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Relationships are an important part of life and are meant to enhance our journey through life. Sooner or later after one’s initial addiction treatment, opportunities for relationships (romantic or otherwise) will present themselves. Individuals, especially those in recovery should always enter into healthy relationships rather than unhealthy, co-dependent ones. In this article, we discuss the difference between healthy and codependent relationships and how boundaries we create are designed to protect both the individual and the relationship itself.

What is a Co-Dependent Relationship?

Most people are familiar with the term “codependent” but the majority of individuals can’t explain codependent behavior. A codependent relationship is where one person has an extreme emotional or psychological dependence on another person. In other words, one person ends up taking too much responsibility for the relationship while the other person doesn’t take enough. Codependent relationships are very common among drug users.

Boundaries Are Important

We can best understand codependent relationships by first thinking about how boundaries define healthy relationships. Imagine that you and your partner are facing each other with a couple of feet separating you. On the ground between the two of you is a drawn line that extends to your left and right as far as you can see. That line defines your “property.” Everything on your side of that line belongs to you: your thoughts, feelings, body, decisions, preferences, etc. Likewise, everything on your partner’s side belongs to them. The idea is to take full responsibility for what is yours while being respectful of what doesn’t belong to you. It’s much like being good neighbors.

Codependent Relationships Breach Boundaries

In a codependent relationship, there is a strong tendency to step over the line and take on added responsibility for some of what belongs to your partner. This is classic behavior for people who have addictive tendencies and those who tend to get into relationships with them. To put it in a property owner’s terms, it would be like cutting your neighbor’s grass for them because they do such a poor job of it.

An individual who rationalizes crossing the property line by saying it will “help” them is entering the start of a codependent relationship. For example, suppose that you and your partner have a hard time resolving a conflict. When there is tension between the two of you, he or she tends to shut down emotionally and stops talking. You, knowing he or she is not good at expressing their feelings, work very hard to “draw them out.” But, the harder you work, the more he/she punishes you with dismissive silence. Instead of resolve, your efforts lead to increasing distance in your relationship. In this situation, your behavior reflects codependency because you are stepping over the boundary line and assuming responsibility for your partner. It is not your responsibility to coax emotion out of your partner.

In a healthy relationship, each person takes responsibility for sharing his or her thoughts and feelings even if they are not good at it. When you repeatedly step over the line, you send the message that your partner doesn’t need to assume responsibility for that part of your relationship because you will do it for them. This sets up a vicious cycle that is hard to break and leads to many similar types of codependent behaviors.

You Do You, Let Others Do Them

There are ways to avoid getting into codependent relationships or break out of co-dependent patterns. Here are a few suggestions to begin:

Settle for nothing less than respect in your relationships.

Don’t overlook or minimize comments or behaviors that seem demeaning or disrespectful, even if it is meant as “humorous.” A healthy relationship is one where you are valued. If you feel disrespected, put down or dismissed, speak up and say so. Likewise, you should extend the same value and respect to those you care about. Be mindful of the relational boundary line.

A real self-reflective question to frequently ask would be: what in this relationship belongs to me and what belongs to the other person? Defining boundaries should occur as early on in the relationship as possible and they should be clear and concise. But be careful. Particular types of relationships replay unhealthy patterns from the past where it may be tempting to cross over a defined boundary line. But, asking yourself the above question can often help each member of the relationship stay grounded and keep the boundary in place.

Don’t give yourself away.

Many people have fallen into codependent relationships by becoming what some call “people pleasers.” This behavior of working hard to be favorable in other people’s eyes usually has roots way back into the family of origin. But, when you give yourself away in exchange for being liked or loved, you also lose part of your personhood. You have to tell yourself that you deserve to be a whole person and only as you are whole can you have a truly healthy and satisfying relationship.

Own and value your body.

In a culture where sexual contact can seem more like a recreational activity than an expression of meaningful relationship, it becomes especially important to value your body. Your body is part of your boundary responsibility. If you treat your body as an extension of your soul, you will reserve that part of you for those who truly deserve it. For example, if you don’t want to be touched, say so. Your words have power when rooted in self-value. Though this might sound like common sense, many adults have unconsciously disconnected their body from their inner self and end up paying a high emotional price for it.

Recognize and live within your limitations.

Though many people live as if they have no limits, we cannot escape the fact that we live with limits on all sides of our lives. Relationships that are continually pushing against boundary lines may look and feel exciting at first but usually lead to trouble. People who push against boundaries typically don’t know where the line is or even that there is a line that should be respected. Don’t see how close you can come to the edge before you lose your footing.

The goal is to live within the property lines that define you. Codependent relationships can be avoided, but it takes a deliberate effort to continually find the boundary line and be tenacious about doing only what is yours to do.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Healthy Vs. Codependent Relationships – Aftercare appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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The below addiction poem was submitted by one of our heroin discussion and support forum members and Facebook followers and was written by James Rafuse.  Please feel free to share this poem with those suffering or recovering from drug addiction who may benefit from reading it

Back Inside

No-one can scale this wall, I’ve made it far too high
Well get out my way, I’ve at least got to try
The closer I get to it, the bigger it seems
I can do it in my sleep, it’s easy in my dreams

I’ve got to get back, to where I use to reside
I’m dying fast out here, living on the outside

I could dig a hole under, that’s how it got there to start
By living from my bronze,instead of my heart

Starting to climb, my blood’s growing colder
Pale as a sheet, I still want to grow older

There’s totaled cars, ripped shirts, pants and sneakers
Broken records, tapes beside old cracked speakers

It consists of properties, that don’t belong to me
Kegs, bottles, cans, and empty bags of C

Bent straws and pipes used for C and weed,
There must be over ten million seeds

There’s gashes blood-money, men out cold on the ground
And broken hearts that still seem to pound

There’s stitches with black eyes, old thrown away casts
Black and blues,bite marks,evil leers from my past

Fresh blood and tears make it all slippery and wet
And so many injustices, I now truly regret

There’s slow shaking heads from my family and friends
And trails of dried blood that have no ends

I’m not even close to a quarter to the top
I need to rest here I should probably stop

But, I can’t stop now, to go back where I’ve been
Plus if anyone can make it ,I know I can

The noise is unbearable, victims screaming and crying
One step to the next, I just can’t stop trying

I’m moving real slow, but I’m almost half way home
Then I start crying because I’m not alone

God’s come to guide me,and He’s made a set of stairs
As I’m wiping my eyes, I take the cross I’m to bear.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Back Inside – A Drug Addiction Poem by James Rafuse appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Addiction treatment is one of the hardest and most rewarding avenues someone with a substance abuse problem can take. As with most journeys in life, addiction treatment and recovery can come with setbacks. Without the right support system in place, those setbacks can lead to a drug relapse.  But what do you do if a drug relapse occurs?

