Your Recovery During Thanksgiving

recoveryOn the eve of Thanksgiving, it is important that those who are working a program of recovery have a plan for the holiday. Creating a schedule will eliminate the potential of finding oneself in a dangerous situation, something that could compromise your recovery. We have a routine that we stick to every other day of the year, holidays are no different. If possible, stick to your daily recovery routine, i.e.: prayer/meditation, exercise, and meetings. You may find that you need all of these things to help you navigate the obstacles that often arise for people in recovery over the holidays.

Prayer/Meditation

Many working programs of recovery pray and/or meditate every day, sometimes more than once per day. It is an opportunity to clear one’s mind, a grounding technique that helps you stay centered throughout the day. Such practices provide people an opportunity to reflect on that which they are grateful for – family, friends, and their recovery.

The holidays can be tough for those in recovery, especially if your family is no longer present in your life. Take comfort in your peers, those in your support network that you can draw strength from when painful feelings pop up. Recovery is a communal experience, one that requires that we lean on each other for support from time to time. Who knows, your peers may need to rely upon you on Thanksgiving.

Exercise

Thanksgiving is a holiday notorious for having too much food at the table. While holidays symbolize a time for people to take a day off from the everyday and overindulge, again for those in recovery it is critical that you stick to your daily routine.

Letting up on your exercise during a holiday is not necessarily frowned upon, but one should remain cognizant of how they are feeling. If you have an daily exercise routine and you choose to pass on it for the day, you may find yourself feeling a little off, do not let those feelings run away with themselves. Acknowledge that your routine has been disrupted and do your best to pull yourself out of the funk. If you need to call your sponsor or a friend in recovery, pick up the phone.

Meetings

Fortunately, major holidays are time when there are no shortage of meetings being held throughout the day. In many areas, Alcathons and Narcathons are being held, meetings are held at the top of every hour of the day. Do your best to attend your home group, but if you find yourself in need of another meeting – go to another meeting. Nobody ever relapsed by going to too many meetings during a holiday.

Our Hope

At Next Step Intervention, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are actively working a program of recovery, we hope that you will have a safe and sober holiday.

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Please contact Next Step Intervention if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Sober January ~ Drynuary ~ Interventions And Understanding The Importance Of A Safe Medical Withdrawl From Alcohol

"No drinking"
“No drinking” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A simple Facebook post caught our eye…

According to Wikipedia, FACEBOOK (FB) reported 1.15 billion (yes, with a B) monthly users as of January 2014. So it is pretty fair to say that if you are reading this post you probably also have a FB page. We read an acquaintance’s FB status post the other day which caught our attention.

“So today is 7 days sober! I’m going to try and stick it out til Friday as I’m really not craving alcohol at all.”

The reason we found this status interesting is that it seemed our acquaintance was in some kind of contest or had taken a bet that he could just stop drinking for a particular amount of time. We have no idea if he is a casual drinker or has a problem with alcohol or not. But we became curious about how many people decide to stop drinking after the New Year.

Are you familiar with the term drynuary?

We googled the phrase “sober January” and we came across a number of articles that referred to the term drynuary. Basically it means to abstain from alcohol for the month of January; however, the Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:

The practice of not drinking for the entire month of January — staying “dry” — usually in response to over-consumption during the holidays. Avoiding alcohol for the month can be seen as a form of New Year’s resolution intended to cleanse the liver, promote a more healthy lifestyle, atone for sins of the past, etc. Drynuary usually results in an increase in seeing movies, drinking sparkling water in bars, and hanging out in diners drinking coffee on Saturday nights. Usually followed by an ill-advised reentry into heavy boozing on February 1st without realizing how badly your tolerance has suffered.

L.V. Anderson, a Slate assistant editor, indicates that the term drynuary was coined in 2007 by author John Ore. And apparently this tradition is not practiced just in the United States, but also often mentioned in Great Britain as “sober January.”

The importance of understanding alcohol withdrawal syndrome…

On the surface the idea of taking a break from consuming alcohol sounds like a good healthy decision; however, many people who are high functioning alcoholics and their family members may not be aware of the serious complications of alcohol withdrawal. According to WebMD:

“Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months, or years and then either stop or significantly reduce their alcohol consumption.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as two hours after the last drink, persist for weeks, and range from mild anxiety and shakiness to severe complications, such as seizures and delirium tremens (also called DTs). The death rate from DTs — which are characterized by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever — is estimated to range from 1% to 5%.

Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms can rapidly worsen, it’s important to seek medical attention even if symptoms are seemingly mild. Appropriate alcohol withdrawal treatments can reduce the risk of developing withdrawal seizures or DTs.”

If you are unfamiliar with delirium tremens (DTs), you might recall seeing it depicted in various movies over the years: The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Lost Weekend (1945),  The Last Samurai (2003), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Everything Must Go (2010), to name a few.

Consider an Interventionist

It is not unusual for family members to become aware of a loved one’s serious addiction to alcohol or drugs during the holiday season. Trying to convince a loved one to seek treatment can seem like an impossible challenge. Guidance is often sought from primary care physicians, school counselors, friends, neighbors, relatives, or employee assistance programs; however, reaching out to an interventionist can be one of the healthiest decisions you can make for yourself and for your loved one. An action plan can be set in motion:

  • A determination of the need for an intervention – sometimes when the loved one has already agreed on receiving treatment, a recommendation will be made that doesn’t involve an intervention.
  • Arrangements to execute the intervention (travel, timing, special needs and considerations for the time, place and type of intervention)
  • Pre-intervention counseling and advisement – thorough determination of what families need to prepare such as verbal or written statements to the loved one and what to expect emotionally during an intervention.
  • The intervention
  • Transport to treatment, either with the addicted, family member and/or interventionist or via scheduled travel arrangements to the recommended treatment center.

