Tips for Coping with the Pressure to Relapse

Getting into rehab for your addiction was a huge and important step. Making it through the process was an uphill battle. Now, you are out of rehab and back in the real world. The first thing you want to do is drink, right? No matter what anyone tells you before you go into recovery, resisting the urge to relapse once you are sober may just be the hardest part of all.

Once you are out of your support network and 24-hour care of a rehabilitation facility, you are largely on your own. You may have helpful and supportive family and friends, but you are the only one who can stop you from drinking again. You must find a way to cope with your feelings and the underlying reasons that you became an addict in the first place. Something has to replace the drinking and now is the time to find your healthy alternatives.

Here are some ideas to get you inspired:

Exercise. Now is a great time to get fit. Find a fun way to be more active, such as taking classes at a gym or learning how to dance. If you enjoy socializing with others, consider joining a league for soccer, baseball, basketball, or any other team sport. The more active you are, the less time you will have to think about drinking. Additionally, exercise and physical movement release natural feel-good chemicals in your brain, so you can literally get a natural high from working out. If you get bored easily, or if working out begins to feel like a chore, change it up and try different things.

Get creative. Exercise and physical fitness are great for keeping your body fit and for keeping your mind clear, but mental fitness is also important. Stoke your creative fires and tame your urges to relapse. Engaging in something creative is a great way to express yourself and to release the tension that you feel when you have an urge to drink. Try painting, drawing, or even writing. Expressing your thoughts on paper, even if you are the only one who will ever read it, can be very therapeutic. If art has never been your strong suit, consider taking a class at your local community college or community center.

Learn something new. In addition to the creative arts, your mind can benefit from learning something more academic. This could be practical. For instance, you might want to enroll in a local community college and work toward a degree. You can also learn something new just for fun. Maybe you have always wanted to go to Paris. Start learning French so you can go one day and speak with the locals.

Focus on work. If you enjoy your job, dive in head first and take on new and more challenging projects. If you are not so satisfied at work, this could be a great time to work toward something new and better. Maybe a promotion at your current location is possible. If so, talk to your boss about what you need to do to earn that raise and new position and then put all your energies into doing it. You might also consider searching for and getting your dream job. This is a great way to focus your urges on something positive.

Pick up a hobby. Maybe you used to work on model trains or you gardened, but your drinking got in the way. Now is the perfect time to get back into your old hobbies. They made you feel good in the past, so use them now as a way to resist the urge to drink. If things from the past hold too many negative memories, start up a new hobby.

Spend time with family and friends. This may be the most important tool you have in your kit for releasing pressure and avoiding a relapse. When you feel bad, turn to a trusted confidant and vent. Take him out for a cup of coffee and have a good, long, healing talk. Surround yourself with friends and members of your family who are positive influences. A strong social life is key to staying sober and healthy.

Whatever you do to relieve tension and pressure, make sure it is not a return to the bottle. Having come this far, you know you have the strength to stay clean. Use these ideas to help you vent your frustrations and to find an outlet for your excess energy.

Source: www.drugrehab.us

Worst College Majors for Your Career

Make no mistake: An undergraduate degree can improve your employment prospects and paycheck size. A high school graduate earns 40% less than someone with a bachelor’s degree and is more than twice as likely to be unemployed. But not all college majors are created equal. In fact, grads with certain majors sometimes fare worse in the labor force than workers who stopped studying after high school.

Considering the time and expense that goes into earning a college degree, knowing whether your course of study is a career-killer is powerful knowledge indeed. That’s why we analyzed the jobless rates and salaries for graduates with the 100 most popular majors to come up with our list of the ten worst values in college majors.

Using data from Payscale.com and Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, we looked for majors whose graduates—both recent grads (within the past five years) and those well into their careers—face a brutal combination of low compensation and high unemployment. We also worked with Payscale to determine the likelihood that recent graduates from each major would end up working in retail, where a college degree isn’t always required, rather than in their field of study. A ratio of 1.0 is the norm; a ratio of 2.0 means a graduate of that major is twice as likely to work in retail as the average college grad.

