An Addict Among Us: Part One

Part One of Six


In the state of Maine 400 overdose deaths occurred in 2017. This year it is likely that the number will be matched or exceeded. To say the least, opioid addiction is a major problem for our society. I recently attended a conference in Maine that focused on opioid addiction among veterans. Some of the problems identified were the fragmentation of the system of care and the limited resources for treating addiction. A major issue we talked about was the lack of understanding that the general public has about addiction. Many still view it as a moral issue and believe that those who become addicted are weak. The stigma of being addicted keeps people from seeking treatment. The skills and attitudes of resilience are ones that our society in general needs to combat a variety of problems including addiction. One of the tools that we have developed to educate the public about the different struggles that we are facing is Bounce Back, a serious game that asks participants to respond to challenges using the skills and attitudes of resilience..

For the next few posts, we are going to focus on addiction using some of the challenge questions from Bounce Back. Some of the challenge questions I think you will find provocative. We encourage you to talk with others and to respond to the challenge by describing in some detail how you would deal with the challenge of using the skills and attitudes of resilience.

Here’s the first one: phone rings. You roll over to see that it is 3:20 a.m. Your breathing races along with your heart. You want to answer the phone but you’re frozen with fear. Is tonight the night she overdoses? Your husband rolls out of bed. “This better not be more BS from Jenna. I’ve had about enough!”

So how would you deal with the situation? Your daughter is a major issue for you in terms of her addiction, but your husband’s attitude sounds like it is also a challenge.

Here is some of the things that we think might be helpful. You need a support network of other people that you can turn to in addition to your family to help you deal with this challenge. Talk with other people — other family members, other friends. And manage the strong feelings that you have about this challenge. You need to acknowledge a lot of the anger, sadness, disappointment that you may feel. Take care of yourself in this process. You will be unable to take care of anyone else if you do not.

Try to see the big picture. The present situation is temporary, not permanent. Her addiction and your husband’s attitude have an impact on your life.  While it may be a major impact, it doesn’t affect everything. And don’t blame yourself for anyone else. Addiction is a disease and needs to be treated like one. Blaming yourself for the person with the addiction does not help.

Will be talking more about the issues around managing addiction in our society in the coming months.

Dr. Ron Breazeale

Dr. Ron Breazeale

Questions for our Followers

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We would like your feedback. So much of what went into creating and updating BounceBack has been based on direct input/feedback from those of you who have shown interest in and/or purchased our tool.

In order to gather more valuable information, we have created two short surveys. One addresses marketing issues and the second communications. We posted the first to our webpage and social media sites last week. The second is now ready for completion.

We know that your time is valuable. May we ask that you take a few minutes to tell us what you think?

Please follow this link to our Marketing Survey

and

Please follow this link to our Communications Survey

Thank you for your support.

Dealing With Anger

In many ways, anger is a normal reaction.

In this blog post, we’re going to present another challenge from one of the decks of challenges we have created for the game “Bounce Back.” The challenges in the series that we have created on health deal with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These decks are part of a serious game called “Bounce Back” that we have developed to teach the skills and the attitudes of resilience. The game presents the players with situations that they or someone close to them might encounter and asks them to choose the skills and the attitudes of resilience they would use or would recommend others to use to deal with the challenge.

Here is the challenge: Some days you’re angry. Some days you’re depressed. Some days you feel like you just don’t want to live with the pain anymore. You don’t really think about suicide seriously because it would solve no problem. But after a particularly sleepless and pain-filled night, you crawl out of bed at 4:15 a.m. to make some coffee. Your wife comes down the stairs with her usual, “What’s wrong, honey?” You’re tired of this persistently stupid question and you jam the pot into the coffeemaker a bit too hard. You’re shocked when it shatters and your knuckles begin to bleed.

Anger is a very normal reaction to all of the frustration and difficulties that a chronic healthcare problem presents. What do you believe you would do in this situation?  Think about it and talk with friends and family. Perhaps they have dealt with a similar problem. Many chronic illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes, involve chronic pain.

Here are some of the things that we would suggest. Connecting with others and communicating is important. Your wife was trying to do this. Perhaps she needs some direction from you. Maybe you need to talk with her more about how you’re feeling.

Managing all of the feelings that you have, especially the anger, is hard. But you’ll find better ways of dealing with it if you let some of it out in constructive ways. Find some ways to discharge it. Talking about it is one of those. Doing something physical, such as punching a pillow or a punching bag, exercising, etc., may help.  Even though you’re angry, and you may be angry with yourself, take care of yourself and take care of those around you.

Try to see the bigger picture. Things will change, perhaps for the better. Things will not remain the same. Get some help professionally in dealing with the anger. Medication is not always the answer. It can be part of a helpful program of treatment, but having someone to talk with and work on these issues may do even more to change things for the better.

Ron Breazeale  Ron Breazeale, Ph.D

News from Building Resilience: 05/17/18

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America Retires v.3 Now Available

Work is done. It’s time to enjoy. It’s a whole new way of going about living our lives. For many, this signals changes in our health, socioeconomic status, and family dynamics. For others, it calls for major adjustment. We spend much of our lives at work and what was once routinized now needs to be remolded. As with all changes, good or bad, comes increased stress. If we are to enjoy retirement, we must learn to manage the change.

You now have time on your hands. Use this deck with friends and family to initiate conversations regarding the changes associated with retirement. Connect with other retirees and work together to apply the Skills & Attitudes of resilience to the challenges presented as well as your own. Use this deck in retirement seminars to prepare new retirees for the challenges ahead. Use it as a coaching tool ease the transition.

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Purchase BounceBack

Click on the above link on any of our pages and you will be taken to our sales page because…shopping should be easy. 

 

Southern Maine Resilience Task Force:

Meets 05/24/18 from 4-5:30 p.m. at Hope Gateway Church, 509 Forest Avenue, Portland ME 04101.

How do we Combat Loneliness?

Isolation of one individual.

I just finished an article entitled Loneliness Rivals Obesity, Smoking as Heath Risk by Nick Tate. A survey was conducted by Cigna and Tate reports that,

“Douglas Nemecek, MD, Cigna’s chief medical officer for behavioral health, said the findings of the study suggest that the problem has reached “epidemic” proportions, rivaling the risks posed by tobaccoand the nation’s ever-expanding waistline.

‘Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity,’ he said in releasing the report.”

Continue reading “How do we Combat Loneliness?”