Tag Archives: Recovery

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

Combining any drug with alcohol can lead to an overdose and should be avoided. Some combinations, such as hydrocodone and alcohol, are especially dangerous. Generally speaking, drinking alcohol should always be avoided after taking any kind of medication. However, in order to understand why, it is important to know the risks of mixing drugs. 

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid agonist which is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It is a moderately potent opioid containing acetaminophen. It works by binding to and activating the mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which in return causes analgesia (inability to feel pain), euphoria, cough suppression, respiratory depression and physical dependence. Hydrocodone’s other side effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Muscle tightness
  • Painful urination
  • Ringing ears
  • Insomnia
  • Swelling of extremities

Its ability to cause a sense of euphoria is common amongst all opioids. This euphoria is one of the primary reasons hydrocodone and opioids in general are considered to be highly addictive substances. However, hydrocodone is not commonly considered a powerful opioid, and some people mistakenly see it as a “safe” drug. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorizes drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical utility. For example, a Schedule I drug has no medical uses and has a very high potential for abuse. These include heroin, LSD, ecstacy and peyote. Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, as it has some identified medical purposes but a high potential for abuse, addiction, and other health risks.

Hydrocodone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Depressants actively slow down critical nerve functions, such as breathing and cognitive ability. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and has similar effects. Mixing the two increases the risk of experiencing an overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens During an Overdose?

An overdose is simply the body’s negative response to more of a drug or chemical than it can handle. It can occur when taking too much of a drug or when combining two or more drugs which have similar effects. CNS depressants cause critical nerve function to slow down – specifically, the risk lies mostly with the respiratory system (since opioids slow down breathing). If you consume too much of a depressant, an overdose can occur. Not all overdoses are fatal; however, they can cause long-term organ damage. Without a consistent oxygen supply, the brain can experience permanent damage. If breathing is severely or completely impaired for any length of time, a fatal overdose is very likely. 

Other signs of an overdose include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Blue lips and fingers
  • High body temperature
  • Unresponsiveness 
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting

If you think someone has overdosed, call emergency services immediately. The ability to recognize an overdose in its early stages could be the difference between a fatal and non-fatal overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens When You Mix Hydrocodone and Alcohol?

Given that both drugs are CNS depressants, combining them makes overdose is more likely. The the body will suffer the combined effects of the opioid and alcohol, which may be too much for it to handle. Generally speaking, when combining two or more drugs, the drugs work to enhance each other’s negative side effects (without increasing any positive ones). This applies to hydrocodone and alcohol. However, even without the overdose risk, the combined influence of the two drugs can cause you to engage in dangerous behavior (such as driving) while under the influence, and increase the risk of accidents. 

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

How long does Hydrocodone stay in your system?

Hydrocodone has a half-life of 3-5 hours. This means it will take 3-5 hours for the ingested dose to effectively reduce to half of its original dose. If you take 10mg of hydrocodone, it will take 3-5 hours for that to reduce down to 5mg in your body. Even after the effects have worn off, drug tests can reveal the presence of hydrocodone in the body for days or weeks. Hydrocodone leaves the body faster than other opioids, but can still be detected in saliva 12-36 hours after last ingestion, in urine 2-4 days, and in hair for up to 90 days.

How quickly the body metabolizes hydrocodone differs from person to person. Various factors such as body fat percentage, age, history with the drug, and organ function all play a role in how effectively your body is able to process drugs and chemicals.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol: Getting help

Addiction is considered a chronic illness ,which means it has the same relapse rates as other chronic diseases. This can make lifelong sobriety very difficult. However, it does not make it impossible. The journey is different for everyone, and most people need professional assistance. A professional can help diagnose and treat the underlying causes behind the addiction, rather than just attempting to manage the symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help begin your journey to sobriety.

Relapse Prevention Plan

If you or a loved one has gone through the recovery process, then relapse is an all too familiar term.  Unfortunately, relapse is a common occurrence for those struggling with substance abuse.  Too often, people will enter sobriety, work on themselves and their substance issues, only to relapse after days, weeks, months, or even years of sobriety.  This is where a relapse prevention plan comes in handy; by creating and utilizing a relapse prevention plan, individuals can highly increase their chances of not only staying sober, but getting back to healthy habits and sobriety if/when relapse does occur.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Typically, a relapse prevention plan is a guide to understanding your patterns, and then setting actionable goals around what to do if relapse does occur.  The plan is two-fold: if you can identify triggers, cravings, and potential pitfalls ahead of time, you are more likely to avoid relapse in the first place.  Secondly, you’ll want to have a predetermined plan around exactly what to do, who to call, and where to “restart” if relapse does occur.

Let’s look at the first portion of a relapse prevention plan first, i.e. self-awareness.  A standard relapse prevention plan will want to identify common triggers and cravings.

