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Recovering Addict Advice

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  • Chelsie Brouillette
  • December 18, 2015 06:59:16 AM
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A Little About Us

I’m a Recovering Addict, Child of an Addict and Psychology Major. I write this blog in the hopes that sharing my knowledge of addiction recovery can help people achieve a happy life in recovery. I want people to know they are not alone in this fight. This common struggle will hopefully bring us together so we can find support, in which we can gain the strength and the courage to keep fighting. I want this blog to help people understand addiction and inspire compassion within them for addicts. I hope to eliminate the discrimination and stigma of an already difficult struggle by raising awareness of the challenges addicts face, and hopefully increase people’s acceptance of them. As a society, I believe we need to stop punishing addicts and increase our harm reduction efforts.

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Help! My Kid Is An Addict!

My kid is using drugs. What do I do? When you first discover that your child is using drugs, your first reaction may be panic. You may be worried that they are at risk for overdose, disease, and injury. Another concern you may have is your child stealing from you or bringing drugs into your […] The post Help! My Kid Is An Addict! appeared first on Recovering Addict...

My kid is using drugs. What do I do?

When you first discover that your child is using drugs, your first reaction may be panic. You may be worried that they are at risk for overdose, disease, and injury. Another concern you may have is your child stealing from you or bringing drugs into your home. So, how can you find help right away to help your kid quit drugs?

Respect your child. Addiction does not mean that your child is mentally ill or a criminal.

While there are people who commit serious crimes and take drugs, most people who suffer from addiction are not criminals or bad people. Drug use can make a person appear to be mentally ill. Mental illness may be present, but it does not mean that there is anything wrong with your child. They likely have the potential to return to a healthy life and to be highly productive and happy. Using the wrong words can be hurtful and get in the way of successfully helping your child. You can start by not calling your kid names like “addict,” “drug addict,” “drunk,” “druggie,” or any other offensive name. You may have heard of tough love and how making your child feel bad about what they have done will help them to stop. It will not help. It will likely make things worse.

Be careful when searching for help online.

Google does an excellent job of preventing marketers from taking advantage of their search engine. However, addiction treatment marketers are among the most sophisticated on the planet. No matter what Google and other search engines do to protect their users, addiction call centers will find a way to get their message at the top of your search results.

What is a rehab call center?

When you search for help online for addiction treatment, you may find websites that provide what appears to be useful information. And, in many cases, the information may be legitimate and valuable. Yet, many sites that appear to be representing a specific rehab center actually turn out to be call centers that make money by collecting qualified leads to sell to the highest bidder.

What are the warning signs?

If a site has a prominent notice about what health insurance plans are accepted, and especially if they have a button to check if your insurance is eligible, this could be a red flag. A well placed 800 number may also be concerning. While legitimate rehab programs may also feature toll-free numbers and insurance notices on their sites, you should take care and ask questions.

What questions should I ask?

Ask about the specific name and location of the rehab before giving any personal information. Find out what kind of program they provide. What therapies do they offer? Will your child see a doctor of psychology? Will they see a psychiatrist? How many visits will they get with these doctors during their stay? Does the rehab support medical therapies for addiction treatment?

What medical therapies are available for treating addiction?

For opioid addiction, there are excellent medical therapies available. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder has a high success rate, and you should strongly consider this for your child. There is methadone treatment provided by specialized clinics. Buprenorphine, or Suboxone, therapy is provided in doctor’s offices and some rehabs. Naltrexone therapy is something you should ask about for both alcoholism and opioid addiction. Naltrexone is an affordable and non-controlled tablet that can help your child to stay clean and sober. While naltrexone is available in an expensive monthly injection, the pills work well. More rehabs should offer them as a part of long-term treatment.

Can talk therapy work instead of medication-assisted therapy?

When it comes to opioid addiction, specifically, medication-assisted treatment should be a priority over any talk therapy. Once your child has started medical treatment, however, talk therapy is an essential component of recovery. Is it best to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or drug counselor? You will have to do some research to find the best therapist for your child, but consider those who have the best credentials. Look for a doctorate and experience in the field of treating addiction. Counselors with minimal training and a simple certificate are likely not the best candidates to provide therapy to your child.

Are 12-step meetings good?

