Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by pigless in VA, Apr 16, 2016.
Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari
Hopefully the link will work.
Wow thanks... I just did a search for Ted talk and addiction and found it. I think he makes really good points. I know what he said is true of my son..... I will be interested in what others think. Thanks for sending the link.
Thank you. I will watch it tomorrow morning.
I saw this too. I read an article saying the same thing.
I think it's really interesting in terms of addiction treatment.
Thank you, pigless. There is much to think about here.
I am thinking about what the speaker said about how hard it is to love the addicted person where he is, and about frustration turned to anger, and where all that fits in.
He was right about Intervention and shame and the way whatever we are doing to help our addicted people now is not working.
SO and I discussed these ideas. We are thinking that different people "connect" in different ways. While I like the idea of completely reworking our system, obviously it is terribly flawed, I don't think it would help everyone. Look at people like movie stars: they have money, popularity, and success. They STILL become entrapped by substance abuse.
I do think there is a lot to be said for connections. When someone is marginalized then drugs can become that thing that fills the void.
However I also felt a bit like it was saying somehow my home contributed to my sons drug use. In that point I felt the choice was his. We have been loving parents.
I do see the disconnection however, as my sons drug use is connected completely to his work/ school environment. When he was working at the elem school, and planning on going back to univ he was doing well. When he went back to university this fall, and it wasn't what he thought it would be and fell into a depression, dropped out, and the drug use increased again.
He is now taking two courses, has plans and seems to be using less.
We have all decided he would be happier in his own place. I think we would be happier too. Plans are for him to get a full time job and move out. Hoping it happens sooner than later.
That's the piece that I didn't like. I know I was as connected to my husband as much as anyone ever could be. For some reason, that connection wasn't enough to sustain him. Love is not the cure-all we would like for it to be.
I think the piece missing here, is the destruction addiction causes to the entire family.
I can also think of more than a few people I know, who have come out of the hospital addicted to pain medications.
"The opposite of addiction is connection."
So, where is the disconnect?
I think there would be so many determining factors in each individual.
I felt a bit the same. Then I realized the focus was how addiction is handled. It is a short talk that covers one aspect of a very complicated topic.
A different way to view response to addiction.
It doesn't account for addicts within extremely close and loving families. It doesn't explain, or take away from the turmoil a family goes through with an addicted loved one. It doesn't answer the question of how one deals with a using addict within the home. It doesn't touch on continued drug use, while family members try desperately to stay connected and to "help" their loved ones.
In our case, my two seem more connected to friends who share the same viewpoint on drug use. They disconnected from family. Family became a means for predation, in order to continue the drug lifestyle.
The speaker stated that he would tell his addicted loved ones, no matter what their choice or state of mind, that he would love them, that they were not alone.
With my twos drug use, they were impossible to be with, there was a level of disrespect that could not be tolerated. I do not want to be around them when they are high.
I do love my two, but, I cannot have them in my home. I hate (and I do not use that word often, or lightly) what drug use has done to them and our relationship. But, I am working on achieving radical acceptance, where their choices do not prevent me from living a full life. I am no longer focused so much on what they are doing. I don't try to meddle, or talk to them about rehab. They know. It only angers them to try to have that conversation.
Some amount of disconnecting is self preservation for me.
Knowing that addicted, using loved ones in the home is a destructive situation to all involved, taking steps to remedy that (which sometimes means homelessness), while working on loving detachment so we all don't go down with the ship of drug use.
What are ways to stay connected, without going down the slippery slope of enabling?
All, in all it takes a whole lot of work for those with addicted loved ones to regain sense of self and find ways to live full lives. Recovery from the devastation of addiction is a hard journey. Parents and families are working on recovery, as the addict continues to self destruct. In my case, it has taken a lot of time and effort to try to find balance. To get back on my feet. Emotionally. Detaching by not allowing my two to live in my home was one thing, then there was the whole piece of walking through the grieving of it all.
Being here on CD, posting, relating to others stories has helped me so much.
