Back to Work After Drug Rehab

an employee being welcome at work after drug rehab

Back to Work After Drug Rehab

an employee being welcome at work after drug rehabIf you’ve either taken time off work to go to treatment or are moving back into the workforce for the first time after a longer period of unemployment, it can be challenging.

Workplaces are stressful, often demand that we invest a considerable amount of time in something that we might not care about, and expose us to people, emotions, commute, and even substances. That’s especially true if you’re going back to a workplace where you used before or if you habitually used drugs or alcohol to cope with your job in the past.

Going back to work is intimidating. However, you can manage and you can go back to work after drug rehab while continuing to take care of yourself and to maintain your sobriety.

Go to Therapy

Most modern rehab treatment includes considerable aftercare and ongoing counseling and therapy – whether via one-on-one sessions, by connecting you to another therapist, or by telehealth. It’s important that you continue to invest in that treatment and self-care, especially as you move back into the workplace. Likely, you’ll need ongoing therapy as well as a self-help or support group like AA, NA, LifeRing, or SMART.

If you’re very worried, you might also want to opt into staying in a sober house in the interim. These “halfway houses” provide an intermediate environment, in which you’ll have support and accountability, social meals, and people to share with as you move back into the workplace.

Manage Stress

Managing stress is one of the most important steps to having a healthy and balanced life. While that can be difficult in a modern world, you can do it. Often, managing stress means taking care of yourself, taking care of your environment, and learning when to say no. For example, you might opt to take up a meditative practice, but it won’t do too much if you’re constantly stressed by other things in your environment. You need a holistic approach that starts with your basic life structure and extends to your job.

What does that mean?

Eat Well – Good nutrition helps you to maintain energy, improve health over time, avoid mood swings, avoid energy crashes, and even feel happier. Many people entering rehab actually struggle with nutritional deficiencies, so ensuring you eat well on average will also work to correct long-term feelings of being sick or feeling down – because nutritional deficiencies can have very similar symptoms to mental health disorders. Here, you don’t have to be perfect. Just try to make sure you eat a varied diet, eat enough fruit and vegetables, and meal-prep or buy healthy meals if you don’t have energy to cook when you get home.

Get Enough Sleep – Most people need anywhere from 6-10 hours of sleep in a day. Most of us have a good idea of how much sleep it takes to wake up feeling good. Often, building a consistent sleeping schedule, where you go to bed and wake up at about the same times every day will make it easier to consistently get the sleep you need to have energy and to avoid stress.

Exercise – 30-60 minutes of light to moderate exercise a day will reduce stress, improve your mood, and boost energy levels. That might be a walk at work during lunch, it might be biking to work, it might be playing sports with friends or going to the gym after work. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy and that you can maintain because you’ll have to. Doing too much can cause you to crash so it’s also important to be careful here.

Avoid Caffeine and Sugar – We often go back to the workplace and then use caffeine and sugar to sustain energy levels throughout the day. That can be damaging, not just to your energy and stress levels but also to your sobriety. Why? Caffeine and sugar can react in the body in similar ways to other substances, you might find yourself leaning on either or both in the same way that you would have on drugs or alcohol. And, that will eventually lead back to relapse. Of course, neither are bad in moderation, you just shouldn’t be using either to get through your day.  

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Set Boundaries

a couple discussing important things, wife setting boundariesIt’s important that you have good work boundaries. That will sometimes mean choosing a workplace that offers support for having mental health problems, for not drinking, and for having problems that mean you sometimes have to stay home. Good boundaries mean:

  • Saying no when asked to work overtime or to do something that would cut into your energy or stress levels. Having time to yourself and time to enjoy living are important
  • Being able to stand up for yourself, to handle interpersonal disputes professionally, and to ask for help if there is conflict in the workplace, even with a superior
  • Being able to say no to drinking and to attending events in which alcohol is present

It may also be a good idea to discuss your former drug or alcohol use problem with your colleagues so that you can ask for assistance around that. People may be very willing to contribute and to help, to avoid alcohol around you, etc., but they can’t do that if they don’t know.

Take Steps to Accommodate Living Well

You should never have to hate your job. You should never have to dread any part of your day. While sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as if you’re in a very temporary position, you should never aim to force yourself to endure something awful every day. You can always look at which parts of your day that are difficult and work to improve them. Sometimes that will mean changing your work, changing the type of work you do, or even working less. In other cases, you can make simpler changes like looking for a better commute, changing how you commute, or moving closer to work (or getting a job closer to your house).

