Stan Pelham: Hello and welcome to today’s webinar titled “Understanding Addiction.” My name is Stan Pelham and I will be the host of today’s webinar.
Our presenter today is Kris Hooks. Kris Hooks is a licensed professional counselor, a marriage and family therapist, a certified employee assistance professional, and a certified wellness coach.
Kris has provided and managed employees in the behavioral health field for 30 years. She has written and facilitated seminars and webinars for hundreds of organizations and many Fortune 500 companies.
We are pleased to have Kris with us today, and without further delay, I would turn things over to Kris.
Kris Hooks: Oh Stan, thank you very much! I am so glad to get to be with you. What an interesting topic to kick off the year with! I want you to think for a minute about why you’ve chosen to join this webinar?
Did you know that one in 10 people suffer from some type of addiction? Alcohol, abusive substances, it could be prescription medication, illegal drugs, even food, gambling, excessive spending, sex addiction, internet, pornography, smart phone addiction, video gaming, Facebook, other forms of social media, even anger and rage can be an addictive cycle. Even something good for us like exercise, if someone does that too much where it’s harmful, the list just goes on and on.
Did you know that addiction is more common than diabetes? Diabetes is seven percent of the population and addiction afflicts 10 percent of the population.
Addiction is an equal opportunity disease, it crosses all ages, all cultures, all socioeconomic groups and the cost of addiction is mind-boggling.
People are twice as likely to die from alcoholism in the US every year as they are to die from a motor vehicle accident. That’s a stat that we don’t often see highlighted.
The cost can be productivity, it can be relationships, it can be self-esteem. I mean, ultimately, I don’t want to sound dramatic but ultimately, addiction can take lives, which is, I just downright frightening.
So back to my question of what made you decide to join this webinar? Do you have concerns about someone in your life, a family member, a friend, a coworker? You know, might you even be concerned about yourself and you’re just wondering based on some behavior patterns, what’s going on with me, you know, how can I help myself or how can I help someone else?
I absolutely want you to know this webinar is about help and hope, and the first step, we are going to go through is to help you better understand addiction and then specifically, I want you to know what to do to help yourself and help other people. So, let’s look specifically at our learning objectives.
We are going to talk about the difference between habits and addiction and they really belong on a continuum, where we have habits, some of those conscious, some of those subconscious. Depending on the behavior, it may move into an area of abuse, think about we will just take alcohol, that a person might have a habit of drinking like only on the weekend, only when there’s sports on, no more than and they have a set limit that’s not like a pace of beer, may be two or three for a male, maybe one for a female.
And that’s their habit, they stick to it, they don’t seem to have any negative consequences in their lives. They are based on the National Institute of Health not at a high risk for developing alcoholism, that’s kind of at the lower end of a habit with alcohol.
Abuse on that continuum would move to a place of binge drinking or going over the limit of what’s considered low-risk drinking which is 14 alcoholic drinks a week for a male and seven alcoholic drinks for a female in the alcoholic drinks were not the wine glasses I saw at Bed Bath & Beyond which you could put a whole bottle in. I’m very strict about what is the serving of alcohol
All right, from abuse then to a full-blown addiction, we are going to talk about signs, symptoms of addiction, how do someone know if on that continuum they have moved to a place where they truly have addiction. I used alcohols as an example but it can be anything that we can be addicted to.
So signs and symptoms will go through. There are stages of change and these apply in all areas that we’re trying to change our behavior in our lives, whether we’re trying to get healthy habits going or whether we’re trying to change some less healthy behaviors or even for people in recovery, who know they have addiction, the stages of change apply in helping them reach a place where they can take action.
And then what about help, and I will go ahead and tell you now, a bookend EAP benefits beginning here on the learning objectives slide and I am going to do them at the end too.
If you are concerned, EAP is a wonderful, confidential, no-cost resource available to you, covered members of your family. EAP can help you and others figure out best next steps. I will also go through some additional community resources, websites, apps, help that’s available for you.
