Signs of Enabling An Addicted Loved One

Enabling a loved one is very easy to do, and often times it happens without even realizing it. This is because the behaviors feel so much like help. Anyone who loves someone with a substance abuse problem does not want to see them suffer. They do not want to see them in pain, or to walk through the perils of addiction and the shattering effects that it has on their livelihood, their family, and their life.

Addiction way out problem sign. Prevention and cure addiction problem concept.

Here are three signs that may let you know if you are enabling the addict.


When you just want the behavior to stop it is easy to try to step in the way of the addiction in the hopes that the behavior will stop. Things like hiding or flushing drugs, dumping alcohol down the drain, hiding the car keys and money seem like ways to help and to prevent the problem from being there.

Unfortunately, it leads to more creativity for the addict. More lies. More manipulation. More ways that they can try to hide their addictive behavior. What it doesn’t do is help them or get them healthy. It won’t cure the addiction. It won’t convince them that their behavior is wrong and hurting others.

If their addictive behavior makes you feel unsafe, your first priority must be your own safety. Interfering will not help the situation, it will only make it worse as they get more creative in the ways they attempt to hide it.

Hiding and Lying

Do you cover up behavior for the addict? Making up excuses for why the addict is not at an event or for their behavior are ways that you may do this. You may also lie for them, telling work, friends and family they are sick when they are in the throes of addiction is a common form of this. So is hiding things such as paraphernalia when others are around.

The motivation is fear. You may tell yourself that it is fear of them losing their job, social appearances, losing status, but this is generally really out of a deep-seeded fear of change.

Yes, you are hiding and lying for them for your convenience, because life on the outside appears good and you want to keep it that way. But you must face the reality, and accept that maybe they will lose their job, maybe they need to in order to want to face their addiction. Maybe it will affect your life in some ways. But those are consequences of being involved with an addict, and they are ones that will never go away until the addict gets help with their addiction.

Compensating for their Behavior

Do you lend them money or find yourself constantly lending things to the one with the substance abuse problem?  Do you this and tell yourself you are doing these things because they need them for work, school, or other things that you believe are necessary for them to stop their behavior? The truth is, it won’t bring about the changes you were hoping for.

None of us want someone we love to suffer. But when we shield them and protect them from feeling their own suffering, that they are causing for themselves, we take away the decision for them to even think about changing.

Are You Enabling?

Does any of the above resonate with you? If so you may be. The reality of enabling someone is that is prevents them from taking responsibility for their own actions. Whether the intentions are good or not, it prevents them from fully experiencing the reality of their own life.

Stopping these behaviors and letting them live their reality is not an easy thing to do, and doing it often feels much worse than things are now. But only when that is done do they have the possibility to think about change and ask about getting help.

The Myth Behind the Creative Addict

The belief that certain drugs or alcohol enhance creativity has been around for centuries. Beethoven and Van Gogh had exceptional talent and were alcoholics. During the 1960’s psychotropic drugs were often taken by musicians to expand their mind and inspire creativity. Even today, Silicon Valley tech workers are justifying the use of micro-doses of LSD to facilitate productivity and creativity.

It is certainly likely that illicit drugs can lead to original thinking due to disinhibition associated with the drugs’ use, and artists often use them to overcome stage fright or performance anxiety as well. Drug use, however, can eventually impair the artist, rendering him unable to practice his craft without the continued use of more drugs or alcohol.

In particular, heroin increases the flow of dopamine to the brain resulting in pleasurable feelings. Eventually, the abuser will build up a resistance to heroin, requiring increasing and more frequent doses to achieve the same pleasant feelings. In time, the addict will lose the ability to experience pleasure from normal artistic endeavors. Such was the case with famous heroin overdose deaths like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, and Sid Vicious.

Other artists died prematurely due to causes exacerbated by their drug and alcohol abuse like Jerry Garcia, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, and Ernest Hemingway. Each one of these artists, and many others, eventually found their creativity stifled. In fact, when Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize just a few years before his suicide, he remarked in his speech that the writer “…grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates.” At the time of Whitney Houston’s death, she was attempting to stage a comeback after a number of years of poor performances.  Jerry Garcia’s mental and physical health had been in decline for several years before he died of a heart attack after checking into rehab again in 1995.

