October 29, 2013 Newsletter
Substance use, including underage drinking and the non-medical use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, significantly affects the health and well-being of our nation’s youth and people of all ages:
– An estimated 10 million people aged 12 to 20 report drinking alcohol during the past month. To put that in perspective, there are more Americans who have engaged in underage drinking than the number of people who live in the state of Michigan.
– Approximately 23 million Americans—roughly the population of Australia—are current illicit drug users. Marijuana use and non-medical use of prescription medications are the most common types of drug use in America.
– Almost 18 million Americans are classified with alcohol dependence or abuse.
– Heavy alcohol use can cause serious damage to the body and affects the liver, nervous system, muscles, lungs, and heart.
– Alcohol is a factor in approximately 41 percent of deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
Stopping substance abuse before it begins can increase a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.
There are many things that can lead to substance abuse, some of which we have no control over. Research shows that having a family history of substance abuse makes a person more at risk for alcohol and drug abuse. Also, individuals who have been victims of child abuse or who have been raised in poverty are more at risk. Do you see yourself or someone you love in these descriptions? When people experience great pain, it’s understandable to try to numb the pain—painful memories, depression and low self-esteem seem impossible to overcome on one’s own. The pain and loneliness can feel unbearable. You are not alone though—there are people who love you and want the best for you, and no one wants peace for you more than God. With His love and the caring support of others, you can overcome these predispositions and avoid or overcome addictions. Admitting your need for help shows tremendous courage and strength. It is the first and most difficult step in recovery. At Advance Counseling we make it as easy as possible to reach out for help. Contact us by phone during business hours for an initial consultation or complete our online Contact form any time of the day or night. We can provide you with the tools to overcome substance abuse and guide you toward the peaceful, joy-filled life God has for you.
Symptoms of Substance Abuse
If you are concerned that someone you love may have a problem with substance abuse, there are several symptoms that you can look for.
– Loss of interest in activities
– Suicidal thoughts or threats
– Decline in grade or work performance
– Increased risk taking
If you are concerned that you may have a problem with substance abuse, there are also symptoms that you can look for in yourself. Begin with the list above.
– Getting drunk and/or high on a regular basis
– Spending less time with others in order to get drunk or high
– Planning substance use in advance
– Drinking alone
– Needing more and more substances to get drunk or high
– Blackouts – forgetting what happened while drunk or high
If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, now is the time to seek help. Contact Advance Counseling.
While any long-distance relationship comes with challenges, military deployments introduce further challenges and stress to a marriage. Deployments may include the added stressors of fear, anxiety, and a lack of communication, causing immense strain on a marriage. Often you and your spouse will spend a significant amount of time apart, so developing a solid foundation for your marriage when you are together becomes vital. Although there are many challenges, a military marriage can still be a loving, rewarding relationship if you recognize and overcome the hurdles of deployment. If you or someone you now is struggling to maintain a healthy, happy marriage contact Advance Counseling. We can work with couples facing the challenges of a military marriage. Below are 7 suggestions to ease the challenges of the military lifestyle:
1. Make the most of your time together—during deployment, you’ll spend plenty of time apart, so enjoy your quality time together while you have the opportunity. Go shopping together, run errands, hike, swim or even quietly study together. Balance your time together with time alone to create a realistic, balanced relationship. Once you’re together on a more permanent basis, you won’t want to spend every waking moment with each other.
2. Stay in touch with one another—reduced communication can present its own challenges but taking time for some form of communication each day will helps ease the trauma of separation and keep your spouse a part of your daily routine. When you are unable to call or email, make sure to write a letter every day. Your letters don’t need to be long and in-depth; a run-down of the day’s events will help your spouse feel as though he or she is still an integral part of your daily life. Even if letters arrive several at a time, your spouse will appreciate the continuity of the letters and will know they’ve been in your daily thoughts and prayers.
