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Monday, November 20, 2017

Great Ideas to Express Gratitude

Counting your blessings comes with a host of benefits – today, on Thanksgiving and every day. We’ve talked in the past about how practicing gratitude can help with your overall health and recovery. To recap: It improves your sleep, self-care, self-esteem, emotional balance, willpower, stress management skills and more. 

Perhaps the most popular (and helpful) way to express gratitude in your daily life is to write down what you’re thankful for. You can do this in a formal journal or on post-it notes to remind yourself of all the good in your new sober life. And there are other ways to express gratitude, too. 

Here are some ideas – take a look and add any that you think might work for you. 
  • Take part in a “30 days of thanks” challenge, either formally or self-created.
  • Call a friend or family member and let them know how much they mean to you. 
  • Invite a loved one to coffee to thank them for supporting your recovery.
  • Write a note or email to a recovery peer or addiction counselor and let them know how they’ve helped you.
  • Take a picture of something in your every day life your grateful for. 
  • Hold the door open and/or give someone the gift of a smile.
  • Focus on one of your five senses and uncover some amazing things around you. 
  • Head out into nature and take time to notice and appreciate the beauty.
  • Volunteer your time at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen. 

We Are Grateful for the Chance to Help You
The Haven at Pismo is the only residential detox and addiction treatment center on California’s Central Coast. Our multi-faceted, outcome-focused program includes traditional and complementary therapies offered at our beautiful, private campus. To learn more or to speak with a caring and understanding admissions counselor, call today: 805-202-3440.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nearly Half of Americans Have Loved One With Past or Current Addiction

Do you have a good friend or family member with a current or past substance use disorder? If so, you’re among nearly 46 percent of U.S. adults, according to a Pew Research Center Survey. And, according to the survey, there's no statistically significant differences between sex, race, age, education levels and even partisan lines.

In 2016, nearly 20.1 million Americans 12 or older had a substance use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And opioid use disorder (2.1 million) and alcohol use disorder (15.1 million) topped the list. 

When a Loved One Has a Substance Abuse Problem
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) put together a list of questions to help you determine if someone you care about needs help. If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, your friend or loved one might have a substance abuse problem.  ("Drugs" is used here to refer to illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol, notes the NIDA.)
  • Does the person take the drug in larger amounts or for longer than intended?
  • Do they want to cut down or stop using the drug but can’t?
  • Do they spend a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the drug?
  • Do they have cravings and urges to use the drug?
  • Are they unable to manage responsibilities at work, home, or school because of drug use?
  • Do they continue to use a drug, even when it causes problems in relationships?
  • Do they give up important social, recreational, or work-related activities because of drug use?
  • Do they use drugs again and again, even when it puts them in danger?
  • Do they continue to use, even while knowing that a physical or mental problem could have been caused or made worse by the drug?
  • Do they take more of the drug to get the wanted effect?
  • Have they developed withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the drug? (Some withdrawal symptoms can be obvious, but others can be more subtle — like irritability or nervousness.)
Getting Help for Drug or Alcohol Abuse
The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is showing signs of a substance use disorder, call today: 805-202-3440. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DEA Reveals Cocaine Use on Rise

Cocaine use is on the rise and, not surprisingly, the drug is easily available in most areas of the country, according to the DEA's 2017 National Drug Assessment. 

Other findings in the report included:  
  • In 2016 and 2017, multiple DEA [offices] reported increases in the quantity and purity of cocaine available. 
  • First-time use of cocaine within the past year rose 26% between 2014 and 2015.
  • Workplace drug tests that were positive for cocaine increased 12% between 2015 and 2016.
  • Cocaine-related overdose deaths increased 25.2% between 2014 and 2015, reaching the highest levels in nine years. 
Yet perhaps most scary is that cocaine, already dangerous on its own, has become deadlier as more dealers have laced it with fentanyl. Between 2010 and 2015, deaths involving both cocaine and opioids have more than doubled, from 2,000 to over 4,000, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

“The emergence of cocaine mixed with fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances in select markets is a potential trend of concern,” the DEA report notes. Though still relatively rare around the country, the trend has already been seen in areas including New York, Florida, Massachusetts and Tennessee. 

