Tag Archives: treatment

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2019: You’re Not Alone

suicide prevention awareness month1

Even though suicidal ideations are treatable, and suicide is preventable, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Men and women take their lives for several reasons, but mental illness is a factor more times than not. During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it’s vital to talk about mental health and how seeking help saves lives.

The fact that Suicide Prevention Awareness Month coincides with National Recovery Month is beneficial. Addiction is a form of mental illness that often plays a role in people’s decision to end their lives. Mental health is beneficial to overall health, and encouraging people affected by mental health conditions to get the care they need is paramount.

When individuals receive evidence-based treatment, they can lead healthy and productive lives. Such people need to be made to understand that they are not alone and that others have been in their shoes. They require compassion and understanding from their communities, not stigma and shame.

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) work tirelessly to encourage society to care more about people with mental illness. NAMI aims to shatter the stigmas and myths that present barriers to treatment and recovery. During Suicide Prevention Month, we can all make a positive impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Your kindness, compassion, and participation are instrumental in inspiring people to reach out for support.

WhyCare? About Mental Health

One in five adults in America experiences a mental health condition in a given year, according to NAMI. One in 25 adults deals with a severe mental illness in a given year. Those who are unwilling or unable to access adequate support are at significant risk of developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s not a coincidence that co-occurring substance use disorders often accompany mental illnesses like depression.

Using drugs and alcohol is just one of the harmful ways that men and women cope with mental diseases. Many will resort to self-harm to deal with their symptoms, which can progress to suicidal thoughts and actions over time. NAMI reports that 46 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. What’s more, psychological autopsies reveal that up to 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

Sadly, too many men and women are reluctant to seek assistance for their mental illnesses or tell people about their negative thoughts. Too often, they feel cut off from society and alone; stigmas force people to keep their issues secret from their peers. Nothing good ever arises from suffering in silence. We have an obligation to combat stigmas, open up dialogues, and support those who are struggling.

NAMI’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month WhyCare? campaign asks everyone to show that we care about people living with mental illness. The organization would like your help in disseminating stories of hope, awareness messaging, and infographics on social media. The campaign writes:

Care has the power to make a life-changing impact on those affected by mental health conditions. Through our own words and actions, we can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from building better lives.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

If you are in recovery from mental illness or are a suicide survivor, NAMI has created two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression. You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk are vehicles for men and women to inspire others with similar experiences.

Your encouragement and support let people who need help know that they are not alone. You are welcome to share your experience anonymously via several mediums, including poetry, song lyrics, inspirational quotes, drawings, photos, and videos.

You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspectives. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.

Orange County Mental Health Program for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we help adult men recover from mental health disorders. Please contact us today if you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness. Our highly credentialed clinical staff assists clients in identifying specific recovery goals and achieve their goals while preparing for productive, independent living.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text NAMI to 741741 or call 911 immediately.

National Recovery Month: Inspiring Hope

National Recovery Month

It's National Recovery Month 2019. During this time, the Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to celebrate the millions in recovery from addiction and mental health disorders. Recovery is a remarkable feat for numerous reasons. Sharing success stories can affect change in the lives of millions of people still in the grips of mental and behavioral health disorders.

If you are in recovery, then you should feel a sense of pride. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to practice what's needed each day to stay the course. Relapse is always a looming threat, regardless of how much time a person has acquired. Deciding each day to put recovery first is hard work, but the fruits of one's labor are invaluable.

Mental and behavioral health recovery fellowships and treatment centers are beacons of hope. They provide blueprints and guidelines that help people lead fulfilling and productive lives. They teach people how to achieve and maintain progress and how to have a positive impact on individuals and entire communities.

Millions of Americans and millions more around the world are active in the disease cycle. Many of them lose hope and convince themselves that sobriety and healing is an impossible dream. Those currently in recovery are proof that the exact opposite is true. Still, the onus falls on each person working a program to spread the message that a new way of life is possible.

Throughout September and beyond, each of us can play a role by sharing messages of hope. National Recovery Month provides a forum for men and women to share their experience, strength, and hope. At PACE Recovery Center, we encourage everyone to take part in this paramountly salient nationwide observance.

Be a Voice for Recovery During National Recovery Month

In the 30th year of National Recovery Month, the theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger. Those who are presently taking steps to make daily progress know that working together is essential.

Addiction and mental illness thrive in solitude, but individual recovery is fueled by fellowship and community. Those who attempt to heal from mental and behavioral health disorders alone encounter significant difficulty.

Men and women require support and encouragement from others who share similar goals. Mental health disorders are too cunning, baffling, and power to be tackled alone.

