Tag Archives: treatment

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.

Addiction Recovery: An Avenue of Recourse


Once drug and alcohol detox concludes, individuals must begin planning a course for long-term addiction recovery. Each person’s path to achieving the goal of lasting embetterment is unique in various ways but, by and large, they are mostly similar. The process usually begins with medical detox, residential treatment, and some form of extended care. During the early stages of recovery people adopt the principles of a program, guides for keeping you on the straight and narrow after treatment is no longer necessary.

If you are new to the program, or contemplating embarking on a journey of recovery, then you know a difficult task is before you. It’s probably apparent that help is needed if you are going to achieve the long-desired goal of abstinence. Outside support is of the utmost importance, accepting the help of others is really the only way to succeed. If you are thinking about treatment or are fresh in the program, chances are you tried to quit on your own once or twice. For most people in recovery, many failed attempts had to occur before they came to realize they could not do it on their own.

Addiction is a severe form of mental illness, driving victims to look for serenity in harmful ways. The disease tricks people into thinking they are strong enough to handle any problem on their own. What’s worse, those living with active alcohol and substance use disorder start believing they can manage through life, alone. Perhaps addicts and alcoholics could benefit from reading the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, especially the lines: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’

Wreckage of Addiction

It’s vital to remember that drugs and alcohol are a symptom of a more significant problem. Sure, mind-altering substances are problematic, and continued use will result in bodily harm; however, like most serious problems, they originate from within, not without. In early recovery, young men and women learn that the great issue they must contend with is that of Self. The internal drive to satiate an insidious yen: wanting what you want when you want it. It’s a mindset that leads to people doing unspeakable things to friends and family members in service to their disease.

Ego, selfishness, and self-centeredness results in people taking great risks, gambling with their future for a jackpot in the present. However, it’s a windfall that will never come; these are the delusions of grandeur besetting every addict. Living in service to mental illness may work for a time, but in the end those who do not address the problem of self by way of recovery—never fare well. Healing occurs when you look to your fellow man for support and guidance. Paradoxically, it’s when you surrender that you find freedom.

Many of us in recovery have impressive resumes that we would like nothing more than to erase, both on paper and in the minds of others. After a couple weeks in treatment, when the acute withdrawal subsides, and the mind comes into focus, one begins to see just how far the pendulum of reason had swung. It leads to a desire to clear up or amend our past mistakes or errors in judgment. Fortunately, recovery provides an avenue of recourse; it won't happen right away, but in time, those who stay the course find hope. Individuals working programs of recovery will get the opportunity to “Act” for forgiveness, rather than ask.

Unconquered In Recovery

Regret, shame, and guilt are all words the addict and alcoholic are acutely familiar with in early recovery. One must do everything in their power to not let said feelings drive them out of the program before the miracle is revealed. When you are no longer using you have made a choice to surrender, you’ve admitted to yourself, and something greater than you, that you are powerless over your disease. You’ve asked for help, and you found it in the form of treatment and a community of caring men and women who have taken an interest in your success. It’s the beginning of an awakening.

Working a program will empower you to achieve goals, you likely have many goals after years of substance misuse and abuse. You see that others have cleared up the wreckage of their past as best they can and are seemingly happy with the path they chose. Rest assured you are eligible too; as long as you keep doing the next right things profound changes will occur in your life. That is where patience plays an important role, alterations for the better don’t happen overnight. Improvement takes place on life’s terms and it’s vital you do not lose hope.

In Latin, the word Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated.” We choose recovery because we want to survive. We don’t owe our surrender to defeat, but rather a desire to live.

Hope Springs Eternal

When we were actively using we thought we had control over everything in our life’s sphere, the words ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,’ could have been our motto but for all the wrong reasons. In recovery we must apply the words above; in doing so we learn that the only thing we’ve got power over is our decisions; to Be for addiction or Be for progress. In recovery we find courage where none is apparent, we find dignity in making right our wrongs.

If you are hopeful for better days ahead and are willing to surrender and ask for guidance, it’s an action that will save your life. Drugs and alcohol may have stripped your ability to manage your life’s ins and outs, but they haven’t taken your will to choose to live for something better. With help, you can transcend the limits of addiction and prosper in the infinite possibilities of recovery.