Spotting the Signs of Cocaine Use
If you suspect cocaine abuse by someone you care about, you should be on the look out for the following: 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose (snorting)
  • Nosebleeds (snorting)
  • Track marks (injecting)
  • Burned lips or fingers (smoking)
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme happiness and energy 
  • Aggressiveness
  • Paranoia
  • Distrustful of other’s intentions
  • Antagonistic behaviors towards others
  • Defensiveness
  • Changes in sleep (awake all night, sleeping in the day)
Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction
It’s extremely difficult to stop abusing cocaine without professional help. The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Many Don’t Know Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Do you know the signs of prescription drug abuse? If you answered no – or maybe you’re not quite sure – you’re not alone. A new national survey conducted by researchers from Michigan State University found that out of 4,600 respondents, a full 32 percent were unsure of the signs of pill addiction. And men as well as those who lived in an urban setting were particularly bad at recognizing when something was amiss.

“My sense is that people just don’t recognize the risk factor or take the necessary precautions to look at what’s happening,” Michigan State economics professor Mark Skidmore, director of behavioral-health organization CAPE and a co-investigator on the survey, told New York Magazine. “Loved ones around may not be watching whether or not a prescription is being followed.”

If we’ve learned anything from the opioid epidemic – with more than two million Americans abusing prescription opioids or heroin in 2015 – it’s this: Anyone can become addicted to pain pills. This includes moms, professionals and young student athletes alike. Many people struggling with opioid addiction appear to be so-called normal; certainly not the typical image of a strung-out junkie looking for their next fix. 

The Signs of Opioid Abuse
Mood swings, changes in energy levels and sleep habits (all signs of opioid abuse) can be relatively easy to conceal from friends and family. Here, we take a look at these and other warning signs:

Increased or ongoing use: People taking painkillers most often become tolerant to the effects of their prescribed dose, needing more and more to get the same effects. 

Unusual drowsiness: A common symptom of opioid use is drooping eyes, or eyes that look like they’re about to fall asleep. A loved one struggling with prescription pill abuse may tend to nod in the middle of a conversation, during a TV show, or at the dinner table.

Shifts in sleep patterns: This can include sleeping longer than unusual or staying up and awake all-night and sleeping all day. 

Changes in appearance: In addition to dropping tired-looking eyes, opioid abuse can lead to metabolic changes that cause weight loss as well as compromised personal hygiene and appearance. Physical signs that a loved one is high includes: 
  • Red, glazed eyes
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Constant cough or runny nose
  • Slurred speech
  • Intense calm
  • Nodding head
Persistent flu-like symptoms: If your loved one always seems to be “coming down with something” and then feeling fine again, it could be a sign of abuse and withdrawal. Long-term abuse can also compromise the immune system, making the user more susceptible to flu, viruses and infections. 
More signs of withdrawal include: 
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Severe insomnia 
Getting Help for Prescription Drug Abuse
The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization, and outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is showing signs of a pain pill addiction, call today: 805-202-3440. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

National Recovery Month: Benefits of Sharing Your Story

This year, the theme of National Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities” – and all month long, the organization has been inviting individuals in recovery and their family members to share their personal recovery stories. 

Whether you choose to share your personal story in a group meeting, one on one with a close friend or family member, on social media, in the form of a blog or via the “Voices for Recovery” section on Recoverymonth.gov – the benefits of telling your recovery tale are plentiful. For one, it’s perhaps the best thing you can do to stop stigma and spread awareness – and it can help your own recovery, too. 

Here’s how: 
  • You’ll remember why you've worked so hard to stay sober. Talking about the details of the past is perhaps the perfect reminder of how terrible you felt and the bad things that happened due to addiction. 
  • You’ll feel less alone. Sharing your story will help you feel part of the addiction recovery community and open the doors for meeting others who can help support you along your journey.
  • You’ll boost your confidence. Taking the time to articulate your recovery journey can help reinforce how hard you’ve worked, how far you’ve come and how strong you are. This will also help keep you motivated to remain sober. 
  • You’ll potentially help someone else. Being visible and letting others know your recovery story may just help someone imagine him or herself in recovery, too.
  • You’ll feel lighter and freer. Telling your story opens you up to more support and emotional feedback that can help you move past any negative emotions, like shame or embarrassment. Many people in recovery say they feel a bit lighter and freer each time they share their recovery story. 
Start Your Personal Recovery Journey
There’s no better time then today to get the addiction help you need and begin your own journey toward lasting sobriety. We’re here to help. To learn about our addiction treatment services, call today: 805-202-3440.




