Friday, January 17, 2020

Having Fun in Early Recovery

Having Fun In Recovery
Having fun in recovery is essential. Your sobriety and protecting it is of the utmost importance, which means you have to attend meetings and work with others on a daily basis. However, your progress in early recovery also rests on finding time to enjoy life. Make time to have fun with the people in your support network.

Many people in early recovery do not know that it’s possible to have a good time without using drugs and alcohol; this is especially true for young people in recovery. A twenty-year-old who can no longer drink or drug may think that life will be boring moving forward. Such feelings are understandable, but they are not valid.

Young people in recovery learn how to have exciting times together. They find activities that do not involve drugs and alcohol and learn how to enjoy their newfound freedom. After meetings, men and women across the country get together to engage in activities. They grab a coffee and discuss matters other than the Steps.

Going to a movie, seeing a play, or visiting amusement parks are common activities among individuals in sobriety. Those living on the coast may go surfing or take walks along the beach. People living in mountainous parts of the country go rock climbing or hiking to enjoy nature with their peers. There is a myriad of ways to have a good time without drugs and alcohol. Remember, achieving lasting recovery will depend on stimulation.

People in Recovery are Not Sticks in the Mud

In your first year, you may find it challenging to enjoy yourself for numerous reasons. Years of drug and alcohol use alter one’s ability to enjoy the same things as “normies.” It’s a condition that is known as anhedonia: an inability to feel pleasure. Don’t worry because such states of being will subside the longer you are in the program. Early recovery is a healing process; the mind needs to reorient itself back to homeostasis.

You may need to fake it until you make it with regards to having fun. When someone in your homegroup invites you to do something, do it even if you do not feel like it; you may surprise yourself and have fun. Even if you are not having a good time, try to pretend to; you have the ability to develop a positive outlook when engaged in something you do not prefer.

Rest assured, there will come a day when you look forward to partaking in activities with your peers. We highly suggest that you attend recovery conventions or campouts; they are an excellent way to learn how to have fun in recovery. Being around hundreds or thousands of others in recovery is a remarkable experience and sure to bring enjoyment.

When you attend meetings, ask your peers how they have fun when they are not working or doing Step work. You will get responses that can guide you towards exciting activities. Learning how to have a blast without mind-altering substances will significantly strengthen your program. It will also help you achieve your goals in recovery.

Addiction Program for Adults and Young Adults

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for more information about our programs. We can help you or a loved one begin a life-altering journey of recovery.

HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH), which means we can offer more services than other centers. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions. Take the first Step with HVRC: 866-273-0868

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mental Health Resources for First Responders

Trauma is an underlying factor in many cases of addiction and other forms of mental illness. Many people's employment puts them in harm's way and exposes them to see things that are challenging to unsee. When an individual experiences a traumatic event it is paramount that steps are taken to process and cope with it in healthy and productive ways. Preventing trauma from taking hold of one's life often depends on professional therapy.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Services & Sage Retreat, we have written about the effects trauma can have on people. We have seen first-hand the deleterious impact traumatic events can have on a person's life, and we know that it often leads people down a destructive path. Many of the men and women we treat at HVRC have some form of trauma in their past.

Working in the field of addiction medicine, we also know that first responders and military personnel are at a higher risk of being subject to traumatic events. They are the first to arrive on the scene of unspeakable horrors, from murder to child abuse. As such, those who lack the tools nor have the resources to cope with what they experience are at a significant risk of self-harming and self-destructive behaviors.

The prevalence of mental and behavioral health disorders among first responders is staggering. A large number of EMTs, firemen and women, and law enforcement officials struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and addiction. At HVRC, we created a program with the first responder demographic in mind, one that addresses a patient's underlying trauma and mental illness that follows from unfortunate experiences.

When people do not receive immediate treatment for trauma, it can lead to PTSD. When PTSD isn't treated, men and women turn to drugs and alcohol to cope; this trend often leads to the development of alcohol and substance use disorders. Sadly, some individuals find all of the above too challenging to bear. When that happens, they suffer from suicidal ideation, and many will attempt and succeed in ending their lives.

Police Officers Committing Suicide

Blue HELP – a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that tracks police suicides – reports that more police officers committed suicide in 2019. The organization found that at least 228 officers died by suicide last year, the highest number ever, USA Today reports. Moreover, the nonprofit states the actual death toll is probably much higher.

"This is a mental-health crisis," writes NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill. "And we – the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole – absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue." 

The organization can't be sure if the findings mean more officers are taking their lives or if officer suicides are being more widely reported. Whatever the case may be, more than 200 documented instances is a staggering finding, which should lead law enforcement agencies to take action to ensure their officers receive support.

