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10 Sober Ideas For Creating Meaningful Traditions

10 Sober Ideas For Creating Meaningful Traditions

While the holidays are a source of joy and excitement for many, for those in recovery, it can feel quite the opposite. So, how do I manage the holidays in recovery? Here’s 10 sober ideas for creating meaningful traditions.

With the holiday season approaching, you may feel more unsettled than usual as you think about potential triggers, mental health struggles, and the overindulgence that comes with the season.

For years the holidays were centered around drugs or alcohol, so it can feel overwhelming to know how or where to begin.

Take heart in knowing that you now have the opportunity to start from scratch. Being in recovery means you have a clean slate to start new, meaningful traditions with family or friends. 

So, let’s talk about how to navigate the holiday season as an individual in recovery, and a few ideas to help spark your inspiration. 

Taking Care of Yourself During The Holidays:

If you’re in active recovery, you’re already well aware of the challenges that can be thrown your way. Most holidays involve alcohol in one way or another, so taking care of yourself during this season is vital. 

Here are a few ways you can make this holiday season a little easier:

Be Proactive:

If you’re new to sobriety, it may not be in your best interest to simply “wing it”. Ask yourself a few proactive questions to ensure you’re not caught off guard:

  • What is my desired outcome for this holiday season?
  • How am I going to handle my triggers?
  • Who can I trust at a social gathering to hold me accountable?

If you have a sponsor, now is a great time to connect with them about your worries. Every person in sobriety struggles around the holidays to some extent. Lean on those who have walked in your shoes so you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. 

Identify Your Triggers:

No, alcohol or drugs may not be the only trigger you come across during the holidays. For example, your emotional and mental state during the holidays can make you feel weaker than normal. 

A few common triggers include:

  • Interactions with certain family members (people)
  • Unexpected schedule changes 
  • Financial pressures 
  • Traveling
  • Certain locations (places)
  • Other objects such as: syringes, tinfoil, or bottle openers (things)

Keep in mind, you may not always know exactly what triggers you have until you’re confronted with them. If you have a therapist or close friend or family member, talk with them – they may be able to pinpoint something you aren’t able to see. 

Make a Plan To Say ‘No’:

Create a boundary, and stick to it. Bring a non-alcoholic beverage to sip on so others won’t offer you a drink. While some people choose to hide their reasons, it’s always better to maintain honesty. 

A few ways to respond may be:

  • “I don’t drink”. 
  • “I’m not drinking anymore”.
  • “I’m in recovery”.

Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation if they attempt to push you further. Alcohol is often the only substance people feel so compelled to have to explain not using. Set your boundaries as you feel comfortable.

Starting New, Meaningful Holiday Traditions In Recovery:

Recovery can be a rocky road and the holiday seasons are sure to bring about old memories of substance use in the past. While you might not feel as cheery and bright as in previous years, your holidays are by no means doomed for gloom!

Making the choice to create fun, wholesome, new holiday traditions can help you cultivate the healthy life you are striving to build. Establishing traditions can not only give you something to look forward to, but it can also serve as a positive experience among feelings of stress and worry. 

So, let’s go over a few sober holiday traditions to try this year:
  • Host a Movie Marathon: When was the last time you let yourself enjoy movies you once loved as a kid? Host a Christmas movie marathon with your closest friends or family members. Have each person write down their favorite childhood movie and draw from a hat! You could even make this a weekly event leading up to the holidays. 
  • Schedule a Game Night: Board games are incredibly underrated. Who doesn’t love a good competitive game of Clue? Or get ruthless with UNO. You can invite family and friends, or make it a night specifically for companions in recovery. Each person can bring their own favorite game to share!
  • Start Baking: Baking cookies, granola bars, pies, and other holiday treats have been around for ages. It’s a fun, holiday-centered tradition that doesn’t require any substances to enjoy. The plus side? Baking can be done as an individual activity for days you don’t feel like socializing, or as a group effort. 

