Is DMT Addictive?

What Is DMT

When an argument ensues regarding drugs with the potential for addiction, there are staples that surface during any conversation on this topic. Heroin, fentanyl, meth, cocaine – these are all drugs you expect to be associated with the word “addictive.”

However, we’d bet a fair amount that most people wouldn’t include the drug DMT in these conversations. That’s assuming that both parties in the conversation are even aware of DMT’s existence.

In the world of chemical substances and illegal narcotics, DMT is not known for being one of the more widely recognized drugs in the book. Aside from a core base of electronic music and jam band fans chasing the remainder of what was once known as the Grateful Dead, not a lot of people are on a first-name basis with the drug.

Those who have, however, place their experience with DMT on the same level as a face-to-face meeting with God. DMT is rumored to have connections with the third eye and astral plane, having earned the nickname the “spirit molecule” for the psychedelic pilgrimage users take while under the influence of the drug.

What is this unique substance, and why is it so obscure? In this article, you’ll find out about DMT and whether this hallucinogenic is addictive.

What Is DMT?

What is DMT? DMT, or N, N-dimethyltryptamine in medical talk, is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug found naturally in the human body and plants. This psychedelic substance falls under the Schedule 1 category, meaning it’s illegal across the board (possession, selling, manufacturing, etc.). A couple of cities in Oregon and Colorado have decriminalized it, but other than that, the federal government doesn’t look favorably upon any DMT activity.

DMT is the primary ingredient in ayahuasca, created from a combination of the Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria Viridis plants. The second contains MAOI, which stops your body from experiencing the effects of DMT – thus, the need for both when producing the final product.

Chemists can also synthesize DMT in a lab without using plants, creating a product similar to the plant-based variety. In its final state, DMT is a crystalline substance, ranging in various colors.

Traditionally, DMT is smoked, but users may also consume it in tea. Regardless of the means of consumption, DMT produces a highly potent effect, unlike any other substance.

What Effects Does DMT Have?

Effects of DMT

DMT has some insanely strong effects for users who smoke it. It only takes about three seconds to kick in, and while the high only lasts a few short minutes, it can feel like a lifetime to some users. After the user inhales a hit of DMT, they usually hold the smoke in for about five seconds.

Before they can exhale, they’re sent on a trip unlike any other they’ve ever experienced. Users report a wide variety of effects after consuming the drug, including:

  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Auditory and full visual hallucinations
  • Encounters with tiny “elves” (known as DMT elves)
  • The ability to “see” and “feel” other peoples’ energy. Many users report the ability to view people at a cellular or energy level or viewing them only by their body systems (circulatory, etc.)
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

IS DMT Dangerous?

One of the main concerns with DMT is the fact that each experience is incredibly unpredictable. In addition, it’s hazardous for a user to consume the drug on their own.

It’s not uncommon for users to exhale a DMT hit and collapse or lose control of their bodies. Most of the time, the user drops the glass pipe used to smoke the DMT, coming out of their trip without knowing what happened before they entered it.

DMT is dangerous for several reasons. Number one, the risk of engaging in use alone could lead to severe injury or death. It’s not uncommon for DMT users to fall and crack their heads open after losing control of their motor functions.

Second, it’s an extremely intense mental high. DMT is considered one of the most potent hallucinogenic drugs in existence. Substances like DMT can easily cause psychosis or trigger other underlying mental conditions, leading to permanent behavioral or cognitive damage.

Is DMT Addictive?

Is DMT addictive? Upon first hearing this question, most individuals would say no – even people who personally abuse the substance themselves. However, after considering the facts surrounding its abuse, we’re not so sure if we agree.

To answer the question, it helps to look at the definition of addiction. Addiction is the compulsive, chronic, or psychological need for any particular substance despite the awareness that using it could negatively affect at least one area of your life.

Let’s take a look at the elements in play here:

Is DMT dangerous to use?

Is DMT dangerous to use

Yes, it’s widely considered an unsafe drug. Whether the user agrees with this is irrelevant. The drug still poses dangers whether the user agrees with them or not. They’re at least acutely aware of the fact that other people consider the drug dangerous. At the minimum, they’re aware of its illegality, which poses a threat just as significant as the physical and mental dangers.