12-step meetings, Such as AA and NA, can be useful. However, they are publicly available free services supported by user donations. These meetings provide support and can be helpful for your child in building a new network of friends who have dedicated themselves to staying clean. However, sometimes people at meetings can give poor advice, and there can be bad people at these 12-step meetings who your child should avoid. Consider going with your child to some meetings to make sure that they are in a safe environment. There are also meeting programs that are not 12-step. For example, there is LifeRing, Smart Recovery, Celebrate Recovery and more.

Again, what is the best first step to take in helping my kid to quit drugs?

Do not rush into making a decision. Do careful research into programs that you are considering. An excellent first step is to take your child to your family doctor for a checkup. Your doctor will likely have information on the best next step. Also, consider taking action in providing harm reduction. If your child is using opioids, keep Narcan in the house. Narcan is an overdose reversal rescue drug. If they are using needles, find a clean needle exchange program. Harm reduction does not mean that you are supporting your child’s drug use. It means that you want to keep them alive and safe.

What about legal help?

In some cases, you may want to consider forced rehab. While this can be unpleasant to think about, if your child’s life is in danger, getting them off the streets and into a safe environment can be critical. Some attorneys specialize in helping families get their children into rehab if necessary. For example, there is Mark Astor in South Florida who specializes in this field. He has worked with families all over the country in this regard.

Your child is not bad; they need your help.

Addiction is a difficult problem to overcome. However, it is possible, with your help, for your child to get past this stage of their life. They can get clean and sober. Most important is that you remain available to them at all times to provide support in their recovery.

The post Help! My Kid Is An Addict! appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


Yes, It Works. You are worth it, So Work It Today, For a life beyond your wildest dreams.

You can work it. Health and happiness begin when you work your program of recovery. A guest post by an anonymous contributor. We would sit in the back of the room on the floor, behind the rows of chairs. The carpet was blue, hence the name, “the blue room”. The building and room are still […] The post Yes, It Works. You are worth it, So Work It Today, For a life beyond your wildest dreams. appeared first on Recovering Addict...

You can work it. Health and happiness begin when you work your program of recovery.

A guest post by an anonymous contributor.

We would sit in the back of the room on the floor, behind the rows of chairs. The carpet was blue, hence the name, “the blue room”. The building and room are still there. Recently, they stopped having meetings there. Many years ago, the blue carpet was removed and replaced with laminate flooring.

We sat on the carpet, near the back wall, close to the table where the coffee pot sat and sometimes a box of donuts or cookies. We would quietly joke about the clichés of meetings. Old-timers who seemed to love the sound of their own voices would repeat certain phrases over and over again.

We developed a game where we would drop something on the floor every time we heard one of these over-used phrases. I don’t remember what object we would drop, though it was probably the white chips we collected for, “an honest desire to get clean, just for today.”, “meeting makers make it.”

“Keep coming back.”, “take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.”, “90 in 90”, “Don’t use no matter what”, “Let go, let God”, “work the steps or die”. There were so many. I don’t remember most of them anymore, but my friend and I, at the time, became masters, learning every phrase. We entertained ourselves, making fun of the meetings and these people who took themselves way too seriously.

I don’t know what ever became of my friend. We eventually lost touch when she found new friends and seemed to disappear from the meetings we both used to go to. Maybe it was wrong to sit in the back, quietly making fun of 12-step meetings and laughing at the ridiculous overused phrases.

At the end of every meeting, they would close by gathering in a circle and saying a prayer together. Sometimes it was the “We version of the Serenity Prayer”. I thought they were saying, “Wee”. I wondered what the full version of the prayer sounded like. Then, they would say, “It works if you work it so work it your worth it.”

This chant at the end sounded funny to me. It sounded like something that evolved over time. I wondered if the ending chant would grow more in the future. I imagined them adding, “And work it, and work it, the more that you work it, it works so go work it.”, or something like that.

The funny thing about it is that strange and funny sayings that are repeated over and over again stick in your head. It is almost like brain washing. In fact, I remember once a man saying, “This program is about brain washing, but my brain needed a good washing.”

While I no longer go to meetings, I have fond memories of the frequent repetition of these recovery clichés. I sort of miss them and I wonder what great new sayings the groups have come up with since I’ve been gone.

Thank you for all of the supportive emails regarding this post! I have passed them along to the author who greatly appreciates them.

The post Yes, It Works. You are worth it, So Work It Today, For a life beyond your wildest dreams. appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


Who Is An Addict? Here are five reasons why you might be an addict.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine jointly agree on the following definition of addiction: Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the […] The post Who Is An Addict? Here are five reasons why you might be an addict. appeared first on...

