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Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Journals

8/3/2012

Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers in Georgia offer affordable healing and hope to those struggling with drug and /or alcohol addiction and who want help turning their lives around, one day at a time.   Successful recovery programs are celebrated by Georgians who have benefited from addiction treatment regimes and rediscovered the sense of integrity, satisfaction, bliss and clarity of living without the enslavement of addiction. 

Patients from Geogria and all across the United States are nurtured yet challenged by experienced, licensed and dedicated treatment center staff members while undergoing their recovery methods - techniques which can integrate a detoxification processes and traditional medical practices to heal Georgia addicts.  A goal of addiction treatment programs is to strengthen the mind and the spirit of the patient, which in turn heals the addict’s body. 

Experienced treatment counselors and medical personal understand the tumult and despair that substance abuse can cause to us and are knowledgeable and passionate about helping patients to get and stay clean & sober.   They’re dedicated to ensuring that each patient is provided the tools and training to remove themselves from addiction’s treadmill to futility and hopelessness and open the gates to recovery to addicts from all over the world. 

Most treatment centers are run by caring and experienced professional staffs with extensive training in treating, teaching and healing of those who are suffering in a world dominated by addiction related superficiality and mediocrity.

Treatment Length

It’s said that, of all the forces which have stolen control from individuals across the US, few have been able to enslave the mind and body as completely as have addictions.  Thus, many chemical dependency treatment centers suggest that patients who are committed to getting off of the treadmill to nowhere that is chemical dependency dedicate at least 60 days to the task.  After all, it took longer than a few months for the illicit substances to take control of the abuser’s body, mind and spirit.  Sufferers who are committed to recovering from the effects of intemperance and regaining control of their lives must learn and master numerous critical life lessons before they will be freed from the litany of failure, dashed expectations and unfulfilled dreams that addictions generate.

For situations where the patient’s addiction is acknowledging no limit to its scope, it isn’t uncommon to require up to ninety days to escape from the chaotic and tumultuous world and learn to live a peaceful and health lifestyle. 

However, many patients will not have the need to or be able to extend their in-patient treatment beyond thirty days.

Cost for Drug and or Alcohol Treatment

A quick Internet search of treatment providers and their rates will quickly indicate that the fee to stay for the first thirty days at a treatment facility will vary greatly; prices can range from about $9500 to as much as $40,000. 

12-Step Program

The incorporation of Twelve-Step Programs as a critical part of a recovery program has been occurring across the globe for many decades – countless program directors, counselors and recovering addicts have demonstrated that the 12 Steps is one of the single most successful programs for overcoming struggles with chemical addictions.   Many treatment centers integrate this fundamental strategy into their treatment regime and require that their patients complete the 12-Steps before they are eligible to graduate from their programs. 

Individual Counseling

Family and individualized counseling is a basic part of any successful addiction treatment plan - experienced substance abuse counselors, life trainers, family counselors, recovery coaches and after-care counselors, some of whom have themselves successfully fought their own addiction demons - are involved in most successful counseling strategeries.

Counselors teach their patients the necessary skills to understand their emotions and to identify behaviors and problems related to their addiction.  Also covered by many programs is instruction in defying drug cravings, developing alternative coping strategies, cultivating positive relationships with families and friends and information to better understand the internal issues that cause addiction.

The role of the alcohol /drug counselor is not unlike that of a fishing guide, they can show the addict where the fish are, but it’s the patients’ responsibility to learn how to bait a hook and ultimately catch the fish.  The counselor will instruct and coach by implementing a treatment structure which points the patient toward the goal of a clean & sober lifestyle, but allows the patient to discover the exact route him /her self. 

Moreover, counselors cannot do the work for the substance abuser; the patient must always be an active participant in the recovery process – there is heavy lifting that only the addict can do.  Addicts in successful remission have all learned that life is the only real counselor; that wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.

Family Counseling

Many families find that family therapy is helpful when they are experiencing stress, grief, anger or conflict – this is particularly the case when one of the family members is addicted to one or more illicit substances.  It’s helpful to the addict’s treatment plan when the patient’s family members also reside or temporally relocate to Georgia and are available to participate in the counseling processes and when family members can learn firsthand to better understand one another and help bring the family closer together.  The goal of these sessions is to promote communication, to share information, to reconstruct family interaction and to define the roles that willing family members can play in after-care support. 

Aftercare Plans

We’ve all heard the phrase “One thing leads to another”; but the practicing addict knows that most often, ‘everything leads to the same thing’.  Most addicts have been living without self discipline and abusing illicit chemicals for many months or even years before committing 30-90 days to finally dig themselves out of the expectations of failure that accompany their addiction.

