Addictionland - Addiction Recover Blog
Inhalant Abuse and Prevention Update: The Alliance for Consumer Education has put together a site where you can go and make a pledge to talk to your child about the dangers of inhalant use, as Children are 50% less likely to try an inhalant if an adult role model talks to them about the dangers of inhalant abuse. I have attached the following link for those who might be interested.
They also have public service announcements related to inhalant abuse from those affected, family members from children who have passed away, as well as former users, like myself. I did a public service announcement with my mother and sister some years back for the Alliance for Consumer Education and the results of their effectiveness are amazing.
Www.inhalant.org also offers an Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit, quiz, and lesson plans for anyone looking.
I'm sure that many of you can relate to coincidences like when you learn about a new word, you find that you hear it more, but when in reality it's just something new that has come into your awareness, it was really there all along. This is of course something that happens to me often, but has certainly been my experience since I have been writing this blog, as it is now always in my awareness to look for opportunities for what to discuss next and they just keep popping into my life!
Working in the addiction field, and the job I have in particular, keeps me very focused but also very isolated. Working in addiction also creates a sort of bubble, being that my clients are all trying to get out of their active addiction, my co-workers are all in recovery, and the doctors are addictionologists. I had been in California for four or five years and didn’t realize that I was protecting myself in a way, by not branching out of my comfort zone. So it wasn’t until about two years ago, that I started to go out to new places and interact with new people that have never struggled with an addiction. (People that experience temporary stress instead of chronic anxiety are still a wonder to me!)
The benefit, however, of the bubble realization was that all of that prep work that I had been doing (working with a sponsor, doing the steps, going to multiple types of therapy to figure out the core issues as to why I was using inhalants, then working on those core issues) was in preparation for returning to the real world and all its challenges and this time having a more positive impact, on myself and on those around me, and it was time to use them! The tools I have learned (especially emotional regulation, coping skills, and trigger identification) and the resources I have developed have been crucial in my relapse prevention, because life sure does throw me some curveballs and when I did come out of hiding, I found that some of my wreckage from my past was still there waiting for me. I am definitely grateful that I was given the opportunity to have a second chance, to get to be the same person, but a better version. By doing the footwork, it allows me to look at the same situations but have different reactions and therefore different outcomes than I would have in the past.
I feel that in order to be effective in communicating with people who are also struggling and/or looking for solutions or education, I need to write about things that truly affect me emotionally, because if what I'm writing doesn't induce some sort of feelings for me, how could it in someone else? So full disclosure in the hopes that someone can relate and hopefully allowing me to be of service.
The reason that the ability to have different reactions that produce different and better outcomes is on my mind is due to some events that occurred in my week. I felt discouraged this week for two reasons, and I feel like they have happened while I have volunteered to write this blog for a reason. I am a person that falls victim to a certain type of mental trap, where your brain immediately jumps into negative thinking or disaster mode when you hear certain things that are not ideal. In the treatment facilities I work with, we refer to it as addict brain....
In early recovery, I was often told, “Trust me, you’ll feel better soon”, or, “I know this is hard, but I promise, you’ll feel better soon.” I lived by those words. I was so shaky, ashamed and scared. I felt awful. I desperately hoped the non-stop physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual suffering would stop. I wanted so badly to feel better, physically as well as emotionally. I tried each and every day to focus on those words of reassurance and deny what I thought and felt inside. I held tight to the recommendations of my recovery role models, the encouragement from my friends and family outside the rooms of recovery and my own willingness to get better, hoping eventually I’d feel better.
And eventually I did, but not in the way I had expected. What began to happen was I started to feel my feelings better. I started to feel happiness better, I started to feel anger better, and I started to feel sadness better.
Although this sounds like a play on words – feeling my feelings better - the point is, in order for me to experience healthy recovery I had to allow myself to actually feel what I had long been trying to deflect, change or control.
For example, during the Christmas holidays my emotions would always kick into overdrive. No matter what age I was, I would become completely nostalgic. I’d think about stringing the lights with my dad, hearing my grandfather whistling a holiday tune or sitting at the top of the staircase with my brothers and sister waiting for my Dad to tell us Santa had arrived. I’d get excited to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family or maybe catch an old Charles Dickens movie by myself. As I got older the holidays stopped being those experienced as a child. They became strung by addiction instead of lights and wrapped around bottles of wine with little food instead of gifts presented with love.
I won’t lie, those first few winter holidays in recovery were difficult. I couldn’t stop focusing on how sad, angry and frustrated I felt for all those Christmas and New Year holidays lost in the blur of addiction. In those early recovery years I had difficulty fully embracing the magic of the season. To be honest, I really wanted nothing more than to get through the series of events, wishing they would just be over....
