10 Signs of an Alcohol Addiction

Share Button

bottle

Are You an Alcoholic? 10 Warning Signs of Addiction

By The Ranch

It’s hard to be objective when it comes to figuring out whether you or your loved one has a problem with drinking. Emotions run high, rationalizations and denials lead to confusion and it can seem hard to draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s going too far. Although the boundaries are fuzzy, issues with drinking are either classed as problem drinking or alcohol dependence. Problem drinkers don’t have a full-fledged addiction to alcohol, but their drinking may be starting to take its toll on their everyday lives and they are at greatly increased risk for becoming dependent later. So while some of the warning signs of alcoholism are technically signs of problem drinking, there is a lot of overlap, and identifying either one is cause for concern. Here are 10 of the most important things to look out for in yourself or your loved one:

  1. Lying About or Hiding Your Drinking – Denial is common with people having problems with alcohol, so both problem drinkers and alcoholics might drink secretively or lie about how much they drink to make it seem like less of an issue. This can be hard to spot for anybody but the individual, due to its very nature, but it’s an important sign of a more serious problem.
  1. Drinking to Relax or Feel Better – Almost all people struggling with addiction abuse their substance of choice for emotional reasons. Whether it’s stress, depression, anxiety or anything else, using alcohol as a method of easing negative feelings is a risky habit—the “relief” it provides is only temporary and it ordinarily makes things worse in the long run. If you drink more when you’ve had a stressful day or need a drink to feel like you can really relax, it’s a big sign that you’re using alcohol as an emotional crutch.
  1. “Blacking Out” Regularly – Drinking so much that you have no memory of what happened is another red flag for a problem with alcohol. Simply put, it means you drank way too much. If you find this happening to you (or notice it happening to someone else), you have to ask what is driving you to drink so excessively? You don’t need to black out to have fun, so what’s the real reason?
  1. Being Unable to Stop Once You Start – If you always finish a bottle of wine once it’s opened or drink all the beer in the house once you’ve had one, it’s another sign you aren’t in full control of your drinking and you may have a problem.
  1. Drinking in Dangerous Situations – Drinking when you really shouldn’t—like before work, before you have to drive somewhere or drinking against your doctor’s orders when you’re on medication—is an important sign of problem drinking. Even if something hasn’t gone wrong yet, every time you do something like this you run the risk of serious consequences. Regularly taking those risks strongly implies that alcohol is the main priority in your life.
  1. Neglecting Your Responsibilities – If you’re having problems at work, school or with your household responsibilities because of your drinking, you have a problem. Alcohol has crossed the line from an occasional indulgence to something that seriously impacts your day-to-day functioning.
  1. Having Trouble in Your Relationships – This is closely related to the last point, but it’s in many ways more important. If your drinking is causing problems with your closest friends, your significant other or your family, it’s an indication that alcohol is a bigger priority than even the most important people in your life. These last two symptoms are general signs of any addiction, and might mean that your issues are going beyond the problem-drinker stage.
  1. Being Able to Drink More Than You Used To – Tolerance is another key sign of addiction, so if you can drink more than you used to and need to drink more than you did before in order to get drunk, it’s a strong indicator that you’re becoming an alcoholic. It means your body is exposed to alcohol regularly enough that it has adapted to cope with it better.
  1. Experiencing Withdrawal – Withdrawal is different from a hangover; it’s the reaction to the lack of alcohol rather than too much alcohol. If you start to feel irritable, tired, depressed, nauseous or anxious when you haven’t had a drink, there’s a possibility you’re going through withdrawal. Other signs include having trouble sleeping, losing your appetite and experiencing shakiness or trembling.
  1. Trying to Quit but Being Unable to – If you have realized your drinking is becoming a problem (or someone who cares about you has) and tried to make a change but have been unsuccessful, you should seriously consider finding additional help. Deciding to quit drinking shows that you understand the impacts it’s having on your life, but the fact that you’re unable to means there’s a big chance you’re struggling with alcohol addiction.

It’s important to note that experiencing just one of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a problem drinker or an alcoholic, but if you’re experiencing a few of them (or you see numerous signs in a loved one), there is a very strong possibility your drinking has gone too far. The latter five symptoms in particular are signs of addiction rather than problem drinking.

