Dug and Heidi McGuirk answer “Should I Drink in Front of My Loved One in Recovery?”
Author: Shernide Delva
Dug and Heidi McGuirk, who run the Revolutionary Family program for Palm Healthcare, recently answered, “Should I drink in front of my loved one in recovery?” in their latest video. This question was submitted by a parent with a son in recovery.
My husband and I love craft beers and he’s making a wine right now at home and while we don’t drink around our son or mention it, we were wondering if he moves back to town, although he won’t be living with us, does that mean we have to stop drinking for his sobriety, or just not drink around him? It seems strange to pretend that we have given up drinking. I also ask because when we were visiting, my dad drank right in front of him, and he didn’t say anything, but I was nervous since he’s still new to recovery. I thought other parents might have the same question. I don’t want to treat him differently than any others, but I also don’t want to hurt his sobriety.
This is a common question that many parents and loved one’s of addicts ask especially in the early stages of recovery.
To start off, Dug McGuirk answers that it is important to have an initial awareness of your behaviors around your recovering loved one.
“My initial thoughts are that it’s great that you’re considering it, that you’re being aware, and you have some sensory acuity,” Dug McGuirk affirms. “It’s also fantastic that right now, in early recovery, you’re not necessary drinking in front of him, that’s probably fine. That’s a great decision if you believe in it.”
Still, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your loved one relapsing. Your loved one can still relapse regardless of whether you have alcohol around the house or not. Alcohol is everywhere, and eventually, they are going to have to deal with that reality.
“At some point, he’s going to be exposed to alcohol, so what are you going to do? Be co-dependent?” Dug McGuirk asks.
“Being exposed to stimulus doesn’t necessarily make somebody drink,” Heidi McGuirk says. “Your loved one is going to be exposed to the stimulus all the time, and that’s part of life.”
“You could go your whole life and not drink a drop of alcohol in front of somebody, or not have any alcohol in the home around them and they still could relapse,” Heidi McGuirk continues.
Decide What You Believe In:
Ultimately, Heidi McGuirk says it comes down to doing what you believe in. It is important to keep that in mind when making these types of decisions.
“Everybody’s going to be different,” she says. “Don’t do what you think is going to keep somebody sober. Do what you believe in instead.”
You may decide that not drinking around your loved one is a small sacrifice to make. That decision may give you some peace of mind when they are around. You have to determine that for yourself depending on the circumstances.
For Heidi McGuirk, she says if her father, who wrestled with addiction, were still alive, she likely would not feel comfortable drinking around him.
“If he were still here and he was still in recovery, we would not have alcohol around him. I just– I don’t believe in that. I wouldn’t want that for him,” she admits. “Me, not drinking anyway, it’s irrelevant, but if he were staying in my house, I would just do what I believe in. which is not having any alcohol around.”
Heidi McGuirk says her decision would come from a loving place. She compares it to the way she would behave around someone struggling with managing their weight.
“Just for the same reason that if I knew somebody who was managing their weight and they had a gastric bypass, I wouldn’t sit down to a four-course meal of desserts in front of them because I would find them kind of rude, but that’s me! Could I be a little codependent there? Probably. But that’s how I love,“ she explains.
Everyone is Different:
Heidi McGuirk explains how these decisions may simply come from a place of love for your addicted loved one. However, it also good to note how your loved one feels about it. They may feel offended by your decision to not drink or have alcohol around.
“In my own life, I wouldn’t want for one second for somebody not to drink around me,” she admits. “I have lots of friends, lots of family, who drink in front of me all the time, and I don’t take offense to it, and I wouldn’t want them to change their lifestyle. So again, it’s not about keeping somebody sober, it’s finding what you believe in and then practicing what you believe in from a place of your heart versus your mind on what you think is going to keep somebody well.”
“The simple answer is that whether you drink or not is not going to make someone relapse,” Dug McGuirk says. “Cause if someone relapses, it has nothing to do with what they’re exposed to. It has everything to do with: Are they working their recovery?”
Insights From My Relationship
Personally, I related to this question a lot, and agree with the answer Dug and Heidi McGuirk gave. My boyfriend was five years sober when we first got together nearly two years ago. However, I am not in recovery from drugs or alcohol. In the beginning of the relationship, I wanted to ensure he was okay with seeing me consume alcohol.
It turns out; drinking in front of my boyfriend did not bother him at all. In fact, he felt more comfortable when I did not alter my behavior due to his recovery. However, his drug of choice was never alcohol, so drinking was never a trigger for him to begin with.
If needed, I would have abstained from alcohol while he was around, simply from a place of love. Fortunately, I never needed to make that decision. As you can see, these situations really vary from person to person.
