Intervene

A blog for parents concerned about their teens alcohol and drug use




5 Things You Need to Know About Relapse
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

People in recovery and their families are often terrified of relapse. Understanding the following 5 points may help.

1. Relapse is common. Although relapses are not inevitable, they are common. Many people have one or more relapses before achieving long-lasting sobriety or abstinence. This does not mean the end of efforts toward abstinence and recovery. The person needs to get back into treatment and the family needs to continue attending a support group, professional counseling, or both.

2. Work together to prevent relapse. People in recovery may have frequent urges to drink or use drugs, and feel guilty about it, even though these urges are a normal part of recovery. It’s important to work together to anticipate high-risk situations (such as a party where alcohol will be served) and plan ways to prevent them.

3. Relapse can happen during good times, too. Sometimes relapse occurs when the person is doing well with their recovery. He or she feels healthy, confident, and/or “cured” and believes that he or she is ready to go back to casual, regular or “controlled” use of drugs or alcohol. The person may remember the honeymoon period of their use (even though it may have been long ago) — where his or her use didn’t cause problems — and may want to return to that place. But this is often impossible since addiction changes the physical makeup of the brain and the person is recovery is no longer able to use drugs or alcohol in a controlled fashion.

4. If relapse occurs. Medical professionals, particularly those who specialize in substance use disorders, are an extremely important asset during a time of relapse. They can help the person learn techniques for containing feelings, focusing on the present, and making use of support from others. Relying on group support from Twelve Step programs, engaging in prayer or meditation, and finding other ways to stay on an even keel can also be extremely helpful.

5. Learn from relapse. Experts have found that a relapse can serve as an important opportunity for the recovering person and other family members to identify what triggered the relapse in the first place — and find ways to avoid it in the future.

Posted by Intervene Staff  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Family Therapy, getting help, parenting, Recovery, Recovery & Relapse, relapse, Substance Abuse, Twelve Step, Uncategorized  /  Comments: more



Hope, Patience and My Son’s Recovery
Friday, August 19th, 2011

Father and teenage sonMy journal entry: After three years of sobriety, my son’s growth is evident. He laughs more easily, he watches more calmly and he protects himself better. He knows where he hurts and he pays attention to what is coming. He’s more reflective, thoughtful, less impulsive and more honest. He has good friends. Part of my son died with the addiction, but the son I know is still here. Suffice it to say that he is becoming a strong and caring man. He is finding his way back to himself.

My reflection today is based on the entry above: One year earlier, my son told me, “When I awake in the morning, I know if it’s going to be a good day. Some mornings, I reach for a word and it’s like reaching into the fog. Other mornings, when I reach for a word, I pluck it easily out of the air.” He continued, “I’m frustrated that some days aren’t clear, but I guess it will take time. I need to be patient.”

His words reminded me that we need him to stay close and love him through his recovery.

Today’s Promise: I will remain patient and not jump ahead of his process of recovery. The joy is in sobriety, one day at a time. Learning to live in abstinence will take time for him. I am grateful for today. I’ll pray for tomorrow.

What is your promise to yourself today?

Related Links
9 Steps to Take When Your Recovering Teens Comes Home Again
Hope
Stay Close

Posted by Libby Cataldi  /  Filed under Acceptance, Addiction, Hope, Patience, Recovery, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: 1



My Own Daughter’s Relapse
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

We’re excited to introduce new blogger Carole Bennett, MA to the community!  Carole is author of the new book “Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcohol/Addict” (www.reclaimyourlifebook.com) and the founder of Family Recovery Solutions, a counseling center for family and friends of loved ones with a drug or alcohol problem.  She is the mother of 21-year-old “Lucy.”

I want to share something very personal with you; my own daughter’s relapse.  I doubt if I would be the complete clinician if I did not walk in some of your shoes, share the same trials and tribulations, victories and successes.  So, I’m hopeful that you won’t be offended if I share my recent heartache and despair with you.

My daughter (let’s call her Lucy) was and is a beautiful woman of 21.  Though every mother thinks their child is beautiful, Lucy really is.  Almost 6 feet tall, a knockout figure, dark straight hair, olive skin and almond shaped smoldering eyes.  She could have easily been a model.  I can say this, as she is adopted, so I had nothing to do with her amazing looks.  However, this beautiful young lady is covered with tattoos scattered about her body with little or no thought as to what she is permanently inking.  One looks like a car engine and is supposed to be a music box; another is a musician that I don’t think she has ever heard of and whose hair covers most of his face.  Her ear lobes sport gages that are so big, the middle part of a sugar ice cream cone would fit comfortably through it.

Though I’m not thrilled that Lucy has decided to permanently use her body as a grease board, it does not make me love her any less.

