Category: Counseling Blog

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

“She ate something that made her sick,” rationalizes the mother of an alcoholic. “He just went a little overboard,” says an uncle about his passed out nephew. It is not uncommon to hear parents and loved ones attempt to justify an addict’s damaging behaviors. From an outsider’s perspective, these reactions seem counterproductive. However, for a family that deeply loves their struggling brother or aunt, facing the reality of an addiction can be emotionally overwhelming.

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

The mixture of feelings families may feel toward their afflicted loved one can lead to family denial. Families might feel resentful while protective, hurt but loyal, afraid but heroic. These emotions contrast and confuse; denial unconsciously becomes the solution, or perhaps more accurately, a coping mechanism.

Next to this bundle of emotions, denial can also mitigate the financial worries that come with helping a loved one. By remaining in a state of denial, the family is free from the time-consuming and costly burden of seeking medical treatment for their family member. Additionally, denial protects the family from the social burden of having “an addict” in the family. It may be a form of saving the family’s reputation.

As you can see, denial is a powerful mechanism that inhibits healing. To enter into the recovery mindset, family denial must first be dismantled. Like a thick vine hurting a tree, denial blocks growth.

4 Strategies for Pushing Through Family Denial

1. Facts. Write down facts connected to the addiction. Once the gravity of the addiction is documented and organized it is much easier to see the problem clearly. We may be able to compartmentalize or ignore memories of recent arrests, but on paper, the arrests become unbiased and factual, showing the problem in a more logical light.

2. Communication. Be open and curious about the “alleged addiction.” It’s easy to fall into denial when you don’t ask questions. Simple questions like, “What took you so long in there?” or “Why are you so sleepy?” can help disable denial for both the family and the addict. This helps the addict see his/her impact on his/her environment. His/her behavior is not unnoticed. Also, being curious can shed light on the depth of the addiction.

3. Respect. By respecting each other, a family can strengthen their sense of trust and closeness. Once trust is established, the road to recovery is less painful. Avoid judgmental thinking; focus on understanding and kindness. It is important that a family not associate addiction with shame, otherwise both the family and the addict are less likely to face the addiction.

4. Learn. Families must prioritize knowledge and strategy rather than emotions like fear or resentment. By recognizing that knowledge instead of denial enables improvement, family members can become empowered and more likely to succeed at reaching or encouraging recovery.

Denial blurs reality; it makes accurate diagnosis or recovery impossible. The first step to healing is noticing the wound. Getting through family denial is crucial for recovery. Do you have questions? Feel free to contact us for help.

Help for Coping with Grief and Loss

Coping with loss is an unfortunate part of life that sadly most people will encounter at some point. If you have lost a loved one, don’t suffer alone. Seek professional help. Losing a loved one is life changing and learning how to proceed after a loss is naturally overwhelming. There are a few things that you can do for yourself at this difficult time.

Help for Coping with Grief and Loss

First, seek counseling even if this is your first time. It is helpful to talk about your feelings with someone who understands the stages of the grieving process. Be open to the idea of therapy.

Second, keep in mind that we all grieve at a different pace and in different ways. Some people stay strong for a long time and experience immense sorrow later in the process. Others are overcome with emotion right away. No matter how you feel, be kind to yourself. Do not put pressure on your self to rush through the grieving process.

Third, establish a new normal for yourself. This will take place gradually and with the help of a counselor. You will make new routines and traditions. There will be tough times ahead.

Although you are suffering, you are not alone. Grieving is complex and can be scary at times. At other times it can seem like you will never find peace. Counseling helps to clarify the stages of grief and make them understandable and consequently more bearable.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact us today. We are here to help you cope with your loss.

Marital Infidelity Is A Sign of Underlining Problems

Marital infidelity is perhaps the worst thing that can happen in a marriage, with the exception of the death or serious illness of a child or either spouse. The risks of entering into an affair are significant, both on an emotional level and in other ways. The breakup of a marriage as a result of an affair can be damaging on a number of levels.

