Tag Archives: recovery

Recovery Community and Coping with Vulnerability

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

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

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

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

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

Unlocking Us

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

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

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

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

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

Coping in Recovery When You are Feeling Vulnerable

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

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

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

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

Please take a moment to watch her interview:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Finding Recovery During A Crisis

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

Addiction Recovery: COVID-19 Pandemic Affects People in Sobriety

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 and Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coping with Anxiety and Stress in Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment for Men

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

Recovery at Risk Amid a Pandemic: Protecting Your Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 in Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Recovery Support Groups Contingency Plans

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

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

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

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

Southern California Gender-Specific Recovery Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Most Effective Path to Long-Term Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

The Advantages of AA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orange County Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorder Treatment

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

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

Addiction Recovery: Brotherhood and Fellowship is Beneficial

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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: Clean and Sober Celebrities Inspire Hope

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Celebrities who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders experience many of the same problems as average citizens. However, unlike average Americans, moviestars’ and musicians’ addictions make the headlines. A lack of anonymity can lead to shame and disgrace that can hinder one’s ability to find addiction recovery.

Famous individuals who battle addictive disorders become controversial figures regularly. Stars may do things while under the influence that can mar their reputations irrevocably at times. Addiction jeopardizes many careers or can end them entirely if steps to recover are not taken.

Sadly, many beloved pop icons have succumbed to their disease or taken their lives. We are all familiar with movie stars, television actors, comedians, and musicians whose lives ended in tragedy.

While society mourns the loss of beloved celebrities and remembers the joy such people brought to the lives of millions, it’s also vital to acknowledge those who battled addiction and found recovery. Some even go on to share their stories with the world and inspire others to seek addiction recovery.

Numerous people employed in Hollywood are working programs and championing causes to help end the misconceptions about addiction. Whenever someone who is looked up to by millions of people shares their story, it erodes the stigma of mental and behavioral health disorders.

Some of you may have read articles about Brad Pitt’s road to recovery recently. He has openly shared about the impact alcohol had on his life, what it cost him, and how addiction recovery saved his life. In interviews, he’s mentioned how other celebrities helped him in recovery, such as Bradley Cooper. Pitt and Cooper’s honesty is not rare; many other cultural icons are doing their part to inspire hope in others.

Addiction: A Family Disease that Doesn’t Discriminate

Some of our readers may know that the multiple-Grammy award-winning artist James Taylor had a long battle with addiction. Perhaps you know that he sought the help of addiction treatment centers on several occasions and experienced many relapses before finding long-term recovery.

TIME published an article on Taylor recently that brings to light many of the factors that impacted his life. When James was a teenager, he was admitted to a mental health facility, according to the article. He says that music saved his life, but he would go on to become addicted to drugs and alcohol as a nascent musician.

Addiction is a family disease. Like many people who are touched by alcohol and substance use disorders, Taylor’s family struggled with addiction too. His parents and all four siblings each battled with drugs and alcohol.

Taylor shared that he was addicted to opiates for about 18 years on an episode of Oprah’s Master Class in 2015. He finally found recovery and began working the 12 Steps in 1983 and has been sober ever since. That same year he released his 16th album, Before This World, which included songs that dealt with addiction recovery and salvation.

With more than 30 years of sobriety, James Taylor is proof that long-term recovery is possible even for the most severely addicted. Moreover, he does not shy away from carrying the message to those still in the grips of the disease.

The sooner you get over it, the sooner you get on with your life,” Taylor said. “The 12-step programs are the best way we’ve discovered, so far, for recovering from addiction.”

Finding sobriety has led other artists and actors to create works that shine a light on addiction and recovery. People are encouraged to seek help when celebrities courageously share and create music and films about the disease.

From Addiction Recovery to Relapse: The Way Back

As mentioned earlier, addiction can make a person into a controversial figure and take what’s most important from them, and such is the case of Oscar-winner Ben Affleck. The Argo director has been in the news lately a lot due to his divorce, apologizing for groping a talk show host in 2013, and his struggles with alcoholism.

Last year, he relapsed a few months after announcing he had achieved one year of sustained recovery, The New York Times reports. He acknowledges that alcohol use cost him his marriage to Jennifer Garner, the mother of their three children. While his recent relapse was a significant setback and source of shame, he has not given up on breaking the cycle of addiction.

It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Ben Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”

Addiction is a family disease for Ben Affleck; his father is an alcoholic just like James Taylor’s. He shares that his father sobered up when Ben was 19. His younger brother Casey Affleck has spoken openly about his battle with alcoholism and sobriety. The Afflecks’ aunt struggled with heroin addiction, and their grandmother and uncle both committed suicide.

