lean drink

Lean Drink

The use of a substance referred to as Lean drink has become the talk of the town in many circles. This infamous substance has been known to have several negative impacts on those who use it, some cases even including so much as death. What’s worse is that so many rappers and professional athletes endorse its use in one way or another.

Known in hip hop culture as ‘Lean’ or some variation of the phrase ‘Purple Drink’, this drug cocktail is a dangerous avenue some teens are using to get high. The craze surrounding Lean is a fairly recent trend, taking root in the 1990s. Although its use traces back all the way to the 1970s, Lean became popular in the 90s when rap artists began using and referencing it in their music.

As is the case with the vast majority of drugs, it is imperative to familiarize oneself with what Lean actually is. Doing so could save your life, or the life of somebody close to you. This drug, in particular, is not one to mess around with, as its effects on the body could be detrimental to one’s health.

What is Lean?

Lean is the name of a substance containing Sprite (or some sort of soda), Codeine, and candy. Codeine is found in medicine used to treat cold and allergy symptoms and is an Opiate that gives the user a feeling of immense joy or excitement. Most often, the Codeine-containing cough syrup also possesses Promethazine; Promethazine is a sedative. Soda and candy are high in sugar, masking the bitter taste of the cough syrup.

The Effects of Lean 

Some of the most common effects of Lean include the following:

  • Night Terrors
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations 
  • Memory Loss
  • Seizures 

The side-effects of using Lean are frightening and dangerous. In some cases, the drug has even been a cause of death. The Codeine found in the substance is also highly addictive, leading to frequent misuse. Codeine is classified as a Schedule V drug, making it illegal to purchase cough syrups that contain it without a prescription. 

Becoming addicted to Lean does not happen overnight. Instead, like any other drug, it happens when usage is repeated time and time again. There are also other circumstances that influence addiction such as environment, mental health, or genetics. 

Codeine is an addictive pain-killer. Because of this, the excessive use of Codeine can lead to addiction or long-term substance abuse. Before someone becomes an addict, a tolerance is built. It’s because of the tolerance that they keep coming back to the drug to give them a high equal to or greater than the first; no high is greater than the first. Tolerance leads to abuse, and abuse can have several consequences, some even as extreme as death.

What Are My Options?

If you or a loved one are addicted to Lean, or even Codeine itself, there are Addiction Treatment Services available for you. Whether it’s Inpatient Residential Treatment, Outpatient Treatment, or Detox Treatment, we’ve got you covered. It is imperative, no matter how isolated someone feels, to seek help. With the right help from Addiction Treatment Services, you can recover and pursue a life of sobriety and peace.

Why Is Lean So Popular?

Substances like Lean don’t become a popular topic of conversation by merely existing. Drugs like this have an impact on the mind and body, and this grows the substance’s popularity. 

Lean, like any other drug, became popular due to the psychological effects it has on the body. User’s typically feel a sense of euphoria, and this feeling combined with the drug’s sedative nature keeps people coming back for more. 

When drugs are used, the chemical signals tell the body that whatever they’re doing is good. Because of this, people become addicted; they begin to associate the feelings of love, happiness, and any other sort of pleasure with their drug of choice. 

Another reason Lean has become immensely popular is because of its mention by popular hip hop artists. The 1990s were no strangers to drug cocktails. In fact, there was a rise of popularity among them during that period of time. Rappers and hip hop artists alike would feature this substance in their music videos or even in public. The fad began in Houston and spread like wildfire. 

How Long Does Lean Stay in Your System?

Traces of Lean can be found in the body differently through varying tests, which include the following:

  • Urine: Two to three days
  • Saliva: One to four days
  • Blood: 24 hours
  • Hair: Two to three months

Depending on varying conditions, traces of Lean could be detected for either several days or several months. Some of these varying conditions, like any other drug, include volume, age, metabolism, and exercise. However, all of this is not to say estimates cannot be drawn up. 

How To Get Help

Substance abuse, if left untreated for a long period of time could prove itself detrimental to one’s well-being. Admitting that there is a problem is often the first step, but it can be difficult to accept the reality. Often it is easier to put on a smile for everybody else around you, but sometimes the things that are the most difficult are also the most rewarding.

Addiction Treatment Services offer you a lifeline of support. We understand the pain substance abuse can cause, and we want to share that burden with you to help you pursue a life of peace and stability.

There are options available to provide support to those struggling with an addiction to Lean. Whether it’s through inpatient, outpatient, or detox treatments, Addiction Treatment Services has you covered. 

Regardless of where you’re starting from, recovery has a purpose. That purpose can either be forgotten, gathering dust, or it can flourish in the light of glorious pursuit. Every thousand-mile journey begins with the first step.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Codeine or any other addiction, it may be time to seek help. For insight as far as the next steps are concerned, you can contact us here.

teen drug use

Signs of Drug Use in Teens

When it comes to drug abuse, there may be more to a teenager than meets the eye. As weird as it sounds, there are plenty of young people who struggle with addiction. If the question of whether or not your child is abusing drugs even exists, it is highly likely that they are indeed wrestling with substance abuse. 