Drug Relapse Vs. Slip

It’s important for anyone in recovery to know the difference between a slip and relapse and to know what to do if relapse occurs.  When someone suffering from substance abuse and/or drug addiction experiences a slip, it typically occurs one time, either against their knowledge or in an extreme moment of weakness. When the slip is realized there is a sense of remorse and a renewed dedication to sobriety.

Relapse is not merely a one-time event, but is instead, continued use and a complete abandonment of the rehabilitation principles and sobriety. Relapse can often begin with an unintended slip and then escalate into a calculated break from addiction treatment.

When going through a slip, it’s important to forgive the moment of weakness and understand that is all it is, a time of weakness that does not have to happen again. Self-forgiveness and returning to treatment can keep a singular event from becoming a slippery slope to complete relapse.

Does Everyone Experience Drug Relapse?

The statistics for relapse are, frankly, alarming. That is unless you understand the instances between chronic disease treatment and relapse in general. The National Institute of Drug Abuse claims the rate of drug relapse is somewhere between 40 and 60 percent. Those numbers are high and may even deter someone from entering drug rehab because they feel the situation is hopeless. The important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease and the rate of relapse is similar to that of other diseases.

The key is continued addiction treatment and a commitment to recovery. If drug relapse occurs, it does not indicate treatment failure, but simply the body’s resistance to recovery. See “Why Drug Relapse Isn’t a Sign of Failure“.  Much in the same way the body may resist healing treatment with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon or a treatment failure for an addict to relapse in recovery. Continued treatment despite a relapse is the best response.

What Do I Do If I Relapse?

If relapse occurs, it is important to seek continued treatment. While it’s never a good idea to enter addiction treatment with the notion that drug relapse is acceptable or to be expected, it’s also not a good idea to turn away from treatment in the face of a relapse. Having a strong support system can help an addict realize that they have value and that it’s worth continuing addiction treatment despite the relapse. Just because this has occurred does not mean that treatment has to start over from the beginning.

For some individuals, beginning again may be the most therapeutic, where others can pick up at a point in the treatment process where they feel they need to make more progress.

Why Does Drug Relapse Happen?

Addiction is a disease that has negatively altered the brain. Treatment seeks to change the brain positively. Relapse occurs because even though the brain is learning other responses to using, the area of the brain that controls these reactions fails during a time of need. It takes time for the appropriate responses to become automatic.

For many, it will never become automatic, but they will experience a moment of choice, where they understand that they have options. Before treatment, they never felt they had a choice because their brain didn’t know how. The damage that occurs to the brain during substance abuse can be extreme; it’s unlikely that treatment will ever be able to restore the brain to its pre-damaged state.

What is possible is that addiction treatment and time away from the substance allows the brain and body time to heal and create new behavioral patterns. The brain can be retrained to have different responses to cravings and events that were triggers prompting substance use.

Addiction is a painful disease that requires ongoing treatment. If given a choice, inpatient / residential treatment is ideal for all types of substance recovery. It’s easier to focus on recovery without the outside world getting in the way. Leaving the safety of the sober environment can be terrifying and leave a person feeling vulnerable. Inpatient facilities will help ease the patient back into society while maintaining the security of the treatment environment.

While drug relapse is a risk regardless of treatment location, inpatient centers are better able to equip patients with the tools and aftercare support necessary to help all who suffer from addiction beat the odds.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Your email:

Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Rebounding After a Drug Relapse – Is It Possible? appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide by William - Publisher Of This Communi.. - 2M ago

Why is it that men and women in long term recovery resort to insults and calling other addicts in long term recovery “druggies’, “junkies”, “drug addicts” and other stigmatic names when they’re angry or mad at them?  It just doesn’t make sense.  While men and women in recovery are human and destined to get in arguments with one another, calling one another insulting names that only serves to further stigmatize addicts  in inexcusable.  And it happens all the time.  If addicts in long term recovery can’t stop the stigma, how can we expect others to?

An Addicts Call to Stop the Stigma

Addicts in long-term recovery are desperate for a second chance at life.  And while addiction treatment and recovery provides individuals with addiction issues with that chance, many people who either don’t understand addiction or have never been affected by it in someway often use stigmatizing names like those mentioned above, tearing them down.  Most “normies” (individuals who don’t suffer from substance use disorder) who stigmatize addicts do so because they still believe and think that addiction is a choice.

Over the last couple of years however, recovering addicts have found their voice and have spoken out; using social media and blogs such as Facebook and our heroin support forum to fight back.  No longer do addicts in long term recovery have to remain silent while they are attacked and stigmatized by the ignorant and arrogant.  Thus, many recovering addicts possess their own Facebook pages and websites, creating live videos and writing articles in order to share their story and show the world that they’ve conquered addiction and have become upstanding members of society who love their children, have good jobs and no longer live a lifestyle of ongoing drug use.  An addict in long-term recovery no longer lies, cheats, manipulates and steals and they are out there demonstrating this to the world.  But then why do so many people still stigmatize addicts?  Despite all the research available and at their fingetips, why do so many individuals claim that addiction is a choice?

Addiction is Not a Choice, it’s a Disease – The Simplest Proof You Need

To address those who believe addiction is a choice, we first have to define “choice”.  What exactly is a choice and does “addiction” classify as one?  Ultimately, a choice is always an action and being addicted to something is a state of mind.  A choice is never just a state of mind.  However, isn’t “addiction” just another word for ongoing drug use?  If so, then isn’t addiction a choice?

