Addiction Recovery Inspirations During a Pandemic

addiction recovery

During these challenging times, it can be a real struggle to find stories of inspiration in the realm of addiction recovery. Millions of men and women around the globe have been cut off from the support networks. What’s more, many people working a program have lost friends to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, 1,687,687 Americans have tested positive, and just over 100,000 have perished.

Still, life must go on for the courageous individuals who have dedicated their lives to recovery. Experience, strength, and hope are what is shared in the rooms of 12 Step recovery. Of late, the message has been carried in the digital world for the first time since the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous. For many, it’s been arduous to stay the course while in isolation, but countless individuals have shown it is possible.

When the community of recovering alcoholics and addicts faces adversity, they come together to support one another in any way possible. The helping hand of recovery is far-reaching, and there is nothing a committed person working a program will not do for their fellow peers. It’s fair to say that the coronavirus pandemic has mostly brought out the better angels of addiction recovery.

Thanks to video and teleconferencing platforms, the addiction recovery community has been able to continue putting in the work for a better life. While there has been an uptick in relapses in recent months, the majority of men, women, and teenagers have managed to maintain their commitment to lasting recovery.

Personal Milestones in Addiction Recovery

As you well know, nobody is exempt or immune to the disease of addiction. It does not spare people based on their background: rich or poor, black or white, and the young or old are all eligible to develop problems with drugs and alcohol. The same is true for celebrities.

Many of you may be aware that Elton John celebrated 29 years of sobriety last July—nearly one year ago. There is an excellent chance he will hold a chip commemorating 30 years in a couple of months. When he reached the momentous milestone, he wrote on social media:

29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”

You might also know that Elton John was instrumental in helping several famous musicians summon the courage to chart a path toward long-term addiction recovery – paying it forward – including Marshal Mathers. Better known by his fans as Eminem, the Emmy-winning rapper struggled with substance abuse for years. He has been open about his addiction recovery and has shared that his mother also battled drug use.

Last month, Eminem, 47, took to Instagram to share a picture acknowledging a personal milestone, USA Today reports. The picture displayed a 12 Year coin from Alcoholics Anonymous; in the caption, he wrote: “Clean dozen, in the books. I’m not afraid.”

The rapper did the same thing when he received an eleven-year chip. Each year he lets other young men know that addiction recovery is possible. He can be a source of inspiration to countless men around the world who are caught in the disease cycle.

Inspirations for Addiction Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand that men of all ages are struggling to cope with the pandemic. Many are relying on drugs and alcohol to get through each day. With some 40 million Americans out of work, it’s likely that despair will be the impetus for a large number of individuals requiring professional assistance.

Both Elton John and Eminem are evidence that the miracle of addiction recovery is within reach for all those who seek to lead a positive and productive life.

If you are an adult male who is currently in the self-defeating, downward spiral of alcohol or substance use disorder, we invite you to contact PACE today to begin a life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues, but many states are taking steps to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. It is still unclear what impact the changes will have on the addiction recovery community. Naturally, going back to in-person meetings in the near future is welcome; however, we should be concerned about heightened relapse and overdose rates among people in early recovery.

We must be clear; the pandemic is not over. Some 1,570,154 Americans have tested positive, and 93,436 have died from complications related to the coronavirus, a 9 percent increase since May 15th. Each of us must continue practicing social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in public is still strongly advised.

It is still unclear how much longer millions of Americans will have to live in relative isolation, which we pointed out before is not healthy for men and women in recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you continue to take precautions to protect your physical and mental health.

As an aside, one of the unforeseen byproducts of the COVID-19 crisis was the effect it would have on the international drug trade, drug sales, overdoses, and the addiction treatment industry. Many of you are probably aware that drug trafficking into the country is much more challenging than it was just a few months ago.

Naturally, stay at home orders made it harder for drug dealers to meet clients on the streets. Heroin shortages resulted in the stretching of product with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine. We don’t have data yet, but it’s fair to wager there has been an uptick in overdoses in some parts of the country as a result.

Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic

Unable to access opioids from one’s usual dealer, many turned to new avenues of acquiring heroin and pills, NPR reports. Utilizing a foreign supply source may not seem like a big deal, but according to an addiction expert in Orange County, California, such changes are fraught with peril.

When they had to use another dealer, they would be getting a different strength. So they weren’t really sure of how they should measure it and how much they should use. So we started seeing a lot of overdoses and a lot of overdose deaths in the first couple of weeks of the pandemic.”

