Why I Love That Tomorrow Is a New Day

Sobriety turns a new day into an asset

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wish you could crawl up in bed and go to sleep so that it’d be over? A day where no matter what you do things just seem to fall apart and nothing seems to go your way? I’m going to assume that the answer to that question is yes, since if you’re reading this you’re a human being like me, and we are all prone to having a terrible day every once in awhile.

The thing is that before I got sober and could accept that I had a problem with addiction, I didn’t know that tomorrow was going to be another day, in fact every day seemed exactly the same, a little like the movie Groundhog Day. Each day felt like it was a continuation of the misery of the day before and I didn’t know that at any point during the course of a terrible day I could attempt to restart it, and change the mental path that I was following. I believed that I had to just stay in the muck and feel like crap and what is worse is that my mind agreed with me on this.

My mind would forever tell me that nothing was ever going to change and that each minute, hour, and day was going to be equally as bad as the previous one. I would believe this and I would be unable to see past my current condition to the possibility of change and so I felt hopeless a lot of the time and defeated.

When I got sober I heard people say things like there is no such thing as a bad day, only bad moments. They told me that if you look at the bad day you are having you will more than likely notice that overall things were okay, but there were a few things that went wrong. And most importantly they told me that it is never too late to start your day over.

Lifetime Sobriety
Sobriety should last a lifetime. A strong fellowship of supporting friends creates a fulfilling sober way of life

I learned that as people we tend to focus on the negative over the positive and we have a stronger tendency to remember bad things over good things. See I could have a day that was 90% percent great. I could wake up early, go for a walk, and have it be a beautiful day outside and feel peace, and then have someone cut me off or be rude to me and my whole day would then be shot. I could lose all perspective on my day in a heartbeat and if I don’t check myself when this happens, I could ruin an entire day for no reason.

I will say this though, I do necessarily agree with the idea that there is no such thing as a bad day, even though people in recovery told me this. I think that sometimes you just have a bad day. Things go wrong. You don’t get your way. You get some bad news or whatever it may be, but the beautiful thing is that tomorrow is always another day.

It sort of sounds like I am quoting Annie here, doesn’t it? Tomorrow tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, but she was right, if you think about it. We are only ever a day away from having a better day. Now this is not to say that there isn’t a possibility that you will have a bad week or month, but with each passing day there are infinite possibilities for how things will improve, if you let them.

Just knowing this sometimes give me courage to face a terrible day. Knowing that when I go to bed and wake up the next day there is a good possibility that the problems of the day will not seem so overwhelming and I will wake up with a new perspective on life. It is nice knowing this and it is something that I wish I had come to understand earlier in my life. I believe that it would have saved me a lot of mental anguish and sleepless nights.

The other thing that I have learned in sobriety is that you can start your day over whenever you want. Let’s say that I just wake up on the wrong side of bed. From the minute I open my eyes everything seems to be going to hell, whether it be problems with work, my kids, money, or whatever else you can think of. There are days when I wake up like this, but since being sober I have learned that I can take a pause from all of this, get quiet and attempt to restart my day. I cannot even tell you how many times this has saved me from acting out in some sort of way that would have resulted in my owing an amends later on.

That’s the thing about life, everything is fleeting, even problems. The things that we deal with in the day that seem like they are going to last forever are usually distant memories within a short period of time, and we mostly can’t remember what we were even worrying about. Think about a time a couple of months ago when you remember having a really bad day. Can you remember exactly why it was a bad day? Can you remember exactly what the problem was? For most of us when we do this exercise the answer is no, and this shows that no matter what problems we face, we will get over them and that tomorrow always brings a prospect for change.

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Exercise and Sobriety

Something that I have noticed during my time in sobriety is that when some people get clean and sober they replace their drug or alcohol addiction with the gym. It becomes their only focus and they don’t really get involved in the program. Their goal is to look and feel better, and as wonderful as a notion as this is, it is usually not enough to keep them sober. What I have found in exercise is the ability to achieve a type of meditative state where I am completely present and able to be “in the moment“.

I do not say this to belittle the gym or exercise, in fact, I find it to be a very important part of sobriety, but simply that often times when we put the cart before the horse we lose the very thing that we are going after. Like any other activity or behavior in sobriety, it is important to find balance.

Sobriety in a sense is about balance, and it is about finding soundness of mind, body, and spirit. If you focus too much on the mind and spirit, the body suffers, and this goes for any combination of the three. But when all three are aligned, life in sobriety can be a wonderful thing and you can experience an overall feeling of wellbeing that you may have never felt before in the past.

For myself personally, I have found that being active and taking care of myself has been an integral part of my recovery. What I discovered about myself is that I have an excess amount of mental energy. I am not sure if this is because I have ADHD or just because I am an alcoholic but my mind seems like it is forever going and it is almost impossible to stop. This excess of mental energy is usually not depleted through work or other avenues, but when I work out I find that the chatter in my mind quiets down and I experience a level of calm that I don’t experience any other way.

exercise-sobriety
Creating a routine that produces an overall active lifestyle is the easiest approach.

This I have found to be particularly true when I am doing yoga. The act of doing yoga not only makes me feel healthier but when I am done I usually find that I have achieved a meditative state that is difficult for me to experience by simply sitting still and breathing. Through the movements and stretches and the need to be “in the moment” I am able to forget about everything else that is going on in my life and just be present. I don’t think there has ever been a time when I went a yoga class and didn’t feel better than when I went in.

I have also found that working out helps to reduce my stress levels. I find that if I am particularly stressed out one day and then I work out, things don’t seem so heavy. It is almost as if working out is the great equalizer and it brings everything into perspective. It allows me the mental space necessary to let go of my problems and by doing so I am then able to properly address them.

The longer that I stay sober the more and more I realize that the battle I am fighting is against my own mind. It is constantly creating new ways to keep me upset and day in and day out, it hatches schemes to one day get me drunk again. In order to offset, this I have found that I cannot spend too much time up in my own head and that I have to get out of myself. Exercising is a great tool to have in order to do this.

