Tag Archives: relapse

Addiction, Recovery, and “Beautiful Boy”


"Beautiful Boy” is a touching song by the late John Lennon; it is also a harrowing story about one father’s experience with his son’s battle with addiction. The father, David Sheff, the son Nic Sheff; both are accomplished writers, and each of them have given us remarkable true-accounts that speak to anyone touched by the disease. Naturally, Nic’s road to literary acclaim came at a hefty price given that his illness very nearly cost him his life.

It is not an easy read, Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction. The difficulty is owing less to the style of writing than the, at times gut-wrenching and tear-jerking, content. It’s likely that many of you have had an opportunity to read Sheff’s account of Nic’s battle with mental illness. Perhaps, you’ve even read Nic Sheff’s bestselling book, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines. If you haven’t had the chance, it worth adding both titles to your reading list, especially if you are a parent attempting to make sense of the senseless disease of addiction. If you are, like so many parents today, at your wit's end regarding how you can help your son or daughter find recovery—David and Nic Sheff’s writing can help. The material can shine a light on your struggles and potentially assist you in plotting a course toward healing.

Anyone who has lived through it, or those who are now living through it, knows that caring about an addict is as complex and fraught and debilitating as addiction itself.” — Beautiful Boy

There are many books out there covering the subject of mental health, with a focus on alcohol and substance use disorders. Sharing one’s story regarding the insidious nature of addiction has become somewhat of a trend in recent years; the surge of related content happens to coincide with the rise of opioids and overdose deaths in America. However, Beautiful Boy hit the shelves in 2008 (Tweak in 2009), before anyone would dare to even whisper the words opioid addiction epidemic in a sentence. With that in mind, you may ask yourself, ‘in the ever-changing landscape of the American epidemic, are roughly ten-year-old book still topical?’

Addiction Writing for The Family

Discovering that your child is in the grips of an incurable illness is a massive blow. Most parents bend over backward to afford their children every opportunity in life, and then you come to find out that an unwelcome guest is stymieing your efforts. What’s more, mental illness is an uninvited guest that will not leave the premises without a fight. Parents rudely awakened by the realities of a child's addiction quickly learn that they will need to fight for their kid's life. They come to find out that, no matter how hard they try, explaining away addiction is impossible.

How addiction gets in the front door in the first place is of little importance; what your family plans to do about the discovery is essential. One need only look at their local newspaper to understand what’s at stake with untreated mental illness. Of course, the ideal response to addiction is treatment; which presents another potential issue, will your child be receptive to receiving help? Hopefully, your child will opt for assistance and that they will adopt a new way of living that is conducive to recovery. One could only imagine that that was David Sheff’s hope for his son, after finally getting Nic into treatment.

At risk of spoiling some parts of the book, let’s just say that Nic would come to find the courage to break the cycle of addiction and adopt a program of recovery. Today, he has multiple years clean and sober, and he is a successful writer working in California.

Hope, Against All Odds

The road to recovery for Nic was one of severe heartache; his addiction brought him to the absolute depths of despair; in his darkest hours, he was checking “y.e.t.’s” (you're eligible too) off his list with vigor. However, while conscious of the fact that there are no guarantees in long-term recovery, Nic’s story is a success story. Not only that, Nic’s writing has helped countless people who’re fighting the good fight against the slings and arrows of mental illness.

You can read more about Nic’s experience in his follow up, We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction. His second book covers treatment, relapse, and “what it means to be a young person living with addiction.” David Sheff has been busy too, his journey of addiction and recovery with Nic led him to devote his time learning and writing about addiction. Following the release of Beautiful Boy,” David wrote another best-seller, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy.

What started with fighting to save his child’s life, segued into a mission to help others who find themselves on similar paths. Just like in the rooms of recovery, we learn from our peers about how to keep doing the next right thing. We can’t do this alone, any secondary sources that provide insight into your specific problems should be welcome.

Beautiful Boy On The Big Screen

So, is David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy still topical? Let’s just say the writing and illumination it can provide families and addicts alike is timeless. Right now, there exists millions of Americans struggling with addiction, many of them are young men like Nic; which means that there are an even more significant number of parents who, like David, want to do everything they can to encourage recovery.

