Welcome

You are being held hostage by your compulsions. It’s time to take your life back!

 

Whether you are:

  • still active in your compulsive behaviors
  • already in recovery
  • recently relapsed
  • dealing with the anguish of having an addict in your family

You are facing profound difficulties.

No matter what the addiction—alcohol, drugs, sex or prescription meds,—its effects are devastating.

I can help.

These addictions destroy lives and families, who too often continue enabling behaviors that fuel the addiction.

If you’re the family member of an addict, you need professional support to help you make choices that will ultimately help the addict and keep your family whole.

If you’re an addict, you need professional support to take control of the addiction that has slowly but surely been taking over your life.

Addiction has put you and your family through more than enough.

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Drugs and Alcohol

Drug and alcohol addictions are  physical dependencies, as the individual has a psychological as well as physical addiction to a chemical substance. The substance is often a form of escape for the user. Individuals who have become addicted to substances often have numerous underlying issues they are unable to deal with, hence the need to escape.

Counselling is a critical part of the treatment for drug and alcohol addictions, since those issues beneath the surface must be addressed. Simply treating the physical addiction from a medical perspective, despite the importance of medical intervention as well, will not help the substance addict because those underlying hurts would remain unresolved and compel the individual to seek escape again. Substance abuse is best treated as a joint process of counselling and medical treatment.

Recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction requires more than just becoming abstinent. This is not to say that achieving abstinence is not a huge deal; it is and it is tremendous milestone in your life. There is a major difference though between someone who is abstinent and someone who is abstinent and in recovery. Addicts that become abstinent without engaging in a recovery program will often be angry, sad, or frustrated. While we all have those moods on occasion, this will likely be the “normal” mood for this person. The addict does not seek therapy and engage in recovery work, does not enjoy being sober and sorely misses the comfortable feelings which he or she felt as a result of their using. The alcohol or drugs provided the addict with an “ability” to ignore his or her feelings and emotions and now that they are abstinent, their true feelings are beginning to surface. For someone not in recovery, this is an extremely difficult situation to be in and can cause lots of emotional turmoil. Hence the name, “dry drunk”. If you have been using alcohol or drugs for a period of time, you do not know how to implement healthy coping mechanisms and a person cannot go through life happily without them. You deserve a lot better than that!

Click here to receive a free guide with valuable information pertaining to alcohol and drug addictions.

To take an assessment pertaining to drug and alcohol addictions, click here.

 

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Sex

Despite society’s stereotyping of sex addicts, someone with a sex addiction is essentially struggling with similar underlying problems as an alcoholic or drug addict. Low self esteem, difficulties with feeling and expressing emotions, unresolved trauma, dysfunctional childhood, and having been sexually abused or neglected as a child  are some of the common problems which in part can lead to a full blown sex addiction.  The acting out behaviors and some of the consequences may be different than those present in an alcohol or drug addiction and these differences will require appropriate treatment, but in terms of the underlying root problem, they are one and the same. Jack’s drug of choice is cocaine and Sally’s drug of choice is sex, but they are both just trying to escape from the reality of their lives. Often, sex addicts will have an alcohol and or drug addiction as well.

Contrary to what many people think, sex addicts don’t necessarily enjoy sex more than other people. In all reality, the sex addict is compelled to act out sexually. Patrick Carnes, one of the leaders in the sex addiction field writes, “contrary to enjoying sex as a self affirming source of physical pleasure, the addict has learned to rely on sex for comfort from pain, for nurturing or relief from stress”. Sex addiction is sometimes called an “intimacy disorder” which refers to the addict’s inability to truly engage in an intimate relationship. This problem is often a result of the individual’s lack of attachment to his or her caregivers  as a child and the addiction becomes a way for the addict to make up for this important component in life which he or she is missing.

Although treatment is now required for the actual addiction, the sex addiction is not the original problem. It is the wrong solution to a pre-existing problem. The sex addict now has two problems for which he or she needs to get help. He needs to deal with the underlying causes which in part led to the addiction and he also needs to deal with the addictive behaviors themselves.

