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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Working an Honest Program of Recovery

Honesty does not come easily for many people in early recovery. In active addiction, untruthfulness can become one’s default setting. However, if you hope to achieve lasting sobriety, then you will have to learn how to be honest in all your affairs.

The disease of addiction is accompanied by doing whatever it takes to keep the cycle going, which can mean lying to those you care about the most. It takes tremendous effort to acquire the resources necessary to feed one’s alcohol or substance use disorder. A person will do or say whatever it takes to keep their addiction alive.

In treatment and the rooms of recovery like meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, one learns that long-term healing will depend on complete honesty. You must be honest with yourself and others if you hope to heal from the disease and keep it at bay.

Since there is a lot of shame and guilt that plagues people with use disorders, one may be inclined to be dishonest even in recovery. However, dishonesty will not help your cause and can be the impetus for a relapse.

It’s not easy to talk about one’s past, let alone process it with relative strangers like a new sponsor or support network. It takes practice to be truthful in all of your endeavors; but you will find that it feels good no longer having to keep your stories straight. Honesty, you will discover, is a pillar of addiction recovery. The more honest you are, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

An Honest Program of Recovery

honesty in recovery
Learning how to trust the people in your support network is challenging for many people in early recovery. There are those who have fears that what they say will lead to judgment. The good news is that the longer you are in the program, the easier it will be to feel comfortable sharing with others.

If one is committed to making progress in the program, then they have to go all in and follow the directions of others. Honesty is the only way that working the Steps will be beneficial. Early recovery is a turning point in your life, and half-measures will avail you nothing.

For the Steps to have the desired life-changing effect, you must be completely truthful with yourself and your sponsor. The 12 Steps will produce remarkable progress in your life provided you can find the courage to work them honestly. Omitting something when working the Steps can lead to relapse down the road and return to active addiction.

If you think that you have not been completely honest with your peers of late, please do not dismay. You have the power to come clean and prevent issues from arising in the future. When we tell lies or omit information, it leads to shame and guilt; both feelings can derail your program. While it’s difficult to admit when you are dishonest, a tremendous burden will be lifted from your shoulders immediately. Your sponsor or trusted peers will understand; recovery is about progress, not perfection.

It is not uncommon for people to continue attending meetings and working the Steps (for a time) following a relapse. If you have slipped up recently – had a drink or drug – please talk to your sponsor and get to a meeting to identify as a newcomer. It will be a humbling experience and one that could lead to you having an even stronger program.

Orange County Addiction Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, we offer many unique, evidence-based programs to help men and women break the cycle of addiction and go on to live in long-term recovery. We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our services and begin a new life. Hope Starts Here!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Relaxing, Stress, and Your Recovery

Learning how to relax and let go of stress will significantly assist you in early recovery. Maybe you already have techniques for coping with challenges; perhaps you learned some of them while in addiction treatment? Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, taking walks, and working out are all examples of effective stress relief techniques.

Early addiction recovery is a fragile time for men and women; unfortunate events can arise that can get you off track. One must be ever mindful of their feelings and do what they can to mitigate cravings. Stress is one of the leading causes of relapse, so learning to deal with it effectively can increase your chances of achieving long-term recovery.

Each person must find what works best for them when they confront stress at work, school, or at home. Stressors are a part of life, and it’s nearly impossible to lead a completely stress-free life. However, if you can learn how to determine the root of what is causing your mental unease, then you will be able to cope without resorting to drug and alcohol use.

You may not realize it at this point in your recovery, but attending daily meetings is a method of reducing your stress. Meetings of recovery are a forum where you can talk about what is bothering you in life and receive feedback from individuals who have dealt with similar problems.

It’s critical never to bottle up what stands in the way of your serenity. Today, you have a fellowship of men and women who are willing to hear you out without judgment and empathize with your struggles. Take advantage of your support network; doing so will save your recovery.

