Tag Archives: Recovery

Medical Marijuana

If there is this much evidence why isn’t it being studied more and tried in more states? It certainly is better than the alternative deaths from overdose. At least with the variety of studies and research that have concluded that it could be a solution makes it worth more information. Everywhere except from the current administration and its representatives.

 

Addict Advocacy-Opioid Crisis

Overall, it seems as if addict advocacy, lobbying their service providers, and for society as a whole has become a zero-sum game.  The opioid crisis thrives.

There are apparently sides to be taken in a battle of “us” versus “them.” There have been and always will be addicts amongst us.

There will always be drug providers (be it at the street level, at the liquor store, the marijuana dispensary, or those who have medical degrees and write prescriptions for pills). There will always be prejudice. Their will always be a lack of sense of community when fear and mistrust is involved. The addicts and their families want to blame the healthcare industry. Society wants to blame the treatment industry. They want to blame anyone but themselves. We want to blame them as being morally inferior and mentally weak.

They have a comprehensive and robust report from the U.S. Surgeon General, unequivocally identifying addiction as a national disease. We have an independent Grand Jury investigation, Sober Homes Task Force Report, and extensive local investigative reporting from a multitude of press outlets, The Palm Beach Post in particular, identifying an overwhelmingly fraudulent industry that seems to have an insatiable appetite for consuming its own class of people.

Maybe we are all wrong, that the march towards decriminalization and deinstitutionalization of the addict has been a social experiment mistake? Maybe addicts need to be isolated from society for their own good? Perhaps the “integration” mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act really did not take into consideration that the disabled in a wheelchair may really be different in kind than the disabled on heroin?

Maybe we do need to reopen and reexamine the ADA, not to discriminate, but because there now is clearly a different set of facts that requires a different modality of response?

While I subscribe to the inherently American values of individualism and self-responsibility, we must put aside philosophical differences and recognize the clear science that the modern opioid epidemic is a terrorist that hijacks the mind, body and spirit.

Even without the misuse of substances, what is true for all Americans is that greed is the most tolerated yet the most destructive addiction of them all.

We cannot demand that someone do something about “those addicts” but then refuse to offer the necessary funding, resources, infrastructure, housing, and services to care for this population, and we can therefore neither blame the addicts nor the treatment provider. We are the adults in the room. We cannot blame the unsupervised children for playing with matches and burning down the house.

If the disease of addiction is truly a public health crisis, rather than the now debunked theory that it is a moral failing, we seem to be left with only one choice – double our efforts, buckle down, and fix this system once and for all. Not later, not when it is more politically palatable. Now. We no longer have the luxury of time.

Home – Prayer of Desperation

Pleading prayer of desperation, “Please God, please God, let me come home from the wars.” As far as I know, I have never read that anywhere. It came out of a heart filled with despair and anguish and self-reproach and self-hatred. But I knew the minute I heard it that the key word was home … home. It was coming out of a guy who had never ever, in his life, felt at home.
A home is where the heart finds rest and renewal. That’s where coming home is. I am far enough along in the journey now to be able to see that there is only one ultimate coming home, and that is the final, total, complete, surrender of self to a Power greater than myself. I’m also brave enough today to believe that there will come a day, there will be a place sometime, somewhere, someday, there will be an altar or a confessional, a mountain or a valley … probably in all likelihood .. just a plain, everyday, run-of the-mill AA meeting, where I will finally no longer pull back and say, “Oh, my God, no, no, don’t ask that of me, don’t take that away from me too.”
And when that moment comes, then I know that I will have finally come home. In the meantime, I am more at home here than anywhere I have ever been in my life. I’m more at home here for a very simple reason … you have never, ever asked anything of me … therefore I have been able to give you what I could afford.
What I’m trying to do tonight is to tell you that I have made a return, for as T. S. Eliot said, “There will never be any end from exploring, and the end of all our exploration will be to return to the place where we started and to see it for the first time.”
That is why I tell you, it took something that almost killed me to return me finally to the place where I started, to see it for the first time, and to return to you tonight and tell you that this journey has been worth everything I have been asked to pay to make it.

by Allen Reid McGinnis
The Rest Of Your Life
http://amzn.to/1T1xNRT

Introduction to Alcoholism

The disease of alcoholism is a gradual deteriorating affliction that devastates entire families and will continue to do so unless the alcoholic member takes action to live a life of sobriety, physically and mentally. In this introduction to alcoholism it is a given that alcoholism affects the person who addicted to alcohol, that person’s family and everyone who interacts with that person.

