WKND - - Points Of View -

In the del­uge of self- help books, blogs and sem­i­nars, it can be hard to de­cide where to start (‘ You will sur­vive… and thrive’, Aug 19). Fol­low­ing Jill Nys­tul’s ad­vice on tak­ing things “one day at a time” can be a huge stop­gap in our own lives. Not to di­min­ish the po­tency of more in­ten­sive treat­ments such as ther­apy or a top- to- bot­tom over­haul of life­styles — but, of­ten, just tak­ing the tini­est of steps to­wards whole­some­ness can put us well on the track to re­cov­ery with min­i­mal ef­fort. Some­thing as ba­sic as clean­ing a couch or other ‘ life hacks’ rec­om­mended by Jill’s blog can get us out of the self- de­struc­tive mael­strom we may find our­selves in.

Most of Jill’s cited role mod­els are women who’ve thrived re­siliently while emerg­ing from hos­tile sit­u­a­tions. I feel this is an im­por­tant el­e­ment in her suc­cess. Find­ing like- minded in­di­vid­u­als who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the an­tago- nism of the uni­verse makes it eas­ier to main­tain self- re­gard in sit­u­a­tions where words like ‘ pos­i­tiv­ity’ and ‘ af­fir­ma­tion’ seem like vac­u­ous con­cepts thrown around by ca­reer au­thors look­ing to cash in on the genre. Jill’s per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with lit­er­ally “drown­ing [ her] sorrow” with al­co­hol abuse makes her au­then­tic­ity re­ally shine through.

Along with cul­ti­vat­ing a sup­port net­work and steadily chip­ping away at the demons of life, I shall be fre­quent­ing Jill’s blog, as in the words of Lao- Tzu, “A jour­ney of a thou­sand miles be­gins with a sin­gle step.”

Nand Mu­lani, by email

Writer Cathryn Kemp once stated, “I used to think an ad­dict was some­one who lived on the far edges of so­ci­ety; wild- eyed, shaven- headed and liv­ing in a filthy squat… that was un­til I be­came one!” The whole gist of the in­ter­view with Jill Nys­tul is pre­cisely that — it could hap­pen to any­one (‘ You will sur­vive… and thrive’, Aug 19). A sin­gle episode or bad ex­pe­ri­ence is enough to drive one off the edge. And ad­dic­tion need not mean only al­co­hol or drugs as it is of­ten mis­un­der­stood to be; it has a pri­mar­ily psy­cho­log­i­cal com­po­nent wherein the in­di­vid­ual is un­able to con­trol any ad­dic­tion without help.

And that’s where the crux of the mat­ter lies: get­ting help. Not many are will­ing to ad­mit they have a prob­lem and even fewer are ready to get help due to fear of stigma or plain re­luc­tance. Jill em­pha­sises the point that they are not alone; and that there is no shame in seek­ing help. The five points she out­lines are ab­so­lutely spot- on, and will surely serve as in­spi­ra­tion for the thou­sands suf­fer­ing through ad­dic­tions.

A won­der­ful quote in The Scar­let Let­ter goes like this: “She had not known the weight, un­til she felt the free­dom.” Ad­dic­tion is a huge bur­den, an un­nec­es­sary one and one that need not be car­ried. With a lit­tle help, there is the prover­bial light at the end of the tun­nel. And at the end of it all, you will sur­vive, and thrive.

Valiny Ro­drigues, Abu Dhabi

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