We’ve all been in this situation. Having to explain to someone else that you’re sober and working a program of recovery. Typically, it becomes easier to do the longer we are in the program, as naturally with time we not only become stronger in our sobriety, and more grounded in our recovery, but the stigma of our old behaviors begin to drift away, opening up space to show others our fresh, refined selves. Continue reading How To Tell Others You’re In Recovery
It’s not often you hear something that, despite its irony, makes perfect sense. When most people think of an alcoholic, they envision a person at the bottom of the social scale, brown-bagging their addiction on a street corner. However, the alcoholics that I have come to know and love are amazingly deep, talented, insightful and giving people. They’ve had the blessing of connecting with the truest, most exquisite version of themselves as a direct result of their alcoholism.
Continue reading Being An Alcoholic Saved My Life
Achieving Sobriety: Why Long Term Treatment Centers Work
There is no formula to decipher what path or method will get a person to reach long term sobriety, but most experts agree that the best advice is to commit to a long term treatment plan. This means a minimum of 6 months at a treatment center which offers different levels of treatment, including a detox inpatient and extended care program. While the commitment may seem difficult, or even impossible, the truth remains that with a little faith and the right facility the best chance to understand and embrace a life of recovery starts with a long-term stay at an accredited and multi-faceted rehab center. Here are some of the main reasons why treatment really works.
1. Long Term Detox
Depending on one’s drug of choice, it can take between 1 and 6 months to detox from the long time “hangover” associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Your body needs time to rid itself of the toxins it has built up over time. Simply abstaining on your own, without the accountability of being in a rehab setting or having the support of experts, is nearly impossible. Will power alone is not enough to stop an afflicted person from choosing to pick up their drug of choice again, but in a supervised atmosphere, the first few months of recovery are dramatically easier to overcome.
2. Repetition of Sober Living
When under the care of a rehab facility, clients are guided daily with repetitive teachings on how to remain sober. Therapists and technicians cultivate an atmosphere where afflicted clients can begin rebuilding daily life without the use of drugs and alcohol, as well as help clients develop skills of accountability toward themselves and family members. In addition, clients are taken to 12-step meetings where they can network with other sober contacts as well as understand what life after treatment looks like.
Understanding the blessing of sobriety and all that it brings takes time. Often clients reach a “pink cloud” of happiness when they have initially overcome the first phases of detoxification from their addiction. This usually happens within the first 30 days. In the short term this is positive, but there are successes and failures in sobriety and true illumination happens months after this point. Eventually, a “miracle”occurs when a person makes a significant shift in their journey toward recovery and from then on have the motivation and clarity to continue in their journey. Overcoming the “obsession” of using and embracing a journey through the 12 steps outlined in most recovery programs is the goal of any long-term treatment plan.
Spending a significant amount of time away from the people, places and things that “trigger” addicts to use again is a very important factor that makes long-term treatment programs successful. Even the most motivated individuals find it difficult to resist the urge to use again when confronted with their old situations and lifestyle. By remaining away from those places, either geographically or just physically, a client has the opportunity to focus on the solution rather than face their old problems. Over time, most addicts find themselves able to show up to the situations which used to cause them to use, helping them remain sober when life begins again outside of treatment.
5. Making Friends & Networking
Seldom are people able to make significant connections in 30 days or less. When an individual embarks on multi-month journey toward recovery, they are able to form significant relationships with their peers, therapists and community of people in recovery. This not only makes them more accountable for their actions but also strengthens their sober support group. Having a sober network is forever a key element of long term recovery, even when an individual has achieved multiple years of abstinence. It is considered one of the golden “tools” for continued growth in sobriety.
The Hope Center for Rehabilitation is located in Boynton Beach, Florida and specializes in drug and alcohol addiction. Treatment plans range from 1-9 months. If you know someone who is in need of inpatient treatment, or want to know more about the programs we offer, call one of our team members at 1.866.233.1869.
