Addictions

When to Clean and Sober | Orlando Substance Abuse Therapy

When is the right time to get clean and sober??

by Jessica Candelaria Lipsey

When is the right time to get clean and sober? Now!  Often times when someone starts contemplating stopping or going into treatment they will come up with a list of various reasons why they can’t.  We frequently hear things like, “I don’t have time;” “I could loose my job;” “I won’t spend as much time with my children;”etc… The list of reasons go on and on.   These are things we hear all too often as loved ones when we are watching someone die right in front of us.  It may be frustrating from an outsider’s perspective but what we must recognize is that this individual truly does not know any other way to live.  One way to have compassion for someone struggling making that step into recovery is to understand that this life is the ONLY normal one to them.

When someone is in active addiction almost everything they do is managed around the drinking lifestyle.  They go to places where they can drink, they hang out with people who drink, or they come home to drink – the drinking/using routine becomes very ritualistic.  Eventually it gets to the point where if one tries to stop they begin obsessing about getting the next drink and then the compulsion takes over where it’s unbearable so they must drink again. Not until intervention is implemented can this cycle be stopped.

Progression of Addiction

The real problem of waiting to stop is the fact that addiction is a progressive disease.  […]

Developing Compassion after Trauma, & Heartbreak | Orlando Substance Abuse Counseling

Developing Compassion after Trauma & Heartbreak

by Jessica Candelaria Lipsey

Individuals who have experienced tragic or traumatic events in their life often struggle with self-hatred or intense shame.  These core feelings prevent self-love and compassion, ultimately postponing healthy, desirable relationships.  Furthermore, if someone has experienced trauma and lacks healthy coping skills, they are more likely to use alcohol or other substances to self-medicate.

Over 80% of individuals with alcohol or other drug problems have experienced trauma or abuse in their past. Part of gaining long term recovery often means working through the effects of trauma or abuse.  This is a process effectively mastered in the counseling setting.  Bringing up any trauma or abuse can be re-traumatizing (if not done correctly); therefore, it is vital to do this with a professional. This is especially true for individuals trying to stay clean and sober, as it can be a major trigger for relapse.

One major component in healing from past trauma is learning how to develop compassion.  Most importantly compassion and love for yourself.  Once we learn how to love ourselves, and accept ourselves entirely, then we are capable of truly caring for others. We can’t fill anyone else’s cup if ours is empty.

Compassion is absolutely necessary in successful relationships.  Let’s say our partner has said something hurtful but genuinely apologized, and we just cannot find it in ourselves to forgive this behavior.  The hardest time to have compassion for another is usually when they have done something unkind.  Hurt people, hurt people; but when someone has hurt us it is helpful to remember they are not […]

New Beginnings in Sobriety | Orlando Addictions Therapy

by Jessica Candelaria Lipsey

The first step of getting sober is to admit that one has a problem.  Once someone develops the self-awareness of a drinking problem then they are on their way to a new way of life.  Many times, people struggle with the difference between what is alcoholism, addiction, substance abuse disorder, or chemical dependency.  They might wonder to themselves, am I really an alcoholic?  Misconceptions are portrayed frequently in the media and pre-conceived notions from others.   Often times someone might compare their drinking to someone who drinks every day or experiences withdrawals and say, “At least I’m not that bad.”  The curious drinker may wonder– am I really an alcoholic?

anxiety, stress, depression, affairs, betrayal, cutting, abuse, self-esteem, blended family, divorce, anger

Here are some the red flags of a drinking problem:

  • Having consequences directly because of the drinking. (i.e. Repeatedly miss work, family engagements, or school, but continuing to drink).
  • Spending most of the week preparing for partying, drinking, or recovering from the affects.
  • Putting one’s life in dangerous or risky situations when drinking. (i.e. drinking and driving, getting injured)
  • Continuing to drink despite loss of memory aka blackouts

Not everyone who has a problem experiences everything listed above.  The primary concern to notice is drinking despite continued consequences.

Here are some steps to help achieve sobriety:

  • Hang out with other people that don’t drink
  • Call someone when you really want to drink
  • Attend 12 step meetings and do the work
  • Stay busy.. especially on the weekends

If you are ready, you do not have to drink again. You can choose to join the 23 million Americans are in recovery and stay sober, […]

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders | Orlando Substance Abuse Counseling

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders | Orlando Substance Abuse Counseling

by Jessica Candelaria Lipsey

Over 10 million people have a mental health disorder and substance use disorder combined (2005).  Recognizing the link between addiction and co-occurring disorders is important for many reasons but when we acknowledge this link as a professional – whether it be a counselor, nurse, doctor, attorney etc. – it allows us to develop a cohesive system of care for this person.  It is not uncommon to have a mental health disorder in conjunction with addiction.  Symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, PTSD and more are seen often with substance abuse.  However, when we are talking about co-occurring disorders we are not just referring to mental health symptoms – we are also finding solutions for people who might be homeless, HIV positive, or those with a history of criminal charges.  When we think of the term co-occurring disorders we can think about treating the whole person and connecting them with multiple resources in the community.  This all enables the person to further achieve sobriety.

