Monthly Archives: June 2017

songs about addiction

Addiction Rock

From Amy Winehouse to U2 here are 8 powerful addiction songs about substance abuse and its effects.

  1. 1. “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse

Most Haunting Lyric: “I ain’t got the time”

If there was ever a cautionary tale for an addict, it’s Amy Winehouse. She died of alcohol poisoning ate age 27, and her most popular song professes a refusal of help for substance abuse. “Rehab” is such a tragedy because too many times this is the result of what happens when people refuse to accept the help available.

  1. 2. “This Place Is a Prison,” The Postal Service

Most Haunting Lyric: “And I know that it’s not a party if it happens every night”

The images of inhaling thrills through 20-dollar-bills and draining tumblers only to get them refilled open this addiction song with a ragged digital edge. The Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard doesn’t mince words here: “This place is a prison.”

  1. 3. “The A Team,” Ed Sheeran

Most Haunting Lyric: “But lately her face seems slowly sinking, wasting, crumbling like pastries”

For an addiction song with such a whimsical melody, this is one of the darker tunes on this list, covering such topics as prostitution for a fix and the girl’s eventual death from an overdose. “The A Team” tells the story of a girl addicted to cocaine, which is referred to as a “Class A” drug. Written after visiting a homeless shelter, this is a musical reminder of the close connection between substance abuse and homelessness and the quiet tragedy of addiction that happens around us every day.

  1. 4. “Sober,” Kelly Clarkson

Most Powerful Lyric: “Picked my weeds but kept the flowers”

“Sober” is about more than substance; it’s about the root problems. And sometimes that’s people, thoughts, memories, or fears. Recovery is about more than abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it’s about a complete healing and a new way to understand life.

  1. 5. “Drug Dealer” (feat. Ariana Deboo), Macklemore

Most Powerful Lyric: “My drug dealer was a doctor.”

Citing such high profile deaths that involved prescription drugs as Michael Jackson, Prince, and Heath Ledger, Macklemore shines a light on the lesser talked about side of addiction: prescription drugs. He even calls out Congress claiming they do the work of billionaires running pharmaceutical companies.

  1. 6. “Running to Stand Still,” U2 

Most Powerful Lyric: “I only see one way out, you got to cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice”

With a comeback tour focused on the fan-favorite classic album The Joshua Tree, U2’s “Running to Stand Still” is as relevant today as it was when it was released in the ’80s. The heroin imagery is prevalent in this song (eyes painted red, needle chill) and the seven towers represent a housing complex near where Bono grew up called the Ballymun Flats where there was a rampant drug problem. The chorus is tragic and painful in its desperation and vivid imagery of the helplessness of addiction, both for people watching and those in the midst of it.

  1. 7. “The Needle and the Damage Done,” Neil Young

Most Powerful Lyric: “But every junkie’s like a settin’ sun”

Danny Whitten was one of the original members of Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse. Whitten and a roadie, Bruce Berry, both died of heroin overdoses, and this song was a type of response. Young has expressed remorse over not doing enough to save his friends, and you can certainly hear that tone of this classic. In an interview answer to a mother of two men addicted to drugs, Young said, “The song’s pretty straightforward. When I said every junkie’s like a setting sun, it’s like, if that’s what you’re gonna do, you’re gonna go down. … We’re all different, and we’re not responsible for the decisions that each other make. We can only try to guide, but we can’t take the blame.”

  1. 8. “Wise Up,” Aimee Mann

Most Powerful Lyric: “It’s not going to stop, it’s not going to stop, it’s not going to stop … till you wise up”

In “Wise Up” the singer is pleading with herself. And this is one of the most powerful aspects of this song about addiction. A person in the destructive cycle of substance abuse actually knows, ultimately it’s up to them. The final commission to “just give up” can be seen as tragic or as hopeful. For a person with a chemical dependence, ultimately the time will finally come to “give up.” That’s either going to be a tragedy or, hopefully, an acceptance of the help that is available. “It’s not going to stop, till you wise up.”

Need Help?

If you or your loved one are trapped in the devastation of addiction and don’t know where to turn, please call us. We will answer your questions and help you understand the best step to take for lasting recovery: 888-590-0777.

PAWS A Major Reason for Relapse

PAWS: A Major Reason for Relapse


So you detoxed. You did your residential treatment. You’ve been in IOP and are still meeting with a support group—even feeling pretty good and … wham! Something hits you. A couple of months into your recovery process is a tough time to experience a new set of withdrawals, but no one said recovery was fair. So you might as well be prepared for it.

