New Hope Recovery Center Is Pleased to Announce Gay and Bisexual Men's Therapy Program For Multiple Addictionsgay addiction sex addiction

Are you facing issues with multiple addictions, sexual compulsivity/addiction, and/or complex trauma? Join Jeff Zacharias, LCSW, CSAT, CAADC for this Confidential 8-week closed therapy group for Gay and Bisexual Men.  Meets Tuesday evenings 6pm-8pm March 3 – April 21, 2015.

  •  Program includes individual assessment testing (SDI and PTSI-R)
  •  Confidential individual therapy session analyzing test results
  •  Weekly meetings in small group setting
  •  Program based on Dr. Carnes’ “Facing the Shadow” Workbook

Participants will gain:

  • Recovery strategies for sobriety and self care
  • Tools to deal with shame, fear and anxiety
  • Insight into the interaction of multiple addictions

 Call 773-883-3916 prior to February 27, 2015 to participate

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center, located in Chicago, offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

Congratulations Jeff Zacharias!

Named NASW 2015 Illinois Social Worker of the YEAR!

Jeff Zacharias Social Worker of the Year

Jeff Zacharias

 

New Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce that our Clinical Director and President, Jeff Zacharias, has been awarded the 2015 Illinois Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

Relationships in Recovery: Why Is Dating Discouraged in Early Recovery?relationships in recovery

The advice to not date or become involved with someone intimately during early recovery is a frequent point of resistance.  People involved in 12-step programs often rely on the “one-year rule” for guidance.  In other words, it is recommended that someone not date during their first year of recovery.  Because there is a lot of resistance to this guideline and the results from dating can be detrimental to one’s sobriety, let’s look at some of the important reasons WHY dating during the first year of recovery is not advised.

1.  Me Time

The focus of early recovery should be laying a strong foundation for long-term sobriety and this involves searching deep within ourselves.  Personal reflection and self-analysis is an important step to knowing ourselves and learning to accept and love ourselves.  Our work to understand ourselves can be undermined or become convoluted if our efforts are distracted by a budding romance.

New romances are not only distracting they can quickly become all-consuming.  They may initially feel great, but it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves slipping into old patterns, habits and behaviors.  It also becomes very difficult to sort out what are my issues to work on and what are someone else’s.

You can truly only love someone to the extent that you love yourself.  Recovery is essentially about finding and loving yourself and this cannot be achieved through dating another person.  Romantic relationships can be appealing because they can temporarily numb pain we may feel from facing our personal hardships, behaviors and past.  Cultivating love, respect, and care for yourself is the key to establishing healthy and lasting relationships down the road.  People sometimes are lulled into thinking they are healthier because they are in a new relationship, but there is no short cut to becoming healthy.  It involves time with yourself.

2.  It’s an Attachment Problem

Early recovery can be the most uncomfortable time period of our lives because our attachment for coping with the world (our drug) has been stripped away. In addition, we often need to strip out many other areas from our using past: old using friends, unhealthy places to live, unhealthy past activities and just about every other aspect of our former using-lives.  This is a lot of change. Many feel a need to attach to another person for comfort, instead of working on self-regulation and healthy ways coping with this change.

Often the attachment to a new person can feel incredibly strong and lasting. But because it does not have a strong foundation, it is a really false sense of comfort that does not last.  Drugs can be viewed as a maladaptive attachment attempting to fill a void of unmet needs.  Jumping into a dating relationship will only perpetuate the cycle of unmet needs.  This is because the recovering individual doesn’t have the time and space to see what their unmet needs are or how to approach them appropriately.

