Written By: Lana Robson CCAC, Addiction & Family Counsellor
I always refer to the question, “Who or What do you have control over?” The answer is you. At the end of the day you can only control yourself. It can be very difficult for loved ones and family members to watch their addicted loved one destroy their lives and ultimately themselves. Love and fear motivate family members to try to improve the situation, take control and assume responsibilities. As many of you may have discovered the hard way – this doesn’t work.
Loved ones are drawn into the chaos that comes with addiction. They feel powerless. Although there is a feeling of powerlessness, it’s quite the opposite – family members have more power than they realize.
CRAFT for Family Members
The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) was developed in the 70’s. Read more
“This is WHO I AM! Why are you trying to change me? I stopped drinking!” Sound familiar? Statements like these are examples of what people might say who’ve stopped drinking but continue to behave as if they were still drinking or using. You see, becoming sober is just one part of addiction recovery. This behaviour is commonly referred to as untreated sobriety.
It’s important to recognize this behaviour because it usually presents itself as anger and resentment. These emotions are triggering for your recovery. The anger and resentment are usually a result of not being able to accept that you can no longer use substances to feel better. In essence, what you may be experiencing is grief over the loss of your drug of choice.
We spoke to Kim Holmgren, Addiction Counsellor at Bellwood Health Services to discuss what “dry drunk syndrome” looks like. Read more
When you complete an addiction treatment program at Bellwood Health Services, our clinical team will tell you what to expect in early recovery and will often advise you to not make any major decisions once you leave treatment. But life has a way of throwing you a curve ball when you least expect it, such as the loss of someone beloved. Recognizing your feelings and using the skills you learned while in treatment can help you manage and get through difficult times.
We spoke to Wendy Cope, MA, CPsych Assoc., Team Leader of Outpatient and Continuing Care at Bellwood Health Services to discuss this important and difficult experience. Wendy Cope states that loss can happen in many ways, “I had a recent case with a client who had a number of losses in a short period of time. This client was going through the loss of a parent, loss of a job and needing to move out of a home. Read more
Addiction is a family disease. It doesn’t affect just one person in the family; it affects everyone in the family. You’ve probably heard this statement many times or perhaps you’ve never thought of addiction in this way. Well, it’s very true and although the other family members are not addicted they still experience pain, loss, and turmoil.
Addiction has a way of creating tension and conflict that leads to problems for family members about how to cope with the person’s addiction and the effects on the family unit. An American study was conducted on over 25,000 family members of someone with substance use disorder (SUD), matched to family members of someone with diabetes, asthma or a control group of family members where there was no SUD nor chronic physical illness. The results were that in the year prior to diagnosis of the main patient, family members of those with SUD were more likely to themselves be diagnosed with mental illnesses including depression or trauma than those in the diabetes or asthma groups. Read more
Some of you may be familiar with what withdrawal might look like if you’ve seen the movie, The Basketball Diaries starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In one of the scenes, Leonardo DiCaprio is experiencing withdrawal with no medical intervention and trying to go ‘cold turkey.’ He’s become addicted to Heroin and with the help of his friend Reggie he attempts to detox.
It’s true what you’ve seen in some movies or TV shows. Detox also referred to as withdrawal management, can be an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous if not executed properly. Detox is completed by patients that have severe dependence on alcohol or other drugs and need assistance getting rid of all these chemicals from the body. Not all detoxes are the same and can differ from person-to-person.
What is a Medical Detox?
According to research, a medically supervised detoxification treatment has always been seen as the “gold standard” and as a reasonable position to begin treatment. Read more