The Fall Equinox is behind us marking for the end of summer. This is important for a number of people around the globe, with many cultures celebrating or having feasts. A significant number of people in recovery follow the astrological calendar, drawing spiritual guidance and strength from the Zodiac. For many, this is a time of balance. As there is relatively equal day and equal night around the planet. Even if astrology is not your calling, anyone in recovery can use this time to prepare for winter—often a hard time for people in recovery. Yes, seasonal affect disorder is a real thing and can impact one’s addiction recovery.
Even you do not struggle with the cold months, it is vital that “balance” in your life be striven for. A balanced body, mind, and spirit being crucial to long-term recovery. If you have been in addiction recovery for even a short time, you’ve likely already gleaned the importance of balance. See the value of managing your daily activities, work hard to not lean one way or another with regard to any particular aspect of life.
Balance In Addiction Recovery
Addiction is many things, none of which good. Typified by chaos and disorder, both in mind and spirit. Those who seek recovery are in disharmony, in almost every sense of the word. Spiritually bankrupt. Practically unable of trusting their own mind. Conversely, addiction recovery is the exact opposite. Sure, there will be times when life throws you a curve-ball; but, problems in recovery are typically of one’s own making. And, when they arise, it is up to ourselves to put in the program work to right the ship—as they say.
The maxim, ‘progress, not perfection,’ is ever important. There isn’t a point we reach and we get to say, “I’m cured.” Recovery is a continuing process of spiritual maintenance. A process that requires everyone in recovery to take inventory (of themselves). Questions that must be asked regularly. Where can one make adjustments to ensure continued progress? Can I do more for my fellows in recovery? Am I practicing the principles of recovery, in all my affairs?
You can usually tell pretty quickly the areas of your life and program that require alterations. They can almost be felt inside, immediately after posing such questions to ourselves. If you are unsure, that’s OK. Talk to someone in your support network about it. Maybe your sponsor can share some of the things he or she does to strengthen their connection with the spirit of recovery.
Looking Up In Recovery
Tonight, might be a perfect opportunity to take an inventory of what you can do to strengthen your program. Even for those who don’t lend much credence to what the universe can tell you. The Harvest Moon will move above the horizon at 7:21 p.m. ET. The full moon landing closest to the Fall Equinox. You could use this evening to pray or meditate for guidance in recovery. Doing so may bring you some balance, which is vital to anyone’s program.
If you are still struggling with a use disorder of any kind, achieving balance through recovery is possible for you, too. At Synergy Group Services, we can show you how finding harmony is possible through working a program of recovery. Please contact us today.
Hurricanes Irma and Jose are behind us and Maria appears to be bypassing the state of Florida. With the exception of the Keys, the state was not nearly as devastated as many feared. Perhaps we can all take a moment to be thankful for that, it could have been so much worse. And we should pray for all those affected on the islands to the south. For those of you working a program of recovery, hopefully you were able to weather the storm — recovery intact?
Even though the damage was far less the expected, millions of Floridians were required to evacuate. The stress of which was palpable. As you well know, stress in recovery is to be avoided whenever possible. Hurricanes don’t usually afford such a luxury. A number of people on the journey of recovery had to ensure that everything was in order, a plan. Those of you who had one likely made it through to the other side without a drink or drug.
Unfortunately, reality dictates that not everyone did. Especially those who were in the early stages of recovery. Who were maybe short on ways to cope with the stress of a natural disaster, or the potential of it. If you relapsed recently, it is vital that you recommit yourself to the program. Please do not guilt and shame yourself further away.
Coming Back from Relapse
Almost two weeks have passed since Irma struck the Sunshine State. If you relapsed around that time, it is possible that you are still using. Ideally, you will dust yourself off and get to a meeting ASAP. Some of you probably have already. For those of you who haven’t, it is vital that you do so immediately, the longer this goes on the worse it will get. Not to mention the risk of physical dependence setting in, again. Thus, dictating the need for detox.