At PACE Recovery Center, we are happy to help young men take the remarkable journey that is addiction recovery. We will give you the requisite tools and skills to lead a fulfilling life. Please contact us today.

Opioid Addiction Epidemic Observations

opioid addiction

Media news outlets are instrumental in presenting a picture of addiction in America. The tireless work of journalists serves to educate all of us on the nature of the disease and informs us about efforts to rectify the problem. While the media doesn’t always get it right, the simple fact that discourse exists is a step in the right direction. Headlines put human faces to the numbers, which is vital to ending the stigma of alcohol and substance use disorders.

Curbing the American opioid addiction epidemic is challenging, due to a myriad of reasons—it's difficult to list them all. There is a fundamental problem in this country in how most people refer to the scourge of opioid use. It's called an "opioid epidemic;" however, the crisis we face is exponentially more massive than the 2 million plus (low estimate) individuals abusing OxyContin or injecting heroin, and the 64,000 people who perished in 2016. In reality, we are up against an addiction epidemic; something many experts and the media have lost sight of in recent years.

While we have all focused on opioids, a family of drugs devastating a large number of White Americans, the use, and abuse of other substances receives little attention. Lawmakers and health experts sincerely desire to help those in the grips of opioid addiction, yet few can agree on the means and ways of accomplishing the task. Congress pledges to help Americans overcome opioid dependence while simultaneously vowing to dismantle legislation intended to protect Americans.

Symptoms of Addiction

Ensuring that insurance companies cover mental health costs is of the utmost importance; the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act both include provisions mandating insurance to cover all health costs commensurately. A person with opioid use disorder should have the same level of coverage as someone with diabetes. Despite such legislation, providers still find a way to skirt the mandates; a person need only try to get 90-days of treatment covered to determine the depth of their policy regarding parity.

Overprescribing opioid painkillers had a hand in creating the problem we face today, but we must be careful when playing the blame game. Addiction takes root in a person when the conditions are just right, i.e., family history, quality of life, and co-occurring mental illnesses. Doctors were prescribing opioids willy-nilly in the mid to late 2000's, a time when economic hardship was people's reality. Simply put, people were unhappy, opiates made them feel better, and people had access to a bottomless reservoir of painkillers. A large percentage of those same people are still in an unfortunate way.

Doctors could stop prescribing opioids altogether, and the use of drugs like heroin or fentanyl would continue. Unless help is accessible, the suffering and premature deaths will continue. Not just from opioids, any mind-altering substance that results in physical dependence is likely to play a detrimental role in a person's health and their prospect of living a long life. It's vital for us to remember that more Americans die from alcohol each year than from overdoses. Only by looking at the big picture, can we make headway in addressing the scourge of opioid abuse.

How to Solve an Epidemic?

The New York Times is asking its readers to help the publication shape their coverage of opioid use in America. As a society, all of us have been affected by addiction both personally and in our families; with that in mind, everyone’s opinion is valuable to the goal of reducing addiction rates. A NYT survey opens with:

The devastating effects of opioid abuse are rippling through families and neighborhoods across the United States. To improve our coverage we are seeking to learn more about what our readers are looking for. Tell us what kinds of stories you’d like to see us cover. Your answers will be confidential and only shared internally. We won’t use your name or attribute any of your responses to you.”

One of the more critical questions the newspaper asks is: “In general, are you hopeful that the opioid epidemic in America will eventually be solved? Why or why not?”

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Addiction is a treatable mental illness provided however you have the right help. At PACE Recovery Center, we can help you get out from under this insidious disease and begin a journey of lasting recovery. Please contact us today if you are in the grips of this progressive mental illness.

Alcohol Use Disorder In College Must Be Addressed

alcohol use disorder

College, young adult males, and alcohol—what could go wrong? People who decide to pursue higher education do so to increase their prospects for a better life. The skills one acquires while in college prepare you for being a productive member of society. Landing a good job after college leads to financial security and a better life quality overall, typically. Naturally, the above is the best-case scenario; but for many young people, unfortunately, heading off to college is the start of a perilous journey marked by addiction.

Most young people, particularly males, consider alcohol use their right; they graduated high school, been accepted to a college, and are technically adults. Even though university freshman and sophomores are not 21, it has never stopped the age group from imbibing. While most underage drinkers do not progress to alcoholism, some do experience problems, and an alcohol use disorder (AUD) develops. Without treatment, such people will end up experiencing heartache (or worse) in the coming years.

