What does support look like!
“New research in the journal Learning and Memory explores the impact of environmental cues on addiction. The findings could enhance the process of recovering from addiction.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324588.php
From the moment of birth, it’s clear that we human beings are unequipped to survive on our own. Relationships form the very fabric of our being from day one, and before that! The lucky among us fit effortlessly into the world we’re brought home too. We remain eager to please, thrilled to fit in, and content to accept the status quo through most of our early years, but at some point, in our journey toward independence, we start to notice differences. We begin to demand some ownership of our developing personal attitudes, values and beliefs, our self-determined interpretations begin to take on greater significance. Outside influences become more and more important as the development of our individuality becomes our priority. Social influences both positive and negative are ubiquitous and unavoidable.
When I became a parent, I absolutely expected to kill it. I was secure in the knowledge that I’d learned enough from my parents’ mistakes to ensure I would not repeat them. I would certainly do it right! I was so sure that I’d have no problem raising brilliant, even-tempered, superstars, who would fully embrace life and the limitless possibilities that I would make available to them! Unfortunately, we soon realize, there are so many influences competing for their attention, most of which could care less about their success and well being. The concepts and values that we’ve worked hard to instil are eventually challenged and reconsidered. Though our early family experiences are undoubtably valuable and formative we are most heavily influenced by the cultural appetites of our own time. Here lies the proverbial generation gap.
The entertainment industry portrays alcohol and drug use as fun and glamorous. Companies selling these products directly target kids and teens. Most of us will very likely try alcohol and many will experiment with other substances too. Stressful life events, traumas, illness, accidents, peer pressure, and other factors can make it more likely that we’ll use drugs or alcohol in an unhealthy way. The only way to navigate this mine field is to be vigilant and provide support if problems arise.
What does vigilance look like? Part of being vigilant is being involved. This isn’t ever easy, especially when were dealing with a loved one who’s gone off the rails. The very nature of addiction is that it’s sneaky and those suffering are always caught off guard. It’s very common for addictions to evolve very slowly, often over the course of several years. In the end, those addicted and those who love them, feel like helpless bystanders, out of control, watching someone we love fall apart. Sometimes, honestly, all the time, there’s not a whole lot to be done aside from waiting. Breaking free from addiction would be difficult for the strongest and healthiest among us. It requires focus and concentration that is virtually superhuman. Brain-imaging scans show significant changes in brain function and research shows that those effected often suffer from co-occurring disorders, such as depression, bipolar disease, panic disorders, ADHD, ADD, or PTSD. For these people using substances is a way to self-medicate to deal with discomfort and confusion. Mental health issues increase your risk of becoming addicted and substance use can trigger mental health disorders, or certainly make them worse. Triggers are totally unavoidable and they’re literally everywhere! Vigilance is the foundation, communication, understanding, and mostly patience is the only remedy!