Finding A Job After Rehab

One of the things about rehab and post-rehab life is getting back to the normal swing of life. This includes doing things like paying bills, getting a job, going grocery shopping and more. However, just because you’ve been to rehab does not mean finding a job again and getting back into a normal routine will exactly be that easy. But, establishing a routine and making meaningful moves to succeed are a part of your continued success.

After rehab, finding a job should be one of your top priorities – and everything else will be able to flow easier after that. A few barriers that you might run into include:

  • You’ve been out of the workforce for some time most likely and therefore, will have a gap of employment (due to rehab).
  • You might feel uncertain about revealing past substance abuse to a new employer.
  • You might worry about employers discriminating against you.
  • You might worry about the stress that having a new job will bring.

However, a survey done in 2012 says that more than 23 million adults in the United States consider themselves to be in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse. And plenty of individuals just like them and just like you have gone on to live successful lives and have successful careers even after rehab.

Once you are nearing the completion of your rehab program, here are a few tips for re-entering the workforce:

  • Search for a resource that will help you with your resume. Most communities have some type of resource and something you could even likely get for free, that help with preparing and editing a resume. You can also take a look at some examples online.
  • Search online and in your local newspaper for opportunities that might be available. While it never hurts to introduce yourself to a business that you would like to work at who might not be looking to hire immediately, it is good to mainly go after those who have shown a desire to hire soon.
  • Find jobs that you are confident about. This is not the best time to try out a job that will push you to your limit – that could lead to a relapse. Try to find a job that you are excited about but confident in, and maybe something you even have experience with.

The best thing you can do is be confident and utilize the sources around you.

Tips for Staying Sober During Holidays

Depending on your religion and your location, the holidays come at various times of the year for you. However, nearly every culture has holidays of some sort throughout the year. And with holidays, typically comes alcohol, too. For most people, this is an exciting time, a tradition, and just the icing on the cake for the rest of the goodies.

But for recovering alcoholics, the holidays can be a time full of temptation and worry. This can also be a time where maintaining sobriety seems nearly impossible. For this reason, many recovering alcoholics can find themselves loathing a time of year that most people love and even skipping out on family or friend’s parties as a way to avoid the temptation and sadness.

Not only does the presence of alcohol cause recovering alcoholics to relapse, but the stress and anxiety that comes with being surrounded by numerous people, and sometimes people you don’t see often or don’t even like, can drive someone to even want to drink. So, with the holiday season running rapid, how does one maintain their sobriety amidst the stress and temptation?

  1. Be prepared for what is to come.
    The worst thing you can do is blindly go to a party, or be in denial and think that a place where there is typically temptation won’t have temptation this year. Mentally prepare yourself for the environment you are about to be in and start to comprise a plan for various situations.
  2. Remind yourself why sobriety is more important than that drink.
    When you are in the heat of the moment, it might not seem like a bad idea to give in. But start thinking ahead of time so it is easy to remind yourself in the moment just why it is that sobriety is the most important thing to you. What all will be ruined by just that one drink?
  3. Choose your parties wisely. 
    If you know the main attraction of the party is your temptation, don’t go. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you know you will absolutely fail. Simple as that.
  4. Plan your escape route in advance.
    If someone offers you a drink, know what you will say. If you are feeling extremely stressed, know where you will go.
  5. Stay away from the slippery slopes.
    The holidays are not a viable reason to go back to your old stomping grounds. The temptation of the alcohol itself is bad, but going back to your same old place with the same old people is just too much to overcome, in most situations.

The best thing you can do for yourself this year is to be prepared.

How to Talk to an Alcoholic

Whether it is a close friend, a family member, or even a significant other – talking to someone about their obvious struggle with alcohol is difficult. You might not know how to approach it, what to say, or how to respond based on their reaction. But if you are suspicious that someone you know and love is struggling with alcoholism, there is a desire there to approach that individual and encourage their entry into rehab. But with this desire to approach them also comes the fear of making them angry, their rejection and even damaging or severing the relationship the two of you have.

