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Talking With Children About Addiction

Addiction 6Addiction does not only affect the individual who is abusing substances. It touches everyone around them. When the person experiencing addiction is a parent, children are also affected.

According to experts, over 28 million children have alcoholic parents. Homes where parents are living in addiction face many challenges. These children face a greater risk for neglect or abuse, are more likely to witness episodes of domestic violence and are four times more apt to develop addiction themselves in the future.

As a result, kids with addicted parents experience more behavioral issues, more emotional problems and a greater amount of academic struggle compared to peers from non-addicted home settings. The children know things are not as they should be. On the one hand, they tend to feel a strong sense of loyalty toward their addicted parent. On the other hand, they often feel resentful, too.

Here are a few tips for talking to the child about the addiction which affects their life:

1. Be truthful, yet age appropriate. You don’t need to give unnecessary details. Do state clearly that there is a problem and there is a plan to address the problem. Hope is real.

2. Explain that addiction is an illness and therefore can be treated. Illness is not the child’s fault. It happens for reasons that have nothing to do with the child.

3. Ask how the child feels and accept their responses (or lack). Apologize where appropriate.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics has developed a list of C statements that can help:

I did not cause it
I cannot cure it
I cannot control it
I can care for myself by – communicating feelings, making healthy choices, celebrating myself

At Family Guidance we are interested in helping people overcome addiction. We also offer help to those affected by addiction – including children of addicted parents. If this describes your home, contact us today.


Planning an Addiction Intervention

Recovery 1There are many behaviors which can become the basis of addiction. The hard part for those close to someone caught up in an addiction can be watching a downward spiral at the same time that the loved one denies having a problem. Sometimes the only way to help is to join with others in the form of a planned intervention.

Successful intervention requires the combined efforts of loved ones, a mental health professional or a physician. Together these people who truly care about the person in the midst of an addiction will create a stage for confronting and directing the loved one. Typical steps for intervention include:

1. Meeting as a group to learn about the specific addiction (alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorder, gambling etc.) and available treatment options.

2. Planning in advance exactly what will be said being sure to include instances of unhealthy behaviors and how those behaviors affected the individual and those around them. Interventions are often highly emotional exchanges, so careful and thoughtful wording is imperative.

3. The loved one with an addiction is invited to a pre-arranged location without being told ahead of time what will take place. The intervention team should be at the location and prepared to lovingly confront.

4. Together the group explains what has been observed, its impact and offers a specific plan for treatment.

5. Each member of the group explains how they will respond should the loved one refuse to pursue treatment. Be sure that everyone is prepared to follow through with stated consequences.

At Family Guidance, we offer a range of treatment options for those ready to work through addiction. You don’t have to helplessly watch your loved one with an addiction. You can step in with a plan and offer hope. Call us and learn how we can help.

The Work of Recovery Includes Rebuilding Trust in Damaged Relationships

Addiction takes a toll on several fronts. It usually takes a physical toll on the person who uses. It often takes a monetary toll on the person and even the family. It also exacts a toll in terms of harmed relationships. Recovery involves rebuilding health on all fronts where damage has been done, but repair doesn’t come evenly on every side.

The person who is still in the early stages of recovery is regaining physical health and wellness. Cessation from substance use and new, healthier living choices combine to restore the person physically. A healthier body frequently results in an improved mental or emotional outlook as well.

Similarly, whereas the person may once have been spending all their available cash to fund their addiction, recovery means that those finances are no longer being misdirected and monetary stability can be achieved. Some kind of positive progress can be seen relatively soon.

What usually takes longer is the work of rebuilding trust in damaged relationships. It’s important for theRecovery 1 person in recovery to realize that slow-forming trust is not the same thing as slowly granted forgiveness. Trust is a separate issue. Forgiveness is given but trust usually needs to be earned – and that takes time.

Just how much time will be needed to restore trust in a damaged relationship varies from person to person. The injured party has no reason to grant immediate trust. One expert has likened the distrust created by addiction to the building of a brick wall between two people. Repairing the trust is comparable to tearing down that wall brick by brick. It is a tedious but rewarding process.

