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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Turning Your Life Around Through Addiction Recovery

addiction
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

recovery
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.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Change Direction on Mental Health

mental health
Nearly two years ago, the vocalist of the band Linkin Park committed suicide at his home in Southern California. Despite the band’s massive success, Chester Bennington, 41, had struggled beneath the surface with trauma, depression, and addiction.

May and June are great months for raising awareness about mental health disorders. June is PTSD Awareness Month and May was Mental Health Month. Bennington’s struggles and ultimate suicide are tragic; however, both serve as a catalyst for encouraging more people to talk about the importance of mental health.

Depression is the number one cause of poor health around the world. It affects millions of people in the United States and hundreds of millions around the globe. Substance abuse affects an estimated 25 million Americans. Post-traumatic stress disorder disrupts the lives of about 7.7 million Americans.

When addiction and co-occurring mental illness present in a patient, the result can be deadly. Imploring celebrities and average Americans to talk about mental health can save lives. When people disregard the stigma attached to mental illness and open up, it erodes some of the fear men and women have about seeking help.

Raising Awareness of Addiction, Depression, and PTSD


During PTSD Awareness Month, we can use social media to reach large audiences about the treatable mental health condition. The National Center for PTSD provides resources for anyone who would like to spread the message that treatment works. The organization states that:

“Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.”

This month, Chester Bennington’s widow Talinda is calling on everyone to share with the world why mental health is essential. She has asked for and received the support of many celebrities and some experts in the field.

The Campaign to Change Direction is “a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change the culture about mental health, mental illness, and wellness.” Last week, Talinda challenged people to take part in the campaign’s “A Week to Change Direction.”

“I challenge you to do a 30-second video on why mental health is important to you,” Bennington said on Instagram. “For me it’s very personal. And I’ve dedicated my life to change the culture surrounding mental health.” 


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Even though the Week to Change Direction Challenge is over, many individuals are still posting videos with the #ChangeDirection. Notable figures who have published videos about mental illness include Dr. Jennifer Ashton (ABC Chief Medical Correspondent), actor Ken Jeong (“Hangover”), and bassist Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses).

SLO County Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment


If you are struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illness, then we invite you to reach out to The Haven at Pismo. Conditions like depression and PTSD accompany alcohol and substance use disorders regularly. It is vital that men and women living with mental illness seek evidence-based treatment immediately.

At The Haven, we can help you or a loved one lead a productive, fulfilling life in recovery. Begin recovery today: 805.202.3440.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Addiction and "Deaths of Despair" in America

addiction
In 2015, a paper was published regarding rising mortality rates in the U.S. involving drug overdose, alcohol, and suicide. The groundbreaking article appeared in the National Academy of Science’s magazine.

The research paper, interestingly, did not come from leaders in public health, but instead from two economists. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton found that the mortality rate was most pronounced in one specific demographic: middle-aged non-Hispanic whites without a college degree.

In 2017, Case and Deaton followed up on their findings; they suggested that a large portion of America never recovered from the 2008 recession, The Guardian reports. Families that were no longer able to earn a living without a college degree were linked to rising overdose, suicide, and substance use-related deaths. In their update, Case and Deaton coined a phrase that stuck: “deaths of despair.”

While drugs, alcohol, and mental illness are driving forces in premature death, the crisis many people face is that of despair. When someone experiences the complete loss or absence of hope, they are likely to want to escape. Others too, have conducted similar research on why people turn to drugs and alcohol when life becomes exceedingly harder and harder to bear.

The author Johann Hari published a book called “Chasing the Scream” that dealt with drivers of addiction. He writes that environment and life-circumstances (e.g., stable home life and employment) play a significant role in the development of addiction.

When men and women feel cut off from society and the American Dream, they are more likely to engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. Naturally, this subject matter is nuanced—many factors play a role in the alarming trends.

Deaths of Despair are Up Nationally


Alcohol and substance use disorder and other forms of mental illness are treatable. Millions of Americans are working programs of addiction recovery and receiving mental health services. However, accessing care continues to be a severe problem in several areas of the United States.

The Commonwealth Fund, which tracks health performance in each state, found a correlation between deaths of despair and poor scorecards. The data shows that suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths have reached an all-time high; and, understanding why could lead to solutions.

The organization analyzed 47 factors that have an impact on health outcomes for a new report, NBC News reports. Insurance coverage and access to doctors were two of the elements. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, Connecticut, and Vermont ranked the highest. Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi received the lowest rankings.

“When we look at what’s going on in mid-Atlantic states — West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania — those are the states that have the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country,” said David Radley, a senior scientist for the Commonwealth Fund. “The rate of growth in drug overdose deaths in West Virginia is absolutely mind-boggling.” 

Health care coverage is what separates the states with the highest score from those with the lowest, according to the article. The states at the bottom of the list all had the highest number of uninsured residents. California ranked 14th.

 “We really think of health care access of being the foundation of a high-performing health care system,” Radley said.

SLO County California Addiction Treatment

 

The Haven at Pismo can assist men and women who are struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illness. We offer many different programs to cater to the unique needs of each client. Our evidence-based addiction treatment center is the perfect place to renew your best today.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about The Haven difference.

Friday, June 7, 2019

12 Step Recovery: Founders Day

12 Steps
Millions of Americans and many more people around the globe are grateful for the birth of 12 Step recovery. While there are several different modalities (e.g., SMART Recovery), programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have the largest following by far.

