A joke. That’s what interventions are. Somewhere along the line in the hazy history of sitcoms from the 70s up through the 2000s, there were many shows (and cartoons) that depicted the intervention as a comical device aimed at highlighting a silly fixation or obsession a character has come upon. The whole cast would get together, sit the person down, and break it to them: we know about your addiction. It’s tearing your life and our life apart and we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room: you need help. Something has to change, otherwise this can’t continue as is. The main character surrenders and promises to stop obsessively trimming the hedges—or whatever mundane task is comically taken to the extreme. While a joke on your favorite sitcom growing up, it’s no joke at all in real life, and interventions will not go as smoothly without a skilled interventionist to manage them.
What is an Intervention Really?
An intervention is counseling, really. An intervention is like driving on the highway and forcefully swerving into a love one’s lane in front of them to block them from uncontrollably speeding. And like real life, the outcome is not always good, sometimes they choose to change tracks and go ahead of you anyways.
Metaphors aside, interventions are to prevent you or a loved one from succumbing to your addiction and letting it drive you all the way to rock bottom. If you’ve ever been to rock bottom, you’d know the bottom is fake, there’s always a floor lower than you anticipated. It just gets worse until one day…you’ve gone too far. A look into the statistics behind the number of drug and alcohol overdoses every year in the United States is a chilling example of this in action.
Few people overdose intentionally—the distinction in intent is the difference between overdose and suicide. Most people who are in the throes of addiction do not overdose intentionally; this is very important to understand. It truly highlights how a strong addiction makes a person lose complete and utter control. Without external help and support, it is difficult to break out of this.
An intervention is one of the first tools on the road to recovery that can help disrupt the pattern of substance use disorders.
What Does an Interventionist Do?
At Recovery Care Partner, we specialize in offering intervention services for those in need. Our skilled intervention specialists have ample experience in this space and have conducted many successful interventions. It’s always a wonder what honesty, compassion, and expertise combined can provide for people who are suffering.
Intervention specialists can take the concept of the intervention and anticipate what sorts of resistance the addict may put up or common problems and rationalizations that pop up. This is the most important thing, as well-meaning family and friends are not well-rehearsed in dealing with the often-smooth ways in which addicts are accustomed to excusing their behaviors and habits. This will only hurt them if we cannot defuse these arguments with clarity.
It’s not unusual for an intervention to reach a “breaking point” and the addict in question will break down and admit to their addiction. This can be such a heartbreaking moment for friends and family who knew all along but are confronted with the reality themselves—the truth. However, these tears and changes in disposition are ultimately a good thing. Before we can seek to remedy our problems, we must confront them bravely and openly.
Once the addict—with the help of the interventionist and family, has openly stated what they hid for so long, that is when true healing can begin. Dragging your problems out into the light is the first step towards true recovery. Hiding your addiction makes it nearly impossible to receive treatment for it.
Intervention Specialist in Virginia
Recovery Care Partner has conducted many successful interventions; we know that the success rate of an intervention depends first and foremost on approaching the situation with compassion, skill, and most importantly an uncompromising belief that the subject can be helped. For us, there is no situation or addiction that cannot be successfully treated.
Our clients can sense this and know that when they visit our facilities for treatment, they are working with people who truly care about the outcome.
If you or a loved one has an issue that they are unwilling to admit or discuss, it’s perhaps time to stage a professional intervention so that they do not continue to hurt themselves and others.
Contact Recovery Care Partner today at (240)-232-5464 so that a better tomorrow is possible starting today!Learn More
What is Enabling Behavior?
Enabling occurs when friends or family of an addict are actively enmeshed with the addict’s substance use disorder and attempt to micromanage the condition. While enablers are often seen as people with malicious intent who want to bring others down with them, the truth is that most enablers—and most enabling behaviors come from people who genuinely care about the addict.
Examples of Enabling Behavior: Denial
There are many causes for enabling behaviors to surface, but the most common reason for enabling behavior is denial. For many people, it’s not entirely clear when a proclivity becomes an addiction. What’s the difference between someone who really likes to drink and someone who is addicted to alcohol? While many people would agree that it’s when it becomes an uncontrollable urge that causes self-destructive behavior, that’s where you draw the line. The issue is that there is a significant lag time between those behaviors manifesting and those close to the addict coming to grips with them. This is why addiction is often seen as the elephant in the room. Many people can recognize the signs of addiction, it’s just difficult to accept that your friend or family member is an addict.
Caring More About Reputation Than Recovery
As much as we’d like to say it isn’t so, there are many families who attempt to cover up a family member’s addiction because they do not want to tarnish their family image within their circle of friends and other families. This is one of the worst types of enabling because it is socially reinforced by many people and often combines many aspects of other enabling behaviors such as denial.
