Category: Pathways to recovery

How do I ask my family to help pay for addiction treatment?

It takes great courage and a true desire to change your life when you admit to your family that you have a substance abuse problem and need their help to pay for addiction treatment. Depending on how your relationship with your family is, this conversation can go many different ways. Here are some tips.

Related Blog: Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol is a Process

1. Be honest. Recognize and apologize for all of the things you have done and regret during your addiction. This could be challenging depending on how much you have eroded their trust.

2. Share your feelings about why you are ready for help. Again, be honest, show that you have learned from your mistakes and accept responsibility for what you have done. You may have already been down this road before. Create a plan for how you want to turn your life around. Write down your plan. Show them where your pitfalls were last time and how you plan to do things differently this time.

3. Invite your family to research treatment centers with you and make them part of the decision-making process.

4. If they are paying for your treatment, they should pay the treatment center directly rather than giving the money to you. This way, their money goes where you promise it is going.

5. Once in addiction treatment, include them in the treatment process as much as the treatment center will allow.

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.

Bill Carter’s Interview About the Problems With Medicaid

Recently, First Step’s Bill Carter was interviewed by ABC 7 News about the problems with Medicaid, and why many cannot afford to provide health care for themselves and their families.

Click here to watch the news story.

For more on how to how to finance your healthcare, visit our website or contact us at Pathways Florida today.

Sometimes it Takes Multiple Visits to a Treatment Center

Much of the work done in a treatment center revolves around retraining clients to think, feel and behave differently than they have in the past. Take “Billy” for example. Billy was a young man who grew up in a typical middle American family. As a teenager, he began spending time with “the wrong crowd,” a group of boys who introduced him to smoking marijuana and drinking. Billy began to lose interest in school; his grades were slipping. When he graduated from high school, he really wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. His parents were upset how he had lost the opportunity to attend a prestigious University due to his GPA. He enrolled in a local community college, where he dabbled in a few courses, but nothing held his interest. At a part time job, Billy met James who introduced him to other, harder drugs. Billy’s drug use escalated. He started skipping classes and lost all interest in school. He continued to go to work every day because work was his link to drugs.

Related Blog: Why Did I Relapse?

Fast forward five years and Billy has been arrested multiple times on drug related charges. He has mastered the art of manipulation and stealing to get money for drugs. All of his old friends from high school have now graduated from college and have nothing to do with him at all; his parents are beside themselves. They take a line of credit to secure treatment for Billy. He goes, but never engages in the program. He goes through the steps as instructed, but never invests in the process. When the treatment session is over, he immediately finds his group of friends and is using. Before long, he’s arrested again.

At this point, Billy is finally starting to realize that he’s made some mistakes in his life. He sees the happiness that his friends and family, who were not abusing drugs, had. He hears stories that this person is getting married, that one just got a great job and is moving out of town. In the meantime, he’s looking for a place to sleep, an opportunity to score and evading law enforcement and his parents. He attends treatment again and this time, he’s engaged. He actively listens to what the counselors are saying, he participates in the group sessions. He starts to analyze what he’s done in his life and the people he’s hurt by his substance abuse. His treatment time is coming to a close and he’s working on his transition plan and relapse prevention plan. He’s not sure where he will live because he’s burned so many bridges and his parents don’t trust him. He ends up getting a part time job and finding an apartment in a neighborhood known for heavy drug activity. Initially, he starts off okay, focusing on going to work and 12-Step recovery meetings. He’s asked to take a few more hours at work and gladly does. One day, he has a rough day and gets out of work too late to attend a meeting. He runs into an old buddy on his walk home from work. The guy offers him a beer, Billy accepts and a relapse has happened.

Billy’s drug and alcohol use spirals out of control. Finally, he is arrested again for drug-related charges and given the opportunity to go to treatment one more time. There, he really connects with his counselors and some of the other clients. He’s fully opened up about his situation, his fears and is truly engaged. At the end of treatment, he makes plans to live in a sober living community associated with the treatment center. He finds a job in a part of town that is safer; he attends aftercare meetings at the treatment center and 12-Step recovery meetings. After time, he even begins sponsoring and mentoring other people who are new to recovery.

Stories like Billy’s are not uncommon. Recovery is a process and not everyone is ready for the changes and work they have to do to chance their lives in a short treatment cycle. It takes time to buy into the process and see the fruits of the effort because it’s easier to keep going on the way things have been.

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 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.

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

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.

 

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.