Parenting While Dealing With Addiction Recovery – How to Cope

Substance addiction and abuse is an equal opportunity destroyer. It wreaks havoc to everything and everyone it touches without any discrimination.

When addiction touches families, specifically parents, the outcome is devastating. It damages the family dynamics and erodes trust, a vital component for children’s development. As such, kids with parents battling substance abuse are deprived and do not get their needs met.

Parenting means caring about your child’s emotional, physical, and mental needs, but when a parent is in the grip of an addiction, caring for children takes a backburner. Regrettably, drug-endangered children display certain emotional and negative behaviors like aggression, school failure, relationship problems, depression, and apprehension.

Equally frustrating, the hopelessness and fear for a parent battling keep children in a flight/fight mode, which is devastating physically and mentally.

However, not all is lost. Many parents start on the difficult journey of addiction recovery but without learning new parenting skills and having the right support, the parent in recovery risks inflicting further injuries to their kids.

But, can we end this emotional cycle?

Yes. Through conscious effort and sobriety, parents in recovery can adapt and learn positive parenting skills to break the emotional cycle and build a robust parent-child relationship.

With that in mind, let’s explore how parents can cope while dealing with addiction recovery.

Parenting While Dealing With Addiction Recovery

Challenges parents in recovery face

Parenting, on its own merits, is quite difficult. When you throw in addiction recovery, the task becomes overwhelming for any individual.

The recovery process comes with a ton of challenges that can cause you to relapse. Identifying the challenges enables parents in recovery to be aware of them and nip them in the bud. These challenges include:

  • Having unrealistic expectations;
  • Overcoming the stigma associated with addiction and recovery;>
  • Re-creating broken family dynamics, trust issues, and communication problems;
  • Unable to balance between their recovery needs and parenting commitment;
  • Preventing relapse.

Many other factors can contribute to relapse; from boredom to financial pressure, and difficulties at work.

To overcome these challenges, prevent relapse and rebuild family relationships, some parents opt to incorporate the whole family in their recovery, therapy process, but many others, due to fear, shame, and guilt, want to undergo the process alone.

There is no good or bad choice, it’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you. Parenting and coping with recovery is a learning and relearning process.

Addiction recovery and parenting coping tips

  1. Embrace self-care

Self-care is addiction recovery oxygen. It enables you to put your feelings and needs first, ensuring you get in touch with them and process them in a healthy manner.

Embracing sobriety means taking care of your physical and mental health well enough to fulfill other responsibilities.

Remember, shame and guilt may overtake your recovery process, especially if your kids were exposed to your addictive behaviors. Picking up the pieces is hard but avoid overcompensating for the lost time and embrace self-care first.

Integrate recovery treatment with self-care activities like:

  • Eating well-balanced and nutritious meals;
  • Engaging in different physical activities like the gym, walking, running, and dancing;
  • Sleeping enough, roughly 8 hours;
  • Embracing stress reliever’s activities like meditating, praying, yoga, volunteering, reading, or listening to music, knitting, gardening, and any other activity that engages and calms your mind.

Self-care enables parents in recovery to gather the strength needed to preserve their sobriety and become great parents.

  1. Expect and accept dynamic family changes.

An addictive parent fosters a dysfunctional family system that causes emotional and physical barriers, creating unhealthy ways of relating.

For this reason, becoming sober entails facing the damage and changes caused by your addictive behaviour. However, accepting these changes and learning new healthy ways and tools of relating to your loved ones will enable everyone to work on fine-tuning their behaviour as well.

Rebuilding a robust family system takes commitment, time, communication, and effort from everyone. Don’t become discouraged if your child has trust issues or doesn’t adjust immediately to you. Listen, be consistent, and keep doing the right thing. They will eventually learn to trust you again.

Parenting in recovery

  1. Become aware of your addiction triggers and stressors

Identifying the situations, places, people, and emotions that threaten your sobriety will you help to cope with parenting and recovery.

For example, while a child can motivate a parent’s sobriety, parenting difficulties and responsibilities can become an addiction trigger. Maybe you have a smart-mouthed, moody teenager or a toddler at the terrible-twos phase, whose behaviour pushes you to the brink of relapse.

After starting recovery, triggers and stressors will become a regular confrontation, but embracing practical and healthy ways will reduce chances of relapsing.

However, unexpected triggers will happen; it’s normal. Tune into your emotional and physical responses to overcome such episodes. Ideally, use your support system to identify and overcome your triggers.

  1. Express your feelings

Recognizing and confronting your emotions helps parents in recovery to accept and take ownership of their addiction. Sometimes, admitting addiction problems is the hardest part, but expressing your feelings leads to taking ownership.
Ownership involves admitting your addiction problems and the damage they have caused, identifying your triggers and taking responsibility for your recovery. 

Focus on positive steps instead of negative ones. This reinforces healthy behaviors, promotes self-esteem and leads to better parenting.

For example, for parents in recovery, instead of hiding your recurring emotions like panic, expressing, and dealing with it helps your kids to understand the power of dealing with negative behaviors and emotions and serves them well in their lives.

  1. Be patient

Changing and embracing new parenting skills and becoming sober doesn’t happen overnight. You need patience.

While parents in recovery may wholeheartedly embrace sobriety, kids may be more cautious. Perhaps you tried sobriety and relapsed. It’s going to take your kids a while to catch up with you.

Remember, kids hide their pain but act out in aggressive and unruly behavior like back talking or becoming extroverts or introverts. Learn to validate and understand their pain and where there are in the process.

Being patient enables your loved ones to adjust to the newly sober you. The key remains to be consistent with your sobriety and behavior.

  1. Embrace family fun activities

Families undergoing addiction problems typically don’t engage in family fun activities.

Show your kids you care by listening to them, talking, and doing the activities they love. This creates an effortless way of rebuilding trust and creating a sense of family.

Whether spending time roller skating, baking cookies, walking the dog, reading, watching movies, or listening to music, or supporting their interests, you need to embrace having fun without the presence of substances.

