The Benefits of Stopping Drinking

Why You Might Need Help to Stop Drinking

One of the hardest things for many people to admit is if they need help to stop drinking.

Alcohol plays a big part in most people’s lives, with many people drinking when socializing with friends or family.

Some people drink for other reasons, including as a way to deal with stress or to deal with mental health issues.

Alcohol does not help these issues and can, in fact, make them worse.

The best way to get help to stop drinking is to attend an alcohol abuse treatment program.

What Are The Benefits of Stopping Drinking? - Pathfinders - A man sits with a bottle of liquor on his coffee table as he pours another glass of hard liquor, as he contemplates the benefits of stopping drinking.

Understanding Alcohol Abuse Treatment

When someone has a problem with drinking too much alcohol, it can affect many different parts of their lives.

These effects can range from negative physical and mental health effects to problems at work and with relationships.

Alcohol abuse treatment helps people with a drinking problem in a few different ways.

These programs typically combine both medical and behavioral treatments.

With these two things, alcohol rehabs help their clients learn what led to their alcohol abuse, as well as ways to avoid drinking in the future.

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How Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Your Health

One of the most important things we discuss at alcohol abuse treatment is how alcohol can negatively affect your health.

This is a major reason why people need to seek help to stop drinking.

Alcohol causes damage to your heart. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat, damage to your heart muscle, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Many people who attend alcohol abuse treatment also have problems with their liver.

Alcohol abuse can cause problems including a fatty liver, cirrhosis, fibrosis, and something called alcoholic hepatitis.

This serious inflammation of the liver can cause damage to the cells in your liver, and even cell death.

Alcoholic hepatitis can cause death if it is very serious.

Another major health risk of alcohol abuse is cancer.

People who abuse alcohol are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer, including throat, liver, breast, and colon cancers.

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Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Another issue we often discuss at our alcohol abuse treatment center is the ways that alcohol abuse can affect your mental health.

Even if you did not have mental health issues before you needed help to stop drinking, you can still experience mental health symptoms.

This is because people who abuse alcohol are much more likely to have problems with anxiety, depression, and handling stress.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease because of the way that alcohol abuse changes how your brain transmits chemicals.

Because alcohol is a depressant, this means that it makes you feel relaxed by slowing down your nervous system.

In the short term, this can make mental health problems go away.

In the long term, your brain forgets how to regulate itself when you are not drinking.

When someone who needs help to stop drinking is sober, they often feel increased levels of depression and anxiety.

This leads to them continuing to abuse alcohol in order to try and feel better.

This is another reason why there are benefits in stopping drinking.

What Are The Benefits of Stopping Drinking? - Pathfinders - A depressed man is holding his hands to his head as he sits across from his addiction therapist to understand the benefits of stopping drinking.

How Stopping Drinking can Benefit You

Getting back to a place where you feel healthy again is one of the main reasons to go to alcohol abuse treatment.

There are many ways that getting help to stop drinking can benefit your overall health. The benefits of stopping drinking vary from person-to-person, but overall, there are various benefits that will help you live an addiction-free life.

These can include:

  • Healthier Skin – Many people who need help to stop drinking have problems with their skin. This is because alcohol can cause issues such as chronic dehydration, jaundice, broken capillaries, and reduced collagen levels. All of these can make your skin look red, dull, or aged. When you stop drinking, your skin will gradually improve as these issues clear up.
  • Better Sleep – Many people may think that alcohol makes them sleep better, but the opposite is true for people who abuse alcohol. Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycles, making it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. Getting sober will help you to relearn better sleeping habits.
  • A Healthier Weight – Alcohol has no nutritional value, and yet is full of calories. This makes weight gain very common for people who need help to stop drinking. When you stop drinking, you will be consuming fewer calories which can help you lose weight.
  • Better Mental Health – Stopping drinking will not on its own cure a mental health problem. But it can help make the symptoms much more manageable. This is because your brain will relearn how to regulate chemicals like it is supposed to, helping you have more even emotions and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • A Stronger Immune System – Another side effect of alcoholism is a weakened immune system. This means that you are more likely to get sick with colds, the flu, and even pneumonia when you abuse alcohol. As soon as you stop drinking your immune system will improve, and you will likely experience fewer illnesses.
  • A Lower Risk of Cancer, Heart, and Liver Problems – It is best that you get help to stop drinking before it causes any major health problems. But even if you are having symptoms of some issues, there are still reasons to quit drinking. As soon as you stop drinking alcohol, your body can repair some types of alcohol-related damage. What is more important is that you will not inflict any further damage on your organs, and your risk of getting alcohol-related cancers will drop as well.

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How can you get Help to Stop Drinking?

No matter what led you to need alcohol abuse treatment, getting help is the answer to stop drinking.

There are many treatment options available at our alcohol treatment center that help you stop drinking.

We offer both medical and behavioral treatment programs.

Medical programs involve using medicines that are approved to help alcoholics to stop drinking.

There are three different options: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

Each of these drugs works by either making drinking uncomfortable, making you unable to get drunk, or helping to reduce cravings for alcohol.

Behavioral treatment programs are the most important part of alcohol abuse treatment.

They help you to see the thoughts and behaviors that were leading to your alcohol abuse.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we encourage clients to try both individual and group therapy sessions to fully understand the benefits of stopping drinking.

We also believe that clients with families should consider family therapy as well.

Having a strong family bond helps you to have a better support system when your alcohol abuse treatment program is completed.

Family therapy will help by working to repair any damage that your alcohol abuse caused within the family unit and lower your chances of experiencing a relapse.

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Get the Help You Need at Alcohol Rehab

There are many reasons that led our clients to need alcohol abuse treatment.

That is why we offer a range of treatment options to suit every client and every situation.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know exactly what it takes to get your life back to normal after addiction.

Our premier addiction treatment centers are located in upscale areas throughout the Scottsdale, Arizona area.

Our luxury locations provide you with a comfortable and home-like atmosphere so that our clients feel safe and secure throughout their treatment program.

We help ensure your success by using only scientifically researched, cutting edge, and effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

We have over 25 years of experience in helping people with addictions and co-occurring disorders to overcome their addictions.

Many of our clients wonder whether or not they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to help cover their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Simply give us a call and one of our addiction specialists can check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you begin treatment.

You can trust us to communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

Do not let alcohol continue controlling your life and negatively impacting your health.

Let us use our years of experience to help you get on the path to a meaningful and lasting recovery by understanding the benefits of stopping drinking.

Contact us today and see the difference getting our rehab programs can make to ensure that you are around to practice law for years to come.

Ah – St. Patrick’s Day — How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery?

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A green background with a wet four leaf clover lying on it to symbolize the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

Celebrate Differently

When I entered recovery at Pathfinders, my idea of celebration, especially for St. Patrick’s Day, changed drastically.

Each holiday that comes up on the calendar seemed like an occasion to relapse, especially for well-known drinking holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day.

When I was newly sober I looked at each holiday as a battle.

I had to prepare myself accordingly and put in extra effort to keep myself in check.

The alcohol treatment program at Pathfinders gave me a lot of tools, yet I still felt anxiety.

