Addiction Recovery: Clean and Sober Celebrities Inspire Hope

addiction recovery

Celebrities who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders experience many of the same problems as average citizens. However, unlike average Americans, moviestars’ and musicians’ addictions make the headlines. A lack of anonymity can lead to shame and disgrace that can hinder one’s ability to find addiction recovery.

Famous individuals who battle addictive disorders become controversial figures regularly. Stars may do things while under the influence that can mar their reputations irrevocably at times. Addiction jeopardizes many careers or can end them entirely if steps to recover are not taken.

Sadly, many beloved pop icons have succumbed to their disease or taken their lives. We are all familiar with movie stars, television actors, comedians, and musicians whose lives ended in tragedy.

While society mourns the loss of beloved celebrities and remembers the joy such people brought to the lives of millions, it’s also vital to acknowledge those who battled addiction and found recovery. Some even go on to share their stories with the world and inspire others to seek addiction recovery.

Numerous people employed in Hollywood are working programs and championing causes to help end the misconceptions about addiction. Whenever someone who is looked up to by millions of people shares their story, it erodes the stigma of mental and behavioral health disorders.

Some of you may have read articles about Brad Pitt’s road to recovery recently. He has openly shared about the impact alcohol had on his life, what it cost him, and how addiction recovery saved his life. In interviews, he’s mentioned how other celebrities helped him in recovery, such as Bradley Cooper. Pitt and Cooper’s honesty is not rare; many other cultural icons are doing their part to inspire hope in others.

Addiction: A Family Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate

Some of our readers may know that the multiple-Grammy award-winning artist James Taylor had a long battle with addiction. Perhaps you know that he sought the help of addiction treatment centers on several occasions and experienced many relapses before finding long-term recovery.

TIME published an article on Taylor recently that brings to light many of the factors that impacted his life. When James was a teenager, he was admitted to a mental health facility, according to the article. He says that music saved his life, but he would go on to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a nascent musician.

Addiction is a family disease. Like many people who are touched by alcohol and substance use disorders, Taylor’s family struggled with addiction too. His parents and all four siblings each battled with drugs and alcohol.

Taylor shared that he was addicted to opiates for about 18 years on an episode of Oprah’s Master Class in 2015. He finally found recovery and began working the 12 Steps in 1983 and has been sober ever since. That same year he released his 16th album, Before This World, which included songs that dealt with addiction recovery and salvation.

With more than 30 years of sobriety, James Taylor is proof that long-term recovery is possible even for the most severely addicted. Moreover, he does not shy away from carrying the message to those still in the grips of the disease.

The sooner you get over it, the sooner you get on with your life,” Taylor said. “The 12-step programs are the best way we’ve discovered, so far, for recovering from addiction.”

Finding sobriety has led other artists and actors to create works that shine a light on addiction and recovery. People are encouraged to seek help when celebrities courageously share and create music and films about the disease.

From Addiction Recovery to Relapse: The Way Back

As mentioned earlier, addiction can make a person into a controversial figure and take what’s most important from them, and such is the case of Oscar-winner Ben Affleck. The Argo director has been in the news lately a lot due to his divorce, apologizing for groping a talk show host in 2013, and his struggles with alcoholism.

Last year, he relapsed a few months after announcing he had achieved one year of sustained recovery, The New York Times reports. He acknowledges that alcohol use cost him his marriage to Jennifer Garner, the mother of their three children. While his recent relapse was a significant setback and source of shame, he has not given up on breaking the cycle of addiction.

It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Ben Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”

Addiction is a family disease for Ben Affleck; his father is an alcoholic just like James Taylor’s. He shares that his father sobered up when Ben was 19. His younger brother Casey Affleck has spoken openly about his battle with alcoholism and sobriety. The Afflecks’ aunt struggled with heroin addiction, and their grandmother and uncle both committed suicide.

Ben Affleck is back in recovery and is working. He stars in The Way Back, which opens in theaters on March 6, about a man in the grips of alcoholism. The main character’s life echo’s Affleck’s life in several ways.

In the film, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach. Cunningham, like Affleck, lost his marriage to drinking, the article reports. He will eventually end up in addiction treatment.

California Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to lead a healthy and positive life in addiction recovery. Our center utilizes evidence-based therapies to help men break the disease cycle.

Our Masters and Doctorate-level clinicians also specialize in the treatment of stand-alone and co-occurring mental illness. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about the benefits of gender-specific treatment and the PACE Recovery difference.