Family time

  1. Build new routines

Chances are you weren’t around much during your addiction years.

Now that you have embraced sobriety, start creating and building new routines that incorporate your little ones.

Ask your kids about their daily habits. Don’t expect them to change their daily routines to suit yours now that you are back. Instead, it finds ways to slot into their routine.

Some routines you can embrace include:

  • Cooking dinner together
  • Cleaning together or packing their meals
  • Driving them to their activity practice or school

Remember, don’t force all routines at once. Participate in one or two activities and slowly integrating their routines makes it easier for both you and your kids.

In Conclusion

Rebuilding your sense of parenting after an addiction happens gradually, and it doesn’t happen on your timeline. Instead, it’s rebuilt on continued sobriety, parental love, and positive behaviour. Forgive yourself, say sorry, focus on progress, not perfection, and show unconditional love.

Remember, kids are astonishing sponges when it comes to parental love. A display of your heartfelt expression, interest, and unconditional love can rekindle the lost relationship. Besides, whether 3, 14, or 55, children look up to their parents for guidance and support. So, it is your duty to continue setting clear boundaries, expectations, and communication, it’s never late to break the cycle of unhealthy relationship patterns.


About The Author: Christopher G. Aiello

Mr. Aiello has a reputable 30+ year trajectory in law practice. Having been selected for multiple recognitions and awards, he practices in the Superior Court of New Jersey in both the trial court section and the appellate divisions, the Workers’ Compensation Court, and Municipal Courts. He has appeared in dozens of televised, print, and internet media. Now, he’s dedicated to his law firm Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman P.C.


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The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Sobriety

This article is sponsored by Bright Future Recovery – a holistic drug detox center in Northern California.

When it comes to life for those in recovery, there is one undeniable truth: maintaining sobriety for any period of time is beneficial. While some of the advantages of staying sober are obvious, there are a number of benefits of maintaining sobriety that are overlooked.

Battling and overcoming addiction can be one of the most difficult and most rewarding things a person does in their lifetime. Becoming clean and sober has a considerable effect on a person’s day-to-day life. From increased financial stability to improved interpersonal relationships and better overall mental and physical safety, the effects of sobriety are plentiful. Here are a few examples of how sobriety can positively affect the life of an individual:

  • One of the most easily noticed but sometimes overlooked effects of sobriety is the positive influence it has on a person’s outer looks and feelings. Those who are facing an active addiction typically do not take careful measures when it comes to personal hygiene. Treatment programs help clients relearn these personal care aspects of life so they can once again take pride in their outward appearance. This often affects clients’ self-esteem in a positive way, making them more confident in themselves on the inside as well.
  • Another positive aspect of recovery is the money that is saved in the process. Those overcoming addiction rarely think about how much money they have been losing to their addiction. Both alcohol and illicit or prescription drugs can cost a considerable amount of money. In addition, as addiction progresses, more of the addictive substance is required, increasing the amount of money being spent. Rehabilitation stays also often cost patients money. Insurance plans help to cover a considerable amount of a patient’s stay in most cases, though out of pocket costs do have the potential to add up. Once a treatment program has been completed, patients will often note they are able to save money for other parts of their life, like hobbies or vacations instead of losing that same amount of money to their addiction.

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  • Sobriety also results in a considerable increase in the time and energy an individual has available during their day to day life. Addiction is a time-consuming thing, and without it present anymore there is the potential for other activities or productive parts of life to consume that time. Those who go through treatment programs often discover new passions or hobbies that they enjoy. They now have both time and energy available for these hobbies and tasks, allowing them to further themselves within their passion or work environment.
  • Once sober, many clients are able to rebuild or establish relationships with family members and friends. Addiction of any type has the potential to be detrimental to interpersonal connections. Often friends and even close family members are pushed away throughout the course of an addiction. Once the person dealing with addiction has become sober, there is often a chance for those relationships to be fixed and for bridges to be mended.
  • Sobriety also allows for the potential of new friendships and relationships to grow out of increased social interaction. Because the addiction is no longer taking up the patient’s time, that time can be spent doing other things like meeting new people.
  • One of the most unique opportunities sobriety presents a person with the ability to help another person in their sobriety. Whether in a friendship, sponsor-sponsee relationship, or even a professional sense, being an ally in another individual’s sobriety is a rewarding and beneficial aspect of one’s own sobriety.
  • Lastly, being sober leads to a reduction in the number of high-danger situations a person is in. Addiction and obtaining illegal substances often put people into potential harmful situations. Without the need for those interactions, the number of real-life dangerous situations decreases.

Sobriety gives patients a chance to move forward in their life instead of dwelling with past mistakes. Treatment programs can help clients work through past trauma, depression and other mental disorders, and help instill positive coping methods and thinking patterns. Once sobriety is established, underlying issues that may be causing or affecting the addiction can be addressed.

While getting clean on your own may sound like a good idea, attending a treatment program has been shown to decrease the likelihood of relapse after an addiction. Finding support and correcting negative behaviors in an external setting away from possible triggers is important. For those looking into alcohol and drug rehabilitation options, Bright Future Recovery in Northern California may be the perfect place.

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Will My Health Insurance Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

Having a quality health insurance plan is important. It can help your healthcare costs be much more manageable and ensure you get the right care for your ailments and issues. But what if you have been dealing with substance abuse problems? Substance abuse is an unfortunately common issue for Americans as over 20 million Americans have at least one addiction.

Despite this, only a small percentage of them will seek treatment. Some will avoid treatment because of embarrassment, some because they don’t feel they need it and others because they are fearful of the costs. With how expensive standard healthcare is, many simply feel that getting treatment will cost them too much.

This begs the question, will your health insurance cover your treatment as you begin the road to recovery? Well, that is what this blog post is going to take a closer look at.

Medical Insurance Treatment

Will Insurance Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

The simple answer is yes. Plans that want to appear on the insurance marketplace need to provide care in specific categories, and one of them is an addiction and substance abuse care. This substance abuse often falls under the mental and behavioral health category of insurance plans coverage. Substance abuse services are seen as essential health benefits.

