9 Tips to Identify Drug Abuse in Your Workplace: How You Can Help Employees Who Are Struggling With Addiction

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As the United States continues to experience the worst drug overdose epidemic in history, employers will often find themselves at the frontlines of an employees’ substance abuse problem. While the opioid epidemic has been prominent in the headlines of the past couple of years, almost every single person in America has come into contact with someone who is struggling with addiction. For many, it is a coworker, a neighbor, a close friend or a family member who has been fighting addiction publicly, or privately. We all tend to know someone who has been affected by this ongoing tragedy. As a human resources professional, identifying drug abuse in your workplace is increasingly likely and you are in a great position to offer much needed help.

 

Drug abuse tends to be a sensitive topic at the workplace. Most people feel like they need to hide their problems with drugs or alcohol due to the negative stigma surrounding their substance abuse. The problem with the stigma is that many who know they need help simply won’t ask for it. They fear losing their family, job, social status or freedom because they feel people would stop seeing them as a person. Many people continue to negatively judge others for their addictions. That stigma greatly contributes to the problem, as many ultimately lose their lives when their substance abuse goes without the treatment options and resources they so desperately need.

 

More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (1)

 

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Employers can be on the front lines of addressing a substance abuse problem with one of their employees. While many will hide their drug use, some are simply afraid to ask for help.

 

As employers, we can identify potential drug abuse problems in the workplace and help our employees get access to the health care they need.

 

Once a substance use disorder is identified, an employer is at an integral position in the recovery effort. Employees are arguably the most valuable assets for your organization, so it makes sense as an HR professional to help your personnel attain a lifetime of sobriety through healthy choices. Two of the greatest tools available to a company are random drug testing, and knowing how to spot the different types of erratic behavior that is often associated with drug abuse. Frequent absenteeism is one common sign that someone who works for you could be struggling with a substance use disorder.

 

Illegal and prescription drugs are commonly abused in the United States. It is estimated that for every 50 people you employ, 3 to 4 are currently experiencing a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. (2) Have your department supervisors been trained in how to identify a potential problem? Do you feel that the safety of employees at your company could be compromised by a person’s alcohol or drug abuse? Regardless of your answers to those questions, it is always a good idea to understand the warning signs of a potential addiction occurring within your workplace.

 

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Many times, another co-worker might know something you don’t know. Learn the signs to spot workplace substance abuse, before it’s too late.

 

If you suspect an individual has a drug or alcohol problem and it’s affecting their work productivity or the safety of others, you should act immediately.

Here are some common signs of substance abuse you can look for to help you identify a potential alcohol or drug problem with one of your employees:

 

1. Missing work or frequent instances of being late:

Many who struggle with a substance abuse disorder miss more days of work than the average employee. They are also late more frequently than your average worker. In 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that a worker with a prescription pain medication addiction missed an average of 29 days of work per year. (3) Compare that with the 10.5 average number of days missed by most other employees. Frequent absences occurring after holidays, weekends and paydays are normal for a drug addict. These are all common signs that may stand out to you or your department supervisors. While missing a lot of work doesn’t necessarily mean a drug abuse problem, it should be worth taking notice.

 

2. Noticeably lower productivity in job performance:

When an employee shows up to work but somehow doesn’t seem to get the job done, this may be a sign of a chemical dependence issue. This is costing the American economy a lot of money, roughly $504 billion dollars per year (4), according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors. As you try to identify drug abuse in the workplace, take note of employees who were once productive, but now seem to produce less in an average workday.

 

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Using drugs, or alcohol can have dramatic impacts on an employee’s productivity.

 

3. Higher health care expenses, worker’s compensation and disability claims:

It is estimated that employees who abuse illegal drugs have health care costs that are 3 times higher than the average worker. Factor this in with the increased likelihood of an on the job accident and you can see where the costs could exponentially grow.

 

4. Changes in outward physical appearance:

It could be an employee who has suddenly lost a lot of weight, or someone who comes into work looking disheveled, with dirty, wrinkled clothes. Personal hygiene is often neglected with a severe addiction, so look for these signs as well. These can be symptoms of an underlying problem with drug or alcohol abuse.

 

5. Major shifts in mood (abruptly or over time)

Behavior that is typical of a person addicted to drugs can be very subtle or depending on the types of drugs they are abusing, over the top. Simply withdrawing from other employees, or sudden quiet shyness could be a warning sign of an addiction or another mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression. Paranoid behavior can be more pronounced; the person may develop a temper that can be easily set off. Sometimes this results in violent, aggressive behavior that should not be tolerated at a place of work.

