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Recovery Comes from Rewards, Not Consequences

Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol - The Bergand Group

Parents may not realize the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol until it’s affected their son or daughter. They may see legislature bounced back and forth between lawmakers, leaders, and governments, but it may not seem at all important to them until their child is struggling with substance abuse. Once that happens, though, everything becomes more personal and action needs to be taken; without any prior experience, they may not know where to turn for the next steps toward recovery.

A Modern Understanding of Recovery Success

Previously, parents might have been able to use scare tactics against children who were headed toward an addiction, pointing out the chance of incarceration for their habits. Thankfully, those suffering from an addiction are being punished less and less in this way, which has been proven to have little to no positive results in aiding these patients. Without that, though, many parents are worried that they have less of an ability to keep their sons and daughters away from drugs and alcohol.

This, of course, isn’t true. It’s good for those with addictions that the criminal justice system is changing in its approach to drug-related offenses. There are other ways that parents can steer children away from substance use that don’t involve the threat of being locked away and which instead put the focus on healing and treatment (or, in other words, the positive over the negative).

Most people with addictions to drugs and alcohol already have to deal with pressures in their lives: the threats of losing jobs, isolating themselves from loved ones, or failing out of school, to name a few. It isn’t as if incarceration is the only possible consequences of substance abuse. Focusing on the bad things that could happen, though, isn’t the way for parents to help guide their children toward healthier habits. Those children are likely thinking about the possibilities for things to go wrong already without the additional reminder.

“What we need to do is… to create shifts in our understanding of the problem instead of seeking more opportunities for punishment.” This means positive reinforcement, or offering some type of reward for changes in a direction of sobriety and recovery. It also means that the patient and parent alike are focused on healthy and positive goals rather than the potential for pain and loss. This seemingly-simple change in mindset can have enormous effects on how both parties relate to the addiction experience… and to each other. It creates an endpoint of success rather than failure.

As with everything related to addiction, “everyone involved needs to be open-minded and willing to accept outcomes that might differ from what they originally had in mind.” There needs to be a level of acceptance and understanding between all involved and an absence of judgment. The process won’t be easy for anyone and the patients, particularly if they are younger, may not be open to treatment or even to admitting that they have an issue (at least to their parents). However, no success in recovery can be found in condemning someone for making a mistake or for having an instance of relapse.

The bottom line here is that putting the emphasis on improving lives rather than avoiding consequences is the way in which parents and their children can support and rely on each other in this trying time. It’s impossible to change another person’s behavior, even if it’s your own son or daughter, but you can help them reach true recovery with a change in how you understand the addiction experience.

To get help for problems with drugs and alcohol that you or a loved one have, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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