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

5 Holistic Therapies You'll Experience in Rehab

When used in conjunction with traditional addiction treatment, holistic therapies have been proved to be very effective in addressing both the physical and psychological impact of addiction. In fact, alternative treatments are becoming more mainstream, helping those struggling with substance use disorders to develop the necessary skills for lasting sobriety. 

Here’s a look at a few holistic therapies that you might experience during rehab – and why they can work for you: 
  • Equine therapy: Spending time with horses has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions, including addiction. Horses have been found to help clients recovering from substance use disorders to build relationships, develop rapport, communicate trust and learn healthy boundaries. Horses can also teach clients to be gentle and kind with themselves and with others.
  • Art therapy: Art therapy has become an integral part of the counseling and support services in many addiction centers. By drawing, painting and using other creative media like sculpture, clients learn to increase self-awareness and express emotions (both conscious and unconscious) about addiction and recovery – and even the meaning of life.
  • Adventure therapy: Adventure therapy encourages patients to use recovery tools to complete a team task, achieve a fitness goal or overcome adversity. Whether surfing, kayaking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing or rappelling, adventure therapy helps clients move beyond their comfort zone to achieve better self-understanding, self-confidence and self-esteem. The healing power of nature also helps tame anxiety and stress.
  • Hypnotherapy: Especially helpful for clients dealing with buried resentment, fear, regret, jealous or anger, addiction professionals use hypnosis to delve into the root of a client’s addiction. Some of its many benefits include the ability to treat trauma, resolve self-sabotaging thoughts, correct destructive habits and bring about behavioral changes that align with sobriety goals.  
  • Sound therapy: This cutting-edge alternative therapy works at a cellular level to initiate healing. Sound therapy uses vibrations played at varying pitches and intervals to help improve chi, release negative emotions, alleviate pain and stress and balance the mind, body and spirit. It’s also helpful for clients who struggle with the practice of meditation, as the vibration provides a targeted focal point to distract from outside influences.
About Our Holistic Therapies 
The Haven at Pismo is set apart from other California addiction recovery facilities by our unique blend of multi-modal therapies. We believe that the most successful addiction treatment programs take into account the body, mind and spirit, which are all impacted by the disease of addiction. To learn more about our specialized treatments and customized holistic therapies, call today: 805-202-3440.



Monday, August 28, 2017

How to Discover Your Personal Strengths

Learning to identify your personal strengths can greatly benefit your recovery. Once you become aware of what you’re good at and what makes you unique, you can utilize these qualities to stay confident and motivated as you create a new sober life. 

Recognizing your personal strengths isn’t easy, especially when you’re rediscovering yourself in recovery. Below, we list a few simple ways to find your personal strengths. Give them a try or cherry-pick the tips that resonate most with you. 
  • Create a personal strength wish-list. Jot down what qualities and traits mean most to you and your recovery – and then take a look and think about whether you display any of these strengths yourself. 
  • Note the things you enjoy. What do you really love to do? Often, the kinds of activities you enjoy require the skills and traits you naturally enjoy and excel at.  
  • Ask a friend or family member to weigh in. It’s not always easy to see ourselves clearly, so you may need an outside perspective. Ask those whom you trust most to tell you some of your strengths – and see if any surprise you. 
  • Take compliments to heart. If you don’t feel comfortable asking a loved one to weigh in on your personal strengths, then think back to any compliments you’ve received. Have you been told that you’re a good listener, for example, or that you’re funny?
  • Think about what makes you proud. Write down three times in your life that you truly felt proud to be you. How did you act or what did you do? What values did you display? Your answers will likely reveal your personal strengths.
Learning Life Skills at The Haven
Working collaboratively with our coaches to uncover new perspectives and new life skills, program participants learn what their best life can look like and receive the support to take the actions to make it a reality. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tips to Nix Negative Thinking

Whether you always focus on your flaws or anticipate worst-case scenarios, negative thinking can be demoralizing, de-motivating and damaging to your recovery efforts. 

Unfortunately, becoming sober doesn’t mean you’ll develop a sunny outlook. And for many folks in recovery, negative thinking has likely become yet another hard habit to break. 