Similar to yoga when I am working out I am not really thinking about anything besides what I am doing and it is almost meditative. Also working out releases endorphins, which prompt an overall sense of comfort and happiness that aid in my ability to stay present in the moment and not worry so much about the future.

Besides this working out also makes me feel good about myself. I find that when I don’t work out for a while my attitude about myself changes. I think about how I could be doing more and how I am not doing enough for myself. When I am working out on a regular basis I rarely feel this way and I am proud that I am doing something to improve myself and my health.

After being sober for a little bit I no longer have such a death wish and as such, I would like to be able to live for as long as I can. Working out and taking care of my body is a way that I can go about accomplishing this. For myself, I don’t want to be sober and have a good spiritual connection but then have avoidable health problems down the road because I didn’t take care of myself. It is all-encompassing for me and like I said early, sobriety for me is about achieving a balance of the mind, body, and spirit.

So if you are newly sober or have been sober for a while and you haven’t tried exercising, try to create a routine for yourself and you will be amazed at the benefits that you receive. Be careful, though, because if you are anything like me you will set unrealistic and unattainable goals for yourself and in doing so you might jeopardize your chances of being successful with working out.

Start out slow and don’t expect to know everything there is to know right away. Even if you just start out by walking around the neighborhood after work, that is a great way to start. Once you get comfortable with your routine, build on it and continue to push and grow. Exercising is about improving you so try not to compare what you are doing with others, as this is a sure way to harshly judge yourself. I know that I have fallen into this pitfall before in the past and it did nothing but discourage me. So go out there and try it, you won’t regret it!

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing.

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Why Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction = Disease

Even though addiction was officially classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 1987 there is still a debate today about whether this classification is correct. Opponents of the disease model of addiction claim that addiction cannot be a disease because it is brought about because of choices that the addict makes. If they did not make the choice to abuse substances than addiction would not have occurred. They believe that to declare addiction a disease is to make excuses for addicts where excuses should not be made. Yet many of these arguments seem to be driven by emotions and anger towards the addict that you don’t really see with other diseases.

For instance, if someone ate poorly for years and developed heart disease because of this I would find it very hard to believe that there would be arguments that their heart disease isn’t a disease because it was created due to choices on their part. Yet that is where we find ourselves in regards to treating addiction as a disease. Unlike other chronic diseases, addiction faces a special type of stigma. Rather than engage in opinions, though, let’s take a look at the evidence for the disease model of addiction and the evidence against it.

Evidence That Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain. They change its structure and how it works. This idea that drug usage changes the brain is the crux of the evidence for addiction being a disease. These changes in the brain represent an abnormality that causes the behaviors that we consider to be an addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that this change in the functioning of the brain means that addiction is like many other diseases in that it disrupts the normal functioning of an organ. In addiction’s case, the organ being disrupted is the brain and the disruptive behavior is the compulsive drug seeking that occurs in someone who suffers from addiction.

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This idea of compulsivity is another major point in the evidence that addiction is a disease and also one that is contested by opponents of this theory. Some people believe that addiction is a choice. It is a choice to continue to abuse drugs and that this choice is made over other healthier choices because of a fundamental character flaw in the addicted person. This line of thought means that the addict is a bad person and not a sick person and so addiction cannot be a disease right? Wrong. The initial choice to use is many times an actual choice, but in someone who has the disease of addiction subsequent choices to use are not choices but compulsions. Similar to someone who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has to perform rituals against their will, the addict does not have an actual choice in whether or not they are going to use again until help is sought.

Drug addiction is also similar to other chronic diseases in that it usually runs in the family, meaning there is some sort of genetic component to the disease. Just having the genetic predisposition is often times not enough, though, just as with someone who has a genetic predisposition to heart disease may not suffer from this disease unless the correct environmental factors are present. The same goes for addiction and someone who’s parent is an addict may not suffer from addiction themselves because they did not have the right environmental factors to trigger the disease.

The evidence that addiction is a disease is fairly substantial but given the emotionally charged nature of the illness and the complex social and biological factors that go into its makeup, unequivocally coming to the conclusion that addiction is a disease is not that simple.

Evidence That Addiction Is Not A Disease

The strongest argument that addiction is not a disease rests on the same information that proponents of the disease model of addiction use to prove their point- the change in the brain. Those who do not believe that addiction is a disease say that the change that occurs in the brain of those who have an addiction does not represent an abnormality or malfunctioning brain, but is rather what occurs when someone does something a lot. They say that when we practice doing something over and over again, as drug addicts do with drugs, those neuronal pathways strengthen and this is not evidence of a malfunctioning brain, but rather a functioning brain that has learned something.

They also say that this means that addiction is not compulsive because the change in the brain that is supposed to represent compulsivity is not abnormal. The website The Clean Slate makes the argument that someone who continuously plays the piano will have the same sort of changes to the brain that a person who continuously uses drugs has, but does this mean that the piano virtuous is incapable of stopping playing? They believe, as most other people would agree, that the piano player can stop playing whenever they want and that it is their choice as to whether they will continue to play. They also state that there is no evidence that drug abuse is involuntary and that in many studies it is just taken for granted as fact without any scientific backing.

The conclusion of sorts…

Without isolating the specific gene or exactly what constitutes the biological difference between someone who suffers from addiction and someone who is just a heavy user, putting this debate to rest will be almost impossible. The idea of addiction usually constitutes a strong response from people and depending on their own background and experience with this illness, how they feel about drug addicts will differ. Classifying addiction as a disease has allowed for many drug addicts to get the medical attention they needed and has also raised awareness for this illness in the general public. We have a long way to go in our understanding of addictive behaviors and as with all growth having voices for and against is important to innovation and breakthrough.

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing.