I have spent the last month unable to tear myself away from streaming a popular TV series that I didn’t watch while it was on the air weekly. There are 142 episodes and I am almost finished with the lot! Some days I have watched as many as 5 episodes. I am annoyed with my behavior and what a waste of time it is. Yesterday I tried to stop and couldn't.
Then it dawned on me that I am using compulsive TV watching to escape because I am going through withdrawal from my reading addiction! I have run out of books that interest me; most of the book stores in town have closed down; and the library is closed tomorrow. I guess that I will distract myself with a few more hours of TV and hope for the best while my Kindle is charging.
I am ashamed to admit that I am a book junkie. I mean the "hard stuff," the paper books, not the audio books. I love to lose myself in a good story or fascinating biography. The feel of turning the pages and the weight of the book is so satisfying. There is nothing like the sense of expectation I feel when I start a 500-page book!
I have been an avid reader since childhood. I remember how happy I used to feel going home from the local library with my arms filled with books. When I gave birth to my son I knew that I was going to have a c-section, so I went to the library ahead of time and made sure I put some books in my suitcase to take to the hospital since I was told that I would be there for up to one week. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get out for a while once we were home, therefore I needed a stockpile.
When I have nothing to read I experience withdrawal. I tend to feel antsy, anxious and sometimes get grumpy when away from my “fix.” My worst withdrawal experience came many years ago, before Kindles were invented, when my husband and I were invited to visit one of his friends who had moved to a nearby city. Chuck picked us up at the airport and drove us to his new home on top of a hill....
Many people who struggle with alcohol or drugs have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need to get better. Many family members who see their loved ones struggle have a very difficult time in getting their loved ones assistance. Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person struggling with alcohol or drugs to get the help they need to get better.
1. Family Intervention
The most popular way to get someone the help they need is to do a family intervention. This is when family members and an interventionist get together with the addict to tell them how they love them and wish that they get help to get better. Each family member takes a turn and tells the person how special they are and that they need to get help. The person who is struggling listens and hopefully they become convinced to get the help they need.
2. Talk To The Person On What Will Happen If They Do Not Get Help
Another way to convince the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs is to get someone who is an expert on addiction and have them do a one on one talk with this person. This expert on addiction should explain to the addict what will happen if they do not get the help they need to get better. Basically, the expert should warn the person of the dire consequences of what will happen if they do not change their ways. The expert should be vivid as possible and hold nothing back. The goal is to convince the person to get help or they will suffer and eventually their life will slowly come to an end.
3. Use The Services of A Professional Or A Former Addict
Try to find a professional or even a former addict who has “Been There” to talk to the person. This is similar to Step Two, however instead of warning the person, these professionals can use their skills to talk and try to reason with the person. These experts are usually trained and can use a proactive approach into trying to convince the addict to get help. The goal is to try to reason and talk with the person so they can get professional help.
4. Find Out The Reasons Why The Person Won’t Get Help
Many people overlook this suggestion. Ask the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs to list 3 reasons why they will not get help. At first, they will say all kinds of things, but continue to engage the person and get the 3 main reasons why they refuse to get help. It might take a couple of tries but listen to what they say. Once you get the answers, WRITE them down on a piece of paper. Note: Fear and Frustration are huge factors for the person not getting help.
5. Determine The Solutions To Those Barriers
Once you get those 3 reasons, get a professional or an expert to find the solutions to those issues. For example, the person says that they will not get help because they tried a few times and they failed and that they will fail again. Ask a few addiction professionals to find a solution to this issue that will help the addict overcome this barrier. One good answer to this example is the following: “Yes, you tried to get better and failed however this time we will do things differently. We will keep a daily diary of everything you do and you or someone else will document what you do each day. If you stumble or fail you will write down your feelings at the time and why you failed. When you recover from a bad episode you can READ your diary and find out what went wrong. Once you know what went wrong you will know why you failed and will find a way to prevent this from happening again.”
Use your list from step three and list every positive thing that will counter those barriers. When you are finished, present this to the person who is struggling and explain what you came up with. This will help reduce the person’s fears and anxieties and may convince them to get help. Developing a plan to counter their reasons of not getting help will go a long way.
Alcohol and substance abuse or any other addictions will not take away your problems and fears. In the short run, they might make you feel better, but in the long run these addictions will only make things worse.
So what do you do to make your problems and fears go away? Well, since you can’t runaway from them, then the best solution is to tackle your fears head on no matter how strong they may be. The key is to be smart in how you try to manage these fears. Here are some ways in how to manage your persistent fears and anxieties.
The first step is to learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. Focus on the present and stop trying to predict what may happen next week. Next week will take care of itself.
Remember that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. For instance, let’s say at your place of work that you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember: we may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference....