Why Trying to MAKE Someone Change Will Make YOU Miserable

Posted on July 14, 2014 By

Why Trying to MAKE Someone Change Will Make YOU Miserable

People are who they are, and acceptance is a huge part of our relationships with other people. Without question it is difficult to even try completely understanding each other 100% of the time, but humility lies in trying to look within for change instead of trying to change those around us. When we over-reach into the lives of others to try and change who they are, we are not only creating more chaos for them, but we are inviting more misery and misunderstanding into our lives.

The following are just a few examples of the ways that trying to MAKE someone change will make YOU miserable, especially trying to change someone dealing with substance abuse or addiction. If you have tried forcing your will on others you can probably relate.

Creating Friction in Relationships

When trying to make someone change, you are inviting conflict and arguments into your relationship. If changes need to be made for your own sake then it is true you should bring your feelings to their attention, but it should be done in a way that promotes supportive change.

Applying pressure to someone to push change just gives them more of a reason to resist the change because they are less likely to see it as something they want or something helpful for them, and more likely to see it as something you are aggressively forcing upon them. Or they become defensive and lash out against your efforts. This can cause devastating friction in your relationships.

Trying to MAKE someone change that has issues with substance abuse or addiction can cause even more misery because they often tend to act more on their addictions. They will sometimes revert to using drugs or drinking to cope with the feelings of persecution, and then repeat the cycle of intoxication and arguments about their habits.

False Feeling of Failure

When trying to make someone change it usually does not work out the way you planned it to. Either they resist and lash out, or they crumbled beneath the pressure and reject you or the idea of change. Regardless of what happens, if the change you are trying to overpower someone else with does not take hold, then when they fail it is also harmful to you too.

If you are trying to inspire growth or understanding, but you behave in a way that is over-bearing or selfish, then when the person is unable to meet your unfair expectations or unwilling to bow to your will, it can make you feel a false sense of failure. Feeling as though you have failed that person, or that hope is lost because the change has not worked out how you hoped can just propel more misery into your life. Be able to accept peoples attempt to change, and be accepting of any outcome.

If you are trying to MAKE an addict or alcoholic change, you are asking for repeated feelings of failure. Addicts and alcoholics have a hard enough time trying to give up their addictions, if they even want to. By constantly trying to force them to change by your own influence, you are putting yourself up for a good deal of disappointment.

You’re Welcoming Criticism

If you are a human being, you are not perfect. None of us exists without any character defects or faults of our own. And even these can vary on our personal preferences and experiences. Trying to force someone else to change can mean to that person that you are focusing and pointing out the things wrong with them. People who are struggling with things like substance abuse or addiction can see this as judgment, and they will be more than happy most times to point out the you are not perfect.

You welcome criticism openly when you chose to try and pick the things about others you feel they need to change. Regardless of if you want them to change these things because of their health, they future, or your own selfish reasons, if you go about trying to demand change and obedience than you are asking for someone to point out your problems, or the things they dislike about you.

Being directly criticized is something that makes most people pretty reasonably miserable. Especially when you feel like you just wanted to help someone, and all they offer is harmful feedback. Criticism is another part of our defenses that we do not get to turn off.

Trying to MAKE another person change is almost always counter-productive. Forcing ourselves and our will into situations that are not under our control hurts everyone, especially the ones we want most to help. Change for life comes from understanding and moving forward. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

 


5 Reasons Your Loved One “Needs” to Come Right Back Home after Treatment, and What You Can Say in Response

Posted on July 11, 2014 By

5 Reasons Your Loved One "Needs" to Come Right Back Home after Treatment, and What You Can Say in Response

When the people go to treatment, especially for the first time, it’s common that they feel a rush to get back home after completing their stay in an inpatient facility. Sometimes they feel a financial urgency, sometimes they get homesick, and sometimes they are just desperate to get back to their comfort zone. No matter what the reason they NEED to get back, too often it is not the best idea to rush home after treatment, and here are a few responses to the likely excuses you will hear from a loved one.

 1.       Getting back to work…

Financial urgency is a very common worry among adults and young adults who are getting out of treatment because they feel the need to get back to work and provide some type of income for themselves. They might say they NEED to come home to get back to their job and bring home some money.

For this one, you can simply assure the individual that what is most important is a proper recovery. If they rush back to work, especially those who are in a field with a fair amount of regular stress, it will probably put some strain on their after-care and the actions they need to take to continue their sobriety.  Let them know that if at all possible they should take their time to assure they are in the proper place and have begun their program before they put themselves in their old environment.

 2.       Getting back to their kids…

Sadly there are times when parents have to leave home to get help for substance abuse and addiction, and they will have to be absent from their children. This unfortunately is a difficult discussion when it comes to reasons your loved one believes they NEED to come home and be with their kids.Especially mothers fighting addiction.