But here’s the rub of addiction. By its nature, people afflicted are unable to do what, from the outside, appears to be a simple solution—don’t drink. Don’t use drugs. In exchange for that one small sacrifice, you will be given a gift that other terminally ill people would give anything for: life.” — Beautiful Boy

This year, the Sheffs' story of hope has a chance to affect a much broader audience. On October 12, 2018, Amazon Studios will release Beautiful Boy, starring Oscar nominees Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carrell, Paste Magazine reports. The timing couldn’t be better; countless Americans need to know that recovery is possible; Nic, like so many others without notoriety, is living testament to that fact.


If you are a young man who is ready to break the cycle of addiction, please contact PACE Recovery Center for a free consultation. We specialize in treating young adult males living with alcohol, substance use, and coöccurring disorders.

Recovery Resolutions for 2018


January 1st is the first blank page of a 365-page book, or so the saying goes. Even if you make a daily commitment to working a program for recovery, there is always room for improvement. After all, addiction recovery is about progress; there isn’t a finish line, one’s work can never cease. It’s vital to understand that while you are doing all the right things (i.e., meetings and sponsorship), there is always more that you can do for your program.

Addiction recovery is about many things, a routine being one of importance. We all get accustomed to waking up, prayer and meditation, attending our “homegroup,” and working with a sponsor or sponsoring others. Critical ingredients to the recipe for recovery to be sure, but we can all do little things to inject vitality into our program. We can make small changes that can have a massive impact on our ability to stay the course.

It’s paramount that we never rest on our laurels, that we continue to seek out or inquire with others about how to shore up our spiritual defenses. As humans, we are continually changing and evolving into different people; which means that our program must adapt, as well. Stagnation is not a friend to recovery.

Recovery Resolutions for 2018

When New Year’s comes around, most Americans spend a little time thinking of areas in one’s life that can be improved. For the average person, a resolution could be as simple as vowing not to speed behind the wheel anymore. Whereas people in recovery may consider working their program a little differently and think about a few things they can do to better walk the road of lasting recovery.

Making alterations to one’s daily, weekly, or monthly recovery schedule can have a positive effect on your life. If you are like most people recovering from alcohol and substance use disorder, then you are in the habit of going to the same meetings on a regular basis. This year, in addition to going to your homegroup, please consider branching out meeting-wise. You will meet new people who may prove beneficial to your mission, in turn enlarging your support network. Going to different meetings will also get you out of your comfort zone, which is often a teachable moment.

Speaking of one's comfort zone, those of you who are reticent about sharing in meetings might think to add “opening up” with others to your to-do list. Recovery is a social enterprise; we can’t do this alone; without the help of others, progress is impossible. Each of us needs feedback from others, and if we are not open and honest with our peers or sponsor, they won’t know how to support us. Sharing is the forum by which we learn, and when we share we can help others who may be struggling in their own life. You never know how your share might affect someone else in positive ways. If you have not regularly been sharing, try making a point of doing it more in 2018.

May the Light of Recovery Always Surround You

Along with progress, there may be times of trouble and tribulation in the coming year. We have no way of knowing what lies beyond the horizon; anything one can do to ensure serenity, the better. Prayer and meditation are excellent ways to stay grounded when stress rears its ugly head, then we can respond to it calmly. Those who emphasize spirituality per diem, are better equipped to react to stressors and triggers in healthy ways. The light of recovery shines on those who open their heart and mind to a power-greater-than-them-self. Armed with spirituality, we stay centered, and as a result, can mitigate the risk of relapse.

Naturally, there are several more recovery resolutions that one might consider for 2018. You might shed some light on areas of your program that could use adjustment by sitting down and talking with someone in your support network. Others may notice things that you cannot see; the best insight often comes from the outside.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a productive year ahead.

What You Learned In Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment

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

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

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

Recovery Work Going Up In Smoke

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

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

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

Ask Around

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

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

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

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

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

Navigating Recovery This Thanksgiving With A Grateful Heart


The beginning of the holiday season kicks off this week, which means it’s time to count your blessings. Those in recovery must fortify their defenses and batten down their spiritual hatches if one’s program is to remain intact. One of the most effective ways of ensuring relapse doesn’t become part of one’s story over Thanksgiving is to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

Expressing thankfulness and appreciation in every area of one’s life is significant to maintaining a program. If you have accrued some recovery time, then some people have been instrumental to you in achieving your goals. Nobody recovers on their own; we do this together. We’d be wise to remind ourselves of this regularly; we wouldn’t be where we are today without help.

