Tag Archives: substance abuse

Addiction Treatment Begins With Surrender


There are many young men and women whose addiction has reached untenable heights. Perhaps “lows” would be more apt. Either way, when one begins down the perilous path of substance use, abuse and addiction in their teens, then by their early or mid-twenties life has already become unmanageable. If you are one such person who can identify with that path, trust and believe that it is far more common than you might think.

Societal tropes and stereotypes of addicts and alcoholics in recovery often resemble middle-aged and older people. While it is true that many do not decide to work a program of recovery until later in life, most such people would probably tell that they were definitely eligible for the need of assistance for years—if not decades earlier. Every case is different, but a significant number of people have fought and will continue to fight tooth and nail to remain in a state of denial about the severity of their condition. Even though alcohol and substance use disorders are an accepted form of mental illness.

Nobody, addict or not, wants to admit defeat. In some ways, we are programmed at an early age to continue fighting even if we know that a fight is unwinnable. While perseverance may be a sign of strength in a clearly unwinnable high school sports game given that there is no certainty that it will end the way everyone thinks, when it comes to active addiction perseverance can and often does mean premature death. Often after years of heartache and despair.

The Comparison Problem With Addiction

It cannot be stressed enough. The longer an alcoholic or addict waits to seek help, the worse it gets. Always! The problems that accompany substance abuse may be solely superficial at first, but over time the persistent fueling of the fire of addiction leads to systemic health problems—many of which cannot be reversed (e.g. cirrhosis, cancer, cognitive dysfunction and co-occurring mental health disorders).

There is a common delusion among chemically dependent people that their problem is not as bad as ‘that person's’. That It won’t get as bad, because you are somehow unique. You may be special in many ways, but when it comes to addiction, comparisons will only pave the road to becoming as worse off as the very people you compared to yourself to keep you from surrendering. The “comparison problem,” if we may, is especially pervasive among young people. It is a barrier to hope and serenity, two feelings that people living with active addiction are in short supply.

Has your use of drugs or alcohol brought about a series of negative consequences before, or in early adulthood? If your answer is yes, then we implore you to stop comparing yourself to your peers and seek assistance. It may be that your friends and family have a problem too, but you are in no position to help them until you help yourself.

Strength in Surrender

Dependence and addiction touch the lives of young people quite often. The good news is that many young men and women can, and do recover. What’s more, they can go on to live productive and fulfilling lives with a clear head on their shoulders, developing a meaningful relationship in both their program of recovery and society at large. And they have the power to be there for their peers when life throws curveballs. All such people, started with the courageous act of surrender.

Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage,” wrote William S. Burroughs.

Accepting that your own will is not acting in your best interest, allows you to start the process of first seeking treatment followed by continued growth in recovery. It gives one the ability to accept help from others who have been down into the dark cave of addiction, and returned to the light via a program of recovery. It is hard to admit to oneself, “I don’t have all the answers.” But it is of the utmost importance.

At PACE Recovery Center, we work with young adult men who have been touch by the hand of addiction. The PACE Recovery Center team is made up of addiction treatment professionals, many of which have first-hand experience with addiction. We know the courage it takes to ask for help and break the cycle of this pernicious disease, and embrace the principles of a wholly new way of thinking and living. Please contact us today.

Substance Use Linked to Sleep

susbtance useIf you get 8-hours of rest per night, then you will spend a third of your life asleep. The importance of healthy sleep patterns cannot be overemphasized; those who manage to get over 6-hours of sleep every night are typically more productive and happier when they are awake. Those of you who are actively working a program of recovery are probably aware of how valuable getting a good night's rest is, knowing how vital balance is to your recovery. Addiction is a chaotic existence, typified by extremes in nearly aspect of one’s life. Conversely, recovery is about equilibrium, failure to keep a balance could lead to rash decisions and potentially a relapse. There is an acronym that is often recited at 12-Step meetings - H.A.L.T. - which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. All four of which are considered to be risky for people in recovery, people whose instincts are geared towards turning to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with feelings. While the H.A.L.T. acronym may seem trite or being that which falls under the umbrella of common sense, the reality is that it is quite common to find yourself in one of those four vulnerable states. We cannot stress enough how important it is to your program to be vigilant about eating regularly, pausing when agitated, being a part of the community and getting enough sleep.

Sleep and Substance Use

Even if you are not in recovery it is important to maintain balance in your life, as developing unhealthy patterns can have consequences. And for some people, such behaviors can actually lead to substance use and potential abuse down the road. In fact, new research suggests that teenage males who get less sleep were more likely to engage in substance use, CBS Pittsburgh reports. The findings were published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a longitudinal study involving 186 low-income boys, according to the article. The researchers instructed parents to measure their children's sleep duration and quality at age 11. The young males were interviewed about drug and alcohol use at ages 20 and 22.
If we just look at age 16, the group of kids getting the most sleep… only about half of them had tried alcohol,” Dr. Hasler tells KDKA’s James Garrity. “If we look at the group of kids getting the least sleep, nearly three quarters of them had tried.”
The study showed:
  • Childhood sleep problems may be prospectively linked to adolescent substance use.
  • Less sleep predicted earlier onset of alcohol and cannabis involvement.
  • Worse sleep quality predicted earlier onset of alcohol and cannabis involvement.
  • These associations generally held after accounting for various covariates.
  • Childhood sleep is a promising target for reducing adolescent substance use risk.

Intervening Early

It is well understood that teens who use drugs and alcohol, are more likely to continue use into adulthood. Early onset substance use is commonly associated with a greater likelihood of abuse later in life. Parents who realize their teen is not getting much sleep should do what they can to ensure healthy sleep patterns. Lack of sleep can lead to a host of problems that people will use drugs and alcohol to cope with.
Poor sleep can lead to problems like anxiety and depression, and those can in turn lead to possibly problems with substance abuse,” said Dr. Hasler. “We also know sleep has effects on the brain. So, not getting enough sleep affects the prefrontal cortex and makes it more difficult for people to regulate themselves.”


If your teenager’s substance use has morphed into abuse during young adulthood, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our team specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. We can help your son break the cycle of addiction and adopt healthy behaviors to ensure long-term recovery.

AAP Against Random Drug Testing in Schools

random-drug-testAll would agree the need to prevent substance abuse among teenagers and young adults is of great importance. At every school in the United States, emphasizing to kids the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and identifying those abusing substances is a top concern. Some schools even implement random drug tests to deter and catch those using drugs. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an update policy statement recommending against “suspicionless” drug testing at schools, Reuters reports. The AAP suggests that there is little evidence to support the efficacy of random drug testing practices at public schools. The new policy statement’s lead author, Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital, says that there is little evidence that random drug testing identifies kids who use drugs and helps them receive treatment, according to the article. “Evidence on either side is very limited,” said Levy. “It’s possible that you do get some prevention out of these programs, but on the other hand it seems very expensive, very invasive, and has pretty limited results,” added Levy. Levy points out that because teen drug use is usually sporadic, many teen drug users could pass an annual drug test, only to go on and use drugs for the rest of the year. Those who do fail a drug test are more likely to receive punishment, rather than substance use disorder treatment services. “Pediatricians support the development of effective substance abuse services in schools, along with appropriate referral policies in place for adolescents struggling with substance abuse disorders,” the AAP wrote. The AAP noted that the negative consequences associated with random drug testing include:
  • Eroding of the student-school relationship.
  • The potential for confidentiality breaches
  • Mistaken interpretations of drug tests, resulting in false-positives.
The AAP’s recommendation can be found in the journal Pediatrics.