Category Archives: Addiction

I Went to a Recovery Home in 1977 and It Gave Me the Foundation I Needed to Succeed

16097484060_3c9e39aa47_zIn 1977, being 3 months sober, I had an emotional crisis of feeling that I was on a high cliff and being afraid that I would fall or jump. It was a Sunday and I talked to AA members all day. Everyone I called was home and they helped me to decide that I wasn’t going crazy as I thought but that I needed more help in my recovery. Maranatha Home in Jacksonville, North Carolina was my salvation.

When I went to rehab, I had been sober for 3 months so had no need of detox. I also had been going to daily AA meetings so my rehab started with a foundation. I only drank alcohol. Today’s rehab client often comes to rehab needing detox from several substances. So much of the 30 day program is spent detoxing the client.

With a 90 day program many more benefits can be achieved. I have been supporting Chris Fiore’s work. His “Anthony’s Act” is a grassroots movement to get rehab extended to 90 days. His Facebook page has a petition I signed. The petition states: “We are asking congress to amend the Affordable Care to provide for a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment up to a maximum of One Hundred Eighty (180) days per year at a facility certified to provide such care by the Secretary of Health of the state in which it is located. Let’s give those suffering with addiction a real chance at recovery.”

Dr. David Sack has listed the benefits of having a longer rehab in an article he wrote in 2012 for Psych Central. The article was titled, “How Long is ‘Long-Term’ Drug Rehab?” He lists these benefits–

Detox Doesn’t Dominate. Depending on the individual and their drug history, detox may take up a significant portion of a 30-day drug rehab program. And while detox is a critical part of the process, it is not in itself treatment. With a longer treatment stay, clients still have several weeks or more following detox to engage in the deeper work of recovery.

Healing the Brain. Research shows that the addicted brain can heal over time, but months or years of drug abuse cannot be undone in a few weeks. Brain scans of recovering addicts show that changes are still taking place three months or more after treatment. This is why many recovering addicts report clouded thinking, skills deficits and other issues even months into recovery.

Practical Application of New Skills. Going to drug rehab and “stepping down” to lower levels of care (such as outpatient treatment or a sober living environment) ensures that clients are not thrown back into society prematurely, nor are they sequestered away from the real world without opportunities to test their skills. With gradual increases in freedom, clients can begin applying their new skills with guidance and support from their treatment team.

New Habits Take Root. Recovery requires a change of lifestyle, not just putting an end to drug or alcohol use. It takes anywhere from three weeks to three months to form new habits. Recovering addicts who have already begun to integrate new habits into their daily lives, such as support group meetings, sober recreation, meditation, exercise and other recovery-related activities, will be able to make a smooth transition into life outside rehab.

Living the Relapse Prevention Plan. Every client should leave treatment with a relapse prevention plan. But the person who leaves treatment not only knowing their relapse triggers but also having experience working through them in real time will be that much more secure in their recovery. Spending time in intensive outpatient treatment or a sober living environment provides this type of real-world exposure along with ongoing structure and support. As a result, recovering addicts know how to deal with drug cravings, stress and other common causes of relapse and feel comfortable reaching out to their sponsor, self-help group or loved ones for support.

Healing Relationships. Long-term treatment allows clients to address the complexities of family dynamics, which often contributed to addictive patterns, and begin couples or family counseling, if needed.

Identify and Treat Co-Occurring Disorders. Roughly half of people suffering from drug and alcohol addictions also struggle with other addictions (e.g., sex, food, gambling) and/or mental health disorders (such as depression, anxiety, trauma and eating disorders). These co-occurring disorders do not always come to light early in treatment. In fact, it is often only after intensive therapy and 30-plus days of treatment that these issues surface. Left unidentified and untreated, these underlying problems often lead to relapse.

“Perhaps the greatest testament to the efficacy of long-term treatment can be found in drug rehabs for professionals. Physician health programs, for example, have documented five-year abstinence rates of 79 percent and return to work rates of 96 percent, with virtually no evidence of risk or harm to patients from participating physicians. These programs involve comprehensive treatment followed by long-term monitoring and support that often lasts upwards of five years. This model, which has proven effective for professionals in safety-sensitive occupations, is likely equally effective for others.” Photo credit.

