making amends

Making Amends: How to Rebuild Relationships after Battling Addiction

If you’ve struggled with addiction, you’re not alone. Millions of people are fighting that battle alongside you, and you’re the last person who needs to be told what a hard battle it is. The good news is that addiction is a treatable condition. With proper care, attention, determination, and resilience, you can overcome addiction. If you’ve managed to do this, congratulations are in order.

Unfortunately, there’s also a harsh truth awaiting on the other side of that journey. It’s entirely possible that some people were hurt by your struggle with addiction. As important as your recovery is, it’s not enough to mend those wounds all on its own.

At the Discovery Institute, we want you to know everything about addiction. Below, we will be talking about making amends. First, we will cover the importance of making amends and setting boundaries, then we will talk about the steps this process will normally take.

For that, you’re going to have to make an active effort, but that’s easier said than done. In order to help guide you in the process, we’ve put together this guide on how to make amends and rebuild your relationships.

The Importance of Making Amends

If you struggle with addiction and are seeking to make amends with family members or friends, sometimes it seems like a crazy thing to do. You may be asking why you would want to see these people again; it is not only hurtful for them, it is also a difficult place for you. In the following piece, we will be looking at the whole process of making amends, how to do it, and what to do afterward. However, it is important before this to understand why making amends is so important.

One of the hardest aspects of addiction is that, since it is a disease, your brain is literally rewired to chase the high. Substances change a person’s memory, motivation, and pleasure centers, so that they may no longer feel normal without the substance. Amends come in here. It can be difficult because although you “were not yourself” when you did the harmful things throughout your addiction, it’s important to accept that your actions affected others in a negative way.

An important aspect of the recovery journey is engaging the paradox that you were suffering from a disease and, at the same time, you played a part in the issues that came as a bi-product of an addictive lifestyle. Acknowledging your agency in this while accepting that you cannot control these actions because of the substances, is the first step in many programs for recovery.

The Benefits of Making Amends After Addiction

Beyond this, there are many benefits when it comes to making amends. Making amends is somewhat of a threshold; it shows that you are trying to leave behind the life you used to live and move into a new way of life. It is easy to say that you are moving on. However, if you have not helped people to heal from what happened during your struggle with addiction, then that part of you still exists to that person.

Feelings of guilt, depression, stress, or past memories of trauma are all triggers for addiction. This is why making amends is so important in the recovery process. It allows you to feel a sense of relief. But, it also allows you to help others feel a sense of relief. This will help you to build a community and establish healthy relationships with those around you. Having people by your side who have forgiven you will also give a great sense of accountability. They will be there to remind you that you are not the same person. Doing this provides a great break with your past self, helps to facilitate a sense of relief, and can give you a great group to rally around.

Lastly, making amends leads to understanding. There is a ton of stigma around addiction. This is due to a misunderstanding. When you make amends, when you apologize, it usually will lead to understanding. The person may ask why you hurt them, which will lead to an educating discussion on addiction. Making amends is part of ending the stigma.

The Importance of Boundaries

A huge part of making amends is setting boundaries. It is important to ask the question “will this bring hurt to the person or to me?” Sometimes, it is just too painful for the other person to have you back in their life. Even if you have the best intentions, it may be too hard to see you. Having you back in their lives, at least for right now, may be too painful for their well-being. On the other hand, you may not be able to handle seeing this person. These memories could be traumatic, or they could be a toxic person in your life. In these situations, you need to set boundaries. Make amends with the person in your own way, but keep your needs and theirs in mind.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) use the twelve steps formula. They have been proven to be extremely successful and helpful for alcoholics and narcotic addicts. They center around the idea that what is discussed in the meetings stays in the meetings. It may not surprise you to know that an integral part of the twelve steps involves making amends. Steps 8 and 9 focus on making amends.

Step 8 states: “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”. Step  9 says: “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

These steps are incredible ways to recover, and their integration of making amends should reveal the importance. Consider seeking out a meeting. They are very open and welcoming places. A crucial part of AA and NA is being a judgment-free area. Do not worry about feeling judged there, because everyone is united around recovery.

Confronting Reality

Now that you’ve beaten your addiction, it’s understandable that you’d want to move forward and never look back. The problem with that is that it’s impossible to correct your mistakes if you don’t confront them.

Usually, your family and friends are the first to suffer when addiction reaches its full force. While you may have moved on, it’s very possible the echoes of that pain are still affecting them. So, as difficult as it is, you need to have a firm understanding of how your addiction affected the people around you. This doesn’t mean you need to dwell on the past and feel guilty. But it does mean that you’re going to have to look your wrongdoings head-on. By facing the reality of your past, you better equip yourself to deal with your present and future. 

Lead With an Apology

If you’ve ever received a heartfelt apology, you know there are few things more healing than that. This is why it should be the very first step you take when you reach out to your loved ones.

Even if you feel like a totally different person than you were while suffering from addiction, people need proof that you’ve changed. What better way to start than by letting them know you have genuine remorse for your actions?

With all that in mind, you should prepare yourself for the very real possibility that they’re not ready to hear your apology yet. Sometimes, you’ll be met with resentment and anger even upon saying sorry. Other times, they won’t be ready to talk with you at all. The only thing you can do is honor and respect those wishes. It can be hard to hear, but it’s likely that they’re working through some very complex emotions, just like you are. Give them the time they need to process everything.

It’s also important that you take the lead on this. Don’t wait to be called out for your past behaviors before apologizing for them. Complete honesty is crucial during every step of this process.

Furthermore, be detailed in your apology. Explain exactly what it is you’re apologizing for. The purpose of this step is to make sure you understand what you’ve done wrong.

Step two is confronting those things out loud. An apology won’t mean much if it’s vague and general. By being specific, you show the person that you have a clear understanding of how you hurt them. Sometimes, the apology comes with a more material aspect. If you’ve stolen money or goods from someone, it’s only right that you pay them back. This shows that your apology is more than empty words.

Demonstrate Your Change through Actions

Remember that time thing we talked about? Well, it also applies here. One of the biggest aspects of rebuilding your relationships is establishing trust through your actions, and that is going to take some time. The simple fact is that your loved ones may not trust you due to the effects of addiction on your life. Your duty now is to show them that your change is genuine and lasting. 

Staying sober isn’t easy for everyone. Post-recovery life comes with its share of hurdles and bumps in the road. But don’t let them throw you off course. Your family and friends need to be shown that this new you is here to stay. 

This ties back into making tangible reparations for your mistakes wherever applicable. Your actions need to be well-intentioned and consistent in order to be meaningful. Again, this process is going to take time. Rebuilding trust isn’t easy but by staying strong and unwavering, you’ll strengthen those bonds again.

Communication is Key

Addiction aside, the truth is that almost everyone could do learn to communicate better. For you, it’s going to be doubly important. As much as this process is about your loved ones, it’s also about you. Healing is a two-way street. That’s why you have to keep the channels of communication open at all times.

Explain what you’re going through. That doesn’t mean you should make it all about you, but strive to be honest about how you’re feeling. Suppressing your feelings does no one any favors. Learning to communicate healthily about those feelings will go a long way to righting old wrongs. This also means that you need to check in on others. Make sure to stay involved and interested in what they’re experiencing. None of this works without communication. Keep the conversation going.

