Articles — Addictions

Addictions and Boredom

Addictions Self Improvement

Addictions and Boredom

I have a very interesting client who shared his theory of addiction with me. He stated that he and others use drugs because they are bored. This thought has caused me to think about some of my other clients who have come for treatment because of alcohol, gambling, or pornography issues. Although there isn't just one specific reason for an addiction to start, I think that perhaps boredom can be a factor for many people. A January 24, 2017 article by Emma Young of "Mosaic" that was posted online is headlined "Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse but...

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Hints That You Might Be Addicted

Addictions Self Improvement

Hints That You Might Be Addicted

No one likes to hear that they have an addiction. Sometimes their use of a substance or process addiction develops so subtly that one doesn't even recognize what is occurring until consequences set in. There is a powerful line in the song "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns that claims, "People Never Crumble in a Day". Your see choices over time lead to problems. Following are some of the things that can help you to assess your situation: 1. Secrets - When you are trying to hide the things that you are doing from other people, then you are probably up...

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Web Junkies: Computer Addiction

Addictions Self Improvement

Web Junkies: Computer Addiction

I was watching a television documentary recently that highlighted computer addiction as one of the biggest problems that China is facing today. In 2008 China declared internet addition to be a clinical disorder, saying it is a top health threat to its teenagers. Several countries, including the United States, have now followed China's lead regarding the problems associated with what has been dubbed "electronic heroine". Families who were interviewed for the documentary explained that their teen would spend hours and hours online while neglecting basics of life such a bathing. They avoided doing their schoolwork, interacting with family and were...

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Sexual Addiction

Addictions Self Improvement

Sexual Addiction

The media frequently headlines stories of high-profile individuals who have been involved in sexual indiscretions. This is not a new phenomenon but has occurred for centuries. These situations are not limited merely to the rich and famous but actually occur with people from all walks of life. Many things remain the same over time. What has changed over the years, however, is the role that technology plays in our lives. Every possible detail of inappropriate sexual liaisons are broadcast- sometimes even before a confession or charges are laid. We hear more than we want or need to hear faster than...

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Common Themes in Addictions

Addictions Self Improvement

Common Themes in Addictions

It doesn't matter whether the addiction is to substances, gambling, alcohol, shopping, or sex. All those with an addiction share common things: Strong Feelings - Everyone has a wide range of feelings that can be positive or negative. People who lead with their feelings, however, often end up living in the ditch! I have found, over the years that many of my clients who suffer from an addiction state that their anxiety motivates them to turn to unhealthy coping strategies. Their unmanageable feels often play a key role in their addiction pattern. Lack of skills - Those who don't know...

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Technology Addiction

Addictions Self Improvement

Technology Addiction

Call me old-fashioned if you wish but I am really sick and tired of the way that people have become addicted to their cellphones. When I grew up the only time we might hear from a family member who lived out of town was on Sunday when the long-distance rates were reduced for the three-minute conversation. And if we missed the call, we didn't even know it because there wasn't such a thing as voice mail. I never answer the phone at the office and most of the time don't know where I have left my cellphone. Only a handful...

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I Don't Have a Problem!

Addictions Self Improvement

I Don't Have a Problem!

For many years I have worked with individuals who were referred for assessment or treatment associated with substance use, abuse, or dependency. Following are ten statements that I hear over and over again from the clients: I don't have a problem - Then why are you here? If you have any problem in your life that might be tied to alcohol or drugs, then you have a drug or alcohol problem. Check your wallet, weight, health, career or relationships and you'll soon find a chink in your denial armour. It's not my fault - You cannot blame your parents, friends,...

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How to Come to Terms With an Alcoholic Parent

Addictions Self Improvement

How to Come to Terms With an Alcoholic Parent

There's an old saying "You will never be disappointed unless you have expectations". So often society helps feed our goals and dreams. We want the ideal family and relationships that are often portrayed in the Hallmark commercials where everyone is happy and eager to build strong connections with each other. But life doesn't work that way and sometimes addictions set up patterns that are divisive and disappointing for the family members. Over the years I have worked with so many clients who have been let down by an alcoholic parent who has made a promise that s/he has not kept....

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How to Talk to an Alcoholic Spouse

Addictions Self Improvement

How to Talk to an Alcoholic Spouse

Frequently those who are married or partnered with alcoholics think that they can actually change the person with the addiction. That is not true. In fact, no matter how dysfunctional their lives seem to be to others, they will continue to live as they do until life doesn't work for them anyone. Some clients come to me with the idea that perhaps I can change the person who they care about but I do not have the ability to do this either. There are some things, however, that I tell the spouse: 1. Let the alcoholic face consequences of the...

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Strategies to Help You Stay Away From Gambling

Addictions Self Improvement

Strategies to Help You Stay Away From Gambling

Sometimes people who are determined to stop an addiction do well for a period of time and then slip. It is important to have a number of strategies in place to prevent this. Here are a few that I recommend to my clients: 1. Figure out your pattern - Use a pen and paper to draw out the sequence of things that happen in your life right before you start gambling. Begin with the word "Good" and ask yourself the question "Then what happens?" Write down the answer and then ask "Then what happens?" Do this until you have traced...

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Addictions Can Hurt Your Business

Addictions Self Improvement

Addictions Can Hurt Your Business

Every week I see clients who have been involved in some form of addiction and sadly listen as they tell me about the problems they have been experiencing because of it. There are so many parts of a life that are negatively impacted by addictions as follows: 1. Relationships - It is hard to be faithful to people when your first love is alcohol or drugs. Sometimes an addiction leads to communication problems due to lying and often escalate to the point of divorce or dissociation with the people who care the most 2. Finances - When you are putting...

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Do You Have an Addiction? Here's How to Tell

Addictions Self Improvement

Do You Have an Addiction? Here's How to Tell

Many times people think that they do not have an alcohol or drug problem because they imagine a person in a back alley drinking out of a brown paper bag as the stereotypical alcoholic. As long as they are working and appear to be very functional, they convince themselves that things are okay. As a Substance Abuse Expert who does assessments on a regular basis, I ask "Do you have any problems that might be associated with alcohol?" and the answer is usually in the affirmative. The client explains that their partner is nagging them about how much they drink,...

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Codependency - Caring Too Much

Addictions Self Improvement

Codependency - Caring Too Much

Often people do not know how to handle their emotions. They may choose to avoid or numb them with alcohol, drugs, gambling or excessively doing any number of behaviours such as shopping or eating. They often become "dependent" upon these in order to cope with their emotions and get through the day. Family and friends who care about them may be affected in an unhealthy manner or even develop a sole purpose in life of trying to change the loved one. They can become "codependent" on the situation. In fact, the person who suffers from codependency usually does not feel...

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