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Tiburon, CA 94920-1399
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Addiction Recovery Consulting: Real Life Question and Answers

The questions and answers below come from real life cases. Perhaps one resembles your situation. New questions and answers will be posted periodically. The quickest and most accurate way to answer questions concerning your situation is to call for information.

Q: My spouse gets abusive when drinking/drugging and I walk away feeling I am to blame, at least in part. Will marriage counseling help?

A:  No.  Quite probably your spouse suffers from chemical dependency or full blown addiction.  A short phone consultation will answer this question.  If your spouse suffers from this disease, counseling will not help until the dependency or addiction is treated.  Many people waste years and thousands of dollars on counseling before getting the help they need for the real problem, addiction.  Sadly, the disease advances during this time making it harder to treat and favorable outcomes less likely.

Q:  Is marijuana addicting?

A:  It can be.  All mood-altering chemicals are potentially addicting.  Marijuana has the reputation of being “benign” or “harmless”, in large part because it does not tend to cause the extreme mood swings other drugs cause.  Because of this, marijuana addiction often goes undetected and untreated for a long time.  A common symptom of marijuana addiction is lethargy where the user does not get things done or doesn’t mature.  Their life gets stuck in immaturity and all that surrounds it.  In the vast majority of cases, marijuana is not the only drug being consumed; alcohol, legal and illegal drugs often being used.  This allows a person to claim they are only smoking, drinking or using other drugs “a little”, but when you look at the whole picture there is a lot of drug usage going on. 

Q:  What kind of help is available for other addictions besides chemical dependency?

A:  Intervention, treatment and recovery are as available for other addictions/disorders as they are for chemical dependency.  Eating disorders, gambling, spending, work and sexual compulsivity, just to name a few, cause the same or similar problems to the person suffering with the disease and their families as chemical dependency.  Many of the patterns and characteristics are the same; denial, escalating consequences, despair and devastation.  Often these diseases co-exist with chemical dependency.  As with chemical dependency, early diagnosis, intervention and treatment are the goals.

Q:  What causes an alcoholic/addict to “hit bottom” and seek help?

A:  Consequences.  These are bad events occurring as a result of drinking/drug use.   The alcoholic/addict may not see these consequences for themselves, may deny them, or may not believe they are a result of drinking/drug use.  There is always a long string of consequences, often stretching back decades, but becoming closer together and more severe as the disease advances.  Hitting bottom is when consequences mount up fast and severe enough to force the alcoholic/addict to recognize the problem.  Often this does not happen before a very severe, “unrecoverable” consequence occurs.  This is avoidable if the family seeks professional help first.

Q:  My loved one has been a drug and alcohol user for a long time.  He always has problems, but they vary between marital, work, legal, relationships, health.  He claims these problems cause the drinking/drugging and when they are “fixed” he won’t drink/drug so much.  Is that true?

A:  No.  It is the other way around.  The drinking/drugging are the root of the problems.  It is impossible for him to see the connection and it confuses those around him.  In order to break through his denial (excuses), family and friends are the ones that seek professional help where they learn how to effectively help him.

Q:  My adult son is dual diagnosis.  He has no real job, is aimless.  Our family has tried everything to help him, but nothing works for long.  The family is now at odds with each other on what to do for him or even what the “real” problem is.  This is killing me.  What can we do?

A:  You and your family can learn about the diseases of addiction, dual diagnosis, co-dependency, why what you have done in the past has not worked and develop a workable plan of action to get out of this pain through a systemic workshop. 

Q: What is an Intervention?

The word “intervention” in this context means “a process by which the harmful affects of chemical dependency or addiction are interrupted and the chemically dependent person or addict is helped into treatment.” 

Every alcoholic or addict who begins the journey of recovery does so by way of interventionThere are no exceptions