Addiction and Sadness Connection: Emotions and Addictive Behaviors

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Positive emotions are beneficial for people in recovery; whereas, negative emotions derail one’s program and can lead to relapse. At PACE, we fully subscribe to the power of positivity and its impact on lasting addiction recovery. While we understand that life can be difficult, and challenges can elicit negative feelings, each of us has the power to alter our perspective and move forward productively.

At the core of addictive behaviors are several negative sentiments such as guilt, shame, self-loathing, disgust, anger, sadness, and fear. Some addiction specialists argue that the latter state of being is the crux of addiction. Those who hope to break free from addiction must work tirelessly not to let negative emotions run their lives.

It’s hard to see the sunny side of life when you are in the grips of despair, but no matter how dark your reality appears, there is always hope. Life doesn’t have to be the way it is always, and we humans have an enormous capacity for change both internally and externally. Right now, millions of people around the globe are leading healthy and positive lives in recovery, which means that you can too.

The road to a more positive life is not without potholes, and everyone stumbles from time to time. Still, it’s not the falling that matters; it’s the getting back up and trudging forward and never losing sight of your goals.

Even people with years of sobriety have less than ideal days. A myriad of factors can jeopardize one’s serenity, such as a death in the family or loss of employment, for example. Bad days are normal, but wallowing in misfortune is not, nor is it healthy—especially for people in recovery.

On this blog, we like to discuss the power of positivity on a regular basis; we believe it’s helpful for those in early recovery. The first year of sobriety is a rollercoaster ride of emotions – some good and some bad – and it’s vital not to let the latter take over. It’s easier said than done, but with a support network by your side, you can overcome any obstacle and the accompanying negative emotions.

Sadness In Early Recovery

Learning how to cope with negative emotions is something that many people discover in treatment. It’s vital to have such skills because negative emotions will crop up without warning and must be addressed immediately. One of the more common emotions that people in early recovery contend with is sadness.

You can be sad for a number of reasons. Men and women in early recovery are often consumed by regret. When the fog of drugs and alcohol clears, many have a propensity to look back on their using tenure with sadness. Some will even mourn the loss of the drugs and alcohol, even though they understand that such substances were detrimental.

If you find yourself in a funk and are feeling down, then it’s vital to take action and talk to someone you trust immediately. Such emotions can spread through the mind like wildfire, and the smoke created will cloud your vision for the future.

Always remember that the past is behind you and that you only have the power to change what you do today. Dwelling on the past and breathing air into negative feelings can lead you down a destructive path. It turns out that sadness is an emotion that researchers associate with addictive behaviors.

Sadness and Addictive Substance Use

A new study that mainly focuses on the use of cigarettes could also shed light on all addictive behaviors. Researchers from Harvard University sought to determine which role emotions play in addictive behavior. The findings – appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – indicate that sadness plays a significant part in triggering addictive behaviors.

The researchers examined four studies which all reinforce the finding that sadness leads to cravings more than any other negative emotion, according to the Harvard Kennedy School. The team believes that their results could help in designing more effective prevention campaigns.

The conventional wisdom in the field was that any type of negative feelings, whether it’s anger, disgust, stress, sadness, fear, or shame, would make individuals more likely to use an addictive drug,” said lead researcher Charles A. Dorison, a Harvard Kennedy School doctoral candidate. “Our work suggests that the reality is much more nuanced than the idea of ‘feel bad, smoke more.’ Specifically, we find that sadness appears to be an especially potent trigger of addictive substance use.”

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Adult males are invited to reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our evidence-based therapies for the treatment of addiction and mental illness. We offer specialized clinical treatment tracks to address all components of addiction and mental health. If you are struggling with alcohol, drugs, or a mental health disorder, our team of highly trained professionals can help you achieve lasting recovery.

Addiction Recovery: Coping With Anxiety

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A significant facet of addiction recovery is learning how to cope with feelings and emotions in healthy ways. In treatment, men and women learn techniques for managing unwanted feelings that can lead to cravings. Those who adopt practices like breathing exercises when they are feeling anxious are better able to manage their sensations.

While some people in recovery take prescription medications to mitigate their symptoms of anxiety, it can have a ripple effect for many individuals. Men and women in addiction recovery who have a co-occurring anxiety disorder are advised to avoid sedatives and tranquilizers. The most common prescription sedatives are benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium.

