Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Archive for the ‘Alcoholism’ Category

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Ideally everyone’s experience during and after rehab will involve being surrounded by people you can count on and trust. It is very important to have effective mentors and a support network of individuals who give you guidance and useful advice. But there are times when your mentors and friends are themselves struggling with their sobriety and might falter.

Being in an environment where you are around other people who have also had problems with addiction can be uplifting in many ways. You can relate to one another in a way that you would not with someone who has never had an issue with alcohol or drugs. However, the reality with this situation is that some of the people who are helping you can relapse.

When your sober companion, mentor or friend in your support group relapses, it does not mean that you won’t be able to stay strong in your own sobriety. It might be a step back for you but you can still get back on track and prevent this unfortunate situation from affecting your recovery. The best thing you can do is provide your help and support for them and understand that what they are experiencing must be very difficult.

Putting a Relapse into Perspective

Although you might feel disappointed, betrayed and upset by your sober companion’s mistake it is important to realize that the situation has nothing to do with you. Their relapse does not mean that they don’t care about your recovery or that the things they have taught you were not useful. You are also not in any way to blame for their failure to remain sober, it has to do with their own personal situation outside of your relationship.

One of the most important things to focus on when a friend relapses is to not let it affect your resolve. It can be painful and scary to see someone you were relying on for support to slip back into their addictive habits. But it is necessary to keep in mind that just because they are going through this it doesn’t mean that you will.

It might be easy to jump to the conclusion that because your sober companion was not able to maintain their sobriety then you probably won’t make it either. This of course is not true in any way and you must remind yourself that one person’s failure does not reflect every type of recovery experience. People have their own personal problems to deal with that can affect their ability to stay sober and each individual has a unique recovery journey.

When thinking about your sober companion’s relapse try not to get completely discouraged by the events that have taken place. Addiction and sobriety can shift and fluctuate, even for people that have been sober for a long time. Try your best to remain optimistic both for yourself and your friend’s situation.

Finding Extra Support and Help

The most effective action to take after a sober companion relapses is to find someone else who can help and support you through the situation. Go to a group meeting and tell them about what has taken place. They can give you advice and guidance about what to do under the circumstances and some may have even experienced the same problem.

Try not to be too disappointed in your sober companion that it prevents you from looking for another mentor, sober buddy or sponsor. Just because this particular friend did not provide the good role model that you need does not mean that someone else can’t do that for you. You might feel disillusioned but when you find someone else you can trust it will help you resolve those feelings and move on.

Make sure to continue with whatever treatment program or aftercare you are currently involved in. The crucial thing to do in this time is not to give up on the sober routine that you already have in place that has kept you on track. Continue attending your group meetings, therapy sessions or any other activities you have as part of your recovery schedule.

It is important to have someone to talk to about what happened and your feelings about it. If you are currently seeing a therapist then discuss the situation with them or someone you are close to who is also in recovery. You will need to work through your emotions and process the event in  order to move on.

Everyone goes through various trials and disappointments throughout their recovery experience. Having a sober companion relapse does not mean that you won’t be successful in remaining sober. You can still have an effective recovery and bounce back from this setback.

If you need extra support try to contact a therapist, recovery group or a new sober coach for help.  

Substance Abuse and Consent

Posted on: December 10th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Substance Abuse and Consent

Sexual misconduct can occur in situations where lines become blurred due to alcohol or other drugs being abused. When someone is intoxicated it can be difficult to determine whether they are consenting to sexual behavior or if they are being taken advantage of in their compromised state. In many cases, a person may be so incapacitated by drugs or alcohol that they are not aware of what is happening to them and have not given their full consent.

Substance abuse can make the concept of consent very complicated because it can alter the mental state of both parties. There are many difficult questions to consider when alcohol or drugs are involved in a sexual encounter. How drunk is too drunk to consent to sex and how do you know when someone is too intoxicated to give consent?

There are a number of reasons why substance abuse can cause issues with consent. For one thing, when someone is very intoxicated they are less able to communicate clearly and may not be able to get their feelings about a situation understood. On the other hand, alcohol and drugs can also make people more likely to disregard messages they’re being sent and make them determined to get one thing they are focused on.

