Archive for: Addiction Recovery

Asking for Help

Asking for help is not easy. Our culture places enormous pressures on us to perform at peak levels most of the time. We are expected to be able to solve our problems ourselves. Self-reliance is a fine concept, but sometimes we need another perspective on our problems. Some problems, like addiction, are bigger than us. We need to look outside ourselves for the solution.

Asking for help is not easy. But it can be a bridge to a different way of living.

The Power of Recovery

For the past several weeks and months we have been hearing a lot about the problems caused by substance abuse and addiction. The people that have died, the bizarre and sometimes offensive behavior, and those having legal and professional issues seem to be in the news. We hear and talk about them but rarely hear and talk about those that have had success in recovery from substance abuse.  Substance abuse treatment works.

Here is one person’s story:
He was 17 and had a good life.  He loved school, sports, church, fishing, hunting, and most of all his family.  He loved life and all it brought to him.  Then shortly before high school graduation his world changed.  His mother died in an auto accident, he was driving.  The trauma, grief and guilt were so overwhelming.  Within a month he drank alcohol for the first time and it brought the relief he was seeking.  Finally he could cope with life again, just have a drink.

College started in the fall and his drinking increased.  Alcohol helped him cope with the change and it took away the pain he was feeling. When he went home for winter break he again experienced the unexpected.  His father died of a heart attack as he was giving him CPR in the family home. The emotions were extreme and confusing.  Alcohol was there to help.

He moved back to the family home to live with his sisters so they would be able to live as a family.  The effects of emotional pain, grief, trauma, and guilt led to the experimentation with marijuana. It was great!  The pain would go away, for while.

For the next decades this is how he dealt with life’s complications, with alcohol and drugs.  Even though he was able to complete college, hold down jobs, get married, have children the emotions that come with trauma and loss were never addressed.  He was living an unhealthy life filled with lies, deceptions, alcohol, drugs, shame and guilt.

After 27 years of using unhealthy coping skills, drugs and alcohol, and denial that he needed help he accepted the family support and encouragement (ultimatum) to get that help. Dealing with the issues in his life was now to take a different course.

Changing course in his life included going to an outpatient treatment program for his substance abuse. He accepted that he did not want alcohol and drugs to dictate his feelings and behavior.  For the 6 months in outpatient treatment he received the understanding, guidance and support that he needed. He started to network with others and participated in support groups. He changed his course in life.

 

He will be the first to tell you that change is not easy and not everything gets better quickly.  He will tell you that if you can be honest, open-minded, and willing, life does get much better. Recovery is a process not an event, some things change quickly and others need more work.  His life continues to evolve by doing so. It has been seventeen years since entering that treatment program and by getting the counseling and using the recovery tools, he has not used alcohol or drugs since. He feels life is great again. Treatment works! Recovery saved his life.

This is my story, a true story of life and the story of changing course. I am Gary Nelson a person in long term recovery since 1997. I accepted help in dealing with the unexpected events in life, facing the addiction and co-occurring issues.  I now again love life and all it brings to me, the outdoors, golf, church, time with friends, and helping others seeking recovery. I am a sober husband, dad and Papa. There’s nothing better than that! There are approximately 23 million other people with long term recovery in the United States today.  We are the anonymous people, your neighbors, employers, your healthcare workers, and your friends.

Substance abuse treatment today includes addressing co-occurring issues in life.  These may include mental health issues of depression or anxiety, relationship issues, or additional behavioral addictions.  Research has provided an understanding of why the disease is so destructive to our brain and how miraculous the healing process is.  For more information on the disease of addiction go to:  http://www.drugabuse.gov/  http://www.samhsa.gov/

Gary Nelson, CCDP

Opiate Use: From Experimentation to Addiction

Experimentation with alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco typically begins much earlier than experimentation with opiates. Opiates include both powerful prescription painkillers, like Oxycontin, Percocet, or Opana, and their illegal street cousin, heroin.

Opiate abuse is on the rise. In some communities it has reached epidemic proportions.

Recent research indicates that the average age of first use (an important indicator for addiction) has fallen from 22.7 (2001) to 18.5 (2011). That is a significant decrease in just ten years. Young adults are experimenting with opiates earlier than ever before. But how does experimentation turn into addiction?

It takes on average one year of sporadic opiate use for someone to develop a daily habit; however, some users with a genetic predisposition might jump to daily use within just 15 days. After dependence is established, the pain of withdrawal can become greater than the pain (physical or emotional) that the user was attempting to avoid. The motivation to continue habitual use is reinforced as the emotional or physical pain relief from the drug becomes greater than the pleasure. Use that began as the pursuit of pleasure has become habitual use to prevent the excruciating pain of withdrawal. The individual’s relationship to the drug can be characterized at this point as a non-negotiable, fundamental daily need.

