Why Celebrities Smoke Or The ‘Sunset Boulevard’ Syndrome

We’re all affected by images of Hollywood stars, models and celebrities smoking – off-duty or otherwise. Whether that means that individual celebrities have a moral responsibility to us all to shun smoking in their working and private lives is another matter.

What is arguably more interesting than any of that is why on earth celebrities choose to smoke at all?

Hollywood stardom and celebrity status is a superficial world almost entirely based on looks and image. As such, it’s truly astounding to see so many celebrities smoking.

Surely we all know by now just how great an impact cigarette smoke has on our skin. Even if, by some strange twist of fate, celebrities themselves manage to remain ignorant of the way smoking effects skin aging, don’t they have armies of advisors and image consultants to keep them on track?

Surely someone in the inner circle tells them about the results of recent research – how smoking dehydrates the skin, destroys vitamin C, damages collagen, accelerates wrinkling and produces the classic ‘smoker’s face’?.

It’s impossible to believe that highly paid, news-savvy and reasonably intelligent people can remain ignorant of these essential facts. They must know that smoking will damage their looks and prematurely age them and they choose to carry on – all the while spending small fortunes on personal trainers, nutritionists, cosmetic surgeons and anti-aging creams and lotions.

Could it be that the stars themselves have been influenced by the glamour that was once associated with cigarettes? Perhaps if you spend long enough in the fantasy world of film you start to believe in the celluloid image. Just like Gloria Swanson in ‘Sunset Boulevard’ they’ve lost touch with reality.

After all, it’s not so long ago that everybody who was a somebody in Hollywood smoked and was proud of it. Cigarette smoking was glamorous and sophisticated. Just think of the iconic image of Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ as Holly Golightly – posing elegantly with her long cigarette holder, upswept chignon and little black dress.

What’s not so elegant of course is the way Audrey Hepburn succumbed to the smoking habit herself. Ignoring her mother’s ‘beauty tip’ to: “keep to six cigarettes a day only”, Hepburn managed two or three packs at her worst times – even smoking in her nun’s habit on the set of ‘The Nun’s Story’ and chain smoking her way through ‘My Fair Lady’.

Unsurprisingly, she suffered from asthma for most of her life and died of cancer at only 63,looking frail and old for her years. Not the kind of ending we like to imagine for the sublime Holly Golightly.

There’s no doubt that the very nature of the movie business has caused many a celebrity to start treading the nicotine path. Smoking is as common in movies today as it was back in the 1950’s although overall smoking in the population at large (the Western half anyway) has reduced. Could it be that a cigarette has become the film prop of choice for actors looking for an easy way to inhabit another skin?

For some celebrities – tired of the constant criticism and the ciggy shots splashed across the tabloids – a kind of smoking defiance has crept in. As Gwyneth Paltrow once said, “I smoke and I’m not going to stop!”. Paltrow – famous for getting through a pack of Camel Lights a day in her teens and twenties – has only very recently quit smoking. Perhaps she started to wonder how her fine, fair skin and ethereal beauty would cope with the collagen depletion in her forties and fifties.

Some celebrities keep going with the smoking habit whatever the consequences – even if it impacts on their closest relationships. It’s well known that smoking was a bone of contention between Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston during their marriage. Brad Pitt is on record as saying how much he hated his ex-wife’s chain smoking. His disapproval didn’t cut much ice with Jennifer though – as recent paparazzi photos show. You have to ask why one of the world’s most loved and naturally attractive women would do this to themselves?

Similarly, iconic top model Kate Moss is regularly photographed with her cigarette, a lighter and a mobile phone as her only fashion accessory. As a supreme super model its probably not surprising that Moss still manages to appear effortlessly elegant and beautiful however she’s photographed – at least for now.

She certainly shows no signs of wanting to quit smoking any time soon. Perhaps like so many in her world – she associates smoking with thinness. Or perhaps, for her, it’s the least troubling of her addictions.

When celebrities do chose to quit its fascinating that the reasons given are so often not about looks or even health. Catherine Zeta-Jones for instance, quit smoking – so she said – because she didn’t want her children to start asking questions. Not as you might have thought – because beauty is her personal trademark and smoking would kick-start skin aging and undermine her potential to earn huge sums of money.

Whatever the reasons celebrities have for smoking or for deciding to quit – the truth about skin damage and smoking very rarely features as a major factor in the debate. Well – maybe it’s about time it did.