It is important for people who are intoxicated to be able to have conversations about the situation and communicate what they want or don’t want to occur. Consent means that both parties know and understand that the other person is willing to have sex. If someone is incapacitated in any way and this communication doesn’t take place then it could mean that consent was never given and sexual assault has occurred.

Too Intoxicated to Give Consent

Legally a person is considered to be unable to provide consent if they are “incapacitated” by drugs and alcohol. However, the definition of being “incapacitated” can vary depending on the circumstances and individual interpretation of what that means or looks like. In some places, someone is only legally considered incapacitated if they are completely passed out and unconscious due to their drug or alcohol use.

Some states look at the situation differently depending on whether the person is “voluntarily incapacitated” meaning that they willingly took alcohol or drugs versus whether they were unknowingly drugged. Some even require prosecution to prove that the defendant knew that the victim was incapacitated in order to consider it a crime. In many places it can be difficult to prove that someone was incapacitated if they were not completely blacked out, vomiting, or unable to walk.

These issues can be especially problematic on college campuses when many of these types of situations occur on a regular basis. The culture of the school and their interpretation of being too intoxicated can mean that colleges handle sexual assault cases very differently. Students themselves have their own different interpretation of how drunk is too drunk making it very confusing to understand what consent means.

Making Sure that Consent has Taken Place

Whenever there is some type of substance abuse involved with a partner, it can make it much harder to determine if you have consent and it can make it harder to give consent. Because the legal definition can be complicated and confusing, communication is very important in any sexual encounter involving substance use. Talking to each other is the only way to ensure that someone is not getting involved in a situation that they don’t want and don’t consent to take place.

It is important to check in with a person repeatedly if they seem very intoxicated to make sure that they are okay with what is happening and that they consent to sex. If you yourself are drunk or are on drugs, make sure to check in with yourself and how you are reacting to the situation.
Are you okay with it? Do you still want to do this? Do you need a break?

Each partner needs to ensure that the other has clearly communicated their needs and is able to give verbal consent. Even if they say yes, make sure to check in the next day and see if they feel okay about what happened. Keep communication open before and after the encounter to be a hundred percent certain that there was mutual consent.

If at any point during a situation where a person is intoxicated and there seems to be any doubt about what is going on then make sure to stop it before things go too far. If your partner seems confused or is sending mixed messages then don’t do it. Even more so if they are unable to communicate coherently or aren’t sober enough to fully understand what is going on then don’t continue.

There are many cases where someone can be intoxicated and still offer their consent but it is a good idea to be very cautious and make sure there is no doubt about the situation.

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

Posted on: November 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

When someone close to you is dealing with an addiction it can be hard to find a way to cope with it. No one wants to intrude in someone’s personal life or tell them that they are making bad choices especially if you have a complicated history with them. When a family member has an addiction, everyone around them may know that something is wrong but they simply don’t know what to say or do to help them.

As you witness an addict’s behavior it may be painful to watch and it may even harm your family. When no one chooses to confront the person, their addiction becomes the elephant in the room. It is something that is on everyone’s mind but no one dares to speak up about the situation in spite of what they are going through.

Although it may be difficult and uncomfortable to bring up the subject, talking to an addict about their behavior and how it affects others is an important job. Without some perspective about their substance abuse they may continue to go down a path of denial and retreat further into their addiction. Instead of continuing to avoid dealing with the problem, family members who feel genuine concern should make a plan to talk to the addict and get them some help.

Leaving an addict alone to continue their abuse is dangerous for their health and well-being. It is only a matter of time before an addiction starts to impact their job, their physical and mental health and their relationships. Getting an addict help early on can help prevent some of the negative consequences that often occur when people are left to their own devices.

Understanding a Family Member’s Problem

Before you decide to speak with your family member, it is a good idea to research addiction and learn as much as you can. You can look into the signs and symptoms of addiction to a particular substance and see if you notice any of them in your loved one. Observe their behavior closely and try to evaluate them objectively before you choose to confront them about their abuse.

