Hitting Bottom and Detaching With Love

April 30, 2014
Up From Mud

Drowning In The Mud Of Addiction

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

People tend to get sober in their own time and in their own way. The world is loaded with codependents who destroyed their lives trying to get the addict they loved into recovery. Despite decades of perfecting the technique, professional interventions only result in the addict entering treatment in 80% of the cases. Sometimes the attempted intervention has the reverse effect, driving the addict farther away and deeper intone their addictive lifestyle.

Much of what we call “hitting bottom” or “getting sick and tired of being sick and tired” results from a chance convergence of immediate undeniable problems coupled with the offer of hope and a concrete opportunity to recover.

This doesn’t mean that you should not attempt to intervene with addicts you love. It just means that it is best to view intervention as an ongoing process of honest communication. These honest talks need to come from a posit of detached love. Active addicts are expert at detecting and thwarting the efforts of codependent who try, with the best of intentions, to control and manipulate them.

The most important rules in dealing with someone who is addicted are these:

  • Ÿ Get clear about what you will and will not tolerate and then set limits.
  • Ÿ Never make promises or threats that you are not willing or able to do.

Here are some more ideas to think about if someone you know and love is actively addicted: Keep loving them.

1. Keep loving them.

2. Remember their addiction is not about you.

3. Every addict has “teachable moments” but they are few and far between.

4. Choose carefully when you try to talk about getting help. In the aftermath of undeniable consequences when the person is sober and feeling remorseful is often the best time.

5. Work your anger out with your own therapist. Getting made at an addict just gives them the excuse to not take you seriously.

6. Detach with love. This means keep loving an caring but stop giving them resources that allow them to keep drinking and drugging.

7. Give them information about addiction and treatment/recovery resources.

8. Tell the truth and set clear boundaries calmly and firmly.

9. Remember, getting well is and always will be their choice. You can just make the choice easier by removing any support for their addiction and refusing to accept or enable any unacceptable behavior.

10. Loving an addicted family member is hard. It can make you a sick and codependent. Put yourself first. If you allow the addict to destroy you, it will make you part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

The most important rules in dealing with someone who is addicted are these:

  • Ÿ Get clear about what you will and will not tolerate and then set limits.
  • Ÿ Never make promises or threats that you are not willing or able to do.

Ÿ Be consistent. Your behavior needs to be the stable point on the map of sober and responsible living.

These three rules are easy to understand buy incredibly difficult to put into action. So learn to be gentle with yourself. You wont be able to do it perfectly and you don’t need to.

Living with an addict is painful. So is setting boundaries and following through no matter what. Most of us need help and support to figure out what to do and to stand firm in the face of the out-of-control addiction of someone you love. It will take time and emotional work on your part to get prepared to detach with love while pointing the addict toward treatment/recovery resources. Don’t worry. The addiction probably won’t go away while you are learning to deal with it in ore effective ways.

It is hard detaching from an actively addicted person. There will come a point, however, when they will use any action you take as a part of their rationalization to keep using. Don’t take it personally. It is just what addicts do to everyone and anyone who tries to help.

Addicts do recover. They usually do it in their own time when the perfect storm of consequences start sinking their ship and the only rescue helicopter in sight is a recovery program.

This is a very difficult disease to have and just as difficult to live with.

If you are in recovery, don’t abandon those you love. When you get sober, please be aware that your friends and family may need not just your amends, but your help to get their health and their lives back.

Recovery is not just about the addict. It is about everyone who is affected by the addiction.

Check out Alanon and find a therapist knowledgeable in codependency.


Gorski Books

Addiction Is A Brain Disease With Biopsychosocial Symptoms

April 28, 2014

ASAM LogoThe American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) describes addiction as a brain disease with biopsychosocial symptoms .

The detailed information can be found at this website: ASAM Definition of Addiction

Long-term Recovery and the Possibility of Relapse

April 28, 2014

Long-term Recovery

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

Long-term recovery is possible. It happens all the time. The proof is all around us. Some people achieve long-term recovery after their first attempt. Others find long-term recovery after one or more relapse episodes. Some people die of the disease. Relapse is more often a temporary setback than a sign of permanent failure.

RELAPSE IS NOT A NECESSARY PART OF RECOVERY. Some people, however, do relapse.

At times the relapse is fatal. Many times it is not.

Many recovering people have several relapse episodes and they learn vital lessons from each one and eventually achieve long-term recovery.

Addiction is a chronic lifestyle-related disease. The antidote for addiction is to live a sober and responsible life.

My primary message is this: If you start drinking/drugging again and have a moment of sanity — reach out for help.

I am not saying that relapse is a necessary thing or a good thing. I am just saying that relapse tends to be part of recovery from chronic lifestyle related illnesses, of which alcoholism and drug addiction is one.

Have a plan to prevent relapse should you experience early relapse warning signs.