Call to mind when you arrived in treatment, a shell of your former self. It’s likely you heard someone tell you that everything is going to be alright. Remember the first person in a meeting who reached out their hand to you and expressed interest in your success. There are, no doubt, several instances you can recall when a fellow in recovery offered their support, unsolicited. People who pay forward what they received gratis in the program is what keeps this remarkable enterprise going. You have or will do the same when the time is right, the cycle of recovery depends upon everyone’s participation.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recovery: Your Gratitude is Required

Making an effort to express your gratitude for others is not always easy. There are times when it’s hard to recognize all the good in your life and all the people who have your back. A helping hand is often gentle, words of support are sometimes just a whisper, but everyone owes aspects of their recovery to a higher power and specific individuals.

Even those of you who are new to the program know the importance of sharing your gratitude with others. It’s likely that your counselors and sponsor suggested prayer and meditation as a means for ensuring progress. Recovery is a spiritual program, once we realize that most things in life are out of our control, it becomes easier to open our hearts to a higher power. Such a “life-force will” is the glue that holds our recovery together, which means acknowledgment of that fact is vital. Only a power greater-than-ourselves can restore us to sanity, so we must continually turn our will and our lives over to that force. A daily commitment to be thankful for everything and everyone who had a hand in our progression.

In early recovery, many people struggle to converse with their higher power, for numerous reasons. After years of substance use and reliance on oneself for survival makes it difficult to accept help. A mindset of self-will and self-reliance makes it hard to believe that there might be something else designing the architecture of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean starting a dialogue is impossible; with practice and an attitude of gratitude, anything is possible.

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ― Maya Angelou

Allowing Gratitude to Carry You Through the Holidays

If you are a young adult, who is relatively new to working a program, you might be dreading Thanksgiving. Perhaps this Thursday is the first time you will be home since going through addiction treatment? If you are like most people in this situation, you’re preparing yourself for a salvo of questions from loved ones at the dinner table. It’s doubtful you are thrilled about the prospect of having to explain to your uncle why you can’t drink a beer with him. Describing both the core and the minutiae of a program that is not easily put into words probably doesn’t bring joy to your heart. Nevertheless, if you are going home there are things you can do to keep stress at bay.

There is a good chance you had the help of a family member in bringing about your recovery. Whether mom and dad drove you to treatment or financially supported your decision to get help, your family played an important role in your recovery. They may have questions regarding your mission to live life on life’s terms, which you can attempt to answer patiently. Or, you can just say that you are not in a position to explain something adequately, so you’d rather not. In early recovery, individuals often follow suggestions without fully understanding the value of the suggested behavior. In time, the real importance of an action will reveal itself, but for now, it’s alright not to have the answer.

If you find yourself having to field your family's questions, you won’t get as stressed if you remind yourself that their curiosity comes from caring, not scrutiny. No one in recovery can afford to let their emotions get the best of them during a holiday, the risks of doing so are profound. If a family member is starting to get under your skin, simply walk away and call your sponsor. If your distress doesn’t dissipate still, find your way to a meeting pronto; rest assured that many of the people you will find in that meeting share your current sentiments.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

Happy Thanksgiving

Whether you have one month or one year sober, you’ve much to be grateful for today. If you make an effort on Thanksgiving to share your gratitude with others, it will make the day go by easier. Remember your tools and the skills you acquired in treatment, and relapse won’t be a part of your recovery.

The gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe, sober, and happy Thanksgiving. We are proud of your accomplishments, and we hope that you are, too.

Quitting Cigarettes Helps Your Recovery


Cigarettes, albeit legal, are particularly harmful to anyone’s health. All of us are taught at a young age to avoid tobacco products of any kind, especially cigarettes. Otherwise we put ourselves at great risk of developing life-threatening health conditions, including: cancer, respiratory and vascular disease. The warnings are everywhere, even on the boxes they are packed in. There are mountains of research to support correlations between smoking and premature death. Yet, smoking in the United States and beyond continues in spite of the clear and present dangers.

