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.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Addiction Treatment: Achieving Long-Term Recovery

addiction treatment
People who use drugs and alcohol for extended periods and in hazardous ways put themselves at significant risk of developing an addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Around half of the people living with alcohol and substance use disorders also meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis. Note: co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis are used interchangeably in the field of addiction medicine.

If you have been struggling with drugs and alcohol for months, years, or decades, then you probably require professional assistance. However, making the courageous decision to seek treatment is anything but easy. The hooks of the disease are deep, and the addictive mind will do anything to convince its host that the problem is not that severe.

Addicts and alcoholics live in denial, sometimes for decades, before they finally decide to seek assistance. They seek help in one of two ways, typically; either checking into an addiction treatment center or looking up a 12 Step meeting in their area. While both options are beneficial, severe cases usually require more than AA or NA can offer, at first.

The cycle of addiction is notoriously difficult to break. What’s more, those who are dependent on drugs and alcohol experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to abstain. Such symptoms can be so uncomfortable that relapse is almost inevitable without professional supervision. Moreover, withdrawing from certain substances can cause severe health complications; without medical supervision, detox can have deadly outcomes.

Seeking Addiction Treatment with a Full Continuum of Care

If you feel that it’s time to turn your life around and break the disease cycle, then it’s imperative you speak to addiction medicine specialists first. Doing so will help you determine the severity of your condition and what course you should take for achieving the desired result of long-term recovery.

We would be remiss if we failed to share that not everyone in long-term recovery went to treatment. However, given the public health crisis regarding opioids, benzodiazepines, and methamphetamine, seeking professional assistance is strongly advisable. This is especially true when regarding the detoxification process.

Benzodiazepine and heavy alcohol use withdrawal can cause seizures that can prove deadly. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal are often so painful and uncomfortable that relapse occurs before a program of recovery even begins. Medications and environment closed off from the outside world are invaluable; they protect against health complications, ease discomfort, and mitigate the risk of being exposed to recovery-derailing influences.

Each person has a pretty good understanding of how long they have struggled with drug, alcohol, or co-occurring mental illness. Still, it’s always beneficial to reach out to treatment professionals before taking the first step toward recovery.

If it’s suggested that residential treatment will give you the best shot at achieving long-term recovering, then please heed the advice. Inpatient treatment separates people from their usual environs and all the stressors that contribute to addiction. In rehab, clients can safely withdraw from their substance of choice and then go on to learn valuable tools for sustained recovery; a full continuum of care also includes aftercare and alumni services.

Relapse most often occurs in the first one to three months of recovery. So, spending 30, 60, or 90 days in treatment will shield you from triggers that lead to cravings to use. What’s more, counselors teach effective relapse prevention techniques that clients can utilize after discharge. Such individuals can then pass on the information they learned in treatment with their support group peers at meetings.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to speak with our Admissions and Assessment department. You can talk with nurses and chemical dependency counselors who can answer questions and address any concerns that you may have about residential treatment. Please call for a confidential assessment today to learn if HVRC is right for you or a loved one: 866-273-0868.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Paying Your Recovery Forward

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to commend everyone in recovery who navigated Thanksgiving clean and sober. As we mentioned last week, major holidays can be taxing for people working a program, especially for those in early recovery.

Making it through the holiday is no small achievement because of the many triggers that can come about during the emotional days of the year. If you managed to stay sober, then you probably utilized your recovery toolbox. Hopefully, you took the time to think about gratitude and about all the people who are helping you on this journey of healing.

Gratitude and paying it forward are two vital components necessary for achieving lasting recovery. There are times when it’s challenging to be thankful for both your recovery and the people in your support network. If ever you find yourself slipping back into a selfish mindset, it’s crucial to pause and remember how far you have come since first getting sober. Chances are your life today is a complete 180 from just a short time ago.

Still, it’s prudent always to be looking for methods of paying forward what has been freely given to you. We recover together, not alone. This means that a significant number of people are instrumental to your continued progress. Be sure to share with such people how grateful you are for their support. What’s more, ask if you can be of service in anyone of them or your home-group.

It’s often said in the rooms of recovery: you cannot keep it, if you do not give it away. So, always be on the lookout for opportunities to be useful to your peers, and especially to those who have less time than you in the program.

Paying it Forward in Recovery

In every meeting across the country and beyond, there are service opportunities available. Examples include making coffee for the group, bringing cookies or healthy snacks, stacking chairs before and after the meetings, and offering to lead a meeting.

Service positions also exist at every recovery meeting. Most meetinghouses have a few stipulations for applying for a rotating service job, i.e., having worked all the steps, regular attendance at your home group, and some require that you have a minimum length of time in sobriety. Such restrictions vary from one group to the next but talk to your sponsor to see if you might be eligible.

Having a service role at your home group is beneficial for several reasons. First, it is one way to pay it forward to the group. Second, it’s an excellent way to stay accountable; accountability is a pillar of addiction recovery. The more layers of accountability, the better protected you are from relapse.

Even if you are not yet ready to take on a service position, there are other ways you can aid the group. Showing up early to introduce yourself to newcomers and staying after the meeting to talk with them at greater length is exceptionally beneficial. Showing interest in newcomers, inviting them to grab a coffee to chat, not only helps the newcomer, it benefits you. Remember, addiction recovery is about carrying the message to the next generation.

If you have worked all the 12 Steps, then your sponsor may feel that you are ready to begin taking others through the Steps. If that is the case, talking to newcomers on a regular basis is a jumping-off point for sponsorship. Again, you cannot keep your recovery and the progress you have made without trying to help others in the same way you were assisted when newly sober.

California Addiction Program for Adults

If your life is unmanageable due to the use of drugs and alcohol or a co-occurring mental illness, then we invite you to reach out at your earliest convenience. HVRC is unique in several ways, including being licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). The classification allows us to offer addiction recovery programs and specialty services all in one facility.

Please contact our admissions team today to learn more about the HVRC difference. 866-273-0868

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Finding Recovery Support During Thanksgiving

If you are in recovery, you may be looking forward to Thanksgiving. However, it's also possible that some of you are dreading it, particularly those who are in early recovery. If you fall into the latter camp, we at Hemet Valley Recovery Center understand your concerns. Tomorrow might be your first significant holiday sober, and you may experience a strong temptation to use drugs or alcohol.

