Parents’ Guide On How To Deal With College-aged / Adult Child Alcoholism

It is no secret that college students often develop their alcoholic habits during college. This is a time where they are away from home which means that they have no immediate adult supervision. This means that they are living outside of their comfort zones and they are willing to explore alcohol during parties, gatherings, and more. This is the time when they succumb to peer pressure to try out different alcoholic drinks so that they will seem more acceptable among their young peers.

It is normal for you to feel alarmed about this. It is challenging to navigate this issue with your child since asserting your authority as a parent may result in rebellion.  Here is a guide on how to deal with your college-aged alcoholic child.

Tips For Parents

View Things From Their Perspective

It is very tempting to put the blame on your child and on your child alone. However, it is important to recognize that alcoholic activities are ingrained with college activities. It is a time for experimentation and exploration about their freedom.

Recognize that they are a victim of circumstances and despite everything, they still deserve to be treated with love and respect. They need your emotional support for them to stay encouraged to achieve full sobriety.

Establish Boundaries

It is still important to be assertive about the things that will help them stay sober. The first thing is to mandate your child to cut off any form of communication from the toxic people that enabled them to develop a drinking problem. The individuals that will increase the likelihood of a relapse. These individuals may have taken advantage of your child or enabled their bad behaviors in the past.

Another thing is to ensure that your child stays away from these enabling environments. They should avoid all of the places that allowed them to develop a drinking problem. This may be a bar, a club, or any other hangout area in which they drank and partied before. Being in these areas can trigger their desire to relapse and to go back to their old ways. They should avoid these places if they aren’t fully recovered yet.

Encourage Healthy Activities

Achieving full recovery requires a lifestyle change. This is because a healthy mind and body is their first line of defense against a relapse. When they live a healthy lifestyle, they will be of sound mind and will have the ability to resist temptations better.

Make sure that your child spends each day making healthy choices. Encourage them to get up early each morning, squeeze in a workout, and practice meditation for mindfulness. You should also prepare healthy, well-balanced meals that will nourish their bodies. 

Plan Activities For Each Day

Boredom is the biggest trigger for a relapse. When your child has too much available time in their hands, they will wallow in their negative thoughts and feel the urge to go back to their old ways. Make sure to plan each day with a list of new and fun activities that they can try out. 

This can be anything like painting, going on a hike, learning how to make clay pottery, and more. These activities may also encourage them to meet new people especially if they attend classes. These new acquaintances and experiences will give them the extra push to break free of their toxic past.

Encourage Them To Change Their Contacts

Ask your child to change their phone number. This ensures that the toxic people from their past will have no way of contacting them again. They won’t receive invitations that may trigger them to relapse.

You should also ask your child to block these people on social media. Breaking contact is very important for a successful recovery.

Cut Down Screen Time

Make sure that your child minimizes their social media usage. Social media is filled with temptations. Every post from their friend that shows they are out drinking or partying can make your child miserable and feel left out. Even references from movies or pop culture that glorifies alcohol can push them over the edge. This may cause them to resent the process and this may even turn into resentment towards you.

Minimizing social media also ensures that they stay away from their enablers. 

Empathy Over Everything

The most important thing is to approach your child with an empathic heart. The road to recovery may feel scary and lonely for them. They are young and they didn’t know any better. The primary thing they need is a loving and supportive network of family and friends. 

You should keep this in mind even if your child’s alcoholism has resulted in nasty consequences, like damaged property or jail time. Stay empathic but do not coddle them to the point of immediately bailing them out without giving them the chance to think about the negative consequences of their actions.

Choose The Perfect Treatment Center

Nothing beats professional help. Make sure to pick an addiction treatment center with age-specific, gender-specific, and long-term treatment plans. These ensure that your child will be treated in a comfortable environment with a facility that is well-acquainted with their needs.  

Contact us to get your child started on their path to sobriety. 

Am I A Chronic Relapser? 7 Signs That You Are One

The road to recovery can often be harsh. Progress isn’t always linear and relapses are almost always guaranteed. Relapsing once is common and it is something that you can easily recover from. However, if you are a chronic relapser, then you might need to take a step back and reevaluate your healing process.

What Is A Chronic Relapser?

A chronic relapser is a recovering addict who has broken sobriety on multiple occasions. There is no fixed definition for this but anyone who can maintain sobriety for a few days or weeks and then falls back to their old ways is a chronic relapser.

It is a vicious cycle that does not have any real positive impact because the patient gets stuck right where they are. Thankfully, there are remedies for this. If you are a chronic relapser, you may need to get readmitted to inpatient rehab so that you can recalibrate. Another option is to increase your outpatient therapy sessions so that you will be kept under a close eye to maintain accountability.

It is very important to break the cycle of chronic relapsing before it rolls back into a full-blown addiction. Here are the signs that you might be a chronic relapser.

