Fighting Discrimination Against People in Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Millions of American know addiction – but also know that recovery is possible, and brings untold benefits to individuals’ health and lives. For many people in recovery, dealing with discrimination may also be a part of life. But this, too, can be overcome.

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE IN RECOVERY FROM ADDICTION

1. It is illegal to discriminate against people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction who are seeking jobs, housing, education and services.

Many federal and state laws prohibit employers, landlords, schools, government programs and service providers from refusing to hire, rent to, admit to their schools or serve anyone simply because he or she is in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. Federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act and similar laws in many states outlaw those kinds of across-the-board, stereotyped denial of basic rights to people in recovery.

These laws give people in recovery from addiction the same rights as people who have suffered from other illnesses or “disabilities” (the legal term). They can only be denied jobs, housing, admission to school, or other services or activities for which they are qualified if their addiction history would prevent them from successfully participating.

These legal protections extend to people who are in treatment for drug or alcohol problems, or have been in the past – including methadone and other medication-assisted treatment. But the federal laws do not provide any protection from discrimination to people who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs, except when it comes to denying these individuals health services if they are otherwise entitled to those services.

These laws give people in recovery the right to sue anyone who breaks these laws and discriminates against them.

2. Discrimination against people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction is a major problem.

Unfortunately many people in recovery encounter discrimination in many parts of their lives. The first-ever national poll of people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction in 2004 found that one in four said they have been discriminated against when trying to obtain employment or insurance. The Legal Action Center, a public interest law firm specializing in issues involving alcohol and drug use, receives complaints about discrimination in those areas and others, including housing, health care and social services, from all over the country.
3. Many people in recovery also face discrimination because of criminal justice histories they may have picked up while addicted. Some state laws prohibit discrimination in certain circumstances based on criminal justice history.

Many people in recovery have criminal histories as a result of their addiction. They often find that they face discrimination not just because of their addiction history but because of their criminal justice history.

Unfortunately, the federal laws described above that protect people from discrimination because they have an addiction history do not forbid discrimination against someone because of a past criminal record.

No federal law specifically prohibits employers or others from discriminating against people based on their past arrests or convictions. So, for example, while it is illegal for an employer, before making a job offer, to ask questions about whether a job applicant has or has had a disability or about the nature or severity of an applicant’s disability, or to discriminate on the basis of a disability, employers can ask about conviction and in some states arrest histories, and in many states employers can refuse to hire a person because of that arrest or conviction history.

There are also still some federal laws that specifically target people with drug-related criminal records and bar or limit their eligibility for some public benefits, education aid and housing.

Some states do have laws that prohibit public and/or private employers and occupational licensing agencies from discrimination. Some states make it illegal for employers and licensing agencies to ask about arrests that did not lead to convictions. Some states also make it illegal for employers to have blanket policies against hiring people with criminal histories. These states require employers to individually consider each person who applies for a job and make a decision about hiring that person based on his or her qualifications and other factors. To find out if your state has a law that prohibits discrimination, call your state’s human rights agency.

4. Laws that protect the privacy of healthcare information, including alcohol and drug treatment, help prevent discrimination against people in recovery.

Federal and state heath privacy laws can also help protect people in treatment and in recovery from addiction from discrimination.

If a person goes into treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, federal (as well as many state) laws strictly protect the confidentiality of that information. A treatment provider in most cases cannot tell entities such as employers, schools or insurers anything about a person’s treatment, or even the fact that he or she is in treatment, without the person’s consent.

The federal discrimination laws noted above also require that employers maintain the confidentiality of all information they obtain about job applicants’ and employees’ health conditions, including treatment for drug or alcohol problems – and prohibit employers from disclosing or using that information to discriminate illegally against employees in recovery.

5. Everybody can do something to stop discrimination against people in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

As mentioned above, people who suffer discrimination can sue anyone who violated their rights under federal or state laws. People in recovery and their families, friends and allies also can urge their federal and state officials to strengthen enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination that are already on the books, and to pass new laws to prohibit discrimination when that is necessary.

What can you do if you believe you have been discriminated against?

You don’t have to live with discrimination – you can act to stop or remedy it! You can consider several options for taking action:

  • Informal resolution. You many want to try to talk to the person who you believe has discriminated against you, and ask him or her why she or he took the action that you believe is discriminatory. This may accomplish two things. Getting the person to admit that the action was taken because of your drug or alcohol history will help you prove a claim if you decide to resort to formal legal proceedings. It may also give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss the matter, stress your qualifications and determine if the matter can be resolved informally.
  • Administrative appeals (sometimes). If you believe a government agency (such as a public employer or occupational licensing agency, public housing agency, or government benefits program) discriminated against you, you may have the right to challenge the action in an administrative appeal to that agency or another one designated to hear such appeals. Check to see if there is a deadline for appealing this way.
  • Formal legal challenges – charging a violation of the federal antidiscrimination laws that protect people disability-based discrimination, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you believe you have been or are being discriminated against because of your history of addiction in violation of these federal laws, you can challenge the violation of your rights in two ways: You may be able to get those charged with the discrimination to correct their actions and policies, compensate you or give you other relief.

