Helping a former addict
I'm looking for some good advice and guidance when it comes to supporting a former addict, who happens to also be a family member. She does not live with me but will, every now and again, visit me (out of her state). We talk often and I think she's on the right road to recovery (over a year sober)... However, I want to make sure that I am doing everything that I can to be supportive and encouraging.
First, being that she's a former addict, she has replaced drugs with food and has gained a significant amount of weight. To a regular person, it's no big deal. You workout, start eating better and the weight will just shed off gradually. With her, it's all or nothing. While she is eating properly and trying to remain calm and collective and avoid impulsive actions, I want to know the do's and don'ts when dealing with her and what bothers her so much.
I'd like to know if it would be bad and unsympathetic if I tell her that her weight should not be the biggest and greatest concern and that she should continue living her positive life. She currently lives with my parents, yes, she is my younger sister. My parents are not the best of support. In fact, when she was doing drugs, they, in very little words, encouraged the behavior and blame other outside factors besides themselves. Sorry I've digressed. It just seems that every conversation we have always leads to food, healthy eating and other things along those lines. Please let me be clear, I DO NOT MIND having these conversations with her. I am a firm believer of a healthy lifestyle starting with what we put into our bodies, but I just want to know if there's anything I can say to her to help ease her mind about food being just a addiction.
The reason why she started using drugs to begin with was related to food, body image and all the stupid shit that shouldn't matter, but does...
You said, “I'd like to know if it would be bad and unsympathetic if I tell her that her weight should not be the biggest and greatest concern and that she should continue living her positive life.”
You took the word, “positive,” right out of my mouth.
I was going to show you a paraphrased version of a column on being positive that I read, what, 20 years ago, that has really helped me a lot.
But then you stole my thunder when you said, “I tell her…that she should continue living her positive life“
The first thing she should do is get down on her knees in thanks that she has somebody wonderful trying to help her. The second thing she should do is get back down on her knees again in thanks that she has somebody wonderful trying to help her.
The third thing she should do is count her blessings, with one of them being that she has somebody wonderful trying to help her.
But enough about me.
Hey, honey, relax, it’s just a joke! Calm down, for goodness sakes! Sweetheart, I was just trying to cheer you up, but I think I’ve done just the opposite. My goodness, you took that kind of serious!
Oh, well, where was I? Oh, that’s right, I was trying to get you to recover. Whew! That was close. I thought I’d lost you there for a minute.
Are you back with me? Are you OK? I didn’t know you were so touchy. I better not try that again. OK, here we go. Gosh, that was a rough one.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, that’s right, I was insulting you, no I wasn’t, now clam down. There you go again. OK, where were we?
I’ll be OK. Just give me a minute. OK, here we go.
Whew! OK, you were positive. OK, and I read a column on being positive, and it didn’t help. Sweetheart, it’s a joke, hello!
It must be the Rot Gut. I’ve got to get off of that Rot Gut.
OK, I’ll behave. OK, I read a column on being positive, and it turned me into a Zombie! OK, wait, let me pour out the rest of this Rot Gut. There, I’ve poured it out. And we’re going to be all better now, aren’t we? Probably not.
Anyway, positive column, I read, and it really helped, as if you cared. No, you did care, you’re just not showing it. You just have a strange way of saying, you care. No you don’t. You’re just a little busy right now.
OK, I did read the column, it did help. So, how does this affect you? I have no clue. Yes, I do, I think her being positive that she can solve this problem will help her.
So, I’ll try to include my version of that column at the end of this nonsense, I mean, at the end of this valiant attempt to reach out and help.
Now, I gained a few pounds myself and it was from being isolated because of a health problem, and I tried to overcome that with food, as you said about your sister.
And I am still fighting the weight gain, as if you cared. I think I’m being silly, because I’m not talking to the person who has the problem.
Anyway, you said, “My parents are not the best of support. In fact, when she was doing drugs, they, in very little words, encouraged the behavior and blame other outside factors besides themselves.”
Did I read that right? Did you say, “In fact, when she was doing drugs, they, in very little words, encouraged the behavior…”?
And she’s back living with these same parents? How did they encourage her?
Let me take a guess. The drugs made her lose weight, and they…. Oh, my.
Well, since she’s back living with them, this could go in any direction.
Why did they encourage her?
And you said, “My parents are not the best of support.”
Oh, my. We’ve got a double problem here.
Maybe your parents are negative. Maybe they’ve handed that down to their daughter. But how come you’re not negative?
The plot thickens.
If your parents are negative, again, that makes things twice as tough.
She being their daughter, and much older, she thinks they know what they are doing, and may be following in their footsteps—negative.
I believe I did that. My parents were both negative, and I developed a negative attitude. I believed my dad, for instance, when he believed everything would turn out wrong. So I would look for the wrong, and expect it to turn out like that. I believed positive was for sissies, for people who were not realistic, for people who didn’t have the intelligence or the ability to see how bad things were.
I was copying my father, and he was a good example. He had a job, he paid the bills, he did a lot of things right, he was older and knew more about life than I did, and I believed everything he said and did. And I wanted to be like that.