Often, it is difficult for people to admit that they’re struggling with substance abuse. There’s a negative stigma attached to addiction and for a good reason. However, it is imperative to always approach these individuals with love and care; addiction in teenagers is a unique topic, and as so, it requires a unique approach. 

How Did it Happen?

There are several factors that could lead to a young person’s addiction. Some of them include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress (from family or friend groups)
  • Peer pressure
  • Coping with trauma

It could be hard to say for sure whether or not a teen is addicted, as there could be any number of reasons a young person starts using drugs. However, as far as brain chemistry is concerned, the signals in the brain are distorted when drugs are used. Because of this, thoughts, actions, and emotions adapt. The part of the brain where this happens is often referred to as the pleasure center.

If its name is any indication, the pleasure center’s function is to communicate overall satisfaction when consuming food, feeling loved, or enjoying entertainment. When a high occurs, dopamine rushes to the brain. It is at this moment that the pleasure center is activated. 

As a result of their first high, drug users often feel as though they need more every time they partake to satisfy their cravings truly; there is no high stronger than the first. The more someone does drugs, the higher volume they have to use to reach the same high, making it more challenging to achieve the desired result. This leads to withdrawal and gives birth to drug dependency.

Teen Addiction Symptoms

Symptoms of addiction in teenagers include the following:

  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in friend groups
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of interest in school/extracurriculars
  • Lack of interest in friend groups
  • Lack of self-care/grooming
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Restlessness 
  • Extreme secrecy 

More than anything, teenagers want to belong; they don’t want to be social outcasts. Because of this, their drug history could begin at a young age. Often times this serves as a catalyst for dangerous, long-term addiction and substance abuse. This is why it is imperative to be familiar with the warning signs.

It is normal for the parent of an addicted teen to feel as though they’ve failed. However, it is not their fault that this happens. Because of this, positivity is of the utmost vitality. Negative thoughts or actions will only set someone’s recovery back, worsening their circumstances. The best way to approach anybody who is struggling with addiction, especially a teenager, is with grace and understanding. This is due in large part to the fact that more times than not, teenagers want to be understood.

Asking for Help

Asking for help exposes people – it leaves them feeling vulnerable. Addiction is difficult to handle, even without the pressure of seeking assistance. In all honesty, it takes bravery and determination to ask for it. This is why it’s so important to make an effort to understand them.

Fear has a way of controlling people’s decisions – it’s paralyzing. Often times, this is a large part of the reason why some teens don’t want to reach out. Teenagers often hold the thoughts and opinions of others more highly than they ought to. This could be because they fear the potential isolation they may feel from friend groups or disappointment they may feel from a family member. That being said, it’s important to know just how to approach them on a personal level. The answer is quite simple, but it is so difficult to execute. The answer lies in validation.

When someone cares for another person, they may have a difficult time seeing them walk through a rough patch. Because of this, the urge to fix things for them is quite natural. Chances are, however, that they don’t need fixing more than they need to be heard. Validating their fear is necessary to recovery; it is not optional. Refuting one’s fear could shut them off from ever speaking to you again. 

Teenagers struggling with substance abuse may also be experiencing denial. This is another reason it’s so difficult to ask for help; they don’t think they need it. Choosing to ignore a problem exists is detrimental to potential solutions. For the loved ones in their life, this could be extremely difficult due to the obvious nature of abuse.

Along with fear and denial, depression is also a factor when it comes to neglecting help. Depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses in the world. Often, people believe that depression is exclusive to sadness, but this is not the case. There are many other symptoms of depression, one of which is a lack of motivation. 

A severe lack of motivation makes even the simplest of tasks difficult to complete. Some people have a hard time just getting out of bed when they’re depressed. Because asking for help makes people vulnerable, it intensifies the difficulty of the process. Whether this was prevalent before addiction or because of addiction makes no difference; depression is a large barrier in seeking help.

Does My Teen Need Rehab?

Rehab for drug addiction is tough when someone isn’t familiar with the tools at their disposal. Addiction Treatment Services provide teens with the tools necessary to pursue a life of recovery and stability.

No teenager wants to feel isolated, especially in a stage of life where they’re most vulnerable. Providing them with the support system they need is imperative to their recovery journey. Addiction Treatment Services can give that to you. Once your teenager feels supported and empowered, the sky’s the limit for their recovery journey.

Where to Go from Here

Some Addiction Treatment Service information we provide include the following:

The treatment options mentioned above have proven safe and successful by Addiction Treatment Services. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment method. We want to assess which treatment is best for each patient that walks through our doors.

