Talking to Your Child About Addiction

Some people believe it is not appropriate to talk to a child about addiction; others feel that it is truly necessary to discuss it.  The most common questions and concerns are:

  • Who is best suited to educate children about addiction, the parents or the schools?
  • At what age should we broach the topic of addiction?
  • What is the best approach?

As a former Guidance Counselor, I used to speak to children aged five and older about the dangers of pills.  For instance, if a child came across something foreign on the floor, what should he or she do?  Prescription and over-the-counter pills can often look like candy and that can be very attractive to children.  It was an effective way to begin talking about the idea that some people take medication because they need it, but it is not okay to take something that you found and/or wasn’t give to you by a parent or caregiver.  Furthermore, it is not healthy to eat anything found on the floor.  We could then begin a discussion about doctors’ prescriptions and reasons for taking medication; illness, medical conditions, accidents, pain, etc., and why it is not okay to take pills or medications that were not prescribed by a physician for you.

It is Imperative That We Be Proactive in Teaching Our Kids How To Be Safe.

A recent article gives seven specific tips on how a parent should talk with a child about the dangers of prescription drugs and other opiates.  The main point of the article is that it is absolutely necessary to have conversations with children about the dangers of illegal drugs.  Moreover, the article points out specific ways a parent can approach this topic which have been shown to be successful.  When parents ignore or avoid talking about the dangers of drug use it really can create a serious situation.  It is imperative that we be proactive in teaching our kids how to be safe.  We talk about the dangers of crossing a street so why not have the conversation about the drugs which can also cause death.

Talking to Your Child About Addiction, pills

Talking to Your Child About Addiction. Is this candy or medicine?

 

Why I Became a Counselor-Billy Hoffman

I’m Billy Hoffman and I’m an Addictions Counselor at Williamsville Wellness.  One of the main reasons I became a counselor is, I was taught early on in my own recovery, never to forget to give back what was so freely given to you and I took that to heart.  And so at Williamsville, I’m able to take my background with compulsive gambling, drug addiction and alcohol and really put it to use. You know all of the things that happened to me along the way, they happened for a reason. I believe that. So, I’m able to take that experience and give that to people who are trying to get into recovery and get some long-term sobriety and I enjoy it a lot.

Rehab Virginia and How Addiction Does Not Discriminate

It doesn’t matter what sex, race, creed, or religion you are.  The disease of addiction couldn’t care less whether you are rich, poor, old or young.  Addiction does not discriminate!  It is estimated that in the United States, somewhere around 10 – 15% of the population is considered to have an “addictive” personality  So, if you are struggling with an addiction, don’t play the blame game.  Addiction may occur in some people when they continue to abuse alcohol or drugs.  In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous there is a saying, “alcoholism affects everyone from Yale to jail!”

Narcotics Anonymous states if you are an addict, having one pill or puff is too many and a thousand is never enough.  So, if you have the disease of addiction, then there is no cure for it; fortunately, however, it is treatable.  One recent article discusses how drug addiction can happen to anyone.  Families across our country often don’t know much about the disease of addiction.  The parents of one former patient wondered where they had “gone wrong” with their daughter.  She was brought up in a loving home; she was well educated and healthy. They just could not grasp the idea that their daughter had become an addict. That family is not alone – oftentimes addiction in the family is uncharted territory.

It helps to understand that no one in the family is at fault.  A child could also come from a broken home and become an addict just as easily.  Basically, there is no specific profile of the type of person “most likely” to become an addict.  No matter where or how a child is raised, all have the potential to lead a successful life. It really depends on how each person chooses to handle whatever life brings to them by establishing healthy coping skills and forming healthy relationships in their life’s journey

The Disease of Addiction Can Happen to Anyone!

Therefore, if you are an addict accepting the idea that you cannot safely handle one drink or drug is the key to living a successful life.  Because once an addict uses all bets are off and the person will often end up in jail, institutions or possibly death.  Those are the likely outcomes for any addict who chooses to drink or drug.  The beautiful thing about recovery is that we come from all walks of life and we can learn so much from each other.  Find yourself a recovery support system and live the dream!

