The Symptoms of Sobriety

Often we talk about the symptoms of addiction.  A person could experience blackouts from drinking or drugging.  He or she might have to increase their intake to get the same effect.  Then, there are withdrawals, anxiety, isolation or their behavior changes for the worse.  Furthermore, the addict might start losing things like their job, house or license.  I could go on and on…. but, maybe it’s about time we discuss the symptoms of sobriety!  This recent article  discusses a few of these symptoms.

Great Things Happen When a Person Gets Sober!

Perhaps you have a loved one who now no longer drinks or drugs.  You may have seen them pass out or come to in the past.  Things are quite different since he or she has stopped.  They most likely are not sleeping as well or their appetite hasn’t returned to normal.  In early sobriety these things are quite normal.  But, as time passes things start to level off.  A person’s sleep and appetite all of the sudden improve!  Moreover, their mind starts to clear up and they begin to communicate better.  One of the most difficult things when a person stops using substances is that they begin to “feel” again.  Although, this might be unpleasant at times he or she learns how to express these feelings and once again these things will get better as time goes on.

The Symptoms of Sobriety, recovery, addiction

There’s nothing like a great meal in sobriety!

A neat thing for many people in recovery is that they begin to gain a lot of their senses back.  For instance, their sense of taste comes back.  So, now a good steak, fresh fruit or bowl of ice cream seems so good.  Don’t forget the smell of freshly baked cookies.  Even better news is that their sex lives improve!!!  There are just so many great things that happen when a person gets sober.  I could go on and on!  Now that you have an idea of symptoms of sobriety then maybe it’s time to start making some changes and reap the rewards that you have been missing out on for so long!

More food!

 

Compulsive Gambling Treatment-The Out of Control Addict

If you or someone you know has a gambling addiction then you might have experienced some of the insane things that have occurred due to gambling.  A compulsive gambler is not a bad person.  But, he or she often chooses poor behavior when their gambling is out of control.  So, what does out of control look like?  It comes in many forms. It can vary from person to person.

One former patient would get angry at his wife for turning the furnace up a few degrees.  In his mind, she was wasting money.  All she had to do was throw on a sweater, right?  Yet, at the same time he would gamble away thousands of dollars a month!  He would often have “temper” tantrums over the smallest things.  Although it seemed like he kept up with the bills he was draining their retirement account.  His gambling was causing him to act very irrational.

Gambling Can Cause Crazy Thoughts and Behaviors!

Another addict would stoop as low as stealing money from her child’s piggy bank.  There were also times when she would not put gas in the car to “save” money and then would walk to the store to buy scratch tickets.  Things got so bad that she would gamble away the grocery money and ask friends if her daughter could eat a meal with them.  It was not uncommon for her to ask this of her parents.  Other addicts sell food stamps to get money, while others will shoplift or even take from the company that they work for.  A recent article tells about how one employee scammed his customers out of money.

For some gamblers spending half their paycheck may be out of control for them.  For others it might be winning $500 and then gambling away $400.  Just having extreme emotions or not being fully present because of gambling, can be out of control.  So, whatever the threshold is for you please realize that if you do not get help you might do things that you never thought in a million years you would do, all in the name of gambling!

compulsive gambling, gambling out of control

Money Down the Drain!

Alcoholism Treatment Virginia and How Our Flaws Affect Us

Okay, so no one is perfect.  We all have our own quirky ways about things.  Sometimes these ways are good and sometimes they are darn right offensive.  These behaviors are often called flaws or character defects.  For instance, brutal honesty might be a virtue that one person believes is a great thing.  Yet, other people could get very offended by someone who “tells it like it is”.  On the other hand, a person who lies may not think they are hurting anyone including themselves.

So, let’s examine someone who lies.  Often in active addiction a person will deny that he or she has been drinking or drugging.  The unfortunate thing about this is that the addict usually thinks they are getting away with it.  But, in most cases the other person reads right through the lie.  The lying creates lots of emotions for both parties.  The person being lied to could feel anger, distrust, resentment and sometimes insecurity.   Yet, the addict will do anything at cost to cover his or her addiction even if it means hurting someone.

If Nothing Changes The Person Will Likely Drink or Drug.

