Journey's blog

Why Them and not Me? [Alberta Sequeira]

How many alcoholic abusers get upset that their siblings can drink with no side effects but they’re always getting in trouble from their drinking? Either the disease is hereditary and they don’t have the gene or they just choose not to over-drink.

If it’s not hereditary, I think you need to look into a list of causes making you become an alcoholic. First it’s your choice to drink and take drugs. We all become responsible for our actions. It all begins with your habit. Any habit is hard to break; whether it’s biting your nails, smoking, drinking, taking drugs or having a bad routine that we keep following.

*You need to get another activity that keeps your mind working toward a healthier life. Get a job, go to the gym, work with kids, get into organizations or volunteer your time for a good cause.

Where are your friends who you used to laugh with and share a great friendship with? Remember doing things that were just plain fun without drinking? How many of them have left because of your drinking?

Your new friends are the ones who drink with you and find every excuse that there is that nothing is wrong with it because everyone in your crowd is doing the same thing. That makes it easier to stay in denial and you convince yourself that you have no problem.

*You need to realize that these “so called friends” don’t care what happens to you. They just need someone to follow them or want your money when you need a fix. “Misery loves company.” Once you leave school, these friends will be gone; whether by them walking away from you or their death from their habit. 

What location do you keep going to for entertainment? Is it the bar, a place to meet with a drug dealer, wild parties or places that your friends congregate to drink? This is a good way to become brain dead as the years go on in your life. Your body can take this abuse for just so long.

*By this stage, you need to reach out to professionals and get help. Do it for you. If you go to keep people off your back for drinking, you won’t recover. You need to face this problem dead on or you will die from it.

Need strength to get through this? Turn to your Higher Power. You will never be alone. Prayer is just talking to God. I tell alcoholics to say an easy prayer each day. In the morning ask God, “Please help me get through this day without a drink.” At night, thank Him, even if it was the worse day of your life. Why? Because He is giving you another day to get it right. 

Get out of denial and get on a road to recovery. It's your battle.

What Does it Take? [Alberta Sequeira]

I often wonder; what does it take for an alcoholic to see that they’re killing themselves? What does it take when it comes to addiction, bad situations, or unhappiness for someone to reach out for hope? Maybe they just get tired of living a certain way that they finally make up their minds to change.

 Most people, when they’re down, look for someone or something to rescue them. That’s the problem; they have to rescue themselves, and I don’t think most people understand that they actually have the power to do it. Maybe it’s the ones who come to the realization that no one is going to rescue them that they pull themselves out? Maybe those are the people who succeed.  

 That kind of power isn’t reserved for a few lucky addicts…they all have it, and maybe they need someone to tell them, whether it’s in a story, a book, or a talk so they can believe it.”

 So, I’m saying with prayer, faith and belief, every one of you with addiction can pull yourselves out of your habit and actions, and there’s no reason to suffer in silence when you have counselors, doctors and family who care.  They may want to help and support you, but it’s your battle.

 You shape your life. Either you stay stuck in the past or you choose a normal and healthy future. You have choices. Too many of you get into sick routines with bad habits with drinking friends who pull you down. It’s in your power on how you react and respond to your addiction. If you play victim, you won’t recover.  If you do the very best you can, you can accomplish anything you want.

 Your talents are buried deep within you from your disease. If you don’t make a decision with what direction you want to take in life, you’ll remain adrift in alcohol and drug abuse. You get from life what you put into it.  You got yourself in this state; you have to get yourself out of your use.

 In Judge Glenda Hatchett’s book Dare to Take Charge she stated, “Don’t dare spend all your days deceiving yourself about the people who natively impact your life. Dare to stop that pattern. Don’t dare let your life waste away with being in denial. Dare to get real about who you are, what you want, and what you have to do to get where you want to go. Don’t dare continue to live in a state of “I wish it were,” without reaching into “I will make this happen.” Dare to live real. Dare to design your destiny.

Who is to Blame? [Alberta Sequeira]

We often say that an alcoholic’s problems with drinking are their battle. That is true to a point. Yes, they have choices with getting help, especially when they go into substance abuse rehabilitation centers countless times with doctors, counselors and family wanting to help them. If they reached for recovery, they could walk away with a healthier life.

It’s sad and hard for me to say that my daughter, Lori, fit into that category. My heart is divided with the right side saying, ‘I did the best that I could at the time with what I knew.’ The left part of my heart, where all my love is stored, will never forgive myself for not doing more.

Lori had three chances at alcoholic rehabs to crave the desire, more than anything else in life, to get out of her denial and give up drinking. Today, I’m more educated with what happened to her physically, emotionally and her loss of spiritual growth. I wish I could turn the clocks back, but I can’t.

