Archive for March, 2017

Couple Holding Hands

Watching your spouse or partner struggle with addiction isn’t easy, but this challenge doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. With patience, commitment, and determination, your marriage can emerge from this struggle stronger than ever before.

Start a New Chapter in Your Relationship

Try to look at your spouse being in recovery as an opportunity to build a new marriage and start a fresh chapter in your own personal love story. Let go of past mistakes, hurt, and anger.  Focus on discovering who your partner is as a sober individual and give yourself permission to fall in love all over again.

One way to build a new marriage with a spouse in recovery is to set aside a regular “date night” to talk and reconnect, just as you did when you first met. Some great sober date ideas to consider including going for a walk in the park, visiting a museum together, going bowling, checking out an arcade, or volunteering for a non-profit organization you both support.

Listen Without Judging

Addiction is difficult to truly understand unless you’ve struggled with substance abuse issues yourself. However, being willing to listen without judgment can go a long way towards creating a better marriage when your spouse is in recovery.

In today’s fast-paced world, we’re often guilty of multi-tasking instead of taking the time to truly communicate. At the end of the day, put down your phone, turn off the TV, and give your spouse your undivided attention. Recovery is an ongoing process, so setting aside 15 to 20 minutes each day to reconnect in this fashion can go a long way towards keeping your spouse on the path of sobriety.

Make Time for Self-Care

When you’re the spouse of a recovering addict, it’s easy to become so overwhelmed by your partner’s needs that you neglect to take care of yourself. However, self-care is an essential part of building a strong marriage. You can’t be a supportive partner without creating a strong foundation for yourself.

Self-care includes eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and getting the rest that your body needs, as well as finding time for activities you enjoy apart from your partner. This may include solo pursuits such as gardening or reading as well as catching up with old friends. When your own mind, body, and soul have been nourished, you’ll be able to bring your “best self” to the marriage.

Start a Journal

Keeping a journal can be a wonderful way to explore your feelings surrounding your spouse’s recovery without creating additional tension in your marriage. When you’re feeling hurt, angry, or disappointed, writing in your journal can help you work out your issues before you’re tempted to lash out at your spouse.

If you don’t consider yourself much of a writer, try making lists or creating an art journal that combines doodles and collages with words that express how you feel. If you’re not fond of writing by hand, create a special folder on your laptop for journal entries. There’s no right or wrong way to journal—all that matters is you choose an approach that works for you.

Seek Counseling

Marriage counseling is so much more than just a last-ditch strategy to avoid divorce. Any couple going through major life changes can benefit from marriage counseling. Having an objective third party to offer advice, guide discussions, and teach communication techniques can help you feel more confident as you work towards your sober future together.

If you have children who are struggling to understand your spouse’s addiction, family counseling sessions may be beneficial as well. An experienced therapist can help your family address parenting challenges and brainstorm ideas for how you can all support each other.

 
To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 877-727-4465. 

Family support

Are you wondering whether someone you care about needs addiction treatment? The road to a substance abuse problem isnt a straight line. For most people, its more like a slippery slope. When the person in need and their families look back at past events, they can see how the addiction developed, but its difficult to point to a single moment where they knew they were in trouble.

When questioning whether your loved one needs help, it’s easy to dismiss these thoughts at first. No one wants to immediately conclude that a family member, friend or colleague needs rehab. It makes sense to compare what you think may be occurring against a list of symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction. If the behaviors you are seeing line up with the symptoms, your suspicions may be accurate.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The following list provides some of the most common signs of an addiction problem.

Isolation
If your loved one is hiding their alcohol or drug use from others or says that they dont want anyone to be in their business,its a sign that they are justifying their behavior. They may be feeling embarrassed about either what they are taking or how much they are drinking or using, and dont want anyone to know.

Lying
Your loved one may tell you very elaborate stories about where they have been and what they have been doing. If this is not their usual way of speaking, be aware that they may be lying to you.

Addicts often believe that as long as they have a good story, they are able to convince other people of anything. This is their notion of being in control of a situation. The longer they are addicted, the more elaborate the stories will become.

Anger
If you confront an addict about their lies, they are likely to respond with anger. Some people may become violent as they try to tell another lie to get themselves out of the situation. Becoming angry and defensive when you try to discuss the issue can be a sign of addiction.

Mood Swings
Your loved one may display mood swings if they are addicted to alcohol or drugs. During a short time, they could appear happy but then their mood could turn angry, sad, or withdrawn. Youll want to make note of the rapid shift in moods, not necessarily the exact mood states. Someone who is shifting moods often likely needs to seek professional help.

