Monthly Archives: December 2015

Chairs in a circle for a meeting

A Newcomer’s Guide to Recovery Programs

Recovery means much more than simply completing a drug treatment program. While successfully completing a treatment program is an important step, recovery is a lifelong process and requires other essential tools in order to maintain hard-earned sobriety. One of those important “recovery tools” is continued and proactive involvement in a recovery program. These sober support groups provide those who are newly sober the fellowship, support and encouragement they need in order to stay motivated in their recovery.

 

Just as every addict has different needs and goals in their recovery, there are different recovery programs that embrace different philosophies. If you are new to recovery and are looking for a recovery support program that will provide you the spark you need to strengthen your sobriety, the following are several popular recovery programs utilized by addicts worldwide.

recovery program right

Popular Recovery Programs

12-Step Programs

The most popular sober recovery program available to those in recovery are 12-Step programs. The first 12-step program began with the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 and currently there are over 50 in existence that cover a wide range of addictions from substance abuse to eating to sex addictions. The foundation of these groups lie in the Twelve Steps which can be seen as a blueprint for people to move from their addictive behaviors towards a happier more spiritual existence in which they help others who struggle.

Each of these steps revolve around a specific theme and are meant to be worked sequentially as a process of getting rid of addictive behaviors and should result in a growth in freedom and happiness. For those who are new to 12-Step programs, they can be guided in working the steps through the help of a sponsor who has considerable clean time and is active in working a program of recovery. The fellowship that is found when attending regular meetings helps empower the addict to continue working their own recovery program.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery was founded in the mid-1990’s and is a not for profit, nationwide organization which offers free support groups to individuals who desire to gain independence from any type of addictive behavior. Those who participate in SMART Recovery learn the tools for addiction recovery that are based on scientific research and are based on four principles:

  1. Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Coping with Urges
  3. Manage Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
  4. Living a Balanced Life

These techniques teaches people how to change themselves from within and encourages them to be proactive which leads to self-empowerment.  This overall concept stands in contrast to the more traditional 12 step approach in which there needs to be understanding that one is powerless in the face of addiction and the acceptance of that fact.

Individuals are encouraged to talk with one another during meetings, as opposed to talking to one another. Additionally, the techniques taught in SMART Recovery evolve as scientific knowledge regarding addiction recovery changes.  SMART recovery meetings can be held in traditional meeting rooms or people can participate in online meeting forums.

The Life Process Program

The Life Process Program was developed by Dr. Stanton Peele and was conceived as being an alternative to Twelve-Step programs like AA and NA. This internet-based operates on the belief that people are not powerless in regards to their addiction and don’t need the help of support groups to overcome substance abuse.

There are four basic tenets on which the program operates and are the following:

  • Values and purpose
  • Motivation
  • Life skills and real-world rewards
  • The building and mending of community and relationships

This program was initially used in luxury rehab facilities, then made available as a comprehensive online course in which people receive both online and telephone coaching. Relapse prevention techniques are at the core of this program and participants learn how to build positive self-worth, values,  and purpose in life.

Women in Sobriety

Founded in the mid-1970’s, Women for Sobriety is the first national self-help program that is specifically geared for women struggling with addiction. Currently, Women in Sobriety has over 300 active chapters throughout the United States. The program operates on a set of principles called the Thirteen Acceptance Statements which are similar to the Twelve Steps in terms of addressing powerlessness in addiction and the development of emotional and spiritual growth. Meeting group are small by design with 6 to 10 women in each group and online meetings and forums are also available.

LifeRing

LifeRing is another secular-based recovery program which takes a more experimental approach to maintaining sobriety. The core principles upon which LifeRing operates from are based on the “three s” approach of sobriety, secularity, and self-help. Members of LifeRing do not have sponsors, but people with time are encouraged to give advice to newcomers. People in LifeRing run their own recovery programs, which is directly opposite to the philosophy of 12-step groups. The openness of this format gives members the option of incorporating different ideas as to what can help them get sober. Additionally, members of LifeRing are also encouraged to give advice to one another at meetings. Ultimately, LifeRing views relapses as experiences that can be learned from, and believes its members should not be ashamed of these experiences.

group therapy successful

What Type of Recovery Program is Right for Me?

As  you can clearly see, there are different approaches that addiction recovery programs adopt. In finding a recovery program that is right for you, it is important to approach the process with an open mind. While 12-step groups are the most popular and widely available, there may be other sober support groups that may provide you the direction you need to get and stay sober.

