person to provide an example of a deterrent they could have used to change the thought.
  • Finally, ask them to describe how the card and corresponding error is a pattern in their life that continually leads them to harmful results.
  • When the person finishes their presentation move to the next person.
  • When the group is done, ask them how this type of exercise can help change criminal thinking patterns.

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What do you think of this group idea? What ideas have you used for thinking-change type groups?

Find more CT Group Tips on our blog…


"An approach to the treatment of offenders which emphasizes the role of altering thinking patterns in bringing about change in an offender's life."