All right, so let’s start by talking about what are habits? You know habits are behaviors that we repeat regularly in our lives. As I mentioned, some are conscious, some are subconscious. Habit loops are formed where there is a trigger, you know, then there’s a behavior and there is a consequence. It takes the researches all over the Board, somewhere between 17 and 66 days to form a new habit.
When we do something over-and-over again, it does become part of our routine. Most habits are developed to help make our lives easier. Think about your habit of keeping a calendar or your habit of working hard and what are the payoffs for you in your life. If only there were good positive habits, there are also bad negative habits.
Think about the way you are with other people, if you have a habit of listening and trying to understand other people first, that’s a wonderful communication skill that can be developed over time. When we work on it and get it integrated, it becomes really second nature. Even when things are emotional, we can kind of use that as our default mode for good communication skills.
A bad negative communication skill happens and this one is more common with humans, if we take things personally, if we get defensive, if our buttons get pushed and we escalade and we lose emotional self-control and we get irritated and angry, that’s just not a habit that we want to form and get solidified in our life.
So bottom line with habits, you have to be aware of what habits are working well for you and what habits you need to work on changing. There is nothing easy about changing behavior. Autopilot we want integrated those healthy habits.
Healthy habits can reduce stress. Think about building resiliency and how that helps you not only trend toward your best health but it helps you be more stress-hardy.
Things like you are very likely feeling, is she going to talk about exercise and eating healthy and getting enough sleep and brushing our teeth and talking positively, being a good coach to yourself? Absolutely! All of those are positive habits that we can work on and get integrated in our lives.
Unhealthy habits can make our lives a whole lot more stressful.
Now, here’s the connection with habits, abuse on the continuum to addiction. There are a lot of quick fixes that we can use for stress that might temporarily numb us, but if we have a genetic predisposition toward addiction, it can land us in a place because of brain chemistry and body chemistry, where we have a lot bigger problems in our lives.
Think about what happens with food, and really, I don’t know anyone who totally only eats based on physical hunger. If only we will wire that way, life would be a whole lot easier. We will eat when we are happy, we will eat when we want to celebrate, we will eat when we are sad or stressed or anxious or want to avoid conflict. You cannot name an emotion, positive or negative, that doesn’t trigger someone to want to eat.
Now, if you have a genetic predisposition toward gaining weight or you have carried extra weight in the past and you have worked hard to lose weight, those facts never completely gone and they should have been sucked out of you, they cry out sometimes for less healthy food.
That habit of I like to eat fill in the blank with something less healthy when I am stressed, it’s a quick fix, it can self-medicate us, it can cause changes in body chemistry that numb, if it’s a negative emotion we are trying to avoid or it enhances the celebratory happy emotions that we are trying to keep going in our lives. If we get caught in a cycle with food, that can grow a life of its own and then we cannot only have issues with weight, we can have issues with our health because of less healthy eating.
So, again, we have got to really be attentive to our habits, think about or any of these trending into a zone on the continuum where I may be abusing of this substance or abusing this kind of activity, I feel like I am dabbling in the fine line between kind of habit and addiction. I think I may be fast-tracking going there.
So, let’s talk about what addiction is. When there is a habit, become addicted as I mentioned there is a fine line, it has to do with the amount of time, the amount of energy, the amount of money, the impact on a person’s life, impact on their relationships, on their work, on their health, you know what kinds of symptoms do they experience when they try to limit, whatever it is?
Is a person struggling to stop something even though there are negative consequences in their life? Like they are in denial about those negative consequences or they are in a blaming, excuse making kind of mode. There really are two types of addictions. One has to do with substances, like I have mentioned alcohol, food, opiates, they have had so much media attention. I had no idea, I am having some dental surgery, coming up next month and the appointment with the prosthodontists and the periodontists, they had pulled my prescription records.
