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Addiction Recovery Prayers: Acceptance, Courage, and Serenity

addiction recovery prayers

Sobriety is a paradigm shift, to be sure; and, dedicating one’s self to a new mode of living is not without challenge. With steadfast dedication and a daily commitment to practicing the principles of addiction recovery, long-term healing is possible.

A good many people, who find themselves requiring assistance, struggle with some aspects of 12 Step recovery. There is a pervasive misconception among some newcomers that they must welcome God into their life. While it’s true that spirituality is key to 12 Step addiction recovery, a person’s understanding of God is entirely subjective.

It is not uncommon for people to be turned off by programs like Alcoholics Anonymous because of the God part. Such individuals convince themselves that when program subscribers finish combing through The Big Book, they move on to Bible or Koran verses. Since many men and women have less than pleasant childhood memories of religion, they will not abide by the prospect of religious recurrence.

It’s true, some members of AA et al. return to a place of worship after getting sober; their God being of the Biblical or Koran variety. However, people in recovery are a diverse group; they pray and meditate on myriad different powers-greater-than-themselves. In recovery, one can arrive at the same ends by any one of several spiritual roads. The program only asks a person to relinquish the delusion that he or she can control all things life. No person is omnipotent.

Addiction, mental illness, or not—no human is perfect! We all make mistakes, and each of us is better off when we accept that we don’t have all the answers. People on the more unfortunate end of addiction must realize that their best thinking brought only greater despair. They need to grasp that standing up (and staying up) requires outside assistance, human and otherwise.

12 Step Prayers

It isn’t challenging to understand why many newcomers think 12 Step recovery is affiliated with religion. Members of the program will often recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of meetings. People in recovery will also grasp hands and say the Serenity Prayer; an invocation attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer's phrasing brings to mind the pulpit in more ways than one. However, if a person is willing to look beyond the religious connotations, then they discover powerful tools to help them stay on course.

The debate over how much God is too much is one that has been going on since AA’s founding. Some meeting houses have done away with the Lord’s Prayer lest they dissuade newcomers. The Serenity Prayer, on the other hand, remains a fixture at practically every meeting and at treatment centers utilizing the 12 Step model.

The Serenity Prayer is longer than most people know. The full orison contains God, capitalized as He or Him, and His Will. Finishing with a resounding AMEN! 12 Step members rely on an abridged version of the prayer:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference…

Even though the word God is the prayer’s opening, the word is interchangeable. Members can insert any “higher power” they like when reciting. The religious undertones are not the critical elements of the Serenity Prayer. It all boils down to several timeless truths that any person in recovery can benefit from remembering on their quest toward serenity.

Finding Serenity in Addiction Recovery

The definition of serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Who doesn’t desire mental, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium? Working a program is a pathway to the realm of both internal and external peace. Still, each person is a work in progress; men and women still face obstacles when the drugs and alcohol are out of the picture.

Trials and tribulations are a certainty; what one does in the face of such circumstances, however, is not. The question is, will one’s frustrations be an excuse to return to self-defeating behaviors, or will these instances be harnessed as an opportunity to grow?

Individuals who are new to addiction recovery and struggle with God-talk must do their best to focus their attention on different watchwords. Instead of fixating on what form higher powers take, look to the words acceptance, courage, change, wisdom, and serenity.

Persons still risk trying to change things they have no control over, especially other people, even in addiction recovery. Working a program gives men and women the tools to accept the reality that they can only change him or herself. Other people may change by the example we set, but no one can force them to make alterations. Moreover, when a person focuses on their mode of being alone, it is an exercise in “letting go.”

Surrender isn't defeat; it is trusting that a power greater than ourselves will guard us against veering off the path.

One of the most useful verses in the Serenity Prayer is rarely uttered at meetings. Readers may find it interesting to learn that the full Serenity Prayer includes:

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Addiction Recovery is a Process

It can take time to conceptualize the role that spirituality plays in 12 Step recovery. Perspective comes when a person accepts that their way didn’t work, that there is a more natural method of living, and trusts that there are more powerful forces at work. If one is open, honest, willing, and maintains a positive attitude their life is bound to transform, and they will find serenity.

At PACE Recovery Center, our clients benefit from having access to a dynamic 12-step recovery community. We specialize in treating men who struggle with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific, extended care mental health and addiction rehab.

Adoption-Related Treatment Expert Brett Furst Featured on Quiver Full Adoptions Podcast

PACE Recovery Center’s own Brett Furst appeared on the podcast for Quiver Full Adoptions, a South Carolina-based adoption agency and advocacy group. With core values of “serve, encourage, empower,” Quiver Full Adoptions seeks to support adoption journeys for both adoptive couples and biological families.

Brett Furst, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has worked at PACE Recovery as a primary therapist for three years. On the podcast, he discusses his personal experience as a child of adoption, as well as his specific recommendations for aspiring adopters and their future children.Brett Furst Adoption Podcast

Podcast Recap

Beginning with his introduction to the field, Brett explains that he always wanted to be a child therapist, but found his calling with adolescents and young adults. From there, he felt drawn to working with adoptees, saying, “I noticed that we were getting quite a few adopted individuals, and being adopted myself, I saw that there was a need to treat this population.”

