How do I know if my teenager is on drugs?


Finding out that your teenager may be abusing drugs is one of the most painful events that far too many parents experience in the United States these days. Communication with your child is an important tool you have at your disposal that can help prevent further teen drug abuse. Talking to your kids is always a great way to help them grow into their young adulthood. These conversations should, at some point address the dangers and risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse. It is important to be aware of the signs of drug use, as your son or daughter might have begun experimenting with them. Early detection is crucial to helping your teen avoid a full-blown addiction that could potentially come with deadly consequences.

How can I tell if my son or daughter is abusing drugs?

Young SoCal resident struggling with addiction in the Riverside, CA area.
                     How can you tell if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol?

A very telltale sign of drug use is sudden and abrupt changes in behavior. Many American kids will go through rapid shifts in behavior as they approach early adolescence and puberty. This is a natural part of their physical and cognitive development. However, if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, the changes you notice are probably going to be much different than your typical ‘growing pains’. Some changes you notice may lean towards outright self-destructive behavior, anger and depression. These will only become amplified with further substance abuse, so you will want to get help for your child quickly.

Examples of cognitive and behavioral change associated with teen alcohol and drug abuse may include the following:

  • Lower academic performance and/or ditching school.
  • Intense hostility and defiance for authority. Lashing-out at the world.
  • Suddenly acting secretive and intensely demanding their personal privacy.
  • Getting in trouble at school.
  • Decrease in motivation and not wanting to do anything.
  • Constant forgetfulness. Problems with remembering basic things.
  • Suddenly changing friends and social circles.

Noticing one, or many of these behavioral changes in your child may be an indication that he or she has began experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol. As we mentioned above, a lot of teens experience some of these traits, simply as a normal part of growing up. Going through puberty and early adolescence can be a tremendously difficult adjustment for any child. The early teen years usually come with normal fluctuations in behaviors and physical actions. But when these changes are amplified or compounded with other physical behaviors, they may indicate a sign of teen drug abuse.

Examples of physical symptoms and actions associated with teen drug and alcohol use:

  • Sleeping all day, being constantly fatigued, lethargic or excessively lazy.
  • Intense hyperactivity, staying awake for long periods of time.
  • Laughing uncontrollably, even at seemingly nothing.
  • Bloodshot eyes or widely dilated pupils.
  • Appetite changes, either eating constantly, or not eating anything for days.
  • Twitching, spastic or erratic body movements.
  • Nosebleeds or constantly runny nose. Scratching or touching their nose a lot.
  • Unexplained injuries, cuts, sores or bruises.
  • Teeth clenching, rapid deterioration of dental health and bad breath.
  • Stealing money or constantly asking family members for money.
  • Smell of smoke or alcohol on their breath, clothing or in their bedroom.

If you are experiencing any of these conditions at your home with your teenage child, maybe it is time to have a real face-to-face conversation with them. While you’re thinking of what to say as you approach your kid about their drug abuse, be mindful to lay the foundation for a positive interaction. Speak with your partner or spouse and come to an understanding that you will work together as one single entity to help your child. Now is not a time to play the old ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine. It is important to work in concert together, as a solid parental unit here. Even if you disagree on minor details of how to deal with the problem, understand that you both are doing out of love for the child.

It is also important for your teen to feel like you are trying to help them. Let them know it’s because you are concerned for their safety and well being. This shouldn’t be an emotional lecture on how they have let you down, or how much trouble they’re in. Addiction and drug use is actually quite normal for teens and adults alike. The negative stigma associated with alcoholism and drug abuse is the reason a lot of addicts go without treatment. They are afraid to ask for help because of their fears of their parents or authority figures in society will judge them or punish them. Sadly, this stigma forces a lot of people with substance abuse problems to go into hiding, or out on the streets, where their disease can only get worse.


Teenage drug use is on the rise in the Los Angeles, California area.

With over 70,000 Americans dying from drug overdoses in 2017, the time to get serious about helping people who are experiencing drug abuse is now.

You may have discovered your teen’s drug abuse through any of the signs listed above, or snooping through their room or looking through their phone. Your child will likely feel attacked as you confront them about their drug use. As a parent, you shouldn’t set your expectations too high. It is highly unlikely they’re going to simply admit to using and promise to quit.

Sometimes just communicating the fact that you are aware of their substance use and you’d like them to quit can be considered a productive conversation. It is important to keep moving forward, one small step at a time. We sincerely hope that you caught on to the signs of your teen’s drug use early, before their problem has become a full-fledged addiction. Following up with your child about this topic is the important part after your first conversation with them. For a teenager, sometimes all it takes is a little parental involvement for them to understand how much you still care for them. This feeling can go a long way to boost their self-esteem and get them to think of the external consequences of their actions.

While the development of an addiction is gradual, it may be difficult to spot the thin line between recreational use or experimentation and full-blown drug abuse and addiction. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, your child doesn’t want help or has completely shut themselves off from you and other members of the family, 10 Acre Ranch has the resources, services and expert staff to help you during this difficult time. Our drug treatment program for teens and young adults is widely-recognized for laying the groundwork to a lasting sobriety through recovery.

If you need help finding the best treatment program in the Riverside, California area for your teen, please call us today. We are open 24/7 and a caring, certified addiction specialist is available to talk to you right away.



What Motivated You to Get Drug Therapy?


In the world of recovery from addiction, personal motivation and the willingness to accept change should be a top priority. Most people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol will want to change their destructive behavior at some point in their addiction. Many people experience the disease of addiction as a series of chaotic situations and self-destructive behavior that results in humiliation and sorrow. As your substance abuse becomes worse and worse, your motivation to change will ultimately become more and more important.