 

6. Physical symptoms that are visibly noticeable:

Look for these signs in your employees and you just may find someone who needs help with their addiction: Bloodshot eyes, shaking, body tremors, dilated pupils, bad breath or constant use of gum or breath mints. Constant sweating, clammy hands, a runny nose or constant touching of their nose could also be signs of someone who is getting high while on the job.

 

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If an employee is suddenly acting out of character, they may just be having a bad day. If the problem persists, it could be a sign of something much worse.

 

7. Avoiding people after breaks from work:

If an employee seems to act strange after personal time, such as a lunch break or a simple trip to the bathroom, there may be a reason. They may be attempting to hide the smell or other physical sign of the drug they were using. It may be out of the paranoia which is often associated with abuse of various illicit or prescription drugs.

8. Employees caught sleeping on the job:

If one of your workers has fallen asleep at the job, this is could very well be a sign of drug abuse. In an office setting this may not be a major safety concern. Everyone experiences drowsiness every now and then. In an industrial or intensive production environment however, falling asleep on the job could become a deadly mistake. Either way, sleeping on the job is a detriment to the overall health and safety of your workplace, and if it happens often with a particular employee, they may be exhibiting signs of a substance use disorder.

 

9. Concerns brought up by coworkers and other employees:

Listening to your employees as a valuable resource is highly recommended here. Most often, employees who work closely with the individual will know more than you do about the situation. If you have a drug-free workplace agreement in use, other employees will be aware of the dangers that come with drug use at your company. Make sure you investigate the situation, talk to their supervisors and other coworkers to get concrete answers and make a swift judgment of the situation.

 

 

A drug-free workplace plan should be implemented to address any concerns or suspicions regarding potential drug abuse issues.

 

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Offering help to your employees is a great way to help address the substance abuse problems in the United States as a whole. Many times, employers are the first to identify the problem.

 

Perhaps it is time to consider a comprehensive workplace alcohol and drug abuse program for your employees. Team training initiatives can greatly increase awareness to the threats associated with drug abuse on the job. Many human resource departments cover all of this but if you are unsure of your company’s policies you should talk to your HR department for more information.

 

According to a recent National Safety Council study (5), less than one fifth of employers in America feel “extremely prepared” to address drug abuse at their company. 76% of employers do not offer any training on how to spot on the job drug abuse.

 

Once alcohol or drug abuse is identified, an evidence-based rehabilitation program should be instigated as soon as possible.

 

In America, a large portion of the over 20 million people who struggle with addiction do not receive the treatment they need. An employer is uniquely positioned to help their people here. This help may ultimately save someone’s life. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) are a popular form of assistance that can help you keep your most valuable assets living healthy, productive lives. Your employees are the backbone of your corporation. Your EAP could be a confidential service to help them deal with a substance abuse problem or another physical or mental health issue. These programs typically reduce harm associated with drug use, such as injuries, lowered productivity and theft. EAP’s are also are helpful in boosting overall job performance and employee morale.

 

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A successful recovery from addiction is a long, continuous process, but a worthwhile one. Find out how you can help your employees today!

 

Through most employer insurance plans, we can help guide our employees find the treatment and resources they so desperately need. Is your company currently ready to meet the challenges facing your employees? Wouldn’t it feel good to know you might have a hand in saving someone’s life?

 

 


The Bottom Line:

Employer supported and monitored treatment yields better sustained recovery rates than treatment initiated at the request of friends and family members. (5)

-(2009) Substance use, symptoms, and employment outcomes of persons with a workplace mandate for chemical dependency treatment. Psychiatric Services, 60(5), 646-654.


 

 

With the help of our compassionate, professional, evidence-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, 10 Acre Ranch can help you to better serve your employees. We will show you exactly where and when you can offer them support. Through our combined efforts we will help you foster productivity and a safe environment for your employees and everyone who comes into contact with your organization or business.

 

Want to schedule an on-site training? Give us a call so we can help you right away:

 

(877) 228-4679

 

 

 

(1): https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm

(2): https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

(3): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/opioids/data.html

(4):https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/TheUnderestimatedCostoftheOpioidCrisis.pdf

(5): https://www.nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/NewsDocuments/2017/Media-Briefing-National-Employer-Drug-Survey-Results.pdf

 

 

 

Are Drug Implants the Future of Drug Addiction Treatment?

