Alcohol Intervention Programs Explained

Alcohol Intervention Programs Explained

You can find alcohol anywhere. Baseball games, grocery stores, birthday parties, work events, etc. It’s everywhere.

That fact alone – that drinking is such a widely accepted and even cherished vice – makes it all the more difficult for folks to quit, let alone acknowledge that they have a problem.

That’s where alcohol intervention programs come into play.

An intervention is designed to “shake” a person awake so to speak and open their eyes to what alcohol is doing to themselves and those who love them so much. It’s like turning a mirror on their addiction, forcing them to face something they’ve been avoiding or introducing formally to the problem for perhaps the first time.

Alcohol Takes a Lot of Lives

Alcohol is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, unnecessarily taking around 95,000 lives a year according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put that number into further perspective by calculating that those 95,000 deaths equated to “2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2011 – 2015, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years”.

Globally speaking, 5.3% of all deaths – 3 million people – were attributable to alcohol consumption in 2016.

Signs Your Loved One Is Addicted to Alcohol

To that end, understanding the signs of an alcohol use disorder, the formal name for alcoholism, in a loved one makes it easier for you to help them.

  • Drinks for longer than intended or having more than intended
  • Wanting to quit or cut back but unable to do so
  • Constantly intoxicated and spending an inordinate amount of time getting, drinking or recovering from alcohol
  • Planning days around drinking
  • Avoiding activities they once enjoyed because they can’t drink
  • Strong cravings for a drink
  • Continuing to drink despite the clear and abundant negative consequences
  • School, work and homelife are suffering due to drinking
  • Repeatedly and frequently blacking out
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Building a tolerance so needing to drink more to get the same effects as before
  • Denying a problem exists
  • Weight loss
  • Decreasing personal hygiene
  • Pulling back from friends and family
  • Drinking alone and/or at unusual hours like first thing in the morning
  • Financial problems related to overspending on alcohol
  • Legal problems due to crimes committed while drinking
  • Engaging in riskier behavior like driving drunk
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking like insomnia, nausea, depression or anxiety

Of course, these symptoms will vary from person to person depending on how severe the addiction is and how long it’s lasted.

How Alcohol Intervention Programs Can Help Your Loved One Find Addiction Treatment

If your loved one, be it a close friend or family member, is exhibiting more and more of these signs over time, it may be time to take action.

The prospects of staging an intervention are understandably nerve-wracking and overwhelming which is why it’s recommended you do not do one on your own. Working with a professional interventionist like Footprints of Serenity takes the burden of planning and execution off you.

Working with a team who truly understands the process and can adjust in real-time based on previous experience is truly a game changer in terms of achieving the desired results of getting your loved one into addiction treatment.

In fact, a core element of putting an intervention together is assisting you in doing the research and helping you pinpoint a rehab facility that would best suit your loved one’s needs. The idea is to have that locked in and set up so at the end of the intervention they can choose change immediately.

The last thing you want is to convincingly make the case for treatment and then have to figure out the where and when. You want to be able to present them with a lifeline and have them act on it at that very moment.

Reach out to us to learn more about interventions and how we can help you find the right treatment for your family member or friend.

Intervention Specialist Near Me

Intervention Specialist Near Me

Addiction doesn’t often resolve itself.

Actually, let’s rephrase that slightly, addiction doesn’t often resolve itself positively.

In 2019, drug overdoses took nearly 71,000 lives according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Roughly 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each and every year as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) points out.

So, addictions and substance use disorders very much can and do resolve themselves…negatively.

Nearly 170,000 die annually from the use of substances in some way, shape or form. The despair that those deaths rain down on the family and friends left to cope with that sort of unfathomable loss is impossible to quantify.

You’re left with emptiness and an unending stream of soul-crushing questions, like; “what if I’d stepped in?”, “what if I’d done more?”, “what else could I have done?”, etc.

There are actions you can take now to prevent that outcome and save a life, considering an intervention is one of them.

What Is an Intervention?

