Our Top 10 Tips for Parents (or Loved Ones) of Someone Battling Addiction

10 Tips Image 13Embrace Early Screening & Early Intervention

As a parent or family member, you may recognize early signals of addiction in your loved one. It’s never too early to discuss the dangers of addiction with them or to have them pre-screened for early detection. This may help identify risk factors that will help prevent further and future damage to both to their health and livelihood. An early screening and intervention will help clarify if their use and profile is suitable for treatment. Treatment is a significant financial and physical commitment so you want to be sure they really meet the clinical standards for treatment. Much can be done in the early stages of addiction with the help of therapy, intensive and outpatient care. Visit a local outpatient treatment center to have them evaluated if they’re willing.

Don’t Worry About Timing

You may never know exactly when the right time is to help your loved one get help. Studies show that even if the addict hasn’t “hit rock bottom”, they may still reach long-term recovery if their addiction treatment enables them to understand a new, safe and successful way of living. And as we all know, so many families have experienced that waiting too long to intervene can cause them their loved one’s life.10 Tips Image 2

The Importance of a Professional Intervention

In the grips of addiction, it is often difficult for the addict to accept they have a problem and agree to long-term treatment, let alone see the damage they are doing to themselves and their family. Staging and intervention may be the best opportunity to allow them to understand the depth of their problem and agree to get help. Unfortunately, the least effective members of an intervention tend to be close family. So choosing a professional interventionist, or escorting a loved one to an outpatient center for an evaluation is often the best opportunity to see them into a treatment setting. Help from an outside interventionist, someone who understands their pain and their journey, who also has an objective viewpoint, is the best voice of reason for an addict. The interventionist will also help you stage the intervention, develop a strategy and lead the conversation for the most successful opportunity at getting your loved one the treatment they need.

10 Tips Image 4Recognize That Self-Detoxing Can Be Deadly

If your loved one has decided to begin the process of quitting their drug of choice, even if they’re not ready for treatment, it’s critical that they detox in a medically supervised detoxification center. Most people don’t realize that detoxing can lead to death. For those who abuse alcohol and drugs like opioids (painkillers) or benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety medication), a tolerance has been built that causes the body severe, adverse reactions when withheld from the system.  Alcohol is notoriously linked to life-threatening withdrawal reactions, such as seizures, which may cause fatal head trauma, heart attack, stroke, lethal dehydration, or asphyxiation. A medically supervised detox will help your loved one detox in comfort and with dignity, and helps prevent the propensity for relapse during this critical phase. Withdrawal symptoms may begin hours or days after the last use, and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the type of drug and level of use. During this withdrawal phase, they are at the highest risk of relapse AND life-threatening symptoms that require 24/7 monitoring.

10 Tips Image 6Invest In Recovery, Not Relapse

The cost of treatment can seem steep, but when compared with long-term use, the cost of treatment is just a fraction of the price of continued drug use. However, choosing an “inexpensive” institution, or cutting down the time a loved one stays at a facility due to the cost, may lead to an early relapse. Staying 90+ days in a treatment facility will offer them the greatest opportunity to reach long-term recovery. Enlist them in an aftercare program following treatment, like a transitional living facility or three-quarter home. This is an excellent way to help them reach the long-term goal, while being supported and encouraged by a close-knit community of other recovering individuals. It will be an investment, but is far less costly than continued relapse or ongoing drug and alcohol use.

Start with 30-Days

You may not be able to convince your loved one to stay in treatment for 3 or more months, but you will likely be able to convince them to commit to 30-days. Most facilities find that the desire to continue treatment will manifest within those first 30-days, and you want your loved one to be able to continue with their treatment plan where they’re at if they do choose to stay, so make sure the facility can accommodate up to 90 days of treatment.

Addiction treatmentChoose A Specialization

Choose a treatment facility that offers specialize programming that caters to your loved ones needs, such as their drug of choice, a co-occurring disorder like PTSD, an eating disorder, social anxiety or a mental disorder, to name a few. This will help them beat their addiction along with the other psychological ailments that have contributed to their substance abuse. Since most people who suffer from addiction also suffer from another co-occurring disorder, choosing treatment at a facility that specializes in their particular ailment(s) will springboard their growth versus being left untreated.

Embrace A Geographical Change

Map of USA with state borders, 3d render

It is important to understand what can and what cannot be achieved with a geographical change for your loved one who is suffering with addiction. May people benefit greatly from a geographic change if they commit to receiving long-term, monitored care at a reputable treatment facility that’s located in a thriving recovery community. There are several located throughout the country, like Florida, Texas and Southern California.  They may also benefit greatly from being separated from family members and friends that have become “triggers” for their use. However, if your loved makes a geographic change simply to leave the environment which has “made them use” without seeking help, it is highly unlikely that their addiction will cease, and they will find themselves in the same addictive pattern wherever they move to. Geographic changes are encouraged when it comes to receiving treatment and/or working a fully committed program of recovery.

