I put in the search engine: How do I know if I’m an alcoholic? It gave me 12 questions, not a lot, but what lead me to type that? I wasn’t going to believe what the answers revealed. And even if I did… to some degree, what would I do? Give up drinking?
But I had another bad night. And for some reason that morning I couldn’t shut off the repetitive thought: This is not okay. Suddenly the things I said I’d never do, I was doing. The lines I’d never cross, were far behind me. And it was always the same setup. Before the night began I’d tell myself: Tonight, I’m going to go out but I’m not going to get drunk, I’ll just have one drink. Maybe two. But that’s IT. And lo and behold I’d wake up not knowing how I got into my own bed. Not knowing who was mad at me, what I said, what happened. It was bad enough not remembering but often I’d start to remember in flashes throughout the day and then I’d try to shut those down too. The truth was I DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW.
I had a new normal and if I thought about it, if I let myself think about it, my new normal was terrifying. My new normal meant incurable headaches, stomach issues doctors couldn’t solve, lies to my friends about my escapades, lies to my family about why I couldn’t talk. My new normal ran so far, went so deep, I even lied to my own therapist. If anyone knew, really knew, what my life really was like, I’d lose everything. At the very least I’d have to give up alcohol. And then what?
If I could just get some proof I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, then I could keep drinking like normal people. Everyone drank like me, right? Sort of?
Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
I didn’t expect that first question. I mean hadn’t everyone? While I could have lied and said “No” I thought, No one is here. I’m going, to be honest. Besides, that’s only one “Yes.”
Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking– stop telling you what to do?
Ha! I didn’t tell people what I was really doing so “No.” But…
As the questions went on, it was Yes, Yes, Yes… 9 out of 12. According to the questionnaire, 4 meant I had a problem. Me. Not some old, scraggly, pasty, urine-stained man on skid row. Me. And the day probably thought wouldn’t have made an impact had it not been for that last question. Number 12:
Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?
I did. And I didn’t. If I totally removed alcohol, who would I be? Would it mean the end of fun, freedom, happiness? But while I was being honest, I had to admit, at that moment I had none of those things. I wasn’t having fun. In reality, I was scared a lot, lots of friends didn’t drink like me, I wasn’t sure I genuinely liked the ones who were around. I had no freedom. I couldn’t be in social situations without alcohol. I was a prisoner to it. And often I wouldn’t go out. It was easier. But then I’d be home alone, drinking. How was that free? And happiness. I wasn’t happy. Plain and simple. There was nothing behind my smile. I had become a shell.
Admitting I had a problem wasn’t easy for me. Asking for help didn’t feel real and I was scared. But I gave up all my alcohol, went to rehab (the best jump-start to recovery), attended AA meetings, found a sponsor, and slowly started to feel less scared and more cared for. And I started to have fun. I was connecting with others about my life in ways I never could before. The other people got it. They had been hiding and lying from friends, family and themselves for a long time, too. And while maybe I’m not happy all the time, I have my own little family now, I have a love in my friendships, I feel calm a lot. I no longer spend energy trying to either forget or figure out anything. There’s no need to. I am free of drugs and alcohol and because of that, anything is possible.
Today, when I wake up, I’m not afraid to open my eyes. That’s my version of freedom.Read More
If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you already recognize that someone you care about seems to have some issues with alcohol or drugs. You may not be sure if it really qualifies as “an addiction,” but you may have noticed that it is difficult to be around them lately, especially if they are drinking or using. The fun times that you used to have with them seem to now always be awkward and the relationship between the two of you may have changed from being equal in care and affection to being more one-sided and, maybe even, abusive.
You may have wondered what you can do to change the situation and may have even tried different attempts to only to find that it is not really welcome or nothing truly changes. In fact, you may feel that things are only getting worse with time and have fears and anxieties based on this person’s behaviors.
What you need to know about any type of addiction is that it is a physical and psychological disorder that can range from mild to severe patterns or traits. Each individual can display different behaviors, but ultimately, there are a few main indicators that reveal that a person is truly an addict and where they are on the scale of dependence. Here are some main things to consider or ask when trying to understand if your loved one has an addiction.