Most individuals who believe addiction is a choice mistake the disease of addiction for the physical act and choice of using drugs.  Instead, addiction can be defined as the chemical and physical changes in the brain that cause a cognitive compulsion and ubiquitous connection to a particular substance or activity.  This occurs when a substance or activity touches the pleasure center of the brain a certain way, creating a reaction in the brain that makes whatever caused the reaction feel/appear/seem almost impossible to resist.  This makes stopping the activity or use of a particular substance much more difficult for that individual than someone who hasn’t acquired the disease of addiction. See “Addiction Vs. Using Drugs – Why Addicts Can’t Just Stop Using Heroin” for more information.

Calling the disease of addiction a choice because someone made the choice to use drugs would be like calling the disease of diabetes a choice because someone made the choice to eat unhealthy foods.  It would also be like calling the disease of lung cancer a choice because someone chose to smoke cigarettes.  Nobody chose to become a diabetic nor to did they choose to acquire lung cancer, even though they mad certain bad choices in conjunction with possessing a genetic predisposition (nature vs nurture).  Likewise, nobody chose to come an addict even though they made bad choices to use drugs.

The primary difference however, is that most people who acquire lung cancer or diabetes quickly enter treatment and end up stopping activities that could further exacerbate their disease.  Someone with the disease of addiction develops strong cravings (because of the chemical, physical and structural changes in the brain) and typically keeps using drugs.  However, it is still possible to choose help and treatment.  But this difference does not make the disease of addiction and the physical act of using drugs the same thing.  Using drugs is a choice, addiction isn’t.  It’s as simple as that.

Again, ongoing drug use is a choice but it’s just much harder for an addict to stop whereas the actual addiction (the physical, chemical and structural changes in the brain that are responsible for the cravings) is not a choice.  See “Proof that Addiction is a Disease: How it Affects the Brain” for more information..

Addicts Fighting Against Each Other

There is never an excuse for an addict to stigmatize another addict.  Even if two individuals in recovery become angry at one another or don’t like each other for some reason, calling each other “druggies”, “junkies”, “drug addicts”, etc. is just not acceptable.  After all, it is the recovering addict who is crying out to the world in hopes that everyone else will stop the stigma.  But how can recovering addicts expect others who don’t understand addiction to stop the stigma if recovering addicts don’t stop the stigma themselves?

While it would be far better if everyone in the world got along and nobody got into heated arguments or fights, at the very least, we advise recovering addicts not to stigmatize one another and make the fight against stigma harder than it already is.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Your email:

Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Why Do Addicts Attack and Insult Each Other? appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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A recovery coach is an individual who has gone through a nominal amount of training in order to provide paid support for men and women suffering from the disease of addiction. Namely, this includes drug and alcohol use associated with substance use disorder or SUD.  Recovery coaches often work with both individuals in active addiction and people in long-term recovery.  The support that recovery coaches provide however, will vary.  But exactly what is the role of a recovery coach and what kind of support do they provide?  Are they qualified to create or provide treatment?  What about offering advice or counseling?  Exactly how much training does a recovery coach have?  Who hires them and what does a certificate in recovery coaching mean?  Are recovery coaches true support specialists or sophisticated scam artists?

What is the Role of a Recovery Coach?

To determine the appropriate role of a recovery coach, I’d like to start with what they are not qualified to do.  For instance, a recovery coach is not allowed nor are they qualified to provide primary treatment for addiction.  They are not equipped to diagnose any disorder nor are they associated with any particular treatment modality or recovery method.  Instead, a recovery coach acts more like a mentor or a 12 step (Alcoholics Anonymous) sponsor.  Recovery coaches are qualified to provide support and praise for any positive life changes.  They are qualified to suggest ongoing support through community, treatment, empathy, listening and helping individuals with the disease of addiction to improve their present life. Essentially, this kind of support has the potential to help an individual with avoiding triggers, drug relapse prevention and living an overall better and healthier life.

Recovery coaches are not licensed counselors and are not trained to work to heal trauma or cope with emotions or false beliefs.  In essence, a recovery coach is there to listen and direct individuals with addiction issues to real resources for addiction treatment and recovery without providing any real advice or counseling.

How Much Training Do Recovery Coaches Possess

Unlike licensed therapists and counselors who’ve underwent a minimum of 6 years of schooling and a multitude of practicum hours to obtain a master’s degree and a license, a recovery coach may have as little as a few hours to a few days of training.  At the end of the program, a certificate is issued that may or may not be qualified by the state.  Legitimate recovery coaching programs follow state guidelines and provide legitimate certificates that enable those who “graduate” from the program to start an independent career as a recovery coach.  Depending on state guidelines and the facility, students may or may not have to pass a test before they can obtain a certificate.

On the other hand, there are a plethora of recovery coaching outfits that provide illegitimate “training” strictly to make money and the certificates they provide means nothing.

Anyone considering becoming a recovery coach would be wise to do their homework to determine whether or not the recovery coaching program they enroll in is legitimate.

Beware of Scams and Recovery Coaches who misuse their certificate and training

Anyone who attends any type of legitimate schooling and higher education in order to better themselves, especially in order to help others should be commended.  However, recovery coaches have very specific jobs and endeavoring outside the scope of what they are qualified to do could be a detriment to their clients.

Ultimately, men and women suffering from drug addiction (substance use disorder) whether they are living in active addiction or new to recovery are vulnerable and hire recovery coaches because they don’t feel like they can do it on their own.  This is perfectly normal.   However, because people new to recovery or individuals still using drugs are highly malleable, recovery coaches possess a kind of power that can help an individual re-invent themselves or cause significant damage.  Even recovery coaches with good intentions may cause damage if they get cocky and think they can use their certificate and training to provide direct advice and/or counsel people.

Unfortunately, too many recovery coaches cause more harm than good simply because they think that their training gives them the ability (and the right) to walk individuals through difficult or traumatic situations and events.  Unfortunately, those that do this, unless they got lucky, often create more problems in a recovering addict’s life and exacerbate the possibility of a drug relapse.