Now, what about the alcoholic who lies?  How might this behavior affect them?  Initially, they could think they got away with one.  But, the reality is that this behavior most likely will cause that person to feel either shame, guilt, regret or even disgust.  Moreover, the person can start to feel depressed about themselves over time.  If we were to look at another behavior like being impulsive then there would be more issues that would come up.

When a person surrenders to their addiction he or she is not only stopping substance use, they need to stop unhealthy behaviors too.  Otherwise, the person will not get better.  If nothing changes the person will likely drink or drug.  So, with the help of others one can get rid of these character defects.  It takes hard work and discipline but the results will be well worth it.  A recent article tells how one former NFL quarterback is recovering from a drug addiction.  It has been a long road for him and he discusses how he received the gift of desperation.  He stresses that he is a work in progress.  So, don’t forget the name of the game is progress not perfection!

flaws, character defects

Strive for progress rather than for perfection!

How Addiction Affected His Family

For so long, this former patient thought he was never hurting anyone but himself with his addiction.  But, when his father was dying of cancer the reality set in.  You see, his dad was diagnosed almost ten years earlier and it went into remission. But during his worst two yearlong relapse his dad’s cancer had returned.  He was one of the few who stood by his son.  So, the young man couldn’t help thinking that the stress his addiction caused may have played some part to his dad’s worsening condition.

Most of his other family members let him know in a harsh way how his drug abuse was affecting them.  In fact, all but one sibling and his dad would not speak to him until he agreed to get treatment.  Don’t get me wrong, just because they spoke to him doesn’t mean he wasn’t hurting them too.  Moreover, when a person is actively using, there is no clear answer whether to speak to them or not.  Therefore, how to handle an active drug addict is a huge challenge for many families and friends.  This was certainly the case for his family.

Recovery Makes a World of Difference to Loved Ones!

The idea that one’s drug addiction does not affect anyone but the user is crazy!  The pain, worry and distress that this young man caused his family was quite a challenge for them.  His addiction hurt them tremendously.   Recovery on the other hand can make a world of difference to loved ones who have worried for so long.  A recent article discusses Linda Carter’s (A.K.A. Wonder Woman) alcoholism and the impact it had on her family.  The amazing thing for her is that she is celebrating 20 years of sobriety this year!  Recovery led her to a better life.  It also helped this former patient to reconnect with his family.

Because this young man was living free of alcohol and drugs, he could visit his dad and be there for his family when the cancer returned.  He took the time to apologize to him for what he had put him and his family through. Furthermore, he was fortunate enough to thank him for all the wonderful times they had together.  This experience gave him a healthy closure to their relationship.  Three weeks later his dad did pass away but he will always be grateful that his dad hung with him through the good and the bad.  He is also very thankful that he got to spend some quality time with him and to express all that he did.  Not to mention his dad was so proud to see him clean and sober!

addiction, family, recovery

The memories of a dad will always be cherished!

Quit Gambling for Good and Self-Exclusion from Casinos

Compulsive Gamblers can ban themselves from entering casinos to gamble.  Is this an effective way to quit gambling for good?  Well, this is a tough question to answer.  It may be a great tool if a person is willing to do some other things along with self-exclusive.  But, there are no guarantees unless the gambler agrees to get some form of treatment.  Treatment could be inpatient, seeing a therapist or attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

How does a person ban themselves from the casino?  One might think that you just make a phone call and everything will be taken care of.  Only if it were just that easy.  But, unfortunately the process is more complex than that.  Now, it is important to realize that because a person bans themselves from one casino doesn’t mean it counts for all casinos.  So, many gamblers will have to go through the process with several establishments.  First, it is imperative that you bring a supportive friend with you while making this big step.  The process usually involves going to the casino administration office, signing a form, giving them a copy of your driver’s license and getting your picture taken.

Bring a Supportive Friend with You While Making This Big Step!

Then, there are choices for how long you can ban yourself from entering a casino.  It could be 1-5 years or a lifetime ban.  A lifetime self exclusion is really the way to go.  One article shows that self banning from casinos is increasing.  This is certainly an indication that the casinos are causing a lot of problems for gamblers.  And if you think you have problems a recent article shows what could happens if you win after self banning.

So, the next step for you is to continue with some form of treatment program.  Willpower can only take you so far. There really needs to be changes from within and any type of support that encourages not gambling and becoming a better person will help you along the way.

