18 Sep 2014
If you have an addict in your life you have been through some trying times. Your addict has a disease, but it’s a tricky one. She may cheat on you, lie, neglect you, steal from you or even hurt you. For those in close relationships with an addict, lying is one of the most hurtful behaviors to experience. You expect honesty in your intimate relationships, but addicts lie all the time.
Reasons Addicts Lie
To help you cope with the lying and to learn to forgive and move past it, it helps to understand. Although it may not be right, there are real and valid reasons addicts lie.
Addicts Lie To Avoid Confrontations
As you watched your loved one slide into addiction and ruin her life, you probably made numerous attempts to get her to stop. At times you may sound like a broken record and a nag. Maybe the issue has led to increased conflict. The stress of these confrontations is overwhelming and destructive for both of you. While you want to be honest, get the problem out in the open and find a solution, she just wants to avoid your hurt looks and anger. In order to get out of these conflicts and to avoid them, she will tell every lie imaginable.
Addicts Lie To Maintain The Addiction
Lies also help your addicted loved one to perpetuate her addiction. Most addicts are afraid to stop using for a number of reasons. They fear the idea of stopping because they feel like they need drugs or alcohol. The pain and discomfort of detoxing are scary and so is the possibility of failing. The idea of trying to live a sober life, and what that might be like, is even scarier. To keep the addiction going, your loved one will tell many lies. Lying becomes a tool for self-preservation.
Addicts Lie Because Of Shame
Addicts feel a great deal of shame. Although societal attitudes are very slowly changing, there is still a great deal of stigma attached to addiction. Many of us still view an addict as a person who is morally weak. It’s no wonder that addicts feel ashamed of what they do. Especially in sober moments, your loved one feels a huge sense of guilt, embarrassment and shame. Instead of working through these feelings, she uses more and then lies about it. She doesn’t want other people to realize just how badly she is doing.
Addicts Lie Because Of Denial
Denial is a powerful force and most addicts use it to cope with their problems. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, most addicts refuse to admit to having an addiction. They lie because they don’t want to make that admission. Your loved one probably thinks that she is different from other users. She can handle it, she says. She is in denial that her problem is no different from that of other addicts and as a result she lies to you and to herself.
As you cope with having a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol, realize that her lying to you is not a personal attack. This is her coping mechanism and a rational part of the disease of addiction. This doesn’t mean that you should accept the lies. To help your loved one, you have to push through the falsehoods and ask her to face up to the truth. Don’t let her get away with lies when you catch them, but do provide ongoing love and support.
17 Sep 2014
When you finally make that important choice to get help for your addiction you are ready to start healing. Does this mean you should run straight to the first rehab program you find and dive in without thinking or planning? You might be tempted to just get it over with and get started, but if you want to make the most of your experience, and get the best care possible, take some time to plan. With appropriate steps and a little research, you can make sure you are getting the best help possible.
What To Look For In Treatment Programs
The first thing to consider when you need help for your addiction is getting all the information. You may get lucky if you go with the first program you hear about. But you are more likely to have a positive experience if you take the time to research your options and to select the program that makes the most sense for your needs.
You also want to look for high-quality programs. Look for accreditation and licensing. Ask about treatment methods and whether those the program uses are backed by evidence. Finally, make sure any program you choose has an aftercare program. This is crucial to long-term success.
Covering the basics is important. Next you need to consider variations in programs and which type best suits you. There are residential programs, which are a good choice if you think you need to be monitored around the clock.
You may also choose an intensive outpatient program. This allows you to stay at home and may work for you if you have a strong support system living with you. Outpatient programs are also a good option if you need to keep going to work every day. You should be able to find a program that fits in around your work hours. Whichever type of program you choose, make sure that you will receive a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Make The Most Of Your Rehab Experience
Once you have entered your rehab facility or outpatient program, the real work begins. You now have an important opportunity to work toward sobriety that can last for the rest of your life. To get the best care, make the most of your experience. This means starting with a positive attitude. This is a difficult period of your life, but your attitude can make all the difference. While maintaining a positive attitude is important, you should also make sure your expectations are realistic and your goals attainable. Don’t go into treatment thinking you will come out cured. That is not the point of rehab.
