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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Smoking Cigarettes and Relapse Risk

Last week, we shared research indicating that cannabis use is up among young adults and that tobacco use is down. The rise in marijuana use somewhat concerns, especially considering that Congress is planning to vote on legislation to federally legalize cannabis. If or when such legislation comes to pass, then experts must continue disseminating the facts about cannabis and marijuana use disorder.

The news that tobacco use is down among college-age young adults is excellent. What's more, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that cigarette smoking among American adults dropped to its lowest recorded level in 2018, according to CNN. The findings represent a roughly two-thirds decrease in adult smoking since the CDC began compiling data on tobacco use in 1965.

Targeted anti-smoking campaigns during the last few decades have paid off; the allure of tobacco use is waning. Still, there is more that needs to be done in connecting smokers with smoking cessation programs. The CDC reports that an estimated 49.1 million adults (nearly 1 in 5) used any tobacco product in 2018. Almost 50 million smokers aren't a small number and are evidence that efforts to educate people about the dangers must continue.

Tobacco, like alcohol, is both legal and deadly. A myriad of types of cancer and disease are linked to tobacco use. While vaping or the use of e-cigarettes has dominated headlines of late, the CDC found that cigarettes are still the most common method of nicotine absorption at 13.7%.

Cigarettes were followed by cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars at 3.9%. E-cigarette use came in third: 3.2% of U.S. adults vaped in 2018; however, 7.2% of young adults 18 to 24 vaped last year.

Smoking in Recovery: Risk of Relapse

Many men and women actively working programs of recovery continue to smoke cigarettes after treatment. While tobacco use creates fewer problems for people compared to other mind-altering substances, people in recovery are strongly encouraged to give up tobacco too.

Setting aside the dangers tobacco poses to one's health, there is published research that indicates smoking increases the risk of relapse. Last year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that people in recovery for substance use disorders (SUD) were more likely to relapse if they smoke. Since abstinence is the mission of people in sobriety, men and women must do whatever they can to increase their chances of sustained recovery.

Researchers found that people who smoked while in recovery were 1.5 times more likely to relapse than those who give up smoking. Heavy smokers were found to be much more significantly at risk of relapse. The data indicates that the odds of relapse increased by 0.7 percent for each cigarette smoked per day.

It's not uncommon for some individuals to pick up smoking while in recovery. This demographic was found to be at the highest risk of relapse; they were five times more likely to report a relapse or return to active SUD. The odds of relapse increased by 2.4 percent for each cigarette smoked per day for this group.

The researchers pointed out that cigarettes may serve as a drug cue and relapse trigger. They also cite other studies that have linked nicotine exposure to cravings for stimulants and opiates.

Giving up tobacco isn't easy under any circumstances, but it's possible to improve one's chances with assistance. Several national smoking cessation programs will provide those who have a desire to quit with free patches, gums, and medications (in some cases).

SLO County Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin the journey of lasting recovery. On top of providing clients with tools for abstaining from drugs and alcohol, we help men and women with smoking cessation. Please contact us today to learn more about the evidence-based therapies utilized at the Haven. Our team of addiction professionals is dedicated to helping men and women renew to their best today.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cannabis Use Up Among Young Adults

cannabis use
Cannabis use disorder or marijuana use disorder is a condition that millions of Americans live with each day. While the drug is generally considered benign when compared to harder drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, it is not without risk. Cannabis addiction is real, and it can significantly disrupt people's lives; this is particularly true for young people.

In the United States, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in thinking about cannabis. Even though the drug remains illegal federally, 33 states and D.C. have medical marijuana programs. Patients can request a recommendation from their doctor to use pot for a host of medical conditions.

Medical marijuana gave rise to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Currently, 11 states and D.C., including California, allow adults over the age of 21 to use cannabis recreationally. The writing is on the wall: the prohibition on marijuana may soon come to an end in the near future.

Perceptions about cannabis have been a driving force behind legalization. Despite the fact that there is little available research on the long-term effects of cannabis use, many Americans believe the drug is relatively harmless.

While smoking pot or eating THC-infused edibles may not cause severe problems for most people, that is not the case for everyone. That's not to say the drug should be federally prohibited, but instead that people must have the facts before they begin using America's most popular drug.

Cannabis Use Among Young Adults

Adolescents and young adults are the demographics that experts are most concerned about when it comes to cannabis use. Research shows that frequent marijuana use can wreak havoc on developing brains and put individuals on a path toward addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that people who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a cannabis use disorder than adults.