Still, whether or not to drink in front of a loved one is a multifaceted question. Communication is essential. In early recovery, drinking or having alcohol around the house might not be a good idea. Later on, it may become less of an issue. Overall, if you have any uncertainty about your loved one’s sobriety, please reach out. We can help. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Every once in a while there is that daunting cliché you may hear in the recovery community; that relapse is a part of recovery. It may come from someone who has experienced a relapse themselves, or it may come from someone trying to reassure an individual who has relapsed that they still have a place in recovery. It is never meant to be harmful or frightening. In fact it is typically a phrase used to comfort people who have tried to get clean and sober but sadly found themselves again using substances.
It is an idea used to remind those who slip and fall on the path to recovery that they are still in the fight; that they still have a chance. A lot of people do experience relapse in their journey to get off drugs or alcohol. So, is it true? Is relapse a part of recovery?
Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: What is Relapse?
When looking at the basic definition or relapse, we can break it down a little to show some depth.
- In general – a relapse is to suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.
- In medicine– relapse, also referred to as recidivism,is a return of a past condition.
- With the context of drug use (yes, including alcohol) – relapse is a reinstatement of drug use and drug-seeking behavior. It is the recurrence of pathological drug use after a period of
So the common thread here is that a relapse is when someone:
- Is able to start a period of improvement…
- Is healing from a previous condition…
- Has a period of abstinence… THEN… they use drugs or drink, which ends their period of abstinence and they fall back into drug-seeking behavior and using; activating their condition which can undo their overall improvement.
While some people might have a drink or take a pill and call it a “slip” it is essentially a relapse. Some would say having “recovery” means making improvements to behavior beyond just abstinence, so they might say the real relapse actually starts before you even use drugs; when your behavior regresses to the old destructive or compulsive patterns.
Whether you believe the relapse is the behavior or the actual physical manifestation while getting high, it may determine what your views are on the question is relapse a part of recovery.
Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: What is Recovery?
Before we have discussed that some people will define recovery differently. We will note that in general, recovery is:
- a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administraion (SAMHSA) there are 12 “Guiding Principles of Recovery” stating recovery:
- There are many pathways to recovery
- Is self-directed and empowering
- Involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation
- Recovery is holistic
- Has cultural dimensions
- Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness
- It’s supported by peers and allies
- Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude
- Involves a process of healing and self-redefinition
- Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma
- It involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
- Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen
All these definitions emphasize the fact that recovery is about healing, and some even concede that there are many paths to recovery and many different beliefs around how people can successfully recover. Now some people may not like it, but hear me out.
Relapse is not a part of recovery.
Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: Why Not?
Now before anyone gets upset and drops a few choice words in the comments, let me explain.
This answer isn’t so black and white. It is just one way to look at the question and try to answer in a supportive and logical way. Because when we say “is relapse a part of recovery” we are not asking about the general concept of recovery as a whole, but about the definition, and specifically the requirements for “recovery”.
To elaborate; relapse is an option. Relapse is a reality many of us face. I have been sober over 3 years myself… after I had a relapse. My opinion is not meant to exclude people who have relapsed. I do not intend to say they weren’t in recovery. I don’t intend to say they aren’t recovering now. What I am saying is that relapse is not a requirement for recovery. While it may be a part of my recovery, it is not a defining feature of recovery. Recovery can exist without relapse.
Let’s say I have a car. If the car has a sun-roof, then of course the sun-roof is a part of that car. It adds a new element to the experience that not every car has… but if the car doesn’t have the sun-roof… does that make it any less of a car? Is the car considered incomplete without it? Some cars come with accessories and features that not all cars have, while having wheels and a gas pedal is a standard. And that is what this whole conversation is about; setting standards.
A relapse is a similar concept. Plenty of people in the world of recovery from drugs and alcohol have never relapsed. Hopefully they never will. They are recovering the same as the man or woman who has relapsed countless times.
Is Relapse a Part of Recovery: Make it Count
The point of all this is to put forth the idea that maybe we shouldn’t put forth the idea that relapse is part of the recovery process. Surely it is a possibility for everyone, and surely some will consider a relapse one of the most critical moments in their recovery, but that does not mean people should minimalize or “normalize” the idea that relapses are the standard.
Setting higher standards is crucial to lasting change. We don’t want to kick anyone while they are down or fault them for their relapse(s)… however we also don’t want someone who has never tried to get clean before thinking they are going to relapse because it is “part of the plan” and everyone is doing it.
This is especially important because a lot of people have died because of relapsing after periods of abstinence. When the body goes without such potent drugs for longer periods the body is no longer as tolerant to them, and when people relapse and don’t realize their threshold has dropped they often overdose and die. If we let people assume they will have to relapse eventually in order to really get it right, they might never get the chance to get it right again.
