Drug Rehab

Addiction Recovery and Wellness News

Narcissism, Substance Abuse, and Reckless Behaviours
Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist's drug of choice. It is, therefore, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours - workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory shopping, or reckless driving - piggyback on this primary dependence.

The narcissist - like other types of addicts - derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain and enhance his grandiose fantasies as "unique", "superior", "entitled", and "chosen". They place him above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of attention - but also place him in "splendid isolation" from the madding and inferior crowd.

Such compulsory and wild pursuits provide a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, goals, and faux achievements. The narcissist - the adrenaline junkie - feels that he is in control, alert, excited, and vital. He does not regard his condition as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on short notice.

The narcissist denies his cravings for fear of "losing face" and subverting the flawless, perfect, immaculate, and omnipotent image he projects. When caught red handed, the narcissist underestimates, rationalises, or intellectualises his addictive and reckless behaviours - converting them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic False Self.

Thus, a drug abusing narcissist may claim to be conducting first hand research for the benefit of humanity - or that his substance abuse results in enhanced creativity and productivity. The dependence of some narcissists becomes a way of life: busy corporate executives, race car drivers, or professional gamblers come to mind.

The narcissist's addictive behaviours take his mind off his inherent limitations, inevitable failures, painful and much-feared rejections, and the Grandiosity Gap - the abyss between the image he projects (the False Self) and the injurious truth. They relieve his anxiety and resolve the tension between his unrealistic expectations and inflated self-image - and his incommensurate achievements, position, status, recognition, intelligence, wealth, and physique.

Thus, there is no point in treating the dependence and recklessness of the narcissist without first treating the underlying personality disorder. The narcissist's addictions serve deeply ingrained emotional needs. They intermesh seamlessly with the pathological structure of his disorganised personality, with his character faults, and primitive defence mechanisms.

Techniques such as "12 steps" may prove more efficacious in treating the narcissist's grandiosity, rigidity, sense of entitlement, exploitativeness, and lack of empathy. This is because - as opposed to traditional treatment modalities - the emphasis is on tackling the narcissist's psychological makeup, rather than on behaviour modification.

The narcissist's overwhelming need to feel omnipotent and superior can be co-opted in the therapeutic process. Overcoming an addictive behaviour can be - truthfully - presented by the therapist as a rare and impressive feat, worthy of the narcissist's unique mettle.

Narcissists fall for these transparent pitches surprisingly often. But this approach can backfire. Should the narcissist relapse - an almost certain occurrence - he will feel ashamed to admit his fallibility, need for emotional sustenance, and impotence. He is likely to avoid treatment altogether and convince himself that now, having succeeded once to get rid of his addiction, he is self-sufficient and omniscient.

About The Author
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com palma@unet.com.mk
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Signs That Rage Has Turned Into An Addiction
All addictions have symptoms, which allow us to recognize these problems as addictive diseases. The signs of addictive diseases are self-stimulation, compulsion, obsession, denial, withdrawal and craving syndrome, and unpredictable behavior. Like alcoholism or drug use, anger meets many of the criteria.

Self-Stimulation

For those who are rageaholics, expressing anger is self- stimulating. It triggers the compulsion for more anger. For example, let's pretend that we are going to provide treatment for alcoholics. On the way to the treatment center we stop and buy a case of beer. When we get to the meeting, we tell the alcoholics in therapy that they just need to do a lot of drinking to get it out of their system once and for all. This is similar to when therapist tell men with rage problems, "You just need to express yourself and get it out of your system." It is just as absurd. The more alcoholics drink, the more they want. The more ragers rage, the more they want to rage.

Compulsion

Anger addiction or "rageaholism" is the compulsive pursuit of a mood change by repeatedly engaging in episodes of rage despite adverse consequences. Rageaholics continue to rage compulsively without regard to the negative consequences. Compulsion or loss of control is the inability to stop expressing anger once we have begun. The inability to control angry words is a certain sign of rageaholism. Loss of control--that is addiction.

Obsession

Rageaholics are frequently preoccupied with resentment and fantasies of revenge. Those thoughts sometimes rise powerfully and allow no other thoughts to enter. The force of anger is sometimes irresistible and followed by action. Therefore, the preoccupation with the "wrongs" of others and revenge continually leads to rage. Progressively, these thoughts crowd out all others until our life becomes chronically revenge-oriented. At that point, anger controls our thoughts.