You may already have a vague idea of what an intervention is based on the word itself and perhaps even the TV show of the same name, but let’s put a real definition to it.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health does a good job of succinctly explaining it, noting that interventions are “a professionally delivered program, service, or policy designed to prevent substance misuse or treat an individual’s substance use disorder”.

A critical note about interventions though is that you should not try to organize one on your own. It’s a very delicate process with lots of moving parts and an extremely emotional and charged event. Getting it wrong could have dire consequences in the opposite direction. Your loved one may feel attacked, betrayed, resentful and so on which may actually lead to them closing themselves off further and falling deeper into their addiction.

What Does an Intervention Specialist Do?

An interventionist, or intervention specialist, is someone who’s trained and well-versed in designing and organizing interventions. It sounds simple but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

An intervention isn’t just a confrontation about addiction built on hope. It’s a guided process and the odds of it being successful go up exponentially when it’s done correctly.

An intervention specialist first and foremost helps you, your family and friends formulate a plan of action and how to mitigate adverse reactions.

They’ll assist you in the research phase regarding which treatment centers and what types of rehab would suit your loved one best as well as work with you to make arrangements for admission and transportation.

An intervention specialist will then lead you through choosing who exactly will participate in the intervention to create the maximum effect. Once that’s been decided, they can help you pick meaningful consequences in the event the person going through the intervention refuses treatment (and it’s imperative to stick to your guns here no matter how difficult it may be).

Lastly, they’ll help steer what you’ll say in the intervention.

As you can see, there’s quite a lot going on and this was just the briefest of overviews.

Why You Should Let Footprints of Serenity Help Your Loved One Today

You might be wondering “how can I find an intervention specialist near me?”

Easy. You can reach out to us at Footprints of Serenity.

We have decades of combined experience in the world of interventions and have a proven track record of tactfully turning a mirror on someone’s addiction and getting them to make the right choice in seeking treatment.

If you’re not in the Southern California area, no worries, get in touch with us anyhow and we can offer advice or perhaps even connect you to an interventionist in your area. The goal is to help your loved one get better, doesn’t matter where you or they are.

 

The Warning Signs of Alcoholism

The Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol is a killer that lives right out in the open. One we welcome into our homes, sporting events, celebrations, and more.

It’s among the most, if not the most widely accepted substance we have in our society and it’s notoriously deadly; the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) points out.

The jarring stats don’t end there though. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 24,000 people died from alcoholic liver disease in 2019 and the number of alcohol-induced deaths (excluding accidents and homicides) was over 39,000.

The NIAAA adds that as recently as 2019, 14.5 million people aged 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol abuse is very much a real problem in the country and knowing the warning signs of alcoholism is imperative to saving the life of a loved one.

Alcoholism Defined

Prior to getting into the signs and symptoms, it’s instructive to define what alcoholism is in the first place.

For starters, the official name for alcoholism is alcohol use disorder or AUD and the NIAAA defines it as such:

“Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism. Considered a brain disorder, AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe”.

That there at the end is a critical point to understand, that alcoholism is a brain disorder in the same way drug addiction is. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) takes it a step further and sheds some light on the disorder concept, noting, “it is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control”.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism to Look Out For

As mentioned, alcoholism exists on a spectrum – mild to moderate to severe – and where that person you care about lands is based on how many of the following criteria they meet:

  • Consuming more alcohol than anticipated or for longer than expected
  • Wanting to quit or at least cut but weren’t able to
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time drinking or being hungover
  • Cravings for a drink so bad that you can’t think of anything else
  • Drinking, being sick from drinking, or recovering from it gets in the way of your responsibilities to family, friends, school, work, etc.
  • Carrying on drinking despite problems it creates with family and friends
  • Skipping or going less often to activities you once enjoyed in order to drink instead
  • Finding yourself in dangerous scenarios while drinking like getting behind the wheel, being in unsafe areas, unprotected sex, etc.
  • Drinking despite the fact that it makes you depressed or adds to other health problems
  • Building a tolerance to alcohol so you need to drink more to get the same effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms – trouble sleeping, nausea, sweating, seizure, etc. – when the drinks wear off

Mild AUD would be meeting 2-3 of those criteria.

