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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Addiction Screening Recommendation

With millions of Americans in the grips of alcohol and substance use disorders, the need for encouraging them to seek help is high. When people go untreated, behavioral health disorders escalate in severity and can be life-threatening. Active addiction often persists for years before a person acts and attempts to make changes in their life. However, such people require professional assistance to bring about lasting recovery.

The stigma of use disorders has a severe impact on society and prevents people from talking about their issues. Many men and women have a lot of shame surrounding their use of or dependence on drugs and alcohol. This reality means that they will go to exceedingly great lengths to prevent others from discovering that there’s a problem.

Since addiction is a complex disease that can be fatal, there is a significant need to get men and women to open up. While many individuals are unwilling to talk about their struggles with friends and family, they may be more likely to be honest with medical professionals.

Doctors are bound by a code that prevents them from disclosing a patient’s personal information. Patient/doctor confidentiality is likely to make people who struggle with drugs and alcohol feel more willing to talk. If physicians treat such patients with compassion, it can result in taking actions toward recovery.

Doctors Can Encourage Addiction Treatment Services

For more than two decades, the primary care physician's role in contributing to the addiction epidemic has been called into question. Little oversight and ignorance created a massive opioid crisis that has proven nearly impossible to contain. While many doctors have changed their approach to managing pain, the damage done is hard to undo.

It’s not possible to turn back the clock, but physicians can have a hand in encouraging people to utilize recovery services. There is evidence suggesting that doctors should screen each patient for signs of alcohol or substance use disorder.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts, recommends that medical professionals screen every adult patient for nonmedical drug use, STAT reports. The experts can state, with “moderate certainty,” that screening for substance use is beneficial.

“We have a pretty high prevalence of adults using illicit drugs and we’re seeing harms every day from that,” said task force member Dr. Carol Mangione, the chief of general internal medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This is a big change that we’re really excited about. Effective treatment is where we will finally begin to move the needle on the epidemic.”

The task force stops short of encouraging a particular screening tool, according to the article. Dr. Mangione said it would be up to PCPs, hospital systems, and medical organizations to decide the best course of action.

If a patient shows signs of having a substance use disorder, physicians can then offer guidance on which steps to take next. Doctors can play a significant role in encouraging treatment and the utilization of local recovery resources.

The new recommendation will be posted for public comment until Sept. 9, 2019. The task force will review comments and then issue final guidance.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

At The Haven, we have a team of experienced, addiction professionals who can help you make lasting changes for the better. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and take steps toward realizing long-term addiction recovery. Our center is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Gratitude Lists Benefit People in Recovery

What are you grateful for in recovery today? Such a question is prone to elicit a subjective answer; each person is at a different stage in sobriety. Still, it should not be too challenging to make a list of all the good things in your life thanks to your commitment to working a program.

Men and women recover in harmony with one another; the miracles of recovery do not come about in a vacuum. There are people in each recovering addicts and alcoholic's life who are instrumental to one's progress.

Support networks, sponsors, friends, and family aid people in their journey for a better life; it's vital to acknowledge the people in one's recovery corner. Keeping addiction at bay can be a real struggle in early recovery; preventing relapse requires outside guidance and encouragement.

It can be easy to lose sight of all the people who contribute to your success, as you move forward in recovery. So, designate time for compiling a list of people who've earned your debt of gratitude.

Reach out to the men and women on your list and let them know how grateful you are for their support. It will make you feel good, and it is sure to make the recipient feel good too. If you are uncomfortable reaching out to express your appreciation, then talk to someone in your support network about your feelings. Your peers will likely offer some guidance on the subject.

Grateful for Your Recovery

A gratitude list can contain many types of things; it isn't always a long list of people. If you are maintaining a program of recovery in a 12 Step fellowship, then you may have established a relationship with a higher power already. Perhaps you pray or meditate on said power greater than yourself daily? If that is the case, then you probably understand the role this relationship plays in your recovery.

