Although the opioid epidemic is still unfortunately rampant, another drug has recently popped up on college campuses and popular culture as a whole. That drug is Xanax, a derivative of the housewife drug Valium, first prescribed in the 1960’s. Valium and other similar drugs, belonging to the classification benzodiazepines, have been silently popular since their inception, but have witnessed a sharp increase in popularity quite recently. Benzodiazepines are sedative, anti-anxiety drugs that include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam), of which Xanax is irrevocably the most popular. They are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. While those are the intended purposes, many users also take the drugs for their soothing and numbing effects on both brain and body; they are also utilized by many millennials as a way to “come down,” after being on psychedelics or uppers.
The Problem With Benzos
Benzodiazepines (also called benzos) are so insidious because of their ubiquity in popular culture and also a benign connotation because of their legality. While many young adults are buying Xanax illegally from friends or drug dealers, the origins of these pills are primarily legal (i.e. people are selling prescriptions they obtained with reported problems as simplistic and widespread as generalized anxiety). There are many pills being sold on the dark web as well, with manufacturers often pressing alprazolam (or other benzodiazepine) powder into casing typical for “bars” (the street name for 2mg Xanax pills popular for their rectangular shape and powerful effects). This is especially terrifying because it is incredibly easy to press more than 2mg into a bar (or to press the bar with laced materials, such as fentanyl), which is an already high dose.
Effects of Xanax
When a large amount of Xanax is consumed, it robs the user of basic mental abilities and motor skills. If you are concerned your loved one is using Xanax, look for vacant eyes, sleepiness, slurred speech, impaired motor skills and vision, reduced inhibition (people high on Xanax will often do or say things entirely out of character, because even normal, appropriate anxiety is taken away when given enough of the drug) and increased hostility or bluntness. These effects are exacerbated when the pill is taken with alcohol, as it is often consumed, especially on college campuses. It is also not uncommon for Xanax to be used as a date rape drug, put into individual drinks or the “jungle juice” buckets and coolers that litter American universities.
Xanax in Popular Culture
So what put it in millennials’ heads to take Xanax in the first place? Besides its incredible prevalence (often, teenagers have to look no further than their parents’ medicine cabinet to try the drug), Xanax has become incredibly popular in television, movie and especially, music culture. Rappers, primarily, glorify use of the drug in songs like “56 Nights,” in which rapper Future claims to have taken “56 bars all in one month.” Rap culture has an undeniable effect on which drugs are used and how often. A spike in codeine, molly and marijuana usage have been witnessed over the past years in which rappers (and their lyrics) have become increasingly centered on said drugs.
Some Celebrities Bashing Benzos
But some rappers, and other public figures, are beginning to publicly decry the drug and and debunk its harmless status. Chance the Rapper has publicly claimed Xanax to be the new heroin and has spoken to the havoc it wreaked in his own life in several songs. Former member of Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks is also unabashed in bashing benzos, citing her addiction to Klonopin as the worst time in her life and the reason why she never married or had children and likening her condition while under the influence of Klonopin to be akin to that of a “zombie.” The backlash from these two stars is a humble beginning in battling the drug and its addictive propensities, but it’s a necessary start. Of the 22,000 deaths that resulted from prescription drug overdoses last year, 31 percent of those were benzo-related. Additionally horrifying, is the fact that benzodiazepines are incredibly hard to withdraw from, with effects as severe as psychosis, seizures and death. With that said, if you or a loved one is suffering from benzo addiction, find help immediately and do not try to wean yourself off cold turkey as that may result in severe, acute withdrawal.
At Recovery Care Partner, we understand just how hard addiction can be to address. No one wants to admit that they or a loved one has a problem. However, dramatic and timely action can help your loved one lead a successful and normal life. There are many steps that go into the consultation process. How long has your loved one been using? How deep is their addiction? Would they willingly go to treatment or would that present a challenge? From the intervention process all the way to initial early recovery, we can help you find a way to return your loved one to serenity. With our addiction consulting services, we can take you through all the necessary steps to live a happy and healthy life.
