Monthly Archives: July 2017

alcohol poisoning and detox

What You Should Know About Alcohol Poisoning

The commercials on TV of attractive people throwing a few back, movies of people taking shots until they fall down, the weekday contention amongst friends that, “I can drink you under the table”—it’s these things and more. A major reason alcohol poisoning is so prevalent is the common misconception that alcohol is pretty much innocuous. But alcohol poisoning proves the immediate dangers of alcohol, and it can hit anyone at any time—the kids at the weekend party, the weekly dinner with friends, the guy at home alone with a bottle of bourbon.

Alcohol poisoning happens when a person imbibes large amounts of alcohol in short amounts of time. This kind of binge drinking can put enough alcohol in a person’s system to begin to shut down parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature.

Overwhelming Your Body

When there is too much liquor in your system, your body simply can’t metabolize or eliminate it fast enough. Your stomach and intestines are the first in line to process alcohol, passing it straight through to the bloodstream. But your liver metabolizes the alcohol, and the more you add, the less it can handle, which raises the overall level of booze in your blood. Once levels get high enough, a person can stop breathing and have a suppressed gag reflex (they can’t vomit out the excess alcohol in their stomach).

*Please note: If you believe you or someone you are in contact with is currently experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911. This is a life-threatening situation.

What Leads to Alcohol Poisoning?

Most likely binge drinking is going to be involved. However, a person with a high tolerance who has abstained for a period of time and come back to what used to be normal for them will be at risk. As well, anyone who has been using other drugs could be unaware of the amount of alcohol they have been consuming. Drinking games often lead to quick and copious amounts of drinking. As well, mixed drinks often get consumed at a greater pace and volume because they mask the presence of alcohol.

Physical Signs of Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Bluish skin color, especially around the lips or fingertips
  • Choking or struggling for air
  • Clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Decreased gag reflex
  • Irregular breathing (more than 10 seconds between each breath)
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Low body temperature
  • Passing out/unconsciousness and inability to wake up or be woken up by others
  • Seizure
  • Shivering
  • Vomiting

Again, if you believe you or someone you are in contact with is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911. This is a life-threatening situation.

According to the CDC, alcohol dependence (alcoholism) has been identified as a contributing factor in 30 percent of all deaths due to alcohol poisoning, and other drugs were noted to have been a factor in about three percent of the deaths.

Get Out of the Binge

Drinking to excess is part of today’s culture. It is deadly and irresponsible. However, it happens every day of the year. At the same time and on the other end of the spectrum, every day people wake up and decide to refuse to let the mass market decide what is good for them. They decide that over-drinking (or binge drinking) is not sexy or fun or normal. What is sexy, fun, or normal about putting poison in your body or doing something that will kill you?

Often a person who is under the control of alcohol doesn’t want to change and/or doesn’t actually think it’s possible. They are wrong. People find recovery every day. They start off scared and unsure that it is even possible, and these same people come to find power in their journey. A self-confidence they never knew possible. And an approach to life that is filled with transformation.

Are you or someone you love struggling with alcohol addiction? Finding help could not only save your life, it could transform it. Call us today for a free evaluation: 888-590-0777.

Looking for more?

Here are the Signs of an Alcoholic

And here is What You Can Expect From an Alcohol Detox

parent of an addict

Are You a Parent of an Addict?

You never stop being a parent. It doesn’t matter how old your child is or what stage of life they are going through, your kid is your kid. That means you protection, guidance, and assistance in their lives will always feel like part of your job. You watched their first steps. First day of school. First boyfriend or girlfriend. First job. Our children are more than hobbies or 18-year interests. They are our legacy. They are hopes and dreams and they are a connection to the future and an understanding of a deeper meaning to life.

The overwhelming fact is that for over 20 million parents, all those things can come crashing down because the tragedy of a drug or alcohol addiction enters the scene. Soon the questions take a new tragic tone, one you never imagined possible. Will my son or daughter come home tonight? Are they in danger right now? Why is the money in my wallet missing again? If I ignore it, will it go away? Am I enabling my child to continue a destructive path? Where will all of this end?

These are common questions when you are the parent of an addict.

If you are in a situation where you suspect (or you know) your child has an addiction, there is hope. So many others have walked this seemingly hopeless path. But there is hope.

That said, the situation is an emergency. This is not a time to trust without action to hope without work … or pretend there is not a problem. If you are the parent of an addict, it’s time to take specific action to help your child (no matter how old they are) see the path to recovery.

