Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

How Nicotine Test Helps Employers to Establish Smoke-Free Workplace

Nicotine abuse is an issue affecting the profitability of businesses and the environment at workplaces. Employers are insisting on measures that will help them make the workplaces free from smoking of tobacco so as to make their businesses more productive.

Employers in US imposing ban on smokers:

Increasing numbers of employers in US are rejecting the applications of candidates who smoke. They are abiding by the laws framed by the government for the purpose and are not hiring who they find to be smokers. To know whether the prospective hired is smoker, they conduct tests. Those who are found positive for smoking are not offered employment.

Nicotine test helps them to detect smokers – instantly:

Employers apply different techniques to tackle the issue of smoking. These include testing for tobacco (nicotine) by different methods. These tests are helpful to identify if the applicant really smokes tobacco or not. Generally, a nicotine test can be conducted using urine, saliva or hair follicle samples. Employers use any or a combination of these techniques.

Benefits of establishing smoke-free environment:

A smoke-free environment improves productivity of the employees and reduces health insurance costs. Employers find smoke-free workplace beneficial on the following grounds.

Increased productive hours:

A no-smoking environment results in higher number of productive hours than in a smoking permitted one. Employees not used to smoking concentrate better on work and hence there is greater number of productive hours. They are healthy and take few sick leaves.

Whereas, smoking employees take unauthorized breaks to smoke, which is waste of productive time.

Healthy atmosphere:

As healthy employees are more focused on productivity, there is cordial relation between employees as well as employers. Such workplaces boost the employees’ morale and work potential and encourage talented workforce to work for more number of hours. Employers too reciprocate and get prompted to take positive action on any issue.

Shows professional approach of the business:

A smoke-free workplace, places the employer’s image in a positive view among the employees, peers, government, and social groups. The welfare measures taken serve as an example for professional approach taken by the employer. This will enhance mutual trust between the employer and employees.

Reduces healthcare costs:

Following a no-smoking policy at workplace would result in less healthcare costs. This is because, the employees are healthy and need lower health maintenance expenses – be it insurance premium or medical emergencies. These factors are known to cause increased medical expenses to employers in case of employees habituated to smoking. Studies show that, post non-smoking policy there is remarkable decline in the tobacco caused heart attacks, making current smokers to quit (Source: Forbes, 12 June, 2016).

Taking up nicotine tests to enforce a smoking-free environment at workplace is beneficial. The measures, of course, entail costs to the employers.

Which Is the Most Difficult Drug to Detox From?

The hardest drugs to detox from depend on your perspective. If by “difficult” you’re referring to the severity of dangerous medical symptoms that occur during withdrawal, then the obvious answer is alcohol and benzodiazepine. Both of these drugs could kill you during detox. But if you’re referring to the severity of emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms that affect a person during drug detox, then most addicts will agree that opiates are the most difficult; especially opiates like Methadone that are designed to help wean an addict from other opiates like heroin.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Medical Reasons

The following substances prove especially challenging for many addicts to withdraw from considering the serious medical risks of doing so: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines and Alcohol. The withdrawal process has been known to cause life-threatening complications in some people. This includes pulmonary and cardiovascular distress, respiratory depression, grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, coma and death.

Fortunately, death is rare but nevertheless the fact that it is possible creates a deterrent to treatment for some addicts. In most cases the risks of withdrawing from these substances can be mitigated by attending detox in a professional medical setting where healthcare practitioners and addiction experts can observe the detox process and respond immediately in case of any complications.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Emotional Reasons

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, the first annals of history were recorded by the ancient Sumerians. Translations of stone etchings show that these early peoples farmed and used opium extensively. In fact, their word for the plant can be translated to “Joy;” an apt description considering the widespread abuse of opium for the next several thousand years. By nearly all accounts, the euphoric high obtained by using opium is the highest feeling of joy most addicts have ever felt. But herein lays the problem.