Addiction Does Not Discriminate, addiction

Rehab Virginia and How Addiction Does Not Discriminate. We are a melting pot community!

 

Life Tip Changing How You think

Hi, my name is Chenise Deloach and I’m a therapist at Williamsville Wellness.  Today I want to talk about a skill on changing the way you think.  A lot of times, we don’t pay attention to our negative thoughts or positive thoughts.  Keep in mind that when you have negative thoughts, a lot of times there are negative behaviors and negative consequences that come into play.  When we change our thoughts to more positive thoughts, positive behaviors and positive consequences come out right along with them and the outcomes are usually better.  So, focus more on positive thoughts.  Believe it and you can achieve it.

 

Supporting An Addict

The day you have hoped and prayed for, for so long, has finally arrived.  Your partner is finally in recovery and is no longer drinking or drugging.  You may be thinking that the hard days and nights that you went through are over and everything is going to be fine now.  The reality is that your role as a partner in the relationship is still very important. After the initial “honeymoon” period of having the person you fell in love with back again, you may have a lot of questions or concerns about your loved one’s recovery. In fact, you both may have hopes and fears about the changes in your relationship.  It will be more important than ever to have effective communication skills when it comes to these matters.

First, let’s discuss some of the more helpful ideas to enhance your partner’s recovery. Communicating and asking questions from a supportive rather than accusatory stance is much healthier.  Many times, people in relationships are afraid to bring up topics because they might “rock the boat”. If you sense that your loved one has had a dreadful day and you are wondering if they are thinking about drinking or drugging, try to start a conversation about it.  It might be a relief for the person in recovery to be able to talk to you about challenging times. This can strengthen a relationship and show that you are interested and care about your partner.  Remember it is normal for everyone to have a rough day and have fleeting thoughts about wanting to escape. This also goes for you, as you undoubtedly will need support too.

Open Communication Will Enrich Your Relationship!

Another great idea for you is to have your own support system. This could be church, family, friends or even a 12-step group such as Al-Anon. This type of emotional support can have a significant impact on your quality of life and will allow you to express what is on your mind, without hurting your partner.  You may also get suggestions and great feedback on how to handle different situations from people who have been through the same situation.  The main point is that you want to create a loving, caring and open environment.  Additionally, it’s important for both people to take time for self-care. Mutual respect and more open communication will only enrich your relationship as you become more practiced in these new, healthier behaviors.  It’s also a neat thing to be able to lean on each other again in times of need.

How Can a Partner Support An Addict, recovery

Supporting An Addict. Hugs are a great way to show support!

 

 

 

 

Alcohol Treatment in Virginia and How to Tell Others You Don’t Drink

While in treatment, you find yourself saying the words, “I am an alcoholic”, for the first time.  For many these words don’t have a good ring to it.  But the truth is, that the bottle dictated your life and you needed to admit it.  Your life had become unmanageable and drinking was no longer fun, but it was the only way you could feel “normal”.  Now you have put the plug in the jug and have started a new way of life.  Treatment centers will recommend attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help you maintain sobriety.  So, you take the advice and start attending AA meetings regularly.

Outside of the meetings, however, life goes on.  Most people in recovery are now met with social challenges involving co-workers, friends and even family members who will kindly offer them a drink.  Their intention is good as they may have no idea that you have had a problem with drinking.  How do you handle these situations?

It is not easy, especially in a work situation.  Most recovering alcoholics early in sobriety struggle with what to do and what to say when offered a drink.  It can be an awkward moment as the person often has a million thoughts about what their co-worker might think when they turn down that drink. The air of suspicion and questions might be fired your way as to why are you not drinking.  Do you have a problem with drinking?  Are you an alcoholic? How to answer can be so difficult!!  Most people in early recovery are working on being honest.  But if this is a professional setting, it might be more beneficial to be discreet about being in recovery.  Sometimes you may feel that you could be helpful to someone in the company who has a drinking problem if you are open about it.