Moderate AUD would be 4-5.

Anything over 6 is considered severe AUD.

How to Get Someone Help With Their Alcohol Addiction

Quitting alcohol and beating addiction is a tough battle to face on your own and your loved one doesn’t have to go that route.

Getting help for someone with an addiction to alcohol is possible and readily available. The key to increasing the odds of success is making sure that person – your brother, mother, father, sister, uncle, friend, etc. – are truly aware that they have a problem and accept the help and dedicated treatment they need to overcome it.

An intervention is something that can create that awareness and be the inciting incident they need to change their lives for good.

If you want to learn more, need advice or information, reach out to us today at Footprints of Serenity.

Support Groups for Family Members of Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Explained

Support Groups for Family Members of Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Explained

Drug addiction and alcoholism don’t solely affect the user. Substance abuse is very much a trauma that spreads itself across the entire family.

Of course, the user is the one who needs help the most of all in righting their ship so to speak, but family members don’t come out unscathed in this.

Growing up or even just existing within the confines of a dysfunctional family can take a massive psychological toll.

That’s why it’s important to look into support groups for family members of drug addicts and those dealing with alcohol use disorder. As much as your loved one needs support in getting to the other side of addiction, you need assistance too because your “normal” has also been shattered.

What Are Support Groups for Family Members of Addicts?

Family members of addicts have a uniquely difficult and different experience with addiction, not necessarily as harrowing as the user, but distressing nonetheless. The mental price paid in the form of constant worry, anxiety and stress is high and needs to be addressed. 

Without taking time to work through your issues, you can find yourself overwhelmed with all you’ve been dealing with. Support groups offer an environment where people who are going through or have gone through similar situations with addiction in their families can come to find solidarity and a place to talk. A place to build positive and healthy relationships.

Different Types of Support Groups for Families of Addicts and Alcoholics Available

Fortunately, this need for support has been recognized and several groups have been created to help. 

Among them are:

Al-Anon

Started in 1952 by the wife of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon describes itself as, “a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations”.

Crucially, they add this can happen “whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help”.

This really drives home the idea that this is a support group for family and that you can get better even if the addict can’t.

Alateen

Also related to Alcoholics Anonymous, Alateen was founded in 1957 by Al-Anon and focuses on the children of those struggling with alcoholism.

As they note, Alateen is “a fellowship of young people (mostly teenagers) whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking whether they are in your life drinking or not”.

The core goal is for it to be a place where young people can “share experiences, strength, and hope with each other to find effective ways to cope with problems” as well as “discuss difficulties and encourage one another”.

Adult Children of Alcoholics

Founded in 1973, Adult Children of Alcoholics describes themselves as a support group “focused on understanding the specific behavior and attitude patterns we developed while growing up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional environment.  These patterns continue to affect us today.

By attending regular meetings we come to a better understanding of our past so we can more effectively restructure our lives today.  We begin to see more clearly what is positive and healthy in ourselves”.

Similar to Al-Anon and Alateen, the idea of attending Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings is to be among those who truly get it. People who’ve been in exactly the same place you were growing up and who need help getting past it too.

Why You Should Go to Support Groups for Family Members of Drug Addicts and Alcoholics 

The important thing to takeaway here is that support is critical for both the addict and you, the family. You have your own trauma to work through and it shouldn’t be ignored just because you aren’t the one who’s addicted.

If you’re looking for support, reach out to us Footprints of Serenity and we can help you find a place that works for you.

What to Do After Drug Treatment Is Complete

What to do after drug treatment is complete

You’ve just finished rehab and the whole world is laid out before you.

What do you do?

Are you truly ready?

Are you overwhelmed? Scared? Excited?

All of the above?

Completing your program is a monumental moment. Truly a grand achievement. What you do after drug treatment though is what makes the difference in the long run.