So, some advice to all you celebrity smokers out there – carry on smoking if you want – but don’t expect your fickle public not to notice the effect on your looks.

And when you hit a deluded (or regretful) middle age you may still be able to say, like Gloria Swanson in ‘Sunset Boulevard’: “I’m ready for my close-up now Mr de Mille” – but only if it’s filmed in heavy soft-focus, expertly back-lit and then extensively re-touched afterwards.

The Salvation Of Sobriety

Alcoholism and its effects on one family’s history are integral to the story being told in my novel, Shades of Darkness, Shades of Grace. The Pierson family portrayed in the book has suffered the blight of alcoholism for at least four generations, with two of the children, Kay and Paul, forced to confront their dependency. The point of this subplot is to not only illustrate the character’s flaws, but to acknowledge that the problem of chemical dependency is a far-reaching one affecting many families. But Kay and Paul’s struggles are meant to give the reader hope; hope that it is possible for addicts to reclaim their lives, finding grace or salvation in sobriety.

When Kay suspects Paul’s drinking has reached levels that point to dependency and abuse, this is not the first time those concerns have been expressed by the Pierson family. After his first wife’s death, Kay recognizes Paul’s attempts to salve his pain through alcohol. Never actually confronting him, the Pierson family believes Paul has found redemption in Pamela, and they push their fears aside. The Pierson family makes the mistake that many families confronted with chemical dependency do – they rationalize that the problem was only temporary and has been dealt with satisfactorily. But as Kay and her Mother realize Paul does have a problem, Kay recounts the Pierson family history and its path of devastation.

For Kay and her brothers, it begins with underage drinking as it does for many individuals. Underage drinking has reached epidemic status in the United States, with an estimated 10.8 million youth engaging in some level of alcohol consumption. These huge numbers of young Americans engaging in both illegal and risky behavior is behind the Surgeon General’s March 2007 report, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. While Jack manages to escape the ravages of alcoholism, Kay and Paul’s battles with chemical dependency as adults are not at all unusual. According to the Surgeon General’s report, 40% of adults who began drinking before age 15 experience chemical dependency problems. With almost half of adults who begin drinking as teens suffering chemical dependency related difficulties later in life, Kay and Paul are far more typical than many may realize.

The relapse that Paul suffers after three months sobriety through attending Alcoholics Anonymous is also quite common. According to a study published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 1989, nearly 90% of recovering addicts are likely to relapse at least once during the first four years of their sobriety. What triggers Paul’s fall – an argument with Kay regarding his ex-wife – is not an unusual response. Two other triggers leading to high risk behavior in recovering addicts include social pressure and interpersonal temptation.

It’s this episode that pushes Kay and her family to confront Paul with the knowledge that his chemical dependency is a problem they believe A.A. alone cannot solve. Kay gives Paul insights into the severity of her own battles with alcoholism by explaining her spouse, Tim, made it clear she had a choice to make. She could choose either alcohol or her marriage, but in the latter choice Tim demanded sobriety. Kay exhorts Paul to take a chance on sobriety, the only course of action that will allow him to discover who he really is as a person, reclaim his life, and find salvation from the ravages of chemical dependency.

Kay also inherently understands that both she and Paul are very fortunate in that they have not caused irreversible harm as their addictions sent them crashing head first to the bottom. Many addicts cannot say the same, and Kay reminds Paul that if not ever being able to drink again is the worst thing that happens to him, he is very lucky indeed. No one knows better than a recovering addict that real life is littered with temptation and good intentions gone awry. But no one knows better than a recovering addict that the salvation offered by sobriety, of reclaiming a broken life and turning it into to something meaningful is well worth any sacrifice. As Kay reminds Paul, he won’t know that salvation unless he’s willing to take a chance on sobriety.

If you or anyone in your family is confronting difficulties with chemical dependency issues, there are many resources available to you. A few of them are listed below.

Alcoholics Anonymous – The oldest organization of its kind, Alcoholics Anonymous is committed to helping alcoholics (and other addicts) stay clean and sober.

Drug and Alcohol Resource Center – Nationwide Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehab Information

Hazelden – Provides addiction treatment, education, publishing, research, and recovery support services

Mothers Against Drunk Driving – For over 25 years the organization has been committed to activism, victim services, education, and keeping drunk drivers off our roadways.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – This government site offers extensive research and resources on the topic of alcoholism, trends, and current data.

