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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In search of help...

In my effort to try to add to my "Rehab Review" section, I have had very little luck finding rehab centers that offer family programs. The family programs I’m finding are really just nothing more than an introduction to Al-Anon. While I think Al-Anon experience is great, I’m adamant that the people involved in the life of an Alcoholic need so much more such as education and instruction. There should be an evaluation as to what the family, spouse, partner really needs from their own rehab process. Many need one-on-one counseling to help them overcome the emotional abuse imposed by the alcoholic. Others need support groups to help them feel that they are not alone. Still others need direction in learning how to live their own life outside the chaotic circle of insanity.

If you are reading this as a staff member from a treatment facility – I challenge you to contact me and tell me about your family program. Send me an e-mail. I want to hear from you.

A friend asked me once, why I work so hard to try to find help or why do I take the time to answer my e-mails. She thinks that because I've reached this level of sanity that I should just take a break. I tell her that one thing that keeps me sane is trying to help others that are either in my situation or heading into an end-stage situation. I do it because I can't NOT do it.

OK. So that wasn’t such great news… but there is better news…

The very best thing I have ever done for myself was to participate in the Navy’s family program when Riley was in their substance abuse program. (see Finding Help) So, in my quest, I thought maybe I should give details on that military program (if it still existed). I felt that maybe my military family readers might be able to take advantage of this wonderful program.

It took some research, but I found it and the center stills exists. But, and this is a huge, gigantic but – they no longer offer the family program.

I spoke to JoAnne Kominisky in Patient Affairs, who on staff while I was there. She told me that the family program has been outsourced to other private civilian centers. She also agreed with me that it was an unfortunate turn of events for the family members and that she had been a proponent of that program from its inception. I don’t remember much about JoAnne, but anyone supporting family programs is OK by me.

When I was at the center, my counselor was Gill Haddock. I don’t think there was anyone in the group that didn’t like Gill. To look at him you would immediately think of Santa Claus. Well… don’t be thinking that this Santa is only carrying around happy packages in that bag of his. Some of his packages contain reality checks and heart-breaking memories.

Gill can cut to the quick -- right through all the BS. If you are in his group you will open up your eyes and see what you do not want to see and you will deal with the what you see. You will cry and immediately after the tears there will be laughter. He will teach you how to find your playful child inside again. He might not tell you what to do, but he will offer direction. If he feels you or your children are in danger he will take action. Don’t let that lovable Santa exterior fool you – inside is a strong, determined, knowledgeable, crazy, crusty old guy.

Sounds too good to be true, huh??  Gill has had his times of trouble, so maybe he relates better. He has both education and life experience – the best of all qualifiers. But in the end, Gill is nothing more than, in my opinion, exactly what a therapist should be.

I’m sure you’re saying…enough walking down memory lane… so where’s the good news?

Well… If you live in northeastern North Carolina, you can have the benefit of the Gill Haddock experience. JoAnne and Gill have partnered in opening the Broadstreet Counseling Center, in Edenton, NC. They are both Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialists and have been involved in substance abuse treatment since 1975. They currently do not have a family program as such, but they want to open one soon – very soon. In the meantime, family members can receive counseling through their office.

Generally, I’m not in favor of counseling sessions alone and don’t include them in my Rehab Review. But, because I’m so sure of the help that can be obtained from the Broadstreet Counseling Center, I’m giving them one gigantic thumbs up. If you are in any way able to visit them – do it. Here’s the contact info:

Broadstreet Counseling Center
216 South Broad Street, Suite 309 & 310
Edenton, NC 27932
They don't have a website yet, but they are working on that too.

If you are an active duty military personnel, and find that you have a problem with substance abuse, don’t wait to get tagged by your Commanding Officer. Take that step now and contact the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) of the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth. Visit them on the web for further information: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcp/Patients/SARP/Pages/default.aspx


Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

I wish I knew how to help. This is such a wretched disease with little hope of recovery. Apparently only 1 in 10 actually stop altogether. If Riley is unable to buy regular supplies (because you live in the country), how does he cope inbetween times? Does he just binge drink when he gets the chance or does he smuggle it in regularly from somewhere? How would he otherwise cope with withdrawal? (Greg needed that fix no matter what and I had to get it for him as he was clinically dependent on it).

I think I read somewhere in your blog or comments on mine, that Riley is at the end stage. Has he got liver or other organ damage? How advanced is it? Have they given a prognosis with or without alcohol? I note that you said he has brain damage already. Presumably it is the start of Korsakoffs. As I say,I wish I could advise or help as it all looks so familiar. The best I can offer is- look after yourself, as you can clearly do no more for him. Stay strong and take one day at a time.

Immortal Alcoholic said...

Addy -- I was looking for centers for my "Rehab Review" section of my blog. My therapy right now is to help others who are going through what I've been through.

Riley only had access to alcohol because I let him run some errands. Other than that, he has no way to get it at all. There is none in the house and I don't normally keep it on hand. No one smuggles it in and he doesn't know anyone here who can get it for him. He has no choice but to stay sober.

Because Riley has been sober for 4 months he is not in danger of DTs at the moment. He would be if he started consuming at the rate before we came to the country. The brain damage is a combination of Korsakoffs and the recent stroke.

Is he miserable?? I don't know and I don't care. That's me detaching.

Thanks your your comment and please continue to read. I appreciate what you have to say. I need you as a follower because you have been through it all already and I know you can relate to me.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Maybe I misread your post and you really did find that Al-Anon can and does provide a viable program that includes all of the things you've listed, and that most treatment centers rely heavily on the AA and Alanon programs for the things that alcoholics and their family members truly need for successful recovery. Amazing that even the professional defer to the 12-step programs as the most viable option for recovery.

Alanon is MUCH more than a support group! It really does, when you take the fellowship AND direction that it offers seriously and fully, provide one-on-one contact with someone intimately knowledgeable about the disease of alcoholism as it relates to families, it offers support and it provides direction for living your own life outside of the chaotic circle of insanity that alcoholism brings to the lives of those who are in relationship to the alcoholic.

I've also found that it works quite cooperatively with professionals who are trained in the areas of addiction and counseling.

:) the programs of recovery and all of those resources that are in place to help alcoholics and their families have in effect, been a lifesaver.

S'great to have run across your blog.

Syd said...

I did therapy but found that the program that helped me the most was Al-Anon. I never really understood what it meant to detach and to let go. I was still hanging on for dear life. I echo Jess's comments. But there are other solutions too besides 12 step programs. I think that offering information on anything that will help a person to understand that alcoholism is a disease, can't be cured by me, can't be controlled by me, and wasn't caused by me will go a long way in helping the families who are affected by the disease.

Anonymous said...

I too had Gill Haddock as one of my counselors when I was in Navy ARC back in January of 1988. All I can say is wow, I'm surprised he's still around. I concur that his methods took me well out of my 22 year-old comfort zone following my 10 year "ignorant" alcoholic career.

The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Anonymous -- Would it be possible for you to send me an e-mail. I'm going to call Gill and would love to tell him who remembers him. LDoyne@live.com. Thanks -- Linda