Drug/Alcohol Addiction Definition of Terms
The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics / chemical dependents who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions. Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics/chemical dependent and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic chemical dependent.
How to Sabotage Your Recovery
- Pretending everything is ok – Reluctant to disclose a difficulty you may be having for fear of looking bad or being judged.
- Perfectionism – Having an attitude that you have to be perfect in recovery. Believing having negative emotions means you are not working a good program.
- Having unrealistic expectations – Expecting your family or friends to trust you. Setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Not recognizing accomplishments – Focusing too much on defects and not acknowledging victories in recovery, which leaves you feeling defeated.
- Being in Victim Posture – Blaming others, criticizing others, being overly concerned with others. Focusing on others prevents you from focusing on yourself. Victims do not stay sober.
- Being the center of attention – Dominating conversations, interrupting others, insisting others hear your opinion on everything, or wanting to be the center of attention. This is a form of selfishness and prevents you from seeing how you can be helpful to others because you are self-consumed.
- Confusing self-concern with selfishness – Interpreting a desired change in your life with being selfish.
- Keeping secrets – People who keep secrets in recovery typically do not stay sober. It is a reflection of being dishonest or deceptive.
- Minimizing difficulty – Attempting to make an event or incident sound as if it isn’t that big of a deal or it is unimportant to discuss when in reality it needs to be addressed.
Paul Fischer, M.A. © 2000
- PRIMARY – Order of development, first in order, first in importance
- DENIAL – Refusal to believe
- CHRONIC – Long duration or frequent recurrence
- PROGRESSIVE – Becoming more severe or spreading to other parts
- FATAL – Resulting in death when not treated
- COMPULSION – Irresistible impulse to perform some irrational act
- LOSS of CONTROL – Mental Obsession, Phenomenon of Craving, Abnormal Reaction, Inability To Stop, Cannot predict what will happen
- CONTINUED USE REGARDLESS of CONSEQUENCES – Person continues to drink or use regardless of consequences
Holistic In simple terms, holistic refers to the whole – or complete – system. Rather than focusing on just the physical body or just the mind, or just the soul, holistic treatment centers, like The River Source, emphasize treating the whole human being- mind, body, and soul.
Naturopathy is founded on the premise that people are naturally healthy, and that healing can occur through removing obstacles to a cure and by stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities. The foundations of health in natural medicine are diet, nutrition, homeopathy, physical manipulation, stress management, and exercise. Naturopathic medical doctors believe in treating the “whole person” (mind, body, soul/spirit) and emphasize preventative care. Naturopaths often recommend changes in diet and lifestyle to enhance health.
Refers to a state where negative (often very serious) physical withdrawal symptoms occur from abrupt discontinuation of a drug – usually after a period of habitual use of the drug.
Encompasses both a physical addiction and mental addiction. The addicted person experiences a phenomenon of craving (physical) along with a mental obsession. Compounded with an abnormal reaction, the addicted person becomes powerless over the drug.
Human homeostasis refers to the body’s ability to regulate physiologically its inner environment to ensure its stability in response to fluctuations.
The liver and kidneys help maintain homeostasis. The liver is responsible for metabolizing toxic substances. The kidneys are responsible for regulating blood water levels and re-absorption of substances into the blood among other duties.
An inability to maintain homeostasis may lead to death or a disease, a condition known as homeostatic imbalance.
Provides an opportunity for individuals with drug addiction, dependency, or abuse to honestly acknowledge that a problem exists, to learn the tools and information essential for recovery, and to achieve lasting abstinence so they can live happy, fulfilling productive lives.
Drug detox (detoxification) is the first step in rehabilitation and treatment of drug addiction. Drug use, over time, eventually causes one to develop an actual physical dependence on the drug(s). Drug detox is the process of managing the body’s physical withdrawal from drugs in order to minimize side effects and prevent potentially harmful consequences. Drug detox can result in severe consequences including seizure, anxiety, hallucinations, nausea and high blood pressure. Drug Detox should not be attempted without medical supervision and assistance. There are a variety of methods and procedures for drug detox with varying lengths of time and varying intensity of side effects. For most people, drug detox on an inpatient basis works best and is highly recommended.
