Table of Contents

1. Stress Test

2. Stress Management Strategies

3. Physical Symptoms: How Stress Can Affect Your Body

4. Behavioral Symptoms: What Stress Can Make You Do

5. Time Management

6. Eliminate Procrastination

7. Causes of Procrastination

8. Time Management Tips

9. Time Management Exercises

10. Personal Goal Setting

11. Decision-Making Tips

12. Self-Confidence

13. Five Steps in Confidence Building

14. Change Your Life by Changing Your Thoughts

15. Not Optical Illusions

16. Change

17. How We See Ourselves

18. Habitual Patterns

19. Motivation

Stress Test

(Published by Thomas H. Holmes, University of Washington, School of Medicine)

Check each item that has happened to you in The Last Year, then add up the points.

* Marriage (53)

* Troubles with your boss (23)

* Detention in jail or other institution (63)

* Death of Spouse (100)

* Major change in sleeping habits (16)

* Death of a close family member (63)

* Major change in eating habits (15)

* Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan (30)

* Revision of personal habits - dress, manners, associations, etc (24)

* Death of a close friend (37)

* Minor violation of the law (11)

* Outstanding Personal Achievement (28)

* Pregnancy (40)

* Major change in the health or behavior of a family member (44)

* Sexual difficulties (39)

* In-law troubles (29)

* Major change in number of family get togethers (15)

* Major change in financial status (38)

* Gaining a new family member (39)

* Change in residence (20)

* Son or daughter leaving home (29)

* Marital separation from mate (63)

* Major change in church activities (19)

* Marital reconciliation with mate (47)

* Being fired from work (50)

* Divorce (73)

* Changing to a different line of work (36)

* Major change in the number of arguments with spouse (35)

* Major changes in responsibilities at work (29)

* Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home (26)

* Major change in working hours or conditions (20)

* Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation (19)

* Taking on a mortgage or loan greater than $10,000. (31)

* Taking on a mortgage or loan less than $10,000. (17)

* Major personal injury or illness (63)

* Major business readjustment (39)

* Major change in social activities (18)

* Major change in living conditions (25)

* Retirement from work (45)

* Vacation (13)

* Christmas (12)

* Changing to a new school (20)

* Beginning or ceasing formal schooling (26)


150 - 299 means a 33% chance of illness or accident in the next year.

300 - 499 means a 66% chance of illness or accident in the next year.

450 + means a 90% chance of an illness or accident in the next year.

Stress Management Strategies

* Organize and use your time effectively (time management).

* Valuing - identify what is important to you.

* Personal Planning - set goals and work toward them.

* Commitment - don’t do things half way.

* Pace yourself - don’t go too fast or too slow.

* Change the scene.

* Make contact with others - seek support networks and relationships.

* Listen - take time to hear what another is saying and feeling - open communication is often the key to less stressful relationships.

* Assert yourself - learn to say "No" without feeling fuilty or explaining why, and ask for what you want.

* Fight - stand up for what you believe in (without harming others).

* Flight - leave a stressful scene if it becomes necessary.

* Make your house or apartment into a home.

* Re-label the situation - look for something positive in stressful times and situations.

* Surrender - let go of forces in your life that are bigger than you (the serenity prayer).

* Faith - accept the unknowable.

* Imagination - change complaints into jokes.

* Self talk - give yourself positive messages.

* Exercise.

* Eat right.

* Be gentle with yourself - don’t be too hard on yourself or expect too much from yourself.

* Practice relaxation techniques - deep breathing exercises, meditation, prayer.