If this is the reason, you may need to remind the individual that the best thing they could possibly do for their children is to address their substance abuse and change their lives. Being away from their children is one of the hardest things I have ever seen addicts or alcoholics go through, but it is also one of the greatest rewards to be able to return home after a period of rebuilding that helps the parent maintain their sobriety.

Remind that person that the children will love them regardless, and at one point they will understand that Mom or Dad had to be away to get better, because the children suffer when the disease persists. But the children thrive when their parents come home after spending as much time building their recovery on a solid basis after inpatient treatment.

 3.        Fixing their relationship…

Sometimes when people end up at inpatient treatment for substance abuse it is because their spouse or partner has asked them to do so. If your partner or loved one is rushing to get home to repair a romantic relationship, it is likely to be detrimental to their recovery, this is a time to focus on them.

Make sure to tell your loved one that. Let them know that the time and effort they are putting into trying to fix their romantic relationship should be put into working on whatever they need to in themselves. To assure they can grow in their sobriety and focus on personal development they should try not to rush back, because that is probably putting too much pressure on the relationship, and creates expectations that might hinder their active recovery program. Let them know they are missed, but that they need to be well in order to make the relationship really work. If they can find peace in patience, they will be able to face any trouble in the relationship with more clarity.

4.       So they can have their own supports…

People can often come to treatment and forget what things are like at home, and then they want to believe that if they complete an inpatient treatment program that their friends and family will be the only thing they can rely on to keep them on the right path, especially if they have gone out of state for treatment.

You should let this person know that they have to be the one who holds them accountable for maintaining their recovery. It a lot of cases family and friends can actually be counter-productive and provide bad influences or excuses to not continue working a program of recovery. Let them know that it may be in their best interest to surround themselves with others in recovery to try and create an atmosphere more conducive and productive to their new life-style.

Halfway houses can actually help them build strong relationships with others their age in the same position they can identify with and who can introduce them to new concepts and people in the recovery community to expand their support group.

5.        Court cases or probation…

Substance abuse and addiction treatment can be part of some people’s court cases and sentences. If your loved one has some legal issues they are concerned with and feel that they NEED to be back home to be in a position to do so, make sure they are aware of the circumstances surrounding their case.

Most credited inpatient treatment centers will have case-workers who deal directly with the clients to help resolve issues with court cases or probation when necessary. Sometimes it cannot be helped that they need to return home for court, but many people have a different experience.

Getting involved in their own treatment and taking the appropriate steps toward recovery  the odds of their legal issues being situated around that treatment program are pretty good. Tell your loved one if they are doing the right thing to keep doing so, and as long as their attorneys or other officials consent to their after-care program they should be able to focus on getting the help they need to change their life.

So many people try to find excuses not to get the help they need, and sometimes it is because they do not see that the things we don’t want to do can be the things that save us from ourselves. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call 1-800-777-9588. 


When do your kids become just another excuse?

Posted on July 10, 2014 By

When do your kids become just another excuse?

There’s a distinction between motivation and reason regarding going to treatment and continuing a program of recovery, such as going to meetings. The motivation or motivations for getting and staying sober are generally things such as career/job, family, health, etc. But the reason must always be ‘you.’

People tend to put off getting help or, once they do get help, they might put off their program and this usually happens when they start confusing their motivations with excuses. For parents, and mothers in particular, who struggle with substance abuse and addiction, having children can become an easy ‘out’ from doing what you need to do in order to get better and maintain sobriety.

So, when do your kids become just another excuse?

I work in treatment and one of the aspects of my job, besides writing articles and blogs, is that I get to facilitate a detox group. And believe me, I hear it all the time, “I need to get back for my family.”

And to that I say, whatever you put before your recovery will be the first thing you lose if you rush your recovery process. It’s true. I’ve heard it and seen it time and time again. In fact, if I was a bettin’ man, I’d put money on it.

This is also the point in time during the group that I speak into the distinction between reason and motivation.

Another way to look at is this: just how good of a parent were you able to be while you were drinking and drugging? I mean, honestly. Think about it. All those times you were too drunk or too high to take care of your child properly or, if you were a so-called ‘functional’ alcoholic or ‘functional’ addict, you might have been holding things together good enough. But think back to those times you were too irritable, too tired, too sick, or too distracted because of wither being under the influence or being preoccupied about the getting and using of your DOC. Also, think about the potentially dangerous situations you put your child in.

The bottom line is this: you were not being their parent 100%

But going to treatment, or continuing your program of recovery and not making excuses, such as lack of childcare, or simply that you “need to be there” for them.