Recovery is a Continual Journey

The main thing to remember here is that recovery is an ongoing process that you’re going to be pursuing for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be this hard. It just means that the work on yourself and maintaining your relationships shouldn’t cease. Keep striving for more and never stop trying to better yourself.

If you haven’t made it to this stage yet but are still ready to beat your addiction, you deserve a fresh start. Don’t hesitate to look into this excellent rehab program to provide that extra assistance you need.

Allow Us to Help

It is not too late. Whether you are ready to make amends, or you are thinking about taking your first steps toward recovery, getting professionally treated is the most important part of your journey. We want you to know that you have options. At the Discovery Institute, we are always ready to hear from you. Whether you have questions, need help immediately, or just want to talk about something going on, consider reaching out today. We are always here for you. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and the recovery community. Get help today by contacting us here at Discovery! 

References

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

Court-Ordered Drug Assessment

A Guide to Getting Your Court-Ordered Substance Abuse Evaluation

A substance abuse evaluation helps to measure the level of addiction in an individual. It also assists professionals in creating an effective treatment plan that can meet the specific needs of each person. This helps to ensure that these individuals have the best chance at a successful recovery.

Battling a substance abuse problem or addiction can have severe, even fatal, consequences. It can cause damage to the mind, body, mind, and relationships. When an addict suffers from uncontrollable substance use, they often get into dangerous situations and put their health at risk. When someone reaches this point and needs help, they will usually go through a substance abuse evaluation. This may be either by choice or court-ordered.

Once a person is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), they will most likely be court-ordered by their state to complete a substance abuse evaluation. Some states require this evaluation as a prerequisite to participating in programs, such as diversion or deferred sentencing, that allow the offender to avoid a DUI conviction.

Usually, a certified state agency administers substance abuse evaluations. The overall purpose, process, and types of assessments and treatments tend to be uniform. But each state has its own requirements. 

Here are some other examples of circumstances or convictions in which a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation may be required:

  • Minor in Possession (MIP)
  • Arrested for possession of drugs or alcohol
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Public intoxication
  • Using a false ID

Purpose

The substance abuse evaluation identifies the possible presence and the extent of the offender’s drug or alcohol problem. It also allows for the development of a treatment plan that addresses the individual’s specific problem and circumstances.

Some essential points of the purpose of a substance abuse evaluation are:

  • To determine if the individual has a drug or alcohol addiction
  • To assess the level of severity of the substance use or addiction
  • Discover if there are any co-occurring conditions, including physical or mental health concerns, or other drug use
  • To measure the extent to which the individual’s substance use affects their life
  • To provide an overview of the person and their particular circumstances so that the treatment can best suit their needs for recovery

After a person is arrested for a DUI, the court might require the individual to go through a substance abuse evaluation during the criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings will differ by state. Some require the completion of a theft evaluation before sentencing. In these cases, the substance abuse evaluation will impact how a judge sentences an offender. It can often result in a reduction, elimination, or increase of penalties that would otherwise be imposed. On the other hand, other states require the evaluation to take place within a specified period post-sentencing as a condition of probation, or part of a diversion, deferred sentencing, or similar program.

Process

Generally speaking, the process of substance abuse evaluations includes two separate sections. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that the parts of this process are screening and assessment.

A court-ordered substance abuse evaluation will generally consist of a detailed interview with a treatment provider. The provider will then review the offender’s history, regarding the substance, criminal history, driving record, and arrest report. The offender may also need to provide a drug and alcohol urinalysis screening.

Screening

A screening tool is not the same as an assessment. Screening for substance use is one of several tools that can help to identify if further evaluation is necessary. Only a qualified professional should analyze the results of all screenings and assessments.

Before intake, treatment providers will perform a detailed screening to determine the presence, scope, and severity of a person’s substance abuse issues. Several trained professionals administer the screenings. (This may include social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals.) The screening process will often consist of direct, yes-or-no questions. In some cases, patients will start this process online. The purpose of the screening process is to look for:

  • The specific type of substance
  • The existence or threat of substance use disorder (SUD)
  • If preliminary interventions would be helpful to prevent the onset of addiction
  • The length of time the prospective patient has used drugs or alcohol

Screening Methods

Some commonly used resources in the substance abuse screening process include the Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI), Substance Abuse Subtle Screening (SASSI), CAGE questionnaire, Brief Screener for Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs (BSTAD), and Tobacco, Alcohol, and other Drugs (TAPS).

AUI – This is a screening tool intended for supposed alcohol abuse only. The questions take feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyle into consideration. Despite the questioning in this method, AUI’s potentially fatal flaw is the need for transparency.

SASSI – This is a self-reporting tool that is easy to take, administer, and score. This type of screening looks deeper into the psychological side of substance use. It assesses the responses as well as how the answers are given. It screens for openness, defensiveness, and aggressiveness. This helps to determine if an individual has a substance abuse problem. It has scientific evidence to show that it has 93 percent accuracy when diagnosing substance dependence.

CAGE –  This tests for alcohol misuse using four simple questions. It is brief and non-invasive. For accuracy, it is vital for the person answering the questions to be truthful.

BSTAD – This screening method is for teens and adolescents. It is a self-assessment that individuals can take online with or without a clinician present. A professional should interpret the results from this assessment.

TAPS – This a versatile screening tool that provides a more in-depth screen.  It can be taken online or done face-to-face. It explores recent and past substance abuse habits.  A professional reviews the results.

Assessment

The assessment part of the substance abuse evaluation process is more detailed and is mainly based on the screening results. Individuals will answer questions to identify the exact nature of their substance use what specific factors caused its development and continuation of usage. 

The assessment is complete once a substance use disorder has been identified, and any other co-occurring associated mental health conditions, lifestyle factors, and medical issues. An experienced professional should conduct the assessment. This is because professionals have the skill to be more in-depth and can make direct, informed decisions about treatment.

Some of the common resources used in modern substance abuse evaluations include the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV) and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). In some circumstances, substance abuse assessments can use input from family or loved ones for accurate results.

DIS-IV –  This type of interview administers a structured set of questions developed by knowledge acquired from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

ASI – This is a semi-structured interview that showcases recent and lifetime use habits. Itis extensive and used as a standardized tool to test individuals entering rehabilitation. During this interview process, the administrator will consider medical history, substance use, any time in custody. The administrator will also consider the person’s employment status, their relationship and familial statuses, and mental health.

Recommendation for Treatment

Depending on the interview, supporting documentation, and screening results, after a patient has completed their court-ordered evaluation, the treatment provider will usually recommend a customized care plan. The plan they recommend will address the individual’s specific needs. This includes things such as whether a patient will benefit from inpatient or outpatient care. They can also determine if they need or are eligible to receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and more.

A range of people trained in addiction may process the components of this procedure. A social worker, counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor or nurse, will evaluate the tests and interviews. The medical professional will ask questions about the person’s health history, any past and present drug and/or alcohol use, the manner and behaviors in which substance use affected their life, and any history of past treatments for these concerns. A physical may be necessary if a physician administers the evaluation.

Typically, the individual has to pay for the costs of the evaluation and the treatment program. The evaluation fees will vary by each state, but the price is usually around $100 to $150. Individuals make this payment directly to the agency that did the evaluation.

