06 Nov 2014
One of the most important factors for a recovering alcoholic in staying sober is the support of friends and family. Developing a strong support network of caring people is crucial to helping a recovering alcoholic. Even when she feels strong in recovery, know that there will be moments of weakness. These are the times when she should be able to lean on you and other supportive friends. With that in mind, understand how important your role is and be sensitive to your friend’s needs. Think before you speak and avoid saying something that will hurt her feelings or her recovery.
Be Careful To Not Say These Things To A Recovering Alcoholic
You’re Not Really An Alcoholic
Nothing could be more insensitive than belittling your friend’s struggles. Whether or not your friend describes herself an alcoholic is not up to you to decide. Even if you were along for the ride, you have no idea what her battle is really like. Only she can know that. Also understand that alcoholics in recovery are still alcoholics. The disease of addiction is one that is lifelong. Your friend will always struggle to resist the urge to drink. Don’t downplay that struggle.
I Feel So Bad For You That You Can Never Drink Again
Pity is the last thing a recovering alcoholic needs. She also doesn’t need to be reminded of the fact that she can’t drink anymore, possibly ever. What she does need is your support in being sober. This doesn’t mean you can’t drink anymore. It does mean that you can play up the other great things you can do in life without drinking. Instead of feeling sorry for her, get her to join you for non-drinking activities. Work out together. Hang out in coffee shops. Become volunteers together for a cause that is important to both of you. Help her embrace a sober life and see how great it can be without alcohol.
You Just Need More Willpower
Nothing is more offensive to a recovering addict than a discussion of willpower. If you don’t understand the disease of addiction, read up on it. Being addicted is about much, much more than simple willpower. Addiction is not a failing in your friend; it is a medical condition. She required treatment and support to stop drinking. Willpower alone cannot help any addict. Thinking that it can is an insult to your friend and her struggles.
Let’s Meet At That Bar We Used To Like
Your friend in recovery may be strong and firm in her sobriety, but you should never assume that she is OK with meeting up in a bar. It is especially insensitive to suggest a bar in which she used to drink. Addicts need to avoid triggers in order to resist the urge to relapse. She may be comfortable being around alcohol, or even other people who are drinking, but let her bring up that fact. Never make that assumption for her. She may go along just to prove her strong sobriety, but it could end up being a mistake. Instead, suggest that you hang out at home, at a café or coffee shop, a park or anywhere else but a bar.
Being a friend to a recovering alcoholic is not always easy. Some days it may feel like walking through a minefield. If you are sensitive to your friend and her needs and you think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth, you can be the good, supportive friend that she really needs.
The ways in which addiction impacts families are numerous. If you have been struggling because someone you love is battling the disease of addiction, you need help. The addict is not the only one affected by addiction and is not the only person who needs support to heal.
You may need to attend therapy on a one-on-one basis. You might consider attending sessions with the addict you love. But you should also consider joining a support group. The mutual support of other people who have been through the same struggle can be a powerful tool to help you heal.
How Addiction Impacts Everyone
When someone is battling addiction, he tends to think only of himself. True, he is going through an epic battle that could take his life, but the addict is not the only one to suffer. Addiction is a disease of the whole family. It causes stress and tension in the home and affects the stability of the family unit as well as the well-being—physical, mental and emotional—of each individual in it. It doesn’t matter if the addict is a child or a parent: everyone suffers.
Coping With An Addict In The Family
Experts agree that there are certain steps you should take if you have an addict in your family. First you need to educate yourself. Learn about addiction, what it is, what it means for the addict, and what it means for you. Education is power and is needed if you are to cope with this issue. Resist the urge to enable the addict in your life.
This seems obvious, but enabling can be subtle and you may not even realize you do it. Financial support, making excuses, taking over responsibilities are all ways in which you enable the disease of addiction. Finally, it is crucial that you help yourself through this process and a big part of that is getting support.
Joining A Support Group
You care about the addict in your life and you want to help him, but you can only do so much and you have to take care of yourself as well. Don’t deny or belittle the negative impact that addiction is having on your life. Acknowledge it and ask for support. Loving an addict can mean emotional, mental and physical distress. You can’t bear this alone, which is why support groups have been meeting for decades to help people like you.
