How To Talk To Your Family About Your Addiction Problem

It is never easy to have a conversation where you are left feeling vulnerable, and few conversations are more difficult than discussing a personal drug or alcohol addiction with friends and family. For a variety of reasons, you may be afraid. You need to look past the fear if you want to maintain or rebuild an honest relationship with the people you love most.

To help combat your nerves before getting started, ask yourself a few basic questions and honestly assess your answers. These will help you determine if now is the right time to have a conversation or pursue addiction treatment.

Do I party or have an addiction?

Sometimes it is hard to admit you have an addiction, particularly when you associate your behaviors with a party or social lifestyle. If you are still trying to determine if your regular drinks after work are a problem, you may want to discuss addiction recovery with a third-party before talking to your family. Someone else who has battled their way forward from a drug or alcohol dependency or who is skilled in treatment can help you see how your drinking or use is impacting your life. This can help you develop the confidence needed to describe your battle to others.

Am I ready to get help?

After you have talked to someone about the possibility of treatment and recovery, you need to assess if you are ready to move forward with finding a treatment program. Your family can be of tremendous help here, but only when you can commit to a journey toward sobriety.

Can I take responsibility for my actions?

As you started drinking or using drugs, it is possible your habit started to impact your relationships with friends and family. If that is the case, you need to be prepared to admit this. Part of a long-term program will include working to repair fractured relationships you want to maintain. Discussing and acknowledging your behavior at the beginning is a big step forward.

And it is important to realize “damage” to a relationship does not have to be a dramatic fight or a full breakdown while high or drunk. It can be an extended period of not returning phone calls, failing to be there when you had a friend in need or skipping out on basic obligations.

There may also be hurt feelings you have caused or pain left in your wake you never noticed. Part of speaking to your family could include hearing about things you did you never knew would hurt those you loved. You need to be prepared to have these difficult conversations if your family starts a larger discussion. Sometimes, they may not share until your recovery journey unfolds further or not at all.

Will my family support me?

It is important to acknowledge you are responsible for your addiction recovery. This means not blaming others for your behavior. However, it is also important to recognize some family members or friends can act as triggers for you. Whether they goad you emotionally or tempt you with their own drinking or drug use, they are a toxic presence in your life.

When you feel your family is unlikely to support you on your treatment path or may even sabotage you, you should not feel compelled to involve them in the process. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell them in most circumstances. It does mean a phone call relaying you are entering a treatment program for XX amount of days is sufficient. As you become more confident in your sobriety, you may feel better about talking to a wider range of people, but there is no need to potentially sabotage your progress as you are getting started.

How can I start the conversation?

The best way to start a hard conversation is to lay the biggest truth on the table immediately. State that you are addicted and are starting a treatment program. If you are comfortable speaking more about the ins and outs of your addiction, your behavior and how you decided to seek treatment, do so. When your emotions are too raw, let your family ask you questions and answer them truthfully.

What are my next steps?

Before or after talking to your family, it is up to you to sign up for a drug or alcohol addiction treatment and recovery program like Newport Beach Recovery in Costa Mesa, CA. Discuss your treatment program with your family members and advise them on how they can help you with the recovery process. You are likely to find a much larger source of support than you realized, and this will be key for your long-term success in a program.

The Pros + Cons of Couples Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease that can be difficult to overcome. The road to recovery can be difficult for some, while others recover without issue. When it comes to couples that are addicted, it can be an especially difficult process, however, that doesn’t mean couples cannot recover together. There are those professionals who do not support couples addiction treatment, while others are finding success thanks to individualized and evidence-based programming.

The underlying psychological patterns that so often cause addiction are usually laid down during childhood traumas. The roots can include disorders such as depression, anxiety, unchecked rage, and personality maladaptations. It goes almost without saying that relationship difficulties and strife can also be caused by these same dynamics. Therefore, on a certain level, it does make sense to address both addiction and couples problems in the same safe therapeutic setting. If there is a group of the right therapists and patients, then great progress can be made towards mental health and recovery.

The Upside and Downside to Couples Addiction Treatment

Couples counseling, when it takes place in a setting of abstinence from all controlled substances and with the guidance of professional counselors, can conquer these issues and help put them permanently in the past.  This could potentially save the marriage or relationship that has been jeopardized by substance abuse. The assistance of counselors is key.  When a couple finds themselves navigating through recovery without a program of support, it will often happen that one addict will fall back into patterns of substance use while the other one is finding success going clean.  This greatly increases the chances of a double relapse and adds a great weight of recrimination and responsibility to the already difficult situation.  The couple’s individual issues and the way they work together as a team will probably have grown at least somewhat toxic during the process of addictive behavior, so it may not be an easy thing to untangle. Individual conventional behavioral therapy will be necessary as well, as it is essential to conquering the underlying reasons behind each person’s reason for using substances obsessively in the first place. Then a team of therapists must make clear how each addict’s behavior influences the other, creating the addictive team they have become.  This gives the addictive couple the hope to live normal, happy, and productive lives, to be good parents and good family members.  In order for this to become a reality, both people must be willing to humble themselves and go through the full program of couples recovery.

