How to Recognise an Addiction & Recover From It

casino games

I am no therapist but I want to cover this sensitive topic because I’ve been through it myself in a past relationship. One of my ex boyfriends was addicted to gambling and it took me a year to find out. No one knew about it. I remember the shame and guilt associated with his addiction, the multiple lies that led to trust issues, but also how helpless I felt… At his worst, he was able to lose the equivalent of a month’s salary in a few days, simply by gambling it online. I had to involve his family and he never really forgave me for that.

After a year of struggle, I was still clueless what to do to break the cycle so I eventually ended the relationship. Gamblers tend to think they can always earn back what they lost, “hope” is what causes their downfall. It was not an easy break-up but I figured the best way to help him was to “lose” me for good. Today I’m still convinced it was the right thing to do. But you can’t break up with everyone… What if he was my brother, my dad or a close friend?

Are some people more inclined to become addicted than others? Maybe it’s in our genes. Or are we all addicted to something in the end? I don’t know for certain but I’m hoping I can at least shed some light on the matter.

Types of addiction

Some things are famous to easily create dependence:

  • Drugs (illicit or not)
  • Some medication (prescribed or not)
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling

But you can also be addicted to pretty common things… For example:

  • Junk food
  • Your mobile phone
  • Internet or social media
  • Computer games

Whether it’s an addiction to a substance or a specific behaviour, it can be very dangerous and/or unhealthy. If it’s not identified rapidly, it can lead to serious consequences.

What are the signs to look after

Below are some questions you need to ask yourself if you’re in doubt. Are they:

  • Suddenly lacking interest for a hobby that used to be important?
  • Neglecting relationships?
  • Ignoring the negative consequences of their actions?
  • Noticing any distinct change in their sleeping patterns, causing chronic fatigue?
  • Becoming secretive, lying about the amount of substance used or time spent?
  • Going through an abrupt change of weight?
  • Changing moods and showing signs of irritability?
  • Depressed with suicidal thoughts?
  • Lacking concerns over their physical appearance?

Just remember that someone with an addiction will almost always understate the seriousness of their condition. When confronted, they may make excuses and try to justify their behaviour to you. So unless there are any potential medical reasons for someone’s health decline, there’s an increased chance of an underlying addiction problem.

How to help them recover from it

freedom remove handcuffs

If you know someone who needs help with an addiction, keep in mind they don’t always want to acknowledge they’re addicted. Approaching and helping an addict could be a long, challenging, and painful process. Start with a one-on-one conversation, free of distractions or interruptions. If they’re willing to seek professional help, then great. But in some cases, they won’t. If they become defensive instead, let it go for the time being and start involving family members to plan an intervention. And even when they accept to enrol in a recovery program, stay involved with the process and keep giving support. If they’re still reluctant to change, the most difficult part is to strike a balance and set boundaries in the relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes you may need to cut off contact in order to maintain your own emotional well-being, like I did.

Below are some ways you can attempt to help them:

  • Learn more about their addiction (substance or behavioural), document yourself and read about testimonies, successful recovery stories, etc
  • Stay involved but not in a patronising way, show compassion
  • Provide an environment free of possible triggers
  • Speak up and freely express your concerns
  • Look for a rehab facility or organisations that will be able to help manage the addiction

But at the end of the day, recovering from it has to be their decision, not yours. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you didn’t manage to convince them. Have you ever been in this situation? Did you manage to find the light at the end of the tunnel?

“I’m Not Telling You It Is Going To Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going To Be Worth It.” (Anonymous).

Big Girl x

Poll Results: Your Favourite Topics on the Blog

[Poll Results] Your Favourite Topics on the Blog

Last month, I asked you to vote for your favourite topic(s) on the blog, multiple answers were allowed. First of all, thank you to everyone who voted! It showed me that all categories and topics I love writing about are relevant to you and that matters a lot to me. It’s also interesting to see that no specific theme really stands out: the 5 of them received more or less 20% of the 134 total votes. Today’s post is the perfect opportunity for me to recommend my own top 3 articles for each category. Let’s go through the poll results below!