Not only does reputation management greatly delay any kind of recovery for the addict, but it also creates a highly toxic environment that often does lead to overdosing and/or death. This is a tragic situation that happens to many people, as they are addicted and require help, and the people around them impart nothing but further shame and guilt which reinforces using behaviors in the addict. This leads many addicts to be pushed into even greater levels of danger with their substance abuse than they likely would have alone.
Misguided compassion manifests itself as friends and family members of the addict attempting to help the addicted person with day to day tasks which they should be able to do by themselves. The person helping mistakenly believes that they’re alleviating some stress or burden from the addict’s life which will help them get on their feet. It almost never works out this way though, in most cases, the addict is made less accountable and experiences fewer consequences for their addiction because other people pick up the pieces of their life that would ordinarily serve as indicators that things are going south for them.
Addiction Consulting in Virginia
Addiction is not just something affects the person addicted. It affects their friends and family as well. If you or someone you know has a substance use disorder, get in touch with our addiction counseling specialists at Recovery Care Partner. Our team of highly experienced specialists has helped hundreds of people get on the path to sobriety. We also offer consulting for family members and subsequently, intervention services for a loved one. Give us a call at (240)-206-6324 or get in touch with us on our contact page so you or a friend/family member can be on their way to a healthier lifestyle!Learn More
The road to recovery is one fraught with many perils and traps. You could argue it’s the simplest path in the world, simply do not engage in that which you are addicted to. Of course, simple and easy are two very different things. It is for this reason that relapse is considered a part of recovery itself. While it’s never a good thing, many people do relapse and it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. You’re not a “bad” person for relapsing.
Battling addiction is a high stakes game of management. Understanding your relapse triggers, avoiding situations where you may be offered substances or tempted, as well as keeping yourself busy and healthy are all important factors to addiction recovery. Forgiveness is incredibly important when dealing with addiction—especially when the addiction is more psychological in nature. There is, however, another thing just as important as forgiveness—it’s accountability.
The Importance of Accountability
Accountability is a term that you perhaps have heard many times in regards to work or responsibilities in management. It means to be held responsible for something. There’s no easy way to say this, but you’re accountable for your addiction. It is a difficult thing to say as professional addiction treatment specialists. It sounds harsh, but in truth, it’s one of the most beautiful realizations someone who has suffered from addiction can realize.
Imagine this, for your whole life you’ve battled this thing which ruined your relationships, drained your bank account, hurt your health and inflicted psychological wounds on you. Then, as you’re trying to get better, someone tells you to hold yourself accountable. Emotionally, it may feel as if they are saying it’s all your fault.
That’s not at all what accountability is. Accountability is not the same as finger-pointing, rather, it’s a realization that regardless of the unfortunate circumstances that led to your deepening substance use disorder, recovery starts with you. Really, it’s one of the most empowering things you can realize—that you’re actually in control. As we mentioned with relapse earlier, you may not win every battle you fight, but that it is infinitely better to strive towards a better future than to be stuck, hopeless and addicted. This is also why group therapy is so effective because instead of feeling singled out and isolated, you can share your experiences with other people who can help you feel more accepted and accountable for what you do.
Sober Companion Services in Virginia
Having someone who can help you stay accountable as you get through the initial stages of recovery can be a critical helping hand when beginning sobriety. That is why we offer sober companion services for situations including but not limited to:
- Helping those who live alone and need a headstart in establishing healthy new habits.
- Giving support to people who come from an unsupportive environment.
- Support for those who have travel needs and require addiction supervision
- Accompaniment to various places such as school, social functions, work or doctor’s appointments.
At Recovery Care Partners, our mission is to be a one-stop full support system for those who wish to live a life of sobriety. There is nothing more gratifying for us than seeing the many people who have been taken under our care go on to lead stable and fulfilling lives. One tool in our toolbelt for that is the sober companion service we offer. If you would like to find out more about our sober companion services, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page or give us a call at (240)-206-6324.Learn More
A certified substance abuse counselor is an important facilitator of conversation for in recovery or recovering addicts. A certified substance abuse counselor can make the difference in a persons life by offering keen addiction education and helping addicts come to terms with behavioral patterns or thought patterns they may not realize they’re stuck in. In group therapy, people can come together and share their thoughts and join in on an atmosphere of solidarity.
Group Therapy Reduces Isolation
Many around the world suffer from addiction or substance abuse issues, the vast majority of them are receiving treatment nor are they seeking it. Therefore, when a person comes to an addiction treatment center to receive care, it is doubly important to make sure they understand that they are not alone.
