The Struggles of Early Sobriety

The Struggles of Early Sobriety

When you first start the long journey to sobriety, you’ll likely face struggles that will make you want to relapse. Staying strong, resilient, and keeping loved ones around for support are the keys to staying sober.

Navigating the first weeks of recovery once you have completed a treatment program can be challenging. Recovery from a life of addiction to drugs and alcohol is not just about getting clean and sober. If it were that easy, then most addicts would have stopped their addictions the first day they felt trouble or physical withdrawal symptoms. So how do people get through the first day, week, and months in early recovery? The most important need that all recovering addicts and alcoholics require is support.

The Struggles of Early Sobriety

Support is your Best Path to Sobriety

All successful recovering addicts and alcoholics will explain that the way they stay clean and sober is by attending support groups, having friends who are also in recovery and continuing their aftercare with a professional. Once you have finished your treatment program, you will likely feel a little lonely without the people that you grew to know in treatment. It is that very reason that many people relapse after they leave treatment. In treatment, they had friends, a supportive counselor, and felt happy, clean, and sober. Once they return to their home, they do not have the same support or immediate friends in recovery. The “people, places, and things” from your old life begin lurking again and knocking at your door.

Getting yourself to a meeting as soon as possible and introducing yourself as a new person in recovery is the fastest way to make friends who will support you. All twelve-step meeting attendees know that recovering addicts and alcoholics depend on relationships that are fun, relatable, and supportive. By introducing yourself to the group, everyone there will know that you are there to stay clean and sober and that you are someone who needs them, as much as they need you.

Another type of support that is necessary during the first weeks of recovery is the support of a counselor or therapist. Your drug treatment program should complete a referral for continued care with a new counselor who specializes in addiction recovery before you leave.  Intensive outpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs are a step-down level of care that strengthens your early sobriety.

This part of the personal recovery journey is critical. Most, if not all, addicts and alcoholics have deep emotional concerns that must be addressed with a counselor or therapist. A stay at a treatment program may uncover a history of abuse, neglect, or trauma that needs further discussion. Additional counseling for these types of issues will guarantee that nothing gets left out of your recovery, helping you feel satisfied in your sobriety.

Continue with your Intensive Outpatient Program

Another way to navigate through early recovery is to depend on continuing care at an IOP program. IOP stands for an intensive outpatient program. IOP’s have strong success rates with helping addicts and alcoholics remain clean and sober for the long term. Their success lies in the fact that these programs allow people to work and attend school throughout the week and then go to IOP during their time off.  IOP programs are extremely beneficial because they offer group counseling, individual counseling, relapse prevention, and teach new ways to enjoy recovery.

An obvious benefit of attending an IOP program is that the environment is supportive, and clients make great friends to attend meetings with, go to movies, enjoy sports, and exercise, and develop a network of support. IOP programs allow individuals in early recovery to feel accepted if they feel stressed out or depressed during their recovery. These emotions are normal, and an IOP provides a setting to let them out. The flexibility of IOP programs is also a plus. IOPs typically offer groups throughout the day and week, so this allows the client to decide what works best for their new routine in recovery.

Some addicts and alcoholics also support their recovery by living at a sober living home while they attend IOP. Sober living homes are very beneficial for newly recovering addicts. These environments are lively, and lifelong friendships are created amongst residents. It is recommended that the type of sober living environment you live at be the same sex. One struggle of early sobriety is romantic relationships.

Romance is a great thing if you are prepared for it. Most addicts and alcoholics need time to discover who they are clean and sober. It is not recommended that anyone with under a year in recovery get involved in a romantic relationship. The feelings and pressures are often too much, and this is a great cause of relapse. Giving yourself time to adapt to life and to realize that you can manage life without drugs and alcohol is a giant accomplishment. Why create a potentially stormy and emotionally charged romance during a time of personal healing – doesn’t seem to make sense although many people attempt it and unfortunately fail and relapse.