Consider the following:
• Alcohol dependence and abuse cost the US about $220 billion in 2005. For the sake of comparison, this was greater than the amount of money spent to combat cancer ($196 billion) and obesity ($133 billion).
• An estimated 43% of US adults have had someone related to them who is presently, or was, an alcoholic.
• 6.6 million Minors in the US live with an alcoholic mother or father.
• About 14 million US residents battle an alcohol addiction.
• Greater than 50% of grownups in the US have had knowledge of someone in their immediate family with an alcohol problem.
• Around a quarter of all children experience some form of alcoholism in their families before they turn 18
• 40% of alcoholism is passed down through the gene pool, while the other 60% stems from unknown circumstances.
• 500,000 US Children ages 9-12 are addicted to alcohol.
• Studies show that the offspring of alcoholics have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics themselves than those whose parents are clean.

In the book Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter 2, There Is A Solution, It says:

“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solu¬tion, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire confidence of another al¬coholic in a few hours. Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.”

Furthermore it says,” helping others is the foundation of our recovery.” And in the 12 Steps of recovery it says “… we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics and practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

If our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Then I believe it is incumbent on me to carry the message of hope in writing as well as in meetings. From the depths of my heart there is an intuitiveness that inspires me to share what I have to come to believe as the result of the 12 Steps and our book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

The enormity of the problems alcoholics experience, both physically and mentally, and the quantity of human beings who have this disease has grown significantly over the last decade. As we understand more about it and learn the devastating long-term effect on the family as well, it is more urgent to get the message to as many as possible. Not only, that there is a solution, but also that no one is better suited to help an alcoholic with recovery than another alcoholic. If we are to arrest this disease and prevent it from further debilitation of our families we must take action. We can stop the spread of alcoholism within our own families. It can end with us. What greater gift could we give our children?

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Florida

 

Finding The Right Sober Living House

Author Unknown

Sober living facilities are needed to provide a supporting and pro-active healthy transition, allowing you to leave the safety of rehab and enter a less-restrictive living environment while maintaining a focus on recovery. Residents enjoy a less structured atmosphere while developing the tools and skills to sustain sobriety in the “real world.”

While there are many sober living facilities in Florida, you need to make sure the home you choose offers the highest level of care, qualities, and features that support recovery. You should never commit to living at a sober living home without visiting and talking with the owners and residents.

Here are the top five qualities you’ll want to look for in a sober living house:

#1 FARR Certified Residence

Picking a FARR certified residence guarantees that you are in the best possible environment that is regulated with the highest standards. This is a critical decision that affects your recovery. You are faced with an overwhelming amount of decisions each day; many affect your sobriety. You need to know the sober living has a proven structure to assist and support recovery. That’s why it’s so important to find a sober living home that implements a higher level of care…it should also implement rules and regulations, such as mandated curfews and a zero-tolerance drug-free environment.

#2 Safety

Being in a safe environment is an absolute necessity. Look for things like; 24/7 staff, if the entire staff is trained in CPR, do they have an emergency kit in case of an overdose, and a protocol for emergencies. What steps and measures do they have to absolutely make sure there are no drugs or alcohol on the premises? Is there a zero tolerance for possession and use of alcohol and drugs? Check out and speak to the people currently living in a sober living facility. Ask them about the technology and safety measures used by the facility.

#3 Connecting Atmosphere

The camaraderie, atmosphere, mood, energy, and vibe at the sober living house with its current residents are very important. During your tour ask to speak with the current residents, they will be valuable in your decision to pick the right place for you. What types of activities are there to help you develop new skills; assistance with job search, better eating habits, health and fitness. Make sure you feel a positive vibe; your gut will tell you if it is the right place for you.

#4 Supports and Assists Recovery

A solid support system is crucial for anyone in recovery. 12 step recovery is not for everyone, however the sober living should have other actions on and off the property in place like; relapse prevention, AA, NA, and counseling to assist you in recovery. When evaluating a sober living support team, it’s important to find a staff that truly cares about you and your success…but you also want a staff that’s unafraid to enforce necessary rules and regulations.

Everyone’s recovery path is different and proceeds at different paces, however individualized recovery plans are essential for staying sober. The employees should be professional, and be there to keep you on the road to recovery. They should be encouraging 12 step, AA, NA meetings or a support system that fosters sobriety. There should also be some sort of drug testing policy in effect.

