Tag Archives: Addiction Recovery

Addiction Recovery: Summer Action for Winter Security

addiction recovery

Summer is knocking on the door, and most people are welcoming the uplifting season with open arms. The winter months are especially trying for some individuals working programs of addiction recovery; rain, snow, and cold weather are not conducive to warm feelings and thoughts, generally. If you also consider that a large percentage of men and women in the program struggle with a co-occurring disorder like depression, then you can probably understand that chillier months may contribute to dampening the spirits of some.

A good many people’s general outlook on life and feelings of worth seem inextricably linked to the weather. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD, a fitting acronym) is a condition that plagues a significant population; SAD is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons which usually manifests between fall and spring. Naturally, those living with the disorder are likely to fare better in the Southwest; but, for those individuals residing in higher latitude environs, coping with the depressive snowdrifts of the soul during winter is a chore.

Those working programs of recovery whose psyche is sensitive to the weather must take measures to protect their recovery from fall to spring. Men and women who know that their feelings are susceptible to less hospitable climes must go above and beyond during the winter months to prevent relapse. Some of the tactics people employ to stay ahead of their seasonal depression are exercising, light therapy, psychological support via the program and professionally, and taking vitamin D. If you find it difficult, and potentially on the precipice of relapse when sunlight-deprived, it’s paramount to utilize some the above methods. At PACE, we are hopeful that recovering addicts and alcoholics were able to keep their SAD at bay this winter.

180° for Addiction Recovery

If your first year in recovery traversed the 2017/2018 winter and you found yourself struggling to keep afloat, it’s possible that you were not aware of techniques that could’ve helped. Perhaps the best way to prepare yourself for the many more cold seasons to come is taking a proactive approach during summer. Establishing a routine during this time of year will make life easier in 6 months. It’s worth noting that when you are feeling “down” it is difficult to motivate yourself, depressive symptoms beget depressive inaction. However, those feeling blue that get up and take a walk, exercise, and absorb available sunlight end up experiencing feelings of higher self-worth.

The weather is more approachable, now, and people in recovery will find it helpful to get outside and seize the day. Get outdoors as often as possible, exercise regularly, and eat foods conducive to a healthy mind and body. Did you know research shows that vitamin D along with marine omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are critical for serotonin synthesis, release, and function in the brain? People recovering from a use disorder and co-occurring psychological conditions can benefit from incorporating the above supplements into their dietary regimen. Since more than half of people managing an alcohol or substance use disorder also have a dual diagnosis, it’s fair to say that a good many people will find vitamin D and omega-3 useful to long-term recovery.

Before you make any significant changes to diet, first please discuss it with your physician and therapists. Anyone looking to be more active should also consider any physical limitations they may have before doing anything drastic.

Physical and Spiritual Fitness

Even if you are unable to hit the gym and weight train or commence doing cardiovascular exercises you can still do things to promote physical and spiritual wellness. Merely sitting outside with a book for a few hours or going for a swim can significantly improve how you feel, both inside and out. The more active you are during the summer months makes managing your anxieties and depressive symptoms next winter. The smallest of changes can produce essential benefits; when you encounter undesirable feelings next January, you’ll discover that you have tools to counter malaise.

It helps to look at addiction recovery as an agreement between mind, body, and spirit. The health of one affects the wellbeing of the other two; keeping active in the program and life, and with the aid of a healthy diet, is a recipe for long-term recovery. We encourage clients at PACE Recovery Center to place great stock in the physical and spiritual connection. Those who adopt healthier approaches are more likely to stay the course and make continual progress. We hope that anyone working a program takes advantage of the summer months to strengthen their recovery.

Addiction Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you or a loved one learn how to navigate life without resorting to drug and alcohol to cope. Our highly qualified team of addiction professionals also address clients’ co-occurring mental health disorders and provide tools for coping with one’s symptoms. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs.

Is Fear Standing in The Way of Recovery?

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Fear is one of the primary components of addiction. It would be difficult for any one person, in recovery or still active, to deny the role that fright has had in their life. It has been said on numerous occasions, by countless people, that when you strip away all the layers of an addict or alcoholic, what you find is fear. Underneath the anger, resentment, dishonesty, et al., you see a person who trembles at the thought of living another day with substances, or without drugs and alcohol.

Let’s be clear, people living with substance use disorders are not a bunch of scaredy-cats. You might even say that Fear, as it pertains to people struggling with addiction is more of a philosophical dilemma than the typical worries that the average human contends with from day to day. Existential angst may be a more fitting description of the addict’s condition. When a person can’t live with something while simultaneously being unable to live without it, it is a dilemma in the strictest sense of the word—a cruel paradox.

Many articles have touched upon the subject of fear and the part it plays with mental illness and how it can be a catalyst for addiction. With that in mind, getting to the roots of people’s unease, or “dis-ease” for that matter, is an integral component of addiction recovery. Ironically, people only learn this after they have made the courageous “fear-less” decision to ask for assistance and valiantly accept help. In a sense, those who go into treatment choose to resist against their fear, and ignore the chatter in their head that says, ‘you’re not worth it, you will fail, and think what you stand to lose?’

Creation In Spite of Addiction

If you are not in recovery or do not struggle with addiction, the question above may seem baffling. You may ask yourself, ‘what could a person caught in the grips of mental illness have to lose by choosing recovery?’ It’s a good question, and the answer may not be an obvious one, so perhaps you can keep an open mind for a time.

