Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse, also called chemical dependency, is a term that refers to an addiction to alcohol or drugs. There are many paths to becoming chemically dependent, but ultimately, reliance on a mood-altering substance begins to negatively impact and create impairment in multiple areas of life.  A hallmark of addiction is denial and minimization, so it is often as hard to acknowledge the reality of the problem as it is to get adequate help.  For some people, to reach the point of abstinence safely, it requires a period of detox and stabilization in either a designated residential facility or a hospital unit.   

Reaching for Relief | How Humans Cope

For many, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and similarly based 12-step programs, including group meetings, step-work, sponsorship and support – are crucial in maintaining sobriety after one has reached sobriety. In addition, there may be very distinct underlying contributors to the original “need” served by the use of the drug(s) and/or alcohol. Sometimes, a mental or physical health issue such as depression, an anxiety disorder, including PTSD, bi-polar disorder or chronic pain has led to what might be considered an attempt at “self medication” that soon takes on a life of its own, creating deepened pain and hopelessness where relief was initially sought. Sometimes “the function” an addiction originally attempts to address creates more than one dependency. In such instances, clients find that as one addiction subsides, a dormant or lessor addiction begins to take hold.

It’s Complicated

People sometimes settle for the least lethal or the least obvious addiction, i.e. workaholism rather than alcohol addiction.  Yet, the underlying dynamics remain and continue to undermine the overall quality of life. The root causes that are never identified are never resolved, and in time, the original primary addiction often reasserts itself. Additionally, where addiction has reigned, there has typically been collateral damage – to self-concept and esteem, as well as to one’s relationships with others.  Often, patterns of relating have formed around the addictive behaviors and over time, have become entrenched. Maintenance of recovery, once symptoms are under relatively good control involves revising self-awareness, rebuilding trust, and repairing relational habits that no longer serve. 

Recovery is not about restraint or blatant will power. It’s about broadening and deepening one’s understanding of self in order to re-engage with a life worth living. 

The Effect on Relationships

It’s a well known fact that substance abuse can destroy relationships. Be it a father, mother, wife or husband, single parent, couples straight or gay, regardless of ethnicity, social status, or geographic location, substance abuse does not discriminate. Most of all, children and adolescents suffer the most when having to deal with the effects of an addict’s impact on the family itself. But, with treatment and pursuit of recovery, both for the individual and for the partner and/or the entire family, everyone involved can heal together.

Learn About Substance Abuse

Our ability to cope with the stressors of life, with anything, with an addiction, is a function of understanding what we are dealing with.  While you as a partner or you as a part of a family who is living with alcohol and/or drug problems for some time, learning as much as you can about alcohol and drug addiction is a critical first step to alleviating the problem.  These types of addictions cannot be white-knuckled away through sheer will, common sense, nor by preaching, complaining, acting like a martyr, or by swearing to simply stop using. 

Seek Help and Support For All Involved

Substance abuse is as much an individual’s problem as it becomes a relationship’s problem. These addictions affect everyone and anyone close to the person who is using.  Not only do users need treatment, but so does anyone in intimate relationship with someone who is substance addicted. Partners of substance abusers often do not realise that they need help and support as well to overcome the negative effects of dealing with someone who is an addict.

An Intervention May Be Where You Begin

If the person you’re worried about is refusing they have a problem or refusing to get help, consider orchestrating a professional and thoughtful intervention. Interventions performed by a trained and experienced interventionist is an incredibly powerful way of stopping the cycle and getting the addict to accept treatment. It may even be the step that eventually saves your loved one’s life.

Recovery from Substance Abuse Takes Time and Care

This is not a quick fix. The reasons for reaching for a substance in the first place must be delicately unpacked and understood. Early trauma, intimacy disorders, and other various early developmental issues may need to be discovered, deeply felt and understood, and then healed in order to actually change long-term behavior and ensure long-term recovery is a success. As with all chronic addictions, all parties involved and touched by the addiction need time to develop new patterns of awareness as well as new and stabilized coping mechanisms that will replace the relief formerly provided by the addiction to the given substance. 


Treating the Addiction, Treating the Relationship

At Marriage Therapy Institute, we not only treat the substance abuser, but we treat the partner’s and/or family’s residual suffering, and then we treat the relationship(s) and the damages done to the relationship(s) as well. It’s a 360 degree approach, and one we’ve found imperative to the healing needed for longer-term success.

Harmony Place Los Angeles and Harmony Place Monterey

For those of you first needing full-on detoxification/stabilization followed by transitional living and intensive, partial hospitalization and therapy, Marriage Therapy Institute provides expert onsite, detox programs and care via Harmony Place Los Angeles as well as step-down Transitional Living programs at Harmony Place Monterey.

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Free Consultation

Contact us for a free consultation. Let us know what you or your partner may be dealing with, and let us assist you in taking whatever necessary next steps are available and feasible.

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