A Better Today

For a Loved One

Get the Answers You Need for a Peace of Mind

A Better Today Recovery Services understands how overwhelming addiction can be, so we want to do our part to answer some frequently asked questions we receive from the family, friends and loved ones of those who are struggling. Whether it is before they go into substance abuse treatment or returning from treatment, many have questions that will help support them to maintain their sobriety.

We understand that dealing with a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can be challenging, so we want to offer you support and guidance during this difficult time. The more you know about the recovery process, the more you will help your loved one achieve their personal goals.

As your loved one goes through the process of admitting they have a problem, seeking out treatment, completing treatment, and planning for aftercare, we want to prepare you to be the best support that you can be. The more educated you are about the disease model, triggers to abuse drugs, and relapse the more you will be positive and healthy support.

Key concepts that we cover are the different reasons why addiction begins and takes over their brain, enabling behaviors vs successfully supporting them in their recovery, signs of relapse, the importance of meetings and more. We want to give you a realistic view of addiction and prepare you for what lies ahead in their aftercare plan.

Recovery is a long road and must be maintained throughout the rest of an individual’s life. But with the right support system and an effective aftercare treatment plan, the lifestyle of maintaining their sobriety can be fun and fulfilling.

When it comes to recovery and addiction, there are a lot of questions that can come up, and we want to give you the answers you need. A Better Today Recovery Services can help you find treatment that covers the signs of relapse and the best course of action that you can take if that happens.

It is important to understand why relapse happens and why it can quite often be a part of recovery. We hope to help you find answers to the questions that you have and give you the confidence to move forward understanding a little more about what to expect from your loved one on the road to recovery.

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For Your Peace of Mind, Here are the Answers You Need Now.

Who is to Blame for Your Loved One's Substance Abuse Problem?

Your angry and frustrated with your loved one's drug and alcohol addiction, but who is to blame? Do you blame them for the stolen property, restless nights and mental abuse? When the brain becomes dependent on substances like heroin, the repeated abuse develops a disease. No, you should not blame your loved one for their substance abuse

No one is to blame for an individual’s addiction. One never begins using in hopes of becoming addicted, but it can happen to anyone. I am sure you have heard, addiction does not discriminate. If you look at the stories of those who have struggled with addiction, you will find that people from all different walks of life and family backgrounds have fallen into addiction in a variety of ways. It could have been that they were curious, unknowingly self-medicating, hanging out with the wrong crowd, or were prescribed painkillers after an injury or car wreck. Of course, there are certain risk factors that make the potential for drug abuse higher such as genetics or environment, but addiction can happen to anyone. If you are a parent or spouse, do not get caught up in blaming yourself. Addiction presents enough obstacles to overcome and there is no need to start beating yourself up. The reality is still the same no matter the origin of the addiction. The best advice to move forward and make progress is to focus on solutions instead of placing blame. The solution to addiction is treatment, so call now and get them started on the road to recovery.

Should I Blame the Friends My Loved One is Hanging Out With?

When you blame your loved one's friends, you remove the opportunity for them to be held accountable for their actions and take away their chance to grow and learn. Does peer-pressure influence someone to try drugs? Yes, it does and it is a risk factor, but without knowledge about what is out there, how strong it is or the risks involved, your loved one and their friends cannot accurately make good choices.

What you need to know about blaming the friends of your addicted loved one is this: if their social circle is a trigger, and it might be while on the road to recovery, you should discourage your loved one from continuing to hang out in that social circle. Better yet, they should make the decision to stop themselves. If those friends come around and attempt to pressure your loved one to abuse drugs and Alcohol again, then a line has to be drawn. Ultimately, that decision can only be left up to your loved one. Your loved one should speak up and create a boundary for themselves. Give him or her the opportunity to take responsibility.

Holding Them Accountable is Key

Learning About Addiction and Recovery Can Make You a Strong Ally

How Did My Loved One Start to Use Drugs and Alcohol?

Addiction can begin in many ways; self-medicating, peer pressure, coping with trauma, genetics, environment, even boredom, the list of reasons as to why someone would start using can go on. One of the most common answers we can possibly give, while still being respectful to the situation, though, is curiosity.

People, after all, are curious and naturally want to experiment. Being told, either at a young age or in adulthood, that there is a substance that will take all your worries away, make you feel better than you've ever felt or experience the most intense trip can genuinely push a curious person to try it. It can start off in a pretty innocent, experimental kind of way. Curiosity tends to get the best of us, and these days what tends to provide us with those experiences tend to be highly addictive. There are drugs out there that after one try, you can become completely hooked, because of the profound experience of euphoria. The tragedy of it all is when someone depends on it to solve all and every problem. Chasing that first high is the life of active addiction and with the potency of today’s drugs and alcohol, that chase can corrupt a person’s life forever.