As a result, no plan can simply ignore the needs of those who would benefit from substance abuse treatment. Also, many private insurance plans have followed suit to remain compliant if they want to eventually be sold on the marketplace as well. This is great news as today a large number of people have more affordable access to treatment for their abuse treatment.

This coverage has also helped to break the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction treatment. However, having insurance to help cover substance abuse treatment wasn’t always an option. Before the ACA (Affordable Care Act), many insurance plans simply didn’t provide any coverage or support for those dealing with addiction. Addiction is also no longer considered a pre-existing condition, which it was in the past.

Also, the good news is that you will be covered, no matter the addiction you have or what has caused it. This is similar to the model of how other medical conditions are treated by health insurance programs.

Treatment for addiction

What Exactly is Covered?

So now that you know that most health insurance plans will cover abuse treatment, what exactly do they cover? Well, this can be different from the insurance plan to the insurance plan. In general, there are a few things that must be covered. This includes behavioral treatments like counseling and psychotherapy, inpatient services, and the substance abuse treatment itself. Other things like medication, testing, and evaluations are also often covered.

However, when you look at things like how long plans will cover treatment, the exact type of coverage they provide and any restrictions, these can vary wildly.  In order to know the exact things (and amounts) that are covered by your plan, be sure to look at the details of the plan in-depth. If you are struggling to understand the inclusions and exclusions of your plan, be sure to reach out to an expert.

Addiction Treatment

The Right Insurance To Aid in Your Recovery

Substance abuse is a problem for millions of Americans and can take a toll on their friends and families as well. Once a person is ready for treatment, they can rest assured knowing that many health insurance plans do cover substance abuse treatment in some way. Of course, every plan is different in terms of what (and how much) they cover, so be sure to do your homework.

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How To Manage Addiction Triggers During Recovery

If someone manages to finish a treatment program for addiction or substance abuse, they’ve accomplished something major. With that said, the most difficult work is yet to come. From this point on, a person must commit to abstain from alcohol and drugs on a daily basis.

It’s likely that individuals will be tempted to return to old habits. The stresses of life can leave people desperate for an escape or a way to numb their feelings.

Seeing certain people, experiencing stressful events, and experiencing strong emotions can all be triggering. It’s normal for people to want to use drugs or alcohol during recovery. How can people cope? Of course, you can always return to addiction counselling should you need to.

These five suggestions will help people to manage potential triggers during recovery:

How To Manage Your Addiction Triggers During Recovery

Find Out What Your Personal Triggers Are

No two people are exactly alike, which is why not all addicts have the same triggers. There are a number of common triggers, such as boredom, seeing other people drinking or using drugs, arguing with another person, hitting the end of a workweek, or having the money to buy drugs.

Be Aware Of The Situation

A lot of people assume they won’t have to deal with cravings or triggers after completing recovery. However, it can be dangerous to assume that you won’t experience your struggles. It’s better to be aware of potential triggers and understand that you may be put in situations that catch you off guard. Have a plan in place so that you can deal with these situations in a healthy way.

Form A Trigger Plan And Practice It

Spend some time roleplaying what you would do if you’re tempted to use drugs or alcohol. You don’t need another person for this; you can do it when you’re alone. When you’ve already practiced your reaction, it will be easier for you to deal with tough situations when they hit.

Practice Self Care

It’s easier to cope with triggers when you’re getting the sleep you need, sticking to a healthy diet, paying attention to your feelings, and making sure you get enough exercise. You may have heard of H.A.L.T.: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. All of these four things can lead to both lapses and relapse.

If you take better care of yourself, you’ll be more aware of when you’re feeling these four things. This means you’ll be able to address your needs. Instead of reacting negatively to these feelings, you can take action and stay in control of a situation. Even if a trigger has an emotional impact on you, you don’t have to take action. If you notice that you’re hungry, you can get something to eat. When you’re tired, you can get some rest. If you’re lonely or angry, you can contact a friend, family member, or your sponsor so that you have someone to talk to.

Addiction

Try To Avoid Testing Yourself

If seeing a bar can be triggering for you, you should not go by a bar to confirm that you’ve made progress in your recovery. It’s possible that you will be able to resist going into the bar. However, the experience can still be triggering. You might experience another trigger later on, and you might be pushed to go back to that bar.

Testing yourself is pointless. If you’re familiar with your triggers, understand the situation, have a plan in place, and make sure you’re taking care of yourself, you’re on the right path. You’ll be able to continue recovering from addiction.

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The Best Ways To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms From Drugs And Alcohol

When addicts get clean, it doesn’t take long for them to start noticing the benefits. Their lives, in general, are better, but they will also notice a big change in the way that they feel physically and mentally. Addiction of any kind takes a big toll on your body and when you get rid of that habit and your body starts to repair itself, you will feel so much better. But things have to get worse before they get better and so many people don’t make it far enough to see any benefits because they fall at the first hurdle. The first few days and weeks are often the hardest because you have to get through the withdrawal symptoms. If you are a heavy user, withdrawal symptoms can be horrible to deal with and a lot of people think that it’s easier to live with the addiction than it is to try to go clean. But if you can make it past the withdrawal stage and start to feel some of the physical benefits, the rest of your journey will start to feel a lot less daunting. These are some of the best ways to manage withdrawal symptoms when you are a recovering addict.

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Speak To A Counsellor

Most people experience a deep depression when they first come off drugs and alcohol. When you take away that high that you got from using drugs or alcohol, you are left with the polar opposite feeling. If you are an addict, it’s likely that drink or drugs were central to your life and so when you give them up, you are left with a void. When the depression hits hard, it’s easy to convince yourself that it’s not worth getting clean if it’s going to make you feel this bad, and you would be better off using again.

Increased anxiety is very common as well because alcohol and drugs are often used as a way to combat anxiety. When you take away that crutch, those feelings come flooding back, usually much stronger than before. But the good news is, as long as you can stay sober, this anxiety will not last that long.