The motivation to seek rehabilitation at an addiction treatment facility will always have to come from within. Your personal desire to want to change things in your life will help guide you to make the right choices. Maybe you have suffered long-term negative consequences as a result of your addiction, such as losing a job, getting arrested or ruining your personal relationships with friends and family. Or perhaps you understand that your addiction could completely drain your bank account and it could eventually kill you.

Choosing to seek treatment at a drug rehabilitation center could be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.

A good addiction treatment center will offer a safe, healthy environment for someone seeking recovery. A severe drug and alcohol abuse problem can significantly affect your cognitive reasoning and decision making skills. Beginning your recovery at a detox center is a great place to start. You will be surrounded by medical professionals and people who have been where you are that are willing to help you succeed. As you navigate your recovery over the coming weeks, these addiction specialists will help teach you how to handle the intense physical and emotional changes you are going to encounter throughout your recovery. The emotions you encounter will be difficult to process, but with the help of treatment professionals you can enable the changes necessary to start your new, healthy life in sobriety.  

Regardless of the source of motivation, once you go to treatment your journey is only beginning.

When substance abuse becomes a prominent part of someone’s life, motivation can become severely lacking. Many find their motivation by simply recognizing how messed up their life has become. Through the challenges of withdrawal symptoms, your motivation to change can become difficult to maintain. Many will experience the psychological symptoms of anxiety or depression through the early withdrawal process. Often times these psychological problems were part of the reason you began using drugs or alcohol in the first place. Learning how to live with out your drug of choice as your coping mechanism is very important during this phase of recovery.


Alcohol & drug rehabilitation works best when you want to change.

Keeping the motivation throughout your recovery is not only crucial to becoming sober, you have to keep a strong desire to STAY sober once you leave an inpatient rehab center.  Many people who complete recovery at a drug treatment center think once they quit using they are cured. There is a persistent view that once you get sober, everything is “fixed” and will return to normal. Some people will even use the triumph of being sober as an excuse to start using again. This becomes a trap that many people enter, thinking they are cured simply because they graduated from drug therapy. It is of utmost importance to have the motivation to quit using on day one, but the real challenge is to stay sober every single day after that.

Relapse is a normal part of recovery from addiction.

Most people who complete a drug rehabilitation program will relapse. Relapsing is a normal part of addiction recovery. As you begin to encounter the challenges of reintegration into everyday life, problems you had been avoiding by getting high will have to be dealt with. The other problems created out of the consequences of your past drug abuse will have to be addressed here as well. This will require an ongoing motivation to stay sober.

Developing purpose and meaning in your life is a great tool to keep your spirits high and keep you motivated to stay sober.

By now you have realized that giving up certain things has helped you gain other positive outcomes in your life. Your addiction will be at constant battle with your recovery. You have traded one for the other and you must continually realize that you are making the right choice. Being constantly mindful of the pros and cons associated with your choices will help you to strengthen your motivation. Now you understand that continuing your addiction wasn’t worth the price you paid for it. This is essential to keep you going down the right path.


Addiction treatment center in Southern California. For you or a loved one.

Recovery can be a whole different animal for each and every individual. No one person’s treatment schedule will be the same. Some are able to quit cold-turkey, no problem. Those cases are few and far between, but most people will require some guidance along the way. Professional help is recommended for most people who have experienced a struggle with addiction. Continuing with help from a 12 step program outside of the treatment center will greatly improve your chances for a successful recovery. Utilize your resources from friends and family who care about you. Talk to them regularly and be honest with your feelings. Most importantly however, be honest with yourself and your needs throughout your recovery. Setting your mindset to one of fully-integrated honesty with yourself and others is a great policy to keep you on the right track.

Spend your time learning sober activities as these will positively reinforce your recovery. Building confidence and self-esteem should be consciously sought out as an essential component to your continued success. Full recovery is only truly possible when you are ready, willing and able to accept change. Once you have that motivation, continue to maintain it by seeking praise and approval from a trusted support system, like family, friends and loved ones. These social support structures will greatly benefit your continued motivation.

New SAMHSA data shows that in 2017, 18.7 million people in the United States had a substance use disorder. With over 72,000 Americans dying from a drug overdose in 2017, the time to get serious about addiction recovery is now.

If you, or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. Our licensed, professional, caring staff has the tools you need to successfully complete your journey to sobriety. We are available 24/7 to help you. All you have to do is come up with the motivation to make that first call:



Holiday Stress: How it presents special challenges for recovering addicts and helpful tips to avoid a relapse


Family gatherings, holiday office parties, everywhere you turn, drug and alcohol use is on prevalent display.  The stresses of the busy holiday season can be overwhelming to even conventionally well-balanced people. Loneliness, buying and being able to afford gifts, long lines in stores, long lines in traffic and financial uncertainty are all potentially stressful endeavors. For many people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is in full swing during even the brightest days of the season. The relationships with your family and friends can cause great stress that all comes out during the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year. It certainly is an emotional time for everyone. All of this is especially true for a recovering addict or someone who currently is struggling with substance abuse.

Whether you are just beginning a rehabilitation program, or you are celebrating years of successful sobriety, temptations that challenge your recovery will present themselves this holiday season.


Holiday stress can challenge even the strongest of those in recovery.

Experiencing feelings of “the blues” is a common occurrence for many individuals between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many are reminded of the fact they are alone. Some holidays are key dates reminding us of the loss of a loved one or family member. Perhaps this is the first holiday since a family member’s passing and experiencing it without them just isn’t the same.

