The Opioid Epidemic: What Can You Do?

Recent overdose rates and high-profile deaths have left many Americans feeling pretty bleak. Efforts to curb abuse of legal opiates like oxycodone and hydrocodone have simply resulted in newer, more dangerous forms of opioids. Truly, we are a nation addicted to opiates- more than 650,000 prescriptions are received daily. Furthermore, 55 billion dollars is spent each year on health and social costs directly linked to the abuse of prescription opiates (more goes to costs surrounding the use of illicit opiates). With death from overdose now the number one killer of Americans under 50, it’s time to see what each one of us can do. There are many ways you can influence your community or those around you, or simply have more knowledge about the current climate of the opioid crisis.

The Dissemination of Naloxone

One huge way that we could curb overdose deaths would be to make it easier to access naloxone for all individuals. Naloxone works instantly in the case of an overdose, immediately blocking the respiration suppression that is a result of opiates. Naloxone is currently available, but there are definite barriers to access in terms of where it can be bought as well as the price. However, it’s up to individuals to champion the use of Naloxone, an antidote to the very bleak and very real reality of overdose.

Stopping Pill Mills

Another way that societally, people can help curb the opiate crisis is by cracking down on providers who are over-prescribing narcotics. There is a lot of money to be made in selling narcotics, especially those of a ridiculously addictive nature like opiates. These “pill mills” as they are called disproportionately affect Americans living in rural, or otherwise disadvantaged areas. State databases and other rulings have begun to curb the rampant prescription of opioids but unfortunately, so many illicit alternatives already exist.

Screening for Addiction

Screening for drug and alcohol abuse, or what is referred to as substance use disorder, would be an extremely helpful practice in combating addiction. Many proponents argue that adult patients should be screened in primary care settings, so as to intervene before things are exacerbated. This intervention has begun to be adapted, and is now covered by (some) insurers as well as Medicaid and Medicare.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment also represents a burgeoning field of growth, and possible hope for the opioid crisis. Certain drugs help to curb cravings, which are the crux of an opiate addiction. These drugs include buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, naltrexone (including the 28-day injectable Vivitrol) and naloxone.

Probably the most helpful thing that could be done to help those victimized by the opiate crisis is to increase availability and access to proper treatment. It is currently estimated that 80 to 90 percent of individuals who need substance abuse treatment programs are not getting it.

However, not all drug treatment centers were created the same. The right treatment setting will focus on the individual- including underlying mental health concerns of traumas, teach about the disease model of addiction, and generally offer hope and compassion for addicts and their families. 

Largest Barriers To Addiction Recovery

Largest Barriers To Addiction Recovery

An estimated ten percent of the population is dealing with addiction issues, but a much smaller proportion of individuals will ever see recovery. Part of the reason for that bleak statistic is the many barriers that prevent people from achieving recovery- or even from seeking abstinence in the first place. These barriers are often insidious- relying upon dysfunctional thought patterns that lead to addiction in the first place. However, if you are planning on getting sober at a South Florida outpatient addiction treatment center, you will need to identify these barriers to ensure the best chance at a lifetime of recovery. The right South Florida IOP will help you to navigate these common pitfalls, and work through self-destructive thinking and coping mechanisms. So what are some of the top barriers for those pursuing recovery?

Largest Barriers To Addiction Recovery

Self-Defeating Thoughts

This blanket statement helps to describe a number of negative beliefs and thought patterns that many addicts accrue during years of substance abuse or alcohol abuse. These beliefs include things like: resentment, grandiosity, delusion, denial, impatience, entitlement, and self-pity. These feelings and attitudes are reflective of the addict self and stop individuals from becoming who they were meant to be- free from drugs and alcohol. However, with certain therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, those struggling with negative beliefs can begin to let go of this inner critic and embrace hope.