The important thing here is that you don’t let these feelings overwhelm you and you don’t reach straight for the drink and drugs to combat them. Instead, you need to find healthier ways to process your feelings and put things in perspective again, which is why seeing a counsellor is a good idea if you are going through withdrawal. One of the most important things that they will do is remind you that these feelings are temporary and they are partly a result of your withdrawal. But they can also help you start to tackle the underlying problems that lead to your addiction issues in the first place.

Consider Medications

In the past, you had to go it alone with your withdrawal symptoms but that isn’t the case anymore. There are medications available that activate the pleasure receptors in your brain in the same way that drugs and alcohol do. That means that they can improve the withdrawal symptoms and make things a lot easier for you. You should seek the advice of a doctor and see if there is anything that they can offer you to help you get through the first few weeks. When you are going through withdrawal, it’s likely that you will take some time off work and things might be a little chaotic, so it’s a good idea to find an online pharmacy like Simple Online Doctor and have medication sent directly to your house. That way, you can make sure that you keep up with the medication and you cut the risk of relapsing. Taking medication can make a huge difference to your withdrawal symptoms and make it a lot more bearable, which increases your chances of getting through the difficult early stages.

Spend Time With Family

When things get really hard and you are considering using again, you need things to remind you why you are going clean in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of that when the withdrawal symptoms make you feel so awful, which is why it’s good to be near friends and family. The people around you suffer from your addiction as well and it has a huge impact on them. When you are in the midst of your addiction, you are not thinking about them and you cause them a lot of distress. They have a lot to lose if you relapse as well, and being reminded of that can help you get through the difficult early period.

A lot of people fall at the first hurdle because withdrawal can be horrible to deal with, but if you can make it through that, you stand a much better chance of staying sober for good.

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Understanding How Medication Assisted Treatment Can Help Opioid Addiction

Opioid Use Disorder and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects quality of life, familiar relationships, and daily functioning. Unfortunately, much of the American public sees OUD as a moral failing, not a treatable medical condition. The reality is that OUD is a physiological response that develops after consistent use of opioids. Many opioid use disorders begin with a valid prescription to treat pain.

There are many reasons that a person experiencing OUD may find it difficult to stop, chief among them are the physiological and psychological pain of withdrawal. Medication-Assisted Treatment is a viable, evidence-based method of treating OUD that supports a long-term recovery.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, combines psychosocial, behavioral interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Opioid Use Disorder. Medications used in MAT help address the physiological aspects of opioid addiction, while behavioral interventions address the other complex factors that contribute to the substance use disorder, such as trauma, family dynamics, or co-occurring mental health disorders. By addressing all factors simultaneously, providers can identify triggers, control cravings, and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Understanding How Medically Assisted Treatment Can Help Opioid Addiction

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Understanding the benefits of MAT first requires knowledge of how opioids affect the body and brain. An Opioid Use Disorder most often occurs when a person receives a prescription for a pain-relieving opioid following surgery or for a legitimate medical condition. When the affected individual takes the medication, it effectively controls pain because it works by blocking pain receptors. A side effect is a triggered sense of euphoria. Reliving this sense of euphoria is what may cause a person to misuse opioids for the first time. Over time, as the disorder progresses, the affected individual’s brain chemistry changes, such that it relies on the opioids to trigger the production of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for the euphoria, but also in charge of several other important functions). This forms the basis for opioid dependence.

When the affected individual tries to abstain for opioids, withdrawal is the result, since the body no longer produces dopamine effectively on its own. Opioid withdrawal is notoriously painful and produces several troubling symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache

These symptoms are often very intense, so much so that a person with OUD will use again simply to make them stop. Even once a person physiologically detoxifies from an opioid – a process that can take around three days but typically lasts up to a week – the psychological effects persist for weeks or months. Medication Assisted Treatment works by managing the symptoms of withdrawal by reducing cravings and minimizing discomfort.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

The process of initial detoxification varies, but the most intense feelings of discomfort occur within the first 72 hours. Within 7-10 days, a person may be physiologically detoxified from the opioids. After this period ends, a person with OUD is vulnerable to a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

PAWS refers to the psychological and emotional effects of an addiction. The symptoms may persist for weeks and months, even up to two years after initial detox. Symptoms tend to occur in waves and may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Intense cravings for the drugs
  • Emotional instability and irritability, quick to anger

One of the ways that Medication-Assisted Treatment can be beneficial is in the treatment of PAWS. People who utilize MAT report fewer cravings and reduced symptoms of PAWS, which can help support a long-term recovery by significantly reducing the risk of relapse.

Effective MAT Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder

Currently, only three FDA-approved medications exist for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: methadone, suboxone, and naltrexone. Here’s some information about each.

Methadone

Methadone produces a similar effect to opioids, but to a lesser extent and with milder effects. It is longer lasting and does not have the same increased potential for misuse; it does not tend to affect a person’s ability to function normally. As an opioid agonist, it works to provide relief of some of the most painful symptoms of withdrawal and PAWS. A single dose of methadone lasts about a day and a half. Some potential for misuse exists; as such, it may only be dispensed by a licensed provider in a clinical setting. A person on methadone treatment must visit the clinic for a new dose every couple of days, so they must be willing to remain compliant to the protocol.

Buprenorphine (Suboxone)

Buprenorphine is becoming a more popular choice amongst healthcare providers, as it is a partial opioid agonist and does not have a high potential for misuse. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone (Narcan), a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. While it is difficult to misuse, it still requires regular visits to a medical provider to receive. Providers who wish to prescribe suboxone must attend an eight hour training course to obtain a MAT waiver, so not all providers can prescribe it.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is available in two forms: a pill or an intramuscular injection lasting up to 30 days. When taken as an intramuscular injection (Vivitrol), it provides a convenient option, particularly for those looking for an intensive outpatient treatment option. The once-daily pill can be taken in the comfort of a person’s own home. It has little potential for misuse or diversion; as such, any provider who is licensed to dispense medication may prescribe it.

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it works by blocking opioid receptors. It effectively reduces cravings in the person taking it because it no longer produces a feeling or euphoria or “high.” However, Naltrexone is only a suitable option after a person initially detoxifies from the physiological effects of opioids; starting it too early can make withdrawal symptoms worse.

