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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.

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3 Ways to Tell if You Have an Addiction

addiction
By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Often times clients will ask me how to tell whether they actually have an addiction (or how to tell if a family member may have an addiction). A great rule of thumb is to use the 3 C’s:

The 3 C’s

  1. CONSEQUENCES
  2. CRAVING
  3. CONTROL

In order to identify whether there is a problem, the first step is to ask whether one is troubled by the consequences of the use pattern. Does the person continue to use even when there are adverse consequences such as broken relationships, legal issues and loss of employment?

The second step is to ask if there is craving. Does the person want the activity they’re engaged in more and more over time? Are they often thinking about it and planning the next time to do it?

The third step is to identify if there is a control loss. Has the person lost control of the activities in their life? Whether they are drug involved, gambling involved, shopping involved or whatever. When someone is active in addiction their life is often out of control.

When someone meets the criteria of these 3 C’s, whether one, two or all three of them, then there is a good chance that they are experiencing an addiction and should receive a more thorough assessment.

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 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

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.

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Top Daily Habits of the Ultra Successful

Habits of Highly SuccessfulAs a counselor, coach and interventionist I am fascinated by the habits and disciplines that help people live healthy and successful lives. That is why I just love this infographic that I found on success.com. Here is a link to their original post: 13 Daily Habits of Highly Successful People.

The bottom line is that one is wise to have a disciplined and focused daily schedule, be a lifelong learner, exercise regularly, and maintain a positive mental attitude

What works for you? Is there anything you would add to the list?

I would love to hear your comments!

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

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. 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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I Exercised Everyday for One Year–What Did I Learn?

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

At the beginning of last year I set a goal to exercise everyday in 2016. I am happy to report that I achieved that goal and I learned a few things along the way that I would like to share with you.

There were two main reasons I initially made the goal. First, I wanted to set a good example for all of my counseling and coaching clients. My system of counseling and coaching includes a strong emphasis on health and wellness and I wanted to ensure that I was practicing what I was preaching!

Second, I have three little grandkids that I adore and I want to not only have tons of energy to play with them, but also be around for many years to see them grow up. Being physically fit gives me the best chance at accomplishing both of these intentions.

In order to stay healthy and avoid any overuse injuries I did a wide variety of fitness activities and workouts. This allowed adequate recovery time for any soreness from a particular workout and it also prevented any boredom from setting in.

The workouts I did included weight training, cardio (elliptical and stationary bike), kettle bells, martial arts, and walking. I also did yoga everyday–several days per week at a studio (You and the Mat) and other days at home. I kept a daily fitness log to track my training and ensure I was having a balanced approach.

Here’s what I learned from my yearlong exercise journey:

1. Mornings Are Best–By exercising in the morning I ensured that nothing and no one could chip away at my workout time. This meant getting up a little earlier, but it was totally worth it. When we work out later in the day there are so many things–work, family, emergencies– that can pop up and take away from our workout time. Get the workout done first thing in the morning–and if you have extra time in the afternoon or evening you can actually do another workout if you like. That’s what I did!

2. Weight Loss is More About What You Eat–If your goal is to lose weight (reduce bodyfat), then exercise is a great adjunct to that goal, but the amount and type of calories that you take in is very important. During my year of daily exercise I lost a total of 10 pounds. My fitness routine inspired me to eat healthy 90% of the time, but I still enjoyed treats on holidays and special occasions without worry because I knew I was working out so much. If my goal had been solely focused on the weight loss I would have had a stricter diet.

3. Physical Fitness is Good For Your Health–During this year of exercise I had fewer colds, flu or other sickness than any year I can remember. And the couple of times I felt like I was coming down with a cold, the sickness had a much shorter duration than previous years.

4. Exercise is a Great Stress Reducer–I have a very busy schedule. I am in private practice doing counseling, coaching and interventions, I run the nonprofit foundation CarePossible, and I lead the recovery program Lifelines that meets Fridays at The Crossing Church. Each of these pursuits means I am often dealing with individuals or families in crisis which can be stressful. Gratefully, the regular exercise leaves me feeling calm and relaxed everyday, even in the midst of stressful situations. If you are stressed out, I encourage you to add regular exercise to your routine!