See the Problem

People with addictions typically don’t wear a sign on their chest that says, “Addicted: Please Help!” But there are things to look for. And be assured that these signs do equate to “Help Me.” If no help is found, then the situation will end in tragedy. Again, it’s time to take action for the sake of your son or daughter. If you wonder about your son or daughter, keep an eye out for some of these signs (these do not automatically mean you are the parent of an addict).

Look for:

Drug Paraphernalianeedles, pipes, tin foil, pill bottles, bongs, plastic baggies, etc

Neglecting Responsibilities – missing school/work, ignoring appointments/family functions, etc.

Legal Troubles – court dates, arrests, DUI, etc.

Financial Troubles – stealing, unable to pay rent, borrowing money, etc.

Relationship Changes – new friends, seeing less of strong lasting friendships, new significant other who has substance addiction, isolation or seclusion, etc.

Physical Changes – weight change, bruises or track marks on skin, bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, depression, etc.

The important thing to remember is that where there is addiction, there is very likely to be hiding. It is not always immediately recognizable because addicts are good at keeping their habit out of sight. But many of these signs are likely indicators of a drug or alcohol addiction.

See the Disease

For so many people in today’s culture, addiction is equated with moral degradation and character deficiency. This understanding creates a destructive loop. A person with an addiction will not ask for help because admitting the need for help is akin to admitting to being a “bad person.”

However, once a person has become addicted to a substance, their brain has been altered. It is not a question of moral decay. It is an irreversible disease. But it can be treated or managed. This lifelong treatment typically begins with a detox, and moves through residential treatment and aftercare.

One thing for a parent of an addict to remember is that shame and blame are absolutely not the answer. In trying to help your son or daughter, your goal is not to make them take responsibility for actions or to feel bad for how they have treated you or other loved ones. The single goal is to get them treatment for the disease that is plaguing their bodies and controlling their actions.

See the Solution

You have not caused this problem. As well, you cannot fix it on your own.

This is a tough one for parents to digest, as often we self-identify with the actions of our children. You have provided for your child, you have been there for them through their trials and tribulations. And now this. This seems like something you should be able to take on as well. But making things better for your child might actually cause more damage. Making allowances for your son or daughter, making excuses, helping financially, all of these things are not helping your child get the actual help they need.

They need the help of addiction professionals who have a program and practices that have been proven to work. No amount of hoping or wishing or pleading or blaming or excusing or interfering will take the place of a recovery program.

This is the solution. This is the answer. Your son or daughter has a hope, and recovery is possible. But it won’t come from you alone. All you can do is help get them to see the solution as well.

We can help. If your son or daughter is caught in the web of addiction, you can call us. We are ready with answers to your questions and a plan for their lasting recovery. Call, 888-590-0777.

If you need more information what to do, here is more on how to help a loved one with an addiction, including what is involved in addiction treatment as well as how to approach your loved one: How to Help a Loved One With an Addiction.

detox from sleeping pills

The Underlying Problem With Sleeping Pills

When we were children staying up past midnight was a rare treat. Maybe New Year’s Eve, maybe a sleepover at a friend’s house. It meant we were really living—something to brag about the next day. Fast-forward fifteen years and staying up past midnight is a curse. Body exhausted, brain fried, and eyes wide open. For many in this situation, sleeping pills seem like the answer. However, there are a few things to consider if you are currently using sleeping pills to handle your possible insomnia.

There’s the night owl and there is the sleep disorder. One likes being up late; the early morning hours are a natural part of their waking/sleeping rhythms. The other feels trapped in their beds unable to get to the right REM in order to have the ability to even function. It’s a real problem, but it can get even worse.

The Culprits

The three most common sleeping pills are:

These guys will basically tranquilize you. They inhibit something called a GABA receptor and absolutely work. Which is great if you have a sleeping disorder. However, there are a few things to look out for if you find you or your loved one are wondering about sleeping pill addiction.


Just like with any chemical substance, a human body has the ability to build up a tolerance to the effects of sleeping pills. Whereas at the beginning someone taking Ambien might have been able to get a full knock out in about 20 minutes, after some time on the drug, the effects will take longer to kick in.

This produces a dangerous loop as a person creating a physical dependence on a sleeping pill will then likely up their dosage until the sleep comes at the pace they need to function.

Great Power

Playing with powerful addictive substances should always be done with caution. Many people can safely make use of these kinds of medications, but they are powerful nonetheless. A slip up could be costly, especially if you are taking high dosages and then decide to combine alcohol or some other depressant. This produces some of the highest risks of sleeping-pill addiction. Overdose is highly possible. In certain scenarios, a person’s nervous system can become so relaxed that they actually stop breathing.