Marital Infidelity Is A Sign of Underlining Problems

According to an article in Psychology Today, most people enter into extramarital affairs because they are dissatisfied with their marriage. They are not getting enough sex or emotional support. Some are curious for new experiences, or they want revenge for something the other spouse did to them. In a way, an extramarital affair is an attempt to self-treat something that is wrong in the marriage.

However, while many marriages do survive an affair, many don’t. The act involves lying and betrayal that often are too serious to forgive. Apparently, the worst move one can make if one is feeling dissatisfied is cheating.

Apparently, the best reaction to dissatisfaction is attempting to communicate with the other spouse and see if the issues can be resolved. Often the services of a professional counselor, someone trained in helping couples to get their marriages back on track, will be of great benefit. Seeing a therapist is a signal that you are serious about salvaging your marriage and that you love and respect your spouse enough not to take the path of marital infidelity. Taking that first step can restore happiness and romance to your relationship.

For more information contact us.

The Feeling of Anxiety and What it Entails

Anxiety–a feeling of uneasiness, not so unfamiliar to today’s population. The feeling of worry and apprehension manifests itself among millions of people–for many of them, more than they would like to admit. When a person struggles with these feelings, it can often seem as if they are surrounded; alone, in a pit of anxiousness of which there is no clear way out. From this point, reaching the destination that is peace of mind is a journey; Family Restoration Counseling Services would like nothing more than to strive alongside you towards the most attainable, welcome feeling of inner peace.

The Feeling of Anxiety and What it Entails

Unsure of whether or not you’re having problems with anxiety? See if you relate to these sets of symptoms:

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Shortness of breath
  • Quickened heartbeat/discomfort in chest
  • Dizziness/nausea
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Shaking/trembling
  • Excessive sweating

Behavioral Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Avoiding situations that one expects to experience discomfort
  • Using unhealthy behaviors to cope, including drugs, overeating, under-eating
  • Being paranoid of losing what makes one comfortable; for example, not wanting to leave the home

Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Distress
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Excessive worry
  • Irrational fear/terror
  • Panic
  • Dread
  • Tense/irritable

Cognitive Symptoms of Anxiety

  • “What if…”
  • Thoughts of going crazy/losing mind
  • Must have’s, speaking in absolutes
  • Excessively worrying of embarrassment

Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Difficulty with fluent and chronological memory
  • Anticipating catastrophic problems
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks at hand

For every person — children, adolescents, adults — there are unique responses to the feeling of anxiety. Some can help themselves through self-care; for others, therapy is often the best remedy. The road to coping and conquering anxiety is started here, by contacting the experienced and willing counselors at Family Restoration Counseling.

Addiction Recovery – How to Keep the Family and the Addict Healthy

What is an addiction?  A substance or a behavior which begins to become pleasurable and then progresses to a compulsive state. Once the substance or the behavior enters the compulsive stage several things start to happen which disrupts normal activities.  The effect of the compulsive activity begins to affect family, work, relationships, health, and self-image.  The person who begins to experience the need to continue the substance or behavior might be unaware that they are hurting others or causing problems not only for themselves but also for those who are close to them.

Addiction Recovery - How to Keep the Family and the Addict Healthy

More times than not the family becomes involved and in an effort to stabilize the addict the members begin to take on roles. These roles revolve around the substance or the behavior in an effort to maintain balance within the family. Alcohol and drug abuse will affect families in different ways and an addict is often unaware that his substance abuse or behavior impacts the flow of the family. The effect of substance abuse on the family system is complex and will escalate especially if the addict is not receiving any therapy. Addiction recovery can have a positive effect on all members of the family. When you first realize that a member of your family has become addicted you may feel overwhelmed and scared. Addiction is too big for one person to handle, but with treatment and help recovery is possible for the addict.

