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The Well-Polished Junkie

Back in the day, a junkie was someone who was not kept, maybe homeless or looking years beyond their age.  Today, there is a new type of junkie who is well-polished both physically and mentally.  Society might not be able to spot this person in a million years.  They are high school/college students, doctors, lawyers and yes even teachers.  So, why is it that these folks are running under the radar?  Well, when someone is a drug addict the last thing in the world they want is to be discovered.  Therefore, he or she will do anything to keep their addiction a secret.

For the addict, the planning and thinking that goes into a drug habit is extremely detailed.  For instance, if a person has an important meeting to attend at work then he or she may curb the amount of drugs they ingest in order to be at the top of their game.  This is very common. Yet, the moment the person gets a chance to fully indulge into their drug of choice they will do just that.  It’s like the old saying, “when the coast is clear….”

Of course, not all addicts can wait to do something safely without being seen or noticed.  In these instances, the addict may skip the meeting or be one step ahead by starting off by saying that they are under the weather, that they are on medication from their doctor.  Also, it would not be out of the norm for an addict to create some elaborate lie.  I have heard of a client saying they had been up for days because their child ran away from home and this was not the case.  It was just a story to cover their addiction.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its’ Cover!

Other ways to hide a person’s addiction might be wearing long sleeves, using eye drops or by not saying a whole lot. Some addicts go as far as lying that they have laryngitis.  Another way is to “dress the part”.  Who would expect a drug addict to be well kept? That’s why we have the saying, “don’t judge a book by its’ cover”.

At any rate, it just doesn’t matter what your background is.  Addiction affects all walks of life.  A recent article discusses this idea but also talks about how one addict is willing to go to any lengths to stay clean.  So, addiction is not always easy to see.  But, if we are aware that it does impact all realms of society then we can be more helpful to those in need.

The Well-Polished Junkie, hide

The Well-Polished Junkie. You just never know who might have a problem.

The Momentum of Addiction-Dave Rogers

Sometimes people have a trauma in their lives and the next day their addiction starts.  For most people, it’s kind of gradual.  It’s starts with experimentation or social and then it picks up momentum.  Eventually, it goes off the cliff. Now, he or she does not have any brakes and they can’t stop it.  Then, it’s got them.  So, one way to look at this is we have our first drink or our first joint and we get a bump from it.  It feels good and we come back down and then we have another.  The person might think, wow that felt great.  But, the person gets a hangover and that doesn’t feel so good.

So, then we get this thing called tolerance and the person uses more but they are not getting additional effects. Their hangovers are feeling worse.  This is called the law of diminishing returns.  For instance, two drinks used to do it but doesn’t do it anymore. Four drinks do it now, eventually it’s going to take eight and then eight doesn’t do it anymore.  Therefore, the person needs ten just to get started.  Long story short it’s starts looking like this:  The person starts experiencing withdrawal and one of the main reasons he or she uses is just to feel normal again.  That is the momentum of addiction!

Alcohol Addiction Center and Being Authentic

A Former Patient Reveals Her Authentic Self.

I am still wondering when “real life” is going to begin…when life is going to suddenly fall into place and everything is going to be rainbows, unicorns and ice cream.  I am joking (sort of).  So, I know that simply being sober isn’t being in recovery.  But, I cannot deny that there is a part of me that is still looking for the easy way out.  Then, I imagined, wrongfully but understandably so, that simply cutting alcohol out of my life would alleviate all of my problems.  I would be sober and clear headed!  I would finally clean out my car, put my laundry away and my marriage would be perfect.  Moreover, I would not be depressed anymore!  But, anyone who has traveled the road of recovery knows that it is not that simple.  Sobriety helps you see the problems more clearly-it doesn’t take them away.

I am also wondering when the real me will emerge.  When will I get back to my basics and tap into my authentic self? Who is that person?  What is she like?  It’s been a while since I revealed her to the world.

Addiction masks our authentic self.  Perhaps we are so worried how the world will treat that authentic being.  So, we use…we put up a barrier to hide that most precious part of ourselves, lest someone or something damage it. Rediscovering and revealing our authentic self is not something that will happen overnight.  We can begin by tapping into our Source or asking our Higher Power for guidance, acknowledging that, just like getting sober, we can’t do it alone.  Next, we should take a hard look at our core values and beliefs and make sure that the life we are leading truly reflects those values.  My values include concepts such as balance, resourcefulness, growth, intuition and pleasure.  I can use these values to guide my recovery and strive for them throughout the process.

