Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Coping With Isolation

mental health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Awareness Month 2020

mental health

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Treatment for Adult Men

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

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

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

Recovery: April is Stress Awareness Month 2020

recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stress Awareness Month 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Recovery Center for Men

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

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

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

Addiction Recovery: Refocusing On Opioid Use Disorder

addiction recovery

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

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

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

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

Limited Testing Demands Continued Preventive Measures

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

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

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


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Refocusing On Opioid Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Tackling the Opioid Epidemic During a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

Opioid Addiction Recovery Treatment for Men

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

Addiction Recovery Aided by Your Creativity

addiction recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Creativity Boosts and Strengthens Your Addiction Recovery

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

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

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


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

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

Staying Positive Helps You Avoid Despair

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

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

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


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery Center

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

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

Recovery Community and Coping with Vulnerability

recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Unlocking Us

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

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

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

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

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

Coping in Recovery When You are Feeling Vulnerable

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

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

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

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

Please take a moment to watch her interview:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Finding Recovery During A Crisis

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

Addiction Recovery: COVID-19 Pandemic Affects People in Sobriety

addiction

If you are like most Americans, then coronavirus (COVID-19) is on your mind throughout the day. It’s the most severe pandemic since the worldwide influenza outbreak of 1918. In the United States, COVID-19 is the deadliest epidemic since the onset of the opioid addiction crisis in America in 1999.

From 1999 to February 2019, nearly 500,000 thousand Americans died from drug overdoses. From the beginning of March 2020 to March 27, there have been 1,301 reported deaths in the United States related to COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases stands at 86,012 in the U.S., according to The New York Times. At least 553,244 people have tested positive worldwide, with 25,035 reported deaths.

Our nation has just surpassed every other nation in COVID-19 cases. While Europe is still the epicenter of the pandemic, projections indicate that the U.S. is poised to take that position and will likely see the highest death toll. Reuters asked Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO), if the U.S. could become the new epicenter of the virus; her response:

We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential.”

As the number of positive tests exponentially increases each day in America, all of our lives have changed in unquantifiable ways. Schools are shut down, while businesses that can operate remotely continue to do so, but an untold number have had to close. Millions are newly unemployed as a result of this public health crisis.

Education and the economy are of vital importance to be sure; however, they both pale in comparison to the value of a single human life.

COVID-19 and Addiction

If you have been following the news reports, then you are probably aware that specific demographics are at higher risk of contracting and succumbing to the disease. Older demographics and those with pre-existing health conditions are most susceptible, including individuals living with the disease of addiction.

Those with active alcohol and substance use disorders need to take extra precautions. The coronavirus attacks the lungs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) points out that tobacco and cannabis smokers are at particular risk; the same is true for vapers.

NIDA also stresses that people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and stimulant use disorder could be vulnerable too. Both drugs are detrimental to respiratory and pulmonary health. Men and women in long term recovery are not in the clear either. NIDA writes:

We know very little right now about COVID-19 and even less about its intersection with substance use disorders. But we can make educated guesses based on past experience that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications—for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons.”

Years of heavy drug and alcohol use can do irreparable damage to one’s health. Many people in recovery have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory diseases. Even those in early recovery – both the young and old – have compromised immune systems, which can worsen the prognosis if they contract COVID-19.

As we have pointed out in a previous article, many 12 Step groups have resorted to conducting meetings online. Video conferencing is now instrumental in protecting the recovery of millions of Americans, and digital meetings prevent people from coming into contact with COVID-19.

Coping with Anxiety and Stress in Recovery

The entire nation rightly fears contracting coronavirus, which is placing enormous stress on all of us. Anxiety and stress are known triggers for relapse in the recovery community. At PACE Recovery Center, we ask that everyone in recovery be extra vigilant about recovery during this time.

We know that many people have lost their employment and are quarantined from friends, family, and networks of support. Everyone is facing adversity, and it’s essential to continue focusing on your recovery. You can still practice the principles of recovery in all your affairs even when you are cut off physically from your peers.

