Addiction and Recovery: What Do Addicts REALLY Need?

Whenever I hear clients repeating themselves in our therapy sessions, I take notice.

Their repetition alerts me that something is really important to them. Sometimes they’ll tell me the same story more than once, other times they will ask the same questions a few times. In other cases, they will repeat words—especially when they are striving to let me know how they feel.

So when I began receiving emails this past week from both colleagues and clients containing the same link to the same TED talk about addiction, my curiosity was piqued. [Read more…]

Marijuana IS Addictive

June 18, 2015

Dear Minister of Education: Province of British Columbia Hon. Peter Fassbender: 

Hello, my name is Candace Plattor, and I am an Addictions Therapist in private practice in Vancouver. I have worked in this field for over 25 years, 16 of which were in the Downtown Eastside, helping the addicts and alcoholics there. I now work primarily with the loved ones of addicts, because there is so little help for them out there. I have written two award-winning books on this subject, which you can read more about here: www.candaceplattor.com/books.

I am also the loved one of addicts, and I now have 28 years of sobriety from drugs and alcohol myself. As you can see, I know addiction from many different personal and professional angles – and I ask that you take this letter seriously. I know what I’m talking about. [Read more…]

Is It a Reason or an Excuse? Maintaining Your Self-Respect in the Face Of Life’s Challenges

Have you ever used a reason as an excuse for not doing something? If so, you’re definitely not alone!

It’s often very easy to confuse reasons and excuses. Lately I’ve discovered that I sometimes try to explain my excuses away as reasons—particularly when it’s about something I either don’t want to do or am fearful of following through on.

As usual, the more I notice this tendency in myself, the more I see that pretty much all of us do this on a fairly frequent basis—whether we realize it or not. Sometimes there are genuine reasons for why we can’t or shouldn’t do certain things. When that’s the case, we need to honour that in ourselves—but does that mean we can’t challenge ourselves to do more, to try something new, or to hold ourselves to a higher standard? [Read more…]

Saying NO to Manipulation: What Happens When We Enable an Addict?

In my last post, I wrote about Jessica’s manipulation of her parents and how they consistently gave in to her demands, allowing her disruptive and destructive behaviour to continue.

By accepting that behaviour and not challenging their daughter, Jessica’s parents enabled her for many years. They posed no consequences for her and set the bar very low in terms of their expectations—and Jessica continued to live up to exactly the standard that they set.

[Read more…]

Are You the Loved One of an Addict? Saying NO to Manipulation

I am a firm believer that we teach other people how to treat us.

The way people treat us generally has its roots in the way we treat ourselves as well as how we decide to show up in the world. Are we assertive and clear with our boundaries, or do we allow other people to push us around? Do we practice healthy self-care, even while we may be caregivers to family members? Is our self-respect non-negotiable, even when we are experiencing difficulties in our lives?

Or—do we allow anxiety and fear to rule us when we encounter situations that we simply can’t control? Do we go along to get along, giving in to what other people want just so that we can avoid conflict?

If you are the loved one of someone with an addiction and you are allowing yourself to be manipulated, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re doing that—and to be as honest as you can in your response. One of my favourite sayings comes from Eleanor Roosevelt, who so aptly told us, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When we choose to feel inferior to someone else—when we put someone else’s needs ahead of our own on a fairly consistent basis rather than take care of ourselves, we act in ways that allow that person to manipulate us.

[Read more…]