Alcohol and substance abuse is an endemic problem in modern society that affects both the addict and their immediate family and friends. Apart from arresting the addict’s physiological and emotional growth, chemical dependency on illicit drugs is an expensive behavior that is hard to kick. Thereby, the patient and his/her family are severely compromised and embarrassed in the larger society since regular support and sustainable maintenance programs have to be provided (Edberg, 2007). Children with a family history of chemical dependency are more exposed to illicit drug addiction as compared to those that do not. According to Tharp& Watson, (2010) homes with greater vulnerability to substance abuse expose their children to the risks of picking up the habit later in life since the family provides the legitimacy to overindulgence in such excesses of life.
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Such factors include “a family history of substance abuse, sexual exploitation, psychological trauma, peer pressure and emotional abuse” (Edberg, 2007). Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other illicit drugs are more vulnerable to suffer from chemical dependency and addiction-related issues than those who received a morally-upright upbringing. As such, at an early age, children need coaching and supportive training directed towards overcoming the temptations of emulating parental addiction behavior. According to top medical research conducted on the issue of substance abuse, genetic factors are primarily the main causes of addiction and chemical dependency. That notwithstanding, findings of similar research reveal that environmental factors are known to trigger the expression of specific genes for phenotypes associated with chemical dependency and drug addiction. Those risk factors within one’s social setting that promote substance abuse should therefore be suppressed at an early stage of child growth to eliminate developmental challenges which could predispose them to chemical dependence.
Resilience is an important quality that empowers young people to overcome any form of stress during their physiological and emotional development (Tharp& Watson, 2010). A resilient person can withstand significant stress without necessarily compromising on their dignity or otherwise experimenting on life issues. Prevention professionals recognize that the innate potential of a child to accommodate and recover from stress is a consequence of supplementary support manifested through “emotional support, validation, skill-building and guidance” (Edberg, 2007). It is worth noting that the growth and development of children is a holistic exercise that demands close evaluation and monitoring of changes as they unfold. Optimal growth is associated with other support factors which include, “self identity, acquisition of problem-solving skills, acceptable peer interactions and ethics, strong social bonds among family members characterized by love, warmth and empathy, community and school vigilance through designed societal and institutional code of conduct” (Tharp& Watson, 2010).
Parents are therefore instrumental in providing a working environment for the proper upbringing of children right at their homes. Intervention is also needed from other stakeholders in the society concerned with the wellbeing of children particularly in fighting the problem of substance abuse in general. Consequently, healthy living devoid of deviant behavior is a social responsibility that is initiated and sustained by parents who are tasked to monitor their children’s cognitive development. Parents bear the sacred role of guiding their children on healthy lifestyles, how to choose friends as well as in solving daily problems in life. When a child’s beliefs and attitudes are shaped at an early stage in life on substances that are either good or bad for their health, they are developed into a solid character that is resilient enough to resist simple temptations in the future regarding delinquency and dependency (Tharp& Watson, 2010). Edberg, (2007) further states that parents play a big role in instilling the concept of wellness in their children.
Edberg, (2007) also highlights the three most important dimensions of learning are used which include; affective (feeling), behavioral (doing) and cognitive (thinking). The affective learning approach ensures that children are empowered to know and understand themselves beyond reproach. In addition, they are cultured to know safe people whom they can interact with since children are playful and could meet dangerous people beyond the reach of their parents/ guardians. Behavioral skills include the ability to make wise decisions alone and through consultations with responsible adults. Children’s cognitive development is sharpened through the provision of relevant information on the negative effects of substance abuse to them early thereby making them assertive enough to resist cheap alternatives in life. The concept of wellness is therefore integrated during childhood on what is suitable for good health through proper nutrition, enough rest, participating in regular exercise, hygiene, and personal grooming apart from avoiding harmful substances.
In this regard, it is worth noting that there are children who are get exposed to alcohol and other illicit drugs at an early stage in life due to poor modeling of an addicted parent, older siblings, and even close peers. The strong social bond that exists between parents and their children acts as the justification for indulgence in substance abuse for young people whose mental and physical health is greatly determined by the nature of relationships they are involved in. Supportive measures are needed at the onset of such inappropriate indulgence and behavior connotations for the purpose of alleviating a greater associated with chemical dependency and addiction (Tharp& Watson, 2010).