Relaxing in Recovery

Working a program is not always easy and demands tremendous effort. Staying on track can be complicated by what is occurring in your life outside the rooms. Your ability to achieve long-term sobriety will hinge on learning the importance of relaxation techniques. One must find a balance between program, employment, and having fun.

Serenity is achieved by accepting the things you cannot change, finding the courage to change the things you can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. Saying the serenity prayer throughout the day – especially when you are stressed out – is hugely beneficial. It will help you cope with stressors and bring you back down to earth.

There are many ways that you can be a more relaxed individual and not let stress get the best of you. Some of those techniques were mentioned in the first paragraph. There are other methods as well, such as yoga and adopting new hobbies that can calm your mind and help you stay present.

If you get worked up about something, stop what you are doing and relax for a moment. Feelings of discomfort will pass if you allow them to; taking a walk or hike is an excellent way to bring calm back into your life. The thing that was causing your stress may still be there when you are done, but you will have a new perspective and will be less likely to act rashly.

Those who are regularly stressed out in early recovery would be wise to talk with their peers about how they deal with stress. Your sponsor will likely have some salient advice on the subject. If you are open and honest about your struggles, you will stop giving air to the fire.

Southern California Addiction Treatment

At Hope By The Sea, we help men and women from all walks of life adopt programs of addiction recovery. We offer several tracks to meet the needs of each client. Our clinicians and support staff teach clients effective ways of coping with stress and provide relapse prevention tools that enable individuals to achieve lasting recovery.

Please contact Hope By The Sea today to learn more about our evidence-based therapies and begin the remarkable journey of addiction recovery. Hope Starts Here! 866.930.4673

Friday, January 3, 2020

FDA Opioid Prescribing Practices

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years old. The FDA website states:

“It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21.” 

While tobacco use is down across every demographic, vaping both nicotine and cannabis extracts is up, especially among young people. Lawmakers hope that raising the minimum age limit will prevent and curb the use of vaping products.

Interestingly, many states and more than 530 cities across the country have already raised the age limit to 21 before the FDA mandate, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. California had taken upon itself to make the change on June 9, 2016.

While people do not often seek addiction treatment for tobacco use, we like to remind our readers in recovery that nicotine use is associated with an increased risk of relapse. Any mind-altering substance is best to avoid for any member of the recovery community. We have pointed out on numerous occasions that smokers face elevated relapse rates.

The FDA made headlines for another reason last week when a study found that the agency failed to oversee that a program designed to ensure proper opioid prescribing practices was effective, The New York Times reports. The research appears in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Improper Opioid Prescribing Practices

opioid prescribing practices
Now some twenty years into perhaps the most severe public health crisis regarding drug use, it’s as vital as ever to ensure doctors are part of the solution. For many years doctors overprescribed powerful pain medications with very few of them facing any repercussions. A significant number of physicians continue to ignore opioid prescribing recommendations.

Current news regarding the American opioid addiction epidemic has primarily focused on pharmaceutical companies, particularly Purdue Pharma. You have probably read some of the reports on Purdue, the makers of OxyContin, and the Sackler Family, whose members are the majority shareholders.

In recent years, plenty of blame for the epidemic has been directed towards doctors. In 2011, the FDA realized there was a systemic problem regarding opioid prescribing practices in America. At that time, the agency asked drug companies making opioid painkillers to cover the cost of safety training for doctors who prescribed opioids. Moreover, the FDA also tasked pharmaceutical companies to begin keeping tabs on the efficacy of the training courses.

However, new evidence suggests that FDA dropped the ball on several fronts. The study shows that opioid manufacturers were not gathering the right kind of data, which meant the agency was incapable of determining how efficacious the safety training was in reducing addiction, overdoses, and overdose death rates. The researchers also revealed that FDA did nothing to correct the problem upon learning of the flaw in data collection.

