For The Family
WE’LL LEAD YOU THROUGH THE MIRACLE OF RECOVERY
Addiction is a Chronic Disease; it never goes away and must be dealt with daily by the addicted person. It gets easier over time as issues are dealt with and as we create less and less and less severe issues. Just going to Treatment does not fix addiction. That would be an acute model of Care. We have developed Addiction Care Management to address the chronic nature and ensure the success of the addict.
Alcohol and Drugs are not the Problem –They are the Addicts solution to feeling uncomfortable in their own skin.
This is why if you just remove the substances you are left with the problem. Recovery is about addressing what makes the person uncomfortable in their own skin. It is about treating their core issue(s) by such means as Addiction Care Management, the 12 Steps of a 12 Step Program, therapy etc so as to address their issue(s) and as a by product clean up the wreckage of their past and deal with what is making them feel uncomfortable.
An easy way to look at recovery is this:
1.Pre-recovery – addict not sure if they want help and are still be enabled.
2. Intervention – where with a Professional Interventionist family and friends intervene.
3. Detox – The addicted person begins detox in treatment and for the next week or so is going through detox.
4. Treatment – The addict begins looking at the destruction of their addiction, what they have lost, the impact it is having on their life, They also begin learning to open up in Therapy and Group.
5. Continuing Care – After Treatment they will have a plan to follow to assist in their recovery. Addiction Care Management really helps here making sure it is followed and the addict truly begins to change their life. This is a very difficult time for the newly sober person.
6. Early Recovery. 6 month to 2 years of Recovery when they are learning a whole new way to live, Addiction Care Management again can be an extremely good tool to help the addict stay on course and address issues they need to clean up from the past.
7. Emotional Recovery. The 2 – 4 – year time when the addict begins to feel their feelings again and begins to really change their life. Who they hang out with and what they do.
8. Ongoing Recovery. The Addict has been through and changed a great deal, hopefully with Professional help like Addiction Care Management. They might now start thinking about going back to Therapy to work on issues that have come up in Recovery to make their Recovery Foundation even stronger. You never stop growing and there is always more uncovered that you can address.
Welcome to the Family Process of 1st Step Interventions and Addiction Care Management.
Substance use, recovery, and relapse back to active alcohol or drug use all affect the whole family as well as the person using. Recovery is therefore a family affair. It’s important that the entire family work together to strengthen the therapeutic process for all. We firmly believe that a recovering family system supports all family members, and can greatly reduce factors that might contribute to further relapses.
For these reasons, in addition to the services for the Patient in Treatment, Outpatient, Continuing Care, Continuing Care and Addiction Care Management (to name a few) the we also offers an in-depth and comprehensive Family Education, Informational and Change Program, that focuses on family recovery. Family members can learn how they have been affected by being part of an addictive family system and what they need to do in order to establish healthy recovery for themselves. In short, the Family Program is designed to be of assistance and value to you, the family member of someone who is in treatment.
During the time we are working together, I will be having you download weekly information packets and lessons for you that are an extension of the Recovery Process. As you receive the weekly lessons, please feel free to review, engage, and complete the lessons as much as you possibly can. We certainly realize that people are very busy and have been significantly impacted by their family member’s substance use over the years, and as a result, it may be difficult to invest the patience, time, or effort into this process. However, these lessons are specifically designed for you, and this can be an opportunity for your own-guided self-exploration into how Addiction has impacted your life and other family members.
We are so pleased you have decided to participate in the family process. We look forward to working together and learning about being a family in recovery. I would like to take a moment to describe the process.
Our process focus is educational. We will review the materials you have downloaded and expand on all of them. Our purpose is to teach you about family recovery: what it is, how it looks, how it feels and how to become a family in recovery. Being in recovery is a journey — a process — and not an event. We will urge you to focus on you — to be on a recovery path yourself. We will help you with the hurdles and show you how to stay in recovery.
While our focus is educational, we will also be exploring your thoughts and feelings about being part of an addicted family and what this means to you. Please talk immediately with me if you have any questions or concerns at any point in our process. We will arrange for time to speak with you privately.
We ask that all Family members try and refrain from the use of mind and mood altering chemicals, including alcohol, in respect for the process. If you have questions or concerns with this request, please talk with me.
We know this will be hard work. We welcome you and we extend our hope that you will find this a positive experience.
“Freedom from Dependence” - The true authentic value of Addiction Recovery; Gaining insight into one’s own problems and the confidence to solve them”
I’ll quit, I don’t have a problem, Drugs have ruined her life, he lost everything, and he was sober until he relapsed. These and many similar statements are familiar to every Family battling with Addiction in it – you would have to be living in a box not to ever have heard one or another. These statements are what is wrong with the “War on Addiction” – Substances that spike dopamine in the brain are not the problem, they are the persons solution to an inability to live life on life’s terms and comfortably in their own skin – to live without being dependent on a substance or another human to solve their own problems that are causing internal discomfort. The addicted person needs to be emancipated from dependency on substances, a relationship or their Family as some examples, as we go through this process more may emerge. This process enables them to gain esteem from knowing they can take care of themselves and that they are in charge of their own future without the need for alcohol, drugs or someone else.
