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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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