I happened to live in Texas, I don’t know if it’s all states and they said, this is now required. We need to talk about the times that you have been prescribed, pain medication, when you have refilled that pain medication and what your current situation is with things like Vicodin or tramadol. Well, I have had a series of awful things, back surgery last April, but I have addiction in my family, so I am extremely careful.
After a bike crash, I told the orthopedic, I will not take Vicodin more than when I am in tremendous pain because I don’t want to go from physical rehab to drug rehab, and I know how easy abuse of substances can take place. Again, whether that’s alcohol, food, prescription medication, illegal substances, that’s one whole category of addiction.
The other category is processes, it’s behavior addiction, it’s things like smart phone addiction or online addiction to anything whether that is spending or pornography or Facebook or any other kind of social media behavior exercise, bulimia, any behavior that grows a life of its own.
You know, addiction happens when a person is unable to function normally, without the substance or without the activity but it reaches a place where they are having negative consequences in their life that they are not paying attention to. There are chemical reactions in the brain. Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and your behavior. Our brains are wired to repeat experiences that are pleasurable. There is a flood of dopamine, I haven’t mentioned gambling, we can take that one. There is a dump of dopamine that takes place when a person has a win, when they are gambling, whether that this online, or in a casino.
The brain can get used to dopamine where then it needs more, if a person is prone to addiction, it means more to feel pleasure. A person becomes consumed with that addictive kind of behavior or substance and the other things that used to bring them joy and pleasure, no longer do. Addiction is a very progressive disease.
All right, now, I am looking at the bullet from the slide. Loss of pleasure in previous activities, because of that dopamine dump, the addictive cycle that I just talked about.
Unexplained changes or dramatic shifts in mood can take place. People who normally are pretty even shield may be very volatile or people who normally are more interactive may totally isolate.
Relationships can have tremendous struggles. With addiction the person struggling, it is not usually the first person to come running forward and saying, hey, I have got a problem here. It’s the people who love them, care about them, work around them. They are the ones who see it and know it, and as they try to move from any enabling behavior to a very direct conversation about what they’re observing, that can cause a lot of relationship struggle.
A person can become absolutely consumed with the addictive, substance or the addictive behavior and they are completely disregarding the negative consequences in their lives. They are just not tuned into that channel, and when we look at the stages of change, that’s the very first stage.
It’s pre-contemplation, people have their heads in the sand, they are, oh no, not me, it’s not that bad. Even though around them, the world around them knows, how bad it really is.
So, a few more physical signs with addiction. Physical changes, a person can have changes with weight, weight loss, weight gain that can come from changes in appetite and changes in sleep, either people eating a lot, sleeping a lot, not feeling rested, continuing to be hungry or not sleeping much, not eating match, their bodies inside are not reading cues for tiredness or for physical hunger accurately.
A person will get where they don’t care about how they look. Things like bathing, personal hygiene become much less important.
Other signs, people can isolate, they can become depressed or anxious, depending on what the addiction is, they may lie or steel, there may be a huge increase and risk-taking behavior.
According to the DSM-5, that is Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that people who do diagnosing of addictions, psychiatrists, LCDC that is Licensed Chemical Dependency Specialist, any people who have specialty and addiction, diagnosis and treatment, they are looking for three out of the seven things I am about to name. Increased tolerance to the substance or the behavior, withdrawal symptoms, whenever a person is not using the substance or not doing whatever it is they are addicted to, limited control, the person is unable to pull the reins in and control the behavior they feel powerless to control it themselves and the first step actually in getting help is to recognize that, having a lot of negative consequences in life, relationships, jobs, self-esteem, energy, neglect or postponing activities.
I am a person just not engaged in life in the same way, significant amount of time and energy is spent, trying to continue in the addictive cycle, and they have a desire to cut down but they have really been unsuccessful in doing it. And again, out of those seven things I just named, the criteria says only three of them need to be present. So again, addiction can develop a life of its own.
