Rehab During The Holiday Season

The holiday season is especially difficult for those dealing with addiction in their lives. To choose to enter treatment yourself or to talk a loved one into rehab during the holiday season is always more of a dilemma than any other time of the year. The holiday season is full of family traditions and making new memories to have for future holidays. It’s a time to enjoy the company of family and friends accompanied by the spirit of giving again more than any other time of the year. Now consider the thought of not having a particular loved one there as they always have been for that special day or week. That person whether it’s you or any other loved one will be missed and things won’t be the same without them. Also, that person will be away from their family and friends won’t be able to enjoy those traditions and new memories being made for the future. Yes, being in rehab during the holiday season can be very difficult for everyone.

The Harsh Reality of Addiction in the Holiday Season

With addiction, almost everything to the addict’s environment can be a stimulator or trigger to drink alcohol or use drugs. rehab during the holiday seasonWhether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years or Kwanzaa, it is a very emotional and stimulating time of year and most addicts don’t fare well during this time. It’s a time of “celebration” and a perfect excuse to forgive oneself or others for their “shortcomings”.

“Let’s just get through the holidays” is a common statement we often hear in the recovery field. There is no perfect time to get help. There will always be important reasons not to if you look for them.  But when it’s needed it’s needed. Don’t let the holiday season be a reason to wait to help someone you love, including yourself.

Our busiest time (and usually overwhelming time) is right before or right after Christmas or New Years. Why? Because those who call for help before the holidays are usually remembering last year and how badly it went because of the addiction. Those who “wait until the holidays are over” are usually the ones who tell us their holidays were ruined by the addict or alcoholic and they shouldn’t have waited. Common stories we hear:

  • He slept all day. It was embarrassing.
  • He never showed up.
  • She came for a bit to open gifts and left shortly after.
  • He caused an argument with relatives.
  • He kept falling asleep at the table.
  • She burnt a hole in the furniture.
  • She totally ruined the holiday for her siblings.

It’s human nature to want to be around our loved ones during the holidays and also human nature to forgive and hope for better beginnings because of that holiday spirit. Unfortunately addiction takes no days off, especially Christmastime and other festive family holidays. It is simply the worst time to apply that holiday spirit when dealing with an addict or alcoholic.

How Are Things Run In Rehab During The Holiday Season?

In my 18 years of sobriety and active service to recovery I have never encountered a treatment facility that didn’t handle the time of year correctly. It is already a tough enough time for those working inside the walls of drug and alcohol rehab keeping everyone focused on their daily tasks and counseling the clients through the tough times of being homesick and missing family. In addition to the already difficult chore of keeping sanity, most treatment facilities do a nice job of decorating and even buying gifts for their clients to make it through the days still on task. The bottom line for rehab staff is to rehabilitate their clients and give them clear vision to make better living decisions in the future. Those decisions start in rehab and the holiday season is actually a great test for those attending a program. What addicts need more than anything is to know that they can get through tough and challenging times and remain sober doing so. Keep in mind that the staff working in such a facility has their own families and they all understand what you or your loved one will go through while being away.

In my time of working in rehab, I always tried to keep my staff more aware of the time of year and the experiences they had as ex-addicts and how stimulating it was for all of us too. When it came to Christmas, the build up prior to the actual day was tough but when the actual day came and went, things went much easier. Before we knew it, it was all over and we could get back to the business at hand of recovery.

Do The Right Thing-Don’t Wait

I as a survivor who lived through many years of addiction I know what it’s like to be in rehab during the holiday season. It was extremely difficult to think that my family was doing all of the usual holiday activities together, smiling and carrying on……without me. As an addict in recovery, all I could think of was myself. It wasn’t really my family I missed. Of course I felt guilty because I disappointed my family on such a spiritual time of year but my thoughts were more about me and what I was missing. And I guarantee that in the early stages of my recovery, if I weren’t in rehab I would have been on the streets putting myself in danger like I always did up to that point. As an interventionist I hear all of the excuses and pleads and promises of a nice holiday together if they can get one more chance. Don’t fall for it, even if it’s you talking to yourself. When it’s time, it’s time. Get help and get it now. Too many parents have had to bury their kids because they waited for that one special holiday with hopes that things will get better if given one more chance. Don’t wait for the holidays to be over to do the right thing. Addiction is fatal in many cases and waiting to get help simply does not make sense when one sees the big picture.

