Warning Signs That You Might Be Addicted

Warning Signs That You Might Be Addicted | Transitions

Warning Signs That You Might Be Addicted | Transitions

Addiction typically creeps up on us – it’s very rare that someone takes a single hit of a substance and finds themselves addicted, especially with the more common drugs such as alcohol and prescription drugs. Instead, we find ourselves using substances as a crutch to deal with other issues in our life, and before we know it, the crutch itself is the issue. 

It isn’t easy for someone to realize they’re trapped in a vicious cycle of addictive behavior. It’s only when you notice a compulsive need for a substance with no way of really stopping yourself that it becomes blatant that you have a problem – and by then, the problem will most likely have been one for quite a while. 

The thing about being addicted is that it’s not only hard to self-diagnose, it’s also extremely difficult to admit. People are often in denial about their addiction because they don’t want to know they have a problem.

The stigma behind addiction is massive, and oftentimes, the biggest emotional antagonist you’ll have when facing your addiction is yourself. Shame and guilt are common among people in recovery, and they help perpetuate an addiction. 

Overcoming denial requires a thorough understanding of what addiction is, how people get addicted, and why it’s a treatable disease.

Anyone Can Become Addicted

First and foremost – yes, anyone can get addicted. People who struggle with addiction aren’t all riddled with needle marks and open wounds.

They’re often those who you least expect including:

  • Often they’re moms and dads in normal middle-class households
  • Businessmen and women struggling with stressful positions at work
  • Teens finding themselves caught between an identity crisis and the struggle to belong anywhere in society.

Wherever you might find struggle and strife, there’s typically signs of addiction. And it can happen to anyone. All it takes is one slip-up for someone to tumble down the slippery slope. It begins with a glass of wine before bed, and turns into a bottle a day.

Of course, addiction is still a rarity – not everyone struggling with their job, the loss of someone they love, or another source of stress will turn to drugs as way to solve their issues. There are dozens of ways to relieve stress, some healthier than others. 

Addiction happens to be one of the worst ways to deal with excessive amounts of stress. But, it’s an attractive way to deal with stress due to its immediate short-term benefits. Depressants like alcohol, stimulants like cocaine and opiates like heroin all affect the brain in different ways. However, they all allow you to easily take your mind off your problems, while creating new ones.

While most of us deal with stress in one way or another, there are risk factors that increase a person’s chances of adding drug addiction onto their list of problems in highly stressful parts of their life.  

Understanding the Risk Factors of Addiction

While anyone can become an addict, some people are far more at risk of choosing addiction to deal with their issues than others.

There’s a reason why you’re more likely to see addiction be a problem in poor neighborhoods and places with high crime rates. It’s because the harder things are, the more attractive drugs become. But there’s more to it than the sheer amount of stress someone is under. Aside from stress, other risk factors include:

  • Genetics. There is a neurological predisposition among some people to develop a dependence on certain substances, often alcohol. 
  • Family history. If addiction runs in your bloodline, then you have a higher chance of developing it as well. 
  • Mental health issues. This may be directly correlated to stress, but conditions such as depression and anxiety are often linked with addiction, typically to “treat” the condition. 
  • Lack of connection. Whether it’s peer pressure from people you don’t feel comfortable with, or a lack of any meaningful relationships both at home and at work/school, being alone with your own thoughts can fuel both addiction and depression. 
  • Drug use. It’s obvious, but taking drugs often will lead to an addiction. Not everyone who uses drugs gets addicted, but the more addictive the drug, the higher the chances. This includes chronic pain patients, who may take prescription opiates to deal with their pain. 

These are the major risk factors towards developing an addiction. Aside from the unavoidable ones, such as genetics and family history, these other risk factors may also give you a clue as to why you first became addicted.

Was it due to peer pressure and fake friends? Was it due to a lack of connection between you and those around you? Or were you struggling with depression, and had no one to talk to? 

If any of these risk factors are a major part of your life, consider getting help immediately. 

Addiction and Mental Health

Aside from drug use itself, one of the most common risk factors for developing an addiction is mental illness. Most countries in the world aren’t very good at dealing with the mentally ill, and we as a species have had a bad track record at providing adequate mental health care for the most vulnerable among us.

