Come the weekend, and many will be lifting their glasses high, getting high. Fact: I love vodka straight on the rocks; I suspect a Russian gene crept into my DNA.
Having confessed my love of vodka on the rocks, don’t think I am an alcoholic. Nor am I addicted to latte’s. I confess to being a social media addict, nothing more. We all have addictions, some more harmful than others. This post is about addictions that harm your body – mainly drinking and drugging.
Why this topic? While I like my vodka, I do not like the hard sell of drinking that is part of today’s culture. Drinking moderately is probably safe, but not in moderation and harm accrues. But alcohol is profitable and the sales pitches constant.
You can label me a cranky old lady on that one, I won’t mind as long as you think a bit about the contents of this poster and this blog post.
Emotional Fitness Thoughts
I have been drunk once in my life and once was enough; I got sick as a dog. One way to sort those with an addiction to drink from those without one is what happens if too much drink goes down their throats. Getting sick does not stop those whose drinking is a problem.
I am also lucky in that I have a built-in stop drinking signal. My upper lip gets numb when I have had enough. The one time I got sick from drinking was when I did not heed the numbness.
Four things fuel my rants about drinking and drugging addictions.
First? Coming from a long line of drunks AA groupies, call the genetic basis for becoming an alcoholic. Do my family tree and for generations some have always had the kind of problems with self-control that meant addiction of one sort or another.
My mother’s father reportedly drank 30 coke a day. His wife was a teetotaler and that often goes along with one or another chemical abuse. My hunch was when cocaine was no longer found in Cokes, he switched to drink, but minimally, if my mother’s account was accurate, he was a caffeine addict.
At least one relative literally drank herself to death. A number of others were what many call functional drunks. These drink or drug way too much, but keep up a front. Some of these only get drunk periodically come the weekends or “festive” occasions. Sad to witness.
Second? Being a therapist meant I often was called upon to quell the damage addictions wrought, but also realizing how difficult it was to bring about change.
Third? Becoming a foster mother. Most of the kids placed with us were in teens in trouble with the law; many were addicts of one sort or another. As a foster parent, I attended Alanon and found it both helpful and not helpful.
Fourth? When we stopped being foster parents and I returned to work full-time as a mental health professional, the Harm Reduction movement had just begun. As part of that movement, I stumbled onto Motivational Interviewing. Than encounter inspired my Safe Drinking Rules Poster.
EMOTIONAL fITNESS TRAINING TIPS
Emotional Tip One: Know the risk factors. Three factors put someone at risk of becoming an addict. The first? Genes. The second? Cultural attitudes toward drinking, but particularly towards drunkenness. The delight Western youth seem to take toward getting bombed puts most young in Western culture at risk. Finally? Daily use. One of the reasons the Safe Drinking Rules say to limit your drinking to four days a week is to prevent building up tolerance and in time drinking more and more.
Emotional Tip Two: Worried? Spend a month abiding by the safe drinking rules. The rules can be adapted for drugging, for gambling, for all addictions including addictions to risk taking or anger. The more you slip, the more you need to worry that your addiction is getting out of control.
Emotional Tip Three: If you or someone you care about is showing signs of addiction try a Twelve Step program. These are worth exploring as you can usually find a meeting near you or on-line and cost you nothing but a pit of time. Most suggest attending six meetings and to spend your time listening and learning. That is also a useful phase for introducing yourself at a meeting. Finally, keep an open mind, as one Twelve Step Motto suggests “Take what you need, leave the rest.”
Emotional Fitness Tip Four: Consider therapy. With addictions seek a counselor who uses a Harm Reduction or Motivational Interviewing approach. That is what I wold do. I would also look for someone who set SMART Goals early in the therapy process and asked for feedback from you at each session.
Practicing a daily emotional fitness exercise program strengthens your ability to dealing with addcitions. EFTI combines elements of Twelve Step Programs, Motivational Interviewing, common sense as well as research based cognitive behavioral practices known to improve emotional intelligence. I think mine are Gold Medal Winners. Why? Four reasons:
- Each is easy to learn and easier to practice.
- You can practice each one multiple times every day. The more you practice the easier each becomes a healthy habit.
- You can layer them, meaning you can practice two or even three at the same time.
- When learned and strengthened, each exercise soothes all emotions trying to try boss you.
For all you do to share and care, thank you. If you like what I say “clap your hands and show it” by liking, commenting, or sharing.
This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt – Pick Your Potion:Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?
My response? Detailed above.
Related links of interest
- Harm Reduction en.wikipedia.org
- The Deconstruction of Reality (transparencynow.com)
- 12 Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
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