Denial

Denial keeps anger addicts trapped. It is the mental process by which we conclude that the addiction is not the problem; it's "them." Ignorance of addiction and the inability to examine ourselves, work together to keep rageaholics stuck. Knowing no other way to live, we deny that there is anything wrong with us. This system of denial ensures that the process of rage and righteous indignation will continue. Righteous indignation keeps our focus off of ourselves. This is why ragers seldom are able to say, "I am wrong".

Withdrawal and Craving

As with any addiction, anger has a detoxification period. Craving is high during this time. Those who abstain from name-calling, profanity and yelling during this period report more depression than usual for the first three months. Typically, during the first 90 days of abstinence, ragers feel vulnerable and spend a lot of time thinking and hoping for a situation that will allow us to use violence for some heroic purpose. Afterward, however, if we have achieved complete abstinence and maintained it for 90 days, we find we no longer think in profane or disparaging terms. It may even become shocking when we hear others do it.

Unpredictable Behavior

Another definition of alcoholism is that when an alcoholic drinks, there is no way to predict his or her behavior. He may drink appropriately from time to time, just as the rageaholic may express anger appropriately from time to time. However, when the alcoholic starts to drink alcohol, all bets are off. No one knows what is going to happen. When rageaholics start to express anger, no one knows where it is going to go. The most likely think is that they will explode, rant and rave. Rageaholics would like to learn how to express our anger appropriately just like alcoholics would like to learn how to drink appropriately. While there are some exceptions, I encourage those with rage problems to abstain from the expression of anger for one year.

This plan is only for that small percent of the population who have rage or violence problems. The approach described here is not for everyone; but for those addicted to rage, it won't work to express your anger.

About The Author
Newton Hightower is the Director of The Center for Anger Resolution, Inc. in Houston, Texas, and author of the new book "Anger Busting 101: New ABCs for Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them." Visit Newton's website for anger- busting ideas and a free email newsletter filled with guest articles and tips for husbands, wives, and therapists. http://www.angerbusters.com newton@angerbusters.com
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Drug Abuse & Demand Reduction
Drug abuse is a global phenomenon. It affects almost every country, although its extent and characteristics differ from region to region. Drug abuse trends around the world, especially among youth, have started to converge over the last few decades.

The most widely consumed drug worldwide is cannabis. Three-quarters of all countries report abuse of heroin and two-thirds report abuse of cocaine. Drug-related problems include increased rates of crime and violence, susceptibility to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, demand for treatment and emergency room visits and a breakdown in social behavior.

Demand reduction strategies seek to prevent the onset of drug use, help drug users break the habit and provide treatment through rehabilitation and social reintegration.

To reduce or eliminate drug abuse, governments need up-to-date statistics on who is taking drugs and why. The Global Programme on Drug Abuse has established one global and nine regional systems to collect reliable and internationally comparable drug abuse data and to assess the magnitude and patterns of drug abuse at the country, regional and global levels.

Drug abuse cuts across age, class, ethnic and gender lines. By working with grass-roots groups, private businesses and other community partners, it supports projects addressing the needs of specific populations, such as street children and those trying to cope with neglect, violence and sexual abuse. These strategies help disadvantaged groups to avoid high-risk behavior and settings that give rise to a range of problems, including the use of illicit drugs and alcohol.


Access to Treatment and Rehabilitation

People with drug abuse problems have different needs. Women, the young, the poor, refugees and ethnic and religious minorities need easier access to early intervention and services. Once in treatment, drug abusers may need job training and referral, assistance in finding housing and reintegrating into society. Drug abusers who commit crimes require alternative treatment in order to break the cycle of drug abuse and crime.

The Global Youth Network project is creating a network of participatory youth organizations that work for drug abuse prevention. Our activities include experience-sharing meetings, how-to guides on innovative techniques on drug abuse prevention written for and by young people and an active e-mail listserv. The Youth Network web site also provides an on-line resource for groups who want to improve their projects or who want to start new drug abuse prevention programmes.

At the end of 2002, an estimated 42 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS. During the same year, five million new infections were reported, while the epidemic claimed and estimated 3.1 million lives. One third of the people living with HIV/AIDS are between 15 and 24 years old. Injecting drug abuse is among the major forces driving the epidemic, attributing to around five per cent of HIV transmission., a cosponsor of UNAIDS since 1999, has been mainstreaming HIV/AIDS prevention into its demand reduction activities globally, with an emphasis on promoting skills development and helping young people live a healthy, drug-free life.