Even though evidence-based treatments exist, many people have trouble reaching out for support. Such individuals may not be ready or are in denial about the severity of their problem. Whereas others fear seeking help because of social and professional repercussions—both real and imagined.

Stigma continues to present people with mental illness overwhelming challenges that prevent them from reaching out. Getting involved with National Recovery Month can help to counter the harmful effects of stigma. With that in mind, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is asking you to help be a voice for recovery.

If you feel comfortable, then please dedicate time to share your experience with the public. Doing so serves to educate the public about treatment and recovery. Those who Join the Voices for Recovery:

Help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth.

Social Media and National Recovery Month Events

Spreading messages of hope is possible beyond sharing one's personal story. SAMHSA has created social media graphics and promotional materials that you are invited to share.

The National Recovery Month official sponsor also offers a downloadable toolkit to help guide individuals and organizations with their efforts to promote the benefits of recovery.

Over the course of September, more than 350 events are being held to support recovery efforts and encourage more people to seek help. What's more, the organization invites others to host events.

Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

Reach Out for Addiction Recovery

National Recovery Month is an ideal opportunity to take steps for personal recovery. If you're an adult male living with an untreated mental or behavioral health disorder, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our team of highly trained and credentialed specialists works with men from all walks of life who struggle with mental illness and addiction.

We invite you to reach out today to learn more about our men's residential rehab programs. 800-526-1851

Addiction Linked to Trauma: Finding Recovery

addiction

People who struggle with drugs and alcohol share many commonalities. While each person’s story is unique, there are many experiences that men and women in the grips of addiction share.

In the rooms of recovery, it is not uncommon for an individual to hear parts of their story when another member shares. This is because the life events that often precipitate chemical dependency have similar effects on each person’s brain. Not always, some people seem naturally equipped to better cope with adverse experiences, particularly adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Still, a large percentage of people who deal with addiction were subject to traumatic events during childhood.

Children will begin using mind-altering substances after they experience trauma 76 percent of the time, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Scientists have found correlations between growing up in a chaotic household or being separated from parents via foster care or adoption and addiction. When a child’s equilibrium is disrupted, or they lose their sense of security, it can leave lasting impressions on their psyches. They may be unable to develop healthy coping skills for dealing with stress, as a result. Such scenarios can lay a foundation for the development of mental and behavioral health problems in adulthood.

The same can be said for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; such traumatic experiences are part of many alcoholic’s and addict’s stories. When a child lacks the tools to cope or never receives professional help in the wake of abuse, they are at significant risk of looking for unhealthy means of escape.

Lifetime drug and alcohol use is positively associated with exposure to childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse severity, overall trauma exposure, and higher levels of emotional dysregulation, according to the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

From Trauma and Addiction to Recovery

Addiction is a complex disease that develops from many different factors; a combination of nature, nurture, and genetics play vital roles in disease progression. Even when severe trauma isn’t present, it is still possible for a person to develop an alcohol or substance use problem.

Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience,” Dr. Gabor Maté wrote in his 2010 bestseller, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. “A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors.”

Fortunately, it is possible to recover from both the lasting effects of trauma and addictive disorders. At PACE Recovery Center, we have worked with many young men over the years who had ACE-related post-traumatic stress and co-occurring substance use disorders. With professional counseling that utilizes evidence-based treatments, each person can achieve lasting recovery.

One young man recently shared about his journey from addiction to healing from trauma and finding recovery. Thrive Global is an organization that helps “individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential. One of their projects is called From Addict to Entrepreneur. As the name suggests, it involves interviewing people who have overcome their addictions to lead successful, healthy, and productive lives in recovery.

Project creator Michael Dash recently spoke with author and adventure coach Aaron Rentfrew about his traumatic past and struggles with addiction.

Dealing WIth Trauma and Finding Recovery

In a lengthy interview, Rentfrew shares about his addiction and then about his path to recovery. He says that he had a mostly normal childhood until a messy divorce left him in foster care for a year. Then he bounced between homes before finally settling with his mother in the 5th grade.

In middle school, he learned that his suspicions were correct about being molested as a child. The confirmation of abuse was the impetus for Aaron withdrawing from friends and family. He would eventually turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with his feelings; substance use helped him escape.

“What drew me deeper and deeper into my addiction was the untreated trauma from my childhood. It was a gaping wound that left me feeling empty and confused. I had trouble feeling normal without being intoxicated, and this cascaded into a life of constant drug use and abuse. I had to be completely wasted to find balance and a sense of normality.”