When a person uses an opiate like heroin or Oxycontin to get high, they rapidly build up a tolerance not only to the drug, but also to euphoria. This means that it becomes more and more difficult to obtain the same euphoric effect with the same amount of opiates, so in nearly all cases users continually increase their dosages – some to the point of overdose and death. But in general the central nervous system becomes more and more desensitized to stimulus that would normally cause feeling of joy or euphoria. In fact, the opposite often occurs, resulting in a state known as Dysphoria; the opposite of euphoria.

Dysphoria is a severe problem for people who are detoxing/withdrawing from opiates because after the stop using the drug they often find it difficult or impossible to find joy or happiness in anything. This causes severe bouts of depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and unexplained misery, terrible sadness and overwhelming inadequacy and loneliness; even in the presence of others. These emotional and spiritual symptoms drive many people in the early stages of recovery to return to drug use in order to self-medicate their general state of dysphoria.

Opiates Used to Treat Addiction to Other Opiates

Many addicts report and anecdotal evidence suggests that withdrawing and detoxing from opiates that are used to treat addiction to other opiates is a severe and extremely challenging process. The reasons for this are not understood, but it’s possible that because most opiate treatment drugs like methadone block the release of dopamine, addicts do not obtain a euphoric effect, even though they are spared the normal symptoms of withdrawal (essentially because methadone maintenance merely prolongs the addictive process.)

Support forums on group sharing often results in addicts advising each other NOT to go on an opiate maintenance program and to tough out the initial stages of a more “pure” withdrawal instead. Therefore, it could be argued that detoxing from opiate maintenance drugs is the most difficult type of detox to undergo.

The Kindling Effect

Regardless of the substance, the Kindling Effect can make detox and withdrawal an absolute nightmare; especially if the addict in question has relapsed repeatedly in their lifetime. The concept of Kindling is that with each progressive relapse and subsequent withdrawal, the brain and central nervous system become more highly sensitized (or highly desensitized) to drug abuse and the feelings it creates. As a result withdrawal symptoms are much more severe and potentially dangerous for these individuals than for others.

Ultimately, the most challenging detox is the one you’re about to go through. Taking that first step is extraordinarily difficult regardless of what drug you use and how long and hard you’ve been using it. But the reality of the situation is that left unabated the consequences of continued active addiction are in every instance more severe and potentially life-changing that the actual process of withdrawal and detox, which usually takes 10 days or less for most people.

If you or someone you love is fighting addiction, the most valuable weapon you can give them is action. Do it now; get help, get a free consultation, and take the first step before it’s too late to move forward at all.

7 Habits of an Addict About to Relapse

Many addicts in recovery that are nearing a relapse episode exhibit predictable and identifiable habits and behaviors before the actual relapse occurs. Recognition of these habits is critical in order for people in recovery and their loved ones to take decisive and immediate action to prevent the relapse. This is especially important considering the potential consequences of each new relapse episode: prison, violence, bankruptcy, death. Relapse prevention isn’t just about stopping someone from using again; it’s about saving a life.

The following are 7 behaviors that many addicts exhibit prior to and/or during the early stages of a relapse:

1.) Withdrawal/Isolation

A person in recovery who is on the verge of relapse will likely become withdrawn and purposefully isolate other people around them. This is particularly true of people that will not support or condone a return to drug use or drinking. This could be evidenced by spending less time with family members, staying out later at night than normal or not coming home, and by seeming withdrawn and quiet when others are present.

2.) Decline in Hygiene/Productivity

There is often a lack of care and concern when a relapse is imminent. Meaning, less attention is paid to personal hygiene details, exercise programs are abandoned, employment or educational inefficiencies or neglect occurs, and regular household upkeep suffers. These are all common signs of an addict who is beginning to care less and less about trying to maintain a legitimate lifestyle.

