Category: Addiction Help

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

Recovery and Prescription Medications

One stumbling point for people in recovery is when they are prescribed legal prescription drugs as treatment or following a procedure. Several past clients have said, my doctor wanted to give me oxycodone, but I won’t take anything stronger than Ibuprophen to manage the pain. Others, sadly, have returned to treatment stating that things were going well until a medical procedure derailed their recovery because they were prescribed pain medications.

There are several messages here.

1 – While many people like to keep their information private, it is imperative that your medical professionals – doctors and dentists – are aware that you are in recovery and taking any sort of opiate or narcotic based medication would be detrimental to your recovery. Even if you receive a prescription, especially for a pain killer, from your doctor, confirm the chemical compound of the medication.

Related Blog: Why Can’t They Just Stop?

2 – Regardless if you were addicted to alcohol, heroin, prescription drugs, meth amphetamines or any other substance, just because medication comes from your doctor, it does not mean it is safe to take it. If you are in recovery, these powerful substances can quickly sidetrack you from working the program.

3 – What happens if you are given this medication without consent? For example, if you are unconscious, taken to the ER via ambulance and have no one present who can speak to the doctors on your behalf and one of these prescription pain killers is administered without your knowledge, what are the steps to take next? As soon as you are awake and alert, you need to communicate with the medical staff that you are in recovery and should not receive opiate or narcotic painkillers. Verify what was given to you while unconscious. Chances are, a single dosage will not cause a full blown relapse, but be sure to voice your concerns to your family and support network so they can help you remain vigilant about maintaining your sobriety, especially if you are experiencing cravings to use.

If you or a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, contact Pathways to learn more about our detox and residential treatment programs. Call 855-349-5988 for more information.

Why Will Pathways be Able to Help Me When Others Have Failed?

A question we commonly hear from the individuals seeking treatment, families seeking treatment for a loved one and even the general public is why do you think you can help when this individual has failed in recovery in the past?

There are several factors that come into play when answering this question. Understanding the disease of addiction and that relapse is commonly part of the disease helps. Still, that doesn’t provide confidence when you are seeking help.

Related Blog: Choosing Recovery Often Means Choosing A Healthy Lifestyle

1 – Addiction is a chronic, manageable disease. Much like diabetes and hypertension, the person with the disease is tasked with managing the disease, working through the checklists of things you can and cannot do on a daily basis to make sure there are not issues. Part of the Pathways program is working out relapse prevention plans so that if someone is at risk of a relapse, they have steps to take in hopes of diffusing the situation.

A program graduate once said, “I had a bad day, so I had a drink, but I never solved my problem. The next day was bad, so I drank more. Soon, I had so many problems that were never resolved and spent all my time drinking to avoid them.” What this man learned during his time in the program was that
avoiding your problems and drinking to forget them will not make them go away. This was his relapse trigger. Upon completing the program, he knew he had to face his problems as they came rather than turning the bottle. He knew who to contact and the support groups available should he be tempted to drink rather than face his issues.

In addition to teaching relapse prevention techniques during treatment, Pathways also offers a weekly aftercare meeting for those who have completed the program. Staying in touch and engaged with the program helps many stay focused on their recovery.

2 – Another key to reaching a point of a long lasting recovery is dealing with any underlying issues that may have led to substance abuse. While these issues can be as unique as the clients we treat, in many cases, bringing these into the conversation and learning coping mechanisms to find a resolution for the challenges is liberating for our clients. People outside the addiction generally do not understand the burden many of our clients carry as they begin their substance abuse. Our clients have been the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse, witnesses to catastrophic events, or have suffered losses in their lives. One client relayed the story that she had been drinking for more than 20 years. In her early 20’s, she was pregnant and had a miscarriage. Though she tried several more times, she was never able to conceive a child. Her life’s dream was to be a mother. She found comfort in drinking. Her family never understood the deep damage and pain the miscarriage caused for this client. It wasn’t until she sought treatment that she began to understand why she was drinking and addressing the pain that this miscarriage caused so many years ago.

3 – The compassionate Pathways staff members do not care if this is your first time in treatment or your 21st time in treatment. You will be shown the same respect and dignity as every other client. It does not matter if you have tried and failed; the Pathways staff will design a treatment plan that will help you get back on the right track.

If you or a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, contact Pathways to learn more about our residential treatment programs. Call 855-349-5988 for more information.