Friday, July 1, 2016




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Take care! / Carina

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dealing with Feelings of Guilt

When we go through something traumatic (which is usually the case when our close one chooses to escape reality through drugs and alcohol or other destructive behaviors), we often try to understand the reason or correct the error. Guilt means that we are in debt to someone; that we have done something wrong and that we want to change and take responsibility for what we have done. However, since we don't “own” the problem (the addiction), we can't correct it. But this doesn't stop us from trying to solve the problem in all possible, and impossible, ways. When our attempts fail, we blame ourselves. We create thoughts like: "I should have done something else ... "," I did not do enough"," I should have been kinder ... ", and so on.  

I attended a really interesting lecture held by therapist Anders Jansson. He described the different kinds of feelings of guilt:

1) True guilt.  
This is when you know you did something wrong, for example stealing something. The feeling of guilt is needed in this situation, since we need to ask ourselves what we've done and to not do it again. Guilt teaches us that we shouldn't repeat certain actions. What makes us feel guilt has proven to differ between different countries, cultures and ages.

2) Learned and “untrue” guilt. 
We learn to feel this guilt in early childhood, and continue bearing it into adulthood. You learn to feel guilty even though you haven't done something wrong. An example is that of a mother who gets a migraine and need to take lot of pills because her child doesn't eat up his/her dinner. She becomes angry and the pills makes her completely drowsy. The child feels guilty, thinking that it was he/she who made the mother take pills. When growing up, the person continues to blame him/herself, usually when someone else is sad, angry or upset.

3) True guilt by treating ourselves badly. 
For example, when a person with alcohol problems tries to wash away his/her negative feelings with more alcohol. The body and the brain says it's wrong. The person may feel even more guilty which only leads to more drinking, just to numb the feelings. Another example is when we as relatives are lagging behind with paying the bills or turning down seeing friends since we don't want to tell anyone how we really feel. We don't take care of our own needs. Our body and brain knows it, which makes us feel even more guilty. If we, upon this, make the connection that it is toward someone else we feel guilty, we try to compensate this by taking care of the other person's needs rather than our own.

A question you can ask yourself is: Do I have the power to influence the situation and do I have responsibility for it? If I have neither the power to influence it or the responsibility to do so, there's not much I can do, right? 

For example, a child growing up with a father with a drinking problem. At every party he gets very drunk and unpleasant, stumbling around and breaking things. Do the child have the power to influence this situation? No. Do the child have a responsible for the situation? No. But the child still experience guilt and shame.

Feelings of guilt can also be created when our close one's with addiction choose to take the drug after we've tried talking to them, or when we've avoided talking to them. There may also be feelings of guilt if the person has been sober for a long time and then relapses. We may think that: "It is my fault, I should never have said that". "If only I had been with him more often this would not have happened”. “If only I had been kinder". In a way, there are things to learn in this situation. Our ways of communication always have a kind of impact, both positive or negative, in all our relationships. Our communication towards others affects how we feel later on. But it's never your fault if a person relapses. All people have a choice. There are those who suffered severe experiences in life, such as death, accidents, sexual assault, rape or natural disasters, but who still choose other strategies than taking drugs in order to cope. Others choose alcohol, drugs, pills, games, shopping or sex to escape their experiences. It is not uncommon that they blame their close ones, who are easy targets when it comes to taking on their own guilt. The relatives are told that they have done wrong and the cause of the persons poor mental state is therefore their fault. They may be accused for all kinds of things. In my work I've heard things such as: "you didn't cut the lawn often enough”, “I didn't get a dog as a child”, “you've been an absent parent". Sometimes there might be truth to the accusations, and sometimes not. However, whatever it is, it's still the person's own choice to take the drug or not. The most tragic part is that most people who develop an addiction start in their early teenage years. In that age the frontal lobe is not fully developed, which makes it difficult to realize the consequences and risks of their actions.

If you experience a lot of guilt, try doing this exercise. Think about a situation that make you feel guilty. Write down what your intention for your actions were in the moment. Try looking at the situation from a more realistic point of view. Write down what you could do instead, if you end up in a similar situation once more. 