  • Hit The Rink: When’s the last time you laced your skates up and took to the rink? Probably childhood. Whether it’s a community ice rink or wooden floored skate park, skating is a wonderful way to not only get your body moving but enjoy active time. 
  • Decorate Gingerbread Houses: Dedicate an afternoon (or evening) to icing those windows, and plopping gumdrops on your front lawn. Gingerbread house decorating is the equivalent of pumpkin carving during Halloween. You may just be surprised at what architectural skills you have! Entice some sober friends to decorate along with you with peppermint lattes or a new coffee
    1. Try something new. Ever made Turkish Coffee on the stove top? Ever made your own handmade pasta (its not hard) or peppermint bark? Or maybe learn to roll your own spring rolls?
    2. Not a foodie? No, problem – go different. The US Olympian, Tom  Daley has a new book out on knitting – something he learned to do to handle boredom and it became a sort of meditation. Go to a pottery house and paint your own. Drop an language app onto your phone and spend 30 minutes a day on it or YouTube how to play the uke or guitar.
    3. Attend a Light Tour: Many cities around the country have Holiday walk-through light tours. If yours doesn’t, make it a tradition to walk or drive through the neighborhoods that go all out. From string lights to Santa Claus, to the Grinch, the decorations are endless! It’s a fun way to enjoy the spirit of Christmas. 
    4. Caroling is a waning tradition but singing with friends is a great booster for mood and gets the mirth pumping. Print off some easy sing-along sheets from online, grab your coffee and a few of friends.
    5. If you’re stuck – go early to a meeting. Open the door for people as they arrive. Smile, shake hands and greet them – tell them you are glad they came and you hope they keep coming. Not feeling social? Set up chairs, make coffee or bring some cookies to put out. When in doubt – simple acts of service are a good tradition any time of the year.

      Holidays In Recovery Are a Time To Start New:

      Holidays aren’t exactly avoidable. They come and go no matter what. If you’re in recovery, holidays can be particularly triggering. Be proactive about your approach, create a plan and identify your triggers so you feel both empowered, and safe

      Sobriety means creating a new life for yourself. The holidays make look different this year, but creating new, healthy traditions can become an anchor in your journey.

      Recovery gives you an opportunity to make the holiday season what you’ve always wanted it to be.

      Whatever you do, I wish you a healthy and happy holidays –

      Buon Natale’ !

      Resources:

      https://www.victorybayrecovery.com/resources/blog/10-ideas-for-making-sober-holiday-traditions/
       
      https://www.talkspace.com/blog/why-the-holidays-are-difficult-for-people-with-addictions/#:~:text=The%20holidays%20are%20often%20associated%20with%20indulgence%20and%20extravagance.,(and%20even%20those%20without).
       
      https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/teach-me/recovery-during-the-holidays
      https://westcoastrecoverycenters.com/creating-new-and-healthy-holiday-traditions-in-recovery/
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      The Beginner’s Guide To Kidney Transplant

      If you are here reading The Beginner’s Guide To Kidney Transplant than likely you or someone you love is faced with the prospect of needing a kidney transplant. This can be an overwhelming time and there is a lot of information out there and a lot to consider. This article is just to get you started and do a quick overview. Speak to your physicians, talk to your family and friends, get second opinions or even third – whatever it takes for you to feel able to make an informed decision and the one that is right for you.

      The kidney is a fundamental element of excretory system. The two bean-shaped kidneys play a very critical role in the human body. They are responsible for filtering out the blood and other body fluids. This way, they ensure the release of waste.

      Several sorts of kidney problems occur. You might experience a kidney stone, swelling or deterioration. All such kidney problems can halt excretory functions. The kidney becomes unable to filter blood. The wastes accumulate within different body parts, causing numerous issues like high blood pressure. When 90% of a kidney stops filtering and excreting, it results in kidney failure.

      A kidney transplant is a life-saving procedure. It can cure kidney failure and other conditions requiring the removal of one or both kidneys.

      In the initial stages, kidney wash through machines and dialysis works. However, in severe kidney failure, the only option is a kidney transplant.

      Although a human body can survive on one kidney, weak individuals need another. People with other medicinal ailments or second kidney failure also rely on an outsourced kidney. This is only possible through a kidney transplant.

      Causes of Kidney Failure

      Despite occurring naturally, a few other factors can also cause kidney failure. Individuals having diabetes are more prone to kidney problems. Chronic or uncontrolled blood pressure levels also add to kidney damage. The consistent inflammation can affect the filtering process. They all eventually lead you towards severe kidney failure. That more possibly necessitates a kidney transplant.

