Addiction Aftercare

What is Addiction Aftercare?

Addiction aftercare is an important part of ensuring long-term sobriety.

Sobriety does not always begin and end in an addiction treatment program.

Long-term sobriety requires a long-term commitment.

This is where addiction aftercare comes in. When you complete an addiction treatment program, you may be anxious about what happens next.

When you choose Pathfinders’ luxury treatment center, we will help you find guidance and support long after your program is complete.

Choosing Pathfinders means choosing long-term sobriety and incredible peace of mind.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A group of individuals that has completed treatment is taking part in a group therapy session at a reputable rehab center for addiction aftercare to ensure they stay on the path of sobriety

Addiction Treatment and Addiction Aftercare

There are many options available to you when it comes to addiction treatment programs and addiction aftercare programs, .

Whether you have completed a residential inpatient program, outpatient program, or a supplemental treatment that landed somewhere in between, you may not feel ready yet to face your sobriety alone.

During your addiction treatment, you learned how to build healthy support systems, habits, and coping mechanisms. You learned how to manage your addiction and avoid relapse.

But, what happens when you feel unprepared to face these tasks alone? You choose not to.

Professionals in addiction health care have long sworn that remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.

Research in this area shows us that most people will need at least three months in treatment to reduce or stop their drug use significantly.

They take it a step further to ensure that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.

Whether your addiction treatment program lasted 30 days or one year, the support and guidance you receive only stop there if you let them.

Addiction aftercare is ideal for those who need help enforcing their sobriety, building effective support systems, and participating in recovery groups that will help keep you on track.

 

Immediate Placement in Addiction Treatment – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Why is Addiction Aftercare is Often Necessary?

As you likely know by now, addiction is a chronic illness. This is not something to hide or be ashamed of.

Addiction is chronic the same way diabetes is.

Removing the stigma from your addiction will help you reevaluate your need for continued care.

Addiction, whether it is drugs or alcohol, is lifelong.

There is no quick fix or cure.

The good thing is that addiction can be effectively managed and treated with comprehensive care and long-term support.

There is no shame in admitting that you are not ready to face your sobriety alone.

This is the reason why addiction aftercare was created.

We want you to have access to medical, physical, and emotional support, guidance, and ongoing maintenance for as long as you need it.

We will help you manage your disorder so you can maintain your sobriety and good health.

Maintaining your sobriety and health can also improve all other aspects of your life.

As you progress through addiction aftercare, you may notice that you have naturally developed better communication skills, relationships, and financial habits.

 

Learn More About Rehab at Pathfinders Call Today

866-263-1847

 

Addiction Aftercare vs. Other Addiction Treatment Programs

During your initial addiction treatment program, you have gone through the detox, withdrawals, and the early learning stage.

You have developed a deeper understanding of your addiction and the underlying factors that contribute to it.

You have used therapeutic and holistic techniques to improve your mental and physical health.

Achieving sobriety in your addiction treatment program is a major accomplishment to be celebrated.

But, it is not one that should later bring you fear.

Once your program ends, you should not feel like you have to move forward alone from here.

Addiction Aftercare Settings

Addiction aftercare is simply the next logical step after you achieve initial sobriety.

It can be done in an inpatient setting, intensive outpatient, or traditional outpatient setting.

12-step programs are some of the most common addiction aftercare services.

In any setting, addiction aftercare can help you find support in a safe and comfortable environment, and make it easier to avoid relapse.

It comes as no surprise that patients who participate in addiction aftercare programs often experience lower relapse rates than patients who do not.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get the care you need.

We will tailor your addiction aftercare program to best meet your unique needs and circumstances.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A man who has completed his initial addiction treatment is now participating in addiction aftercare by virtually holding a one-on-one counseling session with an experienced rehab facilitator to help him stay free from addiction

 

Recovery Groups

When you are working toward long-term sobriety and a healthy, fulfilled life, seeking addiction aftercare in recovery groups can help in various ways.

Participating in addiction management in group settings helps you hold yourself accountable. You will also be able to swap stories with others on the same journey and learn from their experiences.

This may feel strange or uncomfortable for addicts starting their original addiction treatment program.

But, you are likely used to group settings by now. In recovery groups, you can benefit from a supportive environment, receive encouragement and advice, and maintain anonymity if you choose.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the most common examples of these groups. They provide social and complementary support to other addiction treatments.

In these types of settings, you can continue to develop effective strategies for dealing with stress and managing your condition.

Common Problems After Addiction Treatment

The same way that your original addiction treatment program did not rely on a singular technique; your addiction aftercare program will not, either.

Addictions often come with ongoing, systemic issues.

Maintaining your sobriety will include overcoming barriers and hurdles after your program ends.

You may have trouble finding a job or home. You may face distressing legal troubles, as well.

The stress and worry that stem from complications like these can be significant triggers for substance abuse.

Avoiding relapse will require a dedicated, long-term approach.

Addiction aftercare can help.

 

24 Hour Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Treatment Methods Used in Addiction Aftercare

Depending on your needs, you may have access to many of the following:

  • Career guidance and support
  • Legal guidance and support
  • Support through life transitions like relocations, job changes, and family problems
  • Ongoing case and addiction management
  • Substance monitoring
  • Life coaching and effective goal setting
  • Relationship and support group building
  • Academic support for those furthering their education
  • Support and guidance with budgeting and general financial planning

Addiction aftercare focuses on providing help, encouragement, guidance, and advice on maintaining sobriety and building the life you want.

Many people who have struggled with addiction do not have these same types of support systems at home.

We are here to fill in the gaps.

You have everything you need within you to build the life you choose.

Let us help you work through all of the other details and set you firmly on the path to finding it.

Paying for Addiction Aftercare

Most major insurance providers help in covering the cost of addiction treatments.

At Pathfinders, we accept most major insurance providers to make it easier for our patients to get the care they need and deserve.