Relapse Prevention Plan

Triggers

So what exactly are triggers?  They can be essentially anything that causes cravings for a person struggling with substance abuse.  People, places, and things can catalyze powerful sensory recall. Oftentimes, addicts/alcoholics are unaware that these triggers exist until they are already dangerously close to a relapse.  However, because of the way our brains operate, each trigger is going to be highly personal.  Let’s look at some examples of how this might differ from person to person:

People

The most common “people” triggers are those that the individual used drugs/alcohol with.  Certain friend groups, or even family members, can trigger cravings almost immediately if there are memories of drug use associated with the person.  One individual might be triggered by their parents (especially if they are habitual drug/alcohol users). Someone else might find their parents to be the best people that help foster and support a sober lifestyle. 

Places

As far as triggering places go, it is frequent that individuals will experience strong cravings when returning to environments that they previously used drugs/alcohol in.  Households, old neighborhoods, concert venues, hiking trails, vehicles: they can all trigger sensory recall of a time when using substances was still fun, before the addiction took over. 

Cravings

Things

Are you seeing a common thread yet?  That’s right, any ’thing’ that a person has associated with their past drug use can be extremely triggering.  Paraphernalia can be especially triggering. However, even “positive” objects can bring someone back to old times very quickly, and often with negative effects.  Though counterintuitive, sometimes even an old photo of happier times with supportive people can cause a craving immediately.

Identifying people, places, and things that are associated with past substance use can be paramount to a person’s continued, long-term sobriety.  Often, for at least the first year of sobriety, persons will want to actively avoid these triggers to the best of their ability.  

As the old saying from Alcoholics Anonymous goes: “If you hang out in the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut”.

Relapse Prevention and Cravings

What exactly are cravings?  By common definition, cravings are physical and mental urges to use drugs and/or alcohol.  Cravings can be extremely powerful, especially in the first year of sobriety.  Many cravings are brought on by triggers, as discussed above.  However, sometimes cravings can happen for no obvious reason, regardless of sensory recall or otherwise.  

There are some general timelines to be aware of, typically described as Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS).  Generally, the sobriety milestones of 30, 60, 90, and 180 days are prone to increased PAWS, and thus cravings.  This is because of the dopamine and serotonin disruption that substances cause to the brain, and those receptors will recover over time.  Thankfully, the physical symptoms of cravings only last approximately 10-20 minutes.  Thus, if you can utilize the coping skills you identify in your relapse prevention plan, there is opportunity for success every single time you experience physical cravings.

Relapse Prevention Plan

Mental cravings, however, are different than the physical.  While physical cravings are brief, the mental side can be carried on for hours.  Again, it is paramount that individuals suffering from substance abuse use their coping skills to relieve the mind of the need to use.  In early sobriety, limiting distractions of any sort can be of the utmost importance to getting through cravings.

Coping Skills

Coping skills tie into the second portion of relapse prevention plans. It is essential for someone in recovery to develop a set of actions they can engage in prior to or after a potential relapse.  Prior to relapse, coping skills can be utilized to disengage from triggering situations and intense cravings.  Some examples of these types of coping skills might include:

  • Going for a run
  • Calling a close friend or family member
  • Playing an instrument
  • Cooking a good meal
  • Swimming, biking, playing sports – any type of physical activity can help

If relapse does occur, then alternate coping skills should be put in place as quickly as possible in order to minimize the risk of prolonged drug/alcohol use.  Many people in sobriety use coping skills and plans of action such as:

  • Attending a community support group meeting (such as Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • Calling a sponsor, or other trusted confidant
  • Having an individual therapy session with a therapist

Sobriety and Your Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse prevention plans will need to be created on an individual basis, as each individual’s struggles and needs are unique.  Developing an understanding of these three core concepts (triggers, cravings, and coping skills) will greatly increase a person’s chances of long-term recovery and sobriety.  Substance abuse is an extremely potent disease, from both physiological and mental perspectives. It is important to take every precaution necessary.

Relapse Prevention PlanIf you need help developing a relapse prevention plan, or need help addressing a loved one’s substance abuse issue, please contact us today.  Our highly-trained addiction specialists will be happy to aid you in the journey of recovery.

Addiction Severity Index

Holistic treatment is one of the most successful approaches to substance abuse disorders. While treating a drug or alcohol problem at face value can have a temporary “band aid” effect, lifetime recovery is difficult or impossible without addressing its root causes. When someone dealing with addiction and their therapist both have a clear view of the problem, they can work together to reach real solutions and prevent relapses. This is where exams like the Addiction Severity Index can help.

addiction severity index

What is the Addiction Severity Index?

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) is a popular tool that can help provide needed context for people with substance abuse issues. Therapists, medical professionals, and treatment centers use it frequently to understand their patients better. Developed in the 1980’s, it is a 45 minute to 1 hour semi-structured interview that  assesses someone’s need for treatment. Although it can help people with a variety of non-substance abuse problems – from the struggle to keep a job to  chronic family or relationship problems – it is most useful when alcohol or psychoactive drugs are in the picture. 