“I Just Don’t Drink” is a Reasonable Explanation!

One former client in long-term sobriety used to socialize with a co-worker who constantly offered him a beer.  He would always politely respond with a “no thank you I like my water” when offered alcohol.  There really is no need to give an explanation why you do not drink.  If someone pushes the issue, they may have issues of their own!  A simple “I just don’t drink” is a reasonable explanation.  Some people may feel comfortable discussing why they don’t drink.  It really is up to the individual, but a word of caution: Not everyone will understand.  Some might even be judgmental.  Another good tip is to do some role playing with your sponsor or other supportive person who is respectful of your sobriety.  It’s always good to be prepared for the unknown and role playing can be of great use.

Remember be confident as you are living a better life without alcohol and good luck the next time you are out socializing!

Alcohol Treatment in Virginia and How to Tell Others You Don't Drink,socializing

Alcohol Treatment in Virginia and How to Tell Others You Don’t Drink.  Socializing can be a lot of fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Became a Counselor-Matt Lusk

Hi, my name is Matt Lusk.  I’m a counselor at Williamsville Wellness.  The reason I got into counseling was because I had a lot of family members and friends struggle with addiction and mental health issues and at Williamsville Wellness, it give us an opportunity not only to deal with the addiction, but the underlying root causes of the addiction, so I’m able to treat the addiction, and also depression and anxiety and all the reasons that often, you know, manifest and cause people addiction.

Williamsville Wellness Provides More Individual Therapy Than Any Other Drug or Alcohol Treatment Center In the United States

Internet Gambling Addiction and Debt

It can start during a trip to the track with your Dad, or a weekend getaway to Vegas with your friends.  You spend a few hundred dollars and have a good time.  Then you go for a second time and a third and you win BIG.  Experiencing a big win early on in your gambling history can be a major step on the way to getting hooked.  Compulsive gamblers can experience a similar “high” that drug addicts or alcoholics describe, and is a feeling gamblers face on the way to becoming a true gambling addict.  Unfortunately, debt can add up very quickly, especially if you have an internet gambling addiction.

Let’s say you have made it into recovery and are rebuilding your life.  What do you do about all of the unpaid bills and those constant phone calls from creditors?  The situation may look bleak, but you do have choices.  You can choose to not answer these calls and letters, but rest assured, they will not stop and can cause constant anxiety…not good for the recovering compulsive gambler.  Fortunately, there are ways to manage these money problems.  If you choose to ignore the problem it will catch up with you sooner or later.  A recent article discusses what could happen if you do that.  You may start having disrupted sleep.  Furthermore, your energy, thinking and overall well-being will be negatively affected if you make this choice.  Many people who have debt think, “Well I can’t afford to pay these insurmountable bills so what’s the point”?  That is a normal thought.  Creditors certainly would like you to pay these bills in full, but will often be open to negotiating a payment plan that you can afford.

Even The IRS Will Be Willing to Work with You!

Medical bills, credit cards, and utility bills can all be worked out. Even the dreaded IRS will be willing to make payment arrangements with you.  The IRS, in particular, will surprise you with their accommodations.   But it is important that you do not ignore any correspondence from any creditor. They understand that making a call to them can be difficult and will appreciate your reaching out to them.  Not only will this provide you some relief, but the constant phone calls and letters will decrease or in most cases will even stop.  As mentioned earlier, your payment agreement will be within your budget.  Oftentimes, creditors will ask what you can afford to pay.  If you make an agreement, be sure to hold up your end of it. So, if twenty-five dollars a month is what you can afford, then by all means make that payment religiously!  Before long you will be back on the right track and financially secure once again.

 

Internet Gambling Addiction, Debt,creditors

Internet Gambling Addiction and Debt. The IRS will work with you if you owe money!

 

 

What to Expect When Dating an Addict

So, you feel like you have met the person of your dreams. Everything is going along just fine with this new romance until…she explains that she is in recovery.  Recovery from a drug and alcohol addiction.  Oh boy, not what you expected!  With this revelation, you start wondering about your beloved’s past; like how bad was it or could they even have a criminal record? You go from being thrilled about meeting Ms. Right, to wondering about Ms. Sketchy.

