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Coping Without Addiction

Coping Without Addiction

We all have our struggles. Parents of special needs children and caregivers have more than most. Looking for a crutch is tempting. A little something to lean on sounds like such a relief. There is no easy fix to your problems and leaning on addictive substances like painkillers, alcohol, or other drugs has consequences. These things may make you feel better in the short term, but long term it’ll sink you.

There are better ways to cope. Please, give them a chance. You’ll save yourself and your family more pain and suffering than I can convey in words.

  1. Therapy, counseling, whatever you want to call it. You need to talk to a professional to cope when there are serious problems in your life. This fact is especially true when your struggles are outside of your control like the incurable illness of your child.
  2. Aim to eat at least 1,000 calories a day and drink enough water to keep you hydrated. Sufficient food and water will keep your energy up through even the toughest times. Avoid sugar, especially if you’re not eating as much as you need. Focus on protein. It’s the best fuel to sustain a consistent level of energy throughout the day.
  3. Sleep when you can. It’s tempting to do leisure activities when you finally get a chance to rest. If you get 6 hours or less of sleep a night that’s a terrible idea. Prolonged loss of sleep causes a significant sleep debt which is tough to pay back. Aside from the acute symptoms of sleep loss, there are the long-term issues like an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

A quick fix is tempting, but it doesn’t resolve the underlying problem. As your tolerance increases, you need more and more of whatever it is you use to get the same benefits. Eventually, and there’s no real way to know when it will be exactly, the addition WILL stop helping. Once it stops helping, then it’s yet another burden to carry. That’s the LAST thing you need when you can’t sustain the load you have in the first place.

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