MAT as an Effective Treatment Option

Numerous studies show that Medication-Assisted Treatment is more effective in preventing relapse and supporting long-term recovery compared to behavioral interventions alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports the use of MAT as an integral part of an addiction treatment plan. According to their research:

  • MAT is effective in decreasing overall opioid use and its associated harms, including overdose death, transmission of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C, and illegal drug-related activity. When the city of Baltimore introduced an initiative to increase access to buprenorphine, overdose deaths in the city decreased by 37%.
  • The use of MAT in pregnant women reduces the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby is born with a dependence on opioids.
  • The use of MAT in treatment programs improves compliance to other protocol and follow-up. Patients who receive medications for their OUD are more likely to remain in treatment and receive holistic interventions that support a long term recovery. With increased comfort comes increased ability to develop compensatory mechanisms to manage their disorder and its possible triggers.

Facts and Myths About Medication Assisted Treatment

MAT has a large body of evidence supporting its use as a viable treatment option. Unfortunately, the public and even some clinicians continue to have misconceptions about the uses of MAT in the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. These myths can work to keep people from utilizing MAT, when it could prove vital to their recovery process. For example:

  • Some people and providers believe MAT is simply the act of substituting one addiction for another. In reality, MAT is only one aspect of a holistic treatment plan. Medications help manage the discomfort of withdrawal and PAWS, which allows the patient to focus on other aspects of recovery. Since some medications for OUD have potential for misuse, they must be administered in a supervised clinical setting (i.e., methadone).
  • MAT is not, and never will be, popping a pill to cure an addiction. One essential aspect of MAT is the behavioral intervention, which allows people to explore and recognize the triggers for their addiction. Anyone in long-term recovery knows that a substance use disorder is not something that can be “cured;” rather, it is something that they work consciously on the rest of their lives.
  • Despite popular opinion, medications for MAT do not pose much risk for diversion. They are heavily regulated and require extensive training to prescribe. The only formulation that does not require waiver training, Naltrexone, has very little potential for abuse, since using it in conjunction with opioids will send the person taking it into withdrawal.

The Use of MAT for Opioid Use Disorder

MAT can play a vital role in the treatment of OUD by reducing cravings and controlling long-term symptoms of withdrawal, including those for post acute withdrawal syndrome. When combined with other behavioral interventions, it can help a person with OUD sustain a long-term recovery.

Continuum Recovery Center provides intensive outpatient services, including MAT, for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Our protocols, which include psychosocial, evidence based mental health therapies, help individuals identify the many facets of their opioid use disorder to maintain sobriety.


About The Author

Geffen Liberman, staff therapist at Continuum Recovery Center, has been in the field for over 20 years, and has worked in every facet of substance abuse treatment. Using his own personal experience in recovery and the education he has learned while in the field, Geffen can relate and connect with clients in a way that promotes recovery, self-love and the desire for clients to achieve the best for themselves. Geffen is licensed in Arizona as a substance abuse counselor and has an IC&RC certification, as well as a life coaching certification.


 

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Why Addicts Should Choose Singapore as a Place to Go to Rehab

A good rehabilitation center should have the necessary facilities to assist drug addicted patients on their recovery journey. If you have a victim in your family, you will agree that this is a serious situation that requires the best solution. That is why people are ready to use any family resources possible to get the best rehab in the world.

For those who did not know, Singapore has some of the best rehab facilities in the world. This is one of the primary reasons why drugs addicts come from various parts of the world. However, there is more that they offer. If you read the highlights below, you will learn more reasons why you should choose Singapore as a place to go to rehab.

Why Addicts Should Choose Singapore As A Place To Go To Rehab

Draconian Drug Laws

The country is a leader in practicing stringent drug laws. Narcotics that are listed as illegal are rarely found in the country. The law is clear about what will happen if one is found manufacturing, distributing, or in possession of such drugs. The imprisonment terms range from punishment to life imprisonment, which is not something that any person would like to get involved in.

But how do these laws assist the country in having rehab centers worth considering? According to reports, people who are recovering from drugs are likely to have a better environment when they are in Singapore. This is because they will not get access to drugs even if they are using outpatient programs. Thus, the recovery process will not only be clear of drugs, but will also be quick as one interacts with people who are already drug-free.

Well-Equipped Rehab Centers

Being a developed country, Singapore does not strain for resources. Although most of them are imported, it is notable that all of the rehab facilities in Singapore follow world standards. The country values high-quality services, especially in medical care, which rehab facilities fall into. With the government in support of operations of these facilities, they are well-funded and equipped.

Thus, people from different parts of the world, especially developing countries, want to bring their addicted family members to enjoy these facilities. Some of the best amenities you will enjoy in Singapore rehab centers include but are not limited to the following:

  • Maintained sports facilities – Rehab centers in Singapore have generous sports grounds for patients to use. One has the option to choose a sport like beach soccer, cricket, tennis, and many others. Indoor games like table tennis, pool tables, and many others are also available. Thus, the patients have a variety of options to choose from depending on their interests and talents.
  • Talent promotion facilities – Drugs addict may have talents that need to be nurtured. Singapore is one of the countries that promote talents in rehab centers through the provision of musical equipment, art facilities, and many others. This means that your patient has a high opportunity of learning new skills and advancing their talents to new levels by the time they leave.
  • Disability facilities – Some drugs lead to disabilities which affect peoples’ mobility. If your victim is like this, there is no reason to get worried. Singapore’s rehab centers usually make this consideration by providing wheelchairs, support racks, and all other equipment that supports disabilities of any kind.

Singapore scene

Qualified Rehab Workers

The state has a high literacy level. They also get qualified professionals from other countries by giving work permits. As a matter of fact, you can easily get a work visa through the Visa Express Singapore agency. As a result of this, all rehab centers are well-equipped with qualified workers. An addiction patient will get enough one-on-one time with a psychologist to get the best assistance possible. Nurses and other workers are also trained to cater to all the needs of an addiction patient.