You should not be afraid to find out if you or someone close to you needs help with a drug or alcohol addiction. If a substance abuse disorder has affected your life, consider taking a substance abuse evaluation as soon as possible. This action can determine the right treatment for you. Identifying substance use disorder is a crucial first step in overcoming the disorder and having success in long-term recovery.


If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery from substance abuse, please contact us here at Discovery Institute. We will work to help you leave addiction in your past and move forward in your life.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Therapy

Relapse prevention therapy is treatment designed to identify the reasons, behaviors, and outcomes of relapse in a person during the aftercare stage of addiction treatment. Being able to understand and prepare for relapse is imperative to addiction recovery. Relapse prevention therapy armors newly sober individuals with the self-confidence and knowledge they need to live out their normal lives without fear of relapse.

We at the Discovery Institute want you to know that it is not too late. We are always here for you, and want you to be as educated as possible. Below, we will be discussing relapse prevention therapy. This kind of treatment is especially important because recovery is never a “one and done” ordeal. Recovery is a lifelong journey that we want to be a part of with you.

The Dangers of Relapse

Many people who are in recovery and some professionals in the industry look at relapse as an unavoidable part of addiction recovery. The rate of relapse is high, so being prepared and informed about relapse is of growing importance. Many overdose deaths happen right after relapse.

Tolerance is when an addict can use a high dose of a drug or alcohol because their body has grown accustomed to it. After detoxification and elimination of the drug circulation throughout the body, tolerance decreases. When a relapsing addict takes the amount of drug or alcohol they were used to before sobriety, their bodies no longer are able to handle it. High overdose rates occurring post-relapse give an addict a responsibility to know what to do in relapse situations.

Identifying Commonalities in Relapse

Since relapse rates are so high, there have been studies on the process of relapse. Behaviors seen before relapse are usually similar. Because of these similarities, they are also avoidable through relapse prevention therapy. Three situations most commonly seen directly before relapse are social pressure, self-conflict, and a decreased emotional state.

Effective coping responses and behaviors are a necessary defense against these high-risk relapse situations. Relapse prevention therapy gives individuals the tools they need in order to cope with these high-risk situations. We will now discuss the four stages of relapse. It is important to know if a relapse is coming so that you can identify it and consciously avoid it.

Stage 1: Emotional Relapse

The first stage of relapse is the emotional stage. Some refer to this as the internal stage of relapse. Characterized in this stage are events, whether external or internal, that will affect the person’s life. One aspect of this is change. When a person’s life has a drastic change (break-up, loss of a loved one, getting fired, etc.,) they may feel internal pressure and stress. Stress is another large part of the internal stage.

Also, what begins to happen internally is the individual will realize they crave the substance. Relapse prevention therapy must take into account the idea of denial. Denial is a common defense mechanism for addicts. Usually, when an individual begins recovery, they must learn to accept that they have lost control of their lives. Denial can often be a large inhibitor in place of acceptance. However, when stage 1 of relapse occurs, denial often reactivates.

Lastly, one of the most detrimental aspects of stage 1 is P.A.W, or Post-Acute Withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal is when the individual begins to feel withdrawal effects even when they have not taken the substance in a long time.

Stage 2: Mental Relapse

In the second step of relapse, an individual’s behavior will change. A social breakdown may occur and the person will experience a loss of structure in his or her life. This is where the internal problems from step 1 begin to manifest outwardly. 

During the mental stage of relapse, individuals tend to begin thinking about their previous substance abuse. They may start to dwell on the times when they used to drink or use drugs. Individuals may begin to consider or even follow through with spending time with people who used to abuse substances with them. 

While thinking about their past lives, individuals in mental relapse may not consider the negative effects of their substance use. Instead, they may romanticize and fantasize about alcohol or drug abuse. They might simply think about the “positive” effects of substance use (i.e. euphoria, etc.) But, the unhealthy and harmful results of substance abuse may not come up in their minds.

First, a change in behavior is characteristic of stage 2. A normally calm and reserved person will appear more stressed. Another common sign is a studious individual will begin to skip classes, or a good worker will begin to miss many days on the job. Then, there is a social breakdown, in which the person may isolate themselves from their group of friends, or their behavior change becomes so detrimental that they are no longer able to participate in group activities. 

Next, there is a loss of structure. The normal routine that kept a person safe will begin to break down. This leads into step 3.

Stage 3: Loss of Control

When a person is in this stage, they lose control of their life through a loss of judgment. They experience a behavioral loss of control. A loss of judgment is when the individual begins to consider actions that are clearly detrimental to themselves or others. A behavioral loss of control is doing those things that were thought of in loss of judgment: acting irrationally without considering the consequences.

Finally, individuals in this stage of relapse may think there are no options for them. Maybe they begin to feel that their only social outlets are through parties with alcohol or drugs. This leads the individual to feel as though they have nowhere to go but relapse.

Stage 4: Physical Relapse

At the final stage is when the physical use of drugs or alcohol actually occurs. Individuals commonly think fo this stage as the definition of relapse. But, as we have discussed, relapse occurs in stages. This final stage is the only one that involves the physical use of alcohol or drugs. But, relapse prevention therapy works to help people identify the signs and stages leading to this phase. 

If you are experiencing any of these stages or you are worried you may be on track: stop and reach out to us. Below we will be discussing a few practical ways to engage in relapse prevention therapy.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

There are a number of different approaches to relapse prevention therapy. The three most commonly utilized are:

  • Coping Skills- sessions that identify high-risk situations and how to cope with them without relapse.
  • Clinical Therapy- sessions that focus on understanding the process and consequences of relapse.
  • Lifestyle Change- sessions that encourage treatment prior to relapse and a moderated lifestyle.

Coping Skills

A huge part of relapse prevention therapy is coping skills. In these times of relapse prevention therapy, it is helpful to identify your triggers. These are the thoughts, feelings, places, people, or memories that all play a part in triggering a relapse.

Part of relapse prevention therapy is identifying these triggers and asking the individual how to cope. The practice of managing triggers is an integral part of relapse prevention therapy. This is because when we are triggered, we are not ourselves. Oftentimes we cognitively know we should not relapse, but our mind is working against us. This is why it is so important to identify these scenarios and put up safeguards to prevent them.

Clinical Therapy

Therapy is one of the best ways to improve relapse prevention. It is also an incredible way to encourage growth as a person. Even if you do not struggle with addiction, consider seeing a licensed professional. Therapy is all about exposing the underlying motivations for our actions. Sometimes, events that occurred in the past affect an individual’s present-day behaviors. Part of relapse prevention therapy is identifying those emotions or thought processes that inhibit our growth. Good clinical practice helps us to identify what we need out of life to grow.

Lifestyle Change

Finally, lifestyle change involves changing one’s habits, work environments, or other surroundings so that you can prevent relapse. This could involve changing your hobbies from things that lead us to boredom or isolation, to healthy beneficial activities. For some people, lifestyle change may include relocation. It might be necessary to move to a new neighborhood, city, or even state in order to continue recovery from addiction.

For others, the biggest lifestyle change might be a change in friends. Perhaps, individuals in recovery may need to develop a new friend group full of individuals who support them and hold them accountable. It may be hard to get rid of toxic people because they were at one point your friends. However, regardless of how they are toxic, you need the influence of people who build you up, as opposed to tearing you down.