What Is PAWS?

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (also known as PAWS) is a recalibration. Although the acute withdrawal symptoms are over within the first or second week of going clean, the nervous system of an addict has been altered by prolonged substance abuse. This means the rewiring will take time (but it will happen if you stick with it). Involved in this time period is some tough stuff that requires awareness and a renewed commitment to your program and continued connection to your support community.

What Will You Feel?

Stress. Yes, it is a bummer. Stress is a major contributing factor to why people become addicted to substances in the first place. However, in the first 4-8 weeks of sobriety, a recovering addict will be even more sensitive to stress and their cravings will be heightened.

To make matters worse, PAWS tends to generate impulsivity. And yes, impulsivity is also a contributing aspect of an addictive personality. So you get more stress, and you get more impulsive, thinking less about the future and your life’s most important truths and more about how to get through the immediate.

As if those weren’t enough, other symptoms include a loss of memory (did I miss my group session again?), unpredictable moods, insomnia and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, fatalism, even suicidal ideation.

Make You Want to Relapse

The cravings come fast and hard with these withdrawals, and this is often right around the time a person is starting to experience a bit more independence, starting to transition back into society. But there is hope. What is important to remember is that this is part of recovery, and the symptoms will not last forever.

What Can You Do About PAWS?

Be Aware

The early recovery period is tough enough without these psychological and physical withdrawals. But it is part of the process. It is not something that will continue forever, and just the fact that you know it is part of recovery will help you fend off the temptations and cravings.

Stick to Your Program

When you feel like it, and when you don’t. There is a reason a group of professionals has rallied around you and set up a treatment program. You might feel like you are handling your recovery fine on your own, and there is something to be said for the work you have done. But often PAWS, along with other surprises in life, come when you are feeling most confident (read: over-confident), and the result might get away from you.

Be Patient

Recovery is a one-day-at-a-time process. Remember to take care of yourself. Practice meditation. Exercise. Pay attention to your nutrition. Practice gratitude. You are going to have bad days, but you are also going to have good days. Trying to rush the process will only make you resentful.

Be patient, and stick with it. Recovery is possible for you, and you will get through this. You are part of a community of courageous people who were strong enough to reach out for help when it was most important. Stick with it. More bravery will be required of you, but you are going make it through.

Call Us

If you or your loved one lost sobriety as a result of PAWS please call us. Relapse does not have to be the end of the world and our addiction specialists are ready to listen to your story and guide you through the process of lasting sobriety: 888-590-0777.

intervention talking to a loved one

Intervention: How to Talk to a Loved One With an Addiction


To read more on how to help a loved one with an addiction, find it here.

If you are considering having an intervention for a loved one with an addiction, it is important to remember that recovery does not come from a single force of willpower. A decision must be made, for sure. But a decision alone will almost certainly fall short when it comes face-to-face with the disease of addiction. True and lasting recovery comes from a solid program designed, implemented, and managed by licensed professionals. So your goal is not to convince someone to stop. Your goal is to help them ask for help.

When confronting addiction in a loved one, anger, blame, raised voices, or intense emotions will not make the situation and better. The key is to simply state the facts. You can tell your loved one your concerns about what is happening and what direction you see them going and then ask if they agree with you. This keeps things in a non-blaming tone and gives your loved one the space to view themselves from your eyes.

Be Prepared to Stand Your Ground

This does not mean that you are going easy on your loved one. In fact, your confrontation/intervention must have a cost. Be prepared with the consequences of what will happen if your loved one refuses your help.

You cannot force someone into a treatment program, but you can make life more difficult if they choose to stay out of one. If you are supporting them financially, that may have to stop. They might not get access to your children while they are in the cycle of substance abuse. Indeed, you might decide that shutting them out of your own life is what has to happen—for their wellbeing as well as your own. Whatever consequences you decide on, make sure to state them and stick to them. An intervention means you are committed to saving your loved one’s life. This also means you will do whatever it takes to accomplish this. Even telling them that, “enough is enough,” and following through.

Remember you can not force someone to go get help, all you can do is explain to them how you feel and offer them help in seeking a new way of life. An intervention is best done with others, going at it alone can be difficult, dangerous and your chances of success are minimal. Try and get at least two other loved ones together to help. Make sure you have done your homework and have a treatment center lined up in case your loved one is receptive to your concerns.