You can also share your observations with other family members and close friends to see what their insight is into their problem. They may have a different understanding of the disease and have an idea of how to approach things. If everyone agrees that they need to get help for the person then you might reach out to a substance abuse professional for more information about what to do.

In the process of dealing with a family member’s addiction, it is important first of all to take care of yourself and make sure that you are emotionally stable. When you have more clarity and awareness about the situation it will be easier to handle whatever issues come up with your loved one. Talk to a therapist about what you have been going through with the addict and about your decision to get help for them.

How to Talk to an Addict

Is Your Family Member’s Addiction the Elephant in the Room?

When you feel ready to discuss the issue and address the elephant in the room you need to be careful when you approach the subject. If you are in a good place yourself and are able to express real concern and love rather than anger or resentment then you are more likely to be successful in the discussion. Although you might be frightened of the consequences in bringing up the problem, if you are well-prepared the conversation might actually be quite productive.

There are certain guidelines to follow when talking to a person with an addiction. Firstly, never talk to them when they are under the influence but instead wait for a moment when they are sober and can take in everything you are saying. You should wait for a good time to talk to them when you are both alone and not busy so that you can spend some time discussing things.

It is a good idea to emphasize how much you care about this person and that you only want the best for them. Try to avoid being judgemental or condescending so that they don’t become defensive. Use open ended questions so that the conversation is a dialogue and they don’t feel that they are being lectured.

By the end of the conversation you can try to discern if you have made some progress with them. If they seem open to it you can suggest treatment or support group meetings that might help them. If they seem like they are not ready to confront their problem then you can regroup and perhaps stage an intervention at a later time.

If you are not sure how to approach a discussion with an addict then you can talk to a substance abuse professional about what strategies may be the best to take.

Are Holidays the Right Time to Stage an Intervention?

Posted on: November 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Are Holidays the Right Time to Stage an Intervention?

The holidays are a time when family reunites and though they might enjoy their time together they also must deal with unresolved conflict in some cases. Families who are concerned about someone’s alcohol or drug use might wonder if they can use the holidays as an opportunity to reach out to them. As long as it is planned thoughtfully and carefully, there is no reason why you can’t stage an intervention during the holidays.

In fact, the holidays may present a prime opportunity to talk to someone about their substance abuse. The family may already be worried about how to handle this person’s drinking at family gatherings or consider not inviting them at all. Instead of avoiding the problem or pretending it isn’t there for the sake of getting through the holiday, it may be time to deal with the issue head on.

An intervention during the holidays makes sense for a number of reasons. The family is already gathered together including relatives that live far away and whose presence may have more of an impact on the addict. Having lots of family members around can create more awareness about the addict’s behavior when they see how problematic their substance abuse has become.

Interventions always work best when there is a group of people present who have genuine concern and want to provide positive support for the individual struggling with addiction. A bigger group of loving family members who want the best for their niece/nephew, grandchild, cousin, etc will make the intervention more meaningful. Strong family bonds can help break through the thought process of the addict and help them see that they need treatment.

How to Organize an Intervention

The important thing to keep in mind when you are considering an intervention is that it must be thoroughly planned beforehand to prevent any problems from coming up. A poorly planned intervention can leave the situation unchanged or even cause the issue to become worse. Give yourself ample time to start working on the intervention and contacting everyone that you want to include before the holidays come up.

The first step in staging an intervention is educating yourself on addiction and how to approach the conversation about their substance abuse. Gather as much information as you can so that you are not entering the situation blindly. Try to research their particular problem and the methods of treatment so that you know how to discuss the topic of getting help with them.

As you research and learn more about addiction you can start gathering people together who feel the same way as you do about the situation. Make sure to find people that you think can get through to the person but also confirm that they have a solid understanding of how to approach the problem as well. Avoid including anyone that has a lot of anger and resentment toward the addict and might create a highly charged scenario.

Once you have a group of people that you feel that you can trust with putting together an intervention, make sure that everyone is on the same page about what to say and how to talk to the addict. Set a date and location as well as a structured plan so that you feel confident about the group doing their best and succeeding in getting the person help. It might be a good idea to include some non-family members so that they can focus more on the facts of the situation and have less of an emotional response.

