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It’s the little things that need attention

December 5, 2010
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center

"Yours is the kind of family I never had, but always wanted," the young man said.

An older man asked his wife, "What one thing didn't you have as a child that would have made a difference in your life?"

She'd never thought about that. She compared her life as a child growing up to what she knew-or thought she did-about his.

"I didn't have everything I wanted, but I had pretty much what I needed," she answered. "What about you?"

"A toothbrush."

Think about that for a moment.

We take the simplest things for granted. And often we don't think about the impact, the long term effects of those littlest thingslike a toothbrush; like the magic words "please," "thank you," "excuse me," and "I'm sorry." We don't consider that one careless moment that can alter lives forever, not just the person making the life-altering choice, but all the people who suffer through with them, who care about and love that person.

What can one drink hurt? asks the pregnant woman. Has she ever seen a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

"I'll have one for the road." How many had that one for the road and didn't make it homeor caused an accident that prevented an innocent bystander from going home and see first-hand what they will remember for the rest of their lives?

What about the girl who nearly died from dehydration resulting from alcohol poisoning? She was just having a good time. She didn't even know what alcohol poisoning was. And the people she was with didn't care enough about her to take her for treatment at the emergency room. They thought it would pass or she'd sleep it off. What if her sister hadn't shown up when she did?

It's the little things we don't think about that can cause harm. The dangers, the risks, seem negligible. And maybe they are. Knowledge is the key: Knowing yourself and understanding what's best and right for you. You may never know what circumstances you avoid when you consider what your consequences will be before you do what you think you want to do. And while you have the right to do what you want to do, so does everyone around you.

"I have the right to do what I want to with my body," said the young woman to her mother who objected to tattoos and face piercings.

"And potential employers have the right not to hire you if your appearance is going to offend their customers. I don't want to walk into a restaurant and see metal in an eyebrow, a lip, a chin or any other parts!" Mom said.

It takes just one poor choice. One hasty, careless decision can be costly emotionally or financially.

Light displays are illuminating neighborhoods. Shoppers are delighting merchants. Parties are planned and executed.

Drinking and driving is not a good mix.

Drugs and driving are not a good mix.

Drugs and alcohol combined are a real bad idea.

Self-medicating with alcohol and drugs may seem to work, but sooner or later when you are sober, your issues will be waiting for you. What are your children learning from you as you make your choices? Life is lessons learned.

Honor your family, your friends and yourself with traditions that draw you close this holiday season as we celebrate family. Be the kind of family you wish you'd had as a child, if that's not what you have. Someone has to take the initiative to lead the family. And we all have the entire month of December to celebrate our families. Make cookies, fudge, buckeye candy, and maybe some hard tack. String a few lights around your front door. Write out some Christmas cards and personally deliver the local ones and visit for a few minutes. Sing Christmas carols as you trim the tree, even if it's just a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which seems to be popular this year.

One little heads up, Mom and Dad. The issue with those decaf sweetened high alcohol drinks in the 23.5-ounce cans are equal to four to five 12-ounce cans of beer. They don't cost much and make a cheap drunk affordable, advises Join Together, an online source from Boston University School of Public Health.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well-being of individuals, families and communities through its education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related issues. For more information contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or e-mail,



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