Addicts Achieve Sobriety Through Rehab

Each year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse releases a report detailing a number of statistics on substance abuse treatment facilities throughout the country, in addition to sharing some global statistics on the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse happening within our population.

Addiction is commonly disguised or silenced for most individuals and families, as there is still a prevailing stigma around the topic, but the numbers don’t lie. It is estimated that annually, 23.1 million Americans are in need of some form of treatment, including addictions to alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription medication. In 2013, only 2.5 million people received the needed treatment, about 10% of all afflicted.

Of those in need of treatment, last year 88,000 died as a result of alcohol use in addition to the over 22,500 deaths that occurred form illicit drug use. The most startling figure was the rise in deaths due to heroin overdose, which jumped from approximately 3,000 deaths in 2001 to 8,000 deaths in 2013. Nationally, it is estimated that 1 in every 10 deaths that occur are alcohol related.

It has never been more important to educate our community on the prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction. Today, because of the need for long-term treatment centers as well as the Affordable Care Act, passed just last year, finding and enrolling in a treatment center that fits your needs or a loved one is more accessible than ever. If insured, most clients can have access to a full-service treatment facility at almost no charge. There are over 14,500 treatment centers in the United States, all of which offer different levels of care and accept all types of insurance plans. In addition, many treatment facilities offer scholarships to offset the cost of treatment.

And with treatment, recovery is possible. One of the most successful paths to recovery is committing to a 30 day treatment program. Those who enroll in an inpatient treatment program within 30 days of detoxing stand a better chance at achieving long term sobriety than those who don’t. For those who do relapse, it takes them 40% longer to do so than individuals who abstain without the help of a treatment center. It’s important to understand that for many people, relapse is a part of their path toward recovery. Studies suggest that those who have attended treatment gain the tools and faith needed to overcome their addictions, even when relapse occurs.

Studies also show that those who went through an inpatient program noted improvements in their quality of life, even if abstinence was short lived. In the short term, patients are looking to stay sober. In the long run, clients are able to live a life of integrity, honesty, balance and happiness.

If you are someone who needs the help of an inpatient treatment program, or know someone who does, contact one of our team members at The Hope Center for Rehabilitation at 1.866.233.1869

Music and Recovery

Music can be a powerful tool in recovery, in minutes touching the epicenter of our emotional core. They can elicit feelings of the past, of good and bad days gone by, or give us hope for the future. But ultimately, the right ones take us right were we need to be: eliciting the healing powers of a good beat and solid lyrics. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite songs to listen to for those who are struggling with addiction and those who have embraced a life of recovery.
1. Starting Over, Macklemore

The superstar, who is known for making powerfully written music with messages that hit our pop culture hard, released “Starting Over” to document his own experience with relapse. His lyrics document a truth for many addicts who attempt to get sober: that recovering from relapse is a hard pill to swallow and a tough road to walk down. For anyone struggling with relapse, this is a song rich with hope, as Macklemore famously says, “If I can be an example of getting sober, then I can be an example of starting over.”
2. It’s Been A While, Stained

Released in 2001, this chart topper doesn’t explicitly mention addiction except in 1 line. However, the message in the song most definitely relates to those in early recovery. The songwriter, Aaron Lewis, tells the story of someone reflecting on their past, living in regret and depression for their thoughts, feelings and actions. The song sheds light on many of the difficult feelings and consequences addicts face in early recovery after the absence of drugs and alcohol have made them feel again, a unique standpoint we haven’t seen in many other songs.
3. Breathe Me, Sia

Before Sia became the international pop star that we know her as today, she released the song “Breathe Me” in 2004, which you may have heard. This powerful song relates most with addicts who are in the midst of their disease, feeling lonely, weak and incapable of escaping themselves. So many people who need recovery fall into what seems like an endless circle of addiction, continually starting back at square 1. The lyrics are also relatable to those who suffer from other afflictions like food addiction and self-harming.
4. Everyone’s On It, Lilly Allen

Leave it to Lilly Allen to talk about a controversial issue: the prevalence of drug addiction, and twist it into a catchy euro-pop song. We love it! She gets right to the issue, explaining how drug dependency is affecting everyone both old and young, rich and poor. Allen sings “Why can’t we all just be honest. Admit to ourselves that everyone’s on it, from grown politicians to young adolescents, prescribing themselves anti-depressants”. She uses this song more specifically to exploit the reality that so many people are enabled to use prescription medication. Allen, who has very publicly had her own problems with addiction, makes this in-your-face jingle catchy with lines like “See your daughter’s depressed we’ll get her straight on the Prozac. But little do you know, she already takes crack”.
5. Hate Me, Blue October

