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Intervention HELPS to Save Lives

intervention

If you have a loved one or employee struggling with substance use disorder or other dysfunctional behavior, then the information in this blog post could literally save their life.

You have probably heard that someone with a substance use disorder needs to hit a rock bottom before they will be open to help. There is truth to that. But the part you may not be aware of is that we do not have to helplessly wait around for our loved one to hit that bottom.

In fact, doing so could lead to their suffering a fatal overdose. Harvard University, in conjunction with the Boston Police Department, did a study where they sent undercover officers to multiple locations in the Boston area to purchase illegal drugs on the street. The drugs were then taken back to a lab for analysis.

The findings were very scary–most of the drugs purchased by the undercover officers tested positive for substances other than what the dealers claimed they were. For example, what was sold as heroin was often a synthetic opioid or some other combination of substances which often included the very deadly drug fentanyl.

These findings show that loved ones with a substance use disorder may just be one use away from a fatal overdose. And with 160 fatal overdoses daily in our country, simply waiting around for our loved ones to hit rock bottom may prove to be a fatal decision. All too frequently these days, rock bottom can be death.

Ken Seeley, interventionist on the long running, multi Emmy Award winning TV show A&E’s INTERVENTION has developed the HELPS model to guide interventionists and families to work together in raising the bottom, or creating a rock bottom, to help save a loved one’s life and move them into recovery. The HELPS model looks at five areas where the consequences of addiction take their toll.

HELPS Model

Health–Addiction is a physical disease affecting the user’s body from the inside out. Consequences range from liver disease, skin abscesses, premature aging, psychiatric disorders, memory loss, central nervous system damage, and eventually death. Sometimes it is a health issue that motivates the loved one to move towards recovery.

Environmental–It has been proven that environmental factors strongly influences or arrests the development and subsequent behaviors of someone with substance use disorder. Are you supporting the recovery of the loved one, or enabling their addictive behavior?

Legal–Addiction frequently involves legal consequences such as DUI’s, arrests, marital separation, divorce, loss of child custody, and exclusion from wills. Often times the loved one will engage in illegal activities in order to support or maintain their habit.

Personal finances–Addiction creates financial crisis including job termination, eviction, foreclosure, and even bankruptcy. Supporting a loved one by giving them money, paying their bills or employing them can enable their addiction.

Spiritual–Has your loved one lost faith, hope and peace in their life? Addiction is also a spiritual affliction that robs the loved one of their spirituality leaving them to feel hopeless and alone.

By identifying which of the five areas above are affecting your loved one, then determining how to leverage that area and set healthy boundaries and consequences in a respectful and family-unified manner, HELPS manually raises the rock bottom instead of playing the deadly game of waiting for the loved one to hit rock bottom on their own–which could mean a fatal overdose.

The disease of addiction is taking too many lives and we have to find smarter, more effective ways to save our loved one’s lives. Using the HELPS model is a smart way to go.

If you think you or a loved one may have an addiction, please feel free to call or email me for a free consultation. Addiction is serious, but intervention and treatment can save lives.

Call me at 949-303-8264 or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com
Websites:  www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RandyMoraitisCoach/
Twitter:     @rmoraitis

About Randy Moraitis, MA, BCPC, CIP

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy, he will gladly show you pictures!)

Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families and individuals affected by addiction and/or mental health issues through counseling, coaching and interventions. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been leading groups, individuals and families to mental, physical and spiritual healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

Parents: How to Connect With Your Teen

teen showing dad her homework

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

As the father of a blended family of five kids ranging in age from 16-32 I know first hand how challenging it can be to connect with your teen. You want to be close to them, but how do you do it without attitude, rejection or rebuff?

They’re busy–you’re busy. Another day goes by and you didn’t really connect. What’s the solution? How can a parent be intentional about connecting with their teen in a meaningful way?

I suggest you give this a try the next time you and your teen are home and they are in their room working on homework (or whatever they do in there!). Take your newspaper, or iPad or whatever you were going to read in your home office or family room.

Instead of sitting there alone, disconnected from your teen, take your reading material with you and go knock on your teen’s door.

When they answer, ask if you can come in. Then come in, have a seat and start reading your iPad or whatever you brought. Just hang out. When your teen asks what you want, say “nothing, I just wanted to be around you”.

And be sincere–don’t have an ulterior motive to find out who she’s dating or some such info. Be real. Be present. Just hang out. After awhile some great conversations may come out of it. And even if they don’t–hey, at least you got to spend some time hanging out with your teen!

If your teen happens to tell you to get lost–that they don’t want you in their room. Don’t make a big deal about it–but do try again the next day, and the next. Your teen is worth the effort.

I would love to hear your teen parenting tips. You can comment below or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Visit my website www.randymoraitis.com for more info on counseling or coaching, and our nonprofit foundation at www.carepossible.org.

