Slide 1: Online Addiction Recovery Support The disease of addiction is chronic and unremitting and cannot be cured by a single treatment experience. Long term recovery requires ongoing commitment to utitlzation of available treatment resources. The research is clear: the longer an individual with drug or alcohol addiction remains in treatment the better the treatment outcome in terms of days abstinent and long term recovery. Slide 2: A single thirty day residential treatment experience or completion of a six to eight week intensive outpatient treatment program can provide the foundation for a solid recovery. However, the individual completing these intensive phases of treatment ideally should continue in formal treatment such as outpatient individual and group counseling by addictions specialists, supplemented by needed psychotherapy, for a year or longer. This individual, again ideally, will become involved in the Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, attending meetings on a regular basis, say five meetings per week minumum for 12 months, obtaining a sponsor (mentor) in AA or NA, and a home group (a group he/she commits to attending every week and becoming active in supporting). Slide 3: Thereafter, the individual should attend these self-help meetings regularly for as many years, or longer, as he/she was in active addiction. The author's position is that 12 Step involvement should continue for the rest of the individual's life. An intriguing and beneficial addition to the recovery armamentarium has developed out of internet technology, namely, provision of online addiction recovery support services such as daily recovery tips by email and weekly or more often contact with a recovery coach or counselor by phone and email. This supplement to traditional addiction services and Twelve Step programs can provide crucial supports to the individual striving to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. Slide 4: Help Drug Addicts Overcome Addiction How can we best help drug addicts to overcome addiction? The real secret lies in empowering the drug addict to take control of their own life. But how do we go about doing that? It is a hard lesson to learn, but we cannot directly control another person, no matter how badly we want for them to not self destruct. Addicts have a tendency to do that and it can be extremely difficult to help them when they are resistant to change. Slide 5: The first thing you will want to do when trying to help an addict is to examine your own behavior. Are you enabling them to continue using drugs in any way? If so, then you need to change your own behavior first, so that you are not sabotaging their recovery efforts. For example, if their drug use lands them in jail, and you automatically bail them out of jail, then you are probably enabling them. How? Because you are denying them the natural consequences of their using. If you are protecting them from the consequences that they should be experiencing then you are not helping them, you are actually making things worse. Slide 6: Another example is if they are up all night partying and you call in sick to work for them so that they do not lose their job. Doing things such as this might seem helpful at first, but you are actually enabling them to continue to use drugs. If they are going to change their behavior in the long run then they are going to have to fall down and skin their knee a few times. Don't deny them these natural falls. The second thing you might do in order to help an addict is to encourage them to get professional help. This will usually involve encouraging them to go to treatment of some sort. Slide 7: While treatment is not a magic bullet, it might be the break that they need in order to start a new life in recovery. Sometimes it is even possible to call around to a few treatment centers and find an opening for someone in advance. If the person agrees to go to treatment then you have some options for them and can direct them towards the help that they need. Sometimes the best you can do for a struggling addict is to let them know that help is available and that you will help them when they are ready. Make sure that you both understand that any help given will be on your terms, not on their terms. Slide 8: If you allow them to make their own terms then it is not really "help" at all, they will just manipulate and try to continue using or getting money. The moment of surrender is when the addict is willing to accept help on someone else's terms. This is how you know when they are truly ready for change and are no longer just manipulating and playing games. When they ask for help and also ask for direction, then they are ready to make a real change in their life. Getting the addict to this point is not easy and there isn't much that you can do that will directly push them towards the point of surrender. The important thing is that you stop enabling them and this will allow them to reach the point of surrender on their own. The less you enable them the faster they will get there. Slide 9: Factors Of Drug Addiction--Communication Breakdown Looking into the circumstances which surround drug addiction it becomes easy to recognize certain patterns. These patterns can then lead us to further our understanding of what is happening to and with the addict. One of the most pronounced and first attributes we find in the drug addicted person is a break-down in their communication. They begin to ignore and avoid communication from various sources. Mainly: 1. Family and friends 2. People in their environment 3. Themselves. Slide 10: Let's take a look at these phenomena. The first area in which communication breaks down is with family and friends. There are several major reasons for this. First and foremost, it is painful to keep disappointing the people they love the most. All the time they are growing up in the family, they talk of the future and how great it is going to be..."I am going to be a fireman when I am a man!" For girls it is not much different..."I will be a pilot", or, "When I am a grown-up I will buy you a great big house!" Slide 11: Parents and friends might be the toughest people in the world to disappoint. Gaining approval from them is one of the first goals a kid might have. 'Drug addict' was never on the list of things to be, and it is impossible to hide from the addict the pain the parents or friends feel at seeing what they have become. So the communication breaks down. People in the environment are also cut off by the drug addict. The addict's actions are reprehensible and they know this whether they admit it or not. So they become sullen and strangers are avoided as well as casual acquaintances. Because they are attempting to hide their activities, everyone becomes a potential threat. So they just retreat into themselves. Slide 12: In the end, they even cut off communication from themselves. Ever lie to yourself? They are also disappointing themselves, so there are excuses, reasons, excuses and justifications for failures and broken promises they made alone, just to themselves. Soon, the reasons are reinforced and they even start to believe it themselves. This is a painful situation. Just getting out of bed in the morning is tough because the lies start as soon as they look into the mirror. Well, drugs can kill this pain. Before long, getting drunk or stoned earlier and earlier in the day becomes a necessity. This person is surrounding him or herself with either strangers or drugged-up friends who accept them completely because they themselves are in the same situation. Slide 13: A drug detox rehab program must address this issue of communication completely if there is to be any real hope of recovery. Bringing the ex-addict back into touch with those around him or her must be part of any successful drug addiction treatment facility. Not every drug program deals with this communication factor and so a vital part of the addict's recovery is never addressed. To bring a person truly out of the hole of drug addiction, it is absolutely essential that they learn to communicate and live life in a way that does not require constant hiding and cover-ups.