Tag Archives: Recovery

sober during holidays

Staying Sober During the Holidays

Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again. This time of year brings about many joyful opportunities for gathering together with friends and family members to enjoy food, fun, and laughter. However, for many who were once addicted to alcohol or other substances, the holiday season can prove to be a difficult time as well.

It can be difficult for many people who were once addicted to harmful substances to remain sober during a time when stress and many temptations abound. However, with a plan of action in place, it is possible to fight off temptations and remain sober during this trying time of year. The following tips have been gathered to help you remain sober during the holidays and get your new year off to the best and healthiest start.

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What Makes the Holiday Season Difficult for Many People in Recovery

The holiday season is something many people look forward to. It is a time of excitement, cheer, and happiness for most of us. However, there are certain things about this time of year that can trigger a person in recovery to drink or use a substance again. These temptations might include the following triggers or events.

Added Stress During the Holidays

Shopping for gifts for loved ones, making last minute travel plans, and having a house full of loud relatives can add to the already present stress of everyday life. Add in grocery shopping and cooking an elaborate meal for close friends and family and you have the recipe for a very stressful period of time. Handling stress and not letting it build up is an important part of maintaining control of the situation and your reaction to the events that occur. Sometimes controlling how you react to the situation is all you can do, so it’s vital to have proper ways in which to manage stress to help prevent relapse.

Running into Negative Associates

Whenever someone who is addicted to alcohol or other substances seeks proper treatment, part of the recovery plan usually involves creating a new circle of friends and avoiding those they once abused substances with. While attending holiday parties and other gatherings, it is possible that you may run into people you once spent time with when you were actively abusing alcohol or other substances. For many people, this may bring back memories that can create a strong desire to engage in those negative behaviors once again. Having a plan in place for proper ways to handle these temptations before they occur is an important part of triumphing over them.

Temptations at Gatherings

Holiday parties and gatherings usually include both food and alcohol. Just the mere presence of alcohol can be a reminder of the sensations you experienced when you were consuming it regularly. Therefore, it is important to realize ahead of time that these types of gatherings will almost always include alcohol. A support system that you can rely on to distract you from temptations can be helpful. Knowing your limits and weaknesses can also be beneficial. If you feel being confronted with the temptation of alcohol at parties will be too strong, it may be best to avoid attending them at all.

Tips for Remaining Sober During the Holidays

Having a proper plan in place for dealing with the previously mentioned temptations is an important part of overcoming them. The following tips can give you a good idea of different ways to start formulating a plan for remaining sober this holiday season.

Keep Your Distance from Negative Locations or People

Bumping into people you once spent time with while you were engaging in destructive patterns of drinking could potentially set off emotions that can create temptations to drink again. If you know the areas that these people tend to gather, it is best to avoid them altogether. It is even better if you can arrange to spend time with new friends that help you fight the temptations to drink.

Create New and Healthy Traditions

Replacing old patterns of destructive behavior with new and healthy holiday traditions can help you overcome memories and fight off temptations to engage in these actions again. Starting new traditions will give you something exciting to look forward to each holiday season as you create new memories with your loved ones.

Attend Support Meetings or Groups

Support groups can be a huge blessing during the holiday season. It can be very helpful to associate with others who have overcome their addictions just like you. These individuals know firsthand how hard it can be to fight off temptations during the holidays. Their empathy and understanding can go far towards helping you feel a level of support that will prove encouraging all season long.

Create a Network of Support

Creating a strong network of individuals who understand the temptations this season can create will be beneficial for you as well. Knowing their support is just a phone call away can offer the strength and peace of mind you need to have confidence in your ability to remain sober.

Get Adequate Sleep

Adequate sleep, along with the support provided by nutritious foods and moderate exercise, can go a long way toward strengthening your resolve to stay sober. Sleep deprivation, while common during this time of the year, can weaken your resolve to decline tempting activities, events, or invitations. Taking care of the physical needs of your body and mind is an important part of remaining emotionally strong.

Start the New Year in Continued Recovery

You fought long and hard to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction. You probably attended a treatment program, completely changed many aspects of your life, and endured the difficult time of detoxing your body from the effects of alcohol abuse. Remember the things that you have gone through and how hard you have fought to achieve sobriety. Keeping this journey fresh in your mind can help you fight temptations and remain strong this holiday season and all the ones still to come.

addiction treatment centers

Things to Compare Among Residential Treatment Centers in Arizona

The Best Care Possible – A Comparison Among Rehab Centers In Arizona

Don’t make the mistake of believing that all residential treatment centers in Arizona are created equally. Your health and well being should be your primary concern. That means finding the best possible rehab in the state for your care. There are quite a few different rehab treatment centers in Arizona. It’s up to you to do the research and find the best one

How Do You Know Which Is Best?

