Five ways to support an addicted love one

As we make our way towards the end of National Recovery Month I want to discuss helping a love one that is struggling with addiction. Often times that love one is left out to battle the battle alone. Then there are other times that we want to help our love ones but just don’t know how. Well here’s 5 ways to support a love one battling addiction.

  1. Be supportive. Showing support for someone with an addiction means going to meetings with them, listening without judgement, shame, and blame, giving them a phone call to simply say hello, understanding that addiction is a disease, owning your feelings and not covering up the behaviors.
  2. Set boundaries. Provide your love ones with what you will and will not tolerate and be accountable for sticking to those boundaries. It is not tough love. Setting boundaries is a way to disable the behavior.
  3. Go to therapy. Encourage the love one to seek professional help. As a family member it will be very important that you go to therapy as well to work on any unresolved and unaddressed feelings and thoughts around the addiction. Therapy can also help you address your codependency in the relationship with the love one. Family therapy is also a good idea to help the family work on family of origin challenges that keeps the family in the dysfunction around the addicted love one.
  4. Be an example. If you use drugs or alcohol or have an addiction of certain behaviors then you lead by example through lifestyle change. You model healthy living by changing unhealthy behaviors, going to support groups, having a sponsor, or going through a recovery program as well.
  5. Self Care. It is very important that while you are supporting a love one with an addiction that you also do some self care. You want to make sure that you are getting your needs taking care of without falling into the trap of constantly meeting the needs of others and abandoning yours. Honor you.

So there you have it. This is just a few of many ways to care for a love one with addiction. Remember that addiction doesn’t just affect the one person. It affects the whole family.

 

Tahiyya xo

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please reach out for professional help. Don’t go at this alone!

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

 

I am located in Matthews, NC. I specialize in working with individuals, families, and couples who struggle with addiction, codependency, eating disorder, disordered eating and relational challenges. How may I serve you?

 

Addiction is a Family Thing

Day in and day out we are looking at the opiod crisis that is spreading like wild fire. It reminds of the crack epidemic that also spreaded like wild fire in the 80s and 90s. I remember being a little girl and seeing how this new lust was calling people’s names and calling them to do things that they would have never imagined doing. It was addiction. It was the ugly face of addiction.

Fast forward and as I look all around me addiction has grown increasingly among our youth; our adults, our families. Addiction comes in many forms. You have the typical drug and alcohol addiction. Then we have food, sex, gambling, social media, shopping, relationship/love, gaming, etc. They may not seem as harmful as drugs and alcohol however addiction is addiction and it affects one all the same.

I grew up around addiction. I grew up where there were alcoholics, drug addicts, gambling addicts, perhaps even food, sex, and relationships addicts. I saw how the addiction affected the souls of the individual. I even saw how addiction affected the family; the community.

Addiction doesn’t just affect the individual. Addiction affects the family. Each individual in the family takes on a role to either enable or disable the addict. These roles occur as a way to provide what most believe as support, tough love, or avoidance of the the addict. These roles include the following:

The Addict- the one with the addiction; the center of the dysfunction; where the world revolves the addict making them the center of attention.

The Hero– the one who is always to the resuce of the addict, the dysfunction, the family in the home; they work hard to make the addict, the family, and themselves look good. They are the perfectionist of the family.

The Mascot– the one that is the comedian of the family; to make light of the dysfunction; sometimes the jokes are not funny at all

The Lost Child– the one that gets lost in the dysfunction; they stay out of the way of the addict and the dysfunction.

The Scapegoat– the one that is the rebel and tries to bring attention to them and not the addict or the dysfunction

The Caretaker– this is the one that is the enabler; they take care of the addict and the dysfunction; they enable the addict to be the addict and the dysfunction to remain as dysfunction; the roles to remain the roles; they are the people pleasers trying to keep everyone and everything happy

When there is addiction in the home each family member will step into their role or roles…yes you can actually be in more than one role. The family members step into their roles and play the scenes of a movie that is not easy to watch and also not easy to live. After owning these roles it becomes “normal” and the addict continues to be the addict and the family also become addicts…codpendent (that’s another blog). Whenever someone in the family steps into recovery and decide that this is not the role they want to play any more and that this movie has to end is the moment that a change has to take place. A disruption has occurred in the family and either the family will stand with the dysfunction or take a stand and work on recovery as well. If you’ve ever seen Intervention on A&E you will know exactly what I mean.

