Addiction, especially opiate addiction, knows no bounds- it affects Americans from every state, of every color, every socioeconomic status and gender. It takes many forms- the teenager uneducated about the perils of opiates and addiction seeking heroin from the many Interstate vessels it flows so freely from, to the worker hurt on the job who is seeking an end to the chronic pain he suffers from. Many Americans have preconceived notions about who opiates affect- they think of homeless people, people living in crime-ridden areas, those predisposed to the affliction by having addict family members. But many would be surprised to see just who is suffering from this illness. Your neighbors, your coworkers, your family members, your friends- all of these people know someone struggling with addiction, if they aren’t themselves. But the problem is too pressing to sweep under the rug, as there are nearly 100 opioid overdoses resulting in death every day. Overdoses by heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opiates are the leading killer for Americans under 50.
The numbers continue to rise, despite the fact that measures have been taken on societal and governmental levels. There has been a crackdown on “pill mills,” pain management centers where opiates are prescribed without legitimate purpose, flooding communities with illegal narcotics. Many have been shut down and the doctors dispensing the medications lost their licenses. However, with the abundance of medical practitioner options available in a country that utilizes private healthcare, opiates are still relatively easy to get, or people simply turn to other options, such as heroin or fentanyl. Another measure taken has been to offer and expand these use of opiate supplements suboxone and methadone (administered in clinical settings). And while these drugs may do some good to inhibit the effects of withdrawal in a short-term capacity, they do nothing to fix America’s dependence on opiates, with many patients taking the supplements while still purchasing illegal opioids.
But the death toll continues to increase and no widespread change has really been achieved. This is because opiate addiction, and addiction in general, continues to be treated as a condition of moral turpitude rather than a disease. The stigmatization of addiction and addicts themselves has led to a culture that is ambivalent to their treatment. Instead of offering people who have been caught using/possessing illegal drugs help, we offer them jail time where they can be constantly exposed to drugs in an environment that is notorious for recidivism. Instead of offering spaces where people can stay to avoid the temptation of drugs or alcohol at a subsidized rate (as is available for the mentally ill, battered women, homeless and those in poverty), there are few legitimate and cost-effective options for long-term treatment and support. Recovery Care Partners can provide substantial help on a personal basis, but widespread, governmental policy change is still lacking and something we advocate for. When Recovery Care Partners helps an addict or their family understand more about the disease, we hope that it has an exponential effect, reaching communities and individuals we can’t even anticipate.
But still, much more is needed, especially in terms of education. Instead of teaching our youth what drug addiction is and who drug addicts are, we paint drug users as demonic and children never begin to develop empathy for them. At Recovery Care Partners, we hope to reverse that stigmatization by providing counseling and education and proving, through our own success stories, that recovery is possible and there is a good person inside of your loved one afflicted with opiate dependence or addiction in general.Learn More
Delray Beach, Florida
For those who call this southeastern Florida beach city their home, it comes as no surprise that it be dubbed the most sober-friendly city in America. Delray Beach is home to a high concentration of quality treatment centers and it is estimated that more than 5,000 people attend 12-step meetings each week. There are prototype communities across the country, where recovering addicts plant roots near renowned treatment centers (such as the recovery community near Hazelden in Minnesota), but many say that no such community compares to Delray, because of its compact geography and egregious quantity of recovering substance-abusers. The large amount of addicts in the area causes Delray to boast incredibly unique attractions, such as a recovery radio show and a coffeehouse with a therapy group. However, those who live in the area cite their fellow addicts and accompanying camaraderie as the reasons so many people suffering from chemical dependency find help in this beach town.
Los Angeles, California
The City of Angels boasts more than just sunny weather and celebrities, it also has one of the most sober-friendly communities in America. Initially drawn to the world-famous treatment centers, addicts flock by the thousand in an attempt to find sobriety in the Big Orange. Once in Los Angeles, or the neighboring Orange County, substance-abusers feel right at home in a community that holds over 3,100 meetings per week. However, southern California offers plenty of activities that aren’t related to recovery, including sightseeing, surfing, hiking, camping, restaurant-going and art-appreciating, to name a few. And as anyone in recovery will tell you, it’s incredibly important to live somewhere with plenty of action, as boredom is often at the root of relapse.
