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RELATIONSHIPS AND MANAGING EXPECTATIONS IN EARLY RECOVERY.

So often we hear people sayingBut why don’t they trust me? I’ve been clean for a few months now, I’ve done 3 months of rehab, surely, they should trust me already.

Firstly, I think we need to look at what a relationship looks like with an addict before we start expecting anything from anyone. If we take a moment and reverse our roles, we might start to see things a little differently.

In Addiction: The Hostage

It has been said that addicts and alcoholics don’t have relationships, they take hostages.

This might sound extreme but if we look a bit closer, this statement has many areas that ring true.

People in relationships with us are often held or controlled by our behaviour, they feel frightened, they are often manipulated, cheated on and lied too. When they threaten the connection between us by saying things like “if you don’t stop using, I will leave you” we take it a step further. 

Here’s the thing, we don’t even need to say anything, even though addicts often do. Things like “well then I’ll drink myself to death” are often used as emotional blackmail to keep people around. 

But we don’t even have to say anything because the people around us know that addiction is fatal, they know that the way we use or drink will one day kill us and their belief is that if they are not around, that process will be accelerated. The fear is gripping; they love us, they don’t want this life for us. They stay because they think they can help.

All of this sounds like a hostage situation, the problem is, it’s their loved one who is holding the gun.

Broken Promises, Broken trust

“I SWEAR THIS TIME I WILL STOP, I PROMISE YOU!“

The saddest thing about this statement is that at the time we meant it. It was a real promise we made, we feel that promise in ourselves. We promise ourselves often that this will be the last time. 

Just one last time”. What our loved ones don’t know is just how out of control we really are, they don’t know that addiction hijacks the brain, they don’t know that its main control center is where our survival instincts live. Just like the need for food and water, our brain tells us we need to use/drink in order to survive. 

If you want to test out your survival instincts, find a very dry place with no water and hang around there for a while, then put yourself in a place with lots of shade and water and see if you can control yourself not to drink the water when your life depends on it. It will reach a point where will power alone will not be enough and you will drink the water. 

The same is said for drugs and alcohol. The primitive brain once hijacked will make sure we use or drink regardless of feelings, relationships or promises.

So we do mean the promise, we ourselves don’t want this life. For every promise, we break to someone we have already broken hundreds to ourselves.

Above are two of the many, many different reasons why people have a hard time trusting us. It’s not hard to understand if we take an honest look at ourselves. We have done some major damage, people are left with trauma after being with us while in addiction.

Time is the best healer here, we have to prove ourselves worthy of trust again. Our behaviour and actions are in line with our words and people will start to see the new you that is starting to shine through.

Finally, be gentle with yourself, but also be gentle with others.

Their love for you has hurt them in the past, they need to do the healing in THEIR own time, not yours.

If you fear yourself or a loved one is addicted to substances if you want yourself/them to stop using and sabotaging relationships, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help. Admitting there is a problem is the first step on your road to recovery

Early Recovery Demands

There are a few “suggestions” for people in early recovery. I say suggestions in the same way that it’s a suggestion to pull the cord on a parachute when you jump out of a plane.
The first thing to realise is that recovery has to come first. Recovery, recovery, and more recovery.
So, the question is how we keep recovery at the forefront of our lives when there is so much going on.