Brett describes PACE Recovery Center’s inpatient treatment options, including its unique Adoption Programming and mental health house. He emphasizes the importance of attending an outpatient program after completing the required 90 days of inpatient treatment, calling it the “push comes to shove moment” in one’s recovery journey.

Quiver Full Adoption

Questions & Answers

We’ve highlighted some of Brett’s Q&A with Casey Brown and Elizabeth Bordeaux of Quiver Full Adoptions below. Read on for a snippet of the interview, then listen to the complete podcast.

On being adopted, and how this informs his practice with the men at PACE –

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “My adoptive parents did a fantastic job, I have no memory of not knowing that I’m adopted. It never really came up for me in my life as a major issue. Until I started seeing this population in my practice – how is my story going to integrate with theirs? It’s really helped in this connecting way with my clients, but at the same time, it also allows me to say, ‘I know your story is unique to you.’ We share this commonality, but that commonality is that each one of us that are adopted is unique in their story.”

Quiver Full: “Do you feel like children who are adopted have a higher risk of struggling with addiction?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “So, unfortunately, yes. There’s significant evidence out there that shows that adopted individuals – some research even says they’re twice as likely to become addicts as the ‘non-adopted’ population... We know that they’re out there, but we have trouble treating them. It’s nature and nurture.”

Quiver Full: “How can we, as parents of adoptees, equip them so that they’re not as likely to struggle with addiction? Is that even possible?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “Yes, it’s definitely possible. There are many, many ways to kind of help with this, and in my experience in working with this population, the number one thing is to have open and consistent and continuous conversations about this with the child. Oftentimes as adults, we underestimate the intellectual capacity of our children, and they can usually understand quite a bit more than we give them credit for. Even if it’s when you first adopt the child, making sure – depending on the age – that they understand that they’re adopted, or why they’re adopted, or getting their feelings on being adopted – don’t be afraid of these conversations. It can be a difficult subject for adoptive parents to bring up, there isn’t really a handbook, but having those conversations is super important. Whether you talk about it or not, it’s there.”

On common misconceptions about children of adoption –

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “This is where I see a lot of clinicians who are not adopted themselves – they automatically assume, say, an 18-year-old is always going to want to meet their birth parent, and they consider it weird if they don’t want to meet them. In my work, I see that as a misfire sometimes. I think giving the child the option, or at least giving the information you have, is definitely good, but there shouldn’t be a pressure of, ‘you really should, it’s normal.”

Quiver Full: “What’s one thing that you would tell all hopeful adoptive parents?”

Brett Furst, PACE Recovery: “A lot of what I’m saying sounds scary, I understand that, but please, please, please, don’t be afraid of this. It can be managed, and it can be helped, and it can be changed. Just in the same way that any parent with any child has a chance of that child having issues down the road, there’s a lot of stigma around the guys that I work with, adopted or not. Having those conversations, putting that effort in at the beginning, can really change the whole game. If – unfortunately – a child does have an addiction problem or some kind of mental health problem down the road, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that you messed up. It is 100% possible for them to fully recover and have a perfectly normal, happy, healthy, successful life. So, in the event that they end up with a substance use issue, it’s not the end of the world. It is treatable.”

Listen to the Podcast

Listen to the full podcast to hear the complete details of PACE Recovery’s philosophy and its one-of-a-kind adoption-related treatment path. Brett covers much more than is outlined here, including his dual focus on attachment and authenticity in recovery programs for adopted youth with substance use disorders.

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Android, or Spotify – look for the episode titled “Episode 9: Interview with Brett Furst.” Learn more about Quiver Full Adoptions on their website and tune in to their podcast in June to hear Brett’s next talk.

Recovery Sayings Motivate and Inspire

recovery sayings

Men and women who are new to recovery discover the value of repetition and routine. Addiction recovery is a 24/7, 365 days per year enterprise in making progress. To that end, it’s helpful for newcomers to follow the prescribed recommendations of those with more time. Individuals who follow patterns and understand the value of a daily commitment position themselves for long-term recovery. Moreover, heeding recovery sayings can help people stay on course in early sobriety.

Sponsors and other members of one’s support group will drive certain points home to people with less time. One method of impressing principles on the newcomer is by repeating statements over and over. Acronyms like HALT and KISS roll off tongues frequently ("Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired" and "Keep It Simple Stupid"). They are meant to remind the newcomers of what to do and what to avoid when outside the recovery room safety net.

When hearing 12 Step truisms, many in early recovery think the utterings are cliché. It is true that after more than 80 years of 12 Step recovery, many statements are overused. However, slogans like ‘progress not perfection’ are no less valuable today. People living with addiction are often perfectionists. Recovery teaches that no one is perfect, but you can strive to be the best version of yourself. Making progress is the path to achieving that goal.

