Recovery: April is Stress Awareness Month 2020

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This March and April are arguably the most challenging months that people in recovery have faced in living history. Millions of people’s lives depend on constant contact with a mutual support network like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).

Being seen and seeing others reminds recovering individuals that they are not alone. Attending meetings is an outlet of accountability that keeps one on track toward continued progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down; almost everything is different than a short time ago. Protecting your health and the well-being of others demands that we all “shelter in place,” practice social distancing, and use personal protective equipment (PPE).

We have no idea how long these protocols will continue. There are now 854,338 Americans infected with coronavirus; the nation is mourning the loss of 47,125 of our loved ones.

The restrictions imposed on the planet are stressful for each of us, but for those who rely on 12 Step meetings they are taking a nerve-racking toll. Countless people in recovery – regardless of their lengths of sobriety – are in a precarious position and must be more exacting than usual.

While some in-person meetings are still held across the country, people with pre-existing health conditions can’t risk exposure. A significant number of men and women in recovery fall into the above bracket. For such individuals, the internet and smartphones are the only access points to the recovery community.

Videoconferencing and teleconferencing are helpful, and we are lucky such tools exist. However, protracted in-person isolation takes a traumatic toll on a group of people whose program can be compromised by seclusion. Quarantine is stressful and frustrating; if the pressure builds up and isn’t released in a healthy way, the outcome could be a relapse.

Stress Awareness Month 2020

It’s both fitting and ironic that April happens to be Stress Awareness Month. April is always stressful because of taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15th. While forking over your savings to the IRS is worrisome, it pales in comparison to the fear of contracting a deadly virus.

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. The goal of the annual observance is to help people learn how to cope with stress in non-destructive ways. De-stressing is a target that each person in recovery must focus on, perhaps now more than ever.

Just shy of one year ago, a survey showed that Americans were among the most stressed-out people in the world. The Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report indicated that in 2018 men and women in the United States reported feeling stress, anger, and worry at the highest levels in a decade.

What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news, told The New York Times. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”

Gallup asked survey participants about how they felt in the previous day:

  • 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing stress during a lot of the day.
  • 45 percent felt worried a lot.
  • 22 percent – more than one in five – felt angry a lot.

Naturally, maintaining a positive attitude during this unprecedented event is no small hurdle. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to let the new normal of isolation jeopardize your program of recovery. There are many techniques for enhancing your positivity while sheltering in place.

Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to remind you that a positive attitude changes everything (PACE). You have the power to maintain a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.

Your recovery must always come first; call your sponsor and peers in your “deep bench” of support regularly. Attend meetings via the internet. Read recovery related materials and find ways to have fun at home.

If you find yourself becoming overly stressed, try to silence your mind. Meditation is an effective way to bring yourself back to a state of serenity. Exercise is another means of combating anxiety, worries, and pressure.

Being cooped up will ultimately lead to feeling stir crazy. Get outside and take at least a 30-minute walk every day. If you don’t have physical limitations, then go for a bicycle ride or a jog. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go to a gym to work out, nor do you require workout equipment at home. Pushups, sit-ups, and yoga can keep you physically fit and reduce your stress levels.

Any of the above suggestions can help you stay positive despite the pandemic. Staying positive will protect your recovery and keep your program intact until the storm passes.

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

One of the unfortunate byproducts of “stay at home” orders is that Americans are drinking and drugging at elevated rates. Moreover, these arduous past couples of months have impacted members of the recovery community significantly and led to many relapses.

If you relapsed, please get back on track before your situation worsens. It’s possible that you require professional assistance to get back on the road to lasting recovery. We invite adult males who are struggling with mental health and behavioral health problems like depression or addiction to contact us today.

PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific recovery programs and services for men. Please reach out to us today to learn more and begin the healing process. Our dedicated team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists are following all COVID-19 protocols for protecting our clients.

Addiction Recovery: Refocusing On Opioid Use Disorder

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The United States isn’t a stranger to deadly epidemics. For over twenty years, public health officials have waged a protracted war against the opioid addiction epidemic. Opioid use disorder (OUD) has cut hundreds of thousands of lives short; millions of Americans are currently in the grips of OUD and are in desperate need of addiction recovery.