  1. Have a morning routine/structure in place. Keep in mind we are not saints and are on a path of progress not perfection. Forgetting to follow your morning routine doesn’t mean that it’s the end of then world. As long as we are doing better than we were doing before and are making small but definite gains in our recovery then we are on the right path.
  2. Having connections with other recovering people. Don’t underestimate the power of these relationships or connections. ‘ONE ADDICT HELPING ANOTHER IS WITHOUT PARALLEL’. There is a good reason they mention this in the Narcotics Anonymous Blue Book, and that’s because it’s true and it works. Having literally an army of recovering people who have done this before you is a major benefit and would be a waste of their and you’re time not to use them.
    Plus you need someone who has been through the steps to take you through the steps, so if you want to continue working this program of change you are going to have to make the connections.
  3. Support Groups
    Have you heard of the suggestion, 90 meetings in 90 days? That’s right a meeting everyday for 3 months. So many people don’t think this is “necessary”.  By the end of the 3 months you will most likely have a decent support structure in place.
  4. Being accountable.
    Accountability protects us from ourselves. In the early phases of our recovery, we can’t really trust ourselves to make the right decisions all the time. We can’t solve the problem with the thinking that created the problem. Therefore, a sponsor, therapist or counsellor is a major benefactor for us. Setting goals and making commitments to someone makes our jobs a bit easier. Almost forcing us to act on our new-found life. Safeguarding us from the insanity that is spoken about in step two.

There are loads more demands that we must face in early recovery. Please comment below this post on what you might be facing or struggling with.

Surviving the Silly Season

As we fast approach the holiday season and Christmas time, many people in recovery start to feel the anxiety. They have a lot of spare time, they have to attend family reunions where alcohol is usually involved, and financial pressure rears its head. These are a few of the stresses that come with this time of year.

So the question is:

HOW DO WE SURVIVE SILLY SEASON?

There are a few key points we can look at.

  • Being accountable / responsible

Having someone to reach out to is very important during this time. Calling a sponsor or a recovery friend before and after can be great protection if you are going to be in a high-risk situation. We have to take responsibility for our recovery and part of that is having an “escape” plan. It is suggested that if possible you have your own vehicle so that you are able to leave on your own terms should the situation warrant that. People might view this as selfish but remember that your recovery comes before anything else.

  • Having realistic expectations of yourself

Don’t fall to the pressure of others and what you might perceive their expectations of you will be. Chances are your family will already know that your recovery comes first and with that, they will also more than likely try to limit your interaction with triggers and possible problematic situations.

It’s important from your side to remember the key factors that make you an addict/alcoholic.

Once you use/drink, you lose control.

Once you lose control, you hurt everyone around you.

When you hurt everyone around you, you disconnect from the vital support system you have in place.

After disconnecting you feel isolated, alone and misunderstood.

The feeling of uselessness and self-pity returns and the cycle starts again.

You have to be gentle on yourself during this time; rather not take the risk and stay clean/sober, than take the risk and land up drunk or high. Your family will understand and appreciate it when you all wake up on Christmas morning and you are present and clean/sober.

  • Engage with your support system

Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, any of the anonymous programs out there are good places to frequent during this time. Staying connected with like-minded people could be the difference between a New Year filled with dread, shame and guilt and a New Year filled with renewed hope, love and possibilities. We as addicts have the ability to think that we are normal people and can engage in festive activities like normal people forgetting that just under the surface we are minutes from our next relapse. The reminders and discussions with other addicts can be used to reinforce our goals and desires for our lives, priority number one always being our recovery.

  • Take time out of your day to reflect on your life and recovery.

Some might suggest meditation and prayer, but taking some time out for you is very important. Processing and reflecting on our lives gives us the guidance we need to maintain recovery. Find a space and a place where you can spend some time and evaluate what you need for yourself and your recovery. This time will pay off for those around you when you partake in your own life.

  • Keep to your systems and structures as much as possible.

Experience says that addicts of any kind are not fond of change. Attempting to stay in your recovery routines as much as possible can make this time easier. Regardless if you are away on holiday or just extra busy. Most recovering addicts have a morning routine that sets their day on the right path, don’t suddenly change that routine and forget to do the thing that works for your life and recovery. Try to maintain step work if you were busy with it before the season. As stated before, continue meetings and speaking to your sponsor. Working a daily program is a key factor to long term sobriety/recovery.

These are but a few points to look at during this time. Please feel free to comment below on what you might need to do during this time, or contact us directly for advice.