Support groups for families of addicts are available nearly everywhere. If you live somewhere remote or have no transportation, you can at least find an online group to join. The benefits of joining one of these groups are huge. Simply being there to listen to the stories of others has a big psychological impact. Knowing that you are not alone in your struggles and that other people understand you will be a great comfort.
Be sure to attend sessions regularly to get the most benefit. It is also important to participate. If you are uncomfortable sharing at first, take your time. Go to a few sessions and just listen. The other members will understand that you don’t want to share right away. As you get to know how the group works and become familiar with the members, you will start to feel more comfortable. Push yourself to share. Talking about your own struggles will help both you and others. When you open up you begin to heal and when you begin to heal you will be better able to help the addict you love.
You And Your Addicted Loved One Are Worth It – Call Us Now For Recovery Help
04 Nov 2014
Addiction is one of the most stigmatized diseases there is. Stigma refers to a sense of disgrace or shame attached to an action, behavior or situation. Many people still view addiction as a choice or evidence of weak moral character, and therefore as something shameful. Even as research and scientific evidence point to the medical characteristics of addiction and the chemical brain changes that occur in addicts, we still stigmatize addiction. If you or someone you know has battled addiction you know how overwhelming that stigma can be. It can also be dangerous and it needs to be shattered.
Stigma Prevents Addicts From Getting Help
Perhaps one of the biggest dangers of stigma is that it keeps addicts from getting the professional help they so desperately need. When society at large views addiction as a moral failing rather than a medical illness, it makes sense that addicts would not want to admit to having a problem with substance abuse.
Why admit to something that would make everyone around you think less of you? It hurts to think of being treated that way, but it happens. And for this reason, many addicts deny their problem, hide their habit and refuse to get life-saving help, sometimes until it is too late.
Addiction Treatment Lags Behind Modern Medicine
Another danger of the stigma of addiction sits squarely in the world of medicine and the way in which the disease is treated. In spite of new research that shows the truth about addiction and which keeps growing in scope, treatment lags behind. We now know that addiction is a disease of the brain and should be treated as such. And yet, the majority of addicts in treatment are not getting care that is based on evidence and research. Just a small portion of addicts gets treatment that reflects what we know about addiction. Only when stigma shifts will treatment begin to change.
Addicts Are Going To Jail
The stigma of addiction is also entrenched in the justice system. Many addicts end up in jail for minor drug crimes, such as possession, when they really belong in treatment facilities. Most of the crimes committed by addicts are in the pursuit of drugs; in other words, their actions are a part of the disease. Sending an addict to jail for possession is almost akin to jailing someone with cavities for eating sugary foods or an obese person for having junk food. The latter two may sound ridiculous, but if we remove the stigma from addiction and view it as a disease, sending an addict to jail for having heroin would also sound outrageous.
Stigma is dangerous. It prevents addicts from getting treatment, subjects addicts to sub-standard and ineffective treatment, and puts addicts in jail. If the incidence of addiction is to be reduced, we need to reduce stigma. If you or someone you know is an addict, it’s time to speak out and get help. We can work to end stigma by refusing to be quiet or complacent about addiction. Don’t deny the problem. Actively seek help and evidence-based treatment. Talk about your addiction and make sure people listen.
There is nothing shameful about having a disease and it’s time that everyone recognizes that fact. Stigma is killing addicts and that is the real shame when it comes to addiction. Change is coming, as evidenced by work of researchers and advocates for addicts, and it can’t come soon enough.
Time To Get Started And Take Action – Take That First Step To Addiction Recovery – Call Us Now!
03 Nov 2014
Do you have a glass of wine to unwind in the evening after work? Do you reach for a cocktail after a stressful situation? Do you start to look forward to your evening drink earlier in the day when you’re feeling stressed? If you can say yes to any of these questions you are probably using alcohol to cope with stress. Drinking can make you feel momentarily looser, calmer and more relaxed, which is why many people use it to unwind. Doing so is a dangerous habit, though. You can make your stress worse by drinking and even risk becoming dependent on it.
