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  • Writer's pictureJanis Skrastins

Learn to trust yourself, ignore and carry on

Jānis Skrastiņš' interview on LTV's "Dzīvei nav melnraksta" has already been viewed almost 100 000 times on Facebook alone and has received dozens of positive comments, including from those who are in a similar situation to the one Jānis was in more than 5 years ago. The comments section contains both sincere thanks for sharing your experience and comments from people who didn't believe Jānis' story... Today Jānis doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. He does not expect anyone to trust him, he does not seek to convince anyone. He has regained the most important trust - trust in himself.

Watch the interview with John here.

The dangers of trying to win the approval of others pave the way for failure

Perhaps it is the various comments to this video that perfectly illustrate that it is impossible to please everyone. Wanting and trying to live up to the expectations of others is almost impossible and can lead to fear and frustration, for which the temporary solution may be the use of intoxicants such as alcohol or drugs.

The solution is to focus on oneself and not on others. Let others think what they want. It is their business and their right. In such a situation, the question to ask is not for others, but for yourself: 'What do I think of myself? What do I need to do to move forward?" It is important to change our thinking so that we no longer try to please others. Instead, it is about focusing on your life, your goals and your health.


Working with your thoughts is the path to success

Thoughts create emotions, emotions create actions, actions create thoughts... It's a vicious circle that can be used to promote both positive and negative thoughts, emotions and actions. The final stage in this vicious cycle is action. Before we start using alcohol or drugs, we have thoughts that trigger emotions. Most often these are fear, anxiety, stress and other negative emotions as a consequence of an event. These emotions can be easily suppressed with alcohol or drugs. This is a short-term solution, as the same thoughts and emotions are likely to overwhelm us as soon as we are sober again. They will not move us even one step closer to solving any problem. A similar situation is experienced by those who suppress their thoughts with food, which has now also been recognised as a major societal problem. To change this behaviour, which has significant consequences for our physical and mental health, we need to change our thoughts, which will change our emotions, which will change our actions.

There are many different examples of this concept in all walks of life. For example, people who have to speak in front of an audience feel anxiety, which creates fear. Psychologist Alison Wood Brooks, who studies the basics of performance anxiety, points out that we may not be able to suppress anxiety and fear before public speaking, but we should be able to change the way we interpret it. Instead of feeling fear and anxiety, we could tell ourselves that these are positive emotions that we are feeling because we want to get our message across. This process of changing our thoughts can completely change our actions from shaking hands, looking at the speaker and trying to read the prepared text word for word, to a fascinating story that we tell to the audience with great interest.

The world-famous "ice man" Wim Hoff dealt with the grief of his wife's death by taking a cold shower or bathing in icy water. He says it was a way of getting his thoughts in order to get on with life and raising his children.

Jānis Skrastiņš says: "When I feel fear, disappointment or other negative emotions, I meditate most often. It is a moment when I am with myself. Meditation helps me not to react to various irritations."


Mentors and coaches - practitioners, not theoreticians

Most of the world's most successful rehabilitation centres have been set up by people who have been down that road themselves - heavy alcohol and/or drug users. They know that theory and practice are two different things. They know what it means for an alcoholic to be unable to stop after one drink, when at the same time another can have one drink and say no to the next without any internal struggle.

At the rehab centre in Thailand where Jānis spent a total of 3 months, most of the staff were ex-addicts. "It was a completely different environment, a different atmosphere, a different attitude. Every coach deeply understood my feelings, having been in this situation themselves. So they were able to speak the same language as me and others who had decided to get well. Together with techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation, their support, understanding and coaching enabled all of us to achieve our goal of getting our thoughts in order and saying 'no' to irritants every time they manifested."


A call to help others

Jānis's journey away from regular and heavy alcohol and drug use has not been easy. In the interview "Dzīvei nav melraksta", Jānis told us that there have been several periods in his life when he did not use intoxicating substances, but then he started again. It is now almost 5 years since he has learned to identify and ignore the irritants. He has done this by using a variety of effective methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation and working with himself - his thoughts and his inner world. He has learnt these and other techniques in various courses and through self-study.

His 20 years of experience of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as almost 5 years of experience of not doing so, are a valuable wealth of knowledge to help both adults and young people who have decided to take back control of their lives, thoughts, emotions and actions. In this work, he finds satisfaction in everyone's small and big achievements.

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