Drugs Answers

how do i stay clean

Hello Roo, I am glad you reached out for support at this time.  I am sorry you are struggling in this moment.  I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles.  If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process.  I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time.  During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week.   A few of the questions I would ask would include the following:Can you tell me more about your past history?I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having.  If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others. About Codependendency and Recovery from Addictions: Addictions and Codependency are family and relationship issues as well as a primary illness for the addict.  Modern treatment methods address the entire family and relationship structure. Ironically, codependency isn't about other people - it's about the relationship with the self.  Codependents often believe that if the addict in their life sobered up their problems would go away. Countless addict / alcoholics find their relationships end or change radically when they get clean and sober. The family / relationship dynamic was predicated on the addict being "the sick one." As the addict gets well they may find their partners and family members have no idea how to adjust to the changes.Enabling codependents may subvert the addict's recovery so the unhealthy relationship dynamics can be preserved. Addicted codependents who hid behind another's more dramatic problem may leave the relationship rather than give up their own using. Addicted codependents often progress in their own addictions more rapidly when their partner enters recovery. (Since the change in the relationship is stressful.)Codependents in denial cannot adjust to the relationship changes that occur when their partner begins recovery. They may move on to other addictive relationships so they can cling to their own dysfunctional patterns.  (The controlling codependent is often lost without someone to blame, fix and control.)  How many times have you heard of people who leave one alcoholic only to enter a relationship with another one? All people involved in the addictive cycle need a solid recovery program if relationships are to be preserved and they are to lead happy, fulfilling lives.  Codependency Recovery:Recovery from Codependency is deep work based on shifting our relationship with ourselves. We may have to let go If the people in our lives are unwilling to work through their issues.  "Firing" the people we were codependent with may be a part of that, but remember - codependency is about us, not them!  Recovery from codependency involves learning to take responsibility for our own actions, feelings behavior, issues and lives.Codependents have as much difficulty accepting their powerlessness over people and events as alcoholics / addicts have regarding their powerlessness over their drug of choice. (Many treatment modalities approach codependency as an addiction to control and / or caretaking.)   Ongoing therapy and a twelve step program (CODA meetings) are highly advised. Melody Beattie's Codependent No More is recommended reading, as is her book The Language of Letting Go.  Letting go of the need to control people, places and events is difficult, but will ultimately set us free of our self-defeating patterns, shame and fear. The investment in caretaking / control take a lot of our energy - letting that go frees our energy for more productive uses. I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space.  I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.
Answered on 10/18/2021

No question

Thank-you for reaching out to better help for assistance. I look forward to assisting you. Sounds like you are saying that you have a serious drug addiction and that you are destroying your life every weekend. You stated that you have a good career, beautiful girlfriend and family that cares for you. You state that no one know how bad your addiction is besides your girlfriend. You stated that your addictions are alcohol and cocaine.  You state you have developed a form of torettes or tics when you think of something embarrassing. Yes, addictions are serious and hard to control and stop but you can do it. The most important step is that you are reaching out for help and that you are saying that you have a problem and that it is affecting your life. You are the one that has to decide you are sick and tired of how things are going and that you want to stop using alcohol and cocaine. These type of substances are very addicting and take time to get off and stop. The urge to use is very great. Our brains release dopamine chemical that is a reward. When this dopamine is released it makes the person feel good and happy. They might realize they don't like using but they like that dopamine and feeling and you have to really want to stop using. You could think of going to a substance abuse counselor for treatment. This would probably be a good idea so someone can monitor your progress. Also AA is a good program to go to for support. I would apply the cognitive behavioral therapy/ CBT  therapy. This therapy challenges your thoughts and beliefs to get the best possible outcome for yourself.  I would apply the ABC Method or CBT skill. A= the activating event, B= your thoughts and beliefs, C= the outcome or consequence. The key is to challenge your B or thoughts and beliefs to get the best C or outcome and consequence for yourself.  Your activating event is your usage of alcohol and cocaine and wanting to stop. When you have this urge or desire you do not want to be implusive and go from A to C and not think about it. You want to apply the B and challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Think and ask yourself is this the right thing for me to do or the wrong thing for me to do. Ask yourself will using help or hurt me?  Than you need to divert your activities to something else like going for a walk , talking to someone or doing something else. After about 1 hour your desire to use should decrease. You will need to do this everytime you have the desire to use alcohol and cocaine. You may make a mistake but get back on challenging your thoughts and beliefs. It may take a month or so but you soon will change your habits, if you stick with this and your desire to use alcohol and cocaine will decrease. I hope this helped you and I wish you the best. I look forward to hearing from you.
Answered on 10/18/2021

Am I’m doomed?