It is our mission to better the lives of people that are struggling with addiction and even dual-diagnosis. We are dedicated to improving addiction education and awareness throughout Atlanta, Richmond, South Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and elsewhere. If you need to confront your loved one on their addiction issues, an intervention can be a constructive tool to get your loved one’s foot in the door. Addiction is a devastating disease, but it is up to you whether or not it will continue to erode your family’s relationship. For treatment to be effective, it must come from a platform of dignity and respect.
Our service provides the support that a recovering alcoholic and/or addict needs to survive in early recovery. Whether your loved one was in treatment for 2 months or 6 months, a solid recovery plan after an institution is vital in helping you or a loved one recover from alcohol or drug addiction. There will be many challenges when an addict returns to the real world and their home. Temptation is always around the corner and being prepared for challenges, instead of pretending they aren’t there, is the best route to take.
Sober Escorts and Sober Companions
There are occasions where we recommend someone to follow a recovering addict around after their stint in an inpatient rehab. Sober escorts or companions are often recovering addicts themselves. They know the ins and out of recovery and can help an addict in early recovery by relating to them and holding them accountable. Maybe your loved one needs transport to and from AA meetings. Maybe they need help getting out of the house. Isolation is a big factor in relapse. Having someone that your recovering addict can talk to can be instrumental in helping them face their demons. We have professional sober escorts from South Kersey and Philadelphia to Atlanta, all the way up to Connecticut.
A sober companion can provide accompaniment to:
- 12-step meetings
- Doctor’s appointments
- Family functions
- Social functions
- Travel or vacation
We understand how hard early recovery can be. That is why we provide full-service addiction recovery services. We can take you or your recovering loved one through the intervention process, all the way to post-treatment procedures. Whether you need a sober companion, detox recommendations, sober transport or intervention services, Recovery Care Partner can help you return to a sober life.
Recovery Care Partner is your one-stop support system for recovery from alcoholism and addiction. While others assist through a single stage process, no other firm provides comprehensive counsel from pre-intervention through early recovery. Recovery Care Partner provides core services in intervention, treatment advocacy and planning, and post-treatment care.
Do not hesitate to contact us. The easiest way to contact us is by dialing the number on our contact page. Thank you!
If you are fresh out of rehab, there are many pieces of advice that can help you through the early months. There are many tips and tricks that can help make post-treatment life easier. With the right support, meeting attendance, sobert supports, sober escorts and medication(if needed), a person in early recovery should have no problem staying sober. In fact, the process might even become enjoyable! Read on to discover how to make post-treatment life a little bit easier.
Recovery is Easier With People
Don’t tread this path alone. Attending meetings with other people and friends that you meet in rehab, IOP or meetings can make attendance much easier. Having a solid social group and sober supports can make life much easier for addicts in early recovery. The principle behind the fellowship is that addicts and alcoholics have the best chance of stayig clean and on the right path when they share what is going on. Isolation and isolating behaviors can be the first step on the road to relapse. Alone-time or “me-time” is important, but understand the difference between that and isolating behaviors. Recovering alone is incredibly difficult and not recommended.
Relapse is Completely Avoidable
Let’s start off by saying this: relapse is a part of recovery. If you don’t get it right the first time, there is no shame in coming back to the rooms or going through a treatment center again. Relapse can be a part of recovery, but it doesn’t always have to be. Everyone should be aware of the fact that they are not simply a statistic. Doing the right thing and living a healthy, productive life is easily attainable if you follow the right steps for a healthy recovery. It is recommended to regularly go to 12-step meetings, seek sober coaching and consultancy, attending outpatient programs, and see a therapist.
Young Addicts in Early Recovery
A sober companion is often necessary for young people in early recovery. There can be many temptations, especially in Universities. The idea of never drinking or using again can be daunting. This is why we offer services such as sober companions and sober escorts in the Philadelphia, Atlanta, Greenwich, Richmond and Greater Washington DC areas.
Getting a group of sober friends together and do something exciting! Depending on where you live, there can be many different options. Try going to a movie, picking up a new hobby, or joinging an intramural sports team. Your recovery is what you make it. You can choose to spend your time alone in a room, or you can get outside and try skateboarding for the first time! Learn a new language, volunteer, work on career aspirations, go back to school, read a book, try paddleboarding or other water sports, start writing in a journal, clean your house or get some ice cream! There are so many things to do besides use drugs. Life can be beautiful if you let it.