Why can’t we just help the person get sober?  Doesn’t that solve the issue in itself?  That is the FIRST major step.   Treatment programs that solely focus on the addiction aspect are missing a vital contributor to the person’s addiction.  For instance, let’s say a person struggles with depression from a very young age.  Then as an older adult they discover alcohol; it fills the void but gets out of control and eventually becomes a problem overtime.  Once, they stop drinking the deep empty feelings of depression return and intensify without something to numb it.  They are not sure how to cope with these uncomfortable feelings and they […]

Post-Vacation Hangover | Orlando Counseling & Coaching

Post-Vacation Hangover | Orlando Counseling & Coaching

Work is starting back up, kids are returning to school, and the bills are coming in. Post vacation hangover is real! Once the high from pine needles, Christmas cookies, and decorations are gone, reality hits like a ton of bricks. It is relatively easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and dread as January sets in.

Here are a few simple tips to remedy your post-vacation hangover.

post-vacation hangover, anxiety, stress, depression, janie lacy

  1. Routine, routine, routine. Setting yourself back on a routine can be a tremendous help. Implement bedtime routines, meal planning, and even leisure activities for yourself and your family. Nightly and morning routines are especially important. Feeling more awake in the morning and not being rushed out the door can make the difference between having a great day or crappy day.
  2. Taking it one day at a time. It’s important to plan and look towards the future. However, when the idea of tomorrow’s workload or next week’s bills sets your anxieties at an all-time high, then it will be best to focus on the here and now. Focus on being able to make it through today, the workday, the next few hours, or maybe the next few minutes. You need to build up your stamina and sometimes future thinking can be anxiety provoking and discouraging.
  3. Gratitude. Post-vacation blues can be most difficult because you are stuck living in your mental vacation wishing you were still there. Counting down to the next vacation can add onto the day to day dread. Identify the things you appreciate about the holidays, accept that they are gone, and move forward. […]

3 Ways To Break Patterns of Toxic Love | Orlando Relationship Counseling

3 Ways To Break Patterns of Toxic Love | Orlando Relationship Counseling

 “I’m so sick of that same old love, feels like I’ve blown apart — I’m so sick of that same old love, the kind that breaks your heart,” are the words from the popular Selena Gomez song titled, “Same Old Love.”  Have you ever considered your pattern in love relationships?  Have your relationships left you feeling empty, angry and lonely over and over again? The painful reality is that many people find it difficult to stop to observe what they accept, tolerate and come into agreement with in their love relationships.

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This could not be a better time of the year to examine your love relationship patterns as we approach Valentine’s Day.  If you discovered that you are sick of that same old love and that you have had enough, then here are three ways to break your pattern of toxic love:

1)        Take A Relationship Inventory:  We cannot break toxic love relationship patterns until we first become an observer of them.  It is important to stop and assess what relational repetitions you have continuously recreated throughout your history. This can be a very difficult and painful step to take in looking at your own behaviors in your relationships, and to also recognize the emotional template that you may be unconsciously reinventing.  The help of a trusted friend or a professional therapist may be very helpful in working this step because they can look at your relational history with an objective view point.

2)        Create a supportive network: When you are trying to make life-changing decisions to break old […]

Signs of an Eating Disorder | Orlando Eating Disorder Counseling

Signs of an Eating Disorder | Orlando Eating Disorder Counseling

Recently, Scandal star Portia de Rossi opened up to Entertainment Tonight about her struggle with anorexia and bulimia. The actress, now 43 years old, did not start battling these disorders as an adult, or even a teenager, but became anorexic and bulimic at the young age of 12. While it is difficult to fathom a 12-year-old struggling with such adult issues, the much too unfortunate fact of the matter is that it is very common for the onset of an eating disorder to begin this early in adolescence. In fact, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, anorexia is the third most common illness among adolescents. Also, 95% of those struggling with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26 years old.

eating disorder

If you are worried that your pre-teen or teenager may be struggling with an eating disorder. Here are some signs to look out for:

With Anorexia:
• Dramatic change in weight
• Obsessing about calories, food intake, and diets.
• Refusal to eat at certain restaurants or certain foods cooked for them.
• Comments about being “fat,” “obese,” or “overweight.”
• Obsessing over food rituals such as chewing a certain amount of times or eating at exactly the same time every day.
• Withdrawal from friends and family.
• Lack of control with food (binging).

