We recognize that addiction is a disease – chronic and progressive – which deeply impacts not only the addict but the entire family system as well. We strive to guide each individual, including their family, throughout the recovery process with the goal of living life to its full potential – free from addiction.

Jeff Zacharias Social Worker of the Year

Jeff Zacharias

The following is an interview of Jeff Zacharias, New Hope Recovery Center President and Clinical Director, by Triggr.

Q&A with Jeff Zacharias, Owner & Psychotherapist at New Hope Recovery Center in Chicago

New Hope Recovery Center is an alcohol and drug rehab treatment center in Chicago that provides Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient treatment,Aftercare and Individual Psychotherapy Counseling. They also have a LGBTQI-specific addiction treatment program entitled "New Hope With Pride.” Below is a conversation with Jeff Zacharias, the owner and one of the psychotherapists at New Hope.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your counseling background.

I’m the owner, Clinical Director and a counselor at New Hope Recovery Center. We bought New Hope over 6 years ago but I’ve been working in the addiction treatment field since 2005 in inpatient and outpatient settings. I’m an ACSW, LSW and a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor.

What drew you to working with people in recovery?

This is a second career for me. Before starting in the addition treatment field, I was in marketing and finance. What drew me to change careers was my own experience in recovery - I’m sober 15 years now. When I went to treatment in 2003 as a gay male and having some trauma related to that, I felt like some things in my treatment were missed. So when I went back to school, I had a drive to help people like me. I felt like there was an opportunity to not only help LGBTQI stay sober but to also deal with the trauma associated with being gay. Because I saw that when I was looking for treatment, there really wasn’t anything available targeting people with this mix of needs. So that’s been the biggest driver for me, providing something for this community.

Tell me more about your work with the LGBTQI community in particular.

One thing that is challenging is that there are different treatment needs within the LGBTQI community. Each designation has unique issues with power, sex, gender, identity and we cater our treatment to the needs of the individual. But one commonality within this community is that there is often trauma associated with shame, fear and oppression that a hetereosexual treatment framework doesn’t really touch on. We have have a framework that directly addresses the needs of people in the LGBTQI community. Because for a person struggling, it’s often not about the substance - that’s a symptom of something deeper. Our clinicians are extensively trained in providing a space where we’re going to talk about everything that’s going on in your life rather than only the specifics of substances. We’re going to talk about things that make people uncomfortable like sex, relationships and money. And I think there is something very powerful about being in a safe space where people feel empowered to talk about not just their substances, but their lives.

How has treatment changed in recent years?

The biggest change I’ve seen and that I’ve been passionate about from the beginning is the move away from the idea that 12-step treatment is the only path. New Hope is not a 12-step treatment center. Because being a 12 step treatment center isn't treatment, it’s using a framework and then just forcing people into that framework. I knew from the start of my career that I wanted to integrate more clinical work. I wanted to make sure we were considering all pathways. We were the first treatment center in the Chicago area to host Refuge Recovery meetings. We also brought in SMART Recovery, which was pretty new in Chicago just 5 years ago when we started hosting their meetings. We did get some shit about it because when we started, the 12-step model was so revered and was treated as the only path to recovery. I just don’t believe that 12-step is the only way and many studies since that time have shown this to be true. Plus we know that in the gay community there is so much spiritual abuse. So, many people just don’t want the religious associations common in many 12-step programs.

The other change I’ve observed is the growth of medical assisted treatment. I’ve seen firsthand the value in using MAT to allow people to heal and have some agency in their recovery process. And to that end we’re big believers in harm reduction and so everything we do is geared toward that. We were early leaders in Chicago in supporting MAT as part of our treatment program.

Another change is there is now more recognition of addiction interaction disorder. For a long time, the treatment community didn’t appreciate the complexity of addressing the interactions of multiple disorders. This is one of the reasons we focus on addressing not just the substances, but other mental health needs and behaviors of our clients.

What would you say are the biggest barriers you see to someone starting treatment?

The biggest barrier is often a person’s financial or insurance situation. I really wish there were more options for people that are unfunded or don’t have access to resources, but sadly the options are limited in Illinois.

Another barrier can be people’s mistrust of treatment based on their negative experience with a past provider or based on a general distrust of governmental, social, financial or other systems. In the LGBT community in particular, this distrust comes from a sense that the unique needs of this community aren’t going to be understood, let alone met.

How would you describe New Hope’s care philosophy?