Recovery isn’t just about stopping the using

Many people come into treatment  and think this is recovery, if I could just stop using/drinking/acting out my life would be fine, it would go back to “normal”. Here’s the thing, what’s normal?
Is normal that life you had before you started using/drinking? Is normal the way your life was as a child?

Here are the facts, if you walk into our treatment centre it tells us several things.

  1. Your life is no longer working.
  2. You are slowly or quickly dying.
  3. Your family and or loved ones around you are sick and tired of your behaviour.
  4. You, at some stage needed drugs/alcohol to cope with life.
  5. If you could have stopped on your own, you would have by now.
  6. Lastly you are not here by mistake.

Take note of point number 4, your normal didn’t work for you in the past why would it work now?
We understand that using and or drinking had become the major coping mechanism in your life. The question is not why the drugs/ alcohol, the question is why the need for mood and behaviour altering substance? What has happened in your life that made it okay to cope with such a self-destructive behaviour pattern?
Right here things start to get real for our clients. We go into the past and the present and work with them on as many of the “what’s” and “whys” as we can find in our limited amount of time with them.

We address the denial. Without fully conceding that there is a problem, the clients cannot fully concede that they need help. The need for support and help in early recovery is paramount to the ongoing process.

Recovery starts to take on another form. The old ideas and false expectations fall away. We instil the drive that recovery is not a side-line job and it isn’t an event but rather a program of continual action. We delve into the spirit and hope that clients come out the other side refreshed and with a new lease for life. We are in the life changing business and we might not always reach someone, but there is that one, two or three that get it and make the necessary changes and adjustments to live a full and happy life. This by no means is easy, but we suggest struggle, through the hardships come the growth, through the growth comes the freedom.

The freedom is there, waiting for you to grasp it and make it your reality !

Outgrowing Early Recovery

How to outgrow early recovery

 I’m taken back into those first few months of early recovery, some fond memories, some hard battles. Some lost and some won, one thing was certain from the start, recovery needed to be more than just not using. I wanted a new life, I’ve so often heard people say, ‘I want my life to go back to normal’ the way it was before I started using. The truth of that matter is the life you used to have, you needed drugs to cope, so I knew straight away I wasn’t interested in what life used to be like. It was time to outgrow that old life but also, I had to keep growing.
You see one thing I didn’t realise before was the change had to be continual. I wanted more than what the steps had to offer, I wanted more than what the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous had to offer. I was so comfortable in those rooms, surrounded by dysfunction. Yet when I was around “normal” people I felt uncomfortable and out of place. That dynamic had to change for me, I wanted nothing more than to be a productive person. It’s not that I wanted to be normal, I just wanted to feel like a human being. I was so sick of feeling like I was evil, I was sick of lying and hurting everyone I cared about.

So, the process started, I wanted to know why I was an addict or what made me behave in this strange way. I started writing and reading a lot about different theories because the disease theory on its own didn’t make sense to me, I remember a lecture at the treatment centre where I cleaned up, where they said if addiction is a disease then I don’t have it. That statement made a lot more sense to me than some victim angle, blaming disease as the culprit for my disastrous behaviour. So, what then was left to answer the question, why am I an addict?

This question bothered me for months, I read books, researched and watched YouTube till I was blue in the face. I really liked the direction Dr Marc Lewis was going. The neurological side of addiction was very fascinating to me, I wanted to understand what happened in the brain that caused me to go back and back for more “pleasure” at the expense of everything around me.
I found the harder I looked, the less I understood. The less I understood the more questions I asked. Eventually leading to a place where all those questions became irrelevant.
I wasn’t going to solve the mystery of addiction, I was an addict, full stop. It started there and it ended there. Something new surfaced, how did I stay clean this time and what was different to all the other times I had tried to clean up in rehab?
There are a few important points to make here.

