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Friday, January 24, 2020

Congress Addresses Methamphetamine Use in America

stimulant use disorder
Earlier this month, we covered the rise of methamphetamine use in America and the surge in overdoses related to the dangerous stimulant. Regular readers of our blog will remember that since late 2018, methamphetamine use has led to more fatalities than opioid painkillers.

It's vital to point out that opioids continue to be a significant crisis in the United States. Prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil steal the lives of thousands of Americans each year. However, public health officials and lawmakers must address the alarming trend of methamphetamine use ravaging many parts of the U.S.

From the Central Valley of California to rural Missouri, meth is back in full force. The source of the dangerous stimulant is Mexico and the cartels that operate super laboratories. As we pointed out previously, today's methamphetamine is significantly more potent and less expensive than the meth of the 2000s.

Government crackdowns during the height of the American meth epidemic of decades past created a shortage that the cartels were happy to fill. Each year, tons of the drug is smuggled across the southern border and then dispersed across the greater United States.

It's worth noting that many Americans living with opioid use disorders also use stimulants. The simultaneous use of central nervous system depressants and stimulants is hazardous. The term used to describe what happens when a person combines two different types of substances is drug synergism.

When two or more drugs are used simultaneously, it causes the total effect of the drugs to be more significant than the sum of the individual effects of each drug. When opioids and stimulants are used together, the practice is often referred to as "speedballing."

The American Addiction Epidemic

Most Americans tend to view the public health crisis in the U.S. as an opioid epidemic. However, opioids are only one facet of an even more significant problem. What we are facing should be called the American addiction epidemic.

Millions of Americans are battling opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorders; some individuals meet the criteria for both conditions. In our previous post, we mentioned that states are having a challenging time addressing the scourge of methamphetamine use. The problem is that lawmakers were so fixated on tackling opioid use that they lost sight of the big picture.

Congress began directing billions in funding in the last decade to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders. However, provisions mandate the funds only to be used for opioid-related conditions. So, even though there are resources available, public health officials cannot direct them for the treatment of stimulant use disorders.

Lawmakers were made aware of the above issue and, mirabile dictu, they are taking action. Congress passed a spending bill late in 2019 that allows states to use funds earmarked for opioid addiction to address instead stimulant use, The New York Times reports. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is preparing to inform states that they can tap into a $1.5 billion grant program previously relegated for the opioid crisis.

"We are concerned that while the nation, rightly so, is devoting so much of its attention and resources to the opioid epidemic, another epidemic — this one involving cocaine and methamphetamine — is on the rise," wrote the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J. and ranking Republican Greg Walden of Oregon. 

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery from opioid or stimulant use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our detox and evidence-based addiction treatment programs. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Call Before You Fall in Recovery

addiction recovery
When you leave a center for addiction recovery, you must establish yourself in a support group in your area. Introduce yourself to people in the meeting right from the start to begin building a network of trusted allies. Be on the lookout for a sponsor or someone to guide you on the path toward progress.

It’s essential to make a list of phone numbers of people you can call besides your sponsor or recovery mentor. Keep that list with you wherever you go to ensure you have a lifeline should problems arise. Such contacts will prove to be invaluable in early recovery and beyond.

It helps to be discerning when taking the phone numbers of your peers. Make sure that your contact list is comprised of only people who are committed to long-term recovery. In early recovery, your list should include members of the community of the same gender.

When you get a sponsor, he or she will instruct you to call every day whether you are having a problem or not. Such calls will get you in the practice of picking up the phone before you fall. Triggers and cravings are a part of early recovery; you will experience them from time to time. Knowing how to reach out before such temptations take a life of their own is essential.

No matter where you are or the time of day, you can rest assured that someone will pick up the phone. If you are struggling, then they will help you work out the issue without having to succumb to temptations to use.

Call Your Peers When You Have Cravings

Getting in the habit of calling members of your support network when times are good will make it easier to reach out in times of need. Make a point of phoning your sponsor and at least one other member of the recovery community every day. In time, the practice will be second nature instead of a tedious chore.