After years of substance abuse and heartache, Rentfrew reached out for help from a close friend. He was put in touch with other sober people, and he began working a program of recovery. Of equal importance to confronting addiction, Aaron worked on the trauma.

“I had to deal with the trauma around my childhood, which was the spark that started the fire. I did this by having frank and honest discussions with my parents and seeking to understand the full scope of what happened.”

Through dedication and hard work, Aaron was able to put his life back together and now helps others do the same. He believes that helping someone else with a problem you worked through is the cornerstone of recovery.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Treatment

At PACE Recovery Center, our dedicated team of professionals helps adult men who struggle with addiction and mental health conditions. We have created a unique program for clients whose lives are negatively impacted by the trauma that stems from adoption. Please contact us today if you were adopted and are contending with untreated mental or behavioral health issues.

Depression Impacts People Globally

depression

Depression is a subject matter that we frequently cover because the mental illness takes a deadly severe toll on society. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that depressive disorders are the number one cause of disability worldwide. More than 300 million people – of all ages – suffer from depression.

While effective, evidence-based treatment exists, those afflicted by depression struggle to access care. Moreover, fewer than half of those affected in the world receive such therapies, according to the WHO. In some countries, fewer than 10 percent get the help they need.

For those able to reach out for assistance, managing the condition will be a life-long mission. Treatment doesn’t cure depression; it teaches people how to cope with their symptoms healthily. Leading a fulfilling and productive life post-treatment typically involves a combination of medication, ongoing talk therapy, and mutual support groups.

Co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorders can complicate depression recovery. As many as one in three adults who struggle with addiction also suffers from depression, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports. Recovering from either condition hinges on treating both disorders simultaneously.

People living with depression will often use drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. While alcohol and substance use may dull the symptoms initially, the practice only serves to worsen matters in the long run. The mental illness can be the impetus for developing a use disorder or, at the very least, a contributing factor.

One of the purposes of treatment is to help clients establish healthy techniques for responding to symptoms and thus minimizing their impact. Since scientists have yet to develop a panacea for depression, encouraging more people to seek care is vital.

Depression and Suicide Among Men: By The Numbers

Over six million men suffer from depression in the United States each year, according to Mental Health America. Women struggle with depression more than men, but they are also more likely to seek assistance. As of 2017, 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Researchers estimate that 15 percent of adults will struggle with depression at some point in their lifetime. Those who do not receive treatment or let up on continued care are at significant risk of self-harm.

Women living with depressive disorders attempt suicide at higher rates than men, but the latter is more likely to succeed. Women attempt suicide more than twice as often as men, but males are four times as likely to die by suicide.

Male suicides have been on the rise over the last two decades; suicide is now the 7th leading cause of death among men.

Men and women living with depression and a use disorder are six times more likely to commit suicide, compared to people who don’t have a co-occurring disease. The link between depression and suicide is clear.

Depression Can Be Deadly

Mental illnesses like depression do not discriminate. A person’s skin color or socioeconomic standing has no impact on who will develop mental health disorders. In recent years, the nation has dealt with the loss of several notable people who struggled with depressive disorders, addiction, or both. While such deaths sent shockwaves of pain across the world and raise many questions in their wake, they are each a deadly reminder of mental illnesses’ seriousness.

The list of famous people who took their own lives following battles with mental illness and addiction is lengthy. Too long to recount in one post or give each case proper attention.

  • David Foster Wallace (2008), American author (Infinite Jest), suffered from depression for more than 20 years.
  • Robin Williams (2014), American comedian and actor, struggled with severe depression before his death.
  • Chester Bennington (2017), American singer and songwriter (Linkin Park), had suffered from addiction and depression.
  • David Berman (2019), American singer and songwriter (Silver Jews) and poet (Actual Air), committed suicide one week ago today after a protracted fight with depression.

David Berman, like David Foster Wallace before him, was known for his ability to write about the pain that accompanies depression. Both his songs and poetry touched countless people who had similar issues. As Sarah Larson writes:

Berman’s music seemed to alchemize pain; by the time it reached us, it had become beauty, wisdom, even humor...He had a gift for articulating profound loneliness in ways that felt deeply familiar, which in turn made you feel less alone.”

Mere days before going on tour to promote his first album in more than a decade, Purple Mountains, Berman took his life.