First things first Drax!  No, you are not doomed!  There is an amazing part of you that is trying to fight which is evidenced by your willingness to continue to get up every day and push forward.  In spite, of your challenges, you are managing to go to work and do what is necessary to take care of yourself.     Even reaching out and asking for help is another indicator that you are trying to survive your emotions.  However is sounds like your resiliency is starting to fade.  Opioid addiction is challenging and depending upon your length of time using; it is not advised to quit on your own; if you choose to do so.  Addictions can cause the body to feel as though; you can't live with it and you can't live without it!  It is obvious that you have challenges that go back past the addiction.  Perhaps it is time to look back to the origin of your challenges.  Before the drugs.  There is hope if you are willing to do the work necessary to get on the other side of addiction.  Working with a counselor, and perhaps a safe support group may lead you on the road to the desired outcome.      Also, this has been a very difficult time in the world.  The pandemic has been devasting for the majority of people due to the uncertainty and being locked in place for an indefinite period.  Trying to find ways and means of entertaining yourself by yourself has been a challenge.  The inability to do simple things and go places has been ridiculously hard.  Once again, you have tried your best to deal with this as well.  It sounds as if you have had enough and your resiliency is fading.   With support, you can realize a future filled with hope.  It may sound difficult to believe.  However, if you can envision being lost in the woods at night, and a helicopter appears with a spotlight.  You follow the light and it leads you out of the woods. That is what counseling is all about.    I am Angelie Greene, a licensed therapist. You can read more about my background, education, experience, and counseling approach by clicking on my name on this page.     
Answered on 10/18/2021