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A green background with a wet four leaf clover lying on it to symbolize the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were especially tough for me during my first year. Even with my family going out of their way to not trigger me, I was still terrified of relapsing.

When I got through those particular holidays unscathed, I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Then I remembered St. Patrick’s Day.

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I feel like St. Patrick’s Day is probably the one holiday all of us in recovery have to be careful of. Preventing a relapse on St. Patrick’s Day is almost like winning the lottery. When you see many people wandering through the streets intoxicated, it can be a massive trigger. I remember when the months switched from February to March, I became increasingly nervous.

All I could think about was my behavior the year before. I made a complete jerk out of myself, and it was one of the driving factors toward me getting sober a few months later. I did what everyone else does that day. I went from bar to bar consuming green beer in between shots of whiskey.

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One thing I should mention is that I tended to be a mean drunk. I was one of those guys that you had to walk on eggshells around. I could be a lot of fun to drink with, but it didn’t take much for me to turn. I remember waking up the next day to text messages from two separate friends who were offended by my behavior.

I had made inappropriate comments about their significant others and had no memory of it. I thought they were being unreasonable. It wasn’t until months later that I started to take what people were telling me seriously. They all came up with the same conclusion. “Dude, you’re a horrible drunk.”

 

Ah - St. Patrick's Day -- How Can You Still Enjoy the Festivities While in Recovery Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals in recovery meets with an addiction therapist and their support group to offer advice to one another on how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day without risking their sobriety.

Talk it Out

So that next St. Patrick’s Day was scary for me. I stressed so much about what I was capable of doing. All I could think about was what could end up happening. Should I just lock myself in my house that day and not even go out? Should I check myself in somewhere? It was freaking me out. It got so bad that I considered relapsing weeks before St. Patrick’s Day just so I could get it out of the way and start all over.

I forgot all about the wonderful people around me who were there to help. One of the big things about recovery is talking things out. You have to talk about your feelings and let your temptations be known. Getting sober is in a lot of ways very much a group effort. Sometimes you are the one picking others up out of their despair, and sometimes you are the one that needs to be picked up.

The program at Pathfinders taught me that meetings are invaluable. The folks at Pathfinders have always been there to give me a hand. Sometimes I fail to recognize this. Even when you have a great team around you, you can still be pulled back into your previous thinking.

This year, I’ve tried hard to remind myself of what I have around me. I think about the people I would be letting down if I slip back into my old ways. I think about being a beacon for others. I don’t want to be a reason someone else has a relapse. I want to be the person you call. I try very hard to be positive for others, but I also understand I am fighting my own battle. You can be there for others, but you must always be there for yourself first.

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Finding the Right People

Pathfinders have done a wonderful job of setting me up with the right outlets. There are a lot of St. Patrick’s Day events that are specifically targeted at people in recovery, and they are not hard to find. First of all, the hotlines are your friend. A lot of sober hotlines now are 24/7, so you can reach out to someone whenever you feel the need. Not only do these hotlines provide a way for you to talk out your feelings, but they also provide you with resources and sober events local to you. These events are a great way to get out and socialize with like-minded people.

The more people I meet in recovery, the less alone I feel in the process. It almost always helps me to meet a new person going through this process. It reinforces to me that I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I plan on attending a couple of different sober parties on St. Patrick’s Day, and I have the same amount of enthusiasm for them as I used to have for the bars. I understand now that the sober version of me is so much more likable and approachable than the drunk version of me. It makes me feel a tremendous amount of confidence to be the best version of myself when I meet people. I also know that when I go to these sober events, I am meeting the new and improved versions of a lot of my peers.

It’s never a bad idea to be of service to other people. If you are comfortable being a designated driver for your friends who do drink, it can be a great help. Not only are you doing them a solid favor, but you are also preventing someone from getting behind the wheel drunk. You could be drastically altering the course of a lot of people’s evenings. I usually offer to be the DD whenever I know my friends may need it.

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Sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but I always feel better about myself after the fact.

Whatever you decide to do on this holiday, keep in mind that being a help to others is an invaluable practice.

Being considerate goes a long way on the road to recovery.

What Are Some of the Common Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse?

Drugs and Substance Abuse

Drug abuse can be defined as using drugs or chemical substances in ways that are illegal or were not prescribed by the doctor.

The abuse of drugs is very popular in not only the United States but also countries around the world.

Despite the danger and harm associated with these hard drugs or substances, individuals still abuse them without regard to the effect they would have on their lives and that of those around them who care for them.

These substances could be found in household items for instance nail polish.

Using them makes the addicts derive pleasure and euphoria.

Drugs which are abused by different individuals are often addictive and could leave a long-lasting effect of always craving the usage of this substance on the addict.

Without the intake of these substances, the addict becomes dysfunctional and is unable to function effectively.

Research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States of America shows that 12% of high school students use inhalants, 21% of these students abuse marijuana and 3% take cocaine.

This goes to show that the issue of substance abuse is not only rampant amongst the adult population but also the teenage population as well.

Most of these teenagers abuse these drugs due to peer pressure and in a bid to be adventurous.

Like adults, under-aged substance abusers also take these various substances as a form of escape from their reality or to relieve themselves from the stress school brings along.

Drug addiction can begin or stem from so many ways.

Intake of these substances may have started for a recreational activity or a mere social experiment.

However, it is not particularly hard to get addicted to these substances.

Addiction to substances also varies depending on the particular substance.

The report shows that it is easier to get addicted to opioids than any other form of substance that could be abused.

Some of the Common Symptoms of Substance Abuse - Pathfinders - An image of a man holding a variety of pills in his hand with a bottle of hard liquor in front of home, where he is showing symptoms of substance abuse.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

There are symptoms to identify in individuals who abuse substances. However, it varies from person to person and also with consideration to the fact that the severity of each case varies.

Below are some of the peculiar symptoms of substance abuse:

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    • Excessive or Intense Cravings for this Substance: A poster boy feature or characteristic of someone with drug use disorders is they experience intense cravings for this drug or substance. Regardless of any difficulty attached to getting access to this substance, a drug abuser is willing to go the extra mile to acquire the substance to feel alright. This often leads to so many unpleasant occurrences such as spending huge amounts of money to get their hands on this substance, experiencing intense discomfort when the addict is unable to get his or her hands on this substance as well as dropping everything down to ensure that they get their hands on this substance, regardless of if they have to involve themselves in shady deals for this.
    • Deterioration in Relationships with Loved Ones: It is often rumored that drug addicts only move with themselves. As sad as this may sound, this statement is affirmative. As a result of not wanting to be judged for their habit and lifestyle, people who abuse drugs often tend to withdraw from certain relationships. They also hang out more with people who they feel would be able to connect more with them and would understand the current lifestyle they are adopting. Besides, they most likely would not feel comfortable abusing drugs in the presence of their clean friends in fear of being reported to the police. This is why a symptom of drug or substance abuse involves the slow deterioration in strong relationships.
    • Loss of Financial Stability: It is not news that individuals who abuse drugs are often in one financial trouble or the other. They have lots of debts all around and always seem to run away from loan sharks. This is because obtaining illegal substances are expensive and they come at exorbitant prices. As a result, this lifestyle eventually becomes too expensive for them to manage and they lose they are financial and subsequently start running into debts. Also, most drug abusers or addicts stop taking their jobs seriously and get retrenched. This means that their source of livelihood is being taken away from them. Despite this fact, they still find a way to purchase these substances.

