It is easy to picture alcohol and drug related problems affecting the lives of those who struggle socially and financially. It's easy to think of substance abuse as going hand-in-hand with any number of issues that someone else has.
What's not so easy to admit is that many successful, even brilliant people with seemingly strong families are at risk for developing a serious relationship with alcohol and other addictive substances in Harrisburg.
But there is no salary cap on addiction. There is no family so well-adjusted that we may not feel left out, unappreciated, inadequate or simply unfulfilled.
The truth is that when brilliant men and women don't find a way to express their gifts outside of work, and don't experience fulfilling interpersonal relationships, there are deep needs going unmet.
Developing a Relationship with Alcohol and Other Substances
Chemical dependencies develop when we use strong chemical agents to fill the void in our personal relationships, or to stem feelings that we are not realizing our potential.
Patterns of alcohol use can quickly become habits of self-medication. Soon a defensive attitude deflects well-meaning concerns. Over time, habits expand their influence until we start planning out ways to get more and more alcohol into our days, maybe making an extra stop on the way home from work or staying up after our family has gone to bed to have another few drinks alone.
At this point the alcohol has already begun to interfere with our relationships with others, with ourselves, and with our God.
In fact, alcohol can easily become a God for us. Hard to believe? Ask yourself whether you're more likely to spend 15 minutes a day in prayer, or 30 minutes a day drinking.
Bottoming Out with Addiction
Sadly, many of us won't admit there's a problem until we "bottom out". This may mean getting slapped with a DUI or even wrecking a car. It could be from blacking out at a work party and getting woken up by your supervisor. Or it could be an ugly confrontation with your spouse, who has grown jealous of your affair with a bottled liquid.
The important thing is to recognize these events for what they are; warnings. If we don't learn from these lessons and commit to changing the patterns of behavior that brought us to this point, more warnings will occur.
It is easy to lose a career, a family, and our purpose in life if we don't choose to move past our relationship with alcohol.
What You're Not Hearing About Addiction in Harrisburg
It is easy to tell someone, "You need to stop drinking." In fact it can seem like a good way for family members to let off steam. "You drink too much." "You need to stop." "You've had enough." What they're not recognizing is that the addiction is built up in the absence of an engaging, fulfilling life.
I prefer to tell my clients, "You need to get a life."
Remember that you are an important part of your family. Your kids need you. Your wife needs you. Your husband needs you. You are worth more than the money you bring in and things you can buy." And it's true.
Raising well-fed, well-educated kids isn't enough. Young people need to be shown how to have a best friend, a partner, and a long-term romantic relationship, and you can't maintain any of that when you have a relationship on the side with alcohol.
In the end, it won't make a difference to your family if you become an expert in your field, if you don't know how to have a best friend, if you can't be the other half of a good relationship, because you're always waiting for your chance to get away and have a few drinks.
The cure is to live an authentic family life where you act as more than a co-worker and chauffeur with your spouse, but as leaders and mentors, guiding and inspiring your children as they navigate the challenges of growing up in a shifting world.
Travel sports are the worst. You get two kids on different travel teams, and your weekends are shot for the next six months.
We need to become parents again, not chauffeurs.
One simple option to try right away is to set up car-pooling for your kids. If you're only driving to every other practice, you'll have twice as many evenings to connect with your spouse.
And we need to take the time to rediscover a rich, meaningful relationship with our spouse. If dinner dates are growing stale.
Do not give up. Try other activities and interests until you spark the shared excitement of experiencing new things again. Hike together, go to a concert, go to a broadway show together.
Schedule times to talk and commit to a fulfilling physical relationship.