Addiction Treatment Services Can Help

Drug addiction is difficult to walk through, especially for a teenager. They already have a hard time finding a sense of belonging, and addiction can make them feel isolated. At Addiction Treatment Services, we want them to feel that they are in good company, and we aim to carry their burden with them. If you believe your teenager may be struggling with drug addiction, you can contact us here.

parenting in recovery

Tips for Parenting in Recovery

In recovery, there is hope. Parenting in recovery gives you the opportunity to build a healthy, happy home environment and raise resilient, joyful children. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 25 percent of kids in the United States under the age of 18 experience alcohol abuse or dependence in their families. And many more grow up in homes where parents abuse drugs. The impact can be devastating.

But how exactly do you create a healthy home and what are the tricks to parenting in recovery successfully, you ask?

No one said it would be easy. Parenting is tough for everyone. But love and willingness go a long way and make it possible to guide and positively impact your children’s lives. 

Here are some of our favorite tips for parenting in recovery. Keep reading to see which ones resonate and empower you and then dive in.

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

You can’t give what you don’t have. And if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of your kids.

It’s like when you’re on the tarmac ready to take off in an airplane, and you’re reminded to put on your oxygen mask first. It’s logical. And it’s a great metaphor to keep in your back pocket as you parent. 

Your first reaction might be to overcompensate for addictive behavior before you got sober. You might feel guilty or feel shame. It’s okay. It’s normal to have these feelings, but you don’t need to act on them.

Your kids need you to be parenting from a solid, healthy place. Because from that place, you can make sound choices. 

So keep your recovery going and take care of your basic needs, and you’ll find that you have more energy. Time for your kids will just fall into place. 

Focus on the Diamonds

By diamonds, we mean positive things. The spotlight probably has been on you and your addiction and recovery. You don’t have to think about it at home with your kids anymore. You can do that in your recovery program that you’re so valiantly using like an oxygen mask.

At home, focus on the now. Focus on what you’re doing right and what your kids are doing right. Don’t just focus on the chores and homework and the “perfect” right. Instead, focus on the things that you’re all working hard at and also enjoying.

Think little things. Think about playing hard at a sport or about learning something new and interesting at school. Think about playing a board game together, going to the movies together, or watching a weekly show.

Think about reading together at bedtime or enjoying a meal together, either home cooked or from a fun, favorite take-out spot.

Encouraging your kids in areas where they shine and are happy builds self-esteem. Do this for yourself too. And praise your whole family when you play and work hard together. 

Let Your Kids Have Feelings

This is a two-part tip. First, acknowledge feelings and accept them without spinning out. This is easy with positive emotions, but it’s important with the negative ones too, especially if emotions are directed at you. If kids are angry, they’re angry. Don ‘t try to fix it or tell them that they’re not angry. The same holds true for sad feelings.

Just sit with them and give them a hug so they know you’re solid and there to support them as they move through the emotion. This teaches them that it will pass and they have a solid support system.

If you have older kids and they’re hunkering down behind a closed door, just let them know that you’re there. Then when they’ve cooled down, you can talk about it. 

If a big emotion triggers you, stay solid around your kids and then go let loose with a sponsor or someone in your recovery or parenting circles. 

Let Them Know They’re Not Responsible for Your Feelings

Part two is to let your kids know that they aren’t responsible for you and can’t fix you or your feelings. In families with alcoholism and addiction, often the kids feel responsible for their parents or think the problem is their fault. It just all feels so out of control that taking responsibility is a solution in a kid’s eyes. But it’s not healthy.

Simply let them know you’re in charge of yourself. Acknowledge your own feelings and tell them it will pass. “I’m feeling sad right now, and it will pass. It’s nothing to do with you. I’ve got this.” 

Talk Openly

Your kids probably know more than you think about what you have been through. It’s a good idea to acknowledge what has happened. Let them know that you were “sick” or “not feeling well.” Apologize and assure them that you are recovering. Let them know you are taking care of yourself so that you get better/stay healthy and that you have people helping you.

With younger kids, you can throw the “I’m sorry I couldn’t pick you up from school” in during your everyday activities. With older kids, make it more formal. Let them know you have something important to talk about. Keep it direct.

Explain what alcoholism/addiction is. Explain what recovery is. Explain what that will look like for you and the family. For example, you can describe how many meetings a week you will go to. You can tell them whom you will call if you need help and how you will be of service/help to others. This will show your kids that hope and community are there for the whole family.

Lean In

Lean into the sobriety community or other community that supports you. Let your kids know how they can be a part of the community too. Explore Alanon family groups for help or Alateen for teens of alcoholics and addicts.

Do Fun Stuff Together

Your kids need to play and laugh. And so do you. Laughter, play, love, and joy keep us all coming back for more. Without it, what’s the point? 

Having fun motivates us to stay healthy and sober. In fact, fun and hobbies can help our recovery. And seeing our kids having fun too is the icing on the cake. Playing together builds strong family bonds, heals relationships, and creates a solid foundation for your kids. It will help build confidence for everyone.

Get something fun on the schedule every day. Even if it’s small, like reading together or next to each other every night for ten minutes. Play a quick daily game or eat ice cream or watch your favorite show. 

