Category: Addiction Help

5 Tips to Prevent Relapse

Relapse is a common factor of the recovery process. Here are some tips to help you stay sober and avoid relapse.

Related Blog: Five Common Reasons People Relapse

  1. Know your triggers
    Maybe your trigger is a person, place or thing. Maybe your trigger is a neighborhood or environment. When possible, avoid your triggers. If you work in sales and would typically have a drink to celebrate closing a big deal, you need to have a plan of a new way to celebrate this accomplishment. This is a trigger and unless you change careers, you will have to make adaptions for your new sober lifestyle.
  2. Develop your support network
    Your support network can be made up of people that are and are not part of the recovery community. You develop your network by going to aftercare and 12-Step meetings, spending free time with family members who are not drinking or using drugs and by meeting people at drug-free and alcohol free events/environments. These individuals should be aware of your triggers and be comfortable keeping you accountable for your actions.
  3. Structure and routine
    Having a structured life and routine that does not include much downtime that could lead to relapse is key. As simple as it sounds, the routine of getting up, making breakfast, making the beds, showering and preparing to go to work, working, exercise, 12-step or aftercare meetings, journaling, child care, preparing meals, etc. can really help. Set a routine and follow it. Keep your days full and use downtime wisely.
  4. Aftercare
    Attending aftercare and 12-Step meetings plays a key role in maintaining recovery. Aftercare helps people in recovery stay focused, avoid triggers, and develop support networks. It should be part of the structure and routine you have created to maintain sobriety.
  5. Journaling/meditating
    Everyone has a different way of dealing with the daily stresses they face. While those in active addiction will use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, those in recovery are urged to find other coping mechanisms. Two of these tools are journaling and meditating. Journaling allows the writer to honestly write down thoughts, experiences, fears and feelings. Meditating combats negative feelings by creating a relaxed state.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Pros and Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are mixed beliefs about using products such as Methadone and Suboxone to help those addicted to drugs. Traditionally, abstinence from opiates (most prescription drugs, heroin, etc.) is very challenging. Medication-assisted treatment can be used to wean individuals from using these drugs, making the withdrawal process more tolerable. Both suppress the user’s desire to use opiates. Both drugs will produce a “high,” and in theory, this is great.

Related Blog: Recovery and Prescription Medications

However, both have a long list of potential side effects and present dangers if not used properly. In addition, both can become a crutch and are open to being abused.

Methadone is used to provide assistance to heroin users and make the detox process less uncomfortable. However, the detox from methadone can be more painful than the detox from opiates. The problem associated with it is that many people begin using it as a crutch and become dependent on the methadone. Suboxone also causes the user to lose the urge to use. If they do use, they do not get the normal high they would get if they were not using Suboxone.

While these medications may be helpful in some cases, they only treat part of the situation. Medication-assisted treatment does not address emotional or traumatic issues that may have led to substance abuse. Anyone receiving medication-assisted treatment should also be engaged in either residential or outpatient counseling sessions.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Therapy Techniques for Treating Trauma

The link between trauma and substance abuse is very strong. Many clients come to Pathways and express the challenges they have faced in their lives – physical or verbal abuse as a child or in adulthood, vehicle accidents, as victims of violent crimes and in soe cases, military experience. Treating the trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a key component to treating the individual’s substance abuse disorder because until the trauma is resolved, the person will continue to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and/or cope with the trauma they’ve faced.

Related Blog: Trauma and Addiction

Several evidence-based treatment methods have proven effective in working with trauma/PTSD clients. The most common ones are listed below.

Prolonged-exposure therapy – A therapist guides the client to recall traumatic memories in a controlled fashion so that clients eventually regain mastery of their thoughts and feelings around the incident. While exposing people to the very events that caused their trauma may seem counterintuitive, when done in a gradual, controlled and repeated manner, until the person can evaluate their circumstances realistically and understand they can safely return to the activities in their current lives that they had been avoiding.

Cognitive-processing therapy – A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, developed to treat rape victims and later applied to PTSD. This treatment includes an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event. Practitioners may work with clients on false beliefs that the world is no longer safe, for example, or that they are incompetent because they have “let” a terrible event happen to them.

Stress-inoculation training – Another form of CBT, where practitioners teach clients techniques to manage and reduce anxiety, such as breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

Certified Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) – A revolutionary and holistic psychotherapeutic approach to healing and positive behavioral change that eliminates the negative, emotional and behavioral influence of traumatic events, clearing, organizing and optimizing the mind so that the root cause of problems are cleared and positive change can endure.

Not all treatment centers hire counselors who have experience in these treatment methods. Pathways has multiple counselors who specialize in and/or are certified in PTSD/trauma methodologies and use either CBT or RRT techniques.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Why Did I Relapse?

Relapse is not uncommon for those in recovery. Some say that it often takes a series of relapses before someone is truly successful in the recovery world. Often, success means making great changes in your lifestyle – who your associates are, where you live, where you work, as well as “unlearning” inappropriate behaviors that could result in substance use.

Recovery is a process. Generally, the process begins with admitting that there is a problem, detoxing, getting treatment for the issue, developing a plan for aftercare, transition and relapse prevention and finally living a life of recovery.