From exorcising victims of personality disorders with gruesome rituals, to utilizing dangerous levels of electricity to administer electroshock therapy (still used today, but in a very different manner), our methods for “treating” these issues have been abysmal until quite recently. And even today, there is widespread confusion and general misunderstanding around what common mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, really are. 

Conclusion

It’s no wonder then that many who struggle with these issues fail to see any reason to turn to anything other than drugs to escape their problems.

However, this often makes things worse. Addiction exacerbates paranoia and self-loathing, sending someone who needs help further down their destructive spiral. 

If you find yourself at risk for addiction – or, if you feel like you’re already in the cycle – then get help. No matter how long you have been struggling with addiction, it’s never too late to get better.

What is Addiction Recovery? A Complete Overview

What is Addiction Recovery? A Complete Overview | Transitions

What is Addiction Recovery? A Complete Overview | Transitions

Some reports use the term “addiction recovery” like it is a single event. However, it is a process with multiple stages.

Millions of Americans are struggling with addiction and addiction recovery—over 22 million, according to research. Addiction is no different than other chronic diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes, for example. Therefore, addiction recovery should be given the same respect. Continue reading “What is Addiction Recovery? A Complete Overview”

How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction?

How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction? | Transitions

Addiction is often associated with habits. Often when one searches, “How long does it take to break an addiction,” they find that many ‘experts’ claim that it takes 21 days to break a habit.

This statement alone shows you how incredibly different a habit is from an addiction. If 21 days is all it takes, we would have millions of people sober and in recovery.

Continue reading “How Long Does It Take to Break an Addiction?”

How to Taper Off Alcohol to Avoid Withdrawal

How to Taper Off Alcohol to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

How to Taper Off Alcohol to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, it may be time to learn how to taper off alcohol to avoid withdrawal.

Don’t you love it when people say, “Just quit drinking,” like it is just that easy?

They have no idea that an immediate ceasing of drinking alcohol can create more problems, serious physical problems, depending on how much alcohol you consume daily.

For dependent drinkers, withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous. If you are having trouble putting down the bottle, then here’s how to taper off alcohol to avoid those withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Typical nausea, vomiting, tremors, spasms, and other negative withdrawal symptoms can appear within hours of the last drink. These are the symptoms that usually lead to relapse because they are so severe that they interfere with a person’s ability to function.

Those who drink enormous amounts of alcohol each day can expect withdrawal symptoms to be worse. That means they are more dangerous too.

Organs like the kidneys and liver are a big part of the process of eliminating alcohol from the body. Drinking too much alcohol can damage these organs. During a cold turkey detox, these organs can malfunction. Some have experienced seizures when trying to quit cold turkey.

To avoid withdrawal like this, many are choosing to taper off alcohol versus quitting cold turkey.

What Does It Mean to Taper Off Alcohol?

Tapering off alcohol means to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, over time. Do this until, eventually, you are no longer consuming alcohol at all. For example, if you drink six beers a day, you will start to tamper off by consuming only five beers a day. Then four, three, two, one, and none. 

Other ways to taper off alcohol, other than reduce the number of drinks you have, is to drink water or soda in between alcoholic beverages. Have a shot of whiskey, drink water for two hours, have another shot of whiskey. Rather than consuming back to back alcohol-filled drinks, you are replacing some with a non-alcoholic beverage.

Tapering off alcohol may also include switching to a drink you don’t care to try and reduce the number of drinks you have. Or, mix cocktails so that the amount of whiskey added in the glass is far less than the amount of water, soda, or juice.

Can Tapering Off Alcohol Work?

The short answer, yes, it can work. But you need to be very disciplined and structured to make it happen effectively.

People who can see the most success are those who can stick to a schedule of tapering off. A plan may be set up so that each day on the calendar allows less and less drinking. For instance, on Monday, you may be able to have six beers. Tuesday, five beers, and so on. 

The heavier drinkers may need to spend weeks or months tapering off to avoid severe withdrawals.

Successful tampering also comes with accountability. You must work with someone who can hold you accountable if you break your tapering off schedule or try to justify a continuance of drinking.

