Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Perception is Truth

We act on our perceptions as if they were reality but are they?

If our reaction to addiction in the family is to try to control more aspects of the addicted persons life what does that say about our perceptions of addiction and our role in it?

If you believe that addiction is just bad decision making would you act differently toward the addict than if you believed that addiction was a disease that neither you nor the addict had any control over.

If you believed that the addicted person was suffering from a disease process and you believed that allowing the addicted person to experience the pain that they create in their lives was important, how would you act?

These are all questions that family members must come to grips with in order to figure out how to help the addicted person.

Where do we need to evolve to in our perceptions?

Try these out:

We have to learn to give up control of the outcome for the addict. This does not mean abandon them. The outcome for the addicted person is determined by them not you.

Addiction does not respond to logical thought it only responds to experience. Allow the addict to experience whatever they create in their lives.

When we rescue our family member from the consequences of their behavior we prevent them from succeeding or we prevent them from failing and feeling the consequences of their addiction.

How are they going to know they have a problem? Why should they make an effort to change if others take care of them?

What are your perceptions about addiction. How do you behave in relationship with the addicted person in your life? Does your behavior match up with what you believe?

You can't do this alone get support.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Creating Boundaries

What does it mean to create boundaries? What is a boundary? On their website coping.org, James J. Messina Ph.D and Contance M. Messina Ph.D describe a boundary in the following ways;

Emotional and physical space between you and another person.

A limit or line over which you will not allow anyone to cross because of the negative impact of it being crossed on the past.

A healthy emotional distance you can maintain between you and another person so you don't become too enmeshed and/or dependent.

These are just a few ways of describing what we are calling boundaries.

Drs. Messina also describe how to establish healthy boundaries and how you can identify unhealthy thinking that allows boundaries to be ignored or violated.

Examples of unhealthy thoughts are;

"I can never say no."

"It's my duty to hold them together."

"I would feel guilty if I just did something on my own."

Drs. James and Constance Messina also suggest a method to establish healthy boundaries.

First: Identify symptoms that indicate your boundaries are currently being ignored, violated or haven't been established.

Second: Identify the unhealthy thinking and beliefs which allows this to happen.

Third: Identify new methods of thinking about the situation that encourage the establishment of healthy boundaries.

Fourth: Identify new behaviors, ways of responding to the situation that can help to establish healthy boundaries.

Fifth: Implement the new behaviors and begin creating healthy boundaries and healthy thinking about the situation.

It is very important for anyone dealing with addiction in the family to get help. You can not do this alone