No matter what recovery program you decide to be a part of, an essential part of a comprehensive recovery plan is detox services. SoCal Detox has provided many addicts in southern California with quality detox services, individualized treatment plans, and compassionate care. If you or a loved one are in need to detox services that are proven to work, call SoCal Detox toll-free today and make your recovery a reality.

heroin detox

What to Expect Detoxing From Opiates

All drugs have some degree of physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal, and none are more frightening than those experienced from opiates. Opiates are a wide group of drugs that are highly addictive, and people who try to quit these substances experience extreme discomfort, pain, and can even have complications that are life threatening without professional intervention. In order for those who are addicted to opiates to completely break the cycle of dependence and addiction, they first must successfully complete medical detoxification.

While many people realize the importance of safely detoxing from opiates through medical intervention, they may feel they can quit drugs on their own by quitting drugs ‘cold turkey” or by utilizing some form of home detoxification using over-the-counter products. This method of opiate detox are extremely risky and can make one’s opiate addiction and overall health much worse. In order to minimize the fear that is associated with opiate detox, it is important to understand what opiates are as a drug as well as a timeline of what to expect when you start the detox process.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate abuse and need quality detox programs that effective, proven to work and safe, call SoCal Detox toll-free today.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are drugs that are derived from opium which is found in the seeds of the poppy plant. Within the opiate family of drugs, there are two main subgroups. Opiates refer to drugs such as heroin, morphine and codeine and are produced from the poppy plant itself. Opioids are similar in chemical structure to opiate drugs but are created in a laboratory. Opioids are the main active ingredient that are found in common prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Percodan.

These drugs work by binding to specific receptors in the brain called opioid receptors. The greatest concentration of these specific receptors are in the brain, spinal cord and gastrointestinal tract and are also found in various concentrations in other organs. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain. Opiates and opioids can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and, depending upon the amount of drug taken, can depress respiration. Some people experience a euphoric response to opioid medications, since these drugs also affect the brain regions involved in reward.

What Can Be Expected When You Are Detoxing From Opiates?

For people who are about to quit opiates and start the detox process, the number one question they have is how long will the withdrawal symptoms last? Coming up with an exact timeline of symptoms and their duration is highly dependent on a number of factors. For example, the severity and duration of opiate detox depends on the length of time opiates have been taken and the frequency in which they are taken. Additionally, the opiate detox timeline is affected by underlying medical conditions that an addict may have as well as the presence of other illicit substance in their system.

A General Opiate Detox Timeline

In general, the onset of opiate withdrawal symptoms start to occur within 12 hours of taking the last dose. The most notable symptom experienced during this initial phase of opiate detox is muscle aches and pain. Along with the pain, those going through withdrawal will sweat profusely, have diarrhea, experience loss of appetite and insomnia. Additionally, hose going through the first stage of opiate detox almost always experience anxiety which can lead to the onset of panic attacks. This initial phase of detoxing from opiates will last 24 to 48 hours after the last dose.

detoxing from opiates

After the initial 48 hours, the worst of the discomfort and pain usually subsides, but those going through opiate detox are not completely out of the woods just yet. During this second phase–which usually occurs between day three to day five–those undergoing opiate detox need to focus on eating properly in order to boost immune system functioning. Feeling the shivers, vomiting and diarrhea are still common withdrawal symptoms that are felt during this time period. After the sixth day of opiate detox, people will start feeling much better physically, but the psychological cravings to use the drug are very strong.

What to Look for in a Opiate Detox Facility

If you are looking for an opiate detox facility, there are several important considerations to keep in mind during your search. First and foremost, the detox facility must be licensed, clean and run by experienced staff that understands the dynamics of opiate withdrawal and the potential complications that may arise with opiate withdrawal. Because of the severity of opiate withdrawal, medication therapy is an essential cornerstone of the detox process.

Drugs such as Suboxone and buprenorphine are used to help minimize the discomfort and pain of withdrawal. It is important that you find an opiate detox facility that uses these medications with strict medical supervision. While these medications are beneficial in aiding the opiate detox process, they do have the potential to become addictive. Other factors that need to be considered in finding the ideal opiate detox facility include the types of services that are offered before, during and after detoxification as well as location and the rates of measurable success the detoxification treatment center obtains with its programs.