Depression Recovery Services for Men

You can’t change the feeling, but you can change the feeling about the feeling.” —David Berman

Berman’s fans were fully aware that David had dealt with addiction and depression over the years. However, such knowledge hardly prepared anyone for the troubling news. Hopefully, those who relate with Berman’s issues with mental illness will use this opportunity to seek help or to double down on their current efforts to manage symptoms. If you are unfamiliar with the late poet’s body of work, there is a plethora of material online.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you would like to begin the journey of recovery. Our Huntington Beach Mental Health Program for men offers evidence-based therapies and clinical treatments that can help you heal. Our team of dedicated, mental health professionals will help you identify specific recovery goals and achieve these goals while preparing for productive, independent living.

Recovery in College: Protecting Your Program

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Many young men in recovery are preparing to head off to college in the coming days and weeks. Steps must be taken now to ensure one's program stays intact in the face of collegiate stressors. Attending classes and studying for exams, week after week, can take a toll on individuals; this is especially true for young men in recovery.

University life can be a lot of fun for clean and sober people, provided that actions are taken to avoid high-risk situations. Parties, football games and tailgating, and Greek life are all synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption. While there isn't a rule mandating that people in recovery can't attend events that involve drinking, such individuals must be extremely cautious.

If your program is secure and you prioritize your recovery, then there are ostensibly not any situations that you can't handle. However, think carefully before attending any event that could involve drugs and alcohol. Relapse can sneak up on you if you're not honest with yourself.

Sticking close to one's support network is a good rule for young men in recovery while away at school. Others who work a program are going to be the individuals who help you stave off temptations to use. The collegiate environment is riddled with people and things that may trigger a desire to use, and sometimes it may be impossible to avoid exposure. Those who put their recovery first in every aspect of life will be able to counter the urges to use when they arise.

If you are going off to college for the first time, then it means that everything you are about to experience is novel. Some of you are returning for another year, which means you have some experience with maintaining sobriety in the face of college stress.

Building a Recovery Deep Bench in College

College first-year students must link up with students in recovery who have experience navigating the perils of college life. If you are a returning student, then you probably have a support network in place already, and a schedule of meetings to attend.

Hopefully, first-year students are already reaching out for recovery resources to utilize upon arrival. The first week at university can be chaotic and anxiety-inducing; there is an excellent chance that first-year students will require support. Knowing right away where one can find a meeting is essential. Attending a meeting is one of the first things you should do after settling into your dorm.

Showing up early to a meeting that is close to campus will provide you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group. It may be best to look for a temporary sponsor for while you are at college, depending on how far your school is from your hometown. If you are not able to see your current sponsor regularly while attending classes, then strongly consider finding somebody new.

Achieving long-term recovery hinges on accountability. Having a sponsor is one way to remain accountable to your sobriety. Check-in phone calls and texts, being seen at meetings, and working the steps will all help you manage the stressors of college life.

Spend some time fostering relationships with some of the other young people you meet at meetings. There's an excellent chance that they are attending your school too. Those same people may be great candidates for your deep bench: the men you'll turn to if you can't reach your sponsor. Your deep bench will also include the people who you have fun with while away at school. College life in recovery isn't just program and studying; sober people can have fun too.

Addiction Program for College Students

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are a young man who would like to attend college but are currently unable to due to alcohol or substance use disorder. Our team can help you break the cycle of addiction and help you prepare for maintaining sobriety while working on your secondary education. Our treatment center can help you achieve your academic and professional dreams.

Mental Illness and Alcoholism Plagued Buzz Aldrin

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On July 20th, 1969, the United States became the first country to put human beings on the moon. In the 50 years since the unprecedented feat, America is still the only nation to achieve what was once thought to be the stuff of science fiction. A half a century later we have mapped more of the moon – an object 238,900 miles away – than we have the human brain. We know more about lunar composition than mental illness; perhaps the human mind, not space, is humanity's final frontier to explore.

One can't help but marvel at the genius and steadfast determination that resulted in the successful voyage of Apollo 11. Countless people worked together to find a way to safely transport Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins from the Earth to the moon and back. The significance of the voyage is unmatched and proof that the sky was not the limit for humankind.

The success of Apollo 11 made the three-person crew instant icons around the globe. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first and second to walk on the moon respectively, became household names. While safely returning home from the lunar walk was likely Aldrin's crowning achievement, it was perhaps not his most arduous journey.

Buzz Aldrin severely struggled with depression and addiction; mental illness ran in his family. Even though he was an active player in the most magnificent odyssey, he reported feeling largely unfulfilled back home on Earth. His depression, like many others, led him to seek the comfort of alcohol, Biography reports. The drinking and untreated depressive symptoms contributed to both professional and personal losses.