Conclusion

While recovery coaching and their certificates are not scams within themselves, there are many who misuse their influence over addicts by providing services they’re not qualified to offer and end up causing more harm than good.  An addict who ends up relapsing due to bad advice or counsel from someone not trained like a recovery coach may ultimately overdose and die.  This is why those who consider hiring recovery coaches need to beware of who they hire and work with.

Always find out where a recovery or life coach has undergone their training and research whether or not their certificate is state provided.  Moreover, don’t put a recovery coach on a pedestal.  They don’t know everything and they’re not always right.  That said, when done right, a recovery coach may just be able to provide the additional support one needs to move in a positive direction away from drugs and towards quality of life.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Your email:

Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Recovery Coaches: Support Specialist or Scam Artist? appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Addiction can be defined by a pathology and/or abnormality in the brain that creates intense cravings to substances or activities that appear irresistible to the individual.  Addiction is so intense and mirrors other conditions so much in fact that addiction has been declared a disease (see “Proof that Addiction is a Disease and How if Affects the Brain“) by many reputable medical associations across the world including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Another name for addiction is Substance Use Disorder or SUD.  But what is an acceptable addiction?  Is there such a thing?  If so, is addiction treatment or drug rehab appropriate or beneficial?

Addiction however, in order for it to possess any kind of real power or authority over one’s life, must be accompanied by its object.  An object of addiction refers to a substance or activity that the brain has latched onto and deemed irresistible.  Anyone who claims they suffer from the disease of addiction are also saying they are continuously engaging or indulging in a particular substance or activity.  This is often why drug addiction is called Substance User Disorder or SUD.

Some substances and/or activities however, are clearly more dangerous than others.  Heroin is accompanied by a high overdose and death rate while nobody has died from solely marijuana use.  Even less harmful and is rarely if ever associated with treatment and recovery is caffeine.  But if addiction itself is a pathology, why isn’t addiction treatment and/or drug rehab recommended regardless of the substance and/or activity?

There are many possible answers.  Some have argued it’s because the individual isn’t really “addicted” to Caffeine.  Others have suggested that it’s because the actual addiction to caffeine (referring to the craving and compulsion to use) is mild compared to heroin.  That said, some individuals possess strong cravings for Caffeine and can’t even function until they drink that morning cup (or 2) of coffee.  Ironically however, there doesn’t appear to be many people rushing to provide addiction treatment and recovery services to this individual  So why not?

What is an Acceptable Addiction?

An acceptable addiction can be defined by a real cognitive compulsion or ubiquitous connection to a substance or activity that isn’t considered overly dangerous.   Many refer to an acceptable “drug”, but some activities can fall into this category.  Any real addiction is accompanied by a small or large list of problems however, some activities and/or substances are simply less dangerous.  Thus, the word “acceptable” is used.  As a result, family, friends, spouses and even medical professionals are far less worried or maybe possess no concern at all.  The bottom line is, because the object of addiction (substance or activity) may or may not be dangerous, the actual addiction, no matter how severe the compulsion, is often judged by its object.

Is Treatment for an Acceptable Addiction Appropriate or Necessary?

Because most people aren’t overly concerned about some substances or activities, by society’s definition, addiction to one of these non-dangerous objects is “acceptable”.  However, is it appropriate or necessary for an individual with an “acceptable” addiction to get help and treatment?

Just because a particular substance or activity won’t kill an individual, it doesn’t mean that addiction treatment would hurt and/or couldn’t help.  Some activities and substances may even be considered healthy, but the phrase “everything in moderation” was established for a reason – along with “too much of a good thing”.  A powerful obsession/craving, even if to something healthy can become unhealthy if it becomes an addiction.

Too much of an activity could cause stress or fatigue even if the activity in general is considered good for you.  Take exercise for example.  Working out several times a week with a couple days break in between is good for the body, mind and soul.  But working out hours a day may increase risks of serious injury, fatigue and stress.  Milk is a substance that’s generally good for the body as well when consumed in moderation.  But over-consumption of milk could cause stomach problems, oxidative stress damage and possibly bone problems.

Addiction can cause damage regardless of the substance or activity.  Therefore, addiction treatment can be appropriate for anyone with the disease regardless of the object.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

Leave Blank:Do Not Change:

Your email:

Written and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Acceptable Addiction? What is it and is Treatment Necessary? appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide by William - Publisher Of This Communi.. - 2M ago

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease defined by a physical and psychological dependence on drugs, alcohol or a behavior. When an addictive disorder has formed, a person will pursue their toxic habits despite putting themselves or others in harm’s way.

While it can be tempting to try a drug or addictive activity for the first time, it’s all too easy for things to go south – especially in the case of drug and alcohol abuse. When a person consumes a substance repeatedly over time, they begin building a tolerance. A tolerance occurs when you need to use larger amounts of drugs or alcohol to achieve the same effects as when you started.

Prolonged substance abuse can result in a dangerous cycle of drug addiction or substance use disorder — where a person needs to continue using drugs or alcohol in order to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal brought on by dependence.  See the difference between addiction and dependence. By the time a person realizes they have a problem, drugs or alcohol have already seized control, causing them to prioritize its use over everything else that was once important in their lives.

Reasons Why People Use Drugs and Alcohol

No one ever plans to become addicted. There are countless reasons why someone would try a substance or behavior. Some are driven by curiosity and peer pressure, while others are looking for a way to relieve stress.

Other factors that might steer a person toward harmful substance use behavior include:

* Children who grow up in environments where drugs and alcohol are present have a greater risk of developing a substance abuse disorder down the road.

* Genetics – Research estimates that genetics account for 40 to 60 percent of a person’s likelihood of developing a substance use problem.

* Mental health disorders – Teens and adults with mental disorders are more likely to develop substance abuse patterns than the general population.

Addiction and the Brain

Excessive substance abuse affects many parts of the body, but the organ most impacted is the brain. When a person consumes a substance such as drugs or alcohol, their brain produces large amounts of dopamine, which triggers the brain’s reward system. After repeated drug use, the brain is unable to produce normal amounts of dopamine on its own. This means that a person will struggle to find enjoyment in pleasurable activities – like spending time with friends or family – when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  See “Proof that Addiction is a Disease and How it Affects the Brain“.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Edited and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post Drug Addiction – Simply Defined appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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The below addiction and recovery story was submitted to us by a young woman who would like to be kept anonymous.  However, she fervently wanted to share her experience in hopes that it would help others choose a life of sobriety and end their addiction.  A special thanks to this young woman for sharing her story with us.  To share your story or read more, visit our heroin addiction and recovery forum.  You can join by clicking here.