If you are unsure of your coverage, call our addiction counselor to get an insurance verification.

They are always available to help.

If you do not have insurance, they will be happy to discuss each of your treatment and payment options to work out what is best for you.

 

Free Insurance Verification for Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Pathfinders’ Addiction Aftercare

Pathfinders Recovery Center offers luxury addiction treatments that meet a variety of needs.

We have received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

We are proud to have committed ourselves to provide comprehensive care throughout each stage of the recovery process.

Whether you completed your initial program here or elsewhere, our addiction aftercare is open to you.

We are here to help you achieve a sober life so you can reach each of your long-term goals.

What Happens if I Relapse?

What Happens When you Relapse?

If you have found yourself telling a trusted friend or relative: “I relapsed,” you may be asking yourself what happens next.

Saying or hearing the words: “I relapsed” can be challenging for everyone involved.

Addiction does not just impact the individual; it affects their loved ones too.

It can also impair your career and the community you have built around yourself.

A relapse is not a failure.

It is not the end of the road.

Relapsing into a drug or alcohol addiction is the same as relapsing into a chronic medical condition. It only means that it is time to try again.

What Happens if I Relapse? Pathfinders - A man who has previously completed treatment and was on the right path to recovery and sobriety has suddenly found himself saying "I relapsed." He must realize that relapse is not a failure, and there are ways to come back from a relapse

I Relapsed

Living a healthy, sober life is something that you deserve, and the people who love you deserve to see it happen too.

Saying the words: “I relapsed” is hard to do.

It can be disheartening and difficult to admit when it happens.

But, like any goal worth pursuing, a setback should not keep you from coming back stronger and giving the pursuit of long-term health and sobriety all that you have.

Understanding the difference between “I relapsed” and “I failed” is crucial in maintaining the mentality you need to succeed.

 

Immediate Placement in Alcohol Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

After Relapse, It is Time to Quit Again

Whether you have relapsed at home after quitting cold turkey; having been through a program already, we will meet you where you are in your journey and help you get back on track.

When you feel like relapsing means that it is time to stop trying and let the professionals and the support system you build here at Pathfinders remind you why it is worth trying again.

And no matter how many times you have relapsed, it is always worth trying again.

 

Learn More About Alcohol Rehab at Pathfinders Call Today

866-263-1847

 

How Common is Relapse After Rehab?

Relapsing does not mean that you will never be successful.

Unfortunately, it is an occurrence that many addicts struggle with.

In fact, most addicts who do not participate in aftercare planning, services, and programs are likely to relapse and return.

If you have relapsed in the past, it may be time to reevaluate and pursue another path to sobriety.

At Pathfinders, we offer a wide variety of program options and services for a personalized, high-level experience.

Relapsing should not keep you from trying again. It may be the next try that changes the rest of your life.

Risk Factors for Relapsing

Addiction is a chronic disease.

To put this into perspective, conditions like asthma and diabetes are also chronic diseases.

And relapse rates for drug abuse are similar to relapse rates for other chronic medical conditions.

Addiction is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. It is not something you should hide or ignore.

Some of the most common risk factors for relapsing are high-stress jobs, challenges in important relationships, and overwhelming cravings.

Another important risk factor to consider is your environment.

If you live or spend time with people with addictions, you are more likely to relapse.

The same is true, with an addiction starting in the first place.

Alcoholism, in particular, is largely linked to genetics.

While there is no cure for addiction, it can be managed with the right approach.

What Happens if I Relapse? Pathfinders - A young man has admitted "I relapsed" and has attended group therapy at a rehab facility center to seek treatment to begin is path to recovery again because relapse is not a failure, but a way to learn from mistakes and find healthy ways to avoid relapse in the future

 

Avoiding Relapse

Seeking well-rounded, versatile, and personalized addiction care is crucial to avoiding relapse.

Remaining in treatment for the appropriate amount of time is also crucial.

Experts suggest that long-term recovery requires multiple episodes of treatment lasting for at least three months.

Addiction treatment allows you to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain and behavioral patterns.

Counteracting self-destructive or otherwise damaging thoughts and behaviors will help you regain control of your life.

Avoiding future relapses means changing deeply rooted thoughts and behaviors, resuming treatment, modifying treatment, or trying another type of treatment.

If you follow the comprehensive plan, we create with and for you, build healthy habits, coping mechanisms, support systems, and practice relapse prevention techniques, you will give yourself a much higher chance of success.

Pathfinders Rehab Program Options

Whether you are recovering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs or a dual diagnosis, we offer a variety of program options to help get you through.

Depending on your unique needs, addiction, and mental health, we will recommend one of the following program options:

For many people, medical detox is a necessity at the start of addiction recovery.

Whether you have skipped this step in the past or tried and then relapsed, this is a critical part of enforcing early sobriety.

This supervised, professional care setting can make all the difference when you are coping with even the worst alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms.

It can also help you build your strength and confidence as you continue into additional treatments.

 

24 Hour Alcohol Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Pathfinders Rehab Program Methods

From various therapies to support groups, our rehab treatment methods are well-rounded and holistic.

They are care methods based on years of research and results.

These care methods will likely include:

  • Individual therapy sessions with a trained professional within our facility
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups and recovery group meetings
  • Training in addiction management and relapse prevention
  • Lifestyle and financial guidance
  • Aftercare planning
  • Long-term support

When used together, each of these treatment methods can help you avoid relapsing again in the future.

We provide you with the tools, knowledge, guidance, and support you need. Putting in the work every day is up to you.

Finding long-term health and sobriety and avoiding the complications that come with addiction may be challenging, but it is infinitely worth the effort.

You deserve a life free from the abusive cycle of addiction.

Find it today.

Is Relapsing Dangerous?

Multiple relapses can be dangerous or fatal.

