Every year, thousands of white-collar professionals enter treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs. In treatment they are taught new skills for living productive and fulfilled lives without mind-altering substances. After completing a 30- to 90-day inpatient program, possibly with some additional time in a less restrictive sober living community, they return to work.
In their absence, not much has changed back at the office; the expectations and associated stress have continued without a break. These newly sober professionals are inserted back into a culture from where they came and where they drank.
I finally broke down and watched the movie Frozen. I just don’t have any compelling reasons to watch Disney these days, with no kids under 10 in my household. So it took me a while to get around to it.
Of course, I’d heard the hit song during and after the Academy Awards (who could have missed all the chatter about Travolta’s gaffe with Idina Menzel’s name?). Quite honestly, the song just didn’t do that much for me.
High-functioning alcoholics might be one of the most dangerous types. They often are in denial about their alcoholism. They don’t realize how hard their drinking is on family members and friends, and since they seem to function normally, they don’t see a problem with it.
High-functioning alcoholics do not fit the “drunk” stereotype. They might reason that because they go to work and school, interact with their family, manage a household, and fulfill their everyday responsibilities, they can’t possibly have an alcohol problem.
Tonight in my CoDA meeting we read from Step Ten of Melody Beattie’s book Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps. I highly recommend this book if you are serious about getting your head in the right place. It’s a great place to start.
What struck me this evening was this paragraph:
I kept trying to forgive [addicts] for [their addictions] when I was still allowing myself to be victimized by their [behavior]. I kept substituting forgiveness and denial for acceptance of reality. I had concepts confused.
It is well established that when a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Less is documented about the reality of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms from love and sex addiction, yet they are no less real.
I see clients who are in withdrawal from love addiction and are struggling with symptoms indicative of a very real physical and emotional experience.
Have you ever eaten “comfort foods” to calm yourself down? What about ice cream when feeling sad or depressed? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, does the thought of eating chocolate cake after already eating a meal stress you out with anxiety about your body? According to neuroscience, there is a reason for it.
Like cancer survivors, they simply stay in remission for the duration of their lives. There is always a person, place, or thing in their horizon promising them the way to the land of unicorns and fairies, a detour from the painful stuff of life.
Many of us have an uncomfortable relationship with our feelings. We might stuff down our sadness or sweep away our anger. We might even have trouble identifying what we’re feeling in the first place.
This isn’t surprising. According to psychotherapist Joyce Marter, LCPC, we’re socialized to mask our feelings. We learn that we must cover up our emotions “in order to behave appropriately, professionally, and to avoid conflict and navigate relationships.”
America has been recognizing May as Mental Health Month since 1949. During the month of May, mental health organizations work together with other community members to raise awareness about mental health issues. But the question remains: What else can be done to raise much-needed mental health awareness?
While a month dedicated to mental health is a nice start, it’s a start that occurred in 1949. In any given day, our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers may be suffering from mental health challenges of which they are unaware. As a result, the nation is in a crisis due to the numerous tragedies occurring in school settings.
Just over a year ago, I wrote about the curious marketing of addiction treatment centers online, which used what I believed to be deceptive marketing practices.
The email that arrived on Oct. 2, 2013 piqued my curiosity yet again. It was promoting a self-made infographic about “porn addicted” communities online. It came from a website called “Project Know.”
Sounds interesting, right?
The email started my second investigation into the seedy underbelly of the online marketing practices of rehab and addiction treatment centers. You know the ones, as you’ve probably seen at least one of their advertisements on TV, too.