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What ‘independence’ really means

July 3, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

There are various ways to celebrate Independence Day, which is tomorrow.

Independence is something many people value, the freedom to be the person you were meant to be, complete with your dreams, your goals, and your ideals. Sometimes, though, you might lose sight of The Dream, and hope fades, too. It's at that point that some people succumb to addiction.

How do you pick yourself back up when you've reached that point? How do you find enough energy to change your life back to the way it used to be? Or better than it's ever been before?

Remember Mom's sayings when you were growing up? Momisms, I call them, bits of wisdom and knowledge that she shares with her children. "Do your own thinking." "Don't follow the crowd because they will lead you down the primrose path and abandon you." "Every cloud has a silver lining." "Let your smile be your umbrella." "Use your heart and mind together because your heart alone may mislead you and your mind alone may be too logical." "Be true to yourself." "There is strength in number." "If you find one good friend in your life that you can trust, you are very fortunate because many people never have that one, good, trustworthy friend who remains loyal and true for always."

Everyone has difficult times, even despairing times. Those times are the fire test, the things that test your mettle. But sometimes it just takes more energy than you can summon to pick yourself up and go on. It's easier to blow off responsibilities at home, at work, at school. And drinking or other substance abuse can seem like a good friend to make you feel better when your spouse or other loved ones argue with you about drinking, about the way you're behaving.

Maybe you wait until your wife is in bed asleep and drink just so you can relax a little.

The truth about substance abuse is that it leads to more problems, not fewer. It tears your life apart, and you end up alone with nothing if you don't do something about the problem when it starts.

You could have a drinking problem if you:

- feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking.

- lie to others or hide your drinking habits.

- have friends or family members who are worried about your drinking.

- need to drink in order to relax or feel better.

- "black out" or forget what you did while you were drinking.

- regularly drink more than you intended to.

We all are products of our environment, affected by genetics that we can't change, the rules of the house where we grew up, the social environments we are accustomed to and our emotional health. Some racial groups are more at risk for alcohol addiction.

Those who have a family history of alcohol abuse or hang out with heavy drinkers are likely to be more at risk, too, as are people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mental health issues.

Do you have an alcohol problem? Are you ready to claim your independence?

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. For more information about alcohol addiction contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County and ODADAS (Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services.)



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