The ASI can help assess:

  • How seriously an addiction is affecting someone’s life
  • The root causes of substance abuse
  • Key problem areas
  • The type and length of treatment needed
  • Whether a treatment program has been successful
  • How a person can stay sober and avoid relapses after treatment

The index is generally an interview-style conversation. If the therapist asks the questions aloud and in-person, there is a better opportunity to get full and complete answers. They can also spend more time on the most important topics and answer deeper follow-up questions when necessary. The test focuses closely on substance abuse during the past 30 days, and assigns a score based on substance type and use. It also determines how the abuse has affected the person’s life and well-being. The higher the score, the greater the need for treatment.

What Kinds of Questions Does the ASI Ask?

No one’s pathway to addiction looks exactly like anyone else’s. Alcohol and drug abuse can be triggered by genetics, family history, mental health issues, dysfunctional relationships, financial status, and a host of other reasons. Since the Addiction Severity Index is meant to sketch a comprehensive picture, the interviewer asks questions about every aspect of a person’s life. Though it is scored based on the past 30 days, the questions will also cover a person’s childhood, family and relationship history, personal beliefs, and their entire substance abuse timeline. 

The index is also specific about the types of substances a person uses, the amounts, and the frequency of abuse. It’s definitions of intoxication and addiction are fairly flexible. This allows the interviewer to get a personal understanding not only of how much a person consumes, but what their “normal” is and how they understand their own behavior. 

When Do People Take the ASI?

The Addiction Severity Index interview generally takes place at the very beginning of rehabilitation. It helps therapists and patients set down groundwork and understand the best course of action. After this, the interview should be repeated every 30 days until the end of treatment. Answering the same questions on a regular basis is a reliable way to know if someone is making progress. 

Why Does the Addiction Severity Index Matter?

The ASI is helpful in a number of ways. First, it demonstrates a rough idea of how serious an addiction is, the root cause or causes, and the appropriate treatment path. It’s also extremely helpful for therapists and treatment centers. Using one standard interview as the baseline for every case helps make for better treatment. They can make sure programs are strong and single out any areas where they might be lacking.

addiction severity index

At Reflections, the ASI and holistic treatment are an important part of what we do. Our team of medical professionals and counselors conduct full psychiatric and personal evaluations as part of the admissions process. This ensures that each of our clients is in the right program and set on track for a lifetime of health and sobriety. By combining clinical treatment and holistic therapies, we provide our clients with all the tools they need to achieve a life free from addiction. For more information on our process and programs, contact us today

Trazodone High

Trazodone is a common antidepressant. It isn’t popular as a recreational drug, and drug tests don’t often check for it. Nevertheless, like any substance the potential for abuse exists. Furthermore, abusing it can still lead to serious dependence and addiction.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone Addiction

Trazodone is a prescription medication which helps treat patients with depression. Designed to boost the brain’s Serotonin levels and change a person’s mood, the drug prevents serotonin from absorbing back into the brain’s neurons. This creates an abundance of the chemical. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. Commonly referred to as the “happy chemical,” it promotes feelings of well-being and happiness.  Trazodone has proven as an effective antidepressant, as well as a mood and anxiety regulator. 

However, the idea of a drug giving you the “happy chemical” in order to make you feel happy is misleading. Trazodone does not make you feel naturally happy, as you would when seeing a loved one or doing something you enjoy. Instead, it creates a sedative effect to provide relief. Rather than making you feel happy, it works to calm you down. This is not necessarily the same as a euphoric high one might experience with other drugs, such as Marijuana or opioids. Rather, a Trazodone high is similar to a benzodiazepine high, though the effect is not as strong. Even though it is not a commonly abused drug, its calming and sedative effects can still be addictive. 

Addiction

Trazodone is not usually sold illegally. Nor is it considered to be a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Typically, Trazodone abuse begins when someone takes too much of their prescription – or takes it for too long. Regular Trazodone use will cause the body to develop a tolerance. Therefore, in order to feel the same calming effects, individuals sometimes take progressively higher doses. An individual who can no longer feel the effects may also move on to stronger and more deadly drugs – such as Xanax or opioids – in order to achieve a high.

Some people enjoy  the Trazodone high because it makes them forget their current situation and detach from life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that substance use disorders and mental disorders are co-related and usually go hand in hand. This can be especially important to consider when looking at the kinds of patients who take Trazodone. 

Trazodone High

Trazodone Side Effects

Even when taken for the appropriate reasons and at the prescribed dosage, Trazodone can have negative side effects. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Constipation
  • Nervousness or confusion
  • Weakness or fatigue

More severe side effects can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures 
  • Labored breathing
  • Fainting

How Long Does Trazodone Stay In Your System?

