Addiction care is expensive, and you want the very best care at the best value for your loved one. You also want a good fit and the best possibility for a good outcome. Treatment centers are not all alike, nor do they have the same services or philosophy. Personality matters, too.
Rehab used to mean professional healthcare therapies to improve, maintain, or restore physical strength, cognition, and mobility. Usually after illness, injury or surgery.
Advice to the younger, more codependent me from the stronger, more independent me – thanks to nine months in the rooms of recovery. When your loved one is in Detox:
Is it safe to send a teen back to school with his or her dealer? No! Recovering from addiction almost always requires a change in how we deal with people, places, and things. That’s why the McShin Foundation partnered with St. Joseph’s Villa to open the McShin Academy, Virginia’s first recovery high school. Continue reading “Is Recovery High School Right For An Addicted Teen?”
Kevin Drouin set out to protect his family from drugs, but he soon found himself searching a local rehab center. He gives us the inside scoop of what goes on in rehab and the one question every family should ask.
Kevin Drouin and his family live 20 minutes north of Boston, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. More drugs flow through Lawrence than Boston; it’s the center of the Northeast drug trade. With drugs come overdoses, and no one is safe. Day after day, young people from good families in very affluent neighborhoods are dying. Two years ago, amidst this growing epidemic, Kevin asked himself a tough question, “What if it were my own child?” His answer, “Get a dog that finds drugs.” Thus, Kevin’s business, Tough Love Intervention, was born.
When Kevin Met Moxie
Formerly trained for police work, Kevin was able to purchase Moxie after her original assignment fell through. Labrador Retrievers are very social, and they are eager to please, making them highly trainable. They also have soft mouths, so they won’t bite. Above all, Labs have an excellent sense of smell. Moxie’s sense of smell is more than 100 times greater than Kevin’s.
After completing her initial training, Moxie learned how to detect various drugs. Moxie is trained and certified to detect:
- Crack Cocaine
When Moxie Goes To The Rehab Center
Even though Tough Love Intervention is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, their presence sends a ripple of fear throughout the rehab center. Why? Because not all treatment centers are secure. In the past two years of searching with K-9s, Kevin has uncovered this inherent truth,
“If you force someone into treatment, that isn’t ready, they will pollute everyone in the facility.”
Moxie and Kevin have found drugs in a patient’s nightstand under a Bible. At another location, Moxie found drugs stashed inside a porta-potty. Recently, the pair was searching a young girl’s room. She was only 25 years old. It was her fourth relapse and fifth treatment center.
People go to rehabs to get clean, so the idea of drugs at the center is shocking at best. In the worst cases, it’s deadly. “Treatment centers have new addicts coming in every day,” Drouin explains. Jails are secure because they continually conduct strict searches. Rehab centers don’t have that luxury. One rehab Kevin worked with knew their food wasn’t so good. When they let patients order pizzas and subs, drugs came in too.
Ask The Expert
Parents often ask Kevin, “Where should I send my son?” His answer is simple,
“Every treatment center will look you in the eye and tell you they have a zero tolerance policy. Ask them, ‘How do you maintain that policy?’ Make sure sober means sober. Treatment means treatment. Detox means detox.”
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Tough Love Intervention is one of Recovery Guidance’s founding professionals. Click here to find out more about the services Kevin and Moxie provide.
Control is a hot button issue for many, especially in addiction. Those new to recovery often have to define what they can control and how they’re going to do it. Those living with someone who’s addicted may go to extremes: trying to control everything and actually having control over nothing. Here are three ways to start gaining some control over addiction.
1. Define Then Control Your Territory
Put some serious thought into what you want to claim as yours. Maybe you’re willing to fight for your fridge by declaring an ultimatum, “No alcohol in here.” The key here is to start small. Protecting your entire town from drug use is too big of a perimeter to maintain. Protecting something smaller like your bedroom or apartment sets you up for success.
When we’re new to claiming territory, our talk is usually much braver than our actions. Choose something you know you can defend. You must be willing and able to enforce your boundary.
Many times, we, the new empowered boundary setter, can’t see our own weak spots, but our loved ones can. They look for weaknesses in the boundary and then attack there. This has nothing to do with your love for each other or respect. It has to do with old habits and patterns of behavior. Be prepared for several attacks to the same weak spot. Boundary busters don’t give up easily.
2. Define Unacceptable Behavior
Accepting unacceptable behavior is common for people who struggle with addiction and for those who love them. Many of us bring other hurts and traumas to the situation. In many families, addiction is a way to self-medicate the pain from abuse or mental illness. Adult children of alcoholics, for example, struggle to define what’s “normal.”
