Category Archives: Alcohol Addiction

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace, and Companies That Hire People in Recovery

Alcohol Addiction

You may have seen news segments about companies that allow—even encourage— employees to drink at work. According to a 2012 article on ABCnews.go.com, ad agencies do, or at least they did at that time. One firm’s employee said that it “incentivizes and enthuses” employees, and another said it helps the creative process. Tech companies were mentioned as allowing drinking, too, especially after a “win.” The article even quoted a study that found a little alcohol enhances the creative process.To allow drinking at work brings up a host of issues. Take employees in recovery, for example. These people are often counseled on how to handle the question “Why don’t you drink?” or the taunt, “C’mon, have just one with us” in social situations, but they shouldn’t be placed in this situation at work. Also, what if someone gets in an accident on the way home? Isn’t the company wholly or partially at fault, like a bar is? (The situation is different for people in dangerous jobs; there are strict workplace rules about drinking on the job.)

In most jobs, it’s not easy trying to perform when suffering from alcohol use disorder (although people who are on the road a lot, or executives who aren’t accountable can get away with it easier, it seems). When employees are found to have a problem, however, it’s often strongly suggested that they attend rehab with the help of an Employee Assistance Program. Drinking while at work is such a touchy subject that the government includes the rules in their handbook for supervisors: Alcoholism in the Workplace: A Handbook for Supervisors. Here is a succinct explanation of guidelines and laws around drinking at work: 

“Federal legal protections for alcoholics in the workplace are designed to encourage them to seek help without jeopardizing their employment. However, those protections do not extend to alcoholic behavior in the workplace.

Two federal laws impact employment decisions related to alcohol use, abuse and alcoholism. The first, the Americans With Disabilities Act, requires employers to grant accommodation to disabled employees; it defines disabilities as conditions or disorders that substantially limit a major life activity. If your employee can prove that alcoholism prevents him or her from performing the job properly, you may be required to grant an accommodation for the purpose of rehabilitation. The second law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, prohibits employers from discharging employees who take extended absences to treat their alcoholism.

Accommodating alcoholic employees means giving them time to seek treatment for their condition. It does not mean reducing an alcoholic’s workload or otherwise changing their terms and conditions of employment. It also does not mean forgiving misconduct induced by alcohol or alcoholism. If, after receiving rehabilitation treatment, the employee continues to underperform, the law’s protections no longer apply. Likewise, the recidivist alcoholic is not entitled to FMLA-protected leave for subsequent breaches. The employer may reasonably expect that after a leave of absence for rehabilitation, more will not be required. In addition, no accommodation is required for the employee who denies having a problem.”

Drug and alcohol rehab programs

Drug Addiction

According to a headline in the Washington Post, “Drugs in the workplace are at their highest level in a decade.” Quest Diagnostics reports that opioids in the bloodstream and urine are down, but the incidence of other drugs is up. (And that’s only related to people who went for testing!) Cocaine and methamphetamine use is up in certain states, as well as marijuana in those states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Unfortunately, in three states, pot use is up in safety-sensitive jobs, which include truck driving, rail, and those in nuclear power plants, to name three industries. Federal contractors and recipients of federal grants, and “safety- and security sensitive industries” are legally required to have a drug-free workplace policy as under The Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988, but other industries are not. To protect workers’ rights, four acts lay out the limits on steps an employer can take in investigating and setting consequences for employee drug use. SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) advises companies to seek legal representation when deciding their policy on drug testing to avoid being sued for invasion of privacy, for example.

Check Out These Companies 

Here are four companies that hire people in recovery (which often means they’ve served time, too): Venturetech Drilling Technologies in West Knoxville, Texas, Envirosafe Stripping Inc. in Carnegie, PA., Creative Matters in Los Angeles, and Dave’s Killer Bread in Milwaukie, Ore. There are also federal and state programs that help formerly incarcerated people get jobs. For example, the U.S. Forest Service has a program that links non-profit organizations that employ these people with companies that need reclaimed lumber. For more information on our Drug and Alcohol rehab programs please contact us at (866) 569-9391. 