Truth is, to some degree you will feel prepared to take on the world because part of your treatment program is dedicated to life after rehab. You may be nervous, which is normal, but you won’t be going into the unknown without thorough preparation.

Moreover, there are plenty of positive and affirmative steps you can take to ensure you stay the course.

Steps to Take to Maintain Addiction Recovery After Drug Treatment Is Complete

Recovery, as you well know by now, is a lifelong endeavor. Just because your inpatient treatment or outpatient care is finished, it doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention or ease up on actively working to maintain your sobriety.

Here are a handful of steps that make the journey easier:

Join a Support Group

Whether it’s a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or something without the religious angle like SMART Recovery, a support group can be a gamechanger and a lifesaver.

Being surrounded by people who genuinely understand you and have been in your shoes makes a big difference. You all are working through the same things together and there’s power and inspiration to be found in that.

Not to mention the built-in accountability that comes with connecting with those in your support group.

Create a Group of Sober Friends

Speaking of connection, it’s important to develop a sober group of friends.

It can be folks you meet in your support group or through new activities you’ve taken up, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the people you choose to spend time with don’t default to drugs or alcohol in their free time.

Identify Your Triggers and Manage Stressors

In treatment, you’re in something of a stress-free bubble and you’re active in pushing back against triggers. Back in your real life, you need to stay vigilant – actually, be even more vigilant – and identify people, places, and things that could trigger you to use them.

Once you’ve identified them you can work on managing those stressors and developing a plan of action to cope.

Recognize Warnings of a Relapse

This is more or less a continuation of the previous step, once you know what can trigger you or stress you out, you can use it to recognize the signs of a potential relapse. The more aware you are of these things, the more you can quickly react to the warnings of relapse and remove yourself from the situation.

Develop New Habits and Find Activities That You Find Meaningful 

To maintain sobriety, you ultimately need to find meaningful ways to spend your time. The more meaning you can derive from whatever you fill your day with – the people, the events, the places, the hobbies, everything – the better.

Keep a Schedule

They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, which is to say that if you have nothing to do, you’re more likely to get yourself into trouble, especially if you’re recovering from addiction.

Keeping a schedule and making it a full one is an easy thing you can do to keep your mind and body occupied and away from thoughts of substance use.

Celebrate Your Sobriety Achievements 

Regularly acknowledge how far you’ve come!

Celebrating wins is so psychologically gratifying and it gives you a chance to reflect on how far you’ve come. Better yet, celebrate in your support group and be an example for others to follow because helping others truly does help you too.

If you’re unsure about how to handle life after rehab or would like to learn even more steps you can take, reach out to us at Footprints of Serenity.

Knowing When It’s Time to Find a Drug Rehab for Young Adults

Knowing When It’s Time to Find a Drug Rehab for young adults

Our teenage years are formative in so many ways; they help shape us, serving to define our interests more finely and determine our likes & dislikes. The young adult years are when we lay the groundwork for what’s to come.

It’s an invigorating and exploratory time in any person’s life.

It’s also a time of experimentation and increasing independence which is no doubt a cause for concern for all parents around the world.

This is a period in life when your son or daughter will encounter and perhaps even try drugs and/or alcohol for the first time and the statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) bear that out:

  • By 12th grade, nearly half of teens, 46.6%, will have tried illicit drugs
  • 43.7% will have tried marijuana by 12th grade
  • Almost 2/3rds, 61.5%, reported trying alcohol by their senior year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1/10th of all alcohol consumed in the United States is by people aged 12 to 20 years old. That’s 10%.

Whether it’s curiosity, peer pressure, coping with stress or another reason, experimentation doesn’t necessarily mean addiction or dependency. There are so many tough parts of parenting and knowing when to make that call about substances is among the hardest.

Fortunately, there are signs you can look for to know when things have gotten out of hand.

Signs Your Teen Is Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

Addiction isn’t something that happens overnight, it may seem that way but in actuality, it builds over time presenting many symptoms along the way which can be broken down into physical and behavioral components.