One of the best ways to do this is through group therapy. In group therapy, participants come together to discuss their issues maintaining sobriety or the day to day challenges they face in trying to reach or sustain recovery.
In substance abuse group therapy, some common questions or procedures would be:
- Introductions – Be asked to introduce yourself and what your main addiction issues are. This appears deceptively simple however it serves to create the foundation of acceptance. Without acceptance and acknowledgment about where you currently are in your journey.
- Triggers – What stress factors do you think drive you to use. Have you relapsed? If so, looking back what do you think was the trigger which preceded your relapse and how can you best avoid that in the future?
- Keeping Busy – How do you keep busy? Ask any reformed addict or someone who has been in recovery for many years, cravings never stop entirely. You can be sober for 10 years and the desire to have a drink can still come on suddenly. Accepting this as a part of you can go a long way to preventing relapse, just like how someone who may have a problematic relationship to food must accept that they will always be drawn to sweets or be susceptible to stress eating. The best way to keep cravings at bay is to always have things to keep you busy. Hobbies, fulfilling work or responsibilities to your family can be great ways to channel that energy towards something productive.
This TIP (Treatment Improvement Protocol) by the NCBI states that group therapy can be powerful in reducing isolation and treating substance abuse. The reason for this is because humans are intrinsically very group-oriented, as we have lived in this manner for thousands of years.
The effect of being able to witness and learn from the lives and progress of other people uplifts those who are struggling and gives them a positive example to emulate. Having a role model is important when trying to formulate new ideals to aspire towards. These things give hope to people on the road to recovery.
Substance Abuse Group Therapy in Virginia
At Recovery Care Partner, our mission is to provide all the tools necessary for you or a loved one to be on the path to recovery. We pride ourselves on being able to tailor our methods to the unique circumstances every individual possesses. We specialize in interventions and our founder, Don Sloane, has facilitated hundreds of interventions rooted in compassion over the course of 30 years. If you would like to take the first step towards recovery, visit our contact page or reach out to us at (240)-232-5464.Learn More
Blame is often one of the most toxic and self-destructive thought patterns that can emerge. At Recovery Care Partners, we understand that addiction is just as much a mental hurdle as it is a physiological one. On the road to recovery, almost all former addicts struggle with blame and issues of identity. Blame is an important concept to understand—that is, understand why it is a fruitless endeavor to spend your time questioning if addiction is your fault or if it isn’t.
The Psychology of Blame
What is blame, exactly? What function does it serve? In the simplest terms, blame is both an emotion that facilitates guilt and is also a concept that offers utility. Whether you are blaming yourself (often unduly) or blaming someone else (often unfairly), in both situations it is a way to reframe a situation to reflect positively or negatively upon you. Something is either your fault (negative) or not your fault (positive).
In the simplest sense, in terms of blame, there are two paths. An addict may blame him or herself for some traumatic event or situation in life and this may turn them to substance abuse to cope with the knowledge of that thing. The blame rests squarely on an issue of identity, in which the person believes that they are the addict and that is all they will ever be. This could not be further from the truth, however, in the moment it is a powerful sense of negative attachment. This is similar to if not the same as victim mentality, where we feel ourselves a victim to forces outside of our control all the way up until the point where we no longer have an identity outside of “the victim”.
On the contrary, an addict may also seek to blame others for their addictions. Some perceived wrong is done to them in the past or a traumatic experience—often in childhood, which has created a complex that fuels a type of existential stress that is everpresent. At the root of addictive behavior, there is an action that is pleasurable in the short term to do but is devastating in the long term. The addict can not stop themselves from indulging in this behavior at the expense of the rest of their life and thus, they are on a self-destructive path. This existential stress is the trigger which creates the itch to use, and abuse is the temporary relief.
Blaming others is the flipside of blaming yourself, but the result is the same. There is some emotional wound or trauma that becomes a tragic pain point that enables the person to fall deep into a victim mentality.
Accountability is Key
Accountability means that you should take responsibility for the actions you take but also the things which happen in your life. The idea is that regardless of whether a situation is in your control, you can control and own your actions—thus empowering you and making you feel in charge of your fate. The issue is that many people mistakenly believe that accountability means blaming yourself for everything that occurs. No.
That is not the same thing, that is just toxic blaming in disguise coming to rear its head. With the proper perspective, accountability is the number one thing that can melt right through the hazy lies of the blame game. Remember, fault and blame are more or less the same terms, spending time contemplating whether it is your fault or another person’s fault that you are driven to substance abuse is not helpful or conducive to recovery.