Please consider for a moment that not every person with a substance use disorder in need of treatment is in the final iteration of the disease. Most people who require treatment are somehow managing to hold things together, at least on the surface. Each day, countless active using addicts and alcoholics get up, and go through the same motions as “normal” people; a significant number of people living with mental illness are successful, talented, and in quite a few cases—famous. We probably do not have to run down the list of all well-respected artists, musicians, authors, and performers who are both actively using or are in recovery.

We can probably all agree that it’s possible to make some of your dreams come true despite drugs and alcohol dependence. In spite of the pain, heartache, guilt, and shame that comes with addiction, individuals can create a masterpiece using their preferred medium. One could even argue, and many have, that substance use is a form of muse that guides them toward creation. Whether such a suggestion is right or wrong is debatable, what is certain is that no matter what excuse people have for continuing use, the choice comes at a significant cost— often, the ultimate price.

Identity is Important to Everyone. Even in Recovery!

Years of drug and alcohol use shapes people in many ways. Those caught in the cycle of addiction often define themselves by their struggle, convinced that their fight while deadly, is beautiful. What’s more, since humans are prone to gauge who they Are by how they see themselves in the eyes of others, one can easily convince their self that giving up drugs and alcohol will result in people viewing them differently. We all strive for consistency in how people see us, the thought of people changing their view (even when it is for the better) can be too much to stomach.

Addiction becomes a part of people’s identity; therefore, the thought of abstaining is tantamount to sacrificing (real or imagined) who they Are in the name of health. If a person’s identity is inextricably bound to that which they create, it’s difficult to justify anything (recovery) that could jeopardize creation. There is a pervasive mindset among many people with alcohol or substance use disorders who create art; the idea that self-improvement will diminish their ability to create. The fear of losing that which one loves most keeps people rationalizing their behaviors. Fear justifies continued use, one might say to themself, ‘what good is recovery if I’m going to spend the rest of my days mourning the loss of Art?’ For such people, their passion is more valuable than a healthy existence.

So, does recovery hurt the ability to be original and authentic? The simplest answer, and the right answer is, NO! Sadly, many people never come to that determination because their life was cut short by the disease.

Does Recovery Kill Great Writing?

Those who find the strength to stand up to their disease and give recovery an honest chance, discover an exponentially more exceptional ability to create. Fear is a dominant force, but it is not all-powerful. Fear can convince people that they have the answers to questions without having to do any research. Being convinced of something without conducting a proper study, is to live in ignorance. The only way to know what is possible in recovery is to do the work; only by openly and honestly giving a program of healing a chance can you answer the lingering questions bound to your fear.

Saying that anything is possible in recovery may sound suspiciously catchy; that doesn’t make it any less accurate. Recently, an article appearing in The New York Time’s Magazine, set its sights on the topic of recovery affecting creativity. The article is adapted from Leslie Jamison’s “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath,” to be published next month. Jamison is an author who has several years sober in recovery which, like many artists, struggles with fear. The piece covers many areas relevant to people in recovery and in-need-of recovery. Even if you are artistically inept, everyone can relate to fear.

Jamison’s adaptation can speak to anyone, regardless of artistic background; but, it is likely to resonate most with people who have a penchant for reading and writing. Please find time to read this article, if you have used up your free NYT online articles for the month, the mobile site should still work. Reading the piece might serve to allay the fears of people still teetering on the fence of recovery; it can show you that there is beauty in recovery, resisting doubt is a beautiful struggle. Hopefully, it inspires you to pick up the phone and reach out for help. Making the brave decision to resist fear and seek change could lead you to create your best work yet; naturally, there is only one way to find out, just as Leslie Jamison would discover.

During days spent in the archives and during the midnight hours of my own attempts to write, it was liberating to start questioning the ways I’d understood torment as a prerequisite to beauty. It was liberating to start imagining that there could be meaningful stories told about wreckage, sure, but also meaningful stories told about what it might mean to pull yourself out from under it: stories about showing up for work, for intimacy, for other people; stories about getting through ordinary days without drinking enough vodka to forget yourself entirely. The lie wasn’t that addiction could yield truth. The lie was that addiction had a monopoly on it.

Addiction Recovery

It is hard work facing your feelings without the aid of alcohol and drugs. Early recovery is a difficult time for anyone, but what you will discover along the way will change your life for the better. Recovery is not an antidote for fear; it is a tool that allows you the ability to cope with and manage the state of being in healthy ways. Abstinence is the only absolute when it comes to healing, other than that, recovery isn't a trade-off. You will still be You when working a program, arguably an even better version of yourself.

If you are ready to face your fear and embrace changes in your life for the better, please contact PACE Recovery Center to begin a remarkable journey.

Addiction Recovery: An Avenue of Recourse

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Once drug and alcohol detox concludes, individuals must begin planning a course for long-term addiction recovery. Each person’s path to achieving the goal of lasting embetterment is unique in various ways but, by and large, they are mostly similar. The process usually begins with medical detox, residential treatment, and some form of extended care. During the early stages of recovery people adopt the principles of a program, guides for keeping you on the straight and narrow after treatment is no longer necessary.