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

What is Addiction

The Big Question about Addiction – Rose Lockinger

This is somewhat of a “loaded” question, isn’t it? Is addiction a medical condition? A mental illness? A behavior? What causes it? Is it genetics, environment or choice? If you ask ten different people, you’ll likely get ten different answers, and even medical and mental health professionals don’t always agree on what addiction is, what causes it and how to best treat it.

So let’s dig in with what we know, what we can theorize, and what various professionals and organizations have to say about it. One of the biggest arguments people have about addiction is whether it should be classified as a disease.

Is Addiction A Disease? Why Or Why Not?

This is a hotly debated topic. Some people don’t buy the theory that addiction is a disease, however, others argue that it is. It does meet the criteria for a disease: It is chronic, relapsing, progressive and deadly. While there are environmental factors that contribute to the disease of addiction, there is strong evidence that genetics are also involved. If you think of a disease like cancer or diabetes, you can see the similarities unlike those diseases addiction carries a strong negative stigma. There are genetic components to the disease,

but there are also environmental and behavioral factors that can contribute to it.

But, Isn’t Addiction Just a Behavior?

Celebrity Addiction
Check out this other popular article by Rose

It can be viewed that way, of course. People do choose to pick up and use. However, most people aren’t looking at the whole picture. First off, addiction isn’t entirely about drugs and alcohol. Yes, that is what people think of when they hear the word, but drugs and alcohol are really only a symptom, and are also a common manifestation of the disease, but certainly not the only manifestation.

Other Forms Of Addiction

While drugs and alcohol are a common focus of the addicted person, they are not the only way addiction affects people’s lives. Other common addictions include:

Food
Sex
Gambling
Exercise
Spending
Working

Addictions to things like spending money, gambling or sex are also called process addictions, or behavioral addictions. It is possible for a person to be a full-blown addict who doesn’t touch drugs or alcohol, and is more common than you think.

What Is Happening In The Addicted Brain?

In order to gain a better understanding of addiction, it’s important to understand what is happening in the brain when drugs or alcohol are consumed, as well as other stimuli, such as sex, gambling, shopping and exercise.

Of course, results are going to vary, depending on many factors. Obviously, different drugs behave in different ways, but they all have one thing in common: Dopamine.

Dopamine is our “feel good” chemical and is a part of our brain’s reward system. Dopamine is released during many of life’s normal activities. However, dopamine is not limited to pleasure or pleasure seeking. It’s also a factor in motivation, movement and cognition. The system of neurochemicals that our brains depend on to keep us balanced, satisfied and able to carry out the normal aspects of life can go awry. Sometimes, this is an internal issue, sometimes, it’s a result of outside factors, such as drug use. Not only that, but some evidence suggests that dopamine release isn’t just limited to positive stimuli, but negative stimuli as well. This makes sense from the standpoint of addiction. Active addiction causes a host of negative side effects, such as guilt, shame, unpleasant consequences and negative attention. In reality, the dopamine-seeking cycle may continue being perpetuated not in spite of these consequences, but also because of them.

The “high” that you get from using drugs or alcohol releases dopamine and that reinforces the behavior. Your brain becomes conditioned to expect that same feeling of elation and well-being when the drug is consumed. That also triggers obsessive and compulsive behavior and the brain creates defense mechanisms to ensure that the budding addiction is protected. A common defense mechanism is denial.

What is Addiction
Lack of willpower is an “old-fashion” view about addiction

Obsession And Compulsion

Becoming addicted to a substance or activity means that you have an obsessive and compulsive drive to obtain and use the substance or activity. It feels uncontrollable, and in some ways it is. It’s often the case that the addiction cycle cannot be broken without intervention.

Addiction And Mental Illness

Addiction often goes hand in hand with mental illness. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, suicidality, psychosis and other symptoms may precede drug use, or may be caused or worsened by drug use. It’s often thought that mentally ill individuals use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and get relief from their symptoms.

Understanding Addiction

For the person who has never been addicted to anything, understanding addiction is difficult. On the surface, it may simply appear that the person has “no willpower” or simply doesn’t care about themselves or anyone else. It is truly a baffling disease, and it isn’t easy to treat. For the helpless family member or loved one, it’s hard to understand why they just don’t quit, especially if they are experiencing severe consequences.

Drug and alcohol addiction, in particular carries heavy risks, such as illness, overdose and death. Incarceration, job loss, financial distress and the loss of family members, including children are common. How can a person let this happen? The reality is that no one wants to be an addict. It is a disease that devastates and takes lives each and every day.

Help is available, fortunately. This is true for family and loved ones of addicts, too. Drug treatment, twelve step programs, and programs designed for friends and family can provide solutions and support. Education is available, and knowledge is power.

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing.

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Denial And Lying In Addiction And Recovery

Denial and lying are integral components of the complex disease of addiction.

Denial is a complex defense mechanism that helps protect addiction. Lying allows for the rationalization and denial to create a realm where only the addict exists.

For myself, lying began long before drug use, in my childhood. I lied as a child primarily to protect myself or honestly for the silliest reason. Sometimes I just lied, I experienced a lot of fear in my childhood and I believe this contributed as well.. So in the beginning, it was somewhat self-preservation and sometimes just the first thing coming out of my mouth. I seemed to lack the filter that others had, as I was prone to blurting out inappropriate comments or questions. Let me be clear that my intentions were not to hurt others.

As I got older, lying became a way to gain acceptance. I was socially awkward, and had difficulty making friends. I moved around a lot, and lying and exaggeration became a way for me to get people to like me and fit in.

Denial In Addiction

“I don’t have a problem.” This is a pretty typical position that most addicts take until the very end. Another one is “I’m only hurting myself.”

Most of us refuse to acknowledge what we are putting those we love through as a result of our addiction. I had no doubt that I was hurting myself and I had the paradoxical thinking that although I knew that early on I had a problem I was not willing to admit or accept that reality. You see that is another part of denial you do not live in reality, you live in a fictitious world that you create and modify in order to excuse and explain your behaviour.