Similarly, you can look at any part of your day and take the same approach. Do you hate getting ready in the morning? Do most of the work the day before. Do you hate commute? Look for a job that allows you to work from home most days. Is cooking a stress factor? Meal prep or order food in bulk. If you can creatively look for solutions, you can improve specific factors you’re stressed about.

Of course, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you will just have difficulty with everything because of a mental health disorder. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in a situation because of money. The important thing is that you take steps to make your current situation as good as possible so you can cope with it.

Going back to work after an addiction can be challenging. You’ll have to reintegrate into the workplace, you’ll have to handle stress and commute, and you’ll have to manage your colleagues. That will mean getting to know people (again or for the first time), sometimes sharing your past, and investing in taking care of yourself and in managing stress and energy levels long-term.

Hopefully, you’ve learned most of this in rehab. However, knowing something and building long-term habits are extremely different things and taking the time to make those habits reality can be challenging. At the same time, they will help you to live and to enjoy life long-term. Good luck going back to work.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

10 Cool Inspirational Quotes for Your Recovery

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10 Cool Inspirational Quotes for Your Recovery

photo of a beautiful woman reading inspirational quotes from a bookFinding inspiration and motivation as you move into recovery can be difficult. For many of us, finding a mantra, a song, or even a quote can be incredibly helpful – both as a distraction and coping mechanism and as inspiration. That often means finding words you align with, that mean something to you, and that help you to move forward. These 10 inspiring quotes are a place to start. However, if they don’t align with what you feel, you can always choose something that is meaningful to you in other ways.

Hopefully one of these quotes inspires you on your journey to recovery.

1. “I wouldn’t have been able to have access to myself or other people, or even been able to take in other people, if I hadn’t changed my life. “– Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper, best known for acting in films like A Star is Born and The Hangover, was once an addict. Today, he’s outspoken about recovery and the fact that getting clean and sober allowed him to get where he is today. His quote, which is about deliberately taking control of his life by putting down alcohol, is empowering to everyone. If you can put alcohol down, you can build yourself up to where you want to be in other parts of life – because going into recovery empowers the rest of your life. While you will have to focus on that recover for the near future, you are setting yourself up to live the life you want to live, to connect with the people you want to connect with, and to connect with yourself.

2. “Getting sober is a radically creative act.” – Meredith Bell

The author of Seven Days Sober and A Sober Year is an obvious choice for sharing quotes from, but her most famous is “Getting sober is a radically creative act”. That simple quote is a direct challenge to years of stigma and the idea that people are most creative, most social, most friendly, most alive when drinking or using. We’ve had decades of media pushing the story of the addicted artist – but getting clean is the truly radically creative act. Getting clean is not a thing you do for others, it is a thing to free yourself, to build yourself up, and to create a new version of you that you want to live with. That act of creation will help you to live the life you want to live – giving you the option to do so.

3. “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius

The famous quote about moving forward at any pace you want, so long as you don’t stop has been told and told again. For many, it’s most familiar in the story of the turtle and the hare – in which the hare boasts about being able to go fast – but it is the slow and steady pace of the turtle that eventually wins the race. Eventually, it doesn’t matter how fast you go, so long as it’s sustainable, so long as you keep picking up, and so long as you keep moving forward. Every step of recovery can be difficult. Every single process can be set with pitfalls. You might spend days where you spend more time going backwards than forwards. The important thing is that you always pick back up and start moving forward again.

4. “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein is well-known to many people taking part in mindfulness-based recovery – because he helped to popularize mindfulness in the west. The quote, which comes from the book, “The Experience of Insight”, is similar in meaning to the one above. Once you start on the path or recovery all you have to do is keep going. All you have to do is stay pointed in the right direction. That might include setbacks. It might include relapse, But once you figure out where you’re going, you can just keep moving forward with that path. Of course, it’s never that simple. Staying in the right direction is hard. But you’ve made the first step in the right direction, you’ve made the first step towards the rest of your life and where you want to be and you should be able to continue and keep up motivation.

5. “The way to cope with the future is to create it” – Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine is best-known for his Nobel Prize in chemistry, but his quote “The way to cope with the future is to create it” is one of the more popular in addiction recovery. The quote, which was about coping with the massive life changes caused by the atomic bomb, has nothing to do with recovery. But, it does mean that the best way to move forward is to build a new life for yourself. And, that’s incredibly powerful when you’re trying to do just that. The future is incredibly scary. Moving forward without drugs and addiction is incredibly scary. But you can build a future for yourself and you can make a life that you want to be in. And that is an incredibly powerful inspiration for most of us.