The Twin Cities
America’s heartland also boasts an impressive recovery community in its twin cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul. The area is home to Hazelden, which has been a pinnacle of drug and alcohol abuse treatment for some time (it is now partnered with the Betty Ford Foundation). Subsequently, many substance-abusers flock to the area and end up making the Twin Cities their home. Minneapolis and St. Paul are also home to approximately one-third of the nation’s recovery high schools. The Twin Cities are not only ahead of the curve in the academic sense, but their progressive medical and legal systems also aid them in being at the forefront of providing knowledge and abolishing judgement regarding the disease of addiction.
While a college town may not be the most likely candidate for a thriving sober community, Boston certainly goes against the grain by having over 2,000 meetings in the city’s greater area. Not only does it boast an impressive amount of meetings, but its meetings also entail a special program called a “commitment exchange,” in which home-group members are required to speak at meetings other than their own, creating a sense of camaraderie unique to the Boston AA/NA scene.
New York City, New York
New York City is a great place to be a recovering addict. There are 4,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week in the five boroughs alone, especially those catering to diverse populations, specifically the LGBT community. There are also meetings in different languages and those intended for diverse cultures, typical of the melting-pot dynamic in the city.
One of the first biggest breakthroughs for someone just coming into treatment is the realization that drugs and alcohol themselves aren’t actually the direct cause of our problems, but rather they became our solution to the problems experienced both mentally and emotionally in our daily lives. Up until the 1990s, anyone who suffered symptoms of a mental health disorder, be it mood swings, depressive episodes, anxiety attacks or delusional behavior, had to be treated separately from those who were seeking help for substance abuse and alcoholism. According to previous models of addiction education, those who suffer from problems such as depression and anxiety used to be denied mental health treatment until they had at least 6 months clean and sober. The problem in this situation is that these conditions often overlap, and substance abuse is often driven by an underlying problem. This often meant that anyone suffering from co-occurring mental health and addiction problems never truly received the help they so desperately needed. This is why the most successful programs are integrated to treat all aspects of the illness to ensure the greatest chances of sustained recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Strategies
- Group Therapy – Mutual support groups are a key element in dual diagnosis treatment. Both addiction and mental illness can cause or exacerbate symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Isolation and social withdrawal can worsen as a result. Getting together with other members of a supportive group can help restore faith in humanity and enhance their sense of worth.
- One on One Sessions – Intensive counseling sessions with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or certified addictions counselor will address both their psychiatric condition and their addictive disorder. Because they are so closely related, it is important that both conditions are treated simultaneously. All therapists should have proper credentials in their field.
- Proper Medication – Proper management of symptoms of depression, anxiety, manic-depressive disorder and schizophrenia often require the assistance of modern pharmacopeia. Medication is a widely accepted tool in dual diagnosis treatment and is considered to be an essential part of recovery for most patients with some form of mental illness.
- Couples Counseling and Family Therapy – It is often said that addiction is a family disease. The family unit is almost always affected, and sometimes even plays a key role in the patient’s illness. Always be sure to invite the patient’s spouse, family, or any other significant individuals to play an active part in their loved one’s recovery.
- Social Services – For those who struggle with mental health issues, keeping up practical tasks and basic life skills can be quite challenging. Services such as vocational training, relationship counseling, and nutritional guidance are often implemented by the recovery care management team, but it is important to get the patient signed up for social services as well. Food stamps, housing assistance, and childcare can mean the difference between setting your patient up for success or having them fail under the weight of their pressures.
No matter what type of addiction education is employed by your recovery management team, it is important to stage a proper family intervention to help guide your loved one if they aren’t willing to get the help. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism and don’t see a way out, we can help. Contact us at email@example.com or 855-727-2887.Learn More
Many people have a misconception about recovery. They seem to believe that the core process of recovery is sheer willpower. The key to sobriety is simply white-knuckling your way past any sort of addiction. This is not only unappealing but also untrue. Our Recovery Care management team offers a more hopeful and reasonable means of recovery. Although practices of willpower are surely a part of the journey, it is not what gets one through the struggle. What we need is proper addiction education on how our bodies and minds uniquely respond to drugs and/or alcohol.
