Posts by kbiasi

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Deafening Silence: Uncovering My Son’s Opioid Addiction

March 23rd, 2019 Posted by Awareness, Opioid Epidemic, Treatment 0 comments on “Deafening Silence: Uncovering My Son’s Opioid Addiction”

Deafening Silence… I heard this two word expression so many times, but I did not put much thought into it. That is until the day my life changed in just a quick moment. Our son’s behavior started to change in subtle ways. He seemed to be secretive and sneaking around at times. We caught him in several lies, even telling different versions of the same story. Like when he needed to borrow money to make car payments, telling us, “his commission did not come through yet.” We noticed that his good friends were no longer coming around our home. He also began going out at odd times and returning shortly after leaving. All the signs were there, but we did not pay attention, but our trust was wearing thin.

We then suddenly notice that Brad was saving trouble processing his thoughts. He repeated stories that he expressed great concern over. Things on the TV seemed to disturb him. Whitney Houston had just been found dead in her bathtub due to an overdose. Each time the story came on the news, he reacted to it as if it were the first time he heard it.

“Did you see this? Dead! She’s gone. Drugs got her!” said Brad, unable to connect sentences that made sense.

The weather forecast came on the TV, showing weather across the country. He kept blurting out these delusional statements that we now know are due to the extreme, short and long-term term, multiple drug addictions and from the withdrawal symptoms of benzos he was prescribed (i.e. Xanax and Klonopin). My husband and I looked at each other scared and confused. We did not have a clue as to what was happening with our son. We had never seen him like this before. He was a bright, charismatic man who seemed totally out of it. He was very delusional and hallucinatory. He even seemed to be skittish at times. We were very frightened about trying to understand what was happening with our son.

My husband decided to take him for a ride to get flowers for me on Valentine’s Day. We had only a moment to speak to one another regarding what course of action to take. He took Brad for a ride while I went into his room to get some things together in a small bag in case he needed to check into a hospital. He had been living with us after losing his job, unable to pay rent in his shared apartment. His room was a total mess, in a complete state of disarray. There were piles of clothing everywhere and his hamper was overflowing. I started taking things out of the hamper to wash, thinking he might need them. After going through a few things, I discovered an empty pill bottle. It was a prescription for oxycodone!

I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. The TV was blaring from one room as well as from another TV on the first floor of the house. For some reason, all I could hear was… silence. All of a sudden, I not only knew the meaning of DEAFENING SILENCE, but I was smack in the middle of experiencing it. My eyes and ears were functioning, but I could not see or hear anything…and it was so loud!

After a small amount of time had elapsed, I continued on my mission. Tears were streaming uncontrollably down the sides of my face. As I picked up items from the hamper, I found more and more empty pill bottles, mostly for oxycodone (generic for Roxicodone or oxycodone hydrochloride), some read alzaprozalam (generic for Xanax) or Methadone. All officially prescribed to him, with his name printed on the bottle. One of those bottles had 240, 30 mg printed on the label. I discovered that these pills were supposed to be for extreme pain – the kind of pain that comes from cancer or lupus!

Several years later, we found out from Brad that bottle was a one-week prescription, and he went there every Monday for a quantity of pain medication that most pharmacies refused to fill. The doctor had to write two, separate prescriptions for this amount to avoid visits from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This occurred before the official opioid epidemic, when doctor shopping (having multiple doctors prescribe the same medication) was still going on. The quantity above comes to around 35 pills a day, which at $30 per pill comes out to $1050 a day (street value). These numbers are not inflated for the purpose of building a good story. These are real numbers that have been checked and verified by a medical professional who was able to get these numbers for legal purposes due to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

This program was put in place in hopes of ending prescription drug abuse. They had some success in doing so, however it spawned an influx of heroin users, which everyone now knows as “the opioid epidemic.” This could no longer go unnoticed in America. There was, and is, more heroin in our streets than ever before. Unfortunately, there are overdoses and heroin or opioid related deaths, which have now become the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, according to cdc.com.

