Advice for Living Sober in Chicago | Stairway to Freedom

How Addiction Can Affect Your Family

One in five Americans has lived with an alcoholic relative at some point during their childhoods, and considering there currently are over 325 million people in this country, that statistic is especially staggering. It is no secret that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a tremendous problem in every possible way for the person abusing the substance, but what often gets overlooked is the effects of addiction on family members. They suffer in their own way, as well.

Children Suffer… Even Adult Children

Children are especially prone to the turbulent lifestyle of a home ravaged by addiction. When drugs and alcohol are a parent’s primary personal and financial concern, it means the kids are going to be left at times without proper parental supervision. If nobody is cooking meals, bathing the children, and getting them to bed on time, those kids are almost certain to suffer in every other aspect of their lives. They shouldn’t have to care for themselves, but the effects of drug addiction on a family can force children to grow up much faster than they should ever have to.

Of course, even grown-up children can struggle with a parent battling addiction. Rather than living their own adult lives, these children are transformed into caretakers for the older generation. It’s one thing when that happens as a result of disease or old age, but it’s something else entirely when the parent has the ability to exercise the control to make positive changes in their lives and simply chooses not to.

Financial Instability

Another way that addiction can absolutely destroy a family is through the financial instability that often comes as a result of purchasing these expensive substances. Getting drunk and high on a daily basis is not an inexpensive habit, and burning that money affects the rest of the family in that it siphons away cash that could have been spent on groceries or utilities or even vacations. Spending money on drugs and alcohol takes these things out of the equation, not only for the individual but everyone else in their family.

Worse Personal Relationships

Perhaps the scariest consequence for addiction, especially as it pertains to the family, is the isolation that can occur as a result of prolonged issues. Many people ultimately shun the person causing so much hurt and pain in their family, especially if they don’t show any interest in getting the help they clearly need. On the one hand, this leaves the addict entirely alone, completely devoid of the support group they need to heal, while the rest of the family finds themselves without an integral part of their family. Family is the most important part of almost anybody’s world, and in terms of alcohol addiction effects on the family, losing that family seems as though it would be among the most brutal.

Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we can help people in recovery by providing a safe and structured environment to help addicts and alcoholics rebuild their lives and start mending those injured ties with family members. Our network of halfway housing in Chicago provides the support these people need to do right by the people who love them and want to see them live happier, healthier lives.

Why Having a Strong Support System is Important for Sober Living Success

When an addict finally comes to the conclusion that they need to get treatment for their disease, they know that real recovery is going to fall squarely onto their shoulders. While it is true that making it all the way through addiction recovery does require a certain measure of individual fortitude, nobody has to go through the process completely alone. In fact, here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we emphasize the importance of building a strong support system for life after the treatment facility, since that is so integral to long-term sober living.

In fact, there are a few very important reasons why good support systems are so essential. These include:

They Hold You Accountable

While everybody in recovery likes to believe that they have the willpower to experience sober living without a constant watchdog, the truth is that a little accountability goes a long way toward long-term success. And this isn’t just accountability in terms of ensuring you don’t fall back into old habits; on your way out of recovery, you will set goals for yourself in life after addiction, and supportive friends and family members can help make sure you continue to strive toward those goals.

They Serve as Positive Motivation

Beyond accountability, a strong support system also is going to do a great job at keeping you motivated as you strive toward those goals. It is very likely that you will need a little extra push finding a reasonable job or making amends with people you may have hurt, especially considering how frustrating some of these things can be to complete. Having someone to help push you to complete treatment, achieve your goals toward sobriety, and become the better person you know you can be are great reasons to put together a strong support system.

They Lower Social Anxiety

Many people got started using alcohol or drugs in the first place because they experienced some measure of social anxiety, but once those drugs take control of your life that social anxiety becomes exponentially more daunting. Support friends or family members can accompany you to certain social situations in recovery you help lower that social anxiety, which hopefully also lowers the potential for relapse.

They Remind You That You’re Not Alone

Perhaps most importantly is the reminder that you are not alone throughout the process of recovery. This just isn’t something that recovering addicts should have to do by themselves, which means a system of support is absolutely essential for having the most successful recovery experience possible. These people are rooting for you to succeed, and using that positivity to remind yourself that you’re not alone significantly raises your chances of enjoying long-lasting sober living.

Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we want to see recovering addicts make their way back into the world with as much sustained success as possible. Clearly, putting together a strong support system is a tremendous help in making sure that happens.

The Top Five Addiction Recovery & Support Blogs to Follow

One of the best ways to get through the recovery process and then to stay sober long after the rehab experience is to feel like you’re a part of a supportive community. One way to participate in a community online is to follow some reputable blogs covering issues of sobriety and long-term recovery. Sometimes, it can feel good to be reminded that other people are going through the same addiction recovery experience you are, and each of these blogs is written by people who know exactly what this experience is like and how hard the journey back can be.

The following are some of the addiction recovery blogs that the team at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living recommends:

The Fix

This recovery blog offers content about recovery and sobriety from several different authors. It is a truly incredible mix of different types of recovery and addiction content from both amateur and professional writers. Anything you might wish to know about this entire process is available in some form at The Fix.

Mrs. D. Is Going Without

Written by a New Zealand woman that has been sober since 2011, this blog focuses on what it’s like to go through the early stages of sobriety. She actually did it without going to rehab or receiving help of any sort, so her experiences in muscling through all of that—and being sober for going on seven years—is valuable information for those people interested in learning how she has been so successful in her recovery.

An Addict in Our Son’s Bedroom

This blog focuses on the perspectives of parents dealing with children who are addicts. It is an incredibly heartfelt series of stories about one couple and their experience helping their son struggle through sobriety. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love suffer in such a way, and these entries elp people on the outside cope with their own pain and frustrations.

Sober Julie

This blog is organized by a Canadian woman named Julie that has discovered the beauty this world has to offer through the experience of sobriety. A former addict herself, Julie has been completely sober since February of 2010, and the topics of her website range the entire scope of life as seen through the eyes of someone who really appreciates all of it. It is about as uplifting a read as there is among today’s addiction recovery blogs.

The Sobriety Collective

For an edgier look at sobriety, check out this blog by a woman named Laura, whose writing also has appeared at the Huffington Post. Her website is a self-proclaimed “community of awesome people in recovery,” many of whom make contributions to the blog’s content. It is, effectively, a recovery hub, and is one of the friendliest places on the internet for people in recovery themselves.

All of these blogs are designed to help people find their way to recovery in a way that is productive and uplifting. Check out any of these websites for more information, and as always don’t forget that we have even more resources for recovery here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living. Never hesitate to reach out if you need access to any of them!

Four Tips for Finding Employment After Rehab

At Stairway to Freedom Sober Living we focus on providing support and structure to our clients so they can rebuild their lives and learn to be self supporting while sober. One of the first steps towards independence is the search for a new job.

The process may initially seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. While we have people on staff that can help, there are some things people in recovery can do to get themselves back on track for gainful employment, including:

Have Clear and Reasonable Expectations

Finding a job in today’s economic climate is tough for anybody, but it can be especially challenging for people in recovery, particularly if there is no old job waiting for them upon their return. In thinking about getting back to work, it is a good idea for a person to really reflect on what they want to do with their lives. It is a time to find some focus and direction, then jump at the opportunity to make those positive changes in a way that is realistic moving forward.

Use Your Resources

No man (or woman) is an island, so don’t jump into the job search without some help. There are many resources available to recovering addicts, not only here at Stairway to Freedom, but also through organizations like America in Recovery, the National HIRE Network, the Department of Labor One Stop Career Center, the National Skills Coalition, or even temp agencies and unemployment agencies. Help is all around, so do not be afraid to use it!

Choose A Job with Structure

It probably is obvious that addicts should not pursue jobs that will be overly stressful or place them into situations of temptation, but beyond that, it can helpful to consider employment that focuses on structure and routine. That is a big part of what makes rehab in general so successful, so finding a job that continues those routines and upholds that structure could be best for lasting recovery.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small (But Leave Room for Growth)

Very few people are going to leave rehab and immediately assume financial control of a Fortune 500 ompany, but that doesn’t mean these people can’t still have big dreams for the future. While it is perfectly reasonable and perhaps even more realistic to consider an entry level job, it also is a good idea to leave some room for growth down the line.

Of course, we are happy to help with any of this here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, so for any people in recovery looking to get back into the employment pool following their rehab experience, ask questions, update your resume, and pound the pavement. An ideal job is out there waiting for you.

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