Category Archives: Recovery Support

fulfilling life after addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Addiction is estimated to affect as many as 20 million people in the U.S. and nearly 7 percent of people across the industrialized world. Although the prevalence of this very serious chronic ailment remains high, a great deal of progress has been made over the last few decades in its treatment. In fact, we know far more about addiction now and how to effectively treat it than at any time in the past.

However, once many individuals exit rehab, they begin to realize the hard work is not behind them. The real challenge lies in staying the course and preventing addiction from reconquering one’s life. For many who have struggled with alcohol or other substance use disorders, the key in remaining free of addiction’s iron grasp lies in constructing a positive life after addiction.

The Real Key to Long-Term Success

Despite the fact that evidence-based treatment is now able to produce short-term recovery success rates of 90 percent or higher, the most important factor in long-term successful recovery remains the ability to reconstruct one’s life in ways that do not rely on the use of substances as a central girder. As one man who beat his addictions put it, “the decision to get off drugs was easy, but the decision to stay off drugs was always elusive.”

12-step programs have long required that their participants subscribe to a higher power as a means to displace substance abuse as life’s foundational pillar. But many who once struggled with addiction have successfully gotten their lives together without turning their free-will over to a deity. How do they do it?

Discover Your Deeper Passions

One of the most surefire ways to beat addiction over the long term is by realizing a simple truth: There are many things that are far more important and rewarding than using drugs or alcohol. In fact, aside from using substances in controlled moderation, abusing drugs and alcohol ends up consuming an individual to the point where they no longer care about anything else besides their next fix.

The truth is that drug abuse produces nothing of lasting value. Someone who replaces their drug habit with a hobby or other activity about which they are passionate may soon find that they are able to enjoy other endeavors they never would have had the time for beforehand. If someone who overuses alcohol spends 40 hours per week in an unproductive fog, quitting drinking and spending that time on something like learning the piano or becoming a computer programmer could easily turn them into an expert in a matter of years. And once that ball gets rolling, it tends to be self-reinforcing.

The simple fact is that people who are truly passionate about something — anything — simply don’t have time to abuse drugs or alcohol.

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Rekindle Relationships with Friends & Family

One of the oft-heard refrains from people who have managed to stay on the course to recovery is that they feel almost as if time has stopped: Their sober version is a close facsimile of the person that they were prior to starting heavy drug or alcohol abuse. This is because relationships are the benchmarks of our lives, helping to fill out the map of where we have been and where we may be heading. And so much of what makes up normal relationships with people, including a clear recollection of shared experiences, is sacrificed when drugs and alcohol are the primary focus of one’s life.

Forging new relationships or rekindling old ones with friends and family, especially those who do not abuse drugs and alcohol, is another one of the most effective ways to prevent a relapse. The simple truth is that people who have not centered their lives around drugs or alcohol tend to be a hugely positive influence on someone who is trying to live a fulfilling life after addiction. And those who one may have shut out or turned away as a result of their substance abuse may now be far more open to once again becoming a part of the life of someone who has demonstrated a genuine will to change and to stay sober.

 A Shift in Perspective

Contrarily, those who remain sober for extended periods are often shocked at how intolerable and uninviting the lifestyles of fellow substance abusers are when seen from the other side. Some people who have formerly suffered from addiction find continuing motivation in the realization of all the trouble that they left behind when they made the decision to give up their addictions. Many former addicts point to the deaths of close substance-abusing friends and acquaintances as one of the most sobering wakeup calls that they have received.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

One of the most well-attested findings in the addiction recovery literature is the fact that those with strong social support networks are able to successfully recover at rates that far exceed those who are alone in their efforts or who have only fellow addicts to turn to for social support. Friends, family and addiction support groups are all fine ways of maintaining that social support bulwark against relapse that is so critical in the first years of recovery.

Desert Cove Recovery is focused on helping people to achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling life after addiction. With our modern, evidence-based approach, we will work with those who choose sobriety to find approaches that are suitable to their individual needs.