Instead, consider that only about 20-30% of drug users become addicted to drugs. The reason for this is that some people are simply—for neural reasons or physiological reasons, more susceptible to addiction to particular drugs. If you find yourself in this camp, you understand why some addictions are more akin to disease more than anything. You would never fault someone for being susceptible to high blood pressure or diabetes, addiction is no different.
Sober Companion for Addiction Recovery
Recovery Care Partner is an expert in facilitating interventions, post-treatment support services and providing a sober companion to aid those transitioning into a recovery lifestyle. A sober companion is a phenomenal way to have someone around to keep you accountable for your life as well as just provide empathy and emotional rapport. Our team of highly driven and empathetic individuals has guided numerous patients towards recovery. We offer our services in Philadelphia, South Jersey, Atlanta, Richmond, Greenwich, Baltimore, and the Greater Washington DC area. Visit our contact page or give us a call at (240)-206-6324 to help you or a loved one take the first step towards recovery.Learn More
While relapse does not necessarily have to be a part of the recovery process, it is for many people. Relapse can be the defining moment of a person’s life; either they fall back into previous addiction and old behaviors, or they learn from the experience and incorporate that lesson into their new, sober life. Relapse is nothing to feel ashamed about! The people in 12-step meetings are incredibly understanding and forgiving and will welcome any back into the program with open arms. Also, keep this in mind: the progress you’ve made while in recovery does not just get wiped clean after a relapse. Recovery is not a linear process. So what to do after a relapse? Read on for a few helpful tips to stay on the right path.
Forgive Yourself and Understand the Reason Behind the Relapse
There are many things that can lead a person back out and it is important to understand what caused the setback. A relapse is not a failure of character, but usually a coping response to a number of different factors in life. It could be a loss, a lack of participation in 12-step meetings and step-work, an emotionally trying time, or a result of being put into a high-risk situation: all of these factors can lead to a relapse. This does not mean that you’ve lost all the progress that you’ve made during your sober life. Get back on the horse, realize what happened, and forgive yourself.
Ask for Help
Like we previously mentioned, 12-step members are always willing to lend a helping hand, free from personal interest or gain. Asking for help can be scary, especially if you feel a sense of shame after a relapse. Our professional advice is to realize that relapse is not a shameful thing; rather, it should be viewed as a learning experience, not a mistake. Always remember to be kind to yourself. Building a large support network of sober friends and mental health professionals (psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) can be a great way to make sure that a relapse does not turn into a trip to rehab or a detox facility.
What Are Your Triggers?
Knowing what your triggers are is an essential component of avoiding another future relapse. Were you hanging out at an old bar? Did you reconnect with old friends who use your drug of choice? Seeing people who use casually can make an addict think that they can do the same. This is often the delusion that leads many addicts back into addiction. Avoiding old friend groups who still use and avoiding old stomping grounds is something that every addiction professional is going to recommend. Creating a sober friend network and support group is a great idea. Call your loved ones (friends, family) and explain the situation.
Avoid the Revolving Door
The “revolving door phenomenon” occurs when a person repeatedly attempts to get sober but fails to do so. This can involve multiple trips to rehabs, detoxes, and outpatient therapy groups without successful long-term sobriety. The key is to be disciplined and to fill your life with activities and work that make your life meaningful. A relapse is simply an opportunity for more growth and self-understanding. The Latin root of the word “relapse” means to “slip back” and that is all a relapse has to be: a slip. A full-blown relapse does not need to occur if you have the proper tools and support group around you.
If your relapse has turned into a lifestyle again, a medically-supervised detox and rehab may be the best option to get your life back in check. Nothing is more important than physical, mental, and spiritual health, which are usually the first things to go when an addict relapses. There is nothing wrong asking for help. Addiction is often a life-and-death situation for many addicts; with national overdose rates on the rise, addiction must be taken seriously.
Virginia Addiction Consulting
After a relapse, there are a few things an addict can do to mitigate any potential damage. Forgive yourself and understand the reasons behind the relapse. A relapse can be used as a powerful tool for self-development and growth, rather than a catastrophic downward spiral. A relapse can help you understand why you use in the first place, what your triggers are, and what you can do to prevent a future relapse. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help; if there is no end in sight to the relapse, a treatment plan and rehab may be necessary to save the life of an addict.