Other Forms of Dependency

While the principal objective of addiction treatment in South Florida is to combat alcohol and drug dependency, there are other forms of (emotional) dependency. Emotional dependency can be catastrophic- especially during early recovery. Often, addicts foster dependency on other individuals in their life (especially family members or significant others), but emotional dependency can be a result of certain behaviors as well (eating, spending, having sex, etc). An emotional dependency- no matter what on- serves to inhibit your recovery by redefining your standards and prioritizing the dependency over your sobriety. During early sobriety, nothing should be put in front of your recovery- not even a significant other. The right South Florida outpatient center will be able to help you prioritize your recovery over everything else.

Unrealistic Expectations and Beliefs

It’s important (albeit difficult) to remain grounded in reality when pursuing recovery. Sometimes recovering addicts will have the idea of “should” deeply ingrained in their psyche during the recovery process. This isn’t a helpful idea, because recovery takes all different shapes and sizes. How you feel, your social life, professional and academic pursuits, familial acceptance and other dynamics of recovery are all subject to change and deviation due to the person undergoing the experience. Just as there are many different types of addicts and shades of addictions, the same goes with recovery- it is a personal journey.

The most successful treatment centers in South Florida will help you identify these mindsets as well as work towards eliminating them. Of course, some of these thought processes and behaviors are deeply ingrained- learned during years of addiction and a subsequent survival mentality. However, with a tailored therapeutic approach, even the most hardened individuals can find life-long recovery. If you are searching for an outpatient treatment center that understands the barriers addicts are up against, search no further than Recreate Life. Recreate Life will not only help you drop the drugs and alcohol- it will help you eliminate the thoughts and behaviors that keep you sick.

Behavioral Therapy For Drug Addiction: What to Expect

Behavioral Therapy For Drug Addiction

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to know that there is hope. Many have found themselves in the same situation, and the right South Florida addiction treatment center can help you navigate the rough waters of early recovery and pursue lifetime sobriety. However, not all outpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers in South Florida are the same, nor will they all use the same therapies. There are certain behavioral therapies that are widely recognized as the best forms of treatment for alcohol abuse or substance abuse. Here, we list some of the most lauded forms of behavioral treatment you may encounter in a South Florida rehab facility.

Behavioral Therapy For Drug Addiction

Individual Therapy

One of the most common forms of therapy for those entering recovery after a bout of alcohol or substance abuse is individual talk therapy. Depending on the level of care, the client’s specific mental health needs and the treatment center itself, individual therapy sessions with a primary therapist will be scheduled on a regular basis, usually once or twice per week. These individual therapy sessions are crucial- during them, the addict and their primary therapist can help determine a treatment plan that will guide the patient through their experience at a South Florida outpatient treatment center. The family, patient, and clinical team will help determine the treatment plan, and it is obviously subject to dynamics like mental health, severity of addiction and more.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is another type of treatment that is often used in cases of substance abuse and alcohol abuse. The right South Florida intensive outpatient program will include those who are important in an addict’s life in the therapy- often involving a significant other, parent, sibling, friend or other loved one. Sometimes, South Florida IOPs will do this programming in person or sometimes through online or telephone sessions. Family therapy can often get at the underlying causes of addiction and help to ensure that the addict will have a positive home environment to return to, if they choose to.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is one of the most quintessential forms of therapy used in addiction treatment settings. These therapeutic groups are led by a licensed addiction professional, who oversees the group and helps to procure contributions from every member of the group. Group therapy helps to lead to peer support, which is a crucial element of recovery. Given the shared experiences so germane to addiction, group therapy helps to employ empathy as well as accountability.

Expression Therapy

Expressive therapy is less well known, but has been found to be a helpful approach for those suffering with addiction. Expressive therapy helps addicts to utilize the creativity so many inherently possess to help uncover and process emotions. Some examples include art therapy as well as music therapy.

Mindfulness Meditation in Recovery

Mindfulness Meditation in Recovery

Meditation and mindfulness in sobriety, especially early recovery is crucial. It is suggested that anyone in recovery meditate and practice mindfulness. It makes the recovery journey much more enjoyable and will improve the quality of one’s everyday life. There is a plethora of scientific evidence out there that backs up the benefits of practicing meditation in sobriety. Studies have shown that these techniques, especially when combined with conventional therapies are extremely effective. Not only will these practices help improve quality of life, it will help prevent a relapse from ever happening.