However, at the end of the day, it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. While they might refuse to go get help, you did your part and they denied to do theirs.

If you know someone who is struggling with an alcohol addiction, here are some tips to help you get started with talking to them:

How to Recognize Alcoholism

Before you approach someone about their alcoholism, you need to first identify if they might actually be suffering from alcoholism. The symptoms of alcoholism go far beyond seeing them drink excessively on a few occasions. Alcoholism also causes physical and mental symptoms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Sleepiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Reddening of the face or nose
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Decreased inhibition
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Talking to Your Loved One

The first step to approaching someone about alcoholism should be devising a plan. Of course, the interaction might not go exactly as you planned, but approaching it without a plan can lead to disarray.

The intervention process involves multiple elements:

  • Getting support – educate yourself, find resources, ask a professional for guidance
  • Engaging in self-care – mentally prepare everyone involved, including yourself, for every possible outcome
  • Having the treatment option ready – comprise a list of viable treatment locations
  • Staging the intervention – choose a location and assemble a team
  • Participating in treatment

In order to successfully gain their trust and attention, you need to have cold, hard facts in mind. You also need to consider their personality to understand what methods, settings, etc. might be more destructive rather than productive. Next, you also need to have treatment options ready so that when/if they decide they are ready to go, there is no lag time between their decision and finding the place to go.

 

The Cost of Alcohol Addiction

Have you ever taken a second to stop and think about how expensive an addiction really is?

If you have a food addiction and you go eat out every single night, or go splurge on a large triple chocolate milkshake every night, you would be surprised to find out just how much you are spending. In fact, you could probably buy yourself enough groceries for a full day or more of food, if you would just use the money you normally use to feed your addiction. Or if drugs are your addiction of choice, most designer drugs cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. What else could you do with that money? Pay a mortgage payment, pay off a credit card, put back for your child’s college fund. Addiction can really take a toll on you physically, but it can also take as big of a toll on you financially.

Let’s take a minute to look into the cost of alcohol addiction.

With opioid addiction and overdoses on the rise, this has remained at the forefront of many people’s minds in British Columbia. However, one of the biggest addictions that remains on the rise in the province is alcohol – and it is a legal substance. In fact, British Columbia has the highest rate of hospitalizations caused by alcohol in Canada, and those numbers are rising faster than anywhere else in the country.

The Stats

Considering British Columbians who drink, they consume an average of 9.4 litres of pure alcohol every single year. To break it down into something more tangible, this is roughly two and a half bottles of wine or 14 bottles of beer each week.

This number has continued to rise since 2012, and it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Taking a look at emergency room visits to St. Paul’s and Vancouver General Hospital for substance abuse, last year at least 36 percent were alcohol-related. And a researcher at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, Dr. Keith Ahamad told CBC that this is a conservative number. The 36 percent only relates to cases where excessive drinking was the cause.

In comparison, looking at the same hospitals and same time period, 24 percent of emergency room visits related to substance abuse were caused by opioids. And we think opioids are a major problem in our society? It is, but let’s not forget about one even worse than it.

People every year, and likely every day, are suffering severe and negative consequences because of alcohol addiction. It is time we got this under control. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out today.

Alcohol and the Liver: Learn to Love Your Liver

While you might recover from a hangover after a night of drinking in about 24 hours, or at least just after a good night’s sleep, this is not the case with the internal effects alcohol has on your body. And there is one main organ that alcohol directly affects the most: the liver. Did you know even just consuming as little as one beer or a single glass of wine a day can cause you to develop liver problems?

But, just telling you that alcohol affects your liver does not really put into perspective what it really does. And proving how negatively impactful it is could be vital in helping some people make the life-changing decision to get some help.

 

What does alcohol do short-term?

The liver can handle some alcohol, but only a little bit. So even while just sitting and casually sipping a drink, if you are drinking too quickly or reach the point of too much for your liver to handle, it will begin to struggle to process it.