If you are new to the program, or contemplating embarking on a journey of recovery, then you know a difficult task is before you. It’s probably apparent that help is needed if you are going to achieve the long-desired goal of abstinence. Outside support is of the utmost importance, accepting the help of others is really the only way to succeed. If you are thinking about treatment or are fresh in the program, chances are you tried to quit on your own once or twice. For most people in recovery, many failed attempts had to occur before they came to realize they could not do it on their own.

Addiction is a severe form of mental illness, driving victims to look for serenity in harmful ways. The disease tricks people into thinking they are strong enough to handle any problem on their own. What’s worse, those living with active alcohol and substance use disorder start believing they can manage through life, alone. Perhaps addicts and alcoholics could benefit from reading the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, especially the lines: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’

Wreckage of Addiction

It’s vital to remember that drugs and alcohol are a symptom of a more significant problem. Sure, mind-altering substances are problematic, and continued use will result in bodily harm; however, like most serious problems, they originate from within, not without. In early recovery, young men and women learn that the great issue they must contend with is that of Self. The internal drive to satiate an insidious yen: wanting what you want when you want it. It’s a mindset that leads to people doing unspeakable things to friends and family members in service to their disease.

Ego, selfishness, and self-centeredness results in people taking great risks, gambling with their future for a jackpot in the present. However, it’s a windfall that will never come; these are the delusions of grandeur besetting every addict. Living in service to mental illness may work for a time, but in the end those who do not address the problem of self by way of recovery—never fare well. Healing occurs when you look to your fellow man for support and guidance. Paradoxically, it’s when you surrender that you find freedom.

Many of us in recovery have impressive resumes that we would like nothing more than to erase, both on paper and in the minds of others. After a couple weeks in treatment, when the acute withdrawal subsides, and the mind comes into focus, one begins to see just how far the pendulum of reason had swung. It leads to a desire to clear up or amend our past mistakes or errors in judgment. Fortunately, recovery provides an avenue of recourse; it won't happen right away, but in time, those who stay the course find hope. Individuals working programs of recovery will get the opportunity to “Act” for forgiveness, rather than ask.

Unconquered In Recovery

Regret, shame, and guilt are all words the addict and alcoholic are acutely familiar with in early recovery. One must do everything in their power to not let said feelings drive them out of the program before the miracle is revealed. When you are no longer using you have made a choice to surrender, you’ve admitted to yourself, and something greater than you, that you are powerless over your disease. You’ve asked for help, and you found it in the form of treatment and a community of caring men and women who have taken an interest in your success. It’s the beginning of an awakening.

Working a program will empower you to achieve goals, you likely have many goals after years of substance misuse and abuse. You see that others have cleared up the wreckage of their past as best they can and are seemingly happy with the path they chose. Rest assured you are eligible too; as long as you keep doing the next right things profound changes will occur in your life. That is where patience plays an important role, alterations for the better don’t happen overnight. Improvement takes place on life’s terms and it’s vital you do not lose hope.

In Latin, the word Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated.” We choose recovery because we want to survive. We don’t owe our surrender to defeat, but rather a desire to live.

Hope Springs Eternal

When we were actively using we thought we had control over everything in our life’s sphere, the words ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,’ could have been our motto but for all the wrong reasons. In recovery we must apply the words above; in doing so we learn that the only thing we’ve got power over is our decisions; to Be for addiction or Be for progress. In recovery we find courage where none is apparent, we find dignity in making right our wrongs.

If you are hopeful for better days ahead and are willing to surrender and ask for guidance, it’s an action that will save your life. Drugs and alcohol may have stripped your ability to manage your life’s ins and outs, but they haven’t taken your will to choose to live for something better. With help, you can transcend the limits of addiction and prosper in the infinite possibilities of recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we are happy to help young men take the remarkable journey that is addiction recovery. We will give you the requisite tools and skills to lead a fulfilling life. Please contact us today.

Recovery: Preparations for Christmas Day

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With Christmas less than a week away, preparations are in order—many people in recovery know what that means. Those of you are in the first year, may strive to find meaning in the above words, so let’s take a minute to discuss what it meant by preparations. Major holidays are often hard on people new to recovery; this time of the year can be stressful for anyone, no matter how long they’ve been in the Rooms due to the emotions that arise. People in recovery must be prepared to defend against things that can disrupt a program during special days of the year.

Being unable to cope with emotions can wreak havoc on a program, especially if it’s already a little fragile—a common occurrence for newcomers. Struggling with one’s feelings is normal, and as long as one can keep their finger on their sentimental pulse this coming Sunday and Monday, it's possible to respond to them in healthy ways. Your perception of things and your ability to stay positive at trying times, will play an instrumental role in making it through Christmas without incident.

If you are a young person in early recovery there’s a chance you might find yourself suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s likely you associate holidays with spending time partying with friends. Just because you’ve decided to walk a different path in life, doesn’t mean that your desire to recreate past experiences disappears completely. What’s more, you might have concerns that your choosing to work a program will cost you fun-wise; you may think that attending a holiday gathering without imbibing will make people feel less of you. Take it from us; if people do look at you in an unfavorable light, they are not people you need in your life.

Your Journey of Recovery

Nobody wants their friends and family to think they’re a stick in the mud. However, at the end of the day the perception of others regarding what you are doing pales in comparison value-wise to your conception of your life-changing journey. If you have plans to spend time with friends and family who are not in the program this weekend, that’s great. Although, you should take a little time in the coming days to shore up how you will present yourself to others, and more importantly how you will respond to specific questions. People can’t help but be curious about your new-found mission to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and instead live a principled and honest life.

