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Beating Food and Sugar Addictions
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What is the key to beating food and sugar addictions?  How can a person limit themselves in ways that do not make them feel as if they are depriving themselves all the time?

It can be so hard to overcome an addiction because of this feeling that we are depriving ourselves.  It can be really frustrating to live when every day you are miserable because you are denying yourself the things that you really want.  How can a food addict or a sugar addict overcome this state of mind and find real recovery?

Well in the case of healthy eating there are a few suggestions that I have.  One is already a popular philosophy out there and that is to treat refined sugar like it is a drug that you must abstain from entirely.  This means that you would recoil from a piece of cake in the same that a heroin addict would recoil from a syringe that is loaded up with his favorite drug.

Brownies


 photo credit: Fabiana Loturco

So if you do this, then you deprive yourself of all refined sugars, and almost completely eliminate most carbs from your diet.  At first this will be depressing for most sugar addicts.  But if you stick with it and don’t cheat at all, then eventually your body will readjust and realize that you are not going to feed it the sugar that you crave.  You will stop craving sugar at that point as your body readjusts to your new diet.

Some people have found good success with this approach of treating sugar like a drug, while others cannot make it work for themselves.  Luckily, there are many different approaches to find a healthy diet and achieve your weight loss goals.

Another approach is to find some sort of diet and stick to it, such as those set up by weight watchers and such programs.  If you follow these types of programs down to a tee and do not cheat at all, you will get good results.  Of course, doing so is incredibly difficult, and most people will complain that they do not get big enough portions, or that they remain hungry all day, and so on.

I think there is something to be said for starting in a whole other direction, however, and using exercise as a means of redesigning your lifestyle.  How does this work?  Basically, you have to commit to daily exercise, and put it as a priority above everything else in your life.  Then, you have to push yourself to increase the intensity of that exercise over time.  If you do these two things, your life, your situation, and your addiction to sugar will get better.

Howe does this work?  Let’s say you start by walking.  Go outside and walk for 10 minutes away from your home.  Turn around and walk back.  Do this every single day, and keep increasing it, very slowly, over time.  I would say keep going until you can easily walk for an hour.  Then increase the pace.  Keep increasing until you are at a fast walk, anything faster and you would be jogging.  You can stop here and never run or jog and still experience life-changing results.  But if you are in good health then you might move on to running or jogging eventually as well.

If you do this then you will train your body to eat healthier foods.  How?  Because when you eat junk and then try to exercise, it will feel terrible, and you will start to alter your diet to give you better fuel.  This will happen naturally as you continue to exercise and work out more.

Just another approach to a very tough addiction.  Good luck.

Overcoming an Addiction to Pain through Getting Help
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

How can you overcome an addiction to pain and get help for your problem?  What is a pain addiction anyway?

Many people who have troubled lives or troubled emotional states will engage in different acts of self mutilation or bring self inflicted wounds upon themselves.  They might do this for a few different reasons at first, but the reason that it becomes addictive is because it is like a drug.

Many people who do this eventually end up cutting themselves because it is a rush to see the blood flow out of their bodies.  This is a rush in two ways for some pain addicts: one, they have become conditioned to get emotionally high from seeing the sight of the blood, but two, they become excited by seeing the blood because it is symbolic of suicide.  Most people in this position have thoughts of suicide and cutting is a way to sort of edge up against that and play with the idea.

Deep Thoughts - טרוד ממחשבות


 photo credit: Eran Finkle

First, understand that anyone who is doing things like this is in real danger and they need to get professional help.  Cutters who have just been toying with the idea of suicide have accidentally slipped over the edge in some cases.  This is tragic and not necessary if they would seek help for their cutting addiction.

If the threat is immediate to themselves then the best place for them is a psychiatric hospital.  Many people think there is a huge stigma attached to such places but this is an old way of thinking and is not necessary anymore.  Many people experience mental problems and issues and it is a great sign of strength to actually face these problems and seek help for them.  Going to a psychiatric ward is a very powerful choice, so don’t feel bad or stigmatized because you are checking into a psych ward.  That is an old and outdated way of thinking.

So how will you get help in the long run, and avoid self harm in the future?  This is based on creating a new life for yourself and recovering from these bad behaviors.  You need to replace the negativity in your life with positive things.  You need to create goals and passion in your life that is worth building towards.  You need to create enough positive experiences in your life that they can overcome your desire to get that rush through self inflicted pain.