Travel restrictions at the southern border, and on flights from Asia or South America, have decreased the availability of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine significantly. Shortages led dealers to increase their prices exponentially, according to the article. With more than 35 million out of work and store closures preventing shoplifting, many addicts could no longer afford to purchase their drugs.

Many people sought addiction treatment services as one might expect, rather than face painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Jack MacEachern, who runs a Salvation Army residential drug recovery program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the pandemic has led to a decrease in relapse and overdose rates.

Reopening Could Lead to Relapse and Overdose

When a person detoxes and begins a program of recovery, their tolerance to opioids changes. When life returns to normal, and drug supply routes open back up, a number of those who got clean during the lockdown may decide to start using again. Such individuals may not understand that their tolerance is not the same, which could result in a spike of fatal overdoses.

The above concern has resulted in discussions about ramping up access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, a tactic that the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Elinore McCance-Katz, supports, the article reports. However, she says that such measures are complicated.

In some areas, first responders such as law enforcement do not want to administer naloxone because they’re afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus,” said McCance-Katz. “I found that very concerning because the option is that the person dies.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

Please reach out to PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male struggling with opioid use disorder. Opioid addiction is a treatable condition, and long-term recovery is possible with the guidance of professionals. Our gender-specific treatment center for men can give you the tools to break the cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behavior and help you begin a new life.

Addiction Recovery: Staying Present Despite Fear

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Staying present is a vital component of addiction recovery. Unfortunately, it’s likely that many of our readers, of late, are finding it challenging to stay in the “here and now.” The fear of catching the coronavirus and what might happen if one does, can consume one’s thoughts and lead to negative thinking and behaviors.

Today, there are now 1,244,465 Americans whose COVID-19 test has come back positive. Moreover, a staggering 74,413 men, women, and children have died due to health complications related to the coronavirus. As both figures continue to climb in the United States, staying calm, collected, and present is vital to maintaining one’s addiction recovery.

Keep your focus on your program at all times, and do not do anything that will jeopardize your progress. While some states have begun loosening their stay at home orders, and 12 Step groups could start meeting in person in the near future, it is still not safe for immunocompromised individuals to assemble. This means that many people in the recovery community will have to continue working their program from home.

Nearly three months into this public health crisis in America, you probably have learned effective ways of keeping your recovery intact. Attending virtual meetings via video conferencing platforms is a prime example. Adhering to a prayer and meditation regimen is another excellent method for staying present and keeping fear from influencing your mood and decision making.

In previous posts, we’ve written to you about stress management, as well as coping with isolation, vulnerability, and fear. We hope you found the time to read those articles at length. We offer up a number of tips that could help you stay present during these troubling times. Creativity is one example of how to stay present and positive.

Staying Present in Addiction Recovery During Fearful Times

The present, as author Spencer Johnson, M.D., puts it, is precious. Perhaps you have had the chance to read the best-selling author’s books, such as “The Precious Present.” If not, it could be useful to read or listen to a copy while we shelter in place. Johnson writes:

The present is what it is. It is valuable. Even I do not know why. It is already just the way it is supposed to be. When I see the present, accept the present, and experience the present, I am well, and I am happy. Pain is simply the difference between what is and what I want it to be.”

Mr. Johnson has several books that could prove useful to you while coping with the current state of the world and the new normal. Of course, there are many books on practicing mindfulness that can help you stay positive and strengthen your recovery.

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, became a neurologist and psychiatrist and is the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” The book is a harrowing account of surviving the death camps during World War II and so much more.

Within the bindings of Frankl’s relatively short books are many gems of wisdom that we can all benefit from during these difficult times. He contends that the bedrock of staying present is that we each have the power to choose how to respond to a situation—no matter what happens to us. He writes, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” – Viktor Frankl

Overcoming Adversity is Possible

Millions of men, women, and teenagers have embarked upon journeys of addiction recovery. Each day they make a commitment to maintaining a positive attitude as they fight for continued progress.

The global pandemic is an immense test to everyone in recovery, and it test one’s ability to live in the present. Some 33.5 million Americans have lost their jobs, so it can be hard to not dwell on the past and worry about the future, but doing so will be detrimental to your addiction recovery.

You cannot change the state of the world and the existence of coronavirus, but you can take steps to maintain balance in your life. Prioritizing the need for focusing on today will significantly help your cause.