Physical Signs of Addiction 

  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Itching
  • Sniffling
  • Injection marks
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Changes in skin color, pallor
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Atypical or unusual body odors
  • Issues with sleeping, getting either too much or too little
  • Poor hygiene
  • Looking generally unkempt and increasingly disregarding physical appearance

 

Behavioral Signs of Addiction 

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lethargy and lack of motivation
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Paranoia
  • Lying
  • Borrowing money
  • Change in habits and more secretive about what they’re doing
  • Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • Engaging in more dangerous, risky and possibly even criminal activity
  • Missing curfew
  • Neglecting responsibilities at school or work

If you’re noticing more and more of these signs and symptoms, it very well could be time for you to consider drug rehab for young adults. There’s no harm in learning more about how rehab can help and seeking information from experts on the next steps to take.

How a Drug Rehab for Young Adults Can Help Your Teen Find Recovery

Once you’ve identified a potential issue with drugs or alcohol, it’s time to seek solutions and among the best options available to you and your teen is rehab.

Why?

Because that’s the sole purpose of it; it’s dedicated and specialized treatment for addiction under the care and guidance of trained and licensed professionals.

Your inclination as a parent might be to scold your kid, get angry and confrontational about their drug or alcohol use. That’s just not helpful though because addiction is a disorder of the mind and that type of reaction could have the opposite effect and further cement their behavior.

It’s worth defining addiction here to understand another reason how rehab, in particular, can be incredibly helpful. According to NIDA, addiction is “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control”.

There’s more to undoing that than just a stern talking-to.

Rehab allows your teen to work through the issues that led them to substances in the first place and equips them with new tools and coping mechanisms to be able to overcome those same situations in the future, but in a healthy way.

If you’re worried about your child, give us a call at Footprints of Serenity and we can help you find the treatment option that’s right for them. 

What Are the Alternatives to 12 Step Programs in Addiction Recovery?

What are the alternatives to 12 step programs in addiction recovery?

12 step programs and addiction recovery seem like they go hand in hand, to the point that you almost might think it’s required to be a part of one in order to successfully stay sober.

Developed and started by Alcoholics Anonymous well over half a century ago, the twelve steps have truly been revelatory for many and have indeed helped countless men and women, millions over the years, stick with their recovery.

That said, it’s not ideal for everyone and that’s fair enough. Not everyone likes the same flavor of ice cream, after all. Certain aspects might not click for each person in recovery, the religious and spiritual parts of it, for example, may turn people off. Another big factor that may strike people as negative, or that they object to, is that 12 step programs require an admittance that you’re powerless over addiction (it’s the first of the steps).

Again, that’s not to say AA isn’t a fine program for some. 

Fortunately, there are alternatives to 12 step programs for those that are seeking them.

SMART Recovery

Whereas the 12 steps have a higher power at the core, SMART Recovery is rooted in science. An acronym, SMART stands for “Self-Management And Recovery Training” and, like AA or NA, is a global community of support groups.

Rather than 12 steps, SMART operates on a 4-point program:

  1. Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Coping with Urges
  3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
  4. Living a Balanced Life

They add, “our science-based approach emphasizes self-empowerment and self-reliance. There’s no lifetime commitment; you decide when the time is right to move on. You choose how to personalize your own plan for successful change”.

Refuge Recovery

While Refuge Recovery is inspired and informed by Buddhist ideas, it’s a non-theistic program. Moreover, you don’t have to be well versed in Buddhism, or know it at all, to get the benefits of what they offer.

Refuge Recovery is rooted in the idea that “Buddhists commit to the path of awakening by taking refuge in three things: awakening (Buddha), truth (Dharma), and community (Sangha)”.

Additionally, it incorporates the Buddhist concepts of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Four Noble Truths

  1. Addiction creates suffering
  2. The cause of addiction is repetitive craving
  3. Recovery is possible
  4. The path to recovery is available

Eightfold Path

  1. Understanding
  2. Intentions
  3. Speech/community
  4. Actions
  5. Livelihood/service
  6. Effort
  7. Mindfulness
  8. Concentration

The recovery program includes meetings, meditation, mentorship, and retreats.