My heart was pounding and my head was spinning What do we do now? What is wrong with Brad? I found many other pill containers, all in his name. A bunch of them were for Xanax. Later on, I learned that the opioid and benzo combination was nicknamed, cock-tailing, and has resulted in a large number of heart-stopping overdoses in America. But in this moment, I was in a state of shock. I called my husband in a frenzy, and told him that our son is a drug addict. I managed to blurt out fragments of sentences that read something like this,

“oxy… lots of empty bottles, some in his pillow case, hidden in sneakers, etc.”

My poor husband was driving and trying to process this while trying to get our son back home. Brad came home and went to straight to bed. This really had us terrified and worried, there might have been more pills up there. We still had no idea where to go, who to turn to, what to do!! I went on the internet and entered, “son oxy and xanax addiction” into Google, and went with the first thing I saw. I was so desperate and did not want to ask anyone for help. I did not want to potentially expose what we wanted to keep a family secret.

I made a call to the number of a rehab in California that looked very good. At the time, I was standing in my garage, which was at about 30 degrees, Fahrenheit. I spilled out my story through sobs. A kind and caring man was on the other end and reassured me that help was available. He kept mentioning that we were not to blame for our son’s drug addiction. We decided to make plans to send Brad to this program. They also sent an interventionist to walk Brad through the airport, who was in the midst of intense withdrawal symptoms from multiple medications. We had no time to think this through; we felt pressure as we fought for our son’s life.

I called for my husband and explained these things to him in our living room. We stood up and began crying in each other’s arms. The next day, the interventionist showed up for Brad. After the intervention process, Brad was very quick to say yes to a desperate attempt at saving his life. He threw some things into a duffel bag and we said our goodbyes, hugging and clinging to eachother. I watched the car drive away to the unknown. Again, that deafening silence took over my mind.

I hate that I now understand the emotion and true meaning of this oxymoron, which is defined as, “an expression for describes something related to shock, usually from an uncomfortable experience.” I wish I could say that these two times were the only I had, but there have been quite a few more in dealing with Brad’s addiction. Unfortunately, those “deafening silences” can be a part of life. Just remember that right after the hearing returns, we must move forward and deal with whatever comes our way next!]

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Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery

March 12th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Featured Alums, Treatment 0 comments on “Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery”

The day that Damien arrived at Serenity Springs, he was near rock bottom and looking for any kind of answer to get his life back on track. Today, after a long road back, Damien is approaching a year and a half of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. He is an alumnus of Serenity Springs, where he was able to find healing in the mind, body and spirit.

Drinking & Struggling Became Alcoholism & Madness

Damien’s journey through addiction was a slow progression. It started in high school at the age of seventeen, when he was a member of the party-goer crowd. At that time, his family didn’t recognize himself as having an addiction.

“They didn’t notice until I was about 20 because I was just drinking like everyone else.”

Then Damien started to realize he was going harder and longer than most of his friends. He recalls being the last one to stop drinking, to the point where he passed out. This alcoholic behavior became daily alcohol abuse or alcoholism. It was in 2010 that Damien went to recovery for the first time, but it was seven more years of struggling before he found a real, long term answer in Serenity Springs. There was no fear of detox or treatment itself.

“I did it not because I wanted to but because I thought I would get in trouble otherwise.”

He described his alcoholism as having evolved to a level of madness. His only friends at the time were those who were involved in it as well. He saw that he had gone down a dangerous path, but like many struggling with addiction, it took a true breaking point to bring him to truly open his eyes. For Damien, that moment came one night watching his mother.

“I had moved back into my Mom’s house at age 40. I saw her praying on her knees at 2 A.M. and I had the feeling she was praying for me”

Serenity Springs Solution

When asked what he liked most about Serenity Springs, Damien referred to his introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous as one of the most valuable benefits he gained from his time here.

“Serenity Springs offered me a real solution to my problem, which I came to find out was actually me.”

This was something he had not been able to find in past recovery attempts a step-by-step roadmap to real recovery and a long term solution. However, it was not all easy breezy during his time at Serenity Springs. The road to recovery can often have roadblocks and setbacks to overcome. The initial challenge for Damien was realizing the truth of his situation.

