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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.


How to Reverse an Opiate Overdose.

Priority Quadrants-Dave Rogers

So we’re going to do something called priority quadrants.  Some people do a really good job prioritizing things in their life, some not so much.  This comes from a book (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey), great book if you haven’t read it.  So here’s what this looks like.  So, example of urgent and important:  Your phone starts blowing up.  And you finally look down and find out one of your closest relatives has been in a horrible car accident and they are in the ICU and it says you’ve gotta come right now.  Is it urgent time-wise?  Yeah, you’ve gotta get there as fast as possible.  Is the nature of it important?  Yes.  It’s your mom, your dad, your sibling, your wife.  Example of important, but not urgent:  The first day of your college class, going over the syllabus and the professor says, “I wanted to draw your attention, there’s a paper that’s due in December and its worth 65% of your grade”.  Do you have to start it right now?  Could you wait until next week or the week after?  Could you even start it in early October?  Maybe.  So is it important?  Yeah, it is.  65% of your grade is riding on it.  Is it urgent, time-wise?  No, it’s not.  Example of this:  Your best friend or a family member calls you and says, “Hey, sorry for the last minute notice.  We’re on our way to the movies, we’re seeing X, it’s a movie that you’d really like to see, the only problem is it starts in 15 minutes”.  Is it urgent time-wise? Yeah if you want to go, you gotta get moving.  If you don’t see it, is the world going to end? No.  Over here is either the trash can or where you’re going to take a vacation in the summer of 2018.  Is it important right now?  No.  If you’re stressed out of your mind by April of next year, it might be pretty important.  Is it urgent?  No, its next summer.  Again, if was June and you’re pulling your hair out, it might be urgent.  You might need a break really bad.  So, how to use this.  Sometimes we treat everything like this.   It’s all urgent and its all important and my head’s blowing up and…no it isn’t, it’s not.  So some people number these quadrants and task list.  Write ‘em all out and then use this and assign it, okay, that’s a 1, that’s a 1 and so is this one. This is a 2 and a 2, that’s a 3 that’s a 4, I don’t have to worry about that one at all and so forth.  And so, Covey, says we should try to live in this quadrant.  In other words, the things that really matter to you.  Have you ever heard of the phrase, “tyranny of the urgent?”  If you have ever been in management, things are coming at you really fast and the urgent things own your life and you can’t really get over where you want to be, because the urgent has got you going.  So, back to the book, this was his doctoral dissertation and he decided to study really effective people; CEOs, presidents of companies, CFOs and he noticed they all had these seven habits.  And most of them didn’t even know each other.  And this is one of them:  They have three piles on their desks:  one, two three.  And the stuff ‘s coming at them so fast; and they have three piles; and I put out the fires here and then I come over here and  spend some time;  and I put out the fires here and I come over here.  I deal with this as needed, but I’m spending most of my time up here.  So treat a box number one like it’s a box number one.  Treat a two like a two and so forth.  Does that make sense?  Any questions?

Drug Intervention Help and Overview of Addiction

Do I have a problem with alcohol/substance abuse or alcohol/substance dependence?  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V) there are certain criteria a person will meet in order to have alcohol/substance severity.  So it is necessary to know the criteria because you can’t fight what you don’t understand.  In the examples below, we will use alcohol as the main topic but one can just substitute drugs if your addiction is substances.

Now let’s review some of the criteria for a person to meet alcohol/substance severity. Again, according to the DSM V here are questions to ask.  In the past year have you found that drinking or being sick from drinking has often interfered with taking care of your home or family, or caused job troubles or school problems?  Next, more than once, have you gotten into situations, while or after drinking, that increased your chances of getting hurt?  Some examples might be driving, swimming, using machinery, unsafe sex, or walking in a dangerous area? Another question is, more than once, have you gotten arrested or held at a police station because of your drinking? In addition, have you had other legal problems because of your drinking? Also, have you continued to drink after it caused trouble with family or friends?

So, let’s discuss other criteria in the DSM V for alcohol/substance severity.  Again, we will use alcohol in the sample questions.  One of the questions is have you had to drink much more than you used to in order to get the same affect you wanted? Also, has your tolerance increased or have you found that the usual amount of drinks had much less affect than before?  When you stop drinking and the affects are wearing off, do you have withdrawal symptoms?  For instance, trouble sleeping, sweating, shakiness, restlessness, a racing heart, seizure, nausea or sense things that were not there (i.e. delusion)? Next, have you had times when you were drinking more or longer than you intended?

Additional questions for substance severity are; have you, more than once, tried to cut down or tried to stop drinking, but couldn’t? Do you spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or getting over the other after effects of drinking?  Another question is have you given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you in order to drink? Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed, anxious or adding to other health problems?  Or have you continued to drink after having a memory blackout?  Finally, have you wanted to drink so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else?

