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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Myths and Facts About PTSD

There’s tons of research about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and yet myths abound. Dispelling these myths is important, however. Not only will it help ease the stigma attached to PTSD but it will also encourage those suffering from PTSD to get help. 

In honor of National PTSD awareness month this June, we’re talking about three common myths about PTSD – and the real facts, according to the PTSD alliance.

Myth #1: PTSD only affects military veterans. 
Certainly PTSD is common among veterans, but anyone can develop PTSD and at any age, even children. According to research, 70 percent of Americans will experience some type of major trauma within their lives and, of that group, 20 percent will develop PTSD symptoms. It might also be surprising to discover that women have a higher risk than men. In fact, they are two times more likely to experience PTSD symptoms. One possible explanation: Women are often more susceptible to traumatic events like domestic violence and rape.

Myth #2: PTSD happens immediately after a traumatic event and your risk lessens as time passes. 
PTSD symptoms often happen within three months after the traumatic event and can happen continuously for years. It can also take months or even years for symptoms to arise and these symptoms can come and go throughout the years. PTSD is often tricky as it’s difficult to recognize the symptoms, especially if some time has passed since the trauma, and it’s often mistaken for depression. 

Myth #3: PTSD is just mental weakness. People should just “get over” traumatic events of life.
This is perhaps the most damaging myth that exists regarding PTSD. While many people experience trauma and then return to a normal life after a period of time, some individuals develop PTSD depending on the type, severity and longevity of the trauma experienced. In addition, the following factors play a role:
  • Personality traits
  • How the brain releases chemicals to combat stress
  • Whether the individual experienced childhood trauma
  • Lack of social support 
Treating Addiction and PTSD
Yet another myth may be that drinking and doing drugs can help ease symptoms of PTSD. In fact, this type of self-medicating can worsen symptoms and decrease functioning across many areas of life. Luckily, proper treatment can help. Contact us today to learn more about how The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and manage the symptoms of PTSD without resorting to self-medicating. Call: 805-202-3440.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

PTSD Awareness Month: Encouraging Treatment and Recovery

Most people who struggle with addiction have a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When a person suffers from two conditions simultaneously it is referred to as a dual diagnosis; the symptoms of each problem exacerbate one another, making the prospects of recovery more complicated. People will often use drugs and alcohol to assuage the symptoms of their dual pathology; for a time, self-medication can have the desired effect, but in the end, the ameliorating effects of substance use are always fleeting.

Believe it or not, individuals who make the courageous decision to seek treatment are, in many cases, unaware that they meet the criteria for a separate mental illness. Upon arriving at a treatment center, people maintain that they are just there to nip their alcohol or substance use in the bud. Such people soon find out that there is more to their story than run-of-the-mill addiction; and, if steps are not taken to address a dual diagnosis, lasting progress is unlikely.

It is vital that treatment centers address both mental health conditions simultaneously if long-term recovery is to be made a reality. Multiple psychological health disorders accompany addiction; during June, it is critical that we discuss PTSD in particular. We are now nearly halfway through PTSD Awareness Month; hopefully, you will join us in our efforts to disseminate the message that there are effective treatments available for this most debilitating mental illness.

PTSD Doesn’t Just Affect Veterans

Over the centuries the condition that we now refer to as PTSD has gone by many names; there are a few that you have likely heard of before: melancholy, battle fatigue, and shell shock. Post-traumatic stress has been called a host of things, but one thing that is consistent is the symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to experience combat to experience the kind of trauma that can result in post-traumatic stress. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 6 of every ten men and 5 of every ten women experience at least one trauma in their lives; about 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.

Witnessing a horrific event or being assaulted, for example, can leave a lasting mark on people’s psyche. When people experience something too difficult for their mind to handle a change occurs; they may find it difficult to be in certain situations for years to come. PTSD symptoms include:
  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms): Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the event took place.
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event: You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings: The way you think about yourself and others changes because of the trauma.
  • Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal): You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable.
Individuals who experience the above symptoms must receive treatment; a failure to address one’s symptoms can lead to self-harm and self-defeating behaviors. As was mentioned earlier, such people are likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms; the practice of self-medication often results in substance dependence and use disorders. Conversely, people with alcohol and substance use disorders often experience traumatic events that can lead to PSTD; alcoholics and addicts find themselves in precarious situations, regularly. It doesn’t matter which condition comes first; what is essential is that both disorders are treated.


Co-Occurring Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms of PTSD without resorting to self-medicating. Please contact us today to find out more information about our program.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reading In Addiction Recovery

It doesn’t take long for people new to a program of recovery to figure out that they will be doing a lot of reading. Whether it’s reading educational handouts from treatment centers and therapists, or program-approved literature, much time is spent flipping through pages. At the end of the day, embarking upon a journey of recovery requires unlearning past behaviors through learning new modalities of being. How one thinks, acts, and sees the world in recovery should be completely different from one’s existence in active addiction; in order to accomplish the task of living for long-term recovery, people need to be committed to changing most things in their life. One way to achieve such goals is to learn from those who came before; you can mine a lot of valuable information from the experiences of others.

In recovery, you are not alone; together you can bring about a paradigm shift for the better. Those who attend meetings of recovery on the regular hear about what others do to say clean and sober; such people learn what works, and more importantly what doesn’t. The goal is to take valuable lessons from other peoples’ experiences and adapt them to suit your needs for leading a productive life.