There is Hope!
Leaving treatment can be especially difficult because it means new challenges and new bumps in the road. It’s a great opportunity to start a new life, pick up new skills, and meet new friends. With the right tools at your disposal, anyone can overcome addiction and break through to the other side. There is hope and people do love you. Recovery Care Partner exists to help those who are in early recovery. We can guide you through every part of the process, including entering and leaving treatment. Building a stable life after years of addiction can be a long process, but we promise you that it will be worth it. Call us today at 855-727-2887 to change your life or a loved one’s life.Learn More
Addiction can be an isolating and frustrating experience for everyone involved. Whether you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, our suggestions will be same for both of you. 12 step fellowships are widely regarded as one of the best ways to help get sober and stay sober. After you detox and go through an intensive inpatient facility (anywhere from 1-4+ months), it is highly recommended that you start attending 12-step meetings. There’s a different group for whatever issue you are dealing with! Cocaine Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are just a few of the fellowships that can help you or a loved one deal with your addiction(s). In these meetings, people learn how to cope with their addictions, share their stories, make new friends, and constructively confront their demons. In these rooms of fellowship, man people develop valuable skills to help them stay sober during trying times.
Even though meetings can help recovering addicts live fulfilled lives, we understand that your first few meetings can be tough.
It’s OK to not be OK
You may feel apprehensive about your first meeting. You may even feel scared and unsure about whether you should get sober. We want you to know that you don’t need to feel like this! Most people build meetings up in their head and create an unrealistic expectation of the meeting and what is going (or not going) to happen. We urge you to start attending meetings with an open mind and open ears. Developing a sarcastic attitude because you don’t want to go (or are court-ordered to) will only end up hurting you in the long run. People that regularly attend meetings and go through the steps, statistically, live happier lives and have more years of sobriety than those who try and get sober without meetings.
To aid in the process of getting sober, we want to share a few tips that we feel will help you or a loved one:
- Meetings have different formats. From round-robin-style sharing, to reading from a 12-step ‘big book’, there are many types of meetings in the world of recovery.
- We recommend sharing and speaking up when you feel ready to do so. Sharing can help you relate to others, get figurative addiction monkeys off your back, and make you feel welcome. Generally speaking, all groups are very welcoming and will not deny an addict that wants to get sober.
- Get a sponsor. Sponsors help take you through the steps. The 12 steps are the framework for most fellowships, and provide a clear and easy way to get sober and stay sober. Not unlike a sober support or sober companion, sponsors meet with you for free to discuss your issues that stem from addiction. If you need extra support, consider using our service to hire a sober coach, escort or companion during your first year or two of sobriety.
Richmond Virginia Sober Companion
There are occasions when a newly recovering person needs intensive discreet and professional one-on-one support. Our Sober Companion service does just that. We support individuals that:
- may need to leave their inpatient treatment to attend a family or business obligation by ensuring they return to treatment in a healthy state.
- have a travel requirement as soon as they leave treatment and need a sober companion while establishing their recovery within the bounds of their travel schedule.
- are returning to an unsupportive environment for their recovery.
- live alone and need support to establish new and healthy habits in support of their recovery.
Our sober companion services provide accompaniment to:
- 12-step meetings
- doctor’s appointments
- family functions
- social functions
We offer sober companion and sober escort services in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Atlanta, Greenwich and the Greater Washington, DC and Baltimore regions.
AA Meetings and Early Recovery
If you are new to 12-step meetings such as AA or NA (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous), don’t be worried! Millions of people use fellowships like these to get and stay sober. Our sober transport service can even transport you or a loved one to fellowship meetings and outpatient rehabilitation services. Whatever your early recovery needs are, we are here to help.Learn More
If you or a loved one has made the hard choice to go to inpatient rehab, congratulations! This is the first and most important step in setting up a recovery plan. You’ve put a lot of hard work into getting yourself or a loved one clean, but the work does not end there. Going to rehab is a microcosm of the recovery world. For the most part, your day is scheduled and you are told where to eat, sleep and recover. With release back into the real world, freedom can be overwhelming and sometimes unsettling for a recovering addict. This fear is a normal reaction and should not be feared. However, there are certain things you can do to help prevent a relapse. Over 70-80% of addicts will relapse within 90 days of inpatient rehab, and a sober companion/escort can greatly increase the chances of recovery.