 

Let’s Talk about Drinking

With the opioid crisis still going strong, there’s a danger of problem drinking getting short shrift. If you’re the one who’s desperately trying to stay sober, or if you’re the one in four who has been personally touched by alcohol use disorder in your family, you know that we need to keep it in the public eye. It’s that important. To give people hope for recovery, and for funding for treatment and for research, and to educate people, to name a few reasons. Time Goes By is one of the many personal blogs that touches on drinking to excess. In one post, on Elders and Alcohol, the writer recalls growing up in the fifties when alcohol was such a big part of many people’s lives, and a more accepted part. The woman’s father had taught her to make all the popular drinks by the time she was 10, which would be unheard of today. In later years, she realized that her mother was a functional alcoholic who kept it in check at her day job, but made up for it evenings and weekends. She didn’t inherit the gene, the writer says, and doesn’t have a problem with alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction

A number of people felt the need to comment on the post. One believed there’s a similar emphasis on drinking today, as if it has never dissipated, from the media touting the latest craft beer to “paint and drink parties,” to people posting pictures of their drinks on social media. Others felt the need to testify about their personal experience, from abstaining to social drinking, to bringing one’s own beverages to events because the person was finally able to quit drinking and didn’t want to go back. The blog writer includes several excerpts from Medical News Today, a U.K. news site, about how moderate drinking is beneficial. She obviously hadn’t read the article that appeared before her post did—Federal Agency Courted Alcohol Industry to Fund Study on Benefits of Moderate Drinking. It concerns exactly what was spelled out in the headline. Not to cast aspersions on anyone or any study, but we need to research who is funding studies. The article revealed that some people involved “already believed that moderate alcohol is a good thing,” which is also not a good thing.  Luckily, another article, which followed that one, reported that the N.I.H would be investigating outreach to alcohol companies, or examining whether health officials violated government policy by soliciting donations to fund the study of moderate drinking. And following that, another, international study, found that adults should average no more than one drink a day—that many countries’ guidelines are too lenient. Yet according to that blog writer quoting Medical News Today, various studies indicated that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of stroke in women, and regular, moderate wine drinking might reduce the risk of developing depression, and moderate wine and beer consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular events.

Summit Estate's alcohol recovery centers

Alcohol Recovery Center

With all the reports about alcohol, it can be hard to determine what’s true regarding the claims. However, no one can argue that if a person doesn’t stop drinking, alcohol use disorder is extremely dangerous. People in recovery occasionally mention not knowing what to say when people ask why they’re not drinking. A person who wrote into a social etiquette column said that one co-worker said he missed drinking with the person, and asked if he wouldn’t have just one drink with him. The writer said that his recovery group suggested he didn’t owe anyone any answers. The columnist responded in line with the group—the writer had no duty to explain himself, especially if he were new in recovery. His message was to focus on himself and not waste energy fending off pals. But the columnist suggested that as time goes on, saying something like “Drinking didn’t agree with me” to acquaintances is good, but to family and close friends, it’s OK to share more of his struggle, which might even give him more allies than just his support group. For more information on alcohol addiction or Summit Estate’s alcohol recovery centers please contact  (866) 569-9391.

How do Alcohol Recovery Centers Help People With Their Addiction?

Many people will write about addiction and alcohol recovery centers from the perspective of those who were/are addicted. No man is an island though, and the people who are friends and family of an addicted person are also affected by his or her situation. Whether a sibling, parent or close friend, the pain of the abuser will affect you too, no one enjoys seeing someone they love self-implode.

Level of Risk

Drug dependency is always dangerous, but some drugs are much more dangerous than others (think Heroin, Methamphetamine etc.). You need to gauge the risks to the individual before deciding on the best approach to helping them.

This will often start the process of ‘’intervention’’; this is where those that care for the abuser take measures to try to save the life of the abuser. This will often entail a prolonged stay at a psychological medical Centre as well as a drug rehab program.

Out of your hands

You cannot fix someone. The only person who can stop the drug abuser is the addict themselves. You need to realize this before trying to help, if someone does not want to change or is unable to, no amount of help and sacrifice will help. In some cases, and this is painful to hear, you may need to cut your losses so to speak.

When they do want help…

The key thing one can do is just be there for the person you care. Understand that the recovering addict is going to have good and bad days, some days will be filled with cravings or other signs of withdrawal, other days it will feel like having the old person back. Being patient is vital, setting clear boundaries and not getting angry is as important as the time you give to the loved one.