  • Discrimination complaint – with federal (or state) agency. You may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the federal agency(s) with power to investigate and remedy violations of the disability discrimination laws. In many states, these complaints may be filed with the state human rights agency. You do not need a lawyer to do this, and it can be faster and easier than a lawsuit and get you the same remedies.

Do not sleep on your rights! The deadline for filing these administrative complaints can be as soon as 180 days after the discriminatory act – or even sooner, with federal employers, so always check.

  • Discrimination lawsuit – in federal or state court. In most (but not all) cases, you may also file a lawsuit in federal or state court, in addition to or instead of filing an administrative complaint. Deadlines vary from one to three years.

If you are charging an employer with discriminating against you in violation of the federal American with Disabilities Act, take note: You first must file your employment discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). You may not file a lawsuit first or instead of filing with the EEOC.

By Paul Samuels J.D.

What Is Relapse?

Relapse is a cardinal feature of addiction, and one of the most painful.

Most people who struggle with addiction will have one or more relapses – the return to drug use after a drug-free period – during their ongoing attempts to recover. This can be extremely frustrating for patients and for families, as they have already experienced great pain.

What leads to relapse?

Multiple – and often interactive – factors can increase the likelihood of relapse. These are some of the commonly cited precursors:

  • drug-related “reminder” cues (sights, sounds, smells, drug thoughts or drug dreams) tightly linked to use of the preferred drug(s) can trigger craving and drug seeking
  • negative mood states or stress
  • positive mood states or celebrations
  • sampling the drug itself, even in very small amounts

The motivation to seek a drug, once triggered, can feel overwhelming and sometimes leads to very poor decisionmaking: the user will pursue the drug, despite potentially disastrous future negative consequences (and many past negative consequences).

Individuals have different brain circuitry

Brain-imaging is helping us to understand the paradox of the decision to pursue a drug reward despite such consequences. For example, very recent imaging research shows that visual drug cues as short as 33 milliseconds can activate the ancient reward (“go”) circuitry, and that this process does not require conscious processing – it can begin outside awareness.

By the time the motivation does reach awareness, and is recognized and labeled, the reward circuit has a strong head start. This head start means the frontal brain regions may be less effective. This area of the brain is responsible for weighing the consequences of a decision and for helping to “stop” or inhibit the impulses toward drug reward.

Imaging research also shows that some individuals have less effective “stop” circuitry. For these people, the job of managing the powerful impulses toward drug reward may be even more difficult.

When it comes to the vulnerability to relapse, and to addiction itself, we are not all created equal. We differ both in our brain response to drug rewards and in our ability to manage the powerful impulses toward drug reward.

Hope through research

Relapse is a long-term vulnerability, but intensive ongoing research is targeting the problem. The tools of brain imaging and genetics promise to help us understand our vulnerabilities – and our strengths – to help us realize more effective relapse prevention. Many different clinical research trials are underway, and new antirelapse interventions (behavioral or medication-based) may be available in a location close to you.
By Anna Rose Childress

Roxycontin Abuse in the United States is Growing

One of the biggest addictions in the United States is the abuse of opiates and opioids. Roxycontin is one of these widely abused drugs. The addictions run in people of all ages, and as of recently, the drug has been very popular for high school aged children. The problem with Roxycontin detoxification is that it is a very serious drug with a good amount of side effects once the person has begun withdrawal. Often times, the best course of treatment starts with inpatient therapy. Medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms is usually prescribed to patients starting Roxycontin detox. The drug usually prescribed is buprenorphine. Taking this drug and following the drug detox plan the medical professional has established for you will make your recovery come faster and safely.

The symptoms that follow immediate withdrawal from Roxycontin can be described as very painful, even when the person who abuses the drug has no pain previous to the start of abuse. It changes the way your brain works, your brain chemistry is actually altered by this drug. Also, because of the power in this drug, it is extremely easy to take too much. Every year more and more people fall victim to Roxycontin addiction and pay with their lives. Treatment is available, but you must act quickly…it’s so easy to lose control.

Oxycontin Detox Will Bring you Sobriety

Detoxing from Roxycontin and becoming sober is definitely a difficult journey, but it can be done! It is an addictive and deadly drug, but there is treatment for those who are suffering and need to begin Roxycontin detox. Getting help is as easy as getting on the internet and searching for detox clinics in your area. If you’re too nervous to make the call, many sites have will let you put in your number and a representative will call you. There’s no excuse to let Roxycontin destroy your life.