Students who opt for Greek Life at campus fraternities and sororities are at an unusually high risk of substance abuse. In many ways, heavy alcohol consumption is a prerequisite (seemingly) of such affiliations. Immoderate drinkers in high school can expect their relationship with alcohol to take a turn for the worse in college. These young people who join fraternities can almost guarantee such an eventuality.

Alcohol Use Disorder By The Numbers

Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) puts things into perspective for the general public. First and perhaps most salient is the finding that roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for AUD. Each year, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries (i.e., motor-vehicle crashes).

Heavy alcohol use leads to non-lethal injuries as well. Some 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by a fellow student under the influence. NIAAA reports that 97,000 college students report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Young adults who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder are far more likely to experience adverse academic consequences. Such people miss class more than their non-drinking peers and receive poorer grades. If the behavior continues, academic probation, suspension, and expulsion are possible.

College is of the utmost importance for ensuring a stable, healthy life; alcohol along with college drinking culture is an impediment. If you are a young male who has been accepted to college and is struggling with alcohol, please consider postponement. Putting off college to address mental health concerns will enable you to succeed in school, rather than pay tuition and fees only to see your condition progress.

Ensuring College Bares Fruit

Many young men think that, despite drinking more than their peers, they are too young to be an alcoholic. Some believe that their unhealthy relationship with alcohol is just a passing phase, brushing off negative consequences already experienced. However, while smoke doesn’t always indicate a fire, there is an excellent chance that the effects you’ve already experienced portend severe problems down the road. Addressing one’s propensity to consume alcohol now, will pay off significantly in the future.

There’s no age requirement for alcohol use disorder or any mental health condition for that matter. Are you finding it challenging to manage responsibilities? Is alcohol use a consideration when making decisions? When you start drinking, do you struggle to “turn it off?” If so, it’s strongly advised you seek assistance via addiction specialists. Those already in college who take a semester off to address an alcohol disorder are more likely to graduate.

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in the treatment of college-age males with alcohol and substance use disorder. Our young adult rehab is the perfect environment for beginning or extending the journey of recovery. In addition to breaking the cycle of addiction and showing you or your son how to work a program of recovery, we teach our clients life skills useful for employment and college. Please contact us today to start your life-changing journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder


Opioid use disorder has the potential to impact any one’s life, as is evident by overwhelming addiction rates and an ever-increasing death toll. Prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioid use is a complicated problem to address; on the one hand, pain must be treated adequately, while on the other hand, such drugs wield deadly power. If the nation is to find a solution to this public health crisis, it will be in the realm of responsible prescribing practices and addiction treatment services expansion.

If you have been following the epidemic, and efforts to address opioid use disorder, then you are probably aware that in the grand scheme of things there has been limited progress. Prescription drug monitoring programs designed to curb doctor shopping and help physicians identify opioid-dependent patients are underutilized. A large number of doctors are resistant to prescribing guidelines from government health agencies. Legislation passed to address various aspects of the scourge, while sensible and likely to reap progress, lacks the appropriate funding to fulfill such goals.

Addiction treatment exists, and it’s a useful means for turning one’s life around completely. Those who seek help from addiction treatment centers get introduced to a way of living that they once thought impossible. Sadly, many addicts and alcoholics don’t believe recovery is possible; it’s hard to see the light of change when in a perpetual cycle of darkness. People in the throes of addiction often resign themselves to thinking they will succumb to their disease. It’s for those reasons that everyone in recovery and the field of addiction medicine needs to do what they can to disabuse people of such notions.

Encouraging Addiction Treatment

If you are dependent on opioid narcotics, we understand what you are going through, and we’d like to say that there is hope. There are thousands of people around the country who have made helping others break the cycle of addiction their life’s purpose. Many of those very same people were once in the position you find yourself in today; they have first-hand knowledge of your struggle.

Getting out from under one’s disease and leading a life in recovery is only possible with the help of others, going it alone is not an option. Due to this reality, it’s common for people in recovery to dedicate themselves to helping others realize their dreams of a different life. When you decide to seek treatment, you will find out relatively quickly that many of the people employed by the center are in recovery, too. In effect, people who work at treatment centers are living proof that the program works, forcing one to think that maybe recovery will work for me as well.