The reasons people give for why they began smoking in the first place are varied. Much like the reasons people give for why they continue to smoke. But, one thing is certain. Most long-term tobacco smokers say they wish the never started and they would love to quit. A wish that is extremely difficult to achieve. For the simple fact that nicotine, an alkaloid absorbed into the bloodstream when one smokes is highly addictive. Nicotine is a stimulant, but it also acts as a sedative producing feelings of calmness. Which is why people tend to smoke more when they are stressed. If you are a smoker, then you are no stranger to this tendency.

Smoking cigarettes has inherent risks beyond those listed above for people working programs of addiction recovery. Research published earlier this year indicated that smokers in recovery are at a greater risk of relapse. Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health found over a three-year period, smokers were about two times more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.

Such findings are of the utmost importance. Previous studies show that at least two-thirds of people with a history of drug/alcohol addiction, have histories of smoking. What’s more, research from the last decade shows that around 60 percent of people in AA smoke.

Protecting Recovery - Quitting Cigarettes

In the field of addiction recovery nicotine addiction is typically not the zenith of priorities. Treatment facilities stress smoking cessation, yet quitting is not a requirement for achieving long-term recovery. Options to help quitting are always provided and clients are impressed to utilize these while under care.

However, it’s highly unlikely that anyone ever chose to buy a pack of cigarettes over paying their rent. Nicotine is not something that many people have lied, cheated, and stole to acquire. You get the idea. But, it’s worth remembering that cigarettes are often tried before any other substance. Most people don’t usually start down the road of addiction with hard drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana tend to be the first chapters of most people’s addictive storylines.

In recovery, any substance that can cause even minute feelings of euphoria can potentially jeopardize one’s recovery. Mind-altering substances that are used to cope with stress versus dealing with a problem in healthy ways — can be risky. Regardless of being considered benign.

Whether you have 10 days clean and sober or 10 years, quitting smoking can help your program. If your program is the most important aspect of your life, then quitting should be entertained. And there is no better time than the present. It is a difficult chore, but with the aid of the 12 Steps, your support network, and cessation aids it’s possible.

Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums, patches and inhalers can help you achieve the goal. The drugs CHANTIX® (varenicline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) have helped a significant number of people quit, as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in conjunction with nicotine replacements and a support network typically bears the most fruit.

Long-Term Recovery Requires A Healthy Body

This post began with a focus on the negative impact that cigarettes has on one’s health. With that in mind, anyone looking to continually maintain a program of recovery must prioritize healthy living. Recovery may keep you from a premature death. But, if something else counters it, it’s a serious problem.

Smoking cigarettes for years can wreak havoc on the human body. In some cases, causing irreparable damage that may be irreversible. Have you been smoking for years? If so, you might be inclined to think that the damage done thus far, is done. Set in stone. Which could potentially reinforce a continuation of the self-defeating behavior, on your part. However, one of the most remarkable things about the human body is its ability to repair itself. Of course, it must be given the opportunity.

Tobacco is extremely caustic. Although, new research indicates that shortly after quitting smoking, specific metabolic changes occur — reversing some mal-effects caused by tobacco. The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research.

Researchers analyzed lab samples of male volunteers attempting to quit smoking—up to three months after smoking cessation. The team observed 52 metabolites that were altered, and several that showed “reversible changes.”

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped a significant number of young males abstain from cigarettes. We understand that long-term recovery is contingent upon taking care of one’s health. The cycle of nicotine addiction, like any addictive substance, can be broken if one is given the right environment and tools. Please contact us today to begin the life-long journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery Treatment Without Distraction

addiction recovery

If you have been in recovery for some time you know that romantic relationships can be risky. Especially in early addiction recovery. We have written in the past about the potential for messy relationships leading to relapse. With the goal of long-term recovery in mind, avoiding relationships in early recovery should be a priority.

Addiction recovery asks a lot of the individuals who would like to succeed. There are many recommendations and suggestions put forward by the basic texts of addiction recovery. As well as from counselors, therapists and sponsors. Co-ed addiction treatment facilities work tirelessly to avoid fraternization involving clients (much to the chagrin of the said clients). But, there are logical reasons for keeping people in treatment at more than arm’s length from each other. It should be said again, rarely does anything good ever come from a relationship in early recovery.