I really need a counselor, but my financial situation is not supportive

Dear Mawenya,   Thank you for your message.   Changing an addictive behavior takes time and determination, as it is a process, not a goal.   There are two main aspects of working with addictive behaviors, and you have mentioned them both already: physical and mental.   There is surely a physical aspect when it comes to substance use therefore I would certainly recommend checking in with a chemical dependency counselor regarding the physiological aspect of detoxing and quitting. There needs to be a systematic step in this process otherwise we are just simply suppressing, not necessarily quitting.   To supplement the physical process of quitting, we also need to pave the ground mentally to accept that this is a process that requires time and patience, and it would be wise to also include relapse in this process. That is when being free from shame is crucial. We will have a relapse and we will fail (eventually everyone does in whatever we do in life), the matter is how to pick ourselves up again without blaming ourselves or shaming ourselves for our mistakes/failures. That takes a constant practice of self-compassion, acceptance and develop a mindset to be patient with ourselves and be non-judgmental with ourselves.   When people first become sober, they tend to be highly motivated. Their new life is exciting, and the world appears full of possibilities. As time passes, the newness of recovery fades away. Even when the sober life is so much more rewarding than the life of the addict the individual can begin to take things for granted. Eventually their motivation to stay sober begins to wane, and the risk of relapse increases. This is why one of the biggest challenges in recovery from addiction is to stay motivated.   It is sometimes said in a negative way that certain people lack motivation. This type of criticism is often not a true reflection of what is happening because even the person who sits around all day can be motivated. The problem is not so much that they lack motivation, but that they are motivated to do what other people would consider to be the wrong things. In simple terms, motivation can be described as the driving force behind action.   It is possible to distinguish two type of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. If people do things because they feel that it is good or right, then this would be referred to as intrinsic motivation. When people do things because of external pressure or influence, this is referred to as extrinsic motivation.   Sobriety is a Process and Not an Event   The idea that people just give up their addiction, and automatically live happily ever after, is a myth. This is because there will have been a reason why the individual fell into addiction in the first place; that reason will probably still be there when they get sober. The usual motivation for why people turn to substance abuse is an inability to cope with life– they will have been relying on ineffective coping strategies. If this individual just gives up alcohol or drugs without making any other changes, then they will just be back where they started. More work is needed so that this person is not only able to escape their addiction but also build a good life. This is why it is sometimes said that recovery is a process and not an event. As you have mentioned through your words, the individual who passes through rehab does not graduate. The journey is only just beginning.   Achieving Emotional Sobriety and Serenity   From my experience, those individuals who build a successful life away from addiction need to develop emotional sobriety. This means that they have developed the ability to deal with their emotions in a positive way. An emotionally sober person no longer needs to run away and hide from life in a bottle or drug induced haze. Instead, they are ready and willing to deal with life on life’s terms. They are willing to feel their feelings. This is where self-compassion comes into play. If we are unable to be compassionate towards ourselves, rather treat ourselves with harshness and sabotage our self-worth when we fail, you can imagine we will have a hard time developing emotional sobriety.   Another quality that people can develop in sobriety is serenity. This is closely related to emotional sobriety but can take much longer to develop. Serenity is the goal of the 12 Step program, but it can be achieved by people who walk other paths in recovery. It is a stage of development where the individual is able to handle anything that happens in their life without too much inner turmoil.   People develop serenity by constantly facing the challenges that come their way. As they deal with each unique problem, they develop new coping strategies. These coping strategies are like tools that they have to add to their toolbox. Eventually, the individual reaches a stage where they have tools to deal with almost every eventuality. They have developed serenity and life becomes easier. When the person reaches this stage of sobriety they have the ability to feel happy no matter what is happening in the outside world.   The Reasons People Lose Motivation in Long-term Recovery   There are many possible reasons for why people lose motivation after they have been sober for a few months or years. These are some of the most prominent:   * Memory can be treacherous for people who are recovering from an addiction. This is because the memory of how painful things were in addiction can diminish over time, and the individual can start to spend a great deal of time thinking about the times they felt good because of alcohol or drugs. This is known as romancing the drug or drink, and it can cause people to lose their motivation to stay sober.   * When people enter recovery with expectations that are unrealistic, it can lead to disappointment, and this saps motivation. The individual did not make a mess of their life overnight, so they will not be able to repair the damage overnight either. By giving up alcohol or drugs, they will be taking a significant step towards a better life, but there will be more work that needs to be done.   * Those individuals who were highly enthusiastic in early recovery can run out of steam. This is particularly likely to happen if they the individual went through a period of pink cloud syndrome. This occurs when people become so high on life in recovery that they lose touch with reality. Staying sober becomes easy, and the individual begins to take their sobriety for granted. When the pink cloud ends, people can come back down to earth with a bang. They can become disillusioned with life in recovery.   * Some people just lose their way in recovery. They get caught up in life and they forget to keep on doing the things that is helping them to build a successful recovery.   Dangers of Relapse and Dry Drunk Syndrome   Losing motivation in recovery is dangerous because it means that the individual can become stuck. This means that they may be in danger of a relapse back to their addiction because life in recovery is no longer satisfying. Even if the individual does not relapse they can still develop dry drunk syndrome. The dry drunk sees their sobriety as being similar to a prison sentence. They are not happy in recovery, and their behavior can be just as maladaptive as when they were in the midst of their addiction. The dry drunk has not emotional sobriety so they are unable to find real happiness. Such individuals are usually full of anger and resentment.   How to Stay Motivated in Long-term Sobriety   Staying motivated in long-term sobriety takes effort. These are some of the most successful strategies those in recovery employ:   * Helping other people in recovery is one of the most effective ways to stay motivated. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they say that you have to give it away to keep it, and this is what helping others is about. It reminds people in recovery about where they have come from, and what they would be going back to if they ever relapsed. By helping other people stay sober, the individual is strengthening their own recovery.   * Staying involved in the addiction recovery community can also keep people motivated. The individual may decide to join a recovery fellowship or become involve with an online community. There are now plenty of resources that people can turn to that will keep them connected with the world of recovery.   * Journaling has helped many people stay motivated in recovery. It means that the individual is always reflecting on their experiences and can more clearly see their progress. If people feel that they are starting to lose interest in recovery, they can read back on earlier journal entries and re-energize their motivation.   * Some rehabs offer booster sessions, and these can be a great resource for clients who wish to revamp their motivation.   * Maintaining a recovery blog can help people stay motivated in long-term sobriety. It is also a chance for people to help others and build up a network of online recovery friends. By regularly posting about their experiences in recovery, the individual is encouraged to reflect on their progress and think about their aspiration. It can be a type of journal. If people do not like writing, they could have an audio blog (_podcast_) or a video blog (_vlog_).   * Some people who use a recovery program such as the 12 Steps find that this helps keeps them motivated. The work of the steps is never finished, and having a program that has already worked for many people may mean that the individual is less likely to lose their way.   * Finding a spiritual path in recovery can help the individual maintain their motivation to stay sober. This could include meditation training such as mindfulness or body and mind regimes such as yoga.   * Some individuals have expectations of recovery that are too low. This means that they are prepared to settle for less than what is actually possible. It is important that people have goals in their sobriety and that they work towards achieving these.   If you are interested in addressing issues with substance use, I would certainly recommend that you seek help with a professional chemical dependency counselor in your region. They are the experts in working with substance use and addictions, and they would have the tools and the accountability that you are looking for to change your substance use. If you are worried about cost, I would definitely recommend calling your insurance provider since often they have a list of providers in their network that can provide treatment at an affordable cost. This is also up to how ready you are to begin this process / how urgent do you feel that you need to treat this behavior. We all have our own timing and only you know when it is best to begin this process yourself :)   The last and final step in overcoming the shame of addiction is to forgive yourself. Choose to forgive yourself for every wrong step you took that led you into your addiction and kept you in it. Most likely, you were doing the very best you could with the knowledge and tools you had at the time.   Jono
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I cope with my life