You’ll notice that a lot of rehab centers look great on the surface. They might have well-designed websites and make plenty of bold claims. However, those are very minor considerations in the grand scheme of things. There are actually many different qualities you must compare among the inpatient treatment centers in Arizona. By comparing these qualities you can find the center that is best suited for you.

Compare Their Histories.

The past is always a great place to start your comparison. It’s safe to assume that most businesses will perform in the future the same as they have in the past. Therefore, if the rehab already has a seedy reputation for not helping its patients, then it’s a bad place to seek recovery. Every treatment center will have its own history and it’s not uncommon for there to be a slight blemish. This is especially true of the reviews you may find online.

Comparing Online Reviews.

Reviews are a very specific part of the treatment’s history that you should consider early on. If you are considering two or more rehab centers, then you should carefully compare as many reviews for the two as you can find. However, finding one or two negative reviews online isn’t a reason to completely shun a particular facility. Some people will have a bad experience no matter what. And, in some cases, people are paid to write false negative reviews. On the contrary, if a significant number of reviews are negative, then it’s probably best to avoid that particular facility.

Comparing Testimonials Is Similar.

You can think of testimonials as reviews that are always positive. Why bother comparing them if you know they are going to be positive? It’s important to compare the testimonials of residential treatment centers in Arizona because they provide you with a snapshot of a patient’s recovery. They are often very uplifting and encouraging. Testimonials let you know what is possible at a certain facility. Almost every rehab center will have testimonials available on their website. Compare all that you can find once you’ve moved on from reading reviews. It’s always a positive sign if you can find testimonials that closely relate to your own personal story and struggles.

Compare Their Track Record Of Success.

Perhaps the most important component of their history to consider is their track record of success. Does only 1 out of every 100 patients actually make a change? Some inpatient treatment centers in Arizona are little more than than vacation spots for people who have no real interest in changing. Those rehab centers don’t foster real growth within their patients and don’t push them to make the change. Obviously, that’s not what you are looking for if you’re interested in honestly kicking your bad habits or helping someone else kick theirs.

Compare The Programs They Offer At Present

Comparing the past is important, but so is comparing what they offer at the present. A prime example of this is comparing the various programs and services that they offer. Some facilities might only offer basic detoxification and release programs. Others will include a variety of different services that may better suit your needs. Programs might include:

– Alcohol and drug detoxification.

– Outdoor therapy.

– 12 step programs.

Compare Their Referral System.

It’s entirely possible that you will require additional services not offered at any of the residential treatment centers in Arizona that you are interested in. In that case, they will need to refer you to another company for those services. Compare the different referral systems put in place by each of the rehab centers you are considering. Some offer completely free referrals while others will actually try to charge for their recommendations. For example, you may find a treatment center that you really like, but they recommend that you receive a detox, which they do not offer. Ideally, the rehab will recommend a detox facility for free. You know that you can trust the recommendation because you have already put your trust in the rehab. But if they are trying to charge for that referral, then you should be skeptical.

Compare How Their Programs Work.

Five different rehabs may offer alcohol dependency programs with the exact same name, but that doesn’t mean they are actually the same program. The care professionals at the center will have implemented their own techniques and procedures to help you through the recovery process. It’s a good idea to read as much information as you can find about their procedures and how their programs work. You may find that you like everything about a particular rehab except how they hand their recovery process. For example, some rehab treatment centers in Arizona stick to a very strict daily regimen and schedule. Others will offer patients a much greater degree of flexibility and freedom. It’s up to you which you think will work best.

Compare Their Payment Options.

You can never overlook the cost of attending rehab. Surprisingly, some rehab centers don’t even accept insurance. Those are the rehabs that are meant to be more of a vacation than an actual place for recovery. A treatment center may not accept every single kind of insurance, but they should accept most of them. Compare the payment and insurance options of the various rehab centers you are considering before signing any contracts.

Research And Make A Decision.

Getting help is extremely important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time to do the research. Compare these many qualities among residential treatment centers in Arizona before making a commitment to get help at any one particular center. You’ll likely find that there is only one facility in the area that can meet all of your needs, has a positive history, accepts most insurances, and offers a variety of unique programs. That’s the treatment center that’s right for you.

