Tag Archives: Alcohol Recovery Centers

When Will We Overcome the Stigma of Addiction?

Addiction Treatment Center

Not far from New York City, there’s a little fishing town that oozes quaintness, like so many on our coasts. Historic lighthouse atop a mountain, boats dotting the water below, seagulls diving for fish….you know the ones. Recently a former drug addict (or person in recovery from a substance use disorder) announced his hope to open a short-term treatment center (in a church, no less)  in one of these towns on the East Coast to allow people to detox “before transitioning to their next phase of recovery.”

 

Not surprisingly, some residents are against it, saying that such a facility would “be out of character” for the town and “imperil local residents.”  Not in my back yard—NIMBY—is nothing we haven’t heard before when it comes to facilities related to addiction treatment in suburbs. The irony is that this particular town has had more than its share of addiction problems. You’d think, by the way some of the residents talk, that it’s been immune to drug problems, or shut off from world.

 

Yet several months earlier, on the other side of the country, quite a different event than speaking out against a place for treating substance abuse took place. A former self-described “alcoholic who dabbled in heroin, Ecstacy and cocaine,” was feted with ice cream with a candle in it after announcing in a restaurant that she was 10 years sober. The woman said she had felt a huge amount of shame and a problem with telling her family that she was in recovery. It took her “three years … to speak up among friends and another three for her to do so publicly.”

But that day, she spoke openly about her recovery to the waitress when she turned down wine with dinner, which is the reason the woman brought her the ice cream and candle. And today, as executive director of the Center for the Open Recovery in the Bay Area, she promotes the idea that people in recovery “be open and even celebrated for managing the disease that is plaguing our nation.”

 

Bay Area rehab

 

Addiction Recovery Programs

The writer of the opinion article that this anecdote appeared in points to a recommendation in the 2017 report from Trump’s opioid commission that suggests the government battle stigma…”by partnering with private and nonprofit groups on a national media and educational campaign similar to those launched during the AIDS public health crisis.”

 

She acknowledges that there a risk in speaking up, especially in sensitive occupations like medicine and flying, but the irony is that you can best remove stigma by being open. Yes, AA and other 12-step programs advocate anonymity, she says, but people in these groups can share their stories and still honor the group’s traditions if they just say “I’m in recovery.”

 

The woman refers to the AIDS epidemic and how initially gay men were blamed for “bringing the fatal disease upon themselves,” and compares that to those who see addiction as a moral failing and thus blame people who abuse drugs for their addiction. But the AIDS support community did eventually make a difference and gain support for more program funding through efforts like Act Up marches, the AIDS quilt, and posters.

 

Funding for research and treatment programs is sorely lacking when it comes to addiction, and the country needs to step up, stop the denial, and do more, she says. One way to do that and remove the stigma is to be open and speak up. She quotes Jim Hod, the co-founder and CEO of Facing Addiction, as saying addiction “is an illness that nobody is every going to get, nobody ever has and nobody has ever had.”

 

There are other organizations who join Center for Open Recovery in promoting openness: Faces & Voices of Recovery, Shatterproof, and Facing Addiction.

“Our Voices Have Power” says Faces & Voices. Is there a chance, if enough people speak up, that the stigma can be eradicated?

 

For more information please contact our Bay Area rehab & addiction treatment center by calling (866) 569-9391

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace, and Companies That Hire People in Recovery

Alcohol Addiction

You may have seen news segments about companies that allow—even encourage— employees to drink at work. According to a 2012 article on ABCnews.go.com, ad agencies do, or at least they did at that time. One firm’s employee said that it “incentivizes and enthuses” employees, and another said it helps the creative process. Tech companies were mentioned as allowing drinking, too, especially after a “win.” The article even quoted a study that found a little alcohol enhances the creative process.To allow drinking at work brings up a host of issues. Take employees in recovery, for example. These people are often counseled on how to handle the question “Why don’t you drink?” or the taunt, “C’mon, have just one with us” in social situations, but they shouldn’t be placed in this situation at work. Also, what if someone gets in an accident on the way home? Isn’t the company wholly or partially at fault, like a bar is? (The situation is different for people in dangerous jobs; there are strict workplace rules about drinking on the job.)

In most jobs, it’s not easy trying to perform when suffering from alcohol use disorder (although people who are on the road a lot, or executives who aren’t accountable can get away with it easier, it seems). When employees are found to have a problem, however, it’s often strongly suggested that they attend rehab with the help of an Employee Assistance Program. Drinking while at work is such a touchy subject that the government includes the rules in their handbook for supervisors: Alcoholism in the Workplace: A Handbook for Supervisors. Here is a succinct explanation of guidelines and laws around drinking at work: 

“Federal legal protections for alcoholics in the workplace are designed to encourage them to seek help without jeopardizing their employment. However, those protections do not extend to alcoholic behavior in the workplace.

Two federal laws impact employment decisions related to alcohol use, abuse and alcoholism. The first, the Americans With Disabilities Act, requires employers to grant accommodation to disabled employees; it defines disabilities as conditions or disorders that substantially limit a major life activity. If your employee can prove that alcoholism prevents him or her from performing the job properly, you may be required to grant an accommodation for the purpose of rehabilitation. The second law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, prohibits employers from discharging employees who take extended absences to treat their alcoholism.

Accommodating alcoholic employees means giving them time to seek treatment for their condition. It does not mean reducing an alcoholic’s workload or otherwise changing their terms and conditions of employment. It also does not mean forgiving misconduct induced by alcohol or alcoholism. If, after receiving rehabilitation treatment, the employee continues to underperform, the law’s protections no longer apply. Likewise, the recidivist alcoholic is not entitled to FMLA-protected leave for subsequent breaches. The employer may reasonably expect that after a leave of absence for rehabilitation, more will not be required. In addition, no accommodation is required for the employee who denies having a problem.”

Drug and alcohol rehab programs

Drug Addiction

According to a headline in the Washington Post, “Drugs in the workplace are at their highest level in a decade.” Quest Diagnostics reports that opioids in the bloodstream and urine are down, but the incidence of other drugs is up. (And that’s only related to people who went for testing!) Cocaine and methamphetamine use is up in certain states, as well as marijuana in those states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Unfortunately, in three states, pot use is up in safety-sensitive jobs, which include truck driving, rail, and those in nuclear power plants, to name three industries. Federal contractors and recipients of federal grants, and “safety- and security sensitive industries” are legally required to have a drug-free workplace policy as under The Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988, but other industries are not. To protect workers’ rights, four acts lay out the limits on steps an employer can take in investigating and setting consequences for employee drug use. SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) advises companies to seek legal representation when deciding their policy on drug testing to avoid being sued for invasion of privacy, for example.

Check Out These Companies 

Here are four companies that hire people in recovery (which often means they’ve served time, too): Venturetech Drilling Technologies in West Knoxville, Texas, Envirosafe Stripping Inc. in Carnegie, PA., Creative Matters in Los Angeles, and Dave’s Killer Bread in Milwaukie, Ore. There are also federal and state programs that help formerly incarcerated people get jobs. For example, the U.S. Forest Service has a program that links non-profit organizations that employ these people with companies that need reclaimed lumber. For more information on our Drug and Alcohol rehab programs please contact us at (866) 569-9391. 

 

Men, Alcohol and Abuse

Often, in articles and posts about men and alcohol, you see numbers, such as how many drinks per day are “safe” for a man (which varies according to what source you use.) The amount for a woman is usually listed as well. Or, you might find information on the effect of alcohol on a man’s fertility, for example. But this post is comes after the start of the #MeToo movement, so it’s about the violence that occurs when certain men drink, especially those in positions of power. It’s a topic that has been in the news lately. It’s also relevant in a blog on addiction since high-level executives are occasionally in the news for alcohol use disorder.

Note: It’s well-established that women, as well, can be violent when they drink. This is not to excuse them or say that only men are violent when they drink. And couples can become violent with each other when they drink to excess. But again, this post is informed by the #MeToo movement.

Powerful Men Drinking

One noted journalist who recently wrote an article called “First the Drinks, Then the Hitting,” in the hard copy of The New York Times (online copy may have a different headline), began by mentioning “educated, affluent” women and “a certain cultural panic” that exists around the amount of their drinking (and is often written or talked about in the media). “There is no corollary for men from a similar demographic position,” she says. Indeed, Eric Schneiderman’s “fall from grace” – he was the New York attorney general before he resigned– brought to the forefront the problem of affluent and powerful men drinking and becoming physically abusive toward several women. One of his accusers noted that he was a heavy drinker—having two bottles of wine and then taking a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom and getting “plastered,” which happened five nights a week according to her. (Why the girlfriends stayed with him is head-scratching, but that’s a subject for another time.)