Call us now for a confidential consultation at (844) 688-8555

Why Addicts Avoid Treatment

addicts avoid treatmentSo why do addicts avoid treatment? It is fairly easy to come up with one’s own idea why but if you break it down and really look at the addict’s life, it gets more interesting. Depending on what stage or how far along the addiction is, there will be specific reasons why an addict or alcoholic just refuses to get help. They’re sick and they know they need to change and get help but what keeps them from taking that step? Why avoid treatment when it’s the most obvious choice to everyone else looking in? There are some major factors regarding these questions:

Withdrawal Is Too Painful and Scary

Most chemical addictions are physically addictive and the mere thought of going through a physical withdrawal is a no-no. The withdrawal symptoms are more than what an addict can mentally bear to confront. Opiates like heroin, methadone, vicodin, percocet, and oxycodone are all in this category where the physical withdrawal brings about a seemingly endless array of flu-like symptoms with an overwhelming craving for the opiate and only the opiate to handle the pain. Alcohol falls right in line with this as well as benzodiazepines like Xanax, Lorazepam, and Klonopin, except that these two bring about another scare that the person could very well have a seizure and literally die from the withdrawal. Other addictive drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine won’t typically cause life endangering effects from withdrawal but the mental aspect is too very overwhelming to the adduct. The simple thought of not having the drug anymore is enough to precipitate heavy anxiety and irrational high risk behavior to re-establish the high again.

Drugs and Alcohol Feel Good

The simple fact is that drugs and alcohol feel better than good. That’s why people continue to use them despite the side effects of ingesting them. They all have some kind of unfavorable side effect (lethargy, vomiting, bad taste, burning, anxiety etc) to tolerate and become immune to but once past that hurdle, the dependence starts and then the full blown addiction.

When you have a bad day of work, smoke a joint on the way home or have a few beers. Fight with the girlfriend, go out and do some coke or pop some pills with friends. Chemicals become the go to when things get stressful and they make a person feel better. Also the person doesn’t have to deal with anything when high. Addiction progresses and the stressers become more and more so the intake of drugs and alcohol follow suit. Alcohol and drugs become a problem when a person uses them beyond the point of recreationally. In the end they become what many recovering addicts call their “best friend” or “only friend”. Now someone suggests that they stop using and go to rehab? Not likely to happen in the latter stages of addiction. The only thing that makes the addict feel better is the drugs and/or alcohol.

The Reality of Rehab is too Scary

Most folks addicted to drugs or alcohol either have had their own experiences of trying to get clean in some sort of treatment setting or they at least know someone who has. Considering the company that that an addict will keep in his or her life, the references will not be good. The horror stories I hear as an interventionist of a “friend’s” experiences in rehab are something to write a book on. And 99% of those stories are false either embellished or simply lies to impress each other. Most addicts picture being in a hospital bed for a month in a hospital robe drugged out and shuffling back and forth to group therapy in a Cuckoo’s Nest atmosphere. This doesn’t sound fun to anybody. Then comes the person I’m intervening on who has never set foot in a real treatment facility with all these imagined fears of how horrible it will be. As an interventionist I bring pictures and solid information but more importantly I bring experience of having been there myself. I find that building trust with the struggling addict or alcoholic in front of me is key to developing a line of  communication that they will listen to. Most are scared to death of what they are about to encounter because of other’s horror stories or something they have seen on TV when in reality, they are in for a very nice experience. There are too many great ones out there that well outnumber any that can be considered bad.

