•  Resources


    Recovery & 12-Step

    Alcoholics Anonymous


    North New Jersey AA (meeting list) - http://www.nnjaa.org/

    800-245-1377 or 908-687-1377


    Cocaine Anonymous


    New Jersey CA (meeting list) - http://www.nj-ca.org/

    (732) 930-1128


    Narcotics Anonymous


    New Jersey NA (meeting list) - http://www.nanj.org/



    Al-Anon & Alateen


    New Jersey Al-Anon (meeting list) - http://www.nj-al-anon.org/

    North Jersey Al-Anon (meeting list) - http://www.northjerseyal-anon.org/index-1.htm

    (973) 744-8686




    Nar-Anon of New Jersey (meeting list) - http://www.naranonofnj.org/




    ExtraCare Health Services

    Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment



    141 Rt. 34, Matawan NJ, 07747

    215 Elm Avenue, Rahway, NJ  07065


    NJ Treatment facilities by county: https://njsams.rutgers.edu/dastxdirectory/txdirmain.htm


    SAMSHA Treatment Facility Locator






    Addiction Information and Resources

    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)



    National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD)


    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMSHA)



    American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)



    What is Addiction?


     NIDA - Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain - they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.


    ASAM - Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.


    Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.


    12-Step View

    Physical allergy, mental obsession, & spiritual malady


    Signs and Symptoms


    Warning Signs:

    The use and abuse of drugs are serious issues that should not be ignored or minimized and we should not sit back and hope they just go away.  If left untreated, use and abuse can develop into drug dependence.  As a result, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse early.  If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs, here are some of the warning signs to look for:


    1. Physical and health warning signs of drug abuse
    • Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
    • Frequent nosebleeds--could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
    • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.  Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
    • Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
    • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
    • Injuries/accidents and person won’t or can’t tell you how they got hurt.
    • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
    • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.
    1. Behavioral signs of drug abuse
    • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school; loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise; decreased motivation.
    • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
    • Unusual or unexplained need for money or financial problems; borrowing or stealing; missing money or valuables.
    • Silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
    • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
    • Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).
    1. Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
    • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
    • Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
    • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
    • Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appearing lethargic or “spaced out.”
    •  Appearing fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.


    Signs and symptoms of Drug Dependence:

    Drug dependence involves all the symptoms of drug abuse, but also involves another element: physical dependence.


    1. Tolerance:  Tolerance means that, over time, you need more drugs to feel the same effects.  Do they use more drugs now than they used before?  Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?

    2. Withdrawal:  As the effect of the drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms:  anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches.  Do they use drugs to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning?  Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction.

    In severe cases, withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation.  These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with addiction.

    3. Loss of Control:  Using more drugs than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.

    4. Desire to Stop, But Can’t:  They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.

    5. Neglecting Other Activities:  They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends, exercising or going to the gym, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs.

    6. Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus:  They spend a lot of time using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects.  They have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of drugs.

    7. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences:  They continue to use drugs even though they know it’s causing problems.  As an example, person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making problems worse, or causing health problems, but they continue to use.


    Retrieved from NCADD Signs and symptoms of drugs 


    How does Addiction affect the family?


    Alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family - young, teenage, or grown-up children; wives or husbands; brothers or sisters; parents or other relatives and friends.  One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers.  Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family's unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics.

    Without help, active addiction can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime.

    Regrettably, no family is born with the knowledge of how to deal effectively with addiction.  It is a skill that must be learned and practiced daily.

    But, with the proper help and support, family recovery has become a reality for millions!

    Roadblock to Recovery:  Why Do I Need Help?  She's the problem!

    One of the biggest challenges to family recovery is the belief that everything will be ok if they can just 'fix' their loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs.  After all, “she’s the one who needs help, not me!”

    Helping families understand that just as the addict is responsible for their own recovery, they too are responsible for their own recovery.  The whole family is in this together, including the children.  Addiction in the family strains relationships and people become anxious, mistrustful, tired and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness can set in.  Because addiction hurts the whole family, it is absolutely essential that solutions are designed to restore the whole family.



    Recovery From Addiction is a Family Affair

    family-recoveryAs a family disease, those who have been affected by addiction may take years to recover, as they rebuild and stabilize their lives, independent of what the alcohol and drug addicted family member does.  Without question, it can seem overwhelming, but it helps to keep in mind that commitment to the recovery process is also a commitment to the overall well being of the whole family.

    Constructive and active family engagement in the recovery process is essential if the family is to heal from the destructive impact of addiction.  To move on in hope, families need a variety of supports, information and skills including the following:

    1. End the Isolation and Connect:  By joining an education or support group.

    2. Education on Addiction and the Family:  Understanding how addiction affects both the addicted person and the family is an essential foundation to moving on.

    3. Learn Communication Skills:  Active addiction destroys family communication.  Developing these skills is essential to family recovery.

    4. Detachment and Responsibility for Self:  Learning to detach with love and focus on assuming responsibility for our own behavior.

    5. Stop Old Behaviors:  Many of our old ways of coping are ineffective and contribute to the problem not the solution:  enabling, denial, blaming and minimizing the problem.

    6. Engage the Children:  As a parent, depending on ages, you play a critically important role in providing support and protection for the children.  But, engaging them in their own recovery is very important.

    7. Build on Resilience:  Surviving active addiction to alcohol and drugs is never easy.  Use the recovery process as a means of building on your personal and family strengths.

    8. Engage in Personal and Family Activities:  working alone and together to find activities that serve as a source of personal and family fulfillment (ex. volunteering)

    9. Understand and Prepare for Relapse:  Relapse into old behaviors is as real for family members as it is for those addicted to alcohol and drugs.  Family members need to develop strategies for dealing with their own relapse issues and other challenges.

