Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? Do you have a plan for the new year? It’s not too late.
Having an idea of what you want to accomplish as you enter a new year can help steer you on a course to success. There’s no guarantee, of course, but it’s worth a try.
I remember reading a widely known expert’s comments on how to do just that. It seemed easy enough, so I tried it. Darn if he wasn’t right. It CAN be done.
His plan was simple. Three steps.
Step 1: Set a goal that is easily attainable. Something as easy as … “I will be on time to work (or school, or whatever) every day this week.”
Then, you pick it up a bit.
Step 2: Set a second goal that you CAN reach, with a little effort. Such as … “I will do something for someone every day.”
Next, make it more difficult.
Step 3: The third goal should have a challenge. One that forces you to put forth an effort. It might be a little more than you can do, but you make progress in getting it done. “I’m going to get myself organized.”
Following this plan of three goals per week, you can guarantee success at least 33 percent of the time. You may hit 66 percent. And with real determination, and a little luck, you just might do it all.
Take a look at the possibilities in the topics in our “know it” library (knowit.newsok.com). There’s everything from health to financial to sports, cultural, or special interest areas.
The resources will help you, if you supply the effort.
It’s like starting anew.
I would ask that you watch the following short video before reading the rest of my blog.
I have had numerous conversations with families who are struggling with how to balance their child’s addiction with their attempt to have a “normal” Christmas day this year. Their children are either in jail, in treatment, active in their disease, or in the hospital because of an overdose or other addiction related affliction.
No, I did not mention to these parents that addiction may turn out to be a gift! However, for those parents who have successfully traveled the path of recovery with their addicted child, each and every one has stories of how addiction created positive changes in how they see one another and their world.
Addiction can create a stronger relationship with God. It can strengthen your relationship with your spouse. It teaches you to focus on the positive and, therefore increase your appreciation and gratefulness for the numerous joys that this life offers.
How do we begin to break down the barriers of anger and resentment that we have toward our addicted child to discover the potential which is wrapped in the gift of addiction?
I encourage you to watch the following excellent video and to stop the video at each moment you hear a specific insight into your personal situation and write that thought down. This just may be the change that gives you the peace and serenity that you need and deserve.
Thousands of motorists travel Oklahoma’s highways during the Christmas holiday. Unfortunately, some never reach their destinations.
Capt. Chris West of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol urges drivers to do everything they can to avoid that situation in his pre-Christmas news release:
“The Christmas holiday period in 2010 was a total of 78 hours that began at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, and ended at midnight on Sunday, Dec. 26. During this time, six people died in five crashes, one of which involved alcohol where two people died and four of the six fatalities were unrestrained.
“Patrol officials also reported 220 persons were injured in 156 crashes across the state; 27 of which involved alcohol, where 37 were injured. A total of 451 crashes occurred across the state, with 899 injuries; 54 involving alcohol, with 94 injured.
“This year’s holiday period will look much the same as far the length of the holiday period is concerned, but patrol officials are hoping for better numbers when it comes to crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
Col. Kerry Pettingill, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said: “We continue to urge people to take a few seconds to buckle up. Sixty-six percent of last year’s victims were not wearing safety belts, and it’s a tragedy they didn’t take this precaution. Those few seconds could have saved their lives.
“For people who choose to celebrate the holidays by consuming alcohol, there are many transportation options available. Getting behind the wheel is the worst option of all. Drinking and driving is irresponsible, dangerous and deadly. The best options are designated drivers and cab services. If you choose to drink and drive, you may get a ride from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol straight to the county jail.”
West says motorists traveling with cellular phones may contact the patrol by dialing *55 or 911 to report erratic and drunk drivers and traffic emergencies.
I’m all for helping someone in need. Whatever we can do, however we can do it, we should provide all the assistance we can.
In this business, we see stories every day about tragedies. Often, those tragedies are the result of an individual’s actions, whether intentional or unintentional.
We also see stories about successes. Again, they may be the result of an individual’s actions, whether intentional or unintentional.
