Category: Addiction

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.

Why Recovery Meetings Alone May Not be Working

There are many people in society that make a decision to get sober and start living a clean, healthy life in recovery.  Once this decision is made, there are many paths that people can take to reach their goal.  The choices can seem like a maze with road blocks and dead ends.

Related Blog: Co-dependency Can Hinder Recovery Results

While some will attempt to detox on their own and quit “cold turkey,” others will go for a professional, medically-supervised detox.  Once you reach detox, there are new treatment options – outpatient, residential or none.  For some who opt not to go to treatment, but feel that they need some sort of support network, 12-Step recovery meetings provide yet another option.

For many people, simply going through detox (alone or supervised) and attending 12-Step meetings is not enough to establish a firm foundation in recovery.  Addiction is a complicated disease and learning how to manage it generally takes intense counseling so the client can re-program thoughts and beliefs.  Often, there are underlying factors that led to the initial substance abuse and until these issues are resolved, the possibility of relapse remains high.

Treatment provides clients with counseling services, teaches about the disease of addiction as well as coping skills and the development of relapse prevention plans.  Attending and participating in 12-Step recovery meetings is part of the relapse prevention plan.

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.

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.

In the Media: An Effort to Keep Repeat DUI Offenders off the Roads

Last year, there were over 10,000 deaths related to DUI’s, with more than half being over weekends- all of which could’ve been avoided. According to P.J. Brooks of First Step, prevention is the key in this situation, because once a person is intoxicated, the ability to make smart decisions is greatly affected.

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

Related Blog: Can a Drug Addict Drink Alcohol?

Pathways to Recovery is part of the First Step of Sarasota, Inc. family of treatment programs.

The Effect of Addiction in My Family

The Effect of Addiction in My Family – By Anonymous

Twenty plus years ago, I married a woman who had two young adult children from a prior marriage. I also had two young daughters of my own. The transition was challenging at first. Her kids accepted me, but my girls did not accept her. I didn’t force the issue.

My step-daughter was a beautiful, creative woman with so much promise. Sadly, before I met her mother, when she was in high school, she became rebellious. It was the 80’s and the role of women was changing in our society. She chose to marry and start a family rather than go to school or develop her talent. In what seems like the blink of an eye, she and her husband had two small children and divorced. I blamed it on immaturity. She wasn’t ready for the role of an adult. She still wanted to party. Before long, she met and moved in with a man who introduced her to cocaine. Our lives were forever changed.

Related Blog: Understanding the Progression of Recovery

My wife and I were constantly receiving calls from the local jail to come and bail either she or her boyfriend out of jail. My wife and I were at odds she said; leave her/them in jail until they grow up. I would head down there and bail her/them out. They’d promise it would never happen again. On Sunday nights, we’d get calls from her first husband. He had the kids and was trying to drop them off with their mother, but she wasn’t home. Was she with us? Often, my wife would go to my daughter’s home, meet her former son-in-law and stay with the kids until their mother got home. She’d tell the kids, mommy has to work today, feeling guilty about the lie. He eventually petitioned for custody of the kids and won.

During this time, I abandoned my own children. I told my first wife about the situation in my home and we agreed not to expose them to the chaos that was taking place in my home. In hindsight, we should have been more open and honest about what was happening. They felt abandoned and were angry. They were both bright girls and headed to college. It was as if I was punishing them for their good behavior and rewarding my step-daughter for her bad behavior. I didn’t even realize it at the time. I was focused on trying to make things right at home.

The relationship between my step-daughter and her boyfriend was very on and off. She’d often stay with us when they were fighting. When she did, things in my home would disappear. My wife had jewelry missing and I replaced a few TV sets. My step-daughter was stealing from us to buy drugs, getting arrested and then I was paying her legal fees. I had a good income, but I began to struggle to make ends meet. One day, I said to her, enough of this, you’re costing me too much money…if you need money for drugs, I’ll just give it to you. My wife was furious.

Today, I understand that I am an enabler. Instead of adopting my wife’s tough love approach, I supported the addict in her addiction rather than forcing a behavior change.

After about 10 years of this cycle, my step-daughter vanished. We had no idea if she was dead or alive. We assumed she’d run off with some new boy she’d met, but really had no information. While we were both worried sick, there was calm in our lives. We weren’t getting the calls in the middle of the night, none of our possessions were stolen and I wasn’t visiting my friends at the jail while bailing her out again. This was extremely hard on her children. They were supposed to visit her and she never went to get them. She never called. Their father had no answers and we had no answers. I saw pain and fear in their little faces.