 

7 Signs of Emotional Maturity

Temper Tantrum

I’ve noticed that adults rarely think in terms of maturity with each other. In fact, we grown ups tend to expect maturity from other grown ups, right? And that often leads to disappointment.

Here are 7 Signs of Emotional Maturity. Take a moment to honestly assess how you are doing in each of these areas.

1. The ability to deal constructively with reality.

2. The capacity to adapt to change.

3. A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties.

4. The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving.

5. The ability to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness.

6. The capacity to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets.

7. The capacity to love.

If you find yourself lacking in one or more of the above criteria, you are not alone. Many of us grew up in homes where these traits were not modeled or taught. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to grow up! Ask a trusted friend or mentor to help you grow in the areas needed, or seek a coach or counselor for expert guidance.

I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org

Websites: www.carepossible.orgwww.thecrossing.comwww.randymoraitis.com

Designer Drugs: K2, Spice, Bath Salts–10 Things You Must Know

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

K2, Spice, and bath salts are designer drugs that frequently make the news because of their link to overdose deaths and abnormal behavior. In fact, just this past March there were several teen deaths in Washington State caused by designer drugs.

Designer drugs problems are not isolated to America. Europe has seen a huge influx of designer drugs, and earlier this month New Zealand actually banned all designer drugs making them illegal. (Something I believe all countries must do!)

I learned the truth about these substances at a seminar taught by a leading physician/scientist in the field of addiction and designer drugs. Here are the important highlights that everyone needs to know:

  1. K2 and Spice are often considered a marijuana replacement because they resemble marijuana and are smoked.
  2. K2 and Spice are actually nothing like marijuana in their chemical composition.
  3. K2 and Spice are chemically similar to a combination of methamphetamine and LSD.
  4. K2, Spice, and Bath Salts are very dangerous. The original inventor said that these substances were not for human consumption.
  5. Designer drugs can be very addictive.
  6. K2, Spice, and bath salts can cause permanent brain damage or psychosis, including schizophrenia, after one use.
  7. Designer drugs kill brain cells.
  8. Spice causes delirium, a sudden severe confusion.
  9. People can have flashbacks from Spice and bath salts.
  10. Chemists frequently change the molecular composition of designer drugs to stay one step ahead of drug tests, so designer drugs often go undetected.

I urge every parent and care giver of children and teens to learn the facts about designer drugs and then share them with your kids. Kids think that designer drugs are harmless because they can buy them in stores or online. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to educate our families and our communities about the serious dangers of designer drugs!

Please share this post with others to save lives and prevent overdoses.

I would love to hear your comments! You can email me at randy@carepossible.org.

Websites: www.carepossible.orgwww.randymoraitis.com

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Treating Anxiety

anxiety

Anxiety Disorders affect millions of Americans filling them with dread, fear, and uncertainty. In my last blog I shared a brief history of anxiety in society which you can view here: History of Anxiety

This post is focused on treating anxiety. Those who struggle with anxiety experience physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual symptoms, so it makes sense that treatment for anxiety address these four types of symptoms.

Here are the four areas to focus on when treating anxiety. The most complete treatment program will cover each of the four areas.

1. PHYSICAL–this category looks at how the following impacts one’s anxiety:

  • Medications–some help, while others may increase anxiety.
  • Caffeine, alcohol, drugs–these can greatly increase anxiety.
  • Thyroid, adrenal function, anemia, asthma, etc–be aware that these factors may increase anxiety.
  • Food allergies/sensitivities–may play a role in increasing anxiety.
  • Sufficient sleep–can help reduce anxiety.
  • Supplements–may help reduce anxiety.
  • Physical exercise–very helpful in reducing anxiety.

2. EMOTIONAL–looks at the feeling involved and how to have emotional health:

  • Feelings underlying panic attacks–understanding and examining these feelings can lead to healing.
  • Emotionally tagging events–when the brain stores a memory of an event, it also stores an emotion associated with the event.
  • Evaluate your upbringing–learn to let go of anger, frustration, and control issues from your past.
  • Therapies–there are different types of therapy that can treat the emotional side of anxiety including cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR therapy, neurofeedback, Alpha-stim therapy, and more.

3. RELATIONAL–this area examines how we interact with others:

  • Choose to be around uplifting people.
  • Get out of toxic relationships.
  • Know and stay in your stress zone.
  • Do not isolate or shut down.
  • Avoid pushy, high maintenance, or unpredictable people.
  • Learn to say no and have healthy boundaries!

