Learning about alcohol and drugs.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs.

Drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

How much do you really know about alcohol and drugs?

Despite the prevalence of drugs and alcohol in our society, many people have never had any formal education about drugs or alcohol. Most people get their education in this area the same way they learn about sex, on the street, and by experimentation.

As a society, we have a love-hate relationship with drugs and alcohol. The consensus seems to be that drinking and doing drugs can be enjoyable, but that “losing control” of that habit can be harmful maybe even deadly. Clearly simplistic solutions, just say no, or saying only bad people have problems is not working.

Ignoring the effects of addiction and alcoholism is easy.

Most people try to ignore the problem until it overwhelms them personally, or someone close to them. It’s reassuring to believe that addiction or alcoholism is something that happens to “those kinds of people,” the weak, or the lazy.

Not everyone who experiments with drugs or alcohol develops a problem. We know that young people are likely to try new and exciting experiences. Initially, it all sounds like fun. Most go on to have typical lives. But increasingly we are seeing people of all ages, including the older generation, whose lives are being damaged by substances.

Most people’s conception of an alcoholic is the homeless bum on the street, someone who can’t work and drinks all day every day. The unpleasant truth is that 95% of all alcoholics have full-time jobs. It’s entirely possible that you meet these hidden alcoholics every day. For every person with a drinking problem, estimates tell us that, 5 to 8 other people are harmed by that person’s drinking.

In some hospitals, half of the bed are taken up by people whose illness is primarily caused by or made worse by the direct results of alcoholism.

The problems with alcoholism and addiction are all around us.

In every city in America of any size, and I feel confident this happens everywhere else on planet Earth, we see the harm caused by the misuse of substances. A quick look at last night’s paper shows several people arrested for DUI. Several accidents in which one or both drivers were intoxicated. And an occasional story about someone dying of a drug overdose.

The war on drugs misled us.

American’s have noticed a staggering increase in the number of people who are dying from overdoses of prescribed opiate drugs. Despite a long-running war on drugs, the devastation is worse now than it was before. Several unpleasant facts emerge from studying substances and substance use disorders.

The majority of drug overdose deaths arise from prescribed medications, not street drugs.

Legal or tolerated drugs, nicotine, and alcohol each kill more people per year than all the illegal street drugs combined. Most of the deaths from drug overdoses involve people who have more than one drug in their bloodstream. Mixing alcohol with other drugs, prescription or street drugs, increases the risk of death.

Many professionals lack education about the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Most professionals working in the mental health field have minimal training in substance-related problems. Most counselors and therapists receive from one to three units in substance-related classes in an entire master’s program. Surveys indicate that the majority of people with substance use disorder, 60% or more, also have a co-occurring disorder. Furthermore, many people with diagnosed mental illness, approximately 50%, also have a substance use disorder.

In my own experience, it is extremely common to find someone with severe depression or high anxiety, who is also abusing substances. Use of alcohol or drugs may temporarily mask symptoms but in the long run, using substances as a crutch makes the problem worse.

Therapists who work with couples often find that one or both parties are using drugs or alcohol, and this is contributing to the marital discord. Unfortunately, many counselors who were not trained in substance use disorders ignore the problem rather than ask about it.

Since I started in the counseling field as a substance use disorder counselor, I’m acutely aware of how commonly mental health problems and alcoholism or addiction occur together. Substance abuse counselors, at least here in California, typically go through a 36-unit program with many of the classes specifically focused on alcohol, drugs, and the process of moving from use to addiction.

Very soon school will be back in session, and this semester I will be teaching several classes in the substance use disorder program. While I don’t want to shift the counselorsoapbox.com blog specifically towards drugs and addiction, I thought it might be useful to share with you some of the material I use in my substance abuse counseling classes. Also, in the near future, I am planning to release some of this material as videos on our very own counselorssoapbox YouTube channel. Stay tuned, and I will let you know how the videos are progressing.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and please remember to click like if you enjoyed this post and please leave comments. Talk to you again soon.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Majority of mentally ill do not get treatment.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Mental Health or Mental Illness

Mental Health or Mental Illness?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why is it so hard for mentally ill and the addicted to get treatment?

Worldwide there is a growing awareness that untreated illness is one of the major problems of our time. There are demonstrable connections between our other major issues and mental illness. Wars and violence are an everyday staple in the news. The trauma and the impact of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder get scant mention and are easily forgotten. Global environmental problems affect physical and mental health.