Your body may not be adapted to the same levels of drug exposure as before, making it easier to overdose. This is something that many people never consider.

A relapse is not an excuse to give up. It is a perfect reason to try again.

At Pathfinders, we understand how difficult it can be to become and remain sober.

We will work with you to ensure that you have what you need to find long-term sobriety so that these concerns become a thing of the past.

Do not let your drug or alcohol addiction control your life for another day.

Paying for Addiction Care

If you have never attended a rehab program before, you may be worried about the potential costs.

What may surprise you is that most health insurance providers offer coverage for addiction health care.

If you are unsure of how much of your program will be covered, please call our addiction specialist. They will confirm your insurance coverage for you.

They will also outline alternative payment methods if you do not have insurance.

This is an essential factor to consider, but it is not the only one.

Avoiding relapse and building a healthy, sober life you feel good about is infinitely worth pursuing.

 

Free Insurance Verification for Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Pathfinders Addiction Care

It is time to put your last “I relapsed” into the past.

Leave it far behind and find addiction care that simply works.

It may be what was missing all along.

From your first phone call through aftercare planning, we will walk the path to sobriety with you, and we will help you overcome each barrier that presents itself along the way.

This is What You Need to Know About Quitting Cold Turkey

What is Better Quitting Cold Turkey or Slow Over Time?

Do you struggle with an addiction? Do you want to quit, but just can’t find a way? Do you wonder if it’s better to do it “cold turkey” or slower over time?

The most difficult addictions to overcome, in order of difficulty, are nicotine, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and cocaine.

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health looked at how many individuals used tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs.

The report showed that about 164.8 million Americans over the age of 11 stated they had used in the past month.

You are not alone in your fight to become sober. Once you quit, you will still have to find the strength to remain sober. Continue reading to learn about “going cold turkey” to overcome an addiction.

Cold Turkey - Hello I Am ... Name Tag Words "Going Cold Turkey" in black marker.
Going Cold Turkey Hello Name Tag Words 3d Illustration

“Quit Cold Turkey” Meaning Defined

When did this phrase “quitting cold turkey” start? The earliest known use of this phrase was in The Daily Colonist newspaper in 1921. This phrase describes the abrupt stopping of an activity that’s considered harmful.

It may have originated from the phrase “talking cold turkey”. This described a time when a person was direct and blunt.

Another explanation is that cold turkey is a quick dish to serve. There’s no need to spend time cooking. Thus, it’s an abrupt meal to serve.

Today, when you quit cold turkey, it means you stop a harmful habit immediately. There’s no weaning down period.

24/7 Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Benefits of Quitting Cold Turkey

A 2016 study comparing quitting smoking slowly vs. cold turkey. It was published in The Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study participants were divided into 2 groups. Group 1 quit abruptly and Group 2 decreased smoking by 75% over 2 weeks before they quit.

Both groups used nicotine supplements during and after quitting. At 4 weeks, 39.2% of Group 2 remained abstinent compared to 49.0% of Group 1. At 6 months, 15.5% of Group 2 were still abstinent while 22.0% of Group 1 remained smoke-free.

This study concluded that stopping cold turkey lead to longer success with quitting smoking.

The Difficulty with Going Cold Turkey?

The hardest part of stopping the use of an addictive substance is managing withdrawal symptoms.

The effects may last weeks, months, or even years. Each person has a different experience and coping mechanisms.

Withdrawal symptoms depend on the substance and length of addiction. It’s important to understand that this only describes the physical symptoms.

Other emotional and behavioral triggers accompany addictions.

Opioids or Opiates

Withdrawal symptoms often last 72 hours to about 5 days.

They include:

  • Aching muscles
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Teary eyes and runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trouble sleeping and frequent yawning
  • Diarrhea and stomach cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Goosebumps on the skin
  • Dilated pupils and blurry vision
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure

After about a week, these physical symptoms decrease.

Immediate Placement Drug Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Benzodiazepines

When stopping benzodiazepines, many people experience “rebound” symptoms. This often begins between 1 and 4 days of stopping use.

Depending on how often and how much you used, symptoms can last up to 10 days.

Rebound symptoms include:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Increased anxiety and tension
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache
  • Stiffness or pain in muscles
  • Cravings
  • Tremors in hands

Severe addicts may experience hallucinations, seizures, psychosis or psychotic responses, and/or suicidal ideation.

Cocaine

Withdrawing from cocaine can make you feel so weak that you don’t feel like doing normal activities. Symptoms can include:

  • Restlessness, irritability, and agitation
  • Generalized discomfort
  • Strong cravings to use cocaine
  • Mental and physical exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Anhedonia which means not being able to feel joy or pleasure
  • Upsetting, dramatic, vivid dreams
  • Increase in your appetite
  • Decrease in motivation
  • Feeling sleepy much of the time
  • Decreased libido or sexual desire
  • Difficulty concentrating

Some people also have headaches and other physical symptoms. Some severe cases experience suicidal thoughts, hostility, and paranoia.

Cocaine Withdrawal Occurs in Three Stages

“The Crash” occurs in the first several hours to days. People feel severe depression, exhaustion, restlessness, and irritability. They may even think about suicide.

The second stage of withdrawal lasts one to 10 weeks. The person’s mood and ability to function improves. Yet they feel bored and lack pleasure.

They often experience cocaine cravings, irritability, low energy, inability to concentrate, and sleep disturbance. At this point, there’s a high risk of relapse.

The last stage, extinction, includes extreme cocaine cravings the come and go. People also experience mood swings during this phase which can last up to six months.

The length and amount of cocaine use impact the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. For most people, withdrawal symptoms last between one and two weeks.

Alcohol

Free Insurance Verification for Alcohol Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Often, alcohol withdrawal symptoms manifest in the following timeline.

In the first 6 to 12 hours after stopping alcohol, the person may feel agitated, anxious, shaky, and nauseated. They may also have headaches and vomiting.