Physical symptoms: How stress can affect your body

* problems with memory

* headaches

* difficulty making decisions

* digestive disorders

* inability to concentrate, shortened attention span

* muscle tension and pain

* confusion

* sleep disturbances

* repetitive or continual thoughts

* fatigue

* misunderstanding of what others tell you

* chest pain, irregular heartbeat

* poor judgment

* high blood pressure

* thoughts of escaping, running away

* weight gain or loss

* inability to slow down thought process

* hair loss

* loss of objectivity

* asthma or shortness of breath

* skin problems

* periodontal disease, jaw pain

* reproductive problems, such as missed periods

* immune system suppression

* sweatiness

Behavioral symptoms: What stress can make you do

* less interest in hobbies or fun

* sudden shifts in mood

* frequent uneasiness, restlessness

* frustration

* anger, resentment

* unwarranted jealousy

* quick irritability with others

* oversensitivity

* overreaction to unexpected situations or events

* anxiety

* sense of being overwhelmed or swamped

* increased fear of failure

* inadequacy, reduced confidence

* depression

* stay home from work or stay at work extended hours

* desire to cry

* eat more or less

* desire to cry

* sleep too much or too little

* laugh or cry at inappropriate times

* isolate yourself from others, including people close to you

* have sex more or less

* increase use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, caffeine

* grind your teeth

* engage in nervous habits such as nail biting, hair twisting, pacing

* apathy

* overdo activities such as exercising or shopping

* lose your temper

* become bossy or inflexible with others

* argue with people

* become violent

* take inappropriate risks

* exhibit road rage

Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can be caused by other psychological or physical problems, so it’s important that you consult a doctor to evaluate physical symptoms. Similarly, emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression can mask conditions other than stress. It’s important to find out whether or not they are stress-related.

Time Management

Time management skills are your abilities to recognize and solve personal time management problems. The goal of these time management techniques is to show you what you can do to improve those skills.

With good time management skills you are in control of your time and your life, of your stress and energy levels. You make progress at work. You are able to maintain balance between your work, personal, and family lives. You have enough flexibility to respond to surprises or new opportunities.

All time management skills are learnable. More than likely you will see much improvement from simply becoming aware of the essence and causes of common personal time management problems. It’s like addiction: once you recognize you have a problem, you can work on it. Without recognizing there is a problem, then what’s to work on? Men are the worst. With a time management program, you can better manage the areas that are most relevant for your situation. By just get started with them, many of your problems gradually disappear.

If you already know how you should be managing your time, but you still don't do it, then you have mumpsimus, so don't give up. What you may be overlooking is the psychological side of your time management skills, psychological obstacles hidden behind your personality.

Depending on your personal situation, such obstacles may be the primary reason why you procrastinate, have difficulties saying no, delegating, or making time management decisions. The psychological component of your time management skills can also be dealt with.

Eliminate procrastination

Have you ever seen your most important tasks being put off until later and then later and later, while you are getting busy with many, not so important, activities? Did you hope that you may have more time and a better mood in the future to start something and do it properly? Does an approaching deadline mean a crisis for you? Do you keep hesitating every time you make a decision?

If you often see yourself in such low productivity situations, then there is a big chance that your life got under control of the procrastination habit.

A basic definition of procrastination is putting off the things that you should be doing now. This happens with all of us to some degree.

Yet, what makes a big difference for your success is the ability to recognize your procrastination reasons and expressions in their different forms, and to promptly take them under control, before this bad habit steals your opportunities, damages your career and pride, or destroys your relationships. Many people have already developed a procrastination-habit, for those it’s going to be all about changing it.

Causes of Procrastination

What are some typical reasons why you procrastinate? Try brainstorming a using black or white board.

* Waiting for the right mood

* Waiting for the right time

* Lack of clear goals

* Underestimating the difficulty of the tasks

* Underestimating the time required to complete the tasks

* Unclear standards for the task outcomes

* Feeling as the tasks are imposed on you from outside

* Tasks are too ambiguous

* Underdeveloped decision making skills

* Fear of failure or fear of success

* Perfectionism

Time Management Tips

Changing time management habits takes time and effort, and it’s always easier when you have a simple system of practical rules and hints that are easy to keep in mind. The proven way to know what you want from your time is to set goals. Next week’s group is on Goal Setting.

