Why Is It So Hard to Stay Sober? – Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is characterized by: “an inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavior control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.” The “inability to consistently abstain” is a concept that sometimes confuses loved ones and family members of addicts. They wonder, “How can we ever expect the addict to establish and maintain sobriety if ‘addiction’ means that’s something he can’t do?” This confusion is understandable. What ASAM really means is that on their own addicts lack the ability to consistently abstain from addictive behaviors. They struggle to establish and maintain sobriety without help. Most addicts would stop their compulsive behaviors on their own if they could, but they can’t. An addict’s inability to establish and maintain sobriety manifests in many ways. For instance, he might make promises to himself and others (loved… Continue reading

Denial of Recovery – By William L. White

  The social stigma attached to addiction and addiction recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Two people in recovery recently emailed me sharing quite different dilemmas—each flowing from stigma-induced caricatures of addiction and recovery. In the first instance, people had no difficulty believing the individual’s addiction story because of his numerous, and quite public, drug-related falls from grace. Yet these same people withheld belief in his recovery status years into his stable recovery. Rumors periodically spread that he was using again—rumors that seemed impossible for him to source or stop. Normal sicknesses triggered suspicions of drug use. Any time anything went temporarily missing at a family gathering or at his workplace, suspicion immediately turned to him. Job promotions were withheld on the grounds that he might not be able to handle the stress of added responsibilities. People, as if walking on eggshells, perceived him as fragile… Continue reading

You Get To Re-write Your Story – By Jeanne Foot

  Rewrite your story, you get to choose again I was raised in a middle-class loving family, where my parents were doing the best that they could do in terms of providing for my needs. Financially, I had all the comforts one would wish for but emotionally I fell victim to what was taught to my parents by their parents, who again were doing the best taught by their parents, which I refer to as intergenerational trauma. Dr. Gabor Mate has spoken about the effects of trauma on a young child regarding normal development. Dr. Mate references the fact that if you were trying to create a perfect profile for someone who would fall prone to addiction and mental illness, you would raise them with trauma, neglect and fear, and that would create the exact prescription for an “addict.” Through no fault of my own, I was raised in an… Continue reading

How To Deal With A Loved One Actively Using – By Annie Highwater

  I am the daughter of someone who suffers with addiction. My Mother is a Bible believing, non-swearing, French speaking, dignified lady who has struggled with Doctor prescribed opioids and mental health issues for 30 plus years. I have also been through an addiction adjacent experience as a Mother; my son is almost 5 years in recovery from a prescription opiate dependency following an injury in football. I know the ups and downs, the misery in the midnight hour, the hopes and subsequent hopes dashed that one goes through when they love someone caught in the death grip of a substance dependency. In the midst as well as the aftermath of some of the worst days of our lives as a family, I have gathered great strength and wisdom from the journey as well as those who carried me through my own recovery from the effects of it.  I write not as… Continue reading

Working Step Eight Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. From step four onward, the twelve steps are primarily concerned with interpersonal relations—how you interact in and with the wider world. In a nutshell, you are asked to: Look back on your life and see where you have caused problems for yourself and others. Do what you can to repair the damage you have done. Live differently in the future. Steps eight and nine are the middle portion of this procedure—doing what you can to repair the damage you have done. To start, you compile a list of the people you have harmed, not forgetting to include yourself on the list. Reviewing your step four inventory is generally helpful when compiling this list. Most of the names on your step four list should also appear on your step eight list, but a… Continue reading