Addiction is one of those areas where the tragedies can be horrific, successes monumental. You can find both by going to knowit.newsok.com/addiction-oklahoma and reading about them.
One of the most wonderful things about this “know it” topic to me is the collection of resources, both individuals and agencies, that we have put together to help those battling an addiction.
We not only have agencies and organizations that have a strong financial standing and nearly unlimited capacity to work with those who are struggling, but we have local people who have experience. In some cases, these people have been there themselves, or currently are experiencing the challenges of addiction.
Their personal accounts and efforts are helping others, and that’s the intent.
Visit “know it: Addiction” and see for yourself. Check out the people, the resources that can help win the fight.
That urgent call from your addicted child can come at any moment. If you are not prepared with an appropriate response then you may find yourself, once again, trying to rescue him from his consequences. Here are some ideas that might help you.
* Practice saying “NO.” It seems so petty to deny the small requests.
He may ask you to pay a parking ticket he received. It’s a minor amount of money and he tells you he is just short of funds at the moment. If you are familiar with the “Twelve Step Program,” then you will realize that to grant him these favors is considered enabling.
You receive a call from your son in jail requesting you bail him out. He informs you that this is a very dangerous place and he fears for his life.
Your child calls again from jail and says: “You don’t understand. The food is so bad in here that I am sick. If you love me, you will bail me out.”
* “NO” is not a denial of love! Remember that the addicted child is wily and an expert at pulling at your heart strings, playing the “don’t you love me?” card.
Your child informs you that he has just lost his job and if he doesn’t pay his rent in the next 24 hours he will be evicted.
Your daughter calls to inform you that her situation is hopeless and she has no one to turn to and nowhere to stay.
* “NO” because we feel you are smart enough to work through this situation on your own. Acknowledging your child’s maturity and intelligence places the burden of those problems back where they belong … on the addicted one.
* Take your time.
You might respond by simply saying you need time to process this situation. The addicted child usually calls with immediate needs but it is not mandatory that you respond immediately.
Take some time and contact a licensed alcohol/drug counselor, your sponsor or a friend familiar with addiction.
* Expect the expected.
I learned to put suggested responses in my smart phone. When I received that urgent and desperate call, I could simply review those responses while listening to my child. Knowing what to expect has given us additional strength and courage to respond in a manner that was healthy for not just his recovery but ours, as well.
* Do not accept abuse. This is not your fault!
We learned that there would be many conversations that would not be pleasant, to say the least. It was during these times that our child would call when high and become verbally abusive. We learned to say “this is not a healthy conversation for either of us and we are hanging up now. Please call back when you can be respectful.” CLICK!
* Remember the acronym “F.E.A.R.” It means False Expectations Appearing Real.
Fear is what causes us to rush in and try to rescue our children but it has been our experience that none of our fears ever came true.
We learned to remain calm and not get caught up in the drama of the moment. We would simply listen quietly and pray silently for the strength to respond in a manner that supported our child’s recovery.
I learned long ago that civic group meetings can be a great place to find out what’s going on in your community, your state and your nation.
The speakers these clubs bring in are among the most informed, best resources available.
Highways and roadways always are hot topics in our state and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has a fine group of ndividuals who can clear up misconceptions, provide the big picture on our highways, as well as give updates on key issues.
So, without hesitation, I’m happy to forward this list to any and all clubs looking for speakers who know their topics.
But don’t hesitate. They have busy work schedules and the opportunity to secure one of them may fade fast, depending upon requests.
To schedule them, contact the nearest ODOT office:
* Darren Saliba, (918) 687-5407 (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Adair, Cherokee, haskell, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.
* Paula Branam, (580) 298-3371 (email@example.com) — Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Latimer, Le Flore, Marshall, McCurtain, Pittsburg and Pushmataha counties.
* Kathy Gwinn, (580) 332-1526 (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Cleveland, Coal, Garbin, Hughes, Johnston, Lincoln, McClain, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Okfuskee and Seminole counties.
* Danielle Trent, (580) 336-7340 (email@example.com) — Canadian, Garfield, Grant, kay, Kingfisher, Logan, Noble, Oklahoma and Payne counties.