Learn to know the difference between urgent and important

The important tasks are those that lead you to your goals, and give you most of the long term progress and reward. Those tasks are very often not urgent. Many urgent tasks are not really important, so learn to know and respect your priorities. Aim to do the important things first. Remember the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of reward comes from 20 percent of effort. One of the aims of time management tips is to help you refocus your mind to give more attention and time to those most important 20 percent.

Plan your actions for achieving your goals

Convert your goals into a system of specific actions to be done. The first significant point of planning is the planning process itself. It is a known fact, and you will see it for yourself, that the planning process stimulates your brain to come up with new efficient solutions such as planning trips for errands. It programs your subconscious mind to search for shortcuts. It makes you much more prepared for each specific action. Besides, planning will help you to identify potential conflicts and crises, minimizing the number of urgent tasks. Planning can also significantly lower the time spent on routine maintenance tasks, leaving you more time on what you like to do or for what you think is important for your long term success.

Your concentration can be easily lost in the sea of many boring or less important things waiting to be done in your head. Students often find other things to do instead of homework. Undone things circulating in your mind are also a big drain of your mental energy.

Keep a log for a specific time interval, like a week, and then analyze it to see where your time goes. For example, how much time do you spend on urgent and important activities, and what people do you devote most of your time to. How much time do you spend thinking about drugs.

Time Management Exercises

Time Management Exercise #1 - Become A Better Estimator

Choose three tasks that you will be working on this week. Write down your estimate of how long each task will take to complete.

As you work on these tasks, track the real time spent on each. At the end of the week, compare your estimates to actual.

If you were within 20% of your estimate, congratulations. If you were beyond or below the 20% mark, look for reasons why you might have over or underestimated the time required. Use your insights to adjust your estimates on next week's projects.

Repeat weekly for one month to improve your ability to estimate required task times.

Time Management Exercise #2 - An Exercise In Focus

Take 15 minutes at the beginning of the next week and take down your top priorities for the following seven days. List several items for each of life's most common arenas: work, family, community and personal life.

Post this list in a prominent spot where you will see it every day. Pause for a moment to read the full list each morning.

At the end of the week, review the list and calculate the number of tasks you were able to complete or move forward. See if you can maintain or improve that number each week.

Time Management Exercise #3 - Prime Time Log

Identify your prime time - that period of the day when you find it easiest to be productive and focused. Some people are early or mid morning people. Others are more alert in the afternoon or evening.

Pick a two hour slot during your prime time. For one full week, keep a log of the tasks that you worked on during this time slot. Every 15 minutes during that prime time period, jot down what you were doing in the last quarter hour.

At the end of the week, analyze the log. Calculate how much of your prime time you actually devoted to high priority tasks. See if you can improve on that proportion next week.

Personal Goal Setting

By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your course, like we talked about last week concerning the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important. By setting short-term goals and long-term goals, you are given a long-term vision with short-term motivation.

To give a broad, balanced coverage of all of the important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of these categories (or in categories of your own).

* Artistic: Do you want to achieve any artistic goals? If so, what? Writing, for example.

* Attitude: Is any part of your mind-set holding you back? Do you sometimes behave in ways that make you feel uncomfortable with yourself? If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem. Impatient Behavior (LV)

* Career: What do you want to do as a career, and what level do you want to reach in your career? Teaching, counseling, sex therapy--whatever.

* Education: Do you want to go to school? Or is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular. Learning to type, acquiring computer skills, Ph.D.

* Family: Do you want to become a parent? Do you want to become a better parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family? Parenting classes, couples anonymous, etc., counseling.

* Financial: How ambitious are you? If you are ambitious, then how much do you want to earn in two years, five years, or ten years. Collect aluminum cans or be a lawyer--probably somewhere in between.

* Physical: Are there any athletic goals you want to achieve; for example, some type of athletic activity that you gave up. Or, do you just want to stay fit enough to be in good health in old age? What steps are you taking to achieve this? Fitness classes, join a gym.