The programme also supports prevention activities to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug abusers, and through them, to their spouses, children and the general population.

Hope that this programme continues to run so that it protects the people from the social destruction. And make the country grow I the healthy and peaceful environment

About The Author
Ruchi Ahuja - a free lancer. ruchisjournal2003@yahoo.com
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Help I Am Pregnant and An Addict
However, there is not very much quality information on what you should do if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs and are pregnant. The simple answer is you need to quit. With all the treatment programs availabele; AA, treatment facilities, therapy, self-control, etc., why wouldn't a women be able to get help. Why would anyone use drugs or alcohol while they are pregnant. Most pregnant moms know or have read that using drugs or alcohol can cause numerous problems for their unborn baby. But there are many reasons women avoid treatment.

Some do not believe they are really an addict or alcoholic. They may convince themselves that they don't drink or use very much or that often. The truth, if you are not capable of quitting during a time in your life when it is most essential that you do not drink or use, you are an addict. If you were not addicted quitting during pregnancy would not be difficult.

Many women falsely believe that an occasional drink or drug use is not really harmful. They may minimize their problem and rationalize what they are doing. They may say things like well when my mother was pregnant she drank/smoke and I turned out fine.

Sometimes a woman may convince herself that she is done and it won't happen again. Perhaps she has used during the first month but she will tell herself, I will get help if I do this again. With the next time it happening repeating the same rational in her mind, each time thinking it is the last.

Addiction is a shameful disease. Addicts come in all forms. People with addiction can hide their disease very well. Their friends and family may not even realize that they have a problem. Talking to a health professional about this may be something they are too afraid to do.

They may be afraid to talk to a professional for fear of having an investigation by Child Protective services.

Marijuana supporters put out a lot of false information about the risks to an unborn child. Minimizing the dangers, even going as far as to say babies born to marijuana users are less fussy and more content. They may choose to believe this misinformation in order to avoid facing their addiction.

Risks of using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy
  • Smoking: Babies are more likely to be born preterm and with low birth weight.
  • Alcohol: Can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Babies born with FAS may have symptoms of alcohol withdrawal shortly after birth. They often have a small head, small eyes, a wide flat nose, and a small jaw. Children with FAS may have growth problems, diminished mental capacity, and emotional problems.
  • Marijuana: Can cause preterm birth, low birth weight and some studies say it can cause attention problems in children.
  • Cocaine: Babies born to cocaine users often go through withdrawal symptoms after birth. Fetal growth may be retarded, there is a greater risk of premature labor and abruption of the placenta. Babies often have low birth weight, may have feeding problems, and are at greater risk of sids. Children of cocaine addicted mothers may have emotional problems, short attention span, and learning disabilities.
  • Heroin and other narcotics: Mother is at a greater risk of having preterm labor and having a baby with low birth weight. Babies of heroin addicted moms may have breathing difficulties, hypoglycemia, and intracranial hemorrhage. They also will go through withdrawal after birth.
If you need help

If you think that you have a problem there are places to get help. Please do not wait.

About The Author
Patty Hone is a wife and mommy to three kids. She is also the owner of Justmommies.com. Justmommies is an online community for mommies to make friends and find support. Please visit Justmommies at http://www.justmommies.com. email@justmommies.com
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What Is Abuse?
Violence in the family often follows other forms of more subtle and long-term abuse: verbal, emotional, psychological sexual, or financial. It is closely correlated with alcoholism, drug consumption, intimate-partner homicide, teen pregnancy, infant and child mortality, spontaneous abortion, reckless behaviours, suicide, and the onset of mental health disorders.

Most abusers and batterers are males - but a significant minority are women. This being a "Women's Issue", the problem was swept under the carpet for generations and only recently has it come to public awareness. Yet, even today, society - for instance, through the court and the mental health systems - largely ignores domestic violence and abuse in the family. This induces feelings of shame and guilt in the victims and "legitimizes" the role of the abuser.

Violence in the family is mostly spousal - one spouse beating, raping, or otherwise physically harming and torturing the other. But children are also and often victims - either directly, or indirectly. Other vulnerable familial groups include the elderly and the disabled.