Of course, you can’t always be in a meeting or on the phone with your sponsor or recovery mentor; after you have read through program-sanctioned literature, you will want to broaden your horizons before rereading those materials. Keeping your program fresh depends on finding insight from other sources; and, the good news is that many people have written on the subject of addiction and recovery.

Reading for Recovery

Two weeks from now marks the beginning of summer which means that some of you will have some time to travel or relax on the beach. You might find that this an excellent time to glean some insight from people in recovery who have written about leading a life in recovery. There is a lot to choose from, some things written by addicts and alcoholics, while others come from parents and experts in the field of addiction medicine.

Those of you in the earliest stages of recovery should exercise some caution when deciding what to read. As you can probably imagine, some books might include sections that are difficult to handle while you are still fragile. What’s more, you don’t want to read anything that might elicit cravings or worse, trigger a relapse. If you are thinking about reading something that delves into the subject of addiction, ask your support group beforehand; they may have some insight to impart to you about the book. On another note, books you read in early recovery do not have to deal with addiction, per se; you can always get a lot out for books that focus on overcoming hardship and the human quest for making sense of existence. Below you will find a few examples that might help you on the road of recovery:

The Precious Present (1984) by Spencer Johnson, M.D.: A short read, this book is perfect for people in recovery who struggle with focusing on the here and now. Staying present is a vital component of recovery, this book could prove invaluable to your program.

"The precious present has nothing to do with wishing. The richness of the precious present comes from its own source. The precious present is not something that someone gives you. It is something that you give to yourself." 

Man’s Search for Meaning (1946) by Viktor Frankl: Another short book with much to offer about overcoming adversity and finding a higher power. While the writing deals with the Holocaust and some of the horrors that made up that chapter of history, the text belongs to a list of the ten most influential books in the United States.

“What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our question must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.” 

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath (2018) by Leslie Jamison: This might be a book more for individuals who have been in the program for some time. Jamison’s book asks and answers some hard questions about getting clean and sober. Many people tell themselves that if they find recovery then they will have to sacrifice their art, Jamison begs to differ. Goodreads writes:

“With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us.”


Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms of a co-occurring mental health disorder without resorting to self-medicating. Please contact us today to find out more information about our program.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pot and Opioids Rival Alcohol in Fatal Car Crashes

drug-impaired drivingIf you think driving on opioids or after smoking pot is no big deal, think again. Driving while under the influence of these drugs can be almost as deadly as drinking and driving, according to a new report. 

In fact, the latest figures from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that 44 percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs in 2016 – with 38 percent having marijuana in their system, 16 percent opioids and 4 percent both.

"Too many people operate under the false belief that marijuana or opioids don't impair their ability to drive, or even that these drugs make them safer drivers," Jonathan Adkins, GHSA executive director, said in an association news release.

"Busting this myth requires states to expand their impaired driving campaigns to include marijuana and opioids along with alcohol, to show drivers that impairment is impairment, regardless of substance," he added.

This is not without challenges, however. For one, drivers need to be tested for a large number of drugs and right now there’s no nationally accepted way of testing drivers for drugs. Also, different drugs have different effects on individual drivers depending on how they act in the brain. For example, marijuana can impair judgment of time and distance, decrease coordination, poor reaction time and increase lane weaving, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). And mixing pot with alcohol can cause even more impairment. 

This brings us to yet another challenge: Many drivers mix drugs and alcohol. In 2016, 49 percent who tested positive for alcohol also tested positive for drugs, according to the news release.

"Alcohol-impaired driving and drug-impaired driving can no longer be treated as separate issues,” Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of, a foundation that promotes responsible use of alcohol, told HealthDay. “To curb impaired driving, we have to think about the combination of substances drivers are often putting into their systems at the same time."

So what’s the solution? For now, the Governors Highway Safety Association and have teamed up to train nearly 1,000 police officers to recognize and deter drugged drivers.

Getting Help for Drug or Alcohol Abuse
The best way to keep yourself and others safe on the road is to get help if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs. 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. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Raising Awareness About Mental Health and Addiction

mental health disorder
The disease of addiction is not a simple matter; it doesn’t merely affect the addict or alcoholic, the condition impacts the entire family. Healing is possible for anyone who is willing to take proactive steps and seek assistance. However, it is a troubling reality that some individuals are unable to manage a program of recovery; this is especially true for the more than half of all people living with the disease who also struggle with a co-occurring mental illness.

It’s paramount for persons living with alcohol and substance use disorders to receive simultaneous treatment for their use disorder and dual diagnosis to achieve lasting progress. Depression often goes hand-in-hand with the disease of addiction complicating people’s ability to affect change in their own lives. Failing to manage depressive symptoms properly, or lacking the necessary coping skills, significantly increases the likelihood of alcohol and substance use relapse.

Dual diagnosis cases are veritable snake-eating-its-tail scenarios. One may learn how to manage their addiction with the aid of a recovery program only to have their hard work compromised by a co-occurring mental health disorder. Conversely, those using drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for instance, end up exacerbating their psychological manifestations. Self-medication is never a viable method for managing mental illness.

Raising Awareness About Mental Health, Addiction, and Suicide

On May 18, 2017, the frontman of Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, took his life after battling addiction and depression for years. A couple of months later on July 20, 2017, Linkin Park singer and songwriter Chester Bennington committed suicide, as well. As with Cornell, depression, and addiction were mitigating factors in Bennington’s death. Now, roughly a year later, actions are underway to prevent other people from suffering similar fates.

