When working with our clients to choose an appropriate treatment program, one common question that often comes up is whether it is best to go away for treatment or stay locally. The inclination is normally to stay locally for the simple reason that it’s easier to do and usually more cost effective. Many times a person will be limited to a more local, in-network program due to their insurance policy or based on what is simply affordable to spend on treatment and expenses, so we find what will work for them more locally, within that network and within their means. But, if there is a choice and a person has the ability to go away for treatment, we always advise to leave one’s home environment and take advantage of a program far from home.sure
When a person is struggling with addiction, it’s not only mentally, physically and spiritually affecting them; it is also environmentally affecting that person. Addiction consumes most every thought and disrupts most of a person’s train of thought throughout every day. Along with these interruptions are the constant reminders in the physical environment around them. Her car reminds her of how she gets to the liquor store, his bedroom is the place he shoots up and sleeps all day, his job is where his dealer meets him, the familiar roads are where he heads off to the casino, and on and on and on. Of course, a person may have to someday return to his own environment again but during the middle of a gripping addiction it is definitely our opinion that the chances of success are so much higher if a person can get away and rebuild a new perspective once again. Simply put, it’s so much harder to see the forest through the trees. Beating addiction and regaining control of one’s life takes some serious self reflection and hard work without the distractions of every day life. A person who goes away for treatment will prepare himself with more ease than someone who is constantly distracted by the thought that going home is so easy when things get tough. It’s all about surrendering and allowing the process to take place undistracted.
When speaking with a person with an addiction or the person trying to facilitate it for someone they love, there are usually concerns about going away or sending someone away for treatment. When an individual is calling for oneself the concerns are normally:
When a loved one calls for another the reasons are typically:
For the person seeking help it’s one of two things that gets them there. Either that person is finally at their own rock bottom and wants help or someone or something else in life has pushed against the person’s will and rehab becomes the best option. Even when a person hits bottom and reaches for help it doesn’t mean that that person will opt for the best route to success. Addiction takes over life and consumes everything, even when a person isn’t currently actively using or physically engaged in the addiction. The usual path for a person suffering with addiction is the one with the least resistance. Rarely will you find a motivated addict planning steps with high targets and achieving them.
The thought of stopping everything and leaving to go away to treatment is absurd to many. But the reality is that a person really needs a fresh start and a blank slate to start over. There will always be a long list of reasons why they can’t go as we deal with in interventions all the time. Very rarely is one of those reasons legitimate enough to stall the process. In fact, many excuses are fabricated. Our country has laws in place to protect our citizens suffering with addiction and mental illness and in many cases a job can be salvaged by the Family Medical Leave Act. Family will miss them and vice versa but that time away will fly by so fast it’ll feel like it never happened at some point. Family also needs a break from the addiction, a chance to regroup and rethink their own future with the person getting treatment.
As for the scary thought of meeting new people and exposing one’s life to others, it’s like turning a new leaf and finally feeling some relief. There is something powerful in meeting people who have similar or even the exact same problems as you do to be able to make comparisons and reflections necessary for betterment and healing. Not to mention that support is the key here so building new relationships is essential for growth mentally, physically and spiritually. All of this under a roof of confidentiality so when someone returns home from treatment, they can face everyone with dignity and pride that they are human, made some mistakes, identified there was a problem bigger them and they finally got the help they needed to get back on track again.
When friends and family find reasons not to send their loved ones away for treatment it’s almost always directly related to their co-dependency which in turn is an addiction for them too. It is far from running from one’s problems to leave. It’s actually facing them head on and doing it intelligently. When a family pulls together I’ve seen the biggest of concerns or doubts disappear once everyone chips in and takes on some of the responsibilities of the addicted person. In fact, what we usually find is that there are one or more family members who have been trying to handle all of the addicts’s responsibilities simply because the addict has been neglectful of their on day to day duties. It turns out that the enablers are afraid to let go of all they have done for them and that it will all fall apart if they do. This is a normal thing but obviously dangerous and even careless. It’s all about letting go which is part of the healing process in most rehabilitation practices.