Signs That You Are A Chronic Relapser

  • You feel like sobriety is an impossible goal. As such, you feel hopeless all the time and you struggle to maintain it for more than a few weeks.
  • Your family members are suffocating you with their treatment techniques to the point of helplessness and immobility.
  • You only completed the inpatient treatment program to please your loved ones and you left too soon even if you aren’t fully ready yet.
  • You have been to numerous rounds of treatment but you fail every single time.
  • You refuse to acknowledge that you have a serious problem. As such, you live in a state of denial that prevents you from facing your issues head-on.
  • Your family expects you to relapse after so many failed attempts in the past so you are just leaning into the narrative.
  • You are dishonest about yourself, activities, thoughts, and feelings.

Why Do Patients Relapse?

There is no single reason as to why someone might relapse. Some of the reasons include:

  • Being exposed to the same environment and people that enabled the addiction in the first place
  • Being unable to cope with daily stressors
  • Lack of insight into addiction
  • Inability to change your perspective of drugs
  • Lack of accountability or safety nets
  • Inability to follow preventative measures
  • Post-acute withdrawal symptoms

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Patients experience primary withdrawal symptoms during inpatient rehab. This is the first time they are completely rid of the addictive substances in their bodies and the symptoms may feel extreme. PAWS refers to the secondary withdrawal after the patient has left the addiction treatment center. This can cause other issues like inability to sleep, anxiety, depression, irritability, and more. 

How Can You Solve Chronic Relapsing?

Extend The Initial Treatment

The mere fact that chronic relapsing happens means that the initial treatment may have been insufficient. Maybe the program was too short to develop long-term habits or for sobriety to stick. The usual 28-day to month-long inpatient treatment might be too short. As such, the patient must be readmitted and the duration of their stay should be extended.

Attend Family Therapy Sessions

Family therapy is highly beneficial because it mends the relationship and trust between the addicted member and the rest of the unit. This is important because the family serves as the primary support system for the patient. They also serve as accountability buddies that can keep the patient in check.

Family therapy improves every member’s ability to communicate so that everyone can become expressive of their feelings and needs. In this way, the patient can seek help and attention instead of slipping back to their old ways.

Create An Accountability System

Chronic relapsers get away with relapsing because of the lax system surrounding them. With no one to supervise them, they can easily call their supplier and break sobriety.

Accountability systems may be sponsors in support meetings, therapists, accountability buddies, or counselors. Just remember that addicts do not like being forced to report to anybody so find a way to seamlessly integrate communication with these accountability systems as part of their daily routine.

Impulse Control

The patient may need to work on their ability to control impulses so that they can resist temptation better. They can hone their impulse control skills by attending support group meetings, being aware of their harmful patterns, and being conscious of their thoughts. They should do their best to avoid the mental pathways that lead them to obsess over their addiction. 

Recognizing these thought patterns allows them to break them as early as possible so that they won’t relapse.

Medication

Medication may be necessary for dual diagnosis and managing withdrawal symptoms. Take these as prescribed and always follow the doctor’s orders.

Chronic relapse is a vicious cycle full of its ups and downs. It is emotionally and mentally exhausting to always cave in and then wake up with a renewed sense of resolve to stay sober, only to have it broken a few weeks later. Chronic relapsing means that you are stagnant, if not regressing.

Thankfully, it is very much preventable. Remember to seek help from professionals for better relapse prevention.

How Did You Break Your Cycle Of Addiction / Chronic Relapse / Chronic Relapsers: a collection of stories that helped them break the cycle

The road to full recovery from addiction is marked by highs and lows. On some days, you may feel extremely motivated to stay sober and keep on fighting. However, there will be days when the temptation to relapse is strong and you want to fall back to your old ways. 

It helps to hear about other patients’ success stories to serve as inspiration and motivation to continue healing. These stories prove that recovery is possible and achievable for as long as you have a loving support system, discipline, and an addiction treatment center that cares for your wellbeing. 

Inspiring Recovery Stories

The Journey Of Brittany Shelton

Brittany Shelton loves her quiet life as a stay-at-home mom. She dedicates her days to writing for her blog as well as caring for her family. However, this wasn’t always the case. 

She grew up in Missouri in her family’s trailer. Her childhood home was always filled with noise, strangers, and smoke. There were multiple occasions where the male strangers would touch her inappropriately. Her family’s situation worsened with the death of her brother. It added another layer of strain to her already troubled parents.

Her parents eventually separated. She went to high school and lived with her father and stepmother. She has always felt left out and a burden. By 16, she downed a bottle of liquor which led to her binge-drinking with her friends every weekend. She liked how she can escape with alcohol and drugs.

This led to her getting kicked out of her father’s house. By 20, she was living with her boyfriend and 9-month-old son. She still developed a Xanax addiction. She even mixed Xanax with alcohol on a daily basis. It took a couple of overdoses before she sought help. She said, “I had legal issues piled on top of me. I didn’t have anyone from my family in my corner. I had isolated myself from everything and everyone I was associated with. I felt alone, hopeless and tired.”