“What’s surprising here is the design of the program was deficient from the start,” said Caleb Alexander, the senior author of the study. “It’s unclear why the FDA didn’t insist upon a more scientifically rigorous evaluation of this safety program.” 

The FDA wanted 60 percent of opioid prescribers, some 192,000 doctors, to take safety courses, the article reports. However, only about 27 percent did so between 2012 and 2016. The report said:

“If FDA does not have comprehensive data to monitor the performance...it cannot ensure that the public is provided maximum protection from a drug’s known or potential risks.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Please contact Hope By The Sea if you or someone you care about is struggling with an opioid use disorder. We can significantly assist individuals dependent on prescription opioids or heroin. We provide a full continuum of care – from detox to aftercare – which utilizes evidence-based therapies. Hope Starts Here!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Anything is Possible in Recovery: New Year's Goals

At Hope By The Sea, we would like to wish you a safe and sober New Year’s Eve. We hope that your Christmas holiday, while perhaps difficult for some, went off without a hitch, meaning relapse-free. If you read our previous post on the subject of Christmas, then maybe you gleaned some useful tips for navigating significant days of the year clean and sober.

Those of our readers who didn’t have an opportunity to look at “Recovery First: Protect Your Sobriety This Christmas” can benefit from giving it a read. While New Year’s Eve is a substantially different holiday than Christmas, staying sober during any trying time of the year is formulaic.

Men and women who are committed to keeping their sobriety must have a plan in place for New Year’s Eve. It’s vital that you stay away from any situation that might compromise all your hard work, such as New Year’s bashes where copious amounts of alcohol will be consumed. A New Year’s Eve party that is not held by a member of the fellowship is no place for people in recovery.

If you are in early recovery, then we implore to begin making preparations for staying sober on December 31st. Moreover, you will find it beneficial to start thinking about how you are going to make 2020 a productive year in recovery.

Long-term recovery is about making continual progress; there isn’t a finish line or point when you can stop and say to yourself, ‘I’m recovered.’ One must always be looking to achieve new milestones both inside the rooms and without; perhaps you would like to see your life circumstances improve as you “trudge the road of happy destiny?”

Anything is Possible in Recovery

Once clean and sober and working the Steps, people’s lives drastically improve. Cleaning up the wreckage of your past takes time, but slowly and incrementally, you’ll find that new doors will open. Maybe you’d like to get your GED or seek higher education? One thing is for sure: men and women in recovery can achieve anything provided they keep doing the next right thing.

If you keep showing up and doing the work, you will find a new sense of discipline that will give you the confidence to reach for the stars. Many individuals have gone on to graduate from college and secure excellent employment; such people will tell you that they owe their accomplishments to their recovery.

In the first year of recovery, it’s essential that you continue following the direction of your sponsor. Regularly attending meetings and sharing will enable you to work out any problems that you face in life. Working the Steps is a means to one day walking others through the steps; paying it forward is the bedrock of the long-term recovery. Doing all the above, day after day, will make for a more responsible and accountable person, an individual who can take on new challenges and cope with the stressors that accompany your goals.

At Hope By The Sea, we genuinely believe that anything is possible in recovery. We hope that you take some time leading up to the New Year to sit down with your sponsor and make a list of realistic goals you can work towards in the 365 days to come. Some of your goals may take more than a year to accomplish, but you can see your dreams realized if you keep doing the next right thing in recovery.

Talking with your sponsor about your resolutions for 2020 will help you understand if you are biting off more than you can chew. A sponsor can serve as a sounding board, and they can help you determine if the time is right to pursue a particular goal. Whatever you decide, always remember that recovery comes first; anything that is put in front of one’s sobriety will compromise your progress.

Southern California Addiction Treatment

If you are one of the millions of Americans who battle the disease of addiction, then 2020 can be the year you find the miracle of recovery. We are confident that you can break the disease cycle with our assistance. Please reach out to us today if your New Year’s resolution is sobriety to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

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