Alcohol

Warning, Warning!! Four Signs of a Potentially Toxic Relationship

Warning, Warning!! Four Signs of a Potentially Toxic Relationship

by Colleen Andre, LMHC

You feel devastated, empty, and ashamed. You are yet again alone and obliterated by another relationship. It is already difficult to rebuild after a relationship but what makes a situation worse is rebuilding from a destructive and unhealthy relationship. But, it is possible to protect yourself from unsafe partners. Here are a four warning signs of a potentially toxic relationship.

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

  1. Too much checking in: If you are receiving multiple or successive text messages/phone calls then sound the alarm! The messages could end with emojis or caring remarks but the content is focused on where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing. You want to ask yourself “why are they checking in so much?” If there is not a primary concern, such as a sickness or being emotional upset, there is cause for suspension. The partner could be insecure and it may show signs of controlling or stalking behaviors.
  2. Losing friends: “What type of friends am I losing?” and “Why am I losing friends?” You should feel concerned if you are losing friends quickly or losing close/long term relationships. Often times, abusive or unhealthy partners want to isolate their victims. When family or friends are out of reach then who is the available for comfort? You are trapped with only your partner for emotional support.
  3. Pressure to share things you are not ready to: Deep and personal questions sought out in early stages of a relationship is cause for suspicion, especially if there […]

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 […]

Fighting the Holiday Blues | Life Counseling Solutions

Fighting the Holiday Blues | Life Counseling Solutions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Is it really? For many, the holiday season is a somber time where we remember loved ones lost or the scarcity and pain in our lives. Here are some ways to combat the holiday blues.

holiday blues, depression, christmas, alone, stress,

  1. Reach out! As human beings we need to be with people. Making new memories is a great way to combat the holiday blues. Don’t have plans for the holidays? You still have time so start making some! Ask around to see what others are doing or create your own event by inviting friends. You’ll never know the fun you could have.
  2. Closely related to the first suggestion is this second suggestion: Lend your time. Do some volunteer work! Go serve food to the homeless. Look for ways to brighten someone else’s day. When you do these things you will see the joy in others’ eyes and in turn that joy will return to you. This will also enable you to spend time with others.
  3. Watch some funny movies. There is nothing like a good comedy to lighten your mood. Go for a classic or perhaps a movie you’ve seen recently that really had you laughing. The more funny movies you watch the better you’ll feel. They may or may not be holiday related, that’s entirely up to you and whatever will make you feel good.
  4. Read. Pick up a good book (or two). There’s nothing like getting lost in a good book. Go to your local library, bookstore, or look online for suggestions on books […]

Are You Settling in the Relationship? | Orlando Self-Esteem Counseling

Are you settling in the Relationship? | Orlando Self-Esteem Counseling

“Meg” is a 19 year old, beautiful, young woman. She is driven, funny, engaging, and kind. She has many qualities that guys would look for in a significant other and even, one day, a wife. But Meg’s boyfriend is not looking for a wife. He’s barely looking for a girlfriend. He doesn’t have a job, is still smoking marijuana and drinking almost daily and has dropped out of college. Worse than all of this, he never takes Meg on dates, doesn’t romance her in any way, and doesn’t speak her love language. (Click here for more info on love languages) Meg describes her beau as fun, and adventurous, but wonders if she can change the (many) behaviors that make him less than the ideal boyfriend.

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Unfortunately, “Meg” is a real woman…in fact, “Meg” is many women that constantly choose to settle in their relationships. When did we, as women, lower our expectations of men? When was it ok to be dating without ever going on a date? When did our self-esteems become so low that we forgot how valuable and worthy we are of having someone who adores us?

  1. Wanting a man that pursues you does not make you weak, it makes you desirable. Men like the chase. When you’re easy, guys get bored and stop trying. And when they stop, so does the excitement of the relationship.
  2.  You cannot change anyone except you. You are not the guy you are wanting to change and you are not God; therefore, you cannot change anyone. If you go into a relationship looking to tweak some things, take […]

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 […]