In early recovery, it is important to recognize the relationship we had with our addiction.  Addiction was almost certainly the main focus of our lives.  There were times we may have felt joy, relief, comfort and understood.  And of course there were times we felt abused, helpless and a victim to our addiction.  We form a strong attachment to our addiction.  When the drug is removed, it is comparable to a romantic break-up and therefore it needs to be grieved as such.  We put a lot of time, money, energy and emotion into our addiction and it is important to grieve the loss of all these things. Sitting with this emotional withdrawal or void is uncomfortable, so people will sometimes jump into a romantic relationship as a way to fill the void.  Similarly, people will replace drugs with sex as a way to achieve a quick fix.  The same patterns and behaviors that were used to get and use drugs are often used to get romance or sex.  When this happens, one addiction has been traded for another.  We can only break free when we understand what is underneath our addictive behaviors.

3.  People, Places and Things

Early in recovery our new way of thinking and coping with the world is new and immature and therefore we are often inclined to rely on old behaviors and old ways of thinking. This is especially apparent when we notice the type of partners we choose to date in early recovery.  At this point, our lives are more defined by the addiction world than the recovery world.  It is no coincidence that people in early recovery tend to be attracted to people still using or equally new to recovery.  Also, because our relationship with our addiction was one-sided in favor of the addiction, we often see people getting involved in relationships that are just as one-sided. These relationships are often filled with drama and chaos.  It is common for those new-to-recovery to become over-involved and hyper-focused on the new relationship.

When healthy coping skills are under-developed, we run the increased risk of relapse.  If the relationship doesn’t work out and the couple breaks up, the main coping skill people choose tends to be the substance of their addiction.

Final Thoughts

The underlying concern for dating in early recovery is that it provides a distraction from the real task at hand, which is working on ourselves.  This may be confusing because a strong recovery program involves sober connections and community.  However, it is easy to mistake vulnerability and intimacy of  the sober community for romance and sex.  If you are contemplating dating in early recovery ask yourself if you are at the place you want to be and if the role was reversed would I be someone I would want to date right now.  If the answer is no, don’t take it as shaming or discouraging news, take it as a reminder that you are learning and growing into the person you want to become.  It won’t be long before you ARE the person you would want to date.

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

What is Love Addictionlove addiction

Love addiction is a process addiction that affects both men and women.  The love addict is addicted to the feeling of being in love. Many who are love addicted do not realize that they are.  Sex, love and relationships are natural human behaviors.  However, those affected by love addiction take these feelings and subsequent behaviors to very unhealthy and destructive extremes.

The Pattern of Love Addiction

The typical pattern of a love addict is to fall quickly (sometimes instantaneously) in love with a person without really knowing him/her.  Because they do not really know this person, they fall in love with their idea of the person, who they frequently see as “perfect”.  The love addict is in a constant search for the “right” person, who they believe will complete him/her and eradicate feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and emptiness.  A common core belief of the love addict is that only the unconditional love of this perfect person can bring happiness, and that without that person and that happiness, life is not worth living.

The Brain in “Love”

According to many researchers such as Stanton Peele and Pia Mellody, falling in love causes a chemical reaction in our brains and stimulates the reward system in much the same way cocaine or heroin does.  The love addict, after experiencing the “highs” that these chemicals cause, becomes dependent on that high and will begin to chase it.

Love Addicts and Love Avoidants

Love addicts tend to be attracted to those who are known as “love avoidants”.  Love avoidants are people who are deeply fearful of long term commitment and emotional intimacy.  Both the love addict (dependent) and the love avoidant are currently incapable of healthy, intimate relationships, and so each is attracted to the other as a way to escape reality.  A love addict will often say that he/she really wants an truly intimate and mutually satisfying relationship with another person, however, there are many underlying psychological issues that prevent this from happening and actually cause the person to subconsciously destroy his/her relationships through the constant need for reassurance, dependent behavior and emotional intensity.

Like drug or alcohol addiction, untreated love addiction is a progressive disease that brings increasingly severe consequences.  Love addicts have a deep-seated fear of ending up alone and so they will often stay in relationships that are abusive or otherwise destructive and unhealthy.  A love addict will often go outside of a committed relationship in a compulsive attempt to chase down the high that he/she craves so intensely.

