Candace Plattor, M.A., R.C.C., is a therapist in private practice, specializing in addictive behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, gambling, internet addiction, compulsive overspending and codependency in relationships.
Having graduated from the Adler School of Professional Psychology with a Masters degree in counseling psychology in 2001, Candace helps clients and their loved ones understand their addictive behaviors and make healthier life choices for themselves.
Candace gives many popular and well-attended talks based on her award-winning books: Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction, and Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Workbook. She has been featured on TV and radio programs throughout North America and has become a favorite go-to expert for news related interviews in the Vancouver area. Visit her Facebook page and her website for more information.
I've often wondered what makes people so terrified of those who are different from themselves. What is that really about? Why do these differences matter so much? Why CAN'T we live in peace, why CAN'T everyone just get along?
When you find yourself feeling disappointed with yourself, another person, or a particular situation in your life, there are things you can do that will continue and aggravate those feelings, as well as other things you can do to help yourself feel better faster.
When I reached the bottom with my own addiction to pot and prescription drugs almost 30 years ago, I too realized that I had to change my life or I would die. I knew that I didn't really want to die, but that I couldn't go on living the way I was at that point. I had grown quite tired of being a caterpillar, though I had no idea how to become a butterfly.
When we give so much to those around us without first giving to ourselves, we run the risk of hurting them more than we're helping. All of us need to feel our own resilience -- it's an important human need. When we decide to give more than is healthy, we often take those feelings of resiliency away from others.
You cannot open a door meant for someone else, it's just not possible. But you are meant to open your own doors. The best thing you can do as the loved one of someone with an addiction is to stop trying to open the addict's door, and to instead focus on your own life.
It is the loved ones who need to be the people who say to the addict, "We love you enough to no longer support you in active addiction. When you're really ready to be in active recovery of some kind, let us know and we will do whatever we can to help you make that happen." But this is a very scary prospect for most loved ones, and for many different reasons.
Many loved ones of addicts are people pleasers and have been that way for a long time. They may have even learned those codependent behaviours in their own families of origin, not knowing how else to get along in the world. Saying "no" to anyone, especially a potentially rageful or manipulative addict who is still in active addiction, can be a very foreign and scary concept for them.
These days, addictive behaviours are so rampant that it's virtually impossible to imagine how many people are affected by them. Having worked as an addictions therapist for over 25 years -- with both addicts and their loved ones -- what I know today is that for every one addict, there are generally at least 10 to 20 people directly affected by that person's addiction.
Talking to kids about drugs can be difficult, even intimidating for a parent, teacher, or counsellor. It's hard when the children we care about so deeply roll their eyes at us and say, "Yeah, I know!!" But often they don't know, not until someone's death touches them -- and when it comes to this malicious and criminal spread of fentanyl, we have to make sure they do know.
It is not a loving act to allow addicts to get away with self-destructive behaviour. If someone in active addiction is consistently being rescued from the potentially negative and harmful consequences of his or her behaviour by his family, friends, teachers, bosses, or colleagues, then why should he ever change anything?
Perhaps you have a large, somewhat daunting goal like finally becoming free from an addiction. Or maybe you know you need to be setting (and maintaining) healthier boundaries with the addict in your life. Will you be able to maintain your self-respect if you lie to yourself and others about these kinds of choices?
If you find yourself being manipulated by a loved one with an addiction, you'll need to ask yourself why you're allowing this to happen. That will be your first step toward stopping it. If you're not sure how to change your enabling patterns, please consider reaching out for help.
I believe that bullying is an addiction. We use addictive behaviours to mask what we feel --generally about our own low self-esteem and dissatisfaction about our lives. Anything can become an addiction if we are using it for that purpose: drugs, alcohol, food, TV, smoking, gambling, excessive spending, gaming, sex, co-dependency in relationships -- the list goes on and on.
There is a wonderfully simple saying for how that can happen: "Bring the body, the mind will follow." So what if, this Valentine's Day, you did something absolutely fabulous for yourself, whether you have a significant other to share the meaning of the day with or not?
Lately I've been receiving a number of articles into my inbox, talking about addicts who relapse after they come out of treatment. Most of these writers are telling me that relapse is a 'normal part of recovery' from addiction. First of all, I don't agree with this premise at all, and secondly, I totally fail to see how it's helpful for an addict coming out of rehab to be armed with that kind of biased and ultimately untrue information.
If you haven't read about this amazing young man, his name is Lassana Bathily. He is French and he is Muslim. While that horrific brutality was happening in the Kosher Market, he had the foresight to lead several people into the freezer area of the store, turning off the power so they wouldn't die in there.
An intention is different than a resolution. My dictionary defines intention as "the determination to act in a certain way." This has nothing to do with seeing yourself as a problem that needs to be resolved; instead, intentions are about becoming aware of different ways that you would prefer to be in your life.
Because there is so much shame associated with not having positive holiday times, most people don't talk openly about how difficult this time of year can be for them. This can lead to intense feelings of loneliness and disappointment. And when any form of addiction is thrown into the mix, this season of the year can be anything but jolly.
Jian Ghomeshi has been revered as attractive, popular, successful, a ladies' man -- until now. Now we see that this man, nearly 50 years of age, may have been thinking and acting like a spoiled child who totally believes the world revolves around him -- and that he may feel completely entitled to have all of his needs met, sexual and otherwise. Personally, I am more surprised that we are so surprised!