It's no secret that emotions and feelings accompany holidays. They can arise from being around family or not; each scenario can be problematic for a person in recovery. However, if you keep doing what you have been doing thus far in sobriety, then it's possible to see the other side of Thanksgiving clean and sober.

The most effective method of getting through significant holidays is by putting your recovery needs first. Treat tomorrow like you would other days of the year; attend your usual meetings, pray and meditate, call your sponsor, and be of service.

We understand that some of you will be away from home, which means that getting to one's homegroup is impossible tomorrow. Still, you can find a meeting of recovery in practically every corner of the country. Go online and seek out meetings in your area; it can be a unique experience checking out meetings in other states.

Wherever you find yourself tomorrow, prioritizing recovery will ensure that you do not slip up. Do what you can to avoid risky situations, i.e., anywhere that people are drinking heavily. It might be hard to avoid a drunk person at family gatherings, but you have the right to leave and go to a meeting if you feel uncomfortable.

No matter the time of the day, chances are a meeting is happening. Due to the high risk of relapse that comes with holidays, there are usually far more meetings occurring than usual. Again, the internet is an excellent resource for finding holiday meeting schedules.

Never Hesitate to Reach Out for Support

Even with diligent planning, it's impossible to predict how tomorrow will unfold. With that in mind, you may find yourself in a situation that can compromise your program. If that happens, then it's essential to pick up your phone and call before you fall. It's much less complicated to reach out for support before a relapse than it is afterward.

Those who are in early recovery do not always excel at knowing the strength of their program. Some men and women think that they can handle being around alcohol for an extended period of time. While that may be true for some individuals, it is not for everyone. It is vital that you do not test your program's strength during Thanksgiving, especially if you are away from your support network.

Talk to your sponsor or a trusted peer in the program before you attend an event where people will be consuming alcohol. They will share if they think that you are placing your program in jeopardy. Discussing the topic with them will also provide you with helpful tips for avoiding probing questions about your sobriety. They can also tell how to steer clear of triggers, and what to do if cravings arise.

It's critical to make sure your cell phone is charged at all times tomorrow. You do not want to find yourself in a position where you require support and are unable to make a call. Your phone is a vital lifeline that is invaluable, particularly if out of state.

An Attitude of Gratitude is Everything

One's mental state and outlook are of the utmost importance during significant holidays. Remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and being grateful for the good things in your life today. Everyone in recovery has plenty to be thankful for, such as the people who have helped you make progress.

Those who maintain an attitude of gratitude will find him or herself better equipped to manage their emotions and feelings tomorrow. Set aside time to make phone calls to those who you are grateful for or pull them aside after a meeting. Ask if there is anything you can do to be of service in their life; you never know, they may be struggling, and kind words could raise their spirits.

From all of us at HVRC, we would like to wish you a safe and sober Thanksgiving. You have the power to protect your recovery, and tomorrow is an opportunity to strengthen your program.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Cannabis Legalization Passes Major Hurdle

With millions of Americans fixated on impeachment hearings, many people missed the news regarding a landmark piece of legislation. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 or MORE Act. The bill would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

After more than two hours of debate, the democratically controlled House Judiciary Committee approved the MORE Act. The bill seeks to accomplish far more than to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, CNBC reports. With the bill’s passing, lawmakers hope to incentivize states to clear criminal records of people with low-level marijuana offenses.

The American “war on drugs” is most closely associated with marijuana. The American Civil Liberties Union reports that cannabis arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States. What’s more, draconian drug sentencing laws have disproportionately affected minority communities.

The MORE Act would allow states to enact marijuana policies and create a 5% tax on cannabis products, according to the article. The funds would be utilized to provide employment training and legal assistance to Americans most affected by marijuana-related arrests.

“The criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake,” Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said during the markup of the bill. “The racial disparity in marijuana enforcement laws only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”

There is a companion bill in the U.S. Senate sponsored by presidential hopeful and junior United States Senator from California, Kamala Harris. However, there is not much optimism that the far-reaching legislation will gain the approval needed in the republican-controlled Senate.

The fate of the MORE Act will likely depend on several concessions being made to garner the necessary support among senators.

Cannabis Use Disorder Must Be Considered

Cannabis use is legal for recreational use in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and Washington, D.C. The prohibition could soon come to an end; the Pew Research Center reports that a majority of Americans are in support of legalization.

While prohibition and the war on drugs are deemed mainly a failure, doing far more harm than good, new policies must consider the fact that cannabis is not benign. Most Americans would probably agree, accurately, that alcohol and tobacco do far more damage than marijuana. Still, cannabis use disorder (CUD) is a diagnosable condition that affects millions of Americans.

The end of prohibition must coincide with campaigns to educate young Americans about the dangers of marijuana use. What’s more, some of the funds generated from a federal cannabis tax should be used to provide evidence-based treatment for people with limited resources. Many people with CUD require professional help to assist in bringing about lasting addiction recovery.

Heavy, prolonged cannabis use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Signs of marijuana withdrawal, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, include:
  • Anxiety and Restlessness
  • Depression and Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Physical Symptoms (e.g., tremors)
The above symptoms often lead to relapse before a program of recovery can be adopted. Professional assistance significantly improves one’s ability to achieve long-term addiction recovery from CUD.

Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

If you are having difficulty abstaining from cannabis use and are experiencing problems at work, school, or at home, then you may meet the criteria for a CUD. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to learn more about our full continuum of care, including acute medical detoxification, rehabilitation, partial hospitalization, residential, outpatient, and sober living programs.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Opioid Epidemic: Children Suffering in the Shadows

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their lives due to overdose over the last two decades. The opioid addiction epidemic has impacted millions more; loved ones lost, and families separated – torn apart by substance use disorder – the cost of this public health crisis is steep.

Headlines and research that center on the opioid epidemic typically involve overdose rates, naloxone, treatment, and recovery. As such, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the fallout of this most severe drug scourge is vast. Many of the men and women currently struggling with prescription opioids and heroin are fathers and mothers.

Over the last twenty years, an overwhelming number of children have grown up in homes plagued by addiction. Many of these same children have lost one or more parent to overdose; many more have been separated from their families by child protective services.

It's challenging to predict what these young people's lives will be like as they age and grow up. A large number of grandparents have become court appointed guardians of their children's children. Tens of thousands of kids are in foster care; some have been adopted.