She went to the local 12-step meeting and that was when her life began to change for the better. She was mentored and given tools to stay sober. She took up counseling and got a sponsor. All of these positive changes were propelled by her desire to provide a better life for her son. As of today, she is 12 years in sobriety and enjoying her life with her husband and three kids.

The Story Of Randy Kemp

Randy Kemp’s story started when his father left when he was 12. That was also the first time he tried alcohol. He and his friends stole a bottle from their parent’s liquor stash. They were grossed out, but he remembers feeling a sense of relief from all the stressors at the time.

He wanted to cling to that feeling of relief which is why he continued drinking. He became friends with people with separated parents who likewise drank alcohol. He also took up marijuana and cocaine during his freshman year in high school. 

Trouble struck when he was arrested at nineteen for drunk driving. He attended a 30-day rehab as mandated by the court. This rehab stint led him to Alcoholics Anonymous. He left feeling optimistic about his sobriety. Unfortunately, his employer at a local car wash was a cocaine dealer which made his addiction worse.

It went downhill from there. He resorted to stealing just so he could sustain his addiction. He went in and out of prison for a myriad of crimes. He’d always attempt to rebuild his life and then fail. The longest he stayed sober was 10 months. His cravings got worse when his mother passed away. He claimed that he was sober but he was still using secretly. 

His wake-up call happened when he woke up from a near-death encounter with methamphetamine. He also said that he is a Christian which meant that if he died, he will go to hell. He reached out to a pastor in the local church and he was referred to a church member who is a psychologist. They met weekly until Randy was referred to a psychiatrist.

This was when the real change began because he has accepted that he is indeed mentally ill. Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic mental illnesses. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was given medication to manage this as well as to ease his alcoholic cravings.

He continued with his treatments and he is sober up to this day. He has plans to finish his college education and take up improv comedy. He even started a YouTube channel called “Randy Unscripted.” He posts vlogs where he talks about his recovery in hopes of inspiring others.

Behaviors that often predispose Drug Addiction: Risk Factors, (Genetic, Trauma), Signs, And Symptoms

There are numerous research papers over the past two decades that aim to identify and quantify the risk factors, signs, and symptoms that predispose a person to drug addiction. Having an understanding of how addiction begins and progresses greatly helps in its treatment. This allows preventative measures and early interventions to nip the problem in the bud before it gets worse.

This also serves as a guide on how to supervise teens to lessen the risk of them developing an addiction. 

Behaviors The Predispose Drug Addiction

Five-Factor Model Basis

There are psychological predispositions for substance abuse as shown in the Five-Factor Model of Personality. The five factors include:

Extraversion – This indicates how social a person is. This means that they are very outgoing and thrive in social situations, so much so that they prefer the company of other people to being alone. These individuals are full of energy and are the “life of the party.”

Neuroticism – A neurotic individual exhibits negative physical, emotional, and mental reactions to the point of irrationality. It is said that this is the body’s subconscious effort to manage extreme anxiety. All of the negative outbursts are a product of extreme stress.

Agreeableness – This refers to a person’s ability to be compassionate, considerate, kind, and warm. These individuals are approachable and understanding. 

Conscientiousness – This is marked by diligence or carefulness. The person focuses on the proper execution of a task. They also take responsibilities and obligations very seriously. People who are conscientious are organized and highly efficient.

Openness To Experiences – This refers to an individual’s open-mindedness and willingness to try new things. They are curious about the world and are willing to experiment with things or experiences that are beyond their comfort zones.

Based on the aforementioned factors, the individuals who are likely to develop a drug addiction have high extraversion, high neuroticism, high openness, low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness. 

These are not definitive since there are more factors that affect the likelihood of drug addiction. Regardless of a person’s behavior, there is still hope for a full recovery. 

Child’s Early Interactions

A child’s earliest experiences can shape their future. Children with heightened risk of drug use are often the ones who are neglected during their earlier years. This may manifest in the form of a lack of attachment from their parents or caregivers. They may also have experienced ineffective parenting or interacted with caregivers or family members who used drugs. Seeing that their role models use drugs so flippantly may lead them to perceive that it is acceptable behavior.

However, this does not mean that the child is a lost cause. These circumstances can be reversed by establishing a closer bond between child and parent, increasing parental involvement, and establishing clear limits on drugs early on.

Genetics And Epigenetics 

Drug addiction shares the same features as other chronic illnesses, one of which is heritability. There is still a lot of research to be done but early findings indicate that drug addiction can be passed genetically. A person’s inherited genetic makeup impacts their vulnerability to drugs as well as their ability to protect themselves. Scientists say that genetics take up 40 to 60 percent of a person’s likelihood to become addicted to drugs.

Traumatic Experiences

Traumatic experiences shape individuals and affect their futures. Childhood trauma impacts one’s perception of themselves and the world. It is also closely linked to addiction.

Trauma manifests in different forms, such as physical assault, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, natural disasters, bullying, parental neglect, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, terminal illness, and accidents. A person who survived these may experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Some cases of PTSD may be so debilitating that a person may feel the need to do drugs just so they can escape their harsh reality. 