As you well know, our local, state, and federal public health agencies are stretched thin because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. As such, it’s unlikely that health officials have the resources to combat two epidemics simultaneously.

The deadly coronavirus is commonly referred to as COVID-19; ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. The 19 corresponds to the year it was discovered. If you’ve been following the news reports while sheltering in place, then you know that the coronavirus has hit America harder than any other country.

Today’s reports indicate that 672,303 Americans have confirmed cases and 33,898 of our citizens are no longer with us. It must be pointed out that the exact number of people who have COVID-19 is probably significantly higher than what the reports indicate, as is the death toll. Testing is limited, people can be asymptomatic, and there has been a shortage of autopsies. Some Americans are dying from SARS-CoV-2, and it’s not being reported.

Limited Testing Demands Continued Preventive Measures

Only people who exhibit symptoms are eligible for a test because of the limited number of available tests. On April 16th, only 3.2 million (about 1 percent of the population) Americans had been tested, according to The Atlantic. Nearly one in five people who get tested for the COVID-19 in the United States are positive; Tracking Project reports that is a “test-positivity rate” of nearly 20 percent. Jason Andrews, an infectious-disease professor at Stanford, says that number is “very high.”

The reality laid out above is alarming and is cause for all of us to continue taking preventative measures. Even though prolonging the practice of social distancing and sheltering in place is taking a toll on us all, we must keep heeding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Along with wearing face masks in public, following CDC recommendations is the only way to stop the spread of the disease until the advent of a vaccine.

Unfortunately, it’s challenging for average citizens to acquire a medical grade face mask like the N95; those available need to be in the hands of medical workers who are on the frontlines. The good news is that making an effective mask is relatively easy with a few essential ingredients. Matthew McConaughey, AKA “Bobby Bandito,” explains how:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Refocusing On Opioid Addiction Recovery

Over the last two decades we’ve witnessed a staggering rise in overdose deaths mostly involving the use of opioid narcotics. Opioid addiction remains a real public health threat that has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s vital that we do not lose sight of the crisis and continue to provide and expand access to addiction recovery services.

The day will come when the coronavirus is contained, but addiction will continue to plague millions of Americans. We have written on many occasions about the steps taken to curb opioid use disorder rates and reduce the annual death toll related to prescription opioids and heroin. The passing of multiple pieces of legislation to expand access to addiction treatment and the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone has paid off.

In 2018, the number of overdose deaths in America fell by 4 percent from the previous year, Politico reports. Experts considered the reduction as an inflection point. The decrease is almost certainly due to the actions we mentioned above. However, there is reason to believe that we could see a rise in 2020 because the nation’s public health experts are primarily focused on the pandemic.

We must turn our eyes back to the American addiction epidemic related to opioids and other deadly substances. Experts must take steps to ensure people can access addiction recovery services. Moreover, those struggling with substance use disorders need to be made aware that addiction treatment centers are still operating; they are an “essential service” if the strictest sense of the words.

I think we’re going to see deaths climb again,” Nora Volkow, the long-serving director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We can’t afford to focus solely on COVID. We need to multitask.”

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic During a Pandemic

Yesterday, a group of mental health and addiction recovery advocates spoke with White House officials, including the president, according to the article. The experts cautioned that without nearly $50 billion in emergency funds, progress made with the opioid epidemic could be lost. They said that with new support, we could prevent backsliding on the ground we’ve made regarding the shortage of providers and stigma. The funds will ensure that people can access lifesaving addiction recovery services.

Some of you will remember that the “great recession” of 2008 contributed a dramatic rise in opioid use and overdose deaths. Economic woes often lead people to cope in unhealthy ways. Given that 22 million Americans lost their jobs in the last month, history suggests we will see a similar trend to what happened 12 years ago.

There is already evidence that many Americans are using drugs and alcohol to cope with the pandemic. Last week, the market research firm Nielsen reported that alcohol sales surged 55 percent in the first week “stay at home” orders.

