So how do you wake up from your trance? The first step is to realize you’re sleeping. You can learn to recognize and manage your self-defeating pain management problems by noticing what happens inside of you when your defenses get turned on. When the defense (AKA denial) is turned on your stress levels go up, you get irritable and can easily get angry, you may start to feel fearful, threatened, or unsure of yourself for no good reason, you start having an inner conflict or argument start in your head—i.e. one part of you wants to avoid looking at the problem. Another part of you, wants take a good honest look at what is really going on and set up a plan to solve the problem.
The first step in learning how to manage your defense system is to learn how to sit still and notice what is going on inside of you. You need to learn how to notice what you are thinking, especially your inner conflicts and conversations, your feelings, and your urges to do things. By noticing what is going on inside of you, you can then make conscious decisions about what you want to do before you blindly act out. Remember your goal: To think it through before you act it out.
There are two primary antidotes for denial
Acceptance and problem solving
Acceptance is a peaceful acknowledgement of the truth. If you can calmly face the problem, acknowledge the truth about what is going on, and accept that it is happening to you, you can then develop a way for handling the situation. The person who has accepted the truth of a serious problem has the ability to honestly affirm to themselves: “I have a serious problem! I am responsible for dealing with it! I’m willing to learn how!”
Problem Solving is a system for finding solutions to your problems. Effective problem solving systems involve identification and clarification of your problems, identifying and projecting the logical consequences of alternatives, deciding which alternative to use, taking action, and evaluating the outcome. By recognizing and accepting the problem and developing an effective problem solving plan, your need to use denial will go down because your ability to manage your problems will go up.
Stop the Trance Dance!
Recognition is only the first part of the solution for stopping the self-defeating dance. Years ago I was at a workshop presented by Dr. Stephen Covey—he is the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Dr. Covey made a statement the really hit me. “You can’t think your way out of a problem you behaved your way into.” In other words it’s time to get into action. Nature abhors a vacuum. Therefore, it’s imperative that you replace unhealthy defense mechanisms with new alternatives or the old patterns will resurface. Part of the solution is educating yourself—knowledge is power.
To learn more about the importance of a multidisciplinary pain management plan to help you break the chronic pain management trance please read The Need for Multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you are in recovery or believe you may have a medication problem and want to learn how to develop a plan for managing your pain and medication effectively go to our Publications page and check out my book the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. This book also has very useful information about breaking the trance and dealing effectively with any self-sabotaging behaviors. To purchase this book please Click Here.
To listen to a recent radio interview I did conducted by Mary Woods for her program One Hour at a Time please Click Here to go to this interview.
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