* Pleasure: With drugs and/or alcohol no longer in your life, how do you plan to enjoy yourself? It’s very important that you ensure that some part of your life is just for you--not for your spouse or even your kids. It is pertinent that you make time for yourself. Go to a library and read, go see a movie (without kids), take up a hobby like scrapbooking or riding dirt bikes.

* Service to Others: How are you going to be of service to others? Be a sponsor, or do volunteer work.

Here’s a suggestion: Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a 25-year plan of smaller goals. Then set a ten-year plan, a five-year plan, one year plan, six month plan, and a one month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your ultimate lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan. For any goals under a month, make a to-do list. 

Decision Making Tips

Just as people are different, so are their styles of decision making. Each person is a result of all of the decisions made in their life. Recognizing this, here are some tips to enhance your decision making batting average.

1) Do not make decisions that are not yours to make.

* Can anyone give me an example? What if Joe says, "Hey Jason, get Felix to take out the trash and stay here and help me with my homework." Whereas that might be a humanitarian thing to do, it isn’t Joe’s decision.

2) When making a decision you are simply choosing from among alternatives. You are not making a choice between right and wrong.

* Let’s say, for example, the only doctor in a rural community is out of town. A man’s wife will die unless he can get her medication. The man calls the only drug store in town asking if he could get the drug without a prescription. The druggist says, "No, I have to have a prescription." The man begs for his wife’s life, but the druggist is adamant. The man has a decision to make: either let his wife die, or go to the drug store after it closes and break in and steal the medication.

3) Avoid snap decisions. Move fast on the reversible ones and slowly on the non-reversible.

* Check yourself when you make a snap decision. If it’s a decision that can’t be reversed, then say, "wait a minute, let me think about this." How many of us have made decisions using emotional logic? How often does the inflated male ego get in the way?

4) Choosing the right alternative at the wrong time is not any better than the wrong alternative at the right time, so make the decision while you still have time.

* Can you think of an example? How about when applying for a job. The application asks: Have you been convicted of a felony within the last seven years? Thinking that you are being rigorously honest (like 12-step programs suggest), you say no, but I had a felony conviction eight years ago. Why tell them that then? If you want to be rigorously honest, wait and tell them when or if you get an interview.

5) Do your decision making on paper. Make notes and keep your ideas visible so you can consider all the relevant information in making the decision.

* Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you have to make a snap decision.

6) Be sure to choose based on what is right, not who is right.

* Just because you like someone better than someone else, don’t make them right.

7) Write down the pros and cons of a line of action. It clarifies your thinking and makes for a better decision, much like journaling does.

* Let’s try it: First, a decision-making scenario, then--let’s say--four alternatives.

8) Make decisions as you go along. Do not let them accumulate. A backlog of many little decisions could be harder to deal with than one big and complex decision.

* Besides that, by procrastinating you tend to forget; plus, you get overwhelmed.

9) Consider those affected by your decision. Whenever feasible, get them involved to increase their commitment.

* A good example here is spouses. Should anyone be making family decisions without consulting the family?

10) Recognize that you cannot know with 100% certainty that your decision is correct because the actions to carry it out are to take place in the future. So make it and don't worry about it.

* In other words, accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can, and know the difference between them. Smile and ask, "Where did I get that?"

11) Remember that not making a decision is a decision.

It has been said that a decision should always be made at the lowest possible level and as close to the scene of action as possible. However, a decision should always be made at a level insuring that all activities and objectives affected are fully considered. The first rule tells us how far down a decision should be made. The second how far down it can be made.

12) Trust yourself to make a decision and then to be able to field the consequences appropriately.

* In other words, be responsible for your decisions by not placing the blame elsewhere. Remember, when you point a finger, there’s always at least three pointing back at you.

13) Don't waste your time making decisions that don’t have to be made.

* This one especially applies to drug addicts. Why? Because, at some level, we’re all control freaks. We can’t control our own lives, but we’re experts at telling others how to control theirs.