Surgeon General’s Report on Underage Drinking – Under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Surgeon General issued the report on the underage drinking crisis in March 2007.

The Dating Scene – Signs of a Promising Relationship

Celine was just starting to date again after a difficult breakup. She was feeling anxious because she didn’t want to go through another unhappy relationship, but she didn’t trust herself to make good choices. She sought my help in learning how to discern a promising relationship from one that is bound to fail.

In Celine’s last relationship, she had been pulled in by Gary’s ardent pursuit of her. She had wanted to go slower but didn’t listen to herself. Instead, she gave herself up to Gary’s attention and compliments.

“Celine, my experience with men who come on strong right away is that they are often controlling and needy. Is that what happened with Gary?”

“Yes. He seemed so loving and open at the beginning, but once we were in a committed relationship, he started to pull on me for time and attention. He became critical and angry and petulant when I didn’t give him what he wanted. How could I have known all this at the beginning? What should I look for now that I’m dating again?”

Celine had gone on one date with a man named Mark. After this first date, Mark emailed her, saying that he wanted to spend a lot of time with her and go on a trip with her.

“Shades of Gary,” she said. “This is a red flag, right?”

Celine and I explored some of the red flags as well as some of the signs of a promising relationship.


• Comes on strong at the beginning of the relationship.

• Becomes angry, critical or withdrawn if you say no.

• Becomes logical and tries to talk you out of your feelings or your experience. Tries to make you feel that you are wrong for your feelings or your position.

• Talks on and on about himself or herself and doesn’t ask you much about you, or is uninterested when you do talk about yourself.

• An older man or woman who has never been married and has been in a series of broken relationships.

• Numerous broken marriages.

• Has an abusive background and has not had therapy.

• Has abandoned his or her children.

• Not open to learning from relationship conflict.

• Participates in addictions that are unacceptable to you – smoking, drinking, drugs, addictive eating, gambling, TV, and so on.

• Financially irresponsible.

• Not truthful.

• Has few friends.

• Judgmental of self and others. Talks about self and others in disparaging ways.

• Is possessive and jealous. Gets upset when you do your own thing.

• Totally different views from yours regarding religion and/or spirituality.

• Few interests and hobbies.

Celine and I discussed the fact that you get what you see.

“It’s not that people can’t change,” I told her, “but you can’t change them. If he is not okay with you the way he is right now, then don’t pursue the relationship. If you are an on time person and heis always late, don’t expect this to change. If it’s not okay, then don’t pursue the relationship. Same thing with weight, being neat or messy, being a free spender or being frugal. These issues can become huge problems in relationships because people expect them to change and get very upset when they don’t.”


• Shows respect for your feelings and needs, even when they are different from his or her feelings and needs.

• Is able to be empathic and compassionate.

• Is interested in what you have to say and in learning about you.

• Is accepting of self and others – non-judgmental.

• Is open to exploring conflict and differences of opinion.

• Does what he or she says he or she will do.

• Cares about being responsible for children from a broken marriage – has not abandoned his or her children.

• Takes responsibility for his or her own feelings, health and well bring. Does not make you responsible for his or her feelings.

• Is financially responsible. Does not expect you to take care of him or her financially.

• If divorced, takes responsibility for his or her part of the difficulties.

• A person who was in a loving relationship and lost their mate to death. People who have been in loving relationships generally know how to have loving relationships.

• Has friends that you like.

• Talks about others in caring and supportive ways.

• Has interests and hobbies that are fulfilling to him or her.

• Similar religious or spiritual path to yours.

• Is supportive of you doing what brings you joy. Feels joy for your joy and pain for your pain.

• Can laugh at mistakes. Has a good sense of humor.

• Has balance between work and play. Knows how to work hard and how to have fun.

Before you can find the “right” person, you need to become the right person. Doing your own inner work so that you can fit the descriptions above for a promising relationship is the first step in finding a loving relationship.

Why Hypnosis Works For Weight Loss

Chances are you have heard about someone who has used hypnosis for weight loss with great success.
Since the number of people using hypnosis for this area is growing, we hear more and more success stories of people who have battled weight gain over the years who are now enjoying a slimmer and healthier body through hypnosis.