Blackouts
If your loved one reports not being able to remember certain periods of time or events, its a sign that their drinking or drug use is heavy enough to cause blackouts. This situation is cause for alarm. It should prompt you to talk to your loved one about seeing a doctor about their health and to seek advice about addiction treatment.

Inability to Slow Down or Stop on their Own
One sign of addiction is when a person makes promises to themselves and others to either slow down their consumption or stop completely and is unable to do so. Someone who is addicted no longer has a choice about whether they will drink or do drugs–the disease is in control of their actions. At that point, the person needs to seek substance abuse treatment.

Next Steps if You Know Your Loved One Needs Addiction Treatment

If you read through the list of signs and symptoms and realize that your loved one needs addiction treatment, your next steps will depend on whether they have asked for help.

If Your Loved One Has Asked for Help
This is an important first step in getting your loved one the help they need. Talk to them to see if they would be willing to see a doctor for an evaluation. Depending on the type of health insurance plan your loved one has, they may need a referral to a doctor specializing in addiction medicine. If they dont need one, use the Find a Physicianfeature on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website to find a specialist near you.

If Your Loved One Hasn’t Asked for Help
In a situation where your loved one hasnt approached you and asked for help, you can still look for addiction treatment centers in their area. If you do some research and provide the information, it may encourage them to seek help.

Look online for treatment centers near your city, in your county and state. The addiction treatment centers website should provide you with information about the type of services it provides (detox, inpatient, outpatient) and the types of insurance it accepts. Most treatment facilities have a toll-free number where you can speak to an intake counselor. These centers are also very familiar with different insurance companiesofferings and whether a doctors referral is required before starting treatment.

You can also ask whether the treatment center has other types of payment plans available (payment arrangements, sliding scale, scholarships), as well as specific questions about the program itself. Your loved one may be more likely to enter treatment when presented with information about a specific program.

 
To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 877-727-4465. 

addictionOne of the ways that addiction is described by Alcoholics Anonymous is with the phrase cunning, baffling and powerful.To those living with it, this expression certainly rings true. Someone who is clean and sober may seem to be doing well on their journey, but then they have a slip or even a full-blown relapse.

This type of behavior is very confusing to an addicted persons family members and friends: they likely think that once their loved one goes for treatment, that the problem will be fixed.Unfortunately, addiction doesnt work that way. Its a chronic illness that has all of the qualities listed above, along with infinite patience.

Addiction Treatment Teaches Coping Skills
At the root of many addictions is a desire to avoid emotional pain. If someone is looking for a way to numb themselves or to avoid dealing with something that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can drink, take a pill, snort or smoke something that will help them do that. They dont have to learn how to deal with things going on in their life.

Its not realistic to think that someone who has developed that pattern of living can simply stop using their drug of choice without having something to replace it. For this reason, addiction treatment programs teach coping strategies to their clients that they can use in their chemical-free lifestyle.

Addiction is Cunning
Keep in mind that the addiction is not cured; it is still lying in the background. An addict has to learn that they cant drink again, ever: they cant pick up a drink when they are feeling down or stressed. They learn strategies to avoid these types of situations while in treatment.

Its more challenging to get used to the idea that they cant drink as part of a celebration. If someone has been sober for a time, they might get a little cocky and start thinking that they can have one drink and will be all right. This is the cunning part of their addiction talking to them. It lies in wait, trying to trip them up.

Addiction is Baffling
Unless an addict continues to be diligent about working their program, they will likely relapse. The first part of a 12-step program is to admit that one is powerless over the addiction. The minute someone thinks that they have their addiction beatand that they dont need to keep going to meetings and doing things to stay on track, they are opening the door to letting it take control of their life.

Addiction is Powerful
This disease has the power to change the way a person thinks and how they perceive the world around them. People who are in the throes of an addictive lifestyle will do whatever they need to in order to feed their addiction. The need to use becomes so powerful it takes precedent over anything else.

Addiction is Patient
Someone who is an addict is in recovery, but they are not recovered. The addiction will patiently wait for a chance to step back into their life, if given a chance. The best way to prevent this from occurring is to be constantly vigilant about ones recovery on a day-to-day basis.

In some instances, taking things in smaller chunks of time makes more sense. It may mean looking at life one hour at a time if that is what is needed to stay sober. The 12-step programs offer support and fellowship for people who are experiencing challenges in their journey to stay sober. Many of their members will likely understand exactly what the phrase cunning, baffling powerfulmeans from personal experience, too.

 
To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 877-727-4465.