The Cover Up

These are a couple of the physical ramifications, but there’s more. In today’s society, we typically want the easy way. If we can’t get to sleep, we just want to push that button that can get us to dream land. Take a pill—problem solved. Of course, addiction recovery sees beyond this.

So often our need for substances is the visible part of an addictive iceberg. Identifying and confronting underlying problems is the foundation of all recovery. Something that seems as innocuous as taking a sleeping pill could be an indication of beneath-the-surface issues that need attention and could necessitate a complete recovery plan.

Anxiety and depression both cause sleeping problems, but so do so many other life-circumstances such as trauma, physical pain, or even alcohol abuse. Simply taking a pill to help you keep your eyes shut could cause more problems than it helps.

Other Options

There are natural alternatives to try. These include melatonin, essential oils, magnesium, even warm milk has been proven to be an effective sleep aid.

Beyond what gets you the shut-eye you need, the key here is understanding how addicted you are and what the underlying issues are. You might be willing to admit to taking some sleeping pills here and there, but are you are hiding the need to combine them with booze or other mind-altering substances?

Depending on how long you have taken sleeping pills, cutting them out of your life cold turkey could be dangerous. Everything from extreme anxiety to seizures are possible. If you are in need of getting off sleeping pills and confronting the deeper issues of your addiction, please call us today. We will work with you on assessment and deciding the best option for your recovery plan. Please call us today: 1-888-590-0777.

Need more? Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to people who are suffering from anxiety disorders, panic attacks or other similar mood disorders. Here is more information on why you need to detox if you are quitting benzos.

mindfulness in a detox setting

Mindfulness in a Detox Setting

Presented by Joshua Kenyon, Executive Director SoCal Detox 


Mindfulness in a detox and a drug or alcohol addiction treatment setting.
This class was hosted by Pacific Solstice on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017. Video transcription below.

If you have noticed these signs in someone you know it may be time to get them help. For more information, call 1-888-590-0777. 

What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you think of mindfulness?

Here and now. Being present. Fear. Empathy. Awareness. Meditation.

Anybody here have a mindfulness practice?

So today we are really going to emphasize the idea of momentum in reference to mindfulness. So, I’m fortunate to be the executive director of SoCal Detox and Ocean Ranch, and we have two facilities in San Clemente, two detox facilities. And also a residential treatment facility in Escondido area.

Really our job in early recovery is to help clients gain positive momentum in their recovery. So what that looks like in the beginning is finding stabilization. … finding stabilization, providing a comfort level where they can start to surrender, get back to that base level, and then start gaining that positive momentum.

Mindfulness is really just about momentum as well. It’s about how long we’re able to be present and how long we’ve been away. Today, we’re gonna go through that process. What that’s like, but first before we get into that, I just want to ask everybody, “Who here actually works in a detox?”

What’s the main common thing you see with clients inside the detox setting? 

“Racing thoughts. Physical instability. Impulsivity. … Anxiety.”

So when I first started working in treatment, that was the one common denominator that I saw; it was that everybody had anxiety. I had the privilege to start teaching people mindfulness practices to deal with that anxiety, and I saw that it worked. 

What is anxiety?

Anybody have a definition of anxiety?

“Worry. Sweaty palms. Racing heart. Adrenaline surge. Fear.”

If you were to define what anxiety was, those are symptoms of anxiety, but what would anxiety actually be?


I want to redefine what anxiety is so I can present to you a solution to anxiety in a different way that you might not have heard of before.

Anxiety is resistance to, or un-acceptance of, the present moment. Whatever it may entail.

There may be all kinds of things that our clients, or we, are going through in the present moment that we’re resisting. And we may be justified in that resistance. But it’s actually our resistance that’s causing the anxiety.

Does that make sense? Is everybody cool with that definition?

Alright, so if that’s the case, what’s the solution?

“Stay in the moment. Acceptance.”

So the solution is acceptance, so what we can do with mindfulness is we can just decide to get present on purpose. Right? So if we’re having a struggle with getting present and that’s causing anxiety, we can just decide, “I’m going to get present on purpose, right now.”

And the result of it is it gets rid of the anxiety. It might not get rid of the things that originally stimulated the anxiety, but it teaches us to relate in a different way to the anxiety.

Joshua Kenyon is the Executive Director of SoCal Detox and Ocean Ranch Recovery. He is a Qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Instructor through The Center For Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  He also holds a BA in Philosophy and is a graduate of an accredited CCAPP Drug and Alcohol Counselor program.