Trazodone’s half-life is between five and nine hours. This means that it takes approximately this amount of time for the original ingested dosage to reduce to half of its size. Therefore, it takes approximately 42 hours before the drug completely leaves your system. This does not mean the effects will last 42 hours.  Nor does it mean that all traces of the drug will be gone. However, Trazodone drug testing is very uncommon.

Trazodone High

Overdose

Trazodone overdose, while not common, is still very possible. Most overdoses occur when individuals simply take too much, thinking that a higher dose will help alleviate their depressed thoughts or anxiety. It can also be dangerous in combination with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol. CNS depressants can enhance the drug’s effects and lead to overdose by slowing critical brain and organ functions, such as breathing. 

A lethal dose is unlikely, but not impossible. One medical case study found that fatal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) can occur during a Trazodone overdose. Therefore, always call emergency medical services if you or someone you know shows overdose symptoms.

Treatment for Trazodone Addiction

Substance use disorders and mental health problems often go hand in hand. This is especially true for Trazodone, since it is prescribed to individuals with depression or anxiety. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, seek professional treatment. A professional will be able to help diagnose the root cause rather than just treating the symptoms. Contact us today for help on your path to recovery.

Synthetic Cocaine

Synthetic Cocaine

In 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 1.5 million American cocaine users above the age of 12. As alarming as this number is, it only accounts for individuals using pure cocaine or “coke”. In fact, there has been a rise in of individuals using what is known as “synthetic cocaine,” or fake cocaine, in order to achieve cocaine’s effects for cheaper and longer.

What is Synthetic Cocaine?

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant much like any other amphetamine. Derived from the coca leaf, cocaine was originally produced in its pure hydrochloride form. It is rare to find 100% pure cocaine on the market. Instead, cocaine is mostly sold as “crack” or impure coke. Crack cocaine is a mixture of pure cocaine and cutting agents like baking soda. Crack’s immediate effect makes it popular. This effect is short-lived, and users often binge in order to extend the high – a primary reason why cocaine is so addictive.

The term “synthetic cocaine” is essentially a misnomer, since it does not actually contain any cocaine. “Fake cocaine” is a more accurate title, since it is designed to replicate cocaine’s effects. Most of the time, synthetic cocaine refers to synthetic cathinones.

What are synthetic cathinones?

Why do people take synthetic cathinones instead of cocaine? First, it is important to understand what a cathinone is. Benzoylethanamine, ß-keto-amphetamine (cathinone) is a monoamine alkaloid found in the khat plant which can mimic an emphetamine or cocaine high.

Amphetamines are a very powerful group of drugs which include meth and adderall. Some amphetamine effects include:

  • Very high energy
  • Lack of sleep
  • Decreased mental performance
  • Fast talking

Many people take amphetamines and cocaine for the same reason – an intense rush of energy and focus. Some claim that cocaine also increases alertness, strength, and speed, though this has not been medically proven.

Synthetic cathinones contain one or more laboratory-made (synthetic) chemicals that behave like cathinones. These substances can cause a long-lasting cocaine-like rush.

Why is Synthetic Cocaine So Popular?

The biggest factors are price and availability. A common misconception is that crack cocaine is cheaper than pure coke. This is not necessarily true. Crack’s absorption rate is generally the real reason for its popularity. Inhaling it creates an intense, nearly instant high.

However, compared to the synthetic cathinone ‘flakka,’ price can be a factor. Flakka can cost around $5 for one hit and the effects can last nearly 5 hours, whereas cocaine can cost more than $80 for a hit lasting only around 10 minutes.

Synthetic cathinones are also usually more accessible, which increases their popularity. The U.S. explicitly prohibits synthetic cathinone production and sale. However, some manufacturers find shortcuts around this by slightly changing certain ingredients, effectively making their cathinone products more or less legal. This drug type is classified as a “new psychoactive substance” (NPS) which is unregulated by the government, making it much easier to purchase. It can even show up in some convenience stores.

Types of Synthetic Cathinones

There are various types of cathinones, some more notorious than others. All of them are dangerous. The two most popular cathinones are flakka and bath salts.

Flakka

Flakka (also known as the ‘zombie drug’) became famous in Florida for allegedly causing cannibalistic behavior.  In one notorious case, an individual under the influence bit another person’s face. Claims like this are unconfirmed; however, media coverage popularized the drug’s infamous nickname. Flakka is also known to cause hallucinations in some rare cases.

Bath salts

Bath salts are one of the more popular forms of cathinones and very similar to flakkas. They are also called bloom, cloud nine, ivory wave and scarface. Generally sold in brown or white crystalline powders, they visually resemble real bath epsom salts. Generally swallowed or snorted through the nose, bath salts are a cheaper alternative to MDMA and cocaine.