Turning Off Stress-Induced Relapse

Stress-Induced RelapseSobriety can be an elusive thing for many recovering drug addicts. Oftentimes addicts will undergo a period of treatment or abstinence and then seemingly out of nowhere, a relapse occurs. These sometimes-frequent spells of returning to drug use can plague an addict and their loved ones until long-lasting sobriety is hopefully achieved. What is it that causes these relapses? And do they have to be part of recovery?

In order to answer these questions, a team of researchers at Brown University and the University of Wyoming created a study that would examine the biology of a relapse. They began by focusing on the kappa opioid receptors (kORs). These receptors are located on the surface of the brain and are the ultimate target of opioids when they enter the body.

Next, researchers moved to a different part of the brain – the ventral tegmental area. This area of the brain reinforces behaviors related to fulfilling basic needs. Basic needs can include eating and sleeping. But in the brain of the addict, this basic need also can include drugs. Through extensive research, the scientists were able to see that stress can induce this part of the brain to excite the kappa opioid receptors, thus causing the person to seek out drugs.

So, while stress is oftentimes a precursor to relapse, there may be hope. That is because these scientists expanded their experiment to show what happens when certain medications are administered to a person who is experiencing stress. After administering norBNI to rats that were abstinent from opioids for some time but in the midst of experiencing stress, the researchers observed that the kappa opioid receptors were disengaged, no longer producing a craving within the rats.

While this research is still new, it does confirm previous studies that have showed that stress is a problem for maintaining sobriety, but these researchers have taken it a step further with the introduction of a potential medicine for treatment. “Ours is the first demonstration of experience-induced changes in constitutive activity of these receptors,” explained the authors of the study.

In addition to treatments like the one above, many more people are also opting for different approaches to dealing with stress in recovery. One growing movement is rooted in mindfulness-based practices, where there are many forms of exercises and meditations that help people become more consciously aware moment to moment, thus having greater control over their actions.

Tracking The Need for Addiction Treatment Among Age Groups

need for addition treatmentAlthough there may be a larger percentage of people who misuse or abuse substances between the ages of 18 and 25, the more serious levels of addiction are usually reached after the age of 26. Evidence of this is shown in the fact that the highest percentage of people receiving treatment are aged 26 and older.

Perhaps there are multiple reasons for this, such as resiliency decreasing as the number of years go by, while tolerance increases. Therefore substance abusers continue to feel like they need more and more of their drugs of choice and cannot live without them. The eternal dichotomy of addiction is that the substances they feel they need to survive are the very things that are killing them.

That being said, percentages of new drug initiates (first time users) and occasional users are often higher in the teenage and young adult years. There is often a crossroads of maturity and desperation when it comes to addiction. This is why substance abuse prevention programs that actually work are so vital to our nation.

One couple that has struggled with addiction, and only found help as adults, works with other addicts to get them the help they need. Developing a community where other addicts can see that recovery is possible is one way for adults to seek and attain sobriety. “We can go to bed at night and think about all the things we did that day to make our family better. We have the tools to make our lives better and manage them. We don’t need drugs and alcohol to make it better anymore,” commented Stephanie Valenti in a recent story.

For those who are fortunate enough to get into treatment and follow their chosen direction to recovery, continuing on that path takes a lot of work. Recovery support from friends, family and groups can provide a much-needed lifeline.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn how we may be able to help.

How the Drug Climate is Changing

opioidsSeveral years ago stories of mass overdoses and tainted heroin would have shocked the nation. Nowadays, these stories are becoming too commonplace. While laws and regulations are making prescription narcotics more difficult to obtain, and the demand for potent drugs is increasing, so drug dealers are improvising and often making a very dangerous situation much worse.

Opioids mixed with fentanyl have become the newest trend among illicit drugs, and the deadly combination has been claiming record numbers of lives. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is generally only administered in hospitals to patients with severe pain. Drug manufacturers have begun to include Fentanyl in batches of heroin and even batches of pressed pills. Addicts who are not expecting such a lethal drug often maintain their usual level of use, thinking it is the same potentcy. This causes mass overdoses in an area where the local dealers continue to include fentanyl in their heroin batches.