Good morning Katie, and thank you for taking the time to reach out for help and support with regards to the issues you mentioned in your questions. You have certainly experienced a significant amount of traumatic events in your life, and if any of them are continuing (i.e. your children continue to "blame you" for their dad being in prison), with only continues to the negative impact of the trauma on your life while adding in additional trauma and devaluation, a distressing experience to say the least.    The answer to your question is not so simple, but i will certainly do my best to provide you with some clarification and resources that will help you to hopefully better understand your experience and how to work through and potentially resolve the distressing symptoms and experiences you are having. As is usually the case in circumstances pertaining to childhood and adult emotional neglect and abuse, as well as the additional traumas, psychotherapy in combination with medication are often the best and most efficient treatments. However, depending on the severity of one's experience and symptoms, there are absolutely other means of recovering from distress and one can certainly try any of them and should they not prove to be effective, utilizing additional and/or different resources would be the healthiest way of proceeding along your journey of recovery towards a happy, healthy, and joyous life experience. With that being said, as for the symptoms you identified, most, if not all of them, can be attributed to Anxiety. Anxiety is also a common outcome as a result of traumatic experiences and "threats" to one's self, either physically or psychologically. Anxiety can have a paralyzing effect on a person, resulting in the additional experiences you identified such as having difficulty asking for help and making decisions as a result of "fear" of being perceived as "weak" or "vulnerable," as well as a lack of confidence in one's ability to make decisions and have positive outcomes occur from said decisions. This "fear" can often present as isolation and withdrawal from relationships, making it even more lonely and distressing for you in your life and thus exacerbating the negative symptoms you may be experiencing. As for wanting to more effectively cope with your life, the following are some very good resources to start with. However, I must say that I would highly encourage you to have a supportive person identified whom you can turn to for support should the workbook begin to have you address things or if you start to experience things as a result of the workbook's guidance that becomes overwhelming and distressing for you. -The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms Workbook Third Edition by Mary Beth Williams (Author), Soili Poijula (Author) *In the third edition of The PTSD Workbook, psychologists and trauma experts Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula offer readers the most effective tools available for overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). -Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach To Regaining Emotional Control And Becoming Whole by Arielle Schwartz -The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for PTSD (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)by Kirby Reutter -The Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Workbook for PTSD: Overcome Fear and Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Matthew T Tull PhD (Author), Kim L. Gratz PhD (Author), Alexander L. Chapman PhD RPsych (Author) Above all else, for any general state of "well-being" and certainly to aide in your journey,   I will also share with you some very important information on self-care: Self-care means taking time to do things you enjoy for the sake of improving one's life experience and overall mental health and resilience. Usually, self-care involves everyday activities that you find relaxing, fun, or energizing. These activities could be as simple as reading a book, or as big as taking a vacation. Self-care also means taking care of yourself. This means eating regular meals, getting enough sleep, caring for personal hygiene, and anything else that maintains good health. Make self-care a priority. There will always be other things to do, but don't let these interrupt the time you set aside for self-care. Self-care should be given the same importance as other responsibilities. Set specific self-care goals. It's difficult to follow through with vague goals, such as "I will take more time for self-care". Instead, try something specific, such as "I will walk for 30 minutes every evening after dinner". Make self-care a habit. Just like eating one apple doesn't eliminate health problems, using self-care just once won't have much effect on reducing stress. Choose activities that you can do often, and that you will stick with. Set boundaries to protect your self-care. You don't need a major obligation to say "no" to others— your self-care is reason enough. Remind yourself that your needs are as important as anyone else's. A few minutes of self-care is better than no self-care. Set an alarm reminding you to take regular breaks, even if it's just a walk around the block, or an uninterrupted snack. Oftentimes, stepping away will energize you to work more efficiently when you return. Unhealthy activities don't count as self-care. Substance use, over-eating, and other unhealthy behaviors might hide uncomfortable emotions temporarily, but they cause more problems in the long run. Abstinence from any addictive substance (i.e. illicit drugs, alcohol, even nicotine and caffeine) is highly recommended during the recovery process and for a healthier life overall. Keep up with self-care, even when you're feeling good. Doing so will keep you in a healthy routine. Plus, self-care might be part of the reason why you're feeling good! I wish you all the best in your journey of recovery and please don't hesitate to reach out to me should you desire any further information, resources, or support.   And finally, the most important part in healing from any form of traumatic experience is to maintain, for as often as possible, a sense of safety. For trauma survivors, feeling safe is very important. Most of us have experienced moments when we were not safe emotionally or physically. We may be constantly thinking there is a danger that could occur just around the corner. We may be fearful of trusting others. To live healthy lives, we must be able to work through trauma, ideally in therapy, to establish safety in a healing way. We must take back the power from the situations that have harmed us.
Answered on 10/18/2021

