(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
When a family member or loved one decides to go to rehab, it can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. Whether you help them find treatment, put together an intervention, or they just decide this step is an accomplishment. When a family member or loved one is sick, we all suffer. So when they are healing, doesn’t it make sense that you work to heal too?
Whether you know it now or not, you need help too. When a family member goes to rehab, you should definitely consider how to support them. You should also know how to take better care of yourself. Remember this is not just about them. These are 5 ways to get help when a family member goes to rehab.
Consult a doctor
Consulting with a medical professional about the health aspect of addiction and recovery is very important to helping in the recovery process. If you don’t have a personal family physician it can seem difficult. Try to find a medical professional you feel confident in consulting about the issue.
If you have a family physician be honest and open with discussing the specific drugs that your loved one most frequently abused. Find out if there are serious complications. Find out the warning signs of other health concerns. In general, being aware makes it easier to empathize with a family member and their recovery.
Look into aftercare
When a family member goes to rehab consider looking into aftercare options available to them, either in your area or where ever they are. Once they have completed inpatient treatment, you may want to help them chose an outpatient and other alternative care programs. Aftercare will help keep your family member on a consistent recovery plan during the transition back into the world.
Sometimes an aftercare plan should consist of a sober living facility- halfway house– for your family member. This is beneficial because they are monitored in a recovery community to support their long-term sobriety. They also get help finding support groups and continued therapy.
So how does this help you? Well it may just be as simple as giving you some peace of mind that they will have a safe and controlled environment after rehab. An effective aftercare plan can also help you establish boundaries.
Attend support groups
12 Step groups such as AA and NA are great, and they even have affiliate programs to support people with an addicted family member. Those with friends or loved ones who struggle through terrifying and trying times also have a safe place to fellowship and share.
Some support groups have their own separate 12 Step program of recovery tailored to the family’s recovery. Being able to connect and share experience with other families who can relate in an intimate way to the same fight you are fighting can be an uplifting and gratifying experience. This helps out a lot of family members and friends too when their loved ones are having a hard time staying clean.
Personal or family therapy
Therapy is a powerful tool for anyone. Finding a clinical professional to confide in and work with can be life changing. Therapy isn’t just for people with trauma or mental health, it exists for everyone. Personal therapy can help you better understand the moods you yourself experience, and the contributions that you yourself make to your family member’s recovery.
Family therapy can be very positive for rebuilding these vital relationships. Even if the addict or alcoholic is still in treatment, the rest of the family can attend therapy to address important issues before the loved one comes home. This kind of help can only bring more emotional stability and acceptance.
Attend a family program
Most holistic rehabs offer the opportunity to take part in the recovery of a loved one through a family program. This will put you in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.
Family programs can also give your family member or loved one the much needed inspiration to know that they are not alone in this process. It will allow you to participate in events, educational courses, and contribute to the blue print for new patterns in their future.
Getting help isn’t just for the one who is using drugs or drinking. We all need a little help sometimes. Every one of us needs a little support to get through sometimes.
We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.
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Having a family member who has suffered can be harder on you than you know. Too many people don’t know how to get the help they need for their loved ones, and too many of our loved ones suffer for too long because they are afraid of the affects that the ones they care about most will face.
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Author: Justin Mckibben
In life there are plenty of insecurities to match every extremity of unique personalities, and any of us can devise a copious collection of excuses as to why we don’t achieve the goals we set for ourselves. For those of us in recovery from drugs or alcohol, we are typically experienced in creating stories of negative self-talk that gives us a way out of working on ourselves and the ambitions we set for our futures.
In life we set intentions, and it is important to believe in our capacity to fulfill them. While drugs or alcohol may have held you back with a corrosive life-style, when you get clean and sober it is essential to believe in your dreams in recovery- how else could you live a life beyond your wildest dreams?
Here are 6 reasons to believe in your dreams in recovery.