Unlike many other programs, we focus strongly on helping our clients build and maintain adequate and lasting social support while discovering their unique purpose in life. We aim to help them to construct a meaningful existence that is driven by healthy passions and that is no longer an empty cell in which their fleeting impulses keep them confined.

For more information on our revolutionary and highly effective long-term approach to addiction recovery, call Desert Cove Recovery today.

dating while in recovery

Dating While in Recovery

Dating While in Recovery

When you’re in a recovery program for addiction, you should be focusing on yourself and ways you can live a sober life. A lot of time and energy goes into the recovery process which is why dating while in recovery is not always recommended.

How Dating May Hinder Recovery

While some may look at dating as no big deal, it can bring its own set of challenges and obstacles that may hinder recovery. This is not to say that a partner may not offer much-needed support, but if things start heading south, so could your recovery.

Since your focus is on getting and staying sober, much of your time may be dedicated to meetings and therapy sessions. This lack of time to spend with a significant other could compromise a relationship. Not everyone will understand why you can’t make it to dinner or why you may need to cancel at the last minute because you desperately need to go to a meeting.

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If you’re a recovering alcoholic and are having struggles with remaining sober, your date should respectfully abstain from drinking while you’re out together. If he or she doesn’t, this could pose an unwanted temptation that may be difficult to resist. This may be a red flag to end this relationship. You will also want to avoid people from your past who were linked to your addiction. This can be a major roadblock to your recovery.

Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, it may lead you to relapse because you’re heartbroken. Heartbreak can lead to many unhealthy behaviors with drinking and drug use being at the top of the list for those in recovery.

There are many people who will substitute their substance addiction for an addiction to a relationship. This can also be dangerous and hinder a person’s recovery. An addictive relationship while dating is not healthy for anyone, especially someone who is in recovery.

How to Handle Dating While in Recovery

Although it can be tricky, there are many people who do date successfully while in recovery. If the relationship is new and began while you’re in recovery, there are some things you can do to make it healthier for you.

Be Honest

Be honest about your addiction and your past and current struggles. Honesty is a big component of any relationship. Be upfront about your addiction and recovery. Some people can’t handle this, so it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Don’t compromise your recovery time for date time. Anyone you’re dating should understand the importance of therapy and other activities you need to make your recovery last. They shouldn’t encourage you to skip those activities for a date. They should understand that your sobriety comes first. It’s taken you a long time to get to where you are and the journey isn’t over yet.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into anything. You shouldn’t put a relationship in fast forward mode while in recovery. Take it slow. You have a lot on your plate and don’t need a high-stress, high-maintenance relationship to cloud your goals. Anyone worth being with will be understanding and won’t force you to take your relationship any faster than you feel comfortable. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, much like your recovery.

It’s OK To Be “High Maintenance”

Choose date locations that support your recovery. While some people may look at that as being high maintenance, it’s not high maintenance to choose a location that will support your recovery. While a quiet dinner may be a great choice for a date, a bar or nightclub is not. Either one of those may lead to the temptation to drink or do other activities that don’t support your recovery. Another good date choice may be a movie or physical activity like a hike or run. Choosing the right location can make all the difference in your recovery. If your partner can’t understand this, then perhaps it’s time to move on.

Be Prepared for ALL of the Emotions

Channel emotions into positive activities if heartbreak happens. No matter how hard you try to make a relationship work, there are many times when things fail and you end up getting your heart broken. It’s important to channel any negative emotions and sadness that comes out of this into positive activities like exercising, volunteering, and maintaining a healthy diet. You may also want to try journaling to get all of your raw emotions down on paper. The important thing is to find an activity that does not involve revisiting your old patterns. You don’t want to risk your sobriety for a broken relationship.

Get Support

If you’re dating while in recovery or considering starting a relationship, the folks at Desert Cove Recovery can help to keep you on track. A variety of rehab and recovery programs are offered including 12-step programs, holistic treatment, and extended care programs.

We will help to find the right program for you and give you the support and encouragement you need in all aspects of your recovery, including dating while in recovery. Contact us today to get started on the path to a sober life.

 

ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

The use of drugs or alcohol often begins as a way to self-medicate the symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, seemingly harmless habits can turn into addictions that require treatment. How those affected address stress in addiction recovery plays an important role in the rehabilitation process.