First and foremost, you are in recovery because your life became unmanageable; as a result, you came to realize your powerlessness over all mind-altering substances. Such an understanding prompted you to seek treatment and learn how to live life, one day at a time, going to any lengths to accomplish the goal of a lasting recovery. We hope that you can appreciate the gravity of your decision, and be proud of the tremendous courage you exhibit each day rebelling against a disease that is trying to kill you. If you are in recovery, then you have had your fair share of parties and inebriation. Today, you derive pleasure from being authentic and of service to those in your life, just as others in recovery are to you.

Your program is Yours; the general public's opinion of your choice to live sober is of no consequence. You know that not everyone was fortunate enough to find the program before their disease took everything. If people question your path, pay them no mind and be enthusiastic about the Gift you’ve received.

Addiction Recovery Is Worth Being Enthusiastic About

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It's very simple.” — Paulo Coelho

People still in the early months of recovery may find it challenging to exude positivity, after all, early recovery demands much from one. You are working the steps (most likely), which means that you’ve been doing a lot of emotional processing. Now Christmas has reared its head and with it, new emotions with which to wrestle. Please do not become discouraged, try looking at holidays as teachable moments for your program. When a feeling arises that you don’t like, try thinking of something that you’ve done recently that makes you proud. We must take stock of people we’ve helped and efforts made for our lasting recovery.

On Christmas Eve and Day, it’s vital that we get to meetings and keep in touch with one’s sponsor or recovery peers. We must pray and meditate just as we would any other day of the year, constant conscious contact with our higher power is a requirement. Doing all of these things will help ward off that which can compromise your program. People who also take time to keep an attitude of gratitude and positivity will find getting through the holiday is made more accessible. Again, your perception can make or break your ability to navigate Christmas without drinking or drugging. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone; we keep our recovery by working together.

The thoughts and prayers of the Gentleman of PACE Recovery Center are with everyone committed to keeping their recovery this Christmas. We wish everyone a merry, safe, and sober holiday.

What You Learned In Addiction Treatment

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On January 1, 2018, the State of California begins a new chapter regarding marijuana. The drug is legal to use for adults over the age of 21 after the holiday season comes to an end. The change in legality may not seem like a big deal, after all, a medical marijuana program has been in place for two decades. California became the first state to allow doctors to recommend cannabis for specific health conditions in 1996. However, broad legalization for recreational purposes could create problems for some people, especially those in recovery.

Cannabis use laws in California are of particular interest to us at PACE Recovery Center—with our specialty being addiction treatment. We are aware that young adult males are a demographic long associated with high marijuana use. Legalization could have the unintended effect of encouraging people in recovery to think that a little “pot” use is harmless. People without a history of cannabis misuse may convince themselves that the drug will not be a sobriety breach.

It’s entirely vital that those in recovery from any form of addiction understand the inherent dangers of using marijuana. Just because your drug of choice (DOC) is alcohol, doesn’t mean that cannabis is fair game. Many an alcoholic has experienced a full-blown relapse because they thought of a little weed smoke as harmless. It’s not just people with alcohol use disorders, either; hard drug users often scoff at the addictive nature of weed. True, fewer people reach the depths of despair from cannabis use, compared to other “harder” drugs. Nevertheless, such realities don’t imply the drug is safe.

Recovery Work Going Up In Smoke

Smoking pot is a sure way for people in recovery to find themselves returning to their DOC. If you’re regularly attending 12 Steps meetings, then there is good chance you have heard where cannabis use leads. It doesn’t matter which substance precipitated requiring addiction treatment; no mind-altering drug is safe. Addiction is a severe mental health disorder, and substance use is merely a symptom of the overall condition. Introducing any euphoria-producing drug to your body can cause severe problems in your life, and jeopardize your recovery program.

Whether you have 30 days or 30 years sober, you’ve have invested much into turning your life around. Using marijuana will cause all your hard work in recovery to go up in smoke. Legality shouldn’t impact your decision to partake in cannabis use; mental health pays no mind to the laws of man. Case in point: despite alcohol’s legality, the substance is highly addictive and takes more lives than any other vice. In spite of marijuana's benign nature, use can lead to dependence, addiction, and other health problems.

People in recovery who decide to use THC (Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol) products are at even higher risk of experiencing problems. More times than not, recovering addicts and alcoholics return to their drug of choice after using cannabis. It may not happen right away, but smoking weed will cause the minds of people with use disorders to crave their DOC. Usually, it’s a question of when, not if, regarding a return to more dangerous mind-altering chemicals.

Ask Around

If you’re still relatively new to recovery or fresh out of addiction treatment, we hope you grasp what’s at stake. Getting to where you are today required tremendous courage and even more effort, breaking the cycle of addiction wasn’t an accident. If you are living in California, some of your peers may be excited about the “green tide” coming into port. If they are not in recovery, using marijuana is their prerogative; if they’re in the program, keep your distance.

People in recovery contemplating using the drug come January should consult others with more recovery time, first. Chances are, such people will share relapse horror stories that began with something innocuous like cannabis, like cases when a little bit of pot resulted in a drug of choice relapse. Your older peers may tell you of former members who never made it back to the program after using marijuana.