The first time I experimented with drugs I was in elementary school. My dad kept a colossal coke cola tray under the couch that he kept his pot on. He didn’t roll as he went along. My dad would roll them all and leave them on the tray under the couch. So one day I just reached under the couch and grabbed one. My little brother and I ran out to the barn and took turns trying to light it. Turned out lighting the lighter and keeping the joint lit was hard as hell. Our little fingers weren’t long enough or tough enough. We managed to get a few puffs off of it though.

My little brother and I lived with my father who was technically a single dad, except for the fact that he had a very young girlfriend who was living with us. When I say young, I mean under 18. Apparently, she was our babysitter from the neighborhood we lived in when our mom was still in the home.

There is a story that always stuck with me about when my mother confronted my dad about him messing around with this young girl. My father hadn’t come home the night before, so Mom was furious. This was of course way before cell phones or pagers, so she was forced just to sit and hope that he called. She had some shit to say.

When my father finally called, mom serious as a heart attack, told my Father, ” You need to hurry and get that girl home!” and he denied having any girl with him. ” Stop with the lies, this is no joke. I just spoke to her mom, and she is in big trouble!!” mom said. Now I am not sure why her saying that the girl was in trouble made my dad start to sing a different song, but as soon as it did my mom dropped the line that would be repeated over and over through the years. ” Her mommy and daddy are pissed, Why, my dad said. “It’s been raining, and they said that she left all of her Barbies outside. So if she is with you, you had better get her ass home!!”

Within a year or less my parents were separated, and the babysitter was living with us full-time. She did her best with us, but she was in over her head. We moved so often that we never went to the same school two years in a roll and after a few years or so Dad’s girlfriend had, had enough of his drinking and abuse. On the last day of 5th grade and 3rd grade for my brother, she got us up and ready for school like any other day. She kissed us goodbye, but when we got home, she was gone.

Once my mom caught wind that we were there with just dad for the first time there was the talk of us going to Chicago to stay with her. We stayed for the summer with her but went back to Kentucky before school started. While we were in Chicago, our dad got rid of our ponies, dogs, and cat. We had no idea. We moved from the deep country to downtown Louisville.

My dad was drinking all the time. His temper was worse, everything was worse. He wasn’t buying groceries and would leave for days at a time. It got to the point that my brother and I would steal money out of his wallet while he was showering to go out on Friday nights because we knew that he could be gone for days. We survived most of the time off of candy and cakes from the gas station that was right behind our house.

Boys had just started noticing me at that time. I enjoyed the attention but actually didn’t have much interest beyond that. While dad was gone wherever he went, we started having friends over at the house. There was a girl who lived a few houses down that I met walking to school. Her mom had no clue that my dad wasn’t home when she would spend the night, and my friend thought it was so cool.

She had a boyfriend, so she wanted me to “date” his friend. So of course, I did. One night when she was staying the night, the boys came over and hung out. I couldn’t believe it but my little girlfriend was acting like one of the women on the soap operas, this chick was serious about this boyfriend thing. I was scared to death.

Surely to god he didn’t expect me to kiss him like that. Oh yes, he did. It was gross, but I felt like I was supposed to do this. While we were doing some awful version of kissing he started moving his hands down to my pants. I thought I was going to have a stroke.

I had this belt on, and he tugged and tugged and just then we heard my brother and one of his friends coming through the house, and he stopped. I was so thankful. At that moment to knew I would never see a guy without that belt.

There were a few more instances where my belt saved my dignity so much so that I guess he told some of the other boys about this awful belt of mine and they would make jokes about it. I didn’t care all I knew was I did not want to do whatever it was that belt was protecting me from.

To this day I have no idea where my dad went all of those nights. Evidently, he was seeing a woman or something. All I know is something changed in the way my dad looked at me. Maybe it was gradual, and I just didn’t see it, or perhaps it was as abrupt of a change as it seemed.

Without a mom or really anyone guiding us, my brother and I just did whatever we wanted. No one told us to brush our teeth in the morning or at night. We didn’t have pajama’s, and if we did, I don’t remember. So most nights I would fall asleep in whatever I was wearing that day. Showers were whenever I felt like it or got visibly dirty.

The night that everything changed and I was no longer a little girl I fell asleep with all my clothes on. There was an old stereo in my room that I played the radio on at night when I went to sleep. In the middle of the night, I felt someone sit on my bed. It was my dad, and he was drunk. To this day I can smell the smell of Jack Daniels in that room.

It was always best to ignore him when he was drunk because you never knew what was going to set him off. So I just laid there and pretended to be asleep.

To make a long story short, I found out that night that my little belt was no match for a grown man, even a drunk one.
This is when I think I began my road to addiction. It took years for me to tell my mom and when I did, she just called my grandma, who lived close. She didn’t drive so she called a taxi and had a cab pick me up and bring me to her house. Nobody talked to me about what happened. They didn’t take my brother out of the house and within a week I was enrolled in another school only now I was in Chicago.

My mother was a stranger. I loved her, and she lived much better than we ever did but I hated living there. She was married and had a new baby. Her husband was a drinker and wasn’t the most helpful guy. They were just different then I was, or that is how I felt.

Immediately I started getting into trouble. I was drinking, skipping school, having sex with any guy that gave me any attention and fought everyone at school. My poor mom didn’t know what to do. I stayed with her for about two years. My dad got married, and to me, that meant that it would be safe to go home. I was determined to get back to Kentucky, and I did.

When I got back to Kentucky, I was right. My dad didn’t look at me in that awful way anymore. The only problem was now I was fucked in the head. The drinking on my part continued along with everything else. I was just a troublemaker through and through. At 16 I ended up pregnant.

