Screenings and regular urine testings are important components of a monitoring program for a loved one in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction. Abstinence from mind-altering chemicals is largely considered the key driving factor toward sustained recovery because it keeps the body free of the harmful, addicting chemicals. The logic is quite simple. Someone who is in recovery is like a plant who needs to be watered regularly, and given the proper amount of sunlight to grow. Our loved ones in recovery need to keep growing as part of their recovery. If we inject heroin into a plant’s veins, its sure to die. If we pour alcohol into the plant’s soil, and soak its roots, it surely won’t grow. Harmful substances create harmful reactions, not positive ones which promote growth. Growing in recovery is nearly impossible when the same drugs and alcohol are still being used. The difference is this: we, the family, are not responsible for “watering” our loved ones to ensure their growth. Recovery is the journey in which our loved ones are learning to take care of themselves in non-harmful ways. Speaking to the metaphor, our loved ones are learning how to choose to water themselves. The temptation to choose drugs and alcohol is all too real for our loved ones, and the way that addiction changes the brain continues to tell them that a plant can still grow on drugs and alcohol. Urine screening tests help keep our loved ones on the right track, making healthy, helpful, healing choices for themselves instead of destructive, painful, harmful ones. Better choices lead to a better recovery, which leads to a better life.
Regular and randomized screenings help our loved ones maintain the accountability they need to stay sober. Knowing that a test is coming on a scheduled basis and also knowing a test could come at any randomized time is good incentive to stay sober. Moreover, when a loved one works together with our family of recovery professionals, their treatment team, and their Care Manager at Hired Power, consequences for relapse are put in place. Should a test come back negative, those consequences are enforced without cover-up or lying. Hired Power receives urinalysis data in real time and quickly confronts a client when the test is negative. Everyone who has a release of information, the permission to receive test results, will be informed of those test results, regardless of what they are, or how a client might protest. Screening matters because it is another form of data-driven transparency keeping everyone involved in a loved one’s recovery, and keeping a loved one honest, committed, and working toward abstinence.
Each substance has a life expectancy once it hits the bloodstream and metabolizes. It is entirely possible to “schedule” substance use around the known time of a scheduled urine screening test. For example, if an intensive outpatient program schedules their tests every Tuesday, if someone drinks alcohol on a Friday, they will not likely test positive by that Tuesday screening. Randomized screenings make sure that there is no room for manipulation or calculation on behalf of our loved ones who are still struggling to drop all substance abuse entirely. Both randomized and scheduled screenings are critical for making sure our loved ones are staying honest with themselves, our family, their treatment team, and their care team at Hired Power.
As the family members of loved ones who are fighting through the persuasive manipulations of addiction, we struggle to trust our “sixth sense” about when our loved ones might have relapsed. This isn’t a character assassination of our loved ones, and this isn’t a stigmatization of addiction. Addiction is a means of survival for our loved ones and manipulations are often part of their process for making sure those survival needs- to drink and to use- get met.
We have learned that old behaviors can crop up without relapse, but that old behavior can be an indicator of relapse as well. Our gut can tell us that our loved one isn’t acting right, isn’t relating to us the same. Or we might see very obvious signs, like skipping therapy, breaking curfew, and ignoring other very standard rules. Data-driven transparency helps us take the guessing out of the equation and deliver us answers immediately. Asking for a randomized test gives us our answer as to whether or not a loved one is using. If they are using, we know why they are acting out of line with their recovery. if they aren’t using, we open the opportunity for honest dialogue: what is going on with them, what struggles are they facing, are they thinking about relapse, are they having cravings, and how can they be best supported through this difficult time? Transparent data brings us back to the basics: where did our loved one forget to water the plant that is their recovery and how can we encourage them to choose wisely again.
Hired Power is a family-focused business providing recovery services to promote family healing. Our mission is simple: to help you bring recovery home. We’ve been where you are. We know the struggle. Our services are designed to support you and your family through every step of the recovery journey. For more information, call Hired Power today:1-800-910-9299
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“Thanks again for being there for us and guiding us through some rough waters. Your kindness and genuine concern deeply touched my soul and we are all grateful our paths crossed when they did. You are a truly gifted professional, keep on doing what you do so well.”
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“I don’t look at you (Hired Power) as hiring a service, I look at you as saving my life.” (referring to his ability to stay sober after returning home).