Friday, December 27, 2013

Expectation and disappointment

There is an old saying that goes:
"The one that sows expectation will harvest disappointment"

From my experiences, relatives live with it constantly: expectation and hope that the addict will become sober or drug-free, and they get disappointed over and over again.

An expectation might be that this was hopefully the last time... Now he/she will finally realize the seriousness of the situation an quit... Now he/she might realize what damage the drug/alcohol causes... He/she has managed to be clean several weeks now, this time it might last... Expectations and then, not too uncommon when it comes to people with some kind of addiction, disappointment follows...

Do relatives have too high expectations? Or not enough knowledge about addiction and substance abuse? Or do they live by the belief that people make logical decisions? Or believe that love can conquer all? What do you think?

And if the addict finally becomes sober and drug-free, it is not uncommon that there is a new disappointment. After being put as number 3 in many years, when the drug was number 1, the addict number 2, and the addict finally overcomes their addiction, many relatives expect to get to be number 1. Finally the alcohol is no longer ruining the family. But my colleague Totte, who has been sober and drug-free for many years, says that also this is an expectation that leads to disappointment. Because after getting clean, it is the sobriety that becomes number 1. And to work on willpower, feelings and the addiction will in the beginning take all of the addict's time and energy.
That was a little nicer rewriting of what Totte says. He actually said this: "Do you think that you'll be number 1 just because the person is sober. Forget that! You will not become number 1 then either, because the sobriety will instead."

How can relatives respond to this? What can you do or think to protect yourself from disappointments? What do you think? Write in the comments!

Written on a hot day on Bali. I'm sending sunshine to you!

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Create your own support team

Alone is not strong. To isolate yourself and hide behind a façade has a negative impact on you and diminishes the possibility to stay healthy. That is why you need people around you that you trust and feel close to. And sometimes, when life is hard, you need help and support.

Who is on your support team?
What people do you have in your support team that you can ask for help from? Ask for advice or that can be understanding listeners? Who can, for example, support you when it comes to the kids, economy, practical things, emotional things? Maybe there is a relative who gladly babysits, a banker that can help you to make an economic plan, a neighbor that doesn't mind lending you their car, a friend that is a good listener?

Fill in below who is on your support team. I have written a few subjects as examples. You can fill in with other subjects according to your needs.

Your support team
Subject (fill in with your own)                           Who?

Practical things



Emotional support


Personal development

Support group


What do you need to ask these people about, how are you going to communicate that you need help and when?

If you think that your support team looks small you might have to develop new healthy relations or invite new people! To people with "negative" behaviors it is easy to follow the same old pattern of as before. If that is the case for you, what can you do to break these kind of patterns and create the healthy relations that you need?

Good luck!

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is mental abuse?

Last year I held lectures for "All women's house" that meets women that are subject to physical and mental abuse.

One thing that was clear was that many women that are abused physically didn't really know what that meant and in what way it affected them. It is pretty common that women call the Women's helpline and say "I don't know if I called the right place, but…". Because the defining is complicated. Is what you are experiencing normal and ok, or is it actually mental abuse?

That is why I thought I'd give a small description of the information of a model called The Circle of "Power and Control" (Domestic abuse intervention project, Minnesota).

The Model is described in the form of a circle, but I'll just type out some excerpts in text form:

In the middle there are the words "Power and Control" because that is the core to all forms of physical and mental abuse.

Emotional abuse:
When the partner represses, makes you feel guilty, uses foul language, makes you distrust your own senses, demeans, gives you a bad conscience.

Control's your actions, who you talk to, what you read, where you go, restricts your involvement in things outside the home, justifies their control by referencing to jealousy.

Diminish, deny, blame:
Doesn't take the abuse and your worry seriously, denies the abuse and puts responsibility on you, says that it is your fault.

Uses the kids:
Makes you feel guilty regarding the kids, uses them as messengers, threatens to take the kids away from you.

Uses male privileges:
Treats you as a servant, only the man gets to make big decisions, acts like the "master" of the house.

Economic abuses:
Stops you from keeping or getting a job, makes you ask for money, takes your money.

Coercion and threats:
Threatens or implement threats of hurting you, threatens to leave you, commit suicide, or report you to the Social service, makes you commit illegal actions.

Makes you scared through looks, actions, gestures, breaks things, destroys your belongings, commits abuse against pets or shows off weapons.

If you feel like some of these things describe your situation, please seek help and support!


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Monday, December 9, 2013

More or less?

Today is Monday the 9th of December. Here is a quick check on the status of your day:

- Do you put time and energy in doing things you want to do?
- What do you want to do less of?
- What do you want to do more of?
- How can you do that this week?

Hopefully the rest of the week will be what you want it to be!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When will you get to finish a thought?

Have you ever felt the feeling that you don't get to finish a thought? Like things keep happening that you have to react on, and you never find the time to just sit down and finish thinking a thought?br />
It can be the daily stress, or the situation of being a relative to an addict - that the addict always has something going on that craves your attention and that you must take care of?

What are the consequences of that?
I can think of many different consequences and there are probably more.
- It might make me run away and do things that I don't actually have to do. If I had only thought a little about it before I might have realized that.
- It takes away time from me to think about what my opinions and standards are and what I want to do - because I have to act on something before I finished figuring out what I really want.
- I don't have time to reflect on what I actually need.
- I don't have time to get a bigger picture of what is actually most important and what isn't very important. There is no order of priority but instead I do everything with the same amount of energy. The consequence of that is that I become tired and powerless.
- It makes me not feel anchored in anything I do and I get uncertain about if I'm doing the right things.
- I get worried because it always feels like I "should" do something that I forgot about.
- My thoughts circle around someone else (normally the addict) and I always act when they have an emergency or other problems. I get no opportunity to think about myself and my life.
- I flee from myself, my feelings and my thoughts, and keep myself busy by quickly solving emerging situations.
- Tired, confused, powerless and sometimes in despair.

If you feel that this applies to you, how can you create that "thought-pause"?
How important would it be for you to have a "thought-pause" and get to finish your thoughts once in a while?
What can be helpful for you to finish your thoughts? Write in a diary? Talk to someone? Travel somewhere? Something else?

I'll stop writing here and take my own thought-pause instead! :-) - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen - Den ständigt växande länkkatalogen