Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year’s Eve Addiction Recovery

New Year’s Eve is synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption. People always drink more on major holidays, but the end of the year is a time when people really let loose. That may not mean anything to the average person, but to individuals in recovery, the final hours of the year are trying. We cannot stress enough the importance of staying close to your support network in the twilight of 2017; relapse is a regular occurrence during this particular holiday.

Naturally, you’d like to start the new year on a positive note, so you’ll want to take certain steps to ensure that’s the case. Those of you in your first year of recovery will want to double your efforts by way of meetings, prayer, and meditation. If you make a point of getting to at least one meeting this Sunday, you’ll be exponentially less likely to find yourself in a situation dangerous to your recovery. It’s quite common for people to attend multiple meetings on major holidays, and with that in mind, meeting houses hold “alcathons;” that is, round the clock meetings from 12 AM to 12 AM the following day.

If you get to a meeting in the morning and again in the evening, and stay close to your support network in between, you position yourself to make it through the day without incident.


Addiction Doesn’t Observe Holidays

New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday, and most people will not be working on Monday; however, one must continue working their program on both days. Just because you have a respite from a job, doesn’t mean you get paid time off from working a program of recovery. Always keep in mind that your disease is ready to strike the second you become complacent about your program. One must remain ever vigilant in keeping their condition at bay.

Cured is not a word in the recovery lexicon; we can only manage use disorders, which are a severe mental illness, through continued spiritual maintenance and a commitment to adhere to the principles of recovery. With that in mind, please treat the coming holiday as you would any other day in recovery. Stick to your usual routine as best as possible; any single deviation could be a slippery slope toward relapse. If you usually pray and meditate in the morning, do so on Sunday. If you attend a specific meeting on a regular basis, be present during the holiday.

Your support network is in recovery too, which means that they will want to stick close to you, just as you will to them during the holiday weekend. Together, you will be better equipped to resist the temptations of the festivities happening all around you. It’s easier to manage cravings when you are in the company of people who are also working to improve their lives. Regular check-ins with your sponsor or recovery mentor are of the utmost importance, as well. What’s more, be sure to have your phone charged and the ringer on (provided you are not in a meeting); you never know, a fellow member might reach out to you for assistance.


Together: We Stay Sober

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat would like to wish you a happy, safe, and sober New Year’s Eve. All of us are pulling for your continued success, and together with your peers, you can bring in 2018 on a healthy footing. If you find yourself struggling, pick up the phone and reach out for help. The helping hand of recovery is always there for you.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Misusing Sedatives Increases Risk of Substance Use Disorder

Prescription painkillers, or opioids of any kind for that matter, are often used in conjunction with other narcotics, such as benzodiazepines. People drawn to opiates, like heroin, are inclined to use sedatives and tranquilizers, i.e., Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. When people mix the two families of drugs, a synergistic effect takes place; meaning, the drugs amplify the euphoric feelings of one or both drugs. What’s more troubling, drug synergy increases the risk of overdose, as well.

Doctors prescribe sedatives and tranquilizers to treat anything from anxiety to insomnia. The class of drugs is effective in treating those conditions, but use comes with inherent risks, such as dependence, addiction, and overdose. One need not even mix benzodiazepines with opioids to experience an overdose, but when opioids and “benzos” are combined the dangers are far higher.

The general public doesn’t hear much about sedative abuse in the news, the result of the opioid addiction epidemic taking the spotlight. However, people prescribed drugs like Xanax (alprazolam) should be fully aware of what can happen when these drugs are used and abused. With that in mind, new research suggests that misusing prescription sedatives and tranquilizers puts people at risk of abusing more problematic drugs down the road, MedicalXpress reports. The findings were published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.


Riding a Wave of Sedatives

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Nursing's Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health analyzed data from almost 35,000 American adults, according to the article. They examined people using sedatives after a one-year period (Wave One) and again after a three-year period (Wave Two). The findings, at first glance, seem promising; however, a closer look reveals concerning results which call for preventive efforts.

The researchers considered misuse as taking:
  • Too much of the medication.
  • A drug longer than prescribed.
  • Medication for reasons other than intended.
  • Someone else's prescription (nonmedical use).
The research showed that 76 percent of participants misusing sedatives and tranquilizers during Wave One stopped by the time they got re-interviewed, three-years later. Unfortunately, 45 percent of those who abused such drugs during Wave One, had developed a use disorder involving other substances by Wave Two, predominantly involving alcohol, marijuana, and opioids.

"We have to retrain clinicians to think differently," said lead author Carol Boyd, professor of nursing and women's studies. "Most drug users are not single drug users. They misuse several substances and often co-ingest them. This puts misusers at risk for overdose, and even death. We must remember that sedatives and tranquilizers contribute to overdose, especially when mixed with alcohol and opioids."


Safer… But Still Addictive and Deadly

Drugs like Xanax, the researchers point out, are Schedule IV medications; they are considered less addictive as other drugs such as opioids. However, less addictive doesn’t mean nonaddictive; the risk of abuse and addiction is high, and patients should be made aware. What’s more, detoxing from benzodiazepine addiction can be problematic; without medical supervision, people attempting to abstain are at risk of potentially fatal side effects.

If you or a loved one is misusing any form of sedative or tranquilizer, we strongly encourage you to seek help—immediately. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we can help you safely detox from narcotics and start you on the road of lasting addiction recovery. Please contact us today, recovery is possible.