Intervention: Anything But My Own Skin

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Intervention Books:Addiction Triggers

What are triggers?  A trigger is anything that reminds a substance abuser of fond memories directly related to using drugs or alcohol.  Maybe a trigger is a song that reminds a user of the fun nights with a drug or maybe a certain smell reminds the user of the euphoric feeling of a high or maybe a trigger is a billboard sign promising a beer drinker a guaranteed good time with a cold beverage while watching a football game, but whatever one's triggers are, unfortunately triggers are impossible to avoid.

Although triggers can not be completely avoided, there are certain steps to be taken to reduce the number of triggers a former substance abuser is exposed to.  For example, a former drug user can immedietly turn the radio station when a triggering song comes on or not attend a party where alcohol will be consumed.  Some addicts and alcoholics even go to lengths of cutting the tie to their television in order to avoid the constant wave of beer and liquor adverisements.  Yes, recovery from addiction takes work, sometimes more work than what a user wants to put forth, but without taking action to reduce triggers maintaing sobriety will only become more difficult.  At times the power of a drug or drink  is nearly unstoppable so why add more momentum to a nearly unstopabble train?  Find your triggers, be aware of them, take whatever action to avoid the triggers, and when avoiding the trigger is not possible reach out to someone to talk through the decietful thought that drinking and drugging is worth risking everything.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Addiction Memoirs: Al-Anon

Are you tired of feeling that your loved one is putting their addiction before you?  Does it seem like your relationship with someone special in your life, whether it's a family member or a significant other, seems to be fading into unknown territory?  If so, you are not alone.  Millions of people are connected to somebody they know that is struggling with substance abuse.  In my personal experience, anytime the topic of addiction comes up in conversation, the person I am talking with, will almost always bring up somebody close to them that is struggling with addiction.

The biggest misconception of dealing with the addiction of someonebody else, is a feeling of being alone.  Addiction is everywhere folks and everyone is effected by it.  The more we isolate the problem, thinking we are alone, the worse the situation.  We must reach out to other human beings going through the same struggle we share and talk through the situation.  Unity is stronger than any individual and to think you can take on someone else's addiction without a supportive environment is as insane as the user thinking he or she can keep using without paying any serious consequences.  The supportive environment I am talking about is Al-Anon.  Al-Anon is a group that meets about how to handle the addiction of someone close to you.  If you are personally struggiling with somebody going through addiction or is in recovery, Al-Anon will give you a whole new life.  There are meetings for Al-Anon all over the country and all over Georgia.  For a complete list of where to find a meeting near you, click on this link. Al-Anon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Intervention Two Excerpt

Although my grades were shot, I thought for sure, I was going back to the school the next semester.  It was my first semester in college and I was almost expected to do bad.  Everybody does poorly their first semester.  Seventy percent of college freshman make a grade point average below a 3.0.  So maybe I was below a 1.0 but I would change.  The next semester was going to be completely different. 
Two days after the semester ended, my parents and I were sitting in the living room watching a Christmas special.  They had seen my grades, but a conversation about the semester never came up.  I figured we were on the same page, next semester would be different.  My Dad shut off the television, he looked over at me.  “Chad you’re not going back to school next semester.”
            “We gave you a chance and you blew it.”
My Mom’s eyes were filled with disappointment and anger.  She was quiet.  I was quiet, lost in Dad’s words.
I had to convince them they were wrong.  My emotions were boiling on the inside, but I knew to look calm on the outside.  I started with an even and convincing tone, “Guys, it was just a rough start, I’ll do better, I promise.  College is important to me.”
My Mom read straight through me, “I don’t think so Chad, you’re done, not with a failing GPA.  We can’t trust you.  Plain and simple”
“Guys, I’m serious, I’ll do better, I’ll go to meetings down there, I’ll do whatever it takes.  I need this.”
“Chad.”  My Dad’s tone was in manager mode.  “This isn’t a discussion, you’re moving home.”
The emotions were too strong.  I couldn’t hold my cool any longer.  I threw my head back and let out a few words of disbelief.  It was over.  Their expressions weren’t budging, their minds were set and I was back to living at home.
During the Thanksgiving break, I worked a seasonal position at a furniture store near my parent’s home.  Originally, I planned to work the Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break, hoping to make enough money to pay back my parent’s back, but now I was going to be working the entire next semester, living back under my parent’s rule.  It was depressing.
The night after my parents informed me I would be moving home, I drove back to school to collect my belongings.  When I moved in, it was a glorious day for both my parents and myself.  Now, I was by myself, collecting the pieces of my broken first semester of college.  I blew it, straight up, just like my Dad told me. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Drug and alcohol memoirs: Enabling... The Addiction

Anyone that is currently connected to someone suffering through an active addiction may want to take time to reflect on the enabling side of addiction.  Enabling is a serious problem that can keep someone on the path of addiction and must be addressed.  

As a caring human being, the last thing we want to do, is cause someone pain.  Well what if we are causing more pain for the struggling addict and not even realizing it?  What if we are keeping that person stuck in their pain by giving them the means to continue to use.  Believe me, there is nothing harder than denying someone you love the means he or she needs to survive in this world.  Everybody has to eat.  Everybody needs shelter, a job, and even some of the finer things in life, right?  Of course and naturally it feels right to help someone get those necessities of life.  But what if we took those things away?  What if the addict had to figure out how to balance a life of substance use with the necessities of life? Would the addict survive? 

The majority of us aren't willing to take that chance, because it scares us, so instead we continue to help the person with things like food, water, and shelter.  However, let's think about this; if the addict or alcoholic had to suddenly fend for himself or herself, they may not be able to survive, but that doesn't mean they will die, it means they may be more likely to seek help.  We must stop enabling people, so the person we love can feel how bad their addiction is, then we can work with a mindset that realizes things are beyond their own control.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Addiction memoirs: Changing the negative stigma toward addiction

If addiction is a disease then why do we treat it with a hush hush mentality?  When we hear someone is diagnosed with cancer, we don't start saying things like, "Oh well you brought this upon your self," or "What's wrong with you?"  So if the new thinking regarding addiction is centered on the disease model then why is their still a negative stigma toward addiction?  I can tell you right now.

Changing the mindset of the general public from thinking addiction is self-inflicted to a mindset that addiction is a disease and some people may have fallen into addiction not because of poor choices but because of external situations or even a different chemical make up in the brain, starts with the people in recovery not being afraid to say they are in recovery.  Plain and simple.  If the person in recovery thinks addiction is bad then of course everyone else is going to think addiction is a bad.  Ok, so maybe you're thinking well the person in recovery is afraid to say they are in recovery because people whom don't struggle with addiction will judge the person in recovery.  Is this accurate?  Probably, but this mindset will never change unless the members of the recovery program stand up and say yes I struggle with substances, however look at me now.  I know what's wrong with me and I have made a conciseness decision to improve it, now let's talk about what you are doing to improve your defects because everybody knows there's something wrong with everyone!

More to come on this topic, just getting warmed up.