In the following 12 to 24 hours, they often experience disorientation, hand tremors, and seizures. The symptoms increase after 48 hours without alcohol.

Symptoms include seizures, insomnia, high blood pressure, and hallucinations. They may also have a high fever with excessive sweating and delirium tremens.

Withdrawal usually stops in 5 days but may continue longer for some people.

The severity of withdrawal depends on the frequency, amount, and length of time of a person’s addiction. Other medical problems can also increase symptoms.

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.

Strategies for Coping During Withdrawal

There are steps you can take to help overcome withdrawal symptoms. Each person is unique and responds differently to withdrawal and coping mechanisms.

Following is a list of strategies to try when undergoing withdrawal:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Ask your practitioner about medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people
  • Avoid being around people who are using your addictive substance
  • Stay away from places or situations that act as triggers for your addiction
  • Talk with your practitioner before you take any other medications
  • Plan a daily schedule that involves engrossing and distracting activities

The most important point is to have a support system when you quit. Don’t try to do it alone.

Support After Quitting Cold Turkey

Johan Hari, a British journalist said, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.”

Addiction often drives a wedge in healthy relationships. This leads to increased isolation, anxiety, and depression.

The addicted individual spends more time with people engaged in the same destructive behavior. Soon, it feels like they have no other options.

Thus, one of the keys to addiction recovery is to reconnect with positive people. Engaging in groups of recovering addicts provides a bond with others facing the same struggle to stay sober.

These relationships provide the following.

Immediate Placement Alcohol or Drug Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Accountability

One of the hardest steps in recovery is not taking that first drink or drug.

Once the individual leaves rehab, it’s important to stay in contact with counselors or peers. This provides support to help you stay sober.

Prevent Loneliness

Many recovering addicts may have lost their former community groups. Family and friends may not want them around anymore.

Sponsors and peers can relieve feelings of loneliness that could lead to a relapse.

Increased Hope

Participating in a rehabilitation program provides education to help you stay sober. They also teach coping mechanisms including how to avoid and cope with triggers.

They also celebrate successes and provide a sense of hope.

Maintain Positivity

Many former addicts have a poor self-image and lack self-confidence. Counselors and sponsors can help change those negative inner monologues.

They help individuals identify and redirect these thought processes.

Learn New Ways to Have Fun

For many addicts, their perception of having fun involved using the addictive substance.

Rehab programs develop new interests and skills that increase joy in people’s lives. When choosing to have fun, the addict must make choices that don’t act as triggers.

Increased Social Confidence

For many people who have experienced addiction, they don’t feel socially competent. In the past, they used the addictive substance as a buffer to manage social anxiety.

It’s important to work on improving social interaction skills without using a “crutch”.

Free Insurance Verification for Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Are You Ready to Fight Your Addiction?

Are you or someone you know struggling with an addiction?

Are there conflicting opinions about whether going cold turkey or gradual withdrawal is better?

It may be time to talk with professionals at an addiction center.

Pathfinders Recovery Center provides effective, well-researched, cutting-edge addiction treatment.

For the past 25 years, we have focused on helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction. We work with any other disorders you may have along with the addiction.

An important part of our care involves help transitioning back into society. There’s no instant cure.

We understand that ongoing support is imperative.

Our center believes that each person adapts, changes, and progresses in different ways and at different times.

You will experience a fun, safe, loving, and peaceful environment. All interactions are strictly confidential.

This atmosphere facilitates healing and develops connections.

Contact us today to ask questions about our program.

Gratitude: How to Remain Grateful

Gratitude:

The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


Someone recently messaged us at Pathfinders Recovery Center and asked for a blog on the topic of gratitude. We thought to ourselves, “that is a great idea,” especially considering gratitude is so essential in everyday life and our in level of happiness. It is so easy after some time sober to ‘let the shine wear off’, but here are some tips and tricks we use to better our attitudes daily at Pathfinders Recovery Center that really work!

For starters to establish a little credibility let us take a quick look at the research. The results of an 8-year study from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley indicated that a regular and continuous gratitude practice results in the following benefits:

  • Progress towards important personal goals
  • Higher alertness and longer attention span
  • Increased determination and Energy levels
  • Greater Sense of feeling connected to others
  • Better all-around health
  • Quality and duration of sleep were increased
  • Higher levels of self-discipline

Here are some methods we use as daily gratitude exercises that have really worked for us.

Get A Journal And Dedicate It To Gratitude

addiction-recovery-tips

Jot down 3 things that you truly feel grateful for. This will not work if you don’t take a minute or two in between each entry to really internalize and feel the gratitude for these things on an emotional level. This will also only work and last if you do the exercise daily (we challenge you to do this for 2 weeks).

Remember Where You Came From

Typically, alcoholics and drug addicts have been to some of the darkest and loneliest places that anyone could imagine. Therefore, when some time in recovery passes and we start getting things back in the monetary and spiritual sense (i.e. car, home, good job, relationship, happiness, confidence which are all good). It is extremely easy to forget where we came from by becoming complacent and comfortable and no longer prioritizing our recovery or connections with other people. This does not serve us well for the long term.

Remaining humble is key, and realizing that you are always 100 percent capable of going back to the dark lonely place that we come from.  Not to live in fear, but to remain humble and level headed is the goal here.

Set Goals And Act On Them

One thing we’ve often noticed in this field is that people are happy typically have a goal, a hobby they LOVE, or something positive to direct their energy towards that no one can take away from them. The opposite appears true in our experience as well.  We must be honest with ourselves and set some small goals, and some big goals as well, and start taking baby steps on a daily basis to chase our dreams. Do not let yourself get too comfortable; this is a natural state that we gravitate towards, and our growth stops when we are too comfortable and complacent. The magic happens outside of our comfort zone and that goes for people of all walks of life and every stage of spiritual and emotional development.