Here are some guidelines to talking to a loved one:

  • Be informed
  • Be prepared (part one of this will help with that)
  • Bring at least two other people who love them
  • Make sure they are sober
  • Make sure they are comfortable
  • Be calm and open
  • Be firm and committed
  • Have a plan!

Here are some questions you can be prepared to ask:

  • Do you feel like you are in a good place in life?
  • Do you feel like you are struggling?
  • Have you tried to stop?
  • Have you noticed substances interfering with your life?
  • Do you see what how your actions affect those who love you?
  • Have you thought about getting help?
  • Do you know I love you and why I want to get you help?

Stages of Recovery

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (also known as SAMHSA) put together 12 guidelines for addiction recovery. These are helpful to keep in mind when considering the pathway of recovery for your loved one.

  • There are many pathways to recovery.
  • Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  • Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  • Recovery is holistic.
  • Recovery has cultural dimensions.
  • Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  • Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  • Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
  • Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
  • Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
  • Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.

What If They Refuse?

If they refuse help you must stay strong. You need to let your loved one know that you will not just sit by and watch them kill themselves. You are there to help them do one thing: get into a treatment program. You will do anything and everything in your power to make that happen. Don’t give up on them, but stick to your consequences. Your loved one has to understand that their actions will get results. Their best hope is to take your hand and follow you in the direction of lasting recovery.

How to Get More Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and would like to learn more about our program, call SoCal Detox today at 888-590-0777. One of our addiction specialists is ready to help you through this process from the very beginning. Saving the life of your loved one is possible, and we can help.

loved one addiction

How to Help a Loved One With an Addiction

For every person with an addiction filled with life-threatening behaviors and dangerous lifestyle decisions, there is a heartbroken loved one watching it happen. Family and friends feel powerless in the face of this seemingly all-powerful force in the life of their son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister. Maybe you’ve stood in the doorway pleading with tears streaming from your eyes. Maybe you’ve silently watched as the pills disappeared. Maybe you’ve stayed up nights terrified for the life of your loved one as the clock kept its slow and steady pace. Whatever your experience, you likely know this one thing: your loved one is disappearing before your eyes. And you just might be losing yourself with them.

Your Loved One Is Worth It

The first thing is something you already know. Your loved one is worth saving. They are worth the effort. The world might see a junkie or a drunk, but you see a person of infinite value that has not just lost their way but has been stolen from themselves and from their family and friends who love them.

The second thing to know is that recovery is possible.

However, you can’t save them. So what can you do?

From the Outside

Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and behavior. To a friend or family member watching from the outside, it can seem like mind control. The world’s answer to addiction is usually to blame—the addict, their influences, their circumstances, society, anything. But blame is not the way to help. Real help is a lot more nuanced. It understands that action needs occur and the addict needs to come to a realization. But it also understands that simple willpower is not what it takes to heal a chemical dependency.

Your loved one cannot simply decide to stop. They need real help in the form of professional recovery treatment.

So, again, what can you do? Be firm and point the way.

What’s Involved in Addiction Treatment?

If they are not looking for it themselves, it’s likely you are going to be the one researching treatment options for your loved one. This is an overwhelming task, to be sure. Where do you even start?

First: Detox

The first step is going to be detoxification. Your loved one is in a serious physical situation. Their body has become dependent on the substances they have been using. This means that while cutting them out of their lives has to happen, this process is also dangerous. They need to remove substances from their system under the close guidance of a medical professional.

Withdrawals are what happen when a person’s body stops receiving a substance (such as drugs or alcohol) that it has been depending on. The longer a person abuses, the more their body becomes dependent. So the longer the addiction, the stronger the withdrawals will be. Common physical effects range from shaking and sweating to hallucinating and seizing on the extreme side. A high-quality detox is essential for safety and duress during this process. When your loved one goes through the detoxification process, they should be as safe and comfortable as possible.

As one of the premier detox facilities in Southern California, SoCal Detox offers a wide variety of detox programs that are effective, proven to work, and administered by professional, experienced and compassionate staff. Call us today to get treatment and guidance through this important step of recovery for you or your loved one: 888-590-0777.

Second: Inpatient Residential Treatment (Rehab)

These centers are often referred to as “rehab.” The programs should be highly organized and professionally managed for live-in treatments. This is where the deeper work of integrated emotional and psychological guidance combines with life-skill training, group support, and individualized attention.