I really want you to know there is help and there is hope with any type of addiction. Addiction is very treatable, we will be talking more after we talk about stages of change about how treatment takes away, about how to get an accurate, thorough assessment to know what level of treatment someone needs, that I would never want someone who is suffering to feel like they are on a downward spiral and there’s no stopping it, that is not the case, and I also want you to know with addiction. People don’t have to reach rock-bottom. Sometimes people who are suffering with addiction will say, well, I still have my job and I am doing pretty good at work.
I have my partner, my spouse, you know my relationship around me. Things are pretty good. There is not that negative fallout in my life, so I really don’t think I have addiction. Well, that can be part of a denial, and huge relationship struggles, huge job performance issues, huge financial problems are in later stages of addiction, and we would never want someone to continue on with an addictive cycle until they reach those absolute rock-bottom places. We would want people to get help sooner.
If someone has trouble with the word addiction like why I am going to call it that, then don’t call it that. Just call it I have got some negative consequences in my life, some concerns here and let’s talk about getting help for that.
All right, so, let’s talk Stages of Change. This is an overview of all five stages. I want you to know all behaviors whether you were trying to establish a healthy habit, it’s the beginning of the year. Lots of people have habits, they want to get going with healthier behavior. Most of the time those are around moving around more, may be exercise, might be around what you are fueling your body with, maybe some healthier food, might be things like quitting smoking or chewing or vaping or e-cigarettes, it could be any of those.
Establishing healthy habits like getting exercise, healthier food in line, or breaking a bad habit, stages of change apply. They also apply if someone feels like on that continuum, their behaviors reach to a place of abuse and they want to wheel it in, or they have got full-blown addiction going on.
So the first stage, this is high level and then we will break it down. Each stage we will talk about in more detail. So, denial is the “never”, no, not me, lots of excuses, lots of blaming, lots of minimizing. It’s not that bad. That’s what people in pre-contemplation say.
Second stage is like, OK, blipping on the radar screen, but it’s certainly not blipping at the point where a person is really ready to make change, but they are like, yeah, no, I need to change this and some day, I will work on this. I know I should, don’t have time right now, I am really busy. I have got this, and this and this going on right now, but I’ll keep this on my list to chip way down at the bottom with no timeframe assigned to it.
All right! Next Stage of Change. A person that actually leaves a blip on the radar screens get a lot more focused. It’s moving toward the center, it’s like, OK, I know I need to change this, and I am going to get with the program and change soon. I may choose a date that I need to get prepared for. I might need to get more information. I might need to talk to some people. I might need to go to the EAP. Call them. I might need to look some things up on online. I might need to explore options. I might need to purchase.
I don’t know if a person wants to walk, they might need walking shoes, don’t have to go get an expensive gym membership to get healthy or whatever it is. I am making preparation. What you don’t want to do in the prep stage is get into analysis paralysis, or you just keep making preparation, go well, I don’t think that was perfect for me. Let me keep. It’s like a person who is going to get some help or something. Well, I looked online and this provider had one negative review. They had 45 really positive reviews, but one negative, I actually don’t even want to see that person, you get the gist. Don’t get stuck in that kind of a cycle.
All right, action, person is taking steps now. They are actively engaged working a plan, whether it’s developing healthy habits, breaking a bad habit, or starting something to help with recovery from addiction.
And I’ll tell you now with action, a person with addiction, with a true mindset of addiction, people don’t ever say, I am well, I’m cured. I know now I can do whenever that was a little bit.
OK, one exception to that is food, people who have food addiction; we can’t say I never do food again. We have to do food to live and be healthy. That’s an exception as far as a substance.
For a person who truly comes to understand that on the continuum they have symptoms of alcoholism and may even reach a place of saying, I know I am alcoholic. They don’t ever reach a point then of saying, I think I can drink a little bit, because what happens with that addictive cycle, it amps up very quickly in people who have genetic predisposition and who have suffered addiction.