- Because it’s YOUR dream
Number one comes with a tone of responsibility to set the tone, because after all- it is YOUR dream, and if you don’t believe in it, no one is going to believe in it for you. It is your responsibility to make that dream happen, and in recovery taking responsibility for your own life is a huge part of the process.
Our dreams for ourselves are so unique with passion and creativity that we are the only ones able to make them real; only you can make it yours.
- Because addicts and alcoholics are ambitious
I don’t know about you, but I have never met an addict or alcoholic (or living human being for that matter) who didn’t possess some level of ambition. Addicts and alcoholics are very ambitious people; even though while using we may not have been ambitious about the right things. We often make things work for us in some of the direst circumstances and we sacrifice for what we want- THAT is ambition.
In recovery that ambition can be utilized toward the things that actually matter to us. When you believe in your dreams in recovery it will add meaning to your life and make your efforts mean even more to you.
- Your dream shapes your future
After-all, our future is a product of our actions and how we play into our roles we have assigned for ourselves in life. Our behaviors are based on our belief systems. Our dreams are what the future is made of and history shows us that. Every invention or innovation was once a dream; every artwork and relationship.
In recovery we may live one day at a time, but we are allowed to have hope for our future. Believing in your dreams in recovery means knowing that we have the opportunity to help create a future better than the life we’ve known, for us and others.
- A dream can save your life
In recovery from drugs or alcohol, we see that we are in a life-or-death fight that could all depend at some point on how we justify fighting in the first place. A dream give us purpose, and when days seem darkest we can look toward the dream like a light at the end of the tunnel… we may not be there yet, but if you believe in your dreams in recovery you can give yourself a reason to keep fighting.
So many people are too lost in thoughts of hopelessness and futility, the addict is no stranger to this feeling and often times it feeds our addiction. Having a purpose and a course of action can align us with faith again.
- You deserve your dreams
Despite what a life of drugs and alcohol leads to; despite the person you may have to become in order to sustain and rationalize the kind of pain and suffering you feel or cause, you deserve your dreams! Every human being has the potential to offer something incredible and irreplaceable to the world.
To believe in your dreams in recovery you are reinforcing the new idea of the person you want to be. Believing in your dreams and knowing you deserve them helps nurture the character of the individual and cultivates the principles of who you strive to be.
And if you don’t feel like you deserve them, you can tell yourself you do or you can start developing yourself into the version of you that could deserve them.
- It’s an amazing feeling to achieve a dream
In my own experience, when you look at yourself in active addiction you can see that you used drugs or drank alcohol because you liked the effect it produced; you liked the way it made you feel… or sometimes not feel at all. What greater feeling could there possibly be than having dreams in recovery that are imprinted on your heart… and then having them come true?!
The best thing any human being can possibly do for themselves is live into their intentions and passions in life. Knowing that what you do is meaningful and cathartic while making a contribution to the love and life of the world is the expression of your dream. No substance on this plane of existence could ever surpass the joy of making your own dream come true.
Overall, success in recovery depends on you and how you choose to define it. How do you define your dreams and how do you see yourself working towards them in recovery? Do not let anything stop you from having a dream. Maybe your dream right now is just to get your life back. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Photo of La’Catherine (Left-Before/Right-After)
Every once in a while one of the many gifted and remarkably passionate people who have become Palm Partners Alumni through completing treatment submit to us a piece of their story in the form of writing, which gives us a unique perspective and intimate insight into the extraordinary transformation they experience in recovery.
Recently one Palm Partners Alumni reached out to us to share a piece of her personal story that is very intense, inclusive and inspiring. She articulates her addiction in an vividly honest way, and we felt compelled to share this gift of experience, strength and hope to inspire others.
Here is her story:
It all started when a series of unfortunate events unfolded, and I woke up in a detox. The closest needle in sight was a Uni-Ball needle point pen, not a syringe (which I preferred). There were no more drugs to take away the thoughts I was left with; just this pen and paper, so I wrote on July 17, 2012,
“how can I pretend to be alive, when I feel so dead inside.”