There is a good reason for steering clear of benzodiazepines or “benzos” while you are in recovery. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and carry a significant risk of overdose if misused. If you are in recovery and also struggle with anxiety, then your doctor has probably recommended that you try alternatives to medicine.

Exercise and meditation have been found to reduce people’s stress and anxiety. Perhaps you have already incorporated such routines into your day to day life? If not, please consider taking a walk to clear your mind or engaging in mindfulness exercises when you are feeling anxious.

If the suggestions above don’t produce the desired effect, then you can discuss non-habit-forming medications with your doctor. Many antidepressants are prescribed by physicians off-label, as they have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

If you presented with an anxiety disorder in treatment, then it’s likely the center’s physicians prescribed you a non-addictive SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) such as Lexapro or Celexa. SSRIs have proven effective in treating generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Disorders, Benzodiazepines, and Addiction Recovery

While it’s possible for people in recovery to take addictive medications as prescribed and avoid relapse, doing so is hardly worth the risk. Benzos are particularly hazardous for individuals in addiction recovery for alcohol use disorder. Many alcoholics are unaware that both benzodiazepines and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. What’s more, they each activate GABA in the brain, which results in reduced anxiety.

People recovering from an alcohol use disorder who start taking benzos to treat their anxiety unknowingly activate the same neurotransmitters as alcohol. Many recovering alcoholics have relapsed on alcohol after receiving a benzodiazepine prescription. Aside from the risk of relapse, people in recovery who take benzos can develop a substance use disorder.

Drugs like Klonopin and Ativan are meant to be taken for short durations and in small doses. Continued use leads to tolerance and the need to take more of the drug to produce the desired calming effect. Before one knows it, they become dependent on their anti-anxiety medication.

Anxiety, agitation, and insomnia are common amongst men and women in early recovery. Unless one has a diagnosed disorder, such feelings will occur less frequently and may completely subside over time. Turning to benzodiazepines while in addiction recovery, prescribed or otherwise, to cope with temporary sensations can severely derail your program.

Long-term sedative use can become addictive. Substantial misuse can cause an overdose, especially when mixed with another mind-altering substance. What’s more, those who attempt to stop taking benzodiazepines require medically supervised detox. The symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include life-threatening seizures.

If you are struggling with anxiety or sleep problems, then you will benefit significantly from looking for alternatives to sedatives. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways is possible, and doing so will not only strengthen your recovery, it will make you feel more positive.

A Hidden Facet of the American Addiction Epidemic

We would be remiss if we failed to share that we have a problem with prescription sedatives in America. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that doctors are prescribing benzos at elevated rates, CNN reports. The CDC found that about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits resulted in a prescription for a benzodiazepine between 2014 and 2016.

Studies have shown that this type of central nervous system depressant is involved in overdose deaths quite frequently. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30 percent of what is labeled an opioid overdose is an opioid-benzodiazepine overdose.

This is a really undercovered story,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. “I think of it as the hidden element of our overdose epidemic that does need attention.”

Gender-Specific Substance Use Disorder Treatment

If you are an adult male who is struggling with benzodiazepines and a co-occurring anxiety disorder, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our dedicated team of professionals can help you adopt a program of addiction recovery. We rely on evidence-based therapies to ensure you are equipped to lead a positive life in long-term recovery.

Recovery Writing: Keeping a Journal Improves Your Mental Health

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Mental health and physical health are of the utmost importance to people in addiction recovery. Anything you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and physical fitness will significantly improve your outlook on life. In recovery, a positive attitude changes everything.

Improving your physical health usually comes down to introducing exercise and a healthy diet into your schedule. If you completed an addiction treatment program, then you were probably advised to prioritize healthy living.

It’s likely that your counselors and clinicians shared with you the benefits of eating right and physical fitness. They probably explained that physical health and mental health are linked. Since people in early recovery are healing, they must do whatever they can to expedite the healing process.

Hopefully, you make a point of eating healthy foods and exercising three to five times a week. The latter does not require that you go to the gym; daily 30-minute walks can go a long way towards improving your fitness. Those who make fitness a priority feel better and thus are better able to maintain a positive attitude.

If you are working a program of recovery, then you know how vital it is to stay positive. Getting down on yourself or harboring negative emotions towards yourself and others will not benefit your recovery.

Naturally, there are several ways that you can bolster your mental health, aside from healthy living. Attending meetings, sharing, and working with a sponsor help to process your emotions productively. Such behaviors will help you manage and cope with stress in nondestructive ways.