Non 12 Step Rehabs

Some rehabs are fully committed to the 12 step cause, and that’s OK. If the ideology and principles of the 12 step program don’t gel with thought, you don’t have to go to a rehab where that’s the cornerstone, quite frankly.

The point of rehab is to do what works best for you.

If you’re uncomfortable with any part of it, it stands to reason that you’ll be reluctant to commit wholeheartedly because of that inherent skepticism. Without total commitment, whatever program you choose won’t be nearly as effective. It can’t be.

Non 12 step rehabs, like their 12 step counterparts, start with detox and from there move into evidence-based approaches to treatment that are personalized to your particular needs.

These mainly focus on various types of psychotherapy or talk therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with the aim being to get to the root cause of why you started using substances in the first place. The emphasis is on empowering you to change your way of thinking and behavior rather than the notion that overcoming addiction is beyond your reach or control.

If you’re on the fence about 12 steps or non 12 step options, give us a call at Footprints of Serenity and we can talk you through them both in more depth.

Find a Drug Addiction Intervention Specialist in Los Angeles Today

How to find a Intervention Specialist in Los Angeles near me

Addiction is stubborn.

That’s sort of an obvious statement but it’s true nonetheless and a core reason why many who need treatment, don’t seek it.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) points out;

  • In 2015, an estimated 2.3 million people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year. This number represents 10.8 percent of the 21.7 million people who needed substance use treatment in the past year.
  • Among the estimated 19.3 million people aged 12 or older who were classified as needing but not receiving substance use treatment at a specialty facility, about 18.4 million or 95.4 percent did not think that they needed treatment in the past year for their substance use.

In other words, only around 11% of people sought rehab. As you see, addiction is stubborn.

What can be done then to help get your loved one the treatment they so clearly need?

An intervention.

What Is a Drug Addiction Intervention?

An intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

It involves several respected and loved people close to the addict gathering to confront a person, in a non-threatening and non-aggressive way, to lay bare the depths of suffering that their addiction is causing themselves and their friends and family.

The idea is to hold a mirror to drug use and show them the effects. Similar to the  TV show “Intervention”, you won’t want to let your loved one know about the intervention beforehand. If they do know about it, they most likely won’t want to attend or will go into it with their guard up.

The goal is to get them to commit to receiving help in the form of rehab and to that end, another critical element is the consequences and ultimatums that must be followed through on should your loved one refuse treatment.

How an Intervention Specialist in Los Angeles Will Help Your Loved One Get Sober

An intervention isn’t just having a quick chat, suggesting rehab, having your loved ones accept, and dropping them off.

As you most likely know very well by this point, it’s hard to convince someone who doesn’t think they have a problem to fix it. There can be rampant denialism that’s wrapped up in addiction and often discussions about drug use become contentious, accusatory, and ultimately counterproductive. Serving only to further cement the use of drugs or alcohol.

Therefore, attempting an intervention without professional guidance is generally asking for trouble.

A trained interventionist understands this and works with you and the rest of those who will be participating in the intervention to develop a plan of action. In fact, they’ll help you form the most effective and convincing “team” with which to confront your loved one.

Once in preparation, you may find you don’t know exactly what to say, an experienced interventionist can assist you in developing the messaging that will truly connect and hit home, as well as help you create meaningful consequences if they refuse care.

Additionally, there’s the important task of making arrangements with a treatment center. An interventionist can ensure you cover all the bases in finding one that truly is a good fit for your family member or friend. 

Most importantly, they’ll be there on the day of the intervention to guide and lead it. It can be a tense, overwhelming and fraught meeting and for those who are unprepared for the torrent of emotions or haven’t been through it before – which is almost everyone – it can be hard to get through. 

Let Footprints of Serenity Guide You Through the Intervention Process

Working with someone who’s been there many times before, an intervention specialist in Los Angeles, means you can rely on their steady guidance to get everyone through it and with maximum impact.