Your tapering off plan should also be supervised by medical professionals. Even when using this method to quit drinking, withdrawal symptoms may appear. Addiction specialists can help you ease these symptoms.

Plus, if you are taking any other medications, prescribed or illegal, you need to make your doctor aware, so he or she can help you avoid additional unexpected withdrawal consequences.

Harm Reduction is Hard

Many reports refer to tapering off alcohol as harm reduction practices. They mean the same thing: making choices and implementing actions that help you drink less and, therefore, do less harm to you or someone else.

This means making healthy decisions about drinking behaviors. This statement alone is confusing, right? The best choice would be not to drink at all. But we are talking about tapering off, which means you will be drinking. 

Also, once you start drinking, it is often hard to follow through with the decision you made. You have the best intentions. You only plan to drink two beers tonight. After those two beers, you are feeling good, and your brain wants more of the substance boosting your dopamine levels. It becomes easy to talk yourself into drinking more, breaking your promise to yourself.

What follows? Guilt.

To break this cycle, you need help. It’s too hard to do it alone. Getting help shows your strength and desire to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.

Ideas to Help You Taper

Some quick tips for tapering off alcohol include first, put together a support team that provides for medical help, family, and friends. 

Work with an addictions specialist to develop a tapering off schedule that you can stick to, and a plan of action for when you can’t stick to your schedule. For example, if you can’t stick to a tapering off schedule, entering a detox facility is the right choice. 

Other tips include not combining medications with alcohol, especially medicines that slow the respiratory system. Also, agree to only drink in safe environments, eat full meals before drinking, or in between the times you drink.

Buy less alcohol or find ways to restrict your access to alcohol.  

Place Yourself In a Supportive Setting

Finally, tell everyone, including the bartenders, you are on a plan to taper off alcohol. The people who support you in your mission are the ones who care about you. The people who mock your ideas or try to prevent you from getting sober should not be included in your support system.

You want to surround yourself with people who will be honest, even when what they tell you is unpleasant. You want people who will remind you why you set this goal in the first place, and who will hold you accountable because they want you to succeed.

Get creative, and with the help of your therapist, friends, and family, develop harm reduction strategies that work for you and your lifestyle. Each time you reduce something, like drinking, remember to replace that action with something positive.

With a proper tapering off-plan, you can succeed in avoiding withdrawal symptoms as you eliminate alcohol.

How to Enjoy Being Sober

How to Enjoy Being Sober | Transitions Sober Living

Enjoying experiences with a side of alcohol is one thing, but when sobriety becomes a hostile attack on a person’s definition of fun, then there’s something wrong with how they spend their time.

How to Enjoy Being Sober | Transitions Sober Living

People sometimes have this misconception that fun dies the day you decide to put down the drink. What they forget is that a life made fun only by alcohol is not a life lived. Letting a substance consume your life is not something to be celebrated; rather, it’s a personal problem that needs to be worked on.

Alcoholism, one of the more common forms of addiction, creeps up on people who feel that their habit is just a gauge for how much they love to be social.  By drowning real interaction in booze, you turn a potentially fun get-together into an opportunity to get blackout drunk, forget half the night and wake up with a blinding headache and a liver that is none too happy about your behavior. 

It’s not just possible to have fun while being sober – it’s much easier, once you get the hang of it and reconsider what fun really means. 

Identify What Fun Means to You

There is no way to pinpoint a strict definition of fun – that just isn’t fun. Instead, think about what comes to mind when you’re thinking of fun. Don’t just think about a specific circumstance; think about the feeling itself.

Alcohol and other drugs drown out our feelings, they replace them with numbness and artificial pleasure. We end up having our “fun”, but it’s never real. 

Real fun is like being a child again. It’s satisfying curiosities, discovering new things, pushing boundaries. Having laughs and being surprised and experiencing something unexpected. It’s about seeking out something unique every chance you get.

Now, think about what you used to do that would evoke emotions like that. Think about what you could do to evoke emotions like that. 

Addiction recovery is serious business. There are medical complications to consider during detox and withdrawal, and every individual’s treatment must be tailored to their circumstances. But ultimately, once you’re out of rehab and thrust back into real life, it all get far too much too fast.