Mindfulness in Sobriety

Practicing mindfulness can help alleviate various mental stressors. Mindfulness is a state of mind that can be found when one focuses on living in the current moment. When in this frame of mind they will be more accepting and acknowledging the thoughts and feelings they have on a much deeper level. When done correctly, one will not have a side on whether these feelings are right or wrong, the thoughts will simply exist. This therapeutic technique takes time to master, but even a few minutes a day of practice can make a huge difference.

Mindfulness in sobriety will help one connect with themselves and their surroundings. It is an easy and natural way that allows a person, in addition, to be fully present in the moment, without becoming overwhelmed by what is going on around them and in their lives. Practicing on a regular basis can help lower stress and anxiety and even help with physical pain. Wandering thoughts and a racing mind will become something of the past. Neural connections will become stronger which can lead to increased creativity.

Meditating in Recovery

When someone meditates, they are taking a break from everything to simply “be”. The hecticness of the outside world and the stressors from everyday life will take a backseat to inner peace and tranquility. Learning how to handle life and everything that comes with it is very important. While in active addiction, people with addiction issues would turn to their substance of choice for relief. They used mood and mind altering substances to find an escape from life, to use as a vice and to cope with various life stressors and issues. Meditating on a regular basis will help prevent relapse and improve one’s overall quality of life.

Meditating in sobriety will help one understand more about themselves and can change how they handle everyday situations. Regularly practicing meditation in early recovery can help one focus and maintain a positive outlook on life. Finding happiness in difficult times can be the difference between another day clean and sober and a relapse. Finding a balance instead of swinging between emotional extremes is imperative.

One doesn’t have to meditate for an hour every day to find this peace, mediation can be done for just a couple minutes. YouTube is loaded with tons of free mediation for beginner videos and audio files. These videos range from a few minutes to a few hours. If you are brand new to meditating, try guided meditation at first. It’s a great place to start off. Don’t get discouraged at first, it can take a few minutes for one to get in the moment. For some, it can take multiple attempts to really reap the benefits. The longer one practices mediating in sobriety, the better they will get and the better their lives will become.

Proof that Meditation and Mindfulness Helps One Recover

Yale University conducted a study that proved that meditation decreases activity in the DMN (default mode network) in the brain. This area is responsible for the mind wandering about, commonly referred to as daydreaming or zoning out. When someone is zoned out it is common for them to think about things in life that bring them stress and worry. Focusing on past, present and future issues will only make people less happy and more stressful. People who practiced meditation and mindfulness for just a few weeks saw a variety of benefits.

A study performed by John Hopkins found links between medication and lessening depression, anxiety and physical/mental pain. The benefits of meditation and mindfulness and endless. Someone in early recovery will see a huge improvement in their day to day life. They will be able to build a much stronger foundation to build the rest of their life upon. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation practices will help people with addiction and abuse issues find a happier and more fulfilling life. They will be less reactive and less spontaneous, thus helping prevent a relapse from ever occurring.

Most Effective Addiction Treatments, According to Science

Most Effective Addiction Treatments, According to Science

Addiction is one of the largest medical conundrums in modern history. It continues to claim countless lives, and many treatment methods fail addicts who are desperately trying to get clean. In fact, of the 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol or drugs, only about 1 in 10 receives treatment. And the statistics for those who attend treatment are not so sunny either.

In a lauded study by Columbia University, researchers found that even though addiction is incredibly prevalent across the country, the availability of effective solutions is completely scarce. For the ten percent of addicts that receive care, only few receive anything that could be described as evidence-based treatment. Furthermore, medical professionals who are “treating” addiction across the country are largely unqualified. To add to it, misunderstandings and outdated traditions often dictate addiction treatment, which completely undermine any progress or evolution. The research proposes that addiction medicine be fully integrated into current healthcare systems. There must be more training for healthcare providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists and social workers. Furthermore, they prescribe regulation of addiction treatment programs, and mandated accountability for treatment consistent with proven standards. The researchers went so far as to suggest that current addiction practices could be considered medical malpractice.