It might not be an easy road ahead, but one day you’ll see deciding to get help as the day your life started to change for the better.

 

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

A Model Apology

Share Button

Looking to learn an effective way to apologize or teach someone else – maybe your kids – how to healthily apologize?  Take a look at this four part model (downloadable here).

four-part-apology

If you would like help with forgiveness and interpersonal relationships, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

How to Defuse a Big Fight

Share Button

storm

How to Defuse a Big Fight

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

You’re in the heat of battle. Your spouse has morphed into a nearly unrecognizable person, and you’re running defense in the worst way possible. What started out as a small disagreement has exploded into a full-scale BIG FIGHT.

How did it get to this point? More importantly, how are you going to get out of it without causing major damage to your relationship?

HIT THE BRAKES.

If your fight is spiraling quickly out of control, it’s time to take a breather. It’s up to you how long you take to cool down, but do whatever it takes to stop the escalation. Don’t allow the destruction of a bad fight to continue unchecked, but don’t drop the issue without revisiting and resolving it, either.

As you step away from the fight to consider what might be done to resolve your problem, focus on the components of a good fight that we like to call the C.O.R.E.

C – COOPERATION

A great way to reach a mutually beneficial resolution in a fight is to create a win-win situation. You can consider your options in multiple ways; one effective way to do this is to write down the outcomes both of you want to achieve, then set about looking for ways that you can both benefit.

When you come back together, present your suggestions to your spouse. If your spouse rejects your initial suggestions, work together to create solutions that are agreeable to both of you. This may take a little maneuvering, but it can be done!

O – OWNERSHIP

Next, consider which parts of the situation you can take ownership of. You should never own something that isn’t yours (like your spouse’s bad behavior), but you can own your reactions to the situation.

We like to call it the “chaos pie”–so which slices of the pie belong to you? Which portions of your chaos should you claim?

Owning the parts of the conflict that are yours, and taking responsibility for them, is a huge step toward the healthy resolution of the fight you’re in. By claiming what’s yours, you lift those burdens from your spouse’s shoulders, clarify your position, and allow them the chance to identify which parts they should own, as well.

If you’re both acknowledging responsibility toward your parts of the conflict, you can work together more successfully to make things right.

R – RESPECT (LISTEN & HEAR)

Respect is a key ingredient in every relationship, and in conflict, it plays a particularly important role.

A critical part of respect is listening to–and truly hearing–your spouse during a conflict. Let them know you’re engaged and paying attention to what they’re telling you. It might even be helpful to repeat back what you hear them saying to you for clarity. And if you’re off the mark, you’re giving them a chance to clarify.

Also, be attentive to your body language and your nonverbal expressions. Don’t sigh loudly or roll your eyes. Show your spouse that what they’re saying is important, and they deserve to be heard.

The absence of respect in a fight will cause your issues to spiral out of control. But if you determine to intentionally show respect to your spouse, even in conflict, you are laying the groundwork for healthy resolution of any issues you may face together.

E – EMPATHY

If you can develop the ability to walk in your spouse’s shoes, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on your situation. Endeavor to see the issue the way he or she sees it. This doesn’t mean that empathy will lead you to change your own perspective; it will just help you understand where your spouse is coming from.

Empathy protects your heart from becoming hardened, and when you’re in a big fight, you’ll need that protection.

NOW BEGIN AGAIN.

 

If you would like to receive help in areas of conflict, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

 

Funday Friday: Thanksgiving Wizard of Oz Humor

Share Button

Here’s a little Thanksgiving humor for your Funday Friday ala Wizard of Oz

thanksgiving-humor

If you would like to add some more humor into your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Seven Scientific Benefits of Gratitude

Share Button

Happy Thanksgiving! As you head into this day, take a look at seven benefits of gratitude that show that practicing a regular “attitude of gratitude” is excellent for your overall health (and not just on November 24).

thanksgiving

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

By Amy Morin

The below is an excerpt from the aforementioned article found at Psychology Today.

Here are 7 scientifically proven benefits [of practicing gratitude]:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
  2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
  3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
  5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
  7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.

