Jan 172014

            Addiction is many things. It is insidious and baffling and destructive. As an addiction professional, I have noticed trends that are quite disturbing. The rise in social drinking is astonishing. Dealing with stress with a “glass of wine” or a cocktail is nothing new but the acceptability of daily usage is far greater than it used to be. To be clear, social drinking is not the issue. The issue comes from using alcohol as a means of dealing with stress instead of actually addressing the stressor. The insidious nature of addiction will have you believing that a little glass of wine or two or three is not a big deal. When you depend on that glass of wine as your only relief from the onslaught of life, then we are in the world of addiction.

admissions img 300x152 Advanced Health and Education

Treatment centers that cater to the needs of all forms of addiction are available but not all treatment is created equally. We need to become smarter consumers when it comes to choosing our treatment facilities. For example, New Jersey addiction treatment centers can vary widely. There are N.J. prescription drug abuse treatment centers that deal specifically with that type of addiction and several New Jersey alcohol treatment centers. The importance of asking the right questions when choosing the appropriate treatment for yourself or loved one is in asking the right questions.

NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, suggests that you ask certain questions deciding on a treatment facility. In following with our original example, ask if the N.J. drug treatment center is using a scientifically established treatment modality. What if you have issues with more than one substance? Does the N.J. drug and alcohol treatment center also address prescription drugs? How long is treatment and will that be enough time to deal with any issue that may arise? What kind of aftercare program do they offer and is a 12 step offered within the program?

Another valuable resource if you are looking for a treatment center is the Advanced Health and Education. There site has lots of resources and information on addiction as well as providing different level of addiction treatment at their facility in New Jersey. An added benefit to this facility is that in their New Jersey Alcohol Treatment Centers, they include alcohol detox along with several other detox facilities.

Addiction is many things. With the help of trained professionals, you can be educated and armed with information to deal with this difficult issue.

For more information on addiction and treatment centers, go to:

NIDA http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/seeking-drug-abuse-treatment

Feb 272013

Real Relationship Advice

 Celebrity Rehab did not Kill Mindy McCready

Another tragedy. Another death of a famous person. The first course of action for people is to look for who is to blame. That seems par for the course, right? Someone takes their own life and then the surviving family, fans and media need to find the culprit who pushed the star to their death. Who is the perpetrator of this heinous crime, according to the media and fan sites? Celebrity Rehab. Yes, according to the media, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Celebrity Rehab are responsible for the death of Mindy McCready, Joey Kovar, Rodney King, Mike Star and Jeff Conoway. That is what they are saying and we know that ‘they’ are always right.

Well, ‘they’ are wrong. Very wrong. These people were addicts. These people were broken from the way they dealt with reality to the state of their relationships. Despite their celebrity, no matter what level of fame they had achieved in their lives, they were no better than a homeless addict. Their only saving grace is that they cleaned up a little better and maybe had some fans that still regarded them as special. This is not, in any way, a disparaging comment. This is the reality.

We would like to believe that addiction is different for the rich and beautiful but it isn’t. Addiction is a mean mistress who will strip you of your dignity, gut you of any attachment that has meaning except for that of their drug of choice, and leaves you a husk of who you were. If you believe that having Celebrity Rehab televise the reality of addiction and recovery had anything to do with the subsequent deaths of these people then you are in denial of what addiction really is.

As a Substance Abuse Counselor for many years, I have seen my fair share of death. It is not uncommon to see someone graduate from rehab and then die, whether due to relapse, violence or just from the sheer fact that your body was not meant to handle the substances that were used. Perfectly sober individuals die spontaneous deaths and we are left wondering why. But, when a person abuses a drug and their body for years, there is no wondering why. We know that their body was worn out.

In the case of Mindy McCready, her suicide should not come as a surprise. This was not her first attempt. She suffered the death of her boyfriend mere weeks before and the stress of the loss had her turn to the drastic cure of suicide. As mental health professionals, we can look at her death as a tragedy but one that could have been predicted. She was an addict. She did not deal with her feelings like sober individuals who feel their feelings. Her feelings were overwhelming to her and that is why she used. Following the death of her boyfriend, she was using alcohol and prescription drugs. She had attempted suicide before to no avail. This time, she assured her outcome by using a shotgun. This was a woman who was done hurting. When someone is this determined to die, there was little hope that anyone could have intervened.

Sadly, she left two children, a family and many fans. To them, and the families of the other who passed and were former Celebrity Rehab patients, we offer our deepest condolences. However, stop blaming anyone for their deaths. They chose to use. Their addictions consumed them. The only thing to blame here is addiction, who has taken more people from their families than war.

Get help. The first step is clicking here.


Jul 202012

          Lee and I love to write about addictions as any of our readers know. Lee is a substance abuse professional (she actually has papers that say this) and I have worked the other in of substance abuse doing all of the stuff that is needed to make a facility successful and safe. Bottom line is that substance abuse is our thing. So when Blue Water Detox asked us to write something we were delighted.

