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Posted by on in Co-dependency

People often forget about the needs of caregivers, especially when you’re caring for someone with a drug or alcohol addiction. It is equally important for you to seek help and develop a support system. Therapists can offer you guidance on how to: stop enabling the person with the addiction, improve communication, set boundaries, avoid caving in to manipulations, promote your own social life and maintain relationships with others, and gain knowledge about addiction. Addiction is a family illness that doesn’t just impact the person addicted to drugs or alcohol.

 

 

BARRIERS TO SEEKING SUPPORT

While there are many benefits to having a support system, there are barriers that often prevent caregivers from reaching out to friends and family. If you fear being judged or rejected by society, you’re not alone. Caregivers often feel shame or have guilt for caring for someone with an addiction, as if they have failed that person. If their child has an addiction, they often feel they have failed as a parent. Sometimes caregivers feel they don’t deserve help, or feel guilty for acknowledging their own pain, as if they are being insensitive to the person with the addiction. It can be difficult admitting and accepting that you need help as the loved one or caregiver, when you spend most of your time caring for and attending to the needs of someone else. Sometimes friends and family aren’t supportive of the caregiver. You might be viewed as being too supportive (enabling) or not supportive enough (abandoning). It may feel like a lose-lose situation, but it is important to put your own needs and mental health first.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Treatment or ‘Rehab’ can cost anywhere between $200 to upwards of $200,00. In my experience, finances and the cost of treatment is perhaps the biggest obstacle in getting the addict the help they need. Let’s face it, generally drug and alcohol treatment is expensive, and without insurance it can be difficult to finance. The treatment centers that you see on T.V, the beach-side resorts showing people getting massages and acupuncture, can run upwards of $50,000 per month. There is a whole range of treatment centers, all with different pricing options and insurance plans. So the question of ‘how much does drug and alcohol treatment cost?’ does not have a simple answer. To fully understand the cost of treatment, we must look at the different types and quality of treatment centers available.

High Cost: Inpatient, Residential, and Luxury Treatment

The more expensive types of treatment are the programs that require a person to eat, sleep, and live at their facility during treatment. These programs are more extensive and generally restrict the person from working, having a phone, and from leaving the treatment center property. Residential treatment centers, as they are called, generally require a length of stay between 60-90 days. Between residential treatment centers there is a wide range of quality and costs. The cheapest treatment centers usually run around $7,500 per month and the most expensive treatment centers can exceed $50,00 per month. Different treatment centers accept different types of insurance. Most treatment centers do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, although a few will. With insurance, residential treatment centers can end up costing a few thousand dollars, which is often still too expensive for many people with drug and alcohol problems. With these high costs for treatment, many people look for cheaper options to get help for their addiction or alcoholism. Many people find outpatient treatment a way to treat their issues at a lower cost, without compromising quality of treatment.

Lower Cost: Intensive Outpatient, Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment centers do not require the individual to sleep or stay at their treatment facility. Instead, the person lives at home, can continue working, going to school, and interact with the family. Outpatient treatment generally includes 10 hours of group and individual therapy each week, but this number can vary. The types of services offered at outpatient treatment centers are similar to those offered at residential treatment centers. Success rates are shown to be similar between people attending inpatient treatment and those attending outpatient treatment. The biggest difference between the two treatment options is the cost. Outpatient treatment can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. With insurance, outpatient can end up costing the patient less than a thousand dollars. This is a huge difference from the cost of residential treatment! 

Bottom-Line

Each person seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction has a unique set of needs and circumstances. For someone with a severe addiction and debilitating substance abuse, residential or inpatient treatment may be necessary to achieve sobriety. If a person has the money and can take a few months off to go to a residential facility, I urge them to do it. However often the person has work, a family to support, and can't afford the cost of such a treatment center. Outpatient treatment is a great and cheaper alternative. When followed correctly and completed successfully, clients of outpatient programs has just as good of a chance of staying sober as do clients of inpatient programs/

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Obviously the first key to recovery is admitting you have a problem. People who do not think they have a problem will not seek help. However the first phase of recovery, (after you have admitted there is a problem) is to focus on a few primary areas. First, make sure that your primary concern is abstinence, not using drugs or alcohol. You have to focus on the things you need to do to make sure that you do not return to old behaviors and triggers that cause you to use drugs and alcohol again. In addition, we want you to start to get educated and gain new knowledge of what addiction is and the effects it causes. Knowledge is power, knowledge is wisdom, with knowledge comes understanding and the ability to change. Then we also want you to begin to learn refusal and coping skills, so you can use these skills to learn to deal with the stress and situations around you that previously had you running to indulge your addictions. 

The first phase of recovery can seem overwhelming, but in reality it is not. Just think of it as if you were learning a new language and you heard these foreign words the first time. Of course they seem foreign to you at first because you don't know what they mean or how to use them. It's the same with addiction recovery. Yet as you go and learn, you become familiar with the meanings of the words and you gain understanding. Soon you are speaking a new language, in our case living a new life of recovery. It becomes a natural, reflex action. Then you get all the benefits from it!  