1. Mental Health wins with 21.64% of votes

I think this year has put a strain on mental health, which at least has had the positive consequence to make it less taboo – it has become a very important topic in our every day life! I have so much to talk about on the matter, how mental health changes our behaviour and how to prioritise wellbeing before anything else. Self-preservation is not selfish, it’s absolutely necessary to be happy and let go of what we can’t control. Within this category, I would recommend reading the 3 posts below:

2. Weight Loss is a close second with 20.90% of votes

According to the posts that received the most likes so far (featured on the sidebar as your favourite posts), this is the most popular category by far… It surprised me it didn’t have the majority of votes on the poll but it was very close! After reviewing the blog, I decided to put weight loss and mental health categories under a more generic one: health & wellbeing. It makes more sense as they can be very intertwined, one can influence the other and vice versa. The 3 posts below are my personal favourites:

3. Environment is just behind with 20.15% of votes

This is a huge topic for me as it’s probably the one which made me want to create this blog in the first place: how to help save the planet. I think 2020 has been the year many people started to open their eyes about how quickly we’re destroying our environment and how it’s still time to act before it’s too late. Good news is we have a lot more control than we think on all this, starting with our diet. It turns out both our own health and the planet are strongly impacted by our food choices. If you haven’t already, see these 3 posts for example:

4. Travel is next with 19.40% of votes

You could argue this category is less related to self-improvement compared to other topics but to me, it is strongly linked. My most recent travelling experience had a big impact on the way I see things now. I believe travelling unlocks new parts of our brain that remain closed if we never get to see the world with our own eyes. Being on the road for several months on the other side of the globe was an experience that changed my mindset forever. Throwback to my 2019-2020 adventure with my own top 3 below:

5. Relationships is last with 17.91% of votes

The fact that this category is slightly less popular didn’t surprise me as it could be a bit more niche, especially wedding-related topics. I fully appreciate that my followers are not all (if any) currently planning to get married so it’s more difficult to relate. But this is also about other sort of relationships: family, friends, the rest of the world… Below 3 posts that are personal but yet very relatable:

Are you surprised by the results? Is there a post (or several posts) you particularly enjoyed reading? Let me know in the comments!

Big Girl x

Kids or No Kids? The Choice Is Yours to Make

Kids or No Kids? You Have the Choice!

“Do you want kids?” is not a question you hear very often, because people assume that of course you do. Instead, people say: “When you’ll have kids…”, “When you’ll be a mum/dad…”, etc. Every time it puts me in a situation where I either stay quiet and let go, or say that I actually don’t want kids. But why do I feel like I need to justify myself?

It’s OK to be different

When I was a kid, I didn’t ask myself such a question because I’ve always thought it was the right thing to do, the purpose of every woman, the reason we find a partner and get married… It’s only when I turned 30 that I realised my mum would have been pregnant for the second time by that age. And I didn’t feel like I was going to be ready myself anytime soon. I heard a lot of comments such as “You’re turning 30 now, the clock is ticking!” but deep down I think I already knew it wasn’t for me.

I didn’t know for sure until my little sister fell pregnant, almost 3 years ago. She announced it with pictures and I cried when I realised she was telling me she had a bun in the oven. I cried with joy, the news made my sister and her husband so happy. But it confirmed that it wasn’t what I wanted for myself.

It’s a choice, not a duty (anymore)

It’s not because you don’t want kids that you lack empathy… People who don’t feel any desire to have kids are not selfish or cold bastards, they don’t necessarily hate kids either. It’s an important step in your life but it is NOT mandatory, just like people who choose not to get married for example.

I think there are many parents who shouldn’t have been parents, many children grow up in a toxic environment and end up with mental issues for life. Have you ever noticed that most serial killers, psychopaths or very disturbed people in general had a chaotic childhood? It’s always parents’ fault, kids can’t be held responsible for their education. I’m not saying that I don’t want kids because I’m afraid they will be disturbed, I just don’t see myself being a mother. I have two cats and that’s the extent of my motherhood. It took me a very long time until I realised it was OK. I am allowed not to want what most people want.

Think about the future

I could go on and on about how I find the idea of having your own kids very narcissistic. Our planet is already overcrowded and there are a lot of kids to adopt, if you really want to fill that role. I am lucky enough to have found a partner who shares the same opinion. Choosing not to have any is our contribution for the planet to reduce our carbon footprint. The future of next generations seems a bit compromised at the moment anyway.

The choice is (only) yours

I’m glad I was born when I was born, because I feel like the choice NOT to have kids has only just started to be an acceptable one. It’s still a sensitive topic though, people can’t help but try to make me change my mind when I tell them I don’t want kids. What annoys me the most is comments such as “You still have time to change your mind!” or “You will feel it when the time is right”. As a piece of advice for you, reader, if someone close to you makes the decision not to start a family, respect their choice without questioning it. Not everyone has to!

So. Do you want kids?

Big Girl x