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  • Only wanting to be involved in drug-related activities: Most individuals who abuse drugs tend to detach themselves from the things that matter in life. They stop going to work, attending family gatherings, some even drop out of school and do not see the essence of being a part of anything that isn’t drug-related. This feature of the symptom of drug abuse is highly common amongst young adults but could also be seen in a few older adults.
  • Issues with the law: It is not uncommon to see a drug abuser facing issues with the law. This is because the United States of America criminalizes the wrongful possession of some of these substances. Drug or other substance abusers often end up running away from the law to protect their interest as they are aware that they would not have the leverage to utilize the drugs or substances they are addicted to in prison.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: This is one of the most prominent and common features or symptoms of substance abuse. This occurs when an individual who is already addicted to a certain substance tries to stay away from it for too long (this is relative depending on the severity of each case). The addict begins to experience the effects of trying to be away from this substance in the most painful of ways. This is why it is important to go to a drug addiction treatment or rehab center to be able to remedy this situation.

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Solutions to Substance Abuse

America recognizes the increasing amount of substance abusers in the State and as such, has provisions for drug or any other substance abuse in the forms of treatment centers.

These treatment centers may be privately owned or state-owned. They provide different treatment programs which include inpatient treatment programs, intensive outpatient treatment programs, detoxification, partial hospitalization treatment program as well as after-care for patients who require that or are specifically asked for them.

Some of the Common Symptoms of Substance Abuse - Pathfinders - An image of a man holding a variety of pills in his hand with a bottle of hard liquor in front of home, where he is showing symptoms of substance abuse.

  • Inpatient Treatment Program: This treatment program provides full residency for the patients all through their stay in the treatment program. Although a bit expensive, it is very effective and ensures that the patient resides in a healthy environment free from temptations and consisting of like-minded individuals who also want to be rid of the addiction.
  • Detoxification: Medical detox is the first stage of the healing process which drug addiction treatment entails. It consists of flushing out or getting rid of the toxins contained in the patient’s body to prepare them for the second phase of the treatment.
  • Outpatient Treatment Program: This treatment program involves the patient attending therapy sessions not more than three times a week except weekends. It is ideal for individuals with mild addiction and also those who do not have enough to afford the in-patient program in a private facility.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, substance abuse is a situation that can be remedied.

However, this would require the right attitude to the treatment from the patient and commitment by the treatment facility.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren’t Addictive

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

Every day 116 people die of an opioid drug overdose. And 42,249 people died of prescription opioids in 2016.

These numbers are chilling.

What is even more chilling is that many of these deaths are preventable.

The problem is that prescription opioids are seen as one of the only ways of coping with chronic pain. And people are rarely offered non-opioid alternatives.

Many individuals in recovery for opioid abuse fear that treating pain with opioids will lead to relapse.

However, it does not have to be this way. Many opioid alternatives can provide lasting pain relief with none of the risks.

Since opioids are so commonly used, you may ask yourself: “Aren’t they the best method to treat pain?”

The answer is no.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

A 2017 study showed that there was no difference between opioid and non-opioid treatment for pain management.

Opioid alternatives — like ibuprofen and acetaminophen — performed as well as opioids when treating leg and arm pain. And beyond addiction, opioids have many other side effects, including constipation, nausea, vomiting, and adrenal problems.

There are many ways of treating pain without addiction or side effects.

Let’s look at a few opioid alternatives to help you manage pain safely.

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Many addicts fear that pain relief and drug relapse go hand in hand.

But there are many non-opiate painkillers for addicts.

From drugs that treat inflammation and injuries to drugs that treat chronic pain, there are opioid alternatives.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Most people know drugs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen by their brand names, Tylenol and Advil.

These medications are usually associated with treating mild headaches or migraines.

However, most people don’t know they can be serious non-opiate painkillers.

These drugs are considered NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

They work by acting directly on the injured body tissue to reduce prostaglandins, which causes increased inflammation after an injury.

NSAIDs function differently than opioids, which act on the central nervous system. The opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing the brain’s awareness of pain. This leads to a euphoric feeling that can become addictive.

Though these drugs are non-addictive and are typically safer than opioids, they still have side effects like liver damage, stomach irritation, kidney problems, and bleeding problems.

Another serious side issue is the ceiling effect. This means that once you have increased the dosage to a certain point there is a limit or “ceiling” to how effective these drugs are.

As a result, these drugs are not recommended for chronic pain sufferers.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Chronically ill patients are especially at risk for opioid addiction.

This is because the long-term use of opioids increases the risk of becoming dependent. It may also be because many non-opioid drugs are not approved for long-term use.

However, for people suffering from chronic diseases, like fibromyalgia and chronic back or knee pain, there are opiate alternatives.

For example, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work by decreasing sensitivity to pain by interfering with the spinal cord’s pain suppression pathways.

The practice of using these drugs has already become popular.

One SNRI, Duloxetine, is already widely prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain.

Though Duloxetine works well for chronic pain, it has side effects like loss of appetite, constipation, and fatigue.

With many individuals that struggle with opioid addiction looking for opioid alternatives, drugs like Duloxetine provide a second chance at life.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are drugs that treat chronic pain and depression.

These drugs work effectively because chronic pain and depression have similar neurological makeup and often affect similar parts of the brain.

They work by controlling the output of serotonin and norepinephrine. They also regulate the function of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.

One benefit of using antidepressants to treat pain is that it can also help treat the depression that accompanies opioid abuse.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are usually only thought of as anti-seizure medications.

However, they can also function as powerful opioid alternatives for those struggling with opioid abuse. They work by interfering with the pain signals sent from oversensitive or damaged nerve cells.

Though anticonvulsants are relatively safe, they do carry some risks. These drugs can affect levels of vitamins C, D, E, B6, and B22. They can also cause nausea, dizziness, weight gain, and fatigue.

Some of the newer drugs have fewer side effects. For example, drugs like Gabapentin and Pregabalin have successfully treated pain caused by spinal cord injuries.

Corticosteroids

Many people think athletes and bodybuilders typically use steroids or that extra boost in performance and muscle.

However, many people are unaware that steroids have been and continue to be used for pain management.

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can be used to treat joint damage, nerve damage, and soft tissue damage.

What makes corticosteroids different than opioids is that they work on a cellular level. They bind to a cell, change gene expression, and control cellular function. This allows for the management of pain without the damaging effects of opioids.

Physical Opioid Alternatives

For people afraid of the side effects of pills, there many opioid alternative treatments that provide pain relief.

Physical Therapy

A great pain management option to talk to your doctor about is physical therapy.

Physical therapy allows for treating an injury or illness with exercise and massage, instead of surgery or drugs.

It also allows for more long-term pain management and recovery.