Abuse and violence cross geographical and cultural boundaries and social and economic strata. It is common among the rich and the poor, the well-educated and the less so, the young and the middle-aged, city dwellers and rural folk. It is a universal phenomenon.

Abusers exploit, lie, insult, demean, ignore (the "silent treatment"), manipulate, and control.

There are many ways to abuse. To love too much is to abuse. It is tantamount to treating someone as an extension, an object, or an instrument of gratification. To be over-protective, not to respect privacy, to be brutally honest, with a sadistic sense of humour, or consistently tactless - is to abuse.

To expect too much, to denigrate, to ignore - are all modes of abuse. There is physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse. The list is long. Most abusers abuse surreptitiously. They are "stealth abusers". You have to actually live with one in order to witness the abuse.

There are three important categories of abuse:

Overt Abuse

The open and explicit abuse of another person. Threatening, coercing, beating, lying, berating, demeaning, chastising, insulting, humiliating, exploiting, ignoring ("silent treatment"), devaluing, unceremoniously discarding, verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse are all forms of overt abuse.

Covert or Controlling Abuse

Abuse is almost entirely about control. It is often a primitive and immature reaction to life circumstances in which the abuser (usually in his childhood) was rendered helpless. It is about re-exerting one's identity, re-establishing predictability, mastering the environment - human and physical.

The bulk of abusive behaviours can be traced to this panicky reaction to the remote potential for loss of control. Many abusers are hypochondriacs (and difficult patients) because they are afraid to lose control over their body, its looks and its proper functioning. They are obsessive-compulsive in an effort to subdue their physical habitat and render it foreseeable. They stalk people and harass them as a means of "being in touch" - another form of control.

To the abuser, nothing exists outside himself. Meaningful others are extensions, internal, assimilated, objects - not external ones. Thus, losing control over a significant other - is equivalent to losing control of a limb, or of one's brain. It is terrifying.

Independent or disobedient people evoke in the abuser the realization that something is wrong with his worldview, that he is not the centre of the world or its cause and that he cannot control what, to him, are internal representations.

To the abuser, losing control means going insane. Because other people are mere elements in the abuser's mind - being unable to manipulate them literally means losing it (his mind). Imagine, if you suddenly were to find out that you cannot manipulate your memories or control your thoughts ... Nightmarish!

In his frantic efforts to maintain control or re-assert it, the abuser resorts to a myriad of fiendishly inventive stratagems and mechanisms. Here is a partial list:

Unpredictability and Uncertainty

The abuser acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally. This serves to render others dependent upon the next twist and turn of the abuser, his next inexplicable whim, upon his next outburst, denial, or smile.

The abuser makes sure that HE is the only reliable element in the lives of his nearest and dearest - by shattering the rest of their world through his seemingly insane behaviour. He perpetuates his stable presence in their lives - by destabilizing their own.
TIP

Refuse to accept such behaviour. Demand reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions. Insist on respect for your boundaries, predilections, preferences, and priorities.
Disproportional Reactions

One of the favourite tools of manipulation in the abuser's arsenal is the disproportionality of his reactions. He reacts with supreme rage to the slightest slight. Or, he would punish severely for what he perceives to be an offence against him, no matter how minor. Or, he would throw a temper tantrum over any discord or disagreement, however gently and considerately expressed. Or, he would act inordinately attentive, charming and tempting (even over-sexed, if need be).

This ever-shifting code of conduct and the unusually harsh and arbitrarily applied penalties are premeditated. The victims are kept in the dark. Neediness and dependence on the source of "justice" meted and judgment passed - on the abuser - are thus guaranteed.
TIP

Demand a just and proportional treatment. Reject or ignore unjust and capricious behaviour.

If you are up to the inevitable confrontation, react in kind. Let him taste some of his own medicine.
Dehumanization and Objectification (Abuse)

People have a need to believe in the empathic skills and basic good-heartedness of others. By dehumanizing and objectifying people - the abuser attacks the very foundations of human interaction. This is the "alien" aspect of abusers - they may be excellent imitations of fully formed adults but they are emotionally absent and immature.

Abuse is so horrid, so repulsive, so phantasmagoric - that people recoil in terror. It is then, with their defences absolutely down, that they are the most susceptible and vulnerable to the abuser's control. Physical, psychological, verbal and sexual abuse are all forms of dehumanization and objectification.
TIP

Never show your abuser that you are afraid of him. Do not negotiate with bullies. They are insatiable. Do not succumb to blackmail.