This can take time and a lot of work.  Do not expect for everything to change overnight.  If it all get better overnight, then that would not be worth much, because then it could get so much worse in just a quick amount of time.  No, this is a long, slow process of recovery.  Expect it to be long and challenging.

You can get help in many ways.  Counseling and seeing a therapist is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself on a regular basis.  If you have one but do not trust them or really click with them, then you should find a new one.

Group support may be helpful as well, for some people.  If you have been to a psychiatric facility then they probably have follow up groups, support groups, or meetings schedules that allow you to interact with other people who are on the same journey that you are on.  This can be extremely helpful in getting ongoing support for your condition.

It may be dark in the early days of your recovery.  It might seem like it is not worth it to go on living like this, with no way to medicate anymore.  It does get better eventually.  Stick it out, and some day you will love your life again.

Helping a Marijuana Addict Get the Treatment They Need
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What is the best way for helping a marijuana addict get the treatment that they need?  I had a comment the other day and the person was very angry and defensive about smoking marijuana, and they stated that my advice about addiction was useless and “obsolete” because the world is in the process of legalizing marijuana.  It is becoming more and more legal as time goes on in more and more places, and eventually it will probably be at least as legal as alcohol is.

What this person fails to realize is that the legality of marijuana has almost no bearing on the addictive properties of the drug.  Just because the government makes a substance legal does not mean that this particular substance is not addictive or cannot harm you in any way.  Cigarettes are legal, and they are much more addictive than marijuana is.  Alcohol is legal, and it is more addictive than marijuana (by most measures I have seen).

When in Amsterdam...


 photo credit: miss.libertine

But none of this matters.  Marijuana can be addictive and some people do get hooked on it and suffer real consequences in their lives.  Are these consequences as profound as someone who is shooting heroin every day?  No.  Are these consequences as bad as someone who is drinking a fifth of whiskey every night?  No.  But there are still consequences to marijuana addiction, period.  People try to compare marijuana to other drugs and rationalize that it is not nearly as bad.  They are right, marijuana addiction is not nearly as bad as most other addictions.  However, it is still an addiction!  And, there can still be negative consequences, even if the drug is perfectly legal.

So the first step in many cases might be to convince an addict of marijuana that they are actually experiencing negative consequences in their life.  What is the most common way that this happens?  Many smokers of pot will tend to be lazy and not actually pursue anything meaningful in their lives.  This happens slowly over time in a very subtle but real way.  For example, things that people used to do before their addiction will slowly fall by the wayside as they do them less and less, such as hiking or exercise or sports.  If someone does not really realize that they have given up these things in favor of sitting around and getting stoned all day, then they are less likely to see incentive to change their life.

Ask the person to set the legality of it aside.  They probably have a card and can smoke it legally, or maybe they will soon be in that position anyway.  The legality does not matter.  If they are wasting their life away because all they do is get high, then something needs to change.

Marijuana is a crutch.  Most people do consider it to be a real hard core drug, because it has so few consequences.  But consider this: getting stoned medicates your emotions and your mood in a profound way.  You can be having a terrible day, and be really upset about something in your life, and you can get completely stoned in 3 minutes flat, and everything changes.  Your upset emotional state is a distant memory now.  And this happens even faster than with alcohol, you can become stoned literally in less than 3 minutes.  This is a powerful escape and anyone who uses this on a daily basis is medicating their negative emotions.  If they are bored, they get high.  If they are frustrated, they get high.  If they are angry with others, they get high.  Because they are always getting high anyway, all of their negative emotions get medicated away.  This creates a very unhealthy pattern of living.

Managing Your Soda Addiction to a Reasonable Level
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

How can you manage your soda addiction and get it down to a reasonable level?

I propose at least two ways, and both of them have worked for me.  Now that might sound funny, because why would you need a second strategy for quitting soda if the first strategy worked well?

The reason for that is because I treat pop and soda as a “soft” addiction.  Sorry, but it is just not as serious to me as smoking crack cocaine and drinking half gallons of vodka (see my other addiction for more details on that).

upsidedown pepsi


 photo credit: akeg

So I tend to experiment a bit with pop, and with caffeine.  Caffeine is sort of a wild card with this type of addiction, because some people are certainly addicted to the caffeine in the soda, more than to the soda itself.  They can quit the soda easily as long as they continue to take caffeine in some form, such as through coffee or caffeine pills.

So one thing you have to think about is: what do you really want to do here, quit soda entirely, or just cut down on it?