Individuals with sexual addictions are unable to control their lustful impulses, leading them to compulsively pursue prostitution, affairs, liaisons, pornography, or fantasies, among other unhealthy behaviors. Someone with a sexual addiction usually operates in secret, keeping the problem tucked away deep inside a dark closet. The individual may be completely obsessed by harmful impulses, feeling unable to control them. Someone with a sexual addiction may also live in denial of the problem, and once discovered, it can wreak utter destruction on the individual’s relationships. The pursuit of sex becomes more important than family, career, personal health and safety.

Because a person with a sexual addiction is generally living a double life, he or she is often an unstable person. Symptoms include sexual harassment, habitual use of pornography, and blaming the innocent spouse for any problems relating to the addiction. Living a double life also leads to increased isolation and feelings of loneliness which is part of what makes sex addiction a viscous cycle of acting out, feeling shamed and lonely, and therefore acting out again.

Although the feeling that you are the only one with an addiction problem is prevalent with all addictions, it is especially common with sex addicts. Most sex addicts feel very ashamed of their addiction and will therefore not discuss it with others so they will not know how many of their family, friends and coworkers may be struggling with a similar issue. In addition, most of the addictive behaviors take place in private, which makes it less likely that they will see others engaging in similar acts of acting out. It is for these reasons that sex addicts tend to feel lots of despair, often wondering why they are the only ones unable to control their sexual impulses. The real truth is that sex addiction is one of the fastest growing addictions and is one of the common reasons that clients are seeking therapy in today’s day of age.

Families of sex addicts face unique challenges in addition to the regular issues that families of all addicts need to deal with. There is a greater element of shame, possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases, disclosure issues, and the spouse or partner feeling cheated and neglected. Most sex addicts do not know how to achieve genuine intimacy, forming no attachment to their sexual partners. Seeking a qualified sex addiction professional to help navigate these difficult situations can help restore a sense of wholeness to the family.

While many may think of sex addicts as men, this is not always the case. As much as 30 percent of people who seek treatment for sex addiction are women.

In addition to individual therapy, group therapy and task oriented activities have been proven to be extremely helpful in combating this debilitating addiction. Contact me today to discuss your situation so that we can work out a treatment plan which will be best suited for you.

To learn about our New Beginnings program, a group designed for males struggling with compulsive sexual behaviours, click here. For the New Beginnings program brochure, click here.

“Knowing you are a sex addict doesn’t mean that you are bad, perverted or hopeless. It means you may have a disease, an obsession from which many have healed” Dr. Patrick Carnes

 

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Prescription Meds

Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction. Commonly abused classes of prescription medications include opioids (prescribed for pain), central nervous system depressants (prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy). Opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), meperidine (Demerol®), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil®). Central nervous system depressants include barbiturates such as pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®), and benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®). Stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®), and amphetamines (Adderall®).

Long-term use of opioids or central nervous system depressants can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Opioids can produce drowsiness and constipation and, depending on the amount taken, can depress breathing. Central nervous system depressants slow down brain function; if combined with other medications that cause drowsiness, or with alcohol, heart rate and respiration can slow down dangerously. Taken repeatedly or in high doses, stimulants can cause anxiety, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, or seizures.

There  is a common misperception, especially among younger people, that prescription drugs are safer than illegal street drugs. Most people don’t lock up their prescription medications, nor do they discard them when they are no longer needed for their intended use, making them vulnerable to theft or misuse. Many people are prescribed addictive drugs for use as painkillers after a surgical procedure or the like. Often, the patient becomes accustomed to the sense of relief he feels when he takes these drugs and becomes reliant on them even when they are no longer needed for the reason prescribed.

Because prescription medications are prescribed by doctors, they are readily available to people that want to misuse them. In a study of students in Wisconsin and Minnesota, 34 percent of kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) said they had been approached to sell or trade their Ritalin or Adderall, two drugs commonly used to treat symptoms of ADHD.

Painkillers are particularly dangerous because they depress the central nervous system, slowing down breathing and the brain stem’s responsiveness to CO2 to the point where someone abusing these medications can simply stop breathing. Combine these painkillers with alcohol, another depressant, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Abuse of prescription drugs is an extremely serious matter and is equivalent in severity as an addiction to illicit drugs. Do not let the name “prescription” fool you. If you are having problems surrounding your use of prescription drugs, get help today!

 

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