Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Archive for January, 2015

5 Goals to Accomplish in 2015

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Many people take advantage of the New Year to set resolutions to stop bad habits or pick up good ones, and think they will be able to radically transform their lives.  For some, it can be a very exciting time of hopefulness and thinking through what they can change about their lives.

However, many people’s resolutions do not stick, and people end up settling back into old routines, discouraged and feeling like a “failure.” That’s why it’s better, rather than making a resolution, to think about setting goals.  Whereas a resolution is a hard and fast rule working on a surface issue, a goal is a more far-reaching, yet more achievable commitment to self-transformation.

To help you get started, here a few goals that might help you live a more complete life.  

1. Cut yourself a break every now and again   

Throughout the day, most people have a running internal dialogue. Everyone has emotions and memories, either coming from within or triggered by something outside that alter the way they see themselves and the world around them.   This self-dialogue can often be extremely self-critical and harsh, and get in the way of your ability to enjoy life around you.  

Practicing mindfulness is one important way to learn how to bring these thought under control, by bringing your attention back to the present moment, rather than carried away by thoughts or anxieties.  When an anxious thought comes, breath slowly to bring you attention back to the present moment.  Focus on something calm or joy inducing in the outside world and then speak truth to yourself. Practice speaking affirming truths to yourself, rather than beating yourself up.

2. Create routines that you can follow through with

Taking time to take care of your body and be healthy benefits more than your physical self. Your entire self is deeply connected, so having a healthy body will help with your emotional and physiological self too. One of the best ways to help your body is to make sure you get an adequate amount of:

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

This can be accomplished by setting routines throughout the day in which you take time to make sure that you are caring for yourself. Some routines you might want to try are:

  • Setting a sleep schedule up where you are asleep by a certain time and awake by a certain time
  • Take 20 minutes every day to exercise
  • Stay in contact with friends and family
  • Clean your living space

Developing these simple routines can make a huge difference for your health.  

3. Laugh!

It can be very easy to get bogged down in the mundane and stressful parts of life and ignore reasons you have to be grateful. Life can get overwhelming sometimes, so be sure to take time to take care of yourself.  

Figure out what you can do to be happy, and then make that an important part of your schedule. Laughing and being happy renews your energy to keep living life, and is a vitally important part of what it means to be a healthy person.  

4. Help Others 

Helping others gives your life purpose and connects you to a community of people. Find opportunities to volunteer or be part of exciting organizations doing good in your community.  Or, you can simply reach out to those around you, and make yourself more available to friends.  

Simply being able to listen to someone’s story, and offer your support and encouragement, can do an incredible amount of good.  

5. Take the High Road 

Yet at the same time, people can sometimes be very frustrating. Pay attention to when you feel irritated or frustrated or angry at someone else, and try to find ways to be calm, and respond with gentleness in that situation. The words you speak in a moment of cleverness or frustration could be very hurtful, so learn how to pause, and think about the impact before you speak. 

These are just a few of the goals that can lead to you having a life filled with joy, healing, and gratefulness. But ultimately, you should be setting your own goals. Take some time to think about what is important to you and what you would really like to see changed about your life, and then work on crafting goals for your new year.  

If you really commit to these goals, and work at breaking them down into manageable, positive steps, you may be very surprised at how deeply your life will be transformed.

Using the Holiday Season As Motivation

Posted on: January 20th, 2015 by The Gooden Center No Comments

One of the best ways to help yourself and support your healing is to help other people.  Doing good for others fills your day with good feelings of gratefulness from people you helped, takes your mind off your own problems, and gives your life meaning.

Thus, finding opportunities that resonate with your values and make the world a better place is an essential part of long-term recovery.  The holiday season can often be an especially helpful time to find ways to be of service to others.  Here are a few ways you can use the holidays and the spirit of the season to find ways to do good for others.

1. Think about what Gifts You can Give

Lots of cultures have holiday traditions that revolve around giving presents, or hospitality, or other tangible gifts to others. Sometimes this can become a stressful thing, as you stress out over finding the “perfect” gift and end up losing focus on the true meaning of gift giving – showing love and appreciation to someone else.

A recent study by Adam Grant and Jane Dutton found that people were far more likely to be generous if they spent time thinking about times they had been giving in the past.  Reflecting on the joy you can bring to someone with a simple gift can be a powerful incentive to think of other ways you can contribute to the world.   