The second thing you need to consider is: should you eliminate the caffeine as well, or is that not really an issue here?  Maybe you can keep drinking coffee, have no problems associated with caffeine addiction, but still want to quit drinking soda for other reasons.

There are at least a few major reasons that anyone might want to overcome an addiction to soda.  They include:

1) Too much soda, too many calories, too much weight gain.

2) Too much soda, too much caffeine, and an addiction to caffeine that is causing problems of its own.

3) Too much diet soda, and too much artificial sweeteners, which can cause certain problems as well.

4) Too much soda leading to too much money spent on the stuff, period.  Water is free for most people.

5) Too much soda (non diet) and this negatively affects the teeth.  So the dentist urges you to quit, etc.

So you can see that various people might want to quit drinking soda for various reasons.

Here is how I have dealt with this, in two different ways:

1) I quit caffeine, twice, by simply weening myself down from it over a 3 day period.  You do get a slight headache but it is not bad and anyone can get through it without much fuss.  If you are quitting caffeine I would recommend that you eat a piece of fruit in the morning for breakfast.  This will give you a surprisingly good little boost of energy that does not have a crash.

2) I quit drinking “real” soda (non diet) in order to save my teeth.  If you hate the taste of diet then you can do one of 2 things: find an alternative (such as tea, juice, etc.) or force yourself to drink until you like it.  Anyone can do the second option even though they think that they cannot.  Anyone can acquire a taste for diet pop, no matter how badly they think that they hate it.

Now if you want to cut down on your soda intake, I would recommend that you start with the first soda of the day, and replace that.  You can either have water, juice, tea, or some other beverage, but not soda.  Force yourself to do this until it becomes a habit.  Then, later on, if you want to further improve your habits, you might switch out the second soda of the day.  Thus, you can gain confidence in your new healthy approach by gradually changing over time.

The History Of Addiction
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

The history of addiction goes back thousands of years. My name is Betty Stewart and this is my story. The addiction that runs in my family is alcoholism. My mom and my Grandmother are alcoholics. I remember my mom telling me stories about how she was treated by my grandmother when she was younger. Things like getting cursed out for asking for food, because she was hungry but my grandmother would rather spend the money on alcohol. Things like being left alone in the house at night at an really young age so her mother could go out and drink at night. Things like not waking up in the morning to get her to school so so she missed a lot of school because of this. Mom mother was hit by my grandmother when she was extremely drunk for no reason at all.

Sven & Amanda-66


 photo credit: johnhope14

My grandmother would tell my mother that she was just like her and would never amount to any thing in life, because she was ugly and stupid. This abuse got worse when my grandmother marred another alcoholic and a crack user, when my mom was 9 years old. He quickly started mistreating my mom. My grandmother pretty much let him do what ever he wanted to as long as she had her alcohol because at this time she was not working. One night my mom said that she was woke up from a hand touching her leg and it was her step dad. He was clearly drunk was mumbling words like ” If you tell I will kill you”. My mom said she was scared so she was quiet and he began abusing her and did so for 5 years. 

At age 14 my moms life had not got any better my grandmother was worse drinking almost a gallon of vodka a day and at least one bottle of wine. My grandmother had alcohol poisoning at least 6 times in the last 3 years. My mom was sick if the abuse from her step dad also and he was fed up. So that is when my mom started to drink at first she would just drink socially with friends and stuff to get away form her hell of a house. Then it got to the point where she needed a drink every day. She said being drunk erased the pain. At the age of 16 my mom left home and lived with an older friend who had their own apartment. My mom never went back to my grandmother’s. My moms friend drank but she also used heroin so my mom soon was an alcoholic and a heroin addict. My mom became a dancer to support her habits. By the time my mom was 19 she has been arrested 6 times and had done 2 years in jail. But she kept relapsing on the drugs and alcohol. When my mom was 20 she got pregnant with me. She said that that when she wanted to get clean because she did not want me to go through the same things she did in her childhood but that was not the case.

So yes my mother stayed an alcoholic and is still one to this very day. I however was put up for adoption by my birth mother she says so i would not go through what she went through. I had a pretty good life growing up. So when I turned 18 and felt I was ready I found my birth mom and she told me the story on her life and her history and why she had to make such a hard decision. Millions of family’s are affected by addictions every day. Some never get help and some recover. Either way it is a struggle and I’m glad my Birth mother decided to give me up then put me through what she goes through but I’m also happy that I can educate my children on addiction and its dangers by knowing first hand.