What does recovery mean for the addict? What is recovery?  The answer according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)is that “Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life.”  Recovery is a process based on a series of changes that support a transformation which is positive and life-altering. This change for an addict means many different things to many different addicts. Some of these reasons for change were obtained from a project titled “What is Recovery?” and are listed here:

  • learn to be honest with self
  • learn how to deal with hard situations without resorting to alcohol or drugs
  • get along with family and friends
  • don’t replace one addiction with another
  • enjoy a healthy relationship
  • improve self-esteem
  • help other people with drug and alcohol problems
  • become more spiritual
  • give back to the community
  • understand limitations and abilities

These reasons for change are a few of many but they are important for the addict since they are often the driving force behind seeking help. When the addict begins to want change and accepts responsibility for the damage they have done to themselves, their family members, and friends, then it is time to begin the recovery. As a family facing the problem of addiction, you must first decide to tell your loved one they need help and guide them towards addiction recovery. Sometimes it is those who are closest to the addict who must step in and help so when your family member is ready please have them contact us so we can help them begin their journey towards recovery.

Why Today’s Adolescents Need Therapy

Today’s teens need counselors, more than past generations. Counselors provide quality time and care in order to nurture and guide your children through some of the most transnational years of their life. Here are just a few reasons adolescents today should consider therapy.

Why Today's Adolescents Need Therapy

Time of change. Adolescents experience a lot of change. Between puberty and the process of self discovery, teens need guidance during this transitional period. Around the teen years, mood disorders start to appear such as depression and anxiety. A counselor helps walk them through this time of change and better understand themselves and their changing mind and body.

Stress. Today’s teens are more stressed than other generations. The pressures that schools and peer groups cause stress and damage teens. Our counselors help cope with stressful situations teens go through from school to social life.

Isolation. The fear of isolation is very strong among teens today. Isolation is damaging to teens. Their social skills suffer and in some cases be a leading cause of depression. Seeing a counselor allows your teen to talk with someone and address issues like isolation.

Our counselors work to provide quality care for teens to help better themselves. Not only do we work with teens, but also with the caretaker because the caretaker is the authority in a teen’s life. Therapy is a great way for teens to navigate their changing minds and bodies because it provides a safe space with an expert to guide them. If you feel your adolescent fits into any category or could use counseling, please contact us for help.

Counseling Can Help Blended Families Adjust

A blended family can be a wonderful thing. If you have just recently gotten married, for example, both you and your spouse might have brought children from previous marriages into the relationship. Even though this can be a great thing, it can require a bit of an adjustment in the beginning. Luckily, counseling can help.

Counseling Can Help Blended Families Adjust

First of all, counseling can help both children and adults determine if they are coming into the new family arrangement with any previous issues. For example, you or your spouse or one of the children could still have some lingering issues from previous divorces. Dealing with this type of thing on your own can be challenging, but counseling can help.

Counseling can also help you and the other members of your new blended family to communicate better with one another. When you are bringing various people into a new family arrangement, you can expect for the different personalities and feelings to make things difficult in some cases. Knowing how to communicate with everyone can be challenging, but this is something that a counselor can help you with in both one-on-one and family sessions. Once everyone is able to communicate more effectively, you are sure to notice a difference in how smoothly things go in the blended household.

If you are a part of a blended family, or if you are planning on getting married and if there will be a resulting blended family, counseling can be a good idea. If you contact us, we can tell you more about our counseling services and can help set up an appointment.

You can’t solve this alone! You need an addiction counselor today.

No one wakes up in the morning thinking “I’ll get addicted to drugs today.” Or “I’ll become an alcoholic this morning.” Honestly an addict does not typically see themselves as an addict. They certainly don’t see their behavior as problematic. Often times the addict does not attempt to seek help until they hit rock bottom. This is why early intervention by an addiction counselor, and outside support is so important.

You can't solve this alone! You need an addiction counselor today.

I can stop any time I want:

This is one of the lies an addict will tell you regarding the alcohol they drink, or the drugs they use. They see themselves as in control of their lives. Actually the addiction is controlling their lives. If they can stop anytime they want why don’t they stop now? It should be easy right? An addiction counselor can see through the lies. This is exactly what the person needs.

The root cause:

Typically there is a root cause behind a person’s addictive behavior. How did the person get to this point? What started it? Although there is a physical component to addiction, the psychological component is much stronger. What pain is the person trying to numb with drugs? What happened to make a person go this far? Fixing the root cause is vital to recovery.