It’s very personal and individualized and feels like a close community. Our groups are kept at only 8 people tops. We also take a holistic approach and treat the whole person - the mind, body and spirit are treated as equal. This ends up meaning that we’re very open and creatively work to find whatever treatment path is going to work for each individual. We have an “all avenues to wellness” approach.

One of the things we tell people when they call us for the first time is to come in and talk to us. We are very open and honest in talking and listening so we can work together to find the right path for each person, even if it’s not New Hope. We’re very ethical in how we approach treatment and never pressure people into any option that isn’t right for them.

Can you describe what a group session in New Hope’s IOP program is like?

First and foremost our job is to have a place that is safe because we know how vulnerable people feel during recovery. Everything you say here is confidential, it’s anonymous and we hold that sacred. In our groups and just generally in our practice, we work hard to help people feel warm, welcomed and cared for. It’s hard to put a finger on why, but one thing we hear time and time again from people that come here is: “it feels better here” and “I feel comfortable here”. I think mostly this is because they have a family of people here that love being here and have our clients’ best interests at heart.

Our groups are engaging and fun. Our clients often tell us they have never laughed so much in treatment. We tailor our groups for the particular people in the group at that time. We are very open to modifying our planned topics based on suggestions from the group members about what they feel they need most at that moment and based on our observations of the group.

And so with groups, I think the best thing I can recommend to someone is to come in and give our program a try, they can just listen. And I can’t think of one time ever where someone came in for their first session and left because they were anxious or uncomfortable.

How much 1:1 counseling does New Hope do with people in the IOP program?

By the nature of us being small, we may not be doing a formal meeting every day, but we all know every client by name and so there is a constant checking in. People may just check in for 15 minutes, but generally there is some 1:1 interaction nearly every day. And then on top of that, we also check in more officially once per week.

Who would you say is a good fit for New Hope’s program? Who tends not to be as good a fit?

I don’t think there are many people that we can’t assist, but there some constraints. We don’t serve people 18 and under, for example. We do also ask that people are sober while they are here and if they aren’t ready to give up their substance of choice, they may not be right for New Hope. But other than that, there really aren’t any barriers.

Do you have an example of a recent patient’s experience at New Hope? What was their background, and how did New Hope work with them?

There are so many examples but I’ll share about one person I just met with today. He had used since he was a teenager and now is in his early 50s, and in that time never had any significant period of sobriety. He’s also HIV positive, is in an open relationship with someone who also has substance issues and has a mentally disabled son. So he never felt there was treatment that could help someone with his complicated background. But he came to New Hope about a year and a half ago after a suicide attempt. He’s been with us since (seeing an individual counselor here), sober the whole time and doing great. He just expanded his business and has undergone meaningful, lasting life changes. He stood out to me since I think he’s really proof that anyone can overcome difficult obstacles and life circumstances, and make a change, and succeed.

NEW HOPE RECOVERY CENTER ANNOUNCES CHICAGO’S ONLY RECOVERY MEETING EXCLUSIVELY FOR THERAPISTS 

AND HEALING PROFESSIONALS

New Hope Recovery Center

  • Seeking a recovery meeting without worry of seeing clients?

  • Want to attend a recovery/support meeting dedicated to those in the Healing Professions?

Refuge Recovery and New Hope Recovery Center announce the only Chicagoland Recovery Meeting exclusively for Therapists, Clinicians and Other Healing Professionals.  Join us for weekly Refuge Recovery Meetings every Sunday from 9am-10:15am beginning May 7, 2017 at New Hope Recovery Center, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite #308, Chicago, IL 60657.  Questions, call 773-883-3916.

Directions to New Hope Recovery Center:
On Sheffield one block north of the Diversey Brown line stop.  Parking available in front of Core Power Yoga and on street.
Refuge Recovery is a community of people using the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness and generosity to heal the pain and suffering addiction has caused us and our loved ones. We follow the Four Truths of Refuge Recovery, a Buddhist-oriented path to addiction recovery, proven successful with addicts and alcoholics who commit to the Buddhist path of meditation, generosity, kindness, and renunciation.  Beginners and curious healing professionals are welcome.

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.  We support all avenues to recovery and offer two Refuge Recovery Meetings each week as well as SMART Recovery, NA, AA and CMA meetings.    Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

New Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the FIRST Refuge Recovery Meeting in Chicago on Friday July 29, 2016 at 7pm.  The meeting will be held at New Hope Recovery Center, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Suite 308, Chicago, IL 60657.

Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. Those struggling with any form of addiction greatly benefit when they are able to understand the suffering that addiction has created while developing compassion for the pain they have experienced. 
Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. Buddhism recognizes a nontheistic approach to spiritual practice. The Refuge Recovery program of recovery does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.
Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build an extensive and comprehensive network of Refuge Recovery groups, meetings, and communities that practice, educate, and provide Buddhist teachings and meditations for anyone seeking recovery from addiction.  
New Hope Recovery Center is proud to offer this new unique addition to Chicago's Recovery Community.  For more information, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or 773-883-3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.  New Hope is located immediately North of the Diversey Brown Line 'L stop on Sheffield.

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center was again the Top

Fundraiser at Chicago Roundup Annual Bowl-A-Thon

We are so grateful to those who helped support this great event.

New Hope's Team, "The Incredibowls" were the top fundraiser at the RoundUp Bowling event.  (Yes, we got to wear capes!)

Thanks to our generous contributors we raised more than $1600.

 

A HUGE Thank You to all our Contributors:

 

Andrea Varol
Brian Ludden
Megan Campbell
Ben Goldberger
Russell Hilliard
Scott Skinner
Dr. Marla Kushner
Rocco & Valerie Mandela
Sutton Burke
Bradd Easton & Jeff Zacharais
Megan Flynn
James Gailey
Duple Meter
Barb Laukitis
Gina Wynkoop
Paul Gottschalk
Laura Fenster
Don Bell
Kelcie Becker
Sarah Buino
Chris Klaene
Nadine Rauch

Eric Vironet

 

Visit Chicago RoundUp to learn more about this year's Roundup, August 14-16, 2015.

The Roundup is an incredible one-of-a-kind event:
  • A weekend-long gathering of LGBT’s celebrating recovery and those interested in finding out what a life of recovery has to offer.
  • Provides thought-provoking panel discussions, engaging speakers, pure entertainment and fellowship opportunities intended to enhance your spiritual, emotional and sober life.
  • Offers the perfect opportunity to meet other recovering people from all of the world and make some wonderful new friendships in the process.
  • Is hosted in the heart of Boystown at the largest LGBT Community Center in the Midwest, Chicago’s state-of-the-art Center on Halsted.
  • Begins on Friday, August 14th and ends on Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Also visit  Crystal Meth Anonymous Chicago

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).

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)

Best Addiction Articles 2014To start the New Year, we wanted to highlight our most-read articles from 2014. A few themes showed up in this year's Top 15:  Heroin, Sex Addiction and Marijuana all had more than one article in the top 15. Articles around Treatment and Recovery were quite popular as well.

 

Here are our 15 most popular articles from 2014:

Heroin Related Articles:

Celebrities Who Have Used Heroin - This was our most popular article from 2014.  We discuss 12 celebrities who have used or were addicted to heroin, but are now in recovery.  Their stories have been inspiring for many of our clients.

Chicago Heroin Addiction Facts 

Marijuana and Teens:

38 Marijuana Warning Signs: Is Your Teen Smoking Weed?

Marijuana Use Affects Teen Brain Development

Recovery and Treatment Articles:

Why Spirituality Is Important In Addiction Recovery - This article was our most popular on LinkedIn in 2014.  Many therapists and counselors found it to be a helpful way to discuss spirituality with their clients, particularly younger clients.

Drug Rehab & Alcohol Rehab: 6 Differences Between Men and Women - This was our 2nd most popular article for 2014.

What You Should Know About Vivitrol and Addiction Treatment

6 Tips for a Sober Thanksgiving - Although published quite recently, this article made it into the top 15.  It contains great advice for handling the holidays and family while in recovery.

Addiction Counseling: Abstinence Versus Harm Reduction - Harm reduction versus abstinence continues to be a hot button topic for many.  In this article we try to show how the hardline distinction between the two approaches has be softening recently.

Sex and Love Addiction were popular during 2014:

3 Levels of Sex Addiction

19 Warning Signs of Sex Addiction

10 Signs of Sex, Love and Relationship Addiction

Articles About Specific Addictions:

Xanax Addiction

Why Crystal Meth is So Addictive

19 Symptoms of Alcoholism; Being an Alcoholic

 Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is a premier treatment facility located in Chicago, Illinois.  We can be reached at 888-707-4673 (HOPE).