This song, released in 2006, is completely unique in its message from the other songs we have on our list. It begins with a recording from the songwriter’s mother at the peak of his addiction, genuinely concerned for his wellbeing and coming from a place of love. His well-written words illustrate the grief we feel for our loved ones who suffer alongside us both during addiction and in recovery.
6. If The Breakman Turns My Way, Bright Eyes

The lead singer of Bright Eyes writes many songs about his struggles with addiction and experiences in recovery. This low key song elusively tells a story of listening to your inner voice and leaving for a place of respite and recovery from your daemons. Also, we think there is a unique correlation to the saving power of going to treatment. Lines like “All this automatic writing I have tried to understand, from a psychedelic angel who was tugging on my hand.

It’s an infinite coincidence but it doesn’t form a plan. So I’m headed for New England or the Paris of the South. Gonna find myself somewhere to level out”, make this one of our favorite unknown songs of recovery.
7. I’m Not Afraid, Eminem

We couldn’t complete our list without listing at least 1 seriously positive song about life in recovery, since after all achieving sobriety is one of the most positively life altering accomplishments one can attain. Also, we couldn’t end without announcing one of our favorite artists in recovery, Eminem. There are quite literally dozens of songs we could have chosen from any of his 8 albums, including his 2010 album titled “Recovery”. But we chose this song because of its positive message about the strength and support of the recovery community as well as a message of relief from the obsession of addiction that is achieved through a program of recovery.

Music is an extremely therapeutic tool for early recovery. In fact, some well-known artists have joined forces to build the movement “Rockers In Recovery”, a group of sober musicians who work together to spread the word of recovery through their music, hosting concerts throughout the country. To learn more about the organization or to catch one of their upcoming concerts, visit them at

For more information about The Hope Center for Recovery, and to learn about the unique therapy we offer including music therapy, call one of our team members 1.866.233.1869.

January 26, 2015 Marissa ObrienRecovery0

Even one with a solid 15 years of sobriety under his or her belt may be thrown for a loop when an unfamiliar person, place, or situation unexpectedly produces an urge or temptation to drown feelings in a bottle of Jack or return to the mind-numbing comfort of a handful of prescription pills. While some triggers can catch an individual completely off-guard, they are most often preventable and completely manageable. When handling urges to drink, it is important that you utilize three techniques that have proven extremely successfully in swiftly diminishing cravings.

How To Cope With Triggers in Recovery

Firstly, it is crucial that you recognize and identify the trigger you are experiencing. There are two main types of triggers – internal and external. When the way you feel causes you to want to pick up, this is an internal trigger. A desire to use could be spurned by a negative emotion, a positive emotion, or a physical feeling or discomfort. Internal triggers are less avoidable than external triggers, but with some self-control and coping mechanisms they can easily be remedied. External triggers consist of people, places, times of day, or specific events that offer opportunities to drink or force you to recall past use. These are often more obvious and easy to avoid – simply be cognizant of situations you feel weary about and remember to prioritize your sobriety. And if entering a high-risk situation seems somewhat unavoidable, remember to bring along a sober support or have one on-hand to call if you begin to feel antsy.

Once you recognize your triggers, simply begin by avoiding the things you know will cause you to feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable. If you keep track of what triggers you, you will quickly gain an acute awareness of what it is you should be evading. Socially, at least in early sobriety, it is good to avoid events that you know will involve drinking and drugging. Eventually, when your sobriety is more stable and you have thoroughly learned appropriate and effective coping mechanisms, you may likely be able to socialize with old friends in old situations that were previously too dangerous for you to be involved in.

Remember to Think Things Through

Of course, it is impossible to avoid all potential triggers. Some may be unexpected, and some may just require you to suck it up and tough it out. You are strong, and there is nothing you cannot handle or make it through with a little controlled breathing and the phone numbers of a few close sober supports. If you find yourself in a high-risk situation you cannot leave right away, take a moment to remind yourself why it is you decided to get sober in the first place. Play the tape through – if you pick up now, where will you be in a week? A month? Back in detox, sitting through the same redundant group therapy classes, feeling dopesick and depressed? Is it really worth it? There is no trigger you can not make it through if you practice coping techniques and stay strong.