Please remind yourself of what you learned while in addiction treatment. For starters, yours is an incurable disease! Without continued spiritual maintenance and steadfast dedication to total abstinence, everything you’ve tirelessly worked for could disappear. While relapse is a part of many people’s story, there are no guarantees of making it back to the rooms. Anything you can do to protect your recovery’s survival, the better; avoiding marijuana falls on the list of such things.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

Again, young adult males use marijuana more than any other demographic. As a result, such people often find themselves in the grip of cannabis use disorder and require assistance. If your life is unmanageable due to marijuana use, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in the treating young adult males with substance use disorders. Our experienced team can help you break the cycle of addiction and self-defeating behavior. Life in recovery is possible; we can give you the tools to make it a reality.

Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

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Opioid use disorder has the potential to impact any one’s life, as is evident by overwhelming addiction rates and an ever-increasing death toll. Prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioid use is a complicated problem to address; on the one hand, pain must be treated adequately, while on the other hand, such drugs wield deadly power. If the nation is to find a solution to this public health crisis, it will be in the realm of responsible prescribing practices and addiction treatment services expansion.

If you have been following the epidemic, and efforts to address opioid use disorder, then you are probably aware that in the grand scheme of things there has been limited progress. Prescription drug monitoring programs designed to curb doctor shopping and help physicians identify opioid-dependent patients are underutilized. A large number of doctors are resistant to prescribing guidelines from government health agencies. Legislation passed to address various aspects of the scourge, while sensible and likely to reap progress, lacks the appropriate funding to fulfill such goals.

Addiction treatment exists, and it’s a useful means for turning one’s life around completely. Those who seek help from addiction treatment centers get introduced to a way of living that they once thought impossible. Sadly, many addicts and alcoholics don’t believe recovery is possible; it’s hard to see the light of change when in a perpetual cycle of darkness. People in the throes of addiction often resign themselves to thinking they will succumb to their disease. It’s for those reasons that everyone in recovery and the field of addiction medicine needs to do what they can to disabuse people of such notions.

Encouraging Addiction Treatment

If you are dependent on opioid narcotics, we understand what you are going through, and we’d like to say that there is hope. There are thousands of people around the country who have made helping others break the cycle of addiction their life’s purpose. Many of those very same people were once in the position you find yourself in today; they have first-hand knowledge of your struggle.

Getting out from under one’s disease and leading a life in recovery is only possible with the help of others, going it alone is not an option. Due to this reality, it’s common for people in recovery to dedicate themselves to helping others realize their dreams of a different life. When you decide to seek treatment, you will find out relatively quickly that many of the people employed by the center are in recovery, too. In effect, people who work at treatment centers are living proof that the program works, forcing one to think that maybe recovery will work for me as well.

Who knows maybe one day, having learned how to live a life in recovery in addiction treatment, you will pass the message along to others. You will be in a position to guide others out of the depths of despair into the light of recovery; and in doing so, strengthen your program. Naturally, there is much to do in between now and spreading the message that recovery works, starting with addressing your disease and the self-defeating behaviors that accompany the condition.

Making A Decision

No one can force another into treatment. Even if you could, the result wouldn’t likely be positive. Meaningful progress only comes about when a person decides to take specific steps for change. It’s not a choice that comes easily; people can talk themselves out of seeking help even when one is looking up from the bottom. Mental illness does not loosen its grip without putting up a fight, and it excels at sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of the afflicted. We could say that choosing to go into treatment is a leap of faith in a sense. However, there is living proof that walking blindly into a center of recovery will be fruitful in the long run.

Those of you with loved ones battling opioid use disorder should know that encouraging them to seek treatment will save their life and grant them a future. Over 2 million Americans are struggling with prescription opioid and heroin addiction, and over 50,000 people die of an overdose each year. The above numbers are expected to go in only one direction in the coming years, so the need for promoting recovery is more vital than ever.

If you are unsure about how to efficiently discuss recovery with your loved one, we can help. We work closely with addiction interventionists across the country who can guide you in how to talk about treatment with a loved one. Having a mediator in the room mitigates the risk of an intervention going south. Please contact us today to learn how PACE Recovery Center can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and help one learn how to lead a productive life in recovery.

Addiction Recovery: A Fellowship of Miracles

addiction recovery

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.” Those of you new to addiction recovery have undoubtedly heard that before. It’s likely you understand what it means: Don’t give up on working a program of recovery before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Anyone who has been in the program for a time will agree that there are no shortages of miracles in the rooms of recovery. Each person dedicated to sobriety is a miracle; resisting one’s programming takes tremendous commitment and fortitude. While there will always be difficult times (even in abstinence), the worst day in recovery is far better than the best day in active addiction.

mir·a·cle
ˈmirək(ə)l/
noun
A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

It stands to reason that we will all have a different opinion on what constitutes a miracle. Everyone is going to consider the unexplainable subjectively, and that’s OK. However, it’s nearly impossible to look at someone in recovery objectively without being inspired. Going from the depths of despair to the spiritual light of recovery, two realms diametrically opposed, is almost unbelievable. People who’ve been around a while have seen newcomers, once in a dismal state of being, turn their lives around via the principles of addiction recovery.

