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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Can Seeking Alcohol Treatment Help My DUI Charge?

Police car
If you have been stopped by police and charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) offense, you may be wondering whether seeking professional treatment will help. Before you make a decision about when and where to seek help for substance abuse, your best bet is to get some professional advice first.

Advice About DUI and Alcohol Treatment

An impaired driving charge can carry serious consequences. In this situation, you don’t want to rely on what have gleaned from watching crime shows on television or what a friend or family member in a similar circumstance experienced. Contact an experienced attorney for advice.

A DUI lawyer will be able to look at the facts of your case and offer advice that applies specifically to you. If you have been charged with a DUI in Tennessee, the judge may order you to seek alcohol and drug treatment as part of your sentence. You may need to complete an alcohol education program to have your driving privileges restored once the terms of any sentence have been completed.

Your attorney’s job is to get the best possible outcome. This may mean negotiating with the prosecutor so that you go into an alcohol treatment program instead of having to serve a jail sentence or it could lead to a reduction of time in custody.

Factors that Determine DUI Sentencing

In determining an appropriate sentence for a DUI offense, a judge weighs the facts of the case carefully. Several factors are considered, including the following:

  • Whether you have ever been convicted of a similar offense before (Penalties increase for subsequent convictions)
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time you were arrested
  • Age at the time of the offense is a factor if you were under 21. Tennessee has laws prohibiting possession of alcohol for minors and special penalties for youth convicted of impaired driving such as loss of driving privileges, fines, and community service. 
  • If the incident produced any injuries, fatalities, or property damage

When Alcohol Treatment May be Ordered

The court may order someone who has been found guilty of a DUI to undergo professional alcohol treatment after a verdict has been reached and before a sentence is determined. If you are in this situation, the judge will receive reports from the treatment center about your response to treatment. Your best option is to cooperate with the treatment program and get the most out of the strategies being presented. The court will be taking note of your willingness to accept responsibility for your actions and make a positive change in your life. It can make the difference between receiving probation, a suspended sentence, or being sent to jail.

Administrative License Suspension and DUI

Once the criminal charges have been dealt with and you have completed the requirements for the penalty the court hands down, driving privileges aren’t automatically reinstated. In Tennessee, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for one year for a first offense and two years for a second one. If you are convicted for DUI a third time, you won’t be able to drive for between three and 10 years.

To get driving privileges reinstated, you may be required to attend an alcohol education program. Depending on whether you a prior conviction for DUI, you may have to attend a 12-hour program over a couple of days or you may also need to seek alcohol treatment in a state-approved program.

Can Seeking Treatment Help with DUI?

If you have been charged with DUI, it is probably a sign that you should take a good look at your alcohol consumption habits. A DUI, especially one that is related to binge drinking, suggests you may be suffering from a substance use disorder that could be affecting your health as well as causing legal problems.

Seeking alcohol treatment can help with the DUI charges; however, you’ll want to seek expert legal advice first. Your lawyer will let you know whether it’s to your benefit to seek inpatient alcohol treatment at a treatment center like English Mountain Recovery before your case goes to trial.

By Jodee Redmond

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Art Therapy for Healing Addiction

Paint palette
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to describe someone with a substance abuse issue as being a person who holds a lot of emotions inside. In fact, one of the common reasons cited for starting to use drugs or alcohol is to cope with negative emotions. 

Learning healthy ways to process your feelings is a key part of the recovery process.  Art therapy gives participants an opportunity to use self-expression to resolve problems, relieve stress, manage behavior, and increase self-esteem.

About Art Therapy
Art therapy is often used in conjunction with other types of therapy, such as group therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. It can be used to help clients in many situations, including where:
  • The client is living with a mental health issue.
  • The client is experiencing social problems.
  • The client has experienced a traumatic event, either directly or as a witness.
Licensed or certified art therapists have either completed a graduate degree in art therapy or hold an advanced degree in counseling and have completed specialized courses in art therapy. 

How Art Therapy Works
Clients in an art therapy class can use a number of methods to express themselves. The art therapist may ask them to draw or paint a picture, make a sculpture, or use items to make a collage.

Clients are encouraged to make something that reveals how they see themselves or what they feel about a certain event, as opposed to using the art supplies to fashion an image of something they see around them. This is the focus of the session, as opposed to teaching the client about art techniques.

How Art Therapy Benefits Clients in Addiction Treatment

Art therapy has a number of benefits for people recovering from a substance abuse problem.

It teaches clients about mindfulness.
While working with art media, clients in drug and alcohol treatment programs can practice focusing on how they feel in the present moment. For someone who has spent a lot of time trying to avoid how they feel, it can take practice to learn how to slow down and observe objects and simply be aware of feelings in a given situation.