Try as counselors and behavioral technicians might, certain clients manage to become involved with each other while in treatment. Just as sponsees, against their sponsor’s advice, entangle themselves with other individuals in early recovery. Relapse is not a forgone conclusion of such scenarios, but it is more common than you might think. Even if drugs or alcohol never come into the picture during recovery trysts, problems can arise. Because, when you are focused on the needs of another, it is hard to give your own program 100 percent. Although, for the purposes of this article, the cart may be ahead of the horse at the moment. Let’s focus on treatment.

Early Addiction Recovery Romance

There are many excellent co-ed addiction recovery centers across the country. Every year these centers help thousands of Americans ascend from the depths of despair to the heights of recovery. Some of you reading this may have years of sobriety after beginning the journey in a co-ed facility. Unfortunately, at such rehab centers there are number of clients who have trouble keeping their desires at bay. Choosing not to stay totally focused on one’s reason for seeking treatment in the first place.

It is not necessarily the fault of the client. After years of drug and/or alcohol dependence, and then sudden cessation, the mind can fire off all but forgotten signals. After acute withdrawal subsides, many clients find themselves with a wandering eye. Looking for a way to fill a void left behind when the substances are out of the picture. Perhaps a way to sate one’s urges and desires. In some cases, a client's eyes may catch sight of another client. And voila!

Many an unhealthy relationship takes shape inside the confines of co-ed addiction recovery facility. In such cases, clients lose sight of what’s most important. As opposed to working a program of recovery, two clients begin working a “program of each other.” It is not uncommon for a client to make another client their higher power. Often without either one of them knowing this. It is a path that can lead to all kinds of problems, including expulsion from the treatment center. This is why it so important for individuals to remember what precipitated the need for treatment in the first place. Your own way didn’t work. You sought help. Deciding not to heed the policies of a treatment center would be a clear sign that one’s “disease” is still running the show.

Gender Specific Addiction Treatment

Making the decision to seek addiction recovery can change one’s life forever. Choosing which treatment facility will give you the best shot of achieving the goal of long-term addiction recovery is important. Addiction treatment centers are not one size fits all. One program may offer a feature that another doesn’t, which is why using discretion when deciding is advised. Given what has been said already regarding the dangers of romance in early recovery, you would be wise to consider the merits of gender specific addiction treatment centers. Thus, being a way of mitigating the risk of temptation.

If you are a young adult male in need of treatment, you might be thinking that such an eventuality will not be a problem for you. Saying to yourself, ‘I’m not going to dedicate all this time and money to find a woman who has just as many problems as me.’ Some men, for other reasons, won’t want to go to a facility treating only men. Perhaps craving a little diversity in recovery. It is worth noting that how you feel and think before going to treatment will change dramatically once substances are out of the picture. Trust and believe.

In active addiction, most people have been living a life of solitude for some time. Once in treatment, detoxed and beginning a program of recovery, how one thinks and feels can change quickly. Nobody goes to treatment looking for romance, many leave having regretfully found it.

Given the sates of active addiction are so high, you should do everything possible to achieve recovery. Some 142 Americans are overdosing in the United States every day. If recovery is not taken seriously, there may not be a second chance. There will be plenty of time for romance down the road.

Young Adult Male Addiction Treatment

Are you ready to take the journey of recovery? If your answer is yes, then success is contingent upon your willingness to go to any lengths. Working a program of recovery in young adulthood can be difficult. This is why it is of the utmost importance to choose a treatment center that can foresee any complication that could arise. For young adult males, the opposite sex is on the top of that list of possible complications.

Clients who seek help from PACE Recovery Center are benefited by the lack of distractions present at other co-ed facilities. We specialize in addiction recovery for young adult males, and can give the life-skills and tools for achieving success. Please contact us today, to begin the life-changing journey.

Addiction Recovery After Relapse


July 4th has come and gone, once again. For many of you working a program of addiction recovery, it is probably a relief. Especially for those of you who kept your recovery intact over the long holiday weekend. On the other hand, there are a number of recovery community members who relapsed at some point between Friday and yesterday. It happens every year. In many ways, our Independence Day is inextricably linked to pervasive heavy alcohol consumption. The temptation is especially great around this time of year.