Simply put, the epidemic has not spared young people by any means. In the coming years, these youths and young adults will require the support of their community and their local and federal government.

In the Shadow of an Epidemic

It's hard to wrap one's head around the scope and scale of the American opioid addiction epidemic. It's even harder to generate a clear picture of the havoc wrought by opioid misuse and abuse across the country.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS is a condition that arises when a child is exposed to opioids in the womb. Withdrawal symptoms present at birth requiring substantial medical supervision to prevent further complications. NAS babies are typically separated from their mother and placed in the care of another.

Hopefully, said new parent seeks treatment, finds recovery, and actively seeks to be reunited with their child. Sadly, that does not always happen; breaking the cycle of addiction takes tremendous effort under the best of circumstances.

The United Hospital Fund (UHF), a health policy nonprofit, conducted a study to determine how the epidemic has impacted young people. The findings of the report are startling, and it's highly likely that far more young people will be affected by this crisis. The UHF found that the epidemic had impacted at least 2.2 million children in the United States by 2017. By the year 2030, the report estimates that 4.3 million children will be affected—at the cost of $400 billion.

"Even if we could stop the epidemic cold in its tracks today, the ripples will last long into the future," says Suzanne Brundage, the study's lead author and director of UHF's Children's Health Initiative. 

The number of affected children varied from state to state, with California having the highest number at 196,000 in 2017. That's 20 kids per 1,000 whose lives have been altered by the opioid crisis.

If the above figures are not shocking enough, the research showed that 170,000 children had opioid use disorder themselves, according to U.S. News & World Report. This demographic will likely experience problems similar to their parent(s) as they age.

"The opioid epidemic is clearly driving forward a wave of children affected by family substance use disorder," Brundage says. "We need policymakers, (the) private sector, community leaders and the general public to … start responding today."

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you or someone you love is in the grips of an opioid use disorder, then please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); this status allows us to provide programs and specialty services all in one facility—from detox to aftercare. We are also equipped to treat patients who struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders that often present with addiction.

Those who take the first step toward recovery with HVRC stand an excellent chance of turning their lives around. Treatment works, and long-term recovery is possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

PTSD and Chemical Dependency Treatment

Two weeks ago we discussed National Depression Education and Awareness Month at length. As we pointed out, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide. This week, we would like to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring substance use disorder.

With Veterans Day four days away, now is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness about some of the struggles that the bravest Americans face. PTSD impacts the heroes who risk life and limb to protect America at home and abroad from their experiences. Both veterans and active service members are at a heightened risk of developing mood disorders, most notably PTSD and depression.

Those who are unable or unwilling to seek assistance are predisposed to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Self-harming and self-defeating behaviors like drug and alcohol use are common among our nation’s heroes. Such practices put men and women at risk of developing alcohol and substance use disorders.

It’s vital to spread the message that PTSD and addiction recovery is possible for those who seek professional assistance. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat, we created a Heroes Program for any individuals whose line of work puts them at risk of experiencing trauma, PTSD, and chemical dependency.

PTSD and Addiction: By the Numbers

Whether one is a civilian fighting fire or responding to medical emergencies or those who see combat, traumatic events place people at enormous risk of experiencing behavioral and mental health disorders.

Encouraging such individuals to seek professional assistance is of the utmost importance. Doing so saves lives and allows men and women to lead a healthy and productive life in recovery.

According to the National Center for PTSD, research shows chemical dependency and PTSD are strongly related in people who served in the military as well as civilians. The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone experiences:
  • Combat
  • Physical or Sexual Assault
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Serious Accident
  • Natural Disaster
Symptoms of PTSD can include any of the following: feeling keyed up, flashbacks of an event, avoiding reminders of the event, and anhedonia (no longer taking pleasure in the activities you once enjoyed). Those who suffer from one or more of the symptoms listed above should seek professional guidance; this is especially vital if one is self-medicating their symptoms.

The VA notes that almost 1 out of every 3 veterans seeking treatment for SUD also has PTSD. Moreover, more than 2 of 10 veterans with PTSD also have SUD. Trying to manage post-traumatic stress disorder with drugs and alcohol is a vicious cycle. Self-medicating leads to addiction often, and the practice has been shown to worsen one’s PTSD symptoms.

Men and women – veterans, active duty, or civilians – who are experiencing PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorder can significantly benefit from seeking treatment. However, choosing the right facility that can cater to one’s unique needs is paramount.

HVRC’s Heroes Program Accepts TRICARE

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are proud to announce that we meet the strict criteria for being in-network with TRICARE. It allows us to offer service members, veterans, and their family members affordable co-occurring disorder treatment.

Our dedicated team of professionals relies on evidence-based treatment modalities to help our clients heal and achieve lasting recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our specialty tract for first-responders, veterans, active servicemen and women, and their families.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Safe Sober Halloween in Recovery

The holiday season is fast approaching; Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving in November. During this time, it is helpful for people in recovery to begin planning how they will navigate each holiday. While Halloween may not be as synonymous with drinking as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, the upcoming holiday is known for an abundance of parties.

Many people in recovery may remember attending Halloween bashes. Memories of dressing up and partying with friends might bring fond thoughts for some, despite the damage that alcohol has caused in their lives. Now in sobriety, men and women must avoid the desire to attend gatherings that involve copious amounts of drinking. Individuals in early recovery should not even consider attending such events.

Relapse is always a risk factor for men and women in recovery. People must batten down the hatches of their program to ensure they can avoid risky situations. This could mean doubling down on daily meetings during the holiday season or calling one's sponsor or recovery mentor more often than usual.

Fortunately, even though attending parties that involve alcohol are mostly out of the question, you don't have to lock yourself indoors during Halloween. There are plenty of ways you can have fun and stay sober during All Hallows' Eve.

Leaning On Your Support Network During Halloween

If you attend recovery meetings regularly, then you have probably heard people in your homegroup talking about the upcoming holiday. It's highly likely that one of your peers is hosting a sober Halloween party on Thursday, October 31, 2019. Now is an excellent time to talk with your friends in recovery about attending such an event.

If nobody is planning a sober costume party, then it is not too late for you and your peers to organize one. You can have a lot of fun and get to know your friends in recovery better during the experience.

One of the keys to staying clean and sober during any holiday is staying busy and sticking to your routine, as best as possible. Attend the meetings you usually go to, tend to your commitments, and then have a fun time with your friends in recovery.