If you were to ask the same newcomers how their recovery was made possible, they might struggle to find an answer. Making sense of how recovery works is challenging in a society that turns to medicine and science for solutions. A group of men and women meeting daily to check in with each other, giving feedback and guidance when asked, can seem likely an unlikely method of promoting healing. It works!

You Are the Miracle of Recovery

When bad things are happening in one’s life it’s noticeable right away. When good things are happening, it’s often difficult to recognize. Early in recovery determining how one’s life has improved is challenging, miracles can be both subtle and elusive. Taking stock of one’s progress isn’t easy when you are new to the program but rest assured, if you are staying sober and doing the work a transformation is taking place. If you are willing to do the Work, are open and honest with yourself and others, it’s a miracle in itself.

After an extended period of going to meetings and doing step work with a sponsor you might realize that you are the miracle for which you were waiting patiently. Sure, the program might bring about getting the family back in one’s life, financial security, and anyone of a multitude of gifts; but the fact that you have gone a string of 24-hour periods without a drink is a miracle. It’s a real achievement if you woke up today and asked yourself how you can be of service to your fellows in recovery. Rather than setting a selfish course for your day, you are focused on how you can act selflessly, helping others achieve the common goal of recovery.

One of the most satisfying feats is getting through a day without thinking about using drugs or alcohol. Cravings and fixations wax and wane in recovery, but early on they can be pretty intense. As time passes, you will think about using less and less; instead of looking for an escape from daily life you’ll find a desire to be a part of your existence. Urges to isolate will be replaced by a yen for inclusion in the happenings of other people’s lives.

As Long as It Takes

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” — Paul Coelho

Nobody finds recovery by accident. When one’s life is discordant, a need for change is self-evident. Realizing that action is required to bring about such a change doesn’t always come quickly. People can toil in the misery of addiction for unconscionable lengths of time. When the choice is finally made to seek help and efforts are taken to bring it about, individuals experience their first miracle in recovery.

Much is required of any person looking to break the cycle of addiction and transform their life for the better. There will be times when you question why you are going to meetings day-in-and-day-out. You might find yourself doubting the miracles promised by your peers in the program, but for different reasons than you might think.

Perhaps you had the thought that the gifts of recovery would originate externally? If that is the case, you might consider changing your perspective. The real miracles of addiction recovery come from within, connecting with the spiritual realm is the gift, and in recovery, you are the miracle. You can see evidence of that when considering your existence before finding addiction recovery and after. The transformation may not be evident right away, in time all shall reveal itself to you—as long as you are willing to work the program for as long as it takes. Although, if you ask your peers who have been around longer, such realizations will come sooner than you think.

Taking Certain Steps for Addiction Recovery

Do you want something different for your life than living in a cycle of addictive and self-defeating behavior? Addiction recovery is possible, and we at PACE Recovery Center can help you realize the dream of serenity. Armed with tools and skills for keeping addiction at bay, you too can live a life of lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the transformative journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery Displacement Activities

addiction recovery

Deciding to seek addiction treatment and work a program of addiction recovery is not a choice that comes quickly. One’s disease is continuously at work convincing you everything is under control, despite the unhappiness characterizing your life. Committing oneself to a new way of existence requires remarkable courage; addicts and alcoholics are rebelling against their condition. Choosing to live life in a completely different way requires more than just putting down substances, changing everything is needed.

Young men whose lives became unmanageable due to this most severe mental health condition might struggle early in recovery. Coming to terms with turning your back on one’s previous way of life is often difficult to swallow. The realization that specific people, places, and things can no longer be a part of your life can be painful. However, if you are willing to go to any length to live in the light of recovery, good-byes are in order.

The disease is about far more than drugs and alcohol and one’s relationship with mind-altering substances. People in active addiction are unable to live life on life’s terms, one who struggles to cope with life’s demands. In many cases, such people are also dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders, like depression. When that is the case, drugs and alcohol can seem like the solution. After all, euphoria has been known to ease one’s troubled mind. Using drugs and alcohol for relief, over time, has the opposite effect. Once the source of happiness, now the source of misery.

A significant facet of addiction treatment is teaching clients about coping with obstacles that are beyond one’s control. Learning how to accept the things we can’t change is instrumental to lasting recovery.

Happiness in Addiction Recovery

Those unhappy while in the throes of addiction might expect the reverse in recovery. The reality is that finding equilibrium and balance in your life takes time, addiction recovery is a process. Just because you extricated drugs and alcohol from your life doesn’t mean life with be smooth sailing right away. The wreckage of our past doesn't disappear because we got clean and sober. The damage done must be addressed, and will be at the proper time, but that isn't going to occur immediately. Painful memories will still linger over your head and inside you in early recovery.

If you follow the direction of those who came before you, life will get better in time. It’s paramount that you stick to the program, working the steps will illuminate your life. Although, you will have to work through many unpleasantries to get to the point of comfort. In early recovery, everything asked of you is foreign; at times, you may feel like ignoring your peers’ suggestions. It is crucial that you resist the urge to distract yourself from the task at hand—recovery. It will not always be easy to accomplish, especially in the times we find ourselves. There isn’t a shortage of distractions in this day and age, especially for young men.

You may find yourself wanting to put off a meeting in favor of television or playing video games, ignore the urge. In recovery, we must avoid anything that distracts from something essential to the program. The early months of recovery can feel like every choice you ever made led to the unfortunate disease of addiction. You may feel unhappy about your lot in life, but you’ve decided to make changes to rectify the situation.

Avoiding Distraction In Early Recovery

Many young adult males play video games on a regular basis, and there are concerns this behavior is addictive. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists online gaming as a “condition of further study.” The reference prompted researchers in the UK to do that very thing, which lead to some interesting findings. The research, published in PeerJ, didn’t determine if gaming addiction was a real psychiatric disorder. However, the researchers found that gaming may be a “displacement activity for people in an unhappy situation,” New Scientist reports. Regarding addiction recovery, their findings may show how young men might turn to games for mental distraction.

If someone uses gaming to meet basic psychological needs, this could become a problem if they are not able to satisfy these needs in real life,” says Daria Kuss, a cyber-psychology researcher at Nottingham Trent University, UK. “But to confirm this, we need clinical samples of people who are being treated for addiction in centres.”

While the verdict on gaming addiction is still out, research like this is useful to people working a program. Young adult males play video games more than any other demographic. It stands to reason that young men in recovery will turn to online gaming as a distraction from their feelings. This is not to say that people in recovery can’t play video games. If individuals are cognizant of why they’re playing, for occasional fun rather than displacement, it should not be harmful. Perhaps you are a young man in early recovery who plays video games regularly? If so, you may want to examine your relationship with the activity; “does gaming hurt my prospects for long-term recovery?”

Addiction Recovery

Are you struggling with addiction? At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you learn how to live life on life’s terms, one day at a time. Addiction recovery is not easy, but with continued spiritual maintenance your life will exponentially improve.

Addiction Recovery In An Environment Hostile to Abstinence

addiction recovery

Young people in recovery have several different forces to contend with, compared to those a little bit older. Some of the apparent obstacles include navigating the drinking and drug culture pervasive to young adulthood. Most teenagers look forward to coming of age, escaping the oversight of one’s parents. As well as, making their own decisions, partying with their peers without fear of parental admonishment—some would call it a rite of passage. However, for people coming of age whose down spiral into addiction has already begun, such freedoms are fraught with peril. Unless an introduction to addiction recovery commences, one’s early twenties are typified by heartache and disappointment.

Coming to terms with one’s addiction is not easy in young adulthood. It’s impossible to avoid posing questions to one’s self, ‘Why me? Why can’t I drink like my peers?” These questions are easier asked than answered; even if you did have the answers, it wouldn’t change anything. If you have been touched by the disease of addiction early in life, it’s best not to reason why. What’s important? Acknowledging that a problem exists and commencing to work on the problem. When one’s search for meaning ceases, your only recourse becomes clear—recovery. Those who seek it, honestly, undergo what can only be called a transformation on a mental and spiritual plane.

Young adults who set a path for recovery find spheres of opportunity open up. What was impossible a short time ago, is now within reach because of one’s program. Those who stay on a course for recovery find few limits to what is achievable, especially young people. Self-betterment requires more than working spiritual maintenance; higher education is the complimentary catalyst for achievement. Breaking the cycle of addiction unlocks the doors of possibility, college opens and lets you through—pursuing any conceivable dream.

Obstacles to Young Adult Addiction Recovery

At PACE, we prepare young men for the obstacles to addiction recovery, including a college culture unsympathetic to sobriety. Just because you are working a program doesn’t mean the gravitational pull of drugs and alcohol will vanish. College is equal parts learning both beneficial and harmful behaviors; campuses are rife with substance use, after all. We teach our clients proven relapse prevention techniques, how to stay clear from dangerous environments. Naturally, the college substance use culture is the farthest from being an ideal environment.

Young people in the Program must be vigilant in protecting their sobriety. While in school there are forces that will attempt to throw you out of orbit. It’s vital that you choose a school that values the needs of young people recovering from use disorders. Of the 20 million students who embarked upon higher learning this fall, recovering addicts and alcoholics are a minority. Meaning, from the start, you need to find peers who share your goal of abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, scores of university campuses have addiction recovery support programs now. CRPs (college recovery programs) significantly improve one’s ability to avoid the pitfalls of their mental illness. They offer peer-to-peer support, counseling, and group meetings. Equally important, CRPs facilitate sober social activities providing young people an avenue to have fun in recovery.

One college that has long understood the importance of catering to people in recovery is Rutgers University. In 1983, Rutgers began their student recovery program, The Chicago Tribune reports. The school has a dedicated residence hall for abstinent students, known as the Recovery House. Today, 150 colleges offer CRPs and 50 offer substance-free dorms to students.

Addiction Recovery Oasis

In the United States, Lisa Laitman, director of the Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at Rutgers University, points out, 30 percent of university students have substance use disorders, according to the article. “That’s a lot of students who need help,” said Laitman.

Laitman says that CRPs for young men and women in recovery are “a kind of oasis in the desert.” The more you can do to protect your recovery, the more likely you will be to succeed. For those planning to attend university this winter, we implore you to investigate what your college offers—recovery-wise.

If you’re young man with substance use disorder, whose ambitions include a college degree, please reach out to us. We designed our PACE Academy program with you in mind. We will help you break the cycle of addiction, provide you with the tools and support needed for successful outcomes. Alcohol and substance use disorder doesn’t have to keep you from fulfilling your dreams for the future.