Walking into recovery isn’t easy for the addict or the family. However it is not possible with just one person. The family unit will need to stand with addict or the person that interrupted the dysfunction and go through recovery together. Recovery begans with admitting that there is dysfunction; a problem and then seeking professional help. Family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, support groups, etc.  will be professional help that the family and the individuals can attend to work on walking out of patholgy to recovery and healing.

The road to recovery isn’t easy. It is tough. It is not pretty. It is not that movie with rainbows and unicorns. It will take work; committment, and consistency from the addict AND the family. It can be done. Hope is there!

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or in one of the family of addiction roles and would like help you can contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com or check out my website at http://www.tahiyyamartin.com.

Tahiyya xo

 

Tahiyya is a licensed professional counselor associate and licensed clinical addiction specialsit associate that works with adults and teens who struggle with addiction, codependency, disordered eating, and relational challenges. Her private practice is in Matthews, North Carolina. In addition to therapy she is also a life coach for women for emotional wellness and recovery as well as a mom and wife. 

 

My baby not allowing me to be great!

So for those of you who don’t know me don’t know that I’d given birth again to a little girl about 15 months ago. She’s my fourth child, first with my new husband. She’s the baby of six, were a blended family. The older kids are ages 22 to 11. So yes I definitely started over.

I’m starting over I had to make some sacrifices that at the time we’re ok. However as the baby turned into a toddler and I grew restless I became more aware of the sacrifices and later became frustrated.

Frustrated?

Yes. Frustrated!

My frustration grew because a part of me was restless and ready to get back to building my dream. The other part couldn’t move because I had a toddler attached to my hip. I felt trapped by responsibilities as a mother and wife and abandoned by my hopes and dreams. Then one day it hit me.

My dreams or even the fire for my passion doesn’t have to burn out. Instead I have to accept that today is my reality of being a repeat mom and that my dream is either on hold or my passion has to be modified.

This means that you can balance your life and the roles you have and still pursue your dreams or passion.

How?

  1. Radical acceptance. Accept your reality. Embrace your role and know that it can’t be changed. It’s a blessing to be a mom, wife, employee or employer, a friend, daughter, etc. This role is something out of your control so let go of the emotional reaction towards it.
  2. Ask yourself what can I do now that will keep my dream alive without losing hope? This is where you look at avenues that will allow you to pursue your dream or perhaps just plan out your dream until the time comes that you can make some things happen. For me I attend trainings, I write out my dreams as a reminder. I do vision boards. I participate in groups that allows me to connect with those who have similar dreams. I may not be able to go full force but the slow and steady is where I’ve come to accept.
  3. Boundaries. Set boundaries in your life that allows you time and space to balance your work- life schedule. When you’re so busy in one role over the other it leaves no time to put up those hats and enjoy yourself. Thus you become stressed, frustrated, and resentful towards your love ones. This is where you say no work calls after 6pm, dinner time is at the table for connecting, kids in bed by 8 so you can have some time with your yourself and then your partner before you end the night. You set the rules. Take care of you.
  4. Communication is always the key. Talk to your spouse/partner about your feelings. Don’t hold it in because again you’ll start to develop resentment. Instead discuss the importance of the dream or passion and how support is viable so that you can achieve your dreams even if you have to modify how to achieve them or move at a slower pace while you finish out your role as a mom to young kids.

So the next time you think your kid isn’t allowing you to be great reframe that and say my kid is allowing me to be a great parent in this moment. My dreams and passion isn’t gone. I just have to change the way I achieve them or my timeline to achieve them has changed and that’s ok.

You’re all great

Xo

Tahiyya

If you need help with your frustration in parenting and want to learn how to balance your needs with the needs of others please contact me to schedule you a FREE 15 minute consultation.

My Vision

Last night I attended an experiential group and was introduced to this little exercise that I want to share with you the results.

But first let me explain what experiential therapy is. Experiential therapy is the concept of how I came up with the name No Couch Needed. When you are working with an experiential therapist like myself and many others you will find that you are spending less time on the couch talking and more time moving around in your session either physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. Experiential is about movement so that you can re-experience and reenact your emotional experiences, uncover hidden or unresolved issues all by using activities such as role play, empty chair, guided imagery, use of props, music, art,  and other active experiences. So as you can see No Couch is Needed in most cases.

No on to the exercise.

I give myself permission to trust the process.

In 2018 I see myself growing into my role as a wife, mother, therapist, and business owner. I see myself starting new habits and letting old ones go such as doubt, inconsistency and obsessive worry. I see myself trusting myself more to be authentic, to be me, and to trust that where I am going is my journey and not me imitating the journey of someone els.e’s journey. Authentic. Imperfect. Me!