Creativity and Addiction

Creatives are unique and admirable for their special qualities. They like to take risks, they think big and are nonconformist, they like to daydream and consider the possibilities, and they are keen observers of people and life and are willing to open themselves to new experiences. These are the qualities artists need in order to write, paint, and perform. For the artist who succumbs to the lie that drugs and alcohol will heighten her creativity, shewill find in time their talents stole away by addiction. To become and remain a successful artist, it takes discipline and thousands of hours of hard work. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to work when in the throes of an addiction.

If you need to foster your creativity, you will find healthier and more effective proven methods by getting outside in nature, switching up the time of day that you normally work, changing the environment that you work in, spending some time in a different creative interest, taking time for rest and exercise, and using your natural curiosity to learn something new. And if you are an artist struggling with addiction, it’s imperative you receive treatment. Make the call to get the help you need to live the healthy, creative life you deserve.

Stress Management Through Creative Expression

The pressure that comes with the ups and downs of everyday life can be difficult to manage, especially when someone is accustomed to suppressing or avoiding it with drugs and alcohol. The ability to relieve stress in a healthy manner is an important component of long-term recovery.

Purpose and Meaning

Creative expression does not require specialized skills or formal training. It is a personal process, a cathartic method that does not have to follow guidelines or be shared with anyone else. When you pour all of your energy into a creative outlet, there is no more room for self-pity, anger or fear. You are essentially getting out of your own way by disrupting negative thought patterns that lead to stress and anxiety.

Self-expression is also an avenue to self-discovery and healing. Creating something personal can lead to a sense of fulfillment that does not exist when someone is consuming substances or otherwise avoiding reality.

Types of Creative Expression

Creativity comes in many forms, all of which can lead to the same goal: relieving stress and finding peace.

Art: Some people create visual images or manipulate line and color to express their emotions, while others do it simply for the process. For someone who is intimidated by the thought of having to draw or paint something, coloring pages can produce the same effect.

Writing: Whether through poetry, prose or journaling, writing is a way to get feelings out and tell a story, whether or not anyone is meant to read it. Writing letters to someone without sending them, is another way to find peace with what you are holding inside.

Music: Both creating and listening to music have the power to move the senses and bring relief. Making music can be as simple as using household items as drums or singing along to an uplifting song.

Movement: Dancing and other active methods of expression help clear the mind and are beneficial for physical health. Dancing for the purpose of stress relief does not require skill, and it does not have to follow a certain form.

Things to Consider

The types of creative expression you decide to use is your personal choice. If nothing from the list above seems appealing, explore other options. Also, engaging in the creative process does not have to be a daily activity, but it is beneficial to practice it on a often. Making it a habit helps to make life as a whole more manageable and less stressful. This habit will promote healthy leisure and become a major source of stress relief.

The Four Necessary Aspects of Comprehensive Addiction Recovery

It is no secret that substance abuse takes a toll on an individual, but the damage might not always be obvious. Usually, the problems that stick out are physical symptoms. Even medical issues that are not visible from the outside, such as liver disease and hepatitis, can be observed and are easily measured by medical professionals.

What might not be as evident are three other detrimental effects that active addiction can have on a person. Using also harms a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Therefore, recovery must address all four of these areas, in order to be comprehensive and successful in the long term. The good news is that there is hope. Keep reading to learn the many techniques and resources that are readily available.

The Physical

In active addiction, it is common for people to neglect their medical needs. Start by seeking medical attention for any issues that have not been addressed, and continue with regular check-ups and preventative care.

Maintaining physical wellness over time also requires a healthy routine:

  • Eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day
  • Exercise, which can be as simple as walking)
  • Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night

The Mental

Prolonged substance abuse can affect the brain and have a negative impact on mental functioning. While some conditions are irreversible or require medication, there are steps you can take to improve clarity and reasoning:

  • Read
  • Play word games
  • Do jigsaw puzzles and other activities that require concentration
  • Perform activities that require hand-eye coordination and improve motor skills
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in caffeine

The Emotional

Regular substance use interferes with a person’s ability to experience and process emotions. Mood swings and anxiety are common in early recovery.