The way a newly recovering addict or alcoholic feels in general in the first few months can be scary. Learning how to go to the grocery store and not go down the beer and vodka isle or admire the pharmacy are real challenges that all addicts and alcoholics have faced in their recovery. It may also be difficult to face certain family members or friends. And it will be hard to see old places and locations where you used to get high or drink.

You’ll Crave What You Shouldn’t Have

Cravings for alcohol and drugs are normal, and the best way to deal with them is to talk to someone about them. Tell on yourself! By holding in your thoughts or fantasies about using or drinking, you are repeating a pattern of falsely representing yourself to the world. It is hard to feel secure in admitting that you have cravings to people who are not in recovery. Recovering addicts and alcoholics will regularly talk about how ‘they were just sitting there one day and all of a sudden they thought about a drug or getting drunk.’ This is normal, and it is healthy to tell people who understand about it.

The best thing about recovery is that with the help of a supportive community of other recovering addicts and alcoholics, people in new recovery have others to talk about their feelings and experience. Another goal that is recommended is that people in early sobriety get a sponsor and work the 12 steps or another program with them. A sponsor is a person who will understand how crazy, angry, and upset you are. A sponsor is also someone who can guide you on how to handle nearly anything.

The goal of recovery is to be able to help others who need it eventually. By giving yourself enough support through friends, meetings, counseling, and sponsorship, you can navigate the ups and downs of your first few days weeks and months of recovery much easier. In the beginning, remember to take it easy and allow yourself to be human and always to approach life one day at a time.

Individual Therapy in Addiction Treatment

individual therapy in addiction treatment

The best type of addiction treatment is individual therapy, one on one with a professional who is there to help you in getting sober.

The goals of addiction and alcoholism recovery extend beyond remaining clean and sober. A person is said to have established strong recovery from their addiction when they feel fulfilled with life and have peace of mind. To achieve this serenity, one critical component to every drug and alcohol treatment program is individual therapy. Individual therapy allows a person to build trust with a therapist to work on deep issues that are personal and challenging. Without individual therapy sessions in place, an addict or alcoholic may not address issues that could cause them to relapse.

individual therapy in addiction treatment

Why Choose Us?

At Recreate Life Counseling, our clients regularly work with our individual therapists. During individual therapy sessions, clients are encouraged to be open and honest about themselves. Unlike group therapy sessions, these meetings are held one on one between the therapist and client for approximately one hour at a time. Individual therapy allows clients to open up about histories of sexual abuse, violence, suicidal thoughts, challenging relationships, and family problems as well as concerns about relapse.

The benefits of individual therapy to build a close relationship with a therapist, so that the client learns to connect with a safe person with whom they can trust and follow their advice. Our therapists form meaningful relationships with clients that promote wellbeing, build self-esteem, and restore emotional stability. Each client is assigned a therapist best suited to meet their individual needs. We consider gender, age, addiction history, family dynamics, and other elements that contribute to a person’s psychology.

What is Quality Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a quality addiction treatment program must incorporate numerous types of therapy and treatment that focuses on the individual needs of the person to be an effective treatment program. Per NIDA:

“Treatment varies depending on the type of drug and the characteristics of the patients. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society… Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse.  To be effective, treatment must address the individual’s drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. It is also important that treatment be appropriate to the individual’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture” (NIDA).

Recreate Life Counseling has years of successful history in helping addicts and alcoholics gain freedom from their addictions once and for all. Our treatment programs incorporate individual counseling as a key element of each client’s program. Individual counseling is often where most recovering addicts or alcoholics growth occurs. Addicts and alcoholics require individualized attention that focuses on their addiction history, family relationships, trauma, beliefs, and goals.

Individual therapy also helps addicts and alcoholics rediscover who they are. Addiction and alcoholism are lifestyles that stop regular accomplishments in life. Careers and education are always put to the side when a person is in their disease. Personalized therapy helps clients build their self-esteem and motivation to attain a solid position within society. Individual therapy helps clients recognize what type of job or career they want to pursue as well as furthering their education. Therapy helps clients see their purpose and potential in life clean and sober.