The key here is to get play on the schedule and make it part of your routine. It gives everyone something to look forward to. And when your kids see you showing up for them and yourself repeatedly, it rebuilds trust. 

Parenting in Recovery Is so Rewarding

Parenting in recovery may seem like the biggest mountain you ever will have to climb. But it’s doable and amazingly rewarding.

Even if your kids take a while to warm back up and trust you, stick with it. And when in doubt, simply love and hug or wait out a bad spell in the next room. Just showing up and staying will go a long way. And remember: You got this!

Also, remember that you are not alone, and when it gets tough, there is hope. Contact us today for any questions about parenting in recovery or recovery, detox, and treatment itself. We have ongoing support and guidance through sobriety. We have your back.

dating during recovery

Is Dating During Recovery a Good Idea?

Recovery is a process, a long one in many cases. It’s a relinquishing of an addiction to drugs and alcohol and a rebuilding of a new life. In recovery, addicts can find good health, self-awareness, and peace. 

It can be tempting to jump into a new relationship during this time of discovery, but is dating during recovery a good idea? We’ll explore the issue in this article and look at why it might be a good idea to delay dating for a while.

What Is Recovery?

Recovery can mean different things, but generally, it involves more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Yes, part of the recovery process will involve detoxing from those substances, but long-term change requires more than simply not using.

In fact, the term “dry drunk” refers to an addict who is not drinking but is still plagued with emotional and psychological issues. He quit drinking but hasn’t yet tackled the underlying problems that may have contributed to his addiction.

Addiction is a disease that often fuels a dangerous and destructive lifestyle. Lasting change occurs when the addict faces his deepest issues, issues that either drove his need to seek comfort in substances or that developed as a result of his addiction.

In recovery, the addict learns to rebuild her emotional stability. She may enter rehab and recovery overwhelmed with feelings of regret, low self-esteem, sadness, and guilt. Recovery is a chance to start over, to dig out all those painful emotions and face them. It’s an opportunity to build a new foundation with the tools learned during the recovery process.

A big part of a successful recovery is learning to regain control over your life and your choices. You’re not that dry drunk, hanging on by your fingernails and fighting the urge to use again. That kind of addictive, compulsive behavior prevents you from making good choices that come from deep within you. When an area of your life is out of control, it’s next to impossible to live a sober, happy life.

That’s why many addiction specialists encourage people in recovery to wait a year before they begin dating.

Dating During Recovery

When an addict begins the recovery process, she’s finding out who she is and what she believes in.  It sounds simple, but those concepts have often been buried beneath years of drug abuse, trauma, and emotional damage. 

Recovery often means working a 12 step program through organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The 12 step process addresses every aspect of addiction- physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.

Most recovering addicts have a history of dysfunctional and destructive relationships.  They were either using throughout the relationship, or their use of drugs and alcohol caused them to engage with people they wouldn’t have chosen in sobriety.

Addicts in recovery learn about healthy relationships, often for the first time in their lives. They discover ways to overcome their feelings of anger, isolation, and fear. They gradually begin to trust themselves to share their hopes, fears, and dreams with others.

It is an extremely vulnerable and often uncomfortable place for a newly-sober addict. She has to break the habit of hiding from uncomfortable feelings by using drugs and alcohol. In some cases, the sober alcoholic might try to soothe herself instead with a new relationship.

Addiction Transfer

Addiction specialists often refer to this as a transfer of addictions. If the alcoholic can’t escape in a bottle, she may try to do so in a relationship. 12 step programs refer to spiritual guidance as a “higher power”. The danger of dating during recovery is that the new love interest can become the addict’s higher power.

In fact, the same brain chemical that makes an addict feel good when she uses drugs gives her the same high in response to sexual stimulation.

Addicts in recovery eventually learn they can’t use the same thinking in sobriety than they used in their drug abuse. But early in the process, an addict might still be using distorted or defensive thinking patterns, poor planning skills, reduced memory, and impaired cognitive functions. Her choice of a dating partner won’t likely be a good one.

Another problem that can occur is the danger of relapse if the relationship doesn’t work out. The addict is still developing healthy coping skills but may not be secure enough in them to deal with a broken relationship in healthy ways. 

What to Do Instead

The focus of recovery is, and should be, on helping the addict learn new ways of thinking, new ways of relating to people and new ways of coping with life’s stresses. The addict learns to like herself again, by facing her past and making amends for her old behaviors.

Exercise, good nutrition, and mindfulness all play a role in developing a healthy, happy lifestyle. Recovery is a wonderful time for newly-sober addicts to discover hobbies and activities to replace the time they used to spend in bars and hanging out with other addicts. 

12 step programs also play an important role. In recovery, the addict can focus on working the steps and attending meetings, rather than on finding a new boyfriend or girlfriend. She begins to rebuild her self-esteem through the development of new life skills, new friendships, and meaningful work.