“Admitting I was an alcoholic was the hardest part about Serenity and the recovery process… because I had to finally start accepting it.”

After leaving Serenity Springs in November of 2017, Damien was somewhat reluctant to participate in Serenity’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Today, he realizes that it helped him out during his transition from rehab to the real world. Our IOP program has a unique approach. We provide services such as acupuncture and yoga while continuing to focus on the idea of healing mind, body, and spirit (three-part disease of addiction). It was in this program that Damien continued to work through things that he found most difficult during recovery.

“It was hard training myself to stop doing what I was taught before recovery. I felt weird when I was doing things in recovery like I was wrong.”

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Freedom from the Chains of Addiction

Today, Damien is living in Daytona Beach and enjoying his new life of sobriety and freedom from the chains of addiction. As an alumnus, he is always trying to give back what Serenity Springs gave to his life. When asked what the most rewarding part of his recovery, Damien explained that he now has an understanding of what peace of mind really means. Sobriety has allowed him to find and keep relationships that are not centered around alcohol or other negative influences. Like many of our alumni, Damien has a desire to help others that feel the hopelessness that he once knew too well. Serenity gave him a way out, a viable and lasting solution. If Damien could quickly describe what he has been doing after his time here at Serenity Springssimple-living.

Damien says he has continued to employ the habits and techniques he learned while he was there that have allowed him to remain sober and happy.

“I focus on prayer and meditation, as well as regularly attending meetings to keep myself on track.”

Serenity taught him viable alternatives to alcohol when feeling the urge, including a reliance on God and being open with others about his struggle. Unlike many recovery centers, Serenity goes beyond just helping one heal physically and get away from the addiction. Our recovery plan also focuses on the mind and spirit, because believe recovery must be all-encompassing to truly break free from it.

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2 Drugged Drivers → 3 Deaths and School Bus Crash in NJ

February 21st, 2019 Posted by Disease of Addiction, News, Opioid Epidemic 0 comments on “2 Drugged Drivers → 3 Deaths and School Bus Crash in NJ”

A substitute bus driver, Lisa Byrd drove a school bus and twelve children into a tree after overdosing on heroin. She lost consciousness and the bus from 14th Avenue School in Newark, NJ slowly rolled off the road. According to CNN, she was arrested by the Newark police on Wednesday after being revived by Narcan.

1. School Bus Driver Overdoses, Crashes in NJ
2. Fiery Crash Leaves Three Dead in Wayne, NJ

On Tuesday, Jason Vanderee, a 29-year-old male from Glenwood, NJ crashed his vehicle into a gas station in Wayne, NJ, killing three in a vicious head-on collision. According to northjersey.com, He was high and driving reckless while under the influence of heroin. Again, he was revived with Narcan by local police. Police found 9 bags of heroin in his vehicle, arrested Mr. Vanderee and charged him with 3 counts of death by auto, 3 counts of aggravated manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated.

Drug Overdoses are Dangerous for Everyone

The two stories out of New Jersey occurred over the past few days. This is very frightening to think that these types of drivers are out there and we might have to dodge an oncoming, overdosed driver at some point. However, no one can live there lives like this. Drunk drivers have been on the loose for quite some time now. Please stay alert on the road!!

man opening green beer bottle with bottle opener while driving his car

We are again asking the same question here. Where are we right now in this country in terms of stopping this opioid epidemic? It seems to be doing a bit of a roller coaster routine again and not showing any signs of slowing down. Just when we thought it was cooling off, New Jersey strikes again.

Will the opioid epidemic slow down?

Stories like the aforementioned will put knots in your stomach or fear in your hearts. We are in a scary place as Americans for a number of reasons, but we are not going to get into politics. In terms of addiction and the epidemic, there is no clear cut answer. Obviously, as citizens or human beings, we wish these stories and epidemic would disappear for good.