We should stop telling people relapse is part of recovery. We should continue to tell them there is recovery after a relapse, but once you stop you never have to start again.
Have you completed treatment but went back to using drugs and alcohol? Have you relapsed more than once, maybe even been labelled a “chronic relapser?” If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Just this Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration displayed a notice of intent in the Federal Register to place Kratom on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. In the notice, the DEA says the active components of kratom are an “imminent hazard to the public safety.” As a result, the DEA announced that it would temporary ban the two main chemicals found in kratom.
Beginning September 30, the two main ingredients of kratom (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) will classify as Schedule I substances. Kratom will soon join Heroin, Pot, and Cocaine on the Schedule I Controlled Substance List.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an herbal supplement that many advocates believe to be an effective treatment for chronic pain, depression, and has become a drug many use to relieve themselves of opioid withdrawals. However, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as law enforcement officials and medical professionals, have noted kratom as a potentially harmful substance. Several states have already banned the plant; however regulation proved difficult due to kratom’s status as an herbal supplement.
The announcement occurred on Wednesday and garnered a very controversial response. Some users believe kratom provides a peaceful effect and insist the drug is not addictive. On the other hand, many users found the drug to be very addictive.
Kratom: Conflicting Viewpoints
One woman overjoyed with the news was Lauren Eden who told Channel 9 news that her son killed himself because of his addiction to kratom. Since his death, she fought to make kratom illegal.
“I am so surprised that all of this is happening because I didn’t even know this was in the works,” Eden said. “Maybe our son didn’t die in vain. Maybe our son sacrificed his life for another life.”
Furthermore, The CDC issued a report recently stating that intoxication from kratom was the cause fo more than 600 calls to poison control centers between 2010 and 2014. Still, advocates believe many of these cases were a result of kratom reacting with other illegal drugs.
To put kratom’s risk into perspective, the poison control center received close to 7000 reports of young children ingesting single-load laundry pods in the first seven months of 2016. Advocates say the number of incidents involving kratom is relatively low when comparing these numbers.
The new ruling by the DEA may keep kratom on the Controlled Substances list for up to two years. This is until the Department of Health and Human Services completes its studies on the plant. If findings determine that kratom is a public health threat, the ban would remain.
“I fear for all of the people who found kratom to be a solution for them to get off things like heroin,” said Susan Ash, founder, and director of the American Kratom Association told STAT. “I foresee a large jump in the already epidemic proportions of opiate deaths in this country.”
DEA Argues That Public Comment Is Unnecessary
Whether you an advocate of kratom or not, the DEA released a statement saying that public comment would be unnecessary. In an effort of protecting the public, the DEA feels the ban should go through without public commentary.
“The Administrator finds that there is good cause to forgo the notice and comment requirements of section 553, as any further delays in the process for issuance of temporary scheduling orders would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest.”
Until the ban goes through, Kratom remains legal in Florida, except for in Sarasota County. Therefore, for those who find the drug beneficial, the controversy behind the recent rescheduling heats up before the official ban.
What do you think of the ban? Is the DEA acting in the interest of the public? Regardless, any substance has the potential for abuse. If you are struggling, do not wait. Call toll-free today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Scott Weiland, the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver has passed. Weiland, who was known for his musical talent as well as his unending battles with drug addiction, was found dead while on tour with his latest band The Wildabouts.
Although his tour manager Tom Vitorino confirmed his death, he did not disclose the cause. However, many were not surprised to hear of Weiland’s death as he struggled on and off for decades with drug addiction issues.
A post on his facebook page was made that stated:
“Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts. At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected.”
A powerful baritone, Weiland was the lead vocalist of the band The Stone Temple Pilots at the height of the grunge movement. Although critics accused the band of copying famous groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, The Stone Temple Pilot’s first two albums sold over 10 million copies. They won a Grammy for the song “Plush” and had monster hits with “Vasoline,” and “Interstate Love Song.”
Wieland’s voice was famous for being effortlessly raspy. His flamboyant personality was a hit during live shows. However, his drug addiction was not. Weiland missed shows repeatedly and was in and out of rehab. His drug addiction forced The Stone Temple Pilots to go into a forced hiatus after their thirst album “Tiny Music … Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop,” which sold 2 million copies and was widely praised.
It was said in a press statement that Weiland had
“become unable to rehearse or appear for these shows due to his dependency on drugs. He is currently under a doctor’s care in a medical facility.”
The band finally called it quits in 2003. Although there were short reunions, Weiland continued to struggle with his addiction to drugs. With time, Weiland joined the band Velvet Revolver which was formed by former Guns N’ Roses members.