Seeking Relapse Prevention Therapy

At the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we offer relapse prevention programs for all of our clients. We understand the need for knowledge and preparation of relapse. Whether you are seeking a detox program for the first time or you have relapsed, we can help! Our relapse prevention therapy programs can aid in your recovery journey. If you have any questions about our relapse prevention therapy or any of our other programs, our team is here to help. Just call us today for more information about our services and resources.

References:

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-2/151-160.pdf

http://dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/Documents/MAT%202017/M114%20Relapse%20Prevention%20Plan.pdf 

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Alcohol Relapse Prevention and the Three Stages of Relapse

Alcohol Relapse Prevention

A common misconception about relapse is that relapse captured in a single moment of weakness. However, this isn’t true at all. Relapse isn’t an event you can pinpoint; it’s a process, and you have to fully understand it to understand relapse prevention. Specific alcohol relapse prevention techniques have been developed over time to combat each of the three stages of relapse: emotional, mental and physical. We at the Discovery Institute want to help you navigate the three stages of relapse.

The Three Stages of Relapse

Below we will be discussing the three stages of relapse. However, before we begin there are a few important things we need to understand regarding addiction before we go into detail on the topic of addiction. Many people associate guilt, moral failure, and shame with relapse. This only serves to increase relapse and decrease the chances of recovery. Hopefully, the following discussion will educate you and help you understand addiction better.

The Disease Model of Addiction

Before we can properly understand relapse, we need to better understand how addiction works. The thing about addiction is that many assume it is a choice. “Just stop,” or “you can quit anytime you want to,” are common phrases. This leads to the assumption that recovery is a sheer amount of willpower. This, unfortunately, is uneducated and harmful for individuals who are struggling with addiction. It also prevents individuals from developing a proper understanding of how relapse works and how to avoid it.

Our brains are wired by evolution to crave things that make us happy. The sweetest fruit was probably also the healthiest for our ancestors. Now, with the rise of chemical modifications, that is not always the case. Yet, our brains still think that whatever produces the best sensation is best. Thus, when we indulge in these substances they produce so much chemicals our brains can hardly keep up, and then we crash. This leads the user to become dependent. Their brains are literally rewired and recircuited so that our memory, pleasure, and motivation centers do not function the same as they did before. 

The dependent person no longer feels normal without the substance, be it alcohol or narcotics. This is why many (like the surgeon general) have been led to believe addiction is not a choice but a disorder. Furthermore, since recovery is a lifelong process; addiction is a chronic disorder. This deeply changes the way we view relapse. 

Just because addiction is a chronic disease does not change our solution for it. If a person has cancer, you suggest they go to the hospital. If someone has diabetes, they should probably modify their diet. In the same way, one should not feel ashamed of their disease. Instead, they should get treatment.  Viewing addiction as a moral failure only puts another block in the way of treatment (since only 10% of addicts receive the treatment they need). It is also more effective to use this language to avoid triggers. Triggers are something that are inherently linked with the three stages of relapse, and will be discussed further in the following segment.

What are Triggers, and What Do They Have to Do With Relapse?

Triggers are the moods, emotions, thoughts, people, and situations that potentially cause us to relapse. As previously stated, they come in many forms. Different triggers fall into the different stages of relapse. However, continuing with our discussion of the disease model, it is important to understand triggers in this way. Seen through the mindset of the choice model of addiction; triggers are simply tests of willpower. While there is some truth in this, we must recognize that there is an inherent difference in the way the disease model sees triggers. The idea that addiction is a choice would assert that triggers should be overcome like the rest of addiction, just by pushing through. However, if we acknowledge that addiction is a chronic illness, then we have a more defined view of triggers. 

The three stages of relapse are usually started with our triggers. These triggers remind our brains of our dependency, thus triggering our illness to flare up. This is a radically different concept than simply pushing through. It also helps us to give a more dynamic understanding of how to manage our triggers. This will be discussed more after we talk about the three stages of relapse. 

Emotional Relapse

During an emotional relapse, you’re not necessarily considering drinking again. However, the thoughts and feelings you experience in this stage of relapse may escalate into risky behaviors that jeopardize your progress in alcohol abuse recovery. Emotional relapse can be characterized by:

  • anxiety
  • anger
  • depression
  • frustration
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • defensiveness
  • short-temperance
  • feelings of isolation
  • loneliness
  • fatigue
  • sleeplessness
  • changes in appetite

What to Do During an Emotional Relapse

Alcohol relapse prevention at the first stage requires acknowledging that your mood and behavior is changing. The best thing you can do is to take better care of yourself. By doing this, you can go on to practice successful methods of relapse prevention that might include:

  • eating a balanced, high-protein, low-sugar diet
  • getting regular exercise
  • getting a sufficient amount of sleep
  • attending support group meetings
  • surrounding yourself with supportive friends

This is a brief list, but it is possible to change our emotions using our thoughts. Since our thoughts precede our emotions, we need to rationally think the following: “I am being triggered by emotional stimulus, and I need to change my thoughts.” Perhaps you are recalling the good memories associated with addiction. It is also necessary at this part of the stages of relapse to remember the bad parts. In addition, if we are being triggered due to negative feelings of shame, depression, or anxiety; perhaps we should speak to a profession or loved one who can calm us down or comfort us in our time of need. This can be as simple as a friend from recovery, a spouse, or a family member you can trust. Failing to adjust your behavior in the event of emotional relapse will trigger the next stage: mental relapse.

Mental Relapse

A mental relapse, like an emotional relapse, does not mean that you’ve actually abandoned your sobriety. Rather, you’re thinking about it. Your mind is at war with itself at this stage. One part of you wants to pick up the bottle again, but the other part of you reminds you not to. Common indications of mental relapse include:

  • actively spending time with friends who still drink
  • constantly thinking about the people you drank with
  • constantly thinking about the places where you used to drink
  • fantasizing about drinking
  • romanticizing your past alcohol abuse
  • considering a purposeful relapse

What to Do During a Mental Relapse

If you’re putting serious thought into drinking again, you might be thinking, “just one drink won’t hurt.” But one drink usually leads to two, or three, or more.

If you find yourself having a mental relapse, tell someone about it. You can call a parent, a sibling, a friend, or someone from your support group or support system. Additionally, you can:

  • practice ways to quiet the mind, like meditation
  • pick up a new hobby, like writing, painting or music
  • find healthy ways to distract yourself, like reading a book
  • attend alcohol relapse prevention counseling sessions for advice
  • consult with your doctor to manage any potential disorders that may be influencing your recovery

One recommendation we have at the Discovery Institute for this stage of relapse is to engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The mental relapse is the stage of relapse mostly governed by thoughts; which is exactly what CBT specializes in. Alongside this, practices like Holistic Care are designed to give your mind peace, alongside your body. In this stage your mind is usually racing, and the thoughts are not your own. It is important to find a practice that centers you. You, the person, know that returning to alcohol will only cause problems. However, your brain is tricking you. That is why finding a practice that brings you back to your center of being will help you at this stage. Once you start considering drinking again, you could easily transition into a physical relapse if you don’t take any steps to address your urges.