Being in rehab can be a big adjustment. You will have rules and boundaries and make sure you follow them. They are in place for your safety and that of your peers. Follow the rules with a good attitude. As you go through counseling and group support, remember to remain open. Be open to the experience and to hearing what others have to say. If you remain closed off because of embarrassment or shame, you will not get the most out of your sessions.
Finally, cultivate persistence. Making it through rehab or outpatient care requires strength and patience. Getting sober and staying sober aren’t easy tasks. You will face challenges every day for the rest of your life. Never give up, even if you sometimes slide backwards. Persist in the face of your addiction and find the strength to keep going while in rehab and when you have made it to the other side.
Choose The Right Rehab For Yourself Or A Loved One
16 Sep 2014
Holding an intervention is a powerful way you and others can show an addicted loved one how much you care and want to help. Many addicts have a difficult time facing up to the reality of their own problems. Denial is a strong force keeping most addicts from getting help.
The power of an intervention is in helping the addict see that those who love her are coming together to help. But an intervention can go terribly wrong even with the best of intentions. If you have no idea what to do, consider consulting an intervention specialist to guide you through the process.
If you decide to go it alone, be sure to avoid these common pitfalls:
- Waiting For The Addict To Hit Rock Bottom: A common misconception is that an addict has to be completely at the bottom before she will accept help. This simply isn’t true. Addicts have an illness, but they are still rational people. You can reason with your loved one and waiting for her to hit bottom is dangerous. If a one-on-one confrontation hasn’t worked, get ready for an intervention instead of waiting for the problem to get worse.
- A Spontaneous Intervention: An intervention should never be held on an impulse. While you don’t want to wait too long to hold one, you also need to take some time to plan it. Many things can go wrong during one of these events, but with proper planning you can be ready for any outcome. Get together with the people who will be participating to plan the event. Conduct dry runs and come up with solutions for all the possible negative outcomes you can imagine might happen.
- Failing To Consider The Timing: Timing is crucial when staging an intervention. One misconception is that an intervention should occur when the addict is under the influence so that you can demonstrate the reality of her situation. This is a terrible idea. Always time the intervention to coincide with the addict at her most alert and sober. She will be better able to think clearly and process what you are saying. This is also safer, as addicts can be volatile and even violent when intoxicated.
- Being Soft About Consequences: An intervention is a time to get real with your addicted loved one. The time is long gone for making excuses for her behaviors or enabling her bad choices. Make sure your intervention includes consequences and be serious about them. Each person participating should be prepared with consequences for the addict. These could include cutting off financial help, access to the kids or any other measure that is important to the addict. Whatever you do, don’t backtrack on these. Be firm and stick to them.
- Cutting Off Moral Support: Tough love is important, to an extent. You need to set firm consequences and stick by them, but your love and support should never waver. Never tell your loved one that you and the other participants will refuse to be there for her. Do cut off all the ways in which you enable her habit, but make sure she knows that you will be there to support her as she gets treatment.
Holding an intervention could be the most important thing you do for your addicted loved one, as long as you avoid these big mistakes. If the idea of hosting such an event makes you nervous, or you fear that your loved one could be violent and hurt someone, consult with a professional first. Safety is the most important aspect and if it is in jeopardy, the intervention is not worth the risk.
Now Learn How To Stage An Intervention. Successful Interventions Are Possible!
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15 Sep 2014
Caffeine may be the most abused and most acceptable substance in America. Caffeine is a drug found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, sodas and chocolate. Many Americans need a fix first thing in the morning. If they don’t get it they feel groggy, foggy and irritable. Does this sound like you? If so, you may be a caffeine addict. It may not be as serious a condition as heroin addiction or alcoholism, but caffeine addiction has its own problems. Take a look at your habit and decide if you need to cut back.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural substance, but it has no nutritional value. It is a stimulant that activates the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Most people use caffeine for its stimulant properties. You have that cup of coffee in the morning to help you wake up and maybe another one later in the day to get over afternoon drowsiness. While coffee may have some nutritional benefits, consuming too much caffeine through coffee or another source can be problematic.
If you don’t get your fix you might experience withdrawal symptoms. These include drowsiness, nausea, irritability and headaches. Withdrawal is a classic sign of addiction. When you feel these uncomfortable symptoms, you take in more caffeine just to feel normal again. Experts debate whether or not you can really call this an addiction, as there are many differences between being hooked on caffeine and being hooked on harder drugs. A term that many experts will use instead of addiction is caffeine use disorder.
