Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

When someone is looking to quit drugs and alcohol, they can be very apprehensive of beginning what is often a challenging and uncomfortable process? Perhaps the biggest obstacle in discontinuing the use of drugs is dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. No matter the drug of choice, withdrawals can be uncomfortable and painful to endure. Many people who want to quit drugs are fearful of the withdrawal process because of the unknowns. A significant part of overcoming fears concerning drug withdrawal is understanding the symptoms and knowing a general timeline of the duration of symptoms.

As you read this article, keep in mind that the withdrawal timeline can widely vary depending on many factors. These include the drug or combination of drugs being abused, the length of time used, quantity, and the level of dependency. This article contains general timelines of the most commonly abused drugs.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually begin about 8 hours after the last drink. In that time frame, people may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and anxiety, among other symptoms. Within 24-72 hours, other symptoms such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and confusion may occur. The worst of the initial wave of symptoms usually happens 2-4 days after the last drink. During this period, people may experience hallucinations, fever, and seizures could occur. These symptoms are often associated with a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). This condition can be fatal.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

For those withdrawing from heroin use, symptoms usually start to appear within 6-12 hours after the last dose. One of the hallmarks of heroin withdrawal is a low-grade fever—usually around 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Another characteristic of heroin withdrawal is intense heroin cravings, which bring on extreme mood swings, sweating and nausea, and significant aches and pains. People withdrawing from heroin can also experience insomnia, restlessness, and diarrhea. These symptoms (among others) usually peak 1-3 days after the last dose and subside after 5-7 days on average.  

Oxycontin Withdrawal Timeline

As with other prescription painkillers, the severity of Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the level of tolerance and the duration of use. Usually, withdrawal symptoms can appear in as little as six hours after the last dose. Symptoms often include anxiety, agitation, profuse sweating, and insomnia. Users also experience increased muscle aches and pains as well as runny nose and sweating. Other symptoms that can manifest include abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. The timeline of these symptoms is usually prevalent up to a week, although they may last longer, depending on the user. 

Addiction definition

Beware of PAWS

After the initial round of withdrawal symptoms diminishes, some may feel that the worst is over. However, many in early recovery will experience a second round of withdrawal symptoms a couple of weeks after quitting their drug of choice. These symptoms are part of a phenomenon known as PAWS or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. While these symptoms can occur as the result of any drug, PAWS is most felt in those who have abused alcohol, heroin, prescription painkillers, and stimulants. Unlike the acute symptoms of withdrawal, PAWS symptoms are primarily psychological.

Common symptoms of PAWS include increased aggression and hostility, mood swings, increased states of depression and anxiety, lack of focus, and a lack of libido. It is often thought that PAWS symptoms arise from the stress of the environment, dealing with past emotional traumas as well as underlying psychological and physical issues that impede recovery.

The Need for Professional Treatment

If you or a loved one are looking to quit drugs and alcohol, it is essential to seek professional help. While it may be tempting to try and quit on your own, you will be doing yourself more harm than good. Under the care of experienced professionals, you will undergo medically supervised detox, which will help the withdrawal process become more tolerable. Once you become stabilized, you can enter treatment and receive the tools, support, and care you need to overcome your drug addiction once and for all.

Don’t wait another day to deal with your substance abuse issues. Contact your local addiction treatment professional and discuss the treatment options that best suit your individual and specific needs. 

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7 Ways To Choose The Best Addiction Treatment Center

So, you’ve realized that you have an addiction. What are the next steps? If you want to get better, the quickest way to do it is by going to an addiction treatment center. However, there are thousands of addiction treatment centers all over the United States. The wide variety of choices can be a little overwhelming and may even put you off from seeking treatment right away.  How do you choose the right one? Each person is different, and so every different addict will require a different type of treatment. How do you find the perfect one for you?

Not all treatment facilities are equal. Some are better than others and choosing a bad one can have a very adverse affect on your recovery. The best treatment center for you is out there, but you just must know what to look for. Luckily, we are going to go over all the factors that you should consider when seeking out treatment.

