Friday, December 9, 2016

3 Ways to Help a Person Recovering from Addiction

Guest Post by Sara at Educator Labs:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of ad Dei Gloriam Ministries.

Watching someone you care about struggle with addiction is not easy. The process of getting help alone is difficult enough, and then you must watch your loved one cope with recovery. While recovery may be a step forward, it is also a very challenging time in the person’s life.

If you have never experienced addiction, you might feel as though you cannot help simply because you don’t understand what they are going through. However, you do not need to have similar experiences to help someone through a difficult time. Here are a few ways friends and family can help a person undergoing addiction recovery.

One of the most important steps you can take to help someone working through recovery is simply to check in once in awhile. If your loved one is still in treatment or if you don’t live nearby, regular phone calls or video chats can offer the support your loved one needs.

With the isolating nature of addiction recovery, it is important that friends and family take the time to stay in touch. Social isolation can easily become a reason for relapse and by simply picking up the phone, you can help prevent that.

Plan Beneficial Activities

There are many activities that prove quite beneficial for those recovering from drug addiction. Spending time with loved ones is an important aspect of avoiding social isolation during recovery, and by choosing your activities wisely, you’ll be doing even more to help them stay on the right path and discover positive coping strategies.

Exercise is a commonly used tool in various therapies as it can improve mental state and act as a positive coping mechanism. Due to the meditative aspect of the practice, yoga is one of the best options. You might also consider learning a new hobby or skill together such as a new language or maybe even ceramics.

Bring the Family Dog

Even if you can’t find a way to help by yourself, your dog already knows the best way to offer support. Dogs are naturally stress-relieving. They offer affection and encourage physical activity by playing. If your loved one is able, you may even want to suggest that they adopt a dog. The ability to come home to a loving pet is a great way to battle depression while their need for exercise and social interaction works to prevent isolation.

Of course, dogs are also a huge financial responsibility. They will require food, vet care, collars, leashes, beds, and a number of other items in order to live comfortably. So, in the meantime, try bringing your dog over for a visit, a walk, or just a game of fetch. Their enthusiasm and affection are enough to brighten any mood.

Though addiction can be frightening and the recovery process difficult, you are an important part of your loved one’s life. Your love, support, and compassion can make all the difference in a recovery simply by doing your best and caring.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ministry and Website Programming Update

Finding spare time away from my “other job” (the one that pays the bills) has been quite challenging over the past couple of years, but at least for the past few weeks, I'm finally seeing a small work decrease. The maritime port in South Jersey is under construction and the electrical design for the International Terminal in Virginia is getting close to completion. I'm still working on the electrical substation, transmission, distribution, telecommunication and street lighting design for a few industrial cities in the Middle East, but they've been relatively quiet for the past few months. I'm hoping the trend continues and that I can even drop back to flex or even part-time within the next few years. I can just hear many of my friends thinking, "yeah, we've heard that before", but I did turn down the offer of taking the lead for designing the electrical substation, and associated electrical and telecom distribution for the downtown renovation of a city in the western US, something that I would never have done a few years ago.

I must admit that it was not easy to turn down the renovation project (downtown area renovations appear to be a hot trend), but my current primary goal is to be able to devote more time to our ministry, so I'm renewing my efforts (again) to that end. I must also do a better job in prioritizing the little time that I do have. I've often gotten an article or series to a certain point before getting interrupted (job deadlines, questions from readers or class members, deciding to do additional research on a particular topic, ect) and temporarily switching off onto another engineering or ministry project. As you've probably guessed, many of those temporary detours become permanent, resulting in dozens and dozens of writings in various stages of completion, some from over ten years ago. Therefore, even though I'm still planning and working on new articles and series, I will attempt to place a priority on finishing existing ones.

Website Programming Update

In 2014, we converted our website from "fixed-width" to "flex" or "fluid" pages to make to make it "mobile-friendly". When the site was originally uploaded in December of 2006, I knew very little about web programming (just some basic html), so I used website graphic interface software for the first couple of years. For the 2014 conversion, I worked primarily in the code itself, eliminating much of the bloat added by the software. For this latest update, I'm basically using a text editor and writing the code from scratch. This is leading to much cleaner code (file sizes are only a fraction of the originals) which should result in faster load times for those with slower internet connections. Since we have so many readers for developing countries, our top priority is to maintain a clean look and fast loading times even when adding new features.

I'll share more details and some of the code in future posts, but for now I'd like to share a short list of the upgrades. First, we're adding a Navigation Bar at the top of each individual page for linking to all the major sections of the site. The current design only contains a few relative links. In addition, we're also adding media queries to automatically orient the navbar as horizontal or vertical depending on the size of the reader's screen for our mobile readers. Second (thanks to reader comments), we're increasing the basic font sizes by 25% or more for most elements. As my eyes have grown older, I've also come to appreciate larger text sizes in some instances.

Next, we are moving all styling of text, images, etc from the html code to external css stylesheets. This further decreases the size of the page files, but its greatest benefit is for our sight-impaired readers who utilize audio reading software. Some audio readers have trouble distinguishing the styling within the html code from the actual text itself, so this should result in a much "cleaner" audio reading. Finally, we're updating the html code to include html5 semantic elements. This will be invisible to our readers, but is a big help to the search engine web crawlers, and should result in better search results.

We are currently uploading the updated pages as they are re-coded. Readers who have been on our site the past few weeks may have noticed the difference on some of the pages. If you'd like to check them out, as with our 2014 update, we began with our On-Line Bible pages since these are the only pages that are guaranteed to accomplish their purposes (Is 55:10-11). Both the Old and New Testament books have been converted to the new html/css format, but we're still converting the linked study notes to hover/popups for the NT. We're hoping to complete the conversions of the remaining sections and pages by the end of the year. Our front page will also receive an entire face-lift, but much of this code is still in progress. As always, we welcome and appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - Remembering our Fallen Heroes

Freedom Isn't FreeWhat can we say or do to adequately express our heartfelt “thank you” to those who paid the ultimate price defending the freedoms that we all too often take for granted? Many traditions have begun through the years. Some honor the fallen with parades, ceremonies at cemeteries, and at various other events.

The traditional Memorial Day flag ceremony includes briskly raising the US Flag to the top of the pole in the morning, then slowly lowering the flag to half-staff where it flies until noon. The flag is then slowly and ceremoniously lowered at the end of the day and removed. This ceremony is performed by living soldiers as a sign of their intention to carry on the good fight so that the ultimate sacrifices of the fallen will not be in vain.

For the second consecutive year, NASCAR will honor our troops this Memorial Day Weekend with “600 Miles of Remembrance”. During this race, the sport pays tribute to our brave service men and women. In a typical NASCAR race, each car displays the driver's name on the windshield header. Yet, during this special race, each car will bear the name of a fallen service member instead.

In the late 1990s, many radio and television stations began playing “Taps” at 3:00 PM each Memorial Day while many Americans paused for a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives defending ours. In 2000, the US Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act to officially recognize this tradition. Yet, even though all this still doesn't begin to pay the debt we owe to our fallen soldiers, we must continue to do all we can to express our gratitude. Today, let's do more than just pause for a moment of silence. Let's attempt to say “thank you” in any way we can to the families of the fallen, and to those who continue to serve our country and defend our freedoms. God Bless our Troops!