4. SPIRITUAL–feelings of anxiety are so deep, that a spiritual side of treatment is very effective.

  • Community–stay involved and connected in your local church.
  • Prayer–pray regularly, including prayers for a spirit of power and peace.
  • Verse memorization–memorize verses that give you peace and comfort and focus on these verses during times of anxiety.
  • Do not get caught up in the world–riches, fame, power–instead focus on the spiritual side of life.
  • Music–listening to uplifting music, such as praise and worship music, can reduce anxiety.

Anxiety is real and can be devastating. The good news is that there is hope and healing available for those with anxiety disorders. If you struggle with anxiety, contact a physician or mental health care professional right away to get on a path of healing.I have helped many groups and individuals have healing from their anxiety and would love to help you or your loved one. For more info lease email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or call 949-303-8264.

Websites: www.carepossible.comwww.randymoraitis.com.

About Randy Moraitis
Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy, he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

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5 Tips for a Great Marriage

marriage
1. TALK!
It is critical for couples to talk regularly and talk from the heart! As you get to know your spouse better you should grow in learning how and when to best communicate. Be wise and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. And when you do talk, share your feelings. If you have trouble expressing your emotions, try a feelings chart by clicking here.

2. GRATITUDE!
Having an attitude of gratitude will really change the tone of your marriage. Be sincerely grateful for your spouse, and let them know that you are grateful. Sometimes we get so busy with the daily tasks of life that we take our spouses for granted. Be thankful, then tell your spouse that you are thankful!

3. TEACHABILITY!
Be open minded and mature enough to realize that you may have some new lessons to learn. We are all works in progress that will do best if open to learning and growing through life. Sometimes couple may need a therapist or counselor to teach them the tools and skills needed to grow together through a difficult issue or season.

4. INTIMACY!
There are three types of intimacy that are key to the best marriages–relational intimacy, spiritual intimacy  and sexual intimacy. When you have the first two in place, the third flows more naturally. Be sure to invest in relational intimacy through talks, activities, and date nights. Invest in spiritual intimacy by praying together and attending church together. The closeness you develop through these activities will serve to strengthen your sexual intimacy.

5. DO-OVERS!
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes! Because of this I encourage all married couples to have a rule in their marriage: if they are arguing, one spouse can say, “Let’s start over” and the other agrees.This works great for most day to day marital spats. Obviously more serious issues may require a counselor to help resolve. Bottom line–forgiveness and the willingness to start fresh is key to a healthy marriage. Holding on to resentments only hurts the marriage.

Talk to your spouse, or future spouse, about these five tips. Just having that conversation is a healthy start!

If you have any marriage tips, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com. Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com.

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FAQs About Addiction

addiction

Here is a brief list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) I receive about addiction:

1. How do I know if it really is an addiction? 

When a person requires increasing amounts of a habit forming substance, or compulsive behavior, they likely have an addiction. If there are negative consequences because of the substance use or behavior, this is usually a clear indicator that there is an addiction requiring treatment.

2. What should I do if think I am addicted?

According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) addiction is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual affliction that is very difficult to treat without help. If you think you are struggling with an addiction, seek help immediately! A great first step is to attend a support group such as AA or NA. Depending on the addiction, a medically supervised detox may be necessary, so consulting with a physician or checking into an addiction treatment center is advised.

3. What should I do if I suspect a loved on of having an addiction?

  • Confront them in love and let them know how their behavior makes you feel. Do not pretend as if nothing is wrong.
  • Do not enable your loved one! Do not give them money and do not cover for them. Let them experience the consequences of their choices.
  • Go to an Al-Anon meeting or similar support group for friends and families of addicts.
  • Do your best to get your loved one into treatment. Different parts of the treatment program include: detox, rehab, sober living, working a 12 step program with a sponsor, counseling, and having a recovery coach to aid in relapse prevention.
  • Consider an intervention if you have difficulty getting your loved on into treatment.

Addiction is a life and death problem. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, get help now. For a list of resources to get you started click here.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to email me or visit my website.

 

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Christmas Facts and Fallacies

 christmas tree
By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

1. What’s up with mistletoe? Mistletoe, the only plant to rival roses for inspiring kisses, was originally used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward off evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

So mistletoe is more related to wintertime, than Christmas, but it’s use is highly encouraged by this writer.

2. The stable truth. The biblical story about the birth of Christ does not actually mention a stable. It does mention a manger which often leads people to think the baby Jesus was born in a barn. In reality, Jesus was probably born in a cave or, according to archaeology experts, Jesus was probably born in the house of relatives, but outside of the normal living and guest quarters. Quite a humble beginning.

3. Who were The Three Kings? Sorry to totally mess up your nativity scene (mine, too!) but there is no actual mention of “kings” in the biblical account of Christ’s birth. The Bible does say that wise men, also called “magi”, (but not Kings) visited Jesus. And it never says there were three of them. The word used for “magi” is plural, there were more than one, but people assume there were three because of the three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Bottom line, they were not kings and there may not have been three of them!