The signs of trauma may include eating disorders, lack of confidence, avoidance of reminders of their trauma, constantly reliving the traumatic event, relationship problems, romantic issues, abnormal mood swings, erratic behavior, and more. As such, one may self-medicate with drug misuse which can quickly escalate into an addiction.

Drug Availability

This is the most impactful risk factor because it indicates the person’s proximity to drugs. The mere fact that it is accessible means that they are more likely to try it out. It can start with an experiment until they get addicted to the euphoric feeling that it gives. 

The solution is to live in a drug-free environment. This extends to cutting out ties with the people who enable these addictions, from peers to suppliers. 

Stressful Situations

People who are placed in extremely stressful situations may turn to drugs as a means to self-medicate and escape. These situations may include academic stress, financial strains, work problems, relationship issues, and more. NIDA researchers also state that the people who are hypersensitive to stress are the ones who are more likely to cave in and try drugs. 

One must learn the value of stress management so that it won’t escalate into vulnerability to drugs. Start by taking care of yourself, maintaining your focus on the things that matter, practicing mindfulness and calmness, and learning how to talk about your feelings so that you can get help.

3 Negative Effects Of Addiction In The Family

Addiction doesn’t just harm the patient. It also harms their family and the people around them: from workmates to friends. It’s a complication with ripple effects to the rest of society, but if there’s a hierarchy of which relationship the patient should mend, the family should come first.

What Is The Family Systems Theory?

The family systems theory is a theory introduced by Doctor Murray Bowen. The theory states that individuals are not meant to exist in isolation from one another. Rather, we are designed to be innately part of our families and that each family functions as one emotional unit. This means that a dysfunctional family will most likely yield dysfunctional members. Conversely, an emotionally healthy family will promote the healing and wellbeing of its members.

The theory further states that every member of the unit has their respective roles for the betterment of everyone. Each member also has the responsibility to respect the rules of the unit and are expected to treat one another with love and respect. 

When you apply the theory to a recovering patient’s situation, it simply means that the actions of the family can either make or break their recovery. This also goes both ways – the patient’s actions likewise impact the rest of the family. The onset of addiction has countless negative effects on the unit. 

Negative Effects Of Addiction On The Family

Loss Of Trust

The family members may be less likely to trust the recovering patient after they have been discharged from rehab. Everything they do may be viewed with a veil of scrutiny. Their every move may be assumed to be a way to get their hands on alcohol or drugs.

While the loss of trust is completely understandable, the family members must understand that this may contribute to a widening of the rift between them and their recovering loved one. The patient will feel like their best efforts to stay clean won’t be appreciated since their family won’t trust them anyway. 

The best solution is to arrive at a compromise. Give the recovering loved one their freedom to access their phone or to go out. However, they must not make contact with their old supplier or they should comply with a curfew. The family should also make more of an effort to trust the patient.

Increased Stress Levels

Everyone in the family will undoubtedly feel stressed. The recovering addict might be unable to fulfill their obligations at school or work which means that the rest of the family members have to step in. Even the partner will feel stressed as they are usually the ones that fill in the shoes and fulfill all the responsibilities.

These extra responsibilities include managing the house finances, paying the bills, doing household chores, caring for the kids, and more. As such, the house might become a stress-filled environment that will affect everyone in it. This may lead to higher cholesterol levels, anxiety, higher blood pressure, cardiovascular complications, and more.

The first step to remedy this is to understand that stress will always be there. It is about knowing the correct way to handle the stress so that it doesn’t bottle up and explode. One good way is to be vocal about the stress levels and to ask the patient to help out in any way they can. At the same time, this shouldn’t be done in a way that pressures them to get up and assume their responsibilities when they know in themselves that they aren’t ready yet. 

Financial Issues

It is no secret that treating addiction can make a dent in the family’s savings account. Inpatient and outpatient rehab is expensive but necessary. The family members have the responsibility to avoid holding the costs over the patient’s head as this will make them question their self-worth or develop feelings of resentment.

It is important for everyone to realize that maintaining the family-patient relationship is so much better than letting money ruin everything. There are also ways to make the expenses more manageable. Some insurance companies cover it so that the fees will be significantly reduced. Others offer installment plans that take months to pay so that it will be less stressful on the pocket.

The patient can also work after they are done with inpatient rehab. While they are staying in a safe house or at home, they can find the time to seek employment opportunities. As with anything else, it’s important to not pressure them into this decision too quickly and allow them to focus on what is truly important first, staying sober.

How Can This Be Remedied?

The familial relationship is often prioritized in the healing process which is why there are countless options available. Rehab centers often have family therapy in which the family can attend as a unit. In each session, the members are encouraged to voice out their emotions and feelings so as to foster a more open relationship with one another. This also aims to improve everyone’s communication skills so that everyone will be more comfortable with expressing their feelings and emotional needs.