There are also activities you can do at home that will aid you in achieving your goal of long-term recovery. Take journaling, for instance, those who journal benefit immensely from the practice.

Keeping a Journal in Recovery

Working a program of recovery teaches you ways of navigating the stressors of everyday life. Stress, as you well know, can derail your recovery if it is not managed in healthy ways. Coping with the obstacles of daily life is not easy for many people in early recovery. As such, men and women in sobriety must adopt practices that can aid in stress management.

You probably go to a meeting or call your sponsor when you are stressed out; bottling up negative emotions is detrimental. However, you may not always be able to catch a meeting or get a hold of a trusted peer. If you have a method for processing what is bothering you when you are alone, then you can keep stress from triggering you and prevent cravings from developing.

Journaling is an effective method of dealing with things that are bothering you. Those who journal are able to gain perspective and insight on how to navigate a challenging situation. What’s more, you do not have to be an excellent writer to benefit from writing, and there isn’t one way of journaling your thoughts.

Addicts and alcoholics in early recovery have many thoughts racing through their heads. They also are still contending with the wreckage of their past, which can lead to negative emotions and stress. Jotting down how you are feeling and the root of it can help you chart a course toward a more positive outlook.

It’s important to distinguish that journaling is not keeping a diary, which is good news for men who may feel like writing about your feelings is not a masculine activity. Many men in recovery journal every day, and it has no impact on masculinity. What’s more, journaling could be boosting their physical fitness.

Journaling Can Boost Your Immune System

F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist in New York City, wrote a fascinating article on the subject of journaling for NBC Think recently. Barth discusses the myriad of benefits that can come from journaling. Besides boosting your mental health, Barth cites studies that indicate journaling may impact one’s physical health.

Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, points to two different studies that show that journaling is beneficial to the immune system. The belief is that journaling reduces stress, which boosts the immune system, therefore improving your physical health. Diane Barth writes:

The conclusions drawn by both studies were that daily writing about emotionally significant experiences can improve our immune system, probably in a way not totally different from exercise, which is by reducing the chemicals that stress releases in our bodies.

One study, published in JAMA, involved participants who are living with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The other study included HIV-infected patients.

As we pointed out above, journaling is helpful for any gender. Barth mentions in her piece that John D. Rockefeller, General George Patton, and Winston Churchill kept journals. It’s fair to say that all three men dealt with enormous amounts of stress at different points in their life.

At PACE, we encourage you to give journal-writing a try when next you feel stressed. If you are already keeping a daily journal, then keep it up as you continue to strengthen your recovery.

California Gender-Specific Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Are you or a male loved one contending with a mental health disorder, alcohol or substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder? If so, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our various evidence-based programs for men. We can help you begin the journey of healing and provide you with the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please call 800-526-1851 if you have any questions and to discuss treatment options.

Recovery Requires Compassion, Tolerance, and Giving Back

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Tolerance, compassion, and giving back to the recovery community will help you on your path toward progress. At this point in your addiction recovery, you probably know that you cannot make the journey alone; this is especially true if you have completed an addiction treatment program.

If you are attending meetings, then you have seen men and women working together to keep their diseases at bay. You have probably also seen countless acts of compassion like people with more time extending their hand to the newcomer. Making those with short lengths of sobriety feel welcome and safe increases the likelihood that they will stick around.

When you first got to the rooms, you were welcomed with open arms. You saw there was a seat with your name on it and a fellowship that was happy to see you, even though you were a stranger. If you stuck around, got a sponsor, and worked the steps, then you had ample opportunity to develop relationships with your peers. The members of your homegroup are hopefully good friends and acquaintances by now.

Men and women working a program learn the value of compassion and tolerance towards others. They also understand that they must show the same to themselves; people who beat up on themselves for making mistakes or the wreckage of their past have trouble staying the course.

There is a saying in the rooms, look for similarities, not differences between you and your peers. It is exponentially more comfortable to be compassionate and tolerant of others if you adhere to the above principle.

Compassion and Tolerance Allows You to Give Back

Judgment has no place in the rooms of recovery. Each person has their own story, but everyone shares the common goal of lasting progress. When you avoid being judgmental of yourself and others, it is much simpler to maintain a positive attitude. As we say at PACE Recovery Center, a positive attitude changes everything.