4. Is Christmas really Jesus’ birthday? Although it is possible, it is very unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25th. No one knows for sure the exact date of Christ’s birth. The date chosen to celebrate it may be related to the Roman Saturnalia festival that lasted from the 17th -23rd of December. December 25th was chosen somewhere during the 4th century AD by the heads of the church. People were already used to gathering, so why not celebrate the birth of Christ?

5. Who is Santa Claus? Yes, Virginia, there really was a Santa Claus! The origin of Santa Claus began in the 4th century with the real Saint Nicholas, a Bishop in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous and devoted Christ follower. He was particularly devoted to children. His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to much folklore that has spread and increased across cultures and through the years.

6. What about Jesus? Who was he? Did he really exist or was he a mythological character? There can be no doubt that Jesus actually existed and that he walked the earth. Sources outside of the Bible clearly confirm this. We may not have all the facts and cast of characters of our nativity scenes completely accurate, but we can rest assured that Jesus Christ was born, that his birth has been celebrated for two thousand years, and that he is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!

Do you have any interesting Christmas facts or fallacies? I would love to hear them! Contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264. Websites: www.randymoraitis.com and www.carepossible.org.

About Randy Moraitis
Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!) Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.

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3 Quick Tips for Step-families During the Holidays

christmas family

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

The holidays are rapidly approaching and most of us have this ideal image of how we want our family lives to be full of joy and peace during this special time of year. This ideal is challenging enough in traditional family systems, but for those who are in a step-family system peace during the holidays can seem like an unattainable fantasy.

These days almost everyone is somehow connected to a step-family system whether in our own home or in the home of our relatives. You may have step-kids, step-grandchildren, step-nieces or nephews, or even get a new step-parent once you are already an adult if one of your parents remarries. If so, then you are
part of what’s called a step-family system.

Step-family systems can be very challenging. Step-families are often referred to as blended families because the hope is to blend two families together. The term “blended family” can be a little misleading as it implies that the two families blend together quickly like a smoothie in your kitchen blender.

The reality is that life in a step-family is more like using a crock-pot, than a blender. In a crock-pot it takes a long, slow time for something to cook. Step-families can take some time to get to a place of peace and harmony in the home.

Here are three quick tips to help step-families get on a healthy path during the holidays. Whether you are part of a step family system, or are someone who works with kids and families, these are great tips for you to know, share, and apply to make our families happier and healthier.

1. Have Extra Grace—The first rule of step-families is to have extra grace! That means to be more
forgiving on a daily basis. There are so many stressful issues inherent in step-families that it is imperative for step-family members to have an overall attitude of extra grace in their homes.

The parents must decide to create a culture of extra grace in their home, and then teach it to their children. And the parents must model the extra grace rule. It is very common that your step children will get under your skin faster and more frequently than your biological children. When you are aware of that tendency, it is easier to control it and exercise grace. A home filled with extra grace is a home where families can begin to blend together in a healthy way.

2. Discipline with Wisdom—In a step family system, discipline dispensed with wisdom goes a long way towards creating the best possible family environment. When step-parents discipline their step-child, this creates a great deal of resentment that may fester over time, be very difficult to overcome, and be a drain on the peace and harmony in the home.

When a child misbehaves and discipline is necessary both parents should discuss the situation and come to an agreement on the proper course of action behind closed doors. They then address the child with the biological parent stating what the discipline is, and the step-parent standing right behind the biological parent showing their support for the decision and their spouse.

Quick example: Billy, who lives with his stepdad and biological mom, stays out thirty minutes past curfew. Step-dad thinks Billy should be grounded for two weeks; mom thinks Billy should lose his cellphone
for a day. Stepdad and mom need to discuss, and perhaps compromise a little, on the course of action, but they have to do it behind closed doors or else Billy will try to divide and conquer if he sees them arguing. Once the decision is made, mom and stepdad approach Billy, with Mom in front doing the talking and
stepdad standing right behind her. Mom lays down the law and stepdad shows his strong support for her.

3. Create New Family Traditions—When two families come together each one has had family traditions in their past that are so important and dear to their hearts. While it is important to honor and respect those past traditions, it is wise to start some new family traditions that are unique to the new blended family.

New family traditions can include family movie nights, family game nights, or a new sport or other activity. And of course the holidays are a great time to start a new family tradition. Some new decorations, a special meal, attending a Christmas Eve service, a snow day, there are numerous possibilities. Be creative and have fun with it…you may be starting something that will last for generations!Happy Holidays to you and your family!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to randy@randymoraitis.com or call 949-303-8264.
Websites: www.carepossible.orgwww.randymoraitis.com.

About Randy Moraitis
Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!) Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.