Alcohol As Stress Relief
Many people turn to drinking to relax and ease the everyday stresses of modern life. Most of us are busier than ever. We have demanding jobs, and in a rough economy, holding onto those jobs becomes crucial. We often sleep poorly and get too little exercise. Our diets are not always the best. On top of all this you may have other stresses in your life: troubled relationships, financial problems, trauma, a death in the family, etc.
Why wouldn’t you want to drink to feel better? Hanging out with friends at the bar and having a few cocktails or beers are fun activities. It’s no wonder many of us engage in drinking to diffuse stress. In the short term it can make you feel better, especially when you add in the socializing time with friends. In the long term, however, drinking can send your stress levels spiraling upward.
The Stress-Drinking Cycle
Researchers have shown that stress and drinking effect each other and result in a cycle of interaction that leads to worsening stress. One study found that alcohol changes how the body copes with stress. Drinking can actually reduce the stress hormones your body produces in difficult situations, but it also prolongs the tension that you feel associated with stress.
On the flipside, stress changes the way alcohol impacts your mood. When you are stressed and you drink you will crave more alcohol. You will also find that the positive feelings you normally get from alcohol are reduced. This interaction between stress and alcohol that goes on inside your body means that drinking actually worsens your stress. As your stress gets more intense, you may drink more and the cycle continues. Drinking will never cure you of chronic stress.
If you continue to use alcohol as a means of relaxation and stress relief you run the risk of falling into the stress-alcohol cycle. And if you land in that cycle you could end up becoming dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease and it takes a serious toll on both the mind and the body. Becoming an alcoholic means more stress in addition to physical health problems.
Healthy Stress Relief
One of the ways in which friends can be good for your mental health is when you interact in a social group. Having good social support can make you more resilient in the face of stress. Hanging out with friends and family, talking, laughing and having a good time helps to relieve stress that you already have. If you can keep the social engagements, but take out the alcohol, or at least reduce it significantly, you will have a powerful prescription for managing your stress. Add to your social interactions a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, downtime engaging in fun activities and you have a healthy stress relief plan and no need for that next drink.
Do You Find Yourself Drinking More And More To Relieve Stress? Call Us Now For Help!
Now that you are an adult and your parents are older, it may become your responsibility to care of them. Even if they don’t need round-the-clock care, it is important that you make sure your parents are happy and healthy and living well.
Part of that means watching for signs of drug abuse and protecting them from the risk of getting hooked on drugs.
It may seem like a worry you should never have to consider, but the truth is that drug abuse among older Americans is on the rise. Here’s how you can protect your parents.
Protecting Your Parents From Addiction
To protect parents from the dangers of substance abuse, it’s important that you understand the issue. Educate yourself about senior substance abuse and addiction so you are aware of the risks and the signs. Although it’s surprising, substance abuse among seniors is not that unusual. In fact, it is a growing phenomenon. Estimates show that by 2020, the number of older Americans needing treatment for a substance use disorder will have doubled. Just a few years ago, nearly five percent of adults over 50 were abusing drugs or alcohol.
There are several reasons older Americans are susceptible to substance abuse. One is access to prescriptions. Nearly one-third of prescriptions in the U.S. are written to people over 50. Becoming dependent on habit-forming prescriptions is more likely the more they are prescribed. Seniors are also more likely than younger people to experience certain social factors that may contribute to substance abuse: social isolation, a feeling of uselessness after retirement, the loss of a spouse, and depression.
Talk About Drug Abuse
Armed with the facts, start a discussion with your parents. It may be awkward or uncomfortable at first, but knowledge is power. If you can make your parents understand how risky it can be to abuse their prescriptions or to drink too much, they will likely make better decisions. They may also be unaware just how their emotional health impacts the choices they make regarding substances. Encourage your parents to get involved in social activities and to talk to you if they are feeling lonely, depressed or sad.
Help Manage Prescriptions
Abuse of prescriptions by seniors is often unintentional. Many get hooked simply because they need a drug, like a painkiller, to feel better and then use of it spirals out of control. With many different prescriptions, which is common with seniors, it can get confusing. Your parents may end up making mistakes with doses and combinations. Go to appointments with your parents and take careful notes about medications, dosages and interactions. Help your parents organize medications and monitor their drugs to be sure they are taking them correctly.