That’s why most addictive programs for recovery do one day at a time, and that Action Stage stays that way. I am working on, whatever it is, I am not drinking today, or I am not smoking today, I am choosing to eat healthy today, I have got my action for exercise this week, whatever it is, you just keep it going.
All right, Maintenance = “forever”. This is where healthy habits are formed, recovery is easier, the behavior or the substance doesn’t—it's not as hard as it is in the beginning and we keep on keeping on.
Now, we don’t have listed a relapse stage, but what I want you to know, no one who reaches maintenance goes OK, autopilot, don’t have to think about this anymore. We have got to really work on relapse prevention. We have got to make sure we set ourselves up for success, and if we ever have a sidestep, with maintenance we reel that in very quickly and get back on track.
And I will tell you now, with the recovery from addictions, relapse many times is part of the process and it's part of learning about yourself and learning how to set yourself up for success, what kind of support do you need.
OK. Let's take each stage. I am going to do this part pretty quickly and just talk it through, because I have already given you a pretty good overview.
OK, precontemplation, desire to change is not concrete and denial is great, lots of blaming and excuse making. On the surface a person might at least go, yeah, yeah, and that kind of—again, this stage is one that kind of moves them into contemplation, but they absolutely do not see whatever the behavior is the way other people see it.
Well, the behavior may cause a little bit of individual distress, but generally in precontemplation a person is not tuned into that channel.
A person may be unaware that the behavior is problematic or produces negative consequences, but people around them certainly know.
So if someone is in precontemplation, what can they do? They need to be realistic about how behavior is impacting their life. Kind of let me step back and emotionally detach from this and look more objectively at what’s going on with me.
A need to increase awareness, how would their loved ones or their doctor feel if they change this behavior? To even ask yourself, what are you worried about? What concerns you about whatever it is? And that can help a person move from precontemplation to contemplation.
In the Contemplation Stage, you are considering changing, but ambivalence is pretty high here. You are kind of like yeah, I see some benefits, but there is a lot of cost here. You are really unsure about when or how to change. You are aware of the problem. You may have a plan to start the behavior, but it's no time soon. It's like OK, well, this is a new year, I will think about this in the summer.
Emotions are pulled; this is the ambivalence between the fear, the cause, the sacrifice and the desire, the benefit, kind of what's in it for me. For a person to move in the Contemplation Stage, motivation needs to be increased. You need to answer the question, what's in it for me to make this change? What are some advantages or benefits and actually write those down.
What do you identify, what are the causes, what are my fears, what are the sacrifices I am going to have to make and look at that realistically. I know for people—I didn't say this in the beginning, but I am also a health and wellness coach and I have worked with so many people over the years on helping them, whatever they want to change in their life, what I know to be true until the person can really anchor in the what’s in it for me, I see long-term benefit to making this change. It's really hard. People get stuck in this contemplation place or even in the Preparation Stage, which is the next one we are going to talk about.
Think about how important this change is to you. Maybe even write that on a 1-10 scale, how confident do you feel. What can you do to raise that number, the rating for importance or for confidence.
Even to ask yourself, when have I made a change in the past that might have been challenging initially, but I was able to work that through, what did I do, how did I feel. Rally some support around you. You have got lots of resources available. All of you are employed or you wouldn’t be on this call, you have got work resources, EAP resources, people in your life, look over some additional resources at the end.
OK, let’s look at Preparation coming up next. So when a person moves from contemplation to really beginning to get ready, they are committed and motivated to take action within the next month. They may tell their friends and their family about the change they are going to make.
Sometimes if they are fearful of failure and they have tried to make a change in this area in the past, they may not choose to tell people, it probably depends on the person. If they have got people around them who will go well, you haven’t been able to do that before, why are you going to try it again? Really it’s not recommended that you talk to people like that, you want to talk to people who are really good coaches and you want to be a good coach to yourself.
