Enabling and Empowering

Posted by Kelly French on Nov 1, 2016 6:32:00 AM

happycouple.jpgEarlier this fall, we shared about enabling and how this act can prolong a fight with substance abuse. The opposite of enabling is empowering. When you feel empowered, you gain self-confidence, determination and possess a better attitude.

Many of our clients have shared stories about how, when they are in their addiction, they are powerless against the cravings for drugs or alcohol. The need for more guides their lives at all costs. One client recently spoke to a group of high school students and explained to them how the desire for drugs can take over and ruin your life. This desire makes you not care about school, work, your family and friends…all things that most people highly value.

Now in recovery, the client explained how she feels empowered without the presence of drugs in her life. She is rebuilding relationships; she is making and achieving goals. With each accomplishment, she feels more and more confident and determined.

While you may feel like you are helping your loved one when you enable them, this will do more harm than good. Encourage them to get treatment; to become empowered.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Addiction, Recovery, substance use, enabling

Gratitude

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 27, 2016 6:04:00 AM


gratitude-1251137_1920.pngAs we close out October and go into Thankful November, we thought this would be a good time to speak about gratitude. Gratitude is an important facet of substance abuse. It helps reminds those new to recovery about all that is good in their life, rather than to focus on the things they have lost due to their substance abuse.

Practicing gratitude doesn’t need to be exclusive to those in recovery. According to UC Davis researchers, many facets will help most people on a daily basis. For example, those who reflect on the positive things in life are more likely to sleep better, feel more refreshed, express more kindness and compassion and even have better immune systems.

Journaling – which is often used as a treatment tool – is a good way to note the things you are thankful for on a daily basis. It could be as simple as, “a stranger held the door open for me when my hands were full” or “my neighbor gave me fresh veggies from her garden.”

Those who are in treatment or recovery are often grateful
To be alive
To be in a safe environment
For a support network
To rebuild relationships with loved ones
To have a second chance at life

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Recovery, substance abuse, 12-step, gratitude

Substance Abuse & Bullying

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 25, 2016 6:03:00 AM

youth_face_for_bullying_blog.jpegAs a society, we are becoming more and more aware of the effects of bullying. One effect is substance abuse. An article published in a psychiatric publication stated that victims of bullying have a higher propensity toward anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

Here are some symptoms of bully-related trauma:
 - Victims display an attitude of compliance and try to please everyone
 - Bullied individuals will defer their own opinions in favor of others
 - People who have been bullied are often less assertive and lack self-confidence

If you are a parent and see these signs, investigate to see if your child has been or is being bullied. Doing so could prevent a life of mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: substance abuse, bullying

Three substance abuse myths

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 20, 2016 6:02:00 AM

question.pngOur society is full of myths and the internet and social media seems to those at a faster rate than ever before. The same is true of substance abuse – there are many myths about this disease.

Drugabuse.com has a list of 10 common myths. Today we’ll look at three.

1 – Addiction is a moral failure
We cannot deny that the use of an illicit drug is a poor decision. The expression “curiosity killed the cat” somewhat applies – for many, the curiosity of what it feels like to drink or experience the high of a drug is very tempting. Many will try a drug once and never again, their curiosity has been satisfied. Others will use again, but opt not to make it part of their lifestyle. Finally, there will be a group that becomes hooked on the drug. Is this a moral failure?

Millions of individuals became dependent on and addicted to the medications prescribed to them by their physician. This is certainly not a moral failure.

Addiction is caused by the body’s inability to process the drug/alcohol. The body becomes dependent on the substance causing severe withdrawal when the substance is not present.

2 – Addicts are easy to identify
Stereotyping has given people a certain image of those with an addiction. Many people envision the homeless man carrying his drink in a brown paper bag, minorities and criminals as the groups of people who they associate as addicts.

In reality, substance abuse impacts all socio economic groups and races. The CDC reports that rates of use among non-Hispanic whites nearly double all other groups. While not all individuals with a substance use disorder are criminals, criminal activity is often fueled by the need to get drugs. Finally, individuals making between $20,000 and $49,000 are showing rates of use that are higher than those who make less than $20,000.