Take advantage of the online resources available and reach out if you find yourself craving drugs and alcohol. The program gave you tools for coping with challenging emotions and situations; we implore you to utilize them at all times.

Together, we can support each other from afar and prevent countless relapses. We are all in this together and will get through it, helping one another and adhering to the recommendations of our public health officials.

PACE would like to express our deepest sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you, and we hope that those battling COVID-19 make a speedy recovery.

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment for Men

During this trying time, it is still possible to begin a journey of addiction recovery. If you are an adult male living with alcohol, substance, mental, or a co-occurring disorder, then PACE Recovery Center can be of significant assistance. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and the precautions we’re taking to ensure the health safety of our clients.

Recovery at Risk Amid a Pandemic: Protecting Your Progress

recovery

Recovery first is the pathway to continued progress. Those who make a daily commitment to prioritize sobriety by attending meetings, working with a sponsor, and paying it forward are destined for success. However, it’s challenging to put your recovery first when the country is in the grips of a deadly public health crisis.

Every American, both in recovery and out, is fully aware that social distancing is of vital importance. For most men and women, that might not be a protocol that’s difficult to adhere to, but for those who rely on mutual support groups, a pandemic presents problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has instructed every American to avoid large crowds and physical interaction. While there isn’t a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 or Coronavirus, there are steps that each of us can take to safeguard our health.

If you are an active member of a recovery community, then you understand that meetings are extremely important for sustaining your program. Discontinuing your attendance at 12 Step groups can significantly put your recovery at risk. So, if you are like most people in sobriety, then you are probably wondering how you are expected to carry on without regular meeting attendance?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to the question above. The fact is that we in the recovery community have never faced anything quite like this in our lifetimes. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded 17 years after the Spanish Flu of 1918. The influenza of the early 20th Century infected some 500 million people (nearly one-third of the world population) and resulted in anywhere from 50 and 100 million casualties.

Even though we have never dealt with a public health crisis like this before, it’s possible to keep your recovery intact.

COVID-19 in Recovery

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines on protecting your health. At PACE Recovery Center, we are following the public health agency’s suggestions in earnest to protect our clients. We hope that you will take the time to learn more about how you can protect yourself amid this most severe crisis.

Now, perhaps more than ever, the fellowship of recovery needs to work together to ensure the programs of millions of people aren’t derailed. Those in recovery – especially early sobriety – cannot isolate from their support network, but that is what the CDC is recommending.

In order to safeguard the recovery of countless individuals, support groups need to adapt in response to the pandemic. While it’s not the job of 12 Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to dole out public health advice, the organization is making recommendations to protect its members.

The General Service Office (G.S.O.) of Alcoholics Anonymous has offered AA Intergroups across the country some valuable advice for handling the crisis. The resource center for AA members has shared what some groups are doing to deal with the pandemic in hopes that it will steer other groups in the right direction. On March 16th, 2020, the G.S.O. issued an updated statement on the crisis. The General Service Office writes:

Our collected experience suggests that groups that are unable to meet at their usual meeting places have begun to meet digitally; doing so in a sensible and helpful manner to allow the group to continue keeping the focus on our common welfare and primary purpose. Some groups that are still meeting in person have shared about making changes to customs at their meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Many groups have also made contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person.

Recovery Support Groups Contingency Plans

It’s worth noting that some 12 Step groups are still meeting in person despite the elevated threat to member safety. However, the G.S.O. shares that many support groups are going digital. Switching from “in-person” meetings to online is a sound method of preventing disease transmission. Rightly, the G.S.O. points out that regardless of individual group decisions, each member is responsible for their health.

If your health is compromised, such is the case for many in early recovery and especially those with respiratory conditions, then attending meetings could be risky. Such individuals must take steps to protect their progress and sustain their recovery. The G.S.O. recommends:

  • Creating Contact Lists
  • Staying in Touch with Your Sponsor and Support Group via Telephone
  • Utilizing Email and Social Media
  • Conducting Meetings by Phone or Video Conference.