Many people in early recovery think that their days of having a good time are behind them. It's natural to feel that way, but it's not accurate. In fact, without drugs and alcohol in your system, it's possible to have authentic experiences that you will remember the next day and cherish in the years to follow.

Recovery has a lot to do with establishing new traditions, seasonal activities and events that do not revolve around one's addiction. Those who make the most of the holidays while they are sober will be thankful for it in multiple ways. Learning that a life without drugs and alcohol, is not a life that is tantamount to being a stick in the mud is a beautiful realization.

So, this coming Halloween, please make the most of enjoying the company of your recovery peers and have a good time. Holidays are not easy; they are a test of the strength of your program. Waking up in the morning, knowing that you got through a major holiday without drugs and alcohol, is a remarkable accomplishment and should be a source of pride.

Orange County Addiction Treatment

Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol. Our team of highly trained addiction professionals can help you begin the life-changing process of recovery. The miracle of recovery can be yours too, with our help.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Depression Education and Awareness Month: Seeking Treatment

depression awareness
October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. The observance is about teaching the public to recognize the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for depression. Depressive disorders are the most common form of mental illness; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide.

A combination of factors can lead to the development of depression. Experts believe that both genetics and environmental influences can trigger depressive disorders. People who have a history of substance use also have higher rates of depression compared to the general public. Individuals who’ve experienced a significant trauma in their lives are also at an increased risk.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we specialize in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Many of our clients also contend with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or both. Our facility is unique, being that we operate at an acute care hospital.

Our patients have access to a medical staff of over 185 physicians representing most medical specialties. We are licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); this allows us to provide programs and specialty services all under one roof. Men and women who are struggling with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental illness benefit significantly from the HVRC difference.

People who meet the criteria for dual diagnosis must receive simultaneous treatment to achieve lasting recovery. Our staff addresses with equal care each condition a client presents with in order to ensure they are able to acquire the tools for long-term recovery and to manage their mental health disorder.

Depression Education and Awareness Month

On the heels of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we observe National Depression Education and Awareness Month. It’s vital to get the word out that treatment works, and recovery is possible. We need to spread the message that people living with depression no longer need to struggle in silence.

At HVRC, we understand that seeking treatment for behavioral and mental health disorders requires tremendous courage. Societal stigmas and misunderstandings about mental illness cause people to think that they are at fault for their disease.

Ignorance is harmful to us all, so educating the public about conditions like depression saves lives. When society has a better understanding of the mechanisms of mental illness, they are more likely to show compassion. When communities care about the well-being of others, it has a ripple effect.

During Depression Education and Awareness Month, we ask that you take an active role in spreading the message about treatment and recovery. Those who are already working a program and managing their mental health can do an excellent service by sharing stories of hope on social media. Your experience can be a catalyst for change in the life of another.

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are perfect forums for disseminating valuable facts about depression and the benefits of treatment. Let people who may be suffering know that they are not alone. Kindly use #DepressionAwareness.

California Addiction Treatment Hospital

Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with addiction and co-occurring depression. We can help you take the first steps toward lasting recovery. We are available at any time to field questions you may have about our programs. You will be pleased to know that we accept most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

If you are battling depression and feel suicidal or are contemplating self-harm, call 911 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Recovery Requires Listening Up

In early recovery, learning how to listen is key to absorbing the information you need. Those who are new to the program have a lot to get off their chest; the weight of addiction is massive, and everyone desires to feel unburdened. There are ample opportunities to share your experience with the group in the countless meetings to follow. However, it's beneficial to prioritize hearing what others have to say early on.

The people in your support group have been where you are, and they know how you are feeling exactly. Your newfound peers understand the anxiety and fear that accompanies early recovery. They also grasp the desire to run when something isn't going the way you'd hope.

The temptation to use is paralyzing at times, urges to return to drugs and alcohol can crop up without a moment's notice. Persistent cravings are one of the reasons one must attend as many meetings as possible in the first 90 days of recovery. The more meetings you attend, the more tips and tools you will absorb.

Your support group is nothing short of a life raft floating in a turbulent sea; if you do not follow the direction of those with more experience, then you risk falling overboard.

At this point, you may have heard an oldtimer make a statement like, 'take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.' Curmudgeonly, to be sure, but not without some merit; the point they are trying to make is that if you are going to make it in the program, then there is a lot you have to learn.

If you are talking too much, then you can put yourself at risk of not hearing something you need to understand.

Listening in Recovery

People with more time in the program stay sober by helping others achieve similar feats. Once a person's program is strong enough, he or she is in a position to impart wisdom to men and women with less time. Each time an oldtimer shares, it is an opportunity to glean valuable suggestions that can help you stay clean and sober.

Surround yourself with people who are carrying the message and listen up. Whether you are in a meeting or having coffee with your sponsor, remember that what is shared with you can help you stay on the path down the road. You will not always be around your recovery peers, so it's prudent to have a firm set of coping mechanisms to manage cravings.

There will also be times when you find yourself in risky situations that can derail your recovery. If you have been listening to your sponsor and support peers, then it's probable that you know how to comport yourself and extricate yourself from danger.

The stakes in recovery are high, and long-term sobriety is never a foregone conclusion; there will always be dangers and pitfalls to skirt. Do everything you can early on to position yourself for success so that one day, you can help others find what you've found.

This post is not about admonishing newcomers against sharing. It's meant to explain the importance of listening more than talking in recovery's infancy. If you have a burning desire to share, then by all means share. You may be struggling, and people can't help you if they do not know you are having challenges. Just try to be cognizant and be sure that you are soaking up as much or more than you are putting out.

Those who invest all their energy into learning the way of recovery early on will set themselves up for realizing long-term recovery. They will develop the skills for leading a fulfilling and productive life.

California Addiction Treatment and Medical Detox

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we help men and women caught in the cycle of addiction to be free. Our addiction hospital assists patients in all aspects of their care, from detoxification to aftercare. Please contact us today to learn more about the HVRC difference.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Friends In Recovery: Stick With The Winners

In early recovery, you will meet many new people in a short time. You will likely attend several meetings at different locations after treatment in search of a homegroup. That is a particular meeting that you frequent most often. Some of those who attend your homegroup will become part of your "deep bench"—the individuals you turn to for support and guidance.