Some of the best guidance you can find in sobriety comes from quiet reflection or your connection with a higher power. When life is stressful, you may pull back and focus on the unseen energy of life to find calm and serenity. It is a healthy way to cope, and having that ability is something to be grateful for today.

It's also possible to express gratitude for the fellowship, rather than the individuals working programs too. When you stop and think about it, recovery is a network of people from different walks of life who all share at least one common goal—a desire to make progress. Many people view their participation as an honor, and they are thankful that programs of recovery exist.

Another source of gratitude are the things you don't have to do today to service your addiction. You no longer have to be dishonest or neglect the people you love. Accountability and responsibility are two words that others can associate with you; it's probably a complete 180-degree turn from your previous existence.

If any of the above rings true in your life today, then you have plenty of reason to maintain an attitude of gratitude.

SLO County Addiction Rehab

Please contact the Haven at Pismo if your life is affected by drugs or alcohol and you have a desire to make significant life changes. Our dedicated team of addiction professionals can help you break the disease cycle of addiction and go on to lead a productive life in recovery.

Give us a call at any time if you have questions about our program; we are confident that you will find that The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today. 805-202-3440

Friday, July 26, 2019

Motivation is Central to Addiction Recovery

Addiction treatment professionals regularly stress the importance of motivation. Clients learn from them that working a program is not a cure for the disease, but instead a means for managing one's illness in a healthy way. They learn that if goals are to be achieved, both personal and professional, it requires significant effort.

Those who believe that they can detox, attend a few meetings to get the basics, and then carry on with their lives in a similar manner as before, are guaranteed to experience problems. No, recovery is a life-long endeavor that demands a daily commitment to safeguard mental health.

The goal is to lead a life in long-term recovery, to live without relying on drugs and alcohol to function. This means taking action each day to foster continued well-being to ensure you do not slip back into old modes of thinking.

Keeping your focus on sobriety and putting recovery first isn't always a simple task. There will be times when you just flat out won't want to do the Work. To escape your responsibility to recovery, you might start rationalizing the reasons why it's alright to skip a meeting or neglect calling your support network to "check-in." It's common, but it's also the disease exerting power over your life. In a sense, it is a reversion back to your default setting; the idea that you have your condition under control.

After weeks, months, and years of putting recovery first, you may find yourself becoming comfortable in your sobriety. In the process, your motivation to attend meetings, be of service, and reach out to the newcomers might subside. That is complacency, and it's a pathway to relapse.

Motivation is Central to Recovery

Maybe you have been neglecting your program of late? Perhaps you are feeling less motivated to continue putting the needs of your sobriety before all else? If so, then please know that it's not unnatural. However, actions must be taken to address why you are feeling less motivated and how you can go about getting back into the flow of recovery.

One of the best methods for becoming more motivated about recovery is to remember why you are clean and sober in the first place. Nobody finds themselves working a program by accident. Chances are you did everything you could to use drugs and alcohol like a "normal" person before finally surrendering. Reflecting on the pain and heartache that active addiction brought you can be a powerful motivator for revamping your commitment to sobriety.

Over time, people in the program are apt to forget how bad life was before seeking help. The human mind has a propensity to place more emphasis on remembering only the good. You may find it helpful to write down what your life was like before recovery. Review your writing with a peer or sponsor, ask them for feedback. Ask about what they do to keep their eye on the program.

The above exercise is likely to be a quick reminder of why continued participation in the program is necessary. Remembering the despair can give you perspective, and your peers will help you to see the big picture again.

A Support Network is Motivating

Now that you have looked through the window of your past, you can again focus on the present. Spend some time reflecting on all the progress you have made. Think of the ways your life has changed because of recovery. Please also consider that none of what you find in your life today would've been possible without your peers.

Long-term recovery and progress are made possible when people work together to achieve common goals. You have allies, people who care about your well-being and who want to see you succeed. Draw from the energy of your support network; other people are a massive source of inspiration.

Tapping into the energy of your support group is motivating. Redirect that force back into your program. It will likely cause you to get back into the full swing of recovery, and back on the road to achieving your greater goals.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven can help you, or someone close, take steps to recover from the disease of alcohol or substance use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Our team of dedicated addiction professionals utilizes evidence-based therapies to assist clients in leading healthy and productive lives.