Benefits Of Family Therapy For Recovering Addicts

Family therapy shouldn’t be overlooked during the recovery process. It is a crucial part of healing as it recognizes that the addiction does not only impact the addicts but their families as well. Their actions have consequences that negatively affected their relationships with their families. The trust is broken and the ability to communicate freely is compromised. 

It is important to mend this relationship as soon as possible because family is a key part of the patient’s emotional support system. One way to do this is through family therapy.

What Is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a kind of psychological counseling that includes all the members of the family. It has the main goal of resolving inner conflicts and reestablishing communication between the members. This type of therapy is administered by a psychologist, therapist, or clinical social worker.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is classified as a family disease. This is because the effects transcend the addict and reach the entire family. Everyone feels the stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions brought about by an addict. The addiction damages the family’s foundations and disrupts everyone’s routines.

Most families will assume that they do not need family therapy because they feel like the addicted individual is the only one with a problem. This isn’t true and collective healing is essential for a successful recovery. Family therapy is also beneficial not only during the healing process but also in the long run. All of the members can become self-aware and identify the problem areas that they need to work on.

Benefits Of Family Therapy

Provides Education About Addiction

Addiction is not a simple matter of getting hooked up on a harmful substance. The family members require a deeper understanding of it so that they may be able to empathize with the recovering patient. This starts with basic education on all the facets of addiction.

The family members may learn more about what causes addiction as well as the possible triggers during recovery. This inspires them to be more compassionate towards their addicted loved ones. This also allows them to be more understanding of the mood swings or negative behavior that the addicted loved one may exhibit during recovery.

Improves Family Dynamics

Addiction negatively affects family dynamics by breaking the overall trust. The addicted loved one will be viewed with skepticism. This diminishes their confidence in themselves which can backtrack their progress. 

They need their family for support now more than ever. The overall dynamics can be improved if there is a professional mediator that can encourage every family member to be more expressive. In this way, all members can be more understanding of each other so that trust can be rebuilt and regained.

Improves Communication Between The Family Members

As soon as the feeling of trust is broken, so is the family’s confidence in communicating with one another. Some may feel like they need to keep their feelings in since they can no longer trust their addicted loved one. This may escalate into feelings of resentment which can come out in the form of hostile treatment.

Family therapy helps re-establish communication. The psychiatrist can foster communication so that everyone can be more expressive of their feelings and needs. In this way, they can voice out their concerns or alert the rest of the family of their needs.

This is particularly important for the patient. If they feel safe enough to freely communicate, they can come to the rest of the family for moral support and advice. It is also shown that good communication practices have led to more successful recoveries. Everyone can express themselves in a healthy manner without hurting one another, particularly the patient.

Rebuilding Trust In The Family

Trust is a key factor in a successful recovery. Broken trust is a consequence of addiction since the rest of the family no longer feels like the addicted family member is dependable. Family therapy helps by opening up communication which paves the way for positive growth and honesty. 

Boundaries Are Established

Boundaries are likewise important but they are very difficult to establish. Some families may feel the need to coddle their addicted loved one which may reduce the success of recovery. Establishing boundaries allows the family to make the painful yet necessary actions, such as admitting the patient to further treatment or mandating them to cut off communication from drug dealers and other toxic people from their past.

Types Of Family Therapy

Solution-Focused

This type of therapy aims to identify the problems in the family with an intent to solve them. This does not focus on how the problem came to fruition. Rather, it is about finding a remedy for the problem at hand and then ensuring that it does not occur again. This may include strategizing on how to keep the home alcohol- and drug-free.

Multidimensional Therapy

This is usually applied to addiction cases among adolescents. It analyzes the circumstances that led to the addiction. In these sessions, goals are set for the family as well as how to achieve them. The addicted loved one is provided with healthy coping mechanisms and mental tools for them to stay sober.

Behavioral Marital Therapy

This is applied to couples so as to rebuild their relationship. The therapist helps the couple strategize for a clean and substance-free environment. It also helps the couple improve their communication skills so that they can regain their trust in one another.

Multifamily Therapy

This focuses on eliminating the sense of isolation some families may experience. This allows families to meet other families who are in the same plight. This shows them that they are not alone on this journey. They can also seek inspiration from the families that are further down the line on recovery.

Overall, family therapy is a non-negotiable aspect of recovery. It factors in the most important people who are part of the patient’s primary support group. 

What Are The 6 Stages of Change & Addiction Recovery Process and Relapse

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process marked by ups and downs. It requires a total change in lifestyle which is exactly what makes it so challenging. Your friends or loved ones who have only begun their journey may feel like the sober life that they want is a million steps away.

This isn’t true because the path isn’t linear. It is marked by small wins or stages that indicate that the patient is on the right track to recovery. These stages of change allow the patient to see how far they’ve come on their journey so that they’ll stay motivated to continue. This also allows the rehab center to quantify the patient’s progress. In this way, the necessary changes in treatment may be implemented.

Stages Of Change

Precontemplation

During the early stages of recovery, the patient may be in denial about the severity of their issues. They may be unable to grasp the negative impacts of their behavior and the urgency to change. They may also be unable to see the consequences should they choose to live an addict’s lifestyle.