In a nutshell, addiction is a behavior or set of behaviors that end up taking over the person’s life and controlling every aspect. Depending on the severity, sometimes, an addict can no longer determine what is best for them and/ or stop these actions as their mind and body are skewed to rely on the addictive substance.
If you know someone who is struggling with what you think is an addiction, it may be time to seek assistance from a professional. Call us today for help.Read More
By now in our culture, we have heard of “tough love” and it is especially referred to when dealing in problematic relationships. In essence, tough love is when a person is treated sternly or “harshly” in the short run by those that those who care about him or her. These actions are done in an effort to help the addict make better choices about their future.
The best way to possibly describe tough love is to give examples of it being put into practice. Probably the easiest example to state is one where the relationship with the addict or alcoholic is completely ended until he or she goes through a sober treatment program and is well on their way in recovery. Again, this is easy to say, but so incredibly hard to do. However, keep in mind the whole purpose of tough love is to not only to provide the addict with enough pain incentive to change their life but also to allow you space and room to live your life independent of the bad behaviors and poor choices the addict is continuing to make.
Another example is not allowing the addict to live with you or enter your home while still using and not in recovery. Not giving him or her any money or resources such as time and energy is also important; by doing things for them, you free up their time to focus all their efforts in finding and using drugs or alcohol, not necessarily getting better. Making these kinds of decisions can seem unkind or really hard, but do not let the addict manipulate you because their number one priority is to keep their addiction alive and active. By refusing to participate in their requests, favors or poor choices, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you stop enabling them in their addiction—which will be incredibly important to your future peace of mind.
To understand this concept further, enabling a loved one with an addiction does nothing to assist in the relationship you have with that individual in the long-run and in fact, is probably the worst thing you can do for them. The problem is that by enabling, many people feel like they are helping, but they are not. What they are really doing is making the problem bigger because they prevent the person from having to live and face consequences that the rest of us have to; therefore, the addict is not really allowed to build their own skills on how to cope and navigate through life in a successful way.
Another big factor to remember is that as an addict continues to use, their brain chemistry changes. The need for a fix becomes bigger and bigger and they become less and less capable of making sound decisions. It is really easy to begin to aid them here and there, thinking you are doing good by them, but without a doubt they will begin to take advantage of you…sometimes for a long time before you even realize they are doing so. This is how the cycle of enabling starts and when it does, stopping your behaviors are almost as hard as getting an addict to quit. Like addicts, enablers also loose themselves to their enabling actions and what was once important to them falls by the wayside in favor of “assisting” the addict in “getting better”.
How do you know you are enabling someone? Do you do any of the following:
All of these can take an incredible emotional as well as physical toll on any person. By continuing to act out of fear, you will eventually resent the addict for putting you in this position, when really it was your choice all along. What was once love can change to hurt and suffering and even worse, your own perceptions can become malformed, so you yourself are also not seeing things in reality.
Perhaps the biggest concern about tough love is knowing when and how to use it. It has the best chance of working in the early stages of addiction. However, it’s hard to know how long any addict has been using before their behavior becomes noticeable. This is probably best discussed in detail with professionals. It is really important to state getting counseling for yourself and life is never too late because, at the end of the day, you really have no control over any addict’s choices—you only have control over your own behaviors.
If you or a loved one has been dealing with an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.
Over the last two decades, there has been an increase in articles, books, lectures, and programs devoted to mind-body awareness. It seems that our culture and generation is desperately seeking to prevent various diseases of the body as well as increase overall daily quality of life. We, as a whole, somehow came to the understanding that we have been “over-functioning” for way too long and many of us were coping in devastating ways. In other words, we want balance in our lives.
Through all of the different ideologies and methods touted, the term “self-care” made its way into everyday language and a new movement of considering yourself first became the main modus operandi. But what does it mean to take care of one’s “self” without it coming off as being selfish?