Maybe you’re freaked out about leaving them behind, or anxious about leaving them in the care of others. Again, it’s time to shift your perspective. Going to treatment and/or going to meetings is really a small sacrifice – an investment in yourself – to get the real YOU back. Secondly, consider yourself lucky to have people who are willing to support you with childcare. They wouldn’t accept the responsibility if they didn’t care about you and your children.

If you find yourself using your children as an excuse to not go to meetings, I’m gonna go ahead and call you out right now. Because there are tons of parents who are in recovery and who bring their children to meetings.

The truth is that going to rehab and continuing your program of recovery by attending meetings, doing step work, and sponsoring others, will increase your quality of life and enhance your productivity at work and in your daily life as a parent and significant other because your addiction will no longer consume all of your their time, energy, health, and money. If you are considering getting help for yourself or a loved one and you’re not sure what step to take next, call us toll-free at 1-800-777-9588 to speak with an Addiction Specialist. We are available 24/7.


6 Signs You Are Artificially Creating Conflict in Your Life

Posted on July 9, 2014 By

6 Signs You Are Artificially Creating Conflict in Your Life

Conflict can be described in many ways. There is emotional conflict, conflict of interests, or even constructive competitive conflict. But typically conflict is something that is damaging to both our own mental health as well as the relationships and values we hold as most important to us. Some say that all conflict comes from somewhere within, and things like acceptance and understanding are the keys to resolving these problematic situations or ways of thinking.

A lot of conflict is self-inflicted. As someone in recovery from substance abuse and addiction I believe that the vast majority of conflict in my life is problems of my own making that have no real rhyme or reason. Here are 6 signs you are artificially creating conflict in your life.

1.       You often find yourself in one-sided arguments…

In a world a duality it is only natural that once in a while there are some disagreements or differences of opinion that lead to debate. What makes these types of conflicts your own creations is that you find yourself in several one-sided arguments where the other people involved neither expect nor understand the argument in the first place.

People often artificially create conflict in their own lives by outbursts of anger or frustration with others who are in actuality trying to find common ground or even don’t understand the dispute, and if you are doing this than it’s likely that you have walked away from these arguments forgetting what point you were trying to make or regretting the way you handled the situation. The best idea is to stop picking fights.

 2.       You go out of your way to be upset…

Sometimes there is nothing wrong with a good cry. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to express our inner vulnerability and let go of some painful experience. But when you find yourself obsessing over the more depressing elements of life, it is a sign that you are creating more conflict for yourself than you are naturally going to experience.

Also making a huge deal out of insignificant disagreements intentionally is a good example. Taking any small situation to the extreme to upset yourself is just another way you are engineering your own misery.

 3.       You intentionally bring up controversy…

Discussing the more controversial topics is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is necessary to talk about the things that are touchy if there is a pressing situation or friendly conversation. However, if you are that person who is constantly bringing up the things that you know will get peoples blood boiling, and you explicitly disagree with their views and even insult their opinion it is a definite sign that you are artificially creating conflict for yourself.

By focusing on the differences between people and trying to bring out the worst in others you are openly inviting discontent and discomfort between you and your peers. Standing for your beliefs with things like politics, religion, and personal drama is one thing, but to constantly center all your interactions with others on things that will rock the boat for you or even someone else is counter-productive.

 4.       Attaching expectations to everything…

By putting unreasonable expectations on other and holding people to higher standards does not benefit you in any way. If you are getting upset with others who are simply doing their best because it does not exceed your overestimated status quoi it is only giving you more of an excuse to create artificial conflict.

It is OK to have values and standards, but to set your expectations of others too high, even beyond what you yourself are willing to contribute or accomplish, then you are merely putting yourself in a position to be disappointed. Remember people are usually doing the best they can with what they have.

5.       You are opening old wounds…

When a conflict has past, that’s where it should stay- in the past. If there has been any kind of resolution to a dispute or misunderstanding, the present moment should be utilized to move on and learn from whatever mistakes or communication problems you have had.

By dragging up the ghosts of old arguments and reopening the wounds, you are sabotaging any possibility of you or the other person involved from growing from the experience in a positive way.

Even just obsessing in your own head about the way you were talked to, the way the other person treated you, or the conclusion you wish you would have won, you are planting the seeds of a conflict that should no longer exist deep within yourself to sprout into a new and more destructive disagreement. At this point the only argument you’re having is in your head about something that should have been forgotten.

6.       You are always on the defensive…

As human beings we all learn how to develop self-defense mechanisms that we rely on to protect ourselves and our emotions from outside influence or attacks. This can be helpful, but is not the most useful tool our subconscious creates.

By getting overly defensive every time you are asked a question or offered and opinion, the insecurity and ego artificially creates conflict by blocking the possibility of learning something, or accepting a truth, by shielding itself with passive aggressive behavior or other outbursts of negativity, sometimes toward people who just want to help you.

