Friday, March 27, 2020

NIDA Warns About Addiction and COVID-19

As of today, March 27th, 2020, 1,438 souls have been lost in the United States. Moreover, America overtook both China and Italy for having the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are now 94,238 Americans who have tested positive for the potentially lethal coronavirus.

Last week we shared with you some valuable information about protecting your health and your addiction recovery amid a pandemic. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that you and your family are doing everything you can to stay healthy and disease-free.

We are also hopeful that those of you working programs of recovery utilize online resources to keep your program safe. While the days of late are darker than any other time in recent memory, together, we can overcome this public health crisis.

Experts warn that the situation in the U.S. and abroad will become more severe. So, it’s essential that everyone – especially those with pre-existing health conditions – take all necessary precautions to prevent virus transmission.

Here in California, which is where HVRC is located, state officials are doing everything in their power to combat COVID-19. Right now, the State of New York is the epicenter of the epidemic in America, but that can change in the near future. In a letter to the President and Vice President, California Governor Gavin Newsom wrote:

“We project that roughly 56 percent of our population – 25.5 million people – will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period.”

Currently the Empire State has 44,635 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 519 New Yorkers have died from complications linked to the coronavirus. The Golden State currently has exponentially fewer cases and deaths than New York at this moment, with 4,040 people battling the virus, and 82 Californians have died.

Addiction Puts People at Higher Risk of Contraction

Those living with addiction, both inside the rooms of recovery and out, are also at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. As we mentioned above that people with pre-existing health conditions, especially those with respiratory disorders, are more susceptible.

Many people living with alcohol or substance use disorder also have co-occurring illnesses related to their prolonged drug and alcohol use. Those actively using and some individuals in recovery have weakened immune systems that a virus attacks with greater ease. With that in mind, such people need to take the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines seriously.

On Tuesday, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a statement titled “COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders.” We strongly encourage you to read it at length when you have the time.

NIDA warns that smokers and people with either opioid use disorder or methamphetamine use disorder can be more susceptible to COVID-19. Opioid addiction and stimulant abuse are known to be harmful to one’s respiratory and pulmonary system.

It’s worth pointing out that many of the people who have died after contracting the virus also had respiratory and pulmonary health problems. Since the primary target of coronavirus is the lungs, anyone with conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is extra vulnerable. NIDA writes

We know very little right now about COVID-19 and even less about its intersection with substance use disorders. But we can make educated guesses based on past experience that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications—for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons. The research community should thus be alert to associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking- or vaping-related lung disease. We must also ensure that patients with substance use disorders are not discriminated against if a rise in COVID-19 cases places added burden on our healthcare system.

A large number of people in recovery are active or former smokers and vapers. Some have COPD, asthma, or other respiratory health conditions. Even nonsmokers in sobriety could be at a heightened risk of contraction and may face more severe complications if they get sick.

Fortunately, the vast majority of 12 Step recovery groups are now meeting online via video conferencing. Still, members of the Fellowship can be exposed when outside their homes. At HVRC, we ask you to take NIDAs information to heart and adhere to CDC and WHO recommendations when leaving the house.

California Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital

Even though we are all facing the worst pandemic in living memory, those battling the disease of addiction need to be able to access recovery services. We must remember that alcohol and substance use disorders can be deadly too, and the opioid addiction epidemic is not over.

Those who are ready to break the disease cycle of addiction and adopt a program of recovery are invited to reach out to HVRC. While we must take extra precautions now at Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) remains open.

We are still accepting new patients while we continue to follow the CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Take the first step toward a life in recovery by contacting us today at 866-273-0868.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Recovery Meetings Go Digital: Concerns About Anonymity

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we are continuing to do our part to protect the health and safety of our clients during the Coronavirus outbreak. Hopefully, you were able to read the article we published last week about how you can protect your recovery progress and prevent coming into contact with the deadly virus.

Since we wrote that post, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has increased exponentially across the Golden State. While some other states have been far more affected, such as Washington and New York, California's vast population and congested cities are making it hard to prevent disease transmission. The California Department of Public Health reports 1,184 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 20 illness-related casualties.

In Washington State and New York, the crisis is even more severe. There are 1,512 cases, and 81 people have died in Washington. New York reports 7,100 cases and 38 deaths. As of 4:15PM PDT on March 20, 2020, there are 17,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and 223 people have succumbed to the virus. Thousands of patient tests are pending across America.

The HVRC team would like to express our condolences to everyone who has lost someone they love from the pandemic. Our hearts go out to you and your families.

Concerns About Recovery Anonymity

When we last covered this most serious topic, we informed our readers that some 12 Step groups were going digital. AA groups throughout the US have alerted local AA offices or hotlines that they are temporarily suspending in-person meetings, and have instructed their members to utilize digital platforms, conference calls, and social networks.

"By attending digital meetings, groups can focus on AA's primary purpose: to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic who still suffers." 

It's safe to say that members of the recovery community are in uncharted territory. Moreover, with the alterations to age-old customs and traditions, it's natural that some in recovery have concerns.

Their concerns go beyond the heightened risk of relapse due to significant changes to recovery routines. Switching from in-person gatherings to digital conferencing raises concerns about anonymity. As many individuals in 12 Step recovery are well aware:

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities." 