Have an emergency plan to stop relapse quickly should it occur.

Learn to live and enjoy life fully in a sober and responsible way.

Respect the power of the disease and the fallibility within our human nature.

Expect the best in recovery and work to achieve it. Have an emergency Plan B to stop relapse quickly and get back into recovery.

I hope you will never need to use Plan B. Having a Plan B, however, can save lives should a relapse occur.

Live Sober – Be Responsible – Live Free

Long-term Recovery and Relapse Management

April 25, 2014

By Terence T. Gorski, Author, April 25, 2014


The Long Road Home

Recovery can be a long road home, but many people make the journey and arrive safely. This is demonstrated by a 1997 study by Keith Humphreys, Rudolf H. Moos, Caryn Cohen entitled Social and Community Resources and Long-Term Recovery from Treated and Untreated Alcoholism the published in The Journal for the Study of Alcohol in 1997 (J. Stud. Alcohol 58: 231-238, 1997) clearly showed the need to focus upon life-long disease management in the treatment of alcoholism. This means moving rom an acute care treatment model to a chronic care model is important to improving long-term recovery rates. Acute Care Treatment Models focus upon intensive up-front treatment at high levels of care, often medically supervised detoxification and residential rehabilitation while neglecting ongoing coordinated long-term continuing care. In contract, Chronic Disease Management Models for the treatment of alcoholism focus upon improving long-term recovery rates by providing effective stabilization services matched to patient needs, managing relapse by stopping it quickly should it occur, and supporting ongoing recovery that changes as the needs of patients change over the course of a lifetime. It is important that addiction professionals become familiar with the effectiveness of Long-term Chronic Disease Management Approaches to the treatment of addiction. This approach involves:

  • Early identification and intervention;
  • Effective stabilization programs that break the immediate addiction cycle
  • Teaching patients primary recovery skills;
  • Involving families in the recovery process;
  • Building community support services around the needs of recovering people and their families;
  • Preventing relapse when possible by teaching people how to identify and manage early warning signs of relapse and high risk situations;
  • Effectively managing relapse by stopping it quickly should relapse occur and getting the patient back into an ongoing recovery process.

The following outline can be used for presentation summarizing the Humphreys et al 1997 study. Feel free to use it in your public presentations. 1. Long-term studies of the course of alcoholism suggest that a variety of factors other than professional treatment influence the process of recovery. These factors include:

  • Demographic factors;
  • Baseline alcohol-related problems;
  • Depression;
  • Professional treatment;
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA);
  • Other social and community resources

2. This study evaluated the role of these factors in predicting remission and psychosocial outcome over 8 years. 3. In this study a sample of 628 previously untreated alcoholic individuals was recruited at detoxification units and alcoholism information and referral services.

  • Of these participants, 395 (68.2%) were followed 3 and 8 years later.
  • Most (83.3%) were white (n = 329) and 50.1% (n = 198) were men.

4. At each contact point, participants completed A self-administered inventory that assessed their:

  •  Current problems,
  • Treatment utilization,
  • AA participation and
  • Quality of relationships.

4. The results showed that:

  • The number of inpatient treatment days received in the 3 years after baseline were not independently related to 8-year remission or psychosocial outcomes.
  • More outpatient treatment in the first 3 years increased the likelihood of 8-year remission, but was not related to psychosocial outcomes.
  • The number of AA meetings attended in the first 3 years predicted remission, lower depression, and higher quality relationships with friends and spouse/partner at 8 years.
  • Extended family quality at baseline also predicted remission and higher quality friendships and family relationships at 8 years.

5. The Conclusions drawn were:

  • Alcoholism is a chronic, context-dependent, and lifestyle related disorder.
  • Short-term up-front interventions have little long-term impact upon recovery rates or quality of life improvements.
  • Social and community resources that are readily available for long periods are more likely to have a lasting influence on the course of alcoholism.

Using Psychology and Brain Science To Motivate Positive Public Policy Change

April 21, 2014

A Review by Terence T. Gorski, Author

Deborah Hersman is the outgoing National Transportation Safety Board chair. This is her farewell address at a National Press Club on April 21, 2014 Speakers Breakfast.


Deborah Herseman

I recommend this short presentations to you for two reasons:

(1) It is an excellent presentation of the agenda for improving transportation safety, especially in the airline industry.

(2) But even more importantly, because is it one of the best examples of public speaking skills that I have seen.

She builds her talk around compelling metaphors and then brings the metaphors to life with real life stories. Then she presents factual information factual that becomes linked in the listeners’ minds with the powerful metaphors and stories.

Hersman shows how recent research in brain function and psychology can be used to motivate positive change in publics policy. She never says this is what she is doing — she just shows how it is done.

Deborah Hersman on Transportation Safety
Outgoing Address, The National Press Club
APRIL 21, 2014

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