Rehab for First Responders

Rehab for First Responders

First responders, including law enforcement officers, search and rescue teams, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams (dispatchers and ambulance workers), are some of the first to step on the scene of disaster, accident, or emergency. These scenes present some of the most dangerous and emotionally demanding situations possible.

As a first responder, you often interact with victims needing immediate care, life support, or urgent medical help. As a first responder, your duty further involves giving emotional support to disaster survivors. In the face of these emotionally draining situations, first responders’ training requires them to maintain composure despite these demands.

A 2018 report on the mental health of responders claims that emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and police officers carry a 70%  higher mortality risk compared to workers who are non-first responders. Due to frequent exposure to work-related traumatic events, first responders are likely to develop mental health issues. Generally, the prevalence of sleep disorders, behavioral health issues, anxiety, and PTSD among first responders is greater than among the general populace.

As a first responder, or with a loved one serving in the role, you may already be familiar with these facts. Now keep reading to find out why Pathfinders should form the front line of your efforts to get lasting relief from alcohol and/or drugs!

Identifying Mental Health Issues in First Responders

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders are often people with high-level self-esteem and are performance-driven. A first responder’s motivation is to do well and get the desirable results.

Some first responders may start to interpret issues with feelings of anxiety, isolation, or flashback as signs of weakness and may feel embarrassed to share these feelings with family or friends. In many cases, they may opt to internalize these feelings, eventually resulting in behavioral health issues. If this goes unchecked, it may lead to increased feelings of depression, leading to burnout on the job.

Here are common mental health issues among first responders:

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression is a commonly reported mental illness issue in first responders’ professions. A case-controlled study on medical team workers who responded to the 2011 Japan earthquake indicated that 21.4% of the team suffered clinical depression.

First responders battling depression may experience feelings of sadness. They may find little or no pleasure in jobs they used to enjoy. These emotions can negatively affect their energy levels and overall well-being. Some common signs of depression may include:

1. Extreme fatigue

First responders work long shifts, but extreme fatigue may signify depression. If you’re having trouble remaining awake even after a night of good sleep, it could be depression. The key here is to identify if there’s a pattern linked to this behavior.

2. An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or sadness

One of the most difficult things to accept as a first responder is a reality that you won’t be able to save everyone. While most first responders come to terms with this reality, those battling depression may have increased feelings of hopelessness or sadness.

3. Loss of Enthusiasm

First responders look forward to making a difference every day. However, depression can turn this enthusiasm into dread. When you find yourself starting to take unplanned off days, enthusiasm may be fading away.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Changes of appetite
  • Unexplained body aches or fatigue
  • Having difficulty making choices or focusing
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Behavioral concerns

 

People that are battling depression experience difficulty controlling negative, repetitive thoughts. The good news is that; depression can be treated. If you or your loved one is struggling with this mental health issue, it’s essential to seek help.

Substance Abuse in First Responder Professions

There’s sadly a close connection between drug and alcohol addiction and the life of first responders. Exposure to traumatic scenes while on duty can lead to the development of behavioral disorders. One such behavioral disorder is alcohol use disorder.

Its reported alcohol abuse among first responders is greater than that of the general population. First responders use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

First responders who develop substance abuse might show abrupt changes in their behavior, and these negative changes can impact their self-esteem and motivation.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Unexplained absence from work
  • Inability to focus or forgetfulness
  • Hyperactivity or extreme lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Challenges with physical co-ordination

 

Many first responders suffering from alcohol use disorder experience social stigma. In most cases, they fear being judged if discovered. With the right care and support, sustained recovery is entirely possible.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in First Responders

Considering the severity and frequency of traumatic scenes, it’s not shocking that first responders face a significant risk of suffering PTSD.

Occupational-specific risk factors that contribute to PTSD among first responders include:

  • Hostile occupational environments including risk for physical injury and exposure to excessive smoke, heat, or fire.
  • Traumatic events encountered on the line of duty
  • Types of traumatic events
  • Routine occupational stress
  • Lack of adequate workplace social support
  • Irregular sleep patterns may compromise resilience in the face of a traumatic experience.

 

PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can impact every aspect of a first responder’s life. A Journal of Emergency Medical Services report claims that PTSD is heavily unreported among the first responders’ community because it’s regarded as a weakness.

Common signs of PTSD among first responders include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest at work
  • Intrusive dreams, flashbacks, or memories of a specific incident
  • Distancing from family and friends
  • Overwhelming fear
  • A feeling of guilt or self-esteem
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Self-destructive or dangerous behavior

Is Rehab Important for First Responders?

Getting specialized treatment for first responders is essential for recovery. A responder addiction treatment program helps those who have suffered work-related traumatic events quickly get the help they need. The program addresses underlying mental health issues and shapes the path to sustained recovery.

Pathfinders Recovery Centers use an integrated addiction treatment approach that combines licensed professionals from different backgrounds to treat a first responder. These specialists form a multidisciplinary team that meets to discuss patients’ treatment targets and progress and then meets separately with the patient to discuss specific issues during admission process.

The multidisciplinary team can include therapists, counselors, physicians, and other specialists who combine their expertise to offer best treatment for first responders. The drug and alcohol addiction treatment process starts with an overall assessment by trained professionals such as psychologists to evaluate you at all levels, effectively diagnose underlying issues, and develop a holistic addiction treatment for you.

Mental health condition treatment is a long-term commitment, and it’s overall in nature since it addresses your social, psychological, and physical needs. This means that addiction treatment for first responders will often include medications, therapy, family support, and other necessary interventions. For patients with co-occurring PTSD and behavioral health disorders, the first treatment steps would most likely involve using a medical detox program followed by an intensive outpatient or inpatient program.

Using medications for addiction treatment can help the patient get through chronic pain, reduce cravings and manage symptoms like anxiety. However, medications don’t address the underlying causes of first responders’ co-occurring disorders and can’t prepare them for behavior adjustments.

Specific Treatment Goals for First Responders

Treatment Goals for First Responders

  • Helping first responders express their needs in a way that doesn’t make them feel inadequate or exposed
  • The development of interests and hobbies outside of work to help first responders deal with work-related traumatic events
  • The development of a reliable social support system that can assist first responders
  • Continued support after the program enables first responders to identify signs of substance use disorders and traumatic stress.

 

Responders with co-occurring PTSD and alcohol use disorder need to remain in the responders addiction treatment program long enough to attain the necessary skills to avoid relapse. For sustained recovery, it’s essential to identify situations that can increase the possibility of relapse and recognize the signs of relapse.

How Can You Support a Loved One Struggling with a Mental Health Issue?

If your loved one is struggling with one of these first responder mental health issues, you can help them by being there for them.

Here are some tips:

#Tip 1- Listen to Them

Sometimes, your loved ones don’t know if they need help. It’s difficult for most first responders to accept that they have a mental health problem. If your loved one is having a hard time, sit down and listen to them.

#Tip 2 Seek Help

Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. It’s okay to be uncomfortable when you shift position from a person giving help to one receiving it. If you join our first responders’ addiction treatment center program, you can view it as another professional network designed to help you exceed in your position even more than you currently do.

Start Your Healing Journey Today at Pathfinders

If you or your loved one needs help, Pathfinders Recovery Centers (AZ &CO) is here for you. Our top-notch mental health and addiction treatment center is the right place to start your healing journey. Enjoy a stress-free first responder addiction treatment program as you receive a personalized responders addiction treatment plan.

Contact us today if you’re ready to break free from a dangerous chain of substance abuse. We look forward to welcoming you.

Rehab for College Students

Rehab for College Students

Transitioning into college is a significant life milestone. A student’s life in college or university helps shape the person they become in the future. Going to college usually means separation from home and independence. But living in a new social environment can challenge a person’s values and beliefs.

University and college students in the U.S. face immense pressure to succeed and build a career. Most students get concerned about their academics and experience the stress of meeting new people and trying new things. Striking a balance between all the new events can be difficult, and some students turn to drinking or drug use as a coping mechanism.

Keep reading to find about the reasons why students turn to unhealthy drinking and drug use, and the most effective ways of getting help!

Get Help with Drinking and Drugs on Campus

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over a third of all American full-time college students between 18 and 22 binge drink regularly. The unique circumstances of college students make it necessary for customized addiction treatment programs tailored to meet their needs.

Substance use is among the most severe public health issues for the young American population, causing adverse health and socio-economic impacts for adolescents and their families.

Read on for more info about rehab for college students, and to get help if you are struggling while in college, or have a loved one that might be!

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in College Students

Although some college students abstain from use, most are of legal drinking age and have more independence on campus. This increases the need to set personal goals and boundaries. You might want to unwind from the school week with a pint with your pals to help you relax in social situations. But for many students, the burden of expectations from their families, educators, peers, society, and even themselves only grows heavier during their time at university.

Over 6 million young adults have substance use disorders (SUD). Under competing pressures, college students must learn to live a new lifestyle around factors that can predispose them to college drug abuse. Alcoholic beverages are readily available on college campuses, and students sometimes use drugs to relieve stress or enhance performance. Prolonged drug use may cause the students to develop substance use disorders or alcohol addiction.

One in every five American adults experiences mental health disorders annually. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 75% of mental health illnesses develop by 24 years. Students may experience symptoms of conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD for the first time in college. Survivors of traumatic events like sexual assault are at a high risk of a mental illness diagnosis. Students with mental illness may turn to alcohol and drug use to cope with the symptoms.

Commonly Abused Drugs in College

Commonly Abused Drugs in College

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) explains that drinking alcohol is a ritual that students consider an essential part of college or university life. Although alcohol is the most commonly abused drug by young adults, most students also use:

 

  • Marijuana
  • Ecstasy, LSD, and other psychedelics
  • Study drugs and stimulants such as Adderall
  • Cocaine
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Opioids
  • Prescription or opiate painkiller abuse can cause injury, overdose, and death

Marijuana

Also called marijuana or weed, cannabis is among the most popular drugs on U.S. college campuses. Most marijuana users smoke it, while others incorporate the drug into edibles, like baked products and confectionery. Marijuana’s psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects vary by strain.

