Author Archives: Reflections Recovery Center

How Exercise can help in Addiction Recovery

Addiction Rehab and Physical Fitness

Every person can gain physical and mental benefits from exercise, no matter where they are in life or what their capability. Each person will also find they thrive from different types of exercise and different amounts. Something as simple as getting 20-30 minutes of movement, like an easy walk around your neighborhood, will be incredibly effective in improving your overall health. Exercise is also a wonderful way to clear one’s mind and reduce stress. While it is of course not a guarantee, normal physical activity is a fundamental way to increase overall happiness. A clearer and happier mindset are essential tools in fighting addiction and maintaining sobriety.

The Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health

According to a report by Mark Smith and Wendy Lynch, published in the US National Library of Medicine, there is a considerable amount of literature which demonstrates that exercise helps decrease depression and anxiety in humans, with both being factors for substance abuse.* Exercise improves your physical health in many different ways: you gain muscle strength and definition, lower blood pressure, less stress, and better sleep among many other benefits. When you improve your health in all of the aforementioned ways, you are able to gain self confidence and feel better mentally.

From the many benefits of physical activity, the importance of improved sleep cannot be stressed enough. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Sleep problems may increase risk for developing particular mental illnesses…” and that “Regular aerobic [exercise that stimulate and strengthen the lungs and heart] helps people fall asleep faster, spend more time in deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.” When you exercise regularly and follow a routine, you will find that you sleep better which in turn will improve your mental health.*

Camaraderie and Fitness

When following a fitness routine with others, you will find that you are more encouraged to stick to that routine and will develop close relationships with people that can provide support in your journey. There are many types of team sports that are fantastic forms of exercise and can be a significant way to build vital relationships. This can include: rugby, soccer, basketball, tennis, and group Crossfit among many other options. A study done by the government of Australia reported that, “Participants in sport and recreation report…improved self-esteem, self-confidence, community identity and greater community cohesion…” as well as “Reductions in anti-social behavior, crime and social isolation have also been reported.” As you participate in group activity over time, you will learn various skills and gain confidence in many parts of your life, which will be an essential part of continued sobriety. *

“Embrace the challenges that you will face and look to your community for the support you need.”

Social Benefits

Participation in team sports and group exercise is clearly a meaningful way to fight against loneliness and inactivity. It allows you to connect with others in a way that provides a challenge, encourages teamwork and communication, and everyone in the group can learn to increase trust in each other.

While it is not a bad thing to be alone, as that can be needed at times, it is important to make sure you are not completely isolated far too often. Physical activity and community action separately boost your mental health and together they both provide an incredible source of support in your recovery.

Friendship is a truly wonderful way to help maintain sobriety. Friends help hold each other accountable, challenge each other, and help each other enjoy life. Aristotle said of friendship, “And friendship is a help to the young, in saving them from error, just as it is also to the old…for ‘two going together’ are better able to think and act.” Group sports and exercise are some of the avenues that you can pursue to gain new friendships and deepen them over time.

Fitness and Addiction Recovery

From all of the benefits mentioned above, the important takeaway is that they will all be a part of your continued sobriety and success in recovery. Exercise is beneficial to physical and mental health, and those in turn are essential to fighting addiction. The goal is to create a positive routine where you are developing habits and skills that are going to be a part of your continued progress. Exercise on its own is not a guarantee one will never develop addiction or that one will never face relapse, but it is a powerful component in the many different parts of recovery.

Each person in recovery will be at a different starting point as far as what they are capable of doing physically. It is important to keep in mind that physical activity and skill is also a journey that will take time and effort. As you go along though, you will find yourself accomplishing more and setting new goals, developing confidence, and establishing significant relationships. Embrace the challenges that you will face and look to your community for the support you need.

Exercise as Treatment for Drug Abuse – NIH
Sleep and Mental Health – Harvard Medical School
Physical Activity and Building Stronger Communities – PCAL

Does Parents’ Emotional Pain Get Adult Children Into a Drug Recovery Plan?

Parents generally do everything they can to spare their children pain, but what can a parent do when an adult child has developed a substance abuse disorder? For adult children, drug recovery can be an extremely difficult subject to broach and some parents may find it difficult to break enabling behaviors. However, it is essential for parents in these situations to address these issues honestly and set a firm foundation for their children’s recoveries.

Emotional Appeals Often Aren’t Enough

Parents may beg and plead with a child enduring substance abuse disorder to seek treatment, only to have their encouragement fall on deaf ears. It can be tremendously difficult for a parent to even acknowledge a child’s substance abuse, let along confront him or her about it. Some parents may struggle to find the words while others let emotions drive their thoughts and may wind up doing more harm than good. If encouragement fails they may resort to guilt-trips, but this will not work either. All guilt-tripping accomplishes is making the child feel worse about his or her situation.

Developing Realistic Goals

The parents of a grown child with a substance abuse disorder must work closely together to develop a drug recovery plan that they can support. Finding the right treatment program is just one step of this process; parents must also plan to have an intervention with their child and plan to address their own roles in the child’s behaviors.

Honest Self-Reflection: Parents’ Emotional Pain And Drug Addiction

Children will typically feel guilt at the sight of a parent’s emotional pleas to enter rehab, but these pleas may also fall on deaf ears if the child’s addiction has escalated to dangerous levels. Addiction can turn people into master manipulators; once addiction has firmly taken hold of an individual, he or she will start doing everything possible – consciously and unconsciously – to maintain the addiction.

Parents unfortunately often play roles in these cycles of addictive behaviors by enabling a child’s habit when they only want to help. Identifying and stopping enabling behaviors can be one of the most difficult aspects of a parent’s confrontation with a child’s substance abuse, but it is an essential part of recovery.

Stopping Patterns Of Enabling

Some parents will enable a child’s addiction without realizing it. Most enabling behaviors arise from good intentions; parents don’t like seeing their children suffer and will try to prevent that suffering if possible. Enabling can take many forms, including:

  • Cleaning up after a child, such as doing laundry or washing dishes the child neglected due to his or her habits.
  • Paying basic living expenses for an adult child because he or she spent too much money on drugs or alcohol.
  • Allowing an adult child to remain in the family home and continue using drugs because the parent believes it’s “safer” than him or her doing it on the street. This may be technically true, but it does nothing to curb the addiction.
  • Lying on behalf of a child or making excuses for him or her to cover up his or her addiction.