Get Roxycontin Treatment Help

It’s not difficult to do an internet search and find if there are any treatment centers in your area. Your local hospital and even your family doctor can point you in the right direction if you have an addiction and need to get Roxycontin treatment. Slowly, Roxycontin is taking over as the most abused drug in the United States, teenagers are using it as a party drug, replacing marijuana and it is slowly claiming the lives of these children. Don’t become a statistic and get the help you need to beat your Roxycontin addiction.

So You Have Been Diagnosed With Chronic Pain

Once a person has begun a methadone program, it can be extremely difficult to stop since methadone is an addictive substance. While a typical opiate withdrawal can last about a week, methadone withdrawal can linger for months. Participants will tell you that detox from methadone can be brutal.

We offer methadone program participants an opportunity to get off the drugs completely, in a safe and comfortable manner. If you are currently on methadone, Sunrise Detox can get you through the detox process in a fraction of the time, and with drastically fewer withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification protocol we use is based on the amount of methadone being taken. We realize that people who have taken large daily doses and who have been on methadone for long periods of time require heavier medication to keep them comfortable during detox. Because we use a buprenorphine detox protocol, the methadone leaves the body faster, and lengthy withdrawal symptoms can be avoided.

An accident, a fall, degenerative disk disease, migraine headaches, arthritis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain… it doesn’t matter… what matters is that you have been told by your doctor that the pain you are experiencing is chronic and that you will “have to learn to live with it.” Some of us have surgery, some try physical therapy, some enter pain management programs, some learn biofeedback, and some learn relaxation techniques. We seek help from specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and neurosurgeons. We seek psychiatric and psychological help. We try alternatives such as acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. We are given a barrage of medical tests, which may identify the problem, but nothing can be done to “fix” the problem.

The fact is that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. It is estimated that Americans lose one billion work days per year due to pain conditions, one-third of which is lower back pain. As an example of the financial burden of such conditions in the United States, it has been noted that low back pain alone costs at least 16 billion dollars per year.

Chronic pain devastates our lives and everyone around us. We have been complaining about our pain for so long that people around us begin to doubt that such pain really exists. We lose careers, incomes, self-esteem, happiness, families and friends. We suffer from depression and anxiety. We feel hopeless, angry, frustrated, sad, disgusted, useless, guilty, and abandoned by God.

Opiate Withdrawal

It was established in 2008 that in the past year, approximately 282,000 people above the age of 12 were dependent on or abused heroin. Additionally, 1,716,000 people over the age of 12 were dependent on or abused pain relievers.

Opiate withdrawal can be a miserable experience, with symptoms including agitation, muscle aches, vomiting, and extreme discomfort. The symptoms usually subside after about a week, but for some they could persist for several months. Individuals may also experience craving for the drug for years after withdrawal.

Two medications are approved for use with opioid addiction. Methadone and buprenorphine are commonly offered to offset the effects of opioid withdrawal. Only 8 percent of all substance abuse treatment facilities offer this kind of treatment.

In order to offer methadone or buprenorphine to combat opioid withdrawal symptoms, the facility must be a certified Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). Individual physicians may also enroll in specialized training to prescribe buprenorphine addiction products in their practices.

According to a recent survey by the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, facilities that specialized only in opioid treatment are more likely than other types of treatment centers to be operated by a private for-profit organization (92.9 percent versus 83.3 percent).

Most OTPs are located in a metropolitan area, with 44.8 percent of those specializing only in opioid treatment located in a large central metropolitan area.

Counseling is an important component of recovering from an opioid addiction and getting past withdrawal symptoms to avoid a relapse. Almost all of OTPs (99.6 percent) specializing in opioid treatment provided individual counseling to their clients. The most used types of therapy were substance abuse counseling and relapse prevention.

Facilities offer a variety of options for payment. Almost all OTPs accept cash or self payment, but those specializing specifically in OTP are less likely to accept other types of payment or have sliding fee scales or free treatments for those who cannot pay.

It is clear from the information gathered in the survey that facilities specializing only in OTPs may be limited in the facets of treatment they can offer clients who struggle in more than one area of substance abuse or mental disorders.

It is very helpful for healthcare providers and counselors to have the information from the survey so that they are informed about the many types of care available. With this information, referrals can be made to ensure the best possible fit for those undergoing the uncomfortable process of opioid withdrawal.

Source: Drug Addiction Treatment

Mom Hits Bottom After Years of Drinking

Lynn Wardlow says concern for her health and family helped convince her to quit.