The best way to answer this question is to think about your body and your mind as a watering can. The purpose of a watering can is to water plants so that they can grow and produce vegetables, fruits, and flowers and you can enjoy it all. In order to do this, the watering can has to be filled up with water. This is the same with our bodies and mind. In order for us to even have the opportunity to function at our potential, we must be filled up with what we need to fuel us…but for us, this goes beyond just water.
For certain, if you are already running on empty or feeling close to it, you will need to address the basics of sleep, proper hydration and nutrition before you can even begin to work on anything else. No matter how much we have evolved over the last millennia, humans can only function so long on adrenaline and sheer determination of will. So, begin the path to taking care of yourself by getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, promoting a nutritious healthy diet and daily exercise as soon as possible. If there are obstacles in your way to doing this immediately, then address those accordingly with the simplest of fixes first. For example, if you can’t get enough sleep because your environment is too loud, consider getting earplugs or a noise canceling machine. Or if you don’t know how to eat healthily, consider consulting with a doctor or searching online for reference —there are hundreds of resources that will assist you in knowing what is healthy and what is not. In this same vein, exercise does not necessarily mean you need a gym membership; it can be as simple as 30 minutes of a daily brisk walk or following along with a free online video on the floor of your home.
At some point, you may want to create a list of things that contributed to your overall depletion of energy. Writing them down will help you to really think about what is important in your life and what is not. Giving up those things that do not serve you will take time and there is no guarantee that the process will be fun or painless, but working on yourself is showing you that you are also willing to love and live. For example, simple things like turning off your phone at a certain point in the evening, or only checking emails during certain hours of the day can give you the much-needed time and space to just be. Or some changes could be a little harder to do such as saying “no” to people who always “need” something from you, including your boss or partner. Spending time with quality friends and taking pleasure in things that bring your joy will do more to fill your own watering can as well as promote lifelong happiness, then working 14 hours a day or being involved in a toxic relationship. And in the same vein if you are participating in any sort of addictions to escape— you may find temporary relief, but these will only eventually rob you of your independence.
Self-care, in essence, is thinking about your needs as whole and understanding how to take care of yourself so that you can even be able to be caring of others. Therefore, it is anything but selfish. What we do to care for our minds, spirit, and body is important and being considerate of your own needs is not only important to the quality of your life but to your own survival. Without self-care, you will burn out and miss out on some of the greatest experiences your own journey has to offer.Read More
If you suspect you are an addict or know someone you think might be, chances are you have done some basic research to find out more on the topic. With so much information readily available, and from a multitude of sources, it is really hard to believe that there are still so many misunderstandings about addiction floating around. Here are a few basic ones that have led to a great deal of confusion on the subject, sometimes hindering the process of acceptance and recovery.
Keep in mind, addiction is an equal opportunity disease that does not discriminate in any demographic, whether it be gender, race and culture, income, profession, education or background. It is not unusual for a person to be outwardly successful and productive, yet indulge in a secret compulsion that keeps them inwardly lost.
The label “addict” can be hard to accept or to own. There is a great deal of shame, guilt, and fear in coming to terms with the damage of past actions and behaviors, but with time and dedication, a great deal of healing is possible. Recovery provides a person with an opportunity to live a truly happy and satisfying life.
If you or a loved one has an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.Read More
You have been dry for so long now, that you said to yourself, one drink will not matter. That one drink leads to another and then another and soon you found yourself waking up with barely any memory of what happened. Sound familiar? In short—you relapsed.
Relapse is when someone returns to their previous form of addiction after a period of sobriety or “being clean.” Relapsing is so common among recovering addicts that some professionals even consider it another part of the recovery process. What most people do not understand is that addiction is truly a pervasive disease and like any other disease, it requires consistent focus and intervention to recover from. That’s why recovery is considered a lifelong journey of many small daily steps versus a large one-time fix-it and forget-it solution.
