Tag Archives: Addiction Recovery

Pain Medication: Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

tolerance, dependence, and addiction

Overuse and abuse of pain medications continue to be major issues in the US. People who are prescribed pain medication for injuries or illnesses can develop a tolerance, dependence, and addiction to those drugs. While medications can help you deal with pain, they are not a cure and are designed only to guide you through a specific recovery period. Tolerance, dependence, and addiction happen when the pain medication is misused or overused.

Overdoses

Taking too much of a prescription medication or an illegally obtained pain medication can lead to an overdose. In 2018, more than 67,300 people in the US died from drug-involved overdoses. Death rates from opioid-involved overdoses rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 46,802 in 2018. Death rates from prescription opioid overdoses rose from 3,442 in 1999 to 14,975 in 2018.

Understanding Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction

There is a difference between tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Tolerance means that you continuously need higher doses of the pain medication to achieve the same effect as when you first began taking it. Your body develops a tolerance to the effects of the pain medication and doesn’t respond as well unless you continue to take more. This can also lead to an overdose.

When you are dependent on a drug, it means that if you don’t have it your body will go through withdrawal. You can experience physical and mental symptoms in withdrawal. Some of these symptoms may be mild – for example, if you decide to give up caffeine, you may experience some level of discomfort. However, others can have life threatening consequences, such as would be the case if you stop using a prescription pain reliever without professional supervision.

Many people who take a prescription medicine every day over a long period of time can become dependent; when they go off the drug, they need to do it gradually, to avoid withdrawal discomfort. Dependence typically happens when you use a drug long-term (six months or longer) to manage pain associated with a medical condition. Your body builds up a tolerance to the pain medication and then you become dependent on it to maintain the same level of effectiveness.

Addiction is a chronic, treatable disease. When you continue to use a pain medication and do not feel as though you can stop despite any negative consequences you may be facing, you have an addiction. You can be dependent or have a tolerance for a drug and not necessarily be addicted.

Addiction can have devastating, life-long consequences if not properly treated. Also known as a substance use disorder, addiction results in compulsive behaviors as well as an inability to control the use of the pain medication. Although addiction and dependence are different, when you are addicted to opioids, you are also typically dependent on them.

Addictive Pain Medications

According to Dr. Karsten Kueppenbender, an addiction psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, “ninety-seven percent of patients don’t have a problem with opioids.” However, there are pain medications that can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Opioids decrease the perception of pain and create a feeling of euphoria for some people, especially those who take the pain medication even though they are not actually in pain. Opioids are typically used for the short term, to treat severe pain following surgery. They may also be used for some long-term pain, such as pain related to cancer and terminal illness.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (including brand name Duragesic)
  • Oxycodone (including brand name OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, and Roxicet)
  • Morphine (including brand name MS Contin)
  • Meperidine (including brand name Demerol)
  • Hydrocodone (including brand name Vicodin and Lortab)
  • Hydromorphone (including brand name Dilaudid)

At Risk for Addiction

Even though some people can safely take pain medications that are properly prescribed by their physician without developing a tolerance, dependence, or addiction, there are factors that can predict your vulnerability to becoming addicted to pain medication, including:

  • Family history of problem substance use
  • Misuse of other substances
  • Other risky behaviors (such as problem gambling)
  • Past history of problem substance use

Additionally, undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, such as depression, can predict an eventual reliance on substances for self-medicating tendencies that, in turn, only make the issue worse.

Contact PACE for Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

At PACE Recovery, we’ve helped hundreds of men enter into a life of recovery from opiate addiction through a combination of traditional and alternative therapeutic methods. If you are in the downward spiral of a pain medication addiction, contact PACE today to begin your life-changing journey. You can reach our highly trained staff at any time by calling 800-526-1851 to learn more about our programs, admission, insurances accepted, and availability.

Addiction Recovery Inspirations During a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Personal Milestones in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspirations for Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

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

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

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

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

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

Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Reopening Could Lead to Relapse and Overdose

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

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

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

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

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

Addiction Recovery: Staying Present Despite Fear

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

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

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

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

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

Staying Present in Addiction Recovery During Fearful Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overcoming Adversity is Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlocking Us

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

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

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

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

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

Coping in Recovery When You are Feeling Vulnerable

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

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

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

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

Please take a moment to watch her interview:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Finding Recovery During A Crisis

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

Addiction Recovery: COVID-19 Pandemic Affects People in Sobriety

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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

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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.

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