The heaviest users of physical health services, that 5 percent of the population on which we spend fifty percent of our health budget. The majority of them have either a mental health issue or a substance use disorder. More productivity, measured in days of work missed, is lost due to depression than most of the serious illnesses combined. Why then is it so difficult for those who need treatment for a mental or behavioral disorder to get treatment?

The majority of the mentally ill do not get treatment.

Fifty-five percent of the mentally ill receive no treatment. The statistics for those with a substance use disorder is even worse. Since 2013 the rate of treatment has risen, slightly. But the continuing reality is that majority of mentally ill people do not get treatment.

Every time there is a high-profile violent event, the news asks if that person has a history of mental illness. Even when they have been identified as a mentally ill person the odds are less than fifty-fifty that they were able to access treatment.

People who voluntarily come in for treatment most of the time are those who have depression and they realize they need help. If they are planning on killing themselves or others they may get easier accesses to the mental health system. If their symptoms are less severe they may be told they are not seriously enough mentally ill to get treated just now. Wait till you begin feeling like killing someone and then call again.

Cost, capacity, and cognitions are keeping people out of treatment.

The cost of treatment has been a major barrier to getting mental health up till now. The expansion of healthcare availability has given a few more people access to behavioral health treatment. Even when someone realizes that they need help their fears about the cost may keep them out of treatment. It is not just direct costs, doctor fees, medications the price of counseling, which is a problem. Some people have copays. There is also travel costs and problems in eating away from home.

The parity provisions in the current law were intended to make sure that behavioral health benefits were just as available as physical health ones. Accessing behavioral health services continue to be a challenge for both client and providers.

Recent surveys tell us that we have at best half the number of therapists that are needed to see the number of people who need services. The result of this imbalance between supply and demand is that there are longer waits for services and people who really do need help may get turned away.

Mental illness gets in the way of getting treated.

People with anxiety get nervous around others. They cope by avoiding people. In treatment, they are often too scared to wait in crowded lobbies. They miss appointments and then get dropped for noncompliance. Distance or telemedicine is one possible solution but there are still issues about who can do this and when or if insurance will pay if you just talk with this client by phone or internet.

A symptom of depression is the loss of motivation. Severely depressed people do not have the energy to show up some days. Being symptomatic can get you turned away from treatment.

Drug and alcohol issues get almost no treatment.

Alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Less than 12 percent of those with substance use disorders are getting treatment. Those who do are most frequently referred, mandated, to treatment by the courts or criminal justice system. The days of 28-day inpatient rehabs are largely gone, most insurers want the person using substances to stay in the place where they formerly used a substance and try to get clean there.

Most drug and alcohol treatment is done in outpatient treatment settings. Despite parity laws, it has been increasingly difficult to get insurance to pay for treatment. While we are making some progress at getting a few more of the mentally ill into treatment the percentages of those with a substance use disorder has not changed significantly in recent years.

Among those who really need treatment but don’t get it, a major barrier to treatment is the addict/alcoholics own thinking. Most would like to find a way to continue using or drinking and still not be addicted or an alcoholic. Admitting you have an illness, especially the one called addiction is a hard notion for most people to swallow.

More info on the low treatment rates of behavioral health problems can be found at the SAMHSA website.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is your problem drugs or people?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Drugs.

Drugs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Are people in your life making too much out of your recreational drug use?

A number of people recently have been describing how they do not feel they have a problem with drugs. They are not addicted. They have or have had a job. There have been no awful withdrawal symptoms. These people report that they are not addicted and that they just use drugs for fun. These conversations have been both in person and via mail or chat.

The common complaint is that others in this person’s life are being unreasonable and are upset because this person wants to have fun. The common thread in these conversations is that these others are off base because they object to the person I am talking with have fun, enjoying themselves and doing drugs recreationally.

This blog post is of course written in generalities. I do not know each reader’s situation. Your situation may be very different from the ones I will describe. Let’s take a look at some of these interpersonal conflicts that occur around drug use and how both the user and others in their life are perceiving this recreational drug use. Below are some of the people who have objected to someone’s drug use.

The topic is drugs but as far as I am concerned alcohol should get lumped in as a drug. Alcohol alters consciousness and it impairs functioning at times. Our societal attitude to alcohol may be less rigid than the attitude towards other drugs but those attitudes are changing and penalties for doing things while intoxicated continue to increase.

Your Spouse or romantic partner objects to your drug use.

Often the first person to notice a problem with your drug use will be a close romantic partner.  So you need to ask yourself did this person have a problem with your behavior before you two moved in together or has their opinion changed and why?