In the work, being a part of the therapist training group, I’m learning to be confident and move past my imposter syndrome, to belive in my passion and not the position. It rings me joy to take what I’ve learned and apply to practice. It brings me joy to be with others who are learning just like me and not shaming or judging but loving

I am done with comparing myself, doubting myself and I’m learning to make all my roles my own.

I want to vacation with my family in a cabin, in the woods, in the Fall, sitting by a burning fire enjoying nature and laughter. TOGETHER!!!

I live inside my mind, my soul, my spirit. I live in a house away from others surrounded by nature.

I need to be reminded that…it is ok to be you, ok to not be perfect, ok to grow, ok to trust your instinct, ok to be scared, but most importantly know that you are good enough!

My vision for me for 2018.

What’s your vision for you for 2018?

Want to know the prompts to create your own vision?

Interested in experiential therapy?

Contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com.

 

Tahiyya

xo

http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

 

 

Who are you


Who are you?
Who are you behind your "best" profile pic that took several tries to get just right?
Who are you behind your family vacation photos where everyone is smiling that "perfect" smile?
Who are you behind your philosophical posts you give everyday?
Who are you behind the awesome victories you post that you definitely deserve?
Who are you behind the phone, the laptop, the keyboard, tablet or iPad?
Who are you?
If you're not who you portray yourself to be or really don't know take the the weekend to unplug and connect to YOU! Your authentic YOU
#unplugged #haveAGreatWeekend #selfReflection #wife #mom #therapist #woman

Tahiyya xo

Looking to do some self discovery to redefine who you are, embrace who you are? Looking to develop the roadmap for your life. Contact Tahiyya at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com

Tahiyya is a wife, mother, therapist, blogger, and human. She loves to help women of all ages with self discovery in her coaching program Life, Love, and Health. Tahiyya also treats anxiety and mood disorders as well as addiction, binge eating, body image issues, maternal mental health, relationship challenges, family challenges, and ADHD in her practice in Matthews, NC. http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

Fried chicken and brownies: Tale of emotional eating 


So it's the weekend and I had Saturday dinner at my mom's. Like all black families when we gather we eat. Yes we eat at funerals. We eat at weddings. We eat at baby showers. We eat at any type of gathering where family and friends get together. Eating has become a source for comfort. Food is comforting.
The foods we eat have become a part of our emotions. You know you that question "what do you feel like eating?". My husband asks this question all the time. Of course I will answer with the food of choice based on how I'm feeling. If I'm feeling sad I want some good 'ol cooking like fried chicken and add the dessert to make everything right…brownies. There have been days where I've needed to calm my anxiety and I'm heading to the local Chinese restaurant for General Tso or Sesame chicken and white rice. Again food choice is based on my emotions. The other night I was mad at my husband and needed a McDonald mango pineapple smoothie. Emotional eating.
Emotional eating is when you're eating to cope with your emotions instead of eating because you're physically hungry. Emotional eating satisfies you and your emotional needs for the moment however the cause for the emotion is still there lingering. It's the same as addiction, self medicating to cope with challenges, emotions, thoughts, and situations.
Recovery from emotional eating does exists. Here's a list of ways to manage the urge to grab that bag of potato chips when you're bored or the gallon of ice cream when you're sad

  1. Use STOP. I spoke about this skill in another post called STOP. The Stop skill is a DBT skill that is used for distress tolerance or when you're in crisis and need to take a step back in order to problem solve and respond without impulse to urges (https://nocouchneeded.com/2017/07/24/stop/).
  2. Give a name to your emotion. Most time when we are emotional eating we are not even aware that is what we're doing. We get so wound up in our emotions that the eating is done unconsciously. Instead when you're feeling mad, sad, glad, happy, etc. put a name to that emotion. Say I feel…! Sit with the emotion. Allow yourself to feel it. Don't escape from it with food.
  3. Talk it out. Instead of running to get that pineapple mango smoothie talk it out. Express what you're feeling and thinking. Then work on resolving the problem with a solution not with food. You can definitely do this with a friend for support.
  4. Go for a walk. When the emotions hit you and food is on your mind redirect your thoughts to walking, running, jogging, or some form of exercise. Exercise is a form of healthy coping to help fight off the urges.
  5. Listen to your body. The body will tell you when it's hungry. So if you're eating and it's not because you're hungry stop and get in tune with your body. Listen to what it's saying and feeling (I'm bored or I'm sad or I'm stressed). That's your que to use a healthy coping skill to manage the urge to eat and do some problem solving.
  6. Lean in to the urge. If the urge to to eat is becoming overwhelming then lean into the urge with an alternative. Try fruits and vegetables instead of that cake and ice cream or that bag of potatoes chips. It's ok. You will beat it next time.
  7. Develop a stress management plan. Stress is the reason why many of us emotional eat. Talk to a professional about developing a stress management plan that will improve the stress in your life thus leading to urges to emotional eat.
  8. Seek professional help. There are therapists out there that can help you address the root of the issue and help you develop healthier coping skills to overcome emotional eating. It's ok to go to therapy. We're here to help and support you. #noshame #noblame #nojudgment