Okay, you might be asking how hypnosis can help. First, one of the causes of weight gain is too much sugar intake. Hypnosis suggestions can educate the subconscious mind that sugar is not that exciting. The result of reducing sugar intake based off the retrained mind is not only weight loss but also better sleep, better concentration, and overall quality of life.

Another common cause of weight gain is what we call “comfort eating”.

How many times have you sat down, frustrated, mad, irritated, depressed, or lonely, finding yourself reaching for a bag of potato chips, a handful of cookies, that half-gallon of ice cream, or some other food to help ease the problem.

Comfort eating is a huge problem for many people and although you might tell yourself repeatedly that you will never turn to food for comfort, it becomes a repetitious problem. Again, hypnosis can be used to teach the subconscious mind ways of relaxing and gain power, and control over the situation so you do not have to turn to food.

With this, you will find that you lose weight and/or keep it off.

Just as you can use hypnosis to stop smoking or other unwanted behaviors, you can use hypnosis to lose weight. The goal is to teach the mind how to shift from one thought process to another.

Take fast food as a perfect example. Most fast foods are loaded with fat and high carbohydrates, which mean excessive calories and unwanted pounds. However, driving past the Taco Bell, Burger King, or McDonald’s is impossible.

Now, what if you could use hypnosis to turn the fast food desires off? Well, you can and interestingly, it is not that difficult. With hypnosis, you can actually gain control over fast food impulses, choosing healthy and delicious food instead.

Probably one of the hardest foods to get over is chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. As mentioned earlier, some chocolate does not automatically mean weight gain. However, if you consume chocolate often, then you will likely have to battle the pounds.

Hypnosis can provide a much-needed boost to your subconscious mind that you have no interest in eating chocolate. Keep in mind that for some people chocolate is an addiction that comes with a strong desire. Again, hypnosis can help break that desire so you are not consumed by chocolate.

Now, just as you can use the benefits of hypnosis to curb food addictions and desires, you can also couple this with the benefit to exercise. Obviously, the key to losing exercise is not just cutting back on the amount and kinds of foods eaten but also exercise.

With exercise, you will lose weight, tone the body, and improve overall health. Exercise motivation is something commonly suggested with hypnosis, allowing you to get excited about running, walking, swimming, biking, and playing tennis, or whatever activity you enjoy.

Through hypnosis, you will find yourself looking forward every day to spending some time doing something good for your body. Soon, time at the gym will be the highlight of your day.

Hypnosis will boost your subconscious mind, giving it drive so that exercise becomes a favorite pastime. Very quickly, your entire outlook on life will change as you begin to eat healthier and exercise, watching the pounds melt away.

We can all do things to make life better. If you have goals and want to give yourself that special boost to accomplish them, then you should consider hypnosis. With this, you have a choice of working with a reputable and licensed hypnotherapist or hypnotist, or if you prefer, you can take a step to learn self- hypnosis.

The benefit of self-hypnosis is that you can use this tool anytime you want or need. Just remember, all the silly antics you might have seen associated with hypnosis are nothing but hype.

True hypnosis is a valuable tool, one that can help people with illnesses such as asthma, Fibromyalgia, and arthritis, encourage people to reach outside their comfort zone with public speeches, job promotions, or sports performance, or to overcome difficult obstacles that would include things like weight gain, smoking, nail biting, stuttering, and the list goes on.

You can take charge of your life today and make a difference by utilizing hypnosis

Fitness Exercises that work

The various existing fitness exercises

Are you looking forward to becoming fit and you do not know the best fitness exercises that will help you in growing? You should not struggle anymore. There are a lot of people who want to be fit but are not aware of the various important exercises that they should take to ensure that they have reached their goal. Fitness comes from regular exercises and you should be determined to achieve your goals of fitness. There are a lot of things that you can do so that you become fit. This article will give you all the fitness exercises that are important in helping you to improve your body fitness. You will be in a position where you can carry out various procedures and realize that they are working faster than you ever expected.


The Spider Man Crunch
Start this exercise by positioning your body in a way that you have the forearms on the ground with your body lying perfectly straight. Let your knee come forward and then make it move towards the right elbow. After doing this exercise, resume to the plank position. You should then repeat the same thing with the use of the left knee and take it to the left elbow where you will enjoy the results. If you continue doing this exercise continuously day to day, you are going to realize some positive results and you will not face any disappointments since you will have realized everything that you wanted and all your efforts will bear fruits. This physical exercise has been of great to a lot of people.