 

 

 

 

 

holidays in recovery New Years EveHolidays in recovery are challenging, but perhaps none more than New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is a time when people typically celebrate the past year and make resolutions for the upcoming year.  The reality of most New Year’s Eve celebrations is that they not only include alcohol, the day seems obsessed with it.  Drunken New Year’s parties are so common they have become a cliché.  Obviously this can be a very difficult time for individuals in recovery.  Knowing how to navigate this challenging time is imperative for maintaining sobriety.

New Year’s Eve is an emotional time for everyone.  The ending of one year and the beginning of another usually leads to conflicting feelings of sadness, regret, loss, joy and hope.  This is often a time of reflecting back on the past year and past actions, sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly.  These intense feelings can trigger someone to using.

New Year’s Eve can feel lonely if you don’t have sober friends you can reach out to, because so many New Year’s celebrations involve alcohol and drugs.  If possible, contact friends and support several days prior to New Year's Eve to help you feel connected and to minimize feelings of loneliness.  Reaching out to your sponsor can be a big help and can provide positive support for you around New Year’s Eve.

It is important for individuals in recovery to have a toolbox of steps to take to enjoy a sober New Year’s Eve celebration. Having a definite safety plan is encouraged. Attending meetings is one way to receive support and partake in fun, sober, holiday-esque activities that are usually hosted by certain fellowships during this time. Hosting your own sober New Year’s Eve get-together is another way to make sure you resist the temptation to use.  Being around sober friends and family is a good idea for those in recovery.

If thoughts of using begin to creep in, it is important to remember how bad things were when you were in active addiction.  Remember the consequences you had from using. Realize that this time of year tends to glorify alcohol and partying.  So, don’t let fond memories keep you from realistically remembering the bad times and the consequences you faced from using.

If you must attend a party that will involve drinking, plan ahead.  Take a sober companion to accompany you to a party. You can hold each other accountable throughout the night. Have a nonalcoholic drink in your hand to avoid constantly being asked.  And leave promptly if you feel triggered.  See our 6 Tips for Sober Celebrating for additional ideas for handling a holiday parties.

If things get tough, remember, the day will pass and upholding your sobriety is something that you can cherish and applaud yourself for surviving New Year’s Eve.  Setting New Year’s resolutions enables you to identify goals that you can work towards throughout the New Year. Happy Holiday’s and a Happy New Year!

Finally, look for fellowship meetings in your area for sober holiday gatherings.  Here are some links to Chicago fellowship meetings that host sober holiday events:

Lincoln Park Alano Club: New Year’s Eve Dance http://www.lpac-online.com/2.html

The Rec Room: New Year’s Eve Classy to Sassy 2015 Event. 7:30pm. 4138 N. Sheridan Rd. http://recroomchicago.org/events

 

Happy 2015!

 

New Hope Recovery Center is available to answer your questions and help you or your loved one.  888-808-4673 (HOPE)

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone connected to the addict. So what should family and friends do (and not do) when someone they love is addicted? 

Addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit from which people can and do recover. Like any other disease, no one intends to get sick or wishes it upon someone. Addiction recovery is a process of healing from the different layers of pain, disappointment, shame and guilt that come with addiction.

What not to do:

  • Do not think you can control the addict or the addiction.  Understand that the addict and the addiction are beyond your control.  You can only control yourself.
  • Do not enable the addict or alcoholic. There is a difference between helping and enabling someone.  Helping someone is doing something for someone which they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling someone is doing for someone something they can do and should do for themselves.  Helping looks at the long term benefits and consequences, whereas enabling only looks at the immediate situation or drama.
  • Do not make threats you won’t be able to follow through on. Addicts/alcoholics will continue to push any boundaries to the limits and weaken your resolve. Set limits you can keep and then keep them.
  • Do not shame or scorn the addict/alcoholic. Addiction is a shame based disease and does not need any more shaming to fuel itself. The addict/alcoholic often suffers from chronic shame which includes different levels of low self-worth, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a distorted self-image.
  • Do not make excuses or cover up for the addict/alcoholic.  Allow them to experience the full consequences of their addiction. Do not deny or minimize the addiction or its severity. Trying to fix their problems, manage their lives or control the addict’s behaviors only prolongs the addict from learning to be accountable and responsible for their actions. They are kept from learning the valuable lessons they need in order to grow and change.
  • Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. You have ridden a roller coaster of emotions long enough; it is now time for you to get off the ride. If you find yourself getting overly emotional in dealing with the addict/alcoholic, step away until you can be calm.  Addiction creates drama, so be prepared for how you will act before the drama begins.

