Living with an active addict
Living with an active addict can be full of pain, disappointment, anger, regrets and sadness. The alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex have control over the addict. For the active addict and their family, chaos reigns. Family and friends get anxious, fearful and stressed out just anticipating the next crisis or episode.
Addiction is like an octopus that sends out its tentacles, grabs the people around the addict, and pulls them down toward despair. It is called a family disease. However, family members do not have to wait until the addict decides to get help before they do something. Spouses, partners, children and friends can get help for themselves. Call a treatment centre in your area. Ask if they have a family program. Ask for names of counselors or doctors who help families. Call the counsellor and make an appointment. Do it now! There is great relief when you have someone to talk to who understands what you are coping with. You can learn how to reduce the stress in your own body rather than worrying about the addict. Children can learn that it is not their fault. Since children of addicts are at a higher risk for developing an addiction themselves, teaching them early is the best prevention. Children learn from their parents. You can teach them that in times of trouble, it is okay to reach out for help. Or, you can let them continue to observe how you and the addict cope with life’s problems. Family members can take action that breaks the cycle of addiction and reduces the stress and the chaos. If you do not change the way you are handling your life, and the stress continues and continues, you can expect to develop your own physical and mental health problems.
Al-Anon is a free, self-help program for family and friends of alcoholics. It is the sister program to Alcoholics Anonymous and there are meetings everywhere. Nar-Anon is for families of drug addicts and the sister organization of Narcotics Anonymous. Gam-Anon is the sister program for Gamblers Anonymous. Check the yellow pages. The Internet also has many resources and there are actually meetings on-line.
On occasions, the addict may be remorseful about their actions. However, they may also appear to be angry and be pushing their loved ones further away. Addicts have an uncanny ability to leave others thinking that all the problems are their fault. In spite of all the outward bravado, the addict experiences anxiety, fear and stress as well. They know they are trapped and cannot find a way out. In their remorse, there may be a desire to stop. For families, they have heard this promise before.
It is important to remember that in their addiction, the addict is not making rational decisions. The baffling part of an addiction is that the addict minimizes all the consequences that are falling out around them. They constantly deny them. They are so good at it that they actually convince themselves that what they are saying is the truth. It is like having a short circuit in the brain. Therefore, why would we expect the addict to make a rational decision about getting help? They need help to make the decision.
The time for action could be today, for you, your families and friends to take action, to learn about, and to implement an “intervention”.
The vast majority of addicts do not come into treatment because they have seen the light. They come because there is a crisis in their life. An intervention may be just the crisis that is needed. A trained counsellor can help coach you on the intervention process. Take time to learn and. If you need help, find help and make the call. You are not alone. Strive for balance and taking care of yourself.
Be well everyone!
A peek into – The Many Faces of Addiction Symposium
In a few weeks, Bellwood will be hosting a very special event, and we are quite excited.
We are excited with the breadth, depth and freshness of this year’s The Many Faces of Addiction Symposium and can’t wait to see everything unfold in Toronto on October 16th and 17th.
Now in it’s fourth year, the goal of the Symposium has always been to bring together experts in the field of addiction and mental health to discuss and gain new insights; to learn what’s new and the best practices on helping those struggling at home, in the workplace, and in our communities overcome addictions.
This year we are expecting nearly 200 delegates from across North America to learn from the best, share first hand knowledge and examine the illness of addiction. We are looking forward to the delegates exploring the latest and proven treatment options, workplace management techniques, recovery best practices and much more.
Based on emerging new areas in addiction and delegate feedback, this year we have carefully designed sessions to focus on the areas of concurrent trauma/PTSD and substance abuse, Internet and gaming addiction, best practices for managing employees with addiction, and clinical techniques for achieving excellent results. Each session has been structured to delve into the depths of addiction in a dynamic and interactive framework.
Over the year, the organizing team has worked hard to bring together leading experts, clinicians, and academics from Canada and the United States to seek out answers to the tough questions surrounding addiction and mental health.
This year’s expert keynote presenters include:
- Lisa M. Najavits, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine and lecturer at Harvard Medical School – Numbing the Pain: PTSD and Substance Abuse
- Ryan Van Cleave, PhD, faculty member at the Ringling College of Art + Design; Patricia Morgan, MA, CCC, counsellor and author specializing in strengthening personal resilience – The Digital Dilemma: An Inside Look at Internet Addiction; Video Game Addiction: Surrender and Consequences in the Electronic Age; Surviving and Thriving in the Workplace . . . in a Super-Connected World
- Dr. Ray Baker MD, FCFP, ABAM, consulting physician specializing in Occupational Addiction Medicine – Best Practices for Managing Employees with Substance Use Disorders
- Scott D. Miller PhD, co-founder of the Center for Clinical Excellence, clinical trainer and author – Achieving Clinical Excellence: Four Steps to Superior Performance
- Ali Liénaux RSW -TSI MSW (Equiv), Vice President of Clinical Services and Operations at Integrated Workplace Solutions (IWS) – The Duty to Accommodate: Substance Abuse at the Workplace
and many more.
Yes, there is no doubt we are excited!
We would like to invite you to join us and take advantage of this opportunity to hear from leaders in the addiction and mental health field; and gain new insights into how to help those who are struggling at home, in the workplace, and in our communities.
Whether you are a healthcare or corporate professional, or an individual whose life has been touched by addiction, we are confident that this year’s Symposium will provide education, training and information about new tools and emerging practices to help people heal from addiction.
Mark your calendars; registration is open and space is limited.
See you on October 16th and 17th at the Ontario Science Centre.