Cory Monteith star of Glee dies at the age of 31 and many suspect he lost his battle against addiction and relapsed. Many family members of those struggling with addiction wonder how many times a person struggling with addiction relapses before they walk away from addiction for good! Below are statistics about how addiction touches over 50% of American families, how important family support is for addiction and 7 tips to getting help for a friend or family member struggling with addiction.

What a tragedy to have lost to death at age 31, Cory Monteith, one of the lead and beloved cast members of the hit show Glee.  He was reported by Vancouver police to be found dead on Saturday July 13, 2013.  Cause of death has not yet been confirmed but foul play has been ruled out.  Many suspect with his sudden death that he may have lost his life to his decade long battle to addiction.  An autopsy will be conducted on Monday July 15, 2013 to figure out the exact cause of death. Cory recently went to rehab in April 2013 after a relapse.  He reported that he first went into rehab at the age of 19 after a family intervention.  Cory admitted that he did not stay sober after that stint and did not pursue recovery until a family member he was stealing from threatened to get him arrested.  It is unclear his longest length of sobriety but it is a shocker due to the innocent glee club role he played on the hit show Glee since 2009.  His character, Finn, is portrayed as a regular normal teen and young adult that does his best at doing the “next right thing,” however, behind the scenes Cory was struggling with a life threatening illness called addiction.

Alarming Statistics | Alcoholism and addiction is a common and hidden societal issue in America.  According to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) 17.6 million Americans battle alcoholism and estimated 48 million Americans are using and abusing prescription drugs for non-medical reasons ages 12 and older.  Over ½ of all Americans have a family history of drug or alcohol addiction.  This is an epidemic that cannot be ignored. The NCADD defines addiction is a primary, complex brain disorder.  They also characterized addiction as compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences, and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain which interfere with a person’s ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control behavior, and feel normal without using drugs.   True addiction can only lead individuals to three places, death, jail, or institutions.  It is vital for one to seek specialized help when battling this deadly condition.

Dealing with Denial and Enabling | Alcoholics or drug addicts commonly deny the severity of their use along with their family or friends minimizing the seriousness of their substance dependence, is often a fatal combination. Substance dependence must be taken as seriously as those who are battling cancer.  Those who are diagnosis with cancer are more than likely to follow all the instructions of their physician however addicts and their family members are notorious to minimize or ignore the treatment recommendations given by physicians and licensed mental health counselors.  Addiction is a family condition that all members besides the addict need to seek help and recovery.  Enabling loved ones are of the most problematic situations among addicted individuals.  Accountability and setting healthy boundaries with addicted loved ones may save their life.  As Corey Monteith reported in earlier interviews family interventions are what help lead him into seeking help and eventually trying to live a life in sobriety.

7 Relapse Prevention Tips | Chronic relapses are common amongst addicts and very dangerous.  Ways to prevent relapse is to:

  1. Seek inpatient treatment and/or attend regular individual counseling sessions to help get the support you need to get through this strenuous and difficult life long recovery process.
  2. Attending Alcohol or Narcotics Anonymous has been another leading way to maintain long-term sobriety.
  3. Avoiding all people, places, and things the addict once associated with their alcohol and or drug addiction.
  4. Dual Diagnosis is a common trend amongst addicts and need an evaluation by a mental health professional for a mood disorder and psychological treatment if founded is vital to achieve long-term sobriety.
  5. Remember that abstaining from alcohol is one day at a time or even one moment at a time process.
  6.  The most important thing to know is that true addiction recovery cannot be achieved on one’s own and cannot be denied or covered up by the individual or family members.  Healthy support is essential.  There is hope and there is healing.
  7. Please seek out professional services today if you are questioning if you or your loved one is battling substance abuse or addiction.  You could potentially save their life physically and emotionally.

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Author: Dana West, MSW, LCSW is an Orlando Addictions Counselor and Sexual Abuse Trauma Therapist with Total Life Counseling Center with offices in Southwest Orlando, East Orlando, Winter Park, Lake Mary & Clermont Florida.