Serve Others And Socialize With Like Minded People

addiction-treatment-helpThe most rewarding times in our lives are when we can truly step out of ourselves. To show up for another person in a capacity that makes their life better in some way is incredible. Drug addicts like us have taken enough from this world during active addiction, and it is a phenomenal feeling to give something back. Also, surround yourself with people that bring positivity and love into your life. Negative influences can deeply affect your level of happiness, so we highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who share your goals and are willing to take actions with you toward generating real happiness; we do not do this thing called recovery alone!

The Heroin Effect Of The Mind & Body

Heroin Use Today

Heroin is an opioid, first synthesized and sold in the late 1800’s. Like other opioids, heroin has a calming affect on the body, used as an antidepressant and a painkiller. Opioids have been used for centuries to provide relief from pain beginning in Egypt before making their way to Europe and India.

Derived from opium poppy sap, opioids can be found in the form of powder, tablets, pills, syrups and capsules. Heroin is typically sold in a powder that is most commonly injected, but can also be snorted smoked or sniffed. It is one of the most addictive substances on the market, which is why it is the most deadly. It has become one of the most widely used drugs amongst users worldwide with statistics rising everyday.

In the United States, heroin addiction has become an epidemic. In our country alone there are currently over one million heroin users across the nation. This startling number is five times what it was in 2000, increasing at a dramatic, unprecedented rate. Over 10,000 individuals die of a heroin overdose every year, which accounts for roughly 60% of all drug related deaths. In the past, most of the country’s heroin use was confined to urban areas. This is no longer the case as heroin addiction has spiked in suburban and rural communities, as well.

It is important for all of use to be educated about heroin addiction and how to deal with the issues that have risen because of our country’s epidemic. We must be armed with the facts about heroin abuse to start combating the problem and making headway towards a solution for the future. This article is intended to inform others on exactly how heroin addiction affects the mind and body of a drug addict. We will be discuss, explain and explore dopamine, opiate receptors, and the symptoms and side effects of heroin addiction.

effects-of-heroin-addiction

Key Concepts in Opioid Addiction

Opioids are a group of drugs that have been and are still used for medical purposes across the globe. Morpheme and codeine are common opiates that are prescribed to alleviate pain after surgery and to combat the side effects of certain illnesses. These are the key concepts that allow heroin alter our physical and mental states:

Dopamine – A neurotransmitter that controls emotions, motivation, movement and pleasure and plays a major role in reward based systems. Certain drugs, like heroin, produce excess amounts of dopamine in the brain. This dramatic increase in a feeling of euphoria is what keeps addicts coming back for more. The brain is rewarded with a spike in dopamine when a an addict is using heroin, causing it to crave the drug to produce another high.

Opioid receptors – A group of receptors in the brain with opioids as ligands, a molecule that binds to another. When opiates attach to the group of receptors, the brain sends signals to block pain and other senses related to emotion. The result is slower breathing and a calming feeling.

Opiates and Opioids – Alkaloid compounds naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Psychoactive compounds are found in opiates that trigger different sensations in the brain and body.

GABA – A Neurotransmitter that plays an important role in anxiety and more. Typically, GABA inhibits the amount of dopamine that is released in the brain. However, the use of opioids prevents GABA from working properly, allowing excess amounts of dopamine to be produced when heroin is in the system.

What Happens To Our Bodies When We Use Heroin?

When heroin is introduced into the bloodstream it travels to our brain and attaches itself to the opiate receptors in the cortex. What happens next? Our bodies produce dopamine in excess and our brain becomes flooded with the neurotransmitter. We experience an intense feeling of euphoria and pleasure, rewarding our brain for using the heroin. Opioid abuse also decreases our level of GABA. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are linked to irregular sleep patterns, depression, excessive stress, and anxiety. Because GABA is involved in the slowing of dopamine release, without this key component dopamine is produced in higher levels.

During my heroin addiction, the drugs made me not have a care in the world. I felt euphoria every time I was using and I couldn’t be brought down from the high that I felt. The grass looked greener and the sky looked bluer. Prolonged heroin use leads us to this state of being.

What are the Signs of a Heroin Addiction?

Sometimes people are unaware of the signs to look for in other people who may be struggling with a heroin addiction. There are many physical and psychological changes that you may notice a person abusing heroin. These include:

  • Flushed skin
  • Nasea
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times and places
  • Lack of interest in activities, like school and work
  • Increased lying and secretiveness
  • Poor hygiene
  • Trying to hide body parts
  • Refusing to eat at all
  • Injection marks on the skin

What Are Some Side Effects Of Heroin?

The are many side effects of heroin use that keep heroin addicts using. When the body is not under the influence of the drug, the side effects worsen on an even greater scale. The body begins to go into withdrawal just hours after last use, keeping addicts coming back for more and more.

Here are some short-term effects of heroin abuse:

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Itchy skin
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cold sweats
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting

What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction?

Over time, continuous heroin abuse results in a decreased number of opioid receptors in the brain, which can lead to more serious issues and even death. After repeated use, our brain becomes custom to being under the influence of heroin and our tolerance decreases. Soon it takes more heroin to feel the same amount of pleasure as before. We feel as though must increase our dosage to experience any form of a high. This is what people often call “chasing the dragon.” It is trying to experience the high that we once had and being unable to achieve it. Your brain’s chemistry quite literally changes and you are unable to achieve the same effects with the same dose. Dr. Steven Dewey, a prominent addictions specialist, calls heroin addiction an organic brain disease. Dr. Dewey explains, “I’ve never seen a drug explode on the scene as much as opiates have.”

