Quitting Cigarettes Helps Your Recovery


Cigarettes, albeit legal, are particularly harmful to anyone’s health. All of us are taught at a young age to avoid tobacco products of any kind, especially cigarettes. Otherwise we put ourselves at great risk of developing life-threatening health conditions, including: cancer, respiratory and vascular disease. The warnings are everywhere, even on the boxes they are packed in. There are mountains of research to support correlations between smoking and premature death. Yet, smoking in the United States and beyond continues in spite of the clear and present dangers.

The reasons people give for why they began smoking in the first place are varied. Much like the reasons people give for why they continue to smoke. But, one thing is certain. Most long-term tobacco smokers say they wish the never started and they would love to quit. A wish that is extremely difficult to achieve. For the simple fact that nicotine, an alkaloid absorbed into the bloodstream when one smokes is highly addictive. Nicotine is a stimulant, but it also acts as a sedative producing feelings of calmness. Which is why people tend to smoke more when they are stressed. If you are a smoker, then you are no stranger to this tendency.

Smoking cigarettes has inherent risks beyond those listed above for people working programs of addiction recovery. Research published earlier this year indicated that smokers in recovery are at a greater risk of relapse. Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health found over a three-year period, smokers were about two times more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.

Such findings are of the utmost importance. Previous studies show that at least two-thirds of people with a history of drug/alcohol addiction, have histories of smoking. What’s more, research from the last decade shows that around 60 percent of people in AA smoke.

Protecting Recovery - Quitting Cigarettes

In the field of addiction recovery nicotine addiction is typically not the zenith of priorities. Treatment facilities stress smoking cessation, yet quitting is not a requirement for achieving long-term recovery. Options to help quitting are always provided and clients are impressed to utilize these while under care.

However, it’s highly unlikely that anyone ever chose to buy a pack of cigarettes over paying their rent. Nicotine is not something that many people have lied, cheated, and stole to acquire. You get the idea. But, it’s worth remembering that cigarettes are often tried before any other substance. Most people don’t usually start down the road of addiction with hard drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana tend to be the first chapters of most people’s addictive storylines.

In recovery, any substance that can cause even minute feelings of euphoria can potentially jeopardize one’s recovery. Mind-altering substances that are used to cope with stress versus dealing with a problem in healthy ways — can be risky. Regardless of being considered benign.

Whether you have 10 days clean and sober or 10 years, quitting smoking can help your program. If your program is the most important aspect of your life, then quitting should be entertained. And there is no better time than the present. It is a difficult chore, but with the aid of the 12 Steps, your support network, and cessation aids it’s possible.

Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums, patches and inhalers can help you achieve the goal. The drugs CHANTIX® (varenicline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) have helped a significant number of people quit, as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in conjunction with nicotine replacements and a support network typically bears the most fruit.

Long-Term Recovery Requires A Healthy Body

This post began with a focus on the negative impact that cigarettes has on one’s health. With that in mind, anyone looking to continually maintain a program of recovery must prioritize healthy living. Recovery may keep you from a premature death. But, if something else counters it, it’s a serious problem.

Smoking cigarettes for years can wreak havoc on the human body. In some cases, causing irreparable damage that may be irreversible. Have you been smoking for years? If so, you might be inclined to think that the damage done thus far, is done. Set in stone. Which could potentially reinforce a continuation of the self-defeating behavior, on your part. However, one of the most remarkable things about the human body is its ability to repair itself. Of course, it must be given the opportunity.

Tobacco is extremely caustic. Although, new research indicates that shortly after quitting smoking, specific metabolic changes occur — reversing some mal-effects caused by tobacco. The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research.

Researchers analyzed lab samples of male volunteers attempting to quit smoking—up to three months after smoking cessation. The team observed 52 metabolites that were altered, and several that showed “reversible changes.”

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped a significant number of young males abstain from cigarettes. We understand that long-term recovery is contingent upon taking care of one’s health. The cycle of nicotine addiction, like any addictive substance, can be broken if one is given the right environment and tools. Please contact us today to begin the life-long journey of addiction recovery.

Preventing New Opioid Use Disorders


As National Recovery Month quickly comes to a close it is important to talk, once again, about opioid use disorders. The use of which has resulted in the most serious addiction epidemic to ever bear down on the United States. Naturally, being in the field of addiction medicine, we’ve covered this topic at great length. From causation to consequence. While we can talk about such things ad nauseam, it is far more important to discuss some ways out this “perfect storm.”