What is a Sober Companion?
A sober companion is a person you can depend on to walk you through demanding situations or social occasions. Often they are someone who has been there, and who has a proven track record of beating the odds.
Someone who has overcome addiction themselves can identify completely with what you are going through and keep you on track towards your goals.
A sober companion can follow you anywhere and everywhere. The fear of adjusting to life outside of an institution can be frightening for some. Many recovering addicts choose to use a sober companion during their first few months out of rehab for this reason. It doesn’t matter if you are from Jersey or Philadelphia. It doesn’t matter if you are from Georgia or Connecticut. Addiction is a disease that does not care where you are from. Sober companions can escort you to and from outpatient facilities, AA meetings, work and school, and so on. On the way to a 12-step meeting, you may feel unnerved and have urges to drink or use drugs. This risk can be mitigated by having a sober companion. Being honest with your companion can be the final piece of the puzzle. You can hire a sober companion to be there full-time or part-time. It depends on the amount of help you need.
Do You Need One?
A sober companion can be called on when you just need someone to talk to. Loneliness or boredom can often drive someone to return to addiction.
Knowing there is someone who understands, and particularly someone who has been through what you are going through or worked with people who have, can help find answers to issues you might be having.
This decision is only one that you can make. It also depends on what the professionals on your team think. From a psychologist to a physician or other sober professional, following their recommendations is usually the best bet. If you are returning to a living situation where a person is still abusing drugs or alcohol, a sober companion may be necessary to help curb cravings or moments of weakness. No matter how strong you feel when you leave rehab, it only takes one slip-up to send yourself tumbling back into the depths of addiction.
A good sober companion knows how to keep you sober. Generally speaking, they’re recovering addicts as well and have been in your shoes. Sober companions are often compared to 12-step sponsors and they have many similarities. A great sober companion can help remove drugs and alcohol from your living situation, monitor and keep watch over your behaviors and whom you associate with and encourage healthy habits that you learned in inpatient treatment. Recovery is about a lot more than just detox. Finding out what your triggers are, if you have a dual-diagnosis, and staying sober and happy are just a couple checkpoints that you should go through. Whatever you choose to do, we wish you the best of luck. We offer a one-stop recovery solution and proudly serve the following areas: Philadelphia, South Jersey, Richmond, Atlanta, Greenwich, and the Greater Washington, DC/Baltimore region. Contact us today if you need help with any aspect of your recovery process.
The worry and logistics associated with getting a loved one connected to the proper intervention specialists, as well as the journey through detox and treatment, can often prove so harrowing and eventful that it leaves many without a plan for after treatment. This is true not only for the addict, but for their friends and family members as well. Addicts often find themselves having a hard time with returning to daily life after treatment. Of course, this is made harder if an addict finds themselves in a static environment or around former friends. This highlights the importance of finding a positive environment as well as building a valuable support network.
So how can one properly evaluate the environment an addict may be returning to? Well, one rule of thumb is that an addict should never return to a household in which resides an addict or alcoholic. In fact, it is often best for an addict to return to a place of minimal or no use. Of course, where you transition to directly after treatment will depend upon the level of care you received. For those leaving detox or a 30 day rehab, halfway houses/sober living homes are encouraged. These will help ensure safety and a smoother transition for those adjusting to life after treatment.
However, there are some treatment programs that last longer and some that even help those who have struggled with substance abuse find housing and jobs. Of course, what the addict in your life needs will be consulted on by the treatment center and their clinical staff.
It is very important to do your research on any treatment center/halfway house/sober living home that is presented to you. The sad reality is that some treatment centers not only fail to provide adequate care, but participate in illegal activities, such as patient brokering. You will want to be vigilant, and select one of many compassionate, ethical treatment options.