I believe I need help with not blaming myself and being shameful

Hi, there. Thanks for reaching out to us at Better Help. My name is Stacey Shine and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I read over your question and am hopeful I can help. I worked specifically with the addiction population for several years. It sounds like you have given your son all the resources he needs to be successful in his recovery. I wish it was as easy as handing out the tools he will need. Unfortunately, addiction is very complicated. Many people view addiction as a disease and one that takes constant care to manage but there is no magic medication that can make it go away. Your son has to make that choice to become clean and live a sober lifestyle on his own. Recovery comes for people at all different times and it may be that he has not reached his "rock bottom" just yet. Addiction requites a lot of discipline and focus to manage. There are programs such as AA that work for a large number of people who are trying to manage addiction. Typically, these programs are successful due to how easily you can work the steps, it encourages a community environment. Your son may not be at that place where he is ready for all of those things. I think it is important for you to not beat yourself up as a parent for anything that you have done. He is making a choice to choose substances. Often times, those is recovery talk about their family members enabling them by making it easy to stay in that lifestyle even if hidden well. I think you making the choice to cut off finances and other things may be the step needed for him to realize the path he is on. It may not be tomorrow but eventually, that decision may be one that is life saving.  I know that being a parent of someone struggling with addiction is something that can overrtake you. I would suggest surrounding yourself with a support system and be honest with them about your struggles. Model the thing that he needs most which is to accept help from others. I hope that this was helpful. Best of luck to you and your son.
Answered on 10/18/2021

What’s the cost per meeting? I don’t have insurance.

Please contact better help at contact@betterhelp.com to discuss the cost of the sessions. I cannot speak intelligently on that, but I can on counseling.  Many times when substance use/abuse is involved those are the symptoms of bigger issues. Desiring to stop drinking is definitely a good start but the question that I would purpose is are you willing to explore the issues that you have likely buried that can be the cause of your drinking and previous drug use. When I purpose this question to many clients the response many times is "I had a good childhood," and though that may be true using has been linked as an attempt to bury feelings or trauma. It's not about what happened, but how you felt about what happened. If you aren't willing to explore that then your use if you are able to stop will likely move to another drug or addictive behavior.  It's not surprising that you were using drugs and now you're drinking, addiction for each of those is carried the same part of the brain. Education on how the brain works regarding addiction, identifying triggers, minimizing anxiety, exploring depression or any other issue is necessary now. If I were to provide you with the cliff notes of what's happening in your life it would likely be, by not facing an issue or feeling early this is the issue. Drinking and drugs were likely not a deliberate decision, but after the first time and the feeling that you experienced and how it allowed you to either forget about what your life was like or provided a moment of excape it triggered something in the brain that pulled you back each time after that.  What happens now? What's needed at this point is self-honesty. You being truthful with yourself, being truthful with your counselor and being truthful with how you're feeling with either your inability to cope with Iife as it is or your desire to muster through with the perception that nothing is wrong. This does not give you the okay to completely dismantle, that may not be ideal or beneficiary, however unwrapping is necessary for complete healing.  Take a moment before you begin counseling, ask yourself, are you willing to explore and discuss the deepest issue of you? Are you willing to face issues that you haven't mentioned to anyone or talked about in years? And are you ready to hear what needs to be said about how you've made decisions that weren't ideal for your health and well being, and how you can move from that space.  Lastly, keep in mind that if alcohol use is severe detoxing alone can be dangerous. It may be necessary to have medical intervention. Go visit your doctor and discuss in detail where you are and what you desire to do. Your doctor can direct you through detoxing safely and then revisit counseling to maintain your sobriety. You can also go to the emergency room and seek assistance. If drinking is severe a thirty day program may be needed. You and a medical staff would have to determine this; Finally, AA is a tool that I would encourage you to use, not instead of counseling but along with counseling. AA allows you to connect with others that are like you, and that level of connectedness many times cannot be reached theraputicly. It can also provide you with resources that may be beneficial for your walk, you will have someone there in every level of addiction, and each of them is on the same path as you, desiring to change their trajectory. Someone form AA can maybe provide you with resources on how to detox if money is an issue, or if you dont' have a primary doctor.  I wish you the best and send positive energy your way to help guide you through this time in your life.  I would love to work with you, but if that isn't ideal for you I would encourage you to work with someone, you are on a path that many don't enter, the path to sobriety, stay deliberate, stay consistent and stay willing. Each of those are necessary for complete health, be intentional. 
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I process the fact that my younger brother (19) has a heroin addiction?