Each year, a survey is conducted to follow drug use trends in America. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is especially interested in teens and young adult substance use. The American Academy of Pediatrics analyzed NSDUH data from 2002 to 2016 and published a study on their findings recently. The researchers found that exclusive use of marijuana between 18- to 22 -year-olds rose, and exclusive tobacco use among the group fell in 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. What's more, less than one-third of young adults think frequent cannabis use is harmful—the lowest percentage since 1980.

Interestingly, college students had the most significant increase in cannabis use, the article reports. Exclusive marijuana use was higher among college students than non-college respondents for both the past month and past year; 11.5% compared to 8.6% and 14.6% compared to 10.8%, respectively. Moreover, college students who only used marijuana in the past month increased by almost 8% over the survey period, compared to 4% for non-college young adults.

On the other hand, non-college individuals were more likely to use tobacco than college students in the past 30 days — 17.7% compared to 10.4%. The same was true for past year tobacco use: 17.4% compared to 12.2%.

These findings are essential for several reasons; they show that more needs to be done to impress the dangers of cannabis use upon young people. Not through scare tactics or punishment, but by informing them that cannabis is not benign. Sharing the fact that using pot at a young age increases one's risk of developing an addiction, a condition that could impact work, school, and relationships.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans seek treatment for cannabis use disorder each year.

SLO County Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

If you are a young adult male or female who has been negatively impacted by marijuana use, then you are strongly encouraged to seek professional assistance. Those who attempt and find that they are unable to quit on their own can benefit significantly from contacting The Haven at Pismo.

Our highly trained staff can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Co-Occurring PTSD and SUD Affects Veterans

Veterans Day is this coming Monday. For some people, the holiday means a three-day weekend, but for others, it is an essential federal holiday in honor of all those who have served in the United States armed forces. There is another facet of the observance that is also important to talk about: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorder (SUD) among veterans.

While PTSD is most closely associated with individuals who have seen combat, it is a mental health condition that can disrupt the lives of civilians as well. Trauma comes in many forms; one does not need to go to a warzone to experience a significant traumatic event.

Civilians aside, it’s vital to discuss veterans and those still on active duty who struggle with PTSD and co-occurring addiction. Both diseases affect far more individuals than you might think. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs tracks data on the disorders at the National Center for PTSD.

In this post, we would like to raise awareness about both conditions and encourage those who struggle with any mental illness to seek support. At The Haven, we know that treatment works, and recovery is possible for men and women who have PTSD, SUD, or both.

How Common Is Co-occurring PTSD and SUD in Veterans?

One national epidemiologic study found that 46.4% of individuals with lifetime PTSD also met criteria for SUD, according to the American Journal of Addiction. An older study found that 27.9% of women and 51.9% of men with lifetime PTSD also had SUD, according to the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The National Center for PTSD reports that a majority of veterans with PTSD have met criteria for co-morbid substance use at some point. The center adds that more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. What’s more, almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD. The VA notes that:

“Individuals who have both disorders have poorer treatment outcomes, more additional psychiatric problems, and more functional problems across multiple domains, including medical, legal, financial, and social, than those with just one disorder.”

People who misuse drugs and alcohol are at higher risk of developing PTSD; and, veterans regularly use drugs and alcohol to cope with PTSD symptoms. Those in the latter camp place themselves at high risk of developing co-occurring SUD.

While men and women with comorbidity tend to have a harder time healing, treatment centers that target both conditions simultaneously can help bring about long-term recovery. The Haven at Pismo specializes in co-occurring disorder treatment that addresses both illnesses in one recovery program.

SLO County Evidence-Based Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Those who still feel the invisible scars of combat and struggle with drugs and alcohol are invited to contact The Haven. You will be pleased to learn that our licensed clinical psychologist and clinical director worked for the Department of Defense/Naval Medical Center San Diego for over eight years as a staff clinical psychologist.

Aleksandra Marinovic, Psy.D., has a vast range of experience treating active duty service members with a wide range of psychological diagnoses and substance use issues, using evidence-based treatment. Dr. Marinovic has received excellent theoretical and practical training over the years in the field in a variety of settings and modalities. She has extensive experience with a range of mental health issues and addiction, including mood and anxiety disorders, military and non-military trauma/PTSD, and other chronic mental illnesses.