7 Ways To Choose The Best Addiction Treatment Center

Location

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s not as simple a choice as you might think. A treatment center close to home would be best, right? It is if you are trying to cut down on cost, and if you have responsibilities (work, family, school) that you cannot leave. So, a nearby facility would be the necessary choice in that situation. However, making a clean break of it and going somewhere as far away as possible from bad influences and bad memories to more completely heal and recover from the addiction.

Timeframe

This one depends on several things. First, how long are you able to get away from your responsibilities and commitments? Second, how severe is your addiction? Third, what can you afford? Obviously, the deeper your addiction is, the longer it will take to recover from. When choosing treatment programs, you generally have the options of thirty days, sixty days, or ninety days. However, there will be other options out there, but those may be harder to find. Any length of time will be beneficial, but only you can decide how much time you need.

Inpatient or Outpatient?

Again, this factor depends on both costs and the patient’s daily responsibilities. There are two types of treatment centers: inpatient and outpatient. With inpatient treatment centers, the patient goes there to live for the duration of the treatment program. For outpatient treatment, the patient just goes to treatment sessions a few times a week but continues with their daily life as usual.  Inpatient treatment centers are more effective, but they are significantly more expensive. Your choice should also depend on how severe your addiction is. If you are having significant withdrawal symptoms, these are best handled in an inpatient treatment facility.

Specializations

Many treatment centers specialize in different things. Some centers will specialize in opioids, some specialize in alcoholism, some specialize in heroin addiction, etc. Make sure to choose a treatment center that has a focus on your specific addiction. Look at reviews and success stories. Make sure you find a treatment center that has helped people with your specific addiction before. This will help ensure success for your own recovery.

Addiction Therapy

Therapies

Different treatment centers will employ different counseling methods, different medical treatments, and different forms of therapy. Make you sure you research different therapy types and understand what they entail. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand what therapies will work for you. Different therapies will have different effectiveness for different people.

Amenities

This is especially important if you are choosing to check in to an inpatient treatment center. You will want to know what is available to you during your stay. Some treatment centers can be compared to five-star hotels, while others only offer the bare basics. Do not let the latter deter you though. Some find that having only the bare basics offers less distractions and is a better environment in which to recover from addiction. However, only you can decide what is best for you. Whatever you are looking for, you will be able to find a center that offers it.

Cost

Cost is probably one of the biggest factors that affects the treatment center that people choose. We can’t all be rich celebrities or rock stars, attending the fanciest rehab facilities. However, do not despair. Even if you think you do not have the money to check in to a treatment center, there are other ways to fund your stay. Many private insurances will cover treatment centers. Also, if you are insured under the Affordable Care Act, or through Medicaid or Medicare, these programs may cover part of the cost. Many people also take out loans to cover the costs. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for financial assistance from family or friends. Your loved ones want to see you get better.

Road To Recovery

Conclusion

There are literally thousands of addiction treatment centers to choose from all over the country. The decision can be extremely difficult. Hopefully we’ve made it easier for you to make a good decision and sift through all your options. A good place to start your search would be at The Hope House, arguably the best luxury drug rehab center in the country. Or, conversely, you can start at the other end of the spectrum and research lower tier inpatient treatment centers and determine if your insurance will cover the costs or if cash-pay is worth the higher level of service. Most centers will accept a mix of payment options, including payment plans.  It’s prudent to do your research to assure you’re not being funneled into a rehab center that is not ideal for recovery.

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Rehab Success Rates: Does Rehab Really Work?

There’s an endless amount of statistics and information online about rehabilitation from drug and alcohol. Some are scary, claiming that there’s no real way to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. On the other hand, some statistics claim that rehab is a type of miracle cure. In reality, it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

If you or someone you know is in recovery or is beginning the journey to sobriety, it’s up to you to make the most of reality. With the costs for treatments on the rise, how do you know if you’re spending money on an effective program? While there is no “cure” for addiction, it is possible to treat and manage addiction successfully.

Think of addiction like a chronic condition. When left on its own, it only gets worse. However, when you start a treatment plan, it’s possible to live a healthy and happy life with this condition. The hard truth is that addiction is something that never fully goes away. It’s always in the background. That being said, it can be overcome for a brighter future.