Each person in early recovery can count on finding themselves at risk of relapse in the first year. Fostering relationships and talking regularly with your support peers is a vital tool for preventing a return to use.

There will be days when you will feel like isolating and keeping to yourself; you may not feel like talking on the phone or attending a meeting. Please resist the temptation to forgo reaching out.

Long-term addiction recovery is only achievable by working together with others and establishing routines. Daily calls to your peers are one of the most beneficial habits you can develop. Call before you fall is a saying that you should memorize and a vital practice to adopt. You have the ability to protect your progress no matter the obstacles. It’s much easier to call for help before a relapse than it is after.

Do you have a list of contacts who you can rely on in times of need? If not, please begin getting phone numbers right away. Your recovery could depend on having the ability to reach out for support, day or night quickly.

Central California Addiction Treatment Center

Please contact the Haven at Pismo, to learn more about our commitment to integrity and excellence. Our evidence-based therapies and highly trained team can help you renew to your best today. We are available at any time to answer your questions on our 24/7 hotline. 1-805-202-3440

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Take Time for Yourself and Have Fun in Recovery

After treatment, men and women are thrust back into the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Still, they must always make time for themselves and their recovery. They must also learn to take better care of themselves and learn how to have clean and sober fun, all while prioritizing sobriety.

Some will find it challenging to manage all of the above in the first year, but each person can do so as long as they continue to make sobriety their number one priority. Recovery is a multifaceted process that involves many different aspects. In the first year, individuals must learn how to strike a balance between working their program, tending to their responsibilities, and having fun without drugs and alcohol.

If you attended an addiction treatment center like The Haven at Pismo, then you probably know about the importance of taking care of yourself. You learned about eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis; you perhaps also gleaned that making time to enjoy life is vital. People in recovery are not sticks in the mud, and they insist on living life to the fullest.

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol provides you with ample opportunity to engage in new and exciting activities. Each person must find what they enjoy again; years of addiction can take away one's ability to enjoy all that life has to offer. Now that you are sober, you must find ways to occupy your time when you are not working the steps, attending meetings, or at your place of work.

Maybe you used to surf, ski, or snowboard? Perhaps you were an avid hiker at one time or bicyclist? In sobriety, you have the opportunity to get to the activities you used to love. As long as such experiences do not stand in the way of your program, you will find that prioritizing having fun will strengthen your recovery.

Make Time for Yourself in Recovery

In previous posts, we have shared that isolating is not beneficial for people in early recovery. Staying close to your support network and attending daily meetings is a must. However, it would help if you also remembered to take time for yourself so that you can process where you are and what you would like to achieve.

Take time to connect with your higher power daily via prayer or meditation. Stay present, but do not shut out your peers when they ask to spend time with you outside the rooms of recovery. You can say no from time to time, but in early recovery, it’s essential to foster relationships with the people in your support network. Such men and women who will become your lifelong friends and allies as you trudge the road of happy destiny.

You have the right to work your program as you see fit, but we strongly advise you to watch your peers closely, especially people with more time than you like your sponsor. In the first year, you may be at a loss regarding how to balance recovery and life in healthy ways. Your peers serve as a model for what is suitable for healing and what behaviors will stand in the way of continued progress.

There may be things you want to do that may run counter to the principles of recovery. What’s more, you may not be aware that something you are doing is an obstacle to progress. Recovery-first means talking to your support network openly and honestly about what you are up to when you are not in their company. If you do that, then you will receive necessary feedback that could prevent a relapse down the road.

SLO County Addiction Recovery Center

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin a life-changing journey of addiction recovery. Our addiction recovery center and detox is the perfect place to renew to your best today. Please reach out to our team today to learn more about The Haven difference. You can call our confidential hotline at any time of the day. 1-805-202-3440

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Methamphetamine Use and Overdose in America

Nearly one year ago, we covered the topic of the return of methamphetamine use in America. At the time, we mentioned that opioids and opioid-related overdoses overshadowed all other life-threatening narcotics. We want to report that the new meth crisis is being addressed. Unfortunately, matters are seemingly worse than initially thought.

