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.

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#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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8 Things That Happen When You Enter a Sober Living Community

Completing your treatment program represents a huge step in your journey toward sobriety, and you have finally entered the part where relapse prevention is your highest priority. Entering a sober living community is an effective way to learn how to manage your cravings in a supportive environment until you feel strong enough to return to an independent lifestyle. Choosing to transfer to a sober living house after your primary treatment program ends increases your chances of maintaining sobriety thanks to the support that you receive from the community as a whole.

Sober Living Community

Decrease Stress in Experiential Sessions

Life outside of rehab is stressful, and it is important to learn how to manage your stress so that you do not fall prey to temptation. You learned stress management skills during your treatment such as using mindfulness meditation to combat anxiety, and sober living services bring these types of techniques to life with in-house group sessions. Whether you prefer to decompress with yoga or acupuncture, it is important to continue with your relaxation strategies as you transition to a life of sobriety.

Stay On Track with Transportation to Sobriety-Related Activities

A lack of transportation is a barrier to recovery that many people face as they rebuild their lives after dealing with the devastating consequences of addiction. A sober living community provides transportation services; that means you will never have to miss a group or individual counseling session due to not having a vehicle or license. Since you know that attending your aftercare program is essential for your success, transportation is a critical element of your plans for staying sober.

Make Friends with Other People Who Embrace Sobriety

Letting go of negative influences is much easier when you can meet others who are committed to sobriety. Your sober living community is filled with other people who understand exactly what you are facing now that you are back in the real world. Whether you just need someone to chat with over a cup of coffee or you are looking for a few teammates to shoot some hoops, finding support is never a problem when other sober-minded individuals are always available at your residence.

Rebuild Your Physical Health with Nutritious Meals and Exercise Programs

Addiction not only takes its toll on your mental health, but it has also affected your physical wellbeing. Strengthening your body also helps you to keep your mind clear, and many people in recovery find that eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly helps to combat cravings. Choosing to enter a sober living community gives you access to an in-house chef who prepares nutritious meals throughout the day, and you will be provided with snacks to help you stay on track with rebuilding your body through a healthy diet. While you will always enjoy in-house recreational opportunities, access to a local gym allows you to take your exercise routine even further as you recover your physical health.




Manage Cravings With 24-Hour Support

Eventually, cravings get further apart and easier to manage. However, you need assistance getting through those early cravings that seem so intense. A sober living house provides support around the clock; that means you always have someone available to talk to, even at 2 a.m. when you find it hard to fall asleep. Since staff members at sober living houses are selected according to their understanding of addiction, you never have to worry about judgment. Instead, you can lean on them for support while learning new strategies to ease cravings as you move forward on the road toward beating your addiction.

Stay Accountable with Regular Drug and Alcohol Testing

You are growing stronger every day, yet the temptation to use drugs or alcohol remains. One excuse that people fall into with addiction is the belief that no one will notice if they just take one hit or enjoy a single drink. Unfortunately, that one hit or drink always leads to drug and alcohol abuse that requires starting all over again. This is why receiving regular drug and alcohol tests is an essential part of establishing accountability in your sober living house. In addition to holding you accountable, it also provides reassurance that your housemates also stay committed to keeping substances out of the house.

Receive Individualized Assistance with Career and Daily Living Skills

Reintegrating back into a normal lifestyle after addiction takes dedication and hard work. It also means that you may have skills that you need to learn to be successful once you live independently. When you enter a sober living program, you will be provided with a professional assessment that helps determine what services will best help you rebuild your life. For some, this means having a member of the staff demonstrate the basic skills of daily living such as how to do laundry or prepare a healthy breakfast. For others, career advice is needed, and you will be provided with opportunities to develop a professional resume and practice interviewing skills. All of these individualized programs give you an extra edge when you move to your permanent home.

Gain Strength through Living in a Positive Community

Years of living with addiction often placed you in unsafe, negative environments that were detrimental to your wellbeing. After that, living in a sober community feels like a relief. From enjoying a walk in a tranquil outdoor setting to playing a round of pool with your housemates, rediscovering the beauty of life makes each day a little easier as you work through the issues surrounding your addiction. Weekly goal setting sessions help you remember what you are working toward, and every step you take is guided by both professional and personal support that helps you maintain a positive focus on healing.




Knowing your options for recovery is essential to helping you plan the next step on your path to managing your addiction. Although a sober living community demands strict compliance with staying off of drugs and alcohol, every type of support is available to ensure that you stay sober. When leaving your treatment program feels overwhelming, the doors of your sober living community are open to embrace you with a full network of support that increase your chances of a successful transition into sobriety.

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Retreat Centers As A Recovery Tool

We all are different, it is what we all have in common.  Therefore, I believe with good guidance from a sponsor, that we each need different tools to achieve a full recovery and a happy life.  I have been sober for a long time, long enough to see people come and go.  Long term stable recovery involves changing who we are on many levels.