My wife vowed, if she’s okay and comes back, we aren’t going to live like this anymore. We fought, but in the end, my wife prevailed. After several weeks, my step-daughter reappeared on our doorstep as if nothing had happened. She was high as a kite. My wife laid down the law. We are not living like this; we are not going to support you any longer. The calls in the middle of the night, the not knowing where and how you are…it’s just too much.

My story doesn’t have a happy ending. While my step-daughter did get help and stayed clean, the toll of the years of drug abuse were too much for her body. She passed away after being clean for about five years. My marriage also came to an end. The combination of financial issues and the stress of the situation was too much. I think my wife blamed me for her daughter’s death. Maybe had we employed her approach sooner and forced an intervention, the drugs would not have caused so much damage.

My advice to any parent or step-parent dealing with a child abusing drugs is to get them help right away. They aren’t going to “grow up” if they are addicted; they are going to get worse until one day it is too late.

 

Addiction: Dating in Sobriety

More often than not, individuals who have a substance abuse disorder also suffer from low self-esteem issues. Some people use drugs or alcohol to fit into a crowd, others use to help relax before meeting new people. In some cases, individuals will use trying to gain the attention and acceptance of a love interest who is also using. Given the importance many place on romantic relationships, this can be a stumbling block that keeps someone from entering treatment and a life of recovery.

Related Blog: Recovery From Drugs and Alcohol is a Process

Here are seven reasons that demonstrate living a sober life is good for your love life.

1 – Appearance: Most people do not realize it, but chronic using and abusing drugs and alcohol not only takes a toll on our relationships and physical and mental well-being, it affects appearance. To prove this, grab some photos of yourself prior to using drugs or alcohol and look in the mirror. What do you see and do you like what you see? As people return to healthy lifestyles, they regain better complexions, weight stabilizes and even your eyes shine a little brighter. Some treatment center social media pages show side-by-side pictures of clients on admission day and graduation day to see the healthy improvement made in just 30, 60 or 90 days.

2 – Money: Typically, people with a substance abuse problem spend every spare dime they have on obtaining drugs/alcohol. Just think how much financial freedom you will have if buying drugs isn’t the number one priority. You’ll have money for a nice dinner, nice clothing, a dependable car, plus some to put into savings for a nice trip or other future needs.

3 – Mental Strength: One of the hardest challenges in life one will face is that of becoming and staying sober. The process of recovery develops strength, giving you the courage to face new challenges.

4 – You can be yourself: Through sobriety, people gain a sense of self-confidence and self-worth. Sobriety allows you to accept yourself, flaws and all, and most importantly, like yourself. We often read that the best relationships happen when you are happy with yourself instead of looking for something or someone else to fill a void.

5 – You are understanding and compassionate: One of the tools in recovery programs is how to build healthy relationships. Recovery is very humbling. Individuals are taught how to listen to one another, to become understanding, show compassion towards others and give back to the community.

6 – You’re NOT Drunk: How many times have you said or done things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol that you wish you could take back? In recovery, you have a better sense of appropriate boundaries and behavior.

7 – You have your act together: In recovery, you are accountable, responsible, respectable and employable. You know when to ask for help and you are willing to help others. You have learned from your past struggles and have made it one of your strengths.

Is It Beneficial to Travel Out of State for Rehab?

The most important decision a person struggling with addiction will make is choosing a rehab facility. While some find comfort in seeking treatment close to home, others will opt to seek treatment far from home.

Local and long-distance treatment centers each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some things to consider.

Do you live in a region that has a comprehensive substance abuse treatment center? This means, does the facility provide a full scope of services ranging from detox, residential treatment and aftercare? Do you live near a facility that is accredited? As you research rehab facilities, be sure to consider only those that are accredited. What does this mean? Accreditation means that an organization receives periodic reviews, similar to an audit, on how services are provided. An organization who is accredited is demonstrating that they are committed to the highest level of treatment standards and care and are always striving to improve.