Another positive outcome of individual therapy is that clients gain the ability to heal, form, and recognize healthy relationships, as well as unhealthy ones. Addiction and alcoholism tear apart friendships and families and recovering addicts and alcoholics carry a tremendous amount of shame and guilt that needs to be processed in a safe environment free of judgment. One common goal of individual therapy is to help clients mend relationships and to heal their pain. Rejections, isolation, and sadness are regular themes many addicts and alcoholics share about their close relationships, and individual therapy helps them work through these painful emotions.

Individual therapy also helps newly recovering addicts and alcoholics learn to communicate about their feelings. Most addicts and alcoholics used substances to cover up their feelings and once they get clean and sober, those feelings remain and need to be expressed and understood in a therapeutic environment. The goal of therapy is to support the client in healing their pain and building their self-esteem, which helps them accept themselves as a person in recovery.

People in recovery are not instantly better or perfect. Individual counseling helps the person frame themselves as imperfect but improving; learning to accept their shortcomings and how to work on them is an ongoing process that takes time and requires guidance from an individual therapist. Our therapists work to help every client rediscover who they are clean and sober. This discovery is multilayered and requires someone to listen and support what a person finds and learns about themselves.

 

Facing Denial in Addiction

Facing Denial in Addiction

Most addicts and alcoholics don’t want to believe that they are addicted until they’ve had enough of the pain and suffering. They are in denial and regardless of what you say or do, they will rationalize in their head that everything is alright.

If you have a loved one suffering from addiction, you’ve probably tried convincing them to seek help to no avail. Denial is, unfortunately, the reality of most addicts lives as they may find it difficult to admit there is a problem until they’ve had enough. This can be a strong barrier that holds people back from entering addiction treatment, sometimes until its too late.

Most addicts and alcoholics will rationalize their addiction and delay treatment as long as denial persists. Denial is a powerful coping mechanism that addicts often underestimate until they are neck deep into their addiction.

Facing Denial in Addiction

Denial in Addiction Breeds Illusion
An addict’s reality is distorted by substance abuse and they often blame others for their problems or downplay people’s genuine concern. Irrespective of the form of addiction someone might be facing, denial delays recovery.

The longer you ignore the problem (addiction), the more dangerous it gets as it grows and grows in severity. Generally, people struggling with addiction exhibit certain addictive behaviors in denial. These include:

Self-deception: As a way of coping with their situation, substance abusers often find a way to convince themselves that their addiction is not as severe as people think. This is a powerful denial mechanism as this tends to worsen the situation.

Playing the blame game: People get into substance abuse for various reasons which are mostly unjustifiable. For some, it is as a result of a heartbreak which they experienced while for others, they resorted to drug and alcohol to soothe a trauma which someone had put them through. People suffering from addiction often pass the blame to past situations or people in their lives. By blaming others, they excuse themselves for their addiction problems as a way of avoiding reality.

Rationalizing: Drug and alcohol abuse is an unjustifiable act. When you are quick to create a rational explanation for your addiction, you are living in denial.

Minimizing the problem:  Acting as if you are exaggerating the problem is another common behavior people suffering from addiction exhibit whenever you attempt to speak with them about it. If your loved one is always comparing himself with others who are taking more addictive substances than he does, he is only trying to cope with the problem. Regardless if it’s a small drinking problem or shooting heroin daily, addiction is what it is – a harmful habit.

Avoiding people who will disapprove of substance abuse: Most addicts tend to keep away from people, especially from those they feel are “pestering” them to seek help. This behavior only permits the individual to continue in their addiction without any checks or restrictions.

 Getting Your Loved One to Face Denial in Addiction

As a primary mechanism by which addicts cope with drug addiction or alcoholism, it is hard to separate denial from addiction. Therefore, denial has to be understood in order to help the victim.