Physical therapy can often require more work on the part of the patient.

It requires attending sessions. In many cases, you will also have to perform exercises at home.

For people living without reliable transportation or in areas where physical therapists are rare, it can be challenging to access this type of treatment. Some physical therapists will travel to you, so it is important to consider all of your available options.

Physical therapy can improve healing and can provide long-term pain relief.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - A middle-aged man is engaging in physical therapy with a professional physical therapist as one of the available opioid alternatives to manage pain and improve the healing process instead of abusing opioid medications.

Acupuncture

One of the safest ways of treating pain without side effects is acupuncture.

Though acupuncture is often regarded as pseudoscience, there is evidence showing it can help treat pain.

One study found that acupuncture worked and medicine in providing long-term pain relief for patients who came into the emergency room.

Scientists have found that acupuncture can change the way the brain processes and perceives pain.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is another alternative to opioids that has minimal side effects.

Chiropractic care is a part of the medical profession that focuses on the spine and its function.

Most practitioners manipulate the spine to align the body and improve function. This makes it the perfect treatment for lower back pain, headaches, and neck pain.

Although many see chiropractic care with the same skepticism as acupuncture, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is safe and effective. For example, 95% of chiropractic users report that chiropractic care has helped them manage neck and back pain.

Consumer Report study showed that chiropractic care outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter medication.

For people who want quick relief without addiction or side effects, chiropractic care may be the perfect option.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation TENS

One of the most interesting methods of pain relief is a TENS machine or a TENS unit. This machine essentially zaps the pain away.

A TENS machine, or a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, treats pain by passing an electrical current through the superficial tissue.

It is believed that the subtle vibrations may drown out the signals of pain that the nervous system is sending.

It may also work by stimulating healing in damaged tissue.

Another benefit of this treatment is that it’s relatively cheap. Each TENS machine is only $100 per unit. Therefore, you can get pain relief without opiates and without breaking the bank.

One of the main drawbacks of a TENS machine is that there is not much evidence to support its effectiveness. However, some experts are hopeful it can work for certain kinds of pain.

We Can Help With Opioid Addiction

For many individuals struggling with addiction, having a plan for dealing with pain can be one of the essential parts of preventing relapse.

Many opioid alternatives offer relief for almost every situation – from back pain to chronic pain.

We understand that drug addiction is a process.

If you or a loved one struggles to make your way through, contact our team of experts today.

Remember that help is always available.

 

The Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are on the rise in America.

According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), 40 million people struggle with an anxiety disorder, and 16.1 million experience major depressive disorder every year.

They’re also common in dual diagnosis.

These are scary numbers.

Anyone with the misfortune of having one of these conditions knows how debilitating they can be.

The negative physical, social and emotional impacts of substance abuse and mental health disorders can be severe and long-lasting.

Thankfully, both can be treated effectively.

However, traditional approaches, like medication and psychotherapy, are far from foolproof.

For instance, medication (if it works in the first place) can lead to all manner of side effects. And therapy can last a long time, costing a lot of money in the process.

As a result, alternative approaches are in high demand.

One such alternative treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular is yoga.

13 million people practice yoga in the U.S. every year, and 58% of them practice it to support their health and well-being.

Keep reading to discover the many amazing benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

What Actually Is Yoga?

Some describe yoga as a literal union between yourself and your unconscious. But in practice, it’s a form of physical exercise that combines stretching, breathing, and different body poses.

There are different types of yoga, too.

There’s Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram – among others.

While there are similarities between them all, each offers slight variations in intensity, approach, focus, and speed.

For thousands of years, yoga has been used to enhance spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.

However, only recently has research looked into its specific effects on depression and anxiety.

Of all the different forms, Hatha yoga has been studied the most in relation to its impact on these mental illnesses.

Hatha yoga helps you enter deep states of relaxation by focusing on slow, gentle movements and breathing exercises.

It’s ideal for beginners and could be an excellent place to start if you’re new to the practice.

The Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety Pathfinders - A group of individuals in recovery are taking part in a yoga class as yoga for depression and anxiety has been found to be beneficial in terms of healthy coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.

The Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Scientific studies have begun to prove the benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

Below are some of the ways it’s been shown to help:

Yoga Equals Exercise

Yoga can be a tough physical exercise, especially when you first start.

You’ll be twisting, contorting, using small muscle groups, and generally building strength in many different areas of your body.

Potential pain and discomfort aside, research has shown how this can help the way you feel. For instance, a study by Duke University in 2000 showed an inverse relationship between exercise and depression.

The more we exercise, the less depressed we feel.

Exercise was shown to be as effective as medication at reducing symptoms of depression. Participants who exercised throughout the study experienced a greater reduction in symptoms compared to people who took medication.

Building exercise (such as yoga) into your routine is beneficial to naturally improve periods of depression and anxiety.

Yoga Equals Meditation

Mindful meditation is a practice of non-judgmental awareness in the present moment.

It’s also a recognized clinical treatment for anxiety and depression.

Yoga involves deep, controlled breathing and a focus on the present moment.

Together, these act to produce a mindful state.

How does it help? Well, things often feel overwhelming when you’re anxious and depressed. Your thoughts and emotions may feel out of control, or you may feel nothing at all. Yoga helps by giving you something to focus on.

Whether it’s a mantra, your breathing, or body posture, it grounds you in the present moment and pulls your thoughts back under control. It also makes you more self-aware in the process.

Yoga enables you to see and experience the way you feel.

Over time, you become more self-aware in general, even outside of your yoga practice. Being self-aware like this helps you spot potential problems and find ways to prevent relapse from occurring.

Yoga Impacts Your Brain

Yoga impacts brain chemistry too.

We’ve seen how exercise is great for depression and anxiety.

It works because it’s a natural way of producing chemicals called serotonin and endorphins in our brain. Low serotonin levels play a big role in depression and anxiety.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are common medication types that help raise the amounts of serotonin in our system. This decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result.

Yoga helps to modulate the levels of these chemicals in precisely the same way.

Yoga Lowers Stress Levels

Stress is a big component of depression and anxiety.

It’s hard to feel positive emotions when you’re stressed.

Thankfully, yoga helps to reduce stress levels, as well.

One way it does so is by increasing the production of Galanin, which is a neurochemical that reduces the brain/body response to stress.

Interestingly, studies also suggest a link between yoga, stress, and pain. Essentially, the more susceptible you are to stress, the less tolerant you are of pain.

This Harvard article discusses research where yoga teachers had the highest tolerance to pain and the lowest activity in areas of the brain that respond to stress.

If yoga develops our tolerance to stress and pain, then it may also build resilience against depression and anxiety.

Yoga and Physiology

The emotional aspect of depression and anxiety is often linked with a physiological reaction, too.

For instance, anxiety tends to involve an increased heart rate and sweaty palms. Yoga helps decrease this physiological arousal. Your heart rate goes down, your blood pressure lowers, and your breathing slows.

It is also said to increase our heart rate variability (HRV).

HRV is the time difference between our heartbeats. It’s thought that a higher HRV makes it easier to self-monitor and adapt to stressful situations. The higher your HRV, the more emotionally resilient you’re meant to be.