Look for the similarities, not the differences will always carry water in treating a disease that tells people they are unique. Individuals may tire of hearing them, but there may come a time when they save one’s life.

12 Step Recovery Sayings Aplenty

People who attend 12 Step meetings to aid in their recovery are no strangers to slogans and sayings. Even those new to working a program are already familiar with a handful of maxims, and for a good reason. Simple statements, like "one day at a time," for instance, are easy to remember and can be especially helpful at any stage in the recovery process.

At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings et al. across the country and abroad, the meeting houses’ walls are plastered with useful sayings. While generally short and concise, and considered easy to understand, 12 Step slogans are nuanced. There is a lot more than meets the eye to most recovery sayings; and, they are subject to various interpretations.

People in recovery repeat slogans day-in-and-day-out in an almost automatic manner. However, few people take the time to explore their meaning or offer a further explanation to those who are newer. It is not uncommon for newcomers to misunderstand what is at the heart of expressions like keep it simple. As such, some people are at risk of discounting the value of recovery expressions, chalking them up to being annoying platitudes.

It is essential to keep in mind that 12 Step recovery is a simple program for complicated people. Generally speaking: things are what they seem. Those who try to dissect this decades-old formula for healing can jeopardize their recovery. Breaking down every aspect of the program can muddy the water and make it difficult to find clarity. This wheel does not require reinvention. Poking holes in the Program for the sake of poking holes isn't beneficial. There is however nothing wrong with asking questions to glean a better understanding.

Below, we will discuss some of the more common 12 Step slogans. Being equipped with a better understanding of recovery sayings can be of significant benefit to newcomers.

Slogans for Long-term Recovery

There is no shortage of catchy recovery sayings, and each one of them speaks to people differently. Men and women who are unsure about what something means should never hesitate to ask for clarity. Those with more recovery time are always happy to provide insight. The success of the oldtimer depends on their willingness to help the newcomer.

Let’s take a moment to discuss some of the more common watchwords and slogans. HALT is fairly straightforward. Avoid hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; such states of being are a cause of stress. Of course, mental pressure is often a factor in causing self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors.

If it is not broken, don’t try to offer a fix! The 12 Step method works, for anyone willing to work it. Paradox and inconsistencies are out there if someone is looking. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a person’s job to amend the program. It’s alright to notice contradictory things, but it is paramount to avoid letting observations color your view of the program.

Intellect is not a bad thing, yet it can cause complications. Addiction is a mental illness and a spiritual sickness. Treatment addresses the medical side of the problem; Twelve Step recovery tends to the spiritual facet of the condition.

Keep It Simple Stupid reminds us that our best thinking can exacerbate our problems. Intelligence is going to offset a spiritual deficit. The goal is not to let one’s powers of deduction block them from receiving the gifts of recovery. Simplicity is a good thing!

12 Step recovery calls for abstinence and much more; long-term progress demands significant lifestyle alterations. It also calls for looking at life and the people in it differently.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

In early recovery, there is much a person can find to be unhappy about. The gifts of healing do not come instantly. Embracing a positive attitude, as often as possible, is necessary to realize progress and one’s dreams. The saying nothing changes if nothing changes reminds us that recovery requires more of people than not drinking or drugging. Avoiding old friends and unsafe environments is excellent, but so is changing how we think.

Positive actions and maintaining a positive attitude, changes everything. Negative thinking prevents people from taking positive steps each day. Progress depends on positivity as much as it depends on making lifestyle changes.

At PACE Recovery Center, we place much stock in the power of positive thinking. We have seen how significantly a positive attitude changes everything for those new in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific treatment programs for men living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you or a loved one learn how to live a positive life in recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery in America: #AlcoholAwarenessMonth

alcohol use disorder

Eighty years ago this month 5,000 copies of “The Big Book” — titled Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) — were printed, according to Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Within its bindings is a program outline for people recovering from alcoholism—known today as alcohol use disorder.

While initial sales were severely lacking, as of today the Fellowship’s manuscript has sold more than 30 million copies. Each year, approximately one million copies of the basic text are distributed around the globe, in 67 languages.

From humble beginnings to a significant beacon of hope for countless people, such is the story of 12 Step recovery. Mutual help groups, aided by The Big Book, show those struggling in the darkness of addiction how living life on life’s terms is possible.

There are other programs of addiction recovery in existence today that have helped many men and women, aside from AA. However, the 12 step method is by far the most utilized regarding alcohol and substance use disorder. Drug and alcohol use is but a symptom of an underlying mental illness. Such that working a program of recovery has proven to be helpful for anyone regardless of how their disease manifests.

Despite most discussions about use disorders focusing on drugs today, it is vital to include alcohol in the national conversation about addiction. April is Alcohol Awareness Month 2019!

Facing Addiction with the National Council on Alcoholism or NCADD organizes the annual observance. Now is an excellent opportunity to talk about alcohol use disorder (AUD), its causes, and addiction recovery. The more open we talk about alcohol, the more lives saved. Right now, millions of Americans require help for an AUD, and fortunately, assistance is within reach.

