Does Your Addicted Loved One Feel Bad About The Pain They're Causing?

Before I tell you the circumstances in which they feel bad, I need you to understand why they usually don't feel so bad about it in the earlier stages of addiction. They typically don't feel bad about it because they feel like they deserve it.

The thinking is, "Hey, I work hard; I provide for this family." But, on the other hand, if they're young, they may think, "Everyone does it. I'm a teenager; I'm a college kid; what's the big deal?"

In later stages of addiction, it's not so much that they feel like they deserve it, but the truth is they're in survival mode, meaning they have to, and so the thinking in their mind is, "I have to this, we're in survival mode here. I have to tell a lie. I have to take the money, be dishonest about where I'm going or what I'm doing." So in the later stages of addiction, you constantly try to outrun this monster. Sometimes I describe it as being on a treadmill. For example, if you're addicted to pain pills, you are probably on a four-hour treadmill....

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Am I An Idiot For Staying With My Addicted/Alcoholic Spouse?

"Am I a complete idiot for staying with my alcoholic or addictive spouse? If I think about leaving, I feel guilty. On top of that, I feel like I get all this judgment from everyone around me. The people who know there's an addiction are judging me for staying, and the people that are in denial about it are judging me for leaving." 

Can you relate?

I know you feel upset with your spouse because this is not what you signed up for, and I can't even tell you whether or not your spouse will for sure fix their problem or not. This is a decision that you should not make from an emotional place because you're likely to take that decision back.

I will give you a framework to make this decision easier for you.

There will be six categories, and we'll group them into "Negative- I should go." and "Positive-I should stay." 

If you're married to your addicted loved one, I know you have mixed feelings. On one hand, you may be thinking, "Isn't addiction an illness? I made a vow to stay...

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Gabor Mate's Warning About Codependency Will Shock You!

codependency Dec 28, 2022

If you don't know how to say no, your body will do it for you, and it'll do it in the form of chronic illness. This comes straight from the mouth of Dr. Gabor Mate, one of the most well-respected physicians and researchers in the realm of addiction, trauma, and even ADHD.
I've followed his work for a very long time now, I've read his books, watched tons of his videos, and even attended a conference where he was a key speaker.

Recently, while I was watching one of his videos, he said something that struck me completely differently.
To be honest, it's not much different from the topics he usually speaks on. But you know how sometimes a light bulb goes off or you hear something different? That's what happened to me in this case, and maybe it was because the topic was framed differently from what Dr. Gabor Mate normally talks about.
He normally talks about the person with trauma, addiction, and ADHD, but in this circumstance, he was talking about what happens to people who are in...

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Boundaries With An Alcoholic Spouse (part 1)

Trying to keep good boundaries with a spouse who has a substance abuse problem can get complicated. Are your boundaries healthy and appropriate? Let's find out...

There are some standard issues when it comes to being in a marriage, especially when someone has a substance abuse problem. Those are:

  • Money-always a big category
  • Household responsibilities and who's responsible for what.
  • Safety issues can include things like driving.

I'm going to give you some examples of boundaries in each category. As we go through this, identify the appropriate boundary, the ones articulated in the right way.

First up, let's talk about driving.

Four Driving Boundaries examples:
#1- I'm not going to allow you to drive our kids if I think you've been drinking.
#2- You're not going to leave this house in our car when you've been drinking.
#3- I won't provide insurance under my name if I think you're likely to drive while intoxicated.
#4- Please do not drive home drinking. It makes me a nervous wreck. I'm...

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Boundaries With An Alcoholic Spouse (part 2)

This is Boundaries with an Alcoholic Spouse, part two. If you haven't watched part one, I suggest you go back and watch that first.

But if you've already watched it and you're here for the answers, you're in luck because we'll go over those boundary examples.

Under the drunk driving category, we had four boundaries to explore.

#1- I'm not going to allow you to drive our kids if I think you've been drinking.

This one is a pretty appropriate boundary. Here's a hint-A healthy boundary usually starts with "I." It's not telling the other person what they will and won't do, you're saying what you will and won't do. *A special note about this boundary...I think that's an appropriate, reasonable, healthy boundary, and it's communicated appropriately, but I want you to ask yourself, how will you hold that boundary? It's not just what boundary you'll set, but how to enforce it. Make sure you've thought about that before you set this type of boundary.