December 24, 2014 Marissa ObrienRecovery0

Despite the fact that Blake has 18 months of solid sobriety under his belt and dedicates a generous majority of his free time to recovery and involvement in the program, he still struggles with body image – an area that most American youths seem to grapple with at one point or another. Blake started taking steroids about 4 months ago to increase his performance at the gym, convincing himself that although he has to keep his steroid use a secret from his friends, family members, and sponsor, steroid use is not a relapse. He justifies his use by stating that steroids are not mind are mood altering – despite the fact that he often finds his temper to be significantly shorter than it used to be, and loses it quite often. However, if Blake steps back and asks himself if is he lying to those closest to him, obtaining drugs illegally, and doing them in secret, and if he answers “yes” – he may want to consider whether or not this behavior is consistent with his recovery goals and lifestyle objectives.

Are Steroids Addictive?

Because many men and women continue using steroids despite negative personal consequences, it has been evidenced that anabolic steroids can definitely be addictive. Regardless of any physical issues that may develop in conjunction with social issues that may potentially arise (concern from loved ones, excessive time and money spent obtaining and using drugs), many steroid users will continue using, focused exclusively on perfecting external appearance. Individuals who engage in prolonged steroid use are extremely likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they cease use, such as restlessness, fatigue, mood swings, loss of appetite, reduced sex drive, insomnia, and cravings. In extreme cases, steroid withdrawal has lead to attempted suicide because the mood swings tend to be so intense. If left of untreated, the depressive tendencies that go hand-in-hand with anabolic steroid use may last up to a year or longer.

Is Using Steroids a Relapse?

This is a highly controversial topic, for many recovering addicts actively use steroids while many do consider steroid use a relapse and completely stay away. It is important to look at intentions and motivations, and consider the ways in which the behavior itself resembles ways in which you used your initial drug of choice. If you are obsessing, experiencing compulsive behaviors, or acting exceedingly secretive about your use, you may want to consult your sponsor or share in your homegroup. If this is not an option – you may want to reconsider how conducive your steroid use is to your recovery.

December 23, 2014 Marissa ObrienAlcoholism0

After struggling for quite some time, Mary managed to accumulate 6 solid years of continuous sobriety. She had worked hard to stay sober and to humble herself – she spent tireless shifts waiting tables, saving nearly every dollar she earned until she was able to purchase a home. She went back to culinary school, having discovered a newfound enthusiasm for the passion she had deserted long ago. Soon she had her own business in the works, a catering service she ran by herself out of a neatly decorated van. She had business cards made and a chef’s jacket embroidered with her name. Life was good, and complacency began to settle in slowly. Mary went to fewer meetings and spent less time helping those newer in the program than she – business was booming and there seemed no real reason to dedicate valuable time to something she clearly had under control.

Relapsing on Mouthwash is Disturbingly Common

One morning, Mary was getting ready to meet with a potential new client. She was finishing up her morning ritual – brush, rinse, shower – when some of the Listerine she kept on her sink and swished with daily accidentally made its way down her throat. At first she choked, not sure what had happened and taken aback by the overwhelming taste. Suddenly a warm, familiar sensation crept over her. She hesitated for a moment before taking another swig straight from the bottle. The familiarity was too comforting to deny. Before she knew quite what had happened, she had finished nearly half the bottle. She got into her van and drove to the meeting, feeling calm, confident, and slightly confused.

Mary continued drinking mouthwash, up to five bottles a day, for the next year. She picked up her 7-year medallion, convincing herself that it wasn’t really alcohol; it wasn’t really a relapse. It wasn’t really an issue. Deep down, buried beneath the delusions and the lies, she felt ashamed and estranged. She didn’t realize that relapsing on mouthwash was a disturbingly prevalent issue until she checked herself back into inpatient rehab for six months.

Listerine is More Potent Than Many Alcoholic Beverages

Listerine, the most frequently sold brand of mouthwash, contains 26.9% alcohol – making it more potent than beer, wine, and even some liquors. Manufacturers use alcohol in their products because it helps penetrate and dissolve oral plaque, and dilutes other key ingredients helping to form a consistent mixture. The inclusion of several dangerous (if ingested) chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and methanol make consuming mouthwash in large quantities potentially lethal. 10-15% of alcoholics who are currently in detoxification for alcohol abuse will admit to having used non-beverage alcohol such as mouthwash in moments of desperation. Seeing as alcohol is such a prevalent beverage throughout the country, it may seem odd that anyone would choose a bottle of Listerine over a fifth of Jack Daniels mixed with coke. There are several reasons as to why an alcoholic may use mouthwash or any other non-beverage type of alcohol over a popularly consumed booze product.

  • Mouthwash is easy to conceal.

For one who has openly struggled with alcohol abuse previously, friends and family members may be less likely to notice if their loved one has been drinking mouthwash than liquor. If someone you know has been struggling with alcoholism suddenly has super fresh breath every day all the time, this may be a red flag.

  • Restrictions do not apply.