Should I Lock Up My Prescription Drugs When My Loved One Comes Home?

If your loved one is leaving treatment and coming back to live with your, or even if they will just be coming over to visit, it is better to be safe and put your prescription drugs away in a secure place. If your loved one walks by and sees your prescription drugs sitting on the counter or in the medicine cabinet, they will most likely become triggered and want to use.

Take this precaution to ensure that your loved one has a supportive environment, especially when they have just come home from treatment. As more time goes on and your loved one continues to remain abstinent and practices a program of recovery, your loved one will be better equipped to cope with triggers. For the time being, though, it is probably for the best to put prescriptions far away from their reach. Doing this will help your loved one feel safe and respected in their recovery. It will show them that they care enough to not put their recovery at risk. The same can be said for Alcoholic beverages, because it to can trigger those whose drug of choice of Alcohol.

Relapse Prevention Encourages Success

Your Support Means Their Success

What is the Difference Between Supporting and Enabling?

There is no manual that can prepare us for how to deal with addiction, but it is important to know that there is a fine line between supporting and enabling your loved one who is addicted to drugs or Alcohol. The first instinct that some may have when they see their loved one struggling with addiction is to help shield them from the pain of it.

Many times, they find themselves enabling their loved one’s addiction, which in turn, can keep the addiction going for years. Think about it: if someone suffers from an addiction, but they have loved ones giving them money, letting them live in their home, allowing them to borrow their car or bailing them out of jail, then no real consequences are suffered and the addictive behavior is free to go on. The most important thing you can ask yourself if you are unsure if you are enabling or supporting is at the end of the day, are you letting your loved one take responsibility for his or her actions? Will helping him or her allow them to continue drinking or using drugs? Will it keep them from hitting rock bottom? Remember sometimes, allowing them to face their own consequences can push them to seek the help they so desperately need.

Why Can’t My Loved One Just Stop Abusing Drugs & Alcohol?

When your brain becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol, the illusion of choice is removed. If they did just stop when you asked them to, their body would rebel; they would go into painful withdrawals. Symptoms of withdrawal would cause a person to vomit, have hallucinations of bugs crawling under their skin, and they may become suicidal because the brain chemistry is corrupted and off.

No one wants, or likes, to see their loved one suffer, because they are trying to quit cold turkey. This is why we highly encourage going into a detox facility or to detox at the hospital. Many people struggle with withdrawals and each time, they cave to their brain telling them to seek out their drug of choice at any and all cost. A part of them feels defeated and hopeless, and no matter their efforts, the need for the substance calls them back.

We Are Here to Help Create a Better Understanding.

Finding the Support They Need for Their Success

How Important are Regular Meetings After Treatment?

Going to meetings regularly after treatment is incredibly important. Your loved one will have to choose which meetings are most helpful to them, but the only way to know is to try. The most common types of meetings that people in recovery attend are Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, and SMART RECOVERY.

A common suggestion is for them to attend 90 meetings in 90 days after treatment. Attending regular meetings after treatment is important, because it can offer stability in their recovery and open them up to an entire support network of people. Meetings are safe places where experiences, strengths and hopes are shared. Your loved one's experience in addiction and recovery could help someone who is just at the beginning of theirs. While recovery looks different for each person, these meetings can be a great resource for your loved one— we recommend attending them on a regular basis. We also understand that recovery is different for each individual and there are people who are successful in sobriety without meetings. Remember: for your loved one to maintain sobriety, they must do their part to work a program of recovery.

If I Refuse to House My Loved One After Treatment, Will I Cause Them to Relapse?

Ultimately, it is up to your loved one to ensure that they apply the tools learned in treatment to avoid relapse. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries and having them make other living arrangements.If you do not feel comfortable having your loved one return home, for whatever reason, it is important to be open and honest so that other arrangements can be made.

The most important thing for your loved one is to have a positive, safe and supportive environment to go to after they graduate. A sober-living can be a great option, but whatever choice you make in this regard, remember that it will not be your fault if your loved one relapses. It is important to never be afraid of drawing boundaries for fear of causing them to do so; each person makes their own choices. Taking the blame for a loved one's relapse can lead to unhealthy patterns and enabling behaviors. Let your loved one take responsibility if they relapse and remember: a relapse does not mean that all is lost.

Setting Healthy Boundaries is Important for You & Your Loved One

Relapse is a Learning Experience Not a Defining Moment

Why is Relapse a Part of Recovery?