As we pointed out last January, the methamphetamine being consumed today is far more dangerous than that of the early 2000s. Commonly referred to as "ice," today's meth is far more pure and exceedingly more potent than earlier iterations. "Homegrown" meth manufactured in clandestine American labs in the 1990s and 2000s pales in comparison to the methamphetamine being produced in Mexican super labs.

One of the significant problems with addressing meth use in America, aside from price and abundant availability, is treating stimulant use disorder. There are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating meth addiction. What's more, there are not any medications that can reverse a meth overdose, like there are with opioids.

An opioid overdose can be combated with naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse the deadly symptoms of opioid toxicity. If administered in a timely fashion, naloxone or Narcan can save a person's life. Not so when it comes to methamphetamine, which may account for a staggering rise in methamphetamine overdose deaths in recent years.

In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there were about 13,000 deaths involving meth nationwide in 2018, The New York Times reports. Moreover, since late 2018, methamphetamine has been involved in more fatalities than opioid painkillers. The CDC reports that in 14 of the 35 states that report monthly overdose death data to the federal government, the potent stimulant was involved in more deaths than fentanyl.

Methamphetamine is Potent, Addictive, and Treatable

Methamphetamine can cause irreversible damage to vital organs. The drug's high potency makes the drug extraordinarily addictive and places men and women at risk of relapse. Moreover, there are no medications for meth addiction detox and treatment like those for opioid use disorder (i.e., Suboxone or buprenorphine).

Another concerning element to the meth scourge in America is that most of the federal funds for treating addiction are earmarked for opioid use disorder. As such, people with stimulant use disorders may have difficulty accessing evidence-based treatment, according to the article. Lawmakers will have to confront the meth scourge, and sooner rather than later hopefully.

"We know there is funding coming in for the opioid problem," said Mimi Tarrasch, the chief officer of an alternative sentencing program in Tulsa. "But what I see, and what our community continues to see, is really a lot of addiction to methamphetamine."

Meth impacts the central nervous system, leading to:
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Damage to the Heart, Brain, and other Vital Organs
"Basically your blood pressure goes up so high that you can rupture your aorta or have a stroke," said Dr. Andrew Herring, an emergency medicine and addiction specialist in Oakland, California.

Regularly, overdose deaths involving meth also includes opioids; people often mix both drugs to achieve drug synergy. Combining two drugs enhances the euphoria caused by each individual substance. Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says that meth-related deaths may be on the rise because more people are using meth, the article reports. Last month, Dr. Ciccarone spoke at a conference on stimulant abuse called: "Developing Novel Therapies for Stimulant Use Disorder." At the workshop, he said that it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the surge in meth-related deaths.

"It's embarrassing that we don't have the answer at our fingertips and we should," Dr. Ciccarone said. 

SLO County Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

Even though scientists have yet to create a drug for helping people recover from stimulant use disorder, methamphetamine addiction is a treatable condition. With professional assistance and evidence-based therapies, recovery is possible for people living with a stimulant use disorder.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about our programs and unique treatment path. Our team of highly trained addiction specialists can help you renew to your best today.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Patience: A Key to Progress in Recovery

New Year’s Eve is just four short days away, which means that now is an excellent time to start thinking about resolutions. For men and women in recovery, it is essential to always keep your focus on ways to strengthen one’s program. While spending too much time fixating on the future can be harmful, setting realistic, achievable milestones for the coming year is beneficial.

Long-term sobriety is a continual process that requires daily commitment to practice the principles of recovery. At times, you might find it challenging to keep going to meetings day after day; sometimes, you may not feel like sharing your experience, strength, and hope with others. Still, you know that if you fall back into old ways of thinking and stop putting recovery first, then you will likely find yourself again in the disease cycle of addiction.

At The Haven, we understand how difficult it is to hold on to the progress you have made. We know that the disease is ever on the lookout for chinks in your armor. One wrong decision could lead you toward relapse, which is why it’s so vital that you stay on the path.

If you are in your first year of recovery, then it means that you are still finding your way. Learning how to adopt and adhere to the principles of recovery day after day takes practice and repetition. Those who stay the course of long-term recovery are individuals who put their needs before their wants; they are people who appreciate that the miracles of recovery will not happen overnight. Patience is one of the essential virtues for men and women in sobriety.