Addicts Avoid Treatment Because They Have a System Built

As much as any other reasoning, an addict will avoid treatment because life is under his or her control. Everyone close to him lives their lives to appease or comfort the addict. Nobody wants to make matters worse and upset the addict because he may hurt himself and we may be at fault for that if we push too hard. With depression and anxiety underlying in most cases, families and friends know this and don’t want to rock the boat. We simply leave them alone. Some parents give their kids money to go buy what they need for each day so they don’t go through withdrawal. Why? Because parents have become trained by the addict that something horrible will happen if they don’t. This system is one of many examples but the reality is, why would an addict or alcoholic leave this situation? One, it’s comfortable. The lights are on, there’s a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, laundry gets done for them and essentially aside from a little argument here and there, everyone leaves them alone to do what? Drugs and alcohol! The system is also something that addicts don’t want exposed. Nobody outside the immediate family is welcome to realize its existence so the addict traps the closest loved ones with shame and embarrassment. If anyone outside the sphere saw it, they would blow the top off of it in a second. This is a huge reason addicts won’t just go to treatment; the fear of this system being exposed and destroyed. It really is unthinkable to the addict that reality will set in and life will have to change. After all, the system took a while to build. This is why interventions have drama. The system is being exposed and crushed right in front of their eyes. If you’re in the middle of one of these systems, step out for a minute and take a look inside if you can. You will see it’s very obvious and very destructive.


If you have someone in your life who needs treatment but just won’t commit, it may be time for an intervention. Give us a call and get a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you. 8446888555

Do I Have To Go Away For Treatment?

away for treatment

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


The Advantage Of Going Away For Treatment

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.

Concerns About Going Away for Treatment

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:

  • Too many things to do before going
  • Taking time off from work or school
  • Having to leave their home environment, family and friends/homesickness
  • Having to open up and disclose their  problems with strangers
  • Simply leaving the comforts (enablers) of home
  • Fear of the unknown

When a loved one calls for another the reasons are typically:

  • Don’t want them far from home and will miss them.
  • Too many responsibilities to just leave.
  • Won’t be able or not easy to see them while they’re away somewhere else
  • They feel it’s too drastic to up and leave while there are plenty of help groups locally
  • It’s just not a normal thing in this family to do/pride
  • Feel it’s running from their problems to leave home

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 To Help Someone You Love After Rehab

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?

after rehab

For Those Who Must Come Home

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:

Working In The Treatment Field

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

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.

If One Has To Return Home After Rehab Treatment

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.

Do a sweep of the home and vehicle

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 Phone Change

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.

Get a Job

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.

Possibly Relocate

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.

after rehab

Get connected with support groups and therapy

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.

Limit the means available

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.

Find ways to help others

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.

Purpose Is The Real Cure For Addiction

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.

Purpose is the real cure for addiction

Find Your Purpose

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.

How does one find purpose again?

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.

Getting The Judge to Offer Rehab vs. Prison

No matter which way you slice the pie, prisons do not perform well in rehabilitating offenders. Programs are frequently punitive, and according to a report in the Washington Post, about 66 percent of prisoners, within three years of their release, commit crimes again. In many instances, the new crime is more serious than the one that previously landed an offender in prison. This is especially bad news for people in prison on drug crimes. However, rehab should be an option for many prisoners. We published a post here about this topic.

What is rock bottom and why do families wait to intervene?

Rock Bottom
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.

Heroin containing insecticides found in Middlesex, New Jersey

Recently this month, NJ state police reported that heroin labeled under three different names was found to contain the chemical Carbaryl. Carbaryl is sold under the brand name “Sevin”, used for gardening and agricultural purposes to kill unwanted insects. It is advertised as moderately toxic to mammals but the thought of one of our loved ones snorting, smoking or injecting the chemical is a scary thought. Carbaryl is known to cause involuntary convulsions and nausea amongst many diarrhea and with heavy doses can cause blurred vision, sweating and loss of coordination.

The state police seized the laced heroin in Middlesex County and found the Carbaryl in three different branded names. For those who don’t know, heroin bags are typically stamped with some sort of logo, statement or both to attract new buyers and to designate which block it came from. This way the heroin user can find “comfort” knowing that a certain branded bag was of good quality or purer than another, of course prompting more sales for the dealers. The sickening thing is that this is just one of so many chemicals dealers will mix their drugs with and sell it to unknowing addicts. Normally we hear of Fentanyl being laced in the heroin to boost the potency and attract more users but this makes no sense in that regard. It shows the utter ignorance and lack of any human compassion in the dealers who sell this poison to people we love.

Middlesex County is just a short drive away from Paterson, Newark, Trenton and many other heroin infested areas of New Jersey. Where it came from and who laced it with this newest chemical mixture, who knows? Sadly no heroin addict ever knows what they are buying on the streets and the risk is always high. This is just another sickening display of what greed brings out in the world of addiction.