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One of the most common misconceptions about drug addiction revolved around the idea that addicts somehow lack a sense of self control and moral fortitude. However, decades of research and science have led experts to a deeper understanding of how addiction actually works. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences. Many people with addiction (or substance abuse disorder) have an intense, unrelenting focus on obtaining and using a certain substance, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, even to the point where it will take over their lives. Many addicts suffer job loss, homelessness, loss of personal relationships, and sometimes even legal trouble. Drug implants are a new development in the field of addiction treatment.

How addiction and human brain function are interlinked

People with a substance use disorder have chemically altered the wiring of their brain and how it functions, because of this many people have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. The majority of drugs work on an area of the brain commonly known as the “reward center”. When a person uses alcohol or drugs, chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. These chemicals are meant to train the brain for survival, increasing the likelihood a certain action will be repeated again in the future. Over time, with repeated use of drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to rely on this substance because it has been tricked into believing that it needs it in order to survive.

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Addiction tricks your brain into thinking it needs more drugs to survive or even function properly.

Additionally, the brain begins to associate certain things like people, places, or objects with this behavior and can be triggered even years after getting sober. This helps to explain why some people relapse after they have stopped using drugs or alcohol. Thankfully though, there are many treatment options available for those seeking help with a substance abuse problem.

How to find addiction treatment options for yourself, or a loved one in Riverside, California 

Making a quick search on Google for support groups will likely bring up hundreds of results for anonymous 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While these are offered in almost every city, for free, sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially for someone who is just getting sober for the first time. Alternatively, depending on the level of care needed, there are many drug and alcohol treatment programs available as well, such as medical detox, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, group counseling, and so on.

Factors to consider when trying to decide what level of treatment may be appropriate for you or a loved one will depend on many factors, such as: severity of addiction, type of drug used, quantity of drug being used, whether or not multiple drugs are being used at the same time, and how long they have been using drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists for a personalized plan today!

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Our addiction treatment specialists in Riverside, California are available to take your call 24/7.

Unfortunately, addiction treatment is not one size fits all. Otherwise, that would make solving this disease a whole lot easier, and though there may be many tried and true treatment options available for anyone who may be suffering from an active addiction, there are still ongoing studies and clinical trials with the intention of solving this problem. Their passion is to find alternative treatment methods for those individuals who are more likely to benefit from their application. One of the methods that are currently underway, and is actively being studied, is the use of implants to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. Below is a list of several different methods currently being studied that involve the use of drug implants that work to re-wire the addicted brain.

Naltrexone Drug Implants

Perhaps the most popular of this emerging field of science would be the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment of naltrexone implants for addiction. Naltrexone is used to help combat heroin, or other opioid addiction, as well as an addiction to alcohol. An addiction to heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, codeine, or Oxycontin, can be extremely dangerous. The safest, sometimes only, way is to attend a medical detox program. The same can be said with an addiction to alcohol. The problem with both these substances is that the cravings for the drug early on in recovery can be extremely intense.

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The Naltrexone implant works by slowly administering an opioid antagonist that helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Fortunately, the naltrexone implant works by delivering a consistent dose of naltrexone into the body for 3-6 months. It is usually implanted into the abdominal wall and has little to no recovery time after surgery. Additionally, there is no need for removal as the implant, resembling a pellet, will eventually dissolve after the allotted time frame. The important part of this medication is that it reduces the craving for drugs or alcohol by blocking the pleasurable effects substances send to the reward center of the brain, essentially re-training the brain to no longer associate drugs and alcohol with a pleasurable experience.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Another promising method for addiction treatment is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is also gaining popularity for the treatment of things like obsessive compulsive disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. This approach to treatment hopes to combat the underlying causes for cravings, addiction itself, and relapse. Deep brain stimulation will be the tool to essentially aid in the rewiring of a person’s brain. Typically, an implant resembling that of a pacemaker is inserted under the skin, with a wire attached to the brain. In some cases, though, a person can have a chip implanted directly in the brain. The electrodes they emit target specific areas of the brain, impacting the brain’s reward system.

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Deep brain stimulation targets certain areas of the brain with electric pulses that help to train the brain to operate differently.

Buprenorphine Implants

Another implant meant to aid in the war against the opioid crisis is the buprenorphine implant. It was FDA approved in 2016 as a 6 month subdermal implant for the treatment of opioid dependence. Similar to the naltrexone implant, it releases a study supply of buprenorphine for 6 months. Although, they do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Keep in mind these drug implants are just a few of the alternative methods currently being researched. At its heart, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, with decades of research behind the current science, we are becoming better at solving this problem.