Cut it at the roots
Addiction is like a tree. If the tree is giving us bad fruit (addiction), we try to cut it off by the branches. This is futile since it does not get rid of the source of the fruit. The branches just grow back. The bad fruit returns. In order to get rid of the fruit permanently, we need to cut it off at the roots. And those roots go deeper than we realize. That is why personal addiction education is so crucial.
Manipulation of the brain
We often fail to realize is that the addictive substance is not the problem. It is how our brain responds to the substance. Drugs and alcohol are not dangerous in of themselves. The danger comes when they are applied to our brains. When a drug like cocaine enters the brain, it manipulates the brain’s usage of natural chemicals. It increases the chemical messenger known as dopamine. Dopamine is known as a “happy hormone.” Dopamine is good and necessary for healthy living. However, cocaine excessively builds up the dopamine between the nerve cells, causing a high. This is not a proper delivery of dopamine and leads to addiction. Many other forms of drugs and alcohol manipulate the brain and body. But one has to ask, why do we even need that excessive amount of dopamine? What are we trying to avoid? This goes back to the origin of the need for the substance.
The desire for the substance
As many discover during recovery, the reason for many addictions is traumatic experiences or personal dilemmas. Drugs and alcohol tend to make facing these problems much more bearable. Now, everyone is different. But for many people, addiction treatment has more to do with the psychological reasons for the substance, rather than the substance itself. That is why our Recovery Care management is here to help you reach the therapeutic goal of personal understanding. We help you get to the core of your reasons for the substance, whether it be personal trauma or other experiences. And once you are able to confront that, your recovery becomes a whole lot more accessible. It may not be easy, but with loving support, it is far more than just possible. It is hopeful.
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There are a lot of awful physical struggles that come with the withdrawal process. However, the relieving aspect of recovery treatment is that those things are capable of being overcome. Physical withdrawals are always temporary. Now, the mental struggles are also conquerable, but in a different fashion. It takes more than just exercises and a sober coaching to maintain sobriety. One needs to see the self-assurance to move through the struggle of withdrawals to the other end. Along with guidance from your professional counselors, sober companion, and treatment staff, you can find the hope in yourself to withstand the demons that say that you will not get out of it. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind in order to prove those mental naysayers wrong.
Spotting the Lies
When your brain is in the midst of withdrawals, there are a lot of things that are being presented as fact, which are actually just misinterpretations of fact. These lies are often so subtle that we can easily just gloss over them while we focus on physically keeping away from the addictive substance.
Remembering the Truth
One key way to notice these lies is to doubt the feeling of doubt. Whenever we feel like we are in a negative spot (i.e. believing that we can’t do this) that might be because we treat those subtle lies as reality. For instance, if there is a consistent lie in the back of our heads that says that we are faulty enough to relapse, we might grow to feel that is inevitable. However, if we are reminded of the truth, which is that we are capable of standing through the withdrawals without relapsing, we can see that that doubt is just a lie. We can say, “Yes, relapse is possible, but I have just as much of a real opportunity to move past it.”
Lessons from our Struggles
The mental demon is just spouting fears, and fear is not logical. It is just something to ignore in order to get to the sober life we dream of. And in that sober life, we will be able to look back and see that the demons, in a way, allowed us to get through the withdrawals. When we ignored the ideas of failure and unworthiness, we have to rely on another belief. And that belief is the same one that friends, counselors, and sober companion each know: that you are intrinsically capable of saying no to the addiction and saying yes to the peaceful life without it.
If this article helped at all, or if you require a different point of view on overcoming withdrawals, then please feel free to contact us. Our sober companion, counseling, and other recovery care services can help guide you through the next step to recovery with all of the necessary tools to overcome the withdrawal process.Learn More
Stress is a major cause of relapse. If an addict wants to fully recovery, they should make sure they manage their stress levels. So how can an addict manage stress in order to ensure they have an effective addiction recovery process?
