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Saturday, January 5, 2019
Writing Prompt Saturday ~ Using Our Words To Heal Addiction
Addiction can take on many forms, the most prominent and know are drugs and alcohol. But we all know that in this day and time, addiction has many areas it can stem from and it can trickle down to lead to further addictions.
It's important to understand that there is a difference between dabbling in something and full-out addiction. When a person is dabbling, they're curious, trying things out but they are strong enough to say, "Okay, that's enough. I 'get' this and I don't want it in my life", and are able to leave it behind before it becomes a focus. For someone who becomes addicted to something, they are beyond this realization and convince themselves they absolutely can't live without the substance they are addicted to. And the unfortunate realization is that once someone gets to that point, they need a tremendous amount of loving support to overcome what they've allowed to control their lives. And it's not an easy road for anyone going through it, and those close to the person who are forced to go through it with them.
I think the saddest group for addiction to hit is young people. You see, an adult should know better, shouldn't they? Yes, an addiction can sneak up on you pretty fast and hard, but an adult has the knowledge, understanding and experience to know better. Although we commit ourselves to helping a close one who is an adult, we can really only do so much. The belief is that we can't help a person who doesn't want to help themselves, no matter what options they have to turn to. With a young person, it's a bit different.
In all of my talks, articles, interviews, etc., I have had an overwhelming amount of people who tend to write off addictive behavior in our youth as 'just being teens' or 'he's just experimenting, he'll grow out of it' or 'kick her out, living on her own will give her a shot of reality'. In some cases, peer pressure may be the starting point, but this isn't the entire cause. I know young people who are excelling in school, committed to their goals and are surrounded by the same peer pressures, but choose not to follow. There are many reasons for teens, and in some cases even children as young as elementary level, to fall into the addictive cycle. Maybe it isn't just the 'high' they get from whatever substance they are abusing, but more they've found a place, and people who support that place, where they feel truly listened to and accepted.
So, how is the first group who can cope with their situation different from the second who can't? The only way to know for sure is to take the time to listen to them so they know that there are other, safer, more loving ways to get the understanding they crave. It could stem from abuse, feelings of abandonment, special needs that weren't addressed when they were younger or a multitude of other reasons. It doesn't matter where it began, what matters is taking the time to hear what they have to say. A kid who is written off as 'a bad kid' will go in one of two directions. He'll either prove you right, or he'll prove you wrong. It's up to those who surround them, who care enough to see them going down, to steer them towards the first direction. I believe that no child is born 'bad'. They may make poor choices, but that doesn't make them 'bad'. It's our job to help them realize that.
That's our writing focus for today. Do you have someone, especially a younger person, who is in the depths of addiction? Are you beside yourself on what to do to help them? Write out an outline of hope, start a journal to show the person once they're healing, create heartfelt letters to release your own pain in what's happening. Part of being able to help a loved one in this situation is not losing yourself in the helping process. Use your writing as a way to channel all of your feelings, and, hopefully, to inspire the person to do the same.
Be strong, hold onto hope and know that your words can make a difference, not only to you but for another who may need to hear them.