The American Academy of Pain Medicine, The American Pain Society, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine jointly agree on the following definition of addiction: Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.

Addiction is a disease that often is characterized by the 5 Cs; i.e., Chronic disease with impaired Control, Compulsive use, Continued use despite harm, and Craving for the substance(s) to which the patient is addicted.


-Heil H, Addiction, Physical Dependence, and Tolerance: Precise Definitions to Help Clinicians Evaluate and Treat Chronic Pain
Patients. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. 2003;17(1):1549

The above text was once used on an informed consent form in a medical office many years ago. It was a form designed to make it clear to patients what addiction is and to let the patient decide for themselves if they have an addiction problem.

As you can see, addiction is a complex issue. It took three major medical societies to get together and agree on that convoluted definition of addiction. Interestingly, none of these organizations are psychiatric societies.

Psychiatrists tend not to use the word addiction and addict. They prefer terms such as substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, alcohol use disorder. Addiction is a complex thing that is hard to pin down.

Narcotics Anonymous has a page that is read at the beginning of meetings to explain what an addict is: “Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose
life is controlled by drugs.”

Let’s discuss the five Cs listed in the above definition.

Chronic Disease

Addiction to a substance is a lifelong problem. If you are addicted to a substance and then quit using that drug, you still have to be vigilant for life to not use drugs. If you do use drugs again, you are at high risk of returning to active addiction where you are again going to be out of control. Your addiction is never really reset where you can casually use drugs again without losing control.

Impaired Control

Active addiction definitely involves a loss of control. When you get started, you cannot stop. It is like they say in NA, “One is too many, a thousand never enough.”

Compulsive use

This means that you keep using the drug without thinking too much about it. It is a physical drive to get more drugs and use it. While excuses will pop into your head about why you should go out and get high again, you are really going to just do it regardless of any reason you come up with.

Continued use

If you are addicted and using drugs, it seems that if someone were to point out how you have lost control, you would realize it and just stop. It seems reasonable that if you are causing harm to yourself and the people around you and you are now aware of it that you would make that decision. However, the fact is that if you are addicted, you just keep going. It really is like a car without breaks going downhill. It won’t stop until something stops it.

Craving

This is the obsession part of addiction. Even after you stop using drugs, you can’t stop thinking about them. Cravings are what often lead to relapse. Over time, however, if you can stay clean, the cravings subside and things get easier.

In conclusion

This definition of addiction is useful, but using the word, “addiction”, is problematic. The word can be offensive to many people who have struggled with substance use disorder and have been deeply misunderstood by the people around them. Addiction is a word that has been used for a long time by people who do not understand what it means to be addicted. I think that this attempt by these medical societies to pin down a definition is admirable, but I also believe that we should be precise in our terminology when talking about a medical condition such as substance use disorder.

The post Who Is An Addict? Here are five reasons why you might be an addict. appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


Insufflation: The Gateway To Heroin Is Your Nose

What does insufflation mean in relation to powdered street drugs? Insufflation means to push or draw a substance into a body cavity or dead space using air pressure. While the word has multiple meanings, it means just one thing when it comes to drugs: snorting. The act of insufflating a drug, such as cocaine, methamphetamine […] The post Insufflation: The Gateway To Heroin Is Your Nose appeared first on Recovering Addict...

What does insufflation mean in relation to powdered street drugs?

Insufflation means to push or draw a substance into a body cavity or dead space using air pressure. While the word has multiple meanings, it means just one thing when it comes to drugs: snorting. The act of insufflating a drug, such as cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin means to snort it up into the user’s nose and nasal passages. Why is a drug insufflated? Because it is a fairly effective way to get high from a drug fast. While slower than injecting or smoking, snorting a drug gives a faster and more potent effect than swallowing the same drug. In fact, some drugs are only minimally active orally, so insufflation is the preferred route.

Why is insufflation a gateway to heroin use?

Imagine an opiate user going to their street drug dealer to buy pills. This is fairly common in the US. There has been a crackdown on medical pain management. Patients have had their meds cut in half repeatedly by doctors responding to mandates from their states and the federal government. What is it like to have your doctor tell you that you will be getting only half of your needed medication this month? You would ask why of course. How would you feel if your doctor told you that it is because of changing laws or fear of discipline?

The circle is now complete.