Perhaps you feel that good things are not coming your way fast enough even though you are doing the Work? It’s normal to feel impatient about progress, and if that is the case, maybe you will consider being more patient as a resolution for the new year.

Patience is Key to Progress in Recovery

Addicts and alcoholics want what they want when they want it, as the saying goes. Impulsivity is something that people with alcohol and substance use disorders share in common. Getting clean and sober does not mean that impatience will magically disappear; it’s a trait that men and women have to work hard to break.

It’s vital to remember that years of chemical dependency leave a trail of wreckage in its wake. When you got to treatment or started attending meetings, it’s safe to say that you had many areas of your life that were in disarray. In rehab, you learned that one of the steps to achieving long-term recovery would be repairing the damage brought about by addiction. You probably also learned that this was going to take time.

Some things can be rectified quickly, while other issues might take years. The latter can be hard for some people to stomach. However, if you trust in the process and be patient with the progress made, then there isn’t anything that you can’t achieve.

Achieving progress in recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Each day, remind yourself that you are in no rush; if you are clean and sober and following direction, then you are right where you are supposed to be.

“I can’t fast forward time and I can’t make people move faster,” says Nedra Glover Tawwab, a licensed clinical social worker. “I can’t manipulate those things; the only thing I can manipulate is me.” 

Whether you have a week sober or a year, regularly take stock the small achievements you make from one week to the next. Reminding yourself of the little milestones will help you stay positive about being able to achieve the larger goals.

Take a deep breath whenever you are feeling impatient, and keep calm. 

A Productive New Year

The Haven at Pismo is hopeful that you will put your recovery first on New Year’s Eve. Moreover, please be sure that whatever resolutions you make, that they are reasonable and realistic. Setting overly ambitious goals can result in an upset when your expectations are not met; talk to your sponsor about where you’d like to be in the next 365 days. They can help you chart a course so that 2020 is a productive year in recovery.

Please contact The Haven if sobriety is a resolution you would like to see realized next year. We provide medically supervised care to help men and women break the cycle of addiction and get on the path to long-term recovery. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Paging Friends of Bill W. in Recovery

The holiday season is still in full force with two of the most important days of the year on the horizon: Christmas and New Year's Eve. Last month, our readers will remember that we provided some helpful tips for navigating Thanksgiving without incident (i.e., relapse).

Naturally, we hope that you put your recovery first during the national day of giving thanks. If you did, then it is likely that you are still on the same path that you were when you went into the previous holiday.

Still, this year is not yet over, and there are two significant hurdles ahead of people in recovery. In less than a week, billions of people around the globe will celebrate Christmas. Both devout Christians and the less religiously adherent will observe December 25th in one way or another. For men and women in recovery, it essential that you spend the next several days developing a plan for maintaining your recovery through the coming holiday and beyond.

It is a safe course to deploy some of the same tactics that you used for Thanksgiving. Expressing your gratitude, whether through gifts or verbal pronouncements of appreciation, will help you stay centered. Making an effort to stick to your typical recovery schedule helps, too; if you are traveling, then you will need to make other arrangements for prioritizing your recovery.

If you fall into the latter camp, then please spend some time now looking into meetings that you will attend while you are away. Traveling in early recovery can be extremely challenging; being far from your deep bench of support and sponsor can make you feel vulnerable. The good news is that the helping hand of recovery is everywhere; no matter where you are, assistance is available, even at the airport.

Paging Friends of Bill W.

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs at airports across the country and beyond. Occasionally, those sitting around waiting to board will hear an announcement come from the airport's intercom. It may sound something like, 'will a friend of Bill W. please come to…'

Most people will not even pay attention to such announcements; even those who do will rarely know what it's about. However, men and women in recovery know who Bill W. is, and they know that a member of the fellowship is probably in distress. Airports, after all, are littered with restaurants serving alcoholic beverages. Alone and stressed about going home for the holidays can trigger an individual to want to use.