In this guide, we’ll break down the walls around rehab treatment to determine if it really works. We’ll look into the success rates as well as what they mean to come out on the other side with an honest answer.

Rehab Success Rates - Does Rehab Really Work?

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

If you or someone you know is struggling to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Drug overdoses have actually become the top cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. Over 44,000 people a year die from drug overdoses. But for those who seek treatment, how often do they recover?

There’s a lot of conflicting evidence and research that goes into these statistics, and it’s true they might not all be straightforward. However, we should still get to know the numbers.

First, let’s define what rehab means. This is a more confusing term that you’d think since there’s no standard definition of “rehab.” As you might expect, since there’s no standard definition, there’s also no standard way to define whether rehab is successful. A lot of success rates are based just on how many of the patients complete their programs while others follow-up with ongoing sobriety. In addition, how are relapses counted?

These are the questions that need to be asked about drug and alcohol rehab success rates. Understanding the concept of help with drug addiction can sometimes be confusing, but it usually has to do with the individual, facility and situation.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction by the Numbers:

  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction
  • 6.8 million people who have an addiction also have a mental illness
  • 16.6 million Americans are considered alcoholics

With these numbers in mind, how does rehab make a difference, if it does at all?

Rehab Success Rates by the Numbers:

  • Compared to those who obtained help with their alcoholism, those who did not get help were less likely to achieve 3-year remission
  • Between 40 – 60% of people who have been treated for addiction or alcoholism will relapse within a year

After seeing these stats above, it’s still not clear whether or not rehab is an effective way to manage addiction or alcoholism. We still need to take a closer look at how rehab works to see why it’s such an effective way to achieve recovery.

Addiction group therapy

Types of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehab

There are a number of different types of rehab from drug and alcohol abuse, and they also contribute to whether the program itself is successful. There are some intensive programs that are likely fit for those who are really struggling with recovery and withdrawal, and there are also outpatient programs like therapy and group sessions that are better for ongoing management.

Inpatient Treatment – With an inpatient program, there is a rigorous medication and counseling schedule that helps the patient slowly heal their body and learn coping strategies. These inpatient programs run anywhere from a month to several months, as needed, and they’re supervised by a medical professional.

Residential Treatment – These programs are similar to inpatient, yet they’re intended to last for a longer time. The patient moves into the residential facility for a long-term program which is usually over 70 days. From there, they become a part of the sober community to counsel patients into a better lifestyle change.

Detox – Detox is something that gets a lot of media attention, but it’s actually not a program in itself. Detox is the process of transitioning the body from regular substance. Detox is usually done before a patient enters an inpatient or residential program.

Outpatient Treatment – Finally, outpatient includes a number of things like group therapy, in-person sessions, and counseling. Patients continue to live in their own homes, and these programs are ongoing for a longer period of time.

Support group

Why Do Drug Rehab Programs Work?

Not all drug treatment programs are created equal. Unfortunately, there are many substance abuse programs that don’t live up to their claims. In order for a program to be effective, it needs to have a number of things:

  • Educated, experienced personnel
  • Physicians certified by the American Board of Addiction medicine
  • Individualized treatment
  • Long-term timeframe
  • Mental health counseling and treatment
  • Medications, if needed

Simply treating the symptoms of addiction doesn’t work. There needs to be a customized approach to treatment that addresses the root problems as well as coping strategies for the future. While it’s true that between 40 – 60% of patients relapse in the future, this does not mean the program was a failure.

As we’ve said, addiction is a chronic illness. There is no single cure that magically changes the way the patient’s body and mind are wired. It takes ongoing care and management. There are good days, bad days, and in-between days. As long as the patient recovers from their relapse and keeps moving closer to recovery, it’s a success.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you love is struggling with the challenges that come with addiction, don’t be deterred by the confusing statistics surrounding drug rehab success. These programs, as long as you’re careful in your choice, are an effective way to achieve a brighter future.

Instead of fixating on success rates, we need to change our perspective on what it means to live with addiction. Things are never that black and white. Relapse or troubles after treatment doesn’t mean the entire program failed. It just means more structure and support is needed to keep moving forward.