You need to have fun if you want to stay sober. A fantastic way to start is by tackling the issue with others. 

Find More (Sober) People

Friends are a good thing, especially in recovery. because they support you and seek out your support.  Friends will be there to tell you when you’re right – and when you’re wrong.

However, when it comes to sobriety, many people experience a transformation in the relationship they used to have with their drinking friends. Some become defensive, aggressively shunning you for quitting booze. It’s not on you to force them to realize they have a problem. 

Yet all that drama can lead to a problem – loneliness. Loneliness is a common factor in addiction in the first place, and it’s an incredible danger to people struggling with sobriety. However, when you’re sober, meeting new people at the bar or in a night club is typically out of the question.

Instead, meet sober people through the Internet, and through local meet-up opportunities like book clubs, sports clubs, and other hobbyist meet-ups. 

There are plenty of opportunities to get your groove on with others, minus the alcohol. Sober raves are a thing of the present, and their presence is growing alongside other sober-oriented activities, such as juice bars. 

Improve on Your Hobbies

Speaking of hobbies, hobbies will often be your primary source of fun when in recovery – not because hobbies are more fun than traveling or exploring the world, but because they double as an effective way to build consistency in your new sober life. 

When you’ve freshly shoved addiction out of your life, the last thing you want is a chaotic living situation. “Cleaning up your act” does not just involve getting clean and finding a job, but it will also involve taking the time to improve yourself and do things that help you feel fulfilled and proud of your accomplishments. 

Hobbies like art, music, cooking and exercise are not just effective ways to pass time, have fun and meet new people. They can also be a form of therapy. 

Enjoy Having More Time & Money

One of the immediately noticeable side effects of going sober is an abundance of newfound time. because addiction is time-consuming. For example, it’s common to hear people struggle to remember the night before on a very regular basis when they have a drinking problem. Addiction also has the habit of consuming and replacing most of our other priorities, to the point where we think way too much about our favorite vice. 

Addiction is also expensive. It costs a significant amount of money to be a chain smoker, let alone drink booze every night. All the money you spend on your addiction is money saved when sober.  A few months of sobriety can save you a serious cash.  

Now, having more time and more money does not immediately mean more fun. However, it is a step in the right direction. Think vacations, overseas trips, camping journeys, expeditions with your friends, investments into your passion. Save your booze money and buy a better guitar and a quality microphone to fuel your passion for making ballads. 

To Get to the Gist of It

Quitting an addiction leaves you with more time, money, sense, and the opportunity to make better friends and meet more interesting people. It also gives you the chance to remember the great experiences you get to have. Believe that it can drastically improve your relationship with your own self and the problems you’re facing in life.  

Sure, you won’t get the chance to get wasted. But there are much better ways to enjoy yourself. All it takes is a shift in perspective, and the willingness to try new things. 

The Benefits of Peer Interaction in Sober Living

Why Peer Interaction in Sober Living is Beneficial For Addicts

Too often, addicts with less than six months of sobriety are released from rehab and sent home, only to run in to old friends or family members who are eager to help them relapse. 

Why Peer Interaction in Sober Living is Beneficial For Addicts

Soon they find themselves back in the vicious cycle of abusing substances to avoid withdrawal, lying to loved ones, and feeling disappointed in themselves.

Fortunately, many return to a treatment program with the hopes that this time they will beat their addiction.

There are facilities who recognize addicts need more than just a few weeks to get sober. The brain needs time to heal. The longer a person can stay away from substances, the better chance they have in recovery.

To assist addicts in gaining more recovery time, sober living houses have been established. Sober living is designed to provide a safe environment, with structure and expectations, that aid addicts in transitioning from rehabilitation back into society.

Sober living homes allow you to be around your peers, which offers many benefits, including the ones listed below.

Shared Experiences

Each addict in sober living has a story, an individual story filled with hardships, rewards, and individual ups and downs. Despite their individuality, those in sober living also share experiences.

They share the experience of addiction, it’s destruction, it’s power, the losses it has caused, and the struggle to overcome it.

Build Meaningful Relationships

Addiction, no matter what substance, replaces real relationships.  It comes before family and friends, even children. It takes up all his time and addicts feels like dying without it.