Reports from the health ministry indicate that all rehab centers in Singapore have enough workers to serve sufficiently when they are at full capacity. They also assure the entire world that the staff has the relevant qualifications. So if you are looking for the best facility to use, Singapore should be your preferred destination.

Services at a Low Cost

We have already mentioned that the Singaporean government supports the health sector very well. Rehab facilities are one of the beneficiaries whether they are government-owned or private. The result of such support is the provision of low-cost services to the patients. Both the medication and boarding services are affordable to both citizens and foreigners.

Another thing that makes it affordable is the use of insurance. You are likely to use health insurance to get some medications and services in Singapore. The good news is that they also accept international medical coverage policies. However, it is important to understand what your health insurance policy will cover before booking your patient.

Group therapy addiction

Serene Environment

Singapore is known to be a city-state. However, it has a vast serene region outside of the city where most of the rehab centers are located. If you do some research about these facilities, you will realize that most of them are surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers, and stunning natural habitats. This allows addicts to reflect on their life and focus more on what they want in the future.

According to psychologists, the serenity is therapy in itself. That is why addicts are in a better position to recover when they are in Singapore. Do not hesitate to bring your patient here to enjoy this rare tranquility and serenity.

Excellent Networking Opportunities

Drug addicts need a network of people who can help them in life. Most rehab centers in Singapore have various programs that bring recovering patients together to share their experiences. Since people come from different countries and careers, it is easy to make good friends. Some people partner in business from such meetings and prosper in life together.

Conclusion

If you are wondering why rehab in Singapore is the best, now you have the main reasons. Traveling to Singapore from another country is also an opportunity to enjoy excellent scenery and have many other experiences.


About The Author

Emily Simpson is a qualified Psychologist in Singapore. She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and has helped tens of drugs addicts to get back into their feet. She has sat in various forums that enlighten people on the effects of drug abuse and how they can stop the menace. For the love of a drug-free nation, she has also written numerous publications on the negative effects of drug abuse on society. Her dream is to see fewer patients in rehab centers as a result of a responsible world that does not abuse narcotics.


 

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5 Tips For Staying Sober Over The Festive Season

Whether this is going to be your first sober Christmas or your 10th you need to put a little bit of thought and effort into how you are going to manage the upcoming festive season.

Over the Christmas period and New Years Eve the alcohol flows, the parties are pumping and drugs are encountered more often at social gatherings. Even addicts and alcoholics with long time recovery will be facing these challenges.

***Disclosure -The links in this post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.***

5 Tis For Staying Sober Over The Festive Season

Have A Plan

Make sure to plan your Christmas and News Years Eve festivities long in advance. If you are new to recovery and facing your first sober festive season you may feel at a bit of a loss. Very likely previous festive seasons were rather drunk and debortuous.

The best way to spend your first Christmas and New Years Eve is with other recovering alcoholics and addicts that understand exactly what you are going through. You need to be around people that are sober and that can show you how to have fun without alcohol and drugs. You need to create new memories and experiences to look back on.

Chances are high that you are not in contact with all the people that you were using with and drinking with. Being in recovery is about doing things differently and surrounding yourself with the winners.

Many groups in recovery hold sober parties over the festive season – make sure you know where and when they are and make a commitment to join.

If you are going to spend Christmas with family make sure that you plan ahead, that you are aware of your triggers and how you are going to cope. Talk to your family, recovery sponsor and counselor about your relapse prevention plan. The more support you have the better.

Be prepared for the conflicting feelings you will have. Chances are high that you are going to be feeling a lot of uncomfortable and often conflicting feelings. You may feel sad, lonely, angry, anxious and even excited. All of these feelings can be triggers. Have a plan in place for dealing with these feelings.

Christmas Tree decoration

Stay Active & Busy

Stay active during the holidays both with activities to do, but also with physical activity that will be good for you health. Find things to do that will give you a full body exercise as well as provide fun and entertainment.

Go hiking, mountain biking or any other outdoor activities – get yourself out there into nature. It will do you the world of good.

Another great way to stay clean is to read recovery literature – you can read the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book which gives a lot of recovery information, along with personal stories from alcoholics. There are also lots of books written by alcoholics and addicts that will give you strength, inspiration and understanding of addiction.


You need to keep yourself busy and, just as important, you need to create new memories to look back on. It is so common for addicts and alcoholics to think back to their drinking and using days, remembering only the fun parts and leaving out all the damages and chaos that came with it. Building new and happy memories of sober festive seasons will make it easier to face each time.

Stay Connected With Your Support System

If you are a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, SMART recovery group or any other recovery group such as through your church make sure to stay connected and attend meetings throughout the holidays.

If you went to a drug rehab center contact them and find out if they have anything planned for the festive season that you can attend.

If you are going away on holiday find out if that area has any recovery groups, chances are very high that they do. Just because you are on holiday does not mean you can forget about your recovery program – you will need it more than ever.

Make sure you have a sober buddy on call that you can phone at any time if you feel like having a drug or taking drugs. You may even want to have a sober buddy for the holidays – you can help each other stay sober and attend events together. It is so much easier to stay sober when you are not alone.

Woman wrapping Christmas gift

People, Places & Things

I’m sure you’ve heard this before over and over again – but it must be said again. You need to avoid the people, places and things associated with your using. Be very careful about the events that you attend, pay careful attention to who may be going to events that you would like to go to and make sure that you stay away from any places that may trigger you.

How To Cope Being Offered Alcohol/ Drugs

Chances are high that no matter what you do or where you go, at some stage during the festive season, someone may offer you a drink or a drug.

Make sure that you have a response prepared rather than being caught by surprise not knowing what to say. You may be comfortable with saying you can’t drink, but you may not want to tell people yet why you are not drinking. That is fine if you don’t want to give the real reason, but a response lined up and ready.

