The aphorism ‘blood is thicker than water’ reminds us to prioritize family. When it appears that people choose drugs and alcohol over family doubt reverberates through the deepest truths of human bonds. We become so focused on how someone could choose drugs and alcohol over family that we miss the bigger question: Why is someone in a position to choose drugs and alcohol over family in the first place? Often, people are issued an ultimatum something to the effect of: “It’s us, or the booze.” Rather than reflecting a corrosive character defect in the so-called “addict,” the answer to why people choose drugs and alcohol over family may instead lie, at least in part, at the hands of those who issued the ultimatum in the first place.Read More
Rejection—it’s so personal. It sticks to our souls. It does not respond to reason, and is not easily dislodged from our hearts. We can try to talk ourselves out of the indictment that comes with it, but the words we use are mostly ineffective, reinforcing our shame. I have experienced all sorts of rejection. I still feel the sting of certain family members not ever returning my phone calls and good friendships that are no more. I have heard things like, “you are not a good fit for our small group” or “since you homeschool, we didn’t think you’d fit in with us.” These words pierce. There is a finality about them. They do not leave room for further conversations.Read More
All healthy relationships are based on respecting other’s rights. When we respect each other’s rights, we are recognizing our boundaries. Boundaries are guidelines that define what we feel are permissible ways for other people to treat us. Most of the time we don’t acknowledge or think about it, but these boundaries operate beneath the surface of our relationships – even how much physical space we keep between us, when it is appropriate to touch someone, when and what favors to ask someone, what kind of information to share with another, etc. Some of these things are embedded in our family and cultural background, explaining the importance of understanding expectations when we deal with people from backgrounds different from ours. But even when we are dealing with shared expectations, problems can arise.Read More
We’re imperfect beings. It’s hard enough to forgive someone else when they hurt you, but how are you doing with forgiving yourself? Many of us are terrible at letting go of all our self hatred. We replay our regrets so often they become constant reminders of our perceived failures. We become our own worst enemy by dragging ourselves down in a cycle of self-criticism. It’s defeating; it’s unhealthy; it leads to relapse.Read More
The cycle of addiction is created by changes produced in brain chemistry from substance abuse. It is perpetuated by physiological, psychological and emotional dependency. This cycle of addiction continues unrestrained, until some type of intervention occurs (self-intervention, legal, family, etc.).
What Is the Cycle of Addiction?Read More
An addictive personality is a set of personality traits that make an individual more prone to develop addictions to drugs, alcohol or other habit-forming behaviors. Know someone who might have one?
Here are a couple of red flags to look for…Read More
While I worked at a nonprofit geared toward rehabilitating ex-prisoners, the organization paid one of our graduates to do some renovation work on a transition house. He hadn’t been incarcerated for a drug offense and, to our knowledge, didn’t have a drug or alcohol problem. He apparently hid it well; once the check was in his hands, he disappeared without doing the work. The last we heard of him, he’d blown all the money on drugs and was homeless.Read More
I was told when I got home, I went right upstairs into my bedroom. A few minutes later, my mom and grandmother heard a loud thump. When they came to check on me, I can only assume they weren’t expecting to find what they found. After all, I was supposed to be their golden child. I was hiding my addiction so well – or so I thought. What they found wasn’t their golden child who was known for making everyone laugh and being fiercely protective of his siblings.Read More
The concept of rock bottom implies that if I want to change a pattern of addictive behavior then I must lose everything and hit the lowest level possible before I will change. Beyond the disheartening message that I have to destroy and ruin everything that matters to me, there is an obvious logical fallacy in the notion that truly losing everything will motivate much other than an intensification of self-destructive behaviors. It is precisely when everything is lost that substances are at their most appealing. The intensity of substance use is a direct reflection of the intensity of pain, so adding more pain and loss by pushing someone towards rock bottom is not only unlikely to be helpful, it is likely to be harmful.Read More
These days, clinical treatments can be delivered effectively in a setting that you find engaging. There are many stereotypes about therapy and counseling. When you think about drug and alcohol treatment, you might picture yourself facing a therapist on an opposing couch, or sharing your worries and concerns in a circle of other people in early recovery. While those are common experiences, quality treatment centers provide an array of therapy options so that you can choose one that’s right for you.Read More