Find Help and Get Oxycontin Addiction Treatment Before it is Too Late
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Where can you find help and get Oxycontin addiction treatment for a struggling drug addict?  Is it possible to just quit on your own, cold turkey, or will you need help in order to get off of this medication once you are addicted to it?

Most people who get hooked on opiates such as Oxycontin or Vicodin need help in order to break from them.  This is because the pain and discomfort level during withdrawal from these medications can be quite high.  In fact, it is probably the worst withdrawal that you can have–the only worse you can get in terms of how you feel would be opiate medications that have an even longer half life, such as Methadone.

Licensed to Sell Drugs and Poisons


 photo credit: The Consumerist

So given that opiate withdrawal is so incredibly miserable, most addicts who are actually dependent on drugs such as Oxycontin are not going to be able to stop without some sort of help.

Where can they get help?

My number one recommendation is to get help from a drug rehab facility.  They are not a magic cure and there is no sure fire way to stay clean no matter what, but you still can not get a better start to your recovery, in most cases.  For example, some people just start attending NA meetings and they never get any professional help at all.  This can be a mistake in many cases, though it could still work for some (and surely it does).  But when you attend a drug rehab you give yourself a couple of huge advantages over someone who does not:

1) You get clean in a safe environment where it is tightly controlled, so there is no temptation to use drugs or alcohol, and you do not have to worry about being exposed to your drug of choice while you are there.

2) You get medical supervision that will help keep you more comfortable during the Oxycontin detox process.  This is huge.  Most facilities use a synthetic opiate called Suboxone that helps to relieve the withdrawal symptoms, and this medicine actually works without getting you high.  Those who have been through cold turkey withdrawal usually refer to Suboxone as a “miracle drug” because it helps so much in how they feel during detox.

3) You get support from peers who are also trying to quit using drugs and overcome addiction.  Again, this is potentially huge.  Going it alone on the outside will be really tough if you do not have any accountability or support systems to help you along.

4) Professional therapists and counselors can help you in ways that simple group therapy or 12 step meetings might miss.  For example, they may help steer you to solutions for mental illness that may be complicating your chances for recovery.

Now most people get put off at the first suggestion of rehab, probably because they assume that it is too expensive.  Anyone who does not have insurance may just be assuming that they cannot get professional help for their addiction.  This is a mistake because in most cases, people who are not insured can usually qualify for some sort of funding.  This will vary depending on where you live and what your exact situation is, so your best course of action is to get on the phone and call up a few treatment centers.

This may be a process.  Call one up and ask questions and get whatever information you can.  Ask for how you might get funded and ask if they know of any agencies who might fund you for rehab.  You may have to call a bunch of different people but if you are persistent then you can probably get the help that you need.  Good luck.

Best Method of Heroin Addiction Recovery to Help You Stay Clean
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What is considered to be the best method of heroin addiction recovery to help people to stay clean?

There are a few different ways that a heroin addict can approach recovery.  Let’s assume for a moment that the addict has already gotten past the initial phase of detox, either through cold turkey methods, staying in a drug rehab, or possibly using Suboxone to taper themselves down.

After that initial week of hell is over with, how does the addict stay clean and sober for the rest of their life?

There are many approaches, though most people think there is only one.  Everybody who is living clean in recovery today will have a very strong bias towards the method that worked for them.  Do NOT be misled by this.  If you have to, go interview 100 recovering heroin addicts, and you will find that there is, in fact, more than one way to live a clean life in recovery.  No one recovery program dominates.

With that said, most people point to the 12 step programs such as AA and NA as being the best path in recovery.  People who are actually in these programs will also have a tendency to say that this is the ONLY way that any addict could ever remain clean in the long run.  There is a very strong fear-based response that seems to be almost cult-like….if you leave NA or AA, you are destined for relapse.

While these programs certainly can be helpful, this type of thinking is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

If you do your homework and seek out the data for success rates in various recovery programs, you will see that the 12 step programs do NOT have any sort of magic wand in their corner.  This is not to say that you should avoid NA necessarily….just don’t put blind faith in it as being the only possible solution for your recovery.

Now I know that sounds awfully negative toward 12 step programs and NA, but really I am just trying to be realistic and protect people from getting caught up in the groupthink that you tend to find there.  By all means, I still recommend that most people start with 12 step meetings, because the support network is so widespread.