At the end of a country road, inside the walls of a quaint and calm Hattiesburg, Miss., home, a family was in crisis.

Lynn Wardlow, a 50-year-old wife and mother of three, had been a drinker for more than 20 years. All the while, though, she ran a family business and raised her children.

In January, “20/20? visited Wardlow. It was the day before she’d planned to give up alcohol for good.

“My hands are shaking,” said Wardlow as she packed her bags. “God, I hope I remembered to bring underwear.”

Watch the full story Friday on “20/20? at 10 p.m. ET

Click HERE for further “20/20? coverage of mothers and alcoholism.

In the morning, Wardlow would travel from the Gulf Coast to Palm Beach, Fla., check herself into a medical facility for detox and then enter a 30-day rehab program for her alcohol addiction.

Meanwhile, Wardlow planned one last hurrah. She took a bottle from a cabinet in her bedroom.

“Would this be my best choice for my last bottle of wine?” she asked.

The last year in the Wardlow home had been particularly difficult, especially for the children — Bo, 21; Jessy, 20; and Marina, 17.

“She’s been drinking every night for as far back as I don’t even know,” said Bo. “The last year there’s been a lot of drama, and it’d be nice if things were just normal for even just a little while.”

Wardlow poured herself some wine. “My kids want me to just stop, stop, stop, but I like, I don’t think I can just stop,” she said.

“And if I did, I don’t know if I would feel very good, or if we might have to go to the hospital, because I just stopped after I’ve been going, go, go, go for so long.”

Wardlow’s children have witnessed things no child should ever see: their mother passed out in her closet, in a drunken rage at a bookstore, in a car attempting to drive after an alcohol-infused fight.

“It’s hard to see someone you love have to be addicted to something in order to feel better,” said Marina.

“It makes you feel like you’ve done something wrong,” said Jessy.

Drunken Moms: ‘When She Gets Like That’

The kids say their mother’s drinking had reached a critical point. Last April, Wardlow was diagnosed with hepatitis C, unrelated to her alcoholism. Unless she quit drinking, she could die.

But even the threat of losing her life, the family said, hadn’t stopped Wardlow from consuming alcohol.

“I want my mom to get better and not just for our sake but for her sake for her health,” said Jessy.

Wardlow’s last night at home was tense. The alcohol fueled her anxiety of what was to come.

“I think after two drinks, I’m like, you know what, these people aggravate me,” said Wardlow, who ran the family’s ceiling construction business. “And they aggravate me during the course of the day, and at the end of the day, I have a couple of drinks.”

The kids knew better than to stick around once Lynn started drinking. Wardlow’s husband, Bob, soon became a target.

“If you want to spend more time with Bill O’Reilly and your computer then go ahead,” Wardlow cracked.

“When she gets like that, conversations can turn to arguments,” said Bob.

“Or being an a**hole can turn to arguments,” said Wardlow. “Maybe I’m just able to say, you know what, [I've] had it up to here!”

The next morning, her head a little clearer, Wardlow acknowledged that rehab may be her last chance.

“I’ve affected my children. … Our relationships would be different if alcohol wasn’t a part of my life,” she said.

But just before she walked out the door, the leftover wine from the night before called to her.

“I’m not going to drink that,” Wardlow said, wavering before she gave in and took a sip.

Wardlow’s family walked her down the steps. She gave them kisses. She grew emotional.

“I’m not the only person who needs to be healed,” said Wardlow. “I’m not the only person who has been affected by this.

“It’s gonna be good,” she assured her famliy. “I’m going to get better.”

Two planes, three bloody mary’s and two beers later, Wardlow landed in Florida.

She was greeted by Loren Seaman from the Orchid Recovery Center, where Wardlow would surrender herself for treatment.

“Did you drink?” Seaman asked.

“Well, hell yeah,” Wardlow said.

Wardlow and Seaman had been talking for weeks on the phone to prepare for her arrival.

But before her bags had even make it downstairs, a shoeless Wardlow headed off for one more drink.

“We’re going to make a new martini,” Wardlow said. “It’s called the Lynn’s-quitting-drinking-and-going-to-rehab martini. Ready?

Drunken Moms: Tough Recovery Odds

Finally, it was time for Seaman to sign Wardlow into the center.

“Have you ever been to detox?” Seaman asked. The answer was no.

“It’s OK, I’m good,” said Wardlow, laughing. “I’m drunk, so right now I ain’t scared. Give me a day or two, and I’m probably going to be frightened out of my wits.”

Over a million people submit to detox and rehab programs for alcohol addiction every year in this country. The odds going into rehab were against Wardlow. Studies show that 90 percent of people in recovery relapse.

Wardlow had a session with Linda Burns, head of nursing at Sunrise Detox.

“How much are you drinking a day, about?” Linda asked.