The length of stay usually lasts at least 28 days and some can last as long as a year. Most treatment centers will treat any addiction. But there are other considerations when looking at the best fit.

  • Is it group specific (gender specific, executive, LGBT)?
  • Is it accessible to you? (where is it located?)
  • Does it look like a comfortable place?
  • What services are available (family sessions, trauma care, wilderness treatment, yoga, etc)?
  • Will insurance cover it?

Third: Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, and aftercare

The first step of detox and rehab are the immediate concerns, so you have a little more time on this. As well, your residential treatment team will play an essential part in creating the long-term plan for your loved one. However, here are a some of the treatment options you can expect.

With Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) the clients do not live at the treatment center. This approach allows your loved one to meet with a small group of other addicts/alcoholics and a therapist. They will meet, on average, 2-4 days a week for 3 months. In these groups, they will go over common goals, relapse prevention techniques, how to deal with triggers and various other objectives.

Before You Call

If you are going to call a treatment center on behalf of your loved one, here is some information that will be useful when talking to a prospective treatment center:

  • What substances are being used? 
  • How long have they been using?
  • Is there any history of treatment in the past?
  • Are there any mental health issues involved on top of the alcohol or substance abuse issues?

At SoCal Detox, we would be happy to go over all or any of this information with you and help you understand what your options are. If you want to simply talk to an addiction specialist who can help walk you through every part of the process, please call today: 888-590-0777.

Part 2 coming soon:
How do I approach my loved one?

ethical standards treatment

SoCal Detox Calls for High Ethical Standards

On Tuesday, June 13, 2107, Sovereign Health in San Clemente was raided by 40 federal agents. This alarming event has occurred during a period of time when the Southern California recovery industry (addiction treatment centers, detoxification centers, and other chemical dependency programs) has been under much scrutiny and media investigation for ethical standards.

Unfortunately, for good reason.

Here at SoCal Detox, when we hear of unethical activities that have occurred in other treatment centers, we are deeply saddened by the news. Everything from insurance fraud to what has been called “body brokering,” a situation where an addict is offered payment in exchange for choosing a specific program. This happens to people when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s a money grab that disregards the lives of individuals as well as their families who have put their trust in these programs and institutions.

Of course, it hit close to home yesterday as one of the most prominent Southern California treatment networks was the target of multiple sealed search warrants. There is no public information on why the FBI served the warrants. However, it serves as a reminder.

We are proud of our ethically based intake of patients and high standard of quality care here at SoCal Detox. It is something that flows from the deep compassion, care, and ethical principles that center our program.

If you want to know more about the measures we take, or if you are looking for a place you can trust for you or your loved one to get the help they need, please call us today: 888-590-0777.

rock to addiction recovery

Every Junkie’s Like a Settin’ Sun

“Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine

Words can only go so far. Symbols of the heart’s deeper language, words will stop short of actually conveying full reality. They are the mirror, or the possibility, not the essence. This is important in understanding arts-assisted recovery from chemical dependency.

When Neil Young wrote that every junkie is like a setting sun, the connection between music and his life’s experience took a profound movement from mere words to deeper heart truth. In two seconds we get the sense that Young has been in close connection with addiction. And he’s been burned. He was able to express pain alongside learned callousness. In a near-sardonic vocal peal of regret and detachment, he writes it all off. Art meeting life. Or maybe … Rock meeting life.

Music for Recovery

Rock to Recovery is musical therapy group based in Huntington Beach. But this is not your typical music therapy. A little less controlled, a little more, gritty; a little less safe, a little more real. A little more Rock ’n’ Roll. They walk into a room filled with people who have come to the edge of destruction, look around, and say, “Let’s write a song about it.” The results are spiritual and physical—emotional and intellectual. But more than that, it’s beyond words to explain—you have to sing them to understand.

Rock to Recovery’s Brandon Parkhurst with  Ocean Ranch Recovery
Rock to Recovery Ocean Ranch

Founder Wesley Geer was a professional musician for over 20 years with a distinguishing highlight as the touring guitarist for the acclaimed nu metal outfit, Korn. Before that, he was a founding member, guitarist, songwriter, and producer for the band Hed PE. After eight years touring the world and living the classic Rock lifestyle including drug and alcohol abuse, Geer made a break. He found himself in rehab getting clean where a new understanding of the power of music came to him along with a new mission in life. “… it was when I was in treatment that I realized how much music could help me get through those tough emotions that run so rampant, especially in the early days,” says Geer on the website. “Being totally sober and dealing with the bottom I had hit—strumming the guitar was the only thing that would bring me peace.”

