Dear Laura, I am home from a 30 day live -in program, because my probation officer gave me a choice of treatment or jail. I have a 1 year old daughter and I am feeling guilty of my decision to go out and party instead of stay home and be with her. I live with my mother and she is mad at me because she had to take care of my child while I was in rehab. She won’t even smile at me, my home environment is making me want to use. How can I turn things around?
Dear Friend, You are in a hard situation at the present moment. But may I commend you on your statement of self-responsibility by asking how “You” can turn things around, not someone else. You are headed in the right direction.
Be patient, recovery or “healing” of the brain from alcohol or drug abuse takes a long time. Think about how long a broken bone takes to heal, weeks if not months. Each step of the recovery is different, first a hard cast, then a soft cast, then a brace and all the while the doctor is requiring the patient to be careful because it is very easy to re-injure the healing bone. Recovery from chemical dependence follows the same stages of healing, known as the Developmental Model of Recovery.
Terence Gorski, top expert in recovery and relapse states: “Recovery is a process of progressive growth and change, chemically dependent people must progress through various stages of recovery in order to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling sobriety.” Each stage has a primary focus and task to complete, chemically dependent people who fail to complete each task or skip a stage tend to relapse.
The Stages of the Developmental Model of Recovery (DMR) and their central themes are:
- Stage 0- Active Use and Dependency (Precontemplation)
- Stage 1- Transition: Recognition of Dependency
- Stage 2- Stabilization: Recuperation
- Stage 3- Early Recovery: Challenging and changing distorted thoughts, feelings and behaviors
- Stage 4- Middle Recovery: Lifestyle Balance
- Stage 5- Late Recovery: Family of Origin Issues
- Stage 6- Maintenance: Growth and Development
DMR is a system for prioritizing problems from the consequences of using Alcohol or Other Drugs (AODS). DMR helps recovering people to prioritize emerging problems in the context of the current stage of Recovery. Meaning, trying to address the problems with mom’s relationship cannot be the main focus while in stage 1 of Recovery. Mending the hurt of past family relationships will progress towards a more positive result once the brain has healed and thoughts of anger and resentment are addressed in the Early Recovery Stage (the first year). If tasks are given the true attention they deserve, the hurtful and destructive feelings are replaced with understanding and forgiveness for self and others in Stage 5, Late Recovery.
Presently, right after leaving rehab, the focus must be on abstinence and remaining in a safe environment. Keep daily contact with someone who gives you encouragement, and remember urges last about 20 minutes, Do something! Be active, it will pass. Every day that you do not drink or use, the smiles will return from the family that loves you, especially the children. Be strong.
This column is for the delivery of alcohol and drug information. Responding to your questions and comments. Remember, if you have a question, many people have that same question. Please ask. Laura