2. Look For Opportunities To Give Back

Whether it’s on “Giving Tuesday,” or through toy drives, special holiday dinners, or other special community events, many groups that are doing good things take advantage of the holiday season to increase their visibility.  Local newspapers, radio stations, and community events web sites will probably be filled with opportunities for you to volunteer and help.  

Try to find something that resonates with you in particular, and then just try going out and doing it.  You may find whole new passions and life-meaning created out of the experience.

3. Practice An Attitude Of Gratitude

Becoming aware of how much you have to be grateful for can help you realize how much you have to offer someone else. Keep a gratitude journal, or a reminder of things you have to be thankful for.  This will in turn help you realize not everyone has the privileges you do, and this in turn can enlarge your giving spirit.  

It could be a tangible material possession, but could also be a sense of joy, peace, connections with others, or an ability to create.  Whatever it is that you find yourself being thankful for, take time to also think about ways you can share that gift with others.  

4. Holiday Traditions And Their Deeper Meaning

It’s very easy for the stress related to holiday observances to distract from the reasons these holidays exist in the first place. No matter how busy or stressful things are getting, take time to reflect more deeply on what the holidays mean to you.

Think about the needs of the world, and bring them to the sense of hope, family, light, and promise that the holidays offer.  One of the best ways to connect the holiday to its deeper purpose is to make it about the good you can do for others.  

5. Reach Out To Other People 

The holidays are often observed very publicly and part of wider celebrations of joy.  Strangers may be more likely to interact with each other.  As you are comfortable from your culture and your personality, pay attention to other people’s openness to you, and seek to learn about others.

 Simply greeting people, wishing them a happy holiday, and taking the time to get to know them or hear their story will enlarge your own view of human experience, and help you think about ways you can be of service. 

Powerless over Drugs and Alcohol

Posted on: January 15th, 2015 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcoholism and addiction are sustained through denial, or a lack of awareness of how severe your problem is. You may have at some time realized that your behavior felt “out of control,” and so tried to “cut back,” but for the most part, you find ways to rationalize your behavior and not realize that you are not always in control of your behavior.

Addiction, both being under the influence of a substance, and then being unable to do or think about anything else until your next “fix,” takes over your entire being, and is not something you can regulate or simply switch off.   You are not as “in control” as you think you are, and it is admitting this that is the first step towards realizing you need help.

Many people in the recovery community refer to this awareness as a sense of “powerlessness,” and while that can seem like a scary concept to some, it is a very important part of developing the self-awareness that is an essential tool in the struggle for recovery.  

What powerlessness isn’t

Powerlessness should not be a cause to become discouraged, or be understood as saying we have no control over our actions and can do nothing to get better. Powerlessness is not the same thing as helpless, and even less the same thing as hopeless.  In fact, it is only after admitting powerlessness over an addiction that we are able to take the steps necessary to get our lives back.  Surrender is the first step towards working to freedom.  

Powerless over Drugs and Alcohol

Powerlessness is just an important part of realizing just how much power our addiction has over ourselves.  An addict is powerless because he or she is unable to control intake of a substance and limit it to “responsible” levels, or stop when it becomes harmful.  Many people drink to excess or use drugs irresponsibly, but then are able to stop or change their behavior after a few warning signals.  

If you are truly addicted, that is not an option, and you can not compare yourself to those people.  You must start the recovery process knowing that sobriety is going to be your goal, because you have, after close scrutiny to your personal vulnerabilities, accepted that drinking is not something you can limit to moderate levels.  

Behavioral Changes    

You have to radically change your behavior, not simply cut substance abuse out of your life, but develop radically new coping strategies.   This will not be possible unless you come to the recovery process totally committed to change things.  Admitting you are powerlessness builds up a sense of both humility and self-honesty that is going to be essential in doing the hard work of finding new ways to be present in the world and deal with what’s going on in your inner life. 

You may tried to do so much hard work building up your willpower in your efforts at self-improvement.  You may have tried to control your behavior under the influence, or cut back on use to a level that feels more reasonable. Yet the addiction remains, as do the underlying tensions and issues that alcohol or drugs are masking.  Surrendering in these surface battles really means letting go and focusing instead on the larger root causes, taking a break to pursue your own inner healing.  

Our society places a lot of value on trying to look as good and “in control” as possible, and so it can be scary to admit that you are not as in control of yourself as you would like to be.  But it is an important step, to realize the severity of your powerlessness.  Hope is very possible, but it must begin by realizing how much is at stake. One drink or drug hit could send you back into a state of powerlessness.