When seeking help for you or someone you love, consider that addition mentally sticks people to their environments and keeps them trapped in a world full of limitations and “can’t dos”. Addiction simply rules over that person and his or her family and friends. The statistics are markedly higher for the person who has the opportunity to get away from that toxic environment than to stay locally and white knuckle it. If all possible, explore all options to make it the best option available to end the addiction.
How do we help someone after rehab? Well, when someone goes to rehab it means that life has become unmanageable to the point that they needed to get away from everything they know and receive help from professionals to gain control again. Praise anyone you know for having the guts to take that step. To stop everything in one’s life and to go somewhere new and unknown to face the biggest problem one has ever experienced, is deserving of serious applaud……..even if they were the recipient of an addiction intervention. Regardless of how that step took place, they wound up getting in a car or on a plane and checking themselves into treatment for their addiction(s).However, going away to an addiction treatment program is the first of many steps toward true recovery. It is vital that a recovering addict comes home after rehab to complete change and a blank slate to start over; as much as possible. At this point a person has been clean and sober for some time and has started living with healthy routines and boundaries. Rehab is the beginning stage of living life on it’s terms without relying on chemicals or unhealthy behaviors. Now the real work begins and the person has to take the tools learned in treatment and put them to use in his or her own life. So what are the options after rehab?
For those who have the option to prolong their time away and absorb as much sober time as possible, there are some options out there:
Some programs will offer internships to graduated clients to help others while remaining under the umbrella of care in a sober environment. This can be a wonderful and seamless next step for many who can afford to stay away from home longer. Education in the field of addiction is priceless in helping people but life experience can be as important or more. Most rehab facilities practice this because they understand the value of it. Many times addicts will not open up to therapists because there is no connection to them but throw someone in there who has lived the same exact lifestyle and now you have a connection. There are unlimited opportunities in this area as treatment programs want to employ ex-addicts and will often help with education and internal training.
Transitional Living is another productive and successful method of continuing one’s treatment. A person who has completed inpatient rehab can choose this option and still remain in a sober environment while getting on with their life. There is structure and rules and obviously the number one rule is to remain clean and to be responsible for more than just yourself. Finding work and staying productive while maintaining rehabilitation routines are mandatory. A person can use this option to utilize the tools learned in treatment and meanwhile start on the runway of life again with support systems in tact for when things get tough. Another great factor here is that most transitional living homes are affordable enough so that the recovering addict can pay his or her own way and not rely on family anymore.
Some people have too many responsibilities waiting for them at home to prolong their hiatus. Having a significant other and/or children or having to get back to a job that pays the bills to survive are examples here that would most likely dictate that the person must return home to handle matters after rehab treatment. It is critical to have a plan set up for this to because the person is running into a wall of reality and will need help to adjust. Here are some key points to add into that plan.
Addicts will hide anything that is incriminating to them and their addiction and often times right before leaving for rehab they will leave things behind so when they return they can pick up right where they left off. This would include drugs, alcohol, credit cards, money, paraphernalia, contact numbers, cell phones and possessions to sell later. Addicts also stash items so family won’t find out how bad the addiction really is. For families, it is important to look under, over, behind, and inside of anything you can think of, anything you can see and most of all, what you can’t see! Throw away anything that you can conceive of that will stimulate the person’s brain and remind them of that old lifestyle. Go online for questions or call a professional in the field of addiction if you’re not sure but when in doubt, remove it.
Cell phones are EVERYTHING to an addict, especially a drug addict. Change the number or discontinue the service of that phone and it’s contacts. You can call the rehab facility and have them talk to your loved one about this. You have to be somewhat considerate and try to give them the choice of removing negative contacts in their phone as they will most likely need a cell phone in the future for more positive contacts upcoming.
Most people have to work and it’s just a fact of life. Many programs will help their clients get lined up for work when they arrive home, as soon as possible. Families are advised here to contact your loved one’s main counselor and discuss this matter. Productivity is a must in recovery and getting right to work or back to work is imperative. The longer the person avoids getting productive, the less likely they will and the greater the chance for a relapse.