Recovery Support This Christmas

Picture showing group of friends with Christmas presents on party at home

It’s Christmastime, and for those working a program of addiction recovery, it’s a time for extra vigilance. People who are working a Program must double their recovery efforts to ensure relapse isn’t a part of one’s holiday. This weekend may be the first sober Christmas for some of our readers; as a treatment provider, we’d be remiss for failing to share some helpful advice for making it through the holiday dry.

Truthfully, it really doesn’t matter how much sobriety time you have, important holidays can wreak havoc on anyone’s program. Being around friends and family for extended periods of time can be too much for some. Not having family in one’s life can be extremely difficult for others. Emotions run high this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to react to such feelings in unhealthy ways.

The program teaches us to live one day at a time, staying present is vital to the goal of lasting recovery. If we are having a rough day, we know that “this too shall pass;” we know that drinking alcohol or doing drugs will not help us feel better about our current situation. If malaise comes over you this Christmas, you know what you need to do—get to a meeting, share with the group, and call your sponsor.

Staying Close to Recovery Support

Programs of recovery are jeopardized during the high holidays, more times than not, because individuals do not have their finger on their recovery pulse. Some convince them self that their program is stronger than it is, and as a result, they decide to go to a holiday gathering. Once there, such people are usually OK for a little while, and then other party goers start offering them beverages. If one’s program is healthy, a simple “no thank you” should suffice. If a person’s Program is fragile, the temptation may prove too much.

Keep in mind, those in their first year can take part in holiday festivities, but preparations are in order. While the safest course is to stay close to your recovery support network this weekend, we know that some people will attend parties due to a sense of obligation. Please note, you don’t have to attend Christmas parties, rather than risk relapse just don’t go. If you feel you must go to a party, then maybe you can bring a friend who’s in the program. Have your phone charged so you can call someone in the program if you get shaky, such as your sponsor. Go to a meeting before the gathering, and one afterward; even if you don’t feel it’s necessary—go anyway. Better to be safe and sober, than drunk and sorry. If you are planning to go to a party, and you’ve discussed it with your sponsor and home group, here are a few tips:

  • Get a nonalcoholic beverage immediately upon arriving and keep it by your side at all times. People are less likely to pressure you to drink if they think you are already drinking.
  • If someone notices you are not drinking alcohol and inquires, simply inform them that you have to drive; everyone agrees DUIs are not worth the risk.
  • Have a way home from the party, either in your car or have somebody to pick you up. You never want to be beholden to another partygoer in these kinds of situations.
  • Again, if not going to the party better protects your sobriety, strongly reconsider not going to the party at all. If you don’t hang around the pool, you won’t get wet.

A Sober Christmas to All

Everyone working a program of recovery has a lot to be proud of, and you can use such feelings to empower your resolve. Our future depends on continued spiritual maintenance and practicing the principles of recovery in all our affairs. Take stock of the progress you have made, doing so may help you ward off the temptation to drink or drug this Christmas. A relapse-free holiday is the best Christmas present of all.

All of us at 10 Acre Ranch hope you have a sober and safe holiday and if a problem arises, remember, you are not alone.

Addiction Recovery in The Music Industry

music band on the stage addiction recovery in the music industry

With each year that passes, it seems like another talented musician falls victim to addiction and other forms of mental illness. For some people that may feel commonplace; after all, genius is often accompanied by psychological turmoil. On the other hand, most of the general public is shocked when they learn about the passing of a beloved musician. Who can forget the confusion in many people’s mind upon learning of Prince’s death last year, a megastar who was known to rail against substance use and abuse only for Prince to die of a fentanyl overdose!

What we imagine the lives of celebrities to be like is usually miles off the mark. All of us are accustomed to thinking that fame, fortune, and success are impervious to despair; we say to ourselves, ‘how can a person who has everything throw it all away for a high.’ A line of thinking that just goes to show the paradox of addiction; the disease does not care who you are, how many friends you have, and what your financial standing is presently. Everyone has some level of propensity to get caught up in the cycle of substance use when the factors and conditions are just right.

With the year coming to a close, we should all consider the number of people who seemingly had everything, but still could not escape the consequences of untreated mental illness. Some of you were probably saddened to learn of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell’s suicide after struggling with addiction. A short time later Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington followed suit. Just last month, Lil Peep, a young rapper with a promising future ahead of him died of an overdose, he was 21.

