September is Addiction Recovery Month

September is National Addiction Recovery Month. I venture there’s not a single one of us that have not had to face the adversity of Addictions. Mine is most definitely food. I know I’m dangerously overweight. It keeps me from doing activities that I enjoy. I take pride in being disciplined in so many areas, but I’m addicted to eating. If you’re honest, you’ll admit you have addictions also. But we also have had the burden of trying to help others recover. My personal story involves my father. He was an alcoholic. My mother, while alive, kept him in line. After she died, I knew he would struggle, so Elaine and I moved from Bluefield to Fries to “support” him. It was devastating for me to watch him through his downward spiral. I took it very personal that I was not able to save him. So I gave up. I relocated my family to Pulaski. Fortunately, my sister Carol was more patient than I was. She lifted him from the lowest point he could have fallen, to give him a new life, free of both alcohol and smoking. I will always admire her for being able to do that.

HealthyPlace website lists the major addictions as follows, listed alphabetically;
Cocaine Addiction
Drug Addiction
Food Addiction
Gambling Addiction
Heroin Addiction
Internet Addiction
Marijuana Addiction
Meth Addiction
Nicotine Addiction
Prescription Drugs Addiction
Sex Addiction
Shopping Addiction
Work Addiction

To me, the worse consequence of an addiction is the impact upon family and friends. Try as you might, others cannot escape the turmoil created by the addiction. And to make it worse, those that are on the front line are usually totally unprepared, intellectually or emotionally, to aid in recovery. ProTalk, a part of the family, identifies the following roles usually found in the recovery process. The article was written by Marni Low, one of the most respected substance abuse counselors on the East Coast. If you are currently in a addiction recovery process with a loved one, I strongly encourage you to read some of her articles.
•The Addict: Many addicts feel a strong sense of remorse, guilt and shame while others don’t want to stop using, which creates anger and resentment from the family toward the addict, and the addict toward the family for placing pressure on them to stop using.
•The Enabler is the person who does everything in their power to ‘pick up the pieces’ that the addict has left undone (usually at huge financial and emotional loss). The enabler is often in denial about the severity of the addiction and continues to make excuses for the addict. These behaviors are a defense mechanism.
•The Hero is defined as the person who appears confident, overachieving and serious. Given the nature of how alcohol and drug addiction progresses, this role is often difficult to maintain as “The Hero” feels that he/she is constantly needing to take on more and more responsibility.
•The Scapegoat is defined as the child in the family who acts out with deviant behaviors, such as getting in trouble at school and at home, and with the law. This person often feels anger and resentment toward the substance abuser.
•The Mascot is the child in the family who uses comedy when facing situations that stem from the insecure environment. The Mascot will continue to sacrifice his/her own needs to maintain this balance.
•The Lost Child is isolative and does not appear to connect with any person within the family system or outside the home. This child has difficulty engaging with others and developing social skills. As a result this child engages in fantasy play as a way to disassociate and protective themselves (physically and emotionally), from the negative and chaotic home environment.

Lastly, to get a different perspective on addictions, I strongly urge you to read “The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works” by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. It has truly opened my eyes as to how we must look at addictions. Simply thinking you’re going to just “tough it up and resist the temptation” is no longer going to hack it. She explains how the instinctive power of the brain works, and how we have to trick it in order to overcome our addictions.
So for all of you out there facing your own addictions, and the addictions of your loved ones, my prayers are with you.
I hope you’ll reply with resources you’ve found that has aided you in dealing with this problem.

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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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