How to Talk About Your Recovery With Your Family

talking to family about addiction

For many people in recovery, the idea of "anonymous" recovery feels beneficial. After all, there is still some stigma attached to addiction. Not everyone deserves to know about your recovery, and that's okay. Some people can be insensitive or stubborn about their wrong beliefs. Even members of your family!

While the FDA now recognizes addiction as a disorder of the brain, there's still a lot of myths out there. Sometimes these stereotypes can be hurtful. It’s understandable you may be nervous talking about your recovery with people in your family.

Remember that Family Can Be A Stressor

Family can be an excellent support network or a trigger that fills you with intense feelings. Usually, a family falls somewhere in between, even if you're estranged. Many people have a few family members that they trust or talk to. Other members of the family may not be people you trust or want to confide in. If you're going to talk about recovery, it's important to make sure you're with somebody you trust.

You choose what you share with whom. And if you are at a family event and you're feeling triggered, it's okay to make an exit plan. Staying clean and sober is the most important task for a person in recovery day-to-day. Your sobriety is precious, and you deserve to keep it. So use the tools you've learned in recovery; pick up the phone and call your sponsor, text a recovery friend, or look up the closest 12-step meeting and grab rideshare to get to it.

Talking About Your Addiction

Take the time to set up a meeting with your loved one where you can have privacy.

It's fine to limit what you share with your loved ones. They don't need to know about the desperate things you did during addiction. However, now is not the time to speak about amends you make; that comes later in recovery when you are ready for the ninth step.

Here are some things you may be willing to share with them:

  • Your drug of choice and how long you've been using it.
  • What kind of trouble it has caused you or others. (Such as DUI charges, lost jobs, etc.)
  • How long you've been sober and if you've ever relapsed.
  • If you have completed a treatment program or are in sober housing.
  • Is there anything that your family member can do to help you?
  • What kinds of challenges are you facing?
  • Do you attend 12-step meetings? How do you feel about your sponsor>

Your family members may simply be curious or they may misconceptions about addiction. If they say something mean or hurtful, it's okay to end the conversation. They may be coming from a place of hurt or past experiences with addicted people. It's not your job to argue with them about the science of addiction. Sure, you can get their email to forward them some information. But you don't have to prove that your addiction is a serious disease that deserves treatment.

Consider Sober Housing

Many people who have attended either outpatient or inpatient treatment transition to sober housing once they complete the program.  It's a place to start to spread your wings and grow! There's both structure and independence, and you'll have the added benefit of living with people who are working towards similar goals.

Learn more about our programs and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077. We're happy to talk about your options.

Months ago, California was part of a historic lawsuit win against pharmaceutical companies and their distributors. A large payout was allocated to the state after four companies -  Allergan, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva – were ruled to have used false and misleading marketing to push massive amounts of the addictive drug, Oxycontin onto the public.

Early this month, the results were reversed. A state judge in California ruled that the companies cannot be held liable for the raging opioid epidemic; it was simply too much of a reach to hold them responsible using a public nuisance law.

California Counties Were Counting On The Money

Many Californian counties needed the lawsuit money; they had already planned on how they would spend it. For example, San Diego County would use it to invest in more treatment centers and other public health initiatives.

Much of the money was also slated for opioid addiction training and prevention initiatives. Now, there may not be an expansion of treatment opportunities for people who need them.

Treatment Options Still Available

Many people are still able to get treatment, even if it’s not what they envisioned. Medical can help people get on waiting lists and get coverage when a bed is available. People with private insurance companies tend to have better options.

Addiction treatment is an integral part of healthcare, but there will still be limitations without new funds. The pandemic also has brought new challenges as well as healthcare delivery options. Some people find that therapy and groups online make treatment available almost everywhere.

Many people find that a sixty or ninety-day inpatient program benefits them, but they’re not ready to return to everyday life right away.

Consider Sober Housing

Sober housing options are still available for people who need aftercare and support as they live life on its own terms daily. Sober housing provides an intimate, recovery-focused environment where you can focus on your wellbeing.

If you or somebody you love needs structure and support in their living environment, recovery housing is an option. Call us to learn more about how it works at 760-216-2077.

 

For people in recovery, coping skills can be a significant challenge. Unfortunately, when you were in active addiction, these skills may have been in short supply.