How do Alcohol Recovery Centers Help People With Their Addiction

You can’t do it alone

Sometimes the scale of the problem will be too great, in most cases, it is desirable that a group of people who care for the abuse intervene, this enables a shared responsibility as well as helping manage more practical aspects such as allocating time slots to help take care of the abuser through recovery.

The more people that help, the better, it shows the addict that they still have a place in the world and people who care for them.

The Long and Winding Road

Most of us know abusers in our life, whether it is known to us or not is a different matter entirely. Communication and trust are key, even in circumstances where the abuser may have hurt us when one decides to help you must commit to it.

Circumstance change when the person does not wish to be helped. But for those addicts that wish to change help should be provided by a loving support network.

This can be a lifelong commitment. It is up to you as an individual to decide if it is worth the sacrifice. Summit Estate can help all the way through the rehab process. Call (866) 569-9391 for more information about our programs and how we can help you.

 

What to Expect from Alcohol Recovery Centers Today

Alcohol addiction is a far-reaching disease and does not discriminate. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, what race or religion you are, or where you live; once alcohol addiction takes hold of you, it can completely disrupt your life in every way and lead you spiraling down. Overcoming an addiction like this is far from an easy thing to do and takes work and dedication on your part. Luckily, there are quality facilities available today that can provide you with the level of help you need. The alcohol recovery centers available offer the system you need to be part of to recover successfully.

Centers are There for Support

Going through addiction alone and fighting it can be a difficult uphill battle that few can win. That is why rehab facilities and recovery centers are so important today. Centers can provide the support system that clients need at this most difficult time in life. A good center gives you the medical care you need to detox and overcome the physical addiction your body is dealing with while also providing you with the emotional and psychological support that you need most right now to better understand what you are going through and how you can gain the strength and courage you need to fight and move forward.

recovery centers in Northern California

Centers with the Best Approaches

Many of the alcohol recovery centers of the past all took the same approach to helping people with alcohol addiction, focusing on the basic programs and assuming they would work well for everyone. Methodologies, techniques, and tools have grown and changed over the years and provide us with better, more patient-focused programs that meet the needs of the individual. This approach gives centers the flexibility to try different therapies and approaches to touch clients in the areas of their lives that they need help the most.

One of the Top Centers Available

If you are looking at alcohol recovery centers in Northern California for yourself or for a loved one so that you can get the help you need, please consider contacting us here at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Our facility is among the finest you will find in the country and offers the facility, professionals, and treatment methods that encourage and facilitate recovery. You can learn more about us by reading our website, and you can contact us at 866-569-9391 if you have questions or need advice about getting help for addiction.

The Physical Effects of Long-term Alcohol Abuse  

surgeons performing surgery The statistics on alcohol abuse in the United State are alarming. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 15.1 million adults over the age of eighteen meet the criteria for an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). In addition, roughly 88,000 people die each year form alcohol related causes, and alcohol-impaired driving incidents cause close to 10,000 deaths per year. More troubling than these raw numbers is the fact that only about 1.8 million of individuals who meet the criteria for an AUD receive appropriate treatment at a specialized facility – less than ten percent. That’s not all. In 2010, Americans spent an estimated 249 billion dollars on health issues related to alcohol misuse. Worldwide, the toll of alcohol shows similarly scary numbers:

  • In 2012, alcohol consumption contributed to 3.3 million deaths.
  • In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol misuse caused over two-hundred diseases and adverse health conditions.
  • Alcohol misuse is characterized as the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in the 15-49 year-old age group, while close to 25% of total deaths in the 20-39 year-old age group can be attributed to alcohol.

If you’re a drinker and you’re worried about your risk of developing an AUD, the first thing to do is determine your level of drinking. Heavy drinkers are at far greater risk of developing an AUD than low-to-moderate drinkers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines heavy drinking as the consumption of five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days over the period of one month. In plain language, that means if you’ve had more than five drinks – probably meaning you got pretty drunk – more than five times in the past thirty days, you’re at high risk of developing a potentially life-threatening AUD.

Check Yourself, Check Your Health

Maybe you know you have a problem with drinking. Maybe you drink heavily every day, but still manage to keep it all together. You show up for work, you manage your family obligations, and your health hasn’t started to suffer – yet. Maybe you know some form of treatment for your alcohol use is in your future, but you’re not quite ready for treatment yet. You’re not ready to take the plunge into rehab, therapy, or even weekly support group meetings, because, despite your heavy drinking, everything seems to be going fine. The operative word in that last sentence is seems. In the case of chronic alcohol misuse – the kind that takes place over years – what you don’t know can, quite literally, kill you. That’s why it’s in your best interest to get checked out by a physician, even if you know you’re not going into treatment any time soon. If the statistics haven’t convinced you to at least consider a visit to the doctor, perhaps this next set of facts will.