Choosing the method of recovery that’s right for you is half the battle. From there, you’ll need to find a treatment that works for your lifestyle. Ultimately, we can all agree that drug rehab is more than worth it to protect your future and your happiness.

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Battling Addiction: 5 Ways To Spur Yourself On

When you’re dealing with addiction, you accept that you’re in a lifelong battle. If you take your eye off the ball, you could end up going back a few steps; as such, you need to be spurring yourself on everyday, and reminding yourself that the voice in your head – the voice of your addiction – is smaller, and not as significant, as your voice. Keeping yourself focused can be difficult, but there are many ways to do so, and we’ve noted down 5 of them here.

Image credit

#1: Think about yourself

No matter what your addiction would have you feel or think, you are worth so much more than a life controlled by substances. You have things to achieve, memories to make, and you deserve to do this on your own terms. Recovery from addiction is ultimately about you, so remind yourself that you’re the focus here, and that your voice should prevail, not the one that is pulling you in a toxic direction.

#2: Keep your loved ones in mind

Addiction has a hurricane-like effect on your life, meaning that your family and friends invariably get pulled into the suffering. Think about all of the times that they have stood by you throughout your addiction, and how they never turned their backs on you, because of their love. Whilst recovery is complex, keeping your loved ones in mind can help you in the day-to-day of handling your addiction.

#3: Reward yourself for landmarks

As with anything that you’re trying to achieve, when you’ve reached certain points in your recovery, you need to celebrate! Getting those new veneers from a leading ultimo dentist, having dinner with your loved ones, and even walking around the park and appreciating your new outlook on life, are all great ways to reward yourself for how far you’ve come. And you deserve it!

#4: Make a bucket list

Looking to the future is always a great idea, and making a bucket list could help to keep you focused. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit Niagara Falls, or you want to drive around the country, or you’ve always wanted to skydive. Whatever it is that you want to do, keep your future in mind. This is a future that you may not have had if you were still in the throes of addiction.

#5: Remember how far you’ve come

Staying focused throughout your recovery will be a result of remembering how far you’ve come. A few years (or months) ago, you may have been living a life that you couldn’t even remember due to substance abuse, and now, you’re on the road to freedom. It’s a tough road, but the important thing to remember is that you’re on it. Think about all that you’ve achieved, and all that you could achieve still.

So, if you’re battling addiction, it’s important to remember that the journey will be a difficult one, and there is a lot to overcome. However, it is extremely worthwhile, and taking it day-by-day is important if you’re going to keep your addiction at bay. Spur yourself on, and keep these things in mind; your future will be brighter than you ever expected as a result.

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How to Help Your Loved One from Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease. Millions of Americans suffer from addiction and in the past decades, addiction has continued to grow. As a result, addiction statistics has reached an alarming rate. If you are reading this post, you have definitely someone grappling with addiction. Maybe your loved one, friend, spouse or colleague. Helping your loved one recover from addiction can be daunting. Fortunately, there are many drug and alcohol treatment centers that offer various addiction treatment. Before you search for the recovery centers of America, it is significant to know whether your loved one is definitely struggling from addiction.

Identifying the addition in your loved one is one of the most challenging tasks. Your loved one may not agree with addiction as they don’t want to change what they are doing. Sometimes they feel embarrassed to share their addiction problem with you. Each case is different and utmost knowledge about addiction is imperative to deal with your addicted loved one. Fortuitously, with your timely support and help addiction recovery in your loved one is possible. This post will walk you through the essential pieces of information you need to help your loved one from addiction.

How To Help Your Loved One From Addiction

Tell-tale signs that your loved one is in addiction 

If you are keen to help your loved one, then you should have an informed knowledge of addiction symptoms and other factors. Genetical, psychological, and environmental factors are the risks associated with addiction. People who are addicted will behave differently and it depends on the severity of the addiction. Different substances pose several consequences on the individual’s health. However, there are common signs and symptoms to look for which includes both physical and behavioural attributes