Confronting Alcohol Use Disorder In America

An estimated 16 million people in the United States have an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). And untold millions more are on a trajectory toward having problems with the substance down the road.

There are many myths and inaccuracies swirling around alcohol use. When people do not have the facts, they are at risk. Alcohol Awareness Month is partly about helping people develop a better understanding.

It is of utmost importance that we equip young people with some of the facts, so they can make informed decisions about using alcohol. Even though the vast majority of people will never develop AUD, alcohol use can still affect men and women’s health negatively.

The BMJ reported that the number of Americans, ages 25- to 34-, who died annually from alcohol-related liver disease nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016. Moreover, hazardous alcohol use affects men far more often than women. However, recent studies show that women are slowly closing the gap.

Drinking alcohol cut the lives of some 3 million people short in 2016. Young men who engage in heavy alcohol use is an especially pervasive problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 7.7 percent of global deaths involve men and alcohol use.

Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

While alcohol is ubiquitous in today’s world, there is no safe amount of alcohol! That is the conclusion of a recent study about drinking around the world. In spite of the available research, Facing Addiction with NCADD points out that the pressure to drink is everywhere. The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before turning 18.

People who start drinking by 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence. The organization notes that young people who engage in hazardous alcohol use, like binge drinking, face higher risks of addiction. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours.

One in every 12 American adults, or 17.6 million people, suffer from alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. While such statistics are hardly uplifting, it’s worth to remember the living examples of recovery. NCADD estimates that almost 20 million individuals and family members are in long-term recovery.

Alcohol Awareness Month is about educating young people and spreading the message that alcohol use disorder recovery is possible. Evidence-based treatments exist that can help people get on the road toward long-term recovery. This year’s theme is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

All month there are events to help educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder. Since many people do not fully grasp yet that they have an unhealthy relationship with drinking, Alcohol-Free Weekend is April 5-7, 2019. The upcoming event is an excellent opportunity for people to gauge alcohol’s role in their lives. Those who struggle to abstain are encouraged to reach out for help.

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow with PACE Recovery Center

If you are one of the millions of men who struggle with alcohol use, then please know that you are not alone. Alcohol use disorder is a treatable mental health condition, and it is possible to find long-term recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer evidence-based addiction and behavioral health treatment for men. Our male clients significantly benefit from being in a gender-specific environment. With decades of professional experience, PACE empowers men of all ages to fulfill their dreams.

Please contact us today to learn more about our multidimensional approach to bringing about lasting recovery.

Mental Health Emergencies Among Young People

mental health

Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans. Moreover, a significant number of people struggling with mental illness are under the age of 24. How mental health disorders impact a young person varies from case to case. However, when young people ignore or fail to seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, grave complications can arise.

In recent years, public health experts and various campaigns have sought to raise awareness about mental illness. The goal is to erode the stigma that prevents individuals from finding the courage to discuss their symptoms with friends, family, and professionals. The effort to dissolve the shame around mental health has been considerable. Still, society has a long way to go in encouraging those who are suffering to seek help.

Diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and a program of recovery are essential for any person living with mental illness. While finding support in urban areas is relatively simple, those who live in rural America have a challenge finding resources. Primary care physicians can help people in less populated areas to a degree. However, new research highlights a lack of mental health training and screening expertise among primary care physicians, as a whole.

Perhaps most concerning, a recent study shows a dramatic rise in visits to the emergency department (ED) for mental health problems. The increase is unusually high among younger demographics – ages 6 to 24 – according to HealthDay. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report a 28 percent rise in psychiatric visits among the age span between 2011 and 2015. The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics.

Why are More Young People Seeking Help for Mental Health?

Determining the etiology of mental health trends is not a simple task. Many factors require consideration. The study reveals that more suicides and the addiction epidemic in the U.S. play a significant role. Study author Luther Kalb, Ph.D. points out that "the ER plays a critical role in treating overdoses." Kalb, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also states that it’s likely that social media contributes considerably.

Dr. Susan Duffy, in an editorial accompanying the study, lists a number of other factors influencing the increase in ED mental health visits. More young people landing in the ED for mental illness, according to Dr. Duffy, is linked to:

  • Poverty
  • Violence
  • Child and parental substance abuse
  • Social media’s influence on depression, isolation and anxiety risk
  • Information overload

On the upside, expanded insurance coverage across the country means that more people can seek help. Conversely, a lack of psychiatric training among primary care providers means that more people turn to the ED for mental illness. Duffy, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says the trends are clear and that the findings "should not come as a great surprise."

Data suggests that over 20 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 18 have experienced a debilitating mental health disorder," Duffy said. "For the past 10 years, there has been an increasing trend in children's, youth and young adult mental health visits, and increasing recognition that the resources do not meet the need for care."