“Four, five, six …” replied Wardlow.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, one third of alcoholics in the United States are women.

Staff at both the Orchid and Sunrise Detox Center told “20/20? that about 95 percent of the women they pick up at the airport are intoxicated upon arrival. Wardlow was no exception.

A Sunrise Detox tech measured Wardlow’s blood alcohol content upon admission.

“You’re not too bad — .106,” the tech said.

“What does that mean?” said Wardlow. “Would I be arrested?”

“Oh, definitely, yeah.”

“I would be arrested.”

“Yeah.”

“Point-zero-8 is the limit, and I’m at point 1-plus over. I’m over the limit to drive a vehicle.”

“Yes, you would be wearing nice bracelets.”

For the next five days — standard for alcohol addiction — Wardlow remained at Sunrise. She was medicated with a drug called librium to eliminate the side effects of withdrawal, which can range from tremors and insomnia to delirium or even seizures.

From day one, Wardlow was restless.

“If you reached in your pocket right now and pulled out a beer, it would be really hard for me not to drink it,” she told “20/20.” “Quite honestly, it would.”

By day four, her impatience and boredom reached all-time highs.

“I have not had a good morning,” she said, talking to a portable camera “20/20? gave her to document her journey. “I have cried on more than one occasion today. I have come to the realization that this is the closest thing to a jail that I have ever been in.”

But it was only the beginning of a long and difficult journey.

The next step for Wardlow was the Orchid Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center designed specifically to treat women.

“We’re just glad you’re here, Lynn,” said an Orchid staff member who welcomed her.

“Thank you,” said Wardlow. “I’m glad I’m here too.”

Drunken Moms: From Detox to Rehab

Normally, TV cameras are not permitted to see inside the walls of a rehab facility. But with Wardlow’s permission, the Orchid Recovery Center allowed “20/20? unprecedented access to their treatment process.

“You don’t know Lynn clean and sober,” Mindy Appel, Wardlow’s therapist at the Orchid, told her. “You don’t know that woman.”

Unlike at detox, Wardlow’s days at rehab would be packed, from six in the morning until nine at night. She would have individual and group therapy sessions mixed with yoga, meditation, accupuncture and art.

An all-female facility, the Orchid is run almost exclusively by women, many of whom have been through some type of addiction recovery of their own.

The Orchid places enormous weight on the honing of life skills, encouraging women to shop and cook for themselves — all of the things they’ll have to do back home. But sometimes, even a simple trip to the grocery store can spell trouble. Once a woman from the center drank vanilla extract from the store. It’s 24 percent alcohol. The woman drank five or six big bottles, staff said — and came back reeking of alcohol and walking funny.

For recovering alcoholics, triggers to resume drinking can be anything from beer commercials on TV to the wine store they used to frequent — anything that reminds them of drinking, said Orchid staff.

Wardlow’s heavy lifting for the next 30 days would happen inside the office of Appel, her therapist.

“We want to stay really focused, and I’m going to keep you on task here,” Appel told her.

During her first session, Wardlow confessed her reasons for drinking went back to her relationship with her father.

“So what was growing up like for you?” asked Appel.

“I had times of sadness,” said Wardlow. “My father was an alcoholic… When I was 15 he decided it was time to go … so he died.”

Genetics may also have had a role in Wardlow’s addiction. Studies show that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to develop the problem.

A week into her treatment, “20/20? co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas paid a visit to Wardlow at Orchid. She appeared more calm and focused but still struggled with her addiction.

Vargas asked her if it was hard.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “It is hard and it’s, and it’s hurtful, and you realize how many people that you’ve hurt. And my children are amazing. I mean, I look at them, and I know I’ve not been a bad mother. I’m like, I know I’m a good mother. I’ve mothered them well — but how much better could it have been if these past 10 years, I hadn’t been living in the bottom, in the bottom of a bottle?”

Wardlow described the cycle of her drinking.

“I wake up the next morning, you feel horrible, and you say, ‘I’m gonna do better. I’m gonna do better. I’m gonna do better. So, but I don’t feel very good today. So this afternoon, I’m just gonna have a beer.’” Which turns into “three or four or five or six.”

Are Mothers Drinking More?

The team of therapists at the Orchid said regrets and expectations about being the perfect mother are often what push a woman deeper into her addiction.

“There’s so many women that are so sophisticated at covering up and being, you know, the PTA mom and being the soccer mom and doing all things for everyone,” said Appel.

But are women, particularly mothers, drinking more — or are we just finding out about it more?

“I think we’re finding out about it more,” said Mindy Agler, another therapist on the Orchid team. “[It's] just not something you talk about. … If a man walks away from a family because he needs to focus on his recovery, everybody says OK, so he needs to do that. But if a woman leaves her family to go get treatment and then decides ‘You know what, I’m not ready, I got to go to a halfway house before I go back to my kids,’ everybody goes, ‘Oh my God.’”