Love Addiction Withdrawal

When a relationship ends, the love addict will most often go into a withdrawal phase that can render him/her incapable of participating in everyday life.  This can result in an inability to work, take care of children, and complete activities of daily living.  It is also not uncommon for a love addict to become suicidal (and in rarer cases homicidal) upon the loss of a relationship or love interest.  There is a propensity to cope with the withdrawal symptoms using drugs and/or alcohol, which lead to further problems.

Help for Love Addiction

Like the chemical addictions, there is evidence-based treatment for love addiction available, despite the fact that mental health professionals still have not agreed on a universal definition for the disorder, and it is not considered an addiction or a behavioral disorder per the DSM-V.  There are several levels of treatment for love addiction, including trauma-focused residential programs, intensive outpatient programs, individual therapy with clinicians trained in treating sex and love addiction, and group therapy.  Additionally, many love addicts achieve long term recovery in the 12-step program known as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).  The goal in recovery for love addiction is to treat the underlying psychological pathology and gain an understanding of healthy, non-addictive love.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

 

national drug facts

Help spread the facts about Teens and Opiates, including Heroin, visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse, National Drug Facts Week.

Opioid Facts

Heroin Facts

Teens Prescription Drug Abuse

What Is Your State's Prescription Drug Abuse?

state prescription drug abuse addiction

from NIDA

 

Also to help, here are articles New Hope Recovery Center has written about Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin:

Most Abused Prescription Drugs

10 Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Warning Signs of Heroin Use

Parent's Guide to Prevent Heroin Use/Addiction

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

 

Teens and Marijuana: National Drug Facts Week

 

Articles about Teens and Marijuana by New Hope Recovery Center:

 Teenage Marijuana Use Affects Brain Development

Is Your Teen Smoking Pot: 38 Warning Signs

Marijuana and Addiction Treatment

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

National Drug Facts Week: January 26 - February 1, 2015Addiction Treatment Drug Facts

National Drug Facts Week℠ (NDFW) is an annual health observance week for teens to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. NDFW centers on community events for teens, NIDA’s Drug Facts Chat Day, and partnerships.

There are great resources available at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  For example here are interesting Quizzes about Specific Drugs:

Methamphetamines

Opiates

Hallucinogens

Marijuana

Stimulants

Did you know that drug overdose kills more Americans than car accidents?

Can you help spread the FACTS?

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

attachment theory and addictionThere are many theories to explain the etiology of addiction.  Historically, various models have been developed, become widely accepted and then rejected or modified as new theories emerged and our understanding of addiction grew.  One model that has been gaining popularity is the concept of addiction as an attachment disorder.

Attachment theory comes from the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.  Much of their research was done in the mid-1900's and sought to prove that human infants instinctually become distressed and agitated when separated from primary caregivers.  Additionally, when tired, stressed or fearful, an infant will purposefully seek out physical proximity and contact with the caregiver.

Much more recently, many researchers have recognized and sought to better understand the connection between maladaptive attachment patterns and the development of addiction (http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/1/1/32, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030646030600270X, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460305001553).  From the disease model of addiction, we know that there is both a genetic and an environmental component to addiction and that both can change brain chemistry and structure.  One such change is the neurological consequences of poor or inhibited early attachment experiences.  Much of attachment theory is based on 2 variables described by Bowlby: dependability of an attachment figure, and judgement about worth of self as reflected back by the attachment figure.  Both of these factors heavily influence later behavioral and personality consistency as well as one's emotional regulation.  We now have a better understanding of the way that childhood relationships affect adult attachment styles (i.e an individual raised in an addictive environment will tend to display a more insecure attachment style throughout adulthood).