This is not a complete list. Enabling can occur in many situations and varies based on unique factors in a family, but it’s vital to recognize that any behaviors that allow an addiction to continue unchecked, even those made with the best intentions, are enabling behaviors that need to stop.

The Value Of Professional Interventions

Parent’s emotional pain usually isn’t enough to convince a child to enter addiction treatment. Substance abuse distorts perceptions and priorities and such emotional displays will only put the child on the defensive. Guilt won’t work either, so how can parents address addiction with a child in a constructive way?

Most recovery journeys begin with an intervention. During an intervention, the friends and family of a person with an addiction will come together to let their struggling loved one know how his or her habits have affected them and encourage him or her to enter rehab. This can be a difficult emotional experience for everyone involved, and professional assistance can be a tremendous asset to any family in this situation.

Instead of an unrehearsed, unguided intervention where tempers can flare and past grudges may resurface between family members, a professional intervention offers a more structured and constructive approach to convincing someone to enter rehab. A professional interventionist will work closely with the family and friends of the person with the addiction to develop a meaningful and positive intervention experience with the highest chances of success.

How Can Reflections Rehab Help My Child?

Reflections Rehab is a men’s-only addiction treatment center that focuses on outdoor activity and individualized care. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addiction, and we take the time to get to know every patient on a comprehensive personal level to develop a treatment plan that works best for him.

Our professionally guided intervention services can help a family plan and execute a positive and constructive intervention that convinces a struggling child to enter rehab and pursue a sober lifestyle. We understand there are unique factors in any family that complicate addiction, which is why we take the time to get to know every patient and every family we assist on a personal level. Addressing substance abuse means uncovering the roots of an addiction, and these roots often reside among the family and friends of a person with a substance abuse disorder.

Emotional appeals are not enough. While it’s important for parents to be honest about their feelings with their children, they should not expect their emotional pleas alone to be enough to persuade their children to enter rehab. Confronting long-standing familial issues that have contributed to a child’s addiction can be extremely difficult, but this is a crucial part of the recovery process.

Reflections Rehab can help. We offer a full range of treatment services and therapies to young men struggling with all types of addiction. If your son is struggling with a substance abuse problem, learn more about our intervention program, how it could help you, and the other services offered at Reflections Rehab.

The Benefits Of Adventure Therapy During Addiction Treatment

The most successful addiction treatment programs offer individualized care that addresses each patient’s unique needs. There are many benefits of getting outdoors during drug rehab, but adventure therapy takes this notion a step further, and can help young men confront and overcome many of the issues typically associated with substance abuse.

How Young Men Benefit From Adventure Therapy

Addiction can cause severe mental health problems or occur in tandem with preexisting mental health conditions and make them worse. Substance abuse is also a very alienating experience due to the stigma surrounding addiction and the common repercussions of addiction such as job loss, financial ruin, and destroyed relationships. Rebuilding a life after addiction can be extremely difficult, especially for young men suffering from low self-esteem, shame from past poor decisions, and alienation from loved ones. Adventure therapy rebuilds confidence and restores the body to pave the way for a more successful rehab experience.

Encouraging A Healthier Body For A Healthier Mind

Physical activity is undeniably healthy for everyone and it is especially beneficial when recovering from substance abuse. Addiction causes countless physical problems; some people expose themselves to infectious diseases from sharing drugs and drug supplies with others. Some suffer injuries and illnesses that take longer to heal due to compromised immune systems. Others may suffer abuse and sexual assault that diminish mental health as well as physical health. Exercise and sports support addiction recovery, and adventure therapy can provide even more individualized therapy for young men struggling with addiction.

Overcoming Fears And Self-Doubt

Adventures like fishing trips, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and rock climbing can help overcome long-standing fears and teach people in recovery more about themselves than they may expect. Adventure therapy is much more than a jaunt outdoors for some fresh air; these experiences can help people with substance abuse problems confront aspects of themselves in a new light that they were unable to confront before.

A person who thought, “I could never climb a mountain”, and then actually does it, will start thinking about the other things he or she could accomplish with dedication and perseverance. Essentially, adventure therapy can be physically therapeutic as well as psychologically inspirational and offer the push a person needs to pursue addiction treatment wholeheartedly.

Learning From New Experiences And Making Changes

Experiences in adventure therapy can help reshape a person’s attitude about his or her life and offer new insights for tackling the problems common with substance abuse. For example, a person struggling with a dual diagnosis for substance abuse disorder and depression may find that regular outdoor activity and the thrill of new experiences offers more profound relief from symptoms of depression than prescription drugs.

Even less intense adventures, like a simple camping trip, can be an invaluable experience. For example, people gathered around a fire is a profound and primitive experience that resonates with early man; fire was necessary for survival in the early days of mankind and gathering around a campfire was a sign of community and strength. Fire offers warmth, a means of cooking food, and the connection human beings have with fire can inspire honest discussions and reveal the layers under a substance abuse disorder.

Developing Healthy Habits For Life After Rehab

Confronting fears and overcoming physical challenges during adventure therapy can be extremely therapeutic in many ways. These events can reshape a person’s attitude about him or herself and offer new insights into solving the problems that accompany daily life. Adventures can also provide moments of clarity away from the usual distractions of everyday life that allow for deeper introspection and self-analysis in a calm, beautiful environment.

One of the most difficult aspects of recovery is learning to implement the lessons learned in rehab into normal life. Relapse is very common among people struggling with substance abuse, and there is no hard and fast method for preventing relapse; everyone has unique needs and risk factors that require individualized attention. The lessons learned during adventures or while traversing the wilderness are invaluable and irreplaceable and leave a lasting impact that can benefit a person living in recovery for years to come.

No “Right” Way To Go Adventuring

Anyone considering adventure therapy should remember that these exercises are not about intensity nor are they solely focused on physical improvement; everyone will learn different things and benefit from different outdoor activities in unique ways. Ultimately, the goal of adventure therapy is to teach participants how to confront fears, overcome challenges, and learn new problem-solving techniques.