It’s heartbreaking to have realized after her death how sick she had been. We never should have left her alone to “reach rock bottom” thinking she’d dig her way out. She had reached the point of being too addicted to fight this disease on her own. This action resulted in her death.

I can’t help being angry and bitter with doctors who kept giving Lori pills for her nerves, so she could sleep, to relieve pain, and the list can go on with the repeated refills with no regards how they were slowing killing her and making her dependent on them. Didn’t they stop and say, “This patient has been on these pills too long.” Shouldn’t a bell have gone off? Would they have taken notice more closely if it had been one of their family members?

Do you think they acted any different than the drug dealers and people who help underage children get alcohol without realizing it?  Don’t you think this should have been the number one thing to notice when they filled her prescriptions after a second, third or tenth time? There are so many professionals abusing someone else’s body and taking their lives for the glory of money or not noticing something that should have been handled professionally.  We go  to doctors and counselors with confidence that they will help us. 

Lori’s counselors told us how serious her liver damage had been and the need for a 90 day long term inpatient recovery for her survival. After two years, she had finally signed herself in for the long stay. In two weeks, they gave her a choice to leave for a halfway home instead of completing her three month program. She died eight months later. It was her last chance to recover.

There are police officers who stop a driver for drunk driving to only realize that it's a friend or family member, and they let them off with a warning.  Arresting them is safer and chance to open their eyes to their addiction.

A judge continues to let repeated drunk drivers off with a slap on the hand until they kill someone.

So many involved become enablers in an addicts life. Families need to make decisions for the sick, no matter how old they are under the Patient Privacy Act.

Has anyone else been in this situation with their loved one?

www.albertasequeira.com

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Getting Alone Time with Your Teen [Alberta Sequeira ]

 

I’m covering a lot of topics on teens because it’s June, and the end of the school year is approaching.  This is when they’re excited to run with the crowd and you won’t know what they are up to while you continue to go off in the morning to work.  We all trust our kids.  It’s a normal thing to do.  We always say, “Not my kid!”  No matter how much you love them, kids are kids.  Give them an open window and their gone.

Any teenager who has complete control of their freedom can be easily led by the crowd when they are bored.  The YMCA used to entertain our kids with healthy activities but now their high prices are out-of-control that families turn elsewhere because they can’t afford them.

So, what can you do with them during the school break? Make time for them, plan things at night or on weekends. Keep that family bond.  Listen….really listen to them when they are trying to open up about little things.  If you don’t, they won’t talk about the big issues. Don’t treat big problems as minor ones. Let your teenager have their opinion even if it’s different than yours.  Give them room and respect their privacy.  Let them fill your house with their friends.  It’s better than wondering where they’re at.  Don’t judge them too deeply.  Take the time to find out why they made that decision. Praise them when they do well at anything.  Help them to be independent.

Work on this for the summer and see how it goes.

High Stakes [Alberta Sequeira]

The parent’s role bringing up teenagers isn’t like it was twenty or thirty years ago. Remember how easy it was to take no action with your child when they were doing something wrong by just giving them that side-look, and they froze in their tracks?  No backtalk, hassles or fighting.  Well….maybe there was stamping of feet leaving the room with tears from disappointment.  There might have been a slight slam of the bedroom door but we told them to open it and close it the way it was supposed to be closed.  It was so easy back then.  We had control bringing the children up with rules and they developed into healthy, well-education adults having a family of their own.

Today, teenagers live a dangerous life.  They don’t know what they want, where they are going, no desire to work and support themselves, what is clean fun, bored with school, no desire for an education and are trying to fit in with the wrong crowd and drown their problems with alcohol and drugs instead of trying to deal with what has caused their lives to be uprooted.

Somehow for some reason, parents have let their guard down with having the upper hand with control.  Actions that were harmless with disciplining have the justice system calling it child abuse. The school system has to be careful how far they go with controlling the student.

Where did we go wrong with giving our children so much power with decision-making living under our roof?  What happened to parents being satisfied that teachers were supervising our children and giving them detention if they were not behaving? I feared coming home and telling my parents I got in trouble.  Today, the parents defend their child no matter what the teachers tell them they did wrong....and in front of the child!

The sad part is our kids think this is great! Their lives are so out-of-control without even taking the time to notice that their, so called freedom, is putting them into the alcohol and drug world, pregnancies without reaching adulthood and crimes that lead to years in jail behind bars.