Are there veteran users of DMT who perpetually consume the drug despite knowing these things?

Yes. It might not be physically addictive, but it is habit-forming, and users may be required to ingest more to achieve the same effects they experienced earlier in their interactions with the drug.

Signs of DMT Addiction

It could be challenging to spot DMT addiction, especially considering most social circles’ minimal knowledge regarding the drug. However, certain behaviors and activities could tip you off to the potential existence of a problem.

  • Individuals spend a significant amount of time-consuming DMT, especially on their own with no supervision.
  • Users may lie about how often they consume DMT
  • Users appear to be disconnected from reality
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Rambling about things other people can’t see or understand

Can You Overdose on DMT?

Technically, no medical state describes someone as “overdosing” on DMT. However, it’s possible to overdo the consumption of DMT grossly.

Ingesting too much at once via smoking or drinking it in a tea can produce hazardous and unwanted effects. Dangerous, extended, and highly intense psychedelic trips are known to send people off into a high they never return from.

Overusing any psychedelic is typically what manifests underlying or new mental health disorders that weren’t noticed before. Usually, these situations pass, but they can stick around for extended periods.

The Risk of Serotonin Syndrome

When users ingest DMT, the brain releases a large burst of serotonin. This is common in most chemical substances and leads to the high’s euphoria or “feel good” portion.

However, releasing too much serotonin in one sitting, over and over again, can lead to a condition known as serotonin syndrome. This is the body reaching the serotonin toxicity level and could technically be considered an overdose of serotonin.

Severe cases lead to seizures, respiratory arrest, and other severe side effects. However, most patients rarely require hospitalization and pass without much incident.

Does DMT Addiction Cause Withdrawals?

DMT addiction doesn’t directly cause withdrawals in terms of what most people consider withdrawal symptoms. However, it can hurt the user who has decided to quit.

Mental issues, vertigo, paranoia, difficulty concentrating, and anxiety are expected during the DMT detox period. Certain medications can help these side effects until the detox period is over.

Can I Get Help for DMT Abuse?

DMT treatment options

Regardless of what anyone says, any substance could warrant the need for rehab at any given time. Who’s to say that one person doesn’t have an issue with a substance that requires professional help?

If you’ve experienced DMT abuse, it’s possible you could require heavy mental health treatment, including dual-diagnosis therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Other effective DMT treatment includes:

  • Art therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Ocean therapy
  • Journaling
  • A variety of holistic solutions

Long-Term Recovery from DMT Is Possible

Long-term recovery from DMT is possible with the right treatment team, armed with the proper knowledge and passion for witnessing you succeed. At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we’ve helped thousands of clients just like you overcome challenges with DMT and other hallucinogenic substances.

We understand how delicate the situation can be when dealing with chemicals that alter the fragile balance of the brain. We’re here to provide support and various therapy options to help align your mind, body, and spirit in the healthiest way possible.

If you have questions, we encourage you to contact a member of our admissions team today. We’re standing by to take your calls!

Staying Sober Through the Holidays

Staying sober through the holidays

Staying Sober Through the Holidays

While many things seem to have an extra touch of magic around the holidays, those in recovery may also find that this is a time when temptations and triggers multiply. If you’ve been working hard to protect your sobriety and reach your recovery goals, this time can be challenging.

Staying sober through the holidays comes down to understanding and protecting yourself through a season when alcohol and emotions flow more readily than they normally do. We’re here to help you recognize the challenge and find ways to overcome it.

Most Common Seasonal Relapse Triggers

Celebrating holidays without drinking and drugs can be hard when you feel like everyone around you is experiencing the season without a care. But what others are doing is not what matters. What matters is that you continue to take care of your body, mind, and soul.

Taking pride in your recovery and accomplishments rather than comparing yourself to others can help you overcome one of the biggest seasonal relapse triggers: exposure. Staying sober through the holidays may mean making some sacrifices.