I am not sure I agree with you stepping away from your family.  However, I would encourage you to set personal boundaries.  This appears to be an unstable situation for all involved.  First attempt to ensure all are safe (especially your sister).  It sounds like your dad is an enabler and this is not healthy.  I would encourage you to reach out to your mom and sister and to get help to keep her safe.  Your brother is in an addiction that requires intensive inpatient treatment before he further destroys himself and others around him.  Here is a little information I hoping will give some insight.  Dr. Bearlyn Ash Family Roles In Addiction Knowing that someone you love and care about is struggling with substance abuse can be challenging to handle. It can be natural to want to find a way to help them through recovery. But it’s also natural to feel a lot of other feelings around the addiction. For example, you may feel sad watching your loved one make poor decisions that are negatively impacting them. Or, you may feel angry that they continue to struggle with substance abuse without caring about the impact that it’s having on the entire family. And, you may be embarrassed about what others will think of your family if they find out about the addiction. These different feelings can lead people to take on different family roles to try dealing with substance abuse. The Caregiver/Enabler The person that fills the caregiver or enabler role is the one that works to keep addicted family members from suffering consequences for their behavior. According to the American psychological association, an enabler allows the person’s addiction to continue. They can see that there is a problem, but they don’t know how to stop it. While it may look like the enabler is doing it for their loved ones, it can also be a selfish behavior. For example, they may be embarrassed for other people to find out there is a struggle with substance abuse. So, instead of allowing their addicted loved one to fail or suffer their consequences, they make excuses for them to hide the addiction. It’s also possible for someone to enable a family member to protect them. For example, it might be difficult for a mother to watch a child suffer because of their decisions and actions. This can cause the mother to try to do whatever she can to stop her child from experiencing their natural consequences. She may even worry that the negative consequences could cause additional problems, so she tries to put an end to it. The enabler may believe that they are helping their loved one but usually does the exact opposite. When someone struggling with addiction doesn’t see and experience their consequences, it can make it easy for them to believe their actions aren’t as big of a problem as they really are. The Hero The family members that play the hero are working to the right the wrongs that substance abuse has caused in the family. They tend to be high achieving individuals that have high standards for themselves and their life. If the hero is a child and the person struggling with substance abuse is their parent, the child may be out to disprove what others think they will be capable of. And, like the enabler, the hero may be trying to help the addict look good to others. However, while the hero typically ends up being successful, their behavior doesn’t come with its own risks. They can end up struggling with their own emotions and challenging situations. Their quest to make things appear perfect can cause them to struggle when life brings challenges. And, they may end up feeling overwhelmed because they take on a lot of responsibility. The Scapegoat The scapegoat is the person in the family that’s creating other problems that distract others away from the individual struggling with substance abuse. While they may be effective at taking the attention off the other individual, they create new issues for themselves. Scapegoat behaviors can be anything from getting poor grades in school, not being able to hold a job, or even having their own substance abuse problem. The Mascot Mascots are the comedians of the family. They use humor to help break up the tension that’s created by substance abuse and addiction. Just like the scapegoat uses negative behavior to draw attention away from the real problem, the mascot does the same thing, only using humor. When a situation is dangerous, they may make jokes or act silly to lighten the mood. The Lost Child While other family members actively play their role in trying to deal with the behavior of the family member struggling with substance abuse, the lost child is quiet. They tend to be thought of as “good” because they stay in the background and don’t add to the problem. Instead of looking for a way to help distract from the behavior, like the other family roles, the lost child withdraws. This could include spending time alone in a different room or merely staying quiet when everyone else is chiming in on a subject. Their behavior may be appreciated by other family members because it doesn’t appear to add to the problem. And, it’s possible that family members don’t notice their behavior at all because of the other issues going on. But just because the lost child remains in the background and doesn’t demand attention does not mean that all is well. Their behavior can help keep them out of stressful family situations. But it can also cause them to suffer quietly because they won’t speak up when they need something.     How Family Can Help With Substance Abuse Challenges If you have a family member struggling with substance abuse, it can be helpful to understand the family roles above. Being aware of the different roles can help you to see which role you may be falling into and what things to watch out for. With that in mind, there are some things you can try to help your loved one: Get Educated About Addiction: There are lots of resources you can find online to help you learn more about addiction and substance abuse. This can help you to gain a better understanding of how addiction happens and that it’s not merely a choice your loved one is making. Try Family Therapy: Individual therapy sessions can be helpful for the family member that’s struggling with addiction. But it can also be helpful for the family to attend therapy together. This can allow all members of the family to be supported throughout the process of recovery. Focus On Your Own Mental Health: When someone your love is struggling with addiction, it can be easy to prioritize their health over your own. However, it tends to be harder to deal with stressful situations when you’re tired and burnt out. Focus on getting enough sleep, working some exercise into the day, and making healthy food choices. Also, take time to do things that you enjoy doing so you can refresh yourself. Don’t Make Excuses For Them: Your natural inclination may be to cover for the mistakes of your family member but resist the urge to do that. Allowing them to suffer from the consequences of their substance use can sometimes help them to start to see the impact it’s having on themselves and their loved ones. This can be some of the motivation they need to begin to want to change. Set Boundaries: You may also find it helpful to set clear expectations with your family member about the behavior you find acceptable. It can help your family member know where your boundaries are. And, it can help remove the guilt that you may feel by protecting yourself.  
Answered on 10/18/2021