Addicts are notorious for talking a big game and selling to everyone how great things will be “when they return home”. Sometimes, the environment at home is way too stimulating to come right home to and relocation has to happen. Again, recovery os all about starting from as clean a slate as possible. New beginnings will bring new outcomes and successes versus old habits and behaviors starting up again.
There are so many support groups out there for any type of addiction there is. After rehab, along with finding work and maybe even more importantly would be to find support in one’s local area. There are always support groups nearby or even in your home town. Life will be trying and the person in recovery WILL think about using drugs, alcohol or going back to gambling or other addictive behaviors when they are stressed or bored. Many people come out of rehab thinking they need a break from the rigid schedule of rules and self-discipline that rehab required of them. And sometimes even families will think the same and want to give them a break or give them some time to decide what to do with themselves. THIS IS TOTALLY WRONG AND A GUARANTEE OF A RELAPSE! It is the time to stick with those rigid rules and make them even more rigid. Tighten up and find one’s purpose again! Find a mentor within your area who can be there for council and a kick in the butt when needed. Find a therapist to talk to and continue the therapy left off in rehab. Find a group of clean living people fighting the same battle and get involved with group activities. Success lies in these people and the positive they offer to the world and themselves.
Addiction consumes and steals everything it can; time, money, opportunities, jobs, relationships, love, etc. Now in recovery it is time to take full advantage of the freedom that is available. Time will be abundant and there will be money in one’s pocket. This can either be a blessing if handled with discipline or the start of a downfall if taken for granted. As a family, take the liberties where you have them and come up with healthy boundaries and rules for living. Financially there should be a budget with a savings plan with old debts being paid off. Time needs to be filled productively and aggressively, not lazily. Each day, especially in the first year of recovery should be full to where a person is happy to hit their head on the pillow at night and looking forward to the next day. If you are a respected person in someone’s life who is recovering, you have the leverage needed to be heard when you demand for a plan. You have to be the one(s) to do it. The closest people to an addict will be pivotal to his or her recovery and no matter how old the person is, they need to have someone to look up to and to have come down on them when they start to go awry. Addiction is often times one poor choice away from coming back full blown again don’t fear to be a disciplinarian when needed. They will thank you in the end as long as they stay on course. If you are being blamed for being too tough or not minding your business, you are probably looking at a relapse in the face but have your own council on this too. Co-dependency comes in as insidiously as addiction does. If something feels wrong, it’s wrong and it needs to be addressed right away.
For many reasons this should make sense. On a personal note as the writer of this piece, I’ll swear to this as the foundation to my success. Being involved with helping others keeps my focus on what is really important in life. There is always someone else in need of help or just our time. Volunteering our time to help others, brings about a very empowering and purposeful feeling and in turn can make someone else’s day that much better. As stated earlier, there are unlimited opportunities to work in the field of addiction and recovery if that is an option. The bottom line here is to overcome the selfish tendencies that addiction demands of an addict and to promote betterment in others as well as ourselves. The reward comes naturally and this no doubt aids in maintaining sobriety.
There are so many more ways to outline a successful path for a recovering addict but these outlined above will guarantee a healthy start of followed with truth and integrity.
Something I found out long ago in my own recovery was that without finding true purpose in life, I would never beat the addictions that had conquered me. Without a doubt, purpose is the real cure for addiction. Everybody has an opinion or several opinions on addiction and whether or not it can be beaten. Regardless of which position a person takes, whether they’re an addict in recovery, one who feels they are recovered, an expert in the field of addiction or a family member or friend connected to someone with addiction issues, there is one common denominator that will be found in both successful and unsuccessful cases that dictates their success, PURPOSE or the lack of it.