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Alcohol Intervention

There’s an unspoken supposition in magazines and other media today, according to the article. Women are depicted as worried about going too far when they drink, as a result of the pressures of work and parenthood, while men’s magazines “still pay reverence to the cocktail culture [for men].” The underlying assumption is that men who have succeeded know something about self-regulation, but apparently many don’t. Schneiderman is not the only powerful man to be accused of physically abusing girlfriends or wives; there’s also former White House aide Rob Porter and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Abhishek Gattani, but the others weren’t described as being inebriated when the abuse allegedly happened.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Schneiderman has tried to say that he was engaged in consensual relationships involving role playing or rough sex. But in an article on bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, practitioners say that his sexual encounters and those of former Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri “bear little resemblance to consensual B.D.S.M. encounters.” Not only that, B.D.S.M practitioners warn against “partaking in violent sexual activity while drinking alcohol or taking drugs.” You can cause serious damage if you don’t have your faculties about you. The World Health Organization calls this type of abuse Intimate Partner Violence and says that alcohol consumption, especially at harmful and hazardous levels, is a major contributor. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, “Individuals with alcohol problems attack more frequently, are more likely to inflict serious injury, are more likely to commit sexual assaults, and are more likely to be violent outside of the home than are batterers without a substance abuse history.” More people need to get the message and know that they’ll be prosecuted when victims comes forward. For more information on our drug and alcohol rehab programs please call (866) 569-9391.

Nutrition and Recovery

When people suffering from addiction enter treatment and stop using, they often develop a more intense interest in food – often sugary, high-carb, or high-fat choices like doughnuts or mac and cheese. Usually, before they know it, they’re packing on the pounds. Those who have abused alcohol and other drugs likely had a poor relationship with food at the same time, eating whatever pleased them, and some were malnourished. Addiction experts know that what these people are really doing is substituting one drug for another. Both substances make the brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, which explains why food takes on added importance for them. Many treatment centers promote the idea of healthy eating, and treating people with substance use disorders holistically, but it’s an integral part of the program at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Angela Goncalves, Director of Operations at Summit, even brought a cookbook targeted to those in recovery from her former center, Malibu Beach Recovery Center, to Summit. “I was the Director of Operations at [the former] Malibu Beach Recovery Center from September 2007 to September 2014,” she says. “I saw how effective our diet was for clients struggling to recover from drugs and alcohol. The food was not only delicious, but it boosted dopamine levels.  When I became Director of Operations at Summit Estate Recovery Center in the Silicon Valley, I immediately distributed copies of our cookbook, then known as Dopamine for Dinner, to the chef and staff. It’s the basis of the wonderful meals we serve, and our clients look and feel super healthy.” The basis of the cookbook is the approach to food taken by a French executive in the pharmaceutical industry who developed a diet for himself based on low-glycemic foods. It’s noteworthy that even the chefs who cook the recipes — and contributed to the book — noticed how much healthier the clients look since consuming the foods in the book. There’s this from the Introduction: “….[A]ddicts of all sorts (illicit drugs, prescription drugs and/or alcohol), can recover more easily by following a version of [this diet]. The goal was not weight loss, but regaining emotional balance and health, restoring chronically low dopamine levels and expediting brain repair. The diet also makes recovery more probable for diabetics.” and “Although we call this a ‘diet,’ his is not a diet in the traditional sense. There are no calories to count, and we don’t ask that our clients memorize the values of the Glycemic Index. There are no long lists of forbidden ingredients. Rather the recipes are based on an abundance of allowable products that will enrich and enhance culinary possibilities, and may introduce ingredients that had not been a habitual staple in their nutritional habits.” The cookbook is also for alumni of the two programs (MBRC and Summit), and the “hundreds of thousands of Americans just like them – alcoholics and addicts seeking to achieve long-term recovery through a lifestyle change.” Note: The Barnes and Noble version of Dopamine for Dinner (now called the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook by Joan Borsten) can be purchased from Amazon at this link: https://tinyurl.com/ydafq33h

 

 

How do Alcohol Recovery Centers Help People With Their Addiction?

Many people will write about addiction and alcohol recovery centers from the perspective of those who were/are addicted. No man is an island though, and the people who are friends and family of an addicted person are also affected by his or her situation. Whether a sibling, parent or close friend, the pain of the abuser will affect you too, no one enjoys seeing someone they love self-implode.