After all, when you were sad, you probably got high or drunk. When you were angry, you probably got high or drunk. When you felt lonely, happy, confused, or lost…you probably got high or drunk, if it was an option. When you get sober, you learn that you don’t have the best coping skills. Discovering new ones will be a lifelong process. But there are some you can try on for size right away. So what are some good ones to practice?

New Coping Skills To Try On For Size

Not every coping skill works for every emotion. Here are some ones to try on for size. If they don’t work for you, you can always try another one, instead. Keep what you need and leave the rest.

  • When you’re angry: Go for a walk or a jog. If you don’t like that type of exercise, choose something like bicycling, surfing, or shadowboxing. Exercise can release calming hormones that also provide a mood boost.
  • When you’re sad: Permit yourself to cry. Then, listen to sad music for 10 minutes, and let it all out. Or, pick up the phone and call somebody in your recovery network to talk it out.
  • When you’re lonely: Send somebody a text message or get yourself to a 12-step meeting, pronto. People are the cure for loneliness. Yes, you can feel lonely in a room full of people. But, if you share that pain, it often is lessened.
  • When you’re happy/excited/proud: Believe it or not, your coping skills for celebrating may not be the best! Many people use good news as a reason to use substances. Instead, make a date with a friend or your sponsor to go out for ice cream. Share your good news with friends in recovery. Happiness multiplies when it’s shared.
  • When you feel like getting high/drunk: Call somebody who doesn’t, and make arrangements to get to a 12-step meeting. Share about how you feel, don’t hold it inside. The feeling will pass, but keeping it secret can be dangerous to your mental health.

Consider Sober Living

Are you or somebody you love interested in a living situation that offers structure and aftercare? Sober living may be the right decision for you. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

The addiction crisis is raging in San Diego during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many parts of the country, addiction rates have seen an uptick due to isolation and other stressors of the pandemic. San Diego has lost an average of three people a day to overdoses.

In 2020, the County reported 457 fentanyl-related overdose deaths, but not all opioid deaths are from fentanyl, and not all opioid deaths have yet been counted. A total of 722 meth users were lost to an overdose last year, up from 546 the previous year. A large number of prescription drug users – 576 – were lost to overdose as well.

All of these numbers are startling. In recovery, there have been many anecdotes of people with long-term sobriety relapsing. Relapse doesn't have to be a part of your story, even if you're struggling. And even if you DO relapse, you are welcome back to recovery with open arms.

Staying Supported During the Pandemic

Of course, life has been difficult for people of all walks of life during the pandemic. And for most of us, it’s not over. People who live with addiction especially need support during these times. Staying connected to other people in recovery can help you stay sober and sane.

San Diego offers many opportunities for recovery for those who embrace them. 12-step meetings, therapy online, and even peer support groups are incredibly valuable for people in recovery.

Lifesaving Services in San Diego For Drug Users

The Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego County is one example of an organization that uses state grant money to help reduce the harmful dangers of addiction. They offer needle exchange services and the opioid-reversal drug, Narcan, to drug users to help them stay safe.

Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego also offers fentanyl test strips, wound care, education, and referrals for healthcare.

Sober Living Opportunities for Newly Sober

Are you a recovering addict or alcohol looking for a sober living situation that offers recovery and stability? Sober living situations offer structure and independence as you learn to live life on its terms, without substances.

Living with others who have the same goals and similar challenges can help you continue to grow in recovery. Structured support will help you stay centered. You’ll also find community and camaraderie in daily living activities such as cooking, doing chores, or even taking time together to go bike riding or strolling on the beach.

Many people who are looking for aftercare choose sober living as their next step.

Learn more about sober living opportunities by giving us a call at 760-216-2077.

If you are new to recovery or even have been around the block a few times, you may have questions about the twelve steps and how to fit meetings into your recovery best. After all, sitting in a room and sharing your innermost feelings can be pretty intimidating. If you’re introverted or shy, you may worry that you won’t be able to get as much out of meetings. However, people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and personality types have gotten clean and sober using the twelves steps. So how can you get the most out of 12-step meetings, no matter what?

Start By Listening at 12-Step Meetings

All meetings are based on the 12 Steps, which are read to the group at the beginning of each meeting. Most 12-step meetings will have “old-timers” who share their experiences every week. “Shut up and listen” may be one of the catchphrases you hear them say. You may think this is rude – but it’s a saying for a reason. It’s not just about respecting the group dynamics, although that is undoubtedly an essential lesson for newcomers.