Magnificent Desolation: Hopelessness and Despair

Buzz Aldrin's mother, Marion, battled with depression up until her suicide in May 1968—a little more than a year before Apollo 11. Marion Aldrin's father had also battled mental illness and committed suicide. Buzz believed he inherited depression from his family.

In the early 1970s, Buzz did something relatively unheard of when he opened up about his mental health in an LA Times article. Around the same time, Aldrin began serving on the board of directors of the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH). He would eventually go on to become the national chairman of NAMH. At the time, he was traveling around the country, speaking about his experience with depression. However, Aldrin was also drinking heavily and had trouble fulfilling his obligations.

In August 1975, Buzz did a 28-day stay in an addiction treatment center and got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous, Biography reports. Unfortunately, the retired astronaut had a challenging time staying sober despite the support he received in AA.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking in his girlfriend's door while intoxicated. Having reached rock bottom, Buzz gave up alcohol for good in October 1978.

Buzz Aldrin's journey to free himself of feelings of hopelessness and despair was rocky, but with the support of the fellowship, he was able to overcome. In the years that followed, he helped others who had issues with alcohol find what he had found in recovery. He published two autobiographies, Return to Earth (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009), he shares at length about his clinical depression and alcohol use disorder in both memoirs.

Seeking Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction

Resilience is what humans have and resilience is what humans need to take advantage of—their ability to explore and to understand and then to react positively and with motivation, not as a defeatist, to the constant flow of challenges," Aldrin tells Biography. "Negativity doesn’t get anybody anywhere. It takes reacting to all of life in a positive way to make the most out of what you’ve experienced and to make a better life and a better world."

The Apollo 11 astronaut’s story is unique in several ways, but not his road to addiction and recovery. More than half of people who meet the criteria for alcohol or substance use disorder also contend with another mental illness, such as depression.

When the symptoms of mental health disorders are not addressed, individuals are at higher risk of turning toward drugs and alcohol for relief. Self-medicating mental illness is a path to dependence and addiction. Fortunately, treatment methods have come a long way since the 1970s. Scientists and medical professionals have a much firmer grasp of the mechanisms of mental diseases.

Evidence-based therapeutic treatment approaches help people get to the root of their issues and take steps to lead fulfilling lives in recovery. If you are an adult male who is experiencing problems with drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center gives clients the tools to fulfill their dreams.

Addiction and Alcohol Use in the Service Industry

addiction

Just over one year ago the world shared in collective sadness while we mourned the loss of Kitchen Confidential author Anthony Bourdain. He was brilliant, relatively young (62), approachable, and he also struggled with both addiction and co-occurring mental illness.

Like many young men in the prime of their life, depression brought Bourdain to the precipice. Seemingly being no longer able to manage the invisible illness, he made a conscious decision to end his life. While nothing any of us can do or say can bring Anthony back, there is a silver lining to be found in his untimely departure. From world-famous chefs to anonymous bartenders across the country, restaurant workers are opening up about their struggles with alcohol use and addiction.

Millions of Americans make a career in the service or hospitality industry. It's hard work and mentally taxing, but people keep showing up to work because the pay is agreeable. Preparing exquisite cuisines, waiting tables, and crafting cocktails are demanding; the hours are long, and guests are not always the nicest of people. Not surprisingly, those lines of employment can exact a heavy toll on mental health. Any person who has worked in restaurants knows this truth.

Those who do not have healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with industry-induced stress are prone to turn to drugs and alcohol. A sigh of relief accompanies a shift drink come closing time. However, one "shifty" can quickly lead to two—ad infinitum. Life moves forward, years pass by, and before you know it, a problem develops that requires attention.

The Other Side of the Bar is a Dangerous Place

It's no secret that toxic relationships with alcohol abound in the service industry. This is especially true for barkeeps. Practically all customers expect bartenders to sample their wares; they even offer to buy their mixologists drinks as a modest token of appreciation. Such gestures are welcome, to be sure, but it may not be in the best interest of the recipient. Still, many will accept the free drink not to offend the patron.

For those who do not have a history of harmful drinking, a free drink is a free drink. Having a drink on the job is a slippery slope when it comes to men and women who are apt to drink to excess. There is a good reason why most individuals in recovery avoid working in the service industry; the risk of relapse is exceedingly high. That isn't to say that you can't work a program of sobriety while working in hospitality. A large number of people do; however, those who do need to be extra cautious.

The truth is that men and women in recovery can follow any career path they like; provided, however, that such people are on top of their program. There are no barriers or exclusions for those who put their recovery first. A strong support network, working the steps, and attending meetings regularly puts people in positions to excel at anything.

