addiction

It is sad but true that addiction is so prevalent in society that most everyone knows someone who struggles with it. Having a friend or family member who is an addict is painful, confusing, and frustrating.

So what do you do when someone you care about is an addict? What can you do to help them and keep your sanity? Here are four steps to follow when you care about someone struggling with addiction.

First—confront them. Do it in a loving, but assertive and honest way. Tell them what you have observed and how that makes you feel. Do not ignore the problem and pretend as if nothing is wrong. If there is an elephant in the room, then point it out and start talking about it!

Second—do not enable them! Do not give money to someone active in his or her addiction. Do not cover for them and make excuses for them. No matter how much you love them, you must be strong and not enable their addictive behavior in any way at all.

Third—go to an Al-Anon meeting. This will accomplish two important items. First, you can’t change people, but you can influence them. The best way to influence someone else’s behavior is with your own. If you attend Al-Anon meetings and let the addict you care about know you are attending meetings as a result of their addiction, it may have some influence. Second, as someone who cares about an addict, you need support and guidance and Al-Anon is a great place to get it.

Fourth—do your very best to get your loved one into some sort of treatment. Addiction is serious and requires professional treatment. This can come in various forms including attendance in recovery meetings, working a 12 step program with a sponsor, counseling, or admittance to a treatment center. And, you may need to use an interventionist to get your loved one into treatment.

By following the four steps above you just may save a life. Feel free to email me if you have any questions randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com, www.carepossible.org, and www.thecrossing.com.

teen drug testing

Should I Drug Test My Teen?

People often ask me whether they should drug test their teen. I believe that home drug testing of teens is a great tool, but like any tool, it must be used properly. Here are some facts to guide you in your decision making:

Easy Access–Home drug tests can be purchased online or in most pharmacies. Before purchasing, be sure to do some research online, or ask your physician or pharmacist for their recommendation. Be aware that home drug tests do not test for every drug, but they are still very useful.

Peer Pressure Victory–Most teens will inevitably be faced with peer pressure or circumstances to try drugs. If you let your teen know that they will be randomly drug tested, then you are giving them a safe way out of these pressure filled situations. This can be very powerful!

Tested Positive—Now What?–Think through how you will respond if your teen tests positive. Start with an honest heart-to-heart and try to find out what is going on in your teen’s life. Schedule an appointment with a counselor specializing in addictions. Continue testing and if there are more positive results get your teen into treatment.

Tested Negative—Now What?–A negative test deserves praise and still serves as an opportunity for honest discussion about drugs and alcohol—a subject that many are uncomfortable to discuss. Create a culture in your family where it is safe to talk about anything.

Also, keep in mind that a negative test may also mean that drugs have simply already passed through your teen’s system and are no longer detectable. If you observe suspicious behavior, follow your intuition and test again soon or consult with your physician or a counselor.

Parenting teens is hard! The wise parent will use every tool in the toolbox and drug testing is a great tool. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this subject. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my websites www.randymoraitis.com or www.thecrossing.com.

By Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CPC

I once heard it said that raising a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree–very challenging. I should know, I’m on my fifth teen and I’ve got the gray hairs to prove it!

Parents of teens have so much to worry about when their teens go out–alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, texting while driving–the list is very long and very scary.

Before your teen goes out, as part of setting clear expectations and boundaries, be sure to ask these five questions:

1. What will you be doing?

2. Where will you be going?

3. Who will you be with?

4. When will you be home?

5. How can I reach you?

By asking these questions, and only allowing your teen to go out once you have the answers, you are being a very proactive and responsible parent and sending a message to your teen that you love them and are paying attention.

Next blog–“Should I drug test my teen?”

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this subject. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my websites ==www.randymoraitis.com or www.thecrossing.com

addiction

Here is a brief list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) I receive about addiction:

1. How do I know if it really is an addiction? 

When a person requires increasing amounts of a habit forming substance, or compulsive behavior, they likely have an addiction. If there are negative consequences because of the substance use or behavior, this is usually a clear indicator that there is an addiction requiring treatment.

2. What should I do if think I am addicted?

According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) addiction is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual affliction that is very difficult to treat without help. If you think you are struggling with an addiction, seek help immediately! A great first step is to attend a support group such as AA or NA. Depending on the addiction, a medically supervised detox may be necessary, so consulting with a physician or checking into an addiction treatment center is advised.

3. What should I do if I suspect a loved on of having an addiction?

  • Confront them in love and let them know how their behavior makes you feel. Do not pretend as if nothing is wrong.
  • Do not enable your loved one! Do not give them money and do not cover for them. Let them experience the consequences of their choices.
  • Go to an Al-Anon meeting or similar support group for friends and families of addicts.
  • Do your best to get your loved one into treatment. Different parts of the treatment program include: detox, rehab, sober living, working a 12 step program with a sponsor, counseling, and having a recovery coach to aid in relapse prevention.
  • Consider an intervention if you have difficulty getting your loved on into treatment.

Addiction is a life and death problem. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, get help now. For a list of resources to get you started click here.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to email me or visit my website.