Related Blog: What Should I Do If I Have a Sponsor and I’m Still Using?

In order for the recovery process to be successful, clients need to engage with their counselors and others in the recovery community. Additionally, if internal issues, such as a trauma that may have led to the initial substance abuse, are not fully addressed, the chances of relapse increase.

Some counselors suggest clients change everything, even music, friends, jobs, living arrangements etc. Music has a great ability to trigger thoughts and feelings. If you had a favorite song you liked to hear when you were high, don’t listen to that song. If your friends used drugs, use ties to the recovery community to make friends with individuals who will support your efforts rather than sabotage them. If you are an alcoholic working in an establishment that serves alcohol, you may want to look for other employment, if drug use is normal part of life in your neighborhood, consider moving to a transitional, sober or half-way house arrangement as you grow and strengthen your resolve to stay clean.

They key to relapse prevention is knowing your triggers and working the program and aftercare program outlined for you by your counselors on a daily basis. In some cases, repeated treatment episodes will be necessary until you are able to make recovery a full part of your lifestyle.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988 or visit our website.

Why Will Nothing Cure my Child’s Addiction?

A common misconception to addiction is that following a treatment episode, someone may be “cured” of the disease. Addiction is similar to diabetes and hypertension in the sense that it is an incurable, but manageable disease. While someone with diabetes must watch their diet and check their insulin, and those with hypertension also maintain regiment of diet, exercise and stress-relief exercises, someone diagnosed with an addiction will need to follow a daily regimen to remain sober. Those who enter a treatment program will be taught the importance of following a schedule, attending meetings, doing step work and other behavioral changes that may have been part of the treatment plan. When an individual, especially those who are new to recovery, takes a lax attitude about maintaining recovery, the likelihood of relapse increases. Addiction will not “just go away” overnight and even those who have 10 or 20 years clean can still succumb to a relapse.

Related Blog: Why Recovery Meetings Alone May Not be Working

The individuals who have the best success in treatment are those who enter a treatment facility who addresses their needs, engages in the treatment process and follows the aftercare plan and relapse prevention plan faithfully.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

What Should I Do If I Have a Sponsor and I’m Still Using?

There are many answers to this question and other questions need to be asked before giving a blanket answer.

1 – How is your relationship with your sponsor? – Do you feel that you receive the support you need? Are you able to speak comfortably with your sponsor? If you have answered no to these questions, the solution may be to look for a different sponsor.

Related Blog: Why Recovery Meetings Alone May Not be Working

2 – Are you attending 12-Step meetings and if so, do you engage and participate with these meetings? The best sponsors in the world can lead by example, but can’t force you to live a life of recovery. If you truly want a life of recovery, you need to engage in the recovery process.

3 – Is your drug/alcohol use a relapse post treatment, or did you by-pass the treatment route and go straight to attending meetings and securing a sponsor? While this works for some, for others, treatment provides a better understanding of how addiction works and a better understanding of why you may have begun using to start. Often, a certain life event or series of events will trigger the initial use. For example, many people self-medicate by using illegal substances because they have other underlying issues. Some drink/drug to forget traumas or other negativity in their lives.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Co-dependency Can Hinder Recovery Results

As we work with our clients to get them on the road to recovery from drugs or alcohol, one of the things we do is look for issues in the client’s personal history that require resolution and trigger points that could cause a relapse. Understanding and overcoming co-dependency is part of the treatment process for many.

Related Blog: Recovery is More than Detox

What is co-dependency?
According to Mental Health America, “Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about 10 years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.”

Why does this hinder recovery efforts? If an individual is co-dependent on another individual recovery efforts can be undermined if the relationship continues. For example, Becky is a female who is an alcoholic. Her boyfriend Brad is also an alcoholic. Brad has a tendency to belittle and be verbally abusive to Becky, which eats away at her self-esteem. She began drinking with Brad trying to dull the pain of his verbal assaults. At one point in Becky’s life, she is in a treatment facility – this may be due to her own decision to change her life, a family intervention or possibly a court-ordered treatment program because she’s received multiple driving under the influence charges. Treatment is difficult for Becky at first. She doesn’t like being away from Brad and worries what he’s doing and who he is with. She spends her time thinking about him rather than focusing on her own issues. Finally, one day in group, she hears another client speak about an abusive spouse. The words ring true to her and she begins to open up to her counselor and other clients about the situation. She begins to understand that the best thing for her is to end her relationship with Brad and get a fresh start on life, but….

Some of the common “buts” are “but, I love him/her,” “but I’m financially dependent on him/her,” “but we have children together,” “but I think he’ll/she’ll change,” “but I don’t want to be alone.” As long as the “but” is part of the client’s belief system and thought process, this individual’s long-term recovery is in jeopardy.

Overcoming co-dependency is challenging for most, but a necessary piece to developing a firm foothold in recovery because the subject of the co-dependent person is also often the trigger for substance use.

At Pathways, we understand that many clients have issues beyond substance abuse, such as co-dependency, and for full success, these challenges need to be overcome. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.