Sober living teaches how to build meaningful relationships without using drugs or alcohol. It’s a place where those can learn to trust again, as well as build empathy and compassion. These same life skills will help them after their transition home.

Relearn Important Life Skills

There are many more life skills than empathy, trust and compassion. And sober living environments help those in recovery learn them all. Other skills that are developed during rehab include:

  • Self-awareness,
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Communication,
  • Problem solving,
  • Decision making, 
  • Self-control

The more life skills they can master, the better chance they will have at preventing relapse. They can also use these skills to become a role model for fellow sober living tenants.

Role Modeling

Role modeling means your behaviors are teaching others how to behave.

In a sober living environment, recovering addicts can role model behaviors of sobriety. For instance, showing up for appointments and meetings, showing up on time, completing chores and working the program.

Every role model needs a role model. In sober living, it’s just as important to learn how to pick the right people to follow as it is to lead. Learning this skill will be even more beneficial after leaving sober living.

Become More Independent

Addicts learn to find people they can depend on. They know who to go to when they need cash, food, a ride, and drugs. An addict could not be an addict with a dependent of some kind.

Sober living teaches addicts how to become independent. They learn to take care of themselves and meet their own needs.

Reduces Loneliness

Loneliness is a trigger for relapse.

Why? Because drugs and alcohol work with the chemicals in a man’s brain, spiking serotonin and dopamine. This makes the addict feel like they’re not alone, that the substance is all that they need.

Living in a sober living environment also teaches addicts how to reduce loneliness without the need to use drugs or alcohol. From simple substitutions like listening to music or playing a game, to having meaningful conversations, they can learn how to replace loneliness the right way.

Shared Responsibilities

Responsibility is not something an addict cares too much about when they are using. Their brains won’t let them focus on much other than their drug of choice and avoiding withdrawal. But once they get sober, meeting responsibilities can help them rebuild.

Too many responsibilities at once can be overwhelming for someone just returning from rehab. This is where sober living can help. The residents share responsibilities, giving eachother opportunities to carry their own weight but without overwhelming them.

Provides Accountability

Recovering addicts need someone to answer to, some form of accountability. In sober living, addicts can check on each other to make sure goals are being met, they are sticking to the program, attending meetings, or if they have stumbled.

Sober living also helps recovering addicts make themselves accountable. Learn to seek support when you’re struggling, ask for help when needed, and be truthful about where you are in your daily journey.

Build a Support Network

Relapse prevention tools include building a support network. Addicts can start this process while in sober living. They can start making positive connections both in the transition home and in the place where they will go after sober living.

Support networks should include sponsors, counselors, sober friends and family. A support network cannot include anyone who is currently using drugs or alcohol. A recovering addict’s  zsupport network should also include locations of community support groups they can attend every single day of the week.

Support Groups and Family Therapy

Sober living homes offer support groups and give tenants access to individual and group therapy opportunities. These are essential for recovery. 

Peer feedback and support can offer individuals and their families hope for success. It also helps an addict see that their family is not the only one struggling or dysfunctional. 

Support groups are places where you can receive tips and ideas from other families who have succeeded in helping their loved one transition home. 

In conclusion, choosing sober living after rehab gives you more time to learn how to live a productive, sober life. One that is worth the battle. One that you deserve.

What to Look for When Choosing an Alcohol Treatment Program

Choosing an Alcohol Treatment Program | Transitions SL

Choosing a suitable alcohol treatment program for you or your loved one can be a daunting task and a very complicated process.

Choosing an Alcohol Treatment Program | Transitions SL

This is unfortunate considering that there has been a tremendous rise in opioid and alcohol addiction rates, and the fact that there has also been a tremendous increase in misleading marketing and unethical practices by insincere providers of addiction rehabilitation services whose main motivation is monetary gain.

The result of this has been confusion and distrust regarding where and how you can find effective options for treating alcohol and drug addiction.

In this age of information, consumers of rehabilitation services, have an ever growing need for sufficient knowledge on what to look for in a rehabilitation center.

It is therefore crucial to dedicate adequate time to research on the various rehabilitation centers to find one that best suits your needs as an individual. There are general factors to consider, which include but are not limited to: 

Accreditation

For a rehabilitation center to achieve accreditation it must undergo rigorous scrutiny and evaluation by an accreditation body such as The Joint Commission.