In the immortal words of Robert Frost, “the best way out is always through.” So, and with that logic in mind — headfirst into the storm, we go. As has been pointed out, time and time again, the root of the epidemic rests with opioid prescribing practice standards. Which, up into recently, there were relatively few. But, even with greater utilization of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) opioids are still prescribed in great numbers. In fact, in many California counties, there more prescription opioids than people, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Case in Point: 2016 Trinity County population — 13,628 people. However, there were 18,439 prescriptions filled in the same year. The highest per capita rate of opioid prescriptions in California, in the fourth smallest county in the state.

The case of Trinity County is not unique to rural California, any more than it is to rural America. Prescription opioids may be a little harder to get or prescribed in large numbers. But, it has had very little effect overall. After all, more people died of overdoses in 2016 than 2015. The only real and notable difference is what people are overdosing on, and why.

Preventing New Opioid Use Disorders

Fewer people are dying from prescription opioids than just a few years, ago. Which is great. However, more people are dying from heroin and fentanyl, an even deadlier opioid analgesic. A New York Times analysis found that 15,400 overdose deaths could be attributed to heroin, 20,100 to fentanyl. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses during last year. Which means that more people are dying from illicit opioids than prescriptions.

Such numbers should not be read to mean that the focus of addiction prevention should pivot to illicit opioids. Especially when you consider that most people report starting down the path to opioid use disorder with prescription painkillers. The heroin and fentanyl problem in America has its origins in prescription opioids. And opioid use initiation most commonly begins with a prescription, still. The Trinity statistics are a clear indication that the business of prescribing is, good.

There is no question, making headway requires a multifaceted approach. Calling upon both lawmakers to enact common sense legislation and health leaders to push for more informed doctors. The better doctors understand addiction, the fewer patients who will be prescribed opioids. In turn, reducing the number of future opioid use disorders. What’s more, encouraging doctors to only rely on a prescription opioid when it’s absolutely necessary.

In the United States we’ve become so reliant on opioids, we ignore the alternatives. Non-opioid methods of managing pain, that in many cases can be more effective, and certainly less dangerous.

Opioid Addiction Can Be Avoided

Every time opioids are prescribed, there is potential for future opioid use disorders. You may be surprised to learn that with some forms of pain, opioids can exacerbate one’s symptoms. If “addictive” and “prolonging pain” is a possibility, it dictates that doctors should look elsewhere in many cases. You’d even think that doctors would welcome opioid alternatives, and in many cases, they do. But, there are still others who rely heavily on prescription opioids for all things pain. Despite the risk of opioid use disorders. The reason for this is often because of financial incentives to prescribe certain drugs by the pharmaceutical and insurance industry.

opioid use disorder

Apropos to this, attorneys general (AG) from 35 states sent a message to insurers encouraging painkiller alternatives, The Los Angeles Times reports. Addressed to the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, the letter called for insurers to prioritize coverage of non-opioid treatments. As wells as, pain management techniques that include physical therapy and massage.

If we can get the best practices changed with insurance companies and the payment incentives are just a bit different than what they are today, I think that's going to continue to see the number of pills prescribed and dispensed drop dramatically," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. "This is an important new front to open up."

Reducing prescriptions is just one step in reducing the prevalence of opioid use disorders, but it’s perhaps the most salient. With more than 2 million with opioid use disorders and rising, action is required now. Both the pharmaceutical and insurance industry can have a major role in ending an epidemic they helped create.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Efforts to change prescribing practices are vital, but they don’t mean much to those already in the grips of addiction. Equally important to reducing our reliance on opioids, is increasing our reliance on addiction treatment. Tempering the storm of opioid addiction is best achieved through opioid use disorder treatment. Recovery is possible, and if you have been touched by the disease, please do not hesitate to reach out for assistance. At PACE Recovery Center, we are fully equipped to assist young men who are ready to break the insidious cycle of addiction. Please contact us today, and make this Recovery Month the beginning of your own recovery.

In Addiction Recovery Your Voice Matters

e plu·ri·bus u·num

ē ˌplo͝orəbəs ˈ(y)o͞onəm/ noun

  1. out of many, one

In addiction recovery we all have a Voice. It is a fact that no one should ever forget. While in the grips of this most progressive mental health disorder people find themselves mute. Sure, you can speak and be heard when in the cycle of addiction, at least superficially. But, for the most part what you have to say is generally ignored by society. The byproduct of decade after decade of continued disenfranchisement due to social stigma. Despite being an accepted mental health condition, much of society continues to view people with the disease differently. Especially when compared to other life-threatening illness.