In honor of the millions of men and women who have served, The Haven at Pismo would like to extend our utmost gratitude for their sacrifices. We are here to help any veterans in need of assistance.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Sesame Street" Tackles Addiction

Since 1969, the beloved television show Sesame Street has helped young people understand and discuss challenging situations. The PBS favorite is now airing on the premium channel HBO. The move to premium television allows the show's creators to explore even more sensitive topics than ever before, such as addiction.

"Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them," said author Malcolm Gladwell. Given that millions of adults are currently in the throes of addiction, it's prudent to help kids process the problems that their parents face.

Alcohol and substance use disorders affect the entire family; no member is immune to the fallout of addiction. The American addiction epidemic – notably involving opioids – has had a profound impact on our society. High overdose death rates, babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and as many as six million Americans living with an opioid use disorder is cause for national discourse.

The Sesame Workshop, the organization that produces the show, felt it had to act when it learned that 5.7 million children under age 11 live with a parent with substance use disorder, USA Today reports. The show created a backstory for a character named Karli that involves her mother's battles with addiction; Karli is one of Elmo's friends.

Tackling Addiction on Sesame Street

The new initiative involving parental substance use has two purposes. Firstly, it helps kids who have been impacted by addiction make better sense of what is happening. Secondly, the segments can help parents learn how to talk to their children about this sensitive subject matter.

"There's nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective," said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop. Einhorn adds that "Even a parent at their most vulnerable — at the worst of their struggle — can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose."

Earlier this year, Karli was introduced to viewers as being a puppet in foster care, according to the article. Now, the addition of her mother's backstory will explain to children why foster care was necessary in the first place. The opioid epidemic has led to a staggering rise in children being placed into foster care or having to go live with a relative.

Over the summer, the Associated Press was granted the opportunity to get a glimpse of the upcoming segments on addiction. In one of the segments, Karli was joined by 10-year-old Salia Woodbury, whose parents are in recovery. You can read an excerpt below:  

"Hi, it's me, Karli. I'm here with my friend Salia. Both of our parents have had the same problem — addiction," Karli told the camera. 

"My mom and dad told me that addiction is a sickness," Salia said. 

"Yeah, a sickness that makes people feel like they have to take drugs or drink alcohol to feel OK. My mom was having a hard time with addiction and I felt like my family was the only one going through it. But now I've met so many other kids like us. It makes me feel like we're not alone," the puppet continued. 

"Right, we're not alone," Salia responded. "And it's OK to open up to people about our feelings."  

Sam and Jaana Woodbury, of Orange County, California, are Salia's parents, and they have been in recovery for about eight years, the article reports. They are pleased that the show is focusing on opioid and alcohol addiction.

Please take a moment to watch a short video:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


SLO County Addiction Treatment


The Haven at Pismo helps men and women who struggle with alcohol or substance use disorder. We provide a full continuum of care for substance abuse and co-occurring illness. Please contact us at any time to learn more about our programs. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Serenity Prayer Song for Addiction Recovery

Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer is synonymous with addiction recovery meetings across the country and abroad. While many people know the prayer by heart, fewer know the origins of the prayer. The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the prayer for a sermon; church groups in the 1930s and 1940s used the prayer, and Alcoholics Anonymous eventually adopted it.

The prayer was first published in 1951 in a magazine column, according to Yale Alumni Magazine. However, it did appear earlier than that in 1944 A Book of Prayers and Services for the Armed Forces.

Today, millions of people around the world know the prayer by heart, both religious and atheists alike. While it has had many different versions over the decades, the form that people in recovery use reads as follows:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
Courage to change the things I can, 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

A major component of addiction recovery is acceptance; one must come to terms with the fact that they are not running the show. Men and women must acknowledge that their way didn't work, so long-term recovery will depend upon making drastic changes.

People in active addiction have a common mindset of wanting what they want when they want it. If something does not go the way he or she expects, it quickly becomes of justification for a high or drunk. That mindset is dangerous and must be extinguished if one hopes to succeed in adopting the principles of recovery.

In each person's life, some things can be changed, and some things are out of one's control. All that one can hope for is the wisdom to know when they have the power to influence change. It becomes easier to determine those instances the longer one is in recovery.

Serenity Prayer Song

Some people in recovery repeat the Serenity Prayer to themselves several times a day. It isn't just good for the closing moment of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. When you are having a hard time, or a seemingly impossible challenge arises, merely saying the prayer can be calming and prevent you from making a rash decision that might result in relapse.