You can limit your exposure to drugs and alcohol by strategically choosing who you spend your time with and where. If you choose to attend events where it will be easy for you to slip up, we have some suggestions for that, too.

Concrete Planning and Tips for Sober Celebrations

Staying Sober Through the Holidays

There are many strategies for staying sober through holiday stress and other temptations and triggers. The trick is finding the one or ones that work best for you. Here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid known risks to your sobriety by attending activities within your sober social circle.
  • Bring a sober friend to a regular party (traveling with a sober companion will make it easier for you to say no, avoid temptation, arrive early, and leave early.)
  • Know your limits when it comes to situations, locations, or people who trigger you.
  • Keep in regular contact with your sponsor throughout the season.
  • Practice self-care through yoga, meditation, exercise, or massage to treat yourself before and after social gatherings.
  • Attend 12-step or other support group meetings throughout the season (if you’re traveling out of the city or state you live in, you can still attend phone meetings or virtual sessions.)

Another tip that many in recovery have found helpful around the holidays is to carry a drink around every party you attend. When you arrive, fill a cup with water, soda, or another non-alcoholic drink and keep it in your hand for the duration of the event.

This way, you won’t have to refuse drinks all night, and you likely won’t have to explain to anyone why you’re not drinking unless you choose to. Attending holiday events with sober supports is another great way to stay on track.

Staying Sober Through the Holidays by Starting New Traditions

Staying sober through the holidays is easier when you take time to celebrate your most meaningful connections and relationships. One easy and exciting way to do this is by starting new traditions that do not center around drinking or drug use.

If you’ve been in recovery for a while, you may have already started building relationships with sober peers you can spend time with this holiday season. And if you have pre-existing friend groups that you’d like to spend time with, there is nothing wrong with asking them ahead of time to respect your sobriety and leave the substances at home.

Whether you’re planning a gathering with a support group or old friends, this holiday season is a great time to host a festive sober gathering. There are plenty of ways to have fun without being under the influence.

Ideas for New Traditions and Solo Activities

Staying Sober Through the Holidays

Whether you’re eager to be around friends or find positive ways to spend time alone, there are endless options for sober activities. Here are a few activity suggestions:

  • Host a board game night.
  • Invite friends for a craft or paint night.
  • Write in a journal or have a creative writing contest.
  • Take a long walk, go to the gym, or attend a fitness class.
  • Try yoga or meditation.
  • Craft a hand-written letter to a friend.
  • Adopt a pet.

Creative activities reduce stress and depression, two negative emotions that are frequently linked to relapse. Additionally, research shows that people who exercise regularly are less likely to use illicit drugs.

And having pets has been shown to boost our overall moods, reduce feelings of loneliness, and give us a sense of purpose. But your options are not limited to the activities on this list. Try these or find other ways to improve your mental and physical health.

Creativity, togetherness, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can help us through many obstacles during recovery. And managing negative emotions or finding ways to replace them with positive ones can make it easier to maintain your sobriety even when challenges arise.

Acronyms to Remember: Halt and Others

H.A.L.T is an Alcoholics Anonymous acronym for some of the most common relapse triggers. These are not holiday-specific, but that does not mean that they will take the season off. These are additional, year-round triggers you should watch out for:

  • Hungry.
  • Angry.
  • Lonely.
  • Tired.

To combat these emotional relapse triggers, practice anger management techniques and spend time with supportive friends and loved ones. Also, try to get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night and eat a balanced diet.

It may sound like an overly simplified solution, but how much we sleep and what we eat can impact everything from our moods to our immune systems. And while we are talking about the importance of making good choices for ourselves, we want to talk about saying no.

If you are feeling emotionally vulnerable, it is perfectly reasonable to decline attending events or spending time with certain individuals. Protecting yourself and your sobriety is your priority, not saying yes just to please someone else.

This leads us to another important AA acronym, which is C.H.A.N.G.E. In recovery, change stands for “choosing honesty allows new growth every day.” Being honest with and true to yourself is an important part of recovery.

Seeking Inpatient Care During the Holidays

If you have recently relapsed or are worried that you will, another option that you may want to consider is an inpatient rehab program. Our inpatient program offers 24-hour access to the care, support, and guidance of our professional team in a safe and comfortable facility.

