Tag Archives: addiction

Addiction Recovery Prayers: Acceptance, Courage, and Serenity

addiction recovery prayers

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

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

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

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

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

12 Step Prayers

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

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

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

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference…

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

Finding Serenity in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Addiction Recovery is a Process

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

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

Recovery Sayings Motivate and Inspire

recovery sayings

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

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

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

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

12 Step Recovery Sayings Aplenty

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

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

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

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

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

Slogans for Long-term Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

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

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

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

Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery in America: #AlcoholAwarenessMonth

alcohol use disorder

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confronting Alcohol Use Disorder In America

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

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

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

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

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

Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow with PACE Recovery Center

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

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

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

Mental Health Emergencies Among Young People

mental health

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

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

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

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

Why are More Young People Seeking Help for Mental Health?

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Training is Lacking

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

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

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

Mental Health Treatment for Men

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

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

Mental Health: Parenting Young Men With Heart, Not Guilt

mental health

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

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

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

The Most Enabling Mother in America?

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

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

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

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


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Transitioning Into Recovery

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Treatment for Young Men

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

Recovery Helps Young Men Achieve Their Goals

recovery

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

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

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

People In Recovery Inspire

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

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

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

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

A Recovery Is Born

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

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

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

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

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

PACE Recovery Center Young Adult Rehab

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

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

Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults: A New Guide

Mental Health

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

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

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

Substance Use and Mental Illness in Young People

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

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

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

A New Guide for Clinicians and Parents

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

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

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

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

PACE Residential and Outpatient Mental Health Program for Young Men

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

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

Mental Health, Adoption, and Nature v. Nurture

In the field of mental health, there has long been a debate about nature versus nurture. What is more salient to the development of young people? Is it a person's genetic history or the environment of cultivation? Naturally, people find little ease in attempting to answer such questions. These types of queries have puzzled experts in the field of psychology for years.

Such lines of inquiry are attractive for many reasons. Who among us has not had questions about what makes you who you are? We can look to our parents for answers, and we can evaluate the environs of our upbringing. And yet, we can still come away with more questions than answers. This outcome can happen to just about anyone. However, it is especially the case for those who do not have a clear picture of their history, i.e., adopted people.

When probing for a deeper understanding of our existence, many are prone to concern themselves with why they do things a particular way. Others, those contending with mental illness, might try to make sense of their struggles with a sense of urgency. When doing so, the obvious starting point is one's mother and father. Studies frequently conclude that mental illness can run in the family. However, children do not always inherit their parents' mental diseases. Some mental health experts argue that other factors must be the catalyst of psychological struggle.

There are those too who present with mental health disorders, yet do not have a clear link to mental health disorders in their family tree. Making sense of all this is a difficult undertaking. Any attempts at understanding the origins of mental strife are roughly equivalent to disentangling a Gordian knot—unpacking an intractable problem.

Nature v. Nurture

Unraveling what makes you who you are is a trying task for anybody. Unfortunately, when a person hasn't any concrete knowledge about their genetic roots, it is an overwhelming endeavor. Potentially disheartening, too. Nobody perhaps understands this more than the adopted. People who are placed for adoption at birth have little to go on when attempting to get some clarity.

The desire to follow the bread crumbs of one's past is not uncommon for adopted men and women. Such pursuits can be eye-opening experiences. But, they can also reveal aspects of one's early history that are bound to induce pain. There is a fascinating example of adoption that drives this point home. It involves an unexpected discovery that irrevocably changes the lives of three young men living in New York in the 1980s.

This Sunday, CNN is presenting a new documentary shining a spotlight on how the pursuit of knowledge can have ineluctable consequences. We want to be careful here to not spoil or misrepresent the documentarians nor their subjects. So, in the following paragraphs, some basic facts will be put forth to pique your interest. Please prepare yourself for asking some tough questions about the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture.

The environment and our experiences influence who we become, right? Three young men had to face what that means in the wake of a monumental discovery. Robert Shafran, David Kellman, and Eddy Galland all grew up in separate households located within a hundred-mile radius. Then, at the nascent age of 19, they came to discover – by sheer luck – that they share a biological link. Directed by Tim Wardle, Three Identical Strangers shows what follows from a chance discovery. It is a story of joy and is cause for utter outrage.

Three Identical Strangers

By now, you may be asking why would an adoption agency separate the triplets? The answer, a study! A research project, cloaked in secrecy, to settle long-standing theories about the role genetic and environmental factors have on our lives.

Nothing, though, would prove easy or obvious about their stories, which grow darker and more disturbing as “Three Identical Strangers” develops into a shocker," writes Manohla Dargis, the co-chief film critic for The New York Times since 2004. "Puzzle piece by piece, interview by interview, Mr. Wardle fits together a grim story of hubristic doctors and their grotesquely unprincipled enablers who played with human lives in the name of science."

Three Identical Strangers is a lot to unpack, and at times hard to watch. People with experience in adoption and mental health disorders may begin asking themselves new types of questions about their past. The film will give you a first-hand look at the impact adoption can have on a person's life. It will show what can happen to individuals when they are separated, after spending the first six months of their lives by each other's side. It is highly likely that you will never contemplate the nature v. nurture question the same way again.


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Three Identical Strangers premieres on CNN Sunday, January 27, 2019, at 9 p.m. ET.

Adoption-Related Mental Health Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, we give adopted men the tools to heal from mental health and adoption issues. Mental illness affects many people who are the product of adoption; even those who grow up in loving households face real challenges that can shape who they become.

Adopted individuals can struggle with a fear of rejection and connection; they are at high risk of developing insecure attachment styles which can precipitate anxiety and depression, emotional dysregulation, and substance abuse. Please contact us today to learn how treatment can transform your life and set you on a course toward long-term recovery.

Addiction Recovery Opens Career Doors

addiction recovery

When mind-altering substances are out of a person’s system, and a program of addiction recovery is established, many will ask, “What’s next?” Of course, the answer to that question is purely subjective. What is certain is that whatever people in recovery put their minds to can be accomplished.

Another truism for a good number of people in recovery is that they can’t go back to doing what they did before they broke the cycle of addiction. After undergoing treatment, there are some who find their previous lines of work or study untenable when leading a life in recovery. That’s not to say that there are not sober bartenders, for instance, but it’s not challenging to see why certain types of employment could jeopardize progress.

There are also young men and women in sobriety who have never held down a job. There are others who started college only to have their disease stymie the endeavor. So, with few points to jump off from in life after treatment, it is only natural that young adults will consider working in the field of addiction medicine. Moreover, people in recovery learn early on that to keep what they have they must also give it away—pay it forward. What better way to give back to the addiction recovery community than to help others find serenity, too?

In fact, it is quite common for treatment alums to volunteer their services at the very center that had a hand in saving their lives. Such individuals realize that by staying close to the source of their addiction recovery, they strengthen the foundation of their recovery. Going back home – for many people – is not always the best option following treatment.

Giving Back to The Addiction Recovery Community

Over time, volunteers or just those dedicated to sobriety often decide that the field of addiction medicine is a viable career path. One can be a productive member of society, reciprocate the gift of recovery to other willing people, and safeguard their sobriety in one fell swoop.

As one would expect, working in the substance use disorder workforce will require some education; or, a lot of schooling depending on how far one wants to go. Doctors in recovery, after all, are not unheard of, which is again a testament to the door-opening potential of working a program.

It goes without saying that attending college to become a counselor or a medical doctor will cost a significant amount of money. Except for a small demographic in America, higher education will call for student loans; and, such debts can accumulate quickly. However, we have some excellent news for anyone who is interested in working in the field of addiction recovery and medicine.

The Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program can help addiction treatment clinicians repay up to $75K in student loans, in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder treatment services at National Health Service Corps-approved sites. The Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, writes:

The purpose of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Workforce Loan Repayment Program (LRP) (hereafter referred to as the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP) is to recruit and retain medical, nursing, and behavioral/mental health clinicians with specific training and credentials to provide evidence-based SUD treatment and counselling [sic] in eligible communities of need designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

A Career In Addiction Medicine

HSC SUD Workforce LRP participants have a choice between three years of full-time or part-time service. Those eligible will receive funds to repay their outstanding, qualifying, educational loans. One caveat is that those serving in a private facility are not eligible to practice half-time.

Dr. Gabriel Wishik, who works for Boston Health Care for the Homeless, took part in a loan repayment program from the same federal agency, according to MassLive. He points out that such programs do two things: help lure qualified candidates and increase the number of clinicians in a field that struggles to fill positions in many areas. He said, “there is a shortage at every single level in the treatment continuum.”

There are lots of competing career paths. It’s one way to get people into this career,” he said.

People in their first years of addiction recovery who have an interest in working in the field can benefit from looking to the HSC SUD Workforce LRP. At PACE Recovery Center, we encourage our clients to pursue higher education and know that men in their first years of recovery can make excellent substance use disorder technicians and clinicians. In fact, we have current team members who were once PACE Recovery Center clients.

PACE Academy

We understand that that pursuing higher education in recovery can be complicated; university culture, for instance, can put a person’s sobriety at risk. With that in mind, our PACE Academy program helps young men in early sobriety pursue their dreams and protect their sobriety. PACE Academy also provides Certified Alcohol Drug & Alcohol Associate credentialing for those interested in working in the field of addiction medicine.

Please contact us today to learn more about how you can reach your recovery and academic goals at Pace Academy.

Adoption Trauma, Mental Illness, and Addiction

adoption trauma

A study from 2012, appearing in the journal PLOS | ONE, demonstrates an increased risk of lifetime substance use disorders in adopted adults. A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota found that adoptees are at 1.87 times more significant risk of developing a SUD, compared to non-adoptees. The research indicates that this demographic is also more likely to contend with other psychiatric disorders as well.

While the above study is somewhat dated, the findings are as relevant today as when they were first published. Why adoptees are at greater risk often comes down to adoption trauma. According to PsychCentral, “adoption trauma is defined as the shock and pain of being permanently, abruptly separated from one’s family member.” The article notes that this form of trauma can be exacerbated by the “societal expectation that it [adoption trauma] shouldn’t exist at all. The article’s author cites a keen quote on this subject.

Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” –Reverend Keith C. Griffith

It isn’t difficult to grasp some of the struggles that adopted people face. Introspection can lead some individuals to believe that they are unwanted or unloved. The question of where a person came from – the genetic breadcrumb trail – can loom large. Not knowing one’s biological parents can cause distress as people age. If such people don’t have a method of coping with adoption trauma they are at a heightened risk of problems in the future.

Adoption Trauma, Mental Illness, and Addiction

Loss can lead to grief, to anger. Even those who never knew their biological parents can mourn their loss. Internal suffering early in life and into adulthood can position someone to cope with mental anguish in an unhealthy manner. What’s more, adoptees – whose birth parents (one or both) have a history of substance use issues – are significantly more likely to have their own struggles with drugs and alcohol. An unstable adoptive home is also a factor that can precipitate a person developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Research shows that 4.5% of adoptees had drug-abuse problems, compared to 2.9% of people in the general population, Health Magazine reports. Moreover, 8.6% with at least one biological parent who had substance issues, had their own drug problems. The findings – appearing in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2016 – come from data on 18,115 adoptees born in Sweden between 1950 and 1993.

The link between adoption and mental illness often stems from insecure attachment styles. Young people who go into foster care or are adopted, or both, face many uncertainties. They are forced to adapt to many situations. Not knowing what the future holds or where a person will end up, for instance, can wreak havoc on one’s psyche. Insecure attachment styles include:

  • Anxious-preoccupied: a negative view of self and positive view of others.
  • Dismissive-avoidant: a positive view of self and negative view of others.
  • Fearful-avoidant: an unstable fluctuating/confused view of self and view of others.

Insecure, inconsistent attachment styles can result in mental health conditions developing, i.e., anxiety and depression. What’s more, such experiences can bring about unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance use. It is paramount that both mental health, and how a person copes, are addressed simultaneously for successful outcomes.

PACE Adoption-Related Treatment

Stigma accompanies both adoption and mental illness. The shame that many adoptees have about their past, the guilt that people have about their mental illness, can stand in the way of seeking help. While challenging, it is still possible to break through stigma and access treatment.

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped many adopted people find long-term recovery. We offer a track that caters specifically to adopted men who are struggling with mental illness. Led by Brett Furst, M.A., MFTI, our adoption-related treatment utilizes several specialized approaches to help clients address the underlying causes of mental health issues and addiction. Aided by a safe and supportive environment, PACE assists adopted men in fostering healthy, secure attachment styles.

Please contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you manage adoption trauma, mental illness, and addiction.

Contact Us

...