In most stores, an individual who looks under the age of 21 will not be carded when purchasing dental hygiene supplies. Additionally, mouthwash can be purchased at any hour of the day, while alcoholic beverages can only be purchased before a certain time in the majority of states.

For alcoholics like Mary, convincing yourself that drinking mouthwash is easier than dealing with the overwhelming and instantaneous feelings of guilt and shame that would come with relapsing at a local bar. It is important to remember that addiction is a tricky disease, and a disease of the mind – and logic hardly comes into play.

Relapsing on mouthwash is far more prevalent than one may think. And consuming large amounts of mouthwash may be more immediately harmful than picking up a bottle of liquor based on the combination of chemicals used in production. If someone you know has been acting suspiciously and you believe they may have been using a non-beverage form of alcohol, feel free to contact one of our trained addiction specialists to find out what steps to take to get them the help they need.

December 15, 2014 Marissa ObrienRecovery0

There is truly no way to prevent a thought from popping into your head – many of our initial thoughts are unwelcome and tend to show up to the party uninvited. Thoughts of using coupled with intense, sudden cravings are potentially the most unwelcome thoughts and feelings a recovering addict or alcoholic will experience. While there is no surefire way to prevent cravings from happening (aside from doing the work on a daily basis, which still may not be foolproof) there are many ways to smash cravings as soon as they materialize. The key is distraction. Distraction will quickly become your best friend where cravings are concerned, seeing as most cravings only last for around 15 minutes or less. Of course, environmental cues also play a huge role in triggering cravings, thus it is important to avoid precarious situations in the first place. If you are a newly sober alcoholic, in example, hanging out at the bar with old drinking friends will probably not help your case. An overall lifestyle change is key in smashing cravings, though even if you are consistently doing the next right thing and avoiding triggering situations the likelihood of the occasional desire may bring you to your knees. Here are several effective tactics you may want to employ the next time you get a hankering for some heroin or a yearning for some yayo.

Eliminate Cravings As Soon As They Start

  • Exercise! 15-30 minutes of intense physical activity has been proven to greatly reduce cravings, in many cases working them right out of the system entirely. If you can’t seem to get the thought out of your head, slip on a pair of running shoes and jog around the block. Exercise is actually a fundamental part of recovery as a whole, seeing as physical and mental fitness undeniably coincide.
  • Call a sober support. This is where the necessity of the fellowship comes into play. It is absolutely crucial that the cell phone of every recovering addict and alcoholic is stockpiled with the phone numbers of likeminded men and women. You will most likely come to find that an acquaintance will save your life more than once. Ask for numbers at meetings, start a collection of phone lists. If you ever feel the urge to pick up, call someone who has been there to talk you out of it.
  • Help someone. The best way to get outside of yourself is to help someone else in need. Take someone without a car to the grocery store, or volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Even picking up trash on the beach will likely alleviate cravings to some degree. There is always someone worse off than you, and being of service is a surefire way to feel less involved in your own troubles and more important to the collective.

Remember, the root word in distraction is action! Take action and smash your cravings into next Tuesday! And then when next Tuesday rolls around, go ahead and do the same thing.

Relapse is not an event – it is a process. Many addicts do not even realize they are in danger of relapse before it is almost too late, and they find themselves face-to-face with a glass of wine or a bag of dope. However, although many recovered addicts are familiar with the pitfalls of picking up after a period of sobriety, relapse does not need to be a part of any journey into recovery – seeing as it is always preventable if caught early enough. The biggest and most crucial aspect of preventing relapse is knowing what personal signs to look for and change your behavior as quickly as possible.

Relapse Happens in Stages

Relapse tends to happen in stages. The first stage is emotional relapse – recognizing emotional relapse and immediately changing behavior is absolutely crucial to staying sober. Emotions that arise and cause discomfort should be looked at thoroughly, and as soon as you recognize a negative shift in the way you feel, be sure to take action towards changing that feeling to the best of your ability. Here are several signs of emotional relapse, and ideas regarding how you can take action to rapidly reverse your potentially dangerous emotional condition.