For others with a troubled family upbringing, it could be quite the opposite. Many people did not have a good relationship with their family and the holidays can bring up a barrage of emotions tied to past physical or mental abuse within the family. In some instances, personal guilt may arise from memories of your own struggle with addiction and the effect it had on your family and relationships. Throwing yourself into a situation with people you haven’t seen for long periods of time can greatly amplify any emotions you have attached to them.

Likewise for many recovering addicts, the holidays can remind them of times of severe overindulgence, past parties and long benders of hardcore substance abuse. This can lead some people to romanticize these past experiences. For someone in recovery this could be a great temptation to relapse back into his or her old habits.

With the right plan, it is absolutely 100% possible to attend holiday gatherings and events without indulging in drug or alcohol use.

Even if you are currently overtaken by your addiction, there is a way to get sober and stay sober, not only for your family members and loved ones, but for yourself as well. We suggest being prepared with a plan to maintain your sobriety and avoid or at least limit your exposure to potential relapse triggers. Be aware of an exit strategy if everything simply becomes too much to handle. Don’t be embarrassed about your struggle. As we all know with addiction, the struggle is a lifetime battle and you should have your exit strategy thought out well in advance. You should spend time thinking about your plan because your sobriety is absolutely worth the extra effort.


Having a plan to stay sober for the holidays is an important step in relapse prevention.

Having a concrete plan can help build your personal confidence that you can successfully stay sober. This plan should include: 

  • Having someone to call for help in case you experience relapse triggers.
  • Take a sober friend with you to events, so you don’t feel like you’re the only sober person at the party.
  • Formulate a confident, solid response when someone asks why you aren’t drinking or using drugs. *Hint: your answer is more for yourself than it is for them.
  • If you know you are going to feel uncomfortable, let the hosts know you can only stay for a short time. This will take pressure off of yourself and you won’t feel like you need to stay to please everyone else.
  • Have a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. Bring your own drinks if you have a preference. Don’t rely upon others to cater to your personal needs.
  • Do your best to surround yourself with supportive, loving, caring people. In many instances, reinforcement from family members can be a great help on your path to recovery.
  • Eat something sweet to temporarily nullify a craving. This has been shown to be effective in distracting your brain, although temporarily.
  • Try to eat healthy and feel healthy. Maintaining a positive, healthy mindset and lifestyle will greatly reduce your urges and cravings. Feeling good is crucial in maintaining sobriety and a sustained recovery.
  • Be honest with yourself. Tell those who you trust about your recovery. Let them know if you feel pressure to use again and use this plan to help you stay away from a relapse.  

Most importantly, be constantly aware of your own mental health and the physical needs associated with your recovery journey. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. If you feel challenged by a family member or loved one, take a step back. Think about your life. Think about your choices. Know you are on the right path and walk away if you feel that your personal well-being is in danger. Knowing these risks will help you know yourself. This will strengthen your perspective and hopefully it will help keep you on the right path.

If you encounter a relapse, or run into an old friend or family member who needs help with their substance abuse, know that help is always just one phone call away. Call us anytime. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help.

Call Us Today: (877)-228-4679

The Opioid Crisis: How The Sackler Family Made Billions, While America Became Addicted to Oxycontin.


The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company that makes Oxycontin is coming under a lot of intense legal pressure. As the opioid crisis wages on in the United States, the legal battles will likely ramp up in the years to come. While these ongoing lawsuits are being played out however, the opioid epidemic continues to kill 130 people per day. More than 1,000 government entities have sued Purdue Pharma along with other prescription drug makers, claiming they are responsible for the increase of overdose deaths that have plagued this nation for the greater part of the last two decades.


Doctors prescribe potentially deadly opioids to patients who suffer from chronic pain.

In January of 2019, a Massachusetts lawsuit publically brought out documents that show members of the Sackler family were well-aware of the abuse potential of their products. Court documents state: “Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit.” The documents also show that along with complacency of the family, (many of whom also serve as the board of directors) Purdue intentionally tried to hide the negative effects of their drugs from the public and the government. Further allegations in the case suggest that the Sackler family overwhelmed the medical industry in the state with aggressive sales representatives to promote their drugs. Furthermore, as part of an ongoing strategy, Purdue successfully influenced state legislation to protect their economic interests in the state.

The Sackler family is widely known as ardent philanthropists. They regularly donate to art and history museums, universities and medical facilities to put a positive spin on the family name. This was achieved through various public relations campaigns, including charitable donations to educational institutions and art museums. These donations to medical universities enabled the makers of Oxycontin to obtain good faith from aspiring, young doctors who would have a favorable view of opioids upon graduating with their medical degree. These favorable views of opioid use in pain treatment would garner lavish financial returns, as there would be more and more prescribing of the patented drugs. Many would argue that under the guidance of the Sackler family, the aggressive marketing tactics of Purdue Pharma really helped ignite America’s current opioid crisis. The Massachusetts lawsuit claims that when patients showed signs of addiction to their doctors, Purdue actually urged the doctors to increase the patients’ dosage. Richard Sackler has been shown in internal documents to push the narrative that people who became addicted were the ones to blame for their substance abuse.

“We have to hammer on abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

Richard Sackler in a 2001 email, while president of Purdue Pharma

While the Sackler family was pushing blame onto people who helplessly became addicted to their drugs, they raked in billions and billions of dollars. The family fortune is said to have exceeded $13 billion dollars at the end of 2018. While the Sackler family was making their fortune in the last two decades, over 200,000 people have died in the US as a result of prescription opioids since 1996. It was in the late 1990’s when Purdue began their aggressive marketing Oxycontin to doctors and the public.