Honor New Boundaries

While therapy will be helpful to rebuild the family as a result of your loved one’s addiction, depending on their progress, it may not occur during treatment. If your loved one welcomes family sessions during their stay, take advantage of the clinical services offered at their institution. If this is an important factor, make sure the treatment center offers family programming and therapy. But don’t be discouraged if your loved one opts out. The first few months, and sometimes the first few years is often a time for them to fully understand their journey, and they will likely grow to a point in their recovery where they will be able to initiate therapeutic healing for all.

AddictionEliminate Enabling

Many loved ones feel responsible for helping the addict, especially as it relates to emotional and financial support. It can be impossible to cut them off as a supportive role. While this all comes from a place of love and concern, it’s critical to understand that as long as you are in some way enabling them to continue “running the show”, they are unlikely to feel the pressure to change in the long-term. Shutting off any access to support of their habits will force them to change their ways. The addict must recognize the breadth of their choices and arrive at a place where they have no choice but to initiate positive, responsible changes. As a loved one, you are a critical piece in enabling this change to happen. Also, don’t mistake your generosity for help. Enabling them to continue using is hurting them and may even lead to death. Follow this rule before, during and after treatment to offer the greatest opportunity for your loved one’s long-term success.

Addiction treatment

Someone Else’s Addiction Is Not Your Fault

It’s natural to feel hurt or even responsible for a loved one’s addiction, but it’s important to recognize these are naturally occurring emotions that stem from love. In most cases, for those who have “done all the right things,” they’re addiction has nothing to do with how you have treated them. Holding onto fear and anger for too long can make rebuilding family trust difficult. Support groups like Al-Anon help family and friends accept these feelings while learning how to support an addicted loved one — and themselves — during and following the rehabilitation process. Visit http://www.al-anon.org/ to find a local gathering near you.

Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

Last year, we shared a blog on our favorite recovery songs – whether the message of the song helps you get through the hard times, or reminds you of where you never want to be again – they all “strike a chord” and therapeutically support our recovery goals. Music has that way of hitting deeply to the inner feelers we keep so protected. Continue reading Recovery Songs: Vol. 2

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

With upwards of 15,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the U.S., it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you or a loved one. One of the best ways to choose the right treatment program is to consider the facilities certifications. A seal of approval from the Joint Commission (JCAHO) is considered the highest award available Continue reading The Hope Center for Rehabilitation receives the gold standard

This is my #drugofchoice

As addicts, drugs and alcohol take over our actions, as well as our thoughts. The “great obsession” of using liquefies any desire to pursue interests that we either used to love or might find enriching to our lives. Refreshed and renewed, many of us feel the overwhelming need to replenish our desires with healthy actions. And this is where the concept of a new #drugofchoice is formulated. Continue reading This is my #drugofchoice

Being An Alcoholic Saved My Life

It’s not often you hear something that, despite its irony, makes perfect sense. When most people think of an alcoholic, they envision a person at the bottom of the social scale, brown-bagging their addiction on a street corner. However, the alcoholics that I have come to know and love are amazingly deep, talented, insightful and giving people. They’ve had the blessing of connecting with the truest, most exquisite version of themselves as a direct result of their alcoholism.
Continue reading Being An Alcoholic Saved My Life