10. English
9. Sociology
8. Drama and Theater Arts
7. Liberal Arts
6. Studio Arts
5. Graphic Design
4. Philosophy and Religious Studies
3. Film and Photography
2. Fine Arts
1. Anthropology

By Caitlin Dewey – Kiplinger.com

You can read the entire article here.

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Are you as intelligent as you want to be? Has anyone ever told you that you’re bright or smart? If you answered yes to these questions, you’re likely thinking of traditional intelligence. However, what about your “emotional” intelligence?

There are a lot of smart people in the world. They are inventing things, running successful companies, building skyscrapers and advancing technologies. At the same time, do these smart people know what they feel and what to do with that?

In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle said that anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.

Perhaps you’ve heard of EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. Much has been written about it. In a nutshell, EQ is the capacity to know what we are feeling, and to then make the most appropriate choices in the presence of those feelings.

We’ve all been in situations where we were flooded with emotion and then said the wrong thing, made some unproductive choices or were downright destructive. Why did that happen? Why were we emotionally hijacked?

In the function of the human brain, a “fight or flight” response mechanism is the root of our reactions. Since many people don’t have a vocabulary for what they feel when they feel it, instead of intellectually interpreting what is happening, they go into react mode. If, however, they had a greater EQ, they would have the capacity to make choices that are more appropriate in a given circumstance.

This has significant implications in the business world and in relationships in general. With higher EQ, we tend to have meetings that are more productive, better functioning teams, higher motivation, and retention of key employees. It’s when we are bogged down in feelings that we waste time complaining, resisting and undermining our best objectives. It’s also a time when conflict increases and good employees quit.

The starting point is awareness and developing a “feelings” vocabulary. Most of our emotions fit within seven feeling categories. These include pain, shame, fear, loneliness, anger, guilt and joy. With these, do an experiment. See if you can raise your own awareness of what you are feeling, when you are feeling it. Use the list of seven feelings as a guide.

The Strongest Careers Are Non-Linear

The following is an article by Penelope Trunk, Co-founder of Brazen Careerist. I haven’t thought long enough about the concepts she presents here to develop a strong opinion one way or the other, but on the surface they seem interesting.

Here’s the article in full:

For years we have been talking about the education bubble and the problem that colleges charge tons of money and then graduates are unemployable and in debt. Colleges are responding by becoming job preparation centers. And Frank Bruni, opinion editor for the New York Times, says this is a waste of time and resources. Here’s what’s better:

1. Skipping college.
The real issue we have with admitting that college is not a path to the work world is then we have to ask ourselves why we send our kids to high school. There is plenty of data to show that teens are able to manage their lives without the constraints of school. The book Escaping the Endless Adolescence is chock full of data, and a recent article by my favorite journalist, Jennifer Senior, shows that high school is not just unnecessary, but actually damaging to teens who need much more freedom to grow than high school affords.

2. Focus on internships instead of school.
Kids should be working in internships in high school. Because the best path to a good job is a bunch of great internships. But great internships don’t go to people who need money. They are mostly for young people. Yes, this is probably illegal and classist and bad for a fluid society. But we will not debate that here. Instead we will debate why kids need to go to college if the internships are what make them employable? Kids should do internships in high school and by their college years, they are capable of real jobs where they are doing work that people value, with cash.

You cannot take this route if you’re saddled with huge student loans. You can’t take this route if you’re inundated by homework in required subjects you don’t care about. You can’t take this route if you have no work experience when you graduate college. It’s too late. (Don’t tell me you need to go to school to learn, okay? People just do not believe this anymore.)

I was reading the Fortune list of 40 under 40 and I was struck by the career history of Kevin Feige (number 11 on the list). He’s president of Marvel Studios at age 39. He wrote that he interned with the Superman movie director as a film student and that was the last job application he filled out. That’s because if you get an internship with someone great, and your performance is great, your network will cover your employment needs for a very long time.