Making healthy lifestyle choices
Their lifestyle is the first thing they should change. EES (exercise, eat and sleep) process is the most effective in this case. An addict will need to ensure they do some form of daily exercise, eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. When you take care of the body physically, you will be better equipped to handle stress because you will feel better emotionally. Taking a brisk walk every day, avoiding junk foods and getting enough sleep (at least 8 hours) should suffice.
Stress management techniques
An addict should endeavor to learn and practice stress management techniques. People who are undergoing recovery from any addiction should strive to live a stress free life. Some of the techniques they should try to engage in include:
- Practicing forgiveness
- Engaging in hobbies
- Socializing with family and friends
- Expressing feelings
- Time management
- Deep breathing exercises
- Positive affirmations
Avoid stressors as much as possible
As a human being, an addict is bound to have stress at one point or another. Being a natural part of being alive, it has its merits and demerits. Scientist have found that good stress is crucial as it ensures you are motivated to get things done. This being the case, you will need to ensure you reduce negative stress. This applies to everyone including addicts.
If you are recovering from addiction, you should start a stress journal. It should list all the things that stress you in your daily life. Highlight the ones that cause you the highest amount of stress and learn how to recognize the events and choices that cause them- find out how you can minimize these kinds of stressors. For example, if your partner is the cause of your stress, talk to them and tell them how you feel. Talking to them may help them adjust their ways which in turn reduces your stress. Stress management is a very integral part of addiction recovery and should be taken seriously.Learn More
If you are reading this and have completed the Recovery program, then on behalf of everyone at Recovery Care Partner, congratulations!! You have climbed a huge mountain and revolutionized your life. You must have learned quite a lot during your recovery. However, it is important to remember that both temptation and struggles can still arise post-treatment. It is also important that you remember that none of those struggles own you anymore, and you can stay strong above them. Here are a few sober coaching tips for you to stay clean once recovery is finished and you are back out in the world.
This may at first seem insignificant, but eating healthy actually does do a lot for how one stays on track with recovery. You may have discovered this while in treatment through sober coaching education. Regardless, healthy eating is valuable both during and post-treatment. A balanced diet and regular exercise not only helps stabilize your body, but it also helps rebuild it after the destruction of the addiction.
Hobbies or passions
Addiction is often used as a false substitute for a fulfilling life. Now that you have your life back, it is time to take advantage of your second chance and really enjoy it. Practice some constructive activities. Anything from sports to art can be a wonderful new way of keeping your mind and body focused. Who knows, you might even find something that becomes a real passion.
Avoid Addiction-inducing situations
Although your new life is here, you might still see reminders of your old life in passing. Old friends, habits, or locations related to addictive behavior can still pop up in your day as you readjust. The important thing to do is to first recognize these habits, and then from there develop new habits that replace the old ones. You have to avoid the conditions that bring on the addictive behavior, and the best way to do that is to form new habits and relationships.
Check in Regularly
One of the great things about Recovery Care Partner is that we are not just a treatment facility or a sober coaching service. We are a family. Once you leave treatment, it is perfectly fine (even recommended) to give us a call and update us on how you are doing. We can help you make sense of any thoughts or concerns post recovery.
Our goal at Recovery Care Partner is to help those with a substance abuse disorder recover and grow back into a positive, drug-free life. We incorporate several techniques in order to do that, one of which is our random drug screenings. A random screening is exactly what it sounds like. It is a surprise evaluation meant to check if you are staying drug free. It is an efficient tool for making sure one is staying on track.
Although a random screening may be encouraging to some, it might also be frightening to others. In certain cases, some are deathly afraid of drug screenings. Not because they have been regularly taking the substance, but because of possible malfunctions ruining their chance of recovery. Others just get anxiety from taking any kind of test, regardless if they’ve been relapsing or not. There are two main things that Recovery Care Partner would like to clear up.
First, we take accuracy very seriously in securing test results. There is an occasional chance that a test could mistake prescription medication as the wrong substance, but that is only one portion of the overall evaluation. The final determination is ultimately done by a wise evaluation, not a computer. This evaluator takes in all of the accounts that go into your screening process.