His background includes working in management with a Fortune 500 company, news-writing, teaching, nonprofit work with inner city youth, and working with adults with disabilities.  His passion is in helping others discover and return to their own autonomy through mindfulness practices.



addiction aftercare detox

Aftercare and Residential Stabilization With SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox is a premier detox facility providing specialty monitoring and assessment for people to receive clean and safe detoxification.

While a high-quality detox is the first step to lasting sobriety, there are more strides to take on the journey to full recovery. That’s why SoCal Detox in San Clemente, California, carefully and purposely walks with our clients from the very first point of connection all the way through to the planning, admission, and final transition to the next stage of recovery.

Trusted Partners

Once our clients have completed a successful detoxification, SoCal Detox is their best guide to the next step for treatment. Our residents have trusted us with one of the most important decisions of their lives, so we have gone to great lengths to partner with the highest quality programs available offering everything from full residential treatment to partial hospitalization (PHP) to intensive outpatient (IOP).

Often, our clients are referred to us from one of these programs, and after successful detox, they will return to those treatment centers to continue their path to recovery.

SoCal Residential Stabilization in Orange County and San Diego County

SoCal Detox also offers a safe place for residents to prepare for the next step with our Residential Stabilization Programs. After finishing detox, some clients simply need more time in a safe place to find additional support and balance. If they have not connected with another treatment center, we can help prepare them for the next step by applying Residential Stabilization, which works as an intermediary between detox and full treatment. After a progress evaluation, we refer residents to one of our trusted partners for their next step as needed.


Our detox in San Clemente has the option of residential stabilization for women who have completed the detox. With varying treatments and programs that focus on short-term and long-term goal achievement and lasting sobriety, this step of recovery makes use of multiple modalities, experiences, and therapies—carefully crafted to maximize the time and effort of each individual involved in the program.

Addiction Therapies and Treatment Modalities

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Equine Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Music Therapy
  • Nutrition Education
  • Psychoeducation
  • Rock to Recovery
  • Spirituality
  • Yoga
  • And more


We work with Ocean Ranch Recovery in Escondido, California, to provide stabilization treatment for men who have completed detox with SoCal and are in the process of discovering the next step. Treatment at Ocean Ranch confronts the fundamental emotional entrapments of people who have developed habitual drug or alcohol abuse.

The path to sobriety goes past shunning addictive substances and incorporates recovering the soul. It is a detailed process of transitioning into “real life” for complete recovery.

Addiction Therapies and Treatment Modalities

  • AA
  • Art Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Emotional Intelligence Therapy
  • Equine Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychoeducation
  • Refuge Recovery
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Rock to Recovery
  • SMART Recovery
  • Spirituality
  • And more

SoCal Detox is committed to compassion and care for every step of the journey for our residents. Call us today for an assessment and the assurance you or your loved one will have professional guidance through the complete process of detox to the next step of lasting recovery: 888-590-0777.

drugs and driving

Drugs and Driving

We all know about drunk driving. A few beers and we take the keys away from Uncle Carl and hail an Uber to get him home. In today’s culture, there is information, safeguards, and warnings for people considering drinking then getting behind a wheel. But there is less info for anyone shooting up, then jumping in the family truckster and merging on the freeway. Yet, this happens every day.

It actually goes far beyond just shooting up, too. It doesn’t matter if the substance altering your state is illegal (cocaine, meth, heroin, etc.) or legal (medical marijuana in some states, painkillers, antihistamines, etc.), driving while impaired could get you a DUI. Or worse, lead to an accident.

Mixing drugs and driving is life threatening—to the driver and everyone else on the road.

Measuring Sobriety

Alcohol is the easiest to measure. Basically, the more you drink, the higher the level of alcohol is in your blood. This number will correlate with how impaired a person is. However, something like the impairing element of marijuana (THC) can be detectable for up to a month after a person has consumed. As you might imagine, this makes medical testing for impairment difficult. Cocaine typically leaves the body after a couple of days, so road testing could a bit more viable. All to say, it is a difficult area for law enforcement.

More Importantly

All of that is to say, while testing impairment is still somewhat of a blurry situation, what is crystal clear is right and wrong. Driving while impaired is not only illegal; it is just plain dangerous.

This goes for every manner of substance that offers an altered state of consciousness. Driving while under the influence of prescribed medication can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk and can have the same consequences (both with the law and with danger to everyone on the road). Whether they are the illicit ones or the ones prescribed to you by a doctor that you picked up at the local CVS, drugs and driving should never mix.