Now for the good news: You can put a stop to your pattern of pessimism and learn to brighten your perspective. These tips can help:  
  • Switch your thoughts from negative to positive. For example, instead of thinking: “I’m going to have a hard time with recovery,” think: “I’ll face some challenges during recovery, but the hard work will pay off.”
  • Head outdoors. It may sound simple, but stepping outside into the sunshine will give you a sunnier outlook. Breathe in the fresh air and breathe out those negative thoughts. 
  • Reach out. We all have that one notoriously optimistic friend or loved one who is masterful at turning negative chatter into positive thinking. Pick up the phone and reach out when you’re in a rut. 
  • Meditate: Whether you choose to mediate when you first wake or before bedtime, this calming practice can help quiet your mind and keep you positive.  
  • Help someone else: Donating your time and energy to a worthy cause or organization is often a great wake-up call. It will help you to put things in perspective and be thankful for the good in your life – and you’ll be making someone else’s day sunny. 
  • Stop and write. The next time you find yourself spiraling into a negative cycle, stop and list five things that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be complicated: your cat, fresh fruit, your friends, your family, your sobriety – anything that makes you feel happy and positive. 
Dealing With Emotions During Addiction Treatment 
Meditation is just one of the many holistic approaches we teach clients to help them stay positive, motivated and mentally strong as they journey toward sobriety. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PAWS: What It Is And How to Cope

If you’re a month or so into being free from drugs or alcohol and are struggling with trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, memory loss, and extreme cravings, you’re likely experiencing what’s known as PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (protracted withdrawal syndrome). 

PAWS encompasses a variety of symptoms that exist after the period of acute withdrawal ceases. Some experts define it as an adjustment period during which the brain attempts to stabilize or re-organize itself without substances. Drugs linked to PAWS include alcohol, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, opioids, and stimulants.

Learning the Symptoms
PAWS symptoms can come and go and differ depending on your drug of abuse as well as the severity of damage to the brain functioning during active addiction. Below are a few symptoms common to PAWS:
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Alcohol or drug cravings
  • Impaired executive control
  • Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure from anything beyond use of the drug)
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Dysphoria or depression
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained physical complaints
  • Reduced interest in sex Extreme drug cravings and obsessions
Coping With PAWS
A few steps can help you better manage the symptoms of PAWS. 
  • Educate yourself: Learning to recognize the symptoms of PAWS is perhaps your best defense. This will enable you to better prepare and have a plan should these symptoms strike without warning. 
  • Exercise: Staying active is a sure-fire way to help restore balance to the brain, easing a lot of the emotional turbulence of PAWS. 
  • Identify and avoid triggers: Write down the situations, people, places, events that tend to trigger or exacerbate your symptoms. 
  • Seek support: Managing PAWS is tough and there's no reason to do it alone. Talk about your symptoms with your addiction counselors, therapist, support groups, peers or loved ones. 
  • Be patient and positive: It takes time for your mind and body to heal, but remind yourself that feelings of normalcy and emotional stability will return. In the meantime, try to remain calm and relaxed and focus on the positive goals of sobriety. 
Preparing for Active Recovery
The Pines detox residence strives to stabilize your physical health, cleanse your body of toxins, and lay the groundwork for long-term sobriety success. The road ahead of you will no doubt be difficult, but supervised detox provides the support, resources, and camaraderie you need to pursue lasting recovery. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Have You Identified Your Triggers?

An important part of rehab is learning to safeguard your sobriety once treatment ends. And this means learning to understand and identify triggers. 

This step is crucial for lasting sobriety – and it’s perhaps your best defense against relapse. Triggers are a very real part of addiction and they can’t always be avoided. 

What Is a Trigger?
Think of triggers as temptations – or people, places, things, situations, memories, or feelings that make you want to use again. For instance, does seeing an old drinking buddy make you want to drink? Or, perhaps an argument with a loved one results in a craving? The acronym “H.A.L.T.” – which stand for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired – is the term used by many addiction experts to describe some common situations that spark temptation. 

Create Your Trigger Action Plan 
As part of your relapse prevention plan, it’s essential to identify your unique personal triggers.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What were you feeling the last time you had a craving?
  • What were you doing the last time you had a craving?
  • Who were you with the last time you had a craving?
  • Were you trying to numb uncomfortable feelings or negative emotions?
  • Did you feel pressured by peers or loved ones?
  • What was your stress level?
Next, you'll need to jot down your answers and come up with a plan of how to counteract these influences in healthier ways. For example, if your triggers are stress-related, you’ll need to figure out new sober ways to ease these feelings of anxiety. And don't be afraid to ask others about what has (and hasn't) worked for them.

Don't wait until it's too late. If you feel yourself slipping, take time to slow yourself down and think about what kind of triggers you may have encountered. This is also the time to lean on your support network by calling a sponsor, counselor or loved one or attending therapy or a local support group. Together, you can prevent triggers from destroying your hard-won sobriety.  