I didn’t tell a soul until I was 7 months pregnant. My dad called my mom, and she drove straight down from Chicago and took me to an abortion clinic. On the way, I tried telling her that I could feel the baby move, but she just called me a liar, and we went to the clinic.

Once in the clinic, we were taken to this room where all the girls were waiting to be seen. One by one they called their names, and when the girls came back, they said this was just to do the ultrasound to see how far along they were. All the girls came back making circles with their index finger and thumb trying to show the size of their babies. Oh boy, I thought, mine is definitely bigger than that. When they called my name my mom, and I walked back together. I got undressed and got up on the table. ( the craziest thing is that I didn’t really show, not until this moment. after this ultrasound, I looked 7 months pregnant. before it no one even knew ) When the doctor measured my stomach, she said how far along are you, sweetie? I said I didn’t know, but I thought I could feel the baby kicking.

Then we did the ultrasound, she said do you want to see how big your baby is? I said yes, and on the screen, all I could see was an oval or round shape that took up the whole screen. I said wow that’s my baby huh and I held up my hands like the other girls did to show the size and the doctor said no honey. That is just the head. My mom almost fainted. I knew that I was way farther along than the 3 month limit to get an abortion. That is why I didn’t put up a massive fight about going. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting any abortions that day.

As soon as we left the clinic, my mom took me to get maternity clothes because like I said, somehow getting that confirmation that I was pregnant made me relax I guess, and my body stopped hiding the pregnancy. It was terrifying to hide it all that time. Several times I had nightmares that I would go into labor at school, and no one would know what was wrong with me.

It was decided that since I was so far along that I would go back to Chicago with my mom and stay. I believe insurance had something to do with that decision, but I am not sure. Almost immediately though we started talking about adoption. I knew I wasn’t ready for a baby. I didn’t love the dad, and even if I had, we were just kids. I gave birth to a perfect little boy in May of 1990. That was the hardest thing I have ever and will ever do. I know that I made the right choice for everyone involved but leaving the hospital without my baby was indescribable.

After that, I really didn’t give a shit about anything and least of all me. I was back to sleeping around and just being an all around shitty person. Three years after giving my son up for adoption I was pregnant. again. I lived in a homeless shelter throughout the pregnancy and was too selfish to give this baby up for adoption, so I took my little boy and moved back to Kentucky.

Once in Kentucky, I was really screwed. Before I knew it, I was working for an escort service to pay my bills. Hell, I had never lived on my own much less with a baby. I was 19 years old and had no clue how to do anything. The only thing I knew was that men liked me and that they were willing to pay me money to spend time with me. I wasn’t even using drugs yet.

After about a year I opened my own service. I was making a shit ton of money and didn’t even have to go out with any of the guys. One night I had an awful headache. I started asking around to the girls if anyone had aspirin or something. No one had anything. Then a girl named Kendra ( not her real name ) told me she had a prescription pain pill if I wanted it. I said will it make my head stop hurting? She said yes, so I took it. That moment the course of the rest of my life changed. Before I took that pill, I smoked the hell out of the pot, but that was it. I wasn’t drinking or anything.

That little Lortab led to two, three, four, five, six…all the way to me taking upwards of ten at a time if I had enough. I moved up to snorting oxys, and within 5 years I was at the methadone clinic. I spent the next 15 years going on and coming off of either methadone or Suboxone. I have kicked methadone I believe three times and Suboxone.
I was determined that I was one of the people that had to stay on some kind of maintenance drug for the rest of my life. Every time I relapsed I moved up to the next level drug. So at first, I was taking Lortab, then went on Methadone. Family pressured me to get off of Methadone so I did. After a few months, I relapsed, only this time I was taking oxys (oxycodone). I once again got on Methadone and stayed on it successfully for six years. My family found out again and pressured me into getting off of the program. I did by weaning all the way down to one mg a day. I was only clean for a few months before I was then taking Opanas.

Once I began Suboxone I was convinced that I would need it for the rest of my life. I became active in a group on Facebook and with the support from all of the inspirational people on Facebook I gave it a try and found some success. I would be lying if I didn’t say that to this day I am scared to death of relapse and what that looks like. This time the only place to go to is heroin. I am not sure I would live through that.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

Leave Blank:Do Not Change:

Your email:

Edited and Published By William Charles, Owner/Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

The post A Young Woman’s Journey From Drug Addiction to Recovery appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide by William - Publisher Of This Communi.. - 3M ago

Our country is seeing as many overdose related deaths from opioid addiction as there were deaths in the civil war. The numbers are staggering. We must utilize any addiction treatment that prevents overdose deaths. Here are some of the medical choices that have proven to kill opioid addiction and save lives.

Opioids, a class of drugs used to treat pain, often cause feelings of euphoria, are highly addictive, and have claimed some notable lives—Prince, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Kelly, Michael Jackson, and Heath Ledger all died with some form of opioid in their system. The most commonly abused varieties are hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, heroin and fentanyl.

The use of opioids often spurs a vicious and relentless cycle wherein some people start using prescription pain medications for legitimate reasons (e.g., after accidents, following surgery, or to help manage chronic pain). But because of the highly addictive nature of opioids, when some individuals lose access to a prescription, they turn to heroin as a substitute. Heroin, also an opioid, is often easier to obtain and cheaper on the streets than other alternatives. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 new heroin users got their start by using prescription opioid pain medications.

National efforts to fight the opioid addiction epidemic include the creation of opioid prescribing safety guidelines, enhanced statewide drug monitoring programs, new best practices in handling overdoses, and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to assist those suffering from opioid addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Medication Assisted Treatment is a hotly contested issue in the opioid addiction recovery world; one side strongly advocates for MAT and the other side vehemently opposes it. One side believes that MAT should never be used, including never using drugs to help addicts go through detox. The other side believes in using medication beginning with detox and tapering down over a period of time as the dependency lessens. Still, others believe that use of drugs for long-term maintenance and stability yields the best results.

Proponents of MAT hope that patients experience decreased cravings and do not abuse opioids. The reduction in cravings, whether MAT is used in detoxification or in on-going maintenance, may reduce illicit use, crime, and help people stay in treatment and long-term recovery.