In a setting like this, temptations and triggers feel farther away because they are. A change of scenery can work wonders for those who are struggling to maintain their sobriety and lack adequate social support at home.

During an inpatient stay, your days will include healthy meals, creative activities, counseling sessions, support group meetings, and more. We all have to start somewhere. Call us today at 866-263-1820 to see if inpatient care is right for you.

We also offer several other programs for those who prefer to continue living at home and attend weekly sessions and meetings for support. Staying sober through the holidays can be challenging. But it is not a challenge you have to face alone.

5 Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse

Prevent Drug Abuse


Statistics provided by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017 show that approximately 19.7 million Americans aged 12 years and older suffered from a drug addiction disorder.

Other statistics show that of all 21 million people who suffer from substance abuse, only 10% of these individuals actually receive treatment. What is even more shocking is that drug abuse has resulted in over 700,000 deaths from 1999 to 2017.

This makes drug abuse awareness, education, and preventative measures all the more important. Having a family member or a close friend suffering from substance abuse often leaves you with one thought: how to help beat their addiction and reclaim the person you love.

But what if you can find ways to prevent drug abuse before it becomes a problem? Drug abuse prevention starts with looking at what triggers this use. This is a key part of preventing substance abuse: being aware of its causes.


Although many people use drugs and alcohol, not all of them end up becoming addicted to these substances. However, as the statistics above indicate, a good number of substance users end up being emotionally and physically attached to the drugs.

Just like in other diseases, there are several psychological, environmental, and physical risk factors that may cause certain individuals to be more likely to develop addictive habits. In many cases, knowing these indicators can help prevent substance abuse.



Having family members who have struggled with drug abuse in the past can significantly increase a person’s chances of developing these habits themselves. Of course, this is not a destined eventuality.

Knowing all the information on your familial addictions can help you better avoid forming your own addictive behaviors. This can also be helpful should you choose to start your own family, through maintaining a balanced family life and setting good examples for your children.

Community prevention programs can also often lend assistance and resources for reference in this regard. If you are unable or unsure of how to keep yourself and your loved ones away from harmful substances, it can help to seek professional assistance in preventing substance abuse.


Psychological problems such as depression and anxiety can lure one to drugs in the hope of self-medicating the emotional pain these mental conditions can cause. This mostly happens with teens and young adults, whose minds may not know how to process difficult emotions yet.

Mental illness can be a significant risk factor for the later development of a substance use disorder. This is why it is so important for the parents of adolescents struggling with mental health problems to check in with their child about their emotional state.

Knowing how to healthily and effectively talk about difficult subjects can be essential for helping children to be aware of the dangers of substance abuse, and communicate their emotional needs.

Furthermore, adults with mental illness will also be more likely to develop a substance addiction from using drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. In these cases, it is highly recommended to get professional help in learning how to live a well-balanced life.

Common mental conditions found amongst adults struggling with addiction are general anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and various other personality and mood disorders.


Friends and peers have a great impact on one’s life. Sometimes, this impact can have negative consequences. In many cases, people start using illicit drugs or abusing alcohol to better fit into their social circles.

To minimize this risk in children, teaching them the power of independence and ensuring they are aware of the various health risks that come with using drugs can help them more easily make healthy choices.

If they are already using or are ‘at-risk,’ then reaching out to community prevention programs and resource centers that aim to prevent substance abuse can be a great way to provide support to these struggling youths.

Amongst older individuals, their abuse of alcohol or other drugs may also be influenced by environmental or social factors, such as living with an abusive or addicted individual, peer pressure from negative friend groups, or high-stress work, school, or home responsibilities.

Ways to prevent these external influencers from having a major impact on your own life may be to start talking to a counselor, surrounding yourself with good friends, or seeking support from other family members and acquaintances.



If someone goes through a traumatic childhood, they may turn to drugs to try and alleviate the trauma effects. Some common traumatic experiences that can result in mental illness or substance abuse include sexual harassment, neglect, harassment, accidents, and others.

