Posts tagged "parents of addicts"

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3 Ways to Support a Loved One in Recovery

May 2nd, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Recover 0 comments on “3 Ways to Support a Loved One in Recovery”

Addiction is a complex disease. The disease of addiction affects both the addicted, and those that are close to the addicted. The stigma of addiction can make it very difficult to ask for help. One who is battling addiction can feel ashamed, guilty, alone, and worthless. Supporting and encouraging your loved one’s sobriety will help in his or her recovery.

3 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Recovery

Below are three quick tips for helping a loved one’s recovery as much as possible without enabling him towards a relapse. It is always good to practice what is referred to as “tough love.” Chances are if you are helping someone, you love that person. Just be advised that feelings and emotions can get in the way of distinguishing the fine line between helping and enabling an addict. Read our three ways and try to determine where that line is for you and your loved one.

1. Learn more about addiction.

     Listen to people in group meetings share their personal experiences with addiction.

2. Attend a support group with your loved one.

     This will show your loved one that you care and you can talk with others in similar situations and learn how to cope.

3. Connect with others in the group.

     New, sober friendships can develop through group meetings. Build a network of people who understand addiction.

Always remember to praise your loved one’s sobriety, while encouraging them to stay sober. Recovery is a life-long process and your loved one will be faced with challenges. Supporting a loved one in recovery requires a lot of love, reinforcement, and motivation. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, do not wait. Addiction is a deadly and baffling disease. If you feel that a loved one is using, it is time that you seek professional help. Addiction is very much treatable and recovery is definitely possible!

supporting someone in recovery infographic by Serenity Springs Recovery Center
How to Support Someone in Addiction Recovery

Understanding the Complexity of Addiction

According to an article by Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for the Hamilton Spectator, “Indicators of success include the person: attending an aftercare program, offering sincere apologies for the impact of the addiction, creating better boundaries regarding friends who may similarly indulge, and being involved in alternate and appropriate activity such as work or recreational pursuits.”

It can be hard for family and friends to understand the complexity of addiction and the intense challenges their loved one faces every day. Addiction hijacks the brain and alters brain chemistry. It interferes with the brain’s neurotransmitters and makes the brain release an increased level of dopamine, which causes euphoric feelings. The brain becomes dependent on the drugs or alcohol to function. A person can experience unpleasant and painful withdrawal symptoms until the drug or alcohol is used again. That is why quitting drugs or alcohol is so difficult.

The Importance of a Good Support System

A positive support system in recovery is crucial and can be very helpful in many ways. Treatment is not “one-size-fits-all” or packaged the same for everyone. It is tailored to the individual’s unique needs. As addicts and alcoholics in recovery, you are surrounded by other addicts and alcoholics on a regular basis. Most of them are those that you network with at meetings or through a treatment program. These are likely to be new relationships because those that you formerly associated with are likely still doing the same things that you are getting away from. This being said, meetings and other social activities can be somewhat or even very uncomfortable or awkward at first.

So it is important to make an addict or alcoholic that is new to the recovery world feel like they have friends and/or loved ones outside of the programs and rooms of recovery. A good family and support system can make all the difference in the world in aiding towards a full recovery from addiction or alcoholism. Sometimes it is nice for an addict to feel a part of something, when they are feeling lost or down. This gives an addict a sense of normalcy and comfort. However, this comfortable feeling will not last long if the addict or alcoholic is not working a program. So, for those of you dealing with addiction, it good to show “tough love” every once in a while. However, it is ultimately on you to figure out the best way to help your loved one.

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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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Holiday Season: High Risk for Addiction - cover image for Serenity Springs Recovery Blog

Holiday Season: High Risk for Addiction

December 2nd, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Disease of Addiction, Recover, Spiritual Experience, Treatment 0 comments on “Holiday Season: High Risk for Addiction”

The holiday season, many believe, is a time to spend together and to appreciate one another. But for someone experiencing a substance abuse issue or in recovery, this time might become incredibly stressful. (more…)

boy with whirlwind over head while parents talk (drug talk) - blog image for Serenity Springs

No Preparation: Our Son is an Addict

September 2nd, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Disease of Addiction, Opioid Epidemic, Spiritual Experience, Treatment 2 comments on “No Preparation: Our Son is an Addict”

Nothing could have prepared me for what I would encounter in my life. I was so fulfilled as a mother of three sons living miles from the infamous Jersey Shore in Monmouth County, NJ. They were all handsome, intelligent, athletic, and had the greatest senses of humor ‒ all of them. There were the normal hurdles, but our family was so happy and so very close. My husband and I, both teachers, were involved In our community serving on many different committees and actively participating in programs involving youth, including the Alliance Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Long Branch, New Jersey. Never did we imagine our lives would be so impacted by drug addiction.

This Wasn’t Our Son

Somehow we missed the obvious signs that existed in our home. Suspicions were often quelled more by what we wanted to hear and believe. The strongest medication in our medicine cabinet was aspirin. We knew that many of their friends and classmates were having issues, but certainly not our sons. Then the reality hit us hard; one of our sons was acting strangely ‒ no drive, unproductive, coming and going at strange times, and not associating with his good friends. He was not at all like the man we once knew.

“Suspicions were often quelled more by what we wanted to hear and believe.

The strongest medication in our medicine cabinet was aspirin.” -Louise B.

video from drug-alliance.org

What do we do now?

Upon discovering (another story for another time), we had no idea what to do, where to go, who to ask for help. My son was battling opioid addiction (i.e. Oxycodone, Oxycontin & Methadone) coupled with benzodiazepines addiction (i.e. Xanax & Klonopin); a dangerous drug combination that mirrors the effects of heroin. I turned to my computer to find help. A site came up offering help. I did not know what else to do, so I called the number that popped up when I entered… “son, drugs, help.” The next day, after an intervention with a young man who flew in from the program, our youngest son left for a program in California. I cried nonstop for days. I was never so scared. For many reasons, this program (based on Scientology methods) did not work. This was just the beginning relapses with months and years of bouncing around to different drug/alcohol rehabs. Finding facilities was still a trip into unknown territory. One facility claimed to take insurance, released him after two weeks… only to have him return to quickly using.

This time when I discovered what he was doing, I knew I had to find a better program. Ironically, the NJ News channel was doing a story on a new rehab center in Florida started by a father and son from New Brunswick, New Jersey. They believed that a successful program would be one that had just a few clients, all the same sex, and the program encompassed treatment for mind, body, and soul for the three-part disease of addiction. It sounded like a perfect fit. Certainly worth a try!

Serenity Springs is Different

The attention Serenity Springs gave to my son was just what he needed. The staff was professional and caring. They kept us informed and allowed our son to call us. (That first program did not allow any contact for weeks, and then calls could only be made from a pay phone on the site with an expensive card we had to purchase). I loved that they knew that healthy family involvement was a factor in healing, and it helped us as well.

A family hugs outside addiction treatment center
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