#2-  You're not...

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If Your Son or Daughter Is Struggling With Addiction, This Video Is For You

What does it take to get through their denial and get them to see that they are ruining their life and yours and finally do something about it? 

The challenge with young adults-- not only do they have to figure out how not to use drugs. They have to figure out how to be an adult too. Most of the time, young adults who abuse drugs/alcohol for a long time haven't developed adulting skills. They're likely emotionally stuck in the age of when they started using regularly. 

It's time to fill their pride tank. 

A lot of young adults that are struggling with addiction have no self-worth and little self-pride. That tank is depleted, so much of our programming is to give them the life skills they need to refill that tank.

An example of filling someone's pride tank they use at Greenville Transitions is to partake in physical activities with a clinician. David shares an experience that happened to someone recently.

"We do a lot of UFC gym work where they do Brazilian...

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Are You In Denial About Your Loved One's Addiction?

It's not just people with substance abuse problems who can be in denial about the addiction. Family members can be in denial too. A family member's denial can be more complicated and more challenging to deal with than the denial of the person who has the addiction.

Here's an example--several years ago, when I was directing an intensive outpatient program for adolescents with chemical dependency, I got a phone call from one of the parents of the kids in the program. She said, "Hey, I have this friend, her son is so and so, and he has a major problem, and I gave her your name, and she might be calling you."

Secretly behind the scenes...

I already knew about this kid because her son in my group had told me about him. The kid in question was doing all kinds of addictive things, selling drugs, using drugs, you name it--He was doing it. He was kind of a ring leader in this scene.

Eventually, I got a phone call from the kid's Mom. She tells me a little about what's happened(and behind the...

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The Best Way to Confront Your Addicted Loved One About Their Lies and Manipulation!

say this not that Nov 22, 2022

I'm always telling you how when you're dealing with an addicted loved one, you need to:

  • Hold things back
  • Don't say everything you're thinking
  • Hold your feelings in
  • Be positive.

I know you're thinking, "Okay, but when do I get to say what I think and feel? When do I get to confront them with the truth?"

There are many things you can do, but the biggest one is learning how and when to confront someone with an addiction.

One of my first jobs was in a psychiatric hospital, and this hospital dealt with the most severe mental health problems. They had a unit for teenagers who were seriously struggling with suicidal thoughts, addiction, and psychosis.

This is where I spent a lot of time in my early days as a counselor, and I learned a lot of lessons, and it's where I learned about therapeutic confrontation from a therapist named Cindy S.

One of the things I had to do as a baby intern was to walk around the hospital and pull patients aside. My job was to get their...

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The 6 Most Common Challenges Faced By Children Growing Up In Addicted Homes

Growing up in an addicted home is confusing, frustrating, and scary for obvious reasons, but it's essential to keep in mind that everybody's experience is slightly different. Even kids who grow up in the same addicted home have a different experience. 

It's all fun and games until...

Some kids growing up in an addicted home may see the addicted parent as the fun parent. Maybe the parent is happy or silly while intoxicated, and the parent might even let the kid get by with a lot more. When this happens, it can put the other parent in a bad guy position.


Many kids growing up in addicted homes experience a lot of gaslighting where one or both parents try to cover for the addictive behavior by convincing the kid that what they think is happening isn't happening, or that it's not that bad, or that it's normal. Kids growing up in addicted homes often feel guilty. A big reason for this is the adults in the home walk on eggshells to try to keep the peace with the addicted...

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Why Most People Relapse After Leaving Rehab

recovery relapse Nov 08, 2022

You go to rehab and spend a ton of time and even more money to get your addiction under control. So why do so many people fall through the cracks and start using as soon as they leave rehab? You've worked way too hard to get this thing under control to have to start all over again.

Let's look at common reasons people fall through the cracks after leaving a drug and alcohol program.

Some people fall through the cracks right after leaving because the whole time they were there, they counted down the days when they could use drugs/alcohol again. If this is what you're doing, you've already made your mind up, making it difficult to stop.

Some people can't wait to get home and relax.
Warning! This is not the time to let your guard down with your recovery! For most people that fail, this is when it will happen. It's in the transitions where people fall through the cracks, and I don't want that to happen to you.

As hard as it may be when you leave treatment, I want you to hit the ground...

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