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A man sitting on a rock looking into the distance at sunset6. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”– Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith’s famous quote is actually about saying that drunkenness is not a moral failing so long as one is willing to get back up again.  In this case, that means getting back up from addiction, in putting one foot in front of the other, and in consistently picking yourself back up. That’s important whether this is your first time in recovery or if you’ve failed in the past. Being able to get up, to keep going, and to persevere, even in the face of failure, is the key to recovery. Real recovery isn’t your willingness to put drugs or alcohol down the first time, it’s your ability to keep doing it and to stop yourself from doing it again. To fail and to pick yourself back up again.

7.  “Recovery is hard. Regret is harder.”– Brittany Burgunder

The author of Safety in Numbers is a well-known recovery coach for eating disorders, and her quote about one behavioral disorder applies very well to another. Burgunder was talking about eating disorders. But, that reminder that failing recovery is failing yourself is important. Failing recovery is failing your hopes and dreams for the future. It’s letting yourself down. Each time you slip up, you make it harder for yourself to keep going. And that’s important in a world that tends to glamorize drug and alcohol use, especially when you might be tempted to do so yourself as well.

8.  “I’m Not Telling You It Is Going to Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going to Be Worth It.”

Recovery is not easy. Getting clean and sober is not easy. There is nothing about rebuilding yourself and tearing down old habits and behaviors that is easy. At the same time, that effort and work will help you to build a life that you want to live, it will help you to put yourself in a position where you can be happy, where you can enjoy the little things, and where you can be proud of yourself. That’s worth every bit of hard work you put in now. As the quote says, it’s never going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

9. “Don’t let the past steal your present. “– Cherrie Moraga

In “This Bridge Called my Back” feminist writer Cherrie Moraga shared an old quote about moving forward. It’s intended to say that you have to create new ideas and new ideology to move forward, you have to figure out who you are in the future, and you can’t let the past and the past version of you get in the way. That can be incredibly inspiring as you move forward on your journey of recovery. That’s also important to keep in mind. The past, substance abuse, and your past habits and behaviors will steal your ability to enjoy the present, they will drag you back into substance abuse, it is on you to prevent that so that you can grasp your future.

10. “Not drinking makes me a lot happier.”– Naomi Campbell

Most of us are very accustomed to hearing that substance abuse makes us happy. Drinking is the thing you do when you want to feel good. Drugs are an escape. We use social lubricants. The thing is, drinking doesn’t make us happy. It gets in the way. Campbell’s powerful quote reminds us that the real reason we want to quit drugs and alcohol is that we want to be happy. And, if we want to do that, we have to put in the work to get clean and sober.

Finding motivation and inspiration to move into recovery and stay in recovery is one of the most important parts of recovery. Quotes can help you to get there. They can provide reminders of what you’re fighting for. And, they can give you inspiration as you try to move forward. Hopefully, you align with one of these and can find some help and inspiration here.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today to learn more about our detox and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

The Link Between Vaping and Drug Addiction

photo of a man vaping

The Link Between Vaping and Drug Addiction

photo of a man vapingVaping or vaporizing is an increasingly popular habit, in which liquid solutions, normally tobacco, are vaporized and inhaled as steam. Vaporizers were originally marketed as a safer and cleaner alternative to cigarettes and are today used by an estimated 9% of the U.S. population, or 35 million adults. This upswing in popularity is concerning, not just because vaporizers have only been on the market for a decade, but also because they consistently function as a sort of “gateway” drug, in that high vaporizer usage is associated with drug and alcohol usage. While this is correlation and not likely causation, easy access to large quantities of nicotine may play a role in forming addictions – which eventually lead to other addictions.

That’s especially critical as 1 in 5 high school students now uses a vaporizer, according to the CDC. With an estimated 1 in 5 middle school students doing the same, “vaping” is quickly being picked up by the populations who are most vulnerable to drug addiction and abuse.

What Are Vaporizers?

Vaporizers rapidly heat a liquid medium to turn it into a gas or steam. This liquid, which is normally sold in cartridges, can contain anything from no nicotine to extremely high doses of nicotine, equivalent to several cigarettes at once. For example, some are intended to contain a single cigarette of nicotine in a puff – supposedly with the intent of reducing the needed volume of “smoking”. Unfortunately, this efficiency rarely results in the intended effect. Instead, people consistently enjoy puffing on a vaporizer. In fact, following vaporizers being introduced to the market, cases of nicotine poisoning rose from an average of 1 per day to over 215 per day.

Vaporizer cartridges are also sold with flavor, marijuana, or other substances – meaning that someone using a vaporizer might be inhaling sugar, nicotine, or a stronger drug.