Early attachment deficits have been shown to be correlated with many addictions, and it is thought that those with poorer emotional regulation use substances or addictive behaviors to help regulate themselves. (http://www.naadac.org/attachmentandtrauma, Addiction as an Attachment Disorder, by Philip J. Flores)  Additionally, secure attachment is necessary for optimal functioning within relationships (having the capacity for both intimacy and independence).  When attachment style is insecure and one develops an addiction, a vicious cycle begins:  increasing addiction leads to more and more isolation from others, and therefore perpetuating the insecure attachment style.

Research has shown that 12-Step programs are a highly effective solution for addiction recovery when viewed through the lens of attachment theory because these programs focus on social support, connection with others and unconditional positive regard for self and others (Smith and Toniga, 2009).

Although attachment styles are formed in early childhood and do carry over into our adult lives, those with insecure attachment styles can learn healthier, more adaptive ways of interacting with others and can improve their capacity for intimacy within relationships.  In terms of addiction treatment, this can be a crucial concept for counselors and therapists to understand in their efforts to tailor the treatment in this manner as well as helping the recovering individual decrease shame that is so often attached to addiction.

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

The term “functional alcoholic” is a phrase most often used to describe a person who drinks frequently and heavily but has found a way to rationalize that they are not an “alcoholic”.  The functional alcoholic often believes they are a step up from an “alcoholic” because they have not experienced the same consequences or setbacks.  The reality is that an individual who is a “high-functioning alcoholic” is engrossed in a denial system that protects their addiction and drinking.

The consequences of an addiction can take many different forms.  People often use these consequences as barometers for where they are and how serious their addiction is (if they admit to having one at all).  The individual who drinks heavily everyday but is able to hold a job, pay bills, and provide for loved ones may be hard pressed to see they have a problem.  They will often compare themselves to their view of an alcoholic: an individual who has lost his or her job, has a broken family unit, has no housing, has several DUI’s, or has other severe consequences.

Functional Alcoholics Often Emphasize Work

Frequently functional alcoholics seek an inordinate amount of personal validation through work.  They believe if they can keep up with their jobs then the other areas of their life can be deflected from the spotlight.  Therefore, while one part of their life might seem to be holding up adequately, it often conceals the fact that their interpersonal relationships or emotional wellbeing may be crumbling.

Physical Consequences from Drinking

On the surface it may appear that a functional alcoholic has avoided the overt consequences of drinking, but they are not immune to the physical consequences.  Alcohol is one of the most toxic substances people willingly put in their bodies.  Ongoing and heavy alcohol use will impact physical health and increases the risks of liver disease, cancer, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, brain damage, and memory loss.  Many times in the addiction field it is the physical consequences which motivates functioning alcoholics to seek help.

Impact on Loved Ones

Those usually considered as functional alcoholics generally do not hide their drinking.  If you suspect your loved one is drinking more than they claim, read here about warning signs of secret drinking.  The main theme of the functional alcoholic is they don’t see that they have a problem. This is not usually the case for their loved ones.  Loved ones experience the impact of drinking firsthand whether the alcoholic identifies their behavior as problematic or not.  The loved ones often bear the burden of the heavy drinking and they pick up responsibilities that are not handled or are missed by the alcoholic.  Loved ones are often put between a rock and hard place on how to get the alcoholic in denial to see that they need help.  Generally there are few things the loved one can do because ultimately lasting change has to occur from within.

Steps Loved Ones Can Take

Loved ones can always change their own behavior.  This is the place to start.  It is important to look at any enabling they may be doing, to consider attending Al-anon, to set healthy boundaries, and to practice self-care.  Here is a list of what to do and not do when a loved one is addicted.   A word of caution, if you feel inclined to confront someone who’s drinking has affected your life, do not do so while they are under the influence.  Also, be careful not to attack them as this will most likely only escalate into argument and hostility.  Rather, it is most beneficial to speak from your experience and explain how the drinking has affected you and your relationship with that person.  If the entire family system is on board for making a change and is willing to set strong boundaries, a professional intervention is also an option.