What to do:

  • Be patient while the addict/alcoholic is in recovery. Recovery is a journey not a destination.  Recovery will happen in several stages and may not happen in a neat line.
  • Do what you can at the moment. There will be situations where you will be hesitant or confused about what to do. Make the best decision you can at the time and move one.  Learn what works and doesn’t work and act accordingly.  Remember to fully accept that you made the best decision at the time with the information you had available.
  • Do focus on yourself not on the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones need to focus their efforts on staying healthy. You can’t help the addict if you are not healthy and cannot help yourself. You and your families’ well-being depends on it.
  • Set boundaries for your long-term health and sanity. Lovingly (and frequently, if necessary) insist that your boundaries be respected and state the consequences for any violation of your boundaries.  Follow through on these consequences. See your follow-through as an act of love that builds trust for yourself and the addict/alcoholic.
  • Do identify and recognize the different areas of life that have been neglected as a result of your preoccupation with the addict/alcoholic and begin to rectify any damage done.
  • Do practice letting go of your need to fix, manage or control the addict/alcohol or situations and circumstances that arise from the addiction. This is sometimes called "release with love”.
  • Do seek help for yourself and other family members. Getting outside help is often critical for complete healing and growth. It can also provide a healthy perspective on your situation and interactions.  Seek out a therapist, counselor, Al-AnonNar-anon, Smart Recovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics or some other group that focuses on those who are affected by an addict/alcoholic.

Change will take time but will be a beautiful journey of uncovering, discovering, and recovering your lives. You will not only survive, but thrive.

Remember: Progress, not Perfection

New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients.  We understand that each client is unique.  If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

Sober HolidaysThe holiday season can be stressful for all of us, whether we are in recovery or not.  Overindulging in everything from food to alcohol, over-spending seems to be in vogue, and then we are expected to “hit the reset button” come January 1st.  Living in excess is not particularly healthy for anyone, but for those of us in early recovery, trying to avoid it can be extremely daunting.

Here are 6 tips for helping you survive the holidays in recovery by celebrating with sobriety.
1.  Plan Ahead

Doing some planning around the holidays can help decrease the stress associated with having to get through them without losing one’s sobriety.  First, it is important to talk to close friends and family members who will be attending parties and gatherings with you and ensure that everyone understands what you want them to say to others who may ask why you are not drinking.  There is nothing worse than someone approaching family members asking why you are not partaking in the holiday cheer and your family not knowing what to say, or perhaps telling more information about your situation than you are comfortable sharing.  Having this conversation well ahead of time can spare everyone involved the worry and possible hurt feelings and anger that could occur if we decide to “wing it” with regards to how to handle questions.

2.  Be Accountable

Have someone hold you accountable before and after holiday events.  “Bookending” with a friend, a family member, a therapist or a sponsor can really help put you in the mind frame to hold your boundaries and stay true to your sobriety.  It can also help you feel that you are supported and that you do not have to do this alone!

3.  Bring a Buddy

If possible, bring a recovery friend or sober buddy along with you to parties.  Feeling as though you have an ally in the room can decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness as well as social anxiety.

Also, have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand at parties or gatherings to avoid having people offer you drinks and/or questioning why you are not drinking.

4.  Self Care

Practice self care.  Although others may be overindulging, there is no reason to feel deprived during the holiday season.  In addition to ensuring that you are getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise, consider treating yourself to a massage, manicure, yoga class or spa afternoon.

5.  Start New Traditions

Create new holiday traditions that do not focus on alcohol or other excesses.  Consider starting a holiday get-together for your recovery friends that focuses on the importance of recovery and the gifts of sobriety.

6.  Prevent Cravings

Always remember the HALT acronym.  Do not let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.  Often cravings occur when we are experiencing these feelings, so recognizing them and working a bit harder to prevent them can make maintaining recovery much easier, especially during the holiday season, when we are all a bit more vulnerable to these emotions.

 Celebrate Sober!

There is no reason you can’t enjoy yourself during the Holidays, but do plan ahead and follow these 6 tips to help you stay sober and happy.

If you or someone you love would like more information or help with addiction or drug or alcohol abuse, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center