Whatever side of the recovery road you are travelling, it helps to have support. Family Guidance can offer that support to people journeying out of addiction as well as the loved ones trying to give trust once more. Repairing damaged relationships takes work on both sides of the wall. Call Family Guidance today and get the support needed to stay committed to the job of bringing that wall down.

NFL Team Owner Shares Stigma Around Addiction May Keep People From Seeking Help

Donald Sterling is battling for ownership of his LA Clipper basketball team after recent offensiveAddiction 6 comments were made public. It’s a story that has captured national headlines. But perhaps with less visibility another problem has been brewing.

The controversy centers on Jim Irsay, owner of the NFL Indianapolis Colts franchise. On March 16, 2014, Irsay was pulled over by police while driving in an Indianapolis suburb. Police asked Irsay to submit to a blood alcohol test, a request he refused. By state law, that refusal triggers a one year suspension of Irsay’s driver’s license.

Eventually police officers obtained a warrant that demanded the blood test. But driving while intoxicated was only part of Irsay’s problem. At the time of his arrest, police also found nearly $30,000 worth of prescription drugs and cash money in his car. Effective May 27, 2014, the owner’s driver’s license was suspended for one year. Irsay is also facing four felony charges of possessing a controlled substance.

Irsay has refused most requests for comment, but did grant a print interview with The Indianapolis Star. During that interview Irsay made several oblique references to alcoholism and addiction. He said alcoholism and addiction, while similar to physical diseases such as heart disease or leukemia, still bear a cultural stigma. That stigma, he said, keeps many people from asking for help. The owner mentioned his own family history alluding to unsuccessful battles with alcohol or addiction, especially in the lives of his dad and granddad.

Irsay never directly reported addiction to prescription drugs or alcohol, although the owner has spent time in rehab treatment. He did say, however, that he takes prescription painkillers to deal with back and hip discomfort under the supervision of a physician.

The question making recent headlines is this: if the NBA will go to great lengths to deal with inappropriate language, should the NFL be involved when a team owner has an obvious problem with substance addiction? So far NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken no action.

If someone in your life is struggling to acknowledge  a dependence on alcohol or prescription drugs, you don’t have to sit by and do nothing. Contact the addition treatment professionals at Family Guidance. They can discuss some next steps you can take to help your loved one. Call them today.

Binge Drinking Produces Immediate and Long-Term Consequences

Alcoholism 7Binge drinking is defined in America as four or more consecutive drinks for a woman and five or more drinks for a man on a single occasion. It is unhealthy and produces many negative outcomes – some in the short-term and others more long range.

Short-term Consequences
Perhaps the most common consequence of binge drinking is the next day’s hangover. Feeling nauseated, tired and suffering a headache after a night of drinking may seem like a small price to pay – but it’s the body’s way to letting you know that it has been poisoned. You may vomit for the same reason.

Longer-term Consequences
People who start out binging on the weekends often see their drinking start to bleed over in their weekdays too. Around 25 percent of those who begin by binge drinking go on to develop a regular drinking habit. When that happens, alcohol starts to affect work, school, relationships and health, including fertility among both men and women.

Alcohol affects the brain both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, drinking affects a person’s ability to speak and behave normally. It also makes them less inhibited and less capable of making sound judgments. Car accidents, risky sex, altercations and injuries are the short-term consequences of impeding the brain with alcohol. Over longer amounts of time drinking can lead to depression which can, in turn, drive further drinking.

And, most people are aware that long-term drinking can do serious and irreparable harm to the liver – the organ chiefly responsible for filtering alcohol. Cancers and other chronic illnesses are also related to long-term drinking.

Binge drinking is most often practiced by young men, but not by them exclusively. And, it can quickly become a more static problem. Just one episode of binge drinking can cause deadly alcohol poisoning which is another way to say you can die from an overdose of alcohol. If you or someone near you is consuming too much alcohol weekend after weekend, it’s time to get help. Family Guidance can offer that help. Call today.