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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Traveling In Addiction Recovery

You can never have too much support in early recovery, and it’s vital that you do anything you can do to protect your sobriety. The trappings of drugs and alcohol are pervasive; one wrong turn can put your program in jeopardy which is why those who succeed establish routines to mitigate their risk of encountering problems. Day in and day out, most people in recovery attend the same meetings, interact with a group of peers consistently, and work closely with a sponsor or recovery mentor of some kind.

Usually, persons in recovery begin and end their day in a similar manner to that of the day before, ad infinitum. You wake up, pray or meditate, go to work or school, attend a meeting (maybe two); for most people in recovery, prayer or meditation closes each day. The idea is that one limit the number of unforeseen variables that can impact your trajectory. The goal is longevity; recovery is not a sprint. If people hope to stay the course, then daily vigilance is a necessity.

There will be times, however, when your schedule or daily routine is hard to keep. Some of you will travel for work or vacation, need to leave town for one reason or another; even though you know what it takes to stay clean and sober, the task is made difficult by being away from your support network. If you have had to travel in early recovery, there’s a good chance that you quickly came to understand the importance of your peers. As with anything in life—If you want to learn how essential something is—you need only remove it from the picture for a moment.


Traveling In Recovery

Individuals working a program of recovery know to stay away from wet places, provided they don’t want to slip. People who spend a lot of time in bars are usually not long for recovery. Those with a history of drug use know to avoid people and places that are bound to precipitate a relapse. When you are in your typical environs, sticking to a routine is a form of autopilot that mitigates the risk of you ending up on a bar stool. When you break for lunch at work it’s unlikely that you’d go to a place where you used to drink for a sandwich. Why would you take the risk? Those who stay away from purveyors of booze in early recovery are less likely to get drunk, after all.

When you are traveling, it’s unlikely you will have associations with most of the restaurants (many of which have bars) you come across along the way. You may not know that walking into a particular eatery at the airport is risky. Since it is unlikely you are traveling with a fellow in recovery, it’s always best to avoid eating at a restaurant that sells alcohol while in early recovery. Many airport restaurants are designed around bars, enticing laid over flyers to buy overpriced drinks while they wait to board. Naturally, it’s best to avoid such traps; there are airport restaurants that don’t offer beer and spirits on the menu; given that you are isolated from your recovery peers, alcohol-free establishments are best for long-term recovery.


It’s easy to convince ourselves that our program is stronger than it is at times; we are not always best at reading our recovery pulse. Even if you think getting a burger at the airport bar is safe while you wait for your flight, just ask yourself, ‘is the choice worth risk?’ In some cases, just walking past such places can trigger an individual to drink; the pull of alcohol is strong for even a seasoned recovering alcoholic. If you find yourself desiring to imbibe, just “replay the tape,” you know where one beer leads. Pull out your phone and call your sponsor or another fellow in your support network. Keep calling until a connection is made, hearing the voice of your peer will remind you that you’re not alone. Your peer should be able to talk you back to earth and help you stay grounded for the remainder of the excursion. Attend the first meeting available once you get where you are going.

Traveling in recovery isn’t always free from program turbulence, but with help, you can find your center and make it where you are going—sober and safe.


Addiction Recovery

At Hope by the Sea, we can help you or a loved one begin the journey of abstinence. We offer many unique programs that give clients the necessary tools for working a program of lasting recovery. Please contact us for a free consultation.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Methamphetamine: Cheap, Pure, and Deadly

Methamphetamine use is hardly an afterthought for the majority of Americans today; the drug no longer garners the attention as in years past. It’s an unfortunate reality that national discussions about practically every harmful, mind-altering substance have gone the way of the dodo; it is the result of a nearly twenty-year-old opioid addiction epidemic. While not many people are talking about meth, even though it was once the primary focus of the “war on drugs” in America, the substance is still significant cause for concern. The drug is inexpensive and purer than ever.

Historically, methamphetamine was all anyone was talking about due to the pernicious harm it caused users. Crystal methamphetamine was manufactured with relative ease by cooks all over the U.S. until the government cracked down. Today’s meth comes from Mexico by cartels; organizations that can access the necessary ingredients easily and cook it in super laboratories. Just north of the Mexican border is a vast clientele that is more than happy to purchase the finished product. Gone are the day of home-brew, trailer-park methamphetamine. The meth on our streets today is on par quality-wise with what one can only imagine Walter White cooked in the hit television show Breaking Bad.