Physical Relapse

The third and final stage of relapse is what most people think of; the conscious decision and act of drinking. Physical relapse is triggered when the early stages, emotional and mental relapse, go untreated. However, slipping up once or twice does not in any way invalidate your hard work to get sober. You can still get back on track in your personal alcohol relapse prevention plan.

What to Do After a Brief Physical Relapse

Pick up where you left off. Continue your plan and your self-care one day at a time. To avoid any future physical relapses, you should:

  • get regular exercise
  • find alternative or holistic means of managing stress, like yoga
  • cut ties with people who pressure you to drink
  • avoid places where you used to drink
  • never be afraid to ask for help

It is also important at this stage to reach out to a loved one. This person should be someone you trust who can support you in a way that helps, and does not hurt. If you have this person, they most likely are educated in how to handle an addiction. However, if you are a loved one, you may be at this page wondering what to do for someone who just relapsed. We at the Discovery Institute want to help you. We have an intervention guide that will equip you with what you need to get your loved one back on track.

How To Manage Your Triggers

Holistic Care

Holistic care focuses on treating the whole person, not only part of the illness. In regard to triggers, Holistic care can help with each of the stages of relapse. That is because (just like the stages) it focuses on the mind, the emotions, and the body. It uses alternative treatments like reiki and acupuncture and it suggests practices like meditation and yoga. Consider utilizing Holistic care in your stages of relapse.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT focuses on our thoughts. It identifies our thought patterns and has a specialist work through the ways our life, emotions, and thought patterns may lead us to poor coping mechanisms. This can be extremely beneficial as a therapy that deals with the stages of relapse. In recovery, you will have to unlearn harmful coping mechanisms and relearn a lot of ideas regarding what to do in times of need. This is because we who struggle with addiction often use alcohol or other substances to cope. CBT wants to fix that.

Finding a Community

Recovery was never a road that was meant to be walked alone. If you are struggling with addiction, you need a community that knows you and can rally around you in times of need. This can be group therapy, AA, or any of the other programs we offer groups at the Discovery Institute. It is especially helpful to go on outings with these groups. If you are struggling with the stages of relapse, consider finding a community. 

Advice from Discovery Institute

Contrary to popular belief, relapsing is actually a normal part of addiction recovery and should not be considered a failure. It is merely a block on the road to recovery— not a dead end. Relapse should be read as an indication that your treatment needs to be adjusted. Again, the stages of relapse are simply part of dealing with a chronic disease. When an illness flares up, you do not beat yourself up; you see a doctor. It is very important that instead of wallowing you seek help immediately.

Contact Us

 It is never too late to start treatment. Whether this is your first relapse or your 100th, the road to recovery is waiting for you. We at the Discovery Institute want to help you with everything going on in your stages of relapse. We have specialists available all around the clock. If you or someone you know is currently struggling through the early stages of relapse, call Discovery Institute at (844) 433-1101.

References:

https://www.healthyhkec.org/SCE14/presentations/seminar-2-talk-3.pdf 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441185/ 

resources for the elderly

You’re Never Too Old to Get Sober: Resources for the Elderly Addict

Nearly half of Americans say someone close to them is addicted to drugs.

When most think of a drug addict, they picture a drug addict as a rebellious young person or someone who’s homeless. But would you picture your senior relatives as drug addicts?

Senior drug and alcohol abuse is under-diagnosed. Unlike younger people, seniors don’t indulge in drugs and alcohol recreationally. They use substances as a coping mechanism.

Without proper help, your loved one will never recover from their addiction. Fortunately, there are help options to ensure your loved one can live their golden years drug-free.

Want to help your loved one get sober? Here are addiction resources for the elderly.

About Senior Drug and Alcohol Addiction

There are increases in senior drug and alcohol use.

There’s a variety of reasons for that. Seniors go through a lot of uncertainty during the aging process.

They’re weaker, their health is failing, they may feel loss and grief over their youth, and are nervous about losing their independence and the thought of dying.

In addition, seniors are often socially isolated, may struggle financially, and may even be the target of family politics.

All of these factors give them an excuse to drink or do drugs.

Another reason why many seniors fall into drug abuse is their myriad of prescriptions. It’s not uncommon for seniors to start abusing their prescription drugs, even combining them with alcohol and street drugs.

Seniors also receive less help than younger addicts. That’s because they don’t want the help and their loved ones can’t recognize that they have a problem.

How to Identify a Senior Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Do you suspect a loved one needs help with their addiction? First, you have to be sure they have a problem. Look for these common signs of addiction.

  • Have bouts of low and high energy
  • Suffer from sleeping issues
  • Constantly falling
  • Suffering from delirium and memory loss
  • Crave their prescription medication
  • Exhibit compulsive behavior

You should also make it a point to catch warning signs before an addiction. Here are warning signs that your loved one may develop an addiction.

  • They’re isolated
  • Complain about loneliness
  • Complain about discomfort
  • Are in constant emotional distress
  • Show symptoms of depression
  • Attempted or contemplated suicide

Unfortunately, these symptoms are very vague. Many of these signs, such as isolation and memory loss, and are “common signs of aging.”

This is why you should also look for clues such as alcohol or drugs in their home and your loved one taking ample amounts of medicine.

What Is Rehab?

Your loved one shouldn’t suffer from drug and alcohol abuse during these years. That’s why you should look into a rehab facility. Rehab is an intensive therapy center that helps the patient physically and mentally end their addiction.

Rehabs help with various duties such as detox and therapy. This helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and also helps pinpoint any mental issues that caused them to develop an addiction.

What Is Senior Rehab?

Seniors experience rehab differently than younger people. Traditional drug and alcohol detoxing processes can affect their health.

In addition, some seniors need the prescription medications they’re abusing.

What We Do Know About Addiction Treatment for Seniors

Just because senior drug and alcohol addiction are under-diagnosed doesn’t mean you can’t help a loved one suffering from an addiction. There’s plenty we know to help your loved one.

Like younger addicts, they will have to detox from the substances.

This is to ensure they don’t suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It’s essential your loved one is monitored by professionals during this detox — failing to detox or detoxing DIY can result in severe consequences to their health.

While seniors recover from detox differently than younger people, a professional can identify your loved one’s health condition and possible ailments to develop a detox plan that works for them.

In addition to physical healing, they will also participate in therapy. Different therapy programs include one-on-one therapy sessions, group therapy, family therapy, and specific programs such as the 12-step plan.

Rehab Options: Resources for the Elderly

If you think your loved one needs to attend rehab, they have many options. Here are some of the most common rehab options.

Inpatient

Inpatient rehab is one of the most common and successful types of rehab.

Your loved one will live at the rehab facility for a temporary amount of time. At the facility, your loved one will participate in addiction treatment such as detox and therapy.

In addition, many inpatient rehabs offer a chance for your loved one to socialize with other guests and staff, pursue their hobbies, and even exercise.

This type of rehab has some of the most successful results.

Outpatient

Outpatient rehab patients receive the same care as inpatient rehab patients, such as detox and therapy.

However, the patient doesn’t live at the facility. They live in a separate place, such as a loved one’s house, but they still spend hours at the treatment facility every day.

This option is mainly recommended to those who have a minor addiction issue, but seniors may experience additional benefits from outpatient rehab. This will give them the opportunity to stay and reconnect with family members.