Related Blog: Florida Drug Recovery Program Success Rates

Do the treatment programs near you have the ability to handle complex cases? The most effective methods of treating substance abuse involve science-based therapeutic techniques that help clients deal with the root cause of the substance abuse problems, such as a past trauma, an underlying mental health disorder or an addiction that stems from the legitimate prescription of a pain medication following an injury or surgical procedure.

How is your relationship with your family? For some, family support is a key step to success and finding a program that allows visitation or regular phone calls is important. For others, especially when multiple members of a family have substance abuse issues, removing yourself from that situation and getting rehab out of town is more beneficial. If you are committed to changing your life, you may need to be far away from relatives who could sabotage your efforts.

What are your triggers? If you live in a small, remote location, chances are, your triggers are everywhere. You would be best served to find a treatment facility that is far from your triggers. A trigger could be friends, stressful relationships or other environmental factors that could take your focus away from recovery.

Are you looking for something that is more discreet? Though most treatment facilities have strict privacy guidelines and need to comply with federal HIPAA regulations, there is merit to going to a treatment facility far from home. Especially for those in high profile positions, it is easy to say that you are taking a sabbatical to Florida than heading off to 28-days in a treatment facility.

Regardless if you live in Sarasota, the state of Florida, or any other destination in the country, Pathways provides quality substance abuse treatment for those committed to a life in recovery. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is a comprehensive treatment center providing detox, 28-day or extended care treatment programs, aftercare and links to transitional or sober housing. Using evidence-based treatment methods, Pathways is capable of treating the most challenging and unique cases. Clients are able to receive visitors on weekends and phone calls are permitted under the supervision of the counseling staff.

For more information call 855-349-5988.

Addiction in the Workplace: Part 2

Addiction does not discriminate and can affect people from all walks of life ranging from fast food, factory and construction workers to the most heralded professionals – doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians and everyone else between. For someone who has never had to deal with addictive disorders in their own families, dealing with a substance abusing co-worker can be an eye-opening experience.

Related Blog: Addiction in the Workplace, Part 1

Substance abuse has several tell-tale signs. While, independently, these may not be issues for concern, the combination of two or more may point to a substance abuse problem. The list includes:
     – Poor attendance or tardiness
     – Periods of time during the workday where the person cannot be found
     – Physical attributes such as chills, perspiration, weight loss and physical deterioration
     – Increased aggression, anxiety, depression or paranoia
     – Excessive talking or irritability
     – Lack of energy, poor attention span or lack of motivation
     – Carelessness – making repeated mistakes
     – Involvement in accidents – either while on duty or off-duty from work
     – Being unreliable
     – Unwilling to follow directions/argumentative
     – Giving elaborate and unbelievable excuses
     – Disregard for safety (for self and others)
     – Inconsistent work habits – either quality or productivity levels

If you supervise someone you suspect of using drugs, check with your corporate human resources department or policy manual on the steps to take. If your company does not have guidelines in place, you may be able to require the employee to submit to a drug test to alleviate/confirm your suspicions.

Of course, if you work in a profession where lives are at stake, it is imperative to report your concerns following corporate guidelines. However, in most office settings, there are some suggestions:

  • Identify with the person and show concern. Say you have noticed a change in behavior and express your concern for their safety and that of other workers.
  • Describe your observation of their behavior, using specific days and times rather than saying “you always” and other similar phrases.
  • Connect the behavior to the alcohol or drug use (or suspected use).
  • Urge the person to get help and offer information about how to get it.
  • Tell the person you will no longer hide the problem for him or her, but do not make idle threats. Be willing and able to follow through.
  • Explain how the person’s problem use affects you and others at work.
  • Reconfirm your concern. You do not need to get him/her to admit he/she has a substance problem.
  • You must stand your ground with your co-worker, be consistent with your actions and be willing to follow through on any threats you make.

If you or someone you know is seeking residential substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways at 855-349-5988 to learn more about our 28-day and extended care programs.

Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol is a Process

Often, people ask if recovery works. Yes, each year recovery helps people change their lives. At the same time, each year, many others relapse, or return to drinking/using drugs. This leads to the misconception that recovery programs are not working.

There are many factors that lead to a successful recovery and also to a relapse. Living the life of recovery is much more than just not drinking or using drugs. A life in recovery is about becoming accountable and responsible for your own actions. Recovery is about acceptance and honesty – to yourself and others. Case in point, how many people who abuse drugs or alcohol deny they have a problem?

