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Substance Abuse

Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking or drug use?
 Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking or drug use?
Hav you ever had a drink or used drugs first thing in the morning to "steady your nerves"?


Two positive responses indicates a clinical reason for concern; even one may indicate time to seek help.

People can use a variety of substances, both legal and illegal, for reasons ranging from recreation to addiction,. If use of substances is affecting your ability to work or to be a functioning member of your family, you are dealing with the problem of substance abuse, or maybe even dependence or addiction.  You need to look into solutions,.

There are many types of treatment programs available.  Some people need residential (live-in) treatment; for others, day programs are appropriate. In our area, each are available, including an outpatient program at St. Joseph's Behavioral Health (1-209-943-2000).

Still others find organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (www.aa.org) (AA, founded by Bill W.) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) to be very valuable in their recovery. (There are even Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Internet Anonymous (www.netaddiction.com), etc. -- all based on the "12-step" program). Many groups meet locally .Generally, you work with a sponsor as you move through the "steps".See also www.recoverybroadcastnetwork.net and www.well.com/user/woa.
I find that it is imperative to find a group you are comfortable with since each group has its own "flavor". There are groups for businessmen, gays and lesbians, or Christian women, so please look around for the right "fit".
The Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Desert caters to airline pilots and medical doctors, as well as movie stars. Obviously, substance issues reach across all socioeconomic groups.

There are also "Al-Anon" groups for families and children of people dealing with a substance abuse program. A common issue for family members is co-dependency.  Probably the classic book here is Co-Dependency No More by Melody Beattie.

There is a lot of research recently in utilizing supplements in substance abuse treatment. See A New Prescription for Addiction by Richard Gracer, MD (his clinic is in Mill Valley, CA), Julia Ross, MFT, at www.moodcure.com (also in Mill Valley), and Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Larson, PhD. Apparently, it appears to take about 18 months for the brain to actually reset its neurotransmitters.

As a therapist, I can help you or a family member determine what method of treatment might be most useful, and I can make recommendations for locating an appropriate program.

After becoming clean and sober through an appropriate program, my role as a therapist is to help in the other areas of life that have been impacted by substance abuse. These could be, for example, marital or relationship problems, co-dependency issues, earlier abuse, or other trauma.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters (by Portia Nelson)
I. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in  the sidewalk.
I fall in... I am lost ...  I am helpless.
It is my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
II.  I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place, but it my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open, I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
IV. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
V. I walk down another street.