The Pain -aholic Anonymous Steps to Recovery

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP, Personal Development

Two weeks ago we discussed the issue of “cognitive distortions”; the “pain pills” that we unconsciously take which causes emotional pain! If you missed it, simply go back to the last blog (“The Pain Pill”) and enjoy the read. This week, as promised, I’ll be exploring the “Pain-aholic Anonymous Steps to Recovery”; simple steps that we can take to get us over the addiction to the “pain pill” and help us live relatively pain free lives. Interested? (Please proceed only if you desire to change your distorted patterns of thinking.) Now, let’s begin with the first step:


1. It is never the event outside, the external context of circumstances that hurts us, but how we pattern their meaning by our thinking patterns. It is the meaning that we make inside, our reality maps that can either heal or harm us.


This realization is seminal in our steps to recovery simply because we all respond to our internal maps of reality and not “reality”. Period. We only need to change our internal maps to change our “reality” and positively affect our outcomes and emotional well being! Failure to grasp this can lead us to live “victimized” and indefinitely leashed to faulty and distorted ways of thinking, the “pain pill”.  


Causation, as an experience, does exist.

We do indeed cause things to happen.  We do so by believing, meaning-making, intending, understanding, etc.

 The frames of meanings that we create cause our experience of reality.”

- L. Michael Hall, PhD. Founder of Neuro Semantics


2. Assume full ownership of your internal maps, your distorted habitual thinking patterns and meaning making powers. Quit playing the blame game.


Why is this so important? The minute we blame others, circumstances or some event in the past we fall victim to “learned helplessness” and victimhood. The key to being free of the addiction to the “pain pill” is by assuming responsibility for our thinking habits, cognitive distortions and meaning making powers. This step gives us back our personal power and the propulsion to change our thinking patterns, thoughts and beliefs and gain greater inner freedom and self direction!  


3. Become aware of your feelings and/or emotions of pain, anger, frustration, insecurity, doubt, fear and resentment and back track.


For most of us, our cognitive distortions have become so much part of our “normality” that they have dropped into the unconscious. When I say “unconscious” here, I mean that it has become an acceptable, unquestionable, invisible and integral part of our thinking habits and process. Hence they automatically direct our consciousness, assumptions and conclusions and produce the resulting feelings or emotions of pain, anger, frustration, insecurity, doubt and resentment. Because of this, we can work to catch them by their “tail”, meaning by the emotions they produce which are the feelings of pain and discomfort that seems to appear from “no where”. Once we are aware of these feelings, we acknowledge them, welcome them and work “back ways” to the thought patters. Now for the next step……


4. Take a pause. Take a deep breathe and remember STEP ONE.


Remember, it’s just about our internal maps and thinking patterns and because of this; we can change them and instantly feel better. This step allows us to “break with” our automatic and intense emotional reactions. If we have deep and ingrained distorted thinking patterns that constantly disrupts our daily living, this step can help give us a measure of control and sanity, stopping us from “labeling” ourselves as “insane” or “bad”. I call it the “pause of sanity” that helps us to realize that it’s just our maps. It allows us to be gentle with our selves and proceed to the next step which is to…..


5. Practice the habit of not judging oneself. Assume the frame of curiosity, self exploration and acceptance.


This step is critical because when we judge ourselves, become our worst critic, we turn the very painful distorted thinking patterns against ourselves, our esteem, worth and value. This is called a “dragon state”, where we turn our physic energies against ourselves, being internally conflicted. Trust me, when we are in such a state, we become our worst enemies and nothing gets resolved.


Alternatively, we can learn to not judge ourselves, assume a state of curiosity and wonder and explore the feelings and thought with acceptance. Once we do this, we are able to back track from our feeling and contents of our thoughts to the distorted thinking patterns that are directing them. This leads us to the next step…..



6. Identify the assumption or presupposition that is driving the emotion or feeling of pain or discomfort and name the cognitive distortions.


Describe it. Write it down and identify the cognitive distortion. (You can refer to the last blog for the brief list of cognitive distortions.) This will help you greatly empower you to assume responsibility to regain your personal power to live free of the “pain pills” you may be addicted to.


Once you have done so, validate and confirm the distortion or distortions. (Sometimes we run more then one distortion at one time!) Then proceed to……


7. Take a “mental back step”, review and challenge the distortion.


Taking a “mental back step” gives us the space for objectivity and to “go meta” and gain a “bird’s eye view” of our thinking pattern(s). Once we have done so, we can ask ourselves, “Is this a thinking pattern that I typically use is such situations, regardless of the evidence, people or situation?” “How long have I used this pattern of thinking?”


How has this distorted way of thinking or emotionalizing messed up your day to day living? What kind of “mental and emotional” muddle has it left you in? Do you love this “pain pill” and the pain, confusion, insecurity, anger and resentment it leaves you in? Has it served you well? Has it left you in a resourceful state? Are you ready to change this pattern of thinking?


Once you have answered these questions, proceed to…..

8. Replace it with a more empowering thought pattern(s).

What better ways of processing this information can I use? How will you think once you have replaced this distortion? How will you now choose to think when you are in a similar situation, circumstance? How would this make you feel?


9. Quality control your new thinking pattern that you will now use.

Will this new pattern of thinking enhance and empower you?  Will it unleash in you a greater sense of personal power and emotional well being? Does it feel congruent? Will it fit in an ecological way with all your relationships and outcomes?  Apply!


The 9 Pain -aholic Anonymous Steps to Recovery

(The Neuro Semantic Steps to Overcome Cognitive Distortions)


Need an example of how to work these steps? Ok. Let’s take the example and assume that whenever you attempt to do something new, you start to feel fearful, insecure and extremely anxious. This has become a painful experience that you have, over the years, assumed it to be true of yourself and avoided doing anything you perceive as “new”.   


The first step would be to realize that this reaction has nothing to do with the external circumstances but with your internal map (perception) of it. Next assume responsibility for it, don’t blame yourself, others or circumstances. Get in touch with the feelings of discomfort, pause and take a breath. Avoid self judgment, invite curiosity and explore the feelings and the thinking patterns behind them. Identify the distortion, name, review and challenge it. Perhaps it is Overgeneralizing, Awfulizing and Mental Filtering, where you presuppose that that you never do anything right and will never be able to do anything right, especially if it is something new and unfamiliar. You always “screw things up”.   Has this way of thinking benefited you? Has it served you well? Has it limited you? Left you muddled and confused? Had enough?


What better ways of processing this information could you adopt? Can you think of several things that you have done successfully in the past? Can you recall them? Step into these experiences. What do they tell of your true potential and abilities? What do they tell you about your capacity to experiment and have fun trying something new?


Now what new patterns of thinking can this lead you to in the future? Do you like this new pattern of thinking? How does it make you feel?  Will it serve you, the relationships and your outcomes well? 



There you go, “The 9 Pain -aholic Anonymous Steps to Recovery”.  They are really simple and they work!  What areas of life can it be applied to? To almost any area; work, self, others, the world, the past, the present or the future, identity, beliefs, spirituality, God, etc. Welcome to a whole new world!  


Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!

Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro – Semantics, USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois, USA.

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