That double standard and the stigma of alcoholism can keep a woman’s disease under wraps. But past traumas, the therapists say, can also play a role.

In her short time at the Orchid, Wardlow opened up about not only her alcoholic father but other traumatic experiences: an abortion at 17, and a horrific gang-rape on her 18th birthday.

“She identifies, from 15 to 18, these were horrible years for her,” said Appel. “That she’s never, never dealt with.”

The entire time, a question hung in the background: Would Wardlow make it through treatment, and would she be able to stay away from alcohol once she was back home?

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m scared as hell,” she said. “I’m scared, I’m scared to go home.

Wardlow left the Orchid with 30 days clean and a lifetime of hurdles in front of her. We visited Wardlow in Hattiesburg after her release. She was ready to add another day to her sobriety.

“This is my little tablet,” she said, indicating a pad of paper. “And I wad up yesterday and I write today down, put my little tablet back up there, and if I drink, I have to put that tablet on zero — and I don’t want to have to do that.”

The time back home had not always been easy.

“We had to relearn how to live with one another,” said Wardlow. “The first week or two was pretty volatile. Not in a physical way, but there was lots of screaming and gnashing of teeth.”

But there are signs of healing.

“We’re all really proud of her,” said Marina. “I know if she sets her mind to anything, that’s what she’s going to do. I’m just glad that she finally set her mind to it.”

“I think she’s trying to be more aware, and I think she’s trying to make up for, in some aspects, everything that’s happened and stuff,” said Jessy. “But I think she’s working on it. … I think she’ll do it. I believe in her.”

Wardlow had followed her care plan closely. She had daily phone calls with her sponsor and attended support group meetings regularly.

To stay with the recovery program, Wardlow can never consume a drop of alcohol — or take any habit-forming medication — again.

“No mood-altering drugs, as far as any type of benzos or opiates or whatever,” she said. “I was on tremizal for joint pain. Also I was taking lunesta to sleep, and I’m not taking that any more either.”

Wardlow left one support meeting with a chip marking how long it had been since she’d stopped drinking.

“Ninety days! 90 Days,” she said. “Big three months. Three months sober.”

By SEAN DOOLEY and SHANA DRUCKERMAN

For Friends & Family of Addicts

The following steps, if followed by the patient and supported by the family and friends offer the best route to continued abstinence and a healthy and happy recovery.

1. Talk to someone.
The very first step in the process of getting drug or alcohol addiction help is to admit the problem to yourself- which, if you are reading this, you have probably done or are close to doing – congratulations! It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to admit to the problem of drug or alcohol addiction. The next part involves telling someone else. Talk to someone whom you trust, and who you know will be willing to support you in the difficult road to recovery that lies ahead. It may be a friend, family member, or someone else- the important part is that you get the support you need.

2. Detox
Based on the circumstances and severity of your drug or alcohol addiction, you will next need to make a decision about your treatment options. It is a good idea to work with a medical doctor, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms in abstaining from certain drugs and the abuse of alcohol. A detox program that will provide a safe and comfortable medical detox protocol will ease the withdrawal process. With alcohol and certain prescription drugs, stopping their use without being medically supervised can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. While in detox you will receive individual and group counseling with a therapist. This is where you will treat the emotional part of your addiction.

3. Intensive Inpatient Rehabilitation
Residential treatment programs can be very effective. These programs are highly structured programs that can last from 28 days to 6 months. Inpatient rehab differs from other treatment approaches principally in their use of the community- treatment staff and those in recovery-as a key agent of change to influence the patients’ attitudes and behaviors associated with their drug or alcohol abuse. While in a residential treatment program you will receive individual and group therapy. In addition to traditional therapy, treatment centers offer various specialized treatment options. The primary focus of an inpatient rehab center is on the resocialization of the person to a drug or alcohol free lifestyle. As the patient progresses the clinical treatment team will develop a continuation of care.

Long term careThe families of a person with drug or alcohol addiction also need support. The turmoil caused by living with a loved one dealing with addiction can have physical, emotional, social and spiritual consequences. Feelings of confusion, frustration, anger or helplessness are not uncommon when trying to understand addiction. Drug abuse is a vicious cycle that actually causes changes in the brain, leading to stronger and stronger impulses; addiction is not a result of moral weakness or faulty willpower. Left uncontrolled however, it can ruin families and take over lives. There is hope. With a new understanding of addiction, families will learn that they can’t control addiction, they didn’t cause addiction, and they can’t cure addiction. Participants who take the time to learn and become aware of these aspects of addiction leave with the skills to cope with addiction and move forward into having healthy relationships.