Understanding the mechanics of addiction helps too.
I think it is hard too, because drugs are so prevalent at universities. So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I think it is a good decision. I hope that he is able to get a job and stand on his feet, Colleen.
I am wondering if the disconnect can be the pressures this life puts on all of us. We have modern conveniences, but they do come at a heavy price.
We live in a cookie cutter world, where x achievement needs to be fulfilled in x amount of time.
For some, I think it can be overwhelming.
We have lost touch with our elements.
Our State received a federal "Race to the Top" grant. Academic plans have changed several times in in a two year span. Our kids are learning to live the "rat race". I remember kindergarten being more like preschool. Kindergarten is like second grade was for me, kids are expected to know so much. I have watched programs on what this does to children who do not have the necessary brain development at this age.
They have gobs of homework. A lot of the kids in my school are dropped off at 6:30 am and don't go home until 5:30 pm.
There are disconnects everywhere in this day and age, as we become more socially connected through devices.
Needless to say, I am glad to have connected here with everyone, lol.
I think the disconnect for addicts has a lot more to it than what we might interpret.
As I watched the video, I tried to take out my personal bias, and truthfully, it wasn't easy. You can see that by my comments.
I do realize the speaker was trying to point out that what has been a standard for 100 years is not effective.
But there are also success stories from recovering addicts who have gone through rehab, 12 step programs, etc. There are testimonials from addicts attributing detachment to the only way that they sought change, that if family continued to engage, there was no need for it.
Thank you Pigless for the very interesting share.
I think it was a short talk and didn't cover all the issues... It was pointing out one important aspect. At least that is the way I took it. I though the experiment he talked about with rates and in an empty cage the rats went for the heroin laced water, but in the environment where there was a great rat park with lots of interesting things to do, and connection an they were did not go for the heroin water.
So to me I saw it as pointing out that people use drugs to fill a void, to feel a connection. So doing stuff where we make it harder for them to make connections does not work. That treatment needs to include creating connections not decreasing them.
So I think one of the reasons that AA works for so many is that it creates connections between people at meetings etc.
I don't think for most people, love and connection to your parents is enough in your life.... As you become a teen you need connections out side your family. So I didn't take the talk as saying anything about my connection with my son.
However I do think for my son his drug use relates to boredom, and to lack of connections and that includes to people to work to life interest.
And yes there is more to it than that.
I really thought this was interesting and made me think. But I felt just what New Leaf said, "what about addicts with close and loving families?" It sort of made me think that I did something wrong bringing up my addicted son. I really don't think I did.
I agree with TL too that my son's drug use started with him becoming a teen and pulling away from the family and trying to make his own connections. I think every kid goes through it, but some just don't fare as well. I think the I think a lot of it came from boredom, but also his need to self medicate. My son has struggled with anxiety and depression and hormones and the need for independence made him stray down a very wrong path and here we are. struggling
I posted too soon. What about the drug culture we're in now? It's everywhere. Marijuana is legal so many places now and totally de-criminalized. I don't know how I feel about that. I hate to sound like my parents and say the music is corrupting kids, but I think it is. Drugs and alcohol are glorified, along with this example of total disrespect for authority, for people in general. Why is it that I walk through the mall and see clothes, stickers, cell phone cases, skateboards and more with marijuana leaves on them? How is that okay? What is the message that is being sent? How do we fight that? Drug references are in the music, the products, the media .... and it's all so commonplace, all so normalized. Then our kids get hooked and we're left to wonder why. I was actually told, "there's not much to offer to help your son because it's only marijuana". Only marijuana?! In kids? In my kid. I just want help and think if I could have gotten help when he was only experimenting with "just marijuana", I wouldn't be in the place we're in now. I just don't get it and I am so frustrated. How do we change it? What's ahead for us and our families?
Well... I'm usually bouncing off my soapbox on this one...
I don't think the problem with drug culture and our kids is really a drug culture problem.