What Are The Signs Of Caffeine Addiction?
Withdrawal when you can’t get your caffeine fix is one sign of a caffeine use disorder, but it does not necessarily mean you have a serious problem. Another important sign of being addicted is being unable to stop using. If you want to cut back, but find you can’t, you may have a real problem with caffeine use. This is a sign of any addiction and it may mean that your caffeine habit is affecting you both physically and psychologically.
Doctors suggest that up to 400 milligrams per day is a safe amount of caffeine to consume. Another sign of addiction is if you are getting much more than this amount. Just having 500 to 600 milligrams a day can make you jittery, nervous, give you an upset stomach and elevate your heart rate. To give you an idea of how much you may be consuming each day, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine.
Kicking The Caffeine Habit
If you think you may be hooked, cut back on your caffeine intake before it takes over your life or harms your physical health. It’s so hard to stop drinking coffee because of those uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. You may need to experience them to some degree in order to cut back, but it won’t last forever. Try reducing your intake a little bit every day. One way to do this and minimize the shock to your system is to replace one cup of coffee each day with a cup of tea. Tea has caffeine, but less than coffee. As you try to reduce your caffeine consumption, use healthy techniques to reduce stress, including exercise, meditation or yoga.
Caffeine is a real drug and one that can be habit forming. If you are taking a hard look at your habit, you might realize that it’s time to cut back. Start slow and reduce your intake over time. Replace your usual drink with tea or another beverage so that you still have the comfort of a warm cup. Before you know it, you will be free from your caffeine addiction.
12 Sep 2014
Education is a powerful force for anyone. Learning more about the world improves your quality of life. Earning degrees can help you get a better job, earn more income, and increase your sense of self-worth. For an addict in recovery, these are all important factors. Education can help you learn about your disease, about yourself and your choices, and can occupy your mind and take the place of thoughts about relapsing. Embrace learning and education to strengthen your recovery and your resolve to resist relapse.
What Should I Learn About Addiction?
Your education begins as you work through your addiction. If you are getting professional help from a therapist, drug counselor, addiction specialist or a team of experts at a rehab facility, you are already learning about your disease. You are also learning about yourself and your motivations. These experts can help you investigate your choices and examine your past to help you learn how the disease of addiction has been at work in your life. This personal education can be a powerful way to help you heal.
As you go through rehab you should also learn about addiction from an external perspective. Read up on how the disease works, how the drugs you have been taking have affected your brain and body, and how other addicts have coped and been successful in recovery. This knowledge is power and will only strengthen your ability to quit and stay sober.
How Can Education Help Me After Rehab?
Education can also help you stay sober after you have completed your rehab program. Rehab is a time for intense self-learning and for devoting yourself to learning about addiction and the role it has played in your life. Once you are sober and are firmly in recovery, education can help you stay that way. One of the most powerful tools to help you avoid relapsing is finding something, or many things, to replace your habit. Some people turn to religion, others devote themselves to exercise, while some develop new hobbies or are focused on work.
You can use any healthful activity to replace your addiction, but one of the best is education. Pick up wherever you left off. If this means going back to high school, enroll in an adult education program or work toward your high school equivalency diploma. If you never made it to college, search for programs that meet your needs. There many choices. Start out at a community college to take a couple of introductory courses, or apply to a university and start working toward a degree. If you have a career in mind, look for programs and schools that will help you achieve your goals.
By focusing attention on education and learning, there’s less room for thoughts about relapsing. Education can’t solve all of your problems, but it can be a powerful way to help you improve yourself, enhance your life, and stay clean.
What If I Can’t Afford To Go To School?
There are plenty of programs and scholarships that can help you get to school if you want to pursue an education. Furthermore, many schools offer night and weekend classes so that you can work while you earn a degree. Also consider that supportive family members might be willing to help you as you set off on a new, healthier stage in your life. Do whatever you can to get yourself an education so that you can get your life back on track.