Dangers of Synthetic Cocaine

There is little medical research on cathinones and their addictive potential. Any substance that causes a powerful euphoric high comes with the risk of addiction for certain people – especially those with preexisting mental health issues. Synthetic cathinone side effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion
  • In some rare cases, excited delirium and hallucinations
  • Risky behavior

Thankfully, synthetic cathinones are not a very popular drug in the U.S. Poison control calls peaked in 2012 at 2,697 and continue on a downward trend – likely due to negative media coverage. Overdose and death from synthetic cathinones are possible. However, risky behavior under the influence is the most common reason for injury and death.

Treatment for Synthetic Cocaine Abuse

Synthetic cathinone treatment is rare. This is not to say that people who abuse it don’t need help. People with substance abuse problems often have other mental health issues. Rather than just managing the symptoms, it’s important to get help from trained professionals to treat an addiction’s root cause. 

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, contact us today. 

Recovery for Life

Addiction is one of those words that is often not taken seriously as kids. Most schools had some anti-drug programs with the aim to prevent youth from trying drugs. Further, a lot of us as kids would always say, “not me, I’d never do drugs” – let alone become addicted. Youth drug intervention programs focus on avoiding peer pressure and bad influences. Rarely do they touch on the underlying issues people face which may pave the way for drug use. For some people, it was never as easy as saying “no”- and we understand that. Recovery for life is the goal, even with the possibility and likelihood of relapse.

What are the stages of addiction?

Addiction to drugs is a complicated beast. Drug use is oftentimes voluntary at first. It is the subsequent uses and desires caused by the drug which can lead to addiction. 

Drugs make us feel good. A lot of drugs make us feel good by providing an euphoric high (such as marijuana and opioids). Alternatively, other drugs make us hallucinate which can cause a dissociative feeling of detachment from one’s mind. That is, unfortunately, the harsh truth about them. If they didn’t, substance use disorders would be less of a problem. So why is something that makes us feel good, so bad for us?

Drug use follows a pretty basic progression which can be applied in a very general sense to most drugs. Upon first use, the user will feel an immense rush of chemically induced emotions. This is something they perceive as either good or bad. Good responses will elicit further use, as your mind essentially says “I want more of whatever made me feel like that.” This also applies to other addictions such as food or sex. Our minds and bodies develop a mental connection to feeling good and whatever the catalyst may be. The challenge with preventing the first use happening is when it is through legal means such as an opioid prescription after surgery. Just because it was legally obtained and used to treat a medical issue, does not diminish its effects on the mind.

Different Stages of Addiction

Regular use begins when the user decides to make his or her drug use more predictable. For some, it may be a weekend/party vice that they partake in. For others, it may be drinking after getting home from work. As it begins to settle into a more predictable pattern, the drug becomes more important in their lives. 

Risky use is the stage where people become comfortable enough with the drug that they are willing to take risks that they otherwise wouldn’t, had they been sober. This includes drinking while driving or high. At this point, the user’s behavior is likely affecting their work and family life as they begin to feel more dependent on the drug. Dependence will eventually lead to developing a tolerance.

Another way of looking at it is that your body begins to adapt to the drug in order to lessen its effects because to our immune system, a drug is still a foreign object and your body would much rather be in its natural state of homeostasis. A tolerance will diminish the effect of the drug on the body, which in turn will cause you to take more the drug in order to actually feel the effects. Not only does this increase your dependence on the drug, but it can also cause an overdose if the dose reaches an unsafe level.

recovery for life

How does Reflections approach recovery?

Reflections Recovery Center uses a holistic approach to treatment. While we could simply treat the symptoms, it would do no good in the long run. Recovery is a lifetime goal with no expiration date. Therefore, our approach focuses on the mind, body, and soul, in addition to treating the withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully, with enough guidance, our patients will be able to take their lifetime recovery and sobriety into their own hands and resume living a healthy, independent life. 

Some of the tools we use to develop the mind and body include adventure therapy, yoga, Reiki, team sports and even help our clients develop life skills such as cooking, interview prep, and communication skills. 

substance use disorder

What is recovery for life?

Addiction is classified as a chronic disease. This places it in the same category as other chronic illnesses such as type II diabetes and cancer. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “drug addiction shares many features with other chronic illnesses, including a tendency to run in families (heritability), an onset and course that is influenced by environmental conditions and behavior, and the ability to respond to appropriate treatment, which may include long-term lifestyle modification.”

recovery for life

Addiction also has similar relapse rates as cancer and type II diabetes. No one chooses to become an addict. Just like no one chooses to have cancer which is why it is important to look at recovery for life as the only goal. Simply managing the symptoms will open the door for relapse. This is why Reflections places such a heavy emphasis on holistic treatment and developing a relapse prevention plan. Going to rehab takes time and money, therefore, it makes no sense to try and simply manage the symptoms every time they arise or if you relapse. 

Treatment

Addiction is a complex issue. Reaching a lifetime of recovery and sobriety requires hard work, dedication and the attention of a trained professional. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.