Relapse can be a part of recovery, especially in the first 90 days. This is because the abused chemicals have literally re-wired the brain, making abstinence much harder to maintain. Abstinence gets easier to maintain over time, but in the beginning months, it can be an ongoing battle with high susceptibility to triggers and cravings.

A relapse can lead to one of two things: a wakeup call or a ride back down to rock bottom. 70-90% of recovering addicts and Alcoholics will experience at least one mild relapse. Relapses should not be seen as a failure, but help should be sought quickly to get things back on track. If your loved one experiences a relapse, it is important to draw some clear boundaries and immediately stop all enabling behaviors. As frustrating as relapses are, please refrain from being verbally or emotionally abusive to your loved one. Recovery is not easy; they are truly fighting for their life. It is also important to recognize the signs of relapse, because action should be taken and further drug and alcohol abuse can be extremely dangerous. While relapse is a part of the story for many, it doesn't always have to be the case and some do not experience relapse at all.

What are the Warning Signs that My Loved One is Heading for Relapse?

More often than not, there will be recognizable signs of an impending relapse as well as definite signs after one. The main warning signs of an impending relapse are abrupt changes in mood, no longer working a recovery program, isolation and denying that they truly had an issue with Alcohol or drugs.

Denial and rationalization are big signs that your loved one is heading toward a relapse. One lie that your loved one may believe is that this time they can “handle it." There are also such things as emotional relapses and falling back into old behaviors, even though they have not picked up a drug. It is important for your loved one to take responsibility of their recovery and use the tools they have learned in treatment. It is always good to encourage your loved one to participate in their recovery, but remember that it is not your responsibility, nor your fault, if they relapse. You can surely have a talk with them and point out your concerns, but do not blame yourself or get angry with them if they do end up relapsing. Recovery sometimes takes a while and there can be setbacks in the beginning.

Be There When They Need You the Most

Relapse is Often Part of Your Loved One’s Journey

What Happens When My Loved One Relapses?

If a relapse occurs, it is very important for your loved one to reach out and seek help before the situation worsens. A relapse can hopefully be a wakeup call to get back on track. Once you confirm relapse, it is very important that you draw some clear boundaries with your loved one.

It is time to stop enabling behaviors, like allowing them to use drugs and alcohol in your home and borrow transportation. It can seem harsh, but the reality is that anything that helps them acquire and use drugs needs to be stopped. You should also let them know in advance that if they get in trouble or are arrested due to their use, you will not bail them out. If you continue to enable them, they may continue to use and will see no reason to make any changes. Remember: this is not to be mean— this is to save their life. As for you during this time, reach out to supportive family and friends or find a local support group for yourself, like Nar-Anon or Al-Anon. It is crucial that you reach out for support if you find out that your loved one has relapsed.

Should My Loved One Go to a Sober Living?

Sober livings can be a great option for your loved one, because they can be positive and structured recovery centered environments that require abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It is important to know that detox and inpatient treatment are the just the first steps in recovery from substance abuse.

Next, it is learning how to live a life without drugs and alcohol, as well as working an honest program of recovery. A sober living home usually has mandatory meetings, curfews and drug testing as a way to ensure that your loved one is held accountable after leaving treatment and a chance for them to implement what they have learned. Sober living homes also require its residents to attend work or school; this is a great way to help your loved one learn how to live life again and prioritize what is important. Only you and your loved one can decide if sober living is the right choice. Studies have shown that sober living homes increase the chances of long lasting sobriety. If your loved one needs that extra buffer between them and the world when they get out of detox or treatment, sober living homes can be the perfect option to start them off right on the road to recovery.

Healthy Boundaries Can Begin with a Sober Living

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You Have Questions and ABTRS Has Reliable Answers from Reputable Sources 

Finding unbiased information that you can count on is important to ABTRS. No one likes fake news and in this day and age, it is important to know where your information is coming from. Knowledge has always been considered a strong foundation for recovery, especially when it comes to taking control of your disease of addiction and living a life worth living. When it comes to drug and alcohol abuse treatment, you need reliable resources.

Sources that are impartial and proven to be effective by the scientific or psychology community. It is important to us to offer knowledge from reputable sources that are up to date and relevant. Check out the list below to further your knowledge. It may be a dry read, but know that you or your addicted loved one is worth the time and research.

NIDA. (2018, January 17). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition on 2019, February 20

NIDA. (2018, July 20). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction on 2019, February 18

SAMHSA. (2019). Recovery and Recovery Support. [online] Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery [Accessed 19 Feb. 2019].

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