If things get rough- disengage, involve law enforcement officers, friends and colleagues, or threaten him (legally).

Do not keep your abuse a secret. Secrecy is the abuser's weapon.

Never give him a second chance. React with your full arsenal to the first transgression.
Abuse of Information

From the first moments of an encounter with another person, the abuser is on the prowl. He collects information. The more he knows about his potential victim - the better able he is to coerce, manipulate, charm, extort or convert it "to the cause". The abuser does not hesitate to misuse the information he gleaned, regardless of its intimate nature or the circumstances in which he obtained it. This is a powerful tool in his armory.
TIP

Be guarded. Don't be too forthcoming in a first or casual meeting. Gather intelligence.

Be yourself. Don't misrepresent your wishes, boundaries, preferences, priorities, and red lines.

Do not behave inconsistently. Do not go back on your word. Be firm and resolute.
Impossible Situations

The abuser engineers impossible, dangerous, unpredictable, unprecedented, or highly specific situations in which he is sorely needed. The abuser makes sure that his knowledge, his skills, his connections, or his traits are the only ones applicable and the most useful in the situations that he, himself, wrought. The abuser generates his own indispensability.
TIP

Stay away from such quagmires. Scrutinize every offer and suggestion, no matter how innocuous.

Prepare backup plans. Keep others informed of your whereabouts and appraised of your situation.

Be vigilant and doubting. Do not be gullible and suggestible. Better safe than sorry.
Control by Proxy

If all else fails, the abuser recruits friends, colleagues, mates, family members, the authorities, institutions, neighbours, the media, teachers - in short, third parties - to do his bidding. He uses them to cajole, coerce, threaten, stalk, offer, retreat, tempt, convince, harass, communicate and otherwise manipulate his target. He controls these unaware instruments exactly as he plans to control his ultimate prey. He employs the same mechanisms and devices. And he dumps his props unceremoniously when the job is done.

Another form of control by proxy is to engineer situations in which abuse is inflicted upon another person. Such carefully crafted scenarios of embarrassment and humiliation provoke social sanctions (condemnation, opprobrium, or even physical punishment) against the victim. Society, or a social group become the instruments of the abuser.
TIP

Often the abuser's proxies are unaware of their role. Expose him. Inform them. Demonstrate to them how they are being abused, misused, and plain used by the abuser.

Trap your abuser. Treat him as he treats you. Involve others. Bring it into the open. Nothing like sunshine to disinfest abuse.
Ambient Abuse

The fostering, propagation and enhancement of an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, unpredictability and irritation. There are no acts of traceable explicit abuse, nor any manipulative settings of control. Yet, the irksome feeling remains, a disagreeable foreboding, a premonition, a bad omen. This is sometimes called "gaslighting".

In the long term, such an environment erodes the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Self-confidence is shaken badly. Often, the victim adopts a paranoid or schizoid stance and thus renders himself or herself exposed even more to criticism and judgment. The roles are thus reversed: the victim is considered mentally deranged and the abuser - the suffering soul.
TIP

Run! Get away! Ambient abuse often develops to overt and violent abuse.

You don't owe anyone an explanation - but you owe yourself a life. Bail out.
About The Author
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com palma@unet.com.mk
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Self Recovery From Addiction
I've had several coaching clients come to me who, while they wanted to move forward in life, were actually stuck in a self-destructive addiction. Of course, I cannot directly confront them about their addictions, as they had to open up to me that it was part of the problem that was keeping them in the same rut in which they found themselves day-after-day. As we worked together to make plans and open doors, the addiction was left open for them to examine and realize that they needed to overcome the situation, and cut loose that anchor to move forward to a fulfilling life.

I'm not speaking of any particular addiction, as we all have one or two in our lives. However, for sake of discussion, the primary addictions that people fall to when they find that their lives are faltering are alcohol and drugs. Of course, these usually come into play once their addictions to depression and negative situations overtake their lives and they feel as though they have no where left to turn. But, as we peel away the negative situations and tend to the depression through medical assistance, they are better able to accept that now they must eliminate the substance addiction.

Abstinence or Control

Many commercials on television promote "responsible drinking". What exactly is "responsible drinking"? It is a relative view that places you to judge how much is enough. Yet, after your first drink, your judgment is impaired. As I've heard from many people, "one is too much and 12 are not enough." The best way to manage yourself responsibly is simply not to do it at all --- abstain.