Strong support system:

In order to recover, and stay in recovery, a strong support system is necessary. The support system must be dedicated to the person’s recovery. It is very important that those who are helping an addict recover do not enable the addict. Some will enable the person thinking they are being loving. The addiction counselor can provide an outside perspective that can avoid, and stop any enabling from happening. In turn this will help the addict recover.

Addiction is a destructive disease. However, recovery is possible! If you or a loved one struggles from addiction contact us today. Our professional counselors will help guide you through the path of recovery and long-term health.

Do you suffer from social anxiety?

What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety is a phobia that causes a persistent and debilitating fear of people. But social anxiety doesn’t stop there. It can be largely anticipatory, and it’s very common for those suffering from the disorder to experience severe anxiousness for weeks leading up to a social event. While anxiety before public speaking is common, the degree to which social anxiety impairs a person is to a far greater extent than that experienced by a non-sufferer.

Do you suffer from social anxiety?

In this hyper-social world, having something like social anxiety is extremely impairing. Relationships, career trajectories, recreational activities, all of these things are much more difficult for someone currently under the uncertain cloud of social phobia.

The symptoms

The primary symptom of social anxiety is an ongoing fear of social situations. The symptoms arising from this disorder can be mental or physical in nature. Mental aspects of the disorder essentially amount to persistent anxiety over a variety of social contexts, such as public speaking, group activities, dating, etc. One common myth is that after enough exposure to social situations the anxiety will remit. This is usually not the case, especially if the underlying self-esteem issues go untreated.

Social anxiety isn’t just a cluster of mental symptoms. Physical symptoms are usually present too, such as sweating and light-headedness, or nausea. Not only are these physical aspects impairing in themselves, but someone with social anxiety might develop a higher level of avoidance due to fear of the physical symptoms. Who wants to experience a racing heart right before they give a speech?

How counseling can help

Treating anxiety disorders with talk therapy has proven to be highly effective. A treatment method known as cognitive-behavioral therapy is widely used. CBT is a group of cognitive exercises that the patient can use to undo the negative and harmful associations that have been fueling the anxiety. What is the therapist’s role? A trained therapist is able to help the patient utilize these exercises for maximum benefit, and to gently steer the patient away from creeping negative or anxious thoughts. Since positive change takes time and multiple approaches, a well-trained therapist is just what the doctor ordered.

If you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, please contact us.

5 Tips to Move from Crisis to Stability in Your Relationship

Are you a couple in crisis? At Family Restoration Counseling services, we’re here to help you through difficult moments like these. It takes time, commitment, and dedication to move from crisis to stability.

5 Tips to Move from Crisis to Stability in Your Relationship

Start with these 5 tips to help you renew your love and transition through this difficult period in your life as a stronger couple:

  1. Go to couples counseling. A counselor is a professionally trained neutral party with tools and resources to help you and your partner navigate the stress and hardship of your relationship. You will work on communication, conflict, and compromise, as well as other skills you may need to strengthen. Also, attending counseling shows your partner you are dedicated to making the relationship work.
  2. Spend time together – alone. As a couple in crisis, spending alone-time together may be difficult. However, it’s necessary to carve out special date nights or outings just for the two of you. Turn off your cellphone. Lock your doors. Ignore the internet. Spending time together strengthens your relationship and will remind you what you love about your partner.
  3. Learn their love language. We all have different love languages. Get to know your partner’s love language, and use that to make him or her feel extra special. If you have different love languages, this may take research and thinking outside the box. That’s okay…it shows how much you truly care.
  4. Try something new. Trying something new is a great way to bond, laugh, and spend time together all at the same time. You’ll make new memories and practice communication and conflict management skills you are working on with your counselor.
  5. Say the words.Yes, you love each other. That’s why you’re committed to counseling and spending the time to renew your marriage bonds. Even when it’s difficult, make sure you remind your partner of your love every day.

It is key to remember that all relationships take work, and your relationship isn’t doomed to failure just because you’re going through crisis. Together, you can work through anything. Contact us today for more information on how we can help in difficult times.