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Choosing Sobriety After Childhood Exposure to Substance Abuse

Choosing Sobriety After Childhood Exposure to Substance Abuse

With an estimated 27 million people over the age of 12 admitting to illicit drug use in 2014, believing your child is somehow immune to exposure to drugs or alcohol is simply no longer realistic in today’s society. While we would like to believe parents, teachers, and other authority figures in a child’s life are focused on protecting their charges from the harmful parts of life, sometimes this simply isn’t true. Sometimes children become intimately aware of drugs and alcohol within their own homes or the homes of their family members and friends.

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    For me, it was through my extended family – my ‘grandmother’, a cousin, aunts, and uncles. My mother was adamantly against drinking and drug use; for good reason, as her childhood was hellish as a direct side effect of her mother’s addictions and compounded mental illness. I have always been an observant person, so even with her attempts to guard me I noticed things.

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    I can recall the exact way the room smelled the first time I walked in on my cousin smoking marijuana. I can remember thinking it was strange that my aunt had so many needles, and the startling reality of just how thin and emaciated she grew toward the end of her life. I remember watching from my window as another cousin was arrested in front of his mother’s house for selling the small baggies of cocaine he always had on hand for his “friends.” I also remember walking pass drug dealers on my corner waiting for customers on my way to school.

    The 90s was a rough time in my old neighborhood. Admittedly, it is still on the rougher side of things.

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      Some say when children are exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age they are more likely to indulge in illicit substances later in life. The statistics certainly seem to prove that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Choosing sobriety after childhood exposure to substance abuse is entirely possible if you learn the lessons such exposure can teach you.

      Most addiction specialists believe that a genetic predisposition increases one’s risk of developing substance abuse disorders during their lifetime. It explains why some people do not develop addictions to drugs or alcohol while others are hooked after only one time using these substances. Having familial ties to addiction increases a child’s likelihood of forming addictive tendencies through exposure and “normalization” of drug and alcohol abuse. However, when a child recognizes the damage caused by substance abuse they can lead a life of sobriety.

      Just as I recall the details of my own second-hand experiences with addiction, remembering the consequences one witnesses in association with drugs or alcohol helps cement negative ties to illicit substances, discouraging experimentation.

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      Beyond the benefits in one’s own life, growing up to lead a sober lifestyle can inspire the next generation of children in similar situations to follow your lead. By advocating for sobriety and reaching out to at-risk children, you can be an integral part of ending addiction through prevention. Additionally, by speaking up, you can help other adult children of substance abusers struggling with their own versions of recovery.

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        When going through difficult times, people seek a reason to hope. You could be that reason. By showing that it is possible to experience a childhood of exposure to illicit substances and other childhood traumas, you can be what they aspire to be. One’s childhood does not have to be the blueprint for the remainder of one’s life.

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        Choosing sobriety after childhood exposure to substance abuse can open up a myriad of opportunities throughout life. When one is controlled by addiction, feeding cravings and avoiding withdrawal symptoms becomes an all-consuming obsession which leaves little room for other pursuits such as furthering education or career goals. By abstaining from drugs and alcohol, you are giving yourself the best foundation possible for pursuing your dreams. Let your success inspire others; let your story inspire the next generation.

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        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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