What to Expect in Therapy

Untangling the reasons behind addiction and investigating the problems with a relationship or marriage are no easy tasks by themselves.  Taken together, they represent a great feat that requires deep willingness to get to the root of problems and test each person’s ability to feel great discomfort. Healing is no easy task. It requires each person to look inward and take responsibility for their own emotions, actions, and personal histories. The couples in couples rehab can expect uncomfortable questions, feelings of  vulnerability, and emotional exposure. A deep level of trust has to exist in the relationship for therapy to even have a chance to work. If the relationship is without that trust in both individuals, then therapy will be useless.  Without trust, no true emotional opening can occur. However, the rewards are also great.  The addicted individuals can expect to feel great emotional relief after a successful session or series of sessions. If both people commit to giving the program 100% of their effort and thought, then they can confidently expect immediate improvements in the dynamics of addiction and their relationship. The only barriers that lie in the way of success are in the inability of one or both parties to confront their tumultuous inner landscapes.

Hard Decisions

The individual addicts and their relationship as a whole must be assessed to see if it can remain viable. Both parties should decide if the relationship is worth saving. An addict being married to another addict can be a truly dangerous thing, especially when there are children involved. The couple should consider their children, their family, and the quality of love that they both feel in that relationship. If the relationship is lacking in any way that cannot be repaired, then the couple should do the responsible thing and separate. After all, it is much easier to get sober without another addict’s battle against substance abuse to influence and affect the situation. If there is no possibility of ending the relationship, then it is paramount that both people in the relationship give 100% of their effort to recovery. If they do not, then they face disaster, financial ruin, and possibly death.  A solid commitment from both people to behavioral talk therapy and some sort of structured recovery program will mean that success is absolutely possible.  There is a life after addiction, and therapy can get them there.
Although couples addiction therapy is seemingly overwhelming and may seem impossible, it is possible. With the right professional help and guidance, we can help you get through addiction together. Contact us today to find out more information.

What is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction?

Treatment for mental health and addiction can often be confusing for people because they aren’t familiar with the meaning of some terminology. For this reason, many people find searching for addiction therapy and mental health therapy to be confusing and overwhelming. Because many people associate these two terms with separate situations, searching for the appropriate treatment may become so overwhelming that many people give up on the search.

Until the late 1990s, the treatment plan for someone with a mental health problem as well as an addiction was addressed separately. In fact, many people were denied treatment for a mental illness until they were clean and sober. Fortunately, it is now known that addiction and mental disorders often go hand-in-hand; referred to as a CO-OCCURRING DISORDER. Dual diagnosis treatment means those experiencing both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue can receive combined treatment for both issues.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis means that someone is dealing with both a mental health disorder and an addiction or substance use disorder. For instance, you may be diagnosed with alcohol abuse disorder as well as bipolar disorder. In some situations, a substance use disorder begins first, followed by the development of a mental health illness. For instance, someone with an addiction to meth may begin experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder. On the other hand, some people who are dealing with a mental illness may develop a substance use disorder. The theory behind a dual diagnosis is that the symptoms of mental illness aren’t being effectively treated, making the individual physically and emotionally uncomfortable, so they turn to substance use to manage their symptoms. For instance, someone with anxiety may turn to the use of alcohol and/or drugs as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, when mind-altering substances are being abused, both conditions may worsen.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is a type of treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment is critical for identifying and treating both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder; both of which are or may be the underlying source for substance abuse and increasing symptoms of mental illness. Traditionally, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment were treated separately; dual diagnosis treatment utilizes an integrated program to treat both issues simultaneously, which reduces the risk of symptoms worsening for one problem while treating the other.

There are several ways in which dual diagnosis treatment may be used and since each person has individual needs, the treatment plan will not be the same for everyone. Treatment must be individualized and tailored to the individual in order to accommodate and address the needs and concerns of each person. It is often difficult to pinpoint the primary disorder because each individual case is unique. For instance, emotional instability may result in self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol in order to calm the psychological pain, whereas some may experience elevated symptoms of mental illness as a result of their substance abuse.