I gave him $ 50 for
a new pair of shoes.
He used the money to buy drugs. It's my fault that he's an addict.

I wanted to give him new shoes.
I made a misjudgment when I gave him
the money. On the other side, he's the one to choose what to do with the money. If I hadn't given him the $ 50, he would've found money for drugs in some other way.

I will not give him any money until he's stable and free from drugs.

I didn't pick up the phone when she called yesterday, since I had finally started to fall asleep. Now she's texted me that I'm never there for her, and that might be true.

I was so tired and was finally gonna get some sleep. I have the right to sleep at night. I help the person in many other ways.
Next time it
happens I will
do the same (not answer),
but I can write her a text
before I go to sleep and tell her that I will turn
off my phone, so she knows it beforehand.

Your example:

Your example:

Your example: Your example:
Your example:

Your example:

Your example: Your example:
Your example:

Your example:

Your example: Your example:

If you suffer from a lot of guilt, bring out a pencil and a note book and write down as much as possible about all the reasons why you feel guilty. Do a reality test on all your feelings of guilt. Sometimes the thoughts may freeze and you may get stuck on the guilty feelings, which will block any other realistic thoughts. Maybe we've had some our guilty thoughts for several years which makes it hard to find realistic thoughts. If that's the case, talk to a therapist or friend for help! Some thing tend to untangle when we hear others' thoughts on the situation.

Do you have any questions or thoughts
Please contact me at:
You can also follow me on my Facebook-page: Carina Bang

Take care! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why do I do what I do?

When I was 16 years old, my mother asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. My answer was: "I want to fight drugs". Don't ask me where I got it from, because as far as I know, no one I knew at that time was addicted to drugs or alcohol. Nevertheless, I still understood that addiction destroys many precious lives and relationships.

Today, people who know me well sometimes ask me why I choose to sit indoors when the sun is shining to write to relatives to people suffering from addiction. Or why I choose to hold courses during my spare time, although my schedule's already full. Or why I sit in cafes writing books, when I can hang out with my friends instead.

My answer is still the same: "I want to fight drugs." But now, due to both my career and my own relationships, I've gain more experience and insight when it comes to knowing how destructive an addiction can be. Destructive, not only for the person who's addicted, but for all those living close to the person. Those who are in the middle of the emotional roller coaster conducted of fear, sadness, hope, disappointment and shattered dreams.

During my years working at the drug rehabilitation team at the detention center, I met many wonderful people, who for various reasons ended up in the drug nest. And to my great happiness I've been told that I helped many of these people to choose life. And to my great sadness, I've also lost some amazing people who's lives in the end got taken by the drugs. They'll always have a place in my heart.

I'm extremely passionate about what I do, since I know that there are solutions and that there's help. I will not give up, because I know that there are many paths to be taken which leads to a better, longer and more meaningful life.

I will continue doing this, because I know that what I do makes a difference, whether it is to support the person suffering from the addiction, or helping the families who have close connection to the person.

Looking at this, not much have changes since I was 16. I intend to continue the fight against drugs!

Together we are strong!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

3 ways to handle personal attacks

There are many relatives to people suffering from substance abuse who testify that they have to put up with personal attacks, accusations and blame.

It hurts. And it may be hard not paying back "with the same coin". Results? You can imagine them yourself. It
will, of course, only get worse!

In the end, it may be these personal attacks that finally get you to end the relationship; you can no longer stand being someone else's “toilet” in which they constantly throw up their anger and disappointment. You end the relationship in order to take care of yourself. You end it, because you always feel worse every time you talk to the person.

But some people find it hard breaking the relationship. For example, if the one who's abusing is an underage child. It can also be difficult in other relationships due to strong ties and feelings towards the person with alcohol- or drug problems.

Do you recognize yourself? Read the suggestions below – they might help you in facing your loved one.

1. Don't “counterattack”!
Instead, reply with something short, but honest, for example: "I'm sorry you feel that way."
2. Use open questions!

Open questions often begin with “what”, “how”, “in what way”? The open questions will give the ball back to the person who first “attacked”. Don't go to defense.