Refers to an individual who is afflicted with both a substance abuse diagnosis and a psychiatric diagnosis.
Combination of both Heroin and Cocaine mixed together and injected (IV). Highly addictive. Extremely dangerous.
Self-Delusion & Denial in Chemical Dependency
SELF-DELUSION and DENIAL IN CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY Paul Fischer, M.A. © 2000
WHAT IS SELF-DELUSION?
Self-delusion is a mechanism by which human beings protect themselves from something threatening to them by blocking knowledge of that thing from their awareness. It is an unconscious process, which can be seen, for example, when a person is suffering from an obviously terminal illness but seems unaware of that fact. It is a buffer against unacceptable reality.
The self-delusion of alcoholics/addicts consists of their lack of awareness of their excessive and/or inappropriate use of chemicals and the harmful consequences. They do not have the basic understanding that they have an illness. The reason for this blindness is that, along with the gradual development of the illness, a denial system develops which protects them from a knowledge that this is happening.
The alcoholic/addict does not know they are deluded and are incapable of identifying their self-delusions on their own. It would be like asking a fish “What is water?” The fish cannot answer because it is surrounded by water all the time. The fish cannot distinguish water from itself.
WHAT IS DENIAL?
To deny is to have knowledge of something and to ignore its consequences. The alcoholic/addict may acknowledge they have a problem with alcohol or drugs, yet they continue to drink or use in spite of the consequences.
Denial is a core element of the illness. It can be found in all alcoholics/addicts. Denial is the fatal aspect of alcoholism and drug addiction. It impairs the judgment of the alcoholic/addict and results in self-delusion, which keeps them locked in a destructive pattern.
Here are some of the most common forms of self-delusion and denial:
SELF-DELUSION Maintaining that something is not so, which is in fact so; insisting that alcohol or drugs are not a problem despite obvious evidence that it is a problem and is so perceived by others. The alcoholic/addict’s dishonesty is a form of denial. He or she frequently does not tell the truth but is unaware of this.
MINIMIZING Admitting to some degree a problem with alcohol or drugs, but in such a way that it appears to be much less serious or significant than is actually the case. The alcoholic/addict will use terms like “the only time”, “except for”, “it wasn’t that much”.
BLAMING Denying responsibility for certain behaviors and maintaining that the responsibility lies with someone or something else. The behavior is not denied, but its cause is placed “out there”, not within the person.
RATIONALIZING Offering reasons and excuses before engaging in behavior. The alcoholic/addict may acknowledge the action is unsound, yet they proceed with the behavior they are rationalizing.
JUSTIFYING These are the reasons and alibis the alcoholic/addict provides after engaging in destructive behavior. They provide a reason other than alcoholism/addiction to explain behavior related to chemical usage. The behavior is not denied, but an inaccurate explanation of its cause is given.
INTELLECTUALIZING Avoiding emotional and personal awareness of the problem of alcoholism/addiction by dealing with it by being general, analytical, or theorizing. A person who intellectualizes is often referred to as “Being in their head”.
DIVERSION Changing the subject to avoid a topic that is threatening to the chemical usage.
HOSTILITY Becoming angry and irritated when reference is made to chemical usage and related behavior. This is a good way to avoid the issue as it serves to back people off. If you are angry with someone when he or she talks about a certain topic, that person is going to change the subject or avoid bringing the topic up to you again.
SELF-DELUSION IS AUTOMATIC Self-delusion is not a matter of deliberate lying or willful deception. It is a serious psychological mechanism, which operates unconsciously. The alcoholic/addict does not know what is true or false concerning their usage and its consequences. The denial system distorts their perception and impairs their judgment so that they become self-deluded, incapable of accurate self-awareness.
DENIAL IS PROGRESSIVE The denial system becomes increasingly more pervasive and entrenched as the illness of alcoholism/addiction progresses. In the early stages, it is minimal. By the time an individual’s illness is sufficiently advanced, the problem begins to appear serious in the eyes of others and the denial system shields the alcoholic/addict from seeing what is really happening.