Especially in the beginning, the focus should be on stabilizing moods and learning how to cope with the natural ups and downs of life:

  • Develop a support network
  • Identify triggers
  • Practice coping skills

The Spiritual

The spiritual aspect of addiction and recovery is not necessarily tied to religion. Some people say that they experience an empty feeling, a hole that they were trying to fill by using drugs and alcohol. People sometimes refer to this as a ““spiritual void.”

In order to avoid relapsing or replacing substances with other addictive behaviors, it is important to fill that void with spiritual practices and principles:

  • Pray or reach out to a higher power
  • Meditate and reflect on thoughts and behaviors
  • Connect with other people in recovery
  • Do service work to reach out to help someone else 

Recovery takes effort, and some areas might be harder than others. It is often recommended that people get involved in a 12-step program or Refuge Recovery, as they provide support and tools for lasting recovery. Regardless of your method, the key to maintaining over time is to regularly address the four domains outlined above.

The Differences Between Moderate Drinking and Alcoholism

There are different levels of drinking, from moderate to heavy. While it is apparent to most people that an alcoholic drinks more than someone at a moderate level, few people understand that the differences are definable by the number of drinks, frequency of drinking, and whether there is a dependence on alcohol or not.

How Many Drinks and How Often?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to two drinks per day for men and a single drink per day for women. This amount is less than binge drinking, which is a drinking pattern that “brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL,” as per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Women typically reach this BAC level after consuming four drinks in a two-hour period, while it is five drinks for men. This pattern repeats about once a month for a binge drinker, who is not necessarily a heavy drinker.

For a heavy drinker, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains this individual drinks at least five drinks in one sitting on five or more days in the past month. At this point, he or she has an alcohol use disorder, as per the SAMHSA, which is a medical condition most commonly known as alcoholism.

Dependence on Alcohol

In addition to an alcoholic consuming more drinks on a single occasion and more often than a moderate drinker, an alcoholic also has a dependence on this substance that someone at a moderate level does not. Alcohol is an addictive drug, both physically and mentally, and becomes the most important thing to an alcoholic in his or her life. This person typically gives up social interactions and relationships in favor of opportunities to drink, which a moderate drinker is far less likely to do.

An alcoholic, unlike a moderate drinker, thinks the ability to function is not possible without drinking. There are different levels of alcoholism, as well, with some people being more severe than others. But the common thread is that when the individual finds it difficult to have fun or relax without a drink, there is a mental dependence on alcohol.

Treatment for Alcoholism

As the misuse of alcohol can significantly endanger a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, it is important to seek quality treatment as soon as possible for an issue of this kind. A reputable rehab center can provide the opportunity for a sober, rewarding life.

Getting Back to Balance in Early Addiction Recovery

People tend to neglect themselves and their responsibilities during active addiction. Cleanliness becomes less of a priority, bills go unpaid, and relationships are neglected. It is unrealistic to think that all of these issues can be addressed and repaired as soon as someone gets clean.

In early recovery, the primary focus should be on putting down the alcohol or other drugs and staying clean throughout each day. This is a process that takes time and effort. Attending to daily responsibilities comes next.

Finding Balance in Early Addiction Recovery

One of the benefits of long-term recovery is that people learn to have fun and connect with others. Over time, lives become full. Factor in employment, relationships, children and other responsibilities, and days can get busy.

Finding a perfect harmony between responsibilities, leisure and active recovery is unrealistic. Work deadlines and family emergencies may temporarily take precedence over other aspects of a routine; however, finding a measure of balance is possible if you have a foundation that allows you to meet priorities without dropping other responsibilities.

Methods to Maintain Recovery

Even when other situations need your full attention, it is possible to keep recovery present on a daily basis. Here are some techniques to keep recovery at the forefront while also attending to other responsibilities:

  1. Start each morning with a positive attitude. Remember that you have made it this far and will continue moving forward as long as you use the skills you gained in recovery.
  2. Make time for prayer and/or meditation in the mornings and at night. This can be as simple as reading a daily meditation or asking a higher power for guidance.
  3. Review your thoughts and actions at the end of each day. Ask yourself what you did well and what you need to work on. Make a personal commitment to better yourself.
  4. Attend 12-step meetings, Refuge Recovery, SMART meetings, or another support group on a regular basis. Connect with your support network in person or on the phone if you cannot get to a meeting.
  5. If you feel pessimistic or find yourself wanting to give up, write a gratitude list. This can help you remember what you have gained in recovery and what you are working toward.

