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For the Family

Substance Abuse: Warning Signs Every New Orleans Parent Should Know

Families are gearing up for another school year and every New Orleans parent should know of these substance abuseneworleansparent warning signs. Whether your teen or young adult is headed to Lusher, Jesuit, Tulane or Loyola, etc., pay close attention to warning signs your high schooler or college student might be displaying. Those who are most at risk tend to demonstrate the following red flags:
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When ‘Helping Isn’t Helping’: What is Enabling?

Enabling the negative behavior of an addict can only make the disease of addiction progress moreTo understand what enabling is, it’s important to distinguish it from helping. Helping is when you do something for someone that they are unable to do for themselves. Whereas, enabling is doing something for someone that they are not only capable of doing, but should be doing. Enabling is often a behavior that a loved one has learned to do for emotional survival.

The problem that enabling creates for someone who struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, is that it creates an environment in which unacceptable behavior can be continued. Often times, the “help” that family and friends think they are offering to an addict, is actually making it easier for the disease of addiction to progress. An addict can continue to use, knowing that somebody will be there to rescue him or her from mistakes. This also makes denial easier for an addict, because his or her problems are being fixed by those around. It is when an addict is forced to face the consequences of his or her actions that the realization of a problem is possible. Enabling is a learned behavior and can be replaced with a healthier response to a loved one’s illness. (Psychology Today) Read more

Addiction and Kids: What Do We Tell Them?

Navigating addiction as an adult is tricky enough, so where do we begin when it’s time to talk to the kids? Often times a child is aware of a problem existing before the words help or rehab are ever mentioned. But this doesn’t make the conversation any easier.

A kid listens to his parents discuss addictionAccording to PsychCentral.com, more than 28 million children have a parent who suffers from alcohol abuse. And one of the biggest challenges in dealing with addiction is often the secrecy that surrounds the problem. Meaning, addiction isn’t something that’s talked about. Read more

How to Get Addict Into Treatment with an Intervention

It can be difficult Two women, Intervention is sometimes necessary to get addicts into treatment.to get an addict into treatment. In the past people believed that an addict or alcoholic had to hit rock bottom before he or she would accept treatment for their addiction. However, it is possible to make a significant impact and to get an addict into treatment by having an intervention. Interventions are said to “raise people’s rock bottom”.

Typically, an intervention is planned out and practiced beforehand with a group of friends, family and co-workers who lovingly confront the individual about his or her destructive behavior. The goal of the intervention is to get the addict into treatment directly afterwards. This process is best handled with the help of a trained interventionist.

Interventionist Helps Get an Addict Into Treatment

The interventionist will help the participants discuss their feelings and plan what to say to their loved one. Each friend, family member or employer will be coached to gently tell the person how their  behavior has personally affected them. They are encouraged to give specific instances whenever possible. Often, there is some sort of an ultimatum worked out that requests that the addict agree to go immediately into treatment or face some consequences.

Don’t Have to Hit Rock Bottom

The old method of hitting rock bottom is basically achieved by these emotional pleas to the addict to stop using drugs and alcohol. When the addict hears the people that he or she loves and cares about speak their truth, he or she is often willing to go to treatment. This is especially true if there are consequences to their relationship if they do not go into treatment. If however, the addict does not go into treatment, and the intervention fails, the friends and family must follow through with their stated consequences. This might include lack of contact or being cut off from certain funds or employment options. The family members are strongly encouraged to go to Al Anon to deal with their own feelings and behaviors.



Preparing for the Holidays: Avoiding Risk of Relapse

The holidays can be a difficult time for those in recovery. Aside from the many parties scheduled this month, there is often the added stressors of money, work, and family that accompany this time of year. With this said, the risk of relapse increases during the holiday season. This can be particularly worrisome for those who are new to recovery or whose loved ones are in recovery. Though there are many different ways that people relapse, we’ve highlighted some key ones below. Here are some signs to look for if you’re concerned about you or your loved one in recovery.

Becoming easily irritated or angered. At a high-stress time such as the holidays, you or a loved one may feel as if his or her sobriety is unstable and lash out for no apparent reason. Anger and irritability can also be masking feelings of fear, embarrassment or shame that may surround past substance abuse or current lifestyle of sobriety. Anger and irritability can also result from someone being unable or unwilling to seek help in getting a handle on the situation.

Difficulty handling life’s stresses. ‘Tis the season to be merry, right? But we all know what it feels like to be overwhelmed at times during the holidays. However, it becomes a concern for someone in recovery when daily stressors that a healthy person may take in stride, become catastrophic issues for those in recovery, especially those new in recovery. Clear out the calendar some this year, until you or your loved one has better strengthened coping strategies and regained the ability to deal with more intense situations.

