Advertising
Advertising

5 Common Signs You Need Help Combating Your Substance Abuse Problem

5 Common Signs You Need Help Combating Your Substance Abuse Problem

Drug addiction and substance abuse is a nasty phenomenon.

It’s one of those things that seems so far-fetched. You hear stories of people doing crazy things just to get one more fix, and think to yourself “There’s no way I’d ever let that happen to me.” As if some people are just destined to be addicts, and you’re not one of them.

It doesn’t work that way. Anyone can become addicted to chemicals that mess with your brain and convince you that everything is fine. That you don’t have a problem. That you can snap out of it yourself whenever you want to.

It’s often in that sentiment – thinking you have control of the drug, when it’s really the other way around – that users fail to recognize how far gone they really are. When a drug user says he can quit any time he wants to – but that now isn’t the time – he’s deluding himself.

If you or someone you know starts doing any of the following when it comes to drugs, alcohol, or other substances, seek help immediately. Things will get better, but only if you work toward improving your life.

Neglecting Family and Friends

For the most part, substance abuse begins with an initial use of a drug in a safe environment, surrounded by friends. You might even tell yourself “just this once” or “I might as well, since everyone else is.” It sounds cliche, but those cliches exist for a reason.

Advertising

At any rate, you might soon find yourself shutting out other loved ones who don’t partake in the use of your substance of choice. You might rationalize it by referring to them as “buzzkills,” and opt to hang out with others who are more accepting of your drug usage – regardless of whether these people actually care about you or not.

It might not be so serious that you miss your mother’s birthday or anything – which only furthers the illusion that you have control over your substance abuse. Though you may keep in touch with the other people in your life outside of your drug “circle,” it will likely be in a superficial manner, and will soon deteriorate.

Unfortunately, you may one day realize the only people around you are others in the same sinking ship as yourself.

Neglecting Responsibilities

Life is hard. There’s no getting around that. Even those of us without substance abuse issues have a hard time facing their responsibilities once in a while.

But we do it, because we know our efforts will pay off in the long run. We understand that a little pain now will result in ultimate pleasure tomorrow.

Taking drugs is easy. It requires little to no effort, and results in maximum pleasure immediately. Users will often delude themselves into thinking that, with drugs, life is easy.

Advertising

It may be easy, but it’s certainly not fulfilling.

It’s easy to call out of work because you’re too hungover, or because you’re still buzzing from the night before, or because you want to waste the day watching sitcom reruns from the comfort of your couch.

But what kind of life is that?

No human being has to work. But you’ll never know the true value of your efforts unless you put your all into everything you do.

This is all but impossible while under the influence of drugs.

Neglecting Hobbies

Think back to when you were a kid.

Advertising

You probably had a ton of hobbies. Whether you played guitar, created comic books, ran cross-country, or loved to fish, you had the freedom to do almost whatever you wanted at almost any given time of day.

As you grew older, many of these hobbies likely faded away as you became more and more busy with life. Hopefully, though, you held on to your most favorite activities, and still have time to partake in them today.

Bring drugs into the mix, however, and you likely don’t have time for any of your more wholesome hobbies. Whether you’re driving to your source, partaking in your drug of choice, or recovering from usage, you dedicate a whole lot of time to getting your fix.

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to truly become an expert at anything. If you spend your life in a chemically-induced haze, you’ll never have time to get good at anything else.

Neglecting Safety

All this discussion, and we haven’t even talked about how unsafe it is to use drugs in the first place.

Whether you’re driving drunk, sharing needles, or using too much of a specific substance, doing drugs is inherently dangerous. Every single time you decide to use drugs, you’re trading your health and safety for a superficial feeling of pleasure that will go away as quickly as it came on.

Advertising

Along with the detrimental effects drugs have on your health, they’re also illegal. Whether or not you agree with the current laws of the land, the mere possession of certain drugs can land you in jail for a long time. Furthermore, being under the influence of – or in need of – drugs can cause you to partake in other reckless activities which may cause you trouble with the law, as well.

If you haven’t yet been in these situations, it may only be a matter of time. Best to quit while you’re ahead.

Using More and More Regularly

Obviously, using a drug more and more often is a sign that you need help.

But when I say “regularly” here, I mean that, at some point, drugs will simply become “what you do.” You use them before work. You use them before falling asleep. You use them when out with friends. You use them when grocery shopping. You use them just to get through the day.

Ironically, it’s often when you’ve become able to function “normally” while under the influence when you’re at your absolute lowest point, and should seek help as soon as possible.

Featured photo credit: 6 / AnAstralnaut / Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com

More by this author

Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

12 Self-Destructive Habits to Eliminate for a Positive Life 7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart

Trending in Health

1 How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind 2 Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally) 3 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life 4 15 Quick Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle 5 10 Best Kombucha Brands To Improve Gut Health

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 3, 2020

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words—many times your parents
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

Advertising

3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

1. For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

Advertising

You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

2. For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Advertising

Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

Advertising

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

4. For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
  • Shut down your thinking
  • Calm your feelings
  • Simply focus on the present moment

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next