Level of Risk

Drug dependency is always dangerous, but some drugs are much more dangerous than others (think Heroin, Methamphetamine etc.). You need to gauge the risks to the individual before deciding on the best approach to helping them.

This will often start the process of ‘’intervention’’; this is where those that care for the abuser take measures to try to save the life of the abuser. This will often entail a prolonged stay at a psychological medical Centre as well as a drug rehab program.

Out of your hands

You cannot fix someone. The only person who can stop the drug abuser is the addict themselves. You need to realize this before trying to help, if someone does not want to change or is unable to, no amount of help and sacrifice will help. In some cases, and this is painful to hear, you may need to cut your losses so to speak.

When they do want help…

The key thing one can do is just be there for the person you care. Understand that the recovering addict is going to have good and bad days, some days will be filled with cravings or other signs of withdrawal, other days it will feel like having the old person back. Being patient is vital, setting clear boundaries and not getting angry is as important as the time you give to the loved one.

How do Alcohol Recovery Centers Help People With Their Addiction

You can’t do it alone

Sometimes the scale of the problem will be too great, in most cases, it is desirable that a group of people who care for the abuse intervene, this enables a shared responsibility as well as helping manage more practical aspects such as allocating time slots to help take care of the abuser through recovery.

The more people that help, the better, it shows the addict that they still have a place in the world and people who care for them.

The Long and Winding Road

Most of us know abusers in our life, whether it is known to us or not is a different matter entirely. Communication and trust are key, even in circumstances where the abuser may have hurt us when one decides to help you must commit to it.

Circumstance change when the person does not wish to be helped. But for those addicts that wish to change help should be provided by a loving support network.

This can be a lifelong commitment. It is up to you as an individual to decide if it is worth the sacrifice. Summit Estate can help all the way through the rehab process. Call (866) 569-9391 for more information about our programs and how we can help you.

 

Be Committed To A Sober Life with Medical Detox

Unless you are fully committed to recovery, the chances are high that you will relapse. You have to give it everything you can or it’s just a matter of time before you’re back to where you were before.  You have to reach that point where you say “I will do whatever it takes to stay sober”. It is important for you to be committed to a sober life with Medical Detox.

Commitment

You have to realize that recovery is a process that’s never over.That is why it requires determination and commitment. Staying in the present and being fully committed one day at a time, instead of living in the past or the future, is a key to making it through your medical detox.

A roadmap to recovery

You need to have a treatment plan in place or it’s much easier to get lost along the way. You need to decide on what path you will take – rehab, twelve-step meetings, outpatient therapy. Talking to your family and friends about these plans is a good idea as they can help you to stick to them.

sober life with medical detox

A support system

A strong support system can make a real difference. If your family is not supportive, look for support from fellow group members, counselors, and doctors. It’s very hard to go through the recovery process on your own without someone you can lean on when you’re tempted to use again and who can talk you through the temptations and reinforce your commitment.

Dealing with high-risk situations

High-risk situations include being with people who still use substances and going to places where you used to consume them. Putting yourself in these situations will very likely lead to relapse. Stay away altogether and if you find yourself in such situations inadvertently, leave as soon as possible. Changing who you socialize with and removing negative influences is one of the most critical components of remaining sober.

Dealing with cravings

It’s not uncommon to experience cravings when you’re in medical detox. What you need to do is plan ahead of time how you’re going to tackle them. They often don’t last that long. In time, you learn coping mechanisms and the cravings become less and less.

Building up your self-confidence

In order to stay sober, you need to develop some self-love and find a sense of purpose. Recovery involves more than just staying away from drugs or alcohol. It’s also about gaining an insight into the behaviors and patterns that lead to substance abuse and developing new ones. The process of staying sober requires the same commitment as getting sober. You can never relax your commitment to wellness.

Summit Estate can help you go through your rehab journey and make you defeat your addiction for good. Give us a call at (866) 569-9391 and clarify all your doubts and concerns today.

 

What to Expect from Alcohol Recovery Centers Today

Alcohol addiction is a far-reaching disease and does not discriminate. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, what race or religion you are, or where you live; once alcohol addiction takes hold of you, it can completely disrupt your life in every way and lead you spiraling down. Overcoming an addiction like this is far from an easy thing to do and takes work and dedication on your part. Luckily, there are quality facilities available today that can provide you with the level of help you need. The alcohol recovery centers available offer the system you need to be part of to recover successfully.