To better serve our clients, our services are covered by a number of health insurance plans. Any questions about insurance coverage or financial arrangements can be answered by contacting us. One of our intake coordinators will be happy to answer any questions. We also gladly assist in making flight and ground transportation arrangements for our out-of-town clients.

Chronic Pain & Addiction

In 1989, Jeffrey G. Gorin was in a devastating car accident. He was critically injured in his upper spine and neck. While surgery was successful, he was diagnosed with permanent nerve damage resulting in chronic pain. He became addicted to pain medications and muscle relaxants and his life rapidly became unmanageable. He eventually entered treatment and is in recovery today, both from his addiction and his chronic pain. Jeffrey Gorin is the Executive Director of Sunrise Detox.

Addiction & Chronic Pain
BY JEFFREY G. GORIN, MS, CAP, NCAC

So You Have Been Diagnosed With Chronic Pain:
Once a person has begun a methadone program, it can be extremely difficult to stop since methadone is an addictive substance. While a typical opiate withdrawal can last about a week, methadone withdrawal can linger for months. Participants will tell you that detox from methadone can be brutal.

We offer methadone program participants an opportunity to get off the drugs completely, in a safe and comfortable manner. If you are currently on methadone, Sunrise Detox can get you through the detox process in a fraction of the time, and with drastically fewer withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification protocol we use is based on the amount of methadone being taken. We realize that people who have taken large daily doses and who have been on methadone for long periods of time require heavier medication to keep them comfortable during detox. Because we use a buprenorphine detox protocol, the methadone leaves the body faster, and lengthy withdrawal symptoms can be avoided.

An accident, a fall, degenerative disk disease, migraine headaches, arthritis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain… it doesn’t matter… what matters is that you have been told by your doctor that the pain you are experiencing is chronic and that you will “have to learn to live with it.” Some of us have surgery, some try physical therapy, some enter pain management programs, some learn biofeedback, and some learn relaxation techniques. We seek help from specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and neurosurgeons. We seek psychiatric and psychological help. We try alternatives such as acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. We are given a barrage of medical tests, which may identify the problem, but nothing can be done to “fix” the problem.

The fact is that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. It is estimated that Americans lose one billion work days per year due to pain conditions, one-third of which is lower back pain. As an example of the financial burden of such conditions in the United States, it has been noted that low back pain alone costs at least 16 billion dollars per year.

Chronic pain devastates our lives and everyone around us. We have been complaining about our pain for so long that people around us begin to doubt that such pain really exists. We lose careers, incomes, self-esteem, happiness, families and friends. We suffer from depression and anxiety. We feel hopeless, angry, frustrated, sad, disgusted, useless, guilty, and abandoned by God. Some of us have thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Below are some of the things we go through on a day to day basis:

 Anger

We have every right to be angry. Our pain has taken away almost everything we hold dear. It has stripped us of our personalities and created new ones. When we display our anger in inappropriate ways, those around us suffer the most. We take our anger out on those we love and make them miserable. We become impossible to live with no matter how much our loved ones support us. Our anger soon turns to resentments and we turn that toward people or God. We also become very impatient and that feeds our anger. To top it all off anger causes stress, which only makes our pain worse.

Denial 

We tend to believe we are capable of doing things that we used to do before the onset of pain. Our denial is so strong that we will injure ourselves over and over again and still believe we can do what everybody else does. Our pride gets in the way when it comes to previously simple chores such as housework, mowing the lawn, picking up our children, or recreational activities.

Self-pity 

“Why did this have to happen to me?” It is a question we constantly ask ourselves. Self-pity creates negative thinking. Soon we feel hopeless, our self-esteem suffers, we lose life motivations and we become stagnant. Everyone and everything now becomes centered around our pain.

Depression 

This is the most common side effect of chronic pain. When months or years of medical treatments fail to improve our situation, all of our negative feelings combine to leave us clinically depressed. While antidepressants can help, the source of the problem is still active, and the depression will return.

Fear 

This comes in various forms and can cripple us more than the pain itself. The first fearis often after an injury or accident. We fear further injury or death. We then avoid doing many things that we fear could lead to more pain. The third fear is the most destructive. Nobody is in intense pain all of the time yet we act like we are. This is caused by the fear of the pain returning at any given time. We become disabled by it as it totally consumes us.

Anxiety 

This is usually brought on by intense feelings such as fear and anger. We lose sleep, not only because of the pain but also by the anxiety brought on by it. We begin to suffer other anxiety-related pains such as headaches and sore muscles not associated with the chronic pain site. The anxiety sometimes becomes worse than the pain itself and we often seek psychiatric and psychological help for the anxiety, not the pain.