The dangerous part of relapsing are the feelings of blame, shame, and guilt that usually come after participating in the addictive act again. These feelings can lead you to get depressed and think all is lost when really there are many steps that you can take to get yourself back on track as well as minimize any similar situations in the future.
First and foremost, if you just relapsed, do not delay in taking accountability and action. Waiting for even a couple of days will just make things worse for you and for those who love and support you. It may even prolong the relapse which just makes getting back to recovery a longer and more painful process than it has to be. Admit to yourself you have had a temporary setback and contact your sponsor or mentor right away. Also, let your family and friends know you need their continued encouragement. There is great self-power gained in taking responsibility for your actions and hearing the words of love and support from those you care about and respect will only motivate you.
Next, take the time to understand that relapse is most likely to happen during times of stress, or when you are around the very triggers that you associated with the fun people, places and times that came with your addiction. If you can accept this, you will understand that in order to become the better you, you will have to dig deep to recognize those cues, make appropriate changes to avoid them in the future and build the necessary skills to deal with stressors in your life going forward. Only then, can you start to look at your relapse as an experience that provided you with the knowledge and growth you really needed to move forward.
Last but not least, rely on your sober network to not only help you through this moment but any future times when you find yourself wanting to slip. If you are still new to being sober or do not have a strong sober network built, start to do so immediately. Though recovery is a deeply personal experience, you are not alone in the journey. There are many people who are on the same road as you and even more that have been where you are. These connections will not only give you strength but will also remind you that an active sober life is reachable and can be fulfilling.
If you or a loved one has been dealing with an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.Read More
Depending on the substances used, treatment will differ depending on the type of dependency, but all treatment focuses on addiction, which applies to all dependencies. Early recovery is different for every person and with every type of dependency, but there are some physical and emotional experiences that are common.
Emotions are something that is usually repressed while we are out using drugs and alcohol. Some use substances to solely block out emotions or repress negative or hurtful thoughts. This is why early recovery can be a very taxing time emotionally. Our thoughts and feelings are finally coming out and are not masked by drugs or alcohol. This can be very overwhelming for some people who are not used to dealing with their feeling or emotions. At times it can be too much to handle and cause an individual to experience depression or thoughts of resentment.
This is very normal in early recovery. Almost all addicts experience new emotions and feelings that they hadn’t been dealing with while in active addiction. Over time, these emotions will become easier to deal with and slowly become less of an obsession. In many cases, the individual will learn to embrace these emotions and start to deal with them in a healthy manner. This can be extremely beneficial and help to teach someone a lot about themselves that they may not have realized.
Dealing with new emotions or feelings can be expressed in a healthy manner while in an inpatient facility or while being involved with a 12 step fellowship or outpatient program. Talking about these new feelings and receiving feedback from a counselor, therapist, or peers can really help take the weight off of one’s shoulders as well as relieving some of their stress. Dealing with these brand new feelings and emotions can be tough but will ultimately be a positive and strengthening experience.
Early recovery can be a very difficult time for most addicts. The physical symptoms can seem never-ending and are a big challenge for most of those who are just starting to end their relationship with drugs and alcohol. Symptoms most commonly experienced by those in early recovery are; insomnia, decreased appetite, restlessness, chills, headaches, muscular and joint pain, mood swings, decrease in energy, inability to focus, and a variety of other symptoms depending on personal circumstances.
Every individual case is different, and depending on what substance one is dependent on the severity of symptoms can vary. It may be very hard at first to realize that our bodies will go back to normal, but as more time in sobriety is achieved the body will feel better and ultimately get back to its normal functionality. Everyone is different and some recover physically faster than others. Do not be deterred if it seems your physical recovery is happening slowly. Your body will recover.
Eating right and exercising can be very helpful in early sobriety. Exercise releases natural endorphins in the body and can increase an individual’s mood and overall well-being. No matter how tough it seems at first keep in mind that it will get better. It takes time for the body to fully recover and get back to feeling normal. Each day that an individual maintains sobriety, it brings them one step closer to feeling physically healthy once again.