If you relapsed this weekend, you are probably laden with feelings of guilt and shame. It is, in many ways, a natural response to picking up a drink or drug after acquiring some sober and clean time. Anyone who acquires some length of time in the program knows that it resulted from hard work and dedication. After a relapse, it can be easy to feel like it was all for naught. However, that is not necessarily the case, assuming one doesn’t go from a relapse to full-blown active addiction.

You are right to feel upset after relapsing. That is, to feel like you let yourself and others down due to a decision that was hardly worth it. Any one of our readers whose recovery story includes a relapse, knows that taking that first drink or drug is never accompanied by relief. It is hard to enjoy a belly full of beer with a head full of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They will also agree that while it was humbling to have to identify as a newcomer again, it was worth it. The alternative to getting back up onto the recovery horse after a fall is never beneficial. But, and sadly, a large percentage of people who relapse, continue down the perilous path driven by shame and guilt.

Committing Yourself to Addiction Recovery, Again

It may seem like your relapse came out of nowhere. Just an unexpected event that jeopardized your program. Please keep in mind, nobody working a program just accidentally trips and falls into a pool of alcohol. A relapse usually begins long before taking that first drink or drug. Happening gradually and incrementally. Taking the form of isolating behavior, not calling your sponsor as much or going to fewer meetings. Then, often when it is least expected, one finds themselves in a position of vulnerability.

One begins to think that they have their disease under control; that their addiction recovery is strong, even while going to events typified by alcohol use, or hanging out with people who are using. For a time, resistance may be possible, but more times than not a relapse is fast approaching. One only need a holiday, which is already fairly stressful, to be pushed over the edge.

While the road to relapse may zig and zig in different ways, from one person to the next, the road back to recovery should be fairly consistent in nature. If you relapsed and have not called your sponsor, please do so immediately. And do so knowing that your sponsor will not judge or look down on you. Addiction recovery is rooted in compassion, not shaming or guilting people about a decision that comes naturally. Make no mistake, drinking and drugging is the alcoholic and addict’s natural state. News of relapse, while unfortunate, is not cause for making a person smaller than they already feel.

So call your sponsor and get to a meeting. Identify as a newcomer and grab a chip. Doing so will let your “homegroup” know that you are recommitting yourself to the program. You may be inclined to think that your peers will look at your differently. Conversely, what is likelier is that they will reach out to offer their support and commend you for taking the courageous step of re-identifying as a newcomer.

Listen to what they have to say, following direction in early recovery is crucial for not repeating the same errors again. Be open and honest with your sponsor about what is going on with you, so you two can determine what kind of adjustments should be made to avoid another relapse. Remember, you are not the first person working a program of addiction recovery to relapse. What’s more, it is not uncommon for people to go on from relapse to acquire significant time in the program—decades even. There isn’t any reason why your return to the program from a relapse can’t have a fruitful outcome.

Addiction Treatment Might Be Needed

In some cases, a weekend relapse may morph into continued use for weeks and even months. Just going back into the recovery rooms in such cases may not be enough. Detox and residential treatment might be needed to ensure positive results. If you are a young adult male who feels like you need extra support, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help you address what led to your relapse and to better ensure that it does not happen again.

Staying Connected With Your Recovery

recoveryIf you are an active member of an addiction recovery program, then you are probably acutely aware of the fact that your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up and welcome drugs and alcohol back into your life. Addiction is a treatable condition. Through continued spiritual maintenance and active participation in one of many recovery support programs—we can, and do recover. But we can never delude ourselves in thinking that addiction can be cured, or that one day you will wake up and declare, “I’m an ex-alcoholic or ex-addict.” Just like the diabetic who takes insulin every day, their condition is not cured but rather contained. Every day people working a program of addiction recovery need to take certain steps to ensure, or rather, mitigate the chance of a relapse. Without active participation in your own recovery, long-sobriety is unlikely. Addiction does not take a day off from trying to find its way back into the forefront of one’s life, so then, it stands to reason that your recovery does not accumulate vacation time. To think otherwise, as many have, is nothing short of dangerous. As we approach the holiday season, it is vital that you keep this in mind, otherwise you may slip back into old behaviors and potentially relapse.