While a 30 to 90 day in-patient treatment regime is required for most addicts to rid themselves of their detrimental habits, it’s also necessary to implement a follow-up plan to sharpen the recovery tools that the in-patient care has provided and to have regular sessions to reinforce the motivation to stay clean & sober. 
 

Without vigilance, substance abuse problems can easily be rekindled after the patient reenters her /his normal home, workplace and social environments.  To help prevent relapsing, counselors will help create an aftercare plan based on a patient’s unique needs that will reinforce the lessons that were taught during the addict’s stay in treatment.  With the goal of reducing the potential for a relapse into addictive behavior; alumni around the world can lean on the aftercare plan for monitoring, support and to avoid reviving the destructive behavior that was the origin of the addiction problems. .  

8/3/2012

For some patients, returning to the environment where the stresses, temptations, complications, conflicting desires and especially the enablers, parties, users and dealers of their familiar Minnesota environment after spending 30 to 90 days in a treatment center can be cause apprehension & trepidation and can be a terribly frightening concept.

However, there are places that are less systematic, orderly and disciplined than are treatment centers but are more structured that the real-world environment where the substance abuse began and flourished. 

Introducing ‘Halfway Houses’ (sometimes called ‘Recovery Residences’, other times ‘Sober Living Homes’).  For many addicts who desire to live a clean & sober lifestyle who have completed the first steps by enduring detoxification and receiving in-patient addiction treatment, the next phase of recovery is often a halfway home.  Halfway houses specialize in providing support to recovering addicts who have already graduated from in-patient treatment and helping them to survive and thrive without the 24/7 support and the clinical environment of a treatment center.

Halfway houses ease patients out of the enforced discipline of treatment centers and back toward the real world where a new set of values must be applied; where self discipline is required, where violations must have self imposed consequences and where goals reach must beyond the next drug buy and the next drug high.

Moreover, since getting sober and staying clean for the long-term are two different things, a halfway house can be a vital part of a comprehensive recovery plan.  These facilities provide the recovering substance abuser additional time to forge new and healthy relationships which lack the temptations that were the trapping of their old environment.  Spending a few months in a halfway house with other recovering addicts and alcoholics while striving to stay clean & sober can give the recovering addict the strength and confidence needed to face life anew without drugs or other illicit substances and deviant habits.  Residents of halfway houses build new habits and strengthen the life skills that were taught in rehabilitation – all with the goal of returning to a fulfilling, productive and sober life.

Halfway houses strive to provide newly sober addicts with a clean residential living space which won't overwhelm them with intense financial or personal obligations during their transition to self sufficiency.  However, halfway houses do collect rent from their residents and usually a security deposit is also required.  Like in the real world of rental living, the security deposit is refunded when the resident’s stay is completed, minus any costs to repair any damages.

What to look for when investigating ‘Halfway Houses’ in Minnesota

Those halfway houses which provide daily structure and routine are better suited for the newly sober residents than are other facilities which are more relaxed about providing a safe harbor.  When there are lax rules or lax enforcement of the rules, it defeats the purpose of providing a transitional stepping stone to the ‘outside, real world’.  Those who don’t want to be encumbered with the rules that are required in an effective halfway facility are better served if the leave, as are the residents who seriously need help to develop the self discipline that will be required to maintain sobriety. 

Listed are some tips that may be helpful when exploring the suitability of a particular halfway house in Minnesota and matching the requirements of a recovering substance abuser.

Many halfway house facilities have rules that clearly are intended to promote a clean & sober transition from treatment to self sufficiency.

Investigate whether the facility has clearly articulated and comprehensible rules; ask if there is regular site supervision by credible administrators and ask what are the consequences when a resident exhibits unacceptable behavior.  Does the facility mandate random drug testing?

Ask if there are structured on-site 12-step, AA, NA or equivalent substance abuse counseling. 

Listed are some typical halfway house rules:

  • No mood or mind-altering substances are allowed on the property at anytime.
  • Generally, residents are allowed to come and go as they please, but are not allowed to ever come onto the property under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Residents will usually require permission to bring people who are not tenants of the house into their apartments.
  • Residents must stick to their aftercare plans and attend scheduled after-care meetings.
  • Residents do their own cooking and cleaning as these services are not provided.
  • Residents must be pursuing permanent housing or have already found a place to live after their short term halfway house stay concludes.
  • Many facilities require their residents to find a job of some kind, provide community service or be a student in an accredited school program.

Does the facility make available a job coaching program?

For those without vehicles, does the facility provide transportation or is public transportation convenient? 

The image of a halfway house as a flophouse located in a crime ridden part of town where addicts are just dumped and forgotten is typically not accurate.  However, halfway houses generally will not be mistaken for plush resorts with pools and gyms - the facilities are more likely to feature an air conditioner for when it’s hot and a radiator for when it's not, a couple of chairs sitting side by side, an AA Big Book and a job search guide.