If you or a loved one has been dealing with an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.Read More
Finding a Good Treatment Center:
If you are searching for a good treatment center, you may have noticed that there are many out there to choose from. They range in types of services, environments, locations and, of course, costs. You may have received recommendations from friends, seen ads, or even driven by one. But how do you know which one is the right fit for your loved one? Here are some key indicators to keep in mind as you search through the numerous options.
First and foremost, narrow down your selections to treatment centers that are fully and currently accredited from an independent accrediting agency. In order for a treatment center to be accredited, the facility had to have underwent several lengthy evaluations where their programs were objectively looked at and compared to the high standards established by joint commissions on addiction treatment. This is no small feat and once you know a facility has earned, and kept current, the seal of accreditation, you can be confident that their health professionals have had extensive training, certifications and licenses specifically in the treatment of addiction.
Next, you want to make sure that when your loved one enters the program, a complete assessment will be executed. This assessment is super important because it ultimately leads to a tailored treatment plan for the individual. Without a comprehensive assessment, the treatment plan will be weak in specifically addressing your loved one’s unique needs and issues. The assessment should not only cover the details of his/ her addiction but also address general medical and mental health issues and questions about lifestyle and routines. For example, details about their job, housing, transportation, family, friends, legal problems, etc., are all factors that contribute to a person’s life and can influence the process of recovery after the program. Remember, the more in depth the assessment is, the more targeted a treatment plan can be.
Based on the results of a complete assessment, the therapist or doctor should be willing to work hand in hand with your loved one to develop a plan for treatment. The idea is that by working together, the person is involved in his/ her own process as well. The focus should not just be about stopping their drinking or substance abuse, but also include life goals beyond their addiction. Reputable treatment providers would recognize that each person is different, and they should be willing to offer a plan that aligns appropriately and not rely on one approach for everyone.
In addition, treatment centers that are the most successful are those that include behavioral treatments and the possibility of medications as part of their program. Education and skill building sessions allow the clients to learn about their addiction, what their triggers are and how to avoid situations that could lead to a future relapse. These may be done in a group or more private settings, but you also want to check to see if family counseling sessions are available; these are vital to providing a strong support system for the addict/ alcoholic. Medications are also available now that aid in curbing cravings or address other issues that trigger a person to want to indulge. While these may not work for everyone, there are many that are approved by the FDA and can be of assistance for your loved one if they are a candidate.
And lastly, you will want to determine if the treatment center will help their patients to develop and find ongoing support after their program ends. Often referred to as discharge or aftercare plans, the treatment center should be invested in the long-term success of their patients and recommended services and activities to support recovery post-program.
If you or a loved one is experiencing difficulty with drugs or alcohol, please get help. Don’t wait. Call today.Read More
When an addict is actively participating in their addictions, they are either living or on their way to living a life where the main goal each day is to obtain and use drugs or alcohol. From sun up to sun down, that is their only real concern and every step they take will always relate to satisfying their desires. Often lying to or manipulating people as well as situations to make it happen is a common occurrence, even with those they love the most.
When an addict or alcohol decides to attend rehab, they have essentially decided to arrest their harmful habits and unhealthy lifestyles in favor of having a better life. After a certain prescribed timeframe, usually thirty, sixty, or ninety days, in a drug rehabilitation program, they have successfully detoxed from all substances and have gained a new outlook on their lives. Having earned sobriety, they expect to move forward in their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction with ease, thinking the hard work is now behind them. The truth is that the possibility of slipping back into old thoughts and actions is incredibly high as soon as you leave the facility and as easy as just one drink or a drug away.
So, with all this said, what does happen if a relapse occurs?
The first thing that happens when a relapse occurs is that the sobriety clock stops and will only reset when the addict decides to become sober again. Why is losing the clean time one had accrued a big deal? In short, deciding to go sober is a choice that came as a result of a lot of pain and anguish and earning sobriety also does not come easy. To go through the process of detoxing as well as the many steps of recovery is hard earned. When someone relapses, they lose all that they earned and have to start over. However, what is important to note here is that they do not lose the education they received from attending a treatment program in the first place. Using drugs and alcohol possibly used to be fun, but now that they have completed a rehab program, attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, they have enough knowledge to know that the “fun” only lasts so long and comes with a heavy emotional and financial price tag…not only to themselves but also to the ones they love.