Helpful Reminders Not to Use Drugs and Alcohol

In circles of recovery around the country, it is not uncommon to see people wearing rubber bands on their wrist. The idea is simple: whenever you think of having a drink or drug, give it a snap. The discomfort is minor but the brief sensation can be enough to force you to remember the pain that accompanies alcohol and substance use.

A significant number of men and women in the early years of addiction recovery carry their AA or NA tokens with them wherever they go. The unassuming coin serves as a reminder of how far you've come, and where you came from, most importantly. It is a talisman; it's a marker of progress. Having a sobriety chip in one's pocket is useful when the temptation to drink or drug is high. Urges to use can be quelled by merely touching the coin.

On a similar note, a growing movement is underway among service industry employees that involves wearing a talisman of sorts. The Pin Project is a way for bartenders and others who find employment in hospitality to express their intention not to drink.

Similar to the rubber band trick, The Pin Project came about when a bartender decided he was not going to drink on the job anymore. In an effort to stay true to his intention, Mark Goodwin reached for a sharpie and drew a circle bisected by a straight line on his forearm, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Each time Goodwin thought about having a drink, he looked at the marking, much like the person wearing a rubber band. It worked!

Goodwin has abstained from drinking ever since, and others in the field have joined the movement. One of Goodwin's regulars, Alyx Ryan, created a small, brushed-metal pin that resembles the symbol once drawn in sharpie.

The Pin Project Promotes Healing and Understanding

"The opposite of addiction is connection," Mark Goodwin, a bartender at Coin-Op Game Room in San Francisco, tells the SF Chronicle.

A couple more bartenders in the Bay Area jumped on board with Goodwin's mission. Together, they launched the initiative – to help service industry men and women find strength and abstain while on the job and beyond – on June 24th. What is The Pin Project?

It is a collective of bartenders and service industry professionals based in the Bay Area looking to create a movement of healing and understanding for those among us caught up in the often dangerous context that comes from working within close proximity of alcohol...The pin project was created with the intention of helping industry folks, but anyone that could use a hand in curating safe space to uphold their intentions not to drink are welcomed to utilize it in any of the contexts they themselves struggle within."

People working at restaurants who are also in recovery may benefit from wearing the pin. Goodwin points out that industry workers must show guests a good time; sales and tips are dependent on a person's ability to accept proffers without protest. Saying no to free drinks from a customer could inadvertently impact the bottom line. Pointing to the pin, and explaining to diners what it means, might have the opposite effect.

It's worth noting that Goodwin, along with The Pin Project collaborators Nick Melle of Bon Voyage and DiDi Saiki of Bourbon & Branch, launched The Pin Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from pin sales goes to linking service-industry professionals with mental health services.

Addiction Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are struggling with alcohol use. Our gender-specific addiction treatment center for adult men can help you break the disease cycle and learn how to work a program of long-term recovery. We also can help those who contend with mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Team members are standing by to field any questions you may have about our extended care, mental health, and addiction rehab for men. 800·526·1851

Addiction Took Matthew Brewer’s Legs, Not His Life

addiction

Opioid addiction is a public health crisis in the United States. Prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids continue to cut people’s lives short at a startling rate. While progress has been made, we still have a long way to go in providing men and women the help they need.

Substance use disorders of any type put the lives of individuals in jeopardy. However, the effect that opioids have on vital systems of the human body makes this family of drugs particularly dangerous. Opioid narcotics have an impact on breathing, restricting a person’s ability to supply oxygen to the bloodstream.

Opioids kill people by slowing the rate of breathing and the depth of breathing,” said medical toxicologist and emergency physician Andrew Stolbach of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

If an overdose is treated with naloxone promptly, then a fatal outcome can be prevented. Initiatives to arm drug users, family members, and first-responders with naloxone have led to thousands of overdose reversals. A user-friendly version of the drug, Narcan, allows medical laypeople to provide life-saving assistance to victims.

The outcomes of an opioid overdose are not always black and white. A reversal can mean a continuation of life, but severe complications can occur. Scientists are still researching the long-term effects of this type of near-death experience. Moreover, there are instances when doctors have to take drastic measures to save a life; such was the case of Matthew Brewer, 44, of Huntington Beach.

Learning to Walk Again, Following an Opioid Overdose

On September 25th, 2014, a few months after leaving treatment, Matthew Brewer relapsed and overdosed on heroin. Alone at the time, Brewer was fixed in a position that cut off blood flow to his legs for 10-12 hours (tissue begins to die after 4-6 hours).