  1. Knowledge within itself is useless. For many years I knew all there was to know about what I believed was recovery. I still couldn’t get through a day without using. If knowledge equalled recovery most of us would have got clean a long time ago. Knowledge becomes useful when it is backed by action, dreams, ideas and goals are nothing without applying yourself and making the necessary changes. This is a program of action after all.
  2. Understanding the fundamental basis for recovery became everything. Here is what it means to me. Within myself I did not have nor would I ever possess the power to control my addiction. Once I start the ball rolling, I use over and over again until it kills me, it was that simple. Powerlessness.
  3. I needed to able to stay clean and sober and most importantly sane without NA and AA before I could walk into those rooms and carry any sort of message of hope. I was sick of always having to depend on something. I had always heard throughout every rehab that it was NA or die, I didn’t want to live that life. What if I find myself in a situation where the rooms are not accessible? I would eventually relapse because my recovery depended on being able to get to meetings. There must be a way to apply the same principals in a different environment.
  4. I was not the man of my ideas and intentions. If I was I would never have been an addict or broken all those promises to the people I loved. I would have stayed clean the first attempt and lived a successful life. It was and still is too some extent easy to live in that fantasy, it’s easier to see myself as what I project I want to be rather than the recovering addict in early recovery. Staying present and accountable helped me see myself for what I was, the ideas were important but I was not that person, yet.
  5. I gained an understanding of myself more than anything else, I learnt where I fall short, where my weaknesses are, I also learnt where my strength lies and how to ask for help. Understanding those few points is what keeps me in recovery. I don’t over-estimate my importance any more than I under-estimate it. I believe I have a realistic view of myself and my abilities. I’m not scared to try new things or admit that I’m struggling.

On concluding I feel that it’s important to say that we are not and never will be perfect, we as humans are fallible, we as addicts are hyper-sensitive and critical. Finding the balance between easy and firm on yourself is the key.

Relapse and what to look out for

Relapse can and does happen.

Relapse is more than just using alcohol or drugs.  It is the progressive process of becoming so dysfunctional in recovery that self-medication with alcohol or drugs seems like a reasonable choice.

The relapse process is a lot like knocking over a line of dominoes. The first domino hits the second, which hits the third, and soon a progressive chain reaction has started. The sequence of problems that lead from stable sobriety to relapse is similar to those dominoes. There are two differences. First, each domino in the line (i.e. each problem that brings us closer to substance use) gets a little bit bigger and heavier until the last domino in the sequence is ten feet tall, four feet wide, and a foot thick. As this 10,000-pound domino begins to fall on us, it is too heavy for us to handle alone. The second difference is that the dominoes circle around behind us. So when the last domino falls, it hits us from behind when we’re not looking.

So here we are, moving along in recovery. We tip over one small domino. No big deal! That domino hits the next, and then the next. A chain reaction gets started. The first dominoes are so small that we can easily convince ourselves that it’s no big deal. We look the other way and start doing other things. All of a sudden a huge domino falls on us from behind, crushing us to the floor, causing serious pain and injury in the process. We need to make the pain go away and we reach for old reliable – the magical substances that always helped us without pain in the past. We’ve now started drinking and drugging.

The answer to avoiding relapse is not to take up weight training so you will be strong enough to lift that last domino off of your now crippled body. Part of the answer is to learn how not to tip over the first domino. Another part of the answer is to develop an emergency plan for stopping the chain reaction quickly before the dominoes start getting so big and heavy that they become unmanageable.

The Relapse Process

The progression of problems that lead to relapse is called the relapse process. Each individual problem in the sequence is called a relapse warning sign. The entire sequence of problems is called a relapse warning sign list. The situations that we put ourselves in that cause or complicate the problems are caused high risk situations.

It’s important to remember that we don’t start drinking and drugging because of the last problem in the sequence. We start drinking and drugging because the entire sequence of problems got out of control. Let’s look at the steps of this process in more detail.