Misconceptions about chemical dependence not being a disease have contributed to harmful stereotypes about drug and alcohol addiction. This gives credence to the fact that a state of addiction denial can extend to the families and friends of people suffering from it. This is the reason why your loved one might require intervention in order to accept help. While intervention, in this case, may include negative results such as loss of employment or other real-life consequences, it’s necessary to save an addict’s life.

Addicts often underestimate their ability to get sober and stay sober. Drug treatment and substance abuse therapy is a viable means of uncovering these abilities, getting the individual to accept reality and working their way through full recovery. At Recreate Life Counseling, we employ evidence-based denial management practices to help addicts see the truth about their situation. Our addiction treatment professionals also help individuals with chemical dependence problems to develop the confidence they need to begin treatment.

Available treatment options include intensive outpatient treatment, day/night treatment with community housing, cognitive behavioral therapies, individual therapy, and group therapy among others. You do not have to hit rock-bottom before seeking help. Our empathetic team is also trained to help you manage any symptom of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome which may come up in the course of your treatment.

We are available around-the-clock to help you plan and begin your journey to a sober life. If you wish to know more about how our addiction treatment programs work, then please contact us for a confidential assessment.

Going Out and Not Drinking

Going Out and Not Drinking

One important thing in recovery is to be able to go out without actually needing to drink any alcohol.

Going out and having fun and being a part of a sober lifestyle is the gift of recovery that we all strive to achieve. When we were in early recovery, the idea of going anywhere without alcohol seemed extremely far away. For us, drinking was what we did to have fun. We used alcohol to cope, and therefore, it allowed us to be able to have fun. Now that we are in recovery, we know that going out and having fun cannot be dependent upon whether or not we drink.

Going Out and Not Drinking

So how do we do that?

First and foremost, consider where you are going and whether or not it is healthy for you to go. The best way to guarantee a fun time with friends and family is first to ensure that you will stay sober. The moment we think that we can handle drinking is the moment we have already relapsed, and we know that relapse is not fun. The types of places we go out to have fun will make a difference in how comfortable we are. In other words, going to a bar or a keg party is probably not the best idea. We can go to parties and events where drinking is not the main focus.

Not Drinking at the Usual Events

Weddings, graduation parties, holidays, birthday parties, concerts, and festivals are all events that do not solely focus on drinking. Alcohol will likely be at many of these places, and the way we prepare to go to them is key. The best way to ensure that you will be comfortable is to have support. In recovery, we need our friends. We attain and maintain our sobriety by connecting with other recovering alcoholics. When you are going out to a place that serves alcohol or a party where alcohol will also be offered, the best way to get through it with ease and have fun is to bring along a friend in recovery.

Our friends know exactly how we feel, and if you find yourself being triggered or uncomfortable, it is most likely that your friend who is also in recovery will be thinking or feeling the same way. Having a sober friend with you when you go out is not just comforting but wise. It is much easier to turn down a drink in a social setting if you are not the only one doing so. There is power in numbers, so bring a sober friend along. Additionally, if one or both of you are uncomfortable, then you can talk about it or leave and not feel weird.

Planning your Own Event

Another way to guarantee that you will stay sober and have fun is to plan your own party or get together. Hosting a party or get together may seem obvious, but it leaves you in charge of what is served. Sober parties are the best parties because no-one gets a hangover, nobody gets a DUI, and nobody does things drunk they will regret the next day. If you want to put on a sober party or get together here are some great things to do:

Play Games. One the benefits of being in recovery are we get to experience pure laughter and joy with others, and silly games are one way to have a blast sober. Also, eat really good food. Since it is your party, you can have all of your favorite foods and snacks. Next, serve interesting drinks. Don’t just settle for cans of soda. Get out the espresso maker, the blender, buy whip cream, fruit, and other toppings that can make your average drink delicious.