Overview of Addiction, signs

Drug Intervention Help and Overview of Addiction. The negative impact of Alcoholism!

The DSM V classifies Alcohol/Substance severity as the presence of at least 2 of the above questions.  This indicates an Alcohol/Substance Use Disorder.  The severity is defined in levels such as Mild, which would have the presence of 2-3 criteria.   The next severity level is Moderate which would have the presence of 4-5 of the criteria. Lastly the presence of 6 or more criteria would be a severe level of Alcohol/Substance Use Disorder.

Addiction is an attempt to meet legitimate needs through unhealthy methods!

For addicts addiction is very slippery.  At times your mind might say things like, “you are not doing that bad, you can have one”.  Or your mind might tell you, “You work hard for your money and you deserve this.” But we should look at recovery as the way that I am living (without drugs/alcohol) is causing me to feel good. It is also important for the addict to realize that the ability to feel connected is what gives us meaning in our lives.  So, when an addict is drinking or drugging he or she does not have the ability to feel connected!  Thus, they will not have meaning or purpose in their lives.


Becoming a Better Parent in Recovery

So, now that you are no longer drinking it’s time to start living again.  A part of living for many is becoming a better parent.  Many times, parents in active addiction tend to promise to do things with their children and have great intentions to do this.  But, as it so often goes, one’s addiction takes precedence.  Therefore, because he or she is too drunk/high or too tired the children’s’ needs are not fully met.  Everything from spending time with them to having the proper discipline strategy.  Therefore, sobriety is now a chance for the parent to re-polish their parenting skills.

But, how do a parent and child get back on the right track?  Well, first, a conversation might the first task at hand. It does though depend on the age of the children.  For younger children, a conversation may not be necessary. You can just start being more attentive to your child’s needs. However, talking about expectations is a wonderful way to start if you choose to have a talk.  Without getting into details, the parent could convey to the child that he or she has made some health changes and would like to be a better parent.  With older children, an open conversation about addiction might be the way to go.  Along with this, mapping out a plan of communication and expectations will be helpful.

Next, it is important for the parent to live up to their new way of parenting.  This will ensure that their words match their actions.  Children need that consistency and this will go a long way for them to live up to their part.  For more tips check out one article which provides a lot of great ideas for any parent.  Good luck and remember stay the course and things will work out!



Becoming a Better Parent in Recovery, tips

Becoming a Better Parent in Recovery. Remember there’s always room for improvement!

The Disease of Addiction

The Disease of Addiction is one that is not curable.  But, just like diabetes it is treatable.  This is why it is so important to understand exactly how drug and alcohol addictions can be stopped.  Many people think they can just go to “rehab” and when they get out they will be cured.  Others might think that there is a magic pill that will help their loved one stop drinking or drugging.  Unfortunately, there is no such pill.  Some people try to control their addiction by cutting back but this inevitably leads to an increased consumption of alcohol or drugs sooner or later.

Addiction is an Impulsive Disease…the Addict Does Not Think of the Consequences of Picking Up a Drink or a Drug.

So, what is the answer to quitting your addiction?  The plain and simple answer is to stop and get support from family, friends, 12 step meetings, church, etc. to maintain a sober life.  But why is the answer so simple yet many people are unable to do this?  Well this is because the disease of addiction is evil, cunning, baffling and tricky. Addiction lies to the addict!  It tells the addict they can stop when he or she wants to or that they are not that bad.
Addiction is also progressive meaning that the more you do it the worse it gets.

Most people when they start out drinking or using drugs they have very little consequences.  But as they continue using, the consequences become significant.  For instance, a person might start feeling withdrawal symptoms when they stop or try to cut back.  In addition, other troubles can include legal, family, health, financial and career problems.  A recent article discusses what can happen with continued use.

The Disease of Addiction, cunning,

The Disease of Addiction. Active Addiction is a Dead End!

But if the addict can focus on changing he or she will have a chance at beating this disease.  Many people say that 10% of the problem is using drugs or alcohol.  It really is only a symptom of the other 90% of the problem which is much larger.  That other 90% consists of a person’s behavior, attitude and outlook on life.  When a person can focus on improving these areas then, and only then, will they be successful!



Billy H. Has Some questions For the Gambler


So what would I say to the person considering getting better, putting gambling away, putting addiction away?  I would say are you tired yet?  Are you exhausted?  Have you figured out, yet, that everything you have tried to do on your own has not worked?  In fact, things have progressively gotten worse.  Are you tired yet?  That’s what I would say and if you want help I want to help you!  Certainly fifteen years ago, if you had told me, you know, fifteen years from now you are going to be in front of a camera and you’ll be talking about addiction, you’ll be helping people. There’s no way I would have believed that because I certainly didn’t have the skills, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.