Chris’ widow, Vicky Cornell, is doing her part to help people living with mental illness by launching the Addiction Resource Center (ARC), Yahoo News reports. ARC is an online resource for anyone living with the disease of addiction and their families; the campaign provides the Addiction Resource Line (ARL), which connects those struggling with mental illness with mental health clinicians and peer recovery support advocates.

"Addiction is a preventable and treatable disease,” Mrs. Cornell said in a statement. "While it’s too late to bring Chris back, it’s not too late for millions of other people who are struggling with addiction."

Talinda Bennington, Chester’s widow, is also using her husband's passing as an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health disorders and suicide via social media, according to the article. “If my husband's death saves one life, then it's not in vain,” says Talinda Bennington. We can all play a role in helping others find recovery.

When we have conversations about mental illness, we break down the stigma that accompanies such conditions, in turn, encouraging people to break their silence and seek help.


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and assist you in learning how to manage the symptoms of a co-occurring mental health disorder without resorting to self-medicating. Please contact us today to find out more information about our program.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Right Friends for Your Recovery

friends for recoveryA big part of a successful recovery is being surrounded by a solid support group – and this includes the right type of friends. Embracing a healthy life requires making an effort to meet positive people who will support your sobriety and help you to create new exciting memories. 

Putting your new sober self out there socially takes courage, but you can do it. Here’s a little help: 
  • Sign up for a sport or hobby: Check your area for any local running groups, yoga classes, cooking courses or another activity that will allow you to meet like-minded people. You could also consider volunteering, which is a great way to give back to the community and expand your network of friends.
  • Practice, practice, practice: The more you talk to new people, the easier it will become. Try to really make an ongoing effort to make new friends and then keep those relationships going. Like everything else worthwhile in life, creating new friendships takes practice. 
  • Be yourself: It’s likely easier said than done but try to put your best foot forward and be yourself. If you’re worried about getting tongue-tied or saying something stupid, consider doing some role playing with a loved one or trusted friend.
  • Put on your event planner hat: Whether you invite some friends for coffee or a walk in the park, taking the initiative to arrange a get-together will go a long way in showing new friends you’d like to get to know them better. 
  • Be patient: Building friendships is not an overnight process, so be patient and remember each day in recovery is a new chance to become a better friend and a better you! 
Continual Growth at Complete Harmony
Our team of credentialed clinicians helps you explore your own recovery journey while learning to heal relationships and build a sober social network. For more information about our cutting edge treatments, call us today: 866-930-4673.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

NPW: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana

National Prevention Week
May is Mental Health Month, and this is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Prevention Week (NPW). With summer closing in, SAMHSA is using this opportunity to raise awareness about behavioral health issues and to implement alcohol and substance use prevention strategies. There are several ways that organizations, communities, schools can join forces to educate young people about the value of abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

Addiction can develop in individuals when they are young; research shows that those adolescents and young adults who initiate substance use are at a heightened risk of use disorder. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that young people have several misconceptions about drugs and alcohol, particularly regarding the use of marijuana. For instance, a statistically relevant number of teens believe that cannabis use carries little risk; a mindset that is reinforced by states relaxing their stance on marijuana.

Teenagers, young adults, and parents alike, must understand that "legal" doesn’t mean safe. Cannabis can have a detrimental effect on developing brains, and regular use of the drug can result in cannabis use disorder or marijuana addiction. It is not widely known that habitual “pot” smokers often experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to abstain. It is vital that efforts are taken to disseminate the facts on cannabis use and implore teens to exercise caution.

Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana

The primary theme of National Prevention Week is: Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow. The steps that communities will take today to prevent substance use and reinforce positive mental health, will pay off exponentially down the road. The events this week include a variety of sub-themes, including:
  • Monday, May 14: Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness
  • Tuesday, May 15: Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Misuse
  • Wednesday, May 16: Prevention of Prescription & Opioid Drug Misuse
  • Thursday, May 17: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana
  • Friday, May 18: Prevention of Suicide
  • Saturday, May 19: Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use
Today’s theme is: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana. Among 18 to 22-year olds, research shows that first-time use of marijuana spikes during the summer months of June and July. Right now, teens and college students are still in class; but, they will not be for much longer. National Prevention Week is a perfect opportunity to talk with American youths about drug use and encourage them to take part in the NPW Prevention Challenge: Dear Future Me. SAMHSA asks young people:

“What would you say to your future self about what you’re doing today to ensure a healthier tomorrow?"



Taking part in the challenge is fairly straightforward; and, those who get involved not only help themselves, they encourage others to take action today for a healthier tomorrow. You can find the guidelines below:

  1. Write a letter or draw a picture about the choices you’re making to live a healthy, happy life.
  2. Take a picture of your letter or record a video of yourself reading your letter.
  3. Share it on social media using the hashtag #DearFutureMe and #NPW2018.
  4. Tag a few friends so they can participate and add their Dear Future Me letter to the NPW conversation.
  5. Share any or all of the Dear Future Me videos on social media to encourage others to participate as well.
Please watch a short video below to get a feel for the challenge:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

The more you can do to protect your future, the better! It is likely that some people are not comfortable with sharing their thoughts on this critical subject matter, and that is OK; however, there are still myriad things you can do today for your future's sake. Even if you have begun experimenting with drugs and alcohol, you can take steps to pivot away from such behaviors and ensure that an unhealthy relationship with substances doesn't develop.