Change is Possible

A functioning alcoholic is most likely going to continue “functioning” on their terms until they experience consequences they see as serious enough to prompt change.  There are ways these circumstances can be altered by loved ones.  So if you are feeling stuck with an alcoholic in denial change is still possible, but must start with you.  Your changes may lead to their own changes and to long term sobriety.

 

For more information reach out to New Hope Recovery Center (773)-883-3916.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

The start of another year prompts many people to hastily come up with a list of resolutions.  But by the end of January, most feel discouraged and that they failed.  Don’t let that happen to you this year.new year resolution success

There is a better and easier way to make new year’s resolutions that create lasting changes in your life.

Step 1 – Don’t Make Your Resolutions on January 1!

January 1 is not the best time to make major changes.  The stress of the holidays is still present.  The beginning of the year is usually hectic.  We have barely had time to close out the past year.  Let’s give last year its proper send off and spend a week or so marveling at how far we have come in the past year.  What were our successes?  Were there any disappointments or losses?  Acknowledging all the year contained allows us to really bring closure to the old year.  With a feeling of completion for the previous year, we can really turn our attention to creating something new or different or changing ourselves in some way.

After giving last year a proper goodbye (one night is hardly adequate), spend January exploring what areas of your life you may want to change.  Spend several weeks looking into what steps may be needed to make these changes.

Let’s look at the most common resolution: losing weight.  Instead of deciding your resolution is to lose 20 pounds by April 1, look into what you will do to make weight loss possible: exercising, healthy eating, stress reduction, etc.  Then take it a step further: where will you exercise, how often, what time of day?  What is healthy eating to you?  How will you make that happen?  (Peek at #3 for ideas on how to think about your goal.)

Step 2 – Keep It Short.

It is common for people to create a massive 20-30 item wish list of New Year’s resolutions.  It is not realistic to expect anyone to tackle that many changes!  Generally no more than three changes at a time are possible.  So look at what things are really important to you.  What do you want your life to be like by the end of the year?  This is where to start your resolution planning.  One area of focus may be best for you.  That is great.  But no more than 3.

Step 3 – Realize You Are Creating a Habit.

Making lasting changes is a process, not a one time thing. The habit is what will get you to your goal and keep you at your goal. So what processes will it take for you to reach your goal?  Use a week as the time frame for your habit.  What weekly habits do you need to create to work toward your goal?  Anything longer than a week is too distant to be meaningful.  Focusing on less than a week will likely lead to disappointment.  Minor or major disruptions can happen on a daily or hourly basis and throw off your process/habit if you have a daily time frame.  For example, expecting yourself to always do something every day may be unrealistic, particularly at first.  Any given day something unexpected can happen.  However, planning your habit on a weekly basis allows for a few disruptions to happen and yet your overall habit can stay on track.

Step 4 – Honestly Assess How Ready You Are To Change.

Are you ready to do what it takes to make the changes?  If not, choose goals and habits that you are more motivated to achieve.  Also, don’t fall into the trap that many do: one slip or miss and they have failed.  That just isn’t realistic.  Instead, plan for setbacks or slip-ups.  How will you respond to these?  How will you get yourself back on track? Have a plan for your habit and a plan for getting back to your habit.  Maybe it is a day or two off and then back.  Maybe you decide that a week off your habit will work fine.  Whatever you decide, make sure you know that one slip doesn't mean you failed.  Just get back to your habit.

Step 5 – Letting Go.

Is there any thing or activity you can let go of?  In order to create a new process in your life, you may need more time or space.  Decide what things or activities no longer serve you.  Be willing to let those go and use the freed time and space to help your new habit fit better into your life.  It may be that you have to let go of some things that you still like, but you know they don't serve your goal and habit.  Realize that letting them go is best for you overall.

Use these 5 steps to create lasting changes in your life.

Happy New Year!

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center 888-808-4673 (HOPE)