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Major Organs

You probably know alcohol wreaks havoc on your liver, but that’s not the only organ that suffers under chronic alcohol use. Let’s take a look at the other organs negatively impacted by alcohol use, starting at the top. The Brain Alcohol can damage the function and structure of your brain. Recent technology in brain imaging shows significant decrease in brain tissue. Chronic over-consumption of alcohol can also lead to Wernicke’s-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) a condition caused by vitamin B-1 deficiency. WKS is no picnic: effects may include alcoholic dementia, short-term memory loss, the inability to learn new information, cognitive impairment, eye problems, poor physical coordination, and difficulty walking. The Heart  Most people have read or heard that moderate alcohol consumption – say a glass or two of wine a day – is good for the cardiovascular system. What most people haven’t heard is that heavy alcohol consumption can damage your heart. Chronic, excessive drinking can to cardiomyopathy, which is a heart disease with symptoms like dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, abnormal pulse, and cough accompanied by a frothy, pink discharge. Unfortunately, the symptoms of cardiomyopathy can stay hidden until it’s too late, and heart failure is imminent. The Liver Alcohol-related liver disease comes in three primary forms:

  1. Alcoholic Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis means scarring. Therefore, alcoholic cirrhosis, simply put, means severe scarring and liver damage, with symptoms similar to severe alcoholic hepatitis. You cannot reverse cirrhosis, but if you catch it early enough you can prevent further damage. Left untreated, cirrhosis causes permanent damage which can only be improved by a liver transplant. In 2013, over 30,000 people died from alcohol related liver disease, and close to one-third of liver transplants were alcohol related.
  2. Alcoholic Hepatitis. This condition causes an increase in fat, inflammation, and mild cirrhosis. People suffering from alcoholic cirrhosis often experience nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, stomach pain, fever, and jaundice. Statistics show that close to 35% of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis. While mild cases can be reversed if you quit drinking, more extreme cases may develop quickly and can lead to severe complications, including death.
  3. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. This condition is characterized by a buildup of fat in liver tissue, which impedes optimal function. Occasionally there are no symptoms at all. Of the three liver diseases caused by excessive alcohol consumption, alcoholic fatty liver disease is the least damaging, and can be reversed – but only if you quit drinking.

Alcohol and Cancer

Liver disease is the most common and well-known health risk associated with heavy drinking, but it’s not the only serious, chronic illness related to excessive alcohol use. The American Cancer Society (ACS) links the following forms of cancer to alcohol:

  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Voice Box
  • Esophagus
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Breast

The message from the ACS is clear and simple: the more you drink, the higher your risk of getting cancer. Our message to you is also clear and simple: if you know you have an alcohol problem, but you’re not ready to enter treatment, you need to go to a doctor and get a full health examination. You may not be showing symptoms yet, but beneath the surface, things may be headed in a very bad direction. We understand not wanting to enter treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder. Detox is hard, sobriety is harder, and recovery is a lifelong process. We understand you might not want to improve your psychological and emotional well-being, because right now, you’re functioning just fine. However, that body you’re living in is the only one you’ve got. We want to make sure you know, in no uncertain terms, that chronic, excess drinking can cause many conditions that are permanent, irreversible, and in some cases, fatal.

College Students Ask: Is My Drinking Really a Problem? Do I Need Addiction Treatment for Alcohol?

college students sitting on bench

Summertime means different things for different college students. Some travel abroad, some take classes to catch up or get ahead, some stay busy with internships or jobs, and some take a well-deserved break from the school grind to chill, relax, and recharge their internal batteries. It’s a natural time to look back on the year, decide how it went, and make plans for the upcoming semester.

If your year went well, then you’re probably loving summer, but you’re also looking forward to getting back on campus. If your year wasn’t great, then maybe you have a little more on your mind. Maybe your grades weren’t what you wanted. Maybe you partied more than you should have. Maybe you drank a little too much.

Maybe you think your drinking affected your grades.