Centers are There for Support

Going through addiction alone and fighting it can be a difficult uphill battle that few can win. That is why rehab facilities and recovery centers are so important today. Centers can provide the support system that clients need at this most difficult time in life. A good center gives you the medical care you need to detox and overcome the physical addiction your body is dealing with while also providing you with the emotional and psychological support that you need most right now to better understand what you are going through and how you can gain the strength and courage you need to fight and move forward.

recovery centers in Northern California

Centers with the Best Approaches

Many of the alcohol recovery centers of the past all took the same approach to helping people with alcohol addiction, focusing on the basic programs and assuming they would work well for everyone. Methodologies, techniques, and tools have grown and changed over the years and provide us with better, more patient-focused programs that meet the needs of the individual. This approach gives centers the flexibility to try different therapies and approaches to touch clients in the areas of their lives that they need help the most.

One of the Top Centers Available

If you are looking at alcohol recovery centers in Northern California for yourself or for a loved one so that you can get the help you need, please consider contacting us here at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Our facility is among the finest you will find in the country and offers the facility, professionals, and treatment methods that encourage and facilitate recovery. You can learn more about us by reading our website, and you can contact us at 866-569-9391 if you have questions or need advice about getting help for addiction.

Defining Recovery: Reconciling Mental Illness and Positive Mental Health

mental health A curious and dynamic dance revolves around the definition of recovery from mental health disorders in the 21st century. On the one hand, consumers of mental health services tend to define recovery as the presence of positive behaviors and mental states – known as the salutogenic model – while members of the scientific and medical communities tend to define recovery as the absence of disease and negative mental states – known as the pathogenic model. In order to reconcile and synthesize these two disparate points of view into a workable, useful, and inclusive definition, a group of researchers, spearheaded by Helene Provencher of Laval University (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada) and Corey L.M. Keyes of Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) propose a comprehensive definition of recovery under the label complete mental health. First explored in the 2005 article “Mental illness and/or mental health? Investigating Axioms of the Complete State Model of Health” and expanded over the course of the past decade in close to a dozen related, follow-up studies, the idea of complete mental health – and its relationship to recovery from mental health disorders – is novel in that it recognizes the following:

  1. The absence of the symptoms mental illness does not automatically mean positive mental health.
  2. Positive mental health does not require the total absence of the symptoms of mental illness.

Instead of viewing positive mental health and mental illness as mutually exclusive states of being, Provencher and Keyes consider them as “two separate continua rather than the opposite ends of a separate continuum.” It’s important to note that while these initial studies focus on mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and mood disorders, the value of the complete mental health model applies with equal validity to recovery from addiction and substance abuse disorders. Professor James Jackson (University of Michigan) elucidates the transfer of this Provencher/Keyes model to include recovery from addiction and substance abuse disorders in the 2016 publication Measuring Recovery from Substance Use or Mental Disorders: “…one commonality between substance abuse and mental disorders…is that people with substance abuse problems often have cravings that could be described as conceptually similar to symptoms. In both cases, such a craving may be fine as long as the person is not acting on it.” Both professional substance abuse counselors and individuals in active recovery from substance abuse disorders know cravings are not the only persistent symptom-like phenomenon challenging successful recovery. Counter-productive psychological coping mechanisms such as denial, anger, and rationalizing not only contribute to continued substance abuse prior to recovery, but also follow the recovering addict throughout life and often lead to relapse. Recovery does not mean the total absence of these life-interrupting coping mechanisms; rather, recovery means having the awareness, self-efficacy, and practical tools to identify and counter these mechanisms as they recur over time.

Substance Abuse Recovery: Process and Outcome

Recovery from addiction and substance abuse disorders is complex. It’s tempting to measure recovery with a single, yes/no criterion wherein abstinence signifies recovery and indulgence in intoxicants signifies non-recovery or abuse. However, substance abuse counselors and individuals in recovery alike identify this black-and-white approach as a reductive oversimplification that ignores the subtleties and nuanced challenges involved in creating a life free of substance abuse. Relapse is a reality, yet relapse does not always mean a total collapse of the recovery effort. Nor does it mean a return to square one. The functional truth is that recovery is a non-linear process filled with advances, setbacks, successes, and failures. It includes in-between periods that are neither highs nor lows. The lifelong process of recovery happens on a dynamic continuum, and the precise location of an individual in recovery on that continuum rarely remains fixed. A recovering individual responds to the stresses and gifts of daily life with relative degrees of efficiency. Hard days are as much a part of recovery of good days. Navigating the extremes while maintaining a commitment to the process is the hallmark of a sustainable approach, as opposed to a static mindset that relegates an individual to a restrictive binary with sobriety on one side and substance abuse on the other.

