Tag: Addiction Recovery

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

People do not become addicts overnight. Instead there are four specific stages that result in the disease. Understanding the signs that occur when someone becomes addicted helps you understand, cope and, hopefully, assist the individual. The more you know about substance abuse issues, the more likely you will be successful in communicating with the addict and getting him/her into a recovery program.

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

Experimentation is the first stage of the process by which someone becomes addicted to a legal or illicit substance. You might notice that your friend or family member stays out later, socializes with new people and is not forthcoming with details of his nights out. Many times there are no noticeable signs of a developing addiction, and, for many people, this experimentation does not result in abuse.

Regular use of a mind-altering substance marks the second stage of addiction. This consistent use begins to show itself in patterns as it becomes ritualized. At this point, your loved one might engage in risky behavior such as driving while under the influence of a substance. He often reacts irritably, becomes less dependable and make some poor decisions.

When the person reaches the third stage of addiction, he continues to use/abuse despite serious ramifications. His regular use increases to the point that he is unable to function well in society. He might be arrested in connection to his substance use/abuse (for impaired driving or possession). This is the stage in which close personal relationships dissolve, loss of employment often occurs and abusers result to extreme means to obtain their drug of choice.

In the fourth and final stage, physical addiction is apparent with the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not able to obtain the drug in a specific time period. The addict continues to compulsively use despite continued and worsening ramifications of that use. Significant changes have occurred in the user’s brain and body. Attempts to abstain completely from the drug can result in death due to chemical dependency. Comprehensive medical treatment is necessary at this time for the addict to successfully recover. Contact us to discover helpful therapy and counseling programs in the Greater Dallas area.

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.

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.