Loving an Addict Means Learning Self-Control Over the Powerlessness

613445810_2249c2d193_z“Don’t evaluate your life in terms of achievements, trivial or monumental, along the way.  If you do, you will be destined to the frustration of always seeking out other destinations, and never allowing yourself actually to be fulfilled…Instead, wake up and appreciate everything you encounter along your path. Enjoy the flowers that are there for your pleasure.  Tune in to the sunrise, the little children, the laughter, the rain and the birds.  Drink it all in…Drink it all in…there is no way to happiness; happiness IS the way.”                                         Wayne Dyer

1.  Parent 2 Parent: Another ER Visit!

“I wasn’t going to open the letter but couldn’t stop myself. I did receive another letter from an attorney indicating my son has another pending arrest warrant. I am proud of myself for not going online and checking for outstanding warrants etc.”

“In addition, I have noticed that I have not been receiving any messages from friends telling me how sick my son looks. I am pleased I don’t get those calls but it also indicates he is avoiding them which also indicates a past pattern of his chronic addiction.”

“After seventeen years of watching his addiction in action I can usually predict when he will reach his bottom. If he doesn’t end up in jail or the hospital he will seek a homeless shelter; perhaps another try with the Salvation Army ARC program. He’ll appear to be doing good and will convince me and others, including himself, that this time he is through with drugs. Then within nine months he will relapse. His disease is so predictable.”

“Of course, I know that He is in God’s hand and recovery is possible for anyone, even my son!”

“In prayer for my son and your child also.”

2. Borderline Families: “Reevaluating”:

“I never came to her unbidden. Sobbing into the phone while walking across the bridge back to Manhattan, keys to her apartment lost, hungover and scared – I didn’t come. I came after the the quiet calls. The ones where her voice was barely audible and sadness seeped into the phone lines making it almost unbearable to hold the phone to my ear. Still, I always waited for her to ask for help.”

“What I didn’t know then, was that my daughter was suffering with withdrawal from the psych drugs that she abruptly went off of seven-eight-nine months before. I thought at that time that she was experiencing an overflow of “mental illness”. She had headaches so severe that she cried out in pain, dizziness, and mood swings that knocked her out of any social gathering she tried to attend. She had insomnia but when she drank enough to sleep, she was plagued with horrendous nightmares. Her stomach was in an uproar; nothing she ate stayed put. She couldn’t concentrate and lost time in dissociated states.”

“During those months last fall, I got too many quiet calls. Her world seemed to be crumbling and I went scrambling to save her.”

“No parent should have to discuss suicide with their child. (Where is God?, July 5th, 2010) But, I told her on these visits that I understood. I did. The pain was just too much. Months of it. Endless rage and sorrow.”

“All the while I kept searching for help.”

“After I bowed out in January, my daughter would go for long stretches without calling my husband (she calls him “Dad”). There would be a flurry of calls concerning money once or twice a month. But, the emotional crises seemed to tapered off.”

“If you do go back and read these old post, you will see that they are written in a language I which have abandoned – the labels and descriptions presented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, devised by the psychiatric industry. The posts were written when I was firmly entrenched in the psychiatry-driven mental healthcare model. I believed that the professionals were going to deliver a cure. During all those crises, I still believed that my daughter would find relief by taking some combination of psych drugs and finding a sympathetic psychiatrist who would set her on the “right” path.”

“At the end of May, I was reading Susan Smith blog, A Journey, Gianna Kali’s Beyond Meds and had just bought Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic.  My world was about to change significantly.”

“My daughter called on May 23rd and needed to talk with me. Only me. She was not okay and she needed me. And, there I was, back in it her life in a blink of an eye. On the flight to New York I wrote a post, In Flight to New York, May 25, 2010.”

What unfolded was tragic but she and I were different this time. I had been reading about the concept of the neuroplasticity of the brain. I was able to see the benefits of months without me being involved in her life. She had definitely built a life with friends. She had had occasional work as a model or art director and despite being too jangled to answer it, her phone (once we replaced it) rang and rang.”

“So, what happened? Was all that hard work at making a life dashed by a fit of uncontrollable anger and anxiety? I want to believe that she can build on what what she has worked so hard to achieve. But, like in May, it seems so dire. It looks hopeless.”

“Cutting off contact works until it doesn’t. Then what?”