Who knows maybe one day, having learned how to live a life in recovery in addiction treatment, you will pass the message along to others. You will be in a position to guide others out of the depths of despair into the light of recovery; and in doing so, strengthen your program. Naturally, there is much to do in between now and spreading the message that recovery works, starting with addressing your disease and the self-defeating behaviors that accompany the condition.

Making A Decision

No one can force another into treatment. Even if you could, the result wouldn’t likely be positive. Meaningful progress only comes about when a person decides to take specific steps for change. It’s not a choice that comes easily; people can talk themselves out of seeking help even when one is looking up from the bottom. Mental illness does not loosen its grip without putting up a fight, and it excels at sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of the afflicted. We could say that choosing to go into treatment is a leap of faith in a sense. However, there is living proof that walking blindly into a center of recovery will be fruitful in the long run.

Those of you with loved ones battling opioid use disorder should know that encouraging them to seek treatment will save their life and grant them a future. Over 2 million Americans are struggling with prescription opioid and heroin addiction, and over 50,000 people die of an overdose each year. The above numbers are expected to go in only one direction in the coming years, so the need for promoting recovery is more vital than ever.

If you are unsure about how to efficiently discuss recovery with your loved one, we can help. We work closely with addiction interventionists across the country who can guide you in how to talk about treatment with a loved one. Having a mediator in the room mitigates the risk of an intervention going south. Please contact us today to learn how PACE Recovery Center can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and help one learn how to lead a productive life in recovery.

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.

Addiction-Free Pain Management


The search for cures to the world’s most deadly diseases (i.e., cancer and addiction) is one that tends to result in more questions than answers. History indicates, time and time again, that solutions to medical ailments are hard-fought, often taking decades to make progress. Some 37 years have passed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began its quest for a cure to the human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). While there are medications that can keep HIV/AIDS at bay, a cure still eludes researchers.

We could say the same for many life-threatening health conditions leading to premature death, i.e., cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis C. The disease of addiction could also be added to the list of fatal conditions with no known cure. Like AIDS, recovery from addiction can be managed and maintained, but not cured.

It’s safe to assume that researchers are not on the brink of discovery regarding a cure for addiction. However, if a problem can’t be solved, then a temporary solution is to lessen the number of new cases. Finding ways to prevent individuals from going down the road of addiction is complicated by the method doctors use to treat pain.

Treating Pain Without The Risk of Addiction

Pain is a fact of life. At some point, all of us experience acute or chronic pain. The current means of treating either type of pain is prescription opioids. We don’t need to tell you the result of handling all-things-pain with opioids. Even when something non-addictive, like Tylenol, will work, doctors, more times than not (it seems) still fall back on drugs like OxyContin or Vicodin. The result? We now have more than 2 million opioid addicts in the United States.

At the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week in Washington, D.C., opioids was a significant topic of discussion. Pharmacologist Edward Bilsky, provost and chief academic officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, is moderated a panel on pain, addiction, and opioid abuse, NPR reports. One of the topics of discussion: alternatives to opioids in the treatment of pain.

We know a lot more about pain and addiction than we used to," said Bilsky, "But it's been hard to get a practical drug."

Bilsky highlights several areas of pain management that carry fewer risks to patient safety than opioids, such as:

  • Scientists discovered cone snail venom contains substances that act as powerful painkillers affecting non-opioid receptors in the brain. However, the one drug on the market is only administered by spinal column injection.
  • Drugs targeting specific brain circuits which increase or diminish perception of pain; some antidepressants have shown promise.
  • Researchers are also working on ways to erase memories of pain.

Addiction Via Chronic Pain

The definition of chronic pain is experiencing daily discomfort for more than three months. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that at least 25 million people suffer from chronic pain. Given that most of the individuals mentioned above receive prescription opioids, the risk of new opioid addiction cases is high. The need for opiate alternatives is tremendous, and hopefully, progress in the field is on the horizon.

The road to opioid use disorder often begins with chronic pain. When anyone uses a drug like OxyContin for months on end, dependence is inevitable. The hooks of opiate narcotics sink deep, even if one’s pain subsides the need for the drugs lingers on. Patients looking to break free from their painkillers struggle to do so on their own; fortunately, there is help available.