14) Determine alternative courses of action before gathering data.

* Work smarter not harder. Why should I come up with all of this when I have the Internet?

15) Before setting up what appears to be the best choice, assess the risk by asking "What can I think of that might go wrong with this alternative?"

* Play the tape through . . .

16) Many decisions you make are unimportant--about 80% of them. Establish operating limits and let your subordinates or others make them for you.

* That whole sentence can be said with one word: Delegate.

17) As part of your decision making process, always consider how the decision is to be carried out.

* If I ask one of you men to clean the kitchen, I should probably be a little more specific. If any of you are anything like me, you’re going to do as little as you can get away with.

18) As soon as you are aware that a decision will have to be made on a specific situation, review the facts at hand then set it aside. Let this incubate in your subconscious mind until it is time to finally make the decision.

* In heuristic research, there’s a process that starts with the Initial Engagement of the project, where you’re putting everything into perspective; The next part of the process is Immersion, where you immerse yourself in the project; After that is a period of what’s called Incubation--a process in which the researcher retreats from the intense, concentrated focus on the project; Then, he or she continues to the Illumination, Explication, and the Creative Synthesis. Incubation is the same thing this suggestion is making. Sometimes you need to back off (of whatever you’re doing) and come back to it later. For example, the house key that has been misplaced often evades one’s recall of its location while you’re preoccupied with finding it. Almost as soon as you’re absorbed in something else: "Oh yeah, I remember!"

19) Once the decision has been made, don't look back. Be aware of how it is currently affecting you and focus on your next move. Never regret a decision. You made the best decision you could at the time. Now focus on what is right at this time.

* Basically, this is saying don’t beat yourself up for mistakes--get over it and go on.

20) Brainstorming with others often helps.

* This always helps in making decisions, but you don’t always have the time or the people.

21) Discontinue prolonged deliberation about your decision. Make it and carry it through.

* Don’t beat on a dead horse--he’s already dead. Once you have made the decision and have started what you are going to do, put the "what if's" aside and do it.

Self Confidence

Know your facts

Ensure you know all the facts in advance - do some research, and have it on hand ready to produce (and give out copies if necessary). Bullies usually fail to prepare their facts; they dominate through bluster, force and reputation. If you know and can produce facts to support or defend your position it is unlikely that the aggressor will have anything prepared in response. When you know that a situation is going to arise, over which you'd like to have some influence, prepare your facts, do your research, do the sums, get the facts and figures, solicit opinion and views, be able to quote sources; then you will be able to make a firm case, and also dramatically improve your reputation for being someone who is organized and firm.

Anticipate other people's behavior and prepare your responses.

Anticipate other people's behavior and prepare your own responses. Role-play in your mind how things are likely to happen. Prepare your responses according to the different scenarios that you think could unfold. Prepare other people to support and defend you. Being well prepared will increase your self-confidence and enable you to be assertive about what's important to you.

Prepare and use good open questions

Prepare and use good questions to expose flaws in other people's arguments. Asking good questions is the most reliable way of gaining the initiative, and taking the wind out of someone's sails, in any situation. Questions that bullies dislike most are deep, constructive, incisive and probing, especially if the question exposes a lack of thought, preparation, consideration, consultation on their part. For example:

* 'What is your evidence (for what you have said or claimed)?'

* 'Who have you consulted about this?'

* 'How did you go about looking for alternative solutions?'

* 'How have you measured (whatever you say is a problem)?'

* 'How will you measure the true effectiveness of your solution if you implement it?'

* 'What can you say about different solutions that have worked in other situations?'

And don't be fobbed off. Stick to your guns. If the question is avoided or ignored return to it, or re-phrase it (which you can prepare as well).