Runningfitness exercises that work
Running is also one of the activities that are going to help you in achieving the fitness that you had always wanted. You will realize everything you wanted from fitness if you can afford to run in the morning hours and evening hours every day for at least two months. You will achieve fitness quick since your leg muscles will adapt quicker than your expectations. Runners achieve fitness faster since the activity involves continuous muscular activities of the hands and legs too.


The cable rotation
Hold the cable out in front of you with both hands while standing. Keeps your abs engaged and your arms should be well fixed. Start rotating your body onto your right and then move it to the center. Repeat the process. That will be counted as a set. Try and do as many sets as you can and improve on the number every day and you will realize much improved fitness.

The Endless Thrill of More Work

You have heard some people proudly claiming that they are “workaholics.” If being workaholic is synonymous with being hardworking, that is, characterized by perseverance and diligence, then by all means, there is no question why they should feel proud of themselves. But when you feel compelled to work for the sake of working, and you feel panic, anxiety or a sense of loss when you aren’t working, that is totally a different story. That means, you’re a workaholic.
The difference between a workaholic and a hardworking person is that the latter knows when to stop and set boundaries. The non-workaholic knows when he or she has worked long enough. The workaholic, on the other hand, feels uneasy and not yet satisfied with his or her work even if he has been doing for hours longer than the usual. Without the constant activity, the workaholic feels incomplete.
According to Diane M. Fassel, author of ‘Working Ourselves to Death’ and Chief Executive of New Measures, which conducts employee satisfaction surveys, “the workaholic is addicted to incessant activity. The behavior continues even if the worker becomes aware that it is personally harmful — even harmful to the quality of the work.”
Unlike drug addiction and alcoholism, people who are workaholics are praised and rewarded for working excessively. “That never happens with addictions,” Ms. Fassel said.
However, an increasing number of mental health professionals now consider workaholism a condition that can cause both mental and physical damage.
Certain types of people are more susceptible to workaholism than others. “Most workaholics are either perfectionists, have a need for control or a combination of both,” said Gayle Porter, an Associate Professor of Management at the Rutgers School of Business in Camden, N.J., who has studied workaholism.
Some people engage in too much work in order to escape from a bad relationship or to make up for an absence in one’s personal life. The danger of working too hard is that the stress that goes along with it has been shown to lead to substance abuse, sleep disorders, anxiety and, ultimately, to physical problems like heart disease.

The following are tell-tale signs of workaholism:
· When most people close to you feel neglected by you because of your work, you should certainly take their concerns seriously.

· When you regularly conceal from family members that you are working, even sneaking into the next room to work on your laptop, you may have a problem.

There is no question that advances in technology have significantly contributed to the transformation of normally hardworking people into incurable workaholics. Laptops, mobile phones, and internet shops provide easy access for people to go online while in the restaurants, on the sidewalk, at home and during vacation. It used to be that the person who spends the most time in the office is the best employee. Nowadays, however, the person most willing to be connected 24-7 has become the most valuable.
When it comes to accomplishments, workaholics may become so obsessed with the tiny details that they find it difficult to move on to the next task. Workaholics seldom look for ways to be more efficient than satisfy their hunger for more work to do.
The problem with most companies, they think that they are benefiting from a workaholic’s long hours, even if it is at the worker’s expense. What they don’t realize is that workaholism can harm the company as well as the worker. Workaholism not only discourages efficiency, it can also put immense stress on other workers. A workaholic manager, for instance, may expect longer hours from subordinates, and may force them to try to meet impossible standards, then rush in to save the day when the work is deemed substandard.
The workaholic enjoys the opportunity to look like a hero during a crisis, when it could have been avoided. Sometimes, the workaholic may have unwittingly created the problems in order to provide the endless thrill of more work.
Experts agree that the behavior can be very hard to change. People may go through withdrawal syndrome and professional help, or the active support of family members and friends, may be needed to turn the tide.
Employers should not perceive the workaholic’s reduced work hours and curtailed accessibility as a drop in performance. A change in the work environment can minimize the impact of withdrawal. It would greatly help if the individual would request a new assignment or a transfer within the company.