Physical activity also has strong links to mental health*, and regular exercise can boost creative thinking and improve neuroplasticity, improving memory and thinking processes over time that may have diminished due to drug abuse. Research from the American Psychological Association reported that walking outdoors offers a more profound mental health benefit than walking indoors or on a treadmill. This could be a sign that despite the evolution of mankind and the massive amount of technology at our disposal, human beings still have a profound connection to the natural world and benefit greatly by walking through it, exploring it, and overcoming its challenges.

Adventure Therapy At Reflections Rehab

Reflections Rehab is a men’s-only addiction treatment facility that offers a full range of substance abuse treatments and therapies with a special focus on outdoor activity. We believe strongly that exercise and exploration are beneficial for everyone, but those struggling with substance abuse disorders can have especially valuable experiences by exploring the outdoors and learning more about their individual capabilities.

Recreational therapy of any kind offers tremendous benefits. Sports, physical games, and simply walking outside offer a tremendous level of relaxation and balance that can be difficult to find in the busy modern age. Adventure therapy takes this further and encourages participants to confront their fears, solve problems, and appreciate their place in the natural world. Reflections Rehab provides individualized treatment plans for young men struggling with addiction, so explore what we have to offer and contact us for more resources and information about your adventure therapy program.

What Are the Chances of Becoming an Alcoholic with an Alcoholic Parent

Parents influence their children in countless profound ways. Parents can shape a child’s sense of self-worth, problem-solving skills, and perceptions of his or her environment. When a child has a parent with an alcohol abuse disorder, the parent’s behavior will invariably influence the child’s. In some cases, children grow up to develop alcohol abuse disorders after observing a parent’s struggles with alcoholism or as a coping mechanism. In any case, it’s essential to address and analyze these connections and understand parents’ effects on their children in terms of substance abuse.

Understanding Genetic Alcoholism

The links between alcoholism and genetics are complicated, and no clear genetic indicator that a person will succumb to alcoholism in his or her life exists. However, studies show that a child with a parent who has an alcohol abuse disorder is three to four times more likely than his or her peers to develop alcoholism later in life*.

There has also been research into specific populations with genetic trends that influence alcohol-related behaviors. For example, some individuals from East Asia have a genetic marker that produces more of the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than other people have. This can cause them to drink more than average in one sitting than others to achieve the desired effect, and over time this leads to faster formation of tolerance and a higher susceptibility to developing alcoholism.

Parents’ Influence On Behavior And Perception

When children grow up around alcohol abuse they tend to develop decreased sensitivity to alcohol and its effects. For example, a child who grows up with an alcoholic father may not realize until later in life that such a family dynamic is neither normal nor healthy. This has a domino effect and can increase the likelihood of a child experimenting with drugs and alcohol at an earlier age or taking experimentation too far and developing a substance abuse problem at a very young age. An alcoholic with an alcoholic parent may blame the parent for being a bad influence, but having an alcoholic parent is not an automatic sign that the child will be an alcoholic too.

Alcoholic parents are inherently more likely to abuse their children due to diminished judgment and constant drunkenness. This in turn can traumatize children, cause the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and propel a child to cope by using drugs and alcohol later in life. Genetic markers account for roughly half of a person’s risk of developing alcoholism as an adult**, but simply having a parent with alcoholism is not a surefire sign the child will develop alcoholism. Ultimately, the decision to start drinking is a personal choice.

High-Functioning Alcoholism In The Family

Some children develop distorted views of alcohol due to parents with high-functioning alcoholism. A high-functioning alcoholic may not abuse or neglect his or her children, but the behaviors surrounding his or her alcohol abuse will influence the children’s perceptions of alcohol. For example, if children see dad come home from work every day and have a drink, they may start to assume that drinking after work is just a normal response to stress. Eventually, this perception can bleed over into other aspects of life and teach them that alcohol consumption is an acceptable response to everyday stresses.

Does Your Parent Or Sibling Suffer From Alcoholism?

If you have a parent or close blood relative with an alcohol abuse disorder such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling, it may be worth assessing your personal risk of developing alcoholism and carefully analyzing your own alcohol consumption patterns. If you believe a young man you know is at risk of alcoholism, consider taking this brief quiz on the Reflections Rehab website to assess risk factors and identify red flags.

My Risk Of Alcohol Abuse Disorder With An Alcoholic Parent

Genetic influences may account for half of a person’s risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder, but what about the other half? Several factors can influence a person’s alcohol abuse habits. Some of the most common include:

  • Peer pressure. Social drinking is extremely prevalent in American life and it can be difficult for some people to overcome pressure to drink, even at inappropriate times.
  • Stress. Drugs and alcohol appear to be easy coping mechanisms for stress but relying on these substances is ultimately destructive. It’s vital to learn healthy stress management techniques.
  • Environment. People who are constantly around alcohol and people with alcohol abuse disorders are more likely to develop problems with alcohol.
  • Boredom. Substance abuse can seem like an easy escape from monotony and repetition common in many people’s everyday lives.
  • Mental health disorders. A substance abuse disorder running in tandem with a mental health disorder is a dangerous situation that can quickly develop into a dual diagnosis. Unchecked mental health issues can lead to self-medication with alcohol that gradually turns to alcoholism.

Overcoming Dangerous Influences And Unlearning Damaging Behaviors

During alcohol addiction treatment a patient learns to address the underlying issues that led to substance abuse, and this sometimes means confronting parental issues like abuse, ridicule, and bad influences. A parent’s behavior may shape a child’s perception of the world, but this does not mean this pattern needs to continue into adulthood.

Once a child becomes an adult and learns to take responsibility for him or herself, it is no longer realistic to place blame on a parent. The patient can confront the parent’s past misdeeds or abusive behaviors, but ultimately the parent did not force the child to start drinking, and taking personal responsibility for poor choices is a crucial step to recovery.

Finding The Right Treatment Plan For You

Reflections Rehab is a men’s-only recovery center that emphasizes outdoor activity and individualized treatment plans for all types of substance abuse disorders. Contact us or visit us online to learn more about our alcohol addiction treatment program and find out if it is right for you.

