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  • When we are stressed we are no longer accessing the best of who we are.
  • We are irritable and prone to illness. 
  • Decision making suffers-we lack confidence in our decisions or procrastinate about finalizing decisions.
  • Our work and the people we care about often receive little from us in terms of quality production and time. 
  • Most people who experience chronic stress have not yet learned to compartmentalize or categorize triggers.
  • The use of substances to manage stress becomes a habitual neurological reality-the primitive mind has learned that substances do, in fact, initially reduce stress responses.

The use of alcohol and/or drugs to manage chronic stress can become habitual, and for some people result in addiction issues. 

A drink or a fix will help me relax.

I am in hyper-drive and need something quick and easy to slow my mind down.

Once my stress diminishes I will be ready to relax, be creative or productive, or simply escape reality for a little while.

What role does stress play in your use of substances? Is how you are managing stress impacting your bottom line? Your family? When stress has been allowed to pile up our creative juices diminish and what used to be easy becomes hard. Communication with employees, peers, spouses and children can become strained and eventually physical health will deteriorate.

Chronic stress releases an abundance of damaging chemical and plays havoc with our thinking process and our bodily functions. It creates "messy thinking" and impacts our family life, our work and social life and our physical/mental health. We are not at our best in a worried, fretful state. For some people, when substances are added to the equation the long term prognosis becomes dire. 

We do not necessarily need to regurgitate the pain of the past to get to a present place that feels resourceful, vibrant and successful. 

Most people who identify themselves as addicts or problem drinkers/users need a new tools and strategies that allow them to quickly alter mindset and "straighten up" thinking, whether or not they have made the decision to quit using.

Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW

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