Young Adult Addiction Treatment

If you are a young adult who is struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact The Haven at Pismo. We can help you begin a life-saving journey of addiction recovery. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Strengthening Your Addiction Recovery Through Service

addiction recovery
In early recovery, many people often find themselves with more time than they know what to do with; thanks to no longer having to dedicate nearly every waking hour to fueling their disease. No longer having to figure out how you're going to keep from going into withdrawal frees up a massive chunk of your day allowing you to focus on making progress. Having some downtime is not inherently dangerous, provided however that people in recovery use those hours productively, i.e., going to meetings, socializing with others in one’s support network, and exercising. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect those who are working a program will always be at a meeting, so it's vital that individuals in recovery seek out new ways to fill their time.

If you are a person committed to keeping the disease of addiction at bay, then you have probably come to the realization that your head isn’t the safest place in which to loiter. Meaning, when you have nothing “to do” you might be apt to ruminate about the past or the future unless you find ways to stay busy. Since most people's recovery history is laden with painful experiences, spending too much time thinking about it can be risky. On the other end, spending inordinate amounts of time dreaming of what the future holds can lead to restlessness and impatience; after all, the gift and blessings of recovery can take a stretch to manifest. Simply put, it is paramount for those in the program to stay in the here-and-now, the “precious present.”

Once in the program, it can take some time for individuals to figure out how to stay productive, even when it seems like you don’t have to occupy time. A good number of people will choose to fill up free space in their schedule, particularly in the evening, with television. Others might opt to read some recovery-related material, which is always a healthier choice than TV. There is a number of things that you can choose to do that will help you stay present, although some activities can strengthen your recovery.

Staying Present in Recovery

In the first six months to a year of peoples’ sobriety, it is wise to adhere firmly to the suggestions proffered in treatment and from your support group. Recommendations which could include doing step work (e.g., Fourth Step Inventory), reading your Big Book, meetings, prayer, and meditation. The goal is to immerse yourself in living an entirely new way, leading a life that doesn’t revolve around selfish and self-defeating behaviors. Dedicating yourself to following the lead of others will better protect you from doing anything that could jeopardize your program.

After months of doing many of the same things repetitively, your actions become second nature. The things you do day-in-and-day-out for recovery will commence without having to think about it. While such a reality is a good thing, there are some who may start to feel like their life today is a touch mundane and tedious; this is a feeling that many people share after being clean and sober for a time. If you've begun feeling that way about your life today, it is critical that you take steps to invigorate your program and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through being of service to others.

There are a good many ways that you can help your program and add color to your life through helping others, both inside the “rooms” and out. If you have a significant amount of idle time during your week, perhaps you might look for volunteering opportunities in your area. Giving back to your community is an excellent way to break up the monotony of the week. Another way you can give back is by volunteering to offer a ride to a "newcomer" who finds it difficult to get to a meeting; or, invite somebody new to get coffee after attending your “homegroup.” Whenever you are in service to others, you are not in service to your addiction.

Addiction Treatment

During National Nurses Week we would like to honor every nurse who has selflessly volunteered their time, caring and showing compassion for those struggling with addiction. Nurses are an invaluable asset to the field of addiction medicine. At The Haven, we thank you for your service!

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin a life-saving journey of addiction recovery. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mental Health Month: The Gut-Mental Health Link

gut-mental health linkMay is Mental Health Month and, as part of its Fitness #4Mind4Body theme, Mental Health America (MHA) is spreading awareness about the gut-brain connection. Or, simply put, how a happy gut translates into a happier you. More and more research is revealing the mental health benefits of a healthy gut population of beneficial bacteria. One theory is that healthy gut bacteria increases blood levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that increases brain levels of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin (which are often low in people with depression).

And, in fact, there’s a strong relationship between having mental health problems and having gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation and/or diarrhea. This is because anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome, according to MHA. 

Several factors contribute to the health of your gut microbiome – like your environment, exercise, sleep and stress – but eating a balanced and nutritious diet is the most important thing you can do to keep your gut healthy.

Start with these gut-friendly diet tips from MHA: 
  • Eat a diet full of whole grains, lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.
  • Skip sugary, fried, or processed foods and soft drinks.
  • Fill up on prebiotic foods like asparagus, bananas (especially if they aren’t quite ripe), garlic, onions, jicama, tomatoes, apples, berries and mangos.
  • Add probiotic foods to your diet, including yogurt (live or active cultures), unpasteurized sauerkraut and kimchi, miso soup, kefir, kombucha (fermented black tea), tempeh (made of soy beans) and apple cider vinegar.
  • Consider probiotic supplements. Make sure the type of bacteria is listed on the bottle – Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are common – and that the label says that the bacteria are live and there are billions of colony forming units (CFUs).
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
The Haven at Pismo offers clients with co-occurring addiction and mental illness a continuum of care in one recovery program. To learn more about our integrated dual-diagnosis treatment program, call us today: 805-202-3440. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Treating Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

co-occurring disorders
April was an important month regarding alcohol use disorder, treatment, and substance misuse prevention. The month of April was Alcohol Awareness Month, last week was National Addiction Treatment Week, and this past Saturday Americans did their part to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs safely. It should go without saying that the effort to combat stigma and encourage people to seek treatment is a year-round mission; millions of people are still struggling and don’t feel that they can reach out for help without consequence. Even though the events of April have come and gone, this is an equally critical month; in fact, May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Alcohol and substance use disorders are forms of mental illness; and, like any mental health condition, there isn’t a cure for addiction. Fortunately, there are effective, science-based treatments that can help individuals break the cycle of addiction and learn ways to cope in life without resorting to drugs and alcohol. Adopting a program of recovery is not a simple task, it is an enormous commitment; yet, with help, the burden becomes lighter and long-term recovery is possible.