3.) Glorification of Substance Abuse

An addict that is unhappy with or neglectful of their recovery will often yearn for the days when they used drugs or drank. They may talk about using and relive their past drug use in the form of stories, anecdotes and comments that make it clear that they miss those times, despite the severe consequences they suffered as a result. (Levels of Relapse Warning Signs, T. Gorski)

4.) Reconnecting

An early warning of relapse is when a person in recovery begins to reconnect with friends or acquaintances they used drugs or drank with. This refers mainly to individuals who are potentially still using drugs or those who do not support recovery/sobriety. These reconnections are especially troubling when the person in question has withdrawn from people that DO support their recovery.

5.) Engaging in Risky Behavior

An addict in recovery that is about to relapse will often exhibit abnormally risky behavior. This could include extreme sports or other athletic activities, promiscuity, excessive speeding and other dangerous activities. Engaging in behaviors such as these fills a certain need for excitement and euphoria, but for most addicts in recovery the only euphoria that will satiate them is a return to their drug of choice.

6.) Secretive

As people in recovery get closer to relapse, they sometimes become secretive; carefully guarding their phone or computer, remaining tight-lipped concerning where they go, who they’re with, etc. Often at this stage the relapse has already begun and secrecy is required in order to conceal it.

7.) Abandoning Treatment

Addicts in recovery usually engage in some type of ongoing treatment as part of a relapse prevention program. This can take many forms, but when people in recovery are nearing a relapse episode, they often abandon these types of treatment with little explanation. When combined with any or all of the behaviors outlined above, it’s likely that for these people, relapse is imminent. (Carole Bennett, M.A. 6 Common Relapse Triggers

If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love who is in recovery, taking swift action is critical. This should begin by addressing the issue directly with the individual, and escalate to involve the person’s support network, treatment specialists and if needed, an interventionist.

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘N Roll: The Real Story

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll is a common dream that few will know; but many try and so the story goes, that there’s riches there in the backstage glow. But looking in subjectively, one must put down the cell phone, the remote and the Wii, for things in the spotlight are never what they seem- when it comes to the combination of these infamous three.

It’s a tempting image we’ve too often seen; fans by the millions who clamor and scream; for a glimpse, just a touch or a kiss on the cheek; there’s no shortage of groupies and their big rock-star dreams. So backstage they go to embrace beneath the sheets; neither star nor fan knowing if the other is clean. Just ask Freddy Mercury of Queen or the legend Easy E, or ponder the math of promiscuity. The more sex one has the more threats one will see; the chances for most are about 1 in 3.

Of course, the risk is increased when one factors in drugs, which diminish good judgment and moral aplomb. To this many a rock star can certainly attest, with unwanted pregnancies, herpes, syphilis and the rest.

But if the threat of disease isn’t enough, consider the sexual dysfunction that could be caused by drugs; with repeated use the good feelings fade – until sex feels like nothing and relationships become strained. Then all that’s left is to get high and play; but the music, like sex, is empty and grey.

This is the way so many rock stars go; they hide in the weed, the booze and the coke. They wait for salvation in the fame or the dough, but round and round with the drugs they still go. It’s a tired old story with so many names, of rock ‘n roll legends this disease has claimed;

Janis Joplin overdosed on heroin and Hendrix choked on his own puke – while passed out and delirious on ‘barbs and on booze. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin would likewise follow suit, and choke on his vomit after 40 shots of booze. Jay Bennett, from Wilco; lost to overdose, not long after Wes Berggren from Tripping Daisy died from cocaine and ‘benzos.

Steve Clark from Def Leppard, Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot, both died far too young from a cocaine-based diet. Slipknot’s Paul Grey died from morphine and pills, while Sublime lost their front-man to a heroin thrill. It was heroin too, that took Kurt Cobain and bassist friend Pfaff; the loss to the grunge scene marred its future and past.

Some groups have lost more than one member to the scourge of addiction, the call of drug abuse – The Pretenders, The Grateful Dead, Alice in Chains and The Who – were all scarred forever when their deaths numbered 2. But it’s not a problem isolated to just these few; The Temptations, Sex Pistols, AC/DC, Blues Traveler, Weezer, Mad Season, Avenged Sevenfold and Red Hot Chili Peppers all lost members too.