Aftercare for Lifetime Sobriety
Aftercare plans are invaluable additions to your recovery toolbox. At The Haven at Pismo, our team of addiction specialists will help you to develop relapse strategies to help you maintain sobriety once returning home. Call today: 805-202-3440.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4 Ways to Stay Sober in Difficult Situations

Learning how to stay sober in difficult situations is a skill that will serve you well in recovery. After all, life is full of unexpected events and triggers – whether an impromptu party, work event or family get-together – and these may be even more frequent during the summer months. 

The key is to be prepared and to always have a few stay-sober strategies in your pocket. Start with these four: 
  • Become a self-expert. In other words, work to figure out your individual triggers along with what coping mechanisms work best for you. Remember: This is a process -- and it’ll likely change depending on your stage of recovery. Keep a list and add to it as you think of new ways to cope. 
  • Make water your friend. It can be plain or sparkling or with lemon – whichever way allows you to stay hydrated, keep your hands busy and avoid awkward questions. Similarly, never allow someone to freshen up your drink. You should always be in charge of what you consume.
  • Seek support. No one expects you to walk alone on the path toward lasting sobriety. We all need someone to lean on, especially during early recovery. Ask a sober friend, sponsor or relative to be your party date or at least be on call if you need some extra reinforcement. 
  • Think about the positives. Remind yourself about all of the advantages of being sober. Here are a few: You’ll look better, feel better, have better relationships and live a fuller, healthier life! 
Aftercare Planning for Long-Term Recovery
At The Haven, we know that returning home after rehab can be a defining moment in your sobriety journey. That’s why we help our clients prepare for the transition by giving them tools and strategies to reduce the risk of relapse and stay on the sober course. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

20 Ways to Manage Stress

Being stressed is unfortunately becoming the nationwide norm these days. Despite a hopeful drop in overall stress levels last summer, a survey earlier this year showed a significant spike, according to the American Psychological Association.

To review: Chronic stress can unsettle nearly all bodily processes and trigger a slew of health problems, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, weight gain, memory impairment and weakened immune system. And it’s also one of the leading causes of relapse. 

So how can you safeguard your sobriety and keep stress in check? Fortunately, some simple strategies have been study-proven to help tame those tensions — whether you’re dealing with a craving or family conflict.

Here are a few healthy steps to try today: 
  1. Identify your stress triggers.
  2. Write in a journal.
  3. Take slow, deep breaths.
  4. Focus on the now with mindfulness exercises.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Turn up the tunes.
  7. Go for a walk or hike. 
  8. Take up some sort of regular exercise, like yoga.
  9. Learn to say “no” once in a while.
  10. Do something creative or engage in a favorite hobby.
  11. Make a to-do list to organize daily tasks. 
  12. Call up a good friend.
  13. Take a relaxing and calming bath.
  14. Avoid bad habits, including poor food choices as well as addictive substances and behaviors.  
  15. Make sleep (and good sleep) a priority. 
  16. Learn to laugh; humor does heal. 
  17. Spend some quiet time in nature.
  18. Take breaks from smart phones and social media.
  19. Spend quality time with supportive friends and family.
  20. Seek professional help, if none of these methods seem to do the trick. 
Staying Centered at The Haven
Taking a few moments to meditate before stressful situations can lead to more mindful decisions and greater strength to remain sober. At The Haven at Pismo, we offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including yoga and meditation, to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Garden Your Way to a Healthier Recovery

Did you know that digging in the dirt is a great activity to fend off symptoms of depression? This is partly because soil contains a harmless bacteria, called mycobacterium vaccae, which is touted for stimulating the production of mood-boosting serotonin. Mounting evidence also shows a direct link between depression and the time you spend outside.

What’s more, gardening can be a great mindfulness activity – keeping you in the moment and reinforcing the focus and patience crucial to long-term sobriety. Plus, it’s the perfect outlet for nurturing your creativity and your pride – just think how good you’ll feel about yourself when you harvest those juicy red tomatoes.