Matthew's roommate found him, and he was rushed to a hospital. He was then transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where doctors decided that a bilateral amputation of his legs was the only way to save his life. Fortunately, Brewer did not have brain damage from the overdose, but life would be an uphill battle moving forward.

Following the amputation, doctors resorted to prescription opioids: the powerful narcotics that led to addiction in the first place, The Orange County Register reports. Some years earlier, in 2008, Brewer was diagnosed with testicular cancer; he was prescribed opioids and addiction developed. For two-and-a-half years post-amputation, the young man a former competitive athlete suffered.

Matthew’s sister, Tera, owns a hair salon in Newport Beach; she had a client who was a producer on the medical show, “The Doctors,” according to the article. The show’s experts offered to take Brewer’s case, and he appeared on the television show in 2016 for the first time.

“The Doctors” helped Matthew detox from opioids and begin the healing process. In 2017, he attended a bilateral above-knee boot camp hosted by the Hanger Clinic. He learned how to walk with prosthetics, and so much more.

A New Lease on Life

Last month, Matthew Brewer competed in the Angel City Games, a four-day adaptive sports festival. At the event, he took part in a swimming race and the 200-meter sprint, the article reports. Despite his prosthetics, his athleticism goes beyond swimming and running; today, he enjoys surfing and snowboarding as well.

Matthew has a new lease on life; he travels around the country, speaking in front of audiences and visiting hospitals. The Huntington Beach man’s experience is an inspiration to so many people who have had their lives upended by opioid use disorder and overdose. Matthew is proof that there is hope after tragedy.

It’s given him a purpose,” said his mother, Cathy. “We’ve always been proud of him, but seeing the pride he has in himself has been the frosting on the cake. He just looks forward to the next event and the next event.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

PACE Recovery Center can help you or an adult male loved one recover from an opioid use disorder. Utilizing evidence-based treatments and a multidimensional approach, we show clients how to achieve their goals in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer and the benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment.

Methamphetamine and Opioids: Drug Synergism Concerns

Methamphetamine

In 2011, 19% of opioid users said they also used methamphetamine; by 2017, that figure had risen to 34%, according to a study appearing in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The researchers concluded:

“Qualitative data indicated that methamphetamine served as an opioid substitute, provided a synergistic high, and balanced out the effects of opioids so one could function “normally.” Our data suggest that, at least to some extent, efforts limiting access to prescription opioids may be associated with an increase in the use of methamphetamine.”

In 2014, 14% of heroin users entering treatment in San Francisco reported also having a meth problem. A follow up in 2017 showed that 22% of heroin users seeking treatment in San Francisco had issues with meth too.

The numbers above are not an anomaly; methamphetamine is making a comeback across the United States. Although, some experts might argue that meth use never went away but was hiding in the shadows of the opioid epidemic.

The days of clandestine methamphetamine labs in the U.S. came to an end in the 2000s. However, government crackdowns had the unintended consequence of ushering in new opportunities for Mexican cartels.

Efforts to stem the tide of homegrown meth production in America were most successful at creating a windfall for the cartels. South of the border “super labs” sprung up to feed America’s growing demand for “crystal meth.” Mexican meth, sometimes called “ice” due to its purity, is stronger and less expensive than what was found on the streets a decade ago.

Deaths involving methamphetamine are steadily rising, particularly in the West, NPR reports. The link between meth and opioids is cause for concern; the surge in meth use is believed to be tied to efforts to confront the opioid epidemic.

The Impact of Rising Opioid Prices

Making it more difficult to acquire certain drugs does little to address addiction. Instead, it forces those who live with use disorders to take more risks and seek new avenues of euphoria. Most people are aware that the U.S. government has taken many steps to decrease access to prescription opioids. New legislation and prescribing guidelines forced many addicts to turn to heroin.

While heroin is less expensive than OxyContin, a habit can be hundreds of dollars a day. Maintaining an opioid addiction is costly, regardless of the drug in question. Opioids make people feel lethargic, which makes it difficult to hold down a job. Stimulants like meth provide many addicts the extra pep in their step needed to get to work.

Amelia, a recovering addict, tells NPR that meth enabled her to keep working so she could afford her heroin habit. She said that using stimulants to help her support the opioid use disorder developed into a pattern.

The heroin was the most expensive part,” she says. “That was $200 a day at one point. And the meth was $150 a week.”

There are other reasons why people use stimulants in conjunction with opioids—drug synergism. Addicts have been mixing heroin and cocaine (e.g., “speedballing”) for a long time; one drug enhances the effects of the other and vice versa. However, cocaine is often more expensive than heroin. Now, many people are using heroin and meth simultaneously to replicate a speedball; the admixture is commonly referred to as a “goofball.”