Another suggestion for what to do at your party is to give the party a theme. Potlucks, Netflix binging, contests for the best cookie, or the best costume are all great examples of a theme. Another great idea is to invite people from meetings. Honestly, if most of the people at your party are not from your meetings, then you need to go to and get more involved with meetings.

Speaking of meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous as an organization that puts on sober events every month to ensure that its members have fun. Depending on where you live, your local AA group leader will know about the next AA bash, potluck, dance, or event. For persons who have attained long term recovery from alcoholism, the events that AA organizes are a lifeline. We encourage you to get involved with what your local AA headquarters is doing every month for fun.

Bring a Non-Alcoholic Drink

Finally, another way to have fun and not worry about what you will drink if you go out somewhere where alcohol is offered is to bring your own non-alcoholic drink. This may seem extreme, especially considering that at most parties or events non-alcoholic beverages will be available, but the idea of bringing your own beverage acts as positive reinforcement. Furthermore, bringing your own non-alcoholic drink lets others around you know you are serious.

For us recovering alcoholics, we need to be able to go out and have fun. Each person is different, and for some going to any activity where alcohol is offered may be too much, and the best option is not to go or only go for a short period if alcohol is served. Let the host or person who invited you to know that you will only be able to stay for a half hour or so and leave before it gets to be a trigger. Be sure also to arrange a phone call to your sponsor before and after attending any event that you are insecure about.

Having sober friends is key to a successful recovery. It is our friends in recovery who we relate to and who have our back when things get tough. It is our friends who make us laugh and enjoy life. It is also our friends that can help us deal with triggers when we go out to a place that serves alcohol.

Effectiveness of Drug Rehab in Treating Addiction

Treating addiction can be a very daunting task, most people who do not complete a drug rehab program, usually don’t stay sober for long.

About 29.5 million people worldwide suffer from substance use disorders, with opioid misuse being the most dangerous, according to a 2017 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). Addiction is more prevalent than most people think and can afflict anyone at any time. A recent census places the number of Americans with a substance use disorder to be at least 24 million.

Addiction cuts across every stratum of society, affecting men and women, young and old, educated and uneducated. No one seems to be immune from the recent drug scourge engulfing the U.S and the global society. Combined with the difficulty it brings, addiction also brings along stigmatization – both of the addicts and their family members. However, addiction is a complex disorder, often misunderstood.

It is important to have a firm understanding of this subject in order to get addicts and alcoholics the help they need to recover.

effectiveness of drug rehab

The science behind addiction                             

In previous decades, addiction was regarded as a moral weakness on the part of the addict or alcoholic. Hence, the emphasis was on punishing the addict rather than getting them the care needed to restore them to a healthy state of mind and body.

Substance Use Disorder is a complex disease, says NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Breaking free from drug addiction takes more than strong will power or good intentions. Drugs change the brain’s chemistry, making it very challenging for those intending to quit to do so. Numerous scientific evidence point to the fact that addiction is a brain disease.

For most people, starting out with drugs is a conscious voluntary action. With repeated use, however, certain chemical reactions are triggered in the brain – impairing the abuser’s self-control and willpower to cope with their urges to engage in drug abuse. This change in the brain’s functioning can be long-lasting, causing abusers to return to drug use even after many years of recovery.

As pointed out by NIDA, most drugs impact the brain’s reward system, eliciting a euphoric feeling along with releasing the neurochemical dopamine. Under normal functioning, the brain’s reward system motivates an individual to repeat actions needed for survival, such as eating and enjoying social activities.

Drug misuse, on the other hand, causes the addict to associate these pleasurable feelings with drug use, hence destructive behaviors are being reinforced unconsciously. Over a period of continuous use, the brain develops a tolerance to addictive substances and will require more of these substances to achieve the same level of high.

A combination of factors influences an individual’s risk of addiction. No two individuals respond to drugs and alcohol in the same way. An individual with more risk factors is more predisposed to addiction than one with fewer factors. Scientific evidence shows that the following factors play a role in determining whether an individual will become addicted or not:

  • Biology
  • Environment
  • Stage of the individual’s development

With more light being shed on how addiction affects the brain, researchers now have a better grip on the subject and have fortunately been able to come up with various treatment approaches designed to assist addicts to recover from substance abuse and become productive once again.

