Does my drinking or substance use affect my kids?
Of course, it does, but HOW does it affect your kids? Some
of these things might be difficult to hear, but necessary.
We're going to be looking at it from the child's point of view, focusing specifically on how a parent's alcohol or other substance use or abuse affects you as a kid and even as an adult now.
If you want to know if you have an addiction or a loved one has an addiction problem and how severe that problem is, you can click HERE to download the criteria for substance use disorder.
Affect #1: When you're using substances, you are modeling that behavior for your kid. If you use substances in your home, you're modeling that's the way adults in the family have fun or party. It may come across to your kid as really glorified, "Ooh, that's how adults are happy! That's how adults connect. When I get older, I'm going to do that!"
If you're using substances to help you cope with stress or problems, then you're also modeling...
I believe everyone knows there's a strong link between trauma and addiction, but did you know there are three strong links between trauma and addiction? What are they?
Most people are aware of this first link between trauma and addiction. It's the idea that people with trauma are way more likely to develop addiction issues. It doesn't take a psychologist or a research scientist to figure out why.
When you have trauma, you dysregulate the alarm systems in your brain. Sometimes that dysregulation is permanent and shows itself in different kinds of anxiety and very uncomfortable symptoms.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you're uncomfortable, you're going to look for a solution. Sometimes, people think they've found their answer in using drugs, alcohol, or other types of behavioral addictions. We know that these aren't great solutions. They tend to help short-term, but they tend to make the problem WAY worse...
What is an addiction to a person? How does it happen? When does it happen? How do you break that addiction?
To be honest, it's the same as being addicted to anything else. Drugs/alcohol, gambling, and spending are all things you can be addicted to.
Addiction means that you continue to pursue something although it's having harmful effects on your life. Looking at addiction, it's not a far jump to see how it's possible to be addicted to a person. You can continue to pursue a relationship even though it's having harmful effects on your life and maybe even other people's lives, but add a little bit more depth to the idea of what an addiction is.
Other addictive symptoms include craving obsession. The loss of control and an inability to stop. Let's clarify the difference between being addicted to a person and being madly in love with a person. There are some similarities there, right. You might have that craving, that obsessive fault.
What you don't have in the madly in love department...
I love you, but I'm not in love with you. What exactly does that mean, and what do you do about it?
What that typically means is that the person doesn't have those attraction butterflies towards you. They still care about you as a person, but they're just not feeling that romantic chemistry. Usually, when people say this, they had it before, but they lost it somewhere in the process.
Let's look at what it means on the other side of the issue. It's only natural to want to feel that strong desire feeling. To have that craving of wanting to feel the excitement. The new love romance feeling happens because of the chemical dopamine.
Dopamine is the desire chemical which is one of the reasons why we're talking about this topic because all things addiction is related to dopamine.
Early on in a romantic relationship, you usually have a lot of infatuation feelings. The clinical term for that is limerence, but it's the state of mind where you crave the other person.
Is it possible to beat your alcohol problem without going to rehab? I think it is definitely possible. I'm going to tell you our secret formula of how we've helped hundreds of people get sober without ever having to go to rehab.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, you may be wondering, what's it going to take to conquer this problem?
Anytime I'm talking to a person trying to overcome an alcohol problem or stop drinking, the first thing that I want to think through is whether or not this person needs a detox. With alcohol, believe it or not, it's one of the more dangerous things to stop cold turkey. If you are highly alcohol dependent and you've been drinking for a while, Cold Turkey can be dangerous. You can be in danger of having a seizure or even developing psychosis.
I have a video that I made a while back to figure out whether or not you need the detox part. You can watch it HERE.
The second thing that you'll have to put a lot of energy and effort...
One thing about alcoholism that's particularly troubling is the memory issues that accompany it.
Alcoholics genuinely don't remember what happened when drinking (referred to as a blackout), and when their family is upset, they get irritated and feel like the other person is overreacting. In this circumstance, the alcoholic isn't intentionally trying to Gaslight their loved one; they don't remember what they said or did during a blackout incident. It's a form of GASLIGHTING and will make you question your sanity.
But in other instances (like when you find their hidden alcohol), alcoholics intentionally try to make you think you're crazy. They may say something like, "that's been there for over six months. Don't you remember your dad left that when he came at Christmas?" In these situations, the alcoholic person knows precisely what they're doing. They're trying to throw you off their scent or deflect the argument.
What should you expect if your loved one is in early recovery as if they're recently sober and working on their recovery? The angle we're looking at is trying to help family members have a realistic understanding and expectation about those early days and weeks of recovery.
I know you've waited for a long time for your loved one to address this problem. Probably years, right? You've been through the mud and the muck, and you're probably 10 miles past your limit, so once they decide to get sober, you are way past the point of being ready.
I want you to hold your fire.
Even when someone decides to get sober, it's not an overnight transformation.
Sometimes you have a brief period that is kind of like that. Subconsciously we're thinking, "if they could realize they have a problem and decide to stop, it's going to solve all of our problems. Everything is going to be better, and it's just going to be wonderful and rainbows!"
When people get clean and sober, we call that the ...
Have you heard of S.G.B. injection for post-traumatic stress disorder? Recently, one of our viewers commented on my video and asked if I knew about it or if I'd made a video about it. It sparked my curiosity because I had never heard of injections for P.T.S.D.
P.T.S.D. stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, and because there is such a high correlation between trauma and addiction, we're deep-diving into the S.G.B. injection. It's going to help us understand better if this injection could be helpful for those that are struggling with these co-occurring disorders.
Generally, we all know what the word trauma means, but there is a clinical definition for post-traumatic stress disorder. In the counseling world, there's a lot of talk about something called complex trauma.
I thought the best place to begin would be to explain the issue to you, and then we'll get into this S.G.B. injection, how it works, how it impacts, and how it can be a super helpful resource for someone recovering...
The first step to helping someone decide to get sober is to stop trying to change them and start trying to understand them. That is the essential ingredient. It's the foundation that you must put down. Otherwise, you're not going to get anywhere.
This is the most effective strategy that a family member can have. This is where every family should start, and if you get stuck in the process along the way, this is where you should return. Think about this as a home base, trying to understand the person and their situation.
This idea came to me when I did a video interview with Kyle from Sober Dogs, which you can watch HERE. He asked, how do you change a teenager who doesn't want to be changed? I said that's it! I don't focus on changing them. I focus on trying to understand them. When there's resistance, it's because people don't want to be changed. They don't want to be judged.
If you focus on hearing and understanding someone, you're going to lay down the groundwork for effective...
What is the quickest way to go from unhealthy boundaries to healthy boundaries? Let's identify a few situations where you could slide into unhealthy boundaries and learn how to turn the situation around.
Whatever side of the issue you're on, everything I will teach you today is helpful, whether or not addiction is in your life. A quick way to figure out if you're sliding into unhealthy boundaries with someone is to determine whether or not you're on the drama triangle. These are healthy skills that we can all benefit from.
In the 1960s, Stephen Cartman came up with this theory called the drama triangle as a way of explaining dysfunctional social interaction. I love to explain this to people because it's so easy to understand and has such a concrete visual, which helps.
There are three roles in the drama triangle--The rescuer, the victim, and the persecutor.
If you find you're demonstrating these characteristics, this is a surefire signal that you are sliding into the unhealthy...