Listening is an integral part of recovery, especially because you’re learning how to stay sober by following the suggestions of people who have been there before. After all, you’re trying to stay sober a day at a time, and you’ll learn how to do this by listening to people who have been sober for more months or years than you.

Getting Used to 12 Step Meeting Formats

Some groups will have a speaker, while others will focus on readings from books like the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (also sometimes referred to as the “Bible of AA.” In many cases, newcomers (or newly sober people) are encouraged to listen only, at least for their first few weeks sober so that they can hear from people with more experience in recovery.

Some meetings are distinguished as “newcomer meetings” and are often more open to having newly sober people share. You may talk about the first three steps or general topics such as being open-minded or willing.

If you have questions about the meeting format, try to observe others when you first attend. It’s okay to raise your hand and share or ask a question of the group. Just make sure to be respectful and genuinely listen when others speak. You can gain a lot just by listening. Many people who relapse humble themselves and spend time listening when they’ve returned to their recovery program.

After the Meeting

People usually congregate and socialize after 12-step meetings. This is also an excellent time to get names or phone numbers from people, especially if you need a sponsor. There is also a lot of good, free literature available to pick up if you need help with particular issues.

12-step meetings are both self-help groups and a community. If you’re struggling with something, make sure to talk to the group or with individuals after the meeting.

Considering Sober Living?

Many people in recovery find that they are inspired to do more when surrounded by like-minded people. Getting back to basics, building community, and learning more about yourself in a structured environment are all parts of sober living. Are you interested in learning more? Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

Many people who go to drug treatment have experience with a lot of types of therapy. However, one type of therapy that doesn’t solely focus on you is family therapy, which can be an important component of recovery. Your family members, after all, are a part of your addiction. Children are significantly affected by addiction in the family.

Family Therapy Focuses on Healing for All

Family therapy helps the people that love you learn to live with the “new” you. It’s also a way for your family to learn new coping methods and behaviors. People who enable you need to learn new coping mechanisms. They also need to have healthy boundaries with you.

Many people who are addicted to something have a family enabler. Did somebody always bail you out of jail or pay your utilities? Well, that person needs to heal too. They have given a lot of their time and life to your addiction. They may feel strange and even scared when you get sober. They may have expectations that you don’t know about or even resent your new friends or lifestyle.

Your child or spouse may have trust issues or fears surrounding your addition. Going to therapy as a family can help you learn what effect addiction has had on them, what they need from you now that you're sober, and how to repair those relationships.

Why Go To Family Therapy?

You may think that recovery is about you and your growth alone, but that is a selfish view. Your actions always affect more than one person.

Addiction is a family disease. You’re not responsible for the disease, but you are responsible for your recovery. Relationships can recover when you put in the work. People who love you may have been manipulated, stolen from, or verbally abused during your active addiction. That kind of behavior has a lasting effect on relationships, and it’s up to you to begin to make up for it and mend the trust. It can happen, and it takes willingness and time. A therapist can help you figure things out.

The goal of family therapy is to help people with their relationships and help repair wounds. When substance use disorder is part of a family dynamic, there are many wounds. The therapist and your family will talk about their perspectives and emotions.

Consider Sober Housing

Sober housing can be a vital springboard from treatment to everyday living. In a structured environment, you can begin to become more responsible as you focus on your recovery. If you’re not ready to go home after treatment, consider a sober living residence. You’ll have community and structure as you begin to rebuild your life in recovery.

Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, with all of your devices turned off, you probably heard about singer Demi Lovato’s claim that she is “California sober.” In her depiction of this new term, she can use alcohol and drugs “socially” without falling into her former addiction to opioids or other drugs. (Deconstructing her life and her belief in this lifestyle can be a whole other article.)

One belief Lovato seems to have is the idea that marijuana (and alcohol) are just fine to use recreationally and no danger to sobriety. It’s simply not true; both alcohol and marijuana are addictive on their own, even if they never lead the user to opioids or “harder” drugs.

Weed’s Reputation Muddied Truths

Marijuana has always had a lot of stigma attached to it, which has helped muddy the water when truth and fiction about this popular drug. The “drug wars” of the past 30 years often treated marijuana possession harshly. Many police crackdowns on marijuana dealing and use heavily targeted Black Americans, leading to mass incarceration and further societal problems.

Meanwhile, nobody stopped using marijuana, and it eventually was decriminalized and legalized for recreational use, at least in many states like California.