Is It Possible To Treat Addiction Successfully?

Yes. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) believe that substance use disorder is a treatable, chronic disorder of the brain that can be healed with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. An intervention approach involving behavioral therapy and medication is known as medication-assisted treatment.

Drug rehab is not a cure for addiction. It is a treatment approach, aimed at helping the addict achieve the following:

  • Stop his compulsive, destructive behavior
  • Permanently abstain from drugs
  • Improve their relationships
  • Improve their mental wellbeing
  • Become a productive member of society once again

It is to be noted that addiction is different for everyone. No single approach works for two different individuals. Drug rehab programs must be tailored to meet the addict’s drug misuse pattern, medical, social and environmental circumstances.

The good news is that addiction is both treatable and preventable. A number of studies have indicated that addiction can be successfully managed and that addicts, who are committed to a treatment program, can achieve long-term recovery.

For any drug rehab program to be successful in treating drug addiction, it has to be based on the following principles:

  • Recognize addiction as a complex but treatable disorder affecting an individual’s brain function and behavior
  • No one treatment approach is effective for everyone
  • The key to recovery is quick and easy access to treatment
  • Effective treatment should pay attention to a patient’s other needs and not just their drug use
  • For rehab to be effective, it doesn’t necessarily have to stem from a voluntary action on the part of the patient
  • Medically-managed detoxification is not a treatment in itself, but only a first stage of treatment
  • Remaining in treating long enough is a crucial aspect of recovery
  • Treatment programs must be reviewed periodically and conformed to meet an addicts needs

Are Drug Rehabs Effective In Treating Addiction?

According to a NIDA study involving a community of addicts in recovery, the majority of individuals being monitored over a prolonged period of stay in addiction treatment were able to:

  • Reduce drug use (by 40 to 60%)
  • Reduce criminal activities (by up to 50%)
  • Return back to their employment (by up to 40%)
  • Resume normal social and psychological functioning

Individuals who received methadone treatment were shown to have improved participation in behavioral therapy and also exhibited a reduced tendency to engage in criminal behavior and drug use. Like all other chronic health disorders, addiction can be successfully managed through appropriate drug rehab care.

The success rate for any individual will depend to a large extent to the level of addiction, the duration of addiction and the appropriateness of the particular treatment program.

Similar to other chronic disorders, addicts can experience a relapse. Does experiencing relapse mean a treatment program failed? Not necessarily. A relapse on the part of a patient could be an indication that the program needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted to meet the current circumstance of the addict.

Would Rehab Work for Me?

There is a general consensus among researchers that drug rehab produces varying success rates with substance use disorder. As already stated, your successful recovery from drug addiction will depend on a number of factors such as the substance of abuse, the length of addiction and your individual commitment to your drug rehab program.

Each year, thousands of families make the conscious decision to seek rehab care for a loved one with an addiction. There is overwhelming evidence that these individuals gradually regain sobriety and return back to the life they previously enjoyed.

Each year, Recreate Life Counseling helps pull hundreds of hundreds of individuals and families out of the despair of drug addiction. Lasting recovery is within reach.

If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with addiction to alcohol, benzos or opiates, know that lasting help is available. We have a number of treatment programs customized to meet your needs and lifestyle. You can beat addiction permanently and recreate the future you desire. Contact us right now to find out which treatment option is available to you. Compassionate care is only a phone call away.

10 Most Powerful Addiction Recovery Quotes

Inspirational Addiction Quotes

Are you going through recovery? Do you feel like giving up? Read some inspirational quotes to help you get back on track and stop having doubts about your future.

Are you currently undergoing rehabilitation for alcohol or drug abuse? Are you considering quitting recovery due to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms? Have you recently experienced a relapse and felt like a failure? If any of the above applies to you, know that you are not alone. Millions of others have gone into recovery, rebuilt their lives and found happiness thereafter.