  1. Thomas McLellan, co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, echoes this sentiment by saying, “There are exceptions, but of the many thousands of treatment programs out there, most use exactly the same kind of treatment you would have received in 1950, not modern scientific approaches.”

However, there are some individuals who are working to make sure that addiction treatment moves into the future. One such is Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, who, among other things, is championing the use of medication-assisted treatment. This primarily entails the use of maintenance therapy with the drug suboxone for opioid addicts.

“We have some pretty good drugs to help people with addiction problems, but doctors don’t know how to use them,” he said. “The 12-step community doesn’t want to use relapse-prevention medication because they view it as a crutch.”

Among other medication-assisted treatment options, there lies the Sinclair Method. The Sinclair Method was discovered by Dr. David Sinclair. He hypothesized that alcohol produced reinforcement in the brain in a manner not dissimilar from opioids. Through years of research, he realized that alcohol did produce reinforcement via endorphins that bind with opioid receptors in one’s brain. He then concluded that an effective way to stop this dangerous reinforcement cycle would be to block the opioid receptors- after trying naltrexone, an opiate blocker, on rats, he decided it just may work for humans. The results in human trials have been very successful, and using extinction of the impulse to drink has had success with about 80 percent of those who have tried the method. Of course, the medication must be taken whenever one wants to drink.

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse disorder or substance abuse disorder, you will want to seek professionals who have a great knowledge of all current addiction treatment offerings. Truth Recovery Center has a large expertise on many evidence-based approaches and will create a treatment plan that is individualized and works for you.

Is An Intervention The Right Choice For Your Loved One?

Is An Intervention The Right Choice For Your Loved One

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, you may have considered what is referred to as an intervention. So what is an intervention? Well, it is basically the process by which an addict’s loved ones, often in addition to professional intervention specialists, can show the addict that their behaviors are destructive. Furthermore, the intervention aims to provide a way for the addict to seek help immediately, often going to treatment immediately after. So is an intervention the right choice for your family member or friend?

Is An Intervention The Right Choice For Your Loved One

Well, have you been able to recognize signs of abuse? Of course, some people want to write off any signs of drug abuse, rather than confront them head on, but there are a number of symptoms you can’t ignore. Some of these signs of drug or alcohol dependency are: bloodshot eyes and large/small pupils, changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns, changes in friends, trouble in school/work or with the law, missing classes or work, loss of interest in activities that they once loved, large change in weight, lack of grooming habits and change in appearance, and more. If you begin to notice any of these signs, it may indicate a friend or family member’s drug abuse. When the terrible process of addiction begins, the addict often loses control of judgement and decision-making. Subsequently, intervening when you recognize the first signs will give your loved one a better chance at full recovery.

But is a professional intervention the right way to go? Well, according to a study recently conducted by the University of Minnesota Medical School- yes. The study found that brief interventions are more effective, especially when handling mild to moderate cases of substance abuse. Based on the severity of the substance abuse seen in your friend or family member, you can conclude whether or not an intervention may be helpful. In pretty much every case, however, responding promptly and fully beats inaction.
So how do you go about conducting an intervention? You may not opt for the dramatic renditions you see on TV. You don’t want the addict to feel confronted, as that often leads to resentment, and even worse, resistance to treatment. A good way to navigate your way through the process of an intervention is to enlist the help of a professional intervention specialist. Once you make the choice to hold an intervention/seek treatment options for your addict, you have done the most important part. From there, experts can help you conduct the intervention and will also help solidify a plan for after the intervention.

Speaking of after the intervention, what are you gonna do? There are several parts to the addiction treatment process. First, detox is often necessary to provide medical equilibrium. From there, you will want to choose a residential treatment center, halfway house, or other sober living facility to get your loved one on the road to long-term recovery.