Co-dependency Quiz

Do you think you have a co-dependency issue? Take a look at the questions below:

1 – When someone else acts inappropriately, I often feel guilty for him or her.

2 – It is hard for me to accept compliments from others.

3 – It is hard for me to say “no” when someone asks for help.

4 – I feel terrible about myself when I make mistakes.

5 – I have an overwhelming desire to feel needed by other people.

6 – I stay quiet to avoid arguments.

7 – I value others’ opinions of me more than I value my own.

8 – I feel resentment toward people who will not let me help them.

9 – I am often preoccupied with other people’s problems.

10 – I feel rejected when my significant other spends time with friends.

If you agree with most of these statements, you possess traits/beliefs shared by many people who are co-dependent. You may want to consider seeking professional help.

Addiction and Family

Most people think of addiction as the problem of an individual. In reality, it is a problem that affects an entire family. The disease of addiction causes individuals to do things that they’d have never dreamed of doing before their addiction began, including stealing from friends or family members, lying and other manipulative behaviors.

Related Blog: The Effect of Addiction in My Family

A parent of an addict spoke of sleeping with his wallet under his pillow so his son would not steal money from him in the middle of the night.

A spouse of an addict opened a new bank account, restricting his wife’s access to the account so she could not spend money earmarked to pay the family bills on drugs or alcohol.

A parent loans adult child money to pay rent because the child has fallen on hard times and can’t find a new job. The parent does not realize that the hard times were caused by showing up at work under the influence, or maybe not showing up at all.

Valuables are placed in a safe inside the home or possibly safe deposit boxes are rented at a local bank with the hope of keeping these items out of the hands of a family member who would sell these items for drugs.

Children are pulled from their parent’s custody and placed with a family member or in the foster system because of signs of neglect, which traces back to the parent’s substance abuse problem.

When someone is an addict, their only goal in life is to obtain the next high and they will lie, cheat and steal if necessary to find the means to get drugs or alcohol.

Don’t let substance abuse ruin your family. If you have a member who is abusing drugs or alcohol, help is available at Pathways. For more information about our residential treatment programs, call 855-349-5988.

Judgment & Perception of an Addict

One of the biggest challenges for some of our clients is dealing with a sense of self-worth. Those who suffer from low self-esteem struggle doing recovery work because they feel their lives are meaningless. Why do they feel this way? There could be a number of reasons, ranging from prior emotional abuse, to public perception about substance abusers.

Related Blog: Understanding the Progression of Recovery

You’ve probably heard, and maybe even thought, one of the following three phrases:

“I have no sympathy for the homeless; they are a bunch of drunks and drug addicts.”

“Why should I feel sorry for him/her? He/she made the choice to use drugs and screwed up his/her life.”

“Addicts are just a bunch of criminals and should be locked up somewhere.”

If you hear these types of comments about yourself, why would you try to get clean and sober? How could you believe that there is a better world of recovery out there and that your life is worth saving?

A client, who has been clean for a little more than three years now, said she feels so sad when she is driving down the street and sees the homeless or women in prostitution. She said, “people are so quick to judge them. No one knows their stories, but they are quick to judge them.”

This particular client was the youngest of three daughters in a middle-class family. Her mother worked in a group home for troubled teens. When the client graduated from high school and enrolled in a local community college, the mother released a big sigh of relief, believing, “I raised my children and they are good.” Only a few months later, she quickly saw the signs. Her daughter’s personality was changing and school didn’t seem like a priority. She wasn’t sure about the new boyfriend her daughter was seeing and despite her training in dealing with the teens, the mother made several mistakes, not wanting to believe her daughter was involved in drugs. The situation escalated quickly and before long, the daughter with the promising future had been arrested for shoplifting. The goods that were stolen were going to be sold or traded for drugs.

The mother was able to get the daughter into a treatment center. On the legal front, she still had probation, fees and restitution, but she was getting help for her substance abuse and that was important.

Three years post treatment, the client says, “that could have been me. Had I not been arrested, I could have ended up trading my body for drugs. Without the continued support of my family, I could have been kicked out of the house and ended up homeless.”

Going to treatment gave this woman her life back. She’s now the daughter, niece, sister, aunt and friend that her family and friends knew and loved. A mother herself now, she is still paying off legal debts, but plans to finish college.

If you have a friend or family member that you suspect is struggling with substance abuse, encourage them to seek help, to find a better life and change their ways. Contact Pathways for more information about our residential treatment programs by calling 855-349-5988.

 

In the Media: Tips on Choosing A Residential Treatment Center Wisely

Safety is a top priority when choosing a residential treatment center. According to P.J. Brooks of First Step in Sarasota, Florida, here are a few key components to ensure you choose the best option:

  • Find out what the reputation of the facility- how are they perceived in the community?
  • The facility should:
    -Have good quality clinical skills
    -Use evidence-based practices
    -Keep clients engaged in the treatment programs
    -Perform extensive background screenings, including federal screenings and fingerprinting

Watch the video below to learn more, or click here to watch the video on mysuncoast.com

Related Blog: Recovery is More than Detox