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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Combating Addiction Via Community

addiction
The neuroscience of addiction is the life work of Professor Judith Grisel. For Grisel, gaining a better understanding of the disease, and potentially curing it, is personal. That is because Dr. Grisel is in recovery.

In her new book, Never Enough: The Neuroscience and Experience of Addiction, the Bucknell University professor explores ways of combating today's epidemic. She is acutely familiar with how drugs and alcohol can take hold of people. While the cost of her substance use disorder was high, it also set her on a path to one day help others break the cycle and recover.

The behavioral neuroscientist drew from experience to describe how a seemingly normal upbringing can devolve into crisis. She shares anecdotes about her journey from utter despair to recovery. For the last 25 years, Grisel has dedicated her efforts to end the scourge of alcohol and drug abuse. What began as a research quest for a disease panacea, resulted in some surprising conclusions.

While Grisel may never find a panacea for addiction, the author believes that the solution can be found in connecting with each other. She believes love, compassion, and connection are the answer to the disease, The Guardian reports. "The people right next to us are an obvious place to start," she writes. "Human relationships and connections are the low-hanging fruit."

Motivation for Recovery


In the book, Grisel shares that she began drinking at 13, and how the experience was the first time she felt calm. Like many addicts and alcoholics, her disease progression moved at a swift pace. Her first drink led to daily drinking in high school and marijuana use in high school; she eventually moved on to harder substances.

At 19, Dr. Grisel dropped out of college and became estranged from her family. Intravenous cocaine use ensued, along with homelessness and unemployment. She shares about the experience that any addict can relate to, that one needs to use drugs just to feel normal. After a series of unfortunate and scary life events, the neuroscientist decided it was time to reach out for support.

Grisel's family helped her get into an addiction treatment center when she was 23. Around the same time, she began wondering if there might be a cure and thought that maybe she could help. Finding a cure served as motivation for her continued sobriety, according to the article. The professor is still looking for her eureka moment 25 years later, but she has many valuable insights to offer.

"Right now we're in a rising phase of escapism and pharmacology – this epidemic of addiction is really an epidemic of avoidance. Above all we need better ways to cope with life and to be present to our experiences. Ultimately you can't avoid yourself. It didn't matter how high I got, I was stuck with myself. I think we're soon going to get to that point as a society and then we might finally have our moment of truth."  

The New York Times bestselling author's discovery that community and human interaction is the answer to addiction is not novel. Fellowship has long been a guiding principle in 12 Step recovery programs, and they have helped countless people rebuild their lives. Still, it's beneficial when a renowned neuroscientist lends credence to the power of togetherness.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center


Please contact The Haven if you are struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder. Our highly credentialed team of addiction professionals can help steer you onto course toward long-term recovery. The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Recovery Pioneer: In Memoriam

recovery
Recovery is a gift that comes with doing the work; miracles are possible when men and women take action. Those who walk the path of sobriety learn early on that they must pay it forward. As the saying goes, you can’t keep it if you don’t give it away.

Individuals who seek treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder are taught the importance of community, fellowship, and giving back. They come to realize that helping others achieve lasting sobriety is essential, once one has a firm footing in the program.

People can pay their recovery forward in several ways. Working with newcomers or volunteering time in assisting the operations of a support group (commitments) are a couple of examples. What’s more, many people in recovery decide to become certified drug and alcohol counselors or get behavioral technician jobs at treatment facilities.

Many owners of addiction treatment centers are also in recovery. They help themselves stay on track by providing safe havens to people who need assistance. Staying involved in the field that saved one’s life is an effective method of safeguarding sobriety.

Men and women who are new to the program may even respond better to working with individuals who have walked in their shoes. Some argue that it’s impossible to fully understand the disease of addiction unless a person has the first-hand experience. While that is not necessarily true, it is helpful when a provider, therapist, or counselor can relate to the struggles their clients face.

Remembering a Recovery Visionary


Those who choose to make working in the field of addiction recovery their purpose in life collectively help countless people heal. Working a program is a permanent job, and is a pursuit aided by a dedication to helping others.

Over the years, many individuals have distinguished themselves through their commitment to assisting others to realize recovery. The addiction recovery community recently said goodbye to one who dedicated a huge portion of his life to that end.

Ronald C. Clark, 83, died a few months ago from a heart attack and the loss is still felt, The Washington Post reports. For nearly 50 years, the recovering heroin addict helped other addicts and alcoholics heal and learn how to be productive members of society. He notably assisted people who were being ignored by the Washington D.C. community, such as ex-offenders, black, poor, homeless, and HIV-infected men and women.

In 1970, Clark co-founded an addiction treatment center in the District of Columbia, according to the article. Before being invited to the District by two former Catholic priests, Ron worked as a drug counselor in the Nevada prison system and was a director at a residential treatment center in New York.

“Ron Clark was way ahead of his time, and in many ways, we’ve gone backward because a lot of people still don’t appreciate the importance of his approach,” said Edwin Chapman, a medical doctor who treats heroin and opioid addiction. “Ron’s approach was to get to the core of a person’s being, find out what’s missing, what’s been lost, what’s been stolen and help them discover their real identity and recover their true self.”  

Clark instilled in clients the importance of giving back to the community, the article reports. Clients were required to pick and distribute fresh vegetables and free clothing to families in need. They also shoveled snow for older folks.

“He didn’t just want to see individuals recover,” said Ron’s son, Paul Clark. “He wanted the communities where they came from to recover.”

SLO County Addiction Recovery Center


The Haven at Pismo provides clients with possibilities to renew to their best today. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us to learn more about our evidence-based addiction treatment programs.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Addiction Screening Recommendation

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

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

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

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

Doctors Can Encourage Addiction Treatment Services


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center


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

Friday, August 2, 2019

Gratitude Lists Benefit People in Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

Grateful for Your Recovery


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

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

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

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

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

SLO County Addiction Rehab


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

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