Her sobriety and recovery are the priority and must come first. We all tend to choose dating relationships with people who are at roughly the same maturity level as we are. It stands to reason then, as the addict progresses through recovery, she will begin to seek out different people than she might have chosen in her early days of sobriety.

Final Thoughts

Dating during recovery can also pose a problem if two addicts begin dating, in or out of rehab. Everyone progresses through recovery at a different speed, and it can be problematic if one person isn’t taking his recovery as seriously as his new relationship is.

Most addiction specialists recommend people in recovery wait a year before they start dating again, so they can focus on their health and their future.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. Please reach out to us at any time.  

sobriety toolbox

Creating a Sobriety Toolbox

Approximately 22 million Americans are currently in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Are you part of this group? If so, then you know that getting sober is only the first step in the recovery process.

Every day, you have to make a choice to stay sober and continue progressing. As you probably know, that’s not always easy to do. This is where a sobriety toolbox can come in very handy.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of creating a sobriety toolbox and what you should put in yours.

What Is a Sobriety Toolbox?

A sobriety toolbox contains all of the tools you turn to when you’re feeling triggered or having a difficult time maintaining your sobriety.

It takes a lot of work to stay sober, especially when your time in a recovery program is over and you’re transitioning back to “real” life.

Having a variety of tools handy will help you respond to triggers and stressors in a healthy and appropriate way.

Types of Sobriety Toolboxes

There are a few different types of sobriety toolboxes you can use. The right type of sobriety toolbox for you will vary depending on your personality, the resources you have access to, and the specific situations that tend to trigger you.

The following are some options you might want to consider: 

Online Toolbox

An online toolbox is an online document or spreadsheet that you can use to brainstorm tools that will help you with your sobriety.

It might include links to fun videos or websites that contain uplifting or motivational content.

The great thing about an online toolbox is that you can access it from anywhere using your smartphone. This makes it a highly convenient option.

Paper List 

Some people prefer the old-fashioned approach and just write down a list of go-to tools that they keep in their purse or wallet.

This list might contain reminders to take deep breaths or take a walk around the block. It could also contain phone numbers of people you can call to talk about why you’re feeling triggered.

If you take this approach, it’s a good idea to keep the list relatively short. That way, you won’t have too many options to sort through when you’re struggling and need some support.

Physical Toolbox

Finally, you might also want to create a physical sobriety toolbox.

This could be a box, a bag, or any other kind of tangible receptacle that holds items that provide you with comfort and help you stay focused on your goals.

It might contain relaxing teas, essential oils, your favorite book, a motivational letter you’ve written to yourself, or any other objects that have meaning for you. 

What to Put in a Sobriety Toolbox

Whether you decide to take the digital approach, the paper approach, or the tangible box approach, there are lots of different items that you might want to include in your sobriety toolbox. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help you to calm down and feel more grounded when you’re dealing with stress or temptation. You can use meditation apps to learn new exercises or simply close your eyes and take ten deep breaths.

Soothing Teas

There are many different teas out there that contain calming, soothing ingredients. Kava tea is a great option, as is chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and any tea that contains lavender. 

Yoga Videos

Bookmark links to some yoga YouTube videos. That way, you have something to turn to when you need to relax and put yourself at ease.

Sobriety Calculator

A sobriety calculator is a great tool that helps you stay focused on your goal. When you use one, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come and how much progress you’ve made.

Prayer

Sometimes, the best thing to do when you’re feeling triggered is to say a prayer. There are lots of pre-written prayers that you can recite (including the Serenity Prayer), or you can simply speak from the heart and ask for support.

Exercise

Exercising is a great tool for anyone who wants to feel their best and stay healthy while they’re in recovery.

Maybe you can include a reminder to go for a walk or do some strength training in your toolbox. Or, you could include exercise equipment, such as a jump rope. 

Calming or Uplifting Music

Listening to calming or uplifting music can also work wonders when you’re feeling stressed out or tempted to give up. Include links to favorite songs in your sobriety toolbox or create a playlist that you can turn to whenever you need a boost.

A Favorite Treat

It’s important to prioritize your health in recovery. Sometimes, though, you just need a treat. Keep your favorite candy bar or snack in your toolbox so you have something to give you a little extra comfort when you’re having a hard day.

Phone Numbers

You need to have a strong support system when you’re in recovery. In your toolbox, you should have the phone numbers of people who can give you some encouragement and keep you motivated on days when you’re struggling.

Reading

Finally, consider keeping a favorite book or poem in your recovery toolbox, too. Reading can be a great distraction and can help you to unwind after a difficult day. If reading is not your thing, consider audiobooks or podcasts instead.

Start Working Toward Sobriety Today

Whether you’re brand new to recovery or have been sober for months or even years, a sobriety toolbox can help you maintain your sobriety and avoid a relapse.

Even if you’re not sober yet but are thinking about it, you can benefit from putting together a sobriety toolbox for yourself.