Nearly half the college student population reported using marijuana in 2018. Marijuana may not be as harmful as other illicit drugs, but occasional use might become problematic and aggravate a student’s anxiety. Addiction can develop with prolonged usage of this substance. If you suffer from a marijuana use disorder, call us at +1 (855) 728-4363 for confidential advice on getting help.

Cocaine

Despite cocaine’s popularity as a party drug on many universities and campuses, its stimulating effects are not worth the risks involved in using the drug. To feel more energized or productive, some young adults may opt to snort, inject, or inhale the white powdery substance. Others smoke it as crack cocaine.

Cocaine is lethal on its own, but when combined with other drugs commonly found on college campuses, such as Adderall or marijuana, it becomes exceedingly dangerous. Using cocaine has severe effects on mental and physical health. Given these potential long-term effects, helping someone addicted to cocaine could save their life.

“Study Drugs” and Prescription Stimulants

College students often use prescription stimulants like amphetamines to improve focus. Doctors prescribe drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to treat hyperactive issues, major depressive episodes, and irregular sleeping patterns. Some students use these drugs without a prescription as study aids, even though doing so is illegal and dangerous.

College students widely use stimulant tablets because of their ability to increase wakefulness and attentiveness momentarily. Examples of other study drugs include Modafinil and Concerta. Stimulant use disorders that involve study drugs require professional addiction treatment. Call Pathfinders for more information on study drug misuse.

Benzodiazepines

Also known as “benzos,” benzodiazepines are prescription drugs commonly used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures. Addiction professionals also prescribe these drugs to relax muscles and promote sleep. They are among the most often prescribed medications in the United States, and college students frequently abuse them for their sedative properties. Examples of benzodiazepines are:

 

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Klonopin

 

Benzodiazepines like Xanax are highly addictive and have some of the most dangerous and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of any form of drug.

The Effects of Drug Abuse on College Students

Substance misuse can have severe implications for college students that extend beyond their academic careers. The following are some of the short- and long-term consequences of drug and alcohol use disorder in college students:

  1. Poor academic performance: Substance misuse can result in reduced study time, missing class, and a lower GPA. Drug use can also lead to falling behind on assignments, dropping out, or being expelled.
  2. Risky behaviors: Drug abuse also leads to risky behaviors like driving under the influence, being involved in an alcohol-related sexual assault, getting into fights, indulging in dangerous sexual practices, and date rape.
  3. Health issues: Substance abuse can cause many physical health problems, including hangovers, sickness, and effects on your immune system.
  4. Social ramifications: Substance abuse can cause losing friends and vital relationships. You may become socially isolated if you spend a lot of time drinking or using drugs.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Substance Abuse

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse among college students may include the following:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • A decline in grades and absenteeism  from school
  • Needing drugs or alcohol to unwind or enjoy oneself
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Mood changes
  • People stop engaging in activities they used to enjoy
  • Falsely denying the usage of drugs or alcohol
  • Spending a lot of time using and recovering from the effects of drugs
  • Physical and mental illness
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and cravings
  • Using drugs or alcohol while knowing the risks
  • Legal issues like arrests
  • Substance abuse in potentially dangerous settings like while driving
  • Engaging in potentially harmful activities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

 

Talking about a drug abuse problem might be a difficult conversation to have with someone who doesn’t believe they do. This conversation is more beneficial in the presence of someone trustworthy, like a professor or counselor.

When talking to a friend or loved one, let them know you’re worried about their health, happiness, and academic progress. If they are unwilling to listen, don’t criticize or blame them; instead, back off and try again later.

It is best to keep the conversation specific and inform them of scenarios you deem detrimental to their health. You don’t have to say everything all at once, but you might want to offer them a list of valuable resources and then follow up with them periodically.

Rehab treatment can help prevent the adverse effects of substance use on your health, academic career, and overall well-being, and there are various ways to get help. These include consulting with the campus health center, speaking with a counselor at your campus counseling center, or checking into a hospital or rehab center.

Treating Addiction in College Students

Some young adults in higher education refuse treatment for substance abuse because they don’t believe they have a problem. Students often avoid discussing therapy because of the stigma associated with drug abuse.

Accepting to get addiction treatment shows that you care about your health and your future. According to research, the sooner someone seeks addiction treatment, the more likely they will recover fully. Most rehabilitation centers cater to the needs of students without interfering with their studies.

Detoxification

Detoxification is often the first step in the rehabilitation process after assessment. During detox, substances like alcohol and narcotics are eliminated from the body. In this period, many addicts suffer from unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are avoidable through medical detox.

Since quitting cold turkey can be fatal, medically supervised detox is essential when detoxing from benzodiazepines or alcohol. The average withdrawal periods for various drugs include:

  • Cannabis        – 2 weeks or more
  • Alcohol           – 5 to 7 days
  • Tobacco          – 2 days to 2 weeks
  • Cocaine          – 2 to3 days
  • Opioids           – 1 to 4 weeks
  • Benzos            – 10 to 14 days

 

Detox from opioid use disorders varies widely depending on the length of use and method of delivery. Opioid detox patients experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. But they lose tolerance to opioids within days of abstinence.

Overdosing is a potential risk during relapse, which is, unfortunately, rather often. Relapse is avoidable with the help of medication in a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program. Those with severe opioid addiction may benefit from starting on MAT for an extended time before attempting to wean themselves off the drugs.

Some recovering addicts think that withdrawal is the most challenging aspect of the process, while others say overcoming cravings after detox is the most difficult.

Behavioral Treatment

Mental health therapy and counseling help treat psychological and behavioral challenges that may have contributed to addiction. Counselors can assist college students in learning how to cope with drug urges and the challenges that might lead to drug usage.

Anxiety

Many college students have a co-occurring disorder that has led to drug use. Treating underlying mental health issues is critical to a successful addiction recovery process.

Common co-occurring disorders that students confront include:

  • Depressive disorders.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Anxiety.
  • Bipolar disorder.

 

Most higher learning institutions have on-campus mental health counselors. These counselors assist pupils in coping while keeping confidentiality. At Pathfinders, our comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment programs handle co-occurring mental health problems.

Outpatient Rehab vs. Inpatient Rehab

College students who are addicted to drugs usually require the assistance of a drug rehab facility to recover. Many inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers can help college students achieve sobriety without interfering with their studies.

Inpatient treatment centers provide a distraction-free environment away from campus temptations. College students in rehabilitation improve their grades and overall health. Many inpatient rehab facilities also cater to college students by being close enough to campus for residents to attend class during the day.

For a college student with milder addiction, outpatient rehab is a suitable treatment option. These outpatient centers offer withdrawal medication and counseling while not interfering with the student’s daily routine. Mental health counselors and support groups can help break down addictions psychologically.

How Long Does Rehab Take?

The length and intensity of rehabilitation can change depending on whether you choose inpatient or outpatient care. If you are worried about attending rehab for college students because you don’t want your grades to suffer or you don’t want to fall behind in your education program, consider what will happen if you don’t get help.

If you have to leave school for substance abuse treatment, various mental health resources can help you during and after the process. They include counseling programs, medical leaves of absence, or transition plans that involve modified programs of study. It takes courage to get help for a substance use disorder before your life completely unravels, but it’s admirable that you’re ready to do so.

The average time spent in inpatient treatment is between three weeks and ninety days, while some programs may need a longer commitment. If you choose outpatient care, you may be able to keep up with your daytime classes while receiving therapy in the evenings. Look for a rehab center, such as our programs at Pathfinders, that will work with you to identify the best treatment alternatives for your specific situation.

Rehab can seem daunting or intimidating, but if you don’t want your family or friends to know, no one has to. Taking charge of your life can set you up for a more peaceful, prosperous, and successful tomorrow.

Maintaining Sobriety as an Undergraduate

Rehab for College Students

The next step after finishing addiction treatment is to remain sober while pursuing higher education. Some college rehab programs include sobriety and behavioral contracts to encourage sobriety. The students have to agree to things like going to 12-step meetings, staying away from drugs and alcohol, not engaging in risky behavior, and keeping up with their schoolwork.

Some educational institutions even provide rehabilitation housing for students who are experiencing substance abuse issues. Students in recovery from addiction may benefit from additional peer support from campus-sponsored events.

After finishing a college student rehabilitation program, the next step is to receive aftercare support. This is of utmost importance for those in recovery while attending college. Most universities provide their students access to outpatient treatment and recovery support groups. Getting sober takes effort, but it’s feasible to maintain that effort for the rest of your life.

Get Help Now and Keep Pursuing Your Degree

Pathfinders Recovery Centers are addiction and dual diagnosis treatment centers that offer cutting-edge drug addiction treatment services. If you are battling substance use, connect with us for a solid foundation for starting the journey to recovery.

Reach out now to our Admissions team and discuss the process of Admission and how we can best help you to get sober and get to the podium to celebrate your graduation!

Al-Anon 12 steps

Al-anon 12 steps

Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics that was established in 1951. Sixteen years after her husband created Alcoholics Anonymous, Lois Wilson (often known as Lois W.) created Al-Anon. She founded the group after experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by those who care for a family member or friend with an alcohol use disorder.

Support for Al-Anon comes solely from member contributions. Even if the addict in your life hasn’t yet found sobriety, you may still find support and learn how to best assist them by attending a meeting. Al-Anon’s goal is to help its members feel less alone by showing them they aren’t facing their problems alone.

Keep reading to find out more about the steps involved in Al-Anon and what you can do to help both yourself and a loved one who is struggling with alcohol and/or drug use.

Addiction and Alcoholism as a Family Disease

Because of the devastating effects, alcoholism can have on both the alcoholic and their loved ones, Al-Anon approaches the problem as one that affects the entire family. Recuperating successfully requires a strong network of loved ones and friends.

Some loved ones may place the blame for their alcoholic relative’s drinking on themselves, or they may not comprehend why their relative isn’t making recovery a top priority. These topics are discussed at meetings, along with the concept of alcoholism as a genetic disease and its effects on family members.

