Jim Wyler, LMHC

358 Veterans Memorial Highway

Suite 12

Commack, NY 11725

Phone: (631) 796-7205

Fax: (631) 625-3130

therapy@jimwyler.com

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verified by Psychology Today

 

Credentials:

  • NYS Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  • NYS Credential in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (CASAC)
  • NBCC National Certified Counselor (NCC)
  • EMDR Institute - EMDR Level II Therapist

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Thoughts and Suggestions                          

A Hard Road Ahead

 

Mar 25, 2016

If you or a loved one are currently actively addicted to drugs or alcohol the road ahead is a difficult one. Recovery from Drugs/Alcohol is hard but those who do recover find that the life they left behind was so much harder. A daily life filled and fueled by drugs and alcohol is all encompassing. No one grows up with the intention of being an addict, addicts and alcoholics drink/drug for many reasons and as time passes their consumption continues to increase until they are unable to go without. Abuse has crossed over into addiction. The reality is that addiction is an insidious disease it slowly consumes you until you are no longer the person you once were. Most fail to notice the changes in themselves as the drug begins to do its work. As the individual continues to drink or drug the disease progresses slowly not satisfied until it has compromised them physically, socially, financially, and spiritually bringing them to a state of hopelessness feeling there is nothing left but to keep drinking and drugging. That’s exactly what the disease of addiction wants. Hopelessness. When there is no hope, when someone feels they are beyond redemption why would they stop harming themselves with alcohol or drugs? How could they if they don't see a way out? The disease of addiction is a powerful one but Recovery is possible. Millions of people each year enter Recovery and begin a new life. 

 

Recovery from Addiction requires an intervention. The intervention can come either from the user themselves or from a loved one. What an intervention does is to allow time for the drug or alcohol use to stop. In order for any chance of recovery to begin use needs to end. The first step is abstinence. In abstinence the user is merely abstaining from use thus allowing the body and brain to begin to repair itself. In this critical time there needs to be some kind of structured support in order to continue abstinence. The disease of addiction is too powerful for anyone to abstain long-term on their own. For some Detoxification and Inpatient treatment is required, for others Outpatient treatment is sufficient and there are those that are able to abstain and enter into recovery with a supportive network in the community such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

 

One on One Therapy can be an important part of the Recovery process. Often people use drugs/alcohol to avoid feeling their feelings. When entering Recovery it can be difficult to live Life on Life's Terms. Anger will come up, difficulties with impatience and irritability; feelings related to guilt/shame and ultimately the desire to return to drug/alcohol use. Having a private counselor to help you through the process for many can make all the difference.

 

Jim Wyler, LMHC

Addiction Counseling

Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? The reality is that addiction is an insidious disease it slowly consumes you until you are no longer the person you once were. If alcoholism or drug addiction came upon us at great speeds many would become scared and seek help as they would be frightened by the swiftness of the rate at which the drugs took over all facets of our lives. Unfortunately, the disease operates at a much slower pace. We fail to notice the changes in ourselves as the drug begins to do its work. As we continue to drink or drug the disease continues to progress slowly not satisfied until it has compromised us physically, socially, financially, and spiritually bringing us to a state of hopelessness feeling there is nothing left for us but to keep drinking and drugging. That’s exactly what the disease of addiction wants for us. Hopelessness.

In the United States alone Addiction affects 1 in 10 people. As of 2013 an estimated 22.7 million people in America needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only about 2.5 million people received treatment at a facility (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2013).  Yet only 11 percent of those with a problem receive treatment. Addicts and Alcoholics cross over all economic strata. They are the store clerk to the small business owner. They are the homeless man living on the street to the successful Wall Street Executive. They are teenagers from middle class homes and young mothers raising children in the Appalachia’s.  Addiction is not a moral failing, a lack of willpower or a mental incapacity. Addiction is influenced by genetics, social structure, surrounding environment, and coping mechanisms.

Addiction is a family disease wherein it not only affects the active user but it affects each and every member of the family. The family feels trapped often fearful for their son’s/daughter’s/sibling’s safety. Angered by their behavior, attitude, and the way in which the addict seems not to care. Their afraid, afraid of what is yet to come, when is this going to end? Is it going to get better? Will this get worse? Does it make me a horrible person for hating him/her sometimes for putting me/us through this? Often the family becomes centered on the addicted person. In order to “normalize” the family each member makes up for the addict. They take over their chores, make excuses for them, and lie for them. Everyone is competing for some oxygen. There just is not enough air to breathe. The addict has taken it all. Addiction is a selfish disease. The addict is selfish, the disease needs all of the addict all of the time. The addict from time to time is aware of their behavior and believe me they feel guilt and shame. That is a key component of the addictive cycle. They feel so bad for what they do it makes it feeds their need to use more. It’s an endless cycle.