Recovery from addiction is truly authentic when the suffering person is able to identify themselves as the maker of their own problems and that they have the confidence they can solve these very problems. You could swap “ I am a recovering Alcoholic” with “ I have been emancipated from a position of being dependent” The “ War on Addiction” is about being free from dependence – but not just dependence on a substance, but from dependence from having to have others solve ones own problems. Not every addict is the same, but more and more they are showing up as men and women who have been unable to launch into life successfully and thus have found alcohol and drugs “calm” the internal storm that is brewing from this position of helplessness and hopelessness.
Family of origin issues, society, the economy, advertising, trauma – these are some of the offenders – reasons why a person is unable to launch into life – to have an intimate relationship to people, places and things. These are a few examples of only half of the equation – Addiction is truly a medical issue as well– the addicted brain processes the substances differently and thus add to the sense that they are the solution – “I feel ok when I smoke….”, I feel normal when I snort…….” I feel like I can talk to others when I drink….” – these are true thoughts of an addict, therefore from a dependent state of helplessness and hopelessness, I can believe that this substance is relieving me of the pain of it – the discomfort of my place in life.
In 1956 the American Medical Association recognized alcoholism as a disease. These acknowledgements began the breakdown of some of the stigmas associated with alcoholism. The condition was not a result of immorality or lack of discipline but was a disease.
Alcoholism cannot be cured, only arrested. Treatment is not always successful, and relies on the alcoholic’s ability to control their addiction. It has recently been viewed as a disease that affects the whole family. The family becomes co-dependent, allowing the alcoholic to under function and contributing to the unhealthy pattern of enabling. Co-dependency is accepted as a disease separate from alcoholism, but with similar characteristics. Addiction Care Management is so necessary because it stays with the Addict and Family through times when it is hard in early recovery and helps the addict with the ability to control their addiction and the family to stop co-dependency and enabling.
But how, he is so smart, she is so pretty – they should be the President – The thoughts of and Addict that lead to a position of dependence do not have to be rational - a thought is a thought and therefore an irrational thought could be true if I believe it.
The reward someone like myself gets from working in the field of Addiction is that when you understand the pain and suffering a person is experiencing from not being comfortable they can be successful in life, that substances are quickening the pace of discomfort and health issues and that in recovery one can truly fulfill for themselves the “human experience” – it becomes more than a job – it is like the best taste of warm apple pie and ice cream on a cold fall afternoon – it sets the senses alive when you see a person down the road from active addiction and dependence, able to be a parent, have a career, be responsible for their finances, pay bills on time, have a vacation from their work and not need another person to pay for it or make it happen nor a substance to get them thru doing it - when they look at you and in their eyes you see a person having an intimate relationship with life and that they know how cool it is they are. It also is rewarding freeing the Family from being held hostage by an addiction.
Recovery is a complicated thing – it is not an event, as 28 days in rehab would have you think. It is not about not doing drugs. It is more than a spiritual malady that AA would lead one to possibly believe. It is more than a medical disease that the Pharmacology companies would have us believe. It is more than getting one’s life together as more than one Parent has said in the past. It is all of these and more. As a society we are losing the war on addiction and the war on drugs because we are not fighting the right enemy with all the right weapons. Until we understand that this is about Freedom from Dependence and that the goal is not just being abstinence, we will continue to have 80% of the men and women and children who go to Treatment relapse and continue to feel like failures. Until we understand that the true goal takes 5 steps forward and 2 steps backwards to get to – we will continue to shake our heads at the addict in disbelief and add to their feelings of inadequacy. How many times have you heard someone say ” oh they were just not ready yet”, please, until you have walked in the shoes of a suffering dependent person don’t for one second think they do not want their lives to be different – this is about as shaming as can be. If the above statement is correct – we are not treating the addict right and therefore you should expect them to “not be perfect” in their early days and months of attempting change and life without dependence. “not ready yet” relieves the Professional from any responsibility in the outcome and puts all the responsibility on the addict, who is already severely compromised and unable to see their own problems.
My love of working with addicts and in this field is the hope that I can help the helpers change their perspective and help addicts have a true authentic relationship with life finally. WOW !!!! how cool is this – it won’t happen overnight, but if it does happen how many Parents will get to see their child grow into an adult and be a part of this glorious life – how many kids will get a parent who is able to now help them have and authentic life. On a deep level one could say that this is really what life is about and that recovery is about emancipating a person from a stuck position and giving them the ability to enjoy a clear blue sky – or better yet a cloudy rainy day that has beauty instead of it being a sign of doom.