  • Looking intoxicated more and more often.
  • Being isolated and poor hygiene.
  • Stealing money for obtaining drugs.
  • Stammered speech and shakiness.
  • Behaving in an abnormal manner and becoming angry, sad too often.
  • Pupils dilated and poor memory.
  • Dropping out of school, office and neglecting personal relationships & commitments.
  • Insomnia and being restless all the time.
  • Lying too often and lashing out when questioned about their drug abuse.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Being aware of the symptoms of addictions, you will be able to help your loved one recover from addiction. Moreover, individuals may have mental disorders and use drugs occasionally to relieve their stress & depression. On the other hand, few individuals have chronic addiction and can’t live life without abusing substances. Therefore it is essential to scrutinize when your loved one started using drugs or alcohol and what caused them to do so. Knowing all these things will help you identify the right drug and alcohol treatment centers for your loved one.

Mobile addiction

Ways to help your loved one from addiction 

Having a sound knowledge of addiction and addiction symptoms will help you. Moreover, you can’t fix your loved one’s addiction problem directly. Perhaps you need expert guidance and here are the ways to help your loved one.

Intervention 

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says addiction is a complex and chronic disease which requires a medical intervention to overcome. In most cases simply talking with your loved ones don’t work, hence an intervention is required. Intervention is an organized conversation between an addict and the supporter, supervised by an intervention specialist. The best thing about intervention is the addict gets an opportunity to talk about their feelings and difficulties faced. An intervention can also be staged by a group of peoples including friends, family and intervention professionals.

During the intervention, these people come together to confront your loved one and make him accept the addiction treatment. The ultimate goal of the intervention is to motivate your loved one towards the addiction treatment and provides essential guidelines. Intervention helps your loved one identify the destructive behaviors and the negative consequences of addiction to one’s health.

Pill addiction

Encourage for an addiction treatment 

You may notice destructive behavioral patterns shown by your loved one and day by day the brain’s functions are also depleting. Owing to the long-term addiction its is high-time that your loved one should get a professional treatment. The severity of addiction differs among the individuals and depends upon the type of substance abused. Drug and alcohol treatment centers offer various addiction treatment including detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, therapies, counseling, and 12-step programs. There are also short-term treatments offered by the recovery centers of America, where your loved one can receive expertise treatment without hampering personal & professional work. Initially, your loved one may be reluctant of getting an addiction treatment as they feel embarrassed to discuss it with a professional. An open talk between you and your loved one will help on encouraging the addict to seek a treatment.

In an event of a relapse 

A relapse is just an additional factor during the addiction recovery. Your loved one may have abstained from drugs and lived sober for months & years. However, due to the negative happenings & circumstances of life, your loved one might have turned back to the addiction and this is called a relapse. This kind of relapsing behavior could be disappointing for you and the addicts family. It is necessary to understand the fact that relapse is very common during an addiction treatment and is an “additional factor”. A new treatment approach can be provided for your loved one’s relapsing behavior. A relapse is considered serious if the individual refuses to stop the substance use and denies for an addiction treatment. You can help your loved one stop relapsing by removing the substances from the home that tempts to relapse or triggers the cravings. Your loved one and you can find new activities and pursue new hobbies together to avoid relapses.

Wrapping up- “Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.” 

Helping your loved one from addiction is possible! It requires earnest efforts and patience. The more you know about addiction the more you will help your loved one towards the recovery. Do not hesitate to get professional help and do approach the recovery centers of America for the right addiction treatment. Be strong, bold and aggressive to help your loved one face the greatest challenge of addiction recovery. After all, recovery is possible with your great support and compassion for your loved one.

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Helping Your Children Cope With Your Recovery

Sobriety is a hard-won and hard-fought status of being. You have battled through the toughest fight you have ever had and now you’re trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Just because you have had a month or even just a week of being sober from your addiction, doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. What can put us back into a relapse is our lifestyle. Too much stress in your life can cause you to go hunting for trouble you know you should avoid. We all have certain things we do when we want to relax. Some of us drink a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, or make comfort food. Sooner than we would hope, we end up doing more of these things than we should. In the meantime, we have families to raise, children to help go to school and help them with their homework, do the laundry and make dinner. They are the going through a tough time just as you are, but in different ways. You as their parent, need to help them cope with your lifestyle so they can remain a healthy part of your life.