#5 Take Responsibility; Own It

Remember, you must own your sobriety. That means that you may not always like following rules and regulations like a curfew, structured events, meetings, etc. You must be willing to do the difficult things to maintain sobriety. The sober living home should challenge you to be able to make that step to be fully functional on your own.

 

Living With A Recovery Companion Coach

Anonymous Author

I am not going to share my name because my name is not as important as my experience working with my companion coach. The truth is I was fearful to leave treatment where I received continuous staff support and monitoring 24/7. I needed a recovery companion coach.

My story begins with my addiction and condition before checking into rehab. I will spare you the details of my addiction because we all have a story. But of course, my addiction affected everything and everyone around me. So when I decided to get help and enter a treatment center, my program pulled me outside of my normal environment (home, family, work, and friends). My daily environment where I normally escaped reality and life.

I thought for sure everything was under control when I finished treatment- until it clearly wasn’t.
Ok, I needed help and deep down inside I don’t trust myself to be left alone or continue back home without support in fear of relapse. Sure, like many of you reading this story, I was fine before my addiction started controlling my next move and taking me to places of regret time after time. Now that I had agreed and committed to live a sober life and finished my treatment program, I realized I needed help with an outpatient program from home, office or both.

I needed a recovery companion coach.

How could I get the most from my recovery companion coach while ensuring I did not become codependent?

Well first of all, I looked for a companion coach who was professionally trained and certified with a plan to help me move forward building on my sobriety. I learned successful coaches have a short term process that will gradually release me and reduce the time I spend conversing with my coach.
I was willing to invest in a private companion coach to pick me up on the day my treatment facility released me to go home. My recovery companion coach would support me in making the transition from 24/7 monitored to moving back home. My house needed to be prepared for my newly committed addiction free lifestyle. My coach moved in and lived with me 24/7 to monitor my sobriety and help me get in a routine.

During the first couple of days:
We purged the house of any unclean or unwanted triggers.
We picked up the mail, payed bills and set up a budget plan.
We created a weekly meal plan and went to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients.
We put the groceries away and started my weekly food preparation for easy homemade ready to eat meals- Heat-N-Eat style.
We talked every day about my life in the moment right now and moving forward highlighting things I can do to fill the void.
We carefully navigated my patterns, interests and strengths to draw out my solutions.
We applied the information I learned in rehab / treatment center into my daily routines.
We visited a couple support groups in my area until I found a group that I liked.
We walked and talked every day as I learned how to filter and process and decompress from the daily stress while getting exercise.

During the second week:
I had to go back to work, yes my coach went with me to make the transition smoother.
We were together 24/7, so I introduced my coach as a friend from out of town observing my business and work ethics.
We discussed market penetration, production, sales, and managing staff everything related to my job description and stress to identify hidden triggers.
Fortunately, my position with the company allow me to have an out of town friend join me at work without any confusion or additional questions.
After work we continued to repeat a lot of what I learned during the first week and tracking my progress.

By the third week:
I was feeling more confident with my own ability to function alone. I know how all the moving pieces work together at home and work without my addiction driving me to relapse.
I am so grateful to have my coach bridge the gap during the transition. My coach helped me stay focused and repeat what I learned during treatment in my real life setting. I am ready to release my coach to another client in need.

Living With Recovering Substance Abuser

Healing
Healing process of trauma and addiction

Edited from Post on:

4 Tips For Living With A Recovering Addict

Substance abuse, addiction, affects more than the abuser, addict. After your
loved one has gotten sober and returned home from treatment, continuous sobriety and recovery become important parts of his or her life. Learn some helpful tips to help you support your loved one and yourself.

Recognize that while addiction is not your fault, you too have been directly affected by addiction.

The first thing you’ll usually hear a recovering person’s family member or friend say is “I’m not the one with the problem” or “They’re the one who needs help.” If you’re living with a recovering substance abuser, you’re living with substance abuse, addiction, affects more than the abuser, addict. After your loved one has gotten sober and returned home from treatment, continuous sobriety and recovery become important parts of his or her life. Learn some helpful tips to help you support your loved one and yourself. Certain feelings are unavoidable, like anger and resentment. You may feel the need to punish, control, or try to “fix” an addict. It seems counter intuitive, but the best thing you can do for a recovering substance abuser is let them work their program. Provide support, but don’t interfere.

You are not in control, and you don’t need to be.