An Multi-Faceted, Inclusive Model of Recovery

The complete mental health model advocated by Provencher and Keyes allows for the non-linear nature of recovery from addiction and substance abuse, and accommodates the formation of an analog for the two features of complete mental health previously described:

  1. Abstinence alone does not automatically mean complete recovery.
  2. Recovery does not require the absence of addiction-related symptoms.

Abstinence is, of course, the ultimate measure of sobriety, yet for individuals struggling with addiction, recovery means more than abstinence. It means the restoration – or in some instances, the discovery – of a way of life that supports happiness, health, and well-being. The model designed by Provencher and Keyes integrates a pre-existing model of mental illness described by Liberman and Koplewicz with their own model of positive mental health. The combination of these two models results in a multi-dimensional rubric containing six states of relative and interconnected positive mental health and disruptive mental illness, ranging from an initial state of being non-recovered from mental illness and languishing to a final state of being recovered from mental illness and flourishing:

  1. Non-recovered and languishing. This phase is characterized by severe impairments in mental health and extreme symptoms of mental illness.
  2. Non-recovered and moderately mentally healthy. This phase is characterized by fewer symptoms of mental illness combined with moderate levels of positive mental health.
  3. Non-recovered from mental illness and flourishing. This phase is characterized by the significantly reduced presence of the symptoms of mental illness, combined with concrete and identifiable attributes associated with positive mental health and flourishing.
  4. Recovered from mental illness and languishing. This phase is characterized by the absence of the symptoms of mental illness, combined with an absence of the attributes of positive mental health.
  5. Recovered from mental illness and moderately mentally healthy. This phase is characterized by the absence of the symptoms of mental illness, combined with moderate levels of positive mental health.
  6. Recovered from mental illness and flourishing. This phase is characterized by the absence of the symptoms of mental illness, combined with high levels of positive mental health.

[For the purposes of this article, the states are described here in sequence, whereas the rubric created by Provencher and Keyes situates them on an x/y axis, with the x axis representing the mental health continuum, and the y axis representing the mental illness continuum] Substance abuse therapists and individuals struggling with substance abuse will immediately recognize the value of this expanded view of recovery. It asks both to understand that the process of recovery – the goal of which is complete mental health – is neither wholly salutogenic nor wholly pathogenic, but a combination of the two. It also asks those therapists and individuals to understand that recovery is neither solely a process nor solely an outcome, but again, a combination of the two. It gives therapists the tools to identify a client who’s abstinent, yet displaying mental health behaviors that may lead to relapse, and provides the vocabulary to discuss what they see with their client. It gives individuals in recovery the means to understand that it’s possible to be sober, abstinent, and diligently following a recovery program, yet still experience negative emotions and signs of poor mental health.

The Intersection of Theory and Practice

The Provencher/Keyes model gives treatment professionals the groundwork for situating traditional and complementary therapeutic modes side-by-side in pursuit of a greater whole: complete mental health. Awareness and application of the model particularly benefits individuals with co-occurring disorders, in that an array of therapies can be deployed – with the six states of recovery as a guide – to address both addiction and mental health disorders simultaneously. For many therapists and individuals in recovery, the Provencher/Keyes model verifies what they know already: recovery can be a messy process, filled with peaks and valleys. What works for one individual might not work for another, and what works one day for one individual might not work the next day for the same individual. The ability to bolster a recovery plan in one area, ease off in another, and stay steady in still another is something experienced practitioners and those in recovery have cultivated for decades. Until recently, however, these types of tweaks, and the insights that instigate them, have been a matter of instinct and the result of experiential knowledge – not the result of standard prescriptive practice. The introduction and adoption of a model that integrates the salutogenic and pathogenic theories of recovery into an adaptive, holistic, inclusive, and seamless whole unites theory and practice in a way that gives individuals in recovery a greater chance of therapeutic success, and ultimately, more options on the path to personal well-being and total mental health.

Getting and Staying Sober in College

sober living dorms

The Rise of Collegiate Recovery Programs

There is no easy time in life to start your recovery journey. When you’re struggling with any sort of Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD), whether the substance is alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication, you have a tough, life-changing, and possibly life-saving decision to make. Once the decision is made and you commit to taking positive action to address your SUD, you realize getting sober is only the first step on a long road. You quickly understand that in the grand scheme of things, the detoxification period – a.k.a. quitting your substance of choice and surviving withdrawal – is relatively short, whereas recovery is forever. There’s no real debate about this. If you don’t come to this conclusion on your own, it’s one of the first things you hear from addiction counselors, therapists, and people in support groups: recovery is a lifelong process.