The truth is drugs are here to stay and we have to hope that scientists continue to improve methods for combating the disease of addiction like our amino acid therapy or the bridge device. All we can do is continue to live our lives, focusing on our goals one day at a time. Writing this actually brought on some déjà vu from this blog post below where we asked very similar questions, and the results have not changed much!

An excerpt from, “Fentanyl Epidemic: Week in Review,” posted 10/16/2017:

What can we do to stop this?

As of today, there is really no answer for why, when or how this epidemic is going to end. It seems that drugs will always be a problem in this country and throughout the world regardless of the efforts made by police, armed forces, government, citizens, etc. of any country. At Serenity Springs Recovery Center, we do not worry about the numbers or politics involved, even though these are hot topics in America. We are here to offer a solution for addiction and change the lives of suffering addicts and alcoholics. These changes come from the knowledge and spiritual principles that we instill into their daily lives. This can and will happen for all that thoroughly work our program of recovery.

stop sign with trees in background

Recovery from Addiction is Possible

Not good when we are coming to the same conclusion from 16 months ago. However, we will keep fighting this thing from our corner, here in Volusia County, FL. We have seen many recover and will continue to recover opioid addicts, alcoholics, meth addicts, benzo addicts, we have even seen a few internet/pornography addicts recover at Serenity Springs. It is on the individual, if they want it, the solution is waiting for them and will always be available to those that seek freedom from addiction!

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How Drugs Affect the Brain: Stimulants & Depressants

October 17th, 2018 Posted by Blog 0 comments on “How Drugs Affect the Brain: Stimulants & Depressants”

The science of addiction spans across multiple areas of the body. When we explore how drugs affect the brain, we have to consider the various types of substances people abuse and how each of them impacts different areas of the brain and central nervous system. Understanding the effects of drugs on the brain and health can put addiction into perspective and encourage people to re-evaluate their choice to use.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 28 million Americans over the age of 12 used illicit drugs in 2016. Approximately one in 10 of those individuals had used illicit drugs in the past month.

With so many people around the country using drugs, it’s important to understand how they affect our health and ability to make the right choices for our own well-being. Just because a drug is legalized, for example, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

The Different Types of Drugs and Their Effects

No two drugs are the same. Before we cover the different ways drugs affect the brain, we must define the different types of drugs people use. Here is an overview:

Depressants

how drugs affect the brain

Often called “downers,” depressants suppress brain function, inhibit communication, and leave people feeling relaxed. Popular depressant drugs include alcohol, barbiturates like Amytal, and benzodiazepines like Xanax.

Depressants sedate and slow down the central nervous system, leading to feelings of drowsiness and tranquility. Many people who abuse depressants were originally prescribed a sleep aid, sedative, or antipsychotic drug but ended up developing substance use disorder (SUD). Although their medication was prescribed by a doctor, people with SUD develop a tolerance for a drug and require higher quantities to achieve the desired effects.

Over time, the dependence on the medication leads to issues at work or school and negatively impacts personal relationships. The calming sensation brought on by depressants alleviates many of the symptoms of anxiety and depression, so people become addicted to the sleepy, dream-like state. Many people who have been prescribed a depressant are shocked to find themselves requiring treatment for drug addiction later on.

Stimulants

ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin are often abused by people who want the hyper-focused concentration and attention levels that come from abusing stimulants. Other drugs like crack cocaine, methamphetamine (crystal meth), and MDMA trigger a “rush” of energy and euphoria that makes people feel more alert, attentive, and sensitive to their environment.

Many college students abuse stimulants to help them study and meet important deadlines. Non-prescriptive use of stimulants can lead to chemical imbalances that result in depression, insomnia, and even seizures and heart failure.

Psychoactive Drugs

Drugs that change a user’s perspective of reality are called hallucinogens. When people go on a “trip,” they are prone to seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there. Common types of hallucinogenic drugs are:

  • LSD
  • Mushrooms
  • Ecstasy
  • Marijuana (in high doses)
  • Mescaline

Hallucinogens are dangerous and unpredictable. The mood, setting, and emotions of a user will impact their experience, and it’s not uncommon for people to have a “bad trip” that leaves them feeling paranoid, panicked, anxious, or out of touch with reality. People on a trip are less likely to understand the consequences of an action and take risks that can endanger their lives and others.

