Living with Addiction

Please Don’t Take My Cat: Don’t Threaten What Your Child Loves Most

“Tough Love” = Terror Parents of teens and young adults who use substances problematically can get pretty desperate.  It’s easy to understand: they see real physical danger to their child, the potential life-long consequences of drug use (such as a criminal record, failing out of school, etc.), and they just can’t stand the chaos that […]

Don’t Act Weird: When Your Loved One Comes Home From Rehab

Families and friends are often confused about how to act when a loved one comes home from treatment.  Should family and friends avoid drinking around them?  Should parents restrict a teenager’s activities, effectively grounding him or her? I would argue: No, to all of the above.  The more a person feels different, damaged, and excluded […]

The Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Addiction

Trauma during our formative years can leave a lasting impact—one that stretches beyond adulthood and shapes virtually every aspect of our future: How we think, feel, act. Who or what we seek out or avoid. But especially our physical and emotional health. Decades of research have established strong correlations between early experiences of adversity—or childhood […]

Trauma and Recovery: It’s Not What You Think It Is

Media depictions of trauma often show clients coached to dig deep into their memories, cry, scream, or otherwise somehow “get it out.”  The experience looks horribly painful, but is supposed to be cathartic, meaning it lets you have a crisis and then let the pain go. Traditional approaches to substance users, from 12 Step programs […]

Helping Families Understand a Substance-Using Loved One’s Trauma

“Trauma” is a word thrown around so much these days that it’s lost most of its meaning. According to Dr. Peter Levine,1 one of the world’s foremost experts, trauma is, “the often debilitating symptoms that many people suffer from in the aftermath of perceived life-threatening or overwhelming experiences.”2 Trauma occurs when a situation is perceived […]

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