      Dialysis Vs. Kidney Transplant

      With failed kidney, there can be two available options. Either one can go for dialysis, which is a machine-assisted excretion for a lifetime, or have a kidney transplant.

      No doubt, a kidney transplant is scarier than dialysis. But it can be effective in the long term. With dialysis, a person has to continue undergoing the same procedure again and again. There is no point in getting recovered or coming back to normal. It is because dialysis is a procedure rather than a treatment.

      A kidney transplant, on the other hand, offers you a one-time risk. Once you have matched the donor and undergone surgery, you will be free to continue living. That is why a kidney transplant is a preferable choice.

      Some people are afraid of surgery or getting rejected during kidney transplants. Remember, it is still completely up to the patient what to opt for.

      Why Opt for a Kidney transplant?

      When compared to dialysis, a kidney transplant is preferable because of the following reasons;

      • Low Treatment Cost – It is one-time, whereas dialysis will continue to cost for a lifetime.
      • Better Quality of Life –It will let you live the rest of your life in peace and comfort.
      • Fewer Dietary Restrictions –Unlike dialysis patients, there is no limitation on what or what not to eat.
      • Lesser Health Risk –Unlike dialysis, it enables you to stay healthy in the long run.

      Kidney transplant cannot always be in favor of everyone. A few things might restrict you from going for a transplant. It is potentially unsuitable for people with old age, severe heart diseases, cancer, mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, etc. So, everyone needs to consult with the doctor first, and if it comes under any no-go category, the person will have to continue with dialysis.

      Types of Donors for Kidney Transplant

      For a kidney transplant, there can be two types of kidney donors. They are the following;

      1. Living Donor

      A human body can rely completely on one healthy kidney for all metabolic activities. That is why an individual can always donate a kidney to someone in need. However, criteria to be met, such as blood group and tissues, should match to either donate or accept a kidney.

      A kidney donor can be a family member or someone else. It is always preferable to receive a kidney from a blood relation as it lets you avoid the risk of rejection and is usually beneficial.

      1. Deceased Donor

      Another way of getting a kidney is from a deceased person. It happens in a way that hospitals usually gather data on people needing a kidney. The hospital informs immediately whenever a deceased person’s kidney matches the patient. The doctor prepares an instant surgery for a transplant. It is significant because the kidney transplant should take place shortly for a kidney to be valuable.

      Kidney Transplant Procedure

      Kidney transplantation is more or less like other surgical treatments. During a kidney transplant surgery, the doctor injects the anesthetic dose within your blood through an intravenous line in your arm. It is basically to make you fall asleep or for a while to undergo the incision. Once unconscious, the doctor makes an incision to open up your abdominal region. He then puts in the donor’s kidney and connects the arteries and veins to your circulatory system. As the blood starts flowing, the new kidneys function within your body.

      Alongside that, your kidneys need a connection to the ureter. It can only then carry on the excretion process smoothly. The doctor connects the newly induced kidney to the ureter and the bladder.

      As far as your original kidneys are concerned, they usually remain inside the body and aren’t disposed of. However, in some cases, when the failed kidney causes trouble, it is removed too.

      Risks of Having a Kidney Transplant

      Although a prevailing treatment for severe kidney issues or kidney failure, a kidney transplant is not a full-proof solution. It causes multiple risks either during the transplantation surgery or afterward.

      • Rejection of the Donor Organ – While operating, the donated kidney might not be compatible with your body. It is possible to even after undergoing the matching tests and everything else. Hence, it is risky.
      • Kidney Diseases –The transplantation, although it eradicates the ailment, for the time being, there are chances of the patient regaining a mild or severe ailment.
      • Side-effects –Undergoing the surgery can cause you side effects. It will leave an incision mark and temporarily cause redness, swelling, and pain.

      None of the above three risks is unpreventable. Almost every doctor provides medication to minimize donor rejection, kidney diseases and surgical side effects.

      Postoperative Possible Complications of  Kidney Transplant

      • Infection  – Minor infections like urinary tract infections, colds, and flu are common after kidney transplants. However, in most severe conditions, pneumonia or CMV infection may occur.
      • Blood clots –  The most common complication after a kidney transplant is the development of blood clots in the arteries connected to the donated kidney. In some cases, medications can be used to dissolve the blood clots.
      • Urine leakage –  Sometimes, after a kidney transplant, urine may leak through the connection between the ureter and bladder. This usually happens during the first-month post-kidney transplant.