While technically Al-Anon is centered only around those whose loved ones have issues with drinking and does not encompass drug use, in reality there is not a clear distinction for most Anon groups.

If your loved one tends more toward drug use, and your area has Nar-Anon meetings, these can be another helpful resource for support, while still firmly based on the twelve step philosophy.

What Happens at a Meeting?

Anyone who another person’s drinking or drug use has harmed is welcome to attend Al-Anon sessions. Al-Anon is there to support you if you are concerned about an alcoholic or an alcoholic’s lifestyle affecting you.

Due to uncertainty about the nature of the initial gathering, some potential attendees may be unwilling to show up. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about going to a meeting:

  • Firstly, Al-Anon is a completely confidential organization.
  • Every individual attending an Anon meeting has been directly or indirectly impacted by drinking or drug use by a loved one/
  • It is recommended, but not needed that everyone stands out and shares their struggles.
  • Various kinds of gatherings exist. It’s possible that some will be more useful to you than others.
  • The fellowship as a whole, known as Al-Anon, has no religious affiliations. However, the basis is on a type of spiritual awakening or acceptance of a higher power being in control. There is certainly a primary spiritual aim regarding the 12-Step Program.
  • The meetings are based on Al-Anon’s twelve steps.

Participants in Al-Anon sessions are encouraged to “take what you want and leave the rest.” Instead of lecturing attendees on what they should do, meetings become opportunities to reflect and commiserate on how best to remain healthy while dealing with a loved one’s drinking.

What Are the 12-Steps?

What Are the 12-Steps

These are the steps, word-for-word, from the original and official 12-Steps of Al-Anon:

  1. “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” —You must learn that alcohol abuse is a disease that ran your life.
  2. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” —Participants drive themselves to the breaking point trying to change something in a loved one’s personality. When you admit you’re powerless, your higher power will bring you back to sanity.
  3. “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” —You must learn to let go and accept in order to heal.
  4. “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” —You must make a list of things you’ve done to harm family and friends. This is done through a deeply personal self-assessment.
  5. “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” —Each member must dive into their memory bank and analyze every act of wrongdoing.
  6. “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” —This step is very important, as it is the full acceptance of the recovery process supported by a Higher Power.
  7. “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” —This part of the 12 Steps helps members understand how they may have been controlling or judgmental toward an addict and how that is counterproductive.
  8. “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” —Oftentimes, making amends starts with yourself. Many people blame themselves for their loved one’s addiction. They must be willing to forgive themselves and make amends. In the future, when wrong, promptly admitted mistakes and slipups lead to less damage.
  9. “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” —After you are willing to make amends, the next step is to take action.
  10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” —Going through the 12 Steps is a process that takes time. Although members have already made an inventory, slipping up is normal. Step 10 recognizes this is an ongoing process.
  11. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” —This is a personal, spiritual step that encompasses acceptance and comfort amid the stress of recovery.
  12. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” —The last step is a realization that the member’s journey is not over. Members are then encouraged to support other members with what they’ve learned by passing their knowledge on during future alcoholics anonymous meetings.

Other Al Anon Groups

Additional Al Anon Groups exist that practice Al Anon’s twelve steps or focus on addiction treatment. Through these al anon meetings, family members and other individuals, such as the children of those going through alcohol abuse, may participate and maintain personal anonymity.

Meetings are also crafted for adolescents, known as Al-A-Teen, are al anon meetings for teenagers and young people to take personal inventory of where they stand in addiction treatment and gauge the exact nature of their alcohol abuse challenges. These additional al anon entities are a part of a broader family known as Al Anon Family Groups.

What can you expect from an al anon meeting? In the section below, you’ll find example topics of discussion during a normal al anon meeting.

All Our Affairs: Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topics of Al Anon Meetings

Topic discussions are the norm in Al-Anon Family Group and standard Al-Anon sessions. This implies the meeting’s chairman will select a subject matter linked to their own personal experience coping with an alcoholic loved one. It is not uncommon for the chairman to solicit ideas for topics from the audience.

Participants in the meeting can then share their knowledge, courage, and optimism about the chosen topic.

The Reasons For and Causes of Alcoholism

Realizing that alcoholism is a disease helps shed light on the alcoholic’s repeated attempts to kick the habit, only to relapse a few days later. Learn more about it.

Dealing With Anger at an Alcoholic

You and your family members may receive conflicting messages on handling rage. Do certain family members get to let off steam, while you’re admonished to keep your cool? At Al-Anon, you learn that anger is a natural and normal emotion. It’s fine to feel rage; the important thing is to figure out how to channel it constructively.

Altering Perspectives on Alcohol

In the Al-Anon meeting’s opening statement, “So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to set our issue in its real perspective, we discover it loses its ability to dominate our thoughts and lives.” Which mindset is ruling your daily activities?

Enabling Alcoholic Behaviors

It’s possible that your well-intentioned attempts to aid the alcoholic instead encourage the person to keep up their destructive patterns.

Confronting Uncertainty

The ideas discussed and practiced in Al-Anon Family Groups can be useful for adapting to the inevitable and, at times, dramatic shifts that occur in everyone’s lives. You may not be able to change the conditions much, but you can change your attitude about the problem.

Detachment with Compassion

It might be challenging to master the art of detachment. Do you want to be the one to step in and rescue the day when a person with alcohol use disorder has a crisis? This could be the last thing you should do if you want that individual to finally ask for assistance.

Unrealistic Expectations and Managing Them

When dealing with a loved one with an alcohol use issue, are your expectations too high? If you don’t learn to adapt your expectations to be more aligned with reality, you may end up feeling disappointed and frustrated.

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

Powerlessness Over Alcohol

You may have joined Al-Anon believing the entire time that there was something you could do to make the alcoholic realize there was a problem and seek help. The first step is realizing you can’t control your drinking.

Mind Your Own Business

In Al-Anon, members are reminded that they are not responsible for the drinking habits of their loved ones. Embarrassment and humiliation are not yours; they are theirs to bear because of their actions. It is not a reflection on your worth as a parent, friend, husband, or sponsor if they make “poor” decisions.

They should be allowed to learn from their own errors. You can only contribute effectively by speaking up and sharing your wisdom, fortitude, and optimism when the time is right.

Day by Day: The Only Way to Live

The tagline “one day at a time” may sound like just another overused adage, yet it has a lot of insight in its reminder to focus on the now rather than dwelling on the past or imagining the future.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery at Pathfinders

If you are looking for a treatment center that can support your loved one in addition to getting help from a 12-Step Al Anon program, look no further than Pathfinders Recovery Centers in Colorado and Arizona.

Pathfinders takes a different approach to healing and believes that alcohol and other substance abuse issues are best treated through evidence-based avenues, the treatment of underlying mental health disorders, and a holistic healing environment.

Contact a member of our warm and welcoming Admissions team today to learn more about how we can help your loved one begin a lasting recovery journey of their own!

 

Friends of Bill W

Friends of Bill W

In the early stages of your sobriety journey, you may decide to enroll in a 12-step fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There is a whole new way of thinking and making decisions that come with recovery, and there is also what may seem like a whole new language to learn: “AA jargon,” like the term ‘friends of Bill W.’

William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson, or “Bill W.,” and co-founder Bob Smith, or “Bob,” are the originators of several AA terminologies, sayings, and expressions. Since the group’s inception, several idioms have emerged, including the association with Bill W that has become synonymous with membership, especially as shorthand on cruise lines and ships.

Keep reading for our guide to what 12-step programs offer as well as a helpful resource for the AA jargon often used by members.

What Is AA Language?

Many expressions and idioms associated with sobriety may be found in AA and NA literature. They might be used by other 12-step groups that follow the AA paradigm. The AA jargon originated for several causes.

Phrases like “it works when you work it” is meant to serve as reminders of basic ideas for the group. Following the AA Traditions, the organization chooses to use phrases like “Friends of Bill W.” to ensure that its members’ anonymity is maintained.

You may learn the language of the organization and its members by looking at some real-life instances of the most popular AA jargon, and you may even be familiar with some sayings like, “One Day at A Time.’

Taking the Next Right Action

Participating and working the 12 Steps and regularly attending AA groups is known as the “Right Action.” More specifically, attending an AA meeting and participating with the help of a sponsor is considered the right action. At any given meeting, you’ll find many participants attending with their sponsors, who are in recovery themselves.

“Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Over a Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism” is the basic text of AA and is usually referred to as “The Big Book.” There are many inspiring accounts of AA members’ journeys to sobriety outlined within its pages.

Actions that are “correct” for AA members are those that are accomplished via working the steps. Following the Steps is meant to help one develop a more positive outlook on life, other people, and the recovery process as a whole. In an effort to alter a substance-abusing lifestyle, a shift in outlook and approach is essential.

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

The term “a friend of Bill W.” used in AA does not relate to anyone you may know in real life. Instead, it is a code term used to conceal the identities of the group’s participants. Why do individuals in recovery value anonymity so highly, and what does it entail exactly?

The anonymity of its members is one of AA’s core tenets. In a word, anonymity in AA meetings implies that everyone there will respect your privacy and keep whatever you say to themselves.

You may be asked if you know Bill W if you are seen loitering around the meeting place and peering through doors or windows.

The person asking you this code word is trying to determine whether you are truly seeking the AA meeting in a method that keeps your identity secret.

Originally, the term “friends of Bill W.” was used as a cruise compass to find meetings onboard cruise ships where members wanted to stay completely anonymous on vacation but still sneak in a meeting or two. Signage that indicates a meeting for ‘friends of Bill W’ can still be seen on cruise lines around the world, though the term is used somewhat less as many people proudly acknowledge their recovery and membership, even in otherwise Anonymous 12-step programs.

The Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

All recovery steps are celebrated as successes in AA and other 12-step programs. When a member of AA or NA reaches certain sobriety milestones, such as 30 days, 90 days, six months, etc., they get a “chip” as a physical reminder of their accomplishment.

