7 Signs Your Child is an Addict

Posted on April 17, 2014 By

7 Signs Your Child is an Addict

Is your child an addict? It’s a scary question to be asking yourself but, it’s better that you look into your suspicions than turn a blind eye. Here are 7 signs your child is an addict.

#1. Physical signs 

Probably one of the first signs your child is an addict will be in the form of some kind of physical symptom from their drug use. Physical signs include:

  • Bloodshot or glassy eyes; dilated or constricted pupils
  • changes in sleep: staying up for days on end before crashing or constantly sleeping
  • cold, sweaty palms or shaking hands
  • extreme hyperactivity/ talkativeness or extreme sluggishness/lethargy
  • runny nose
  • Needle marks on arms, legs or bottoms of the feet
  • nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating
  • puffy face, redness or else paleness
  • changes in appetite: an extreme increase or decrease in appetite
  • unexplained rapid weight loss or gain
  • poor coordination

#2. Changes in mood

Your child might be addicted to drugs if you start to notice changes in their mood. They might be irritable a lot, when they used to be pretty easy-going. They might also exhibit extreme and random mood swings – being happy, energetic and maybe excitable one moment and then irritable, angry, or argumentative the next. They might also become dramatically withdrawn, isolating themselves in their room and limiting the time they spend with the rest of the family.

#3. Valuable things go missing

You might notice that checks are missing from your checkbook, (and if you child addict is tricky, they’ll take checks from the middle of the checkbook so it’s not as obvious at first). You’ll start to notice that jewelry, electronics, and even family heirlooms go missing. Selling valuables at the pawn shop is a common practice among addicts as they become more and more desperate to come up with ways to afford their growing habit.

#4. Loss of interest

As addiction takes hold, it tends to take the place of other interests and hobbies that your child used to participate in and enjoy. If you notice a loss of interest in friends, sports, or social activities, this can be a clue that your child is an addict.

#5. Sickness without cause

When someone are abusing alcohol or drugs, they just don’t feel good much of the time. They may seem to constantly be plagued by vague illnesses. If your child seems to be sick a lot, such as being nauseous and throwing up (“food poisoning”), or having headache, diarrhea, or upset stomach, then your child might be abusing drugs.

#6. Unaccounted whereabouts

If your child seems to come home later and later and their excuse is always something vague about staying late at school, going over to a friend’s house to work on a project, or else their stories or always oddly specific – your child gives you a blow-by-blow description of everything they did that afternoon to explain for their comings and goings, be skeptical. Getting and using drugs becomes a job in and of itself, meaning that addiction and substance abuse tends to eat up hours in a person’s day.

#7. Frequent trips to the bathroom

If your child seems to be spending a lot of time in the bathroom with the water running, they might be using drugs and trying to cover it up. Also, if you notice that anytime your family is visiting someone in their own home and your child makes excuses to go to the bathroom while there, it’s possible that they are feeling tempted to check out the medicine cabinet for prescription pills.

If you suspect that your child is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588. 

8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Drug Addicted Self

Posted on April 16, 2014 By

8 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Drug Addicted Self

After a decade or so in active addiction, I finally decided to do the deal and get clean. I was the ripe ol’ age of 32 when I sought treatment for my substance abuse problem and part of me wishes I would have done it earlier, when I was a bit younger. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for everything – even the trials and tribulations related to my drug use because, I wouldn’t have what I do today: inner peace. But, if I could somehow go back in time, here are 8 things I wish I could tell my drug addicted self.

#1. You’re in denial

Now, this one probably wouldn’t work for anybody – in fact, it didn’t – my denial was that great. But, perhaps if it was my older, sober self telling me – the active drug addict, that I was indeed addicted and just in denial, perhaps I would have listened and gotten help sooner.

#2. You’re not alone

Probably the greatest thing that happened when I decided to get help was, when I first got to treatment and heard others talking about how they felt inside and why the used drugs – as a way to cope with those feelings. This was the first time in my life that I felt ‘home’ and amongst ‘my people.’ Honestly. As my addiction worsened, I grew more and more desperate to make sense of how I was feeling and why. I used to stand outside in the yard at night, gazing up at the stars and imaging the Mother Ship coming back for me, because I was convinced that I was from another planet.

#3. You don’t have to be afraid of treatment, in fact, it’s the best thing we did for ourself, hands down

Like many others, I was deathly afraid of the idea of going into treatment. I don’t really know why. I mean, I was less afraid of death and had in fact attempted suicide at least once in the past. When I eventually did go into treatment, I was so broken that I was just willing to do anything to change how miserable I felt. Turns out, getting help in the form of addiction treatment was the best thing I have done for myself. Ever.