If they said nothing before you became a couple but are now asking you to cut out or stop your drug use what has changed? If situations have changed, you have kids, need to make a house payment and so on that may be the reason they are talking differently now. They may just have thought that once you were in a committed relationship you would act more grown up.

Some people are ready to settle down for the kids and the future before others. Consider which is more important, your ability to do all the drugs you want because you do not see them as being a problem or making your partner happy and being a good parent?

It is also possible that the people in your house can see the signs of trouble in you before you can see them. If more than one person has complained about your partying, you need to look at this carefully.

Do your parents criticize your drug use?

One big reason that parents tell their kids that drugs or alcohol is a problem? Because they have done those things and gotten themselves in trouble. That or they grew up in an environment where people were acting irresponsibly as a result of substances.  It is rarely because your parents are trying to hog all the fun.

As people grow up there is a tendency to push parents away, separate yourself and become who you are as an individual. Some people pick a new career, change their religious preference or join another political party.

Other people dabble with drugs and alcohol. If your parents are noticing your drug use, then it is likely that you are already having problems. If when you use bad things have happened, you need to take another look at that use.

Are coworkers commenting on your drug use?

If your coworkers are expressing concern about your substance use then it is likely that your use has interfered with your job performance.

Frequently I hear that the person’s drug use is not causing any problems. They might say something like “The only one I am hurting is me.”

If you are missing work, coming in late on Mondays or calling in sick a lot, the truth is your drug use is making your coworker’s life harder when they have to cover for you.

Your boss knows you are partying.

Bosses often notice an employee has a problem early on. Many people in drug treatment have to deal with the added issue of having been fired from several jobs. Bosses may ask you if there is something going on, problems at home? If your performance has gone downhill, is substandard, or you are late and absent a lot your partying is getting in the way of having a job.

Police contact suggests something is wrong.

If you are having issues with the police then ask yourself, would you have those same issues if you were not doing drugs or drinking? Yes, you can do what you want with your life, but if it is impairing your ability to drive, getting you into fights or attracting the notice of the police then there is something wrong.

Did the Judge say you needed treatment?

If the judge says you need a drug treatment program then you need one. Why? Not necessarily because your drug use is that bad. You may not be an addict. Yet. But the fact that you are in front of the judge and that this person knows about your drinking and drugging tells us that your use has become a problem. Maybe it is only a legal problem, but it is still a problem.

Are you on parole or probation?

If you are on Parole or Probation take another look at you. When you are trying to get your life straight any drug use, alcohol included, can impair your judgment and send you back.

You say “I should be able to do what I want?” Maybe, someday. But really is your right to drink or drug more important than staying out of jail?

Consider that one study concluded the vast majority of people in prison were drunk or high in the 24 hours before they committed the crime that put them away. Alcohol and drugs are not your friends. Not the kind of friends that want you to stay out anyway.

The person who was injured in the accident you had knows it’s a problem.

If you hurt someone either intentionally or accidentally while under the influence, that was like not cool. Everyone can have an accident, but if you were high when it happened we think this is not so much an accident as a case of your ability to function was impaired and your hurt someone else as a result.

Clearly, you were not just hurting yourself.

Did you know there are countries in Europe where the legal limit for a DUI is point-zero-two (.02)? That’s right- one drink and you can’t drive over there.

Will all these reasons keep people from drinking and using?

Not likely. Many people will still say that they should be able to do what they want because they are only hurting themselves. Every year a whole new crop of humans will experiment with drugs and alcohol. But if you find that any of the people on this list are complaining about your drinking and drugging then maybe you need to take a hard look at how much of your life you are giving up to do those things.

For more on this topic see:

Drug Use, Abuse, and Addiction

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Do people with problems not want to change?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Need to change

Time for you to make a change?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why do they say that people with problems want to be that way?

Lots of people, with varying problems and disabilities, seem to be dismissed with the expression that the reason for their problems is that they do not want to change. Is there any truth to these claims and why do we hear this so often?

First, let me give you a list of the things I have heard recently. Some of this comes from professionals, some from the news media and some from just average people. After the list let me tell you why I think we are hearing this more these days and lastly what we should be doing about this.

People with depression are using this illness to avoid doing anything.

Fat people don’t really want to lose weight.

There is no such thing as mental illness, those people just want to get on disability.

People who say they have anxiety are just trying to get other people to take care of them.

The homeless prefer to live out on the street.