Believing they will never relapse, no matter what! The holiday season is full of challenges for those in recovery. And often times, especially when someone is new to recovery, situations of temptation need to be avoided all together until someone’s coping strategies have been better developed. For example, someone who is not used to avoiding alcohol at parties may limit how many parties they go to until they are sure that they can still avoid alcohol while at the party. Overconfidence in how one can deal with such situations may be a sign of relapse risk, especially if someone is new to recovery. The truth is many need to avoid situations that involve drugs or alcohol no matter how staunch their initial convictions may be. This may mean missing the office holiday party this year. Think of things you and your loved one can do instead such as rent an old holiday movie and opt for hot coco and popcorn.

Lack or loss of commitment to recovery program. Recovery is not the same for everyone, and different things work for each individual. But a possible risk sign for relapsing is a sudden avoidance or disinterest in one’s recovery program. This could mean leaving a residential or outpatient program early, making excuses to avoid or quit private counseling, group counseling, or AA meetings.

Revisiting past behavior patterns. Similar to the one before, revisiting prior behavior patterns is a sign that you or a loved one is risking relapse. Undesirable behavior can be quickly relearned. And if a loved one begins hanging out with old drinking buddies or visiting places where his or her addiction was in full gear, the risk of relapse greatly increases.

If you recognize any of these signs in you or your loved one, don’t be afraid to speak up, reach out for help, or offer support. Remind yourself or your loved one of the consequences of relapse and what is at stake if the destructive behavior is continued. If you are dealing with a loved one in recovery, remember you are not the cause of or responsible for any relapse. Only your loved one can decide to stay in recovery. If you need help, be sure to reach out to an addiction specialist.



New Year Resolutions Inspiration

It’s that time of yJanuary First Calendar, apple and measuring tape for New Year's Resolutionsear again: New Year Resolutions. Whether it’s that new gadget you splurge on for husband or eating one too many holiday treats, December is a time to be merry and indulge. With the holidays in full gear, we know we have one last ooh-rah before the diet books come out and we attempt to tackle our New Year’s resolutions. However, for those families who suffer from addiction, the holidays and especially New Year’s can be a daunting time that is always marked by the failure to change. Kevin Sanders, co-founder of ExecuCare Addiction Recovery Center, knows first hand these challenges. Her husband, Mike Sanders, struggled with a long-time addiction to alcohol and more recently OxyContin and Xanax before seeking treatment in January 2005 with her encouragement.

“He’s a successful business man, a community leader, and a loving husband and father, but addiction shows no discrimination,” Kevin Sanders said of Mike, father of three and investment firm owner. “As small business owners, we didn’t have thirty, sixty or ninety days for him to spend in rehabilitation. NTR was this miracle we happened upon.”

Neurotransmitter Restoration (NTR) is a medical nutritional therapy. The IV infusions of amino acids “bathe” cells giving them continuous exposure to an optimized nutrient environment and speed up the healing process. As a result, NTR helps individuals discontinue the use of drugs or alcohol, while repairing the damage done to the brain as a result of chronic use without using drug replacement therapy. Because the body is getting what it needs naturally, NTR safely detoxifies while minimizing post acute withdrawal symptoms, significantly reducing cravings, anxiety and depression, normalizing stress levels, and restoring a sense of well-being and clarity of mind. Kevin noticed Mike’s sense of well-being improved immediately. “He was calmer, more patient,” she said.

Almost five years later, Mike’s investment firm continues to thrive; he is alcohol and drug free, and they are committed to making this unique treatment more broadly available to others. They opened the doors to ExecuCare Addiction Recovery Center in Norcross, Ga., in September 2006.

“Most addiction treatments solely focus on the psychological and social aspects of addiction, ExecuCare ARC is one of the few recovery centers to work on the physical form of the disease of addiction by restoring normal brain function,” Kevin further explained. “We attack addiction at its physical root.”

ExecuCare ARC is one of the few clinics in the United States to offer the Neurotransmitter Restoration, a revolutionary approach to addressing the physical form of addiction, and the Sanders plan to open more in the near future. ExecuCare ARC operates on the belief that when NTR protocols precede traditional therapy treatments, individuals experience much higher success rates in long-term recovery. By addressing the physical form of the disease first with NTR, an individual is better prepared to make the psychological, behavioral, social and spiritual changes necessary in the next phases of recovery. While at ExecuCare ARC, therapists and addiction specialists design and implement customized intense outpatient programs that allow patients to continue their recovery.

“I truly believe in the strength and power of family, and its ability to overcome obstacles together,” Kevin said when discussing how she and the three kids have helped Mike with the opening of ExecuCare ARC. “I hope that ExecuCare ARC brings the same hope and healing to other families as it has brought to mine.”

Happy New Year! Here’s to 2013 bringing more inspiring stories of recovery!


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