As was pointed out above, addiction is a mental illness; it is worth mentioning that a vast number of people suffering from addiction, also contend with a co-occurring mental health disorder. As a matter of fact, of some 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder in 2014, 50.5% (10.2 million adults) also met the criteria for dual diagnosis. Persons affected by both addiction, as well as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, require treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously. Treating one illness and not the other, significantly impacts treatment outcomes.

Mental Health: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

Long-term alcohol and drug use take a severe toll on both mind and body. In many cases, addiction precedes the onset of a condition such as depression; however, in other cases, individuals began using substances in order to cope with the symptoms of their mental illness. Self-medication may help people contend with their symptoms initially but over time the reverse is seen, and addiction often develops. Drug and alcohol use exacerbates the symptoms of mental illness in the long run.

The order, addiction before depression, or vice versa, is important insofar as how clinicians go about treating one individual from the next. What’s most salient though is that both the use disorder and dual diagnosis receive concurrent treatment. In some situations, people struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder learn that they meet the criteria for another mental health condition while in treatment.

Learning that another disease is at play, and may have been all along, can be an illuminating realization. Such discoveries help clients understand some of the reasons for their use and abuse. Knowing why you feel the way you do gives one the ability to take nondestructive steps to cope with their symptoms of depression, anxiety, et al.; in turn, mitigating the risk of acting on cravings and experiencing a relapse. Managing both illnesses together is the best path to lasting recovery.


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo offers an integrated dual-diagnosis treatment program that addresses clients’ addiction and co-occurring disorder in one recovery program. Mental Health Month is a perfect opportunity to reach out for help and begin the remarkable, life-saving journey of recovery. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Your Recovery Support Network is Vital

Those who complete a residential or intensive outpatient program are taught valuable lessons and learn how to use tools for navigating through life in recovery. Steering clear of drugs and alcohol is no easy feat to accomplish; those set on long-term progress must be ever-vigilant, and recovery has to come first. Always! Triggers are everywhere, after all; how you react to them is of critical importance. In early recovery, picking up the phone and calling for assistance versus acting on a craving is extremely difficult. With that in mind, it is crucial that you take steps to avoid any and all things that can precipitate a relapse.

One of the surest ways to distance yourself from risky situations is to stick close to your support network on a daily basis, particularly in your first year of recovery. Those who are apt to succeed at achieving lasting recovery are people who communicate each day with at least one person who is also working a program; such people could be your sponsor, recovery coach, or one of your peers who is walking the Path with determination, too. Communication is a pillar of progress; when you talk about what is going on mentally and emotionally with another person it is less likely that you will act on an impulse to use. What’s more, through discussing your issues you are better able to find a resolution.

It is worth reminding yourself on a daily basis that success rests on altering, adjusting, or correcting anything in your life that is not conducive to recovery. After treatment, many people find that they still have desires that are not in accord with their goal, i.e., making contact with old friends or visiting places that one associates with past alcohol and substance use. Such urges are people’s addiction trying to return to the spotlight, the disease vying for your attention. Please resist the temptation to make any form of contact with the people with whom you used drugs and alcohol; today, you are charting a different course than those individuals, interaction with such people with only bring trouble.


Acting In Accord With Recovery


In early recovery it is only natural to have many questions; remember, after living in active addiction for “X” years it stands to reason that most of what you are doing today is foreign. You learned many valuable teachings in treatment, but some of the most salient lessons have yet to occur. When the protective guard rails of rehab are no longer beside you, then you must depend on others in recovery to keep from veering off course.

If you find yourself unsure if a given behavior or action will jeopardize your program, just ask someone with more time than you—they too have been in your shoes. There is no such thing as a wrong question in recovery; however, those who are unwilling to ask questions set themselves up to make the wrong decision. There are many uncertainties in early addiction recovery and a plethora of obstacles that can stand in your way; reaching out to others and heeding their suggestions will help you stay grounded and on track.

Are you getting to enough meetings? Have you spent time with or made a phone call to someone in recovery lately? If not, please take steps to engage with your peers and be a part of recovery. You get as much out of a program as you invest; there is not a cure for the disease of addiction, continued maintenance is a non-negotiable requirement for progress.


Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help anyone struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

prescription opioids
It’s been nearly two decades since the American opioid addiction epidemic began. The crisis is the result, most experts agree, of changes made in how physicians treat and manage patient pain. Up until the late 1990s doctors were extremely reticent about prescribing high doses of opioid painkillers for extended periods of time. Then, concerns about patient comfort and subsequent quality of life led primary care providers to literally “flip the `script;” overprescribing became less of a rarity and practically the rule.

Most people are aware of the dangers of prescription narcotics today, thanks in part to constant media coverage of the devastation wreaked upon the nation from the use of drugs like OxyContin. More than 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Wonder database. It probably will not come as a surprise to learn that the majority of overdoses stem from prescription opioids.

It can be easy to conclude that the people dying prematurely from overdose are “hardened” drug addicts; this is due to the ever-persistent stigma of addiction. However, and in many cases, overdose victims are young adults who had the misfortune of being introduced to the substances via a friend or a family member. While opioids are the number one offender in the home medicine cabinet, the general public must not lose sight of the fact that any narcotic a doctor prescribes can precipitate disastrous consequences, such as addiction and overdose. More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan.


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The medicine cabinet is often a repository of some of the most harmful drugs, to be sure. The good news is that WE all have the power to help prevent addiction and save lives. This Saturday is the 15th DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Given that the majority of abused prescription drugs are acquired from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet, it is clear that the onus is on everyone to help stem the tide.