Addiction Doesn’t Need to Be The End

It might come as a surprise to learn that there are some mental health resources available for musicians. In fact, it’s not uncommon for meetings of recovery to take place backstage before a concert. The Recording Academy’s charity MusiCares, helps people in the industry get assistance for mental health conditions, such as addiction. The foundation has helped struggling artists get into treatment, and in some cases covers the cost.

“I actually used MusiCares’ Musicians Assistance Program to get sober,” MusiCares board chairman, Michael McDonald, tells Billboard. “They provided two group therapy sessions a week. Eighteen years later, I’m sober.”

It’s also worth pointing out that a significant number of famous musicians have given up drugs and alcohol, adopting a path of addiction recovery. Including, but not limited to Trent Reznor, Billy Joel, Elton John, Flea and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pete Townshend, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, U2 bassist Adam Clayton, Billy Idol, Slash, and the late David Bowie. The list goes on, but you get the idea; recording artists can recover from mental illness, too.

“During the past 13 years, the organization [MusiCares] has provided close to $10 million in ­assistance to nearly 3,000 people in need of help,” said Harold Owens, who assists The Recording Academy’s MusiCares ­foundation address ­substance abuse, addiction and ­recovery in the industry.

You Are Eligible for Addiction Recovery

Alcohol and substance use disorder can affect the lives of anyone, and we can say the same for recovery. It’s sad to learn that the disease wins from time to time, but the list of musicians above is testament that working a program of recovery saves people’s lives. If you are a male struggling with addiction, musician or not, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We can assist you in realizing your dream of recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment, Not Jail

Young man with beard, lost in the vices of alcoholism, smoking and drug addiction

If you are an alcoholic or are in recovery from alcohol use disorder, you are probably familiar with the “drunk tank.” For those of you who are not familiar with a cold cell at 3 AM, we’ll take a moment to explain. Drinking alcohol is not illegal in any amount; however, drinking too much alcohol in public and behind the wheel is a threat to personal and public safety. When a person who has over-imbibed comes face-to-face with the Law, the net result is usually a stay in the drunk tank. Drunk people go into holding cells at police stations until they sober up, the definition of sober varies by state and country.

In the field of addiction medicine, naturally we are averse to imprisonment for substance use of any kind. If you drive drunk, it makes sense that you do some time in jail to stress the point that you put your life and the lives of others at risk. Heavy fines usually help in cementing the point in one’s skull, but more times than not drunk drivers are repeat offenders—especially alcoholics. Hopefully, one’s DUI ends up being the catalyst that brings about change and lasting recovery; for that to occur, treatment is the best course.

Setting aside DUIs, those who drink too much and find themselves behind bars have the opportunity to sober up and reflect on making better decisions in the future. However, the drunk tank isn’t necessarily the safest place to promote circumspection.

Drunk Tanks Put People At Risk

Alcohol poisoning is a frequent recurrence among heavy drinkers, a condition that can be lethal. Whenever somebody crosses a threshold based on each person’s unique factors (i.e., tolerance and body weight), they are at risk of severe health consequences. Those who do not receive medical supervision can quickly lose their lives. What’s more, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning vary from case-to-case, meaning a police officer is probably ill-equipped to spot the signs. Merely throwing someone in the drunk tank for a brief lesson in civility is a slippery slope.

Last year, Corey Rogers (41) died in a Halifax, Canada, drunk tank, CBC News reports. Rodgers’ mother decided to make it her mission to end the practice of drunk tanks, examining various policies and procedures. Jeannette Rogers’ (Corey Rogers’s mother) cause has the support of addiction recovery and street health workers.

“People who are highly intoxicated don’t belong in jail,” said Rogers, a retired psychiatric nurse.

In other parts of Canada, police bring intoxicated people to “sobering centers,” according to the article. Once there, people high on drugs can get assessments, shelter, food, and access to other services. Law enforcement should opt to release a drunk person to a sober adult or a treatment center, before resorting to drunk tanks, said Archie Kaiser, a law professor at Dalhousie University.

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

If alcohol use has led to legal difficulties, it’s possible that you have an alcohol use disorder. Treatment is the most efficient way of breaking the cycle of addiction and learning how to work a program of recovery. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch for a free consultation.

Recovery Fellowship During Thanksgiving

Cheerful group of people with sparkles together celebrating New Year eve

All of us at 10 Acre Ranch would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving. With less than 24 hours to go, it’s vital you have or are creating a plan for getting through the day. If this isn’t your first significant holiday in the Program, you know that this can be a difficult time for a substantial number of people. There is a list of reasons why holidays are more trying on one’s recovery, compared to standard days of the year.