Weiland was able to deliver the hits once again with songs in the album “Contraband,” that sold more than 3 million copies and boasted the massive hit, “Slither.” He was back in the game but his drug addiction still loomed in the background.
The reports of Weiland’s death first circulated Thursday night after fellow rocker Dave Navarro tweeted:
“Just learned our friend Scott Weiland has died. So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.” Soon after, the tweet was removed.
In 2011, Weiland wrote in his autobiography at great length about how drugs and the allure of the wild life fascinated him as a rising artist:
“I associated heroin with romance, glamour, danger, and rock ’n roll excess,” he said.
Later that year, in an interview to Spin Magazine, he elaborated further
“The opiate took me to where I’d always dreamed of going. I can’t name the place, but I can say that I was undisturbed and unafraid, a free-floating man in a space without demons and doubts.”
Unfortunately, in the end, some argue Weiland was known more for his disease than his art. A viral video showed Weiland performing with the Wildabouts. His demeanor looked far from sober: barely present, foggy eyes, and lost.
Weiland knew of his addiction well and he did everything in his power to overcome it.
“I’m a tenacious drug addict,” he wrote. “I give it up and I don’t give it up. I put it down and I pick it up. But I’m also a tenacious recoverer. I never quit trying to quit. That counts for something.”
Unfortunately, for many, drug addiction takes over after years of substance abuse and it becomes close to impossible to quit. If you suffer from drug addiction, the earlier you seek treatment, the lower the chances of you going through a cycle of sobriety and relapsing.
Fight this addiction before it get out of control. Drug addiction is a disease and we can help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
-Author: Shernide Delva
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
Deaths from heroin overdoses continue to be a serious issue in the United States. Just this week in Chicago, there was a reported 74 deaths in 72 hours from heroin overdoses. Now, the attention on solutions is shifting toward safe injection centers. No one has ever died in an injection center in other parts of the world. So why are they still illegal in the US?
Supervised injection centers are legally sanctioned facilities where people who use intravenous drugs can inject their pre-obtained drugs under medical supervision. The injections are designed to reduce health and societal problems associated with intravenous drug use. The facilities operate all over the world in dozens of cities abroad. The injection centers have even been shown to contribute benefits towards risk and prevention such as:
- Reducing the incidences of fatal overdoses
- Preventing the transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C
- Reducing the use of dirty needles
- Reducing impact of drug use in residential areas
- Managing hundreds of overdoses and reducing drug-related overdose death rates.
The United States does not have any facilities that serve as safe injection sites, but many argue that the US should have them so accidental overdoses can be prevented The Drug Alliance is advocating for a supervised injection program in San Francesco and New York City. The hope is to expand the nation’s dialogue on drug control to include policies that mitigate the harms of drug use:
The safe injection facilities provide a safe lower risk, more hygienic way of engaging in drug consumption without the risk behaviors related to injecting. Other benefits are noted such as in case of an emergency, immediate intervention is possible. In countries where the centers are allowed, the facilities have the overdose antidote Naloxone (Nurcan) stocked and ready to use.
Damien Framingham was a kid who died from a heroin overdose at the age of 22 in February of 1997. Almost two decades later, his father Tony spreads awareness of the dangers of drug addiction by becoming a leading voice in harm reduction. Now a psychologist, Tony recounted his son’s story at a panel discussion in Manhattans called “Out of Harm’s Way.”
“It was, of course, a shock even though we knew that death was a possibility with heroin use,” he said. His father said, “That’s one of the ironies of heroin use that the people who die are often the ones trying to give it up.”
Tony latched onto the idea of safe injection facilities (SIF) to provide a safe environment for injection for drug users. In the centers, staffs are available to teach safe injection practices and clean syringes are free for the taking.
The idea of a safe injection facility did raise controversy initially in several countries but eventually countries like Australia were convinced. The controversy was whether or not the centers would encourage drug addicts to continue using. Clearly addicts will use with the clinics or without so for those on the verge of a relapse, there has to be a way to stop those preventable deaths
Furthermore, in Canada, Vancouver experienced a ballooning heroin problem in the 90s. That’s when Canadian Senator Larry Campbell, told the crowd that as overdose deaths skyrocketed, so did HIV and incarnation rates. Campbell has said the SIFS are a crucial part of the shift from punishing addicts to treating addiction as a medical problem,
“Addiction is a medical disease. Addiction is not a criminal offense. No one starts out life saying, ‘You know what, I think I’ll be an addict,’” he said.
As the number of families affected by drug addiction continue to soar, the nation needs to look at every option out there. Safe injection facilities might be the answer to reduce the amount of addicts dying every day and give them another chance to recover. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-561-221-1125.