If you attend a lot of meetings, then you will come across individuals who are not your cup of tea, and that is alright. You do not have to foster relationships with everyone in the rooms, but you must afford each person compassion and tolerance if you hope to get the same. 12 Steps programs are not religious, but remembering the “Golden Rule” is beneficial. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Remembering the Golden Rule will help you approach each person from a place of kindness and acceptance. It will allow being a pillar of strength with those who have less time than you. Giving back to the community and helping newcomers is why 12 Step recovery has help people stay clean and sober for nearly a century.

Having worked all the Steps and with an established footing in recovery, it’s time to start giving back. You cannot keep what you have if you do not give it away. What does giving back look like? Giving back means sponsoring others, volunteering your time at meetings (i.e., service commitments), and always being there for a fellow member of the community.

Everyone is equal in the rooms of recovery, but the newcomer is of particular importance. Helping them achieve milestones will strengthen your recovery. The 12th Step is not a finish line; it’s the beginning of a new chapter, one that involves paying it forward and carrying the message.

Helping Others in Recovery

Long-term recovery is possible because men and women work together to make personal progress. Protecting your progress will hinge on your willingness to give back and walk others through the steps. Your continued success in the program depends on being a model for all who enter the rooms in the grips of despair.

Walking up to a newcomer and saying hello lets them know that they are not alone, that they’ve come to the right place. Inviting a newcomer to grab a coffee so that you can learn more about them, lets a newcomer know that someone cares. Your compassion could be a catalyst for a newcomer to keep coming back.

Sitting down with someone who has less time than you could lead to sponsorship. If you have worked all the Steps, then you know what to do; you can turn to your sponsor if ever you are unsure about something. So goes the process of recovery; it’s a chain reaction that enables millions of people to achieve long-term recovery.

Southern California Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of men who are struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based programs and begin a life-changing journey of recovery. 800-526-1851

Recovery Re-Evaluation: Your Lifestyle Matters

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Re-evaluating your lifestyle from time to time is essential for making sure you remain on track in early recovery. It’s easy to slip back into old ways of thinking that you learned to rid yourself of in treatment. Before you know it, you can find yourself associating with people who are not beneficial to your continued progress.

In addiction treatment, everyone learns that achieving long-term recovery hinges on doing away with people, places, and things that run counter to your program. It can be hard to say goodbye to old friends and acquaintances, but cut off ties you must to prevent relapse. You learn that staying away from places that can trigger a relapse is also beneficial, as well as anything that can cause you to crave a drink or drug, i.e., no longer listening to a particular band.

Once out of treatment – whether you move on to sober living or returning home – you were instructed to get to a meeting and find a sponsor immediately. Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is a great place to start; meetings are ideal locations for fostering healthy relationships and finding a person to walk you through the steps.

Over time one gets comfortable. Having an established routine and following the direction of others with more time makes you feel secure in your recovery. You also benefit from acquiring a deep bench of support comprised of peers who you can count on for assistance if you are struggling. Members of your deep bench also replace your old using buddies; they are the people who you call if you want to have a good time.

Is Your Lifestyle Congruent With Your Recovery?

Unfortunately, many people in early recovery forget how important it is to stick close to their support network both inside meetings and out. Some will feel the urge to re-establish contact with old friends because they feel like their program is strong. They may also start visiting places from their past because they think they can handle being around substances without being tempted to use.

Such behaviors are risky, and if one does not re-evaluate their changes in lifestyle, they can find themselves with a drink or drug in their hands. It’s not just risky people and places that can be the impetus for a relapse. Changing the meeting routine or spending less time with your support network can impact your ability to make progress. Feeling like you no longer need to check in with your sponsor regularly can also be a sign that recovery is losing its priority.

In treatment, you may have begun eating healthier and exercising helps nourish your mind and body. Perhaps you continued to eat right and exercise after discharge. If so, that is excellent, but it’s paramount to stay on track with healthy living. Deviating from your diet and workout routine is a change in lifestyle that could lead to issues down the road. Anything that you do that is not beneficial to your recovery can send you back into the cycle of addiction.

Periodically checking in with yourself to see if you are still leading a recovery-first lifestyle is crucial. Relapse is a process, not an event! Indeed, picking up a drink or drug again after a period of abstinence is an event, but the journey to relapse starts long before one decides to jeopardize all their hard work.

Is Your Recovery Still a Priority?