The sales of Oxycontin rapidly increased over the years, while the Sackler family pushed a multitude of false information about their products. The company actually began marketing Oxycontin as a drug that was non habit-forming. Purdue claimed that since the drug was slow acting and long lasting, drug addicts wouldn’t use the drug to get high. The company’s sales representatives pushed a claim that the drug had a dependency rate of “less than one percent” which had no basis in scientific research or fact. They just told doctors this in an attempt to market their product as safe.

Marketing opioids: making billions of dollars off of human suffering and death.

The problems with marketing of the opioids were in the aggressive nature Purdue sought massive profit margins. Internal Purdue memos sought to sell higher doses of the drugs over long periods of time. This obviously made the company more money, while the higher doses also increased the likelihood of their patients to develop an addiction. Many internal emails have proven that the Sackler family cared only about their sales numbers, not the safety of the patients who were taking the drugs. These accusations led to a 2007 federal court case, in which the family voted to plea guilty to misleading marketing practices. The court case did not hold any individual in the Sackler family accountable, nor did it force any legal penalties on them individually. Purdue Pharma was simply ordered to pay $600 million in fines.

The federal case was supposed to curb the aggressive marketing of the drug, while also removing the Sackler family from direct involvement in decision making. This did not happen as recent court documents have proven. The June, 2018 Massachusetts court case proved that the family was still heavily involved in marketing, claiming they put profits over people. Various other states, including Ohio are also seeking litigation regarding the Sackler family’s responsibility in the ongoing opioid epidemic.


Developing a tolerance to opioids can lead to heroin abuse very easily.

The Sackler family: profiting from the response to problems they created.

To further matters, Richard Sackler was awarded a patent for an opioid addiction treatment drug, a version of buprenorphine that dissolves rapidly. Many see this patent as a way for the Sackler family to profit off of the problem they helped create. This is considered a bold move by some, as the company stands to make even more money off of the addicts they helped to create.

Treatment and drug rehab for addicts is the best response to the opioid epidemic.

While many are hoping these lawsuits may help bring about funding for more access to treatment options, the fight will be a long, contentious one. Purdue claims to be on the frontlines of combating the opioid crisis, working with the FDA, law enforcement and prescribers to limit exposure to the potentially deadly drugs. As patients see their prescriptions expire, there are many people who continue to be addicted to the drug. One Oxycodone pill can get as much as $80 on the streets, so these addicts will often turn to cheaper, illicit street drugs like heroin in an effort to simply quell their painful withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin is cheaper and easier to obtain for many opioid-addicted patients. The people who become addicted simply cannot just quit cold-turkey when their prescription runs out. As they find street drugs to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms, they are being exposed to dangerous cocktails of fentanyl and heroin and other substances that are prone to causing drug overdoses. This epidemic is killing thousands of Americans every single year in the US. One thing that is missing from Purdue’s response to the crisis is increased support and access to addiction treatment programs and drug rehab.

Many Americans simply cannot wait for addiction treatment. The disease of addiction is a strong one, but treatment is available. 10 Acre Ranch offers a comprehensive treatment program for opioid abuse beginning with a fully-supervised medical detox. This helps our clients fully-recover from the drug addiction, as they are monitored by our licensed medical staff, navigating the dangerous stages of their withdrawal symptoms. Our inpatient facility treats each individual with a personalized approach with therapy suited to their unique needs. Ongoing outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings are supported through our comprehensive, evidence-based rehabilitation program.

If you, a family member or loved one needs help with their addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us today:


How to Cope with the Loss of a Loved One During Recovery from Addiction


You may have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, a family member or friend while you’re going through recovery. You used to handle the stress from everyday life events by using drugs or alcohol. But now, you’re sober. If you are finding it difficult to resist temptations, or you’ve found that this is the hardest time you’ve experienced in trying not to relapse, let us assure you, you are not alone. Losing someone close to you is one of the most difficult parts of the human experience. It is no different for you or anyone else. It hurts… A lot! You probably don’t know where to turn next, but you know you have to stay sober throughout the pain and grieving process, so what can you do?

Understanding that the grieving process is an important part of recovery is a good start. While a person recovers from an addiction, intense changes are taking place in the mind and body. Changes are taking place within and all around the individual who is attempting to resolve their body’s physical and mental addiction. Grieving is a natural part of this process and simply accepting this fact is going to be inherently beneficial for you. The addiction likely caused trauma in your personal life, as with members of your family and other loved ones. Many of these problems are not addressed until a patient begins their recovery.


Losing a loved one while in recovery from addiction can bring back cravings for drugs & alcohol. Have a relapse prevention plan in place.

When a major loss occurs in addition to these normal changes in the psyche, it can be one of the most difficult emotional battles in a person’s entire life.

The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. This loss could be from a sudden death, an illness such as a continued, unregulated addiction or even the loss of a relationship with someone you deeply cared about. When someone accidentally or purposefully leaves your life it can be devastating for even the strongest amongst us. These emotions can be overwhelming and life itself can seem unbearable during this most difficult time. These harrowing parts in your recovery can really challenge your resolve to stay sober.

Understanding the inevitable processing of grief and sorrow as a normal part of life, will help you over time and throughout your recovery.

Grief can manifest itself as one of the major contributing factors in a relapse. Losing a loved one through death or other unfortunate circumstances can create a high risk situation, even for someone who has been clean and sober for years. Using simple techniques to process difficult emotions and set backs can help you avoid a potential relapse.