Maybe it’s more than that: you know you went way overboard with the partying and drinking and you’re sure that’s why your grades weren’t up to par. Then you kept up the partying through the summer, and now you think you may have a problem. Worse, you know when you go back to school – where the excessive drinking started – it’s going to be really hard to keep yourself in check.

Now you’re worried: what should you do?

Do you see a professional? Go to support group meetings? Get addiction treatment? Do you do all that before you go back to school, so you set yourself up for success?

Those are all valid questions. If you’re asking them of yourself, you should take them seriously. The first thing you need to do is figure out if your drinking really is a problem. In the language of treatment and recovery, it’s time for you to decide – and be brutally honest with yourself – if your drinking is within typical limits, or if you have what’s called an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

The handbook used by mental health professionals to diagnose and classify mental health and substance abuse disorders is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). If you think you have a problem with alcohol, then you can use the following questionnaire – as recommended by the DSM-V – to diagnose yourself.

In the past year, have you…

  1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
  2. More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  3. Spent a lot of time drinking, or being sick and getting over the after-effects of drinking?
  4. Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
  5. Found that drinking, or being sick from drinking, often interfered with taking care of your home or family, cause job-related troubles, or problems with school?
  6. Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  7. Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  8. More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt?
  9. Continued to drink even after a memory blackout, and even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem?
  10. Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want, or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  11. Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, sensing things that were not there, or seizures?

If you answer yes to two or more of the questions above, then the DSM-V indicates you have an AUD. AUDs can be mild, moderate, or sever:

  • Mild: positive answers to two or three of the diagnostic questions.
  • Moderate: positive answers to four or five of the diagnostic questions.
  • Severe: positive answers to six or more of the diagnostic questions.

Common Levels of Alcohol Use

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offer simple definitions of alcohol consumption and how these levels affect general health and wellness. If you’re unsure where you fall on the continuum, use these guidelines to clarify your position:

  • Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
  • Binge Drinking: Five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in a two-hour period on at least one day over the course of a month.
  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Binge drinking on five or more days over the course of a month.

These definitions align with what most people know through personal experience. Moderate consumption is what everyone would consider normal, social drinking. Binge drinking tends to happen in college or early adulthood. Heavy drinking is what happens when consumption gets out of hand and becomes an obvious problem.

However, these three categories beg the question: “What constitutes one drink?” Serving sizes and alcohol content can vary a great deal. Drinking at a bar or restaurant is not the same as drinking at a private party, and the amount of alcohol in a drink depends on what you’re drinking: beer, malt liquor, wine, and distilled spirits all contain different percentages of alcohol. Here’s how the NIAAA defines a standard drink:

  • 12 ounces of beer containing around 5% alcohol. Think of a regular can of beer.
  • 8-9 ounces of malt liquor containing around 7% alcohol. Think of a pint glass around half-full.
  • 5 ounces of wine containing around 12% alcohol. Think of a regular glass of wine you might get with dinner at a restaurant.
  • 5 ounces of distilled spirits (liquor like vodka, whiskey, gin, or tequila) containing around 40% alcohol (80 proof). Think of a regular-sized shot glass.

Are You at Risk of Developing an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Based on the figures above, the NIAA defines low-risk drinking as:

  • Less than three drinks a day and seven drinks a week for women.
  • Less than four drinks a day and fourteen drinks a week for men.

Only around 2% of people who drink within these limits – i.e. low-to-moderate drinkers – develop an AUD. Consumption above these levels increases the chance of developing an AUD. The NIAA College Fact Sheet reveals that the drinking habits of college students make them particularly vulnerable to developing an AUD. The facts speak for themselves:

  • Close to 67% of college students who reported drinking at least once a month also engage in binge drinking
  • Binge drinkers who consume alcohol at least three times a week are six times more likely to perform poorly on a test due to drinking, and five times more likely to miss a class due to drinking
  • Roughly 25% of college students report alcohol negatively impacts their academic performance
  • About 20% of college students meet the DSM-V established criteria for an AUD.

Now, re-read the NIAA definition of low-risk drinking. If your drinking habits exceed those parameters and put you in the at-risk category, then it’s time to face the facts: you may well be on your way to an Alcohol Use Disorder. And if you know you have a problem, then it’s time to consider treatment options. It’s not time to freak out, but it is time to do something about it.

Back to that initial question: should you do something about it before you go back, to set yourself up for success?