Drug users do not quit because they want to use.

The unemployed are unemployed because they do not want to work.

There are many other forms of these statements, but mostly they seem to me to be ways of dismissing people with problems by blaming them for having those problems and then saying that they are unwilling to change.

So why if obesity, homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, drug addiction and mental illness cause all that pain, do people seem to so strenuously avoid doing exactly the things that would change their situation? Doesn’t it look sometimes as if people with problems really do not want to change or they would?

Turns out that change is far harder most of the time than doing nothing.

I can see why society and people who work in the helping fields could start blaming the people with the problems for their lack of progress. As long as we can blame them we do not have to think that our programs and policies might be letting the suffering down. It is easier to think that the homeless like to be out there in the cold, the rain or the snow, than to really try to tackle those issues.

Why do we blame those with problems for those problems?

Turns out that change is hard for humans. We learn a certain way of coping and then we continue that coping style over and over. Even when we come to believe that what we are doing is not working, deciding to do something different and then carrying through on that decision is difficult. People in these situations sometimes have to give up everything they have to reach for something else. Here are some examples.

Unemployment is rarely a choice.

If I think that unemployment is caused by a lack of jobs, I might get scared I could end up out of work. If I can convince myself it is because they don’t want to work I can pretend it won’t happen to me.

For a huge stretch of time since World War II here in the United States, we have had growth and expanding employment. There have been ups and downs but overall more people work as time goes on. There was a time when any able-bodied person who wanted to work could find a job. Recently we have seen a trend, there are jobs available, but those jobs require advanced skills and are often in distant places.

Many who are unemployed lack the skills needed to get a good job, they may live in places with high unemployment and as a result become seriously depressed. When you are depressed doing anything can be at the limits of your abilities.

For the homeless shelters may mean giving up all you have.

If you are homeless, most of your friends and partners are homeless also. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend you need to leave them behind. Your pet? That dog that kept you warm and comforted you on that cold night? That animal goes to the pound. There are few places a homeless person can take their partner or their pet.

While in the homeless shelter you need to be there in the early afternoon and leave in the early morning. Getting to and from the shelter takes up the whole day. Your life begins to revolve around being a recipient of a place to sleep.

When you have next to nothing you use what tools you can find to cope. Many homeless people drink to dull the pain, physical and emotional. Without an address, it is hard to get into medical or psychiatric services.

Homeless programs often require that the people they house stop alcohol and drug use altogether to get housed. It is easy to say that the homeless do not want housing and harder to recognize that they may not be willing to give up friends, relationships, pets or other coping mechanisms to fit into the requirements of a given program.

Obesity is about more than just eating less.

Once upon a time, we idolize the person with some meat on their bones. When food was scarce the healthy, those who were not emaciated, made it through the winter to live another year. Then times change, food became instantly available, and the ideal change.

Weight loss has become big business. Despite a quizillion diet books and weight loss programs, the rate of obesity in America continues to climb. Food is available on every corner. Fast food and food available 24 hours a day in any season. The result of this increased availability of food has not been better health but more unhealthy food.

Most dieters learn all too rapidly that the minute you relax your diet the weight returns and brings a few pounds of extra fat with it. With the weight gain comes physical ailments. Exercise is harder the more weight you need to lose. The modern solution? Surgery to reduce the body’s ability to hold and process food.

The mentally ill are likely to be told to just snap out of it.

For most people who have a mental illness snapping out of it is only slightly more difficult than growing a few inches because you should be taller.

When you have depression, severe major depression, getting out of bed in the morning is an all-day task. This is not laziness, it is horrific work to make yourself do something that you lack the ability to do.

If you have an anxiety disorder, the most common mental disorder in America, you are likely to be told to just not worry about it. If you go for treatment those of you who have social anxiety can look forward to spending hours in crowded waiting rooms with people you do not know and with whom you wish you did not have to spend time.

I know there are exceptions. Programs to treat anxiety that are small and personalized. But all too often treatment programs are organized to meet the needs of the system, not the individual.

The truth is that those with problems no not always use programs, not because they like things the way they are but because they are being asked to do more than they are able to in order to access those helps that most of the rest of us take for granted. We need to stop blaming the sufferers for their illness and look for solutions that work rather than create more programs that fail the people they are designed to serve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

All about A.A. and N.A.

About A.A. and N.A.

By David Joel Miller.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

Questions about 12 step meetings?

There have been a lot of counselorssoapbox.com posts about 12 step meetings, A.A. in particular.