One of the byproducts of many people’s addiction is your dear ones may have cut ties with you. Years and decades of abuse can wear one’s loved one’s thin; while it is possible to rekindle relationships in recovery, it doesn’t occur overnight. You can’t blame family for being skeptical about your recovery, at first, they must protect themselves from upset. In early recovery, the risk of relapse is unfortunately high, because of this families are cautious not to get their hopes up. If your story is anything like most people in recovery, then you have a history of breaking commitments and falling short of expectations.

Please do not get discouraged if your family chooses to stay on the periphery of your life for now. In time, your actions will prove to your family just how earnest you are, they will see that your choice to seek recovery is not another manipulation. If there is one thing addicts and alcoholics understand well, it’s that one’s word doesn’t carry much weight. Without visible action, people are unlikely to believe one’s seriousness regarding recovery. Those who honestly work the program will not receive any guarantees in life, but family is likely to come around to trusting you again, if one stays the course.

A Family in Recovery

You may not have family back in your life, yet, but rest assured they are in fact rooting for your recovery. It’s crucial that you keep doing the next right thing in the program, regardless of how you feel about what you don’t have in your life today. Instead, be grateful for what you do have, like a fellowship of men who will do just about anything to help your recovery.

In early recovery, individuals have a fellowship to rely on when times get rough. It’s wise to lean on such people during the holidays, for these are days of the year that are likely to stir up one’s emotions. People relatively new to the program are often inclined to isolate during major holidays. It’s only natural, many people’s go-to-setting is to recoil into their shell when they are unhappy with the situation. For some, being unable to spend time with family this Thanksgiving is a severe blow. It can make one question why they are bothering with this “recovery stuff” anyway?

Naturally, that’s a selfish and self-centered response to an undesirable situation. When we can’t get what we want when we want it, it’s common to bemoan one’s position. If you find yourself questioning your mission for change this Thanksgiving, please call your sponsor or another person in recovery immediately. Get to a meeting, or go to several; you have a support network, please utilize it whenever necessary. You may not have biological family back in your life yet, but you do have recovery family now. You are not alone, others are feeling the same way you are, and meetings are a perfect opportunity to hear how others manage these situations. Who knows, you might share something that helps another who’s having a hard time, as well.

Sober Holidays

Everything that happens in our recovery takes place on our “higher power’s” schedule. Exercising patience is difficult early on, but it gets simpler in time. Traversing the holidays is exponentially more comfortable if you take time throughout your day to recognize everything you have today is worth your gratefulness. If you didn’t drink or drug today, that’s as good a starting point as any. You may find that you have more to be grateful for then you realized, draw strength from such a realization. And remember, wherever you are, the helping-hand of recovery is close.

Recovery: Newcomers Learn About Fun

photo of young people during an addiction treatment

When people contemplate the decision to seek addiction treatment and recovery, there are several false perceptions. Individuals have ideas in their mind about what they think recovery is, and perhaps more importantly—what it is not. Misconceptions keep people from beneficial pursuits; unfamiliarity is often a roadblock to recovery.

If much of a person’s life has been about substance use, it’s hard to imagine having a good time without drugs or alcohol. Thinking that fun is contingent upon substance use means that without drugs or alcohol there will be no enjoyment, logically. However, that is a faulty line of reasoning for the simple fact that fun can be experienced clean and sober. You only need to ask people working a program to find out that they’re not sticks-in-the-mud.

Walking into a meeting for the first time is usually an eye-opening experience. Newcomers witness the unexpected, people smiling without chemical encouragement. In the rooms, laughter is heard before, during, and after the meeting. People are happy to see one another, and plans are made to extend the socialization outside of the meeting hall. If you are new to the program, quickly you’ll come to understand that fun in recovery is more than possible. Fun in recovery is a requirement!

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor In Recovery

Working a program of recovery is hard work; one must engage in significant reflection, processing, and spiritual maintenance. While working the Steps with a sponsor one has to confront aspects of one’s life that is troubling. Recovery lifts the curtain on your life revealing “your” part in the misfortunes that your disease brought you. An enormous effort to be sure, emotionally draining to the point of some newcomers leaving before the miracle happens. To put it another way, people were not ready, to be honest with themselves and others. Hopefully, such individuals find their way back to the rooms, sooner rather than later.