5. Exercise Provides Opportunities for Other Healthy Growth–I love a good win/win situation and fitness activities provide a lot of opportunities for win/wins. While on cardio machines you can read books or watch TED Talks, while walking outdoors you can listen to audiobooks or lectures from The Great Courses, while taking fitness or yoga classes you can make friends and get healthy social support and connectivity.

Bottom Line–Regular exercise is great for both your mind and your body in so many ways. So, no excuses! If a busy, old guy like me can workout every day for a year, then you can work out at least a few times per week. I urge you to make this a year of health and fitness so you can reap all the rewards of a fitness lifestyle. If you need help getting started I love to do wellness coaching and would be honored to work with you. And will I exercise everyday in 2017? I’m not sure, but I haven’t missed a day yet!

Call me at 949-303-8264 or email me at randy@randymoraitis.com.
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 and individuals 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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SMART Goals for Your Best Year Ever!

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

So the New Year has begun and most everyone is ready to go back to school or back to work. While on holiday break perhaps you had a resolution or two pop into your head. Or a thought about something you’d like to accomplish in the new year. But you’re already back to the grind and not really sure if you’ll really make your resolutions and goals come true.

Here are a few tips to help you make your resolutions a reality, to achieve your goals, and to make this year your best year ever. Everybody needs some coaching, even the highest level professional athletes and top level executives, so here is some coaching for you on how to achieve your goals.

Whatever it is that you’d like to accomplish this year, use the acronym SMART to help you shape and define your goals so that you have a much greater chance of achieving them.

S—Specific—Who, what, where, when, why! Goals should be written out in very specific terms. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year” or “I want to read more this year”, one should say, “I will lose 20 pounds this year” or “I will read one book per month this year”. By having a specific target we know exactly what to aim at.

M—Measurable—From and to! When setting a goal, how will you measure your progress? If weight loss is the goal, the obvious way to measure is with a scale. But some goals are more complex—like healing relationships or growing spiritually. Determine in advance how you will know you are accomplishing your goal.

A—Attainable—How will you accomplish the goal? It is really great to dream big and to stretch oneself, but it is important to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Is it realistic for you to lose 20 pounds a month or to earn ten million dollars in the new year? Setting unattainable goals really does more harm than good. Dream big, but keep it real!

R—Relevant—Is the goal worthwhile? Ask the question of whether the goal is really relevant in your life. Say I set a goal to ride a motorcycle across the country this year. While this would be a fun and memorable experience, the amount of time and energy it would take is not relevant or worthwhile at this stage of my life. Make sure your goals are relevant to your life, your family, and your career.

T—Time Based—When will you accomplish the goal? It has been said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. A goal must have a specific time frame in which it will be achieved. People work better with deadlines—goals do, too. Instead of saying “I will lose 20 pounds this year”, say “I will lose 20 pounds by May 1st”. Set your deadline to increase your chances of success!

Here is an example of a goal that meets all the SMART criteria:

“I will lose ten pounds by March 1st through exercising five days per week and limiting my daily calorie intake to 2000 or less.”

What is one SMART goal you have for 2017?

I’d love to coach you to set and achieve your goals and make this year your best year ever! You can contact me at 949-303-8264 or randy@randymoraitis.com for a free consultation. 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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How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Affect Health

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs, are adverse or traumatic childhood experiences that damage a child’s developing brain in such a way that the effects can show up years later. ACES can cause chronic disease, mental illness and other serious issues.

“ACEs” comes from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which showed that childhood trauma leads to the onset of adult of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being the victim of violence.

The ACE study has published 70 research papers and hundreds more research papers have been published based on the ACE study.