Vaporizers and Cannabis

Vaporizers are very commonly used to smoke marijuana, especially in the medical community. Vaporizing marijuana preserves more of the active ingredients than smoking – meaning that cannabis can be better dosed and better controlled. That’s while reducing contamination from tar and smoke, which can greatly reduce short-term lung pollution. At the same time, it makes cannabis products more accessible and more discrete for those abusing the drug – making it easier to pass off as tobacco or a flavored e-liquid.

So, vaporizers make it somewhat safer for people to use cannabis. At the same time, they introduce risks in the same manner they introduce risks for tobacco products. If it’s easy to inhale 20 inhales in a row – it’s easier to take significantly too much and to start having problems. For example, while marijuana has a very low addiction profile, about 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 users will start to show signs of addiction over time – with vaporizers, it’s much easier to escalate to the kinds of quantities that result in addiction.

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Do Vaporizers Lead to Heavier Drug Use?

photo of two friends vapingMany people use vaporizers for recreational usage. That can result in attempting to add other drugs, which are less safe. In fact, 85% of all vaporizer users occasionally put something other than tobacco or marijuana in their vaporizer. However, these incidents are experimental and incidental at most.

On the other hand, some meth and DMT users are actually switching to using vaporizers rather than glass pipes. For the most part, that’s a very good thing – considering glass pipes result in hundreds of injuries every year. Vaporizers are unlikely to explode or break from the heat. In addition, they’re less likely to burn hands or to start fires. Yet, most research shows that their usage is fairly incidental. Therefore, there is currently no evidence of widespread usage of vaporizers for heavier drugs.

Do Vaporizers Contribute to Addiction?

Vaporizers allow someone to have near-unlimited access to cannabis or nicotine, through a cartridge. For example, most nicotine cartridges contain anywhere from 400-600 doses of nicotine. A 1ml cartridge of “normal” rather than “strong” or “extra strength” e-liquid is normally equivalent to 3-7 cigarettes. A 3ml cartridge can equate to as many as 21 at normal strength, or as many as 70+ at extra strength. With nothing to stop you from going through that at any pace, there’s nothing to stop you from inhaling tobacco at a rate that would be difficult to impossible with traditional cigarettes.

That ability to quickly and easily get a hit of something, without regards to being indoors or out, and without the restrictions of cigarettes, can make it easier to become addicted. That’s especially true for those who already have a problem with tobacco or who have a history of relying on substances to get themselves through the day.

Eventually, vaporizers offer a lot of harm reduction over smoking cigarettes or joints. Without the smoke and tar, they reduce lung pollution. Often, that means it’s safer and easier for people to use the substances they want. However, vaporizers also result in risks for people who have poor impulse control or who have strong habits to puff and smoke. That can be especially dangerous for those with a long history of smoking or those with addictive personalities.

Vaporizers aren’t bad. However, if someone doesn’t’ smoke, it’s always better to avoid starting altogether. If you do smoke, it’s better to use quantity control when switching to vaporizers – because the amount of nicotine or cannabis you inhale can greatly increase when you switch to a cartridge. Buying smaller cartridges, only using a certain number of cartridges per week, etc. Keeping track of how much you’re smoking and when is important if you want to stay in control.

And, of course, people with a past history of substance abuse, minors, and individuals with documented issues with quantity control should never use vaporizers. They’re too easy to abuse and too easy to escalate into an addiction, even with tobacco. If you have a therapist, you can always ask how they feel, although, in most cases, it’s just better if you don’t start.

Vaporizers are not a cause for alarm. However, they are easy to abuse, they can result in addiction, and people with addiction or addictive personalities can rely on them. In some rare cases, people use them to smoke stronger drugs – but in almost every case, those people were smoking stronger drugs using more dangerous methods first. At the same time, millions of teens and young people are using vaporizers, which could lead them to nicotine addiction and reliance on substances.

If you or your loved-one have any questions about our drug rehab or alcohol rehab programs please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors. We’re here to help you recover.

What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

photo of a bottle of naloxone

What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

photo of a bottle of naloxoneNaloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is a drug used to counteract the effect of opioids. It is most often used to reverse overdoses, giving people time to make it to the hospital and emergency care. Naloxone, which was first approved in the 1990s, is estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives in the United States. It’s also available for free or at a low cost, via the drug’s distribution website and through many pharmacies. In most cases, you don’t even need a prescription.

An estimated 1.6 million people have an opioid use disorder. A further 10.3 million abuse prescription pain pills, heroin, and other illicit opioids. Naloxone exists to give those people the opportunity to recover from an overdose and to get the help they need to live. That’s crucial, considering over 70,000 people in the U.S. die from opioids each year. The CDC and the World Health Organization recommend Naloxone as first line treatment, marking it among the safest and most effective drugs in its type.