  • If you catch yourself isolating: Reach out! Formulating a solid system of sober supports is by far one of the most important parts of maintaining sobriety. This is also a major reason why getting a sponsor in early sobriety is so important! Make sure you carry around a list of numbers, people you know and trust and can call whenever you’re feeling lonely.
  • If you start to feel anxious: Practice relaxation techniques! Breathe deeply, count to 10, take a short walk outside and appreciate the fresh air. Practice any grounding techniques you may have learned in treatment. And again – reach out! Tell someone how you are feeling and listen to any advice they may have regarding how to calm yourself down.
  • If you feel exhausted: Give yourself a break! During your first year of sobriety (and every year of sobriety following) the most important job in your life will be staying sober – and it is no small task! Allow yourself to take catnaps when you need them, and make sure you always get your 8 hours at night.
  • You feel underappreciated: Reward yourself! Staying sober on any given day is a huge accomplishment, and you deserve to treat yourself once in awhile. Sign up for a yoga class or a painting lesson. Take a couple hours to simply relax and play your favorite video game, or eat an entire pint of ice cream to yourself.

Relapse Is Never Necessary

In the case of obvious behavior changes such as skipping meetings, simply start going to meetings and let someone know that you haven’t been to one in awhile. Remember – you are not alone. There are many recovered addicts and alcoholics who have either experienced relapse or successfully avoided it, and they would undoubtedly be more than happy to pass down the knowledge and insight they’ve gained.

Relapse – return to the use of drugs and alcohol after an extended period of sobriety. Relapse is the main thing that addicts and alcoholics spend their lives trying to avoid, because it is common knowledge that once one makes his or her way out of the rooms it may be impossible to come back. Relapse can mean death – it can mean losing everything one has worked so hard to regain. And while some may claim that relapse is just a part of recovery, this is not the case. Relapse is always avoidable as long as you catch your behavior soon enough and make an effort to turn it around. Here are 10 sings that you may be headed in a dangerous direction – and what you can do to get back on track.

10 Warning Signs of Relapse

  1. Avoidance of responsibilities and issues. Rather than addressing problems that may arise, you lock yourself in your room and simply ignore them. Things seem to be less important overall, and responsibilities are put off or discounted entirely. Take a look at why you are being so avoidant and do what you can to change it!
  2. Obvious routine changes. You might start missing work or stop exercising on a regular basis. Maybe you decide that three meetings per week is enough, or that calling your sponsor every other night is sufficient enough. Be aware of any routine changes, and talk about why you may be neglecting certain activities or requirements.
  3. Changes in hygiene, sleep, and appetite. If you have been sleeping or eating less, it may be because you have slipped into somewhat of a depression. If you find yourself isolating be sure to reach out. Call several sober supports and tell them you’ve been in a bit of a slump – invite them to the movies or out to eat. Laughing with friends is truly the best medicine.
  4. Spending time with friends from your using days. If you’ve been getting in touch with friends that you know are still actively using, you may want to stop and check your motives. If they know your situation and still use around you, you are undoubtedly putting yourself in a precarious position. If you truly miss old friends put aside a small amount of time for them – but never spend time with them while they are partying.
  5. If you start to obsess about certain things that were never an issue beforehand – appearance, cleanliness, work – take a step back and check yourself. Go to a meeting and share about your perfectionistic qualities, someone will inevitably be able to relate and help you pinpoint why you are acting out in this way specifically.
  6. Obsessive behavior in one specific area. If you are obsessing about one thing in particular, it might be because you are lacking overall balance in your life. Be sure you are dividing time equally between school or work, sobriety, spending time with friends and family, and spending time alone.
  7. Excessive anger. If you’ve been getting into more fights than usual or if you have been getting easily frustrated, it may be a good idea to explore why it is you’re so on edge. Excessive anger is also usually related to a lack of balance. Remember to take time to meditate and relax. Practice gratitude. And, as always… reach out.
  8. Tempting fate. Hanging out in bars or in places you know you can easily obtain your drug of choice is never a good idea. If you find yourself in places you know deep down you have no business being in, remove yourself and call a friend to come get you.
  9. Glamorizing use. There is nothing wrong with sharing how bad your drug or alcohol use got in order to help others, but glamorizing the good times you had while drunk or high is counterproductive to your recovery. Try to catch yourself when you’re enthusiastically relaying war stories and make sure you don’t forget how bad it got.
  10. Obsessing over drugs or alcohol. If drugs and alcohol are all you can seem to think about, it is crucial that you reach out for help. Get yourself to a meeting, share about your obsession, and call any and every sober supports you may have. If you do not get outside of yourself and start taking action relapse is undeniably on the horizon. Yet even at this point, relapse is preventable. Take action, and you will make it, unscathed, through another day.

The Hope Center

The Hope Center for Rehabilitation offers a full range of services both leading up to, during and following treatment, including professional interventions, a luxury, medically assisted detox program, inpatient rehabilitation (30-90 days), intensive out-patient rehabilitation and out-patient services. Each of our clients become a part of our alumni program at the completion of their treatment to help foster a continued community of recovery.

Copyright by The Hope Center 2016. All rights reserved.