Step 1: Getting Stuck In Recovery

Many of us decide that alcohol or drugs is a problem, stop using, and put together some kind of a recovery plan to help us stay sober. Initially we do fine. At some point, however, we hit a problem that we are unwilling or unable to deal with. We stop dead in our tracks. We are stuck in recovery and don’t know what to do.

Step 2: Denying That We’re Stuck

Instead of recognizing that we’re stuck and asking for help, we use denial to convince ourselves that everything is OK. Denial makes it seem like the problem is gone, but it really isn’t. The problem is still there. It just goes under ground where we can’t see it. At some level we know that the problem is there, but we keep investing time and energy in denying it. This results in a build-up of pain and stress.

Step 3: Using Other Compulsions

To cope with this pain and stress, we begin to use other compulsive behaviors. We can start overworking, over-eating, dieting, or over-exercising. We can get involved in addictive relationships and distract ourselves by trying to experience the orgasm that shook New York City. These behaviors make us feel good in the short run by distracting us from our problems. But since they do nothing to solve the problem, the stress and pain come back. We feel good now, but we hurt the latter. This is a hallmark of all addictive behaviors.

Step 4: Experiencing A Trigger Event

Then something happens. It’s usually not a big thing. It’s something we could normally handle without getting upset. But this time something snaps inside. One person described it this way: “It feels like a trigger fires off in my gut and I go out of control.”

Step 5: Becoming Dysfunctional On The Inside: 

When the trigger goes off, our stress jumps up, and our emotions take control of of our minds. To stay sober we have to keep intellect over emotion. We have to remember who we are (an addicted person), what we can’t do (use alcohol or drugs), and what we must do (stayed focused upon working a recovery program). When emotion gets control of the intellect we abandon everything we know, and start trying to feel good now at all costs.

Relapse almost always grows from the inside out. The trigger event makes our pain so severe that we can’t function normally. We have difficulty thinking clearly. We swing between emotional overreaction and emotional numbness. We can’t remember things. It’s impossible to sleep restfully and we get clumsy and start having accidents.

Step 6: Becoming Dysfunctional On The Outside: 

At first this internal dysfunction comes and goes. It’s annoying, but it’s not a real problem so we learn how to ignore it. On some level, we know something is wrong so we keep it a secret. Eventually we get so bad that the problems on the inside create problems on the outside. We start making mistakes at work, creating problems with our friends, families, and co-workers. We start neglecting our recovery programs. And things keep getting worse.

Step 7: Losing Control: 

We handle each problem as it comes along but look at the the growing pattern of problems. We never really solve anything, we just put band-aids on the deep gushing cuts, put first-aid cream on seriously infected wounds, and tell ourselves the problem is solved. Then we look the other way and try to forget about the problems by getting involved in compulsive activities that will somehow magically fix us.

This approach works for awhile, but eventually things start getting out of control. As soon as we solve one problem, two new ones pop up to replace it. Life becomes one problem after another in an apparently endless sequence of crisis. One person put it like this: “I feel like I’m standing chest deep in a swimming pool trying to hold three beach balls underwater at once. I get the first one down, then the second, but as I reach for the third, the first one pops back up again.”

We finally recognize that we’re out of control. We get scared and angry. “I’m sober! I’m not drinking! I’m working a program! Yet I’m out of control. If this is what sobriety is like – who needs it?”

Step 8: Using Addictive Thinking

Now we go back to using addictive thinking. We begin thinking along these lines: ” Sobriety is bad for me, look at how miserable I am. Sober people don’t understand me. Look at how critical they are. Maybe things would get better if I could talk to some of my old friends. I don’t plan to drink or use drugs, I just want to get away from things for awhile and have a little fun. People who supported my drinking and drugging were my friends. They knew how to have a good time. These new people who want me to stay sober are my enemies. Maybe I was never addicted in the first place. Maybe my problems were caused by something else. I just need to get away from it all for awhile! Then I’ll be able to figure it all out.”