It’s a tricky, complicated issue. With approximately 1 in 4 Americans either directly or indirectly affected by the epidemic, it is important to understand the facts.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction primarily uses one of the following medications: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Methadone

Methadone is dispersed through special opioid addiction treatment centers often referred to as methadone clinics. Methadone maintenance therapy or MMT is seen as preferable to using other opioids because it is long acting and is metabolized slowly. It can stabilize individuals and prevent withdrawal, which can include flu-like symptoms including fever, body aches, nausea, and dehydration.

Some people believe that methadone has strong potential for abuse, or that it creates ‘walking zombies’ due to the stupor it can sometimes cause. This stupor may be a matter of monitoring and dosage; it is extremely important to titrate the dosage in order to control cravings and manage withdrawal, however, very few clinics make these types of fine dosing adjustments. They tend to err on the side of prescribing too much rather than too little, thus causing the adverse side effects.

Suboxone (Buprenorphine)

Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in brand name medications Suboxone and Subutex is commonly used in detox situations to reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It is also used to control long-term symptoms through extended maintenance programs. It can be used in addiction treatment centers or at home through a prescription. Many advocate for buprenorphine as a safer alternative to methadone due to its ‘ceiling effect’—that is to say, individuals do not develop a tolerance above a certain dosage level. Like methadone, buprenorphine is long-acting and slow metabolizing, which removes the high as well as the subsequent withdrawal of short-acting opioids.

Advocates believe that buprenorphine normalizes the brain and that patients do not walk around high or in a drug-induced stupor. However, those opposed to its use claim that it can act as a gateway drug to other addictions if the individual has not used other opioids.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol and ReVia)

Naltrexone, the primary active ingredient in Vivitrol and ReVia is also used to treat opiate abuse. It decreases cravings and the desire to use; however, a downside is it appears to block cravings in some individuals and not necessarily in others.

These drugs are not to be confused with naloxone, which has received a great deal of attention in the media recently due to its successful use in reversing the effects of life-threatening opioid overdoses. Naloxone has no potential for abuse and has already saved thousands of lives. Anyone can be quickly trained to administer naloxone, making it ideal for emergency overdose situations. Lately, however, reports have emerged that the drug has increased in price, preventing some small communities from being able to purchase it.

As our nation fights the opioid addiction epidemic, more and more of us have begun to feel its impact. Addiction, a chronic brain disease, has long been misunderstood and MAT, while controversial, is another component to an illness historically weighed down by stigma. The use of Medication Assisted Treatment will likely remain controversial, and whether it is prescribed will—and should—be up to individual healthcare providers on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless, both advocates and opponents of MAT agree that behavioral therapy, group therapy, recovery support, community support, and a general wellness plan are just as important when fighting addiction.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Your email:

Written by Joann Miller – Writer/Blogger for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Edited and Published by William Charles – Owner/Publisher

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

#addiction #medicineassistedtreatment #MAT #methadone #MMT #methadonemaintenancetherapy #suboxone #buprenorphine #naltrexone #Revia #Vivitrol #addictiontreatmentcenter #drugrehab

The post Proven Medical Solutions to Opioid Addiction appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide by William - Publisher Of This Communi.. - 4M ago

After addiction treatment, men and women suffering from the disease of addiction come to realize that successful recovery means following all the steps. Two of these are critical and they both involve making amends. But it’s not as easy as one might think. And making amends isn’t about the addict at all. It’s an attempt to make up for the destruction one’s addiction has caused others. Below, we talk about making amends after drug abuse stops.

The question an individual suffering from substance use disorder aka drug addiction probably while reading this is: How does one make amends for all the hurt, pain and destruction that was caused during active addiction? First, let’s look at what making amends isn’t – and what it is.

Making Amends is Not an Apology

When you brush up against someone in line or invade their personal space by accident, the polite thing to say is “I’m sorry.” That is an apology. When you say to someone, “Hey, while I was on drugs I stole $300 from the money you keep in your credenza and I want you to know I’m sorry,” that’s an apology. It’s not making amends.

The concept of making amends is really quite simple. If you broke or damaged something, you restore, replace or pay for it. If you cannot physically do this, because to do so may hurt someone else or restoration is impossible, you can make amends in a symbolic way.  We will be discussing that a little later on.

Now that you know what making amends is, know that you can’t just rush right out.  It takes time to make amends.  Making amends is a marathon, not a sprint.  In other words, it’s best to thoroughly think through what it is that you need to do. Again, it’s not what you initially think, and it does involve giving the matter a lot more consideration.

Understanding Steps Eight and Nine

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) originated the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and it’s these basic principles that most other 12-step support fellowships have adapted. Whether the organization is Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, etc., it doesn’t matter. The steps are very nearly identical. The only difference is the substitution of a word or two pertinent to the type of addiction or addictive behavior. Therefore, the references in this article will all be to the Alcoholics Anonymous steps.

Step Eight Alcoholics Anonymous

Step 8 reads: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This sounds easy enough and pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? When sitting down to compile the list, however, you’ll find that there are some areas you’d rather not think about because they may be too painful, or you can’t imagine how you can make amends to that person or for a particular situation, or any number of other reasons. AA counsels that Step Eight and Step Nine are “concerned with personal relations.” So, it’s more about taking a rigorous approach to looking at your past and being able to admit your wrongdoing to others. It’s recognizing when you tell yourself lies about what happened, or how you conveniently “forget” certain incidents where you caused harm or hurt to others.

One word of caution: Before you begin to compile your list for Step Eight, or work through Step Nine, only do so with the guidance of your counselor or 12-step sponsor. These individuals know the process, have worked it themselves and can help you avoid the pitfalls that could derail your sobriety or recovery.

Your 12 step AA or NA sponsor or counselor will help you compartmentalize your list of individuals you have harmed. This makes it easier for you to tackle – since you’ve most likely been continually harming those you care about for years, along with casual acquaintances and strangers. In fact, the most difficult relationships to list will probably be your loved ones. The amount of personal turmoil, emotional and physical wreckage is usually greatest at home, and it’s this area that causes those in recovery the most trouble. How can you go about making amends, for example, if you’ve destroyed your relationships with your family and aren’t even allowed to speak with or see them anymore?