These values may seem simple, but they get down to the core of who I am.  In active addiction, these values were the furthest from my mind.  I was stagnant, massively depressed, bored, exhausted and disconnected from myself.  I came to view these negative traits as myself and I believed that I was stuck like this forever, and deserving nothing more.  Now, in recovery, I see that there is so much more to me than that.  I continue to stay sober, I put my energy into living my true values and show my authentic self; someone who is happy, clear-minded and kind.

authenticity, recovery, addiction

 

Think, for a moment, about the Wizard of Oz.  When Dorothy delivers the Wicked Witch of the West’s broomstick to the Great and Powerful Oz, she is met with a terrifying image.  Green smoke billows and fire erupts from beneath the massive head of a ghoulish looking wizard.  But when the curtain is pulled back, the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is revealed to be nothing but an old man.   Not the wrathful, powerful image he projected.  When Dorothy confronts him, she calls him a “bad man” to which he replies, “No, I am not a bad man…just a very bad wizard.”  Like the wizard, we are not bad people.  We are simply stuck in a routine of broadcasting images of ourselves that do not align with our true or authentic self.

We want others to recognize us as powerful, as capable, as fun and as outgoing.  So we project that image to the outside world.  We show people what we think they want to see, what our addiction tells us we should be.  But, at the end of the day-it’s all smoke and mirrors.  Our true, authentic self lies behind the curtain.  Recovery is the act of peeling back the curtain.  Of re-meeting that self which addiction bullied and betrayed.  Of tapping into our true, authentic self and re-learning what it means to be us.

The Symptoms of Sobriety

Often we talk about the symptoms of addiction.  A person could experience blackouts from drinking or drugging.  He or she might have to increase their intake to get the same effect.  Then, there are withdrawals, anxiety, isolation or their behavior changes for the worse.  Furthermore, the addict might start losing things like their job, house or license.  I could go on and on…. but, maybe it’s about time we discuss the symptoms of sobriety!  This recent article  discusses a few of these symptoms.

Great Things Happen When a Person Gets Sober!

Perhaps you have a loved one who now no longer drinks or drugs.  You may have seen them pass out or come to in the past.  Things are quite different since he or she has stopped.  They most likely are not sleeping as well or their appetite hasn’t returned to normal.  In early sobriety these things are quite normal.  But, as time passes things start to level off.  A person’s sleep and appetite all of the sudden improve!  Moreover, their mind starts to clear up and they begin to communicate better.  One of the most difficult things when a person stops using substances is that they begin to “feel” again.  Although, this might be unpleasant at times he or she learns how to express these feelings and once again these things will get better as time goes on.

The Symptoms of Sobriety, recovery, addiction

There’s nothing like a great meal in sobriety!

A neat thing for many people in recovery is that they begin to gain a lot of their senses back.  For instance, their sense of taste comes back.  So, now a good steak, fresh fruit or bowl of ice cream seems so good.  Don’t forget the smell of freshly baked cookies.  Even better news is that their sex lives improve!!!  There are just so many great things that happen when a person gets sober.  I could go on and on!  Now that you have an idea of symptoms of sobriety then maybe it’s time to start making some changes and reap the rewards that you have been missing out on for so long!

More food!

 

Compulsive Gambling Treatment-The Out of Control Addict

If you or someone you know has a gambling addiction then you might have experienced some of the insane things that have occurred due to gambling.  A compulsive gambler is not a bad person.  But, he or she often chooses poor behavior when their gambling is out of control.  So, what does out of control look like?  It comes in many forms. It can vary from person to person.

One former patient would get angry at his wife for turning the furnace up a few degrees.  In his mind, she was wasting money.  All she had to do was throw on a sweater, right?  Yet, at the same time he would gamble away thousands of dollars a month!  He would often have “temper” tantrums over the smallest things.  Although it seemed like he kept up with the bills he was draining their retirement account.  His gambling was causing him to act very irrational.

Gambling Can Cause Crazy Thoughts and Behaviors!

Another addict would stoop as low as stealing money from her child’s piggy bank.  There were also times when she would not put gas in the car to “save” money and then would walk to the store to buy scratch tickets.  Things got so bad that she would gamble away the grocery money and ask friends if her daughter could eat a meal with them.  It was not uncommon for her to ask this of her parents.  Other addicts sell food stamps to get money, while others will shoplift or even take from the company that they work for.  A recent article tells about how one employee scammed his customers out of money.