Denial and Lying
High on drugs and alcohol the truth can be very elusive.

On some level I knew that my life was not reality that so many of the things I told myself were ok, were not. This denial allowed me to escape and escape became my number one coping mechanism.

If I did not like a situation then I escaped as a child it was through books, as I got older it morphed into self destructive behaviours. When I found the escape of drugs, alcohol and an eating disorder. That was it. I finally had a solution that allowed me to survive while not being present in my life.

It sometimes seemed like my whole life was a lie. Even when there was no doubt in my mind that things were horrible, that I was addicted and people were suffering around me, I clung to lying and denial fiercely as if they were a lifejacket and I was a drowning person.

Lying And Denial In Recovery

Many addicts feel that drugs are the only source of the problem, this was not the case with me I knew that the source of my problem was trauma-PTSD to be exact that in order to find recovery I needed to face the demons that haunted me. My soul was screaming from the pain and the addictive behaviours numbed that pain until the physical aspects of addiction took over. Then I had to have something or I could not function. When I went into treatment I had a very specific goal to get healing at whatever the cost. I knew at a core level that this was my key to freedom.

I did get clean. And life did get better. This was only the first step on my path to this new way of living. Early sobriety was painful I felt so raw and vulnerable as emotions bubbled up and overwhelmed me. Gone were the days were a pill or drink could push them back into darkness. I struggled with living, I struggled with life in general. I did not know how to live without denial, and telling the truth took practice and time. I found early on in sobriety. That it was much easier to live right and not have to lie to cover my tracks.

I loved this feeling it truly was freedom to not have to remember every single detail of your life. When you take the drugs away from the addict, you still have an addict. Perhaps the hardest part of sobriety was being honest with myself about my emotions, for so long I had believed that it was not safe to feel, it was not ok to have what I labeled “bad emotions”. Slowly and painfully I have learned that emotions are neither good nor bad they are simply a means to expression which should not determine my reality. That was the hardest part for so long I believed that when I felt an emotion it was reality thank God that is not the case.

Honesty And Authenticity

Some of it seemed small. For example, when someone would say something inappropriate or offensive, I would laugh and say it was okay. It wasn’t. This is dishonesty. When someone would ask me how I was and I said “fine” or “good” this was also dishonesty. I don’t know that anyone ever achieves perfect honesty, but lies such as this don’t benefit me or anyone else around me, so it’s something I have to constantly work on. It’s part of being true to myself, and growing as an authentic human being.

How To Recover From Dishonesty And Denial

For me, as for those who have come before me, the answer was in the steps. When I worked my steps the first time, I was able to peel back some of the layers of dishonesty and denial that surrounded my addiction. I was able to see how unmanageable my life was and look at my behavior honestly.

I was able to take more responsibility for my part in my resentments, and also take a hard look at how my actions had affected others, as well as how others actions had affected me. Events had happened to me that I had not part, although they left scars they were not my fault and it was time to let go of the shame and guilt that I carried. Difficult does not really describe the challenge I faced when releasing myself from any responsibility for the traumatic events that occurred to me. Unfortunately in this world evil things happen that is gift and curse of free will.

A big part of honesty for me was about self-esteem and self-worth. A lot of my dishonesty was rooted in the belief that I had no value and very little self worth. I often struggled with feeling as if I would never be enough. As I began to build my value as a human being, to give a voice to my truth, I learned to speak openly about what be truly honest and open about my feelings. A metamorphosis happened in me and still happens today as I grow each day. Learning to trust again and believing in my worth, have led to beautiful events in my life.

In this journey of recovery I have discovered that I must always be moving forward and striving for growth in my life. When stagnation occurs I am treading dangerous waters as I risk a return to old behaviours and ways of being. With this in mind I am starting my steps again. This is the way that I grow as I raise my awareness in regards to my flaws and faults.

I strive for improvement not perfection. No longer am I under the mistaken illusion that I could be perfect. Instead I work towards improving my behaviour one day at a time. Understanding that failure is part of success and that with each mistake I learn something new. I can be at peace knowing that I am always striving yet never perfecting.This is enough.

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Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Adolescent Marijuana Addiction Fueled by Multiple Factors

Adolescent Marijuana Addiction Fueled by Multiple Factors

By: Trey Dyer

Adolescents and young people today live in an age characterized by shifting views on marijuana legality, as well as its potential use for medicinal purposes. More and more states are moving toward marijuana legalization, both recreationally and medically, or decriminalization. With society’s shifting views on marijuana use, and marijuana use arguably more prevalent in popular culture than ever before, adolescent marijuana addiction is also on the rise. Contrary to popular belief by many adolescents, marijuana is both physically and psychologically addicting, and there are a number of factors that contribute to the growing number of young people who become addicted to marijuana.

Teen Marijuana Addiction

According to Monitoring the Future, an annual study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, about one in every 16 high school seniors smoke marijuana daily or near-daily. Teens are three times as likely to become addicted to marijuana as adults, and earlier marijuana use among teens can make addiction development more likely later in life.

About 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana, however 17 percent those who begin using marijuana when they are young and 25 to 50 percent of daily marijuana users develop an addiction to it, according to a study by researchers at the University of Queensland. With wider marijuana legalization and decriminalization, decreasing rates of marijuana use disapproval and perception of risks among adolescents, and increasing availability of more potent marijuana, the risk of marijuana addiction among teens is higher than ever.

Teens View Marijuana More Favorably

The amount of students who perceive regular marijuana use as harmful has declined substantially since 2005 and continues to do so. In the past decade, students who see regular marijuana use as harmful has fallen from 74 to 58 percent among eighth-graders, 66 to 43 percent among tenth-graders , and 58 to 32 percent among twelfth-graders. The percentage of students who disapprove of regular marijuana use is also declining. Twelfth-graders who disapproved of marijuana use reached its lowest rates in 25 years, and the number of tenth- and eighth-graders who disapproved of regular marijuana use were just above all-time lows.