Monitor Behaviors And Get Help
Drug abuse has telltale signs, no matter the age of the user. Spend time with your elderly parents and watch for changes in health or behaviors that trouble you. Drug or alcohol abuse can cause changes in sleeping habits or appetite, irritability or anxiousness, confusion, and an increased number of falls. You know your parents, and if anything changes that makes you uncomfortable, be suspicious.
If you do suspect substance abuse in a parent, don’t hesitate to get help. Treatment options are available and seniors are more open to them than you might think. The good news is that statistics show that patients over 50 are the most successful when it comes to getting addiction treatment. Be there for your parents, guide them, educate them and help them when they need it so that you will have many more years to enjoy spending time together.
Get The Know-How On Why Substance Abuse Is Rising Among Seniors
30 Oct 2014
Dating can be tough. You meet all kinds of people in bars and clubs and maybe you meet some real strange characters in online dating as well. What happens when you meet a recovering addict? Is that a deal breaker or should you consider getting to know him better? The choice is a personal one, but before you dive head first into a relationship with a recovering addict you should be ready for what lies ahead. It could be the real deal, or it could end up being a nightmare relationship.
Realization With And Support For Your Recovering Partner
The first thing you should know about dating an addict is that he is, in fact, an addict. Addiction is a lifelong disease and even if he has been sober for years, a relapse is always possible. Also know that love does not conquer all, especially real world problems like addiction.
Your recovering addict partner will need your support, and as much as you love him, he will try your patience at times. Sometimes love is not enough to make a relationship work in the face of real problems. If you understand these realities and accept them, you may be ready to start dating a recovering addict.
Tips For Dating An Addict In Recovery
Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you take this journey:
- Look for honesty – The fact that someone has struggled with addiction need not be a red flag or a relationship ender. What is important is his honesty and openness. If he has been up front with you about his past struggles it shows that he has largely overcome them and is not ashamed. He has done good work and is willing to share that with you. This is a good sign.
- Be open – You also need to be open about his past. Talk about how it makes you feel and what your concerns are. He should be willing to discuss it with you and can likely allay some of your fears. Starting out on your relationship with solid, open communication will help you have a stronger partnership when times get rocky.
- Find the limits – Some recovering addicts cannot be around drugs or alcohol at all. Make sure you know whether you need to refrain from drinking in front of him and be prepared to make those accommodations if necessary.
- Learn the signs of substance abuse – Relapse is always possible, no matter how put together he seems now. Make sure you know the signs of a slip up so that you can be prepared if he relapses and starts using again. It may be obvious, but he may also be subtle about it. Try not to be over-vigilant, but do be aware of changes and what they might mean.
- Volunteer for therapy – If your partner is still attending therapy sessions or occasional counseling, be ready to join in. Offer to go along if he needs or wants you to. It may be a personal experience for him, but he might also want you to be involved. Be open to the experience.
- Take care of yourself – There will be times when dating a recovering addict is stressful for you. Being caring is important, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. Take time off to be alone and to do things that keep you happy and sane whenever you need it.
Make Sure He Meets Your Needs Too And Understand The Challenges
Dating a recovering addict is not impossible, but it may represent an additional relationship challenge. The important thing is that you find someone who meets your needs. If that person happens to be an addict in recovery, understand the unique challenges and be ready to meet them.
Learn More About Addicts And Their Excuses
Holistic medicine is a style of treatment, for any condition, that involves treating more than the condition itself. The philosophy of holistic medicine is to treat the whole person. This means treating the physical body, the mind and mental health, and the spirit (or soul). Holistic practitioners believe that specific conditions are related to a variety of ways you live and environmental exposure. Practitioners treat nearly every type of medical condition, including addiction. Should you try it?
What Makes Medicine Holistic?
Holistic sounds like something new age and experimental, but it is a type of medical practice that has been around for many years. It simply means treating the whole person, rather than just treating the disease. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, a doctor might prescribe a medication to lower it. A holistic practitioner would look at all your lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Instead of medication as a first approach, a holistic provider might have you exercise more, lose weight, change your diet and practice meditation or yoga.