How Gardening Helps Your Body, Mind and Spirit
Here are some other study-proven health perks linked to toiling in the soil:
  • A better diet (especially if you grow a small fruit or veggie garden)
  • Improved mental health
  • Better sleep quality
  • Boosted self-esteem
  • Increased levels of vitamin D
  • Less stress, anxiety and mental fatigue
  • Reduced risk of bone loss
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes
  • Greater ability to achieve goals
  • More self control
  • Healthier weight
  • Better immune system
  • Lowered heart rate
Why not give it a try? You don’t have to have a green thumb; just the ability to head outside, soak up the sun and start digging! Gardening is a great bonding activity to do with your loved ones, so if possible, make it a family affair.

Begin Holistic Addiction Treatment Today
Haven offers its clients a long list of holistic therapies that emphasize body, mind, and spirit healing. To learn more about our alternative treatment avenues, call our admissions team at 805-202-3440.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Everyday Ways to Mind Your Mental Health

It’s Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA). Luckily, caring for your mental health doesn’t require a huge commitment; it may only take seconds to start feeling calmer, happier and healthier. Get started by adding these easy habits to your daily to-dos. 
  • Rise, shine and reach your goals. Your morning rituals can help set the tone for the rest of the day, so why not begin by focusing on your goals and tasks for the day. This will give you the motivation and drive to get going and cross off items on your list. 
  • Get up and get moving. Even if you just run up and down the stairs, getting your heart pumping will make you feel good and help alleviate stress. Or schedule exercise into your day as a much-needed mental break from your busy routine. 
  • Soak up nature. Going outdoors, especially when you’re surrounding by grass and tress, has been shown to boost self-esteem and minimize stress. This is likely due to the extra sun exposure that helps your body release mood-boosting vitamin D. 
  • Practice gratitude. Take a second (literally) every day to feel thankful — for your recovery, for the warm sunshine, for the fresh fruit from the local farmer’s market. Gratitude has been study-proven to increase your energy and your optimism.
  • Slow yourself down. We’ve all began cursing the minute traffic stops or the Internet connection slows, but this behavior can just add to your stress. Instead, take a deep breath and force yourself to mentally step back before reacting to the situation. 
  • Connect offline. Checking in with supportive friends and family, whether you chat on the phone or meet up for coffee, can make you feel included, involved and mentally happy.  
Holistic Healing at The Haven
We offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including acupuncture and massage and yoga and meditation to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Clean Your Health

Spring-cleaning can be more than just organizing closets and washing windows. It’s also the perfect time to turn inward and focus on tasks that will benefit your mind, body and spirit. Try these tips to make this season a happy and healthy one! 
  • Pick in-season, local produce: Head to your local farmer’s market and stock up on seasonal fruits and vegetables. They'll taste better and the prices will likely be better, too. 
  • Reorganize your pantry: Toss any high-sugar, refined and high-sodium content and start fresh with nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, beans, and other healthful staples.
  • Schedule screening and annual doc appointments: Spend some time this spring planning your wellness appointments for the year ahead. In addition to regular visits — dentist, annual physical, etc., — talk with your doctor about any necessary screenings or tests.
  • Switch up your exercise routine: Bored of the same old workout? Try a new yoga class or outdoor running route to get out of a rut and reenergize your exercise plan. Chores count, too, so get down and dirty and start gardening!  
  • Hit the outdoors. Whether you garden, take a hike or play frisbee in the park, vow to spend some extra time in the fresh air this season. 
  • Rein in stress this spring. Block off a specific time of the day to meditate each day.
  • Clear the cutter: Donate any gently used clothing or items that you no longer want or need. Bonus: Helping others improves your own happiness, according to research.
A Healthier You at The Haven
Unfortunately, most of our clients have neglected nutrition, exercise, and basic self-care while caught in the cycle of addiction or dual diagnosis. Take heart: Our trained addiction specialists can help you rebuild a healthful lifestyle. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

5 Ways to Be Good to Your Bones

Did you know that addiction can do damage to your bones? One reason is because drug and alcohol abuse interferes with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D, which plays a critical role in calcium absorption necessary for bone health. In addition, abused substances like nicotine, alcohol and opioids can reduce your bone density, making you more susceptible to the bone thinning disease osteoporosis. Having clinical depression, which often co-occurs with substance use disorder, has also been shown to up a person’s risk of osteoporosis.

