Bullied to Addiction

Bullied to Addiction

Bullied to Addiction

I first came to treatment as a teenager for dual diagnosis mental health issues and substance abuse. Living at home with my parents and 3 older siblings didn’t give me as much freedom due to being the youngest child. I was bullied at school, and bottled up my feelings, but my anger came out in other ways sometimes exploding in anger at home. I began drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and abusing prescription pills in an effort to avoid dealing with the trauma and bullying abuse I was experiencing. Now I know my addiction was tied to my experience of being bullied – bullied to addiction.

At one point, I had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals several times in a matter of a few months for suicide attempts and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and was taking medication to help manage my emotions. My parents finally admitted me into a treatment program, however they had no idea what I was going through, they had no idea I was being bullied or the extent of my addiction.

Fighting the Help I Need

During the first few weeks of treatment, I fought the help the treatment team and my therapist was trying to provide. I threatened to leave constantly, rebelled against the program’s rules, and yelled/cursed at staff. My parents were desperate for help, not knowing what to do, and searching for answers to their questions of how to handle me, their daughter. I begged them to remove me from treatment, and they held strong. When I finally surrendered to the program, the therapeutic work began and honestly, I started to feel relief, relief from the anger, sadness, guilt, shame and resentment that had been tormenting me. I had no idea it was possible. I could imagine it. I had hope. I had hope something could be different for me. I could have a different life.

In individual therapy, my therapist worked with me on increasing my awareness of when I started feeling angry and on verbalizing my anger to a supportive people in my life. We talked through, in detail, about my experience of being beaten up at school and explored positive coping strategies that I could implement in place of using drugs and alcohol. I found relief and groundedness in simple things like listening to music, going to the beach, and taking deep breaths. In family therapy, my therapist worked with me and my parents on practicing listening skills, improving our understanding of each other’s perspectives, and communicating effectively. It helped me build trust with them again. My parents attended a weekly parenting group that allowed them to learn about setting healthy boundaries (I didn’t like this at all at first, but appreciate it now and set my own boundaries with them). They also received feedback and support from other parents going through similar experiences with the other clients in treatment. My parents worked on recognizing and managing their own anxiety and working together so they weren’t sending mixed messages.

Letting Go to Grow

As I made progress in treatment, I could go on the weekends on a short family pass, then a longer family pass, and eventually to return home for the better part of a day. My father was very nervous that I would act out old behaviors (screaming, crying, throwing objects, breaking things) when it was time to return to treatment. My therapist and I prepared ahead of time and I understood ways to communicate with words rather than actions to let my father know my true feelings about returning to treatment without displaying the old behaviors. I returned later that evening and both my father and I had a great time together. In treatment, I learned and so did my family, that the entire family system is effected and it was a shared responsibility for everyone to help make changes that would ultimately benefit the whole family unit.

By the end of treatment, my therapist helped me by expressing proud feelings of the hard work and progress I had made and worked with me on the ability to accept that feedback. We had talked during therapy about the various ways that people give and receive love. My parents and I identified that we each value quality time. My parents went home and discovered that all of my brothers and sisters value quality time too. Toward the end of my treatment, my parents rented an RV and took all us on a camping trip to the beach for the weekend. This helped the us and me to transition back to my supportive family and spend quality time together before returning home.

My parents had a better understanding of my potential triggers and worked with me, my school and environmental adjustments to significantly lower the exposure.  Overall, the work my therapist, the treatment team, my family and well, the work I did, changed my life – free from being bullied to addiction. My family and I worked hard to create a new foundation for positive change that we continue to build upon together.

Drug Treatment Care: Making it Count

Drug Treatment Care

Drug Treatment Care: Making it Count

Helena started her drug treatment care at 18 years old. She opened herself to drug treatment with the staff’s teamwork and her willingness. When her first family session was scheduled, she asked to talk with me. Helena shared her fears about returning home after drug treatment care to live with her parents. She said her family did a lot of entertaining that often included drinking and sometimes even drug use. There was a fair amount of alcohol kept in the house, marijuana and paraphernalia. Helena felt her family would be unwilling to change their lifestyle to support her recovery and did not feel it would not be a stable environment to maintain her sobriety. It is likely she was right.

Drug Treatment Veil of Denial

During the first family session, her mother said Helena had the problem with addiction and that it was not her responsibility to change her lifestyle. Helena’s father said he was ashamed because all of his friend’s children were attending ivy league colleges and his daughter was in Rehab.

Asking For Help

Helena and I had agreed that the best support her parents could provide for her continued drug treatment care was to financially help her get into sober living. Her parents were wealthy, and said they could not afford sober living. Helena, her parents and I had multiple family sessions to attempt to educate her parents about her need to live in a sober environment. By the end of each session, Helena would dissolve into tears feeling hopeless and unsupported by the only people she thought she could count on. She said she was afraid her parents would not agree to continued drug treatment care and pay for sober living. It was impressive to see that at such a young age she understood that returning home was not a good choice, that it would not be safe for her. And it was great to see that she did not simply give up in light of the initial resistance with her parents.

Protecting Your Recovery

During her third family session, something shifted. Helena’s father heard her. He heard her request for help. He said he needed to be supportive of her request for help. Helena did continue her drug treatment care go to sober living. Many other challenges have come over time and she pushed through and now she has been sober three years, has a full-time job with benefits and she and a roommate are sharing their own apartment. While she has no interest in changing her parents, that isn’t her business, Helena limits her exposure to her parent’s lifestyle to support her own recovery. She runs community support groups, has a strong recovery support network, works with her sponsor and sponsors others.  It has been a pleasure watching her grow in her recovery.

We have expert addiction-specialists standing by ready to speak confidentially with you. Call us today!

Women’s Addiction Treatment

Women’s Addiction Treatment
Women’s Addiction Treatment

Women’s Addiction Treatment

Our women’s addiction treatment focus addresses unique circumstances specific to women and the impact of women’s addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our compassionate approach addresses the overwhelming shame, traumas, and unique challenges women overcome in their recovery. Process address self-defeating negative thoughts, codependency, self-esteem, and the attitudes and behaviors that hold women from the belief that they can live in the strength & courage they see in others, yet cannot see in themselves. Strong community & therapeutic alliance helps in overcoming the shame and traumas needed to solidify recovery to create life balance.

When two diagnosable sets of symptoms are applicable to one person, this is known as a “dual diagnosis” or co-occurring disorders. In addition, process addictions may be present or both or either may become more evident as the women’s addiction treatment begins to create recovery from drugs or alcohol.


Co-occurring Disorders and Process Addictions

Co-occurring disorders and process addictions often accompany addiction. Addressing these through the needs of the treatment plan and therapies assist the each client to resolve any co-occurring and/or process addictions.


Co-occurring mental health disorders & process addictions can include the following:

Often, these become more prevalent as the drug and/or alcohol addiction is treated. Therefore, it is important that the co-occurring disorders are addressed during the client’s women’s addiction treatment episode.

We have expert addiction-specialists standing by ready to speak confidentially with you. Call us today!