Doctors, scientists and psychotherapists all agree that addiction can be treated given the opportunity. Yet, much of society still views use disorders as a moral failing or a lack of willpower. And it can be hard to blame such people. After all, those who have never felt the powerful gravitational pull of mind-altering substances are not likely to understand. Any more than an ambulatory person could understand someone who’s bound to a wheelchair. But, just because we’ve never walked in one’s shoes doesn’t mean that compassion and empathy can’t be exercised en masse.

At this time in American history, the need for compassion and understanding is paramount. Millions of people are currently on a collision course toward premature death. Despite the fact that their disease carries the possibility of recovery. Many of those still out there living in the self-defeating cycle of addiction are deterred from seeking recovery. Having been convinced that recovery is a pipedream. Believing that they are flawed and there is little hope for any kind of redemption from their decisions in life. It’s understandable, but it is a line of thinking that is in error.

Being the Voice of Addiction Recovery

It is probably fair to say that many people in recovery have been patiently awaiting the turn of the tide. A paradigm shift in thinking about addiction among society as a whole. Which is not far-fetched, considering the opioid addiction epidemic which has stolen the lives of people from every demographic. Over the last decade we have seen several lawmakers sing a different tune. Those who, historically, viewed addiction as a moral failing and drug use as a crime now see it differently. In some cases, their enlightenment came at a heavy cost, having lost someone dear to them. The silver lining being that more and more lawmakers are advocating for addiction treatment over jail.

However, even though addiction treatment services exist all over the country they are often underutilized. This is why it is vital that people in active addiction be encouraged to seek treatment. It is crucial that those with alcohol and substance use disorders be shown that recovery is attainable. Rather than wait for society to come around to this well-known fact, we the people in recovery can help. We can share our stories of recovery to inspire those still in the shadow of addiction. It is worth remembering that people in recovery are not a small demographic.

Everyday, millions of people around the globe work programs of continued recovery. People from all walks of life sharing the common bond of recovery. Everyone’s addiction and recovery is their own, to be shared about at their own discretion. One of the pillars of recovery being anonymity. Yet, that doesn’t mean that one can’t decide to share their experience of recovery with people not in the program. You just can’t share another person’s story. Your story belongs to you.

Join The Voices for Recovery

Stigma still exists, to be sure. There are those who would use such information of your illness against you, still to this day. But, that is becoming less and less a reality. We are not out of the woods yet, by any means, but slow progress is being made in that respect. Evolution aided by the realities of the addiction epidemic in America.

In recent years you may have noticed that greater numbers of people are choosing to talk about their disease. Not just at meetings, but at large. Using media as a tool to show that addiction can happen to anyone, you are eligible too (YET). Such people are not doing this for sympathy, they bravely share their story of recovery to encourage others. When people in the grips of addiction see that recovery is possible, they are more likely to seek help. Which is why during National Recovery Month, SAMHSA is urging people in recovery to do something courageous. This September, Join The Voices for Recovery to inspire change.

Out of many, one. By ourselves little change can be affected, together the voices of recovery can ripple across the country. Potentially inspiring countless people to do something courageous, like seek treatment. We realize that not everyone can, or feels comfortable sharing their story in a public forum. Particularly not in the biggest public forum ever conceived—the Internet. But, many of you do, and have so far. Over the last couple weeks people have been using their voice on YouTube and beyond to encourage others. It could be argued that young people in recovery can have the greatest impact. Their peers being some of the more difficult to sway toward treatment. Young people with addiction are often in denial, saying, ‘I’m not what addiction looks like.’ Often a fatal delusion.

In Recovery: I Am, Because of You

If you’d like to Join The Voices for Recovery, you can find information here. You can see an example below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

All of us in recovery didn’t end up here by accident. Most of us resisted for years before being encouraged to seek help. Our story can only be told because others were there for us when we could not be there for ourselves. When we could not trust our own judgment. The fellowship took us in, when no one else would. Right now, thousands of young men battling opioid use disorder are at great risk of overdose. Encouraging such people to reach for recovery will in effect, help them save their own life.

If you are a young male who is ready to make the courageous choice of recovery, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. Recovery is possible and we can help you find it, and the gifts that come with the fellowship.

The Science of Addiction


One of the most read and loved monthly magazines is National Geographic. Most of us have fond memories growing up scanning the magazine for awe-inspiring images of animals and landscapes. With the first issue published in 1888, National Geographic now reaches more than 730 million globally in 172 countries and 43 languages every month. In the United States, there is a circulation of 3.5 million per month. Many readers subscribe for articles about pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee) or loxodonta africana (African bush elephant). But, Nat Geo focuses on human interests as well. In this month’s edition, the publication set its sights on addiction, and the conditions’ many complexities.