Many prescription painkiller addicts will argue that pills are safer than heroin. The idea that you always know what you’re taking and how much is no longer true. Drug dealers have changed the landscape of painkillers obtained on the street as well. In order to meet the demands of prescription drug addicts, dealers now have the ability to make their own “pills” putting in whatever ingredients they can get their hands on. Addicts begin unknowingly consuming anything that their dealer sells them. This can, and has, caused deaths throughout the country.

“Anyone can press a pill these days. It’s not very expensive or difficult. Even if you look it up, and it matches something you saw online, it could still literally be anything,” explains Lori Kufner, who works at the harm reduction organization Trip! Project.

Law enforcement and health officials are warning the public that street drugs are becoming more potent and unpredictable. Experts urge addicts to seek help before they fall victim to a “hot batch.” However, some addicts are not only undeterred, but are even seeking out the combination as a way to get stronger drugs. As a heroin addict becomes more entrenched in their addiction they oftentimes need more and more of the drug to feel the same kind of high. The promise of an extra powerful batch of heroin can entice addicts to buy more and use more.

Given that the drug scene is constantly changing – and getting worse by most accounts, there has to be more diligence on the part of friends and families to get help for their loved ones. The statement that their next hit could be their last has never been more true than it is today.

Contact Desert Cove now to find out how our addiction treatment program can help.

Opiate Dependent People Suffer More Medical Complications

prescription opiatesIn one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have found that people who are dependent on opiates are much more likely to require additional medical services than people who aren’t. In fact, one recent study found that the number of opiate-dependent people who received additional medical treatments rose 3,000% from 2007 to 2014.

The study authors poured over data from 150 million patient records, and they were able to identify anyone who had been diagnosed with an opiate dependency, heroin abuse problem and any problems caused by opiate consumption. This allowed the researchers from FAIR Health to also see what other medical services these patients required, some of which included additional lab costs, treatment re-admissions, medications and more.

The research team also found that the numbers and percentages of people in this category varied from state to state. For instance, Rhode Island reportedly had the highest rate of opiate dependency, while Montana and Maine had the lowest. Despite this, each state is still feeling the effects of opiate abuse and the toll it takes on the overall healthcare system and in communities throughout the country.

“The reality is, even in states that have done that [providing more treatment options for people seeking help], demand is far in excess of what they can provide. What this tells you is this is not limited to a problem of the poor and unemployed. This is a problem that is cutting right across society,” explained Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at Pew Charitable Trusts.

While the major concern with opiate and heroin abuse will always be overdose deaths, there are still a lot of health risks associated with taking these drugs. Users are more likely to suffer from emotional problems, respiratory issues, liver problems, injuries and the spread of diseases from sharing needles.

This information provides even more evidence as to why it is so important to reverse this deadly trend and get people into treatment programs. The cost is much more than the dollars associated with the additional care. We must stop the cycle with effective recovery centers and prevention measures.

New Study Examines Effects of the Sight and Smell of Alcohol

psychopharmajournalOne of the most difficult things for a recovering alcoholic is to remain sober when people around them are drinking. Sometimes this uncomfortable situation can be avoided by explaining to close friends and family members that it would be appreciated if they did not consume alcohol around the addict, or avoiding parties or gathering where alcohol is sure to be present. However, because social drinking is so prevalent in society, being in the presence of alcohol is occasionally unavoidable.

A new study is showing that simply smelling alcohol can make someone feel tipsy, which may help to explain why being around alcohol is so threatening to someone’s sobriety.

Researchers, who published their study in the journal Psychopharmacology, provided face masks that had been treated with an alcohol solution or a citrus solution. Participants were then asked to perform simple tasks, like clicking a button every time they saw a certain letter or image appear on screen. They found that those with the alcohol solution on their masks made more errors than those with the citrus solution.

Researchers were able to determine that these people were showing poor impulse control, which is a common side effect of alcohol consumption. While the researchers understand that people are not going to get drunk off of smelling alcohol, they did caution that it can lower inhibitions. This means that it could cause some people to drink more, or others to start drinking when they had previously decided not to consume any alcohol.

The information gathered from this study shows just how difficult it can be for some people to withstand the temptations of alcohol, and it supports the idea that sometimes the best thing for recovering alcoholics is to just stay away from people that are drinking altogether. Overall it is going to be better for recovering alcoholics to make sober friends and surround themselves with people who respect their choice not to drink and who do not spend a lot of time drinking either. This study seems to prove that those sorts of safeguards are warranted, as there are sensory triggers that should be avoided.