Perhaps the largest benefit of an intervention is the ability to weed out all manipulation and get a real picture of the addict in your life. This is aided by addiction interventionists as they are a bipartisan third party can provide expertise and neutralization. Furthermore, interventionists will help get the addict through the stages of admission, treatment, discharge and aftercare, all steps that accompany addiction treatment.

If you are looking for a detox center that treats addiction as the disease it is, look no further than Recreate Life Counseling. Recreate Life Counseling will not only help your addict get clean from drugs, but will get them on the path to recovery and sanity.

The Trait That Can Identify Addiction

The Trait That Can Identify Addiction

10 AA Sayings That Will Inspire You in RecoveryAs America’s battle with addiction becomes more and more prevalent, people begin to wonder what exact traits predict addiction. Older stereotypes have suggested addicts have more in common than the we now know them to have. We can see now that addicts hail from every race, creed, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and more. Yet, we can’t deny that there is a certain genetic element to the disease of addiction. After all, we can certainly see the evidence for it running in families.

So what is the commonality? Well, studies are beginning to suggest that the trait that most predicts addiction is impulsivity. This may not sound so surprising- but impulsivity shows up in more ways than you may think. Typically, impulsive people choose a smaller, faster reward over a larger, delayed reware. In layman’s terms, addicts are the ones that seek immediate gratification. Because of this, an important prevention tool is trying to overcome the delay when you don’t get what you want immediately. Learning to tolerate this delay is key, but still, it is genetically more difficult for some individuals, as their brains are wired to desire momentary gratification and rewards.

Though impulsivity is more common in those with addictive tendencies, it is a pretty common aspect of human life as well. It can be described as quick, momentary reactions to internal or external stimuli, often with unplanned consequences trailing behind. Though not everyone has this kind of thinking, and certainly not everyone applies this thinking to consuming drugs, this is a train of thought most can empathize with. Think about it- there are things we find ourselves doing even if we didn’t plan to. Eating that extra doughnut, buying a car we can’t afford, skipping the gym and going out. These impulsive behaviors represent the crux of addictive behavior.

So if we know the behavior that is generating addiction, does that mean we know the fix? Well, it isn’t that easy, but it is a start. A failure to resist impulse can now be described as the number one barrier addicts need to face in order to have a long-term strategy for success in recovery and life in general. However, this is a hard pattern to break, especially for individuals who much prefer immediate benefits to pleasures that occur far in the future.

It may give some comfort to know that the seasons of our life help to influence our impulsivity. Meaning, impulsive behavior is much more common at certain ages than others. It is estimated that impulsivity is at its highest levels during adolescence (around ages of 12) and levels off while moving toward adulthood (age of 20 years).

With this information in mind, it can be determined that impulsivity is often a prerequisite to addictive behavior and could be quite definitely used as a screening mechanism for future substance abuse.

How Does Narcan Work?

How Does Narcan Work

The opioid overdose crises is just another problem we created for ourselves when we decided our body’s little voice- the pain response is an unnecessary sensation that should be ignored. 16 years down the line we’ve kind of shut off these rational neurons that were easy to negotiate with using mild analgesics and ended up awakening a far worse nightmare – the opioid receptors.

Amidst the strive for health, fun and crazy dieting habits on the verge, opioid overdose crisis claims the lives of more than 115 Americans per day. Overdose deaths now surpass car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths. More than 66% of drug overdose deaths are attributed to opioids use in the U.S. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016 statistics,  the number of opioid overdose deaths including heroin and prescription opioids like oxycodone fentanyl, methadone and hydrocodone exhibited a 5 times rise compared to 1999 cases. Between 2000 to 2015 over 600, 000 people died from drug overdoses.

So let’s face the facts, we now know that opioid overdose apocalypse is here, what has Narcan got to do with it?

Narcan, another name for naloxone, is a non-selective competitive receptor antagonist that acts by reversing major life-threatening effects of opioid overdose like the Central nervous system and respiratory system depression within only a few minutes. Even though effects don’t last long, it gives one time to seek medical assistance. Most hospitals provide naloxone prescription to patients on opiate drugs for the treatment of chronic pain or following detox.

