Feb 232015

          When Drug Addiction Becomes a Threat to a Relationship

Question: When is drug addiction a threat to a relationship? Answer: Always!

This has to be the opening position when evaluating a situation where one party in a relationship is involved with drugs. Evaluating is the key. Emotion makes hash of good judgement when it comes to people about whom we deeply care. When emotion is substituted for rational evaluation of the situation, it breeds a number of unfortunate possibilities:

          Gambling Addiction Risks More than the College Fund

One of the worst kinds of addictions is gambling addiction. That is because many consider it, to be less serious than drug addiction. As a result, it often goes untreated. But an addiction does not have to involve drugs to have a deleterious effect on relationships and families. On the contrary, gambling addiction effects families beyond the obvious. According to netplaces.com on addiction and recovery:

The emotional trauma a family may experience can also be devastating. A family member other than the addict may be the one confronted and harassed by debt collectors and creditors. Dealing with divorce, separation, or being the only parent trying to manage the home front while the gambling addict is gone can feel overwhelming.

That feeling of being overwhelmed can, itself, lead to the declining physical and emotional health of the one left to pick up the pieces. Insufficient finances and mounting family responsibilities make for a bad combination that the responsible party may not be able to handle. In this situation, the addict is not the only one who needs counseling. If the relationship is to be saved, intervention needs to happen long before it comes to this.

          Drug and Alcohol Addiction Destroys Trust

No matter how well they present themselves, a drug addict is always acting on the narcissistic impulse to acquire more drugs for the next high. Believing anything else is self-delusion. An addict is not necessarily a bad person. But they are not the person you think you know. The bank account will get emptied. The TV and other consumables will go missing. Such a person develops dangerous friendships with people you don’t want near your family.

Drug addiction is less a problem and more a crisis. It is Red Alert, General Quarter, all hands on deck! For a relationship to survive drug addiction, it has to be treated as such from the beginning. The relationships that survive drug addiction pretty much all go through professional treatment.

          Flirting with the Joneses

Seeing how close to the edge you can get is usually a prelude to falling off the cliff. But that is exactly what many people do with dangerous vices. How many cigarettes can you smoke before you can’t quit? How many drinks can you take before you are an alcoholic? How much cocaine or heroin can you handle before you can no longer handle it? Some people can experiment with all of these things and function perfectly well, while others need complete abstinence. Which kind is your loved one? It can be hard to tell before it is too late.

          Warning Signs

Fortunately, drug addiction does not happen all of a sudden, or in a vacuum. There are signs both subtle and obvious. Some of those signs as listed by Axis Recovery are:

  • Increased Tolerance
  • Drug Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Drug Cravings
  • Social Isolation and Relationship Breakdown

Combine these signs with the following risk factors, and you stand a fighting chance of saving your relationship before the problem gets out of hand:

  • Addiction runs in your family, giving you a genetic predisposition.
  • You’re a man, doubling your risk.
  • You have another psychiatric condition.
  • You are subject to peer pressure.
  • Family and strong support systems are lacking.
  • You are troubled with depression and/or anxiety or feel alone.
  • The drug you’re abusing is known to be very addictive.

Drug addiction is always a threat to a relationship. But that does not mean that the relationship is over. It means that there is a threat that has to be taken seriously. There is no end-around professional help in these cases. It is a medical condition that must be treated as such. The real threat is doing nothing.





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.