If you would like some assistance with gratitude in your daily life, contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Managing Holiday Stress and Depression

Share Button

stress-holiday-fall

Managing Holiday Stress 

By The Cleveland Clinic

In Great Britain the word “holiday” has the same meaning as vacation. Many Americans would find this comparison laughable. For most of us, the holidays come with our own “to-do” lists.

Too often we take holiday stress for granted. What’s worse, we often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, and — in some cases — depressed. When the realities of day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, stress results.

How do I prevent holiday stress?

Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? Asking yourself this question is the first step to managing holiday stress. Make a list of what you expect from yourself and your family during the holidays. Hidden within these expectations you might find your potential holiday stressors — the things specific to you that can cause stress.

Under each item in the list, write down what changes you can make to prevent or defuse stress. Make the changes that will be most helpful to you. Do not hold on to unrealistic goals, such as creating the most enchanting holiday atmosphere. Remember to include your own needs.

Here is an example of a holiday stress prevention list:

Holiday shopping
  • Ask people what they want instead of scouring the earth to find the “perfect” gifts.
  • Shop early, when there is more of a selection.
  • Stick to your gift budget.
Planning family get-togethers
  • Buy prepared foods, instead of cooking everything from scratch.
  • Ask others to bring their favorite dishes.
  • Cook and freeze foods ahead of time.
Scheduling time with family and friends
  • Simplify holiday commitments and traditions. Discuss with your family which traditions are most important to you and to them. It’s okay to re-evaluate past traditions.
  • Allow time for yourself. Remember to do things that you enjoy.
  • Avoid time crunches by making plans to visit some friends and family soon after the holidays.
  • Don’t over-schedule yourself. Allow enough time to relax and recover after visiting with others.
  • Tell family members about your commitments so you are not struggling against their expectations.
  • Travel after rush hour. When driving long distances, give yourself time to stop and rest.
Pausing before the holiday spread
  • Avoid overeating and overdrinking, especially alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties. This approach can lead to eating too much of the wrong foods.
  • Continue to exercise and watch your diet.
Managing your time
  • Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
  • Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  • Don’t spend all of your time planning activities for your family. You might end up feeling drained and unappreciated.
  • Take the time you need to finish tasks that are important to you. Don’t try to complete everything at once.
  • Ask others, including the kids, to help you complete chores.
  • Rest when your body tells you to.

What are the holiday blues?

For some of us, the holidays can be a depressing time when we get the holiday blues. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anger can intensify when contrasted with the joy expected of the holidays. Factors that can contribute to holiday depression include:

  • Associating the holidays with unresolved family issues or a painful childhood
  • Ignoring feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression in an effort to maintain “holiday cheer”
  • Facing the loss of a loved one with whom you have shared the holidays
  • Having unrealistic expectations of family and friends
  • Having an expectation that you “should” feel good
  • Being away from family and friends
  • Feeling isolated from others
  • Reflecting on losses or disappointments over the past year
  • Coping with changes in family obligations, particularly after a recent marriage or divorce
  • Drinking more alcohol, which is often more readily available during the holidays (Avoid drinking alcohol to ward off negative feelings. Alcohol often will make depression worse.)

How do I cope with the holiday blues?

  • Try something new. Take a vacation with a family member or friend.
  • Spend time with people who care about you.
  • Volunteer your time to help others. Spending time with those in need can help you feel less isolated.
  • If you are religious, take time to reflect on the spiritual significance of the holidays.
  • Try to appreciate the good things you have now instead of focusing on the past.
  • Stay active. Get out. Go for a walk. Window shop.
  • Accept feelings of sadness or loneliness. These feelings might not go away just because it’s the holidays.
  • Get help if you need it. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help any time of the year.

Some Good News About Marriage

Share Button

church-wedding-marrige

Have you ever heard, “Studies show that just like the overall population, half of all marriages in the church end in divorce”?

If you have heard and believed that “statistic” then you have bought into a myth.
Shaunti Feldhaun (a master of statistics and studies of statistics) beautifully debunks the myth – as well as many other depressing marriage myths – in The Good News About Marriage. 