When alcohol is introduced to the liver, it causes the liver to produce acetaldehyde – a toxic enzyme – which can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring to the liver. This toxic enzyme can also harm the brain and stomach lining.

Additionally, your liver requires water to effectively function. However alcohol acts as a diuretic, therefore it dehydrates your body and forces your liver to utilize water from other sources. This puts a strain on your liver and also leaves you waking up with a miserable headache.

What does alcohol do long-term?

A few liver conditions that can be caused by alcohol:

  • Fatty liver. This is when too much fat builds up in your liver and can cause fatty liver disease and inflammation.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis. This condition is often associated with excessive drinking over a long period of time and the inflammation associated with these habits. This causes the liver to become tender and swollen.
  • Cirrhosis. Earlier we discussed how alcohol can cause damage to the liver cells, which then causes scar tissue as a result of chronic inflammation. This damage to the cells and scar tissue development can lead to the development of cirrhosis. Furthermore, the scar tissue affects the flow of blood and fluids through the liver.

Over time, heavy and even just regular drinking can strain or disrupt the way alcohol is metabolized in the body. As a result, you could be at risk of developing alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholism and the Compulsivity Circuit

Have you ever wondered why someone would do something even though it hurts them? As an outsider, people often find themselves wondering this about addicts. A new study takes a look at the fact that heavy drinkers will still try to acquire alcohol despite the known threat of a negative consequence more so than light alcohol drinkers. The study also found that this behavior is associated with unique brain activity in those heavy drinkers.

Heavy drinking is a very common addiction and you will often notice that heavy drinkers might have previously been arrested on alcohol-related charges, lost a job for alcohol-related reasons, or even had a failed relationship due to alcohol. However, despite several negative consequences they might have experienced, they continue to choose alcohol.

The results of this study provide evidence that a “compulsivity circuit” might drive the alcohol-seeking behavior seen in heavy drinkers that is seemingly resistant to negative consequences. This also reveals potential targets for treatments that focus on reducing compulsive alcohol use, specifically in heavy drinkers.

“This study is important because it is the first study to investigate compulsive alcohol seeking in a heavy drinking population,” said Dr. Grodin, adding that previous studies have used animal models to try to understand this behavior.

Through the use of brain imaging, conducted during the task researchers found that heavy drinkers showed more brain activity in regions that were associated with decision-making under conflict. They also noticed increased activity in the habit and reward area of the brain. Furthermore, the imaging revealed that the connections between two brain regions that were stronger in people who also demonstrated stronger compulsivity.

“This study highlights the complex rewiring that takes place in the heavy drinkers brain. Circuitry associated with conflict, risk and aversion become associated with those that process rewarding experiences, and this is associated with increased risky choice behavior when alcohol is a possible reward,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

Addiction takes a toll on your brain. Over time, it begins to actually make changes in your brain and these changes can be hard to reverse. The continued reward of alcohol teaches your brain to want it, therefore making you crave it. This is what plays into the development and continuation of addiction.

Don’t wait until you’ve had a problem, reach out for help from the beginning of even being worried you might have a problem. We can help you.

How Long Does a Boozy Binge Really Last?

A boozy binge can leave you feeling sick the night of, and even worse the next morning. You might feel nauseous or just exhausted at the end of the night after consuming an excess of alcohol, and likely wake up with a pounding headache and that nauseous feeling still lingering. This terrible feeling you likely experience the next morning we often refer to as a hangover.

However, new studies show that the effects of that boozy binge the night before might go beyond the hangover and last longer than you think. A study done at the University of Bath and published in the journal Addiction highlights that the day after a binge drinking session, impairments in cognition were still seen the day after, despite there being little to no alcohol left in their bloodstream.

The study also highlighted how overall individuals who were hungover still demonstrated poorer psychomotor, attention, and memory skills, including speed and coordination compared to when they were sober. Researchers findings suggest that these poorer performances also have important implications when it comes to activities such as driving. While most individuals wait until they believe the alcohol has been eliminated from their system to drive, the results of this study suggest that individuals could still be impaired in terms of the cognitive process required for driving, even though alcohol has been eliminated from their system. Additionally, researchers warn that while employers have clear policies in place regarding intoxication at work, very few cover the effects of alcohol the next day.

