How to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped

How to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped

How frustrating is it when we can see that someone we love has problems, yet they don’t seem to see it themselves? When they do see it, it’s a short-term realisation then, usually, a step back into their own behaviours.

 

For families and friends of that individual, it may seem that it is them that have to put up with the behaviours associated with drug and alcohol use and the consequences of it, while our loved one clearly does not give a flying one!

 

For anyone that knows how addiction works, I have written before about how a substance can change the functioning of the brain. Drugs and alcohol mess around with our dopamine, which is reward and pleasure neurotransmitter in the brain. This regulates our movement and emotional responses. Dopamine also regulates our thoughts, actions and behaviour. If anyone has ever taken a substance, we can probably recognise this association and why sometimes, when we drink or use drugs, we fall over, our inhibitions disappear, and we might do some pretty rubbish or wild things that we just wouldn’t normally do. (I may or may not be speaking from experience!) What this means is that eventually, pleasure-seeking behaviours will only ever include alcohol or drugs. You can spot this when ourselves, our friends or family members centre activities around substance use.

 

So, it’s no wonder then, that if drugs mess around with our brain, that we aren’t always that responsive to meeting other people’s needs because we’re too busy thinking about our own.

 

I believe people use drugs either to get away from something, or to get something out of it. People who use substances problematically are often trying to get away from something or might be trying to avoid any current or previous traumatic experience. There are lots of examples of this and brilliant research into Adverse Childhood Experiences and how these affect our health outcomes as adults.

 

ACE 1

ACE 2

The things we get out of alcohol and drugs obviously depend on the individual. There are always negative and positive consequences to substance use. The trick is, to figure out what they are for your loved one and then make sure that they experience those negatives as much as possible. Sounds harsh, right? It takes practice. We call these natural consequences. Families and friends will try to ‘help’ their loved one’s by clearing up after them, hiding the truth so they don’t feel bad the next day, not wanting to leave them in their own puke and so on. Listen. If someone has serious a problem with substance use, we need to allow them to feel discomfort or they will never change.

 

BUT….

 

As always, we need to get the balance right and don’t just leave them to it. Your loved one needs to know that you are there for them no matter what. You love them. You care for them and you will be there for them.

 

You won’t tolerate abuse, you will have boundaries and you will be in their company more when they are sober than drunk. This is a reward for being sober.

 

You can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself. Get help for you because, by changing your approach to your loved one’s substance use, you can influence their behaviour in the long run.

 

I can help

 

My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area or via Skype worldwide.

I also have an online therapeutic programme. Take a look at my services here

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Sign up to my mailing list here to keep up to date with Vesta news and get my free Ten Steps to Family Recovery download.

 

Take care,

Victoria.

Resilience- how to cope under pressure

Resilience- how to cope under pressure

Resilience- how to cope under pressure

Liggy Webb

I attended Liggy Webb’s Resilience Master Class in Manchester a few years ago and I’ve been a huge fan of her work ever since. I am so excited that she has agreed to guest blog for us. Liggy has worked all over the world supporting individuals and organisations through her amazing knowledge and specialism of this subject. She ignited my passion for the subject which I taught to staff and managers in the NHS at the time. See my blog “How the Circle of Influence can help you lead a better life”.

Resilience is such an important skill/behaviour/attitude to have in order for us to cope with difficult situations thrown our way. That’s not to say that we will always be resilient all of the time and in every situation! Learning how to “be” resilient is crucial when living with a problematic drug or alcohol user. Whether you are in this situation or not, Liggy wrote this guest blog for me last year and it’s just too good not to re-post:


By Liggy Webb

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.

Japanese Proverb

 

What is resilience?

 

Some people describe resilience as the ability to bend instead of breaking when experiencing pressure or the ability to persevere and adapt when faced with challenges. These abilities help people to be more open and willing to take on new opportunities. In this way resilience is more than just survival, it is also about letting go and learning to grow.

 

Liggy’s work

 

Personally I find the topic of resilience fascinating and have spent the last few years deep in research exploring the habits and behaviors of resilient people.  In the work that I do with the United Nations travelling to some very challenged parts of the world I have had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

For my latest book Resilience – How to cope when everything around you changes I interviewed over 100 people who had experienced varying degrees of set backs. From these interviews and various other research channels I was able to create a competency framework around resilience, developing a deep understanding of the necessary coping strategies for dealing with adversity.

Resilience- how to cope when everything around you changes

 

Personal experience

 

Then I was given a huge opportunity to personally put my knowledge and the strategies that I had designed to the test!

Two years ago, quite out of the blue after feeling very lethargic and out of sorts, I was diagnosed with a very rare tumour actually growing inside my heart. The prognosis was critical and open-heart surgery was the only way to proceed. For someone who is in good health and still in my forties it came as a huge shock. I guess we never really imagine things like this are going to happen to us until they do! The most significant thing that I learnt was that whilst we may not be able to control some of our circumstances, we can absolutely choose the way we respond to them.

I think in many ways I surprised myself, you never really know how you will react in these situations and it’s amazing how resourceful we can be when we need to.

I learnt so many things and I can honestly say it has certainly taught me a few things about recovery and indeed my own resilience. It was without doubt, life changing, with so many defining moments.

 

Top tips for resilience

 

Recently I was interviewed about my own experience with regards to recovery and asked to define the three most important resilience behaviors and this is what I concluded:

 

1. Accept your current situation

Let’s face it we all like to be in control, however, in some situations you have to put your trust in others hands and ask for help. For example, if we think of what we can control and what we can’t, we need to accept we cannot change the choices other people make. We can only change the way we behave. Sometimes acceptance of your situation and taking care of yourself is the best use of your energy.