I don’t believe that anyone ever decides on being hooked on drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, hoarding etc. I think that the stimulating power of such compulsive behaviors sneaks itself into the cracked door of broken or lost purpose in a person’s life. I meet new people frequently and their families and friends always take the time to tell me how great of a person their loved one is, despite how mad at them they may be currently. When I dig into their history a bit, there is always something that happened to them that changed the course of their life and took their focus off of their purpose, i.e. loss of job, divorce, infidelity, family disputes, failed goals, death of loved ones etc. Gradually the addiction grew larger and eventually became the person’s new purpose in life whether they wanted it that way or not. The characteristics are all the same, good friends gone, bad friends now in, foul ups, errors, laziness, narrow minded behavior, more and more removed from reality and into a world of selfish delusion.
Every person has to find their own path toward purpose again by taking the first step, accept there is a problem greater than you and stop doing it. That’s an obvious statement if there ever was one but it all starts with a decision, even if it starts as someone else’s, hence the intervention. From there a person needs time away from their problems to actually let their brain settle and re-focus on life’s priorities. We have to confront what we have done to ourselves and others and find ways to make up enough damage to be forgiven by those closest to us but most of all to forgive ourselves. Everyone in recovery needs a clean slate but a short leash until proven otherwise. We as addicts need a chance to believe in ourselves and our abilities again but also have to humble ourselves that we have a lot of work to do to make up for lost time. With the support of family, friends and support groups a person can get back on track and start to have realizations again about what they can do versus what they cannot.
What matters is taking the time to strip away old destructive behaviors and developing new and constructive ones while living under new guidelines with healthy boundaries. Along this path is the cure for addiction – PURPOSE. Purpose doesn’t have to mean being a millionaire or being famous. Purpose is more on the lines of what families describe as the real person inside, someone who makes people laugh, has a great sense of humor, kids love them, people love them, charismatic and caring about others. One has to find out who he really is again. Being successful isn’t merely about amassing material things. Addicts are notorious for obsessing on having money and things things things! Things are a distraction and to put it bluntly, the less a person has, the more they appreciate what they really possess. Money and things will come along the way but true purpose is love for oneself and his family and friends. Nothing else really matters and life is full of rewards.
If you’re someone stuck in the world of addiction or you know and love someone who is, there is always a way out and many ways to find your purpose again. We at New Life have all lived through addiction and found our purposes in life. Life is full of booby traps and tough times but addiction is not an option anymore. We want to help others find their purpose just like we have so if you need assistance or just need someone to listen, please call and let us help you find your cure for addiction. Call 844 688-8555 any time of any day.
How does one determine what their rock bottom is? A few weeks ago I was preparing a family for an intervention for their addicted daughter and the mother asked me a very common question, if my family did an intervention to get me to accept treatment. I answered “yes” as was the case and she followed with the next question, “When was it that you hit rock bottom?”. I thought about it for a second, recalled the moment and answered her question honestly by saying “about a couple of weeks into my program”. She was clearly confused by my answer so I had to clarify my answer. In my mind, what I was answering was “When did I really realize that I was at rock bottom and then decide that I had to make changes?”. When did it really hit me? I remember the moment. I finally broke down and realized where I was and what I had amounted to. I heard and felt the extreme disgust and disappointment in the voices of my wife and parents on the phone. I had no friends left, no job and literally no possessions. That was the moment that I broke down and FELT THE BOTTOM. I was on my own and had to do something about it all. My back was finally against the wall and this time I had nothing clever to say or to do to get out of it.
Of course, that mother was asking this particular question because she was looking for hope that she was doing the right thing and that the intervention would help her daughter realize that she was at rock bottom and therefore be receptive to help, just like it happened for me. She was looking to validate the very difficult decision to intervene on her child and praying that she was doing the right thing. The guilt was overwhelming for her.
This mom like so many others could have intervened at least a year before she did and gotten her child help back then with just as much ease as we did a month ago. The signs were all there. The girl had been arrested, lost all of her good friends, acquired a new group of horrible and addicted “friends”, she was at risk of losing her job, you name it. Her life had been falling apart for a long while before this family finally decided to intervene. Her child was not only addicted to drugs; she was disconnected from her family and falling further away from the reality of life more and more every day into a black hole of hopelessness.