The patient is usually optimistic during this stage. They are not interested in intervention and they are unlikely to listen to their loved ones’ advice to quit. The patients in this category can be further classified into 4 types:

The reluctant precontemplator lacks awareness of their issues and have no urge to change their ways.

The rebellious precontemplator is not interested in changing because they resist authority and being told what to do. The resigned precontemplator is someone who has given up hope that they could ever change their ways. This is due to being overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation. The rationalizing precontemplator assumes that they know what they’re doing and feels that it is justified. As such, they have no compelling reason to change.

Contemplation

This is the stage where the patient finally sits down to confront their issues. This is the first time they will express their desire to commit to a treatment plan. They are more receptive to advice and professional opinions.

However, they are still in the contemplation state which means that they can still back out. In some patients, this stage can last for years before they seek professional help.

Preparation Stage

This is marked by the patient’s resolve to commit to recovery. They are moving to do the necessary things that will help them become sober. During this period, they will make contact with the professionals that can guide them on their journey. This is the process of going over their options and picking one long-term course of action.

Action Stage

This stage is where the real work begins. The first change is in their behavior. This stage is often marked by admittance to a rehabilitation center to perform a detox from their addictive substance. 

In this stage, they will be exposed to a myriad of treatments with the end goal of setting them up for independence. There are numerous personal and group therapy sessions that allow them to face the consequences of their actions head-on. This instills inspiration for them to continue healing.

Some medical treatments are coupled with holistic treatments for maximum effect. The goal is to establish a healthy and sober lifestyle that the patient could sustain. This stage also equips them with mental tools and reframes their cognitive processes so that they will have a strong line of defense against relapses.

Maintenance And Relapse Stage

Nine out of ten recovering patients report at least one relapse during their healing journey. This just proves that progress isn’t linear. There will be setbacks but the best one can do is to minimize these so that it won’t happen again.

The maintenance and relapse prevention stage happen when the patient gets out of in-patient rehab and is transitioning into the real world. Their old world will contain numerous memories of their past which may tempt them to break sobriety. As they walk freely, they will encounter situations like parties or immense stress that may trigger them to go back to their old ways.

These can be prevented by continuing treatment even after the patient has left the rehabilitation center. They may be mandated by their psychiatrist to attend personal and group therapy sessions a few times a week to ensure that they continuously develop their coping mechanisms against addictive substances.

It also helps to assign an accountability buddy. This could be a close friend, a sponsor, or a loved one. The accountability buddy will do regular check-ins. This ensures that the patient is meeting their support group sessions and are staying sober.

Termination Stage

This stage is the ultimate goal of the process. This is when the patient no longer feels tempted or threatened by their old addiction. This stage happens when they feel confident around addictive substances. They are also happier with where their lives are going.

During this stage, there is no more need for them to continue with treatments. They can still attend support groups every now and then. In this stage, they are fully independent and can live normally just like the rest of us.

The entire healing journey is intimidating but all it takes is a single step in the right direction and the rest will follow. If you have a loved one who needs help, we will gladly assist them in achieving a healthy and clean lifestyle.

7 Relapse Tips During The Pandemic Season

The onset of COVID-19 has been rough on everyone, and particularly on recovering addicts. Patients are forced into isolation which means a spike in depressive episodes, loneliness, and an overall lack of hope.

Recent statistics revealed that relapse cases have increased. There are more emergency calls to suicide hotlines, increased alcohol sales, and overdose-related deaths.

The pandemic doesn’t mean that patients should give up hope for a full recovery. There are measures that can be taken to ensure that they stay sober. These tips will help strengthen their resolve to resist the temptation to fall back into old, toxic behaviors so that they won’t undo their progress.

Relapse Prevention Tips

Stay Connected

Just because we are all mandated to physically distance ourselves from one another doesn’t mean that we have to cut off contact with everyone else. Technology allows people to stay connected digitally, from phone calls to video chats. Make time to talk and stay connected with your loved ones.

Regular calls allow recovering patients to stay updated about their loved ones. It establishes a sense of connectedness so that they won’t feel alone. Aside from calls, there are other online activities that one can do with friends and family. These include Netflix parties, games, and more.

Continue With Treatment

Just because the pandemic happened doesn’t mean that the treatment should stop. Some rehab centers still accept in-patient treatment as long as the patient complies with requirements like a negative swab test result and agrees to complete isolation.

Outpatient treatment often includes support group sessions and therapy. These can be continued online in the form of video conferences. 

It’s very important to find a way to proceed with treatment since abruptly quitting may undo all of the progress so far. These periodic check-ins may feel insignificant but they are very impactful on the continuity of the treatment. It establishes an accountability system that prevents the patient from relapsing.

Establish A Routine

Routines are important for healing. They give the patient a sense of stability and purpose for each day. 

These routines must be composed of activities that enforce healthy habits. Healthy habits enforce a good lifestyle which is a recovering patient’s first line of defense against temptations. When they have a healthy body and a sound mind, they are less likely to make irrational decisions that can undo their progress. 