Learn More About Preventing Substance Abuse Relapse
11 Sep 2014
If you have been struggling with addiction, especially addiction to opioids like heroin or narcotic painkillers, you know how hard it is to kick the habit. As soon as you try to stop using, terrible withdrawal symptoms begin. They can be so severe that you feel you have no choice but to go back to using just to find relief. For many addicts the idea of a rapid, or even an ultra-rapid, detox is appealing. The promise of relief from withdrawal and an accelerated period of detox are tempting. But should you do it? There are risks and the effectiveness of such methods is not fully known. Before you think about going through with it, know the facts.
What Is Rapid Detox?
Rapid detox is an accelerated way of getting a drug out of your system. A physician or nurse who will give you a dose of an opioid agonist, such as naltrexone, typically conducts it. This is a drug that blocks the effect of any opioid still in your body. You will also be given some type of sedative so that as your body goes through withdrawal, you may feel little or none of it. In other words, you sleep through your withdrawal in relative comfort. Ultra rapid detox involves the intravenous delivery of naltrexone to make the process occur even more quickly.
Does Rapid Detox Work?
Rapid detox does work in the sense that it clears your body of opioid drugs. However, simply not using the drugs anymore would achieve the same result. The real question is whether rapid or ultra-rapid detoxes work any better for long-term recovery than a natural detox process. A few studies of rapid detox have failed to find that the technique is any better for patients than a normal detox. In fact, they found that addicts undergoing rapid detox feel just as bad when they wake up from the process as those that were not given medications to minimize discomfort. Furthermore, the patients getting a rapid detox had similar long-term success rates as other addicts receiving the same post-detox treatment.
Is Rapid Detox Safe?
So far, rapid detox seems to be safe, but the same cannot yet be said for ultra-rapid detox. A few patients have suffered serious harm from the latter, and all had pre-existing conditions. The use of anesthesia during ultra-rapid detox can be dangerous for those with certain conditions, like AIDS, heart disease, hepatitis or diabetes.
Although it may feel like it at the time, withdrawal symptoms will not kill you. What can cause an addict to die is going back to drug use after a period of abstinence. By abstaining for a period of time you can lose some of your tolerance for an opioid drug. This means that if you relapse after detoxing you run an increased risk of accidentally overdosing. If you do not back up your rapid detox with further treatment, you will be more likely to relapse. Some people think that going through the detox will cure them of addiction and that they need no more treatment. This is a dangerous attitude.
Overall, the evidence is pointing to the fact that a rapid detox will not help you, but that it is safe if you have no pre-existing conditions and if you engage in long-term treatments for your addiction after a detox. It is wrong to believe that a rapid detox is the answer to your problems. You may want to use it as one tool in fighting your addiction, but it is not a cure.
Learn More About How Withdrawal Treatment And Detox Has Changed Over Time
10 Sep 2014
People enter rehab for many reasons: some by way of external forces such as family, friends, legal obligations or employment requirements, while others are personally committed to turning their lives around. Once people walk through the doors, they are in a contained environment that may feel dramatically different than life at home.
Looking around the group therapy room or dining hall, the newly sober person may lock eyes with someone and feel a familiar flutter in the heart and butterflies in the stomach. Serotonin and dopamine that are activated in the brain when a person is using an addictive substance are not all that dissimilar from the chemicals released in human attraction. Add to it the brain chemical oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone” and the “tend and befriend hormone,” and there is a set-up for what is colloquially called a “rehab romance.”
Is It Really Love?
The dynamics of rehab romances are infatuation masquerading as love. Of course, there is loneliness and fear that wants to be comforted into submission. In such a setting, there is the common thread of loss, trauma, abuse and addiction that binds people together.
Comments such as “S/he gets me like no one else,” “We can stay sober together,” and “I need a place to stay when I leave here and s/he offered hers,” are commonly heard and used as justification for establishing a relationship that almost universally becomes a recipe for disaster. Why is that so?
The Perils Of Romantic Relationships During Drug Rehab
Consider that someone in the throes of addiction has a relationship with their substance(s) of choice that superseded all others in their lives while they were using. They put it ahead of their partner, children, career and health. Saying goodbye to it is not a one-and-done event. It is an evolving process. Think of getting involved with someone in an addiction treatment program as a rebound relationship. Are you willing to be the rebound guy or girl and risk playing second fiddle to the addiction should they relapse?
Many in recovery are also dealing with codependence and have a need to be in a caregiving role. Meeting another struggling soul is the ideal opportunity for those patterns to surface. There are likely as many who are willing to be on the other side of the equation, and surrender to being enabled.