Something Missing

During that time Geer noticed the lack of music treatment that dealt with some of the deeper gut-wrenching issues. And he knew firsthand what that kind of approach could do. So he started Rock to Recovery.

Geer and his team of professional musicians, all of who are recovering addicts themselves, get together with a group of people in addiction treatment and form a makeshift band. The clients write the words and have a say in the musical direction. By the end of the session, a song is written straight from the experience of those in the room and recorded live. Listening to the music you will hear a place for venting—anger and disillusionment are common. But it’s not nihilistic. The music has a point and a hope. And that is where the healing can be found, not just for those in the session, but for anyone who hears.

Music Makes a Difference

Undergirding the whole experience, some deeper lessons are being conveyed. Stuff like learning to have clean and sober fun, connecting to a group, quieting the mind, raising self-esteem, manage stress, and so forth. But really, it’s rock. And it’s the belief that music can save the soul as well as teach you how to dance real slow. It’s beyond words to describe, and it is changing lives, one song at a time.

It seems that the guys from Rock to Recovery have seen the needle and the damage done. But when they walk in a room of honest people brave enough to reach out for help, with the guts to make a difference in their own lives, they don’t see setting suns. They see artists. And for many, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of art and recovery and lasting change.

Here are a couple of our favorite songs that have come straight from the program:

Get Help

Do you want to know more about what happens in a recovery program? Here is a good place to start: “A Newcomer’s Guide to Recovery Programs.”

If you or a loved one are in need to detox services that are proven to work, call SoCal Detox toll-free today and make your recovery a reality: 888-590-0777.

self sabotage addiction

Self-Sabotage in Addiction Recovery

Self-sabotage happens when you have two desires working against each other in your life.

Have you ever had a long-term goal to stay healthy and fit? You felt so strong about it in January. Made resolutions. Created workout plans. Set goals. Then a few months went by, and things started to slip a bit. Eventually that goal you felt so strong about began to feel like more of a nuisance. And you decided to skip a gym day. Then you chose to have two desserts at dinner with the family. Then a week went by without any fitness. It continued that path until eventually, it was all over. You stopped even trying.

When it comes to the aspects of our lives that require attention and management, our conscious and subconscious minds are at odds. And it is up to us to make sure the right one comes out on top.

So What?

Similar to a long-term healthy lifestyle, sobriety requires constant vigilance. In addiction recovery, when a person has a long-term goal of lasting sobriety, anything they do to impede that goal, no matter how small, is a form of self-sabotage. And the results are a little more serious than simply slipping on a couple of months of an exercise commitment. They could cost everything.

The key to keeping oneself from self-sabotage in recovery is an awareness of the actions we take every day. Our daily choices may seem innocuous, but in reality, they form the base levels of our most important life decisions.

Every recovery journey is unique, so you may need to customize your list of self-sabotaging actions, but here are a few common ones to be on the lookout for in your life, along with a few suggestions on how to combat them.

  1. Not Following Through

There is nothing more egotistical than refusing to follow through on the system and recovery plan set up for you with, and by, trusted professionals in the recovery world. Skipping meetings, ignoring schedules, skipping exercise, all the things you agreed were best for you while in treatment are still best for you. Follow through is your recovery. Do not undermine yourself, and your life, by skipping out on your commitments.

  1. Boredom

Yes, boredom is self-sabotage because, with some proactive intentionality, it can be alleviated. In the past, you have filled your time looking for a fix. Now, there is still time to fill, so make a list of activities that you can engage in when you find yourself spiraling into a fit of idleness. Take note of your feelings. Keep an eye on patterns that lead to sitting around the house all day. Create a schedule and stick to it.

  1. Negative Friendships

Friendship is generally a good thing in life. However, you know which friends are good for your sobriety and which ones are harmful. Allowing the harmful ones back into your life is an action that will have direct negative consequences on your successful recovery. Staying clean is more important than the hurt feelings of a person who does not actually care about your long-term health. Strong healthy decision-making is vital in this aspect of your life. Be firm, and surround yourself with people who will support your sobriety.

