The United States military is the most powerful in the world, thanks mainly to a definite edge over our adversaries. As a result, the Government can send our troops into traditional conflict with relatively minimal casualties. Unfortunately, it’s the injuries nobody sees that do the most damage, the wounds inflicted on the mind. If a soldier’s invisible injuries are not addressed, many of them will turn to opioids to deal with the pain.
In respect to Veteran’s day, which took place last weekend, it’s vital to discuss the well being of our Veterans. Thousands of young American men and women have come back from the conflict in the Mideast, only to fight an even more significant battle at home. One of the notable differences, of course, is the war that some Veterans fight now is waged on the battlefield of the mind.
America doesn’t have the most exceptional track record when it comes to treating mental illness, like depression and addiction. The military is not much different, with many American heroes left to their own devices in coping with mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who struggle with the condition resort to mind-altering substances to deal, an action which worsens one’s symptoms. In a number of cases, such people are also contending with chronic pain from physical injuries sustained overseas. Physical pain, mental distress, and opioids make for a lethal cocktail.
Opioids Don’t Spare Veterans
Treating your average American’s chronic pain with opioids puts them at high risk of addiction and overdose. Veterans are no different; however, when other forms of mental illness are in the picture the risks are even higher. In fact, opioids have led to more Veteran deaths than all the casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars combined, Reuters reports. Vets are at double the risk of dying from prescription opioid overdose than non-veterans. The suicide rate among Veterans is also 21 percent higher than with people who didn’t serve in the military. It’s no secret that opioids are often used to commit suicide.
“The Veterans Administration needs to understand whether overmedication of drugs, such as opioid pain-killers, is a contributing factor in suicide-related deaths,” said Sen. John McCain.
To encourage doctors to prescribe opioids to Vets less often, McCain introduced the Veterans Overmedication Prevention Act, according to the article. Unfortunately, the bill has stalled in Congress. The need for such measures is urgent. Since March 2017, Veterans Affairs has treated 68,000 vets for opioid use disorder.
“Our veterans deserve better than polished sound bites and empty promises,” said recovering addict and former Democratic Congressman, Patrick Kennedy.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Opioids of any kind carry the risk of addiction and premature death; treatment is a must if recovery is to occur. At Synergy Group Services, we specialize in the treatment of opioid use disorder. We are also equipped to treat the condition when a co-occurring mental illness is involved. Please contact us today.
The opioid addiction epidemic has left no corner of America untouched. Arguably, the eastern seaboard has been affected most by opioid use disorder, from Florida to Maine and practically every state in between. Prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opiates continue to steal lives on daily basis. Experts predict that more overdose deaths will occur this year than last. With each year that passes, overdose death records get broken.
The New Hampshire Film Festival held last weekend used the opportunity to open discourse about opioid addiction. In a state that has seen devastating overdose death rates, focusing on opioid use disorder makes sense. To give you an idea of how severe the problem is in NH, the state’s chief medical examiner threw in the towel (so to speak), The New York Times reports. In the wake of almost 500 overdose deaths across the state last year, Dr. Thomas A. Andrew announced his resignation. He will enroll in seminary school and plans to minister to young people about addiction.
“After seeing thousands of sudden, unexpected or violent deaths,” Dr. Andrew said, “I have found it impossible not to ponder the spiritual dimension of these events for both the deceased and especially those left behind.”
Films About Addiction and Recovery
Taking advantage of the public attention to film during festival season is vital to this most important cause. At the NH Film Festival, two films were shown in a double feature this year, focused on the opioid addiction epidemic. “The Heroin Effect,” a documentary following the lives of over a dozen recovering addicts in New Hampshire.
“The Heroin Effect follows the stories of those affected by opiate addiction, shows what successful recovery can look like and highlights advocates for a health system that does not discriminate against this treatable disease. The film shows the impact of individual connections with our neighbors who are fighting addiction, and by presenting various informed perspectives, including intimate video journal footage of one man’s thoughts on his own drug use, helps us better understand their humanity.”
“Andy Wooff’s Birthday,” a short documentary about an addict on his birthday. Filmmaker William Bentley’ short film shadows a British heroin user’s attempt to score the drug on his 51st birthday.
“This is an area where it means most because the epidemic is here,” Bentley told WMUR. “The tri-state area, the New England area are really suffering from it, and it means a lot to have people come up to you and talk to you about the film afterwards.”
Opioid Addiction Treatment
There are many ways to address this insidious epidemic; cinema is essential because it gets people talking. Discussing the nature of addiction, treatment, and recovery is vital in encouraging people to seek help.
If you are struggling with opioid addiction, treatment is your best hope for achieving the goal of recovery. Please contact Synergy Group Services today. Whether you live in New Hampshire, Florida, or anywhere else—recovery is your only hope.
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.
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.
The summer is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your program of addiction recovery. Especially if you find yourself with extra time on your hands. After all, you wouldn’t want free time to impact your program negatively, idle time being the devil’s plaything—and such. It isn’t a secret that addicts and alcoholics struggle with time management, and using their time beneficially. However, one can use downtime as an occasion to practice budgeting one’s time, to better round out their life.
For most people in recovery, their days often look somewhat similar throughout the year. The usual meeting, going to work, eat, sleep and sometimes a little idle time for relaxation in between. But many of those in recovery have seasonal jobs or go school. So, come summer you may be one of the people who finds themselves struggling to fill their day with healthy behaviors. To be sure, binge watching Netflix shows is not exactly conducive to strengthening your recovery. With that in mind, let’s delve into some practices that can increase your chances of avoiding relapse.
Exercise, Prayer and Meditation In Recovery
With the weather in high spirits, it is always a good idea to get outside and soak up some rays. Take a walk or hike, perhaps other members of your recovery circle will go along. In Florida, there is no shortage of sun or beachfront. You might try making a point of taking advantage of the sand and surf. Interestingly, it is when we are outside that we find ourselves most receptive to our “higher power.” A connection that is of the utmost importance.
While most people get down on their knees in the morning to pray and meditate, there isn’t any reason why you can’t take this beneficial practice outdoors. If you are with other people, take a moment to seclude yourself from the group, so that you can better establish contact with the spiritual realm of your recovery.
Spending an hour, or more, outside everyday can do more for your program than you might think. One way to look at it is like so, most of your substance use occurred indoors. So then, your recovery may flourish better in a setting that is not synonymous with abuse. Over the summer there are meetings you can attend that take place outside, weekly or at recovery retreats. Such gatherings can be a wholly spiritual experience.
Your connection to a higher power is paramount, but it is always worth remembering that your body is the temple that houses spiritual receptors. If your house is in disarray, it can be detrimental to your program. Eating poorly and not exercising can wreak havoc on your program. You may not like going to the gym, but during the summer you can exercise in the great outdoors. Walking, swimming and biking are few ways to better your health.
Getting Help This Summer
If you are still using drugs or alcohol, the aforementioned suggestions may not apply to you—yet. But they probably make some sense to you, either way. Maybe this summer is a good opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and seek help for the debilitating disease of addiction. Please contact us at Synergy Group Services to begin the process. Our holistic approach to addiction recovery has helped numerous individuals get their life back. Maybe this can be your summer of recovery. We can help.