You might ask for advice from other people who have made a similar change. This is one reason that recovery groups like 12-step programs are so incredibly successful and helpful, because the people who are there have walked in the place where people who are starting the journey are walking.
Sometimes in preparation a person will brainstorm ideas on how to create this change, but again, they are not going to get stuck in analysis paralysis, they are going to set a time to start or a quit day, if it’s a behavior they want to stop, when is that going to begin.
And then, where the rubber meets the road, the Action Stage. Some people think you just move to action, you just like make up your mind and zip forward, and one of the reasons we have included the stages of change here is to help you understand that change is a process. Depending on what the change is, different stages may last different lengths of time for someone, but sometimes people don’t adequately prepare, they jump to action and they burn out quickly.
We need to make sure when we are taking action that we set ourselves up for success, maybe we set SMART Goals, if you know, make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.
We want to state whatever change we are going to make in our life positively. We don't say I am not going to eat French fries; we say I am going to bring fruit or cut up vegetables or I am going to buy carrots that are cut like waffle fries and I am going to use those to drag through yogurt kale dip instead of eating Chick-fil-A waffle fries. You want to state it positively.
And probably the last thing you want to focus on is not Chick-fil-A waffle fries, you want to focus on healthier eating behavior and state that positively, not I will quit smoking or I will quit chewing, but I will live smoke free. Do you hear how different that sounds?
And again, in this Action Stage, it’s really important to assess confidence, importance and motivation, this is something I learned when I became a wellness coach now, gosh, 13 or 14 years ago. You rate on a 1-10 scale how confident am I, how important is this to me and how motivated do I feel. Number 1 is not at all and 10 is through the roof. The magic number is seven. If you are not at least at a seven in confidence, importance and motivation, you need to alter that goal, chunk it up, make it smaller, gather some more resources, do some more prep work. When you are at a seven in all three of those, the likelihood of success is much higher.
Make sure you are thinking and planning ahead, that’s part of what sets you up for success. With the actions you are prepared and you are ready, it’s like ready-set-go, this is the go stage. You have done your work.
You don’t have to wait until you feel like taking action to take action. Some people—this is similar to some people, like, well, I am not going to forgive them until I feel like forgiving them. Well, this is what we know. There are some behaviors that we can choose in our lives that don’t have to be based on feelings that we know are good for us, and when we do them we think about it rationally, we talk to ourselves constructively, we do things that are positive, the feelings will follow, this is something counselors help people with everyday.
So Maintenance Stage, this is like, oh yeah, we are all dreaming of getting here. This is where the action pays off. It’s the downhill leg of the change process, but I would tell you it’s not the leg to put on autopilot. We have accommodated change into our lives. It feels more like our lifestyle, it’s easier, we have to absolutely always be aware that sidestep can happen, that does not mean we are lost in the woods. We have to language that correctly, a sidestep is a lapse, we reel it in, get back on track as quickly as possible.
If the lapse goes on too long or they are too many lapses too close together, that can lead to relapse, and if a relapse goes on too long, that’s a collapse. Language it correctly, and as humans we tend to catastrophize because we are all or nothing in our thinking; either we are perfect or we are lost, don’t let yourself go there. We need to be kind and encouraging to ourselves, pull the reins in if you sidestep.
I will say this about maintenance. If you focus on deprivation, what you are having to sacrifice, how hard this is, it’s much harder. When we focus on the payoff for our effort, for our investment, what the returns are, we get so much better.
What are some reasons in relapse that a person might struggle? Stress can be overwhelming and people will get knocked off course when life is not retained. Unexpected things happen with a person’s health, with someone else’s health, grief, loss, trauma.