Yoga and Sleep

Some types of yoga positions, such as the ‘corpse pose’, are also known to help with sleep issues.

Sleep problems are often linked with various mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.

It’s a vicious circle.

The more tired you are, the more susceptible you are to depression and anxiety. And the more depressed and/or anxious you are, the harder it is to sleep.

Yoga and Community

A final benefit of yoga for depression and anxiety is the community aspect that can come with it.

This is an indirect bonus of yoga, but important nonetheless. After all, these mental health disorders can make you feel exceptionally lonely.

Though yoga can be done alone, group yoga is also popular and provides social interaction that’s beneficial in improving one’s mental well-being.

Yoga helps foster a sense of belonging by coming together as a group, doing the same thing, struggling over the same poses, and bonding via a shared attempt to become physically and mentally healthier.

The Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety Pathfinders - A group of individuals in recovery are practicing yoga for depression and anxiety, as well as meditation techniques from a professional yoga instructor to help with implementing healthy coping mechanisms, avoid relapse, and build a support system with the individuals in the yoga class.

The Best Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression

The below yoga poses are some of the poses that are meant to alleviate anxiety and depression:

The Corpse

We already know that this one helps with sleep. It also lowers your blood pressure, gets rid of headaches, and reduces fatigue.

Simply lay on your back, play dead, and breathe deeply.

Child’s Pose

Here’s another nice and easy one that has many of the same effects.

Get into the same position on your hands and knees, like a child about to start crawling. Next, sit on your heels and drop your stomach between your knees, with your hands extending far out in front of you.

Legs Up the Wall

Lay on your back, place your bum against the wall, and extend your legs upwards.

Lie there with your palms up and on the floor, to your side, for 30 seconds or so.

It’s surprisingly relaxing and helps calm your breathing and lower your blood pressure.

Important Considerations for Yoga, Depression, and Anxiety

As we’ve seen, yoga can have fantastic benefits for depression and anxiety.

However, there are certain things to consider.

For instance, it might be less suited for people with lower levels of flexibility.

It is likely to be more challenging as a beginner, and the poses can sometimes be uncomfortable initially. There’s also a risk of injury, too.

Equally, taking classes can get expensive. It might be harder for people with less expendable income to engage with.

Check with your local group or health center to see how much classes would cost.

Finally, people receiving support for depression and/or anxiety shouldn’t just drop their medication or therapeutic support.

Yoga is only recommended as a complementary approach to current treatments.

Always consult with a medical professional before changing your treatment program.

Time to Wrap Up

Anxiety and depression are debilitating mental illnesses.

Thankfully, they can be effectively treated.

Yoga treatment is one particular alternative treatment that can have significant positive effects on the way you feel.

As we’ve seen, there are many benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

The exercises help stimulate chemicals that improve our moods.

Its meditative nature focuses us in the present moment, enhances our self-awareness, reduces physical arousal, and helps us sleep.

It supports our response to stress and provides a sense of community that allows us to interact with others.

We hope you experience the immense benefits that yoga can bring if you decide to give it a go.

For more information on alternative treatment options, contact one of our addiction specialists today.

 

Dating While Not Sober

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is recovery is no longer sober together as they binge drink beer at a restaurant, while the man has his head on the table.

Let’s talk about dating while not sober first.

I have plenty of experience.

I only had two relationships when I was sober.

One was my first boyfriend in high school.

The second is my current relationship.

The span in between was relationship after relationship founded on alcohol or other drugs.

As you probably know, you do not make the same decisions under the influence that you do while sober.

For me, that meant dating many people that I had nothing in common with except for alcohol.

I dated people that irritated me when I was sober.

Part of that irritation was due to a hangover.

But not all of it. I was often sober during the week.

I was the kind of drunk you would label as a “weekend warrior.”

A large part of it was that I did not like the person I had a relationship with.

Most importantly, you need to like yourself, and I did not for a long time.

It is essential to realize the mistakes you have made and learn from them.

People teach us lessons about ourselves.

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple that relapsed and are now dating while not sober are arguing after they have indugled in quite a large amount of alcohol.

The Cheater

I still need to forgive myself for some of the harmful, hurtful people I let into my life.

One of the worst was a guy who ended up living with me for about six months. I met him through mutual drinking friends. He knew I had feelings for him, and he completely took advantage of that. He was sleeping with me the entire time while sleeping with at least two other women.

I was suspicious, but I was not one to snoop. I believed that if you trust someone, you should not snoop. When I did become suspicious, I felt bad kicking him out because he had a kid.

For him to have custody, he needed a place for his kid to come to safely. He was broke, so he could not afford an apartment.

I was getting more and more to the point where I wanted him out. I needed proof other than my gut feeling that something was off. He often used one of my old laptops. I got it out and logged onto Facebook. I did not have a Facebook account at that time, so his profile popped up right away. I decided to check his messages. The first thing I saw was all these messages to his new girlfriend, Katya.

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Starting to Wake Up

I was going to kick him to the curb.

But first, I was going to tell his new girlfriend who I was and what was going on. I reactivated my Facebook account, logged in, and emailed her immediately. She responded by chat. She said, “I can’t believe he would do this after saying he is in love with me and blah blah blah.” He said these same things to me at one point. Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Katya informed me that another woman had reached out to her a week earlier, accusing him of cheating as well.

Katya also enlightened me that he said he hated my dog. If you knew my dog, you would think he was the biggest jerk to have ever walked this Earth. Trust me on this. Who could not love a pudgy, chill, and blue and white chihuahua? He is a rock star. So, to think this three-timing, no good, son of a… was taking advantage of me.

As I was chatting with her via messaging, I moved all of his stuff into the back hallway. I texted him to let him know his stuff was outback. His text back was something weird like, “Let’s have this out in person.” I had zero need to see him in person. There is nothing to discuss in this case. Trust me. I did see him one last time getting the stuff out of the back hallway. I had changed the locks after he left.

But, I still needed to get Katya’s keys from him to give her. I opened the back door and what I saw was the saddest, tall man with tears streaming down his eyes. He was like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. I almost felt sorry for him. But I could not. I told him he was pathetic and got Katya’s keys and slammed the door shut. Some people say that closure does not exist. I would say the moment where I shut the door in his face was the best closure I have ever experienced.

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Dating While Sober

I started to become aware of something after an experience with a cheater. I was grasping again at love. Grasping meant going through the same harmful patterns again and again. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I would never find someone real until I started to find myself.

Things did not change for me overnight. It took time and practice. The last two people I dated before I met my current partner were steppingstones. One was a realization that I did not want to date people who did drugs anymore. This person did, and I broke up with him. It felt good. It was the first time I thought about myself rather than the other person. Then, I met another person.
We drank the first few times we hung out and started dating. We also lived in different countries. We did a long-distance relationship, and then I moved to his country for a while. I was always irritated with him, even right before I left to go live with him.

I had barely seen him and almost broken up with him. The romantic version of myself that wanted to live in another country won over. It was a disaster. I was only there five months and left, for good.