Mental Health Training is Lacking

More 6 through 24-year-olds seeking mental illness assistance from EDs is alarming and must be addressed. But, it is also worth noting the 28 percent increase rose even higher when analyzing specific demographics. The researchers found a 54 percent increase among adolescents, black youths, and young adults. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 90 percent increase in mental health-related ED visits among Latinos.

What’s more, Professor Kalb said he is "surprised at how few saw a mental health provider" after presenting to the ED, the article reports. The researcher did find that practically all young people consulted with a physician, at least. Still, without mental health training and screening expertise patients face the risk of being underserved.

Kalb notes that many hospitals across the country lack the resources to staff mental health providers. He adds that, “This could be changed by increasing mental health staff in the ER, creating special intake settings that deal just with mental health, using new technologies such as tele-psychiatry, and cross-training providers."

Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have the expertise to assist young men struggling with mental illness. Our facility offers clients residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs for mental health, and dual diagnosis outpatient. With the assistance of doctorate and masters-level clinicians, male clients set realistic treatment goals and see them come to fruition. PACE’s highly credentialed specialists are a phone call away.

Prospective clients are also invited to submit a confidential online inquiry.

Practicing Gratitude in Recovery Increases Positivity

practicing gratitude in recovery

In spite of the negative aspects of one’s life, a positive attitude changes everything. Especially in addiction recovery! Positivity, if harnessed, can be the force behind the sails of personal progress and healing on the turbulent seas of early recovery. Choosing to focus on the good, steers people away from dangers (i.e., triggers, cravings, and relapse) and toward calmer waters or serenity.

Practicing gratitude in recovery is an excellent method of singling out the good things in one’s life. When we recognize the people who helped make our recovery a possibility, for instance, it’s bound to elicit happy emotions. Even when one’s life is still in shambles, choosing to single out the things going right in life makes quotidian obstacles less stressful and more comfortable to overcome.

Staying present is a crucial ingredient to spotting beneficial elements of your life. Early in sobriety, people often become bogged down in memories of past mistakes. The things one has no power to change should not take center stage when one is on a mission to recover. Living in the moment, as best you can, brings everything worthwhile front and center. On the other end of the spectrum, those who always think about the tomorrows yet to come, risk missing something of importance now.

Individuals in recovery, even relative newcomers, already have so much to be thankful for today. Alcohol, substance use disorder, and coöccurring mental illness(es) are progressive, life-threatening diseases. Not everyone makes it to the rooms of recovery; it is sad and unfortunate because each person has the potential to heal. The mere fact that you are taking steps to improve your life should never be discounted or minimized. Men and women working a program, at any stage, can find uplifting things to think about moving forward.

A Daily Gratitude Journal

Transitioning into more positive modes of being will take practice. Change is a slow process; progress can be hard to see. Keeping a gratitude journal is one technique that people in recovery can utilize.

Positive experiences, while beneficial, are often fleeting; they can pass by without you having had the opportunity to acknowledge their significance. Setting aside a few minutes each day to compile a list of the people, places, and things that aid your recovery can help. Having a journal you can refer to when you are feeling down is also extremely beneficial.

Dr. Judith T. Moskowitz, a psychologist at Northwestern University, recently shared some thoughts about gratitude with the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Moskowitz et al. study how keeping a daily gratitude journal affects stress relief and overall health. She contends that practicing gratitude is a skill that can help some people increase their positivity, and improve their mental health.

By practicing these skills, it will help you cope better with whatever you have to cope with,” Moskowitz explains to NIH: News in Health. “You don’t have to be experiencing major life stress. It also works with the daily stress that we all deal with. Ultimately, it can help you be not just happier but also healthier.”

Making gratitude a habit is not a panacea; it works best in conjunction with other wellness tools. Moreover, it may not make everyone feel better or rid some people of negativity. Dr. Moskowitz points out that meditating and doing small acts of kindness are other tools at people’s disposal.

Being more mindful can increase one’s overall feelings of positivity. In conclusion, the next time something happens that uplifts your spirit, write it down. Acknowledge it, save it for later; gratitude will help you down the road.

A Positive Attitude Changes Everything in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we firmly believe that a Positive Attitude Changes Everything (PACE). Our team helps men, struggling with mental illness, identify their specific recovery goals, and empowers them to achieve their dreams.

We offer gender-specific programs in a safe, sober, and supportive environment. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our services and how we can help your or family member foster long term recovery.

Mental Health: Parenting Young Men With Heart, Not Guilt

mental health

It's incredibly beneficial when a patient’s family takes part in their son’s addiction and mental health disease recovery. Mothers and fathers influence their loved one's struggles with mental illness, for better or worse. That isn't to say that the parent is responsible for causing the psychological issues their child is battling, but parents can unwittingly contribute to their child's downward spiral. In order to prevent unhealthy familial interactions post-treatment, it is critical that parents learn how to support without enabling.

At PACE Recovery Center, we work closely with the parents of our young male clients. One of our primary goals is to illustrate that their role in their child’s recovery can affect long-term outcomes. We teach parents about the importance of establishing boundaries. We show them how to say “no” without guilt, and we help recognize which practices may enable self-defeating or destructive behaviors.