Please take a moment to watch a short PSA on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Do you know that:
  • The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.
  • The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends — and the home medicine cabinet.
  • Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.
Prescription narcotics are a public health issue that must be a priority. If you have unused or unwanted drugs that carry habit-forming potential, please use the DEA’s collection site locator to find out where to go in your area. If you are unable to get to a drop site this Saturday, don’t worry, there are year-round locations you can find here.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help anyone in the grips of opioid use disorder, whether it be OxyContin or heroin. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Your Spring Recovery To-Do List

Springtime is full of fun and sober activities that can help your recovery and overall health. Here are a few good ones to add to your recovery to-do list this season.
spring recovery to-dos
  • Start your day with a morning walk or jog. When you exercise outdoors you get the mental health benefits of the physical activity itself as well as nature. Whether you choose to walk or jog – or a combination of both – adding outdoor exercise to your spring recovery routine is a great way to fend off stress, be more upbeat and heal your physical and mental self from past trauma. 
  • Plant a garden. Not only is gardening a great form of physical exercise – one hour is equivalent to roughly 35 minutes of jogging – but it’s also a great mental workout. And you don’t even need a green thumb to reap the recovery benefits, which include more patience, persistence and better planning.
  • Head to your farmer’s market. Stock up on spring produce – asparagus, fava beans, strawberries – to fuel your brain and body for the hard work of recovery. And while you’re there, why not treat yourself to some beautiful fresh flowers or herbs to spice up your cooking.
  • Go for a hike. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon with Mother Nature to reduce your mind’s propensity to “ruminate” — or focus on negative, self-focused patterns linked with anxiety and depression. 
  • Read under a tree. Building a better sober life means finding activities that keep your mind busy and strong and a good book can certainly do that and more. Reading has been linked to many recovery benefits, including better sleep and less stress.
  • Spring clean your mental cobwebs. It’s the perfect season to open the windows, let the sun shine in and let go of all of those negative thoughts and worries cluttering your mind. You can start by jotting down three things you can do today to free up your mental space. 
Begin Holistic Addiction Treatment Today
Haven offers its clients a long list of holistic therapies that emphasize body, mind, and spiritual healing. To learn more about our alternative treatment avenues, call our admissions team at 805-202-3440.

Friday, April 20, 2018

National Addiction Treatment Week

addiction treatment
Millions of Americans are currently struggling with mental illness in the form of alcohol and substance use disorder. We must share the fact that treatment works, and recovery is possible. Additionally, in order for people to receive the assistance they require, we have to reassure individuals that they are not at fault for their condition, despite the stigma of addiction that persists.

Addiction is a debilitating disease and society should treat it as such, of course convincing the general public of this reality is no easy task. While it is factual that we have come a long way regarding stigma, we still have miles to go to increase public awareness and encourage those suffering to seek treatment. This month, people are working tirelessly to share information about alcohol. Experts hope to reach young people and parents across the country with the goal of steering those in need toward treatment and programs of recovery.

While April is Alcohol Awareness Month, April 23rd through April 29th is National Addiction Treatment Week. Treatment centers are often the first stop on the road to lasting recovery. What’s more, people who seek help in such facilities are more likely to stay on course in early recovery. Equipped with tools for coping and a roadmap highlighting pitfall-laden areas, people who complete a residential program are positioned to excel.


National Addiction Treatment Week

Alcohol and substance use disorders can affect anyone, regardless of where they come from in life. In fact, according to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (2016), nearly 20.5 million Americans are struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD); the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that only 1 in 10 people with a SUD receives treatment. The numbers are a clear indication that treatment is both underutilized and, in many cases, difficult to access; however, the trend is reversible through coordinated efforts like National Addiction Treatment Week.

Throughout the coming week, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) would also like to inspire more people to seek careers in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM calls for fostering a “qualified addiction medicine workforce.” You can find more information about events taking place next week at You can also share facts about addiction on social media using: #TreatmentWeek.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “National Addiction Treatment Week supports ASAM’s dedication to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, and helping physicians treat addiction and save lives.”


Ignoring Stigma, Seeking Treatment

At The Haven, we understand stigma's paralyzing effect on people who live with any mental illness; we know how it keeps individuals from receiving the care they require. Please know that you are not alone, addiction is a disease not a lack of willpower, and treatment works. We offer a number of programs, including our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) which features the ASAM curriculum. If you are ready to take certain steps to break the cycle of addiction and begin a remarkable journey of recovery, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Friday, April 13, 2018

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is a pivotal month regarding alcohol education and prevention, use, abuse, treatment, and recovery. That is because this is Alcohol Awareness Month, a yearly observance led by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). The advocacy organization focuses on alcohol and substance use disorder and the consequences that accompany such conditions.

Given that most people who develop alcohol-related disorders begin using the substance in adolescence, it is vital that young people have all the facts. Alcohol use disorder may take its victims at a slower pace than opioids, but the overall cost of life stemming from alcohol use is far more significant than prescription painkillers and heroin.

One of the most substantial obstacles deterring people from fully grasping the risks of alcohol is the substance’s pervasive nature in our culture. It is no secret that most Americans view alcohol use as a rite of passage when they turn 21; most adult drinkers, although, began a relationship with alcohol at an earlier age. If experts, parents, and teachers can reach young persons before drinking initiates, they can help spare millions of people from years of heartache and physical malady.


Alcohol Facts

The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” One of NCADD’s goals is to educate parents about the unique role they can have in guiding their children’s use of alcohol. Throughout the course of April, experts are speaking at events across the country educating individuals about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder, especially among our youth. Did you know that 623,000 adolescents (12–17) met the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015?