If you find yourself at an airport in the coming days, then it's possible you might find yourself needing to reach out for support. Your first move should be to call your sponsor, always. If they do not answer, then the next action should be calling others from your list of contacts. Hopefully, somebody will answer: they usually do. On the off chance that you are unable to reach someone in your support network, find your way to an airport help desk.

Ask the person working the station if they would please page a friend of Bill W. A stranger will appear before you in short order; they will ask you how you are doing and how they can be of assistance. Simply tell them that you are struggling and have a strong desire to order a drink from one of the bars in the terminal.

It's salient to remember that a meeting of recovery can occur whenever two people are working toward the goal of maintaining their sobriety. Sit down with the person who answers the call – it may be more than one person – and share with them who you are, where you are going, and why you feel like using. They will listen and then provide some valuable feedback; in a short time, you may forget that you were thinking of jeopardizing your recovery.

Always remember: no matter where you go in recovery, you are not alone. Millions of people around the globe are in the program and are there for you provided you call before you fall.

Wishing You a Safe and Sober Christmas

The Haven at Pismo would like to wish everyone in recovery a peaceful, recovery-focused holiday. Please utilize your recovery tools and never hesitate to reach out for support. It's always more comfortable to ask for help before a relapse then it is afterward. We invite our alumni to call us if they need to talk with their counselor or another member of our team. Your continued sobriety is of utmost importance to us; we are here for you if you need us.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Addiction Recovery: Connecting with Newcomers

Do you attend meetings of recovery on a regular basis? If so, The Haven at Pismo encourages you to make a point of extending your hand to people with less sobriety than you. Reaching out to newcomers helps strengthen your recovery, and it also shows men and women they are not alone.

The British journalist and author Johann Hari says that the opposite of addiction is connection. Anyone who is working a program can agree that without the help of others, their recovery would be impossible.

Nobody finds lasting, long-term addiction recovery on their own. The goal of healing from the disease of addiction requires people to work together with others. Those who attempt to abstain from drugs and alcohol without assistance face significant obstacles that often become the impetus for relapse.

Attending meetings on a daily basis allows men and women the opportunity to connect with people who care about their well-being. Together, you help your peers, and, in turn, they help you when challenges arise. This process begins the instant you check into treatment or start going to meetings.

Newcomers are quickly approached by men or women with more recovery time than them; such people let the fragile newly sober know that everything will be alright. However, there is a caveat: they must commit themselves to give recovery their all for healing to occur. Half measures avail you nothing in sobriety.

Talking to Newcomers in Recovery

Whether you have a month sober or ten years, there is no good excuse for failing to show kindness to the newly sober. You can probably remember how scared and fragile you felt when you first embarked upon a journey of recovery. Then you heard someone share something that resonated with your own story. Maybe they came up to you after the meeting and or vice versa; perhaps that person is now your sponsor.

With a little bit of clean and sober time, you find yourself in a position to pay acts of kindness forward. Keep your eye out for men and women who identify as newcomers when you attend meetings. Do not hesitate to approach those individuals when the meeting concludes. For all you know, that person is on the fence about the business of recovery; they may be thinking of leaving the meeting and not returning.

Extending your hand out to newcomers is a way of showing that life gets better and that you care. Go one step further by inviting them to grab a cup of coffee and let them share what brought them to the rooms in the first place. Sometimes, newcomers need to get things off their chest and may be intimidated about sharing in front of a large group of strangers.

When you listen to what newcomers have to say, they are likely to feel a connection—that a bond is being formed. Who knows, they may ask you to be their sponsor, and you will have an opportunity to take them through the steps. Together, you keep each other clean and sober on the quest toward lasting recovery.

Fellowship is a pillar of addiction recovery. By working together, you keep the disease of addiction at bay. Active addiction is isolation; active recovery is connection!

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven at Pismo invites adult men and women who are struggling with alcohol or substance use disorders to reach out. Our premier central coast addiction treatment center is the perfect place to renew to your best today. Our highly-trained staff offers a full continuum of care, utilizing evidence-based therapies to bring about long-term recovery. Please call our confidential hotline today: 1-805-202-3440