When one relapses, people in their lives will most likely lose confidence and trust in them and often the fear, anger and sadness they experienced towards the addict will redevelop but now even more comprehensively. In cases of extreme and reckless drug abuse, the addict will experience even more loss than originally anticipated because by coming in and out of rehab programs, they lose our livelihoods and independence by becoming institutionalized repeatedly. They also lose their freedom by establishing a criminal record through a series of arrests and jail and prison, and in a worst-case scenario, they lose their lives through their excessive drug abuse, leaving behind irreparable emotional damage to those they love.
Relapse is a great possibility for anyone in recovery who does not put his or her sobriety first. Typical of those who stop attending AA meetings, working the steps, or calling the sponsor, relapse is not only likely, it is inevitable. Alcoholics and addicts never need a specific reason to use, they use simply because they can. To the addicted mind, anything and everything can be identified as a reason to use again. Physical and emotional triggers play a tremendous role in relapse. Dangerous settings, such as bars or parties, where alcohol and drugs are being used can cause a person to relapse. Stressful situations such as family feuds or emotionally-charged arguments with a significant other can also be a recipe for relapse. Even high-stress jobs and tasks can be triggers to relapse when feelings of happiness and accomplishment can give the recovering person a reason to pick up a drink or a drug in celebration.
To the recovering alcoholic or addict, relapse triggers are all people, places and things, and they must be vigilant in recognizing and avoiding these triggers or at least have a strong support system behind them to help sway them in making a good choice to honor their sobriety.
If one has experienced a relapse, or are concerned that a relapse may occur, enrollment in an intensive outpatient program should be considered. Here one can address issues surrounding their addiction and recovery in order to prevent a possible relapse. In addition to an aftercare program, entering a sober living house where a healthy, sober lifestyle is encouraged and fostered can contribute to a stronger foundation in their sobriety and make them accountable to others through regular and random urinalyses, chores, and group meditations.
If you or a loved one has been dealing with an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict or alcoholic, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.Read More
By now, most of us know that addiction & alcoholism is actually considered a disease. The longstanding thought that they are weak in moral character or do not have enough will power has been widely debunked and a more compassionate understanding is being embraced as well as effective approaches to their treatment. Concisely put, an alcoholic or addict suffers similarly from their condition as someone who has cancer or diabetes or any other chronic affliction.
If you know someone who is an addict or alcoholic, it’s hard to really swallow this because you probably know what they are like when they are not drinking or using. It’s easy to characterize that their problems are a result of bad behaviors and poor choices and that they should just be able to stop if they really wanted or cared enough to. However, addiction is a disease that has numerous root contributing factors, some of which are very deep, some of which may never be known, and all of which differ in each individual.
One major, and not so surprising, cause of any addiction is trauma. It is very common, sometimes encouraged, for people to turn to a form of escape to temporarily reprieve them of dealing with an intense situation. Sadly, numbing oneself can easily turn into a habit, one where the emotional or physically painful experience is never truly addressed, therefore continues to gain in power to fuel the reason to “cope” in this way. Just repeated behavior alone, minus any trauma, can eventually cause enough changes in the brain chemistry resulting in addiction.
Another factor could be mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Some of this can be co-occurring—partially cause and can be caused by addiction. When a person enters a recovery center for treatment, professionals can better recognize and help to better address this in a variety of ways.
Family history and genetics are the most well-known reasons why people become addicts. People who experienced any form of addiction as children are more likely to develop the same patterns when they become adults. In addition, pre-disposition at the physiological level can without a doubt contribute heavily to an individual’s own addiction.
With all of these factors, education and skill building, combined with various forms of therapy can help an individual understand themselves and their needs better. If you or a loved one has an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.Read More
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