History of Naloxone

Naloxone or Naloxone Hydroxide was first patented in 1961. It quickly hit markets and was used in clinical trials of efficacy across North America. In a 20-year study, the drug reversed over 10,000 overdoses, giving patients time to get to the hospital. This study was crucial in opening Naloxone available to the “take-home” public, resulting in legislation that now allows families and addicts to pick up doses or order them online. In 2017, take home naloxone had been available for 20 years, with a consensus that it saved lives where available – but with too few people educated in using naloxone, more effort in education and availability would have to be done.

Today, Naloxone is available in most pharmacies and at most clinics for a low cost. In addition, you can get it for free at many shelters and drug shelters. Availability, of course, depends on region. However, you can always look for pickup options on the Narcan website.

What is Naloxone and How Does It Work?

Naloxone is an opioid agonist. It prevents opioids from binding to the brain. This means that when taken, the drug can actually cause the individual to go into withdrawal. That can be dangerous on its own, so it’s important to call 911, even if you have Naloxone on hand. In most cases, Naloxone is administered using a nasal spray which should successfully pull the individual out of an overdose within about 2-5 minutes. If it doesn’t, you’re recommended to give them a second dose.

Naloxone typically works for 20-30 minutes. After this, the individual may need a second dose. However, many people simply don’t call 911 for drug emergencies. While that often relates to the police showing up with ambulances, doing so could save a life. Currently, ambulances are called just 10-56% of the time during overdoses. Simply calling an ambulance after administering Naloxone ensures that the dose is enough, that follow-up treatment is handled, and that the person overdosing is monitored until they are out of the window of danger.

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Medication Assisted Treatment

photo of a man and doctor during Medication Assisted TreatmentWhile Naloxone is primarily used to reverse overdoses, it’s also used in Medication Assisted Treatment of MAT. Here, it is commonly administered with Buprenorphine. The idea is that someone using naloxone cannot get high off of an opioid. Buprenorphine includes a 1:20 mixture of Naloxone and Methadone. This allows the individual to take the methadone to relieve cravings and to reduce withdrawal symptoms, while preventing them from getting high. Naloxone is also poorly orally absorbed and is poorly absorbed through a patch. So, if the patient attempts to inject the methadone, the Naloxone takes effect, and they go into withdrawal instead.

This has allowed Buprenorphine to be used as a maintenance therapy, with little supervision by doctors.

Naloxone may also be used as a maintenance therapy on its own. However, in most cases it is not. In addition, taking Naloxone while addicted can cause significant problems, such as paranoia, cold and flu symptoms, and spasms. Therefore, it’s important to seek out therapy and behavioral treatment when starting Naloxone therapy.

Does Naloxone have Side Effects?

Naloxone, like any other drug, has a full list of side effects. They are:

  • Pain at injection site
  • Burning sensation at injection site
  • Hot flashes
  • Sudden onset withdrawal
  • Sweating
  • Arrythmia (low chance)
  • Allergies (low chance)

Naloxone is also completely non-addictive. Long-term users experience only slight increase in tolerance. However, with no other addiction profile, this drug is safe to take long-term with buprenorphine. However, buprenorphine is usually recommended for 3-6 months – so extremely long-term usage should never be a consideration.

In addition, with no overdose risk, Naloxone is safe to use, even by amateurs. In fact, if someone is not responding to a first dose, the recommendation is to give them a second one. And, if your ambulance does not show up within 20 minutes, it’s recommended to monitor the affected person and administer a new dose if symptoms of overdose start to reappear.

Essentially, Naloxone is one of the safest and most effective drugs for treating overdose, as listed by the World Health Organization.

Who Can Get Naloxone?

Naloxone is sold over the counter and for take-home use across most of the U.S.

It’s also FDA approved as a pill, a patch, an injection, and a nasal spray. The nasal spray is the most recommended, as it is the easiest to administer, even under stress. It’s also easier to use without complications than an intramuscular shot. However, both are readily available under two major brands. Narcan and EVZIO. Both are low-cost, widely distributed at pharmacies, shelters, and drug shelters, and easy to use. You can check online on Narcan.com to see where you can acquire the drug in your area.

Eventually, Narcan is a safety device. You have it on you to ensure that yourself or a loved one is safe in case of an opioid use disorder. If you’re already getting opioid addiction treatment, Narcan is a lifeline to prevent you from relapsing. In either case, the drug is safe, readily available, and it will help.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about the drug rehab admissions process. We’re here to help you recover.

Does Sobriety have to be Boring?

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If you’re getting sober for the first time, the first thing that might strike you is just how much time you have. The more you drink, the less time you have and the less memory you have of that time.

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