THROUGHOUT MY YEARS AS A THERAPIST, I have been asked to put  
    forth my views on specific areas of recovery. I am including a sampling of my
    writings on this page to give you some insight into how I approach the recovery
    process.

                        
                 WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL BENEFITS AND CONSEQUENCES
                  OF CONFRONTING AND NO LONGER ENABLING AN ADDICT ?

    One of the hardest things for a family member to do, whether it be a parent, husband, wife or sibling, is to
    confront their loved one with the truth surrounding their addictions. Typically, we have enabled their
    behaviors for a long time and the addict is unwilling to accept the reality of their situation. A perfect
    example is the parent of a twenty-something year old who is not accomplishing anything in their life, i.e., not
    attending school, not working, etc. While this is going on the parent continues to pay for their child’s rent,
    car insurance, spending money. All of this continues to take place while the addict gets deeper and deeper
    into their disease.

    There are major benefits in confronting this person by drawing a line in the sand by stating, “I will no longer
    enable you in your disease, nor will I help you participate in your addictions!” As a result of confronting the
    loved one about this behavior you are now in a position to state to what extent you are willing to support the
    addicted person.

    For instance, a parent might say, “I am willing to support your return to school once you have completed
    treatment and are ready to re-enter the world as a sober person.” A husband or wife might say to their
    partner, “I cannot allow myself to watch you kill yourself with drugs and alcohol. I will agree to couples
    counseling to help save our marriage, but only after you have successfully finished a treatment experience.”

    The consequences of not confronting our loved one fall into two primary categories:
 
    1) If we do not intervene and thus confront, we may very well lose the person permanently to their
    addictions.  
    2) We may have to face a divorce, or our child saying they would rather live in the street, or a sibling saying
    they will never talk to us again. To any of these or other statements made by the person in need of help,
    please refer back to consequence number one.
                            



                        HOW RECOVERING ADDICTS CAN SAFELY PARTAKE
                         IN CELEBRATIONS DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

    The holidays are almost always problematic for people in recovery and especially for those newly sober.

    One of the primary ways to enjoy the holiday without experiencing a relapse is environmental control. One
    can control his/her environment in a variety of ways. For example, if the holidays mean visiting your
    parents, which might upset you and cause you to want to drink - you don’t have to go. You can choose to
    take yourself out of a hostile environment…Or the reverse.  If you have a sober fellowship of friends with
    whom you can enjoy the holidays with safely, then put yourself into that friendly environment.

    Another way to safely enjoy the holidays is to anticipate how to handle difficult situations. If you go to an
    office party where it’s probable that people will be pressing alcoholic drinks into your hand, and if you are
    not yet ready to tell the world that you are sober, be prepared with some responses as to why you are not
    drinking. For example: I am having some dental work done tomorrow and my dentist said not to drink
    twenty-four hours before the appointment…Or, I am on cold medication that does not allow me to drink
    alcohol.

    Another little trick is to always have a drink in hand…club soda, ice tea, etc.  This way when someone tries
    to give you an alcoholic beverage you just hold up your drink and say, “no thanks, I already have one”.

    In conclusion, to safely navigate the holidays without relapsing, it is important to take action that supports
    your recovery. Surround yourself with loving, supportive family and friends who want you to realize success.
    Have well defined plans prepared on how you will handle specific issues that may arise. Finally, have a list
    of people in the program that you can call upon to help get you through the tough times.



                                             
                                                  
BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF
                       SEGREGATING POPULATIONS DURING TREATMENT
                                       (Re: Age, Religion, Substance Abuse)

    Some Treatment Centers deal only with young clients from the age of 18-25.  Other Treatment Centers
    treat only women or only men. Some religious based recovery rehabs only take clients of the same religion.
    These types of segregated populations can produce benefits as well as drawbacks.

    When younger clients enter into a rehab that caters to their specific age demographic it can help when they
    are welcomed by others who share the same taste in music, clothing, etc. This new client can appreciate how
    other young people who are not much different than him/herself are willing and able to enter into a life of
    sobriety. However, for younger clients who struggle with their interpersonal relationships with older
    generations, they do not have the opportunity to learn how to successfully interact.

    Another example is gender specific treatment centers. There are clearly benefits for women who had been
    abused or sexually molested, to feel the safety of a rehab with no men present. Likewise, for a man with an
    addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as a sexual addiction, he might find it easier to be treated without the
    distractions of female clients. The drawback here is that it becomes a lost opportunity for the recovery of
    the client. If these issues are not allowed to come forward in treatment, the staff loses the opportunity to
    address the client with the process of recovery.

    Finally, the idea of putting people into treatment centers that deal exclusively with only one substance, like
    heroine, crack cocaine, alcohol, etc., allows the client to feel the support from similarly addicted clients. For
    example, in a group that is held with heroine addicts only, they all share a common bond and can relate on
    an easier plane. I find this to be limiting because an overwhelming number of clients are cross-addicted.
    Furthermore, this type of a situation makes it more difficult to educate the client about the dangers of cross-
    addiction.
Thoughts & Approaches
Larry Meltzer
Addiction Therapist



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