More individuals are learning the words to the prayer now that it's set to music. Boston attorney Patricia St. James created a Serenity Prayer song to help people overcome addiction, WBUR reports. St. James says in an interview that she set the prayer to music for a client who wrote a play called Recovery. However, the song is being utilized outside of the theater; it's being played at some drug court graduations in Massachusetts. St. James shares that:

"After writing the song, I played it for Chief Justice [Paula] Carey. It was her idea initially to use it to be played in the drug courts. I got the idea that maybe it would be helpful for people going through the programs, whether in the courts or otherwise, to actually tell their stories through song." 

St. James is hopeful that more drug courts and treatment programs will start using the song. She wants to get it into an MP3 format so that people can listen to it if they are having a hard time and can't reach their sponsor.

Please take a moment to listen to the short interview:

If you are having trouble listening, please click here.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

Please contact The Haven at Pismo if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder. We offer several programs and a full continuum of care for substance abuse and co-occurring illness, from detox to transitional living. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

National Depression Education & Awareness Month 2019

Last week, men and women across the country observed Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Educating the public, fighting stigma, and providing support is the goal of the annual observance. Millions of Americans struggle with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; unfortunately, a statistically small number of people get the help they desperately require.

There are many reasons men and women are unable to reach out for support. Stigma and misunderstanding are two of the leading obstacles standing between disease and recovery. Mental health awareness campaigns erode harmful stigmas and enlighten the public about the healing power of compassion.

While MIAW is now over, the effort to raise awareness about mental illness must continue year-round. Don't worry if you were unable to take part in MIAW by spreading messages of hope and support on social media and the like. There is still time to make a difference in the lives of people living with untreated mental health disorders. October is National Depression Education & Awareness Month.

Any mental illness has the power to disrupt the course of an individual's life severely. Untreated, each can have fatal consequences. However, depression is a worldwide public health crisis and one of the leading causes of premature death. Even though there are effective, evidence-based treatments available, only a small number of men and women reach out for support services. We have the power to change this reality.

National Depression Education & Awareness Month

Each year, individuals in recovery take to social media during Mental Health Awareness Month (May) and National Recovery Month (September) to spread messages of hope. The same is true during MIAW (the first full week of October).

Now is the time to help share information about the importance of treatment and recovery for depression. Disseminating facts about the disease or sharing what helped you heal from and manage depression is paramount.

A significant number of men and women in addiction recovery are also living with depression. About 50% of people with severe mental illness are involved in substance use, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Those living with co-occurring disorders learn that they must manage both conditions to realize long-term recovery.

With that in mind, recovering addicts and alcoholics can be inspirations for those who are still suffering in silence. They can share about how untreated depression resulted in self-medication and addiction; they can explain that alcohol and substance use made their depressive symptoms worse. When people in recovery use their voice, they affect change in the lives of others.

Please allow some time in the coming weeks to be a beacon of hope for people suffering from depression. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Together, we can change the fact that fewer than half of those affected by depression receive treatment. Please use #DepressionAwareness on social media when sharing about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for depression. Get the word out that there are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for depression.

SLO County Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses like depression. Our highly trained therapists and clinicians can help you or a loved one begin a life-changing journey of healing and recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Addiction Recovery on Google Maps

In the Internet Age, technology can be both a blessing and a burden for members of the recovery community. While it's handy to be able to connect with others in sobriety via social media, smartphones and apps can be a severe distraction. Moderating the use of Internet technologies is critical for everyone, but especially for people in recovery.

As the realities of the American addiction and mental health crisis set in, online companies are trying to be part of the solution. Social media companies like Facebook and Instagram are working with algorithms to help identify and flag users in crisis. They are experimenting with offering tools to better assist people with mental illness. What's more, millions of people in recovery connect via social media 365 days a year. Used appropriately, online communities can be extremely beneficial.

Mountain View, California is home to Google, a technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that are familiar to every American. Google products and services, from apps to smartphones, are ubiquitous. Millions of Americans cannot remember life before Google.

Most Americans conduct a myriad of Google searches each day; millions of people utilize Google Maps to get to their destinations. If you want to find something, then there is an excellent chance you can find it using a Google product.

It's fair to say that most addicts and alcoholics seeking addiction treatment turn to the Internet first. The thousands of alcohol and substance use disorder rehabs in the U.S. share their mission to help people recover online. CNET reports that Google announced that the number of people conducting searches for addiction treatment is at an all-time high.