Here are some long-term effects of heroin abuse:

  • Hepatitis and HIV caused by use of unhygienic injections (i.e. dirty needles)
  • Pulmonary Edema (fluid in the lungs)
  • Decreased bowel motility
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired immune system
  • Poor dental health
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Open wounds, scabs and scars
  • Coma
  • Dealth

At the end of my heroin addiction in 2010, I could not get high and had to use to not feel extremely sick. This is a very dark place to arrive at, but it is darkest before the dawn!

heroin-addiction-signs

What Keeps Heroin Addicts Using?

A while into abusing opiates, us addicts experience withdrawal when our body is not flooded with dopamine and the chemicals are leaving our bodies. These withdrawal symptoms can be painful and unpleasant which is why so many addicts continue to use. They want to avoid what they know will come when the heroin runs out. As difficult as it may be, a safe, effective, medical detox is necessary to move forward with a healthy, happy and sober life.

Some symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Extreme cravings
  • Depression
  • Body aches
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fevers
  • & More…

I’ve been there and I needed help to get sober. I would not have made it if it wasn’t for the group of people and support system that guided me through my early recovery.

There is a way out. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, you will meet the owners including myself on the first day of arrival, and throughout your stay you will receive the individual time and attention you deserve. Please call or message us if you or a loved one is struggling. Addiction is literally a matter of life and death. We are here 24 hours a day to help.

Addiction and Loneliness

loneliness-and-addictionIf you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction this article will cover a perspective proven through clinical studies that you must not miss. Society in general has led addicts to feel ashamed of the insidious affliction they suffer from. Addicts cause pain and confusion in themselves and anyone that truly deeply cares for them.

What Does Loneliness Look Like?

Loneliness may not be the same for everyone. The Huffington Post explains, “Being lonely is more of a state of mind and that state of loneliness can change on a dime if one so desires.” Loneliness in addiction can look like:

  • Disconnection from others
  • Little to no interest in relationships
  • Feeling depressed and anxious
  • Thinking there is no one to talk to
  • Believing there is no hope
  • Feeling like no one cares

A History Of Failure

A little over a century ago this country made the decision to ban and make illegal nearly all drugs.  They instituted punishments as an incentive to deter people from abusing these substances.  This makes sense on a basic level of thinking, but the issue is that it is clearly not working, as shown in this chart. In my experience When something doesn’t work, you either have to fix it or throw it away.

overdose-death-stats

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Adapting To The Environment

In the early 1920s there were some interesting experiments conducted regarding addiction. They took a rat, placed it in a cage on its own and put two water bottles, one with Cocaine laced in the water and one containing fresh water.  The rat drank the cocaine water until it overdosed and died. Bruce K. Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University conducted some similar experiments but added some new variables. He made a “rat park” with cheese, tubes, toys, and most importantly friends!  In this rat park he put the same two types of water bottles, one with cocaine laced water and one with pure water.  The following observation was astonishing. The overdose rate amongst the rats dropped to 0 percent.  Most rats didn’t even touch the cocaine water, and the ones that did stopped before overdose. Professor Alexander questioned, “What if addiction is not about being hooked on chemicals but it is instead an adaptation to your environment?”

The message to be heard here is that humans want to bond and connect. If our self-esteem is low, or we have been beaten down emotionally, we will naturally feel a desire to bond with something other than people.  This could look like food, gambling, drugs, sex, television, shopping…really anything that makes us feel okay for a short period of time and provides relief. Therefore, it is counterproductive to punish addicts, remove them from society, label them felons, make them unemployable, shun them, etc…it just perpetuates the cycle.

Finding Solutions To The Drug Problem

In 2000, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe with 1 percent of their entire population being hooked on heroin.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs and set up social programs to help drug addicts reintegrate back into society. They took all the money they were spending on housing, feeding, arresting, and policing these addicts and put it into social programs where they would set drug addicts up with jobs and pay half their salary for the year, thus incentivizing companies to hire them and affording the addict the opportunity to reconnect with people and find a sense of purpose. Fifteen years after these programs were set in motion the addiction rate is down 50 percent, overdose is down, HIV rates have gone down drastically in addicts, and in EVERY addiction study shows massive decreases.

Hopefully one day our society can catch on and be this progressive and in the solution.

Helpful Tips to Overcome Loneliness and Addiction

  • Build a social network from the ground up. We addicts are intelligent people; we can see who is healthy and working on themselves and who is not – stick with the winners and you will become one.
  • Find someone that you can trust that understands addiction and talk to this person VERY REGULARLY about your feelings of loneliness, anger or whatever it is that you’re experiencing
  • Volunteer work and support groups such as 12-step fellowships are great places to make new healthy connections this will take time and attendance and may not happen right away so you have to keep going.
  • I want to reiterate the importance of cutting out negative connections – not all connections are good connections.
  • Make friends and family a priority in your life.  When you’re down and out it’s not going to be your online “friends” there that save your skin; the real connections that you make will be there for you when you need them the most.
  • Commit to people and make a plan to show up for them and then follow through with that plan!

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752

How to Travel Safely in Early Recovery

HOW TO TRAVEL SAFELY IN EARLY RECOVERY

traveling-in-recovery

How to Avoid a Relapse for You or a Loved One

Traveling during recovery is scary for many addicts making the changes necessary for a healthier lifestyle. You aren’t used to leaving the safe, comfortable environment you’ve build for yourself during this time. Your routine will have to be temporarily changed and there will likely be new challenges you face that wouldn’t happen at home,

We’ve created a guide for those looking to still enjoy life and all that it has to offer while staying sober. Here are our tips on traveling safely in early recovery:

Use a Sober Companion if Possible

A close friend of mines grandfather just passed away. He is early in recovery and known to relapse every time he visited his hometown on the east coast. I had the honor and privilege to go with him back east and be there for him and his family in a time of grief. We went to various restaurants and AA meetings. It turned out to be a safe, and good (as far as circumstances would allow) time and we both stayed sober. Not everyone will be able to afford this luxury but if at all possible I highly recommend bringing someone healthy with you!