Disease or Responsibility

The idea of addictions being a disease creates an uneasy feeling for me in that, for the most part, it is a choice and a responsibility as opposed to an illness. While I do agree that certain physical illnesses can cause people to turn to substance abuse, the abuse and addiction in and of itself are resulting actions and not diseases. It does seem that the disease concept has become popular because it is the nature of addicted people to dignify their conduct. The disease concept conceals the actual reason people abuse various substances while it discourages initiative and responsibility.

Involuntary Addiction

This area of "involuntary addiction" is the center of much controversy. Many people are addicted to medications at the hands of medical practitioners who do not monitor their patients, but instead simply ensure that their prescriptions maintain a certain response. Of course, many people do require long-term care; however, others only require assistance through medication for a short time.

One example is that of a woman I worked with some years ago who was terribly addicted to Valium, Paxil, and Prozac. She wanted to get off of everything. Of course, I could not counsel her on the medical aspects of her situation, but I did refer her to a medical acquaintance who could assist her. In the end, after six years of involuntary addiction, it took her two years to get back on her feet and lead a productive life. We did work through some situations to angle her life toward her new Vision, but it was her choice to alleviate herself of the medication and "give life a try." In essence, we were able to replace her physical addiction with a mental and emotional addiction --- a direction in life.

How did I become addicted?

Addiction is a natural function of the human body, based entirely upon the "pleasure principle" --- the tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Addictive substances have the ability to disrupt the motivational hierarchy of needs by displacing other motives in life. They can also desensitize the ability of other, natural rewards to motivate behavior.

The addict usually places substance use as their top priority, while losing interest in life's other rewards. This desire to experience the effects of the addictive substance combined with the lack of interest in natural rewards is classified as a "loss of control." Essentially, the normal controls on the individual's life have lost their significance and behavior focuses on the acquisition and use of the addictive substance.

It's interesting to note that we can become addicted to situations as well as substances. For instance, some abused women come to feel a certain way about themselves in abusive situations. To ensure that this feeling remains, they seek out relationships that compound their feelings. Destructive indeed, but one that they feel is necessary.

How can I tell if I am addicted?

Determining addiction is complex in that it is based on many different signs for different types of addictions. But, the one definite, yet simplistic, indicator is that you keep going back even after you know that you don't want to do it again.

Those nights that you lay in bed with a massive hangover even after you swore that you'd never do it again. The morning you wake up and have no idea what you did the night before, again. The bruises and black eyes that you have from the fight with your mate, yet you return. Again, the simplest indicator is that you "keep coming back."

More complex indicators are physical and emotional changes as well as affects on your social presentation and associations. For instance, massive weight change, the "need" to have it or do it again, anger, loss of sleep, health problems, avoidance by certain social associations, or even being banned from establishments are important indicators.

How can I achieve recovery?

Recovery is your choice. You must first choose to acknowledge its existence and then you must choose to do something about it. Acknowledge that you are not a victim and take the responsibility that you chose to enter into the addiction. By doing so, you are taking control to be able to take responsibility for choosing to not be addicted any longer.

Abstinence is the first step to recovery. Immediately stop what you're doing, whether it is through counseling, medical assistance, or simply ceasing your addictive actions. Of course, it is easier said than done.

One thing that we do in my coaching sessions is, once a client seeks assistance from qualified medical professionals, we immediately begin to replace the addictive situation with something else that is of benefit. For instance, many of those clients who are addicted to some substance or situation are because they don't know what else to do or need to move in a direction away from a current situation. With nothing else in life, they drink, use drugs, or continually place themselves back into situations that are consistent and provide the "comfort zones" that keep them in an arena that feels safe.

A replacement addiction?

While replacing one addiction with another does not sound appealing, indeed, it is a path that is essential to the success of recovery. For instance, while I may not agree with support groups, many people find them useful and a necessary part of life. Indeed, while these are a replacement addiction for the other addiction, they are not as harmful as the addiction that they replace. At the very least, such support groups are a reasonable replacement of the addiction until the person is strong enough to stand up against their previous addictions.

For many of my clients, they have found that by defining a plan for their life, instead of meandering to the point of getting lost and addicted to something else that is harmful, they are better able to cope with their recovery. With help from their medical professional, along with a life plan, they can remain focused and busy while working toward their Vision. In the process, their values change to the point that they no longer require a substance to give them the necessary feelings that they pursue.