You’re probably asking yourself is Narcan safe? How much is it?

Narcan is approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and is among the WHO list of essential medicines. Narcan is considered one of the most effective and safe drugs for opioid overdose reversal. The drug is fairly affordable going at $0.50 to $5.39 per dose at wholesale price; a vial is sold at $25 in the United States while auto-injectors go for approximately $4,500, not a high price to pay to buy over 30 minutes to seek emergency medical care.

How does Narcan work?

An understanding of what opiates do to the body can help us better understand how Narcan works. Opiates are naturally formed by the body during exercising or strenuous activities in the form of endorphins. Endorphins or endogenous opiates bind to opiate receptors in the brain cells leading to an alteration in how neurons communicate resulting in pain relief, stress reduction, happiness and feelings of pleasure; sounds familiar?

Endorphins also control the rate of breathing through action on the respiratory center.

Since the body is always working to maintain homeostasis, endorphins production is only in regulated amounts to meet desired functions. Exogenous opiates like prescription or recreational opiates work in the same mechanisms as endorphins produced by the body. However, in overdose, the opioids flood the central nervous system activating many opioid receptors at once, this leads to amplified effects “Rush.”

Narcan is a pure antagonist with no partial agonistic effect or morphine-like properties like most opioid antagonists. Because of this property, Narcan only works if one has opioids in their system and elicits no pharmacological effects in people who have no opioids in their system. Chemically, Narcan is a congener of oxymorphone differing slightly in structure with a methyl group to alkyl group substitution on the nitrogen atom.

Though the mode of action of this drug is not fully understood, in vitro studies suggests that Narcan antagonizes Opioid actions by competing for the same binding sites on mu, kappa and delta opioid receptors in the brain. Narcan has the greatest affinity to mu receptor. The drug binds to this receptors displacing opioids from the binding sites and also occupies the binding sites locking them hence opioids binding is blocked. While it has an almost similar chemical structure as opiates, Nacarn bind the receptors but instead of activating the receptors to produce morphine-like effects it just sits at the binding site doing nothing.

Narcan is, therefore, an inhibitor of opioids since without binding the receptors opioids will not cause their usual effects. The overdose symptoms will immediately go away since the opioids are no longer sitting at the receptors. Free opioids that are not bound to receptors circulate in the blood and are eventually broken down in the liver and flushed out of the body through urine by the kidney.

While Narcan can reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose, this is a temporary relief. Narcan can be given as an injection or a nasal spray. The onset of action is approximately 5 minutes but Narcan has a half-life of only 30-80 minutes after which it is cleared from the body and opioids take over the receptors control again. Some people can relapse back to their initial state within minutes to hours hence seeking emergency medical care is essential in order to avoid adverse outcomes.

So next time you get an opioid prescription or even a malicious idea of “prescribing” it for yourself get naloxone/ Narcan. If you’re halfway through choosing your poison, you might as well get the antidote. Who knows it might just buy you 3 minutes to start the car or make a phone call for help.

References.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2011). Vital signs: overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers—United States, 1999–2008. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report60(43), 1487.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22048730

Curtin, S. C., Tejada-Vera, B., & Warner, M. (2017). Drug Overdose Deaths among Adolescents Aged 15-19 in the United States: 1999-2015. NCHS Data Brief. Number 282. National Center for Health Statistics.

https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED575708

Drolet, G., Dumont, É. C., Gosselin, I., Kinkead, R., Laforest, S., & Trottier, J. F. (2001). Role of endogenous opioid system in the regulation of the stress response. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry25(4), 729-741.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584601001610

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0278-5846(01)00161-0

10 AA Sayings That Will Inspire You in Recovery

10 AA Sayings That Will Inspire You in Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that is, in part, famous due to its cliches. Idioms like “progress, not perfection” and “willingness is key” are not only peppered throughout AA clubhouses and church multi-purpose rooms, but are part of modern vernacular as well. However, they are much, much more than just a cultural representation of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are, to some, everything. These three or four word reminders help to encapsulate the program and put it in a form that is easily comprehended and digested by all. To stay sober, people need reminders of the bigger picture as well as feelings of commitment and loyalty to the program that keeps them sober. Some people new to the program might think that these statements seem simple, and they are, but the old-timers (and almost anyone in the program for that matter) will understand the beauty in their simplicity.

