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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 October 20, 2020

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.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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