Art therapy helps by making emotions visible.
Through working with art, clients can look at their emotions and start dealing with them. They discover that feeling anger, hurt, or shame is part of being human and that these feelings are not unusual. The feelings themselves are neither right or wrong; they just exist. 

It fosters changes in behavior.
Once emotions that are bothering a client have been identified, art therapy can help the client to decide on new ways to deal with them. Through drawing or painting, the client can practice what changing his behavior could look like with friends and family members. 

This type of, “What if?” thinking calls on clients to be creative in their responses. The art therapist will ask why a client imagined a less-than-positive reaction to a change in behavior. The client’s response can be explored in later group therapy or individual sessions, if necessary.

Art therapy lets clients communicate in pictures when they don’t have the words they need.
The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is perfectly true when working with people recovering from a substance abuse issue. Often, they have ideas and emotions they can’t express using only words. Through art therapy, they can use pictures made up of different types of art media to tell the story they need to communicate about their emotions and their addiction.

Beginning the Recovery Journey

English Mountain Recovery uses a number of treatment techniques, including art therapy, to help clients at its residential treatment program. If you're struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, our team of caring and experienced professionals can help you take the first steps towards recovery. 

By Jodee Redmond

Monday, June 25, 2018

How to Tell the New Person You are Dating About Your Recovery

Couple at the beach
If you are in recovery, it’s normal that at some point you’ll want to think about dating. Once you meet someone you like and the relationship looks like it might have some traction, you'll start thinking about how to tell the new person you are dating about your recovery.

Before you sit down to have “the talk” about your recovery, take a breath and a step back. Think about what you want the person you’re dating to know and when you want to share this information.

Your Recovery = Your Choice About What to Share

There are no “rules” about exactly what you should share with the new person you’re dating. You can say as much or as little as you feel comfortable revealing. Keep in mind that the other person you are speaking to will have his or her own thoughts, beliefs, and possibly prejudices about substance use, addiction, and people in recovery.

Tips for Sharing Your Recovery Story

Here are some suggestions to help you have a conversation with someone you are seeing about your recovery:

Choose a time when the two of you won’t be interrupted.

Shut off cell phones and other devices. If it feels comfortable, sit in a park or find a coffee shop where you can focus on what’s being said.

Start off by telling the other person something positive.

You don’t want the person you’re dating to think that your conversation is going to be about something negative. Start by saying how much you have enjoyed spending time with him or her and that you now feel that you can share some personal information that is important to you. Then say, “I’m a recovering X addict. I’ve been in recovery for [x] [months, years].”

Follow up with examples of how your recovery affects your life.

Your friend has no idea how “your” recovery impacts your life on a daily basis. You can share information about what that looks like. For example:
•   If you’re a recovering alcoholic, can other people drink in front of you or is that a no-go?
•   If you’re a recovering drug addict, are there certain neighborhoods you need to avoid?
•   Are you triggered by certain sights, sounds, or smells?
•   Are you going to 12-step meetings regularly, which limits the free time you have?
•   Are you enrolled in MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) for opioid addiction?

What Happens Next?

After you reveal your recovery news, try to answer your significant other's questions as honestly as you can.

The question you'll really want to have answered is whether this information about yourself is a deal breaker. This is not something you have any control over, unfortunately.

Hopefully, this news won’t be something that ends up being something that stops a promising relationship in its tracks. Many people know someone who is struggling with substance abuse, since drug and alcohol addiction are quite common and there has been a growing trend of people sharing their recovery stories publicly. The news about your recovery, although it should be revealed, may not be a big shock after all.

By Jodee Redmond

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Need a New Book to Read? Check Out These Powerful Addiction and Recovery Memoirs

books about addiction and recovery
Reading is so much more than just a temporary distraction from the reality of your daily life. The books you choose can help you gain a new perspective on your own struggles or better understand what the people you care about are going through.

Addiction and recovery have long been popular themes in the memoir genre. Although it's important to note that no two people with substance use disorders are exactly alike, memoirs can be useful tools to improve your understanding of what it means to come back from the brink of addiction and build a successful sober life.

Addiction and Recovery Memoirs Written from a Male Perspective

From inspirational bestsellers to celebrity memoirs, these tales of addiction and recovery offer advice, encouragement, and tips to help you face the challenges of sober living head-on.

Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff: Drunk for the first time at age 11, Sheff soon graduated to pot, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and crystal meth. This bestseller paints a vivid picture of the lies substance abusers tell themselves to deny they have a real problem. We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction is the sequel focusing on Sheff's rehab experience and continuing efforts to stay clean.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs: This memoir recounting Burroughs’ troubled childhood explores what it's like to grow up with a parent who suffers from mental illness and addiction, as well as how that trauma influences the development of an adult substance use disorder.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey: Frey's memoir describes his journey through rehab after abusing alcohol and crack cocaine. A Million Little Pieces is controversial due to later acknowledgment by Frey that some of the events portrayed were fictional, but the representation of hitting rock bottom due to substance abuse has struck a chord with millions of readers.

Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl: Detailing Stahl's heroin addiction and experiences with Hollywood drug culture while working as a screenwriter with a $6,000 a week drug habit, this memoir explores the self-destructive tendencies that fuel an addict's inner life. It was adapted into a 1998 film starring Ben Stiller.

Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life by Neil Steinberg: This memoir by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg looks at how you can appear outwardly very successful, yet struggle with inner demons. Beginning with a look at his personal rock-bottom moment, Drunkard shows how court-ordered alcohol treatment counseling helped him turn his life around. Steinberg is also the author of Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg: A thriving business as a literary agent, supportive friends, a loving partner, and a recent stint in rehab couldn't keep Clegg from a two-month crack binge. This memoir is a must-read if you're interested in learning about how to move forward after relapse.

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand: Part memoir and part self-help guide, this book uses Brand's talents as one of the world's most celebrated stand-up comedians and work as a longtime mental health/drug rehabilitation activist to educate, motivate, entertain, and inspire.

Memoirs by Women Who Struggled with Addiction

Although both men and women struggle with substance abuse, the issues that influence a woman's descent into addiction and journey to sobriety are unique. These memoirs by female writers may strike a cord with women in treatment or help their loved ones better understand the experience of a female substance abuser.

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas: Considered shocking by many who mistakenly believe substance abuse is a man's problem, Smashed details the experience of a young woman who took up binge drinking at a dangerously young age to cope with emotional pain and a severe lack of self-confidence.

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel: Wurtzel struggled with severe depression as a young woman, which led to the development of her addiction to alcohol. Her memoir is a poignant expression of the longing and emptiness that so many young women with mental health issues seek to address via substance abuse.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison: Jamison takes an honest look at the role alcohol has played in both her career as writer and her life as a woman, touching on a history of self-harm, anorexia, and familial addiction despite being publicly viewed as a "nice upper-middle-class white girl." She strives to answer the question, "What makes alcohol so alluring, and can sobriety fuel a creative life?" by looking at her own story as well as a survey of others who've struggled with addiction and recovery.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola: A funny yet sad look at a woman who initially equates recklessness with freedom, Blackout looks at how social drinking can develop into a full-blown addiction with real-life consequences.

How to Grow Up by Michelle Tea: A young struggling artist with low self-esteem learns that alcohol can't soften the blow of real life in this collection of personal essays exploring what it means to consciously choose to live a sober life.

Parched by Heather King: People often think of addiction as a quick fall to rock bottom, but King eloquently describes a decades-long descent into alcoholism and how her family's help convinced her to turn her life around. Since getting sober, King uses her experience of personal pain to inspire others to have compassion for those who are suffering.

unSweetined by Jodie Sweetin: Best known for her role as Stephanie Tanner on the hit sitcom Full House, Sweetin details her recovery from methamphetamine addiction in this utterly raw yet ultimately inspiring memoir. Even if you're far from famous, you'll relate to her tale of how becoming a mother gave her the courage to finally get sober.

Stories About Loving Someone with an Addiction

Substance use disorders affect the entire family. These haunting memoirs look at what it's like to have a parent, child, or spouse with a drug or alcohol problem:

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: This best-selling memoir details the author's poverty-stricken childhood at the hands of her brilliant yet troubled father. Rex Walls likely suffered sexual abuse as a child and struggles with alcoholism that affects his relationship with both his wife and children. The Glass Castle was published in 2005 and made into a 2017 feature film starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts.

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff:  Upon learning his son Nic (the author of Tweak, listed above) was addicted to crystal meth, Sheff found himself wondering where he went wrong as a parent. Going to extreme lengths to save his son, this tale of a father's never-ending love is both relatable and inspiring.

Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home by D'Anne Burwell: Burwell's son Jake began abusing OxyContin as a teenager, dropping out of college and ending up homeless on the streets of Boulder. This heartbreaking yet hopeful memoir looks at how a child's addiction impacts the entire family.

I'm the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell: Jarrell forges a close bond with her mother due to the trauma they've suffered at the hands of her charming yet violent alcoholic father. As an adult, she struggles to find happiness. Her first serious relationship is with a man who drinks too much, then she marries the love of her life who has been hiding a drinking problem. Intimate and honest, I'm the One Who Got Away shows what it's like to do the hard work of helping a loved one through recovery.

By Dana Hinders