The problem was that they as a family tried everything they could think of to tackle the addiction but kept getting resistance. Resistance is typical and expected. To come out of addiction and face the world without drugs is a very scary thing for anyone in that position. So when the family tried everything, they started to give up and stood back to give her space to figure it out. Then they would press on her again without a plan of action just to press because the addiction was consuming their lives more and more. They became inpatient and angry with her and became desperate because nothing they tried had worked. Desperation brought more friction and less effective communication, thereby making matters worse. Finally someone at a treatment center recommended an intervention and the rest is history. She is actively doing her program and doing very well. And the communication with her family has improved tremendously. She has a long way to go to get it all right again, but she is more confident and much more able to do it now.
Rock bottom is all about perception. The addict doesn’t see rock bottom as the end. They see it as a new challenge that has to be overcome, just another crappy day falling apart as usual, just a little worse each day. The addict doesn’t see what you see on the outside looking in. You see life becoming more unmanageable and out of control by the second and somewhere in your gut, you know they need help. The problem lies in that perception because addicts are unbelievably and inevitably notorious for convincing others and themselves that everything is going to be ok. Everything is NOT OK! Most addicts are surviving at rock bottom much longer than families and friends are aware of. Most have a closet full of secrets that families have no clue about until they finally go to treatment and need help sorting it out. Things have been falling apart much longer than most people realize but with a timely smile, a few convincing words, maybe an angry outburst or defensive comment that you’re too close to a sore spot, the addict learns how to repel all signs of potential attempts to “help” them. So you leave them alone, dance around the subject and stop pushing the issue and pray for them to wake up and finally ask for that help you so desperately want to give them.
People in general have the perception that something will have to happen to make their loved ones wake up or hit bottom hard enough to wake up and accept help. The majority of families I meet have normally waited for heavy consequences to hit their loved ones before calling a professional interventionist and arranging treatment. Or things have fallen apart so badly that it now has to be the right time because nobody can take anymore of the destruction and everyone is ganging up on the enabler to do something about it.
To expect someone under the full influence and control of drugs and/or alcohol to make a logical life changing decision, no matter what the circumstances is a mistake. Waiting for someone to just wake up one day and dive into recovery is asking the impossible for most. They need you to stop the madness and make the choices for them until they can prove to do it themselves. This is addiction! With enough support and firm stances behind them, they will wake up and have their own rock bottom to start over from. Without it, day one of recovery may not ever happen. Recovery is much more possible than most people know or believe but it takes 100% commitment from the addicted one and the supporting family and friends. Rock bottom to me was a blessing and it allowed me to finally see reality. My intervention was what saved my life because it gave me the abilities I never would have had.
Have you ever experienced an addiction/enabling situation where the addict was so manipulative to the ones who love them that it was abusive? Can’t believe what you saw or heard? You might think, “how could people live this way or how can it get this bad?”. Usually anybody who knows that particular family, stays away from them or keeps them at arms length while criticizing how unimaginable it is to live that way. The thing that most don’t see is that the family wasn’t always that way. They didn’t always live like that. They live that way now because addiction took over. The rules and boundaries in that family were probably very solid and logical at one time but got pushed little by little over time and were never re-established.
When dealing with addiction of any kind, there is always at least one enabler, many times more. Usually the whole family winds up enablers to some degree which in turn strengthens the addiction more and more progressively over time making things worse and more dangerous. Over that time, boundaries get pushed further and further until literally there are none left and absolute chaos develops. These very bad situations are more common that people think. In fact, most families that we work with are in that very situation and can’t remember when it was any different than it is right now.
For example, the first time a parent found out their child was smoking pot. The parents go light on the child because they went through a “phase” and tried a few things when they were young. So they decide to handle it lightly and give a lecture. In the end, the child gets a slap on the wrist. Since it was just a slap on the wrist, peer pressure is so demanding, and the drugs make them feel good and accepted, the child decides to continue smoking pot and eventually after enough slaps on the wrist, why stop? There aren’t any real consequences other than getting a lecture or having something insignificant taken away from them. So now it becomes established and accepted that the child smokes pot because “they just won’t stop” and “what can we do?”. That boundary has been pushed away and the parents now say “just don’t bring it into the house”. Next it progresses and he or she smokes it in the house and gets that same lecture or gets yelled at again, like usual. Still there is no real reason to stop because nothing is really lost, no consequences. The child realizes over time that despite hearing a lecture here and there, there isn’t anything to stop them from doing what they want.
