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Drug  and  Alcohol  Recovery  Program  For  Men  AND  Women

16 Oporto-Madrid Blvd N, Birmingham, AL  35206  ~  (205) 502-7274 Office  ~  (800) 836-5125 Toll-Free
Help For The Family
Things You Can Do For the Addict

  • Behave exactly as you would if your loved one had a serious illness. What would you do if they were diagnosed with  heart disease or cancer?
  • Educate yourself on addiction and recovery.
  • Try not to accuse or judge. Avoid name calling. This is a difficult time for both of you.
  • Provide a sober environment that reduces triggers for using.
  • Allow the addict time to go to meetings.
  • Understand that your lives will change. Do not wish for your old life back. Your old life to some extent is what got you here. You both need to create a new life where it is easier to not use alcohol or drugs.
  • Make sure that you both have time for fun. People use alcohol and drugs to relax, escape, and as a reward. The addict needs to find alternative ways to relax, escape, and as a reward otherwise they will turn back to their addiction.
  • Do not enable. Do not provide excuses or cover up for the addict.
  • Do not shield the addict from the consequences of their addiction. People are more likely to change if they have suffered enough negative consequences.
  • Set boundaries that you all agree on. The goal of boundaries is to improve the health of the family as a whole. Do not use boundaries to punish or shame.
  • If you want to provide financial support, buy the goods and services the addict needs instead of giving them money that they might use to buy alcohol or drugs.
  • Recognize and acknowledge the potential the addict has within them.


Things You Can Do For Yourself

  • Take care of yourself. Living with an addict is exhausting. You also need time to recover.
  • Avoid self-blame. You can’t control another person’s decisions, and you can’t force them to change.
  • Do not work harder than the addict. The best approach is to not do things for the addict, but instead to be an example of balance and self-care.
  • Being a caretaker is not good for you or the addict. Understand that there is only so much you can do to change another person.
  • Ask for help. Talk to a professional. Go to a support group such as Al-Anon. (More support groups are listed below.)
  • Do not argue or try to discuss things with the addict when they are under the influence. It won’t get you anywhere.
  • If at all possible, try not to be negative when dealing with the addict. That may only increase their feelings of guilt and push them further into using.


The Three C’s of Dealing with an Addict

  •   You didn't Cause the addiction.
  •   You can't Control the addiction.
  •   You can't Cure the addiction.

“You can’t stop drinking or using for another person.”





Helpful Links for Family and Friends of Addicts

Al-Anon Family Groups         For family members of addicts
Nar-Anon Family Groups       For family membrs of addicts
Gam-Anon                             For family members of gamblers
CoDA                                     For co-dependet individuals
Adult Children of Alcoholics   For adult children of alcoholics and addicts

Source:  AddictionsAndRecovery.org






Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Early signs of alcoholism include frequent intoxication, an established pattern of heavy drinking and drinking in dangerous situations, such as when driving. Other early signs of alcoholism include black-out drinking or a drastic change in demeanor while drinking, such as consistently becoming angry or violent.

The main symptom of alcohol abuse occurs when someone continues to drink after their drinking reaches a level that causes recurrent problems. Continuing to drink after it causes someone to miss work, drive drunk, shirk responsibilities or get in trouble with the law is considered alcohol abuse.

For someone who is alcoholic or alcohol dependent, the symptoms include all of those associated with alcohol abuse (above). However, alcoholics also continue to drink in spite of all the problems it has caused in their lives.

When alcohol abuse reaches the alcohol dependence stage, the person also experiences at least three of seven other symptoms, including neglect of other activities, excessive use of alcohol, impaired control of alcohol consumption, persistence of alcohol use, large amounts of time spent in alcohol-related activities, withdrawal symptoms and tolerance of alcohol.