The researchers measured these 10 ACEs:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness
  • A family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • A family member in prison
  • Witnessing a mother being abused
  • Losing a parent to separation, divorce or other reason

The ACEs study is extremely significant because ACEs cause chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease, as well as mental illness and violence.

Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH did an amazing TedTalk on this issue which I highly recommend. Here is a link: TedTalk on ACEs.

As a counselor, coach and interventionist I find this research extremely interesting and helpful in understanding my clients. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. My email is randy@randymoraitis.com and my phone is 949-303-8264.

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 Keys to Making Changes That Last

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

As a coach, counselor and interventionist I am extremely passionate about helping my clients have long term, healthy change in their behaviors and their lifestyles. So many folks have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight, quit smoking, stop abusing drugs or alcohol, or other unhealthy behaviors. Some have short term success but very few have long term success.

Here are Five Keys to Making Changes That Last that I use with my clients and encourage you to use in your life.

1. Realistic Expectations–The first key to making changes that last is to have realistic expectations or goals. If we set unrealistic, unattainable goals, then we set ourselves up for failure, disappointment and eventually giving up.

It’s much better to set ourselves up for success by using SMART Goals. Smart Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Click here for more info on how to set SMART Goals.

If we keep it real, then we can make it happen!

2. Internal Motivation–Motivation is the activation of goal oriented behavior and is either intrinsic (internal-coming from inside) or extrinsic (external–coming from outside).

Doing an intervention is a form of external motivation that can help save someone’s life when drug or alcohol use is out of control. But for lasting change, at some point the person will need to find some internal motivation. This is because intrinsic, or internal, motivation is much more powerful for lasting behavioral change.

For optimal internal motivation towards achieving a healthy goal one must truly value the benefit of the goal or lifestyle change, have self-confidence in the ability to achieve the goal, and be in the appropriate social settingfor achieving the goal.

To value the goal it can be helpful to write out lists or reasons why the goal is important to you. It can also be very helpful to visualize achieving the goal.

To increase self-confidence it can be helpful to have a coach, counselor or sponsor on board to help give tools and encouragement that continually build self-confidence.

To maintain a healthy social setting we must remove triggers from our environment. This may even mean entering a treatment program for a more structured, healthy environment for a period of time. It also means having good stimulus control which is removing unhealthy triggers (such as foods, drugs, alcohol) from the environment.

3. Core Skills–These are the skills needed to help you make changes that last. It’s not about willpower, which can often fail us, especially if we get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).

Core skills include the abilities to honestly observe and evaluate ourselves, then react and respond accordingly. For example, giving ourselves a form of reward or punishment based on how well we’re sticking to our goal plan.

Core skills also include daily disciplines, stress coping strategies and self care. As a coach I emphasize these skills in every session with my clients!

4. Action Plans–The action plan includes all the elements of the SMART Goals–that we have a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely goal in place. The action plan has a start date, a deadline, and a list of resources needed for success.

The action plan should also include regular assessments and consultations with one’s coach, counselor, and/or physician. Ironically, having structure can actually give us freedom from unhealthy impulses.

5. Social Support–Who’s in your tribe? Jim Rohn once said, “We become the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. To make lasting change we need to set boundaries with unhealthy influences in our life. This may mean terminating unhealthy relationships and deleting contacts from our phone. If you want a new, healthy life, then you will need some new, healthy friends!

When you assess and change your social circle, it is important to let your circle know about your new goals and values so they can support you on your journey to success. Healthy lives happen in healthy community!

So there you have it–the Five Keys to Making Lasting Change–Realistic Expectations, Internal Motivation, Core Skills, Action Plans, and Social Support. Put these keys into action and they will unlock the healthy lifestyle that will help you be the very best version of yourself!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

For info on counseling, coaching or interventions please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com or 949-303-8264, 0r visit my 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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Treatment For Opioid Addiction

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

In my last blog post entitled “10 Facts About Opioids” I shared that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic and discussed important facts about opioids such as heroin, vicodin, etc.