“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and CEO of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.” 

While the damage of alcohol use often occurs slowly over the course of years, that is far from always being the case. In fact, NCADD reports:
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Teens who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
We understand that talking to teenagers about alcohol and substance use is not always painless. However, there are resources available to help guide you, to ensure the conversations you have with your kids bear fruit.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, The Haven at Pismo can help. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our program. 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Should Men and Women be Treated for Depression Differently?

In 2016, roughly 16.2 million U.S. adults experienced at least one episode of major depression – and these episodes were almost twice as common among women than men. 

Because of this overwhelming prevalence among women, researchers set out to pinpoint specific genetic differences between men and women who had had major depression disorder (MDD).

Researchers analyzed the brain tissue of 50 deceased adults (26 men and 24 women) who had had MDD and examined genetic alterations across three brain regions involved in depression:
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex
  • Basolateral amygdala
The results: 706 genes were expressed differently in men with MMD and 882 genes expressed differently in women with MDD. And these differences varied among the sexes: only 73 genes were found in both men and women who had had MDD and in 52 of these 73 genes, expression changed in opposite directions with respect to the sexes. In other words, only 21 genes were affected in the same way in men and women with MDD.

Researchers also noted that sex roles – testosterone in men and estrogen in women –  may also play a role in these differences. "It's not that women are more vulnerable to depression, it's actually that men are more protected [by testosterone],” author Etienne Sibille, PhD, senior scientist and chair, Campbell Institute, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, and professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

The findings provide further evidence that men and women should be treated for depression differently. "These results have significant implications for development of potential novel treatments and suggest that these treatments should be developed separately for men and women," said lead author Marianne Seney, PhD, of University of Pittsburgh. 

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
Your best chance of recovery lies in integrated dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions in one recovery program. The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An A.M. Routine to Set the Tone for Recovery

a.m. routine for recovery
Your morning routine can set the tone and pace for the rest of the day – so why not start off the right way? One way to do this is to make conscious, healthy decisions in those first seconds, minutes and hours after you open your eyes. These tips can help you do just that – and the effects will last the entire day.   
  • Wake up and meditate. You don’t have to jump out of bed and b-line for the coffee machine. Instead, linger in bed and meditate to tap into your inner spirit. If you have time, consider following the mediation with a little journaling to document the experience.
  • Write yourself a love note. Instead of reaching for your smartphone, reach for a piece of paper and jot down why you deserve to have a great day ahead.
  • Drink a tall glass of water. Water will help fire up your metabolism, flush out any toxins and give your brain fuel to start the day.
  • Fuel up. Aim for a healthy mix of protein, fiber and healthy fats. This combo will keep you full longer and prevent blood sugar dips that can lead to mood swings and cravings.
  • Jot down your goals. These can be short- or long-term, as long as you make them "SMART," which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely or Time-sensitive. For example, a SMART Goal might be to walk for 30 minutes, three times per week for five days, starting on Monday.
  • Head outdoors. Just stepping outside can help you start the day with a sunnier outlook. Breathe in the fresh air, breathe out any negative emotions – and while you’re out there, go for a heart-pumping walk or jog.
Your Path to Better Mental Health
The Haven at Pismo can help you achieve inner harmony while building the skills to maintain it over the long term. Our dual diagnosis programs are recommended for those experiencing the doubly damaging effects of addiction and mental illness. To connect with a caring and understanding admissions counselor, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ER Visits for Opioid Abuse Soaring

A new government report released more stats surrounding America's opioid epidemic – and, once again, it’s pretty scary.

In the new report, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 142,557 opioid overdose victims from 45 states spilling into ERs from July 2016 to September 2017. Emergency room visits for opioid overdoses increased nationwide and across all demographic groups. The Midwest was hit hardest; data showed an overall 70 percent increase in overdose treatment rates in emergency rooms.

"This fast-moving epidemic does not distinguish age, sex or state or county lines, and it's still increasing in every region of the United States," said Dr. Anne Schuch, CDC Acting Director, during a press conference. "This data sends a wake-up call about the need to improve what happens when patients leave the emergency department."

Added U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams during the briefing: "It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, compassion and urgency."

Do You Know About the "Good Samaritan" Law?
Indeed, acting with urgency is imperative for saving the life of someone overdosing on opioids. And, yet, it’s common for friends and family members who are also misusing drugs to delay help for fear of arrest. 911 “Good Samaritan” laws exempt an individual from arrest and prosecution for mild drug and alcohol law violations if they call for help to save someone else’s life. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some type of Good Samaritan law.

Getting Help for Opioid 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 an opioid addiction, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment

There’s no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to addiction and addiction treatment, and this is especially true among men and women, who have distinct emotional and physical needs. Men and women experience addiction and relapse very differently and often wrestle with different societal pressures and co-occurring disorders.

A growing body of research is continuing to explore gender differences in substance use disorder as well as other addictive behaviors. And more addiction treatment centers are offering specialized programs and even different lengths of stay for men and women. 