Withdrawal Symptoms And Opioid Detox Treatment Programs For Young Men

Opioid addiction has reached epidemic levels across the United States, disregarding social, economic, and racial lines and affecting communities of all sizes in every state. There have been several legislative actions in recent years aimed at curbing the number of overdose deaths and new addiction cases, but opioids continue to be the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States.

Young men struggling with opioid addiction may not know where to turn for help, and there are a wide variety of treatment options available. However, it is essential to find a treatment solution that works for the individual and offers an individualized treatment plan and continuum of care.

Learn The Warning Signs Of Opioid Addiction

Friends and family can identify the warning signs of an opioid addiction with vigilance, but it’s important to remember that the social stigmas surrounding addiction and the shame and isolation drug abuse can create causes many young men to hide their habits, even from the people closest to them.

Top 5 Signs Of Opioid Addiction

There are many warning signs of opioid addiction, but some of the most common include:

  • Needing more pills before a prescription refill is possible. Many people develop opioid addictions because of legitimate medical issues like injuries or surgical procedures that entail opioid painkiller prescriptions. Opioids are powerfully addictive and even a few doses can spur an addiction; it is essential to keep tabs on a family member’s prescription consumption. If he starts running out of pills before a refill is available, this is likely a sign that he has been using too much and may have started abusing his prescription.
  • Switching from pills to street drugs. When prescription refills run out after addiction has taken hold, a young man with a blossoming opioid addiction will likely turn to the black market for more drugs. Prescription opioid pills are extremely expensive on the street, sometimes as much as $20 per pill, and heroin becomes an attractive alternative at this point, considering the average street cost of a single dose is about $5 or less.
  • Doctor shopping. Some people who develop prescription opioid painkiller addictions will start “doctor shopping,” or visiting multiple doctors in rapid succession for the same issue in the hope of securing multiple prescriptions which they fill at various pharmacies. Many states have started cracking down on this practice by implementing prescription drug monitoring systems in state pharmacies and penalizing doctors who negligently prescribe opioids to their patients.
  • Malnourishment. Opioid addiction can cause a person to neglect basic needs like proper diet and hydration. A person suffering from opioid addiction may appear thin, sickly, weak, or generally unwell despite protesting that he or she feels fine. When opioid addiction reaches critical levels, a person will invariably start neglecting basic needs in pursuit of more drugs.
  • Withdrawal symptoms. Opioids can cause powerful withdrawal symptoms that are so excruciatingly painful and unpleasant the person can do nothing but think of obtaining more drugs to stop the discomfort. When a person starts displaying the typical signs of opioid withdrawal it is time to start looking for treatment options.

Dangers Of Opioid Detox

Some people mistakenly believe they can go “cold turkey” and drop an opioid addiction as they would drop cigarettes. Unfortunately, self-detox is not only difficult but also very dangerous, and the danger increases the longer the addiction persists. It may be possible to overcome addictive urges and cravings in the early stages of an addiction, but full-blown opioid addiction demands professional treatment in a safe environment.

Medically Assisted Opioid Detox

A proper opioid detox treatment for young men should include medical assistance and nutritional support during the detox process. As the last dose of drugs leaves a person’s system the withdrawal symptoms can manifest with severe intensity. Some of those symptoms can include high fever, organ failure, rapid heart rate, and hallucinations that can be dangerous without medical assistance.

The Value Of Sex-Specific Treatment Options

Finding an acceptable drug detox program is just one step in the recovery process. Reflections Rehab offers men’s-only substance abuse treatment because we understand the value of sex-specific treatment centers. A men’s-only center naturally encourages building trust among peers, working together, and sharing experiences to find common ground and heal together by eliminating many common social distractions found in co-ed recovery programs. Although many co-ed programs are highly successful, men and women inherently change their behaviors around members of the opposite sex, and sometimes these dynamics can interfere with treatment.

Reflections Rehab’s Men’s-Only Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The Reflections Rehab treatment experience revolves around taking care of the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction but the underlying causes as well. Our program entails building trust, maintaining a healthy body and mind, and exploring the reasons behind addiction to develop better coping skills for the future.

Any drug treatment program should begin with medically assisted detox, especially for opioid addiction. Without appropriate medical attention, a person suffering from opioid withdrawal symptoms could face life-threatening symptoms or simply start using again to avoid withdrawal.

Our program starts with medically assisted opioid detox, followed by a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses each patient’s individual needs and risk factors. Adventure therapy and exploring the outdoors are at the forefront of our therapeutic offerings; you will not find a typical clinical rehab experience at Reflections Rehab. We believe in building confidence, strengthening the body, and teaching new coping skills for a stronger defense against relapse and the most holistic recovery experience possible for every patient.

5 Ways To Prevent Addiction Relapse After Rehab That Are Worth Sharing

Relapse Triggers And The Science Behind Them

In order to understand how to prevent a relapse, you first have to understand re-lapse triggers – and how to avoid them. For example, H.A.L.T. is a recovery acro-nym that challenges individuals to stop and assess whether they are tempted to use because they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. If you identify the root of the problem, you can remedy the issue instead of reverting to using or drinking.

It also helps to understand the science behind triggers. Addiction is a two-stage formation process. The first stage centers on the pleasure and immediate reward of experiencing a high. The second stage – where triggers come from – is the re-peated overstimulation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain. That is what creates habits and associations with things that make individuals want to use when they see, feel, or experience something specific. The second stage influences a per-son’s decision-making, which further shows that a relapse is not a sign of failure — many people experience relapse.

Here are a few other examples of common relapse triggers:

  • Emotions and stressful situations. If drinking or using was a coping method for stress, sadness, or even happiness, it is tempting to fall back into those habits when those emotions reoccur.
  • Severed romantic and sexual relationships. The temptation for using or drinking after a breakup can put those in recovery at risk. Additionally, the pressure to ap-pear “normal” to others may add additional strain.
  • Overconfidence. For some who have been sober long enough to think, “I could handle it just this once,” the risk for relapse increases.
  • Availability. Situations where substances you formerly used are readily available put most at a huge risk for temptation and relapse.
  • Stressful Family Dynamics. Certain family situations create triggers, particularly if family members do not support recovery, or if the recovering individual’s home-life is tumultuous.
  • Panic Attacks. Anxiety can be a trigger for individuals who suffer from it. Rather than using substances to prevent attacks, using the R.E.L.A.X. method is helpful. This acronym stands for Recognizing worries, Eliminating stress, Letting go of anxiety, Adjusting attitude, and getting eXtra sleep. Some patients additionally require safely prescribed meds.

