A Clean Break for Recovery this Spring

clean break

Unless you live in the Southwest or Southeast, there is good chance that you are feeling the chilling effects of winter weather right about now. If that is the case, it is likely you are already pining for warmer weather which, thankfully, is not far away with the beginning of February knocking on the door. But, for young people who have been hitting their textbooks all winter—the end of the school term, and with it warmer weather, might seem like forever.

Every Spring, thousands of young adults make a pilgrimage in search of more tropical climates, i.e. South Florida or Mexico. For many, the reprieve from studies and less than desirable weather, is needed (borderline mandatory), if they are expected to trudge through to the end of the semester. Those planning to take a week off in the company of better weather, usually do more than just bathe in the sun. Spring Break is notorious for young adults consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Naturally, being in an environment surrounded by peers partying all week, would be considered not the best idea for young people working a program of addiction recovery. The temptation to use or imbibe may be too strong to resist, the risk of relapse is extremely high. If you are a young male or female working a program, you may be thinking that you are not able to take part in any sort of Spring Break? Lest you put yourself at risk of relapse.

In a normal Spring Break setting, you would be right to be fearful of beach activities with people not working towards the goal of abstaining from drugs or alcohol. However, over the last 8 years more than 1,000 young people in recovery have been able to enjoy Spring Break without drinking or drugging at what are known as Clean Break events.

A Clean Break This Spring

It may seem premature to discuss Spring Break when February has not even begun. Although, tomorrow is the deadline for you and your recovery peers to RSVP for Clean Break. Every week in March, young people in recovery will be staying at The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.

If you were thinking that you would have to lay low while everyone else in college heads to tropical weather for a week, that is simply not the case. The Clean Break experience is affordable, fun and puts recovery first. No matter when your school schedules Spring break, you and your friends can head south between: March 6-11, 13-17, 20-24 or 27-31st. The organization states:

A week at Clean Break provides a solution for the college student in recovery who would have to choose between isolating on an empty campus or tagging along with friends who are not sober and hoping they don’t use drugs or alcohol. Clean Break is an affordable peer based recovery event for college students during Spring Break, that creates new relationships, supports recovery, provides new ideas for sober fun, all in a safe group setting." recovery

Enjoying Life in Recovery

On page 132 in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, it states, “...we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” There is a lot of truth to be found in those words. Addiction recovery is not about turning your back on fun, turning into “shut-ins.” If that were the case, it would seem, that few would be able to stay the course. Alternatively, much of recovery is about building and maintaining healthy relationships with people working towards a common cause. Relationships that are not contingent on drugs or alcohol.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand the value of having fun in recovery. We are a proud sponsor of Clean Break, and strongly encourage young adults to take advantage of these types of opportunities. If you decide to attend, there is a good chance that your program will become stronger as a result, on top of making friends who you would have otherwise been unable to meet.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week 2017

drug and alcohol use

A large percentage of young adults who struggle with addiction began using drugs and alcohol when they were in high school. The reasons for substance initiation are varied. Sometimes use begins due to pressures from your peers (i.e. siblings, friends and older classmates). Others begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol because of something they saw in a movie or television show. Media outlets have a penchant for showing people drinking and drugging with a smile on their face, veritable pictures of conviviality.

People often gauge the risks and dangers of doing something based on inaccurate images presented to them, and there isn’t a law mandating that media always present the dangers of drug and alcohol use when they show characters engaging in such pastimes. More times than not, it seems, media outlets effectively glamorize substance use, painting pictures of people having fun while engaging in activities that can beget addiction down the road. While it is easy to say that movies and TV shows are works of fiction, not intended to be taken at face value—young people (it would appear) often struggle to differentiate between fact and fiction. Dangerous misconceptions, to say the least.

It isn’t that movies and television are completely off when they show alcohol and drugs being a good time. Anyone working a program of recovery can likely recall a time before they lost control of their substance use, before the transition into abuse when getting drunk or high went from being a choice, to a need that felt like life depended on it. While the majority of young people who experiment with mind-altering substances are able to skirt the hooks and snares of addiction, there is a significant number of individuals who are not so fortunate. Those whose causal alcohol and drug use in high school would soon end up morphing into full-blown addiction. Many of those same people’s use began with misrepresentations in the media, resulting in misconceptions in the mind.