So it’s clear to the people and plainly we must see, that the image of fame is not presented impartially. And though the story won’t change and it’s long as it goes, there’s still the allure of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll.

The Paradox of Drug Abuse and Euphoria

One of the most significant reasons that people abuse drugs is for the euphoric effects they provide. While many might argue that people use substances to escape reality, to cope with stress and an unlimited number of other reasons, the fact of the matters is that euphoria makes these things possible: drugs cause people to feel good, even if they weren’t necessarily feeling bad to begin with. Unfortunately, the neurological nature of addiction tells us that substance abuse actually makes it more challenging for people to feel euphoria, happiness and contentment.

How Drug Abuse Works: Understanding the Role of Dopamine

The following is a highly simplified explanation of the processes at work when a person abuses drugs:

1.) Drug is consumed which sends signals to neurons in the brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine (or others in some cases).

2.) Dopamine binds with specialized receptors and produces a feeling of well-being, contentment and euphoria.

3.) Drugs prevent dopamine re-uptake, essentially leaving the substance in the brain for much longer than would ever occur in a natural environment.

4.) Dopamine stimulates the reward center of the brain, which creates a contextual log of the event to use as cues to prompt the user to repeat the behavior. (This is based on the theory that addiction is a byproduct of an innate evolutionary survival mechanism.)

And with these four steps, the groundwork for addiction has been laid.

Tolerance: Another Evolutionary Survival Mechanism

In order to offset the effects of chemical substances, the central nervous system will make changes to receptors and neuronal circuitry to create a resistance to the drug. This can be accomplished by making fewer receptors available, altering the structure of receptors, limiting or restricting their ability to bind to neurotransmitters, or by “disconnecting” parts of neuronal circuits.

The chemical resistance created by adaptations at the neuronal level means that the user will obtain less and less euphoric effect because the CNS essentially views the drug as an invading foreign substance that interferes with the proper working functions of the brain. Of course, this is exactly what drug abuse is; persistent self-inflicted poisoning.

In order to offset the euphoria-limiting effects of tolerance, drug users will simply increase their dosages accordingly. This prompts more changes in neurons – changes that by this point are becoming permanent for many addicts. Ultimately, these changes only make it harder to feel euphoria and generally lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, feelings of worthlessness and other debilitating emotions.

In fact, feelings that are specific to certain drugs, such as high-energy to cocaine, relaxation to marijuana and joy to opiates, are often reversed as the body becomes tolerant to the drugs that cause these responses. This is especially true when an addict suddenly stops using; by forcing drugs into their bodies for so long, they have effectively developed a tolerance to the very feelings they sought to achieve with their substance abuse in the first place.

To summarize, drug abuse can destroy a person’s ability to feel good. And because addiction often comes with repeated relapse events, each successive period of active drug addiction results in additional, permanent changes within the brain – changes that can have a lasting effect on the emotional and mental well-being of the user for the rest of their lives.

This isn’t information to be used as a scare tactic to keep people away from drugs; it’s nothing more than science expressed. People take drugs to feel good, but once addicted those feelings become harder and harder to achieve, even long after active drug use has stopped. This is why it is absolutely critical that if you or someone you love is abusing drugs, they must stop now. With each passing day and each successive “high,” the one thing that they seek – happiness – becomes more difficult to come by; often leading to personal disaster.

The ultimate paradox of drug abuse is that it robs from you what you seek from it.

The Differences Between Acute and Post Acute Withdrawal

In simple terms, the primary difference between acute and post acute withdrawal is the severity and potential consequences of related symptoms. As the key words indicate, acute withdrawal is generally more severe than post-acute withdrawal. However, both conditions are in actuality different stages of the disease of addiction: first comes active addiction, followed by cessation and acute withdrawal and finally transitioning to post acute withdrawal. Although part of the same disease, these conditions should be made distinct to addicts and those in recovery and the people who support them.