The best thing you can do for your recovery at this time is to maintain constant contact with your support network. If you require further guidance, then utilize your local AA resources. Contact the AA intergroup or central office in your area. You can also turn to AA websites for more information.

Southern California Gender-Specific Recovery Center

At PACE Recovery Center, we encourage you to strike a balance between your physical and mental well-being. Please do not take unnecessary risks and again stay in touch with your support network as much as possible. You have the power to sustain your recovery and protect your health during this unprecedented time.

Please contact PACE if you are an adult male struggling with addiction or mental illness. We offer several evidence-based programs that can help you begin and sustain a journey of lasting recovery.

Recovery Roads: Is AA the Most Effective Path to Sobriety?

recovery

There are many roads that people take to achieve sustained addiction recovery. What works for one person may not have the same effect on another. Last week, we wrote at length about the benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment. We also discussed the value of brotherhood and fellowship in recovery.

When the word fellowship comes to mind regarding sobriety and abstinence, most people think of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There is a good reason for that association; AA and 12 Step recovery has been extant for a long time. Moreover, millions of Americans and individuals across the world owe their recovery to working the 12 Steps.

Most evidence-based addiction treatment centers, including PACE Recovery Center, introduce clients to AA and Narcotics Anonymous. The hope is that when one completes a stay in rehab, they will continue being an active member of a 12 Step fellowship.

Long-term recovery hinges on continued maintenance. Continued progress depends on dedicating one’s self to working the Steps in all your affairs and practicing the principles established in 1935 when AA was founded.

While there are other modalities than 12 Step recovery such as SMART Recovery, most addiction experts recommend the former. You detox, undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, learn how to cope with challenges, and prevent relapse while in treatment. After rehab, you continue working with others both in and out of meetings to keep your recovery and show newcomers how to do the same.

For 85 years, men and women from all walks of life have joined forces against their common foe: the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. Today, we refer to those types of behavioral health conditions as alcohol use disorder (AUD) and substance use disorder (SUD).

The Most Effective Path to Long-Term Recovery

Even though Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for quite some time, there is not much research on the program’s efficacy. However, we now have a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of AA on alcohol use disorder, CNN reports. The research appears in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review.

Dr. Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, and his colleagues evaluated 35 studies. After looking at the research of 145 scientists and more than 10,000 participants, Dr. Humphreys and his team concluded that AA might be the most effective path to abstinence for people living with AUD.

The researchers found that when a counselor encouraged a client’s adherence to the 12 Steps, it was more effective for achieving abstinence, compared to other psychotherapies. The authors’ key findings include:

  • AA and Twelve‐Step Facilitation (TSF) interventions usually produced higher rates of continuous abstinence than the other established treatments.
  • Clinically‐delivered TSF interventions designed to increase AA participation usually lead to better outcomes over the subsequent months to years in terms of producing higher rates of continuous abstinence.
  • AA/TSF will probably produce substantial healthcare cost savings while simultaneously improving alcohol abstinence.
  • AA was more effective for women than men, slightly.

An advantage that AA has over the kind of therapies I was trained to do, is that people can persist in it a very long time, which gives them a better shot at recovery because you could literally go to AA everyday for years and years and years if you wanted to,” Humphreys said. “That may be better matched with chronic disease than short-term interventions the health care system usually gives.”

The Advantages of AA

Dr. Humphreys points out some of the advantages AA has over other therapeutic techniques. He says that 12 Step programs are free, offer social support, and inspiration, according to the article. Humphreys adds that 12 Step groups can provide insular resilience to situations that could potentially trigger a relapse.