Step 9:  Going Back To Addictive People, Places, And Things

Now we start going back to addictive people (our old friends), addictive places (our old hangouts), and addictive things (mind polluting compulsive activities). We convince ourselves that we’re not going to drink or use drugs. We just want to relax.

A client in one of my groups said he wanted to go to a bar so he could listen to music and relax while drinking soft drinks. And old timer in the group asked: “If you told me you were going to a whore house to say prayers, do you think I’d believe you? Well, when you tell me you’re going to a bar to drink cokes I have about the same reaction!”

Step 10: Using Addictive Substances: 

Eventually, things get so bad that we come to believe that we only have three choices – collapse, suicide, or self-medication. We can collapse physically or emotionally from the stress of all our problems. We can end it all by committing suicide. Or we medicate the pain with alcohol or drugs. If these were your only three choices, which one sounds like the best way out?

At this stage the stress and pain is so bad that it seems reasonable to use alcohol or drugs as a medicine to make the pain go away. The 10,000 pound domino just struck the back of our head, breaking our bones, and crushing us to the ground. We’re dazed, hurt, and in tremendous pain. So we reach out for something, anything, that will kill the pain. We start using alcohol and drugs in the misguided hope it will make our pain go away.

Step 11: Losing Control Over Use

Once addicted people start using alcohol or drugs, they tend to follow one of two paths. Some have a short term and low consequence relapse. They recognize that they are in serious trouble, see that they are losing control, and manage to reach out for help and get back into recovery. Others start to use alcohol or drugs and feel such extreme shame and guilt that they refuse to seek help. They eventually develop progressive health and life problems and either get back into recovery, commit suicide, or die from medical complications, accidents, or drug-related violence.

Other Outcomes Of The Relapse Process

Some relapse prone people don’t drink. They may say “I’d rather be dead than drunk” and they either attempt or commit suicide. Others just hang in there until they have a stress collapse, develop a stress related illness, or have a nervous breakdown. Still others use half measures to temporarily pull themselves together for a little while only to have the problems come back later. This is called partial recovery and many people stay in it for years. They never get well, but they never get drunk either.

What I have just described is called the relapse process and it’s not rare. Most recovering people periodically experience some of these warning signs. About half can stop the process BEFORE they start using substances or collapse from stress. The other half revert to using alcohol or other drugs, collapse from stress related illness, or kill themselves.

It’s not a pretty picture. No wonder we don’t want to think or talk about relapse. It’s depressing. The problem is that refusing to think or talk about it doesn’t stop it from happening. As a matter of fact ignoring the early warning sing makes us more likely to relapse.

But there is hope. There is a method called Relapse Prevention that can teach us to recognize early warning signs of relapse and stop them before we use alcohol and drugs or collapse. That’s what my next article is about. There’s also a process called Relapse Early Intervention that helps us set up an emergency plan to stop relapse quickly should it occur. We’ll cover that in our third article.

References

Gorski, Terence T., Relapse – Relapse Prevention – A New Recovery Tool, Alcoholism & Addiction Magazine;; By Terence T. Gorski September 25, 1989

Enabling

How To Stop Enabling Addiction?

No one who has a loved one with a substance abuse problem wants them to suffer. No one wants a person they care about to be in pain, to descend into the dysfunction of addiction, to lose their livelihood, their family, their life.

How many times have you heard someone say, “I would do anything to help them?”

We protect, we cover, we shelter, we defend and we do so in the name of loving and caring. The problem is that the very things we are doing to help someone, may be things that are enabling the addiction and keeping them from getting well. These may also be things that we are doing because it is more comfortable for us than dealing with the facts of the situation – and it we truly want someone to get well, sometimes we have to get worse first!

So, How Do You Know If You’re An Enabler?

How do you know if you are enabling someone’s substance abuse? We may engage in a lot of behaviors that we think are helpful, or that we are told are necessary but if you start to dig deeper into what that action is all about you find it perpetuating or masking the problem – not solving it!