Those who are new to recovery learn about taking things one day at a time. They learn about accepting things they cannot change. They learn how to cope with difficult situations without taking a drink or using drugs. These are a few tools that help maintain recovery and avoid relapse.
Related article: Florida Drug Recovery Program Success Rates

If a person decides to lose 20 pounds, they generally start a diet and exercise regimen. They may be successful, but after losing the weight what happens next? If the diet and exercise are not incorporated into a healthy new lifestyle, the 20 pounds will return. People who are serious about losing weight through a healthy lifestyle will say it is a process. They did not gain the weight in a month; they will not lose the weight in a month. During the process, they will see fluctuations – lose five pounds, gain two, and so forth until they reach their goal and transition to maintaining that consistent weight.

To a great degree, weight loss is like recovery. The difference is the consequences. If you cheat on your diet one day by eating a donut during a company meeting, chances are, you won’t go on a donut binge and destroy the diet. However, for those who have struggled with alcohol or drug abuse, one drink or one time using can easily send the person into a spiral of continued use simply because of the chemical change that takes place within the body.

Others will protest and say I know someone who went to a recovery program and was kicked out for using. Another example is my brother/sister/mother/father/son/daughter went to recovery program and just a few days after being done with the program, went back to the same issues. Recovery doesn’t work….

There are several reasons to explain these failures or relapses. People in treatment have not fully developed coping skills to help them get through difficult situations. Often, counseling involves discussing and confronting issues that originally led to the substance abuse, such as some sort of personal trauma. Generally, people suffering from addiction would prefer suppressing memories of the event and self-medicate through drugs and alcohol. When individuals choose to not face these issues, they will often resort to what they know provides comfort. Another reason people relapse early in the recovery process is due to a lack of acceptance and honesty about the problem. Some people enter a program to satisfy other family members, but fail to engage in the treatment process and self-reflection. Finally, there are people who sabotage their own success. For many, this could be due to a lack of self-confidence that fuels fear; the fear of not knowing how to cope in society after years of being in an addictive state, the fear of failing in a marriage, as a parent or professionally. For these people, failing immediately is “easier” than failing down the road.

Every year, thousands of people begin a life of recovery. They nurture and maintain their recovery through daily affirmations and 12-Step meetings. They understand and accept that recovery is a process.

Getting Past the Stigma of Addiction

For so many years, public perception of addiction was that if you abused drugs or alcohol, you were morally a bad person. Addiction and treatment of addiction was a dark family secret, hence why Alcoholics Anonymous is anonymous.

Thanks to research, new treatment techniques and a shift in perception, more and more people are coming to realize that there is no more shame in having an addictive disorder than there is being diagnosed with diabetes. Athletes and celebrities have spoken openly about their challenges with substance abuse – Brett Favre, Josh Hamilton, Andre Agassi and John Daly are a few examples of notable athletes who sought help for their addictions. We all remember the antics of Brittany Spears and Charlie Sheen as they were frequently mentioned in mainstream and tabloid news stories because of their addictions. Jamie Lee Curtis, Drew Barrymore, Elton John also had their challenges with drugs and alcohol. Of course, Robin Williams is probably the first name that comes to mind following his passing. Williams brought that struggle to life in his most recent sitcom, “The Crazy Ones.” Williams played the role of Simon Roberts, an alcoholic in recovery. One written interview quoted Williams as saying, “Simon’s a guy with a lot of nuance. He’s lived hard and been on the edge for a long time. Multiple marriages, rehab, even rehab in wine country. Trust me, I’ve done the research myself.”

Despite this, when addiction happens at home, the most common reaction is shame. Parents ask themselves how they failed to steer their kids from drugs or alcohol, siblings protect each other, not wanting to see the one struggling get in trouble, spouses hold deep dark secrets and will make excuses about absences and unexplainable behaviors.

The greatest danger in this “what if the neighbors find out” mentality is that it can delay the process of intervention and treatment. Those who are diagnosed with cancer may opt for a second opinion, but when the disease is confirmed, they do not delay lifesaving treatment. The approach to seeking treatment for addiction should be the same; confront it head on before more damage can be done.

It does not matter if you chose to keep your own battle private or shout it from the rooftops. The key is seeking help and getting treatment before the disease spirals out of control. Contact Pathways at 855-349-5988 to learn more about how we can help with our 28-day and extended care programs.