Some of the techniques a holistic practitioner might use that are outside the bounds of traditional medicine include:
- Mindfulness therapy
- Yoga and exercise
- Herbal supplements
Does Holistic Medicine Help Addicts?
Unfortunately, the research on holistic medicine and how it can help addicts is slim. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that holistic practices help any better than other treatments. This doesn’t mean that they can’t help you, however. The best kind of addiction treatment program is one that is tailored to meet your individual needs. If meditation or prayer calm your mind and make you feel fewer urges to relapse, then it works for you.
Can I Use Holistic Medicine Alone?
You can try holistic medicine without any other types of addiction treatment, but most experts would not recommend it, especially if you have a severe addictive disorder. Many of the techniques used in holistic medicine can help you, but alone are not proven to help addicts get sober. The best way to get into recovery is to use a comprehensive plan of treatment designed for you by an addiction expert who understands your needs. The best treatment programs are individualized but include some kind of therapy or counseling, group support and social interaction and medicines where appropriate.
Is Holistic Medicine Right For Every Addict?
Not everyone will find success with a holistic approach, but many do. The key to finding the type of treatment that works best for you and helps you to get sober is trying different things. Almost all holistic practices are safe for everyone, so there are few reasons you shouldn’t try working with a holistic practitioner. Just be sure to find one that is experienced in working with addicts, is licensed and trained, and comes with excellent references. No type of treatment will help you if you are in the hands of an irresponsible or untrained care provider.
Holistic medicine is a field of health care that is growing in popularity as people begin to lose faith in traditional medicine. There is no reason you shouldn’t try working with a holistic practitioner, but remember that you have a serious medical condition. You need to seek the help of experienced professionals who know how to work with addiction and who will be committed to your wellness and success.
Learn More About How To Use Activities To Help Overcome Addiction
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Support group membership can be an important part of your recovery from addiction. Experts agree that there are several important elements to effective treatment for addiction. One of those elements must address the social needs of the addict. You can and should go through individual counseling and other types of treatment, but you also need social support. A support group is a great way to get that aspect of treatment.
Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Support Group
When you join a support group, make sure you make the most of the experience.
1. Finding A Support Group
The first important step in having a positive support group experience is finding the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to try a few meetings with different groups to choose the one you like best. There is no rule that says you have to commit to a group after attending just one meeting. Contact community centers, religious organizations, your local library and the local newspaper to find available support groups. You can also speak to your doctor or search online for available groups.
2. Participating In A Support Group
Once you have found a group you like and in which you feel comfortable, start attending meetings regularly. You won’t get much support if you only go to meetings sporadically. You need to develop a rapport with your fellow members, get to know them and let them get to know you, even if it is anonymous. Participating is important too. It’s ok to just listen at first. You may not feel comfortable speaking up right away, but push yourself to start participating after a few meetings. You will get the most benefit from your group when you start to talk and share.
3. Be Honest And Open
An important reason for anonymity in support groups is that it helps everyone to feel better about opening up and sharing. You will get the most out of your experience if you don’t hold back. When it’s time to tell your story, be open, tell the truth and share as much about your experience as you can. Speaking out loud about what you have been through is a powerful tool for healing. The experience of being supported and comforted by those around you is restorative.
4. Work With A Sponsor
Support groups offer more than just a crowd to hear your stories and to which you can listen. They also offer the possibility of developing a meaningful relationship with a sponsor. Working with someone who has been in your position and who has more sober years than you is a wonderful tool for your own sobriety. This relationship can be long term and can be something you turn to in your times of need.
5. Get Involved
A support group is also a great way to get involved in something positive. Replacing your old, bad habits with new activities that have a positive impact on your life is an important step toward long-term sobriety. Get involved in organizing meetings and other events. Volunteer your time and talents to making the group more successful. When you’re ready, volunteer to be a sponsor and help someone else who desperately needs it.
Support groups are powerful instruments for lasting change, but only when you immerse yourself in the experience. Sporadic attendance and weak participation will only take you so far. To really get the most out of a support group you need to attend regularly, get involved, work with a sponsor and open up to your fellow members while also listening to their stories.
I Think I Feel Better … How to Know If Your Therapy Is ‘Working’