For some gamblers spending half their paycheck may be out of control for them.  For others it might be winning $500 and then gambling away $400.  Just having extreme emotions or not being fully present because of gambling, can be out of control.  So, whatever the threshold is for you please realize that if you do not get help you might do things that you never thought in a million years you would do, all in the name of gambling!

compulsive gambling, gambling out of control

Money Down the Drain!

Alcoholism Treatment Virginia and How Our Flaws Affect Us

Okay, so no one is perfect.  We all have our own quirky ways about things.  Sometimes these ways are good and sometimes they are darn right offensive.  These behaviors are often called flaws or character defects.  For instance, brutal honesty might be a virtue that one person believes is a great thing.  Yet, other people could get very offended by someone who “tells it like it is”.  On the other hand, a person who lies may not think they are hurting anyone including themselves.

So, let’s examine someone who lies.  Often in active addiction a person will deny that he or she has been drinking or drugging.  The unfortunate thing about this is that the addict usually thinks they are getting away with it.  But, in most cases the other person reads right through the lie.  The lying creates lots of emotions for both parties.  The person being lied to could feel anger, distrust, resentment and sometimes insecurity.   Yet, the addict will do anything at cost to cover his or her addiction even if it means hurting someone.

If Nothing Changes The Person Will Likely Drink or Drug.

Now, what about the alcoholic who lies?  How might this behavior affect them?  Initially, they could think they got away with one.  But, the reality is that this behavior most likely will cause that person to feel either shame, guilt, regret or even disgust.  Moreover, the person can start to feel depressed about themselves over time.  If we were to look at another behavior like being impulsive then there would be more issues that would come up.

When a person surrenders to their addiction he or she is not only stopping substance use, they need to stop unhealthy behaviors too.  Otherwise, the person will not get better.  If nothing changes the person will likely drink or drug.  So, with the help of others one can get rid of these character defects.  It takes hard work and discipline but the results will be well worth it.  A recent article tells how one former NFL quarterback is recovering from a drug addiction.  It has been a long road for him and he discusses how he received the gift of desperation.  He stresses that he is a work in progress.  So, don’t forget the name of the game is progress not perfection!

flaws, character defects

Strive for progress rather than for perfection!

How Addiction Affected His Family

For so long, this former patient thought he was never hurting anyone but himself with his addiction.  But, when his father was dying of cancer the reality set in.  You see, his dad was diagnosed almost ten years earlier and it went into remission. But during his worst two yearlong relapse his dad’s cancer had returned.  He was one of the few who stood by his son.  So, the young man couldn’t help thinking that the stress his addiction caused may have played some part to his dad’s worsening condition.

Most of his other family members let him know in a harsh way how his drug abuse was affecting them.  In fact, all but one sibling and his dad would not speak to him until he agreed to get treatment.  Don’t get me wrong, just because they spoke to him doesn’t mean he wasn’t hurting them too.  Moreover, when a person is actively using, there is no clear answer whether to speak to them or not.  Therefore, how to handle an active drug addict is a huge challenge for many families and friends.  This was certainly the case for his family.

Recovery Makes a World of Difference to Loved Ones!

The idea that one’s drug addiction does not affect anyone but the user is crazy!  The pain, worry and distress that this young man caused his family was quite a challenge for them.  His addiction hurt them tremendously.   Recovery on the other hand can make a world of difference to loved ones who have worried for so long.  A recent article discusses Linda Carter’s (A.K.A. Wonder Woman) alcoholism and the impact it had on her family.  The amazing thing for her is that she is celebrating 20 years of sobriety this year!  Recovery led her to a better life.  It also helped this former patient to reconnect with his family.

Because this young man was living free of alcohol and drugs, he could visit his dad and be there for his family when the cancer returned.  He took the time to apologize to him for what he had put him and his family through. Furthermore, he was fortunate enough to thank him for all the wonderful times they had together.  This experience gave him a healthy closure to their relationship.  Three weeks later his dad did pass away but he will always be grateful that his dad hung with him through the good and the bad.  He is also very thankful that he got to spend some quality time with him and to express all that he did.  Not to mention his dad was so proud to see him clean and sober!

addiction, family, recovery

The memories of a dad will always be cherished!