Remember to keep it simple in the beginning. Focus on staying clean and learning how to live without the use of substances or replacement behaviors. As this becomes a natural process, people find their lives becoming full with activities, relationships and responsibilities. Life can become overwhelming, but with a solid foundation and daily attention to recovery, it is possible to meet responsibilities and stay clean throughout a lifetime.

The Rollercoaster of Emotions in Early Addiction Recovery

Early Recovery is an Emotional Rollercoaster

While ups and downs in life are expected, the rollercoaster of emotions that come with alcohol and drug rehabilitation can be surprising and overwhelming to addicts. This point is particularly true in the early part of recovery when an addict typically feels extreme highs and lows.

Change as a Contributing Factor

Entering rehab is a huge step for a person struggling with an addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs. It is a time abundant with changes, including ending relationships with “friends” who still drink or use drugs, making new sober friends, and finding activities to fill the void of time no longer spent using or drinking. With so many changes, it makes sense that there are many emotions felt, including sadness, fear, anger, and withdrawal.

Getting Back in Touch with Emotions

Often, addicts use drugs or alcohols to numb their feelings; the substances provide a way to escape emotions they do not want to deal with, such as guilt or shame. When they later decide to seek treatment, they must abstain from these substances and, therefore, start to feel their emotions again. After feeling numb for what is typically many years, a person in rehab often feels overcome with the array of emotions.

Other Mental Health Problems

An undiagnosed mental health issue may account for emotional highs and lows in early rehab. A good treatment program involves an initial mental health assessment to determine if the person in drug or alcohol rehab has a co-existing disorder, such as depression. A recovery center can provide a person in this situation with appropriate medical attention.

Sleep and Nutritional Issues

Emotions may also be rampant if the person in recovery does not get enough sleep or enters rehab with nutritional deficits. While these issues may be avoidable while on drugs or drinking, they are more likely to come to light and be a source of emotional discomfort during rehabilitation.

Getting onto Stable Ground

Many addicts experience huge emotional highs and lows during substance abuse rehab, particularly early on when there are many issues to address. To get off the roller coaster and onto more stable ground where the person in recovery begins to feel in control of their life again is the goal. Entering a rehab facility provides the individual with the opportunity to learn how to cope instead of turning to drugs or alcohol.

The Shift from Prescription Opiates to Heroin

Prescription opiate addiction and heroin addiction have been on the rise for the past decade. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimating that more than two million Americans have substance abuse disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. The prescription pill addiction can lead to overdoses, deaths, risky behaviors like motor vehicle accidents, and spread to an addiction to heroin. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), four out of five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.

The Beginnings of Addiction

Often people receive opiate (and other) prescribed drugs for injuries from medical professionals, to ease the individual’s back pain, osteoarthritis, or another type of persistent pain. Examples of common opiates, naturally defined painkillers from the opium poppy, are codeine and morphine. But, while the drug helps with the pain, it is addictive, and, as the shown below, it can also set this person on a path to heroin addiction.

The Typical Shift to Heroin

Often an individual who is legally prescribed painkillers for an injury becomes addicted to these pills. They move to buying the pills on the street illegally or getting them from their friends as they can no longer justify the medication to their doctor. The demand for prescription opiates by illegal methods has increased over the years, driving up its price and causing a shortage of these types of pills.

Now, for many Americans, the prescription painkillers are too expensive and difficult to get, so they are switching to heroin as it is a cheaper way to get a similar high. For those people who try to get off of the opiates on their own, without outside help of rehabilitation centers, they face painful withdrawal and offset withdrawal symptoms by taking heroin.

But heroin use can be deadly. The rate of heroin overdose deaths almost quadrupled from 2000 to 2013, as per American Society for Addiction Medicine.