At PACE Recovery Center, an exclusive, gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men, we’ve seen the devastating effect of reckless overprescribing. We know that people with opioid use disorder are prone to relapse if they do not seek assistance when seeking recovery. Our team of highly-skilled addiction professionals can help you (or a loved one) break the cycle of opioid addiction, and show you how life in recovery is possible. Please contact us today, regardless of which type of drug you are addicted (OxyContin or heroin). We can help.

Addiction Recovery: A Fellowship of Miracles

addiction recovery

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.” Those of you new to addiction recovery have undoubtedly heard that before. It’s likely you understand what it means: Don’t give up on working a program of recovery before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Anyone who has been in the program for a time will agree that there are no shortages of miracles in the rooms of recovery. Each person dedicated to sobriety is a miracle; resisting one’s programming takes tremendous commitment and fortitude. While there will always be difficult times (even in abstinence), the worst day in recovery is far better than the best day in active addiction.

A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.

It stands to reason that we will all have a different opinion on what constitutes a miracle. Everyone is going to consider the unexplainable subjectively, and that’s OK. However, it’s nearly impossible to look at someone in recovery objectively without being inspired. Going from the depths of despair to the spiritual light of recovery, two realms diametrically opposed, is almost unbelievable. People who’ve been around a while have seen newcomers, once in a dismal state of being, turn their lives around via the principles of addiction recovery.

If you were to ask the same newcomers how their recovery was made possible, they might struggle to find an answer. Making sense of how recovery works is challenging in a society that turns to medicine and science for solutions. A group of men and women meeting daily to check in with each other, giving feedback and guidance when asked, can seem likely an unlikely method of promoting healing. It works!

You Are the Miracle of Recovery

When bad things are happening in one’s life it’s noticeable right away. When good things are happening, it’s often difficult to recognize. Early in recovery determining how one’s life has improved is challenging, miracles can be both subtle and elusive. Taking stock of one’s progress isn’t easy when you are new to the program but rest assured, if you are staying sober and doing the work a transformation is taking place. If you are willing to do the Work, are open and honest with yourself and others, it’s a miracle in itself.

After an extended period of going to meetings and doing step work with a sponsor you might realize that you are the miracle for which you were waiting patiently. Sure, the program might bring about getting the family back in one’s life, financial security, and anyone of a multitude of gifts; but the fact that you have gone a string of 24-hour periods without a drink is a miracle. It’s a real achievement if you woke up today and asked yourself how you can be of service to your fellows in recovery. Rather than setting a selfish course for your day, you are focused on how you can act selflessly, helping others achieve the common goal of recovery.

One of the most satisfying feats is getting through a day without thinking about using drugs or alcohol. Cravings and fixations wax and wane in recovery, but early on they can be pretty intense. As time passes, you will think about using less and less; instead of looking for an escape from daily life you’ll find a desire to be a part of your existence. Urges to isolate will be replaced by a yen for inclusion in the happenings of other people’s lives.

As Long as It Takes

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” — Paul Coelho

Nobody finds recovery by accident. When one’s life is discordant, a need for change is self-evident. Realizing that action is required to bring about such a change doesn’t always come quickly. People can toil in the misery of addiction for unconscionable lengths of time. When the choice is finally made to seek help and efforts are taken to bring it about, individuals experience their first miracle in recovery.

Much is required of any person looking to break the cycle of addiction and transform their life for the better. There will be times when you question why you are going to meetings day-in-and-day-out. You might find yourself doubting the miracles promised by your peers in the program, but for different reasons than you might think.

Perhaps you had the thought that the gifts of recovery would originate externally? If that is the case, you might consider changing your perspective. The real miracles of addiction recovery come from within, connecting with the spiritual realm is the gift, and in recovery, you are the miracle. You can see evidence of that when considering your existence before finding addiction recovery and after. The transformation may not be evident right away, in time all shall reveal itself to you—as long as you are willing to work the program for as long as it takes. Although, if you ask your peers who have been around longer, such realizations will come sooner than you think.

Taking Certain Steps for Addiction Recovery

Do you want something different for your life than living in a cycle of addictive and self-defeating behavior? Addiction recovery is possible, and we at PACE Recovery Center can help you realize the dream of serenity. Armed with tools and skills for keeping addiction at bay, you too can live a life of lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the transformative journey of addiction recovery.