You overcame a mental and behavioral disorder, which is one of the most challenging feats to achieve. As such, you have the strength to persevere during these trying times and stay positive in the process. A positive attitude changes everything.

Never forget that we are all in this together and can help lift one another in times of despair.

To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year, and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are–always!” – Richard Carlson, Ph.D. in psychology

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. Our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Coping With Isolation

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“This Too Shall Pass” and “You Are Not Alone” are familiar phrases to members of the addiction and mental health recovery community. It’s fair to say that we’re living in a time when such mantras are more valuable than ever owing to the pandemic.

We are wise to remember that no matter how bleak the societal forecast looks, we shall overcome this public health crisis eventually. Such words may offer little solace to millions of Americans, but we have to hold on to hope and maintain a positive attitude. Remembering that we are all in this together can help to that end. While we may be ordered to stay at home and shelter in place, keeping in mind that you are not alone is beneficial.

COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s life, and the spread continues, as does the rising death toll. Those most vulnerable to the effects of isolation – those living with addiction and mental health disorders – are facing significant adversity.

Isolation begets loneliness; people in early and long-term recovery struggle dealing with both seclusion and sadness. Fellowship is what makes 12 Step recovery so effective for abstaining from drugs and alcohol and making progress in every sector of one’s life. No longer being physically connected to your support network can wreak havoc on your program, provided you don’t take precautions.

Warding off the sadness that accompanies feeling alone does not come easy for those in early addiction recovery. It takes time to develop coping mechanisms for contending with the discomfort that comes from hardship. Adopting healthy coping skills begins in treatment, but they are strengthened when you put them into practice in real-world situations. A pandemic is the severest example of a real-world situation.

Coping With Mental Health Symptoms in the Face of Fear and Isolation

Fear is one of the driving factors behind both use disorder and mental health symptoms. With 1,084,983 infected Americans and the death of 63,686 of our loved ones, it’s right to feel afraid. The fact that the death toll in less than three months is higher than that of all the Americans who died while serving in Vietnam, 58,220, over two decades is cause for concern.

Public health experts assure us that we can stave off contracting and transmitting the virus by following the CDC and WHO guidelines. Some of those include wearing face masks and latex gloves (Personal Protective Equipment) while in public. The more challenging recommendations are sheltering in place and self-quarantining (if you have or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19). Adhering to the advice of the world’s leading health professionals should reduce some of your fears about contracting the coronavirus.

People living with mental illness or are in addiction recovery depend on connection with others. It’s critical that you continue attending your support groups and therapy sessions via teleconferencing and video conferencing. Call, facetime, or skype with people in your support network every day of the week, particularly if you are harboring negative thoughts.

Negativity can lead to ideations of self-destructive and self-defeating behaviors. If acted upon, you could slide backward in your recovery, lose progress, and potentially relapse. You can avoid all the above unfortunate byproducts of negative thoughts by digitally linking up with your friends and family.

The goal is to prevent fear, isolation, and loneliness from being the impetus for relapse or a resurgence of mental illness symptoms. Throughout the day, try to remind yourself that you are not alone, and this too shall pass.

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

mental health

April was Stress Awareness Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month; both observances could not have come at a better time. For the one in five Americans living with a mental health disorder, support is needed now more than ever. The same is especially true for the one in 25 adults who contend with a severe mental illness.

It is worth reiterating how vital it is to stay connected with each other and show support for the 47.6 million Americans dealing with conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder. More than half of our fellow members of the addiction recovery community also have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

It’s fitting that the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone.” This month, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will feature personal stories from people living with mental health conditions.

If you would like to share your story and help people feel less alone during these isolating times, then you can submit your story here. Your experience may brighten the lives of others who may be struggling to cope with our new normal. NAMI writes:

NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others, and educate the broader public. Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with the digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing. Even in times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is always here, reminding everyone that you are not alone.

Mental Health Treatment for Adult Men

If you or an adult male you love is struggling with a mental illness, then please reach out to PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific facility specializes in treating men battling addiction or mental health disorders. Our team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists help men get on the road to lasting recovery.

We want to share with you that our dedicated staff is taking every precaution to safeguard the health of our clients. If you would like to learn more about the COVID-19 response at PACE, then please click here.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sincerest condolences are with the millions of families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus. We are hopeful that all the infected make a fast recovery.

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