The beginning  of the recovery journey (Phase 1 as I like to call it)  is an exciting phase for those hungry and broken and seeking a better way of life, because they want the information, knowledge and tools necessary to overcome their addiction. For those who do not want to deal with their addiction problem and have not or will not admit their addiction is a problem, Phase 1 is often difficult and full of conflicts, because they are still resisting getting sober. They have not let go of their addiction, they had not surrendered it, it still controls them and they still wish to indulge in it. 

It’s not enough to tell addicts that recovery is a better way of life. We must show them how it works. Just as it’s not enough to tell me the computer is a good tool and can make my life easier. You have to teach me how it works for me to get the full benefit of it. It’s the same with recovery.

Now remember, you can have all the information and knowledge you need, but if you don't use it, it's worthless. You get no benefit from it.  So the bottom line is it’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do. I will often tell addicted people I am helping that they shouldn't make any promises to their loved ones, friends or employers regarding their stopping their addictions. Why? Because those promises carry no weight anymore. The addicted person has made many promises and has failed to live up to most, if not all of them. Their friends and loved ones and families won’t believe the words anyway. What the friends, families, and loved ones will believe, is seeing a changed life, based on the new actions and behavior of the addicted person. 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

If I’m to be honest answering this question, there will be no quick way through it. I could say I became a sober coach because I was tired of going to bed at 6am and sick of having to shout over loud music to be heard  - but that’s only part of it.

When I got clean in 1988, I placed all bets on my writing. This meant that instead of taking a job that would have career advancement, I stuck with freelance work, doing anything that could finance large chunks of uninterrupted writing time. I came up during the late 70s and 80s among a scene of underground artists, musicians, and filmmakers, many of whom went on to mainstream success. After I got clean, I became the go-to girl for anyone from my previous life wanting to get off drugs. This lead to my first coaching jobs inside the entertainment industry. The calls were so random that I never considered it a real employment source. In between coaching gigs, I continued to take on whatever work paid the bills. Coaching and sober companion work felt like the right fit but I never gave it much thought as a career. At the time it was controversial and renegade.


As the years passed, I continued to write and perform. Although my work was being published and optioned, I still hadn’t made it through the “big doors". It killed me to watch my friends’ lives successfully moving forward while mine seemed, at least outwardly, frozen in time. What was i doing wrong?  My moment of clarity came at fifteen years clean. It occurred to me that I had never stopped directing my romantic and financial affairs and those two areas were not changing. I needed to let go (as they say in 12 step programs) but I didn’t know how. I definitely couldn’t think my way into a new life. I suppose I needed a spiritual experience but being an atheist this was difficult to imagine.

Right as my screenplay was gaining momentum and I was being flown back and forth across the country, the writers’ strike happened. Out of money, I went back to working in bars. The loud music and crazy hours were killing me. Like my final days with drugs, I was absolutely miserable and hopeless. At seventeen years clean, I was back at square one. Then the most amazing thing happened - I ran out of ideas on how to run my life. I was having tea with an old friend from the music industry when I asked him “You know me really well – what do you think I should do for a living?” It didn’t take a minute before he said, “You’d be perfect as a sober companion.”  I had no idea that sober coaching had come into its own as a profession. The renegade rock and roll days had paved the way and now treatment facilities, therapists, and psychiatrists were seeing positive results from setting up clients with sober companions. My friend suggested I contact a couple LA friends to see if anyone had leads.

The stars aligned and within 24 hours I had my first client outside of the entertainment industry. What was interesting to me was how everything I’d ever learnt in my life came into play - not just my personal experience in recovery but the information I’d amassed on nutrition, exercise, meditation, dealing with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Every aspect of my life had prepared me to do this work.

The real test came on day three when my client’s prominent psychotherapist called for an update. Until then I had been working intuitively and unlike managers, agents, and the people I was used to dealing with, the person on the other end of the phone was skilled in mental health work. If I was a fraud she was going to call me out. Nervous, I took a deep breath and told her honestly what I saw and what I was working on with the client. The phone went silent and my stomach flipped. “I have been working with ___ for three years and you nailed every single item on my list”. His words confirmed that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

For me, falling into coaching was a spiritual experience. When I finally “let go” sober coaching came into my life. I loved it and had great results with clients. From that point on, doors kept opening. One day I got a call from the producers of Intervention about a new mini-series they were casting. Over night, this semi-secret career of mine became very public.

The television series shifted the direction of my life yet again. I received many heartbreaking emails from addict viewers who were without financial resources for treatment. I decided to set up a website and share freely what I do with clients. Currently I’m in the process of writing several books on recovery. What started as a part-time job to finance my writing has become the subject of my writing. No one could be more surprised by this than me.


To read what I do with clients as a sober coach, visit http://pattypowersnyc.com/sobercoac/

 

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

If you currently know of or have known of an employee that needs drug and alcohol treatment, it is likely that you are frustrated. As an employer, dealing with employee drug or alcohol abuse seems troublesome, and firing that employee altogether seems as if it is the best choice for the company. But that choice may be wrong, and here's why.

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