Companies like Google are in a unique position to help combat addiction and be a valuable resource to men and women in recovery. In recognition of National Recovery Month, Google created and debuted some new features on its maps application. These tools will assist people in recovery and those who have yet to reach out for help.

Dropping A Pin On Recovery

With more than 130 Americans dying from opioid overdoses each day, everyone being able to access the life-saving drug naloxone is crucial. Sold under the name Narcan, the medication can reverse the deadly symptoms of overdose.

Opioid users, their friends and family, and average citizens can soon search Google Maps for "Naloxone near me" or "Narcan near me" into the search bar, CNET reports. Since many states and municipalities have removed the need for a prescription, the overdose reversal drug can be acquired more easily. Still, not every pharmacy has the medication in stock, so the new maps feature is beneficial.

Another upcoming added feature of significant importance is the recovery meeting finder. The company announced that Google Maps users would be able to find more than 83,000 recovery meetings at more than 33,000 locations across the country. Ostensibly, you will be able to search for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you.

“The #RecoveryMovement celebrates the 23 million Americans recovering from addiction and paves the way for the 20 million still struggling to seek treatment. Our voices matter — especially in September for National Recovery Month.” 

The new tools will likely prove especially beneficial for people in recovery who are traveling. Finding meetings with greater ease will be helpful. It's also worth noting that Google Maps began listing locations where people can discard unused or unwanted medications.

Discarding of unused narcotics, sedatives, and stimulants helps deter diversion and drug initiation. Being able to find naloxone with greater ease helps prevent fatal overdoses. Each of these new features is vital concerning the addiction epidemic in America.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn about our recovery services. We can help you, or a loved one, detox and begin the journey of long-term recovery. We are available at all hours to answer your questions. We trust that you will find The Haven to be the perfect place to renew to your best today. 1-805-202-3440

Monday, September 23, 2019

Addiction Recovery in College

Of the 23 million Americans recovering from addiction, many are college-age young men and women. Navigating a class load and skirting risky situations is not easy for recovering addicts and alcoholics in college.

Stress and exhaustion can complicate recovery because it throws individuals out of balance. The drinking and drugging culture at colleges and universities presents profound challenges as well. It’s paramountly vital for sober men and women to protect their progress however possible. When the semester is rolling along, that can mean doubling down on one’s recovery efforts.

Higher learning places enormous demands on those committed to healing from addiction and mental illness. Balancing one’s responsibilities and remaining accountable to your program is challenging. However, those in school can protect their recovery and excel in class provided that they never put sobriety second.

The saying put your recovery first, to make it last is not just a popular maxim. There is truth to those words, and people in college would be wise to heed them if they would like to continue making gains.

We are almost through September, which means classes have already begun at most colleges and universities. If you are going to school, please remember that your success in class hinges on a healthy recovery.

Balancing Class and Recovery

Hopefully, you already know where to find meetings in and around campus, especially if your school is not in your hometown. Staying plugged into the fellowship is vital; attending meetings and sharing must continue for keeping sobriety intact.

Going to college out of state can mean needing to find a temporary sponsor. While you can continue working with your primary sponsor over the phone, it’s beneficial to be seen and interact face to face. Being accountable to others in the program is much easier in person.

Step work must continue during the school year. Staying on top of your recovery is more critical than your studies. If you’re not going to enough meetings or working with your support network, then you are more likely to start slacking in school. This means allocating slots of time each day, specifically for your recovery needs, is crucial.

Returning students may already have a school support network in place, but freshmen need to establish themselves in the community right away. There are many young people in recovery; some of them could be your classmates. Attending meetings will help you find such men and women and help you build a deep bench of support.

It’s also helpful to remember that it’s okay to take a day off from class if you are reverting to old behaviors that may lead to relapse. If stress is negatively impacting you, then call your sponsor or support peer and get to a meeting to share. Doing so will provide you with guidance on how to make adjustments to protect your program.

Naturally, avoiding college parties will help prevent urges to use. Stick close to those students who share your goal of achieving long-term recovery. There are many ways to have fun that don’t involve being around drunk and high people. If you are in addiction recovery, then you know that you are not missing anything. Stick to the program, put your recovery first, and everything else school-related will fall into place.

Central Coast Addiction Treatment

Each year, many young men and women have to leave college to address substance use and mental health. Please contact The Haven for assistance if your life is impacted negatively by drugs and alcohol or co-occurring mental illness. We can help you heal and get back on track with your schooling. We are available 24 hours a day to discuss your needs and treatment options.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Lumineers: Addiction Happens In Cycles

Music, like books, tells stories that all of us can relate to in different ways. Songs have the power to lift us up in times of sadness, and they make us think about things in different ways. Sadder songs can make people who are isolated feel less alone. In a word, music is cathartic.