In time, you will develop friendships with men and women; these relationships are about more than just talking recovery. The acquaintances people make in early recovery often become lifelong friends provided one stays the course. The time you spend with them outside of meetings will prove to be just as valuable as when you are inside.

Recovery is about so much more than weekly meetings and working the steps. It's about more than total abstinence, as well. Recovery is a complete life redesign that involves changing a myriad of aspects of one's existence. Those who achieve lasting sobriety adopt new traditions and behaviors; they walk a different path than before. In the process, they must surround themselves with people who share common goals and mindsets.

The first meetings you attend post-treatment will include vetting individuals to determine who shares a similar drive for progress. Unfortunately, many newly sober people fall into crowds who are not committed to doing the work. The truth is that not everyone at meetings is in it for the long haul; some people are attending due to exigent or compulsatory circumstance. Once their obligation is fulfilled, a good number will return to active use.

It's critical that you foster relationships with individuals who are in recovery for themselves, with men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes to excel. There is a common saying in the rooms, stick with the winners. That's not to say that people who aren't committed to long-term recovery are losers, but they certainly have different priorities. Stick with people who share your vision for a healthy and productive life.

Bonding in Recovery

Finding a sponsor or recovery mentor is one of the first things people do following treatment. After a few meetings, you will have heard several people share; at least one likely said something that resonated. Hopefully, you approach said person after the meeting and ask if they will guide you through the steps.

If they accept, they will probably ask you to meet up regularly, call every day, and commit to reading recovery related material. In most cases, the time spent with one's guide leads to friendship. The sponsor-sponsee relationship should not be viewed as hierarchical. Instead, take the perspective of it being two people working together to help each other stay sober.

Sure, your sponsor will have more time sober than you, but that does not mean they are above you. Since you're both on equal footing, you can form a lasting bond. The sponsor-sponsee connection is beneficial in several ways; you have someone to turn to in good times and bad. What's more, your sponsor's friends will likely become yours as well. If your recovery guide has confidence in other people's commitment to progress, then it's safe to say you can too.

You will, over the course of recovery, make friends with individuals outside of your sponsor's inner-circle. Early on, the practice of sticking close to your sponsor is beneficial. However, in time, you will start to sponsor people with less time and making new friends along the way. Fortunately, you will have gleaned from your sponsor by then some protocols for deciding whom to invest your time and energy.

As an aside, please remember that the people from your substance-using past should remain in the past. Trying to hold onto old acquaintances will compromise your mission. Moreover, most of the people you used with were friends of convenience. Recovery, on the other hand, is an opportunity to forge healthy and spiritually uplifting connections with people who care about your well-being and continued progress.

California Addiction Treatment Center

We invite you to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat for a complimentary assessment if you feel that your drug and alcohol use is problematic. We offer several programs to help people take the first step toward lasting addiction recovery. HVRC works with most insurance providers.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Mental Health Days Off in Recovery

mental health
Some 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Many of them are managing other forms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Lasting sobriety is only possible when people with co-occurring disorders prioritize well-being.

Leading a balanced life in addiction recovery is challenging enough and having to deal with a dual diagnosis only complicates matters. Still, it’s possible to keep the symptoms of mental illness at bay and abstain from drugs or alcohol.

The work doesn’t stop after treatment or going through the steps; people with comorbidity must also continue with therapy. In many cases, both ongoing counseling and medication are required to prevent compromising one’s recovery.

While being in recovery makes the task of juggling life significantly more manageable, there will be days that test one’s program. Co-occurring mental illness is with people for life, and symptoms will crop up throughout the months and years. If you have the tools to cope and a support network to consult, then there is no reason men and women can’t overcome mental health episodes.

However, individuals in recovery are not always the best at emphasizing their needs; they are prone to mismanage their priorities. It can be hard for people who have families and work responsibilities to pause and tend to their mental needs. Nevertheless, it is essential to know when taking time for mental health is necessary. Failing to do so can and does compromise a person’s recovery.

Mental Health Days Off

As many of you well know, September is National Recovery Month. Moreover, the first full week of October is Mental Health Awareness Week. The observation’s purpose, like Recovery Month, is educating and increasing people’s awareness about mental illness.

For those currently in recovery, this time of the year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on if you are meeting your mental health needs. It is vital to consider if you are handling stress healthily and productively. Perhaps you are working too much, or have taken on too big of a class load? Maybe current life circumstances have caused a reversion to some old behaviors and mindsets? If not, then it probably means you have to keep an even keel. However, if the opposite is true, then doubling down on your recovery efforts is prudent.

When a hard day comes along, please consider taking a day off from work or school to nurture your mental health. Instead of mowing through the day despite symptoms, call out and reach out for support. People in recovery have the benefit of a vast network of peers who can help with keeping things together. Individuals with co-occurring disorders should go one step further by contacting their therapist or primary care physician.

Mental health is vital to overall health; neglecting the former will jeopardize the latter. It’s easy to convince oneself that taking time off for mental and spiritual well-being is an impossibility. What, with pressing bills to pay or course work and all, it’s hard to justify taking time off. Although, sometimes it is vital to ignore the temptation to put quotidian responsibilities ahead of mental health and recovery. If you don’t put mental well-being first, then you stand to lose far more than money or a good grade.

During National Recovery Month and beyond please take a close look at your needs to see if they are being met. Talk to your peers about ways to balance life and recovery better. Remember, there isn’t any shame in taking time off for mental health and addiction recovery.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital

Take the first step toward a life in long-term recovery with Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. Our team of dedicated professionals provides the highest degree of medical and psychological expertise in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental illness. Please contact us today for a complimentary assessment and to discuss treatment options. 866-273-0868

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Cannabis Use Concerns Surgeon General

More than 30 states have passed laws that permit the use of cannabis and a myriad of products containing THC—the psychoactive ingredient that causes euphoria. Some states only allow people to use the drug for medical purposes, while other states permit adult recreational marijuana use.

The findings of 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) shows that 22% of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying a significant risk of harm. That is a five percentage point decline from the previous year and the lowest level since 1980, according to the University of Michigan. The research is somewhat concerning because marijuana use is not without risks.

Comparatively speaking, cannabis isn't the most dangerous mind-altering substance. Some people use the drug to varying degrees for the majority of their lives and face very few side effects. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests the drug can wreak havoc on developing brains. What's more, regular use can lead to dependence and addiction.