It's worth remembering that what is said in the rooms stays in the rooms, even if that room has digital walls. The General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous (G.S.O.) provides many valuable resources about protecting your anonymity and that of your peers. Such service materials from the G.S.O. include: Understanding Anonymity and Anonymity Online and Digital Media.

Each member of the Fellowship is responsible for their own anonymity and that of others when using digital platforms. One must never inadvertently break the anonymity of others. 

As an aside, we would also like to point out that the closing of meetings houses presents challenges for newcomers. Fortunately, they can find out information about attending digital meetings and can access The Big Book and Twelve Steps/Twelve Traditions Book online.

Beginning a Journey of Recovery

Anyone ready to begin a life-changing journey of recovery is welcome to reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat. We would like to inform you that HVRC is following the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Our team is taking every necessary precaution to keep our clients safe as they learn how to lead a healthy life in addiction recovery.

Take the first step by calling us today at 866-273-0868 to learn more about our programs and services. We can provide you a confidential assessment over the phone.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Protecting Your Recovery During a Pandemic

Every American is aware the world is facing a pandemic that is escalating with each passing day. The number of new cases is increasing at an exponential rate. Everyone is at risk, especially people who gather in groups and shake hands or hug, which is precisely what people in addiction recovery do every day.

Some of you may have heard about travel restrictions, restrictions on gathering of 250 people or more, the NBA suspended its season, and late-night television hosts are no longer performing before live audiences.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 is changing nearly every aspect of life here in America and abroad. We all need to take precautions to prevent the spread and contraction of this potentially fatal disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released protocols and steps that you can take to avoid contracting COVID-19. Working from home if possible, avoiding physical contact with others, regularly washing and sanitizing your hands, and avoiding touching your face.

What Does Coronavirus Mean for People in Addiction Recovery?

Millions of people’s health and lives depend on attending 12 Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous regularly. Naturally, the spread of a highly-infectious virus presents significant challenges for those in recovery.

AA’s Intergroups, the state arms of Alcoholics Anonymous that run the chapters of the program across the country, are starting to take action. For instance, AA’s NY Intergroup informed its volunteers and members that it would be closing its office tomorrow, according to The Daily Beast. The Intergroup also states that most AA meetings will likely move to phone calls and online-only.

In many states, Intergroups are allowing each meeting group to decide if suspending meetings is warranted. The General Service Office (G.S.O.) of Alcoholics Anonymous, a resource for people in the program, released a statement. The G.S.O. pointed out that “providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the A.A. sharing that G.S.O. offers.”

Still, the resource center did provide some helpful suggestions for people in the program, such as contacting your national, state/provincial, and local health authorities for appropriate information. In the G.S.O.’s statement, it mentions what some groups are doing across the country to protect their members:  

Some groups have discussed making changes to customs at their meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions. Some groups have considered contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person. Plans have included: creating contact lists and keeping in touch by phone, email or social media; meeting by phone or online.


California Addiction Treatment Center

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center, we hope that everyone in recovery is taking precautions to protect their health. HVRC will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.

HVRC is a licensed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH). Please contact us today if you need assistance with addiction. We utilize evidence-based therapies and 12 Step programs to help people learn how to lead a life in recovery.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Acceptance is the Key to Long-Term Recovery

acceptance recovery
The first of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) reads: "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable." Once you can acknowledge that you have a problem with alcohol or substance use, then you can begin taking action.

Long-term recovery is possible for all who are willing to accept that they need help and seek assistance. Professional guidance is the surest method of finding long-term recovery. Those who seek addiction treatment receive instruction on breaking the cycle of addiction. Clients also learn how to establish a support network and are introduced to mutual-help groups like AA or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Both AA and NA utilize the 12 Steps, which are a set of guidelines to follow for achieving lasting recovery. Each program includes literature, such as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Within the bindings are hundreds of pages that instruct people with alcohol or another substance use disorder how to work and rework the steps.

Recovery is a never-ending process of making progress in one’s life, after all. A commitment to working and reworking the steps is to accept that you have a complex disease that requires continuous maintenance.

The Big Book also includes scads of wisdom to help men and women navigate the world clean and sober. Acceptance is a word that comes up often in recovery, and The Big Book speaks to that too. Those who are new to working a program will quickly discover that acceptance is one of the mainstays of addiction recovery.

Acceptance is the Answer in Addiction Recovery

Seeking help is to accept that you have a behavioral health disorder that you cannot contend with alone. Opting to go into treatment is accepting that you have an addiction. No matter how much time you accrue in recovery, it’s vital always to remember that you have a disease. If you do, then it will make working a program significantly less challenging.

Those who are unable to accept the reality of their potentially life-threatening condition regularly are likely to relapse. It’s worth noting that acceptance is an action that is beneficial in every facet of your life. Cases in point, the abridged passage below is from page 417 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment...Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

The wise words above are worth taking the time to memorize, and they will help you when you find yourself losing serenity. The passage will help you remember that the only thing you can change is yourself. Accepting that truism will make it less challenging to stay focused on your recovery and progress.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery in California

Please call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat at (866) 273-0868 for a confidential assessment if you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or a co-occurring mental health disorder. HVRC is a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH); we provide specialty services for chronic pain, older adults, young adults, and families.

At HVRC, we focus on empowering clients “toward discovering their true potential through a greater understanding of the 12-Steps and the mind-body connection.” You can contact our admissions team around the clock to have your questions answered and learn more about our programs and services.