Tag Archive: recovering addict

  1. Setting Healthy Boundaries After Addiction

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    Addiction recovery therapists and families of addicts face contradicting challenges of remaining sufficiently flexible to respond to a substance abuser’s urges and emotional swings while simultaneously maintaining a sense of resolve not to give in to his attempts to manipulate people to supply him with drugs or alcohol. Setting Healthy Boundaries After Addiction
    In the context of addiction recovery, a boundary is an absolute rule that a recovering addict cannot break without facing consequences. A recovering addict will quickly conclude that boundaries do not exist if nothing happens when he breaks them. People make errors when they establish boundaries by making those boundaries unrealistic or by failing to follow up on consequences when a recovering addict ignores a boundary. These errors are understandable, as the good side of a person’s human nature will prevent him from imposing consequences if he sees that those consequences will cause pain or discomfort.

    A good general guideline to establish healthy boundaries for recovering addicts is to make those boundaries specific. It is not enough for someone to tell a recovering addict that if he breaks a boundary, he will be sorry. Rather than making this form of a vague threat, someone who is helping an addict to recover should establish a hard rule, for example, that if he does not attend regular group recovery meetings, he will lose another specific privilege, such as going out to meet with friends in social settings or using a family car for transportation.

    At an extreme, someone who is living with a recovering addict might tell him that if the addict goes back to using drugs or alcohol, even once after going through rehab, then the addict will need to move out of the house he is sharing with that person. This can be an unhealthy boundary if it is not followed. Where teens or adolescents are concerned, it can be a wholly unrealistic boundary to the extent that his parents are legally obligated to provide support and care for him. Other alternative boundaries are available for parents and caregivers to establish with teens and adolescents. Counselors and addiction recovery therapists can help families establish realistic and healthy boundaries with workable consequences if a teen or adolescent continues to abuse substances after completing rehab.

    Healthy boundaries do more than just help a recovering addict stay on a course to long-term sobriety. They also help families and caregivers to take care of themselves and to maintain as normal a lifestyle as is possible within their family unit. Families that establish vague boundaries or that impose consequences unevenly often create tension within their family unit that can threaten both the recovering addict and the family unit itself. If one person in a family supplies drugs or alcohol to a recovering addict in contravention of boundaries that a family has established, then both the addict and the entire family will suffer. Healthy boundaries are established when all family members understand and agree to enforce them uniformly and without exception. This can lead to difficulties for an addicted family member who consistently violates boundaries and then finds himself alienated from family activities, but ultimately he will come to understand that those boundaries were established to help him, and that he can get back into a family’s good graces by adhering to them.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California provides counseling to help families of adolescents and young adults establish healthy boundaries to overcome drug addiction and alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  2. The Promise of Sobriety

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    A substance abuser will fool himself into thinking that drugs or alcohol hold a better promise of making him feel good and of burying life’s stresses and struggles than any sense of sobriety can provide. Even in recovery, an alcoholic or drug addict can fail to see any benefits that sobriety might provide, notwithstanding any of the physical and emotional pain that substances have caused in his life. This holds particularly true for teens and adolescents who are struggling with their identities and trying to find a place for themselves in a world that they believe holds no promise for them. The truth is that sobriety promises many advantages, and unlike drugs or alcohol, it actually delivers those advantages.

    “Physical Health”
    First, getting sober will make you healthier. You can still get sick and develop conditions that require medical treatment, but your body will be under far less physical stress when you are sober and you be better able to fight off diseases and recover from illnesses when you are not simultaneously dealing with substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol make a false promise of making you feel better. Sobriety actually does make you feel better and helps you to get better when something else affects you.

    “Sobriety Protects”
    Second, when you are sober, you are better able to keep yourself safe. There is no shortage of news stories about people who died in drunk driving accidents, or who were accosted or assaulted while they were impaired by drugs. Young people in particular are prone to sensations of immortality and of feelings that nothing can harm them, when in reality, they expose themselves to egregious harm when they are intoxicated. We live in a dangerous world and drugs and alcohol dramatically increase an individual’s personal risk of injury or death from that danger. Sobriety protects an individual and helps him make choices that reduce that danger.

    “Financial Health”
    Third, sobriety increases an individual’s financial well-being. Drug addicts and alcoholics are more likely to be fired from their jobs, and to use funds that should be budgeted for food and shelter on drugs and alcohol. Many careers have been ruined and many families have broken apart when financial resources dried up due to job losses, or when they were diverted to drug and alcohol purchases.

    “Criminal Justice System”
    Fourth, drug and alcohol abuse can entangle a person in the criminal justice system and saddle them with criminal convictions that haunt them throughout their lives. Adolescents and teens may have an advantage of having their juvenile records cleared when they reach adulthood, but if they continue to use drugs or alcohol when they get older, they expose themselves to the risk of having a criminal record. Sobriety entails no such risks.
    Fifth, sobriety promises that your family and friends will know and accept your true personality instead of the persona you create when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Young people who are insecure about their social skills may try to bolster themselves with drugs or alcohol before they go out with friends. Their inebriated personalities are rarely as engaging as they might believe them to be, and in the end, drugs and alcohol only serve to alienate them further from healthy social engagements. Sobriety will never do this, but will instead allow your real personality to emerge and develop as you improve your own social skills.

    Sobriety makes no false promises, and it holds something special for every recovering addict who makes a commitment to achieve genuine long-term freedom from drugs and alcohol. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps adolescents and young adults to understand the promises of sobriety when they are fighting to overcome drug addiction and alcoholism. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

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