When people come into recovery, their lives are messy. They need a simple set of rules to live by, and AA offers that and more. Alcoholics Anonymous helps addicts and alcoholics pick themselves up by their bootstraps to repair their lives. These statements might not be the only thing at play when it comes to how an addict recovers, but they are certainly part of the formula. If you are new to the program, or just wanna refresh yourself on some awesome AA sayings, you will love our compilation of ten AA sayings that will help inspire you in recovery.

“Easy Does It”

This saying is definitely simple, but there is a beauty in its ease. It reminds all of us alcoholics and addicts to chill out, which is often what we need to hear. It reminds us of what is most important, rather than to be worked up about every menial task you have to perform in a day. Many addicts and alcoholics turned to drugs or the bottle because they could not cope with the daily stressors of each day. Part of recovery, a big part of it, is figuring out how to deal with the things that occur each day that would’ve triggered us in our past. Building healthy coping mechanisms is one of the most important parts of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as recovery in general. “Easy does it” embodies the central themes behind AA- stick to what’s most important, cut yourself a break, and above all, don’t use.

“We Are Only As Sick As Our Secrets”

It might seem a little intrusive to tell people about the most intimate parts of you and your life, but in AA, everyone understands, so social conventions are less of a big deal. You not only can, but should tell those you trust in AA the big things about you, your life and your story. This is especially true with your sponsor. Especially when you are reading your fourth step to them (the personal inventory you take as a part of completing the steps), you should be completely transparent. No one will judge you in AA. Whatever you have done, trust us, probably five people in your local AA meeting have done it too! If you do not disclose what is bothering you, past traumas or hurts, or current resentments, you will be less likely to get better. Relapse preys on the things that bother you that you do not disclose. Take a leap of faith, and share with your AA community today. The response will overwhelm you.

“First Things First”

“First things first” represents the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous is extremely solution-drive. Whatever happens, the Big Book, and the program itself, will encourage you to look at whatever you are face, figure out a logical step (with the help of prayer, meditation and your sponsor, of course) and proceed from there. Addicts and alcoholics have a tendency to not cope well with things or to blow things out of proportion, and this simple saying helps combat that negative behavior.

“One Day at a Time”

“One day at a time” is arguably the most popular saying of not only Alcoholics Anonymous but of Narcotics Anonymous as well. Both programs are based on the fact that alcoholics and addicts should not look at sobriety as a life sentence, but rather a thing to do each day. Many addicts and alcoholics come into the rooms after years of drinking and drugging, and a life without their crutch seems overwhelming. This is why it’s so important to keep sobriety one day at a time. It allows us to live in the present rather than start future-tripping about things we have no control over. If you keep telling yourself you can rethink sobriety tomorrow, and you say it every day, you’ll never take the drink. That’s a success in our book.

“Let Go and Let God”

However you feel God, the sentiment behind this quote is very meaningful and representative of AA. letting go and letting God embodies steps one through three of alcoholics anonymous- admitting your powerlessness, believing a higher power can restore you to sanity and choosing to turn your will over to this higher power. This is really the thesis of the whole program- we can’t recover alone, but we can with the help of God and the loving individuals in the rooms of AA.

 

Perhaps you’re still confused about the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That’s perfectly natural- there is so much more to the program than just clever sayings. If you are an addict or alcoholic in need of recovery, look no further than Recreate Life. Recreate Life utilizes Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps as well as renowned therapeutic approaches to combat the disease of addiction. Addiction is hard, but Recreate Life is dedicated to helping you and your loved ones beat it.

Opiate Addiction | What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So Addicted?

