How to Love Someone Through an Addiction
Watching someone you love lose themselves to an addiction is painful, frustrating and worrisome. But mostly, it breaks your heart. This message is for you, the sober one is exhausted, depleted and confused about what to do.
You cannot control the addiction. You can, however, control how your treat yourself during the process. You can protect your children in the process. You can live life on your terms, even while witnessing the destructive habit of addiction. Having firm boundaries that do not enable the addictive behavior is a start. Begin by saying “Yes” when you want to say “Yes” and “No” when you want to say “No.”
Some addictions are much stronger than others and most create some level of both psychological and physiological addiction. For example, drugs associated with a stronger psychological addiction include Ritalin, LSD, Hallucinogens, Cannabis products, inhalant products and many psychiatric drugs, like anti-depressants.
Conversely, substances that are associated with a stronger physiological addiction include alcohol, heroin, morphine, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and many barbiturates, like Seconal and Phenobarbital.
Addicts are often filled with denial and shame regarding their addiction. If the addiction is to an illegal substance, you can ask them to live somewhere else until they are free from the addiction. This is not easy, but it may be necessary, especially if you are needing to protect minors in the home from witnessing this self-destruction or, worse, being exposed to drug paraphernalia that can appear as candy to very young children.
Child Protective Services has the authority to remove minors from parental authority because it is harmful to the children to have illegal substances in the home.
I encourage you to observe your own behavior instead of trying to look for the faults in theirs. After all, you can control your behavior in how you respond with both words and actions. You can learn a lot about yourself as you react to life’s challenges, in this case, another person’s addiction. You must protect yourself and any children that are near the addict. Below are some questions you can begin to ask yourself today:
Simply taking a deeper look at your own response to the situation can help you take the addiction out of the dark cave so that you can shine a light on it and see it for what it is. If you, or someone you love, suffers from an addiction, there is help. You can start by contacting 1-888-987-6393
I am a mental health therapist and I use the Alpha-Stim technology with 100% of my patients on a daily basis. But, don’t take my word for it. Here is what Psychologist, Kathy Platoni, at the Veteran’s Hospital had to say about the Alpha-Stim (AS):
“AS technology is the gold standard for adjunctive treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every single one of my PTSD patients has one, whether Veteran or police officer. I have used this technology for 28 years in my practice and equally as widely in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have treated hundreds, if not thousands of civilians, Soldiers and Marines with Alpha-Stim. There are absolutely NO concerns whatsoever about using it with this population. As a matter of fact, I would be failing my patients if I didn’t use the AS technology. It reduces the internal distress and allows for the internal quiet so absent in those diagnosed with PTSD better than any other intervention I have ever used.”
Your boundaries are social rules of engagements you have with others. A person with healthy boundaries can “No” without guilt. Below are 7 additional ways that will make it easier for you to enforce boundaries.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC
What you focus on is what you attract into your life. Period. If you don’t see it, you cannot achieve it. Mind Maps are a great place to start.
Every time you see your Mind Map for the future, it serves as a gentle reminder of what you need to do and how you need to feel on a daily basis. You will get excited about your vision and burst through your toughest tasks, even when you don’t feel like doing them.
Because your mind is at work, imagining what it will be like when you reach the vision. The more you look at your dream or vision board, and see yourself following your mind map, the more you harness the power of your subconscious mind to help make all your dreams come true. Visual prompts that you only see once a day or only when you are home, often can lose most of their power to impact your everyday decisions. Carry your vision with you, on a Mind Map as a gentle guide to help you navigate you way to your DREAM LIFE.
So simple. Look at the Mind Map image above. Put pen to paper and begin to dream a little.
As a psychotherapist, my goal is always that my patient leaves the session feeling better than when they arrived. And, psychoeducation is an important part of the therapeutic experience. I teach them about the mind-body connection and how the two cannot be separated. If we can calm the mind, the body will follow.
Patients Love Guided Imagery
Guided Imagery is a mind journey that slows down the stream of consciousness. It is a guided meditation that includes rich imagery. It is an effective technique for calming down the central nervous system.