Once an individual has reached this level of physical and psychological dependence, addiction treatment is necessary. The good news is that addiction treatment works.

Alcohol Treatment: 5 Questions to Ask

Seeking treatment for alcohol abuse can be an intimidating process. It shouldn’t be.

The medical establishment characterizes addiction as a disease. We don’t feel ashamed to seek treatment for diabetes or heart disease. Why should alcohol abuse be any different?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that individuals shopping around for addiction treatment, for either alcohol or drug abuse, ask the following five questions to potential treatment providers:

  1. Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
  2. Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of individual clients?
  3. Does the program adapt as the client’s needs change?
  4. Is the duration of the treatment sufficient?
  5. How do twelve-step or other recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?

Love yourself enough to seek help with addictions this Valentine’s Day

There is no doubt that substance abuse and addiction is difficult during every season of the year. Once the rush of the holiday season, balancing work and holiday time off, and a long few days of travel to see friends and family is over; all that is left is getting back to ‘normal’. January is a month full of change and resolutions, so making time to cope with personal hardships (like addiction and substance abuse) is put at the bottom of your to-do list. As February approaches, the usual hustle of preparing for a magical and romantic Valentine’s Day for you and a significant other, spouse, or partner takes priority. This reveals the real question: is there ever time to get help for myself?

Realizing that you are important enough to get help is the first step on your journey to navigate out of the dark path of addiction and substance abuse to a healthier life. The problems associated with addiction and substance abuse seem to start out slowly and pick up speed in what seems like no time at all. Using and abusing substances affects your life, the life of your friends, family members, children, co-workers, and everyone else you interact with on a daily basis. What began as a coping method for stress or an activity during your downtime quickly becomes a lifestyle and the center point of many more problems. To take charge of the cycle of use and abuse of drugs and alcohol is often the hardest part of the recovery and healing process; and takes courage and support. The process of recovery requires resources to get the help that you need in order to control the substances that have a strong grip on your personal life. Mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment are the vital next steps in the process of your recovery. Overall, wanting to live your life as the healthiest and most well person you can be is reason enough to seek help for addictions for the holiday of celebrating love. Loving yourself enough to get help is a magical and romantic thing that can give you back a healthy fresh start to your relationship with yourse

Erika McCaghren

Teen Binge Drinking

Something for nothing does not exist in this world. Not spiritually, not emotionally, not financially. The easy-and-free feeling that comes from ingesting massive amounts of alcohol? It comes, like everything else, with a price tag. Even outside of potentially disastrous context of addiction, binge drinking among teenagers has real consequences, cognitive (brain) consequences.

A recent study, (Binge Drinking May Affect Memory of Teens), shows that binge drinking, even among non-addicted teens, impairs spacial working memory. According to researcher Susan F. Tapert:

“Even though adolescents might physically appear grown up, their brains are continuing to significantly develop and mature, particularly in frontal brain regions that are associated with higher-level thoughts, like planning and organization. Heavy alcohol use could interrupt normal brain cell growth during adolescence, particularly in these frontal brain regions, which could interfere with teens’ ability to perform in school and sports, and could have long-lasting effects, even months after the teen uses.

Binge drinking, by the way, is defined as five or more drinks for a man or four or more drinks for a woman.

Alcohol Use and Women

Addiction to alcohol occurs at a much faster rate in women than in men who abuse alcohol. Women metabolize alcohol different than men and hormone levels in females may also make them more susceptible to alcohol’s effects. As a result of excessive alcohol use, certain types of medical complications can result and include:

  • Heart disease and related heart complications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Menstruation complications such as early menopause
  • Fertility and childbirth complications
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Brain damage such as shrinkage of the brain and dementia
  • High death rate from suicide and accidents

If you are concerned about your alcohol use or that of someone you care about, seeking the help of a professional who specializes in substance abuse treatment could be lifesaving.

Prescription Painkillers Drive 91% Increase in Teen Poisoning Deaths

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a chilling statistic driven by teenage prescription drug use. Almost twice as many teens died from poisoning in 2009 compared to 2000. The reason for the alarming increase, according to the report, is an increase in teen use of prescription painkillers like Demerol, Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycodone. These powerful painkillers are opiates, classed in the same category of drugs as heroin. They are highly addictive and extremely dangerous.

Expanding the Pinnacle Counseling team!

There are exciting things happening at Pinnacle Counseling. We have updated our website to feature the new additions to our counseling staff, Rachel Nachtigal, LPC and Joel Gray, LPC. They are proud members of the Pinnacle Counseling team, both specializing in Mental Health and Relationship Counseling.

You can follow all of the news straight from the source by checking out our website at https://pinnaclecounselingnwa.com/. Or by following us on twitter at @Pinnacle_Cares or liking us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PinnacleCounseling. So check them out and get to know us better. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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