Are You Looking For Opiate Detox Services? SoCal Detox Can Help You Starting Today

If you are seeking to break the cycle of opiate addiction in your life once and for all, don’t take matters into your own hands by trying to quit on your own. As one of the premier detox facilities in southern California, SoCal Detox offers opiate detox programs that are evidence-based, proven to work and administered by an expert and compassionate staff with many years in the addiction recovery field. From the moment you enter our facility to the day you successfully complete treatment, our staff will implement an individualized plan of recovery that can change as your needs change during detox.

Take the first step towards freedom from your opiate addiction and call SoCal Detox today!

holiday socks

How To Avoid a Relapse This Holiday Season

The holidays are the time of year when family and friends gather together to eat, drink and be merry. While this time of year is filled with merriment and love, it can also be one of great anxiety for those early in recovery. Holiday parties, family get-togethers and other social functions are filled with triggers and temptations that can lead to relapse. Whether you are new to recovery or have some substantial clean and sober time under your belt, it is important to be aware of all the issues that can surface when the holiday season approaches.

With some thought and careful planning, you can create a plan that will help you avoid a relapse during the holiday season. The following are some great tips that will help you enjoy this festive time of year clean, sober and happy.

Have a Plan to Stay Sober Every Day

The best way to avoid relapse during the holiday season is to start your day with a plan to stay sober. While this takes place every day in the life of a recovering addict, the holiday season brings extra stresses and triggers that may not be present during other times of the year. Whether it is attending extra 12-Step meetings, volunteering, eating healthy or engaging in an regular exercise program, you need to fill you day with productive recovery-friendly activities in order to keep your mindset sharp and focused.

Assess the Situation

Your inbox and mailbox gets flooded with countless invitations to holiday work parties, dinner parties and other holiday-themed social functions. When you are in recovery, every social function has a certain degree of risk in regards to triggers that can lead to relapse. With each invitation you receive during the holiday season, you should assess each event as a high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk situation. If you are newly recovering, you may want to think about skipping holiday festivities and work further on your recovery. If you do decide to attend, the best way to minimize risk of relapse at a holiday party is to PLAN AHEAD. Bring support if you need, have phone numbers of recovering peers handy and have an exit strategy planned in advance

Bring the Party With You

sober party during the holidays

A great way to avoid relapse during the holidays is to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. Flavored mineral or seltzer water and sparkling grape juice are excellent substitutes for alcoholic beverages. You can also bring the ingredients needed to create your own non-alcoholic “mocktails”. If the holiday event you are attending as a bar, ask the bartender what  “mocktail” specialities they can make. Having a non-alcoholic drink in your hand will help you feel more confident in these social situations. Whether you supply your own drinks or are able to get non-alcoholics drinks at the bar, it is very important that you ALWAYS get your own drink and not let anyone else get it for you. This will minimize the risk of someone getting you an alcoholic cocktail by mistake.

Rehearse Your Responses

There will be times at a holiday party where someone will offer you an alcoholic drink or may ask if you want something to drink. This situations can be awkward because you don’t want to offend someone’s offer, yet you want to get the point clearly across that you no longer drink. When you are in recovery and are looking to minimize the risk of relapse during the holiday season, it is very important that you have a set of canned and rehearsed responses at the ready. These responses don’t have to be elaborate; they should be simple, polite yet to the point. Responses such as “I am not drinking tonight” or “I am the designated driver” work well in these types of situations.

Use Your Support System

One of the best ways to avoid relapse during the holidays is to utilize your support system. Bring a supportive family member, friend or someone from your 12-Step group with considerable recovery time to an event for extra encouragement and support. As stated earlier, have the numbers of those in your support group programmed in your phone and ready to use. When you are planning on going to a party, it is best to tell those in your support group beforehand and ask if they would be available to pick you up if you need.

Are You Needing Help This Holiday Season?

Have you made the resolution to get clean and sober this holiday season? Your first step in making your goal of recovery a reality is completing medical detoxification. For high quality and safe detox services in Orange County, SoCal Detox is your first choice. Our detox programs are safe, effective and proven to work. Our experienced detox staff is able to create an individualized detox plan that addresses your specific physical and psychological issues in order to give you the best chance at long-term recovery.

Call SoCal Detox today!

man chained to alcohol

The Dangers of Detoxing From Alcohol

For those people who drink alcohol on a regular and excessive basis, over a period of time they will develop a dependence to the drug and even an addiction to alcohol. When they decide to quit drinking, they will experience a series of physical and psychological symptoms that are associated with withdrawal. When these symptoms occur, a person’s first instinct is to try and ride out these symptoms on their own. While quitting cold turkey or utilizing other self-detoxification remedies may seem like a logical idea, alcohol detoxification is serious, and the withdrawal symptoms that are encountered have the potential to be life-threatening.