When a person is struggling with both a stimulant and opioid use disorder, it can complicate treatment efforts. Unlike opioids, there is no medication to help people with meth withdrawal. It’s it vital that treatment professionals pay close attention to polysubstance use disorder cases to prevent relapse.

Methamphetamine and Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Mixing stimulants with opioids is a deadly combination; naloxone isn’t as effective on polysubstance overdoses. It is vital that individuals in the grips of meth and opioid addiction seek professional help immediately to avoid severe complications.

If you are an adult male who is struggling with a use disorder of any kind, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. Our gender-specific, extended care programs can help you break the cycle of addiction. We are available 24/7 to answer any of your questions about our multidimensional approach to substance use disorder treatment.

Mental Health Program Requires Funding

mental health

Health care is not free in the United States. Those who do not have insurance are unable to acquire elective services, even if they are potentially life-saving. Mental health care, whether it be for addiction or depression, is no different; many people do not get help because they lack financial resources.

In recent years, mental illnesses of the behavioral health and mood disorder varieties have come into the spotlight. Rising overdose and alcohol-related death rates and suicide have forced millions of Americans to take notice. Preventable “deaths of despair” have given many individuals cause for concern.

The reality is that there are not enough treatment centers, nor funding to provide evidence-based mental health care. Millions of Americans, many of whom are living in affluent parts of the country, are suffering needlessly. The situation is even more dire in rural America, where there may be one center or just a handful of mental health and addiction specialists for a radius of hundreds of miles.

Men and women who need assistance are unable to access it, and recovery is just out of reach for countless people. When one considers that we live in the most prosperous country in human history, facing the hard truths about mental illness is both perplexing and troubling.

In the last decade, lawmakers have introduced, passed, and signed into law legislation meant to increase funding and expand access to mental health care. The list of bills written to stem the tide of untreated mental illness and increase access to insurance parity include:

  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
  • The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016
  • The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) of 2016

Mental Health in America

Over the past few months, we observed several awareness campaigns focusing on addiction and mental health. June is PTSD Awareness Month; May is Mental Health Month; April is Alcohol Awareness Month; March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month; and, February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

Whenever we cover the subject of national observances, pointing out the statistics is critical to catch people’s attention. Tens of millions of Americans are battling untreated mental health disorders. Those who would like to get assistance find it exceedingly challenging to do so. The human cost of not being able to find support is high; each day not in recovery can end in tragedy.

Many of the mental health-related awareness months deal heavily with ending the stigma that prevents people from recovery. However, a lack of funding for life-saving support is just as harmful than society’s attitudes about mental illness.

It’s fair to say that most people lack the financial resources to cover the costs of all or some of their care. Which means that the burden falls on the state, county, and municipal leaders to ensure less-fortunate people can access recovery services. Expanding access to care requires money, and the necessary funds can only come from one place: taxes!

Free Mental Health Care Program

San Francisco is no different than any other metropolis in America despite being the epitome of opulence and affluence. The city has its fair share of homelessness, drug use, and people struggling with various mental health problems. However, unlike Cleveland or Indianapolis, San Francisco is in California—home to many of the wealthiest cities in the nation. The Golden State is the fifth largest economy in the world.

Silicon Valley is just down the way from San Francisco; if it were a country of its own, it would be the second richest in the world, The Mercury News reports. Many tech companies, CEOs, and execs call San Francisco home. At street-level, just beneath some of the wealthiest Americans penthouses and tech company offices, people are crippled by mental illness symptoms.

Interestingly, San Francisco lawmakers would like companies with well-paid CEOs to foot some of the city’s mental health bill, Reason reports. The Board of Supervisors introduced a motion last week that would place a new tax on “disproportionate executive pay.” Companies paying top executives 100 to 600 times the median compensation of their employees would pay an additional .1 to .6 tax on gross receipts.

In November, San Franciscans will vote on two measures that could significantly help people living with addiction and other forms of mental illness. Six of the 11 supervisors support a disproportionate executive pay tax and a program called Mental Health SF. If voters approve both motions, the tax on CEO pay will cover some of the cost of a program that offers round-the-clock mental health services.

We have a crisis of people who are severely addicted to drugs and that have severe mental health illnesses that are wandering the street and that desperately need help,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

California Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, our team of highly trained mental health professionals specializes in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We also offer programs for men who do not meet the criteria for substance use disorders, but they struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.

We invite you to contact us today if you or a male loved one requires mental health assistance. Please call 800-526-1851 now to learn more about our behavioral health treatment team and mental health programs.

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