 

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Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is meeting with an addiction counselor to determine how to get back on the road to recovery after relapsing and now dating while not sober.

Sober Dating

After returning to the United States, I decided I needed more change to avoid making bad decisions. I decided to get sober. I was not drinking much, only once a week. But clearly, that was too much for me to get my life in order.

Around that time, I also lost my job. The rain came pouring down.
But my mentor Father Michael Pfleger says, “Storms run out of rain.” I walked through the storm of life on my own for a while. I was applying to jobs, deciding where to live, and taking care of myself. Every day, I would go on a walk. Life was simple. For the first time, I enjoyed the lack of excitement.

Constant moving and feeling like I had to prove something to someone were exhausting. I did not feel like moving at a fast pace anymore. I wanted to take the time to think things through.

I decided to work for a relative’s company while I was applying for jobs. The job was in New England. A small rural town. It sounded exactly like what I needed. The city had always triggered me to continue these negative patterns I was trying to quit. I did break loose.

I started to live a sober life. While sober, I had the control to say no to people I did not desire. Dating while sober meant taking care of myself and not going with an idea that did not serve my higher self. It did not mean that rejection did not hurt. I was able to handle it better and know that the feeling would pass.

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Love Yourself First

I started to put time into hobbies.

I put time into taking care of my body by exercising.

I read all the time.

I learned guitar.

I went on hikes and felt nature healing me.

I decided to stay.

It was only six months until I met my current partner.

We met through an event.

We began a sober relationship.

We hung out and got to know one another.

We had a lot in common.

I learned after months of dating that I enjoyed being around this person.

It did not happen overnight.

But because I was sober, I enjoyed the process at my own pace and moved forward as I felt.

We are still together; it will be two years in March 2021.

Dating sober is more about finding yourself than anything.

No matter who comes into your life, you will attract the person you deserve if you avoid dating while not sober.

A person who will honor you — rather than who you pretend to be while chugging your Miller High Life.

It is not that you will not have bad dates.

You will understand that they are a part of life, a passing moment like every other moment.

It will all be worth it to know yourself, to love yourself.

There is no love more important than the love you have for yourself.

No partner can fulfill that.

90 Meetings in 90 Days

The Reasons for Keeping a 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

You are working hard to start a new path in recovery, and now your counselor just issued you a new challenge—keeping a 90 meetings in 90 days calendar.

Attending the 90 meetings in 90 days recovery program sounds intimidating enough already. Now they want you to track it, too? You can rest assured—the entire team at Pathfinders Recovery Center is rooting for you. We know you can crush this program, and the calendar is the easiest way to keep you on track.

Let’s take an up-close look at the 90 meetings in 90 days recovery program. You will learn why you should track your progress during that time.

Cold Turkey - Hello I Am ... Name Tag Words "Going Cold Turkey" in black marker.

Why Keep a 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

What gets measured, gets managed.”

You might have heard the cliché saying uttered by business guru Peter Drucker decades ago. The saying remains relevant today because it is sound reasoning.

When you write down a goal, you breathe life into it. You take ownership of the challenge and satisfaction in checking it off your list.

In the case of a 90 meetings in 90 days calendar, you can schedule a daily “appointment” with yourself. This habit ensures that your recovery remains at the front and center of your to-do list, and you do not overlook it. And, as you check off the meeting at the end of the day, you will feel proud of your accomplishment—another day of clean, sober, and healthier living.

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How About a 90 Meetings in 90 Days App

If you do not like keeping up with a paper calendar, you have another alternative—an app on your phone. Take a quick run through your phone’s application store. You will see with just a cursory glance that you have many apps to choose from.

Like the paper calendar, a 90 meetings in 90 days app will guide you through your ninety days, one day at a time (as you hear so often).

Additionally, apps offer some other fun functions, such as:

  • A calculator that tells you approximately how much money you saved each day by staying sober.
  • Badges and awards to motivate and encourage you to keep on the right course.
  • App community members where you can meet other people who struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol.
  • Meeting locator to find NA and AA meetings if you travel outside of your area.

Whether you have a smartphone or not, tracking your progress is vital. Paper calendars work best for some people. Others prefer the app. You have the flexibility to choose whichever tracking method works the best for you.

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Why 90 Meetings in 90 Days

You know you need to strive to meet the ninety meeting goal, but do you know the reasoning behind attending 90 meetings in 90 days?

The 90 meetings in 90 days origin stems from the fact that this program assists you in your recovery in the following three ways:

1 – You Develop New (and Healthier) Habits

In an article published in 2009 by the European Journal of Social Psychology, scientists agreed that it took study participants anywhere from 18 to 254 to develop a habit. They further concurred that, on average, most people adopt new, automatic practices in 66 days.

90 days provides sufficient time for the majority of 90 meetings for NA or AA participants to hone these habits in the early recovery phase:

  • Communicating effectively in a group setting
  • Expressing their feelings
  • Arriving at your meeting on time
  • Staying sober
  • Appropriate interactions with others

These habits are essential because many alcoholics or drug addicts abandoned these behaviors during the peak of addiction.

Cold Turkey - A man is exercising in his home. He has stopped drinking cold turkey and uses exercise to get past the withdrawal.
A man is exercising in his home.

2 – You Build a Reliable, Safe Network of Peers

In addition to the healthy habit formation, you will build a safe, reliable network in your peer group. These relationships are crucial on the most challenging days of recovery. You will meet others who can lift you up on the lowest days. You can also serve as a ray of sunshine to your peers on the days that they feel poorly.

Remember that Alcoholics Anonymous 90 meetings in 90 days, or NA meetings, are places where others who struggle with addiction come together for mutual support. You learn to lean on each other so you can succeed.

3 – You Found a Place of Acceptance

Many people who are in recovery feel isolated. Their family members have the best of intentions, but they offer advice that sometimes feels like a scolding.

Or, you might still be re-establishing bonds with family and old friends after years of neglecting those relationships.

The bottom line is this—you feel lonely or isolated, even when you are around people you love.

Your 90 meetings in 90 days alcohol or drug addiction workshop is a place where you feel accepted. You can reveal your innermost thoughts or share “war stories” without feeling embarrassed or as if they will use the information against you.

In the past, you turned towards drugs or alcohol for comfort. But now, you have a peer group who can soothe you, helping to prevent relapse.

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What To Expect as You Work Through the 90 Meetings in 90 Days Calendar

Whether you are going to NA meetings or AA meetings, you find many similarities. You might be surprised to see how alike they are, really.

AA 90 Meetings in 90 Days

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings emphasize recovery from alcohol use disorder or alcoholism.

You will learn how to curb your cravings and other coping techniques. Also of note, other participants can help you develop strategies for avoiding alcoholic beverages in social situations—it is a legal drug, after all.

As you progress through your meetings, you will continuously build the skills you need to remain alcohol-free.

90 Meetings in 90 Days NA

Joining 90 meetings for Narcotics Anonymous works similarly to the AA version.

However, you will soon discover that people there used a wide variety of drugs of choice, from prescription painkillers they got hooked on after a surgery to street drugs like heroin. Regardless of the drug abused, you will learn how to prevent relapse and live a life free of drugs.