The dangers of detoxing from alcohol require professional help and supervision from a reputable alcohol detox facility or drug treatment center. If you or a loved one desire to quit alcohol once and for all, it is extremely important that you understand the symptoms and possible dangers of withdrawal. It is also extremely important to realize the important role of alcohol detox in your recovery. If you are looking for alcohol detox programs that are safe, effective and proven to work, call SoCal Detox toll-free right now and learn more about our detox programs.

What are the Immediate Dangers of Detoxing from Alcohol?

man detoxing from alcohol

The onset of alcohol detox symptoms often occur with six to 12 hours after a person stops drinking. The timing of these symptoms is highly dependent on a number of factors such as the length of time and frequency of an individual’s drinking, the amount of alcohol consumed, the presence of other illicit drugs in a person’s system, and any underlying health conditions. Oftentimes, people who start the process of withdrawal will still have a measurable blood alcohol level which may require additional and immediate medical care. These initial symptoms can include the following:

  • Shaky hands
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mild anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

After this initial wave of withdrawal symptoms, those who are detoxing from alcohol will experience a second wave of withdrawal symptoms that usually start between 12 and 24 hours since an individual’s last drink. These symptoms are more severe and dangerous and can include visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations. Known as alcoholic halluncinosis, these hallucinations are vivid but people who are experiencing them know they aren’t real.

What is Delirium Tremens?

The most dangerous part of alcohol detox occurs between 48 and 72 hours after someone stops drinking. This is the period when a set of symptoms called delirium tremens can appear. Often called “DT’s”, delirium tremens is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. This condition can also be caused by infection, head injury or illness in those people with a history of heavy alcohol use. It is estimated that half of all alcoholics who undergo detox will experience this condition.

During this period withdrawal symptoms dramatically increase in intensity and the severity of these symptoms can be extremely dangerous. These symptoms can include the following:

  • Body tremors
  • Changes in mental functioning
  • Extreme agitation and irritability
  • Confusion
  • Decreased attention span
  • Deep sleep that lasts for a day or longer
  • Delirium
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Hallucinations (seeing or feeling things that are not really there)
  • Restlessness, excitement
  • Fatigue

Perhaps the scariest symptom associated with delirium tremens is the onset of seizures. These seizures are known as tonic-clonic seizures and it involves the entire body. For those who experience tonic-clonic seizures as a result of detoxing from alcohol, it usually starts with the muscles becoming extremely rigid then followed by violent contractions and often a loss of consciousness. Once a seizure is over, people may experience amnesia, have significant confusion, have headaches and may feel weak on one side of the body which can last anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours.

The symptoms of delirium tremens usually peak at 5 days after the last drink and can last for up to 10 days after a person quits drinking alcohol. It is estimated that 5 to 10 percent of those who have chronic alcoholism will develop this condition in their lifetime with 5 percent actually developing the condition. It is very important to note that if a person does develop delirium tremens during the alcohol detox process, the mortality rate ranges from 5 to 25 percent. This is why seeking professional medical help is of utmost importance.

The Importance of Medical Detoxification

The dangers of detoxing from alcohol can be extremely high and dangerous to one’s health. To effectively break the vicious cycle of alcohol addiction is a safe manner, successfully completing a medical detoxification program is an essential first step on the road to long-term recovery. During the detox process, the body can naturally rid itself of the toxins that have built up in an environment which is safe, secure and supervised around the clock.

In many cases, people are given medications to help minimize the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and can make the process more tolerable. Examples of medications used include benzodiazpines such as Librium and Klonopin. It is important to note these medications are carefully administered by experienced treatment staff. During the alcohol detox process, treatment staff will also conduct a comprehensive medical and mental health evaluation to diagnose any co-occurring disorders which can impede a person’s recovery.

Co-occurring disorders are common in people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Depression, anxiety and PTSD are common diagnoses with people who have alcohol addiction. In the event that some is diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, staff will include the appropriate interventions into a person’s individual treatment and recovery plan. Once a person is substance-free and stable, they can transition into intensive formal drug treatment.

Alcohol Detox Can Save Your Life

The dangers of detoxing from alcohol are very real and very dangerous. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, medical detoxification is an absolute must. SoCal Detox has help countless alcoholics regain their health, allowing them to fully recover. Our programs are safe, effective, and administered by experienced and compassionate staff. Don’t wait another day; call SoCal Detox toll-free and take your first step towards freedom.