 

8/2/2012

Before the question of whether the completion of a structured addiction treatment program by one spouse can save a strained and damaged Colorado marriage, the specific issues – apart from the illicit use of drugs itself – which typically cause problems need to be explored.

Addiction can be a major factor in the erosion of a marriage which can ultimately cause its destruction by causing ancillary issues such as:

Financial Stresses - Which show themselves in several ways:

• Funds that would otherwise be used for household essentials and other family priorities are spent servicing the addiction.
• A large percentage of alcoholics and other addicts find it difficult to hold down steady employment or to work the required hours necessary for financial security.
• Addictions can cause additional expenses for medical attention and property damage.

Undesirable Personality Traits and Behaviors:

• An alcoholic spouse can become violent, angry and generally unpleasant to be around.  Domestic violence and abuse is not uncommon when dealing with an addicted spouse.
• The loss of faith that accompanies an addiction can be devastating to a relationship.
• Alcoholics often lie and become untrustworthy in order to conceal their use of illicit substances.
• Addicts generally tend to isolate themselves from family, friends and their spouses while avoiding situations and environments where using their drug of choice is inconvenient or impossible.

Attending drug rehabilitation to conquer an addiction and to also relieve the above list of stresses can be beneficial to a marriage when these issues are resolved satisfactorily.  For spouses living with a partner who has an active and unrelenting addiction, years or decades of marital bliss is often wagered on the outcome of an alcohol rehabilitation program. 

Hopeful spouses often encourage or demand that their partner enroll in treatment, believing that all of the problems in their marriage will be healed when the addiction is addressed and subsequently conquered.  Some even threaten divorce if their alcoholic spouse refuses to enter a treatment center.

In some cases, treatment and rehabilitation is the savior of marriages.  Addicted spouses get the help that is needed to overcome the addiction while the spouse provides support and often attends family counseling sessions as part of the partner’s recovery.  In other cases, it turns out that addiction was only one of many crippling problems in the marriage and often was a result of other family friction rather than the cause of the friction.  In other words, the addict started abusing chemical to escape the pre-existing problems of the marriage.  In these cases, though rehabilitation still made a major difference in the life of the addicted partner, the treatment wasn’t the cure for a marriage that was burdened with other relationship issues.

The Hope for the Future that Treatment Can Provide for Marriages

Addiction treatment offers addicts the medical care and counseling necessary to make real progress in leaving their addiction behind.  This is also important when the addict’s marriage is also at risk as often substance abuse is the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. 

Along with the help offered for addiction recovery, treatment center patients will be able to use family counseling sessions to resolve other issues that may have been plaguing the addict’s marriage - these sessions can help address marriage problems and can mend bridges and relationships with children and other family members.  Sobriety offers many recovering addicts the clarity needed to understand how past relationships with drugs and alcohol have severely damaged interpersonal relationships.

Unacceptable behavior, physical harm and poor choices that happened while under the influence of illicit substances may disappear when the addicted spouse embraces the lessons that counseling provides as part of learning to live a clean & sober lifestyle.  When sincere apologies – as taught in Steps 9 & 10 of 12-Step programs - for mistakes that were made during the period when the addict was abusing substances can begin the healing process with spouses and other family members.

Rehabilitation is also the place where family therapy begins.  Although the married couple will likely need to continue attending family therapy sessions beyond the period when treatment was occurring, the healing can begin in a comfortable place for both partners.  Continuing to work with a family therapist who specializes in treating recovering substance abuser can help both partners to get the support and encouragement needed to also work through the difficulties that come with new sobriety.

What Treatment Can Not Do for a Marriage

While most treatment centers include family counseling as a component of their program, the primary focus of treatment centers is to provide the medical and psychological treatment for their patients and to help them begin the process of recovery.  By default, the primary focus is not to save marriages or other relationships.

There are many other options for the non-addict partner to get support and care for family members, including organizations like Al Anon.  It’s important that non-addicted spouses take the incentive to seek and attend their own therapy, to investigate codependency support groups and learn how to identify themselves and their own issues independently from those of their spouse and their spouse’s addiction counseling.

To complete the loop; while financial insecurity, trust issues, physical abuse, joblessness, slothfulness and poor communication can be results of an addiction problem, these conditions can and often do exist in Colorado relationships where the use or abuse of illicit substances is not now nor have ever been an issue.
 

8/2/2012

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers a detailed and complete definition of alcoholism, but probably the simplest way to describe it is as "a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink."

Alcoholism has been recognized by most professional medical organizations as a disease.  These organizations subsequently have successfully lobbied many states’ insurance regulators (including the New York insurance regulators) to view alcoholism as a chronic and progressive disease.  These state insurance regulators then use their authority to mandate that all heath care insurance policies sold within their borders must include coverage to allow the medical and treatment community to be compensated for treating alcoholics – just as treatment for most other health issues be treated and paid for by the insurance companies. 