Schedule Accountability Calls

Set up a time each day that you’re going to call a healthy sober individual that you trust. Talk to them openly and honestly about anything going on in your head while on your trip. They will be glad to help you and this will make a HUGE difference for your chances of staying sober!

Attend Meetings Along The Way

Prior to leaving for a trip I highly recommend calling the local inter-groups and 12 step resources for the area you plan to travel to. Get a realistic meeting schedule that you can commit to and stick to it. They will be more than happy to help you (It’s what they do to ensure their own sobriety!)

Keep A List Of Phone Numbers In Your Wallet Or Purse

You never know what could happen while traveling, you could lose your phone, break it, forget it somewhere, it could get stolen or it could be as simple as your battery died and you forgot your charger. Print or handwrite a list of all your sober networks phone numbers, the intergroup for the area you’re in and make sure you keep it somewhere safe like your purse or wallet. I love technology but batteries can be a real issue!

Avoid places where people will be using drugs and drinking if possible

This is so important and gets over looked a lot of the time. There is going to be times where it’s unavoidable, say you’re going to a close friend’s wedding and everyone there loves to get loaded. Well that doesn’t mean you need to be around while anyone’s doing drugs in a hotel room or going the a bar after the big moment. Be mindful and keep yourself out of questionable situations at all cost the best you can! Really check your motives before deciding where and how to spend your time, and once you are there I would highly recommend making the time spent about other people not yourself!

Quick Travel Tips

  • Continue your normal routine as much as possible (journaling, meetings, etc.)
  • Exercise
  • Have a plan for what activities you’ll do throughout the day
  • Be aware of trigger symptoms
  • Prepare to say NO to uncomfortable situations
  • Connect to loved ones back home

pathfinders-recovery-center

If you get into a tough spot, don’t be afraid to walk out of anywhere you’re at and pick up your phone and start calling EVERYONE that you can in your sober network.

What To Look For In A Substance Abuse Treatment Center

I have been in the treatment industry for 5 years now and one thing I have learned is that like most things, when looking into treatment options you are going to find both good and bad. I am writing this post so that you know what to look out for when deciding on treatment and how to find the program that is right for you or your loved one. The following are a list of things to look for and to ask yourself.

What Life Skills do you teach the individual?

This is number one on my list for a reason. Any inpatient treatment center can lock someone in their facility for 30 days and force an addict to abstain for a month. That can help in the beginning, but what about when the doors are unlocked and they have to go out into the real world? There has to be a focus on practical application and how to live a sober life outside of the safe space that inpatient treatment creates. It’s important to look for a program that addresses the following issues – how to get a job, how to be accountable/responsible, how to budget your finances, how to communicate effectively, how to keep yourself and your personal areas clean etc… Things that may seem basic to some, can be a challenge and feel strange to an addict who has neglected these areas of their life. Any treatment program worth considering will understand how crucial this is, and not only teach these life skills, but create opportunities for them to be practiced often.

Avoid unrealistic promises and statistics

pathfinders recovery center, pathfinders arizona, pathfinders recovery, substance abuse treatment, drug abuse treatment, opiate treatment center, drug addiction treatment, alcohol addiction treatment, best rehab, top rehab in the us, best addiction center, get help today, heroin addiction help, meth detox arizona, heroin detox arizona, heroin addiction arizona, heroin addiction new jerseyThe truth is that there is no “one size fits all cure for addiction.” In fact, there is no cure at all. Statistics on success have little to no real value in this industry as far as I can tell. Each individual has the sole responsibility to gain and maintain knowledge about themselves and take the actions required to change their own life. Every person is responsible for their own recovery and happiness. A treatment program is responsible for equipping clients with life skills, providing guidance as a recovering addict carves a new path for themselves, and to hold clients to a higher standard than they have held themselves to in the past. If a program claims, “We have a 90% success rate!” they are selling you, not guiding you. Do your homework and remember that while there are no guarantees, there are endless possibilities for someone who commits to their recovery.

Make sure you understand features and benefits of the program.

  • What do they really offer? (Request a full program overview)
  • Do they teach about nutrition? (Do they talk about more than just mental health? A healthy diet and lifestyle makes a huge difference!)
  • What are their therapy modalities? (What approaches do they use? What is the background and skill set of the Therapists and Staff?)
  • Who are the owners and to what extent do they play a role in this facility? (If you can’t get the owner on the phone, or if you’re told you or your loved one will likely not meet them, I strongly recommend you look for another facility. You want access to the people in charge of treatment.)
  • How long is the program? (It varies, but in my experience it takes a minimum of 90 days to really impact someone’s chances of lasting recovery!)
  • How much does it cost? (Every program is different. You want to choose a State licensed treatment center, but they are not the most low-cost option. However, Health insurance can greatly reduce or eliminate this financial obligation!)
  • What are the refund policies if your loved one leaves early? (Do not put any money on the line without having a clear understanding of a program’s refund policies!)
  • To what extent is the family dynamic addressed? (This is a major component of long-term success after treatment.)
  • To what extent and how is the family involved? (How specifically does the program plan to help heal damage that addiction creates to the family system?)
  • What if my loved one relapses? (If a program tells you they will kick them out right away, or there is no consequence here…do yourself a favor and find another facility. This should be handled on a case-by-case basis as each addict and each situation is unique.)
  • What is your aftercare strategy? (This is crucial to lasting sobriety! What exactly happens after treatment? How long does the program stay involved? Do they help facilitate short and long term goal planning for once treatment is over? What after care options do they offer and how do they go about implementing these?)

Get all this down and look at it. Make sure you’re going into this armed with the facts and with both eyes open.