Lack of Exercise May Increase Odds of Alcohol Dependence

alcohol abuseExamining different habits that can affect a person’s likelihood of abusing alcohol has been the focus of many researchers over the years. As a whole, we have become more educated on many factors surrounding alcohol use disorders, including behaviors and treatments. Now a new study is showing that lack of physical exercise can cause a person to develop unhealthy alcohol habits.

This particular study focused on African-Americans, and the sample included more than 5,000 participants. It was determined that those who never exercised or very rarely exercised were twice as likely to develop some type of alcohol use disorder than those who took the time to get moderate or frequent exercise.

“There have been studies of the association between substance use and related comorbid health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. There has been little research that had examined the connection between exercise and decreased odds of alcohol use disorder,” explained April Joy Damian, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

While the data sample group was of African-American men and women, the indication is that the results would be similar across any other ethnic group as well. One of the most positive conclusions from the research is that incorporating exercise and physical fitness into treatment for alcoholism, and likely other addictions, can help reduce the desire to consume the substances.

Alcohol and other drug addiction have both mental and physical components that do need to be addressed for the best chances at successful recovery. If you or someone you love has an alcohol problem, contact us today to see how we can help.

One Last Time Can Lead to Overdose

Heroin overdose deaths are now all too common in this country. The news is inundated with people who have lost their battle with heroin and left their families and loved ones to grieve their tragic ending. More often than people realize, a heroin overdose death occurs because a person has been clean for a period of time and decided, for whatever reason, to use the drug “just one more time.”

Since the person’s body resets and their opiate tolerance is lowered after a period of sobriety, that one last shot is often the last because the user injected the same amount they were using when they had a habit that consisted of everyday use.

“A dose that used to make them high can now make them stop breathing and cause them to die,” explained Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, a coroner in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. A common trend for heroin addicts is often to get high for a period of time and then check into rehab. After the rehabilitation program has been completed the addict leaves with their body free of heroin and the cravings that come along with the drug.

Treatment centers often advocate that the person not return to their previous life, but instead seek out some sort of transitional living program that is more monitored and structured. This means more than just not using or associating with others that use, this means not returning to the area where the person used drugs.

Due to the contacts that still remain and the everyday reminders of the life that the individual has left behind, those who return to the same areas and situations where they abused heroin are often reminded on a constant basis of the drug use and its temptations. The allure of the drug and the false thinking that the person can use just one more time can be just enough to pull the former addict back into the life they worked so hard to overcome.

This dangerous thinking leads many to try heroin again and this is when many overdose deaths occur. Being unaware or cavalier about this drop in tolerance is mortally dangerous for recovering addicts. This is one of the many reasons why we work with people to find sober living environments after they complete inpatient treatment.

For Those in Recovery, Preparation is Key for Surviving the Holidays

During the span of eight weeks, Americans move from giving thanks, to decking the halls and then ringing in the New Year. This is supposed to be a joyous time of year, full of celebrations, family reunions and spending time with friends. But for someone in recovery, it could seem like a perfect storm, a trifecta of holiday celebrations and opportunities to stumble from the path of sober living.

With a little preparation and strong resolve to maintain sobriety, people in recovery can overcome those stumbling blocks to enjoy the holiday celebrations with their families.

First, stay focused on your own recovery. Other people’s problem behaviors become more prominent once in recovery. Mind your business. Your own recovery is enough to work on without adding someone else’s to it. Don’t let other people’s lack of self control get you off track.

Take responsibility of past behaviors. Facing relatives who feel it necessary to air all grievances against you at the Thanksgiving celebration is not the most ideal situation. Remind your family that you are in recovery, and that you apologize for past behaviors. Change the subject, and move on to a new conversation.

Don’t participate in alcoholic conversations. Reliving war stories of past drinking days is unhealthy for your recovery. Get outside for some fresh air, or help in the kitchen. If all else fails, head to the bathroom – typically no one will bother you in there!

To make sure you have a non-alcoholic beverage, bring your own. Even the youngest party guests can enjoy a non-alcoholic sparkling cider or interesting punch. You never know, there may be other adults who want to limit their alcohol intake too.

Think of a list of things that you can do with your family that don’t include alcohol. Get your family to do something healthy with you: take a walk or throw around a football. Be productive and help grandma out around the house.

Finally, make sure you have an exit plan. If all else fails, make sure you know how you can leave if you need to. Let your host or a few trusted guest know ahead of time that you may need to leave early so they can support your decision.

Preparation is key! Have your plan ready before arriving at the celebration. Happy Holidays!