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Sober Living 5: Reducing Triggers in Addiction

What are triggers?  A trigger is anything that reminds a substance abuser of fond memories directly related to using drugs or alcohol.  Maybe a trigger is a song that reminds a user of the fun nights with a drug or maybe a certain smell reminds the user of the euphoric feeling of a high or maybe a trigger is a billboard sign promising a beer drinker a guaranteed good time with a cold beverage while watching a football game, but whatever one’s triggers are, unfortunately triggers are impossible to avoid.  

Although triggers can not be completely avoided, there are certain steps to be taken to reduce the number of triggers a former substance abuser is exposed to.  For example, a former drug user can immedietly turn the radio station when a triggering song comes on or not attend a party where alcohol will be consumed.  Some addicts and alcoholics even go to lengths of cutting the tie to their television in order to avoid the constant wave of beer and liquor adverisements.  Yes, recovery from addiction takes work, sometimes more work than what a user wants to put forth, but without taking action to reduce triggers maintaing sobriety will only become more difficult.  At times the power of a drug or drink  is nearly unstoppable so why add more momentum to a nearly unstopabble train?  Find your triggers, be aware of them, take whatever action to avoid the triggers, and when avoiding the trigger is not possible reach out to someone to talk through the decietful thought that drinking and drugging is worth risking everything.

Transitional Living 4: The Dangers of Teenage Marijuana Use

Marijuana… some think it’s harmless, some think it’s a gateway drug, and some think it’s a sin, but whatever our beliefs are surrounding marijuana, teenage marijuana use is still something to be concerned about.  According to findings in neuroscience and pediatric psychiatry, the last part of the brain to fully develop is the prefrontal cortex- responsible for judgement, self-control, emotional regulation, organization, and planning.  Now, imagine the brain trying to fully develop while the toxic chemical THC found in marijuana is swimming through the blood stream.  What will that do to a teen’s decision making?  What will the teen do when he or she is already essentially handicapped in decision making and the time comes to make a snap judgement behind the wheel of a ten thousand pound Dodge Ram while puffing down the last few hits on a joint?  You make the call. 

Recent statisitcs support evidence fo almost have of all high school seniors to have used marijuana once and 20% of high school seniors to have used marijuana withing the last month- an 8% increase since 1992 according to a survery by teenhelp.com.  Among the teenagers surveyed, 85.8% knew where to buy marijuana, the majority of the marijuana connections being made through fellow students during school. 

So what do all these statistics tell us?  The statics tell us we need to be in tune with what is going on in our teen’s life.  As parents we need to be attentive to our teens needs and be ready to step up to the plate and make a judgement call about what’s best for our teens, since science has proven the teen to be at a disadvantage when it comes to decision making. 

To read more about the statistcs regarding teen drug use, click this link: http://www.teenhelp.com/teen-drug-abuse/teen-drug-abuse-statistics.html

Sober Living 4: Al-Anon

Are you tired of feeling that your loved one is putting their addiction before you?  Does it seem like your relationship with someone special in your life, whether it’s a family member or a significant other, seems to be fading into unknown territory?  If so, you are not alone.  Millions of people are connected to somebody they know that is struggling with substance abuse.  In my personal experience, anytime the topic of addiction comes up in conversation, the person I am talking with, will almost always bring up somebody close to them that is struggling with addiction.  

The biggest misconception of dealing with the addiction of someonebody else, is a feeling of being alone.  Addiction is everywhere folks and everyone is effected by it.  The more we isolate the problem, thinking we are alone, the worse the situation.  We must reach out to other human beings going through the same struggle we share and talk through the situation.  Unity is stronger than any individual and to think you can take on someone else’s addiction without a supportive environment is as insane as the user thinking he or she can keep using without paying any serious consequences.  The supportive environment I am talking about is Al-Anon.  Al-Anon is a group that meets about how to handle the addiction of someone close to you.  If you are personally struggiling with somebody going through addiction or is in recovery, Al-Anon will give you a whole new life.  There are meetings for Al-Anon all over the country and all over Georgia.  For a complete list of where to find a meeting near you, click on this link.   http://www.ga-al-anon.org/

Transitional Living 3: What’s the most dangerous Drug?

We’ve all heard it before, marijuana isn’t dangerous.  It’s nothing but a gateway drug, that’s all.  If you just stick with pot then you’ll be fine.  Ok, let’s get this straight.  Yes marijuana is not as harmful to the body as other drugs.  And yes, if you smoke pot for the rest of your life, you may not end up in a grave or under a bridge or facing a life sentence.  However, when you smoke pot that becomes your life.  You go to work, you come home, and you light up your bong.  Then what?  Nothing!  You’re not doing anything but going through the motions of life.  All you’re doing is taking up space and wasting resources.  There is only so much mental energy one possesses and when all that mental energy goes toward smoking pot, then what?  You have nothing left to do the things that really count in life like using your talents to help other people or to push your mind and body to new heights or to feel alive, or most importantly, to leave this world better than you found it.

Just because marijuana is not as dangerous to the body as other drugs it does not mean it’s not dangerous to your potential.  We need to take a bigger look at the effects of drugs than to only the user.  A recent article assessed the dangers of different substances, not by a scale only assessing the effects to the user, but using a scale to measure the effects of substance usage on crime, environmental damage, family conflict, international damage, economic cost, and damage to community cohesion.  Findings supported evidence for alcohol to be more dangerous than any other drug and marijuana was ranked 8th out 16 drugs.  But the ranking is not the point.  The point is that marijuana was ranked on a scale measuring harmful effects to not only the user, but to family, society, and life.

Ok, so maybe some drugs are less harmful than other drugs, but at the same time it’s harmful. It’s harmful because marijuana prevents you from being the person you were born to be.  So the next time you reach for the joint to escape the pain of life, take a moment and think about if you’re just getting by.

Read more from the article dissucsseed in this blog: http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20101101/NEWS-US-DRUGS-ALCOHOL/#

Sober Living 3: Finding Serenity In Addiction

A life full of drug use is a life full of turmoil, chaos, and uncertainty. For this reason, when a user enters recovery it is crucial to find serenity. So what is serenity you ask?

Serenity is peace, calm, quiet, still, reflection, and comfort. Serenity can be achieved by finding a quiet calm place and taking a deep look into the soul of who you are. Are you a drug user? Are you an alcoholic? Are you both? Take time to answer these questions not with your mind, but with your heart. Feel the turmoil you have created during your active addiction, then dwell on it, soak it all in, feel it, hold it and endure the pain of the life you once lived. Accept the pain you created in your life and other’s lives, not because you are a bad person, but because the disease of addiction was in control. Realize that drugs and alcohol effected your life on a daily basis.

Once you come to terms with being powerless over drugs and alcohol, accept it and know that is who you are-not a bad person, but a responsible human being ready to do what is right. When you accept this you will know serenity and will be able to carry it wherever you go.