Primary Difference: Risk of Serious Medical Complications

The most important difference between acute and post acute withdrawal is the potential consequences of symptoms that may arise. During acute withdrawal syndrome or AWS, symptoms can be severe; in fact, symptoms of detox and withdrawal from some drugs can cause life-threatening complications. These include alcohol, (Louis A. Trevisan, M.D., Nashaat Boutros, M.D., Ismene L. Petrakis, M.D., and John H. Krystal, M.D. Complications of Alcohol Withdrawal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) benzodiazepines (Lann MA, Molina DK, A Fatal Case of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal National Center for Biotechnology Information) and barbiturates. For some people withdrawing from these substances can cause seizures, respiratory depression, heart attack, coma, delirium tremens and rarely, death.

While post acute withdrawal symptoms do not generally pose risk of death or even serious medical symptoms, the condition does cause severe disruptions in the lives of many people in recovery. In some cases symptoms may require medication in order to successfully manage, while in others a healthy diet and plenty of exercise allow for a strong recovery plan. In fact, some people in recovery report little to no PAWS symptoms at all.

Acuity of Urge to Abuse Substances

One of the most troubling symptoms of both AWS and PAWS is a strong, compelling desire to use drugs or drink again. These types of powerful feelings are strongest during the early stages of clinical withdrawal and slowly taper off over a period of about 5 days to 2 weeks. After this time drug or alcohol cravings may still arise and they may even be consistently present, however, they are rarely as compelling during PAWS as during AWS.

However, like AWS, the desire to abuse drugs is often at its peak during the early stages of PAWS and slowly lessens over time. This is one of the reasons that most people attend treatment in the following manner:

Stage 1: Immediate drug abuse cessation and resulting clinical withdrawal, with potential for serious medical complications. Treatment consists in most cases of a professional detox program lasting for 5 to 10 days.

Stage 2: Upon completion of detox (drugs are no longer in the person’s system) patients attend longer-term treatment, during which time post acute withdrawal symptoms set in. These symptoms theoretically are at their worst levels during this time. Most rehab programs post-detox are around 30-90 days in duration, by which time the severity of PAWS symptoms should have subsided enough to safely permit the person to reintegrate with their communities. (Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

Stages of the Same Disease

In reality there is little true difference between acute withdrawal and post withdrawal: they are both part of the disease of addiction. In the early days of recovery, symptoms are at their most severe points. As recovery progresses, symptoms lessen, gradually shifting away from physical symptoms, and instead transitioning into longer-term mental and emotional symptoms. While these symptoms may not prompt the need for serious medical care, they do cause many addicts to relapse and thereby start the entire cycle all over again.

Ultimately, addiction is the disease and AWS and PAWS are merely stages. Unfortunately, few addicts recognize or appreciate the difference, and therefore many are unprepared, do not have the proper expectations, do not work a daily recovery program and subsequently doom themselves to relapse. If this sounds like you or someone you love, the time to act is now. Each progressive relapse episode is generally more severe and damaging than the last as a result of what is known as the Kindling Effect, so there’s not a moment to waste.

Support Networks in Recovery From Addiction

Support networks must be made a critical component of an addict’s recovery plan in order to prevent relapse and maintain and improve emotional, mental and spiritual health. Recovering addicts that do not have a support network often become depressed, withdraw from social interactions and eventually return to using drugs in order to self-medicate their emotional pain. Consequently, understanding how support networks can benefit a recovery program and what types of networks are available is essential for people who are battling the disease of addiction or alcoholism.

Support Networks: Why They Work

There are 8 primary reasons why support networks are crucial for people in recovery:

1.) Fellowship

The power of fellowship is felt in nearly all groups that gather for a specific purpose; especially groups with powerful missions like those dedicated to the recovery of addicts and alcoholics. Humans are innately social creatures that need to be around other people that share the same goals and interests. And while there might not yet be enough scientific evidence to prove it, for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years mankind has recognized the power of fellowship; it’s a call that all humans respond to and this may be even truer for addicts that need to know they are not alone in their struggle.