Narcotics

The list of medicinal or prescription drugs that are often taken for non-health-related purposes includes narcotics. A few of the most frequently abused narcotics are heroin, opium, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and morphine.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared opioid abuse a national health emergency. According to the HHS, 11.4 million people abuse prescription drugs, and an estimated 2.1 million have an opioid use disorder.

Prescription drug abuse is only second to marijuana use in the United States. The rise of addiction must be addressed by providing greater resources, information, and services to people who find themselves struggling with SUD.

Areas of the Brain Affected by Drugs

There are three areas of the brain most affected by substance use: the cerebral cortex, the brain stem, and the limbic system. The cerebral cortex is the main operating center of the brain. It is divided into areas that support unique functions and control our senses as well as our ability to think clearly and solve problems. The cerebrum is the part of the brain that houses the cerebral cortex and limbic system. It makes up 85 percent of the brain’s weight.

The brain stem controls our most innate functions, including our breathing and heart rate. The brain stem also regulates sleeping patterns. In addition, it connects our brain to other parts of the body. When people are high on drugs, many of the physical side-effects, such as a rapid or slowed heart rate, respiratory changes, and issues with balance and coordination, originate in the brain stem.

The limbic system houses the brain’s reward center. Multiple structures in the limbic system work together and help people experience pleasure. Positive and negative emotions are also regulated in the limbic system. A chemical imbalance brought on by drug use can result in unexpected and unpredictable mood swings and lead to worsening mental health issues.

Many drugs trigger the internal reward system and create feelings of overwhelming pleasure and euphoria. Over time, however, overuse causes the reward system to weaken. People develop drug dependencies and have to take higher doses of a drug to feel the same effects.

How Depressants Affect the Brain

Depressants affect people mentally and physically by repressing the central nervous system (CNS). When someone takes a depressant, they usually want to achieve a drowsy, relaxed effect. Depressants speed up the movement of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA blocks certain impulses between nerve cells and the brain. People who have taken a depressant will experience reduced brain function, fatigue, lower blood pressure, slurred speech, slower pulse and breathing, and general sluggishness and lack of coordination.

In high doses, depressants can cause people to fall unconscious into a coma. A high enough dose can slow the breathing and stop the heart. Depressant abuse has also been linked to depression, chronic fatigue, and breathing problems.

How Stimulants Affect the Brain

While depressants slow the brain function down, stimulants speed it up. Enhanced attention, concentration, and greater focus are some of the reasons people begin using stimulants. Stimulants are also the drugs responsible for the rush of euphoria and happiness we think of when we envision a “high.”

As mentioned earlier, stimulants include ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin, which are often abused in an academic setting. These substances are also abused by professionals who work in high-stress environments that require ultimate focus.

Other common stimulants include crack cocaine, methamphetamines, and even everyday chemicals like nicotine and caffeine. While a cup of coffee a day won’t likely have negative effects on your health, abusing drugs that overstimulate the brain can ultimately lead to depression and put you in a dangerous position. Stimulants trigger the rewards center in the limbic system and cause the body to be flooded with a rush of dopamine.

Dopamine, often referred to as the “feel-good hormone,” is responsible for humans’ ability to feel pleasure and find enjoyment in things. Prolonged stimulant use results in a dopamine imbalance that leaves people chasing the energized high of being on drugs. Without elevated levels of dopamine in their system, stimulant users are more likely to feel depressed.

How the Brain Gets Addicted to Drugs

Drugs change the way our brains process information. Just like with anything in life, our brain develops certain associations with drugs in our system and learns to only produce certain effects and reactions when specific chemicals are present. Nerve cells no longer send and receive information the same way once drugs have been thrown into the mix. Over time, the natural balance of the brain’s chemistry is affected.