For example:

"I'm sorry you feel that way. In what way will you be able to manage those feelings?".
"It must be very hard to feel that way. What can you do to seek help?".
"It's terrible to feel that way. How can you solve this problem?"

3. In the worst cases, avoid response
Go away, hang up the phone, put your headphones on and listen to music instead. If the person is calling you names or uses accusations against you, and you're not listening, it will have no effect. If you're consistently ignoring the person and making something better of your time than to listen and join in the fight, he/she will realise that there´s no point, since there's no “receiver”. The person gets no attention to his/her behavior. It is useless.

Remember, we need to rehearse these strategies over and over again, often for several months. If a person is used to being able to “trigger” you with attacks and blaming, it'll take some time before they understand that you're not responding to this behaviour any longer. And this'll only work if you're not fighting back. If you do, the strategies will become meaningless.

Try it out and see if you can recognize any change! And be consistent.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please send me a message on my Facebook-page: Carina Bang Author

Take care! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

6 Communication Skills For Parents

One of the number one concerns of parents is whether their children will use, or are using, drugs. What if there were something you could do to help prevent drug abuse?

There are good news; research shows that parents play an important role in preventing their children from using drugs. There are different parenting skills that you can use to prevent both initiation and progression of drug use. 


1. Communication
Communication skills help parents stay on top of what is happening in their children’s lives as well as detect problems early on. You want to stay away from blaming, accusing or angry outbursts. It’s a good idea to make a plan to deal with the situation within 24 hours, rather than attempt to have a conversation while you’re angry.

2. Encouragement
This is truly integral in order to build confidence, reduce conflict and promote cooperation. Comparing children to their siblings, taking over when progress is too slow or reminding children of their past failures should in all cases be avoided.

3. Negotiation
Negotiation encourages problem solving and cooperation. It allows children to learn about focusing on finding solutions, thinking through possible consequences of their behavior and creating communication skills.

4. Setting Limits
Limits are important because they provide guidelines and teach children how important it is to follow rules. Limits teach children about self-control, responsibility and safe boundaries.

5. Supervision
Supervision is integral for effective parenting because it helps parents with spotting problems and staying involved. It promotes safety, however, it’s not always feasible to have your children within your sight. When your kids are away from the home, look at their schedule, call them, have them check in, surprise them with random calls or visits and stay in contact with other adults who interact with them.

6. Knowing Your Child’s Friends
The uncertainty of the children´s self-image, how they “fit in” and the need to please and impress their friends can leave them vulnerable to peer pressure. It’s important to stay in communication with their friends and parents, observe who they hang out with, discuss sex and drugs (so they’re not getting the info from unreliable sources) and talk to them when a concern comes up. 

It’s important to be someone that your child can come to with their triumphs, problems and concerns. Be their sounding board, cheerleader and number one defender and advocate. There are going to be stumbles and falls along the way, but remember that we’re striving for them to have happy, healthy, and productive lives and that all experience—good and bad—teaches us important life lessons.

Do you want to read more? 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Walk into the Open Door

When one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

– Alexander Graham Bell –

Sometimes it is time to give up on something that may not be working for you. It's important to assess the time and effort you have sacrificed and compare them to the results you have gotten. Life is short, and you don't have time and just wait. It can be hard to break away from things that are not working out.

Perhaps you made a bad decision some years ago. At the time, you may not have seen it that way, but as time moved on, it became evident that your decision was not a very wise one. It is okay to make an honest assessment of your life. Sometimes it is important that you break the ties that bind you to bad past decisions and start a new.

These decisions could have involved business, people, friends, habits, and the list continues. Rather than to continue to struggle and fight for something that will never win, loosen your grip and let it go. So many people have a hard time letting go because they either do not want to accept failure, or it could be a situation where old habits die hard. Accept the fact that it is time to close the door.

You see, when one door closes, another one opens. We don't want to waste time looking and longing for a door that will inevitably close anyway. As we close the door of the past, there will be glorious open doors awaiting you. But you can't walk through a closed and open door at one time. So, walk forward and be free.

Just because you made a bad decision does not mean you must continue to live by it. Always remember, if your fist is closed holding on to what you have, you cannot open it up to accept new opportunities and blessing! - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen