Tag Archives: addiction

Addiction Recovery: COVID-19 Pandemic Affects People in Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 and Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coping with Anxiety and Stress in Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment for Men

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

Addiction Recovery: Brotherhood and Fellowship is Beneficial

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

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

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

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

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

A Recovery Brotherhood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifelong Friendships with Men in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

Southern California Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

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

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

Addiction Recovery: Always Make Time for Your Program

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

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

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

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

Always Make Time for Your Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Being Ready for Anything is Essential

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

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

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

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

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

Addiction Recovery for Adult Males

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

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

Addiction Recovery: Coping With Anxiety

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A significant facet of addiction recovery is learning how to cope with feelings and emotions in healthy ways. In treatment, men and women learn techniques for managing unwanted feelings that can lead to cravings. Those who adopt practices like breathing exercises when they are feeling anxious are better able to manage their sensations.

While some people in recovery take prescription medications to mitigate their symptoms of anxiety, it can have a ripple effect for many individuals. Men and women in addiction recovery who have a co-occurring anxiety disorder are advised to avoid sedatives and tranquilizers. The most common prescription sedatives are benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium.

There is a good reason for steering clear of benzodiazepines or “benzos” while you are in recovery. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and carry a significant risk of overdose if misused. If you are in recovery and also struggle with anxiety, then your doctor has probably recommended that you try alternatives to medicine.

Exercise and meditation have been found to reduce people’s stress and anxiety. Perhaps you have already incorporated such routines into your day to day life? If not, please consider taking a walk to clear your mind or engaging in mindfulness exercises when you are feeling anxious.

If the suggestions above don’t produce the desired effect, then you can discuss non-habit-forming medications with your doctor. Many antidepressants are prescribed by physicians off-label, as they have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

If you presented with an anxiety disorder in treatment, then it’s likely the center’s physicians prescribed you a non-addictive SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) such as Lexapro or Celexa. SSRIs have proven effective in treating generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Disorders, Benzodiazepines, and Addiction Recovery

While it’s possible for people in recovery to take addictive medications as prescribed and avoid relapse, doing so is hardly worth the risk. Benzos are particularly hazardous for individuals in addiction recovery for alcohol use disorder. Many alcoholics are unaware that both benzodiazepines and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. What’s more, they each activate GABA in the brain, which results in reduced anxiety.

People recovering from an alcohol use disorder who start taking benzos to treat their anxiety unknowingly activate the same neurotransmitters as alcohol. Many recovering alcoholics have relapsed on alcohol after receiving a benzodiazepine prescription. Aside from the risk of relapse, people in recovery who take benzos can develop a substance use disorder.

Drugs like Klonopin and Ativan are meant to be taken for short durations and in small doses. Continued use leads to tolerance and the need to take more of the drug to produce the desired calming effect. Before one knows it, they become dependent on their anti-anxiety medication.

Anxiety, agitation, and insomnia are common amongst men and women in early recovery. Unless one has a diagnosed disorder, such feelings will occur less frequently and may completely subside over time. Turning to benzodiazepines while in addiction recovery, prescribed or otherwise, to cope with temporary sensations can severely derail your program.

Long-term sedative use can become addictive. Substantial misuse can cause an overdose, especially when mixed with another mind-altering substance. What’s more, those who attempt to stop taking benzodiazepines require medically supervised detox. The symptoms of benzo withdrawal can include life-threatening seizures.

If you are struggling with anxiety or sleep problems, then you will benefit significantly from looking for alternatives to sedatives. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings in healthy ways is possible, and doing so will not only strengthen your recovery, it will make you feel more positive.

A Hidden Facet of the American Addiction Epidemic

We would be remiss if we failed to share that we have a problem with prescription sedatives in America. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that doctors are prescribing benzos at elevated rates, CNN reports. The CDC found that about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits resulted in a prescription for a benzodiazepine between 2014 and 2016.

Studies have shown that this type of central nervous system depressant is involved in overdose deaths quite frequently. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30 percent of what is labeled an opioid overdose is an opioid-benzodiazepine overdose.

This is a really undercovered story,” said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. “I think of it as the hidden element of our overdose epidemic that does need attention.”

Gender-Specific Substance Use Disorder Treatment

If you are an adult male who is struggling with benzodiazepines and a co-occurring anxiety disorder, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our dedicated team of professionals can help you adopt a program of addiction recovery. We rely on evidence-based therapies to ensure you are equipped to lead a positive life in long-term recovery.

Recovery Writing: Keeping a Journal Improves Your Mental Health

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Mental health and physical health are of the utmost importance to people in addiction recovery. Anything you can do to boost your mental wellbeing and physical fitness will significantly improve your outlook on life. In recovery, a positive attitude changes everything.

Improving your physical health usually comes down to introducing exercise and a healthy diet into your schedule. If you completed an addiction treatment program, then you were probably advised to prioritize healthy living.

It’s likely that your counselors and clinicians shared with you the benefits of eating right and physical fitness. They probably explained that physical health and mental health are linked. Since people in early recovery are healing, they must do whatever they can to expedite the healing process.

Hopefully, you make a point of eating healthy foods and exercising three to five times a week. The latter does not require that you go to the gym; daily 30-minute walks can go a long way towards improving your fitness. Those who make fitness a priority feel better and thus are better able to maintain a positive attitude.

If you are working a program of recovery, then you know how vital it is to stay positive. Getting down on yourself or harboring negative emotions towards yourself and others will not benefit your recovery.

Naturally, there are several ways that you can bolster your mental health, aside from healthy living. Attending meetings, sharing, and working with a sponsor help to process your emotions productively. Such behaviors will help you manage and cope with stress in nondestructive ways.

There are also activities you can do at home that will aid you in achieving your goal of long-term recovery. Take journaling, for instance, those who journal benefit immensely from the practice.

Keeping a Journal in Recovery

Working a program of recovery teaches you ways of navigating the stressors of everyday life. Stress, as you well know, can derail your recovery if it is not managed in healthy ways. Coping with the obstacles of daily life is not easy for many people in early recovery. As such, men and women in sobriety must adopt practices that can aid in stress management.

You probably go to a meeting or call your sponsor when you are stressed out; bottling up negative emotions is detrimental. However, you may not always be able to catch a meeting or get a hold of a trusted peer. If you have a method for processing what is bothering you when you are alone, then you can keep stress from triggering you and prevent cravings from developing.

Journaling is an effective method of dealing with things that are bothering you. Those who journal are able to gain perspective and insight on how to navigate a challenging situation. What’s more, you do not have to be an excellent writer to benefit from writing, and there isn’t one way of journaling your thoughts.

Addicts and alcoholics in early recovery have many thoughts racing through their heads. They also are still contending with the wreckage of their past, which can lead to negative emotions and stress. Jotting down how you are feeling and the root of it can help you chart a course toward a more positive outlook.

It’s important to distinguish that journaling is not keeping a diary, which is good news for men who may feel like writing about your feelings is not a masculine activity. Many men in recovery journal every day, and it has no impact on masculinity. What’s more, journaling could be boosting their physical fitness.

Journaling Can Boost Your Immune System

F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist in New York City, wrote a fascinating article on the subject of journaling for NBC Think recently. Barth discusses the myriad of benefits that can come from journaling. Besides boosting your mental health, Barth cites studies that indicate journaling may impact one’s physical health.

Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, points to two different studies that show that journaling is beneficial to the immune system. The belief is that journaling reduces stress, which boosts the immune system, therefore improving your physical health. Diane Barth writes:

The conclusions drawn by both studies were that daily writing about emotionally significant experiences can improve our immune system, probably in a way not totally different from exercise, which is by reducing the chemicals that stress releases in our bodies.

One study, published in JAMA, involved participants who are living with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The other study included HIV-infected patients.

As we pointed out above, journaling is helpful for any gender. Barth mentions in her piece that John D. Rockefeller, General George Patton, and Winston Churchill kept journals. It’s fair to say that all three men dealt with enormous amounts of stress at different points in their life.

At PACE, we encourage you to give journal-writing a try when next you feel stressed. If you are already keeping a daily journal, then keep it up as you continue to strengthen your recovery.

California Gender-Specific Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Are you or a male loved one contending with a mental health disorder, alcohol or substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder? If so, please reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our various evidence-based programs for men. We can help you begin the journey of healing and provide you with the tools to achieve lasting recovery. Please call 800-526-1851 if you have any questions and to discuss treatment options.

Recovery Re-Evaluation: Your Lifestyle Matters

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Re-evaluating your lifestyle from time to time is essential for making sure you remain on track in early recovery. It’s easy to slip back into old ways of thinking that you learned to rid yourself of in treatment. Before you know it, you can find yourself associating with people who are not beneficial to your continued progress.

In addiction treatment, everyone learns that achieving long-term recovery hinges on doing away with people, places, and things that run counter to your program. It can be hard to say goodbye to old friends and acquaintances, but cut off ties you must to prevent relapse. You learn that staying away from places that can trigger a relapse is also beneficial, as well as anything that can cause you to crave a drink or drug, i.e., no longer listening to a particular band.

Once out of treatment – whether you move on to sober living or returning home – you were instructed to get to a meeting and find a sponsor immediately. Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is a great place to start; meetings are ideal locations for fostering healthy relationships and finding a person to walk you through the steps.

Over time one gets comfortable. Having an established routine and following the direction of others with more time makes you feel secure in your recovery. You also benefit from acquiring a deep bench of support comprised of peers who you can count on for assistance if you are struggling. Members of your deep bench also replace your old using buddies; they are the people who you call if you want to have a good time.

Is Your Lifestyle Congruent With Your Recovery?

Unfortunately, many people in early recovery forget how important it is to stick close to their support network both inside meetings and out. Some will feel the urge to re-establish contact with old friends because they feel like their program is strong. They may also start visiting places from their past because they think they can handle being around substances without being tempted to use.

Such behaviors are risky, and if one does not re-evaluate their changes in lifestyle, they can find themselves with a drink or drug in their hands. It’s not just risky people and places that can be the impetus for a relapse. Changing the meeting routine or spending less time with your support network can impact your ability to make progress. Feeling like you no longer need to check in with your sponsor regularly can also be a sign that recovery is losing its priority.

In treatment, you may have begun eating healthier and exercising helps nourish your mind and body. Perhaps you continued to eat right and exercise after discharge. If so, that is excellent, but it’s paramount to stay on track with healthy living. Deviating from your diet and workout routine is a change in lifestyle that could lead to issues down the road. Anything that you do that is not beneficial to your recovery can send you back into the cycle of addiction.

Periodically checking in with yourself to see if you are still leading a recovery-first lifestyle is crucial. Relapse is a process, not an event! Indeed, picking up a drink or drug again after a period of abstinence is an event, but the journey to relapse starts long before one decides to jeopardize all their hard work.

Is Your Recovery Still a Priority?

Have you started to drift away from your support network or stopped calling your sponsor? Are you still going to meetings or therapy sessions? Have you put your dietary and physical fitness needs on the back burner? Lastly, have you begun associating with people who are at odds with your recovery? If any of the above rings a bell, then we strongly advise you to re-evaluate your lifestyle changes and consider how paramount your recovery is in achieving your goals.

It’s much simpler to get back on track before a relapse than it is after. If recovery is still your number one priority, then please call your sponsor or a trusted peer and ask them for guidance. Such conversations may reveal to you that you’ve become complacent about your program and that perhaps you’ve forgotten the fragility of early recovery.

Please know that you have the ability to identify any program deviations and get back on track toward achieving your long-term goals. You have the power to “play the tape forward” and ask yourself, “What happens if I start using again?’ You will probably quickly realize that a return to active addiction is the last thing you want in life.

Southern California Addiction Treatment for Men

We invite you to contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male who is currently in the grips of addiction. PACE also invites the family members with a male loved one who is battling with the symptoms of a behavioral or mental health disorder to reach out to us for help. We offer several programs that are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of each client.

Our team is available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have and help you get the ball of addiction or mental illness recovery in motion. 800-526-1851

Addiction Recovery: Protecting Your Progress

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The annual Monitoring the Future survey indicates that teen alcohol, tobacco, and illicit hard drug use is on the decline. However, the decade’s old survey found U.S. teens are vaping more marijuana and nicotine than a year ago. The latter is concerning, and these individuals may be putting themselves at risk of developing addiction down the road.

Some 14 percent of 12th graders reported vaping marijuana in the last month, which is almost double what was reported in the previous year. As we have pointed out in previous posts, marijuana use in one’s teenage years can lead to cannabis use disorder in the future. The condition can severely impact the course of young people’s lives.

While tobacco may be considered more benign regarding harming the mind, it can do severe damage to the body. Tobacco and nicotine use is associated with several forms of cancer and life-threatening disease. There is not enough research yet to determine the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. Experts have diametrically opposing opinions on the dangers of electronic nicotine devices.

The recent findings have prompted lawmakers to raise the age of buying nicotine products from 18 to 21 years old. The move has bipartisan support among congressional lawmakers, and the White House seems to be behind raising the legal age limit too, The Washington Post reports. Public health advocates support the move, but they are not sure that it goes far enough.

While raising the age to 21 is a positive step, in this case, the tobacco industry supports it to avoid other policies — like removing flavors from e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes that would have a much greater effect,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Nicotine Addiction and Your Recovery

Preventing teenage vaping and nicotine initiation is vital to keeping young people off the path toward addiction. Experts stress that nicotine and THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, can wreak havoc on developing minds. Moreover, both substances are addictive, and teenage use exponentially increases one’s chances of developing use disorders in the future.

We wrote last week about making resolutions for 2020; the subject was how to be a more positive person in recovery. We hope you had a chance to read the post as we believe that following some of our recommendations could enhance your recovery. Protecting your sobriety is of vital importance. Did you know that nicotine can increase the likelihood of relapse?

Research published last year found that people in recovery who use nicotine products are more likely to return to drug and alcohol use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that cigarette smoking might increase the likelihood of SUD relapse because:

  • Cigarette smoking often accompanies illicit drug use, and cigarettes may serve as a drug cue and relapse trigger.
  • Some studies have linked nicotine exposure to cravings for stimulants and opiates.

So, if you are working a program of addiction recovery and are still using nicotine products, then perhaps a realistic 2020 resolution can be smoking cessation. Working a program takes tremendous effort, and you can benefit from removing from your life anything that can jeopardize your hard-fought progress.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand that giving up nicotine is challenging. However, there are many resources available to help you achieve the goal. Talk to your physician or call your state’s tobacco hotline for help quitting. 2020 could be the year that you free yourself from nicotine addiction and strengthen your recovery.

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male in the grips of alcohol or substance use disorder. We offer many programs that can help you get on the path to long-term recovery, and to lead a healthy and positive life. We provide several programs designed to meet the specific needs of each client.

At PACE, we also offer services for men who are battling mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. We invite you to phone us today to learn more about our evidence-based practices and begin the journey of lasting recovery. You will also be pleased to know that PACE works with and accepts most insurance carriers. 800-526-1851

Recovery Goal 2020: Being More Positive

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Christmas and Kwanzaa are now behind us, Hanukkah is drawing toward the end, and New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching. At PACE Recovery Center, we hope that everyone in recovery has managed to keep their program secure.

The holiday season is difficult for men and women in sobriety—no matter how much time you have clean and sober. Those who are able to avoid relapse during this emotional time of the year are the individuals who keep a positive attitude and always put their recovery first.

Placing your program before all else means prioritizing meetings and Step work, being of service, and steering clear of risky situations. Men and women in early recovery should stay away from people, places, and things that could trigger a desire to use. The first year is a fragile time, which is why it is vitally critical to stay close to your support network.

With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, we hope that you are making plans for bringing in 2020 safe and sober. Here is Southern California, parties litter the coastline on December 31st; you may find yourself tempted to attend one in your neighborhood. We strongly advise that you make inquiries at your home group about recovery-focused New Year’s Eve gatherings.

People in recovery are not sticks in the mud, and they thoroughly insist on having a good time. What’s more, members of the recovery community understand that one of the best ways to prevent relapse is to stick together. So, after you attend your meetings for the day, get yourself to a place where others in recovery will be celebrating the beginning of 2020.

A More Positive Year in Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we remind our clients that a positive attitude changes everything. While we understand that early recovery is daunting, one must do all they can to put their best foot forward.

It’s not always easy to maintain a sunny disposition when you have to face troubling aspects of your past. However, it’s possible to clear your mind of negative thoughts and replace them with things that make you happy.

Remember that the past is behind you; there is nothing that can be done to change what has already happened. If you spend too much time focusing on the negatives of yesterday, it will hinder your ability to make progress, both inside treatment and out.

With a new year brings the promise of achieving novel goals; one realistic and achievable resolution is being more positive. There is a myriad of methods for realizing the goal of being a more positive person. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Being of service to others.
  • Making daily gratitude lists.
  • Introducing a meditation routine into your days.
  • Getting outdoors as much as possible.
  • Being kind to yourself.

Putting Positivity Into Practice

In recovery, there is no shortage of opportunities for being of service to others. Showing up early and leaving meetings late will give you time to talk to newcomers. Showing care and compassion will make you feel better. Before and after meetings also allows you an opportunity to help set up and break down a meeting. You don’t need to have a service position to be useful to your homegroup.

Gratitude is essential to addiction recovery; being grateful for the helpful things and people in your life is invaluable. In 2020, make lists of what is right in your life as often as possible. It helps to see on paper all the people who support you on the path to recovery. When you remind yourself that you are not alone, it enables you to maintain a more positive disposition each day.

Meditation is a proven method of leading a more positive life. There are many resources online to help guide you in this area. Those who meditate feel more grounded throughout their day and are better able to shut out negative thoughts.

Being mindful for just a few minutes a day teaches us that everything changes, making it easier to have hope in dark moments,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD. “This will also help strengthen your practice of observing—but not always giving into—the negative thoughts your brain likes to conjure.”

Spending more time outside, even for just short intervals, is exceptionally beneficial. Nature has a way of giving us perspective on things that are bothering us. If you are feeling stressed, then pause and walk outside; it will likely make you feel better.

No matter what is happening in your life, be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes but beating yourself up with negative self-talk will not help. Work the problem!

Recovery 2020

We invite adult men to contact PACE Recovery Center if you have an alcohol or substance use disorder. Our dedicated team of behavioral and mental health professionals can also assist men who have a co-occurring mental illness. At PACE, we offer programs for individuals who are not struggling with drugs and alcohol but are plagued by mental health disorders, such as depression.

Please reach out to us today to learn more about our services. We can help you bring in the New Year with healing and recovery and get on the path toward a more positive life.

Depression and Cannabis Use Among Young People

depression

Last month, we shared with our readers about research that upended a long-held association between alcohol use and depression among young people. In the post, we were particularly interested in the link between binge drinking and depressive symptoms.

As we pointed out at the time, binge drinking among young men and women is on the decline. However, there’s been a significant rise in depressive symptoms among young individuals.

As such, researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health are no longer able to find a correlation between binge drinking and depressive symptoms. The findings of the study, the researchers suggest, indicate that the relationship between binge drinking and depressive symptoms is decoupling.

While the observations are uplifting news and can help experts redirect their targets for addressing both depression and hazardous alcohol use, there remains a clear link between substance use and depressive symptoms.

On numerous occasions, we have pointed out that addiction often goes hand in hand with co-occurring mental illness. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and bipolar disorder affect people living with use disorders regularly.

Some individuals develop a dual diagnosis for mental illness after prolonged bouts of drugs or alcohol use; whereas, others who already meet the criteria for a mental illness will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol resulting in the development of co-occurring behavioral health disorders like addiction.

Self-medicating mental illness is one of the leading causes of people developing an alcohol or substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol may alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness initially, but in the long run, the practice only creates more problems.

