Too Much of a “Good” Thing?
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services
“Today in homeschooling we are working on fractions,” says the meme. You know the one. There are four wine glasses with varying degrees of fullness and fractions by each glass (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 1).
For most people, that’s probably an amusing nod to the challenge of homeschooling. But for some, it points to a harsh reality – addictive behaviors, relapses, and other kinds of unhealthy coping are on the rise. And they are not funny.
Is there a part of you that has started to wonder if you’re using too much of … whatever it is you’re using to cope? You can fill in the blank with your favorite go-to – alcohol? Pills – pain pills, Xanax, Aderall? Vaping? Kratom? Cannabis? Opiates? Inhalants? Steroids or growth hormone? Sex? Porn? Shopping? Food? Dieting? Gambling? Video games? Exercise? The list goes on.
Really, it’s whatever. Whatever it is that you’re turning to, maybe too often, and wondering – do I have a problem? Or maybe someone close to you has already said they think you have a problem.
Here’s a simple test. Could you easily give up whatever it is for the next week, and not really break a sweat? I’m not asking you to be thrilled at the idea, but if you could stop whatever it is for a week or more because, say, you have to go stay with the in-laws and it just wouldn’t be doable… or just because you read this and want to try it … then maybe you don’t have a problem. (Side note – if you drink so much alcohol that you need “the hair of the dog” to get your day started, or notice your hands shaking during the day, don’t quit cold turkey. You likely need a medical detox to quit safely. You primary care provider or your insurance company can help you find one.)
But if you’re reading this now and the very idea of not having whatever it is already stresses you out, perhaps so much that you don’t want to visit friends or family, maybe you do have a problem (however that is defined for you). Maybe it’s a problem you want to solve.
Here’s another simple test: Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut down? Are you annoyed because other people have made comments about you using it too much? Do you feel guilty about whatever it is you turn to? Do you need whatever it is first thing in order to get your day rolling? (If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have a problem – the more yeses you gave, the more intense your problem)
Has your life become unmanageable because of whatever it is you are using? Unmanageability shows up in different ways. Some examples include spending more than you can reasonably afford, hiding your use or your substances, legal problems due to your use, organizing your time to make sure you have enough of whatever on hand, avoiding events where you can’t use, not showing up for work or family the way you want, and breaking personal values or rules, such as not using at work or while the children are around. Or maybe your doctor has told you to cut back or stop, or expressed concern that your prescription is running out before it should. Maybe you’re not telling your doctor everything because she just wouldn’t understand.
Or maybe you’ve read all this and realized that some one close to you has a problem, and it’s time to ask them to get help.
You don’t have to figure this out alone. Schedule a confidential session today to figure out what your next steps are, especially if you want to cut back or stop entirely. Even a handful of therapy sessions could be what you need to help yourself and your family. We offer convenient teletherapy sessions, as well as in-person sessions, for individuals, couples, and families. White Cloud Therapeutic Services, LLC, at www.whitecloudtherapy.com or 757-503-7917. We take most types of insurance and offer a sliding scale for clients who are self-pay.
Article was written and sponsored by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services