Propaganda often gets in the way of prevention and education when it comes to drug use. Myths and misconceptions about the nature of marijuana use also have helped hide any truths about its harm. For example, for many people, marijuana is a “gateway drug” – often the first drug they try before moving onto their drug of choice. However, it’s not addictive in the same intensity as heroin or cocaine. Yet, it still can take a tremendous toll on your quality of life.

 

Now vs. Then: Marijuana Potency

Marijuana addiction is common, but there haven’t been a lot of studies on it. The active component of marijuana that gets people high, THC, has increased exponentially since the 1960s. In the ’60s and 70’s THC levels in weed were typically under 10%. Today, some marijuana products at dispensaries boast up to 70% THC levels.

No one quite knows the long-term effects of using such potent weed. However, anecdotally, many chronic marijuana users who try to quit have documented headaches, nausea, and cravings sometimes for weeks after they quit using. Many chronic marijuana users have trouble stopping despite the negative consequences of continued use.

Marijuana Addiction

A person who uses marijuana is not automatically addicted to it. Indeed, its draw is primarily psychological instead of physical addiction. Many people try marijuana and use it casually, walking away from it quickly after a phase in life. Some people move on to “harder drugs,” but they are not the majority.

Being addicted to marijuana on its own is possible. Some people who use marijuana lose interest in almost everything except getting high. Like other addicted people, they may suffer job loss, financial woes, relationship problems, and trouble with the law. And, when addicted, they may need help to quit.

And yes, a person who uses other drugs is much more likely to relapse onto their drug of choice.  Marijuana, after all, is a drug.

If you choose to use it, you will probably find it is more trouble than it is worth; there are better choices for you when you stay sober.

Consider Sober Living

Sober living is an excellent way for a person to continue their recovery journey in a safe home-away-from-home. You’ll make friends and grow in your recovery along the way. Do you want to learn more about your choices? Get in touch at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

If you are planning on getting sober, there are probably many things you have questions about. You may wonder why you can’t simply get the drugs out of your system and get on with your life. Unfortunately, addiction doesn’t work like that. To stay sober once you’ve rid your body of substances, you’re going to need some help. There are going to be changes you need to make in life to maintain your recovery. That’s where therapy can help you make choices about your recovery.

Detox and Therapy

Most people who are addicted to a substance need help to get sober. Your body and brain have been used to getting a certain amount of a substance every day. Because of this, you probably will experience some withdrawal effects. Detox is a safe and comfortable place that can help you through the challenges of your first few days or week clean and sober.

While you’re in detox, you’ll have the chance to go to group sessions and speak with counselors. You’ll be able to plan your next moves in recovery. For example, you may want to go to an inpatient program or try sober housing. You must get help from addiction professionals to help you find the right treatment plan to fit your needs.

Much of your first days sober will be an emotional roller coaster as your body and brain adjust to life without drugs. This is normal, and will pass after a week or so.

Therapy for Recovery and Healing

Once you’ve been sober for a few more weeks, you’ll probably be in another group setting. Group therapy is important because it allows you to learn more about yourself in a room of peers. You’re able to offer both your support and insight as somebody with similar experiences. You can also benefit from the insight from your peers and trained professionals.

One-on-one therapy in recovery can help you work through more personal issues. A therapist can help you learn how to cope with challenges in your life. They can also help you learn to cope with painful situations and problems as they come up in life.

Most treatment centers will help you by engaging in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which enables you to change your actions and reactions. You’ll learn more about yourself and how to live life on its terms as you develop a relationship with a therapist.

AA, NA, and Other 12 Step Meetings

Twelve-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous aren’t technically therapy, but they are a support group full of people who want to stay sober. Some of them have experience from years of sobriety, while others are new, just like you.

Twelve-step meetings are a place to meet others and learn what has helped them achieve long-term sobriety. They also offer fellowship and friendship if you go to them regularly. Most people in recovery make 12-step meetings a part of their daily life. The community can help you through thick and thin.

If you need help with a mental health disorder or substance use disorder, support is available! Seeking out a professional therapist, treatment program, or doctor to help you get sober is an important first step!

You deserve to reclaim your life!

Getting Help for Addiction

Are you looking for a sober living program? Our programs will help you get sober and plot your next step in your recovery journey. We offer a safe space for you to begin to heal and start your journey. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your opeions.