2.) Friendly Observation

People in recovery sometimes struggle with issues of honesty regarding their desire to use or their actual drug use despite recovery efforts. Having a strong recovery-based support network serves as a safety net in this regard, as people within the group can recognize issues and signs of relapse or impending relapse among others in the group. In this way people can “keep an eye on each other.”

3.) Environment of Understanding

People in the general public often find it difficult or impossible to understand the true nature of the disease of addiction and fail to recognize how powerful it really is. By creating a recovery support network, an addict or alcoholic can ensure that the people they surround themselves with understand addiction and will therefore be less likely to judge, admonish or “feel sorry” for others that they know have a legitimate, neurological disease that requires a daily effort to overcome.

4.) The Power of Sharing

There is a great deal of power in sharing and we see this in many different ways in society, from the individual talking to a therapist, to those who take part in groups and organizations, to people who open up to their barber or stylist, we clearly see that sharing helps people. Sharing can relieve stress, create stronger relationships and allow people to “let go” of emotional and other pain that they otherwise would allow to fester and grow. And according to Dr. Barton Goldsmith, sharing with others helps give us new perspective;

“There will always be problems in our lives, but sometimes we don’t have the capacity to handle them all by ourselves. Getting a 360-degree view is impossible when all you can see is what’s going wrong. And talking with another person can give you perspective.” (Goldsmith, Barton, Ph.D. Talk About Your Problems, Please Psychology Today March 3, 2011)

5.) Emergencies

When an addict has an “emergency”, it often means they are about to relapse. For some, this could prove fatal, so prompt action is required. Addicts that have good support networks are able to rely on people within them to come to their aid in the event that they feel drug use or a return to drinking is imminent. Additionally, a person in recovery may be empowered and enlightened when another addict asks them for help when they feel like using.

6.) Confidence

The confidence that a strong recovery-oriented support network can provide is significant. Many addicts report that just knowing there are people that they can talk to and others who are like them that they can turn to in the event of trouble makes it much easier to deal with the daily problems that often stress addicts and alcoholics out. When it comes to relapse prevention, confidence is one of the most critical components of recovery stability.

7.) Education and Resources

The more people an addict has in their networks, the more likely it is that new and useful information will be passed among the various members. And the more education and resources an addict has access to, the more likely it is that they will acquire the right combination of knowledge and tools not only to stay clean for life, but to help others do so as well.

8.) Entertainment

Being part of a recovery-oriented network doesn’t mean that there’s no fun or entertainment involved. People in recovery can still do all of the fun things they want to do, provided others in the group want to participate. Fortunately there are many recovery-sensitive groups and organizations that arrange outings, events and so on in order to provide clean entertainment for its members. Remember; it’s as important to share a laugh with your networks as it is to share emotional pain.

Types/Components of Support Networks

Each addict’s complete support network structure is unique. Some addicts consciously build their support groups, while others are unsure of what groups and networks exist, how to join and what the benefits are. The following are 11 different components that in whole or in part make up the support networks of many people in recovery:

1.) 12 Step Programs

Groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) have provided the fellowship and support necessary to help thousands of people maintain their recovery, “one day at a time.” Both groups are founded on the principle of the discussion and sharing of experiences, usually pre-empted by the humbling statement of;

“Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I’m an addict.”

Many rehab centers and drug treatment programs use 12 Step programs as a basis for the continued recovery program of their patients upon graduation. While these groups are not for everyone, they are convenient in that they can be found in virtually every area of the country.

2.) Recovery-Specific Groups

Recovery specific groups are those that gather for a particular purpose or activity in order to have clean fun together. Often there isn’t any structure to the groups in the sense of recovery-oriented dialogue or practices- in most cases these groups are just people trying to live normal lives but who all happen to be in recovery. Examples of recovery-oriented groups include the infamous 5th Chapter motorcycle club and Young People in Recovery.