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10 Things I Have Learned In 10 Years Of Sobriety

On Thursday 02 August 2018 it was my 10 years sobriety birthday and I honestly can’t believe I have made it so far. Here’s the truth – the thought of living without drugs or alcohol has always been too scary for me. The thought that I am “not allowed” to do something is not good for me. I have a defiant personality – nobody must tell me I can’t because I will go and do it.

Yes I know not exactly mature, but its the truth and I can say it. Instead I have always told myself if I want to use drugs or drink I am allowed to. Instead right now I choose not to. You see if its my choice its ok.

When I’ve had hard days and was tempted I told myself yes I can use and if I still feel this bad tomorrow I can do it, but for this moment I choose sobriety.

I have now chosen sobriety every single day for 10 days and it is incredible. On my 10th sober birthday I was overcome with emotion, I was teary all day. I didn’t expect that.

Hello, I’ve had 9 other big milestones, so what is so special about my first double digit birthday? Honestly I don’t know, but for some reason this one really got the tears going in a big way.

So I guess that this is a big recovery milestone, and in celebration I will share some of the things I have learned in last 10 years.

10 Things I've Learned In 10 Years Of Sobriety

Addiction Has Very Little To Do With Drugs or Alcohol

Yes I know, it sounds crazy right. We all picture addicts as lying in the gutter and not being able to say no to drugs. It’s the alcoholic that cannot stay away from the drink and he drinks until he pukes and passes out.

No, not really this is not true at all. There are so many things that people believe to be true when it comes to addiction.

Addiction is something else entirely, it is actually not centered whatever it is that you are addicted to whether it be street drugs, prescription medication, alcohol, sex, gambling, eating, not eating, exercise, work, internet…

It is about the person.

It is about why I used, what I was trying to escape from. It was about who became when I used drugs and drank. It was not about how much I used, when or how. It wasn’t about drugs, it was about me and the black hole I was trying to fill.

When the drugs and alcohol were gone I had to face myself and I was one messed up person.

Many people assume that the most part of addiction therapy is focused on keeping the addict away from their drug of choice, when in fact it is focused around working through past trauma, changing negative behavioral patterns and providing the addict with tools to cope with their emotions and with every day life.

Recovery Takes Time and Work

There is no such thing as recovered, I have said it over and I over. I am an addict. I am in recovery. I am not recovered. That would imply that I am cured and I am fixed. That will mean I can use again.

I know I can’t use.

It is so interesting to look back on how I have changed and matured over the years. When I was one year clean in my mind I was really working recovery and I was as close to “fixed” as an addict can get. Oh my word no, I was still so messed up then.

I look at even the first 2, 3 or even 4 years of recovery and I was like an emotionally immature child.

Recovery is not going to rehab, it is not going to meetings or doing step work. It is about living recovery, working recovery every day. Being a recovering addict is part of me and something that is part of everything I do. I am always conscious of it and know that I must evaluate every decision I make to see if I am slipping into old behavior. Yes even now 10 years down the line, in fact especially now, so I don’t slip into complacency.

Water lotus flower

Labels Suck

Addict, alcoholic, sex and love addict, codependent, bipolar disorder, nicotine addict, compulsive spender…. oh my word so many labels and so little time. I used to get so stuck on all the labels.

I am who I am and yes maybe those things are part of me, but they do not define me. I am also a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and many more things.

When I was first diagnosed as bipolar it felt like my world was crashing and I had this huge label on my forehead telling everyone how damaged I was.

If you are in early recovery, let them slap labels on you and just relax. You are still the same person you were yesterday before you got the label. Learn about it, figure out how to manage it and find some coping skills, but don’t get too stuck on it.

There’s More Than One Way

Yes I got clean in rehab and I am part of the 12 step program but that is not the only way. There are people that get clean through their church, youth programs, SMART recovery and cognitive behavioral therapy and they are just fine.

When I got clean it was hammered into me that the 12 steps is THE way. It is a way and it is the way I did it but I now have a much more open mind and yes I attend meetings every now and then but I have a wide circle of recovery friends and lots of them do things differently. That’s ok.

I still do some 12 step meetings, but I mostly have formed my own support network of recovering addicts, other mothers and people with mental health issues. I’ve joined online support groups and I take part in online coaching which I find very beneficial.

Peace and harmony

An Addict Will Do It When Ready

When I sponsored addicts I would get so hung up on them staying clean – if an addict is ready he will find the way. He will find recovery and he will get clean. If he is not ready it will not happen. Yes things that I say or do can perhaps make a difference but it is out of my hands.

Now I don’t get too involved, I take a step back and I guide where needed. I am happier for it.

Happiness Is A Choice

Yes I know there are people with clinical depression that need counseling and possibly medication but I am no talking about those people. I am talking about me.

When I decided to be happy I became happy. When I decided to love myself I started to love myself. When I decided to love my life I started to love my life.

A lot of our mindset is a choice. Often we choose to be stuck. I unstuck myself and I am so grateful I did. I was stuck long into my recovery journey and it is only quite recently that I feel well and truly unstuck.

Finally I feel at one with myself and with my life. Everything feels right and I feel a peace. This is for the first time in my life.

Love Is Not A Feeling

Being a sex and love addict I was always searching for this feeling of love, for this high that comes with it. It does not exist, ok maybe he first time you fall in love with someone you get that giddy feeling but that fades away and reality sets in. After that love is a choice and it is work.

Love is a doing thing, it is not a feeling. Except when it comes to my kids… then it is an overwhelming feeling of love and loads of doing… doing washing, doing dishes, doing homework, wiping little noses…

But when it comes to my marriage there has been a lot of learning. I’ve had to grow up and learn how to truly love someone and be committed.

And love is not only about other people, it is also for myself. I need to look after myself and love myself, this too takes work.

Ashtray cigarattes

Nicotine Addiction Is HECTIC

I started smoking when I was 14 years old and I smoked for 22 years – for more than half my life. Two years ago I quit smoking and it was harder than quitting drugs and alcohol. It knocked me for a sixer, but I did it and I am proud.

I’ve started to wonder what the gateway drug really is. Some people call it marijuana but I wonder if it isn’t actually cigarettes and then alcohol? Both are more “socially acceptable” than street drugs and they are a huge problem.