Doubt begins to creep in.  Questions arise.   Dating is always be a bit risky, and you might feel the risk factor shoot way up if you decide to date someone with addiction in their past.  The outcome could be a beautiful thing or a disaster, but that risk goes with anything in life.  A new job, moving, buying a new home, or where to go on a vacation; you just never know what is going to happen when you try something new. One article gives one perspective on dating in recovery.  The article discusses that healthy people in recovery have great communication skills and have learned to express their emotions in a sensible way.

Healthy People in Recovery Have Great Communication Skills

Given these points, what can a person expect if he or she chooses to date a person who identifies themselves as an addict or alcoholic?   First, you should make sure that they are in recovery, because if not, then you should stay clear of them.  Next, they should be attending some sort of support group regularly.  Some people go to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or some other 12-step program.  They might even choose a church group in lieu of these programs.  Equally important, is that they have a mentor or sponsor in their lives with whom they discuss their recovery.  This is someone who supports their desire to become a better person and stay on the right track. If you sense that the person is serious about their recovery then your relationship has a good chance of going the distance.

What Would to Expect When Dating an Addict, recovery

What to Expect When Dating an Addict. Relationships can be a beautiful thing!

 

 

 

Peer-to-Peer Recovery and How It “Works”

Let’s talk about Peer-to-Peer Recovery (PTPR).   I have two ways of viewing it.  In my opinion, it can be a wonderful thing if combined with other professional services.  There are many people who truly care about their peers. and want to be helpful  PTPR commonly provides some structure and regular drug testing for the clients.  Usually 12-step meetings are mandated.  On the other hand, if a program consists of mostly peer-to-peer support with little professional assistance, then I would be cautious about this type of treatment!  Let me explain why…

Peer-to-Peer Recovery and How It "Works", support

Peer-to-Peer Recovery and How It “Works”. There certainly is much love and support in this type of community.

Peer-to-Peer Recovery is just that. It’s possible that a person with a month to a year of clean time could be in charge of facilitating a group session.  That is certainly not a lot of sober time to have under one’s belt.  Especially, for that person to be given the responsibility of running a group.  Sure, it might give the person some motivation to stay clean. But, it could also give them an inflated ego and a “grandiose” attitude.  Furthermore, that level of responsibility early in recovery may not be advisable. This is a critical time when many people relapse.  A person running such groups should have a lot of experience on how to live sober.

In a peer-to-peer recovery community, it is typical that members live in a sober house and attend a day program.  In addition, some people are mandated by the courts to attend these programs.  So, their motivation to get clean and sober may be lacking.  There is a lot of freedom in these situations.  Therefore, one peer can easily bring down another by sneaking drugs and/or alcohol into the community.

A Person Should Have a Lot of Experience on How to Live Sober.

Drug and alcohol rehabs typically employ professionals who are better trained to facilitate group therapy.  The benefits of their training and experience are evident in the quality of topics for discussion.  Also, their ability to maintain structure and purpose of the group is an advantage.  In addition, they provide financial and family counseling.  As a bonus, these professionals are sometimes in recovery themselves.  A trained therapist can also help the addict with a transition plan once they leave treatment. This might include directing clients to 12-step meetings in their area, finding an Intensive Outpatient Program for continued (professional) care, as well as finding a licensed therapist.  These are things a peer-to-peer recovery program just doesn’t have the budget for, which can result in poor monitoring of their clients.

In conclusion, a professionally run treatment center is better equipped to handle persons in early recovery and the challenges they face.  This type of treatment will also address serious issues such as, PTSD, depression and anxiety. Some of the peer-to-peer recovery communities claim they are a great alternative for drug and alcohol treatment and that they are more affordable, but there can be serious downsides as well.  So, before you or your loved one chooses PTPR be sure to ask a lot of questions about their program.  Most importantly, don’t forget, you get what you pay for!

 

 

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