In the United States today, millions of Americans are struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Each day, some 130 people die from an opioid overdose; roughly 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. The addiction crisis in America is dire.

Fortunately, many celebrities have opened up about their own experiences with mental illness, addiction, and recovery. In doing so, they provide hope to millions who feel cut off and alone because of their disease.

Some musicians in recovery have written several songs to reach members of their fan base who are struggling. Other musicians have done benefit concerts to raise awareness about treatment and sobriety. Icons need to join the conversation about addiction; this is a crisis that affects us all. The disease touches many lives on a first and second-hand basis.

The Lumineers are a band that most Americans are familiar with; they have had several hit songs and albums in recent years. For their latest project, they chose to tackle a timely subject matter—addiction. Their new album III tells a story about the disease in three acts, NPR reports. It turns out that alcohol and substance use disorders are a personal subject for some of the band members.

Addiction Happens in Cycles

The Lumineers' new release tells the story of a family dealing with the disease. Their songs discuss the fallout of addiction and how it impacts the entire family, according to the article. The band's lead singer, Wes Schultz, lost his childhood friend to addiction; that friend also happens to be the brother of the band's drummer, Jeremiah Fraites. So, they both understand how one person's illness can affect many lives.

"With drug addiction or alcoholism it really affects the individual and then it has a sort of fallout effect — similar to the effects of a radiation bomb — over time and over years and years, it continually tends to affect people's loved ones," Fraites tells NPR

III aims to explain to listeners how the disease of addiction progresses. The songs deal with one family and three generations. Alcohol and substance use disorders are family diseases. Meaning that a genetic predisposition for mental illness can be passed down and also one family member's condition disrupts the lives of all their loved ones.

"You know they talk about addiction. It's a progressive disease. It's not something where you just wake up and you're homeless and you're begging for crack or heroin," said Fraites.

While The Lumineers' new album may not be the most uplifting, it is sure to get people talking about this salient topic. We need to have more conversations about mental health disorders in order to cure the stigma that prevents people from seeking help.

It stands to reason that many of The Lumineers' fans are struggling with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness. Maybe they will hear something on the album that inspires hope and leads to recovery.

You can listen to the interview below:

If you are having trouble listening, please click here.


SLO County Addiction Treatment

The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today. Please contact us today if you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or co-occurring mental illness. We offer medically supervised and top-quality care, and we can help you begin a remarkable and healing journey of recovery.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Cure Stigma

suicide prevention awareness month
In the United States, millions of Americans are contending with a treatable mental health condition, but most of them haven’t sought help. This needs to change; untreated mental illness places individuals at significant risk of self-harm. The time to talk about addiction and conditions like depression is now. September is both National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide is a consequential issue in America, and we need to shed light on the subject to encourage more people to seek assistance. The vast majority of suicide victims have diagnosable mental illnesses, and many have more than one. Suicidal ideations and attempts are preventable when individuals receive support.

At the Haven, we treat men and women living with alcohol and substance use disorders. We also help people who are contending with addiction and a co-occurring mental illness. While the former group is prone to suicidal thoughts and self-harm, the latter group is at an even higher risk.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among people who misuse alcohol and drugs, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2016, nearly 45,000 individuals died by suicide in the U.S.; the majority were struggling with mental illness at the time of their deaths.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness as revealed by psychological autopsy. The organization adds that 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness.

Tackling Stigma During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Mental health conditions are real. The existence of such diseases is supported by research, and people born with or those who develop mental illness are not at fault. The signs and symptoms are classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Stigma is one of the primary reasons that less than half of the adults in the United States get the help they need for mental illness. Rather than being shamed by society, those affected deserve compassion and encouragement. When men and women are made to feel responsible for their mental disease, they are more reticent to talk about their illness. Millions of Americans are battling their conditions alone, needlessly.

A key component of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is confronting the misconceptions that precipitate stigmas. The more stigma-free we are as a country, the more willing people will be to talk openly about their problems.

“One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.” 

Each American knows or is related to someone affected; when we as a society show more compassion, we help the ones we love. Hopefully, everyone will take time this month to better familiarize themselves with mental health conditions. The more you know, the better equipped you are to promote awareness and combat stigma. NAMI states that:

The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.

