"Really, Not Everybody?"

I hear often from folks who seem to be trying to justify their use of some substance indicating that "everybody's smoking dope". Well, a lot of folks are using substances. And, sometimes those folks get addicted or even dependent on those substances. Researchers have come up with some present ages showing the percentage of people who began using a substance and ultimately became dependent, or addicted to that substance. You may be a bit surprised by the numbers. Not everyone who uses substances or has used substances becomes addicted. Here are the numbers:

Substance Addiction Rate
Cocaine 20%
Alcohol 15%
Amphetamine 10%
Heroin 25%
Marijuana 10%
Nicotine 32%
Opiate Pain Pills 10%
Benzodiazepines 10%
Inhalants 5%
Psychedelics 5%

So, what do think of this list? I have often asked, "What is the most addictive drug there is?" I get various answers. The crowd will usually settle on heroin. My answer is, "The one YOU like". Since I believe the research shown above, I have to choose nicotine. I'm not very surprised. So, what other reflections might we have about this list? Well, just because a drug's percentage on the list is low, does not mean that YOUR risk of addiction is low. So often, we want to use lists, like the one above, to figure out a way we can excuse what we are wanting to do, or are already doing. Probably a better way to determine what we are going to do is to decide on things based on the values we have set for ourselves and how out behavior reflects those values.

Another thought is that the reason we may think that "everybody" is using some form of drug, is because that's who we are around most of the time. If we were to change our social network, we would find that most folks are not using, smoking, snorting, etc. I realize that is a very challenging thing to do. Many of my colleagues and friends have a history of some form of substance abuse. However, most of my social network, when I lump them all together, don't have any history at all, or just a brief history. I believe you find what you looking for in life. If you are looking to find folks who are substance users, you'll find them. If you are looking to find the hypocrites, you'll find them too. If you are looking to find good, genuine, caring, clean, and sober individuals, you will find them too. So, I believe the question is: What kind of risks are you willing to take with your health, your emotions, your relationships, and self-worth?

by Rick B.

Emotional Coping Survey

Recently, we asked clients to complete a survey in regard to how well they believed they were appropriately managing their emotions. The emotions listed were: anger, sadness, frustration, fear, anxiety, impatience, happiness, boredom, and worry. The gradient was from 1-10, with 1 being poor and 10 being really good. The reported average was 6.4. The reported most difficult emotion to address was anxiety. Another question on the survey asked to what degree our counselors had helped with managing emotions. Ninety percent of the ones who responded were positive that our staff had been helpful.

Basic Personal Rights

In the health care world there is a lot of talk about patient rights. In fact, if you are a patient, you have been asked to sign that you have been given a list of those rights and/or that you have seen the list that is posted on a wall somewhere. These rights are important. There are some other rights we have. For those of us in treatment for substance abuse, mental health, or physical health reasons, these rights sometimes get ignored. They are the right to:

  1. Ask for what you want, say yes or no, and change your mind.
  2. Make mistakes.
  3. Follow your own values, standards, and spiritual beliefs.
  4. Express all of your emotions, both positive and negative, in a responsible manner.
  5. Be afraid and uncertain.
  6. Determine what is important to you and make your own decisions based on what you want and need.
  7. Have the friends and interests of your choice.
  8. Be uniquely yourself and allow yourself to change and grow.
  9. Have your own personal space and time.
  10. Be playful and frivolous.
  11. Be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect at all times.
  12. Know the side effects of recommended medications and treatments.
  13. Refuse medications and treatments that are unacceptable to you.
adapted from USDHHS Self Help Guide

What Does "Keep It Real" Mean?

  • Don't lie to me.
  • Don't exaggerate the facts.
  • Don't fantasize about things that are never going to happen.
  • Don't have expectations for yourself or others that are unrealistic.
  • Don't tell people you can do stuff you can't really do or don't really intend to do.
  • When you tell us your life story in group, give us the facts. Leave out the B.S.

Dr. Candace McDaniel
8021 East Thornton FWY, Suite A
Dallas, Texas 75228

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