Luckily, committing to your recovery is a great first step toward safeguarding your bones. A few other healthy habits can help prevent osteoporosis, too. Get started with these five bone-boosting tips:
  1. Learn your family health history. Studies show that genetics plays a role in 50 percent of osteoporosis cases.
  2. Book a bone density screening. They call osteoporosis a “silent disease,” which means you won't know you have it until you get tested (or you break a bone).
  3. Load up on bone-friendly foods. A few to consider: sardines, canned salmon (with the bones), almonds, dark green, leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified juices, breakfast cereals.
  4. Quit cigarettes. Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs; it also robs your bones of vital nutrients (like calcium) and makes you more prone to broken bones.
  5. Make exercise a priority. When you move those muscles, you stimulate bone-building cells called osteoblasts to create more bone. Depending on your bone health, exercises that use your body weight as resistance (sit-ups and push-ups, for example) are your best bets for building bone density.  
Let Us Fuel Your Recovery
With our in-house chef, the Haven at Pismo helps clients create dietary patterns that support sobriety and correct nutritional deficiencies caused by addiction. Residents learn how to replace sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods with healthy fiber, quality proteins, and antioxidant-rich vegetables. Call today to speak confidentially with an intake specialist: 805-202-3440.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Study: Shared Reading Helps Chronic Pain

If you’re among the some 100 million Americans struggling with chronic pain – defined as any form of pain that lasts for at least 12 weeks – you might want to listen up. The answer to relief may be inside the pages of a book, according to a new study at the University of Liverpool in England. 

Researchers found that the literature-based intervention known as shared reading (SR) can help patients become aware of and confront their deeper emotions related to chronic pain. And the benefits may even extend beyond cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been long touted for the treatment of pain management. The results were published in the BMJ Journal for Medical Humanities.

“Our study indicated that shared reading could potentially be an alternative to CBT in bringing into conscious awareness areas of emotional pain otherwise passively suffered by chronic pain patients,” said study leader Dr. Josie Billington from the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature, and Society (CRILS).

Opioid-Free Ways to Manage Pain
This is especially good news in lieu of our growing opioid abuse epidemic. As you likely already know, prescription painkillers (like OxyContin, Vicodin and codeine) may bring relief – but there's often a high cost. These drugs can be highly addictive and even deadly. Luckily, there are many alternative, non-opioid methods that have been proven successful for individuals suffering from chronic pain. Talk to your healthcare professional to determine if any of these treatment methods may work for you:
  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
Help at The Haven
If you’re suffering from chronic pain and opioid addiction, our credentialed staff will teach you the skills needed to stay sober and manage your pain. Our specialized therapies include hypnotherapy, sound therapy and more. Call us today: 805-202-3440.






Tuesday, February 28, 2017

4 Ways to Manage Seasonal Lows

If you experience seasonal lows — or what’s commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — you may be feeling less than your best this time of year.

SAD impacts nearly half a million Americans and those who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are highly susceptible. That’s because, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than 20 percent of patients with any mood disorder are also living with a substance use disorder.

SAD can cause feelings of depression, irritability and fatigue and it can impact your everyday life. The cause isn’t exactly known, but a lack of light and vitamin D, a nutrient made by the body when exposed to sunlight, are likely culprits. So, in addition to spending as much time outside as possible, what else can you do to lift your mood? Hint: Some of the same healthy habits that will help your recovery.
  1. Work out: Once again, exercise tops the list for overall wellness. And breaking a sweat can certainly combat the winter blues. Studies have linked exercise to fewer depression symptoms, most likely due to its ability to stimulate the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which impacts mood.
  2. Eat properly. Proper nutrition is yet another powerful tool to keep your mind and body happy all season long. Specifically, eating omega-3-rich foods (think fatty fish and nuts) has been study-proven to help alleviate the winter doldrums. 
  3. Stay social. Surrounding yourself with positive people can have a positive impact on your mood. Similarly, doing a good deed for someone else, through volunteering, can make you happier and more confident as you weather the seasonal lows. 
  4. Make a mind-body connection. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage have all been shown to decrease the symptoms of SAD, resulting in better sleep and less stress and anxiety. 
Holistic Healing at The Haven
We offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including acupuncture and massage and yoga and meditation to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Stay Well This Cold and Flu Season

The flu season is near its peak – and, if you haven’t already, your best protection is to get a flu shot. Being on the road to recovery is also a crucial step; addiction can do a number on your immune system. 

