Monthly Archives: October 2016

Couples with Substance Problems are Four Times More Likely to Divorce

Addiction disrupts relationships. It is a third party that interferes with the relationship and destroys trust. Did you know that couples with substance problems are four times more likely to divorce? One therapy model, the Gottman Method Couples Therapy, helps couples have conversations they have not been able to have, in a healthier way than was previously possible, when both partners engage in couples' recovery. Robert Navarra developed a therapy approach for couples who have been disrupted by an addiction, in conjunction with Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman. Listen in to this podcast as we discuss the elements of a stable relationship and tips for improving them.

Discussion Guidelines:

How has your addiction effected your primary relationships?

Does your partner have symptoms of second hand addiction, such as negative emotions, hypervigilence and chronic distrust?

Do you feel that you have good relationship skills?

Do you know what the characteristics of a healthy relationship are? What are they?

What makes it difficult for you to stay connected to your partners in a healthy way?

Supplemental Resources:

Robert Navarra,

John Gottman Ph.D. and Nan Silver, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

John Gottman Ph.D. The relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and Friendships

John Gottman Ph.D. What Makes Love Last? How To Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal

Ask the Expert: Sarz Maxwell, MD on Dual Diagnosis

Dr. Sarz Maxwell is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction. She joined our opiate recovery group to speak about Dual Diagnosis for people who struggle with both mental health and substance abuse issues. Listen in.

Discussion Guide:

Many people (75%) who abuse substances also struggle with mental illness. Is that true for you?

Have you received treatment for both?

Dr. Maxwell talks about medications that help vs. medications that work. Some medications mask the symptoms of psychiatric conditions and are therefore temporarily helpful, but don't treat the condition. Benzodiazepines don't work for anything (including anxiety) yet are widely used and misused. Have you used a benzodiazepine with the belief that it works? Have you become psychologically or physically dependent upon them?

Some people wonder about the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the mental illness or the addiction? Do you think one has to be treated first? Or at the same time?

Which of the mental health diagnoses do you think are the most prevalent among people with a substance abuse addiction?

If you are an opiate addict, you have a chronic illness and will have to battle the disease for a lifetime. The only question is whether you want to be winning or losing the battle. What do you intend to do to win the battle?

How long do you think you need to be on a medication to treat your opiate addiction?

What are the similarities and differences between Methadone and Suboxone?




What Not To Say To An Addict

It is not easy to watch a substance abuser crash and burn. The people who love them want to intervene and will attempt to talk to them about their substance problem. But not all words are helpful. Even if well intentioned, some words can be misguided or detrimental. Brian Whitney wrote "Eleven Things NOT to Say to the Addict in Your Life". Listen to this group of opiate addict's experiences of words that were hurtful to them.

Discussion Guide:

What have people said regarding your addiction that has been hurtful or unhelpful to you?

How did you respond to these remarks?

What do you recommend to others about how to talk to an addict?

Supplemental Reading:

Eleven Things NOT To Say to the Addict in Your Life, Whitney, Brian,

Election Season: Political Proposals Related to Substance Abuse

It's election time and United States political leaders are advancing their party platforms to curb addiction and increase research. In the news this week I found that Hillary Clinton supports a proposal to tax opioids and she'd like to change the Schedule II classification for marijuana.  Also, the republican party suggests that heterosexual marriage prevents drug addicts. Yes, you heard me. The GOP suggests that marriage between man and woman prevents drug addicts. Listen in to this group of opiate addicts weigh in with their opinions.

Discussion Guide:

Do you believe that heterosexual marriage prevents drug addiction? And do you believe that same sex marriage contributes to substance abusing children?

To what degree, if at all, are parents responsible for their children's addiction?

Do you believe that opioid manufacturers or importers should be taxed? If so, how do you suggest that the money be used; ex: Naloxone, research, treatment, physician training?

Should doctors be given full disclosure of a patient's addiction history? What are the pros and cons of this disclosure?

Should marijuana be moved from DEA classification Schedule I to a Schedule II drug? What are the pros and cons of this change?

Supplemental Reading:

GOP Suggests Marriage Between Man and Woman Prevents Drug Addicts, Fitzgerald, Kelly

Hillary Clinton Supports Proposal To Tax Opioids, McCarton Ackerman,

Hillary Clinton Wants Schedule II Classification for Marijuana, McCarton Ackerman,

Sober Friends Can Make You or Break You

Victoria B. wrote a blog entitled "Your Friends In Sobriety Can Make or Break You". In this, she writes about the importance of fellowship with people in recovery. Most people cannot sustain drug abstinence without a strong support network. Listen in to a group of people in recovery from opiate dependence share their thoughts on social connections.

Discussion Guide:

Have you developed a healthy support network in recovery?

What's at risk if you continue to associate with drug users?

Not everyone who attends a recovery support group are drug free. What steps did you take to weed out healthy from unhealthy recovery friendships?

Could you maintain drug abstinence without a support network?

Many people relapse because they are bored or lonely. Have you developed hobbies and activities to enjoy life?

Supplemental Reading:

Your Friends In Sobriety Can Make or Break You, Victoria B.