Fortunately, professional treatment centers have strategies to help you overcome stress during the recovery process including:

  • Keep a stress journal
  • Self-examination of coping skills
  • Laughing
  • Fitness regimes
  • Get better sleep
  • Socializing with friends

Applying one or more of these methods can help decrease stress levels, improve life balance, and reduce the chance of relapse.

Keep a Stress Journal

Starting a stress journal and making daily entries can provide insight into the stressors that affect you. Over time, you can use the journal to identify the actions you take that led to the exposure of stressors. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to track any mistakes you made in dealing with them, giving you a blueprint of how to avoid them in the future.

Maintaining a stress journal should be simple. Spend just a couple minutes a day collecting a few key pieces of information include the following:

  • Cause of the stress
  • Your reaction to the situation
  • How you alleviated the stress
  • Emotional reactions to the stressor

Combined, these details will paint a picture you can reflect on, opening up opportunities to avoid stressors and enhancing your recovery.

Examine Your Coping Skills

In the past, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with stress in your life. However, if you have been through treatment, you now recognize this is an unhealthy response. Similarly, excessive sleeping, cigarette smoking, binge watching TV programs, and procrastinating are also poor ways of dealing with stress. Using your journal, identify when you turn to one of these coping mechanisms.

The ways in which you cope with stress in addiction is the second part of developing a healthy approach to managing stress. The first, identifying what and where your stressors exist, is balanced by examining and changing poor coping skills.

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ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Get Your 30 Minutes of Exercise

While a keeping a stress journal and examining your coping methods can reduce stress by themselves, one of the most powerful ways is through exercise. Doctors recommend getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. A moderate to high intensity workout can consist of any physical activity that engages and strengthens your different muscle groups.

In addition to the various physical health benefits that exercise provides, exercise reduces stress. As blood pumps faster and delivers more oxygen to the brain, the brain responds by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that interact with pleasure receptors in the brain. The result is the creation of a natural “high” and positive emotion.

The joy you experience may very likely encourage you to exercise more often. More importantly, more exercise will continue to lower the level of stress hormones in your body.

Socialize with Friends

Socializing with friends you trust can help you in two ways. First, it provides a safe outlet for your negative feelings. Discussing your problems with friends can reduce the stress you feel about different situations. This is true even if they are not able to offer advice on resolving a particular issue.

Secondly, socializing and enjoying the time you spend with your friends is a positive escape from stress. Having fun with friends takes your mind off of stressful problems and gives your body a chance to reduce the stress you’re experiencing. Socializing is a return to normalcy, a feeling that is a positive reflection of your recovery progress.

Get a Better Quality of Sleep

While sleeping excessively to avoid problems is unhealthy, many people experience a sleep deficiency that can become equally problematic. If you are not getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, you may be causing a boost in stress levels.

To counteract this imbalance of stress, look for ways to get a better quality of sleep each night. You may need to limit caffeine consumption to the morning hours, shut down electronic devices an hour before bed, or engage in relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, or reading books can help you relax before bed. As an added bonus, these practices are also great for reducing stress by themselves.

Laughter is Still the Best Medicine

When people are stressed, the body creates the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, combined with a boosted release of adrenaline, causes a more intense feeling of stress. However, when we laugh, the brain releases endorphins that counteract the effects that stress hormones have on the body. You can initiate this biochemical reaction by watching a funny movie or TV show, searching for videos of stand-up comics, or going to a live comedy show. Any entertainment that will bring out your sense of humor can help you reduce stress in a natural and healthy way.

Successful Stress Management

The road to recovery can be long and hard. It is important to work with a treatment center who understands the complex rehabilitation journey. Sobriety is not only about breaking free from physical addiction through detoxification, but also about the mental fortitude required to remain drug and alcohol free.

Rehabilitation centers such as Desert Cove Recovery, have trained professionals specializing in treating the mental aspects of recovery. Much of the mental recovery process is indeed about managing stress and how to cope in the presence of stressors.