3.) Connections Made During Treatment

When addicts complete drug or alcohol treatment together, they often form lasting bonds that become a key part of their support system. Of course, these relationships should only be maintained if they are healthy. These can be especially powerful relationships because the parties are essentially on the same “level,” and are likely going through similar experiences related to post acute withdrawal, issues re-integrating with society, etc.

4.) Recovery Forums and Websites

Recovery forums and websites provide an additional opportunity to develop relationships, discuss issues, share experiences, collaborate, meet and take part in activities together and much more. Forums are also an excellent way to gather information and resources and to easily develop a support system that might not be available in certain areas- especially very small cities and towns.

5.) Family & Friends

Family and friends that support the addict’s recovery are possibly the most important part of a strong support system. From old friends that bring understanding, history and loyalty to new friends that have been acquired along the path to recovery, often these individuals can provide more emotional support than others. The same is true of family members, but people in recovery must beware to limit relationships with family members that were enablers or those who do not suppo
rt or take addiction recovery seriously. In many cases relationships with family members are cited as the cause of substance abuse, so it’s important to choose the family and friends that are permitted into a support network carefully and honestly.

6.) Spiritual & Religious Groups

Even if you don’t take part in organized religion, there are often groups within groups among these types of organizations. For instance, AA and NA 12 Step meetings are often held at churches or other spiritual gathering places. In fact, some religious groups sponsor these programs because their ideals are largely aligned.

7.) Rehab Alumni Associations

For addicts that attended and completed a rehab program, there may be an opportunity to join an alumni association for that particular treatment center. This is an excellent way to stay connected to the people who were influential in the early part of a person’s recovery, and to meet new people who are also living a life free from drugs or alcohol, one day at a time.

8.) Community Outreach Programs

Many communities have outreach programs for the disadvantaged, and this can include drug addicts in some cases. Programs can be as simple as the provision of a place to gather and meet, or it can include funding for specialized treatment, groups, therapy and other benefits. In order to find out if your community offers such programs, your town or city hall is an excellent place to start.

9.) Healthcare Professionals

Therapists, doctors, nurses, dieticians, massage therapists, chiropractors and many other types of healthcare professional play a central role in the support network of addicts and alcoholics in recovery. In fact, most people in recovery probably underutilize this source and fail to recognize the benefits. However, this group is likely one of the most important parts of a recovery support system considering that these professionals help to maintain the physical, mental and emotional health of an individual. Consequently it’s vital that people in recovery are open and honest with their healthcare professionals and alert them to any issues that could indicate a relapse is imminent.

10.) School/Educational Resources

If you’re a student, it’s likely that your school or university has special programs available for people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. These programs could consist of therapy or counseling, the hosting of recovery-related groups, resources to get outside help and possibly funding for treatment. Additionally, other students may become part of a support network, as they are almost certainly experiencing the same stresses and issues related to schooling, social pressures and so on.

11.) Volunteer Organizations

By volunteering for any number of a wide range of organizations, people in recovery can help to give back what was given to them in the way of compassion, understanding, advice, resources, financial assistance, etc. But perhaps even more importantly, the interactions between other volunteers and organizers can blossom into significant meaningful relationships that can one day become a key part of a healthy support system.

If you’re an addict or alcoholic in recovery and you don’t have a support network, it’s imperative that you take action now and get involved. You can start with a simple search in Google for recovery related forums, or you can check the Yellow Pages for the nearest AA or NA meeting. Remember; if you go to the same lengths to stay clean as you once did to use, you’ll very quickly develop a strong network of link-minded, recovery-oriented people that will offer a mutually beneficial way to keep fighting the good fight, one day at a time.

Evils of Addiction

In a recent survey it was found that most cocaine addicts are working with reputed organizations at a fine post. Statistics also reveal that employees working in MNCs are more likely to try drugs like cocaine and heroin some time in their career as compared to students and professionals working in smaller offices. Most MNCs have therefore come up with their own drug and alcohol testing policies as per the OHS system.