Kids today are the third or fourth generation to grow up with less and less of a "village" around them. It used to be, you had uncles and aunts and third cousins all over the county you lived in and the next two over. The neighbor was a lady your mom went to school with. Everybody knew you, and you knew everybody. You hung around with a group of kids that was everything from 5 years younger than you, to 10 years older. Family and community activities were huge - and organized sports were non-existent. You were cared for by family - sometimes by a stay at home mom, sometimes by grandparents or aunts and uncles, but daycare was unheard of.
Today, most kids are segregated into age-specific groups before six months of age. And they stay there for the rest of their growing up - daycare, school, sports, many other activities, are all age-segregated. Peers become "the" go-to resource for our kids, because they don't HAVE any other go-to resource. The kids spend more time between school, daycare and sports, than they do with parents. This isn't necessarily the case with YOUR kids or with mine... but it has become "normal". Therefore, everything is planned around this lock-step development. It works against kids with special needs (especially complex kids with normal or above intelligence), who develop at different rates. And because so much emphasis has been put for so long on "the importance of peers and peer relationships", most kids have no where to turn for help except to peers. Because this is "normal", even most counselors strongly support it. But it is destructive. To me, THIS is where drug culture comes from.
Any one of us can't change the damage of three or four generations. And it will get worse. It almost requires a revolution ... or a major economic collapse... something that will rewrite the starting point back to the basic building blocks of "the family" and "the extended family".
Added clarification: I do not believe the problem is in any one family, or that there is or was much if anything that could have been changed by any one family. The problem is on a much bigger scale - and therefore, very difficult to challenge.
I agree. I like your soapbox.
There was also more ownership of the village theory. People were not hesitant to become involved.
I don't mind if another adult corrects my child if they need it. Nowadays, some parents get offended. It surprises me, because that is a great deterrent to questionable behavior if kids know adults will step in and say something.
That's what I meant about disconnects everywhere.
Ahhhhh, for the good ole days!
Pigless, we all need to go live on your farm.........
I think one reason for abysmal success ratings of rehabs is boredom and lack of connection. A person goes to rehab (maybe after short detox) for a month or three. While getting out from their lifestyle with drugs and alcohol sounds good, rehab doesn't give much answers what to do instead. In rehabs days are filled with lectures and meetings, and what I have heard, mostly people are very bored in them. You meet new people, maybe have some connection to them, but after that month or two they are often gone from your life. Rehab gives an addict a break from their life, but often it doesn't bring much to fill their lives, long term at least, instead of drugs or alcohol.
They do recommend people to fill their life after rehab with meetings (and work), but honestly, I think most of us would find it extremely boring to go same meetings day after day and or even more often than once a day. To mull the same things over and over. Some do find an environment where there is also other things to do beside meetings with those same people and they click with those people and fill their time with that. And while sober houses etc. require their clients to work, the type of work an addict just out of rehab is likely to get, is not something almost any person would feel building their life around. Not something they could commit or find interesting or even semi permanent.
Many people out of rehabs are in this limbo, without any direction, without real life goals (I mean, not drinking/drugging really isn't much of the goal, even if you word it 'to stay sober', it still in the end means you avoid doing something. Avoiding something is not much a goal, even though it is so important with addicts) or much connection to their surroundings. In many studies out-patient, in-community treatment have been much more effective both for addicts and in mental health issues than institutions and in-patient rehabs and I think that is partly the reason. Our common sense says, that if someone is doing badly in their surroundings, it would be best to take them out from there and give them a break, but in reality institutions are not able to give their patients enough to substitute the life people were having before being institutionalised. And after they leave an institution (rehab, mental health facility, whatever) people end up to places they have very limited ways to fill their lives. They are lacking connections and lacking the experience of having a place and meaning in life. We ask them to build from zero, and it is not a wonder they fail.
For some people religion may fill that void. For some people it may be an other ideology (they may become very devoted twelve steppers for example), but for most neither happens and addiction treatment systems are very bad in introducing their patients to more varied kind of options to fill the void.