Recovery Care Partner specializes in addiction consulting in Philadelphia, South Jersey, Richmond, Atlanta, Greenwich, and the Great Washington DC/Baltimore region. We have multiple solutions for pre-treatment and post-treatment concerns, including intervention, recovery care monitoring, transition coaching, and sober companionship and transport. A relapse does not have to be the end of the line. Call Recovery Care Partner at (855) 727-2887 or click here to visit our contact page.Learn More
The American opioid epidemic did not stem from one single factor; over the past three decades, a number of reasons contributed to the HHS declaring a public health emergency in 2017; the HHS, or The Department of Health and Human Services, released a 5-point strategy after declaring this emergency to combat this growing threat to the American public. The five main points included:
-Safer prescribing for opioid medications in the use of pain management
-More support for research-based solutions towards pain management and addiction
-Increased public health surveillance
-Promotion of the education and use of life-saving drugs that can help reverse an overdose
-Better access to recovery and treatment services for the American public
The Trump administration also stated that they would target criminal drug-trafficking organizations based on the lethality of the drugs they peddle; fentanyl and carfentanil are strong enough to kill a person with one hit; carfentanil is estimated to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, and 100 times stronger than fentanyl (fentanyl being much stronger than morphine or heroin). A hit smaller than the size of a penny can lead to a fatal overdose.
Reasons for the Opioid Epidemic
Back in the mid-to-late 1990’s, enormous drug companies heavily promoted the use of opioid pain medication to healthcare professionals and the American public. This made the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the mass production of painkillers obscenely rich. These companies convinced healthcare professionals that these medications were indeed non-addictive and safe for the treatment of pain conditions that did not necessarily require opioid medication therapy. This led to the widespread use and misuse of pain management medication across the country.
Today, nearly 140 people – in America alone – die every day from opioid-induced overdoses. It is estimated that more than 2 million people have an opioid use disorder, with over 2 million people misusing pain medication for the first time each year. Since 2013 to 2017, fentanyl overdoses have climbed steadily (from 3,000 a year to 28,000 a year), with more than 220,000 people dying from prescription opioid overdoses from 1999 to 2018. The numbers are startling and especially scary if you know a loved one that suffers from opioid addiction.
Another reason why the use of street drugs such as fentanyl and heroin are on the rise is due to the past over-prescription of opioid painkillers. The majority of current heroin users first started on prescription opioids: when their prescription ran out, they turned to the black market for their fix. The reassurance from the opioid manufacturers that these drugs were non-addictive (which is the furthest thing from the truth) has resulted in a resurgence of heroin users, addicts, and criminal organizations looking to cash in.
Rochester Drug Co-Operative Former CEO Arrested
Speaking of criminality, the former CEO of Rochester Drug has recently been indicted on two counts of conspiracy and drug-trafficking; this prosecution is the first of its kind, as no major opioid manufacturer has been held responsible for the opioid epidemic that is currently ravaging America. According to the prosecution, from 2012 to 2016, Laurence Doud III directed his employees to purposefully turn a blind eye towards suspicious orders of their opioid medications. Doud is charged with unlawfully distributing the powerful opioid medications fentanyl and oxycodone, both of which are comparable or stronger than heroin. The internal compliance office or Rochester Drug flagged 8,300 orders that were deemed as suspicious during 2012-2016, yet only 4 were reported to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
America is finally starting to come to terms with the staggering amount of damage that opioids are capable of, and the powers that be are finally taking notice. The Rochester case will not be the last, as more than 1,600 lawsuits are currently in litigation against major drug manufacturers Purdue Pharma and others. Recently, federal prosecutors charged 60 licensed healthcare professionals across multiple states for illegally distributing (“prescribing”) more than 32 million opioid painkillers.
At Recovery Care Partner, our mission is to help Americans recover from substance abuse. Living a healthy and stable life is possible if an individual gets the right medical attention and care. We work with addicts throughout the recovery process, from intervention to post-rehab coaching and care. If you or a loved one has been affected by the opioid epidemic, visit our contact page or call Recovery Care Partner at (855) 727-2887 today.
800 interventions. 35 years. When you speak to Don Sloane, Founder and Owner of Recovery Care Partner, you have no doubt that you’re speaking to someone who knows and understands substance use disorder and addiction intimately.
Don is a man in long term recovery and knows all too well the reality of this daunting statistic: one in ten Americans suffer from a substance use disorder. Nearly every family is touched by the disease and we have all seen it play out in our own communities. This is why Don has dedicated his career to helping families and businesses learn that addiction is not a curse but rather a disease and that through intervention there is hope and a path to recovery.
This April, as we acknowledge alcohol awareness month and substance use challenges at large, we interviewed Don about what he wishes more people knew about substance use disorder, what he views as warning signs that you or your child might be struggling, and what to be aware of when you’re researching treatment options for you or your loved one.