Our own natural needs are diminished as the brain becomes fixated on receiving pleasure. Dopamine levels surge and then plummet after we use drugs that promote this feeling of pleasure in our brains. Over a period of time, the brain adapts to the process and begins to crave the same feeling over and over again.

Some people become addicted to drugs after only a few times while others may use for weeks or months before they develop an addiction. When learning about how drugs affect the brain, it’s important to also understand how long the effects last.

The Brain’s Recovery from Drug Addiction

Drug addiction destroys brain cells. Memory loss, learning difficulties, and emotional problems are often reported by people who are in the midst of recovering from an addiction. Healing the brain after drug use takes a lot of time, but thankfully, it can be done. The brain is a powerful organ that is known for its plasticity.

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change and develop over time. Even when parts of the brain are damaged or neural pathways have been destroyed, the brain is capable of functioning on its own while simultaneously repairing the damage. Because so many of the brain’s functions are spread throughout different areas, brain damage from drug addiction can still occur even as other parts of the brain evolve and readapt to perform different jobs.

The first step toward healing the brain from drugs is eliminating them from your system. Drug withdrawal has many mental and physical side-effects that are best handled by a professional. Depending on the severity of an addiction, withdrawal can even be life-threatening, which is why we don’t advise anyone to quit on their own. Having the support and resources you need to deal with substance use disorder is vital in the recovery process.

Addiction isn’t cured overnight, but learning about the recovery process and various treatment options available is the first important step toward getting sober. During the initial detox period, the brain may struggle to regain proper functioning without the help of drugs. However, over time, the brain is able to become strong and healthy on its own, and you will be able to go on and live a life free from the burden of addiction.

Healing Your Brain After Drugs

Research has found that alcoholics who quit drinking were able to grow new brain cells for years. People once believed that brain cells are only developed early in life, but now we know that adults can also grow new brain cells. In fact, they can continue to develop throughout the course of a person’s life even if that person has been addicted to drugs.

Getting to the Root of Addiction

April 17th, 2018 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Disease of Addiction, Treatment 0 comments on “Getting to the Root of Addiction”

Addiction is an insidious affliction that affects millions of people of all ages, races, sexes, and circumstances. Because of this, most addicts and their family members are disbelieving when they or their loved one falls victim to addiction.

Understandably, the first question is often, “Why me?”

First, it is important to understand that addiction does not discriminate and those who become addicted are not “bad” or “weak.” Rather, there are many reasons addiction might be affecting you or your loved one, and it is vital to figure out what the root cause(s) of the addiction may be. Without doing this, the addiction may never go away or may be replaced by another addiction.

Genetics/Inherited

Researchers have discovered a link between addiction and genetics/environment and are continuing to expand their studies regarding this connection. Youth who have been subject to drug abuse or alcoholism are more likely to begin using legal and/or illegal substances in their teens and early twenties but this tendency changes as they age. The US National Library of Medicine states that “Family, adoption, and twin studies reveal that an individual’s risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative.” This assertion suggests that one struggling with addiction may have been raised with increased exposure to someone suffering from a similar addiction, and their experience can influence behaviors.

Mental Health Disorders

Almost 8 million people in the US experience what is called “dual diagnosis,” a substance abuse disorder along with a mental health issue. There are many types of dual diagnoses but common co-occurring disorders include:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

Addictive Personality Disorder

Some people have psychological and behavioral traits that might make them more inclined to become addicted. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the population does not know when to stop abusing a substance or activity. Such individuals are generally risk-takers who can be impulsive and somewhat isolated.

The Brain and Addiction

Sometimes addiction takes over where the substance was initially intended for healing. An example is pain medications used to recover from an injury or surgery. When these substances are used for the correct purpose, they help the person feel more comfortable. However, with continued use after the purpose of the prescription has expired, the brain begins to be affected in ways that make the body want more.
Specifically, the brain’s stem, cerebral cortex, and limbic system are all impacted by drugs and alcohol. Eventually, the brain’s “reward” center is activated with feelings of euphoria. With each time this happens, the need for the substance is increased.