Some senior patients may have to choose outpatient rehab if they currently live in a nursing home. If this is the case, you must speak to the home about their policies and possible travel accommodations.

Luxury Rehab

Luxury or executive rehab is a favorite choice for those in high-ranking positions.

These rehab facilities are more expensive but offer a resort-like experience.

They offer all of the same rehab procedures, and in addition offer upscale accommodations including better activities, five-star meals, and even phone and internet access (patients in traditional rehab don’t receive either phone or internet access).

Does Your Loved One Need Rehab?

There are many addiction resources for the elderly. If your senior loved one is an addict and is based in New Jersey, we specialize in senior addiction treatment.

dating a recovering addict

5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Dating a Recovering Addict

Are you falling for a recovering addict? If so, it’s okay to feel hesitant about committing at first. Addiction has many negative stereotypes that our culture pushes on us at every turn.

But it’s important to educate yourself about the truth behind addiction and what it really means to be with a recovering addict. Although dating someone in recovery comes with its own set of challenges, there’s no reason that you can’t have a successful and beneficial relationship if you do things the right way.

Are you curious to know more? Keep reading to learn the truth about addiction and what questions to ask before you start dating a recovering addict.

Let’s dive in!

Life as a Recovering Addict

When you date someone who has had a different experience in life, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from. If you’re interested in dating a recovering addict, take the time to put yourself in their shoes.

Here’s some insight into what life is like in active addiction and recovery.

What Is Addiction Like?

Addiction is a disease. Suffering from it doesn’t mean that a person is weak or selfish. Most of the time, the will to get better is not enough for a person to enter into a state of recovery.

Addiction is lonely. Addicts may lose the support of family and friends. They may even lose faith in themselves.

What Is Recovery Like?

Once an addict successfully finishes a professional recovery program, that doesn’t mean their addiction is “cured.” Recovery is a lifelong process with tons of ups and downs.

For a recovering addict, some days will be harder than others. It’s important that they continue to attend meetings and surround themselves with supportive people.

The Truth About Dating a Recovering Addict

If you fall for an addict who’s in recovery, you’ll need to make some adjustments to promote their ongoing success. Although these changes may feel like a challenge at first, remember that dating anyone may call for changes in your lifestyle.

If you enjoy consuming alcohol or other drugs, dating a recovered addict may call for a huge change in that part of your life. Although some addicts are comfortable being around substances without using them, others may feel triggered by this experience.

Remember, everyone has different needs in relationships. Whether your partner is an addict or not, you’ll always have to make changes and compromises when you start dating someone. Don’t let the challenges of dating an addict deter you from following your heart.

Now that we understand a little more about those who suffer from addiction, let’s find out which questions you should ask before you start dating someone in recovery.

1. What’s Your Dating History?

Addicts can have many different substances of choice, and they’re not always just drugs or alcohol. People can also suffer from an addiction to love or sex.

To understand if your potential partner’s addiction has affected their past relationships in any way, it’s important to ask them about their dating history. But remember, if they’re in active recovery, you shouldn’t judge them based on their past. 

2. How Long Have You Been Sober?

Someone who has been in recovery for two months will have very different needs than someone who has been in recovery for 20 years.

If you’re considering entering into a relationship with a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, it’s important to know where they are in their journey. 

3. Are You Enrolled in a Recovery Program?

As we know, professional recovery programs are the best way for addicts to heal and remain successful in recovery without relapsing. If your loved one isn’t actively enrolled in a program, they should be attending meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to continue their recovery journey.

Dating someone in AA can be a hugely beneficial experience for both parties. AA dating means that the addict will have the support of an understanding group of peers and that their partner will feel confident in their recovery process. Two addicts in a relationship can even visit meetings together.

4. What Will You Need from Me to Support Your Recovery?

Every addict has different triggers as well as different physical, emotional, and mental needs.

Some people in recovery may want their partner to have an active role in their recovery efforts, while others may want to keep that part of their life more private at first. Some people may share more about their past and others may take longer to open up.

Ask the addict in your life what they’ll need from you in a romantic relationship. Make sure you get a clear answer before you commit.

Ask yourself if you’re comfortable giving them what they need. If you doubt your ability to fully support them, be honest. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, it will only end up hurting both of you.

5. Are You Ready for a Committed Relationship?

Falling in love feels good. It gives the brain a rush of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

It’s easy to ignore our personal issues that may get in the way of a relationship in favor of these good feelings. That’s why this question is the most important one to ask not only to your potential partner but yourself as well.

If they need to focus on their recovery, they may not be ready to fully commit. And if you aren’t prepared to support them, you may not be ready either.

Before you decide to make things official, take a day or two to do some soul-searching. Once you’ve both had time to think things over, you can talk about your potential commitment.

Are You Ready?

We all have to make changes and compromises in relationships. But if you truly love someone, these adjustments should feel natural.

If you’re interested in dating a recovering addict, make sure that you’re ready to support them before you make a commitment. And ask them the five questions above to learn more about them and to make sure they’re ready, too.

Do you have questions about addiction or recovery? Or do you think your loved one may need help?

If so, contact us anytime. We’re here for you.

Comradery In Recovery

Many people who end up in substance use disorder treatment centers find themselves essentially alone. If they had relationships, their addictive behavior has severed them maybe even beyond repair. If they do have friends, it’s a high probability those friends are more like acquaintances that help find more substance to use. Sometimes, even family members will become estranged because the behaviors of an addict will more often than not break bonds of trust that typically hold a family together.

When a person enters substance use disorder treatment for their addiction, one strong aspect of a holistic approach to the recovery process involves group and family therapy. A person struggling with addiction often withdraws into themselves as a protective measure, reinforced by society’s ever-present view of drug abuse being a complete moral failure on the individual’s part. It certainly becomes more difficult to bond with other people, especially if they aren’t dealing with the same internal struggle and that struggle isn’t seen universally as an illness.

By participating in group therapy sessions, a person is in the company with others who at some level have experienced the similar feelings of isolation that comes with substance abuse, it can be very reaffirming to have understanding reflected from another person. This doesn’t necessarily mean everyone that a person might meet in group sessions will immediately become best friends for life, but it helps with being more honest about the condition. Going through the practice, so to speak, can be therapeutic itself, being honest with other people about the experiences of substance use disorder.

Even though it is not guaranteed you will make friends, a comradery of survival can develop between group members. It’s also encouraged, sometimes required, that a patient take on a sponsor, a person which will always be there for support who stays available long after the initial treatment period. In addition, sometimes the comradery that forms in a group through shared experiences can develop in a support network that exists long after the last day of treatment proper. The sponsor and other group members become one of many tools and methods for resisting relapse.

Discovery InstituteWhen participating in a group therapy session, it’s not always required to share and the amount of detail and personal experiences shared should be as comfortable as possible, but it’s definitely encouraged. The comfort of sharing can be non-existent in the beginning, but sharing and talking about feelings and experiences are often considered therapeutic, even if they’re with what might be complete strangers. Sometimes, just saying things out loud allows putting events into perspective; hearing events from a real life voice, even your own, is different from hearing that in your mind. And hearing people acknowledge that those things have happened in turn can help process these events which kicks off the real healing process.

