Help with Addiction
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11-03-2014, 11:45 AM
Help with Addiction
For the past few weeks my little sister (26 years old) has been in rehab for an opiate addiction. A lot of the reason for her addiction seems to stem from her mentality about being the youngest child from a divorced set of parents and she's always had a very dependent personality. Clinging to boyfriends/relationships far too long, never moving too far away from home, and this addiction for the past few years. The clinic she's in seems to be doing some good, and she seems to be making some progress, but she is involved in AA (I'm not sure why it's not NA, maybe the facility doesn't offer it, plus AA what she used the last time she tried to clean herself up) and I'm worried that her dependency on others might become a dependency on God and I want her to be able to stand on her own two feet.

My atheism is relatively new, and most of my family doesn't know about it. A number of recent deaths in the family, my mother's current bout with breast cancer, and my sister's troubles have kept me quiet. I do, however, want to help my sister as best I can, though I know very little about addiction from a coping standpoint. Does anyone have any resources about dealing with addiction that don't rely heavily on the "lean on God" tactic? I'd be interested in something for me/my family too, but mostly I'm looking for self-help/independence/cleaning up addiction without God type of stuff.

Thanks!

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
- Isaac Newton
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11-03-2014, 12:43 PM
RE: Help with Addiction
Mod note: I split this off the stickied resource thread because that's not really a place for discussion.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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11-03-2014, 01:22 PM
RE: Help with Addiction
It might be a bit cliche for advice, but social networking of any kind I think can be incredibly beneficial.

Peer pressure doesn't always have to be bad, and surrounding yourself with people who will support you and keep you away from old habits is invaluable.

Also maybe specifically seek out people who you know aren't super religious, as I imagine hearing "I got better cuz I prayed to god!" wouldn't help a whole lot.

Hobbies are also fantastic distractions, especially when they get you out of the house. Photography was my escape from some overwhelming suicidal depression a couple years back (not an addiction, I know, but distracting behavior nonetheless)

EDIT: Also welcome to the forum! You'll find alot of great people here and many who are ready to help you, some who have probably been in your situation before! Best of luck on her road to recovery!
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11-03-2014, 02:51 PM
RE: Help with Addiction
Have you approached your doctor and asked if there are alternative treatments? You could try looking for charitable organisations that help with addiction in your local area that are not so god orientated?

Whats her position now? Is she an atheist or a believer?

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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11-03-2014, 02:58 PM
RE: Help with Addiction




Just kidding good luck with your battle.
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11-03-2014, 07:13 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2014 07:18 PM by therealJim.)
RE: Help with Addiction
For everybody else: I saw Scotts post in the helpful ressources thread (before it was moved) and sent him this message. The books mentioned here are not only useful for him but their content can benefit everybody. Hence the repost here.

Hi Scott,

I've seen your post in the help ressources thread. I'll give you references to a few ressources that might be helpful.
Please note: I am layperson with a bit of knowledge in psychology. I am not a professional therapist, nor do I have personal experience with addiction. Take my advice with skepticism and consult with professionals before, while and after taking action.
As far as I can tell from your post, what you are looking for are tools that will help your sister stay clean once she is out of rehab and back in the "real" world.
In general the problem is that she will need an environment that will support her efforts to stay clean. Willpower alone is not sufficient.

Here are a few books on how to sustain change. All of them are based on psychological research and will show the challenge from different angles:

1.The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal - Good book from university researcher. A nice collection of explanations for the layperson and a lot of tactics to use. The chapter on dealing with shame might be of particular interest. Lacks a structured approach though. For that consult the other two books.

2.Influencer by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and others - The concept of the six sources of influence puts McGonigals work in context and makes it more useable (For a primer on this see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TX-Nu5wTS8 ). Full of interesting and useful stuff. The same authors have also published a book called "Influence yourself". I strongly recommend the one I mentioned. I consider it much better thought out and both basically cover the same stuff.

3.Changeolgy by John Norcross - Very good book from a well-respected clinical psychologist. Well structured approach. Tells you specifically what to do when. The only thing that is a bit problematic, is that the author oversells the idea of the 90 days to get to solid ground a bit. Assume that it will take your sister a lot longer than that.

I strongly encourage you to go through all three of them, as they cover each others blind spots.

Also in the process your sister will probably have to deal with a lot of emotional issues. If you want tools on that I recommend the book "The Emotional Toolkit" by Darlene Mininni (this one is great for us guys too Thumbsup ).

Finally having a self-help group like AA in place can be, depending on the quality of the group (how much they support one another, how they deal with relapse etc.), a very good idea. Especially in the long run, that means beyond the first 3-4 weeks, your sister will need broad social support. We all do when trying to change our lives for the better. So while the God stuff is something you don't like, if it comes with stuff that helps her or is itself helpful consider respecting it. Ultimately what matters is that your sister will get and stay better. So while I am not friend of using God as a "crutch", if it turns out to be the crutch that works for her then maybe you should leave her with it.

Let me know if this helps.

"Newton's third law: The only way humans have ever figured out of getting somewhere is to leave something behind." - TARS, Interstellar
"Newtons drittes Gesetz: Der einzige Weg wie Menschen irgendwo hin kommen, ist der dass sie etwas zur├╝cklassen." - TARS, Interstellar
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12-03-2014, 08:14 PM
RE: Help with Addiction
(11-03-2014 11:45 AM)Scott E Wrote:  For the past few weeks my little sister (26 years old) has been in rehab for an opiate addiction. A lot of the reason for her addiction seems to stem from her mentality about being the youngest child from a divorced set of parents and she's always had a very dependent personality. Clinging to boyfriends/relationships far too long, never moving too far away from home, and this addiction for the past few years. The clinic she's in seems to be doing some good, and she seems to be making some progress, but she is involved in AA (I'm not sure why it's not NA, maybe the facility doesn't offer it, plus AA what she used the last time she tried to clean herself up) and I'm worried that her dependency on others might become a dependency on God and I want her to be able to stand on her own two feet.

My atheism is relatively new, and most of my family doesn't know about it. A number of recent deaths in the family, my mother's current bout with breast cancer, and my sister's troubles have kept me quiet. I do, however, want to help my sister as best I can, though I know very little about addiction from a coping standpoint. Does anyone have any resources about dealing with addiction that don't rely heavily on the "lean on God" tactic? I'd be interested in something for me/my family too, but mostly I'm looking for self-help/independence/cleaning up addiction without God type of stuff.

Thanks!

We are familiar with addiction but we are not that familiar with depression. Though you will probably disagree, but you can try to address it as a depression problem.

Some medication is necessary. And if those around her can rationally regard the problem as a less preferable way of her fight against depression rather than a sinful act of degeneration, it will help. There are a few wonderful talks on TED about depression which I recommend. And remember, the opposite side of depression (which leads to addiction) is not always happiness, but essentially vitality.

Keep hope. Things will change and they are changing.

Want something? Then do something.
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