Why people fall into addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is no one factor that determines who will become addicted. However, they say a person’s biology, environment, and development (or any combination of these things), can play a significant role in the risks of addiction.

Why get to the root of addiction

Addiction is like a weed: It must be removed from the root. Ultimately, addiction stems from the need to not feel something bad. Whether it’s physical pain or mental pain, most addicts are attempting to free themselves of something that is causing them distress in some way.

By finding out the source of that distress, addicts are better able to conquer their addictions. Without finding the root cause, the risk of relapse is amplified dramatically.

How to get to the root of addiction

The first step to recovery is to get clean. This will clear your mind so you can make an informed decision about your treatment. Getting to the root of your addiction is a personal journey and one only you can take. For this reason, a personalized system that addresses all of your needs – not just your addiction – is an integral part of recovering.

At Serenity Springs, we are passionate about helping our clients recover completely so they can live the rest of their lives substance-free. To do this, we understand how vital it is to treat the whole person, not just the addict. Contact us today to find out ways you can overcome your addiction and live a drug-free, fulfilling life.

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Overcoming Codependency: Am I Enabling or Codependent?

December 17th, 2017 Posted by Awareness 0 comments on “Overcoming Codependency: Am I Enabling or Codependent?”

Overcoming codependency starts with knowing the symptoms and signs that cause its behavior. Identifying traits of codependency can be challenging if the relationship dynamic involves a person struggling with substance abuse. Consequently, family members have difficulty understanding if they are helping or if they’re enabling their loved one’s drug addiction. First, let’s take a look at the two behaviors which define codependency and enabling, making sure we aren’t quick to label ourselves or loved ones.  If you believe you might be codependent and enabling a substance abuser, this information will help begin the journey to overcome codependency. 

What is Codependency?

Codependency refers to the dysfunctional behavior associated with helping or supporting another person substance abuse dependence, poor mental health, or maladaptive lifestyle. Codependent people who themselves are not addicted to drugs and alcohol are considered enablers.

What is Enabling?

Enabling presents itself when the addicted individual’s family or friends support his or her addiction to alcohol and drugs.  Through thoughts and actions those who enable serve as a defense of substance abuse dependent individuals; resulting in the addict’s inability or lack of need to recognize the consequences of their addiction.


The Codependent Enabler

Enabling behaviors, often, result from codependent behavior in a relationship dynamic where addiction is present in one person. The individual’s entire sense of self is dependent on the other. Enabling crosses the line of “support” and allows the addict to continue and escape necessary consequences of their behavior. Keeping the substance abuser dependent isnt what the enabling person wants to do. However, for the codependent enabler to continue to feed their own need, there must be someone to help or support.

Children of Alcoholics: Codependent children of alcoholics and addicts are primarily attracted to substance abusers.  When a parent suffers from addiction, its probably the child grows up despising alcohol and drugs. Notably, as an adult, it is common that they are in a relationship dynamic with an addicted person. Their motive for seeking out people with addictions is to help and fix them, instead make up for the alcoholic parent they couldn’t help or fix.

Parents of the Addict: who their son or daughter is addicted can easly fall into patterns of codepency and enabling.  Instead of letting that child experience consequence and take responsibility, they enable, hence the codependent relationship forms. Many families believe that they are protecting their child. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of their freedom and sanity.

Enabling or Support: Enabling crosses the line of “support” and allows the substance abuser to remain addicted. Keeping a loved one addicted isn’t the codependent enablers desire. Consequently, to feed their codependent needs, there must be someone to enable and the result when we enable, we become codependent. In conclusion, to avoid having to overcome codependency and enable a loved one’s drug addiction you must set boundaries around the addicts’ art of manipulative behaviors.

Overcoming Codependency and Enabling - Serenity SpringsSix Signs of Codependent Enabling

 

1. Patterns of Low Self Esteem

The codependent enablers self-esteem primarily on the behavior of the unhealthy friend or family member. Gaining a false sense of self-worth, self-importance, and power by solving the addict or alcoholics problems drives the behavior of the codependent loved one.