Quit Gambling for Good and Self-Exclusion from Casinos, gambling recovery

Quit Gambling for Good and exclude yourself from Casinos.

 

Underage Drinking- Is It a Part of Growing Up?

How in the world does a 13-year-old child get booze? It’s easier than you think.  Because it is a legal substance, most children can take it right out of their parent’s liquor cabinet.  In other instances, they can steal it from the local convenience store, or loiter outside the 7-11 waiting for a “sympathetic” adult to come along who can be talked into buying it for them.

Underage Drinking is Unsafe and Unhealthy, alcohol

Underage Drinking is Unsafe and Unhealthy and could cost you a career!

 

It can be a recipe for disaster for adolescents to begin “experimenting” with alcohol.  There may be countless consequences, both legal, physical and emotional.  Unfortunately, it does happen and the results are sometimes very tragic and/or life-changing.  From alcohol poisoning, to driving underage while intoxicated, these stories have ended in the deaths of teens across the country.  Teenagers are participating in underage drinking daily.  A recent article discusses some statistics about underage drinking and how easy it is for teens to get alcohol.

Underage Drinking Happens and the Results Can Be Tragic!

Some folks believe it is a part of growing up for a teen to be curious about alcohol and to engage in “experimentation”. They might think it is not a big deal. In addition, they might argue that if I (the parent) am present, what’s the harm? They might say, “they are going to do it anyway”.   “So, it’s better that they do it in front of me rather than sneaking off to do it and getting into trouble”.

Others though, strongly disagree with this way of thinking, their argument being that there are good reasons why the drinking age is 21.  They believe that it is sending the wrong message to a child that it’s okay to break the law!  Not to mention that a child’s brain is still in the developing stages, up to age 25 or 26 for males. Thus, for a young person, drinking can hinder their brain development as well as their emotional development. Moreover, it can cause outcomes that can be life-altering.  So, it is important to realize that a parent’s stance on this issue can make or break a child’s future.

 

Staying Fit in Recovery

Have you ever tried jogging while drunk?  It just doesn’t work!  Most people in their drinking days have great intentions about working out or whatever type of exercise they “like”.  But, when it comes time after a long night of drinking, it seems nearly impossible to stick to a regular workout schedule.  So, now that a person is no longer drinking the goal of exercising is much more attainable.

The benefits of a regular exercise routine in recovery are amazing.  A recent article highlights such benefits. Staying fit physically can help you stay fit mentally.  Stress can certainly be a trigger for relapsing and any form of exercise can help reduce that stress. In addition, many folks in early recovery gain back their appetite and often have cravings for “comfort food”.  Being active and drinking plenty of water can help curb those cravings.

Several people compare working out to meditation.  It is a time when a person can be at peace with the daily struggles of life.  Also, if you add music to the mix, it can motivate you to keep going and is just another great way to relax while doing something that is not always pleasant.  Sometimes it can be helpful to have a friend join you in your routine.  This can you help you on the days when you are thinking about skipping a workout.  Yet, others may prefer to train on their own.  It really is up to the individual to decide which is more comfortable for him or her.

Exercise Can Help Prevent a Relapse!

So, if you are just not feeling right with your recovery, then maybe adding a little hustle and bustle can help get you over that hump.  Lastly, it is important for you to remember to start out slow because over doing it can lead to more problems than you already have!

Staying Fit in Recovery, stress

Staying Fit in Recovery. Exercise is a beautiful thing!

Rehabs in Virginia and A Mother’s Heartbreak

The following is an interview with someone who has been affected by a loved one’s drug addiction. We sat down with Ann to ask some questions about her son, Mike, who recently overdosed but survived.  Ann was willing to speak with us in the hopes that by discussing her son’s drug addiction openly, she could help other families.

Question:  Did you have any idea that your son had a drug problem?

Ann:  Well, at first I just thought he was experiencing the normal challenges of growing up.  But, when he came home in a blackout from drinking one night I noticed a pot pipe on his dresser.  After this incident, I noticed some dramatic mood changes and did realize that he wasn’t just “experimenting”.

Question:  So, did you confront your son about your concerns?

Ann:  Yes, and he got very angry and defensive.  He said he did not have a problem but that he was just doing what “normal” kids do.

Question:  How did his drinking and drug usage progress?

He said he did not have a problem but that he was just doing what “normal” kids do.