Of course, AMC’s hit show was a work of fiction, Mexican meth is destroying lives in the real world; in some parts of America, the substance is responsible for more premature deaths than opioids. It’s important to understand that meth use is pervasive across America, just because we don’t see commercials warning viewers of the risks of rotting teeth and jaundice complexions doesn’t mean the problem went away.

Methamphetamine Is Here

Border Patrol and customs officials are seizing exponentially more methamphetamine than just a decade ago, The New York Times reports. Our neighbors to the north in Oregon are seeing more meth-related deaths than that of heroin; 232 people died from meth in 2016, nearly double the deaths caused by heroin. The drug is far more potent than home cooks in America could have dreamed of at the height of the meth epidemic. In fact, people regularly access the drug in its purest form.

Law enforcement managed to shut down American meth labs and make it hard to buy the necessary precursors for production, but little was done to address the underlying stimulant addiction plaguing people. Since we don’t hear much in the news about meth could lead people to think the meth scourge came to an end; however, the more of the drug and a more significant number of people are dying from use than ever before, according to the article. One Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) spokesman says that for $5, people can get a hit of meth that is nearly 100 percent pure; the effect, cocaine addicts, are switching over. The CDC states that nearly 6,000 people died from stimulant use in 2015, a 255 percent increase from 2005, at the height of the meth epidemic.

“I have been involved with meth for the last 25 years. A wholesale plummet of price per pound, combined with a huge increase of purity, tells me they have perfected the production or manufacturing of methamphetamine,” said Steven Bell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. “They have figured out the chemical reactions to get the best bang for their bucks.”


What Can Be Done?

The problem of meth abuse is complicated. The fact that, unlike opioids, there isn’t an overdose reversal drug like naloxone. When it comes to treating stimulant addiction those looking to break the cycle can rely on craving reduction drugs like Suboxone to get through acute withdrawal. Methamphetamine prevention and treatment efforts are eclipsed by the attention given to prescription opioid and heroin, even though many heroin users are also using meth.

“We need to think about substance abuse much more broadly,” said Dr. Paul F. Lewis, the public health officer for the Portland metropolitan area. “Eighty or 90 percent of heroin users are also using meth. It deserves more attention.”


Stimulant Use Disorder

Methamphetamine addiction is treatable, and individuals can achieve long-term recovery with help. If you are struggling with stimulant use disorder, please contact Hope by the Sea.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Affected By Addiction In America

When individuals make the most significant decision of their lives, the choice to get sober and embrace recovery, they learn right away that outside help is vital. Everyone with decades of sobriety under their belt will tell you that they couldn't get where they are today without assistance. Without a community, made up of other men and women with similar struggles, few would ever manage to abstain from drugs and alcohol in the long run. Fellowship is one of the pillars of lasting addiction recovery.

It’s not just other addicts, and alcoholics, who people turn to for support when embarking on the remarkable journey of progress, in many cases family support proves invaluable. We understand that many people's addiction cost them the ability to rely on family for help by the time they chose to go to treatment. When an individual spends years, decades even, manipulating others, it’s easy to see why some family members become skeptical about their loved one’s intentions. In such cases, only time and action will convince a family member that you are serious about recovery.

Those of you who still have family in your life as you begin the journey of change, be grateful. Such support is a gift that no one should squander, there are peers among you who have great lengths of sobriety, but still have not reëarned the trust of their family. If you are one of those people, just remember, when you stay honest you will never risk the loss of familial support. In the field of addiction medicine, we cannot overemphasize the value of having loved ones in your corner.

Fellowship in Recovery, For All

Love is a remarkable thing, even in the least whimsical of ways; no one can quickly explain our affections for others, but its value is priceless. It’s evident in recovery, when the love of a family is in the picture, the afflicted benefit significantly. But, what about mom, dad, sister, and brother? What about their needs during the laborious process of early recovery. How is one supposed to make sense of a mental health condition that does not adhere to human logic and reason?