 

For the past several years, there has been a lot of interest in the wellness community about an herb sold online called Kratom. Kratom is a drug that has been used for centuries in Southeast Asian countries for various reasons. The most notable of reasoning has been as a "substitute" for opiates. Because of this, many people who are desperate to quit opioids turn to this drug to help them ease their withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, this quick fix isn't a fix at all; the Food and Drug Administration has received reports of similar withdrawal symptoms when a user tries to quit taking Kratom.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a green powder supplement that has been sold as a sort of snake oil online. People have claimed it can boost their energy and moods, kill pain, and even fix their opioid withdrawal symptoms. All of these short-term effects are possible, but that doesn't make the supplement safe. Kratom is an unregulated drug that has been outlawed, in fact, in some Asian countries due to its similarity to opium.

Kratom is a quasi-legal substance, according to the FDA. They have already halted the drug's importations due to a lack of evidence that it has value as holistic medicine. People usually administer Kratom by drinking it as a tea or putting the powder into capsules they can swallow.

Kratom Is Probably Addictive, Too

Long-term users anecdotally will describe the need for more Kratom to get a similar effect as before. This is evidence that people who use Kratom build a tolerance to the drug similar to opioids. Some people who try to quit Kratom have what is described as a "rebound effect." They feel much worse when they are off of it than on it. If they took Kratom for anxiety, for example, they might discover that without Kratom, they feel worse than they did before when they're anxious.

People also have reported that they have gone through withdrawal when ceasing the use of the substance. According to Poison control centers in the United States, seven infants were exposed to Kratom and were hospitalized. Five of these children experienced withdrawal effects when the Kratom left their system, suggesting that it is powerfully addictive.

Other side effects from Kratom include liver damage, trouble breathing, muscle pain, chills, vomiting, nausea, and constipation. All of these symptoms are similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. More troubling effects reported by Kratom users included dizziness, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions during use or withdrawal.

Due to these issues, Kratom use is not recommended by medical professionals or the addiction recovery community. If you or a loved one need help to get clean from opioids, there are safer, more recovery-affirming options available. Don't trade one addiction for another.

Consider Sober Living

Staying sober can be difficult during these times. A sober living home can help you stay focused and grounded as you start your new life in sobriety. Make friends and learn to live life on its terms. Learn more about your options by calling us at  760-216-2077 to learn more about our residence, amenities, and recovery activities. We're happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

THIQ, also called Tetrahydrolsoqulnoline, is the chemical that scientists believe holds the key to alcohol addiction. Discovered by a scientist named Virginia Davis, it’s a chemical that has only been found in the brains of people chronic alcoholics. The chemical is very closely related to heroin, and it’s manufactured in the drinker’s body. Since this discovery, scientists have carefully tried to decipher a “cure” for people addicted to alcohol involving THIQ.

Why THIQ? What Does it Have to Do With Alcohol Addiction?

For as long as history can remember, people have been addicted to alcohol. (Even the oldest texts will mention men who have typically become derelict or homeless.) So, of course, it makes sense that humans have also pursued a solution to alcohol addiction as well. Science has long looked for an answer to alcohol addiction.

Science has also shown that Tetrahydroisoquinoline or (THIQ) shows up in the bodies of people who use heroin as well. THIQ is created in the brain as a by-product when heroin is broken down in the body. For chronic drinkers, THIQ is manufactured right there in the brain. However, in a healthy person who doesn’t drink to excess, there is no sign of THIQ at all.

THIQ as a Chemical

THIQ is highly addictive in clinical trials involving animals, even more so than morphine. Experts say that the biochemical similarity between the brains of alcohol and heroin-addicted people suggests that the chemical process between the two is strikingly similar.

Research into the brain’s chemical processes shows that people who drink socially don’t have brains that make these chemicals. This is true even if they drink to excess. Something about the chemicals in an alcohol-addicted brain seems to be creating the compulsion to drink. Rats have been tested to prove this theory; around 15% were found to have a similar reaction. Even when facing negative consequences (an electric shock when they drink to excess), the rats continue to drink excessively.

Future THIQ-Related Treatments

Currently, there are a few treatments involving chemical balances in the brain for alcohol addiction. GABA and working to correct the misfire in neurotransmitters look promising. There is currently a drug in the works that “suppresses the release of GABA and thus could restore levels of the neurotransmitter to normal in people with a dangerous taste for alcohol.” However, it is not yet available for sale.

Sober Life in San Diego

Do you or somebody you love need the help of a compassionate, structured sober living environment? We’re proud to help people early in sobriety have a place to spread their wings and call home. Learn more about our living spaces and what we offer by calling 760-216-2077.

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