People living in states that permit the use of cannabis should have all the facts about prolonged use, especially young people. The MTF survey shows that marijuana use among U.S. college students is at a new 35-year high. Given the reduction in perceived risk, many young people could be on a path to addiction or other problems unknowingly.

Moreover, marijuana being smoked today is far more potent than in years past owing to enhanced growing techniques. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects this will have on individuals. It's worth noting that young people are vaping highly concentrated THC oils and distillates, the long-term ramifications of which are not yet known.

Surgeon General Warning On Cannabis Addiction

At a recent press conference, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that cannabis is not safe for teens, young adults, and pregnant women, NPR reports. Surveys indicate that the number of adolescents and pregnant women using the drug is rising. Adams added that a large number of people do not understand how potent marijuana is today.

"While the perceived harm of marijuana is decreasing, the scary truth is that the actual potential for harm is increasing," said Adams. He adds that, "The higher the THC delivery, the higher the risk."

The surgeon general pointed out that nearly 1 in 5 adolescents who use cannabis become addicted, according to the article. He explains that regular marijuana use among young people can impair attention, memory, and decision-making. They may also begin to struggle in school. More research is necessary to understand better the drug's true impact on developing brains.

What research can tell us is that cannabis is not a benign substance, mainly when used in large amounts. Millions of Americans meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder, and those who try to quit can experience withdrawal symptoms. Without professional assistance, relapse is likely to occur.

Please take a moment to listen to a short broadcast on the subject:

If you are having trouble listening, please click here.

If you use cannabis regularly and have trouble quitting even though it interferes with aspects of your life, then please reach out for help. Addiction treatment can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery.

California Addiction Treatment Center

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we have extensive experience in treating marijuana addiction or cannabis use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and to determine if HVRC is right for you or a loved one. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Suicide Prevention Awareness: Treatment and Recovery

suicide prevention awareness
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that our alumni and weekly readers are getting involved with National Recovery Month. Anything that encourages personal recovery is beneficial to the nation. We can all make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness.

Beyond National Recovery Month events and activities, there is another observance occurring this month. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! At this time, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling upon Americans to confront stigma and help to encourage treatment for mental illness.

One in five adults is affected by mental illness which means toxic stigmas impact the same number of people. That is 46.6 million adults, and many are needlessly suffering in silence because of their disease. No other group of people affected by medical conditions is subjected to the kind of shame that men and women with mental illness face daily.

Stigma stands in the way of treatment; fortunately, we can work together to cure stigma and inspire recovery. We can all help NAMI get the word out about mental illness and the effective treatments available. Each of us can spread the message that mental health disorders do not have to end in suicide and that healing is possible.

Supporting People with Mental Health Conditions

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to NAMI. 46% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Moreover, psychological autopsies show that up to 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition. Alcohol and substance use disorders are types of mental illness that often play a role in suicide.

In 2016, approximately 22 percent of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At the same time, research shows that:
  • Opioids were present in 20 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Marijuana in 10.2 percent.
  • Cocaine in 4.6 percent.
  • Amphetamines in 3.4 percent.
Previous research indicates that alcohol misuse or dependence is associated with a suicide risk that is ten times greater than the general population, SAMHSA reports. IV drug users are at about 14 times greater risk for suicide.

Suicidal thoughts are treatable, and suicide is preventable; people dealing with mental illnesses of any kind can recover with effective care. However, under half of the adults in America get the help they need. We can change that by confronting stigma and compassionately encouraging men and women to reach out for help.

Individuals in recovery – especially those who have dealt with suicidal ideations – can play an essential role during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. NAMI is asking such people to share their experience. Two safe, moderated spaces for sharing stories and creative expression exist that allow you to share anonymously—You Are Not Alone and OK2Talk.

“You have an authentic voice. You can make a difference for yourself and others by sharing your experiences and perspective. What has helped? What hasn’t? What has been most discouraging about your condition? What has given you hope? There are all sorts of things you know that other people want to know—you are not alone. Let them know that they aren’t either.”

Seeking Help During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Naturally, there are several ways you can help during this vital observance. NAMI has created graphics and promotional messaging to share facts about mental illness and suicide. Please promote awareness on your website and social media accounts using #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree.

Please contact HVRC if you are struggling with mental illness, including addiction and co-occurring disorders. Our team of experienced clinicians can help you break the disease cycle and teach you healthy ways of coping with symptoms. We can get you on the road to long-term recovery. Take the first step...during Suicide Prevention Awareness and National Recovery Month.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

National Recovery Month 2019: Together We Are Stronger

National Recovery Month
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) is calling upon people to share their stories of recovery. September is National Recovery Month! The observance has several goals, but encouraging more people to seek help may be the most salient.

SAMHSA would like to hear from people about their successes in recovering from addiction and any mental health disorder. The branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes that personal stories will inspire others to reach out for support. The millions of men and women in healing from mental and behavioral health disorders can be Voices for Recovery. The organization writes:

The 2019 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger," emphasizes the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support recovery. It reminds us that mental and substance use disorders affect us all, and that we are all part of the solution. The observance will highlight inspiring stories to help thousands of people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and personal growth.

If you would like more information about how your story can serve to inspire the hope of recovery in others, then please click here. Please do not discount the effect your experience can have on other men and women. The recovery community is millions strong, and each person can have a lasting impact on someone else who has yet to seek support.

National Recovery Month Turns 30

This vital nationwide observance has significantly grown and evolved over the years. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of National Recovery Month. Today, SAMHSA's efforts to encourage recovery and break stigmas are supported by more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities.

Nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and substance use disorders assist SAMHSA in planning events and disseminating information about recovery services. This month, at least 362 National Recovery Month events are happening across the country. However, there is room for more recovery-related events; SAMHSA provides a toolkit that can guide individuals and organizations that would like to host local events.

National Recovery Month is also about acknowledging the efforts of treatment providers numbering in the thousands. Mental and behavioral health rehab centers – whose staff work tirelessly to show men and women how to recover – are instrumental in combating the epidemic of mental illness.

Many people are probably unaware that National Recovery Month evolved out of Treatment Works! Month. The previous iteration – founded in 1989 – honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field.