Again, it’s important to start small. Pick one or two behaviors that are hurting you the most. Then get ready for battle. Strategically plan what you will do when the behavior happens. This is not an “if” situation. Like boundaries, our friends, loved ones, and drug dealers won’t welcome any change. They are probably quite comfortable with the relationship’s existing dynamics.
Often, when we are ready to make this change, we’re beyond frustrated. We want ALL of the behaviors to change yesterday. This is because we’ve accepted the unacceptable behavior for years. Making a small change isn’t for their benefit. We benefit. Success breeds success. After we tackle the first behavior, we’ll be stronger. Then we move on to the next offending behavior.
3. Define Your Support Team
Abuse and addiction survive by keeping their victims trapped in silent fear. Tell someone you trust about what’s really going on in your house or with your family. The first step is to admit there is a problem.
Recovery isn’t only for the addicted. Many groups like AA and NA have parallel support groups for family members. Al-Anon and Al-Ateen follow the same 12 Steps as AA. Nar-Anon is the corresponding family support group for NA. The best news is, you can attend these groups before your loved one starts treatment. Other groups like CoDA (Co-dependents Anonymous) and ACoA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) also offer support.
These groups cost very little. Members are encouraged to chip in a buck or two share the costs of meeting space. They teach about boundaries and healthy living. Often, they have “old timers” who’ve dramatically changed their lives and are willing to tell you what worked for them.
To sum it up, we all have the power to change ONE person, ourselves. We can only control ourselves. Focusing on these three areas lets us start small and gain momentum. When we start to change, the other people in our relationships then change by default. We just don’t get to control how they change.
Do you need help getting control over addiction? From rehabs to support groups, Recovery Guidance lists hundreds of choices. Take our self-assessment test to find out where to start..
When someone you love is using opioids, the constant fear of an overdose is debilitating. However, there is a way to keep a sliver of hope at home in your medicine cabinet and it’s called Narcan.
Our nation is drowning in opioids. According to the CDC 100 Americans are dying each day from an opioid overdose. As a result, more and more people are first responders to this type of health emergency. Because opioids slow your system down and affect the body in five key ways, bystanders must respond quickly. Even when taken as prescribed, opioids can be dangerous. If someone you care about is using an opioid, it’s important to know what an overdose looks like and what you can do.
This type of overdose requires action – not sleeping it off, hoping for the best, or giving it time.
Just remember: “S – B – S – B – S” spells overdose. Action is required.
- Severe sleepiness
- Breathing slowly
- Small pinpoint pupils
- Blue fingernails and lips
- Slow heartbeat
Too high an opioid dose causes respiratory arrest. In an opioid overdose, the body needs help breathing. This is markedly different from other emergencies where chest compressions are given to keep the blood flowing through the body. A person having an opioid overdose is unable to breathe for themselves and needs rescue breathing immediately.
Here are three tips to safeguard your loved one in an emergency.
1. If It’s An Opioid Overdose, Start Rescue Breathing
2. Keep A Dose Of Narcan On Hand
Narcan, also known by its generic name, naloxone, is an overdose reversing drug. Narcan can be given as a nasal spray or by an injector. If you are taking a prescribed opioid pain medicine, have Narcan on hand just in case. If you have a loved one who struggles with substance use disorder, Narcan should be part of your home first-aid kit. Even if your loved one is doing well, relapses are often a part of this disease process. (Click here to learn more about what Narcan is and how to get it.)
3. Trust Your Gut – Call 911
In a crisis, every second matters. A recent CDC study found 83% of overdose victims needed multiple doses of Narcan. Always have someone call 911 first then begin rescue breathing immediately.
Are you afraid you might be addicted to an opioid? Recovery Guidance can help you find choices for treatment. Click here to take our self-assessment.
In return for their dedication and service, veterans are at risk for: chronic pain disorder, PTSD, and addiction. Because of their military service, veterans are particularly vulnerable to a traumatic brain injury. Even worse, veterans who suffer from one of these three risks often succumb to another one of the big three. Here are three warning signs veterans shouldn’t ignore:
- Night sweats
- Pain from battle injuries
- Uncharacteristically violent outbursts
These warning signs are not a parting gift for military service. They’re not a by-product of service that must be tolerated. Instead, they’re a flashing neon sign urging veterans to seek medical care.