If your child experiences any of these hurtful experiences, it is important to get them professional help. Adverse childhood events or ACEs are increasingly being linked with drug use and mental health disorders that arise later in life.

One of the most important ways to prevent substance abuse is to be a good example of parental support and help your child maintain a well-balanced life through getting them the help they need after a traumatic experience.


Whether involving illegal drugs, prescription medication, alcohol, or any other form of addiction, there are various reasons as to why someone may risk their health by abusing these addictive substances.


Many drugs can produce euphoric highs, making the person taking them feel powerful and confident. These feel-good effects can be brought about by other behaviors, including gambling, which gives you financial gains.

One can also get excited after receiving social media notifications, resulting in smartphone addiction. The most common forms of addiction, however, are those involving addictive substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and various others.



People who suffer from social anxiety, stress, and depression may turn to substance use with the hope of overcoming stress. Facing stressful situations may also prompt people to continue using or relapse even after going through successful treatment.


Some people, especially those who engage in sporting activities, take stimulants to increase their performance. Others, and especially students, take sleep-alleviating drugs to study for more hours.

While these behaviors may give you short-term gains, the long-term side effects are far worse and often can result in permanent damage. Furthermore, for many forms of drug use, no conclusive evidence has been found to confirm that these are, in fact, performance-enhancing.

When there is more than one risk factor involved, the chances of developing a substance use disorder are higher. However, many individuals can still form an addiction, even without any risk factors playing a part.


Just as substance addiction is possible, so is prevention. When it comes to preventing substance abuse, there are various factors that go into making better decisions for the mental and physical health of both yourself and others.

Here are a few effective ways to raise awareness of the abuse potential of drugs, the underlying causes of addiction, and ultimately how to help prevent drug abuse.


Human beings have a habit of not wanting to be left out, especially by their friends and peers. For this reason, you will find that most teens and some adults start abusing drugs as a way to fit in with their friends.

If you find yourself in this situation, try finding the courage to say no. Or, you can find more positive friendships that will not pressure you or push your boundaries. If you find yourself being pressured to try drugs, finding a good excuse to leave the situation can help prevent temptation.



A good number of people who abuse drugs do so as a coping mechanism for the negative things they are facing in life. It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with experiencing negative emotions.

Instead of turning to drugs for solace, find better ways of dealing with them. Some effective coping mechanisms include:

  • Talking to someone
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Writing it down
  • Exercising

Trying out any of these mechanisms takes your mind off drugs. Even practicing mindfulness can help make what seems unbearable a bit easier, even for younger individuals by learning how to ‘observe’ thoughts without acting on them.


Making healthy friendships plays a major role in your overall health and well-being. However, you need to choose your friends wisely as socializing with the wrong crowd can easily lure you into drug use, and you may find yourself abusing drugs in no time.

Make sure you hang out with people who show you love and support and discourage you from attempting unhealthy substance use. Such people also provide a safe environment where there is less likelihood of triggering drug abuse risk factors.


Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse

Imagine spending all day in the office handling difficult clients or workmates, then going home to find family duties and social obligations waiting for you. All these responsibilities expose you to a chronic state of stress, leaving you no time to rest.

In the long run, you might find yourself turning to drugs to help you keep up. But guess what, if you fell ill and took an emergency break today from all those responsibilities, this would not be seen as unacceptable.

So, rather than sacrificing your happiness and risk getting physical and mental illnesses, consider taking time off and taking care of your wellbeing. There are some great activities that you can engage in during this time, including:

  • Getting a massage
  • Reading your favorite book or magazine
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Switching off your smartphone and taking a break from social media

Taking some time off may seem like a hard thing to do, but it goes a long way to preventing drug abuse. In the long run, this can also help reduce the likelihood that you will need to take more time off in the future in order to receive treatment for a substance addiction.


Having prior knowledge of any possible drug abuse risk factors makes it easy for you to overcome them. For instance, if you have a family history of substance abuse, then you can make a promise of abstinence to yourself and plan ahead to avoid following in their footsteps.