In addition, there are several simple (and needle-free) ways to boost your immunity and decrease your risk of getting sick this season. Start with these strategies. 
  • Skip processed foods. Junk food high in polyunsaturated fats tend to suppress the immune system and sugar inhibits phagocytosis, the process by which viruses and bacteria are engulfed and then literally chewed up by white blood cells, according to Prevention.com. Your best bet is to load up on nutrient dense foods full of antioxidants. Some options: dark, leafy greens, berries, salmon, and sweet potatoes.
  • Crack the windows. Letting the air in will help chase the germs out. This is especially important, since indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air. 
  • Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation has been associated with poor immune function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Aim for at least seven hours a night. 
  • Get moving. And yet another benefit of exercise: People who exercise in moderation report fewer colds, according to experts at American Council on Exercise. So what’s moderate? One study showed that people who take a moderate-intensity walk for 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds or sore throats as those who don’t exercise.
  • Don’t let laundry pile up. This isn’t the time to get lazy on your laundry. Aim to wash hand towels in hot water every three or four days during cold and flu season. 
Stay Well at The Haven
Addiction leads to poor habits and the general neglect of self-care. The Haven at Pismo offers fitness amenities, stress management therapies and nutritional counseling to help clients feel their best and stay healthy during rehab and beyond. To learn more, call: 805-202-3440.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Finding Your Mantra

Mantras are great tools for people in recovery. For one, they can help to keep you calm – just repeat to yourself “breathe” the next time you feel anxious. They can also help you fend off cravings – “I will not give into cravings” – and help you stop yourself from using again. 

Indeed, repeating a few simply keywords or phrases has been shown to alter your thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors – pretty powerful stuff! 

You don’t have to be a wordsmith, either. There are no rules when it comes to what to say; experiment with some phrases to see what keeps you calm and focused on your recovery. If you need ideas, we have a few mantras below for you to try. 

“I am in control of my destiny. That’s right, your addiction is no longer in control. With sobriety comes the ability to steer your thoughts, actions, and destiny – and this simple phrase can keep you going in the right direction.

“I deserve a better life.”  Many people struggle with low self-esteem or feelings of self-depreciation during recovery. Uttering this phrase (or some variation of it) can remind you that you are worthy of a healthy, rich, and sober life, no matter your past wrongs. 

“I am not alone in my recovery. Feelings of isolation can be a slippery slope into relapse, so the next time you feel lonely chant these words to remind yourself that you can turn to friends, family members, or addiction professionals to help support your recovery.

Staying Centered at The Haven
Taking a few moments to meditate before stressful situations can lead to more mindful decisions and greater strength to remain sober. At The Haven at Pismo, we offer a variety of holistic treatment approaches, including yoga and meditation, to our clients. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Alcohol Abuse Linked to Higher Heart Risk

A new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, links too much drinking with an increased risk of heart troubles. 

Specifically, researchers found that alcohol abuse led to a doubled risk of atrial fibrillation, a 1.4-fold higher risk of heart attack and a 2.3-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure.

They also estimated that eliminating alcohol abuse would result in more than 73,000 fewer atrial fibrillation cases, 34,000 fewer heart attacks and 91,000 fewer patients with congestive heart failure in the U.S. alone. 

6 Habits for a Healthier Heart
So it goes without saying that getting help for your addiction is perhaps the best thing you can do for your heart! And, if you’re already in recovery, you can continue to care for this vital organ with a few heart-healthy steps.

  1. Say yes to fatty fish. Adding a few servings of salmon, herring, sardines or tuna, for example, to your diet can reduce your risk of a heart attack. It can help fend off depression, too, as they are rich in mood-boosting omega-3s. 
  2. Learn the facts about fat. There are good fats (mono- and polyunsaturated) and bad fats (trans fats, hydrogenated oils and saturated fats). And a heart-healthy diet should include good fats, limit saturated fats, and keep trans fats as low as possible, according to the American Heart Association.
  3. Quit smoking. Nicotine releases a toxin that lowers the HDL (good) cholesterol in your body, putting your heart at risk.
  4. Commit to exercise. Physical activity boosts HDL cholesterol, lowers LDL cholesterol, and minimizes plaque build-up in your arteries – plus it keep stress at bay. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging, cycling, hiking, playing tennis) most days of the week. 
  5. Make sleep a priority. Getting proper rest is a necessity for protecting your ticker. One study linked less than six hours of sleep per night with an increased risk for heart disease. 
  6. Meditate daily. This ancient practice has been study-proven to reduce stress and improve LDL levels. 
Alcohol Addiction Help at The Haven
Located in a tranquil beach town, The Haven at Pismo's inpatient addiction rehab provides a supporting living environment to begin your journey toward sobriety. We provide comprehensive care that is customized to your needs. To learn more, call today: 805-202-3440.