Q. Can someone really make changes to substance use, problem gambling, or other behaviours?
A. Change can be quite hard for people depending on how long you have been doing the thing you or someone else is worried about.
Q. Is change hard?
A. Change can be hard for some people, it really depends on how long you have been using substances, or experiencing problem gambling and/or other behavioural concerns. It also depends on what benefits you have felt from these behaviours. There are always some benefits to use or gambling and it is often about whether the benefits are bigger or smaller than the costs. Often change is made easier by obvious consequences like health or relationship problems but it’s good if you do not wait for those consequences because then there’s a lot of pressure.
Changing behaviour is made easier when you follow some general tips and strategies that other successful changers have experienced. There are really helpful tips and activities that we can share with you and support you while you find the ones that will work for you.
Q. What if I do not want to change?
A. Sometimes people do not really want to change their behaviours but are under pressure to do so. Sometimes they just want to change a little bit to see what it is like. You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to. What is at stake is that if you are under pressure to change (from employer, parents, partner, or legally) and you choose not to; there could be more serious consequences like losing family, friends, relationships, access to children or your job. The choice is yours.
Q. Do I have to quit?
A. That is your own decision. At ADSTV we will help you make that decision if you have not already made up your mind. You do not have to quit altogether to get services here. We will help you make some changes no matter what your choices. We may have to discuss with you what the potential costs of some decisions are but the choice is always yours!
Q. If I stop now, can I try it again later?
A. Some people decide to stop using substances or practicing other behaviours for now but might decide to try it again later, you are free to choose what you think is right for you. ADSTV can always be available to help you later with decisions as they come up.
Q. What is a relapse?
A. A relapse is what we call “a return to previous behaviours”. A relapse occurs when you go back to what you were doing before you started to change. A relapse can mean that your treatment goals were not right for you or it can mean that you need to develop a new strategy if the other ones did not provide enough support.
A relapse might mean that you had some feelings or emotions sneak up on you that you weren’t ready for, it might mean that you need to practice coping with difficult circumstances or feelings or that you need more support.
For some people a relapse means you have to start over again or for others it means you have just had a little slip and you can start again that day or the next day. It’s important not to get too upset with yourself because that can lead to more substance use, problematic gambling. or other behavioural concerns.
Q. Is Addiction Genetic?
A. This is an interesting topic. Some people feel quite certain that addiction is genetic which means you have inherited this from your parents and family. There is research to back this up on the internet and in the research libraries. You have to decide for yourself if this theory makes sense to you.
Some people have become alcohol or drug dependent when there has been no addiction in the generations before and so they feel that addiction is learned in the environment or home or from friends.
Both theories have a lot of interesting information but the bottom line is that you have to think through what you think. There’s no right or wrong answer, really.
Q. Am I the only one?
A. You are not alone. There are many people who have had problems or who will in the future. There are role models in the community that you may never realize. Substance use, problem gambling, and other behavioural concerns exist around us in the community. Anyone can develop a problem so it’s important that you not think that you are alone, or that you are different from others. There are lots of people out there who can talk at meetings like A.A. or in groups in treatment centres at ADSTV.
Q. Can I do this later?
A. Help is available anytime you want it. If you do not want to make changes now, you can do it whenever you decide to. It is important to think carefully about the changes you want to make if you do want to make them. It is important for you to want to find out more information before you act and consult with a professional to decide. Television and internet sources can be poor sources of information and can use scare tactics and misinformation.
Q. Why is everyone around me so freaked out about my problems?
A. They are worried about you and afraid that you will be hurt or that your decisions now will have a negative impact later. Sometimes the ones who care about us are so worried that they get angry or make predictions that don’t feel real or right for the other person. It is important to listen to those who care about you or who want to protect you and it is important for them to listen to your side too!
Q. Why do I feel judged or misunderstood?
A. There is a lot of stigma (judgement) about people who are substance-involved and/or have other behavioural concerns. Stigma makes people feel less than others. It is a kind of discrimination. You may feel that your drinking for example is ok and others are saying they do not agree. This can make you feel like they are judging you. They may see a different side of things than you do. Often there are a lot of arguments in families, friendship and relationships about alcohol or drug use or gambling. People get really “passionate” about their own viewpoints and when arguing it is hard to listen or be heard. It may be time to talk to a professional who will be objective and give you advice on what your decisions can be.
Q. Can I be young and have a problem?
A. Yes, the young can have very serious problems with substance use, gambling, or other behavioural concerns. It can be a really good time to get some advice so that problems do not get worse. It doesn’t mean you are addicted and sometimes those labels do not help so we do not use them at ADSTV.