If you or a loved are may be struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or stress in addiction, know that there are specially trained professionals here to help. It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance abuse. The most important step is finding the help you or your loved one needs. 

 

 

 

 

breakthrough in measuring pain may help to reduce opioid crisis

Breakthrough in Measuring Pain May Help Reduce Opioid Crisis

Breakthrough in Measuring Pain May Help Reduce Opioid CrisisResearchers at Indiana University’s School of Medicine have developed a blood test that identifies biomarkers in the blood which can help to determine the severity of a patient’s pain. The results could potentially help doctors to accurately measure pain on a scale. Some people believe this breakthrough in measuring pain may help reduce opioid addiction and ultimately the opioid crisis.

Currently, doctors must rely on their patients’ accounts of the amount of pain they are experiencing and suggest a treatment plan accordingly. A more accurate way to measure pain could lead to better treatment options for patients.

Breakthrough in Measuring Pain: Researchers Developed Prototype for Blood Test for Pain

The study was led by Alexander Niculescu, MD, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor, and was published in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry. Hundreds of participants were tracked to find biomarkers in the blood to that can help doctors to objectively determine how much pain a patient is experiencing. This blood test, which is the first of its kind, would also help doctors to understand a patient’s long-term prognosis.

The blood test can objectively tell doctors whether a patient is experiencing pain and how severe the pain is. It’s important to have an objective way to measure this symptom since until now the feeling of pain has been subjective. Physicians have to rely on what patients tell them about their pain or whatever clinical observations they can make to determine their patients’ pain levels. This blood test promises to give doctors a tool to treat and prescribe medications more appropriately for people experiencing pain.

Biomarkers in Blood Help Doctors Assess Pain Levels

The researchers looked at biomarkers in the blood. These biomarkers work in a similar manner to the way glucose is a biomarker to diabetes; they let doctors assess the severity of their patient’s pain and then provide appropriate treatment. It’s hoped this prototype may alleviate the problems that have contributed to the current opioid crisis.

The goal of pain management is to match the patient with the medication that is going to provide the best level of relief with the fewest side effects. Dr. Niculescu points out that through precision health, by having “lots of options geared toward the needs of specific patients, you prevent larger problems, like the opioid epidemic, from occurring.”

The study experts on the team found biomarkers that match with non-addictive drugs for treating pain and can also help to predict when patients may experience pain going forward. They will assist doctors in determining if a patient is experiencing chronic pain which may result in future Emergency Room visits.

Further research will focus on establishing whether there are some markers for specific conditions, such as headaches or fibromyalgia, or for ones that work better for men or women.

Neural Pathway Linked to Addiction and Depression

New research conducted by a team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore has identified a neural pathway that is linked to addiction and depression. Their findings, which were recently published in the journal Nature, found an increased intensity of signals passing between the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens.

Pleasure and Reward System Governed by the Brain

The pleasure and reward system is one of the most important systems that the brain regulates in humans. It gives us the “nudge” we need to eat, drink and be sexually active. All these activities are needed to ensure the continued survival of our species.

The way the reward system operates is also an important factor in many types of addictive behavior.

Professor Scott Thompson, Ph.D., the leader of the research team, stated that the two parts of the brain (the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens) are known to be important in processing rewarding experiences for humans. He went on to say that the communication between the two is stronger in a case of addiction, although the underlying mechanisms were unknown to the team.

Team Tests Depression Hypothesis

The research team tested a new hypothesis: whether the same signals became weaker in people living with depression. Since one symptom of depression is anhedonia (a loss of pleasure in usually pleasurable activities), the researchers wanted to discover whether weakening signals in the neural pathways could be the underlying cause of depressed patients.

Using mice, the team focused on brain circuitry that plays an important role in goal-oriented behavior. They wanted to see if they could change the animals’ activity. They added light-sensitive proteins into the neurons forming the brain’s circuitry. Once this step was completed, the researchers hoped to control the signals by blocking or boosting the levels between the hippocampus and the nucleus.

The researchers created a false reward memory in the mice that received the light-sensitive protein by exposing them to light during a four second period. This meant the mice learned to associate pleasure with the location where they felt light exposure.