Ann:  It got to be daily and the mood swings intensified.  He also started using harder drugs and it was devastating.    He did go into treatment but relapsed once he got out.  Next, he was living on his own and this became the most stressful part of his addiction.  I constantly thought and worried about him.

Question:  Did you ever question whether or not his addiction was your fault?

Ann:  Everyday, I asked myself what I could have done better as a mother.  Was I too strict, too lenient or could I have been a better communicator?  Was I loving enough?  So many times I went over and over in my mind…what did I do wrong?

Question:  Do you have any other advice for parents out there and can you talk about the importance of self-care?

Ann:  Yes.  I joined a support group with other people who have been impacted by a loved one’s addiction.  I learned that it was not my fault and that addiction can happen to anyone.  For so long I never talked about my son’s addiction.  It was a big secret and I felt ashamed as a mother.  Today, I have supportive friends who I can talk to and socialize with!  I no longer feel guilty and I take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally.  Unfortunately, my son is still out there using drugs and it is just heartbreaking.

 

mother, son, addiction

A Mother’s Heartbreak About Her Son’s Addiction.

Recovery and Hanging Out With Old Friends

Whether you are young or old, once you get into recovery you will have to make a lot of changes.  One of the most difficult challenges is what to do about your old friends.  Do you still hang out with them?  Well, I suppose it depends on whether or not they will support your recovery.  But, be cautious as in the beginning your friends might be supportive and then as time goes on they might not be.  Some people will understand your new way of life yet others may not have a clue.

One former patient sought treatment after having a seizure from abusing drugs.  She spent 28 days in an inpatient drug facility.  Once she got out she decided to spend time with an old childhood friend.  Her friend picked her up and when she got in the car she noticed a bag of marijuana on the seat.  Surely, her friend would realize that smoking weed was not okay.  Obviously, she did not.  So, needless to say the former patient stayed away from that friend for awhile.  In fact, she decided to stay away from all of her old friends until she could figure out who would be a true friend.

The reason people suggest to stay away from old friends is that they may put your sobriety in jeopardy.  This was certainly evident in the last example.  One article  discusses making friends in sobriety.   There are though, those friends who will be on your side.  For instance, they would never think of drinking or drugging around you.  They might even want to attend a 12-step meeting with you and ask you questions about your addiction.  These are the folks who you will want to be a part of your life.

Always Be on Guard as You Never Know Who Might Get You Off the Right Track!

Normally, those friends who are still part of the party scene will eventually drift off and you will never hear from them again.  Unless of course they seek you out for help at a later date.  Whatever you choose to do, always be on guard as you never know who might get you off the right track!

Recovery and Hanging Out With Old Friends, support

Recovery and Hanging Out With Old Friends. Who is your true friend?

 

Naloxone – A Blessing or a Curse?

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose from opiates.  It is an injection or nasal spray medication that needs to be administered as soon as possible after a person has an opiate overdose.  Many people see this medication as a “cure” to the heroin epidemic in our country.  Yet, it does have its setbacks.  In fact, some people believe that it might even give addicts the idea that they can use drugs safely.

So, let’s discuss the benefits to have this drug available.  If a person has taken a near fatal shot of heroin or other opiate, this antidote can change the harmful effects of these dangerous drugs.  In short, it can save lives!  If you know someone who is abusing opiates, then having Naloxone available can give you a little peace of mind. A recent article discusses how one city is making this drug easier to get. One other positive thing about this medication is that it doesn’t get someone “high”.  Moreover, it is not addictive at all.

If No One is Around to Administer the Medicine Then They Cannot be Helped.

But what are some of the downsides to having this medicine? Well, some addicts think that they will be able to continue their drug habit and nothing bad will ever happen to them.  So, they may take more risks believing they are invincible.  Furthermore, if no one is around to administer the medicine then they cannot be helped.  Also, even if someone is around, they may not be able to find them in time or might not be able to gain access to them. Often, addicts lock themselves in a room or inadvertently block entrances to where they are.

As discussed, there are two sides to this life saving medication. There could be some concern that using Naloxone could give the addict the impression that they can keep using with impunity.   In other words, that they will always be saved.  But, keep in mind that by having it, some addicts now will have a chance to recover and stay clean.

Naloxone,overdose,opiates

How to Reverse an Opiate Overdose.

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