When to Seek Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you suspect that you or someone you care about may have a mental disorder along with substance use issues, it is important to seek treatment for both issues. When someone is experiencing the symptoms of a dual diagnosis, it is important to not seek substance abuse treatment and then mental health therapy or vice versa. Both issues should be addressed together. Some signs of a dual diagnosis disorder may include:

  • Needing significantly larger doses of drugs or trying different, more intense drugs to get the same high and/or calm symptoms of anxiety, depression or other symptoms of a mental illness
  • Frequent withdrawal symptoms
  • Hiding activities from family and friends
  • Increase in symptoms of mental health disorder when using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Frequent addiction relapses after trying to quit

When searching for a center for addiction therapy, it is important to keep in mind that many with a substance abuse disorder will also need treatment for their mental illness disorder. When both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue are present, you should seek help from a qualified dual diagnosis treatment center. When a dual diagnosis is present, without seeking treatment for both disorders (substance use and mental health), the treatment may be successful for the disorder being treated; however, the person may quickly resort back to their substance use and/or experience an increase in symptoms of their mental illness. Both must be addressed simultaneously for a successful treatment plan.

Newport Beach Recovery Center Will Help

We know how difficult it may be to yourself or a loved one into a dual-diagnosis program. This is why we are here. Contact us by calling or emailing us for more information. The right help you need is just moments away.

7 Tips for Women in Early Recovery

Starting out on the road of recovery can be filled with challenges.  You’ve taken the most important step when you stopped drinking or using drugs but everything in your life is now new.  You may be seeking out new friends, starting a new job or developing a new daily routine.  All while working hard to prevent having a relapse.  Each one of these situations can produce stress.  Combined together, you have a recipe for anxious moments.  This puts women in early sobriety at greater risk for relapse.  It is estimated that 90 percent of those recovering from substance abuse have a relapse.  While your primary desire may be to stay sober, even the strongest people must develop skills to prevent relapses and deal with stress.  Professionals recommend that you change your social circle and the places you go to.  This makes sense when you consider that if you want to create a new path for yourself, you need to leave the old path behind.  To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled some tips based on scientific research.

Change Your World

When you are embarking on the journey to discover what recovery means to you, you are essentially creating a new world for yourself.  You’re creating new patterns and people in your life.  Developing new friendships and changing where you spend your time will play a large role in preventing relapse and smoothing your transition into a new way of life.  You may find yourself spending more time with your family by planning special outings or evenings together.  For others, developing a structured daily routine helps ease anxiety and helps to avoid situations that could let to a relapse.

Develop Solid Relationships

When you enter recovery, it may seem like a new world.  Having friends who understand the transition you are going through is important.  They can help when you are frightened or uncertain.  Having a friend to call on when you are angry or down will help keep you moving forward.  Participating in a support group surrounds yourself with people who understand the pitfalls that await individuals in early recovery.  In fact, people who have enjoyed recovery for many years will share that they still face challenges.  Anyone who is new in recovery can learn from their coping strategies and apply them in their own lives.

Start Moving

Periods, often years, of using can take a toll on your body.  Incorporating regular exercise into your daily regime will pay off by improving your health and your emotions.  Exercise is well documented to relieve stress and balance mood.    This supports your desire to constantly improve yourself while preventing triggers that lead to relapse.

Prioritize Self Care

Caring for ourselves is not a priority for women.  We are raised to nurture others but often don’t nurture ourselves.  Things like a luxurious bath or a long walk are generally not things we think about in a fast-paced world.  They are, however, exactly the things that will keep you sane as you move through recovery, process raw emotions and figure out your future.  Taking care of yourself can relieve stress and anxiety.  You can also use these moments to just ‘check in with yourself’ and see how you are doing.  Small quiet moments doing things that nurture yourself keeps you in touch with your emotions and makes you aware of any triggers lurking to take you off the right path.  Spend some time with self-care because no one else will.

Write it Out

While, at times, you may feel shame or guilt over your past actions, if you allow them to, those emotions will hinder your recovery.  One way to progress and work through the emotions that are crowding you is to search for ways to manage swirling thoughts.  Professionals recommend writing about your feelings.  Getting them on paper gets them out of your head and lets you process.

New Work

When you leave female addiction treatment, you’ve already begun recovery.  To maintain your new outlook, get a job.  Many people leaving treatment will either be unemployed or underemployed.  This is a good time to look for a new job.  Not only will you have a method of income, but you’ll also meet new people and discover new skills.  Take care of yourself, though, as stress related to a new job can trigger a relapse.

Make Honesty a Priority

As you journey along the path of recovery, prioritizing honesty with yourself and others helps everyone.  By sharing your story with others in your support group, you’re sharing the common struggles that you all have.

These are just a few ideas to keep you going in early recovery.  You’ll find some strategies work better than others to prevent triggers and keep you sane.  The important thing is to keep working at it.  You’re worth it!

Call us today to continue on the strong path of recovery. We pride ourselves in always being able to help.