Welcome to Recovery and Resistance:
What is resistance?
For purposes of working with clients at in Intervention, Treatment, Continuing Care and on going Recovery, resistance means: a conscious or unconscious opposition to the treatment process and/or to being sober in recovery. Questioning resistance is an important method of understanding a client’s motivation to relapse, or to avoid looking inward to understand him or herself.
Resistance involves conscious or unconscious ways people avoid being honest with themselves. The avoidance of honesty stems from a fear of discovering threatening, unpleasant or unacceptable ideas, feelings or impulses in oneself. The threat might involve a fear of direct consequences, such as anger from a spouse or partner if, for example, the person admits to an affair. Or, the threat could be indirect and murky; the individual feels anxious about being honest and seeing clearly, but doesn’t know what might happen. This kind of deep anxiety might relate to early trauma in the family of origin, or to unconscious conflict, such as holding a wish to be sober and a wish to be drunk at the same time, a wish that the individual cannot recognize or cannot reconcile.
Many people feel anxiety and panic about the 12 steps and about being in recovery. They carry a sense that it is dangerous to open up, dangerous to know the truths about themselves. Sometimes their resistance to knowing can protect them in new abstinence, and sometimes it can cause a relapse. It is the therapist’s job, in collaboration with the resident, to look for resistance and work to understand how it functions for the individual. It is not the job of the therapist to try to crack through resistance or break it down. But it is important for client and therapist to understand how it gets in the way of recovery. This constant exploration is an important part of recovery work. It is inherent to the 12 steps.
What does resistance look like?
The client alters his or her perception, cognition, behavior or affect with defensive maneuvers in a way that is self-protective. Resistance may be expressed through cognitive psychological defenses such as denial, minimization, rationalization, intellectualization or projection. Or the defense is expressed through behavior – such as tardiness, missed appointments, rejection of all suggestions. Or, the person takes the most familiar action: drinking and using. The individual relapses to stop whatever might be threatening. A person may also defend by emotional exclusion, shutting down and shutting out any emotional experience. The individual feels numb or experiences chronic dissociation to protect against feeling. Or the person feels one feeling in order to cover another. Sometimes, for example, people stay very angry in order not to discover fear or sorrow underneath.
All human beings utilize defenses. There is no surviving without them. In working with people in recovery, and particularly with those who have relapsed, it is vital to look at the defenses a person uses to quiet threat and/or to feel good about the self. When a person is relapsing, something internal, external, or both, is in the way.
How to work with resistance:
Much of the work of understanding resistance will take place naturally in the context of the treatment process. When there are stumbling blocks in the course of treatment, the therapist and the client consider the following questions: What is in the way? What is the resistance? What would it mean to you if you saw clearly, if you opened up, if you wrote your 4th step? What would it feel like? What would happen? What would you lose? What would you gain? These are questions that often have a quick, conscious answer and that also require quiet reflection and time. The unconscious then has room to lift the barriers to insight.
The exploration of resistance and defense is central to a healthy process of recovery. It is central to working the 12 steps. People grow into a greater capacity to be self-honest and thus to see and to feel what it is they could not see or feel before.
The work is ongoing and often slow. It is important for therapists and clients to know and to accept that resistance and defense are human traits that protect as much as they may harm. There is no such thing as “no resistance” and “no defense,” so no one should be working towards a perfect state. The question is not: are you free of resistance and defense? You are never free. The question is: do your resistances and defenses get in the way of your recovery? Do they impede or damage your recovery? Do they increase your risk of relapse? How? What can you do about it?
The understanding of alcoholism had begun to change over the last half of the 20th century and more treatment options became available. “Currently, there are 10 million alcoholics in the United States.” (Monroe 17) The Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 is a U.S. law that recognizes alcoholism as a disease requiring treatment, and protected alcoholics from discrimination in their jobs (Monroe 38) The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) was created in 1971 for research, training, education and treatment. There was an increase in alcohol treatment, counseling and education programs in the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until 1971 that the transition from punishment through the criminal justice system was replaced with medical treatment. (Lender 189) We now have alcohol detoxification units, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) support groups, and in-patient and out-patient alcohol rehabilitation centers for recovery.
Because of the social stigma, embarrassment and denial, families tend to keep the alcoholic’s drinking a secret. Alcoholism is a disease that is never cured, hence the term “recovering alcoholic.” The addictive personality remains after the drinking stops. The potential for relapse is always just a drink away. Relapses are intense, since it brings the alcoholic back to their last stage of active drinking, not the beginning stage. Other addictions like drugs, smoking, overeating, or gambling can easily replace the previous addiction