Have you started to drift away from your support network or stopped calling your sponsor? Are you still going to meetings or therapy sessions? Have you put your dietary and physical fitness needs on the back burner? Lastly, have you begun associating with people who are at odds with your recovery? If any of the above rings a bell, then we strongly advise you to re-evaluate your lifestyle changes and consider how paramount your recovery is in achieving your goals.

It’s much simpler to get back on track before a relapse than it is after. If recovery is still your number one priority, then please call your sponsor or a trusted peer and ask them for guidance. Such conversations may reveal to you that you’ve become complacent about your program and that perhaps you’ve forgotten the fragility of early recovery.

Please know that you have the ability to identify any program deviations and get back on track toward achieving your long-term goals. You have the power to “play the tape forward” and ask yourself, “What happens if I start using again?’ You will probably quickly realize that a return to active addiction is the last thing you want in life.

Southern California Addiction Treatment for Men

We invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male who is currently in the grips of addiction. PACE also invites the family members with a male loved one who is battling with the symptoms of a behavioral or mental health disorder to reach out to us for help. We offer several programs that are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of each client.

Our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have and help you get the ball of addiction or mental illness recovery in motion. 800-526-1851

Addiction Recovery: Protecting Your Progress

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The annual Monitoring the Future survey indicates that teen alcohol, tobacco, and illicit hard drug use is on the decline. However, the decade’s old survey found U.S. teens are vaping more marijuana and nicotine than a year ago. The latter is concerning, and these individuals may be putting themselves at risk of developing addiction down the road.

Some 14 percent of 12th graders reported vaping marijuana in the last month, which is almost double what was reported in the previous year. As we have pointed out in previous posts, marijuana use in one’s teenage years can lead to cannabis use disorder in the future. The condition can severely impact the course of young people’s lives.

While tobacco may be considered more benign regarding harming the mind, it can do severe damage to the body. Tobacco and nicotine use is associated with several forms of cancer and life-threatening disease. There is not enough research yet to determine the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. Experts have diametrically opposing opinions on the dangers of electronic nicotine devices.

The recent findings have prompted lawmakers to raise the age of buying nicotine products from 18 to 21 years old. The move has bipartisan support among congressional lawmakers, and the White House seems to be behind raising the legal age limit too, The Washington Post reports. Public health advocates support the move, but they are not sure that it goes far enough.

While raising the age to 21 is a positive step, in this case, the tobacco industry supports it to avoid other policies — like removing flavors from e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes that would have a much greater effect,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Nicotine Addiction and Your Recovery

Preventing teenage vaping and nicotine initiation is vital to keeping young people off the path toward addiction. Experts stress that nicotine and THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, can wreak havoc on developing minds. Moreover, both substances are addictive, and teenage use exponentially increases one’s chances of developing use disorders in the future.

We wrote last week about making resolutions for 2020; the subject was how to be a more positive person in recovery. We hope you had a chance to read the post as we believe that following some of our recommendations could enhance your recovery. Protecting your sobriety is of vital importance. Did you know that nicotine can increase the likelihood of relapse?

Research published last year found that people in recovery who use nicotine products are more likely to return to drug and alcohol use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that cigarette smoking might increase the likelihood of SUD relapse because:

  • Cigarette smoking often accompanies illicit drug use, and cigarettes may serve as a drug cue and relapse trigger.
  • Some studies have linked nicotine exposure to cravings for stimulants and opiates.

So, if you are working a program of addiction recovery and are still using nicotine products, then perhaps a realistic 2020 resolution can be smoking cessation. Working a program takes tremendous effort, and you can benefit from removing from your life anything that can jeopardize your hard-fought progress.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand that giving up nicotine is challenging. However, there are many resources available to help you achieve the goal. Talk to your physician or call your state’s tobacco hotline for help quitting. 2020 could be the year that you free yourself from nicotine addiction and strengthen your recovery.

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male in the grips of alcohol or substance use disorder. We offer many programs that can help you get on the path to long-term recovery, and to lead a healthy and positive life. We provide several programs designed to meet the specific needs of each client.

At PACE, we also offer services for men who are battling mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. We invite you to phone us today to learn more about our evidence-based practices and begin the journey of lasting recovery. You will also be pleased to know that PACE works with and accepts most insurance carriers. 800-526-1851

Recovery Goal 2020: Being More Positive

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Christmas and Kwanzaa are now behind us, Hanukkah is drawing toward the end, and New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching. At PACE Recovery Center, we hope that everyone in recovery has managed to keep their program secure.