For some, dishonesty went hand in hand with the other addictive behaviors and if someone is in a monogamous relationship outside of rehab, there may be a temptation to lie about interactions behind those doors.
Safer sex practices may not have been a consideration out in the community and may be only an afterthought in an inpatient drug rehab setting. Predatory behavior may also have been part of the addiction cycle for some in treatment and might evidence itself behind the doors of the program they are in.
Short-term gratification is part of an addict’s pattern and seeing another person who seems available in the moment is like being a proverbial “kid in a candy store.” There is often no time to think about the long-term consequences of indulging in the sweets on the shelf.
Peers in treatment may show one face in the program and another once they are discharged. The best advice is: “Don’t take anybody in. Don’t take anybody on. You don’t know what someone is like in their daily lives.”
Worth The Wait
In 12-Step recovery, the newly sober are encouraged to refrain from engaging in budding romantic relationships for at least a year, primarily because they need to focus on their recovery and create a healthy bond with themselves without the distraction of another person. Ask yourself this: “Would you want to be in a relationship with you now? Are you stable enough to sustain positive interactions with someone else?”
Take the time to really get to know, love and respect the woman or man in the mirror before reaching out to bring in a partner, particularly one who, like you, is a newborn, vulnerable infant entering into the world of recovery. Relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100 with each person bringing 100% of who they are to the table. Wouldn’t you rather be truly prepared to bring the best of who you are to a relationship and welcome in a partner who can do the same? You are likely to find that it is worth the wait.
09 Sep 2014
Prom, graduation and the start of summer vacation are all key times that trigger a rash of underage drinking. Unfortunately, teenage drinking is a year-round problem. Underage drinking can have some very serious immediate consequences.
Drinking too much can make a young person sick. It can lead to poor decision-making. It can lead to accidents. At the very least, drinking can make a young person feel awful the next day. What many young people fail to consider is that there are lasting consequences too.
Effects Of Long-Term Underage Drinking
Whether you’re a teen yourself or the parent of a teen, understand the long-term implications of underage drinking:
- Legal Troubles – Most teens don’t think about getting caught before they drink, but many make bad choices when they do. These poor decisions can get a teen arrested for disorderly conduct, breaking and entering, drunk driving and more. The legal consequences can follow a young person for years, interfering with applications for college, scholarships or for jobs.
- Chronic Health Problems – When drinking starts at a young age and continues into adulthood, the accumulated effects can mean serious health problems. These may include pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, high blood pressure, anemia and nutritional deficiencies. Drinking at a young age has also been shown to negatively impact the development of bone density, which can later result in osteoporosis
- The Brain – Drinking impacts the developing adolescent brain and causes problems that will continue into adulthood. It can cause permanent problems with memory and cause actual physical damage to the brain. The part of the brain involved in memory, the hippocampus, can be seen in scans to be smaller in people who drank a lot during adolescence than in their non-drinking peers. Other negative impacts include reduced attention spans, ability to think spatially and to plan.
- Accidents, Injuries, And Death – Drinking can lead to any number of accidents from drowning to falling to auto collisions. These have serious short-term consequences, but they can also impact a young person for the duration of their life. If an accident kills a young person, that life is over forever. For the underage drinker that causes a fatality, living with the guilt is a lifelong burden. Injuries may also stick with a young person and cause long-term health problems.
- Addiction – Drinking for the first time as a teen is a risk factor for developing an addiction or a substance abuse disorder later in life. In other words, underage drinkers put themselves at risk for having lifelong struggles with alcoholism or drug addiction.
- Family Problems -When young people drink it can impact the family in many negative ways. All of the terrible consequences that befall the teen drinker, like legal troubles, health problems and accidents, affect the dynamic of the family. Just one drinking incident with bad consequences can start a family crisis and everyone suffers.
The consequences of underage drinking are not difficult to imagine. Anyone who has ever had one drink too many knows just what can happen as a result. What most people, young and old, never think about are the long-lasting consequences. Teens who drink risk becoming addicted, damaging their brains, living with the guilt of hurting someone and having chronic health problems. With all of these and other possible negative outcomes, why would any young person choose to drink?
If You Know A Young Person Who Is Tempted To Drink Or Is Struggling – Call Us Now – We Can Help