Many family members try to control a substance abuser, it’s impossible not to. If you haven’t encountered substance abuse before, you’ll soon learn that forcing the loved one to follow rules won’t get you very far. If you’re lucky enough to be living with a recovering substance abuser, and not an active one, you’re already ahead of the curve. That means that even if the going is slow, you’re taking steps forward. One day at a time doesn’t seem like very much, but days become weeks, weeks become months, you know the rest.

Other people know what you’re going through, there is help for you too, so go get it.

No matter what kind of program your loved one is working, there’s one for you too. If you’re here, you’re looking for answers and the simplest answer is to admit when you need help. Therapy helps, support groups help, talking to someone familiar with your situation helps. Family support groups, such as Al-anon, exist for the same reasons substance abuse support groups do, they work. The most important thing about these programs is the “time” in the rooms. People with years of experience in the program are there to help guide newcomers. It’s hard to walk through that door for the first time, but everyone in that room has done it. The most amazing thing is when you hear someone get up and share your story. When you see the happiness and love in the room, realize that you too can find this no matter how difficult your situation is. Always remember that you are there for you, not for your loved one. Find a group, and stick around.

Give your loved one space to work.

It can be difficult to step back, but living with someone in recovery can be stressful enough, without having to monitor their every move. That’s what their program is for and through your own support group and recovery program, you can learn the concept of “detaching with love”. It can be difficult to step back, but the key to success is cooperation. You can’t get dialysis to fix someone’s kidneys, you can’t get chemo to cure someone’s cancer, and you can’t go to rehab to cure someone’s substance abuse. Give your loved one the space they need to find their way.

Addiction Now Defined As Brain Disorder, Not Behavior Issue

Addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, experts contend in a new definition of addiction, one that is not solely related to problematic substance abuse.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.
“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas,” said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”
The new definition also describes addiction as a primary disease, meaning that it’s not the result of other causes, such as emotional or psychiatric problems. And like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, addiction is recognized as a chronic disease; so it must be treated, managed and monitored over a person’s lifetime, the researchers say.
Two decades of advancements in neuroscience convinced ASAM officials that addiction should be redefined by what’s going on in the brain. For instance, research has shown that addiction affects the brain’s reward circuitry, such that memories of previous experiences with food, sex, alcohol and other drugs trigger cravings and more addictive behaviors. Brain circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment is also altered in the brains of addicts, resulting in the nonsensical pursuit of “rewards,” such as alcohol and other drugs.
A long-standing debate has roiled over whether addicts have a choice over their behaviors, said Dr. Raju Hajela, former president of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and chair of the ASAM committee on addiction’s new definition.
“The disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them,” Hajela said in a statement. “Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”
Even so, Hajela pointed out, choice does play a role in getting help.
“Because there is no pill which alone can cure addiction, choosing recovery over unhealthy behaviors is necessary,” Hajela said.
This “choosing recovery” is akin to people with heart disease who may not choose the underlying genetic causes of their heart problems but do need to choose to eat healthier or begin exercising, in addition to medical or surgical interventions, the researchers said.
“So, we have to stop moralizing, blaming, controlling or smirking at the person with the disease of addiction, and start creating opportunities for individuals and families to get help and providing assistance in choosing proper treatment,” Miller said.

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved

Not Just One Way To Stay Sober

By Sarah A Benton MS, LMHC, LPC

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/201509/not-just-one-way-get-sober

There are many views and opinions about what is needed for alcoholics to maintain long-term sobriety/recovery. There are therapeutic coping skills, the medical model, evidence-based research, 12-Step model, SMART Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, alternative treatments, wilderness therapies, spiritual/religious practices and more… The good news is that there are many resources and ways for individuals to receive support and to get sober. The downside is that individuals may become overwhelmed by options. Each of these recovery models can be applied on a continuum—ranging from moderate to strict to fundamentalist.

In my personal and professional experience, I have observed clients and loved ones acquire sustained recovery in differing ways. It has also been interesting to see how they have found ways to apply different recovery principles and coping skills to suit their beliefs, personality and lifestyle. For some, an extreme and strict framework has been needed and for others, a moderate approach has been more appropriate.

