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Overcoming Addiction: Suhana’s Story

Roshni Wadhwa pens an inspiring story of a young girl who came back from the brink of a severe addiction.

Sahana suffered from an alcohol and cannabis (weed) addiction. She also developed a cocaine addiction, though, it was short lived as it was extremely expensive. Her dependence on alcohol stemmed from constantly being surrounded by it while growing up. However, the compulsion towards weed and cocaine developed from the friends she interacted with and as a coping mechanism for when her father passed away.

Suhana’s father was a functioning alcoholic, who also heavily smoked cigarettes. There was never a time when she got to see him sober. Being addicted to alcohol impacted him not only physically, as he was over weight, but also emotionally, as he suffered from depression. He even drove when he was drunk - sometimes while she was present in the car. This deeply affected Sahana’s life, as she was just a teenager discovering herself.

Her addiction started at the age of 15 and went on for about 4 years. During that period, she was in depression, suffering from anxiety, paranoia, and a disturbed sleep pattern. She also shunned her mother who did not support her father’s behavior, and lived separately. Yet, as she grew older, this compulsion for drinking, smoking and the aggression towards her mother felt like a heavy weight on her shoulders, impacting her schooling, social and personal life immensely.

When she was 19, she saw a friend completely ruined by the habit. This was a turning point in Sahana’s life; she was worried that if nothing was done to break the chain of this addiction, it would lead to the same situation. She also realized that she had to focus on academics and her future. The realization of where her life was going and the very real danger of the habit gave her the courage and willpower to overcome this obstacle.

Suhana turned to yoga and meditation. She further focused on building a positive relationship with her mother. The recovery phase was no doubt, tremendously challenging and required an immense amount of dedication to keep going. Battling the frequent cravings, withdrawal and stepping into the real world of degrees and careers, was not easy. Still, she was relentless. Yoga would not only make her feel physically healthier, but also, gave her the mental strength to stay on track, reducing the need to engage in the activity.

Today, Sahana has been sober for more than 5 years, working at a reputed company. The depression has passed, (although the anxiety is something she deals with daily). Instead of wasting money on drugs and alcohol, she has been saving it to buy a house of her own. In the future, she plans to go for a volunteering program to Sri Lanka. The encouragement and love offered from her mother, diligence towards her job, and most of all, learning to love her “self” has been a huge motivating factor in constructing a meaningful, healthy and optimistic life.

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6 addictions no one warned you about

Teenage opens up a whole new world to you thus making most teens vulnerable to all types of addictions. Here is a curating a list of addictions you didn’t even know existed and how to deal with them…

Much is said and written about substance and alcohol addiction. We are constantly warned against harmful habits and are asked to tread carefully in the minefield of addictions. But what they often forget is to warn us against the less-known behavioral addictions. 

We may have given in to certain – seemingly harmless – addictions and not even know that we are indeed addicted! Well, it’s time to take charge of ourselves and change that. Let’s take a look at six possible behavioral addictions that may have quietly crept into our lives and got us without us even realizing it!

Phone

We live in the age of smart phones that are constantly being upgraded. The improved functionality of our devices is directly proportional to the likelihood of our addiction to it! Sure there is an app for everything today and the camera quality is ace, but if you have an unhealthy attachment to your device it’s time to do something about it.

Red flags –

  • You suffer from sore and itchy eyes, blurred vision
  • You have been experiencing neck pain
  • You suffer from frequent headaches
  • You have been experiencing disturbed sleep
  • You are anxious and irritable without the phone  

Solution –

  • Get rid of unnecessary apps
  • Customize your notifications
  • Turn phone off when sleeping
  • Keep it on silent mode when you need to do other important things

Internet/ Television shows

We depend on internet more than we’d like to believe. Internet today is invading our work, social and even personal life! We are constantly looking for apps to help us through our life; traffic, groceries, food orders, you name it. With Netflix and Hotstar coming in, our screen time has shot up to hours. Binge watching is an addiction too.

Red flags –

  • You feel lonely and depressed when you are offline
  • You relate and see glimpses of a TV character in your own life
  • You dream of living in your favorite show
  • You watch more than 6 episodes in a row without moving
  • You react strongly to happy and sad instances in the show

Solution –

  • Follow only one show at a time
  • Set an alarm or a timer so when it goes off you will know it’s time to stop watching
  • Don’t eat your meals when you are watching
  • Pledge to never waste a pleasant morning or a good evening indoors
  • Set time for another hobby; read, run, cook. Take your pick.

Shopping

Shopping addiction is not gender specific. It is a simple case of your body releasing endorphins that stimulate the pleasure centers in your brain each time you make a purchase thus making it a habit. Shopaholics also shop to fight negative feelings like sadness and depression.

Red flags –

  • You shop when you feel sad and depressed
  • You spend more than you can afford
  • Your shopping leads to fights
  • You live in a constant guilt of shopping and you shop some more to fight it

Solution –

  • Identify the triggers and make note of what makes you want to shop
  • Discover the need that shopping fills, try to fill it with something else
  • Swap shopping with something healthier
  • Carry only enough money to get through your day
5 questions to find out if you are addicted 

* How many hours am I investing in that particular activity? 
* Is it beyond normal?
* How anxious/ frustrated do I get when unable to do it for a few hours?
* Have others mentioned that I am always busy doing it?
* Are other things taking a back seat in my life, are my grades getting affected?
* Do I keep busy doing it even though I am aware of the consequences?
 

Gaming

Video games are addictive because they are designed to get you addicted. They are designed to be challenging enough so you keep coming back till you win it. Plus the sense of achievement it gives you overpowers the fact that it keeps you from being productive.

Red flags –

  • You feel restless when you are unable to play
  • You are preoccupied with the thoughts of the game
  • You isolate yourself from people to play this game
  • You experience fatigue, migraines
  • You maintain poor personal hygiene

Solution –

  • Time your play time with an alarm
  • Check if you still have real friends, virtual friends don’t last too long
  • Start playing board games that involve real people
  • Ask yourself if you are doing it to avoid real life issues/confrontations
  • Check if its harming your real life relationships. 

Exercise

Exercise is a healthy habit till it turns into an obsession. If you find yourself getting an uncontrollable urge to exercise extensively then you might have a problem at hand.  

Red flags –

  • You want to exercise even when you have an injury
  • You are hyperactive with your workouts
  • You feel irritable and anxious when you skip a workout
  • You have an unhealthy fixation with muscle building, size zero
  • Your life activities otherwise are suffering

Solutions –

  • Build a supportive social circle
  • Expand your hobbies and interests, read or watch movies
  • Keep a tab of time you spend working out
  • If you can’t find a way to stop yourself, get help

Love

Love is beautiful but obsession with the idea of being in love is unhealthy. If you feel that you can’t live without a particular person then know and accept that you are addicted to the idea of being in love.

 Red flags –

  • You keep in constant touch
  • You mistake romantic excitement or sexual encounters for love
  • You are desperate to please your partner
  • You are too scared to upset your partner
  • You find it difficult to be alone

Solutions –

  • Set healthy boundaries to your interaction with your partner
  • Set personal goals and invest time in your personal development career/life
  • Make time for other important people in your life
  • Make an effort to deal with emotions more maturely
  • Get help

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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