High Rates of Teen Marijuana Use

Since 2010, teen marijuana use rates have remained near all-time highs and do not show signs of slowing down. According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future, 12 percent of eighth-graders, 25 percent of tenth-graders and 35 percent of twelfth-graders reported using marijuana within the last 12 months. Additionally, 1.1 percent of eighth-graders, three percent of tenth-graders and six percent of twelfth-graders reported using marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization

Four states — Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington — have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 24 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. More and more states are moving toward marijuana legalization both recreationally and medically, with states such as Florida and Ohio even voting on the measure during the 2014 November elections. Within states that have not legalized marijuana, decriminalization is becoming common, and many city and county governments have decriminalized marijuana within their own jurisdiction. While government officials claim that legalization or decriminalization is meant to alleviate harsh legal penalties for non-violent drug offenders, many critics argue that legalization and decriminalization contribute to change in the public’s perception of marijuana and risks associated with its use, thus perpetuating further marijuana addiction.

More Potent Marijuana

Marijuana today, on average, is much more potent than it was 20 years ago, according to Andy LaFrate, founder and director of Charas Scientific, a lab in Colorado that is sanctioned to test marijuana potency. According to LaFrate, marijuana is about three times more potent on average today than it was in the 1980s. THC, the active cannabis chemical responsible for producing euphoric effects, on average had levels of about 4 percent in marijuana in the 1980s. Today the average THC level in marijuana hovers around 20 percent. Consequently, higher THC levels increase the odds of frequent users developing a marijuana addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About the Author

Trey Dyer is a writer for drugrehab.com and advocate for helping those with substance addictions reach recovery. When he is not writing, Trey can be found barbecuing, playing soccer and fly fishing.

Sources:

Budney, A. et al. (2007). Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797098/

CBS News. (2015, March 23). Marijuana far more potent than it used to be, tests find. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-far-more-potent-than-it-used-to-be-tests-find/

Diller, V. (2013, January 15). Teen Marijuana Use: How Concerned Should We Be? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/teen-marijuana-use_b_2468667.html

Hall, W. & Degengardt, L. (2009, October 17). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19837255

Johnston, L. et al. (2015, September 1). Daily marijuana use among U.S. college students highest since 1980. Retrieved from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/15collegepr.pdf

Johnston, L. et al. (2015, December 16). Use of ecstasy, heroin, synthetic marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes declined among U.S. teens in 2015. Retrieved from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/15drugpr_complete.pdf

National Conference of State Legislatures. (2016, May 26). State Medical Marijuana Laws. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014, January). Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/frequently-asked-questions/it-possible-teens-to-become-addicted-to-marijuana

Shapiro, S. (2015, January 7). So you think marijuana isn’t addictive. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-addict-marijuana-legalize-dylan-cheech-chong-perspec-0108-jm-20150107-story.html

The California Courts. (n.d.). Addiction. Retrieved from http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/resources/substances/marijuana/addiction.cfm

7 Approaches to Treatment We’re Thankful No Longer Exist

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking

Over the years, there have been many ways of approaching individuals struggling with addiction. From mental institutions to prisons to high-end rehabs that rival many vacation resorts, addiction has been approached by medical professionals, law enforcement, neurologists, clergy and psychologists alike. Addicts have been punished, medicated, prayed over, bribed, analyzed, isolated, you name it.

For the time being, treatments are hit-and-miss. Although longer stays in inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers are providing better outcomes for participants and offer some hope .What works beautifully for one person, may not work at all for several others. A combination of behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, medication, treatment of co-occurring disorders and life skills training seems to work for many people, especially when integrated with 12 step programs.

One thing though, is for sure as an addict myself I am happy that the following 7 approaches are no longer used:

  • Electroshock therapy
  • Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification under anesthesia for alcohol dependence
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Scared straight
  • DARE prevention programs
  • Synanon style boot camps
  • Several medications for alcohol dependence, including: Beta-blockers, stimulants,
  • dopamine precursors, lithium carbonate

These treatments range from harmless, yet ineffective, to potentially dangerous. Over time, they’ve been ruled out as evidence-based treatment. Let’s take a closer look at these methods.

Electric Shock Therapy

Electric shock therapy (ECT) has been in use for a variety of psychiatric and behavioral disorders for years. It was developed in 1938 and found to be an effective means of treating mental illness such as severe depression and bipolar disorder. At first glance, electroshock therapy may seem a barbaric practice, but it is still in use today. Of course, today the procedure isn’t done on resistant patients, as was common in the past. When more advanced medications were developed, ETC was pushed to the back burner.

It’s use as a treatment for addiction has not been found effective. However, there are those that maintain it is a viable method. Success stories are likely due to the fact that ECT can treat underlying psychiatric issues that may be contributing to the addiction. The downside to ECT is that it can cause severe memory loss and cognitive deficits.

Ultra-Rapid Detox For Opiate Addiction

For people who are dependent on opiates, the idea of ultra-rapid detox is attractive. You go in and in a short period of time (as little as 30 minutes) you are free of the problem. This treatment was developed about fifteen years ago to help addicts get through detox as quickly and painlessly as possible. However, ultra-rapid detox has serious drawbacks, and is incredibly expensive. For someone with a medical issue, the process is dangerous, even life-threatening. Even someone in good health is taking a risk. Not only that, but there is no evidence that the treatment is an effective means of treating the addiction. Other than they are no longer physically dependant on opiates.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970’s. While many people swear by it as a strategy for “curing” everything from schizophrenia to a fear of heights to addiction, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Scared Straight

The Scared Straight program was introduced in the 1970’s as a way to “scare” at-risk youth into behaving. It was proposed that when these kids saw the reality of life behind bars, they would be less likely to engage in drug use or criminal activities. It’s a compelling thought, however it hasn’t been shown to work, and is potentially harmful. Aside from the fact that it can traumatize kids (especially those who have likely already experienced trauma and violence) it can also backfire. Many of the participants have gone on to prison, and some actually reported finding the experience made them want to continue on to a life of crime and incarceration. Apparently, some kids thought it was cool.