The answer is simple: yes.

Take the time you have now to lay down the foundation for a successful year. Call us at 800-701-6997 and we’ll do everything we can to help you get control of your drinking and get your life on track. Also, keep an eye on this blog: upcoming posts will discuss the Sober Dorm movement happening on college campuses across the country, and provide an extensive list of helpful resources designed specifically for college students struggling to make it through school while in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse.

 

Gene’s Story

gene“I grew up in a household filled with alcoholism and co-dependency,” says Gene. When he was 13 years old his parents divorced and he moved to Northern California from Southern California. He began using alcohol and drugs in his early teens. “I was introduced to marijuana at 13 years old and from that point I did all type of drugs,” says Gene.  For the next decade he was abusing alcohol and drugs regularly. In an attempt to quit, he entered military service in his early 20s. But, that proved ineffective as the urge to use drugs was more powerful than military life. “I was asked to leave because of cocaine use,” says Gene. In the mid-1980s, Gene’s family and friends staged an intervention and he went into a treatment program.  “I was able to stay sober for 13 years and I got my life back on track,” says Gene.  But, Gene relapsed “while sober I didn’t take care of the underlying issues that caused my addiction and expand my spiritual life,” he says. During an especially difficult life changes – divorce and job layoff – Gene slipped into taking prescription pain pills and illegal narcotics. For the next decade Gene went through the darkest moments of his life. “I dealt with alcohol blackouts, started using cocaine again, and overdosed,” says Gene.  “I was tired of living this way.” A few friends of Gene found Summit Estate.  In summer of 2015, they encourage him to give it a try. “Summit Estate’s approach to recovery was different – a holistic view of overall health,” says Gene. Summit Estate introduced him to healthy ways to deal with his addiction and how to live differently – without drugs and alcohol. “Summit Estate thought me how to just sit with myself, how to breathe when confronted with difficult situation, how to mediate, and I even started practicing yoga – simple steps that helped a lot,” says Gene. “Summit Estate introduced me to a holistic approach to recovery – it felt like recovery 2.0 – they taught me to take care all the aspects of life to gain true recovery,” says Gene. Gene is continuing with his recovery and he is also helping others who are on their own journey of recovery. “At Summit Estate I learned to identify those triggers that would cause a relapse and how to deal with them without jeopardizing my recovery,” he says. Now 55 years old, “I am in a good place spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically,” says Gene. His sense of humor also continues to be a source of strength by living life on life’s terms. “I am in the 3rd quarter of my life and looking forward to overtime,” jokes Gene.

How To Help A Family Member Who Is An Alcoholic

Helping A Family Member Who Is An AlcoholicThere’s an old adage that family is where life begins and love never ends. The bond established between a newborn infant and a doting parent may be the most powerful connection on Earth. The love that parents feel for their children can move mountains. The profound connection between siblings lasts a lifetime. There’s simply no denying that family emotions run deep.

Helping A Family Member Who Is An Alcoholic

Yet, what happens when alcohol causes a family member to go from being your best friend to someone you don’t recognize. What if your mother, father, sister or brother crosses over from being a social drinker into a problem drinker? It doesn’t happen overnight, and families often socialize and drink together. In fact, it seems that the unconditional love and support that families provide can also serve as obstacles that prevent alcoholics from getting effective treatment.

Break Through Denial

One of the trickiest parts of dealing with an alcoholic is being able to communicate about the problem. Denial is a core element of alcoholism which means most alcoholics are reluctant to openly admit that anything is wrong. In fact, they will often go to great lengths to hide their problem – especially from family members and other loved ones. Keeping open communication and avoiding judgmental dialog can be particularly beneficial during the early efforts in getting a family member into treatment.

Avoid Enabling

The desire to help a family member is natural. However, certain types of help can be detrimental to an alcoholic. Enabling in the form of providing monetary support, shelter, or legal assistance often worsens the problem. Help should be squarely focused on getting the alcoholic the treatment they need.

Focus On The Family

Often, the alcoholic demands an excessive amount of attention which can leave family members feeling neglected and resentful. While there needs to be a goal of getting the individual the treatment required, the focus must remain on the health of the family. Balancing life and managing a relationship with an alcoholic is never easy. For many, a support group can help alleviate some of the negative emotions associated with dealing with an alcoholic family member.