I’ve had counselors before that have tried helping me with an addition problem.

Thank you for seeking help, it is certainly a huge step and you are to be commended.  Having said that you are "addicted" to a substance for 10 years is another big step in acknowledgement.  There are times when one has been in active addiction for this amount of time that they seek Substance Use support (active) prior to starting therapy.   I want to give you some information on Prochaska and DiClemente's (1983) Stages of Change Model. This information was compiled from an internet source, which has a wealth of information.  It is said that as individuals make a decision about their recovery, they will work within these stages.  Perhaps, you may be able to see yourself within one of these stages.   This model describes five stages that people go through on their way to change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.   The Stages of Change Model assumes specific tasks occur to move through the change process.  It is said that there is another stage in the process, “relapse (recycling or slipping.”)  Within this stage, the individual may revert to old behaviors, such as smoking marijuana after having quit.  This is thought to be a normal process in recovery.  It may be possible that these individuals tried changing their behaviors in the past but were unsuccessful. Maybe the change didn't work or didn't stick in the past, these persons now see change as unrealistic or impossible and therefore not worth pursuing.   The first stage is called Precontemplation.  Those in the Precontemplation Stage do not see their behaviors as a problem and therefore see no need to change. This is sometimes called the "ignorance is bliss" stage. Those at this stage may talk about recovery as a general rule but not actually interested in obtaining the support at this time.   The second stage is called Contemplation. In this stage, individuals recognize a problem and are contemplating a change, but haven't yet committed to changing.  As an example, you want to lose weight and have looked into joining a gym but haven't yet signed up. Those in contemplation are said to be sitting on the fence – part of them wants to change, but an equally compelling part of them wants to stay the same. When you are sitting on the fence, we say you are ambivalent about change.   The third stage is called Preparation. In this stage, individuals have decided to change their dysfunctional behaviors within a month. Those in preparation have taken little steps towards changing their behavior – they are "testing the waters."   The fourth stage is called Action. In this stage, individuals have changed their dysfunctional behavior at least one day and no more than 180 days. Those in the action phase have put into practice the plan developed in the preparation phase.   The fifth stage is called Maintenance. In this stage, individuals have been engaged in the new behavior for at least six months and are committed to maintaining the new behavior. Hope this help.  To your journey.
Answered on 10/18/2021

Please help me turn my life around

You have reached out and that is a very good thing which credits you with courage and integrity. Because you have made the decision to seek help things are turning around for you and starting now your recovery and life begins anew. Feeling lonely is a very human experience that we all must deal with and we do so by attempting to make connections with not only other people, but substances like drugs and alcohol. Whatever the reasons we tell ourselves are the causes of our continued use of drugs and alcohol the real reasons begin to loose their significance as the reality of addiction takes its hold on us. There comes a point when we realize that we are no longer using the drugs and alcohol, but now it is controlling us and we have lost the will and ability to stop using on our own. The substances we once relied upon to help us cope become the controlling issue that now controls us. In the world of Recovery where the 12 Steps are used the very first step is essential. It is the recognition that we are not in control anymore and it’s the drugs and/or alcohol that is in control. We then find ourselves in a life or death struggle where the addiction takes on a life of its own it seems and it will use every emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual trick it can to keep itself alive and thriving. The good news is we are not in this war alone. Millions have gone before us and are presently enjoying sober, sane and serene living. It was and remains to be an everyday struggle where we must choose everyday a life of complete honesty and surrender. It is not easy. But the alternative is death. To choose life and to choose sobriety and sanity is done not on our own. On our own we stay using and stay a drunk. For sobriety and sanity to be gained we will need to not only reach out once, but begins to live in a reality of reaching out and being helped and in ourselves helping others in this journey. It can and is done! Without sobriety and sanity we are doomed to live a life of desperation and all the human ills that come along with the addicted life like shame, guilt, regret and resentment will be our daily lot. When you are ready to admit you are powerless over the addictions and need help in order to live forward then help is here and always ready to begin with you. It will not be easy. The real things of life never are, but it will be life and the worth of life Iglesia without saying. So right now, today, you decide. Will it be death, which is a certainty with addictions, or will it be life at whatever the cost?
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I begin to trust myself? My instincts, my gut feeling, etc.