Winnie-the-Pooh’s Mental Illness: How to Treat Others (in spite of their “flaws”)

mental illness

All of us in recovery have a story. Our stories go back to before we began walking down the treacherous road of addiction. Many of us had, for the most part, decent childhoods. Growing up in houses full of love. Parents who bent over backwards to ensure we would be afforded every opportunity in life. After all, that is the role that parents are expected to take in a child’s life. Two people who teach you how to be a good person, to yourself and to others.

However, our guides in early life had no way of knowing that deep inside their children something was amiss. Rather than a philharmonic orchestra, a syncopated jazz ensemble was on stage. The music sounded great, but it was off-beat. While there is certainly beauty in organized chaos, left unchecked the lines of discord and harmony become blurred. Truly, the number of variables that lead one toward the grips of addiction are numerous. Each individual case with unique roots, but the trees that would grow up were similar in appearance. Everyone recovering from addiction has unique experiences, but what brought us too surrender looked the same.

The signs may not have been picked up on early on. But, it can’t be denied that a significant number of people living with addiction met the criteria for mental illness. In one form or another, early on. Such conditions, and a lack of treatment, likely played a part in many people's’ path to drugs and alcohol. Verily, those touched by mental illness, but don’t have tools to cope or even talk about it, turn to self-medication. It doesn’t have to be in the form of substances, it can be behaviors as well. Patterns of risk-taking behaviors, specifically, resulting in co-occurring disorders.

What Does Winnie the Pooh Have to Do With People In Recovery?

When you were a kid, your parents likely read you children stories. Regardless of which decade you spent your childhood, A.A. Milne’s stories were probably read to you. Winnie the Pooh and his pals of the Hundred Acre Forest danced through your mind before falling asleep. We couldn’t see it then, but Milne was trying to reach us—even if it was inadvertently. You see, Milne fought in both world wars, which scared him. At the time “experts” would have called it bullet wind, soldier's heart, battle fatigue, or operational exhaustion. But, most people called it “shell shock;” what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder.

A new biopic ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin,’ explores A. A. Milne’s battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the creation of Pooh. Milne’s inspiration being his son and his toys, TIME reports. The Winnie the Pooh series has been dissected and has even been applied to schools of philosophy (i.e.The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet) over the years. Helpful for those in recovery, to be sure. Perhaps even more relevant to the field of addiction is a study from 2000, published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne.

In the study, Dr. Sarah Shea Read and colleagues started out with the intention of having a bit of fun. They assigned a mental illness to each character, using criteria from the DSM, according to iNews. Dr Shea claims that she hadn’t any knowledge Milne’s struggle with PTSD, at the time of the research. Milne’s characters were likely the author’s way of processing his own struggle with mental illness. Untreated mental illness, that is.

Concept of Comorbidity (Co-Occurring Disorders)

For some of you, decades may have passed since you read or watched something with Winnie the Pooh. Still, there is good chance you remember the attributes of the characters. iNews compiled some of the researchers’ insights on the characters:

Winnie the Pooh: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

This unfortunate bear embodies the concept of comorbidity [the presence of more than one disorder].
Most striking is his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As clinicians, we had some debate about whether Pooh might also demonstrate significant impulsivity, as witnessed, for example, by his poorly thought out attempt to get honey by disguising himself as a rain cloud.”

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Had he been appropriately assessed and his condition diagnosed when he was young, he might have been placed on an anti-panic agent… and been saved from the emotional trauma he experienced while attempting to trap heffalumps.”

Eeyore: Dysthymia – or ‘Persistent Depressive Disorder’

We do not have sufficient history to diagnose this as an inherited, endogenous depression, or to know whether some early trauma contributed to his chronic negativism.”

Tigger: Recurring Pattern of Risk-Taking Behaviours

We acknowledge that Tigger is gregarious and affectionate, but he has a recurrent pattern of risk-taking behaviours. Look, for example, at his impulsive sampling of unknown substances when he first comes to the Hundred Acre Wood. With the mildest of provocation he tries honey, haycorns and even thistles. Tigger has no knowledge of the potential outcome of his experimentation.”

Rabbit: Possible Narcissism

We note his tendency to be extraordinarily self-important and his odd belief system that he has a great many relations and friends. He seems to have an overriding need to organize others, often against their will, into new groupings, with himself always at the top of the reporting structure.”

Do Unto Others… The Stigma of Mental Illness

People living with untreated mental illness are often treated poorly by society. What people can’t understand, often frighten them. Impelling them to treat people in ways that they would never wish to be treated. Perhaps all of us missed the most important aspect of Milne’s stories. That it is O.K. to be different. That things happen in life that are beyond any one person’s control. And rather than ostracize and exile others, compassion and love can be what helps them heal.

Humans have a long history of treating those with mental illness as broken. Moral weakness, and a lack of constitution, drove them to insanity and vice. That has never been the reality, but if people are treated that way they will never find the courage to recover. Recovery is possible, so long is people are given the opportunity to do so—without fear of repercussion.

More than anything, the key to the books are their tone of love and acceptance and unspoken forgiveness in the Hundred Acre Wood,” said Dr. Read. “The stories provide lovely examples of how humans should behave.”

Many of us, upon finding recovery, were unaware that our addiction was inextricably linked to a co-occurring mental health disorder. We found that when our depression or anxiety was treated, achieving lasting addiction recovery was exponentially more likely to come to fruition. If you are a young male battling addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help.

You can watch the ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ trailer below:


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