They are bored with sharing family time.  They want everything that we had to work hard to get for years.  Students want cars before they even get out of school or get a job, cell phones that parents pay for, vacations on cruises or far off European trips, which I myself started to do five years ago….and parents give it to them. We all want our kids to have what the Jones have.  Kids have it all.

We need to start giving our children a very deep and realistic educational life with facts as youngsters what the real world is all about.  Parents have to go back to keeping a tight grip on what our kids are doing and with whom.  They need rules to know just how far they can go.  Believe it or not, it's proven that they are happier with knowing what their limits are.

If your child is under eighteen years old, you can take those steps to get their life back in order.  Don’t hold off because you’re afraid they will hate you.  It’s better than going to their funeral.  Don’t wait until it’s too late! I wish I had done that with my daughter, Lori.  Maybe she'd be alive today.

Family Survival [Alberta Sequeria]

If ever values and communication has been important in families, it’s today.  Parents have to take their rolls with their children seriously.  They follow what they see and hear at home. You are the ones who influence your kids with the values.

Children respect and love their parents, unless they have seen or have been abused. Your input makes all the difference to them. Actions speak louder than words.  You can say you love them, but putting your arms around them and supporting them in a crisis is a big difference.

They look for your guidance in respect for life, for other people, honesty, integrity and people in authority.  

A loving, nurturing family unit creates a healthy environment for kids to learn right from wrong. It also brings them up to love themselves which kids in today don’t achieve.  This leaves them wide open to follow the leaders in school who take them down the wrong road with alcohol and drug abuse.

Make dinnertime the moment to reach out and listen to what your kids are trying to tell you about their days. If you don’t, they will stop communicating and your doors will open to them losing the family bond.  Don’t use the excuse of being too tired or there is too much to do.  You don’t know what stress is until you realize your child is on the brink of death from their substance abuse, and you were closed to seeing the signs.

Don’t leave out the teaching of God.  Bring faith into your children’s souls so they never feel alone. Our churches and places to pray are empty without children sitting in the pews. Parents, schools and society are slowly taking His name out of everything.  People forget that this is not our world, it’s His.  He won’t ever lose it.  Nobody can love us more than Jesus.

www.albertasequeira.com

Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis 

The sequel: Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism

 

Beginning Signs of Alcohol Abuse [Alberta Sequeria ]

Why do we allow love, or something we want so strongly, to blind us with numerous warning signs that something isn’t right or healthy for us? Yet, we either ignore them or try to find a reason that the incidents aren’t “that bad.” We find every excuse to stay in the situation when our minds are telling us to pull out.

I believe that each of us has the so called “woman’s intuition” in us, even if you’re a man. At the age of seven or younger, we know if we’re doing something that’s wrong.

Substance abuse is a crutch that’s used to bury your past hurts instead of dealing with them. So many alcoholics die because they can’t talk about what had devastated them and they looked for courage and self-esteem through alcohol abuse and drugs. Burying them deep within you only holds back the process of healing and breaking your habit. Most likely, a huge portion of confusion in your life came from someone else who had been sick with addiction taking their frustrations and habits out on you.  

There had been signs with my husband, Richie’s, drinking the first night I met him. I hung onto my girlfriend’s remark that it was a macho thing for men to do with their buddies because I wanted an excuse to keep seeing him. After all, he was handsome, and he wanted to see me. I didn’t want to see anything bad in him. Instead of seeing who he was, I wanted to make him into what I wanted.

A red flag came up, and I took it down so we could date. The problem was that I didn’t take the stars out of my eyes and study how this destructive path could destroy the both of us and future children. I came from a happy secure home with no knowledge of alcohol abuse while Richie lived a jumbled life and no security from his mother and sister’s drinking; something I didn’t come to know until we married and had two daughters.

Are you in this kind of relationship? Are you investigating the background and past of someone you are dating before getting married? Do you ignore a past boyfriend or girlfriend trying to warn you about something; something you don’t want to hear?

 

Signs of Teenage Drinking [Alberta Sequeria ]

Have you noticed a difference in your child with their character or has their interest dropped in being with the family? Are they too busy to do things with you anymore? Do they find excuses not to eat at home? Are they more on edge than usual?

Do you crave time to yourself to unwind and allow your kids to go where they want without really asking where they went and with whom? Do you notice that instead of bringing friends home, they want to get out of the house? Have they been in car accidents driving or with someone else driving? Are they staying out way past midnight?

Is something knocking on your door trying to open your eyes to a problem? Has their conversations stopped about what’s going on in school? Are they getting behind in school work when they were getting high grades? Have they dropped their close friends and now hanging out with a gang you have never met? What about their grooming…the color of their skin, the blank look in their eyes or their constant exhaustion?  

