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Thursday, January 21, 2021

What Happens After a Failed Intervention?

after a failed intervention

It can be challenging for someone to recognize their own addictive behaviors. When a loved one shows signs of an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but is unable or unwilling to admit to it, you may need an intervention for that individual. However, what happens after a failed intervention? What should you and your family do next?

Intervention is Not Treatment

While you may be anxious about getting your loved one into an addiction treatment program, intervention is actually a preliminary step rather than treatment itself. If successful, intervention will lead to a program that will help your loved one get the treatment they need to move forward in their recovery.

An intervention does allow you to present the opportunity to your loved one to accept their problem and to make changes before their problem becomes worse. Your intervention, guided by a professional, can give you a chance to offer examples of how destructive addiction can be. You can also make clear the consequences that your loved one may face if they do not choose to accept a treatment plan for their addiction.

What to Expect

Before your loved one gets involved in the intervention, you and your family will meet with a professional who will discuss with you the details of the session. You will choose a safe place and a time that works for your family and that will be a surprise to your loved one who needs help. Although the professional interventionist will mediate the meeting, you and your family will have the conversation with your loved one, letting them know how you feel about their addiction.

Expect your loved one to feel betrayed and angry, among other emotions. However, you should remain firm in your focus on the intervention, as your loved one’s addiction can have much more devastating consequences than getting upset with you. If the intervention is successful, your loved one will be able to get the help they need for a healthier life.

When an Intervention Fails

Even with the best of intentions, you and your family may not be able to convince your loved one that they have a problem or that they need help. Your loved one may not be ready to take responsibility for their addictive behavior. If your loved one refuses to enter addiction treatment, do not lose hope, even after a failed intervention.

You should also be prepared for additional behavior problems after the intervention is over, which may complicate your relationship. Again, remember that the addiction can lead to much worse issues, including overdose and even death. Focus on remaining patient and understanding. 

Be firm with your plans for the consequences for your loved one not seeking treatment. Refusing to continue to enable your loved one can help them realize the impact their addiction has on their family. It may even encourage them to eventually seek the treatment they need.

The Next Step

Know that not all interventions are successful. After a failed intervention, be prepared for your loved one to erupt in anger or to accuse you of betrayal. Stay firm in your conviction to follow through with the changes you presented during the intervention. 

Remove yourself from the destructive situation. If you, your children, or other members of your family are in danger, remember that even though you don’t have control over your loved one’s behavior, you do have control over what you need to do to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Remain hopeful for your loved one’s recognition of their problem. You and your family can make changes in your own lives that will help you while you continue to show your loved one how their addictive behaviors are hurting themselves and everyone around them. Stop enabling their destructive cycle of behavior. Continue to encourage your loved one and other members of your family to move forward with hope for making positive changes in their lives.

Professional Interventions for Your Loved One

We know that it is a struggle for you when your loved one cannot or does not want to admit they have an addiction and need treatment. At Hope by the Sea, we offer highly successful interventions for you and your family. Our trained California interventionist will work with you to help you understand the steps you need to take to help your loved one. For more information, contact us to get help for your loved one today. Hope Starts Here!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

How Chronic Stress Relates to Drug Abuse

chronic stress and drug abuse

After the events of the past year, more Americans are dealing with chronic stress than ever before. Factors like disease, widespread unemployment, political unrest, financial insecurity, increased isolation, and uncertainty have created the perfect storm of stress for months at a time. As 2021 begins and vaccines are distributed, many of us are wondering how these stressors will impact those in active addiction and recovery. Today, we will explore the link between chronic stress and drug abuse.

Chronic Stress Vs. Normal Stress

Before we get started, it is important to understand that a little stress is actually a good thing. Moments of moderate challenge are helpful for getting us through life. For example, if we did not worry about an exam at school or a presentation at work, it is unlikely that we would dedicate enough time to preparation. Some high achievers actually like the feeling of short bursts of acute stress; they chase these situations in order to get an adrenaline rush.

Chronic stress is entirely different. Defined as intense, prolonged, and unpredictable, these factors can negatively impact your mental health. Examples include the loss of a loved one, unemployment, and interpersonal conflict with those in your social circle. As we near the one-year mark of COVID-19, we now know that the coronavirus pandemic could also be considered a chronic stressor.

