Addictive Behaviors

Drinking coffee has become such a normalized thing in society. Some people can’t start their day without it. Friends gather at a cafe to drink a cup of joe and catch up with each other’s lives. When did this beverage become such a staple in our lives? Coffee contains caffeine (even decaf products contain trace amounts of caffeine) which is a stimulant. Your body actually becomes addicted to the substance and dependent on it to function correctly. I’m not judging; for years I consumed the drug (yes, you read that right, caffeine is considered a drug).

When I was younger, I used fat burning pills that were practically just capsules of caffeine. I would have tremors, hypoglycemia, nausea, and irritability, but I stupidly thought that a faster metabolism was more important. News flash, it crashed my metabolism in the long term – I feel like after I stopped taking them, I gained whatever weight I lost plus some.

When I switched from a second shift job to a first shift position, I started drinking coffee. This also caused issues with tremors and nausea. I would only drink one cup per day, but it still affected my body. When I first started my blog, I wrote about the episode of chest pain that I experienced. After that day, I was terrified to drink coffee and decided that it was time to quit. Boy-oh-boy, I did not realize how accustomed to caffeine my body had become. Once I stopped indulging, I started having horrible headaches. My head would be pounding all day and I felt incredibly grumpy. My body was detoxing from the caffeine and I went through withdrawals. My body is very sensitive (hence all of the medication allergies and the affects of caffeine), so I should really be cautious with what I put in my body.

When I stopped drinking coffee, I also limited my alcohol consumption drastically. I have never been a big drinker, but we would go out from time-to-time to a bar and indulge in a couple drinks. In the last two months I have only drank twice. I honestly shouldn’t be drink at all. I am happy to say that I haven’t even wanted to drink alcohol recently.

Addiction is an issue that many people in my family have struggled with, so I should be especially aware. Growing up, my father had an issue with drinking alcohol. It was a big strain on my parents’ marriage. Shortly after they separated, my mom met her now-husband who also had an issue with alcohol consumption. Both of my grandfathers had the same issue. So does one of my great-uncles. Let’s just say that I have a lot of not-so-great childhood memories that were due to alcoholism. I don’t think that addiction is specifically hereditary, but I do think that having addicts as closely related family members can increase someone’s likelihood of becoming an addict themselves.

Additionally, I think that some people are more susceptible to addictive behaviors. I guess you can say that I believe some people have “addictive personalities” and I’m one of them. I become obsessed with things easily. Whether it’s photography, crocheting, nicotine, coffee, sugar, food, running…I get hooked. I am an all-or-nothing kind of person and I realize that it’s something I will fight against my whole life. When I started photography, I devoted every free moment of my time to photo sessions, editing, and research. Exercise has been an addiction of mine on and off for years. I will go from not exercising at all to exercising every day. For a while, I was running three or more miles per day plus weight training severalĀ  days a week. The same thing happened when it came to eating – whether it was excessive food consumption or minimal food consumption (let’s save that for another post).

This year I have focused a lot of energy toward maintaining balance in my life. No more caffeine and no more nicotine. I have been enjoying the things that I love (food, photography, crocheting, writing, and reading) in moderation and without becoming obsessed.

Are you someone who struggles with obsessive and addictive behaviors? Balance is key to a happy and healthy lifestyle. You aren’t alone and you can do this. Take every day in stride and don’t be too hard on yourself when you have setbacks. Nobody is perfect and progress is all that matters.

Every day is a new opportunity to live a better life.

Love Always,

Elizabeth

Smoking Cessation

Everyone has their vice(s). I have been vaping for several years (I switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping) and no, I am not proud of it. But guess what, I finally quit last week. No more nicotine and no more chemicals. It is about time I took control over this part of my health. Habits are formed in 21 to 28 days and breaking habits take time too.

It has been a rough week. I have been more agitated and anxious in the past seven days than I have been in a long time. My patience has been worn thin and I feel on edge. This process has made me realize just how much I relied on my addiction. I always told myself “I’m not addicted. I can stop whenever I want. It’s not a big deal” (cliche, I know). This process has been so much harder than expected and I still have a long way to go. When I wake up, I crave nicotine. Not to mention after I eat, when I am in the car, and when I see someone else vaping/smoking. It sucks, but I don’t want to live another day “needing” something to handle life’s stress.

Additionally, as a nurse, I am supposed to advocate for patients’ health and educate them on how to live a healthier lifestyle. How can I, in good conscious, do that while being addicted to nicotine myself? Frankly, I’m a hypocrite.

There is no time like the present. Instead of thinking “maybe later” I am thinking “why not now?”. Once I get over this hurdle, things will be easier. My health will be better, my insurance will be cheaper, there will be less frivolous expenses, and I will be free from my addiction.

Are you in for the long-haul? It’s time to kick that addiction before the new year. Stop saying “later” and start acting toward your goals.

I am one week in the right direction; where are you?

Love Always,

Elizabeth

Mid-Year Resolutions

On a previous blog post I wrote a bit about how the word “Adventure” has lead my decisions this year. I did, however, have a resolution too. My plan was to read fifty books this year. I knew this would be difficult to do with a full time job, household responsibilities, and school, but I really wanted to encourage myself to get back into reading and making literature a priority.

By the middle of the year I realized that reading fifty books by the end of December was going to be a stretch. I had read about twelve books by June. I decided that instead of feeling like a failure or ditching my resolution all-together, I would re-evaluate my goal. Because some of the books on my to-read list were lengthy (including the Harry Potter series), I decided that a goal of twenty books by the end of the year was a reasonable feat.

I am currently working on book number eighteen and although I won’t hit my initial goal of fifty books in 2018, I am confident that I will surpass my adjusted goal of twenty books.

Why am I telling you all of this? When you find yourself reaching toward an unrealistic goal, it is easy to become discouraged and to give up all together. When you feel like this, I urge you to re-evaluate your goals and see if you can adjust your resolution to fit a realistic outcome. I don’t consider my reading resolution a failure for this year just because I will come short of my initial goal. I will have read over twenty books and last year I don’t think I even took the time to read one. That is over twenty more books than last year. I consider that a successful step in the right direction.

Don’t get yourself too hung up on the little things and forget to look at the big picture. Now I know that I can very easily accomplish reading twenty books in one year’s time. Next year I will shoot for reading forty books. And, with a little planning, I may even be able to surpass that goal and reach fifty books in a calendar year.

Don’t give up. Regroup and recharge yourself toward your goals.

You can do it.

Love Always,

Elizabeth