DARE Prevention Programs

Introduced in the 1980’s by First Lady Nancy Reagan as a means to keep kids off drugs, the intentions behind this program are good. Unfortunately, there’s been no evidence that it works.

Synanon Style Boot Camps

“Tough-love” was a big thing back in the 70’s, and the cult-like organization Synanon played a big part, with heavy-duty doses of that tough-love given at their “boot camps.” Synanon promised frightened parents that their children would return to them drug-free, happier and healthier, but the reality is that it was ineffective at best, and traumatizing and harmful at worst.

Beta Blockers, Stimulants, etc.

So far, medication hasn’t been a complete answer for addiction. While it is an effective way to help people detox from opiates, benzodiazepines and alcohol, medication doesn’t cure addiction. Attempts have been made to come up with medications to treat cocaine, alcohol and stimulant addiction, but so far none of these have been proven effective.

There are very few proven treatments for addiction, and even those that are considered evidence-based don’t necessarily work for everyone. My hope and wish for the future is that science will continue to pursue the best approaches to treatment and that it be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal one. The move of the medical community to now offer a specialty in addiction sciences is a big step in the right direction. I am hopeful that as the stigma fades and awareness is raised the treatment outcomes will improve significantly.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Theories of Addiction

What causes addiction?

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking
What “cures” it? There are so many theories, and yes, some are evidence backed. But ultimately, we don’t really know as much as we should. From the causes to the cures, let’s look at some common theories on addiction treatment, and explore some popular beliefs that have been dismissed by science.

First, let’s look at addiction itself. As of now, there is no concrete, proven cause for addiction. Researchers and specialists believe that there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of addiction, but there are wildly opposing beliefs beyond that.

Addiction is considered by many to be a disease. This is based off the actual definition of the disease, as well as the characteristics of disease. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and often deadly without treatment. Typically involving a stay in a residential inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center.

The other camp proposes that addiction is not a disease at all, but a behavior. After all, addiction does start with a conscious decision to use substances, whether it be alcohol, prescription opiates or cocaine. However, not everyone who has a glass of wine, or uses cocaine recreationally or takes opiate painkillers becomes addicted.

Most understand that substance use causes measurable changes in the brain. Neurochemistry is altered, as well as other brain functions. This change is what causes the obsessive-compulsive drug-seeking behavior, as well as some of the often bizarre thinking that goes along with active addiction.

Does It Matter Whether Addiction Is A Disease Or A Behavior?

Yes and no. It matters because we need to prevent and treat it. Once a person falls into addiction, regardless of how they got there, it’s important to treat the problem. People die every year as a result of addiction, and lives are shattered. The monetary cost is exorbitant, and the impact on society is undeniable. If the root of addiction can be pinpointed, then it may make it easier to cure. Since it seems evident that there is no single cause, however, it isn’t likely that knowing the cause will be the determining factor in creating a treatment.

Addiction
Looking At Treatment Options — Refuting Common Methods

There have been many ways of approaching the addicted person over the years. From mental institutions to prisons to high-end rehabs that rival many vacation resorts, much has been tried. It’s been approached by medical professionals, law enforcement, neurologists, clergy and psychologists. Addicts have been punished, medicated, prayed over, bribed, analyzed and isolated. In more recent years, professionals of all types have begun to take a more sophisticated, science-based approach. This is still new. There are very few proven treatments for addiction, and even those that are considered evidence-based don’t necessarily work for everyone. There are, however, treatments that have been disproven, and whose efficacy has been refuted.

Here’s a list of them:

  • Electric shock therapy.
  • Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification under anesthesia for alcohol dependence
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Scared straight

Other treatments and strategies which are going by the wayside as potential evidence-based practices include:

  • DARE prevention programs
  • Synanon style boot camps
  • Several medications for alcohol dependence, including: Beta-blockers, stimulants, dopamine precursors, lithium carbonate

Why Don’t We Have Many Evidence-Based Treatments For Addiction?

Addiction research is relatively new. Researching treatments in earnest is even newer. Just this year new doctors can now specialize in addiction as a specialty. Right now, most treatment centers are using therapies, treatments and tactics that are not considered evidence-based. Does that mean they don’t work? No, of course not. But it doesn’t mean that they do, either. Some examples of treatments and therapies that are considered evidence-based include:

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Medication (in the treatment of opiate addiction, for example)
  • TSF (Twelve step facilitation)

Is It Possible To Find A Treatment That Will Work For Everyone?

For the time being, treatments are hit-and-miss. What works beautifully for one person, may not work at all for several others. A combination of behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, medication, treatment of co-occurring disorders and life skills training seems to work for many people, especially when integrated with 12 step programs.

Alternative And Experimental Addiction Treatments

In an attempt to discover new ways to treat addiction, there is a steady influx of new treatment models, therapies and strategies being introduced and explored.

Some are controversial, such as treatment using hallucinogens. This may sound counterproductive, but there is actually a good amount of research involving the use of certain psychotropic drugs and the treatment of conditions such as PTSD and trauma as well as other mental illness, so it was only a matter of time before addiction treatment with hallucinogens was explored. Specifically, the substance Ibogaine has gained interest and criticism as a treatment for opiate addiction. Ibogaine is a powerful hallucinogen, and considered a drug with no medicinal value, but there are addiction professionals and researchers who beg to differ. They report that an opiate addict can gain relief from withdrawal symptoms, cravings and much of the psychological pain of addiction through the careful, monitored use of hallucinogens like Ibogaine.