Let me take a paragraph or two to give you a little history.  As I said, Lucy was adopted and from an early age started pulling out her hair.  Defiant toward teachers and combative at every turn toward her father and me, Lucy would fly into uncontrollable temper tantrums. By the time the 7th grade rolled around, Lucy could not attend the public school system and was sent to alternative schools in and out of California that specialized in behavioral issues.  I honestly don’t know when the dabbling into drugs took effect, but dabbling quickly turned into addiction.  Lucy became a garbage pail for any drug from acid to mushrooms to heroin.  Cutting and anorexic type behavior became the norm as well.

Lucy managed to graduate from high school and opted to live with her birth grandparents in Oregon.  Our communication at that time was tense and volatile and I had no idea if she was clean and sober or continuing with her addiction.  Lucy made it clear that she had no interest in considering any of my suggestions   for continued education or career choices.

After a few years of doing little but lying on the couch, Lucy moved to Los Angeles and reconnected with some family members professing that she needed a fresh beginning for her life.  Lucy swore that she was clean and sober, and these family members embraced her with open arms.  Sadly, sobriety was the last thing on her mind, and so started the revolving door of rehabs and sober living housing.

Gratefully, somewhere along the way, Lucy did embrace a clean and sober life style.  She attended AA meetings regularly, had a sponsor, and got a job and her own apartment.  On her first year birthday of sobriety, we gathered like a flock of geese holding wads of Kleenex as we watched our loved one receive her one year chip.  Finally, after all these years, maybe, just maybe Lucy might be on her way to experiencing the goodness that a sober lifestyle has to offer and we in turn could take a long awaited sigh of relief. That was 14 months ago.

Sadly and unfortunately many alcoholic/addicts become complacent about their recovery.  They foolishly think they can start to pick and chose their recovery path believing that they now have learned when to cut off their alcohol intake, or because their drug of choice was alcohol, one line of coke is no big deal. The recovering alcoholic/addict knows that this thinking is “b.s.”, but they forge ahead anyway.

So was true with my dear Lucy. She strongly stated that she hadn’t relapsed as smoking a joint 3 times a day had nothing to do with substance abuse.  However, that was just the beginning of the downward spiral. Lately when I see her, she is unfocused, easily agitated, defensive and dirty. This last week, a planned family dinner witnessed Lucy making several trips to the bathroom.  Was she throwing up her dinner, and back to the days of bingeing and purging, getting high or both?  Regardless, it was clear that her clean and sober days were over.

I have spent many sleepless nights and shed buckets of tears over my daughter’s disease and the devil that has her as a captive audience. But, there is nothing I can do, as she has not sought help and my involvement (for the umpteenth time) has more often than not proven futile.  I am left with prayer.  Praying that her “higher power” will take care of her and that hopefully one day, like once before, she will pick herself up from the ashes and scratch and claw her way back to a healthy lifestyle.

I share this story with you, so if you have experienced something similar, you will know that you are not alone.  There seems to be strength in numbers, even if you don’t know the person next to you. I am a professional counselor – an expert in my field, yet I don’t have the answers for my child, or can show her that her decisions are poor ones.  Instead my heart breaks with the same pain, sadness and fear that any loving parent has when their child is heading 100 miles an hour for a brick wall.

Thank you for allowing me to open up my heart and soul to a caring population of family members and friends who travel the same path as so many of us do on a daily basis.

Editor’s Note:  If you’re a parent of a child struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, please visit Time To Get Help — a new online resource and community from The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Posted by Carole Bennett  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family History, Recovery & Relapse, Substance Abuse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more



Overwhelmed: A Painting from My Journey to Recovery
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The inspiration for “Overwhelmed” came to me in my second week of treatment.  I was asked to create an autobiographical painting of my life at the time.  I had two weeks sober, I hated life, I didn’t want to be sober, I didn’t want to be loaded.  I was confused, my life was a mess and my future unknown.  I was new in sobriety and although I was grateful, I was questioning whether or not I had the strength to change.  Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind, and I was overwhelmed.

“Overwhelmed”

Overwhelmed by Annie Preece

Image is used with permission © Annie Preece.

Posted by Annie Preece  /  Filed under Addiction, Finding Treatment, Recovery & Relapse, Substance Abuse  /  Comments: more






Search





About this blog
Welcome to Intervene. We are a community of experts, parents and caring adults concerned about our teens’ alcohol and drug use and have come together to share our insights, inspiration, guidance and help.









A free service to help you determine if alcohol may be harming your health or putting you at risk.


Previous Posts


Categories


Archives


Tags




Donate Today


Drugfree.orgTime To Act!© 2014 The Partnership at Drugfree.orgThe Partnership at Drugfree.org does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More.