Addiction Treatment Commitment Laws


Opioid use disorder is a deadly manifestation of the disease of addiction. The condition leads to the premature deaths of over a hundred Americans, every day. In 2016, some 64,000 people died from overdose across the country — more are expected to succumb in 2017. An "epidemic" is perhaps the only word to be used in describing the severity of the opioid crisis in America.

As with most serious health conditions, finding solutions is particularly tricky. However, if experts and lawmakers agree on one thing it’s that addiction treatment is our best recourse. Substance use disorder treatment works, having helped a significant number of people break the cycle of addiction. Those who keep on the path of recovery can live meaningful and productive lives into old age. Without that type of assistance, there isn't a guarantee that an individual will survive to the end of a given year.

Encouraging people with opioid use disorder to seek treatment is more critical than ever. The rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil has dramatically increased the risk of overdose. More times than not, individuals are unaware that the heroin they just bought contains an iteration of synthetic opioid. They administer their heroin as usual, which under normal circumstances carries the risk of overdose, only to find that they bit off more than can be chewed. Synthetic opioids are exponentially more potent than what’s seen in the typical bag of heroin. So toxic that the overdose reversal drug naloxone often proves an ineffective antidote.

A heightened prevalence of synthetic opioids begs the question: Is it possible to protect opioid addicts from this invisible foe? That may seem like a simple question, but answering the poser is philosophical.

Are Opioid Addicts a Danger, to Their Self?

We could rephrase the above question to say: How can an addict be protected from their self? Hopefully, we can all agree that addiction treatment services are the most effective tool at our disposal. Individuals with opioid use disorder are no longer at risk of overdose when they are in recovery. Treatment is the surest way to develop the skills necessary for a program of lasting recovery.

Under ideal conditions, a person with alcohol or substance use disorder seeks help on their own accord. They see that the path they are on is only leading to one inevitable end, prompting them to make moves to correct course. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction is both cunning and baffling; even when someone knows they need assistance, they often resist. When that occurs, some suggest mandating individuals to treatment.

Persons exhibiting signs of being a danger to their self and others are often committed to psychiatric evaluation. The standard for commitment is 72 hours, giving clinicians time to assess the level of threat. After that period patients are usually released, but there are times where longer lengths of commitment are in order. Some people view opioid use, or overdose more specifically, as a form of suicide. With that in mind, there is an argument to be made for mandating addiction treatment. Court ordered addiction rehab is a practice that occurs more often than you would think.

Addiction-Related Civil Commitments

The practice of asking the courts to protect individuals from him or herself is happening across the country. Parents, at their wit's end, will turn to the judge and plead for help in saving their child’s life. In fact, over 30 states have laws allowing for addiction-related civil commitment, The Washington Post reports. There were more than 6,000 civil commitments in Massachusetts last year, alone. While it can be easy for some people to see the benefits of mandating treatment, the policy may not have the desired outcome.

Michael Stein at the Boston University and Paul Christopher at Brown University examined this subject. They wrote an opinion piece warning that the efficacy of civil commitment is unknown, potentially doing more harm than good. They bring up three valid points worth consideration:

  • Research is lacking and there isn’t any evidence that civil commitment saves lives. Those forced into treatment may just bide their time until release. With diminished tolerance, the risk of overdose death is particularly high.
  • Given that civil commitment is a response to the level of imminent risk, shorter stays may be warranted. How can a judge be tasked to decide what length of stay is most effective for a given individual?
  • As the number of civil commitment instances grows, greater funding will be needed to pay for beds and facilities.

Stein is chair of health law, policy, and management at the BU School of Public Health. He is the author of “The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year.” Christopher is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

We need studies to guide the crafting of new commitment laws and the revision of existing ones. How long should commitment last? What services should be required during commitment that increase the chances of a safe release back to the community? Without data, judges will face desperate parents and their children and continue to direct commitments one by one, restricting civil liberties without knowing whether they are reducing overdose deaths or if the clinical and public health resources are justified.”