Seeking Help

A prescription opiate addiction and/or heroin addiction is serious. Lives are lost due to drug addictions every day. For you or your loved one, seeking help from a quality rehabilitation center can be a great first step toward achieving and maintaining a clean lifestyle. What individuals learn about themselves and their addiction from rehab facilities can effectively reduce risks of relapse.

Community Outreach for Addicts

Once a drug or alcohol addict admits dependency on a particular substance, the next best step is to seek assistance from qualified professionals in the addiction rehabilitation field. Community outreach services for addicts commit to providing accessible and inclusive services in Malibu, California.

What is Community Outreach?

Outreach programs commit to helping at-risk alcohol and drug user facilities and individuals with substance abuse issues. This approach centers on providing services and materials to these people via outreach workers and their network.

A Team Effort

The team of certified professional counselors design and offer personalized strategies to individuals who seek abstinence from alcohol or drugs. In Malibu, good community outreach services support local organizations and provide care that goes beyond the usual agency boundaries. Services include pre-admission consultation, assessment, therapy (individual and group), and activities (yoga, boxing, and more).

Providing Connections for Addicts

Quality community outreach services connect addicts with the care they need; the outreach team recognizes they provide an important start to the recovery journey and a better life ahead for many people. As no two addicts are the same, resources must be customized to the addict, according to factors that include the recovering addict’s type of addiction, the severity of addiction, and personal circumstances. Partnering with local social service organizations is the optimal way to provide community outreach services effectively.

Maintaining connections between addicts and the services to help them, once connections have been formed, is essential for any good community outreach team. It is a viable way to keep drug and alcohol abusers out of the vicious cycle of being in and out of treatment centers.

Types of Community Outreach Services

The services, provided by focused counselors, include sessions on SMART recovery meetings, equine therapy, case management, assessment, medical consultation, and employment assistance. Activities typically run throughout days and evenings so that drug and alcohol addicts seeking assistance can find times that work with their schedules.

The goal is to put people in recovery first and focus on their needs as they struggle with addiction. Community outreach services are available to everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, income level, or romantic orientation. Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction can better the lives of those in recovery, strengthen families, and provide optimism for the future.

How Residential Addiction Programs Accept Insurance

The cost of rehab programs may frighten potential clients seeking recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse. High-end luxury programs can appear imposing upon first glance, especially if the inquiring party is considering paying out of pocket.

Fortunately, most insurance companies now provide coverage for residential addiction programs and treatment beyond inpatient residential facilities. Four things will most likely affect the cost of rehab programs: length of stay, location of facility, program type, and amenities included. The range of treatment amenities can include daily yoga classes to private chefs to equestrian therapy. Each individual requires specific treatment programs to suit his or her needs, as he or she embarks on the courageous journey of recovery. Discovering which place is the best fit can be an exciting opportunity with the help of a supportive insurance company team.

How do Residential Addiction Programs Accept Insurance?

First, it’s important to contact your insurance provider and ask the right questions detailing your specific inquiry. Will this stay involve someone over the age of 18? Are there pre-existing medical conditions to consider? Will work be missed to take this leave of absence? Whatever the particulars, your insurance provider can outline a plan of action to aid in your discovery of the right treatment facility for you.

Next, considering a list of credible residential addiction programs from a list of resources you may have gathered online or from a therapist or a trusted friend/family member will help you make an informed decision during your interview process. Upon inquiry, it is important that you have already discussed the options with your insurance provider so that you’ll have some knowledge going in; otherwise, the time it takes to gain residence in an addiction program may take longer. Either way, the residential addiction program may discuss payment options with the insurance provider directly to thoroughly cover payment plans and level of care options.

Usually, a friendly intake specialist at a residential treatment program will happily discuss payment plans with an insurance provider once you have approached them with the possibility of stay. Partial coverage is also a consideration once you have decided to utilize the resource of private or public insurance. Group insurance is another resource currently offering the possibility of full coverage at a residential treatment program. Additionally, a sliding scale is offered at many treatment facilities in order to accommodate those in need of financial assistance.

Inquire with your insurance provider about which facilities may provide the treatment desired. The program of your dreams might just be a perfect match with your trusted provider!