  1. Returning to Patterns

There are certain triggers that are so connected to your life as an addict, they need to be cut away from your new life. The parties, the sports events, the eating, the walks under the bridge across town. You know what the patterns were in your life before sobriety, a return to them represents a willingness to damage your own hard work.

  1. Keeping Secrets

Honesty, especially with the people you have brought into your life to hold you accountable, is fundamental for a recovering addict. As soon as the temptation arises to hide certain aspects of your life from the people who care about you, or who have been put in place to help keep you on track, it is time to get real with yourself. Secrets are going to sabotage all the time and effort you have put into giving yourself a lifeline of hope.

  1. Isolation

Loneliness, sadness, depression, negativity, self-pity, boredom, denial—all of these things come as a result of isolation. The more you separate from friends and family that love and support you, the more you are likely to return to patterns that lead back to destruction. Know your support system. And use it.

You are unique. You have had people pour into you. You have had the grace to move away from an addiction that would have cost you your life and everything worth living for.

Don’t sabotage it.

All of the people in your life—your family, sponsor, support group, counselor—can only do so much. Ultimately it is up to you to become aware of behaviors that will harm your goals and sobriety.

We Can Help

If you (or a loved one) are already on the path that has led to relapse or if you are struggling with addiction now, please call us. We are here to help with whatever part of the journey you find yourself on: 1-888-590-0777.

addiction relapse triggers

Managing Relapse Triggers

Firing a gun. It’s a pretty appropriate metaphor—intensity, power, ultimate damage and possible destruction … and nothing to stop it. This is addiction in many ways. But it all starts with a trigger, especially early in the process of recovery. It’s important for someone managing their sobriety to remember the destructive power of addiction is constantly there. It might be below the surface, but it exists, and many aspects of life can work as triggers to fire the gun of addiction.

A relapse trigger is anything that gives a person a reason or a justification to return to using a substance. It’s a text from a drug dealer, a pill bottle in the bathroom at a family party, the anniversary of when you lost a friend, anything that encourages you to take that first catastrophic step back into the grips of addiction.

Addiction is a disease that affects how our brains actually work. Environmental cues can boost dopamine (the “feel good” chemical) in the brain. This means that when you come in contact with certain things that your mind associates with a fix or a high, dopamine is actually released. So you start wanting more, and you know exactly how to get it. It’s the start of an urge, and it doesn’t happen because you are a bad person. It is simply the way our brains are wired. This what is happening when we come in contact with a relapse trigger.

So what can we do to manage triggers?

Identify them

Be aware of some specific trigger possibilities in your life. Know the people, places, and things that could cause urges to surface.

People: Do you associate old friends, a former spouse or significant other, family members, co-workers with getting high?

Places: Are there places that have connections to substances in your life and could cause to begin to revert to your addiction? An old neighborhood, a sports arena, raves, parties, bars, clubs, hotels, worksites, bathrooms, music or concerts?

Things: Money, pill bottles, movies, substance paraphernalia, all of these things that once were associated with the immediate pleasure of your high have the distinct possibility of causing the brain to rev its dopamine engines and get your urges going. 

Life Events: Holidays, anniversaries, parties, funerals, job loss, job promotion—good things or bad, our brains will tell us the way to make it better is with the addition of a substance.

Internal Triggers

Beyond the external aspects of life, our urges can be roused just as easily by emotions and internal experiences. This could include “good” feelings (celebration, sexual arousal, excitement, confidence) as well as “negative” ones (social anxiety, stress, boredom, exhaustion, loneliness). Humans are a complex web of thoughts, emotions, and associations, and any of them have the potential to give someone a self-justification for going back to their addiction.

It’s a good idea to remember the HALT acronym. Anytime you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired you are emotionally and physically susceptible to giving in. But this is why recovery is not built on willpower alone. With a good program it’s possible to create a plan for understanding and managing triggers and getting help from your support when necessary.

Get Redundant

Once you have identified potential triggers, it’s time to protect yourself and your sobriety. Protection is not an act of weakness; it keeps us in a situation where we can actively live full creative and powerful lives. Protection is strength.

Rock climbers use the term redundancy to make sure they are protected. It is the idea of making sure safety measures are doubled. Sometimes tripled. That way if one fails the other one will hold. This is a life-saving technique. This is safety in an arena of truly living.