Also, if you are friends with someone who abuses drugs, it may be a good idea to help them seek professional addiction treatment services. If this is not an option, making the decision to distance yourself from or end this friendship can keep you from forming these habits, as well.


Although the potential to abuse drugs may be in your genetics, the choice on whether to use them or not is entirely yours. By actualizing the above tips on how to prevent drug abuse, you avoid not only addiction but also other risks that come with substance abuse.

If you have an addiction problem or fear that someone close to you is using in excess, you do not need to suffer in silence. Enrolling in a research-based treatment program can provide assistance in addiction prevention and help you eliminate substance abuse risk factors.


Take the bold step to change your life now by contacting the Pathfinders Recovery Center team. We offer alcohol and drug addiction diagnosis and effective, evidence-based treatment that can help you or your loved ones prevent and overcome addiction.

Just by reaching out to a Pathfinders representative, we can help you avoid the consequences of addiction and learn how to maintain a happier, healthier, and substance-free life, today!

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.

Dealing With Emotions In Early Sobriety

Dealing with emotions in Early Sobriety

Early Recovery Can Be Hard

Early recovery is the beginning stages of the recovery process. Typically lasting at least through the first 90 days, early recovery is an emotional challenge as addicts navigate life without drugs or alcohol. Although everyone’s early recovery experience is unique, for most this readjustment period allows people to restart their lives, building a better, healthier and sober way of living.

Early Recovery Stages

Early recovery can feel like an emotional rollercoaster with all the ups and downs that can arise. This is not surprising for people that have felt numb for so long and can be extremely difficult on a day to day basis. That’s why emotional sobriety is also a key factor in early recovery. What is the definition of emotional sobriety? Emotional sobriety is the ability to cope with the many emotions that come with physical sobriety. It means being able to handle your feelings head on in a positive and productive way. Many addicts have a difficult time acknowledging and understanding how they feel, turning to alcohol and drugs instead. Emotional sobriety helps people stay in recovery no matter the circumstance.

If you or a loved one are experiencing anything like this, don’t worry, it is normal and there is hope. Here are some of the causes and some tips that help us get through these times. We hope you find this as beneficial as we do.

Early Recovery Can Be Hard

Dealing with emotions in Early Sobriety

Some examples of emotions in early recovery that may come up are:

  • shame and guilt over past actions
  • anger over the past, or fear over the future
  • remorse or self-hatred, resentment towards yourself or others

Usually these come up as a result of having to face our past, while being present for our current emotional state after a history of numbing emotion. Physical detox also plays a major role in these emotions early in recovery.

Can quitting alcohol or drugs lead to depression? The withdrawal symptoms that are associated with detox can lead to some depression and anxiety-like symptoms. However, these are temporary and ease as the detox and recovery process continues.

On the flip side, some emotions that can emerge might be over excitement, over confidence, feeling “high on life” and sobriety.

Being Led By Emotions

Being Led By Emotions

This (being led by emotions) is dangerous for recovery for multiple reasons. If you feel poorly all the time and don’t take any action to better your mental and spiritual state, temptation may arise and you may not have a defense against the first dose or drink. On the other hand, over confidence and positive feelings can be a way to avoid reality or facing your past. It can also cause you to be much less motivated to take the actions to maintain your recovery. For instance, it’s extremely easy to avoid meditation, going to meetings, calling a sponsor, prayer, working with a therapist and making a daily honest self-appraisal when everything feels fine and dandy. Relapse can creep up on you. A lot of times people don’t see it coming and relapse during a time when they “feel like everything is going really well”.

The truth is being an addict is hard and it’s difficult to get sober. Many sober men and women I have interviewed say the same thing in regard to this…” getting sober is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and not a day goes by that I regret getting sober” seems to be the general consensus.

Some Tips To Help You Get There:

Find a therapist : This is a big help in continuing to grow and learn how to deal with your emotions.  There are some other great tips about developing a network and a happy lifestyle here in another article we wrote.  This can help in discovering specific emotional difficulties and developing coping mechanisms to deal with situations that can and most likely will arise.