But if you find that 12 step programs are not for you, then there are other methods.  My personal favorite is one of holistic growth.  This sounds like a whole lot of foo foo but actually it is a very sound strategy that is quite powerful.  Basically what you do is to look at your entire life in recovery and try to grow in every possible area.  Balance is emphasized and encouraged when you do this, so that you do not fall into traps (such as becoming obsessed ONLY with spiritual growth, and nothing else).

I have seen people in recovery who continued to smoke cigarettes, not exercise, gain weight, and die young.  What good, really, was there in avoiding holistic growth?  They could have made so many more changes and enjoyed a healthier life, and gone on to help more addicts to recover.  But instead they focused solely on spiritual growth and fell victim to their own poor choices (hardly a spiritual way to live, really).

Holistic growth is not just something you talk about at meetings, it is something you actually live.  You have to be open to growth opportunities that might come in many different directions.  So you might make leaps in education, emotional balance, physical health, and so on.  You do not limit yourself to just growing in any one specific area (like 12 step programs tend to do with spirituality).

Key Principles for Meth Addiction Help in Recovery
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What are some of the key principles for meth addiction help in recovery?

Like with any addiction, there are a few things that will allow an addict to successfully recover if they put forth the effort.  These things are outlined as follows:

* Surrender – the meth addict must come to grips with the fact that they cannot beat their addiction on their own and that they need help.  This has to be proven to the person after they have genuinely decided that they would like to be free from their addiction.  At that point they need to really try on their own in order to stop using drugs.  When they fail to be able to do so, they need to admit to the fact that they really tried.  If they fail to admit that they were really trying to quit, then this is denial.  Many people stay stuck here for years or even decades.  ”I could quit if I really wanted to, I just don’t want to.”  This is pure denial.

Crackhead LosAngeles Graffiti Art Close-Up


 photo credit: anarchosyn

The key principle for getting started with addiction recovery is in breaking through this denial and admitting that they have really tried to stop on their own, but could not.

* Action – Just because a meth addicted person surrenders and admits that they need help does not mean that their life is going to be instantly transformed.  They still have to follow through with action.  And the whole key to this is that it needs to be massive action.

Why massive action?  Because they had a massive addiction, that’s why!  Our addiction is not like this tiny little problem that just needs a tiny correction.  Instead, it is like a huge part of our life, something that consumes almost our every thought and all of our actions, to the point where we now have to reprogram our entire lives.

You cannot expect to spend an hour each day on your recovery and get anything out of it.  If you budget that much time and energy you will relapse for sure.  It takes massive action in order to recover.  Now granted, after you have been clean and sober for a while, you will no longer have to take deliberate massive action like you did in early recovery, but this is because you will already have established more healthy patterns of living.  In other words, you will be in the habit of taking positive action every day.

But in early recovery, you need to take massive action, or you will surely relapse.

* Holistic health – anyone who uses meth for a period of time does quite a bit of damage to themselves.  This damage occurs physically but it also affects a person spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially.  In recovery you have to work on all of these things in order to restore yourself to full health.

Many recovering addicts in traditional recovery programs do not believe this.  They think that the solution is spiritual.  This is a short-sighted view that will get you into trouble if you are not careful.  Holistic just means that you are seeking growth in many different areas of your life, not just in the spiritual realm.  To limit your growth to spirituality is a big mistake that too many people make.

One good example of this is with smoking cigarettes.  An holistic approach addresses this and the addict sees quitting as being very important to their recovery effort.  Pretty smart, considering that the number one killer of recovery addicts and alcoholics is lung cancer.  An holistic approach is not only about staying clean and sober, but also about improving the quality of your life in recovery.

The Best Advice on How to Live with an Addict and Convince them To Seek Recovery from Addiction
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

If you live with an addict, what is the best advice on how to convince them to seek recovery from addiction?

Is it even possible to force an addict to get the help that they desperately need, but may not realize that they should pursue?

What can you say to them that will help to make your argument and state your case?

Let’s take a closer look.

First of all, if you live with the addict that you are trying to help, then you are probably enabling them in some fashion, even if you do think that you are.  In some cases, simply by staying in the situation with the addict you are allowing them to continue to use drugs, whereas you might be able to force a change by simply removing your support altogether.  This can be difficult to do, especially if you love the person and want to support them and help them.  But sometimes when we think we are helping someone, we are only keeping them stuck in their addiction.

Serious Conversation


 photo credit: mikecogh

Look at the way that an addict is motivated.  They are motivated only by pain.  This is not an intuitive conclusion, because all of us know that we can be motivated by positive things as well.