Of course, many pain patients will just accept that they are getting far less medication. While they may suffer, they will do so quietly. The CDC released a report in 2016 which many officials have taken as a mandate to severely reduce medications for chronic pain patients. While the CDC has recently admonished doctors, law enforcers and politicians for misinterpreting their guidelines, the damage has been done. There is an increased risk of suicide among undertreated chronic pain patients and there is a decrease in quality of life and productivity. Unfortunately, some of these patients will turn to the black market for relief. This means buying pills from a drug dealer.

Pills to powder.

Black market opioid pills are not cheap. Street prices tend to be around $1 per milligram. This works out to hundreds of dollars daily for some users. And, there are often shortages of these pills on the streets. What happens when a dealer is out of pills? They may recommend heroin as an alternative. The same may happen if the user is short on cash. Heroin is cheaper than pain pills. When the user is suffering in physical withdrawal and possibly severe pain, it is an easy sell. Heroin converts to morphine in the body. It is easy to justify that the switch is not that big of a deal. Yet many opioid users have never used a needle to take drugs and suggesting that they shoot up will be a deal-breaker.

Insufflation is the gateway.

Here is where the dealer can finalize the sale of heroin to a pill customer who never considered buying the dangerous street drug before. They tell the user that all they have to do is insufflate the drug into their nose. Snorting does not seem to be that big of a deal to many users. Many pill users have already experienced crushing up their pills and insufflating them. They do this to get more potency out of a dwindling supply of pills. Now, an opiate pill user is on heroin.

The next step: Fentanyl.

The culprit behind many, if not most, of the deaths in the opioid epidemic, is fentanyl. This is not the hospital fentanyl or cancer patches or lollipops that you may have heard of. This fentanyl is made in clandestine labs in China and shipped through the US Postal Service to drug dealers. It is then used as an additive or replacement for heroin. It lowers costs and increases potency. Unfortunately, it can dramatically and unpredictably increase potency and lead to deadly overdoses. 

How much of the US heroin supply is tainted with Fentanyl?

I would say that all of it is affected at this point. I don’t remember how long it has been since we had a heroin-using patient in our office who came up positive for heroin and not fentanyl. It has been a while. While many are positive for both drugs, some are positive for only fentanyl. Often, the patients are not even aware that they are insufflating pure fentanyl.

From injury to the insufflation of heroin and fentanyl.

Now, you can see how a person can go from being in an accident to developing chronic pain to being prescribed opioids to the insufflation of heroin. It is not as far-fetched as you may have thought. So, when you discover that a loved one is using heroin, you should offer to help them to get help, but please have empathy for their predicament. Few people walk out of their door one morning and decide to get addicted to heroin. In fact, becoming a heroin addict could happen to almost anyone.

The post Insufflation: The Gateway To Heroin Is Your Nose appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


McRisc: Your First Stop For Addiction Treatment Help

Why should I start with McRisc? Calvin McGinn PhD, LMFT, RN and Joyce Ann McGinn OTR/L, GCFP are the co-founders of McRISC.com. This innovative online tool is built on years of research, data and cutting edge technology. When you first go to the site, you will see a menu of various options, including informational pages […] The post McRisc: Your First Stop For Addiction Treatment Help appeared first on Recovering Addict...

Why should I start with McRisc?

Calvin McGinn PhD, LMFT, RN and Joyce Ann McGinn OTR/L, GCFP are the co-founders of McRISC.com. This innovative online tool is built on years of research, data and cutting edge technology. When you first go to the site, you will see a menu of various options, including informational pages about the nature of addiction and the importance of understanding substance use disorder as a chronic illness, just like other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Where do I go from here?

If you are on the McRisc website on your computer or mobile device, you can jump straight to the menu option, The Assessment. From here, you can begin the 10-minute assessment. Who should take this assessment? Well, it is available for anyone. If you believe that you may have a problem with addiction, you should take it. Or, if you have a loved-one who may be struggling with addiction, encourage them to take it as well. This powerful assessment can be taken in private. Your privacy is fully protected. In fact, you do not even give any identifiable personal information.

What does the McRisc assessment tell you?

When you take the assessment, you will have the opportunity to take your time and think carefully about it. If you decide to go back and answer a question differently to be more honest with yourself, you will have that chance. When you are done, I recommend that you complete the process to allow your healthcare provider to access your full report. This report is based on science and will give an accurate assessment of your addiction risk, risk of relapse and what your best treatment options are.

What kind of doctor should I see about my report?