      Conclusion

      Opting for a kidney transplant requires you to think twice before stepping in. It is all onto you because you must live with both the benefits and risks of the transplant. You must be brave enough to analyze the situation and make a decision.

      Once you agree to the transplant, it might cause you mental stress. You may feel worried about undergoing surgery and have a fear of rejection. But it would help if you calm your mind. Do exercise, eat healthy, engage in positive activities, and take good care of yourself before and after the kidney transplant.

      References

      1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK567755/
      2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553074/
      3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230851/
      4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549004/
      5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716102/
      6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8711553/
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      Beginner’s Addiction Recovery Seminar for Parents, Partner and Spouse

      Addiction Recovery 101 was started year’s ago in my old practice location in Bellaire, Texas (we are now in Memorial/Hedwig Village area). We started it to provide a beginner’s seminar for parents, partners and spouses who have a loved one struggling in active addiction, a loved one who had recently entered treatment or one who had recently gone to treatment and was now in early recovery.

      For people with a loved one in active addiction, there are lots of questions and a world of unknowns. And the internet hurts at least as much as it helps, with outdated, misdirected and opinion rather than fact driven information. It can be an overwhelming time of fear, frustration and sadness. This seminar is intended to provide a starting point; an introduction and entry into the “what do we do now?”. This seminar is here to help explain the nature of the disease of addiction and how to get help.

      When it came to people who had a family member currently or recently in treatment, we found that many were missing out on the resources they had available to them, for one reason or another. Most treatment facilities in Texas provide some sort of education and therapeutic support services to the family while a client is in their care. The robustness of these services widely vary, but most places offer something. We realized however that many times family members were unable to make the drive to facilities located at a distance and often times missed the most intensive information given during what many treatment centers refer to as “Family Week”.

      With the changes from the pandemic, many of these services began to be offered virtually. This is a great adaptation and kept service and support going – but there is an apathetic sterility that comes from handling highly intimate and personal information via the screen. Many families would opt out or lost interest quickly in these opportunities.

      Below you will find a listing for a one-time seminar to help you get started. We offer it 1-2 times a month. It’s kept fairly small; 12-15 max, in attendance each time. This is done on purpose – because it’s critical information and a critical time – we want the experience to be informative and meaningful.

      The information is below. If you’d like to attend, give us a call and we will send you the form to register. Thank you for visiting and we appreciate the courage and fortitude it has taken for you to get here.

      Just remember to breathe. You can do this.

      Addiction Recovery 101

       

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      Quick Definitions and Facts on Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Below you will find some quick definitions and facts on addiction treatment in Texas. I hope this helps to make things a little clearer. I’ve also included some personal opinions on what I believe good treatment should be in hopes of making it a little easier for you find the best option for you or your loved one.

      Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Addiction, in the past, has incorrectly been thought to be a question of will power or choice. “If you really wanted to stop drinking, you would.” – we now know just how wrong and even damaging this belief was. 

      Alcoholism, like all addictions, is a disease. (A disease is an illness or affliction of a primary organ and in the case of addiction it’s the brain.) Alcoholism is genetically oriented, progressive in its destruction and path, chronic and requires a lot more than just “willpower” to overcome. (*you can find some quick statistics on Alcoholism at the bottom of this page)

      A well known addiction physician in Houston was fond of explaining it like this: Addiction is biological, like diarrhea, so if you think you can simply choose to overcome it – the next time you have diarrhea, try to think your way out of it. (a bit over simplistic and graphic for some folks – but you get the point). Addiction is a challenging disease because it has psychological, emotional, relational and other challenges, but at it’s core, it is still a disease. You cannot successfully out-maneuver your own biology; at least not alone.

      It’s important to note that some substances can kill you outright when you are using them, few are likely to do this when you are detoxing off of them. Alcohol (and Benzos) are two of the definitive and very dangerous exceptions. Many people have died trying to detox at home. Even if you have succeeded in doing this before it is not worth doing – luck doesn’t last forever. By the time you are in crisis, an ambulance may not be able to make up the time needed to get you into medical care and safety.