Managing Loneliness

My experience from 37 years of counseling individuals and couples is that most of the problems from which people suffer stem from how they handle the events of life, rather than the events themselves.

Certainly traumatic and tragic events such as loss of loved ones, financial loss, and health issues are extremely challenging. However, some people manage to move through these events with equanimity, while others remain stuck in fear, anxiety, and depression. The difference is in how people handle deeply painful feelings.

I have discovered that there are two core feelings that most people will do almost anything to avoid feeling: loneliness and helplessness.

Loneliness is an intense empty, sad, sinking or burning feeling within. This feeling can be triggered by four different situations:

1) Loss of a loved one.

2) Not having a partner, family or friends with whom to share time and love.

3) Being around others but being closed off to them.

4) Being around others when they are closed off to you.

Other than a traumatic loss, the latter is often the most challenging in everyday life, and this can occur throughout the day. For example, you walk into work happy and open. You greet your friend, and he or she barely responds to you. If you are truly open to your own feelings, you will feel a stab of loneliness. Yet most people are so closed off to this feeling that they immediately attempt to avoid the feeling with some kind of addictive behavior. They might grab a donut while shaming or blaming – telling themselves that they must have done something wrong or that their friend is a jerk. These addictive behaviors are geared to protect against feeling the pain of the loneliness. And they work for the moment to appease the feeling, but the feeling doesn’t actually go away. It just goes deeper within and may eventually cause physical symptoms, such as back pain or some form of illness.

Helplessness is a similar feeling to loneliness – intense inner turmoil. In the example above, not only do you have the stab of loneliness, but you also feel the pain of helplessness over your friend’s behavior. You cannot make him or her connect with you. However, because this is such a difficult feeling, you don’t want to know that you cannot have control over another or over the outcome of things. To avoid knowing about your lack of control, you may shame yourself: “It’s my fault. If I’m different, I can get others to be different.” Or you might blame your friend, attempting to get him or her to change. Both shame and blame are attempts to avoid accepting helplessness over others.

Once you turn to addictive behaviors such as food, alcohol, drugs, activities, shame and blame, you have abandoned yourself. In attempting to avoid feeling the loneliness and helplessness, you have created inner aloneness – self-abandonment. Self-abandonment occurs when your intent is to avoid pain rather than lovingly attend to your authentic feelings. The combination of avoiding loneliness, helplessness and the aloneness that comes from inner abandonment can lead to anxiety, depression and despair. People then often turn to prescription drugs to further avoid their feelings.

Managing the feelings of loneliness and helplessness is not as hard as you may think it is. If you practice the following process, you will find that you do not need to use your various addictions to avoid pain.

1) Stay tuned into your body/feelings so that you know when you are feeling lonely or helpless. It’s very important to be able to name the feeling, and it may take some time to recognize these feelings since you may have been avoiding them for so long.

2) Welcome and embrace the feelings, opening with deep compassion for these feelings. If you are connected with a spiritual Source of love and compassion, open to this Source and ask for help in being in compassion for the feelings.

3) Hold the feelings as you would a child who is hurting, with deep love and understanding. Just be with the feelings with deep acceptance of them for a few minutes.

4) Consciously be willing to release the feelings. Imagine the feelings of loneliness and helplessness moving through you and being released into the Universe – into Divine Love.

You will find that these painful feelings will quickly release if you practice these steps rather than abandon yourself in the face of painful events and experiences.

Sex Can Be Addictive

In the movie Blades Of Glory, the character Chazz Michael Michaels, played by actor Will Ferrel, was a self-confessed sex addict.
For those who do not believe in the possibility of people being addicted to sex, Will Ferrel’s character would surely be just fictional. However, one episode of The Tyra Banks Show also discussed sexual addiction and even had guests who openly admitted to being sex-addicts. What was more surprising is the fact that one of their guests is only 14 years old and she confessed to being a sex addict since she was 12. Though hard to believe, it is actually true that some people get addicted to sex. How or why this happens will be discussed later on in this article. A person, especially those who engage in frequent sex, might wonder how he or she can determine if his or her behavior is already considered an addiction or not. Characteristics that differentiate sex addicts from those who are just sexually active are also included in this article. Sexual addiction is considered a mental health problem and is very similar to other forms of addiction such as those with alcoholics and drug addicts. Like most health problems too, sexual addiction can be managed or treatment using a method very similar to that used among alcoholics.