As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I work with a lot of people who have substance use issues and mental health issues. We refer to people with both problems as having a “Dual Diagnosis” or more recently as having “Co-occurring disorders.”

People with substance use problems are encouraged to attend 12 step meetings. I wish there were more meeting and support groups for people with mental health issues and dual diagnoses issues.

Mostly, people with multiple problems end up attending 12 step groups. To try to help them feel more comfortable, I have written a number of posts about what they should expect at a meeting. To make these posts easier to find I decided that I should list them all in one place.

Here then are the posts about 12 step groups. If I missed any feel free to remind me and if you have other questions about how A.A. or other 12 step groups work feel free to contact me.

What will you have to do if you go to an A.A. meeting?

What is an Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meeting like?

Is A.A. a religious group?

How do you become a member of A.A.?

What does carrying a court card mean?

What goes on at an A. A. meeting?

What is hitting bottom?

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism, recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What does carrying a court card mean?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is a “Court Card” and where do you get one?

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A. Meetings) and the court or treatment facilities are not related.

A. A. has a policy of declining outside money so that they can stay independent and focus on helping the next alcoholic.

So why do so many judges, courts and rehab programs recommend that people go to A.A? And how do you get a form for the court telling the judge that you went to a meeting if everyone who attends is anonymous?

The simplest solution to this dilemma is the “court card.”

Some courts or probation departments have specific forms they want you to carry and have signed. Others will simply tell you to get a “court card” signed. Programs that require the client to turn in “meeting slips” may also have their own form they want people to use.

In these cases get the form from the person who told you to go to A.A., not from the A.A. meeting.

For practical purposes, most people use any small pieces of paper with their name at the top and a place for the secretary of the meeting to record the date, the name of the meeting and a place for the secretary to sign.

A.A. meetings are all volunteer so they do not have offices, write letters and because of anonymity, they do not keep records of who attends. For those reasons make sure you are nice to the person you ask to sign your paper.

Also, remember to get the court card in before the meeting starts and pick it up after the meeting is over. Take care of your responsibility to get it signed.

Remember if you lose this one there is no going back and getting it signed later. Lose that “court card” and you get to do some more meetings and get a new card or paper signed.

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism and recovery, this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is your lover an addiction?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Couple

Relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When your lover is an addiction it is not a healthy relationship.

Human lovers may be with you for a lifetime or they can come and go – but that addiction is always there for you. Some people have love or sex addictions. They can’t stand the thought of being alone or not having a partner. They settle for a bad relationship in preference to being alone. They can’t seem to develop a healthy relationship with themselves.

If your lover is Gambling, alcohol or drugs you know that your addiction will be waiting for you, demanding your devotion as human partners come and go.

The love of your life may be shopping or the go-in-debt-at-home channel. It may be hoarding useless things. Most any activity can become an addiction if you can’t stop thinking about it and eventually you lose control and have to do it one more time, whether you wanted to or not.

Clearly, drugs and their older sneakier cousin, Alcohol, win the contest for addictions that can take control of you.

Most people with addictions become closer to their addiction, often a drug of choice than to the humans in their life. Somehow we hold on to that love for that addiction even when it begins to treat us badly.

I have seen a number of people stuck in bad relationships with other humans. Eventually, most of them have had enough. They either come for counseling and try to change their relationship, or they decide to leave the other person. Occasionally someone hangs on even though they know that this is not a good relationship. They hang on because the prospect of letting go feels worse to them than the pain of staying.

It is even worse when the partner you are leaving is an addiction.

People who give up their addiction are letting go of their best friend, their lover and their full-time life companion.

They tell me that partners come and go but that “Crystal” is always there for them. Women may reject you but “Sherry” is there in the bottle waiting for you. And your drug of choice, it always changes the way you feel. Until it begins abusing you.

Having had a long-term relationship with a drug of choice results in a lot of grief and loss issues when you finally decide to give her up.

While you are grieving over your lost partner, Whisky or Beer, wine or Meth, everywhere you go there are people trying to get you two back together again.

Your friends, they all know “Crystal” and “Sherry” and they tell you – have just one more for old-time sake. Even the stores are out to get you with their reminders of your lost love. The beer is stacked up by the door and the milk is at the end of the wine aisle.

Like any other lost love when you are trying to get over an addiction everywhere you go there are reminders.

Do not give up. Going back to an addiction is not a way to find happiness. Eventually, the grief will pass and you will find a new happier life waiting for you.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.