The holiday season officially begins just one week from tomorrow, with Thanksgiving next Thursday. While the holiday season can be a chaotic and stressful time for the average American, it can be exponentially more stressful for the men and women working a program. Holidays have a way of dredging up old memories of a time when drinking and drugging was not problematic, partying with close friends and family from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
It isn’t just people who are new to recovery who struggle when the holidays come around. Even those with a significant amount of sobriety or clean time can find the holidays to be trying. It is vital that even the most seasoned members of the program put their recovery first on Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays that follow. Remember, your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up, so it can rear its ugly head.
If you are new to recovery, it is likely that your sponsor or recovery peers have told you how important it is to have plans over the course of a holiday. It is often said that idle time is the devil’s handmaiden. It can also be analogous to inviting one’s addiction back into the picture. Those who successfully navigate the holiday waters, without picking up a drink or drug, are typically people who had a plan in place for the day. A schedule that is centered around one’s recovery. Please do not discount the importance of having a plan for Thanksgiving Day.
For those who still have family in their life, make sure that you set and stick to your boundaries when attending dinner. If you find that your boundaries have been crossed, or that the stress of being around family has become too much, there is no shame in leaving the gathering for the sake of your recovery. Once again, your recovery needs at times to be put before family; without one’s recovery, it is likely you won’t have family in your life.
If you are not traveling for the Thanksgiving break, make a point to attend your homegroup as much as possible. Even if you are feeling strong in your recovery, there is a good chance that there is a newcomer who could benefit from your story. Giving back to the program is paramount to keeping your recovery. Those of you who have traveling plans, make sure that you locate the meetings in the area where you will be. Have your cell phone handy at all times so that you can reach out to your sponsor, if you find yourself in a risky situation.
At Synergy Group Services, we would like to wish everyone working a program of recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving.
There are a number of drugs prescribed to people with alcohol use disorders. In the United States, the use of Vivitrol (naltrexone) has become quite common for the treatment of both opioid use disorder and alcoholism. With some patients, Vivitrol has been found to reduce their craving for alcohol. Used in conjunction with antabuse, which makes someone ill if they consume alcohol—those recovering from alcohol dependence and/or addiction can have a better chance of abstaining from booze in early recovery.
Addiction recovery is no easy task, and if there is something that can help reduce the risk of relapse, it is often advised to utilize such a resource. Researchers continue to develop new drugs to help mitigate the urges to drink, something that is particularly useful when it comes to alcohol. Unlike many other commonly abused drugs, alcohol can be found in grocery stores or the corner market. Magazines, television and the Internet bombards people with advertisements portraying only the good side of alcohol, they fail to express the slippery slope that can accompany continued alcohol use.
With all medications, extensive research is supposed to be conducted—followed by clinical trials to determine the drug’s efficacy. This is to insure that the drug works and figure out which side effects patients may expect. Unfortunately, the aforementioned steps are not always taken, leading to patients being given ineffective drugs. Such may be the case with a medication prescribed in Europe to reduce cravings for alcohol.
In 2013, nalmefene, sold under the brand name Selincro, was approved in Europe to reduce drinking. However, a group of researchers identified some issues with the clinical trials that led to the drug’s approval, ScienceDaily reports. The findings were published in the journal Addiction.
After analyzing the clinical trials conducted on nalmefene, the researchers from the University of Stirling found that it was impossible to determine how effective that drug was for those with heavy drinking disorders, according to the article. At best, the drug would reduce a patient’s average alcohol consumption by one beverage.
“It’s vitally important that we know that prescribed drugs are effective in treating the intended problem,” said Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, a pharmacist and Lecturer in Alcohol Studies at the University’s Institute for Social Marketing. “In this case, we found problems with the registration, design, analysis and reporting of these clinical trials which did not prevent the drug being licensed or recommended for use.”
It is worth noting that after the drug Selincro was approved it was recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It would seem that they may need to evaluate such a recommendation with these new findings.
Alcohol Use Disorder Recovery
Those who have unhealthy relationships with alcohol put their life at serious risk. Heavy use can lead to an alcohol use disorder which, if left untreated, inhibits one’s ability to function and can lead to a number of serious health conditions—some of which can be fatal.
At Synergy Group Services, we specialize in treating alcoholism, we can help you or a loved one break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools necessary for sustaining long term abstinence from all mind altering substances.
It has long been understood that alcohol can have adverse effects on unborn fetuses, resulting in problems that can last a lifetime. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in babies being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a disorder which can occur if pregnant women use opioids during their pregnancy term. Any mind altering substance can seriously impact developing babies.
Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy put their baby at risk of developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). In the United States, every alcohol beverage has a warning label which cautions pregnant women about use; despite that, however, many women still drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy.
New research suggests that many women are not only drinking whilst pregnant, they are binge drinking as well, Medical News Today reports. The findings come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the past 30 days, 10% of pregnant women in the US ages 18-44 have consumed alcohol and another 3.1 percent of pregnant women report binge drinking. Binge drinking is commonly defined for women as having 4 drinks in a two hour period. 3.1 percent translates to about 30 percent of pregnant women who consume alcohol binge drinking, according to the article.
“Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy. All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer, and liquor,” said Cheryl Tan, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist in the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Women most likely to drink while pregnant were:
- Ages 35-44 years (18.6%)
- College Graduates (13%)
- Unmarried Women (12.9%)
The findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.