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What Happens After 90 Meetings in 90 Days

You might wonder, ultimately, what happens after the first 90 meetings? First of all, your group will recognize your achievement by presenting you with a 90-day coin—an enormous accomplishment, indeed!

However, do not rest on your laurels. You still have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Recovery lasts much longer than your first ninety days.

Some people continue going to daily meetings because they draw so much comfort from the process. Others will scale back and attend several times weekly. There is not a single correct number, as every person will experience recovery at a different pace.

You will also probably keep meeting with a counselor for one-on-one therapy, attend relapse prevention classes, and work on all areas of your self-growth. The journey is just beginning—and you are in charge of mapping out your destiny.

If you are all ready to embark on a journey to recovery, we are glad to answer any questions you have. Please feel free to call Pathfinders Recovery Center at 855-728-4363 for assistance. We are always happy to help you.

Staying Sober While Social Distancing

How to Stay Sober While Social Distancing

Just a few short months ago, staying sober while social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak wasn’t something any of us anticipated.

Since then, social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have abruptly and drastically changed our day to day lives.

Even things that seemed simple before, like going to work and visiting your therapist, may be off limits now.

However, there are quite a few creative ways that we can maintain our important social connections while we follow the CDC’s best practices and precautionary measures.

Staying Sober - A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat. Staying sober is more difficult with social distancing. Those in recovery need new ways to connect for support.
A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat.

Staying Sober with a Video Chat

Facetime will never be a permanent replacement for in person social connections, but it can help us through this difficult time.

Ask your sponsors and therapists to make your meetings virtual for the time being. They’re stuck at home, too, so they’ll be happy to hear from you and to offer support in a new and unique way.

Whether it is weekly or daily, your sessions, meetings, and conversations can take place online so you don’t have to go too long without speaking to them.

Use a Virtual Meeting to Spend Time with Your Support Group

Most of us are well-versed in Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Facebook video chats by now, especially those who have been working from home since social distancing closed all non-essential businesses.

You can use these apps (and others) to meet with your support group once per week (or even more). Zoom can be used to merge up to 100 users into one virtual meeting, so no one has to be left out.

These meetings include two-way video, audio, or other collaborative features, and the basic version is free to download if you don’t have it already. If you’re looking for additional support, Facebook has a number of virtual recovery groups available.

Many of them will require a request to join, but they’re typically approved within a day or two, and then you will have access to many other individuals who are going through similar struggles.

Use this platform to swap stories and offer one another support.

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Join AA/NA Meetings Online or Over the Phone

Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are a resource that many people in recovery rely on.

While all large, in-person gatherings are canceled, you can find these meetings in a few other places.

There is a long list of online AA and NA meetings, as well as meetings that are taking place over the phone and speaker tape archives that you can listen to.

Virtual support can fill in the gaps until we can all recover together again.

Staying Sober - A woman does a video conference with her support group during social distancing. She is fighting to stay sober without the in person meetings she usually goes to.
A woman joins an AA meeting over a video conference during social distancing.

Spend Some Time in Nature

Whether we are talking a walk, riding a bike, reading a book, or simply enjoying the warmth of the sun on our skin, spending time outside can be hugely beneficial to our health.

Reconnecting with nature is a free and easy way to find inner peace without breaking social distancing rules.

Use this time to enjoy the fresh air or call a friend to catch up. While we are apart, continue to meet each day with integrity, honesty, and the will to work hard.

If you need help reach out. We are here for you.

Here are links to the resources mentioned in this article:

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Withdrawal Help: How to Fight Through Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms and Come Out on Top

Many of us know someone who has struggled with opioid addiction. If not yourself, perhaps it was a family member or close friend. Opioids affect a lot of families throughout the United States, so know that you’re not alone in dealing with them.

In fact, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate the numbers of affected patients is significant. Studies show that 21 to 29 percent of patients who were medically prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them. On top of that, over 72,000 cases of death due to drug overdose have been recorded in a single year.

It’s clear that opioids affect many people throughout the country. If you or someone you know is undergoing a transition to sobriety from opioids, he or she will likely experience opioid withdrawal. Even though the transition can be challenging, consider these tips providing withdrawal help for you and your family.

Know What To Expect By Doing Your Research

Every opioid abuser has a different physical composition. That means that each patient has a different relationship with the substance, including how their body will react to opioid withdrawals.

Still, there are certain things you can expect that most patients experience during opioid withdrawals. If you’re a serious opioid abuser, you might already be familiar with the first symptoms of opioid withdrawals.

Within 6 to 12 hours, minor symptoms start to appear. These include muscle aches, excessive yawning, trouble sleeping, headaches, or even a fever. It’s around this time that most common opioid abusers give in and go back to their substance.

If the patient holds out, though, the worst part of withdrawals typically happens around 72 hours after last using the substance. These patients experience serious nausea, stomach cramps, depression, and serious cravings for the drugs.

After these intense symptoms, patients will still exhibit irritability and trouble adapting to life without drugs for up to weeks after last using. It’s up to them and the community around them to maintain sobriety through every avenue possible.

Maintain a Positive Attitude, Even When It’s Tough

The first step to remember is to remember your perspective throughout the entire process of transitioning to sobriety. Though withdrawal symptoms may be physical, the battle you’ll be finding is a mental one. You will be challenged to work through your pain instead of reaching for the drug again.

Don’t be too hopeful about maintaining such a positive outlook, though. It’s going to be pretty tough at times to remember that sobriety is worth the effort.

Many people go back to misusing their drug of choice simply because they choose to ignore their pain rather than fight through it. Break the cycle be sticking through even the toughest parts of the process.

There are benefits to staying grateful for being able to challenge yourself with sobriety. Consider this guidance to remain grateful even during your darkest times of overcoming opioid addiction.

Stay Connected To Surrounding Friends and Family Members

Not only will transitioning to sobriety challenge you in physical and mental ways. You’ll also be tested in an emotional capacity.

Many people don’t realize that drug abuse affects their emotional stability. The effects of consistent drug abuse can numb the natural coping mechanisms we’re supposed to use. When patients quit taking those numbing opioids, they tend to struggle with coping with emotions again.

Some patients overcoming addiction are fortunate enough to already be surrounded by family members and friends. Not everyone is so lucky, though. That’s why it might be necessary for some people to enter into a treatment facility to be surrounded by caring hands.

A stable community of support is crucial for adjusting a patient’s emotions back to normal. Consider this guidance for dealing with emotions during early sobriety.

Cultivating genuine relationships during withdrawals can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you don’t try to handle the transition to sobriety all on your own.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

As mentioned above, you’ll need other people around you to be successful in your sobriety. At the very least, you need to be able to talk to someone about your struggles throughout the process.

Misusing opioid substances ends turning our brain chemistry to have a dependency on those substances. It’s no wonder that many who attempt to quit the drug abuse turn back to it. The brain literally becomes hardwired to need the substance for peace.

Take care, though, to allow your brain to readjust after dependency on opioids. You’ll find that your cognition and emotional stability seem much healthier when you’re sober.

