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6 Things You Need To Know When You Love An Alcoholic

6 Things You Need To Know When You Love An Alcoholic
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When someone close to you has an addiction, like being an alcoholic, it’s hard to keep up a healthy relationship with that person. At times, you will feel the need to step back and re-evaluate your relationship with that person. But you do know that leaving an addict on his own is only going to make his or her addiction worse.

If you look at the numbers, 3 million deaths are linked to alcohol intoxication, each year. These include not only deaths caused by alcohol intoxication, but also as a result of impaired capacities, due to the alcohol consumption. Fighting with an addiction is a tough and long process, which drains everyone involved, not just the alcoholic.

Though the overall picture is bleak, you can still do a lot to make a difference to your loved one, helping him or her get out of the black hole of addiction. Unless you understand a number of facts about addicted people, you can easily become another problem for them. Here are some things you need to know when you are loving an alcoholic.

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1. You are not guilty

Many kids of alcoholics grow up thinking their parents’ addiction is their fault. Sisters, brothers or parents of addicts should also deal with their sense of guilt as the addiction is never their fault. Each person has his or her choices to make in life and if your loving spouse, brother or child chose to drink, it’s their own choice.

2. You are never alone

When you are dealing with someone’s addiction, there are many times when you feel alone. Fighting alcohol addiction is going to make you feel like the only person in the world who has an alcoholic loved one. Don’t let this feeling overwhelm you and prevent you from reaching out! If you really want to help an alcoholic, reach out to the others who are facing a similar situation. Statistically, there are over 16 million alcoholics in US only, each one with their own bunch of family and friends, so you are not alone. Not even close!

3. You won’t be able to forgive your loved one

Addiction is hard to cope with and it often makes the addicted steal or lie, which is definitely going to put a toll on your relationship. When your son or parent is going to hide things from you, then you will be angry on him. Forgiveness is not going to come easy, but this is a part of the process of loving an alcoholic or any other addicted person. Even when your loved one is going to be sober, you might have to struggle to forgive all the lies. Disappointment is going to be part of your relationship for a lot of time, but you need to be honest and keep an open mind. Be careful of what you say to your addicted loved one, during their recovery, as they are prone to falling into the alcohol trap again.

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Most people try to hide their real feelings towards their alcoholic special someone, but this is the worst thing you can do. The best way to deal with anger in your case is confronting it, with your alcoholic or in the presence of a therapist.

4. You need to detach from him

When you love an alcoholic you need to be able to detach yourself from the situation and analyze how much can you give without being drained by the highly demanding alcoholic in your life. Instead of running around, trying to solve all the problems created by the addiction, take a step back and continue to support your loved one, without constantly taking over his or her life. It will be difficult to stop solving all the messes they create, but it’s necessary, for your own sake and for the sake of the alcoholic in your life. If he is not able to stop destroying himself, you can’t do much and you are definitely not helping if you continue to solve all his problems.

Establish boundaries and keep them up, even when the alcoholic is not sober – it will be challenging, but effective for everyone in your family. Alcoholics don’t have limits, so establishing boundaries and clearly stating what you are willing to accept and what you can’t accept, can help your loved one overcome his addiction. If you need help establishing boundaries, turn to a therapist, who can help you.

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5. Learn to deal with the stigma

Alcohol addiction comes with a strong stigma and if your parents or other close family members are addicted, you will also carry the stigma. This is why you have to learn how to deal with it. People who never had to deal with alcoholics can’t understand what you and your loved ones have to put up with. They are not willing to understand, being guided by myths, so you have to learn how to ignore them. Turn to support groups, where you can find other people in your situation, who can provide emotional support you need. Get out there and get advice from people who are familiar with alcohol addiction and can help you, as well as the alcoholic in your entourage. Don’t let the stigma silence you!

6. Take time for your own recovery

When you have an alcoholic in your life, you can easily forget that you have your own feelings and needs, as you focus on the alcoholic. There are times when the people around you will judge you, when the alcoholic is going through a bad phase and you will feel there is no hope left for you. There is hope! There is always hope and you need to be comfortable with the fact every single door you open can bring you more unknown situations. Relax and take things as they come.

Accept the fact you can’t control everything. Remember you also have needs and look for ways to relax and recharge your batteries. In order to be able to support an alcoholic, you need to keep your own sanity and health, so never ignore your own person.

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Featured photo credit: Diricia de Vet/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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