Drug addiction is a complex mental health condition. For one thing, it tears relationships apart and brings untold hardships to addicts and their families. Knowing you need professional help is one thing. Remaining committed to your recovery is quite a different matter.

Without the right support system, an addict may begin to imagine that being in recovery is much more difficult than remaining in the clutch of addiction. The good news is that many addicts have been inspired to remain in recovery by reminding themselves of the reason they got started in the first place.

The following motivational quotes have helped millions to stay committed to their recovery. Hopefully, they will reinforce your commitment as well, helping you find comfort not in drugs but in living a sober drug-free life once again.

Inspirational Addiction Quotes

 

Get Inspired With Addiction Recovery Quotes

“Don’t let the past steal your present.” – Terri Guillemets

Do not drown yourself in your past mistakes. The past is gone. Once you’ve realized how badly your past actions affected your friends and family, seek forgiveness and make amends. You do not need to keep punishing yourself for past wrongs. Forgiving yourself in addiction is very crucial to your recovery process. Leave the past behind and move on with your life.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Drug addiction doesn’t make you a lost cause. Whatever deeds you’ve done in the past doesn’t define or determine who you are. You can change your life and your future through deliberate positive actions. You were not destined to be ruined by drugs or alcohol. It is up to you to rewrite your story.

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley

Regardless of how many times you may fail on your journey to recovery, the battle is not over yet. It is important to determine the reasons you experienced relapses and strategize on how to prevent them from reoccurring.

“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A single victory with recovery can fortify you to persist. It starts with a resolute determination not to give in to temptation no matter how severe it may be. Every time you resist the urge to engage in drugs, you reinforce your determination to stay clean for a lifetime.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.” – Dr. Phil

Self-will is key to remaining sober. If you desire a life of sobriety, then work towards it. No one can make you change. It has to come from within. You really desire to be happy and free again, work towards it.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Nothing is as important as self-confidence. Everything else pales into insignificance without self-confidence. Regardless of how far gone, you’ve been on the path of addiction, believing in your ability to quit gives you the motivation to seek help and remain in recovery.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one who achieved anything great ever allowed fear of failure to hold them back. No doubt, you may experience relapses on your journey to recovery. Whenever that happens, give yourself a pat on the back and move on. Do not keep beating yourself up over past mistakes. That isn’t the end of the road. Your journey still lies ahead.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Mistakes are a great learning point. Being afraid you might experience a relapse or quit recovery altogether can cripple you. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. The worse thing that can happen is holding back from trying again due to past failures. Remember, fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

“Be stronger than your strongest excuse.” – Unknown

Don’t keep putting off seeking help. You have to seek professional help now, now tomorrow or the following day. Living in denial or making up excuses just to delay rehabilitation will only make you sink deeper into the pits of despair. You need to determine what direction you want your life to take and work towards it.

 “When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say.” – Unknown

Don’t let your past haunt you. You were not born to be enslaved to drugs. When in recovery, remember how miserable your life as an addict was, and be resolute not to go back on that lost path ever again. True happiness doesn’t come from doing drugs. Now that you have found a new life, do all you can to avoid circumstances that could trigger past cravings, leading you to experience a relapse.

Your journey to sobriety is not going to be an easy ride in the park. You may face overwhelming challenges most of the time. With determination, every obstacle along your path to lifelong happiness can be overcome.

Start Healing From Substance Abuse

If you are already in recovery and receiving professional help, be determined to complete your program. If you are already transitioning back to society, be courageous enough to say no to drugs, regardless of how intense the temptation may be.

The above addiction recovery quotes have inspired countless individuals to go on, despite being in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems. It is our hope that they will also give you the courage to face your addiction headlong and seek professional help.

Nothing can be compared to the joy you will experience once you finally break free from addiction and return to the life you once enjoyed.

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.

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

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.