Source:  www.alcoholism.about.com

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use

There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that indicate drug use. Each drug has its own unique manifestations but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:

  •  Sudden change in behavior
  •  Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright
  •  Withdrawal from family members
  •  Careless about personal grooming
  •  Loss of interest in hobbies, sports, and other favorite activities
  •  Changed sleeping pattern; up at night and sleeps during the day
  •  Red or glassy eyes
  •  Sniffly or runny nose

Effects Related to Frequently Used Drugs

Methamphetamine Effects:

"Wired"--sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time, total loss of appetite, extreme weight loss, dialated pupils, excited, talkative, deluded sense of power, paranoia, depression, loss of control, nervousness, unusual sweating, shaking, anxiety, hallucinations, aggression, violence, dizziness, mood changes, blurred vision, mental confusion, agitation. More meth addiction info.


Ecstasy Effects:

Changes in mental and physical stimulation, altered perception of sound, light, touch. Stimulation of physical energy with related decrease in appetite and increase in body temperature. Increase in emotional response and sensual reactions. Teeth clenching, muscle cramping, nausea, chills and sweating.  Body may overheat which can lead to fatalities.


Cocaine Effects:

Impaired thinking, confused, anxious, depressed, short tempered, panic attacks, suspiciousness, dilated pupils, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, decreased sexual drive, restlessness, irritability, very talkative, scratching, hallucinations, paranoia.


LSD (Acid) Effects:

Dilated pupils, skin discoloration, loss of coordination, false sense of power, euphoria, distortion of time and space, hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, loss of control, anxiety, panic, helplessness, and self destructive behavior. LSD abuse signs and symptoms and more LSD info

PCP Effects:

Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior (suicide has often occurred), paranoia, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressive or withdrawn, skin flushing, sweating, dizziness, total numbness, and impaired perceptions.

Inhalant Effects:

Short-lasting euphoria, giggling, silliness, dizziness. Then come the headaches and full-blown "faintings" or going unconscious. Longterm Use: Short-term memory loss, emotional instability, impairment of reasoning, slurred speech, clumsy staggering gait, eye flutter, tremors, hearing loss, loss of sense of smell, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes these serious longterm effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy; sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible.

Heroin Effects:

Chemically enforced euphoria. "Nodding," which is a dreamlike state, near sleep, drifting off for minutes or hours. For long-time abusers, heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine; however, for others, it leaves them completely powerless to do anything. 


Marijuana Effects:

Compulsive eating, bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open), dry mouth, excessive and uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, short term memory loss, extreme lethargy, delayed motor skills, occasional paranoia, hallucinations, laziness, lack of motivation, stupidity, sickly sweet smell on body, hair, and clothes, and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is "high". More marijuana info


Depressants (Tranquilizers and Barbituates):

Decreased inhibition, slowed motor coordination, lethargy, relaxed muscles, staggering gait, poor judgement, slow, uncertain reflexes, disorientation, and slurred speech. 


Prescription drugs: Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drugs

​Naturally, the signs of abuse of these drugs will vary by the type of prescription drug being abused. A person abusing prescription opiates (pain relievers), in addition to not feeling pain at normal levels, may be drowsy and confused. They may complain of nausea or look for remedies for constipation. Pupils will be constricted.  If they nod off, their breathing may be unnaturally slow. If they try to stop using this drug, they are likely to manifest muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and chills for several days.

A person abusing benzodiazepines is using a drug intended to treat anxiety and sleeplessness. Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Halcyon (triazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam) fall into this category. These drugs are addictive and can be very dangerous to withdraw from without medical assistance.

Other drugs used for these purposes are similar in function but different in chemistry like Ambien and Lunesta. A person abusing any of these drugs may appear unnaturally relaxed and drowsy.

Further, a person abusing sedatives or tranquilizers may show these signs:

  •   Memory may be poor
  •   Speech may be slurred
  •   Coordination may be off
  •   Pupils will be dilated
  •   Person may be depressed, tired, aggressive, agitated, paranoid or suicidal
  •   There may be headaches and dizziness

A person abusing stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall and Desoxyn may manifest anxiety, delusions, flushed skin and chest pain with heart palpitations. Their sleep may be irregular, with long hours spent awake before they catch up. 

Sources:  Narconon
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