I bet most people that try marijuana for the first time have smoked a cigarette first.

Active Addiction Is Harder Than Recovery

Everyone tells me “Oh it must have been so hard to get clean!” and yes it was hard. However when I really started to work on my recovery I quickly realized that is was much easier than using. I only put a fraction of the effort into my recovery that I put into using and I flew.

Being in active addiction is so much work! It is hard and it is draining. All that scheming to get money to get drugs, all that scheming to get hold of the drugs, then covering up doing the drugs and lying to people. Then lying to people to cover up the lies that you told other people. Then not remembering what lies you told to each person. All the ducking and diving and worrying.

It was awful. Being in recovery is easier, it is lighter on the soul. Yes you have to start cleaning up the messes you made but you are not living in the mess and drama anymore.

I Detest Drama

Early recovery felt strange, it always felt like something was about to happen, like something should happen. Things were so calm and smooth. It felt uncomfortable and I was always on edge.

Over time this feeling became normal. It is the absence of drama.

My life used to be constant drama and now I detest drama. When things go pear shaped now I get this awful feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.

I like the quiet and the calm of being at home. I like routine and family life. This is what life is about.

Check out the Abbeycare Foundation for information about recovery,

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8 Tips For Staying Clean In Early Recovery

Many people think that getting clean is the hardest part and while that may be true in certain cases, especially when it comes to drugs such as heroin which can have an intensely hard detox process, however very often the hard part is in early recovery. The drugs have completely left your system and you are no longer physically craving the drug but facing life on life’s terms and learning how to cope with every day situations is tough. In addition to facing every day situations you will also need to face the music when it comes to all the consequences of your addiction. This is the reason why many addicts get clean and then relapse again after just a few short months.

Once you have come off your drug of choice the hard work really begins. Here are some tips for staying clean in early recovery:

8 Tips For Staying Clean In Early Recovery

Go To Meetings

If you got clean through a 12 Step program make sure to go to meetings regularly – as often as you possibly can. In the 12 Step Program they talk about attending 90 meetings in 90 days and this is a great idea. It may seem like a lot of work and it may be a strain but it will really help you to stay clean.

There are also SMART recovery meetings that you can attend. You may have gotten clean through a church program – speak to someone there are find out if there are regular support meetings you can attend.

It doesn’t matter how you got clean – what matters now is that you stay clean and doing it alone is hard and chances of relapse are high. Find some sort of support group or meeting and make sure to go regularly.

Being in a group and healing mind, body and spirit together is important for your recovery according to Sunspire Health Texas that offers addiction treatment in Texas.

Get A Sponsor

Find someone in recovery that has good clean time that can help you and support you in your recovery journey. Being able to talk to someone that has a strong recovery and understands where you are at in your recovery will be a lifesaver.

Talking regularly to your sponsor will help to keep you on the right path. Your sponsor will be able to give you some excellent insight into your process and will also be able to give you some great advice on how to cope with the various situations you will find yourself in when you are clean.

Things which non-addicts take in their stride every day without a second thought may seem like a mountain to climb for you. A good example of this is getting a job – how to cope with job interviews, how to explain the long periods of employment and how to explain the many jobs you may have been fired from. You may even have a criminal record and many companies ask you whether you have a criminal record.

These things can be incredibly tricky to navigate through.

Support group

Go For Counseling

Yes it may seem like an overkill but a counselor and a sponsor are not the same thing. For starters a counselor is a trained professional that has helped many other people overcome obstacles in life.

Chances are high that you have some underlying issues that you need to work through, especially if you have not gone for addiction treatment. If you want the best possible chances of staying clean and rocking your recovery then having regular counseling sessions is highly recommended.

As per Desert Palms that offers addiction treatment in California – addiction is treatment is tough but you will learn about the process of addiction and the reasons why you keep using. You will learn healthy coping techniques and stand a much better chance of long term recovery.

Stay Out Of Romantic Relationships

One of the fastest ways to relapse is to get into a romantic relationship too soon. In early recovery addicts are not able to cope with emotional highs and lows very well at all.

In addition to that addicts are often looking for something outside themselves to make themselves feel better. Take away the drugs, alcohol and other crutches an addict usually makes use of and a relationship may be one of the first things an addict tries to make themselves feel better.

It is important to learn healthy coping mechanisms and to keep things as stable as possible for at least the first year of recovery.

There are often jokes in movies about first getting a plant and if after 6 months that survives get a pet. After a year if our plant and pet are still alive and if you are still clean then you are ready for a relationship. It may be done in a joking way but stick to this.

Recognize Your Triggers

Through meetings, chatting to your sponsor and sessions with your counselor you will start to recognize your triggers. When you can recognize your triggers you can start to deal with them in a different way and not revert to your usual and destructive ways of coping.

Being in recovery is about learning healthy coping mechanisms and then implementing those instead of using.

Plan For Festivities

Your first birthday, Christmas, Valentines, New Years Eve, Easter and many other special occasions will be times that will most likely be uncomfortable and trying for you. Make sure to have a plan in place for each of these occasions.

This is also where being part of a recovery community such as the 12 step program really comes in handy. There will be sober events and meetings held at these times to support you and help you get through them sober.

If it is your own birthday make sure to chat to your sponsor and counselor to ensure that this is a safe time.

People, Places and Things

Hanging out in your local pub to get a lemonade is not the best idea – trust me on this I tried it and it always ended up badly for me. Likewise hanging out with your using friends will always lead to trouble.

Being in recovery means a new way of life and letting go of the people, places and things associated with your using and your old way of life. Yes this is tough to do but it is essential if you want to make it with your recovery.

Reading and Drinking Coffee

Take Up New Hobbies

Your life up until you got clean was filled with destructive habits and things that did not benefit you. Chances are that you did not participate much in any healthy hobbies. Now is the time to take up something new. It is all very well cutting out the bad things in your life but you need to fill those gaps with something new.

Taking up hiking, reading or crafting will give you a healthy way to spend your time.

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