Stress and Health Risks

Perhaps more important than chronic stress itself is our response to it. We all cope with life’s challenges in different ways. Genetics, your personal experiences, and a history of trauma can all impact how you respond when times are tough. Think about your friends as an example. Who do you know that always seems relaxed about everything? On the other end of the spectrum, which of your friends reacts strongly to the slightest difficulty? We all fall somewhere within this distribution, and our responses may actually affect our health and well-being.

Chronic stress is a significant risk factor for many health concerns. Research shows that people who are perpetually anxious and tense have weaker immune systems. The Mayo Clinic lists the following as health risks for those whose stress-response systems have been activated for the long term.

  • Digestive issues
  • Headaches and muscle tension
  • Heart disease
  • Weight gain
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Drug abuse and alcoholism

The Link Between Drug Abuse and Chronic Stress

Throughout human history, we have understood that stress increases a person’s vulnerability to addiction. However, over the last decade, our understanding of this connection has increased significantly. A combination of human studies, brain-imaging tools, and improved research methods have yielded a stunning array of new data about the intersection of chronic stress and substance abuse.

First, researchers note that our perception of stress is affected by many internal factors. These include our personality traits, prior emotional state, ability to regulate distress, our beliefs and expectations, any existing mental conditions, and our prior experiences.

They go on to describe the various models of addiction and how stress may fuel this process. In the psychological model of addiction, researchers assert that substance abuse emerges as a coping strategy. They say that the goal of using drugs or alcohol in this context is to reduce tension, decrease withdrawal-related anxiety, and self-medicate. On the other hand, neurobiological models propose that the brain’s reward, stress, and learning pathways may enhance craving and reduce inhibitions. Regardless, it is clear that those with a history of tension should be mindful about their substance use.

Additional findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have indicated that a substantial link exists between stress and addiction.

These connections are…

Stress Changes the Brain

A new finding has demonstrated that chronic stress causes changes in the brain which are similar to those caused by ongoing drug use. This indicates that some people who are constantly tense may also be more vulnerable to addiction or relapse.

Long-Term Potentiation

This key mechanism is a cornerstone of the brain’s learning and memory processes. Researchers have found that it is also involved in both addiction and stress.


People who become addicted may already be hypersensitive to stress.

Risk Factor

Stressful life events can put people at an increased risk for drug abuse or alcoholism. Research shows that exposure to stress enhances self-administration of drugs and reinstates drug-seeking behavior among animals that have used substances.

Healthy Stress Responses

Stress is a part of life. You may not be able to control the global events of 2020 and 2021, but you can control the way you respond to them. By identifying positive coping mechanisms and self-care tactics, it is possible to reduce your risk for drug abuse, relapse, and related disorders.

Stress management techniques include…

  • Taking care of your body. Get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet, and exercise often.
  • Relaxing regularly. Learn to meditate, try a deep breathing exercise, or practice yoga.
  • Laughing at the situation. A healthy sense of humor can help you to keep things in perspective when you’re feeling stressed.
  • Participating in hobbies. Read a book or paint a picture to distract yourself.
  • Finding support among friends. Instead of isolating, talk to your loved ones when you need to express your frustrations and fears.
  • Volunteering in your community. Helping others is a great way to make an impact and avoid a stress spiral.
  • Seeking professional help. Work with a counselor or addictionologist to learn new coping mechanisms and relapse prevention strategies.

Help for Substance Abuse in California

At Hope by the Sea, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment to people throughout the state of California. Our team of expert clinicians is equipped to assist those who are combatting chronic stress in addition to substance abuse or mental illness. For more information on our service offerings, contact our admissions team today. Hope Starts Here!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2021 In Recovery: Setting Realistic Goals

The end of 2020 has finally arrived, and most people are looking forward to 2021. We have all faced unprecedented challenges over the last 365 days. Men and women in recovery had to adjust their programs due to social distancing and stay at home orders across the United States. 


Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon. While the next few months could be the worst since the pandemic began, the advent of a vaccine could mean an end to the public health crisis. Hopefully, you will continue doing your part to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, particularly if you are planning to celebrate the New Year with friends in the program. 


New Year's Eve is traditionally a challenging day for men and women in recovery. It's vital to do everything in your power to steer clear of risky situations. If you are new to recovery, try to avoid finding yourself in a setting where copious amounts of alcohol are being imbibed. Bring in the New Year with a strong program and your recovery intact. 