Set a routine which involves waking up early each day, some sort of physical activity, meditation, eating three healthy meals, and doing productive activities that nourish the mind like reading. 

Fill Up Your Schedule

Boredom is perhaps the biggest relapse trigger. Too much available time allows the patient to wallow in their negative thoughts. This can quickly spiral into a depressive episode which then results in a relapse. They will feel like alcohol or addictive substances are the only viable escape from their sad reality.

There are countless ways to stay engaged while staying indoors. These activities include reading, creating art, picking up a new hobby, and more. These activities are productive and they establish a healthy routine for the patient. They also provide a sense of accomplishment which is a great motivator for recovering patients.

Cut Off Contact From People From The Past

During the dark time of the pandemic, it is tempting for recovering patients to call their old suppliers or other people that enabled their past. It is important for them to remain cut off from these people. Their contact information must be deleted from their phones and they should be prohibited from communicating with the patient.

An accountability buddy can also help. This can be a trusted friend or loved one who will check the patient’s phone records and other modes of communication to ensure that they are indeed isolating themselves from these toxic individuals.

Do Not Hesitate To Call For Help

There will definitely be days when the isolation and loneliness will get to the patient to the point of them wanting to relapse. It is very important for them to recognize that help will always be available and that they just need to know how to reach out.

Loved ones can practice availability and openness so that they will come off as approachable. Additionally, it helps to have a copy of the emergency hotlines’ contact numbers so that the patient can easily call them when necessary.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most underrated yet impactful defenses against a relapse. This mindset reframes the patient’s worldview. Their ability to be thankful for another shot at life makes them appreciate each day more. This also instills positive psychology which compels them to care for themselves better.

One effective way to practice gratitude is through gratitude journaling. This is the act of listing down at least three things that the patient is thankful for. This should be done every day, preferably in the morning as soon as they wake up.

Gratitude journaling in the morning sets them off on the right foot. The act of listing down the things they are grateful for allows them to really appreciate all the good things in their lives. This could be anything, from the good weather that day to the supportive family that they have. These things give them a reason to fight and live a clean life. This also makes them aware of the good things that they will lose the moment they choose to relapse.

Relapse is a challenging issue to combat, especially in an era where everyone is advised to stay at home and be by themselves. However, it can be avoided with the relapse tips mentioned above. 

Why Is An Inpatient Treatment Important For Alcoholics?

Alcoholism is a tricky issue to tackle. Like any other substance abuse issue, it may be hard to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Your best course of action as an alcoholic is to make sure that you are signing up for a trusted facility that can care for you and help you remedy your alcohol dependence.

The best way to beat alcoholism is through inpatient treatment. This is not the sole treatment option but it is the best first step that maximizes  the potential for a successful journey towards sobriety. This article dissects why inpatient treatment is an important step for the recovery of alcoholics.

Safe And Supportive Environment

When alcoholics are enrolled into inpatient rehab centers, they are subjected to a safe and supportive environment. The patients will be surrounded by individuals who thoroughly understand their case. Additionally, they will get an abundance of peer support which is a prerequisite for successful recovery.

Inpatient rehab allows the patient to connect with fellow patients that are likewise going through recovery. Things like support groups and group therapy sessions help the foundation of a supportive network that the patient can lean on and draw strength from. The sense of belonging allows them to be more comfortable with their recovery and gives them the confidence to think that it is fully possible. 

Systematic Recovery

Inpatient treatment provides the patient with a systematic path towards full recovery. These centers have an established routine so that all the patient has to do is follow along. These centers provide structure to the patients’ seemingly chaotic lives. Having a sense of routine helps them recover because it gives them a sense of purpose as well as something else to focus on besides their alcoholic cravings.

Most inpatient treatment centers have an organized flow of events for each day. The patients are kept engaged so that they can heal. Breaks are provided at reasonable intervals. The environment is also kept relaxing which helps to lower stress levels. The family is allowed to visit on visitation days.

People with alcoholism have developed behaviors and mental pathways that lead them to believe that satisfaction and happiness are only present in alcohol. This is such a difficult pattern to break, and having a routine makes the process easier as it enables the patient to break the destructive cycles that led to the development of their addiction. This also allows them to form positive habits that may help them harness tools that will help them become stronger and more resistant to relapses.

Various Treatments And Therapies

Inpatient treatment offers a wide array of treatments and therapies that the patient can try out for recovery. That’s because addiction is an issue that targets different areas of the human psyche: from mental, physical, to psychological aspects.

The main way to target these areas is through therapy, which can be in the form of individual, group, or alternative therapy. Therapy is important to explore the root cause as well as possible triggers. These sessions also help the patient form healthier coping mechanisms. 

Effective therapy is powerful enough to provide the patient with enough independence to prevent a relapse. There is no fixed type of therapy that suits all patients. The patient must be assessed first to determine which types of therapies are compatible and effective. The entire process is about enabling change in the patient’s beliefs and behaviors regarding alcohol. This also has the goal of creating a healthier lifestyle. 