      When it comes to alcohol detox – always seek the help of a physician and personally, I would opt for a medical detox level of care. Your life is too precious to gamble. Again, you will not win against biology. Please, don’t do it alone. Get help.

      Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Benzodiazepines are a commonly prescribed medication for sedation. Also called ‘tranquilizers’, benzodiazepines come in a wide range of varieties – amounting to 2,000+ different kinds. Benzodiazepine is a silent but potentially deadly drug that’s often used in combination with a range of other substances to produce its effects. Considered an accomplice in thousands of drug-induced deaths, benzodiazepine dependence and addiction is a serious health problem that poses a threat to an individual’s quality of life. It is especially lethal when mixed with other substances like alcohol.

      Benzodiazepine detox, like alcohol detox, is very dangerous to undertake on your own. It is highly encouraged that you do not attempt this outside of a medical detox with physicians and 24/7 nursing available.

      Chemical Dependency Education in Texas

      This should be part of any level of treatment and is needed for both the person struggling with addiction and their family/loved ones. Sometimes exhausted and scared families will contend that they are not the one with the addiction so why should they “have to go” to classes/counseling. As many recovery communities teach; you are not healing and growing in your recovery until you change your mindset from “I have to go” into “I get to go”.

      Chemical Dependency Education and support are a benefit and gift – don’t waste it or let it go by. CD Education helps to relieve the strain everyone has been feeling, support the hard changes needed to sustain healing for everyone and make sure that all members in the family and support system have accurate information and understanding of what is happening. I often tell families, “It’s not your fault that we are here at this point, but you are able to make the healing easier or harder going forward.” Your actions can mean more than your words. Get informed and get involved.

      Any reputable Residential, PHP or IOP treatment program will have education and support services specifically for family and loved ones as part of it’s program. Make sure you get the details and take advantage of it. It’s a good start and they will often be able to connect you with other resources for ongoing support.

      Cocaine Addiction and Treatment in Texas

      Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that’s made from the leaves of the coca plant which grows native to various areas in South America. Cocaine is the second most commonly trafficked illegal drug in the world, with an estimated 1.9 million people aged 18 and over using the drug in the United States alone. 

      One of the most difficult aspects of cocaine addiction is that the high first achieved – when the body has never before been introduced to cocaine – can never again be achieved to the same degree. The cocaine addict is essentially condemned to chase something that biochemically is no longer achievable. Yes, they can use more, but the pleasure will never reach the same point.

      The greater risk of death is during use, not typically during deto, unless other serious medical conditions are present. But, detox can be very unpleasant and for many difficult to complete. This is where going into a medical detox facility can be helpful.Following detox, residential or partial hospitalization is necessary for any chance of sustained recovery. And like with all addiction, immersion in a recovery community is paramount to success.

      Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) in Texas

      The best Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) will likely offer a holistic & evidence-based approach supporting long-term recovery for the client and the family. An IOP should include individual, group, & family therapy and all therapy should be conducted in a discreet, uplifting environment. If it is punitive or lacking privacy – go somewhere else. Beyond alcohol & drug addiction specific programming, the better programs tend to offer a range of therapies to support issues surrounding anxiety, depression, grief/loss, shame, trauma, family systems, process addictions and more.

      Some programs are heavily weighted in favor of a particular recovery community’s philosophies; like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). More contemporary programs understand that there are different paths to recovery that may best fit individual needs. These will support clients being involved in AA, NA, Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, Life Ring, Celebrate Recovery and more. Many programs say they use evidenced-based approaches and individualize treatment. It’s okay to ask them to be specific and explain how this is achieved. A reputable program will welcome your interest and happily share what they do.

      In Texas, an IOP should be at least 10 clinical hours (9 in group and 1 individual) each week and run 8 to 12 weeks. Groups should be run by Masters level therapists. Some will also employ Masters level intern therapists and they are required to tell you this up front. Some interns can be phenomenal, so don’t let that turn you away. But ideally there should be a balance so find out how much of your face-to-face clinical service is being provided by interns versus seasoned clinicians. Any IOP (or PHP) who has a majority of their clinician service hours being provided by interns should be up front about this and in our opinion, should also be ready and willing to negotiate a significantly discounted rate for clients without insurance.

      Any reputable IOP will seek to involve family/loved ones in the treatment process and will provide a robust, specific and detailed Discharge Plan no less than 7-10 days before you leave that level of care. Make sure you let them know you want to be included in the development of this.

      Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Marijuana is the most used psychotropic drug in the United States. Although the likelihood that a person might abuse and then become addicted to marijuana are slim, there are more cases in recent years where dependence has developed. One argument for this is that the THC levels in marijuana commonly accessible today can be 15 times more than what it was 10-20 years ago. (“It’s not your Momma’s marijuana anymore”).

      Another difference is that a notable amount of longer term marijuana users experience significant increases in anxiety during withdrawal, some to the point of having panic attacks. These points, and others, are part of the reason that more centers around the country have developed specific programs for this and are accepting admissions for marijuana abuse. Some insurance companies are now supporting coverage for this treatment, too.

      Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment in Texas

      A highly addictive stimulant drug, methamphetamine is used by an estimated 12.3 million U.S. citizens. Over the long term, recurrent, frequent meth use can lead to addiction and dependence. The longer that a person uses meth, the stronger the dependence becomes. It isn’t uncommon for meth addicts to fall into financial turmoil as a result of their addiction. At a certain point when all monetary resources have been exhausted in pursuit of the next fix, abusers may turn to theft and other illegal activities in order to sustain their expensive habit.

      Meth is particularly hard on the body and brain. Some treatment programs are cautious to admit long term users due to frequency of bizarre behaviors during early recovery. Healthcare needs and a longer duration of brain recovery are very common with longer term methamphetamine abuse.

      Opioid Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Considered a health crisis or epidemic, opioid addiction can cause serious dangers to a person’s health, social, and financial problems. The class of drugs are typically prescribed in healthcare settings to treat pain, but their strong potential for abuse has become a major problem worldwide.

      The treatment for opioid abuse is twofold: opiate recovery counseling and withdrawal management. The first focuses on the social, mental, and emotional aspects of the addiction while the second works to ease the system into a drug-free state.

      There are medications available to assist with opiate withdrawal and early recovery – there is some controversy around some of these. Speak openly with your addiction-savvy physician and counselor and get clear information. Even the most widely known medication for this has shown their highest success rates only when medication and treatment/counseling were used in tandem. There is no “miracle pill” cure. Treatment and a recovery support community are still necessary for any chance at sustained recovery.

      Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) in Texas

      PHP level of care should give our clients the strongest foundation possible upon which to build independence in an out-patient setting. It’s an highly-focused program, with groups meeting 5 days a week, for 5 hours a day, plus individual therapy and psychiatric visits. It is most often used in lieu of Residential Treatment (when combined with Sober Living) or as the first “step-down” post discharge from Residential.

      PHP gives clients the knowledge, tools, support, and structure to start building strength and confidence in their sobriety. PHP should be seen as the first step of an extended treatment program that also includes Intensive Outpatient Programming (IOP) and possibly Sober Living. Any reputable PHP will seek to involve family/loved ones in the treatment process and will provide a robust, specific and detailed Discharge Plan no less than 7-10 days before you leave that level of care. 

      Process Addiction Treatment in Texas

      Addiction comes in all sorts of forms. A common misconception is the physical over-reliance on substances, in which an individual would often fall in physical, emotional, and mental pitfalls. But this reliance on substances is just one type of addiction. Process addiction, or behavioral addiction, deals with the compulsive nature connected to the actual act of abuse on substances and other triggers that cause addiction. Some examples of behavioral addiction can include gambling addiction, porn addiction, shopping addiction, gaming or social media addiction, and food addiction. 

      Similar to other types of addiction, help is always available for the individual. Identifying the problem, addressing the different triggers, and creating solid treatment strategies are some of the best ways to help with this disorder. Addiction is nearly impossible to treat if the person won’t accept that they have an addiction.

      A behavioral addiction can be present alone, as a co-morbid condition along with a mental health disorder or even cross-addiction with substance. (It is important to mention that the presence of any addiction with the absence of any emotional or mental health disorder is extremely unlikely. At minimum, anxiety and depression are a common part of early recovery and whether that is solely due to the process of addiction recovery or fueled by emotional health is something that time and a seasoned professional should help to determine).