#4. There’s a better way

When in the grip of severe, active addiction, it’s nearly impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or even believe that there is one, let alone actually see it. Perhaps if I could visit my drug addicted self, I would tell her that there have been others who have “gone through it” and who are living amazingly fulfilling lives.

#5. Don’t ignore your intuition because you just want to get high

There was an incident in my active addiction, which involved drugs, 5 men, and little ol’ me. I was lured out by the promise of a party and, of course, drugs. Even though I was already not the thinking-straight type at this point in my addiction, something inside of me told me that this wasn’t a good idea. I ignored my intuition and went to the “party” anyways. And, 5 years later, I still regret it. Today, I am grateful that I eventually did listen to that inner voice that told me it was OK to ask for help. That was my moment of clarity that brought me to the doorstep of a treatment facility, when I chose to live.

#6. It’s OK to talk about your feelings

Long before my drug use began, I developed depression – of the severe and chronic type. I was only about 11 years old and was struggling with thoughts of suicide. And I never told anyone. I kept it all inside and put on a happy face. Today, I know that, by keeping those thoughts and feelings to myself, I really set myself up for the years of active drug use to come.

#7. Ask for help

Again, I kept my dark and tormented thoughts to myself, never wanting to reveal that part of me to my friends and family. And I can understand why I did that. It feels weird and awkward to tell your loved ones that you’re thinking those things. But it’s OK to ask for help. I wish I could tell my drug addicted self to talk to someone – a teacher, a counselor, a trusted adult – it doesn’t have to be a parent.

#8. Don’t bottle it up

In my active addiction, I was definitely the type to “take the poison and wait for the other person to die.” If I was upset with a coworker, friend, family member, or merely pissed off at being stuck in traffic, I would stuff all of those feelings down until I’d finally break and get high to cope.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

7 Things To Do Before Taking Prescription Drugs in Recovery

Posted on April 15, 2014 By

7 Things To Do Before Taking Prescription Drugs in Recovery“But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons.”

—-The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 133

There are a lot of opinions swirling around regarding the use of prescription medications while in recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. The good news is that there is literature available for you to consult if you are in a situation that may call for the use of certain medication(s). Here’s a list of 7 things to do before taking prescription drugs in recovery.

#1. Consult only those who are qualified to prescribe and give medical advice

Don’t “play doctor” and don’t consult a fellow AA’er if they’re not a qualified physician – all medical advice and treatment should come from a qualified physician. If your doctor has prescribed you a medication and you have certain apprehensions, get a second and even a third opinion, again from licensed professionals. You can talk to your sponsor about the feelings you might be having about needing medication.

#2. Stay active in your program of recovery

Remaining active in the fellowship as well as in your personal recovery program is a major safeguard against relapse. Talk with your sponsor and reach out to your sober supports, even when you don’t want to.

#3. Be completely honest with your doctor and yourself about the way you take your medicine

Notice if you are taking the medication in ways other than how it’s been prescribed to you, such as skipping doses or taking more than you’re supposed to. And tell your doctor if you’re misusing your meds.

#4. Be honest and tell your physician that you’re in recovery for alcohol and other drugs

Make sure your doctor knows – and understands – what it means to you to be in recovery and that you choose to be sober. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medication that has less potential for abuse and that is non-narcotic.

#5. Be self-aware and open to others’ input

When starting a new medication or when the dose is adjusted, your behaviors and actions might be affected. Stay aware of any warning signs or changes and be willing to listen to those who are close to you if they have concerns. Then discuss these concerns with your doctor.

#6. Be willing to change doctors

If your current doctor seems unfamiliar with addictions, recovery, and sobriety – not all doctors understand these well – then be willing to find a new health care provider – one who has experience in the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions.

#7. Give your doctor a copy of your fellowship’s literature

In AA, there’s the pamphlet “The AA Member – Medications and Other Drugs” that outlines things to do regarding the use of prescription meds in recovery.

The NA pamphlet “In Times Of Illness” as well as their 10th Tradition state that “The question of prescription medication should be decided between the member, their doctor, and the member’s Higher Power.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

9 Ways Women Act Out in Recovery

Posted on April 14, 2014 By

9 Ways Women Act Out in Recovery

By now, you’ve probably heard at least one person say that they are ‘cross-addicted,’ meaning that they are addicted to more than one substance. Well, this can also mean that their addiction shows up in different behaviors, other than drug-using behaviors. This is especially true for people in recovery. Here are 9 ways that women in recovery ‘act out’ in recovery.

#1. Overeating

A lot of women in recovery (and otherwise) turn to food as a source of emotional comfort. Eating when you aren’t hungry or treating food as a way to reward yourself can be an indication of a burgeoning food issue.