If you work in the recovery services field, please take a moment to appreciate the excellent job you've done helping others find the light of recovery. Without you, significantly fewer people would have the gift of addiction and mental health recovery in their life today.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we are grateful for the countless men and women who've helped those who struggle with mental illness. We'd also like to recognize the millions of people who are both committed to making continued personal growth and helping others do the same. Recovery is only possible when we work together to foster progress.

If you are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness (dual diagnosis), then please contact HVRC today. We offer several programs that can help you turn your life around and go on to lead a productive life in recovery. HVRC is in-network with most insurance providers to help lessen the financial burden of treatment.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Opioid Addiction: A Long History

As the American addiction epidemic rages on, the catalyst of which is believed to be opioids, it's easy to forget the age-old history of pain-killing narcotics. Not that the origins of opium-based drugs have any bearing on the lives of addicts, but acknowledging previous attempts to rein in addiction can be informative.

Most Americans are acutely familiar with the impact of opioids on society. Drugs in the opiate family have long been used in medicine and for pleasure. However, we've seen an unprecedented surge in use and abuse over the last two decades.

Rampant overprescribing of drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) – beginning in the late 1990s – resulted in millions becoming dependent and addicted. A reckless disregard among pharmaceutical companies and doctors for acknowledging the dangers of prescription opioids created today's public health crisis. Once the faucet was turned on, it soon became apparent that turning it off was a near-impossible task.

Curbing widespread opioid use isn't as simple as altering prescribing practices. It helps but does little to address the underlying addiction. Physical dependence to opioids is more powerful than the majority of other mind-altering substances carrying the potential for abuse. Those caught in the grips of an opioid use disorder will seek out new access points to sate their cravings.

The rise in heroin use in recent years is the direct result of not attending to the use disorders brought on by prescription opioids. Studies show that the majority of heroin users alive today first used a narcotic painkiller. Staggering heroin use rates seen today are a byproduct of rampant overprescribing followed by implementing more stringent prescribing restrictions.

Ending the Epidemic Through Recovery

The truth is that our government may not be able to effectively combat the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl into this country. However, they can give federal, state, and local public health agencies the resources to increase access to evidence-based therapies.

Opium and its derivatives have been disrupting and stealing people's lives for millennia. Governments around the world have made an effort to curb non-medical use of opium and opioids for centuries with very little success. The failure to control opioid use disorders in generations past stemmed partly from the lack of available therapies. It's only in this century that effective treatments proved that addiction recovery was even possible.

PBS Frontline created a timeline that shows opium throughout history that is both fascinating and informative. We strongly recommend taking a look at it in your free time. Notable dates include:
  • c.3400 B.C. — The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia; present-day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey.
  • 1799 A.D. — China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
  • 1803 A.D. — Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany, discovers the active ingredient of opium: Principium somniferum or morphine.
  • 1874 A.D. — English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove.
  • 1895 A.D. — Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin."
  • 1996 A.D. — International drug trafficking organizations in China, Nigeria, Colombia, and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."
PBS points out that doctors in the first years of the 20th Century recommended using heroin to help morphine addicts discontinue their use. Naturally, heroin addiction in the U.S. rose to alarming rates by 1904. Treating opioid use disorder has come a very long way in the last hundred years.


California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team relies on evidence-based treatments to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to prosper in recovery.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Couple's Recovery Inspires Others

Recent reports indicate that methamphetamine use is surging in California and other areas of the country. The Golden State's proximity to the Mexican border means that a large amount of meth finds its way into the hands of Californians. If you have been reading the news about today's meth, then you know that it is cheaper and more potent than ever before.

Mexican drug cartels saw an opportunity to exploit the U.S. crackdown on homemade methamphetamine. Today, the vast majority of meth or "Ice," as it is sometimes called, is manufactured in large labs south of the border.

While the nation has focused significant resources on curbing the opioid epidemic, meth has flooded American towns and cities, virtually unchecked. Thousands of Americans grapple with meth addiction each year, and many people succumb to the drugs deadly effects.

Fortunately, people can recover from a stimulant use disorder and lead healthy lives. Working a program of recovery is hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Unfortunately, people struggling with meth cannot turn to a drug like buprenorphine to aid them in detox. There are not any medications that are used specifically for treating stimulant addiction. Nevertheless, those who are dedicated to changing their lives can accomplish the task provided they have outside assistance.

From time to time, it is helpful to showcase individuals who are working programs of recovery. Such men and women can inspire those who are still in the grips of the disease. Brent Walker of Cleveland, Tennessee, and his wife Ashley are two people who found themselves able to recover from meth addiction.

Life In Recovery

Nearly three years ago, Brent and Ashley Walker were in a bad way; they were both addicted to methamphetamine. On July 26, they posted a before and after photo on Facebook which embodies how life changes when you are in recovery, Knox News reports. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have reacted or commented on Walker's photo. Attached to the picture, the couple wrote:

"This is my wife and I in active meth addiction the first photo was taken around December 2016 the second one was taken in July of 2019. This December 31st will be 3 years we have been clean and sober and living for God. I hope that my transformation can encourage a [sic] addict somewhere! It is possible to recover!!" 

Clean for more than two and a half years, the two recovering addicts have undergone a complete 180 turn. It is safe to say that the couple barely recognizes the people in the before photo.

Brent was in jail for two years on meth-related charges just before choosing to recover, according to the article. He started using again once he was released but then decided that failing a drug test would mean more jail time. He asked Ashley, his girlfriend at the time, if she would be willing to get clean with him, and she agreed.

Since that time, the two got married, and Brent got his GED. They both hold down full-time employment. Brent says he never thought that he would be sober, nor did he expect their before and after photos to go viral. They are proof that it's possible to turn your life around in recovery. They are glad that their experience is helping others see that there is a different way.

"Don't give up, it gets easier. It's really hard. We had a really hard time, just because we didn't have nobody [sic] to talk to," Walker told Knox News. "But if you don't give up... the grass is greener on the other side. It's been a blessing. It really has."

Stimulant Use Disorder Recovery

Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with amphetamines or methamphetamine. Our highly-trained staff can help you begin a journey of lasting addiction recovery. We offer several different programs that cater to the unique needs of each client. We are confident that you can go on to lead a healthy and productive life in sobriety.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Binge Drinking Among Older Americans

binge drinking
Our focus in the field of addiction medicine is most often on young people. Stemming the tide of alcohol and substance use disorder is crucial to preventing men and women from having severe health problems later in life. It is vital to encourage individuals to ask for help when a problem develops at a young age.