Getting Treatment for an Addict

The ultimate goal of any intervention is to make sure that the addict is able to admit that they have a problem and need to get treatment. Before the event takes place make sure that you research a local treatment center and can quickly get the person admitted to the program immediately after the intervention is complete. Waiting too long could result in the person changing their mind or continuing their abuse as they delay their treatment.

At the intervention you can present the addict with the treatment options you have researched beforehand. You can tell them about the treatment and ask them to accept on the spot so that there is no time wasted. Ideally, the addict will say yes to the treatment center and you can get them enrolled right away to complete their initial detox process.

If you are at all concerned about staging a successful intervention you can find a professional interventionist to help you with every phase of the process. They can assist you with setting up and completing an intervention during the holidays. Consulting with any addiction professional can help you ensure that your intervention will go smoothly and your loved one will get the help that they need.

Holiday Relapse and Why You Should Be Thinking About it Now

Posted on: October 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Holiday Relapse and Why You Should Be Thinking About it Now

Recovering from an addiction comes with many complications and struggles throughout the year but one of the toughest times for most sober people is the holidays. The few months between November and January can be some of the most difficult to get through because of the many parties, celebrations and gatherings that tend to involve alcohol. People who have quit drinking may feel especially tempted during this period of time because they have certain associations with the holidays and having drinks.

Another reason the holidays can cause people to be more vulnerable to relapse is that it can also be a stressful time of year. Worrying about shopping for gifts and spending time with family can be difficult especially if you have any dysfunctional family members who create more stress. Although the holidays are meant to produce feelings of togetherness, the reality is that many people actually feel more lonely and depressed.

Because of these factors, it is essential to prepare for the holidays in advance and have a plan in place to prevent holiday relapse. Even though you might be optimistic about how your recovery is going you may never know for sure how you will react during the holidays. You need to think about what the holidays will bring and create your own relapse prevention plan so that you are fully prepared for any difficult situations.

Prevention is Key During the Holidays

When you have a plan in place before the holidays you will feel more confident and prepared for any issue that might come up. Instead of feeling nervous and scared about how you will react at a holiday party or gathering, you will know what to do in any situation. Relapse will be much less of a possibility when you have a plan ready in advance.

The first step in creating a relapse prevention plan is thinking about how you will react and handle it when someone offers you a drink or asks why you don’t drink. It is inevitable that this situation will come up so you can rehearse and think about some answers beforehand that you will feel comfortable with.

There are different ways that people choose to handle being offered a drink but you can simply say “no thank you, I don’t drink”. This may be enough to shut down any other offers the rest of the night if people know that it is a deliberate choice. Be firm and avoid opening any doors that might make people want to convince you to have a beer with them later on.

If someone asks you why you are choosing not to drink, you don’t necessarily have to tell them you are in recovery if you don’t feel comfortable enough to share. You can prepare some answers that you think will make you feel okay with the conversation and will prevent any further prying. You can say for example that you quit for health reasons which is reasonable and in most cases is probably the truth on some level.

Create a Support System

Most people in recovery know how important it is to have a support system in place when you are struggling with temptation. This is especially the case during the holidays when many people feel isolated and under more stress than usual. It might be a good time to talk to your sober friends more often and ask for extra support.

If you are going to a party that you are particularly nervous about you always have the option of bringing a sober buddy with you. Being the only sober person at a party can feel very alienating and can drive you to want a drink again. Take a friend from your AA group so that you can support each other and get through the night safely.

It is always a good idea not to spend too much time alone when you are in recovery and particularly during the holidays. As part of your prevention plan, try to organize some activities and outings with friends that don’t involve alcohol. Activities with friends from your AA group will not only help you but also everyone else in your meetings that is having a hard time.

As part of your prevention plan make sure that you have the option to leave when you are in any situation that may endanger your sobriety. If you are at a party that feels overwhelming, then make sure you have your own car or arrange a ride home so that you don’t have to stay.

You don’t want to be in any situation that will trigger a relapse. As important as it is to challenge yourself, your highest priority should be staying sober. Practice self-care and focus on your goals so that you can stay on track throughout the holidays.