If you need help beginning your recovery journey and putting that toolbox to use, we’re here for you at Addiction Treatment Services.

Contact us today to get information on recovery programs in your area.

We have admissions specialists available at all times to answer your questions and get you on the right path toward sobriety.

dealing with grief

Advice for Dealing with Death and Grief While in Recovery

Advice for Dealing with Death and Grief While in Recovery

The loss of a loved one has been described as life’s most stressful event. It triggers a profound sense of grief, an outward expression of loss. Grief can be expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Dealing with death and the grieving process can be especially difficult for people recovering from addiction. Grief and sadness are feelings so many of us want to avoid, and in the addict, they can trigger a relapse. But, there are things you can do to deal with grief and stay sober.

Understanding Grief

When someone we love dies, our sadness can feel overwhelming. Part of the grieving process is allowing ourselves to experience that loss and all the feelings that come with it. Some people may feel numb at first, but there is no “right” emotion or order of feelings. Common emotions may include:

  • Denial
  • Disbelief
  • Confusion
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Despair
  • Guilt

It’s important to understand that all those feelings are normal, and they can cause physical responses like anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, depression and thoughts of suicide.

Grief and the Recovering Addict

Grief can affect our ability to think clearly and process information. Dealing with grief is painful, and an addict’s reaction to painful situations is often to numb that pain with drugs and alcohol.

We often hear addicts say things like, “I just want to stop feeling this way”, or “I want the pain to stop”.

Helping addicts in recovery deal with grief and loss is often critical to protecting them against future relapses and worsening depression. Someone in recovery must learn to feel feelings and express them in healthy ways. If he doesn’t, those feelings will still come out, only in unhealthy ways. 

One mental health professional compares this struggle to avoid painful emotions to being stuck in quicksand. The harder someone struggles to get out, the deeper he sinks. Denying these feelings by burying them under drugs and alcohol will only delay them. But if the recovering addict can allow himself to experience grief and express sadness, those awful feelings will gradually begin to fall away on their own.

Dealing with Death in Recovery

A critical part of supporting an addict in recovery is to help him develop healthy activities, habits, and relationships. Newly-sober men and women often find themselves alone and helping them find support systems is vital.

Here are some ways to deal with grief and stay sober:

Ask for help. It’s not unusual for someone in recovery to isolate himself. He may do so as part of his recovery to stay away from the people he did drugs with, for example. But dealing with grief and loss alone is next to impossible. It’s important to reach out to family, friends or a mental health professional for support.

Be creative. People in recovery are often encouraged to write about their experiences in a journal or perhaps draw or paint them. This creative process can also help with grief. You might write a letter to the person who died and tell them all the things you wish you had said when they were alive. You might consider planting a tree in their memory.

Get moving. Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you’re grieving, but it can help to get physical. Make time for hobbies you enjoy. Those might include running or kayaking or simply walking outside. The idea is to get outside, both physically and mentally. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Get out of your own head and focus on something physical as a way to take a break from your grief. 

Eat healthily. You may not feel much like eating in the midst of your grief, but it’s critical to maintain a healthy diet. If you’re not eating well, it’s even more difficult to think clearly and stay strong enough to resist the temptation to use drugs and alcohol again. Good nutrition will give you the physical and mental strength you need to deal with stress. You might ask a friend or relative to help you prepare meals and eat with you. 

Go to a meeting. 12 step programs are the cornerstone of recovery for millions of addicts. Even if you’ve been sober for years and haven’t attended a meeting recently, that support network can help you process your grief in healthy ways. Fellow addicts in recovery can help guide you through the sadness and loss in ways that don’t threaten your sobriety.

Pray or meditate. You may have learned about meditation in the early stages of your recovery. It can be very helpful now, as you deal with grief and loss. You might ask a friend to join you at a yoga class or simply spend time in quiet contemplation. Prayer and meditation can help you process all the emotions you’re experiencing in a healthy environment. 

Own your feelings. It’s important to understand that your feelings are unique and normal. Resist the urge to compare your feelings to someone else’s. Your path is yours and yours alone. There is no right way to grieve, and there is no right time to stop grieving. This can happen sometimes in families who have lost someone close to them. If you’ve lost a parent, you may compare your healing to your siblings’ and wonder why your grief seems so much worse. Feeling like there’s something wrong with you can trigger a response that’s not healthy, and a relapse will only make you feel worse.

Get professional help. Dealing with strong emotions can be frightening for people in recovery who aren’t used to all those painful feelings. If you find yourself in a dark well of sadness that you can’t get out of, or if you’re contemplating suicide, reach out to a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Final Thoughts

It’s not unusual for someone in recovery to find themselves dealing with a death that happened a long time ago. Using drugs and alcohol may have prevented you from grieving the loss when it happened. Your emotions now may be delayed grief, and they’re just as powerful as grief over a recent loss.