      Recovery Coaching in Texas

      Professional recovery coaching is an invaluable step in the sobriety journey, as these experienced coaches provide continued guidance and accountability for clients either discharging from a Sober Living House, or after IOP, or for those who can manage a lower level of structure. Clients typically work with a recovery coach for 90-180 days. The best recovery coaches have been professionally trained, extensively, in addiction treatment and recovery, have experience working within the field and are immersed in their local treatment community.

      In Texas, they should hold a professional certification and/or license. Personal or “life experience” does not make someone a professional recovery coach. While that can be helpful, that is what refer to as a peer not a professional. A professional has formal training, along with experience. You can think of it this way: having had heart problems may give you valuable insights but doesn’t make you a cardiologist. Likewise, personal addiction experience doesn’t make you an addiction treatment professional.

      Sober Living in Texas

      Sober living program provides structure and support in early sobriety, and is designed for individuals in need of that structure and accountability during the transitional period back to normalcy and independence. There is a world of difference in the quality and support levels provided by various sober living homes across the state. Do your research. Ask your physician and counselor for recommendations and whenever possible, go and visit/tour the facility. 

      A reputable sober living will arrange for you to tour the property and answer your questions. You should expect that most will not allow family and others to visit or enter the property except at the initial tour – this is to protect the privacy of the other residents. Many will want you to have completed RTC, PHP or IOP before coming. Most will support your employment schedule, to a point.

      Strong sober living homes have behavioral expectations, some type of curfew, house meetings and a required number of recovery community meetings each week. Rather than fight it, try to embrace it. If you’re headed to sober living then your way of staying sober wasn’t working anyway. So maybe it’s time to listen to someone else?

      Synthetics Addiction Treatment in Texas

      While drugs used to be made from natural ingredients, many of the drugs of today are synthetic or completely man-made. The roster of synthetics includes notorious names like methamphetamine, LSD, and ecstasy, all of which cause significant effects on both mind and body. Because of the nature of these substances, it’s highly likely for individuals to get hooked and addicted to their use.

      Although the ever changing nature of synthetics can make it a challenge to understand the drug, synthetic drug abuse is treatable. The ideal treatment is a residential treatment center  in which a patient is sent to live in a facility for the duration of the process. Typically, 35 to 45 days or more may be needed, followed by at least 2-3 months of IOP. This is because synthetics can take many forms, and the emotional and psychological effects can be bizarre and lingering which can be scary and confusing for caregivers and the client. So, in some cases it can even be a safety issue. Also keep in mind that caretakers in a private home setting might not be able to identify whether the patient is using synthetics or not.

      QUICK FACTS ON ALCOHOLISM IN THE US

      (from the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics)

      • 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 have an Alcohol Use Disorder.
      • 140.557 Americans die from the effects of alcohol in an average year.
      • Of these, alcohol-related liver disease is the leading killer, causing 19.1% of all alcohol-related deaths.
      • 53.7% of alcohol-related deaths are due to chronic misuse.
      • 52.4% of chronic misuse deaths are attributable to alcohol alone; 47.6% include additional factors, such as other chronic health issues or drug abuse.
      • Alcohol poisoning is another leading killer, causing 32% of acute alcohol-related deaths.
      • Over half of Americans (roughly 60%) report increasing their alcohol use during COVID-19 lockdowns.
      • Each year, 97,000 sexual assaults among American college students involve alcohol.
      • 22.5% of acute-alcohol related deaths are due to suicide.
      • (Suicides involving alcohol kill more people than car accidents involving alcohol).

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      Struggling with Substance Abuse or Emotional Health in Houston?

      Categories
      Synthetics, Designer Drugs, & More

      Synthetic and Designer Drugs

      Counseling for Synthetic and Designer Drugs

      Synthetic and designer drugs are often newly-created versions and adaptations of illicit drugs. Sometimes, they are even new substances, manufactured by individuals in labs, or even in homes. These drugs usually are much stronger than their illicit counterparts. The sheer intensity of the substances can cause more devastating effects on the body. One of the most concerning aspects about synthetic and designer drugs is the common use of highly toxic materials as ingredients when making them.

      There are three major categories of synthetic drugs:

      1. Synthetic cannabinoids – mimics marijuana
      2. Synthetic stimulants – mimics cocaine, methamphetamine, “bath salts”
      3. Synthetic hallucinogens – mimics LSD

      Synthetic/designer drug makers will often give their creation its own brand name. They often market it under such names as: K2, Spice, Vanilla Sky, White Rush, Scarface, etc. Whatever the name, these products are extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening if ingested…even once. Yes. Just a single use can kill you.