Other treatments are less controversial, such as the European treatment model, consisting of a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and Naloxone, a drug commonly used to treat opiate addiction. It makes sense. The medications frequently used to treat addiction may help the person wean off the drug while minimizing withdrawal and cravings, however the psychological dependence is still there. This is why many people relapse even after they are no longer physically dependent. CBT is a useful tool that can help the individual change their thinking and behavior patterns and achieve long-term sobriety.

In the end the important thing to take away is that regardless of the cause we are in desperate need of evidence based treatments that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. This would be the ideal hopefully until then we can continue to take serious the need for effective treatments.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Trauma And Addiction: How Parents Can Help Their Kids

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking

As much as we want to protect our children, bad things still happen. Early childhood trauma has a profound effect on quality of life for children well into adulthood. It’s important that children who are traumatized get the help they need right away. Early intervention is key when substance use is not well established. This often results in a more successful outcome for the substance user who attends a residential inpatient drug and alcohol program. It is important that it be acknowledged by the adults as well. Denial has a pwerfully destructive impact on any family that struggles with substance use and trauma. It affects the whole family which means in the ideal situation every member of the family should receive some type of therapy to allow for the healing process to happen.

Handling The Teen Affected By Trauma

Perhaps your teen experienced early childhood trauma, or perhaps he or she has gone through something more recently. For example, if your teen has been a victim of bullying, a physical trauma such as an accident or an illness, sexual assault or even a major change, he or she may experience the effects of trauma. Kids who have been traumatized, regardless of their age, are 1.5 times more likely to abuse substances than kids who haven’t experienced trauma.

If you are the parent of a teen or a young adult, you may be grappling with the after-effects of their trauma. This could mean aggressiveness, acting out, excessive risk-taking, substance abuse, poor performance in school, etc.

Substance abuse is particularly alarming. It can lead to a lifelong struggle with addiction. Many adults who find themselves in and out of rehab or jail are still experiencing the effects of childhood trauma that haven’t been addressed. Drinking and using drugs are a common way for people to try and cope with feelings of pain, fear, anxiety, anger and helplessness. Unfortunately, substance use is not a healthy means of coping, and will only make matters worse. Getting help for your child as early as possible can help avoid this problem.

What If Your Adolescent Is Already Using?

While drug treatment is an effective way to deal with a substance abuse problem, it doesn’t always address trauma. Healing from trauma isn’t generally something that can’t be done in a few therapy sessions or a 30 day drug treatment program. It is a process. If your child has suffered from abuse or some other type of trauma in the past, and is experimenting with or abusing drugs, it’s important to acknowledge the part that trauma may be playing in the situation and get help right away! Look for a treatment center that includes a specific program to start the process of healing. Aftercare planning will be critical to continued success. So make sure that the therapists specializes in trauma. Also look into EMDR it is an effective treatment that helps to minimize rapidly PTSD from the trauma.

So what exactly is early childhood trauma? It’s important to note that not everyone looks at circumstances the same but the following is a general list of experiences that may lead to trauma for children:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional or verbal abuse
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Natural disaster
  • Divorce, particularly if it was a volatile situation
  • Death: Loss of a parent, sibling or close family member
  • Serious Medical procedures, Diseases or Surgeries
  • Parental abandonment, including a parent who is emotionally unavailable or neglectful

Caregivers aren’t always clear on the best way to help a child. There are some common misconceptions about children and how they deal with traumatic situations, and those misconceptions may cause parents to not take action. Here are some myths that need to be dispelled:

Young children (under 5 years) will forget about the trauma

This may or may not be true, depending on the age of the child when the event(s) take place, but that does not mean that damage hasn’t been done. The fear, stress and feelings of powerlessness and confusion will linger on for years.

Children are more resilient than adults, and so “get over” trauma more easily

Children are resilient, but this does not mean they are not deeply hurt by what’s happened to them. They may appear to go on with their lives quickly, but don’t let that fool you. Many children will show no outward signs of trauma for years.

Talking about the trauma will only upset them

It may upset them, but that is okay. Therapy is the best place to discuss the trauma, but parents shouldn’t avoid the topic if the child wants to bring it up. When parents deny or ignore the issue, it can leave the child feeling abandoned, or make them question themselves.

If the child is very young, he or she will not benefit from therapy

Even preverbal children can benefit from therapy. Depending on the trauma and the child’s temperament, therapy may need to go on for years. While this may seem unnecessary, it’s not. The implications of severe trauma may impact your child’s future in many ways, so it’s important that the child gets all the help they need, for as long as they need it.

The Impact Of Trauma On Children Through Adulthood

Unfortunately, trauma doesn’t just go away on its own. Children who experience trauma may not talk about it, and they may appear to move on more quickly to their normal routine and activities. However, there is strong evidence that although resilient in many ways, children who experience trauma are profoundly changed, often in ways that do not show up for years.

It’s Never Too Early To Intervene

If your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, it isn’t too early to get help. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better. Getting your son or daughter help in the form of a good adolescent program that offers addiction treatment and intensive therapy may help prevent a years-long battle that will take a heavy toll.

If you are dealing with a young adult, you can still help. Be open and honest with them about your fears, talk to them about what they went through and let them know it may be the root of their problem. If things have escalated and they are abusing substances, arrange a professional intervention.

Getting Your Child The Right Kind Of Help

It’s important that you get your child the help that is right for them. Find a child therapist that specializes in trauma. This is important. Not all counselors specialize in this. It’s not likely that your family counselor is going to have this expertise.

The Problem Won’t Go Away Overnight

The healing process is just that — a process. The earlier you start therapy for your child (and perhaps yourself) the better. With that said, it’s never too late to get help, either! If your teen is struggling with addiction, now is the time to act to get them the help they need so they can overcome addiction and find some peace in their lives.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Helping an Alcoholic – What a doctor won’t tell you

The doctor can’t admit their confusion. How can someone who is reasonable in all areas of their life, act completely insane when it comes to a certain type of beverage.