Hangovers are the most commonly-reported negative side effect of drinking alcohol and are estimated to cost billions a year in absenteeism. However, there has been little research done up to this point examining the effects of a hangover on the job.

Senior author of the study, Dr. Sally Adams added: “Our findings demonstrate that hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills such as concentration and memory.

“These findings also highlight that there is a need for further research in this field where alcohol hangover has implications at the individual level in terms of health and wellbeing, but also more widely at the national level for safety and the economy.”

Drinking alcohol can cause an array of side effects. It is important to be aware of these side effects and how they can impair your everyday tasks and abilities.

 

Effective Substance Abuse Treatment Includes Family Involvement

family involvement, substance abuse treatmentMany substance abuse treatment programs forbid family involvement and other contacts with the outside world, but studies have shown that involving loved ones in the treatment process can make it more effective and help the entire family unit start to heal from the substance abuse. Before treatment, it is common for friends and family to enable the addict, or to try and protect them from the consequences of their alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes loved ones do not address the substance abuse because they fear pushing the person away or alienating them even further, but ignoring or denying the problem is not helping the addict and neither is protecting them from facing consequences. It is usually beneficial for friends and family to receive counseling as well as the person with the substance abuse problem.

Family involvement can make substance abuse treatment more effective and improve the odds for a full and complete recovery. Sessions of family counseling can help clear the air in a safe environment and allow those close to the person with the addiction to voice and then let go of past anger and resentment over the drug or alcohol abuse. Just like an intervention this type of counseling will also allow the individual to see how their behavior and substance abuse has harmed the ones that they love. For a full recovery, healing must happen, and family involvement in substance abuse treatment can make this happen much faster and in an environment where relapse is not a problem.

The Link Between Alcoholism and Denial

alcoholism denial

 

Denial by both alcoholics, their friends, and family is one of the most powerful processes that keep the cycle of addiction going. It hides the damage and the importance the issue in ways that eliminate any chance of recovery. Facing facts with simple questions is a good way to confront denial and a key step on the road to recovery.

Unacknowledged Loss

Anyone who has a drinking problem has engaged in denial at least once or twice but most likely all the time. The distortion in thinking allows the individual to continue drinking and keeps them from facing the real facts and truth about what their alcohol abuse is doing to them.

It should be very clear to an alcoholic that everything they have suffered and lost is because of their drinking yet most alcoholics refuse to acknowledge this fact and they continue to deny that they even have a problem in the first place.

Denial is integral to alcohol addiction, and it can be a big obstacle for someone who is trying to recover from this type of substance abuse. In spite of the obvious adverse consequences, the individual refuses to see what the alcohol abuse is doing.

Denial As Protection

Denial is part of alcoholism because it can affect more than just the person with a drinking problem. Many families cover up for the alcoholic or believe that the problem is chronic pain, an old injury, or something other than the disease of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Very often the alcoholic is so much more ‘pleasant’ when happily drinking that friends and families learn to tolerate and even support the drinking just so life doesn’t get as obnoxious as it could get in the absence of alcohol.  That much is well known.  However, what is rarely if ever talked about is how badly this kind of dysfunction ends.

Usually the stronger the addiction to alcohol the stronger the denial will be as well. Often family members and friends of the drinker will cover for them or try to protect them from facing the consequences of their alcohol abuse and actions. It is important for the alcoholic to face the consequences so that they begin to realize how alcohol is destroying their life, and finally, ask for the help they desperately need.

Confronting Alcoholism And Denial

For family members who suspect a loved one has an addiction problem asking themselves simple questions based on what they know can be helpful.  For individuals who would like to assess themselves one good resource is the NIH website questionnaire.

If denial can’t be overcome by individuals themselves or their friends and family, and this is often the case, then an outside interventionist can and likely should be called.