What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So Addicted

What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So AddictedIf you’ve been paying much attention to the news recently, you’ll have heard the words “opioid crisis.” everyone’s paying attention to it- the media, activists, healthcare professionals, the government, President Trump himself. And that’s because the statistics are jarring. More than 90 Americans die as a result of overdosing on opioids. And don’t think that the crisis only affects addicts and their families. It has huge social and political implications and especially huge financial repercussions. It has been estimated that the opioid crisis has cost the country 78.5 billion dollars in terms of lost productivity, drug treatment, criminal justice and healthcare costs.

So what’s behind all this chaos? Millions of pills and pounds of powder. Opiates, or opioids, as they’re commonly referred to, don’t give the full picture to these drugs. All opioids are derived from opium poppy, but there are many different manifestations. At first, legal opiates took off due to loose regulations and opportunistic doctors. The country saw a spike in the popularity of drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, vicodin, dilaudid, percocet and more during the early 2000’s when the prescription drug crisis was taking off. However, oxycodone and hydrocodone were the most popular forms, due to their potency. However, crackdowns on pain pill prescribing and the influx of foreign drugs led heroin and fentanyl to enter the market, and they are among the most popular drugs for abuse in the country now. However, pain pills are still being abused and ripping families apart due to their violently addictive nature. In 2015, there were 20,101 deaths due to prescription painkillers and 12,990 deaths due to heroin use. The numbers only continue to grow.

So what are the origins of these dangerous drugs? Well, opiates have actually been around forever. They were first used by Sumerians in the year 3400 B.C. They cultivated the opium poppy plant, which has the more scientific name of papaver somniferum. They referred to this plant as the “joy plant.” They cultivated it primarily to mitigate pain, but also to be able to sleep and for stomach/bowel relief. It was these uses that gave it its medical connotation and ever since, doctors have been extracting it and harnessing its medicinal properties. This is where the difference between opiates and opioids come in. Opiates are naturally derived from the poppy plant, whereas opioids are man-made, manipulated derivations. There is not much difference in these words, or the effectiveness of the types of drugs.

There is hype surrounding the opioid crisis now, but people have been addicted to opioids/opiates for years. As long as it’s been in existence, people have used it to get high, in medicinal and abusive manners. However, since the mass production of opioid pharmaceuticals, demand has been higher than ever, which is in layman’s terms, what has brought us to the opioid crisis of today.

So what is it about opiates that has had people chasing after them for thousands of years? Well, there are a lot of factors that makes opiates so addictive. When they are taken, they enter the brain through the user’s bloodstream. It is during this process that a rush of fake endorphins and dopamine (neurotransmitters that induce sensations of pleasure and contentment) enters the body. This results in the user feeling very euphoric and high- a high that could never be reached naturally. The level of dopamine and endorphins that your body gets used to as an opiate addict is egregiously higher than any kind of naturally occurring neurotransmitter experience. This leads the user to begin to be unable to create dopamine and endorphins themselves and creates a reliance upon the drug for those feelings. This is what is called a craving and is the base level and experience of addiction. Opiate abuse stems from repeated cravings and acting upon them by getting high on fentanyl, heroin, prescription painkillers, or some other opiate. This highly addictive nature of the drug  is one of the reasons that makes the opiate crisis so concerning.

It is easy to develop an opiate addiction, even after taking opiates for a short period of time. The first step is tolerance, meaning that the user has to take increasing amounts of opiates to feel the same high. Next, physical dependence manifests, as the user starts to withdraw from the drug soon after coming down from a high. The last stage is psychological dependence, which manifests as cravings. This is the nadir of opiate addiction.

Hopefully this article has given you a deeper understanding of not only the opioid crisis, but of what those on the frontlines of the battle- the opiate addicts- are experiencing. Opiates are undeniably addictive and dangerous, which you know firsthand if you or a loved one is experiencing addiction to them. Many people let the stigma or other barriers deter them from seeking the treatment they need. Don’t let that happen. Recreate Life provides a variety of services including: individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, medical and psychiatric services, case management services, alumni support and more. Opiate addiction is deplorable- but recovery is possible, so contact the trusted care professionals at Recreate Life today.