This was the ending of the beginning. Not only was I miserable, but I believed to the core of my being that I was a worthless human being, who was never going to make it. Truth be told, I found out it was I, who didn’t want to feel better about myself and my situation.
The day I met Heidi Bilonick was in a women’s group (that I would have rather not been in, but I was in rehab, so…); she was doing check-ins and when it came to me I said,
“I am Catherine and I want to die.”
I had every intention of doing my time in this treatment center, getting out and getting high again. If nothing changes, nothing changes, and I certainly did not want to change; rather I wasn’t even worth changing. The first few days seemed like ages, but days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. As the weeks turned into months, not only was I listening, but I started to hear.
Heidi helped me realize so many things. She helped me realize I had to go through my sore, in the literal and metaphysical sense, in order to soar. Like I play on words, she played on my emotions. When I began to feel those uncomfortable feelings I had been running from, there was no needle to stick in my vein to take them away, only Heidi’s shoulder to cry on. She showed me it was okay to feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly. She showed me that as one feeling enters and leaves, so does another and that is okay. This change in perspective has made the world of difference for me today.
I know where I am today is because I consciously made the decision to get better because I am worth it. I could not have done that without the help of Heidi in those first few months. Today I am over 3 years sober, and I am doing things in my life, I only dreamt of doing before. With Heidi’s life coaching and friendship, I have been able to turn dreams into reality; my story into acceptance and fuel to make it to the next level. I mean, seriously, I am accomplishing my dreams and actually happy and content with life.
I may not be where I wish to be, but I am happy with where I am at. Everything will happen in its time. I can and I will do anything I put my mind to; that belief in myself would not have been possible without the belief Heidi had in me, when I was incapable of believing in myself.
The past is etched into my skin, and the future, blank pages all around; I have the opportunity to write, and I am now willing to give myself a chance to be the ink, instead of letting those scars hold my past and future as one. I have Heidi to thank for that. I guess you could say that these unfortunate events turned out to be quite fortunate indeed.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners Alumni out there have so much beauty to share with the world, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Author: Shernide Delva
The opioid epidemic is discussed in the media every day now. Every week, money is being proposed to help end the prescription pill and heroin addiction crisis. In addition, marijuana reform has continues to be a controversial topic in legislation.
Drug policy has never been a hotter topic but you wouldn’t have guessed that from watching last week’s republican debate. Only a handful of candidates mentioned anything about drugs and drug policies, and when the topic was brought up, the specifics were lacking.
Republicans on Drug Policy
Here is a brief overview of the under ten-minute discussion on drug policy.
- Rand Paul (R-KY) in the past has spoken in favor of drug policy reform. In the debate, he said there was a need for more rehabilitation and less incarceration. He delve in a bit deeper than the other candidates by making note of the intersection between race and drug policy. He stated, “I think that the war on drugs has had a racial outcome and it’s something that’s really damaged our inner cities.” In terms of marijuana reform, Rand Paul stated he did not believe the federal government should override state policies citing the Tenth Amendment for limitation on federal powers.
- Jab at Jeb: Jeb Bush was scrutinized for his former pot smoking days by Rand Paul when he stated, ““There is at least one prominent example on the stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school, and yet the people going to jail for this are poor people, often African-Americans and often Hispanics, and yet the rich kids who use drugs aren’t.”
Jeb Bush responded that Rand Paul was talking about him. “He’s talking about me,” he admitted.
- Jeb Bush- Speaking of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor mentioned the heroin problem in New Hampshire. He went on to endorse drug treatment through drug court bragging on how his state Florida has the highest amount of them than any other state.
- Chris Christie– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie touched on drug policy reform stating it was a “pro-life issue” saying the life of a 16-year-old drug addict incarcerated is important. He also went on to exampling how New Jersey’s approach on drug policy is working.
- Carly Fiorina- Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina put in her opinion on the dangers of marijuana abuse:
“We are misleading young people,” she said, “when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.”
