Sunday, June 30, 2013

Watch out for the "Ultimatum-trap"

I might have brought up this trap before, but it's worth to mention over and over.

There is a thing that relatives of substance abusers can make sure to do. And that is to avoid what I call the "Ultimatum-trap". It only puts the realtive in tough positions.

This is usually how it happens:

Relative: If you drink/do drugs again I will leave you! 
Addict: I promise. I will never drink/do drugs again. Don't leave me!

And so times move on. The person with the substance abuse-problems manages to stay sober for awhile. But eventually the drugs and the alcohol slowly start showing up again.

The relative gets very disappointed and sad. But does not leave. The relative does not keep to their ultimatum but stays where they are.

This have different effects, such as:
* The addict thinks: Aha! She/he does not leave. I can keep on drinking/doing drugs.
* The relative feels guilt and shame for not standing up for themselves and their own values.
* The relative accepts their boundaries to be moved further. You start accepting things you never thought you would allow.
* The realtive let themselves down, and stops believing in their own words, they see them as empty threats.
* The addict does also not believe what the relative says anymore. He/she threatened to leave before, it's going to pass.

There are surely other negative consequences that you can think of.

So, to avoid the "ultimatum-trap", that we often step into because we mean what we say right in that moment and because we are frustrated and hurt, it is better to keep quiet. Say something else instead. Tell the addict what you think of the alcohol/drug. But don't utter any ultimatums if you are not one hundred percent sure that you will keep to it.

Be strong!


Monday, June 24, 2013


I like to do things as conveniently as possible. And I don't think I am the only one. If someone else does it better or faster I'll let the other person do the job. Like my partner, he is very good at sawing, drilling and solving technical problems. This results in me barely being able to use the remote control (there are actually three of them, which I find are too many to keep track on.)

As long as the relative protects and takes care of the addict they are never going to need to develop the skills that are needed to handle the everyday life. If someone else is faster/better/more knowledgeable about how to , say, pay the rent, take care of social contacts, fill in papers, clean the house, take care of the post, book meetings, wash the clothes, take the children to school, why then should I do it? Then it's convenient to let the other one do those things, on the other hand I'll never learn to be faster/better/more skilled at doing those tasks.

In that way the addicts are protected and that also make them never have to develop the skills that are needed to grow as grown up individuals. They don't have to tackle the consequences of their actions, because the relatives probably already cleaned up...

It is not that the addict is incompetent. If we look a narcotics as an example, it takes an incredible drive and set of skills to find money to pay for the drugs. It requires many competences.

* If you find yourself in this kind of relationship right now, what are you doing that stops the other persons development?


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Resign for a while!

Here is an exercise for you who feel like you have way too many things going on simultaneously, too much responsibility and feel like the whole world rests on your shoulders. Resign for a while! You get to decide for how long; 3 hours, a whole day, a whole weekend. Do NOTHING that feels like a must-do. No "should"s or "have to"s. Turn your cellphone of. Go away or stay at home if you can remain undisturbed. This is your moment. Your rest, to take care of yourself. Let the rest of the world and all the people take care of themselves for awhile. You are not reachable during this time. A posibility for thoughts and recovery!

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