#2. Restricting food

On the other hand, when it comes to food and eating, some women in recovery act out by restricting their diets to the extreme and often, women who struggle with addiction also have eating disorder issues. In recovery from their drug addiction, they might see themselves acting out on their past eating disorder.

#3. Sexually

You’re in recovery from drugs and alcohol but now you’re sleeping around. There’s no judgment here, just a word of caution: if you’re behaving in this way because it’s the only way you think you can feel good about yourself, then it’s time to take a good look at what you’re doing: recovering addicts and alcoholics used substances in the past in order to fill an inner void, turning to something external in which to find happiness. If you’re using sex to fill that void, then you are acting out in a way that may not involve drugs but, is ‘addict behavior,’ nonetheless.

#4. Dating

This is different from acting out sexually. Women who cannot be single, meaning that they are constantly going from one relationship to another or remaining in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship are acting out in yet another way. This type of behavior addiction is sometimes called ‘love addiction’ or codependency – when you put another’s needs ahead of your own.

#5. Excessively working out

There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Yes, exercising can be good for you but, it can become a problem if you’re dedicating way too much time to working out – so much so that your personal relationships, professional life, and/or health is suffering. If any of these occur, this can be a sign that you are finding another way to act out, instead of drinking or drugging.

#6. Shopping

Again, substance addiction is like any other addiction: we’re looking for an external source of our happiness. Some women act out in recovery by going overboard with shopping, whether it’s clothes, shoes, makeup, furniture, etc.

#7. Gambling

At the casino or online, women in recovery might act out by getting caught up in gambling. In fact, many people who struggle with a gambling addiction say they get a drug-like high when they’re gambling, and especially when they’re winning.

#8. Social Media
There’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest – and probably some others – that are a great way for us to distract ourselves from, well, ourselves.

#9. Working too much

Some women act out in recovery by throwing themselves into their work. They might be checking their work email in the evenings and over the weekends, or whenever they’re supposed to be off-the-clock. It’s great to be passionate about your job or career. However, if you’re sacrificing your personal time and/or your personal relationships for work, then it’s possible you are using it as a way to avoid being with yourself.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.


8 Signs Your Eating is Disordered

Posted on April 11, 2014 By

8 Signs Your Eating is Disordered

Disordered eating is its own diagnosis and is sort of an umbrella term to describe a wide range of irregular eating behaviors that don’t fit the specific and narrow criteria for certain, already established eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. You’re eating habits might be considered disordered if they mirror several but not all of the symptoms of other eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Here are 8 signs your eating is disordered.

8 Signs Your Eating is Disordered

Disordered eating and dieting behavior are the most common indicators of the development of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are severe and life threatening mental illnesses. An eating disorder is not a lifestyle choice.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #1: You fast or adhere to a very strict diet

Fasting or chronic restrained eating is probably the number one indication of disordered eating. If you are very regimented in how you eat, what you eat, and when you eat, this is an obvious sign that you are experiencing very rigid thoughts about food. For example, you have beliefs about which foods are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad.’ You punish or reward yourself with certain foods or by withholding specific foods.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #2: You skip meals

If you are constantly skipping meals, this is also a major sign that your eating is disordered. Many people who have unhealthy thoughts and behaviors about food will often intentionally skip meals as a way to cut down on their daily caloric intake.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #3: You’re binge eating  

Disordered eating isn’t just about restricting food. It can also refer to overeating and binge eating. Binge eating is described as such: when a person eats a much larger amount of food in a shorter period of time than they normally would and feels a loss of control.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #4: You’re using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas

This is a trick people with distorted beliefs about food and their bodies will use to shed weight quickly. This is a very dangerous practice.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #5: You’re using diet pills

Women with disordered eating with abuse either over-the-counter or even resort to more powerful, and possibly illegal substances, such as amphetamines. This, of course, is also very dangerous. And not to mention, breaking your sobriety.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #6: You’ve resorted to steroids and creatine

Another sign that your eating is disordered is if you’re using drugs and other supplements that are designed to not only improve physical performance, such as working out at the gym, but are also used to alter physical appearance. Again, using substances in this way, and especially ones like steroids, is considered by many as a relapse.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #7: Your meals are purposely unbalanced

For example, many people with the more extreme form of the eating disorder anorexia will restrict or completely cut out a major food group such as ‘fatty’ foods or carbohydrates. This is also a sign that your eating is disordered, just perhaps not to the same extent as someone who fits the criteria for anorexia nervosa.

Signs Your Eating is Disordered #8: You make yourself throw up

Especially after binge eating, as is seen in cases of bulimia.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or issues related to disordered eating, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.