Isolation 

When we are miserable and in pain we do not feel like socializing and we often pull away from supportive people. We also hurt our friends and loved ones to the point that they no longer want to be with us. This becomes worse when self-pity and fears set in, which only makes the pain worse. We become loners to an extreme, which feeds depression and anxiety.

Loss of sex drive and sexual intimacy 

Who wants to have sex when they are in pain? The thought makes us cringe. When we are not in pain, the fear of the pain is so intense that we cannot be aroused and do not want sexual contact. This causes us to isolate even further.

Sleeplessness 

Night after night we try to sleep to no avail. The pain keeps us from getting the rest we need. When pain causes us to keep awake, all we do is lie there thinking of nothing but the pain. This results in lethargy during the day, which robs us of our ambitions.

Before addiction takes over 

With all of these negative factors we experience, there is one solution, one savior, one messiah, one friend, one lover, one escape from reality… our mood-altering medications.

They relieve us of our pain in more ways than one. At first they relieve us of our physical pain. People with lower back problems can return to having sexual contact with their loved ones. People with TMJ can finally chew their food without pain. Arthritis sufferers can once again work with their hands. Neuralgia sufferers can walk without being in agony. Those suffering from migraine headaches can improve their quality of life. People feel they can accomplish things that seemed impossible when they were in pain. All of a sudden, we return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Tolerance and Addiction

Addictive Pain Medications

Opioids, a family of drugs that have effects similar to those of opium or morphine, can be addictive. They include:

  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone (including brand name OxyContin)
  • Morphine (including brand name MS Contin)
  • Meperidine (including brand name Demerol)
  • Hydrocodone (including brand name Vicodin)

Who Is at Risk for Addiction?

Most people who take their pain medicine as directed by their doctor do not become addicted, even if they take the medicine for a long time. However, some people may be at a higher risk of becoming addicted than others. People who have been addicted to substances in the past or those with a family member(s) who are or have been addicted to drugs or alcohol may be at increased risk of becoming addicted to narcotics.

How to Prevent Addiction

The key to avoiding addiction is to take your medicine exactly as your doctor prescribes.

Share with your doctor any personal and/or family history of substance abuse or addiction. Your doctor needs this information to prescribe the medicines that will work best for you. Any fears about addiction should not prevent you from using narcotics to effectively relieve your pain.

Remember, it is common for people to develop a tolerance to their pain medication and to need higher doses to achieve the same level of pain relief. Such a situation is normal and is not a sign of addiction. However, you should talk to your doctor if this effect becomes troubling and he may suggest a drug detox center for treatment.

Drug Addiction Explained

No one intends to become a drug addict or alcoholic. Our experiences show that the drug addict or alcoholic was usually an intelligent and often creative person with much hope for the future.

Drug Addicts Now Clean Addiction Program Friends Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Graduation

However, they were unable to deal effectively with life’s problems and turned to drugs or alcohol as a means of dealing with unwanted situations.

The person usually takes drugs because they attempt to compensate for some personal deficiency or life situation. They may be depressed, in pain or incapable of dealing with a loss of a loved one or extreme circumstance. It could also be as simple as a need to fit in and make friends, or a way to lose weight. Regardless of the reason, the person begins to seek “help” in the form of drugs or alcohol.

Drugs are essentially a pain-killer. They lessen emotional and physical pain and provide the user with a temporary escape from problems. When a person is unable to cope with something in life and take drugs as a result, they feel they have found a way to deal with the problem.

How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Gets Worse

The more a person uses drugs or excessive alcohol, the worse the problem becomes. So they continue the “solution” for their problems, more drugs. Soon new problems are created by drug use. The person feels the need to use consistently, and will do anything to get high.

They are now addicted. They become difficult to communicate with, withdrawn and begin to exhibit the strange behavior associated with being on drugs. The more the person uses to try to counter this effect, the more desperate he becomes.

Their use begins to affect their personal relationships, their job, their bank account, and anything of previous value to the addict. Now the person’s entire focus becomes centered on using drugs and getting more drugs, regardless of the cost. They sacrifice everything to avoid the pain of withdrawal, the guilt of what they have done and the problems they have been running from.

Average Drug Addict Downward Spiral

At this point, the average drug user does one of three things:

  1. Continues using drugs and becomes more and more lost, unhealthy and degraded until he eventually becomes homeless or dead.
  2. Gets arrested for some drug-related activity and goes to jail or prison.
  3. Attempt to quit drugs in any one of a variety of ways. He may try to stop on his own, or go to a drug addiction treatment center or program. Sadly, the success rate of traditional alcohol and drug addiction treatment is not high and most addicts continue to relapse. This destroys the addict’s confidence and leads him to feel he will remain a slave to drugs forever.

Source: Narconan