Sober Living


Sober home living can be beneficial to anyone who is looking for a stable environment to assist them in transitioning from an inpatient program to living a free, independent and sober life. Sober living homes offer the flexibility and freedom of living on your own while still reinforcing lessons learned in rehab. Most sober homes require individuals to have successfully completed some inpatient recovery program in order to live at the residence.

What is a sober living home?

Sober living homes are group homes which are completely free of drugs or alcohol. It is essentially like renting a home with roommates- except with more rules. The residents are there to adjust to daily life outside of an inpatient rehab program. They do so while being surrounded by a supportive community of people also recovering from addiction. Residents will typically pay rent and pull their fair share of work by cleaning and maintaining the property. Individuals will also likely have to actively participate in regular meetings and some homes may require random drug testing. Homes may also have a resident manager who supervises the house and enforces the rules.

However, for the most part, residents are in complete control of their own recovery. This allows them to develop strong life management skills and increases their chances at long-term sobriety. They are free to come and go as they please whether that be for work, family or leisure activities.

sober living

Often times, someone in recovery will relapse and go back to their old life where they are surrounded by negative influences. Addiction is considered a chronic disease which means it has the same relapse rates as other chronic illnesses such as hypertension and asthma. Therefore, relapse is not only possible, but likely. Sober living homes, however, can take some of that pressure off by placing individuals in a highly supportive but monitored environment. At Reflections, we offer an Aftercare Plan for individuals who are looking for continued support in their journey to life-long sobriety.

sober living - aftercare plan

What is the difference between a sober house and halfway house?

It can be easy to confuse sober homes and halfway homes as they essentially provide the same service. However, halfway homes are typically associated with government housing which is provided as a transition for those recovering from addiction. In some cases, halfway homes are reserved for formerly incarcerated individuals (though this is not always the case). Halfway homes also tend to be cheaper than sober living homes as they are more crowded, state funded and provide less amenities. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the essential characteristics of a sober living home which distinguished itself from a halfway home are:

1) An alcohol and drug free living environment for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

2) Members are either mandated or strongly encouraged to attend 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

3) Required compliance with house rules such as maintaining abstinence, paying rent and other fees, participating in household chores and attending house meetings.

4) Resident responsibility for financing rent and other costs.

5) Residents are able to stay in the house as long as they wish if they comply with house rules.

How much do sober living homes cost?

Sober homes will typically cost the same as an apartment in the area you are looking at. Locations such as San Francisco or New York will cost more than our locations in Prescott. They can range from $300/mo to $2000/mo.

sober living - financing

Some homes will accept insurance however it is up to your insurance company to determine how much they will cover. Reach out to the home and work directly with them and your insurance to see how you can cover costs. 

It is possible your insurance will not cover any of the costs or you do not have insurance. However, you still have some options to pay for your sober living:

  • Scholarships: Some homes will offer its residents scholarships if they have shown commitment and dedication to staying sober.
  • Finance the cost: Using your personal savings, bank loans or credit cards can help you pay for a sober house.
  • Earn an Income: Sober homes allow you to come and go as you please which provides the opportunity to work and earn an income.
  • Payment Plan: Some homes will allow you to set up a payment plan which will break down the overall cost of living into bite size chunks.

How long can I stay in a sober home?

The duration of your stay will differ depending on your needs. However, people can spend anywhere from 3-24 months at a sober home. Generally speaking, this will allow you adequate time to situate yourself with a job and develop confidence in your sobriety.

As stated above, often those in recovery face challenges to their sobriety when they return to the same life. Often, though not always, people were in situations that contributed to substance abuse and addiction. It is important to seek help for as long as needed. Further, a good treatment center will help patients figure out the best plan after completing treatment. Sober living is important to recovery and should not be discounted. In recovery, the initial few months and even year are often the most vulnerable.

Continue Your Journey With Us

Time at a sober living home is limited. Therefore it is important that you develop skills, relationships and resources to maintain sobriety when you eventually leave. Here at Reflections we emphasize the necessary skills to best prevent or manage relapse and continued sobriety. However, in order to reside in a sober home, you must successfully complete an inpatient rehab program such as the ones we offer at our Prescott location. We are here to help you on your journey, contact us today if you or a loved one is in need of assistance.

 

 

Nutrition in Recovery

Nutrients found in food are essential to life. They provide calories and energy that is needed so we can go throughout our days. It is possible though to consume food without much nutrition and feel like you’re able to go about your day with no problems. The connection between food and health might not always be so clear to everyone. What may or may not seem obvious, is that food impacts our health and how we deal with daily life. With processed foods, it begins to lose most if not all of the nutrition it may have had. This type of food can leave someone feeling sick, lethargic, and can greatly affect one’s mood. Processed food puts the body into a state of inflammation, which leaves people feeling depressed and anxious.