Actions done in the name of love can have the unintended effect of crippling the individual a parent is trying to help. Some will go to extraordinary lengths for their children. When it comes to families with healthy boundaries, unfettered love and support is helpful. However, when the opposite is true, codependent enabling causes trouble for both parent and child alike. When addiction and mental health treatment is put off, conditions worsen, and connections are strained further due to unconstructive parent/child relationships.

The Most Enabling Mother in America?

A few years back, PACE Recovery was approached by Dr. Phil to help a young man struggling with substance use and behavioral health issues. The PACE team agreed to take on the case, and also worked with the family during his care – this is because mental illness is a two-sided problem. It is important to reiterate that successful recovery outcomes often hinge upon total family recovery. Healing is contingent upon all concerned parties making healthy changes; at PACE, our clinicians teach parents how to make those changes last.

Recently, Dr. Phil thought of PACE again in another case involving a young man struggling with myriad mental health conditions. Viewers of Dr. Phil may have had an opportunity to watch an episode titled “The Most Enabling Mother in America?” For those who haven’t viewed the segment, it involves Jai, a 20-year-old living with his mother, who was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder at age 11. As an adult, preliminary observation suggests that Jai meets the criteria for a cannabis use disorder and possibly bipolar disorder as well.

Jai has had a rough start in life, beginning with abandonment issues stemming from his parents’ divorce. In high school, he was plagued by both cancer and a nearly life-threatening infection; his illness led to dropping out of high school. To alleviate some of Jai’s symptoms, with his mother’s concurrence, he opted for medical marijuana. While the sickness has fortunately subsided, the cannabis use remains steady. Jai reports smoking about an eighth of an ounce per day, partly to mute his fits of rage.

Making matters worse, his mother Amy admits that she has enabled her son’s self-destructive behavior. She instructs him to make something of himself (earn a GED and get a job), while simultaneously allowing him to steamroll over her and everyone else.


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Transitioning Into Recovery

Amy is not the cause of her son’s mental health issues, but she acknowledges that her enabling contributes to Jai’s unwillingness to make changes. Dr. Phil recommended that Amy and Jai turn to PACE for assistance. Dr. Phil explains that:

PACE Recovery Center is a gender-specific extended care program for men that are struggling with two different things. One is any kind of chemical dependency, and more importantly when it’s happening co-morbidly with mental health issues. They are in Costa Mesa [California]. They help clients develop life skills, so you can get traction in your life and get control of the mental health issues, get control of the addiction issues, and come out with a plan. And these guys [PACE] are as good as they come at that — I’ve never seen better.

Dr. Phil goes on to ask PACE Executive Director/Founder Lenny Segal, LMSW, MBA, if they can help. Responding to Dr. Phil from the audience, Mr. Segal speaks directly to Jai and his mother:

We certainly can, Dr. Phil. We work with young guys like you from all over the country. When you come to PACE, we’ll be able to first address the mental health issues, get you properly diagnosed, properly medicated. Support that with all different types of psychotherapies. Help you get your GED and any continued education and life skills and to be able to help the family system. You folks love each other, you folks have to be separated for a period of time and for you to be able to do some concentrated work, so you can actually parent from a place of heart, not guilt.

Mental Health Treatment for Young Men

In closing, if your son is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, we invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center. We’ve created a setting where men are allowed to express their fears, sadness, shame, and guilt in a non-judgmental environment. We help young men and their families toward their goal of leading a healthy, productive life in recovery.

Recovery Helps Young Men Achieve Their Goals

recovery

When a young man gives up drugs and alcohol, hopefully for good, there is no limit on what he can achieve. Anyone still in the grips of addiction may find that statement hard to believe. Maybe such readers are asking themselves, "What’s the catch?" There isn’t one! All that recovery asks of people is willingness and honesty. A willingness to be open-minded and honest, even when every cell in the body urges one to do the opposite.

Learning to live life on life’s terms, choosing to no longer be driven by fear, is a recipe for opening doors. The tendency to self-sabotage and adhere to a self-defeating mentality disappears when one surrenders. When a man accepts that he has an incurable affliction and is willing to do whatever it takes to manage his symptoms of mental illness, he discovers a life once thought impossible.

When young men find the courage to reinvent their lives, it is a gift. Moreover, recovery is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Working a program grants people the honor of helping others find the strength to make similar changes. There are few feelings as potent as what one experiences when he witnesses recovery transform the life of another. Knowing that your selfless acts of kindness, understanding, and gentle guidance played a critical role in saving a life is remarkable.

People In Recovery Inspire

People who embrace long-term sobriety become inspirations to those who are still "out there" and newcomers alike. Since most in recovery do so with the benefit of anonymity, it can be challenging to find inspiring people outside "the rooms" to look to for motivation. Fortunately, more and more people are turning their back on the societal stigma of addiction. That ever-pressing urge to keep both the addiction and recovery a closely guarded secret loses its appeal with each passing year.