The first and most important step to consider when faced with a stressful, painful situation is to ask for help. Call on the support of your close friends and family members. Even if they are grieving themselves, simply having the presence of someone who cares about you can give you a lot of strength.

Secondly, being honest with your emotions is essential to process the pain you may be feeling after the loss of a loved one. Your old response was to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. By now, you must realize that is not a healthy or productive choice anymore. You need to process your real emotions in a way that will help you grow and become stronger in your life. Cry if you feel like crying, it is okay to cry. Express your emotions in a safe manner, hopefully with the help of your family, friends or a support group. If you’re angry, let it out and let the world know you are angry. Just be careful to not express any anger you may have in a way that would be harmful to others. Try to keep it constructive with a goal of ultimate healing in mind.


Loss is never easy to process, especially when you are in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction.

Speaking of support groups, attending meetings on a regular basis will help you process your complex range of emotions in a more productive manner. Whether you return to outpatient meetings at a rehab clinic, or attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, this will help you let out your grief in a positive, productive manner. You will likely meet other people who have gone through similar situations before. This will help you feel supported and not alone in your sorrow.

None of these techniques are meant to completely cure or take away the sadness that comes with losing a loved one or member of your family. They will however help you process the emotions you experience through the grieving process without the use of alcohol or drugs. These techniques can be added to your go-to relapse prevention plan, in case the urge to use becomes too much to bear. The first step, (as it was before you entered recovery) is to ask for help. At 10 Acre Ranch, we can help you overcome your addiction and help you deal with recurring issues with addiction through a social model approach to treatment. Please let us know if we can help you.

(877) 228-4679


A Brief History of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment


Throughout history, the use of illicit substances is documented as far back as the earliest of recorded human civilization. 5,000 year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs show us that people who suffered from alcohol addiction were cared for in the homes of other people. Both the ancient Greek and Roman empires carry records of not only people suffering from alcoholism, but also for those people receiving treatment in “public, or private asylums.”(1) The ancient Chinese civilizations also had problems with their citizens abusing opium, which was first imported from Great Britain. Opium abuse also gave westerners a sense of moral obligation to colonize the greater part of Asia and help them wean off of their addiction to opium. As such, the British government began compelling the Chinese to cut poppy production after the second Opium War.

In America the first instances of any substance abuse treatment were in the Native Americans’ ‘sobriety circles’. The European settlers of the 1600’s had brought alcoholic beverages to the Americas and soon they began trading alcohol to native tribes, sometimes for nefarious reasons. It is known that the European settlers would give chiefs gifts of alcohol before they negotiated settlement and trade deals, to loosen them up. It has been argued that the European settlers of the 1600 and beyond would often give alcohol to native populations to decimate them and make them conquered more easily. Members of many tribes attributed the alcoholic liquids to ‘bad spirits’. They would gather those affected in a circle formation to give them a sense of tribe and to try to repel those bad spirits. The 12-step program model is loosely based on the natives’ sobriety circles.

In colonial America, Benjamin Rush, the father of modern psychiatry was the first to attribute addiction as a type of mental illness and therefore one that could be treated. This was the first time addiction was seen as anything different than the stigma of a moral failing. In Rush’s mind, alcoholism was a chronic disease that could be treated with various techniques. Those techniques became very hot properties, as every form of experimenter and entrepreneur wanted to try to profit off of the treatment of this disease. This led to some practices that we now know today to be very harmful such as electro shock therapy and injecting the body with various substances like gold, silver, mercury and arsenic. This injection therapy was the brain-child of Dr. Leslie Keely and while that method was unorthodox, and just plain wrong, one of his ideas, a 31-day stay at a treatment facility is the foundational drug and alcohol abuse treatment models primarily used today.


History of mental health treatment techniques and substance abuse therapy.

These substance abuse treatment centers were a huge step in understanding addiction and the ability to treat it as a disease.

Along came the era of prohibition and the temperance movement thought they had a major victory in reducing alcoholism in the United States. Prohibition however, was a colossal failure. Alcohol use continued to rise and after thirteen years, the 21st amendment was ratified to help fight organized crime and allow citizens to continue to consume alcohol legally. After just 2 short years, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous. In the formation, they channeled the concept of the sobriety circles from the Native Americans and also were the first to use the 12 steps in recovery. These steps were a pathway of different techniques, geared towards living a life free from alcohol or drugs. AA remains today as the most commonly used resource for someone looking to steer away from substance abuse.

Many people have found the help they need in AA or their offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Still, others criticized the use of the ‘higher power’ and surrendering to being powerless against their addictions. As this was the classic AA model, today there are alternative versions of the program for agnostics and secular considerations of the twelve-step program.

The Minnesota model really cemented the version of the substance abuse treatment facility that we know and understand today. In 1948, this model incorporated the principles of the 12-step program, but added family involvement within a 28-day inpatient stay. AA was attended both during and after the inpatient stay. They also believed that addicts could help each other through their recovery so the hospital was staffed with both medical professionals and trained resource personnel that were usually recovering addicts themselves. This treatment model was instrumental in suggesting that alcoholics and other addicts were not morally inept and instead had a physical disease that was treatable. The stigma of substance abuse continues to this day, but more and more are becoming increasingly understanding of the concept of addiction as a disease, instead of a moral failing.


Physical & mental health treatments have evolved over the years. Science is still learning more.

During the early years of substance abuse treatment, many experimental methods were adopted and tested.

