Tag Archives: recovering addict

Holidays In Early Recovery

Early recovery brings up a number of new challenges. For a newly sober person the holiday season can be particularly difficult. Not only is it hard for the addict, the rest of the family is in a troublesome position as well. Issues include everything from what to do with alcohol in the home to whether or not going out of town to visit relatives is a good idea. There is no blanket solution because every family’s situation is different. However for a young person in the early stages of recovery there are some suggestions that may help. Let’s start with a few simple questions:

  • How long has the young person been sober?
  • Will there be a lot of alcohol at the family event?
  • Will there be people at the event that the young person has used drugs with?

What Can I Do?

One of the primary objectives in recovery is to get to the point of being able to navigate challenging social situations. It isn’t realistic to believe that one can go through life never being around alcohol or other temptations. However, a young person in early sobriety is particularly vulnerable because there  is little confidence in the sober lifestyle and holidays can bring heightened expectations for everyone. This pressure can be too much for an emotionally unstable newly sober teenager. For a parent of a young person in this situation it is vital to not take temporary for permanent. It will not always be this way. For the first sober holiday season here are some ideas that can help:

  • If a large family event is unavoidable, have a way for the young person to be able to leave
  • Make the family event alcohol free
  • Consider hosting others who may need a sober environment

These are just a couple of ideas and the best suggestion is to seek guidance from others who have been in a similar situation before. The priority is for the person in early recovery to have the best opportunity to stay sober through the holidays and for the entire family to enjoy this special time together. Every emotionally challenging situation a sober young person is able to face, the stronger his or her recovery will be. Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your family!

Common Questions Early In Drug and Alcohol Treatment

When a young person enters drug and alcohol treatment most parents have (what seem to be) thousands of questions.

  • What about school?
  • How long will this take?
  • What about vacation?
  • Do I have to stop drinking?
  • Is it my fault?
  • What if he/she relapses?
  • What will happen after treatment?

This list is by no means exhaustive but it provides some examples of what people want to know. The first piece of advice for anyone is…….breathe. Once the problem is uncovered most loved ones want immediate resolution. Unfortunately this is an issue that has been a long time in the making and the recovery process isn’t quick. 

Commit to the Solution

Drug and alcohol treatment usually requires a serious financial and time commitment. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind to not take temporary for permanent. It won’t always be like this. The longer an individual stays sober, the more capable he or she becomes of taking on more responsibilities. In early recovery it is vital that sobriety be the top priority. This means before school, work, and Sunday family dinner. It’s not that these parts of life aren’t important, it’s that none of them will matter if an addict doesn’t stay sober. The objective of treatment is to help an individual navigate life without the use of drugs and alcohol. At a program like Insight that means abstinence.  Throughout the course of treatment the newly sober person gains coping tools that will be used in aftercare. Taking the time to  to internalize these tools as much as possible is vital.

The Big Picture

One of the primary goals of treatment for a young addict or alcoholic is family recovery. Once a young person is sober he or she is better prepared to participate in the family. It is extremely difficult to overcome the guilt and shame created by an addict’s lifestyle. Eventually the recovering addict wants to repair damaged relationships. It is a challenge for loved ones to wait for this transformation to take place. However, those who are able to maintain patience are usually rewarded. 

Early Addiction Recovery

Early addiction recovery can be very tricky. Not only is there a presenting problem or crisis related to drugs and alcohol, there are the years of emotions that have been avoided, the fractured family relationships, and feelings of failure. Most addicts and alcoholics have squandered talents, opportunities, and potential. This can be scary and frustrating to loved ones who feel torn between fear and resentment. On one hand, a parent  may want to lock a young drug abuser away until he or she “grows up” enough to understand the ramifications of his or her actions. On the other hand, a parent may feel that any lengths that need to be gone to in order to keep the child alive are worth it. These emotions can be crippling.

What Actually Happens In Early Recovery?

A simple way to understand the beginning stages of sobriety is to look at what parts of a person are truly affected by alcoholism and addiction. The short answer is: all aspects of a person are damaged. There are physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. All of these areas have to be addressed patiently. Abstinence alone does not fix the problem, this is merely physical. “Finding God” is very difficult for someone who is under foreign management. Going to therapy and “getting to the root of it” does not motivate someone abusing drugs and alcohol to change. He or she is usually aware of many of the issues at hand. It generally takes 2-3 weeks for a recovering addict to begin “feeling.” Early abstinence; once the angst of not using passes, leads the newly sober person to feel better. This good feeling doesn’t last very long. Once the addict begins to experience emotions he or she tends to become filled with anxiety, frustration, and fear.

The Solution Is Spiritual

Twelve step recovery is predicated on an understanding of a Higher Power. Whether this begins as the love of an empathetic group of people, a traditional religious concept of God, or some other form of spirituality it is critical for an addict to begin this process. A person new in recovery needs hope. He or she needs genuine love and concern. He or she relies on the awareness that addiction and alcoholism can be overcome. This spiritual contact provides the motivation to walk through the challenge of facing difficult problems. Once a spiritual foundation is established much of the emotional work can begin. This is when introspection, therapy, and development of more effective coping mechanisms takes place.

How Long Does It Take?

Good recovery never ends. For an alcoholic, addict, or substance abuser the journey is ongoing. This is not depressing. This is an awareness that as long as someone is willing to take an honest look at his or her life, opportunities for growth will always arise. This experience is liberating and filled with joy. The knowledge and life skills developed in sobriety provide a better understanding of success, happiness, and healthy relationships. Rather than put a time frame on “when will it get better”, understand that as soon as someone commits his or her self to recovery, life begins to get better. Everyone involved needs patience and a compassionate perspective. The rewards that come from real sobriety are incalculable.

 

Healing Relationships In Substance Abuse Recovery With C.R.A.P.

Drug addiction and alcoholism destroy innumerable areas of an abuser’s life. An addict will suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Despondency, anxiety, anger, and guilt are emotions regularly experienced by a drug abuser. Many substance abusers feel alone and that no one else understands what he or she is going through. Most connections with other people, especially family and friends, have been severely damaged. The idea of “sharing” with someone else or asking for help is rarely considered. However, in order to achieve recovery the suffering addict must form real and meaningful relationships with those who can help.healing-relationships-in-substance-abuse-recovery-with-c-r-a-p

C.R.A.P.

One of the main effects of drug and alcohol abuse is disconnection from empathy and concern for others. A person with a substance abuse problem is primarily concerned with figuring out how to feel good right now. It can be discouraging to watch an addict or alcoholic lose the motivation to participate in normal life activities. A tool that can be useful for  parents and the recovering addict is effective communication. In Enthusiastic Sobriety, the term used to explain this vital skill is C.R.A.P., communication resolves all problems. Beyond The Yellow Brick Road provides an entire section on this idea.
C.R.A.P. Provides Relief
If a family is unable to talk effectively to each other it will remain fractured and wounded. Sometimes the solution is as simple as learning how and when to talk. For example, trying to work out a disagreement in the heat of the moment is generally a bad idea. When two parties are able to separate for a period of time in order to cool off, they can usually come together later and find a solution to whatever the disagreement is. The need “to be right” is one of the greatest destroyers of relationships. An addict has to learn the value of restraint, especially with words, but so do parents. When people learn to pause, seek counsel from an objective party, and let go of the need to be right the situation usually gets C.R.A.P.ed out.