Paul Fischer, M.A. © 2000
Residential Treatment Center
Refers to “inpatient” as compared to “outpatient” treatment. Provides individuals time to reprioritize and restructure their lives in a healing environment without the distractions of daily life. Because addiction is chronic and progressive, intervention and residential treatment; in a comprehensive, multidimensional facility; are often essential to provide the individual with a real opportunity for change. With a change, there is hope.
Short for “detoxification.” Detox is the process of removing toxic substances from the body.
In a treatment center environment, detox refers to the period of withdrawal during which a person’s body returns to homeostasis after long-term use of an addictive substance.
Click here to learn more about The River Source Detox Program.
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When someone with a drug or alcohol problem cannot or is not willing to see and face the problem, an intervention may be what is necessary to save that person’s life. Healing can begin to happen only when a person’s loved ones decide that they are no longer willing to be a part of the problem, but rather, a part of the solution. The majority of families that need intervention services never call to get them, yet the majority of addicts and alcoholics intervened on go willingly into treatment that day! No two interventions are the same. Different families need different interventions. Some people need to sit with their family and friends and be lovingly confronted, some people need a peaceful talk on the porch, and some people need more or less of either of those or something completely different. The initial family education and fact-finding consultation are vital in deciding what is right for you and your family. Using a loving, yet concerned and always honest approach, you can help your loved one down the right path today. At times you need a professional to be there and at times you can get educated and proceed yourself, once again, every family is different in that regard. I encourage you to call me and let’s discuss your situation. I am happy to help you decide what path to take to begin your families healing process.
Geffen Liberman, a team member of The River Source staff, is a licensed independent substance abuse counselor, a certified substance abuse counselor level two, and a certified professional life coach. He has been working with addicts/alcoholics and their families for over 11 years and has performed hundreds of interventions during that time period. Please contact him at 480.388.1495 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Constitutional hydrotherapy is a special technique in which alternating hot and cold compresses are applied to the torso and abdomen which greatly improves recovery from various illnesses, both acute and chronic by stimulating our vis medicatrix naturae, our own body’s natural ability to heal itself.
During the treatment, the patient lies comfortably on a soft table while hot towels are applied over the upper torso to warm the body. Once the body is warm, a single cold towel is applied in exchange for the hot one. This process occurs twice: once on the front of the body, and again, on the back.
The hot compress causes local vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), causing blood to be drawn away from the core and to rise toward the blood vessels closer to the skin. Then, the alternating cold compress causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) which drives the blood back into the core of our body. In addition, the cold compress (also called a warming compress) is kept on the torso for 10 minutes, allowing the body to warm it. This process increases circulation and immune function. Some sources state that this warming process increases white blood cell production and lymph flow throughout the body. This increase in circulation is very beneficial for detoxification and excretion of toxins from the body, and an increasing tone of the vessels.
At The River Source Treatment Center, we add another dimension to the traditional constitutional hydrotherapy to enhance its benefits. Hydrotherapy researchers have shown that an increase in blood flow is delivered to the underlying organs in response to stimulation of the skin above it. For this reason, electrodes from a sine wave machine are applied to the skin above the adrenal glands and abdomen to deliver a mild, soothing current to those organs. Stimulating the adrenals and intestines increase the body’s ability to recover from stresses at an optimal rate. The adrenal support is vital for our clients because prolonged use and abuse of pharmaceutical and illicit substances have been known to decrease the function of this crucial gland, responsible for the direct production of vital hormones in our body, and linked to our brain’s signaling pathways (via the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis). Long-term use of Opiates and other substances have also been known to decrease immune function, especially by disrupting the intestinal flora and its tissue: the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) and Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT), which account for 70% of our body’s immune system. Enhancing the function of the GALT and MALT would allow the body to protect itself from foreign pathogens so that it may divert more of its energy to healing and rebuilding the body during their stay at the River Source.
Patients who receive Constitutional Hydrotherapy report improved sleep, increased vitality, decreased recovery time from colds and flus, and an overall peaceful and serene detoxifying experience. As with all therapies, consult your Naturopathic Physician before receiving constitutional hydrotherapy and receive all treatments under a physician’s supervision for your safety.