Surviving the Season of Stress

‘Tis the season, so lets continue the conversation about the upcoming holidays, and the stress they put on anyone dealing with addiction, from the addict to their families and friends. 

I’d like to direct your attention to an article written back in 2011 for Social Work Today magazine by Christina Reardon, MSW, LSW.  The article is titled, Families and Addiction — Surviving the Season of Stress and can be read in its entirety by clicking the magazine cover, or the title above.

This article has so much useful information for families as the holidays approach.

Highlights of this article include:

  • Managing expectations
    • Expectations that the addict will be magically “cured” over the holidays will likely cause more stress and frustration
  • Handling actively using addicts
    • Firm ground rules and expectations of behavior should be set and agreed upon prior to a holiday event, with strict consequences if not met.
    • Is this a good time for a family intervention?
    • Realize that family gatherings can be very stressful for the addict too
  • Supporting the recovering addict
    • If alcohol is the problem, refrain from cooking with wine or other liquors or serving candy with alcohol centers.
    • Respecting the needs of the addict does not mean everything has to be perfect
  • Learning to let go
    • Take care of yourself!
    • Accept that you are not responsible for whatever happens

Take some time and read through this helpful article.  Then start setting your expectations for the upcoming holidays.  May they be joyous.

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Happy Holidays!
Betsy

 

 

Mary is not forgotten

December 9th, 2019 is the sixth anniversary of Mary’s death.  Mary wawith Mary (2)s a close friend, and also a coworker at The Blade, the newspaper in Toledo, Ohio.

On the morning of December 9, 2013, I received a call from a former co-worker (I had retired) at The Blade, informing me that Mary had not shown up for work that day.   They had sent someone to her home and had found her laying dead on the kitchen floor.  She had been stabbed to death.  Her son was convicted of the murder.  He was a loving son, and her only child.  But, heroin got the best of him, and this was the result.

Today I ask everyone who knew Mary, worked with Mary, or seeks help with an addicted loved one to take time to explore A Place For Mary.  Remember Mary.   Find help for yourself here.

This site is a good first step in understanding addiction, realizing you are not alone as you struggle to know how to help someone you love, and finding the help you need, whether it’s just reassurances that you’re doing the right things or finding professional help for yourself.

Mary, you are missed.

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The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s new definition of addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine updated it’s definition of “addiction” this year.   In an article by Paul Earley, MD and Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH, an explanation of the new definition, and the need to look at addiction from a medical, genetic, mental, and environmental standpoint is discussed.

Redefining Addiction. Reimagining Solutions.

By Paul Earley, MD and Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH            Oct. 21, 2019

Words matter. When it comes to addiction medicine, stigmatizing language and misunderstood terminology may keep some people from seeking effective care, leave families poorly equipped to support their loved ones, and drive policymakers to make counterproductive, even harmful, policy.

       Read the entire article by clicking here.

A very important point made in the article states,

We will not be able to punish our way out of this crisis, and we must face the reality that stern talks about drug use will not treat a devastating disease.

It is hopeful that the new definition will help create a better understanding of addiction as a disease, and lead to comprehensive public policy.

Read the full article by clicking here.

https://www.asam.org/images/default-source/general-use/asam-logo.png?sfvrsn=2cc670c2_0

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Love – A Roadblock to Recovery

Have you stumbled upon A Place For Mary in a Google search?  If so, it’s likely you’re dealing with and addiction that has taken over someone you love, and you’re la-place-for-mary-logoooking for help.  You’ve come to the right place to start your own journey towards a healthy life.

Addiction is devastating to anyone close to an addict; spouses, parents, partners, and friends alike.  What is the biggest roadblock to truly helping them to recovery?  The answer is simple.  It’s LOVE.  Love gets in the way, blinding you to simple things that are actually enabling the addiction.

ENABLE – definition – According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “enable” has three meanings as follows:  (click here for full definition)

  1. to provide with the means or opportunity
  2. to make possible, practical, or easy 
  3. to cause to operate

Synonyms include: allow, empower, let, permit.

There are many articles written on enabling.  Take some time to read “Enabling 101: How Love Becomes Fear and Help Becomes Control” by

  • “The one thing that all enablers have in common is this: they love someone who is out of control, and they find themselves taking more responsibility for the actions of that person than the person is taking for themselves.”
  • “When you stop enabling, this does not mean that you stop loving the person. It does not even mean that you cannot help him or her.”

In her article, Ms. King sites examples of things an enabler might be thinking or even saying to others.  You might find some of those statements sound familiar and hit home.

So, what’s next?  What do you do?  How do you remove the roadblock that LOVE presents?  You’ve made the first step by reading this far. Continue to educate yourself on addiction and begin to make changes in your own behavior and the interaction you share with your addicted loved one.   A Place For Mary is here to provide you with useful information to help you on your journey to becoming a supportive, yet non-enabling partner, loved one, friend.

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