 

Years of scientific research can now point to genetics that can predispose a person to having a problem with drugs and alcohol. A genetic predisposition is when someone in your direct family lineage had an addiction to drugs/alcohol. It could be an alcoholic uncle on your father’s side or your great great grandmother on your mother’s side of the family that was an alcoholic. This can give you a predisposition just as breast cancer or diabetes can be genetic.  In time if they continue to drink/drug in an addictive/alcoholic pattern become addicted to their drug of choice.

Recovery from addiction at times requires an intervention. The intervention can come either from the user themselves or from a loved one. What an intervention does is to allow time for the drug or alcohol use to stop. In order for any chance of recovery to begin use needs to end. The first step is abstinence. In abstinence the user is merely abstaining from use thus allowing the body and brain to begin to repair itself. In this critical time the user must have some kind of structured support in order to continue abstinence. The disease of addiction is too powerful for anyone to abstain long term on their own. For some Inpatient treatment is required, for others Outpatient treatment is sufficient and there are those that are able to abstain and enter into recovery with a supportive network in the community such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

Dealing with Stress

Stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation such as being stuck in traffic, a long line at the grocery store or it can last a long time as in difficulties within a relationship, the death of a loved one, financial loss, etc. Stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life. Stress often causes tiredness, irritability, difficulty with sleeping, it promotes feelings of anger, nervousness, frustration, and can make a person anxious, irritable, and discontent.

Stress is the body's reaction to change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment to the change. Our brain reacts to these events or stressors and cannot determine whether or not the threat is real or imagined. In either case the brain automatically enters into fight/flight/freeze to protect us from potential harm.

Stressful events that are either real or perceived cause hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to surge within our body. When this becomes a continuous problem we can develop physical ailments making ourselves prone to headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, and over time we can become susceptible to illness more often than others such as (colds, flu, fevers, etc.).

Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Statistics taken from WebMD Medical Reference 2014

Stress Symptoms that are not dealt with often produce anxiety, making us fearful that bad things may happen. It makes it difficult for us to relax; we become impatient, and because of this our natural state becomes one of nervousness. Feelings of depression can make us feel helpless, hopeless, and for some it can increase a desire to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. For others it disrupts sleep patterns often unable to get or stay asleep due to racing thoughts.

It is important to pay attention to things that make us feel stressed. When we try and avoid these feelings they can add up and over time these stressors can begin to overwhelm us.

 

Here are some ways to lessen the stress

  • Exercise - exercise produces endorphins which naturally make us feel good. Any exercise of twenty minutes or more will do.
  • Talk it out (It's good to express your feelings).
  • Write it down - writing down what stresses us out begins the process of letting go. Journaling is a good routine to develop. It allows you to process the day’s events and over time it can lower anxiety.
  • Change your routine - step out of the day by day doldrums
  • Find a new Hobby - Go to a movie - listen to music
  • Give yourself permission to feel stressed but set a limit! Long-term stress = depression or anxiety.
  • Learn to say "No" We can't do it all. Saying yes to everything and everyone can be a great producer of stress.
  • Ask for help - reach out, call someone, and accept the help you have asked for.
  • Smile
  • Laugh – learn to laugh at yourself and life. Don’t take things so seriously.
  • If you are so inclined learn to relax through prayer and meditation.
  • When you have a negative thought - FLIP IT! - Find the positive.
  • Get some sleep - when we're active often sleep is neglected. Our bodies and our minds need time to relax and reset.
  • Breathe - Take time to breathe. Don’t concern yourself with breathing patterns or specific rhythms. Just focus on your breath. Sit quietly for a few minutes, relax, and take the time to notice how you breathe. Focus on your breathing. Listen to how you breathe, in then out, once again, then a few more times until you few relaxed.

If you find that you continue to be overwhelmed by stress or anxiety maybe it is time to make an appointment with a therapist and get some extra help. Having someone in your corner to help to lower the stressors within your life can make a remarkable difference in a relatively short amount of time.


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