One of the difficulties in recognizing alcoholism as a disease is it just plain doesn't seem like one. It doesn't look, sound, smell and it certainly doesn't act like a disease.  To make matters worse, generally it denies it exists and resists treatment.

“Why” skeptics ask, “is addiction to alcohol considered a ‘disease’ when not even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider addiction to tobacco products to be a disease?  What’s the difference?”  (Both addictions are recognized as causes of other diseases, but alcoholism is itself defined as a disease yet addiction to tobacco products is not a disease onto itself.)

There is general agreement that one-time practicing alcoholics who are now clean & sober quit drinking only after becoming motivated enough to stop - that the motivation to stop is the greatest tool in the battle to live a healthy and sober lifestyle. 

“Seriously”, the skeptics continue, “since when can simply the motivation to be healthy be the only requirement to become cured?  One can not cure cancer or heart disease by simply being motivated to be cancer free and healthy.”

“How does an alcoholic who has finally stopped abusing alcohol after numerous trips to various treatment centers finally beat his / her addiction?  Are we to believe that the counselors didn’t heal the addict during the first, second or even the third time around, but wow, the counselors at the fourth treatment center were the only ones who were competent?  Of course that’s nonsense!  Sixty or seventy percent of the other patients who also entered the now ‘cured’ alcoholic’s very first treatment program were themselves ‘cured’, while our guy didn’t stop his substance abuse.  Why?  It’s very simple, it’s because our guy wasn’t motivated enough at first to quit!”   

These skeptics continue:  “People can and do ‘quit’ drinking.  Diseases can not be ‘quit’.” 

“Alcoholism” one of these cynics asserts, “wasn’t even considered a disease by Bill Wilson, the founder of “Alcoholics Anonymous” nor is it ever referred to as a disease in the Alcoholics Anonymous ‘Big Book’.  “It’s a disease because state insurance regulators say that it’s a disease.”

“I was an alcoholic.” wrote another skeptic “I have recovered from alcoholism in the same way that I would recover from a superficial self inflicted gunshot wound - I do not suffer from alcoholism anymore, not since I stopped drinking.  Alcoholism is as much a disease as is a bullet wound; you can die from either but once the patient becomes healthy again, the he / she’s healed - one won't die from that particular wound again.  Just don't shoot yourself again – or drink again.” 

“Here’s another example.” another cynic chimed in. “Some say that a person who drank to excess years ago but hasn’t consumed alcohol for many years is still an alcoholic – that he’s ‘in remission’.  Well, I had the measles when I was a youngster but after a week or so, time and the antibodies in my immune system cured me of the disease.  To say that I'm still an alcoholic even though I haven’t had a drink in a decade is the same as saying I still have the measles, that both are just ‘in remission’.”     

Alcoholism is a Mental Obsession

Did you ever wake up in the morning with a song playing over and over in your head?  I remember what that was like, no matter what I did, that silly tune kept on playing; I could whistle or sing another song or turn on the radio and listen to another tune, but the one in my head just kept on playing. Think about that, there was something going on in my mind that I didn't put there and, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get out!

That is an example of a simple mental obsession - a thought process over which we have no control.  Such is the nature of alcoholism. When the drinking ‘song’ starts playing in the mind of an alcoholic, we are powerless.  We didn't put the song there and the only way to get it to stop is to take another drink.

The problem is the alcoholic's mental obsession with alcohol is much more subtle than is a song playing in his mind; in fact, we may not even know it's there. All we know is that we suddenly have an urge to take a drink - a physical compulsion to drink.

The Progressive Nature of Alcoholism

Compounding the problem is the progressive nature of alcoholism.  In the early stages, taking one or two drinks may be all it takes to get the ‘song’ to stop.  But soon it takes six or seven and later maybe ten or twelve. Somewhere down the road the only time the song stops is when we pass out.

The progression of alcoholism is subtle and usually takes place over such an extended period of time; that even the alcoholic himself failed to notice the point at which he lost control and alcohol took over his life.

No wonder denial is an almost universal symptom of the disease.  For those who have come to the realization that they do have a problem, help may be as close as The Google.  But for those who need help and do not want it, intervention may seem to be the only alternative.

Intervention Only Works When the Alcoholic is Motivated to Stop Drinking

As was stated above, the alcohol will only stop drinking when he, himself or herself, is motivated to stop drinking.  Intervention and other threats from spouses, other family members or employers and ‘forced’ enrollment in a treatment center may – in some instances - be the motivating factor, but no alcoholic will stop drinking until he /she has his /herself the motivation to become clean & sober. 

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DrugRehab.info - Find Treatment at the Right Place

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Learn Lifelong Skills

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