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Alcohol and Drug Problems Cause Added Family Stress at Holiday Time


Thu, Dec 9th 1999

Up to 10% of Americans are among those who "just can't say no." "Alcohol and drugs compete with family for attention, and the family loses," says Jeffery Smith, M.D., co-founder of Addiction Resource Guide, an Internet site that provides information for people seeking help with addictions. At holiday time, we all experience needs for caring and attention, but the family member who is struggling with addiction is too busy fending off threats to his or her right to get "high," to be emotionally available to others.

Family members tend to find themselves bewildered because the loved one with a problem seems to be fully rational, but keeps on making the wrong choice. Trying to change his or her mind only makes things worse. Research is showing more and more clearly, that alcohol and drugs can actually interfere with free will, so that the individual just can't make a truly free choice. This loss of freedom can be reversed in recovery.

"What we find in treatment for addictions is that over the course of the first year of recovery, the addicted individual gradually regains the ability to make good decisions as long as he or she continues to participate in recovery activities. We strongly recommend twelve step participation for all who come to understand that for addictions, personal willpower isn't the answer," said Smith.

The other co-founder of the Guide, Polly Waldman, M.S.Ed., says, "www.addictionresourceguide.com provides information for individuals and family members who are trying to find help for addictive problems. We recommend working with a professional, but also being as informed as possible about what resources are available, what they offer, and how to navigate the system." Addiction Resource Guide publishes information on all these topics, as well as in-depth profiles of over 150 inpatient addiction treatment facilities. The facility directory is designed to be easily navigated; indexing facilities by name, location, program type and special population served. The site is free and of course is available 24 hours a day.

For information about Addiction Resource Guide visit http://www.addictionresourceguide.com or call Polly Waldman at 914-725-5151/email pbwaldman@aol.com.

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