If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, we can help. Please reach out to us any time for help with addiction and recovery. 

bath salts

Not for Human Consumption: The Dangers of Bath Salts

The bath salt abuse trend seems to have come out of nowhere. It caused 23,000 emergency visits in 2011! Even today, bath salts have a widespread effect— especially on younger people.

Don’t underestimate the dangers of bath salt abuse. Read on to learn more about the basics of bath salts, the dangerous side effects they carry, and how to find help if you’re struggling with addiction.

What Are Bath Salts?

Synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts,” come in a crystallized powder that resembles Epsom salt, hence the name.

Bath salts are a “designer drug,” or a synthetic version of a controlled substance. These particular drugs produce short-lived but extreme highs due to their highly concentrated ingredients.

The lab-grown nature of these drugs is also cause for concern. Not only are synthetic cathinones highly addictive, but factors like ingredient impurity, lack of lab sanitation, and the addition of other chemicals like detergent pose a threat to users.

Ingredients in Bath Salts

The main ingredient of this drug comes from the khat plant, an herb native to parts of Arabia and Africa. The plant contains cathinone, a natural amphetamine stimulant.

Alone, khat plants and cathinone can pose a number of health risks due to the presence of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). However, lab-generated cathinone is far more powerful. In fact, synthetic cathinone shares a similar chemical makeup to methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA. Some people even call it “fake cocaine.”

Street Names for Bath Salts

All things considered, these drugs are relatively new to the United States. But since their introduction, they’ve garnered a lot of (mostly negative) attention.

The U.S. government even signed an emergency federal ban on the drug within a few months of its stateside appearance.

However, as a result of the ban, the drug gained a number of additional street names, including:

  • Bliss
  • Sextasy
  • Plant food
  • Meow meow
  • Phone screen cleaner

Of course, “bath salts” is still the most popular street name for synthetic cathinones.

Bath Salts Side Effects

The use of this drug can bring about a number of dangerous side effects. The results can land users in the hospital, cause permanent damage, or even prove fatal.

Here are a few of the more common side effects:

Euphoria

The most common effect of this drug is the extreme and sudden sense of euphoria, not unlike that experienced with similar drugs like cocaine.

But the high itself isn’t the greatest cause for concern. Rather, it’s the sudden start followed by an almost spontaneous crash three to four hours later. This can put an enormous strain on the body.

Confusion or Memory Loss

Many bath salts users reported feeling a sense of confusion, almost like amnesia. They forgot who they were, where they were, and why they were there. Although this side effect tends to lessen over time, it is possible for a user to never fully recover.

Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Many people who use bath salts report a massive surge in energy after ingesting the drug. This exhilaration is partially due to an increase in blood flow to the heart.

This may seem harmless, but make no mistake: increased heart rate can be one of the most dangerous side effects of drug use.

In one case, a 27-year-old man was hospitalized after ingesting the drug. Doctors noted that although the man was healthy by all accounts, he now exhibited signs of cardiomyopathy and cardiogenic shock.

Increased heart rate isn’t the only cardiovascular risk of bath salt abuse. Elevated blood pressure is also a major threat. A sudden spike in blood pressure increases a person’s chance of succumbing to a stroke or heart attack.

Liver Damage

Our bodies are not designed for filtering toxins like the ones found in bath salts. As a result, a user may experience extreme liver damage, not unlike an alcoholic.

Seizures

Up to 9% of all epileptic episodes are caused by drug abuse. A single seizure is dangerous enough, but prolonged bath salt abuse can cause repeat incidents, leading to permanent brain damage.

Extreme Mood Swings

One of the most well-known symptoms of bath salt use is the erratic mood swings that make for unpredictable behavior. Other symptoms include extreme paranoia and anxiety that can last for days after ingestion.

Powerful Hallucinations

Bath salts are psychoactive substances. The intense chemical reactions they cause in the brain can result in any number of auditory or visual hallucinations. This side effect can be particularly dangerous when combined with mood swings.

The most infamous case of bath salt abuse involving this particular side effect took place in Florida. A homeless man high on bath salts attacked and began cannibalizing another homeless man. He was subsequently shot and killed by police officers. The victim lost 75 percent of his face, but survived.

Treatment Options for Bath Salts Addiction

It’s important to note that, like methamphetamine and cocaine, bath salts are extremely addictive. In fact, studies show that they may actually be more addictive. It doesn’t take much for a user to become addicted.

Bath salts addiction is a scary, eye-opening experience. It comes with a wide array of physical and mental consequences, all of which require professional help.

With that said, if you or a loved one are dealing with bath salts addiction, the battle is far from over. Detoxification, residential treatment, and outpatient treatment are all quality, affordable forms of addiction care. They work even better together.

Enrolling in rehab will give you or your loved one the opportunity to address the addiction as well as learn life-changing coping skills through various intensive therapies.

Contact Us Today for More Information

Bath salts are dangerous substances with frightening side effects and medical consequences. Using these drugs even once can put you at great risk.