Newcomers who are willing to do whatever it takes to recover will learn the joy that comes with self-discovery. The process takes time, but it will be worth it, and that will become clear in short order. Along the way, you will develop lasting friendships with people who will be there when the going gets tough. Such people will be there during the rough times and, equally valuable, during the good times. When we get our house in order, we can enjoy ourselves; both inside the rooms and out. On page 132 of “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, it states:

“But we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life… We think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”

The Promise of Recovery

Every day, people around the world committed to working a program find ways to enjoy themselves in recovery. Many of those people would probably tell you that they couldn’t ever imagine having sober-fun before recovery.

Life in the Program is not without difficulty, but it’s a balanced life. Rough weather always passes, and the sunshine always returns; because we manage our problems spiritually not chemically, today. If you are ready to experience the joys that accompany a program of recovery, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We place great emphasis on showing you that fun in recovery is possible.

Mental Illness In Young Adults

young people in a group supporting each other's mental health

If you are a young adult, there is a good chance you are getting ready to start or have just started the fall semester. You may even be a freshman, heading away from home for the first time in your life. Unchaperoned! This is an important time in a person’s life, one that should be cherished — in between studying and class. For most people who pursue higher education, the time literally flies by. Before you know it, graduation has come and gone and off you go to the workforce.

College days are also a time when you will come to find out who you are, in good ways and bad. Your strengths and weaknesses will come to the surface quickly without the aid of mom and dad nearby. Hopefully, you are heading off to school having a relatively healthy relationship with alcohol. It’s a substance that can hardly be avoided during this time in one’s life. Certainly, you saw some partying in high school, but there was always some parental oversight. And, the risk of getting caught, as well as the fear of punishment, keeps most teens in line.

Without fail, some heading off to college for the first time have already developed unhealthy ties to substances. Whether it be alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or all three. It could mean that you had a healthy appetite for socialization. Or, it could mean that the seeds of addiction were planted at a young age. Just that the problems of addiction have not borne fruit yet. Hopefully, it’s the former scenario. Being away from home can give one’s addiction room to grow exponentially, creating a host of problems. Issues that will need to be addressed sooner, or later. What’s more, addiction is not the only mental illness that can appear up during the college years.

Mental Illness Away From Home

A significant number of college students struggle with untreated mental illness, in one form or another. In some cases, students battle addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Such a reality presents many obstacles to one’s chance of success in college. More times than not, mental illness is cited as the cause for dropping out. Fortunately, mental illness does not need to spell the end of one’s education. There are resources available on campus that can help students, with mental health disorders, keep their symptoms in check. In turn, avoiding tragedy and strengthening the chances of making it to graduation.

While the stigma of mental illness is still a very real thing, there are many more options for students today. College campuses have resources available and people students can talk to, mitigating the risks of self-harm and self-medication. It is quite common for students to develop addiction due to untreated mental health disorders.

In fact, right here in Southern California UCLA is taking mental illness seriously. The university is offering free mental health screening to all incoming freshman and transfer students, CNN reports. Such services can make all the difference in increasing a student’s chance for success. Potentially keeping them from turning to an unhealthy means of coping with the stress of college.

“To our knowledge, no other university has ever attempted screening of this nature and scale,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Students who choose to participate will be screened for depression and related traits — anxiety, mania and suicidal tendencies. And we will offer help to those who need it.”

Mental Illness Treatment

If you are a young man reading this, there is a good chance you are not attending UCLA. However, colleges across the country are placing greater emphasis on mental illness. If you are not feeling stable or are struggling with substances to cope with how you are feeling, talk to someone. Letting it go unchecked can eventually have grave consequences.

Perhaps you are getting ready to head off to school and you know that you have a condition that needs treatment. Drinking and drugging on regular basis, in conjunction with the symptoms of depression can be dangerous. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch to discuss your treatment options. We are fully equipped to help you recover from co-occurring mental health disorders.

Good Days, and OK Days In Recovery

Depressed cheerless boy sitting in the chair with professional psychologist working in the background with people during psychological recovery group therapy session

Sponsee: How’re you today?
Sponsor: Well, thank you. There are only good days, and OK days in recovery.
Sponsee: No bad days?
Sponsor: Only in active addiction.

The above dialogue may seem inane. But, that doesn’t make it any less true. Anyone working a program knows first-hand how bad one’s days can be. Having lived for years, made up of a seemingly endless stream of bad days. You know what it was like forgoing food to pay for drugs and alcohol. You probably remember how hard it was to keep track of the lies you told, or the energy you expelled. It is hard work manipulating others to serve a disease that is trying kill you.