One example was the United States Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. This farm legitimately had good intentions in helping addicts recover from their disease. They were among the first to use methadone to help heroin addicts, a practice that continues with success to this day. The Central Intelligence Agency however found an unnoticed resource with the farm, using it to conduct early experiments with LSD on their patients. The Federal Government decided to turn its work with substance abuse to the states in 1975.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment has come a long way since then, and science is still progressing to more effectively treat those in need.

Medications have been developed to help fight substance abuse and are showing great promise. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) programs are being used today to fight the current opioid epidemic. These medications help the patient control and manage their withdrawal symptoms, which is a reason many don’t want to quit their addictions. A recent move towards an evidence-based approach to recovery has advanced rehabilitation facilities in a positive way. This approach uses scientific verification to prove the success of their treatment or rehabilitation programs. However, there are still a lot of recovery centers that try to take advantage of addicts, as they are seen as a vulnerable and marginalized group.

Progress in psychology and psychotherapy have shown addiction specialists a deep connection between mental health and substance abuse. Today virtually all alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs use a combination of social, psychological and medical treatments.

As we continue to learn from our history, there is continual pressure for the substance abuse treatment industry to innovate and evolve with the trends and new discoveries science has offered. This pressure is guiding the treatment industry in the right direction, but there are still many who need help. If you or your family member or loved ones are seeking treatment, give us a call right away. We are open 24/7 and we can help you get the help you need.

(877) 228-4679


(1) White WL (1998) Slaying the Dragon. Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington

The 2018 Opioid Bill


The United States Congress reconciled both House and Senate opioid bills aimed at reducing the deadly toll of the nation’s top health care crisis: the opioid epidemic.

In the SUPPORT For Patients and Communities Act, Republican and Democrat lawmakers came to a rare agreement between both parties. The drug overdose epidemic claimed 72,000 lives in 2017 alone and roughly two thirds of those deaths were from prescription and non-prescription opioids. The bill will now head to the Senate as the House of Representatives almost unanimously passed the bill in a rare, 393-8 vote. President Trump is expected to sign this legislation into law before the midterm elections.  This is a fairly large bill, that will cost the US billions of dollars but many argue that the bill doesn’t do enough to address the nation’s greatest public health issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bill that would cost the US tax payer $100 billion over the next 10 years, as she argues this is what is really necessary to fully address the opioid crisis.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act takes a wide approach to the opioid epidemic from law enforcement, treatment and public health care measures.

We will talk about some of the major policy changes in the bill and the full-text of the bill is available here.


The 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was passed by United States Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

One of the greatest achievements of the new bill is a provision to allow Medicaid recipients to seek care at addiction treatment centers. The restrictions on Medicaid funding for substance abuse treatment had been long outdated and congress finally addressed this problem. Allowing Medicaid to help fund up to 30 days of inpatient rehab stays, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is going to help a lot of people get the help they desperately need. The bill authorizes a grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help communities develop opioid recovery centers. While the bill does address the lack of funding for increased access to treatment programs, many addiction specialists argue the bill does not do enough in this regard. While noting that the bill is not itself bad as it does a lot to address a multitude of issues, it is severely lacking on access to treatment, which many believe is the most important technique that could help solve the opioid crisis.

Another provision in the bill lifts restrictions on medications used to treat opioid use disorder and other types of addiction. This measure simply allows more medical practitioners to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine, used to help ease withdrawal symptoms in addiction recovery. As it stands today only 5 percent of doctors are licensed to prescribe this life-saving drug. Another medication, naloxone was addressed in this bill. One provision allows first responders greater access to the life-saving opioid antagonist which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The major law enforcement provision of the SUPPORT Act is aimed at the trafficking of drugs through the postal system. Fentanyl that is illegally imported from Mexico and China has been blamed for many of the opioid-related deaths in recent years. One package seized in Philadelphia last June contained 110 pounds of fentanyl, valued at $1.7 billion dollars. This was estimated to be enough of the dangerous substance to kill the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania two times over. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, so it is easy to smuggle large amounts of the substance through the mail system. This bill makes it harder for people to sneak illicit substances into the US from abroad. The bill will require packages coming in from foreign countries to reveal their contents and where and who they’re coming from. While the bill is broadly aimed at targeting illicit drug suppliers, it includes protection for individuals looking to import cheaper prescriptions from overseas. This was in direct opposition to pharmaceutical companies’ requests to include enforcement against importing cheaper prescriptions from other countries.


The opioid epidemic kills nearly 200 Americans every single day.

While the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act does a lot to fight the opioid epidemic, there is still a lot of work to be done in the near future. The bill even authorizes research into opioid alternatives to pain management and penalizes drug manufacturers and distributors for overprescribing. A lot more could have been done to address the root causes of addiction and it should have offered greater access to outpatient treatment programs. However, while a lot of divisive partisan issues like funding were ignored in the bill, the Democrats and Republicans agreed on a lot of ‘second-tier’ issues that will definitely help save lives. Given the extreme divisiveness in American politics in the Trump era, this is a small political victory.  Thankfully, everyone finally seems to want to work together in fighting this urgent national health crisis.

Why Do I Keep Relapsing? 5 Ways To Become Stronger


If you find yourself asking this question, either for yourself, a family member, loved one, neighbor or coworker just understand that a relapse is a very normal part of recovery. If you have been through a successful addiction treatment program, experienced a period of sobriety and fell into a relapse, please know you are not alone. Relapses are not uncommon and it does not mean you are a failure. Hope is always an option and there are many resources that can help you. How you react to your situation after experiencing a relapse is critical in your overall road to recovery. In this crucial time, forgiveness is an important factor to express to yourself or your loved one. Learn to forgive yourself or your family member for the recent relapse into substance use.  This is a better, more productive attitude to have that in the long run will help you or your loved one keep striving to maintain their sobriety.

Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply rooted behaviors, and relapse doesn’t mean treatment has failed.”–National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

It is estimated that 40-60 percent of people who maintain sobriety through rehab, treatment and recovery will relapse into heavy use, while 70-90 percent will relapse and use again at least once. In the medical field, a relapse used to be treated as an uncommon thing but that has largely changed due to the advances in behavioral science and addiction therapy. Sadly, many addicts are stigmatized by society as hopeless drug fiends or treated with the perception that they are a bad person for their substance use. Many of us here in the addiction treatment industry are advocating a different perspective. With addiction being a curable disease, you could compare it to the relapse rates of people with other medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. The rate of relapse into these common medical diseases is close to the same as for people with a substance abuse disorder. Treating this as a medical condition will help ease the stigma associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

As we have seen the overdose epidemic explode in the United States, it is important for us to begin treating this as a serious medical condition, not a criminal activity reserved only for the ‘bad people’ in society. As you are reading this now, most of us know someone dearly who has struggled with some form of substance abuse. While we look to help those closest to us, deep down inside we know there is still a good person underneath the surface of their drug or alcohol addiction.

It is estimated that nearly 72,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose in 2017. That’s close to 200 people each and every day. – Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


Finding the right coping mechanisms and staying the course in recovery is the key to overcoming an addiction.

Warning: Your Drug Tolerance Levels Will Change

It is extremely important to note here that many who relapse will overdose their first time because they think they can do as much of the drug as they had been doing before they went through detox and a period of sobriety. Simply put, your body cannot handle as large an amount of the drug, even though they had built up a tolerance over their period of substance abuse. Your tolerance has changed through recovery and you might not be able to handle the “usual dose” as you have in the past and immediately die. We cannot stress this enough, so please keep this in mind throughout your post-recovery stage as most people do not plan to have a relapse.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual in recovery to actively want to change things in their life to help them maintain their newfound sobriety. This is a difficult path to navigate and there are many things you can do to help you avoid the temptation to relapse into substance use.


Tips on how to overcome a relapse and not give up on your addiction recovery

Specific Risks to Avoid During Your Process of Recovery:


  1. Avoid drug-related ‘triggers’: Many in recovery can be tempted to relapse if they are around old hangouts where they used to purchase or consume drugs or alcohol. Even the sight of drug paraphernalia or a drink can be too much to handle for some. Also known as drug-related cues, these thoughts can come from a variety of places, depending on your individual situation. Most treatment programs will help you identify your potential triggers and help you formulate a plan to avoid them.
  2. Be extra cautious during the first 90 days: Most relapses occur during this crucial period of recovery. Your addiction doesn’t simply stop once your detox is completed. For many, addiction can shape your thoughts and behaviors for the rest of your life. The good news is the longer you stay sober, the easier it will be for you to avoid a return to your past substance abuse.
  3. Find help in a structured environment: Rates of relapse are much lower for people who participate in some sort of organized support group after their drug or alcohol detox. Relapse prevention or twelve-step programs like Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are great at helping people maintain their sobriety and offer personal help when you feel the urge to use again.
  4. Start creating healthy lifestyle habits: Studies have shown that even a mild amount of exercise can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms for recovering addicts. Eating healthy foods and thinking healthy thoughts are important to developing and rebuilding the self-confidence necessary to maintain your sobriety. Controlling your emotions and developing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with difficult situations can greatly increase your success in recovery and sober living.
  5. If you do relapse, don’t be afraid to ask for help (again): When a relapse occurs, know that there are a multitude of resources willing and able to help you break the cycle of your addiction. Sometimes treatment needs to be tried several times before the patient is fully recovered. Remember, relapse is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed about. Your family and loved ones will be happy you were honest and asked for help. Repeated attempts will work eventually and it will help you develop the desire for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Getting Sleep While Going Through Withdrawls

Remember during the process of getting clean that withdrawal insomnia is only temporary for most people.

The more disciplined you are in following guidelines for good sleep hygiene, the quicker your withdrawal insomnia will disappear. Over time, your sleep patterns will return to normal and, quite often, the simplest things you can do are the best.

  • Establish good sleeping habits. Replace bad habits with healthy ones. Avoid blue light from computer monitors, phones, & televisions. Don’t eat too late. Get a mattress that is just right for you, like a Leesa one.
  • Re-establish your body’s sleep cycle. Addiction can be difficult on your natural sleep cycle and your body may have become accustomed to staying up most of the night, break the cycle with high lumen light therapy early in the day.
  • Real natural alternatives. Drink a delicious cup of warm, herbal tea before bed, try meditation, and stay active during the day. These are just a few natural approaches you can take to improving your sleep. You may want to try cannabis products as a slightly more alternative method. Some assume that smoking cannabis means having to inhale smoke via a bong or a spliff. This is no longer the case as dispensary supplies now cater to a wider audience.

Try these first, as medications of any kind for sleep, usually have their own set of problems.


Establishing your body’s sleep cycle to a normal pattern will greatly help in early recovery.

Good Sleep Is Crucial To Long-Term Recovery

Establishing good sleep habits — as difficult as that may be — early in your recovery can increase your chances of avoiding a relapse. You will hear this advice from former addicts, recovering alcoholics, and, most likely, your doctors and counselors as well.

A study of cocaine-addicted rats showed that sleep abnormalities increased the chances of relapse. Those animals that were able to have fewer? interruptions and sleep longer were less likely to exhibit cravings for cocaine. The researchers speculate that the same association, even long after the withdrawal period, supports sleep-based therapies for people with cocaine addiction.