Together we can cure stigma and inspire people to seek evidence-based treatment and heal. When men and women access mental health resources, recovery is possible, and a better life can be built.

SLO County Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Long-term recovery is possible when the whole patient is treated. Many men and women become dependent on drugs and alcohol by self-medicating their mental illness. For others, co-occurring mental illness arises in the wake of protracted battles with alcohol and substance use disorders. The order in which a dual diagnosis comes about is not as relevant as ensuring that both conditions receive simultaneous treatment.

The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental illness, then please reach out to us today. Nestled on the shore of California’s Central Coast, The Haven at Pismo is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Community invited to “Walk for Recovery” on September 14th

walk for recovery

Walk for Recovery: Uniting friends, families, and the community to fight the disease of addiction

The Haven is excited to announce their sponsorship of SLO Co. Recovery Support Network’s 2nd annual ”Walk for Recovery,” will be taking place at Laguna Lake Park, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. This family-friendly event will be a 1.5 mile walk and aims to connect local resources to the community in an effort to combat substance abuse and lead healthy lives. 
This 1.5 mile walk will take place at Laguna Lake Park, 504 Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo.  Music will be provided by the popular local band, O’Donna, along with a special performance by Ignite Fire Dance. Other fun features of the event include a special appearance by Zoo to You, a wildlife program that provides exotic animal education blended with live, wild animals.
“We want the community to get out there and experience this big resource event,” said Lauryn Niezen, Director of Marketing for The Haven, a local alcohol and drug addiction treatment center. The Haven is joined by other local sponsors to offer resources to the community. 
Event sponsors include:
      Balance Treatment Center
      Veterans Services
      SLO Noor Clinic
      Ken Starr M.D. Wellness Group
      Cuesta College
      ...and more!

All 501-c3 organizations are eligible for a complimentary resource table.
For a $20 registration fee, all walkers receive a pizza coupon from Pizza Republic and a t-shirt. Kids 10 and under are free. Those who are not pre-registering are encouraged to arrive early to sign-up at 10 a.m., as the walk starts at 11 a.m.
For any questions, please call 805-202-3440 
Media & Public Contact:
Lauryn Niezen
Director of Marketing 
The Haven
lauryn@thehaven.com or (805) 202-3440

About San Luis Obispo County Recovery Support Network
SLO Co. Recovery Support Network was officially formed in April of 2017. Before official formation as a 501-c3, they operated for a number of years as a Drug Court Alumni group within the umbrella of Drug and Alcohol Services. They are a coalition organized by recovered drug addicts that are dedicated to helping others achieve freedom from their addictions. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call their confidential hotline. Men: (805) 591-4715; Women: (805) 591-4719

About The Haven

The Haven offers specialized therapies, individualized treatment with highly credentialed counselors and therapists practicing exclusively in the field of addiction. The Haven is the only residential detox and addiction treatment center on California’s central coast. A private haven for men and women seeking restoration from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, our multi-faceted, outcome-focused program includes traditional and complementary therapies offered at their beautiful, private campus. The Haven strives to make treatment accessible and accepts most major insurances.

National Recovery Month: Increasing Awareness

National Recovery Month
In September, The Haven at Pismo is committed to helping the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) get the message out about recovery. While we do this year-round being in the field of addiction medicine, it’s crucial to step up our efforts because it’s National Recovery Month.

In 2019, the theme of National Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.” Since there are millions of Americans building lives in recovery, we would like to encourage each adult to inspire millions more to seek treatment. Men and women in sobriety and their successes are a testament to the benefits of working a program.

Thanks to recovery, individuals can once again be part of their communities. They can be present for their friends and families, and be productive members of society. Following treatment, many will decide to go back to school and then use their skills to successfully acquire gainful employment in desirable fields. There is no limit to what can be achieved when one is determined to practice the principles of recovery.

While stigma continues to prevent people in recovery from discussing their experiences openly, many people have chosen to celebrate their recovery publicly. In September, people from all walks of life are writing or creating videos about their recovery and inspiring others to take action. Please take a moment to watch a short PSA on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Increasing Awareness About Recovery

Prevention, treatment, and recovery save lives. People in sobriety and out need the compassion and support of their communities. It is not a secret that addiction and mental illness are an epidemic. There are resources available that can help individuals turn their lives around, but those suffering require empowerment.