Hard liquor sales increased by 75 percent compared to the same time last year. It’s fair to say that a similar trend is occurring regarding opioid use. Sheila Vakharia, a deputy director at the Drug Policy Alliance, said:

We had that little blip, 4 percent or 5 percent decrease [in overdose deaths] and there were way too many headlines celebrating. That tenuous plateau people hoped we were seeing is not going to hold.”

Opioid Addiction Recovery Treatment for Men

Individuals struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders during these challenging times can still take steps toward a life in addiction recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we continue to treat adult males living with addiction and mental health disorders. Our clients’ safety is our chief priority; we continue to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC strictly. Please contact us today to discuss treatment options.

Addiction Recovery Aided by Your Creativity

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More than 100,000 people will likely have succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of the day worldwide. In the United States, 485,451 Americans have confirmed cases of the coronavirus; each day, the number of new cases increases exponentially. As such, the need for people in addiction recovery to continue social distancing and sheltering in place remains a fact of life.

Last week, we discussed the importance of making productive use of your downtime. If you do, then you are better able to maintain a positive attitude during this challenging time. As we like to point out frequently, a positive attitude changes everything for men and women in the addiction recovery community.

Staying positive is not an easy feat to accomplish, especially when you consider the number of people in recovery out of work. In the last three weeks, more than 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment. It’s fair to say that most individuals in early recovery held non-essential positions, which means that those most vulnerable to relapse are now jobless.

Unemployed and unable to connect face-to-face with one’s support network can bring about negative thoughts. Feeling down and out can tempt you to want to find relief in unhealthy ways. If you are experiencing “stinking thinking,” then please play the tape forward and reach out to a peer or sponsor. Alcohol and drugs will not make your current situation any better.

The “Stay at Home” order in California isn’t fun for anyone, but you can make the best of it by getting creative. Reading, writing, playing an instrument, painting, puzzling, and making gratitude lists will keep your mind occupied and lift your spirits.

Creativity Boosts and Strengthens Your Addiction Recovery

Over the last few weeks, you’ve probably spent some time on the internet. Aside from attending online 12 Step meetings, YouTube is an excellent resource for finding ways to be creative in addiction recovery.

It’s an excellent time to pick up a new hobby or return to an activity you used to enjoy but had trouble finding the time. We have an overabundance of disposable time, finding excuses for not engaging in hobbies is challenging.

While this youngster isn’t in recovery, he rewrote the lyrics to a classic Leonard Cohen song made famous by Jeff Buckley. In response to the 5th grader @awesome_dudes_adventure’s difficulties with a video conferencing platform, he decided he would creatively voice his frustrations to the song “Hallelujah.” Please watch the video below:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

The video is both amusing and an excellent example of how you can get creative while continuing to work a program of addiction recovery. Those who are not musically or artistically inclined can seek out other ways to help maintain a positive attitude. Scour the internet for suggestions or unique hobbies that you can adopt; there is a lot out there on how to keep busy amid a pandemic.

Staying Positive Helps You Avoid Despair

If you are committed to staying busy in between your daily online meetings and step work, then you will find it much easier to maintain positive thoughts. It’s also vital to prioritize spirituality and healthy living; doing so will help you find serenity.

Meditation, yoga, and daily walks are examples of methods for staying serene while social distancing. Since the post office is still distributing parcels, you might find it fun to write letters to friends and family even if they are right down the road. When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? Moreover, receiving an envelope from a friend will put a smile on your face.

The goal is avoiding idle time, especially if you are in early recovery and are not yet comfortable in your head. Seeking out ways to get out of yourself and engage your mind will prove to be extremely beneficial. Watching videos of uplifting, positive stories can also help you stay positive:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery Center

Do you require assistance with alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, co-occurring disorder, or mental illness? If you are an adult male who is struggling, then PACE can help you chart a course toward lasting recovery. Please contact us today.

At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and Passover. We understand that gathering with family members may not be possible for millions of people. However, you can utilize general video conferencing platforms to share in the festivities from afar.