Early Recovery Treatment

Be gentle with yourself: This is so hard for us as addicts, but utterly important.  To this day, I constantly remind myself that I am a work in progress and a human that has flaws and will make mistakes.  My mantra is “Rome was not built in a day” and “I had to crawl before I could walk, and I had to walk before I could run”.  Affirmations can help.  I have found the most comfort in being open with my support network about the things that are going on with me.  They can offer much needed connection and feedback that is unbiased if I have a healthy A-Team.

Practice mindfulness: Another thing that myself and most of the addicted people I have worked with suffer with is honest self-appraisal.  It’s very easy to fall into negative thinking patterns and not even realize it is happening until it is too late.  Taking a daily time to reflect on how things are going will change your life.  Once you identify issues you can begin to work on them and get better.

Be Playful: This suggestion may seem silly, and well…that is because it is.  Go do something fun with people.  Go shoot pool, go bowling, go for a hike, go camping, go swimming, go to an amusement park.  This might seem like a strange thing to be reading in this article and that’s not far from the truth…just try it and you can thank us later.

What are the Stages of Recovery from Addiction?

There are many stages of recovery from addiction and every individual works through them at their own pace. Because everyone’s recovery journey is unique, there is no telling how long it may take a person to work through the many phases. Early recovery involves many of the beginning stages and is the most difficult part of the process for many. Typically the stages include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination. People tend to believe that they do not need to change their lifestyle, then begin to realize a change is necessary, and finally set an intent to find information and resources about recovery. Next, the individual begins to put his or her plans in action and finally maintain this new lifestyle while closing the chapter of addiction in their life.

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
(855) 728-4363

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

Please call anytime and speak with one of our founders directly. We answer the phone ourselves any day and anytime. Thank you for reading and until next time, show yourself some love. You deserve it.

5 Important Things To Do After Addiction Treatment


Many people attend detoxes, short-term and long-term addiction treatment centers. A common issue for clients exiting these facilities is a lack of a sound aftercare plan. This article is meant to address this issue and provide you with some tips on what to do when you have graduated from your treatment center in order to optimize your chances of success in recovery. Before we begin, and before even checking into a treatment center you should discuss in detail their practices regarding aftercare planning. Here is an article on what to look for in a treatment center.

1. Be Open To Feedback

Not sure where to turn after treatment? Gather your resources, seek information and ask those around you. Sometimes what we think want and what is best for us are two very different things. That is why it is so crucial to be open to feedback from professionals and your peers when leaving your treatment center. They only want to see you succeed and become a more healthy and active members of your community..

2. Consider Sober Living After Primary Treatment

Sober living is a great option when leaving an addiction treatment center. Here you gain the freedom of being independent and self-sufficient with just enough structure and people around to help you through the transition of leaving your treatment center. A good sober living home will allow you to work, have a late curfew, and help you with practical life skills such as budgeting finances, relationships, healthy communication, nutrition, health and wellness and more. They will help you stay on track to long term recovery, reducing the risk of a relapse.

3. Develop a Sober Network

addiction-aftercare-planningA good group of peers is so imperative during the recovery process, people that we can trust and stay committed to.  Not to mention people to enjoy life and have sober fun with. We call this having an “A-Team” and it will save your life time and time again. Make sure you choose your A-Team wisely and be sure to stick with the winners. If you don’t know anyone sober outside of treatment, or if you have a fear of meeting new people, don’t worry we were all there once. We recommend looking into your local intergroup and attending, 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy. There you find a bountiful amount of sober people that will be willing to help you anyway that they can. A solid, safe support system can be the difference between sobriety and relapse.

4. Set Goals To Work Towards

A wise man once told me after years of sobriety, “You’ve wanted to die before…you have wanted to get sober before…now that you ARE sober…you have to find a reason to live.” This was a powerful statement for me because he was absolutely right.

I related to this on many levels; in regards to my son, towards helping others, having fun with friends, respecting myself on a daily basis, supporting my family and friends, and many more. It is important to figure out what is important to you and go for it.

Do what you love and love what you do.