Naturally, your body adjusts to what you regularly consume. For Psychology Today, Dr. Nicole Avena writes, “Without even realizing it, most food choices are made based on taste, convenience, and familiarity. The gut will not be primed for digestion of fibrous fruits and vegetables, and there exists a strong preference for food that is salty (chips) or sweet and easily digestible (sweetened cereal with milk).” If you eat only junk food, that is what you crave and what triggers the reward center in your brain. With nutrient therapy, we want to show that it is possible to feel better by eating better. Addiction significantly deprives the body of nutrients. For a thorough recovery, it is essential that we work with patients to repair their health through nutrition.

Alcohol and Nutrition

The vagus nerve is a nerve that helps your gut and your mind communicate. The food you consume directly affects this nerve, and naturally so does consumption of alcohol. When something is permeable, it becomes more absorbent or more easily allows substances to pass through. Some permeability in the gut or intestines, for example, is okay, but when it increases it can become a problem. A study done in 2014 found that alcohol-dependent subjects may have higher gut permeability, which can affect behavioral changes and mood.

The authors also wrote, “Alcohol-dependent subjects frequently develop emotional symptoms that contribute to the persistence of alcohol drinking.”* Someone might drink to cope with other issues and then develop issues from drinking, which will then lead to continued heavy drinking. This can clearly create a negative cycle; it will damage the gut and can lead to anxiety and depression, which then may be self-medicated with alcohol.

Furthermore, alcohol impedes a body’s ability to break down nutrients into molecules that the body desperately needs. Excessive consumption of alcohol can deprive the body of vitamins and minerals. A deficiency in Vitamin K, for example, can cause delayed blood clotting and will result in excess bleeding. Furthermore, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “…eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia).”* A vitamin B deficiency is not the sole cause, nor will everyone with a deficiency suffer from bipolar disorder. However, it is an important facet to consider and increasing vitamin B levels can help to alleviate some symptoms.

Other vitamin deficiencies can cause severe neurological damage. Mineral deficiencies can result in a number of health problems including calcium-related bone disease, zinc-related night blindness and skin lesions.* For clients seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, we will identify any malnutrition or micro-nutrient deficiencies. When we know what to address, we can form a plan with food, nutrition and other necessary medicine to restore balance.

Drugs and Nutrient Deprivation

Drugs also clearly deprive the body of essential nutrients and can lead to severe malnutrition. Opiates (including codeine, oxycodone, heroin, and morphine) can cause gastrointestinal problems which can include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This can result in a lack of nutrients and electrolytes, like sodium or potassium.* With stimulants, like meth, crack, or cocaine, appetite is reduced and this leads to weight loss and poor nutrition. Long-term use can result in permanent memory problems.* There are, of course, many other possible issues. Substance abuse is a disease that can drastically destroy the mind and body. However, with proper help and treatment there is hope.

When someone is in recovery, particularly after abusing stimulants, it is possible they might turn to overeating. At Reflections, we want to work with clients on a plan to return their health to a good place and to learn new, healthy habits. This can start with eating at regular times, eating food that is high in nutrition, and even learning to prepare healthy food for oneself. Nutrition is essential to having energy, maintaining body structure, and bodily function.

A better mood and mental state is a good defense against relapse in many ways. It can encourage someone to engage in other healthy behaviors. As good food makes the body and mind feel better, physical activity will be something clients feel they can engage in. Being active can be a significant help in recovery. Overall, we want our clients to develop good nutritional habits that will reach every other area of their lives.

Utilizing Nutrition in Recovery

At Reflections, each client will go through an initial evaluation. This allows us to take a comprehensive look at our client’s health. With laboratory testing, we can identify the vitamins and minerals where there is a deficiency. This helps us identify how their health is affected, physically or mentally, and how we can proceed with treatment. We can begin to introduce food and other healthy methods of restoring balance in the body. Our goal is that each client will feel better physically, which can lead to improved mental health. We also want clients to know that they can take control of their health and what they eat, and thus play a big part in their sobriety.

If we can teach our clients proper nutrition, we can allow them to take control. Learning about nutrition regarding food, drinks, and supplements is something clients can take with them after treatment. When clients are feeling better physically and mentally, they may feel more capable of engaging in physical activity. An active life in turn further benefits their physical and mental health, creating a positive cycle. At Reflections, we all truly want each client to walk away with the skills to continue a positive life and to maintain sobriety.

*Resources:
Psychology Today – Nutrition in Recovery from Addiction
Intestinal Permeability – PNAS
Alcohol and Nutrition – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Substance Use Recovery and Diet – MedlinePlus

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.

Learn More Alcohol Abuse Facts

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early Sobriety


Even in a primarily digital age, books still hold a lot of power. The power of books can help you to look deeply into yourself and recognize traits that are holding you back or can give you ideas on how and what to change about yourself to achieve desired results. During addiction recovery, books can be your best friend; comforting you when you need to be comforted, and giving you ideas on how to better yourself. Everyone’s recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is different, and recovery happens in different phases.