People I know, who have been severely addicted and recovered have all found other things to devote their time and efforts and stopped or lessened the use of their object of an addiction through that process. Some did some rehab stints, most tried twelve steps groups, but none really took on. None of this people who have had addiction problems and are more or less overcome them whom I know go to meetings anymore. For my dad it was both his art and falling in love and starting a new life with her, one of my friend started to mountain climb instead of drugging, other one started a business and one old colleague went back to Uni and change her career. Having a child have stopped more than one people I know to their tracks and made them change their lives. Daughter of an acquaintance and her boyfriend moved to the countryside and started a small farm and craft business month or two after they started Suboxone treatment for their heroin addiction. To my knowledge they are still doing fine and it will soon be 5 years. Though I think the guy is also back to school to become an it engineer, because small farm and craft business is so much work and so little money. I mean, for people I know, who have been successful with their addictions, it seems they have needed something that is important and interesting to them, to do instead.
I didn't watch the video for this reason- thanks Colleen and all for taking the hit for me...I was afraid of one more opinion that indicated I had a part in this!
No one tried harder at connecting than many of us have. Connecting by definition brings two together--impossible if one continues to pull away.
This is our story in every respect.
..and yet, I so want him to know the love we still feel, the desires we still have for him to make it. His correlation has always been Support=Love, support to him being $ and assistance regardless of his choices, responses, attitudes. It's not a two-way street if we are being used, that's a fact so hard to assimilate as loving parents.
When talking about addiction and connection, I honestly don't think parents or childhood family is what they are talking about. Of course, for some people things go wrong in their childhood family, but for many others, they lost that connection to life along the way.
We shouldn't think we are only, or main or even the most significant 'environmental factor' in our kids life. Not when they are young, certainly not when they grow up. I have a kid who has PTSD, which is his biggest issue. I didn't cause it and neither did his dad. We were not perfect parents but good enough to raise other, very well adjusted kid. It was caused by other environmental factors out of our control. PTSD also caused his addiction issues that are currently under control and he is more battling with other PTSD caused issues. But really, most of the time parents can't really take credit for their well adjusted kids nor blame for their struggling offspring. We do not have that kind of control over them and their life.
And let's face it; connection to childhood family is not enough for any adult or even teen. They need more. Friends, work/school, romantic relationship, goals and dreams, passions of their own. None of which parents can provide. Do not think that anyone would think that problem is, that your kid is not connected to you, problem may be, that they are not engaged with life as the whole, and at most, you and your relationship to them is just a small part of that whole.
Your son sounds like mine. I did send my son to rehab at 15 for "only marijuana". Guess what! He still went on to other things so don't feel that you missed the bus on this one.
kt, I agree with you that the media portrays marijuana, alcohol and drugs as something cool. I cannot think of any realistic movie portrayals of drug use. I give you: The Wolf of Wall Street, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Hangover. Hollywood works against us as parents. They make young people think drugs are cool and harmless. That whole series of Breaking Bad did not really show what meth use does to a person. I guess the ugly side of drugs isn't good entertainment.
New Leaf, the farm is very therapeutic. There is something about the peace, open space, fresh air and beautiful vistas that changes one's perspective.
I work Sunday's in a shelter for homeless youth, and yesterday two of the male residents were high ( I couldn't prove it, but I could tell) and they were making jokes about mushrooms etc.... I ended up telling them that joking about drug use really isn't funny... But all the other residents think it is. It's a losing battle. I was so frustrated by the end of my shift.... I do it as a favour to the shelter but I may have to step away for awhile. With having a son who has a non chalante attitude about drug use, their joking really got to me.
I have worked with at risk youth for years, but living it is another story.
Both sons write their last exams tomorrow. We will see how the job hunting goes. I am stepping away and letting them both figure it out. Younger son has a few leads. Older son has an appointed Friday with a career counsellor with the government youth employment dept. this is appointment number three, he missed the first two.
I am looking for peace and mindfulness in my daily life. I am choosing it. I can't continue to worry and fix. I can only fix me.
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