New research suggests that people living with depression are at twice the risk of using cannabis, according to Wiley. The findings appear in the journal Addiction.

Depression and Cannabis Use

In recent years, the public perceived dangers associated with cannabis use has declined significantly. The trend is likely partly due to the relaxing of marijuana laws, including medical cannabis programs and recreational use decriminalization. While it might be true that using pot may be a relatively benign behavior for average citizens, we cannot say the same for those with pre-existing mental illness.

The new survey-based study included 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older, according to the article. The researchers found that cannabis use in America increased from 2005 to 2017 among men and women with and without depression. However, the data indicates that people living with depression were approximately twice as likely to use marijuana in 2017 compared to those without the condition.

Even more concerning, the data shows that nearly one-third of young adults (29.7 percent) aged 18-25 with depression reported using marijuana in the past 30-day period. Among all persons over the age of 12, the prevalence of past-month cannabis use was 18.9 percent among those with depression compared to 8.7% among those without depression. What’s more, 6.7 percent of people with depression reported daily cannabis use. Whereas, only 2.9 percent of non-depressed people reported everyday use.

Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression. At the same time, the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression,” said corresponding author Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York.

Cannabis Use Disorder and Depression Treatment for Young Men

Young men who struggle with depressive symptoms and also use cannabis put themselves at significant risk. They are likely to worsen their symptoms of depression and often develop cannabis use disorders. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment for young men.

At PACE, our team of experts relies on evidence-based therapies to help men overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol, drug abuse, and mental illness. We are available at any time to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment center. 800-526-1851

Recovery Specialists are Needed in America

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we like to do our best to focus on uplifting aspects of addiction recovery. We want to share stories about individuals who have risen from the depths of despair and gone on to lead productive lives in sobriety. Unfortunately, there are times when we would be remiss if we didn’t share startling statistics about young people in America. Hopefully, by doing so, we can encourage lawmakers and the public to effect change.

A new study shows that death rates from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease, and other causes rose over the past decade for young and middle-aged adults, The Washington Post reports. The research – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – indicates that overall life expectancy in the United States has fallen for three consecutive years.

In the field of addiction medicine, we are acutely aware that the U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented addiction epidemic. What’s more, mental health conditions such as depression affect a significant number of young people. To make matters worse, only a small percentage of the millions of affected people receive evidence-based treatment like that which we offer at PACE.

It’s [death rates] supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries,” said the lead author of the report, Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong.”

Woolf points out that the American opioid epidemic, not surprisingly, is a driving force in the decrease in American life expectancy, according to the article. Tens of thousands of adults die of overdoses each year, but overdoses are not the only culprit in the decline. Mental-illness related suicide is playing a significant role as well.

Opioid Workforce Act

opioid workforce act

Efforts to increase access to evidence-based therapies for mental and behavioral health conditions saves lives. There is a problem though; there is a dire shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

When Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) learned that approximately 21 million people needed treatment for a substance use disorder in 2018, they decided it was time to take action, Forbes reports. The lawmakers were even more troubled when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) informed them that only 11 percent of the 21 million were able to access treatment that year.

In response to the staggering treatment disparity, the lawmakers conducted a review that found part of the problem was the lack of trained physicians equipped to help people with mental and behavioral health disorders. In an effort to effect change, Senators Hassan and Collins authored a bill that aims to “provide Medicare support for an additional 1,000 graduate medical education (GME) positions over five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.”

Introduced this summer, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 has already garnered the support of 80 organizations.

As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Recovery Treatment

The fact that the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine are behind the Opioid Workforce Act is beneficial. The secured support should help both lawmakers get the bipartisan piece of legislation through congress. When combined with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, we may finally be able to reign in this most deadly public health crisis.

If you are a young man who is struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorders, or any mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center offers many evidence-based programs that can help you turn your life around. Our clients benefit from working closely with master’s- and doctorate-level clinicians, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. We invite you to reach out at any time to speak to our admissions team about how PACE can help you or a loved one. 800-526-1851

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