The passage of another year signifies the occurrence of a “birthday.” The moderator of a meeting may inquire if someone is honoring one of these dates. At an alcoholics anonymous meeting, a “10th yearly birthday” is the anniversary of a person’s sobriety rather than their actual birth date. Thus, it’s understood that the individual has been sober for 10 years.

Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

In the Eastern part of the United States, anniversaries are more common than birthdays, so you might not hear much about a person’s “anniversary” instead of their “birthday.” Biological anniversaries are sometimes referred to as “belly button birthdays” to avoid confusion.

Old-Timers and The Traditions of the 12 Steps

The phrase “old-timer” is commonly used among AA group members, but you might be startled to learn that the person being referred to as such is actually rather young. That’s because the only factor that matters for determining whether or not someone is an old-timer in AA is how long they’ve been attending meetings and maintaining continuous sobriety.

A long-term AA member is a veteran of the program. These people may take up roles as meeting facilitators, sponsors, or event volunteers within the organization. Some long-time members can even recite large chunks of The Big Book verbatim.

Of course, there will always be some “old-timers” who have “been around the block,” so to speak, when it comes to AA recovery, so you might encounter an “old-timer” who is actually older. In such an instance, “a seasoned AA member” could be the most accurate description.

A Dry Drunk and the Importance of Active Participation

Addiction recovery communities outside of AA may find the phrase “dry drunk” unpleasant because it is not a clinical word. This word describes a person who has abstained from substance use but has taken no further measures toward recovery.

In an AA context, this might signify that the individual has ceased working the 12 Steps and attending meetings.

A “dry drunk” is someone who has stopped drinking or doing drugs but hasn’t changed their outlook on life or the way they think about things. When someone is in this mental state, they may have feelings of nostalgia, fixation, and a desire to reexperience the euphoric benefits of drug or alcohol usage.

Clinical research has confirmed that this is a real phenomenon that can occur during either the emotional or mental relapse stages. According to the research, when alcoholics relapse, it is a slow process that typically begins with thoughts and feelings of obsession with drugs or alcohol.

It Works If You Work It

Setting up chairs for AA Meeting

The “work” of AA revolves around the 12 Steps, a set of recovery principles. Using the AA fellowship, going through the 12 Steps, and living by the 12 Traditions of AA are all examples of “working it,” and the statement “it works if you work it” describes this process well. The “work” of AA includes not just meeting with other members but also performing acts of service to the community. Examples of this service include the following:

  • Community service (e.g., setting up chairs, making beverages, or other tasks required for a meeting)
  • Reaching out to fellow 12-steppers to aid a struggling newbie.
  • Meeting leadership
  • Accepting and supporting newcomers via sponsorship
  • Putting in a request to share your AA success story as a speaker

Step 13: A Step Better Left Alone

If you’re lucky enough to avoid having to go through Step 13 during your time in recovery, the expression simply refers to a sexual relationship between a seasoned AA member and a newcomer to the fellowship who has just discovered meetings.

Suffice to say, when you’re first becoming sober, it’s not a good idea to jump into a new romantic relationship.

Friends of Bill W. and Methods of Celebrating Fellowship

Whether it’s friends of Bill W. or another type of lingo used at get-togethers, if there’s one thing this “secret code” does besides maintain anonymity, it also promotes a higher level of support by creating a camaraderie. This gives people who join a new type of hope and a sense of accountability, as there’s a distinct feeling that they’re a part of something unique and special.

At Pathfinders Recovery, we use a similar mindset, organizing get-togethers in the form of a 12-Step Meeting, giving clients a chance to bond with peers, in addition to taking part in some type of spiritual or holistic experience.

Not only does this give clients a chance to bond with peers, but there’s additional expert advice available via group meetings you wouldn’t otherwise have access to with counselor meetings.

We would love to get you on board with our groundbreaking treatment program! To find out how we can help you on your path to recovery and lay a strong spiritual foundation, contact a member of our admissions team today.

 

Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Books for Parents of Substance Abusers

Getting Help for Children Who Use Drugs or Alcohol

Across the U.S., millions of preteens and teenagers drink or take drugs at least occasionally. Significant numbers of younger children are also involved in some form of substance use. Compared to adults, children are more susceptible to the major risks of using drugs and alcohol. They also have additional risks that are not a factor for adults.

Having a child who drinks or takes drugs is a cause for serious alarm. In this situation, you naturally want to do as much as possible to help your affected loved one. One key step is following the advice of verified addiction and substance treatment specialists. Among other places, you can find this advice in expert-recommended books and other resources for parents of substance abusers.

Why Read About Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors

Knowledge is power when it comes to helping your substance-using child. The more you know, the better your ability to understand what is happening to your loved one. You also have a better chance of responding to your child’s substance use in effective, supportive ways.

Reading is an excellent way to educate yourself about substance problems and addiction. Potential sources of useful information include:

  • Addiction specialists
  • Public health experts
  • Other parents who have faced similar situations
  • Books and articles from the wider substance recovery community

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

All children who drink or take drugs are at-risk for addiction. Addicted children no longer use drugs or alcohol voluntarily. Instead, they have a chronic brain disease that leads to involuntary substance use.

What should you read if your child suffers from addiction? As a rule, the most reliable sources are federal public health officials. These officials belong to organizations dedicated to providing accurate information on addiction-related topics. One top federal source is the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. NIDA features a resource page geared toward both parents and teachers. This page includes:

  • Information on the most commonly abused substances
  • Advice on how to talk to your kids about substance use
  • Links to a vast range of relevant articles and guides
  • Dozens of short, informative videos

 

What to Read If Your Child Suffers From Addiction

NIDA also offers much more detailed information on addiction-related topics. One key publication is the short book Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide. This online book:

  • Explains the general principles of effective treatment
  • Answers common questions about addiction and its treatment
  • Describes the treatments used for specific forms of addiction
  • Identifies treatments that are especially helpful for teenagers

 

Another excellent source of information is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. SAMHSA offers more than 100 publications designed specifically for parents and other caregivers.

Online Resources Related to Staging an Intervention

An intervention is designed to provide effective help for anyone caught up in substance abuse. When performed properly, it can encourage your child to seek needed recovery support. However, when performed improperly, it can have the opposite effect.

A well-designed intervention requires detailed planning. For this reason, you must choose your online sources of intervention information very carefully. One of the best online guides comes from the Mayo Clinic. This guide provides comprehensive advice on topics such as:

  • Relying on professional help when making your intervention plan
  • Creating a team of people to carry out an intervention
  • Deciding what to say during an intervention
  • Holding the actual intervention
  • Taking follow-up measures after an intervention

Titles That Look at Drugs and Addiction in America

A quick Google search will bring up countless titles of books that look at drugs and addiction in America. Some of these books take a historical perspective. Others look at current aspects of drug use and addiction. Still others offer advice on how to help teens affected by addiction.

How can you wade through this sea of information? After all, in today’s world, anyone can write a book and publish it online or in print. Some of these authors are acknowledged experts in their field. However, others may have little expertise to offer, if any. How can you tell the difference?

One thing you can do is consider the credentials of a given book’s author. Do they have a background in the subject they are covering? Do they have academic positions or work for organizations that specialize in addiction-related topics? What do reputable reviewers have to say about a given book? These kinds of questions can help you separate reliable authors from those whose advice may be less valuable.

Books From the Alcohol and Recovery Support Community

Books written by members of the alcohol and recovery support community can also be useful. The authors of these books typically:

  • Have children or other loved ones who have been affected by addiction
  • Speak from personal experience rather than from formal expertise

 

Recovery Support Community

Dozens of publications in this category are released every year. There is a good chance that you can find one suitable for your current situation. The right book may:

  • Offer timely advice
  • Help you gain a better perspective on your situation
  • Direct you toward important treatment resources

Fentanyl and Harm Reduction Reading Resources

Harm reduction is an approach designed to prevent overdoses and other severe outcomes of substance use. Today, public health officials sometimes take this approach to help people using the powerful opioid fentanyl. Why? Fentanyl use inevitably comes with a very real chance of experiencing an overdose. Harm reduction can potentially help lower your child’s overdose risks.

A variety of reliable online resources cover the topics of fentanyl and harm reduction. Some of these resources are provided by federal public health experts. Many state governments also provide similar resources.

Reading Materials for Kids With Addicted Parents

Children in communities across America grow up with parents affected by addiction. You may know teens or younger children in this situation. If so, you may want to provide them with helpful, supportive reading materials. You will find informative brochures on this topic at SAMHSA. The nonprofit organization Common Sense Media also provides a listing of recommended books for kids with addicted parents.

Finding Effective Treatment for a Loved One at Pathfinders

Resources for parents and loved ones of addicted individuals come in a variety of forms. Some of the most sought-after resources are books for parents of substance abusers. Books of this type can help you understand addiction’s effects on your child. They can also help you respond to your child’s needs in ways that support their eventual recovery.

Generally speaking, public health officials are the most reliable sources of information. However, you may get crucial help from other knowledgeable professionals. Books written by members of the recovery community may also offer important support and advice.

In addition to reading up on addiction, you must help your child enter an effective treatment program. At Pathfinders, we specialize in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction. No matter how your loved one is affected by addiction, our customized care will help them recover. We can also help your loved one recover from mental illnesses that often occur in people with substance problems. Ready to get the process started? Call us today to learn more about our available inpatient and outpatient treatment options.

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

Most Addictive Drug

In a world where dozens of substances exist that cause an entire range of side effects associated with addiction, one of the most commonly pondered questions is “what is the most addictive drug?” Finding a definitive answer to this question is all but impossible, considering how relative addictions can be.

The science and medical worlds would disagree, considering the physical markers and battery of tests conducted on participants over the years. Readings of different brain chemicals and the way our body responds to abuse do show some pretty hard evidence as far as how addictive certain drugs can be.

However, the scientific and medical term is better served using the description of “physical dependence” than addiction. Addiction is far too mental to produce a definitive number one in this category.

A check of multiple sources produces multiple definitions, each with different wording or their own twist on the term:

Source 1: An addiction is a chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory. It’s about how your body craves a substance or behavior, especially if it causes a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of “reward” and a lack of concern over consequences.