          So let’s talk about detox. Detoxification as it relates to substance abuse has changed over the years. In the old days, detox was important for heroin users. With most drugs there is both a physical and a psychological component to addiction. With heroin the physical component was so strong that the withdrawal symptoms could be fatal. Even if they were not life threatening, they were so bad that there was no hope of working with the underlying psychological reasons for the use because the client was in a heaping ball of pain and sweat in the corner. So they started to use medical detoxification to make the client more comfortable (and increase survivability).

          Now we know that pretty much any drug needs some type of detox process. Some are longer than others but getting the drug out of the system is good for anyone. Detox for long term alcoholism, for example, is huge. We have seen someone who had been drinking for decades go through detox and come out new. Generally they feel clear and are ready to tackle the reasons for their addiction so that they do not use again.

          All of our readers know our position about addiction. Here it is in a nutshell for those that do not know it: Handle your addiction. All addictions, whether it is food, drugs, alcohol, or sex, are detrimental. You can do something about them so do it.

Jul 032012

We write about addiction often. On this subject we have considerable expertise. Lee is an addiction professional. She has certifications and a lot of experience. Even I know my fair share since I did my time running the finances and quality assurance for several addiction facilities. One thing that everyone needs to know when dealing with addiction, whether alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, is that the addict will not quit until they want to quit.

There are some things that help move them in the right direction. Having the opportunity to quit is important. One of the best things that we can do for them is to have the information available.

We looked at the site http://addictionwatch.com/ and liked what we saw. A person can call a counselor for free. That is huge. If an addict can make that step then they are taking the first big step to recovery. The site is interesting because they mix entertainment news, specifically looking at who is in rehab and what they are saying about recovery, and solid opportunities for recovery. Besides the free counselor, they also have addiction referral, motivational content, and some science on addiction and recovery. Every little thing that we can do to help get someone into recovery is a great thing.

May 212012

Real Relationship Advice

Weird sex 300x215 Revisiting Sex Addiction

Sex is a release. Drinking disinhibits and relaxes us. Drugs make us feel euphoric. Getting a deal makes us feel exuberant and accomplished. Anything that makes you feel good can be abused and you can develop a dependency. This is the basis of Addiction. If you like it then you can overdo it. Anyone who has eaten ice cream, lobster thermidor, chocolate or even a delicious pizza from your favorite purveyor knows we can easily overdo it when we enjoy what we are doing. CoupleDumb has discussed addiction a million times and we can think of no better way to end up our Tired Parent series than to remind our readers of the icky side of over doing it.

Since the 70’s, our culture has had a constant theme of ‘do it cause it feels good’. This mantra is repeated throughout our adulthood. Sure, when we are kids we are taught the terrible consequences of being a hedonist like being overweight, death and going to hell but that all changes in adulthood. All of a sudden doing anything in excess becomes a rite of passage or a means by which we ‘blow off steam’ or the consequences are magically removed with ‘if it makes you happy’. These rationalizations mean very little when we find ourselves in the pit of addiction with no discernible way of getting out.

In the realm of sex, the snares that to lead addiction are the following:

1. Pornography: In the old days, porn was viewed only by old perverted men who were looking for some excitement. Today, porn is main-stream and its availability permeates every section of our lives. We can live stream sex acts on our phones! Pornography fills our head with images that both entice and fascinate. This combination makes us seek out more and when we combine it with masturbation we increase the possibility of creating a dependency.

2. The search for the ultimate sexual experiences: We recently were introduced to ‘fuck it lists’; a bucket list for sex. These lists could contain certain individuals but most people place different sexual experiences on their lists like orgies, certain places to engage in sex, swinging or they include S&M or B&D. Without needing a degree in Psychology, one can see how this can lead to an addiction. When we search for the bigger high we are in the realm of addiction.

3. Sado-masochism or Bondage and Domination: There is nothing wrong with a little sex play. Buying the occasional toy or outfit just accentuates the sex experience. However, in the arena of S&M, B&D, Infantilism and all the other practices, sex is rarely the end result. Much of what is done is in substitution for intercourse. Many people believe that after a rousing session of boot licking and perhaps some flogging that the slave will get to have sex with the master. Hardly. These lifestyles take the place of sex and create a world where the ‘game’ is all there is.

As humans, we tend to overdo things. There is nothing wrong with having fun or a little experimentation as long as we understand that there are consequences to everything we do. There are no free rides and searching for a bigger orgasm or higher high is the path to addiction. If you engage in any of these activities, we invite you to ask yourself ‘how do I feel about me?’ If there is shame or you feel disconnected, please seek help right away.

Sex is a gift and we invite everyone to enjoy themselves….in the privacy of their homes with a committed partner. Ultimately, that holds the better possibility of the best sex you have ever had.