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The miracle of recovery can be yours too

Friday, September 14, 2018

Recovery Author and Advocate, Remembered

On several occasions, we have discussed the benefits of reading in recovery; there are a good many books that can help people strengthen their program. The summer is often most opportune for people to cozy up with a book; which is another topic we have covered at length. One such author that we have written about is Christopher Kennedy Lawford, and for people in recovery, his books are worth a read.

Last week, the author of addiction recovery books like Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption and Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery, passed away from a heart attack, CNN reports. Aside from being a recovery advocate, Lawford was also known for being the son of Rat Pack member Peter Lawford and President John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia Kennedy.

Lawford’s death was confirmed by Patrick J. Kennedy, another advocate for mental health, addiction recovery, and health care parity. You may remember Patrick for his work as a chief sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). The federal law is meant to prevent group health plans, and health insurance issuers that provide mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits from imposing less favorable benefit limitations on those benefits than on medical/surgical benefits.


A Family for Recovery

The Kennedys are well known for their work in politics, but perhaps their most significant contributions to society deal with addiction and recovery. Patrick Kennedy is in recovery, his father Ted is believed to have had a problem with substance use and trauma, and his cousin Christopher Kennedy Lawford was in recovery up until the time of his death.

In Symptoms of Withdrawal, Lawford writes he began drinking at 12. Later, he would go on to abuse cocaine and heroin before going on to acquire more than 30 years sober starting in the 1980s. Christopher’s mission in life was to help reduce the stigma and shame of addiction and other forms of mental illness. Lawford is survived by his three children: David Christopher, Savannah Rose, and Matthew Valentine.

"To the world, he was an author, actor & activist, but to the recovery community he was a pioneer -- living proof that long-term recovery was possible," Patrick J. Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island, tweeted. "Chris had lived in long-term recovery since the mid 80's and helped countless others along the way. In my own struggle to achieve sobriety, he always encouraged me to stay the course, providing love and guidance when I needed it most."

If you are interested in reading one of Lawson’s titles, please click here.


Suicide Prevention Month

Last week we wrote about September being National Recovery Month; but, this is also National Suicide Prevention Month. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention invites everyone to help raise awareness about suicide and encourage others to get assistance for mental illness. For more information, please click here and learn how you can help fight suicide and inspire recovery. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

At Hope By The Sea, we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction, learn how to manage the symptoms of the disease, and acquire the skills for leading a productive and healthy life in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our program; the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Recovery Month: The Miracle Can Be Yours Too

On August 31st Hope By The Sea, along with treatment centers and others whose lives have been touched by addiction, observed International Overdose Awareness Day. The purpose of raising awareness about overdose is to remind ourselves about the deadly nature of addiction. And to remember that the mental health conditions like substance use disorder are treatable, recovery is possible, and overdose is preventable.

It is fitting that the following day marked the beginning of September, which happens to be National Recovery Month. Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors this important observance. SAMHSA guides the annual event and creates a toolkit and promotional graphics to help individuals and organizations increase awareness about recovery. Every one of us can play a role in helping spread the message about the possibility of recovery; in doing so, we have the ability to empower more people to help end the stigma of addiction and encourage those suffering to seek help.

The theme of the 29th annual National Recovery Month is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.”

Spread the Word, The Miracle of Recovery Can Be Yours Too

Recovery Month
Addiction treatment services can be found in every state, in one form or another. But, unfortunately, the vast majority of people living alcohol and substance use disorders never reach out for help even when it’s available. Communities, both small and large, have a vested interest in seeing more people seek recovery; and, eroding the stigma of addiction is an effective means of accomplishing such a task.

Stigma loses its footing in society the more We talk about the disease as a treatable mental health condition, not a moral failing or even worse, a crime. The internet is proving to be invaluable in that respect; it allows people to come together and share inspiring stories of hope and recovery. A significant number of people battling use disorder and co-occurring mental illness resign themselves to thinking that recovery isn’t possible and that they will likely die in the grips of their disease. Taking to the internet to spread the message, as well as attending National Recovery Month events, is an excellent way for people in recovery to carry the message that there is another way.

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

All through the month events are occurring that you can attend. If you are unable to find the time for Recovery Month activities, you can take to social media to raise awareness and encourage men and women to seek care. Please follow the link to find promotional materials.


Addiction Recovery

Seeking help and beginning to work a program of recovery takes tremendous courage. Seemingly, the disease does everything in its power to keep the status quo; but, it is possible to resist the condition and find hope. Please contact Hope By The Sea to learn more about the services we offer, and to determine if we are the right fit for you or a loved one. Please, take it from our team – many of which who are themselves working a program – the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

Friday, August 31, 2018

International Overdose Awareness Day

Overdose, while deadly, is preventable thanks to naloxone—a drug often sold under the brand name Narcan. Every person using drugs like heroin or prescription opioid painkillers should have the overdose antidote on hand. Throughout the country, practically all first-responders are now carrying the life-saving medication. And owing to state government efforts, a number of pharmacies can now dole out the drug to addicts and their families without a doctor’s order.