After a day, the researchers took the mice back to the place where they had received the false memory of associating pleasure with light and exposed them to light again. The goal was to shut down the signal between the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens this time, however.

They confirmed this pathway is critical to the way the brain is wired for reward association. Once the pathway is shut down, the mice stopped liking the location where they originally received the reward memory.

Next, the researchers looked at depression. They tried to boost brain activity in depressed mice but this part of the experiment wasn’t successful. The researchers had to administer antidepressants to the mice before they could imprint any artificial reward memories in the brain of depressed mice.

Dr. E. Albert Reece, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said these are exciting results that will bring us closer to understanding what’s happening in the brains of clinically depressed patients.

Survey on Opioids in the Workplace Shows Impact on Employers

The results of a survey conducted by The Hartford, a leading property and casualty insurance company, have found the current opioid epidemic is having a “tangible and growing impact” on employers across the US. The survey also found that a majority of Human Resources (HR) professionals and workers feel they don’t have the knowledge or resources necessary to deal with addiction.

Companies of All Sizes Participated in Opioid Survey

Two thousand workers and 500 HR leaders participated in the national survey, which collected responses from companies of all sizes.

• Two-thirds of HR professionals (67 percent) said their company is being impacted by opioid use today, or will be in the future.
• Just under two-thirds of the HR professionals (65 percent) revealed that opioid addiction is impacting their company financially.

Employees, HR Staff Feel Unprepared for Substance Use Problems

The Hartford survey is an opportunity for employers to provide addiction education materials to workers, as well as develop and implement consistent policies and procedures regarding drug misuse.

• Many employees (76 percent), as well as HR professionals (64 percent), don’t feel they are well trained when it comes to helping co-workers who have an opioid addiction issue.
• When asked if they could spot the signs of an opioid addiction, 24 percent of HR professionals and 18 percent of employees felt extremely or very confident they could.
• Nineteen percent of HR professionals and employees feel they are extremely or very knowledgeable about how to reduce the risk of opioid addiction.

Survey Methodology

The Opioids in the Workplace survey was conducted with an online research panel on August 9-15, 2018. A representative sample of 2,500 US adults from across the nation was divided into two groups. Two thousand full and part-time workers and 500 participants with an HR role answered questions.

The margin of error for the first group is +/-2.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. For the second group, the margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Mayor Proposes Alcohol Tax to Pay for Substance Abuse Treatment

The mayor of Anchorage, AK Ethan Berkowitz wants to ask voters’ permission to enact a new retail sales tax that would be dedicated to substance abuse treatment and homelessness services. The five percent tax is necessary, since state-level support is declining.

Local Tax to be Used to Pay for Public Health Programs

This local tax would be collected and used for a number of public health and safety programs, including the following:

• Clearing illegal camps
• A substance abuse treatment center
• An expanded Anchorage Safety Patrol

The tax money collected could also be used for:

• Cold-weather housing and shelter
• Storing personal property seized from illegal camps
• Anchorage’s “Mobile Intervention Team,” made up of social workers and a firefighter, who triage homeless campers
• Building a future “Alaska Center for Treatment,” or matching funds for private investment in a center

Mayor Berkowitz stated recently that unfortunately alcohol is “an incredibly profitable business in this town.” He went on to say that it’s a cost-causer that isn’t paying the cost.

Voter Majority Needed to Bring in New Alcohol Tax for Treatment

The tax proposal will be introduced to the Alaska Assembly shortly. It needs eight Assembly votes to be placed on the April 2019 ballot. If a majority of voters indicate they are in favor of the measure, the new tax will be brought into effect.

Three Assembly members have signed on to co-sponsor the tax proposal: Dick Traini, Eric Croft and Felix Rivera.

This isn’t the first time an alcohol tax has been proposed to the Assembly. Similar measures have been proposed on seven other occasions since 1984. Traini was involved in three of those efforts (1994, 2015 and 2017). Citizens have pushed for ballot initiatives in 2004 and 2007.

