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7 Tips To Help A Loved One Come To Grips With Chemical Dependency

7 Tips To Help A Loved One Come To Grips With Chemical Dependency

Most people are blind to their chemical dependency. It seems like everyone can see it but them.

Many of us have friends or family members struggling with chemical dependency. It’s natural to want to get them help, but first they need to realize there’s a problem. How do you open your loved one’s eyes? A well-planned and delivered conversation is crucial.

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Take time to do it right. Otherwise, you may completely lose your loved one’s trust.

1. Educate Yourself

Take stock of the signs, symptoms, and behaviors you’ve observed that make you believe a loved one has a chemical dependency. Dependency isn’t just linked to illegal drugs; people can become dependent on any of a wide range of products, from caffeine to pain killers to alcohol. Do some research to know what you’re dealing with.

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2. Expect Denial

People with chemical dependency may tell themselves or others they can quit the habit any time, but their bodies say otherwise. Those who’ve begun the descent into drug use find it increasingly harder to dig their way out. They need to use more frequently and in higher quantities to achieve the same high. Marijuana users will often transition to stronger opiates like OxyContin or heroin. Denial is part of the cycle of addiction.

3. Have A Plan

Practice or write out what you’re going to say. Anticipate a few scenarios based on your loved one’s potential reactions. Some people might admit they’re using drugs but don’t think they have a problem. Others may deny using at all. If things get too tense, stay calm and change the subject. Don’t bail! Leave on a positive note, letting your loved one know you’re always available.

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4. Don’t Go On the Attack

It’s tempting to stage an intervention or use “tough love” to try to convince users that they have a problem. But accusing or attacking someone struggling with chemical dependency builds a wall between the two of you. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to be assertive at some point, but going on a rant about why you think your loved one is using isn’t the answer. You may be upset, but it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Talk to a close friend to stay clear headed and calm. Never threaten, punish, or bribe anyone into admitting the problem. Making them feel guilty or bad about themselves only increases their likelihood of detaching themselves further from friends and family.

5. Ask Questions

Your loved one may have suffered a major loss, like a divorce or the death of a family member, that spurred this dependency. People cope with loss in many different ways. We all experience different emotions, so assuming how your loved one is feeling can actually hurt your relationship. Maybe everything on the outside appears to be going great, but you’ll never know what your loved one is going through if you don’t ask. Start with general topics like work, school, or friends. Avoid “you” statements—they make confrontational situations worse. Replace, “You never show up when we make plans,” with, “I’ve noticed that we haven’t talked in a while. I miss seeing you.”

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6. Keep It Honest

It won’t be easy, but you’ll have to explain why you suspect your loved one of suffering with chemical dependency. You may notice every time you hang out that your loved one is popping pain pills at an unhealthy rate. Maybe the trashcan is loaded with liquor bottles. Or you’ve noticed physical symptoms like sudden weight loss. Whether your loved one admits there’s a problem or denies even the most obvious evidence, it’s okay to explain that you’re concerned.

7. Offer Help

Your loved one won’t likely want to sign up for rehab after one talk. It often takes multiple conversations over time before some people are ready to seek professional help. Pay attention to reactions during these conversations, so you recognize when to end them or change the subject. Always assure your loved one that you’re only a text, email, or phone call away. Schedule time together doing things you both enjoy. If you don’t get a response, always follow up. When the time seems right, offer a pamphlet or two that explain symptoms and what to do next. It’s important for others to offer help in a way that works for those who are struggling. When they are ready, you can join them during rehab visits or meet them after an appointment. Remember, be sincere (not pushy) when you ask, “How can I help you?”. Your loved one will need you during treatment and beyond.

Helping people realize they are suffering with chemical dependency is never easy. Acknowledging the problem is the first step they can take towards receiving the treatment they need to live longer, healthier lives in recovery. Giving your loved one careful guidance and support along the way can make a huge difference, and even help strengthen your relationship with them.

Featured photo credit: http://stokpic.com/ via stokpic.com

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Dan Gellman

Director of Marketing for High Focus Centers

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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