When more officers are dying by suicide than are in the line of duty, it is clear that we have a severe problem in America. Data from Officer Down Memorial Page Inc. shows that 132 officers lost their lives in the line of duty last year.

Blue HELP is hopeful that the revelations regarding suicide will prompt prevention efforts among agencies across the country, according to the article. Karen Solomon, the co-founder of Blue HELP, believes that there is a need to increase the availability of mental health resources for officers.

"I'm really hoping that 2020 will be the year this turns around," Karen Solomon, the group's co-founder, told ABC News. "I'd love to see suicide prevention receive the same efforts we put forth for traditional line-of-duty deaths."

HVRC First Responders Treatment Program

If you are a first responder or active or retired military who struggles with mental and behavioral health disorders, then please reach out to HVRC. Our Heroes Program was designed to meet your unique needs and help you take the first steps toward long-term recovery. Call us today for a free, confidential assessment. 866-273-0868

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Spirit of Recovery 2019: Pat Kelly

Spirit of Recovery
Previous "Spirit  of Recovery" award recipients celebrate with
2019 honoree Pat Kelly (center)
The field of addiction medicine and recovery is of vital importance, perhaps now more than ever. Millions of people struggle with the disease of addiction, and men and women who seek assistance find numerous individuals who are committed to helping them get on the road to recovery.

Each year at Hemet Valley Recovery Center (HVRC), we honor the men and women whose service to others is invaluable. From medical professionals to those who pay forward the gift of recovery to newcomers, many people meet the criteria for recognition. The Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award is our way of shining a spotlight on those whose tireless work is saving lives.

We have written about past honorees over the years. For instance, in 2018, we recognized Stephen Ey, MD, a physician who has dedicated his entire medical career to helping men and women adopt a program of addiction recovery. If you click here, then you will find a list and write-ups about previous award winners.

It’s worth mentioning that no one gets into the field of addiction because of a desire to receive accolades. Those who get into the field, some in recovery themselves and some not, do so because of an innate sense of compassion for individuals who struggle with alcohol, substance use, and mental health disorders. All of these are treatable conditions, but finding recovery depends on the excellent work of specific individuals, such as Dr. Stephen Ey.

This year, the Joseph L. Galletta “Spirit of Recovery” Award honored Pat Kelly. She has worked in this field for over 30 years and is a Certified Addiction and Drug Counselor. What’s more, she is a Board Registered Interventionist with the Credentialing Board for Interventionists (CIP).

 Helping Others Find Recovery

Pat Kelly, CADC, like those who we honored before, stands out in the field of addiction medicine and is a member of the Addiction Treatment Advocacy Coalition (ATAC). It’s a role that has her fighting tirelessly for addiction and mental health parity. Her mission is to ensure that insurance providers cover the cost of treatment commensurately with any other life-threatening illness.

In addition to raising four children, Mrs. Kelly is a member of the Association of Intervention Specialists. She mentors men and women in the field of intervention, teaching them effective ways of helping families get their loved ones into treatment.

Throughout her impressive career, Mrs. Kelly (now married 51 years) has worked in psychiatric hospitals and various treatment facilities. A notable contribution to the field was her creation of the intake training protocol for St Joseph’s nurses on their Chemical Dependency Unit. That was 19 years ago, and her protocol is still used today at many treatment centers across the country.

She still works as an interventionist and consults with treatment centers. Pat is proficient in the Johnson, Storti, and the three Invitational Models of intervention: The Arise, Family Systems, and Break Free Invitational Model. Moreover, she was a keynote speaker at the most recent California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). She spoke about the ethical practices of admission and proper client placement.

If you would like to learn more about Pat Kelly’s personal life, then you can find more information here. Again, we would like to commend Pat for all her hard work; she is a model for all who enter the vital field of addiction medicine.

Take The First Step with HVRC

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one require assistance with addiction or co-occurring mental illness. Our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) is in-network with most insurers, which means that evidence-based treatment is more affordable. We invite you to reach out today for a confidential assessment and take the first step toward a life in recovery with HVRC.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Finding Recovery in 2020

New Year’s Eve is an interesting time in the field of addiction medicine. This a time when men and women in recovery have to go above and beyond to protect their program. It’s also a time when many people decide to reach out for assistance with the hope of adopting a program of addiction recovery.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we hope that you were able to maintain your sobriety through Christmas. Doing so is no easy feat, but if you stuck to your recovery routine, then you were probably able to stay on track. If so, please acknowledge your achievement, especially if you are in your first year of recovery.