If a person starts to pretend that things are OK when they are really not OK, or they stop to really feel sorry for themselves or having a big pity party and they are not the last ones to leave, they are just hanging out in the pity party, they feel isolated or angry or entitled, or they start to detach from the support, the accountability, the resources that have been working for them, or they get overconfident and they just think, I got this, I don’t have to work harder, I don’t need to pay attention, I don’t need to track this anymore, I have got it. That can be a red flag and a danger zone.
So again, you have got to know yourself. Every change is personal in our lives and every person is unique in how they get to the place they want to be.
So how can you work on changing a habit? The first step is absolutely the hardest step. All recovery programs, step one is to recognize and admit, breakthrough the denial. Look past the shame, the guilt and the embarrassment, recognize and admit that you have a problem.
It is sometimes helpful to sum it up as, I didn’t really choose this. I have a brain and a body and a gene pool that made me susceptible to this. I need to fight back hard because we can't change our gene pool or our biochemical predispositions.
There is treatment available. There is hope and help for every type of addictive behavior, whether it’s a substance or it’s a behavior. A habit, addiction, whatever it is, there is hope, there is hope.
The habit may be coupled with a mental health issue. When a person is suffering from addictive behavior and they also happen to be suffering from depression or anxiety, that’s called a dual diagnosis, 15-20 percent of the people with addiction are also suffering an underlying mental health issue.
Many times those ride in the same car. It’s a little more complicated for a person who is suffering both a mental health issue and addiction, but it is very treatable.
The bottom line, anxiety and depression can lead to addiction and addiction can lean to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. So just know, be very aware.
EAP is there to seek help if you need it from your employee assistance program, we are going to talk about how you access that benefit. You have a toll-free number and a dedicated website, and to get to help, EAP is confidential, no cost, a wonderful first step.
I mean they know, people who work in Employee Assistance are mental health professionals, they know what kind of treatment is out there, they can help get people plugged into the best care based on what's going on in their lives. They can also help when you are concerned about someone else and many times that’s the case.
With relapse prevention, make sure you have got coping strategies. And remember, as I mentioned, rock bottom does not have to take place. You don't have to have been fired from your job or someone has filed for divorce, sometimes people wait until those things happen to get help for addictive behavior, but don’t feel like that has to happen.
The kind of damage to self-esteem, to relationships, that’s deep, and that takes a while to repair. Friends and family can be hurt, you can be hurt yourself. This kind of double life that a person can lead, lot of shame and guilt, that needs to be addressed and get better. That down feeling that someone has can help motivate someone for change.
And what we know about relapse prevention, as I mentioned, avoid triggers, identify obstacles, be honest with yourself, get support, review your progress, review when you do have a sidestep and learn from it, and then reward yourself with some healthy kinds of behaviors or reward yourself with something that could develop back into an addiction or a new addiction for someone.
So what are some helpful resources? Certainly, any of the programs that are 12-step programs; Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Debtors and Spenders Anonymous, any program that has anonymous in the title of that self-help group is going to be a 12-step recovery program that can be tremendously helpful.
These are some websites. There is also a treatment locator through SAMHSA and your EAP, as I have mentioned, is a resource.
I also looked at the Achieve Solutions website, I want you to know I found eight assessments in the area of addiction, 92 articles, news releases, some webinars. That website is a very rich resource for you.
I would also add Al-Anon when you are concerned about someone else, they are possible addiction and what you can do, Al-Anon is a wonderful resource.
And there is also on your Achieve Solutions site a link to startyourrecovery.org, another excellent resource.
So EAP, there is nothing too small or too big for employee assistance, they are there to help you proactively, actively, if you have professional or personal goals, if you have some relationship struggles, depression, anxiety, grief, loss, any of it, depending on what benefit package your company has chosen, you may have work/life benefits, financial and elder care referral, financial and legal consultation available.
The way to find out is to check through your company, through your HR benefit you will have a dedicated toll-free line and a website available to you.
Things to remember, the benefit, as I have mentioned multiple times, no cost, confidential, you don't have to worry about your company finding out, they don't, they only know utilization rates.