The holiday season is difficult for men and women in sobriety—no matter how much time you have clean and sober. Those who are able to avoid relapse during this emotional time of the year are the individuals who keep a positive attitude and always put their recovery first.

Placing your program before all else means prioritizing meetings and Step work, being of service, and steering clear of risky situations. Men and women in early recovery should stay away from people, places, and things that could trigger a desire to use. The first year is a fragile time, which is why it is vitally critical to stay close to your support network.

With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, we hope that you are making plans for bringing in 2020 safe and sober. Here is Southern California, parties litter the coastline on December 31st; you may find yourself tempted to attend one in your neighborhood. We strongly advise that you make inquiries at your home group about recovery-focused New Year’s Eve gatherings.

People in recovery are not sticks in the mud, and they thoroughly insist on having a good time. What’s more, members of the recovery community understand that one of the best ways to prevent relapse is to stick together. So, after you attend your meetings for the day, get yourself to a place where others in recovery will be celebrating the beginning of 2020.

A More Positive Year in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we remind our clients that a positive attitude changes everything. While we understand that early recovery is daunting, one must do all they can to put their best foot forward.

It’s not always easy to maintain a sunny disposition when you have to face troubling aspects of your past. However, it’s possible to clear your mind of negative thoughts and replace them with things that make you happy.

Remember that the past is behind you; there is nothing that can be done to change what has already happened. If you spend too much time focusing on the negatives of yesterday, it will hinder your ability to make progress, both inside treatment and out.

With a new year brings the promise of achieving novel goals; one realistic and achievable resolution is being more positive. There is a myriad of methods for realizing the goal of being a more positive person. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Being of service to others.
  • Making daily gratitude lists.
  • Introducing a meditation routine into your days.
  • Getting outdoors as much as possible.
  • Being kind to yourself.

Putting Positivity Into Practice

In recovery, there is no shortage of opportunities for being of service to others. Showing up early and leaving meetings late will give you time to talk to newcomers. Showing care and compassion will make you feel better. Before and after meetings also allows you an opportunity to help set up and break down a meeting. You don’t need to have a service position to be useful to your homegroup.

Gratitude is essential to addiction recovery; being grateful for the helpful things and people in your life is invaluable. In 2020, make lists of what is right in your life as often as possible. It helps to see on paper all the people who support you on the path to recovery. When you remind yourself that you are not alone, it enables you to maintain a more positive disposition each day.

Meditation is a proven method of leading a more positive life. There are many resources online to help guide you in this area. Those who meditate feel more grounded throughout their day and are better able to shut out negative thoughts.

Being mindful for just a few minutes a day teaches us that everything changes, making it easier to have hope in dark moments,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD. “This will also help strengthen your practice of observing—but not always giving into—the negative thoughts your brain likes to conjure.”

Spending more time outside, even for just short intervals, is exceptionally beneficial. Nature has a way of giving us perspective on things that are bothering us. If you are feeling stressed, then pause and walk outside; it will likely make you feel better.

No matter what is happening in your life, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes but beating yourself up with negative self-talk will not help. Work the problem!

Recovery 2020

We invite adult men to contact PACE Recovery Center if you have an alcohol or substance use disorder. Our dedicated team of behavioral and mental health professionals can also assist men who have a co-occurring mental illness. At PACE, we offer programs for individuals who are not struggling with drugs and alcohol but are plagued by mental health disorders, such as depression.

Please reach out to us today to learn more about our services. We can help you bring in the New Year with healing and recovery and get on the path toward a more positive life.

Depression and Cannabis Use Among Young People

depression

Last month, we shared with our readers about research that upended a long-held association between alcohol use and depression among young people. In the post, we were particularly interested in the link between binge drinking and depressive symptoms.

As we pointed out at the time, binge drinking among young men and women is on the decline. However, there’s been a significant rise in depressive symptoms among young individuals.

As such, researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health are no longer able to find a correlation between binge drinking and depressive symptoms. The findings of the study, the researchers suggest, indicate that the relationship between binge drinking and depressive symptoms is decoupling.

While the observations are uplifting news and can help experts redirect their targets for addressing both depression and hazardous alcohol use, there remains a clear link between substance use and depressive symptoms.

On numerous occasions, we have pointed out that addiction often goes hand in hand with co-occurring mental illness. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and bipolar disorder affect people living with use disorders regularly.