And it almost killed me. But I wouldn’t let go of it because he was my father. And I’d been following him since I was born.
I believed that problems were bad. I believed that it was difficult to solve problems. If they weren’t difficult, they wouldn’t be problems. How could problems be anything but bad?
Here was the catch: Problems are bad. But it’s not the problems we we’re saying is good. It’s our chances of solving the problems that we are saying are good. And that if we go into a problem with the idea that we can solve it, it increases our chance of solving the problem.
And we want to solve the problem for our sake. But we are doing the opposite of that when we are neg. We are hurting our chances of solving the problems, and we are hurting ourselves.
Which is just the opposite of what we want to do, hurt ourselves. That makes no sense. But by being neg., we are doing just that. We are making…no sense. We are deliberately hurting ourselves.
So why do we do it. Because our neg. attitude that we learned as children, and it is in our uncon. And we can’t see it, and we don’t know we’re doing it. So by being positive, we are helping ourselves, which is what we want to do.
It means we are on our own side. I realized that what I had to do before trying to solve a problem, was l clear out any neg. from my uncon., which might be, and was, tripping me up. So how do I do that?
Well, accidently seeing the col., by national columnist, Nikki Scott, was the key. It said, before going into a problem, think positive that you can solve it. Whoa! What a novel idea. It was to me.
So, I told myself, next time you have a problem, don’t worry about the problem, worry about your hidden neg. attidude that may be in your uncon. That you don’t see. So how do I get the neg. out?
By, next time I have a problem, don’t worry about the prob., worry about any hidden neg. in my uncon. That you won’t see. So how do I get
By, not worrying about the prob., work on any neg. in your uncon., by, first reading the col. on being positive when trying to solve a problem, before even thinking about the problem.
I told myself, next time you have a problem, get the col. on being positive when trying to solve a problem down from the bullitan board, and read the col., forget about the problem, it’s you that’s tripping yourself up.
And that’s what I did. By the 4th paragprh of reading the col, I had solved the problem.
By first getting the neg. out of my uncon, which reading the col did for me. I had taken myself (my neg. self) out of the mix. I replaced it with this woman’s pos. column on being pos. when trying to solve a problem. And it worked.
I wasn’t the stupidest son of a bitch in the valley after all. I even had the ability to solve some of my problems. I felt like a king. For the first time in my life, I felt like a king.
Here’s the col. And, hey, don’t be so sensitive. Gosh!
I’m going to give you a little diet after this. I have to go eat supper first. I know, it doesn’t make any sense.
Here below, in my own words, is what the column on being positive said, when trying to solve a problem:
There are people who can solve problems very well, and there are those who cannot.
But solving problems can be learned.
The most important thing to remember about trying to solve a problem is your attitude going into the problem. The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.
If you think you have little or no chance to solve the problem, you probably don’t, not because of the problem, but because you are stacking the deck against solving the problem before you even start to try.
As such, the problem is not the problem, you are the problem. Take yourself out of the mix, and concentrate on the problem, with first having the belief that you can solve it.
Let’s say you’re in a place of business that is on fire. Your conscious mind want to get out, but your unconscious is negative (which you don’t see because it’s in your unconscious). That could be your biggest problem: you don’t see the negative in your unconscious.
If your conscious wants you to escape the fire, but your unconscious is negative, thinking you can’t solve this problem, every time your conscious thinks of a solution (“Open the door and go outside”), your unconscious says: “That won’t work, because….” and it comes up the flimsiest of reasons (“…the door might be locked.”).
Your unconscious comes up with these putdowns of possible solutions, because it has been programed to where everything must be negative, so it is forced to downgrade all possible solutions.
And until your conscious and unconscious are going in the same direction (win or lose), you can’t move, because half your brain is going to the left, and half your brain is going to the right. A possible solution to that might be, “Dive out the glass window. You might get cut, but you might survive.”
That satisfied both the conscious (“I want to get out”) and the unconscious (“But I can’t allow myself to solve the problem in a positive way.”)
So, you must retrain your unconscious. I do this by saying to myself when I have a problem, “Think positive, think positive, think positive,” as I pave the way for my conscious to come up with solutions, while trying to damp down my unconscious, which may be negative and preparing to downgrade any solution my conscious comes up with.
Also, Ms. Scott said in her column on being positive when trying to solve a problem, if you come out of the attempt with less than an A on the test, give yourself credit for having tried, and learn from the experience.
That's what I try to do now. If I fail, and I still do, I try to say to myself, try to learn from this experience, also. Where did you come up short? What did you do wrong? Did I not try enough? Did I fail to get enough info about the problem? Did I not contact certain people who may could have helped me.
I tell myself, if you don't look at your blunders, you could repeat the same one tomorrow.
(I found this works, and I’m able to solve problems much better.)
This is the diet I mentioned at the end of my first post. I couldn’t include it in the first post because I was so tired and hungry.
As I mentioned, I gained weight when I became confined to my home because of a medical problem. So, my mind, too, switched to food to make up for the lack of stimulation which comes from being around people.