If you think your loved one may be at the breaking point and that an intervention could be effective, reach out to us at Footprints of Serenity to learn more.

 

Heroin Interventions: Tactics and Approaches

Heroin Interventions: Tactics and Approaches

Watching a loved one suffer from heroin addiction, or addiction to any substance, is a wrenching and crushing thing to bear witness to. There’s a certain helplessness that comes with it because it feels totally out of your control.

Heroin is an opioid so make no mistake, it’s no easy task for someone who’s using to just up and quit on their own.

We all know the horrors of the ongoing opioid epidemic and the staggering death toll from 1999 to 2018 brings it into stark relief. Around 450,000 Americans died in that stretch and with respect to heroin specifically, more than 115,000 died from overdoses related to it in that nearly 20-year time span. 

In 2017 alone, 652,000 people suffered from a heroin use disorder in the United States.

The potency and highly addictive nature of the drug means heroin is something that very quickly takes over and lays waste to a person’s life. 

And while the ultimate choice of committing to rehab boils down to the user reaching a tipping point, or to put it more bluntly, hitting rock bottom, there are things that you can do. Things that remain in your control.

A particularly powerful option, that’s far more proactive rather than reactive, is staging an intervention.

It’s an intimidating thought, no doubt, but it’s not something you need to handle on your own. More on that in a moment though.

What Is an Intervention?

There may be many ways to organize an intervention but the overarching theme is that an intervention is a deliberate process by which change is introduced into an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The overall objective of an intervention is to confront a person in a non-threatening way, allowing them to see their self-destructive behavior, and how they affect themselves, family and friends.

The sheer gravity and weight of turning a mirror on someone’s behavior, especially when the people holding the mirror are their closest family and friends, can’t be understated. For that reason alone, an intervention can be an extremely persuasive and potent motivator to finally nudge someone enough to get the help they well and truly need.

How to Stage A Heroin Intervention

Staging any intervention, let alone a heroin intervention, takes careful thought and planning. Something like this can’t be thrown together haphazardly or at the last minute. Doing so is a surefire way to diminish the effectiveness of the process.

So, everything starts with a plan and contacting a professional interventionist makes things easier by leaps and bounds. You’re already consumed with the state of your loved one and juggling the ins and outs of an intervention is another heavy burden to add to your shoulders. A specialist can help immeasurably.

From here you’d get the intervention team together, i.e., who is going to participate in the intervention itself. You’ll discuss the specifics of time and place as well as making sure you have the structure of the day itself cemented.

One of the more difficult aspects of the planning phase, if not the most difficult part, is coming up with consequences. These ultimatums can be genuinely heart wrenching to even ponder because they’re quite literally the last thing you’d want to do. Unfortunately, for an intervention to achieve its desired result, which is getting your loved one into treatment, there needs to be real, set in stone and tangible consequences to declining treatment.

Get Help With an Intervention Today

Staging an intervention is something no one dreams of doing, it’s a stressful and tough process but the circumstances dictate our action and sometimes an intervention is the best course to take if you’ve exhausted all other options. In the end, the goal is always to get your brother, mother, sister, father or friend on the path to recovery and free them from the shackles of addiction.

At Footprints of Serenity, we can help you and your family through the entire process, from planning to the intervention itself and through to family aftercare. Give us a call and let us know how we can assist you.

What Is a Substance Abuse Disorder?

what is substance abuse

What is a substance use disorder? And how can I get help if I think I’m struggling with one? Here at the Footprints of Serenity, we feel it’s important to educate the public on what a substance use disorder is and how to treat one. Substance use disorders are often thought of as a lack of self control, which isn’t true. Addiction and substance use disorders go beyond the scope of “being lazy” or not wanting to stop just because. 

 

Substance Use Disorder Definition

According to the National Institute of Health, a substance can be defined as any type of psychoactive compound. This substance can cause health and social problems that include addiction (NIH). The substance can be legal such as alcohol, nicotine, tobacco, or illegal such as  cocaine, cannabinoids, heroin, etc. The substance can also be controlled which basically means prescribed for medical purposes (such as vicodin, oxycontin, benzodiazepines, etc.). 