Any new beginning is delicate, and can set the tone for whatever phase of life you’re entering. That’s why getting and staying sober is especially challenging if you’re a college student. The deck is stacked against you both socially and culturally. The college years are widely accepted as the period of life when you can experiment with alcohol and drugs without experiencing major consequences. It’s almost expected that a typical college student, living away from home for the first time, with easy access to alcohol and drugs – possibly for the first time – will dabble with drinking and smoking marijuana. College students who get caught drinking under age or with small amounts of marijuana are often let off with little more than a slap on the wrist, often delivered with a knowing smile, a friendly wink, and an understanding nod. Even extreme behavior, such as binge drinking and forays into harder drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and hallucinogens, tends to be overlooked or readily forgiven.

For many, this de facto acceptance does not present much of a problem. You go to college, you get a little wild, then something happens to pull you back to earth. You have some sort of near-miss – maybe a scrape with the law, maybe an automobile accident, or maybe a sub-par academic semester – and you see it as a wake-up call. You get your act together, cut back on the risky behavior, and get on with your life.

For others – meaning anyone prone to substance addiction and abuse – the permissive status quo is a recipe for disaster, particularly where alcohol is concerned. The NIAA College Fact Sheet reveals that the drinking habits of college students make them particularly vulnerable to developing an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The facts speak for themselves:

  • Close to 67% of college students who reported drinking at least once a month also engage in binge drinking
  • Binge drinkers who consume alcohol at least three times a week are six times more likely to perform poorly on a test due to drinking, and five times more likely to miss a class due to drinking
  • Roughly 25% of college students report alcohol negatively impacts their academic performance
  • About 20% of college students meet the established criteria for an AUD.

In an environment where the majority of your peers drink regularly and the overwhelming preponderance of social activities revolve around alcohol, getting sober is tough- but staying sober is even tougher. The prospect is so daunting you might feel like you’re in a no-win situation, and you think your only options are to drop out or suffer through four years of self-destructive behavior. If we’ve just described you, then don’t despair. There’s real help out there for you. It’s closer than you think, and it’s gaining momentum with each passing semester: The Collegiate Recovery Movement.

Collegiate Recovery Programs and Collegiate Recovery Communities

What began as a small program at Brown University forty years ago is now a bona fide, evidence-based, time-tested approach to achieving and maintaining sobriety for college students. Today, over 150 institutes of higher learning across the country provide alcohol and substance abuse recovery services for students. These programs revolve around four core elements:

  1. Academic Support. Tutors and guidance counselors assist with the transition from treatment programs back to the rigors of daily class work and studying.
  2. Recovery Support. Collegiate programs help connect students with on-campus support groups such as AA, NA, or SMART Recovery, when available, or local support groups if none exist on campus.
  3. Crisis Management. Many programs connect students with mental and behavioral health support through on-campus clinics or hospitals. The presence of qualified health professionals is particularly helpful for students with co-occurring disorders, those who overdose, or those who haven’t yet entered recovery seeking information or advice on the best steps to take.
  4. Relapse Prevention. Successful collegiate recovery programs provide resources for sober social activities, offer workshops on how to manage peer pressure, and advice on navigating tricky social situations.

These four components are critical in helping college students get and stay sober, but there’s another piece of the puzzle that can make all the difference: your living environment. If you’re doing everything right, recovery-wise, i.e. abstaining from alcohol or drugs, going to support group meetings, seeing a therapist or counselor, and avoiding alcohol-centric social functions, your recovery may be more difficult if you live in a college dorm. When you’re surrounded by peers actively engaged in the party-hangover-class-party-hangover-class cycle, you probably feel like you’re swimming upstream, because you are.

Thankfully, there’s an additional option to explore: recovery housing.

Sober Dorms: The Missing Link in Collegiate Recovery

A study on social support for recovering alcoholics published in 2009 reveals a key data point:

“Those who added at least one non-drinking member to their social network showed twenty-seven percent increase at twelve months post-treatment in the likelihood of treatment success, and sustaining abstinence.”