Some say meetings and conference approved literature are the only way to go.  Some have very regimented concepts of how the steps and recovery occurs.  If that works, then it works, don’t fix it.  I find that I need other tools to help me with my recovery.

One tool outside of the program that I use are retreat centers.  I have found that getting away from my routine occasionally helps me to better understand myself, and work in a focused manner, or learn something new.

One of my character aspects is routine.  Routine, like most character aspects, can be a positive force in my life.  It can be a negative one as well.  I can show up every day to the same job/meetings etc.  Occasionally I need to recover from this by getting out to a safe place where I can see and experience myself from a different angle.

Remember, if we could recover by ourselves, many of us would.  Our higher power works through others, occasionally I need to cut my higher power a break and get to a new place with different people.  Retreat centers can help me with this.

Retreat Center as a recovery tool

I went to my favorite retreat center for the first time in September 2009 for a Labor Day retreat.  It was a social retreat, no big agenda, just fun and meeting others.  Like going to a family event, I took my own car, I backed in.  I felt as out of place as I can get without bolting out the door.  I did not feel right until I had a massage on the second day.

After that, I could understand that there were two folks there that bothered me.  The rest of these folks were amazing friends I just had not met yet.  By the end of the weekend, I was able to understand why the two folks bothered me.

So, some of my core issues are control and isolation.  I cannot control others, so to feel better, I gravitate away from people.  I also learned in recovery that the people I do not like or do not trust, or flat out hate, will teach me the most about myself.

If I have a strong emotional reaction to someone (good or bad), I try to the best of my ability to stick with it and learn what that is about.  Going to a retreat where the entire goal was to be with new people was terrifying for me.

I can go to almost any 12 step meeting anywhere (been to meetings on several continents, different languages, different cultures, same message).  It is safe, I know pretty much what will happen.  If I am uncomfortable, deep in my heart I know it will be over soon…. and I can go on my way.  I can fake it for an hour or two, no problem.  At a retreat center, it is different.  I am there for a few days.

It is not over in an hour.  I have to live with it and try to understand it.  My favorite retreat center provides me with a safe place to be uncomfortable.  I am usually there long enough to figure out what the issue is, and usually enough time to either confront myself about it, or learn that this is part of who I am.

So, retreat centers can be a recovery tool.  The programming often pushes a limit or two within me, but at the same time provides a safe container of spiritual people for me to be with long enough for me to face who I am and understand what is bothering me.

12 step meetings can be formulaic.  They can have stifling routine.  I can hide in that routine.  My favorite retreat center is free flowing and causes me to run in to issues I did not expect.  It gives me people to work with to help figure it out.  Sometimes it gives me someone to just hold me while whatever energy (fear / loathing / love / warmth / whatever…) flows through me and dissipates or grows in me in that moment.

I have found that retreat centers can provide the connection and space that can help me move to the next level in my recovery.  Retreat centers can do this by providing a different environment from a meeting to allow different issues to surface so you can understand them better, to see them from a different perspective.  At least this has been my experience.

At meetings I am usually juggling one ball.  At a retreat center the environment that the staff and volunteers create forces me to juggle a few balls at once.  So, I have to be in a room with a bunch of people, I am opening myself up (something called intimacy, gosh I need to google that one of these days), I am walking through my fear of rejection, I am sometimes allowing myself to be held.  And then to top it all off, I am doing I for 48 hours straight.

I don’t back in any more, I show up, I grow and I learn.

Note:  At the beginning, I mentioned with “good guidance from a sponsor”.  I want to stress this.  Retreats and retreat centers are a tool that need to be used carefully.  Your sponsor will hopefully help you understand what your motives are.

Retreats are not a substitute for meetings and working with others.  Also, some people become retreat junkies, again, your sponsor with help guide you.  You are looking for growth and moderation.  If you figure out moderation, teach me.

I will be leading a 4th Step weekend January 20-22nd, 2017 at Easton Mountain in New York, all are welcome.  Collectively as a group the leader and participants will walk through this transformative step.

Each will take stock of who they are, what they are.  They can then use this tool to figure out what patterns and character aspects combine to produce the toxic mix that one’s drug/behavior covers up or relieves.  Finding this combination opens the lock and lets you out.

I love leading these weekends, I have the privilege of watching recovery take off.  Yes, the change is uncomfortable, the love is amazing.  I do not back in, but do what you need to do to show up.


Andrew Kerivan has been in continuous recovery for 32 years. The Twelve Steps are the cornerstone of his recovery. Andrew does not subscribe to one method of doing the Twelve Steps. He feels that balanced recovery requires that each step be approached with different methods depending on one’s particular experience.


 

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