If you or someone you know struggles with emotional eating or food addiction and would like to know how to start recovery contact me today!
http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

Tahiyya xo

Check out

Breaking Free from Emotional Eating
http://a.co/cHCNPzy

The black woman and depression: It’s not always sadness

img_0652-e1496198953918.jpg

Growing up in the black community crying was not an option. Many families did not know how to embrace emotions because for generations we were not allowed to show emotions. For hundreds of years emotions were a sign of weakness (crying) or short lived (happiness). Over time the one emotion that we were good at showing was anger. Anger showed on our faces even if we were not aware of it. Anger seeped in our conversations even when we tried to be friendly. Anger even showed up in our work as we used it for energy to be productive in the fields. Anger was the go to anger for protection against all the sadness and pain we were feeling in our generational past and even today.

So let’s fast forward to today. In my own personal experience I remember saying “I don’t have time to cry”. That was my go to saying when I was feeling sad, hurt, embarassed, frustrated, or even happy. Crying took time. Crying meant that my sadness was real. So I would quickly resort to being withdrawn and always irritable (another form of anger). I see this a lot not just in clients but also in family, friends, media, characters on television, and on social media posts. Again anger was a way to be protetive of yourself against the vulnerability that came with being sad. However behind that anger was a deeper rooted issue. Depression.

Depression does not always show up as not wanting to get out of bed. It is not always crying for hours or days. It is not always feeling blue. It is not always skipping out on family and friends or things that you love to do. It is not always feeling and admitiing to feeling suicidal (that’s another upcoming post). In the black community depression can show up in those above mention ways but it also shows up as anger. It shows up in spending time with family and friends and feeding your pain with drama to make you more irritable. It shows up as the attitude. It shows up at the dinner table as  we take in more food than we normally would on a good day. It shows up as pretending to have it together. It shows up as emotional suicide as we cope with the red wine every night. It shows up as smoking a blunt or doing a line or two in order to make it through your day. It shows up in yelling  at our kids for simple things. It shows up as being withdrawn from our kids or other love ones. It shows up as the mask that we wear and call it being independent; strong or “that bitch”.

I like to tell people that no matter how we internalize our thoughts and feelings it will show up. Crying makes it obvious and with the stigma behind tears in the black community we dare not cry; not even over spilled milk.  We better get angry! 

We better get help. There are different ways to getting help for your depression instead of getting or feeling angry.

First seek professional help to assess for depression or depressed mood. Talk about what you’re feeling and thinking and how it has affected your day to day living. Sometimes this may include getting a formal diagnosis and medication if the medical professional recommends it (I’m not a doctor so I can’t talk much on medicaiton).

Second find a therapist that specializes in working with depression disorders. There are different types of therapy that can help such as talk therapy, DBT therapy, CBT therapy, and experiential therapy (these are the modalities I use). Your therapist will assist you in developing a course of treatment to help address the underlying issues and develop skills to cope in a healthier manner.

Third utilize your support system. In the black community we also have the stigma surrounding going to therapy and keeping our flaws to ourselves. Let’s end that stigma. It’s time to  connect to those love ones that will be there to help you get through your tough times; make you laugh, and hold you accountable for your treatment. Healthy relationships and connections can lead to healthier recovery.

Fourth develop a routine of getting outside and getting some exercise. This can be something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps with the whole body; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Fifth and lastly know that you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay but what’s most important is that you acknowledge what you are feeling and seek the appropriate care.