Source 2: Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.

By most definitions, addiction can stem from several different sources and isn’t limited to alcohol or illegal substances. People can develop habits with something as simple as Diet Coke.

Although the severity of the addiction is ultimately determined by the eyes or mind of the user, we attempt to make sense of this question in the following article.

What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

The answer to the question of “what is the most addictive drug?” depends on who you ask and the criteria you use to judge the addiction. Is it based on how often the user abuses the drug? Is it based on how much a user will go through to obtain the substance? Or is it answered based on the severity of withdrawal, using a combination of the drug’s grip on the mind and body.

If you’re using the latter to answer the question, technically, the most addictive drugs, not a drug, would probably be a three-way tie between alcohol, nervous-system sedatives, and opioids. Technically, we could cut that list down to two because alcohol can be grouped as a nervous system depressant.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin and prescription painkillers, while central nervous system depressants include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

Opioid addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use despite adverse consequences to one’s health, finances, or relationships. This leads to tolerance—when users must take more significant amounts of the drug to get high—and withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it abruptly or after prolonged use.

Central nervous system depressant addiction often occurs when someone uses these substances for recreational purposes but becomes dependent upon them over time due primarily to their soothing effects on areas within the brain responsible for regulating emotions and behavior. Users often get wrapped up in a cycle of using these substances to numb certain feelings.

In addition, they also have the most severe withdrawal symptoms, with nervous system depressants edging opioids slightly in this category. And they all have a high rate of relapse. In addition, the consensus of most users would be that these two are indeed the most addictive drugs.

But that’s if you ask people who have struggled with these drugs – people who preferred them. Plenty of people tried both categories of these drugs and didn’t enjoy them, instead maybe leaning toward cocaine or amphetamine.

To this demographic of the drug user, cocaine and methamphetamine would be the most addictive drugs. This makes this question so difficult to answer with any level of certainty.

What Makes a Drug Addictive?

What makes a drug addictive? This question is a little easier to answer but may vary from person to person. However, the core driving factors typically remain the same in nearly every instance of addiction.

Typically, addiction begins subconsciously, usually by blocking or correcting a negative feeling or emotion an individual has. It could be insecurity, guilt, anger, or several other issues.

A large majority of the time, individuals aren’t even aware that they’re participating in the abuse to mask or bury the feeling. However, dependence takes hold after a significant period of use, mental and sometimes physical.

During the early abuse period, the substance in question is causing an explosion of certain chemicals in the brain. Dopamine, serotonin, and other chemicals, released in large amounts, cause the euphoric feeling or “high” users chase.

However, after an extended period of the drug driving the release of these chemicals, the body cannot produce them naturally and relates the dispensing of these chemicals with the ingestion of the drug. Eventually, the user takes  the medication to maintain a somewhat average level.

Now, what about types of addictive substances?

Categories of Addictive Substances

Categories of Addictive Substances

 

There are several categories of addictive substances. Each of these categories seems to have its unique, addictive properties and potential level of severity. At the minimum, they can be distinguished by their levels of physical addiction or lack thereof.

  • Stimulants: Amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine
  • Inhalants: Spray paint, antifreeze, nitrous oxide
  • Cannabinoids: Marijuana, hash, wax
  • Depressants: Benzos, anti-depressants, barbiturates, alcohol
  • Opioids: Heroin, methadone, fentanyl
  • Steroids: Various performance-enhancing drugs, human growth hormone
  • Hallucinogens: LSD, PCP, DMT, Psylocibin mushrooms
  • Prescription drugs: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, morphine

 

With such a variety of categories, how would we even begin to determine the most addictive substance?

How to Determine the Most Addictive Drug

Determining the most addictive drug is difficult because of the varying viewpoints. However, you can use two approaches when attempting to answer this question.

Using a scientific or medical approach to reach the answer would require looking at past data. Noting things like which drugs altered brain chemicals the most, which drug produced the most intense detox period, and other evidence-based conclusions would give you the popular answer for the most addictive drug.

The other approach requires a personal testament from specific users of various addictive substances. However, it’s not incorrect to assume that a large majority of personal opinions would point toward heroin or another opioid being the most addictive.

This also matches with scientific and medical data and is further intensified by the fact that we’re currently in the middle of an epidemic.

The Most Physically Addictive Drug

The most physically addictive drug isn’t as difficult of a question to answer. However, this spot is shared by three substances.

Alcohol, benzos, and opioids are the clear winners regarding the most physically addictive drugs. They all produce life-threatening, painful withdrawals and almost always require medically assisted detox.

The Most Psychologically Addictive Drug

This is another matter of opinion answer and garners many different results. However, many argue that methamphetamine is the most psychologically addictive drug.

The primary reason for this widespread opinion is the numerous cases of psychosis triggered by methamphetamine abuse. Typically, it takes prolonged use of methamphetamine to begin experiencing symptoms of psychosis.

However, more recent, highly concentrated batches of crystal meth are causing psychosis after only a month or two of abuse. In addition, overdose cases of methamphetamine have steadily increased after being almost non-existent for over a decade.

The Top 5 Most Addictive Drugs

The argument over which drugs are the most addictive will likely be perpetual as long as abuse exists among the population. However, a list of the five most addictive drugs is probably more agreed upon, only in varying orders.

The top five most addictive drugs, in our opinion, are as follows:

1. Heroin/Fentanyl

Heroin and fentanyl may not have the severity level when it comes to withdrawals as benzos, but they seem far more prone to quick addiction and abuse. One look at the numbers of fentanyl overdose deaths and the use statistics give insight into the grave situation that is the opioid epidemic.

2. Alcohol

Alcohol has the number two spot for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the most widely abused drug out of all other options and is more accessible because of its legality. Two, the withdrawal symptoms are dangerous, potentially causing life-threatening side effects. Alcohol is tough to detox from without the help of medical professionals.

3. Cocaine/Crack

Cocaine Dependence and Addiction

 

Crack was an easy pick for the list and has been a staple among discussions of the most addictive drugs. Many crack users become hooked after their first hit, chasing that initial high through years and years of spiraling and abuse. It’s important not to forget that before the opioid and fentanyl epidemic, the crack epidemic ravaged inner-city neighborhoods across the country.

4. Crystal Meth

Number four on the list is methamphetamine, otherwise known as crystal meth. This drug was dormant for a period but is back with a vengeance, causing an epidemic of its own that’s been overshadowed by the opioid crisis. However, after a steep increase in meth overdose deaths, this dangerous drug finally has the attention of the public eye again.

5. Prescription Pills

Prescription pills round out the top five and include several different substances like benzos, pain killers, and stimulants. Although the prescription pill crisis isn’t at the heights it was in the early 2000s, it’s still a massive problem and takes lives daily. Not only does this category include benzos but also opioid painkillers, which are often a stepping stone to heroin and fentanyl.

The Rise of Fentanyl Addiction

As mentioned above, the prescription pill epidemic of the early 2000s eventually gave way to the heroin epidemic, which quickly morphed into the fentanyl crisis. Currently, massive quantities of drugs flood our streets because of the shifting availability.

Dealers no longer must import the substance from China, as Mexican cartels manufacture the drug right on our borders. This led to another record year of opioid overdose deaths and a grim reminder that the problem is far from under control.

Finding Top Treatment, No Matter the Addiction

Regardless of your drug, the top treatment regardless of addiction is essential. No addiction should ever take precedence over another, as everyone has their own battles to fight.

Each addiction case shares a common denominator – there’s human life at stake and a family that’s losing someone they love. Fighting substance abuse is a worthy cause that requires a collective effort, and winning the battle starts with awareness.

Long-term Sobriety with Pathfinders Recovery

If you or someone you love is suffering from any addiction, Pathfinders Recovery is here to help you reclaim your life and independence. Our top-notch staff is compassionate about our effort; every client gets 110%, regardless of their addiction or background.

To find out how we can help you in your journey to recovery, contact a member of our compassionate staff at any time, day or night. We have convenient locations in Arizona and Colorado that accept clients from all over the country, regardless of geography. Don’t let distance stop you – contact Pathfinders Recovery today.

Men’s Only Rehab

Mens Only Rehab

Alcohol And Drug Rehab Basics

For persons struggling with alcohol or substance abuse and dependency, a rehab facility can be essential in their journey to sobriety and recovery. Rehabilitation facilities can be thought of as safe spaces with trained medical and psychological staff that offer services to persons trying to overcome addiction. At Pathfinders Recovery in Arizona, we offer a men’s only rehab that allows men to focus on their recovery in an environment specifically designed for success.

These services are all focused on navigating the process of withdrawal from the substance in as safe a way and environment as possible and treating the psychological conditions that may have led to the addiction in the first place.

Substance Use and Abuse Statistics Among Men

Substance abuse affects all genders, but there are genuine distinctions regarding the divide. According to the NIDA, Men and boys over the age of 12 are 11.5% more likely to fall prey to substance abuse than women and girls over the age of 12, who experience this issue at a rate of 6.4%.

When it comes to Alcohol Use Disorder, it is estimated that up to 20% of men struggle with it, versus around 7-12% of women. What does this tell us? There is a not insignificant divide between how “at-risk” men are to substance abuse compared to women. This is not said to diminish the suffering of women or to remove attention from that issue but rather to highlight those men are empirically more at-risk in certain regards, and the problem must be tackled at the root cause.

What are the Risk Factors for Addiction for Men?

Many factors can result in substance use and abuse. There is a misconception that falling prey to substance abuse is a moral failing or a character flaw. It is not. Some of the more common factors that put one at risk of falling into a substance abuse habit are:

Genetics

The literal DNA that makes up your body. Suppose you have a history of substance abuse in your family. In that case, there is a statistically higher probability that you may fall into a habit of substance abuse to some degree or another.

Environment

The surroundings you live within, what you are exposed to, the trauma inflicted upon you in adolescence or at any time really, the coercive influence that may or may not exist upon you. These things make up your environmental experience and can put you at risk for addiction.