Please remember that help is out there.

Reach out today to discover rehab centers in your area that can help you get your life back.

adult children of alcoholics

4 Common Personality Traits in Adult Children of Alcoholics

Screaming, yelling, and fighting.

Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of your parents fighting. Not just arguing, but screaming, shouting, and maybe even throwing things.

Not sure what’s going on, you stumble downstairs to find out what’s wrong. Peering over the staircase, you can barely make out what your parents are saying. But you know whatever is going on must be serious. Afraid you might be in trouble yourself, you decide to skip breakfast and hide out in your room.

Being the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics live in a strange reality. One minute everything is calm and serene. Then suddenly, without warning, a crisis erupts in their living room. The endless cycle of drama and pseudo-resolution may even continue into adulthood.

If you or a loved one is the child of an alcoholic, you’re not alone. Almost 28 million children in the U.S. are currently living with an alcoholic parent.

While we can’t change the past, learning from it can help us reshape our future. Read on to learn more about the personality traits that are common among children from alcoholic households.

Tips for Children of Alcoholics

Before you start reviewing the ways alcoholism impacts children, you’ll want to prepare yourself for what you might be feeling.

It’s normal for survivors of alcoholism to want to defend their parents, especially given the ways that alcoholism has shaped their lives. It’s also natural to feel anger, sadness, and even guilt.

We suggest that you write down any negative judgments that arise, whether they are against yourself or another individual, as you learn about the damage alcohol can cause. Research shows that writing down how you feel helps you process your feelings. You don’t have to read them, just write them down to get them out of your head.

Once you’re in the right headspace, you’re ready to begin looking at some of the darkest parts of alcoholism and the way you or another child might react to them.

1. Children of Alcoholics Expect Excitement

Constant crises and daily dramas can cause children of alcoholics to expect life to be tense. This is because their experience has shown them that anything can go wrong, at any time. As they grow familiar with feelings of panic or fear, they start to expect them all the time.

Usually, when we think of something as exciting, we think of it as fun. However, this type of excitement refers to a more scary feeling stemming from fear.

Rather than feeling joyfully excited, children of alcoholics often feel fearfully excited.

Then, once they become adults, their minds stay stuck in crisis mode. This chaotic outlook on life usually continues in their own lives until they unlearn it.

2. Children of Alcoholics Often Experience Insecure Attachment

During early childhood, it’s important for kids to feel secure. It’s during this time of their life that the groundwork is being laid for how they will function as adults.

Insecure attachment is one consequence of an unstable, alcoholic household. It is often characterized by the need for things to be surprising or different. However, things don’t necessarily have to be exciting (scary or adrenaline-fueled) for an insecure attachment to form in children of alcoholics.

Children of alcoholics may feel that a crisis must always be present in their lives because it is all they have ever known to be true. For instance, adult children of alcoholics might seek out unstable relationships, jobs, and financial situations.

This is because people who struggle with an unhealthy attachment to instability are also prone to behaviors like self-sabotage. As fear and doubt creep in about their future, they’ll feel a familiar sense of panic.

Of course, insecure attachment is subliminal behavior. In their own minds, adult children of alcoholics are doing everything possible to be happy. It just so happens that being unhappy is more comfortable and familiar.

3. Children of Alcoholics Are Susceptible to Addiction

Another problem that adult children of alcoholics face is the potential for substance abuse and addiction. The combination of genetics and experiences cause these individuals to have a higher probability of struggling with addiction than the average person.

Studies show that when a parent abuses alcohol before conception, their child is more likely to also have addiction problems. In fact, genetics can increase the risk of having addiction by 40 to 60 percent— or more, in some cases.

4. Children of Alcoholics Are Overwhelmed by Emotions

Alcoholic parents aren’t as emotionally available to their children as they should be. Moreover, children may witness their alcoholic parents behaving wildly during active addiction.

While they may think, “I will never act that way,” they are unconsciously learning from their addicted parents. Many adult children experience feelings of disgust when they notice any extreme similarities between their and their addicted parents’ behavior.

Unregulated emotions and feelings of self-hatred can lead to the development of serious mental health issues, like depression. They can also cause high levels of anxiety, anger, and other negative emotions.

Dealing with Adulthood as the Child of an Alcoholic

Children of alcoholics tend to also struggle with small setbacks in their plans. This makes personal relationships and self-discipline especially challenging to maintain.

They may find themselves yelling at their partner for being a few minutes late to a date. They may overly criticize themselves for not being able to complete a personal goal. For these individuals, even being stuck in traffic can feel like a reason to hate themselves— or others.

The Addiction Treatment Services blog provides reliable information to help families recover from addiction. Knowledge and communication are the keys to healing, and being whole again.

Do you know someone who might be struggling with alcoholism? There are things you can do to help without putting yourself at risk. Check out our latest article about how to hold an alcohol intervention.

For any additional information about alcohol detox and treatment options, contact us here or call us at (877) 455-0055.