That being said, it is vital that teenagers and young adults have all the facts, so that they can make informed decisions before they engage in substance use.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

Every January, the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsors National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). The organization’s goal is to Shatter the Myths that young people have about drug and alcohol use. In partnership with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the two along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) help organize events in communities and schools across the country, which give young people an opportunity to speak with experts about drug and alcohol use. This year’s NDAFW is happening right now, ending on Sunday, January 29th.

While the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey shows that teen alcohol, cigarette and some other drug use has continued to drop in recent years, in order for the trend to continue persistence is required. Data indicates that among high school seniors, more than 5% misuse prescription drugs; more than 20% smoke marijuana, and 35% use alcohol in the past year. It is likely that those same young adults who reported past year use, do not have all the facts regarding these behaviors. Both NIDA and NIAAA believe, when given information about how drugs affect the brain, body, and behaviors—young people will make different choices.

Please watch a short video about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week:

If you are having trouble seeing the video, please click here.

If you are interested in taking part in NDAFW, please visit the website. There you can find the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz, the Drugs: SHATTER THE MYTHS booklet and a number of other valuable resources.

Young People In Recovery

If you began using drugs and alcohol in high school, which resulted in addiction as a young adult, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Recovery is possible, and there are many young people dedicated to working a program every day of the week. The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner you can begin working towards a future free from the deadly symptoms of addiction.

At PACE, we specialize in treating young adult males who have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. Our qualified staff can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction, and learn how to live a healthy, balanced life.

Cannabis Use: A New Report

cannabisIf you live in one of the several states which have adopted legislation for medical marijuana, legalized cannabis or both, there is a good chance that you have heard several claims about the drug. While some of what you have heard was likely supported by research, the majority of claims heard about the drug were probably not grounded in science—or what could be considered credible research.

The reality is, there is more that scientists don’t know about the drug, than they do know. And what researchers think they know “now,” is often proved inaccurate by further research. Dizzying, right? This is likely the result of under researching the drug during this country’s lengthy prohibition. Decades of understanding what would have been potentially gained, were lost by 80 years of federal prohibition. Now, with state voters taking a more tolerant approach to the drug, researchers are racing to play catch-up.

It is widely agreed, when it comes to illicit drug use, marijuana is probably the safest comparably. But is it important that we differentiate between “safer” and “safe.” Just because a drug is let say, not likely to lead to an overdose, does not mean that it lacks the potential of negatively impacting your life. It is not uncommon for regular “pot” users to report problems with memory or that they have trouble functioning in certain settings.

Heavy marijuana users are susceptible to withdrawal-type symptoms during sustained abstinence. Those who become dependent on the drug are likely to continue use to avoid such discomfort. If what you have just read sounds like addiction, that is because that is precisely what it is—cannabis use disorder. Of course, marijuana addiction is an extreme example of where regular use can lead. The majority of pot smokers, whose use can be typified as being casual, will probably not find themselves in the grips of addiction down the road. That does not mean that there are no other risks to be aware of, findings that could influence one’s choice to use.

Cannabis Research: Making Sense of the Noise

In recent years, there has been much research conducted on both the potential health benefits and health penalties of cannabis use. Both advocates and opponents of the drug will introduce the findings of such research as if it were 100 percent accurate, when it is often not. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal, if the confidence in such research didn’t sway voters; who, in the end, may find they have voted against their best interest.

Making sense of it all so that we can produce informed decisions about the drug can be nerve-racking, to say the least. To make sense of the noise in deciding which research to put stock in, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) sought to shine some light on the subject. The organization analyzed more than 10,700 study abstracts published in peer-reviewed journals since 1999. The conclusion of which, supports what was written above, researchers know little about the effects of marijuana use.