2. Control and Manage 

With control, the codependent believes they know what is best for the addict or alcoholic. Continually managing how the addicted person should behave. They exhibit and use tactics such as guilt, manipulation, coercion, and advice giving to ensure they’re in control of the person and their addiction.

3. Embracing Responsibility

The codependent enables by cleaning up various messes for the addict such as financial responsibilities, legal problems, and emotional chaos. As a result, it interrupts the natural consequences initiated by the addicts’ negative actions and behaviors. Parents and loved ones, as a result, will most likely never overcome codependence when constantly in tune with addicts responsibility and not their responsibility to get well themselves.

4. Denial

Ignoring or pretending the addicted individual doesnt have a problem. The codependent enabler will purposely believe the addict’s fabrications by frequently lying to themselves; staying convinced tomorrow will be different.

5. Protecting Image or Social Position

Offering too much protection for the addict and alcoholic is a typical behavior characteristic most frequently talked about when journeying towards overcoming codependency. The stigma of addiction results in protection of social position or one’s image, creating a co-dependent enabling environment. The codependent enabler shelters the drug addict providing a false sense of comfort to the enabler. As a result, they do not have to experience the loss of control that natural consequences might create.

6. Repression and Dependency

The codependent’s mood defined by the mood of the dependent individual and the dysfunctional atmosphere created by the drug addiction. Putting aside their interest and quality of life while illustrating signs of being addicted to a person dependent on drugs and alcohol.


Codependents lose their sense of self and cannot differentiate where they stop and the other starts. Their role becomes controlling and managing the addict, while the addict’s purpose is to regulate and maintain their addiction. These tactics do not work but will endure for years or a lifetime. The enabler often has the best intentions. They want to care for their loved one. Unfortunately, enablers are unaware of the harm they’re creating. The perpetuation of addiction and a life without ever overcoming codependency is a consequence of enabling which will stop at nothing.

Overcoming Codependency by Setting Boundaries

The substance abuser considers their need for a substance as severe as their need for air or oxygen. The result of this intense demand for addictive substances creates a lying manipulation machine that runs over anything and anyone to get their next fix. Most notably Addiction needs support, and it will find the person who will support it. Overcoming codependency the rely on the ability to set boundaries. First, we have to understand what behaviors and actions not to support or defend.Parents and loved ones are tempted to believe the lies and manipulation the addict and alcoholic have to offer. Know the signs of addictive behavior and overcome codependency. Here are some of the substance abuser’s common manipulations.

Common Ways Addicts Manipulate

  • The addict’s various need for more money.
  • Excuses for being jobless.
  • The insistence on leaving treatment centers or aftercare programs early.
  • Lies as to why not show up for a family function or significant event.
  • Covering up the primary issue of addiction, with things like physical health, mental health, etc.
  • Schemes to get their way.
  • Buying the subtle or aggressive manipulation, the addict uses to place guilt on the parents for their using.
  • The financial assistance to prevent the addict from “needing to steal.”
  • Empty promises the alcoholic offers that things are getting better “any day now.”
  • The claim that they are taking action around self-improvement: “if they can just get a little more money, a little more time, a car, a fill in the blank.”

Begin Your Journey to Overcome Codependency

There is a powerful resistance towards admitting and ultimately surrendering to codependency and enabling. Similar to the opposition the addict feels towards quitting the disease of addiction, so too does the codependent enabler. There are specific steps and many resources that treat and offer large support to reach your goal in overcoming codependency.

Co-Dependents Anonymous CoDA is an excellent resource for those with the desire to overcome codependency. CoDA is a free public twelve-step program similar to the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. CoDA has grown to offer over thousand meetings in the United States. Internationally Coda is active in 60 other countries in addition to offering meetings online.

AL-ANON Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
AL-ANON: Local Meeting Finder
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
Alcoholics Anonymous: Local Meeting Finder
NAR-ANON Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
NAR-ANON: Local Meeting Finder
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Overcoming Codependency Serenity Springs Recovery
Narcotics Anonymous: Local Meeting Finder

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