Recovery Community and Coping with Vulnerability

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As of the 3rd of April, 2020, more than 1 million people are infected with COVID-19 globally. Here at home, we have 245,573 positive tests, and 6,058 people have died. Hundreds of millions of people, including those in the addiction recovery community, continue to self-quarantine and practice social distancing. Our new way of life is anything but easy and coping with what is going on has been tremendously challenging for some.

At PACE Recovery Center, we hope you are managing as best you can despite the severe life changes we have all had to make. As you are probably aware by now, significant alterations to one’s life are ill-advised in early addiction recovery. Many people lack the ability to adjust to drastic changes, which can put their recovery at risk.

As we mentioned last week, it’s vital that you do everything in your power to continue putting your recovery first. Keep the finger on the pulse of your mental health, and never hesitate to reach out to peers for support. We are all in this together and we are physically cut off from one another.

You still have resources at your disposal that, if utilized, will safeguard your mental well-being. Attending 12 Step meetings via video-conferencing platforms can be instrumental in keeping your recovery intact.

With all the downtime we have now, you can seek out inspirational and supportive online texts and podcasts. In fact, millions of people are listening to a new podcast that can potentially be of significant service to you.

Unlocking Us

Just over a week ago, Brené Brown Ph.D., a professor at the University of Houston, launched a podcast called Unlocking Us. In only one day, it became the most listened-to podcast in America, 60 Minutes reports. The best-selling author’s podcast is meant to help people cope with the pandemic and its byproduct—anxiety and disconnection.

Professor Brown has a Ph.D. in social work and has been studying human emotions and behaviors for decades. Over the course of her career, she has collected much data and has gained great insight into the human need for connection.

Naturally, this pandemic has cut off everyone from personal contact and significantly impacted the lives of those who require it the most. Brené Brown sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker last weekend to discuss her work and weigh in on the global public health crisis.

She explains the importance of communicating with one another, especially during this unprecedented event. She points out how crucial it is that we help each other. Moreover, Brown says, “we are neuro-biologically hardwired to be in connection with other people.” With that in mind and amid a pandemic, she adds:

We don’t know how to do this. And by this I mean, we don’t know how to social distance and stay sane, we don’t know how to stay socially connected but far apart. We don’t know what to tell our kids. We’re anxious, we’re uncertain, we are a lot of us afraid. And let me tell you this for sure, and I know this from my life, I know this, from again, from 20 years of research, and 400,000 pieces of data. If you don’t name what you’re feeling, if you don’t own the feelings, and feel them, they will eat you alive.”

Coping in Recovery When You are Feeling Vulnerable

All of us cannot help but feel a sense of vulnerability to this chaotic and uncertain time. It’s okay to feel vulnerable; “to be alive is to be vulnerable,” according to Dr. Brown. She tells Whitaker that she has asked tens of thousands of people the question, “What is vulnerability to you?” To which he responds by saying how many of us link vulnerability to weakness. Brown countered by saying:

Definitely. Bad mythology. Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s the only path to courage. Give me a single example of courage that does not require uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. No one, in 50,000 people, not a person has been able to give me an example of courage that did not include those things. There is no courage without vulnerability.”

Fortunately, those of you in the recovery community are not alone even if we cannot hold hands or embrace each other currently. We have experience with feeling vulnerable, and the emotion was one of the catalysts for changing our lives for the better.

Still, you are not immune to being uncomfortable with uncertainty and disconnection. It’s ever necessary to keep utilizing your coping tools and take advantage of the digital resources available to help you manage. On top of Unlocking Us, Brown has several TED Talks you can watch that can prove helpful. She also has many books that could be helpful to you as well while continuing to weather the storm that is COVID-19.

Please take a moment to watch her interview:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Finding Recovery During A Crisis

PACE Recovery Center is a gender-specific treatment for men who are struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Even though there is a global health crisis, we are following CDC protocols and continue to accept clients. We invite you to reach out to us to learn more about our programs and begin the journey of lasting recovery.

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