    People recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction, their families, and their children can and often do achieve optimum levels of health and functioning, but this achievement is best measured in years rather than days, weeks, or months.  In the process of recovery, families are strengthened through increased levels of genuine intimacy and families are better able to cope with life’s challenges.  Over time, the discipline of recovery can bring the family together to be the healthiest it has ever been!

    Today, family recovery is a reality for millions of Americans today, and the hope, help, and healing of family recovery has become the most powerful way to break the intergenerational cycle of alcoholism and addiction in the family.


    Retrieved from NCADD friends and family disease and recovery




    What is Recovery?



    Recovery has been identified as a primary goal for behavioral health care. In August 2010, leaders in the behavioral health field, consisting of people in recovery from mental health and substance use problems and SAMHSA, met to explore the development of a common, unified working definition of recovery. Prior to this, SAMHSA had separate definitions for recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders. These different definitions, along with other government agency definitions, complicate the discussion as we work to expand health insurance coverage for treatment and recovery support services.

    Building on these efforts and in consultation with many stakeholders, SAMHSA has developed a working definition and set of principles for recovery. A standard, unified working definition will help advance recovery opportunities for all Americans, and help to clarify these concepts for peers, families, funders, providers, and others.


    Working definition of recovery from mental disorders and/or substance use disorders

    A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.

    Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:


    Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms—for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem—and for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional wellbeing.


    A stable and safe place to live


    Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society


    Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope


    • Hope
    • Person-Driven
    • Many Pathways
    • Holistic
    • Peer Support
    • Relational
    • Culture
    • Addresses Trauma
    • Strengths/Responsibility
    • Respect

    Recovery emerges from hope

    The belief that recovery is real provides the essential and motivating message of a better future—that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them. Hope is internalized and can be fostered by peers, families, providers, allies, and others. Hope is the catalyst of the recovery process.

    Recovery is person-driven

    Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals. Individuals optimize their autonomy and independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their recovery and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided the resources to make informed decisions, initiate recovery, build on their strengths, and gain or regain control over their lives.

    Recovery occurs via many pathways

    Individuals are unique with distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds—including trauma experience—that affect and determine their pathway(s) to recovery. Recovery is built on the multiple capacities, strengths, talents, coping abilities, resources, and inherent value of each individual. Recovery pathways are highly personalized. They may include professional clinical treatment; use of medications; support from families and in schools; faith-based approaches; peer support; and other approaches. Recovery is non-linear, characterized by continual growth and improved functioning that may involve setbacks. Because setbacks are a natural, though not inevitable, part of the recovery process, it is essential to foster resilience for all individuals and families. Abstinence from the use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications is the goal for those with addictions. Use of tobacco and non-prescribed or illicit drugs is not safe for anyone. In some cases, recovery pathways can be enabled by creating a supportive environment. This is especially true for children, who may not have the legal or developmental capacity to set their own course.

    Recovery is holistic

    Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, employment, transportation, education, clinical treatment for mental disorders and substance use disorders, services and supports, primary healthcare, dental care, complementary and alternative services, faith, spirituality, creativity, social networks, and community participation. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.

    Recovery is supported by peers and allies

    Mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery. Peers encourage and engage other peers and provide each other with a vital sense of belonging, supportive relationships, valued roles, and community. Through helping others and giving back to the community, one helps one’s self. Peer-operated supports and services provide important resources to assist people along their journeys of recovery and wellness. Professionals can also play an important role in the recovery process by providing clinical treatment and other services that support individuals in their chosen recovery paths. While peers and allies play an important role for many in recovery, their role for children and youth may be slightly different. Peer supports for families are very important for children with behavioral health problems and can also play a supportive role for youth in recovery.

    Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks

    An important factor in the recovery process is the presence and involvement of people who believe in the person’s ability to recover; who offer hope, support, and encouragement; and who also suggest strategies and resources for change. Family members, peers, providers, faith groups, community members, and other allies form vital support networks. Through these relationships, people leave unhealthy and/or unfulfilling life roles behind and engage in new roles (e.g., partner, caregiver, friend, student, employee) that lead to a greater sense of belonging, personhood, empowerment, autonomy, social inclusion, and community participation.

    Recovery is culturally-based and influenced

    Culture and cultural background in all of its diverse representations—including values, traditions, and beliefs—are keys in determining a person’s journey and unique pathway to recovery. Services should be culturally grounded, attuned, sensitive, congruent, and competent, as well as personalized to meet each individual’s unique needs.

    Recovery is supported by addressing trauma

    The experience of trauma (such as physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, disaster, and others) is often a precursor to or associated with alcohol and drug use, mental health problems, and related issues. Services and supports should be trauma-informed to foster safety (physical and emotional) and trust, as well as promote choice, empowerment, and collaboration.

    Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility

    Individuals, families, and communities have strengths and resources that serve as a foundation for recovery. In addition, individuals have a personal responsibility for their own self-care and journeys of recovery. Individuals should be supported in speaking for themselves. Families and significant others have responsibilities to support their loved ones, especially for children and youth in recovery. Communities have responsibilities to provide opportunities and resources to address discrimination and to foster social inclusion and recovery. Individuals in recovery also have a social responsibility and should have the ability to join with peers to speak collectively about their strengths, needs, wants, desires, and aspirations.

    Recovery is based on respect

    Community, systems, and societal acceptance and appreciation for people affected by mental health and substance use problems—including protecting their rights and eliminating discrimination—are crucial in achieving recovery. There is a need to acknowledge that taking steps towards recovery may require great courage. Self-acceptance, developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity, and regaining belief in one’s self are particularly important.


    Retrieved from http://content.samhsa.gov/ext/item?uri=/samhsa/content/item/10007447/10007447.html