Here we take a look at a few of the reasons why both sexes can benefit greatly from gender-specific addiction treatment. Read on and decide if an all-female or all-male rehab program would be right for you or someone you love: 
  • You’ll better address gender-specific issues and triggers: A gender-specific rehab is sensitive to the needs of each group and enables the client to focus on issues specific to his or her sex. For example, men often battle barriers such as pride and denial while a high percentage of women struggle with histories of physical assault and emotional abuse. 
  • You’ll experience enhanced support: A same-sex environment often fosters a more personal, intimate atmosphere that allows clients to be less self-conscious and more open to sharing and forging relationships with one another.
  • You’ll have less romantic or sexual distractions: Gender-specific treatment programs can reduce the likelihood of sexual tension or romantic relationships, which especially during the first year can be a slippery slope into relapse. 
Is a Gender-Specific Program Right for You?
The Haven at Pismo’s men- and women-only recovery homes give guests the tools they need to feel safe, empowered, and confident in their sobriety walk. To learn more about The Mesa House for Women or The Solana House for Men, call us today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Practice Self-Love

Self-love isn’t selfish, but a matter of survival to give yourself the respect and attention you deserve as you journey toward lasting sobriety. 

In fact, building (or improving upon) a love relationship with yourself will help you make better decisions, pick better partners and friends and better cope with the ups and downs of your new sober life. 

A few relatively simple activities can help ensure that you’re kind to yourself – mind, body and spirit. Start by giving a few of these self-love activities a whirl this Valentine’s Day:
  • Wake up with love. Instead of grabbing your smartphone, grab a piece of paper and write yourself a little love note. Remind yourself why you are so deserving of the great day you are bound to have today. 
  • Make time to meditate. If this isn’t already part of your daily practice, you may consider giving it a try. Start with five minutes of quiet meditation and follow it up with five minutes of writing in a journal to document your experience.
  • Put a stop to negative thinking. Grab an elastic band and put it on your right wrist. If you criticize yourself today, move it to your left as a reminder to put an end to any negative self-talk. 
  • Enjoy little pleasures. Go for a brisk walk or jog, cook up a healthful breakfast, take an extra long shower, sit with a crossword puzzle, meet a friend for coffee, splurge on a movie – do something today that awakens your body and mind. 
Your Path to Better Mental Health
The Haven at Pismo can help you achieve inner harmony while building the skills to maintain it over the long term. Our dual diagnosis programs are recommended for those experiencing the doubly damaging effects of addiction and mental illness. To connect with a caring and understanding admissions counselor, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Talking to Kids About Drugs

With the current opioid crisis and increasing legalization of marijuana, parents need to talk to their kids about the dangers of drugs more than ever. But how do you get started?

Experts say open, honest and ongoing communication is best and that parents should look for “teachable moments” in daily life. And your kids will listen. According to research, kids want their parents' advice about drugs and children who hear the facts from their parents are significantly less likely to use. 

Here are some tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on making drug prevention part of your parenting strategy: 
  • Give the facts. Explain why taking drugs can hurt their health, friends and family and future.
  • Set clear rules and consequences. Rules help kids learn what is safe and what can get them in trouble. Research shows that children are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs if their parents have established a pattern of setting clear rules and consequences for breaking them.
  • Be a part of their lives.  Give your child your full attention. This means putting away your smartphone or computer and really listening. Similarly, make a point to know where your children are and what they’re doing – and get to know your child’s friends and their parents. 
  • Teach your children how to refuse drugs. Kids often do drugs just to fit in with the other kids. Help them practice how to say no if someone offers them drugs. Give some examples: "My mom (or dad) would kill me if I smoked pot," for instance, or "No thanks, I don’t do drugs.”
  • Be a good example for your children. Always try to be a good role model. Your actions speak louder than words. Show them how to deal with stress in a healthy manner and how to care for your mental and physical health. 
  • Make your home safe. Know the people you have in the house and avoid having people who abuse drugs and alcohol there. Lock away any painkillers and keep track of medicines and cleaning products you have in the house.
Did You Do Drugs?
If you choose to tell your kids about your past drug use, here are a few things to keep in mind, according to NIDA:
  • Don't give a lot of details about your past drug use.
  • Point out the problems your drug use might have caused. For instance, are there things you don't remember because you were on drugs? Did drug use keep you from saving money, getting better grades or getting a better job?
  • Talk about how we now know more about the bad effects of drugs, especially how drugs can hurt the developing brain.
  • Tell your kids that you want them to avoid making the same mistakes you made.
  • Be open to responses that your kids may have to your past drug use.
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, January 9, 2018

Can Living in the Moment Improve Your Health?

It’s a great question, and one that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) set out to answer in one of its articles. 

The short answer is yes, but before we go into how it can help your health (and, of course, your recovery), let’s take a look at what mindfulness really means. 

What Is Mindfulness?
This ancient practice involves being completely aware of what’s happening in the present, including what’s going on inside of you and around you. It’s about experiencing each moment of life – the good and bad – without judgment or preconceived notions, notes the NIH. 

How Can Mindfulness Help You?
People who practice mindfulness report a greater ability to relax, more enthusiasm for life and enhanced self-esteem. This is because mindfulness practices can help you better manage stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and let go of any negative emotions. 

The concept of mindfulness is simple, but it takes practice. You’ll need to flex your mindfulness muscle daily to keep it strong. Start with these tips from NIH: 
  • Practice conscious breathing. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for 1 second and then exhale through the mouth to a count of 5. Repeat often throughout the day.
  • Take a thoughtful stroll. Note your breath as well as the sights and sounds around you as you walk. And, if negative thoughts and worries enter your mind, be sure to acknowledge them but then quickly return to the present.
  • Practice mindful eating. As you take a bite, hone in on the taste, textures and flavors of the food. Also, listen to your body to tell when you are hungry or full. 
  • Seek out mindfulness resources. This can include yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs, guided meditations and/or books.
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.