Also, the isolation cut down on my activity, such as walking up and down streets, in and out of stores, etc., which is part of the day for most people.
Round figures, I went from about 150 to about 200.
I’ve gone from 200 to about 170, which I can’t seem to go below, but I’m not worrying about it for I’m still limited in activity and I know I’m doing OK.
In addition to diet, I would say to your sister to get interested in something. One such way is volunteering, at a hospital, school, library, teaching people to read, helping children with their homework, helping kids in hospitals color in their coloring books. Talking with seniors in nursing homes, etc.
One thing that can happen, is that it gets our psychic energy going outward toward the people we are helping, instead of inward toward our own problems.
Once you get to working with kids or adults, and you see some of the problems they have, again, you’ll start worrying about that instead things going on with you.
She needs to find some things she enjoys, group therapy, school, job, etc., which could help get her over any depression, and stimulate her mind, put adrenalin into her system.
I she has depression, a psychiatrist can recommend an anti-depressant.
If she’s living at home with negative parents, is going to make it tougher. She might even believe what they say. Of course, she gets free room and board, so it’s going to be tough to break away from that.
We aren’t going to solve all of our problems in 5 minute, so she needs to be working on some of these things a little bit at a time, with the goal of getting the hell out of there. Which is what she needs, a bad set of parents to give her the impetus to leave and get on her own.
Oh, I have a dog. And what, everyday I want to walk the dog, cause without that he gets pretty board. So, to rescue the dog, I take him for a walk. On the wslak I, 1. Get exercise 2. Sometimes see and talk with people. 3. See trash on the road which I pick up and feel important. 4. See tree limbs on ground which I can put in stack, or something like that, and make me feel important. 5. All because of, the dog.
So, having a dog can help.
OK, here’s the diet.
My son put me on a no carb diet for he lost about 60 pounds.
I read about a no carb diet in a book, but I ignored it, for it was in a book, and I couldn’t relate to that, but I could relate to my son.
No bread, or rice, or potatoes. ”If its white, it ain’t right.”
So, what could I have?
1. Breakfast, bacon, eggs, fruit (cantelope, grapefruit), nuts, cheese.
2. Lunch: luncheon meat, vienna sausage, pork and beans, fruit, nuts, tuan fish salid, celery with pimento cheese, soup such as, tomato soup, cream of broculi and cheese, cream of chicken, cream of celery, and other sopus with no rice, potatoes.
I fouind soups to be my salvation. A can of tomato soup, with some of other items above, would fill me up. The other soups helped a lot also.
Here is a snack I found on the net for snacks. Popcorn. I think that has carbs, so you can hold off of that till you get off the no carb diet, or have it ready in case you get really hungry.)
It has no fat, sugar, cholesterol. Put a little melted margarine on it, and it helped to fill me up, without having to reach for the peanut butter, which has 25 per cent fat and 25 per cent bad fat, or saturated fat. My son says peanut butter is OK, because it’s not a carbohydrate. But I wonder. Also, if I have peanut butter,
I don’t put it on a cracker, because crackers have a chemical which makes them last a couple of months on your shelf, whereas bread only lasts a week, because it has no such chemicals.
3. Supper. Meat, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, snacks, such as popcorn, cereal with milk and fruit (cereal is carbo, but I got to eat something), cottage cheese with fruit.
I did find, too much nuts 2 or 3 times a day gave me an upset stomach.
As for the types, almonds, walnuts (those 2 are supposed to be the best for you, the net said), pecans, cashews. I’ve read regular peanuts are not good for you, and that would include peanut butter. You can read it on the net, and see what you think.
I did no carbs for a couple of months and I had twice as much energy.
I felt like doing things. Do the no carbs for that reason, if nothing else. (notice ow tired you are after you eat bread for breakfast, or other meals.
You won’t gain on it, and you might lose.
Some diets say go no carbs for a month or two, and then you can go back on some of it. Go 1 meal, breakfast, with no bread or carbs, and see if you don’t have more energy.
I have some carbs now, but I still like to play a game. For lunch, for instance, tuna fish salad, and soup (some of the non-carb sops above), celery with pimento cheese. See, no carbs. I did it, and I didn’t read no diet book, either.
So if you make it through a no carb breakfast, go for a no carbs lunch.
Then for supper, go meat, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, and you’ve made it through a complete cay with no carbs.
See if you don’t feel less tired.
Also, processed meats and red meats are not good for you, hamburger, bacon.
So, what to do? How about turkey meat, instead of hamburger (I do that half the time). How about turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, which I never eat now, only turkey bacon.
Also, I now get fresh sausage (unprocessed) from the meat dept., not processed breakfast sausage from the luncheon meat department.
Also, I now drink only goat’s milk, found in cans at grocery store, because it has about 1/3 of the sugar that reg. milk has, and I’m a diabetic, and the less sugar I eat, the better.
All of this can be looked up on the net.
This diet, volunteering, positive thinking, is a three step program, not one of which would probably work alone They can all be worked on at the same time.