The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Rethinking the Language of Addiction

Combating stigmas has proven to be one of the most significant challenges of our time. The way society views and talks about people with mental health conditions have a cost. When people with potentially deadly health disorders are looked at differently than others, it makes them less likely to open up and seek help. The longstanding labels placed on men and women living with alcohol and substance use disorders are harmful to us all.

People in recovery for alcohol use disorder tend to refer to themselves as alcoholics. They identify in meetings by saying, "Hi, my name is..., and I am an alcoholic." It's a long-held tradition in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous to start sharing in that manner. However, the term alcoholic is dated; the medical community no longer uses the word alcoholism, instead opting for alcohol use disorder or AUD.

It's hard to change the way we talk about disorders with symptoms that include chronic, hazardous drug and alcohol use. How we refer to men and women with use disorders may seem of little importance in the grand scheme of things, but there is evidence that it matters.

Not too long ago, the medical community still viewed people who drank or drugged to excess as being short on moral fiber, willpower, and constitution. Not surprisingly, the public continues to utter harmful stereotypes about people with use disorders. Caustic sobriquets too are often attached to individuals who have been compartmentalized by the public.

"Boozehounds," "winos," "drunks," "sots," and "lushes" are several common monikers for people who struggle with alcohol. The bynames for persons with a substance use disorder are even more vitriolic. They include "junkie," "dope fiend," "cokehead," and "druggie;" the list is far too long to recount in full.

What to call someone who uses heroin?

Much like the rooms of AA, those who attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings usually identify as addicts. They use that word in the company of safe and supportive people who are less likely to judge like the general public. However, using the words addiction and addict has come into question in recent years. The medical community is rethinking how they refer to individuals who have been social pariahs for time immemorial.

As many of you know, America is amid a heroin scourge; use of the drug has risen exponentially during the last decade. More people are seeking treatment for opioid use disorders involving heroin, but there is some debate as to how to talk about those who use heroin when in medical settings. A new study, published in the journal Addiction, shed some light on this subject.

The survey indicates that people entering substance use disorder treatment for heroin use, usually called themselves "addicts," ScienceDaily reports. Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School asked 263 people in treatment and detox how others should refer to those who use heroin.

Scientists found that such individual's preference was that others called them "people who use drugs." Respondents said that they never wanted to be called a "heroin misuser," "heroin-dependent," and "junkie." 

"Persons who use heroin often [sic] complain about interactions with healthcare providers, due at least in part to the unfortunate language providers use -- which is taken, sometimes rightly, as a sign of disrespect," says senior study author Dr. Michael Stein, professor and chair of health law, policy & management at BUSPH. "Such antagonism can't be good for clinical outcomes." 

SLO County Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

We invite adults who are struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders to reach out to The Haven at Pismo. We offer a safe and serene setting to begin a remarkable journey of recovery. Our team of professionals relies on evidence-based therapies to help clients break the disease cycle and heal. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Turning Your Life Around Through Addiction Recovery

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team swept the World Cup for their second consecutive victory. Naturally, Megan Rapinoe (co-captain) and the rest of her teammates are elated, as is the rest of the country. For Rapinoe and her family, 2019 has been a great year. Aside from taking home the cup, the family has something else to be proud of: Megan’s older brother, Brian, has been clean for 18 months after a long battle with addiction.

Megan, 34, is an inspiration to people around the world; the powerhouse midfielder is the oldest player to score in a World Cup final. Her list of achievements is long, and she is an outspoken advocate for gender equality and LGBTQ rights. Like many star athletes, there is some controversy attached to her name; but, she seems to do everything with good intentions in her heart.

The soccer star stayed focused on athletics in school, but her brother found himself on a very different path, far from the soccer pitch. Brian began smoking marijuana at age 12; three years later, he was arrested for bringing meth to school, ESPN reports. Moving forward, Brian would be in and out of jail and prison for the better part of his life.