Artificially creating conflict is one sign that there are underlying issues and concerns that are harmful to both your relationships and mental health. Many times these artificial conflicts are a symptom of substance abuse problems that are interfering with your personal life and development. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 


9 Toxic Habits Most People Think Are Normal

Posted on July 8, 2014 By

9 Toxic Habits Most People Think Are Normal

Appearances are everything and that kind of mentality has a lot to do with how we think and act; there’s a lot of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” we let swim around in our heads. And because of that, we have developed some not-so-healthy habits. Some of these things are so common that people often take them for granted but, when you stop to think about it, they really aren’t serving you or others in being a good person and having healthy, loving relationships. Here are 9 toxic habits most people think are normal.

#1. Arguing in your relationships (intimate partner, friendships, and family relationships)

Don’t get me wrong, there is no “perfect relationship” and arguments do happen and can even be productive. However, if there’s an underbelly of snide remarks or if you two resort to “hitting below the belt” this is indeed a toxic habit.

#2. Indulging in negative thoughts

The ‘Inner Critic’: everyone’s got one, even highly successful people. But constantly listening to your negative thoughts, such as “I can’t,” “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve it,” is highly toxic. It’s one thing to be realistic, another to be pessimistic.

#3. Sarcasm

There are a lot of people out there whose default form of comedic relief is sarcasm. But did you know that that’s one of the top signs of passive aggression? And that’s significant because being passive aggressive is highly toxic to your own inner spirit, let alone those around you. Sarcasm and passive aggression aren’t a good look on anybody and, in fact, they say that sarcasm is the easiest and least intelligent form of humor. Just sayin.

#4. Dropping hints

Instead of communicating like healthy adults do, you drop hints about your wants and needs and expect others to be mind-readers. This, too, is a form of passive aggression. And if it’s about something that’s upsetting you, this is the worst way to handle it. Come on out and say it; have a calm, adult conversation. That’s what healthy people do. Finding small and petty ways to piss off others as a form of revenge for their unwitting infraction is completely immature and really just the worst.

#5. Blaming others for your own emotions

You’re having a bad day and you expect your best friend and/or partner to give you some extra TLC. The problem is, you don’t communicate this – you simply expect it. When they fail to read your mind, you become angry and maybe even feel hurt.

Blaming others for our emotions is actually an example of selfishness as well as a sign of poorly established personal boundaries. This is likely to lead to codependency in the relationship. And what that looks like is this: they aren’t allowed to plan activities without checking with you first, all activities at home — from reading a book or watching TV — must be negotiated and compromised. And with codependency comes resentment.

#6. Keeping score

Another one of the toxic habits most people think are normal is keeping a mental record of the times someone has made a mistake or let you down. Maybe a good friend couldn’t make it to your birthday dinner last week. Of course it hurt a little but, now she owes you, big time. Even though she might have had a legit reason and even though you might have talked about it, you’ve forgiven but you’ve not forgotten. Which is an oxymoron because forgiving means that it’s in the past and over with. However, keeping a scorecard means that you don’t miss an opportunity to throw it in her face any time you deem fit.

#7. Categorizing/labeling people

This one is sort of like having unrealistic expectations of others. It’s also about defining people in certain, specific ways and thusly, not leaving room for them to be anything else but that thing. One way this manifests is that you feel resentful when others change or grow or do something you think is out of character for them. It’s really unfair to do this to your loved ones. Imagine how it would make you feel if those closest to you kept you in a confined cage (figuratively speaking) that didn’t allow for you to grow through experience.

#8. Taking humility too far

Always being self-deprecating, so as to seem humble or modest is yet a common habit of people that is actually rather unhealthy. It’s OK to acknowledge yourself for the efforts you put into your accomplishments and victories. And it’s also OK to take (and believe) a compliment once in a while. Constantly telling yourself and others that you “had nothing to do with it” when you accomplish something is overly humble, bordering on obnoxious. Remember: “You are responsible for the action, not the outcome.”

#9. Always attaching strings

You’re happy to help out a friend or family member with a favor but you always have an unspoken expectation that they now owe you something in return and that which you can come to collect at any time in the future.

Substance abuse and addiction can certainly muddle the waters. It can be difficult to perceive things as they actually are because alcohol and other drugs have such a profound effect on brain chemistry and function – so much so – that they can cause behaviors that mimic mental illness. Also, substance use and abuse negatively affects relationships, causing unnecessary drama and fighting. If you are struggling with substance abuse or you suspect that a loved one is abusing substances or experiencing addiction, call The Orchid Recovery Center toll-free at 1-800-777-9588 today. We have Addictions Specialists available around the clock!