Addiction Recovery

Southwest Florida Representative Trey Radel Resigns

Republican representative Trey Radel of Florida resigned from Congress. He pleaded guilty in November for buying cocaine from an undercover policeman.

Radel wrote to Speaker John N. Boehner of Ohio about his “personal struggles.” He wrote, “while I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States representative to the place I love and call home, Southwest Florida.”

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While being arrested, he mentioned he struggled “with the disease of alcoholism.” He took a leave of absence to “focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family.” After returning to the House of Representatives, members from his own party wanted him to step aside. He refused at first and said “no one will take away my passion when it comes to serving southwest Florida.”

In the end, he decided to step down. Paige Kreegel, a former state representative supported his decision. He said, “I know in the last several months have been trying for Trey and his family. But today, he did the right thing for the people he represents and provided all of us a chance to move forward without the distractions of the past. The people of Southwest Florida deserve principled, conservative leadership.”

Drugs and alcohol effect everyone from every walk of life. Addiction can take away everything a person loves, but help is out there. Here at Synergy’s addiction treatment center, we treat drug addiction as well as alcoholism. It’s never too late to start a journey to recovery.

7,000 Miles of Service in Recovery

Service in Recovery
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A New Jersey school teacher and recovering alcoholic, Brad Spicer, has run almost 10,000 miles as a way to give freely back what he was given. He wants to give others a chance at recovery and sobriety from alcohol and drug addiction.

An essential component of addiction recovery is service to others because it is from the service others give that many individuals are able to get and stay sober today. In recovery, we continue to give back and receive and give back and receive. By living according to the spiritual principles of recovery, such as living with honesty, integrity, discipline and willingness, service to others becomes a natural component of how we live our lives sober.

Brad Spicer has stood out in his service to others through the creation of Project Run 7000, where he has pledged to run 7,000 miles throughout the year to raise money for addiction awareness and treatment. Describing his motivation, Spicer tells the South Jersey Times that, “I’m doing it not only to help my recovery and use it as therapy for myself, but to help others. A lot of people are struggling with huge problems. I kind of look at it as every I mile I finish, I hope it inspires one person to find the sober life they’ve been seeking.”

And every mile Spicer finishes will help him give to The Herren Project Foundation. This non-profit was established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren, to help individuals and families in the grips of addiction. The mission of The Herren Project is “to provide assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety, educational programs and resources to increase awareness on the signs of addiction and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”

Often times giving back can help benefit the giver as well as the receiver. In Spicer’s case, running helps his brain release natural “feel good” endorphins which the brain needs after excessive use of drugs and alcohol that depress the brain’s production of these same chemicals.

That is why here at Synergy Group Services, we make exercise an essential part of recovery from alcohol or drugs. We have scheduled time in which we brings clients to the local fitness center, offer on site yoga classes and reinforce exercise with healthy eating tips. We also stress importance of service in recovery – which, as in Spicer’s case, has the benefit of making the person giving service feel just as good as the person receiving.

Does Mental Illness Impact Recovery From Drug Addiction?

Rethink Mental IllnessImage via Wikipedia
Can people who suffer from mental illness recover from drug addiction?

About 30 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 experienced a mental illness in the past year, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For those ages 50 and older, about 14 percent struggled with a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder.

  • Five percent of the adult population suffered from a serious mental illness in the past year about 9 million adults seriously considered suicide in the past year. Of those, 2.5 million made plans to commit suicide and 1.1 million attempted suicide.
  • Women were more likely than men to have a mental illness in the past year (23 percent vs. nearly 17 percent).
  • Adults experiencing mental illness in the past year were three times as likely to have met the criteria for substance dependence or abuse than those who had not experienced mental illness (20 percent vs. 6 percent). Those with a serious mental illness had a rate of substance abuse or dependence of about 25 percent.
  • Nearly 2 million youth aged 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. That population was also more likely to have used illicit drugs

After looking at all the research and having the experience of treating people with a dual diagnosis, I see many commonalities in certain behaviors and disorders and the individual’s drug of choice.  The issue in treating a person with a co-occurring behavior as well as an addiction both issues must be treated effectively. Often times many Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers claim to treat a dual diagnosis patient, but do not provide all the key elements to effectively diagnose and treat appropriately.  If we accept the statistic that up to 85% of people struggling with an Alcohol or Substance Addiction have a Dual Diagnosis we can also accept that potentially many of these patients will not receive all the key essential components of treatment necessary to create long term sobriety.  

The essential steps in treating a dual diagnosis consist of firstly seeing a qualified Physician i.e. a Psychiatrist to determine if a dual Diagnosis is present.  If a Dual Diagnosis is occurring, then the determination of whether Pharmacological Intervention is necessary.  Well qualified physicians that are successful in treating a Dual Diagnosis have a skill in choosing the right prescription for the Co-occurring Disease. This should be done within the first few days of treatment.  Generally many of the drugs prescribed for co-occurring behaviors such Antidepressants, Anti-Anxiety Medications and medications for ADD or ADHD could take 4-6 weeks to achieve therapeutics levels before positive results can be achieved.  During this period the patient should continue to be under the supervision of the doctor to see if any side effects occur or if there might be a need to adjust the dose. As a final suggestion when researching a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program be prudent and review all aspects of the Program especially the staff page which will give you great insight into the competency and qualifications of the Medical and Clinical Staff.

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Addiction Recovery: Light Follows Darkness

Few things in life are certain. There is however one thing that we can all count on; that no matter what point we are at in our lives, it will certainly change. Life is never stagnant. Life is always changing. That is the good new for an addicts. It is in fact, a point of solace. Because while in the depths of your disease, in the darkest period of life, you can count on the fact that your addiction darkness will always be follow by light.

Recently I was taking a flight from Chicago. I had been working very late the night before and had tried my best to change my 5:30 AM departure time in a desperate hope of getting a couple hours of sleep before working late again at my arrival city. Without successfully changing my flight I boarded the aircraft exhausted, cold, and aggravated. I swore repeatedly that as important as my travel income was to the support of my family I simply needed to stop traveling. Shortly after take off I was staring out the window feeling badly for myself when this spectacular sunrise erupted in the distance. Amazing colors of brilliant intensity like I had never seen before painted the early morning sky. As the scene matured my mood completely changed. Gone within minutes was my frustration and even my fatigue. Suddenly I was so glad that I was on that flight.

Addiction recovery can look very similar to the scene I just described. Tired, frustrated, and often hopeless every addict is in a dark and dreary time in their life. But coming out of that darkness can be life changing and the addict can evolve into a new person that may have never been found if not for the darkness.

Never be satisfied with where you are and never be afraid of where you can go. Change is good. Darkness can be followed by light.

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