Any of these substances, including many more, can be used in high doses and inappropriately, which can lead to different health and social problems. This misuse of these substances can be repeated in higher doses, and can cause all kinds of problems and diagnosable illnesses. This is called substance use disorder. Substance abuse disorder is when an individual misuses a substance to the point where it becomes an addiction with health consequences.  

 

Different Types of Substance Use Disorders

There are many different types of substance use disorders that stem from many different substances. Substance abuse can contribute to co-occurring disorders, substance-induced disorders, and much more. According to the National Institute of Health, there are toxic effects that stem from substances which can mimic mental illness, so it is difficult to distinguish substance abuse from mental illness at some points. Below we have provided some of the substances and how they contribute to substance abuse disorder.

 

  • Alcohol – Individuals who suffer from alcohol abuse experience things such as euphoria, decreased impulse control, and even increase social confidence. Some of these symptoms may seem to be “hypomanic” (NIH). But these hypomanic symptoms are often followed with things such as fatigue, nausea, and a hangover (otherwise known as dysphoria) (NIH). As time goes on the addiction will get worse and will lead to agitation, anxiety, hyperreflexia, violence, and so much more.
  • Caffeine – Although caffeine isn’t the worst thing to be addicted to, when consumed in large quantities it can cause mild to moderate anxiety. Caffeine can also cause a number of panic attacks in individuals who are predisposed to them (NIH).
  • Cocaine and Amphetamines – At first these drugs may help an individual to experience things such as euphoria, a sense of well-being, and even increased thought or strength. But as time moves on and doses increase, the chance of dangerous impulsive behaviors increase as well (NIH). These dangerous behaviors include things such as violence, promiscuous sexual activity, and temporary paranoid delusional states.
  • Hallucinogens – These drugs help individuals to produce visual distortions and hallucinations. Hallucinogens are also associated with drug-induced panic, delusional states, and paranoia. Individuals who partake in hallucinogens may also experience chronic disorders and reactions such as, depression, exacerbation of pre-existing mental disorders, and flashbacks (NIH).
  • Opioids – At first opioids can cause an intense euphoria and sense of well-being. As a drug gets more and more abused individuals will experience things such as severe body aches, agitation, gastrointestinal systems, cravings, and dysphoria (NIH).
  • Nicotine – individuals who seem to be dependent on nicotine are more likely to experience depression than those who are not addicted to it (NIH). Although correlation doesn’t equal causation.

 

The above mentioned are a few of the substances that can be misused and abused. However this does not mean that an individual can not overcome these substances. Substance use disorder is most certainly treatable. It is important to be positive and remember that these substances are not who you are. Anyone can overcome something as long as they put in the effort and are willing to get better and to succeed in the process. Remember that recovery is not an end point but it is a lifelong journey that leads to so much more satisfaction.

 

How to Get Help With a Substance Use Disorder

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for a substance use disorder treatment. There has been evidence that shows that some people have a genetic predisposition to substance abuse disorders, co-occurring disorders, and mental health disorders. Some individuals’ environment gives them a higher risk for substance disorders as well. 

 

It’s important that those suffering from substance use disorders receive treatment as soon as possible. It is also important that these individuals have a secure and healthy support system. There are support groups not only for individuals but also for the whole family, this may improve the treatment effectiveness because every family member is supporting this person while being on the same level as this person. It is important for friends and family members to connect with the individual who is suffering from a substance use disorder, and help them to get treatment and to stay sober. Finding treatment is crucial within the recovery process. There are many different treatments that an individual can go through including inpatient and outpatient treatment.

 

Let Footprints of Serenity Help You

Reach out to use today at  Footprints of Serenity for more information regarding substance use disorder. Were dedicated to helping any and all suffering from addiction. Our staff is a team of experts who understand the ins and outs of addiction. Our services include drug interventions, recovery companion, recovery coach, relapse prevention, detox placement, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we’re here to help.