Behavior change project for quitting Alcoholism
Behavior change identification
Alcoholism is a thorn in my flesh. I have been a drunkard since my teenage years. My friends in high school hooked me up in the habit of drinking alcohol as a social drink when hanging out. It was cool than to drink or smoke among peers whom one identified with. I have used beer, wine and spirits gradually transforming my life from being an occasional drinker in social gatherings to a desperate alcoholic who cannot do without drinking. I feel helpless and worthless as a slave of alcohol since it has caused much suffering financially and health-wise (Edberg, 2007). I have to drink five to ten bottles a day before I can sleep. Subsequently, I have developed alcohol addiction coupled with an eating impairment. I have lost appetite for food and can only eat a little after drinking. The situation is embarrassing and disappointing to my family and me. Alcohol addiction is a behavioral problem, which is hazardous to the health of the victim in many ways. Alcohol abuse interferes with the physiological, biochemical, and neurological functioning of the addict’s body leading to mental, physical, and emotional impairment.
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Because of the negative consequences of alcohol abuse on my life, I have purposed to dissociate myself from the habit progressively over a period of one year. I believe that if I refrain from the company of drunkards and alcoholic friends, their influence and persuasion to partake the “social drink” would wane successfully (Tharp& Watson, 2010). I also acknowledge that I need medical assistance and counseling therapy for professional guidance on how to avoid a relapse as well as treatment for prolonged alcohol abuse.
I will engage myself in activities that positively transform my life from reckless habitual drinking of alcohol such as reading books on healthy living, participation in community projects and eating more vegetables, fruits and water. I also purpose to adhere to an exercise regime, which would ensure that I am physically fit and mentally sound.
Self-reflection and evaluation from baseline data
My preliminary self-assessment on how self indulgence escalated to alcohol addiction reveals that I had very little control on the type of decisions I made regarding drinking during my teenage years. I “reasoned with the group” of friends we went to school together since they mattered most in my life more than parents or teachers. I come from a single parent family living with my mother alone. There was no strong social bond between my maternal parent and myself since she was always out of home at work. The breakdown of social bonds formed the platform for anti-social behavior characterized by sexual immorality and alcohol abuse (Edberg, 2007). I felt “high” after drinking beer as this also identified me with peers.
According to the differential association theory, individuals’ motives and attitudes in life transform in social groups. Individuals with low self-control are vulnerable to bad influence and unethical behavior. The social learning process among peers provides the justifications for pursuing short-lived pleasures at the expense of future life accomplishments (Tharp& Watson, 2010). Having come from a humble background, this forced me to engage in theft and shop lifting in order to obtain the financial resources for purchasing the illicit drink. Due to inadequate socialization with my single parent who was equally overwhelmed with the financial obligations of raising the family alone, this forced me to adopt weird lifestyles characterized with alcohol abuse.
Behavior change strategies
Having noted that I graduated from occasional social drinking to the reckless habitual alcoholism, I acknowledge the role of bad behavior influence from peers and a weak personality in life. Low self-control predisposed me to the habit of experimenting on alcohol and other cheap pleasures of life in the company of my peers (Edberg, 2007).
- Automatic antecedent-since I take more alcohol in the company of other drunkards, I have resolved to abstain from visiting pubs and restaurants where beer, wine and spirits are abundant. I will ensure that I adhere to the prescription drugs from my physician for alleviating the pain of withdrawal symptoms as well as cleansing the circulatory system from alcohol molecules.
- Conditioned Antecedent-since the smell of alcohol makes thirst for the drink, I will ensure that I do not hang out with drunkards nor visit restaurants where there is alcohol. I would prefer to socialize with new friends who do not drink in a coffee house. I will also spend most of my leisure time with family members who inspire me to change from alcohol abuse.
Since dropping the habit of alcoholism is such a big challenge due physiological modifications and the influence of social friends is hard to kick, I would purpose to associate with new friends who reinforce my desired behavior change (Tharp& Watson, 2010). I will purpose to follow the instructions of my counselor and my physician. My family members and new friends shall serve as an accountability group which would help monitor achievement of my behavior change goals.
Plans for maintenance
I believe that my target of totally quitting alcoholism is achievable. My focus on restoring my health and financial status within a year is rational (Tharp& Watson, 2010). I have made up my mind to lead a stable lifestyle in which I am accountable to my actions, thoughts and word for a prosperous future.
Edberg, M.C. (2007). Essentials of Health Behavior: Social and Behavioral Theory in Public Health. London: Jones and Bartlett,
Tharp, R. G. & Watson, D. L. (2010). Self-directed Behavior: Self-modification for Personal Adjustment. Michigan: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.