Dual Diagnoses

Certain psychological conditions lead to substance abuse as the patient tries to “self-medicate.” Conditions like depression and anxiety are good examples of this particular phenomenon. Dual Diagnosis can also apply to neurodivergent persons. Persons with innate dopamine deficiencies and deficits caused by ADHD are at risk for substance abuse.

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center?

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center

All-male rehab centers are simply what they sound like – drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities that cater exclusively to helping men. You might be asking yourself, “Why choose a men’s-only rehab?” We are going to examine some of the benefits of single-gender rehab settings.

  • There is an inherent expectation for men to be “tough” or “resilient” in everyday life. This is rooted in toxic masculinity and is one of the core reasons men are more at risk for certain types of addiction than women. Difficulty in being vulnerable and expressing emotions are two of the core things that make addiction rampant among men. Men-only rehab facilities foster an environment that allows men to be vulnerable and, thus, work through their trauma.
  • Staff at these facilities are specifically trained to manage how men experience addiction and, therefore, rehabilitation. Because men tend to be more goal-oriented and motivated, treatment plans and communication may be tuned more in line to take advantage of this inherent quality to help ensure the success of the treatment.
  • Because the way men specifically experience the world and society is a huge factor involved in their psychological trauma, the methods and practices utilized when delivering therapy would be specifically aware of how difficult emotional vulnerability is for men. Therapists may conduct sessions while walking, for instance, to both burn calories and allow the client to avoid eye contact while expressing emotions and dealing with painful trauma, a thing that, for many men, the world has not prepared them to be able to do.
  • Without the presence of women, you erase the potential of romantic distraction (for heterosexual males seeking treatment in the facility). Aside from this, the company of women may prevent men from being genuinely vulnerable, a critical component for treatment. Reframing emotional vulnerability and therapy as an act of strength and not a sign of weakness can be more difficult if women are around. This might make it more inherently tricky for some men to put down their guard.
  • All-male rehab centers tend to focus on a results-oriented approach. These facilities can help a man open up about himself and become comfortable with others of their gender. It allows them to head in a unique and necessary way that other approaches cannot manage.

These are just a tiny sample of the techniques and considerations that are a part of men-only rehab facilities that specifically cater to treating men going through addiction. The male experience of the world is inherently unique and requires targeted treatment that keeps that unique experience in mind.

What are the Types of Programs Offered at Men’s Rehabs?

At Pathfinders in Scottsdale, our men’s rehab facilities offers a range of services; Addiction is not a one-size-fits-all ailment, so the treatment would not be either. We will detail the various options, but here are some factors to consider. Firstly, there are evidence-based/medical-focused treatments AND what could be holistic treatments. Secondly, treatments or sessions may be individual OR group-based.

Thirdly, as we said earlier, each person and their needs are unique. Finally, treatment can be inpatient for persons who need the round-the-clock observation and support, especially in the early stages of withdrawal, and outpatient, where people don’t stay at the facility but come in regularly for the sessions. Because of this, treatment almost always involves some combination of all of these things.

Evidence-Based Treatments

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

How clients develop and allow negative thinking and poor self-image to dictate their actions inevitably, cognitive-behavioral therapy moves away from harmful thinking toward positive thinking. By doing this, clients typically feel empowered to make more healthy decisions moving forward in their life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

This is very similar to CBT. These techniques examine how a client’s actions can be changed for the better through talk therapy.

Experimental Therapy

Talk therapy is sometimes not enough to address the needs of some clients. Experiential therapy can be helpful in these cases; clients may engage actively outdoors with others, building their team skills, interpersonal dynamics, and problem-solving.

Motivational Interviewing

Clients struggling to overcome indecision and uncertainty can sometimes be helped by these methods. It can significantly aid in being motivated to take action by establishing and accomplishing positive goals.

Trauma Therapy

Psychological trauma is one of the significant contributors to men using and abusing substances to escape mental and emotional pain. A key component of proper recovery is learning healthy ways to process and identify the trauma’s effects on their lives. By working with compassionate counselors and therapists, clients can learn to identify triggers and deploy healthy coping mechanisms.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the basis of nearly all talk therapy. With this method, clients work one-on-one with a counselor or therapist to discover the underlying issues that have impacted the client and led to their fall into abuse and addiction, to begin with. Substance use disorder is often a symptom of deeper psychological issues that have yet to be addressed. These issues are consciously or unconsciously being ignored or self-medicated in an attempt to deal with them and cope. In a comfortable and safe setting, clients can develop a personal relationship with their therapist and work through the issues to overcome substance abuse and improve their overall mental health.

Holistic Treatments

Yoga Therapy

As a practice, yoga offers many unique therapeutic advantages. The techniques help clients engage in the yoga therapy that teaches them how to control their bodies and be capable of expelling stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions when they are confronted by them.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation focuses the client’s attention on being as present as possible at the moment. By enhancing one’s awareness of themselves as an intimate part of the world around them, clients can better understand their motivations and actions and those of others. As a practice, meditation teaches clients to limit dwelling negatively on the past or becoming too obsessed with the future.

Art and Music Therapy

Art and music therapy allows clients to explore their creativity and experience the healing aspects of these practices. Metaphor is a highly effective tool for working through issues. Journaling is a well-noted practice with many benefits. Learning new hobbies and skills is inherently fulfilling for humans. Simply consuming and appreciating works of art can allow clients to develop positive psychological perspectives of themselves and their issues.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Touch therapy can be beneficial in managing overall health and wellness. As the body’s soft tissue is manipulated, many clients find that there is a release of tensions in their body and that this goes quite a long way towards aiding in reducing stress and anxiety. Thus, they are in a better position to explore and progress through the work of treatment.

Privacy And Confidentiality at Men’s Treatment Programs

For anyone struggling with substance abuse, one of the worst aspects is the shame, stigma, and judgment attached to both being an addict and, paradoxically, seeking treatment. Patients may be concerned about whether or not the fact that they are being treated would be in danger of being publicly disclosed.

Fortunately, HIPAA laws exist and are enforced to protect citizens’ information. Rehab centers must comply strictly with this standard. All staff at men-only rehabs must follow the same rules and regulations as any family doctor. No one on the team is allowed to share information about your case unless your express consent is given or unless the situation necessitates the release of information, such as in a medical emergency where providers need certain information to treat you.

Does Insurance Cover Men’s-Only Rehab Treatment?

Rehabilitation can be an expensive process. If the client needs complete inpatient care, the out-of-pocket costs can skyrocket even higher. However, many clinics accept insurance to completely or significantly cover treatment costs. Medicaid and Medicare are two national options that many facilities do accept. Keep in mind, though, that this is a thing that differs from center to center, and it is essential to check with the individual facility to ensure that the insurance you (or a loved one) are interested in using is accepted.

Searching for ‘Men-Only Addiction Treatment Near Me’

The internet has changed how people discover resources. One of the top Google searches around the particular topic of getting help for substance addiction is “finding men-only treatment near me in Arizona.” This tells us that many people are trying to find help AND that the internet is an incredible tool for delivering that information. A quick search will give you many options to explore for treatment. It is a matter of finding facilities with high success rates where their reputation precedes them, such as the programs for men at our facility in Arizona.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery for Men at Pathfinder’s Arizona

At Pathfinders Recovery Center in Scottsdale, AZ, we have over two decades of experience treating and rehabilitating persons struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Our expert medical team works with you to help you navigate the entire process of detoxing through to healing from the psychological trauma that led to the addiction in the first place.

A truly sober, happy, and fulfilling life is the ultimate goal for every client that comes to us for help, and our results speak for themselves. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse issues, please know that there is hope. Contact us today for more information or a consultation.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

I Drink Every Night am I An Alcohol Abuser?

Is a Nightly Drink Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder comes in many shapes and sizes. When most people picture alcohol use disorders, the stereotypical profile probably manifests in their mind’s eye: An unkempt, 40 or 50-something that slurs their words, in a state of constant over-emotion. If it’s a male, he probably has a perpetual five o’clock shadow and wreaks of cheap liquor.

While this person certainly exists, and some of us may have met them, the assumption that every alcoholic comes packaged this way is far from the truth. Alcohol use disorder looks like your neighbors, friends, family, and doctor – the possibilities are endless.

The problem with stereotypes like the one mentioned above is that alcohol has no target demographic, and these types of assumptions can make it hard to identify individuals who really need help. In many cases, individuals dealing with alcohol use disorder have no idea that they fit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) criteria for potentially being an alcoholic.

In fact, individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder don’t even have to frequently reach the point of intoxication or being drunk to earn this diagnosis. What does it take to meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder?

Does Daily Drinking Equal Alcoholism?

I drink every night am I an alcoholic

“I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?” If you or someone you know has asked this question in regard to drinking habits, it might be time to assess where you stand.

How exactly does one reach the answer to this question? Is there a technical answer or a more specific classification for these types of drinkers?

One of the easiest ways to gauge where you stand when it comes to alcohol use disorder is by using the stages of alcoholism. Comparing your situation to the stages of alcoholism can give you a clear picture of where you stand and what your next course of action should be.

I Drink a Lot Every Weekend. Am I an Alcoholic?

Plenty of working-class Americans arrives home after the workweek to a waiting alcoholic beverage of their choice. It’s not uncommon for many of them to have a single drink and abstain from a second or third. However, the repeated usage of large amounts of alcohol each weekend may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder.

During the workweek though, does a daily pattern of just one drink per day equate to alcohol use disorder? Let’s take a look at the numbers according to the NIAAA.

Drinking In Moderation

Drinking in moderation is considered the consumption of two drinks or less in one single day for men or one drink or less for women. However, there is no clear specification regarding consecutive days under this classification. Let’s see what else the NIAAA has to say.

Binge Drinking

I drink every night am I can alcoholic: binge drinking

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that regularly brings the BAC to 0.08 – the legal limit in most state’s for DUI. In the average male, this is about five drinks in a period of two hours. Notice that this states a pattern of regularity but still doesn’t specify a certain number of days.

Heavy Alcohol Use

Heavy alcohol use in men is the consumption of four drinks in one day or the regular consumption of 14 drinks in one week. For women, the consumption of seven drinks in one week is considered heavy alcohol use. SAMHSA considers heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on five or more days during the month.