Throughout the treatment, therapeutic and recovery process individuals learn many coping and relapse prevention strategies as well as life skills and spiritual principles intended to improve their prognosis and quality of “sober” life. I have often compared this process to a buffet, where an individual views all of the options, samples some things they may or may not like and then settles on what they prefer. In other words, “take what you like and leave the rest.”
In fact, the most effective way to maintain sobriety is to engage in strategies that are realistic and that an individual is likely to engage in long-term. As therapists, we can make suggestions, but it is important to view each individual as unique and to know that they will have their own journey that will allow them to experience what they may or may not need to change along the way. When treatment centers, addiction professionals, recovery coaches or spiritual leaders are only open to one way to view or to engage in the recovery process, it is important for individuals to be honest themselves about if that view is the right “fit” and if it is resulting in sustained recovery. If not, then there is always the option of integrating various pieces of that approach with additional strategies.

For example, George begins individual therapy with an addiction specialist and has been sober for 1 month. He expressed that he wants to learn different coping and relapse prevention skills and has decided to attend both Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) and SMART Recovery meetings in addition to therapy and other self-care strategies (exercise, meditation, etc.). The therapist recommends that the client should only attend A.A. and not SMART Recovery and that he should just follow the suggestions of the 12-Step program and then he would not need these other parts to his recovery plan.

The problem: This addiction specialist seems to have experience with the 12-Step/A.A. model, but does not appear to be open-minded to other recovery strategies and models. It is possible to integrate differing recovery models and to find a plan that will work for individuals that suits their unique needs. There also may be parts of some self-help programs such as A.A. and SMART Recovery that may work in combination for some individuals. The strict version of either model may not be the best for all, and “fundamentalist” views on sobriety may turn some individuals away from ceratin approaches. Either way, if the therapist observes that an individual is having relapse issues, then the recovery plan and level of care should be revisited.

It can also be the tendency of those in early recovery to engage in “extreme” behaviors and struggle to find balance in their lives.

Therefore, it is even more important that these individuals strive towards an approach that will allow for consistency—recovery is a marathon and not a sprint! Not just one way to stay sober.

Introspection The Rest of Your Life

It is the time of year before the beginning of the Jewish New Year to reflect on our choices as a person and member of a community. What has transpired in our relationships and how have we behaved. It is a time for introspection before we atone for our transgressions.
As we end the Jewish Year we are asked to do one thing: Choose Life, after accepting a Power greater than ourselves in creation and life we are asked to love the Almighty and live by the commandments, always keeping God in our lives, then we and our offspring shall live a life of joy and freedom.
We begin to ready ourselves for the Days of Awe (the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement) with a fearless and moral inventory of our actions and thoughts. We are instructed to look at ourselves from the inside, to ask God for forgiveness and ready ourselves for repentance. The intent is to renew our God Consciousness and by words of prayer seek a Divine will for us. If we are to have a relationship with God, similar to Abraham’s (turning our life and our will over to God), and then we must be rigorously honest in all our affairs. When we have separated ourselves from our Higher Power by our bad choices, whether in thought or deed, we have prolonged our returning to that Higher Power. This is the time to examine that relationship with this Power and to either repair it or build a new one. We are given this opportunity at least yearly because we have a loving and kind God who only wants good for us. If we will only accept The Almighty’s will for us and be willing to put our relationship with The Power of the Universe above all else.
In the Book of Psalms there are daily reminders of our seeking God in our lives, and of the embrace constantly waiting for us. The covenant that is made with each of us before we are born is that “We shall be a light unto the nations.” This is both a burden and a blessing. We are chosen, to carry this message to others who are suffering and give away what has been freely given to us. As Uncle Ben channeling Voltaire says to Spidey, “with great power comes great responsibility”
The Rabbis say, “ One must repeatedly confide in another person, a spiritual counselor or trusted friend, all improper thoughts and actions which have come to one’s heart or mind. In this way, with God’s will, we can rid ourselves of our defects of character.” Just as we are told to Study Torah with someone else or in a group, never alone.
Once we have processed our limitations and asked God for help, we are prepared for reconciliation and forgiveness from those we have wronged. Even if we feel others have wronged us, it is our “side of the street” we are concerned with. We must examine what part we played in creating the resentment and seek forgiveness of our self from God and be forgiving of others.
Throughout this time of year we approach God and others with humility, we seek to understand rather than be understood, to comfort rather than to be comforted and to love without expecting to be loved. We want to bring peace and the spirit of forgiveness to all who we encounter.
The act of turning to a life of Spirit is a continual process, one that you work for The Rest of Your LIFE. We are given the opportunity for a fresh start every day. We cannot be concerned about how long it will take or where the end of this journey is, or we will never get there. The important thing is to find the road, get on it and stay there.
We seek spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection. Spirituality by definition is imperfect, as are human beings.