Even without science to back up the effectiveness of civil commitment, it’s relatively easy to see problems. It’s well established that mental illness doesn’t respond well to force. Compassion is considered to be the most effective method of encouraging people to seek treatment. Mandates imply that an individual has done something wrong. Mental illness is not a crime, over 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder.

Despite the fact that commitment is not a criminal charge, it’s likely that individuals subject to it will feel punished. It may not be a criminal charge, but it’s a decree backed by the force of law. If one violates the terms of the commitment, it’s probably safe to assume there will be repercussions. There are many different roads one can take to find addiction recovery, force and ultimatums have rarely led to beneficial outcomes.

Consider an Intervention

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer a multi-pronged approach to our men's addiction treatment program and philosophy because we understand that our clients are complex beings. Having a place where men can delve into their underlying issues, which have caused them to resort to substance use and self-defeating behaviors, is the core philosophy of PACE.

Often accepting treatment is prompted by an intervention. Should you need guidance in arranging an intervention for your loved one, call our team.

Mental Health in the Workplace: Exercising Compassion

mental health

From National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month to Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), significant efforts have been made of late to shatter stigma and promote mental health treatment. We can all lend a hand in encouraging others to seek help. By promoting wellness, lives can be both mended and saved. It’s vital that such efforts continue, there is much work to be done.

On numerous occasions over the years, we have written about the importance of mental health parity, mental illness treatment and the negative impact that stigma has on society. We are all affected by the well-being of our peers, demanding that everything in our power is done to inspire others to seek help. Whether someone is suffering from depression, battling addiction or both; treatment works, recovery can become a reality for the millions of afflicted individuals.

Regardless of where you live or how old you are, the odds are that you know someone affected by mental illness. Or, you may be struggling yourself. With depression affecting more than 300 million people worldwide (just one of the many forms of mental illness), the odds are high. There are over 260 million living with anxiety disorders, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is next to impossible not to know someone touched by mental illness.

Mental Health In The Workplace

With such a high prevalence of mental health conditions, it stands to reason that most workplaces employ people affected. Unlike other typical illnesses, people with mental illness are far less likely to share what they are going through with an employer. Conversely, many employers are not keen on the idea of hiring people with mental health conditions. Creating closed-mouthed environments, one has to omit information to get a job. Then, has to do what they can to disguise their issues to keep it.

Obviously, it’s illegal to fire someone because of mental illness. But, that doesn’t mean that openly talking about it is typically welcomed in the workplace. This code of silence makes not only employees iller, but it also has an impact on the business itself. If someone feels that they can’t talk about what they are dealing with, they are less likely to seek treatment. For fear of repercussions to their career, individuals will do whatever they can to hide what they are going through on the inside. A trend that can have grave implications for the individual in the long run.

Without treatment and continued maintenance, people living with untreated mental illness will take desperate measures. Drugs, alcohol, and self-harm are conventional vehicles of coping with untreated mental health conditions. Behaviors that often lead to addiction, overdose, and premature death. Employers who promote environments of well-being can have a hand in reversing such outcomes.

World Mental Health Day

Some of our readers may remember that we discussed the topic of mental health in the workplace back in July? An exchange involving employee and employer. Yes, talking about needing time off for mental health, mirabile dictu, and it went unbelievably well. If you didn’t get a chance to read our post, below you can see the fantastic exchange:


Hey team, I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I’ll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%.”


I just wanted to personally thank you for sending e-mails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health – I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can bring our whole selves to work.”

The above discourse can serve as an inspiration to everyone. We can all promote mental health in the workplace. Mental health in the workplace is the theme of World Mental Health Day 2017 (October 10, 2017). Depression and anxiety disorders, alone, cost $1 trillion in lost productivity each year, according to WHO. The organization would like to raise awareness for mental health issues, and the impact such conditions have on society:

Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains, not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work. A negative working environment, on the other hand, may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.”

Dual Diagnosis Therapy

AT PACE, we would like to acknowledge all the employers who treat mental health with compassion. You are a model for all employers around the globe, promoting the facts. Mental illness is treatable; kindness pays off in the end.

A significant number of the millions battling anxiety and depression also meet the criteria for addiction. When that is the case, treatment can be complicated. In such cases, long-term recovery is dependent on treating both the addiction and co-occurring mental health condition. If you are struggling with a dual diagnosis, we can help. Please contact PACE Recovery Center to begin the lifesaving process.