The NIAAA literature goes on to say that patterns associated with alcohol use disorder include regular patterns of binge drinking and heavy alcohol use. After reading the characteristics outlined by the NIAAA, it’s much easier to answer individuals who ask, “I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?”

Based on the characteristics outlined above, if an adult male limits his intake to one single drink per day, he isn’t considered an alcoholic. However, two drinks per day, which would equal 14 per week, would land him in alcohol use disorder territory.

However, because alcohol use disorder is often progressive, it would be unwise to assume that someone regularly consuming one drink per day wasn’t dangerously bordering alcoholism.

One of the most commonly repeated themes among individuals who consume alcohol is the affirmation that their drinking is under control or moderated. Because individuals can technically drink every day and not be considered alcoholics, are there any specific steps to further assist in an act already considered “moderate drinking?”

Can You Moderate Regular Drinking?

It’s strongly recommended that anyone engaging in moderate drinking doesn’t participate in binge drinking or heavy drinking. When this happens, the line between moderate drinking and alcohol abuse disorder starts to blur.

If you know someone that is considered a moderate drinker, it may be critical to remain vigilant of the signs of alcohol use disorder. The following section outlines things to look out for.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder?

Many pouring a shot, asks himself about his alcoholism

Although everyone handles alcohol use disorder individually and displays different symptoms, certain behaviors may be more noticeable. The following list contains some of the more common characteristics displayed by individuals with alcohol use disorder.

  • Increasingly negative consequences resulting from drinking. Some of these may be family-related, while some may be more severe and include legal issues.
  • Drinking to the point of not remembering the events of the night or days before
  • Attempting to cover up or lie about the amount of alcohol they consume
  • Feeling the constant need for a drink before going out or engaging in a social activity
  • Hiding their drinking altogether
  • Drinking more than intended or more than other people present for an event or special occasion
  • Using drinking as a stress-reliever or response to negative events
  • Putting drinking before important family events
  • Verbalizing a want to stop drinking but never going through with these commitments

 

While these can all be significant red flags alerting you to the presence of alcohol use disorder, a formal examination can provide a more accurate diagnosis. There are currently five measures that officially determine alcohol dependency.

Methods to Determine Alcohol Dependency

The following five measures are all accepted methods for determining the presence of alcohol dependency.

Alcohol Timeline Followback

This method requires a detailed picture of an individual’s daily drinking habits over a specific time period. Individuals may be required to provide details regarding the prior year.

Form 90

Form 90 is a more specific type of measurement to determine specific changes before and after a 90-day abstinence period. This is typically used as a post-treatment form of measurement.

Drinking Self-Monitoring Log

This measurement requires more detailed information regarding the frequency of an individual’s drinking habits.

Lifetime Drinking Measures

This requires an individual to provide a rough estimate of their habits over the course of their life or any period longer than a year.

Quantity-Frequency Measures

This requires information regarding the individual’s amount of alcohol used and the frequency or regularity of this consumption.

The importance of determining the presence of alcohol dependency is critical to mitigate the risks associated with drinking daily. Keep in mind that these risks are both physical and mental in nature.

Effects and Risks of Daily Drinking

Daily drinking is a habit that can take place on a moderate or severe level. Obviously, someone who drinks daily in high amounts has greater odds of negative consequences than someone who drinks in moderation.

In the past, health professionals believed that moderate levels of drinking posed little to no health risks. In fact, many sources stated that smaller amounts of daily drinking could actually have a positive impact on your health.

However, more recent studies show that, in reality, there is no safe level of drinking. Even moderate amounts can have a negative impact on the way the brain functions.

There are short-term and long-term risks for individuals who actively engage in daily drinking. Even in small amounts, the short-term risks can produce potentially life-changing consequences.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

Short-term Risks

Short-term risks of daily drinking are less associated with acute health issues and more closely related to the negative consequences of challenging behavior. Immediate physical health risks normally don’t become a factor until users frequently engage in binge drinking.

Moderate daily drinking may put users at risk for the following:

  • Accidents related to intoxication, especially since users consume small amounts and don’t believe they are impaired in any way
  • Injuries that take place as a result of slower reaction times
  • Engaging in dangerous or impulsive behavior because of impaired judgment
  • The potential for legal issues associated with poor decision-making

When someone consumes alcohol in small amounts, they may feel like they’re not impaired, which promotes a false sense of security. This momentarily lapse of critical thinking is what leads to the increased risk of the situations mentioned above.

After significant amounts of time spent consistently engaging in daily alcohol consumption, more serious effects may begin to surface.

Long-term Risks

The long-term risks and effects of alcohol can take a toll on the mind and body of individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Mental effects include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Negative impact on relationships

 

The physical effects can be even more challenging and can even be deadly in the worst cases. Potential risks include:

  • Conditions associated with inflammation of the pancreas
  • Long-term liver damage
  • Decreased pancreatic functions lead to higher sugar levels that may cause diabetes
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Damage to the digestive system
  • High blood pressure and irregular heartbeat

 

The risk of developing any of the symptoms side effects mentioned above should be enough to trigger the motivation to stop drinking every day. However, individuals with substance abuse disorder may find it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How Can I Stop Drinking Every Day?

How to Stop Drinking | Pathfinders Recovery CentersIt’s possible to create a plan for recovery and successfully refrain from drinking every day. However, once the situation reaches the level of developing mental and physical symptoms that are directly caused by alcohol use disorder, the goal should be to stop drinking completely.

Consider the following steps as a pathway to recovery:

  • Look into the benefits of residential rehab. If you feel like you need professional help to overcome alcohol use disorder, you’re probably a good candidate for inpatient treatment.
  • Don’t stop when treatment is over. Continue to remain proactive in battling substance use disorder by attending 12-step recovery groups and maintaining a strong support system.
  • Alternatively, if you’ve been ordered to attend any type of court-ordered treatment, use this as a stepping stone to recovery. Sometimes your greatest challenges are actually blessings in disguise.

 

Alcohol use disorder doesn’t just disappear after treatment or a certain period of recovery. However, if you actively seek out ways to strengthen your support systems and maintain high levels of willpower, the daily struggle against alcohol use disorder gets easier with time.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we’ve helped clients navigate their recovery from alcohol use disorders of all kinds and severities. From detox services to inpatient treatment with multiple approaches to therapy, you’ll have access to different treatment levels that we believe can be very successful in promoting long-term recovery.

Contact an Admissions team member to find out more about how we can help provide you with the tools you need to take your life back.

Chest Pain Drinking Alcohol?

chest-pain-and-alcohol

Why Does Alcohol Affect the Heart?

Most of us know that overdoing it with alcohol can cause health problems. However, there are plenty of longtime alcoholics who don’t even think about that. It’s not something I ever thought about until I began experiencing serious health complications.

I remember my grandfather complaining a lot about chest pains near the end of his life. He was a lifelong drinker himself and didn’t put a lot of thought into his health. He ended up dying from alcoholic cardiomyopathy. He had a number of other issues going on including diabetes and alcohol-induced gastritis.

A Family History of Alcoholic Heart Conditions

You’d think watching him drink himself to death would’ve stopped me, but it didn’t. I became a heavy drinker myself and was in and out of trouble all through my younger years. Drunk driving charges, disorderly conduct, I was a mess for a long time.

I began dabbling with other drugs during this time, and excessive drinking also led me to pick up smoking. I’ve known a lot of people who started smoking because of alcohol. Smoking when drunk is pretty common due to alcohol increasing the craving to smoke. It’s just like mixing any other drugs. One enhances the other.

Should Alcohol Consumption Cause Chest Pains?

Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

The short answer is: it depends on your consumption. The fact of the matter is if you drink heavily, you are going to experience some type of health difficulty. A lot of factors are in play. When it comes to chest pain, there are many causes of chest pain after drinking. Alcohol has a great effect on the heart. There is a direct link between alcohol and heart attack risk.

Alcohol temporarily increases heart rate and blood pressure. When you drink, the alcohol enters the bloodstream and is released into various parts of the body. Long-term alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and weakened heart muscles.

Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

There are a lot of additional alcohol side effects that may not be as severe. Heartburn from alcohol consumption. Alcohol typically contains a lot of sugar which can take longer for your body to break down. We’ve all had uncomfortable heartburn before. Imagine having it on a consistent basis.

Other uncomfortable side effects of alcohol include organ stress and damage, pancreatitis, and dehydration. There is also a link between acid reflux and alcohol. Alcohol is known to contribute to acid reflux due to its interaction with your esophagus.

Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

Another scary side effect of alcohol abuse is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a rapid, irregular heartbeat, commonly referred to as ‘afib’. This is commonly referred to as holiday heart. It’s important to understand the holiday heart and its risks. Everyone seems to overdo it around the holidays. We overdo it with food and alcohol.

Doctors tend to see more cases of ‘afib’ around the holiday season. The bottom line is that a lot of bad things can happen from excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol toxicity (commonly referred to as alcohol poisoning) is a very common occurrence and is most often deadly.

Seeking Treatment For Alcohol

Even if you know you have a drinking problem, getting help is not as easy as it may seem. A lot of people try to get help to save their job or marriage. The truth is, unless you truly want to do it for yourself, it probably won’t work. Recovery is an ongoing process and is something that has to be maintained.

You don’t just get sober and then never have to put any effort into it. You get out of it what you put in. If you put in the work, sobriety can be a very rewarding thing.

Find Your Reason for Getting Sober

Reason for Getting Sober

We all have different reasons that help us get clean. Finding recovery for your heart is one of the most common reasons. As you get older, you start paying more attention to your mortality. Especially when the things you once enjoyed begin giving you health issues. I would wake up almost every day with ‘hangxiety’ and chest pains. Hangxiety refers to the anxiety that can occur over getting a hangover. Worrying about whether or not you will be hungover can be very distressing and can easily make your situation worse.

How Can I Cure my Hangxiety?