Secondly, at Recovery Care Partner, our main values are focused on you, not your track record. We are here as coaches for your ultimate recovery. If you have any anxieties about the testing process, we are here to listen and make it as comfortable as you need. If you were to fail, we will never abandon you. There will be struggles and we are here to coach you through such problems. Random screenings are only disciplines meant to help keep you on track. Our main way of helping you recover is through proper sober coaching and a friendly treatment program. We are all imperfect and capable of screwing up. It is through friendship that we coach you to see the strength in yourself.
For further information on our random screening process, be sure to contact Recovery Care Partner here.
The road to recovery comes with many leaps and bounds. Unfortunately there may be times where we fall behind and relapse. The important thing to remember is that this is not the end. Recovery is still possible, and through proper sober coaching and education, it is possible to bounce back.
So now that the relapse has occurred, please realize that you are not blame-worthy. You are not a failure. You are fighting a battle and there will be times where you may fall down. But it is not your fault. Now that you have survived the relapse, it is time to get back up and fight again. Your opportunity to beat your addiction is still just as alive as it was before. And it starts with getting practical and learning more about your self and the addiction.
Address the problem
A relapse is an unfortunate, yet oddly educational situation. After the incident, we can be reminded of what fuels our addiction. I don’t just mean the physical chemicals; I am also referring to how our bodies respond to the chemicals. It is important to remember that good things can come out of negative situations, especially when it comes to beating the situation. For instance, the memory of the high is now fresh; so write down how it affected your mind and body. Then compare that experience with how you felt before the high. What part of your body felt the urge the most? What led up to the addiction? Whatever you may have learned about your body, write it down and bring the information to discuss with your trusted counselor. We do not expect you to be able to make sense of how to recover all on your own. Our doctors will help you to get back on track and improve your lifestyle in order to make this relapse the last one. We will even provide for post-treatment support through Recovery Care Monitoring, which will help you stay on track in the outside world. However, that development begins with trusting the counselor.
Honest trust for Sober coaching
Here comes the hard part for many people. Admitting that you relapsed can be pretty scary, especially when you are trying your hardest to progress. What will they think of me? Am I going to be punished? Are thy going to kick me out? These thoughts are all based in fear and not reality. From the beginning, Recovery Care Partner is here for you, not your track record. We understand how hard it is to stay on track and we are here to support you through any trips and falls. There is no judgment, and our counselors find it extremely brave and mature that you would admit your relapse to them. It is only when you come forward that the two of you can begin to discuss moving forward. Proper sober coaching establishes trust, not fear of failure with the patient.
If you’ve come to the realization that your friend, family member, or loved one has a substance abuse problem, then you might be looking for a way to offer them help. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through intervention. However, it is important to point out that not everyone is meant for the same kind of intervention. Here are a few tips for tailoring an intervention for your specific friend or family member.
What makes them comfortable?
A key element for a successful intervention is to approach your friend in a relaxing environment. However, they are not just anyone. You need to bring them into a room or area that allows them to feel comfortable and at peace. It is also best to conduct it in a private area (house, bedroom, etc.) Should they be among family, or just a small group of friends? If anyone has a negative influence on the person, do not let him or her come to the intervention.
Confirm and Plan
You shouldn’t perform the intervention unless you have good, reasonable evidence that the person is under substance abuse. Be sure to conduct research effectively through cross-referencing with other people who are both trustworthy and know the person well. Also make sure that everyone is managed carefully so that they know where to be and what to expect for the intervention. There is the chance that your friend will want to storm out or even get hostile. Sometimes they may just run into a room and lock the door. These situations are capable of being handled under the consultation of an intervention specialist. For more information, see Recovery Care Partner’s Intervention services.
Be clear, affirmative, but gracious and understanding
You love your friend and hope that they can be of their best behavior during the intervention. However, you have to be prepared in case the intervention makes them feel conflicted, or even hostile. They may be in denial at first to admit that they even have a problem. The most important thing to do is to stay constructive, positive, and calm (especially if they are not feeling the same). Again, be sure to consult an intervention specialist in order to find out what your loved one needs most. Always offer an open hand to help them no matter how tough it gets.