Working a program can “help people create senses of worth and value that occur in the brain and don’t center around alcohol, retraining the brain to live differently,” Humphreys said. The professor of psychiatry rightly adds that AA instills hope for a better life in ways that some professionals cannot. Dr. Humphreys says:

I can say to someone, ‘Believe me, you can have a better life than what you’ve got right now,’ but it’s pretty powerful when someone says, ‘I’m not just telling you that, I had your life. Look at me — I’m also an alcoholic, and I’m having a really good life. If I could do it, you could do it.’ “

The review has some limitations which should prompt further study. Dr. Jennifer Plumb Vilardaga, clinical psychologist at Duke University Health, who wasn’t part of the review notes that the analysis did not focus on how effective AA was with:

  • Psychological Well-Being
  • Overall Health
  • Adolescents
  • Members with Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Dr. Vilardaga says that people with AUD and co-occurring mental illness may benefit more from a combination of professional counseling and working an AA program, the article reports. She states:

As a psychologist myself, my read of the literature is that if you have a significant mental health issue, you’re still better off seeking professional counseling to address your alcohol as well as your mental health concerns.”

Orange County Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we help adult males break the cycle of addiction, and our clinicians also specialize in treating individuals struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders. Our team understands that finding long-term recovery rests on treating the whole client.

More than half of the people with AUDs and SUDs meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis. It’s essential to address addiction and mental illness simultaneously. With the aid of evidence-based therapies and adherence to a 12 Step program, you or a loved one can achieve sustained recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment center.

Addiction Recovery: Brotherhood and Fellowship is Beneficial

addiction recovery

One of the benefits of seeking gender-specific addiction treatment is fostering relationships with people of the same sex. Early recovery is a challenging time, and avoiding distractions is paramount. Men who stick close to other men are better able to stay the course of addiction recovery during this period.

At PACE Recovery Center, we firmly believe that men can more easily stay focused without the distraction of the other sex. Gender-specific treatment provides men the opportunity to bond and work closely with relatable people. Our facility gives men the ability to address the factors that contributed to their addiction from the male perspective.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects men and women in different ways. Adult males face unique societal, familial, and environmental pressures, some of which play a role in developing alcohol and substance use disorders.

Being in the company of individuals who have faced similar pressures as you is hugely beneficial. Men understand each other better, and in ways that women cannot, which is why choosing gender-specific treatment is ideal for achieving successful outcomes.

Some of the fellows you go through addiction treatment with will become lifelong brothers in recovery. Brotherhood and fellowship are essential to sustain lasting recovery.

A Recovery Brotherhood

After treatment, you will work closely with other men to achieve common goals. Your sponsor will also be male, which means he can understand what you’re going through when working the steps. What’s more, your deep bench of support will consist primarily of men; these are the people you will turn to when obstacles arise.

While you will inevitably foster platonic relationships with women in the program by attending meetings, building strong bonds with men must come first. If you prioritize establishing a strong sense of community with other men, then you will be better able to always put your recovery first.

Early addiction recovery is a fragile time that requires dedication and focus. Members of the opposite sex can be a significant distraction during your first year. Friendships with women can quickly morph into something more. You may have heard by now that it’s best to steer clear of romantic entanglements during your first year.

You will have a much better understanding of how you perceive and connect with the opposite sex once you have worked all 12 Steps. Many men in early recovery do not know how to be only friends with women. Moreover, female interactions can be triggers for some individuals; romance has been a factor for many a relapse in early recovery. So is rejection!

If you develop feelings for another member of the program and it’s unrequited, it can lead to negative self-talk and a sense of unworthiness. You can avoid such occurrences by sticking close to other men in the program.

As you become more stable in your recovery, you will learn how to have healthy relationships with women. There is no need to rush because there will be plenty of time down the road for romance, provided that recovery comes first always.

Lifelong Friendships with Men in Addiction Recovery

Finding long-term recovery depends upon your ability to work closely with other men. Achieving milestones in the program doesn’t happen without help. If you bond with men in your homegroup – both inside and outside the meeting rooms – they will become your sober friend group.

After working with such people for an extended period, you will feel a connection. There will not be anything that you will not feel comfortable sharing with your brothers in recovery. Your male friends will provide you with valuable feedback and help you stay accountable. They will also let you know if they think you are putting something before your recovery.

Simply put, having friends is essential to sustaining your program, and having friends of the same sex is best in early recovery. If you stay the course and follow directions, you are guaranteed to develop lifelong friendships with men in addiction recovery.