With Bulimia:
• Eating large amounts of food.
• Lack of control with food (binging).
• Going to the bathroom after every meal almost immediately.
• Hiding food in his/her bedroom.
• Using laxatives.
• Scars on knuckles.
• Frequent fluctuations in his/her weight.

There are things you can do to get your adolescent help. First […]

5 Reasons Women Stay | Domestic Violence

5 Reasons Women Stay | Domestic Violence | Ray Rice

Did you know that approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year and a current or former intimate partner kills three women each day? This is more than just a statistic to my family and myself.   I counsel individuals every day who are or have been in abusive/violent relationships and my family lost my eldest sister Carmen Rivera to domestic violence over 20 years ago. If we are to truly help those that are in domestic violence relationships, it is imperative that we understand the psychology behind those who choose to stay in these relationships.

Ray RicePeople who have not been in abusive situations find it very difficult to understand this level of dysfunction. Many times the victims are blamed for staying in this situation.  In my sister’s case, she was no longer in the relationship with the man who took her life.  In fact, she had a restraining order against him when she was murdered.

Below are a few of the many reasons why people stay in Abusive/violent relationships.

  1. Dysfunctional Emotional Connection. Those who use power and control with their partners are often verbally, emotionally and physically abusive along with apologies, promises, and affection to their victims. This often confuses the victim and they can start blaming themselves.
  1. Toxic Shame. A victim deep down often feels that something is wrong with them rather than the behavior of their partner. This results in a tremendous amount of feelings of shame and embarrassment. This, more often times than not, leads them to cope with denial of the reality of their situation.
  1. Safety Concerns. In many cases, […]

5 Questions To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist

5 Ways To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist | Life Counseling Solutions 

Did you know that most consumers of therapy don’t take the time to learn about what they need to know about partnering with the best counselor or therapist who can help them be successful in meeting their therapeutic goals?

Firstly, YOU are the consumer so ask questions and “shop” around to find the best fit for you.  It is also best to highly consider referrals from family and friends who have had experience working with a particular counselor or therapist.

ORLANDOBESTTHERAPISTLife Counseling Solutions like many counseling centers offer a complimentary phone consultation or face-to -face meeting. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to briefly explain your problem(s) and ask the counselor or therapist to share how they would approach the problem. If possible, try to chat with at least three different counselors or therapists.   Here are a few questions that you can ask in that initial conversation:

  • How many couples or individuals with similar issues do you work with per week?
    • For example, the more couples that a couple’s therapist works with per week, the more experience she or he has working with couples. Therefore, if you are seeking counseling for your relationship, then you want a therapist who primarily works with couples.
  • Do you work with a couple together or in separate sessions?
    • Life Counseling Solutions believes that it is imperative to see couples together. The therapist can miss the dynamic of how the couple relates when they are seen separately. While there may be a good reason to have one or two individual sessions with each person in the relationship, this should be more the exception […]

Three Things You Need To Know About Suicide | Robin Williams Death | Depression Counseling of Orlando

Three Things You Need To Know About Suicide | Robin Williams

 Shock, Disbelief, Confusion…. those are a few of the words that I heard in reaction to the untimely death of Oscar winning actor Robin Williams.  Two of his films are on my list of favorites: Ms. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting.   His characters made me laugh as well as cry as I watched them.  Sadly, for most individuals like Robin Williams suicide is preventable if there is appropriate intervention.  There are a few common risk factors for suicidal individuals.   The three things that you need to know about suicide are the following:

1)    History of Mental Disorders. Often times when an individual suffers from reoccurring mental disorders such as depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, addictions (alcohol or substance abuse or dependence), schizophrenia; borderline or antisocial personalities disorder to name a few they can be vulnerable to suicidal ideations. Usually there has also been a previous suicide attempt and/or a family history of attempted or completed suicide and at times a serious medical condition is present.

2)    Inescapable crisis. There are some individuals who view their life circumstance or dilemma as unavoidable and feel a complete loss of control. In these cases, there are some feelings and thoughts that they may experience and even communicate to those close to them (ie. Can’t see themselves as worthwhile, can’t see a future without pain, can’t seem to get control, can’t make the sadness go away).

3)    Prolonged Isolation. Often times this is more of a “feeling” of being cut off from other people over a sustained period of time. The individual can also feel that the “black internal hole”  or emptiness that they feel is so deep and […]