 Tips for accepting your current situation

  • Remember acceptance is not about resignation, it is the recognition that fighting a situation that you cannot change may be a waste of personal resources
  • Acceptance will put you in state of flow which will help to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Learn that you cannot control other people’s choices

 

2. Take personal responsibility

Life can be very unpredictable and invariably we will all be subjected to various set backs and personal challenges. You can’t always control what happens to you in life.

You do however have total control about how you choose to respond to those situations. By taking personal responsibility for your reactions and attitude you will be far more empowered to cope and manage the ultimate outcome.

Tips for taking personal responsibility

  • Acknowledge that you are in total control of your response to any situation that presents itself to you
  • Be aware of the victim trap and focus on what you can do
  • Avoid the blame game and spend your time seeking solutions – spend your time instead seeking solutions

 

3. Be positive

Thinking positively is not about putting your head in the sand and being unrealistic, as some people may believe. With a positive attitude you can recognise the negative aspects of a situation and then make a conscious decision to focus instead on the hope and opportunity that is available. This releases you from getting locked in a paralysing loop of negative emotion and allows you to bounce back from adversity and challenging experiences.

Tips for seeing the glass half full

  • Try to make a conscious decision to challenge each negative thought and flip it over into a positive thought
  • Understand that every experience in your life whether it is good, or bad will bring a valuable lesson with it which will enable you to cope better in the future.
  • Remember that life is ultimately what you make of it and your attitude can have a huge impact on everything you experience

 

In summary

Being resilient takes effort and practice. It may well feel sometimes as if you are taking one step forwards and two steps back, almost as if you are doing a little dance with life. The key however is to keep moving and to not lose the faith that you can and will pull through if you remain positive and hopeful. The quicker that you can start recovering and bounce back, the better because life can pass so quickly and this is your golden opportunity to make the best and the most of it.


More information about resilience

 

Thanks so much to Liggy for writing a blog for us.

For access to a complimentary life skills library email liggy@liggywebb.com

Click to access The Little Book of Resilience

Check out Liggy’s Website

Please comment about what you do to keep resilient.

 

I can help

 

My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area or via Skype worldwide.

I also have an online therapeutic programme. Take a look at my services here

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Sign up to my mailing list here to keep up to date with Vesta news and get my free Ten Steps to Family Recovery download.

 

Take care,

Victoria.

 

 

Happiness Rules!

Happiness Rules!

Happiness Rules!

 

I hope you’ve all had a positive week.

 

When we are under pressure, even when we think we have a handle on it, that pressure can manifest itself in lots of different ways. Recently, I’ve felt it myself physically and emotionally. Luckily for me, when I feel like I’m running on empty, I can recognise it and resolve it pretty well. If we’re tired, we react differently. When we’re angry, or even ‘hangry’, we might respond a little bit emotionally to things that we’re generally OK with the rest of the time!

It’s up to us to manage our feelings and responses to things.

Let’s be realistic, life is never going to be happy all of the time. It’s how we bounce back from those times that’s important in our happiness. See Liggy Webb’s guest blog on resilience about this.

While we’re on the subject of happiness, here are my best happiness tips and ways to care for ourselves, because happiness rules:

 

Take responsibility- I know, I know. Takes a lot to back down and own our side of the behaviour, but doing this helps you move on from, or even avoid conflict altogether.

Keep building your relationships- making connections is what us humans need to live a long and happy life. Not money, not success but people. Get the people around you that have your back and you can’t go wrong.

Be present with your loved ones- listen to what they’re saying with no distractions. Limit the tech and enjoy yourselves.

Find a sense of purpose- we can be everything to anyone else but ourselves. Finding something we love doing for us is a wonderful feeling.

Be around positive people (boomerangs!) and phase out the negatives (doomerangs!)- I learnt this from the wonderful Liggy Webb. 

Be positive yourself- We can focus on every single negative in our lives or figure out what’s good about it.

Be grateful- think about everything good in your life, every day.

Say what you need to say- holding back what you need to say builds resentment. Remember when you give feedback to someone, take the emotion out of it, say it positively, see things from their point of view and make sure it’s a good time for both of you.

Keep a routine- children thrive from routine and predictability, and so do we. It prevents stress, anxiety and overwhelm. I have routines and plans which I stick to and it means I know when I have free time, when I’m doing too much and when I can let my hair down!

Say no and stick to boundaries- saying no is one of the hardest things we have to do in life because we feel responsible and feel guilty. If we can’t master this, we are pleasing everyone else but ourselves and it is stressful. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Say ‘no thank you. I can’t make it.’ No excuses, no drawn-out reason. There are only so many hours in the day! Do what you love. Say no to spending time with your loved one when they’re drinking

Say yes! Ok. It may seem like I’m contradicting myself a bit, but I’m not. Say yes to new experiences or things you haven’t tried. Say yes to your children when they ask you to play with them. Say yes to your partner to try something they love doing- within reason-ha! Say yes to your friends for a day out with no guilt. Go dancing. Sing your heart out (my favourites).

Stretch yourself. As above, get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Whether it’s a course, a job, a hobby. Give it a go but don’t push yourself too far into the pressure zone. 

 

Got it? Let me know how you get on in the comments.

 

*please seek medical advice if you are frequently feeling unhappy or low as you may need some support or extra help*

 

I can help

 

My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area or via Skype worldwide.

I also have an online therapeutic programme. Take a look at my services here

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

I have a closed Facebook Group called Vesta Confidential. If you are affected by a loved one’s substance use, come and join me.

 

Sign up to my mailing list here to keep up to date with Vesta news and get my free Ten Steps to Family Recovery download.

 

Take care,

Victoria.