AA and NA But Which One is For You?

For people with an addiction, it is often suggested that they attend either Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).  People are encouraged to join one of these fellowships because they help people live without drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences between the two in order to decide which one best suits them.

If alcohol has been the “drug of choice” for an individual, then AA would provide the support and fellowship needed.  If narcotics or controlled substances were the problem, then NA would be the group for that person.  The terminology used in these groups may be slightly different; for instance, an alcoholic in recovery would be described as “sober”, while folks in recovery in NA use “clean” as a description for not using drugs.  Please note NA considers alcohol a drug.  Therefore, NA does not separate the two substances.

More and more, individuals seeking recovery and 12-step meetings have both alcohol and drugs in their history.  There are “Open” meetings which are happy to accommodate dual addictions.  “Closed” meetings prefer that attendees identify as solely alcoholic or addict.  Open meetings will welcome all and whether you attend open or closed meetings, you will not get kicked out of either fellowship with how you identify yourself.  The important thing is that you abstain from alcohol and drugs and KEEP GOING to meetings!  A recent article discusses how AA works and the benefits of attending this fellowship.

No Matter What…Just Don’t Drink or Drug!

One significant difference between the two groups is the book they use as their guide.  AA is based on “The Big Book” and NA utilizes “The Basic Text”. They are more alike than they are different, mostly in exchanging the word “drugs” for “alcohol” in their writings.  Additionally, most people in NA feel that they are powerless over their addiction, not necessarily a particular drug or substance.  That theory is different from the consensus in AA, which is that alcoholics are powerless over alcohol. Therefore, one is external (AA-alcohol) and the other is internal (NA-addiction).  Most Importantly, Don’t Use!

AA and NA Which One is For You, sobriety

AA and NA Which One is For You? Bill W. one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.

While these are some of the differences between AA and NA, there are certainly other distinctions.  A person can only understand these by attending the meetings in person.  Finally, it is of utmost importance that you seek medical attention if you are struggling with an addiction.  Sometimes a person will need to be medically detoxed from whatever substance they are abusing.  Once a person has completed detox and perhaps rehab then it is likely that the treatment center will suggest that he or she attends AA or NA.

The purpose of attending these meetings is to develop support and to maintain a life without alcohol or drugs.  But you will only know if you try it!  So, look online to find a meeting near you…





Virginia Drug Rehab Centers and Stopping the Relapse Process

Relapse doesn’t happen by accident!   There is a process that occurs when a person relapses.  Typically, what happens is that a person is triggered to use, then he or she has thoughts of using which lead to cravings and eventually using.  So, is it possible to break the using cycle?  Absolutely and we will discuss how to do that in a bit.

People who are in recovery experience triggers all the time.  Triggers are people, places, things, emotions or situations that a person encounters.  For instance, you are driving down the road and see the beer truck pass by you or you smell alcohol in the air.  These are external triggers and can easily cause someone to think that a drink might be appealing.  Another example of a trigger for some people is having money.  Just having that extra cash can cause one to consider heading out to the bar, the casino or to the drug dealer.  Sometimes hanging out with certain people can be triggering.  For many it could be family, friends or co-workers.  There are also internal triggers like emotions.  A lot of times people can be feeling angry or sad and it can trigger them to want to use.  Even feelings of happiness and joy can cause a relapse.

To Allow Yourself to Continue Thinking about Drinking, Drugging or Gambling is Choosing to Relapse.

It is always a great idea to write down potential triggers so that you can have a game plan to either avoid them or manage them properly.  We now know what triggers are and that they just sometimes are not avoidable.  So, let’s discuss what to do when they happen.  The next step is that triggers will cause thoughts of using.  This is when it is so important to stop this process.  To allow yourself to continue thinking about drinking, drugging or gambling is choosing to relapse.

One simple way to stop these thoughts is to tell someone who is supportive. Many people find this support in 12-step programs. A recent article discusses how one dad remains sober because of attending Alcoholics Anonymous. Remember, it is normal to have these thoughts but it is what we do with them that will make a difference.  Having a support network and remaining positive will certainly help prevent relapse when times are tough. Another great thought stopping technique is relaxation.  This can be through deep breathing, music, exercise, or just enjoying nature.  One other technique is visualization. Whether you visualize the consequences of relapsing or use something simple as a light switch to turn off the thoughts is useful. Any of these techniques can work if you practice using them when you have thoughts about drinking, drugging or gambling.  Remember, although we can’t always control what pops into our head, we do have the power to share what is going on in our mind.

Virginia Drug Rehab Centers, Stopping the Relapse Process, support

Virginia Drug Rehab Centers and Stopping the Relapse Process. Stay positive and don’t give in to triggers because good things will happen when you remain sober!

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