There is a reason why most evidence-based addiction treatment centers encourage their clients to work the 12 Steps while in rehab and after. Having a fellowship of men and women who share a common goal is exceedingly beneficial. A support network is of the utmost importance to any person desiring to heal from alcohol or substance use disorder.

What’s more, unlike many therapists and counselors, each person in the rooms of recovery has first-hand experience with the disease. Having the common bond of past experiences enables people to relate, and they can guide each other through the challenges of life. Since there are not any hard mandates short of abstinence, men and women have the freedom to work their own program.

Even a casual observer has to acknowledge the remarkable nature of 12 Step recovery programs. Those who were at the brink of total despair and looking up at the bottom can rebuild their lives by practicing a set of principles. Member of Alcoholics Anonymous take what they learn, leave what they don’t need behind, and carry the message to newcomers 365 days a year. This is the way it has been for 84 years since the founding of AA.

84th Anniversary of 12 Step Recovery: Founders Day


Most of those working a program in 12 Step recovery know a little history about its origins. They know the names Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Ebby T.; even some are familiar with the Oxford Group, a precursor to AA. For those who are not familiar with the humble beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous, we’d like to share some the program's lineage.

AA was the brainchild of two seemingly hopeless alcoholics who met in Akron, Ohio in 1935: Bill W., a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services writes:

“Bill had gotten sober and had then maintained his recovery by working with other alcoholics, though none of these had actually recovered. Meanwhile, Dr. Bob’s Oxford Group membership at Akron had not helped him enough to achieve sobriety. When Dr. Bob and Bill finally met, the effect on the doctor was immediate. This time, he found himself face to face with a fellow sufferer who had made good. Bill emphasized that alcoholism was a malady of mind, emotions and body. This all-important fact he had learned from Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital in New York, where Bill had often been a patient. Though a physician, Dr. Bob had not known alcoholism to be a disease. Responding to Bill’s convincing ideas, he soon got sober, never to drink again. The founding spark of AA had been struck.” 

If you would like to read more about the lifesaving fellowship’s origins, please click here.

This weekend is Founders Day Weekend, an annual observance to acknowledge the birth of AA. There could be as many as 12,000 who will descend upon Akron in the coming days to celebrate the program. Events will be held at the Gate Lodge, which is where the founders first met to lay out the steps for recovery.

Across the country, events are being held this weekend and next week. For example, in our area there will be a Founders Day event on June 16, 2019.

 

Addiction Recovery


The Haven at Pismo would like to wish everyone in recovery a happy Founders Day Weekend. Each day in recovery is a remarkable achievement worth being proud of; we hope that you have time to celebrate with your support network.

Please contact us if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol and would like to take steps to improve your life. At The Haven, our team of experts utilizes evidence-based therapies to help people make necessary changes and learn how to excel in recovery.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Relapse Prevention: Quitting Tobacco

relapse prevention
Nicotine is often the first addictive substance people in recovery ever try and the last to quit. Many people who work programs of recovery continue to smoke long after they put down their last drink or drug. Treatment centers have varying and divergent opinions about permitting nicotine use. Some allow it, and some don’t; but, practically every center is determined to encourage cessation.

While quitting tobacco may not be at the top of an addict or alcoholic's list of problems, there are many good reasons to quit. The list of health disorders, including cancers that afflict smokers, is long.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost 40 million American adults smoke cigarettes.

Ideally, people in recovery will tackle their addiction to tobacco while addressing their other use disorders. However, the thought of giving up cigarettes while learning to cope with life without drugs and alcohol is too much for some people. Some addiction professionals even endorse that kind of thinking, believing it best to deal with the more severe disorders first.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests addressing smoking while a person is in addiction treatment is the most beneficial. Below we will discuss some of the reasons people in recovery might want to prioritize giving up nicotine.

Preventing Relapse is Priority Number One


Men and women who seek addiction treatment receive instruction on how to live life on life’s terms. They learn how to cope with their feelings without having to turn to mind-altering substances. Relapse prevention is a significant facet of addiction recovery; anything people can do to protect their program is essential.

Those who are addicted to nicotine will usually smoke more when they are feeling stressed. Cigarettes serve as an unhealthy crutch during times of difficulty. While nicotine may alleviate a person’s stress, it also reinforces the belief that there is a chemical solution to one’s problems.

“Even though various substances have different pharmacological mechanisms, all drugs of abuse ultimately affect the same reward pathway,” said Dr. Heather L. Kimmel, Health Scientist Administrator of NIDA’s Epidemiology Research Branch. “Abstinence from all of them will help the patient move to a new physiological state and, hopefully, a new mental state as well.” 

Sure, it may not be as bad as having a drink, but it still does a disservice to men and women’s recovery. What’s more, current research suggests that smoking in recovery increases the risk of relapse. The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Researchers analyzed data provided by 5,515 people recovering from substance use disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). They found that those who still smoked three years after the initial interview were about 1.5 times more likely to relapse. Heavy smokers were at even higher risk of relapse; the likelihood of relapse increased by 0.7 percent for each cigarette smoked per day.

“So far, the bulk of evidence suggests that concurrent smoking cessation and substance use treatment is the most beneficial approach,” Dr. Renee D. Goodwin of the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, CUNY, said.

On May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). The event is meant to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use. Smokers in recovery may want to take the opportunity to learn more about cessation options tomorrow. Smoking cessation can protect your recovery and overall health.

SLO County Addiction Rehab


Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you or someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol. We provide a full continuum of care to help rebuild lives and restore hope. We are available at any time to answer your questions about our program.