3. Start a company instead of writing a resume.
I’m struck by Marissa Mayer (number 3 on Fortune’s list) whose announced acquisition strategy is buying small, cheap companies. Which is, in effect, buying the team. Silicon Valley calls these acqui-hires. She is looking at young people who start companies that are not necessarily successful in terms of product or sales but successfully market the founders as visionaries, self-starters, and hard workers. You can’t show those traits in school, so if you have those traits, you slow yourself down by going to school where you cannot exhibit your best, marketable traits.

4. Refuse to present yourself in a linear way.
Do any workaround that lets you forgo the linear obsession the standard resume format. Because linear presentations favor people who have long, rule-following careers – which don’t necessarily make you look good anyway. I could write a post ten thousand paragraphs long of all the new things people with nonlinear work histories are doing to get jobs.

People use twitter as a resume, according to the Wall Street Journal, which requires only that you publish ideas, not any sort of academic experience.

Young people are selling stock in themselves – paying out dividends for decades at a time.

Agents represent workers who pick and choose projects that match them rather than signing on for indefinite amounts of time. The Harvard Business Review calls this supertemping. Business Week calls it going Hollywood.

But here’s the big takeaway. A fundamental shift is taking place, where the path to getting a job is massively circumventing college credentials. And, at the same time, the American public is fed up with the insane debt that college are expecting new grads to take on in order to graduate. (Good essay: How College Ruined My Life.)

If you are not going to school in order to “fit” into the adult world, then why are you going to school? The love of learning, presumably. But school reform pundits are 100% sure that kids will choose to learn if you put no constraints on them. They will just learn what they want. Best example: The MIT program that gave iPads to illiterate kids in Ethiopia, and they taught themselves to use it, program it, and read it in English. No teacher. No curriculum.

The biggest barrier to accepting the radical new nature of the job hunt is the reverberations throughout the rest of life. If you don’t need school for work, and you don’t need school for learning, then all you need school for is so parents can go to work and not worry about taking care of their kids.

It takes bravery to go against the grain. It’s difficult to say that the great learning and the great jobs come from leaning out, doing things in a nonlinear, non standard way, and playing only by the rules that fit your own style for personal learning and growth.

Live Life to the Fullest

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Posted below is a copy of “Thursday’s Thought”which is distributed by Grant Helgeson, at Westland Properties Group. It’s so good, I had to share it here.

If you really want to live your life to the fullest and realize your greatest potential, you must be willing to run the risk of making some people mad.  Whenever you move beyond someone’s opinion of you, they get upset because you thought more of yourself than they thought of you.  If you want to know just how much you can do, how far you can reach, how much you can stretch, you must be willing to leave some people behind.  You must be willing to do more, be more and have more than those in your present company have.  This does not mean you should compare yourself to them.  It means that you must be willing to step out on your own, try life for yourself and claim your divine inheritance without guilt.  If you really want to know who you are and what you are capable of achieving, you must be willing to live without the opinions of other people.  That means you don’t ask for opinions!  And when they are offered, you need not accept them.  In order to find your identity, your authenticity and a true sense of wholeness, you must develop your individuality from the wealth of information that comes from within you.  Of course others around you can give you effective feedback.  But you need not make it your gospel.  People may not like what you do, people may not like how you do it, but these people are not living your life.  You are!  Until you are willing to live beyond the opinions of other people, and without the company of other people, you will have no idea of what your life is all about.

You may have been holding on to other people’s opinions about you and doing your best to keep people with you and on your side.  Tell someone you do not agree with their opinion of you.  Then jump into the center of your own life and get comfortable being there!

Just How Different Can You Be?

Differentiate yourself! Have a unique selling proposition! As business people, we’re told that these qualities will help us be successful. However, just how different can you be?

In a world crowded with intense competition, it’s a challenge to stand out. Unless you have a really special product, or a better mousetrap, it isn’t very likely that you’re much different from your competitors. This is true whether your competition is that other company in your industry, or that other person in your office.

If you’re really not that different, how do you stand out?

When you think about differentiating yourself, you likely think of “what” you do or offer, versus “how” you do it. As such, you tend to concern yourself more with narrowing your niche and refining your pitch, than with something that might be more important. In the process, you place too much emphasis on the uniqueness of “things.” Continue reading