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Every year the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month. It’s a time they dedicate to increase public awareness of the signs of alcohol problems and to decrease public stigma regarding those problems and getting help.
The following are some general signs of alcohol use problems:
1. Alcohol is used in effort to decrease stress/anxiety or in response to an argument.
2. Alcohol is consumed on a daily basis
3. The drinker has experienced blackouts (memory loss).
4. The drinker has had a drink to get over a hangover
5. The drinker’s friends have been concerned about their behavior when they drink
6. The alcohol has been part of the problems in the drinker’s relationship (i.e. having arguments with a partner while he/she is drinking).
I’ve spent the bulk of my career working to help people get recovery and live healthy lives free of drug and alcohol dependence. If you know someone who you think needs help, I’d love to talk to you or them to help decide how to embark on their path to recovery. It is not an easy journey, but it is definitely worth the effort. Sometimes a person needs any combination of support services to help them succeed at their goal. Seeking help is often a courageous first step towards recovery. A call is all it takes to get started. I can be reached at (619) 702-5571. If you/your friend needs more than outpatient therapy, I’m happy to connect them to more intensive services in their area.
Thank you – & Best wishes for success to you!
The current government dir. of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) or the “Drug Czar” is a person with “real life” experience in the recovery world both as a person in recovery and one who dedicated their life to helping others get recovery. His appointment as the new Dir of ONDCP may bring a new perspective to “the war on drugs”. Past Czars have had military &/or political backgrounds, so we may be on the verge of a new perspective in fighting the drug epidemic in this country.
I don’t believe a person has to be an “addict in recovery” in order to help those find their recovery, but I do believe that fresh eyes looking at problems may bring fresh solutions.
In the field of relationship psychology, we absolutely know that one partners’ behavior does affect how the partner interacts with them. When one person in the relationship is perpetually negative, it can have dire consequences on said relationship. Contemporary research in the field of relationship satisfaction has demonstrated that there are some key factors that play into negativity flourishing in a relationship. When couples interact with defensiveness, contempt, criticism and “stonewalling” (Gottman) there is a very high correlation with relationship failure. The dynamic often appears when one person has a negative approach to communication on a regular basis. For this example, I will tell the story of Cranky Carl and his wife Supportive Sally………
In the beginning of this relationship, Cranky Carl played along to Supportive Sally’s requests for “date nights” and social gatherings with their friends because he was courting her. Supportive Sally always knew that social outings weren’t her partner’s “thing” but she appreciated that he made the effort. One they married, Cranky Carl began to change their relationship dynamic. He began refusing to attend the social gatherings and when Supportive sally would request a date night, he would complain and give her a hard time about the “need” for a date and about the choices of the restaurants. At first, Supportive Sally tried to hear and heed her husband’s complaints, so they would only go out every few months, but over time, she stopped asking him. The conversation that took place when Supportive Sally wanted to have a date night with Cranky Carl were so emotionally exhausting, she found it easier to stuff away her emotional needs and not ask, than to go through the turmoil just to have a date night! After about a year of this dynamic of Cranky Carl dismissing Supportive Sally’s needs, Supportive Sally went through “The Change” – she begins to think differently – not always so concerned about acquiescing to her husband’s complaints, but still not asserting herself – she morphs into Passive-Aggressive Patty! Passive-Aggressive Patty is contemptuous and resentful. She feels misled by Cranky Carl because he used to do things with her and now he won’t even try to play along with her. Passive-Aggressive Patty now finds other people to go out with – sometimes she flaunts it in Cranky Carl’s face to try to get a reaction out of him, but more so than not, she just tells him, “ill be home late tonight. There’s stuff to make dinner in the fridge”. Passive-Aggressive Patty starts to think maybe someone else would like to take her on a date and that Cranky Carl wouldn’t even care 😦
This dynamic is not uncommon when people are not clear with each other about their emotional needs. Often when people get together, they are one their best behavior and do as these 2 did and played along for the sake of wooing and courting each other. Most couples have differences in their likes and dislikes in their environments – these are not relationship killers. The relationship killers appear when they stop expressing themselves appropriately and instead communicate through criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. In this example, Cranky Carl would complain and criticize Supportive Sally’s choices of date places or her friends as a way of getting out of having to go with her. In turn, Supportive Saly began to feel resentment and contempt and her behavior was then fueled by her alter ego Passive-Aggressive Patty. Once this dynamic takes hold, neither partner is getting their emotional needs met and the interaction becomes toxic.
If you recognize this in your relationship, feel free to contact me through CoachingThroughChaos.com
This weekend focus on something that makes you feel energized!
Is there a place in town you haven’t been to in a while? Do you have a home project you’ve been putting off? Me, I’m going to get to a local lake to get in a jog in a lovely setting – that makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself. Life can get sooo busy! Yes- we all have obligations that take up our time and can feel like we don’t have time for the things that energize us, but there are often ways in which we can steal a little time for something we really want.
Tonight, before you go to sleep- think about how you want to spend your time this weekend. Maybe even write out a plan for yourself. Do you need to get up earlier in the morning to get some self-care in? Do you need to elicit some support from your partner or a friend in order to feel like you can take care of yourself as well as your family this weekend. Think about what you need, and then figure out how to make it happen 🙂
Best wishes for success!
Colleen Mullen,Psy.D., LMFT