Southern California Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

While beginning a journey of recovery at a co-ed facility is possible, those hoping to break the cycle of addiction for good often find gender-specific treatment the best starting point. If you are an adult male who is struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorder, or a standalone mental illness, the PACE Recovery is here to help.

Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based treatment center and the benefits of gender-specific therapies. We are available to answer your questions or begin the admissions process around the clock, 365 days a year. You can reach out to us today at 800-526-1851 to start the journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery: Always Make Time for Your Program

addiction recovery

Most people in addiction recovery would agree that the first years are the most challenging. If you are in early recovery, then you have probably dealt with some tricky situations already. Hopefully, you were equipped with tools to cope with whatever obstacles you faced.

Addiction recovery often begins with detox and a residential or an intensive outpatient program. Such settings position the newly sober for success by providing individuals with a stable support network. In treatment, people learn the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and always work to put recovery first.

Many would argue that the real tests of one’s ability to stay clean and sober begin after treatment. When you no longer have the close supervision of guidance counselors and clinicians, it’s up to you to be accountable to your program.

After rehab, the first course of action should always be finding a homegroup and a sponsor. Diving right into steps is essential to achieving the goals you set for yourself while in treatment. Those who put off getting to meetings and establishing a support network after treatment place their progress in jeopardy.

Always Make Time for Your Addiction Recovery

Completing an addiction treatment program is a significant accomplishment. Committing oneself to stay clean and sober, no matter what, is a considerable feat. Still, it’s common for men and women to leave treatment and think they can take a break from doing the work. It’s vital that you do not find yourself in such a mindset because there are no vacations from recovery.

Addiction is a disease that never rests; it is always attempting to reassert control over your life. Naturally, you do not want to find yourself back where you were before treatment. If that is indeed the case, then you will always make time for your recovery.

Once back in the real world, it would help if you remembered that the safety net you had while in treatment is no longer under you. With that in mind, you must rely on a mutual support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to protect your program.

Time is of the essence in the first days following discharge. You worked hard in treatment, and you must keep it up, or old behaviors and old ways of thinking will return. One has to get in the practice of attending meetings every day of the week; 90 meetings in 90 days is an excellent commitment after treatment.

Once you are in the habit of making 12 Step recovery the primary focus of each day, everything else will fall into place. You may have desires to dive back into school or your career immediately after treatment, which is OK. Provided, however, that you always make addiction recovery your number one priority. You put sobriety first to make it last; without it, you will inevitably encounter problems at work or school and risk losing your progress.

Being Ready for Anything is Essential

Treatment centers teach individuals how to cope with stress and how to spot risky situations. Surely, you learned about the common pitfalls that people face in early recovery. People, places, and things from your past should be avoided to vigilance.

Finding long-term recovery means adopting a new way of living that includes being responsible and accountable to your program and others in your support network. Life is unpredictable, which is why having trusted peers is so crucial. You never know when you’ll have to reach out for help.

A failure to prioritize attending meetings and fostering a deep-bench of support after treatment could spell disaster should you encounter an obstacle. If you don’t make time for your recovery, then you can rest assured that your disease will find time for you. Not making recovery a priority is like playing with fire, and you have no way of knowing how bad the burn will be should you relapse.

It’s easier to see the importance of finding time for your addiction recovery if you always remember life before treatment. Don’t lose sight of the depths of despair that addiction brought you to or where you would like to see yourself in the future.

You made the courageous decision to seek assistance for an alcohol or substance use disorder. Now, you have the power to build a healthy life of recovery upon the foundation laid in treatment. You did not get sober alone, so you can’t expect to maintain your sobriety without continued effort and support.

Addiction Recovery for Adult Males

At PACE Recovery Center, we help men break the cycle of addiction and adopt new principles and traditions. Our clients learn what needs to be done following discharge to keep the gains they made and protect their progress.

We offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), extended residential treatment, and transitional living for men who desire to lead a positive life free from drugs and alcohol. Please contact us today to learn about the PACE difference.