Still, New Year’s Eve is a real test for individuals committed to leading a lifestyle free from drugs and alcohol. Around every corner, one can encounter a person, place, or thing that could trigger a relapse. It’s vitally important to stick close to your support network in the coming days to avoid encountering risky situations.

If you found a formula for abstaining during Christmas, then apply it to the impending holiday. Attend your regular meetings, look for opportunities to be of service, and do not deviate from the course you take from one day to the next.

Hopefully, you have already created a plan for navigating New Year’s Eve without placing your recovery at risk. Just like Christmas, meetings of recovery will be commencing around the clock on December 31st. Attend as many meetings as necessary to ensure that your sobriety is not compromised. Ask your peers how they plan to bring in the new year; one of the members of your support group is probably hosting a gathering, and your presence is welcomed.

Adopting a Program of Recovery for the New Year

The beginning of any year is synonymous with resolutions. Perhaps you are ready to make significant changes in your life, such as starting a journey of recovery? If that is the case, please know that help is available to all who desire to heal from addiction.

At HVRC, we welcome anyone caught in the cycle of addiction, and individuals with co-occurring mental illness to reach out. Not only are we in-network with most insurers, but we are also licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). As such, we stand out from the myriad of addiction treatment centers across the country for a number of reasons. We can provide all the vital services of early recovery, from detox to aftercare, under one roof.

Those who yearn to lead a life free from mind-altering substances and dependency will benefit significantly from having access to over 185 physicians representing most medical disciplines, as Hemet Valley Recovery Center is part of the Hemet Valley Medical Center campus in Hemet, CA.  We can treat and get people on the path to long-term recovery, no matter the conditions a patient presents with when they seek care.

You can visit our website to read about the various programs and services offered at HVRC, or you can call our highly trained admissions staff. Making the decision to enter into treatment is never made lightly; there are questions you will have that you will want to be answered before you take the first step with HVRC.

Let 2020 be the year where you begin the life-changing journey of addiction recovery. We are confident that you will be impressed with our facility after speaking with our team.

Getting Help for a Love One

Many people struggle to see that their alcohol or substance use has become untenable; denial is a common component of addiction. Please contact HVRC if you would like assistance with getting your loved one the help they need. Our team can guide you in several ways, increasing the likelihood that the person you care about will agree to seek treatment.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Global Disease Burden of Alcohol

With all the discussion in the news about illicit drug use, it can be easy to gloss over the dangers of legal, mind-altering substances. Alcohol, for instance, is embedded into not only the fabric of American culture but much of the western world. Experts estimate that drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths in the United States each year. However, the actual death toll is likely much higher.

Drinking alcohol can cause systemic problems in the human body. With each passing year, scientists find new links between alcohol consumption and disease. Currently, the American Cancer Association supported research found that alcohol increases the risk of:
  • Mouth cancer
  • Pharyngeal (upper throat) cancer
  • Esophageal (food pipe) cancer
  • Laryngeal (voice box) cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon, Rectum, and Bowel cancer
  • Liver cancer
Aside from cancer, drinking is known to cause many other fatal diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, and heart disease. Furthermore, prolonged and heavy alcohol use can lead to alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder; both can be an impetus for the development of mental illnesses. When mental and behavioral health disorders are left untreated, the risk of suicidal ideation and attempts increases exponentially.

There is not much that can be said about alcohol use – even moderate consumption – that is good. Simply put, alcohol is poisonous to the human mind and body.

Alcohol is a Leading Cause of Death

Without any doubt, alcohol can cause a myriad of problems for those who imbibe; yet, the substance is legal, and companies generate billions of dollars from the substance each year. Public health organizations work tirelessly to educate people around the globe about the dangers of alcohol. Still, billions of people continue to imbibe despite the risks.

A new study – funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – published recently in the medical journal The Lancet shows that beer, wine, and liquor are killing more people than previously thought, USA Today reports. Researchers found that alcohol use is associated with 2.8 million deaths each year. The research indicates that alcohol was the seventh-leading risk factor for premature death and disability globally in 2016. Nearly 1 in 10 deaths of people ages 15 to 49 years-old could be tied to alcohol use.

"If everyone cut their consumption in half, we could save a million lives globally," said lead author Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

The findings come from a systematic analysis of alcohol use for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Researchers analyzed 694 studies to estimate worldwide drinking patterns, according to the article. They also looked at 592 studies plus 28 million people in 195 countries to better understand alcohol's health risks. The data is from the years 1990 to 2016. The authors write:

"Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption."

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if alcohol use is causing significant problems in your life. We offer several programs and create custom treatment plans to meet each client's unique needs.

As a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH), we can provide programs and specialty services all in one facility. Take the first step toward a life in recovery by calling us for a confidential assessment: 866-273-0868.