Heroin Addiction

Heroin abuse and heroin addiction have been horrible sounding phrases in our society for ever. Most people relate those words to someone who is destitute or downtrodden, living on the streets, using dirty needles, begging for money, robbing people and just wasting their lives as a dirty low life human being. Most people view heroin addiction as some other world or somebody else’s problem, not theirs. Times have changed over the past couple of decades though. Heroin never left the destitute and it definitely still ravages in low income areas, but it has expanded its presence to suburbs and affluent neighborhoods in staggering numbers. Reality dictates that it is probably within a short distance from anyone reading this or maybe even in your home. It has been and still it a growing epidemic that kills thousands every year.

With the onslaught of highly addictive opioid prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid, and Morphine into our society, people were becoming dependent on these drugs and a new epidemic was created. All levels of socioeconomics were affected and our world changed forever for the worse. Pills that many people had in their medicine cabinets, left over from an operation or a pain condition became a very hot commodity and a target for any opioid pill addict. Most found that they couldn’t afford the pills once addicted to them and at an average of $1 per milligram, people had to both stop using and go through withdrawal or find another source. Withdrawal symptoms are usually unsuspected by the user at first but once the person experiences them, the alternative source becomes heroin, also an extremely potent opioid so it completely handles the withdrawal symptoms. With the cost of heroin at about a 10th of the cost of pain pills on the street, the stigma of heroin is overlooked and now becomes the new drug of choice.

Heroin can be snorted, swallowed, smoked or injected, either in a muscle or intravenously. Depending on where it is purchased, it will come in a white or grey powder (China White) or dark sticky tar (Black Tar). The purity levels are higher than ever to produce more sales for the dealers and a better high for the addict. The better it is, the more they’ll come back. But just how the opiate pain killers became too expensive, so does heroin. An addict reaches tolerance levels whereas the usual quantities don’t produce the same high as they once did and therefore it takes more to achieve it, which costs more. An addict will spend every dime to get the high and to avoid going through withdrawal. Every day is another day that a heroin addict has to have his or her fix or else they face going through a cold turkey withdrawal. Going through withdrawal is out of the question for addicts because of its horrible mental physical effects, in other words, consequences. Parents, spouses, siblings etc. begin to realize that their medications have been taken, their money has been tapped into and their belongings are missing. Pawn shops are a quick way to get a little cash for expensive items and in turn, the heroin.

Families are virtually tortured with heroin addiction, trying to understand what their loved one is going through. Love gets in the way of logic because manipulation is the only way to live as an addict. Families enable to help but in fact the enabling is hurting the chances of helping them. Getting found out and having to stop and go through withdrawal and a rehab program is the last thing the addiction wants an addict to do. It literally has full control over the person physically and mentally. Emotionally a person becomes numb to everything, including love. Every ounce of energy has to be focused on finding the drugs for the day and then the next. It is a never ending trap until something happens to curb the addicted one. Once daily use has begun, it usually only takes a week or two for a person’s body to become dependent on the drug.

Liver disease including Hepatitis B & C are very common with IV users. Overdoses are so common that many states have implemented allowances for access to drugs to families of addicts that reverse the effects of the opiates in the body. Emergency rooms see constant waves of overdoses, many because dealers cut the heroin with Fentanyl (60-80 times stronger than heroin). Families live torturous lives because they don’t understand how to help the one they love. The list goes on. Heroin has a grasp on our country, and our kids. It’s more available than one would normally expect and very cheap to start a habit. Kids are selling it to each other in school and ruining each others’ lives. Good people who once had great lives going on and bright futures ahead of them are now living lives of crime and deceit because of the grip heroin has on them. It is in fact a growing epidemic.

Signs of Heroin Abuse

  • Nodding off (eyes closing suddenly & head bobbing)
  • Lying
  • Manipulation
  • Stealing
  • Loss of Job or Poor Performance
  • Dropping Out of School or Grades Dropping Suddenly
  • Anger
  • Irritability-Very Short Fuse
  • Guilt and Shame
  • Overall Lack of Compassion
  • Sudden Vomiting
  • Oversleeping
  • Scars and Abscesses

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Hot & Cold Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny Nose

Rehabilitation vs Incarceration

Legal Support for Recovering Addicts

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.

Legal Support for Recovering Addicts

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.