Re-condition and practice your own new reactions to aggression

Re-conditioning your own reaction to dominant people, particularly building your own 'triggered reactions,' giving yourself 'thinking time' to prevent yourself being bulldozed, and 'making like a brick wall' in the face of someone else's attempt to dominate you without justification. Try visualizing yourself behaving in a firmer manner, saying firmer things, asking firm clear, probing questions, and presenting well-prepared facts and evidence. Practice in your mind saying 'Hold on a minute - I need to consider what you have just said.' Also practice saying 'I'm not sure about that. It's too important to make a snap decision now.' Also 'I can't agree to that at such short notice. Tell me when you really need to know, and I'll get back to you.' There are other ways to help resist bulldozing and bullying. Practice and condition new reactions in yourself to resist, rather than cave in, for fear that someone might shout at you or have a tantrum. If you are worried about your response to being shouted at then practice being shouted at until you realize it really doesn't hurt - it just makes the person doing the shouting look daft (mad, crazy, foolish, or stupid). Practice with your most scary friend shouting right in your face for you to 'do as you are told', time after time, and in between each time say calmly (and believe it because it's true) 'You don't scare me.' Practice it until you can control your response to being shouted at.

Non-assertive people have different styles and methods compared to dominant, aggressive people and bullies. Non-assertive people are often extremely strong in areas of process, detail, dependability, reliability, finishing things (that others have started), checking, monitoring, communicating, interpreting and understanding, and working cooperatively with others. These capabilities all have the potential to undo a bully who has no proper justification. Find out what your strengths and style are and use them to defend and support your position. The biggest tantrum is no match for a well organized defense.

Feel sympathy for bullies

Re-discover the belief that non-assertive behavior is actually okay - it's the bullies who are the ones with the problems. Feeling sympathy for someone who threatens you will psychologically put you in the ascendancy. Aggressors are often grown from children who were not loved, or from children who were forced to live out the aspirations of their parents. Be kind to them. In many ways they are still children.

Five Steps in Confidence Building

1. Concentrate on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses.

Confidence comes from within. You have to concentrate on the positive things about yourself. Remember the past is over; you can only change the future. Write down ten positive things about yourself.

Concentrate on your potentials. These are the reasons you should love yourself and have high self-confidence in yourself. Give yourself credit for every positive thing you have written about yourself. Remember, you're somebody special.

2. Remind yourself of past successes.

Confidence builds on past success. Because you had success before, you can (and will) have it once more. We strengthen our confidence in any interest when we remind or review ourselves of past successes.

If you are trying to develop confidence in a new aspect, past success can still be useful in strengthening our confidence. For instance, if you had success in doing something new in the past, recall those experiences when trying something else new - even if it is in a completely different part of your life.

3. Take risks.

Try doing things that you've never tried before. It's always a little bit of a challenge in doing new things and just the act of accepting these challenges, some little and some big, whether we are successful or not, frequently improves our self-confidence.

Approach new experiences as opportunities to learn instead of occasions to win or lose. Doing so brings you new opportunities and can improve your sense of self-acceptance. Not doing so turns every possibility into an opportunity for failure, and inhibits self-growth.

4. Use self-talk.

Use self-talk as an opportunity to contradict destructive beliefs. Then, remind yourself to "stop" and replace more realistic assumptions. For example, if you catch yourself expecting perfection, tell yourself that you can't do everything perfectly, that it's only possible to try to do things and to try to do them well. This also allows you to accept yourself while still working to improve.

5. Visualize your future success.

Corporate executives, Olympic athletes, and successful people in all types of undertakings see future success. Confidence will increase when we visualize ourselves succeeding. Think about it. If you know you will succeed, your confidence will soar, right?

Seeing future success does that very thing for us. Our minds cannot distinguish the difference between something real and something vividly imagined. So vividly visualize your success. What will it look like, smell like, taste like, and feel like to have succeeded? Who will be with you, what will you be hearing and where will you be? How will you be feeling at that instant? Placing this much vivid detail into your mind increases the likelihood of success, and supports greater confidence!{cke_protected_2} 


All the great leaders throughout history have taught the principle that our life is the result of our thoughts. Buddha said, "A man's life is the direct result of his thoughts." Solomon said, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he. "Happiness comes from happy thoughts, sadness from sad thoughts, success from successful thoughts, failure from failing thoughts, etc, etc. So, as you can see, your life is controlled by your thinking.