Hi Sasa, I'm so sorry to hear about the sexual assault that you suffered, and for another second time in March. A traumatic incident like that ... can really make a negative impression in a lot of areas in your personality and your life. If you haven't processed this traumatic incident, it's normal that you are experiencing anxiety and depression. However, I would like to know if you have always felt anxious and depressed...or if you started to feel this way after the sexual assault. Usually if you are anxious, then you will be depressed, that's how it goes, why? because if I have been feeling so anxious for a long time, I may start feeling like.... this is too much.... I'm tired of feeling this way, thus, the depression shows up, the go hand in hand. The fact that you lose interest in doing activities that at first you felt excited about them...it may be because of the depression that you are experiencing. There's nothing wrong if you put yourself first, I need to take care of myself first, in order for me to be able to see for other people. I wonder... what makes you think that you may let people down...I wonder if this your own perception, ...or maybe you would like to analyze the expectations that people have for you and vice versa. When you are saying: "I tend to overthink everything" this is part of the symptoms of anxiety.... doubting about myself constantly.... but also, it maybe due to past trauma or the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that you may be experiencing. Feeling insecure about yourself.... It may be because of the sexual assault... or I wonder when did you start feeling this way... "I sound uneducated or stupid whenever I say anything" .... it seems to me that this is your perception. I wonder if you have a history of having being bullied...? or if you had a stressful incident that made you feel this way.... If you were bullied at some point in your life, it's very common to feel insecure about yourself, feeling socially anxious, taking things personally, feeling on the spot, doubting yourself constantly, and also it can create anxiety and depression. The fact that you are now in college, you are concerned about yourself, you have plans for your life, makes me think that you are an interesting and fun person. Again... this might be because you had a difficult or painful experience that made you feel this way....? People have hurt you and made you believe it's your fault...I would like to know more about it. You have the right to experience your own emotions and feelings. You want to feel confident about allowing yourself to experience those emotions. so what to do now? Attend therapy, this would be a great idea. Focus on your own journey so that you can work on yourself. Sometimes, it's important to go back to some past chapters in our lives so that we can understand what we need to understand, clean our past so that the past doesn't keep coming back to the present and spoil the present. Sasa you deserve to be happy, live the life that you want and deserve, and see your dreams come true. Attending therapy can help you a lot. Give yourself the opportunity to be happy. I'm here for you, I can help you! we can work together :)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Can a relationship that has years of abuse, physical mental and substance; have a satanable and happy future?

Thank you for your question; let me give you my thoughts and answer and see how it feels; Is your partner also having substance use in their life leading to these consequences? I would be curious to know- how long have you used substances? What do you believe was the reason you started using substances? I would want to know more about your past use and the details around it. I say this because as children, we mirror what we are raised with. We often soak up our surroundings as "normal" from the ages of birth to about 12 years of age. I am curious to know what your life was like during those ages. Did you witness and experience domestic violence in your childhood home? If so, we would need to do some work with that and investigate the cause and effect that is having on your life now. I assume that the substance use is and started for a reason of escape and withdrawal from something in your life. Perhaps same with your partner? It is interesting that you use the visual of the tornadic winds that you are in right now- I can really picture how chaotic the noise is in your life right now and you need a solid way and tools to know how to cope with from this loud and intrusive life, and hopefully we can lead you out of it in a safe and calm manner to which you feel empowered and in control. I imagine you have not felt in control for a very long time? And to your question, "Have (I) seen a relationship similar survive and thrive with change"? I would pose that back to you as another question reframed as - do YOU think your relationship can change? I say this because you cannot do it alone. Your fight for freedom from this current state is a battle your relationship cannot win if you are the only soldier fighting. I think we could do some great work with you as a client- but for your relationship to grow, change, and thrive, I would suggest you take away from your relationship first, and both you and your partner give the time and dedication to work on yourselves as individuals first. Then, perhaps in time, you could come back together, renewed in your individual strength with new tools and coping skills and possibly work together to med what broke. I hope this helps give you some insight into what this counselor would see as necessary next steps. Best of luck to you, and remember that if you cannot take care of and love yourself inside and out, you will not be able to provide that in a relationship, no matter how hard you try. This work starts with you.
Answered on 10/18/2021