On the other hand, those who work a program live by a code of honesty. No matter what, even when it hurts, we are honest with ourselves and others. To live any other way almost always results in relapse. In active addiction, you were isolated. Cut off from your friends and family, connections that for most people are what’s most important. Today, you find yourself in the company of fellows working towards a common goal. That of living life on life’s terms. You find yourself “a part of” rather than “apart from.” A member of a fellowship who cares about you and your success in the life-saving journey of recovery.

Please do not read the above hypothetical discourse as meaning that there won’t be trials and tribulations in recovery. There will be. Although, as long as your recovery is intact you will be able to overcome such occurrences. And, in traversing hardship without using, your program grows stronger. Aided not by mind-altering substances, but by the spiritual connection you have with others in your support network (sponsor and recovery peers).

Overcoming Hardships In Recovery

If you find yourself having a hard day, faced with adversity, turning to your higher power for guidance is advised. If you are new to the program that might be a challenge. Until your connection with the spirit grows stronger, rely heavily on the wisdom and guidance of others in the program. Like the lighthouse on a foggy night, they will guide you back to the harbor.

One of the main reasons people working a program are able to succeed in achieving long term recovery, is fellowship. We are all in this together. Something worth being grateful for, to be sure. When having a tough day, never shy from reminding yourself how far you’ve come and that for which you’re grateful. If you are clean and sober today, you have a lot for which to be thankful. In early recovery, fresh out of treatment, life is not always going to be rainbows and unicorns.

Your recovery tools and skills acquired might only take you so far with a certain situation. The wisdom of others should always be welcomed. But, people can only help if you are open and honest about what you’re dealing with. If they do not know, how can they help. This requires that you to share with another or the group what’s going on. Rest assured, nine times out of 10, someone else has dealt with a similar situation.

The Journey of Recovery Starts With Treatment

Those of you still in active addiction may have found some of this post hard to believe or understand. Your life is likely one bad day after another, and the only relief you can find is drugs and alcohol. If you make the brave choice to seek recovery, you will see early on in treatment the importance of your peers. You will see how your connection with a higher power and others in the program can save you from yourself. Which is nothing short of a miracle given all of our histories.

Your journey begins with detox and/or addiction treatment. If you are a male ready to discover the miracles of addiction recovery, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today.

Addiction and Mental Illness Help for the Homeless

photo of a homeless man

There is no telling where substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders will take you. In most cases, nowhere that would be considered ideal. People who seek help for addiction are, in many cases, destitute and are perhaps living on the streets. Homelessness and addiction can often go hand-in-hand. And with limited resources, getting off the streets and into recovery can be a real challenge.

It is not uncommon for people living on the streets to walk into the rooms of recovery. Usually at 12 Step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Those who stick around can access resources that will help them change their lot. Members may be able to assist such individuals with finding temporary housing and employment. Thus, allowing them to get back on their feet while they are learning to live a life in recovery.

There are others, though, whose co-occurring mental health disorder may make it more difficult to accomplish such goals. Requiring state assistance, such as social security benefits. A number of people who have battled addiction find a way to keep their home and job. Whereas some people’s addiction and other forms of mental illness made it next to impossible. There are millions of Americans living on the streets, today. With a little support, they can find a way to live a fulfilling life.

SOAR With SAMHSA

As was mentioned earlier, one’s untreated mental disabilities can make it hard to hold down a job. Making it impossible to pay bills. It can be a real challenge to recover without a roof over one’s head, and food in the stomach. A vast number of homeless people have mental health disorders, helping them access social welfare benefits is vital.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration launched the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program in 2005. The goal was to assist homeless individuals navigate the arduous process of applying benefit programs Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Since the program was created, more than 27,000 Americans have gained access to SSI and SSDI benefits through SOAR.

“SAMHSA’s SOAR Technical Assistance Center helps states and communities increase access to these benefits for people with behavioral health disorders who are also experiencing homelessness, as well as for those returning to their communities from jails and hospitals.”

Those who have access to financial assistance are in better position to succeed at working a program of recovery. Managing both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Getting Addiction Help for A Loved One

Do you have a loved one whose addiction has brought them to the depths of despair? Living without hearth or home? Perhaps your loved one has resigned him or herself to a life of addiction. Thinking that recovery is not possible. They are not alone, many a recovering addict and alcoholic once thought that way, too. However, recovery is possible and it works. It is a difficult process to be sure, and requires (often) the full support of one’s family.

Please contact 10 Acre today to discuss options for helping your loved one find the miracles of recovery. The longer their condition persists as is, the greater the danger of tragedy.