1. This April marks alcohol awareness month which presents an important opportunity to focus on this specific substance use issue. What do you wish more people knew about alcohol addiction?
In 2017, 65,000 lives were lost to opiates. Over 80,000 lives were lost to alcoholism. The opiate crisis is tragic, but it’s also important not to overlook other forms of substance use that are taking lives: alcohol addiction is the third leading cause of death in America after cancer and heart disease. It is the most treatable, but also the one with the fewest number of people seeking treatment and care. The reason is multi-layered. Alcoholism is tightly wound in decades of stigma; it’s deeply personal, cultural, psycho-emotional and because there can be a genetic predisposition, it’s often linked to generational use and is embedded in the fabric of families. The hidden tragedy is that substance use, like alcoholism, not only impacts the person who has the disease but it can have a particularly powerful ripple effect. It’s estimated that seven to eight people in a person’s community (peers, friends, family) can be directly and adversely impacted by someone who has an addiction.
2. What about alcohol addiction in young people?
There really is no distinction between alcoholism and addiction other than the drug of choice. For some, they may only use alcohol, others may use prescription or street drugs or some combination of both. Regardless of the drug of choice, addiction is an addiction. Roughly 10-20% of people use only alcohol in an addictive way.
What we do see is that for the 10% of the population that is genetically predisposed to substance use disorder addiction they tend to first present in late adolescence or as college-age adults. This time in life can be a key turning point. If there is a co-occurring disease that a young person is already struggling with, this can trigger or ‘turn on’ the addiction once they reach a certain age or face specific pressures – of which there is no shortage once a young person leaves home, goes to college or enters into the workforce for the first time.
3. What are some warning signs that your adolescent or young adult child may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol?
This is best explained by recalling one of the most common things I hear from parents and families – a parent will come to me and say, “Don, my kid was an honor student with a full scholarship to play sports at X school,” (or something along those lines), “Now, I feel like I don’t know them anymore. Are we crazy here? How can they not see this?”
4. Does someone (a young adult, adolescent or adult) have to drink daily to have an alcohol use problem?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that there is a continuum between what we see as alcohol or substance ‘use’ and what we consider alcohol or substance abuse: the disease.
There are people (90% of the population, in fact) who use alcohol, who even self-medicate or soothe with alcohol, but who don’t suffer from an addiction.
Then there is an invisible line on that continuum — and it can sometimes be hard to see where that line is — where an individual crosses from having the ability to choose to drink to losing the option or choice of using. At that point, the substance use becomes chronic and progressive in nature. A key characteristic of the active disease is that it starts to manifest with adverse impacts on your life – at school, at work, at home. In this way, it is completely possible that someone can have an addiction but only drink three times a year, but when they do, they end up in jail or in the hospital. On the other hand, you could drink a glass of wine — or many — daily, and not be considered an addict at all.
5. What do you think makes the structure/philosophy of Recovery Care Partner particularly helpful for young people and families struggling with addiction?
Treatment professionals know how to effectively treat this disease (and there are strong statistics that indicate that it can be treated – a survey conducted on doctors who underwent a strict treatment plan in 2009, found that 80% were still abstinent after 5 years). Our approach (and that of places we are confident referring to and working with like The Dorm), is to recommend three key parts of establishing a sustainable recovery: participation in a 12-step program, an accountability structure and random screening. I would add to that: love, compassion, clarity and firmness. By clarity and firmness, I mean that it is possible to love your child/friend or partner to death if you don’t know how to draw the line and establish healthy boundaries and limits. Compassion can be saying, “We can’t have a relationship right now if you refuse the help you so desperately need.”
6. What challenges do you see in the field of substance use, addiction and recovery care, particularly as it relates to young adults today?
• Marijuana. As marijuana becomes legalized, we’re seeing more and more young people using it than ever before. And many individuals don’t know that marijuana can ‘switch on’ mental health issues and even psychosis (for those who have a genetic predisposition). People forget that though alcohol is legal it remains the third biggest killer in the United States; just because something is legal doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful.
• Many families struggle to realize that the entire family unit might need support, not just the individual in isolation. Plucking a child from their dorm, or life, and sending them to treatment, only to return them to the same situation and dynamic, is nonsensical. I’m encouraged to see more service providers that keep families involved through family therapy or that go so far as to have them live with a child during therapy as part of a family restructuring.
7. On the flip-side, what makes you optimistic about supporting individuals in need today versus when you started Recovery Care Partners in 2009?