What’s The Good News
Veterans don’t have to live with these conditions. With the right treatment, they can be improved. Being affected by chronic pain, PTSD, or an addiction doesn’t have to be a tragedy or a sad story. In fact, there’s terrific reason for optimism. Veterans treatment programs are the best in the US because they’ve had a lot of expertise with addictions. Additionally, their substance use and mental health treatment programs are integrated with other medical care. Because of this coordinated medical care, veterans can have:
- Improved general health
- Improved general function
- Reduced symptoms that are problematic
Where To Find Help
First, veterans who qualify for VA benefits should take advantage of all available treatments, and they should get a full assessment. The best approach treats the veteran as a whole: mind, body and soul. Good physical health depends on good mental health. Veterans who make too much money to qualify for benefits should seek providers who are sensitive to veterans needs.
One Final Order
You served honorably. You can continue to serve your families and communities by getting the help you need. Not only do you deserve the best medical attention, but also you need it to keep doing your best. On this veterans day, it’s appropriate to honor yourself by fighting for your physical and mental health. You have a right to the best care possible.
Recovery Guidance makes it easy to find veterans services near you. These providers understand how addiction can impact your entire physical health, click here to see VA providers in your area. If you’re not sure where to start, click here to take our our self-assessment guide.
When someone you love is addicted, your finances often take a big hit. Bailing loved ones out of jail and other financial emergencies eat away at any cash on hand. Likewise, people who are rebuilding their life after addiction often face financial hardships. Treatment expenses and bills pile up. Here’s two simple things you can do to protect what you have and gain financial recovery.
1. Be Selfish And Secretive With Savings
Many times, fighting addiction is a matter of life and death. People are scared and desperate, and treatment is expensive. In these situations, spouses and parents don’t keep enough margin between them and disaster. Well known financial guru, Dave Ramsey, says step one is to keep an emergency fund.
Emergencies will happen; this is not an if type of crisis, this is a when situation. Not having enough cash on hand means depending on credit cards or cash advance services. Both charge big interest rates, but more importantly, both put you further behind. Dave recommends dropping everything to save $500 to $1,000 for the impending emergency. This logically makes sense, so why don’t people do this?
First, many people believe the best way to help their addicted loved-one is to sacrifice everything. Yet, this won’t work because if you really want to help, you have to be strong enough to help. You have to put yourself first, and you can only give of your excess. Don’t feel guilty about keeping a rainy day fund.
Others are driven by shame and pressure from creditors. Getting your life back on tract after addiction is an amazing accomplishment. It’s important to protect yourself financially first then work on paying back debts. Having a little bit in savings gives you a peace of mind that can help protect your sobriety.
Still others may feel trapped in an abusive relationship due to financial dependency. For many, having money means having choices. If you are in an unsafe relationship, you may have to open a new account at a new bank to keep your emergency fund safe.
2. Defend Your Fortress
Dave calls this protecting the “four walls.” Many times, people get trapped in the vicious debt management cycle. They run short of cash, so they charge things like gas and groceries. These bills run up quickly in crisis. Instead of meeting physical needs first, people feel obligated to protect their credit rating. What if they need to take out another credit card or borrow money for rehab? Making the credit card payment takes top priority, which only perpetuates the cycle of debt. To get off the debt cyclone, you have to make some tough choices. You may not have enough money to pay all of your bills. Which do you pay first?
Groceries Get Top Billing
If you really want to get control of your finances, cooking at home and taking a brown bag lunch are the first big change to make. You can save big money by keeping your fridge full of food. The path to financial recovery is not paved with empty pizza boxes.
Second, Pay Your Rent Or Mortgage
You have to have a roof over your head. Also, make sure to keep current with your utilities like electricity, water and natural gas.
Third, Pay For Transportation
If you have a job, you need to keep it, so you can keep on the path to financial recovery. To keep a job, you have to have a way to get there. Here you might have to make some tough choices. Driving a corvette when you can only afford a scooter won’t let you help anyone. However, repairs and payments on transportation you can afford must take priority over student loans and credit card debts.
The Last Wall Is Clothing
To keep a job, most places require you show up wearing something. Again, keeping your job is crucial, so reasonable clothing comes before credit card payments. Chanel and Ralph Lauren may not be reasonable at this time; you may have to consider shopping at a thrift shop.
As Dave says:
“If you have a place to live, it’s warm and the lights are on, your stomach is full of food and you have clothing to wear and a way to get to work, you live to fight another day. The worry starts to slip away. When your lights are getting ready to be cut off but MasterCard is current, that trips you up. That sends you into a tailspin. You will not win in that situation. Put the four walls of your home up first when you’re in a crisis situation. Then work your way through the other stuff.”
Usually, struggling financially is a symptom of another underlying cause. Family dynamics, co-occurring mental health disorders, and addictions often play a role in financial difficulties. Recovery Guidance lists family therapists and counselors that can help you address the root causes of your financial problems. Click here to find family counseling in your area.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here try our self-assessment guide.