Signs That Show You or a Loved One are Already Addicted

Signs That Show You Are Drug or Alcohol Dependent

1. Tolerance
Have you noticed needing to use more of the same substance to get the desired effect? Our bodies grow increasingly more tolerant of drugs and alcohol the more often we use them. Tolerance is a signal of abuse and your bodies way of handling the toxicity. In reality you are allowing your body the ability to absorb more toxins when you increase your tolerance.
2. Withdrawal
As drugs or alcohol leave the body, classic symptoms of withdrawal set it. These include anxiety, jumpiness, shakiness, trembling, sweating, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, depression, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue and headaches. Severe withdrawal can include seizures, hallucinations, fever and even death, especially for alcoholics. Your body, which is getting used to having the drugs and alcohol in your system, is reacting to the void. To calm these symptoms, addicts and alcoholics drink or use to calm their symptoms, or to avoid symptoms at all. Many turn into morning drinkers or all-day drug abusers.
3. Loss of Control
Have you found yourself drinking or using more than you wanted to, and for a longer time than you intended? This is a classic sign that your using is getting out of control, because you are no longer in charge of when you choose to stop using. Many consider this the powerful “obsession” of using.
4. Desire to Stop But Can’t
You’ve identified that your drinking or drugging problem is causing negative consequences in your life. But despite changing up your routine, using in different ways or trying to abstain altogether, you find you cannot quit. This is also a classic signal that you or a loved one are in need of professional help to relieve you of your dependency.
5. Neglecting Other Activities
As drugs and alcohol become an everyday need, it requires more time to get and use them in daily life. Addicts find themselves doing less of the activities they used to enjoy in order to concentrate more on their drug of choice. In addition, it can become difficult to do some of the activities they once enjoyed while under the influence of powerfully mind and mood altering substances.
6. Continue To Use Despite Negative Consequences:
As drugs and alcohol become abused with greater frequency, it commonly interrupts daily life and leads to substantial issues with family, loved ones, the law, your career and ones health. What maybe used to seem unimaginable becomes reality like incarceration, loss of relationships, loss of jobs and a deterioration in health. Despite these radical consequences, the power of addiction usually overwhelms these dire circumstances and the user finds themselves relying more than ever on their drug of choice.
If you’re not sure if you or a loved one are exhibiting these symptoms, there are also other warning signs to be on the lookout for. Some include weight loss or gain, loss in appetite, seizures, unexplained accidents or injuries, shakes, tremors, slurred speech, drop in performance or attendance, unusual need for money (borrowing, stealing or missing valuables), frequent arguments, unexplained change in attitude and mood, frequent irritability, outbursts, unusual hyperactivity, lack of motivation and paranoia.
It’s important to remember that these are all normal reactions to drug and alcohol abuse. After a time, it becomes difficult even for the most determined people to kick their addiction without outside help and a dramatic lifestyle change. If you think you may have an addiction problem, or know someone who is showing these signals, call one of our specialists at 1-866-233-1869 and they’ll be happy to recommend a treatment plan to overcome the powerful obsession of addiction.

Why Do Some People Get Addicted While Others Do Not?

Addiction, like most other chronic diseases, simply does not seem fair. Why must some individuals undergo years of pain and agony at the hands of alcoholism while others can successfully drink a glass of wine with dinner? Why do some individuals develop life-threatening addictions to cocaine while others seem to experiment safely with the drug in college, ultimately leaving partying behind in exchange for a family and a career? There are several factors that affect which men and women are afflicted with the disease of addiction, some unavoidable and some based on influences that might have been circumvented. Of course, regardless of how you have ended up addicted, what is more important than uncovering reason is getting immediate professional help.

Why Do Some People Wind Up Addicted? Unavoidable Factors

The most prevalent unavoidable contributing factor of addiction is genetic predisposition. It has been proven in numerous studies that there is a direct genetic link between addicted parents and addicted children, thus those that come from families in which addiction and alcoholism are extremely prevalent are far more likely to develop substance dependencies themselves. In fact, scientists estimate that between 40% and 60% of an individuals risk of developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol is based solely on genetics. Interestingly enough, genetic predisposition may not manifest itself in the same addictive behaviors as experienced by parents. While a parental figure may be alcoholic or drug addicted, their offspring may experience sex addiction or an addiction to gambling or spending. All addictive behaviors stem from the same general neurological inconsistency, thus addictive genetics may establish themselves in a variety of ways.

Additionally, dual diagnosis disorders are often an unavoidable factor of addiction. Those that suffer from co-occurring psychological disorders tend to begin using chemical substances in order to ‘self-medicate’ – alleviate symptoms of their undiagnosed or untreated disorders through any means necessary. Most individuals who attend addiction treatment for any extended period of time will be diagnosed with some variation of dual diagnosis disorder, ranging from anxiety and depression to bipolar and schizophrenia.

Avoidable Factors of Eventual Substance Dependency

Many contributing factors of addiction have to do with influences that could have been avoided, such as environment and upbringing. If an individual grows up in a somewhat impoverished area that is densely populated with men and women who commit crime and engage in adolescent drug abuse, the likelihood of experimentation at a young age inevitably increases. If a child is brought up in a house in which drinking is normalized and even encouraged, he or she is more likely to begin drinking at a young age. While many of these factors are arguably unavoidable, if an at-risk child is removed from a precarious household or community he or she is more liable to grow up without formulating a dependence on chemical substance.

Again, while addiction may seem unfair and it may who is afflicted and who is not may seem somewhat random, the important thing is to get help when a serious addiction is identified. If you cannot control your drinking or drug use and believe professional treatment may be a necessity, please feel free to give our trained representatives a call at your early convenience.

Am I Really An Alcoholic?