If you were able to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas without using drugs or alcohol, you know what is required of you during New Year's Eve. Utilize your tools and keep in constant contact with your support network. Attend meetings either in person or online. You may find it useful to pray or meditate more than usual in order to cope with stress and emotions. Remember, recovery first! 


2021 In Recovery


The most effective way to stay on track in recovery is by putting your program first. If you will be having some downtime or will be isolating during the upcoming holidays, you can use the opportunity to think about the 365 days ahead. 


Having goals to work towards will help you stay focused on your recovery. There is no single formula for setting milestones in recovery. However, it's essential to set realistic goals. Each person's goals will be different; yours will be unique to you. Still, it helps to talk with your support network about the year ahead. Your peers can help guide you in deciding what you would like to work toward next year. 


Those with more time than you can share their experience. Your sponsor may have achieved the goals that you would like to see come to fruition. They can walk you through what they did to make their dreams become a reality. 


Your resolutions for 2021 can be as much about doing away with things as they are about incorporating new things in your life. For instance, maybe you want to quit smoking next year. Smoking is both bad for your health and recovery; research shows that smokers are at a higher risk of relapse compared to nonsmokers. 


Maybe you would like to start eating healthier and exercising in 2021. The coming year might be the perfect opportunity to lead a healthier existence. Having healthy goals and achieving them will make you feel better too. When you feel better, you are better able to keep your recovery intact. 


Some of you may decide to go back to school, either start college or finish high school. Education opens many doors that were previously closed. Talk to your sponsor, ask them if they think you are ready to start working toward long term goals. You may be prepared. You may also be new to recovery, and going back to school may be more than you can handle right now. Your support network will be able to guide you in the right direction. 


Whatever you decide to work towards in 2021, be sure that they are realistic goals that align with your recovery. Your recovery must always come first. If you put your sobriety first, everything else is possible.


Hope Starts Here in 2021


Please reach out to Hope By The Sea if you are ready to break the cycle of addiction and bring recovery into your life. We offer many programs and services; we create custom treatment plans to meet each client's unique needs. You can contact our team at any time to learn how we can help you or a loved one in 2021.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Safe and Sober Christmas in Recovery

The final days of 2020 are at our doorstep, with Christmas and New Year's Eve quickly approaching. If you are like most people, you are probably looking forward to 2020 coming to a close. This has been an exceedingly challenging year for men and women in recovery for several reasons. However, those who managed to keep their recovery intact are stronger. 


Staying clean and sober during a pandemic is no small feat; you should be proud of your accomplishment. That being said, there are still two challenging days ahead for men and women in recovery. Maneuvering through holidays in recovery can be difficult, but it's possible provided you continue to put your program in front of everything else. 


As you probably know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding travel and attending holiday gatherings. It's best to bring in the upcoming holidays only with people you live with to avoid putting your health at risk. The CDC has many guidelines for celebrating the winter holidays safely. 


Staying On Track In Recovery


Avoiding close contact with other people means that you may have to observe the upcoming holiday alone. We understand that it's a saddening prospect, but the pandemic is still in full force; more people contract the virus every day. We ask that you take the CDC's recommendations seriously in order to safeguard your health and well-being. 


Fortunately, you are not alone; many of your peers in recovery will also be spending the holidays in isolation. What's more, you can attend 12 Step meetings online if your homegroup isn't hosting groups in-person. While virtual meetings are not ideal, they are the best way to protect your progress and keep your recovery intact. 


Please be sure to stay in regular contact with your friends in the program. Checking-in with your peers is of the utmost importance. If you are having trouble this Friday, be sure to call for help. Your friends in the program will come to your aid if you need help. 


Do not ignore how you are feeling; isolation can lead to loneliness. When you are feeling lonely, you're more likely to entertain thoughts of drinking or using. Ideas can turn into actions if you are not careful. Despite everything that is happening, it's beneficial to try to keep a positive attitude. The more positive you are, the better able you will be to resist the temptation to drink or use this Christmas. 


"Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny." —Mahatma Gandhi 


It will help if you keep your finger on the pulse of your recovery. Never hesitate to ask another member of the fellowship for assistance. You can get through Christmas without problems, provided you are willing to reach out for guidance from your sponsor or other peers in the program. 


Safe and Sober Christmas


At Hope By The Sea, we would like to wish you a safe and sober Christmas. If you are struggling with drugs and alcohol, please contact us to learn more about our programs and services. We can help you make 2020 the year that you get clean and sober. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and learn how to live a fulfilling life in recovery.

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