“Right from the start, I was hooked,” he says. “One drug always led to the next.” 

Heavy drug use and crime would take over Brian Rapinoe’s existence. At 18, he was using heroin and breaking laws that landed him in prison, according to the article. Behind bars, he aligned himself with a white prison gang and got swastika tattoos. He told ESPN that the symbols were not about prejudice—he got them to survive. Supporting his addiction demanded that he be “an active participant in prison culture.”

Addiction Recovery and Hope for a Brighter Future

There is not enough time to run through Brian’s long list of misdeeds and personal struggles. After spending about half his life in prison and battling active addiction, Brian had a moment of clarity. In 2017, Mr. Rapinoe had what many people call an epiphany while serving time in California’s notorious Pelican Bay prison. A botched injection angered Brian so severely that his cellmate said something that clicked.

“I freaked out on him, really lost it,” Brian says. “And he said to me, ‘Look at how you are acting right now.’” 

Ostensibly, that was the moment when Brian Rapinoe, the brother of a world-famous soccer star, decided he had enough. Many addicts and alcoholics have a similar instance in their life that led to a paradigm shift in thinking. His experiences and all its heartaches came to the surface of his mind, as did all the good his sister had accomplished in her life. Making drastic changes for the better would become his single mission, moving forward; today, he wants to make a difference.

Brian enrolled in self-improvement and rehabilitation classes; his sentence was reduced with each completed course, according to the article. He is now 18 months clean and sober after 24 years of using drugs. Toward the end of June, Megan’s brother started the Male Community Reentry Program in San Diego, CA. He is taking classes, and he is hoping to work with kids in the juvenile delinquency program after he is released.

“I want to make a difference,” he says. “I want to be like Megan.” 

In recovery, there are not any guarantees, but if men and women keep doing the next right thing, then anything is possible. The Rapinoe family is not much different than millions of other families; siblings whose lives take divergent paths despite the same upbringing. Brian Rapinoe’s story is proof that no matter how destructive one’s journey is, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow thanks to recovery.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one get on a path toward long-term addiction recovery. Our commitment to excellence and our use of evidence-based treatment modalities assist clients in many ways as they begin an unforgettable journey of healing. Please contact us today to learn more about our program. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Prioritizing Recovery on the Fourth of July

The Haven at Pismo would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe and sober Fourth of July. We grasp that holidays are not always the most pleasurable times of the year for many people who work a program. For newcomers or men and women in their first year, a significant holiday can present considerable obstacles.

Feelings and emotions accompany special days of the year. Such sentiments can elicit happiness; they can also bring melancholy. The program teaches people how to cope with uncomfortable sensations and memories, but it’s not always easy to implement one’s tools during holidays that are typified by heavy alcohol use.

Across the country, millions of adults find themselves beer-in-hand on July 4th. Men and women in recovery do their best to avoid situations that involve copious amounts of alcohol, which isn’t easy on Independence Day. Taking steps to mitigate one’s exposure to booze can reduce temptations to use.

If you are in your first year of recovery, then sticking close to your support network today is strongly advised. It’s worth reminding yourself that the disease of addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Always best to err on the side of caution, even if you think you can handle being around drinking. Triggers can happen in an instant, and there is always the possibility that urge will become too potent to resist.

Conversely, shutting yourself in for the day is not beneficial either. Like any day in recovery, striking a balance between program and pleasure is the best course of action. One’s sobriety must be the priority number one; each person has a responsibility to safeguard their progress.

Prioritizing Recovery on the Fourth of July

On days of the year when Americans overprime their drinking pumps, some men and women in recovery are inclined to isolate. They would do just as well to avoid exposure to the one thing on the planet they cannot have; on the surface, checking-out for the day appears sound. However, a closer examination reveals the opposite; avoidance via isolation can compound the feelings of exclusion. The sensation that one has when they feel like they are missing out can be depressing.

Sadness can lead people down unfortunate lines of thinking that could result in even stronger desires to use drugs or alcohol. In an effort to avoid the risks of solitude, people in recovery are best served by taking action on the Fourth of July. Attend meetings, be of service, and seek out pleasurable opportunities to bond with one’s support network.