5. Remain Humble And Hardworking Even After Treatment

It is all too common and very easy to stop working on ourselves and growing in recovery. After years of suffering, then months of feeling good it is impossible to remember the suffering you endured at all times. This ties into the last entry, as well, but you have to find a life worth being sober for. There is a catch here. Once you get the job, a place, a car, a relationship, and some money in your bank account, it becomes easy to become complacent and lazy. Don’t get caught in this trap, don’t let your sober life get in the way of what sobriety has given you.  

Until next time… stay humble and love yourself, life is what you make it.

Contact Us

Pathfinders Recovery Center
Scottsdale, AZ
(855) 728-4363

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

10 Defeating Attitudes in Early Sobriety

Getting sober is one of, if not the hardest thing that us addicts will ever have to do. The journey to long term recovery is a hard one, often bumpy and filled with difficult personal and emotional challenges. Here are some thoughts and belief systems that commonly come up for us amongst early sobriety to be aware of, watch out for, and discard when they creep in!

1. The Non Sober People Are More Fun

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Addicts in general, myself included spend our time trying to do WHATEVER we can to “feel good” in the moment.  Sometimes life is not going to feel good and that is when we do not know how to handle it. That being said, the guys and gals that are goofing off, not working on themselves and acting out in negative self-defeating behaviors may appear to be having more fun…but talk to them when they relapse, get arrested, or end up back in treatment or at a 12-step meeting getting another new comer chip and ask yourself if that looks like fun? No judgement here, the thing is nothing changes until something changes and you must do things you have never done to get where you have never been period – simple as that.

2. I Am Not Ready To Be Sober Yet

You have hit your bottom once you have quit digging. Some people lose everything, die, get locked up ect…some other people end up realizing it much quicker and don’t lose much but can see where their life is heading and make the effort to change it quicker. So please don’t let your mind give you this excuse, it’s not true!

3. This Won’t Work For Me

Here is the thing…how can we know something that we don’t know…we can’t. Just because my mind is telling me that I know something does not mean it’s true. Find a mentor that has been where you’ve been and be open minded to having a new experience. Do what they say and great things will follow.

4. I’m Unique and Worse Than Everyone

This one always gives me a laugh because I can relate so strongly. Almost every addict I’ve had the pleasure of working with at one point or another experiences this thought. I have found out that I am not special or different and when I look for similarities instead of differences I can relate to some people I would never have expected to be able to.

5. I can do this on my own

In my experience this was not true. However, I will say if you truly believe that you can give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then try a treatment center and entering into a 12-step program.

6. Thinking The Answer is on the Outside, Not on the Inside

I need to quit smoking, get a job, enroll in college…TODAY !”. Relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have to crawl before we can walk. You do not have to conquer all of your problems today. Keep it simple and make small realistic goals for yourself and overtime the upheaval and redemption of your life will be astonishing! Give yourself some time to really work on you in the beginning the rest will follow.

7. I Don’t Deserve A Better Life

This is not true for anyone – ever. Period. There is a little bit of good in the worst of us and a little bit of bad in the best of us. Take it easy on yourself, learn to forgive and love yourself. This is a process that is difficult and takes time but I promise you can do it and we will love you until you love yourself!

8. Nobody Cares About Me Anyway

I felt this way coming into recovery and what I found was the exact opposite. It was amazing how many people put their hand out to help me when all I did was simply become willing and ask for the help.

9. I’ve Tried Everything And Nothing Has Worked

No one has tried everything. There are variables to consider here. For instance, something I may have “tried” could work if I changed my perspective, applied myself and engaged in it with an open mind if I was closed off the first time. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective.

10. I will control my use… it will be different this time!

If you are really an addict or alcoholic your own experience is the best test here.  Did you ever “just do one”?  Were you able to easily stop all substances at once at any time without any difficulty?  If you’re truly an addict or alcoholic all you have to do is be honest with yourself and reflect on your experience to see that this not true.  You’re not alone here we have all fallen victim to this way of thinking and it keeps us in addiction much longer than necessary.

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, and the stigma can contribute to both addiction and loneliness. 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.


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
(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 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


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.

5 Healthy Beliefs to Stay 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
(855) 728-4363

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