Ladies we don’t always have to be strong and independent. It is okay to take care of ourselves and get our mental health in check. Sending lots of love and hugs xoxo

 

Tahiyya xo

 

If you or someone you know is depressed and feeling suicidal please get help and call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Other resources

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting: Terrie M. Williams …

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America: Charisse …

If you live in the Matthews and Concord area and need a therapist please contact me at www.tahiyyamartin.com/contact

 

 

Seeking Safety

Trauma occurs in many different forms from sexual abuse/assault, physical abuse/assault, emotional abuse and neglect, birth trauma, to witnessing and being a victim of acts that are distressing psychologically. When one experiences a traumatic incident they are usually in a crisis and the behaviors that follow can seem abnormal to other people. Often as time goes by the body will begin to respond to the traumatic experience as well (The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van Der Kolk MD is a good book to read to understand this concept). 
In the past, clients that I have treated who have been victims of sexual abuse and physical abuse often talk about both physical and emotional symptoms for example high blood pressure and recurring nightmares or headaches and anxiety. This is very common. The body does keep the score. 
In treating trauma it is very important to first help the client with building self compassion, empowerment, setting clear boundaries for self and developing safety as well as identifying supportive, healthy relationships. No matter the theory or approach used to treat trauma safety has to be established in order for one to trust the process and work on their recovery. 

So here’s just a few tips on helping to get into a safe place when symptoms of trauma become overwhelming 

  • Do some breathing work and focus on your breaths. You want to breathe in to fill the lungs and breathe out to empty the lungs while focusing on your breath. 
  • Close your eyes and visually imagine a safe place. My safe place is being near water. I would close my eyes and imagine myself near flowing water (while working on my breath work)
  • Self talk use self talk to help you deescalte your symptoms (rapid beating heart, hypervigilance, running thoughts, etc) and get into your safe place. You’ll remind yourself that you’re going to your safe place or to slow down your heart beat or to being yourself into the present. 
  • Call your supports. Sometimes hearing a nice familiar voice of someone that can soothe you back to safety can be a great idea. When I’m Recovery or going thorough emotional healing building a support system is very important. 
  • Seek a professional. Therapy is a great place to learn how to manage intrusive thoughts and other symptoms of PTSD when self care is not enough. 

Dealing with trauma and trauma related symptoms can be distressful and challenging but know that you can get through it. You can seek your safe place. 

Tahiyya xo

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma and the trauma related symptoms please seek help. If you live in NC and would like to make an appointment to see me please call me at 910-434-5325 or email me at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com. 

Seek Safety 

Trauma is my name 

“No one knows the troubles I’ve been through. They don’t see the scars hidden beneath my spirit. They don’t understand the…

💥Hypervigilance 

💥Anxiousness 

💥Running thoughts 

💥Sleepless nights

💥Emotional roller coaster 

💥Irritability 

💥Feeling trapped in my own body

💥Reoccurring nightmare

💥Don’t feel safe

💥Boundaries broken

💥Withdrawn 

💥Walking on eggshells 

💥Loud voices are frightening 

💥Shame 

Instead they see the smile that hides the pain. They see the loving and kind me. The always on top of things me. The beautiful on the outside me. I can’t tell my story. I can’t share my pain. I can’t show my shame. Trauma is my name”

Are you hiding behind the pain of trauma? It’s time to get help. 

Here’s some resources just for you!

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

http://www.mntraumaproject.org/resources-for-clients

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://www.amazon.com/Courage-Heal-Survivors-Sexual-Anniversary/dp/0061284335

I’m scared

I’m scared…You hit a brick wall while traveling this Road called life. It just got real and now you need to see someone and it needs to be now.


“I’m scared”.

You have all these questions in your head. You have all these thoughts speed racing through your mind. What if they can’t help me? What if I don’t like them? Will I have to tell my secrets? Will things get worse? Cry!!!

“I’m scared”

So you decide to treat the issue yourself. You self soothe or better yet self medicate with your choice of drug, alcohol or process. A nice way to put addiction. It works for a while but when you’re off your “high” the problem returns.

“I’m scared”

Finally you give up and give in and decide to give therapy a try but still holding on to that pacifier. You’re not sure how things will go so it’s your back up plan.

“I’m scared”

But things take a turn. The therapist is really nice. The therapist offered you a space of safety to work on healing and recovery. The therapist helps you to get out of your head and really feel the emotions so you can now do some problem solving and get back on track with living healthier, happier AND without the pacifier.

“I’m not scared. I’m recovering. I’m happy”

Taking the first step to therapy can be scary. But it’s always worth a try.

Tahiyya xo

If you’re ready and looking for a place of safety to address the brick walls in your life or to remove the “pacifier” to stop self soothing and medicating. Please contact Tahiyya Martin here. She is a licensed professional counselor associate and licensed clinical addiction specialist associate in North Carolina. She offers free 15 minute phone consultations.

(Photos: All rights reserved. Photos may not be reproduced or used in any manner).