5 Ways To Avoid Relapse

Life, after rehab, is different. Every individual in recovery has unique triggers. Though there are many ways to avoid relapse, here are five common tactics for success.

Avoid Areas Of Temptation

First, and foremost, when in recovery, it is essential that you stay away from places where using or drinking are either common or encouraged, such as bars, clubs, or friends’ homes (if they use). Some may be tempted to attend these places in order to prove to themselves they can overcome the temptation, but this is unwise. It is best to avoid unnecessary temptation, particularly just after rehab. It is further recommended even after recovery to just skip these places altogether.

Get Rid Of Toxic Friends

If certain friends make you want to fall into old habits, keeping a distance may be necessary. It is possible that, at some point when you are further into recovery, you can reintroduce spending time with them. However, friends who are blatantly unsupportive of your sobriety often warrant permanent removal from your social circle. Ask yourself, “Does this person really care about me if he or she doesn’t want me to be healthy?”

Don’t Skip Therapy

After the intensive segments of treatment have ended, it is easy to think that you can handle life without the routine of a program. However, the latter parts of re-covery may be when you need the support of therapy the most. Even when you are not feeling tempted to drink or use, convening with other people going through the same things is helpful, productive, and encouraging. It is one of the best ways to stay on track, while also allowing yourself an outlet to express bottled-up emotions.

Have The Right Social Interactions

Being social in the right ways is integral to recovery. Isolation is a trigger for many people. On the other hand, going out in old circles often creates temptation. Con-sider reconnecting with friends you know will support your new goals, or consider hanging out with likeminded friends who are also recovering. Additionally, spend time with family – if you have a family that supports you and your mission of so-briety. It is important to live in the moment, focusing on enjoying every experience and interaction, rather than wishing substances were involved.

Take Prescribed Medication

If legally prescribed medication is part of your treatment, stay on track with taking it. Being consistent is key, particularly if you are aiming to control emotional or be-havioral tendencies. Stay in touch with your therapist, as well as your physician(s) about dosage, duration, and how you are feeling on certain medications.

What To Do If You Relapse

If you relapse, remember that you are only human and that recovery is a lifelong process. Talk to someone, dust yourself off, and remember that your life is worth the process of recovery. It is important to address setbacks if or when they hap-pen, but it is never the end of the road.

Treatment Options And Recovery Support

If you are searching for treatment or support during recovery, we have the re-sources you need. Reflections Recovery Center offers a retreat style, male-only ap-proach to treatment and recovery. Our center offers world-class therapy and phy-sicians, but what makes us different is our unique environment. Enjoy a new ad-venture everyday with outdoor activities, like hiking and climbing. In addition to excellent counseling, detox support, and support for families, we offer a life-changing experience of self-discovery and empowerment for staying sober after rehab. Learn more today.

How to Help Someone Who’s Struggling Physically or Emotionally with Mental Illness

Many people suffering from stress disorders and other forms of mental illness need encouragement, support and empathy from those closest to them. It can be difficult to determine the best ways to approach a person struggling with mental illness, and stress effects are different for everyone.

However challenging it may be, developing healthy coping strategies and trying various types of stress-management techniques can prevent people struggling with mental illness from falling into addiction. An important part of addiction awareness is understanding the main risk factors for addiction, and stress is one of the most prevalent.

Relationship Between Stress and Mental Illness

There are countless possible stress causes in the world, and every individual will respond to them differently. However, people who suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other conditions may have trouble using typical coping techniques.

They may also feel the negative effects of different types of stress more acutely and take longer to recover from periods of extreme stress. Unfortunately, many of these individuals begin to consider alcohol or addictive drugs as the only viable stress busters available.

Types of Stress

Some people experience high-stress situations acutely during disasters, emergencies and traumatic events. Others may experience consistent but less severe stress over time from work, school or everyday obligations.

People who experience extremely stressful incidents may develop mental health conditions as a result. One of the most common is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition affecting combat veterans and victims and witnesses of violent crimes, disasters and accidents.

PTSD can cause nightmares, periods of extreme depression, paranoia and a host of other symptoms. This condition is just one example of how acute stress can cause long-term problems, but chronic exposure to lower-stress situations is also damaging. The workplace is a stressful environment for many people, for example.

Unless these individuals develop viable methods of handling their everyday stressors, chronic stress can start to affect physical and emotional health.

Stress Effects: How Stress Can Lead to Addiction

Stress can eventually lead to addiction without healthy alternative coping strategies. One of the most vital steps of addiction recovery is discerning the root cause or origin of a substance use disorder, and one of the most commonly cited causes is stress.

Some people feel overwhelmed by their circumstances and turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. The brief periods of artificial happiness, relaxation and euphoria that drugs provide will eventually devolve into habit, routine and then full-blown addiction.

Drugs as Coping Tools

Different drugs may appear to alleviate stress in different ways, and people may use them for various reasons as coping tools. It’s crucial to understand the dangers of different types of drug dependencies:

  • Opioids: Someone suffering from mental illness may begin to self-treat their symptoms with drugs meant for physical pain, and opioid painkillers are the strongest painkillers available.
  • Hallucinogens: Distorting one’s perception of reality can feel like a welcome escape when reality is stressful or too difficult to handle sober. Hallucinogenic drugs can eventually deteriorate one’s personality and interpretations of reality, leading to serious psychological problems over time.
  • Benzodiazepines and tranquilizers: People who struggle with anxiety disorders may receive prescriptions for benzodiazepine medications and begin abusing these drugs. Anti-anxiety drugs can produce feelings of calm, and eventually a person will begin to rely solely on these drugs for relief from stressful situations.
  • Alcohol: One of the most commonly abused substances on Earth can lower inhibitions, create pleasurable feelings and act as a “social lubricant.” Many people rely upon alcohol to unwind after stressful days at work. Unfortunately, alcoholism progresses rapidly, and the lifestyle of a high-functioning alcoholic isn’t tenable.