Even if your friends and family members are constantly giving you guff about the excess of your drinking, it may be hard to come to terms with the fact that you might possibly be struggling with a drinking problem to some degree. After all, no one really knows, they aren’t doctors. And most of your friends drink the same amount you do, just because there are a few wet blankets in the bunch doesn’t mean those of you who do know how to have a good time are alcoholics. I certainly did not know I was alcoholic until long after everyone close to me did. My parents and close relatives held a professional intervention for me when I was 21. I essentially laughed in their faces, convinced that they were losing their minds and I was just a regular ole college student, binge drinking 5 times a week as I should be.

It wasn’t until I was 23 that I realized alcoholism was a progressive disease, and my loved ones were able to detect the beginning stages while I remained deep in denial. By 23 I was binge drinking alone every evening, drinking throughout the day, and self-harming during some of my blackouts because I simply could not bear to be myself. Fortunately I had another shot at recovery, and checked into treatment in October of 2013. There is absolutely a big part of me that wishes I would have recognized my affliction sooner – I would have been saved 3 years of hurt and heartache, the empty despair that some alcoholics bottom into until they are lifted out by the hands of those that came before them. However, I am also grateful that things got as bad as they did, for this desperation allowed me to dive headfirst into a program of recovery that would prove to save my life.

How Do I Know If Treatment Is Necessary?

Have you ever tried to control your drinking? Many individuals who unwittingly suffer from alcoholism go to great lengths in attempting to control their drinking. Some will switch from hard liquor to only beer or wine, promising themselves they will avoid the hard stuff indefinitely only to return to it weeks later. Some will vow to only drink on weekends, some will promise themselves they will drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. If these insane rules are successful, they are likely only so for a short time – and soon, drinking is reinstated as it was, or worse. If you are questioning whether or not you are actually an alcoholic, practice some moderate drinking. Go to the bar and have one drink. Take notice as to whether or not you are obsessing over drinking more, if you are consumed with thoughts of alcohol and drinking even if you are able to stop yourself from physically imbibing. See if you can go for a week or a month without use. See how prevalent thoughts of drinking are in your day-to-day life. Keep in mind that you may be able to forgo drinking for an extended period of time successfully. But are you happy? Do you feel fulfilled? Or are you engaging in other outlets of distraction and self-destructive behavior? When it comes down to it, you may be an alcoholic if you cannot control your drinking or cannot control how much you drink once you pick up – and even if you can control your drinking because your will-power is exceptionally impressive, you may be an alcoholic if you find yourself consumed with thoughts of drinking when you are not. Try to drink like a gentlemen if you are unsure, and be completely honest with yourself during the process. And if you do believe that you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol or any other chemical substance, call Hope Center today for a personalized and detailed evaluation.

Coming to Terms With Never Drinking Again

One of the biggest hurdles men and women who are new to sobriety face is coming to terms with the fact that in order to truly recover, total abstinence from all mood and mind altering substances is a crucial commitment. For most chronic alcoholics, the idea that drinking will never again be an option is too difficult to accept outright. Imagining a life completely sans alcohol is like imagining a life without hands – almost unfathomable, and unquestioningly overwhelming. For this reason, the age-old adage “one day at a time” has become a staple of recovery programs and treatment centers across the world, suggesting that ‘baby steps’ are not only accepted, but highly recommended when dealing with a life of abstinence.

Never Drinking Again… A Terrifying Concept

There is a major difference in knowing you are an alcoholic and accepting it. In many cases, an individual will know he or she has a serious issue with alcohol before ever admitting to needing professional help, let alone accepting that he or she is afflicted with alcoholism – a lifelong, chronic disease that can be put into remission but never cured in totality. If you have been desperately trying to control your drinking only to find that your drinking is, in fact, controlling you, you may know deep down that your struggle is real and very serious, and that you may be suffering from the disease of alcoholism. However, coming forward and calling yourself an “alcoholic” is terrifying – there is a certain level of commitment attached to the utterance of these words… “Hi, my name is _________, and I am an alcoholic.” Once you ascertain yourself as a true alcoholic, you know that the next step will be reaching out for help. Those who are not yet ready to do this frequently remain “problem drinkers” or “booze hounds”.

Another frightening aspect of accepting alcoholism is the knowledge that you will never be able to drink successfully, not matter how hard you try. This may take years for some alcoholics to fully accept, and unfortunately many continuously tempt fate, trying to control their drinking until they eventually kill themselves in the process. The daily reprieve standpoint has proven especially helpful in such cases. Every morning upon waking, simply commit to not picking up a drink for the length of the day. Tell yourself that if you still want to drink tomorrow, that is always an option. Delay the inevitable until it becomes the impossible.