Staying Sober This Thanksgiving

Addiction recovery is difficult under normal day-to-day circumstances. Having a bad day, or letting yourself become stressed, angry or tired can hamper one’s program; if such feelings are not quickly addressed, bad decisions can follow. While holidays are supposed to be about joining friends and family in celebration, for people in recovery, such days can quickly become too much to handle. With Thanksgiving just over 24 hours away, it is important that you recognize how strong you are in your recovery—particularly regarding your ability to be around family. Let’s face it, holidays can be tumultuous even for people who do not have a substance use disorder. But unlike the average person, uncomfortable and stressful environments can take a toll on one’s recovery—leading to rash decisions that can result in picking up a drink or a drug. If you know that you will be attending a family gathering this Thursday, be sure to discuss it with your sponsor and the other members of your support network. There is a good chance that this can aid in guiding you through the holiday by helping you spot situations that may be risky, such as associating with relatives who you used to get drunk or high with during holidays past. What’s more, there is a good chance that they will tell you to always have your phone handy so that you can reach out before a particular matter gets out of hand. If you follow the suggestions of the people in the program who have more sober holidays under their belt, then there is no reason for you to have to open your eyes Friday morning with regret on your mind.

Staying Connected With Recovery

Many people working a program of recovery have yet to fully clean up the wreckage of their past. Meaning, presently their family may not be a part of their life. It is a reality that can be hard to deal with during the holidays. At PACE Recovery Center, we implore you to not be discouraged about the people that you do not have in your life, and take stock in those who are an active part of your life. If you have no familial obligations this Thursday, use it as an opportunity to be there for your fellow recovering alcoholics or addicts. During the course of Thanksgiving, there will be meetings occurring around the clock and you would do yourself a service by attending some of them. You may have something to share at a meeting that can help another who is new to recovery: A person who might be contemplating giving up on recovery before they have a chance to experience some of the miracles. Recovery is only possible if we help each other stay the course. We would like to wish everyone in recovery a drug and alcohol free Thanksgiving. Every obstacle you overcome, only serves to strengthen your program. Please remember:
  • Avoid getting hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).
  • Stay connected to your support network as much as possible.
  • Stay clear of risky people, places and things.
  • Keep your phone charged, turned on and easily accessible.
  • Don’t drink or drug, no matter what.

Relapse: Rejoining the Circle of Recovery

relapseThe holiday weekend is now several days past and hopefully those of you who are working a program of addiction recovery were able to get through Independence Day without incident. We at PACE Recovery understand all too well just how difficult it can be to navigate the waters of recovery during any major holiday. Abstaining from drugs or alcohol during any given day of the week can be a real challenge, during the holidays the obstacles are exponentially greater. Those who have managed to acquire significant recovery time know that there are certain measures to be taken to aid one in making it through the holidays without a drink or drug. Staying close to your support network, going to 12-Step meetings and keeping your cell phone charged are a few of the ingredients for a safe and sober day of celebration. Naturally, avoiding risky people, places and things that could jeopardize your sobriety and clean time is always advised—especially for those who are in early recovery. While we fully grasp the difficulty of maintaining your recovery over the holidays, we also regretfully know that many people did in fact relapse over the Fourth of July weekend.

Honest Relapse

Experiencing a relapse is an upsetting event, one that brings about a number of painful feelings. Shame and guilt typically go hand-in-hand with a relapse. One cannot help but feel as though they have not only let themselves down—but also their friends, family and recovery peers. While as natural as those feelings may be, shame and guilt can be a slippery slope manifesting into trying to maintain a lie. Every person who found recovery in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is aware of what it felt like to identify as a newcomer in front of a number of people who have more time in recovery than you. You meet people who have several years of clean and/or sober time, and wonder if you will ever be able to accomplish such a feat. After 29 days of identifying as a newcomer, it is likely that you said to yourself—never again. It is quite common for people who relapse to not tell their recovery peers about a relapse, but still continue to go to meetings as if nothing had happened. Failing to humble yourself and be honest about what happened will eventually begin to weigh on you, a burden that usually leads to more drinking and/or drugging. The sooner you are honest with yourself and those within your recovery circle, the better off you will be. Please do not let a relapse lead to full on active use on account of your pride. Remember the stakes of addiction are ever so high—the difference between life or death.