Psychologists tell us that our mind has two parts, a conscious part, and a subconscious part. The conscious mind is the part we think and reason with. It's the mind we use to plan, to analyze, and to make decisions. The unconscious mind is that part that controls all of our bodily functions--from breathing, digestion, blood circulation, etc--it never sleeps, and is working all the time. It is like a computer--it takes in data and processes it. It has a memory of everything that has ever happened to you, from the day you were born, to the present moment. It is non-judgmental; it does not know what is good, or what is bad. It doesn't care whether the thoughts come from you, or from others. If you do not take the effort to program it positively, your unconscious mind will take directions from others, or any inputs from your environment.

Did you ever wonder why you didn't always get what you wanted, or why you couldn't do certain things? Perhaps you were sending negative messages to your unconscious mind, or perhaps it picked up negative inputs from your environment. If you are not happy where you are now perhaps you have set it up yourself. For example: if you are experiencing lack, you may have been thinking mostly in terms of shortage. If you wish to change, you must start thinking in terms of abundance. If your life is not going the way you want it to, you have the power to change it.

You change it by changing your thoughts, which are programmed to your subconscious. You start to think only of the things you want; you do not think of things you do not want. You must plant affirmative positive statements at all times. As your thoughts improve, so will your life.

Not Optical Illusions

Our conscious mind is heavily influenced by unconscious processes. You’ll hear in 12-step programs that "You can’t hear until you can hear, and you can’t see until you can see." The first time I heard that I thought, "What the fuck does that mean?" Sometimes we hear but we really weren’t listening. Sometimes we look right at something and don’t see it. Our consciousness has been diverted when these things happen. A related phenomenon are scotomas, which are areas of diminished vision within the visual field: Blind spots.


As you can see, our minds play tricks on us, and they do so in many ways--especially to drug addicts. Addicts have a lot of blind spots that keep them from seeing the truth. One of them is the highly suggestible idea of not associating with old playmates, play places, or play things. We especially don’t want to give up our old using friends.

How We See Ourselves

All meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. Shooing thoughts away is one way, otherwise know as thought-stopping.

The way we see ourselves is one of the things we need to change. A good example is the Wanna-be heroin addict.

How many of you men, when you were young, strove to present an image of "Cool?" Such as looking funny doing certain exercises during weight training. How many of you women are attracted to men with "an edge?"

Habitual Patterns

Why do people resist change so vehemently? The human condition does not like change. Going to a lot of meetings will not only give you tools to help you not use, but more importantly, it will teach you a new way to live. Change old habits and make new ones. Before long you’ll be used to the new ones like you were the old ones. Diet soda is an example.

Many of our old attitudes and habits can keep us from changing. Discuss slang such as "Hey dog," or "It’s all good," or the cool hand shakes, or other body language that distinguishes you from normies. What about fu-man-chu mustaches and goatees, and provocative clothing for women? What are other examples. When we expand our self-image, we are ready to form new attitudes and habits, and you’ll be surprised at the benefits.


There are many types of motivation. The motive for hunger activates and directs our behavior, which is instinctive motivation. These motives are based on the survival needs of the body for food, water, and warmth (drugs too, for people like us). There is a Latin phrase--malesuada fames, which means, hunger that urges people to crime (men pull jobs and women turn tricks). When we do something because of fear or threats, it is extrinsic motivation. People get sent to AA/NA meetings by judges and probation officers. They might even go on their own if they’re trying to save a marriage or a job; either way, they are attending meetings for extrinsic purposes. Others really want to stop their addictions and they will go to any lengths to stay clean and sober, and it is those who are attending meetings for intrinsic purposes.