This is a very reasonable hypothesis because sleep is one of the keys to a healthy body. That is, after all, one of the goals for overcoming addiction. While it may seem impossible at the moment, whatever you can do to get a decent amount of sleep can help in your long-term recovery.


Chen B, Wang Y, Liu X, Liu Z, Dong Y, Huang YH. Sleep Regulates Incubation of Cocaine Craving. Journal of Neuroscience. 2015 Sep 30;35(39):13300-10. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1065-15.2015.

DuPont RL. “Should Patients With Substance Use Disorders Be Prescribed Benzodiazepines?” No. Journal of Addiction Medicine. 2017 Mar/Apr;11(2):84-86. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000291.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Commonly Abused Drugs Charts. 2016.

What is Treatment?


Treatment for an addiction is possible.

Dealing with addiction isn’t for the faint of heart. For someone to understand how to help a loved one or even themselves, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what addiction treatment really is and what to expect. Our admissions team receives many calls and emails inquiring about treatment, but many people are still unaware of what treatment actually is.

The following scenario will be used to help us explain. In order to comply with HIPAA regulations, the names have been changed and we are using a fictional scenario, but it’s based on very real situations. Below is an example of a person calling in for help for the first time. But, what is help in a situation like this?

Real Life. Real Talk.

Arthur: Ummm hello, my name is Arthur and I’m calling because I need treatment.

Tony: Hello Arthur, my name is Tony and I’d be happy to help. Okay Arthur, tell me a little bit about what’s going on. How can we help you?

Arthur: I’m addicted and need treatment.

Tony: Okay Arthur, what is your drug of choice? When was your last use? How long have you been using? Have you had any recent breaks in the usage cycle? Have you ever received treatment before?

Arthur: I use heroin everyday. I’ve never had treatment, but I need it. I know you guys can help me. I’m looking for outpatient. Do you do that?

Tony: Arthur, I’m definitely going to help you as as best as I can. I just want to make sure you get the right help. Do you mind if I ask you what you know about treatment?

Arthur: Nothing, but I need help.

Treatment Isn’t Magic

It seems that some people think that treatment will miraculously solve all of their day to day issues. Although many of us that work in the field of addiction wish we could just wave a wand and cure people indefinitely, it’s just not realistic.

There’s also a misconception treatment is all about medicine. While some stages of addiction treatment and stabilization of individuals rely on medicine, only the detoxification and stabilization period relies on medicinal remedies. The brunt of treatment is takes place in a group or individual therapy setting conducted by psychologists, social workers, therapists, and behavioral health technicians. Above in the example, Arthur knows he needs treatment, but he doesn’t know what treatment is. How does he know he should be at the outpatient level of care? In fact, outpatient treatment should only take place after an individual has achieved educational and motivational milestones over a period of inpatient or residential treatment.

Addiction treatment uses Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) to help diagnose and address possible behavioral issues, trauma, environmental issues and character defects that might cause the patients to behave in a particularly negative manner. EBPs are tested methods of treatment used by professionals to help modify and avoid certain behavioral patterns and thought processes that cause issues such as substance abuse or chronic relapsing. You can read more about EBPs here on the SAMHSA website.

Work Work Work

Treatment isn’t about what the staff at the treatment facility can do for an individual. Rather, it’s mainly about how to take what is learned in treatment and apply that to reality after treatment. Treatment itself requires a lot of hard work and self assessment. In order to solve any problem, one has to be educated on the subject matter. That is why there is such a large emphasis on the education of the disease of addiction in treatment. Without the proper knowledge and coping tools, it’s almost impossible to achieve lasting results.

During the phone conversation, Arthur says, “I know you guys can help me.” While most treatment centers will be able to help educate and provide coping mechanisms, it’s important for the patient to be motivated to help themselves. An effective treatment facility will try to identify an individual’s motivating factors so that they can help a patient build on those things. Whether it’s family, health, or a combination of both, a part of treatment is to help a patient identify what motivates them to want to break their addiction cycle.

Program Manager, Charlie Truslow, has worked with countless individuals here at 10 Acre Ranch spanning over ten years. Charlie knows first-hand that “what you get out of the program depends on what you put into the program. If you don’t change then nothing else will, and if you’re the same person when you’re done with the program then it’s likely that you’ll use again.”

If you’ve ever had to deal with the heartbreak that is addiction, then you’ve probably heard that the person struggling has to be “ready” before they can receive any meaningful help. But what does it mean to be ready? Being ready means that the individual has come to terms with the fact that they have a problem, they can no longer control it and they can not fix the problem alone. Until an individual is able to recognize this, they will not be ready to truly change.

Recognizing “Ready”

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if someone is actually ready to do the work. Some may say all the right things and show all the appropriate signs but in fact, they still might not be ready to do the work. The following examples tend to show an individual’s readiness to change for all the right reasons:

1. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. (It’s just not fun anymore…)

2. They genuinely express that their life has become unmanageable and want to change it.

3. They’re concerned with what they’ll lose if the continue their habit. (A job, marriage, etc…)

4. They’ve genuinely begun to ask for help to correct the mistakes they’ve made.

5. They’re willing to accept professional help immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week, NOW.

10 Acre Ranch is a non-profit treatment facility that has been serving Southern California families for over 25 years and we’re ready to help you. Do you have questions about being ready?

If so, or if you or a loved one are ready to get help, please don’t wait, give us a call at (877) 228-4679. Our treatment specialists will get you on the right path to a clean and sober lifestyle.


Addiction recovery is possible with the right help.