 

Recovery is possible; it starts with the first step

To start the New Year we thought we would share with you a video we came across today from Family Health Productions. The video is narrated by Matt Damon and is simply called: Alcohol: True Stories.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Here’s to you, to your health, to your recovery…

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Consider Prevention Interventions With Adolescents

How we learn about interventions 

How much do you know about the intervention process? Chances are that prior to March 2005 the word “intervention” was seldom used in homes across the United States; however, on March 6, 2005, the A&E Network debuted their reality show that deals with addiction and specifically about the process of families intervening to convince their loved one to seek treatment for their addiction. The series is called simply INTERVENTION.

The series received the Emmy Nomination twice for Outstanding Reality Series and won the Emmy in 2009. Additionally, INTERVENTION has won the PRISM Award five times, an award in the entertainment industry for accurate depiction of social issues. Over the past seven years with 13 seasons INTERVENTION has been a teaching tool that families could use to learn more about addiction and how to work with their loved ones to begin the road to recovery. The episodes were brutally honest, but at the same time hopeful and David McKillop, the executive VP of Programming at A&E Network and Bio Channel explained when announcing that the final season would begin June 13, 2013:

“As Intervention comes to an end, we’re proud to have paved the way for such an original and groundbreaking series. We’re honored to have been a part of the 243 interventions since its premiere in March of 2005, leading to the 156 individuals that are currently sober to this day.”

So now we are into the final episodes, but along the way we have learned so much. We have learned that interventions can be a new beginning for the entire family and we have learned that facing our own reality is the first step. And maybe, just maybe, INTERVENTION has been a catalyst for the parents of younger children to be aware and cognizant of their children’s behavior.

New study examines impulsive adolescents

On June 25, 2013, the journal ADDICTION published online the results of new research conducted by scientists at the University of Liverpool: Multiple behavioural impulsivity tasks predict prospective alcohol involvement in adolescents.

Study’s parameters

 

  • The study took place in North West England
  • 287 adolescents were studied
  • 51% of the students were male
  • Students were 12 or 13 at the time they enrolled in the study
  • The participants repeated computer tests every six months over a two year period

 

Study’s results

According to ScienceDaily:

 

Results showed that those participants who were more impulsive in the tests went on to drink more heavily or have problems with alcohol at a later time.
The study did not, however, show that alcohol consumption led to increased impulsive behaviour on the computer tests. This suggests that there is a link between impulsivity and adolescent drinking, but that alcohol may not necessarily lead to increased impulsive behaviour in the short-term.

As one of the researchers, Professor Matt Field, expresses so eloquently: “Our results show that more impulsive individuals are more likely to start drinking heavily in the future compared to less impulsive individuals. The next steps are to take these results and apply them to prevention interventions that are tailored to individual characteristics, such as impulsivity. We also need to conduct studies where we follow-up young people for longer than the two years that we did in the present study. This will help us to understand whether heavy drinking over a longer period during adolescence has an impact on impulsive behaviour.”

Going forward…

As with any research, this is another step in understanding human behavior. Parenting is a journey that takes us on many winding roads. If you feel you need to discuss your child’s risky, impulsive behavior take time for yourself to get solid answers.

Honesty: The First Step In Addiction Intervention

Are you always honest with your doctor?

There have been a number of news articles lately that deal with how honest the average patient is with their primary care physician (PCP).  For whatever reason, many news agencies are now quoting results of a survey conducted in 2010 by General Electric, the Cleveland Clinic and Ochsner Health System which highlights that 28% of Americans admit that they lie to their physician. Of course, many of the lies may very well be those of omission. For example, if the doctor does not probe about the number of alcoholic drinks the patient has over the course of one week, then the patient might omit this information altogether. According to a recent CBS Morning News Saturday feature “patients’ most dangerous lies involve taking medications and herbal remedies, smoking, drinking, dieting and exercising.”

Lying to your doctor could be dangerous to your already fragile physical or emotional condition

This past week CBS News medical contributor, Dr. Holly Phillips appeared on CBS Morning News Saturday to discuss in more detail as to why we are not always honest with our health care providers.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

How does honesty impact an alcoholism or addiction intervention?

Many studies have shown that the key reason people lie to their physicians is that they don’t want to be judged and they don’t want to hear a sermon. More often than not a person who suffers from the disease of addiction also avoids being honest with their family members, their co-workers, their employer, their attorney, the court system, because they are afraid of being judged. For that matter, many of the addict’s closest significant family members are afraid to seek help for their loved one, because they, too, are afraid of being judged.

Taking that first step in getting honest can be the most important step. Seeking help for someone with an addiction is one of the healthiest
decisions you can make for yourself and for your loved one. Like many
challenges in life, you were not meant to face this alone – an intervention is a
road map to how you can spark help and hope for you and the one suffering
from alcoholism and addiction through initiating an intervention and
drug treatment.

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