For a while after transitioning to sobriety, many patients tend to deal with symptoms of anxiety or depression. It’s unfortunate that the mood is so affected, but it’s important to prepare for.

Sometimes it can seem as though the transition to sobriety is too much for someone to handle. As difficult as it can be to deal with these strong withdrawal symptoms, don’t be afraid to ask for help during your dark times. There are plenty of resources available to assist you, such as the National Helpline for substance abuse.

Exercise At Least a Little Bit Every Day

It’s no secret that your body is going to go through some serious changes during this transition. You know from your research that you’ll experience trouble with energy levels and sleeping habits. The good news is that there are efforts you can take to help regulate your body’s needs.

That regulation starts with a thorough exercise routine. Don’t worry – you don’t need to become a bodybuilder just to transition away from drug abuse. It is a good idea though, even if just to maintain some level of routine.

It’s common that opioid abusers don’t make a habit of exercising while abusing substances. Since transitioning to sobriety is such a dramatic lifestyle shift, exercising can help normalize a sober life. For many, exercise is even a chance to substitute unhealthy habits for healthy ones.

Don’t push yourself, though. Only work out to the extent of whatever is recommended by your doctor. Don’t expect to be very active right off the bat.

Even if you only take a brisk walk every day, you’ll be off to a good start in your new sober lifestyle. You deserve to make the most of your new, healthy life of sobriety.

Get Plenty of Rest

Along the lines of physical health, don’t forget about your sleep cycle. It’s an unfortunate truth that going through opioid withdrawals could negatively affect your sleep. Don’t worry, though – there are steps you can take.

It might be difficult to get to sleep, especially at first during withdrawals. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule anyway. Even if you’re only laying down without sleep for eight hours, your body will technically still get the rest it needs.

Over time, your brain will get used to calming down around the same time. The goal is to normalize a healthier sleep cycle than the one you had to rely on opioids for.

You’ll eventually notice that your sleep cycle becomes more regular. This is a sign that most of your withdrawal symptoms are wearing down. Work through those difficult withdrawal times knowing that a regular sleep cycle will surely be worth the investment.

Monitor Your Diet and Nutrition

Along with plenty of exercise and rest, don’t forget to watch your diet during addiction recovery. Your body is going to need all the natural help it can get to readjust without opioids.

The first thing to think about is making sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a huge problem for many patients overcoming opioid dependency. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day while you’re going through withdrawals.

When it comes to what you eat, do your best to stick to healthy greens and grains. That means you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also means you need to minimize the number of carbohydrates and fats you consume.

Examples of healthy foods to eat include leafy greens like spinach or salads. You should also look at nuts and non-meat proteins.

Your body is doing a lot of internal work when it is readjusting to a life without opioids. Give it the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong during this time.

Check Out Recovery Facilities

It’s clear that recovering addicts need to be surrounded by a supportive and helpful community. The withdrawal process can be long and arduous.

For those patients who aren’t fortunate enough to have family members and friends ready and available, recovery facilities are normally available. Do plenty of research to find the best treatment center in your area.

Stay Informed About Withdrawal Help

As you recovery from opioid abuse, you deserve to be around as much withdrawal help as is available. We know how important it is to take the matter of your recovery seriously.

We encourage you to stay as informed as possible about the recovery process. Check out the rest of our blog today to learn about withdrawals and other parts related to the recovery process.

 

The Stigma Of Addiction: How Do I Break It?

What is Alcoholism?

In 1956, alcoholism was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association. The definition of a disease is “a quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or a group of people.”

The AMA’s conclusion is fitting to say the least. Today, alcoholism is a part of a much larger epidemic – the disease of addiction. Unlike physical ailments, alcohol addiction has become a serious societal issue, one plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. People often say, “Addicts are weak, they just need to toughen up and quit,” or, “Addicts are liars, burnouts and waste of space,” and “Addicts are bad people and criminals.”

All too often these types of judgmental statements are spoken. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a glimpse into what it is like to be an addict.


How Alcoholism Starts

stigma-of-alcoholismOutside circumstances vary drastically, but internally most addicts, including myself, have similar experiences although it can often feel like they’re the only one.

You’re introduced to a substance, you try it, and you like the way it makes you feel. In the beginning the substances make you feel euphoria, and for the potential addict, you just want to do it again. It’s a slow and gradual decline of one’s power of choice and into dependency.

 


Becoming An Addict

beginning-of-alcohol-addictionAs time goes on our tolerance for the substances gets greater. Leaving us needing more of our drug of choice in order to become intoxicated. So, what does any motivated addict do at this point?

More drugs and alcohol of course.

A non-addict may be able to anticipate what might happen if they continue down this path and decide to turn it around. This isn’t so with the real addict from our experience. What we see is delusions crop up, and from this altered reality we are able to find justifications for our actions.

Here is an example: a close friend of yours approaches you and says, “I think you should slow down with partying. I’m worried about you and you do not seem like yourself lately.” The non-addict’s thought process might lead to some introspection like, “Are they right? Am I getting carried away? Maybe I should take it easy for a while.” An addict on the other hand may say, “They don’t know what they’re talking about! I’m fine and if they can’t accept me for who I am, then I don’t need them in my life.” This defensiveness and sometimes anger comes quickly when someone challenges them or they think they may lose their drug, which is one reason so many addicts become alienated from the people in their lives. This cycle goes on until you have reached the no man’s land of dependency.


Active Full Blown Addiction

Once an addict has reached the stage of full-blown dependency, it is incredibly difficult to stop. When I was using, you could have given me a lie detector test and I would have been telling the truth when I said I believed to my core that there was no chance that I could stop.

The physiological make-up of my body had changed. This is true with all addicts. As a person in long term recovery, I wanted to get clean for years before I was actually able to make it stick. Allow me to emphasize the important part of that statement. I wanted to get clean for years.

When an addict feels like they can’t stop using, they often feel ashamed, weak and like a failure. Having the world say the same and worse, contributes to an addict’s need to detach from those feelings on some level, so they just keep using. Punishing and condemning addicts, bad mouthing them and judging them will never help this problem. It doesn’t help the addict, nor does it benefit the world as a whole as society continues to perpetuate the cycle. What is needed is an educated society that understands the issue and its complexities, and how best to approach it.


The Recovery Process

Since the founders of Pathfinders Recovery Center have been in recovery we have found that addicts, and people in general for that matter, are capable of great things. The same men and women that come from dark, selfish, and lonely pasts are now selfless and caring, with a unique compassion for their fellow man. One in ten adult people in this nation are struggling with some form of addiction, and only one in ten of those people get help. These statistics are staggering. This disease does not discriminate. There are politicians, lawyers, policemen, doctors, pilots, therapists, and all other professions. We are your neighbors, your friends, your pastor, and your child’s school teacher. Before judging and condemning addicts, please remember that these people you are talking about are sick. Very sick. The power of choice is more than likely no longer in their grasp. They need compassion and understanding. They need help, and to be shown there is a way out.

For more information and the science behind each chemical’s effect on the body view our earlier blog posts or contact a Pathfinders Recovery Center founder directly at (855) 728-4363.