Ben Affleck is back in recovery and is working. He stars in The Way Back, which opens in theaters on March 6, about a man in the grips of alcoholism. The main character’s life echo’s Affleck’s life in several ways.

In the film, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach. Cunningham, like Affleck, lost his marriage to drinking, the article reports. He will eventually end up in addiction treatment.

California Addiction Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we equip adult men with the tools to lead a healthy and positive life in addiction recovery. Our center utilizes evidence-based therapies to help men break the disease cycle.

Our Masters and Doctorate-level clinicians also specialize in the treatment of stand-alone and co-occurring mental illness. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about the benefits of gender-specific treatment and the PACE Recovery difference.

Addiction and Sadness Connection: Emotions and Addictive Behaviors

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Positive emotions are beneficial for people in recovery; whereas, negative emotions derail one’s program and can lead to relapse. At PACE, we fully subscribe to the power of positivity and its impact on lasting addiction recovery. While we understand that life can be difficult, and challenges can elicit negative feelings, each of us has the power to alter our perspective and move forward productively.

At the core of addictive behaviors are several negative sentiments such as guilt, shame, self-loathing, disgust, anger, sadness, and fear. Some addiction specialists argue that the latter state of being is the crux of addiction. Those who hope to break free from addiction must work tirelessly not to let negative emotions run their lives.

It’s hard to see the sunny side of life when you are in the grips of despair, but no matter how dark your reality appears, there is always hope. Life doesn’t have to be the way it is always, and we humans have an enormous capacity for change both internally and externally. Right now, millions of people around the globe are leading healthy and positive lives in recovery, which means that you can too.

The road to a more positive life is not without potholes, and everyone stumbles from time to time. Still, it’s not the falling that matters; it’s the getting back up and trudging forward and never losing sight of your goals.

Even people with years of sobriety have less than ideal days. A myriad of factors can jeopardize one’s serenity, such as a death in the family or loss of employment, for example. Bad days are normal, but wallowing in misfortune is not, nor is it healthy—especially for people in recovery.

On this blog, we like to discuss the power of positivity on a regular basis; we believe it’s helpful for those in early recovery. The first year of sobriety is a rollercoaster ride of emotions – some good and some bad – and it’s vital not to let the latter take over. It’s easier said than done, but with a support network by your side, you can overcome any obstacle and the accompanying negative emotions.

Sadness In Early Recovery

Learning how to cope with negative emotions is something that many people discover in treatment. It’s vital to have such skills because negative emotions will crop up without warning and must be addressed immediately. One of the more common emotions that people in early recovery contend with is sadness.

You can be sad for a number of reasons. Men and women in early recovery are often consumed by regret. When the fog of drugs and alcohol clears, many have a propensity to look back on their using tenure with sadness. Some will even mourn the loss of the drugs and alcohol, even though they understand that such substances were detrimental.

If you find yourself in a funk and are feeling down, then it’s vital to take action and talk to someone you trust immediately. Such emotions can spread through the mind like wildfire, and the smoke created will cloud your vision for the future.

Always remember that the past is behind you and that you only have the power to change what you do today. Dwelling on the past and breathing air into negative feelings can lead you down a destructive path. It turns out that sadness is an emotion that researchers associate with addictive behaviors.

Sadness and Addictive Substance Use

A new study that mainly focuses on the use of cigarettes could also shed light on all addictive behaviors. Researchers from Harvard University sought to determine which role emotions play in addictive behavior. The findings – appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – indicate that sadness plays a significant part in triggering addictive behaviors.

The researchers examined four studies which all reinforce the finding that sadness leads to cravings more than any other negative emotion, according to the Harvard Kennedy School. The team believes that their results could help in designing more effective prevention campaigns.

The conventional wisdom in the field was that any type of negative feelings, whether it’s anger, disgust, stress, sadness, fear, or shame, would make individuals more likely to use an addictive drug,” said lead researcher Charles A. Dorison, a Harvard Kennedy School doctoral candidate. “Our work suggests that the reality is much more nuanced than the idea of ‘feel bad, smoke more.’ Specifically, we find that sadness appears to be an especially potent trigger of addictive substance use.”

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Adult males are invited to reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our evidence-based therapies for the treatment of addiction and mental illness. We offer specialized clinical treatment tracks to address all components of addiction and mental health. If you are struggling with alcohol, drugs, or a mental health disorder, our team of highly trained professionals can help you achieve lasting recovery.

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.

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