3 Tips To Identifying Enabling

Here are three tips to help identify enabling behaviors and signs of an enabler. But take hope! You’ll also find alternatives to truly help improve the situation throughout the text!

1.  Interfering

It may seem like pouring out the alcohol, hiding the car keys, or throwing away the pills is the best way to keep your loved one from using. It will certainly force them to get more creative about where they keep their substance of choice and what lies they have to craft to hide their behavior. What is won’t do is cure them of their addiction, or convince them that what they are doing is wrong or harmful.

If their behavior is going to create a dangerous situation for you then you have to make the choice to keep yourself safe, interfering with how they engage in their addiction just provides opportunities for them to get smarter about how they use and you are teaching them how to be a better addict!

2.  Hiding And Lying

Do you cover up for your partner? Do you make excuses for their behavior? Are you doing this for you or for them? Maybe you tell yourself I have to cover for them at work otherwise they will lose their job, then we will lose our house, etc. But deep inside, the true motivation may be fear of change.

In reality, you are helping them hide their behavior for your convenience, and you are helping them carry-on without having to deal with the reality of the situation. Maybe you are going to have to move, maybe you are going to have to ask for help and tell people what is going on, maybe you won’t be able to stay with this person anymore. Those are all uncomfortable situations, and they are all consequences of being involved with an addict. You have to be willing to confront the reality of a situation for everyone involved in order to address whatever that situation is.

3.  Compensating For The Behavior

Money, food, computers, cars – do you give these to someone with a substance abuse problem? How many times do you give someone a computer because they have to have a computer to find a job, and they have to have a job to get sober, but they keep relapsing, selling the computer for drugs and staying in the cycle? How many times do you buy a new car for someone who keeps crashing under the influence? How much money do you give knowing that it won’t be used for rent?

None of us want the people we love to be homeless, to be hungry. We don’t want them to suffer, but when we protect them from experiencing the suffering they are in we take away the opportunity for them to make a decision about changing!

Give An Addict Room To Take Responsibility

REMEMBER: Enabling an addict does not help!

Enabling is really about preventing someone for having to take responsibility for themselves, and whether it is done with good or bad intentions it prevents the other person from fully living their own life. Moving out of enabling behaviors and into a relationship where you let someone experience the natural consequences of their choices isn’t easy, and often it can make it seem like things are much worse. But only if someone experiences for themselves the desire to do something different will there ever be a change, and that experience can’t come if we prevent our loved ones from having it!

Are You An Enabler?

Do the above scenarios sound close to home? Please leave us a message in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly. We can help refer you to support services, treatment, or the help that you need. Or, we’ll just lend an ear.

Conflict Styles and Consequences

Relationships in Recovery

Here’s the dilemma; chemically problematic men and women don’t do well in ‘relationships’.

An extremely high percentage of people who try to get clean and sober but then repeatedly find themselves relapsing, relapse because of relationship breakdowns and the subsequently overwhelming feelings of hurt, loss, and failure. For too many people, conflict in a relationships spells the end of the relationship.

That’s one of the reasons why many counsellors advise, ‘don’t get involved in romantic relationships in early recovery’.

And whilst that makes sense the fact is, some of the key character failings within many addiction orientated people and a major contributing factor of most relationship failure is the lack of boundaries and the inability to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no.

So telling them to avoid romantic relationships is like telling the alcoholic not to drink anymore, it’s a good idea and everyone can see the sense in it, but it is inevitably the build up to further disappointment.  Cherrywood House assumes and accepts that many of our struggling families and relapsing addicts, without even realizing it, would rather have a bad relationship than no relationship.

So, reaching out to those guys, I want to ask, ‘did you ever consider that you may not know how to handle conflict in a healthy way’? I want to talk to you about how to identify what you turn into when the going gets tough.