How about transitioning into school or an apartment? College, especially, comes with its own set of triggers that need to be sorted through. However, there are a few general rules of thumb when it comes to protecting your sobriety in a new environment, whether it be academic or residential. Sober networking is a huge example. Whether you meet people through NA, AA, We Agnostics, Celebrate Recovery or a campus group, it is important to meet people with similar understandings. This will not only help you feel more secure in your sobriety, it will allow you to have fun!
Wherever your exciting journey in sobriety takes you, make sure you check in and know it’s okay to ask for help. If you or someone you know is in need of help now, look no further than Recovery Care Partner- your resource for addiction interventionists and specialists.Learn More
If you are in recovery, it may feel like no one else is in the same boat, especially if you’re young. However, if we know anything about addiction, we know that it is incredibly wide-reaching. In fact, it is estimated to impact about ten percent of the population. That’s why it is so important that addiction, and recovery, be represented in the media- and be represented correctly. We certainly know that substance abuse can be misconstrued in the media through glamorizing and rationalization, but luckily there are some books, movies and more that provide an accurate portrayal of what it is like to be addicted to drugs- and what it’s like to get clean.
One of the irrefutably best books about recovery is a memoir called Dry by author Augusten Burroughs. Burroughs, who achieved memoir success with the popular book Running With Scissors, strikes again in this accurate depiction of addiction, recovery and relapse. With his trademark wit and laugh out loud humor, Burroughs paints the story of how he developed an alcohol abuse disorder and how his co-workers insisted he be sent to rehab. After rehab, Burroughs describes the trials and tribulations of early recovery in shocking accuracy. Furthermore, Burroughs describes a painful relapse, but writes without pretense, judgement or dishonesty. The book is a look not only at the (recovering) addict themselves, but the relationships they have with those around them and how alcohol abuse can alter, and strengthen them.
Another popular book about addiction is called A Million Little Pieces. Told in a heart wrenching furious manner, a Million Little Pieces entails the journey of the author, James Frey. However, after parts of the book were later found to be untrue, the book changed from a memoir to a novel. While there was a lot of outrage over this perceived inaccuracy, whomever the story describes, it speaks pretty truely of the struggles and emotions experienced in recovery, and in treatment in general. In treatment, Frey suffers through a root canal without pain medicine and the trials and tribulations that accompany falling for another addict in early recovery.
As far as movies, there are also a lot of good options that reflect addiction and recovery. One popular choice is 28 Days, starring Sandra Bullock. In it, Bullock stars as a hard-partying city girl who inadvertently ruins her sister’s wedding by being messed up. She then enters a 28 day rehab. At first, she is skeptical of those trying to be sober, but after falling out of a window in an attempt to grab pills, she begins to consider the fact that she may need to. However, the journey to recovery isn’t so easy or straightforward.
While movies and books are a good source of inspiration, they can’t be the only tool in your toolbox in terms of recovery. This is where addiction counseling and intervention specialists come in. Recovery Care Partner can help you source the recovery counseling and guidance you or a loved one may need.Learn More
“How did my days go? Well, I’d wake up each morning, that is if I even got sleep the night before, which was doubtful unless I had as much heroin as I needed, which never seemed to happen. I tried to never have less than two bundles (each bundle has approximately 1-1.5 grams of heroin in it, a collection of 10 bags, varying some state to state) on me at all times, but that was pretty unsuccessful. I’d spend all night blowing up my dealer’s phone. Then the misery, sickness and insanity of withdrawal would set in. Then I’d drive the 1.5 hours round-trip distance from Morristown to Paterson (both cities in New Jersey) to buy a brick (5 bundles, or 50 bags), which would only last me two days max.”
Mike says all of this in the way you’d talk about someone you didn’t know well whose dad had died: with resignation, sympathy and detachment.
Mike is one of 2.6 million Americans who suffers from Opioid Use Disorder. The criterion for an individual to be diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder (as stated in the current DSM-5), includes manifestation of at least two of the following in a 12 month period: opiates are taken in larger quantities than intended, consistent desire to cut down use (to no avail), large quantities of time spent to obtain, use and recover from opiates, use resulting in failure to fulfill obligations at school, work or home, using despite social/interpersonal problems caused by use, social, occupational and recreational activities given up to pursue opiates, use of opiates in situations which it is physically dangerous, continued use despite sustaining a physical/psychological issue due to the substance, increased tolerance to opiates and lastly, withdrawal, by which the user has withdrawal symptoms that match with those listed in the DSM or they use opiates to relieve or avoid withdrawal.