Here are some of the effects of various drugs (both illegal and legal) that will affect your ability to operate a vehicle:

Antidepressants: Sedating antidepressants can cause similar effects as alcohol.

Antihistamines: Slower reactions and difficulty with coordination.

Cocaine: Euphoria, excitation, dizziness, increased focus and alertness (initially), confusion and disoriented behavior.

Decongestants: Many over-the-counter decongestants can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and dizziness.

Heroin: Euphoria, drowsiness, relaxation, sedation, disconnectedness, mental clouding, analgesia, depressed heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diminished reflexes.

Hydrocodone: This is similar to many opiates and causes impairments with the same effects.

LSD: Hallucinations, altered mental state, delusions, impaired depth, time and space perception, hypertension, tremors.

Marijuana: Relaxation, euphoria, disorientation, altered time and space perception, drowsiness, paranoia, image distortion, paranoia.

Methamphetamine: Euphoria, excitation, hallucinations, delusions, insomnia, poor impulse control, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure.

Sleeping Pills: Even in the morning, the residual effects of these drugs can impair drivers.

Valium: 10 mg of the popular tranquilizer can cause impairment similar to having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. (Source)

 Bigger Issue

This topic is one of safety. A person who has no control over their drug consumption is eventually going to have to make a decision about getting behind the wheel while high. We can always hope that the decision will be the right one, but there is no way to guarantee. Make no mistake: drugs and driving is a deadly combination. This is simply another life-threatening effect of drug and alcohol abuse. This one adds the lives of others to the equation. And another reason to get help today.

If you or your loved one have ever been in a dangerous situation behind the wheel, this could be an indication of a problem with drugs or alcohol that requires professional assistance. Please call us today for a free assessment and guidance for your next step of health and healing: 888-590-0777.

4th of july detox

Need Drug Alcohol Detox on 4th of July?

The 4th of July is a proud and important day for the people of this country. But if you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction it is a day that can look quite a bit different.

It’s as American as apple pie, Taco Bell, and Elvis … It’s beer. Or really any type of addictive substance. Our country’s birthday is here, and for some, it’s simply a reason to fire up the grill, set off some mild explosives, and chemically alter their state of consciousness, then mix it all together into one explosive extravaganza.

Here are 4 reasons for choosing to go to an alcohol or drug detox on the 4th of July.

  1. 1. It’s the most dangerous holiday of the year

Okay, that’s a pretty intense way to start things off, but for a person with an addiction, recognizing this fact could save your life. So, it’s a reality that has to be said. Drug and alcohol addicts die way more often than the rest of the population. Overdosing, viral diseases, drunk or high driving—addicts live a life that carries more danger with it. On the 4th, there is a mixture of booze and drugs, small explosives, and, yes, guns. Toss all that together and the results are frightening to consider.

Beyond that, if there is a situation where you are involved in a drunk driving accident today, guess what? You are going to be the drunk one. The destruction that could cause is something you don’t want on your conscience. Today is a good day to get clean.

  1. 2. You need a new crew

Addiction has caused strains in your relationships with your close friends and family. You have pushed people out who really love you. Do you think your dealer cares deeply about you and your livelihood? Most likely the people you will find yourself around on this holiday want you to keep using.

In detox and in long-term treatment you are surrounded with people like you who decided enough was enough. And they get it. You need a community of people who know what it means to get clean.

  1. 3. It will give you safety.

What does it say on the Statue of Liberty? On the book in her hand, it says, “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). There was also a plaque once on the pedestal that had a poem by Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….” You need shelter. It’s very likely your life has gotten so bad you just need a place to get away from everything and everyone, step back from the hell your life has become and begin to find yourself again.

This is why you need to go to drug and alcohol detox on the 4th of July. There are professionals who can safely and comfortably guide you through the process, and then they will work closely with you on a plan for your treatment and long-term life in recovery.

  1. 4. It is true to who you are.

Sure. All countries have faults. And even America has some. But there is so much to be proud of in this country. The 4th of July serves as a reminder of who we are collectively but also as individuals. Sacrifice, family, freedom to live your beliefs, compassion, innovation, gathering with others and working through differences, and so many more.

As an addict, the way you are living is not who you are. It is time to return to the life you are supposed to live. Find yourself again.

Do you need help finding the first step to recovery? Please call us today. We will walk you through every step of the process in finding lasting recovery and rediscovering who you are: 888-590-0777.