Addiction is usually said to be associated, if not a result of, stress and anxiety disorders. A tragic or traumatic event may cause a person to feel self-hatred, extreme anger, loneliness, and depression. In search for an event or situation to change these negative feelings, they seek for things that would can give them pleasure. Substances such as alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine have a component within them that causes a person to release more dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for the good or pleasurable feelings that most people experience. Engaging in some activities such as sex and having an orgasm trigger the same reaction within the brain. Because of the satisfaction, relief or escape that these substances and activities provide to a person who is already psychologically troubled, he or she will seek to experience the euphoria some more. As a result, an addiction develops as well as feelings of obsession and compulsion.

Engaging in sexual or romantic activities is considered natural among humans. The moderation or frequency among each individual, however, varies. Some people do these activities more frequently compared to others but that does not necessarily make them sex addicts.

Some of the characteristics that should be observed in a person to consider him or her as a possible sexual addict are listed below:

l He or she must have a pattern of failing in resisting his or her impulse to engage in specific sexual behaviors;

l He or she must frequently engage in those sexual behaviors to a greater extent or longer period than what he or she is intended;

l He or she might experience a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those sexual behaviors;

l He or she spends an inappropriately large amount of time or resources spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience;

l He or she has a certain preoccupation with certain sexual behaviors or preparatory activities;

l He or she still frequently engages in sexual behaviors even when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations;

l He or she still continues to do the sexual behaviors or activities despite knowing that he or she will have a persistent or recurring social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or made worse by the behavior; and

l He or she feels distressed, anxious, restless, or irritated if he or she is unable to engage in sexual behaviors or activities.

There are also different levels of sexual addiction. Level one is being engaged in compulsive sexual activities or thoughts only. Level two already includes acts of voyeurism, exhibitionism, and rubbing against people in public places. Level three is when a person already commits much more serious and intrusive sexual offenses that have more harmful consequences.

Sexual addiction, like most other addictions, have several negative consequences. Someone who engages in sexual activities frequently with other people has a greater tendency to acquire infections such as AIDS for example. A female sex addict also has a higher chance of getting pregnant. Sex addicts usually have financial problems because of their uncontrolled expenditure to satisfy their addiction. They will also have social problems such as difficulty relating to their family and their friends primarily because they already have a sense of shame being aware of their problem and the inability to control it.

Professional help is very much needed in order for a person to recover from this kind of addiction. Therapy sessions with professionals may either be done individually or in a group. Several organizations such as Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous already provide programs and support groups to help a person who has an addiction to change and get better in avoiding the compulsion. Some medications can also be used to treat not necessarily a person’s sexual addiction but his or her co-occurring psychological problems.

Overcoming Nicotine Addiction for Good

In order to really quit smoking it is necessary to break the chains that smoking creates in your life. If you are addicted to smoking purely due to the nicotine addiction you are certainly not alone. This is one of the biggest reasons why smokers continue to smoke. It is also one of the reasons why the tobacco company sits around confidently while the economy struggles and people are cutting back. If you are addicted to their product, you are not going to cut back. In fact, if you are addicted you may find that you are using the product even more. This creates huge profits for the tobacco companies, and leaves you with a huge problem as you are struggling to get your addiction under control.

What is really surprising is the fact that people will have sympathy for someone who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling and a plethora of other addictions. However, the sympathy tends to stop at the idea of being addicted to cigarettes. This is a stigma that has affected society in a way that people are often laughed at for saying that they are addicted to cigarettes. Yet, the fact remains that people are in fact addicted. Learning how to control the addiction is critical to success, after all those who are addicted to drugs rarely ever just quit cold turkey successfully.

You need to realize that you are addicted to smoking, and that the reason is typically due to nicotine. The exact manner that you get the nicotine is not important. What is important is avoiding the harmful effects on your body that smoking has. If you need to slowly cut back your nicotine consumption you are not alone, and to prove it there are dozens of stop smoking aids on the market. Several even offer small dosages of nicotine to help smokers deal with their nicotine addiction while still working to quit smoking. Looking towards products such as nicotine gum or even the patches may be your only help in quitting.