Mike says his use encompassed all 12 of the criterion. Surely, the habit and schedule he mentions had to arouse some attention from his loved ones.
“I would have to turn the GPS off my phone when I was making those trips to Paterson. My parents could see where I was with the Find My iPhone App and if they saw that I was in Paterson, they’d know that I was buying heroin and there’d be trouble. So on the way back from buying heroin, I’d pull off to the side of route 80 in the shoulder and shoot 7 bags right there to stop withdrawing, then I’d race back home while nodding out on the highway, frequently waking up while I was driving, which was incredibly scary.”
But after all the anticipation, all the build-up, all the lies for proper execution, all the danger he put himself in, it still wasn’t enough for Mike.
“When I got home, I’d do another 3-5 bags, smoke cigarettes, watching netflix alone in my room all day. I was incredibly sad and lonely and my life was going nowhere. I felt close to no one, I’d steal from my parents- not even when I needed money, just in anticipation that I would need it soon. I also sold heroin to get mine for free. Everything I did was for or in pursuit of heroin. I only left my room to sell or buy drugs.”
Like the criterion for Opioid Use Disorder mentioned, Mike’s use drastically cut into all facets of his life.
“I had a horrible job in the fast food industry, horrible hygiene, horrible relationships with my family and horrible mental health- I had a really bad temper and abysmal self-esteem.”
But there is hope, Mike now has 9 months sober after getting clean in a long-term treatment center, followed by living in a halfway house and filling his life with sober supports and AA.
“I came from the lowest point a human can be- sickness, mental illness, criminality, despair, to having a love for life, for my family and friends, for myself and for God- all with the help of treatment, AA and those around me. I truly think that if I was able to overcome my affliction, there is hope for anyone.”Learn More
It’s important to know that you are not alone in battling addiction and seeking recovery. It is for this reason that the celebrities below became candid about their personal struggles with alcoholism and addiction. Here, Recovery Care Partners lists celebrities who are in active recovery and want you to know about their story.
Russell Brand is one of the most candid celebrities about his problematic struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. His story is one of hope and complete change- he was arrested over a dozen times before finally accepting help. Ever since, he has been a beacon of hope- sponsoring men, using his platform to educate people on the disease of addiction, creating documentaries on the subject and even advocating for change on a governmental policy level. About addiction, Russel states, “The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
As the star of quite possibly the most popular book/movie franchise of all time, Daniel Radcliffe certainly encountered a lot of stress during his tenure in the Harry Potter series. This, he says, lead him to heavy drinking and frequent blackouts.
“There is something in any person who drinks in a way that’s clearly not good for them, something that is attracted to that chaos. I change when I’m drunk. I’m one of those people who changes,” he says about his drinking. He says he’s been much happier in the past five or so years since he realized he had a problem and stopped drinking.
Sir Elton John
The pop legend struggled for nearly two decades with a crippling cocaine addiction. It wasn’t until the death of Ryan White (an Indiana teen who became an advocate for AIDS before he died) that he decided to get help.
In a NPR interview in 2012 he said, “When I knew Ryan, I knew that my life was out of whack. I knew that I had to change. And after he died, I realized that I only had two choices: I was either going to die or I was going to live, and which one did I want to do? And then I said those words, ‘I’ll get help,’ or, ‘I need help. I’ll get help.’ And my life turned around. Ridiculous for a human being to take 16 years to say, ‘I need help.’”
The Barney star turned to Disney sensation used drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress of both fame and mental illness (Lovato has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder). During the height of her addiction, she states, she couldn’t go 30 minutes without doing cocaine. At 18, she went to rehab and though resistant at first, has been mostly sober since.
“I had all the help in the world, but I didn’t want it. When I hit that moment I was like, it’s no longer fun when you’re doing it alone,” she says about the moment she realized she had a problem with drugs and alcohol.Learn More