* Brent Almquist, (580) 445-1002 (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Beckham, Blaine, Custer, Dewey, Greer, harmon, Jackson, Kowa, Roger Mills, Tillman and Washita counties.
* Joyce Lake, (580) 735-2561 (email@example.com) — Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, Major, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties.
* Lois Clark, (580) 255-7586 (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Caddo, Carter, Comanche, Cotton, Grady, Jefferson, Love, Murray and Stephens counties.
* Terry Thompson, (918) 838-9933 (email@example.com) — Craig, Creek, Delaware, Mayes, Nowata, Osage, ottawa, Payne, Rogers, Tulsa and Washington counties.
The following are the 10 most important things I have learned:
1. I learned to allow my child to experience the natural consequences of his actions.
The disease of addiction must be shaken to its very core for change to occur and that is when the child’s consequences become more painful than recovery.
2. I learned how to respond appropriately to my child’s phone calls.
Every time my child called, his primary underlying motivation was to manipulate me into either directly or indirectly rescuing him. And every time I helped him I put him back into a position to continue his abuse of drugs. I would later learn to prepare my responses in advance.
3. I learned how to react appropriately to my child’s anger when his requests were rejected. I can now say, “I am sorry you feel that way but I do not deserve to be disrespected in this manner. I am hanging up now.” Click!
4. I learned all I could about the disease of addiction. I would investigate any situation that I did not understand or that I was confused about.
5. I learned that I could not change my child. I learned I had absolutely no power to fix him!
6. I learned to put my child in God’s care and to trust God fully.
7. I learned that for me to have a life I must grieve the loss of the child of my dreams.
8. I learned that having an ongoing relationship with a licensed professional alcohol/drug counselor has been very helpful.
9. I learned the importance of a support group like Parents Helping Parents.
10. I learned that focusing on keeping me and my wife physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, is a positive way to deal with the angst and grief of a child lost to addiction.
Some parts of Oklahoma got an early dose of winter weather this week, complete with snow.
Crews from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation responded to handle conditions on roadways in northern and northwestern parts of the state.
ODOT officials said crews needed sand and salt in some areas after the weather hit, including plowing areas where snow had accumulated.
That should serve as a reminder to drivers throughout Oklahoma that more winter weather conditions are ahead. A little preparation can go a long way.
Whether it be adjusting your speed for slick spots, especially on bridges and overpasses; making sure your vehicle is winterized; having the proper necessities inside, should you become stranded; or knowing your route, you can be safer.
The experts say:
* Drive for the conditions and plan for extra travel time.
* Take extra care when traveling through work zones during this time.
* Check road conditions before getting out on the roads.
* Stay at least 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment; crews need room to maneuver and can engage plowing or spreading materials without notice.
* Be aware of “black ice,” which looks wet on the roadway, but is actually a thin layer of ice.
To check CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS, call the Department of Public Safety’s ROAD CONDITIONS HOTLINE at 888-425-2385.
For more winter driving tips, recommendations on preparations and more, check out the resources on http://knowit.newsok.com/severe weather and learn how to survive.
This time of the year is one of the most difficult for parents of an addicted child.
Parents wait in quiet desperation, both hoping and dreading that their child may attend family gatherings and other holiday functions.
Will their loved one be there to open gifts and share in the joy and love?
Will their hearts be torn to see that child “under the influence” or witness the damaging effects of the substance of choice?
If that child is clean and sober instead, will they witness one that is distant, emotionless, and removed from the love of this special family time?
Yet, the fear and sadness parents feel when their child is absent due to the disease of addiction is beyond description. They may be worrying, not knowing whether that child is gravely ill or injured or even still alive.
They may have lost hope and mourn as if that child was really dead. The grief is the same, the pain is endless.
If you are a family member or friend of parents whose child is addicted I would encourage you to ask about the child and let the parents know you are keeping them and their child in your prayers.
Expressing your sincere concern and offer of prayers will likely prove to be one of the greatest gifts they will receive this Christmas.