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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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