While the choice to center our attention on younger demographics is not misplaced, we mustn't lose sight of the older Americans who struggle with drugs and alcohol. As people age and reach retirement, they find themselves with far more freedom.

With fewer responsibilities, many men and women will choose to fill their time imbibing. Some will even engage in unhealthy drinking practices that are most closely associated with young Americans. Older folk who have a hazardous relationship with alcohol are at significant risk of injury and other health problems.

Besides having a plethora of free time, many seniors are contending with difficult emotions. The identity of many men and women is attached to the kind of work they did; without it, some people feel an overwhelming loss of purpose. Moreover, baby boomers in retirement are also dealing with the loss of spouses and other loved ones; some will look to the bottle for comfort and solace.

In recent years, a fair amount of research has been conducted on alcohol and substance use among aging Americans. Prescription drug and alcohol misuse are proving to be more common than previously thought among older people. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that about 1 in 10 older adults binge drinks.

Older Americans Binge Drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of consuming four alcoholic beverages for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours. It's a dangerous practice that brings people to a level of intoxication in a short period.

Study senior author, Joseph Palamar – an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health – analyzed data on 10,927 people over age 65, NBC News reports. The data comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Some 80 percent of older people are living with at least one chronic condition (e.g., heart disease, cancer, or diabetes), according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Naturally, binge drinking can cause health complications for those with serious health problems.

"We focus so much on young people and their risky drinking," said senior author Joseph Palamar. "But this research reminds us that we also have to keep an eye on the older population." 

Moreover, it is not uncommon for an older person to develop an alcohol use disorder stemming from repeated, daily bouts of intoxication. This research should prompt primary care physicians to keep a watchful eye for patients who exhibit signs of alcohol or drug misuse.

It's also worth mentioning that the researchers found elevated rates of cannabis use among people over 65. Palamar rightly points out that polysubstance use can lead to complications. Heavy alcohol use increases one's risk of injury, and admixing pot into the situation heightens the chance of falling down.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand that seniors are going through significant life changes. Our team of addiction professionals understands that alcohol or other drug use can worsen pre-existing conditions that are common among older adults. If addiction develops, such people must seek help from a center that caters to their unique needs.

With that in mind, we have designed an Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program that is conducive to the needs and abilities of this age group. Please contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sharing About Addiction Recovery Inspires Others

The road to addiction recovery is a little different for each person, but once people decide to turn their lives around, the outcome is universal. Working a program gives men and women the tools to lead productive lives. No longer choosing to escape one’s problems, they can tackle obstacles head-on.

Sobriety is the solution for so many, molding individuals into better friends, parents, spouses, and employees. The list of gifts that recovery bestows upon a person are too many to recount, but each story of healing shares common traits. Those who show up and do the work, day after day, find results. At times the path is rocky, and many want to quit before the miracle happens, but with support there is no problem that can’t be worked out in recovery.

Over the last two decades, there has been a collective effort to shatter the myths and stigma of addiction. There’s been a drive to bring mental illness out of the darkness. As a result, more people are empowered to share their experience, strength, and hope, outside the rooms of recovery.

Publicly sharing one’s story was relatively unheard of not too long ago. Men and women went to great lengths to keep the history of abuse under lock and key. While it was not too uncommon for a celebrity to share a little about his or her struggle with addiction, in an interview or tell-all, that was veritably not the case for average citizens. Not anymore. Today more Americans are finding the courage to talk publicly about their battles with alcohol and substance use disorder.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Addiction

Instead of viewing addiction as a failure, more and more people are accepting the disease for what it is — a treatable mental health condition. The millions of people working programs of recovery prove that to be true. As the number of men and women in recovery grows, the stigma of addiction shrinks. No longer paralyzed by shame, those leading lives in sobriety empower and affect change in the lives of others.

The New York Times Magazine recently published an article written by a former aircraft maintenance technician for the U.S. Air Force. Heather King is in recovery for alcohol use disorder and has penned a beautifully written piece about her road to sobriety. She shares with readers about the complications that alcohol caused her and her family, and how recovery changed her life. She eloquently relates many of the reasons she kept drinking, even though the decision to do so nearly cost her everything.

King shares that although she had a full-time job, a house, and a graduate degree, she was plagued by depression, alcohol use, and suicidal ideation. Her drinking led to a couple of DUIs, one of which could have been fatal. After her second offense, King said, “I could no longer see myself drinking, but I had no idea how to live my life without alcohol."

Like so many people before her, King found help in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. People in the rooms told her that if she attended meetings and didn’t drink, they would show her a new way of life. If you have an opportunity to read what Heather King wrote, in full, please do.

If you are in recovery or are thinking about taking steps to recover, there is probably much you can relate to in her essay.

“I’ve been sober now for two years and 10 months. The decision to get sober and stay sober, by no means easy, was the single most important decision I have made in my life. Sobriety has allowed me to become a better parent. My life as a sober mother has cured the awful ache deep inside my core. It has given me a life I always wanted but never thought I deserved. It has taught me what is most important in motherhood: showing up for your children and being fully present for them.” — Heather King

Finding the Courage to Share

Talking about your history with drugs and alcohol is not easy; there are many painful emotions attached to years of active use. If working a program is new to you, and it takes every ounce of courage you have to share, then please know that you are not alone.

Sitting among relative strangers and talking about being brought to your knees by drugs and alcohol is, for most people, a daunting task. Some will attend a large number of meetings before they feel up to speaking in front of an audience. However, once a person shares their story, it is not uncommon for them to feel a wave of calmness and serenity.

Every individual with alcohol or substance use disorder in their past has said and done things they are not proud of and would rather not recount. Active addiction impacts one’s decision-making process, which leads men and women to harm those they care most about in life. Talking about those things with nonjudgmental people is a vital component of the healing process. Doing so allows people to find it in their hearts to forgive themselves.

At the core of recovery is changing your life for the better; working a program is the mechanism that manifests progress. If you have been attending meetings and are reticent about sharing, that's alright. Just keep coming back and talk with a man or woman you feel comfortable with either before or after a meeting. In time, your reservations will diminish, and the desire to open up with the group will increase.

California Addiction Program for Adults

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care to help men and women heal from addiction and lead productive lives in sobriety. Our facility is equipped to provide acute medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.