While there are plenty of tricks such as breathing exercises, magnets, and other stop smoking aids that you can use, many are not designed for people actually addicted to the nicotine. What you may not realize is that the bulk majority of smokers have become dependent on the nicotine to one extent or another. While some smokers rely much more on the nicotine than others, they are still addicted to an extent. It is important to break this dependence in order to actually be successful at quitting smoking. This is not an easy process, and it must be done carefully.

If you are not careful in the process of breaking your nicotine addiction, you could actually make things worse. For example, the nicotine gum and the patches come in different dosage levels. These levels coincide to the amount that you smoke. The intended purpose is to start at the level that you typically smoke at and slowly decrease the amount of nicotine that you consume each day. Slowly over time your addiction would be gone, however to crush this instantly you would just need to use a stronger gum or patch than you need for your smoking habit. A one pack a day smoker could create far more problems for themselves if they used the gum or patch intended for those who smoke two packs a day for example.

Being sure that you are using the proper dosages is critical. Ensuring that you are taking your time and carefully dealing with your nicotine addiction is very important as well. If you have the support of your friends, family and co-workers, you will have a much greater success rate. Just as those recovering drug addicts take things a single day at a time, you need to do the same for your nicotine addiction. Simply rushing out and attempting to quit could create a huge self-esteem problem and you fail to control the addiction to nicotine. Going slow and accepting your problem will set you up for a much higher success rate and improve your overall health much faster.
Word Count 686

Emotions As Information

When you were a small child, your painful emotions may have felt too overwhelming to feel. If you experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, your little body was not big enough to manage the painful feelings. If you were neglected, unseen, misunderstood, invaded, smothered, shamed or ridiculed, it may have felt too painful to manage. If you were a highly sensitive child with parents who did not understand high sensitivity, you may have felt too much emotion to handle. You might have had to learn ways of not feeling so much emotion.

What did you learn to do as a child and adolescent to manage your feelings?

* Did you learn to numb out, taking your focus out of your body and into your head, thinking rather than feeling?

* Did you learn to use food, alcohol or drugs to numb out?

* Did you learn to numb out in front of the TV or computer?

* Did you learn to leave your body or to dissociate in other ways?

* Did you learn to live in fantasy or daydreams to not be present in your body?

* Did you learn to be a perfectionist, an overachiever, always being busy – doing rather than feeling?

* Did you learn to get angry rather than feel the pain of the loneliness, heartache and helplessness?

* Did you learn to focus on what was going on with others rather than on your own feelings? Did you learn to absorb others’ feelings and be there to help them as a way to avoid your own pain?

* Did you learn positive addictions, such as reading or sports, to avoid your feelings?

Those of us who did not receive the love we needed had to find various ways of managing the pain. This was a necessary part of our survival.

However, as adults, avoiding feelings has many negative consequences. Your feelings are your inner guidance system. Your feelings instantly give you much vital information.

* Your painful feelings, such as fear, anxiety, emptiness, aloneness, depression, hurt, anger, jealousy, guilt and shame, are letting you know that you are thinking thoughts that are not true – that are out of alignment with what is in your highest good, or that you are behaving in ways that are harmful to you.

* Your loneliness around another person may be letting you know that the person’s heart is closed.

* Your confusion around what another person is saying or doing may be letting you know that the person is lying.

* Your discomfort around another person may be letting you know that the other person is not safe to be around.

* Your inner peace, joy and fulfillment are letting you know that your thoughts and behavior are supporting your highest good.

As adults, many of our emotions come from our thoughts. If you think a thought such as “I am not good enough, ” you will feel anxious or depressed. These painful feelings are your inner guidance system telling you that the thought is a lie. If you then do something to avoid feeling the anxiety or depression, you are not getting the very important information that your feelings are giving you, and you are abandoning yourself. This self- abandonment – avoiding your feelings and the information that your painful feelings are giving you – leads to addictive behavior.

As a child, others may have been causing your painful feelings. As an adult, you are generally the cause of your pain – by judging yourself, neglecting your feelings, and making others responsible for your pain and joy. As an adult, it is your own self-abandonment that is often the cause of your pain.

As an adult, you CAN learn to manage your painful feelings by opening to learning about the information that your feelings are giving you, and by learning to access your inner higher wisdom to bring in the truth and love to yourself. You will know that you are thinking and behaving in ways that support your highest good when you feel inner peace and joy.

The information your emotions are always giving you is vital for your health and wellbeing. Why not start today to attend to your emotions rather than avoid them?