Nevertheless, put everyone on your list. Start with the names of your loved ones, and, if you can write down how you harmed them. Don’t think about how you’ll make the amends at this point. Just start listing. Next, widen your circle of relationships to include the friends and coworkers you have hurt. Again, be specific. If it’s money you stole, write down the amount. If you wrecked your brother’s car and never owned up to it, put that down. If you cheated with your boss’s wife, add that to your list. Now start writing down every incident that you can remember where you hurt someone else – stealing money from the church collection plate or the tip jar at the coffee shop, fraudulent acts, embezzling money, violence or abuse toward others – everything.

If it helps, and if your sponsor or counselor recommends it, start with the reverse. List the hurts you’ve done to strangers first. Or, write down the names and hurts as you recall them, but remember to compartmentalize them. This will be easier later when you need to complete

Step Nine Alcoholics Anonymous.

Step Nine reads: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

The AA Twelve Steps advises that the obstacles to completing Step Eight include “reluctance to forgive; non-admission of wrongs to others; purposeful forgetting.” By being thorough and doing an exhaustive list of others you have harmed, also avoid making judgments. It’s best to be as objective and detached as possible when making your list. Try to look at this as an exercise that requires completeness – not moral judgments.

Don’t think of yourself or your own feelings. This step, like the next one, is not about you. But, as AA advises, it is “the beginning of the end of isolation.”

You might think that since you already have your list, now’s the time to plunge ahead and tick them off one by one. Again, exercise caution and be guided by the advice from your counselor or sponsor. Rushing out to get these items taken care of implies an impatience and lack of understanding of the process of making amends. Alcoholics Anonymous cautions that persons seeking to complete Step 9 have a “tranquil mind,” since that is the “first requisite for good judgment.” Why do you need good judgment? Consider the following scenario.

During your time in treatment, you learned how to take personal inventory and how to accept that what you did in the throes of your drug addiction was hurtful to yourself and to others. You felt shame and regret over your actions and felt you couldn’t possibly be forgiven. Now that you’re in recovery and have your list of those to whom you need to make amends, you naturally want to receive that forgiveness. By dumping it all out there so to speak, you think you’ll be let off the hook. Let’s say you cheated on your spouse or partner while you were drunk or high or gambling. Maybe it happened more than once or maybe you have a compulsive sexual addiction in addition to alcohol or substance abuse. The worst thing you could do is blurt out your sexual indiscretion to your partner. Who will this help? It certainly wouldn’t help your partner. You’d only be trying to wipe this off your conscience. But that’s not making amends.

AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) advises those seeking to make amends – exercise prudence, good timing and to have courage. You need to take “calculated chances,” but not at the expense of others. If your idea of making amends causes further hurt to others, it’s just the opposite of making amends. You need to use discretion. AA further says that “readiness to take consequences of our past and to take responsibility for the well-being of others is [the] spirit of Step Nine.”

Types of Amends in Recovery

There are different kinds of amends that you can make.

• Direct amends include paying back the money you’ve stolen from an individual, replacing, fixing, or paying for the item you broke or damaged (your brother’s car that you wrecked, from the earlier example).

• But sometimes, direct amends are not possible. You may have killed someone in an automobile accident while you were drunk. Besides serving jail time as a result of a felony conviction, if such resulted, recovery counselors say that you could make indirect amends. How? You could sign up to be an organ donor. Therefore, while you couldn’t restore the life you’ve taken, you can help give the gift of life to another or others upon your death. This would be symbolic amends.

• Living amends involve changing your behavior to live differently. According to recovery counselors, while you were in the midst of your addiction and for some time after, various aspects of your life became closed off. As a result, you now find yourself avoiding certain persons you’ve harmed, or stopped going to places or doing things as you once did because of something you did while you were consumed by your addiction. By changing your negative behavior to more positive behavior, you will be opening up your life to new possibilities. You will strive to make “living amends” by being the best person you can be from this day forward. Every day brings a new commitment and a new chance for redemption.

How Long the Process Takes

This is a question you shouldn’t concern yourself with. The process of making amends will vary from one individual to another. It has less to do with how long it takes and more to do with how thoroughly and honestly you approach the steps. For some in recovery, the process may be completed rather quickly, while, for others, the process may never be finished. How could this be?

First of all, we’re human, and humans make mistakes. Even with embracing a new life of purpose, striving to be the best we can be, there will be times when we hurt others. While it may no longer be as a result of something we’ve done in the past, we are a product of our experiences – all of them, past, present, and future. By opening ourselves up to living a new life, we recognize that we could stumble onto a realization of some past hurt, or a current relationship may reignite a past indiscretion. As recovering addicts seeking to live by the Twelve Steps and Twelve Principles, we need to take whatever action is appropriate to make amends – whenever and wherever they occur.

In fact, although you didn’t know it at the time, when you first joined a 12-step organization and told your family you were going to embrace the process, you took the first steps toward making amends. They didn’t know – nor did you – all of what this would entail. What’s important is that you took the step, and it was a big one.

Look Toward the Future

Being in recovery is the beginning of the kind of future you wish to create. Do not limit yourself or feel bound in any way. Learning a new way of life may mean changing jobs, residences, moving to another state, becoming a more spiritual person, going back to school to finish or obtain a degree, learn a trade, finding joy in new hobbies or recreational pursuits. It may be many of these things. In fact, your future can be whatever you want to make it. With the discipline and practice of doing your Twelve Steps, and becoming more immersed and knowledgeable about the Twelve Traditions, you will have more self-confidence, self-esteem and enthusiasm for what lies ahead. You will begin to look outside yourself and your own situation and lean more toward helping others – as you have been helped. In the process, you are enriching your life beyond measure.

Remember, making amends and giving to others the best part of ourselves is one of the best things we can do in recovery.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.

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Written by Joann Miller – Writer/Blogger for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Edited and Published by William Charles – Owner/Publisher

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We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

#addiction #diseaseofaddiction #drugaddiction #makingamends #alcoholicsanonymous #AA #Stepeight #Stepnine #Step8 #Step9 #12Steps #12Step

The post Making Amends After Drug Abuse Stops appeared first on Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide.

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