It’s hard to watch. How can someone with two Driving Under the Influence arrests (DUI’s) drive drunk, the night they are released from jail? How can a successful mother of three choose drinking over her children and job? It doesn’t make sense. If you know a family member, friend, or coworker having a difficult time controlling the amount they drink, you might wonder what you can do. Does this person even want your help.

My friends at Healthline helped explain the process

First things first

Before, you do anything, it’s important to know whether your friend or loved one truly has an alcohol problem. Alcoholism is more than just drinking too much from time to time. It is a debilitating, physical dependence on alcohol. Alcoholics may deny that a problem even exists. They may continue to drink when all aspects of professional and social relationships are affected. Yet therapy and other treatments can be very effective at helping people develop coping skills and strategies to maintain sobriety.

If you’re ready and committed to helping your friend or family member, here are some steps you can take

Be Honest

If the person does have an alcohol problem, the best thing you can do is be open and honest with them about it. Alcoholism can lead to a lot of shame and embarrassment. It can be easier to deny or ignore the problem than to deal with it. The alcoholic prefers the feeling obtained from drinking to the negative consequences that follow it. Hoping the person will get better on their own won’t change anything.

Tell your loved one that you’re worried they’re drinking too much, and let them know you want to be supportive. Be prepared to face a negative reaction. Try to “roll” with any resistance to your suggestions. The person may be in denial, and they may even react angrily to your attempts. Do not take it personally.

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No matter what the outcome, be patient and stick to your plan.

Realize that you can’t force someone into treatment who doesn’t want to go. All you can do is offer your help, and it’s up to them to decide whether they’ll take it. Be non-judgmental, empathetic, and sincere. Imagine yourself in the same situation, and how your reaction might be.

Enlist Others

There is power in numbers. See if you can get other family members and friends involved in the intervention plan. Ask people whom you know the person trusts, such as a best friend, brother or sister, or a parent. Encourage all participants to avoid personal judgments, and to focus on situations where they were affected by the person’s intoxication.

Also call in help from a professional, like a doctor, therapist, or other specialist from an addiction treatment facility. Ask for advice on how to get the person into treatment. Learn about your options. Ask which programs in your area offer alcohol treatment and whether insurance will cover the cost. Often there are agencies and organizations that offer treatments at no cost to the alcoholic; a popular misconception is that “rehab” is only available to those who can afford it.

Rehearse

Practice what you’re going to say to the person. Try to formulate statements that are positive and supportive, not negative, hurtful, or judgmental. For example, rather than saying, “You’re an alcoholic and I can’t stand it anymore — you need to get help now,” you can say, “I love you and you’re very important to me. It upsets me very much when you drink. I worry that you may be harming your health. I’ll be happy to go with you to get help, and I will support you through the whole process.” Using “I” statements reduces the accusative phrasing and lets the person be an active participant in the discussion.

Prepare yourself for the response, which may not be positive. The person might get angry. Stay calm and assure them that they have your respect, and have the time and space to make an honest decision.

Pick a Time and Place to Talk

Choose the right time to have this important conversation. It should be a time when you know you have the person’s full attention. Make sure they’re not upset or preoccupied with other issues. Most importantly, the person should be sober at the time. Have the conversation in a place where you know you’ll have quiet and privacy. You’ll want to avoid any interruptions or embarrassment.

Commit to Change

Don’t be swayed by false promises. Your friend or loved one may vow to cut back on their own. Urge the person to get into a formal treatment program, which is the best way to overcome alcoholism. The key is not to let your emotions ruin the intent of the discussion. Ask for concrete commitments and follow-up on them. The alcoholic often will relapse; realize the process is long-term and that nothing “cures” alcoholism.


If the person is very resistant to getting help, plan an intervention. During this process, friends, family members, and co-workers — often with the help of a professional counselor — get together to confront the person and urge them into treatment.

Stay the Course

Don’t think you’re finished and walk away once you’ve gotten the person into therapy. Treatment for alcoholism is an ongoing process. If possible, attend meetings and treatment sessions with them. Offer to help out with work, childcare, and household tasks so they can stay focused on getting well.

Treating alcoholism isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always work the first time around. Often a person has been contemplating abstinence for some time, yet could not achieve sobriety on their own. Don’t blame yourself if the first intervention isn’t successful. Patience is necessary. You can’t change an alcoholic or force them to stop drinking; that’s a decision they need to make.

Stay on top of the person’s progress until treatment is through, and continue to be supportive afterward. For example, don’t order alcohol when you’re together if you know the person is struggling to stay sober. Ask about new strategies that they have acquired from treatment or meetings. Stay invested in their long-term recovery.

Don’t Become Co-dependent

When the alcoholic is a spouse or partner, it’s possible to become overly wrapped up in your concern for their well-being. This is called codependency. Make sure that you are being supportive, but not trying to be their counselor or addiction coach. These professionals are trained to be objective from the start of treatment, and often family members and friends have deep emotional ties that prevent them from having the needed objective viewpoint that is necessary for treatment. You may get to the point where you feel compelled to help them get well. If you don’t control codependency, it can lead you into your own destructive behaviors, including drinking and drug use.

Be understanding, but avoid getting too caught up in your loved one’s problem. Be aware that exaggerations, half-truths, and deeper emotional problems will distort the information you receive from those suffering from addiction. Seek help from a therapist or support group to prevent or resolve your codependency issues.

Get Help for Yourself

Remember that dealing with the emotional strain of trying to get a loved one sober can be hard on you, too. If you’re feeling stressed or depressed, seek help from a therapist or counselor. You can also participate in a 12-step program that’s designed for the friends and family members of alcoholics, such as Al-Anon.

 Stay Informed

Learning everything you can about alcoholism will ensure that you take the right actions to help your friend or loved one.

You can use these government and program websites for further resources and information on helping someone with an alcohol addiction:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 

SAMHSA

800RecoveryHub help

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

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