As we all know in addiction, one drug leads to another because the user reaches a plateau of getting high. Pot leads to more addictive drugs and with that comes the acceptance of the enabling family. As drugs become more harmful, so do the behaviors of addicts toward the enablers. Respect and love for the parents or spouses goes out the window and an addict becomes more volatile because the desperation for the drug becomes more than ever. Meanwhile, the enablers don’t stop loving them, they try to “help” them and wind up being the target for all anxieties and frustrations of the addict. It progresses terribly and it’s like the enabler gets stuck in a rip tide and taken out to sea somewhere, but on a life raft with the addict only, trapped.
As interventionists coming into an addiction crisis to “get the addict or alcoholic into treatment”, our job is actually not just that. Our job is to educate families on how to pull away from their enabling behaviors built over time immediately and to confront their loved one about their addiction and offer them the gift of help. Literally the family that has been trained by the addict or alcoholic, has to change their behaviors and do whatever it takes to remove the unhealthy lifestyle and build new healthy boundaries so that the addiction can no longer be supported by those people. It’s quite remarkable sometimes how great families respond to the thought of hope in their lives once again and the idea that they can all have their lives back again. But as remarkable as it is, changing behaviors to help their loved one during an intervention led by a professional is just the beginning. It’s still a struggle for an enabler to let go of unhealthy behaviors, sometimes like pulling teeth but with persistence and patience, those enablers start to see that change is possible and that they don’t have to accept that lifestyle ever again.
Many of our clients have pending charges, upcoming legal defense needs and other complications to deal with as a result of their addiction. Going to rehab does not make those problems go away but it does show the courts that a person is taking it upon themselves to voluntarily get the help they need. If you have a criminal case pending and you need some direction on the best course of action, give us a call. We will help you get into recovery, and then begin to work with the treatment center and the court to minimize, or even eliminate altogether, the impact of your case on your life.
If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime you can choose rehab rather than be sentenced to jail and if you do, you’ll likely also avoid a criminal record altogether. Many courts are open to the discussion of treatment vs incarceration for first time drug possession cases and some courts are lenient to multiple offenders if presented properly. Now, more than ever before, the courts can be persuaded to allow rehab instead of jail due to overpopulation challenges within jail systems and the changing viewpoints on addiction being an illness and not a social problem.
The U.S. declared war against drugs in the seventies and, while the war persists, the way the war is fought has changed. Certainty of incarceration for all drug related crimes regardless how minor, once a mandate of the war, has been relaxed. Why? Because studies have overwhelmingly revealed incarceration of addicts to be counter-productive. Now, Judges would rather see a person get treatment rather than be sentenced to jail. However, the judge takes a big risk when approving rehab over incarceration and therefore they are very cautious before taking this action. It is up to the addict and his legal defense team to minimize the risk in the eyes of the court. Having a treatment plan prepared by a reputable and certified addiction specialist can be the difference in that upcoming decision. So many people already in trouble with the law find themselves unprepared and lacking the personal drive and self preservation when facing their legal repercussions in court and therefore make a poor showing and receive the basic sentencing. Call New Life now for your free consultation and let’s see if you qualify for rehabilitation vs incarceration. Allow us to help you to be prepared to confront your upcoming legal situation the right way, prepared.
Many of our clients have pending charges, upcoming legal defense needs and other complications to deal with as a result of their addiction. Going to rehab does not make those problems go away. If you have a criminal case pending and you need some direction on the best course of action, give us a call today. We will help you get into recovery, and then begin to work with the court to minimize, or even eliminate altogether, the impact of your case on your life.