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752

 

5 Healthy Beliefs to Increase Your Chances of Staying Sober

Getting sober, or breaking any addiction for that matter, is the most challenging thing a person will ever have to do. The overwhelming compulsion to numb out by using substances is among the most powerful thoughts we will ever face. Most addicts, including myself, end up feeling hopeless and trapped with no way out. If you would have asked me seven years ago if my life would have rocketed into the amazing life that it is today, I would have said that it was ‘impossible’ or told you t‘you’re crazy’. Nonetheless, here are some belief systems I adopted early in my own recovery (7 years ago) that helped me to get started on the right foot!

If I keep existing (not living) the way I have been- I will continue to ruin my life.

I have worked with nearly 1,000 individuals on their addiction issues and a common thread is that their life has been getting worse while they act in these addictive behaviors. Some have gone further down thepathfinders recovery center, pathfinders arizona, pathfinders recovery, substance abuse treatment, drug abuse treatment, opiate treatment center, drug addiction treatment, alcohol addiction treatment, best rehab, top rehab in the us, best addiction center, get help today, heroin addiction help, meth detox arizona, heroin detox arizona, heroin addiction arizona, heroin addiction new jersey scale than others; and this means little. You hit your bottom and hopefully you stop digging the hole. Hitting bottom can look different for different people; losing things of monetary value by various means including: getting robbed, misplacing possessions in some altered state of mind, pawning your (and other peoples) possessions and lending things to the wrong person that will never return it (not everyone is kind like you are). Gradually the addict starts losing the things that can’t be replaced (i.e. day after day spent running and time wasted making no progress towards any meaningful goals, losing the respect of their loved ones, respect for themselves and the feeling of uselessness, craving community and happiness.)

I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

Willingness…where does it come from? In my experience, it comes from two places. One scenario is the fear of continuing to live life the way you have been living. The waking up sick, the lying to yourself and your loved ones, the in and out of jail and the all-around miserable existence your life has probably turned into after years of active addiction. When you finally have your “ah-hah!” moment of clarity, like some of us do, you see the error in these ways and are granted what we call “the gift of desperation”. Through this ‘gift’, you become willing to do whatever it takes to change and develop an honest belief that your life must and will continue to get better if you stay steadfast on the road to recovery. As with most things in life, the beginning of recovery is the hardest; I equate it to jumping off of a cliff without knowing that you will have a safe landing. It is the stuff that faith is made of…

I’m willing to receive and follow the directions and suggestions of a mentor.

Once you decide that you really want to change your life (this goes for people with time in sobriety as well), you must be honest with yourself. This stark self-evaluationpathfinders recovery center, pathfinders arizona, pathfinders recovery, substance abuse treatment, drug abuse treatment, opiate treatment center, drug addiction treatment, alcohol addiction treatment, best rehab, top rehab in the us, best addiction center, get help today, heroin addiction help, meth detox arizona, heroin detox arizona, heroin addiction arizona, heroin addiction new jersey is one of the hardest thing to do. Yet there are several simple questions to ask yourself to help gauge where you really are: ‘what I am doing with my life that is working for me? Am I happy? Am I pursuing my dreams? Do I feel excited about what my future holds?’ If you cannot answer yes to these questions, chances are you are off the path of what you’re meant to be doing. I have never, in my entire career, met an addict that can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions. Therefore it stands to reason that the way of the addict doesn’t work. Addiction is the worst trick in the world; it starts off as a fun, beautiful experience and turns into the darkest monster one could imagine. Choosing a mentor is about finding someone who is living the life you want live, someone who not only knows what you want first hand, but someone who ‘has been there and done that’.   A mentor’s practical experience is invaluable, this goes with anything in life- but especially when trying to overcome addiction. When choosing a mentor, the trust factor is critical. You need to be willing to be open and honest with them. You could know everything in the world, but without the action behind the knowledge you’re like a rocket that has failed to launch, a ship without a rudder. Action is the fuel and rudder to achieving your goals.

I CAN do this, recovery is a real possibility for me.

Most addicts believe we will fail and mask this belief with an outward attitude of “I don’t even care” but deep down they know they are wasting their potential to do great things with their lives for themselves, their loved ones and want better. We isolate and are prone to negative judgment from ourselves and the world, so it’s our first inclination to believe society is right that we are trash, burnouts, failures or all around scumbags. Here is the catch though, MANY others have changed and lit the path for me and others suffering. If millions of other people can do it…so can you. There is a plethora of options for those who suffer: support groups, literature, meetings, therapy modalities, and so much more. Please feel free to call me anytime to talk about them (see contact information below).

We have everything to gain by working our WAY OUT of the addicted life and everything to lose by staying stuck in the addiction!

I lost a lot throughout my addiction, monetarily yes, but the things that hurt the most were the things money couldn’t buy.pathfinders recovery center, pathfinders arizona, pathfinders recovery, substance abuse treatment, drug abuse treatment, opiate treatment center, drug addiction treatment, alcohol addiction treatment, best rehab, top rehab in the us, best addiction center, get help today, heroin addiction help, meth detox arizona, heroin detox arizona, heroin addiction arizona, heroin addiction new jersey Some examples of the lengths we are willing to go to during an active addiction is: breaking the law, selling our possessions, stealing from anyone including those who love us. We lose our self-love, self-respect and self-acceptance as well as the respect of our communities and loved ones. Getting and staying sober gives us the opportunity to not only get these things back, but to own them on a much deeper and real level than we have ever experienced before. Today I own a home, have a career, a son, a beautiful partner and own my own small business. The best feeling in the world is helping another addict achieve their goals and looking myself in the eyes and loving that man in the mirror. I used to be a slave to a substance and today, I am freer than I’ve ever been spiritually and mentally…no matter how hopeless you feel these things are possible for any of us! Keep the hope and put one foot in front of the other!

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
pathfindersaz.com
info@pathfindersrec.wpengine.com
(855) 728-4363

*This blog post was authored by Lawrence Briggs, Director of Operations at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Ph: 480.320.0752