In the twenty-first century, many celebrities and icons are opening up about their struggles and recoveries. Several athletes, musicians, and movie stars are sharing their experiences, strength, and hope with the world. In doing so, members of the general public are finding the will to reach out for assistance and they are healing. While each person in recovery has the right to share their story with whomever they choose – or not – no rule says sobriety shouldn’t be talked about openly.

The 91st Academy Awards have passed, but before they aired, one nominee shared that he owes his life and success to sobriety. Some readers may have had an opportunity to watch A Star Is Born: a film that has been remade three times now. The most recent iteration stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper directed the film and played the addicted rock star named Jackson Maine. It turns out it was a role Cooper was uniquely equipped for, owing to his history with substance abuse, mental health, and fifteen years of sobriety.

The stories that exist in this story, it comes from a very deep personal place and that's the only way that I know how to communicate with many people," Cooper tells The New York Times.

A Recovery Is Born

In 2012, Mr. Cooper spoke with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) about the roots of his mental health and addiction struggles. His story is likely to resonate with many young men, both in active addiction or recovery.

Bradley started drinking at a young age and began having suicidal ideations at the turn of the century. An injury led him to an opioid use disorder. He acknowledges that his path to addiction was a consequence of deep-seated insecurities: a sentiment familiar to many in recovery.

I was so concerned what you thought of me, how I was coming across, how I would survive the day," he told THR. "I always felt like an outsider. I just lived in my head. I realized I wasn't going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me. I thought, 'Wow, I'm actually gonna ruin my life; I'm really gonna ruin it.'"

Once Bradley decided to make changes, his life started to improve — as did his mental health. He came to see that he didn’t need drugs and alcohol to cope with his insecurities. In 2015, with eleven years sober, he shared with Barbara Walters that he owes his whole life to sobriety:

"I would never be sitting here with you, no way, no chance [if I hadn't gotten sober,]" he said. "I wouldn't have been able to have access to myself or other people, or even been able to take in other people, if I hadn't changed my life. I never would have been able to have the relationships that I do. I never would have been able to take care of my father the way I did when he was sick. So many things."

PACE Recovery Center Young Adult Rehab

Our clinical team specializes in working with young adult males battling chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Since more than half of individuals living with addiction also struggle with co-occurring mental illness, it is critical to seek help from a center that can treat the entire patient. PACE Recovery Center provides young men with a structured program: one that teaches clients how to live balanced lives free from drugs and alcohol. We invite you to contact us for yourself or a loved one to discuss treatment options.

“We believe that incorporating sound clinical interventions and a lifestyle that encourages health and wellness, in a shame-free setting that encourages accountability and responsibility, will help foster long term recovery.”

Co-Occurring Mental Illness: Eating Disorders and SUDs

co-occurring mental illness

February 25 - March 3, 2019, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week or NEDA. It is vital that people across America open up a dialogue about food, body image, eating disorders, and co-occurring mental illness. Such conditions include Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). As many as 20 million women and 10 million men will contend with one of the above disorders at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life, regardless of age or gender. Moreover, a person can have an unhealthy relationship with food even if she or he does not meet all the specific criteria for one or more of these complex bio-social illnesses. Naturally, there is much stigma surrounding conditions like AN or BN. Experts refer to these cases as Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder or OSFED. Any eating disorder, like most other mental health conditions recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), can be fatal if left untreated.

Mental health conditions involving food intake or body image are many. Disordered eating can go unnoticed for years due to societal pressure to look a certain way. What’s more, even those who appear to be at the peak of physical fitness can be suffering from an eating disorder. Many professional athletes place enormous dietary restrictions on themselves or have them imposed by coaches. In many sports, being lighter can mean a competitive edge against an opponent, i.e., cycling, gymnastics, or horse racing. Many professional athletes require assistance.

Male Athletes With Eating Disorders

While most people associate eating disorders as conditions usually affecting women, men struggle too. Millions of males, of all ages, battle with eating disorders at some point in their life and many of them are athletes. This week, Soledad O’Brien probed the dark side of athletics for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. O’Brien points out that a third of people struggling with an eating disorder are men; she goes on to highlight how athletes are at a heightened risk.

What makes you a great, elite athlete can also make you ‘great,’ if you will, at having an eating disorder,” O’Brien shares with Men’s Health in an interview. She adds, “I think what can first be read as commitment eventually becomes dedication gone horribly wrong.”

Please take a moment to watch a clip on the subject from Real Sports:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Eating Disorder and Co-Occurring Mental Illness

Some people meet the criteria for both eating disorder and co-occurring mental illness. Anxiety, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder plague many people who struggle with eating disorders. Fortunately, a full recovery from an eating disorder and dual diagnosis are possible. It is vital that such individuals receive treatment for each condition simultaneously for successful recovery outcomes.