We often think of addiction as being an American problem. We know it affects people around the globe, but in the United States we are using the market share of drugs. Especially opioid use, as you must be acutely aware by now has reached epidemic proportions. Opioid use, prescription or illicit, is a serious concern that deserves overwhelming attention. Yet, it is worth pointing out that opioids, like alcohol or any other mind-altering drug, can cut life short. This doesn’t just happen in America, it is happening almost everywhere. Finding ways to mitigate the risks of premature death is no easy task, to be sure. Although, taking the focus off the substances, and placing it on the underlying condition is perhaps the most salient. The disease of addiction.

After all, addiction is addiction is addiction. What one struggles with pales in importance to what is to be done about it. History shows us that billions of dollars can be spent to make it more difficult to get “high.” Yet, people will still get high.

Addiction by The Numbers

In the U.S. we have tried “locking up” every addict, and most people still use again upon release. All we’ve accomplished is creating an overburdened prison system housing mostly nonviolent drug offenders. Exhausting billions in taxpayers’ money every year. To make a long story short, treating addiction as a crime hasn’t paid off—doing absolutely nothing good. Rather than delve into to Our track record of draconian policies on addiction in America, let's pivot our focus. As was pointed out earlier, Nat Geo published a lengthy spotlight on addiction and the scientific effort for clarity. But first, some figures:

  • 1.1 Billion Smokers Worldwide
  • Over 100 Opioid Overdose in America Every Day
  • 3.3 Million Worldwide Die Each Year from Alcohol
  • 21 million Americans Living With Drug or Alcohol Addiction

In 2015, 33,091 Americans died of an overdose, enough to make anyone wince, but again addiction is not just Our problem. Over 200,000 people worldwide die of overdose or drug-related Illness every year, The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports. Such figures you might find hard to believe. You may find it even harder to believe that more people are living with the disease of addiction than cancer in America. Both are deadly, but only one of them carries social stigma. Veritably, we don’t need to point out which. If addiction in America is an epidemic, addiction worldwide is nothing short of a pandemic. And if solutions are to be found it requires the attention of some of the world's brightest scientists.

The Science of Addiction

In a sense, addiction is a pathological form of learning,” said Antonello Bonci to National Geographic, a neurologist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Which begs the question, can it be unlearned? Many experts would argue, no, it can’t. And for good reason. Few people, if any, have ever thought their way out of an illness. However, science continues to shed light on the complexities of addiction. In turn, new avenues have been opened to help treat the disease and give a greater number of people hope for breaking the self-defeating cycle.

The Nat Geo article has many facets and layers of minutiae. We obviously can’t cover all of it, except for the main takeaways. One area covered had to do with advancements in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The researchers working with TMS point out that medications can only go so far. They [medications] can help people quit using, but they do little to prevent relapse. The idea that putting down drugs and alcohol is easy, how to not pick them back up is the crux of addiction science. Dr. Luigi Gallimberti, a psychologist and toxicologist who has been treating addiction for 30 years has hope for TMS, according to the article. Which could essentially reboot the human computer (brain) by activating drug-damaged neural pathways. Gallimberti worked with Bonci, and preliminary research showed promise with cocaine addicts. Future research is planned.

It’s so promising,” Bonci says. “Patients tell me, ‘Cocaine used to be part of who I am. Now it’s a distant thing that no longer controls me.’ ”

Keeping Cravings At Bay

The article transverses several areas involving addiction, from sex to overeating. It talks about the merits of spiritual programs based on the 12 Step model, and beyond. But the overarching theme, or target for that matter, is “craving.” How to stop the brain from craving substances or behaviors that are self-defeating? If the brain's trait of remarkable plasticity can easily lead to addiction, could it be used to foster recovery?

As it stands now, the ways and means of recovery utilized today seem to be anyone's best shot at recovery. A combination of medical detox, residential addiction treatment, medications and continued spiritual maintenance has borne the most fruit. A modality that will surely be fine-tuned as science uncovers the mechanisms of addiction more fully. Particularly regarding craving and keeping dopamine in check. Interestingly, the article writes: “In Buddhist philosophy, craving is viewed as the root of all suffering.”

Perhaps one day soon every addict will have a magnetic wand waved over one’s head. Putting an end to the cravings that lead to relapse. Programs of recovery today, are in no way full proof. But they can lead to long term recovery for anyone who is willing to give the program their all. Those who are committed to being vigilantly honest with them self and others can succeed. It is not easy, testament to the rates of relapse in recovery. But, those who lay a solid foundation to build their recovery upon can, and do recover. At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of young adult males touched by addiction. Are you ready to break the cycle of addiction and learn how to mitigate cravings to avoid relapse? If so, please contact us today. Recovery is possible.

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