First, we have to know, can you cure hangxiety in general? From my research, it seems that the best you can do is figure out why you are having it in the first place. I know that alcohol makes me anxious, but it is much more than that. My anxiety and my drinking are rooted in something deeper within me. I used to ask myself why alcohol gave me anxiety, instead of asking myself why I needed to drink so much.

It turned out I was trying to hide the pain and suffering that I was going through my entire life. I had a rough upbringing and didn’t have both of my parents. My father was in and out of prison, and my mother was often homeless and unable to take care of me or my siblings. Both of my parents had problems with alcohol. Was it any surprise that I would end up this way myself?

Anxiety and Hangover Guilt

Hangover guilt is another common feeling that drinkers who suffer from anxiety will experience. A lot of us who binge drink wake up not remembering the events from the previous day or night. We instantly began worrying about what transpired. Did I say or do something I shouldn’t have? Did I call anybody and leave an embarrassing voice message? A bunch of these questions comes to mind, and they feed your feelings of anxiety.Drinking-alcohol-and-Chest-pain

I know that if I overdo it, which I used to do frequently, I would usually feel pretty guilty about it. We tell ourselves that we won’t overdo it, and when we do, we beat ourselves up about it. We find it hard to forgive ourselves. It just points to the fact that you probably don’t have any control over your drinking.

It took me a long time to realize that I needed help. I knew I needed to change my habits. I couldn’t go another night with alcohol making me anxious. I couldn’t go another day feeling like death. I had more to deal with than just my drinking. I was not in a good place mentally after suffering from hangxiety day in and day out.

I needed to do something. I checked myself into treatment through the Pathfinders Recovery Center and began to put my life back together. It wasn’t easy, but it was the only thing that was going to fix my issues.

Regain Control with Alcohol Treatment

It’s common to experience anxiety and depression days after binge drinking. Alcohol alters our mental state, and it can take a while for our brain to recover. Feelings of anxiety and depression after drinking are very common. After all, alcohol is a depressant.

It slows down our brains and impairs our cognitive functions. When you aren’t drinking, you have to face the effects that come with it. It’s very similar to what a drug addict feels when they can’t get the drug. Remember, alcohol is not only a drug but probably the most abused drug of all of them.

Regain Control with Alcohol Treatment

Because of the level of my anxiety, I was pretty nervous about detox. I felt the same feelings of anxiety that I felt when I was hungover. I just tried to tell myself that this would give me the positive result that drinking didn’t. It was going to be uncomfortable, but I was going to have something to show for it when all was said and done.

That helped curb my anxiety and put me in the place where I needed to get better. The people at Pathfinders did everything they could to make me feel comfortable during such an uncomfortable process. They did an amazing job of getting me through that initial struggle.

The children of alcoholics usually suffer at some point in their lives. They often develop anxiety, depression, and addictions of their own. It is a cycle that isn’t easily broken. Once we get too far into an addiction, we often think we are beyond being saved. We are the way we are and that’s that. There’s no fixing it. Meeting other folks in recovery helps a lot. I met so many people in group therapy who drank for decades. They assumed there was nothing that could be done. Once your body and mind have gone through years of damage, you think there’s no reversing it.

Listening to other people’s stories made me understand that this cycle can be broken no matter where you are in your struggle. You can be an addict for years and still quit. It all comes down to you wanting it bad enough. I used to think I wanted to get clean, but it took me a long time before I wanted it bad enough to go through with it.

We like the idea of being sober and leaving all that suffering behind, but you have to put in the work. It’s a practice that takes time and effort. Once you get sober, it doesn’t mean the process is over. It’s a daily struggle sometimes, but one you will be well equipped to deal with the following treatment. Reach out to the folks at Pathfinders Recovery Centers today to get started, and let your own hangxiety become a thing of the past!

AA Meeting Topics

AA meeting topics

A Quick Summary of Alcoholics Anonymous

AA or Alcoholics Anonymous is more than what you see in the movies. Alcoholics Anonymous is an inclusive and welcoming support group. Since its humble start in 1935, AA has grown to the largest support group model in the world.

With free and open-to-all meetings across the globe, there are over two million Alcoholics Anonymous members. The only requirement for entry into an Alcoholics Anonymous group is the desire to stop drinking.

The Typical AA Meeting Format

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, outlined in The Big Book, starting with admitting the control alcohol has over us and ending with the spiritual practice of AA principles, are guidelines for overcoming addiction to alcohol.

If you’ve never attended an AA or 12-step meeting, you may be wondering what to expect. The typical AA meeting format has a few different components. First, expect to take a seat in a semi-circle surrounding the meeting chairperson who sits in the middle.

To start, the chairperson will read the AA Preamble, which outlines the AA mission and values and lead the group in the nondenominational Serenity Prayer. After, members will read aloud sections of The Big Book before newcomers are given the chance to introduce themselves.

Don’t worry if you’re not ready for this step, introductions are optional. While the preamble, prayer, and introductions are generally part of every meeting, what happens next may change depending on the type of AA meeting you are attending.

Different Types of AA Meetings

There are four major types of AA meetings, including:

  • Discussion meetings.
  • Speaker meetings.
  • Beginner meetings.
  • Study meetings.

In a discussion meeting, a member of the group acts as the leader, opening the meeting and selecting a discussion topic. In a speaker meeting, one individual or multiple will share their story, focusing on their journey with alcohol abuse and recovery goals.

Beginner meetings are led by AA members who are further along in their recovery journey. These meetings typically follow a question-and-answer format to help newcomers get a feel for what happens in AA.

Rather than diving too deep and risking overwhelming newcomers, leaders of beginner meetings often focus on the first three or the twelve steps. This brings us to the last type of AA meeting, a study meeting.

These are sometimes also called step meetings, tradition meetings, or Big Book meetings. By any name, study meetings focus on an in-depth look at one of the AA steps or traditions. And no matter the type, most AA meetings end with the Serenity Prayer or a moment of silence.

Open vs. Closed Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

AA Meeting Topics

Sometimes, bringing a friend or family member to a meeting makes it easier to open up and share with the group. In an open AA meeting, any community member is welcome, and you can bring someone with you if they agree to respect the members’ anonymity.

Most open meetings are speaker meetings. Closed meetings, on the other hand, are usually more informal. Attending a closed meeting is limited to existing AA members and new participants who want to stop drinking.

This is an ideal setting for discussing vulnerable topics with other group members who understand them. But both open and closed AA meetings can provide members with support and valuable learning opportunities.

Choosing AA Meeting Topics

If you are leading a discussion meeting, you will get the chance to open the meeting and choose the topic for discussion. Choosing AA meeting topics can be a daunting task for some. But remember that participating can help you gain more from your time here.

The member acting as the meeting’s chairperson may choose a topic and lead the discussion. And there are endless potential AA meeting topics to choose from.

Potential AA Meeting Topics: A Short Listing

Potential AA meeting topics can range from those listed in The Big Book to the current emotional state of the chairperson. The 12 steps and the 12 traditions are two of the most common topics of discussion, but they are far from the only ones.

Some groups discuss one Big Book chapter each week, while others read from the book each week and discuss the chapters as they move through them. But while these are common courses of discussion, AA literature provides dozens of other suggestions.

A shortlist of potential AA meeting topics:

  • Acceptance
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom through sobriety
  • Hope
  • Inventory
  • Making amends
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Participation and action
  • Sponsorship
  • Willingness
  • Working with others

Click here to read the full list of suggested topics for AA discussion meetings.

What to Bring to an AA Meeting

If you’re not gathering AA meeting topics to lead the discussion in your meeting, you may be wondering what else you need to bring. As we mentioned before, Alcoholics Anonymous is free, and membership is less formal than many other groups.

All you need to bring to an AA meeting is an open mind and a desire to stop drinking. There are no forms, applications, fees, or other formal requirements. Members are free to come and go and participate or observe as they wish.

Getting the Most Out of a 12-Step Meeting

AA Meeting Topics

Sharing your story with others who are on the same journey is a great way to make connections for lasting sobriety. Having a sober social circle or support group you can turn to at any moment provides the social support necessary for true recovery.

Social support helps you better relate to your environment, understand those around you, strengthen your place in the community, and develop healthy communication skills. Social support groups like AA allow you to connect with others with shared goals.

They promote feelings of belonging and shared purpose, while on an individual level boosting our self-esteem and confidence. There are many benefits to attending 12-step and other social support meetings during and after recovery.

And getting the most out of your meetings depends on what you are willing to put into them. If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend that you start by paying attention to the length and frequency of your meeting attendance, combining AA meetings with other treatments, and finding a sponsor.

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Treatment for Alcoholism

While AA and other support meetings are crucial tools in recovery, they are rarely sufficient as the sole treatment methods for alcoholism. Depending on the severity of your addiction, we can recommend several different treatment types and settings, including:

  • Inpatient care (starting with medical detox)
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program

This list starts with the most high-level program and works down to the most flexible. In an inpatient program, you temporarily relocate and work toward sobriety from the comfort and safety of one of our facilities.

With 24-hour access to medical support and recovery guidance, inpatient programs offer the highest level of care. This makes them ideal for those with moderate to severe addictions and withdrawal symptoms, a history of relapse, or a stressful home life.

In a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program, you live at home while attending weekly counseling sessions, support group meetings, and other recovery treatments at our facility. Partial hospitalization is common for those battling both addiction and mental illness.

These programs feature an average of 20 hours per week spent with us. Stepping down another level of care, intensive outpatient programs typically require nine to 19 hours of attendance per week. These are best for people with intermediate-level substance abuse problems.

It bears mentioning that while this is a step down in time requirements, it is not a step down in treatment or effectiveness. And it is also worth mentioning that we do not expect you to know which program will best suit your needs.

If you are unsure of where to start, call our 24-hour line for guidance.

Forging Your Path at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you’re looking to start your journey with Alcoholics Anonymous, we can help you find a local meeting to aid the other treatments in your recovery plan. Addiction treatments work best when they are well-rounded and holistic.

We can help you build a treatment plan that addresses your emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery needs. The road to recovery starts right here at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Call us today at 866-263-1820.