That being said, not all of these books will be a perfect fit for everyone, and some of the choices may offer more help in different phases of recovery, yet may be a trigger for others in other phases of recovery. These suggestions are merely suggestions, and you should find the book that speaks to you and where you are at in your recovery.

Books on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: 

Pour Me: A Life by A. A. Gill 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyA raw and profound memoir, this book serves as an often humorous account of the life of A. A. Gill – a food critic who found that his fast life and career in his 20s had left him with serious problems with alcohol. The way Gill describes the symptoms of alcoholism can be quite brutal at times, and some readers may find the early parts of the book a trigger – reminding them of their own struggles with alcohol. By the end of the book, though, Gill shows how he personally faced his inner demons and found a new outlook on his life and his passions.

 

 

 

 

Living Sober by Alcoholics Anonymous 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyFor those that find AA and the 12 Step process helpful in early addiction recovery, Living Sober is a great companion book to the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. This book lays out the steps of building a new life in sobriety, without drugs or alcohol. Early recovery can be difficult, and this book offers great ideas for creating a sober life while teaching you easy to use practices for dealing with stress and urges to drink or get high. For those looking for an easy read filled with tips that can be attributed to their personal lives and sobriety, this is a highly recommended read.

 

 24 Hours A Day by Richard Walker

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyAn older book that was published in 1963, this book could be considered timeless to anyone who has known the struggles of addiction, particularly alcoholism. This book offers mediation, guidance, and prayers for sober life and living in sobriety. What makes this book so easy to use is that it is divided into 365 days, with each day offering motivational thoughts and lessons, as well as prayers and affirmations. This book is often considered to be a great companion book to the “Big Book” of AA and other complementary books in the Alcoholics Anonymous series.

 

 

 

 

Books on Drug Addiction and Treatment 

Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change by Nicole Kosanke, Stephanie Higgs, Carrie Wilkens, Geoffrey Foote 

What makes this a great book for some in recovery, is the fresh outlook and opinions if gives on addiction science and addiction treatment. If the older “classic” books about addiction feel outdated to you, or you are interested in new ideas and approaches to recovery and addiction treatment, this will be a good read for you. This book can also be helpful for parents of addicts and family members who are caring for a loved one struggling with addiction. This book will give families greater insight into what drugs and alcohol do to change a person, and puts the struggle that addicts endure into perspective.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison 

This book offers a recount of the authors own experiences with alcohol as well as her commentary on the struggles of many other contemporaries. This book is written in a prose style, rather than a guide like AA books or books dedicated to sober living and recovery. Jamison’s writing is incredible, and she touches upon the fact that sobriety is a place to either find, re-evaluate or lose your creativity. The book is hailed as a great commentary on substance abuse in popular culture, and even writer Stephen King has suggested that this book be required reading.

Other Good Books for Recovering Addicts: 

Food for Recovery: The Complete Nutritional Companion for Overcoming Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Eating Disorders by Joseph Beasley MD and Susan Knightly [H3]

Diet is one of the biggest factors in successfully recovering from substance abuse, alcohol, or drug addiction. When in recovery, it is essential to make good dietary choices and to rehabilitate body and mind with nutritional therapy.  Making good dietary and nutritional decisions in your sober life can be difficult, or feel overwhelming, but this book helps to make it easier. It includes recipes and great advice for getting over unhealthy eating habits and teaches you how to put nutrition first and avoid dietary dangers in recovery like sugar addiction.

 Books for Spiritual Recovery and Enlightenment: 

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron 

Based on the author’s Buddhist spiritual beliefs, this book is blunt and direct. It shows you how to deal with life’s harder moments from a spiritualist perspective, and offers great insights on spiritual growth. “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth,” says Pema addressing the fears that we all have, but are especially prevalent in times of great change and growth. If you are a spiritualist and like to enjoy introspective reading, this is a great book that offers a wealth of wisdom. 

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle 

Best Books on Addiction Recovery to Help You in Early SobrietyHow to address negative thoughts and feelings about the past and future is just one of the intentions of Tolle’s powerful book on spiritual can be used as a daily guide for dealing with life’s stresses. Tolle begins by showing you that YOU are the source of enlightenment in your life, and you are also the source of pain – depending on how you think and act. “Start living NOW,” is the message throughout the book, and it gives you practical ways to get into that type of thinking. The spiritualism covered it is not heavily religious or tied to any specific spiritual beliefs, and the advice given can easily fit into YOUR life.

 

There are many great books that can help you in your first weeks of sobriety and in the first year of recovery from addiction. Not only are the above-referenced books great introductions to the various types of books for addiction recovery, but each can guide you along to finding other related books and topics that might fit with your personal recovery needs.

If you are not traditionally a “book person,” or a big reader, just remember to start slow. Take your time and enjoy the words and advice given in these and other recovery books. Learning how to stay sober and learning how to be comfortable in your sobriety will take time – spending your time with these and other books is a great way to start off.

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