An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How can you learn healthy behavior when most of the behavior you see is unhealthy?

Discussion in 'Sobriety Tips and Inspiration' started by CpXi7z1, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. CpXi7z1

    CpXi7z1 Member

    All my life my father and brother have clashed. I know this is a cliche, but it felt true. When I was young, the tension at home was so thick, it could be cut with a knife. My dad and brother screamed at each other, threatened each other, and, generally, butted heads. My brother's addictions began before he was a teenager. Over the years he's been a prisoner to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. He made home life a living hell. The consensus in our family is that he was self medicating for mental illness which runs in my family. On top of all the trouble my brother's addictions have caused, my dad has mental illness that makes life stressful and unbearable. I'm visiting my sister partly for my sanity, but her family life is tumultuous, too. I don't know if she transferred negative behaviors she learned growing up in our messed-up family. All I know is I want to be far away from dysfunctional people. I need a real vacation, surrounded by nature, where maybe I can find some peace of mind. Then of course, I'd have to return to the messed-up environment I know because I can't afford to live elsewhere. I don't have any healthy role models so how in the world am I supposed to learn healthy behavior? Even if I could find the perfect book on the subject, I don't know where to turn to see healthy behavior in action. I am so frustrated and so rundown.
    valiantx likes this.
  2. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Sorry to hear about your situation, I can feel the frustration from all the way here. I can somewhat relate as I do not like the influence of my family as well and I'm just afraid that it's permanently rubbed off on me that even if I leave I'll subconsciously just find the same types of people that would get me back in the same place, figuratively. In a way I'm sure it's already inescapable by now but I'll surely give it my best to try and get away from it both physically and psychologically. For now I'm just trying to earn as much as I can to start fresh. As much as I'd like to solve things here, I think I'll just end up losing my own life to their problems if I did so. As for role models, I get what you mean, even public figures who give out their life lessons can only take you so far. I think it's still worthy finding someone who will take a personal interest in you but it takes doing a lot of activities and meeting new people to find the best suited one for you. Good luck to all of us.
  3. ayywithemm

    ayywithemm Member

    Really sorry about your family. But you can break out of the cycle and end it for good if you really want to. Maybe a little space away from them will help. Meet some new people and try to become a different better person; some you yourself would like to meet. Just a suggestion.
    Anything is possible, you have to believe then you have to do :)
  4. valiantx

    valiantx Community Champion

    It's your parents that led to most - not all - of the troubles and problems in your life CpXi7z1. Bad parenting is the number one reason I believe most people grow up to live far below their full potentials. It's known scientifically that a child's esteem is best molded by the people they're surrounded by during the ages of 0 to 7 years of age, which most children grow up around their parents - thus children raised with poor parenting, even if their parents were moral, lack a sense of value in themselves. I believe, life is about creating one's soul, which is done by how one align their attitude to the experiences they're met with and what they ignore or learn from it. Also, know when to simply be in the mood of no and to say no, when things do not benefit you!

    Thanks for sharing your story and I hope you can solve your manifold problems with your family, because those are the toughest relationships to deal with when overcoming drug related issues.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  5. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    If there aren't any good role models around you, you just need to find them elsewhere. The only advice I'd give is join a free club or be a volunteer in your local community. This would make it possible for you to meet people who care about others. And though you won't be needing any kind of support, you'll learn something from them which you might find helpful.

    All the best!
  6. Scopp

    Scopp Member

    I love this question because it is SO relevant. It's very hard to change when you don't have a model to adopt, but at least you've got a good start by knowing that you don't want to operate the way that your family operates. Knowing what you don't want is half the battle. If you don't keep a journal, I would highly recommend it. I've found that it really helps me work out my thoughts and I often come to conclusions I didn't even know I was searching for. The other thing I'd recommend is to take a lot of walks, a little bit of time to myself, ideally, in nature, is pretty important for my sanity.
    MrsJones likes this.
  7. btatro

    btatro Member

    I feel like the best thing you can do is turn your "I can't" into an "I can". You may have to make drastic changes. Find a job far away, and then make rent/energy a priority. Make sure you can line up a job that will make ends meet. Most communities have assistance for other needs, such as food, clothing, and healthcare. Things like a cell phone (get a pre paid for necessities only), cable, and Internet are luxuries you can work toward I'm the future. You CAN escape this, but you do need to believe it.
  8. TheKid

    TheKid Active Contributor

    firstly, I am really sorry to hear about your family situation I can't even imagine how terrible it must be to grow up like that. I would say, harness the good from yourself and then you can be come your own healthy role model ! Once again I'm sorry to hear about your family situation you sir, will be in my prayers. Good luck!
  9. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    This sounds like the house I grew up in. My house had meth, alcohol, and marijuana all over the place. Growing up and being exposed to that kind of life did set a tone for my future. I got into alcohol at a young age as a way to release and forget about my problems at home. I tried marijuana 2 or 3 times my whole life. I never liked to inhale smoke so that was a blessing. But I never tried Meth, and I never will.