This post will follow up on our look at opioids with a discussion of treatment options for opioid abuse and addiction.

Treating Opioid Overdose
Currently there are some very effective drugs for opioid overdose. If someone overdoses on opioids and is barely breathing and close to death, an opioid antagonist such as naloxone, can be administered. This can provide immediate relief because it blocks the opioids from binding to the receptors in the brain.

Thankfully, more and more first responders, as well as citizens, have been trained in the use of naloxone and this has led to saving many lives.

Treating Opioid Addiction 
The first step to treating opioid addiction is detoxification (detox). Detox is extremely challenging because opioid users experience such intense withdrawal symptoms when they quit taking the drug.

I have seen this first hand numerous times while helping addicts get clean. I even once had an individual do their entire detox in my home without medication as they had no other treatment options. It can get messy and ugly!

Users encounter severe withdrawal symptoms that mirror the opposite effects of the drug. Instead of feeling euphoric, the user is extremely depressed. Instead of pain relief, users experience many aches and pains. Instead of constipation, users have diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms.

It is common to treat opioid addiction by administering a slower, longer acting opioid, such as methadone instead. Methadone maintenance is the most common treatment for heroin addiction and it has had significant success. One study showed that 80 percent of people who stick with a methadone maintenance program for one year end up abstinent from heroin for one to three years afterwards. By contrast, only 12 percent of people who drop out of methadone maintenance stay abstinent that long.

Other opioids are also regularly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. In fact, heroin itself is used in the treatment of heroin addiction in a number of countries. The idea is to give users a lower, but stable, prescription dose of heroin without all the risks associated with obtaining and using heroin on the street. Not surprisingly, heroin addicts are more likely to stick with a heroin maintenance program compared with a methadone maintenance program, and perhaps as a result, they’re less likely to use illegal drugs.

Other opioid drugs are frequently used in treating opioid addiction. Of course, this is very controversial as this is simply substituting one addiction for another.

Another common approach to treatment is to remove any reward associated with relapse. This is done by having the patient take an opioid antagonist such as naltrexone which blocks the rewarding effects of the opioids. This treatment works well with individuals highly motivated to quit who continue taking the naltrexone, but a problem arises when an individual gets very strong cravings and stops using the naltrexone.

In addition to pharmacological treatments, it can be most helpful if opioid addicts also receive cognitive behavioral therapy where they are trained to recognize and avoid their triggers for drug use.

It is also very helpful for the addict to receive counseling and coaching to move forward with a healthier life, and to be in a healthy supportive community which may include 12 step groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Lifelines.

Finding freedom from opioid addiction is very difficult, but it can be done with effective treatment, as well as healthy community and support in the life of the addict. If you have a loved one struggling with an opioid addiction, do not give up on them. Do all you can to get them into treatment, perhaps even an intervention, as it just may save their life!

For more information or to take the first step in getting a loved one help call 949-303-8264 or email randy@carepossible.org.

Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com

8 Tools for Relapse Prevention

By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Hardly a day goes by that I am not approached by someone–either an addict in recovery who is struggling to stay clean, or the loved one of an addict concerned about their loved one relapsing and overdosing.

These are people from all walks of life, yet they usually ask the same question—a question truly born out of desperation, and that question is: “What should I do?”

To help answer that question I offer these 8 Tools for Relapse Prevention. If an addict in recovery sincerely works in these eight areas they will greatly reduce the likelihood of a potential fatal relapse. This is important for both the addict and the family to know.

8 Tools for Relapse Prevention

1. Meetings—addicts need to go to recovery meetings such as AA, NA, CA, Celebrate Recovery, or Lifelines.Meetings are where you learn new things to help the brain heal from the damage caused by the addictive behaviors, and where you can find encouragement from hearing the experience, strength and hope of others staying clean. There is great wisdom in attending 90 meetings in 90 days for those trying to get and stay clean.

