Archive for September, 2009

Recovery Month 2009 Comes To An End

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Today is the last day of September, representing, among many things, the end of this year’s Recovery Month. Over the past month, we shared different personal stories of alcohol and drug addiction and recovery. Some were better-known stories than others, others simply from better-known storytellers; we had stories of long-lasting sobriety and others of multiple attempts at sobriety.

Most importantly though, all were deeply personal and shared in the spirit of healing through honesty.

As Recovery Month comes to a close, we would like to hear from you. What did you do to celebrate your or your loved one’s recovery throughout the month?

What will you do to commemorate the final day?

New Poll Suggests Americans Willing to Include Addiction Treatment in Health Care Reform

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A new poll released this month suggests that Americans on both sides of the aisle support including addiction treatment in health care reforms. Furthermore, a great majority of Americans polled are willing to pay to make treatment options more affordable and accessible.

The poll, sponsored by the Open Society Institute for Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative who advocates accessible addiction treatment options, found that Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike agree that treatment is an effective, ongoing process. Furthermore, the poll shows that:

  • 77% of Americans support including addiction treatment in health care reform
  • 69% support paying $2 more a month in health insurance premiums in order to make addiction treatment more affordable, and thus accessible
  • 47% report having an inadequate number of affordable, quality treatment options in their community
  • 49% reported that they could not afford the costs of treatment if they or a family member required help

Of those polled who knew or knows someone who has looked for addiction treatment, 46% reported difficulty finding affordable, quality services.

According to Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap’s statistics, 23 million Americans are currently struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. They estimate that only one in ten receive addiction treatment, largely due to the high costs and lack of insurance coverage.

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Teen Substance Abuse: Family Dinners Are the Key

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

According to new report released Wednesday, September 23 2009, by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are, overall, more likely to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

The Importance of Family Dinners V is part of the Center’s Back to School Survey.

CASA reports that teens with infrequent family dinners, qualified as less than five times a week, compared t0 teens who do sit down to family dinners five or more times per week, are:

  • 1.5 times more likely to drink
  • 2 times more likely to smoke tobacco
  • 2 times more likely to use pot
  • about 2 times more likely to acquire prescription drugs and marijuana within an hour, suggesting regular drug purchasing and/or use
  • 2 times more likely to expect to try drugs in the future
  • 2 times more likely to have friends that use marijuana or ecstasy
  • more than 1.5 times more likely to have friends that drink, abuse prescription drugs, and use methamphetamine
  • almost 1.5 times more likely to have friends that use cocaine, acid, and heroin

Furthermore, the study looked at frequent family dinners without distractions versus infrequent family dinners with distractions, and found that teens are three times more likely to smoke pot and tobacco, and two and a half times likelier to drink alcohol when having infrequent, distracted family dinners. Distractions were categorized as talking on cell phones, texting, blackberry and other smart phones, laptops, and Game Boys or other hand held devices.

“The emotional and social benefits that come from family dinners are priceless,” said Elizabeth Planet, Vice President and Director of Special Projects at CASA, in a press statement. The key is clearly parental engagement in a teen’s everyday life, and active family dinners are a fantastic opportunity to create this dynamic.

Family Members Suffer From Addiction Too

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Addiction isn’t an individual problem. Addiction affects an entire community, both from a macro perspective and micro. As we have previously discussed on the Heritage Home Sobriety Blog, addiction affects every member of the addicts Unit–that inner sanctum populated by those who love you unconditionally.

Brothers, sisters, parents, lovers, wives, husbands, friends, colleagues are all affected by your addiction. And you, in turn, are effected by them–their denial, pain, and, at times, even their support.

And while you seek help for your addiction, by entering into an addiction treatment program or attending a 12-step meeting, often times members of your Unit don’t feel they need to get involved in the process. Here are 8 reasons why, according to Carole Bennett, published on The Huffington Post:

  1. Embarrassment and shame. People may view them as bad parents unable to “control” their husbands, wives’ or children’s behavior. Irresponsible upbringing of the children or disrespect to the spouse. The shame of it all with tongues wagging and fingers pointing behind their backs; too embarrassed to admit such a problem to anyone!

  2. Private. It’s nobody’s business. They don’t air their dirty laundry. They will work this out as a family in the privacy of their own home.
  3. Denial. He/she isn’t in trouble at work or with his/her home life or with the law, so things aren’t that bad. It’s just a passing phase, nothing to worry about. Everyone needs an outlet or escape these days. It’s how he or she unwinds from a tough day.
  4. Lazy. Someone else will handle the problem. The other spouse will deal with the child, the other sibling will deal with the parent, or this friend will deal with that friend.
  5. Not wanting to make waves. Doesn’t want to be punished or scolded for bringing up such a volatile issue. Discomfort in the possibility of being denied love or security. Peace at all cost…no matter what that cost is.
  6. Their child or spouse or friend is “doing better”. A few days of “normal” behavior and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. They’ve turned a corner, the worst is over; or so they desperately want to believe.
  7. The alcoholic/addict has promised they will get help and please trust them, as all will be fine. A couple of AA meetings or even professional counseling; looks good and there is another sigh of relief; until the next incident.
  8. Frightened. How involved do I really want/have to be? If the friend or family member seeks professional guidance, then they are now enmeshed and have to work on their part of the recovery and not just sit back and wait for their loved one to take action on their own. Old behaviors that have permeated the family member or friend have to now give way to different thinking and actions. Fear of not being able to follow through with new boundaries and expectations coupled with the fear of anger and rejection from their loved one; the alcoholic/addict.

At Heritage Home, we mediate family counselling or therapy sessions, interventions, and actively involve all loved ones. To heal you, your circle needs to heal.

Untreated Addiction Epidemic

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Building on a SAMHSA’s earlier report, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data, the director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative reports that untreated addiction has reached pandemic levels in the United States.

Although the SAMHSA survey found that both prescription drug and methamphetamine abuse declined in the US in 2008, the overall rate of drug and alcohol abuse remained steady. Declines in some drugs were offset by an increase in popularity of other drugs–marijuana and hallucinogens in particular.

According to the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative, however, as recently published on, only 1 in 10 of the 23 million alcohol and drug addicts in the United States enter into an addiction treatment centre. This sad discrepancy is due most commonly to the inability to pay for treatment.

Access to affordable addiction treatment options, whether through the federal public health insurance plan or by some other means, is a necessary step in addressing this public health issue. Clearly, a punitive-stance on drug abuse and addiction does not result in recovery. In fact, overall, it breeds further substance abuse and cyclical incarceration. In this time of the healthcare reform debate, addiction treatment, which has been grossly overlooked, must be addressed. Now is a chance for substantial change.

“Ignoring any disease — be it addiction, diabetes or hypertension — is bad medicine and should not be an option in today’s healthcare system. Addiction treatment should be fully covered by all insurance plans,” says Victor Capoccia, director of the initiative.

The initiative actively advocates for addiction treatment programs to be covered by health insurance coverage, be it private or public.