Has a friend or neighbor tried to tell you they saw your kid(s) doing something wrong being in a bad neighborhood or warned you about what they heard with the crowd they were hanging out with? Did you ignore it thinking not my kid?

Maybe it’s a teenage thing….a stage….or is it?

 

Journey into Alcohol Awareness [Alberta Sequeria]

Life was so different back in the late sixties and early seventies. Alcoholism was something you kept behind closed doors. It might have been in a tie with hiding being divorced or the secret of being pregnant.

I came from a loving family with a father who had been a retired One Star Brigadier General in the Army and my mother was a stay at home mom, who greeted us each day coming home from school.  I have a sister, Leona, five years older than me, a twin brother, Albert, a brother Bill, ten years younger and Joe, fourteen younger.  We lost Walter in 1940 at seven years old from Polio. (At the time, I didn’t realize that I’d lose a daughter and become aware of what true heartbreaking pain and loss was all about).

Our kitchen table was where we had every meal together and connected to family, sharing our daily event at school or work; something so many families omit today. Everyone was up-to-date on our activities; who our friends were and where we hung out. Nothing was hidden from our parents. In fact, my siblings and I craved family life, we didn’t run from it.

I was a teenager who had lived in my own world with no worries while I hung out with my friends; which I had been blessed with many.  Our house was where we all congregated to dance on our large front porch to listen to the great music of the sixties. 

Alcoholism was not in my life or thoughts.  None of my friends drank in our group.  I believed that the use of alcohol was a social action.  Our parents had their friends over and served alcohol playing cards and no one ever got drunk.  It was normal to see the use at home parties, cookouts, graduation celebrations or people relaxing on vacation with a few beers.

I never knew the effect or danger of abuse from alcohol until I got married.  Oh, yes. The signs were there dating Richie, but I convinced myself that it was a macho thing for him to do with his buddies, since he never drank on our dates or in the company of my family.

Richie was a very shy boy but polite.  We didn’t mingle with many people.  He was a loner. Being in love, I had ignored those signs, which should have stood out because I had broken up with a boy I had been madly in love with for over two year. 

He was in the Navy, stationed in Newport, Rhode Island and lived out West and was extremely outgoing and mixed with my family like he was molded into one of us. We both had a great sense of humor and he enjoyed watching me be myself.  My sister and I were inseparable and double dated, that is, until I started to date Richie. 

I left a secure, happy relationship only to enter the doors of disaster and be consumed with fear, confusion and abuse.  

 

Has anyone else started out with this kind of relationship?  Did you have it all and gave it up?  (Full story in Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis)

Forgiveness [Alberta Sequeria]

 

There are countless substance abusers who have been mentally and physically abused as children.  Some may never have had a hand put on them, but they witnessed the fights and heard the arguments.  Being in that atmosphere alone can do damage.

How can they not be hurt or angry from that kind of treatment?  The person living with brutal abuse from an alcoholic usually has a high family history with their actions that trickled down from one generation to next.  The repeated injuries affect the mind and health.  The beatings and rapes stay with the child for the rest of their lives.

Their childhood had been taken away from them.  They don’t know what a normal family life is all about.  They only remember the fear, confusion and assaults growing up.  

This kind of treatment has them searching their whole life trying to understand what happened to them.  Many will die from the pain of their past not being able to talk about their distress so they can heal.  Some commit suicide instead of dealing with their suffering; other over-dose from a useless death when others wanted to help them.

For those who are battling addiction and reading this article, don’t allow the sick person who mistreated you to keep you forever in recovery from their behavior toward you.  There will never be an answer on why you lived this life and others didn’t.   It’s not easy to study the mind of the ill. 

You have to look at what happened, what you can’t change, what you can and the reality that you may never know why!  So where do you go from here? 

I say forgive and move on with your life.  It’s easy for me to say and hard for you to do.  Until you let go and forgive, you stay stuck.  Grab onto all the help that’s out there and travel down the road that God planned for you.  

Forgiving doesn’t mean the person who hurt you was right.  It doesn’t mean you have to stay in touch with them.  Forgiving gives you back your freedom.  It’s a beginning of recovery.  It breathes life back into you.

Two things happen with the person you hate.  They either don’t know they upset you and that your life has been turned upside down; or they do, and don’t care.  Forgiving is not easy.  Let go and put the past in God’s hands.  Let Him handle the outcome.

Don’t allow someone to take your peace and happiness away from you.  You are the one in control of your own actions.  You make the decisions.  If you stay in denial, you will be lost.  This is your battle and you decide the results.

 

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