      Another challenge related to these substances is that they are ever-changing depending on what the individual manufacturing it decides to put in them. The ingredients that are used can be tweaked and changed however the the person making it decides, which can make potentially even more deadly. To make it even more complicated, with the ever growing number of chemicals being developed…these manufacturers genuinely have no way of knowing exactly what their drugs contain.

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      Using Synthetic and Designer Drugs Is Extremely Risky

      The risks of using synthetic and designer drugs are huge because you never really know what you are taking. When you these these drugs there is a good chance that your body will be altered and you may not function as your normal self after just doing it one time. It can also target select body functions causing them to decline in function with each continued use. The plain truth is that you may not even survive at all, even after one dose. So you have to ask yourself, “Is using this really going to be worth the risk of possibly losing or ruining my life, or the lives of others?” But with so much misinformation out there and a general ignorance to just how lethal these drugs area – the questions rarely get asked. And far too often, younger people become the deadly recipients; giving in to peer pressure or the misinformation they learn on the internet.

      Some symptoms of using synthetic drugs may include:

      Hallucinations
      Aggression
      Paranoia
      Suicidal thoughts or impulses
      Homicidal tendencies
      Increased heart rate
      Increased blood pressure
      Confusion
      Vomiting
      Heart attack or stroke
      Death
      Seizures
      Self-destructive/violent behavior
      Delusions

      What Makes Synthetic Drugs So Dangerous

      Since synthetic and designer drug makers often change the properties of the original drug counterpart, these drugs typically will have a new, different effect on the brain. They typically also have a different effect on the behaviors of those who ingest them. These new and different effects on the brain/behavior can make drug rehab and counseling more difficult. Each individual who receives treatment and counseling will need to have a different regimen according to how the substance they’ve chosen to ingest has affected their body. The old days of “one path to recovery” as a motto for addiction treatment is simply no longer valid. Treatment centers and professionals who are worth their salt know they have to adapt care to meet the ever-changing problems that arise from an ever-changing and adaptive list of drugs. If the chemistry is ever-changing, how can the care and treatment be successful if it doesn’t change to meet it?

      Why Is Synthetic Drug Addiction So Hard To Treat

      Most synthetic drugs will end up causing physical damage, psychiatric damage and/or addiction. Once an individual starts using them they will most likely not be able to stop themselves from going back again and again, despite the terrible consequences. Knowing the risks and what they might lose is not enough to keep most addicted people from using again. When addiction reaches this high of a level, there must be some sort of intervention and rehabilitation. This is necessary if the person is going to have the best opportunity for recovery and the support needed to reclaim their life and restore sobriety. People addicted to synthetics/designer drugs often need a structured, treatment environment, medication intervention and working with addiction professionals in order to get them back on the right path.

      What to Expect in Treatment for Synthetic and Designer Drug Addiction

      With synthetic and designer drugs, expect counseling and rehabilitation to be intensive, structured and thorough. This is needed in order to detoxify the body, create behavior limits, learn new skills, support knew boundaries, address the guilt and shame and curb cravings/urges for the substances. Being inpatient in a facility tailored specifically to treating these addictions can also be very helpful. However, initially they may have severe withdrawal symptoms and behaviors that will have to be managed with medication and other measures that are deemed necessary at the time to ensure their safety.

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      Ultimately, drug addiction is a complex and difficult disease affecting the you and everyone in your life. It is up to you to start making the right decisions; ask for help and find the motivation you need in order to make a better life for yourself and the ones you love. Your road to recovery begins with you and your greatest chance of success lies in part on your willingness to accept the change.

      Stop.

      Breathe.

      You CAN do this.

      Call Now (346)-493-6181

      What Happens After I Finish Treatment?

      After detox and inpatient treatment, continuing to work with a seasoned and experienced counselor who specializes in addiction recovery will only increase your chances of helping you reclaim your life. If your loved one is suffering from addiction, be supportive and let them know you care…because it may make all the difference – and get some help for yourself, now. You cannot save them from themselves, but you can learn how to help and how to heal.

      Survival is not enough – life is meant for living.

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      Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.