Randall has worked with a Diakon Family Life Services counselor since he left rehab, as he continues his recovery from addiction. He is in his eighth year of sobriety.
I started drinking when I was 16. I stopped at age 51. During those years of alcohol addiction, I also used drugs for a period of time. Drinking and partying became an everyday ritual, something I believed was part of me. When it all got so bad—when I found myself in such a dark place that I was unable to help the people I cared about the most, my family—that’s when I realized I needed help.
Now that we are almost halfway through the year, it’s a great time to reflect on our New Year’s resolutions.
I think we may find, however, that many of us (myself included) have not changed much. A habit needs more than just a holiday to make or break it. Habits are adaptations—specifically, coping skills—that we create to deal with daily life.
Traditional thinking is that it takes 28 days to change a habit. Whether we are talking about diet, spending habits or some type of rehab, individuals equate change to this magic number.
However, latest research shows that 66 days is the actual number. That is quite a difference!
And merely wishing and waiting till day 66 will not get us to our goals either. If you already quit your resolutions back in February, here are a few suggestions to help get you back on track.
Counseling can be of assistance in a wide variety of situations. Several families, for example, mention the impact it’s had on their lives in edited excerpts below. To learn if it might benefit you, see advice below from Laurel Spencer of Diakon Family Life Services …
• “I’m a single mom and messed up royally when I was younger. My youngest child, for example, has struggled with feeling abandoned. And who could blame him? His father told him that I should have had an abortion because having him ruined his life! My son wouldn’t sleep alone for years; it was hard for me to leave him. I sought out counseling for him but then realized I also needed an outlet. I’m still struggling but my son and I went to counseling together and I learned what he needed to have from me. I also learned how to better handle the stress of raising my children alone. Counseling definitely helped us.”
• “My husband and I sought marriage counseling after becoming involved in foster care while also caring for our other children and grandchildren. There was never time for just the two of us. My husband thought counseling was a waste of time but went because he knew it was important to me. Communication was our key issue. Now, thanks to counseling, we are open to communication and pay more attention to each other. Counseling has allowed us see there needs to be “us time” and even parent/child time with each of our children. In fact, we hire a sitter once a month so that we can do something with our older kids. Before going to counseling, we had simply spread ourselves too thin.”
There’s no question about it: We live in a complex world that sometimes presents us with difficulties we’re not sure how to address.
It is National Recovery Month, so it’s a good time to discuss what it means to have a behavior disorder or addiction and how you can help loved ones affected by one of these illnesses. Common behavioral issues include eating and mood disorders, depression, ADHD, social phobias, post-traumatic stress disorders, and panic/anxiety disorders. Substance abuse is an extremely prevalent behavior disorder.
“Addiction is the compulsive use of the addictive substance.” ~ Father Martin (recovering alcoholic and public speaker)
The amount of substance used makes little difference to the nature of this illness. How the substance use affects one’s life and the lives of others is what matters. Whether it’s happening as a result of problems concerning money, family or work, individuals facing an addiction typically stay that way if they don’t get help. Like many other illnesses, addiction will get worse without intervention.
We asked several Diakon Family Life Services staff members to share their insights and suggestions on this issue that affects numerous individuals and their families …