She took the matter to a personal level when she mentioned how she and her husband “buried a child to drug addiction.”
All in all, drug policies took up at most 10 minutes of the three-hour debate. Not a very eye-opening conversation on a disease that is killing lives day after day. Hopefully clear policies and funding will be proposed to combat this serious epidemic.
Some—like Paul—have made drug policy a regular talking point however clear policy proposals have yet to be announced by most of the candidates like they have by some of the democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton just announced a 10 billion dollar plan to combat addiction a short while ago.
Close to 8% of Americans ages 12 and older use illegal drugs and around 20% are using prescription drugs for non-medical uses. Of the adult population, 10% say they used to have a substance abuse problem and do not anymore.
This is an issue that affects everyone. Whether you struggle with addiction or know someone who does, drug addiction is taking lives without discrimination.
Substance abuse should be getting the attention is deserves. Hopefully the discussion on drug policies will gain priority in the upcoming months. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Coach Heidi Bilonick McGuirk tackles the issue: How to handle when your spouse keeps bringing up your past.
Dear Coach Heidi,
My question is; I have been in recovery for approximately 8 months. While I was in active addiction, I did a lot of things that I’m not proud of that hurt a lot of people, especially my husband. Recently I received a tax form showing that I had taken a large amount of money from my retirement account that I truly don’t remember doing. My husband is not happy and I can completely understand. The problem is this: I get mad at him for getting upset with me. Like, he tells me I should be very thankful that he still wants to be with me given the horrible things that I have put him through when I was in my active addiction. I continued to hurt him when he is the one I love dearly. How do I reply to him when he brings up things I did without getting mad at him? I have told him I’m sorry a million times. This is now affecting every aspect of our 5 year marriage, including our sex life.
What advice can you give me?
I absolutely LOVE this question! And I love it because it’s a question so many people recovery have. Kind of like asking: How long do I have to pay for my sins? Or how long do I bite my tongue? Or how many times do I need to say “I’m sorry.” My take is coming from a place of having almost 20 years of coaching couples into happier relationships. So, I would ask you, how can both of you decide to act more loving towards each other and assume the best about each other?
For example, if you were to assume the best about your husband while wondering why he brings up the past or why he tells you that you are lucky he stuck it out, what is his POSITIVE intent? In other words, if you were to look through a loving lens, WHY would he be doing that? Most of the time, loved ones remind us of the past because they truly believe that by doing so, we will be shamed enough not to repeat old patterns. They don’t want us to forget the hell they went through so we don’t forget and “do” it again.
This thinking is flawed in so many ways. First, addiction is a disease, not a character defect. And no one is choosing it.
The other issue is that you are getting mad at him and then feeling bad for being mad. Perhaps, instead of telling him how you feel, you are acting out in other ways, like withholding sex. An important lesson to learn in recovery is that you are entitled to your feelings. Feelings are a great way by which to measure the health of your relationship. Think of them as a kind of barometer that measures the stress, pressure, and overall ‘temperature’ of the relationship.
Remember, your anger is legitimate however, make sure that you are not making yourself a martyr or victim of your feelings. Instead, take ACTION by initiating open communication about your feelings. Being passive-aggressive or acting like a martyr won’t cut it.
Talk to your husband. Let him know how the constant reminders make you feel. Take responsibility for how these feelings then have you act out in certain ways. But at the end of the day C, your feelings are YOUR feelings and no one can MAKE you feel anything without your permission. You’re the one who decides to get angry. Could you get grateful instead? I say ‘yes.” By focusing on where you are when he focuses on where you’ve been.
So many choices! That’s the beautiful thing.
Heidi Bilonick McGuirk is a Master Certified Relationship Coach. She has consulted for several top Matchmaking and Dating companies around the world. She has served as the Director of Operations for the Matchmaking Institute in NYC and has been in private practice for over a decade. She is one of the Life and Relationship Coaches here at Palm Partners and has supported many clients in their pursuits of sobriety, health and happiness.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.