But addiction changes all that.  Once the addict is caught up in a cycle of addiction, they are no longer motivated by seeking the pleasure of their drug of choice.  This is the illusion that they tell themselves, this is part of their denial.  No, once they are trapped in addiction, the only motivation they really have is pain.  They take their drug of choice in order to avoid more pain, either emotional, physical, or both.

The addict is suffering in pain, and they medicate this with drugs and alcohol.  They are driven by fear and their lives are full of pain.

The addict is also terrified of sobriety.  They are afraid to get clean and sober and face the unknown.  It is a huge, massive fear in their heart.  They will probably not admit to this, so don’t try to argue with them about it.  But make no mistake: they are scared to get clean.

Now here is the key:

The addict will choose to get clean only when the pain they experience in addiction becomes greater than their fear of sobriety.

Think about that for a moment.  The addict is scared to get clean.  At the same time, they are experiencing pain due to their addiction.  But they cannot make that move and ask for help until the pain becomes great enough.

Their fear will remain constant.  They were born with that certain amount of fear; it is hard-wired into them.  Their level of fear about recovery is not going to change.

Therefore, the only thing that can really motivate the addict to get clean and sober is more pain in their life.

If you are helping them in any way that lessens their pain, then you are actually hurting their chances at recovery.

That does not mean you have to try to deliberately hurt them or make their life more miserable.  They can do that themselves.  You just need to stop rescuing them in ways that alleviate their pain.  This takes them further away from the moment of surrender when they might choose to finally recover.

Convincing an addict to take action does not happen when you “get lucky and say just the right thing.”  That is not how it works at all.  It happens when the addict has finally had enough pain in their life, and they realize that drugs can not really make it better anymore (even though they once did).

Recovery, Addiction, and Children of Drug Addicts
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Many people come to me with questions about recovery, addiction, and children of drug addicts.  What are some things to watch out for?

If a child has parents who are addicted to drugs, then the chance that they too will be addicted increases by quite a bit.  In short, they are at high risk for developing drug addiction or alcoholism at some point in their lives.

One thing that you might try to instill in such a child is that alcohol is a drug.  Period.  Alcohol cannot be viewed as separate from other drugs, or it will get them into trouble one day.

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 photo credit: Andreas März

Most people cannot wrap their minds around this, because they view alcohol as separate from other drugs.  It’s not.  It is a drug.  Think very carefully about this for a moment.

Any drug you can think of, be it Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, speed, whatever–ANY drug you can think of can be arranged into a liquid form.  That goes for any drug on the market.  Anything can be procured as a liquid, just like alcohol.  And, some drugs are distributed as a liquid.  But because our society sells alcohol on every street corner, it is somehow more acceptable than other drugs that are typically sold from a pharmacy or cooked up on the streets.  But in reality, alcohol is a liquid drug.  It is just another drug.

You have to convince at risk children of drug addicts that alcohol is just another drug, and that they need to approach it with extreme caution.  Ideally, they should recoil from alcohol just as if it were heroin or other illegal street drugs.  The chances for addiction are not identical, but they are close enough that it is foolish to think that they can enjoy alcohol for their whole life without any risk of addiction to it.

If a child does start to show signs of abuse or addiction, the best thing to do is to try to get them into long term treatment.  The problem with treating younger people and addiction is that they have such a high level of peer influence from their friends.  So if you put them into group therapy or introduce them to NA meetings for young people, these can actually have a detrimental effect on their chances to get clean.  Why?  Because of corruption and their peer group.  They have actually done some studies that show that group therapy among younger addicts is worse than no therapy at all.  They would be better off having no treatment then having treatment with a group of their peers, because the children and teens tend to corrupt each other.

Counseling or therapy is probably a better choice in this case.  Having a young person see an individual therapist may not work 100 percent of the time and get them clean and sober forever, but it is better than sending them off to a group where kids are selling drugs to each other.

Perhaps the best method of recovery for younger people in this situation is long term treatment.  The problem with that is that no kid in their right mind would ever like the idea of long term rehab, as it basically removes them from their friends and sort of destroys their whole world.  But some kids are miserable enough and desperate enough that they may not care too much about this, and long term treatment may be the perfect choice for them.

Younger people have the additional challenge in recovery of dealing with strong peer influence.  Most of them would rather die than to give up their friends, which can make recovery a very tough proposition.

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