So for the addict what does it take to keep clean? Redundancy on managing our triggers—the connections our brain makes between actions, physical addresses, sounds, smells, sights, stress, old friends, times of the year or anniversaries of life events or tragedies. In some cases we simply need to avoid them. In other cases, simple awareness and a sponsor or other support person on speed dial is what it takes. But make a plan. And have a backup plan, too.

The good news is that if you are working a quality program, the urges will go away. But triggers can pop their heads up no matter where you are in your recovery process, so constructing skills on how to manage them is vital.

Do You Need Help?

Are you in a situation where you or your loved one have already relapsed, and you’re not sure what to do? Here is more information on why a detox program is the best step for you: Why a Drug Detox Is Needed Before Rehab.

Or are you ready now to talk to one of our specialists on our safe and comfortable detox program? Please call us today: 888-590-0777 and find out how our individualized programs can help you achieve lasting recovery.

stop enabling addict

Are you Enabling the Addict in Your Life?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Consequences are part of life. They permeate all of the intricacies of existence. Understanding that our choices and actions produce results is part of growing up and becoming a functioning human.

Making Life Uncomfortable

There is a love that feels counterintuitive but is necessary in the life of a person caught in the web of addiction. It is a love that helps someone begin to understand and feel the destruction of their actions. It’s a tougher love. It’s the hard work of standing firm—a refusal to allow a loved one to continue the path they are on, which will only end in pain and tragedy. Love without enabling.

In order to actively love the addict in your life in a way that does not enable, your behaviors must cease to make their lives easier and begin to allow their lives to reflect the decisions they are making. Essentially enablers keep their loved ones from experiencing the consequences of their actions. While this feels like love and/or caring, in the big picture it is harm wearing the mask of care. The first step for those of us who are in the circumference of an addict is to change our mindset.

5 Things to Stop Doing

Stop the Guilt

If you feel guilty for allowing your loved one to live with the consequences of their destructive actions, a change of perspective is necessary. Remember, the more you allow an addict to continue their path, the more dangerous the situation becomes. Eventually they will end up in jail, in the hospital, or worse. Without recovery, that is where the path of substance abuse leads. Your goal must be to make this life they are choosing uncomfortable. And don’t let the guilt into your heart. Your actions, and even inaction, is a deeper love that makes sense on the truest levels.

Stop Making Excuses

Addiction is a disease. But that does not mean that you should give permission for a loved one to continue using without consequences. It is tempting to excuse the behavior citing life situations such as job stress or trauma, but at some point boundaries must be placed. If your loved one is using you can understand why, but remind them they are not powerless. There is still one choice they can make: the one for recovery.

Stop Protecting

Much of what goes along with addiction (especially drug addiction) is illegal. Part of loving someone without enabling might come from allowing the authorities to do their job. Purchasing illegal drugs, stealing to finance a fix, committing violence while under the influence, amongst other things are all common on the addict’s path. As well, driving while drunk or stoned is not only illegal, it is life threatening. If your loved one is engaged in illegal activities, do not protect them from the police or any other authority figure. These consequences are often exactly what an addict needs to wake up to the ruin they are living in and causing around them.

Stop Throwing Money at It

Addictions are expensive. Offering temporary loans, picking up the rent check for a couple of months, buying expensive gifts (which are then sold by the addict), these are all common ways well-meaning friends or family members bankroll substance abuse and add to the problem. If your loved one has access to the family bank account, you may want to make a separation in finances. At the very minimum a verbal commitment that the money has dried up (and sticking to it) is a necessary step in loving an addict without enabling.

Stop Smoothing Things Out

The vomit spread across their bed stinks. So don’t clean it. Flare-ups at the family function are horrible, but let your loved one deal with the fallout. Missing work is going to end up in a lost job; missing school is going to mean failing; getting arrested is going to bring everything in your loved one’s life to a breaking point. But that might be just what they need. Remember, refusing to enable is a tough road. It’s easier to simply make excuses and try to protect our loved ones. However, a more profound protection might just come from allowing an addict to reap what they sow.

What can you do?

Always emphasize treatment. Remembering that addiction is a disease, you can still stand firm on the fact that addiction is a treatable disease. It must be managed, but that does not come easily. Your loved one needs help. It’s time for them to understand that.

Not sure if your loved one needs help? Here is some valuable information on how to know when it’s time to get help for your friend or family member.

Need Help?
Please call us today for more information on how SoCal Detox can help your loved one find the treatment they need: 888-590-0777.