Working together, the message that treatment works and recovery is possible can be heard by millions of Americans dealing with the symptoms of mental illness. You can affect change in other ways, too; help by sharing PSAs or social media graphics about addiction, mental health, and recovery.

In towns and cities across the country, events are happening to educate people by raising awareness. Those who are part of the recovery community are in a unique position to help combat stigmas that prevent people from seeking treatment and recovery support services.

Mental health is essential to overall health. On top of celebrating individuals on the healing path, Recovery Month promotes and supports new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. It is also vital to acknowledge the dedication of recovery service providers who help make recovery in all its forms possible.

This year is the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month. SAMHSA has created a new logo for the observance that can be shared online. It features a lowercase “r” which stands for recovery of course. You are invited to share the image below as you see fit. The organization is interested in how you use the new logo; please include #RisforRecovery with your posts.

At The Haven, we would like to recognize the millions of Americans proudly living their lives in recovery. We hope that each of you will play a role in helping spread the message about the benefits of seeking help. The more people who join the effort, the more expansive our reach will be.

Please take some time this month to reflect on how far you’ve come and think about where you would like to go next in recovery. Working a program gives you the ability to set and achieve your goals.

SLO County Addiction Treatment

National Recovery Month is an ideal opportunity to decide to seek help for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders finally. Please contact The Haven at Pismo today to learn more about the programs and services we offer. Our central coast addiction treatment center is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Combating Addiction Via Community

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 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

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

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Motivation is Central to Addiction Recovery

Addiction treatment professionals regularly stress the importance of motivation. Clients learn from them that working a program is not a cure for the disease, but instead a means for managing one's illness in a healthy way. They learn that if goals are to be achieved, both personal and professional, it requires significant effort.

Those who believe that they can detox, attend a few meetings to get the basics, and then carry on with their lives in a similar manner as before, are guaranteed to experience problems. No, recovery is a life-long endeavor that demands a daily commitment to safeguard mental health.

The goal is to lead a life in long-term recovery, to live without relying on drugs and alcohol to function. This means taking action each day to foster continued well-being to ensure you do not slip back into old modes of thinking.

Keeping your focus on sobriety and putting recovery first isn't always a simple task. There will be times when you just flat out won't want to do the Work. To escape your responsibility to recovery, you might start rationalizing the reasons why it's alright to skip a meeting or neglect calling your support network to "check-in." It's common, but it's also the disease exerting power over your life. In a sense, it is a reversion back to your default setting; the idea that you have your condition under control.

After weeks, months, and years of putting recovery first, you may find yourself becoming comfortable in your sobriety. In the process, your motivation to attend meetings, be of service, and reach out to the newcomers might subside. That is complacency, and it's a pathway to relapse.

Motivation is Central to Recovery

Maybe you have been neglecting your program of late? Perhaps you are feeling less motivated to continue putting the needs of your sobriety before all else? If so, then please know that it's not unnatural. However, actions must be taken to address why you are feeling less motivated and how you can go about getting back into the flow of recovery.

One of the best methods for becoming more motivated about recovery is to remember why you are clean and sober in the first place. Nobody finds themselves working a program by accident. Chances are you did everything you could to use drugs and alcohol like a "normal" person before finally surrendering. Reflecting on the pain and heartache that active addiction brought you can be a powerful motivator for revamping your commitment to sobriety.

Over time, people in the program are apt to forget how bad life was before seeking help. The human mind has a propensity to place more emphasis on remembering only the good. You may find it helpful to write down what your life was like before recovery. Review your writing with a peer or sponsor, ask them for feedback. Ask about what they do to keep their eye on the program.

The above exercise is likely to be a quick reminder of why continued participation in the program is necessary. Remembering the despair can give you perspective, and your peers will help you to see the big picture again.

A Support Network is Motivating

Now that you have looked through the window of your past, you can again focus on the present. Spend some time reflecting on all the progress you have made. Think of the ways your life has changed because of recovery. Please also consider that none of what you find in your life today would've been possible without your peers.

Long-term recovery and progress are made possible when people work together to achieve common goals. You have allies, people who care about your well-being and who want to see you succeed. Draw from the energy of your support network; other people are a massive source of inspiration.

Tapping into the energy of your support group is motivating. Redirect that force back into your program. It will likely cause you to get back into the full swing of recovery, and back on the road to achieving your greater goals.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven can help you, or someone close, take steps to recover from the disease of alcohol or substance use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Our team of dedicated addiction professionals utilizes evidence-based therapies to assist clients in leading healthy and productive lives.

The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.