After looking at research, ranging from studies on marijuana's hand in mental health development, treatment of chronic pain and the drug's effect on the lungs—there was little that could be backed by substantial scientific evidence. NASEM writes:

This is a pivotal time in the world of cannabis policy and research. Shifting public sentiment, conflicting and impeded scientific research, and legislative battles have fueled the debate about what, if any, harms or benefits can be attributed to the use of cannabis or its derivatives. This report provides a broad set of evidence-based research conclusions on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids and puts forth recommendations to help advance the research field and better inform public health decisions.”


The report on the review of the abstracts indicated:

  • Twelve of the conclusions are supported by conclusive or substantial evidence.
  • Twenty-five are supported by moderate evidence.
  • Twenty-seven are supported by limited evidence.
  • Another 27 conclusions no or insufficient evidence.


Problem Cannabis Use

As for substance abuse, or problem cannabis use as it is often called, there is science that users should be aware. The was substantial evidence that cannabis use at an earlier age, being male and smoking cigarettes are risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use. There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between increases in cannabis use frequency and the progression to developing problem cannabis use. There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of substance dependence and/or substance abuse disorder for substances including:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Other Illicit Drugs


Moving forward…

A review of research abstracts often resets the starting line for new research. This type of review is a much needed resource for scientists, as they set parameters for new studies. It is also a useful resource for addiction experts in the field of medicine and clinical therapy. NBC Nightly News’ Harry Smith presented a good overview of this study, you can see it here.

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for marijuana addiction please reach out to our California drug abuse rehab today.

Addiction Epidemic, Not Opioid Epidemic

addiction epidemicThe American opioid epidemic may be misleading to some people. While prescription painkillers and heroin are both addictive and carry the potential for overdose death, the U.S. is not actually in the midst of an opioid drug epidemic. We are, in fact, in the grips of an addiction epidemic. Case in point: Efforts to limit access to prescription opioids have had the effect of making it harder to acquire certain drugs, but people are still dying at unprecedented rates. Why? The answer being that the epidemic we face is not the disease of drugs, but rather the disease of addiction—a debilitating mental illness.

Remove every drug from the equation, and the mental health disorder known as addiction will live on. We could take it even further, arguing that the crisis we actually face is the epidemic of untreated addiction. And if that is the case, it is hard to compare the problem we see to epidemics of the past, such as the AIDS epidemic.

A Waxing or Waning Epidemic

The field of epidemiology, much like addiction, is not an exact science. Experts have a good understanding of both, but there are no guarantees which way things will go. Will the epidemic wax or wane, will the recovering addict continue to improve or will they relapse? Questions that are hard to answer. Attempts to curb the opioid use disorder epidemic stealing lives across the country are extensive, and multifaceted.

  • The adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs for combatting “doctor shopping.”
  • Revising provider opioid prescribing practice guidelines.
  • Expanding access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
  • The most important effort of all, increasing access and funding for addiction treatment services across the nation.
The last effort is the most significant. It is the only tactic that addresses the root problem, rather than just the symptoms of addiction, i.e. dependence and overdose. Making painkillers harder to acquire or abuse will only serve to force opioid addicts to find their drugs elsewhere. Naloxone can save lives, but it cannot cure addiction. Treatment is the most effective measure for ending the opioid use disorder epidemic.

Hope On the Horizon

The severity of the American opioid epidemic can be most easily gauged by the death toll associated with abuse, as opposed to opioid addiction rates. If the death toll increases, efforts are not having the desired effect. On the other hand, if fewer people die in any given year, one could argue that the measures implemented have been effective. With opioid overdoses surpassing traffic fatalities, you might think that the crisis is as bad as ever. However, the big picture may tell another story altogether.