These organizations conduct accreditation on the basis of the required standards of performance in the industry and demonstrated results, value, and quality. While doing this you should also consider that state licensing and accreditation are not the same owing to the fact that different states have different requirements for their licensing.

Furthermore, rehabilitation centers have to get certification so that they can  advertise their drug and alcohol treatment programs on in the internet and on social media platforms. This is solely to protect consumers by ensuring that only legitimate centers and those that provide quality services advertise.

It is important to have a keen look into the accreditation status of the rehabilitation options available to be sure that you receive the best service.

Duration of the Alcohol Treatment Program 

Addiction treatment requires sufficient time committed to the endeavor since rehabilitation encompasses overcoming both physical and emotional dependence. Treatment specialists look into the root cause of the addiction and strive to turn your habits and life around.

Most people prefer the 28-day rehabilitation program but it may not be enough to facilitate recovery to full sobriety, given the complex nature of addiction. NIDA Reports recommend that rehabilitation should take at least 90 days in order for the treatment to be more effective. You could opt for outpatient or inpatient treatment subject to your rehabilitation needs.

However, given the relatively longer length and commitment of inpatient treatment, the program has a higher success rate. Realize that this option for an alcohol treatment program is much more expensive and disruptive to daily life.

Location of the Facility

A change of scene is usually helpful in the fight against addiction.

When looking for a rehabilitation center, you should consider a facility that places some distance between you and the destructive patterns or negative influences. Also, some find the rehabilitation process more productive when they are in a familiar place around their friends and family members who give them moral support.

The choice of attending a rehab center close to your home or at a center far away from home will be greatly influenced by your individual needs and preferences.

Dual Diagnosis

There is usually a high correlation between addiction and other undiagnosed mental health conditions. Mental illness and addiction could fuel each other resulting in condition called dual diagnosis.

When looking for a rehabilitation center to enroll to, you should consider one that provides treatment for the underlying mental illness alongside the addiction to increase the chances of success in the long run. Dual diagnosis treatment is not available in all rehabilitation facilities therefore it is important to enquire before enrolling to one.

Alcohol Treatment Program Costs

Rehabilitation service costs could be high, especially for a reputed facility that provides quality services. The costs will also vary depending on the type of program, the location, the type of treatment and other amenities available.

Many reputed treatment centers also tend to accept insurance beside facilitating flexible payment plans that could be essential in financing the treatment. You should check if the desired rehab center incorporates these modalities in treatment costs for an even better experience in during treatment.

Staff of the Treatment Facility

When making a decision between various treatment options in is worth considering the quantity and quality of staff members of the treatment facility.

The staff should be caring, loving and supportive. These attributes could serve as a differentiating factor which is as important as the center’s accreditation. This is also an important consideration when you prefer a treatment center that caters for specific needs such as age, gender, veteran or any other need.

Every substance abuse disorder is different in its treatment requirements subject to an individual, making it imperative to have sufficient knowledge and trust that the treatment staff attends to you or your beloved one as frequently as possible to meet your rehabilitation needs.

Knowing that you are in the hands of a reliable doctor could be helpful in breaking barriers and by facilitating the forging of real connections that ease the treatment process by building trust.

An ideal treatment facility should also have a multidisciplinary care team that is capable of addressing all aspects of the addiction disorder which are the mind, body and spirit. This implies that the treatment center and program should incorporate the services of a mix of professionals who collaborate to develop a patient based treatment plan that address all of you individual needs. The team could include a:

  • Medical doctor
  • Nutritionist
  • Nurse
  • Spiritual care counsellor
  • Psychologist 
  • Psychiatrist
  • Wellness specialist

Use of Evidence Based Practice

Effective treatment programs have a heavy reliance on the use of evidence based approaches to addiction treatment. Some of these practices include Twelve-Step facilitation, Medical – Assisted Therapy and other models of treatment.

It’s crucial to choose an alcohol treatment program that is suited best for your individual needs. Take the time to research important factors like quality of staff, costs, accreditation, location, etc. Your extensive process behind this decision will benefit you on the road to recovery.