Last year, some 72,000 Americans were victims of a fatal overdose. We saw some 64,000 such cases in the year prior, up from more than 50,000 in 2015. The point is that with each passing year we see an exponential increase in overdose deaths; the death toll would undoubtedly be higher if it were not for Narcan.

In recent years the heightened overdose death rate is attributable to the prevalence of fentanyl; illicit drug makers are synthesizing the synthetic opioid in Mexico and mixing it with heroin, pressing it into pills disguised as prescription painkillers, and mixing it with non-opioids like coke and meth. As a result of these deadly admixtures, people with substance use disorders unrelated to opioids are also perishing. Expanding access to naloxone in states which have not done so yet, and training more individuals to administer the life-saving drug will save lives.

International Overdose Awareness Day

Each time Narcan prevents an overdose death is an opportunity for doctors and public health workers to discuss recovery options with those caught in the vice grip of addiction. People with substance use disorders are especially vulnerable following a near-death-experience; and, some are more receptive to the idea of detox and treatment as a result. While many people return to using after they overdose and often experience another down the road, for some individuals, an overdose is the beginning of their recovery story.

The United States has made significant progress in educating the public about Narcan; and, local health agencies and grassroots organizations hold naloxone training classes on a regular basis. Along with police officers and paramedics, average Americans bring people back from the clutches of death on a regular basis.

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, a time to remember the lives lost and to encourage more people to learn how to administer Narcan. Across America, free naloxone training seminars are occurring today. What’s more, this is a time that we can continue eroding the stigma of addiction and encourage more people to seek treatment and embrace recovery. Addiction recovery is  a powerful tool in the effort to prevent overdose.


Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Addiction, whether it involves opioids, alcohol, or other types of drugs, is a treatable mental health condition. Those who are ready to take the remarkable journey of recovery are invited to contact Hope By The Sea to learn more about our various evidence-based treatment programs. Our experienced and credentialed staff can help you begin the process of healing and making lasting changes in your life. The miracle of recovery can be yours too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

AB 1793: Expunge Cannabis Convictions

A good many people working programs of addiction recovery have legal records stemming from their past drug and alcohol use. Breaking state laws in service to the disease is quite common; a significant number of individuals in recovery have had DUIs or faced charges for possession. While drunk driving run-ins are misdemeanors – usually – and only affect people later in life in highly specific situations (applying to be a bus driver, perhaps), people with drug charges are not always so fortunate, even, when the crime is cannabis related.

In California, we have a more than two-decade-old medical marijuana program (1996), and adult recreational use was legalized in 2016. It is unlikely that any other state is as progressive as the Golden State when it comes to cannabis and yet marijuana convictions mar hundreds of thousands of Californians' criminal records.

Now that the drug is legal for adult consumption there are thousands of people attempting to clean up the wreckage of their past. Such individuals are petitioning the state to have the cases expunged or downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors. However, there have been some reports in recent months highlighting the complications of setting out on a quest to wipe one’s slate clean. While Prop 64 opened the door for recourse in some instances, there wasn’t a legal framework in place to make marijuana convictions expungements possible.


Assembly Bill 1793

cannabis use disorder
Between 2006 and 2015, almost 500,000 Californians were arrested on cannabis charges, according to a Drug Policy Alliance study. It’s probably fair to say that most of those individuals would like to see their charges expunged or, at the least, downgraded. Last week, the California Senate paved the way for the above to become a reality in the next couple years with the passing of Assembly Bill 1793, CNN reports. If Governor Jerry Brown signs the legislation into law, it requires the state Department of Justice to sift through criminal records and determine which convictions are eligible to be expunged or downgraded from felonies. Under the new law, as many as 218,000 convictions could be altered.

Once the eligible candidates are provided to county prosecutor offices, district attorneys will have until July 1, 2020, to decide which cases they would like to challenge, according to the article. AB 1793 “creates a simpler pathway for Californians to turn the page,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) during the floor debate. Naturally, some lawmakers are opposed to the legislation.

“This directs us to forget any prior behavior that was illegal,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber, who opposed the measure. “They should not be given a pass.” 

It is still too early to tell if Gov. Brown will sign the legislation.


Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

Even though cannabis is legal for adult use in California, it doesn’t mean that using the drug is not without risk. Millions of Americans meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder; those who attempt to quit without help, often experience withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana is not a benign substance, those who use the drug daily often suffer adverse consequences. At Hope By The Sea, we can help you break the cycle of marijuana addiction and give you the tools to lead a drug-free life in recovery. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and how the miracle of recovery can be yours too.

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