Ideally, you should see your family doctor. If you are an established patient with a primary care physician who knows your health history, you can allow your doctor access to your report. The report will give your doctor the information needed to refer you for the proper treatment. If you do not have a primary care physician or you are not comfortable going to that doctor, another option is to make an appointment with an addiction specialist.

What about going to meetings or rehab? Should I check in to a detox facility?

Rehab or detox may be recommended for your addiction treatment. 12-step meetings and other types of addiction recovery support meetings can also be helpful. However, you may discover that a local doctor who practices medication assisted treatment is able to treat your addiction as an outpatient, coordinated with appropriate psychotherapy. This means that you can get effective addiction treatment and continue your regular daily life at home and work without having to take time off to check into rehab.

Get started today.

If you are ready to get help, or you are thinking about asking for help with addiction, I recommend visiting McRisc.com today. Take a look at the website and take the private assessment. This is an excellent first step in getting help for your addiction. To learn more about McRisc, I recommend listening to this fascinating podcast interview.

The post McRisc: Your First Stop For Addiction Treatment Help appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


Experiential Therapy: What It Is and How It Helps

Experiential therapy was developed in the 1970s and has quickly become popular since it was introduced. Researchers and mental health professionals all over the world have attested to the positive benefits that experiential therapy can provide to those who participate in it. While it is still a relatively new form of therapy, it has still […] The post Experiential Therapy: What It Is and How It Helps appeared first on Recovering Addict...

Experiential therapy was developed in the 1970s and has quickly become popular since it was introduced. Researchers and mental health professionals all over the world have attested to the positive benefits that experiential therapy can provide to those who participate in it. While it is still a relatively new form of therapy, it has still proven to be successful and offer a number of benefits that other forms of therapy often do not. Here’s a quick breakdown of what experiential therapy is and how it has been shown to help.

What Is Experiential Therapy?

As its name suggests, experiential therapy is a form of therapy that incorporates other activities into the process. The fundamental theory behind it is that when people are focusing on other tasks, they are much more relaxed and are able to access parts of themselves that they otherwise wouldn’t want to or even be able to. When done correctly, experiential therapy is much more than simply having fun; it’s a way for people to reconnect with the hidden parts of themselves that they have been suppressing, ignoring, or unaware of.

Some Forms of Experiential Therapy

It is important to know that when people are participating in these activities, they are not simply having fun. While that is an important element, they are also being guided by a therapist who is using the activity to relax the client and help them to lower the defenses that they so naturally put up. Here are only a few examples of experiential therapy, all of which have been shown to be effective with many people, especially those who have not responded well to talk therapy.

  • Music therapy incorporates music into the therapeutic process. It has been known to be especially effective because music is an inherently emotional art form. Often, music therapy is used to help people access their emotional side.
  • Art therapy is another effective form of experiential therapy because some people are able to express themselves more freely with art than they are with words. With the help of a therapist, they can be guided to discovering things about themselves and their emotions that they did not know before.
  • Play therapy is often used to resolve psychological difficulties. Additionally, it can be used to give people a “break” from the more serious side of therapy. It is often used in substance abuse rehabilitation centers to help recovering addicts relax in what can be an otherwise tense setting.
  • Animal-assisted therapy such as equine therapy incorporate animals into the therapeutic process. Some people are able to connect with animals in a way that they aren’t able to with humans, and caring for animals can help to relax and open them up.
  • Creative writing therapy helps people to express themselves with words at a much slower pace, which relieves some of the pressure that can be put on them during a face-to-face conversation. It gives them the opportunity to think about what it is that they really mean to say.

The Benefits of Experiential Therapy

As mentioned before, experiential therapy provides a wide array of unique benefits, most of which revolving around openness, communication, and present awareness. You see, when people are involved in an activity such as music, art, writing, or any other activity that is used in experiential therapy, they are focusing on what is happening right now. They cannot dwell on the past or the future and instead are living completely in the moment. That is very beneficial because it helps them to stay present, even while they are talking about the past or the future. In this way, it allows them to think about the past and the future without dwelling on them and it therefore enables them to be more productive in their thoughts.

People who regularly participate in experiential therapy are able to better process traumatic events that happened to them in the past and are able to think about the future without being fearful or anxious. They are also able to open up more, be more vulnerable, and address issues that they otherwise would not have wanted to or been able to. Those are all incredible benefits that can change people’s lives for the better. It’s no wonder that experiential therapy has become so popular in such a short amount of time!

The post Experiential Therapy: What It Is and How It Helps appeared first on Recovering Addict Advice.


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