3 - Relapse is a failure
Many people believe that because a person has relapse, they have failed. In reality, relapse is often part of the recovery process – see related blog.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Addiction, relapse, substance abuse, addicts

Making changes

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 18, 2016 6:08:00 AM


People Together-1.jpgOur counselors often tell our clients that in order to be successful in recovery, they will need to make many changes in almost every facet of their lives. Clients are encouraged to develop new, healthy relationships rather than going back to friends still actively using drugs. If their job is a trigger to use, they may want to consider a new career. For example, if you’ve worked in restaurants and bars during your addiction, you may want to work in an environment where alcohol is not served. If you live in a drug-infested neighborhood, you may want to seek other housing. Even music can lead one back to their days of drinking or using.

It is not uncommon that when we admit clients who are not from the Sarasota area, they chose to stay in the area when treatment is completed rather than returning home. While here, they have developed a support network, either with other clients or in the recovery community through attending 12-Step meetings.

Related blog - Relapse

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Recovery, drugs, relapse, 12-step, making changes, healthy relationships

The link between substance abuse and mental illness

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 13, 2016 6:10:00 AM

A-sad-young-woman-cropped.jpgMost people know the age-old question, which came first the chicken or the egg. To a degree the same type of link exists between substance abuse and mental health disorders. We know that many people who suffer from depression often drink to soften their pain. Drinking tends to lead to more self-loathing, a deeper depression and more drinking.

At the same time, the continual use of certain drugs, such as cocaine, cannabis and other hallucinogens can exacerbate a pre-existing mental health disorder. A drug induced psychosis will create schizophrenic-like effects that wear off as the drug leaves the user’s system.

If you seek treatment for a substance abuse issues, it is important that you disclose any mental illness to the treatment provider. The likelihood of a successful treatment episode and long-term sobriety increases when the treatment team is able to help you deal with both issues simultaneously.

View our related blog about co-occuring disorders, also referred to as dual-diagnosis.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: substance abuse, mental illness

Why does it seem like so many celebs have drug problems?

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 11, 2016 6:00:00 AM

singer_for_pathways_blog.jpgIn September, a Pathways alumni participated in a press conference held by the Sarasota Police Department regarding the heroin epidemic. While at the podium, he shared with the audience of reporters how he started using drugs and alcohol at a very young age. He spent time in a Texas treatment center twice. After the second time, he met a woman and got married. He thought she’d be key in his long-term sobriety, but that was not the case. Eventually, he came to Pathways and learned about the disease and dealt with some of the issues that led him to drugs and alcohol. For the first time, he said he began to love himself. Today, together as a team, he and his wife work on his recovery on a daily basis. View:  Press conference video

Celebrities and athletes often comment that they feel very alone. While this life seems glamourous, too often, many of the people they meet are not seeking a genuine friendship, but instead, want the perks of knowing a celebrity.

This feeling of isolation often leads to depression and alcohol and/or drug problems. Robin Williams, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger are a few celebrities who battled with depression and substance abuse for much of their lives.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to feel lonely and depressed. Similar to our alumni who spoke to the press, many of our clients report feelings of low self-esteem based on not feeling loved or supported by family members and friends. While many of our clients come from happy, loving families, substance abuse often breaks down those relationships.

Substance abuse treatment helps individuals deal with the core issues that led to the use, gain self-esteem and repair damaged relationships. Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Pathways, sarasota, drug problem, celebrities

Addiction, the equal opportunity disease

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 6, 2016 9:45:02 AM

adult_family.jpgWhile some diseases seem to target certain demographics and socio economic groups, addiction is what we call the equal opportunity disease. Statistics say it is more likely that women will be diagnosed with breast cancer than men; men under the age of 65 are more likely to have high blood pressure than women of the same age. A national study reports that children from lower income families had more than two times higher odds of being obese than children of higher income households.

Addiction impacts everyone. Often, individuals who begin drug/alcohol abuse at a young age make choices that limit future earnings potential – such as dropping out of high school and having limited job opportunities. We have treated many people who began their experimentation with drugs/alcohol during their college years. While many students will binge drink or try drugs, many “grow” out of this as they complete college and move into their professional lives. Others do not. Many professionals have come to our treatment programs for help, generally with an addiction to alcohol or prescription pain medication.