Rejoining the Circle of Recovery

If you did in fact relapse and have not yet called your sponsor, please do so immediately. If you don’t have a sponsor, get yourself to a meeting and raise your hand when asked if there are any newcomers in the room. Walk up to get a newcomer chip and a hug, so you can reboot your recovery. Such a humbling experience can be the catalyst for a new journey, one where you learn from your past so that you can have a future free from drugs and alcohol; all while in the company of meaningful friends and peers who share the same goal. Relapse may be a part of your story, but not as mark of shame but rather a reminder of how fleeting your recovery will be if you let down your guard. Eternal vigilance is required to protect against your addiction that is waiting for you to become vulnerable. You are not alone, recovery is an individual goal, that can only be accomplished collectively. Your relapse, while unfortunate, can serve to strengthen your volition.

Addiction Recovery: Exercising Against Relapse

addictionIn the 21st Century, exercise is (for many) one of the most important aspects of their day. We all strive to both feel good and look good; and for most people achieving the aforementioned goals requires eating healthy and exercising—especially as we age. In most metropolitan areas, gyms can be found in almost every neighborhood, making it hard for even the busiest of people to find an excuse for not having a membership. In an attempt to aid people in their efforts of achieving fitness goals, there are a few devices that can be purchased that will track one’s progress, i.e. Apple Watches, Jawbones and Fitbits. By wearing such a device around your wrist, you can track a number things relevant to your health and fitness, including how many calories you are burning in a given day or how many miles you have walked. Work-out bracelets sync with your computer or smartphone, providing you with the ability to view your progress.

Exercising Against Relapse

In the field of addiction medicine, it is widely accepted that exercise is of the utmost importance—particularly for those in early recovery. Substance use disorder is often synonymous with a sedentary life; those abusing drugs and alcohol are typically not prioritizing exercise and eating healthy. It is not uncommon for people entering addiction treatment centers to be in poor physical condition—being overweight or underweight. Experts who work at substance use disorder facilities prioritize the treatment of both mind and body; there is a reason for a bifocal approach to recovery. When someone is eating poorly and their body is out of shape, they typically feel bad physically. Feeling bad physically can wreak havoc on one’s emotional state. The mind and body being connected, it is crucial that both mechanisms are in sync. For those living with the disease of addiction, having a disjointed mind and body is not a luxury they can afford. Emotional well being is paramount to protecting against relapse. Stagnation can lead to depressive states, in turn increasing the chance of thinking that a drink or drug is good idea—even when you know that doing so will only make things worse. After the detoxification process, counselors will encourage patients to work on improving one's physical condition by exercising. For clients who are unable to engage in high impact activities, addiction specialists will urge them to take up yoga. Those who heed such recommendations are likely to be stronger physically and mentally at the time of discharge—potentially being more resilient to cravings and triggers—provided however that they continue working a program of recovery.

In the Moment Recovery

New research is being conducted to see if the use of Fitbits can help prevent relapse. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will spend over $200,000 to provide smart devices to the participants of a study being conducted by researchers at at Butler Hospital in Rhode Island, The Washington Free Beacon reports. While the preliminary study will only include female participants, the findings could lead to the utilization of fitness trackers as a way to protect against relapse for everyone working a program of addiction recovery. The reason the study will include only females, is due to the fact that women with alcohol use disorder (AUD), by and large, report drinking to cope with negative emotions.
Relapse rates are very high in both men and women but significant gender differences emerge in the predictors of relapse,” the grant said. The NIH adds that the use of Fitbits will enable the participants to utilize the “in the moment” method to “cope with negative emotional states and alcohol craving during early recovery.”

A Healthy Recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, our mission is to provide our clients with a safe and supportive environment to help them overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol and drug abuse. We believe that incorporating sound clinical interventions and a lifestyle that encourages health and wellness, in a shame free setting that encourages accountability and responsibility, will help foster long term recovery. Relapse analysis and relapse prevention are extremely effective with clients who have substance addictions, compulsive behaviors, and mental health disorders. That is why relapse prevention is an essential component of our men’s addiction treatment program.