One example was a young man whose father committed suicide. It threw him into a cycling depression where, at one moment he was fine and, over a period of months, he would be depressed again and have to work to recover from the depression. In the process, he turned to a serious alcohol addiction, which nearly disrupted his entire life. After focusing on the core depression and working with his doctor to stabilize his emotions, we worked together to find a way to piece together a new life. Indeed, with the loss of a family member, life does change, yet he was unable to cope with this change as he was caught in the life he had prior to the loss.

Realize that the addiction can take on a mind of its own and will eventually do anything to ensure that it gets what it wants. It can begin to define you. However, it is essential to turn that hunger into something else with a different focus and desire. That is the core success of recovery.

What's next?

Inside of every addicted individual is the original person who was full of wonder and excitement about the possibilities that lay ahead. Somewhere along the way, this person became lost and fell prey to the pleasures of their addiction. They instinctively decided that the greatest pleasures that life comes from the use of a substance and they reordered their life to accommodate this new desire at all costs --- this is the destructive point of addiction. It is here that they must make a choice and engage in a fight for survival.

There are a number of pitfalls common to self-recovery from addiction. Those who want to help you, but were never addicted themselves, have little to share on the subject, as their experience and beliefs are based on information provided by equally misinformed books and experts. Additionally, our society sees addiction as a noble affliction and denies that self-recovery is possible. As a result, society does not reward, and sometimes punishes, people who accept personal responsibility for their addictions and their recovery.

Realize that, if your environment has changed because of your addiction, all is not lost. If your family left or you lost your job or even if you lost some aspect of your life, the final decision that you make to move on with your life is the one that matters the most above all. You still have yourself and, in the long run, that is truly all that matters. Spend some time with your real self, as you might be surprised at the hero you just found!

About The Author
Edward B. Toupin is an author, life-strategy coach, counselor, Reiki Master, technical writer, and PhD Candidate living in Las Vegas, NV. Among other things, he authors books, articles, and screenplays on topics ranging from career success through life organization and fulfillment. Check out some of his recent print and electronic books as well as his articles covering various life-changing topics! For more information, e-mail Edward at etoupin@toupin.com or visit his site at http://www.make-life-great.com or http://www.toupin.com!

Copyright (c) 2004 Edward B. Toupin
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Monitoring Your Teens for Drug Use Without Appearing to be Spying
Even if your teenagers do not use drugs, you still need to keep an eye on them. It is much better to realize that things could change, and anticipate that your teen could become a user. Essentially, it is not wise to make assumptions about topics such as drug use. Also, having been a high school teacher afforded me the opportunity to witness peer pressure, and how even good kids could be convinced to try drugs - just to fit in. It is important that you play a proactive role in ensuring that your teenagers and the rest of your family remains drug free.

About drug use

Initially, I learned that the signs of drug use included three basic symptoms:
  • A loss of interest in hobbies
  • A change in friends
  • A drop in grades
What I later discovered was that not seeing these symptoms only provides a false sense of security regarding teenagers and potential drug use. The above behaviors apply more to signs of "drug addiction," as opposed to "experimental" drug use.

Teens who experiment with drugs don't start out addicted so logically, they do not show any symptoms. They generally look healthy and nothing seems to be wrong. In fact, teens can casually use drugs for over a year before their parents would even suspect any drug or alcohol use.

Many teenagers who decide to experiment with drugs start out casually, using them with friends and then progressing towards regular use. It is important that you look for clues pertaining to casual drug use so that if your teen is prone, you can proactively deal with it.

What you can do

You need to monitor your teen's behavior and watch for signs of drug use, without appearing to be spying. Your goal should be to prevent him or her from feeling free to experiment with drugs or alcohol. The best way to accomplish this is to keep abreast of your teen's activities and friends. You will be able to spot a problem early if you keep your eyes and ears open, and believe that YOUR teenager is capable of using drugs. Many parents get blind-sided by thinking that their teen would never try drugs. Only then will you be ready to intervene if the situation presents itself.