Using epidemiological models, researchers believe that there may be an end in sight. At least regarding opioid overdose death rates. A couple of years back, a group of researchers from Columbia University used what is known as Farr’s Law to develop projections regarding the epidemic. Looking at overdose death rate data from 1980 to 2011, it showed that 2016-17 would be the height of the opioid epidemic. According to the models developed using Farr’s Law, the death rate should line up with that of the 1980’s by the year 2034. However, the authors warn:
Although the method we applied originated from studies of infectious diseases, it is unknown whether Farr’s Law applies to epidemics of a non-infectious origin. It is plausible that a non-communicable disease, such as drug overdose, can follow infectious patterns...Mortality data over the next two decades will ultimately test the accuracy of our projections. If the drug overdose epidemic is indeed waning, it may imply that the intensified efforts in recent years, such as enhanced prescription drug monitoring, are working and should be continued.”


Can We See the Forest for the Trees?

It would be nice if their projections hold true. Every life saved is a step in the right direction, even if efforts fail to address the underlying cause of the epidemic—addiction. But if we accept that addiction, while in fact a disease, is something quite different than other health conditions, there is really no way of knowing how things will go. What we can bet on is that expanding access to addiction treatment is a sure way of seeing results. All other efforts are likely to only produce superficial results, merely scratching the surface of the greater problem that is an addiction epidemic.

The greatest life-saving potential can be found in treatment centers and the rooms of recovery for continued maintenance. If you or loved one is in the grips of opioid addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center.

INTERVENTION Endless Possibilities

In my life there are endless possibilities...staring right back at me.” ...Bosshouse

Living with an addict

Families who face the heartache of living with an addict often don’t know where to turn, and they can’t imagine what possibilities exist for their loved one to recover. Every day parents, spouses, siblings and children try to regroup and consider what they may have done different to have prevented the addiction that now threatens their loved one’s life.

So, it was with a young man named Sturgill. His life was moving along in a very positive direction. Sturgill looked ahead to endless possibilities. He was doing well in school, active in sports including golden glove boxing and wrestling. His goals included the Olympics and academically he considered pre-med, but then came the broken arm, which led to many surgeries and his addiction to pain pills. Sturgill’s story is one that is played out hundreds, if not thousands, of times each day in our country. Pain pills leading to heroin and then resorting to mixing alcohol, Benzodiazepines (“benzos”), and Methadone -a deadly combination which can have dire consequences.

An INTERVENTION℠...the possibility of change

  A&E INTERVENTION℠ Intervention

This past year Sturgill’s parents realized that they needed to find a way to intervene with his life which was slowly spiraling out of control. They also knew they needed to work with a professional interventionist who could guide them in confronting Sturgill and assist them in making it clear to Sturgill that if he did not accept the opportunity to go for treatment for his addiction, then they would need to step back, set boundaries and make it clear they will no longer enable his behavior.

Sylvia Parsons, an interventionist, was chosen by A&E INTERVENTION℠ to work with Sturgill and his family. An so, in Season 16, Episode 8 (AKA Season 18, Episode 27), Sturgill’s life as an addict is chronicled and his family, with the assistance of Ms. Parsons, is able to implore Sturgill to agree to go for treatment at PACE Recovery Center.

Sturgill’s willingness to accept that his life could still hold endless possibilities was a relief to his family. As his father said: “I’m feeling relieved and appreciative...he has to do it now.”

Meet Sturgill and his family...some 54 days later

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

At PACE Recovery Center Sturgill learned about addiction and the importance of brotherhood in recovery. He focused on getting better with the help of his therapists. He says it best:

Mentally it’s a little different, you still get triggers, you still get cravings. But here they teach you how to work through them. It’s like putting tools in your toolbox, to use in the real world. It’s amazing it’s changed my life drastically.I’m thinking about after treatment, I need to go to sober living and get my bachelors and come back and work in treatment. I think that would be really good for me, to surround myself with people that I could help, because I’ll know what they went through… I’m so happy now, I feel happy. That’s it. Rehab saved my life.”
 

Don’t let the story be left untold...

Everyone’s life is a story...with many chapters. Sometimes people need a little help to tell their story. PACE Recovery Center is a gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Our clients are given the possibility to be part of an exciting and dynamic 12-step recovery community.

The entire treatment team of PACE Recovery Center is honored to be part of Sturgill’s recovery story.

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