Finding alcohol rehab and drug rehab in NJ can begin with calling the top rated drug rehab center, Discovery Institute, at 844-478-6563.

Why Moral Failings Don’t Explain Addictions

For thousands of years, humans used stories in order to explain the world around them, even those things they didn’t understand. It provided a framework with which to operate and make predictive judgments, even if it was completely inaccurate or outright false. Greek and Roman mythology attempted to explain why it rains, where mountains originated from and other aspects of the observable universe that are now, more or less, understood to not involve deities having affairs with other deities or becoming angry and reshaping the Earth in a fit of powerful rage.

Addiction is one of the parts of our world which still is largely shouldering a cultural story-based explanation, myths hinging on a narrative that people are addicts because of a moral failing on the part of the person’s parents or the individual themselves. With enough will power and a re-calibration of internalized ideals of what is important and what is not important, anyone can overcome addiction, easy as snapping your fingers and having a positive attitude. Just as the scientific method has brought us closer to understanding where mountains come from and how weather works to the point where every night a meteorologist on local television can, with a high degree of accuracy, predict what the weather will be like for the next week and even up to a months and years, addiction is understood today enough to know that morals play little to no part whatsoever.

The understanding of addiction as a moral failing of some sort lead to the spiritually focused Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group therapies which were one of the first attempts in modern history to deal with the disease nearly a hundred years ago. The methodology of AA centers around replacing the addiction with God (usually referred to as a ‘higher power’) in attempt to refocus a person’s moral compass, but over the years has shown to be far less effective than modern holistic addiction treatments in New Jersey that mix psychological behavioral therapies and with Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT) along with group and physical therapies.

Further developments in neurobiology and neuroscience have identified dopamine, a neurochemical (also referred to as a neurotransmitter), as a strong component that affects addictive behaviors regarding everything from alcohol and cocaine to social-media and gambling.

“Beginning in the 1980’s, we started doing brain imaging, and we developed cues that were associated with drug use,” says Charles O’Brien, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, who has been studying addiction since the 1960’s when drug addiction was treated as evidence of a person being a psychopath by the community. The brain imaging revealed that simply being shown objects or images of drug paraphernalia cause reactions in the brain as if the person had already used the drug.

Discovery InstituteSince then, the research has advanced far enough to identify at least one major component in the addiction illness, the aforementioned dopamine, which is also connected with other severe illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the stigma of ‘moral failings’ continues to permeate throughout the public consciousness, giving addicts a false sense of empowerment of willing away their disease or makes them reluctant to get professional treatment in an NJ detox center. Considering the biological nature of addiction, medical science shows this can be just as far fetched approach as trying to will away cancer or think ‘positive thoughts’ to heal a broken leg. Addiction doesn’t work like that and never has despite our stories and beliefs.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, a call to one of the top rate drug rehab centers in New Jersey can be the first step toward recovery. Call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563.

 

How Do Heavy Drug Addicts Recover?

Addiction is a horrible thing to be trapped in, especially as your addiction progresses and the consequences start to take a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Addiction may start out fun when it is a popularity contest lifestyle choice for many young users. However, the progression of chemical dependency and the destruction of socio-economic foundations can infect users with an attitude of pure apathy and a philosophy of nihilism. This is particularly true of mainline heroin addicts who may become so apathetic to the risks of injury that they will pick up dirty needles off the ground and engage in other criminal activity for a quick fix.

Sadly enough, our system for dealing with suffers of substance abuse disorders and dual diagnosis mental disorders is not very forgiving. Users can lose their licenses, the high school diplomas they need to enter college, and also find themselves trapped in a socio-economic class that copes by using drugs and alcohol. You can be happy living in a gutter when you are high on drugs or drunk because it doesn’t matter where you are, only how you feel inside. The longer that users stay addicted, the more difficult it is to recover and live fulfilling lives. Nevertheless, there is hope if you have faith and avoid the pitfalls that lead many to relapse.

 

The Escape for Heavy Drug Addiction

Discovery InstituteMost heavy users will tell you that they don’t even get high on drugs anymore. The great majority continue to use drugs dependently just to cope and get through life. For them, they are trapped in the lifestyle and do not have any guidance or respect for non-users to provide them with philosophies in the matter. For these users, having a wise mentor at the drug rehab centers who kicked the habit to advise them on the pitfalls and to help them figure out the way is a God-sent. We live in a very adversarial cut-throat rat race world where it is hard to find solutions because people are envious and happy to see others fail. The debt treadmill that the majority of people are on forces them to look for any opportunity to benefit themselves and to treat others coldly.

 

Many people substitute humanitarian love and cope through life by using drugs to ignore all their problems. Substance abuse can help people to make the most of the worst situations by viewing everything through a light and entertaining lens. In the end, the solution for drug addiction is for good people at a drug rehab in NJ to mentor and address every facet they faced in the transition. But, they can only win the trust of heavy users and bring them out of dire addictions by showing them humanitarian love and supporting them through every phase. Humanitarian love involves tolerance and forgiveness for the mistakes of others and treating them in every manner how you would want to be treated.

 

Call us today to schedule your evaluation. We have inpatient and outpatient rehab programs personalized to show you compassion and to build you a sturdy bridge to sober living based on the wisdom of former heavy drug addicts who quit.

 

All Addicts Need A Support Structure To Succeed in Recovery

Every addict in New Jersey, or anywhere you look requires accommodations and treatment curated specifically to their personal needs and unique struggles in order to be successful in their recovery. However, there are a few things that everyone who suffers from drug and alcohol addiction, or really any addiction at all, require to reach active recovery:

1. They need to be in the right headspace:

Everyone knows that the first successful step toward recovery is to admit to yourself that you have an addiction. If someone can’t admit to themselves that they need help, they will never accept help no matter how forcefully it is thrust upon them. The idea of seeking treatment inherently requires the consent of the person going through the steps to recovery because even if they do succeed in getting sober, if they didn’t believe they had a problem to begin with, they will continue their habits after they leave treatment. 

2. They need to seek treatment:

Once a person admits to themselves that they need help they have to take the next very difficult step of asking for help. Even though admitting to yourself that you have a problem can be demoralizing and humiliating, even if just personally, admitting to someone outside of you that you are compulsively abusing an intoxicating substance so much so that you have formed a chemical dependence to the drug can feel more than just demoralizing, in fact it can feel like one of the most raw and vulnerable moments in someone’s life.

3. They need to have a strong support system:

When someone suffering from drug and alcohol addiction takes the above steps and gets help the thing they need more than anything is a strong support structure behind them. That’s where the person’s friends and family come into play. It can be an intimidating place to be for someone. After all a friend or family member of someone suffering from addiction didn’t chose this situation and in fact, it is possible that the addiction in question has already negatively affected the friend or family member. But it is vital for them to know that while they didn’t chose the addiction, neither did the person suffering from it. Addiction is a chronic disease for which someone cannot simply turn a switch and stop using whatever substance from which they suffer a chemical dependence. Instead they must ask for help and go to treatment, come home and continue active recovery perpetually. They will never be cured. They will be facing relapse for the rest of their lives. It is a difficult journey and sometimes the only thing that helps someone through that, sometimes, demoralizing reality is a friend who is willing to listen to them vent, or a family member who listens to them talk to them at weird hours of the night because they woke up terrified and triggered. Sometimes nothing can help like a trusted friend or loved one.