The following are ten ways to monitor your teenager's behavior and watch for signs of drug use, without appearing to be spying:
  1. Hug your teen as soon as s/he arrives home. Check for odors of possible marijuana smoke or alcohol. Remember that cologne or chewing gum may be used to hide the odor.
  2. Teenagers under the influence will usually go straight to their room when they arrive home. While making eye contact, hold a brief conversation. Check for bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and their sense of balance.
  3. Keep the lights on and stay up until your teenager comes home.
  4. Ask your teen for the time and watch the way s/he looks at his or her watch.
  5. If your teenager unexpectedly wants to spend the night at a friend's house, and you have concerns, say no.
  6. Maintain a flexible schedule. Be unpredictable so your teen cannot find it easy to plan around your activities.
  7. Keep abreast of what your teen is really doing when away from home. Meet their friends and their parents and participate in mutual activities. This is a very effective form of networking.
  8. Ask your neighbors to discretely keep an eye on any activities that may take place while you are not home.
  9. Check to see how your teens are doing in school. Ask their teachers if there is any cause for concern or if your teen has been behaving differently.
  10. After you meet your teenager's friends, always ask them to identify themselves when they call. Get to know them. Always encourage your teens to invite their friends over while you are home.
Remember, your goal should be to prevent your teenager from feeling free to experiment with drugs or alcohol. The best way to accomplish this is to keep abreast of their activities and friends using the above methods.

Lastly, but most important, talk to your teenager on a regular basis about the drug use she witnesses, and how she feels about it. Also, if she has been approached, have her describe how she handled the situation. Strive for honesty and ask how you can help her to remain drug free.

2004 by V. Michael Santoro and Jennifer S. Santoro, All Rights Reserved.

About The Author
V. Michael Santoro M. Ed. coauthored, "Realizing the Power of Love," How a father and teenage daughter became best friends...and how you can too, with his teenage daughter Jennifer S. Santoro. Visit their Web site at http://www.dads-daughters.com vsantoro@dads-daughters.com
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Are You A Work Addict?
Work addiction is very common in our society today, yet it is not one that is not highly recognised. An interesting article in the March edition of The Success Report published by Success Technologies stated: "Of all the addictions receiving attention today (including alcohol, drugs, gambling and food) work addiction is perhaps the least recognised and possibly the most dangerous."

This is because a work addiction is a compulsion that is rewarded and reinforced by society. In particular, it's rewarded by corporations that encourage overwork as the norm. The lure of work is increasing as innovative, flexible companies use and reward fewer people to get more accomplished.

Yet work addiction should not be confused with hard work; So how can you tell if you're just working hard or have crossed the line into work addiction?

When work begins to hurt, you're addicted, say specialists. But how can you spot the work addict among your colleagues? According to Workaholics Anonymous, these characteristics are common to compulsive over-workers:

The Characteristics of Work Addicts
  • They are usually in a hurry.
  • They have a strong need to control.
  • They expect perfection of themselves and others around them.
  • They have difficulty in relationships.
  • They forget birthdays and anniversaries.
  • They are unable to relax and have fun.
  • They are impatient and irritable.
  • They suffer from physical problems usually brought on because of stress, poor eating habits and lack of exercise such as headaches, fatigue, indigestion, allergies, stomach upset, ulcers, chest pain, shortness of breath, nervous tics and dizziness.
Addicted workers often try to do several things at once. They eat breakfast while balancing figures, return phone calls while typing on the computer, or read the business and trade papers while going over meeting notes. Work addicts also feel indispensable and are consequently unable to delegate. Yet as bad as work addiction can get, there is hope for the work addict.

Steps toward personal recovery
  • Take a time management course.
  • Reorganise your life so that work becomes proportionate to family, friends and self. Switch your focus to relaxation, exercise, nutrition and spiritual development.
  • Slow your work pace and also learn to eat, talk, walk and drive slower.
  • Learn to relax through massage or relaxation exercises.
  • Work in moderation and keep regular hours.
  • Set boundaries between work and personal life.
  • Strengthen family ties through shared activities and rituals.
  • Renew old acquaintances and join social clubs that don't include co-workers.
  • Learn to live in the present, truly listen to others and as trite as it may sound, "stop and smell the roses."
The Final Word

Work should be enjoyable and satisfying, not just a means to earn a living. However, when it gets to the point where it affects your health and you find you have little time for your personal life, then it's time to take action and do something about it.
Whatever you do, do something now! Take that first step.

About The Author
Lorraine specialises in working with businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and have more time for enjoying their life. www.office-organiser.com.au lorraine@office-organiser.com.au
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