There is always, of course, a lot to be optimistic about, but right now the most glaring shift I’ve seen versus ten plus years ago is how much therapy and recovery programming has become big business. Many providers have opened up that simply have deep pockets. The treatment industry is estimated to be worth $35B in the United States and there are many groups and investors willing to take advantage of this and have acted irresponsibly. I see many, many families who have spent their hard-earned discretionary money with a treatment center, only to be left more fractured and desperate than before.
The good news is that there are plenty of ethical and value-based providers, many of whom are members of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) who has started lobbying on Capitol Hill in the hopes of enacting change and encouraging more oversight.
8. It’s an important point and a worrying trend. What recommendations do you have for families and young people who are trying to find legitimate and value-based care for addiction?
A few things:
• Trust your gut – I truly believe that you know when you’re being ‘taken for a ride’. Does the person on the other side of the call sound like they are interested in providing care, or taking your money? If one of the first or second questions they ask is, “What is your insurance?”, hang up. Plain and simple.
• Speak to your community and to individuals who have gone through what you have. Oftentimes, they will become the biggest advocates for the resources that have worked for them. Look up resources on Al-Anon or ask around in your 12-step groups. Also, look up providers on SAMHSA and NAATP that have been more thoroughly vetted.
9. Anything else you want to share that we didn’t already cover?
I do want people to know that there is hope — no guarantees — but plenty of hope.
When people look for treatment, be it for cancer or heart disease, they don’t hesitate or pause to seek out care or help, even if there is a 50% success rate. For many reasons I’ve covered, this is not the case with substance use addiction, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
And, please stop Googling. The best step is to seek out professional support. It’s there, I promise you.Learn More
Many people in early recovery feel out of their comfort zone; drugs and alcohol feel like a warm, comfortable blanket. Once you remove the solution to your issues, the problems you’ve been avoiding can feel like a very chilly wind, to say the least. The first few months of early sobriety can be a real roller-coaster. It is a bumpy enough ride that the majority of persons in early recovery do not make it past the first year; while relapse is sometimes a part of the process, it isn’t a necessary step in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Many people pick up a white chip and never look back. Here are a few helpful tips for early recovery.
Alcoholism and drug addiction will wreck your body. If you were addicted for a number of years, the body probably isn’t functioning at its highest capability. Exercise is a fantastic tool for self-growth and empowerment. Improvement at the gym will invariably seep into other aspects of your life; hitting a new lift number, a new weight goal, or a new 5-K time will bring you joy due to the sense of achievement. From those achievements, a new sense of pride will develop within yourself. Be kind to you and get your workout on!
People get sober after they have hit a bottom. If your bottom was particularly bad, take comfort in the fact that it can only get better (as long as you stay sober). If you’ve wronged somebody in the past, take the time to reflect on your past misdeeds and try and make the situation right when you are ready.
Get Proper Sleep and Nutrition
Most people in early recovery do not boast the healthiest lifestyle or health markers. “Recovery” doesn’t just mean a recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, it also means recovering the health and wealth of your body, mind, and spirit. A Ferrari needs premium gas, so make sure you are getting 8 hours of sleep a night (at least!) and eating the proper foods. That means ditching the soda and sugary snacks, and eating lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains. Feeling great and looking great go hand in hand (your body will thank you as well).
Remind yourself of all the good things in your life. Life is something to be loved, not something to be hated or despised. Thank your legs for carrying your body, the sun for shining, the wind for blowing, and thank god for the pain as well. Pain is one of the greatest motivators in life and there is great beauty on the other side of your darkest moment.
Go to Meetings
We can’t stress this enough. People in early recovery who go to at least 5 meetings a week, have a sponsor, attend a home group, and work with a sponsor rarely – if ever – relapse. Working a spiritual program of recovery isn’t difficult in and of itself; the steps and solutions are laid out for you every step of the way. All you have to do is be honest and take suggestions.
Addiction Recovery Services
Recovery Care Partner proudly offers addiction recovery services in the following areas:
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- South Jersey
- Richmond, Virginia
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Greenwich, Connecticut
- The Greater Washington, DC/ Baltimore region
Call us at (855) 727-2887 if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.Visit our contact page for more information about our services.Learn More
Allowing yourself to experience a greater sense of gratitude in life makes day-to-day routines seem like a blessing, rather than a chore; for people in early recovery, gratitude can make a huge difference in the overall quality of their life and their recovery. Gratitude allows you to experience happiness, can open the door to new relationships and friendships, and will improve your physical and psychological health, while also enhancing empathy and reducing aggression. Let’s take a look at some research-backed evidence and helpful tips concerning this all-important trait.
Evidence-Based Research on Gratitude
First, let’s start off with a simple definition.