Some individuals develop a dual diagnosis for mental illness after prolonged bouts of drugs or alcohol use; whereas, others who already meet the criteria for a mental illness will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol resulting in the development of co-occurring behavioral health disorders like addiction.

Self-medicating mental illness is one of the leading causes of people developing an alcohol or substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol may alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness initially, but in the long run, the practice only creates more problems.

New research suggests that people living with depression are at twice the risk of using cannabis, according to Wiley. The findings appear in the journal Addiction.

Depression and Cannabis Use

In recent years, the public perceived dangers associated with cannabis use has declined significantly. The trend is likely partly due to the relaxing of marijuana laws, including medical cannabis programs and recreational use decriminalization. While it might be true that using pot may be a relatively benign behavior for average citizens, we cannot say the same for those with pre-existing mental illness.

The new survey-based study included 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older, according to the article. The researchers found that cannabis use in America increased from 2005 to 2017 among men and women with and without depression. However, the data indicates that people living with depression were approximately twice as likely to use marijuana in 2017 compared to those without the condition.

Even more concerning, the data shows that nearly one-third of young adults (29.7 percent) aged 18-25 with depression reported using marijuana in the past 30-day period. Among all persons over the age of 12, the prevalence of past-month cannabis use was 18.9 percent among those with depression compared to 8.7% among those without depression. What’s more, 6.7 percent of people with depression reported daily cannabis use. Whereas, only 2.9 percent of non-depressed people reported everyday use.

Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression. At the same time, the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression,” said corresponding author Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York.

Cannabis Use Disorder and Depression Treatment for Young Men

Young men who struggle with depressive symptoms and also use cannabis put themselves at significant risk. They are likely to worsen their symptoms of depression and often develop cannabis use disorders. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment for young men.

At PACE, our team of experts relies on evidence-based therapies to help men overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol, drug abuse, and mental illness. We are available at any time to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment center. 800-526-1851

Recovery Specialists are Needed in America

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we like to do our best to focus on uplifting aspects of addiction recovery. We want to share stories about individuals who have risen from the depths of despair and gone on to lead productive lives in sobriety. Unfortunately, there are times when we would be remiss if we didn’t share startling statistics about young people in America. Hopefully, by doing so, we can encourage lawmakers and the public to effect change.

A new study shows that death rates from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease, and other causes rose over the past decade for young and middle-aged adults, The Washington Post reports. The research – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – indicates that overall life expectancy in the United States has fallen for three consecutive years.

In the field of addiction medicine, we are acutely aware that the U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented addiction epidemic. What’s more, mental health conditions such as depression affect a significant number of young people. To make matters worse, only a small percentage of the millions of affected people receive evidence-based treatment like that which we offer at PACE.

It’s [death rates] supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries,” said the lead author of the report, Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong.”

Woolf points out that the American opioid epidemic, not surprisingly, is a driving force in the decrease in American life expectancy, according to the article. Tens of thousands of adults die of overdoses each year, but overdoses are not the only culprit in the decline. Mental-illness related suicide is playing a significant role as well.

Opioid Workforce Act

opioid workforce act

Efforts to increase access to evidence-based therapies for mental and behavioral health conditions saves lives. There is a problem though; there is a dire shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

When Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) learned that approximately 21 million people needed treatment for a substance use disorder in 2018, they decided it was time to take action, Forbes reports. The lawmakers were even more troubled when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) informed them that only 11 percent of the 21 million were able to access treatment that year.

In response to the staggering treatment disparity, the lawmakers conducted a review that found part of the problem was the lack of trained physicians equipped to help people with mental and behavioral health disorders. In an effort to effect change, Senators Hassan and Collins authored a bill that aims to “provide Medicare support for an additional 1,000 graduate medical education (GME) positions over five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.”

Introduced this summer, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 has already garnered the support of 80 organizations.

As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Recovery Treatment

The fact that the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine are behind the Opioid Workforce Act is beneficial. The secured support should help both lawmakers get the bipartisan piece of legislation through congress. When combined with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, we may finally be able to reign in this most deadly public health crisis.

If you are a young man who is struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorders, or any mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center offers many evidence-based programs that can help you turn your life around. Our clients benefit from working closely with master’s- and doctorate-level clinicians, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. We invite you to reach out at any time to speak to our admissions team about how PACE can help you or a loved one. 800-526-1851

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