 

How To Be The Best Support You Can

Discovery InstituteWhen one of your friends or family members develops a problem with drugs or alcohol it can be hard to know what to say to someone. It can be scary to watch someone you love be the puppet of a chemical dependence. It can also make someone feel depressed, heartbroken, disappointed, or even angry.  It’s okay to feel these things. It’s valid. Having someone close to you suffer from this kind of tragic disease can make you feel a lot of negative emotions. The most important thing that you can do when facing those feelings is to look at them through a lens of compassion and the awareness that addiction is indeed a disease that is incurable and that even after successful treatment the person suffering from addiction will still be an addict. They will still suffer from triggers and cravings in spite of their own desires for permanent and secure sobriety.

It can feel like it really doesn’t matter what you say, you will fail. It will either be too forward, presumptuous, or it will sound negative and judgemental. You might feel like it doesn’t matter what you do or what you say, you can never fix the problem so why say anything at all? What if you even make your friend or family member feel worse than they already do? The only way to really fail here is to not say anything at all. If you’re worrying about how you may or not make your friend or loved one feel bad, you’ll probably be fine. Be honest and clear in your words and just talk to them. The kind of shame that is so often the foundation of addiction is only fed by silence. Even if you feel frustrated or angry, try to communicate with them. Here are some ways you can make your friend or loved one feel at east and supported:

 

  • First thing’s first, The first step to being there for someone getting back from an addiction treatment, New Jersey detox and rehab, is to let them know that you missed them and thought about them while they were away at treatment, and that you are so excited to see them home and sober. It can feel lonely for a person who is suffering with an addiction to leave the safe bubble of a treatment center. Sometimes they will feel ashamed that they were at a treatment facility at all. Telling the addict in your life that you cared about them before they went to detox and rehab and that you care about them now that they are back as well can mean everything to them.
  • It is a heroic act to face one’s addiction. The way that society treats someone suffering from addiction disorder can make it feel almost impossible for someone suffering with the disease to feel like they can come forward and ask for help. Actually seeking that help and successfully going through a treatment program is cause for praise. Let the person suffering from addiction in your life know that you see their bravery. Having someone recognize their bravery and affirm their choices can make a huge difference when they are struggling to remember why they even try to stay sober.
  • When someone comes home from an addiction treatment program there are few things they need more than having someone whom they know they can call when they need to talk. Knowing they have someone who will listen to them when they need to vent, cry, or worry with can make all of the difference in their recovery. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a doormat, or put their needs above yours. it is just a commitment to be there whenever you are able to be. When a person is seeking help for a chemical dependence or any kind of addiction at all, it becomes extra vital that they have a strong support system of people they trust who are willing to be in their court when they need it. Maybe it sounds too good to be true that this will be as helpful as it sounds. But offering them an ear can add to resilience and help them realize that they shouldn’t give in to the shame spiral that haunts them and is a symptom of their disease.
  • Discovery InstituteIf your friend or family member suffering from addiction has children there’s a super easy and super life saving way that you can support them. Offer your help by telling them you’d be happy to hang out with their kiddos. Even if you don’t think you have a whole afternoon to dedicate to them, try offering them just an hour or two. Staying sober requires time to one’s self. Not a ton, but someone who needs to reflect on themselves and their behavior needs some peace and quiet regularly, and with small children around it becomes hard for parents to find time to themselves. As a parent with mouths to feed, homework to help with, fights to break up, life can be chaotic and stressful. If you can give your friend a break by helping with homework one night, or walking their kids to the park on a saturday for an hour or two, it can give your friend or family member time to take a walk, go for a run, take a shower, clean the kitchen, or write in their journals, among other self care type activities. This is by far the most effective way to help a parent of small children.
  • Discovery InstituteLeaving the restaurant, the coffeeshop, or your kitchen table and venturing out into nature by taking a hike or a walk and moving your bodies is not only an excellent way to hang out with your friend, but it’s great for their overall wellbeing as well as your own. Being outside and moving can be refreshing. There’s something more than symbolic about physical movement while you’re dealing with rigorous mental and emotional movement. Not only that, but it is a documented and scientific fact that exercise even in the most modest of ways can help a person process anxiety and deal with depression more effectively.

 

Finding Treatment In Addiction Treatment: New Jersey Detox and  Rehab Centers

The most useful you can be to a friend or family member is to treat them with the same love and respect that you would want to be treated in the same situation that they are in. Compassion and love go a long way and will help your friend or family member to feel like they matter, which is a huge step in keeping them on the sober road.

 

Discovery Institute is one of the top rated drug rehab centers in New Jersey. If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, call us today to learn more about our recovery programs.

Nearly 20 Percent of New Jersey Residents Suffering from Mental Illness

Between 2011 and 2015, the average number of people in New Jersey who reported having a mental illness was a staggering 933,674. Though not every one of these nearly one-million people will have a dual diagnosis with substance abuse, many people with mental illness also have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

In these situations, it becomes imperative that people with a dual diagnosis seek a location that specializes in both addiction and mental illness. When it comes to locations that treat both of those disorders, the best bet in NJ is addiction treatment centers like Discovery. This is because rehab centers like ours work hard to address not only the physical aspect of the substance addiction, but the emotional and psychological as well. That means patients receive multiple types of therapies that tackle the root causes of addiction as well as disorders caused by the addiction.

 

While grabbing a cup of coffee during New Jersey rush hour, spending 40 hours a week at the office, or enjoying your daughter’s soccer game, you’ve likely interacted with someone who’s dealing with a mental illness.

That’s not as alarming as you might think.

While still stigmatized to some degree, individuals with mental health issues have become more willing to admit their disorders and seek help. Treatment services, meanwhile, have evolved to allow those with even the more severe mental illnesses to return to a normal and productive life.

Starting today, New Jersey 101.5 presents a five-day series on mental health in New Jersey and the impact of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behavior. Click Here to Continue Reading

Experimental Prison in NJ Acts More Like Rehab Center than Jail

It seems as though the government is starting to take notice that time spent in prison or jail should be used to rehabilitate the offender rather than being seen totally as a punishment. Though there are many forms of rehabilitating people, addiction treatment is New Jersey’s current focus – at least as far as the prisoners at Mid-State Correctional Facility are concerned.

The prison hosts nearly 700 inmates, all of which are addicted to some substance or another. Because of that, the facility has a very sharp focus on its goal of not only rehabilitating inmates in leading a crime-free life, but in living a sober life as well.

 

New Jersey’s opioid problem has led to a crime problem.
People who are drug addicted often commit crimes and land in prison, and if these individuals don’t address their addiction they’re likely to commit more crimes and cost society more money, experts say.
Armed with these realities, New Jersey has become one of the first states in the nation to devote an entire prison and millions of dollars to treating inmates with addictions. NJ Advance Media was the first news agency inside to see how it worked.
Unlike most prisons, where just a few inmates get treatment, almost everyone at Mid-State Correctional Facility, a 696-bed facility sequestered on the grounds of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is treated for a panoply of addictions. This entire institution, in effect, has become a licensed drug-treatment center. Click Here to Continue Reading