Do You Have An Alcoholic Family Member Who Needs Help?

While alcoholism is a family disease, this doesn’t mean that it should be solely contained within the family. Professional treatment can provide the foundation for a lifetime of recovery. To learn more about treatment for alcoholism, call now to speak with an addiction specialist at Summit Estate.

Read More About Alcohol Addiction

Binge Drinking In College: What You Need To Know

College LectureAlthough studies suggest underage drinking, including binge drinking, is on the decline, the fight to curb alcohol consumption among college students is far from finished. The same data that shows that underage binge drinking is down cannot confirm that the situation has gotten significantly better for college-aged Americans.

In general, heavy alcohol consumption among college students impacts a wide variety of people beyond the ones doing the drinking. Those who can be affected negatively include, but are not limited to:

  • Parents of those students
  • Deans and other university officials
  • Campus and local police
  • Residents and property owners near the campus

College drinking typically takes place at the following locations: fraternity parties, residence halls, athletic events (tailgating, most likely), off-campus housing areas, bars and restaurants near campus, and in or nearby concert venues. The farther the drinking location is from campus, the higher probability a student will drive drunk or ride with somebody who’s intoxicated as they make their way back toward the school.

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Tips for Surviving the Holidays Sober

The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but doubly so if you are recovering from an addiction. The busiest party season of the year is from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, and you seem to be faced with two choices: stay home and become a holiday hermit, or face temptation at every turn.

holidaysYou can survive the holidays sober if you put your mind to it and think ahead. To help you prepare, check out this list of 10 things you can do to get through typical holiday hazards.

  1. Plan ahead. Let your host or hostess know that you are in recovery so they can have non-alcoholic beverages handy or bring your own. If toasting with red wine, you can have festive sparkling juice. If there’s champagne, indulge in ginger ale or cider. What’s in that glass only matters to you—no one else will know unless you or your host makes a big deal of it. Be the designated driver—they’re supposed to stay sober, after all. Part of the pain in this scenario is worrying about what other people think, and getting over this is going to be a huge relief for you in life as a whole, not just sobriety.
  2. Have an out. Whether it’s an early day tomorrow, a long day today, or some last-minute preparations of your own, it doesn’t matter. Just have some reasonable excuse to leave the party if you need to.
  3. Come late and leave early. Stay long enough not to insult your host, but only stay as long as you feel comfortable. Arriving late and leaving early are easy ways to lessen the amount of time you are in a position of temptation.
  4. Keep busy with things other than parties. Limit yourself to one invitation a week. Spend the rest of the time doing things that have nothing to do with drinking or partying. Shop. Bake. Clean. Go on outings to places where alcohol is forbidden, like museums, the theater, or parks. Make some of your gifts. Go caroling. Go for a walk.
  5. Spend time with others in recovery or in your support system. Partying with folks who aren’t drinking and aren’t likely to can be a fun way to add some holiday socializing in a safe, supportive environment.
  6. Make time for meetings. Getting to a meeting can be tough amid all the other holiday events, responsibilities, and necessities, but taking the time to get to even one meeting can help keep you focused on your recovery and not on the temptations at hand.
  7. Remember why you sobered up in the first place. Celebrate the days, weeks, months, years, even hours, since you’ve gone clean and sober. Remind yourself of whatever it was that motivated you to start living life again.
  8. Take care of yourself. Get enough rest. Eat right. Exercise as much as you can. Taking care of yourself and getting enough rest will ensure that you are prepared physically and mentally for the challenges ahead. Being tired, hungry, and stressed all are great ways to end up giving in to temptation. Take care of yourself so you can take care of any issues that may arise.
  9. Reconnect with your spirit. Whether it’s through meditation, prayer, or just “me time,” taking care of the inner you is just as important as taking care of the outer you. All the rush and responsibilities of the holidays can stress out anyone, but for someone in recovery, that stress can lead to giving in. Chill out. Slow down. Enjoy each day as it comes. You’ll be so much better off if you do.
  10. Reconnect with your sponsor or counselor. They’ve been there, done that. They know what you’re facing better than anyone else. Even if it’s been a while, or especially if it’s been a while, reconnecting with them can make getting through the holidays a little easier. That’s what they are there for.

The holidays don’t have to be a time of temptation or falling down. You can get through them happily, soberly, and simply. You’re worth it, after all.

Happy holidays!