Here are some examples:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Multidimensional family therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT)
  • Integrative approach
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)

Full-Time Medical Support

Alcoholism is an issue that requires full-time medical maintenance simply because it affects so many different aspects of the human body. Medical and clinical supervision is essential to ensure that the patient recovers well.

The first step to recovery is detoxification, and this process is often difficult for the patient. It involves getting rid of all traces of alcohol in the patient’s system so that his body can relearn how to live without it. As a consequence, the patient may experience severe withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Congestion
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Muscle pain
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness

Some of these will require the help of a doctor so that the patient will have a way to alleviate these discomforts. Additionally, being surrounded by experienced individuals from the medical field allows the patient to feel safe and secure, which is essential for growth.

Setting Achievable Goals And Building New Habits

Inpatient rehab submits the patient to a systematic environment where patients are asked to submit their goals and are provided with actionable tips on how to achieve them. This is a crucial part of recovery because there are so many patients that have tried to achieve this independently, but failed. 

Healing independently makes it easy for the patient to succumb to the vicious cycle of addiction with no real progress. It’s definitely better to be enrolled in a full-time inpatient facility where the patient can highlight exactly what he wants and have trusted support to lean against in order to achieve those goals. 

Overall, alcoholism is definitely something that every patient can overcome for as long as they have the right institute to guide them on this journey.

Addiction During COVID-19: How The Pandemic Is Causing Relapses

COVID-19 has negatively impacted numerous demographics all over the world. Recovering addicts are no exception. People were driven to isolation as social distancing and virus prevention measures were implemented. This meant disrupting the healthy routines and patterns that recovering patients have established for themselves, hence increasing the likelihood of relapses.

Basic Statistics

There was an increase in relapse rates when the pandemic hit. Aside from that, there were increased emergency calls, overdose-related deaths, and alcohol sales during the first year of the pandemic. 

How Did The Pandemic Cause Relapses?

Increased Risk Factors

Human connection is a core psychological need and is a key factor for a successful recovery. A recovering patient’s network of support is important because this is a source of encouragement for them to continue along the journey to self-healing. This network also serves as an accountability system where their actions could be monitored so that they won’t relapse.

With this network gone, the risk factors increase. Recovering patients have more freedom to purchase the addictive substances they are trying to recover from. This also means that they have more time alone with their thoughts. This could easily snowball into negative feelings of self-hatred, doubt, and loneliness. With no one by their side to stop them, they will be more likely to relapse instead of living with the harsh reality.

Forced Self-Medication

Recovering patients were forced into isolation in order to comply with social distancing regulations. This intensified their feelings of stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and boredom. 

Everyone’s mental health definitely took a hit from the pandemic, but the recovering patients are more vulnerable than most. As they face emotional distress, they will feel the need to resort to these addictive substances to escape their problems. 

Signs Of Relapse

Being familiar with the signs of relapse can make all the difference in your drug or alcohol addiction recovery process. An estimated 40 to 60 percent of recovering patients report at least one relapse during their recovery. This is proof that recovery is a lifelong process. Healing isn’t always linear. The best one can do is to avoid triggers that might escalate into a relapse so that the patient won’t fall back to their old ways.

Some of the telltale signs of relapse include:

  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Poor eating habits or lack of appetite
  • Poor hygiene
  • Reinitiating communication with friends who drink alcohol or use drugs
  • Chronic lying
  • Inability to communicate emotions
  • Ditching support meetings or group therapy

What To Do If A Loved One Relapsed During The Pandemic

Resist the urge to aggressively confront your loved one at the moment they relapse. Remember that they are a slave to their addictions and they are doing the best they can to not let it get the best of them. They’ll need an environment full of love, support, and forgiveness. These will encourage them to get back on track and to try again.

The best thing to do is to return to treatment. There are rehabilitation centers that are open and available during the pandemic. Some might have requirements for the patients like negative swab test results and the need to wear masks at all times.

Additionally, there are always online consultations available for patients. The patients can reach out to their therapists and counselors for guidance. This can be performed over phone calls or Zoom calls. The mere act of getting back in touch with their advisors will help them recalibrate their personal compasses.

Prioritize creating a safe and healthy environment at home. Just because everyone is mandated to self-quarantine does not mean that healthy routines should be abolished. A productive daily routine is an excellent way for recovering patients to stay sober. It gives them a sense of purpose and keeps their days filled. In that way, they will always be too occupied to feel cravings for drugs and alcohol. They will also be too busy to think about getting high or drunk. 

Lastly, re-establish the patient’s support system. Social interactions are more important now than ever. Social interactions are admittedly limited to phone calls or video chats but these are better than nothing.

You could schedule group calls so that the recovering patient will remember that they are surrounded by people who love them. The patient may also sign up for online support groups. These support groups instill their sense of belongingness to a community. Support groups are also great for inspiring the patient by looking at the success stories of those who are further along the line towards full recovery.