The city can choose to dedicate revenue to specific programs. According to Mayor Berkowitz, the alcohol tax would raise $11-$15 million. This amount would replace state revenue that has fallen in recent years.

The tax would amount to the following for different types of alcohol bought in Anchorage:

• $0.40 on a six-pack of beer
• $0.50 for a $10 mixed drink
• $1.75 for a $35 bottle of wine
• $2.50 for a $50 bottle of liquor

The Assembly could create exemptions for certain types of alcohol.

staying sober during the holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holidays can be a fun time, recovering from substance abuse can put a damper on the festivities. It’s common for people to throw parties and serve alcohol or to have family gatherings that cause a great deal of stress. Staying on your path of addiction recovery at this time of year can be a real challenge as you navigate these situations. To get through this season successfully without relapsing, here are eight tips for staying sober during the holidays.

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  1. Surround Yourself with People Who Support Your Recovery

Support is crucial to a person in recovery at any time of the year. However, the holidays can be extra challenging. Surrounding yourself with family and friends who love you and who are wiling to help you remain sober will make things easier. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your close family and friends to help keep you accountable to your recovery. Most importantly, do not isolate yourself. This may only cause depression or relapse.

  1. Choose Holiday Parties Wisely

There are always a number of holiday parties you can attend during the holiday season, most of which will offer substances that you have worked hard at removing from your life. Even though you have started recovery from addiction, you do not have to decline all of the offers that you are given. However, it is smart to choose the ones where alcohol will not be the center of attention.

Avoiding gatherings that provide the greatest temptations will make things easier for you. Realizing that a few hours of partying are not worth ruining your sobriety is vital. Make sure to arrive with a plan so that you can leave when the urge to drink becomes too strong. You should come with a trusted friend who will agree not to drink as well. Make plans ahead of time not to rely on others for transportation. This will keep you from getting into uncomfortable situations.

  1. Keep Attending Meetings and Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holiday season is busy, it is not the time for you to take a vacation from your recovery process. Besides surrounding yourself with family and friends, it is important to keep attending regular sobriety meetings. Even if you are away from home for the holidays, it is possible to find and attend a local meeting in the area. Support groups contain people who are going through the same challenges. You can work together and help each other get through the holidays without relapsing.

  1. Give Back

Your recovery is like a rebirth. A way to make the most of this gift is to give back. Helping others during the holiday season is an effective way to remain sober as well. Your community is probably looking for volunteers to help serve a meal to the hungry or to decorate various parts of your town. These activities will give you purpose and will make you feel good about helping others. Lending a hand to other individuals is a way to show thanks for the people who have helped you along your sober journey.

  1. Be Honest with Yourself

Many recovering individuals are too confident in their abilities to remain sober at all times. However, even the strongest person can succumb to temptation. Do not think that it is possible to avoid relapsing when you are placing yourself in situations where alcohol is flowing. If you are at a party or event where most people are getting buzzed, you will likely fall victim to relapse. Although it is important to socialize during the holidays, it is vital not to make a habit of visiting bars or similar venues at this time of year. Being honest with yourself about your struggle with addiction is one of the best ways to fight against yourself.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is known to release endorphins in the brain. These endorphins make people feel happy and satisfied. This is why a person in recovery should establish a regular workout routine, especially during the holidays. Also, exercise can help you to clear your mind and to escape the chaos that the holidays may bring. Simply taking a walk to enjoy some Christmas lights can improve your mood and keep you away from triggers that can harm your recovery.

  1. Create New Traditions

If drugs or alcohol have haunted you for a long time and have prevented you from enjoying quality time with friends and family during the holidays, it may be nice to create new traditions. Now that you have decided to live a sober life, you will be able to spend memorable times with your loved ones. Host an alcohol-free decorating party or cookie exchange, plan a family game night, or go sleigh riding after you trim your tree. All of these activities can become a yearly tradition. They create positive feelings for everyone who is involved.

  1. Take One Day at a Time

Sometimes, people think too far into the future. As a recovering individual, it is essential to take one day at a time. Do not worry about the past or what is yet to happen. Live for the moment so that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Celebrate with family and friends without negative thoughts of relapse.