Ready for some mythbusting?  Here’s the truth that has been lost about marriage and the church from her study of marriage studies:

  • In the infamous 2001 Barna study, it was stated that “professing Christians have the same divorce rate as non-Christians – roughly 33 to 34 percent”; not 50 percent as is so often stated in the myth (p 66).
  • In a 2008 Barna study that looked at both profession of Christian faith and church attendance in the “last seven days, the divorce rate dropped 27 percent compared to those who hadn’t” (p 70).
  •  The massive National Survey of Families and Households study “found that regular [church] attendance (several times a month) had a major impact on reducing divorce rates…[with] an average drop of roughly 50 percent” (p 72).
  • The aforementioned NSFH study did further analysis and “discovered that even after controlling for many other factors, such as income, age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, and geographic region, the matter of church attendance trumped them all.” It found that “church attendance alone dropped the divorce rate 35 percent” by those who attended church several times a month (p 72).

For more good news about marriage or to add some more health to your relationship, contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Emotional Intimacy: How To Connect on a Deeper Level

Share Button

intimacy

Emotional Intimacy: How To Connect on a Deeper Level

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

You and your spouse have a good marriage–great, even–but you’re ready to take it to the next level. Maybe you’re physically intimate, but you want more of that intimacy to extend to your emotional life.

In today’s post, we’re sharing five tips for increasing the emotional intimacy in your relationship. Each of these tips builds on the next to help you create the deep, fulfilling connection you’re craving.

NURTURE TRUST

In order for your marriage to be as emotionally intimate as possible, you and your spouse must be able to trust one another implicitly. This means that both of you must commit to always being honest with one another, speaking the truth in love.

It also means that you should model trustworthiness for your spouse. If your husband or wife observes you being dishonest with a third party–for any reason–you’ve planted a seed of doubt in their heart. It’s very difficult to overcome breaches in trust, so do your best to avoid creating unnecessary problems.

ENSURE EMOTIONAL SAFETY

In addition to being trustworthy, you and your spouse can increase your intimacy by guaranteeing one another emotional safety in your relationship. Lovingly accepting your spouse, warts and all, is the ultimate display of love–and an offering of safety.

If neither of you has to worry about being wrongly judged, criticized, or cut down, you will both thrive!

ENCOURAGE VULNERABILITY

With the gift of emotional safety comes the invitation to be vulnerable. Allowing yourselves to be authentic with one another will add a deeper layer of intimacy to your marriage. As you take the time to not only accept your spouse’s vulnerabilities, but also expose your own, your love for one another will grow deeper.

No one on earth will know you the way your spouse knows you. And no one will know your spouse like you do. The best way to get there is to be who you are with one another–without pretense.

CULTIVATE CLOSENESS

Spending time together and sharing activities will give you the physical proximity you need to nurture your romance, as well as your friendship. Even if you’re short on free time, make sure to invest at least a few minutes a day face-to-face, enjoying one another’s company. The more connected you feel, the more intimate your marriage will be!

FOSTER DEEP CONNECTION

Feeling profoundly connected to your spouse can affect both of you (positively!) on a spiritual level, in addition to the benefits you’ll feel emotionally and physically. Take time to learn more about one another. If there’s something your spouse feels passionately about, ask questions to learn more. Or if they love or enjoy something deeply, show curiosity about it.

Connect where you are able, regardless of whether you have the same set of interests. Finding common ground together and reveling in that–instead of focusing on areas where you don’t agree or resonate with one another–will skyrocket your emotional intimacy.

MHAFC Pro Bono Counselor of the Year

Share Button

Seth EvansMeet Seth Evans, awarded the Mental Health America, Franklin County ProBono Counseling Volunteer of the Year!!

Seth Evans has been with Cornerstone Family Services from our inception.  He is licensed by the State of Ohio as a Clinical Counselor. Seth has many areas of professional interest and specialization, including his work with marriages, men’s issues, relationships, sexual integrity/addiction, spiritual struggles, and anxiety/depression.  We are all very proud of Seth.

 

Funday Friday: Love Mug Math Humor

Share Button

Here’s some loving math humor for you to drink up for this week’s Funday Friday post:

love-mug

If you would like to add some more joy into your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.