“I can tell you this, I am not a perfect son, father, brother, or friend in sobriety, but my father has his son back. My daughter has a real father who shows up and loves her, when friends see me they want to spend time with me, I bring value to my friendships. Today I have my self back.”
Within the family, we develop patterns of behavior and styles of relating that form the basis of our future social interactions and relationships. When a family's ability to cope with stressors and process traumatic experience breaks down many of its members may begin to exhibit symptoms of substance and process addiction, suicidality, depression, and a host of other challenges.
If you or a loved one has been through treatment for substance use disorder one or more times in one or more different facilities, and have yet to find lasting recovery, you are most likely asking yourself what will be different this time. This is a question which can plague the thoughts of those attached by bonds of affection to an addict. While there is no simple answer to this question I do believe I can give some helpful suggestions which can greatly increase the likelihood of success.
“Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today.”
This is how Dr. Wendy Suzuki begins her talk on the power of exercise as a prophylactic to all manner of brain disease and disorder. Dr. Suzuki, who had been a neuroscientist focused on memory changed the entire course of her research when she inadvertently began doing exercise research on herself. She is now a foremost expert on the transformative impact on the brain of exercise.
When alcoholism finally brought me to my knees, and I had nowhere to turn I found my answer. Through treatment and membership in a 12 step fellowship I was able to understand why I felt the way I did. I was also offered a solution. I have accepted that solution and have since been able to enjoy a life beyond my wildest dreams. A life of purpose, meaning, and connection.
Getting sober is one thing, but of course the real goal is having someone stay sober. While we can’t do it for them, as the family of an addict we have a role to play in helping them stay sober. This article should is in no way meant to replace working with a professional. Every individual situation is unique and no one article could possible address every unique iteration of sobriety or family dynamics.
Recent studies show that exercise is more effective than any other protocol at treating things such as depression, ADHD, PTSD, Alzheimer's. Diseases and conditions of the brain. Much of this research has been done or inspired by the work of John Ratey.
When it is time to seek help for drug and alcohol addiction there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. The decision whether to stay close to home for treatment or to go out of state can often be seen as a minor part of the decision. I would urge the reader to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this decision carefully.