The aforementioned eventuality can happen quickly, especially with drugs like opioids. If you have detoxed at any point, you know it is not a delightful experience. If you feel like you are not in too deep, the fellowship is waiting for you to return. You may be thinking that your recovery peers will not welcome you back without judgment. They will. You might think that the program doesn’t work. After all you relapsed. It does work, though.
At the end of the day relapse is a part of many people’s story of recovery. Remember, recovery is about progress, not perfection. You learn from where you veered from the path and do what you can to avoid a repeat of history. Your sponsor and recovery peers will help you with this. Please do not let false pride stand in the way of returning to recovery.
Treatment Might Be Needed
Those of you who have been hitting the bottle or drugs hard for a couple weeks might need more than just returning to meetings. Treatment may be the best course of action, helping you avoid relapse again early on. At Synergy Group Services, we can help get you back on the path of recovery. Helping you determine what needs to change this time around to increase your chances of achieving long-term recovery. It’s possible.
Everyone working a program of addiction recovery knows that most things in life are out of one’s control. Try as you might to encourage things to go one way, or people to do a certain thing, the opposite often happens. The famed Serenity Prayer covers this reality quite nicely:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Life, like the weather, is hard to predict and even harder to do anything about. If it is going to rain, it’s going to rain. Those touched by addiction, especially those in recovery, know that their mental health disorder is not their fault. You tried to control it, or deny its presence, at great cost. Recovery forced you to accept that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol and that your life had become unmanageable. With that in mind, you decided to approach life in different way and asked for help. Not just of other people, of a power that was greater than yourself.
Every day, people working a program of recovery are diligent about keeping constant contact with their higher power. Make a commitment to live life, on life’s terms. Accepting that no individual runs the entire show, we are only responsible for being good to ourselves and to others. If we live life honestly, there is no need for lies and manipulation. Nor a need to blanket our emotions with something as caustic as drugs and alcohol. But, to be free from the bondage of self, recovery requires daily maintenance.
Managing Recovery During Traumatic Times
Those of us in South Florida are no strangers to conditions which are out of our hands. After all, our state falls in “Hurricane Alley.” Certain conditions make this part of the country a target of some of history’s most destructive weather phenomena. The damage caused by hurricanes is stressful enough to cause anyone to want to find some form of stress relief. A slippery slope for anyone working a program.
Right now, it is uncertain what direction Hurricane Irma will take. Although, meteorologists seem to think that the now Category 5 hurricane is barreling toward Southern Florida. In certain areas evacuation orders are highly likely. If you live in one of the areas predicted to be affected it is vital that you have plan in place. One’s recovery, being absolutely paramount, must weather the storm.
There is high likelihood of power and cellular outages. If you find yourself in need to relocate until the storm passes, please locate a place where you can attend recovery meetings. You may not be able to get hold of your sponsor or recovery peers. Now, more than ever, you will be required to rely on the fellowship itself for support. If you have a plan in place before things become overwhelming, you will have a much greater chance to avoiding problems. Remember what you have learned and utilize the recovery tools at your disposal.
Constant Contact With Your Higher Power
There may be times when you’re not around others in the program. When that occurs remember that your higher power is with you. Prayer and meditation is great way to stay grounded, and keep one’s stress at bay. At Synergy Group Services, we hope that everyone gets to a safe location and has taken steps to protect their addiction recovery. Please do not discount the importance of spiritual shelter during traumatic events.
Convincing people that they could be helped by addiction treatment is no easy task. Even when it is obvious to the individual that treatment is required. We have written several times about how deadly untreated mental health disorders can be. As well as the fact that most people in need of treatment never get it. But, without treatment the likelihood of premature death is extremely high.
With some use disorders, the road to premature death is often long and painful. Typically, it is the exact opposite with opioids narcotics. Whether it be prescription opioids or heroin, the risk of fatal overdose is staggering. Even when an overdose is not fatal, the risk of another overdose in the near future is high. It is not uncommon for overdose victims to have many, before finally not coming back.