3. Be honest—while it may be easier to hide little things from your spouse while he or she is deployed, that’s a dangerous pattern of behavior to fall into. Practicing honesty with little things helps build the foundation for honesty when more important matters are at stake. If you overspent a little or lost an important document, be honest. You’ve already invested yourself fully by committing to your partner, so honor that commitment by building trust.
4. Don’t entertain infidelity—deployment hampers both emotional and sexual intimacy, so both spouses may be tempted during time apart, be it with an emotional affair, physical affair, or pornography. Memorizing Bible verses can keep your thoughts on track and help you stay faithful. You may also want to ask a trusted friend to be an accountability partner. It’s healthy to entertain romantic thoughts as long as they are about your spouse.
5. Be flexible with long work hours and schedule changes—service members often have to work late hours or take work home, which puts a strain on family time. If your spouse returns early or finally has a weekend off, adjust your schedule accordingly to take advantage of rare time together.
6. Lessen the stress of moving—military life often requires relocation, which can be stressful and exhausting, especially if kids are involved. However, it’s a necessary part of being a military spouse, so learn to make the transition as smooth as possible. If you haven’t moved before, enlist the help and guidance of others who have done it before. Realizing you’ll most likely be relocating again; make some notes of what worked well and what could have been done to make the transition easier. If time allows, plan a fun, touristy weekend together in your new destination to build enthusiasm for your new home.
7. Remember that today isn’t forever—you were still blessed with this day, even if you are thousands of miles apart from your spouse. Focus on doing things that will make you happier or a better spouse—read up on parenthood if your plans for the future include a family or take a cooking class to surprise your spouse with your new cooking skills when he or she returns home. Take time to reflect about the things you love and respect about your spouse. Deepen the relationships with friends and other family members and pray for your spouse that he or she also values every day God provides. If you are in need of a supportive voice, contact Advance Counseling.
As great as Facebook is for quick communication and connecting with old friends, it can harm real-life relationships if you’re not careful. Reconnecting and especially exchanging private messages with old flames, even if the encounters begin innocently, breaks down trust and can be destructive to a relationship. One recent study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 66% of divorce attorneys surveyed said that Facebook was their primary online resource for case evidence. Sit down with your spouse and talk about boundaries on social media. If you need assistance with communicating your worries or guidance toward being more open with your spouse, call Advance Counseling. We can help improve your communication skills and guide you toward a healthier marriage. The following five steps will help you guard your relationship against the pitfalls of social media in a marriage.
1. Openly communicate your reservations—if you and your spouse have established clear, open communication, each spouse should be able to voice his or her reservations about the other spouse’s online activity. Adding old boyfriends or girlfriends might make you or your spouse uncomfortable. Brushing off worry about a past relationship as silly or trivial is disrespectful and speaks to a larger issue within the marriage. Respect your spouse’s discomfort and don’t add the old flame—likewise, if you’re uncomfortable, your spouse should respect that.
2. Unfriend or block someone who might be a temptation. Don’t worry about offending the blocked or unfriended person—establishing trust in your marriage is much, much more important than being polite on social media.
3. Don’t exchange intimate messages with someone—innocent conversations can invite progressively intimate exchanges. Complaining about relationships or personal problems to a non-neutral third party opens you up to emotional intimacy, which can quickly destroy your marriage. Even without a physical relationship, emotional infidelity can be just as damaging to a relationship. If you are struggling in your marriage, a trusted counselor, like those at Advance Counseling, can provide the resources to bring you through relationship problems without derailing your marriage.
4. Make your computer screen visible to both partners. Minimizing screen and browser windows when your spouse walks by invites suspicion. Unless you are planning a surprise party or buying gifts online, there shouldn’t be anything on your computer screen you wouldn’t want your spouse to view.
5. Share passwords—this is a great way to ensure that there are no secrets between spouses. The level of privacy shared depends on couples, but transparency and open communication minimizes the dangers and temptations of the Internet. Consider sharing passwords to everything from email to online banking. Some couples even combine Facebook accounts, further minimizing the likelihood of inappropriate messages.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:4-6
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
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