    Being surrounded with these temptations. it's going to be hard not to dip into them. What I suggest is to find a neutral place you can go. Someplace away from the turmoil, and possibly a place where you can work out your problems like a physical activity or sport. Try it. It worked for me.
  10. pintbean

    pintbean Active Contributor

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. It is a step in opening up and allowing the right people in your life that will help you see that there is so much left to enjoy in life. I would suggest to "try" try a bunch of different new hobbies if you can. I know that groupon offers great deals for hobbies here and there and through these situations you can start to understand what you like and what you truly want to spend your time doing, even if it is only trying new activities. Like JoshPosh said, physical activity can be of huge help.

    all the best!
  11. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    You need to get out of your house. People have offered very good ideas -- joining clubs, starting to do exercise, find a job away. How old are you? If there is anyway you could be independent, take it. Take it and seek to make positive contacts in the new places you'll find yourself in. Go camping; go take classes, or extra-classes. Join the Scouts? Sometimes, you can even get opportunities to live abroad for a few months. You are right to want out: it looks like you have nothing but toxic air and mentalities to breath in. Give yourself your best chance! Anything is better than being dragged through the bad moods and addictions of your family, it looks like.
  12. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Yeah I know all about that. You have to find new role models, because when family is like this they are not even close to be any kind of a role model. When you go out and see that there are reasonable, kind hearted, intelligent people to interact with. The petty spiteful outbursts seem small and ridiculous. Rising above the low mentality is the best thing to do for yourself.
  13. LitoLawless

    LitoLawless Senior Contributor

    I think in situations like these, it's really important to be your own person. Sometimes, it only takes seeing what you don't want to be to let you know what you want to be. If all the behavior that you see around you is pretty unhealthy, then the opposite must have the opposite effect. Being your own person isn't easy, but you'll feel so much better in the long run.
  14. 003

    003 Community Champion

    When you are surrounded by people with unhealthy behaviour then see it as an opportunity. When you are surrounded by them, you are immediately exposed to the ones you shouldn't follow, so you know them right away. All that you have to do is take a courage to not follow them, and go opposite instead. This is the tough job! But nothing great comes easy. And it's impossible that there is a place where most people possess a healthy behaviour. You shouldn't be dependent on your surroundings. You must instead have a discipline to yourself, so wherever you'd be put at, you'd remain stern with your behavior.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  15. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    Sometimes you just need to step away from all of the negativity in your life and find some sort of outlet that truely makes you happy. When you are in a rut, it is easy to go back to your old habits because they provided you with some sort of comfort to begin with. A lot of people take up drugs and alcohol because it makes them feel better when they are high or drunk. The end result is that you eventually come down and sober up and your problems are there when you do. It takes a big person to just step away and find inner happiness.
  16. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    First of all, I am really sorry to hear about your situation. I think it's very positive that you decided you didn't want to be like your family. It's a really hard thing to do! To do things as step away from your comfort zone and try to find new ways to look at the world, are not as easy as one might think.
    I think you need to keep focused on your objectives, to have the courage necessay to get away from all that environment that is clearly not healthy. Try moving to another city, find a job and a build yourself a nice home. I know these are somewhat long term projects, and if you can't do that right now, why not take a retreat someplace nice near your town? You can also try relaxing activities and things to keep your mind away from all that suffering. Try meditation, go camping, take a long walk everyday, listen to relaxing music, read good books...
    Also, my most important advice (which is also a sincere request) to you is: do not give up. Ever! Do not give up trying to better your life, do not give in to the easy path, which is changing nothing and staying where you are. Everyone has the right to be happy. And the world really needs people that are brave enough to pursue happiness.
    Wish you the very best!
  17. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    Welcome CpXi.

    Do me a favor and stand in front of a mirror.

    'I don't know where to turn to see healthy behavior in action.' Whoop, there it is! All you need now is to find others like yourself.
  18. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    You're in a really tight situation. Even still, that's no reason for you to give up on your father and brother as well as on your ability to help them. Let me share to you this quote from Edward Albee: "Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly." It simply means that it's okay to relax and take a breather elsewhere. Give yourself enough time to think of a solution. While you're away from them, cultivate enough strength so that the next time you intervene, you can drag them both to a counselor. I think your brother and father need some time apart. Look for a proactive counselor who's not put off by heavy family problems if you think you're at your wit's end. A better idea? Send your brother to rehab no matter how difficult it seems to be. The moment he recovers, you can guarantee a better relationship between him and your father.
  19. nessarconde

    nessarconde Member

    I also agree with xTinx, at some level. If you believe you can help your family become better, then you should do it. But, bear in mind, that if it implies destroying yourself (and by destroying I mean living daily with behaviours and situations that are very difficult to live with and are strongly affecting you) you should consider being a little more selfish.
    I know this may seem harsh, and I am NOT saying you should abandon your family, but you must first always think about yourself. If you don't feel good, stable and confident, then you can't help anyone. Because eventually both of you will drown. First, you must carefully analyze the situation and figure out if you are capable (or feel capable) of dealing with it or not. Then, decide. If you decide to stay and try to help, be strong, patient and kind. These things are hard, it takes a long time to try and correct things that have been occuring for so long. And if you decide to leave, that's okay too. No one can blame you for seeking a better life and some peace of mind.
    Please, consider your choices carefully. So you won't regret whatever decision you make. I wish the best of luck to you.
  20. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Sorry to know about that. I do have a neighbor or neighbors that are on such family situation and it is frustrating to hear them screaming to each other and almost kill each other as if they are not family. Maybe try some organizations or churches near your area where you can seek help whether it is for better/healthy companionship/friendship to give you moral support.