Cycles of Dependency

Stress never really ends; we just develop better ways of handling it over time. However, resorting to substance abuse creates a slew of new stressors.

Addiction effects vary for everyone, but the overwhelming majority of addicts face:

  • Economic ruin
  • Damaged personal relationships
  • Strained career choices
  • Myriad physical health concerns

The Effects of Stress and Addiction on the Mind and Body

Chronic stress can deteriorate physical health, leading to problems such as:

  • Obesity (from overeating as a coping mechanism)
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Many other possible issues

Instead of treating stress by self-medicating, one should learn healthier coping strategies to prevent substance abuse and make it easier to both handle everyday stress and recover from acute stressors.

Stress Management: Developing Better Ways to Cope

Addiction treatment services typically include a full regimen of holistic and natural therapies and activities to de-stress the mind and body and to recover more wholly from substance abuse.

A few examples of effective stress-relief treatments include:

  • Exercise and physical activities: A healthier body naturally encourages better mental health, and a person with a healthy physical body can better handle and process stress in optimum ways.
  • Meditation and mindfulness exercises: These practices can help overcome the psychological effects of stress.
  • Behavior therapy: People struggling with mental health disorders often need behavioral therapy to understand their situations and process stress in constructive ways. Addiction behavior generally focuses on reward-seeking patterns and responses to stimuli. Behavioral therapy can help a person acknowledge dangerous patterns and develop healthier responses to his or her environment.
  • Support from friends and family: One of the most essential tools in addiction treatment is building and rebuilding personal relationships. Suffering from a mental health disorder or substance use disorder can be very isolating. Thus, interpersonal relationships are crucial for overcoming the loneliness that substance abuse often entails.

Help for Stress and Substance Abuse

There are many resources for addiction help and addiction treatment available, but it’s important to know what to expect from the rehab experience. For instance, physically removing drugs from the body (aka detox) is just the first step in a long process.

Addiction help is available for those willing to take the next step and learn to manage their stress in healthier ways. If you or your loved one is battling substance abuse along with excess stress or a mental health condition, look into Reflection Recovery Center today. We will craft an individualized treatment plan that can help you or your loved one learn to manage stressors in healthier ways while recovering from addiction in an inpatient setting.

Holistic Therapy Is Great for Managing Stress

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High-Functioning Alcoholics: Are You Overlooking an Issue?

What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

A high-functioning alcoholic (HFA) is someone who appears to function normally in their daily life, despite having an addiction to alcohol. When people picture an alcoholic, they envision someone who may stumble when they walk, slur their speech or lose their temper with friends or coworkers.

HFAs actually present a completely different image. The addiction usually is kept a secret, making it look as if they are doing fine and have their lives together.

Types of High-Functioning Alcoholics

HFAs exist in two categories:

  • They either sneak drinks all day long, keeping their blood alcohol level high.
  • Or they stay sober during the day and binge drink at night or on weekends.

Both scenarios are damaging to not only themselves, but to those around them.

Since HFAs are particularly good at hiding their addiction, years can drift by before family and friends notice the signs. Unfortunately, because HFAs have become so savvy at sneaking around and hiding the truth, their instinct is to continue concealing the problem.

There are also cultural stereotypes and myths facing HFAs that can cause them to avoid seeking treatment. Here are some myths about HFAs to think about when looking for help for yourself or a loved one:

Myth 1: High-Functioning Alcoholics Can’t Hold a Job or Be Successful

Many high-functioning alcoholics have great jobs and successful careers backed by warm and loving families. They may seem like they have their lives together with a home, friends and kids. All this success can undermine the grim reality that the person is suffering from alcohol use disorder. The truth is HFAs end up battling emotional problems and are often in denial that there is a problem at all.

About 20 to 32 percent of alcoholics actually fall into the high-functioning alcoholism category. Those in the HFA category are often middle aged and well educated with stable jobs and families.

About one-third of HFAs have a genetic predisposition to alcohol use disorder, and a quarter of them have suffered from a major depressive disorder at some point during their lives. These underlying conditions lead to feelings of low self-esteem and depression, masked by alcohol use.

Myth 2: HFAs Don’t Have a Problem

For people suffering from HFA, denial is often a factor. They often think that because they can function and hold a great job, there is no problem with their drinking. If you are concerned about a loved one, stop and take a look at how much drinking happens in a 24-hour period.

Excessive alcohol use is:

  • More than three drinks a day for women;
  • More than four drinks per day for men;
  • Or a total of more than seven drinks per week for women or 14 or more drinks per week for men.

Anyone who drinks more than this is putting himself or herself at risk. While the effects might not show up immediately, prolonged use will take a toll.

Myth 3: HFAs Don’t Show Signs of Alcoholism

HFAs might present symptoms differently than people with more obvious signs of alcohol dependency, but they still suffer from the same signs of abuse. Signs of functional alcoholism might be more subtle, but they are there.

Anyone showing signs of alcoholism (which we will get to in a moment) may try to hide them or to isolate oneself in order to avoid detection. Just because the person is successful at disguising them to the world does not mean these symptoms do not exist. High-functioning alcoholics’ relationships with friends and family can become strained due to the behaviors they use to avoid facing the truth.

Myth 4: HFAs Don’t Need to Seek Help

Many HFAs can lead normal lives for years. Because they can hold a job and still handle normal daily tasks, they continue down the same path, never stopping to get help for their substance abuse.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis builds tolerance, meaning you need more alcohol to continue feeling the same effects as time goes on. What may have started as an innocent relationship with alcohol can spiral out of control to a place where the alcoholic doesn’t know how to get out. At first, the drinking may seem benign, or like a social obligation, but as the body builds tolerance, HFAs will continue drinking to keep the feeling going.

Seeking help and treatment is the only way to recover. HFAs will usually not seek treatment by themselves. Often, they need friends or family members to encourage them to take the next step.

Myth 5: HFAs Are in Control

The illusion HFAs portray shows them as highly educated with good jobs and a stable life. This sometimes tricks friends and family into believing that the HFA is in control of the drinking.

Any recovering alcoholic will tell you that this is not the case. They only seem like they are in control because they have managed to hide the drinking from those around them. They conceal the problem by consciously masking the signs in order to appear in control at all times.