Attending parties that involve drinking is not conducive to furthering people’s goals; but, going to recovery-sponsored gatherings today is beneficial. Men and women in recovery like to have a good time, just like everyone else. However, they can enjoy themselves in such a way as to not jeopardize all their hard work.

During significant days of the year, sober people host dinners, cookouts, and dances. Recovery asks people to work a program and have fun too; shutting the door on life is not a viable option. A good recipe for holidays is to listen to the needs of your program and take part in sober festivities. If you do not already have plans, then go to a meeting and ask your support network what they are doing for the rest of the day. There is a good chance that something fun will follow.

We hope that you will resist the temptation to isolate and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Staying sober during a holiday can be just like any other day of the year, with the help of your support network and a plan of action.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

It is not uncommon for men and women to decide to seek the help of recovery services during a major holiday. Stand-out days of the year can be excellent times to turn people’s lives around. Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you are struggling with addiction; our center is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Summer-Onset Seasonal Affective Disorder

seasonal affective disorder
The seasons and weather have an effect on us all in myriad ways. For most people, the summer and the warm, sunny climes that come with it elicit feelings of joy. Conversely, the colder winter months tend to bring men and women down emotionally.

The days are shorter in the winter which means we are exposed to less sunlight thus depriving us of vitamin D. Researchers believe that vitamin D deficiency impacts our mood; if true, people in recovery need to be cautious from fall to spring.

Many individuals eagerly await the arrival of more welcoming weather. Day after day of being cooped up inside can take a toll on humans. Come summertime, Americans descend upon the great outdoors eager to soak up all the rays possible.

As the summer comes to a close, it’s only natural that men and women begin to dread the return of brisk weather. While the majority of people prefer summer over winter, some do because of psychological reasons. Perhaps you are familiar with seasonal affective disorder or SAD? It is a type of depression that arises from changes in seasons.

The subject of seasonal affective disorder is typically discussed during the colder months of the year. However, SAD can strike during the warmer months as well! With the summer solstice behind us, it is vital that men and women who are susceptible to weather-related changes in mood take steps prioritizing their well-being.

Those in recovery need to keep watch of their feelings. Symptoms of depression that are left unchecked can disrupt one’s program and potentially lead to a relapse. The sections below will cover the characteristics of SAD and what you can do to protect your sobriety from the “summertime blues.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder in Recovery

Regardless of the time of year, experts associate depression, anhedonia, hopelessness, and sleep problems with SAD. The Mayo Clinic points out that there are symptoms specific to winter-onset and summer-onset SAD.

People who struggle during the winter months are more likely to experience:
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy
The symptoms that are specific to summer-onset SAD include:
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety
During the summer, the days are significantly longer; the sun creeps around the edges of the bedroom window shade much earlier. Lack of sleep affects people’s mood, and that can negatively impact the day. Those who are sensitive to light can benefit from purchasing blackout curtains. Naturally, hot temperatures can also influence both sleep and one’s overall comfort throughout the day. Persons with a low tolerance to heat should take steps to stay cool.

Sleep deprivation and general discomfort may not be a big deal to the average individual, but that is not the case for those in recovery. Since many people with substance use issues also contend with co-occurring mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, it is crucial that the effects of SAD are not ignored.

Seasonal affective disorder can be even more punishing to men and women living with mental health disorders. SAD can induce or amplify symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mania. It’s vital when feeling uncomfortable, irritable, or sleep deprived, to talk about it with therapists, sponsors, and support networks. Keeping things to one’s self isn’t beneficial.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

Talk with your support group if you are struggling right now. A peer is likely dealing with the same issues, and they can offer some helpful advice. Most importantly, stick to your regular routine as best you can to avoid causing further complications by letting your program slip. Meeting with a professional to talk about summer-onset SAD can also yield effective methods of countering and coping with symptoms.

Please contact the Haven at Pismo if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder. Our highly trained staff can also assist individuals who are struggling with co-occurring mental illnesses.