Not only does this policy help in identifying drug abusers in the organization but also helps in keeping the employees away from drugs. The mere fear of being caught can cause an employee to steer clear of drugs like heroin and cocaine. 10 panel drug tests in workplaces has also helped a lot of people to get rid of their addiction problem. A workplace drug testing program helps the employers to understand the loopholes in the organization as well. The employee is of course sent to a rehab or a detox center in order to get proper treatment.

The Evils of Drugs

Excessive intake of drugs or frequent drug abuse can lead to addiction and once a person is hooked to a certain drug, he can cause some serious troubles for himself and the people around him. As far as the official point of view is concerned, a drug addict is no asset to the company because of the following reasons:

1. A drug addict is extremely careless with his work and is less likely to do it right
2. An employee hooked to drugs would have trouble taking quick decisions
3. A drug addict experiences severe drops in concentration levels
4. Shift in focus and craving for the drug at work can also lead to poor efficiency
5. If an employee comes to the office stoned, his behavior would not be proper to his colleagues and fellow employees
6. Some one who is addicted to drugs does not go unnoticed and can end up spoiling the name of the organization as a whole
7. An addict can cause people around him to fall into the world of addiction as well

There are a number of health related risks related to drug abuse as well. A drug like cocaine can destroy almost every organ in the human body and an overdose can even lead to death. Psychological problems like nervous breakdowns and extreme depression are common among drug addicts.

The worst part about drug addiction is that even when an addict knows that he is as depressed as he can ever be, he shows no intents of coming out of his addiction. Drugs have a firm grip on addicts and therefore treating a drug addict is a lengthy and tough task.

In MNCs and various other companies, drug and alcohol testing is a monthly affair. Drug and alcohol testing is also important in order for the employers to make sure that they are offering a safe and healthy work environment to the employees. In most offices a 10 panel drug test is conducted in order to make sure that the employees are not on drugs.

Tips to Conduct an Effective Drug Testing Program

The main purpose of conducting a drug testing program is to ensure that the dangerous habit of drug abuse is completely eliminated among the people. But to achieve the desired positive results, the program should be effective. And for effective implementation of this program, there are certain aspects to be taken care of. Here are a few tips that enable effective implementation of the program.

Explain the importance:

Teachers, parents, employers or any other personnel conducting the drug testing program should make it clear to the suspects that the purpose of the program is to ensure better and healthy living of the individual. It is their duty to explain the benefits of detecting and preventing the drug abusing habit. By doing so, the individuals will be encouraged to take the test without any inhibitions.

Determine the best method:

Drug testing methods are classified into different types depending on the sample used – hair, saliva, urine and blood. Of these methods, choose a method that is convenient. The convenience of the test should be judged in terms of ease of conducting and effectiveness in giving reliable results.

Be aware of drug detection windows:

Knowing drug detection windows is important for effective implementation of the program because, the drug detection periods vary from sample to sample and from drug to drug. For example, in case of amphetamines the drug detection period is 1 to 3 days in urine, 24 hours in blood, 90 days in hair and 0-24 hours in saliva.

Implement preventive methods to avoid sample alteration:

There is a probability that the suspects adulterate or manipulate (alter) test samples. Hence, make sure that the testing area/room does not contain any kind of materials/solvents which can be used to adulterate the test sample. It is also important that while collecting test samples, the donors should be monitored.

Use reliable test kits:

The effectiveness of the program is also dependent on the effectiveness of the equipment. Since testing at schools or workplaces requires on-site testing tools, drug test kits are recommended. These kits can also be used for home drug testing as they ensure privacy of results. These kits are cost effective, fast, safe, accurate and reliable. They are of different types based on the specimen used (saliva, urine, hair, etc.) and the design of kits (cups or strips). FDA approved kits give accurate results as they abide by the SAMHSA cut-off levels.

An effectively implemented drug testing program not only fetches accurate results but also plays a vital role in eliminating the habit of drug abuse.