A needless burden

Children must be talked to about your addiction and your planned recovery. They have to realise that it’s not their fault that mother or father are going through a tough time. Children might feel anxious to talk about it and this can lead to them blaming themselves. They can see that their parents are going through a painful time, and that their home life isn’t like any of the other kids at school. One way you can help children to cope with your recovery is to inform them of your routine or when you need some alone time. It’s best that they know what makes you calm down, what they can do to not bother you when you need to relax and when they can help make life easier by helping out around the kitchen, or with housework etc. They need not carry the same burden you are, so help them to help you.

Parenting in Recovery

In need of care

When you have children that are disabled, going through recovery can be destabilizing to their own way of life too. Yet if you’re a single parent or even a two working parents household, helping your disabled children can become life-altering. They are already not like normal children, they need extra care to get ready for school and putting their clothes on, support with eating and understanding the homework assigned to them. That’s why you should consider an in home care giver that can take over the responsibilities for your disabled children. You have to focus on beating your demons, and you can’t do that when so much of your time is consumed with helping the kids. The care givers are checked properly by the police and their credentials are matching the quality of care required. If you don’t understand the disability care system, the company can also help you through it, so you can get the right kind of care for your child who may have a particular disability that is not common.

A place to speak

Children that have parents that are battling their demons often feel alone. They feel as if they can’t talk to their parents about some issues they worry about, such as ending up in a foster home, losing their parents and possibly being homeless. For these kinds of situations they need to be given and outlet where their voice can be heard. That’s why giving them the option of counselling is a very good avenue to send them down. With a counsellor, they can share their thoughts and anxieties, which can end up helping you to understand what they are going through also. It might just end up leading to you becoming a better parent, adjusting your lifestyle to abate their worries and adapting to a different lifestyle to help them cope. Sometimes, it’s just a good idea for kids to vent and let off some steam. They might be shy in front of their friends and fearful that they might get picked on and bullied for having parents going through addiction recovery.

The relationship between you and your children will obviously go through a little strain when you’re battling addiction. But on the road to recovery, you can do many things to help them cope with your new lifestyle needs. Counselling is certainly one of the best outlets they can use to vent their frustrations. Getting extra care for kids with disabilities will help make your life easier so you can get back on your feet quickly.

 

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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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Addiction and Treating The Underlying Causes Of Destructive Behaviour

It is a misconception that addiction is all about the drug. Many people believe that once an addict is clean from a drug the hard part is done and dusted and the process of staying off the drugs is easy. This could not be further from the truth. In most cases for an addict the easiest part is getting clean from his drug of choice and the hard part is staying clean and learning how to live without his drug of choice.

Yes it is true that some addicts struggle with getting physically clean from their drug of choice and depending on the drug the addict may need a medically assisted detox. This can make the process of getting clean tough, however the real hard work begins when the addict is considered sober and then has to face life and reality without drugs.

Addiction and Treating The Underlying Cause Of Destructive Behaviour

Trauma and Addiction

According to studies two thirds of drug addicts that seek treatment report being sexually, physically and/ or emotionally abused during childhood.

When a child is growing up his circumstances and experiences will certainly impact his physical and psychological development. Very often these issues are not resolved during childhood and unless dealt with as part of the addiction recovery process these issues will continue to add to the addict’s self destructive behavior.

There is also a link between PTSD and addiction. About 50 – 60% of people that suffer from PTSD have addiction problems, the reverse is true too where. Anyone that has gone through a very traumatic event, like rape, often suffers from PTSD and/ or other psychological problems.

This much is clear – the relationship between substance abuse and trauma is closely intertwined. Click here to find out more about trauma and addiction treatment.

Childhood abuse alcoholism

Trauma During Addiction

Now while it is clear that trauma and addiction are closely linked showing that trauma may contributing to addictive behaviors there is another side to it. While an addict is in active addiction there are countless more traumatic moments. Some severe and some not so severe but still traumatic.

Addicts are well known for wrecking their own lives and the lives of those that they love. Someone that is normally a calm and loving person yet addicted to drugs, may become aggressive and abusive towards his family.

It is simply not possible for an addictive to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Love relationships will be destructive and toxic and most likely with a partner that is also an addict.