The questions above, albeit rhetorical, have existential implications. If the addict and the alcoholic are to benefit from the support of loved ones, it stands to reason that the love ones will need help, too. After all, the fallout from addiction radiates, its effects can linger for years after one embraces recovery. Simply put, the family needs support too; just as recovering addicts rely on each other for guidance; so too do our families as they make sense of their role in all this and address how they were affected. Naturally, a program like Al-Anon, for example, is a recovery group for the family; a fellowship for those with family in the Fellowship.

We can never lose sight of the fact that addiction is a family disease, all its sphere are affected. If family members want to see their loved one succeed, they too can benefit from talking about their struggles.

Affected by Addiction

Mental health conditions will always be a problem impacting families across the globe. There isn’t a cure, and without treatment and a program to rely on, the outcomes for those touched is the same. In America, the last two decades has shown everyone the actual cost of unchecked substance use disorder. Overdose deaths are at or are around all-time highs. In the blink of an eye, one’s loved one can succumb to the disease. Millions of family members have lost those they love in recent years in America. Some of them live in remote parts of the country cut off from accessing vital support networks. Fortunately, the internet provides such people an outlet for finding fellowship.

Seeing the need to discuss the effects of a loved one's addiction or overdose death, a group of family members has taken to the internet in search of fellowship. A private Facebook support group called "Affected By Addiction," has over 60,000 members, ABC News reports. Those who take part in the discussions all have one thing in common, addiction. The loved ones of addicts turn to the group to educate themselves about the disease.

"When my active heroin-addicted son finally admitted he had a problem, I didn’t know where to turn, where to educate myself," Dawn Campbell told ABC News. "So I turned to Facebook." 

Please take a moment to watch a short video about Affected By Addiction:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Family Recovery

At Hope by the Sea, we place great emphasis on the importance of family in recovery. We know that when the family takes part in their loved one’s recovery, everyone benefits. Clients of ours have access to an intensive three-day Family Program that focuses on educating, empowering and supporting families. Please contact us to learn more.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sober Bowl for Addiction Recovery

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone, and hopefully, everyone working a program maintained it over the weekend. While champion games for professional sports are not national holidays, people often treat them like they are—drinking alcohol more than usual. Over consumption defines even season games, so it stands to reason that “bowl” games are cause for even more significant alcohol use.

Anyone who has ever seen a professional sports game in person knows that stadiums invest a lot of money and time encouraging fans to drink a beer. After all, the most prominent sponsors in pro-sports are, ironically, alcohol; a substance that in no way, shape, or form will improve one's chance of ever going Pro. Athleticism and alcohol are strange bedfellows; wherever you find the one, the other is likely only a concession stand away.

If people in recovery, plan to attend sporting events, they must have their program shored up; attending a game is, by default, a tricky place for someone in recovery to find them self. Individuals must make preparations to protect all their hard work.


No Alcohol at Sober Bowl

Most Americans did not watch the Super Bowl in Minneapolis last weekend. Your average person watched from home, at a party, or in a bar. Regardless of the setting, you can bet alcohol was pervasive. So, what is a person in addiction recovery, who’s also a football fan, to do if they want to take in the game with others? Well, one popular option is getting to together with your program peers to watch the game; that way no one needs to worry about the prospect of being around alcohol. People in early recovery should always make plans to be around drug and alcohol-free company on days like Super Bowl Sunday.

Taking the alcohol-free party idea one step further, you might have interest in learning about “Sober Bowl;” a grand event held in Super Bowl host cities on Game Day, and the party-goers are all in recovery. Last year, the party was such a success in Houston it was repeated this year in Minneapolis. This past Sunday, a large group of sober football enthusiasts met in solidarity at the MUSE Event Center, Star Tribune reports. Sober Bowl wasn’t just about watching the game dry; attendees also watched live music and keynote speakers discussing their experience with addiction.

“We wanted to create a venue where people could enjoy the Super Bowl and a game day experience without the trappings of alcohol,” said Jeremiah Gardner, a person in recovery who’s manager of public affairs and advocacy at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (event sponsor).

This year was a huge success and plans are already in the works for next year’s Sober Bowl in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII. Perhaps football fans in recovery will want to check out this opportunity to have fun in recovery. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol does not mean we can’t have fun anymore, it’s quite the opposite.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with alcohol, alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder—please contact Hope by the Sea. We understand what you are going through and with the help of our addiction specialists, you can begin the life-changing journey of recovery.

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