The National Eating Disorders Association shares that up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders abused alcohol or illicit drugs. The most commonly misused substances by persons with eating disorders are alcohol, laxatives, emetics, diuretics, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine. Furthermore, some 35 percent of people with substance use disorders or SUDs also have a co-occurring eating disorder.

co-occurring disorder

Please watch a short video on the subject:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

It is critical to keep in mind, substance use disorder can follow disordered eating or the other way around. In the video, Amy Baker Dennis makes clear that substance abuse problems can affect people after they undergo eating disorder treatment. She makes clear that people with binge eating disorders (BED) are particularly vulnerable to developing substance use disorder. Up to 57 percent of men with BED also have a co-occurring substance abuse problem.

We can all have a hand to starting conversations about eating disorders and co-occurring mental illness during NEDA. Please follow this link to learn more.

Co-Occurring Mental Illness Treatment for Men

In the field of addiction medicine, we know that people will often swap one use disorder for another following some time in recovery. Those at risk of one form of mental illness are at a higher risk of developing comorbidity.

If you are a male who struggles with mental illness, we invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center for support. With an accredited team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians and drug and alcohol counselors we offer treatment for mood disorders, personality disorders and mental health conditions including disordered eating and our mental health program for men can help you make lasting changes and go on to lead a productive life in recovery.

Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults: A New Guide

Mental Health

The Child Mind Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to assisting adolescents struggling with mental health and learning disorders. The Center for Addiction is another vital organization—working to change society's understanding of and response to the disease of addiction. In January, both the Child Mind Institute and Center for Addiction merged with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. For those who are not familiar with the Partnership, it is a non-profit organization spearheading campaigns to prevent teenage drug and alcohol abuse in the United States.

Each organization, individually, plays a crucial role in helping children and young adults living either with mental illness, addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders. Together, it is likely that the tripartite will affect even more change at this critical time in our history. Addiction, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and dual diagnosis plague millions of Americans.

Without proper evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery services the result is despair and premature death—families needlessly shattered. Sadly, the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society receive no special dispensation from diseases of the mind. An adolescent battling mental illness continues to do so in his or her adult years. On the upside, evidence-based treatments are available, and clinicians can help transform the lives of young people.

Substance Use and Mental Illness in Young People

Treating a mental health condition, on its own, is both complicated and challenging to manage. When a patient is experiencing comorbid disorders or dual diagnosis (i.e., more than one mental illness), proper diagnosis and treatment are even more demanding. It is vital that mental health professionals also have expertise in substance use conditions. Addiction medicine specialists must also have overlapping mental health expertise, according to Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., President at the Child Mind Institute and Fred Muench, Ph. D., President at the Center for Addiction.

In a commentary appearing in the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website, Dr. Koplewicz and Muench point out that one in five young people struggle with a mental illness. Moreover, there are millions of teens and young adults engaging in alcohol and drug misuse; studies indicate a 30 percent to 65 percent overlap between the groups mentioned above.

It is vital to acknowledge the above findings because when young people misuse mind-altering substances, it is often for self-medication. Simply put, mental illness like depression can precipitate addiction; and, the same is accurate in the opposite direction. Drugs and alcohol can significantly impact the developing brains of young people, potentially resulting in comorbid disorders.

A New Guide for Clinicians and Parents

Doctors Koplewicz and Muench point out, rightly, that parents are the first to notice changes in their kids and adult children. What’s more, they play a critical role in seeking out treatment and encouraging long-term recovery. Parents with concerns about their loved ones can find an invaluable amount of information in a new guide from the Child Mind Institute and Center for Addiction | Substance Use + Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults: Your Guide to Recognizing and Addressing Co-occurring Disorders.

This guide, a collaboration of the Child Mind Institute and Center on Addiction, which merged with Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in January 2019, provides information on common mental health disorders in young people (and the medications that are often used to treat these), tips on identifying substance misuse and steps to making informed decisions about evaluation and treatment for co-occurring disorders.

Substance Use + Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults Guide Highlights:

  • 30% – 45% of adolescents and young adults with mental health disorders have a co-occurring substance use disorder, and 65% or more of youth with substance use disorders also have a mental health disorder.
  • Untreated, co-occurring disorders increase risk for self-harm.
  • Thorough evaluation, diagnosis and treatment planning of co-occurring disorders requires a professional with expertise in both mental health and addiction.
  • Symptoms of substance misuse and mental health disorders mimic each other.
  • Mental health disorders often lead to “self-medication” with substances. Certain substances are often associated with specific disorders.
  • Parents are instrumental in encouraging treatment for their child or young adult and supporting a treatment program.
  • Integrated care — combining primary care, mental health and substance use services — for co-occurring disorders offers the best long-term prognosis.

PACE Residential and Outpatient Mental Health Program for Young Men

As a pioneer in mental health and dual diagnosis treatment services, our clients work with a team of master’s- and doctorate-level clinicians, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. Our staff of mental health professionals can identify the specific needs of each client and chart a path toward long-term recovery.

Please contact us today to learn more about our gender-specific mental health programs for young men. Our seasoned team can help you or a loved one manage mental health conditions and heal from trauma—setting you on a course to lasting recovery.