News reports commonly feature celebrities and athletes who have had struggles with substance abuse – Robin Williams, Amy Winehouse, Bret Favre, Brittany Spears, Elizabeth Vargas, Rush Limbaugh, Daryl Strawberry, and the list goes on and on.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, do not be ashamed…you are not alone.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: Addiction

Co-dependency

Posted by Kelly French on Oct 4, 2016 6:23:00 AM

middleagedcouple.jpgTo wrap up our series on defining terms related to substance abuse, our last term is co-dependency. Like boundaries and enabling, co-dependency can occur in all facets of life, not strictly in cases where a substance abuse disorder is present.

The term co-dependency has been around for decades and its definition has evolved over time. Originally, a person who was labeled as a co-dependent was someone whose spouse was an alcoholic. Today, the term means much more. Someone who fits the profile for a co-dependent personality relies on one individual for all of their self-esteem and emotional needs.

Here are some signs that you, or someone you know, may be co-dependent:

1 – Low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy
2 – An inability to say no, the focus is on pleasing others
3 – Poor boundaries – we talked about boundaries in an earlier blog
4 – Denial – not understand that the problem is on their end; someone else is always to blame
5 – Poor communication – unable to express one’s own feelings for fear of upsetting another

How does co-dependency and substance abuse tie together? If you are co-dependent and you have a family member with a substance abuse disorder, you may be less likely to encourage them to seek help for this issues because you don’t want to cause anxiety. You’d rather maintain the status quo than work on a healthy relationship.

More often, the person who has the substance abuse issue also suffers from co-dependency. It is part of the mental state that often accompanies the feelings of self-loathing often associated with substance abuse.

Regardless, co-dependency can lead to other issues such as depression and even behavioral issues with children living in the household. For example, Bill is an alcoholic. Mary is co-dependent. Their kids see the family dynamics and believe they are normal and repeat the pattern by marrying alcoholics when they are older.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: substance abuse, codependency

Enabling

Posted by Kelly French on Sep 29, 2016 6:11:00 AM

mother_and_daughter_not_happy.jpgEnabling – defined as give (to someone or something) the authority or means to do something.

Example: Funds from an anonymous donation enabled the park to purchase new playground equipment.

While this is a positive definition of enabling, when it comes to substance abuse and mental health disorders, enabling is a negative.

Enabling – A behavior meant to resolve a problem that actually perpetuates or exacerbates the problem.

Example: Jim had too much to drink at a football game on Sunday. His wife, Jane, called his office saying he was very ill and would not be at work.

Often, friends and family members enable their loved ones who are dealing with substance abuse issues, such as the example of Jane and Jim. A mother of one of our clients admitted, she enabled her daughter when she’d bail her out of jail or pay her rent.

In many cases, when friends and family enable, the negative activities of substance abuse are prolonged. There is a natural instinct to help and protect those you care about. However, in some cases, this help can be more harmful. Without facing negative consequences for their actions and behaviors, those with substance abuse disorders will continue to drink and abuse drugs. It is as if their bad behaviors are rewarded. Example – Michelle, who worked in retail, asked her mother for rent money stating her hours were down at work because the store was slow. In reality, Michelle had the rent money, but spent it on drugs. Her mother agreed to pay the rent. Michelle was rewarded for her bad behavior.

Often, family members will enable before they have a full understanding of the problems the individual is facing. Continuing with our example of Michelle – she may have been a straight A college student working retail to pay her rent and/or for spare money. If she lived out of town from her family, they may not have seen any indicators she started using drugs. However, if Michelle dropped out of college from poor grades, was regularly changing jobs, had been known to experiment with drugs or alcohol, her family could have been ignoring some of the tell-tale signs of a developing problem. The key is to know your family member and follow your instincts if you think there may be an issue. If a pattern develops, ask why.

In contrast, a college friend received grocery money from his mother each month. He was required to provide her with the grocery receipts before he could receive more money. She wanted to make sure he was being responsible and accountable with the money she gave him. If he was going to waste money, it was going to be his money, not hers.  She was happy to help, but she would not enable bad habits.

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.

 

Download Our Addiction Guide

Topics: drugs, subtance abuse, enabling

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all