Gratitude: noun. “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Gratitude is a key component of the 12-step way of thinking in Alcoholics Anonymous; many sponsors instruct their sponsees to write gratitude lists and practice gratefulness daily. Gratitude can ease the pain of disappointment and the stresses of life before they become an issue. Gratitude allows people to see things as they are, without the coloring of individual perception.
Gratitude Increases Mental Fortitude
A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy researched the levels of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) in Vietnam War veterans. Veterans with higher levels of self-reported gratitude experienced dramatically lower rates of PTSD and stress-related illnesses. Gratitude can transition your object of mental fixation from a negative event towards a more optimistic and bright outlook. It’s hard to be bogged down by negative past events when you are experiencing the beauty of the moment or the optimism of the future.
Gratitude Increases Sleep Quality
In 2011, a study was published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. The study found that subjects who spent 15 minutes journaling a few grateful sentiments before bed slept longer and deeper than the control subjects. The bottom line? Gratitude journaling can improve your overall quality of sleep.
More Gratitude = Improved Self-Esteem and Physical Health
Gratitude has been shown to reduce social and economic comparison amongst people; rather than resent themselves or others because someone may have more money or a better job, grateful individuals are able to appreciate other people for their accomplishments without wallowing in negative comparison. Gratitude has the ability to remove toxic emotions; jealousy, regret, envy, frustration, anger, and self-pity are all very difficult to experience when you are filled with gratitude. According to a leading gratitude researcher, Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., numerous studies show a direct link between the practice of gratitude and reduced rates of depression. Emmons’ research also confirms that gratitude is linked to increased levels of happiness and life/job satisfaction.
Another benefit? Gratitude was shown to increase athlete’s level of optimal performance, according to a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Grateful people have been shown to take better care of their health, exercise more, and visit the doctor’s office more frequently. Grateful individuals also experience fewer injuries, aches, and pains, according to a 2012 study conducted in Personality and Individual Differences.
Tips On Gratitude
Gratitude is a wonder-drug. Better sleep, more self-esteem, improved physical and mental health, and an increase in empathy? Sure sounds like a good deal. People in early recovery can use all the tools they can get their hands on; count gratitudes instead of resentments, and we can guarantee that your perception towards life will begin to change.
Live in the Moment
Are you missing the forest because you are focused on the trees? It is easy to lose mindfulness and go through the routine of life. Whatever you are experiencing in the moment, truly experience it. If you are washing the dishes, experience the suds on your hands. If you are having dinner with a friend, put your phone away and be absorbed in the other person and the conversation. If you are working out, then work out! Feel your muscles contract and your pores sweat.
Immerse Yourself in Motivational Quotes
Feelings of gratitude can manifest emotions and situations that you never thought possible. Appreciate more, live more, and be more content with your current situation, no matter what it is. Many influential individuals have found great solace in gratitude.
In Summation, two quotes from Captain Jack Sparrow:
- “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?”
- “Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”
Be Careful with Your Words
Do you find yourself saying negative things about yourself or other people in your own head? Words are incredibly powerful and they have the power to shape your entire reality. Saying things like “I’m so depressed, I can’t get over this”, “I’m too tired to do that…”, or “I can’t”, can shape your reality in ways you can’t imagine.
Control your thoughts! If you find yourself feeling more entitled, resentful, or you keep repeating negative self-talk…. Stop! Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool when you begin to take accountability for your thoughts and actions. Any time you begin to experience negativity or rumination, think to yourself, “thought!” Stop the process of rumination and move on. What you feed, will grow.
Live in an Abundance Mindset
The world is full of opportunities. Life has just begun. There is so much out there to see, to do, to touch, to experience! The glass if always half-full. Be content with what you currently have! Anything else that you receive from this point onwards is a gift. Every day is a gift.
That sure sounds better than “I can’t”, doesn’t it?
Move on from the Past
Acknowledge your past failures but do not wallow in them. As the Big Book in Alcoholics Anonymous says: “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it”. The past is simply a learning experience; previous failures, heart brakes, frustrations, mistakes, and misgivings are stepping stones. By learning who you are not, you will begin to learn who you are. Use the past as a road towards your own self-actualization.
Be grateful of the pain in your life. Be grateful of the pleasure in your life. Be grateful that you have the capacity to experience everything that life has to offer.
Closing Thoughts on Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the most effective tools for people, both in and out of recovery. You don’t need to be a recovering addict or alcoholic to experience the beauty that gratitude has to offer; you just need to be a willing person. Often times, humans will create their own problems when presented with the absence of real issues. Take it upon yourself to create joy.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”. – Mark TwainLearn More