Losing a job, losing a home, getting a divorce and being arrested are all terribly traumatic things to happen to anyone and chances are that if you are an addict you have done every single one of these, often more than once.

Very often an addict has a dual diagnosis which means that he suffers from a mental disorder as well as the addiction. This is hardly surprising since going through so much trauma will inevitably lead to things like anxiety, depression, PTSD and more. Drugs and alcohol can also change the chemistry of the brain to even further complicate matters.

Individual Counselling session

 The Importance Of Dealing With Underlying Issues

Focusing on the causes of destructive behaviors is essential during the process of recovery from addiction. Treating the cause of the destructive behaviors and not just the symptoms will help addicts to achieve and maintain long term recovery.

In order to prevent relapse it is essential for addicts to receive trauma counselling to deal with unresolved issues.

Family therapy is also vitally important to recovery from addiction. Family relations will no doubt have suffered damage during the course of addiction. Very often the addict is not the only person in the family that has suffered from trauma and these family patterns will have destructive effects if they are not addressed during therapy.

Very often family members of the addict are addicts themselves, or codependents that are enabling the addicts behaviour.

The addict needs to not only deal with the underlying issues surrounding his addiction, but also be taught new ways of coping with emotional pain, stress and anxiety that has resulted from trauma but also from every day events, so that he can cope with life in a healthy way when leaving treatment for addiction.

When the addict recognizes and understand the triggers and reasons behind them that drive him to use he can start applying the healthy coping skills learned in treatment to help prevent relapsing. Click here to read more about relapse prevention.

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The Long Road to Opiate Addiction Recovery

Opiate addiction is a dangerous disease that results in tremendous damage to individuals, families, and communities across the nation and around the world. This disease has become so devastating that it has reached epidemic proportions. However, there are treatment options available that can allow sufferers to retake control of their lives and end their opiate abuse. The road to opiate addiction recovery is a long one but one that could save your life.

Opiate addiction recovery pin

The First Steps

The first thing that must be done to recover from opiate addiction is to stop using opiates. This one thing that is easier said than done. Stopping opiate use after becoming addicted is incredibly difficult and may even be dangerous due to intense withdrawal symptoms associated with it. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Insomnia and depression
  • Powerful drug cravings

These symptoms are extremely unpleasant and may even be dangerous without medical supervision. It is for this reason, it you should seek help. The best place to get help recovering from an addiction to opiates is a treatment center.

How Treatment Centers Help Recovering Addicts

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every person and addiction is different, requiring professional evaluation and personalized treatment in order to overcome a substance use disorder. Certified opiate addiction treatment centers have the personnel and resources necessary to perform this function. They have a number of different treatment options to help addicts, but what is most important is that the addict receives treatment.




Proven Treatments for Opiate Addiction

While there are many different treatment options for recovering opiate addicts, it is essential that they are proven to be effective. At this time, only behavioral therapies, counseling, and medications have proven effective in ending opiate abuse over the long term. Common behavioral therapies and counseling techniques used are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Aversion therapy
  • Contingency management
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Family counseling

All of these techniques are commonly used and have been proven effective, particularly when combined with certain medications.

Recovery from opiate addiction

The Role of Medications

Medications are incredibly helpful tools in recovering from opiate addiction. However, it is important to understand that medications alone are not treatment. They are only effective when used in combination with behavioral therapies or counseling. Common medications used include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Suboxone
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone

When used with behavioral therapies and counseling, these medications can help recovering addicts get and stay opiate free.

Aftercare and Continuing Recovery

It is important to remember that no matter what treatments are used, no opiate addict can ever be truly cured. Opiate addiction is a chronic disease and must be managed for the remainder of the sufferer’s life. This does not mean that these recovering addicts cannot get off opiates and remain drug free.  It does mean that opiate addiction recovery is an ongoing process and takes time and effort. There is always the possibility of relapse which makes building a recovery support network and a relationship with a treatment center vital.

Having access to further treatment to help you remain drug free are essential parts of ensuring a drug free existence. Though it is a long and difficult road, it is possible to overcome an addiction to opiates and live a normal life.

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