2. Counseling—addicts often have some deep down issues that, if never addressed, will continue to
rear their ugly heads and possibly trigger relapse. Issues such as anxiety, depression, and trauma can be processed with a good counselor or therapist and the addict can be given tools to grow in healthy ways. The counselor may also recommend a medical exam for a complete assessment and treatment plan.

3. 12 Steps—the 12 steps are an amazing tool for healing and spiritual growth. I highly recommend everyone work through the steps as they are even beneficial to those not in recovery from addiction. Here is a great site with info on the 12 steps: http://12step.org/

4. Sponsor—addicts need a sponsor to guide them through the 12 steps. I recommend a sponsor be of
the same sex, have one year or more of sobriety, and have worked through the steps with their own sponsor. The addict should find a sponsor they trust who meets these guidelines, then take direction from the sponsor.

5. Health and Wellness—this includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, stretching, and relaxation/meditation. I highly recommend those in recovery find a healthy activity that they enjoy such as crossfit, martial arts, running, surfing, or yoga. This will give them some good clean fun, get those endorphins flowing, and often lead to making new, healthy friends.

6. Family Support—addiction is a family disease. If you have a family member or loved one impacted by addiction, guess what? You are impacted by addiction! Family members of addicts will help the addict, and themselves, by attending Al-Anon or CoDa meetings. Seeking counseling to learn healthy ways to support the addict
without enabling, as well as how to have healthy self-care is also recommended.

7. Recovery Coach—a good recovery coach will give the addict numerous tools to stay clean and sober and hold them accountable in their growth and sobriety. Additionally, a recovery coach will guide the addict to find purpose in life. Once a person has purpose and they are passionate about it, they are more likely to stay focused on achieving their purpose and less likely to relapse.

8. God—the 12 steps were designed to take people on a spiritual journey and trust in a higher power. Many addicts fresh in their recovery have no idea who their higher power is. That’s normal and to be expected. My personal experience is that I have seen thousands of addicts over the years have great success choosing God as their higher power. Having a spiritual foundation gives one much needed strength during times of temptation and triggers. The Life Recovery Bible is a great resource to learn more about the intersection of faith and recovery, and prayer can be a powerful tool for healing.

I would love to hear if you have any tools you recommend for relapse prevention. You can email me at randy@randymoraitis.com or visit my website for more info on counseling and recovery coaching www.randymoraitis.com, or visit our nonprofit foundation CarePossible at www.carepossible.org for info and resources for those in need.

An Introduction to the 12 Steps

By Randy Moraaitis

If you have never been to a 12 step meeting, then you probably have no idea what the 12 steps are all about, other than perhaps associating the steps with addicts. Following is a very brief overview of the 12 steps to help spread awareness.

The 12 steps are a set of guiding or spiritual principles originally designed to help those struggling with alcoholism. The steps have proven to be a very effective tool for many people struggling with, not only alcoholism, but addictions and compulsions of many varieties including drugs, food and pornography.

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.  Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

A great benefit of the steps is that those who sincerely work through the 12 steps can live healthier and more honest lives than those who do not. There are numerous types of 12 step groups and meetings where one can find the steps being put into practice including:

  • AA—Alcoholics Anonymous
  • NA—Narcotics Anonymous
  • CA—Cocaine Anonymous
  • MA—Marijuana Anonymous
  • SA—Sexaholics Anonymous
  • OA—Overeaters Anonymous
  • CoDa—Codependents Anonymous
  • Al-Anon—for friends and family of addicts

12 step groups are a great source of free therapy. If someone cannot afford traditional therapy or counseling, they just might find a lot of healing in a 12 step group related to their struggles.

There are many variances between 12 step groups, so if you try one that is not a good fit, don’t give up—try another one. A simple Google search will lead to meeting schedules and descriptions.

Bottom line—the 12 steps are a great tool for healing, so if you’re new to the steps read through them a few times and see how they could grow you—even if you’re not an addict.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. For more info, or for help finding a meeting, please contact me at randy@randymoraitis.com.

Websites: www.carepossible.org and www.randymoraitis.com.