Just because HFAs are great at concealing the signs of alcoholism does not mean there are no signs. The signs may just be more subtle and harder to see from an outside perspective.

A few of the signs of alcoholism include:

  • Using alcohol to relax and feel more confident
  • Drinking in the morning
  • Drinking too much
  • Blacking out after drinking
  • Needing a drink for every situation, good and bad
  • Joking about an alcohol problem
  • Drinking alone
  • Missing school or work because of drinking
  • Continuing to drink even though it brings feelings of anxiety or depression
  • Becoming angry when confronted about alcohol abuse
  • Having a record of DUI arrests or other alcohol-influenced charges

Help for High-Functioning Alcoholics from Reflections Recovery

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of these symptoms of alcoholism, it is time to get help. HFAs experience a wide variety of long-term health effects, making it more dangerous as time continues.

Contact the compassionate team at Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, Arizona to talk treatment options. Our men’s rehabilitation facility is the perfect place to begin long-term recovery.

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There Is No Healthy Amount of Alcohol

Numerous studies exist on the impact of alcohol on people’s health. The results can seem obvious at times: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can put you at a risk for many health conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcohol addiction

In most research, there is a clear link between excessive drinking and negative health conditions.

On the other hand, many studies over the years have suggested that moderate drinking can help improve your health, as long as it is limited to a certain number of drinks per week. The specific health effects depend on the type of alcohol, such as the potential for drinking a glass of wine once per day to improve heart health.

How Much Alcohol Is Healthy?

While the findings of such studies may seem like great news to the casual drinker, they’re not as beneficial as you may think. A newer study has found that, despite previous research, there is no healthy amount of alcohol.

Recent Study Published in The Lancet Comes to a Different Conclusion

Medical journal The Lancet published a study in August that made waves in regard to global alcohol consumption. English researchers Robyn Burton and Nick Sheron took a closer look at the 2016 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD), which gathered data on 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2016. Burton called the GBD 2016 “the most comprehensive estimate of the global burden of alcohol use to date.”

Results of Burton and Sheron’s Analysis of the GBD 2016

The GBD 2016 had already found that alcohol was the seventh-leading risk factor for death, as well as for disability or shortened lifespan. In those between the ages of 15 and 49 years old, alcohol was the leading risk factor for both death and shortened lifespan in 2016.

According to Burton and Sheron’s report after their analysis of the GBD 2016, “The conclusions of the study are clear and unambiguous: alcohol is a colossal global health issue and small reductions in health-related harms at low levels of alcohol intake are outweighed by the increased risk of other health-related harms, including cancer.”

Based on their findings, they could not support any level of alcohol consumption as being “safe.”

Findings such as these serve as a sobering reminder of the impact alcohol can have on our lives. Even people who drink moderately and responsibly can still be at risk for other health conditions that will be exacerbated by their drinking.

Drinking Increases Risk Development

Alcohol-related health problems do not always develop solely from drinking. Conditions such as heart disease and cancer can emerge due to numerous other genetic and lifestyle causes. However, moderate drinking increases the risk of conditions such as these.

In comparing individuals who don’t drink to those who indulge in daily drinking, there is a 0.5 percent higher chance of those in the latter group developing an alcohol-related health problem. Yes, that’s not too drastic, but this risk, as one would expect, increases the more someone drinks:

  • People who drink two alcoholic drinks in one day have a 7 percent chance of developing an alcohol-related health problem.
  • People who drink five drinks per day on average have a 37 percent increase in risk.

When you start to break down the potential risks for moderate drinkers, there’s hardly a statistical difference in developing health issues between no drinks and very few drinks. However, there is still a risk, which can easily counter the potential benefits someone may hope to gain from moderate drinking.

Daily Drinking: Perceived Benefits vs. Risks

Even if someone does benefit from regular drinking, such as improving the condition of diabetes or increasing antioxidant consumption, alcohol can still simultaneously promote negative results, such as cancer development, as Burton and Sheron’s research found. Drinkers ultimately may come to accept these risks, but they’re not ones that anyone hoping to avoid deadly diseases should take.

The negative health risks exist in tandem with additional risks that alcohol poses in regard to others’ safety and interpersonal relationships. This especially applies to people who drink beyond safe levels and engage in binge drinking on a regular basis.

Heavy Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking Levels

While drinking any amount of alcohol can become dangerous, high levels of consumption pose the greatest risk. The precise amount of heavy alcohol consumption can vary depending on a person’s age, body, genetics and other health considerations.

The general standards for at-risk drinking are:

  • More than four servings a day, or more than 14 drinks per week for men.
  • More than three drinks a day, or more than seven drinks per week for women.

About a quarter of people who regularly exceed these limits have an alcohol use disorder. The remaining three-fourths are at much greater risk of developing both an alcohol use disorder and other alcohol-related health problems.

Unfortunately, this level of alcohol consumption is common, and it puts numerous people at risk. The top 10 percent of alcohol drinkers consumes upwards of 74 alcoholic drinks a week – averaging about 10 drinks per day – according to National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) data.

Potential Impact of Alcohol Use on the Body

Both regular drinking and binge drinking can easily lead to numerous health issues, as Burton and Sheron’s research reaffirmed.

Brain Function

The feeling of being drunk comes from the way that alcohol interacts with the brain, decreasing the functioning of neurotransmitters and impacting emotion regulation, cognition and impulse control. Repeated heavy drinking makes the brain used to drinking, potentially leading to symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when one tries to abstain.


The liver can suffer from inflammation and multiple problems due to heavy drinking, leading to possible problems such as:

  • Steatosis (buildup of fat in the organ)
  • Fibrosis (thickening or scarring of connective tissue)
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis


One of the most severe health conditions related to heavy alcohol consumption, cancer is a greater risk the more one drinks. Nearly 3.5 percent of U.S. cancer deaths in 2009 were alcohol related.

Regular heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing one of the following types of cancer:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Esophageal
  • Liver
  • Breast
  • Colorectal

Heart Disease

Despite the reported heart-health benefits of alcohol, even drinking in small amounts can damage the heart, potentially causing:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
  • Stroke
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscles)


Drinking causes the pancreas to release toxic substances. Heavy and continual drinking then leads to high levels of these substances entering the body. This can cause pancreatitis and prevent proper digestion of food and nutrients.