Whether you are in recovery, or not, it is possible that you wonder why an overdose victim doesn’t seek help? After all, it is easy to think that an overdose would be enough to urge someone into treatment. While it is common for overdose to precipitate treatment, it is also quite common for victims to head back to drugs.
Encouraging Overdose Victims Into Treatment
Many addiction experts agree that the time right after an overdose is best for talking to individuals about recovery. Experiencing an overdose is terrifying and not without pain. The opioid overdose antidote naloxone causes the body to undergo rapid withdrawal, it is no walk in the park. Sitting in a hospital bed after nearly dying (one would think), should be a wakeup call. Anyone who has come back from an overdose will tell you how broken they felt. The experience puts things into perspective.
However, those very same people might also share how they went back out and used again. That there were no resources available to help them seek recovery support when they came to. Being discharged and sent on their miserable way towards inevitably the next overdose. With each fatal overdose in the U.S. every day, there are roughly 30 nonfatal overdoses, NPR reports. Sadly, interventions after overdose don’t happen enough, according to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The paper showed that among people who had overdosed on heroin, the filling of opioid prescriptions fell by 3.5 percent, the article reports. But, medication-assisted treatment increased by only 3.6 percent. Just 33 percent of heroin and 15 percent of prescription opioid overdose survivors were prescribed:
“This is a time when people are vulnerable, potentially frightened by this event that’s just occurred and amenable to advice, referral and treatment recommendations,” said senior author, Julie Donohue, associate professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh. “It’s safe to characterize it as a missed opportunity for the health system to respond.”
Addiction Treatment After Overdose
If you have experienced an overdose recently and are still using, please contact Synergy Group Services. The longer treatment is put off, the greater the chance you will experience another overdose. And the next one may not end with a reversal. It is possible to recover from an opioid use disorder, let us help.
Opioid use disorder should be great cause for concern among Americans. Current data shows that as many as 142 Americans die of an opioid-related overdose every day. However, America’s greatest foe has long come in the form of a liquid—alcohol. New research shows that drinking and alcohol use disorder rates in the United States are troubling and need to be addressed.
With the country fixated on opioids, it is hard to devote much energy to any other substance use related issue. But, while lawmakers and health experts fixate on prescription opioids and heroin, alcohol has continued stealing lives in relative darkness. Therefore, it is so important to remember that people misuse alcohol more than any other substance. It is not just the fact that millions of people drink regularly. It is that millions of Americans drink regularly in seriously harmful ways, such as binge drinking.
Great efforts and amounts of money have been spent to educate young people about the dangers of heavy imbibing. Accompanied by a long list of health conditions that can arise from high rates of consumption, including addiction. Left unchecked, people who binge drink regularly are at a far greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking is often defined as having four drinks for women and 5 for men, during a two-hour period.
21st Century Alcohol Use
As many as 30 million Americans binge drink at least once a week, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry reveals. Just for perspective, that’s more than the population of each state, but for California, SF GATE reports. About the same number of people report being dependent on the substance or abusing alcohol.
Opioid statistics show that somewhere between 2 and 3 million Americans have an opioid use disorder. That number is likely a low ball. But whatever the actual number is it’s still a far cry from alcohol use disorder rates in America. The study showed that adult alcohol use rose in every demographic, especially among:
- Older People
- People With Lower Incomes
- And Those With Less Education
“This should be a big wake-up call,” says David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved with the research. “Alcohol is our number one drug problem, and it’s not just a problem among kids.”
In 2001-02, 8.5 percent of survey respondents reported alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the article. That figure rose to around 12.7 percent in 2012-13, a 10.5 million person increase. With such high numbers, greater focus needs to be placed on the impact this will have on society. The cost of life is staggering.
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Roughly one-fifth of people with an alcohol use disorder have ever been treated, according to Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and lead author of the paper. Even though alcoholism is a mental illness, too, about 60 percent of people with depression get some kind of treatment. Without treatment, the outcome is never good.
If you or a loved one has an alcohol use disorder, please contact Synergy Group Services for help. We can assist in breaking the cycle of addiction and impart the skills necessary for living a life in recovery.