Quit Gambling for Good and Self-Exclusion from Casinos

Compulsive Gamblers can ban themselves from entering casinos to gamble.  Is this an effective way to quit gambling for good?  Well, this is a tough question to answer.  It may be a great tool if a person is willing to do some other things along with self-exclusive.  But, there are no guarantees unless the gambler agrees to get some form of treatment.  Treatment could be inpatient, seeing a therapist or attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

How does a person ban themselves from the casino?  One might think that you just make a phone call and everything will be taken care of.  Only if it were just that easy.  But, unfortunately the process is more complex than that.  Now, it is important to realize that because a person bans themselves from one casino doesn’t mean it counts for all casinos.  So, many gamblers will have to go through the process with several establishments.  First, it is imperative that you bring a supportive friend with you while making this big step.  The process usually involves going to the casino administration office, signing a form, giving them a copy of your driver’s license and getting your picture taken.

Bring a Supportive Friend with You While Making This Big Step!

Then, there are choices for how long you can ban yourself from entering a casino.  It could be 1-5 years or a lifetime ban.  A lifetime self exclusion is really the way to go.  One article shows that self banning from casinos is increasing.  This is certainly an indication that the casinos are causing a lot of problems for gamblers.  And if you think you have problems a recent article shows what could happens if you win after self banning.

So, the next step for you is to continue with some form of treatment program.  Willpower can only take you so far. There really needs to be changes from within and any type of support that encourages not gambling and becoming a better person will help you along the way.

Quit Gambling for Good and Self-Exclusion from Casinos, gambling recovery

Quit Gambling for Good and exclude yourself from Casinos.

 

Underage Drinking- Is It a Part of Growing Up?

How in the world does a 13-year-old child get booze? It’s easier than you think.  Because it is a legal substance, most children can take it right out of their parent’s liquor cabinet.  In other instances, they can steal it from the local convenience store, or loiter outside the 7-11 waiting for a “sympathetic” adult to come along who can be talked into buying it for them.

Underage Drinking is Unsafe and Unhealthy, alcohol

Underage Drinking is Unsafe and Unhealthy and could cost you a career!

 

It can be a recipe for disaster for adolescents to begin “experimenting” with alcohol.  There may be countless consequences, both legal, physical and emotional.  Unfortunately, it does happen and the results are sometimes very tragic and/or life-changing.  From alcohol poisoning, to driving underage while intoxicated, these stories have ended in the deaths of teens across the country.  Teenagers are participating in underage drinking daily.  A recent article discusses some statistics about underage drinking and how easy it is for teens to get alcohol.

Underage Drinking Happens and the Results Can Be Tragic!

Some folks believe it is a part of growing up for a teen to be curious about alcohol and to engage in “experimentation”. They might think it is not a big deal. In addition, they might argue that if I (the parent) am present, what’s the harm? They might say, “they are going to do it anyway”.   “So, it’s better that they do it in front of me rather than sneaking off to do it and getting into trouble”.

Others though, strongly disagree with this way of thinking, their argument being that there are good reasons why the drinking age is 21.  They believe that it is sending the wrong message to a child that it’s okay to break the law!  Not to mention that a child’s brain is still in the developing stages, up to age 25 or 26 for males. Thus, for a young person, drinking can hinder their brain development as well as their emotional development. Moreover, it can cause outcomes that can be life-altering.  So, it is important to realize that a parent’s stance on this issue can make or break a child’s future.

 

Staying Fit in Recovery

Have you ever tried jogging while drunk?  It just doesn’t work!  Most people in their drinking days have great intentions about working out or whatever type of exercise they “like”.  But, when it comes time after a long night of drinking, it seems nearly impossible to stick to a regular workout schedule.  So, now that a person is no longer drinking the goal of exercising is much more attainable.

The benefits of a regular exercise routine in recovery are amazing.  A recent article highlights such benefits. Staying fit physically can help you stay fit mentally.  Stress can certainly be a trigger for relapsing and any form of exercise can help reduce that stress. In addition, many folks in early recovery gain back their appetite and often have cravings for “comfort food”.  Being active and drinking plenty of water can help curb those cravings.

Several people compare working out to meditation.  It is a time when a person can be at peace with the daily struggles of life.  Also, if you add music to the mix, it can motivate you to keep going and is just another great way to relax while doing something that is not always pleasant.  Sometimes it can be helpful to have a friend join you in your routine.  This can you help you on the days when you are thinking about skipping a workout.  Yet, others may prefer to train on their own.  It really is up to the individual to decide which is more comfortable for him or her.

Exercise Can Help Prevent a Relapse!

So, if you are just not feeling right with your recovery, then maybe adding a little hustle and bustle can help get you over that hump.  Lastly, it is important for you to remember to start out slow because over doing it can lead to more problems than you already have!

Staying Fit in Recovery, stress

Staying Fit in Recovery. Exercise is a beautiful thing!

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