It is simple, yet relaxing. It often slows down the brain and, as a result, calms the sensations, like tightness, pain, fear, shallow breathing, heart racing, etc. in the body.
Traumatized Patients Respond Favorably to Guided Imagery
Shockingly, less than ½ of people diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), receive treatment. For traumatized patients, the expectation is that we will be preparing for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), as it is a widely accepted evidence-based intervention for PTSD. During the first few sessions, I often use Guided Imagery as a way to stabilize and resource my patient before we begin EMDR. The response to Guided Imagery is overwhelmingly positive, especially those whom I have diagnosed with PTSD. Many report that they ‘feel calm and relaxed’ at the conclusion of the Guided Imagery. If you have never experienced Guided Imagery and are curious, contact K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment at 208.258.3510.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC
Stop chasing the moving target.
It is possible to unplug and get lazy without the guilt. Call it self-care. Call it unplugging. Call it going dark. Call it getting off the grid. Call it what you want.
And then — do it. Yes, you can relax and do nothing. In fact, I highly recommend it. Even God took a break. You deserve to take a break, too.
The issue is how does one get lazy without feeling guilty.
Give it a time limit with a timer. Or — set a time that the ‘lazy’ will conclude. This is an effective way to do it without feeling bad about it.
And, quit comparing your productivity to high achievers. This is not helpful. And, stop apologizing for being unavailable for a little down time. After all, your cell phone is for your convenience; not everyone else’s.
Do your focused work sans distractions and the do your lazy sans distractions. not only will you be able to restore your energy and your mind, but it will help you feel more in control of your daily activities by squeezing a little lazy into it, as long as there is a time limit.
If you don’t restore your energy with some down time, you may run the risk of allowing your anxious mind to negatively effect your mood and your physical health.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC
You can reinvent yourself; below are some guidelines to make this fundamental shift in your life:
Doubts creep in, despite how successful you are. Imposter Syndrome is the tendency to discount obvious evidence of our abilities. And, while it isn’t a diagnosable mental illness, it can be debilitating. And, sharing with others that you believe you are an imposter is likely not going to serve you well. The good news is, however, that it is all about the story you are telling yourself.
Would you be surprised to know that nearly 70% of people have experienced Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever found yourself (silently) telling yourself:
“If they only knew that I wasn’t an expert at this, they would have never hired me; I wonder how long I can fake it until I am found out?”
“I’m in over my head and am not qualified for this!”
“I cannot believe everyone is making a big deal out of my recent accomplishment. I mean, if I can do it, how hard could it be.”
“I cannot believe I have fooled everyone into thinking that I deserved that promotion. I wonder how long before they figure out that I am truly just faking it?”
Change the story.
Would you be surprised to learn that you can think your way out of this? You can change the story you tell yourself. When you make a mistake, you may feel shame and compare yourself to others. That is thinking like an imposter. Non-imposters understand that they cannot be brilliant at everything and they are okay with that. If you can learn to think like a non-imposter, you can overcome this feeling. Pay attention to the thoughts on which you focus and you can learn to reframe them. For example, next time you find yourself comparing yourself to a particularly analytical colleague, instead of dwelling on how you are more less analytical than him, switch your focus to “It is so great to have him on my team, being that I am the creative one and he keeps me grounded; we make a great pair.”
It is all in the story you are telling yourself. And, while you cannot control impulsive thoughts you think, you can control the thoughts on which you focus. Focus on the reasonable thought that you cannot possibly be an expert in everything.
Celebrate your little wins.
Considering your accomplishments does help. Make a list of your major accomplishments to which you can frequently refer. Put them in a visual field that you look at often, like your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, etc.
You have a mission in your life and you are making a difference. Never underestimate the influence you have on the others around you. You have had a kaleidoscope of millions of experiences that have formed you into who you are today. You are unique and you have a unique skill set.
Feelings are the last to change
No one feels confidence 24/7. You don’t have to feel confident to act confident. Start today, by telling yourself a different story and stop waiting to not feel like an imposter anymore. Your feelings about this will be the last to change. Take control back by reframing errors in thinking that you are an imposter. Tell yourself a better story. The better story pushes the imposter out of the book and brings the hero in.