Immune System

In addition to other specific health issues, heavy drinking can weaken your immune system, providing diseases with an easier entryway into your body. Binge drinking, for example, can potentially weaken your immune system for 24 hours after the last drink.

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What This Research Means

The GBD 2016 and the recent study published in The Lancet have provided many insights into the overall impact of alcohol. Long-term health effects of drinking abound, overriding any previous studies that boast of the miniscule benefits of drinking.

Furthermore, these studies should serve as a reminder that regularly drinking isn’t a bona fide way to improve your health, and those who don’t drink shouldn’t start simply to reap some health benefits. The potential risks are much too great to be worth it. We’re not saying don’t drink at all – just that you should be careful.

If you or a loved one is struggling with excessive drinking, Reflections Recovery Center can craft a plan that leads toward long-term sobriety.

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Signs of Hidden Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol addiction can disrupt a person’s life greatly, but it’s not always easy to tell when a loved one has a problem. Many people struggling with alcohol addiction tend to keep their activities hidden from their friends and family. Why? They either underestimate the extent of their problem or they don’t want others to interfere.

Unfortunately, even obvious symptoms of alcoholism can go unnoticed, particularly if your loved one is a high-functioning alcoholic. However, you can determine if your loved one has a hidden alcohol problem by learning how to look for signs of alcohol abuse. By staying alert, you can help identify a drinking problem and then support your loved one throughout treatment.

Signs of Hidden Alcohol Abuse

We’ve grouped the various signs of alcoholism into five main categories:

High Alcohol Tolerance

Numerous factors can impact someone’s tolerance for alcohol, including weight, age, sex and genetics.

No matter what other factors are in play, though, the more a person drinks, the higher his or her tolerance will be. Thus, the more drinks it will take to become intoxicated. Repeated drinking episodes can lead to very little functional impairment, even after consuming large amounts of alcohol.

To tell if your loved one has a high tolerance for alcohol, watch their behaviors after drinking. As an example, a 155-pound male will take about three drinks to become “tipsy.” If he don’t show any signs of intoxication at that point, then he may have a high level of alcohol tolerance.

Experiencing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Repeated drinking does more than build an alcohol tolerance in the body; it also impacts people physically and mentally. The body starts to adjust so that drinking becomes the norm, which means not having a drink can cause withdrawal symptoms.

For alcohol, common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shaky hands
  • Insomnia

While symptoms of alcohol dependence don’t always indicate alcoholism, the impact of withdrawal can play a major role in forming alcohol abuse and addiction. If your loved one starts to exhibit physical signs of alcohol abuse in the form of withdrawal after not drinking for some time, then he or she may have a hidden alcohol problem.

Secret Drinking

Hidden Drinking Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms - Reflections Recovery CenterBecause people struggling with alcoholism have a higher tolerance for alcohol, they often need to drink more to feel intoxicated. This can lead to behaviors where someone may drink alone or while getting ready to go out to a social event with friends; the latter is known as “pregaming.” Secret drinking can also involve drinking after coming home from events.

To facilitate this type of drinking, people with hidden alcoholism will sometimes have hiding places for alcohol:

  • Bathroom shelves, dresser drawers, the garage, and behind other items in kitchen cabinets are common places to covertly store alcohol.
  • Furniture can also be a place to stow empty bottles and cans.

If you have concerns about hidden alcoholism, you can search those places. You may also check the outside trash bins, as your loved one may be taking out empty bottles and cans directly to the main trash when nobody’s looking.

Making Excuses to Drink

To make their drinking behavior seem less like a problem, people struggling with alcohol addiction will often make up reasons to drink:

  • If something bad happens, they will use alcohol to make themselves feel better.
  • If something good happens, then what better way to celebrate than with a drink?

These “reasons” become protection if you or someone else tries to point out your loved one’s drinking behavior.

Additionally, people struggling with alcoholism will make excuses for why they can’t or won’t stop drinking:

  • Some will say that they can stop whenever they feel like it. (They can’t.)
  • Others will argue that their drinking only impacts themselves. (It doesn’t.)
  • There’s also a chance that they will agree to get help, then come up with excuses to keep putting it off.

Unexplained Injuries

Episodes of binge drinking can lead to falling and blackouts – both of which can easily cause injuries. The lack of bodily control after heavy drinking can contribute.

The potential damages can range from minor cuts and bruises to larger traumatic injuries; but, one scenario will often serve as a telltale sign of hidden alcoholism: The person doesn’t want to admit what caused the problem.

Those struggling with alcoholism will often feel too embarrassed to admit what really led to their injuries, so they’ll brush the problem off without answering. Or, if pressed, they may make up a story about what happened.

If your loved one has suspicious or repeated injuries and won’t give you a clear answer as to how these wounds occurred, alcohol may have contributed.

Helping a Loved One with Hidden Alcoholism

Living with someone who has an alcohol addiction can be a challenging experience. Your loved one may experience mood swings and ignore responsibilities in favor of drinking. He or she may look to you to encourage the behavior or actively start to tear down various relationships when drinking.

The key is to remember that you cannot control your loved one’s behavior and that the situation is not your fault. You do not need to enable the addiction or accept poor treatment from them.

However, it’s possible to learn how to help an alcoholic. Once you’ve identified that your loved one may have a hidden alcohol problem, you can plan appropriately. Enlist the support of your friends and family, and possibly an intervention specialist. You should also care for your own personal needs throughout the process, so that you are in the right state of mind to fully help your loved one.

From Alcoholism Intervention to Rehab

Before staging an intervention, you and the intervention team should carefully plan and rehearse what will happen. Prepare possible treatment options, so that your loved one can’t stall the admission process. Once you’ve completed the intervention successfully and your loved one begins receiving treatment, remain supportive and participate where possible. The encouragement of friends and family can make or break a recovery from alcohol addiction.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we provide the highest quality of care for our male clients, every step of the way. Explore our men’s alcohol rehab programs, or get in touch with us to discuss how we can help your son, husband, brother, etc. overcome his drinking behavior.

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