This insight is critical: it proves that a sober social network can drastically increase your chances of maintaining sobriety. If adding just one non-drinking member to your social circle can increase your chances of staying sober by twenty-seven percent, then imagine what it would be like to live in a dorm surrounded by dozens of sober peers.

It could be a game-changer.

The best example of a sober dorm is the Recovery House at Rutgers University, located on their main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Established in 1988, Recovery House was the first recovery residence hall in the country, and it’s set the standard for sober dorms ever since.

Here’s how it works:

  • Students must be sober for at least 90 days to be eligible
  • Students must attend at least two support group meetings per week
  • Students must attend a monthly house meeting
  • Students have access to a dedicated substance abuse counselor employed by the university
  • Students have access to 140 sober social activities over the course of the school year, organized by the house staff

And it does work. The statistics on residents of Recovery House are compelling:

  • The average GPA is a solid 3.23
  • Students living in the house for more than one semester have an average GPA of 3.4
  • Students living in the house for more than ten semesters have an average abstinence rate of 95%
  • Each semester, 98% of house residents either return or graduate – 13% higher than the university average
  • Over its thirty years, roughly 600 students have passed through the house

College Students: Find Your Community, Find Your Recovery Peers, Find Your House 

If you’re a college student working a sobriety program but feel your recovery is in jeopardy because you’re surrounded by non-stop alcohol, drugs, and partying, please don’t give up. You may be right: your recovery may be threatened by your current environment, and your best option may be to look for a different place to finish school. As mentioned above, over 150 colleges and universities across the country offer recovery services for students, and of those, 50 offer sober residence facilities. You might not find your recovery community right away, and it might be necessary to take a semester off while you get everything in place. While it might be hard to leave your school and your friends, consider this: making the move sooner rather than later might just prevent you from relapse. Which, if you’ve been listening to your counselors and recovery partners, might just save your life – not to mention graduate with that degree you’ve worked so hard to earn.

Drug Overdose Kills More Americans Than Car Accidents

Drug and opioid addiction recovery at Summit Estate Recovery CenterMore than 40,000 Americans die each year from drug overdoses and more than half of those overdose deaths involve opioids. Drug overdoses account for more deaths in the US than car accidents or gun violence. In the most recent data available, 52,404 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2015 as compared to 35,092 people died (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) from motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. in the same period.

With all these deaths, what are opioids specifically and how to they work?

Opioids are compounds that bind to receptors in a person’s brain, which blocks pain and slows breathing. Opioid causes the brain to release the natural chemical dopamine and people typically feel a calm “happy” high. Addiction causes people to take opioids regularly, and as a result, they develop a tolerance to the drugs. This forces people to take more and more of the drugs to achieve the same effect. Therefore, if enough of the drug is taken it causes a person to stop breathing altogether, making overdoses often fatal. Some opioids – heroin – are illegal. While others, hydrocodone or oxycodone are prescribed for pain relief – the two most common brand names are Vicodin and OxyContin. Prescriptions for the drugs have skyrocketed over the years, from 76 million in 1991 to over 260 million last year. To compound the issue the influx of fentanyl, a painkiller prescribed for acute pain that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, is leading to higher rates of overdose nationwide. Opioid usage is high across the United States with many of the states hit hardest by the epidemic — West Virginia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Ohio. The epidemic affects both rural and urban areas equally.

Where Does Someone Get Their Drugs from?

Most often is it is believed that overprescribing is fueling the epidemic. A person gets injured and is prescribed painkillers, which quietly leads to addiction. However, according to federal data, most people start out by taking the painkillers of a friend or family member and become addicted quickly. Experimentation typically starts during adolescence or young adulthood, but opioid addiction affects people of all ages equally and leads to devastating consequences. Those attempting to recovery by practicing abstinence alone when it comes to opioid addiction fail at a high rate, with roughly 90 percent of people relapsing. That is why at Summit Estate, we understand that every addiction is unique. We are committed to helping our clients have a brighter future free from addiction. So, we have developed a personalized addiction treatment program to address our clients’ specific needs. Our exclusive rehab centers offer truly personalized care for total healing from poly-substance addiction and co-occuring disorders like depression and anxiety. The luxurious facilities and beautiful grounds provide all of the important amenities individuals need to feel comfortable while undergoing drug and alcohol detox. Our innovative recovery programs are offered by highly credentialed treatment professionals who aim to provide each client with the highest level of care possible. With a small client population, each individual receives the one-on-one attention needed to overcome addiction and go on to live a happy, balanced life.