THE ART OF CHANGING YOUR MIND

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The Independent Culture
When we are caught in addiction it is impossible to experience love: compulsivity and peace of mind are mutually exclusive. It is my belief that much addictive behaviour stems from trying to cover up or run away from deep feelings of aloneness. Rather than feel our aloneness, we become focussed on controlling, getting, judging, defending and attacking, as ways of looking away from our loneliness. Our addictions slowly become the walls behind which we hide. Eventually our walls become so high that instead of simply hiding we become prisoners of our own making. The guards in the prison of addiction are our irrational but deeply held beliefs about ourselves and the world. The emotion behind these beliefs is fear - fear of other people, of the world and of ourselves.

But there is an alternative. It is possible to exchange a thought system based on fear for one based on love and acceptance. Below are examples of the core beliefs of the two thought systems. By itself positive thinking does not necessarily bring about change but it does let you see your choices. If you find yourself in inner turmoil or outward conflict, you need first to identify the negative belief underlying your struggle. Then, turn to the corresponding love-based belief. This give you the opportunity to change your mind.

THE ADDICTIVE THOUGHT SYSTEM

1 I am alone in a cruel, harsh and unforgiving world. I am separate from everybody else.

2 If I want safety and peace of mind, I must judge others and be quick to defend myself.

3 My way is the right way. My perceptions are always correct. In order to feel good about myself, I need to be perfect all the time.

4 Attack and defence are my only safety.

5 The past and the future are real and need to be constantly evaluated and worried about.

6 Guilt is inescapable because the past is real.

7 Mistakes call for judgement and punishment, not correction and learning.

8 Other people are responsible for how I feel. The situation determines my experience.

9 If I am going to make it, I must pit myself against others. Another's loss is my gain.

10 I need something or someone outside of myself to make me complete.

11 My self-esteem is based on pleasing you.

12 I can control other people's behaviour.

13 My self-esteem is dependent upon my being approved of by everybody.

14 If I am to consider myself worthwhile, I must always achieve, win, succeed.

15 Other people are to blame for things that go wrong in my life.

16 I should always worry if things are not exactly how I think that they should be.

17 I should always dwell on the possibility of the past repeating itself.

18 Stuffing down my feelings makes my life safe and happy.

19 I am weak and need to be dependent on someone and something.

20 I should become upset about, and preoccupy myself with, others' problems.

THE LOVE-BASED THOUGHT SYSTEM

1 What I see in others is a reflection of my own state of mind. I lack nothing to be happy and whole right now.

2 My safety lies in my defencelessness, because love needs no defence. Acceptance is what brings me peace of mind.

3 My self-worth is not based upon my performance. Love is unconditional.

4 Forgiveness, with no exceptions, ensures peace.

5 Only the present is real. The past is over and the future is not yet here.

6 In order for me to change my experience, I must first change my thoughts.

7 Mistakes call for correction and learning, not judgement and punishment.

8 I am responsible for the world I see, and I choose the feelings that I experience.

9 To give is to receive. For me to gain, nobody can lose.

10 I am complete right now.

11 My self-esteem comes from loving and accepting myself as I am today, and then sharing love and acceptance with others.

12 I can't change others, but I can change how I perceive others.

13 My self-esteem is not based upon pleasing others.

14 I am complete, full of love, and worthwhile this very instant.

15 Healing my life begins in my own mind.

16 If I desire change, I must first look to my own mind.

17 The past is past. The future is in the future. The present is present.

18 Opening my heart to love makes my life full and happy.

19 Through sharing who I am with others, I come to know who I am. I lack nothing today.

20 Fixing you will not fix me.

DR LEE JAMPOLSKY

Lee Jampolsky PhD is a psychologist working in the treatment of chemical dependency. He also lectures on the subject at various universities in California. His book `Healing the Addictive Mind' is published by Celestial Arts, Berkeley, California (ISBN 0-89087-623-1), and is available in this country at pounds 7.99

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