Tag Archives: Family & Friends

How the Addiction and Recovery Process Differs with Teens

Posted on May 23, 2016

teen_postBeing a teenager is difficult enough, but when it when it comes to substance abuse, teens face their own set of challenges. Yet in many instances, the reasons for their addiction provide the focus for their rehabilitation. Most teens are:

Physically Immature

Obviously, adolescents are smaller in stature. They weigh less. And most importantly, their brains are not fully developed. This means that the same amount of alcohol or drugs taken by an adult is going to have a greater impact on a smaller person with a less sophisticated cognitive system.

Therefore, the road to recovery includes help in understanding the future consequences of addiction for a growing body and brain. Teens believe they are immortal. They rarely focus on how addiction can damage their kidneys, increase their chances of contracting HIV or change the way their brain perceives pleasure.

Acting Out

Many teens have self-image problems. They are insecure, shy and not socially experienced—which makes them highly susceptible to peer pressure. They go along with the crowd, maybe not because they really want to drink or try drugs, but because they want to fit in.

For this reason, recovery starts with therapeutic counseling, in order to understand the issues that trigger the addiction. These vary with each teen, but often include negative body image, conflict at home, trouble with academics or sexual abuse. Finding the root of the problem is the key to solving it.

Involuntary Participants

The majority of teenagers are forced into rehab by their parents, court or school. This is not the ideal situation, because an involuntary participant is frequently an unwilling participant.

For this reason, family involvement is crucial in treating teenagers. Rehab counseling stresses improved communication to smooth the relationship between parents and their children. Teens see their parents are willing to work alongside them in the recovery process.1)SMART Recovery’s program for Family & Friends includes tools from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training).  CRAFT is a 20+ year old an evidence-based approach, found to be significantly more successful than other frequently recommended approaches such as interventions.  The goal of CRAFT is to improve communication, smooth the relationship and find ways to be truly supportive, in a healthy way.

Missing Activities

Addicted teens do not have the mental acuity or physical coordination required to participate in sports, music or art. These teens are missing out on many extracurricular activities, and they don’t even realize their loss.

Social events and sports, creative outlets and outdoor adventures are just some of the options that rehab programs can offer. It is easier for teens to give up a bad habit if they can replace it with an appealing new interest.

Long-lived

Young people have their whole lives ahead of them. While this is the ideal time for them to embrace abstinence, it can also seem like an impossible goal to give up alcohol or drugs for the next 60, 70 or 80 years.

Therefore, recovery programs for teenagers don’t promise a quick fix. Instead, they provide after-care or post-treatment programs of continuing therapy. Support groups (e.g., SMART Recovery, LifeRing, Women for Sobriety, etc.) and 12-step programs also help teens stay focused after they have completed the initial recovery program.

The good news, of course, is that the sooner teenagers embrace recovery, the sooner they will be able to embrace their full potential. Rehabilitation provides them with a richer emotional and social life, while it allows them to become healthy, well-rounded adults.

About the author

Patricia L. Ryding, Psy.D is Executive Director of Beach House Center for Recovery, a drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation center in Juno Beach, Florida. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who brings over 30 years of experience as both a clinician and an administrator in the behavioral healthcare field to her writing.

References   [ + ]

1. SMART Recovery’s program for Family & Friends includes tools from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training).  CRAFT is a 20+ year old an evidence-based approach, found to be significantly more successful than other frequently recommended approaches such as interventions.  The goal of CRAFT is to improve communication, smooth the relationship and find ways to be truly supportive, in a healthy way.

Which SMART resources do people find helpful? Results from 2015 survey

Posted on March 2, 2016

check list color doodle, speech bubbleEach year, SMART Recovery issues an annual survey to gain feedback from SMART participants. Respondents range from people who are actively in recovery and using SMART’s resources to family and friends, SMART volunteers, and treatment professionals. This year, 1,325 people responded – making it the largest response since the survey was launched in 2008.

Continue reading

SMART Recovery® on Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Posted on January 4, 2016

by Rose Barbour, SMART Recovery Facilitator from Prince Edward Island(PEI), Canada

A grunge textured digital illustration of a group of diverse hands reaching together in unity and support.While searching for different programs for my son, who didn’t connect with the 12-steps programs, I stumbled upon SMART Recovery. There were no meetings offered in my area so I signed up for the training with the plan to start one. I was excited about it because I knew that my son wasn’t the only one without a program he could relate to. SMART Recovery would give them a choice. Continue reading

Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends

Posted on November 17, 2015

Peter Gaumond, Chief, ONDCP Recovery Branch

Holidays in RecoveryThis time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously.

Continue reading

When a Loved One is Addicted

Posted on September 17, 2015

How Family & Friends Can Help
Practical Recovery

Help AlcholicCan people get addicted to alcohol? Yes. But as a spouse, you can help your husband cut back on his drinking. In fact, the suggestions outlined below could be used to help anyone stop or cut back on…

ANY addictive behavior!

But to keep it simple, we will talk about how to help your husband stop drinking.

When will my husband stop drinking?

Generally, drinking stops when your husband realizes that the costs of drinking exceed the benefits. You could wait until the costs are very large, so that he can realize the problem more easily. However, by that point his thinking may not be very clear, and he (and you) will have paid a substantial price, possibly to include problems (such as health problems) that will endure. So it is better to stop drinking sooner rather than later.

How can I help my husband get sober?

In this approach you are looking to build the “landing place” before you ask him to “jump.” Many heavy drinkers are reluctant to quit drinking because Continue reading

Power of Positive Reinforcement

Posted on March 24, 2015

A note on “enabling” vs. positive reinforcement
~Jeffrey Foote, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

“Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing
with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.”

Positive ReinforcementIf you are a partner, parent, or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?). By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot, or going to talk to the teacher to make sure they don’t get a bad grade, even though their bad test score was due to drinking, or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over. These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly, and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.

But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change. So what’s the difference? Continue reading