FIVE CONFLICT STYLES:

Avoiders – Have one intention, ‘staying out of conflict’. Avoiders are unassertive people-pleasers and therefore the ‘other side’ to feel as if they are right and/or that they can get anything they want from you.

The Turtles silently say; “I am not interested enough to invest in this conflict”. Long term avoidance increases inner frustrations and fosters a belief that ‘I am weak’ which then develops internal (passive) hostility

Accommodators – With the intentions of preserving relationships at all costs, they will sweep issues under the carpet and do anything not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

They are Teddy Bears that silently say: “We must get along and not let ‘things’ come between us”. Putting the other person’s feelings or wants above their own out of fear of being abandoned, but still develop resentment towards those they bend over backward for, as resentment towards themselves and self-pity.

Long term accommodators produce a false front of cooperation, cheerfulness, and love for other people. Accommodators always increase in self-dislike and frustrations about having to hold every one of their relationships together

Compromisers – always have the intention to award the other side just a little bit of winning in order to manipulate them into a majority loss.

Foxes silently say: “We must all submit our personal desires and serve the common good, as long as I benefit the most”.

Long term compromising create strained relationships with very little commitment to anything and recurring relational conflicts.

CompetitorsThey are intent on winning in a conflict situation. The shark has the following philosophy, ‘there are only two options, winning and losing, and winning is best’.

Sharks say: “I know what’s best for everyone concerned all the time so don’t get in my way”, effectively taking control, even if it’s for the worst. Their controlling and angry nature is upsetting to many, and they often fail to admit when they are wrong in order to keep winning an argument, no matter the cost.

Long term competing styles produce ingrained hostility and half-hearted implementation of solutions and a decreased goal achievement.

Collaborators – Whether you are right or wrong, you can choose to take 85% of the responsibility for getting all parties fully involved in defining the conflict and in carrying out mutually agreeable steps for resolving the conflict.

Owl’s say “Everyone’s goal is important, let’s work together, let’s create a win-win situation” This conflict style is the most effective and results in stable conflict resolutions, and helps keep relationships stable and healthy.

All in inclusive collaboration produces trust, strong relationships, mutual enthusiasm and workable implementations of solutions.

If you see yourself in these conflict styles, try adopting a Collaborator conflict resolution style to help maintain the stability of your relationships and enforce your own dedication to staying clean and sober. With the support of strong, healthy relationships where conflicts don’t result in breakdowns and destruction, you can continue on your journey of recovery with more confidence.

Just remember never to give up or breakdown in conflict situations. Even the best relationships have conflict, they are just resolved effectively by all parties involved.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Cherrywood House or Cherrywood House on Facebook for questions or discussions within the realm of conflicts and any other addiction or recovery issues.

Just How Bad Are Energy Drinks for Recovering People?

For those recovering from alcohol and drug addictions, the urge to find a fix seems to be never-ending. To replace their drug of choice, the recovering addict will find other means to soothe their minds and souls. A replacement “high” that has become common among recovering people is the use of energy drinks. Energy drinks’ combination of caffeine, vitamins, and herbs can provide the kick they need, and, it’s legal and can be found at any corner store. Energy drinks can be a healthier alternative to drugs and alcohol, but what most don’t known is that the very things that make energy drinks so popular can also lead to active addiction.

Detoxification from Substance Addiction

Often and quite rightly so the detox part of treatment for someone addicted to a substance is the most worrying and difficult to successfully overcome. Many people worldwide remain trapped in addiction for years while avoiding the withdrawal effects during detox.

Over the past 20 years through science and medicine, chemists have created substances specifically designed to ease and in some cases almost remove the withdrawal symptoms of addictive substances. Home Detox South Africa specialise in detoxification from substance addiction both with home and rehab treatments. They also provide help, assistance and advice to many general practitioners and medical staff across Africa. It is medically safer now than ever in history to detox from addictive substances.