For more helpful tips to remain sober this holiday season, or to start your recovery journey, contact Desert Cove Recovery today.

President Signs Bill to Curb Opioid Crisis

After declaring the US in the midst of a public health emergency in 2017 due to the opioid crisis, The President signed a bill into law that experts believe will help to curb the opioid crisis. The new legislation is called the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

More Funding for Addiction Treatment

The new law provides funding to federal agencies and states so that they can provide increased access to addiction treatment. It also puts measures in place to help alleviate the crisis, such as:

• Preventing overprescribing
• Training law enforcement agencies to intercept drug shipments at US borders

The bill signing was the culmination of a 12-month effort by the legislative and executive branch to react to the opioid crisis. While lawmakers said the bill was a step in the right direction, although many of them said it didn’t go far enough to deal with the epidemic. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey cautioned of ramifications of talk of reducing access to publicly-funded treatment programs.

Congress and the White House entered into discussions for making a plan for confronting the epidemic in October 2017. This was before several congressional hearings by the House and the Senate on the same subject.

Public health experts have spoken out in favor of the bill, since it increases access to treatment. They say this is a critical step to controlling the epidemic. One of the measures in the legislation removes an old measure that didn’t allow clients with substance abuse issues get treatment in mental health facilities with more than 16 beds under Medicaid.

Private Companies on Board with New Initiatives

The White House has also pointed to new initiatives from private companies:

• Amazon has programmed its Alexa voice service to answer consumers’ questions about opioids and addiction.
• Blue Cross Blue Shield, the major insurance provider, will establish a national toll-free phone number to help US residents locate drug and alcohol treatment centers.
• Biopharmaceutical company Emergent BioSolutions will offer free Narcan nasal sprayers at over 16,500 public libraries and 2,700 YMCAs. Narcan, when administered to someone experiencing an opioid overdose, can help reverse the condition.

Treatment Still the Main Focus

What this new law and other efforts do is to help continue to focus on the need for treatment at all levels. This current drug crisis won’t subside until there are enough people seeking and receiving quality treatment for their substance use disorders. Desert Cove Recovery is proud to be a leader in rehabilitation for people both in Arizona and from all over the country.

report on substance abuse, alcohol abuse

Report on Substance Use: Alcohol Holds No. 1 Spot

Reports about the opioid crisis and drugs fentanyl, carfentanil and heroin have dominated recent headlines. During the years 200-2016, the number of lives lost to opioids has more than quadrupled. Though opioids have taken up a lot of our collective attention during the first part of the twenty-first century, it would be a mistake to ignore another addictive substances that have had a negative impact on people’s lives: alcohol.

A new report released from the California Health Care Foundation looked at substance use disorders in California. It examined the impact of alcohol, opioid and other substance use over time. Although this particular report was specific to California, the figures are a fair representation for situations in Arizona and nationwide as well.

Key Findings from Substance Abuse Report

The report, entitled “Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment,” has several key findings, including:

  • Alcohol use disorder was the most common type of substance use disorder among California residents. Approximately six percent of Californians met the criteria for alcohol dependence. Three percent of state residents met the criteria for dependence on illicit drugs.
  • Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is likely to start during the adolescent years. By the time they reach Grade 11, over half of students in California have tried alcohol and close to 40 percent have tried marijuana.
  • Young adults (aged 18-25) were most likely to develop substance use disorders, with the likelihood close to twice the state average.
  • The number of Emergency Department visits related to heroin in California has tripled during the years between 2006-2017.
  • Alcohol was responsible for more nonfatal Emergency Department visits in California than all other drug diagnoses combined.

Substance Abuse Disorders Treatable

Substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorder, can be treated and managed. Like other chronic illnesses, the risk of relapse is a real and ongoing one. Behavioral therapy helps people with substance use disorders change unhealthy coping mechanisms for new ways of dealing with destructive behaviors. Medications can be used to control cravings for opioids and alcohol and reduce the physical reward a user experiences when they are ingested.

Naltrexone is among the most common medications, which is used in many different forms. Vivitrol is an monthly injectable version of naltrexone that is often used to help fight cravings.