Withdrawing from alcohol is not only excruciatingly painful, but it can be highly lethal. One of the most dangerous and distressing symptoms of withdrawal from chronic alcohol abuse is delirium tremens. Delirium tremens (Latin for ‘shaking frenzy’) involves a sudden and severe change in one’s nervous system and mental system, and typically affects those who stop drinking suddenly after a period of 10 or more years. Delirium tremens can also be caused by a head injury, severe illness, or infection in people who are afflicted with long-term chronic alcoholism. There are several differences between alcohol withdrawal symptoms and the DTs – both sets of symptoms are listed below.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting
- Heart palpitations
Symptoms of Delirium Tremens
- Body tremors
- Changes in mental function
- Agitation, irritability
- Confusion, disorientation
- Decreased attention span
- Deep sleep that lasts up to several days
- Rapid changes in mood
- Sensitivity to light, touch and sound
- Stupor, sleepiness, fatigue
Delirium tremens is the most serious form of ethanol withdrawal, and can ultimately (and quickly) lead to total cardiovascular collapse. Because DT has such an exceedingly high mortality rate, any symptoms require immediate medical attention. Several neurotransmitters within the brain are directly affected by chronic alcohol consumption. During alcohol withdrawal, the loss of GABA-A receptor stimulation causes a reduction in chloride flux and in turn is likely to produce or contribute to tremors, anxiety, seizures, tachycardia (increased heart rate), and diaphoresis (profusely sweating).
In the United States, less than 50% of alcoholics experience serious withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use. Out of those who do, only around 5% will undergo symptoms of delirium tremens. Before pharmacotherapy was available, a staggering 35% of DT sufferers experienced mortality. Currently, the death rates range between 5 and 15%. In the majority of cases, the DTs are treated with benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals, as well as antipsychotics if necessary. Because the symptoms of delirium tremens can be so severe and life-threatening, if you or someone you love has been exhibiting signs of alcohol withdrawal or has decided to cease use, it is important that he or she check him or herself into a professional, medically monitored detoxification center immediately.
According to the dictionary, detox is “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances” – which is essentially the purpose of medical detoxification from drugs or alcohol. In most instances, the addict or alcoholic has been engaging in drug use for a prolonged period of time, and has decided that he or she is ready to fully commit to recovery – to learning how to live a sober life free of drugs and alcohol. The first step into recovery is ridding one’s body of the chemicals it has been cluttered with over the years.
Can’t I Detox Myself?
It is very important that the addict does not attempt detoxification alone for several reasons. First of all, when an addict or alcoholic is attempting to withdraw from drugs or alcohol, it is not uncommon for the side effects to cause so much physical discomfort that one will begin using again before they are fully detoxed simply to diminish symptoms. Additionally, detoxing from prolonged drug use can be severely injurious in many instances – and sometimes lethal. Detoxing from extended daily alcohol use tends to be deadly if not carefully monitored. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include tremors, anxiety, increased heart rate, irritability, confusion, headache, and sweating. Severe withdrawal symptoms are referred to as delirium tremens, and include severe confusion and agitation, fever, seizures, and hallucinations (tactile, auditory, and visual).
Because symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are usually treated with sedatives, it is important that the process is observed and a professional distributes the medication. It is important that detoxing from drugs is supervised professionally for very similar reasons. In serious cases, detoxing from certain drugs can also cause severe symptoms such as seizures, though drug detox is usually limited to insomnia, depression, tremors, nausea and vomiting, headache, and other less lethal symptoms. Many detoxifications from prolonged drug use require prescription medication in order to wean off the illicit substance used, and because even maintenance drugs can be abused it is important a medical expert distributes them.
Drug and Alcohol Detox – What Should I Expect?
When admitting yourself to a drug or alcohol detox clinic, you can expect that the staff will make the experience as comfortable as possible for you, and that the groups that are frequently held in such clinics will introduce you to the atmosphere of a rehab center. It is important to remember, however, that drug detox in itself is not treatment, and without attending inpatient directly afterwards the likelihood of relapse skyrockets.