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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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